Satan is a tyrant
The Rebellion of Satan
As a youth, I noticed a strange point of view among some of the members. In certain situations, when rules were agreed upon and consequences for disobedience ensued (such as disciplinary action in the church, parenting or enforcement of missionary rules or standards of conduct in church-run schools), one would often hear, “But it isn't a method of satan? Doesn't that force people to live righteously? "
This answer surprised me at first. How could anyone think that the course of action approved by the Lord and His Church emerged from “Satan's plan”? Since then, I've noticed that there is actually a fairly widespread misunderstanding about the rebellion of Satan and the fight in heaven. And often the accusation is rashed that something is like Satan's plan. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding of the teaching can have harmful consequences.
Such misunderstood beliefs, for example, could lead parents to believe that they should not encourage their children to attend church. They could mislead members into supporting the legalization of serious moral sins. And they could even lead members to believe that making and keeping covenants and promising obedience is contrary to God's plan. But just the opposite is the case: Covenant loyalty plays a crucial role in God's true plan of salvation.
Statements from the scriptures
Some of the ideas of what Satan has proposed in the premortal world may be traced back to traditional beliefs rather than what has actually been revealed on the subject. Therefore, it is helpful to use the scriptures as a source to determine what the Lord has actually revealed on this important matter. The first verses in the fourth chapter of the book of Moses are the best sources:
“And I, the Lord God, said to Moses: That Satan, whom you commanded in the name of my Only Begotten, is the same who was from the beginning; and he stood before me and said, Behold, here I am, send me; I want to be your son, and I want to redeem all humanity so that not a soul is lost either, and I will certainly do it; so give me your honor.
But see: My beloved Son, who was my beloved and chosen from the beginning, said to me: Father, your will be done, and the glory be yours forever.
Because that Satan rebelled against me and sought to destroy man's independence which I, the Lord God, had given him, and because I was also to give him my own power, I left him by the power of mine Throw down the only-begotten; and he became Satan, yes, namely the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and blind people and to lead them captive according to his will, yes, all who do not want to listen to my voice. ”(Moses 4: 1-4.)
The father of all lies
These verses make it clear that Heavenly Father did not ask for volunteers to devise and come up with another, alternative plan of salvation, as some seem to assume. Rather, Heavenly Father presented his own plan to his spirit children gathered in the great council in heaven. Jesus Christ, “[chosen] from the beginning” to be the Savior in this plan, humbly suggested that Heavenly Father's plan be accepted: “Father your will [d. H. Plan] be done. ”In this context, Satan made an unwelcome, presumptuous suggestion that he should change Heavenly Father's plan and simply save all mankind (see Moses 4: 1). Before we discuss how he was going to do this, we must understand that these verses refer to Satan as “the father of all lies” (Moses 4: 4). Elsewhere he is called “a liar ... from the beginning” (see D&C 93:25). It would be extremely naive if we believed that Satan was telling the truth when he cockily asserted that he could redeem all of humanity.
Given the character and history of Satan, it would be more appropriate to refer to him as the first impostor trying to sell us a product that he knows he can never deliver. He claimed that if we only followed Him, he could offer salvation to all of us, rather than the plan our Heavenly Father established for our salvation and which the Savior Jesus Christ supported.
What Satan suggested was a lie. It wouldn't have worked. It was not a viable alternative to Heavenly Father's already perfect plan. Rather, it was a trap for the purpose of deceiving and trapping others into following Satan. In the end, it was a plan of damnation, not a plan of salvation.
The destruction of freedom of choice
Note that these verses do not specifically explain how Satan supposedly wanted to realize this lie. The scripture simply states that by doing so he would “destroy man's self-reliance” (Moses 4: 3). President J. Reuben Clark (1871–1961), First Counselor in the First Presidency, pointed out that there are basically two ways Satan could have carried out his proposal, and made it clear that neither would have worked. He explained, “As I understand the scriptures, Satan's plan required one of two methods: either to compel man or to save him from his sins. I doubt that human intelligence can be forced into anything. And certainly man cannot be saved in sin. ”(Fall General Conference 1949.)
Even if neither of these two methods had worked, elements of them can be seen in every effort and tactic Satan uses today. For example, coercion and violence are still exercised today by tyrants who seek power over nations, as well as by political activists who want to restrict religious freedom and force society to accept sinful behavior. The Lord expressly condemns "to use even the slightest degree of injustice in any form of violence or domination or coercion on the souls of the children of men" (D&C 121: 37).
However, He also taught that power and influence can be used to promote righteousness through loving conviction, righteous blame, and appropriate consequences (see D&C 121: 41–43). This important clarification shows that appropriate disciplinary action in the Church or parenting, observance of rules and standards in missions or in Church schools, and making righteous laws in society are practices that are endorsed by the Lord and are not part of it of the "plan of Satan". Respecting freedom of choice is not the same as breaking a lance for anarchy!
The second way that Satan supposedly wanted to save everyone is described in the Bible Dictionary: “Lucifer and his followers wanted all who lived earthly life to be saved automatically, regardless of their preferences, agency, and zeal lay the day. ”(“ Was in Heaven ”) In other words, it could be said that Satan proposed that we should be saved no matter what we do. This would have ruined the freedom of choice because it would then have become completely meaningless. If our decisions had no consequences and if everyone received the same wages anyway, our decisions would be irrelevant and our freedom of choice would be null and void.
This interpretation of how Satan supposedly wanted to save us all is also evident in many of his well-known efforts and tactics. Satan always promises that one can live a life of sin and still be saved, or that one can find happiness in wickedness. This tantalizing message of effortless salvation and a sinful way of life is as popular today as it was when Satan's proposal was in battle in heaven. For many followed him then (see Abraham 3:28).
These examples show that Satan's method has changed little since the premortal existence. Satan continues to lie by promising that if you follow him you will be saved, or happy, or whatever someone would like to hear. He continues to use coercion in an attempt to impose his wrong views and behaviors on others. Thus, "the battle continues here on earth ... over the same issues and the same salvation at stake" (Bible Dictionary, "War in Heaven").
A plan of rebellion
The easiest way to describe Satan's plan is not by speculating about what he was actually proposing, but by where his plan ultimately led: it got him and his followers to rebel. The scriptures repeatedly state that Satan openly opposed God. The Lord declared: “Satan [rebelled] against me” (Moses 4: 3), “an angel of God, who had authority in the presence of God, [rebelled] against the Only Begotten Son” ( D&C 76:25), “he rebelled against me and said, Give me your glory, and that is my power” (D&C 29:36).
It is clear from these verses that Satan's suggestion was not an innocent suggestion to correct God's plan a little. It was about a rebellion, an uprising, an attempt to dethrone God and take over heaven. Those who followed Satan declared war on others and made themselves enemies of God. Their agency was nullified because they refused to “choose freedom and eternal life through the great mediator” and instead “chose captivity and death according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeks that all men should be as miserable as himself ”(2 Nephi 2:27). As a result, he "turned away the third part of the hosts of heaven ... because of their agency from [God]" (D&C 29:36).
So the simplest way of describing Satan's plan is a plan of rebellion and disobedience to God. In contrast, God summed up His plan with these words: "And let us test them and see if they will do whatever the Lord their God commands them" (Abraham 3:25). We believe that through the Atonement of Christ all human beings can be saved by keeping the laws and ordinances of the gospel ”(Third Articles of Faith). Hence, God's plan is a plan of obedience and righteousness, while Satan's plan is a plan of disobedience and rebellion.
Do we see the plan?
If we properly understand the difference between God's plan and Satan's goals, it will make us more clearly see who is now really follow Satan and who does not. This avoids those who promote righteousness and obedience from being accused of following Satan's plan when in fact they are following God's plan. It also makes it clear who is actually following Satan's plan today.
Those who protest and rebel against God and His prophets, those who want to change God's plan, those who demand that the standards of righteousness be lowered and who want to force others to accept immoral behavior, and those who Deceiving people into believing that there is happiness in wickedness and salvation in sin - they all support one aspect or another of Satan's seditious strategy.
May we follow God's true plan, the plan of salvation "through the Atonement of Christ" and by obeying the "laws and ordinances of the gospel" (3rd Articles of Faith).
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