“Why does Satan have access to the presence of God to demand to have Peter ‘that he might sift him like wheat?”
First, let me thank all of you that have taken the time to dig into the Word of God to find the answer and to bring it with you to church the following Sunday. I am very blessed to have had such a great response.
In order not to make this a lengthy process, I will summarize the given answers:
1. Most responses included the following Scripture verses: Job 1:6-12;1 Peter 5:8-9; Genesis 3:24; Ezekiel 28:16; Daniel 11:36-39 and 8:23-25; Isaiah 14:12-15 and 55:6; 2 Chronicles 18:18-21; Zechariah 13:9; Psalm 115:1; 2 Corinthians 12:9; John 10:27; 1 John 4:4; James 1:2-3; Amos 9:9; Revelation 3:11; Galatians 2:11-14. There have been a few more given, but these should suffice for now.
2. Satan is a created being and the most powerful and beautiful one according to Scripture. He is the one who decided one day to rebel against his creator, God Almighty, and to challenge God’s position as the ruler over all creation. The consequences were swift and uncompromising. God “relocated” Satan and one-third of the created spiritual beings that chose to join Satan’s rebellion. We need to understand that God created them to “rule and reign” with him over all that he created. Some theological scholars call those heavenly spiritual beings “God’s first family”. That’s why they are called in the Bible “the sons of God”. “Sons” describes a family relationship. A perfect example of this Biblical truth is found in
Where were you at my laying the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you possess an understanding.
Who determined its measurement? Yes, you do know. Or who stretched the measuring line upon it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars were singing together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
In other words, before the foundation of this earth was laid by God Almighty, there were sons of God in existence. This all happened BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD. These “sons of God” are divine beings, not humans. The Hebrew words translated “sons of God” are ‘BENEY ELOHIM’ which is a phrase used to identify divine beings with higher-level responsibilities or jurisdictions. These beings are not identical with angels, which is translated from the Hebrew word “Mal’ak” describing an important but still lesser task; delivering messages.
Satan belongs to the first category; the Beney Elohim. As such he lives in a realm that cannot be seen by human eyes. During the church age, the age of grace, Satan has still full access to God’s throne room.
3. Satan’s access to this throne room (read court room where the judge is seated on his throne) is not terminated until we come to the end of the New Testament.
Now war arose in heaven, Michael (one of the Beney Elohim’s) and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, BUT HE WAS DEFEATED, AND THERE WAS NO LONGER ANY PLACE FOR THEM IN HEAVEN. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him (Woe to the inhabitants of the earth when this occurs). And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: NOW, THE SALVATION AND THE POWER AND THE KINGDOM OF OUR GOD AND THE AUTHORITY OF HIS CHRIST HAVE COME, (why??) for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
This is yet future. For now; “…we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES. (Ephesians 6:12)
Just as Satan asked God for permission (forceful to say the least) to sift Peter as wheat, so he does today ask permission to sift you and me. Jesus revealed to Peter that he DID NOT PRAY for the request to be denied by Almighty God, BUT THAT HIS FAITH WOULD NOT FAIL.
This truth is perfectly illustrated by
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, FOR YOU KNOW that the testing of your faith PRODUCES STEADFASTNESS. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
4. These few points hardly scratch the surface regarding Satan’s access to the throne room of God and his demand to “take us down”. For now, I would like to make one final statement. There are too many Christians that struggle with the idea of spiritual warfare, Satan’s “right” to sift us like wheat, God’s permission to do this, and God somehow using these attacks to accomplish a greater goal. WHY? WHY? WHY? is coming from the lips of God’s children too often. Isn’t there a better way to make a spiritually mature Christian?
The answer: WHAT WE DO MATTERS. The heavenly beings, the heavenly “sons of God” have free will and so do the “earthly sons of God”. All God’s children have been given “free will”. All evil is the perversion of God’s good gift of free will.
This means that what we choose to do is an important part of how things will turn out. In our question we find Peter and Jesus making choices. Peter chose to cave in and to deny the Lord three times, but Jesus chose to intercede for Peter that his faith may not fail. What a faithful friend we have in Jesus!