One day early in the morning Jesus went into the Temple. All the people came unto him and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman taken in the very act of adultery. Their motive was to tempt him into making a mistake so they could have something to “accuse” him. We all know the story which is a classic teaching tool for various doctrines. I want to focus on the accuser.
“ 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” (John 8:7-11)
One of the names of Satan is the Accuser. He was literally a spirit son of God who was in a position of influence in the pre-existence. He presented his plan of salvation as alternative to our Father’s plan supported by Jesus Christ. His plan was to withhold free agency from all of God’s children and thus guarantee that all of them would return to our Father’s presence due to forced righteous living. No Savior would be necessary. He also had a greedy streak and demanded to receive Father’s glory for his plan. He did not seem to understand or maybe even care that our experiences with moral agency on earth brought about the very growth we needed in order to continue progressing. Without the ability to choose while experiencing life, adversity, and successes; we could not learn Christ-like attributes of gratitude, patience, charity, longsuffering, sacrifice, forgiveness, etc.
He openly rebelled when his plan was not accepted and he persuaded 1/3 of the spirit children of our Father in Heaven to follow him. He and they were cast out of heaven for rebellion and trying to destroy the agency of man. He is still trying to win that rebellion.
I can just imagine the jealousy and resentment that Satan must have chose to hang-on after his plan was rejected. He was obviously emotionally connected to his position. He probably felt then and still feels his plan was perfect and nobody should have had the right to discard it.
We get a glimpse into why one of his names in the scriptures is, Accuser. He accuses each of us (God’s children) day and night, meaning I presume, all the time. In Revelations we read:
“10 …for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” (Rev. 12:10)
Every time we make a mistake we disqualify ourselves from returning to our Father in Heaven unless we use the atonement. Satan rejects the atonement. He hates Jesus Christ who championed the competing plan in the pre-existence. He mocks Christ’s atoning sacrifice. He resents our efforts to improve as we make course corrections in life.
Every time we make a mistake, I imagine him accusing and whispering, “Now, look what you have done. You have disqualified yourself. This would have never happened if you had supported my plan. You can never get back.” Such promptings are discouraging to people.
When we are critical of the shortcomings of others, we can become the accuser for Him. The whole end result is people giving up on the atonement. I believe that Christ could have easily been talking about the great Accuser as he questioned the woman, “…where are those thine accusers?”
We and those we teach need only to remember that the atonement is free for us to use to return to our Father in Heaven, regardless of the mistakes.
“27 Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.” (2 Nephi 26:27)
Protection against the influence of the Devil is found only by righteous living and obedience to the commandments. Righteousness and peace will ultimately win out over error, sin and war. There will be a complete and lasting victory of the righteous.