By: Gordon Lindsay
In this day of demon activity, it is remarkable to “find many theologians who labor with great effort to prove that there is no devil. They deny the existence of the personality of evil which is expressed in the fallen angel Lucifer. A recent survey reflected the fact that out of the percentage of people who professed a belief in God, over 40” said they did NOT believe in the existence of the devil.
In the beginning…Lucifer was a sinless and righteous being. The record speaks of the original integrity and uprightness of the great archangel with these words, “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” ( Ezek. 28:15) It is difficult for us to realize that this wicked creature, now the archenemy of God and man, was at one time a holy being and guardian of the throne of God. And he was an object of Divine confidence, an archangel entrusted with great authority, and who for a
season discharged his duties faultlessly and in perfect obedience to God. That far from being an adversary of God, he was “the anointed cherub that covereth,” whose deeds and conduct were above suspicion, and who enjoyed the confidence of God to such extent that the guardianship of heaven was entrusted into his hands.
The Scriptures describe in some detail the original estate of this exalted being. He was son of the morning, the lightbearer of heaven. He possessed authority which so far as we know was only less than that
of God Himself. As the “anointed cherub that covereth,” he reigned as vice-regent in God’s holy mountain. “Wiser that Daniel,” there was no secret among the angelic hosts that was hidden from him.
How then did it happen that this mighty archangel, Lucifer, son of the morning, fell from the exalted position into the depths of depravity to become the prince of darkness? Concerning this profound question,
the Scriptures are not silent.
Lucifer was the perfection of beauty. He possessed a personality and charm that commanded the admiration of the host of heaven. It is not uncommon for those who are endowed with unusual beauty to acquire an inordinate desire for the admiration of others. Lucifer although of angelic order, was not an exception to this weakness. Ezek. 28:17, states, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty.”
CORRUPTION BY SELF-LOVE
The record indicates that in the course of events, Lucifer developed a strange self-infatuation. Little by little, he permitted the center of his universe to shift from God to himself. He would not have admitted
it; yet in truth a change in his character of sinister and frightening portent was taking place.
Lucifer possessed rare gifts. He had been endowed with great wisdom and knowledge, and to him were entrusted many of the secrets of creation. By reason of these unique gifts and abilities, God had exalted him to the position of vice-regent over His creation. In this key position, Lucifer with his wisdom and superior intelligence was enabled to have deep in-sight into the mysteries of the universe.
But there is a realm in which are involved the eternal purposes of God — and which may be entered only through reverent faith and trust. God alone understands the end from the beginning. (Acts 15:18) He, as
Creator, is the Judge of what is wise and right. (Gen. 18:25) Lucifer, blinded by ambition, chose to question the wisdom of the Divine will, and in so doing, he committed his fateful and tragic error.
What was it in the will of God that had become distasteful to Lucifer? The reason is not hidden from us. We are expressly told that Satan sought to exalt his “throne above the stars of God,” so as to be “like the most High.” (Isa. 14:13-14) But God in His eternal plan had reserved this exaltation not for Lucifer but for Christ. It was given to Christ alone to sit down with the Father in His throne. (Rev. 3:21) Lucifer though vice-regent, the chief archangel and the anointed cherub, was to hold a lesser position than Christ. When it became evident to Lucifer that he was not to have the supreme position, he saw his ambitions frustrated. It was this which resulted in his rebellion. It may seem strange that a created being should develop such passion for self-exaltation and self-love; but the case is no stranger than that of some today, who by reason of an unbridled personal ambition press heedlessly on in self-will to a fate similar to that of Lucifer’s.
Lucifer up till this time had discharged his duties blamelessly and without fault. There had been no reason for him to do otherwise. Yet the hour had come when rebellion was born in his heart. Although God
had given him everything but the throne, Lucifer was not satisfied. The dream of a kingdom universal, in which he wielded supreme power, stirred a restless ambition within him. Apparently he made no attempt
to repress this unholy spirit of self-exaltation, but gave it full encouragement. The evil seed of pride permitted to take root, continued to grow. In the end it produced a harvest of misery and woe
for himself and for those who followed him, that only the Infinite may
assess to its full extent. (I Tim. 3:6)
The story of Lucifer’s self-exaltation, self-love, rebellion, and subsequent fall is related in brief but clear language in Isa. 14:12-14:
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt
my throne above the stars of God; I will sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High!”
HE THOUGH HE COULD SUCCEED
But even a wicked person, and especially one as calculating as Lucifer, does not commit a crime unless he sees some hope for success. How could this false archangel expect to be successful in an adventure
which challenged the Creator for His throne? Possessing the knowledge that he did of Divine omnipotence, how could he hope to be successful in a contest with the eternal will of Jehovah? Though the wicked of
this world in their foolish ignorance may presume to defy God, still the circumstances of their acts are not the same as in the case that we are considering. Infidels and atheists know nothing of God. Contrariwise, Lucifer shared in the Divine counsels and had knowledge of many of the Creator’s secrets. He knew what he was doing. It is certain that the devil’s rebellion was born not from the impulse of the moment, but was the result of a coldly calculated plan that had been carefully thought out over a period of time. Though diabolical in character, it nevertheless proved in many respects to be strategically sound. We do not give the devil his due if we do not concede that he had substantial reason to expect success. That Satan’s plans were shrewdly laid is evidenced by the fact that his wicked conspiracy did succeed to an amazing degree. Far from being quickly subdued, this terrible rebellion has continued down to this present day-although
assuredly, now, its days are numbered. (Rev. 12:12)
The fact is that if God had not foreseen the entrance of evil in the universe and prepared a plan in advance to counteract it — a plan which He kept secret, and which neither good angels nor bad were aware of — the rebellion of Satan would have been successful in disrupting His whole program. But God had foreseen all and had prepared for it. The plan was of such an amazing nature as to startle even the loyal angels.
THE MASTER PLAN OF EVIL
Let us consider Satan’s plan to exalt his throne above that of God and the reasons why he believed he would be successful.
The extent of Lucifer’s power, in relation to even the most mighty of other heavenly beings is hinted in Jude 1:9, where we are informed that Michael the great archangel, “durst not bring against him a
railing accusation.” This would indicate that Lucifer’s power was superior to that of all other created beings.
Nevertheless, the question remains: Granted that Lucifer had power above any other created being, did he believe that his power was sufficient to conduct successfully a rebellion against God? Unless he did believe this, how could he hope to succeed in his rebellion?
It is evident that in Satan’s original plan, he thought to secure the allegiance of the majority, of the angels of heaven, and thereby be in a position to overwhelm those who might persist in their loyalty to God. Thus he would deprive God of the means that He had designed for controlling and governing the forces of creation. Satan could then proceed unmolested in the establishment of his own kingdom.
God saw the wicked spirit of rebellion developing in Satan’s heart, and it must have been a matter of indescribable grief to Him. Yet apparently there was nothing he could wisely do to prevent Lucifer
from rebelling. He knew what he was doing and preferred the gratification of self-will and self-exaltation to obedience to God. Free moral agents must not be coerced, or they cease to be free moral agents. They must be at liberty to make their choice whether it be for good or ill. God’s apparent failure to take notice of the gathering rebellion evidently encouraged Lucifer to continue his plotting.
However, one thing God foreknew that Satan did not. He had known the exact extent that the rebellion would take. He knew it would terribly disrupt His kingdom, Yet nevertheless that it would not succeed. He
foreknew that Lucifer would be able to win less than a majority of the angels. And thus it proved to be.
Satan, however, had cast his dye. The rebellion, failing to achieve success in its initial phase, resulted in the devil and his angels being forced out of heaven. Now, he was irrevocably committed forever to follow the course he had chosen.
Why Did God Delay Satan’s Punishment?
Why didn’t God; after the devil rebelled, punish him at once? Why did He permit him freedom to continue on in his evil course? Though there is undoubtedly more than one reason why God delayed judgment on
Lucifer, the one that surely stands out above others is that Satan in seducing as much as one-third of the angels, must have succeeded in bringing into very serious question the goodness and justice of God.
For God to have a kingdom that would be enduring, He must execute justice that is compatible with the consciences of His subjects. In the case at hand, God considered it necessary to demonstrate that
Lucifer’s rebellion was altogether the wicked, treacherous, and infamous thing that it was. Moreover He must give the universe opportunity to observe how that rebellion perverts holy beings into wicked and vicious creatures. Before executing the requisite punishment on Lucifer, God would first demonstrate the awful character of his act. He would give His subjects opportunity to witness the terrible consequences that must follow the introduction of sin into the universe.
Summing up, God would justify the wisdom of His laws in the eyes of His creatures. Satan, essentially selfish, contended that no man served God because he loved Him, but only for what could be gotten out
Satan’s doctrine is that every man under the surface is like himself and only for number one. In other words he was telling God that men served Him only as a cold business proposition. Satan correctly
foresaw that the only way for God to answer his indictment was to put the matter to a test.
Lucifer and his angels after being ejected from heaven into the heavenlies laid plans to continue the rebellion. The overall strategy was to force a miscarriage of the plan of God. But not being all-wise,
Satan had to wait and see what steps God would take. Whichever way God would move, Satan planned to counter-move.
God’s next move soon became evident. The defection of Lucifer and his angels had left a void in the ranks of heaven. Now God being God, He does not change from a course that He has chosen. “I am the Lord, I
change not.” (Mal. 3:6) God has a purpose for every creature He has created. If they fulfill that purpose, well and good. If they will not fulfill God’s will, the Divine purpose must be achieved notwithstanding.
THE ATTACK ON MAN
As soon as Satan saw the unfolding of God’s plan, he moved into action. Given opportunity, he would prove that this new race would follow him instead of God. And, as we shall see, God gave him a chance to prove his point. God had something to prove also. If He could find men who would stand true to Him under temptation and trial, then He could shut Satan’s mouth for all time. And in order to prevent the devil from ever having any further excuse, God gave him the opportunity to do the testing!
The devil lost no time in going to work. In the garden of Eden, he tempted Eve. As we know, he succeeded in seducing her and her husband at the first try. The devil followed up his success by making a murderer out of their first-born, Cain. It looked as if Satan was winning the contest; for in the course of time, whole generations yielding to his seductions, came under his sway.
Nevertheless, there were some things that Satan had not foreseen. Despite his successes, he was never able at any time to corrupt every man belonging to that generation. There were always some who kept their faith in God. When generations fell away, there was Enoch “who walked with God,” When the antediluvian world went into apostasy, Noah obeyed the word of God and prepared an ark “to the saving of his
household.” Satan discovered to his embarrassment that there were always a few that would not yield to his seductions. Somehow God always succeeded in preserving a “righteous seed” on the face of the earth. This must have been extremely frustrating to the devil when he saw success so closely within his grasp, only to have it elude him again and again.
Notwithstanding, there was something that always gave the devil confidence. Man was now a fallen creature, Had not angels fallen, and had they not all forfeited all prospect of ever returning into favour
with God? What about man? How could he be redeemed from his fallen condition? What was the answer?
THE DEADLY WOUND OF SATAN
We can understand why Satan should be baffled, for even the righteous angels apparently knew nothing of the grand plan of redemption that God had in reserve. When it was finally revealed it startled and awed
them: (I Pet. 1:12, 19-20)
If righteous angels were taken by surprise by God’s plan of redemption, we may be sure that the devil had not anticipated it. However, the plan of redemption was known to God from the foundation of the world, and it was this undisclosed plan that would assure Satan’s defeat! Satan essentially a selfish being, could not conceive and therefore anticipate so noble a thing as God’s plan of redemption: that Christ would divest Himself of eternal glory, and become flesh and die in the sinner’s place. Satan’s lack of foresight in this respect was to become his defeat. Satan cannot understand love of this capacity, and it was this very manifestation of divine love and mercy that destroyed him at Calvary, Jesus was bound to Calvary, not by
nails, but by love. It was love that nailed Him to the cross; for He could have called down legions of angels and left the whole hopeless wreck of humanity below. Jesus could have ascended before Calvary. But
He did not come to save Himself, but to save you. This was the purpose. So God, in sending His only begotten Son to partake of the deepest dregs of suffering, humiliation, and death, worked a greater
work in the eternal purpose of the ages — Redemption! As it is written . . . “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15) Satan is dying of a deadly head wound inflicted at Calvary, and his defeat is sure: “The devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone . . . and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Rev. 20:10)
(The original source of the above material unknown.)
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