Unintentional Clarity

17 Mar

So have you ever had one of those times where the Lord highlighted something to you totally out of the blue? You know… you’re minding your own business, tending to some task, and then something pops out at you in that task which answers a question you have, but weren’t even actively asking.

I’m probably not making sense. ANYWAY, the point is that I think I had one of those moments tonight.

Starting this week, I’ll be walking our Media Apprentices through the class “The Way of Intimacy”. For those of you who are not familiar with this class, it’s offered through IHOPU, taught by the dynamic duo of Matt and Dana Candler.

<begin shameless plug> Plus, you can take it through the IHOPU eSchool by clicking here. </end shameless plug>

In the first two sessions, Matt introduces the topic of the Bridal Paradigm, and shows how interwoven it is through Scripture. In speaking of the dignity and honor that is granted to the Bride, he even brings up this surprising point — when Lucifer rebelled against God, it was not because he wanted God’s position, and not because he seriously thought he could overthrow Him.

I know this runs counter to what most of us learned growing up in Sunday School, but I’m pretty convinced Matt is right. No unfallen being (which Lucifer was at one point… weird to think about) could look at the King of Glory and suddenly think, “Hey, I could take Him.” Even if Lucifer was the most staggeringly beautiful and honored angel in the heavens, God is clearly more staggeringly beautiful and honored. Even if Lucifer was powerful enough to give any archangel a run for their money, there was clearly no way he could face off against God. No, it was not God’s position that Lucifer was after. It was the position of the Bride.

Look at the following parallel and contrast that Matt Candler outlined:*

M. Satan desires the Bride’s position (Isaiah 14:12-14)

    1. Lucifer: “Light-bearer” – Bride: “Light of the world” (Matt 5:14)

    2. Satan: “I will ascend into heaven” – Bride: “Seated in heavenly places” (Eph 2:6)

    3. Satan: “I will exalt my throne above the stars (angels) of God. – Bride: “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev. 3:21)**

    4. Satan: “Sit among the congregation on God’s mountain on the sides of the North” (North seems to be the assembly place in the eternal city). – Bride: Sants on Mt. Zion on the sides of the North (Heb 12:22-23; Ps 48:1)

    5. Satan: “I will be like the Most High.” – Bride: Destined to be like God (Rom 8:28, Gen 1:26, 1Jn 3:2, 1Cor 15:49)

The idea is that Lucifer became offended at the position of glory God had in His heart to grant to humans. He thought he deserved the privilege and grandeur that would one day be given to a corporate human Bride. After all, he had existed before these humans. He was the most glorious angel in heaven. He was the worship leader, full of music and light. What was so special about these earth-bound creatures that they should be made in the very image of God and destined to rule and reign with Him forever? How was that fair? …And thus entered the rebellion and fall from Heaven.

This is a concept I’d heard before. It’s still mind-blowing to consider, but I wasn’t caught off-guard by the idea. But as Matt kept talking on the DVD, and I kept following along in the notes, it struck me: Is this why Satan went after Eve, and not Adam?

The common complementarian interpretation of Genesis 3 is that Satan was clearly attempting to undermine the God-ordained family order. If the man is the head of the household, then the best logical mode of attack is to use the back door. Why make a frontal attack when one can wriggle in through the influence of the person who isn’t supposed to take the spiritual lead (and thus, make the spiritual decisions) for the family anyway? According to this viewpoint, Satan tempted Eve primarily to draw her out of her godly role of submission, and it was in that false place of temporary leadership that she sinned.

That idea has never held water to me, but I haven’t known what to answer. “Why did Satan tempt Eve, and not Adam?” Um… well, she happened to be closer to the tree than Adam was? Er… Adam was busy with something else and not paying attention? I mean… maybe Satan just wanted to talk to the cute one. Okay fine, I don’t know, but I don’t think it was to subvert the marriage order!

Yeah. That argument doesn’t work at all (as well it shouldn’t).

But this… I mean, think about it. If a fallen angel were in raging envy against the spiritual Bride of Christ, deeming it a bad idea, which earthly foreshadow would he go after? The type of Christ (Adam), or the type of the Bride (Eve)?

I imagine it to go something like this: “Okay, God, you want a Bride for your Son? Let me show you what I think of brides. Let me show you where their loyalties really lie. Let me show you how profoundly bad of an idea it is to set your desire upon this Bride and raise her to a position of honor at Your right hand. You’ll see. You’ll never bring voluntary love out of her if I have anything to say about it. Hey, Eve, come here; let me show you something…”

Again, this ultimately comes back to how we look at God. Is He a corporate manager with a slight case of OCD who just can’t cope if the org chart is jostled out of place? No, of course not. Is He a God of love who wants to raise up an equally yoked partner for His Son? Yes. Most definitely yes.

Last time I wrote about this passage, I argued for the case that the created order was not about authority, but about desire, relationship and love. As such, Satan would not seek to undermine it on basis of authority, but rather seek to sabatoge that relationship and love. Just as tension was introduced into human marriages by the fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:16), tension was introduced between the Bride and her Husband (see Genesis 6:3). Satan wasn’t interested in upending leadership structures. He wanted to wreck a Marriage by turning the affections of the desired Bride.

Those are my thoughts. The ink is still wet, so to speak, so I welcome input from those of you who have been tracking with this study. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below.


*This quoted section is taken from the notes by Matt Candler, The Way of Intimacy: Session 2 – The Bridal Paradigm Part 2: Introducing the Bridal Paradigm. Kansas City: IHOPU, 2009. p.2.
**Also see 1Cor 6:3, “Do you not know that we shall judge angels?…”

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8 responses to “Unintentional Clarity

  1. brianbeattie

    March 17, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Wow. Totally wow!
    This is really good, and I think it is a great point. Quite reasonable if you ask me.

  2. standonthewall

    March 17, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    uggghhh… Amanda. Your blogs are full of profound wisdom. Keep stirring our hearts!

  3. Dorean Beattie

    March 17, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Very thought-provoking…

  4. Scott

    March 18, 2009 at 7:05 am

    So if by introducing sin to humans through Eve, Satan could ruin our concept of how beautiful the bridegroom and bride’s relationship should be, he knew this would ultimately cast grave doubt on our understanding of the love nature of God and ruin His intention to have a wedding for His son. Thus allowing Satan to usurp the Bride.

  5. brianbeattie

    March 18, 2009 at 7:17 am

    Thinking about this more – and liking it more.
    It lends an interesting cast – a bit more emotional poignancy – to the beginning of Job

  6. Jenn S.

    March 18, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Fantastic post. I like the concept; it makes a lot of sense.

  7. anita

    March 19, 2009 at 7:19 am

    wow- very insightful! btw good to see you in person, wish we could have chatted this week.

  8. Kacie

    April 2, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    ooo, this is good stuff. lots to think about!

    have you read wendy alec’s fiction books? this lines up pretty stinking well with her interpretations of lucifer, too (though yours is non-fiction and much clearer, in this case, which i appreciate). i hadn’t thought much about lucifer until wendy’s books (it never occured to me to do so), but your insights and hers make some darn good sense.

    i think it is a good thing to know why one’s enemies act and respond in the way they do; motivations often make a lot of difference in the long run…


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