LOSS OF COVERINGS. The result of eating the fruit was not at all as Adam and Eve had expected. Instead of becoming like God, instead of possessing that greater wisdom Lucifer had promised, instead of having the “secret” of Good and Evil revealed to them, they suddenly lost their “light covering” which had been their clothing hitherto, and found themselves nude. In Eden there were all manner of creatures, but each had its own covering. Some had feathers, some had fur, nonewere of “bare flesh”, the condition they now found themselves in. And a new sensation came over them, that of embarrassment, a sensation they couldn’t handle. Lucifer stood there and they knew they had to run into the seclusion of the bushes. They also sensed what was wrong. They had been tricked by Lucifer. He had caused something like frosted glass to come across their minds, and they were all fuzzy about the original word of the Lord to them. But now a clarity had returned, a clarity that was different to anything they’d known before. Something that we now call “conscience” was beginning to operate, and they needed to hide, not just from Lucifer, but from God Himself. Hence the fig leaves.
LUCIFER’S FALL. We cannot know what Lucifer felt in that instant of his fall. The Bible is silent, and perhaps that’s as well. But he must have sensed a change. It goes without saying. When God found Adam and Eve, we know that Lucifer was there with them. That much is certain.
THE GAP THEORY. Now some believers state very categorically that Satan fell long ages before Eden, that there was a whole history of human activity which had been destroyed cataclysmically, and that Genesis 1 was the story of re-creation rather than creation. They refer to what is known as the “Gap theory,” when the earth “BECAME without form and void.”In the 1950s I was enamoured with this theory, taught by Pember in “Earth’s Earliest Ages.” But in 1963 I attended a conference in which the speaker, a Hebrew scholar, showed that the language of Genesis could not sustain this translation of Chapter 1 verse 2. Since then I have had the privilege of speaking to two Israelis, well-versed in their language, and they confirmed this conclusion. There is NO PLACE for a gap in the Genesis record.
JUDGMENT ON LUCIFER. The Lord questioned both Eve and Adam, but never asked Lucifer any questions, and we should learn a lesson from this. Like Michael the Archangel, we need to know that those who enter into conversation or debate with the Devil, find their mental apparatus becoming afflicted. That which had previously been as clear as a bell, begins to grow fuzzy. Eventually it leads to spiritual blindness. Those who are sons of the wicked one have the same effect on believers, and once this fact is known and observed, then it is possible to discern those who are false brethren. The Lord was angry with Lucifer and straightway cursed him. Those who hold to the gap theory fail to appreciate that it wasn’t until this moment that Satan was cursed, not before. And God now used potent figures of speech to illustrate the nature of his curse. “You will go on your belly.” In other words, “You, who have been the greatest figure in the heavens, will now find yourself utterly debased.” “You will eat dust.” No creature eats dust. Not even snakes. The figure signifies a state of utter disappointment. “Whatever you try to do to further your own interests will rebound on your own head. I will turn everything round, so that you will find yourself furthering MY purposes instead.” That’s what we mean today, when we say to someone, “Go and eat dust.” Just as Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, so also was Lucifer cast out of the highest heaven. He was consigned to the middle heaven. In Ephesians chapter 2, Paul refers to Lucifer as “the Prince of the Power of the Air.” The Air is the symbol of this Middle-Heavenly region, spoken of as such in the Book of Revelation. We do not learn this from the Genesis account, but from Ezek.28:16 where the Lord says, “Therefore I cast you as profane out of the Mountain of God, and I destroy you, O covering cherub from the midst of the stones of fire.”
THE TWO HEAVENS. It is important to understand the “geography” of heaven. I have just spoken about the “Middle Heaven”, and that Lucifer was ejected from the Higher Heaven. These two heavenly regions are quite separate. Lucifer was no longer able to “see” into the Upper Heaven, neither were Adam and Eve able to exercise their higher gifts, which were connected with the Middle Heaven. Each suffered what may best be called a “dimensional” loss, and that is where both Lucifer and humanity stand today.
A SENSE OF INJUSTICE. Lucifer was angry because of his ejection from the Upper Heaven. We shall see in a moment what his attitude was. Whereas Adam and Eve were repentant, and the Lord taught them the meaning of sacrifice, Satan smarted under the “injustice” of being ousted from his place of Royal Priestly activity. Furthermore he found that his departure had been accompanied by a host of other angelic beings, those who had been taken in by his love of the loud, clamorous, competitive way he had adopted, the way of life called RA in Hebrew, and translated Evil, the way which he preferred to TOV, “Good”, which in his estimation was contemptible.
“I’LL GET BACK – YOU SEE!” Turning now to Isaiah 14, we are presented with a cameo of how Lucifer felt after his ejection. Starting at verse 12, “How are you fallen from Heaven, O Praise Master, son of the early dawn.” That which follows is therefore spoken by Lucifer from the lower vantage point. He says in his heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit also on the Mount of the Congregation in the sides of the north [i.e. in the extremities of the hidden regions], I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”He is saying, “I’ll get back, just you wait. I’ll have my revenge on all this injustice. No one, but no one, can occupy the position I had. In the end the Most High will HAVE to re-instate me.” It is instructive to think over the five “I will”s quoted above. He sought to ascend back into the Upper Heaven, and assert his regal authority over the “stars of God”, in other words the whole angelic realm, and sit in the Council Chamber of the Heavenly Parliament, situated on God’s Mountain, thereby to rise above the clouds, the aerial region where he now was, and finally be regarded as equivalent to Most High Himself. This last item was paramount in his thinking. He fully believed that he could run the world, the universe, BETTER than God Himself. He convinced himself that the ways of RA were superior to the ways of TOV, and was determined to show God, to show the world of angels and men, that it was so. And he would start by winning over the rest of mankind to his ways. If he could get “the whole world in his hands,” then God would have to give up the contest, and hand the whole outfit over to him. This was his thinking. I’m not imagining this. It is the clear impression of the whole Bible, once the understanding of RA and TOV is fully grasped.
UNHOLY AMBITION. When the Apostle Peter tried to persuade Jesus not to go to the cross, our Lord rebuked him, seeing that Satan had invaded his mind. The words are worthy of consideration. “Get behind me Satan, you savour the things of man, and not the things of God.” Self-preservation is a human trait, and Satan was boosting it. Why did the Lord say that Satan “savours the things of man”? Is Satan REALLY interested in man? I would suggest that his only interest in man is to forward his own ambition, an unholy ambition, of subduing the human race thereby to dispossess God and achieve his goal of God-hood. In his state of corrupted wisdom, he believes he can actually do this, even though he is only a created being.
A ROARING LION. We are told that Satan is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The figure of speech signifies the wrathful overcoming of the human race. “Fear not the one who is able to destroy the body, but fear him who is able to destroy both body and soul in gehenna,” the Lord said. Sadly, most translations give a capital H for the word “him”, as though it is God who destroys people in Gehanna! But no, it is Satan. He is able to work wickedness in men’s minds until he owns them, even as he owned the angels who fell with him initially. It is all part of a plot to re-instate himself in Heaven.
HE WHO OWNS THE WORLD. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, the Devil said, “Bow down to me, and I will give you all the kingdoms of the world, for they are delivered unto me.” The Lord didn’t debate the issue but merely rebuked him. But see how the Devil’s mind was working. Here was a chance not to be missed. He knew that Jesus desired the kingdoms of the world as His inheritance. He knew that they needed redemption, buying back, and he, Satan, was the Pawnbroker. “I’ll make a deal with Jesus. He can redeem the whole world, on condition that I am re-instated in Heaven, ABOVE HIM. I must have his worship. I must be like the Most High.” The Lord refused to enter into the bargain. This made Satan mad, and from then on he used his human agents in a progressive battle to destroy Him. Once He was on the cross, he imagined that his battle was over. But he had no idea. He had only “bitten the dust” in finality. In Revelation 11 we are told that a time will come when “all the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of the Lord and of His Christ.” The way of sacrifice was initially taught to Adam and Eve. When the Lord came, He showed the world that He and He alone was the True Sacrifice, the Only Sacrifice, and all those who followed Him in the way of the cross were snatched from the mind of the Devil.
A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING. In the early years after Jesus’ resurrection, the apostolic age began. The Good-News message travelled round the world like wild-fire and caused Satan to become very angry. This was his time of being like a “roaring lion”, but now, at the end of the church age, he is employing other tactics. He is far more subtle, more cunning, seeking to infuse his mind-set on mankind under the guise of Christ Himself. Jesus said, “Many will come in my name,”and there are always plenty of Little Red Riding Hoods ready to invite the wolf into their homes. We live in an age of great subtlety in which the ways of RA are becoming uppermost, even in the Christian world.
BATTLE IN HEAVEN. But a time is forecast when a battle royal takes place in heaven between Satan and Michael, and the “Dragon, the Devil, the Ancient Serpent Cherub” is cast out into the earth. For all we know, this might already have taken place. Although the story is found in Revelation 12, it was prophesied through Isaiah and Ezekiel hundreds of years earlier. In Isa.14:12-20 we read that Lucifer is “cut down to the ground”, and finally “brought down to Sheol, to the sides of the pit.” Those in the underworld witness his coming, and say, “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, making the world as a wilderness, destroying its cities, and opening not the house of his prisoners?” In Ezek.28:17 we read, “I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you.” And in Rev.12:12, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea, for the Devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that his time is short.”
GREAT TRIBULATION. We have had more than enough letters from dear friends recently to convince us that a strangely new and vicious form of attack is now taking place on the saints of God. Could this be the evidence that the Devil HAS been thrown out of heaven into the earth? If so, then he is angry, and is lashing out in every direction. As Ezekiel declared, “All those who know you among the people shall be astonished at you. You shall be a terror, and never shall you be for ever.” (Ezek.28:19) The Bible refers to this period as the great tribulation, but the word tribulation speaks about birth pangs, and birth pangs speak about a manchild being born, and this manchild is to rule all nations with a rod of iron. Tribulation is God’s vice, his restraining instrument, by which He prepares His servants for His Kingdom. Paul said, “Through much tribulation we shall enter the Kingdom of God.” Once again, Satan acts, but God uses his actions to perfect His own children. Ultimately Satan bites the dust, as he ever has done from the beginning.
BROUGHT TO ASHES. God said, “I will bring forth a fire out of your midst and it shall devour you, and I will bring you to ashes upon the earth.” (Ezek.28:18) What does this mean? We must remember that Satan was the “Anointed Cherub” and the cherubim all had “infolding fire” in their midst. See Ezekiel 1 & 10 for a description of what the prophet saw. I believe that in these words, we have the slightest glimmer of good emerging from all the wretchedness of millennia. When we die, we are said to return to the dust from which we are made. But Lucifer is brought to ashes upon the earth. Dust and ashes are not the same. The Anglican prayer book burial service employs the expression, “Dust to dust, ashes to ashes,” but unless a person is cremated, the expression “ashes to ashes” is inept. Repentance Biblically is associated with“sackcloth and ashes.” The ashes speak of a state of wretchedness that leads to new life and hope. “I will give you beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning,” the Lord says. Shall we say that after the Millennial Kingdom, and after the time of Satan’s last rebellion, he finally comes to his senses in the Lake of Fire, and repents? If so, then the patience of God will be rewarded, even if man still finds the idea repulsive, and would rather see his eternal torment.