Tuesday, August 15, 2023


 No 15  How Could This Be?

How Could This Have Happened?
One of the most frequent questions I am asked about the Book of Job relates to the presence of Satan in heaven. How could this have happened? How could Satan be in heaven? Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them (Job 1:6).

When Lucifer (Satan) was cast out of heaven to this earth, was he not quarantined to this planet? Doesn't he have a ball and chain, as it were, that keeps him positioned and locked on this planet? Wouldn't he have "burned up" in the presence of the Lord? Wouldn't it have meant instant annihilation just for him to go there?

Here Begins the Answer 
The Lord Jesus has the ability to veil His divinity―to keep it from shining through. It was a provision and a prerogative He must exercise. Without this, there would be no safety for sinners in His presence. This is in itself a facet of His overarching love for His creatures―in this case, errant creatures.

Look at the Times Christ Veiled His Divinity
When the Lord walked in the Garden in the cool of the day, it was the Son of God walking in veiled divinity. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden (Gen 3:8).

It was in veiled divinity that the Son of God came from heaven down to check out the Tower of Babel. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded (Gen 11:5). Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech (Gen 11:7). 

The Lord Himself in His veiled divinity took the hand of Lot and his family and drug them out of Sodom. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city (Gen 19:16).

The Lord in His veiled divinity appeared to Abraham. And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect (Gen 17:1).

In the tent in the cool of the evening, it was God in veiled divinity who talked with Abraham and Sarah. And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him (Gen 17:19).

The Being that fought all night with Jacob at Peniel was the Son of God in veiled divinity. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day (Gen 32:24). And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved (Gen 32:29,30).

The cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night shielded the Israelites from the full revelation of the divinity of the Son of God. 
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ (1 Cor 10:1-4). Enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, He led the children of Israel through the wilderness (Ellen G. White, Upward Look, page 236).

The 4th personage in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego was the Son of God in veiled divinity. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God (Dan 3:24,25).

The Son of God as Michael the Archangel came in veiled divinity and shut the lions’ mouths when Daniel was thrown into their den. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me (Dan 6:22).

And when Satan came before the Lord in the heavenly councils (Job 1 and 2), it was the Son of God in veiled divinity, in Whose presence Satan stood.

Humanity Could Not have Endured the Sight
Had Christ come in His divine form, humanity could not have endured the sight. The contrast would have been too painful, the glory too overwhelming. Humanity could not have endured the presence of one of the pure, bright angels from glory; therefore Christ took not on Him the nature of angels; He came in the likeness of men.

Looking upon Him, we behold the invisible God, who clothed His divinity with humanity in order that through humanity He might shed forth a subdued and softened glory, so that our eyes might be enabled to rest upon Him, and our souls not be extinguished by His undimmed splendor. We behold God through Christ, our Creator and Redeemer. It is our privilege to contemplate Jesus by faith, and see Him standing between humanity and the eternal throne. He is our Advocate, presenting our prayers and offerings as spiritual sacrifices to God. Jesus is the great sinless propitiation, and through His merit God and man may hold converse together (Ellen G. White, That I May Know Him, page 25).

He Veiled the Dazzling Splendor 
Christ, the Light of the world, veiled the dazzling splendor of His divinity and came to live as a man among men, that they might, without being consumed, become acquainted with their Creator. Since sin brought separation between man and his Maker, no man has seen God at any time, except as He is manifested through Christ (Ellen G. White, Reflecting Christ, page 39).

There Were Moments of Splendor
Here was a moment when His inner splendor what hinted and suggested: Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground (John 18:4-6).

Here was another instance:
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light (Matt 17:1,2).

How Could Satan Be in Heaven
The Scriptures make clear that Satan had access to the throne room of God at least for a time. Clearly, Job shows Satan visiting the throne room in heaven at times when the entire assembly of the sons of God (i.e., the angels) are present (see Job 2:1). Until his final judgment, Satan has restricted access to the heavenly courts. Since God is holy and absolutely without sin (Isaiah 6:3), and since He will not even look on evil (Habakkuk 1:13), how can Satan be in heaven? The answer involves God’s sovereign act―He will veil His glory for the outworking of the Plan of Salvation. He will restrain and shield His glory as needed. In Job Chapters 1 and 2, Satan stood before God to give an account of himself. God
            a. initiated the meeting
            b. led the proceedings
            c. and remained in absolute control. 

Satan’s presence in heaven
            a. was by the direct summons of God
            b. and not because of open and unlimited access
            c. was temporary
            d. strictly limited to God's “business” at hand.

In no way was the purity of heaven tainted by the brief, God-ordained presence of a sinful being, Satan’s access was granted prior to the final judgment only. After the judgment, God creates a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1), wipes away all tears from our eyes (verse 4), reveals the New Jerusalem (verse 10), and promises the complete absence of sin (verse 27).

When we say, "God cannot allow sin into heaven," we simply mean that God cannot allow human beings who are still in their sin to live in His presence. But it is possible for God to command a sinful being to stand (temporarily) in His presence in order to commission him (Isa 6), to exact an account from him (Job Chapter 1 and 2), or to judge him (Rev 20:11-15). This is done without compromising His holiness.

How Could Satan Be in Heaven―Still More Can Be Said 
Satan is summonsed to appear in the presence of the Lord. He stands in the spot where Adam would have stood had he not given up the spot. The things done and said by Lucifer in heaven before his Fall are too great and too important to be lost. His questions must be answered. His insinuations must be met and resolved.

The Book of Job brings the issues Satan raised (and the questions he dared ask) from the courts of heaven down to this earth. The insinuations cast against God in heaven before the Fall of Lucifer are again insinuated in the days of Job (as they will again be insinuated against God’s people in the times before the Second Coming of Christ).

None of us were there in heaven. But we all are present before the Lord in the Book of Job.
            a. The Lord stands in His spot.
            b. Satan stands in Adam’s spot.
            c. We stand in our spot (as an observer reading the Book of Job).

We listen. We watch. We observe. We apply our understanding. Then we make our own decisions about the character of God. As startling as the things of the Book of Job is to us, so were the things Lucifer said to the assembly of the angels as he was preparing his rebellion.

            a. Those who heard then were shocked.
            b. We who listen now are amazed.
            c. Those who heard then had to make decisions.
            d. We who listen now must give an account.

Lucifer tried to get the host of angels to not like God any longer. He tries to turn the universe against God by the atrocities happening in the Book of Job (which he will, of course, blame on God).
            a. We will make our conclusions.
            b. Is God fair?
            c.  Is His character trustworthy?
            d. Is He truly a God of love?
            e. Or will we say, “No good. Unfair.”

God is on trial in the Book of Job. God chose to place Himself there for our scrutiny and security. God did not shun the challenges proffered by Satan. In fact, He invited them. More than that, He instigated them. 

God is more sure of where He stands with His children, than Satan will ever be sure of loyalty from his subjects. Yes, Satan draws some away from God’s side of the controversy. But Satan cannot stop God from drawing away subjects from his (Satan's) kingdom. Satan does not expect his subjects to love him--only follow him. God expects His subjects to follow Him--and to love Him in the doing of it.

Satan’s war is against God. We are the collateral damage of his intentions. God is out to settle the contest against Satan. In so doing, we become the heirs of a wonderful and bright eternity--sons of God--all His wonderful intentions.

When we read the Book of Job we have a ringside seat in the goings on of the Great Controversy. We lay the book down and get up and become a participant in the battle. We must know upon whose side we stand. We must know for whom it is we fight.

Do you know upon whose side you fight? I do.


Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359.

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