(By Crystal Burson)
The world today says that Satan’s sin was that he focused on himself, using the pronoun “I” too much. But there is little to support this idea because God Himself uses the pronoun “I” all the time. So if anyone should be accused of focusing on himself, it would be God, for He spends most of the Bible talking about Himself and His plan!
Others say that Satan’s sin was that he wanted to be like God:
Isaiah 14:14. …I will be like the most High.
But this is not a wrong desire! Satan, all the angels, and all of humanity SHOULD desire to be like God! God desires for everyone to be holy as He is holy (Leviticus 20:7), to be clean and separate (2 Corinthians 6:17), to be perfect as He is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Those who are able to do that in this time will one day be just like Christ (Luke 6:40, 1 John 3:2). We will even be equal with Christ (Philippians 2:5-6, Revelation 3:21), in the same way that an elder brother is equal to his other siblings.
So what WAS Satan’s sin?
God had given man 6 days in which to labor and do all of his work (Exodus 20:9), but nowhere in the Bible did God ever give the angels time to do their own work. Instead, they were supposed to be doing the work of God, helping Him build a family; they were supposed to be ministers for us (Hebrews 1:14). But Satan took it upon himself to go about his own work and build his own empire (Isaiah 14:13-14). He thought, “I am beautiful and perfect (Ezekiel 28:12, 15), and why should God be the only one who can create beings in his image? Why can’t I do it just as well?”
Ezekiel 28:2. Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus [Satan], Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
Satan’s sin was NOT in saying “I am a God”, for it is not wrong to say that you are a God if indeed you are (John 10:33-36). But his sin was in being lifted up by his beauty and wisdom (Ezekiel 28:17), saying he was a God while he was still an angel. He desired to rule the universe with God, able to create beings in his own image, but without working to be qualified for such a task. Without the training God was providing him then, he could not possibly have been a good ruler.
By going about his own work, Satan was taking the responsibility of deciding right and wrong, of making moral decisions, upon himself instead of submitting to God’s laws and letting his senses be properly trained to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). In a manner of speaking, Satan was taking the responsibility of the priesthood upon himself instead of being content simply to carry the instruments of the temple and minister to the people (Numbers 16).
Thus the first sin was committed, and with it, the first time an atonement was needed. The Day of Atonement remembers this event every year on the tenth day of the seventh month in the Biblical calendar. On this holy day, everyone fasts and afflicts his soul and does no work whatsoever.
Leviticus 23:27-30. Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
And the punishment for doing any manner of work at all on Atonement is being cut off from among the people. Exile. Banishment.
So we keep Atonement by not going about our own work, and going beyond that with fasting, denying ourselves every pleasure to show that we are completely separate from Satan and have no part in him. Keeping this day holy shows that we are not of those who go to do their own work on this day instead of the work God wants us to do – build a family.