How many times have you heard someone say, “If God was real, then why is the world in such bad shape… why is there so much evil in the world?” We learned in the last post, the world is in bad shape because Satan is the god of the world. He is the prince of the power of the air. We learned that there is a spirit of Antichrist that is active in the earth. In this post, we’re going to learn just how the spirit of Antichrist entered the earth. If you want to learn more, keep reading!
The Spirit of Antichrist
Second in a Four-Part Series
by Karen Thompson
How the Spirit of Antichrist Entered the Earth
At this point, you might be wondering, How did this happen? How did Satan become the “god of this world”?
A simple Bible study on the origin of Satan will clear up the mystery. There are two main scriptures in the Old Testament that provide us with insight into his past: Ezekiel 28:12–16 and Isaiah 14:12–14. These passages of scripture tell us the purpose of his creation and how he became the enemy of God.
These passages of scripture are actually prophetic words to earthly kings. In Ezekiel chapter 28, the prophet Ezekiel is speaking prophetically to the king of Tyre who was lifted up in pride. He had declared himself to be God and demanded to be worshiped as such.
Then in Isaiah chapter 14, the prophet Isaiah is speaking prophetically to the king of Babylon. Both kings are being rebuked for their behavior and for yielding to the evil influence that is in the earth, for yielding to the spirit of Antichrist.
These prophetic words are unique, and if you don’t understand how to read them, they can be very confusing. As you read these prophetic words, it becomes apparent there are portions that could not possibly refer to a human being on the earth. Prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah are both speaking to men, yet they say things that could not possibly apply to them. For example, Ezekiel made reference to the king of Trye being in the Garden of Eden. And then Isaiah said to the king of Babylon, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” These prophetic words are “double decked,” meaning two entities are being addressed as though they are one in the same. There are several of these double-decked prophetic words in the Bible.
The Law of Double Reference
The necessary key to interpreting these double-decked passages correctly is the law of double reference. Trying to interpret these scriptures without understanding this law will only lead to confusion and an erroneous interpretation.
The law of double reference is applied to portions of scripture where there is more than one entity being addressed. Though the passage of scripture sounds as though it is addressing only one entity, it is actually addressing two entities. There is a “visible” person who is being addressed, but there is also an “invisible” being that is being addressed as well. The invisible being is using the visible being as a tool. To interpret these unique passages of scripture, you must determine which statements apply to the visible entity and which statements belong to the invisible entity.
The most well-known, double-decked scripture is Matthew 16:22–23. Jesus was preparing His disciples about what was going to happen to Him when He entered Jerusalem, telling them He was going to be killed. Alarmed, His disciple Peter pulled Jesus aside and privately rebuked Him for saying such a thing. Jesus said, “Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offense unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
In one statement, Jesus rebuked both Peter who was the visible entity and Satan who was the invisible entity using Peter as a tool. Peter was unaware he was being influenced by Satan.
The first occurrence of a double-decked portion of scripture in the Bible is in Genesis 3:14–15. Adam and Eve had just disobeyed God, and now He was handing out His judgments against all characters involved—Adam, Eve, Satan, and the serpent! In the following passage, God is speaking to the serpent, the visible being, yet He is addressing the invisible being, Satan, as well.
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
In verse 14, God spoke to the serpent and judged him to live a life crawling on his belly. In verse 15, God spoke to Satan, the invisible force that influenced the serpent, and told him that one day there would come a woman whose child would bruise his head—that child would be the Messiah! This is the very first biblical prophecy of the coming Messiah.
Both passages of scripture in Isaiah and Ezekiel that refer to Satan’s origin are double-decked. The human kings of Babylon and Tyre are the visible beings being addressed, but Satan, the invisible being, is being addressed as well. Some statements in these passages of scripture refer to the visible men, but some of the statements refer to Satan, the invisible being who is influencing the men.
Judgment to the Prince of Tyre
Let’s dissect these two passages of scripture and apply the law of double reference to them. Let’s start by looking at the prophetic word in Ezekiel chapter 28. The following portion is addressed to the prince of Tyre, the visible man that ruled over the city of Tyre:
1 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, 2 Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: 3 Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: 4 With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: 5 By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: 6 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; 7 Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. 8 They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. 9 Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. 10 Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God. (Eze. 28:1–10)
All Bible references identify the king of Tyre as Ethbaal (or Ithobaal). He is not to be confused with the Ethbaal that was king of Tyre from 887–856 BC. His daughter, Jezebel, was the wife of Ahab, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel. There was another king of Tyre called Ethbaal (Ithobaal) who was on the throne when Babylon conquered it. Nebuchadnezzar replaced Ithobaal with Baal II (573–563 BC). This Ithobaal is the king that Ezekiel’s prophecy is addressing.
The king of Tyre yielded himself to the evil influence that covers the earth—the spirit of Antichrist. He was filled with pride because of his great wealth. He thought it was because of his god-like wisdom that he obtained his wealth. In fact, he’s so full of himself that he declared himself to be god. This king is a full-blown despot. Becoming a despot doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process that takes place over a period of time. The ruler of Tyre is in the final stage, which is the god-complex stage. He exalted himself to the status of god. But almighty God sent him a reality check—he’s just a man.
Satan’s Created Purpose and Sin
The next portion of scripture in Ezekiel chapter 28 speaks about Satan, the invisible being that is influencing the king of Tyre. It reveals to us Satan’s created purpose and his downfall. Reading these verses, it’s easy to see that they could not possibly refer to an earthly human king.
11 Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. (Eze. 28:11–17)
Verse 14 tells us that Satan was created to be an “anointed cherub” that “covered.” He is described as a dazzling creature, covered on his front side with every precious jewel stone— the carnelian, topaz, jasper, chrysolite, beryl, onyx, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald…” (Amp.). Not only that, but it says he had special fittings that held the jewels in place: “And your settings and your sockets and engravings were wrought in gold” (Amp.). His entire front side must have looked like a beautiful piece of jewelry.
In addition to that, verse 13 indicates he was somehow musical: “the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.” The word “tabrets” is a Middle English word that means tambourine, and the word “pipes” means the holes in musical pipes or flutes.
What possible purpose would God have in creating a creature covered on his front side with sparkling gems and musical instruments built right into his garment? This is a very unique creation, made to possess dazzling beauty with music emanating from him! Obviously, this angel was created for a very unique and special purpose. We are told his purpose was “to cover.” But just what did this uniquely beautiful creature cover? The most insightful description of Satan’s created purpose that I have heard came from Rick Renner, a Greek scholar who studied Classical Greek at the University of Oklahoma and who has a Doctor of Philosophy in Ministry.3
Renner said Satan was an anointed cherub that covered, which meant that he hovered over the very presence of God. The purpose of his many jewels that covered his front side was so that when he hovered in God’s presence, the glory of God would shine upon his jewels and create a dazzling display of refracted lights. All the while he was hovering over the presence of God, beautiful music emanated from him.
The Hebrew word for his name reflects his created purpose. The word Lucifer in Hebrew is Heylel and it means “shining one” or “light bearer.”4 The Bible says he became deceived by the “reason of his brightness” (v. 17). At some point, he started to think exalted thoughts about himself. Verse 17 says, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty….” He forgot that his source of beauty was God. Satan became filled with pride because of his beauty, and he began to lift himself up in his own mind. In fact, he began to see himself on God’s level.
It is at this point that the evil entity we know as Satan came into being. When Satan’s sin was exposed, God cast him “as profane out of the mountain of God” and destroyed him from the “midst of the stones of fire” (v. 16). Satan lost his place in God. He is no longer that covering cherub that walked upon the mountain of God. He lost heaven as his home for he was thrust out from the presence of God.
Satan’s Sin—High Treason
Now we come to the double-decked portion of scripture in Isaiah chapter 14, which is a prophetic word to the king of Babylon. In the preceding chapter 13, Isaiah was prophesying the downfall of the city of Babylon by the Medes and the Persians. In this chapter, he is prophesying the king’s downfall. Let’s first look at the verses that deal with the king of Babylon:
4 That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! 5 The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. 6 He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. 7 The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. … 9 Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 10 All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? 11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. (Isa. 14:4–7, 9–11)
These verses are addressing the downfall of the Babylonian king, when God would bring his rule to an end. The Babylonian king was called a “king of kings” (Eze. 26:7). A king of kings is someone that rules over an empire of nations. Verses 9–10 tell us those residents of hell that were once kings on earth will be stirred up to meet the Babylonian king when he joins them. They will say, “Have you become like us?” He was once a powerful, almost invincible man, but he was brought down low. He did not escape his future—maggots and worms!
Isaiah 14:13–14 is the portion of scripture that deals with Satan and his great sin. People usually say that Satan’s sin was pride and arrogance; however, it was something much more treacherous. But before we talk about Satan’s great sin, let’s first talk a little more about the name “Lucifer” for a moment. Most everyone assumes that Lucifer is Satan’s name. But it might surprise you to know that Lucifer is not Satan’s name. At least, it’s not a name that was given him by God. We don’t actually know Satan’s real name like we do the archangels Gabriel and Michael.
As noted before, the Hebrew word for Lucifer is heylel which means “shining one” or “light bearer.” The translators of the King James Bible used the word “Lucifer” for the Hebrew word “heylel” in Isaiah 14:12: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” They imported the word Lucifer from the Latin translation of the Bible. The Hebrew word for heylel in Latin is lucifer. When translating the Bible into English, the King James translators chose to use the Latin word lucifer instead of the English equivalent of “shining one” or “light bringer” for the Hebrew word heylel. As a consequence, people assume Lucifer is Satan’s actual name.5
A simple word study will shed even more insight into the meaning of “heylel.” In the Hebrew language, every word comes from a root word. And a word’s meaning or definition will always contain a measure of the meaning of its root word. Halal is the root word for heylel. The Strong’s Concordance says the word halal means “to be clear (orig. to sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously foolish); to rave; causat. to celebrate; also to stultify.”6 The word “stultify” means to be foolish or to be of unsound mind.7
The Hebrew word heylel which means “shining one” comes from a word which means to make a show or to boast or someone who is proud. The word heylel appropriately describes Satan as being a “shining one” and also a “proud one.” In fact, verses 13 and 14 confirm that this is a correct interpretation. These verses show the “shining one” is not only boastful but full of pride as well. In these two verses, Satan makes five boastful and proud “I will” statements.
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isa. 14:13–14)
Satan’s five “I will” declarations are:
1. I will ascend into heaven.
2. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.
3. I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north.
4. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.
5. I will be like the Most High.
Satan’s five declarations could be defined as his mission statement. The intention is clear. Satan’s mission is to take God’s place—to dethrone Him. Satan’s great sin is high treason! Treason is the attempt by overt acts to overthrow a standing government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance to or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.
How apt this description fits Satan! Satan declared that his intention was to sit upon the throne of God. He even tried to obtain his goal by killing the Sovereign’s own Son! Satan is still currently active in his revolt against God. He’s still trying to accomplish his mission of taking God’s place. The war between Satan and God is still ongoing.
Satan Infiltrates God’s Creation on Earth
Having been cast out of heaven, Satan then focused his attention on God’s creation on earth—Adam and Eve. His plan was to infiltrate the Garden of Eden with hostile intent. His plan, however, was stymied due to a security system that God Himself had set in place. What was it? God had given Adam dominion and authority over His creation on earth. In fact, Psalm 115:16 says God gave the earth to men. We can read about this special security system in Genesis chapter one: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26–28).
God gave Adam dominion and authority on the earth, and He instructed Adam to subdue the earth and to have dominion over every living thing that moved on the earth. Simply put, Adam was in charge. He had full authority over what happened on the earth.
God provided Adam and Eve with a beautiful place to live in a garden eastward of Eden. For their provision, God filled it with beautiful trees, full of fruit to eat. Also in the garden were two special trees: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. About the trees, God commanded Adam saying, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:16–17).
God placed Adam in the garden “to tend and keep it.” The Hebrew word for the word keep is shamar and it means “to guard, to watch and ward, to protect.”8 The Lord charged Adam with guarding and protecting the garden, to watch over it.
To penetrate the garden, Satan knew better than to come at Adam and Eve with a frontal attack. He came disguised using the most subtle beast of the field, the serpent. Some teach that the serpent was Satan, but the Bible clearly says the serpent was a beast of the field. And, most importantly, the serpent had access into the garden, which Satan did not. So Satan used this animal as a puppet to infiltrate the garden to speak to Eve.
The conversation Satan had with Eve is fascinating, because it provides us with a little insight as to how he might have seduced some of God’s angels in heaven to follow him in his rebellion. Let’s examine Satan’s conversation with Eve in the garden in Genesis chapter three: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:1–5).
The first thing Satan did was to question what God had said. He said, “Hath God said?” Eve reiterated what God said would happen if they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil—that they would die. Satan then countermanded what God had said: “You shall not surely die. God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
The last thing Satan said to Eve (“You will be like God”) was the most telling as it revealed what was in his own heart. The Bible says, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45). Whatever is in a man’s heart will come out of his mouth. Satan’s statement, “You will be like God,” is a revelation of what was in his own heart. He himself wants to be like God. It’s one of his “I will” statements.
Satan tempted Eve with his own prideful lust—to be like God. And it is this same desire that you will find in every despot. They want to be like God. They want to be worshiped like God. And they want to rule over the kingdom of men. That is the spirit of Antichrist.
Of course, we all know the tragic ending to this story. Eve did take the fruit and ate it. She gave some to Adam, and he ate it as well. They disobeyed the one command God had given them. They sinned against God and fell from glory. As a result, their relationship with God changed dramatically, and they lost their dominion and authority on the earth. Satan moved in and that’s when he became “the god of this world” or the “prince of the power of the air.” That’s when the earth came under the spirit of Antichrist.
Ever since then, the earth has been cursed. God said to Adam, “In the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread.” In other words, mankind had to toil for food. They were going to have to work hard just to stay alive; and from then on, the land brought forth both “thorns and thistles.” Life in the beautiful Garden of Eden had come to an end. Life became hard.
The next post is going to be very interesting. We’re going to study the world’s very first despotic leader—Nimrod! I promise, it will be fascinating!
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