Category Bible Interpretation

Did God or Satan Create Evil and Freewill?

Corrupting the Image 2: Angels Created with Freewill

The origin of evil is a question many people have. Some assume the devil is responsible for evil. Evil in its simplest form is simply the ability to choose contrary to the desire of our Creator. To appreciate that ability we need to go back before anything was, before the blackness of space, when there was only the Most High who existed within and as His own dimension.

Imagining God in and of Himself is a challenging mental exercise, for we should not imagine God was floating around in the darkness of space in eternity past, (which I used to imagine as a boy). Neither space nor darkness had yet been invented! We cannot speak of where God existed, as “where” had not yet been created. God does not exist in a place nor in a dimension. There is no space, dimension or reality outside of who God intrinsically is. This hurts our heads a bit, but it necessarily must be true since to suggest otherwise would mean that something existed apart from Him creating it, and Scripture is replete with verses saying that all things have been created by Him.

According to the study of higher dimensions, the tenth dimension is both timeless and space-less.[1] It is pure information. Such a mathematical description of reality closely parallels biblical theology. God is both timeless and space-less. He is the mind from which all matter emanates. Mathematically, He is the tenth dimension from which all others proceed. Interestingly, the Big Bang theory has come to a similar conclusion—all matter, including space itself, was tightly packed in a dot smaller than a period on this page. Some have postulated that the dot was not actually there. Nevertheless, if all matter AND space itself was within the dot, where was the dot? The answer is hyperspace: a dimension beyond our own.

The best minds of quantum physics over the last one hundred years have concluded that behind the matter of the universe is a mind. Max Planck, often considered the father of quantum physics, stated matter comes from a Mind:

As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear-headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.[2]

Einstein’s famous equation, E=MC2 essentially states that energy and mass (matter) are interchangeable; they are simply alternate forms of the same thing and under the right conditions, mass can become energy, and energy can become mass.[3] Indeed, Einstein stated there is no matter: Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.[4]

Thus, before Creation there was no differentiation (outside of God Himself and His indescribable tri-unity). On that first day, God created things that were not. The first day was the beginning of differentiations. He created a space outside of Himself; He created darkness which had never been (Isa 45:7), for God is light and there is no darkness in Him whatsoever (I John 1:5). Thus, the absence of His glorious light in the newly created void was new and different. For the first time ever, there was darkness. God revealed this to the prophet Isaiah:

I form the light, and create (בֹורֵ֣א) darkness: I make peace, and create (בֹורֵ֣א) evil (ra’ רָ֑ע): I the LORD do all these things (Isaiah 45:7 KJV).

Until that moment, darkness (the absence of light) did not exist. Therefore, before day one (or Genesis 1:1–3) when He created the void, which is space, it initially was devoid of God’s light and did not even have photons. Until God conceived of the absence of light, there was no such thing as darkness; it was His idea. When God decided to create a space / dimension outside of Himself, which was not automatically filled with His light, He then by necessity, created the potential of the absence of light which God called darkness. God then created physical light, photons as waves and / or particles, in order to fill the space.

In the same way, God is good (Exodus 34:6), and no evil or sin or imperfection is in Him. We might say that God has the corner on the market when it comes to good. Good, according to the Bible is defined as what is in accord with God’s will, desire or plan. Therefore, any deviation from that is by definition not good and is therefore “evil”. Thus, when God desired to give the angels, including Satan, and man the option to follow Him or to disobey, He must have by default, created the potential for them to completely exercise their own will by not choosing the good (that is God’s will, desire or plan). It is self-evident that no one can choose that which does not exist. Henry Ford once said that people could choose any color Model T, so long as it was black. It is also similar to the infamous communist regimes where the people are allowed to vote, but there is only one candidate. In reality, having only one candidate (or one color to choose from) is no choice at all.

What is Evil?

Isaiah 45 states that God is in fact the very One who created evil: “I form the light, and create (בֹורֵ֣א) darkness: I make peace, and create (בֹורֵ֣א boreh) evil (רָ֑ע ra’): I the LORD do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7 KJV).

Some translations render the word evil (ra רָ֔ע)[5] as “calamity”, which is an option in the context of Isaiah 45:7. Nevertheless, the word is the same in which we are first introduced in Genesis 2:17, where God commands man to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (ra רָ֔ע).

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (ra רָ֔ע) you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:16–17).

God is also the essence of all that is good. Following God involves doing what is right and good. Thus, if Adam could only choose from all the “good” things that God had made, then there really was not free choice at all. That, in a nutshell, is why God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; there had to be a way for Adam to exercise his own will independently, even if it meant it would be contrary to God’s will.

God defines evil in Isaiah saying they “did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight” (Isaiah 65:12; 66:4). This gives us an amazingly simple definition of evil: “doing something in which God does not take pleasure.” God, the master programmer, had to code into this reality the potential to choose contrary to His wishes. He had to create the potential for His creatures to exercise their own will and choose something in which He does not delight. Just as there was no darkness until He made it possible, so too was it impossible to choose something besides His desire.

The creation of evil[6] is what made choosing contrary to His wishes possible, and it is what makes choosing to follow, obey and love Him meaningful. For God’s creatures to genuinely love Him, the option to reject Him had to be available. Satan, the angels, Adam and Eve—all had to have the opportunity to choose against His will to be able to truly choose Him and hence,

have true love for Him. Therefore, it is true that God created evil; yet, He never caused any one to choose evil. Giving individuals the choice between two real and viable options is not the same as making us choose the bad option.

The creation of evil is analogous to a large rock on a cliff. The rock has potential energy; a tiny nudge will turn the potential energy into kinetic energy. The rock’s potential energy need never be triggered, or made kinetic; so too, mankind’s choosing contrary to God’s desire need not have been actualized. God, in a sense, told Adam not to push the rock and warned him of the consequences if he did, but Adam, of his own free will, pushed it and suffered the consequence when the rock’s energy became kinetic and killed him.

God created two options: one in accordance with His desires, which leads to life; and, one contrary to His wishes, which leads to death. Angels and humans have the ability to determine their paths. Satan chose the path contrary to God’s wishes.

Learn more in this video:

[1] Rob Bryanton, Imagining the Tenth Dimension: A New Way of Thinking About Time and Space Paperback, 2007

[2] Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944) (from Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, RePg. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797)

[3] Not surprisingly, the Bible is millennia ahead of both Planck and Einstein. In Genesis 1:2 the Spirit of God is fluttering (merachefet מרחפת) over the face of the waters. The Hebrew term is the same action as a bird brooding, fluttering, or hovering over its nest.


[5] The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) notes the noun “evil” is defined as “being that condition or action which in his (God’s) sight is unacceptable (Jer 52:2; Mal 2:17; cf. Neh 9:28),” (TWOT רָ֔ע ra).

[6] Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines evil in the following manner: “what is right was what was ordained by God, and what is wrong was what was proscribed by him, deviation from this paradigm constitutes what is evil.” Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (1996): Evil.

Did Satan Divide the Realms of Heaven and Earth?

Chapter 5: Satan Caused the Two Realms of Corrupting the Image 2: Hybrids, Hades, and the Mt Hermon Connection

Before Adam ate the forbidden fruit, the heavenly (spiritual) dimension and the earthly dimension were one realm—one domain, one plane of existence in which God, angels and man had open communication and relationship; There was no separation between the spiritual realm and the physical realm. There was perfect compatibility and agreement between them, an idea also found in Mesopotamian literature: “Heaven talked with Earth. Earth talked with Heaven.”[1] God walked in the Garden, and man was able to look at his face and endure God’s fire and lightning. (See Appendix 2 Angel Freewill).

Garden of Eden in Earthly and Heavenly Domains.

Man’s transgression brought decay, degeneration and death. God’s perfection and the fallen physical, earthly realm became incompatible. Now God’s fiery presence would scorch the ground like when He descended on Mt. Sinai (Ps 97:5). In the same way, the elements will melt when Jesus returns (2 Pet 3:10). Now man could no longer see God’s face and live. The Garden of Eden, where God, angels and man could commune together was gone. Open, unveiled fellowship became impossible.

This divide of heaven and Earth caused by Satan (Enlil) was recorded by the ancient Sumerians. Samuel Kramer notes: “Anu (the creator god) carried off heaven while Enlil carried off the earth and assumed most of An’s powers.”[2] Likewise, Xianhuan Wang adds: “Enlil … was at about the same time cosmologically considered the deity who separated Heaven from Earth and Earth from Heaven.”[3]

When God came in the Garden in the cool of the evening, Adam and Eve were compelled to hide themselves. Why? The first sign of disconnect was they realized they were naked. They had been clothed with light like God covers himself “with light as with a garment” (Ps 104:2). They observed the glow in which they had previously been clothed was fading; their biophotons were beginning to diminish, a concept I explored in depth in Corrupting the Image, Vol. 1.

This reality was displayed after Moses spent forty days with God and upon coming down the mountain, he “did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him” (Exod 34:29). When the congregation saw him, “The skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him” (Exod 34:30), which led Moses to “put a veil on his face” (Exod 34:33). Paul tells us that Moses “put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away” (2 Cor 3:13). That is, the glow in his face began to wane. Thus, once Adam and Eve transgressed, death entered their bodies and the connection to God broke. Satan’s slander which led to their transgression set in motion a chain of events that affected them and the entirety of creation.

Ground is Cursed

God did not curse the ground because of Adam; rather, like a reporter, He simply presented the consequence of the degenerative decay-death reaction that Adam triggered (Gen 2:17). God said, “Cursed is the ground for your sake” (Gen 3:17). The Hebrew word “for your sake,” is ba’avurecha [בַּֽעֲבוּרֶ֔ךָ]. It comes from the root, ayin, beth, resh [עבר]. It is the same root as the word: Hebrew. It means to cross over, pass. TWOT defines it: “Because of, for, intent that, for —’s, sake.[4]

TWOT explains Adam’s relationship with the Earth:

“ădāmâ. Ground, land, planet. Originally this word signified the red arable soil … The Bible makes much of the relationship between man (’ādām) and the ground (’ădāmâ). Initially, God made ’ādām out of the ’ădāmâ to till the ’ădāmâ (Gen 3:23, to bring forth life). The ’ădāmâ was God’s possession and under His care (Gen 2:6). Thus, the first ’ādām (the man, Adam) and his family were to act as God’s servants by obeying Him in maintaining the divinely ordained and intended relationships vertically and horizontally. As long as this condition was sustained, God caused the ’ădāmâ to give its fruitfulness (blessing) to ’ādām. Then came sin. The unit ’ādām (Adam and Eve; see also (Rom 5:12) violated the created structure. The ’ădāmâ, henceforth, brought forth thorns and thistles rather than freely giving fruit (Gen 3:17). Since ’ādām had disrupted the paradisiacal life-producing state, he was driven off the paradisiacal ’ădāmâ and sentenced to return to the ’ădāmâ (Gen 3:19). He was driven to it rather than it being given to him.”[5]

God created Adam from the adamáh; Adam was the earth-man, the federal head of creation. Adam and the adamáh were linked physically and hence their fates were linked. When Adam ate from the fruit, death, degeneration and decay happened upon Adam and upon the Earth and material cosmos as well. Decay permeated the entire creation from the invisible world of cells and DNA to all the animals, birds and fish which God had formed out of the adamáh.[6] Degeneration began within all living and non-living matter; the atoms of every tree, flower, blade of grass, rock, mountain, planet and star. The complete composition of all physical creation became incompatible with God’s fiery presence.[7]

Release of an alpha particle.

Degeneration of rocks has been observed when alpha particles escape, leaving them slightly radioactive. Nuclear physicist Dr. Robert Gentry has examined over 100,000 discolorations in minerals and discovered a process of decay that happened close to the formation of the Earth in granite rocks around the world. He writes that “in some thin samples of certain minerals, notably mica, there can be observed … concentric dark and light circles.” [8] He describes how radiohalos, which are etched within granite, Earth’s foundation rocks, “are beautiful microspheres of coloration, halos, produced by the radioactive decay of primordial polonium, which is known to have only a fleeting existence.”[9] (See Figure 17 on adjacent page). During an interview with Research Communications Network in 1997, Dr. Gentry said, “Some halos (‘polonium’ halos) imply a nearly instantaneous crystallization of Earth’s primordial rocks: and this crystallization must have occurred simultaneously with the synthesis/creation of certain elements.” [10]

Dr. Gentry’s work strongly suggests that the Earth went from a perfect and “decayless” state to one of decay very quickly and early in the history of the planet. Because God repeatedly declared the Earth and all therein to be good (Gen 1:10, 12, 18) at every stage of its creation and then very good at its completion (Gen 1:31), the process of death, decay and degeneration (radioactivity) came into effect because of Adam, because all of creation shares Adam’s fate: when Adam fell, creation fell; when Adam (mankind) is restored, creation is also restored.This is why Paul said:

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now (Rom 8:19–22) (Emphasis mine).

BDAG Greek-English lexicon defines “corruption” (Greek word phthora φθορά) as a “breakdown of organic matter, dissolution, deterioration, corruption.” A term that encapsulates the idea of “bondage of corruption” is degeneration. Because of the Fall, the Earth itself is now in a state of degeneration, whereas before, it had been generative.

The Earth is now longing to be freed (not destroyed) into the glorious liberty of the sons of God (Rom 8:19–22), which will occur in conjunction with the resurrection and return of Jesus, when the sons of God (believers) receive their new bodies. The decay (corruption) latent in the Earth will be reversed so that we will live on the same ball of dirt that God created in the beginning. The veil in the tabernacle was a copy of the things in heaven (Heb 8:5). The tearing of the first veil (not in the holy of holies) is a picture of the literal veil that will be torn (Isa 64:1) and rolled up (Isa 34:4; 2 Pet 3:10).

The Veil Between Heaven and Earth

After God announced the consequences of man’s actions, God had to remove Himself from his own creation, lest his fire destroy it. [11] This removal is what the Scriptures call the veil. It is what marks the boundary between our earthly, physical domain and the spiritual domain. Isaiah first spoke of its removal:

“And He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, And the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces” (Isa 25:7–8).

The prophet Isaiah also pined: “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down” (Isa 64:1). Whatever the veil is, it can be torn and removed. There are four other distinct places where the veil (heavens) was opened:

  • Ezekiel: “I saw the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God” (Ezek 1:1).
  •  “Jesus came up … and the heavens were opened to Him” (Matt 3:16).
  • Stephen: “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:55–56).
  • John: “I saw heaven opened … Jesus was on a white horse” (Rev 19:11).

Layering techniques in animation can help us visualize the separation. In the Figure 18 graphic, there are four distinct cel layers (cel animation is the art of creating 2D animation by hand on sheets of transparent plastic called “cels”).[12] The superposition of the cels creates the composite picture for the animated story. Before the fall of Adam and Eve, the heavenly or spiritual layer and the earthly layer were superimposed, creating a shared composite picture. After the Fall, those of us in the earthly layer can no longer see into the heavenly layer. When Jesus returns, the layers will merge back together.

Animation in Layers.

Comparison of Heavenly and Earthly Dimensions.

Thus, Adam and Eve witnessed the veil close like a great curtain, and the realm behind it became blocked from their sight. Spatially, nothing had moved; the realms were on top of one another, yet separated dimensionally by a veil, like a membrane, barring passage between the domains. God had to drive them from the Garden and place a barrier to the tree of life, lest they take of it and live forever in their fallen state (Gen 3:23–24). Mankind has searched the world over and that tree is nowhere to be found because it does not exist in our realm or dimension, which is our plane of existence. Since that time, the cosmos has existed as two realms—the one in which we live, and the other where spirit-based beings live and where God’s presence is manifest. The one realm split into two: the earthly dimension is what Satan rules, he is the god of this world; the heavenly or spiritual dimension is where God rules. (God rules all, of course, but Satan has authority in the earthly realm.)

When the Garden and the heavenly domain disappeared before their eyes like a scroll being unrolled in front of them,[13] this might have been the first time hot tears streamed down their cheeks; it would also be the last time they would see God’s face.[14]

The Veil Limits Satan

The closing of the veil not only protects creation from God’s fiery presence, but it also severely limits Satan’s access to this domain. Satan and his rebels can still see us,[15]and their proximity can be felt (Job 4:15). They can afflict man with disease as well as control the weather (Matt 8:16, 24), as we will explore in detail later. They are able to gain more access through occult séances, blood sacrifices (in their honor), drugs, and perhaps under other conditions for brief durations. However, Satan’s communication between the realms is greatly limited. We will see how he and his rebels will continue to strive to maintain communication and open the Gates of Hades.

God wants to reunite the celestial realm with the earthly realm so that we can walk and fellowship with God and enjoy the pleasures at his right hand. Satan wants to prevent the day when Jesus opens the heavens and his heavenly tabernacle so that fire descends upon the Earth. Jesus was pining for that day when he said: “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49). When Jesus comes back, “He will destroy on this mountain the surface of the covering cast over all people, And the veil that is spread over all nations” (Isa 25:7). The sky will recede like a scroll (Rev 6:14), and he will “rend the heavens and come down” (Isa 64:1). The veil between heaven and Earth, between our domain and God’s, will dissolve and the two dimensions will become one again.

[1] The Xianhua Wang Metamorphosis of Enlil in Early Mesopotamia Pg. 152

[2] Kramer, Samuel Noah The Sumerians The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1963. Pg. 37-41.

[3] Krebernik transcribed Obv. Col. 2 lines 5-9 of IAS 113 as, “UDKIŠ.NUN GAL nu-nám-NAGAR GAL du11-TUKU DU6-GAG-GAG UD UNU-ta LAGAB ki UD-ta LAGAB, as dEn-líl en nu-nam-nir en du11-ga nu-gi4-gi4 an ki-ta bad ki an-ta bad” Xianhua Wang The Metamorphosis of Enlil in Early Mesopotamia. Pg. 100.

[4] TWOT ‘ābûr is a preposition and conjunction always used with the prefix bĕ to express causal, purposive, and resultative relationships in agreement with the meanings of the root term ‘ābar “movement from one to another,” as from purpose (or cause) to accomplishment (or result).

[5] TWOT Adama

[6] Gen 2:19

[7] Isa 30:33; Ezek 1:26-27; Dan 7:9, 10

[8] R. V. Gentry, Annual Review of Nuclear Science 23 (1973), Pg.347.


[10] Ibid.

[11] Ex 19:18; Deut 4:11; Ps 97:3-5, 104:32, 144:5; Dan 7:9-11.


[13] Isa 34:4; Rev 6:14

[14] Luke 3:38; John 1:18, 6:46; 1John 3:2

[15] 2Kgs 6:17

Evidence of Satan’s Slanderous Rebellion

Satan’s Slanderous Revolt Chapter 4 of Corrupting the Image 2

Satan became enraged by the notion that he, the great Angel, must be a servant to Adam, made of dust. So the root of jealousy and bitterness began festering within him. We see this egotism in ancient Sumerian texts. One said of him: “Enlil’s commands are by far the loftiest … He is the one that decides the fate, etc. He alone is the prince of heaven, the dragon of the earth.” [1]

Adam and Eve were childlike in their understanding of the great cosmos, and their wisdom could not compare to his. Even so, he was charged with watching over the creatures made of dust, guiding and serving them in any way needed. This obviously brought out the worst in him. His snake-dragon qualities are again on display in ancient Mesopotamia via Ninurta, one of his syncretisms.

Lord Ninurta … has perfected heroship, Dragon with the “hands” of a lion, the clawsof an eagle … Lord Ninurta, when your heart was seized (by anger), You spat venom like a snake.[2]

Instead of presenting himself as a servant set-apart as a living sacrifice, so to speak, and becoming like his Creator—which was both acceptable to Adonai and was his reasonable service—he began to think more highly of himself than he ought. Incensed with jealousy toward Adam, he lifted up a powerful weapon to defame the name of his Creator. How ironic that the very gift of unparalleled beauty caused him to become self-centered and to relinquish true wisdom. Instead of embracing humility, which would have led to honor, he chose pride and arrogance, which ultimately led to his fall toward destruction.

His deadly, slanderous weapon was a simple question: “Has God indeed said? (Gen 3:1). This tiny question was an insidious, but subtle slander of God’s character. He was asking, can you really trust what God said? Next, he told a lie about the consequence of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “You will not surely die” (Gen 3:4), and then proceeded to truthfully tell the purpose of the tree: to be like God.[3] “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen 3:5).

We know that his last statement was true for God himself says as much: “And the LORD God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good (tov טֹ֣וב) and evil (ra רָ֔ע) (Gen 3:22, KJV). God wants beings that are like Him and with whom He can interact lovingly—that requires freewill[4]—that everyone has the chance to choose for Him or against Him.[5] Adam and Eve could have 1) refused to eat, thereby exercising their freewill choice, and their eyes would be opened to the knowledge of good—what God delights in, and the knowledge of evil—what God does not delight in (See Appendix 2, Evil), but without death, and they would be permitted to stretch out their hands and take from the tree of life and live forever; or 2) they could (and did) eat from the tree, have their eyes opened to the knowledge of good and evil with the consequence of severing their connection with God (which is death, decay, and degeneration entering their bodies and souls) and thereby being banned from eating from the tree of life and being banished from the Garden of Eden.

The book of Ezekiel describes Satan’s actions: “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity [avlata עַוְלָ֖תָה] was found in you.”(Ezek 28:15) This word means “to deviate from and hence to do what is opposite of the character of God.”[6] Satan originally did what was in accordance with the character of God until one day he deviated. TWOT makes it clear that it is not just a philosophical departure from an ideal—but it is an action or deed.

In Hebrew, the basic meaning of this root means to deviate from a right standard, to act contrary to what is right. The verb is a denominative from āwel/‘awlâ and occurs only twice in the Old Testament … In Isa 26:10 it describes the activity of the people of Judah who act unjustly (KJV; “perversely,” RSV) in contrast to upright behavior… an act or deed that is against what is right … behavior contrary to what is right.[7]

Satan was perfect until he misbehaved, acted out and committed a deed that was contrary to God’s righteous standard. The next verse in Ezekiel reveals his deviation was “by the abundance of [rekhulatkha רְכֻלָּתְךָ֗]” (Ezek 28:16).

The Slanderer

The big question, of course, is what exactly does rekhulatkha mean? It has been typically translated as “trading”, which is a possible translation.[8] But is it the best interpretation?

The word comes from the root [rakhal רכל] which according to BDB Hebrew-English Lexicon means: “to go about (meaning dubious) 1.a. trafficker, trader.” Rekhulatkha, based on the original root [rakhal רכל] (H7402) means “slander, slanderer, tale bearer, informer … someone who goes about as a talebearer spreading gossip or things that are in some way destructive … a scandal-monger (as travelling about).”[9]

Gesenius notes its phonetic relationship to the word ragal [רָגַל] “to go on foot” and how it carries the meaning of “to traffic.” The secondary meaning is “for the sake of slandering, whence [rakhil רָכִיל] slander.”[10]

We therefore have a definition for [rakhil רָכִיל] as someone who goes about as a slanderer, spreading gossip or things that are in some way destructive. In other words: spreading malicious information. This sounds exactly like what Satan did in the Garden. Revelation 12:9 reveals more about Satan’s various titles, calling him the dragon and the serpent of old—the latter a clear reference to Genesis 3—and then mentioning the term “devil.”

The Devil

The word devil comes from the Greek diabolos [διάβολος] “slanderous, backbiting”, derived from diaballo [διαβάλλω] “throw or carry across” (wrestling).[11] The Liddle Scott Jones Classical Greek Lexicon describes exactly the alternate meaning of rekhulatkha [רְכֻלָּתְךָ֗] that we have proposed.

διαβάλλω: — throw or carry over or across in wrestling, pass over, cross, put through, set at variance set against, bring into discredit, to be filled with suspicion and resentment against another, attack a man’s character, calumniate, accuse, complain of without implied malice or falsehood, reproach a man with, misrepresent, speak or state slanderously, give hostile information, without any insinuation of falsehood, lay the blame for a thing on, declare it spurious, deceive by false accounts, mislead, divert from a course of action. (Emphasis mine).[12]

Satan, filled with suspicion and resentment against God, was going about to the other angels subtly discrediting and misrepresenting God and attacking his character. In other words, his iniquity was slandering God. According to Ezekiel 28:16, it was not a one-off offense but in fact, an abundance of slander. The lesson we glean is God did not cast Satan to the ground for one aberrant thought, but for an abundance of misbehavior.

This alternate reading of Ezekiel 28:16, of “slandering” versus “trafficking”, fits much better with the anointed cherub who covers. He was not trafficking merchandise. He was giving hostile information about God and misrepresenting his character. Dr. Robert Luginbill, in his book, The Satanic Rebellion,also sees the problem with translating rekhulatkha as “your trading”.[13]

The only thing he could have traded was slander. The translation “slander” maintains the meaning of “going about” and includes the nuance of “misrepresenting, attacking character”, and it is confirmed by Satan’s Greek title diabolos (devil) which means slanderer. Based on the aforementioned, my translation is therefore: “By the abundance of your [rekhulatkha רְכֻלָּתְךָ֗] slandering you became filled with violence within, and you sinned” (Ezek 28:16).

This provides a different perspective; Satan was not hawking his merchandise: “Hey, guys you need to get the latest Angel-phone!” God did not come in with an anti-trust case against him. It was not like God said: “Satan! You are selling too much. I have to stop your monopoly.” That was not it. With whom would Satan trade, anyway? The other angels?

Figure Committing Suicide.

Satan subtly slandered God in the Garden of Eden because he did not want to serve anyone, but instead wanted all to serve him. He persuaded Adam and Eve to curse themselves, (See Appendix 5 Balaam), to put the gun to their own heads and dig their own grave, as in Figure 15. He used slander to incite Adam to eat the fruit God forbad, knowing Adam would “surely die” (Gen 2:17), and he would subsequently commit all his progeny to perpetual death (Rom 5:12; 1 Cor 15:21–22). Adam’s transgression caused an imbalance, a debt, a legal lien upon the Earth which must be balanced or paid (we will explore this in detail when Jesus takes the scroll in Revelation 5). Thus, Adam’s dominion, prerogative and hereditary right to the Earth were forfeited and consequently, Satan would occupy the Earth in place of its legal and rightful possessor. Satan usurped Adam’s rulership which is proved by Jesus calling Satan the “ruler of the world” (John 14:30).

Perhaps the most heinous part of Satan’s plot was that Adam and Eve did not suspect anything because they seemed to already know and trust Satan. He came to Adam and Eve as God’s chief steward, prime minister and high priest who oversaw everything and was charged with protecting the sacred place they occupied. They had no reason to question his motives. They had known him since the day of their creation. Satan was therefore able to come to them in his unfallen, glorious state and they listened.

It is important to understand that he came to them with evil intent in his heart. However, unlike the movie, “Minority Report”, in which people could be incarcerated for future crimes they had not yet committed, in God’s economy, a person must first commit the crime in reality before they do the time. Jesus’ statement: “Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28).Lust is a craving to have something or someone that is not yours. A decision to perpetuate and continue this line of thinking eventually leads a person to committing an action. However, it must be pointed out that there is no specific punishment for lust. (See Appendix 7 Leaven). The many consequences for lusting might include neurological pathways forming that affect the brain or harmful chemicals being released in the brain that lead to depression, addiction and dangerous behaviors. Left unchecked, lust will eventually lead to adultery. However, only real adultery is punishable in God’s economy.

Thus, Satan lusting about being like God was not enough to deserve judgment; he had to do the deed and slander was the key.

Satan Cast to the Ground

After speaking with Adam and Eve about what happened, God turned to his once trusted prime minister and proclaimed the consequence of his action: he would lose his blessed status among animals and would instead be cursed above all others, he would lose his beauty and splendor, and he would lose the fiery-nature he enjoyed as a cherub.

We have looked at three major passages: Genesis 3, Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, that deal with the fall of Satan. In all three, Satan is in the Garden of Eden, and God pronounced the immediate judgment of being cast to the ground and the future consequence of his slander. We note the several similarities by comparing them in the chart on the next page.

Table 4 Comparison of Passages of Satan Cast to the Ground

Gen 3:1, 14 the serpent was more cunning than any beast of…the LORD God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.Isa 14:1215 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Heilel, son of the morning! you are cut down to the ground (Eretz) … For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol.Ezek 28:1318 You were in Eden, the garden of God… You were on the holy mountain of God…I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones…I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you…I brought fire from your midst, it devoured you
In EdenOn God’s mountainIn Eden & On God’s mountain
Has exalted positionHas exalted positionHas exalted position
Blessed above animalsGreat rank impliedCherub – over animals
Had great wisdomGreat wisdom impliedHad great wisdom
Cast to ground / bellyCast to groundCast to ground
Slandered GodSlandered GodSlandered God
Comparison of Passages of Satan Cast to the Ground

We may infer from God’s judgment that Satan did not expect to lose his legs and be cast to the ground. Until then, he possessed the most glorious body imaginable—he was the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezek 28:12). As high priest, he was covered in dazzling stones, but all of that was lost when he fell. Paired with his fire also being taken away, losing his legs may imply the loss of mobility and specifically, the loss of the ability to come through the veil.

God then declared:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed [zarakha זַרְעֲךָ] and her seed [zarah זַרְעָהּ]; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen 3:15).

“You, shall bruise his heel” means that Satan is going to injure the Messiah, the Seed of the woman. “He shall bruise your head” means the Messiah would inflict a mortal blow to Satan. This was essentially a declaration of war. God had just given hope to mankind and an ominous prophecy of doom to him. Satan did not underestimate his adversary; he has repeatedly done all he can to seal his control over the world forever. To maintain his control, Satan had to cause man to love him and slander his Creator to the point that they hate or ignore Him, and then get man to lust after himself and his fallen angels so his kingdom could openly manifest on the Earth.

[1] The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature (

[2] Amar Annus, The God Ninurta in the Mythology and Royal Ideology of Ancient Mesopotamia, State Archives of Assyria Studies, Volume XIV Helsinki 2002. Pg. 183

[3] Being like God is a good thing: we shall be in His likeness (Psalm 17:15), “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) “we shall be like Him,” (1 John 3:2) You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy, (Lev 19:2, see also Lev 11:44-45; 20:7, 26; 1Pet 1:16). Disobeying God was bad.

[4] God created them with capacity to love but could not force them. Love must be freely chosen to be authentic. Likewise, He could create them with the ability to choose but could not force them. Choice, by definition, must be self-determined.

[5] In order to choose, there must be a real, authentic negative option, thus “evil.” God said they could freely eat from any tree in the garden. Yet Adam eating from merely choosing to eat from an apple tree versus a pear tree would not constitute a self-governing choice because those trees had God’s blessing. Adam needed a real negative option that he would choose to NOT take. Thus, to eat or NOT to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil provided them the opportunity of self-determination, of self-governance; to choose – freely, without any compulsion on God’s part.

[6] TWOT Harris, Laird R.; Archer, Gleason L; Waltke, Bruce K.; Moody Publishers, Chicago: 1980. Entry 1580

[7] TWOT avlata

[8] This word rekhulatkha, (translated as “trading”) has caused confusion about Satan’s history. A popular theory, is the Gap theory which asserts Satan was in charge of an unrecorded, pre-Adamic empire eons ago found in the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Advocates suggest verse two be translated “And the earth became formless and void…” According to Hebrew Grammar, “ve’ha’aretz hayta” indicates a parenthetical statement due to the word “and” followed by the subject followed by the verb, which is not the standard biblical Hebrew order. Hebrew והארץ היתה vehaaretz hayta is known grammatically as a copulative clause. (See Kautszch and Cowley 1910:484) The vav (or waw) attached to the noun (the earth) acts as a type of parenthetical statement (See: Joüon, PG., & T. Muraoka 2005) thus: “… God created…the earth. (Now the earth was without form, and void.)” Earth in Gen 1:1 included all unorganized raw material God had created in no particular shape or form: “The earth was without form, and void (תהו ובהו tohu vavohu)” (Gen 1:2a) These words do not suggest that the earth was a wasteland waiting to be recreated. According to TWOT tohu vavohu, “Refers not to the result of a supposed catastrophe…but to the formlessness of the earth before God’s creative hand began the majestic acts.” (TWOT Tohu, See also: Fields 1978:58).

[9] [רכל] BDB 1. to go about (meaning dubious)

[10]Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures

[11] LSJ Classical Greek Lexicon, διάβολος.

[12] Ibid. See also Thayer’s: διαβάλλω: 1. to throw over or across, to send over; 2. to traduce, calumniate, slander, accuse, defame. BDAG διάβολος, to engagement in slander, slanderous, one who engages in slander

[13] Robert Luginbill, The Satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation, Part 1: Satan’s Rebellion and Fall. offers the following translation: “In your extensive conspiring, you were filled with wickedness, and you sinned.” (Ezek 28:16)

Remphan is Ninurta: His Star Has Eight points

What about Remphan?

In Acts 7:43, Steven recounted Israel’s history (drawing from Amos 5): “You also took along the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of the god Rompha, the images which you made to worship” (Acts 7:43 NASB). Due to a scribal error in the letters, the Hebrew k, כ [kaph], was replaced by the Hebrew r, ר [resh], and in Greek, ph (φ) substituted for v. [i] Thus the Hebrew Chuin or Kewan, was rendered in the Septuagint, as Ῥαιφάν [Raiphan]. To be clear, there was no ancient god known as Remphan. It is the result of a scribe misreading some letters that are easy to confuse, and out came the fictitious Remphan.

Unfortunately, the star of Israel’s false god to whom Stephen and Amos referred, has been erroneously associated with the six-pointed Magen David (Star of David). However, the pagan star in question is NOT the Magen David. Rather, it was the Star of Ninurta, which has eight points, as we have seen, not six points.

Ninurta, the Arrow and the Star

Sikkuth, of course, sounds nothing like Ninurta; so, why does it represent Ninurta? The name Sukuth was a Hebraized form of the Babylonian Shukudu (“the Arrow”), a name of Sirius,[ii] the brightest star in the night sky. It was associated with the god Ninurta.[iii] Thus, the star was associated with Sirius and Saturn, and had nothing to do with the Magen

Ninurta with 8-pointed

David. Amar Annus notes the following about arrow epithets used for Ninurta:

  • The arrow (šukudu) … is astronomically Ninurta’s star Sirius (see CAD s.v.), and the Arrow might be a metaphor for Ninurta himself … The terrible arrow of Marduk is compared to a merciless lion … šiltahu 5.[iv]
  • Ninurta is the Arrow (= Sirius), the great warrior, who slit the throats of the enemies of Assurbanipal with his pointed arrowhead
  • Ninurta himself is an ‘arrow’.

“Ninurta’s identity with the star is explicit in a šu-ila prayer which begins with the words atta Kaksisa Ninurta ašared ili rabûti “you are Sirius, (that is) Ninurta, the first among the great gods” (Mayer 1990: 467ff).” [v]

In other words, Ninurta is known as the Arrow, and the Arrow, in an astronomical setting, is the star Sirius. The imagery of gods as stars reminds us of the language of Revelation in which angels are frequently symbolized as stars. In John’s vision of Revelation, Jesus has seven stars in his right hand. Jesus reveals the mystery: “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches” (Rev 1:20). Thus, there are seven stars or seven angels (messengers) to God’s redeemed people. It is interesting that another word for “arrow” (mulmullu, Sumerian mul.mul) is related to the Pleiades. Amar Annus explains that:

The Pleiades were thought to bring war and destruction – “the warlike gods, who carry bow and arrow, whose rising means war.” It is worth noting that the month of Ningirsu in Astrolabe B, Iyyar, is also referred to as “the month of the Pleiades, the Seven Great Gods”.[vi]

[i] 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 23: Variations include as Ῥομφά, Ῥεμφάν, Ῥεμφάμ, Ῥαιφάν, Ῥεφάν [Rompha, Remphan, Rempham, Remphan]

[ii] “The arrow (šukudu) mentioned by Tiglath-pileser I is astronomically Ninurta’s star Sirius (see CAD s.v.), and the Arrow might be a metaphor for Ninurta himself. In SAA Anzu III 10-11, both the same word for ‘arrow’”… Amar Annus, The God Ninurta in the Mythology and Royal Ideology of Ancient Mesopotamia, State Archives of Assyria Studies, Volume XIV Helsinki 2002. Pg. 102


[iv] Amar Annus, The God Ninurta in the Mythology and Royal Ideology of Ancient Mesopotamia, State Archives of Assyria Studies, Volume XIV Helsinki 2002. Pg. 104

[v] Ibid. Pg. 133-135

[vi] Amar Annus, The God Ninurta in the Mythology and Royal Ideology of Ancient Mesopotamia, State Archives of Assyria Studies, Volume XIV Helsinki 2002. Pg. 104

Satan the Anointed Protective Cherub of Eden

Satan the Anointed Protective Cherub Chapter 3 of Corrupting the Image 2

Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, “Thus says the Lord GOD: You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezek 28:12).

In chapter one, we discovered that the king of Tyre was not a reference to a human king, but to Melqart / Heracles, one of the many syncretisms of Satan. Because the passage is about Satan, what God has to say about the anointed cherub is all the more significant. In just six Hebrew words, Satan was revealed to be the “seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.”

Seal of Perfection [חוֹתֵ֣ם תָּכְנִ֔ית]: God described him as being the seal of measurement / proportion. A seal, chotem [חוֹתֵ֣ם], was the hot wax applied to the outside of a scroll to make sure that it stayed closed. It was the finishing touch applied to the completed work that was perfect and needed no changes.

This description, coupled with the word measurement / proportion [תכנית tochnit], means Satan was the absolute greatest of God’s creatures. His proportions were pristine, sublime and impeccable. His form was exquisite in every capacity. He was the meter stick against which others would be measured. He was the gold standard by which all others would be judged; the measure of the appearance of perfection, second only to God himself. It is hard to imagine what this truly means in real terms. But he was absolutely it: the seal of perfection.

Full of Wisdom [מָלֵ֥א חָכְמָ֖ה]: God also created Satan completely full of wisdom [maleh chochma מלא חכמה]. Satan was not lacking in any area of understanding. If he were a cup, God filled him to the very brim and could not fill him anymore. As a result, Satan perfectly understood the workings of God’s creation.  He understood the laws governing the Earth, the stars and life itself. He understood the process of photosynthesis, cellular biology, quantum physics and the science beyond our grasp. He had no need to learn, for he already possessed the knowledge of all the systems God had created.

Yet there is an infinite distinction between God and Satan. While God gave him perfect wisdom, Satan has always lacked a complete perspective because he does not know the future. Like a good chess player, he can make incredibly good predictions and can model the future with great accuracy just as humans can model the trajectory of rockets and get to the moon. Still, he can never know all variables which might come into play. God is the only one who knows the future, which means Satan must learn the future as it unfolds before him.

I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,​declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose (Isa 46:9-10).

Perfect in Beauty [וּכְלִ֥יל יֹֽפִי]: Lastly, God created him “perfect in beauty” [kalil yofi כליל יפי]. The Hebrew kalal means “entire, full, all.”[i] Thus, Satan was lacking nothing in his appearance. He was 100% in the beauty department. We must not overlook the weight of this statement: Perfect in beauty. God’s beauty is overwhelming. “Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; They will see the land that is very far off” (Isa 33:17). King David pined, “One thing I have desired of the LORD … To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple” (Ps 27:4). Satan’s beauty was like the beauty of his Creator and exceeded the beauty of all other created beings.

In those mere six Hebrew words, we learned: Satan was the measure and the standard of perfect form; He was completely full of wisdom and lacked none; and he was absolutely complete and possessed the entirety of beauty. God withheld no aesthetic quality when He created him;[ii] He endowed Satan with phenomenal and outstanding beauty that equaled Him in splendor. These descriptions give us insight into why Satan thought he was on equal footing with his Maker. He was like God, or at least he thought so. These qualities would eventually spark his rebellion and will lead to the creation of the Beast.

“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones” (Ezek 28:14).

Satan belonged to a special class of beings known as the cherubim. The Akkadian cognate verb of cherub means “to bless, praise, adore. As one of the characteristics of the cherubim was adoration of God, this derivation would appear suitable.”[iii] Thus, a significant role Satan played was to bless, praise, and adore God, and this is precisely what the cherubim do “day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’” (Rev 4:8).

Judging from his vesture, Satan had the role of high priest. He was covered with an array of precious stones, inlaid in sockets of gold and silver. The King James translation tells us he was covered in [tupekha תפיך] and [nekbekha נקביך], meaning timbrels and pipes which gives us the misleading impression that Satan was the worship leader in heaven. I remember when I was a kid, I heard that in a sermon from a Baptist minister, who of course was using the King James Version. I like the King James, but there are better translations for these two words. Regardless of Satan’s musical abilities, these two words more accurately suggest mountings and sockets for the stones he wore—an idea more properly conveyed in the ESV, NET and other more modern translations.

According to Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon (BDB), nekbecha [נקב] “1. groove, socket, hole, cavity, settings. a. technical term relating to jeweller’s work. – Origin: a bezel (for a gem).” It is a receptacle in which you would set something. Interestingly, the same word Nekeva, means “female,” which could relate to something like a female-fitting connector which holds something else.

The Septuagint Reading of the Stones

Though the Masoretic text is a reliable and foundational text, the variant reading of the Septuagint may supply us with crucial details regarding the stones covering Satan and the function they served. In the following Table 3, we compare the Septuagint of Ezekiel 28 with Exodus 28, and we have a match. We infer that Satan’s stones were in a breastplate like that of Israel’s high priest. It must also be noted that the stones are nearly the same as the stones of the foundations of the New Jerusalem; though, the meaning of some of the words is uncertain which causes the translations to drift a little.[iv] If the reading of the Septuagint is correct (twelve stones instead of nine), then we can be fairly confident that Satan’s covering stones were in fact a breastplate, and he served the function of priest in some capacity.

Table Comparison of the Stones in Ezek 28 Septuagint and Hebrew Text

 New Engl. Transl. (Exod 28:17–20) Priest’s EphodSeptuagint (Ezek 28:13 LXXE) Stones covering Satan Rev 21 twelve gates & stones
First RowRuby (sardius NKJV), a topaz, and a beryl (emerald NKJV)sardius1, and topaz2, and emerald3Matchjasper, the second sapphire, the third agate
Second Rowa turquoise, a sapphire, and an emerald;carbuncle4, and sapphire5, and jasper6, and silver, and gold [metals not stones – see 4th row]Matchthe fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian
Third Rowand the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst;and ligure (beryl?)7, and agate8, and amethyst9Matchthe seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz
Fourth Rowa chrysolite, an onyx, and a jasper. enclosed in goldand chrysolite10, and beryl11, and onyx12Matchthe tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst

The presence of twelve stones in his breastplate makes more sense when we consider that God, in his perfection and authority, established the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles. There are twelve months in a year, twelve stars in the ancient zodiac as recorded in the book of Job, twelve hours of the day, and twelve hours of the night from Egyptian and Sumerian history. The New Jerusalem, the mountain of God, has twelve gates and twelve foundations which may have been what the twelve stones on Satan’s breastplate represented. There is a clear indication of divine perfection in Satan’s twelve-stoned emblem of authority.

When we contemplate which priestly office Satan may have held, we remember that there was no sin and hence, no need for blood sacrifices. Certainly, officiating sacrifices was one of the major duties of an earthly priest, though it was by no means the only duty. Their other roles were to make pronouncements on behalf of God, to instruct people in his ways (2 Chr 17:3–9; Neh 8:2–3), and to sing praise to God (2 Chr 29:30). Our theory that Satan performed priestly duties is substantiated by the fact he was called “the anointed cherub [keruv mimshakh כְּר֔וּב מִמְשַׁ֖ח] who covers” (Ezek 28:14).

The word anointed is of course the same as mashiach (messiah), which refers to pouring oil on someone’s head, which in turn meant the person had been chosen for leadership.[v] When Samuel anointed (mashakh) Saul by pouring oil on his head, it signified how a formerly regular guy was given a special purpose. In the case of Saul, it meant: you are going to be God’s appointed leader, the visible leader for the people; you are going to now be the one to whom the people will look for leadership. The same was true for David.

Therefore, Satan’s role as priest was to serve as the leader to communicate God’s instructions, directives and will to others. Just as priests taught and interpreted God’s commands, Satan likely would have been tasked with those priestly responsibilities.

Satan – Guardian of Eden

Satan was “in Eden, the garden of God” (Ezek 28:13). [גן עדן Gan Eden], the Garden of Eden, means an enclosed, protected area (gan[vi]) of pleasure (Eden). It was necessarily a sacred space, for after Adam and Eve sinned, “the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden” (Gen 3:23).

Satan was charged with overseeing the sacred place: You defiled your sanctuaries” (Ezek 28:18). The word “your sanctuaries” [mikdesheikha מִקְדָּשֶׁ֑יךָ] is from the root: qoph, daleth, shin: the same as kadosh, which is what the seraphim (possibly cherubim) chant day and night before the throne of God. It is the same word that is used of the temple. TWOT explains:

Miqdāsh denotes that which has been devoted to the sphere of the sacred. When it refers to the sanctuary, it connotes the physical area devoted to the worship of God. This area was sacred because it was the place where God dwelled among the people (Ex 25:8) and its sanctity was not to be profaned (Lev 12:4; 19:30; 20:3; 21:12, 23). The word Miqdāsh may refer to the abode of God in Ps 68:35 [H 36], but some commentators see this as the temple in Jerusalem. Metaphorically the word is used to refer to a place of refuge (Isa 8:14).[vii]

It was in this enclosed, protected, sacred place which Satan was charged with protecting, that the conflict occurred. (See Appendix 2 Angel Freewill).

So far, we see that Satan’s job and official charge was to be an “anointed protective / guardian cherub” stationed in the Garden of Eden. What caused him to rebel?

Satan Corrupted His Wisdom

When a murder victim is found, one of the big questions is to determine motive. What drove the murderer to do what he did? What was Satan’s motive? Satan was endowed with the gift of unparalleled beauty and wisdom. To understand why Satan staged a coup and was willing to throw away his exalted position and rebel against his Maker, we need to go recreate the scene[viii] of the crime and see if we can spot the motive.

To set our stage, we need to consider a few parameters. Just before God created Adam, it says in Genesis: And God saw that it was good” (Gen 1:25). After the creation of Adam, we read: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Gen 1:31). Thus, on both sides of the creation of Adam, the coast was clear, nothing wicked was on the horizon. It was an “all systems go.”

We might do well to employ the principle of Occam’s razor which posits that if the simplest explanation works, we should use it rather than looking for a more complex one. Therefore, if the text says that God saw everything He had made, and if nothing is hidden from God(Prov 15:3; Jer 16:17; Luke 8:17), then it stands to reason that all things in all of creation which were “framed by the word of God … which are seen … not made of things which are visible,” (Heb 11:3) were also “very good”.

The “very good” stamp, then, was also affixed to the angelic host, including Satan. Therefore, the preflight checklist came back “very good”. With this in mind, let us recreate the scene of the crime.

God created Satan as the greatest of all his creatures—surpassing every other in beauty and wisdom. God held nothing back. God anointed him, that is, He called him to be a leader, God’s principle agent. He was second only to God, just as Joseph was given authority to be ruler of all Egypt and was second only to Pharaoh.

“You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you” (Gen 41:40).

Thus, God established Satan as his anointed, his special agent, his viceroy and prime minister, authorized to do his bidding, to speak on his behalf, and to “sign God’s checks.” Satan was steward of all God’s house. When Satan spoke, it was as if it was God Himself, just as Joseph spoke and acted on Pharaoh’s behalf with absolute authority.

Joseph’s eminence would not have threatened or lessened the power, authority and right of Pharaoh’s heir to the throne. Even if Joseph would have had an exceptionally lengthy career before Pharaoh’s heir took the throne, Joseph’s position would have remained the same. In the same manner, Satan could be Prime Minister and God’s son, Jesus, would still hold the special place as the true heir of God’s throne.

Satan was never given God’s throne; rather, he was authorized to act, speak and decree on God’s behalf, just as Joseph acted, spoke and decreed on Pharaoh’s behalf. Joseph was well pleased to occupy the position endowed him and never thought of overthrowing Pharaoh. He recognized that his great power, exalted position and absolute authority were granted to him by Pharaoh; he could never occupy the throne of Pharaoh for he was not Pharaoh, nor would he ever be the son of Pharaoh.

God’s modus operandi is to enable and empower his creatures. He could do everything by Himself if He desired. He does not need us. It is like when you put together a shelf from IKEA and your little ones say, “Daddy, can we help?” You do not really need their help and chances are, they might make the whole process longer, but it is more enjoyable with them. This seems to be why He created us.

In Daniel 4, King Nebuchadnezzar was informed through a dream that he would be judged for his arrogance. The message is not from God directly, but by “decree of the watchers” (Dan 4:17). God empowered the angels or watchers to make decisions on his behalf. They were not and are not merely loudspeakers relaying God’s dictations, though they may do so on occasion. Rather, they are intelligent, reasoning creatures whom God allows to act autonomously and independently of Him.

Satan was a member of an ancient guardian class; and being of highest rank, he was the highest of the highest, outranked only by God Himself. He had authority to act as God’s viceroy. With the wisdom to know that God was and is the most powerful, why did he throw it all away? He had been given everything, why spoil it?

His Heart was Proud

God gives us the answer: “Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom on account of your splendor” (Ezek 28:17 NET).

It was Satan who corrupted his own wisdom: he was the active agent. Nothing happened to him; he was not passive in the transformation. He was the one who caused the decay of his endowment of wisdom due to his arrogant confidence in his own beauty. This means that he made a conscious choice. He was not preprogrammed to be bad or to fall from God’s grace. He mindfully chose to stage a coup against his Creator and rightful King. Why?

The bottom line is that Satan did not want to serve others: He wanted everybody to serve him. He looked at himself in the mirror and said, “Whoa, good-looking. Where did you come from?” He looked at his SAT and GRE scores and was like, “Wow, 100%. What do you know? I really am all that.” He looked at his resume: “First in charge of God’s kingdom. Wow. I deserve of all this stuff. And you know what? Creation should bow down to me. Creation should serve me because look at all that I have. Look at all that I am.” It would be easy to come to that conclusion because of his splendor and beauty.

However, it was not an outside force acting upon him that corrupted him. We read: you corrupted your wisdom, because of your beauty. He chose to corrupt what he knew to be true because he was looking at himself. Being full of wisdom, he must have heard his own voice say, “Who gave you these things? Wasn’t it God, the Creator of heaven and Earth who made you, who spoke you into existence? Will He not forever be a million billion trillion times greater than you? Even infinitely greater than you? Even though He gave you all this amazing stuff, you are still nothing compared to God, compared to the Creator. How can you possibly boast?”

In reality, Satan had no reason to be proud. Sure, he possessed unimaginable beauty. On a scale of ten, he was a ten. We get the impression that he may have equaled God in beauty. He also possessed unparalleled wisdom. He was full, which meant that he lacked nothing. It seems impossible that he could be as wise as God, yet the text says that he was full (not lacking) in wisdom. Thus, when he compared himself with God in terms of beauty, he equaled God. When he compared himself with God in terms of wisdom, he apparently thought he equaled God, as well. When he noted his authority, he acted as if he were God. It is not hard to understand how he could reach the conclusion that he was not just an agent empowered by God, but was also worthy to be praised and revered as God and in place of God.

Ironically, he proved himself to be nothing like God; looking like God on the outside is no big deal … He created him as such. To truly be like God, he needed to choose to act like Him. We too must choose to lay down our lives, our self-interests and to be servants to one another. We must learn to act with love, which is sacrificial service toward one another. (See Appendix 7 Leaven).

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14–15).

The path to truly being like God required Satan and the other angels to sacrificially serve others, especially those lower than themselves; This feat is perfectly demonstrated by Jesus going to the cross. Satan was unwilling to do this. Satan boasted in the attributes he shared with God, but the one that he was required to demonstrate himself, which was to sacrificially love and serve; he refused. He set the example that rulers of the nations would later practice, as Jesus said: “The rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them” (Matt 20:25).

Satan Refused to Serve

Satan refused to be a servant to those lesser than himself. Serving the one up the chain of command and submitting to one stronger than yourself is expected, required and merits nothing special. In contrast, God requires us to lay down our lives and become the servant of all. Whom could Satan have served? For starters, certainly every other angel was lesser than him in rank, beauty and wisdom. If Satan had within his character the attribute of servant-leadership, he could have served them, and of course, Adam.

Let us imagine the Garden of Pleasure: the light of the sun pokes through the majestic canopy of trees, home to animals of every sort. The rich scent of oranges, passion fruit, peaches and fresh flowers permeate the untainted air. The garden is painted with vibrant colors. Hummingbirds flit from tree to tree drinking in the sweet nectar. A lovely glow emanates from every living thing.

God lovingly fashions a form from the adamáh (soil) with his powerful hands and tenderly bends over and breathes his Spirit into the nostrils of the dirt creature (Gen 2:7, John 20:22). “Adam!” God calls him. He has a reddish hue like the adamáh[ix] out of which he had been taken. After absorbing the light from God, Adam emitted a strong whitish glow. Not only does Adam share in God’s image and likeness, but God has actually breathed his own life-force into him!

Satan was the anointed protective / guardian cherub stationed in Eden to watch over Adam, the son of God (Luke 3:38) who also had God’s seed (DNA / information, 1 John 3:9). Satan was the exalted, standard of perfection chief steward, but Adam was the heir of God’s creation (not throne). God gave Adam “dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth,” (Gen 1:28). The Psalmist explains how man is the heir in a wonderful way:       

For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet (Ps 8:5–6).

Satan calculated that if he killed the heir, the world would be his, just as Jesus described in a parable about the evil vinedressers: “But those vinedressers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours’” (Mark 12:7). If Adam, the heir, died then he as the chief steward would be the heir. Abram said that very thing to God when he had no genetic heir:

But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” (Gen 15:2) Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” (Gen 15:3)

If Pharaoh had a son, it did not affect Joseph the prime minister. The throne always belonged to Pharaoh and his son, completely apart from the role of the prime minister. When God gave dominion of his creation to Adam, it did not reduce Satan’s role, responsibilities or prestige in the least. Yet, Satan could not bring himself to serve someone lesser in rank and lesser in nature.

He likely understood the Earth and all its fullness will forever technically belong to God,”[x] but legally, he would be Lord of the Earth since Adam could not regain dominion due to death. Hence, Satan would adversely take possession of the Earth and would remain the ruler of the world indefinitely.[xi] He would rule through the “the power of death” (Heb 2:14).

Satan Chose Not to Be Like God

Ironically, the one who held the greatest position, who was a seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, was not willing to truly be like God. He thought he was like God, because he had the externals, but these externals were gifts from God. He chose not to be like God when he refused to humble himself and love.

What does love really look like? Is love just giving a bouquet of flowers? Is love taking that special romantic interest out to dinner? Maybe. But really not. Those romantic gestures are easy; Anybody can do that. Love, real love, is sacrificial service to one another. This kind of servanthood is not in the sense that you are taken as a slave and now you serve your master; rather, it is where you voluntarily lay down your rights, priorities, options and prerogatives to sacrificially serve another person.

Satan deviated from God’s characteristic of being a servant, which is the expression of love. For the sake of his beauty, Satan corrupted his wisdom despite knowing that “whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:4). He rejected what he knew to be true about God so that he could put forth his own agenda: that all would serve him. We can translate all these actions into one word: Self. Satan’s kingdom is about self, about pride.

As the greatest, most sublime of God’s creatures, full of wisdom, he knew that to be great required him to serve. Adam and Eve were the test God put in Satan’s path to grant him the opportunity to be a servant so he could keep his office of prime minister.

Satan, as God’s chief steward, was tested for faithfulness as Paul wrote: “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Cor 4:2).His test for greatness was simple, as Jesus eloquently put it, “whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave” (Matt 20:27).

Joseph was tested for thirteen years before he was raised up as the second most powerful man in Egypt. Unlike Joseph the faithful steward, Satan refused to serve and lusted for the throne, as well:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Heilel [Hêlēl הֵילֵ֣ל], son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!  For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High’” (Isa 14:12–14).

By seeking God’s throne, Satan by necessity, shifted his focus from serving God and serving others (lesser than himself), to serving himself. He claimed to be equal with God, something no creature can ever claim against his Creator. And unlike Abram’s faithful steward, Eliezer of Damascus, who was going to inherit all things until Isaac came along, Satan calculated he could arrange for Adam, the heir, to have a little “accident” and die before fully taking possession of his inheritance.

Satan’s scheme would leave Adam and humanity without an inheritance until Jesus later came in the form of a servant (Phil 2:7) as the last Adam (I Cor 15:45), and would reconcile the sons of Adam with God (Col 1:22). He would demonstrate how he was committed[xii] to serve ones lesser than himself to regain the inheritance Adam had lost (John 3:16; 15:13).

Hence, we have a motive to our crime scene: Satan would destroy mankind before he would bow in service to a man made of dust; he refused to be a servant to others. His post as the chief ministering spirit was to serve those who needed to inherit salvation. When God created Adam and Eve, they were innocent and were not dying, but neither did they have complete immortality yet as they were not immune to sin. In other words, they could have lived a long time in their innocent state, but at some point, they presumably would have had the opportunity and need to eat from the tree of life in order to seal them as immortals. Satan understood their situation very well and saw an opportunity to stage the ultimate coup and overturn God’s kingdom of sacrificial love, and thereby ensure that his own greatness could be recognized and adored. Once he crossed this threshold, he could never go back. Ever. There is no room for the exaltation of self in God’s kingdom. With raging malice in his heart, he set out to defile the sanctuary with his deadly weapon: slander.

[i] TWOT 985 כָלַל (kālal) I, perfect, make perfect. (ASV, RSV similar.)

[ii] Ezek 28:12-13; Isa 14:11

[iii] TWOT: Cherub. See also to bless; to praise; to dedicate (an offering), to thank, to congratulate; cherub.

[iv] ISBE “Precious Stones” That the Hebrew texts used for the Septuagint, Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and English Versions of the Bible were not identical in all the verses in which there is mention of precious stones is especially clear from an analysis of the respective descriptions of the ornaments of the king of Tyre (Eze 28:13). In the Septuagint, 12 stones are mentioned; as already stated, they have precisely the same names and are mentioned in precisely the same order as the stones of the breastplate described in that version, the only difference being that gold and silver are inserted in the middle of the list. On the other hand, in Vulgate (Jerome’s Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and English Versions of the Bible descriptions of the ornaments, only 9 of the 12 stones of the breastplate are mentioned; they are not in the same order as the corresponding stones in the breastplate as described in those VSS, silver is not mentioned at all, while gold is placed, not in the middle, but at the end of the list.

[v] “To anoint an individual or an object indicated an authorized separation for God’s service. Moses anointed Aaron “to sanctify him” (lĕqaddĕshô, Lev 8:12; cf. Ex 29:36 for the altar). Note the expression “anointed to the Lord” (I ). māshaḥ, while representing a position of honor, also represents increased responsibility… though the agent might be the priest or prophet, writers speak of anointed ones as those whom the Lord anointed (e.g. I Sam 10:1; II Sam 12:7). Such language underscores that it is God who is the authorizing agent; that the anointed is inviolable (I Sam 24:8ff.); and that the anointed one is to be held in special regard (cf. I Sam 26:9ff.)…one may infer that divine enablement was understood as accompanying māshaḥ. TWOT

[vi] [גָּנַן] (gānan) defend. (ASV and RSV also render “put a shield about,” and “protect.” גַּן  (gan) enclosure, garden. גַּנָּה (gannâ) garden.מָגֵן (māgēn) shield. TWOT Harris, Laird R.; Archer, Gleason L.; Waltke, Bruce K.; Moody Publishers, Chicago: 1980. Entry 1580

[vii] TWOT, Miqdāsh

[viii] When Satan fell is a question often influenced by a person’s view of the creation event itself. This chapter is intended to provide a simple explanation based on all of the biblical and relevant creation science available not to advocate for the Gap Theory, Old Earth Creation or Young Earth Creation view.

[ix] TWOT ădāmâ: describes the connection between soil and Adam: “ădāmâ. Ground, land, planet. Originally this word signified the red arable soil”.

[x] Exod 19:5; Deut 10:14; Ps 24:1, 50:12, 89:11

[xi] John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Heb 2:15

[xii] The word “agape” means fully committed to something, wholly devoted and dedicated.

Reasons You Should Read Revelation & Armageddon Thematically

A Thematic Approach to Interpreting Revelation

By Dr. Douglas Hamp


The book of Revelation is an exhilarating prophesy that comes with a blessing to those who read it. Nevertheless, it is far from being easy to understand. Part of the challenge is due to a tendency to interpret the book chronologically rather than thematically. Though the book of Revelation presents a general sequence of events, it is primarily arranged thematically.

The thematic approach inherently searches for multiple witnesses to establish sound doctrine. In Scripture, matters are established by two or three witnesses (Deut 19:15). In other words, we are on solid ground when our dogma and scriptural understanding are supported multiple places in Scripture. Using a thematic interpretation of Revelation, and in particular, the judgments found in the seals, trumpets, and bowls, reveals multiple witnesses to a handful of events. In court, when there are several eyewitnesses to an event, each describes the scene with a unique perspective and with emphasis on varying details. Here, the biblical witnesses give us a description of end time events from each of their distinct vantage points. When we recognize the similarities in the thematic descriptions of the same events, the information reported in the book of Revelation becomes clear.

And the opposite is true. If we read the judgments of the seals, trumpets, and bowls with a chronological-sequential method, we see an extremely long sequence of events. In fact, taking each event separately would represent nineteen different judgments occurring consecutively during the tribulation. That is, the seal judgments would all play out, then the trumpets would[KS1]  begin and after the last trumpet judgment, the bowls would follow. As unlikely as this scenario appears, it is the majority opinion of scholars. It would look like this:

Graph showing how many people read Revelation in a linear / chronological fashion

In contrast, the thematic approach groups information about like events and compiles a story from the fragments. Within the seals, trumpets, and bowls, are recurring, interrelated themes with various levels of detail, perspective, and intensity. This means John laid out the series of visions in the order that they were communicated to him and acted as the special correspondent on-the-scene describing off the cuff, the unfolding events. John did not predict nineteen different, sequential judgments. When John viewed an event, it was as if he was looking at it inside a diamond with many facets yet seeing one event.

Similarly, it was as if John was given a tour of a television control room where before him were dozens of screens. For the sake of illustration, let us imagine that the show has seven distinct scenes. Each scene is complex and requires varying camera angles to appreciate the complexity. Some cameras are placed above the set to get a wide angel, top-down approach, some zoom in on the faces of the characters, while other pan to show the landscape.  In this example, John merely sees the video feed and reports what is on the screens before him.

So too, the seals, trumpets and bowls are related events described from different vantage points, or if you will, camera angles, so the readers get a more detailed understanding. With the thematic understanding, think of it like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich: we take a bite of the whole sandwich with the stacked ingredients as one would normally eat a PB&J. Whereas, with the chronological approach, we would first eat a piece of bread, then the peanut butter, then the jelly, and finally the other slice of bread. When we stack the information from one part of Revelation with matching information from another section, we begin to see one event described in different ways.  In other words, the seals in Revelation 6 relate information that directly correlates with information revealed in the bowls in chapter 16.


Revelation can be better understood by interpreting the seals, trumpets, and bowls as a series of recapitulations. A specific judgment is described in many reiterations (stacked layers) because John was initially given a grand, bird’s eye view and described what he saw. Then he sees closeups, and in subsequent chapters goes into supporting details of an event that has already been revealed. Using the idea of layers as employed in an animated movie, helps us picture how Revelation is organized.

Layering example from Monsters Inc. Story reel

Layering is illustrated nicely in modern animation techniques, like Monsters Inc. They start with a basic story reel sketch which lays out the events. Why don’t they just stop there? Because the subsequent layers will add depth, color, detail, lighting, and animation to create a composite image which is part of the story.

The narrative of the seals is like the story reel giving us the basic story overview. While lacking depth, color and detail, the seals take us from the beginning of the story to its finish. The trumpets and bowls add the texturing, color, and fine details so we have a rich composite image.

We see repeating themes and recapitulations in many books of the Bible. For example, Genesis chapters one and two are often accused of being different accounts. Yet we see in chapter one an overview of the entire creation week, and chapter two pulls in on the focus to give a close-up of day six and the creation of man. Hence, we can conclude that chapter two is thematically related to chapter one. Sure, chapter one comes first in the book, but the content of both chapters is thematically related and is the same story. If read sequentially, the reader gets confused, but when read thematically, chapter two fits within the framework of chapter one just giving the details of day six. We see the same literary device in Exodus 14 and 15. The events happen in Ch. 14, and then Moses and Miriam recount the events in Ch. 15. Thematically, the events described are the same; they are simply told in different ways.

Hence, the seals, trumpets, bowls, and in fact Revelation chapters 6-19 are a series of visions with many layers which form composite images. This means that there are repeating themes in the seals, trumpets, and bowls. Seals 1-7 are a template of the overall great tribulation. The subsequent trumpets and bowls are looking at those events in either greater detail or from different angles and with increasing intensity of events (from effecting 1/3 and increasing to effect everything). The seventh seal, trumpet and bowl judgments all end with the return of Jesus. The accounts are stacked one upon another (like our PB&J sandwich) or stair steps, where they keep getting more intense, and the timeframe keeps getting shortened, until they all culminate at the same moment with the return of Jesus.

We see the thematic arrangement throughout Revelation. Indeed, in the middle of the book, the angel told John: “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” (Rev 10:11). We will consider the recapitulations in depth in two themes: the greatest of all earthquakes and the opening of the heavens.

Earthquakes in Revelation Six and Sixteen are the Same

First, we will consider how the earthquakes from chapters six and sixteen are one and the same event. In Ch. 16, there is an earthquake in the seventh and last bowl which is described as:

“a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth” (Rev 16:18).

The language is of paramount significance because it states that this earthquake will be the greatest of all time. John adds, “every island fled away, and the mountains were not found” (Rev 16:20). This language is identical to the many biblical descriptions of the ultimate shaking that will take place on planet Earth.

The mini apocalypse in Isaiah 24 describes how “the earth is violently broken, the earth is split open, the earth is shaken exceedingly” (Isa 24:19). In this event, the Earth will be so utterly moved that it “shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall totter like a hut; its transgression shall be heavy upon it, and it will fall, and not rise again. (Isa 24:20). The phrase, “to fall and not rise again,” is parallel language to the passage in Revelation 16—this describes the unequivocal worst, eradicative earthquake, never to be duplicated.

Habakkuk spoke of Jesus’ return, “He stood and measured the earth; He looked and startled the nations” and of an earthquake that destroys mountains, “the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills bowed” (Hab 3:6). The Psalmist expressed how “the mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD” (Ps 97:5). Many other passages describe a shaking of such magnitude that the hills and mountains are flattened. Isaiah 2 explains how:

the day of the LORD of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up– And it shall be brought low– Upon all the high mountains, And upon all the hills that are lifted up (Isa 2:12, 14);

That passage goes on to say in the Day of the Lord when the mountains fall:

They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, From the terror of the LORD And the glory of His majesty, When He arises to shake the earth mightily. (Isa 2:19).

In chapter thirteen, Isaiah says:

Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the LORD of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger (Isa 13:13).

The description is identical to what we find in Revelation 6 in the sixth seal: “every mountain and island was moved out of its place” (Rev 6:14). Isaiah 2 merely says “they” whereas Revelation says:

“the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hidthemselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains” (Rev 6:15).

Thus, we have multiple witnesses reporting an unprecedented earthquake in which every mountain and island moves and then everyone hides in caves. Just like in Isaiah 2, they hide because it is the Day of the Lord.

and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! (Rev 6:16) “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev 6:17).

Utilizing the thematic method, we have seen multiple sketches picturing the psychological and geological effects of the Day of the Lord.  We reviewed many descriptions giving witness to one event. If we read the descriptions in Revelation as being presented on a timeline, we miss the 3-D effect that layers into a realistic depiction of each event. Are we to believe that the kings of the earth are throwing in the towel in Revelation 6 while fully admitting that the day of Jesus’ wrath has come, only to continue reading in chapter 16 that “the kings of the earth” and “the whole world” assemble for “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Rev 16:14)? It is illogical to believe there is life-as-usual after the earth-flattening earthquake or that the day of wrath comes and is followed in time by an assembling of people for that battle.   

Interpretating scripture with the thematic method allows us to see parallel language and themes as witnesses of the same event, but merely from different perspectives and with varying details. Revelation 6 and 16, Isaiah 2 and 24, Habakkuk 3, and others speak of the kings of the earth gathered to the battle of the great Day of the Lord. This is the Day of the Lord and the time of the mother of all earthquakes that will utterly shake the entire Earth so that every mountain and island is moved out of its place and the Earth will fall and not rise again. This day is so scary that the kings, commanders, and all involved in the battle run into the caves for protection. Although the event is described in many places with emphasis on different aspects, the Day of the Lord is a singular event.

Consider how the 2011 Fukushima 9.1 earthquake caused phenomenal damage to buildings and great loss of life. Now imagine the kind of destruction planet Earth will experience when every island is falling into the sea and every mountain is crumbling! The word “every” precludes the event from happening twice; that means it happens once and there will be no repeat. Therefore, Revelation 6 is the same event as Revelation 16 and Isaiah 24. Such an event will happen only once, never to be repeated. The Earth will fall and not rise again. The language in all the passages speak of the singular “Day” of the Lord when this will happen.

Heavens open

Another prevalent theme in Revelation and other scriptures is the opening of the heavens. Much like the Day of the Lord, the opening of the heavens is an end of the world event that will only happen once. We first see it described in the sixth seal.

Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place (Rev 6:14).

This event is explained in Revelation 19 and pictures the time when Jesus will make war against the Beast and the world’s armies.

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True… And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army (Rev 19:11, 19).

This same battle (Armageddon) is described in Revelation 16 and other passages where the Beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies are ready to fight against Jesus:

the beast…the kings of the earth and of the whole world…to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty (Rev 16:13, 14).

In the seventh bowl, at the time of the that battle, we are told:

Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” (Rev 16:17). And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth (Rev 16:18) and great hail from heaven fell upon men… (Rev 16:21).

We see the imagery in Revelation 11, after the sounding of the seventh angel, where voices state that: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev 11:15). The time of the kings of the earth is over. The voices continue: “The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged…” (Rev 11:18). The time of wrath and judgment, including the dead has arrived. The texts describe the wrap-up event of this age.  If read sequentially, Rev. 16 describes the gathering and preparations for the Day that has already occurred in Rev. 6 and 11.  If read thematically, all of the details accumulate to picture one day that comes more into focus as each witness’ account is examined.

Lastly in the period of the seventh trumpet we see the same theme in the phrase: “noises and thunderings and lightnings” and hail falling just like in Revelation 16: Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail (Rev 11:19).

The opening of the heavenly temple happens in chapter fifteen as well: “the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened” (Rev 15:5). After the opening of the temple of God in heaven, the final judgments commence on the Earth because, as we saw in chapter nineteen, that is when Jesus comes back to engage in the great battle of the Day of the Lord.

The opening of the heavens is found in many other places in Scripture, as well. Peter describes the Day of the Lord and the opening of the heavens:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10).

Isaiah 34:4 is identical to Revelation 6:13-14 where stars fall like figs and the sky recedes like a scroll:

the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as [fruit] falling from a fig tree (Isa 34:4).

Isaiah speaks of this moment repeatedly, saying “the heavens will vanish away like smoke… (Isa 51:6) and then “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down!” He gives the important detail “That the mountains might shake at Your presence” (Isa 64:1), which provides us with the same details as we have seen in the other passages. Jesus then reiterates this moment concerning His return.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Matt 24:29). “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matt 24:30).

Jesus simply summarizes Joel’s report about the sun, moon, and stars, and then reiterates Isaiah regarding the falling of the stars. He then tells us how people will mourn and be distressed when they see Him, just like Isaiah said in chapter two. Paul also spoke of this same event by mentioning the uncovering / unveiling / revelation of Jesus where apokalupsi, apo = “away from,” kalupsis = veil to the Thessalonians: “when the Lord Jesus is revealed (apokalupsi)  from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance…” (2 Thess 1:7-8). Paul’s language of “revealing” is parallel to Isaiah: “the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isa 40:5). Paul then combines this message of the revealing with that of Jesus’ coming with fire in vengeance, just like Isaiah said:

  • For behold, the LORD comes out of His place To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity (Isa 26:21).
  • For behold, the LORD will come with fire And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire (Isa 66:15).

The opening of the heavens is an event that only happens once, at the return of Jesus, on the Day of the Lord, which will cause the elements to melt, mountains to shake and the greatest of all earthquakes the world has ever known. The event will be accompanied with “noises and thunderings and lightnings”, which is first mentioned in the seventh seal.

Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake (Rev 8:5).

Hence, the noises, thunderings, lightnings, and earthquake of the seventh seal are an aspect of the opening of the heavens—a theme we have found repeatedly in Revelation and in a host of other Scriptures.

The seventh seal, seventh trumpet and seventh bowl all include the theme of the opening of the heavens. The thematic approach resolves the burden of trying to explain how each judgment is a different judgment from a chronological perspective. Rather, the thematic interpretation says if one verse quacks and walks like a duck and another passage quacks and walks like a duck, then they are the same event, but from different perspectives. The thematic approach also satisfies the requirement for multiple witnesses to establish doctrine.

The Seven Seals as a Template of the Tribulation

By viewing the text through the lens of the thematic method, we recognize the seven seals as an independent template for the entire tribulation. Moreover, we see that the other judgments are parallel, meaning they fit inside the seals. Our goal in this section is identify the repeating themes. I have outlined the texts and highlighted and underlined keywords so you can see the recurring thematic ideas. I explain the background when necessary and point out the original language to aid in spotting and tracking with the theme. I have indicated a progressive intensification of a theme with these arrows: >>. 

The opening of the seals is the schematic progression that culminates in Jesus’ reclamation of absolute authority and the restoration of the world. As Jesus begins reclaiming dominion of the cosmos, Satan makes counter moves to ensure he retains control. At the heart of Satan’s scheme is the Beast who was, is not, and ascends out of the abyss—who was Ninurta / Nimrod, a hybrid of Satan. Please consult Corrupting the Image 2 for the many interesting details of that relationship. In this outline, we will continue to consider how the seals are a template for the tribulation and how their themes are repeated throughout Revelation and prophecy. Let us examine the details of each seal and consider additional thematic parallels in other prophetic verses:   

1st Seal: Rider on white horse with bow, crown, goes out conquering (Rev 6:2)

  • The rider on the white horse with a bow is an iconic picture of the beast who was, and is known in the ancient world as Ninurta, son of Enlil. He held the power, throne, and authority of Satan, and essentially merged with him. And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer (Rev 6:2).
    • Rev 13:1-4: Beast w/ characteristics of former empires & 7 heads & 10 horns, receives dragon’s power, throne, authority
    • Rev 17:3 Beast with 7 heads & 10 horns carries the woman
    • And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them (Dan 8:10). He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down (Dan 8:11).
    • “And in the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise, Having fierce features, Who understands sinister schemes (Dan 8:23). His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people (Dan 8:24). “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; But he shall be broken without human means (Dan 8:25).
    • “Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days by My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against them? (Ezek 38:17).

2nd Seal: Rider on red horse takes away relative peace, men kill each other (Rev 6:4)

  • Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword (Rev 6:4).
    • According to the New York Times, “Of the past 3,400 years, humans have been entirely at peace for 268 of them, or just 8 percent of recorded history.”[1] Hence, the Red Rider takes away a Pax Romana peace where the world is mostly prospering as opposed to the global conflicts of World Wars I and II.
  • Jesus spoke of men killing each other:
    • For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (Matt 24:7).
  • Rev 11:5-6: 2 Two (Elijah & Moses?) witnesses begin their ministry and will torment “those who dwell on the earth” (Rev 11:10).
    • “Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, Which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, With the statutes and judgments (Mal4:4). Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD (Mal 4:5). And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Mal 4:6).
    • “Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness (Deut 17:6).
  • Other Scriptures of relative peace transitioning to fear, destruction, and no peace overtaking the inhabitants of the Earth:
    • The city of confusion is broken down; Every house is shut up, so that none may go in (Isa 24:10). There is a cry for wine in the streets, All joy is darkened, The mirth of the land is gone (Isa 24:11) In the city desolation is left, And the gate is stricken with destruction (Isa 24:12). …Fear and the pit and the snare Are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth (Isa 24:17).
    • Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity” (Dan 8:25).
    • Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart (Dan 9:27a).

3rd Seal: The black rider brings starvation on a global scale which affects wheat, barley, plus oil and wine (increasing intensity until Jesus’ return) (Rev 6:5-6)

  • Behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand (Rev 6:5). And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm[2] the oil and the wine” (Rev 6:6).
    • A day’s wage for a quart of wheat. One bushel of wheat costs roughly $5 in 2021. There are about 37 quarts in one bushel: one quart of wheat costs about $0.14. A day laborer makes about $100. Therefore, a quart of wheat would cost $100. That is approximately a 57,000% increase—starvation-level-crisis.
  • The Two Witnesses strike Earth w/ plague of no rain leads to 1st trumpet with vegetation burned!
    • If anyone tries to harm them, fire flashes from the mouths of the prophets and consumes their enemies. This is how anyone who tries to harm them must die. (Rev11:5) They have power to shut the skies so that no rain will fall for as long as they prophesy [1st trump] (Rev11:6a).
  • 1st trump: 1/3 trees and grass burned up >> 4th bowl: sun scorches with heat (Rev 16:8-9).
    • The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass (chortos χόρτος) was burned up (Rev 8:7).
      • “Grass is pastureland, hay, or herbs in a general sense. Wheat and barley are variations of “grass” (chortos χορτος). Trees and grass are susceptible to the drought and fires brought on by the two witnesses
  • Joel mentions, with almost identical language to the first trumpet, the field is wasted, grain ruined, wine dried up, oil fails, and the food is cut off. Also, trees of the field, (fruit bearing trees: fig, pomegranate, palm, and apple) that mankind cultivates are burned sending food prices skyrocketing.
    • The field is wasted, The land mourns; For the grain is ruined, The new wine is dried up, The oil fails (Joel 1:10). For the wheat and the barley…the harvest of the field has perished (Joel 1:11). The vine has dried up, And the fig tree has withered; The pomegranate tree, The palm tree also, And the apple tree– All the trees of the field are withered… (Joel 1:12) the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as destruction from the Almighty (Joel 1:15). Is not the food cut off before our eyes (Joel 1:16), for fire has devoured the open pastures, and a flame has burned all the trees of the field (Joel 1:19). The beasts of the field also cry out to You, for the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the open pastures (Joel 1:20).
  • Isaiah likewise predicted the burning of the earth, the lack of wine and other food with destruction across all socio-economic ranges:
    • “Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste, Distorts its surface And scatters abroad its inhabitants” (Isa 24:1). As with the servant, so with his master…As with the lender, so with the borrower; As with the creditor, so with the debtor (Isa 24:2). “The earth mourns and fades away, The world languishes and fades away; The haughty people of the earth languish” (Isa 24:4). The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, Because they have transgressed the laws, Changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant (Isa 24:5). Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, And those who dwell in it are desolate. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left (Isa 24:6). The new wine fails, the vine languishes, All the merry-hearted sigh (Isa 24:7).
  • The Two Witnesses, acting as God’s agents, “have the power to turn the rivers and oceans into blood [2nd trump], and to send every kind of plague upon the earth as often as they wish” (Rev11:6) because mankind transgressed the laws (Isa 24:5-6)
    • 2nd trump: 1/3 of seas become blood, 1/3 die >> 2nd bowl: All seas blood and every creature dies (Rev 16:3).
      • 2nd trumpet: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood (Rev 8:8). And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed (Rev 8:9).
        • >> 2nd bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died (Rev 16:3).

The third seal / Black Rider reveals a starvation-level-crisis brought on by the plagues of the two witnesses who cause it not to rain, which leads to drought and then massive fires destroying farmland and orchards, and also waters turning to blood.

4th Seal: Death and Sheol gain authority over all humans (around the middle of Daniel’s 70th week) allowed to kill (Rev 6:8)

  • Behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades [Sheol] followed with him. And power [exousia = authority] was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth (Rev 6:8).
  • 3rd trumpet: 1/3 of rivers bitter (wormwood) >> 3rd bowl: all rivers blood
    • 3rd Trumpet: a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water (Rev 8:10). The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the water, because it was made bitter (Rev 8:11).
      • [The dragon’s] tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth (Rev 12:4).
      • 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).
        • 5th trumpet: star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit (Rev 9:1). – he opens the bottomless pit with a key. Satan and his angels are called stars and one falls to earth in the third trumpet.
    • When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them (Rev 11:7).
      • “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition (Rev 17:8).
      • they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit (Hades / Sheol), whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon [destruction / death] (Rev 9:11).
        • You have said, “We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol [Hades] we are in agreement” (Isa 28:15).
        • It was granted to him [the beast] to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation (Rev 13:7).
        • He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand [hence authority] (Dan 7:25).
          • 6th trump: “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates” (Rev 9:14). …were released to kill a third of mankind (Rev 9:15).
            • >> 6th bowl Rev 16:12: Euphrates runs dry & nations gather (preparation) for the battle / day of the Lord.
    • “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule [hence authority] (Dan 8:25).
    • Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week” (Dan 9:27).

5th Seal: Martyred souls under altar given white garment (Rev 6:9-11)

  • I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held (Rev 6:9). they cried…“How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev 6:10) Then a white robe was given to each of them (Rev 6:11).
    • a great multitude… of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes… (Rev 7:9) “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14).
    • the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony [μαρτυριαν] of Jesus Christ (Rev 12:17).
      • I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness [μαρτυριαν testimony] to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image… (Rev 20:4)
        • the image of the beast should…cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Rev 13:15).
  • Other martyr Scriptures:
    • Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction (Isa 48:10).
    • “some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end (Dan 11:35).
    • “when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished (Dan 12:7). “Many shall be purified, made white, and refined… (Dan 12:10)
    • I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God’ ” (Zech 13:9).
    • They will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me” (Hos 5:15).
    • He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver (Mal 3:3).

6th Seal: Sun, moon, stars darkened, sky recedes, mountains & islands move, battle-day of Lord, world armies hide from Jesus (Rev 6:12-17)

  • (6th seal) sun black as sackcloth, moon like blood. (Rev 6:12)
    • He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood (Rev 6:12).
    • 4th trumpet: a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night (Rev 8:12).
      • “I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke (Joel 2:30). The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD (Joel 2:31).
    • 5th trump: the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. (Rev 9:2) (increasing intensity) Pabilsags (Manticores emerge)
      • >> 5th bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness (Rev 16:10).
    • Other darkening Scriptures:
      • The day of the LORD comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it (Isa 13:9). For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine (Isa 13:10).
      • sun darkened; moon will not give its light (Matt 24:29)
    • (6th seal) stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree. (Rev 6:13)
      • the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones (Isa 24:21).
      • All their host shall fall down…as fruit falling from a fig tree (Isa 34:4).
      • the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken (Matt 24:29).
    • (6th seal) the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up (Rev 6:14)
      • Rev 11:19 the temple of God was opened in heaven
      • Rev 19:11 heaven opened…He judges and makes war
      • Other Scriptures: Isa 34:4, 64:1; 2 Pet 3:10
    • (6th seal) Every mountain & island moved (Rev 6:14)
      • 7th bowl Rev 16:18 largest ever earthquake – affects all mountains and islands (so they are not found Rev 16:20), hail,
      • Isa 2:13-15; 13:13; 24:19-20; 40:4; Jer 4:24; Hab 3:6; (Ezek 38:19-20 all shake, all mountains thrown down)
    • (6th seal) Battle w/ Jesus / kings, great men, commanders, hide in caves & in the mountains, “the great day of His wrath has come” (Rev 6:15, 17)
      • Rev 19:11-21 Jesus treads winepress, Battle / Day of the Lord
        • Rev 14:16-20 winepress, earth reaped, blood to horses’ bridles
        • they gathered them together to…Armageddon (Rev 16:16).
        • “I have trodden the winepress alone…And trampled them in My fury; Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments… (Isa 63:3)
          • Rev 19:17-18 Birds called to eat flesh of kings, commanders, etc., Ezek 39:4, 17-20
      • Isa 2:10, 19; 26:21; 63:3; 66:15-16; Joel 2; 2 Thess 1:7-8; Matt 24:30; Ezek 38:18 fury on my face

7th seal (Rev 8:1-5): (& trump & bowl): Lightning, thunders, noises, earthquake, It is finished, Babylon destroyed

  • Lightning, thunders, noises, earthquake
    • the seventh seal…silence in heaven for about half an hour (Rev 8:1). there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake (Rev 8:5).
    • the temple of God was opened in heaven…there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail (Rev 11:19).
    • there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake (Rev 16:18).
    • Ezek 38:22 hail, brimstone
  • It is finished!
    • in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel…the mystery of God would be finished (Rev 10:7).
    • 7th trumpet: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev 11:15) The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints…And should destroy those who destroy the earth” (Rev 11:18).
    • 7th Bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” (Rev 16:17)
      • Ezek 39:29 God hides his face no longer
  • Babylon judged
    • Rev 14:8 “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city
    • the great city was divided…the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered…(Rev 16:19)
    • Rev 18:2 Babylon is fallen
    • Rev 19:2 Jesus judged the harlot
    • Ezek 39:21 God sets glory among nations, Isa 48:1-8


We have seen that the thematic method, with its many recapitulations, is used frequently in Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. Revelation itself, first tells us the story from the beginning to the end, which is the Day of the Lord, and then tells the story again from many perspectives. The seals provide a template for the entirety of the tribulation. The seventh seal is the end of the tribulation. Although the trumpets and bowls come next in the sequence of the book, they are in fact a flashback to supply color, texture and describe the intensification of the judgments.

To interpret the book chronologically yields a problematic result where every mountain and island moves out of its place twice, which the text indicates is impossible. The thematic approach to understanding the book focuses on discerning parallel language and imagery. When we focus on identifying themes, we find an abundance of identical passages in the prophets and the words of Jesus. When these passages are read alongside John’s report of end time events in Revelation, we glean a colorful, multi-dimensional picture of a concise set of events that have often been misinterpreted to be a multitude of sequential events.   


[2] One of the four creatures is not instructing the rider to not harm the oil and wine but rather, is just reporting: Wheat and barley go for this much; be careful concerning oil and wine, because what is stored is all you have.

 [KS1]I added a space between the rows of arrows so that the reader is not tempted to read it from top to bottom, like Seal 1, Trumpet 1 Bowl 1.

Discover How Satan-Enlil is the Great Dragon

Ever since John recorded the incredible visions shown to him by God in the book of Revelation, speculation has abounded as to what he meant by the imagery he described. For example, Bible prophecy speaks of “a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns” (Rev 12:3) and “a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns” (Rev 17:3). The scenes described are anything but normal, which has led commentators to relegate the vision to nothing more than allegory.

In order for us to know how to interpret the images, we must find their definitions. But where are we to find such definitions? We can interpret the meaning of the symbols if we learn their definitions.

Our world is full of symbols we understand well: the red, yellow and green lights in a traffic-light are symbols. We all know what they mean, but a person from the deep jungles would have no idea that the meaning of those colors symbolize stop, slow down and go. Yet once they learn the meaning, the symbol is easy to interpret.

So too, John gave us symbols. Our job is to find the definitions for them, just like we had to learn red light means “stop.” Thus, we are asking what are the definitions of the following?

  • a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads (Rev 12:3). 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).
  • And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name (Rev 13:1).
  • The angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns (Rev 17:7).

The keywords are highlighted; These words share common features and are the key players in all three passages from Revelation. Right away, we notice that both the Beast and the dragon share these features:

  1. A great dragon
  2. A fiery red dragon
  3. A beast
  4. Seven heads
  5. Ten horns

Satan’s Fiery Covering

Before we dig into the Mesopotamian evidence, let’s review what the Bible reveals concerning Satan’s original appearance, which will help us put the former into proper context.

God created the angels with a fiery quality similar to his own. Scripture describes “the LORD your God is a consuming fire” (Deut 4:24, 9:3; Ps 97:3). Ezekiel recounts from his vision of God that “from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber [electricity] with the appearance of fire all around within it (Ezek 1:27). The return of the Lord is likewise said to be with fiery flames (2 Thess 1:8; Isa 66:15).

The angels, including Cherubim / Seraphim, are described as fiery beings, as well. Their fiery nature seems to be necessary for them to be able to live in God’s presence. There are many verses that reference the angels’ glorious appearance. We recall that the angels shone in the night sky at the announcement of the birth of Messiah in Luke 2:9. The root word in that passage is perilampo (περιλάμπω), meaning “to shine around, “a derivative of lampo, “to shine.” In Luke 24:4, two angels stood by the tomb in “shining garments” (astrapto ἀστράπτω, like what a star does). This same word for shining is used to describe lightning as it shines from one part of heaven to the other, according to Luke 17:24.

The prophet Daniel described a vision in which an angel had a shining appearance, by writing: “His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color”(Dan 10:6). In the book of Revelation, angels were “clothed in pure bright [lampron λαμπρον] linen” (Rev 15:6). The Psalmist described how God “makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire” (Ps 104:4).

Ezekiel described the appearance of angels as burning coals of fire and with four faces![1]

The likeness of four living creatures … they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning (Ezek 1:5–14).

The description of these creatures is also a description of Satan’s appearance before his fall, though he must have been the most splendid looking of them all. Their appearance was described as having:

  1. The likeness of a man
  2. Straight legs with feet like a calf
  3. Four faces
    1. Man
    1. Lion
    1. Bull
    1. Eagle
  4. Four wings
  5. Burning coals, torches, lightning, electricity

Satan looked like these creatures. Though after his fall, he lost the fiery quality, which we will examine shortly. Nevertheless, a being with four faces of four kinds of creatures is indeed both a complex and revealing entity. The Hebrew word [פנים panim] is plural “faces.” A face is a window into the heart and mind of a person. Faces are constantly changing direction and shape, depending on mood, intentions, dreams and experiences. Face also means “presence.” God promised, “My Presence will go with you” (Exod 33:14). God’s face going with the Israelites was so important to Moses that he said to God: “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here” (Exod 33:15).

We can infer from this passage that to be in the presence of [לפני lifne] a cherub with four faces could give the impression of being in front of a man, a lion, a bull or an eagle. I have been in the close presence of a lion, and it is an awesome experience. Growing up in rural Michigan, I made sure to keep my distance from bulls as I understood they are creatures that can kill. Likewise, the eagle is both majestic and deadly. Incidentally, these four formidable faces are excellent representatives of the four broad categories of creatures on the face of the Earth.

Great Dragon

The Mesopotamian evidence of the great dragon is plentiful and gives greater context to what John was seeing in Revelation. “The most common serpentine epithet from ancient cuneiform sources is Akkadian ušumgallu “great dragon,” itself a loan from Sumerian UŠUMGAL.” [2] (Remember the Š is pronounced “sh”). The great dragon title, Ushumgal, was a typical epithet for Enlil’s many syncretisms: “Ušumgallu also designates a host of Mesopotamian deities, including Marduk … His exalted position over humanity is expressed in the appellation, “great dragon of the heavens and earth.” [3] ANE scholar Tyler Yoder points out, “Marduk’s ownership of a pet mušḫuššu (“snake”) furthers his own serpentine associations.”[4]

Figure 7 UŠUMGAL or Anzu bird Icon By editor Austen Henry Layard, drawing by L. Gruner – Monuments of Nineveh.

In other words, we have discovered that “great dragon” was a quite common term for Satan / Enlil and the like. It was also a term for serpent, just like the Bible told us a serpent tempted Adam and Eve in Genesis 3; (it appears the Bible critics were premature in ridiculing the Bible for such imagery). Ancient iconography attests to the historical authenticity of Heilel / Enlil (or one of his syncretizations: Ninurta, Baal, Zeus, Nergal, among others) being commonly referred to as a snake or dragon.

The icon for the Ushumgallu, seen adjacent in Figure 7, is also sometimes called the Anzu bird. It was a chimera, a creature with the DNA of another animal mixed into itself. The “translation of ušumgallu ‘lion-dragon’ “derives from the conceptual amalgamation of these creatures.”[5] The Ushumgallu in the epic of Gilgamesh was called a “‘ground lion’ … and the mušḫuššu serpent often evinces leonine traits.” [6] The point is that the great dragon is not the classic fire-breathing dragon of legend from the Middle Ages. The Mesopotamian dragon had many overlaps of lion qualities—which was one of Satan’s cherub faces.

The foremost quality of the great dragon, Ancient Near East expert Frans Wiggermann points out, “is being a determined killer, killing probably with its venom, and frightening even the gods.”[7] Man, lions, bulls, and eagles—the four faces of the cherub, certainly classify as determined killers.[8]

The great dragon also had seven heads in Mesopotamia literature and iconography. We always need to keep in mind the many syncretizations inherent in the ancient texts. Heilel (Satan) = Enlil = Marduk = Baal = Bel; and, Ninurta (son of Enlil) often assumed Enlil’s role altogether.

We learn that a syncretization of Marduk (or his son), according to Yoder, was called “the great dragon, who cannot be faced.” Furthermore, Nergal (god of the dead and a syncretization of Ninurta / Enlil) was represented with the same description: “[ú-šum]-gal-lu ṣīru tābik imti elišunu “The majestic, great dragon who pours his venom upon them.” [9] With those epithets in mind, we can appreciate the significance that “Nergal’s divine staff was as ‘awe-inspiring as a serpent’ and Ninurta’s mace consisted of seven snake-like heads.”[10]

Figure 8 Ninurta killing one of the heads of the seven-headed serpent. Bible Review, Oct. 1992, 28 (=ANEP #671) (Early Dynastic). Courtesy of the Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem.

That Nergal, also known as Ninurta, Melqart, Marduk and Enlil, had a seven-headed snake is incredibly revealing. The great dragon of Revelation has “seven heads and ten horns,” (Rev 12:3) as does the Beast, who has “seven heads and ten horns” (Rev 13:1). Not only does the iconography reveal a great dragon,[11] but John saw “one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the Beast (Rev 13:3). Looking at Figure 8 above, we see that one of the heads is mortally wounded. God is revealing that the symbols in Revelation relate directly back to the false gods of Babylon. A key to defining the images from Revelation is found in deciphering ancient Babylonian monuments.

Fiery Red Dragon: Mušuššu

It is amazing (though not surprising, since the vision was from God) that John described not only a “great dragon”, but “a great, fiery red dragon” (Rev 12:3). How could John have known, humanly speaking, about the Mušḫuššu from hundreds of years before? John could not have known that the word, Mušḫuššu, could mean “fearsome” or “red,” or perhaps both. This is a strong testimony of the divine origin of John’s vision and of the accuracy of the entity John is describing.

German archaeologists dug up the Ishtar Gate and  transported it back to the East Berlin Museum, Germany, where you can now walk through the actual gate. On the walls of the Ishtar Gate, which date from the neo-Babylonian empire (ca. 7th– 6th century BC), Marduk’s “pet” mušḫuššu [mushkhushshu] is visible. As seen in Figure 9 below, it was a hybrid, scaly creature with hind legs resembling the talons of an eagle, and with lion-like forelimbs, a long neck and tail, a horned head, a snake-like tongue and a crest.[12] Wiggermann explains that both “fearsome” and “red” are possible interpretations the name, mušḫuššu:

Akkadian mušḥuššu is a loanword from Sumerian mušḥuš (-a), literally “fearsome serpent”. The reading of the second element as ḥuš rather than ruš (both possible) … The Sumerian Loanwords in Old Babylonian Akkadian I, its meaning as “fearsome” rather than “red” (both possible).[13]

Figure 9 Mushkhushshu on Ishtar Gate.

Figure 10 Mušḥuššu H. Frankfort, Cylinder Seals, text-fig. 33 (=ANEP #511) (Gudea; Girsu [Tello]).

John told us of a sign that appeared in heaven, “a great, fiery red dragon” (Rev 12:3). Again, God is revealing that the imagery in Revelation connects back to the ancient gods of Babylon. We continue to define the symbols in Revelation by examining ancient icons from the civilizations in Mesopotamia.

The prophet Daniel wrote about Marduk’s dragon that was “like a lion, and had eagle’s wings and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it” (Dan 7:4). In ancient iconography, the Mushkhushshu is seen walking like a beast and standing like a man as depicted above in Figure 10. This dragon stood as a symbol of the strength of Marduk and in opposition to the true God. Accordingly, God promised to judge Marduk, spelled Merodach in the Bible: “Merodach is broken in pieces” (Jer 50:2). We also learned in the previous chapter that the Greek healer god Asclepios was associated with Melqart / Heracles, which is parallel to the Mušḫuššu.

It seems plausible to connect the Sumerian mušḫuš with the Hebrew נָחָשׁ (āsh) snake. They share many similarities: Mḫuš may mean “red snake-dragon” and āsh is related to a copper-bronze color[14] which is fairly close to the coloration of the Mušḫuššu on the Ishtar Gate. The mušḫuš is a symbol for Enlil or is closely associated with him; “In the so-called Labbu-myth Enlil sends the muš[ḫuššu] to wipe out noisy mankind.[15] In Genesis, the āsh was definitely associated with Satan, the one who desired to destroy mankind (“opinions differ as to whether this was a Satan-inspired snake or a name for Satan himself.”)[16]

Lastly, I am persuaded that there could be a linguistic connection between Mušḫuš and āsh, the serpent in the Garden. James H. Charlesworth of Princeton notes there is “in Akkadian … the n to m shift.” [17] Thus, MŠḪŠ would shift to NŠḪŠ, the first Š would fall out NŠḪŠ, leaving NḪŠ. Vowels are flexible between languages; thus, it is plausible for U to transition to A. Mušḫuš > נָחָשׁ āsh.

Just coincidence?

The Anzu Bird

We see additional images of Ninurta or Marduk (or Bel, Dagon and the rest, who are all the same entity.) Amar Annus in his article, “Ninurta and the Son of Man”, notes:

Bêl ‘Lord,’ which is also Ninurta’s common epithet, and points to a connection with West-Semitic Baal. Marduk came to replace Enlil in the Mesopotamian pantheon, so he took over conjointly the position of the father Enlil and the mythology of his son Ninurta.[18]

Recall that over time, with syncretization of belief systems, the names and characteristics of these gods meshed together. Here, Enlil and Ninurta take on one another’s qualities. We learn from Amar Annus how in the mythology from Shinar, “after vanquishing the eagle Anzu, Ninurta becomes one with the bird … paradoxically, Ninurta is equated with his slain enemy, Thunderbird Anzu, who becomes his symbol.”[19]

Figure 11 Ninurta with wings.

Ninurta, in the iconography pictured in Figure 11, is being identified with the Anzu bird. The very creature that he killed, the Anzu bird or Manticore, then becomes Ninurta’s symbol. There is a certain fluidity in how Ninurta is presented, according to Jacobsen:

The two forms, bird and lion, tended to compete in the image of the god, who was sometimes the lion-headed bird, sometimes a winged lion with bird’s tail and talons, sometimes all lion. In time the animal forms were rejected in favor of imagining the god in human form only.[20]

We have seen this shift in appearance in the passage from the Book of Daniel:

“The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it” (Dan 7:4).

Figure 12 Ninurta wearing a crown of ten horns standing on a Lion-headed Eagle (A n z u d / Anzû), Lion-Dragon

Just as Daniel saw the fluid nature of the first beast that emerged from the sea, the iconography of Ninurta shows us the changing images of the god. Ninurta sometimes was a chimeric creature standing on four feet as a beast, but sometimes he was standing on two feet as a man; We have images of him both with and without wings.

F. Wiggermann calls to our attention an incredibly significant detail regarding the Anzu lion-dragon, which shares a number of features with the Mušḫuššu. In Mesopotamian Protective Spirits, Wiggermann explains it was Enlil (not his syncretization Ninurta) who was originally associated with Anzû. [21]

This insight reveals that the hybrid creature first represented Enlil and then later, stood for the syncretization of the various names of Mesopotamian gods.

The Anzû then, is not Ninurta / Ningirsu’s symbol, nor that of any of the other gods whose images are conflated with a symbolic animal. “The Anzû represents another, more general power, under whose supervision, all the gods operate. This higher power can only be Enlil, which is exactly what we see in the Lugalbanda Epic and Anzû myth, Thus, the posture of the lion-headed eagle, with wings stretched out above the symbolic animals of other gods, becomes understandable: it is a stance that is neither that of attack, nor that of defense, but that of the master of the animals.”[22]

Uncovering the fact that the Anzu was originally identified with Enlil reveals once again that Satan is the one depicted in the many symbols of the gods of Mesopotamia. We saw in the previous chapter how “master of the animals” was a reference to Melqart / Heracles whom we determined was a syncretization of Enlil. Furthermore, the fact that Enlil, the Anzû lion-dragon, was master of the animals causes us to think of the four faces of the cherubim. Enlil dominated the animal kingdom: the man-beings, the wild lion-type beings, the domestic bull-type beings and the flying eagle-type beings. The face of a man, lion, bull and eagle make up the four faces of the cherub and possibly the head of Satan, himself—formerly a covering cherub. The connection may not be exact;[23] nevertheless, we do have a strong correlation between the snake-dragon of Enlil, Marduk, etc. and also with Satan in Genesis 3. Thus, the nakhash in the Garden was not today’s average snake. It was like the Ushumgallu / mušuššu / Anzu, with legs to stand erect. It was the curse that later changed Satan’s form from the snake-dragon / lion-dragon to what he is today.


The last word that we will examine for serpent-dragon is Bašmu, which will lead us to Mt. Hermon, to Og, King of Bashan and to the transfiguration of Jesus (later in the book). Bashan in the Bible comes from Akkadian Bašmu. Wiggermann notes: “For the two Sumerian terms u s u m and muš-šà-tùr Akkadian has only one: bašmu … must refer to two different types of mythological snakes as well, and we will call them ušum / bašmu and muš-šà-tùr / bašmu.”[24] He defines the ušum / bašmu, as “Venomous Snake … horned snake with forelegs.” He also notes a snake-dragon that we have already examined: u š u m g a l, rendered in Akkadian by ušumgallu and bašmu, is a derivative of u š u m and literally means: “Prime Venomous Snake” … Ušumgallu … occasionally replaces mušḫuššu when the dragon of Nabû is referred to or the dragon of Ninurta.[25]

He points out (see Figure 13):

The foremost quality of an u š u m g a l … is being a determined killer, killing probably with its venom, … It is this quality that makes u š u m ( g al ) a suitable epithet for certain gods and kings.[26]

Figure 13 Bashmu from Wiggermann’s Mesopotamian Protective Spirits.

We must not miss how the Bašmu was later equated with the icon of Nergal, Ninurta, and Marduk: “Nergal is not originally a dragon slayer, but here, as elsewhere … he replaces Ninurta. After Marduk’s usurpation of the mušḫuššu, the ušum / bašmu became the symbolic animal of gods formerly associated with the mušḫuššu.”[27] A Bašmu was a snake-dragon, sometimes used to describe the other snake-dragons we have studied, and was a determined killer and was a suitable epithet for gods and kings! It was also associated with Marduk which is another name for Enlil or occasionally his “son” Ninurta, whom we will discover is Nimrod in a later chapter.

Bashmu, in astronomy, was the constellation Hydra[28], the seven headed dragon that Heracles killed (See Figure 8). The Dictionary of God, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia notes, “This creature may be the seven-headed hydra killed by the god Ningirsu or Ninurta, also referred to in spells.”[29]

Wiggermann, writing in Transtigridian Snake Gods, provides us with an important link between Bašmu, Ereškigal (Ishtar’s sister), and Og the god of the dead / death.

Ereškigal…queen of the netherworld, rules the dead … is associated with the constellation Hydra (MUL.dMUŠ) in late astrological texts … the Babylonian constellation Hydra looked like … a snake drawn out long, with the forepaws of a lion, no hind legs, with wings, and with a head comparable to that of the mušḫuššu dragon. Its Babylonian name was probably Bašmu. Ereshkigal’s messenger, Mutum “Death” … is described in a late Assyrian text. He has the head of a mušḫuššu dragon.[30]

We cannot ignore the fact that Og was King of Bashan (in Hebrew “the Bashan”). That means he was king of the snake-dragons if we simply plug in the meaning. Furthermore, we just learned that Bashmu was some kind of amalgamation of the Ushumgallu, the Mushhushshu and the Anzu. The implication then is that Enlil (or Ninurta, son of Enlil) seems to have been behind the workings of Og and the land Bashan (snake-dragons). In a later chapter we will explore the relationship to the king of the Amorites (MARTU=Enlil), king of the Rephaim (underworld “healers” or “healed”), who were also known as snake gods.

Ten Horns

The prophet Daniel wrote about the ten horns saying, “It was different from all the beasts that came before it, and it had ten horns” (Dan 7:7).

Figure 14 Enlil wearing a crown of ten horns.

Crowns with ten horns were a common feature of the gods in ancient Mesopotamia. “Enlil is regularly represented wearing a horned helmet.”[31] In the cylinder seal depicted in Figure 14, we see Enlil wearing a crown with ten horns (five on each side).

In another cylinder seal (Figure 12, p. 13), Ninurta can be seen wearing a crown with ten horns and riding the Anzu bird, which also represents him as Enlil. Thus, the Bible reveals the symbols, and we once again, have discovered the means by which we can interpret these symbols.

The imagery of a great dragon and a beast is represented in the iconography of ancient Mesopotamia. Revelation spoke of Satan as the great dragon because that was how he was known from the earliest of recorded history. The Bible not only accurately recorded his ancient epithets but also gives us a spiritual window into the original role, authority and nefarious motives of Satan which allowed him to plunge the world into its current darkness.

[1] He later identifies these as cherubim: “This is the living creature I saw under the God of Israel by the River Chebar, and I knew they were cherubim,” (Ezek 10:20).

[2] Wiggermann posits the base meaning for UŠUM as “Prime Venomous Snake” Tyler R. Yoder, “Ezekiel 29:3 and Its Ancient Near Eastern Context” Vetus Testamentum 63 (2013) 486-96

[3] Tyler R. Yoder, “Ezekiel 29:3 and Its Ancient Near Eastern Context” Vetus Testamentum 63 (2013) Pg. 486-96

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “It is first attested by a 22nd-century BC cylinder inscription at Gudea.” F. A. M. Wiggermann, Mesopotamian Protective Spirits, Pg. 167.

[8] Icon By editor Austen Henry Layard, drawing by L. Gruner – ‘Monuments of Nineveh, Second Series’ plate 5, London, J. Murray, 1853, Public Domain,

[9] Tyler R. Yoder, “Ezekiel 29:3 and Its Ancient Near Eastern Context” Vetus Testamentum 63 (2013) Pg. 486-96

[10] Ibid.6

[11] Yoder has shown how God, in Ezekiel, used the term “great dragon” to describe who Pharaoh thought he was. “Behold, I am against you, O Pharaoh king of Egypt, O great monster.” The Greek Septuagint “great monster” as τον δρακοντα τον μεγαν “great dragon” (Ezek 29:3). Yoder explains “The prophet could easily have drawn from an existing cache of unambiguous expressions to portray Pharaoh, but instead chose a term suffused with mythological overtones.” Tyler R. Yoder, “Ezekiel 29:3 and Its Ancient Near Eastern Context” Vetus Testamentum 63 (2013) 486-96.

[12] Wiggermann, F. A. M. (1992). Mesopotamian Protective Spirits: The Ritual Texts. Brill Publishers. Pg. 156.

[13] Frans Wiggermann, Reallexikon der Assyriologie (RlA) 8 1995 Pg. 455, 456.

[14] “The word nāḥāsh is almost identical to the word for “bronze” or “copper,” Hebrew nĕḥōshet (q.v.). Some scholars think the words are related because of a common color of snakes (cf. our “copperhead”), but others think that they are only coincidentally similar.” TWOT nāḥāsh

[15] Wiggermann, F. A. M. (1992). Mesopotamian Protective Spirits: The Ritual Texts. Brill Publishers. Pg. 156.

[15] Frans Wiggermann, Reallexikon der Assyriologie (RlA) 8 1995 Pg. 455, 456

[16] J. O. Buswell. Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, I, Zondervan, 1962, Pg. 264–65.

[17] Revealing The Genius Of Biblical Authors: Symbology, Archaeology, And Theology James H. Charlesworth, Princeton

[18] Amar Annus “Ninurta and the Son of Man” Published in Melammu Symposia 2: R. M. Whiting (ed.), Mythology and Mythologies. Methodological Approaches to Intercultural Influences. Proceedings of the Second Annual Symposium of the Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage Project. Held in Paris, France, October 4-7, 1999 (Helsinki: The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project 2001), Pg. 7-17. Publisher:

[19] Ibid.

[20] Jacobsen, Th. 1987 The Harps that Once… Sumerian Poetry in Translation. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. PG. 235.

[21] In his study, he notes the “Lion-headed Eagle (M. 14; third millennium A n z u d l Anzû), and Lion-Dragon …Second and first millennium Anzû.” F. A. M. Wiggermann, Mesopotamian Protective Spirits The Ritual Texts – Siyx & Pp Publications Groningen 1992. Pg. 161

[22] F. A. M. Wiggermann, Mesopotamian Protective Spirits The Ritual Texts – Siyx & Pp Publications Groningen 1992. Pg. 161

[23] Wiggermann notes “bašmu, ‘Venomous Snake’. The history of the bašmu is not yet completely clear. Positively bašmu’s are the snake of the Kleinplastik (without horns and forepaws, VII. C. 2b), and the snake-monster with forepaws (and wings) from the palace of Esarhaddon.” Ibid. Pg. 189.

[24] F. A. M. Wiggermann Mesopotamian Protective Spirits The Ritual Texts – Styx & PP Publications Groningen 1992. Pg. 166-167

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.



[29] God, Demons, and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia: Bašmu

[30] Transtigridian Snake Gods Wiggermann Pg. 35.

[31] Edzard, D.O. 1965. “Mesopotamien. Die Mythologie der Sumerer und Akkader.” In H.W. Haussig (ed.), Götter und Mythen im Vorderen Orient. Wörterbuch der Mythologie, erste Abteilung, Bd. I, Pg. 17-140. Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Verlag.

Satan as Melqart, King of Tyre (chpt 1B of Corrupting the Image 2)

When God told Ezekiel to “take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre,” in Ezekiel 28, He was talking about far more than a mere human king;[i] He was using one of Satan’s many titles: Melqart. Melqart (mlkqrt), literally means “king of the city”, and here, specifically Tyre.

“Melqart was considered by the Phoenicians to represent the monarchy, perhaps the king even represented the god, or vice-versa, so that the two became one and the same.”[ii] King of the ‘City’ could also be interpreted as a euphemism of the underworld, called “the great city,, Akkadian Irkallu, in the Mesopotamian tradition.” [iii]

We do not know the given name of Satan, but God revealed enough key places for us to trace his titles back to a singular entity. For instance, George A. Barton writes in his study, On the Pantheon of Tyre, that“Baal of Tyre was called Melqart (king of the city), we learn from the Phoenician portion of a bilingual inscription from Malta. The Greek portion of the same inscription shows that Melqart was identified with the Greek Herakles.”[iv] Melqart was also known as Baal, Ninurta, Enlil, Adon and Eshmun, thus, Satan. Historians such as “Josephus Flavius refer to Melqart and Heracles interchangeably.” [v]

The word Heracles (Hercules) comes from Ήρα (Hera) and Κλέος (fame). [vi] The fame part reminds us of the Nephilim, the mighty men (הַגִּבֹּרִ֛ים hagibborim) who were “the men of renown”(Gen 6:4 ESV), and also the people at Babel said, “Let us make a name for ourselves” (Gen 11:4). Therefore, Hercules (Heracles) was another name for Satan.

Likewise, the King of Tyre that God denounces in Ezekiel 28 is considered by most scholars to be the same god with whom Elijah was battling on Mt. Carmel. [vii] In fact, Elijah mocks the god for sleeping “and must be awakened” which were “elements of and allusions to the practice of the ‘awakening’ of Melqart”[viii] which provides further proof of them being the same.

Every year, the Phoenicians celebrated Heracles’ ‘awakening’ (εγερσις) which was considered “the greatest festival of Melqart: the god, burnt with fire, as the Greek hero, was brought to life by means of a hierogamic rite with his divine partner Astarte, through the participation of a particular celebrant, the mqm ‘lm, ‘awakener of deity’.” [ix] In other words, through a “sacred” sexual act, the god was thought to come back to life. The once dead, but then alive again god sounds very much like the “the beast who was, is not, and will ascend out of the Abyss” (Rev 17:8) from John’s visions.

The famous historian Herodotus of the 5th century BC once visited Melqart’s temple and reported that there was “a tomb inside, supporting the theory that, involved as he was in the founding mythology of the city, perhaps Melqart was based on a historical person.”[x] (See next page, Figure 5). The theme, according to Herodotus was that “the Tyrian people paid homage as if to a hero. i.e. as if to one who had died, one who was originally mortal,” [xi] who was deified and became a cosmic lord who grants prosperity.[xii]

In part two, we will explore the theme of the deified hero Nimrod, founder of cities, who was known as the son of Enlil (Satan). In fact, Satan and Nimrod were so closely linked in the ancient world that they were often used interchangeably. Melqart / Heracles was considered the son of Saturn or Zeus, depending on the legend.

Figure 1 Votive Statue of Melqart by Carole Raddato (CC BY-NC-SA).

The interpretario Graeca which existed from the fifth century BC made the connection between Melqart and Baal long before modern scholars. It states:

Heracles was identified with Melqart, whose name means “king of the city”, and who was called the ‘Baal of Tyre’ a west Semitic god who was the primary deity of the Phoenician city of Tyre, and later of its major colony at Carthage. The Carthaginian triad of deities consisting of –‘Baal Shamen,’ Astarte and Melqart became known through their Hellenistic counterparts of Zeus, Asteria and Heracles  … The Samaritans worshipped Melqart as Zeus Xenios on Mount Gerizim (2 Macc 6:2) (Emphasis Mine). [xiii]

Many of us grew up hearing the legends of Zeus and Hercules, yet we never heard about the fact that the real entity behind the legends demanded child sacrifice. It was “extensively practiced in Carthage and ‘made its way into Israel from Phoenicia during periods of religious syncretism.’” [xiv] There is some debate as to how often such an abomination was practiced, though the famous ANE scholar William Albright notes that “the practice was extensive in the Phoenician colonies.” [xv]

Figure 2 Artist’s rendition of Molech.

Sadly, King Solomon led Israel to worship those syncretisms of Satan. He set up “high places to this ‘king’” Milcom, god of deified dead kings, and permitted child sacrifice which continued for hundreds of years. King Josiah, king of Judah shortly before the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, tried to stop the terrible practice:

He defiled Tophet, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech (2 Kgs 23:10). Then the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the people of Ammon (2 Kgs 23:13). (See Appendix 6 Abominations of Babylon).

It is incredible, but all roads lead back to Satan. The dragon, Enlil (Satan), is the same deceptive spirit behind the Greek hero Heracles (Roman Hercules), Baal and Melqart. The same spirit is behind the “the Greek Asklepios, who took over many attributes of Semitic healer gods.”[xvi] We know Asklepios as the snake symbol used in the modern medical practice. While this does not mean that we should not go to doctors, it does reveal the philosophical underpinnings of medicine.

Melqart / Heracles were gods located on the Mediterranean whose origins are in Mesopotamia, the land of Shinar. “Archaeological evidence from Mesopotamia suggests that the figure of Heracles is found as early as the middle of the third millennium.” [xvii] Archaeologists found on Akkadian cylinder seals “a hero probably named Ninurta (the son of Enlil the storm god) … shown conquering lions, bulls, snakes, and even a seven-headed snake.” [xviii]

We do not want to get ahead of ourselves, since we will explore Nimrod in greater detail in part two. Nevertheless, we will just note here that Nimrod and Ninurta were the same person. Ninurta, according to the mythology, was the son of Enlil whom we have learned was Satan. Hence, we see the connection between Nimrod (Ninurta) and Melqart and Satan. Moreover, “in Sumerian representations a hero is fitted out, like the later Greek Heracles, with a club, bow and lion-skin.” [xix] Everywhere we turn, we find Satan or the deified Nimrod as the hero extraordinaire. Indeed, “Heracles’ quest for the apples of Hesperides is similar to the quest for immortality in the popular epic of Gilgamesh.” [xx] Interestingly, Heracles was known as a Master of Animals in the Greek traditions, a trait suggestive of his dragon qualities[xxi] and reminiscent of Satan’s qualities as a cherub.

Satan’s ancient disguises are many and elaborate. As we have seen, looking for “Lucifer” in the ancient world is a fruitless endeavor. However, now that we have the key of Satan = Enlil, we have been able to chip away at some of Satan’s masks and have discovered he was everywhere. He was known as Enlil, Baal, Melqart, Heracles / Hercules and dozens of other titles; and, he was the god who exacted a terrible price from his worshipers. His strategy and quest for world domination are just as real today as when he was openly worshipped by the masses millennia ago. We also peeled back one of the masks which gave us a preview of how Satan deified Nimrod, known in the ancient world as his son. The next disguise we will unmask is Satan, the great dragon.

[i] “It is generally admitted that the figure of Melqart and the forms of his cult are reflected in Ezekiel’s oracle against the king of Tyre (Ezek 28: 1-19). This passage consists of two different sections (vv 1-10 and 11-19) both referring to the same personage.” Melqart The Dictionary Of Deities And Demons In The Bible, Eds. K. Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking nd Pieter W. Van Der Horst (Boston, 1999). Pg. 564-566


[iii] Melqart The Dictionary Of Deities And Demons In The Bible, Eds. K. Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking And Pieter W. Van Der Horst (Boston, 1999). Pg. 564-566

[iv] On the Pantheon of Tyre Author(s): George A. Barton Source: Journal of the American Oriental Society , 1901, Vol. 22 (1901), Pg. 115-117 Published by: American Oriental Society Stable URL: This content downloaded from on Fri, 28 Aug 2020 05:40:31 UTC


[vi] Heracles The Dictionary Of Deities And Demons In The Bible, Eds. K. Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking And Pieter W. Van Der Horst (Boston, 1999). 402-404

[vii] Melqart The Dictionary Of Deities And Demons In The Bible, Eds. K. Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking And Pieter W. Van Der Horst (Boston, 1999). Pg. 564-566

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] The Dictionary Of Deities And Demons In The Bible, Eds. K. Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking And Pieter W. Van Der Horst (Boston, 1999). MELQART


[xi] Melqart The Dictionary Of Deities And Demons In The Bible, Eds. K. Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking And Pieter W. Van Der Horst (Boston, 1999). Pg. 564-566

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] Heracles The Dictionary Of Deities And Demons In The Bible, Eds. K. Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking And Pieter W. Van Der Horst (Boston, 1999). 402-404

[xiv] TWOT Tophet.

[xv] Ibid.

[xvi] Amar Annus, The God Ninurta in the Mythology and Royal Ideology of Ancient Mesopotamia, State Archives of Assyria Studies, Volume XIV Helsinki 2002. Pg. 142.

[xvii] Heracles The Dictionary Of Deities And Demons In The Bible, Eds. K. Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking And Pieter W. Van Der Horst (Boston, 1999). 402-404

[xviii] Ibid.

[xix] Heracles The Dictionary Of Deities And Demons In The Bible, Eds. K. Van Der Toorn, Bob Becking And Pieter W. Van Der Horst (Boston, 1999). Pg. 402-404

[xx] Ibid.

[xxi] F. A. M. Wiggermann, Mesopotamian Protective Spirits The Ritual Texts – Styx & PP Publications Groningen 1992. Pg. 161