In heaven Lucifer had been one of the covering cherubs. (Eze. 28:14.) This refers to the two angels who in the most holy apartment of the sanctuary stood on the ark, covering the mercy seat. This was doubtless the highest office an angel could occupy, for the ark and the mercy seat were in the immediate presence of God. These angels were the special guardians of the law. They watched over it, as it were. Lucifer was one of them.
Ezekiel 28:12 contains an interesting statement concerning Lucifer: "Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty." The meaning of the expression, "Thou sealest up the sum," is not entirely clear. The reading is capable of varied interpretations. It seems evident, however, that the intent is to show the high position and exalted privilege that were Satanís before he fell. He was a kind of prime minister, a keeper of the seal.
As in an earthly government a document or law must have the seal attached to it in order to be valid, so in Godís government a seal is used. God seems to have apportioned to the angels their work, the same as He has given to man his work. One angel is in charge of the fire. (Rev. 14:l8.) Another angel has charge of the waters. (Rev. 16:5.) Another has charge of "the seal of the living God." Rev. 7:2. Although, as stated above, the reading of Ezekiel 28:12 is not entirely clear, some feel justified in translating it, "Thou attacheth the seal to the ordinance." If this position is tenable, if Lucifer were prime minister and keeper of the seal, it gives an additional reason why he should wish to substitute his own mark for that of Godís seal when he left his first abode.
That Satan has been very active against the law is evident. If Godís law is a transcript of His character, and if this character is the very opposite of Satanís, Satan stands condemned by it. Christ and the law are one. Christ is the law lived out, the law become flesh. For this reason His life constitutes a condemnation. When Satan warred against Christ, he warred also against the law. When he hated the law he also hated Christ, Christ and the law are inseparable.
An interesting statement is found in the fortieth psalm. Christ speaking, says, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." Verse 8. Though this is doubtless a poetic expression and should not be pressed too far, it is interesting, nevertheless, as an indication of the exalted position of the law. "Thy law is within My heart." A stab at the law is a stab at the heart of Christ. A stab at the heart of Christ is a stab at the law. At the cross Satan so intended. But God meant the outcome to be otherwise. The death of Christ was a tribute to the law. It immeasurably magnified the law and made it honorable. It gave men a new vision of its sacredness and worth. If God would let His Son die; if Christ would willingly give Himself rather than abrogate the law; if it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one jot or tittle of the law to fail, how very sacred and honorable the law must be!
When Christ died on the cross He had demonstrated in His life the possibility of keeping the law. Satan had not succeeded in leading Christ into sin. Possibly he did not expect to be able to do that. But if he could have induced Christ to use His divine power to save Himself, He would have accomplished much. Had Christ done so, Satan could have claimed that this invalidated the demonstration God intended to make, namely, that it was possible for men to keep the law. As it was, Satan was defeated. But till the very last he continued the same tactics. Judas hoped Christ would free Himself, thus using His divine power to save Himself. On the cross Christ was taunted: "He saved others; Himself He cannot save." But Christ did not falter. He could have saved Himself, but He did not. Satan was baffled. He could not understand. But he knew that when Christ died without his having been able to make Him sin, his own doom was sealed. In His death Christ was victor.
But Satan did not give up. He had failed in his conflict with Christ, but he might yet succeed with men. So he went to "make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Rev. 12:17. If he could overcome them he might not be defeated.
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