Did Jesus Fight Satan for the Keys to the Kingdom?
The Book of Revelation tells us of a terrible time in Heaven when harmony was temporarily destroyed by a terrible event. In order to answer the question, you must understand the events that led up to it.
“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” (Rev. 12:7-9).
This war in Heaven took place before the creation of the earth. Mormon beliefs teach that all of us were first created as spirits by God the Father. Jesus was the first Spirit created, and since we are all God’s children, this makes Jesus Christ our oldest brother. After our spirits were created, we lived with God in the Premortal World (in Heaven) for a time. We didn’t have bodies, but we had our spirits, and so we had personality, talents, and the ability to make choices for ourselves. Just as it is on earth, some of us were dedicated to keeping the commandments, and others were less dedicated.
After a while, we reached the limits of our ability to progress. After all, it was somewhat easier to decide to follow God when He was right there with us. We needed to leave home, as does any child, gain a body, and have new challenges. We needed to learn about faith. Could we find our way back to God when our memories of our premortal life were removed?
For this reason, God told us He was going to have an earth created for us, where we would go to live without His physical presence. We’d have to find the truth, be willing to accept it, and then keep the commandments. In time, if we demonstrated our love and devotion to God, we could return home.
However, the laws of justice required us to live perfect lives to return, which would not be possible. For this reason, God’s plan included a Savior, someone who would do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves, and who would do it voluntarily.
This is where the conflict began. God asked who He should send. Lucifer wanted the job. He said, “”Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor” (Moses 4:1). [The Book of Moses is found in the Pearl of Great Price, a book of sacred scripture in the Mormon religion.]
There was a problem with Lucifer’s plan. It overthrew God’s plan, because it took away our agency-our right to choose. In Lucifer’s plan, he would control every step we took, every thought we had. He would make all our choices for us, reducing us to mere puppets or robots. We would certainly live perfect lives, and we’d all make it back home, but what would be the purpose of the journey? There would be no test and no effort on our own part, and so it would be a meaningless exercise.
Lucifer was not doing this out of love for us. He only wanted the honor and glory. He wanted to be higher than God and he expected us to worship him for his contribution to our eternal lives.
Fortunately for us, there was another who understood and loved the gospel better than Lucifer. Jesus Christ, God’s firstborn Spirit Son, offered to be our Savior. He understood the need for agency, and so He was willing to allow us to make mistakes if we chose to do so. However, he would live a sin-free life and then offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. He wanted no glory or honor for this, preferring it all go to God. Jesus’ offer was made entirely from love-love for us, and love for God. His offer required great suffering on His part; Satan did not offer to suffer for us.
Agency was at the center of battle, and God had given us agency from the moment our spirits were created. The biggest decision of our lives was made at that moment. We had to choose whether to follow God’s plan, and accept Jesus as our Savior, or whether we thought we could circumvent the plan and let Lucifer do all the work for us. One third of the spirits in Heaven chose what they thought was the safety of Lucifer’s plan. Because Lucifer fought to overthrow God and His plan, he was cast from Heaven. His followers were cast out with him, denied the right to come to earth because they were unwilling to do it properly.
This began the war. Lucifer was angry, as were his followers. They are indeed allowed to walk the earth, but not with bodies, and not with the privileges and blessings of mortal life. They continue to battle for our eternal lives, working hard to tempt us and discourage us. They want us to deny God and forfeit our right to return to live with Him, so they could claim us. They are miserable, and they’re determined that we should be as miserable as they are.
Jesus and Satan did not battle for the keys to the kingdom. God remained in charge. Lucifer could not be given the keys because only God held the keys and only He could give the keys. He would not sacrifice us for Satan’s plan, so He would not have turned them over to Lucifer. Satan battles to take away our eternal lives, but the keys of the kingdom are entirely safe.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 3:28 pm and is filed under Array. You can follow any responses to this entry through the http://jesus.christ.org/1017/did-jesus-fight-satan-for-the-keys-to-the-kingdom/feed feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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