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.
~ Isaiah 14:12-15
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
~ Revelation 2:10
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. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Jude 1:6, Revelation 20:10
Miscellaneous Observations, by Jonathan Edwards. The following contains an excerpt from his work.
Seeing the devil is so cunning and subtle, it may seem a paradox why he will endeavour to frustrate the designs of an Omniscient Being, or to pretend to controvert him that is omnipotent, and will not suffer any thing but what is for his own glory, seeing that God turns every thing he does to the greater and more illustrious advancement of his own honour. And seeing he has experience of it, for so long a time, all his deep-laid contrivances have at last come out to his own overthrow, and the work has been directly contrary to his design. To this I say, that although the devil be exceeding crafty and subtle yet he is one of the greatest fools and blockheads in the world, as the subtlest of wicked men are. Sin is of such a nature, that it strangely infatuates and stultifies the mind. Men deliberately choose eternal torments rather than miss of their pleasure of a few days; and to esteem a little silver and gold above eternal happiness, makes men choose a few minutes’ pleasure, though eternal misery be joined thereunto, rather than not have it; this do the cunningest of wicked men. Sin has the same effect on the devils to make them act like fools, and so much the more as it is greater in them than in others. The devil acts here according to his deliberate judgment, being driven on to his own inexpressible torment by the fury of sin, malice, revenge, and pride, and is so entirely under the government of malice, that although he never attempted any thing against God but he was disappointed, yet he cannot hear to be quiet and refrain from exercising himself with all his might and subtlety against the increase of holiness; though, if he considered, he might know that it will turn to its advantage.
Devils. It is probable one reason why men have the offer of a Saviour, and the devils never had, was because their sin was attended with that malice, and spite, and haughty scornfulness, that was equivalent to that sin against the Holy Ghost. Their sin was a downright spiteful rebellion, and a direct malicious war against God, a scorn of subjection, and a proud seeking of his throne.
Angels. The fall and misery of the rebel angels contributes exceedingly to the happiness of the faithful angels; it greatly exalts and gives life to their joy, their love, and admiration, and praise; not, however, by any pleasure they take in their misery, but by seeing the miserable state of those of the same kind, from whom they are distinguished by God’s electing love, which leads them to reflect what evil they have escaped, by withstanding the temptation of the chief of the rebel angels.
Confirmation of the Angels.
The fall of the angels that fell, was a great establishment and confirmation to the angels that stood. They resisted a great temptation by which the rest fell, whatever that temptation was, and they resisted the entreaties of the ringleaders which drew away multitudes: and the resisting and overcoming great temptation naturally tends greatly to confirm in righteousness. And probably they had been engaged on God’s side in resisting those that fell when there was war and rebellion raised in heaven against God. All the hosts of heaven soon divided, some on one side, and some on the other, and standing for God in opposition and war against those that are his enemies, naturally tended to confirm their friendship to God; and then they saw the dreadful issue of the fallen angels’ rebellion, how much it was to their loss; they saw how dreadful the wrath of God was, which tended to make them dread rebellion, and sufficiently careful to avoid it. They now learnt more highly to prize God’s favour by seeing the dreadfulness of his displeasure; they now saw more of the beauty of holiness, now they had the deformity of sin to compare it with. But when their time of probation was at an end, and they had the reward of certain confirmation by having eternal life absolutely made certain to them, is in some degree uncertain. However, there are many things that make it look exceedingly probable to me, that whenever this was done, it was through the Son of God, that he was the immediate dispenser of this reward, and that they received it of the Father through him.
1. We have shown before, that it was in contempt of the Son of God that those of them that fell, rebelled; it was because they would not have one in the human nature to rule over them. How congruous, therefore, is it, that those that stood should be dependent on him for their reward of confirmation in contempt of whom the others had rebelled. It was congruous that Christ, who was despised and rejected by a great number of the angels, should become the foundation upon which the rest should be built for eternal life, Ps. cxviii. 22. “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.”
That God should thus honour his Son in the sight of the angels, who had been thus condemned by the angels that fell in their sight, this makes it seem probable to me that the time of their confirmation was when Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; for,
First. It was Jesus Christ in the human nature, that was despised and rejected by the rebelling angels. It was congruous therefore, that it should be Jesus Christ in the human nature that should confirm them that stood.
Secondly. It was also congruous that their confirmation should be deferred till that time, that before they were confirmed they might have a thorough trial of their obedience in that particular, wherein the rebelling angels were guilty, viz. in their submission to Jesus Christ in the human nature. It was congruous therefore that their confirmation should be deferred till they had actually submitted to Christ in man’s nature as their King, as they had opportunity to do when Christ in man’s nature ascended into heaven.
Thirdly. It seems very congruous that this should be reserved to be part of Christ’s exaltation. We often read of Christ’s being set over the angels when he ascended, and set at the right hand of God, and of his being then made head of all principality and power, that then all things were put under his feet, that then God the Father said, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” It was very congruous that Christ should have this honour immediately after such great humiliation and sufferings.
Fourthly. It was fit that the angels should be confirmed after they had seen Christ in the flesh, for this was the greatest trial of the angels’ obedience that ever was. If the other angels rebelled only at its being foretold that such an one in man’s nature should rule over them, if that was so great a trial that so many mighty angels fell in it; how great a trial was it when they actually saw a poor, obscure, despised, afflicted man, one whom they had just seen so mocked, and spit upon, and crucified, and put to death like a vile malefactor! This was a great trial to those thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, those mighty, glorious, and exalted spirits, whether or no they would submit to such an one for their sovereign Lord and King.
It was also very fit that God should honour the day of the ascension and glorious exaltation of his Son, which was a day of such joy to Christ, with joining with it such an occasion of joy to the angels as the reception of their reward of eternal life: that when Christ rejoiced, who had lately endured so much sorrow, the heavenly hosts might rejoice with him.