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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, May 16 2024

The fall of Lucifer

Satan was a mighty cherub created by God and given many talents. He had great promise and was at the very throne of God, but unfortunately he succumbed to pride and temptation, sinned and became Satan the devil (Ezekiel 28:14-15).

Pride was Satan’s downfall: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground…For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:12-14).

Lucifer wanted to be above God and determine right and wrong for Himself. Eventually he tried to challenge God for control of the universe and was cast down to earth, as Jesus described in Luke 10:18: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” What had been an amazingly beautiful, immensely talented spirit being with great responsibility in God's angelic order became, through his rebellion against Almighty God, a reprehensible, despicable creature.

Satan was not alone in this rebellion. Millions of other angels joined him in rejecting God's authority and leadership. We find this symbolically described in Revelation 12:3-4: "And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon...His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth." Revelation 12:9 identifies this dragon as Satan and stars are a symbol for angels (Revelation 1:20). These verses indicate that a third of the angels followed Satan in his rebellion and were cast down to the earth with him.

Satan is now the enemy of mankind, and his goal is to destroy humanity: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

In Job 1:9-11 Satan tells God Job only obeyed Him out of fear in order to get health and wealth: “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him…and around all that he has…You have blessed the work of his hands... .But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (Job 1:9-11). Satan’s desire was to break Job’s will to obey God, and thus sever their relationship, but Job passed the test. Judas Iscariot, on the other hand, gave into the temptation of material wealth: “Then Satan entered Judas ... .So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him (Jesus Christ) to them. And they…agreed to give him money” (Luke 22:3-5).

When Satan tempted Eve in the garden of Eden he took the form of a serpent and lured Eve into questioning God’s instructions: “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field… .And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die”’” (Genesis 3:1-3).

Satan used the one thing God had said to stay away from as a temptation, suggesting God had not told her the whole truth when, in fact, it was Satan who was lying to her: “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. 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’” (Genesis 3:4-5). Eve, and then Adam, gave in and tasted the forbidden fruit and they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. Satan had accomplished his goal of separating them from God.

In 11 Corinthians 4:4 Satan is described as “the god of this world” and, in his effort to make us fail, he plants temptations and encourages us to have doubts and fears. We are exhorted to resist him and have faith in God’s help and protection: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9). James, the brother of Christ, reinforces this instruction: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

With help from God Almighty, we can resist Satan’s influence: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Our war against Satan and his influence is not carnal, or physical, but spiritual. The battle we need to fight is the one to control our thoughts, and make sure they align with God’s Word.