It is true that as the deceiver of the nations (Revelation 12:9) the devil "goes to and fro" on the earth (Job 1:7, 2:2) seeking those he can take advantage of (1Peter 5:8). Remarkably, however, the Bible tells us that he spends the majority of his personal "quality time" directly in front of God accusing people of sin!
|10. And I heard a great voice in heaven say, "Now has come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ because the accuser of our brethren has been cast down, who accuses them DAY AND NIGHT before our God (Revelation 12:10, HBFV throughout)|
The oldest recorded appearance of the devil before God, after initially being tossed out of heaven (Luke 10:18), was in the Garden of Eden. It was in Eden that the adversary possessed an animal in order to deceive Eve (see Genesis 3). When it came time to punish the sins committed in the garden, the animal which helped to tempt Eve was the first one cursed (Genesis 3:14). A prophecy was also given, directed squarely at Lucifer, that Christ would complete his defeat.
|15. "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Genesis 3:15)|
The first two Biblically recorded appearances of Satan before God, in heaven, occurs in the book of Job. Although the purpose of his face-to-face visits remains a mystery, it almost certainly was not to launch an attack against the throne. His visits were used by the Eternal, however, to initiate a discussion regarding Job's righteous character. The short-term outcome of the visits was the testing of Job's faith through the loss of earning a living, the death of family members, and a painful affliction that attacked his body.
6. Now there was a day when the sons of God (righteous angels) came to present themselves before the LORD. And Satan also came among them. 7. And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." 8. And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job . . . (Job 1:6 - 8, see also 2:1 - 6).
1. And He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2. And the LORD said to Satan, "May the LORD rebuke you, Satan! May even the LORD Who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked out of the fire?" (Zechariah 3:1 - 2)
Fallen angels before the throne
In the book of 1Kings, we find a unique example of an evil spirit, in heaven, offering his deceptive services directly to the Eternal.
19. And he (Micaiah the prophet) said, "Hear therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left. 20. And the LORD said, 'Who shall entice Ahab that he may go up and fall at Ramoth in Gilead?' And one said this way, and another said that way.
21. And there came forth a spirit and stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' 22. And the LORD said to him, 'With what?' And he said, 'I will go forth and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets' (which numbered about 400 - verse 6). And He said, 'You shall entice him and succeed also. Go forth and do so.' (1Kings 22:19 - 22, see also parallel account in 2Chronicles 18)
Even after his first and greatest battle with the Almighty, the devil and his demons (though not all of them, as some are being restrained waiting for punishment - 2Peter 2:4, Jude 1:6) still have access to God. This privilege will soon end, however, when all those spirits who practice evil are permanently and forever cast out of the Lord's presence (Revelation 12:10).