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 (http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section4/tr4051.htm)

[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. http://ichthys.com offers the following translation: “In your extensive conspiring, you were filled with wickedness, and you sinned.” (Ezek 28:16)