War Within

John, while in exile on the Greek island of Patmos, was given what is arguably the longest and most impressive series of visions regarding human history from theoretically pre-Adam to a thousand years post-Second-Coming. A brief component of this vision describes the origin of sin:

“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 any more in heaven.”

Revelation 12:7-8

Further along John explains what or who this dragon is:

“He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan…”

Revelations 20:2

Much earlier in scripture (about 8-9 centuries earlier, actually) Isaiah is shown the exact same event in Heavenly history, but with the added detail of what sparked the war in the first place that John would later build on. The dragon, Satan, had grand ambitions before he ever tempted Adam and Eve:

“I will climb up to the sky. Above the stars of El I will set up my throne. I will rule on the mountain of assembly on the remote slopes of Zaphon. I will climb up to the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High!”

Isaiah 14:14-15

Essentially, Satan wanted to stage a coup. 

A few centuries after Isaiah, Ezekiel had a similar vision from God who used the King of Tyre as a metaphor for Satan. The details provided in Ezekiel’s vision, however, reveal just how wonderful and cherished Satan was prior to his sin, his heart-wrenching fall, and his banishment from Heaven:

“You were 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 sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes [his voice] was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; 
I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground.”

Ezekiel 28 12-17

(It would seem the bigger they are, the harder they fall.)

Thus unable to wrench Heaven from God, Satan resorted to establishing a kingdom here. (And he did so with embarrassingly minimal effort). His method: corrupt the image of God in the minds of men. First, he cast doubt in the mind of Eve by implying God is a liar:

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied.“It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.””

“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman.

Genesis 3:2-4

Secondly, he convinced Eve that God was holding out on her, that something was being withheld from her–perhaps God didn’t trust her:

“God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it.”

Genesis 3:5

Finally he convinced Eve that God was afraid she would become like Him–perhaps a threat to Him:

“You will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

Genesis 5:5

The sad reality is that God never lied to her: Eve died spiritually that day, her body died another day, and many souls will permanently die because of the sin her and Adam allowed into this world. Secondly, God gave Adam and Eve absolute dominion of the entire planet: trust was not the issue. Finally, knowing evil is not knowing a thing: knowing evil is only knowing the absence of a thing, namely the absence of God.

Thus duped, humanity has continued to struggle with two starkly contrasting personality types initially made manifest during the war in Heaven: one of absolute selflessness, and the other of absolute selfishness. Self-sacrifice and self-aggrandizement.

John later explains in a short letter that,

“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

1 John 3:8

The work of misrepresenting the character of God. Jesus did this work through total submission and self-abandonment. That is, Jesus,

“who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped,but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!”

Philippians 2:6-8

And now you and I are presented with two personality types and their supreme Incarnations and Representatives: that of Satan,

“The father of lies;”

John 8:44

and that of Christ,

[He] who knew no sin [who became] sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:21

It is an internal struggle: a lifelong battle for our souls, for our hearts, for our minds. But we have nothing to fear, for Paul states that,

“neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:28-29

The War Within is won.

Through Jeremiah, God tells us,

“I know the thoughts I think toward you…thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

Through John, nearing the end of his spectacular visions, God promises that after the destruction of sin and death,

“the tabernacle [living quarters] of God [will be] with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelations 21:3-4

There is only good news for the heart leaning on the everlasting arms of God!

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