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Lesson 1: Crisis in Heaven *

Introduction: How did sin begin? The Bible records that Adam and Eve were created by God. Why would God create something flawed, something that had the potential for sin in it? The Bible also records that Adam and Eve had help entering into sin. The "help" came in the form of another creature that God created. Why would any God-created creature promote sin? Since sin seems to be in existence before Adam and Eve, where did it start? Let's dig into our study of the Bible and see what clues it reveals!

  1. Sin Begins

    1. Read Isaiah 14:12. What kind of person does this seem to be? (Someone important who came from heaven, but was "cast down" to earth. Someone who has created trouble for the nations on earth.)

    2. Read Isaiah 14:13-14. What is the cause of this person being cast out of heaven? (This person has aspirations to be above all others and to be like God.)

      1. That sounds like ambition. Ambition is good, right? (How can a created being aspire to be the equivalent of God?)

    3. Read Revelation 12:7-9. Are there any parallels to the person referred to here and the one in Isaiah 14:12? (They were both cast down from heaven. Revelation refers to this person leading the whole world astray, while Isaiah refers to a person who laid low the nations. The situations sound very similar.)

      1. Who else was cast down? ("His angels.")

      2. How badly did heaven want to get rid of this person? (Enough to enter into a war over it.)

    4. Read Ezekiel 28:14-16. What do we learn about this person? (Among other things, he was important in heaven, was expelled from heaven (the mount of God), and he has a problem with sin.)

    5. Are we reading about three different persons, or are these three different accounts of the same person? (It seems very unlikely that three people would have such a unique description. I think we should presume that they are the same person.)

    6. Read Ezekiel 28:11-13. The mystery is solved! All three of these descriptions are of the King of Tyre, right?

      1. If this is like figuring out a jig saw puzzle, there are some aspects of this which clearly do not fit. When we read Ezekiel 28:13-14 we learn this King of Tyre was a "guardian cherub" heaven, but was also in Eden. Who do you recall being in Eden? Did the cast of characters include someone called the King of Tyre?

    7. Read Genesis 3:1-4. What does it say about this person that fits the description we read in Revelation 12? (He is described as a serpent. That not only fits the description in Revelation 12, but his placement in Eden also fits the description in Ezekiel 28.)

      1. If this is really the same person described in these four places in the Bible, how do you explain this person being the King of Tyre? (If the serpent in Eden was not really a snake, but was in reality the former heavenly guardian cherub now known as Satan, then how much of a stretch is it to say that the King of Tyre was really Satan too? Perhaps just as Satan assumed the form of a snake in Eden, so Satan controlled the King of Tyre. Unger's commentary tells us that "Tyre [was] a profligate, self-centered, opulent, and worldly wise city" as a result of the "effete and morally debasing" "Canaanite cults.")

    8. Read Revelation 12:12. We learn that heaven is rejoicing that Satan has been tossed out, but those of us who live on the earth should be very worried because Satan is angry and "knows his time is short." What do you think "his time is short" means?

    9. What clues do these texts give us about the origin of sin? (That it began in heaven, that it involved coveting God's position, and that this ambition turned into an actual war which Satan lost. Satan and his confederates were ejected - to the great relief and joy of heaven. But, this mess showed up on our planet!)

    10. Let's go back and revisit the Eden story to see if we can refine our conclusions. The Bible tells us that this is how sin entered our world. Read Genesis 3:2-5. What is at the bottom of this temptation? (To be like God. If Eve eats the fruit she will be like God.)

      1. Based on what we have read so far, what is your theory about how sin entered heaven? (It makes sense that Satan would use whatever strategy had been successful in heaven to bring sin to earth. Since Isaiah points to a desire to be like God as being part of the original problem in heaven, we see the parallel problem with Eve. This suggests sin began because one of God's most important created beings coveted God's position.)

      2. If this suggestion is right, why did God permit this? Why did He create beings in heaven and on earth with the ability to covet? (God gave all of His creatures the freedom to choose.)

        1. Why would God do that if it resulted in such a terrible problem: war in heaven and now war on earth?

    11. The title of this series is "Rebellion and Redemption." Would you consider an ambition to be like God more rebellion than ambition? What if you want to displace God? What if you are willing to fight God for the top spot? (An ambition that results in fighting to displace God is rebellion.)

      1. Is this attitude possible for humans today? Is it possible for you?

  2. The Future of War

    1. When I was younger, I watched a lot more football than I do now. One of the problems was that my work as a litigator was high tension, and watching a game hoping that my team would win was also high tension. Since I did not need more tension, I recorded the game and only watched it if my team won. I could enjoy the game secure in the knowledge of how it would end. Read Revelation 12:10-11. Who is going to win the war on earth against Satan? (We are.)

      1. How are we going to win? (Salvation has come through the authority of the Messiah. We triumph over Satan "by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.")

      2. What kind of attitude do those humans who win the war possess? (They are willing to die. They do not love their lives so much that they are unwilling to die in the conflict with sin.)

        1. How does that compare with the attitude that created the sin problem in the beginning?

      3. As you likely know, the reference to the "Messiah" and the "blood of the Lamb" refer to Jesus dying on our behalf to pay the price for our sins. If we are to have this same attitude, how would that play out in our lives? What would that mean, as a practical matter?

    2. Read John 12:31-33. We previously discussed how Satan wanted to displace God and how humans might seek to displace God. When Jesus calls Satan the "prince of this world," has Satan displaced God? (He displaced God as the "prince" of the earth - and we enabled Satan do it when we chose sin. Whenever we choose Satan over God we have displaced God to some degree.)

      1. How does Jesus say He will drive out Satan? (When He is "lifted up." This is a reference to Jesus' crucifixion. Jesus defeats Satan by being "lifted up," but not the way humans would want to be lifted up. The contrast between Jesus and Satan could not be more pronounced.)

    3. Friend, have you examined your attitude? Are you in rebellion against God? Do you choose Satan and thus displace God as the ruler of your world? Why not ask the Holy Spirit to help you give up your attitude of rebellion and self-seeking?

  3. Next week: Crisis in Eden.
* Copr. 2016, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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