(Featured Image: Satan as the Fallen Angel’ by Sir Thomas Lawrence – free media Wikimedia)
When we contemplate the vastness of eternity and the incomprehensible nature of our spirits, we are forced to concede the fact that there is much that we cannot know in this life. That is how it is meant to be, for we must live by faith and develop even more our sense of who we are. The only way that we can do this is to separate one dimension of ourselves at a time, subjecting that dimension to the refining fire of telestial life, which includes struggle, hurt, sorrow, anger, and pain. Ultimately we will turn to Christ so that he can turn all to our benefit and learning, and cement into our experience a refined identity closer to the ideals of Father and Mother in Heaven.
THE GREAT COUNCIL
Our loving Father knew we must make decisions and go through this fire. But it had to be our decision. He was the one who instigated opposition on this Earth, for he knew that just as there needed to be a Christ, there also needed to be a Satan. These two roles were absolutely essential to our progression, both equally important. In order to allow for this, there was a Great Council in Heaven. At least two of the brightest and most loved sons of God stood to present plans of what life on Earth would be. Knowing the importance of agency, knowing the absolute necessity of adversity, our Father did not tell us which plan to choose. This would be our own decision.
Jesus stood. He told us we needed to go through hell on Earth. There would be hunger, sorrow, and pain. Blood and horror would reign. At times it would seem as if it was unbearable, but he would be the Messiah, and atone for the darkness of the World. If we turned to him, we would be able to find hope and happiness and progress closer to godhood.
Lucifer, whose name means “the Shining One” or “Lightbearer,” then stood and explained another plan, one that we all naturally strive for on this Earth. He did not present a plan of horror and pain. He presented a plan of no adversity, one that made it so we didn’t have to choose between good and bad. It is what he still presents today. In his plan, there would be no devil. There would be no wrong choices, no hurt, no sorrow. We would all return to God. Sounds good, doesn’t it? All of Heaven loved and trusted Lucifer. Doctrine and Covenants 76:25-27 gives an idea of what Lucifer meant to us before his fall:
…an angel of God who was in authority in the presence of God was thrust down … the heavens wept over him—he was Lucifer, a son of the morning. And we beheld, and lo, he is fallen! is fallen, even a son of the morning!
It is no wonder that a third of the hosts of heaven followed him! We are pretty much the same as the Third. Do we not, as part of our nature, try to avoid adversity as much as possible? Do we not try to protect and harbor our kids and keep them from pain and sorrow, and feel guilty if we slack in that “duty?” Do we not wish for no adversity instead of allowing it to teach us?
Lucifer’s plan was rejected, but that rejection in itself allowed the plan of Heavenly Father to be carried out. Most of the Third chose to follow Lucifer because they were afraid of adversity, not because they wanted to be disobedient. It was in the Father’s plan that many would follow after Lucifer. Is it possible that Lucifer chose this role to help us? If so, his sacrifice has been great, perhaps equal to that of Jesus. A yin to his yang.
If Lucifer is what he seemed to be at first, a fall changed his nature. This Fall took all of the good that was him and changed it into the complete opposite, as if he was pulled into a vehicle that flipped all of his energies – much like the Fall of man, only spiritual instead of physical. Our telestial bodies are vehicles that oppose our nature as gods. That is the natural man referred to in Mosiah 3:19. Unless we “put off the natural man” we will forever and ever be an “enemy to God.”
THE WAR IN HEAVEN
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more 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 into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Heavenly Father cast Satan and those who followed him down to this planet. There are, by his design, spirits around us all of the time. Brigham Young stated:
You never felt a pain and ache, or felt disagreeable, or uncomfortable in your bodies and minds, but what an evil spirit was present causing it. Do you realize that the ague, the fever, the chills, the severe pain in the head, the pleurisy, or any pain in the system, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, is put there by the devil? You do not realize this, do you?
On the death of President Jedediah M. Grant
Funeral Sermon by President Brigham Young, Dec. 4, 1856
The War in Heaven has not ended, it has just changed battlegrounds. We battle these entities every day. But there is a grand design behind this. Heavenly Father’s work and glory is to bring to pass the eternal life of his children. This does not exclude the third that followed Satan. The greatest part of the learning from adversity comes from forgiving those who have done us wrong. In forgiving and healing from the problems caused by these spirits, not only do we learn and access the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but we heal and teach those spirits that have afflicted us by becoming one with us, so that they also can also access the Atonement.
Many have debated the controversy of whether or not the third that was cast out of heaven are able to repent and “go to the Light.” Our experience in PEASE has been that if a dark spirit is given no hope of forgiveness, they might leave only to return because they have nowhere to go. But are we allowed to give them that hope? This can only be resolved through looking at the principles of the gospel, study of the scriptures, and through inspiration. Having the answer firmly in place may be the biggest factor in our battle against the adversary in these latter-days.
God is no respecter of persons. In other words, all of his children are just as important to him and are given equal chances. 2 Nephi 26:27-30 emphasizes the principle well.
Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.
Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden…
wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing…
In some people, the idea that the Third of the Hosts of Heaven are damned forever and cannot have a hope of salvation is so completely ingrained that even when they read passages like the one above, they rationalize in favor of the ingrained idea. Notice in verse 30 that the Lord links it to having a lack of charity – a condition that would make us “nothing.”
Some might say that the definition of “men” in this scripture does not include the third of Heavenly Father’s children; that God has changed the principle he follows since that council, and the charity of Christ only applies to us who used our God-given agency and made the right choice pre-earth. See what Mormon says about that:
And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles. (Mormon 9:10)
Mormon speaks of miracles that come through unchanging principles. Nephi speaks of power that is lost by having a lack of charity. Put these together and we see that if we want to create miracles we must be connected to charity and the unchanging principles of forgiveness, mercy, and compassion. Perhaps our inability to have charity toward the third of Heavenly Father’s children is a reason that we are not able to have greater power over the Adversary and create the desired miracles.
Of this subject, one person argued, “but mercy cannot rob justice.” Here is the Savior’s reply in D&C 64:10.
I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
So if this is true, why has this not been taught at church? We have found three answers for this:
1) The people have not been ready for it (just as the people in Brigham Young’s time we’re not ready for blacks to receive the priesthood.)
2) The scriptures talk of “endless” or “eternal” punishment of the devil and the Third. People believe that this means that their punishment will have no end – a logical conclusion, albeit a wrong one. In D&C 19:6-10, the Lord qualifies the “endless” punishment that is for those who are found on his left hand.
…it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory. Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know…the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name…
3) It was not the time to make it known to the general population of the church. The scripture that best addresses this, D&C 29. Referring to the “devil and his angels” the Lord says in verse 29:
And now, behold, I say unto you, never at any time have I declared from mine own mouth that they should return, for where I am they cannot come, for they have no power.
The early saints were instructed not to send dark spirits to the light because it was not time yet. However, the next verse makes it evident that it is something that must happen in the last days:
But remember that all my judgments are not given unto men; and as the words have gone forth out of my mouth even so shall they be fulfilled, that the first shall be last, and that the last shall be first...the devil was before Adam
There are many places in scripture that show that the Lord uses this pattern of first/last and last/first for different situations, from the Jew-Gentile relationship (1 Nephi 13:42) to leadership (Mark 9:35). However, it is very clear in this scripture that this pattern also refers to the “devil and his angels.”
It is informative to note the ending of the section where there is a connection made between dark spirits and children who “cannot sin… until they begin to become accountable before me (v.47). The Lord concludes the chapter by saying:
And he that hath no understanding, it remaineth in me to do according as it is written. And now I declare no more unto you at this time. Amen.
This tells us that, indeed, there were spirits that simply followed Lucifer, as a child with no understanding might follow a wayward parent.
Get yourself in an open mindset, allow charity for all to flow, and pray to know if this is right. Realize that the idea that those in Satan’s power cannot be redeemed is one of the things that gives Satan power. He would not want that third to know that the infinite Atonement actually covers them also. If all of his angels went to Christ, would he be bound? It gives food for thought. Considering the injunction that we have to prepare the Earth for the Second Coming of the Lord, this is the very time to help those of our pre-earth family that have been in bondage to Satan. Although the general church population is not ready for this idea, many very inspired men and women are being told by the Lord that it is time. Adversity – descending below and rising above – builds power. Perhaps those who originally followed Lucifer are able to keep their first estate and come to earth as some of the generation of youth that have been specially prepared and reserved for the last days. Would not that be the perfect group of people to bind Satan?