Numbers 22:22: Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary (a SATAN) against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.
If the only definition of satan is a rebellious angel, then the above verse in this (last) week’s Torah Portion would not reconcile. There is another verse where the Angel of the Lord is a satan, only this time it is to David. 2 Samuel 24 is a sister text to 1 Chronicles 21. They talk about the same stories in a slightly different way, kind of like the synoptic gospels in the Apostolic Writings.
1 Chronicles 21:1: Now, Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.
2 Samuel 24:1: Again, the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel, and He (the Angel of the Lord) moved David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”
Something significant to understand is that the words devil and satan do not mean celestial beings. Instead, many Bible scholars have attached those words to rebellious celestial beings. The Blue Letter Bible gives the Strong’s definition of satan as an opponent, an adversary, or to withstand something or someone. When Yeshua calls Peter satan, He is not implying that Peter is a rebellious angel. Instead, He is telling Peter not to oppose Him. He had a critical mission, and Peter stood in His way (Mt 16.23).
The Holy Spirit drew Yeshua into the wilderness for forty-day testing by the devil/satan. The Israelites wandered into the wilderness for forty years and were tested. Who tested them?
Deuteronomy 8:2: And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
Testing proves what is in our hearts. Yeshua needed to undergo testing to make Him the one who could empathize with and help us.
Hebrews 4:15: For we do not have a kohen gadol (High Priest) who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all the same ways—yet without sin.
The satan or adversary Yeshua refers to in Matthew 12:26 has a kingdom. God gave Adam (humans) dominion over the earth and all living things (Gn 1:28). The author of Hebrews tells us that God never told the angels to sit at His right hand (Hebrews 1:5). He never gave them dominion over the earth. Celestial beings exist in the heavens where God reigns (Mt 6.10). Therefore any kingdom Yeshua inherits, or God destroys, is a human one.
Psalm 8:4-8: What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? 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, all sheep and oxen—Even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.
Luke 22:3 and John 13:27 tell us that satan entered Judas. Also Acts 5:3 says;
“But Peter said, “Ananias, why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) and keep back part of the proceeds of the land?”
John 13:2 describes the devil putting something into Judas’ heart rather than entering him. Regardless, it is sin that desires to dwell inside of us.
Genesis 4:7: If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
Remember, you are a house, and doors are on houses. If you were to look around and ask yourself, are celestial beings genuinely competing with God for worship? Worship is what you love with your heart, nefesh or desires, and resources, including time, energy, thoughts, money, and strength. Only the faith community spends any internal resources on celestial beings. The faithless people out there are not worshipping celestial beings. They are worshipping themselves. Chavah (Eve) wanted to be wise, and as God in the Garden, it was not the serpent’s voice seeking worship from her unless it was her own thoughts or her evil inclination, which is possible. The motto of the Church of Satan is “Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” (Thelema, Aleister Crowley) It has nothing to do with Angelology and everything to do with the worship of the self. For the most part, I would connect idolatry to self-worship.
Colossians 3:5: Therefore, put to death what is earthly in you—sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed—for that is idolatry.
James 3:13-15: Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from Heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. (bold accents added)
Notice that idolatry and what is demonic come from the earth. God created humans out of the earth and the Divine Breath. God did not create celestial beings out of the earth. Instead, they are called ministering spirits (Ps 104.4 & Heb 1.7;14). If you read about angels in human terms in the Bible, think about Revelations 21:9, where one of the “angels” talks to John and shows him things. Then in Revelations 22:9, it says;
“Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that (bow in worship). For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
Prophets and Priests are angels or messengers of God (Mal 2.7). Angel means messenger.
Genesis 3:14: So 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.
God casts the serpent onto its belly, which could symbolize making the serpent powerless. He also tells us to cast things down, but it is not angels. He tells us to make our negative, impure, and proud thoughts powerless.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5: For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but powerful through God for the tearing down strongholds. We are tearing down false arguments and every high-minded thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (what is written). We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of the Messiah.
The parable of the sower in all three synoptic gospels tells us that when Yeshua plants the Word of God in our hearts- if someone lacks understanding, it gives way to satan or the devil to snatch those words out of our hearts. Matthew 13:19 defines the satan/devil referred to in Mark 4:15 and Luke 8:12 as the wicked. Some translations say “wicked one,” but the “one” is added. There is a shadow of “sons of wickedness” in 2 Samuel 7:10 which I would use to consolidate God’s enemies in Revelation 12:9 and 20:2. I would describe the dragon as Pharaoh or the Great House of Sin, the Kingdom of Sin and Pride-Ezekiel 29:3 KJV, which is the devil or all crooked humans, which is satan, or all who oppose God referred to as the “children of wickedness” (Mt 13.19), the serpents (possibly false prophets), and beasts (tyrannical kings of the earth). All of whom God eventually deals with.
Here is the thing, a good parent would clearly define imminent danger. The devil/satan as a rebellious angel stems from verses that use symbolic images such as serpents, dragons, stars, and kings who have messengers, which we can interpret differently. Sin, lust, and pride are clearly defined as enemies. If I look at the 33 verses that mention satan in the Apostolic Writings, I would ask myself, is God opposing someone, is someone or something (thoughts/motives) opposing God, or is someone opposing another person?
My friend Genevieve taught me a new phrase in Hebrew—Ayn od mil-vado. This phrase means there is no other besides Him-referring to God. About 20 different verses expressly state this, and I believe they are true. If God tests or opposes me as a satan, I must “check myself before I wreck myself.” If I oppose God’s will, I need to get out of the way.
Isaiah 45: 5-7: I am the Lord, and there is no other. There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness. I make peace and create calamity (evil); I, the Lord, do all these things.’