Contrary to what many believe, Adam was not the first created being to live in the Garden of Eden. The first living creature to inhabit Paradise was a cherub named Lucifer aka king of Tyre. Of this monarch, it is written, “You were in Eden, the garden of God” (Ezekiel 28:14).
In the same passage, we also read, “You were anointed as a guardian cherub.” What was it that needed guarding? What else but the two sacred Trees in the Garden i.e. the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Both Trees were to be protected from intrusion by the animals that God was going to create on Day Six. Apparently, Yahweh doesn’t like animals messing around with His stuff. Recall how some 2500 years after Eden He commanded Moses to build a fence around Mt Sinai to protect His Presence from intrusion by wild beasts? And if a beast so much as touch the fence it would be electrocuted instantly?
You touch it you die!
Of the two Trees in the Garden, only one was out of limits to humans. While they could eat of the Tree of Life freely, humans were expressly forbidden to eat from the Tree in the middle of the Garden i.e. the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The warning was that in the day they ate of it they would die.
Now Lucifer’s guardian role with respect to humans was different from his role with animals. He had the monarchical authority to chase away animals from the Trees. He was of a higher rank in God’s Kingdom than the rest of the animal.
But humans were different. They were a higher order of being than Lucifer. He didn’t have any authority over humans. His role then, was to remind humans of God’s restriction and prohibition with respect to the Tree in the middle of the Garden.
This role is very similar to the role of the two golden figures of the cherubim that sat on top of the Ark of the Covenant, with their wings stretched over the Mercy Seat. The purpose of these two figures was to remind Israel: “You can’t touch this!”
One poor guy by the name of Uzzah was struck dead on the spot when he touched the Ark with the good intentions of preventing it from falling. He may have been trying to help, but who said God needs help?
But I digress.
Lucifer happy, healthy blessed and anointed
Christians sometimes fail to appreciate the fact that when God placed Lucifer in the Garden, he was not the ugly and evil monster that we have come to know as the devil. On the contrary, Lucifer was a cherub on heaven’s assignment.
At this point in his life, he is a perfect and sinless creature. He is the very “seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12).
He is a walking and talking creature. Yes he is called “nachash” meaning “serpent’ but he is not your garden variety snake. He has both legs and language. And in addition to legs and language he also comes with beautiful musical pipes built into his frame, so that he is a moving one–man orchestra.
As if all this wasn’t enough, the dude is also dressed to kill. Check out his gear:
Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone–red carnelian, pale-green peridot, white moonstone, blue-green beryl, onyx, green jasper, blue lapis lazuli, turquoise, and emerald–all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created (Ezekiel 28:13)
Talk about being created with a silver spoon in his mouth. This guy had it made! So what on God’s green earth went wrong?
How things fell apart and why the center could no longer hold for Lucifer
How did this amazing cherub fall from the dizzy heights of beings the most exalted of God’s creatures (of whom even Michael the Archangel could not rebuke directly) to such depths of evil and depravity? How did he spiral downwards so fast from sinless cherub TO dust-eating serpent TO fire-breathing dragon TO the much hated Satan?
Here is how it all went down: Lucifer wakes up on the Sixth Day and hears the Trinitarian Community in deep discussion. The Father reaches a decision makes a proposal to the 2nd and 3rd Persons of the Godhead:
“Let us make man in our image and in our likeness and let them have dominion over all creation” (Gen 1:26).
Lucifer’s pupils dilate as his eyes turn red. His visage becomes vicious. He cannot believe what he is hearing. “They want to make who? To do what? I am the one in charge of this planet. Have I just been fired from my job? Well, fine. They haven’t heard the last of me!”
And with that, Lucifer’s anger and resentment towards the Creator begins to foment in his heart. Pride and arrogance get the better of him, and he won’t be taking this lying down.
But God saw what was going on deep down inside:
“You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly . . . I will ascend above the tops of the clouds I will make myself like the Most High.” Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, They will ponder over you, saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, (Isaiah 14:13-16).
Instead of saying, “Not my will but Thy will be done” Lucifer chooses to assert his free will against the government of God. Those five “I wills” shall forever stand as the epitome of unmitigated creaturely hubris.
The Seed of the woman busts the serpent’s head
God looks at Lucifer and says, “You are fired!” He is kicked out of the kingdom of heaven, but before he leaves Lucifer manages to sway the minds of a third of God’s angels, who promptly resign and walk out with him. These become what we call demons.
Lucifer then hurriedly approaches Eve and tempts her with the fruit of the very Tree he was supposed to be guarding. She succumbs and so does her husband. God comes down and confronts all three. And because none of them is willing to repent or ask for forgiveness, Yahweh puts all three under punishment.
For Lucifer the punishment is a humiliating loss of the privilege of walking. His legs supernaturally disappear from under him, and left with no leg to stand on, he becomes an ordinary serpent condemned to forever crawl on his belly and eat the dust of the earth for the rest of his miserable little life.
But Lucifer aka Satan has an even bigger problem than that. In what is known in Christian theology as the Protevangelium (or First Gospel), God announces to the devil, heaven and earth, the future advent of a “Seed of the woman” who would come to bust the serpent’s head.
And some 4000 years after this announcement a Child is born to a woman in Bethlehem of Judaea, and they call His name Emmanuel. Later in His life this Son of God willingly places Himself in the hands of the human seed of the serpent, which proceeded to crucify Him on a Cross.
But when the serpent so bruised His heel, the Son of God returned the favor and crushed the serpent’s head. And even though Satan survived that blow and is alive today, he certainly is not well.
He has a severe case of brain damage.
(Bishop Dave Chikosi is a founding apostle, pastor, father, theologian, author, entrepreneur and television personality. His book, writings and video messages can be accessed on various web platforms such as YouTube. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org)