When reading Job, Satan presented himself before the Lord. We know that no unclean thing can be in the presence of God. We also know that Satan is cut off from the presence of God. How then could he present himself to God? Any insights?
We often think of Satan as the great tempter – which he is, but Job shows us another side of Satan – that of accuser. The book of Job is a drama (some scholars even dismiss Job as a fictional character) where he suffers physically from the power of Satan and emotionally from callous friends. The argument he has with his friends over his righteousness is paralleled by a similar argument taking place in a heavenly court. His friends argue that surely he has done something ungodly, while the Accuser states that there is certainly unrighteousness in Job that will come out given the right circumstances. On earth, Job defends himself against his friends. In the heavenly tribunal, the Lord Himself takes Job’s side.
You asked for some insights and things to consider. So first, remember that Job is a drama. That means that Satan standing in the presence of God may only be introduced as a figure to move the story along – to show that the Lord, in completing Job’s perfection had to provide him with opposition.
Second, consider that Satan is acting in a very specific role of accuser. Paul counsels us against rebuking an Elder (1 Timothy 5:1) and we see that even when Satan is rebuked directly, that task is left exclusively to the Lord by invoking the phrase “the Lord rebuke thee” (Zech 3:1-2, Jude 1:9). We see this play out in modern scripture, with Satan in the presence of the Lord accusing those he just tempted.
Joseph Smith similarly taught:
If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven…. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours—for charity covereth a multitude of sins. History of the Church, 4:445.
Satan may fulfill this role of accuser literally, in person, or it may be that this is a position filled by unforgiving mortals assuming a devilish nature.
The third thing to consider is that everyone must give an accounting of their own stewardship. Job opens with Satan giving an accounting of his wandering in the earth tempting man. When you give an accounting of your life, there will be witnesses there to testify to what you were taught and what you knew. Undoubtedly, Satan will also give an accounting of the temptations he sowed in your life.
Ever since he was cast out of Heaven the only time we find Satan in the presence of God is when he is summoned to give an accounting, and when he stands as Accuser.