Tom Pennington • Revelation 8-9
Well, I invite you to turn with me tonight to Revelation chapter 9 and, as you’re turning, let me just admit to you that as we study this chapter – and here we discover, as we did last time, that God will, in the future, use demons to judge this planet – it raises a question in our minds. And it should raise a question. And that question is a legitimate one but one the scripture answers and that is: how can God do that without Himself being in some way tainted with evil? It really invites the question of how God interacts with evil. Before we get into our text tonight, I just want to briefly deal with that. I want to give you several Biblical propositions about evil so that you understand how what we’re going to study together fits into the larger context of what the scripture has to say.
First of all, it’s important to know that God is not the source of evil. As Isaiah 6 tells us, those beings – those perfect beings – around the throne constantly shout forth, “‘holy, holy, holy!” God is not the source of the evil so, the question is: what is the source of evil? And the answer is that evil began by spontaneous combustion in the heart of one of God’s greatest angelic creations. From all appearances, he was the Prime Minister of Heaven. He’s called the cherub who covers. He was an angelic being like no other. Ezekiel 28 describes how evil began in his heart. Go back there with me for just a moment. Ezekiel 28. In this chapter, Ezekiel is writing about the king of Tyre in verses 11 and 12 but it’s clear that he quickly transitions from a human king, an evil earthly king, to Satan, the one who inspired him and empowered him, because immediately we hear a description that doesn’t fit an earthly king. Verse 12 says,
Thus says the Lord GOD:
‘You had the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.
You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created.’
In other words, God created. We’re talking, obviously, about Satan here who inspired and energized the earthly king of Tyre, From the day he was created, he was blameless. Verse 15, “until unrighteousness was found in you.” There’s the beginning of evil in the universe. How did happen? Go down to verse 17. “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground.”
So, understand then, that carried away in his own pride, Satan refused to glorify God, rejected God’s rule, and evil was born in the heart of this majestic angelic being. And without God, when God is pushed out of the heart, all of the qualities that are the opposite of God’s character thrive. And that is evil…