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The law of love is the foundation of the government of God. He desires from all His creatures the service of love—service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.
In the Beginning Love
"God is love." 1 John 4:16. Every manifestation of creative power is an expression of infinite love. Nothing is more plainly taught in Scripture than that God was in no wise responsible for the entrance of sin.
Before the entrance of evil all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love; there was perfect peace and joy throughout the universe of God. All was in perfect harmony with the Creator's will. Love for God was supreme, love for one another impartial. Christ, the Word, was one with the eternal Father—one in nature, in character, in purpose—the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God, and share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1, 2. By Christ the Father wrought in the creation of all heavenly beings. "By Him were all things created, ..." Col. 1:16. And to Christ, equally with the Father, all heaven gave allegiance.
Rebellion Against Love
It had been the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator. They delighted in reflecting His glory and showing forth His praise. But a change came. There was one who perverted the freedom that God granted to His creatures. Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, had been most honored of God and was highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven. Lucifer, "son of the morning," was the first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled. See Ezek. 28:12-15.
Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it as pertaining to himself. Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation. See Ezek. 28:17; Isa. 14:13, 14. Coveting the glory which the infinite Father had invested in His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone. Lucifer allowed his jealousy of Christ to prevail. To dispute the supremacy of the Son of God had become the purpose of this prince of angels. To this object he was about to bend his God given energies.
He who would have the will of all His creatures free, left none unguarded. The King of the universe summoned the heavenly hosts. Before the assembled inhabitants of heaven the King declared that the Son of God had wrought the Father's will in the creation of all the hosts of heaven; to Him, as well as to God, their homage and allegiance were due. There had been no change in the position or authority of Christ. Lucifer's envy and his claims to equality with Christ had made necessary a statement of the true position of the Son of God, but this had been the same from the beginning.
In Lucifer's heart there was a strange, fierce conflict. Truth, justice, and loyalty were struggling against envy and jealousy. For a time the spirit of evil seemed vanquished, and unutterable love thrilled his entire being. But again he was filled with pride in his own glory. "Why," questioned this mighty angel, "is Christ honored above Lucifer?"
Leaving his place in the immediate presence of the Father, Lucifer went forth to diffuse the spirit of discontent among the angels. He worked with mysterious secrecy, and for a time concealed his purpose under an appearance of reverence for God. He began to insinuate doubts concerning the laws that governed heavenly beings. Taking advantage of the loving, loyal trust reposed in him by the holy beings under his command, he artfully instilled into their minds his own distrust and discontent, while secretly fomenting discord and rebellion.
A compassionate Creator, in yearning pity for Lucifer and his followers, sought to draw them back from the abyss of ruin into which they were about to plunge. The angels pleaded with Lucifer. The Son of God presented before them the greatness, the goodness, and the justice of the Creator, and the sacred, unchanging nature of His law. But His mercy was misinterpreted; the warning, given in love and mercy, only aroused a spirit of resistance. Lucifer pointed to the long-suffering of God as an indication that the King of the universe would yet accede to his terms.
In great mercy, according to His divine character, God bore long with Lucifer. Such efforts as infinite love and wisdom only could devise, were made to convince him of his error. His disaffection was proved to be without cause. Lucifer was convinced that he was in the wrong and nearly reached the decision to return, but pride forbade him.
God permitted Satan to carry forward his work until the spirit of disaffection ripened into active revolt. It was necessary for his plans to be fully developed, that their true nature and tendency might be seen by all. Lucifer, as the anointed cherub, had been highly exalted; he was greatly loved by the heavenly beings, and his influence over them was strong. All his acts were so clothed with mystery that it was difficult to disclose to the angels the true nature of his work. Until fully developed, it could not be made to appear the evil thing that it was.
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found anymore in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Rev. 12:7-9.
Even when he was cast out of heaven, Infinite Wisdom did not destroy Satan. Since only the service of love can be acceptable to God, the allegiance of His creatures must rest upon a conviction of His justice and benevolence. Had he been immediately blotted out of existence, some would have served God from fear rather than from love. The influence of the deceiver would not have been fully destroyed, nor would the spirit of rebellion have been utterly eradicated. For the good of the entire universe, he must more fully develop his principles, that his charges against the divine government might be seen in their true light by all created beings, and that the justice and mercy of God and the immutability of His law might be forever placed beyond all question.
Satan's rebellion was to be a lesson to the universe through all coming ages—a perpetual testimony to the nature of sin and its terrible results.
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Created: 8/1/01 Updated: 1/7/04