Friday, May 27, 2016

The Serpent

In this study, we look at the fall of Satan and his appearance in the Garden of Eden.  We also investigate what type of angel he is.

  • Luke 10:17-19
  • Rev 12:3-10
  • Genesis 3:1-15
  • Ezekiel 28:11-19
  • Isaiah 14:12-15
  • John 12:31-32

Seraphim vs Cherubim

There are many similarities between the seraphim and cherubim. Both are winged creatures, half human, half animal; both stand near the throne of God, and appear as its guardians.  They both have wings in the biblical visions.  

They are often mentioned together in Jewish texts (e.g. Book of Enoch).  Some texts say that seraphim, cherubim and ophanim are the guardians of God’s throne.  It’s clear from these other texts that seraphim and cherubim are not the same beings.

In the ancient times, kings had statues of cherubim and seraphim outside of the doorways of their palaces and tombs serving as guardians.  They were also placed outside of other important buildings in those days.  We still see some variations of them outside of some museums and historical buildings.

Cherubim originated as the Mesopotamian or Babylonian guardians of the thrones of deities  The  seraphim originated as the Egyptian guardians of thrones.

What Type of Being Was Satan?

Was Satan an angel?  Was he a messenger?  Was he a cherubim or seraphim?

Similarities With Seraphim

  1. He was described as lightning in Luke 10:17-18
  2. He was described as a snake in Revelations 12:9 and Genesis 3

Described as Cherub

  1. He was described as a guardian or anointed cherub in Ezekiel 28


Luke 10:17-19
17The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
  • Satan is compared to lightning
  • And then Jesus references snakes and scorpians

Rev 12:3-10
3Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”a And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.
  • The woman is Old Testament Israel
    • God’s bride
  • Israel gave birth to Jesus
  • Jesus is the child
  • Who was the dragon?
    • ...
7Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
  • Satan is: the dragon, the serpent, and the devil
  • A war broke out in Heaven and Michael and his angels threw the devil out

What was the war about?
  • We will see

Satan took 1/3 of the stars means he took 1/3 of the angels
  • Did this include snakes and dragons?
  • ⅔ of whatever he took stayed
    • cherubim? seraphim?

Satan is the accuser of our brethren
  • devil - the false accuser
  • Satan = the accuser
  • He accuses us in the court of God

What does a dragon look like?
  • A snake with wings and legs
  • Last week we saw that seraphim were depicted as snakes with arms, hands, legs and wings


Snake in the Garden

Genesis 3:1-15
1Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals[beasts of the field] the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
  • Some say references to “beasts of the field” refers to the demonic realm
    • Cain
    • Esau
2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”
  • Notice that Eve wasn’t surprised that the serpent talked
    • Not a regular animal
    • Not the first time
  • Who did God tell not to eat from the tree?
    • God told Adam
    • There’s no record of Him telling Eve
    • Perhaps Adam told Eve about the rule
  • God said “you can’t eat of the tree”
  • Eve said God said “we can’t eat from the tree, and we can’t touch the tree”
    • Perhaps Adam embellished the rule to keep Eve safe
    • When the embellishments are found to be false it undermines the validity of all the other rules
4“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

  • What did Satan say was the benefit of eating the fruit?
    • You could be like God
  • Adam and Eve were already made in God’s image
    • They could create
    • They ruled all of the creatures
    • They could draw food from the land without work

6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
  • The serpent deceived Eve, not Adam
  • Why did Adam eat the fruit?
    • One explanation is that Adam ate the fruit to be with Eve
    • He knew Eve would be cast out of the garden (or destroyed)
    • So they could be together
    • Sacrificed his life to save Eve
    • This would make more sense to the concept that Jesus is the second Adam
    • Otherwise Adam being a type of Jesus doesn’t really fit
14So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,
“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
  • This implies that the snake didn’t crawl on its belly prior to that incident
15And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspringa and hers;
he will crushb your head,
and you will strike his heel.”


Snake = nacash (Hebrew)

nachash - the root can be used as a noun, verb and adjective
noun - serpent
verb - deceiver or diviner (deception through divination)
adjective - shining one
  • shining is a quality frequently attributed to divine beings

It has the definite article - ha nachash
  • Means it’s a specific snake

What/Who Was the Snake?

Notice about the snake
  • he spoke and Eve responded
  • he was smarter than any of the beasts in the field
  • Eve wasn’t surprised when the snake spoke
  • Eve wasn’t surprised that the snake was in the Garden of Eden

the nachash was a spirit being not an ordinary snake

Perhaps the snake was a seraphim that was supposed to be guarding the way the throne or the tree of life

Why was a fallen angel in the garden?

The Punishment

  1. Have to work to get food from the earth - earth is cursed
  2. There will be hostility between satan and the woman
    1. Between humans and demons
  3. Adam lost his dominion over the earth
    1. Satan gained dominion over the earth here
  4. Eat the dirt = sent to earth
    1. Humans (and animals) are made of dirt
    2. Demons need human bodies to be on earth
  1. Crawl on his belly

Snake Had Feet

In a report by the Inquisitr, the oldest snake fossil is officially named the Tetrapodophis amplectus. The oldest snake fossil is estimated to be about 110 million years old, and it has four little limbs including feet and toes.

King of Tyre

Ezekiel 28:11-19
11The word of the Lord came to me: 12“Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“ ‘You were the seal of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13You were in Eden,
the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
topaz, onyx and jasper,
lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.b
Your settings and mountingsc were made of gold;
on the day you were created they were prepared.
14You were anointed as a guardian[anointed] cherub,
for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
  • The subject was in Eden
  • The stones are the stones in  the breastplate of the High Priest
  • He was one of the four cherubim that are around the throne
15You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
16Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
17Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18By your many sins and dishonest trade
you have desecrated your sanctuaries.
So I made a fire come out from you,
and it consumed you,
and I reduced you to ashes on the ground
in the sight of all who were watching.
19All the nations who knew you
are appalled at you;
you have come to a horrible end
and will be no more.’ ”
  • Eden is referred the mountain of God
  • We previously spoke of the term “going up the mountain of God” as going into God’s presence
  • He was thrown out of God’s presence
  • Thrown out of Heaven
  • From among the stones of fire
    • Seraphim
  • Cast you to the ground, earth

Why was he expelled from Heaven?
  • Because of his pride.

Other Views

There isn’t complete agreement by scholars that this refers to satan.  

This is spoken of the King of Tyre.  
  • Some say it’s literally speaking of the King of Tyre
  • Some say Adam

This type of literary genre commonly uses allusions to known stories in this manner [M. Heiser]
  • This is a reference to the fall of satan that readers of that time would have been familiar to

King of Babylon

Isaiah 14:12-15
12How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
13You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.b
14I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
15But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
to the depths of the pit.
  • Why did He fall?
    • He wanted to be above the stars of God - spirit beings - angels
    • He wanted to be the king of the mountain
    • He wanted to be like God

Morning Star

Isaiah 14:12 (KJV)
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

The King James and a few other versions translate this to be Lucifer
  • Most scholars agree that this isn’t an actual name for satan


Both Genesis 3 and Revelation 12 refer to satan as a snake.  Ezekiel refers to him as a fallen cherub.  Last week we discovered that the word seraph means  bronze snake like the one Moses put on a pole and lifted up in the wilderness.  And that seraphim were depicted as snakes with wings.  Given that satan is a being in the spirit realm it’s likely that the reference to a snake is a reference to a seraph.

So he was either a cherub or a seraph not a regular messenger angel.  Both of these are guardians of God’s throne.  So satan was clearly in an anointed throne guardian prior to his fall.

The passages in Isaiah and Ezekiel speak of tyrant kings whose pride caused them to fall.
Satan fell because he wanted to be like God.  He wanted to stand in the place of God.  Satan used this same desire to deceive mankind.  He told Eve that she wouldn’t surely die if she ate the fruit, but that she would be “like God”.  Therefore the desire to be like God was the cause of both satan’s fall and man’s fall.  Both coveted to take God’s position on the mountain of God.
Adam had been given dominion over the entire earth.  Adam and Eve chose to follow satan’s advice instead of God’s thus giving the power of this world over to satan.   Jesus has since taken this power from back satan.

John 12:31-32
31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32And I, when I am lifted upg from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

Jesus was saying that by His death He was going to take dominion back from satan.  Jesus died to take back dominion of this world.  He died to give us eternal life.

The question is
  • Are there any areas in our life where we have chosen to follow satan’s advice instead of God’s?  
  • Are there areas where we have made ourselves God by deciding to do things our way instead of God’s way?
  • Are we in rebellion against God today?

Eve decided in her heart that God lied.  That God was withholding something good from her.  
  • Do we sometimes lean on our own ability or our own understanding instead of trusting God?
  • Do you accept God's rules as truth, and the best way to live?
  • Or, do you rely on your limited view of what is truth and depend on it instead?
  • The creation account shows the terrible result of disbelieving God and rejecting His rules.

Once we identify the areas in our lives in which we are  not been living in alignment with God’s command, we need to ask the Holy Spirit  to change our attitudes and beliefs to be in alignment with God's truth.

Presenter: Michael Leadon


Genesis: The Serpent (Nachash) in the Garden of Eden- Michael S. Heiser, PhD

Satan Before the Creation

Opposing View on Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28

Snake With Feet


Snake Logos

Snakes represent healing and knowledge in the ancient cultures

Extra Verses

Daniel 11:36
"The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.

No comments:

Post a Comment