Questions From Readers
● Psalm 5:4 says about Jehovah, “No one bad may reside for any time with you.” Why, then, did Jehovah allow Satan to remain in heaven for millenniums and even to come into His presence on occasion?—U.S.A.
The context reveals that Satan did not “reside” with Jehovah God in the sense referred to by the psalmist David. In the fifth psalm, David expressed confidence in Jehovah’s readiness to listen to his prayer. Then, presenting his reason for this, David points to God’s righteousness, saying: “For you are not a God taking delight in wickedness; no one bad may reside for any time with you.” (Ps. 5:3, 4) Such ‘residing’ with God means being an approved guest in his house or holy temple. (Compare Psalm 15:1-5.) This is clear from David’s later words. Contrasting his own situation with the practicers of bad, who are not allowed to “reside” with Jehovah, he says: “As for me, in the abundance of your loving-kindness I shall come into your house, I shall bow down toward your holy temple in fear of you.”—Ps. 5:7.
Satan the Devil was permitted to continue in heaven for millenniums and on certain occasions (evidently for some specific reason) allowed to be present in an assembly of God’s sons. (Job 1:6, 7; 2:1) But it was only because of a moral issue needing settlement that Jehovah God tolerated Satan’s presence in the heavens. As evident from the book of Job, Satan maintained that all intelligent creatures were basically selfish and would prove to be unfaithful and disloyal to God if obedience to Him no longer appeared to be a course of material or personal gain. (Job 2:4, 5) So that this universally important issue might be settled, Jehovah God permitted Satan to attempt to prove his claim. This allowed Satan to use his influence in trying to persuade other angelic sons to assert their independence, thereby putting them to a test as to their loyalty to God.
Many angels did become disloyal. But all such unfaithful ones, though still having access to the heavens, lost their positions of trust and responsibility. They were debased, put under restraint and deprived of additional divine enlightenment. This situation is spoken of figuratively at Jude 6: “The angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.”
Thus these unfaithful angels were expelled from God’s family of loyal spirit creatures. Neither they nor their ruler, Satan, continued residing with Jehovah God in the manner that they had enjoyed as his obedient sons. Though having access to the heavenly realm, they were now outcasts.