Dr. W. A. Criswell
9-14-75 10:50 a.m.
On the radio and on television, you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. And in the providence of God, this is one of the strangest coincidences in which I have ever shared. In preaching through the Book of Isaiah, I am in chapter 14 [Isaiah 14], and the title of the sermon is Lucifer. And as it is delivered, you will see it to be a confrontation between Lucifer and Michael the archangel [Isaiah 14:12-15].
In my study, is one of the most effective and beautiful portraits of the face of our Lord you could ever look upon. The man who painted that, Larry Pendleton, is from Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
He’s a great artist. He’s painted portraits of at least four of the presidents of our United States and many other marvelous paintings that are prized in the earth. He felt that he would like to unveil his latest painting in the First Baptist Church in Dallas. He has been, after seeing a vision of it in heaven, he has been eleven years in painting this presentation of Michael the archangel just before he introduces the second coming of Christ to the world.
So Richard Peacock, our minister to adults, will unveil the painting and then we begin with our service. Mr. Pendleton brought it here. He’s here this morning. And after the service is over, we shall have opportunity to meet him personally.
Now to read the text in Isaiah, chapter 14, beginning at verse 12:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground. . .
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 upon the mount of the congregation. . . .
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.
There is conflict, the presence of evil in the earth. I see it in my own heart. But thinking it might be unique and peculiar to me, I look around and I see conflict and the presence of evil in all the world. But as though it might be unique and peculiar to our age and to our generation, I pore through the pages of human history, and I find the same conflict and the same presence of evil through all of the ages of human story.
Finally, I go back and back and back to the garden of Eden and I find the Fall [Genesis 3:1-6], and disintegration, and disobedience, and evil, and conflict in our first parents. So at the beginning of the human race, I think maybe this is the origin of conflict and of evil. No, for outside of the gate of the garden of Eden, there is a sinister and unusual creature [Genesis 3:1]. Who is he? And where did he come from? In his able brilliance he encompassed the fall of our first parents and the destruction of the human race. Who is that one so able, so brilliant, so gifted, outside the gate of the garden of Eden? For our introduction to him we must rise up to heaven, to the third heaven where God is and where all of the celestial angels of God abide.
Who are those who are up in heaven? Who is there? First of all, there is God, the one almighty true God; God who in His essence and in His being is revealed to us as the Mighty Father [Isaiah 9:6]; the one God who in His creation and in His redemptive work is revealed to us as the Logos, the Son [John 1:1-4]; the one God who in His omnipresence in the earth, in our hearts is revealed to us as the Holy Spirit [Galatians 4:6].
Who else is in heaven beside the one great, mighty God? [Isaiah 6:1]. There is also the great hosts of celestial creations. There are the seraphim, the burning ones, and they lead in the praise of the holiness of God crying, “Holy, holy, holy” [Isaiah 6:2-3]. In heaven, there are also the cherubim [Isaiah 37:16]. They are the messengers and the overtures and representatives of the mercy of the Almighty.
And there are also the angels, myriads and myriads of angels [Revelation 5:11]—in the New Testament, aggelos, a simple word meaning messengers. These are the angels of God, the messengers of God, who do His bidding in the earth. For example, Gabriel is an angel who was sent to announce to Zacharias that he and aged Elizabeth should bear a son whom they were to name John [Luke 1:11-19]. The same Gabriel six months later was sent on a mission to Nazareth to announce to a Jewish maiden named Mary that she was to be the mother of a foretold, foreordained messianic Child [Luke 1:26-35].
The angels of God who are His messengers—two of them went on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah [Genesis 19:1, 15-29], instruments of destruction. One of those angels destroyed Israel by pestilence because of the sin of David [2 Samuel 24:15-17]. One of the angels over the great camp of Sennacherib, the hasty merciless Assyrian who was to destroy Judah and Jerusalem, just one angel over the camp left behind one hundred eighty-five thousand in the army dead [2 Kings 19:35].
When I think of the power invested in those messengers of the Almighty, think of what Jesus meant when He said, “If I would, twelve legions of angels”— seventy-two thousand angels, just one of which destroyed the army of Sennacherib—“they would be here at My side” [Matthew 26:53]; the messengers of God. The Lord in the Old Testament is called Lord Sabaoth, Lord of hosts; that is, Lord of the angelic hosts in glory.
There is also in heaven one archangel; in the New Testament archangelos, that is, chief angel. His name is Michael, and he represents the presence and the power of God. His name is Michael: “Who is like God?” And he stands for the people of the Lord, and he wars for the redeemed of the Almighty [Revelation 12:7-9].
But there is one other. Over all of the creation of God and over all of the celestial hosts of our Lord, God created a being whom He named Lucifer [Isaiah 14:12]. Seraphim means the burning ones. Lucifer means the brilliant one, the lighted one, the bearer of light, the shining one. And to his care God assigned the overlordship of all of His creation, in earth and in heaven, in matter material and in matter celestial; he is over it all [Ezekiel 28:14].
He is described in his glory and in his beauty in the twenty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel like this: “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God: every precious stone is thy covering: the topaz, the diamond, the jasper, the emerald, the sapphire, gold . . . Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth” [Ezekiel 28:12-14].
The etymological background of that word ‘cherub’ is lost in antiquity. Anointed—he’s the king, the messianic king; he’s the ruler.
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth—that ruleth—and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, until—until—iniquity was found in thee . . .
Thou hast sinned: therefore will I cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: I will destroy thee, O covering cherub—O ruling monarch of the universe.
Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty.
And Isaiah describes that iniquity in the heart of Lucifer, the son of the morning [Isaiah 14:12]: “For thou hast said in thine heart” [Isaiah 14:13]—the origin of the iniquity is in the heart. It is in us. It begins in our hearts. It began in the beginning in the heart of Lucifer. “For thou hast said in thine heart” [Isaiah 14:13]—“thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty” [Ezekiel 28:17]. And here are five ‘I wills’ against God [Isaiah 14:13-14].
The origin of conflict and the origin of evil lies in the lifted-up heart of Lucifer, the son of the morning [Isaiah 14:12], the shining one, the great light bearer [2 Corinthians 11:14] of heaven whom God set over all of His creation—in heaven, the celestial beings, and in earth, all of God’s handiwork [Ezekiel 28:14].
There are four repercussions from the fall of Lucifer, the great, mighty angel of God [Ezekiel 28:14]. Number one is found in himself. He changed. He became something else. His name originally was Lucifer, the son of the morning [Isaiah 14:12]. He became Satan; that’s the Hebrew word. He became diabolos; that is the New Testament word [1 Peter 5:8]. Both of them mean slanderer, adversary, enemy, opposer. He rebelled in his heart against God [Isaiah 14:12-15]. His beauty and his power persuaded him that he had the ableness to take the throne of God Himself, and he reached out his hand to seize it [Ezekiel 28:17]. Fallen [Isaiah 14:12], he is still the same; he is beautiful.
In the fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul refers to him as the “god of this world” [2 Corinthians 4:4]. In the eleventh chapter of 2 Corinthians, he refers to him as the “angel of light” [2 Corinthians 11:14]. Though fallen [Isaiah 14:12], Lucifer is still and yet the same beautiful, glorious, incomparable person in which God made and created him in the beginning [Ezekiel 28:15]. And he still rules over God’s created universe; he is the god of this world [2 Corinthians 4:4]. But no longer Lucifer, the son of the morning [Isaiah 14:12]; he is Satan, diabolos, the adversary of God and of man [1 Peter 5:8].
A second repercussion from the fall of Lucifer is found in the angels who cast their lot with him. In the twelfth chapter in the Book of Revelation, there we learn that one third of the angels of heaven defected from God in order to follow the leadership of their great angel, Lucifer [Revelation 12:4]. You say, why? How could such a thing be, to leave God and to disobey God in order to follow diabolos? Why do you do it? Why does the world do it, turn aside from God and the holiness and purity of God in order to be a disciple of and a minion of Lucifer? Why do you do it? Why does the world do it? Because he is full of promises and enticements and allurements. So one third of the angels of heaven chose to follow Lucifer when he rebelled against God.
A third repercussion in the fall of Lucifer is found in the destruction of God’s handiwork, the creation above and around us. In the thirty-eighth chapter in the Book of Job we are told that when God made the worlds, when He created the universe, the stars, the Milky Way, the sidereal spheres, the planets, the earth—when God made that, the thirty-eighth chapter of the Book of Job says that the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God rejoiced [Job 38:7]. The morning stars refer to the angels and the sons of God refer to the angels.
When they saw the creation of God’s hand, the beauty of the whole universe, they sang and they rejoiced. It was a world in heaven above and in earth beneath. It was a world of beauty and harmony. It says all of the angels—all of them sang and rejoiced together [Job 38:7]. But when Satan fell, when Lucifer defected, when iniquity was found in him [Ezekiel 28:15]; wherever sin enters, it destroys, it ruins, it corrupts, and it did so in God’s beautiful universe. For in the second verse of the first chapter of Genesis, we read, “And the earth” and God’s whole universe “became waste and void, and darkness covered the deep” [Genesis 1:2]. The third repercussion into defection and fall of Lucifer was the destruction of God’s universe. There are burned-out stars and there are blasted desert places on the face of this planet Earth; and the whole creation of God was ruined and corrupted and marred.
There is a fourth repercussion from the defection of Lucifer. That is the conflict that has raged through the ages and the ages between Satan, Lucifer, diabolos on one side, and the host of the angels of God on the other side. A part of that conflict I can see in the earth, through the years and the centuries and the ages. In Genesis 3:15 it was predicted the course of that conflict, that confrontation. The Seed of the woman should crush his head, but he would bruise the Messiah’s heel. And that conflict in this earth has been witnessed from the beginning. You see just a small example of it in the story of the temptation of our Lord. Driven into the wilderness, there to be tried by Lucifer, Satan, diabolos, those two met once again [Matthew 4:1-11].
You would have the idea from the translation in the English King James that Satan said to the Lord Jesus, “If You are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread” [Matthew 4:3]. That is, to undo the incarnation, for God said man shall live by bread alone. “But You are not a man really. Turn these into bread; undo the incarnation; don’t be a man.”
That’s the way it reads. “If You are the Son of God, do this” [Matthew 4:3]. The second one is translated likewise: “If You are the Son of God, cast Yourself down from the dizzy height of the pinnacle overlooking the Kidron [Matthew 4:5-6]. Live by miracle and wonder.” Is that what Satan said? They knew each other from the beginning of Lucifer’s creation, and they had confronted each other from the beginning.
What Lucifer said was not a subjective: “If You are.” What Lucifer said was a plain indicative and avowal: “Since You are the Son of God turn the stones into bread [Matthew 4:3]; since You are the Son of God cast Yourself down [Matthew 4:6], that the admiring world may behold the wonder and the miracle by which You live”—to undo the whole redemptive purpose of His incarnation, of His assuming flesh and form in the world [John 1:14].
The conflict has continued on through the centuries and through the eons. I see that in the earth; but by revelation, I am introduced to that conflict in heaven. In heaven there stands Satan, diabolos to accuse us [Revelation 12:10]. “Look at him, look at her. She says she’s a Christian. He says he’s been saved; look at him.” He’s the adversary and the accuser of the brethren. Day and night, does he lay our sins in castigation before God. He has access to God. In the Book of Job he goes in and out when the angels appear before the Father [Job 1:6, 2:1]. In heaven, is Satan, diabolos, Lucifer, and he is the mightiest of all God’s creation [Ezekiel 28:12-14].
To show you how mighty he is we shall compare him through the days of the past and of the future with Michael, the one archangel of God [Jude 1:9]. Of the two, Lucifer, Satan, diabolos, is far the greater and the mightier. In the tenth chapter of the Book of Daniel [Daniel 10:10-13, 21] and in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Daniel [Daniel 12:1], when Lucifer interdicted and intervened, it took the angels and Michael standing by their side, finally, finally, to get a message through to the weeping and fasting and praying Daniel [Daniel 10:13-14].
But a far greater illustration of the superior might of Lucifer in contrast to Michael the archangel, is to be found in the Book of Jude verse 9: “Michael the archangel, when contending with diabolos, “he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” [Jude 1:9].
What did the devil want with the body of Moses? For seven hundred years, the serpent—the brazen serpent that Moses lifted up in the midst of the camp, that anyone bitten by a serpent if he looked he lived [Numbers 21:8-9]—for seven hundred years that piece of brass was a snare, an idolatrous snare, to the people of God. And when good King Hezekiah came to the throne, he broke it to pieces [2 Kings 18:4]. It was a snare for idolatry among the people. Can you imagine what a snare to idolatry it would have been had he been able to seize the body of Moses and preserve it there for the people to see?
Isn’t it a strange thing how people are? The Russian communist says, “I don’t believe in God. I am an atheist.” But all of us have to worship something. So in keeping with the rest of those atheistic, communistic Russians, I stood in line with the thousands and the thousands who gather every day to walk by and look on the pale, putrid, puny, pusillanimous face of Nikolai Lenin.”
And for these years since 1924, the thousands and the thousands gather every day in order to pay obeisance to that still, silent, dead form of Nikolai Lenin. Can you imagine what a snare it would have been to idolatry had Satan been able to seize the body of Moses and bring it before the people and let them bow before the great lawgiver?
“Michael the archangel, when contending with” diabolos, he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation” [Jude 1:9]. Blasphemias, translated here “railing”; “accusation,” krisin, condemnation. Even Michael the archangel, dare not say to him any untoward word or judgment, but said, “The Lord God Almighty rebuke thee” [Jude 1:9]. Of the two, Lucifer, Satan, diabolos is far the mightier and the greater.
And we see their last and final confrontation in heaven. For the Scriptures say by inspiration and by the apostle Paul, in the fourth chapter of the first Thessalonian letter:
For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
[1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]
There by inspiration it is revealed to the apostle Paul that at the denouement of the age—when the plērōma of the Gentiles be fulfilled, when the last one elected has come in, when the last soul to be saved has been saved, when the last one written in the Lamb’s Book of Life has come down that aisle to give his heart to Jesus [Romans 11:25]—at that time, the end, the consummation, the denouement of the age will be announced with the voice of the archangel [1 Thessalonians 4:16]. And at the voice of Michael, the dead in Christ shall rise and the living saints shall be raptured, immortalized, glorified, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye [1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17]. And the voice of the archangel Michael shall introduce Christ [1 Thessalonians 4:16], as He comes from heaven down in the midst of the air to greet and to welcome these His saints, raised from the dead and transfigured, immortalized in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the voice of Michael [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].
And they go with our Lord in triumph, taking captivity captive [Ephesians 4:8]. They go with our Lord into heaven, into the New Jerusalem, there at the bema of Christ to be given their rewards [2 Corinthians 5:10] and there to sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb [Revelation 19:7-9]. But on the outside, but on the outside, outside of those walls, there gathers that same sinister enemy of God and of man. His name is Lucifer, Satan, diabolos and he has gathered together his angels, his daimonia, his minions, and he confronts Almighty God [Revelation 20:8-9].
And [Satan] says to God, “These bodies are mine. These that Michael has raised up, they are mine. They paid the sentence of sin and of death and of the grave and they’re mine. I demand them back.” And [Satan] stands there at the gates of the glorious city and he says, “These saints—Somebody, as the Bible says, like a thief in the night, stole them away. They’re mine; I demand their repossession.”
And Lucifer, Satan, stands there and he says, “That Lord Christ who came down from the air into heaven to welcome them and to receive them—I am the prince of the power of the air [Ephesians 2:2]; He invaded my territory. I challenge Him.” And Michael gathers the angels of God together. And Michael, the defender of the people of God—Michael who stands for the saints of the Lord, he confronts for one last and final time that Lucifer, that Satan, that diabolos. And the Bible records it in the twelfth chapter of the Revelation:
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
But Satan prevailed not; neither was there found any place for him 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 and his angels were cast out with him.
And I heard a loud voice saying . . . Now is the kingdom of God
Therefore, rejoice ye heavens and ye that dwell in earth. But woe—woe, woe—to the inhabitants of the earth for the devil is coming down to you, having great wrath, for he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”
When God flings Satan forever out of the heavens—as John Milton describes it: “Him the Almighty hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky”—when the Almighty hurls Satan out of heaven forever and he’s cast down to the earth, woe to the earth. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth [Isaiah 14:15-17]. How can any man be saved? How can any one of us escape? If Michael cringes before him, how much more men, women, made out of the dust of the ground, how could they be saved?
This is the gospel of glory and of triumph. In the Revelation, in that day they are sealed with the seal of God, these that belong to Him [Revelation 7:2-4]. And they’re saved by the blood of the Crucified One [Revelation 7:14]. These are they who are coming out of he [thlipsis], he megalē, “the tribulation, the great” [Revelation 7:14]. “These are they who are coming out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” [Revelation 7:14]. And how is it we are saved in earth? We also are sealed by the seal of the living God.
In Ephesians 1:13, there it is written, “For we have the seal of redemption.” Against the day of promise, the whole purchased possession, my body and my spirit, are sealed by the seal of God [Ephesians 4:30]. And that means our great defender, Michael, is standing by our side. And the guardian angels of heaven have given themselves to see us through, to implant us in victory, to present us some day faultless in the presence of the great Glory [Jude 1:24].
There are a thousand things that could have happened to you that didn’t happen. Why? The guardian angels of God looked over you, cared for you. The little ones—does that refer to children? The little ones—does that refer to those who are weak in the faith? “Their angels do always behold the face of the Father” [Matthew 18:10]. They are up there next to the almighty throne. God’s guardian angels take care of us. We are sealed with the seal of promise [Ephesians 1:13], and Michael stands with his legions to defend us against the day of the onslaught of diabolos, Satan, the devil, Lucifer, the fallen light of the morning.
What a preciousness, what a glory, what a promise, what a hope we have in God. God has made us abler and stronger and triumphant over our adversary. I did not know they were going to sing this hymn; just another one of many coincidences of God’s Spirit in leading this service. It was Martin Luther who had that personal confrontation with the devil himself. And upon a day, in that confrontation, he picked up his ink bottle and threw it at Satan, diabolos. Out of that bitter fight, war, confrontation with Satan, with diabolos, he wrote this mighty hymn. Listen to it as he refers to our adversary:
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amidst the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not His equal.
He read his Bible, this Martin Luther.
And though this world, with demons filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed,
His truth to triumph through us;
The prince of darkness grim.
We tremble not for him.
His rage we can endure
For lo, his doom is sure.
One little word shall fell him.
. . .
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still.
His kingdom is forever.
[“A Mighty Fortress Is our God,” Martin Luther]
Did you know you were singing that when you sang it while ago? Did you know you were playing that when you were playing that while ago? That’s the hymn of the reformation. That’s the hymn of the kingdom. That’s the hymn of redemption and victory and triumph.
God has made us. We who were dust and ashes, God has made us mightier than Lucifer himself. And Michael, God’s archangel, wars with his angels by our side. It is victory, it is glory, it is triumph and forever for the redeemed blood-washed children of God [1 Peter 1:18-19].
In a moment we stand to sing our hymn of appeal. And while we sing it, a family you, a couple you, or just one somebody you, “Today, this day, I cast my life and lot with the people of God. When the Lord counts us in heaven, may He see my face and call my name. When the Lord opens the Book of Life [Revelation 20:12, 15, 21:27], may He find there written on the sacred and holy page, my name. I choose God, and I make that decision now in my heart” [Romans 10:8-13]. And on the first note of the first stanza, where God in heaven may see; where Michael may witness it and his angels; and where Lucifer in chagrin and frustration and despair may be further cast down, “I stand up with the people of the Lord. I’ve made that decision in my heart and life, and here I come. Today, I do it now, so help me.” And may the angels of God attend your way as you come, while we stand and while we sing.
I. We are introduced to him in heaven
A. Almighty God
B. Celestial orders
Angels (Luke 1:19, 26, 2:8, Daniel 8:16, 9:21, Psalm 148:3, 7, Colossians 1:16,
Job 38:7, Genesis 19:13, 2 Samuel 28:16, 2 Kings 19:35)
4. One archangel
(Daniel 10:13, 21, 12:1)
II. Lucifer – the Shining One
A. Set over all
creation in heaven and earth (Ezekiel 28:11-17, 28:15)
B. Iniquity in his
heart (Isaiah 14:13-14)
C. Four catastrophic repercussions
1. In himself (2
Corinthians 4:4, 11:14)
2. In his angels
3. In creation (Job
38:4-7, Genesis 1:2)
III. Fourth repercussion – Conflict through
A. In earth
and Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15, Matthew 4:1-11)
B. In heaven
Lucifer/Satan and Michael the archangel (Daniel 10:13, 21, 12:1, Jude 9, 2