a) Satan Was Judged by God

Satan’s rebellion brought in God’s judgment. God cannot tolerate any rebellion among His creatures. Immediately after Satan’s rebellion, God declared His judgment on him. “Iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy slander [G. H. Pember says that according to the root of the Hebrew word, here ‘merchandise’ can be translated ‘slander.’]…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…thou hast corrupted thy wisdom…I will cast thee to the ground….Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities…” (Ezek. 28:15-18). “Thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit” (Isa. 14:15).

b) The Heavens and the Earth Were Judged

The heavens and the earth surely were defiled by Satan’s rebellion. God rebuked Satan, “Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries” (Ezek. 28:18). So, the heavens and the earth were also judged by God. Job 9:5-7 says that God overturned the mountains in His anger, shook the earth out of its place, commanded the sun not to rise, and sealed the stars. When did God do this? We cannot find a record of such an event in human history. It must have happened before the Adamic world, at the time God judged the heavens and the earth due to the rebellion of Satan and his followers. Because of God’s judgment, the heavens did not shine. The earth was covered by darkness. The fact that the earth, after being judged by God, was buried under the deep water proves that God must have judged the earth by flooding it with water. So, “the earth became waste and empty,” buried under deep water, and covered with darkness (Gen. 1:2).

Isaiah 45:18 tells us, “God created the earth not a waste” (Heb.). Job 38:4-7 shows that God created the earth in good order. It says that when God “laid the foundations of the earth,” “laid the measures thereof,” and “stretched the line upon it,” “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God [the angels] shouted for joy.” When God laid the foundations of the earth, He laid the measure upon it and stretched the line upon it. This means that He created it in good order. So, when the morning stars saw it, they were excited and sang, and when all the angels saw it, they shouted for joy. When did this happen? It must have happened in Genesis 1:1, not in Genesis 1:2. How could the morning stars sing and the angels shout for joy when the earth became waste and empty?

Whenever these two words “waste” and “empty” are used together in the Old Testament, they always denote a result of judgment. We see this in Jeremiah 4:23 (“without form, and void” should be “waste and empty,” Heb.), in Isaiah 24:1, and in Isaiah 34:11 (“confusion” should be “a waste,” Heb.). Whatever has been judged by God becomes waste and empty. The earth became waste and empty because it was judged by God.

The darkness which was upon the surface of the deep was also a sign declaring that the universe of that age was judged, because darkness comes from God’s judgment (cf. Exo. 10:21-22; Rev. 16:10).

Thus, the earth mentioned in Genesis 1:2 was not in the same condition as when created by God originally. It was created by God in a good order, but it “became” waste and empty. The word “became” is the same word as used in Genesis 19:26 which says that Lot’s wife “became a pillar of salt.” She was not a pillar of salt, but she became one. In the same principle, the earth originally was not waste and empty, but it became so.

Witness Lee


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