The Bible and the Book of Mormon

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Home Scripture Jesus Not my fault by Silva Terry

Not my fault by Silva Terry

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In my other articles on the character of Satan Lucifer who was he?, Satan's devices, Faith and free agency, A perfect plan, and Atonement) I showed how he played a very important part in the plan of God by being a protagonist. In this article I'd like to go deeper regarding the beginnings of Satan.


Although pride was Lucifer’s greatest problem and the main reason for his fall, it is worth remembering that he was considered a leader by God Himself. The name "Lucifer"name meant "bringer of light" and we know by the scriptures that light is "good." We also know from the scriptures "the light" is what made creation possible. In fact, the scriptures also state that "God is Light" (see Light and truth.) What this tells us is that Lucifer was a leader!

Before the beginning of creation, he offered himself to be the savior of mankind, as God’s son in the flesh. However, his proposal was different from that which God had designed. As I explained in Atonement, Satan didn't fully understand God’s plan of salvation, nor did he agree with that part which he did. Unfortunately we don't know exactly how much he understood about it, but we have some hints in the scriptures.

In Isaiah 14:12-20 we read, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase

trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned."

The Bible mentions that there was a war in heaven, but it doesn’t give us any details. Here is what we do know. In Jude 1:6 it says, "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." In Revelation 12:7-10 we read, "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." In Daniel 10:13 it says, "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia." All of these verse show that Michael was one of the chief princes of heaven, and that he was the leader of the hosts of God. The name "Michael" means "he that is like God."

This is all the information the Bible gives us concerning the war in heaven. When we consider the great importance of this event had in the history of mankind, that is rather surprising. Fortunately, in these latter days, we have received additional revelation which gives us more detail regarding this war. In Moses 4:1-3 it tells us, "And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying--Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor. But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me--Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down."

These few short verses give us many interesting and important things to keep in mind. The first is that Lucifer said, "I will be thy son." In the latter part of verse three we see that whoever was chosen to be the Son of God in the flesh would also receive the power of God. Notice that Satan demanded of God: "give me thine honor." The scriptures declare that to inherit the glory of God, a person must live according every word coming from the mouth of God. However, Lucifer wasn’t willing to do that. In the plan which he proposed there wasn’t any need for an atonement because it didn’t call for man to fall. His proposal took away man’s free agency and allowed Lucifer to force man to live a perfect life. According to his plan there would be no need for him to live a life of suffering. His plan called for him to be a sure and easy savior.

In contrast, Jesus stepped forward and said, "Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever. Lucifer’s plan was one of self-indulgent pride. The attitude which Jesus had was one of meekness and submissiveness. And when our Father chose Jesus to be the savior, Lucifer became angry and rebelled, causing one third of the hosts of heaven to follow him. The real problem was not that God rejected his proposal. Because of his stubborness and pride, Lucifer became outraged by this rejection. As such, he sought to impose his own will upon God, rather than to submit himself to God’s authority and wisdom. As the scriptures then tell us, "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." After being cast out of heaven, his glorious name was changed to the ignoble name of "Satan" and he was allowed to come here to earth.

We know from the scriptures that Satan didn’t fully understand the plan of God because, once here on earth we read in Moses 4:6 we read, "And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world."

It is interesting that the scriptures say "he knew not the mind of God." It doesn’t say he didn’t know about the plan, and we have just seen that he certainly did. However, he didn’t fully understand how God was going to bring the plan about. Therefore, supposing he knew more than he did, he tried to thwart the plan before God could fully implement it. Instead, not knowing the mind of God, he did the very thing which God had intended for him to do.

When Satan was cast out of heaven he was likewise cast out from the presence of God. Rather than knowing the mind of God, he now had to learn about God’s ways the same way all of mankind learns – through the scriptures. In all probability, Satan knows the scriptures inside out. If the saints would study and ponder the scriptures like Satan does, the church would no doubt move forward much faster.

Satan is very active on the earth, and is present in the our daily life. Even though he can listen, whisper ideas in our mind, and tempt us, yet he can't make anyone do anything. Notice how he tried to tempt Jesus at the end of His 40 days period. (For more on this subject I suggest you to read "Satan's devices). However, just because he knows the scriptures doesn’t mean he understands the mind of God. Without the Holy Ghost, no one can know God’s mind, and we can safely assume that Satan does not have the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Even so, we still shouldn’t underestimate him. He is very clever and cunning in using scripture to lead people away from God, especially those who don't posses the gift of the Holy Ghost. What we need to keep in mind is that Satan is very astute, and sometimes imitates what God does, but just enough to mislead mankind. Those churches who don’t have the gift of the Holy Ghost are easy prey for this kind of deception. We can see this in the doctrines they teach which are based on their misunderstanding of the scriptures. Alma explains this process very well when he wrote, "And thou seest that we know that thy plan was a very subtle plan, as to the subtlety of the devil, for to lie and to deceive this people" (Alma 12:4).

A good example of this is how he quoted scriptures to tempt Jesus. Without the Holy Ghost to guide our understanding, we become easy prey for Satan’s misapplication of God’s word. The great debate the Pharisee and scribes had with Jesus was over the interpretation of the scriptures. The difference between them was that Jesus taught by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, while the Pharisees were inspired by their father, the devil. This is what Paul tried to teach the saints in his letters, warning them that if they misunderstood the law (as the Pharisees did) that could lead people to hell.

I'd like to point out that these ideas are my own personal opinions, but they are based hints and clues which I find in the scriptures. I accept the fact that others may have their own opinions of what they think about this subject

To better explain the problem which Satan has because he doesn't possess the Holy Ghost, consider what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:15-16, "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."

In 1 Corinthians 12:3-11 we also read, "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." As the scriptures clearly point out, it is by the Holy Ghost that we can receive the things of God. To better understand this point I suggest you read "The Holy Ghost"

I believe that one of the ways God has for making the scriptures hard to understand is through the use of symbols, numbers, and imagery. I think the reason God does this is to deliberately obscure His intentions, thereby preventing Satan from knowing the mind of God. But those who are filled with the Holy Ghost will be able to properly understand the things which God is hiding from the world in general.

With this in mind let's take a look at the greatest event in history, the atonement of Christ. The atonement is directly connected to the very beginning where Satan declared, "I'll be thy Son," and the subsequent war in heaven. The Lamb was preordained before the foundation of the world that He should die for the sins of mankind. And this was the weak point of the plan. I say "weak" because its success was dependent upon the free will of just one person. He HAD to live a perfect life and be willing to give His life without hesitation. Each one of us was depending on Him. If He failed, then all of us would have failed. This was Lucifer’s argument from beginning. He claimed that our Father’s plan was "too risky!!!"

After the fall of Satan, came the creation of the earth. In regard to this, Professor Hugh B. Nibley, in his book "Temple and Cosmos," points out something very interesting on this subject. He wrote, "We talk a lot about the second law, but what about the first law, the law about the conservation of energy, which is the conservation of mass and matter, in all their forms. It is important too. With that law, the latter day saints have never had any quarrel. We have always believed it. By contrast, the Christian world has its doctrine of creation out of nothing - creation ex nihilo."

Recently David Winston and Jonathan Goldstein, writing on Jewish Hellenist thought, have shown that the idea of creation out of nothing was completely unknown to the early Christians and Jewish Doctors before the fourth century A.D. There is no evidence that such a concept was part of their doctrines. Quite the opposite. From everything we read from the writings of the early Christians, and as even the Jews of today teach, they believed that the world was organized out of existing matter. However, when Mormons teach this same belief, many of today’s Christian churches claim we are preaching a false doctrine and are greatly offended by it. Yet the first law of science supports our position.

Surprisingly, we also accept the second law of science. In the course of nature, that law takes its relentless course. Jacob says in 2 Nephi 9:7, "This corruption could not put on incorruption." (also see Mosiah 16:10.) This process is one-way. It is irreversible. As 2 Nephi 9:7 tells us, "This corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to endless duration." In other words, our corruptible bodies must remain that way forever. Since it is impossible for incorruption to put on corruption, that means we can never reverse the process. But we know that someday our corruptible bodies will put on incorruption. Then, obviously, there must be ANOTHER FORCE which will reverse the laws of nature. And that force is the atonement of Christ.

In 2 Nephi 9:7 we read, "Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement." In other words, this power is an "infinite" principle or an unlimited application . Jacob insists that "it should be infinite." It can't be limited. It can't be provisional. It can't be just for the sake of expediency.

This is why the atonement is the crucial point of everything in God’s plan for the salvation of mankind. Paul explained that this was why he sought only to preach Jesus and Him crucified. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the good news (gospel) which the apostles taught. And Jesus taught only the word of God. As such, He became the mediator between us and God. He is our bridge between heaven and earth. He died to save us, and thereby became our Savior. But His task was not an easy one. He had to obey all the rules, live a perfect life, and, above all, willingly take upon Him the sins of all the world and deliberately sacrifice Himself and His life to redeem us from our fallen condition. This was the hardest part. The suffering which He was required to endure was so excrutiatingly painful and so terrible to experience that the human mind can't even comprehend it, let alone survive it. Worse yet, Jesus could not afford to FAIL in carrying out the atonement or else everything would be lost.

However, Satan had a different plan. Here is how Cleon Skousen explained it. "Satan felt that the genius of his plan was the marvelous idea of temporarily suspending free agency during phase III of our eternal progression. If his plan had been adopted, here is what we assume would have happened.








Under this plan, all would return to the Father untainted, therefore all would be saved." (Day's of living Christ Vol. 2)

If Satan was able to implement his plan, he would have been the great dictator of mankind. I truly believe that all the great dictators of the world are inspired by Satan because they rule according to the same way Satan devised in his plan. All we have to do is look at how they treat those under their rule and we can fully understand why God would not accept Satan’s plan. His plan didn't require man to obey the laws of righteousness out of love, but out of fear and compulsion. This technique doesn't generate love but hate. However, because of the atonement, we follow Christ out of love because He loved us first.

The sacrifices which man was commanded to offer, was done to symbolize and remind us of the great sacrifice which Christ would make for us. That’s why Satan sought to divert Cain from offering an acceptable sacrifice to one that was not symbolic of Christ’s death. Instead of offering up the blood of an animal, he offered fruits of the fields, which had nothing to do with a blood sacrifice. God didn't accept the offer of Cain for the simple reason that it didn’t symbolize the great atonement which would be made for him and all others. No doubt Satan whispered in Cain’s ear "There’s nothing wrong with what you did. You did what God asked of you." Therefore, when God didn’t accept his sacrifice, Cain behave just like Satan did when God didn’t accept his offer to be the savior of mankind. Rather than submitting himself to God’s will, Cain became angry and defiant.

Satan tried to convince Cain that just any kind of sacrifice would do. Although offering up fruit "appeared" to be serving God, his offering violated the reason for the sacrifice. It needed to be an animal, because man is of the animal kingdom. The animal had to be without defect, because Christ would be without any defect. It should be killed through no fault on its part because Christ would be killed for no just reason. Furthermore, life is a sacred gift from God but the shedding of an innocent animal reminds us that death is the consequence of our sins. Therefore, the killing of an approved animal symbolized how man could be purify from his sins. However, the scriptures also teaches that the blood of animals doesn’t have the power to purify the soul. The only reason it has any effect upon man’s salvation is because of his faith in the Messiah’s sacrifice.

In Hebrew 9:8-15 Paul explained, "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."

For this reason, God could not accept Cain’s offering. Notice what the scriptures tell us about Abel’s offering. "And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him." However, rather than listing to the Lord his God, Cain preferred to listen to the voice of Satan, who is a liar and was motivated by him to kill his own brother.

From the beginning Satan has used lies to divert mankind from the path which God has commanded us. As part of this deception, we know that he inspired men to remove many plain and precious scriptures from the records of God’s word. And what did these records contain? We know that they clearly spoke about the coming of the Messiah and his mission to save us from our sins. Because of the removal of this plain message, the Jews were waiting for a different kind of Messiah, one who was an avenger of their enemies rather than as the lamb who would be sacrificed for our sins.

Consider John 1: 29,36, which reads, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!" How did John know about the concept of "the lamb of God" unless he had read about it in the scriptures? Furthermore, he knew this person should "taketh away the sin of the world." Why would he speak this way if his hearers had no idea of what he was talking about?

The question that could be asked is, why did God permitted these plain and precious parts of His word to be removed? It couldn’t be that He was powerless to prevent it. Therefore, we must conclude there was a wise and worthwhile purpose for him to allow this to happen. And the reason is that He could better accomplish His plan this way. This is the same reason why He allowed Satan to tempt Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Had God prevented Satan from deceiving them, it’s doubtful they would have disobeyed their God. But in order for God’s plan to succeed, they needed to fall into sin.

Have you ever notice how many verses there are in our Bible concerning the second coming of an avenging Messiah? There are quite a lot. In contrast, there are very few verses specifically talking about the first coming of the saving Messiah. And those that we do have are difficult to understand. For example in Isaiah 53 there is a prophecy concerning the first coming of Christ. Today it is easy for us to see this, because everybody knows the life of Christ. But at that time the Jews interpreted this as referring to the nation of Israel. Furthermore, the ancient scriptures didn't clearly show there were to be two separate and different comings of the Messiah. Therefore, most Jews thought the Messiah would come just one time.

When Jesus came to earth and preached His Gospel, He explained this concept to His disciples. In Matthew 24:23-30 we read, "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

The Jews didn't accept Jesus as the Messiah because they didn’t understand His mission as the "lamb of God" who needed to be slain for the sins of the world. Therefore they were looking only for a Messiah who would liberate them from their enemies, as Christ will do when He comes again a second time. This is the Messiah they worship. This is the Messiah they needed at the time Jesus lived on the earth. The last thing they expected or desired was a meek and humble Messiah. The reason they kept asking Jesus to give them a sign is because they wanted to see if He had the power to overcome the Roman empire. At that point in time, spiritual salvation was the last thing on their mind. Their wish was for a temporal salvation.

Dr. Alfred Edersheim, a Jewish convert to Christianity wrote, "All that Israel hoped for, was national restoration and Glory. Everything else was but (the) means to these ends; the Messiah Himself (being) only the grand instrument in attaining them. Thus viewed , the picture presented would be of Israel exaltation, rather than the salvation of the world... in such a picture there would be neither room nor occasion for a Messiah Savior.... The sum total of Rabbinic expectations, scarcely enter into the teaching of Jesus about the Kingdom of God… He was not the Messiah of Jewish conception." (Edesheim "Life and Times of Jesus vol, 1 p. 164) Dr. Gershom Scholem goes on to say that the Jews had been forewarned by their leading scholars that they should not be misled by the mere demonstration of power to perform miracles. The scribes and priest had said that unless the man claiming to be the Messiah actually destroyed the enemies of the Jews and restored Israel to its Davidic glory, he was to be rejected.

In the Book "Days of living Christ" (vol 1 pag 84 – 85) Cleon Skousen wrote, "This mistaken expectation of the Jews was no accident. It was the result of a thousand years of rabbinical book burning. For reasons that we shall consider in a moment, this mighty tribe of Israel had undertaken to erase from their scriptures the entire story of the first coming, or misinterpret those that remained." This is why the arrival of Jesus as the "Lamb of God" who would be slain for the sin of the world, caught the Jews completely by surprise. As Jesus said of the Jews in D&C 133:66 "In that day when I came unto mine own, no man among you received me, and you were driven out," or as John said in John 1:10-11, "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not."

The more amazing fact is that the scriptures verify that all during his mortal ministry, NEITHER His apostles nor His followers recognized Him in His true role as one who had come to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. From the very beginning, they looked at Him as the long awaited Messiah King. It was not until after His resurrection that they realized what His purpose in coming to earth was about.

All of this is rather puzzling since we find in the New Testament several passages where Jesus expressly told His disciples He would be lifted up or crucified, and He would rise on the third day. For example, in Mark 9:31-32 "For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day." And in Mark we read, "But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him." We have the testimony of Luke in 18:31,33 which says, "Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken."

Even so, the apostles still didn't understand Him. In my opinion this was mainly because of the traditions and teachings of the Rabbis of that time. Probably their interpretation of the prophecies regarding the first coming of the Messiah was because those scriptures spoke about the Jews killing their own Messiah. This is something they would have wanted to hide. They couldn't just believe that such a thing could actually happen, so they removed all of those prophesies. This idea of mine is echoed by Paul when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:8 "Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."

However, in God’s plan, it was necessary for the Jews to be ignorant of these things, even though it was prophesied. So God gave the prophesies, which means he was being fair with man, but then allowed Satan to destroy God’s word. And Satan did a great job. Think about it. If the Jews accepted Jesus as their Savior, how could He perform the atonement? He couldn’t! Therefore, God allowed Satan to take many of the references to the Messiah’s first coming. However, God did make sure that there was enough scriptures left in, even though they are somewhat obscure and not easy to understand, so there was enough of a witness in the scriptures to testify of Christ when He did come

To show what I mean, let’s look at Romans 11:1,5,11,15,17-32 which tells us, "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: therwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [they are] beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all."

The Lamb of God was ordained to that position long before of the foundation of the world was laid. As such, His sacrifice was the keystone of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind (please read "
a perfect plan"). We don't know exactly how much Satan actually knew about the atonement, but he faced two big problems in defying God’s plan. One problem was impossible to overcome and the other was almost impossible. The first one concerns the issue of the free agency of Jesus and His perfect knowledge of the entire plan. Satan knew Him very well. He knew that he had to face the unflinching determination of the great Jehovah. He knew from direct experience that the Love, Respect and Obedience Jesus had toward our Father were perfect.

His second problem was his personal hatred toward God’s plan and Jehovah. Here he is working on two different levels. The first is based on rationality in trying to disrupt and destroy the plan of God. The other level is based on an irrational, emotional hatred toward everything related to the plan of God and Jehovah. On the rational level, Satan does his work very well. However, on the irrational level, he is failing miserably. The pride he has for his plan motivates him to implement his plan against tremendous odds of failing (see Faith and free agency). The same pride makes him think that he will win the great battle in the end.

His plan to defeat the plan of God was to instill the hatred he has for Jesus into the hearts of those religious leaders who lived when Jesus was alive. He felt that if he inspired them to kill Jesus, just as he had inspired their forefathers to kill all the other prophet of God, he could thwart God’s plan to save mankind. Apparently, he didn’t realized that if Jesus had died of natural causes there would have been no atonement.

Here’s the dilemma Satan faced. On the one hand if he incited people to kill Jesus he was helping implement God’s plan. On the other hand if he didn’t kill Jesus, Jesus would never die and would convert many people to His side. What Satan didn’t realize was that the atonement problem was a losing proposition for him from the beginning. Satan’s pride is his own down fall. His pride sets the stage for his own defeat. As in a game of chess, when a player decide to offer one of his pieces as a sacrifice, the other players is put in a tempting situation to take out the offered piece. God, the Father, offered to sacrifice His Son and Satan couldn’t resist the offer.

However, Satan never had the power to take Christ’s life in the first place. As Jesus said in John 10:17-18 "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." Jesus voluntarily allowed Satan to take His life.

The only long shot chance that Satan had was to hope that Jesus would fail in fulfilling His mission. This is why Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Perhaps he hoped that when Jesus actually came face to face with what was required of Him He would either stumble and fall Himself or refuse to actually go through with the sacrifice. We know from the scriptures that what Jesus experienced in the garden of Gethsemine was so terrible that the human mind is incapable of comprehending the agony He endured. But Jesus knew that if He failed in carrying out the atonement, God’s plan to save mankind would be destroyed. Satan could then gleefully say with contempt, "See, I told you God’s plan wouldn’t work! MY plan was the better one!" For this very reason performing the atonement was the weakest point of the plan. If any of the other prophets God send to earth had failed in their mission, God would have raised up another to take their place, but there was no other good enough to pay the price of sin except Jesus. He had no counterpart. There was no back-up. From the very beginning, His name was the only name under the heaven provided by which mankind was to be saved.

From the pinnacle of the temple, when Satan tempted Jesus to take the easy way, he was testing Christ’s fidelity to the Father. More than that, he was testing for weaknesses in Christ’s character. If he had found any, he would have worked harder on those. But, having found none, he was forced to pursue other means to stop Jesus from completing His mission. Since he had already taken out much of the scriptures which told of Christ’s first coming, he already had the stage set to have Jesus killed. Therefore, it was a very easy job for him to inspire hatred in the hearts of the religious leaders of the day toward Jesus. So, in reality, it was Satan who took the easy way out.

But there was a more important factor involved in all of this – man’s free will! This was what the war in heaven was fought over. This was the heart of God’s plan, and Satan is powerless to block it. He can try to influence people, but he can’t force anyone to do anything. Since he couldn’t influence Jesus to follow his ways, Satan then worked on those weak souls who already were listening to his whisperings. However, despite all of his efforts, Jesus was always in control of events. The atonement happened when it was suppose to and not one second before. Christ avoided being killed until everything was ready. Then He allowed Satan and his human hosts to carry out their diabolical plans.

From the beginning Jesus knew that He would die at the hands of evil men. In Mathew 20:17-19 we read of another occasion when "Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again."

Yet, in Matthew 12:14-15 we read, "Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence." Why did Jesus withdraw Himself? It couldn’t be because He was a coward. The reason He removed "himself from thence" was because it wasn’t His time to die.

In Matthew 21:23-27 we read of another time "when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things."

However, during another time He was very explicit about His authority. In Matthew 9:1-8 we read "And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or o say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men."

Why did Jesus refuse to answer the Pharisee’s question in the first example but not in the second? Because it was not the time to do so. In the first case He was in Jerusalem a few days before the Passover and He needed to be very careful of what He said because His enemies were looking for an excuse to kill Him.

In Matthew 22:15-19 we read of another incident when "the Pharisees, … took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?"

The Pharisees knew they couldn't put anyone to death without the consent of the Romans, so they tried to trick Jesus into saying something they could accuse Him of treason against Rome. But the time wasn’t right for Jesus to play into the hands of his enemies. But when the time was ripe, He consciously made the decision to let them kill him.

In John 13:21-27 we read "When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly." This last verse is proof of what I was just saying. The stage was now set for the ultimate act of the plan. He knew this was the time and He gave His permission to have His life sacrificed

Satan’s only power to thwart Christ’s mission was to instill hate in people’s heart for everything Christ did or taught. Although Satan continually sought to incite the people against Jesus many times during His mission, Satan had no control or power on the timing of the atonement. On the other hand, with all of the power which Jesus had, He couldn’t compel anyone to kill Him. Instead, He had to voluntarily and willingly give His life as a ransom for our sins. Then how was the atonement to be made?

Christ had chosen Judas to be one of the twelve with the awareness that he would betray Him. In John 6:70-71we read, "Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve." This didn't mean that Judas had to betray Jesus. Yet Jesus knew that he would succumb to the temptation to do it. Consequently he was chosen by Christ to fulfill this role, but at no time was his personal will denied him. Everything he did was done deliberately of his own free choice.

As Judas hurried to share his information with the chief priests of the temple, Jesus retired to the garden called Gethsameny. There, in solitude, he knelt down to start the process of the atonement. It was there that He took upon Himself the sins of the world. So great was this event that it caused the Son of God to tremble and to bleed from every pore because of the tremendous agony He suffered both body and spirit. So horrible was this pain that even Jesus, the greatest of all, almost recoiled from going through with it.

Although He was God, Jesus was also human. He could be tempted and there was the possibility that He could fail. If there ever was such a time it was while Jesus suffered in Gethsemane as He absorb the full effect of our sins. "Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and [He] partook and finished [His] preparations unto the children of men" (D&C 19:19). But Gethsemane was just the preparation. To complete the atonement, Christ’s blood had to be shed. No sooner had Jesus finished praying, than Satan’s emissaries – the Pharisees – came to apprehend the man they had been inspired to hate.

With all the pieces of the puzzle in place, the stage was now set for Jesus to complete the atonement. Had Satan known what he was doing, he wouldn’t have had Jesus crucified, but because of his pride for his own plan, his arrogance to think he could actually defeat God’s plan, and his hatred for Jesus, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to remove his arch-enemy from among the living. All Jesus had to do at that point was take advantage of Satan’s weaknesses and allow him to carry out his diabolical plan

Throughout the remainder of that night and all through the next day, Jesus patiently allowed His accusers do whatsoever they wanted.

In Matthew 26:47-54 we read, "And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"

"Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This [fellow] said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace." (Matthew 26:59-63).

Although they didn't have any proof to accuse Him of any crimes, yet Jesus remained silent. Although innocent Jesus didn’t even try to defend Himself. This was not the time to avoid His enemies. Satan had stirred them up to a fever pitch of hatred and now was the time to let them do to Him as they would.

Continuing in verse 63 we read, "And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

Without any ambiguity, Jesus answered their question with brutal honesty. He knew it would infuriate them, but now it didn’t matter. His fate was sealed. No matter what He said, they were intent on killing Him, and He was more than ready to give them that opportunity.

"Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy."

"WHEN the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor" (Matthew 27:1-2).

"And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? And he answered him never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly." (Matthew 27:11-14).

Here Jesus had the opportunity to defend himself before an impartial judge who bore Him no malice. However, even though it was necessary for Him to be put to death, He couldn’t come right out and asked to be killed, nor could He lie to influence Pilate’s decision. Yet, since He had done nothing wrong, the possibility existed that Pilate would free Him.

In fact, God had given Pilate’s wife a dream the night before saying that Jesus was an innocent man, and told her husband not have anything to do Him. But Pilate also had to worry about the influential Pharisees who were pressuring him to take stern action against Jesus. He thought that if he just had Jesus flogged, that would satisfy them, but it didn’t. Still Pilate tried to find a way to save the life of this innocent man. He presented the bloodied Jesus before the people themselves, hoping they would have compassion upon Him. He also presented a harden criminal named Barabas and asked them which of the two men he should set free. It was a way to circumvent the evil designs of the Pharisees. If the people cried to release Jesus (as he was certain they would) how could the Pharisees accuse him of not listening to the wishes of the Jews?

But the Pharisees were not about to let themselves be out foxed by Pilate. They went about the people, inciting them to release Barabas instead of Jesus. Dismayed by their answer, "Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could not prevail in freeing Jesus, he took a bowl of water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it."

And so, the order was given to have Jesus crucified. For three hours He hung on the cross until He had paid for our sins in full. Then, and only then did He declare, "It is finished," and voluntarily gave up the ghost. In that exact moment he had overcome the sins of the world and because the Savior of mankind. It was in that moment when He earned the name that was exalted above all the other names. He had won the battle. He had defeated Satan and saved the world!

Once the atonement had been completed, Satan was a defeated person. Even though he was still active in the earth, he could no longer prevent all of mankind from being resurrected and receiving immortality. He had failed to implement his plan in heaven during their pre-existent life, and now Jesus had defeated him again on earth.

Satan has now lost everything, Jesus had won it all, and mankind is the winner

Last Updated on Friday, 24 September 2010 13:06  

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