I know that when we are tempted to do wrong, it is the devil attacking us. I also understand how the devil came into existence as being a fallen angel. When he tried to overthrow God in heaven, the Heavenly Father threw Lucifer out of heaven with 1/3 of the angels. My question is this, since heaven is a perfect place, always has been and always will, who tempted Lucifer into believing he could overthrow God? Just thinking that he could do that was sin. Who or what tempted him into thinking that he could do such a thing?
The first part of your question was, “I know that when we are tempted to do wrong, it is the devil attacking us.”
That is the case sometimes, but not always. The devil can only tempt one person at a time. Only God can be everywhere at once, but the devil cannot. Proverbs 15:3 says, “THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE IN EVERY PLACE, beholding the evil and the good.” Jeremiah 23:24 says, “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. DO NOT I FILL HEAVEN AND EARTH? saith the LORD.” That being the case, how can so many people around this world be falling to temptations at the same time?
The Bible tells us that there are THREE TYPES AND SOURCES OF TEMPTATION. I John 2:14-17 says, “I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome THE WICKED ONE. Love not THE WORLD, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, THE LUST OF THE FLESH, and THE LUST OF THE EYES, and THE PRIDE OF LIFE, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
The first thing mentioned in that passage was “…the wicked one.” It is true that the devil does tempt mankind to sin. The very first sin was the result of his temptation. Genesis 3:1-7 says, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
We also know that it was the devil who tempted Judas to betray the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 22:3-6 says, “THEN ENTERED SATAN INTO JUDAS surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.”
But it is sometimes THE PEOPLE OF THIS WORLD that tempt us to do wrong. Proverbs 1:10 says, “My son, IF SINNERS ENTICE THEE, consent thou not.” Proverbs 1:11-15 says, “IF THEY SAY, COME WITH US, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: MY SON, WALK NOT THOU IN THE WAY WITH THEM; refrain thy foot from their path.”
Some people go to great lengths to cause others to fall into sin with them. Proverbs 7:4-27 “Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words. For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. WITH HER MUCH FAIR SPEECH SHE CAUSED HIM TO YIELD, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.”
And then there are other times when neither the devil, or other people are tempting us to do wrong, but we sin. What is the cause? Our own sin nature within us. James 1:13,14 says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But EVERY MAN IS TEMPTED, WHEN HE IS DRAWN AWAY OF HIS OWN LUST, and enticed.”
Romans 7:14-24 describes that inward battle, “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
James 4:1-3 says, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? COME THEY NOT HENCE, EVEN OF YOUR LUSTS THAT WAR IN YOUR MEMBERS? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
So temptations can come forth from the devil; from other people; and from ourselves.
There are three types of temptations that are listed in I John 2:16, “For all that is in the world, the LUST OF THE FLESH, and the LUST OF THE EYES, and the PRIDE OF LIFE, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
Those three things can be a part of a single temptation, like was the case with Eve in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:6 says, “And when the woman saw that the tree was GOOD FOR FOOD (there is the the LUST OF THE FLESH), and that it was PLEASANT TO THE EYES (there is the LUST OF THE EYES), and a tree to be DESIRED TO MAKE ONE WISE (there is the PRIDE OF LIFE), she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
The second part of your question was, “My question is this, since heaven is a perfect place, always has been and always will, who tempted Lucifer into believing he could overthrow God? Just thinking that he could do that was sin. Who or what tempted him into thinking that he could do such a thing?”
Satan fell to that third area of temptation — PRIDE. Isaiah 14:12-15 says, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For THOU HAST SAID IN THINE HEART, I WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN, I WILL EXALT MY THRONE ABOVE THE STARS OF GOD: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
No one outside of himself had to tempt Lucifer to be filled with pride. That capability is possible with any creature that has a free will; whether angel, man, or animal.
In the angelic realm, Satan was the anointed cherub that covereth, and fell to pride. Ezekiel 28:13-17 says, “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. THOU ARE THE ANOINTED CHERUB THAT COVERETH; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. THOU WAST PERFECT IN THY WAYS FROM THE DAY THAT THOU WAST CREATED, TILL INIQUITY WAS FOUND IN THEE. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. THINE HEART WAS LIFTED UP BECAUSE OF THY BEAUTY, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.”
We know that man is fully capable of pride. From Eve, desiring to partake of the forbidden fruit, because she was convinced that it would make her wiser, to the incident in II Chronicles 32:24-26, where we read, “In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the LORD: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for HIS HEART WAS LIFTED UP: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding HEZEKIAH humbled himself for THE PRIDE OF HIS HEART, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.”
Even animals can have pride. In Job 41:1-34 we read about Leviathan, “Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee? Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears? Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me? Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine. I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion. Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle? Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. HIS SCALES ARE HIS PRIDE, shut up together as with a close seal. One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered. By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him. The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved. His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone. When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves. The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon. He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble. Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear. Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire. He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary. Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear. He beholdeth all high things: HE IS KING OVER ALL THE CHILDREN OF PRIDE.”
So even in a perfect environment, it was possible for angels, and animals (do not forget that the serpent, an animal, was cursed for his part of being used in the temptation of Eve), and man to fall to temptation. There is never any room for pride in our lives. I Peter 5:5 says, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”