GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 10/13/02.
The Angelic Conflict. Part 1.
We have now begun one of the great doctrines of the Word of God, the doctrine that explains why we are here-the angelic conflict. This doctrine is very relevant to the time in which we live and how it all relates to nation of Israel. Our Lord described the historical trends that would precede His return in MAT 24:6-8, "'And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs."
The angelic conflict is the result of prehistoric creatures (angels) being in opposition to God, which began with the fall of Satan and continued until all angelic creatures had made a decision for or against God. The angelic conflict refers to the two trials of Satan and the fallen angels, one in prehistoric times, the other during human history. To understand what the angelic conflict is all about we must see Satan as he really is-the most attractive, beautiful, and personable creature created by God.
EZE 28:11-12 Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God, "You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty."'"
The king of Tyre was one of the few individuals in human history who was possessed by Satan, as the serpent in the garden and Judas Iscariot. In this passage the Lord is speaking to Satan who is indwelling the king of Tyre. The phrase "You had the seal of perfection" is very important. Of all the creatures to come from the hand of God, Satan was the greatest in beauty and authority. He is superior in genius, beauty, personality, and persuasiveness, and he is invisible to us. More than that, he is an organizational genius with a great army of demons, EPH 6:10-12.
He is the enemy of Bible doctrine, the Church, Israel, and most of all the Lord Jesus Christ, REV 12:1-6, "And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman [Israel] clothed with the sun [Jacob], and the moon under her feet [the wives of Jacob], and on her head a crown of twelve stars [the twelve patriarchs]; and she was with child [the virgin pregnancy]; and she cried out [the many Jewish Holocausts], being in labor and in pain to give birth [longing for deliverance from this intense anti-Semitism]. And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon [Satan] having seven heads and ten horns [the revived Roman empire of the Tribulation and the ecumenical religion], and on his heads were seven diadems [crowns]. And his tail [Satan's power] swept away a third of the stars [angels ] of heaven, and He [God]threw them to the earth [in the middle of the Tribulation]. And the dragon stood before the woman [the virgin Mary] who was about to give birth [what Satan tried desperately to prevent], so that when she gave birth he might devour her child[destroy the humanity of Christ]. And she gave birth to a son, a male child [our Lord Jesus Christ in hypostatic union], who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron [capital punishment during the Millennium]; and her child [Jesus Christ] was caught up to God [the ascension] and to His throne [the session]. And the woman [true Israel, Jews who become saved during the Tribulation] fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God [for refuge], so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days."
1260 days (mid-way) into the Tribulation is the time of Satan's desperation. Current events show how Satan is doing everything he can to stop God from fulfilling His promises to the Jews.
Satan's outward appearance still has not changed. He was smart enough to know that he was the most beautiful creature who ever lived and to use his beauty and genius to his own advantage. However, if there is anything that destroys genius, smarts, talent, and beauty, or anything else considered worthwhile, it is arrogance. Arrogance begins with a thought, then the decision, and finally the action of arrogance. Satan devised the first conspiracy in the universe and led the first great revolt in the universe, and this is the prehistoric angelic conflict.
The Lord says to Satan in EZE 28:13, "You were in Eden, the garden of God..." He was not only perfect in nature, but he lived in perfect environment. The original sin among angelic creatures, like the original sin among human creatures, occurred as a negative decision in perfect environment. As verse 12 says, Satan was the sum total of perfection. He had everything people ordinarily think would give them happiness. However, once they have it, they're still not happy; they want something else-power! They want approbation and recognition. After all, what good is beauty if no one else says you're beautiful?
Satan also had authority as the "anointed cherub," the Messiah's angel, but he got tired of being second in command! He had everything except God's power and that's what he wanted. This is why the first sin mentioned in God's top seven is arrogance, the original sin of Satan. Arrogance is satanic and is found in many born-again believers. Many of them are so busy trying to "clean up" the devil's world that they that they never learn a thing about the angelic conflict and the real reason they are here. The lust for power has its roots in arrogance, and it goes far beyond the ability to manipulate to people. Power lust does not begin with trying to exercise authority or influence over people. It starts with the "look at me!" syndrome; it is all about pre-occupation with self.
EZE 28:13 "You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared."
The adorning with jewels indicates his great importance and the glory of his appearance. Even in the Garden of Eden, his name "nachash," translated "serpent," means "shining one." He appears an angel of light, 2Co 11:14, "For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." These precious stones mentioned in verse 13 are displayed three times as recorded in the Bible:
1. In the high priest's breastplate as a manifesta-tion of divine grace.
2. In the New Jerusalem, which reflects the glory of God.
3. As the covering of this great angel Satan, signaling the highest form of all creation.
The phrase "the workmanship of your settings and sockets" refers to the fact that he did not need an instrument to praise and glorify God; he was able to give perfect praise to his Creator. Satan is said to have been the "anointed cherub who covers" by God's appointment-, EZE 28:14, "You were the anointed cherub [the highest rank of angelic creatures at the time] who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God [the third heaven]; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire." The word "anointed" refers to the Messiah's angel. Satan was in the throne room of God. The holy mountain of God is the place of His presence in visible glory, where His high priest would stand before Him to fulfill his office, Exo 4:27, PSA 2:6. The cherubim were the group of angels around the throne of God elevated as defenders of His holiness. Therefore, we can conclude that this great angel was created above all angels as a guardian of the throne of God. And it is not surprising when we see others who are supposed to protect and defend the authority over them, but instead attack and discredit it. It started with their father the devil; Christians under the thinking of Satan are called sons (teknon's or students) of the devil, 1JO 3:10.
EZE 28:14-17 "You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you. By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned. Therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor."
The phrase "the abundance of your trade" refers to his genius plans. Satan has come up with many plans for both his angels and for the human race. When Satan sinned, one third of the angelic creatures went with him, and he had plans for them. Perhaps he promised them what a lot of conspirators promise their victims-promotion. Satan organized them against God. Once man was created, Satan had plans for man, which we will study. The word for trade, "rekullah," is also translated "slander," and it means to go about in order to destroy someone's reputation by trafficking gossip and slander. The word "Satan" in the Greek language is "Satanas," which means to gossip, malign, slander, and accuse. Satan is a master of conspiracy; in fact, he is the originator of conspiracy. His self-consciousness was parlayed into a tremendous case of pride.
EZE 28:18-19 "You corrupted [distorted] your wisdom by reason of your splendor [your breathtaking beauty]. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you [this is future]. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade [your dishonest transactions, or conspiracies], you profaned your sanctuaries [Satan's first fall]. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; it has consumed you, and I have turned you to ashes on the earth in the eyes of all who see you [his second fall]. All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have become terrified, and you will be no more."
All these things will take place before and after the Millennial reign of Christ. God created an angel who was perfect in all his ways, and that angel sinned by opposing the will of God. Through the degenerating power of sin, Satan, as did Adam, became an entirely different being from that which God created. This was accomplished through the choice of his own free will. When God creates a being to fulfill a certain purpose, that creature must be a perfect ful-fillment of that divine pattern. God always provides whatever we need to fulfill the purpose He has for our lives. We have logistical grace, the problem solving devices, and the 100% availability of divine power at our disposal.
The reason God created Satan as a beautiful, intelligent angel is not so he would have power to deceive us, but because in creating creatures with a free will, God originally created Satan for a divine purpose. By his sin of rebellion, Satan lost his original holiness and heavenly position, but he retained his wisdom and beauty, and he has turned his superhuman abilities to evil. Satan's office was originally to protect the throne of God and to forbid the approach of evil. However, like most of God's creatures, including many born-again believers today, Satan rejected the plan of God for his life and chose his own plans over God's plan. Independence from the plan of God is the most destructive sin for believers.
Satan is said to have been on the Holy Mountain of God as the "anointed cherub who covers," and therefore he was the great high priest of his realm. He also appears as the highest angel and therefore the lead king over all creation. Satan was perfect in all his ways, and continued to be for an unknown length of time. He then abused his high office of prophet, priest, and king. God subsequently created Adam to function as a prophet, priest, and king. Adam was to rule over the creation under the authority of God, GEN 1:26. He was to function as a prophet in teaching doctrine to his woman Ishshah and as a priest in worshipping God. However, he failed and he fell, and when no other created being could be found to fulfill this function, the Lord Jesus Christ came forth from the Godhead to become a member of the human race and to perfectly fulfill all three offices. The offices of Prophet and Priest He is already exercising, but not yet that of King. If He had come as a King to set up His kingdom, the result would have been the destruction of all of us since all have sinned, and whatever is sinful must be cast into the lake of fire. Jesus said to Pilate the first time He came to earth in JOH 18:36, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." It was necessary for the Lord Jesus Christ to first put away the iniquity of those who would be saved, and He came into the world to do this through the sacrifice of Himself. He will come to earth a second time to claim power from the hands of Satan, and after casting Satan into prison, He will bring back the creation to its original purity and order, REV 20:1-3.
ISA 14:12-17 "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, they will ponder over you, saying, 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities, who did not allow his prisoners to go home?'"
The fall here refers to the second fall of Satan, when he is cast out of heaven in the middle of the Tribulation. Satan has three falls:
1. The first fall of Satan took place in eternity past, perhaps billions of years before man existed, in EZE 28:15.
2. In the middle of the Tribulation, Satan has his second fall; he is cast out of heaven permanently, REV 12:9. Satan presently has access to heaven and spends his time between heaven and earth.
3. After the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ we have the third fall of Satan in REV 20:10, "And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."
In ISA 14:12, the word "star" is Hebrew word "heylel," which is sometimes translated "Lucifer." The name Lucifer is not actually found in the original languages; it comes from the Latin and it means "light bearer," "the shining one," or "the translucent one." Two creatures are said to radiate light, making them extremely attractive; one is heylel in Isa 14, and the other is nachash, the serpent in Gen 3. Satan can transform himself into an angel of light as well as his ministers under him, 2CO 11:14-15. Satan's ministers teach another Jesus, but not the Jesus of the Bible; they talk about the spirit but not the Holy Spirit from God; they present a gospel, but it is not the Gospel of the Bible,2CO 11:3-4.
Satan will be thrown down to earth and will no longer be able to leave planet earth, ISA 14:12. From the middle of the Tribulation period to the end of history, Satan has to stay on earth. He is addressed as "You who have weakened the nations!" As we have noted, he has the greatest mind of any creature, and only one mind is more intelligent than his, the "mind of Christ," 1CO 2:16, PHI 2:5. God offers us the mind of Christ which is much greater than the greatest mind of all time, and the average believer says "No, thank-you!" The word "nations" refers to the divine institution of nationalism, which Satan opposes with internationalism. God's order for the preservation of the human race is nationalism, the principle that nations will benefit from acting independently rather than collectively. The first great attack on nationalism came with the tower of Babel, the first "United Nations" organization. To show how God feels about political or religious internationalism, God Himself destroyed the tower of Babel. He divided nations in three ways, (1) racially, (2) geographically, and (3) linguistically.
The original sin among creatures is found in Isa 14:13, "But you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven [the third heaven, where God's glory is seen, 2CO 12:2]; I will raise my throne above the stars [angels, JOB 38:7, JUD 1:13,REV 12:3-4] of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north [rulership over the government of the earth, ISA 2:1-4]." The phrase "I will make myself like the Most High" speaks for itself. In spite of the universal stereotypes of the devil, Satan is much like God outwardly. He wanted the glory that belonged to God alone, so he plotted a conspiracy against the throne of God itself. He convinced many in God's congregation that God was unfair and unjust, and he continues to do so throughout human history.