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The Angelic Conflict - Part Two

The Appeal Trial of Satan

Since Satan is obviously not yet in the Lake of Fire, the logical extrapolation is that he appealed his sentence. We can speculate a number of grounds on which he is making this appeal, but one that seems to carry the most weight is an accusation against God's character which we hear often enough in the world today. Lucifer protested and postulated his doctrine of love and fairness, "how can a loving God cast his creatures, who he loves, into the lake of fire?"

This is an attack on divine Righteousness and Justice, thinking that Love supersedes them. Thus, for God to be perfectly fair, he must demonstrate the perfect compatibility between all three of those attributes, without compromising any of them. So the plan of the ages was put into operation. Eph. 3:9-11

God accepted Satan's judicial challenge, and His answer was the human race. His ruling went something like this; "I will create a new race of beings, inferior in every way to the angels but with the same volition. I will let THEM decide if your sentence is just and fitting, or if I am, as you charge, not a Just and Loving God."

In an act of judicial fairness and procedure, God created man so that each and every decision that humans make will be submitted as evidence into this appeal trial. Satan and his angels were given a stay of execution until such time as God demonstrates the validity of His judicial indictment upon them. Philip. 2:9-11

God created man and set him into the great stadium of earth, an open theater for all the angels to observe. I Corinthians 4:9 translates as "spectacle" from the greek word "theatron", the place where public dramas were shown. See also 1Ti 5:21

The Garden

The book of Genesis takes us back to the beginning of human history. In the first two chapters we see a perfect environment created by a perfect God--over and over again God looked at what He had made and said, "It is good."

In this perfect environment, God placed perfect man and perfect woman and gave them the gift of freedom. To make the freedom real, God gave the man and woman real choices. And so, in the Garden of Eden, there was a test of the human will.

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die. " (GEN 2:16-17)

God prohibits man from eating of the tree. The prohibition becomes a test to see if man will be satisfied with his role and place, or if he will try to ascend to the divine level.

God knew that the minute He gave man and woman freedom, danger would enter this perfect environment. He knew that with freedom man could make a personal decision to reject Him, and with Him, everything good. He knew that with freedom man could turn paradise into hell on earth. The fact that He was willing to give to the human race this marvelous gift despite the dangers it created should tell us something about the value God places on human freedom.

Satan intervenes

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" (GEN 3:1)

In the Garden of Eden, Satan is working through this creature. He approaches the woman by implying that God is keeping something from her and is, therefore, not a good God.

By his question Satan has not only engaged Eve in dialogue, but he has also taken her eyes off of the generous provisions of God and caused her to think only of God's prohibition. Satan does not wish us to ponder the grace of God, but to grudgingly meditate upon His denials.

And the woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.'" (GEN 3:2-3)

And the serpent said to the woman, "You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. " (GEN 3:4-5)

Having planted in the woman's mind the seed of doubt about the goodness of God and His plan, Satan now makes further use of her lack of understanding of God's Word. He gives her a half-truth and tells her that the penalty for eating the fruit is not really what she thinks it is. He knows that Eve is thinking in terms of physical death. He also knows that she will not fall down and die physically the instant she eats from the tree, so his words are half true. God's warning of GEN 2:17 uses the Hebrew word for death, muth, twice: "In the day you eat of this tree, dying you shall surely die." God was telling them that they would die spiritually, as a result of which they would eventually die physically. That is, of course, just what Adam and Eve were about to learn firsthand.

Eating from the tree, Satan says, will not bring death; it will bring enlightenment and will cause her to be like God. This, we know from ISA 14:13-14, is exactly what Satan wanted for himself. Consider Satan's logic: "You can be like God by rejecting God." The woman is about to swallow the lie.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. (GEN 3:6)

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. (GEN 3:7)

Did Satan tell Eve this would happen, that their eyes would be opened? He did. Was it the way he led her to believe it would be? No. Priciple: Sin is never what Satan promises it will be.

After their sin, God confronts the fallen couple and they give their response.

And the man said, "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate. " Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (GEN 3:12-13)

Adam blames God because God had given the woman to him; the woman blames the serpent. Both are unwilling to take responsibility for their disobedience.

Adam seems to have knowingly and deliberately disobeyed God. Eve was tricked into sin by the most clever creature ever to have come from the hand of God. They both sinned, yet Adam seems to be the guilty party and the fall guy as recorded throughout scripture. Nonetheless, they both are now separated from God, under the control of their newly acquired sin nature and spiritually dead.

Satan's Victory - Short Lived

It appeared that Satan had achieved victory, but God did not intend to leave man lost and hopeless. From the very beginning He had a plan. His first revelation of that plan is found in GEN 3:15.

And the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly shall you 80, And dust shall you eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise Him on the heel. " (GEN 3:14-15)

This is the first promise of the Savior, the Messiah. What the Lord God describes here is the work of the cross, where Satan would bruise the heel of Jesus Christ, but Jesus Christ would smash the head of the serpent. Sin is the barrier between God and man. At the cross, Jesus Christ would remove the barrier and open the door to God so that anyone could have freedom to approach God by faith in Him. The rest of the Bible is an account of God keeping the promise He makes here. Everything in the Old Testament points forward to the fulfillment of this promise of the seed of the woman.

So although they were fallen and helpless, Adam and Eve were still free, and they along with future generations would exercise their freedom by choosing to look forward in faith to the coming of the promised Redeemer.

What must have looked like a "too easy" victory for Satan turns quickly against him with the announcement of God's plan to rescue back all of fallen humanity. Although the victory celebration was shorted lived, Satan did accomplish some temporary and lesser objectives.

When Satan procured Adam's spiritual fall in the garden, he took earthly authority from Adam and became the new ruler over the earth. 2 Cor. 4:4; Jn. 12:31; Luke 4:6; Eph. 2:2

From that point on, Satan organized this rulership into a "world system" of darkness in order to advance his plan to discredit and frustrate the progress of God's plan. 2 Cor. 4:4; 11:13-15; Eph. 6:12; Col. 2:8; 1 John 5:19

From within this darkness system, Satan then formulated the rest of his darkness manifesto which is still in effect today. Is. 14:13b-14

Always remember this important principle, God knew exactly what would happen in the garden, and the path of history in every minute detail, before He sanctioned the plan. He knew man would fall from grace, and Satan would gain control of the earth by reason of Adam's failure. Furthermore, He knew that in a state of sin that man would be vulnerable to the wiles of the cunning cherub that defied Him, and yet He set His genius plan in motion and remains in complete control. To this day, God's Love, Justice, Righteousness and Sovereignty continue to function in perfect harmony. Something that Satan claimed could not be done.

To be continued in The Angelic Conflict - Part Three

Compiled and Condensed from the writings of several authors and pastors including J Hampton Keathley , Robert Mclaughlin, Robert Dean, Gene Cunningham, Ric Web, R.B. Theime and Lewis Sperrry Chafer.

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