As you know if you’ve been with us in our Sunday night series on origins, I’ve been trying to combine two things in discussing origins. One of course is the text of Scripture and that takes us to the book of Genesis. And the other is to bring in some areas of science or some areas of logic and reason as well as other portions of the Scripture to enrich our understanding of the matter of origins. Open your Bible now if you will to Genesis chapter 3, the third chapter in the Bible. It’s in this chapter that we find out about the origin of sin. And its impact on the universe. We all remember that at the end of the second chapter of Genesis everything was very good. God had created everything in six days. And he saw according to chapter 1 verse 31 that is was very good. And God rested from his creation.
And then we come to chapter 3. Because of what happened in chapter 3, nobody has rested including God, because chapter 3 is where sin enters the world. And it gives to us a very simple and straightforward account of how that happened. Chapter 3 verse 1, “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.’ 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.”’ 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.’ 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. She gave also to her husband with her and he ate. 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.”
As the chapter goes on, they encounter God who pronounces a curse on them, a curse the effects of which we all feel. This then is the fall of man. And that’s really all it says. In the book of Romans chapter 5 it says, “In Adam, all died.” Because in Adam all sinned. It also tell us that the sin of Adam was passed on through the corruption of his seed to every human, being because we’ve all come out of the loins of Adam. This was a monumental thing. It took the perfect creation and catapulted it into corruption.
Now I need to just talk a little bit – because there are so many questions that arise on the subject of evil and why God allowed it. And I want to tell you this; all I know is what the Bible says. And really I’m very content to know that and not need to know anything else. Scripture never assumes that God owes man, even his children, an explanation for what He does or why He does it. You need to understand that at the very beginning. As Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord.” God is not bound to explain to us anything about what He does or why He does it. Now we might wish we knew more than just the simple account that I read to you. We might wish there was more than the third chapter of Genesis to tell us about how evil entered the world, but really knowing more was not God’s will. And God does not feel pressed to justify Himself or to explain Himself to His fallen creatures, even the noblest of them who identify Him as their God. What we know is what God has chosen to tell us. And what He’s chosen to tell us is in the Bible. That’s all we know and that’s all He wants us to know, and with that we should be satisfied.
Now we have questions, and our questions are probably no different than Adam’s. Adam was the first person who raised what is known as the issue of theodicy or the origin of evil. Adam raised the question. In chapter 3 and verse 12, he said “The woman who you gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree and I ate.” He said, God, it’s Your fault. He had the question too. Where did this come from? Look at our world. It’s all different, we’re being cursed. We feel shame. Something dramatic has changed. And it happened because Eve succumbed to the tempter. God, why did you make Eve? That’s the question. I mean, why did You do that? And he blamed God. And God never answered that. God gave him no reason for making Eve other than the original reason – Adam needed a helper. But as to why He made Eve, the way she was and why He put her in a position and made her capable of doing what she did and made Adam capable of doing what he did, that plummeted the whole human race into sin, God never answered the queries of Adam. God never tells him why he allowed the fall. There isn’t any explanation given to him. God doesn’t explain His motives. He doesn’t explain his purposes. He doesn’t explain His plans.
What He does do is indict Adam. And God’s response to Adam’s question is to curse him, curse his wife, curse the universe, and then leave. That’s what God did. And then throw Adam and Eve out of the garden. Never does God feel compelled to explain anything to Adam other than that which He has chosen to reveal. This is very similar to another situation in the book of Genesis in chapter 22. Abraham goes to God of course and God tells him, “I want you to sacrifice your son Isaac.” Now a Father might say, “What? God why in the world would you ask me to do that? Human sacrifice is not suitable to you. And killing my son would be murder. This is a very pagan thing to do.” And even though you say, well but God never let it happen, because God brought a ram – you remember – an animal to take the place of Isaac, and he was never sacrificed. But as John Frame, the theologian, writes, “Why would God trifle so with a father’s love?” Why would he even put that thought in the mind of Abraham, to bring him to such profound grief because God was not only asking him to slay his son but to kill the promise, because this promise that God had made called the Abrahamic covenant depended upon Isaac.
God never told him why. God never explained Himself. God never gave him any justification or any motivation for why He did what He did. And it’s important to understand this. By God’s unwillingness to defend Himself and God’s unwillingness to justify Himself in human minds, He is clearly claiming to be sovereign. He is claiming to have sovereign right to do whatever He wants to do – and listen to this – and to be trusted for it and to be honored for it. Whatever suspicions may arise in fallen minds, God does not defend himself. God does not justify himself. He simply affirms his sovereign right to be trusted and to be honored. God will never place himself under human judgment. And He has no obligation to explain anything to us at all. So back up and approach the problem this way. Aren’t you glad that you know at least as much as you know?
Because God was under no obligation to even tell you that. Now you remember last week – turn back to the book of Job for a minute. I want to talk about this issue a little before we talk about Satan. Do you remember in the book of Job – we talked about so much last week. Everything was happening to Job. You know, he lost everything. He lost all his animals, and then he lost his family, and then he lost his health. And he was reduced to nothing except his wife and himself in a state of dire physical condition. And the whole reason Job was being blasted with all of this at the hands of Satan was because God and Satan were in a contest, and God was making a point to Satan.
God was proving to Satan that Satan couldn’t break someone’s faith in God no matter what he did to that person. Satan believed that none of God’s followers, God’s children, would be faithful unless God prospered them, and so God makes the point that their faithfulness to me is not built on prosperity. It’s built on the divine gift of faith which is eternal. And so God let Satan bombard Job to prove that saving faith can’t be broken. But Job doesn’t know that. He doesn’t know why it’s happening. Then his friends gather around him and they don’t know about the contest between God and Satan. They don’t know anything about that. So they, with their sort of simple theology, assumed that Job’s getting bombed because he’s sinning. And Job’s running an inventory of his life while he’s listening to these poor counselors and they’re giving him all this stuff about, “You must be sinning. You must be sinning.” And Job’s checking everything around and saying, “I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it.” And he keeps getting the wrong answer to everything, and he continues through all of this suffering.
Well finally – turn over to Job chapter 23. Job reaches a point where he just wants an answer about why this is happening, so he decides to ask God. Chapter 23, “Then Job replied. ‘Even today my complaint is rebellion. His hand is heavy despite my groaning. Oh that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat. I would present my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would learn the words which He would answer.” In other words, I’m at the point now where I just need to hear from God. Where is He? I have some questions to ask. I really need some answers. And if I could just know or, as verse 5 says, “perceive what He would say to me. Would he contend with me by the greatness of His power? Surely He would pay attention to me. There the upright would reason with Him and I would be delivered forever from my Judge.” In other words, I think I have a case before God. I think I have a case that I’m an innocent man. That I’m a righteous man, and if I could just find God to check in and have a hearing with God, I think I could present a reasonable case. And in fact he could. He wasn’t a righteous man. And so he really wants to hear from God.
Some other discourses take place, and I would draw you over to chapter 38. Others who talk to Job and Job talks back to them. But finally in chapter 38, God does answer. And this is remarkable really. Verse 1 of chapter 38, “The LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said” – oh finally, finally I’m going to hear from God – “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” All God says is, you’ve all got it wrong. “Now gird up your loins like a man.” Quit whining. “And I will ask you, and you instruct Me.” God turns tables and He says, okay Job, you have questions of me? I have questions of you. First question, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” What? What is that? “Tell me if you have understanding. Who set its measurements? Since you know. Who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars or angels sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Hey Job, where were you when I made the world?
Answer: You were nowhere. What makes you think you deserve an answer from me? This is a righteous man folks. This is a righteous man. Where were you when I “enclosed the sea with doors?” In other words I bounded the sea by land. “Where were you when I made a cloud that’s garmented and thick darkness with swaddling band.” And he’s talking about the evaporation, the hydrological cycle that takes the water over the land. Where were you when, “I placed the boundaries and sent the bolt in the doors.” And verse 12, “Have you ever in your life commanded the morning and caused the dawn to know its place?” This is amazing. Who do you think you are Job? Are you able to command the morning? Or maybe in verse 16, he even talks about the earth. Like turning, like verse 14, turning like clay in a seal. And verse 16, “Have you entered into the springs of the sea? Have you walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Have you seen the gates of deep darkness? ... Where is the way,” verse 19, “to the dwelling of light?” Where does light come from? Where does darkness come from, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Down in verse 31, he says, “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the chords of Orion?” In other words, do you know how to hold the constellations in their places? “Can you lead forth the constellation in its season and guide the Bear with her satellites? Do you know the ordinance of the heaven or fix their rule over the earth? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds and say something so that an abundance of rain may cover you?” Can you call forth the rain? “Can you call forth the lightning?” And this just goes on and on and on. In chapter 39, “Do you know the time the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the cabbing of the deer?” In other words, do you know who you’re talking too? He never tells Job anything about his problems. He never tells him any reason why they happen. He gives them no answer. He gives him no justification for what has happened. And again this is an affirmation that God is absolutely sovereign, that we do not need to know all the reasons why He does what He does, but we do need to trust Him and honor Him.
Chapter 40, Job’s getting the message. “And the LORD said to Job, ‘Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?’” Do you want to keep arguing Job? “And Job answered the LORD and said, ‘Behold I am insignificant. What can I reply to Thee? I lay my hand on my mouth. Once I have spoken and I will not answer, even twice, I will add no more.’” I’ve said all I’m going to say. I’m done. Good, God says. That’s what I want out of you. Just shut up and keep suffering. Verse 6, that’s what He says. He answers Job out of the storm and says, “Gird up your loins like a man,” and don’t you contend with me. You just obey me. You just honor me. Because you’re in no position to get into these things. And He talks to him about His creation of Behemoth, the great beast in chapter 40 verse 15, and then Leviathan, the great sea dragon, in chapter 41. And he goes through these descriptions of these great creatures that God has created.
Finally in chapter 42, Job answers and says – here’s the key – “I know You can do all things. No purpose of yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, things to wonderful me for, which I didn’t know. Hear now and I will speak. I will ask You and do Thou instruct me. I have heard of thee by the hearing ear, but now my eye sees Thee. Therefore I retract and I repent in dust and ashes.” Job says, I’m sorry I ever asked. You just recited to me that You are the sovereign God, that You created everything, that You control everything, and it’s not for me to know all the reasons why, and all I need to do is to keep my mouth shut. But the experience have been monumental, because I now know more about you than I have ever known and I repent – is the real word there. I repent, I turn around and I throw dust and ashes on myself as an evidence of that repentance. I never should have asked.
He’s like Adam in a way. Adam never should have asked either. God didn’t give him an answer. Job should have never asked. God didn’t give him an answer. God indicted Adam, God indicted Job. And simply says to Job, Who do you think you are? Why are you even bringing this up? Do you think you could grasp these matters of a sovereign God and why sovereign God does what He does? You have sinned in questioning My wisdom, My goodness, My holiness, and My purpose. You can ask questions I think. You can ask questions about the origin of evil up to one point and that is the point where you would begin to indict God. Then you’ve crossed the line. Ezekiel 18:25 says, “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Hear now, O house of Israel. Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right?” Don’t you ever accuse He of doing what isn’t right. And even in the issue of why God allows evil, all we know is what we know. But what we know is this: Our God always does what is right.
You have a similar treatment of this same thing in the third chapter of Romans verse 4, let every man be found a liar; let God be found true. God is true, God is right, though everyone in the world is a liar. Over in chapter 9 of Romans and verse 14, “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be.” Mē genoito, the strongest negative in Greek language. There is no injustice with God. There is no wrong with God. Don’t you know God said, “I’ll have mercy on whom I have mercy? I’ll have compassion on whom I’ll have compassion?” God can do essentially exactly what He wants to do. He’s not answerable to us. Down in verse 20 He says, “O man, who are you who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?” The bottom line is you can’t question God. You can’t ask why God does what He does. God has not chosen to reveal that. All we know is what we know. And in the end, God is to be trusted and God is to be honored.
So Romans confirms what we learn in the case of Job and elsewhere in Scripture, even in the case of Adam. And it’s this: First of all, we have no right to complain against God. And when we do, we expose ourselves to the sin of disobedience because, we are to trust Him to do right in every situation. Secondly, God is under no obligation to give us a humanly intellectually satisfying answer for all of our questions including the question of why God allowed evil. Thirdly, God is sovereign. And that settles every issue. He can do absolutely what He chooses to do and it will always be right. Add to that the fact that God’s Word is always true and always reliable, and you can know this, that whatever we can know is revealed accurately on the pages of Scripture. So summarizing that, God is sovereign, He is the standard of His own actions; He is not subject to human judgment. On the contrary, our judgment is subject to His Word.
One other Scripture that puts this in perspective is Hebrews 11. You get into – I won’t go there, but you get into Hebrews chapter 11, and you have this list of people who by faith did this, by faith, by faith, by faith, by faith. And you go down toward the end of the chapter, and you have these people going through one horrible list of suffering, sawed in half and thrown to lions and burned at the stake and on and on it goes. And all these people are looking for a heavenly city. And you can understand that as they were going through this, there would always be the temptation to say, “Why God?” why did this happen to me? Why does this happen to our family? What is going on here? What is the deal? And God never answers their question. But God honors them for their – what? – their faith. Their unwavering faith. And it is the point of Hebrews 11 that their faith prevailed in the midst of inexplicable and very often unrelieved suffering. In the end, you’re not going to get an answer about why you suffer, about why your child dies or why you get cancer or why things are the way they are or even the big picture, why God allows evil. But you will be told to trust God, and God will honor that faith and bless you for it.
So all that to say this. When it comes to the problem of evil, we bow in faith to our glorious God. We accept gratefully what He has revealed, because it was best for us to know that and no more – no more. All we know is this: The source of evil in this world was a result of the sin of Adam and Eve. That’s what we know. And we can draw the conclusion in general that God allowed that sin in order that He might destroy evil ultimately. And that in the process of evil running its course, He could show grace to sinners and judgment to sinners. Those things never could be displayed if evil did not exist. So God then is able to be glorified by the display of attributes that the man sinful environment.
But God is not the author of evil. The Creator is good, all good and only good. And the original creation was very good. He is not the author of evil, as I had told you or He would be evil Himself. And if He were evil Himself, then He couldn’t triumph over evil for Himself or for us. Also He is not the source of evil or He couldn’t save sinners from evil. So we know from the Bible that the source of evil is outside of God, that evil came into our world by a choice made by Adam and Eve. They were cursed and corrupted and passed that corruption on to everyone who ever was born on the face of the earth for all proceeded from Adam and Eve. The source of sin in this world was evil choice made by Adam and Eve. When they disobeyed, evil became a reality. Remember what I said? Sin is not an entity. It is not a force. It is not a being. It is the absence of moral perfection. Sin is a negative. And Genesis is concerned to protect God from any accusation of evil. And that’s all you need to know. It’s all Job needed to know. It’s all the Romans needed to know. It’s all you need to know.
Now that takes us back to chapter 3. Okay, sin came into the world through Adam and Eve. But who brought it here. Who brought the sin here? Chapter 3 verse 1, the serpent did – the serpent did. Who is this reptile? We discussed in some length that Hebrew terms that indicate this is probably an upright reptile. A beautiful creature that was cursed to crawl on its belly, so prior to the curse it must have been upright. This reptile was more than just an animal. It was an animal. It’s related to the beast of the field. It certainly belongs in that category according to Genesis 3. But penetrating somehow into this animal was a supernatural personality. This serpent, this dragon is identified as Satan in Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20 verse 2. It says that the dragon was the devil and Satan. The serpent was the devil and Satan.
He is identified all through Scripture as the malevolent archenemy of God and all those who are God’s. He works to deceive people, to insight disloyalty to God and God’s truth, and to turn God against His people. Those are the things that he does. But he is totally under the sovereign control of God and can only do what God allows. It reminds me of the book The Murder of Jesus, which is out this week, and what it shows is the horrors of the satanic work to bring Jesus to the cross. But at the same time, while Satan was doing his worst, God was doing His best, because everything was in the control of God’s sovereign purpose. And that’s how it always is.
So into the garden, into the world of man comes this supernatural person, tempts Adam and Eve successfully, and the whole human race and all the surroundings in the universe are corrupted by their evil choice. The question is, in the perfection of creation, where did he come from? We understand that Adam and Eve brought sin into our world, but where did he come from? Well the Bible fortunately takes us behind the scenes. It parts the curtain a little bit to let us see the origin of this adversary and tempter. Two passages that I want to show you, Ezekiel 28. The prophet Ezekiel chapter 28 – and this is really very convincing and clear testimony as to where this personality came from – Ezekiel 28. The twenty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel begins with a lament over the king of Tyre and the Lord says about the king of Tyre in verse 2, “Your heart is lifted up; you’ve said I’m a God. I sit in the seat of God’s in the heart of the seas. Yet you are a man and not God. Although you make your heart like the heart of God. Behold” – sarcasm now – “you are wiser than Daniel. There is no secret that is a match for you.” And here’s the Lord being sarcastic as he condemns the self-exalting pride of this king.
“By your wisdom and understanding, you’ve acquired riches for yourself. You’ve acquired gold and silver for your treasuries. By your great wisdom, by your trade, you’ve increased your riches. Your heart is lifted up, because of your riches. Therefore thus says the Lord God, ‘Because you have made your heart like the heart of God, therefore behold, I will bring strangers upon you, the most ruthless of the nations. And they will draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor. They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die the death of those who are slain in the heart of the seas. Will you still say, “I am a God,” in the presence of your slayer, although you are a man and not God in the hands of those who wound you? You will die the death of the uncircumcised by the hands of strangers for I have spoken,’ declares the Lord God.” So here is the lament and the curse on this ruler of Tyre. He was a powerful and wicked ruler, and verses 3 to 5 in particular even showed the sarcasm of God as He mocks this man’s pride and speaks of the imminent judgment.
But behind the king of Tyre, there again is a greater force. And starting in verse 11, there is something more here. “Again the word of the Lord came to me,” says Ezekiel, “saying, ‘Son of man take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, “Thus says the Lord God.” Listen to this. “You had the seal of perfection full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 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. You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God 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.” Mark that. Until unrighteousness was found in you. That’s all that is said about how sin entered into this being.
“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. I cast you to the ground; I put you before Kings that they may see you. By the multitude of your iniquities in the unrighteousness of your trade; you profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; it has consumed you. I have turned you to the ashes on the earth in the eyes of all who see you. And all who know you among the peoples are appalled at you. You have become terrified and you will be no more.”
Now anybody who reads that section knows it can’t refer to the king of Tyre. Go back to verse 12, “You had the seal of perfection. You were the epitome of perfection. Here is a perfect creature, full of wisdom, supernatural knowledge – supernatural knowledge – perfection in beauty. And then the key, verse 13, “You were in Eden, the garden of God.” You were in Eden, the garden of God. Undoubtedly this of course is an angel, because he’s identified as the covering cherub, in verse 14, “The anointed cherub who covers,” the cherubim, the specially singled out angels involved in worship, according to Isaiah. It may be that the anointed cherub – of all the cherubs who were given to worship, the anointed one, the singled out one was heaven’s praise leader. You could even conclude that there was God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the trinity. And the highest angel in charge of all angelic praise and responsibility was this anointed cherub. You were covered by every magnificent precious stone, ruby, topaz, diamond, beryl, onyx, jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise, emerald, gold. Those are similar to the things used in Genesis 2:8 to 12 to describe Eden, the garden of all that beauty.
It may well have been that this heavenly worship leader had the privilege of coming down to see the wonder of God’s creation in the world. But his real abode was in heaven. “You were” – verse 14 says – “on the holy mountain of God. You were in the midst of the stones of fire. If you look at Revelation 4, you see the fiery environment around the throne of God, the blazing splendor of God’s glorious throne. And verse 15 again, “You were blameless in your ways.” There’s that perfection again. Sinless from the day you were created. From the day God created this angel, along with the other angels, they were sinless. They were perfect in terms of their moral character. They were perfect in terms of their beauty. They had the very seal of perfection. They were full of wisdom. Everything was fine. Until unrighteousness was found in you. Where did that come from? Not outside of him. There wasn’t any unrighteousness outside of him. It wasn’t any unrighteousness in the created order of supernatural beings. There wasn’t any unrighteousness in God. There wasn’t any unrighteousness – or iniquities is another translation. There wasn’t any iniquity in heaven. It didn’t come from outside of him. It came from in him. Unrighteousness – look at it – was found – where? – in you – in you.
What was it? What was that? verse 17, “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty.” So what’s the word for that kind of sin? Pride. And, “You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.” Well this glorious anointed cherub, maybe the worship leader of all the heavenly host, became infatuated by his own splendor, by his own beauty, by his own perfection. And so verse 16 says, “You were internally filled with violence, and you sinned, so I have cast you as profane.” What’s the violence? I’ll tell you what it was. Once Satan began to sin, the sin of pride, and began to be infatuated by his own splendor and his own glory and the wonder of his own person, he then sought violently to usurp the place of whom? God. And verse 16 says, God said, “I cast you as profane from the mountain of God, and I have destroyed you, O covering cherub.’” Boy is that ever true. In just one activity, that anointed cherub went from being only good to being only evil. And since that moment, the anointed cherub cast out has never had one good thought. Not one. What a massive transformation. He wanted to be like God. God made him as unlike God as is possible.
In Luke we have a reference to that very event when he was cast down. Jesus said, Luke 10:18, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.” I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. You have to ask the question, how could this perfect creature be unsatisfied? And if he was satisfied, why would he rebel? We don’t know those things. Our minds can’t fathom them. We only know he had a choice. And again he made the wrong choice. And the choice that this angel made led to his own damnation and the damnation of all the other angels who joined him in his rebellion against God. And then the damnation of the entire human race. I’m confident of this. This anointed cherub had absolutely no idea of the consequences of his choice. He could never have imagined what would come out of that one choice. The unbelievable spread of sin through the angelic realm in response to which God had to create a lake of fire to eternally punish all those angels who rebelled to be joined there by all those in the human race who reject His salvation. Catapulted all of creation into this horrible, horrible situation. He couldn’t have had any idea that this is how it would turn out. And you know, that’s sort of the nature of sin. Nobody really understands what things they set in motion when they make sinful choices. These were monumental, obviously.
There’s another text I want to draw to your attention and that’s Isaiah 14. Isaiah 14 gets a little more specific. It was Satan who was behind the king of Tyre. It’s also Satan in Isaiah 14 who is behind the king of Babylon. In Isaiah 14, just go down to verse 12. There is a warning here in verse 4. It’s a warning against the king of Babylon that Isaiah is given by God. But when you come down to verse 12, it goes behind him. Verse 12, “How have you fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn.” Wow. He’s the anointed cherub. He’s the star of the morning. He’s the sun of the dawn. These are very exalted terms – very exalted terms.
By the way, there are many commentators who believe that this diatribe, this judgment, this taunt, as it’s called, against the king of Babylon is not the historic king of Babylon but the future king of Babylon. When Babylon rises again in the time of the tribulation, and I intend to see that that as accurate in representing this chapter. That Isaiah is looking ahead at the future ruler, the great king of Babylon that will fight against Christ in the future. He’s really looking at the
Antichrist. And behind the Antichrist will be this fallen angel, this Lucifer, this star of the morning, this sun of the dawn, this anointed cherub who has been thrown out of heaven. Verse 12 says, “You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations.” How did it all happen? Verse 13, “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven. I will raise my thrown above the stars of God’ – the other angels – “I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the cloud; I will make myself like the Most High.’ Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.”
You have here really a very good insight into the fall of Satan. The source of sin was inside him. Sin was in him unrighteousness was inside Lucifer, son of the morning, son of the dawn, anointed cherub, heavenly worship leader. And he made a choice, he made a choice to resent God rather than worship God. That’s all we know. He made a choice to usurp God’s place, to dethrone God and enthrone himself, and it’s stated here in five I wills, five I wills that define his being lifted up, as Ezekiel put it. First of all, “I will ascend to heaven. I will take the throne,” that’s what he said. And then, “I will exalt my throne over the stars of God.” I’ll take the throne where you are God and I will rule all the angels. “I will sit,” he says, “on the mount of assembly.” According to Isaiah 2:2 and Psalm 48:1 and 2, this is the mountain in the center of God’s kingdom.
He’s saying, I will be the ruler. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. He’s not talking about clouds around the earth. He’s talking about the glory clouds. “I will ascend beyond the glory of God. I will be like the most high. I will be supreme. I will be the sovereign one. I will replace God.
As fast as he sought to go up, he went down. Nevertheless verse 15, he’ll be thrown down to Sheol. And in verse 12, “How you have fallen from heaven.” And again I remind you of the words of Jesus in Luke 10:18, “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven” He fell fast. And when he fell he was immediately doomed to hell, to the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels, Matthew 25:41. And in Revelation 20 verse 10, looking to the future, you see the event when Satan is finally cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. Now when Satan went down, he didn’t go down alone. Turn to Revelation 12 – Revelation chapter 12. We’ll just look at this last passage, Revelation 12. We meet Satan the great dragon in verse 3 of Revelation 12. And then verse 4, an interesting insight. The great dragon is pictured as his tail sweeps away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Now this indicates to us that when Satan fell, a third of the angels went with him. This is a massive force of angels, unquestionably. These angels along with Satan became the demons. Now there are millions of them. A third of them went, which means there was twice as many holy angels left. A third of them joined the rebellion and were cast down. They constitute the demonic force.
If you look at Revelation 5:11, when it tells us how many angels there are around the throne, there are 10,000 times 10,000 and thousands of thousands. Now you can multiply 10,000 times 10,000 and add thousands of thousands and you probably still aren’t there. The reason it says 10,000 times 10,000 is that’s the largest number in the Greek language that has a word. And it’s murian times murian and thousands of thousand. So you multiply and you’re into the millions and millions. Just one force of demons alone, just one army of demons – in the book of Revelation, coming from the east – has 200 million demons. And that’s not all of them. There are millions of them, but there are twice as many – two thirds – holy angles that remain. So when Satan came out of heaven, he didn’t come out alone. I don’t think he planned it this way. But he wound up, as John Milton said, preferring to be the king of hell rather than the servant of heaven. He was consigned immediately to eternal misery, subjection to the God of a kind that he never, ever could have imagined.
He is now and was at that very moment incapable of repentance which is a gift to humans from God. There has never been in him since that moment one single solitary good impulse. Therefore there is nothing in him to cause him to repent or desire to repent. He is evil. He is unredeemable evil. He is malevolent and wicked and nothing else. His corruption is so complete that good would never exist in him again in any way. Thinking he could be like God, he became as utterly unlike God as is conceivable. So Lucifer could never have imagined what transpired as a result of what he did. The passages that I’ve read to you in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 along with the passage of the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 remind us and this is what I want you to get in your mind. That God is not the author of sin. For us it was a choice made by Adam and Eve. Prior to that it was a choice made by Lucifer and a third of the angels.
What does that tell us? Listen carefully. God is eternal, but sin is not eternal. And since God is eternal and sin is not eternal, God is not the author of sin. There was a time when there was no sin. It didn’t come from outside that sinning angel and all the rest of them but from inside. Satan, a created being, initiated sin in the angelic realm. Adam and Eve, created beings, initiated sin in the human realm.
With regard to Lucifer and the angels who became demons, God chose to give these rebel angel’s full opportunity to exploit every avenue of their power. Isn’t that amazing? The Bible says God threw them down to the earth. God literally gave to them, gave to Satan, within the framework of His sovereign purpose, opportunity to exploit every avenue of their power until the end of man’s history on the earth. And Satan and all his demons will do that all the way to the very end of the millennial kingdom, the thousand-year kingdom when the whole created universe as we know it is destroyed. God gave this fallen angel access again to the perfections of Eden. He gave him access to Adam and Eve. Doesn’t tell us why. The best we can surmise is in order that God might be glorified, and He certainly is glorified in His wrath against sinners, and he certainly is glorified in His wrath against demons and he certainly is glorified in His grace toward sinners. And he certain is glorified through forgiveness. There was the glory of God that was to be displayed through this. So as we said last time, as Luther said, “The devil is God’s devil.” He’s doing what he’s doing within God’s purpose to bring God glory. Even tempting Adam and Eve was within the purposes of sovereign God.
Now I’ll tell you one way you can always remember that, because God planned our salvation before time began. I’m convinced that the salvation plan came before the fall of Satan and the fall of Adam and Eve. It all fit in God’s plan. Though He was not the author of evil. Sin came, plunged us all into hell. Irwin Lutzer, in his excellent book Serpent of Paradise, says, “In a realm beyond our grasp, a glorious creature chose to take a cosmic gamble that would backfire.” He tripped a series of dominoes whose interrelationships were unknown to him. His act once accomplished would reverberate for all eternity. The entire universe would shutter, reeling from the shock, even now you and I feel the painful effects. Little did Adam and Eve know when they that in their sin the whole human race would perish. What immense implications. But it is also their sin that brought about the wonder of God’s salvation, by which He is glorified among the angels and by man. Listen to Romans 5 verse 12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Listen, it was sin on everybody because of one man’s transgression. But Paul then says in verse 15, “If by the transgression of one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of God of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to many.” It goes on to say as in Adam all died so in Christ shall all – what? – be made alive.
You cannot understand that why things are the way they are if you do not understand the Fall. And we do understand sin. And the mystery of the Fall for me is resolved in the wonder of salvation. Isn’t it amazing that this great cosmic thing is going on? The conflict in heaven between an anointed angel and God himself and now a conflict between a force of malevolent wicked demons and holy angels, and it comes down to earth and pollutes the entire created universe, and in the midst of this massive explosion of wickedness with its corruption extending into every part of creation, God steps in to save sinners by offering His own Son to die on a cross in their behalf. What a wondrous plan is this? And with that we can prepare to thank God for the gift of Jesus Christ around the table. Let’s pray.
Father, we of course are grateful that You have overruled sin in the world for those who trust Christ, for those who come to You, for those who repent, those who seek forgiveness by Your grace. We thank You for the amazing love that brings us salvation, though we are depraved, corrupt to the very core. We thank you for the grace that is displayed to sinners, the eternal life that is pledged to us. It is a great wonder that angels who had everything gave it up and gained hell, and sinners who belonged in hell have been graciously given heaven. We will never understand all of the reasons, but we do understand Your grace and salvation. And we celebrate that with joy tonight as we come to Your table.
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