We can all agree that the angels were made perfect by God. Ezekiel 28:12-17. Then what made Satan think to exalt himself above the throne of God? What tempted him in his mind to think he could overthrow God and his plan would work?
Ezekiel 28:12-17 says, “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 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 art 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.”
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.”
God created angels perfect, and man perfect (in both cases, an “untested” holiness). When put to the test, some of the angels failed; and man utterly failed. Why did Eve fail? 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.”
Why did Eve rebel against God’s command? Because she was deceived into thinking that she could be made more on God’s level by eating of the fruit. “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…”
Pride does a terrible thing to people (and sometimes to angels). Did you ever see a little boy at school threaten a boy much larger than himself (and then get severely whipped by the larger boy)? Have you ever seen a younger brother brag that he was going to beat his older brother in arm wrestling (and then get easily beaten by his older brother)? Why did they even attempt such a thing? Pride. In their own pride, they attempt foolish things in which they can never win. Most everyone else around them knows that they will be defeated and humiliated, but they, in their pride, think that they are somehow tougher and smarter.
That was Satan’s problem — pride. “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.” That was all pride talking there; when, in fact, there was no hope of him ever accomplishing such a feat. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
It is no wonder, when listing the sins that God hates, pride is number one on the list. Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A PROUD look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
So when Jesus was asked who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, here is how He answered. Matthew 18:1-4 says, “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall HUMBLE HIMSELF as this little child, the same is GREATEST in the kingdom of heaven.”
When the disciples were having a discussion who amongst them was the greatest, here is what Jesus told them. Luke 22:24-26 says, “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is GREATEST among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth SERVE.”