An Introduction to the Angelic Conflict
At different times I have been in online discussions with other believers about the direction that the U.S. is taking and I have had a very difficult time explaining myself. So, I decided when I started this blog that I would lay some groundwork and try to explain how and why I interpret current events the way I do. I have already posted on two of the three legs of the approach I use: the Divine Institutions and the Five Cycles of Discipline. I will now introduce the third, and final, leg which is the Angelic Conflict.
I can gauge how well the U.S. (or any country) is doing by how well its people are following the Divine Institutions. Bad decisions by individuals lead to bad marriages (defined as one man and one woman), then dysfunctional families, and finally the deterioration of the nation as a whole. When a nation, especially a client nation unto God, becomes degenerate then God becomes involved in directly punishing the nation via the Five Cycles of Discipline. However God and man are not the only ones involved in history: Satan is active with his own agenda. Everyone seems to forget about Satan or seems to think that he is only interested in tempting individuals to sin. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is still in revolt against God, he is still the ruler of this world, and he has an agenda for manipulating history for his glory that is totally antagonistic to God’s plan for history.
This is such a large subject that I am going to provide a short introduction with some links. I plan on coming back to this subject in the future and fill in some of the details. However I want to make one point here and now. Because of my understanding of the Angelic Conflict, human free will is not only a requirement of human history it is the whole point! Would a determinist ever make a statement like this?
Through a lower creature, man, God is demonstrating the unified function of the attributes of His essence (sovereignty, eternal life, love, justice, righteousness, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability, veracity) in answer to Satan’s appeal. Thus, human history serves as evidence in the appeal trial of Satan.
Or, how about this?
Though already under sentence of death for his unrepentant attempt to overthrow God’s rule over the universe (Job 4:18; Matt.25:41; Jn.16:11), Satan still retains his freedom of action. We find him spying on our first parents in the garden (Gen.3), appearing before the Lord to slander our brethren (Job 1&2; Zech.3; Rev.12:10), and prowling the earth in search of believers whose defenses are down (1Pet.5:8). The reason for the devil’s intense interest in mankind is similar to the reason for our creation in the first place (and to the reason for the delay in carrying out the sentence of death under which he stands as well): Man is meant as a response to Satan’s rebellion, a living refutation of the devil’s slanderous lies against the character of God. God has created mankind 1) to demonstrate to all angelic kind His ability to reconcile His creatures to Himself, and 2) to actually replace all that was lost through the devil’s defection.
A good source for links and an introduction to the Angelic Conflict is at Gary Kukis’ website (here is the link to his write-up of the doctrine of the Angelic Conflict). Gary’s write up is a bit dense but some of the links he provides at the bottom of the page are very useful (and more user friendly) and I suggest following them. In fact the summary I am about to provide comes from one of those links.
Another site with good resources on the subject is the ICHTHYS site which contains an extensive amount of information in the Satanic Rebellion section. The one problem I have with this site is that the author believes we can loose our salvation if our faith is destroyed. Please keep in mind that just because I link to a website does not mean that I endorse all of the authors views.
Here is an excellent introduction which should give you all an idea of what the Angelic Conflict is and why I think it is important in interpreting human history:
According to the Bible, God’s purpose for creating man (Adam and Eve) and providing man with a choice to exercise his free will or volition (the test of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil – Gen 2:9, 17) was directly related to events that preceded the Genesis account. At a point in eternity past, the Bible records that a rebellion occurred in the heavenly realms among God’s first creatures, i.e. angels. This rebellion, the Angelic Conflict, was led by none other than the most beautiful creature to be created by God, i.e. Lucifer or Satan. As a result of Satan’s rebellion against God, God sentenced Satan and his followers to the Lake of Fire.
Why wasn’t that sentence immediately executed? What possible purpose could be served by allowing a delay to occur in the execution of that sentence? We know certain facts from Scripture. From those facts, we can draw a logical conclusion – a Biblical induction – regarding the reason for the delay in the execution of Satan’s sentence.
It is very likely that Satan appealed his sentence with a statement to the effect of – “How can a God of love cast one of his creatures into the Lake of Fire?” Through a lower creature, man, God is demonstrating the unified function of the attributes of His essence (sovereignty, eternal life, love, justice, righteousness, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability, veracity) in answer to Satan’s appeal. Thus, human history serves as evidence in the appeal trial of Satan. The perfect environment over which man had dominion prior to the Fall in the Garden will one day be restored to the dominion of man (Jesus Christ, the Messiah) Who will rule from a restored Jerusalem as capital of a restored Israel. The lower creature, man, will serve as vindicating evidence of God’s fairness in the appeal trial of Satan.
Thus, human history is vitally related to the Angelic Conflict that occurred in eternity past. The following points provide further details of the inductive logic that leads to the conclusion that man (and human history) will serve as evidence for all eternity to all of God’s creatures that a God of love is also a God of justice and righteousness, i.e. absolute fairness.
- Satan, the most beautiful creature to come from the hand of God, fell in eternity past (Isa 14:12-15; Ezek 28:13-18) by deciding that he would become the object of worship for all of God’s creation
- God pronounced a sentence upon Satan and all of the angels that fell with him (one-third of the angels) to the lake of fire (Isa 14:15)
- There has been a delay in the execution of the sentence for a period of time equal to human history (Re 20:7-10)
- The reason for the delay in the execution of the sentence upon Satan and the fallen angels must be related to some type of appeal voiced by Satan such as “how can a God of love cast one of His creatures into the lake of fire?” In other words, Satan questioned the unified nature of the function of God’s attributes.
- Man was created with dominion over a portion of God’s creation, i.e. the earth (Ge 1:28-30)
- Man was provided with a test of his volition (Ge 2:16-17)
- Man chose against God’s command (Ge 3:6-7)
- As a result of sin, man lost his eternal life and nature was cursed with his fall (Ge 3)
- Man also lost dominion of the earth and Satan gained dominion over the earth and became its ruler (Ge 3 cf. Matt 4:8-9)
- God has demonstrated and is demonstrating the unity of His attributes (e.g. love, justice, righteousness, etc.) in human history
- He provided the promise of a Savior and fulfilled that promise through His Own Son, i.e. Jesus Christ, the promised seed and Messiah (Ge 3:15; Deut 18:15; 2 Sam 7:12-13; Jn 3:16; Acts 2:34-36)
- God was motivated by His love to make this provision (Jn 3:16)
- God’s righteousness required payment for sin (Ge 3:21 cf. 1 Jn 2:2)
- What God’s righteousness demanded, God’s justice executed (Rom 3:26)
- A God of love can sentence creatures who violate His righteous standards to an eternal punishment without violating the integrity of His attributes
- A righteous God is vindicated by a lower creature (man) accepting His grace provisions since Satan (the higher creature) failed
This introduction along with links to additional material can be found here: The Real Meaning of Life?
The Appeal Trial of Satan page has some good explanatory material at the bottom of the page. One of those links is to “Part 3A: Questions and Objections to this Teaching” which poses some interesting questions to those who are skeptical of this teaching:
- Why the delay between the pronouncement of Satan’s sentence in Ezekiel 28:12b-19 and the execution of that sentence at the end of human history?
- Why was there a prohibition in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve not partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Why any prohibition at all? If your answer is “to test man’s loyalty,” I say “why?” Why would man’s loyalty need to be tested?
- Why did God need to create a creature lower than the angels?
- Why is there such interest on the part of angels in the affairs of human history?
- How can there be only one will in eternity future so that man’s eternal state is secure and not subject to an alternative choice at some point in eternity?
I will try and post on these questions as time permits.