Was Satan ever friends with God?

The war goes on

Anyone who follows the news from around the world can tell that we live in a time “war and rumors of war” (D&C 45:26). Fortunately, everyone who lives on earth is already a trained war veteran. In a permanent war that began in the premortal existence, long before we were born, we have always been fighting the armies of evil.

Because we didn't have a body back then, we fought battles in Heaven without swords, rifles, or bombs. But the fight was just as fierce as in the war today, and even then there were billions who fell by the wayside.

Priority was fought with words and views, arguments, and persuasion (see Revelation 12: 7-9, 11). Satan wanted to intimidate people. That was his strategy. Because it was clear to him: Fear is the best way to destroy faith. Perhaps he relied on arguments such as: “This is too difficult.” “It is not even possible to come back inside.” “The risk is simply too great.” “How should we know whether we are relying on Jesus Christ can leave? ”He was tremendously jealous of the Savior.

Fortunately, God's plan prevailed and triumphed over Satan's lies. Both human agency and great sacrifice were part of God's plan. Jehovah, known as Jesus Christ, agreed to be that sacrifice and suffer for all of our sins. He was willing to give his life for his brothers and sisters so that those who repent might return clean and one day be like Heavenly Father (see Moses 4: 1–4; Abraham 3:27).

A second point that helped Jehovah win the hearts of God's children was the powerful testimony of his followers under the guidance of the Archangel Michael (see Revelation 12: 7–11; D&C 107: 54). In the premortal existence Adam was called Michael, and Satan's name was Lucifer, which means "light bearer"1 means. Truly a strange name for the prince of darkness (see Moses 7:26)! Yet the scriptures show that Satan "was an angel of God, having authority in the presence of God" before rebellion (D&C 76: 25-28).

How could a mind with so much knowledge and experience fall so deep? That was because of his pride. Lucifer rebelled against our Heavenly Father because he wanted to take over God's kingdom himself.

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) said in his famous address “Beware of pride” that Lucifer “wanted more honor than anyone else” and that “he had a proud desire to dethrone God”2. We also know that Satan wanted to destroy human agency. But that wasn't the only reason he fell out of favor. He was cast out of heaven for rebellion against God the Father and the Son (see D&C 76:25; Moses 4: 3).

Why did you and I fight the devil? We did it out of loyalty. We loved and stood by Heavenly Father. We wanted to be like him. Lucifer's aim was different. He wanted to take the place of the Father (see Isaiah 14: 12-14; 2 Nephi 24: 12-14). Satan's betrayal must have struck our heavenly parents deeply. The scriptures say, “The heavens wept for him” (D&C 76:26.)

After a heated battle, Michael and his host won the day. Two-thirds of the heavenly hosts preferred to follow God the Father (see D&C 29:36). Though Satan and his followers were cast out of heaven, they were not immediately banished into outer darkness. They were first sent to this earth here (see Revelation 12: 7-9), where Jesus Christ was to come and make his Atonement.

Why were the followers of Satan allowed to come to earth? They came so that there might be "opposition in all things" (2 Nephi 2:11) for those being tested. Will they end up being cast out into outer darkness? Yes. After the millennium, Satan and his followers will be cast out forever.

Satan knows that his days are numbered. At the second coming of Christ, Satan and his angels will be bound for a thousand years (see Revelation 20: 1-3; 1 Nephi 22:26; D&C 101: 28). The closer this time approaches, the more desperate the forces of evil are fighting to keep as many souls captive as humanly possible.

In his sublime vision John the Revelator also saw the war in heaven. He was shown how Satan was cast down to the earth to tempt the people here. To this John said: “Woe to you, land and sea! For the devil has come down to you; his anger is great because he knows he has only a short time left ”(Revelation 12:12).

So how does Satan spend his time when he knows he has no time to waste? The apostle Peter writes: "Your adversary, the devil, goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom to devour" (1 Peter 5: 8).

What are Satan's motivations? He will never have a body, never wife or children, never abundance of joy, and so he wants "all men to be as miserable as himself" (2 Nephi 2:27).

The devil targets all people, but he especially attacks those with whom he sees the greatest chance of eternal happiness. He is clearly jealous of anyone who has embarked on the path of exaltation. The scriptures teach: "Therefore he wages war with the saints of God and encloses them all around" (D&C 76:29).

The struggle that began in heaven continues today. In fact, it is actually increasing as the Saints prepare for the Savior's return.

President Brigham Young (1801–1877) prophesied that "the Church will expand, flourish, grow, and expand, and as the gospel spreads among the peoples of the earth, so will the power of Satan."3.

I think we would all agree that this prophecy is about to be fulfilled because we see evil permeating society all over the world. President Young taught that in order to defeat the enemy we must know their methods. I would like to go into four common strategies of Satan and give each one a few thoughts on how we can fight them off.

Satan's strategies

1. Temptation. The devil is blatant when it comes to instilling sinful thoughts into us. The Book of Mormon says that Satan whispers unclean, wicked thoughts to us and instills doubt. It is in our ears that we should indulge in addictive behavior and pursue selfish desires. He wants to blind us to where such ideas come from. So he whispers to us, “I am not a devil, for there is none” (2 Nephi 28:22).

How can we withstand such immediate temptation? The most effective means is to simply send Satan away. At least that's how Jesus would do it.

The New Testament tells of Jesus being tempted on a mountain, and that account is instructive. After every temptation with which the devil approaches Jesus, the Lord defends himself by two measures: first, he commands Satan to go away, and second, he quotes a scripture.

For example, Jesus commands: “Get away with you, Satan! For in the Scriptures it is written: You shall prostrate yourself before the Lord your God and serve him only. ”(Matthew 4:10) And in the following verse it says:“ Then the devil left him and angels came and served Him. ”(Matthew 4:11) So the Savior's defensive strategy worked perfectly!

The biography of President Heber J. Grant (1856–1945) shows how he resisted the devil as a young man: Whenever President Grant noticed that Satan was trying to whisper something to him and sow doubt in him, he simply said aloud: " Devil, shut up! "4

If Satan tries to tempt you, you have every right to send him away. The Bible says: “Resist the devil; then he will flee from you. ”- James 4: 7.

The second part of the Savior's defense strategy was to quote a scripture. It gives us great power when, like Jesus then, we have memorized scriptures. Scriptures can be an armory full of spiritual ammunition.

Tempted people can recite commandments such as “Remember the Sabbath, keep it holy” (Exodus 20: 8), “Love your enemies” (Luke 6:27), or “Let virtue always grace your mind” (D&C 121: 45). The power that springs from the scriptures frightens Satan. It also carries the spirit into our hearts, comforts us and armies us against temptation.

2. Lies and deceit. In the scriptures, Satan is referred to as “the father of lies” (2 Nephi 9: 9). So don't believe him when he whispers to you: “You will never get anything right”, “You cannot be forgiven for this sin”, “You cannot change yourself”, “Nobody cares” or "You are completely incapable"!

Another of his most common lies is, “You have to try everything at least once to know how it is. After all, once is not once. ”What he nastily withholds from you, however, is: Sin is addictive.

Another effective lie of Satan is, “Everyone does that. That's okay! ”But it's just not okay! Make it clear to Satan that you definitely don't want to go to the telestial realm - even if everyone else was on their way there.

Satan is lying to you. But you can trust the Spirit to tell you the truth. This is why the gift of the Holy Ghost is so important.

Satan is also called "the great deceiver" or "the great blender"5 been designated. His concern is to distort every true principle the Lord stands for with a caricature.

Please remember: a distorted image is not the opposite of something. The opposite of white is black, but a distorted image of white would be cream or gray. A caricature has a certain resemblance to the true object and is intended to deceive the unsuspecting. It is a distorted copy of something good and, like counterfeit money, is worthless. I would like to explain this in more detail:

The caricature of faith is superstition. Lust is the caricature of love. Satan contrasts the priesthood with the caricature of priestly power, and he imitates divine miracles through the caricature of sorcery.

Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained by God. Same-sex marriage is just a caricature. It helps neither to descend nor to increase. Such distorted images deceive many people, but they are not real. They cannot make you happy in the long run.

God warned us about these caricatures in the Doctrine and Covenants. It says, "That which is not edified is not of God, but is darkness" (D&C 50:23).

3. Dispute. Satan is the father of contention. The Savior said of him: “He stirs the hearts of men to fight with one another in anger” (3 Nephi 11:29).

The devil knows from centuries of experience that the Spirit of the Lord withdraws from where there is contention. Ever since the time when Satan made Cain slay Abel, the devil has incited siblings to anger one another. It also fuels problems in marriage, among parishioners, or among missionaries. He enjoys it when good people don't get along. He wants to have an argument just before church on Sundays, or to cause discord just before family home evening on Mondays, or to stir up disagreements just when a couple wants to go to the temple. The timing is pretty easy to predict.

If an argument breaks out at home or at work, immediately put everything else aside and try to make up. It doesn't matter at all who started the quarrel.

Often, finger pointing is the trigger for an argument. Joseph Smith taught: "The devil flatters us that we are most righteous in dealing with the mistakes of others."6 If you look at it closely, self-righteousness is the caricature of true righteousness.

Satan likes to stir up tension within the church. He specializes in pointing fingers at the mistakes Church leaders make. Joseph Smith warned members that the first step in apostasy is to lose trust in Church leaders.7

Virtually all anti-Church scriptures are based on falsehoods about the character of Joseph Smith. The enemy is working overtime to discredit Joseph Smith because the message of the Restoration stands or falls with what the Prophet himself told of the events in the sacred grove. Today, more than ever, the Devil wants members to question their testimony of the Restoration.

In the early days of our dispensation, many priesthood leaders became unfaithful to the Prophet Joseph Smith, to their later regret. One was Lyman E. Johnson, who was expelled from the Church for sinful conduct. He later regretted leaving the church and said, “I would have my right hand chopped off if I could only believe in it again. At that time I was filled with joy and happiness. My dreams were pleasant. When I woke up in the morning, I was in good spirits. I was happy day and night; I was filled with peace, joy, and gratitude. Now all I know is darkness, pain, sorrow and misery in the highest degree. Since then I haven't been happy for a single moment. "8

Take these words to heart. They contain a warning to all members.

I joined the Church as a young single medical student in Arizona when I was 23. I have seen myself how Satan tries to confuse and discourage a seeker of truth.

As a teenager, I had always seen the exemplary way of life of my friends and acquaintances in the Church and was impressed by it. So I wanted to find out more about the Church, but I didn't want anyone to know about it. So so that no one could put pressure on me, I decided to study the Church in secret.

Back then there was no internet, so I went to the library. I borrowed the Book of Mormon and the book too A Marvelous Work and a Wonder (A wonderful work, yes, a miracle) by Elder LeGrand Richards (1886–1983) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I immersed myself in these books with great desire and found them uplifting.

My spirit longed to learn more, but Satan whispered to me: “If you want to be completely factually informed, you have to read what critics write about the church!” So ​​I went to the library again and looked around there . Of course there was a book there directed against the Prophet Joseph Smith.

This critical Mormon book confused me. The sweet feeling that had guided me in my research vanished. I lost heart and wanted to break off my search for the truth. I prayed for an answer while reading an anti-church book!

To my surprise, I received a call at the time from a former classmate who was studying at Brigham Young University. She invited me to Utah and said that I would definitely enjoy the scenic beauty on the way there. Little did she know that I was secretly studying her church!

I accepted the invitation. My friend suggested we could go to Salt Lake City and see Temple Square. She was quite surprised at how enthusiastically I agreed! Little did she know how eager I was to learn the truth about Joseph Smith and the Restoration.

The missionaries in Temple Square were extremely courteous. Without knowing it, they gave me answers to many of my questions. Your testimony made me doubt my doubts9, and my faith grew stronger. There is great power in a deeply rooted testimony!

My friend also gave me a testimony and asked me to pray and ask God if the Church is true. On the long drive home to Arizona, I began to pray in faith, and for the first time "with a sincere heart, with real purpose" (Moroni 10: 4). On the way there came a point where I had the feeling that the car was suddenly getting really light! I experienced first hand how light can drive away darkness.

After I made the decision to be baptized, the devil made one final effort. He was influencing my family, and they did everything in their power to prevent me from taking this step. My family members did not come to my baptism either.

Even so, I got baptized, and over time her heart softened too. They helped me with my family research. A few years later I baptized my younger brother. And the friend who invited me to Utah at the time is now my wife.

4. Discouragement. If all else does not work, Satan uses this remedy with particularly loyal members. When I feel discouraged, it helps me to think about who it is that is trying to drag me down. And that upsets me so much that I pull myself up again - just to wipe out the devil!

Several years ago, President Benson gave an in-depth address entitled “Do Not Despair”. In it he points out: "Satan strives more and more to get the saints under his grip through despair, discouragement, dejection and depression."10 President Benson urges members to be wary of this trap. He lists twelve points that are easy to implement and that can help prevent discouragement.

Among other things, he mentions: We should take care of our fellow human beings, work hard and avoid idleness, maintain a healthy lifestyle, which also includes doing sports and eating food in its natural state. We should ask for a priesthood blessing, listen to good music, become aware of our blessings, and set goals. Most importantly, the scriptures direct us to always pray so that we can defeat Satan (see D&C 10: 5).11

Satan trembles when he sees

kneels like a weak healer.12

We must be aware that there are limits to the power of evil. God sets these limits and Satan cannot cross them. For example, the scriptures assure us that "Satan ... has not been given power to tempt young children" (D&C 29:47).

Another important limit is that Satan does not notice our thoughts until we speak them. The Savior taught that there is no one “but God who knows your thoughts and the intentions of your heart” (D&C 6:16).

Perhaps the Lord has given us commandments such as “Do not murmur” (D&C 9: 6) or “Do not speak evil of your neighbor” (D&C 42:27) for precisely this reason. After all, those who learn to keep their tongues in check (see James 1:26) do not reveal too much information to the devil. If he hears someone grumbling, complaining or criticizing others, then he is very aware of it. Our negative statements show the enemy that we are weak.

But there is also good news: the hosts of God are greater than the hosts of Lucifer. Perhaps you look around and think: “The world is getting worse and worse! Apparently Satan is winning. ”Don't be fooled! In truth, we outnumber the enemy. Two-thirds of God's children have chosen the Father's plan.

Brothers and sisters, make sure you fight on the Lord's side. Make sure you have the sword of the spirit with you.

I pray that at the end of your life you will be able to say with the apostle Paul: "I have fought the good battle, finished the course, kept faithful" (2 Timothy 4: 7.)