Rebellion in Heaven
The rebellion which took place in heaven and introduced sin into the universe of God must have been a fearful experience both for God and for the angels. Until this time all had been peace and harmony. Discord was unknown; only love prevailed. Then unholy ambitions stirred the heart of Lucifer. He decided that he wanted to be like the Most High. He would exalt his throne above the stars of God; he would sit "upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north." (Isa. 14: 12-14.) This declaration of intent was tantamount to an attempt to depose God and usurp His place. It was a declaration of war. Where God sat, Satan would sit. God accepted the challenge.
We have no direct Biblical statement as to the means used by Satan in winning over to his side a multitude of angels. That he lied is clear. That he was a murderer from the beginning is likewise indisputable. (John 8:44.) As murder has its beginning in hatred, and as this hatred found its fruition in the killing of the Son of God on Calvary, we may believe that Satan’s hatred was directed not only against God the Father, but also—and perhaps especially—against God the Son. In his rebellion Satan went further than a mere threat. He actually did set up his throne, saying boastfully, "I am a God, I sit in the seat of God." Eze. 28:2.
When Satan thus established his government in heaven, the issue was clear cut. The angels understood clearly the issue. All must take their stand for or against Satan. In the case of rebellion there is always some grievance, real or fancied, given as the cause. Some become dissatisfied, and, failing to have matters remedied, they resort to rebellion. Those who sympathize with the rebel cause join it. The others remain loyal to the government, and must, of course, take their chance on its survival.
It apparently came to just such a pass in heaven. The result was war. "There was war in heaven: Michael and His angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels." Rev. 12:7. The out-come could have been foreseen. Satan and his angels "prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Verses 8, 9.
Though Satan was defeated, he was not destroyed. By his act of rebellion he had declared God’s government at fault, and by the setting up of his own throne he had made claim to greater wisdom or justice than God. These claims are inherent in rebellion and in the establishment of another government. God could ill afford not to give Satan an opportunity to demonstrate his theories. To remove every doubt in the minds of the angels—and later of man—God must let Satan go on with his work. And so Satan was permitted to live and set up his government. For the last six thousand years he has been giving the universe a demonstration of what he will do when he has the opportunity.
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