Lesson 1

Christ and Satan: Contenders for Control

(Ezekiel 28, John 1)
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Introduction: Recently, I was speaking with a lady who is dying of cancer. Because she has little time to live, I anxiously explained the plan of salvation to her. While I spoke, she fingered the cross hanging from her neck and responded, "I know, I know." Her reaction was that this was old news, rather than good news. As I progressed to explain about the conflict between good and evil, she told me she did not believe Satan exists. At once I knew she did not fully understand the gospel. Our study this week and this quarter reveals the conflict, the drama, between good and evil. Only with the background of evil can we most clearly see the picture of God's love for us. Let's dive in!

  1. The Origin of Evil

    1. Read Ezekiel 28:11-12. Let's get the cast of characters straight here. Who is the source of this message? (God.)

      1. Who is the "son of man?" (Here it refers to Ezekiel. You find that God almost always addresses Ezekiel in this way.)

      2. What is Tyre? (If you look at Ezekiel chapters 26 and 27 you will find dread warnings about the future of the Kingdom of Tyre. This prosperous trading kingdom on the sea, we read, will be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. The destruction of this prominent and prosperous kingdom will be so complete that it will shock its neighbors. Chapter 28 starts with a discussion of the King of Tyre.)

      3. If you did not know about the coming destruction of Tyre, would you like to be the King? (This says he was a gifted fellow: smart, handsome - perfect!)

    2. Read Ezekiel 28:13-14. What else does this tell us about the King of Tyre? (He was in Eden. He had gold and gem ornaments on the day he was created (not born). He was a guardian angel on the holy mount of God. He walked among the fiery stones.)

      1. Are "fiery" stones people who have bad tempers? What do you think "fiery" means? (Revelation has a picture of heaven's soldiers in which they wear armor which is "fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur." ( Revelation 9:17))

      2. What, then, are "stones?" (Stone is a very interesting word in the Bible. Jesus is referred to as a Stone in Romans 9:33 (among many other places). Jesus is called the "tested stone" and "cornerstone" in Isaiah 28:16. We are told we are like "living stones" in 1 Peter 2:4-5.)

      1. Now that you have considered the use of the word "fiery" and "stones" in the Bible, put them together and tell me your understanding of "fiery stones?" (Stones are those individuals who make up the kingdom of God, with Jesus being the Cornerstone. Fiery seems to denote heaven. Therefore, I conclude this is a picture of the citizens of heaven.)

      2. Does this mean the King of Tyre walked among the inhabitants of heaven?

      3. Does this description in Ezekiel 28:13-14 sound like a man? (It could not be a man. How could this fellow be in Eden? How could he be "created" as opposed to born? (Note, however, the Bible uses the word "created" broadly sometimes - for example, Isaiah 43:1) How could he be in heaven ("holy mount") walking among its inhabitants? How could he be an angel?

        1. What do you conclude from this then? Who is being described in Ezekiel 28:13-14? (Our lesson (Sunday) says this is a reference to Lucifer (Satan). Most of the commentaries that I consulted (9 of them)thought Ezekiel was speaking of the actual King of Tyre (Ithobal II)and suggested these statements where figurative. A couple of the commentaries noted that some believed this was Satan.)

    1. Let's read on to better test these conflicting theories. Read Ezekiel 28:15-18. What other characteristics do we learn about the King of Tyre? (That he was perfect. That he was expelled from heaven. That he was thrown to earth.)

      1. Now which interpretation do you think is right? Who is being described here? (I think it is clear that we are not discussing a man any longer. The commentaries I consulted that thought this was the King of Tyre seemed strained in their attempt to tie this to a specific person.)

    2. Read Revelation 12:7-9. Does this square with the picture we have been able to glean from Ezekiel? (Yes, not only does it say that Satan was in heaven, it also (like Ezekiel 28:16) talks about violence and war in heaven, and it speaks of the Devil losing and being thrown to earth.)

    3. Where did evil and Satan originate? (In heaven!)

    1. Why would Ezekiel start writing about the King of Tyre and end up talking about Satan? How does that make any sense? (The King of Tyre had the same sin of pride. Ezekiel slips into discussing the original source of the sin of pride.)

  1. The Origin of Salvation

    1. Read John 1:1-4. Tell me what you learn about "the Word" in these verses? (He existed from "the beginning," He was "with God," more than that He "was God." He created "all things" and He possessed light.)

      1. Where did the Word live? (Heaven.)

      1. Who is this remarkable "Word?"

    1. Read John 1:14-15. Does this cast more light on the identity of the "Word?"

      1. When verse 15 tells us that "John testifies" concerning the Word, is the author of this gospel writing about himself? (No. He is referring to the testimony of John the Baptist about Jesus. See John 1:26-30. Jesus is the Word!)

  1. Good versus Evil

    1. We have identified these descriptions of Jesus and Satan and briefly looked at their backgrounds. Let's compare them now. Compare Ezekiel 28:13-14 with John 1:1.

      1. Did Jesus and Satan "grow up" in the same neighborhood? (It is not accurate to say Jesus "grew up," but they obviously lived together and knew each other in heaven.)

      2. Were Jesus and Satan in Eden together? (Yes)

    2. Read Hebrews 7:25-26. Who is being described here as our High Priest? (Jesus) Compare Hebrews 7:26 with Ezekiel 28:14-15. Were Jesus and Satan both blameless? (Yes, according to these texts.)

    3. Compare John 1:14 with Ezekiel 28:16-17. Where did Jesus and Satan end up? (Jesus, like Satan, ended up on earth.)

      1. Tell me the different way in which they came to earth? (Jesus volunteered to come here to save us. Satan got thrown here against his will as a result of losing a violent war!)

    4. Have you ever seen a family where one kid is well behaved and the other child is a hellion? What do you think the parents of those children ask themselves? (Why? If we raised them the same, why did one go bad and the other did not?)

    5. Jesus is God, and Satan is not. However, Satan seems to have held a very high position in heaven ( Ezekiel 28:14 - "guardian cherub.") He no doubt had fellowship with Satan in heaven. What went wrong? What caused evil to arise out of perfection ( Ezekiel 28:15 - "blameless")?

      1. We find out answer by looking again at Ezekiel 28:15-17(Pride!)

      2. Will good looks make you crazy? (All the ugly people cheer! Verse 17 tells us that Satan's splendor "corrupted" his wisdom. Beauty can be a trap.)

      3. What do you understand from these verses happened in heaven because of Satan's pride? (His fall started with pride because of his beauty and position (v.17). This lead to violence (v.16) until God had to forcibly expel him from heaven (v.17).)

      4. Are you proud? How serious a sin is pride?

      1. How does your church treat those who have the sin of pride? How is it treated compared to, say, sexual sins?

    1. Read John 1:10-12. What does this suggest about Jesus' pride? (He did not have any. He was willing to humble himself by not only becoming a man, but an unrecognized, and generally unwanted man!)

    2. Read Philippians 2:5-8. Compare Jesus attitude to Satan's attitude?

      1. Compare the goal of Jesus' life with the goal of Satan's life? (Satan was focused on himself and his beauty and power. Jesus was focused on helping others.)

      2. How do your life goals fit into this comparison? Are your goals more like those of Jesus or more like those of Satan?

  1. The Results

    1. Read Genesis 3:2-5. What was Satan's work after he was hurled down to earth? (Lying to us.)

      1. Is that a continuing work for Satan? (Read John 8:44.)

    2. After Satan lies to us and causes us to sin, what does he do? (Read Revelation 12:9-10. This accords with the picture in Zechariah 3:1-2 which shows that Satan has an ongoing work of accusing us before God!)

    3. What is Jesus doing in contrast? (Read Hebrews 6:19-20. It is instructive to read Hebrews chapters 5-8. However we get a snapshot of what Jesus is doing for us in Hebrews 6:19-20. While Satan is accusing us, Jesus is interceding for us as our great High Priest!)

      1. So, as they say in the movie "Ghostbusters," Who are you going to call?"

      2. Who do you want to emulate in your life?

    4. Read Ezekiel 28:18. What is the end of Satan?

    5. Friend, Jesus and Satan started out in the same place. Satan lived a life of pride and selfishness. He continues to lead a life of lies and accusations. Jesus, on the other hand lived a life of self-sacrifice and continues to work for us as our High Priest in heaven. Which will you choose to follow?

  2. Next Week: The Betrayers - Peter and Judas.

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