It is difficult to imagine that a war in Heaven is even possible given that, Heaven by definition is a place of perfect peace, love and joy.
The article, What does Heaven look like? , described the incredible calm and happiness that prevails in Heaven.
The Angels of God live in heavenly serenity, which is unimaginable to the human mind.
Unfortunately, a strange and mysterious rebellion was conceived in one angel’s mind, which disturbed the sanctity of Heaven. He leads a rebellion against God and causes a great war which concludes with the banishment of millions of angels from Heaven.
Peace In Heaven
God loves His creation and every created being has a special place in His heart.
The Lord created angelic beings with intelligence and wisdom. He gifted them with the power of self-determination and the free will to allow them to make their own independent choices.
He wanted the Angels to worship Him through their own free will without being forced into subjugation.
God is presented in the Bible as the embodiment of love who created beings who could experience and reciprocate His love.
Without free will, angels would be mindless robots, blindly doing God’s bidding without any appreciation of His loving nature nor having the ability to love one another.
Angels are perfectly moral beings who can understand, appreciate, share, and reciprocate this selfless love between themselves and God. They voluntarily worship God and abide by His moral law.
The risk of free will
But free will brings along with a huge risk, the risk of disobedience and disaffection. Since beings are free to choose if they want to obey God, they can (if they so choose) refuse to pay homage to God. The Almighty was willing to take this risk because He wants the devotion of intelligent and thoughtful beings willing to serve Him by their own choice.
The security and wellbeing of God’s creation is guaranteed when the laws of the divine government are followed. The moral law reflects God’s character since it is founded on the principles of unselfish love. The Lord in His infinite wisdom had ordained His Law of Love as necessary for order and calm in His Universe.
So long as all creatures function within the boundaries expressed in God’s will, Heaven and all creation remained in a place of perfect happiness.
Seeds of rebellion
God created billions and billions of Angels who serve in His divine Government. These angels are ordered in groups and ranks with superior angels appointed over them. One of the highest rank of angels are the Cherubims who minister directly at the throne of God. Lucifer was a Cherub, who was placed in charge over a large group of Angels.
God created him far more beautiful, intelligent and wise in comparison to other angels.
Lucifer was dressed in precious jewels and rare minerals, and he looked incredible. In fact, the name Lucifer means light bearer because he perfectly reflected the light of God. He was loved by the other angels, who were always ready and willing to obey his commands. They would also seek his advice on important matters.
God describes the incredible beauty and wisdom of Lucifer in the following way:
Notice how God states that all his beauty was given to him on the day he was created. Lucifer didn’t earn his beauty or wisdom, nor did he contribute towards it. God gave it to him when he was created.
Even the leadership position that he occupied in Heaven was God-given. All his glory, power, and great persona were a gift from God. Lucifer had absolutely no reason to be proud of himself or his achievements. If we were truly wise, he would appreciate his talents and thank God for bestowing him with these wonderful qualities.
Lucifer, along with the other angels, was subject to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ – His Creator. During times of worship, they would prostrate and worship God. Paradise was at peace when everyone followed God.
However, a change came over this happy state when strange thoughts and desires started manifesting in Lucifer’s mind.
It was the very first time that a created being experienced sinful thoughts.
Sin originated in Lucifer’s mind, but its presence can never be fully explained. It’s an enemy, an infiltrator into God’s perfect universe. To give a reason for its presence would be as good as defending it.
Lucifer was perfect when he was created until iniquity was found in him.
The word iniquity is the Hebrew word עֶוֶל (evel), it means wickedness. This word describes a sinful act committed and portrays the person’s nature and state of mind as evil. The sin committed is not an error of judgment or done unknowingly but rather done with full knowledge and done with the intent of causing harm.
Lucifer’s mind had become wicked, and a permanent change occurred within him. He became predisposed to sin to such a degree that he would go on to perpetrate acts of violence of unimaginable proportions.
But how was it possible that a sinless being who was previously upright and righteous suddenly became sinful to the point that his nature became irreversibly evil?
Ezekiel 28:17 states that Lucifer’s wisdom was tainted because he became egoistic. He was filled with self-admiration and pride because of his beauty and the high position he occupied in God’s government.
Lucifer forgot that his charisma was God-given and not of his own making. He became so self-obsessed with preeminence that he started feeling jealous of God. He realized that even though he was highly honored and respected, he didn’t receive the same reverence and adoration as God!
He became envious of the devotion that all angels had for God. He was under the misconception that God had sway over all the creatures only because of his exceptional grandeur, majesty, and incredible power. He was blinded by his thirst for dominance and didn’t realize that the angels worshiped God not because He was powerful but because He was their all-knowing, all-loving Creator and the only one worthy of worship.
Lucifer made God his enemy and considered Him as his competitor. He craved the power and supremacy of God and falsely concluded that if he could usurp God’s authority and depose Him, then he could occupy God’s throne and become another God. He could then rule over God’s kingdom and force the other angels to worship him instead!
Lucifer’s 5 obessions for self-deification
Lucifer became infatuated with the desire to become God. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 14:13-14 that this feeling originated in his heart.
- I will ascend into heaven.
- I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.
- I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.
- I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.
- I will be like the most High.
Lucifer’s mind was preoccupied with selfish desires. All he could think about was himself. The selfless love that he had learned from God and had practiced was all forgotten. Lucifer knew that he was merely a created being. The thought of disobeying God and forcefully becoming another God was blasphemy.
Lucifer’s 5 point plan to conquer Heaven
It is important to understand that the Heavenly battle was a legal war of words rather than a physical fight. Lucifer had to legally challenge God’s authority and prove that he was more capable of running the divine government.
Lucifer was a smart and cunning foe. He realized that to achieve his goal of becoming a God, he would need to get rid of the Lord. He knew that winning would not be an easy task, and directly challenging the Lord Jesus would mean a guaranteed loss.
Therefore to gain victory, Lucifer devised a five point action plan as follows:
- Pretend and conceal the true agenda by tactfully criticizing God’s governance but with the outward appearance of trying to help.
- Deceive angels into believing that God is exploiting them for His benefit and cause dissatisfaction among them.
- Present God as the enemy and conduct a smear campaign to tarnish His character.
- Manipulate the angels to fight God for “the greater good” of the angels.
- Claim that only he (Lucifer) can give the angels true independence, and if they can force God to abdicate his rights and relinquish control of Heaven to Lucifer, then the conflict can end peacefully.
The Great controversy begins in Heaven
Lucifer’s true agenda was to become God. “I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:1
God was not caught by surprise. He knew exactly what Lucifer was up to. Lucifer worked secretly, hiding his true motives and covering them up with an appearance of benevolence. God tells us in Ezekiel 28 that Lucifer was filled with violence. He was willing to use aggressive tactics and use any force possible to accomplish his evil desires.
Lucifer used lies and deception to mislead the angels. Ezekiel 28 mentions that he had defiled himself by the “multitude of thy merchandise” and “inquity of thy traffick”.
The Hebrew word רְכֻלָּה (rekullâh) is translated as merchandise and traffick. This is another word for trade.
The Cambridge dictionary defines trade as:
- The activity of buying and selling.
- The act of exchanging one thing for another.
- To trade is also to exchange something.
According to God, Lucifer was involved in exchanging something, which made his sin even more grievous.
But what was he exchanging?
Lucifer was the father of lies. He invented it. This was a new “commodity” that he created, and he was actively involved in selling his lies and propagating them. He had set up a figurative market in Heaven where he was trading lies back and forth.
The Bible tells us in Ezekiel 28:5 that Lucifer had actually made himself “rich” by selling his “lies”.
Lucifer spread falsehood against God and His divine laws. He slandered Jesus and claimed that His laws only served as a means to control the angels. Lucifer alleged that the laws were an unnecessary restraint and needed to be abolished to allow the angels to be truly free.
His argument relied on the false claim that angels should not be compelled to obey God’s laws as they are morally perfect. Thus he poisoned the minds of the angels under a pretentious garb of concern for the efficient administration of God’s government.He skillfully concealed his true agenda and planted the seeds of discontent into the minds of the angels, and caused many of them to rebel against God.
The majority of the angels sided with Jesus and tried to convince Lucifer of his errors, but he would not listen.
The wayward angel foolishly presumed the loving-kindness and grace of God as a weakness. He recognized that Jesus could only employ truth and righteousness to His aid while Lucifer could wield flattery, deceit, and lies to his advantage. Thus he tricked many of the angels into believing that he was seeking their welfare and hid his real motive for instigating them to wage war against Heaven.
Satan and his angels kicked out of Heaven
Lucifer was fully aware that he was wrong and that he ought to repent for his sins. However, his pride and ego got the better of him. He firmly resisted the mercy of God, hardened his heart, and became filled with pure evilness.
Thus Lucifer, the light bearer, became Satan, the accuser, and slanderer of God and the angels that sided with Him. Many angels had been misled into supporting Satan because they couldn’t discern his treachery. He had artfully instilled doubts and resentment within their hearts.
As the unrest among the angels grew, Satan demanded changes to the divine laws under the facade of preserving harmony in Heaven.
He pushed for unrealistic changes intended for vesting more powers into his own hands and sidelining God.
God could have thwarted the rebellion by destroying Satan. However, infinite wisdom allowed Satan to carry ahead with his dissent until his evil nature was exposed for all to see. Otherwise, a premature end to his mutiny would cause the angels to submit to God out of fear rather than a genuine understanding of Satan’s evil designs. Angels were caught off guard by this surprise insurrection, having never experienced lies and sin before. Satan had deceitfully hidden his true nature from the angels, and many sympathized with him.
At last, during the final stages of this rebellion, Satan openly attacked God and refused to obey and worship His Creator.
He disrespected God and charged all the commotion that he had created on God. Finally, the angels realized his true intentions and it was decided in the councils of Heaven that Satan and his fellow supporters can no longer be allowed to live in Heaven.
Of course, Satan wouldn’t leave without putting up a fight. He along with his associates decided to fight God and the good angels.
The Bible doesn’t reveal if weapons were used in this battle or how long this conflict lasted. The sight of this combat must have been truly splendid. The climax of this battle results in Satan and his angels being thrown down from Heaven like a lightning flash.
Jesus was of course an eyewitness to this moment because it was He who had removed Satan from Heaven.
Jesus describes Satan’s fall in John 8:44:
Satan was more powerful than any other angel of Heaven. Jesus was the only one who could expel him from Heaven. Revelation 12 offers us a glimpse of the battle between the forces of Good and Evil, which eventually ends with Satan and one-third of the angels of Heaven being thrown out of Heaven.
God finally crushed the revolt, and He restored peace in Heaven. But Heaven was filled with a huge void with the loss of one-third of its residents. God was sad and disappointed with the path that Satan had chosen.
Through His all-knowing wisdom, God knew that Satan would go on to cause further misery not only for the inhabitants of Heaven but for the citizens of the Earth as well.
Though Satan lost the epic battle in Heaven, he was not yet done. Very soon, the great controversy between Christ and Satan was going to enter a new phase and continue in a different location (Earth) and this time a new class of beings (humans) would get involved in this conflict!