God in His wisdom permitted Satan to carry forward his work, until the spirit of disaffection ripened into revolt. It was necessary for his plans to be fully developed, that their true nature might be seen by all. Lucifer was greatly loved by the heavenly beings, and his influence over them was strong. God’s government included not only the inhabitants of heaven, but of all the worlds He had created; and Satan thought that if he could carry the angels with him in rebellion, he could carry also the other worlds. Employing sophistry and fraud, his power to deceive was very great. Even the loyal angels could not fully discern his character or see to what his work was leading.
Satan had been so highly honored, and all his acts were so clothed with mystery, that it was difficult to disclose to the angels the true nature of his work. Until fully developed, sin would not appear the evil thing it was. Holy beings could not discern the consequences of setting aside the divine law. Satan at first claimed to be seeking to promote the honor of God and the good of all the inhabitants of heaven.
In His dealing with sin, God could employ only righteousness and truth. Satan could use what God could not—flattery and deceit. The true character of the usurper must be understood by all. He must have time to manifest himself by his wicked works.
The discord which his own course had caused in heaven, Satan charged upon God. All evil he declared to be the result of the divine administration. Therefore it was necessary that he demonstrate the working out of his proposed changes in the divine law. His own work must condemn him. The whole universe must see the deceiver unmasked.
Even when it was decided that he could no longer remain in heaven, Infinite Wisdom did not destroy Satan. The allegiance of God’s creatures must rest upon a conviction of His justice. The inhabitants of heaven and of other worlds, being unprepared to comprehend the consequences of sin, could not then have seen the justice and mercy of God in the destruction of Satan. Had he been immediately blotted from existence, they would have served God from fear rather than from love. The influence of the deceiver would not have been fully destroyed, nor the spirit of rebellion eradicated. For the good of the universe through ceaseless ages Satan must more fully develop his principles, that his charges against the divine government might be seen in their true light by all created beings.
Satan’s rebellion was to be to the universe a testimony to the terrible results of sin. His rule would show the fruit of setting aside the divine authority. The history of this terrible experiment of rebellion was to be a perpetual safeguard to all holy intelligences to save them from sin and its punishment.
When it was announced that with all his sympathizers the great usurper must be expelled from the abodes of bliss, the rebel leader boldly avowed contempt for the Creator’s law. He denounced the divine statutes as a restriction of liberty and declared his purpose to secure the abolition of law. Freed from this restraint, the hosts of heaven might enter upon a more exalted state of existence.
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Source: Ellen G. White, The Great Hope, pp. 8-9