Insights into Satan's Rebellion
German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel began his rise to prominence after his book on military tactics, "Infanterie Greift An" (Infantry Attacks) was read by Adolf Hitler in 1937. Hitler greatly approved of the book and honored its author with command of his personal guard. The German leader, however, was not the only student of Rommel. Across the Atlantic a rising military man also studied the tactics and strategies of Rommel. His name will ever live in the annuals of military history, Gen. George S. Patton Jr. When destiny brought these two together on the battlefield of North Africa in 1943, Rommel remained true to his published military strategies while his American opponent could anticipate his every move. After Rommel's defeat in Tunis Patton is reported to have shouted across the North African sands, "I read your book Rommel."
There is no better defense than understanding one's enemy. Fortunately, in our struggle we also have inside information regarding our adversary's devices and philosophy. Our God has provided this information to us. "...For we are not ignorant of his devices." 2Co 2:11 Let us turn to God's truth in order to know our enemy. If we are going to safeguard our spiritual welfare we need to explore two important areas of our enemy's rebellion against the Creator. We must search the scriptures regarding the Motivation for his rebellion and secondly examine the Rationale for his rebellion.
Motivation for Rebellion
According to the scriptures God created two orders of creatures to be of special service for Him and to render to Him worship. They were mankind and the angelic hosts. Two key passages bear upon our study. First Ezekiel 28:12-18 describes for us Satan's unique privileges and the judgment for his fall. "This section with its superhuman references, apparently describes someone other than the human ruler of Tyre, namely, Satan." (Ryrie, Ryrie Study Bible) He is called the "anointed Cherub that covers" in verse 14. This indicates that he was created with a special purpose to guard the throne of Almighty God, and as such was likely the highest of the angelic order. His appearance is described as being "perfect in beauty" and clothed in many precious stones (verse 13) akin to the building materials of heaven itself (cf. Rev. 21:19-21). The references to timbrels and pipes seems to refer to a special ability to worship God through music. In addition to his purpose and appearance as mentioned above, he was given special access to God's throne as well as being in "Eden the garden of God." perhaps before his fall he had the privilege of accompanying God as he "planted a garden eastward in Eden," Gen. 2:8, a place also adorned with precious stones (cf. Gen. 2:11-12). All of this glory came to a sudden halt when ..."iniquity was found in thee" (verse 15). Verse 16 and 17 graphically describes the swift an efficient judgment of God.
"and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast
thee as profane out of the mountain
of God: and I will destroy thee, O
covering cherub, from the midst of
the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up
because of thy beauty, thou hast
corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy
brightness: I will cast thee to the
Isaiah 14:12 continues this theme.
"How art thou fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how]
art thou cut down to the ground,
which didst weaken the nations!"
The Motivation for this first and most lasting rebellion is explicitly revealed in Isaiah 14:13-14 in the five infamous statements of Lucifer.
1. "I will ascend into heaven,"
2. "I will exalt my throne above the stars
3. "I will sit also upon the
mount of the congregation, in the
sides of the north:"
4. "I will ascend above the heights
of the clouds;"
5. "I will be like the most High"
Note in each of these the repeated phrases "I Will." Clearly even with his exalted position Lucifer wanted more, he wanted to be equal with God and apparently to replace God as the supreme ruler of all. Mark well these stated desires of the devil, his goals remain unchanged and as we shall see shortly he still believes they are attainable. The motivation for his rebellion was pride, plain and simple. I Tim. 3:6 plainly states that pride is the "condemnation of the devil." Even in with his lofty position, however, he could not escape the inevitable consequences of pride; it always leads to a fall (cf. Proverbs 16:18).
If we are going to know our enemy we must realize the tenacity of one who is consumed by pride. Once committed to a course of action pride tends to prevent self correction. Satan will continue his struggle. We should constantly be on guard duty as his attacks will come.
We also, would do well to examine our own hearts and make sure we do not harbor similar desires to lift up ourselves. The way up with God is through humility not self elevation.
Mt 23:12 "And whosoever shall exalt
himself shall be abased; and
he that shall humble himself
shall be exalted."
The Rationale for Rebellion
The above discussion does not answer all of our questions about Satan's attempted Coup de tat. Why would a creature who was "full of wisdom" commit such a foolish act.? How could he possibly think he could overthrow almighty God. This is the more difficult to deal with than motivation. For instance I may be motivated to do something but if I am rational, before I will attempt it I have to see it as a reasonable thing to do. Suppose I am motivated to play professional baseball. I may live, eat, and sleep baseball and have all of the desire in the world to play in the major leagues but at my age and knowing my abilities I am not heading to any tryout camps. So, what possible rationale could the son of the morning have created to allow him to challenge God himself?
The place to begin is by examining the fables of the Father of lies. (II Peter 1:16) and as we discover the commonality in these fables perhaps we will discover the underlieing beliefs of the great deceiver and the true rationale for his conspircy agaist the Almighty.
In regard to a belief in God mankind holds only four major views. Monotheism,2 the belief that there is one God. Atheism, the belief that there is no God. Polytheism the belief that there are many gods. And, Pantheism the belief that all is God. In His classic work, The Long War Against God, Henry M. Morris documents that the latter three views (the fables) all teach the same basic ideas about the origin of life. The key question concerns the place of the beginning of life.
It is widely known that the mechanism for the origin of life according to Atheism is evolution. The place of the beginning of life according evolution was in the primeval oceans, as Carl Sagen puts it, which "had the consistency of a warm dilute soup." (Sagen, Cosmos, page 338) This "primitive oceanic broth gradually grew thin as it was consumed by a transformed into complex condensations of self-replicating organic molecules. Gradually, imperceptibly life had begun." Interestingly later on the same page Sagen states that this "has the sound of epic myth" Carl got that right! Less well known are the views of the other two fables. Morris contends that the supposed creation myths of polytheism and pantheism "are essentially evolution myths, not creation myths at all." (Morris, The Long War Against God, page 241) For they all start not with nothing but with preexisting material usually in a watery, misty, moving chaotic state. Morris cites numerous examples of this and these origin myths a few examples are as follows.
"In the beginning nothing was here where the world now stands there was no ground no earth, nothing but darkness water and Cyclone, only the Hactcin existed... [personifications of natural forces ] ... They made the first world,... they made the Earth in the form of a living woman and called her mother, they made the sky in the form of a man and called him father."
Mayan - Sproul
"In the beginning, only Tepcu and Gucumatz existed as sun-fire powers in the middle of the dark waters of the void, they spoke.... and created the world by command: Let the emptiness be filled and it was. The earth rose out of water and the gods made all the animals and birds to live on it . "
Pelasgians (1000 years before Homer) - Graves, Greek Myths
"In the beginning Eurynome, the goddess of all things rose naked from the chaos, but found nothing substantial for her feet to rest upon, and therefore divided the sea from the sky."
Vedic (BC 1200) Barbara Sproul, Primal Myths -Creating the Worlds
"In the beginning was darkness swathed in darkness; all this was but unmanifested water."
Norse Michael Denton, Evolution a theory in Crisis
"The first living beings the giant Ymir and primordial cow Audumla were formed gradually from the ice melted by the action of warm wind."
Scandinavians - Bullfinch, Bullfinch's Mythology
"There once was no heaven above or earth beneath, but only a bottomless deep, and a world of mist in which flowed a fountain."
Is it merly an accident that all of the myths start with life beginning in a watery chaos? Remember that the fables were devised by the Father of Lies (John 8:44), and where did he come up with the idea. Was there ever a time when all that existed was a watery chaos? I call your attention to the first two days of history. On day one God created the Time/Space/Matter universe (Gen. 1:1) but this world though illuminated was not complete but was a world of water, the Spirit moved upon the face of the deep, literally seas, or waters. (Gen. 1:2-3) On day two God separated the waters below from the waters above the firmament. (Gen. 7-8). Dry land does not appear until day three. We know from Job 38:4-7 that the angels (morning stars) sang together when God laid the foundations of the earth, literally when the dry ground was established, so they were created sometime before God's activity on day three. But how much before? Note the similarities in the chart between Gen. 1 and the remarkable creation account in Psalm 104. Take special note that Psalm 104 adds one fact to the account of creation the fact that God made His angels (verse 4) and this occurs before there was any dry ground (foundations of the earth) only water and mist. If this passage is a chronological account of creation then the angels would have been created when all that existed was a watery world in a chaotic state. "Lucifer's first moment of awareness after God created him was one of waters all around him."8
So how could this created angel possible believe he could defeat God? He obviously did not believe that God was his creator. The only evidence he had was God's word and he chose not to believe that. "But if God did not create him then who did? And who made God? The only alternate solution that Lucifer could imagine would be evolution! Perhaps - just perhaps - both he and God somehow evolved out of the primeval chaos. If so, then they were both really the same kind of being, as were the other angels. Therefore, a well-planned rebellion just might be successful."9
You may be asking could any intelligent person really believe that he just evolved out of water. Ask that question to any science professor at any state university and you will get an unwavering YES. This is what is taught as modern science, this is what the idol worshipping polytheistic people believed. This is what pantheism taught and its modern revival in the New Age movement still teaches.
If the above is true then in fact Satan really believes he can win in his struggle with God. He is not a sore loser opposing God out of spite, determined to meet his fate in blaze of glory. He is not about to raise the white flag and surrender. He is a prideful, determined adversary who believes that in the end he will be victorious! Be warned there is no stronger enemy than one who believes he can win. Our military authorities told us that one of the keys to victory in the Gulf War was that the soldiers of Iraq grew to believe that theirs was a hopeless cause and they were expecting defeat. This was evidenced by the massive surrenders to the coalition armies. We do not enjoy that luxury. We face an enemy with a will to continue the war. This being the case perhaps we should take our Christian lives more seriously. I encourage you to continue on in this study and to be active in your church and to guard your time in the Word of God and in prayer. In short, to do our all to defend our souls from the attacks of Satan.
We must remember too that it is ultimately the power of God that will bring us victory and we must avoid trusting in the flesh. I say again. Let us be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Eph. 6:10
Finally remember one thing about Satan. "In spite of his proud plans, he will never be more than a creature of God. According to the Bible there can be no doubt about God, the Creator, defeating Satan the creature."10
The following will apply to Satan as well as all of God's creatures.
"That at the name of Jesus every
knee should bow, of things in
heaven, and things in earth,
and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."
Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church
©1997 Calvary Baptist Church