God in His wisdom allowed Satan to carry on his work, until the spirit of dissent ripened into revolt. It was necessary for God to allow him to develop his plans fully, so that anyone could see their true nature. 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. Satan thought that if he could bring the angels with him in rebellion, he could also bring the other worlds. Using false reasoning and fraud, he had great power to deceive. Even the loyal angels could not fully discern his character or see where his work was leading.
Satan had been so highly honored, and he had cloaked all his actions with so much mystery, that it was difficult to show the angels the true nature of his work. Sin would not appear to be the evil thing it was until it was fully developed. Holy beings could not recognize what would be the results of setting aside God’s law. At first Satan claimed to be trying to promote God’s honor and the good of all of heaven’s inhabitants.
In His response to sin, God could use only righteousness and truth. Satan could use what God could not—flattery and deceit. Everyone needed to understand the true character of this angel who wanted God’s position. He must have time to reveal himself by his evil works.
Satan blamed God for the discord that his own actions had caused in heaven. He declared that all evil was the result of God’s government. So it was necessary that he demonstrate how his proposed changes in God’s law would work out. His own acts must condemn him. The whole universe must see the deceiver unmasked.
Even after deciding that Satan could no longer remain in heaven, Infinite Wisdom did not destroy him. The loyalty of God’s creatures must rest on the conviction that He is just and fair. The inhabitants of heaven and of other worlds were not prepared to understand the consequences of sin, so they could not then have seen the justice and mercy of God if He had destroyed Satan at that time.
If God had blotted him out of existence immediately, they would have served God from fear rather than from love. God would not have fully destroyed the deceiver’s influence nor wiped out the spirit of rebellion. For the good of the universe through eternal ages, Satan must develop his principles more fully. Then all created beings would be able to see his charges against the divine government in their true light.
Satan’s rebellion was to be a testimony to the universe about the terrible results of sin. His rule would show the fruit of setting aside God’s authority. The history of this terrible experiment of rebellion would be a safeguard forever to all holy beings to save them from sin and its punishment.
When the announcement came that the great usurper must be expelled from heaven with all his sympathizers, the rebel leader boldly swore his contempt for the Creator’s law. He denounced the divine statutes as a restriction of liberty and declared his intention to abolish all law. Freed from this restraint, he claimed, the inhabitants of heaven could achieve a higher state of existence.