War in Heaven
Heaven? That seems like the least likely place for a war. The Bible tells us that “war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer” (Revelation 12:7-8). How did this conflict begin, and what was it all about? The answer to these questions reveals the reason behind the unrest plaguing planet earth, as well as the human heart.
The prophet Ezekiel provides insight into this first war and Satan’s rebellion against God. Lucifer, described as “the anointed cherub who covers,” was “perfect” when he was created until “iniquity was found” in him (Ezekiel 28:14-15). This position of covering cherub (or angel) reveals much about Lucifer’s rebellion. In the Old Testament, God had given Israel a miniature model of His throne room in Heaven called the sanctuary (see Exodus 25:8). Paul writes that this sanctuary was a pattern or blueprint of “heavenly things” (Hebrews 8:5). Inside, in a special room called the Most Holy Place, the Ark of the Covenant held the Ten Commandments. On top of this ark was a “mercy seat,” and on either side of the mercy seat was a “cherub” “covering the mercy seat” and the ark (See Exodus 25:16-22; 1 Kings 8:7).
These texts show that God’s throne is a seat and foundation of mercy, and His kingdom is governed by His law. Lucifer, who was once a “covering cherub,” was responsible to uphold and protect or “cover” this law. However, rebellion began because “iniquity” or sin was found in Lucifer. And what is sin? “Sin is lawlessness” (I John 3:4). Lucifer, who was supposed to defend the law of God, the very foundation of the government of heaven, rebelled against it. As a result, war began in heaven.
What was Lucifer’s argument against the law? Notice another powerful insight into this controversy given by the prophet Isaiah. “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! . . . For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; . . . I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14). Lucifer posed an argument that he could be “like God,” that is, in righteousness, without a need to obey God’s law. He thought he himself could determine what was right and what was wrong. In other words, Lucifer’s rebellion was one based on self-righteousness. He argued that the law was restrictive and that free, intelligent angels needed no such rule. This argument deceived a great number of angels. Consequently, these angels and Lucifer were thrown out of Heaven, along with their anti-law sentiments.
War in the Human Heart
With this insight we can bette