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Major Texts for this Lesson: Rev. 12:7-9; Ezek. 28:12-15; Isa. 14:12-14; Gen. 3:15; John 17:24-26

Every story has to have a beginning. The verses listed above all speak to the beginning of the conflict.

The first passage is truly remarkable, even disturbing for it tells of a war in heaven. One is hard-pressed to understand why or how there was war in what we would imagine to be a pristine, untroubled space. But the passage is quite clear, that there was war in heaven between Michael and his angels, and the dragon who is elsewhere identified with Satan, and his angels to the point that Satan and his minions did not prevail but were cast out. It clearly states that no “place was found for them in heaven any longer.”

Here is the beginning of the story. Something caused a great rift in heaven to the point that Satan and those who decided to follow him, had to be put out.

The picture of the origin of the Great Controversy is expanded or elaborated on by the next two passages listed above, Ezek. 28:12-15 and Isa. 14:12-14. When you read these passages, you will notice that they do not speak directly of Satan. One speaks about the King of Tyre, the other about the King of Babylon. How do we take them to be speaking of Satan?

Several things should be noted. First – and this will come as a shock to many people – the name Lucifer is not a biblical name but rather the transliteration of a Latin word that means “Day Star.” Somewhere along the way, the translators did not give the English equivalent of the Greek and Hebrew names used in Isa. 12 thereby causing people to assume the name Lucifer to be a biblical name for Satan. This development is easily traced by doing some internet searching. The name Lucifer is a transliteration of the Latin that means “Day Star” or “Light-bearer.” Please note that this little observation does not change the significance of meaning of these verses at all.

As for the verses being applicable to Satan and the war in heaven, there are two considerations. The first is the connection Jesus made in Luke about Satan falling like lightening from heaven. Very early on, Christians saw a connection between what is said in Isa. 12 and the words of Jesus. But – and this might be more significant – what is said about the King of Babylon could not have ever happened to a human for no human fell like lightning from heaven.
And when we look at the passage in Ezek. 28, it becomes very quickly apparent that the verses under consideration could not be talking about a human king for no human king was ever in the garden of God – Eden – nor was he an anointed cherub. Something far greater is going on here that is not hard to see. The writers are using an earthly situation to illuminate a cosmic one. The two kings help us project into the cosmic realm to see Satan in his original state, and then as he fell from heaven as noted in Luke and Revelation. It is not an unusual thing in the Bible to see situations on earth illuminating much grander events at the cosmic level.
One more thing to be noted is that Lucifer was apparently quite taken with his own beauty and, when something upset him, he decided to challenge God and lost his place in heaven.

Once this war broke out, the heavenly beings had to takes sides and a host of angels apparently elected to go with Satan. Here is demonstrated Satan’s power to persuade and even deceive perfect beings. We would be wise to regard him as a wily and powerful foe, one not to be trifled with.

The fact that Satan fell like lightning from earth to heaven gives us a connection between him and earth. The story of how he came to God’s pristine little world that He created and deceived the humans there, now makes sense. Perhaps it was an antagonistic mindset that caused him to want to ruin what apears to have been a new creation by God. And, according to Genesis 3, he proved to be quite successful. He deceived Eve into ignoring the stipulations given by God about a certain tree. The effects of the coming of Sin far outweighed the deed that opened the door for it to come. The Bible is clear that sin spread out and infected the whole of this planet including the humans God had made. Perhaps most significantly, sin actually changed the orientation of humans so that we are now tilted away from God. There were immediate, intermediate, and final consequences that we are still very much living with.

But there is very good news that first appears in a little promise couched in metaphorical language, about the seed of the woman and that of Satan. Clearly, the seed of the woman, whom Christians contend is Jesus, is going to triumph over Satan. One is pressed to imagine the sorrow Adam and Eve must have felt when they realized what had happened. But we are also unable to imagine the joy and hope that must have surged through them when they heard this promise. Here is the beginning of a line of thought that runs throughout the whole of the Bible, the idea of deliverance, that one day, a Deliverer will come, a Messiah, who will restore the damage sin has caused. The hope culminates in the promise of a new heaven and a new earth.

It is important to note that God is the initiator of this plan of redemption. Everyone knows the most famous text in the Bible, John 3:16 that speaks of the love of God and his desire to save rather than destroy. This is reflected in many places in the Bible, and it is supported by God’s actions in history to include Jesus coming to earth as a baby, living a remarkable life, then dying as a sacrifice for sin thereby making a way of escape for sinners. That was followed – and this is very important – by Jesus rising from the dead so he can now minister as a High Priest for humans with stated plans to return again one day to gather up those who believe, both the living and the dead.

The story that is laid out in this lesson in rudimentary fashion is the story that undergirds the whole of the Bible. It moves from the appearance of sin, to creation, to the fall, to the sometimes unimaginable meanderings of humans, to Calvary, the Resurrection, more meanderings, and, finally, the establishment of the Kingdom of God in its fullness. This we should keep in mind for the whole of the quarter.

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