God’s Plan 4: What Are Angels and Who Is Satan?

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

~ Rev 12:9

Who is Satan? Where did he come from? Did God create him? Who are the angels? Should we pray to them? What is their purpose?

We have seen that the churches of the world are in mass confusion about the plan of God. They don’t teach that the Godhead is a family relationship of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ (Part 1), how God plans on expanding that family relationship starting with human beings (Part 2) and how mankind is in the predicament it is in today because Adam and Eve failed the test in the Garden of Eden (Part 3). However, we must keep in mind that in the Garden of Eden was a serpent. Where did he come from? Did God place him there? If so, why? Some of the world’s churches teach that God created the devil, so the logical conclusion would be that God creates evil. Is that teaching true?

It is surprising that Christians will read passages of the Bible and assume that God does indeed create evil. It is even worse that some churches would teach this!

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

~ Isa 45:7

Now, I love the KJV for several reasons. However, we do have to be careful in any translation to research words carefully. Comparing this verse to the same one in the NIV puts it into perspective:

I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

~ Isa 45:7 (NIV)

God has no problem with using events to punish people with various calamities or disasters. Let’s be quite clear: God does not create evil.

O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous…

~ Ezr 9:15

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man…. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

~ Jas 1:13, 17

So, then, where does evil come from? Well, first we must go back even farther and ask, “Where did Satan come from?” Since God does not create evil, He did not create a devil, so where did he come from?

First, let’s start at the beginning, the very beginning. Do you know where it is? Is the very beginning in Ge 1:1? No, actually it is not!

You might want to take a moment to check out the blog article “Rebuttal to Young Earth Creationists: By One Man Death Entered Into the World”. It contains a more lengthy treatise of this. However, one section is particularly relevant:

Question: What is the “beginning”? This is a difficult question, because God is Eternal. He has no beginning or ending. When you think of that, how can there be a beginning? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The real beginning was long before the physical creation. God then created angels and populated heaven. How do I know this? Well, someone was there to cheer the creation of earth: Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding…. To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy? — (Job 38:4, 6-7)

Herbert W Armstrong had something to say about this in Mystery of the Ages:

It was made clear in chapter 1 that God from eternity has been a family, originally composed of two members, God and the Word who almost 2,000 years ago became Jesus Christ. God is invisible–the supreme all powerful Spirit Being. We saw that God lives. He acts! What does he do? He is the creating family. Perhaps few realize, the very first thing God created was not the earth, suns, other planets–the universe. Before all these he created the angelic beings–a spirit world of myriads of angelic beings. The Great God through the Word first designed and created these SPIRIT BEINGS–angels, each individually created–millions or perhaps even billions of them! Angels are actual personal spirit beings, each having a mind of greater capacity and ability than human minds, capable of attitudes, purposes and intentions. It is stated that even Jesus as a human was made “a little lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:7). They are composed wholly of spirit. They were given self-containing life–life inherent–immortality. They have no blood circulating in veins and do not need the breath of air to sustain life, but have self-containing inherent life. Angels are, because created by God, called sons of God (Job 1:6), but they were not begotten and born sons of God.

~ Herbert W Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages, Chapter 2, http://reluctant-messenger.com/HWA/Mystery/Chapter2.html

In the same chapter, he also says:

It will come as news to most readers that angels were created before the earth and the physical universe were brought into existence. Job 38:1-7 shows the angels shouted for joy when God first created the earth. It is stated in both Genesis 1 and 2 that the earth was created at the same time as the entire physical universe. Angels are invisible, immortal spirit beings with power and knowledge superior to humans (II Pet. 2:11). They have seen all the activities of mankind on the earth and therefore know more about the human mind, psychology, sociology, science and all the arts than any living man. Angels serve a great function in carrying out God’s purpose for humanity. They are his invisible agent often ministering in ways few understand to us poor humans who are heirs of salvation.

~ HWA, Chapter 2

So, God and Jesus (The Word) were together in the very beginning. They created angels. Then, notice what the NIV says about the creation:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Footnotes: a. Genesis 1:2 Or possibly became

~ Ge 1:1-2 (NIV, with footnote)

Why would it say “possibly became”? Well, looking it up in Strong’s, we find it is “hayah” (H1961). It is used 75 times in the KJV, and it is translated “was”, “come to pass”, “came”, “has been”, “were happened”, “become”, “pertained” and “better for thee”. In verse 3, it is used in the phrase “Let there be”, showing a transitional state from one condition to another (in this case, darkness to light). The KJV somewhat supports this possible translation as well:

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The “and” at the beginning denotes a possible passage of time. It should be stated here that often the biblical accounts are summarized in such a way that passages of time are only hinted or ignored all together. They often do not show the time progression in the exacting manner we might expect today.

Some would argue that hayah almost never means “became” or “will be”. However, the KJV breaks this supposed rule in the very next chapter:

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became [hayah] a living soul.

~ Ge 2:7

Furthermore, consider the question, “Why would God create the earth ‘without form and void’?” The answer is He did not!

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

~ Isa 45:18

Something must have happened. Something that took time.

HWA goes on to say:

Why were invisible spirit-composed angels created before all else? Why were they created even prior to the creation of physical matter and the physical universe? Why were they created at all? …God and the Word (the God family) live. …But if they lived, what did they do? They created. One might say that by profession they were in the creating business. To aid them in the work of creating, governing and managing what was to be created, they first of all created other spirit beings on a lower plane than the God family. Angels were created to be ministers, agents, helpers in God’s creation. They were created as servants of the living God. From eternity God was supreme, which to our human minds means God sat on the throne of all that existed or was to exist. In the 25th chapter of Exodus, we find an earthly description of the very throne of God in heaven, in the description of the ark built by Moses under God’s instruction. On either side of God’s throne was a super archangel, a cherub, whose wings stretched out covering the very throne of God. This signifies that these superior angels were involved in the very administration of the government of God over all of God’s creation. They were aides, ministers, servants, assisting God. …The Bible mentions three angels of high rank: Lucifer (Isa. 14:12), now Satan the devil; Gabriel, who appeared to Daniel on two occasions (Dan. 8:16; 9:21), to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19), and later Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26); and third, Michael, called one of the chief princes (Dan. 10:13), and whom Jude identifies as an archangel (Jude 9). Michael is the archangel specifically assigned to protect and minister to the 12 tribes of Israel (Dan. 12:1; 10:2-13, 21) and to the true Church of God today (Rev. 12:7).

~ HWA, Chapter 2

Eze 28:14 mentions to the King of Tyre, “You were the anointed cherub who covers”. Obviously, this was not a man. Eze 28 starts by talking about a prince, then to a king. Gabriel, when speaking to Daniel, mentioned that he was held up by the “Prince of Persia” (Da 10:13), so it is evident that there are spiritual powers that work behind humanly devised governments. However, if “princes” are powerful angels, then a “king” would be over all of the princes.

Keep in mind, though, God drove man out of the Garden of Eden. Essentially cut off from God, mankind has been allowed to create his own rules, his own societies, his own governments and even his own religions. When Eve listened to the serpent and Adam went along with it, they essentially gave up their dominion over the earth and surrendered to the enemy. Satan is called the “god of this world” (2Co 4:4) for a reason. He is the “king” over the powerful demonic forces that rule the nations! He offered the Christ the nations when He tempted Jesus for 40 days in the wilderness. Jesus didn’t correct him and say, “Now, you know don’t have the authority to offer that”. No! Instead, what did Satan say? He said, “And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Lk 4:6).

Lucifer was given rulership over this earth! He was given the job and responsibility of caring for the earth! Adam was given the opportunity to “have dominion” (Ge 1:28) over the earth. Adam could have qualified to replace Satan as king over the earth. Adam gave that authority up to Satan! It was now up to Jesus to come to the earth to qualify to replace Satan.

HWA wrote:

The first human, Adam, was created with the potential of qualifying to replace Satan, the former Lucifer, on earth’s throne, restoring the GOVERNMENT OF GOD.

But it was necessary that he resist, and reject Satan’s “GET” way, which was the foundation of Satan’s evil government, and choose GOD’S WAY of his law–the way of LOVE (GIVE), the basis of God’s government!

~ HWA, Chapter 3, http://reluctant-messenger.com/HWA/Mystery/Chapter3.html

It is important to remember that angels have free will, just as humans do. They can think, they can reason, they can make choices, and they can sin (2Pe 2:4). Sin is the breaking of God’s law. A sin must be either deliberate or negligent in order to be sin (sin can cause others to pay the price, as King David learned in 2Sa 6:2-9).

HWA wrote:

Other passages place angels on earth prior to man. Notice II Pet. 2:4-6. First in time order “angels that sinned.” Next in time sequence, the antediluvian world beginning with Adam, carrying through to the Flood. After that, Sodom and Gomorrah. This book of books, containing the revealed knowledge of the Creator God, tells us that God created angels as composed of spirit. But can you imagine angels becoming sinning angels? Angels were created with power of thought, of decision and of choice, else they have no individuality of character. Since sin is the transgression of God’s law, these angels rebelled against God’s law, the basis of God’s government. But how and when did the angels sin? Notice carefully what is revealed in II Peter 2:4-5; “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” The words “cast…down to hell” in the above verse is an English expression translated from the Greek tartaroo, from tartaros, found in no other Bible passage. Tartaros means a place or condition of restraint. These verses show that universal sin brings universal destruction to the physical earth…. The verses quoted above place the sinning of the angels prior to the antediluviansins that started with Adam, prior to the creation of man. And that should be a surprise revealing of one phase of the mystery! Angels inhabited this earth before the creation of man. It is revealed in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, that God placed the archangel Lucifer, a cherub, on a throne on the earth. He was placed there as a ruler over the entire earth. God intended him to rule the earth by administering the government of God over the earth. And the government of God was administered on earth until the rebellion of the sinning angels. How long these angels inhabited the earth before the creation of man is not revealed. It might have been millions–or even billions–of years. More on that later. But these angels sinned. Sin is the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4). And God’s law is the basis of God’s government. So we know these angels, apparently a third of all the angels (Rev. 12:4), sinned–rebelled against the government of God. And sin carries penalties. The penalty for the sin of the angels is not death, as it is for man. Angels are immortal spirit beings and cannot die. These spirit beings had been given dominion over the PHYSICAL EARTH as a possession and an abode. The universal, worldwide sin of the angels resulted in the physical destruction of the face of the earth.

~ HWA, Chapter 2

Lucifer was a perfect creation. He had free will. He also had pride. It was that pride that was his ultimate downfall. It is evident that Satan created Satan:

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!
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:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?

All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house.

But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.

Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.

~ Isa 14:12-20 (Cf. Eze 28:12-19)

HWA wrote:

God is Creator. God is also Ruler over his creation. He preserves what he creates by his government. What God creates, he has created for a purpose–to be used, improved, developed, preserved and maintained. And this use is regulated by God’s government, the development and improvement of the earth–“putting the icing on the cake”–ceased. The preservation and development of the physical earth and all its original beauty and glory ceased–and physical destruction to the surface of the earth resulted! By this angelic sin, Lucifer became Satan the devil and his angels became demons. God is Creator. Preserver and Ruler. Satan is destroyer! So, now we read in Jude 6-7: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.“

~ HWA, Chapter 2

Think of it! Can you imagine it? How long were Lucifer’s wings covering the very throne of God? How long did he listen to the 2 persons of the Godhead discuss their plans for a family? He was given a great responsibility! He was to prepare the earth for human beings so God could build His family! If the universe is 15 billion years old, then how long was Lucifer on the earth preparing it? We don’t know!

What happened? We have few clues. However, since Lucifer was created first and put on the earth to prepare for beings that would later rule him, we can probably guess. Perhaps Lucifer felt the work was beneath him, tedious and boring or both. Ever work with anyone like that? Seems to be the prevailing attitude in some companies, doesn’t it? However, it is also likely that Lucifer began to resent the fact that human beings would be ruling over him. After all, he was first, and it is possible that his pride grew to the point that he wasn’t going to take second place! Jesus warns that many important in this world will be “last”, that is will be humbled, in the next (Lk 13:30). Conversely, there are many humble in this world that will be “first”, that is will be exalted. Lucifer was the very first, both in importance and in creation order (compared to humans). Did he become envious of these human beings that would supplant him as first? Was this enough to try to kick God Himself off of His throne and truly become “first”? While this is somewhat speculative, it seems like a very plausible scenario.

HWA goes on to write about “original sin” and how that it is evident that there was sin even before Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were not the authors of sin! It is because of their sin that human beings have suffered ever since, and it is through them that sin entered human societies (“world”), but Satan was the original author of sin. Let me put it this way: Where is the first recorded lie in the Bible?

Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.”

~ Ge 3:4

Jesus said “he [Satan] is a liar and the father of lies.” Lying is a sin, so there was sin before Adam and Eve rebelled!

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

~ Rev 12:9

Satan has lied and deceived the whole world! Notice, however, where he is cast out to! Satan will be cast out to the earth during the end times. However, it is evident that this occurred once before as well.

And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

~ Lk 10:18

So, why was the earth in such devastation? Because of war. There was war before the first humans were created! Where was the loser thrown? Earth!

It is evident that angels were created before the earth was created. It is evident that angels are given certain responsibilities. Lucifer was let in on God’s plans. His wings covered the very throne of God. He was high up the hierarchy, with a rank of cherub. He was trusted with the responsibility of preparing the earth for human beings. Instead, he became full of pride, tried to take over God’s throne and was thrown to the earth. He then proceeded to destroy the earth he was supposed to be caring for. The world became tohu and bohu, without form and void.

Genesis then picks up with the re-creation of the earth. It was dark, so He commanded that light enter in. Ever wonder why He created light before the sun, moon and stars? Well, if it already existed, but everything was knocked out of its proper orbit, then restoration took place and was recorded from the viewpoint of someone on earth. The soupy atmosphere was restored, and day and night then ensued. Verses 14 – 19 then, is not God creating the sun, moon and stars, but placing them in their proper places to keep time and provide light. This answers one of the biggest nonbeliever’s criticisms of the Bible.

Free will is something that is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. Lucifer and the other angels have free will. 1/3rd of them rebelled (Rev 12:3-4). Human beings were given free will as well.

Why? Why not just make everyone robots incapable of doing evil? This goes back to the fundamental question we asked in Part 2. Why were you born? Why was mankind created? To become like God! God has free will, and He wants children that will be like Him!

However, there still are questions to be answered, no? Why doesn’t God just rid the world of Satan, and that would be it? Why doesn’t God come down here and straighten out this mess? The simple answer is, “He will!” First, however, God has a plan to get us there. God chose a man who would seek Him out, one who would teach his children about the One True God and whose descendants would be an example to the rest of the world. I’m talking about God’s Plan 5: Why Israel?

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