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< TALK TIME ARCHIVE EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS

#137
Janice (0)
Q: Why didn't God destroy Satan the minute he turned away?
A: Dear Janice,
Thanks for your great question. It is a question that a lot of people have, and it seems very reasonable when we first think about it. God should have just gotten rid of Satan as soon as He rebelled. Then he couldn’t have tempted anyone else.

The problem is that God’s other creatures couldn’t see the things God saw. Lucifer had been their ruler and their friend, and he was a very loving and Christlike angel before he sinned. The angels loved him. So when He rebelled, they weren’t totally sure he was wrong. Lucifer didn’t start out by saying God was a terrible God. Instead, he began to try to get others to question God’s goodness. He did the same thing when he tempted Eve. His very first words were “Did God actually say ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” (Genesis 3:1). He was trying to get her to doubt God’s goodness and wisdom. We might re-phrase his temptation this way – “Are you sure God knows what He’s doing? After all, why would He command you to eat from a tree that He made? Doesn’t He want the best for you? Then why won’t He let you have this delicious fruit?”

Of course, Eve fell for this lie and began to doubt God. The Bible indicates that Satan did the same thing in heaven. He tempted the angels to doubt God’s goodness, and he tricked them into trusting him instead of God. Now imagine if, after Lucifer told the angels that God really didn’t care about their needs, God then destroyed Lucifer. What would those other angels think? Would they still love God, and serve Him out of love? Or would they think, “Maybe Lucifer was right. If God cared about us, why did He kill Lucifer? Now He might kill us, too.” Then they would have served God out of fear instead of love, and the sin would have spread that way.

God had to allow the rebellion to continue so that all God’s creatures could see things the same way He did. Jesus teaches this in the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13. He teaches that an enemy, the devil, is the one who planted the tares, or the evil, in the world. And when his servants, the angels, wanted to get rid of the evil, the master answered “Let both grow together until the harvest” (Matthew 13:30). Just as different plants may look the same when they are first sprouted, but very different when they are full-grown, God knows that sometimes sin doesn’t look like sin at first, but when the rebellion is full-grown, everybody can see it for what it is. God has allowed Satan’s rebellion to continue, and it will continue right up to Jesus’ coming, and all the universe will be able to clearly see the true nature of sin and rebellion. Then, Lucifer will be destroyed, with all sin and sinners, and there will never again be sin, and we will live with Jesus forever! I’m looking forward to that day, aren’t you?
Thanks for writing, and remember, there's never been a better time to share Jesus!

Your friend,
Pastor Howard


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*Note: All Scripture references are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise indicated.
   
   
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