I am teaching through the Johannine epistles and we are currently in the book of 1 John. Talk is primarily about the command that Jesus gave us to love one another. But we have also discussed good and evil – and that the test to see if someone is a Christian is to determine whether or not they believe in the deity of Jesus.
While we have been discussing good and evil for several weeks, a question has come up as to whether Satan really exists today – and whether he has access to heaven. That’s a very uncomfortable subject for many people and I decided to meet the question head on.
It is very clear in the book of Job that Satan not only exists but that he has access to heaven. The story of Job is a troubling story of a man who is dedicated to God. Yet, when confronted by Satan, God allows Satan to torment Job. When Job continues his commitment to God, Satan asks the Father for more latitude to harm Job personally – but he is stopped short of physically killing Job.
The book continues for many chapters and ends up with Job being restored to his former status in life, blessed with wealth, children and all that he had lost during his trials and tribulations. Of course, there is much more to this fascinating book but the big idea tonight is that many Christians don’t believe that Satan has access to heaven.
However, I believe the Scripture is clear that for the time being, Satan does have the ability to travel between earth and heaven. We have assurance, however, that eventually Satan will be cast down from heaven and banished to the earth where he will wreak havoc for a season prior to the eventual eternal reign of Christ.
Throughout history, we have experienced spiritual warfare between God’s legions of angels and Satan, sometimes referred to as the “dragon” with his “fallen” angels. Of course, Satan wants to turn us away from God but those who have accepted the gift of eternal life and have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can successfully thwart Satan’s advances.
In John’s book of Revelation, written after his having experienced the future to come, we are told that there was a war in heaven and Satan was finally defeated and thrown out of heaven to reside on the earth. Michael and his angels were the victors and this starts the period of time commonly referred to as the Tribulation, followed by other events culminating in the triumph of Jesus and the defeat of evil once and for all.
The difficult part to understand in all this is why God would allow Satan access to heaven. We really don’t know the answer to that question – at least not yet – but we can rest assured that good does triumph over evil and Jesus will reign forever. Thank God!
Tonight’s verse affirms that in the future there will be a significant war in heaven and in the meantime, Satan still has access to heaven! John recounts to us, in Revelation 12:7-9, “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”
My encouragement this evening is that we know from the Bible that good does triumph over evil. And that we will reign with Christ forever. My prayer is that in the meantime, we will continue to focus on Jesus and advance steadfastly to becoming more like Him. After all, we don’t know when Christ will return! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…