There is an alarming inadequacy of knowledge about the person of Satan. Though some may think finding out about him is not that necessary, when one considers the place he occupied in God's kingdom during his reign, one is forced to have a rethink. Without proper understanding of the kind of person Satan was, I beg to submit that it is practically impossible to fully understand the person of the Holy Spirit. In this article, I want to begin to talk about his identity and true purpose for existence.
Satan is the official name of the most esteemed angel during the days of the old religion. He was the most powerful, famous and the most beautiful in all the kingdoms. At the same time, he was the wisest of all the creatures that God made (Gen 3:1, Ez 28:3). The devil as he was popularly nick-named was also fierce looking and dreadful. He was so dreadful that even the most powerful angels were scared to look at him in the face (Job 41:10). But as fierce and powerful as he was, he happened to also be the most religious of all. None of the angels could worship with such elegance and aura as Satan. When he read the scroll or carried the sacrifice and offerings in the place of worship, he did it with such perfection that could not be equaled. In fact the devil was the epitome of perfection which all other angels emulated. He was so perfect- no spot or wrinkle could be found on him. All the time he dwelt in the house of God, no one was able to impute sin unto him (Ez 28:15). All his speech and actions could not be faulted.
Satan was the angel who occupied the loftiest position in heaven; He was actually next to God (Ez 28:1). In those old days of physical worship, the devil was known all over the world as the guardian cherub, or the anointed cherub that covers (Ez 28:14, Ez 28:14). There were also some proverbial names which the Lord Himself called him. These included the Leviathan, Lucifer, and King of Tyre or Babylon (Is 14:12, Job 41:1-34). These proverbial names were given to him because of the comparability of his nature with certain creatures or persons. In the New Testament, the closest character with which we can compare him is King Herod.
There is a place where the Lord reigns as God and king. This place is called heaven but it also has some other names. It has also been called the mountain of the gods, heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God, the great assembly, Mount Zion, the Holy City and so on (Ps 46:5, Heb 12:22). God dwells in this heavenly Jerusalem which harbors a great company of angels each of them with special talents and performing specialized functions. No one angel is exactly the same as the other. They possess varying talents, power and wisdom. And each of them was assigned to different departments and had different job roles just as it is in any big business organization on earth. Satan was an officer of the Lord in this highly sophisticated system.
The job role of Satan was that of a Chief quality control officer and external auditor. He reported to God directly on everything that has to do with quality. While the arc angels could be likened to the managers, the devil was the one who audited them from time to time and reported back to God, the 'sole business owner'. Satan was not within the arc of angels but was an independent officer who was answerable to no one but God alone. Even the arc angels held him in high esteem and all the angels feared him. He was a highly influential angel and his fame spread throughout the world.
Any report that Satan brought before God at the holy assembly was taken with high significance and these reports were meant to be used to pass judgment in the court of heaven. His work was to go about all the kingdoms to see that everything went the way the Lord had commanded. On his return he was expected to pass an objective statement of compliance or non compliance.
Apart from this, he was meant to use his wisdom to direct and help the officers in each department he visited to improve on matters that had to do with quality. He was actually supposed to be the great guardian cherub that all angels should be happy to see. Though God gave him the power to seize the offender and to punish him, his work was not really to catch sinners but to make sure no one committed sin. He was meant to offer peace, direction and comfort. Many servants of God were troubled by the law because they did not understand it, Satan was meant to comfort them and offer them guidance.
Satan, the anointed cherub, was meant to deliver those who are being oppressed by persons more powerful than they. He was supposed to deliver the weak from their adversaries and ensure that none of God's servants was being cheated or punished unfairly.
In order to be able to perform his role effectively, the Lord made Satan very powerful and wise. The Lord made him much more powerful than even the most powerful angel so that through him everyone saw himself as being punishable. When he spoke even the arc angels were forced to listen as his words were taken as the words of God Himself. He was also made wiser than the wisest angel to enable him give direction and light to them all.
The nature of Satan's job function does not permit him to stay in an office; rather he is always on the go. He moved throughout all the sections, departments and units within the heavenly kingdoms checking to see if they were complying with their various codes of conduct and ethical guidelines. He went from one service unit to the other and kept writing his report. His work was not limited to heaven alone; he also went throughout all the kingdoms of the earth to see what was being done in them. Where things seem to be done properly, the devil went there to check if it was not pretence or if things were truly as good as they seemed. And where things were seemingly bad, he went there to see how bad they were and reports back to God (Job 1:7).
Unlike most angels, no limitation was placed on Satan's movement. While other angels and even all creatures had their estates and natural habitat, Satan needed no special permission to enter any realm or jurisdiction in the entire world. Therefore he was the one chosen to monitor the movement of other angels to ensure that none of them left their estates except the Lord sent them. When he saw an angel advancing beyond his normal estate, Satan quickly found out if he was doing that lawfully. And where he was not clear, he withstood such an angel and demanded explanations.
Being the chief quality control officer, he himself represented quality and perfection. He was created perfect in stature and in all proportions. He was so beautiful and awesome to behold; none of the angels could equal him in elegance. Satan was created to show forth the greatness of God's glory, beauty and power. He was created without any form of weakness or limitation (Ez 28:12-14).
Apart from being the chief quality control officer, Satan was also a law enforcement officer. In case anyone committed sin and judgment was passed against him, Satan was the one who ensured that the punishment was properly administered. He ensured that the law prevailed always and that no offender escaped the punishment for sin.
Due of the job functions that God gave Satan to perform, he needed to be very objective. To be objective, he needed great wisdom so God gave him more wisdom than all other creatures. This wisdom allows him to be able to understand difficult riddles so that no one is able to outsmart him or hide the truth from him. He could determine beforehand the next ten steps a sinner could possible to take to cover up his sins (Ez 28:3). He was also created without emotion or sympathy; he could never be distracted. He checks all files and documents with eagles eyes until he is certain there is no material misstatement or fraud.
In order to be able to carry out his work perfectly, Satan also needed to be independent. Therefore, the Lord made sure he had no superior except Himself. The Lord made him more powerful than all other persons so that he did not have to fear anyone. If there was anyone who had more power, there was possibility that Satan may be intimidated by a more powerful offender who would threaten to punish him if he published an unfavorable reports about him. But nothing like that could ever happen, as he was stronger and greater than every other creature in all the kingdoms. He had no fear and no one ever dared to provoke him to anger.
As the law enforcement agent and quality control officer, the role of Satan was very important to God. How well Satan was able to carry out his work with all purity and perfection determined the notion that creatures in all the kingdoms had towards the laws of God. The Lord made the law in such a way that it would make the kingdoms peaceful and joyous. He established the law to make sure that everyone saw himself as equal before him and that no one intimidated, oppressed or hurt another. However, the way these laws would be perceived by the world would be determined by the one whom the Lord had chosen to enforce it. If Satan enforced the law with the same mind as the Lord, then the people would rejoice. But if he did otherwise, everyone would groan. Therefore, the law of old and Satan were two inseparable entities. The law would be good to the world only if Satan was good, but the law would become bad to all who depended on it if Satan himself became bad. Therefore the commandments and Satan were one. Though Satan was not the law, he was the law to the people.
All through the time that Satan served on the holy mountain, his fame went all through the world and even into hell. If anyone mentioned the law in the heavens what struck the heart of any angel was not even God, the giver of the law but Satan, the enforcer. For fear of him, even the mighty were forced to walk uprightly. Some of them could not even bear his presence but ran away each time they spotted his shadow. The strongest among the great soldiers of heaven shook uncontrollably and with great apprehension when he appeared. He was void of emotions and has no friends. His laughter was terrible; when he laughed everyone was paralyzed with fear. It's of no use trying to please him or making a truce with him; he won't honor any agreement or take bribe. It's totally useless trying to beg him or plead with him. All he went about pursuing was justice.
There was no weakness in him and there was nothing that could make him fear. He laughed at the raging storm; the wind and fire were nothing to him. He sat upon the stones of fire and enjoyed the warmth of an outrageous inferno. All weapons of war were useless against him. He counted the spear, sword, sling stone, javelin and hammer as pieces of paper. Satan was a great warrior, even if all angels of war gathered themselves together against him; they would not be able to as much as hurt him even a bit. His limbs were so strong, with one mighty blow he would have wiped them out at once. Such was the power that Satan had.
Satan was such an important figure in the Old Testament system; all the works of God and His purposes for the entire world were dependent on Satan's effective discharge of his duty. For example, when the Lord gave his people a command and he wanted to see if they truly understood His words or believed what He said, it was Satan He sent to go and prove it. The Lord sent him to his children to help reveal how much they loved, feared and trusted him. The devil usually used his great wisdom to accomplish this herculean task by subjecting them to various forms of temptations. By the time he was through, all the fears, doubts, disobedience, impurities and imperfections in the life of those he was sent to would be revealed for all to see. When imperfections had been revealed, God was then able to correct and direct His people in order to make them perfect and holy in the end (unfortunately some of the steps taken to correct came in form of punishment). But they would never be seen as perfect until the day Satan visited and could not find any more faults in them. Therefore, Satan himself was also known as the sun of the morning- the one who signified the dawn of perfection.
Any where God has given a command to His children; Satan appeared there to prove the true worth of their faith and obedience. Satan ministry was deployed in Eden Immediately the Lord gave Adam the commandment not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Any where there was a law, then the devil also had to be present. This was why Satan was present in Eden- there was actually work for him to do there and all heaven waited to see what will happen. There is no other event in history that clearly illustrated what Satan did like what happened between him and the first men in Eden. Satan carried out his work in Eden with great wisdom and with such perfection that made all witnesses to marvel. He didn't break any law neither did he commit any sin whatsoever. Everyone was astonished at what he was able to do but it was obvious that the Lord was not very pleased with him. Everything looked perfect but it was also very clear that the Lord had something against Satan His most revered angel. Many wise ones also knew this, but no one could state plainly what it was that the Lord had against him. Satan was the one who exposed the sin of all sinners and brought them to judgment but who will expose his own sins? Who is wise enough to reveal his secrete sins.
Tunji Abiona is a Christian writer whose mandate is to call believers' attention back to the path of true religion as laid down by our Lord Jesus Christ. He lives in Nigeria and fellowships with The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).