Ezekiel (28:11b-17a) describes a being so beautiful and intelligent that God Himself calls him the perfection of created wisdom and beauty. Next to God Himself, this being was the best of the created order of that time. There were none more wise or beautiful. As we read this passage, we will see that there were also none more privileged. This being had access to God beyond all other creatures. And was given a responsibility to protect something that was close to God's heart.
"You were the perfection of wisdom and beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone-red carnelian, chrysolite, white moonstone, beryl, onyx, jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald-all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created. I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you. Your great wealth filled you with violence, and you sinned. So I banish you from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire. Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor."
This marvelous being is also described in Isaiah 14. There he is called the "son of the morning" which is translated in Latin, "Lucifer." Lucifer was the "bright and shining one" who exhibited God's creative glory like no other creature.
But something we do not understand happened. Lucifer betrayed God. Lucifer went from being God's chief ally and assistant to being His adversary. The word that means "adversary" in Hebrew when it is preceded by an article becomes a proper name, Satan, "the adversary." Because his wisdom is now centered on selfish and unholy causes he ceases to see his own downward spiral that eventually will lead to the lowest pits of hell. But he is not there yet.
Why is he still free? Ezekiel 28:17b-19 give us a strong clue.
"So I threw you to earth and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings. You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire from within you, and it consumed you. I let it burn you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All who knew you were appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you are no more."
Lucifer was such a marvelous being in appearance and speech that one-third of all the angels of heaven followed him when he betrayed God.
God had a choice at this point. He could either destroy all who opposed Him or He could use this situation as a teaching tool for all His other creatures, as well as a means to show the world, all in the universe, who He really was deep in His core. I am inclined to think that angels understood little of the depths and quality of God's love. They saw the outward glory and considered His many gifts to them as evidence of His gracious nature, but they never saw the Calvary love that lie within God's heart. And because of this they did not really know Him.
Lucifer misrepresented God to the other angelic creatures and caused one-third of them to doubt Him so much that they left His side and followed another. The one-third were hopelessly gone, there is no redemption for fallen angels, but God wanted all other creatures to know who He really was deep in His inner core, that He was a good God who cared about and loved His creatures more than they knew. He wanted all to get a glimpse of His true nature. He wanted His love to be grasped and reciprocated not out of a sense of obligation or fright but out of a willing and grateful heart. This is the reason He tolerates evil and rebellion. This is why He still allows Satan to continue to smear His reputation and world.
Not only is God concerned with showing who He really is, but He wants to teach us about sin, as well. Notice again Ezekiel 28:18b-19: "So I brought fire from within you, and it consumed you. I let it burn you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All who knew you are appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you are no more." Quite frankly, God is letting Satan destroy himself before the eyes of every creature in the whole universe. The "bright and shining one" will become totally dishonored and disgraced. As Satan's work and rebellion will become "no more," so will all rebellion for all time become "no more."
Just as God allowed rebellion in heaven, so He allows it on earth. The angels of heaven chose sides. The people of earth also must choose sides.
Inherent within the nature of sin is rebellion. Rebellion against God can be shown in many ways. For true rebellion and trust to occur there must be a certain measure of freedom of choice given to creatures to choose sides. Many understand the concept of Satan and evil and how sin leads to bad consequences, even for the innocent. They know that the suffering of the innocent is not fair. And most people hold God responsible and curse His name, or at least struggle with the notion of a good and loving God who somehow is able to allow evil and suffering to occur to innocent people.
Many want suffering to be reserved for the guilty, only. They might say:
"No innocent people should be shot and killed, or raped, or betrayed. These things should be reserved for those who traffic in darkness. Let them beat, betray, and destroy each other, but leave the innocent alone! Only those who traffic in darkness should be subject to natural disasters. Earthquakes, tornados, floods, or any other earth caused disaster should happen only to those who traffic in darkness, but leave the innocent alone!"
If God is truly to allow a certain measure of freedom to humans, the world they live in must also operate with a structure based on laws and rules that give 'it' a certain measure of 'freedom'. The freedom of the natural world I am talking about is freedom from God's minute marionette-type control over everything. This world operates marvelously as a designed world, with an intricacy that is amazing, the work of a true creative genius. But it is not perfect.
In a perfect world children do not get buried beneath tons of rubble and stone from an earthquake or terrorist explosion. Revelation 21 and 22 describe the yet future perfect world that God will create for all who trust and love Him. Revelation 21 and 22 show us that God is capable of doing what billions and billions of people, and Satan, accuse Him of not being able or willing to do, create the perfect world where no death or heartache exist.
But we do not live in this world yet. Its time has not yet come. Like the sin that surrounds us the physical world we live in is at times unstable and dangerous. The ground can shake beneath our feet. An asteroid can destroy us from above, as has occurred in the earth's past. The physical world we live in was made a temporary thing, much like sin itself. Temporary sin and a temporary world go together. When the one ceases to be then so will the other. When sin is no longer an issue then God will give us a world that reflects the beauty of a sinless and love-filled population (who reflect a sinless, love-filled Savior), and not before!
Many believe that the opposite scenario can be achieved by human (possibly with the help of fallen angels as spirit guides as in New Age belief) effort. These believe that if a perfect environment can be achieved then perfect humans will also be created or molded by that perfect environment. Read the Communist manifesto sometime, or read about the beliefs of Lenin. He believed that a Communist utopia could be created by economic means. Create economic equality and all problems will be solved. Greed and envy will go away and all will live in brotherly peace and harmony. Interesting theory.
In pursuit of this goal Communism has killed more people than any other political system in modern times! One of Communism's fatal flaws is its view of humans. It denies the person of God and the concept of sin. In its view humans are basically good. It is faulty economic systems that set human against human in competition for available goods and services that corrupt us. Fix the economics of the world and you fix humans. The problem with this view is that humans are too sinful for Communism to work! Communism is only one example of how humans have attempted to deny God's reality and human sinfulness. There are many more.
The world we live in is actually appropriate for the present circumstances, the present state of the human heart. It teaches us that we cannot go it alone, we cannot live independent of God and succeed, ultimately. Satan's challenge will fail and this present physical world will fail. We are surrounded by failing systems guided and encouraged by a failing 'god'. Jesus calls Satan the 'prince' of this world (John 12:31, 16:11). In many ways, many of the things that happen in this world are of his doing. He should be blamed for the things that many blame God for. Isaiah 14:16-17 tell us that Satan is indeed the one who encourages death and destruction in this world.
"Everyone there will stare at you and ask, 'Can this be the one who shook the earth and the kingdoms of the world? Is this the one who destroyed the world and made it into a wilderness? Is this the king who demolishes the world's greatest cities and had no mercy on his prisoners?'"
He does this by inventing and supporting the political, economic, religious, and entertainment systems that are against God's principles and ways. He uses human rebellion and ignorance against them. He is truly not our friend, even if he pretends to be. He is our adversary, not just God's! His wisdom is perverted as he seeks his own glory.
Do you really want to follow such a being into the pits of hell? Is it not better to follow the One who was willing to lay aside His outward glory and position to put on suffering, shame, and death so that He could redeem all who were willing to come to Him for His provision? Satan was unhappy with God's provision. He tried to provide for himself that which he thought he needed. Ironically, his pursuit for self-glory will take him to the lowest pit in hell, looked down upon by even the lowliest fallen beggar or fool.
God has allowed that you and I can follow the path and example of Satan. This choice is necessary for a certain measure of freedom to exist in this world. The consequences are also necessary. If you follow Satan's path you will also share in his end. You will miss the wonderful future God has planned for those He will remake to be lovers of Him. He will remake them because that is what they want Him to do. Come to the Lord Jesus Christ and give God permission to remake you. Follow Jesus Christ, the literal Son of God, into that bright and wonderful future. Or, follow Satan, the 'god' of this world, and suffer His fate. God has graciously given you the choice. Do not blame Him if you suffer the negative consequences of your sin and rebellion!