The question can reasonably be asked, why did God not openly expose Lucifer in the Garden of Eden? Why did God not thoroughly and irreparably expose Lucifer during the ministry of Jesus Christ in the first century? Why does God allow Lucifer to continue this hiding-game of deception even to this day? Why will Lucifer be able to continue as a formidable deceiver and a liar, apparently part-way into the Great Tribulation, before he is finally exposed and revealed according to this 2 Thessalonians 2:3 verse? Why does God allow what amounts to the equivalent of an open forum process, where unbelief, rebellion, and deception have a viable platform, to continue unabated to express their destructive world-views under the cover of high-minded, good-natured, and well-meaning debate? Why does God allow people the total freedom to continue to make eternally decisive, self-destructive wrong choices?
Lucifer’s classically deceptive statement in the Garden of Eden reads: “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” (Genesis 3:5). Mankind, represented through Adam and Eve, sadly swallowed this massively deceptive temptation “hook, line, and sinker”, without requiring the slightest backup evidence or character references from Lucifer to qualify him to be able to make such cleverly disguised, yet boldly critical statements about God.
One answer to the question why God has not thoroughly exposed Lucifer is contained within the nature of Lucifer’s rebellion, and the subsequent fall of man. Lucifer’s rebellion against God in heaven had absolutely nothing to do with the quality of God’s management of the affairs of the universe. Lucifer wanted God’s seat of power…pure and simple. Lucifer’s rebellion was a raw power-grab. Lucifer offered himself as a credible leader in place of God based upon appearances rather than substance. Like Absalom’s rebellion in the Old Testament against his father David’s reign as king, no attempt at high-minded debate regarding competence, credentials, or agenda was made. Like Absalom, Lucifer depended upon good looks, appealing charm, and persuasive smooth-talk, leaving out any specifics as to how things could be done better under his rule. Absalom rode upon the coattails of his father’s existing beneficial reign as Israel’s King, with Absalom’s supporters uncritically assuming that Absalom possessed the same high quality of character and leadership abilities as David, yet in a more popular and outwardly charming package. Lucifer, like Absalom, offered himself as an improvement in place of the existing ruler God, rather than offering an improvement in the ideological agenda to replace the existing policies and leadership regime.
Lucifer’s rebellion was an attempted coup, a change of personnel, not a reformation of ideas. Lucifer has no ideas of his own, no positive agenda, other than to steal and corrupt God’s existing program. Lucifer by nature is a destroyer, not a builder, with the fatal character flaw of insatiable ambition. God lovingly created mankind with a need for fellowship with God, and Lucifer cleverly hides within religion, inserting himself into the very seat and object of worship where God should rightfully reside.
This is the really dangerous and eternally threatening part of Lucifer’s rebellion contained within the subsequent fall of mankind. A brilliantly executed negative attack-ad campaign by Lucifer against God, combined with deceptive good looks and charm, do not make a qualified god who can effectively and capably rule the universe. But this approach almost enabled Absalom to topple his father David from the throne of Israel. This approach did actually bring about the successful temptation in the Garden of Eden. We see the negative consequences of sin as objective fact every day in our newspapers and on the nightly news. This cleverly and cunningly devised challenge to God’s rulership and authority, even though it contained absolutely no substance and had no positive agenda of its own, nonetheless required an equally well thought-out and executed counter-response from God at the highest level.