ECHOES from EDEN, PART 31
END-TIME PROPHECY – TRUTH REVEALED
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
Who Made the Devil?
Why the Devil?
“Now the SERPENT was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made... and the SERPENT said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die... and the Lord God said unto the SERPENT, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:1,4,14-15)
The subject on which I now write is one of both peculiar difficulty and solemnity. Of difficulty on more accounts than one, but more particularly in view of the false, and, indeed, heathenish ideas that have been bequeathed to us from times of spiritual darkness and superstition, and the acceptance of which can only be due to a lack on the part of the Lord’s people of the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God. To sweep away the dust, and cob-webs of mere tradition, or popular folly that have buried this truth, and given us a merely ridiculous parody on this subject will incur the misunderstanding and wrath of not a few sincere people.
The book of Genesis is probably the most important book ever written. The word “genesis” of course means “origin” or “beginning,” and the book of Genesis gives the only true and reliable account of the basic entities and conditions of the universe and of life. Genesis yields vital information concerning the origin of ALL THINGS – and therefore the meaning of ALL THINGS!
When God speaks of “the beginning” He is speaking of the originating point of the subject in question. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) Away back yonder, before the dim and distant ages that are gone, our heavenly Father purposed and planned and commanded; and lo, the worlds came into being! Out of invisibility came forth the visible; where previously there had been but empty space, now matter appeared and took form: a kingdom was in the making. It all began in “the beginning.” All these things had their origin in Him, and they were His workmanship from the beginning of their creation. It is interesting to note that in the Hebrew text this word “beginning” is in the plural number – “beginnings.” There were many things begun all at the same time, as the manifold wisdom of God found expression in innumerable ways to bring forth into the realm of visibility the majestic purposes of God. There is neither time nor space to enumerate all that is included within the scope of the “beginnings” in Gen. 1:1, but surely it can be summed up in just two words: ALL THINGS. “For by Him were ALL THINGS created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: ALL THINGS were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things.” (Col. 1:16-17)
The truth to which the Spirit of God would now draw our attention is this: When God speaks of “the beginning” He is speaking of the ORIGINATING POINT of the subject in question. It is written of Jesus when He had turned water into wine, “THIS BEGINNING of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory; and His disciples believed on Him.” (Jn. 2:11) This means, simply, that the miraculous aspect of the ministry of Jesus Christ had as its originating point this miracle of the water turned into wine. He had performed no miracles before this time, but from this day forth many more were to follow. This, so far as His miracles were concerned, was “the beginning.” Thus we may clearly see that if something is manifested in a certain form “from the beginning” that means that from the time it was first formed, established, and came into being it has been in that condition.
Webster defines “beginning” as (1) a start (2) the time or place of starting or coming into being; origin; source. It should not be difficult for anyone who has a working knowledge of the English language to understand the meaning of “in the beginning” or “from the beginning.” The beginning of anything is simply THE TIME OR PLACE OF ITS STARTING OR COMING INTO BEING.
Yet, the whole teaching of the church system has perpetrated a crude notion which collides head-on with this plain and unmistakable truth of God’s Word! Despite the fact that “from the beginning” obviously means from the start, origin, or coming into being of a thing, men have taught a doctrine for long centuries which blatantly contradicts this simple statement of divine fact. I speak of that which is taught concerning Satan – the Devil.
Orthodoxy has long taught that Satan was, in the beginning, a high and beautiful archangel in heaven. The theologians and preachers recite over and over how Satan was originally “the anointed cherub that covereth... the most beautiful and wise of all God’s creation!” This being was, so they say, the ruler and leader of the angelic beings and apparently led them in their praise of God and shouts of joy... the greatest being God ever created, one who had unequaled strength, wisdom, beauty, privilege, and authority, and was the next form to God Himself. This blameless, perfect one, named Lucifer, was created without any form of evil and with the greatest intelligence of any created being. Then, we are told, (oh the wonder of it!) this Lucifer, suddenly realizing how beautiful and intelligent he was, became inflated with power and pride and his heart was lifted up in rebellion against God. According to the story, Lucifer gathered one-third of the heavenly angels to his cause, mustering an army with which he planned to knock God off His throne and supplant himself as king and god of the universe – and there was war in heaven! Luckily, God won, cast Lucifer out of heaven and he became, instead of an holy angel, the Devil that he is today.
It is nothing short of amazing that such a doctrine could have enjoyed such widespread acceptance in the light of the plain teachings of the scriptures on this subject. Any man who fails to discern between facts and fables, and who opposes or rebels against facts, is a fool. Fools manifest their true state by resisting and ignoring facts. Please remember, there is a world of difference between facts, beliefs, and fantasies. I believe the core of our natural earth is hot, perhaps molten. But no man knows anything about the true conditions down there. There is no possible way of ascertaining or demonstrating the truth or falsity of my belief. So it remains merely a belief: it may be true, or it may be false. On the other hand, if I thought our natural sun were made of red paint, that would be a fantasy, just a highly improbable or irrational idea of my own. But facts are altogether different. They are actualities, realities, whether they can be demonstrated as such or not. Ice is cold. That is a fact which can be demonstrated. The earth is round. That fact has through recent centuries been must conclusively demonstrated. It is neither a belief or a fantasy. Fire burns; one must have air to breathe; these are facts, and, only fools will oppose or resist them. And now we are going to state some facts. Let us contrast what MEN say and believe with what GOD says!
MAN says that Satan IN THE BEGINNING was holy, but later fell from that estate. JESUS said of Satan, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a MURDERER (not an angel) from the BEGINNING, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (Jn. 8:44) In these studies on the Garden of Eden we are searching out the BEGINNING, probing into the very mists of the past, the times before this age and past ages that we might understand the grand and glorious purposes of our omnipotent and omniscient heavenly Father which He hath purposed from the beginning of the world. How authoritatively the Lord Jesus reveals that way back there, in THE BEGINNING, in even HIS beginning, Satan WAS A MURDERER!
The verse we have just quoted states that Satan “abode not” in the truth. In the Greek text this verb is the imperfect tense of, I keep my standing, or simply I stand, and the form is meaning that even before the fall or as far back as this person existed HE WAS NOT TRUE. Dr. Robert Young, in his Literal translation of the Bible, renders this verse: “He was a manslayer from the beginning, and in the truth HE HATH NOT STOOD, because there is no truth in him.” The Rotherham version reads: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and IN THE TRUTH HE STOOD NOT; because the truth is not in him.” J.B. Phillips gives the plainest and most accurate translation: “He ALWAYS WAS a MURDERER, and has NEVER DEALT WITH THE TRUTH, since the truth will have nothing to do with him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks in character, for he is liar and the father of lies.”
MAN says that Satan IN THE BEGINNING was perfect and sinless. But the apostle John, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned these words in regard to Satan’s origin: “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil SINNETH FROM THE BEGINNING.” (I Jn. 3:8) This could not be rightly said of Adam. According to Genesis 2 and 3, it was not until after Adam was created in spirit essence, after he was lowered into the realm of flesh, after he was placed in the Garden, after he named all the animals, after the woman was taken from his side, after she listened to the serpent and ate the forbidden fruit – it was AFTER ALL THESE THINGS that Adam sinned. Adam was not a sinner from the beginning. But the Devil, according to I Jn. 3:8 W-A-S A SINNER F-R-O-M T-H-E B-E-G-I-N-N-I-N-G! Now, if we are to believe the Bible means what it says – and I believe it does – we must believe that from his very beginning SATAN WAS EVIL.
WHO MADE THE DEVIL?
Yes, my friend, there is a Devil – but the Devil of orthodox Christianity is but an invention of the imagination of man. What people say about the Devil and the testimony of scripture about him are two altogether different things. Well did the apostle warn, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” (I Tim. 4:1). “Doctrines of devils” does not mean necessarily doctrines spawned by devils, rather, doctrines about devils. The theologians and saints of the middle ages spent aching hours working out the shapes, sizes and special responsibilities of the various demons that Satan commanded. There was even a demon called Ukobach, who was credited with the invention of fried food! Many of the contemporary teachings on demonology are straight out this Dark Ages superstition. The whole system of demonology which came to us from medieval times had its origin in the idea of animism which influenced the thinking of the pagans in early history. They believed that all nature was commanded and controlled by invisible spirits upon whose capricious whims all events relied. Life in those ancient times was a constant struggle with the elements over which men had no control. The unpredictable behavior of the sea, periods of drought or storm, the appearance of volcanoes and the titanic upheaval of earthquakes were all viewed with awe and fear. All these phenomena, benevolent or destructive in turn, were gradually seen to be under the control of spirits, they did not “just happen”! The reason some have held the view that Satan was originally an angel is because it seems to relieve God of the responsibility for evil and sin in the world. When they are asked whether a good God created a bad Devil, they can reply: “No, He did not create the Devil; He created a beautiful and powerful angel who later became the Devil!” This sounds good on the surface, but when the searchlight of the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God shines in our hearts, this line of reasoning is seen to be but shallow inductions of the natural mind.
How COULD an all-wise and holy God create an evil Devil? Our reply to that is another question: If God, all-wise and all-knowing, created a being and designed within this being the inherent ability and potential to become evil – a will capable of rebelling against Him – and if in His omniscience He knew beforehand that this creature would become evil, is God then any LESS responsible for the Devil? If, on the other hand, we say that God created a holy being and did not know he would become evil, then God is not omniscient and the Devil got a step ahead of God! If the Devil could do something back there that was outside of God’s plan, which God did not know he would do, then HOW CAN WE BE SURE HE MIGHT NOT PULL A FAST ONE ON GOD AGAIN! Ah, beloved, such carnal reasoning is an affront to the majesty of the Most High God! Is it any less thinkable that God would create an evil one than to suppose that He would create a holy one with the God-given ability to become evil? In either case, there is absolutely no way to absolve GOD from the responsibility for the existence of the Devil!
That “all things are of God” is declared again and again in the Bible. Did not the Lord say to Pharaoh, that man of rebellion against all that was of God, “Even for this same purpose have I RAISED THEE UP, that I might show My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.” (Rom. 9:17) The infinite wisdom of God’s mind cannot be searched out by these puny little heads of ours. We must discard our childish theology and bring our minds into harmony with the mind of Christ. We must begin to peer through the mighty telescope of God’s wisdom as it looks through the vast universe of good and evil until heavenly light bursts with blazing brilliance upon our inquiring spirits and we see with crystal clear vision that God is in all things, and is responsible for all things, including the so-called evil things as well as the good things. Is it not a fearful thing to say that evil is of God? There is nothing fearful about this view unless the TRUTH be fearful! I would not be surprised if some of the compatriots of the prophet Amos may have thought he was speaking blasphemy when by the Holy Spirit he said, “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and THE LORD HATH NOT DONE IT?” (Amos 3:6) There are untold millions of Christians who do not like to believe that A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S A-R-E O-F G-O-D – including evil. They much prefer to believe, as the harlot system has taught them, that in the beginning God made everything “perfect,” then one of the “perfect” angels made himself into the Devil, and proceeded to wreck the works of God’s hands, so degrading God’s beautiful and perfect creation until the Lord Almighty Himself was hard put to the test to discover some way to restore the creation from the clutches of the Devil. And after six long and tortuous millenniums of conflict and struggle, contest and effort, the battle still rages on year after year and generation after generation, the Devil out-foxing God at times, and God getting the upper hand eventually. Childish prattle! Vain imaginations! Carnal-minded stupidity!
Why, oh why can men not believe the simple, unvarnished Word of God.” Ah – we have God’s own Word for it – His positive statement that HE CREATES EVIL. “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil. I THE LORD DO ALL OF THESE THINGS” (Isa. 45:7). God creates evil! It cannot be! But here it is in the Word. What will you do with it, beloved? “We must explain it somehow,” the fundamentalist says, “surely it doesn’t mean that God creates evil, sin, sinners, devils, or wrongdoing – it must mean that He creates physical evil – famines, pestilences, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, calamities, judgments, etc. which God sends upon mankind as punishment for their wickedness.” Not so! The word here for evil is the Hebrew word RA which is used throughout the Old Testament to denote wickedness, sin and wrongdoing. In some five hundred passages it is so used!
For example, in Gen. 6:5 we read, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of his heart was only evil (ra) continually.” Again, “And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil (ra) in the sight of the Lord, was consumed.” (Num. 32:13) In Ps. 34:13-15 we admonished, “Keep thy tongue from evil (ra), and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil (ra), and do good... the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.” The very same word in the original is also rendered “wicked” and “wickedness” more than a hundred times. So God declares, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil. I the Lord do all these things!” Why should puny man attempt to shield the Almighty from the responsibility He Himself has taken? If He says He creates peace, then believe Him. If He says He creates evil, then believe that, too. Do you remember how they brought the blind man to Jesus, and as the poor fellow stood there, the disciples said to Jesus, “Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” Jesus replied, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: BUT THAT THE WORKS OF GOD SHOULD BE MADE MANIFEST IN HIM.” (Jn. 9:2-3) So through the evil of blindness the glory of God was manifested in the end!
As soon as this significant truth dawns upon your enlightened consciousness, the knowledge of WHENCE CAME THE SERPENT will speedily follow. The Word of God is certain and unmistakable. The record is clear and unequivocal. The Holy Spirit emphatically declares, “Now the Serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which THE LORD GOD HAD MADE.” (Gen. 3:1) Two things are here revealed: the nature of the Serpent is a beastly nature – and GOD MADE HIM! Suppose that instead of trying to explain this passage in harmony with some cut-and-dried creed, we let all creeds go and wait upon the Spirit of the Lord to give understanding of what the passage really means. Then, if the creed does not harmonize with the light the Spirit brings, throw the creed away. At any rate, here is the statement in the Word and we will be brave enough to receive it as truth and trust the same One who spoke it to explain it. “The Serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which THE LORD GOD HAD MADE.” These words deserve volumes of explanation, but can you not see that they are filled with the spirit of revelation? God made the Serpent; God made him with a beastly nature, God made him subtle, God made him the Devil and Satan. God made him a murderer and a liar from the beginning! It is completely impossible for any man to truly know and love God until his spirit has been taught that before all things, through all things, in all things, and after all things is God, omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, eternal, purposeful, and filled with righteousness, love, kindness, forgiveness and truth. He was before all things and BY HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST. There is no angel, principality, or power anywhere in all the endless vastnesses of infinity that does not hold his authority by direct appointment of God. In Him all men and angels and creatures live and move and have their being, for He fills all things. By Him and for Him and to Him are all things. From Him everything comes, by Him everything exists, and in Him everything ends, bringing glory to God forever and ever, Amen.
Hardly had the human race been called into existence, than we find a strange enemy making his attack upon it under the guise of a serpent. Although the writer of this account gives no name to this creature, except “the serpent,” other scriptures leave us no doubt as to who it was. Mere serpent, mere animal, it could not possibly be; for speech is the distinctive characteristic of intelligent mind, and that this Serpent obsessed the faculty of both speech and reason was and is enough to prove that someone of a higher kingdom and order than that of beasts and reptiles was acting. The preachers are always telling us that the Serpent in the garden was one of these long, slender reptiles that have backbones and ribs and scales on the outside of their bodies. Numerous pictures have been sketched of the snake dangling from a tree limb, conversing with Eve. But the inspired Word of the omniscient Creator contradicts the uninspired word of the tradition-ridden theologians! John the Revelator stood transfixed in the visions of God on Patmos and beheld in spirit the splendor of the scene which unfolded before his wondering eyes as “the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which IS THE DEVIL, AND SATAN, and bound him a thousand years.” (Rev. 12:9; 20:1-2)
Here Satan is called “that old Serpent.” The word “old” is from the Greek ARCHAlOS which means “original” or “primeval”. “Primeval” means FROM THE FIRST AGE OR AGES. Phillip’s translation reads, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key of the pit and a huge chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, the SERPENT OF ANCIENT DAYS, who IS both the Devil and Satan...” Another version states, “And he seized the dragon, the ORIGINAL SERPENT, WHO IS the Devil and Satan.” The Amplified Bible renders, “And he gripped and overpowered the dragon, that OLD SERPENT OF PRIMEVAL TIMES, WHO IS the Devil and Satan.” Man says that a fallen angel, Lucifer, somehow got into the serpent and spoke through its mouth; but the almighty Father declares that that original Serpent I-S T-H-E D-E-V-I-L A-N-D S-A-T-A-N!
Phillip’s translation reads, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key of the pit and a huge chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, the SERPENT OF ANCIENT DAYS, who IS both the Devil and Satan...” Another version states, “And he seized the dragon, the ORIGINAL SERPENT, WHO IS the Devil and Satan...” The Amplified Bible says, “And he gripped and overpowered the dragon, that OLD SERPENT OF PRIMEVAL TIMES, WHO IS the Devil and Satan...” It is a common fault among us to repeat what the theologians and preachers of Babylon say instead of saying what GOD SAYS, but it is a very great blessing to us when once we comprehend the utter simplicity of the truth of God and simply believe it. Practically all sermons preached today are merely the philosophy of the preacher, and practically all the philosophy of the preacher is the tradition of men handed down from one generation to the next. These philosophies and traditions of the church become the established doctrines of the sect, and the graduates from the Seminaries become so zealous in propounding them that they never once think to seek HIS face, come to know HIS will, or be partakers of HIS glorious mind. Thus through a lifetime men go on preaching, contending, and arguing their time-honored traditions until they become like the Pharisees of old, making the WORD OF GOD OF NO EFFECT through their traditions. They become thoroughly robbed of their vital association with Him, and lost to them is the grand and glorious TRUTH as it is IN JESUS.
MAN, on the one hand, says that a fallen angel, Satan, used the serpent in Eden. GOD, on the other hand, says that that original serpent IS THE DEVIL and Satan. I once read a book which explained how Satan was the greatest ventriloquist of all time, he threw his voice into the serpent so that the serpent only appeared to speak – it was really the Devil! GOD SAYS that THE SERPENT HIMSELF WAS MORE SUBTIL than any beast of the field, that the SERPENT SPOKE, and that the serpent IS THE DEVIL AND SATAN! MAN says that the Devil somehow got into the serpent and spoke through its mouth, whereas GOD declares that THAT ORIGINAL SERPENT I-S THE DEVIL!
Children in school learn what we call definitions. A definition is an explanatory statement which tells us just exactly what a certain thing is, as “an island is a tract of land completely surrounded by water.” God also gives us definitions in His Word. He tells us exactly what certain things are. And in the Scripture just quoted He has told us exactly what the serpent is: “That original serpent, WHICH IS the Devil and Satan.” Now let us make this a little plainer. Definitions of men can be given backward. For instance, the definition, “An island is a tract of land completely surrounded by water,” can be given thus: “A tract of land completely surrounded by water is an island.” This is but another way of stating the same fact. It does not, in any way, change the meaning. Now let us try this on the definition of the serpent. “That original serpent IS the Devil” – “Satan IS that original serpent.” That, dear reader is GOD’S OWN DEFINITION of the serpent in Eden!
The imagination that a thing can have its beginning in God, and then become something other than what God foresaw, purposed, intended, or planned for it is a vain imagination that comes from the distorted mind and the wild imagination of man and not a truth that comes from the omniscient mind of our heavenly Father, for OF HIM AND THROUGH HIM AND TO HIM, are all things; to HIM be glory forever and ever! Amen! (Rom. 11:36). Even more enlightening is the translation from Goodspeed which says, “For FROM HIM EVERYTHING COMES: THROUGH HIM EVERYTHING EXISTS; AND IN HIM EVERYTHING ENDS. GLORY TO HIM FOREVER! AMEN.” Or as the Amplified Bible bluntly and beautifully words it, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. – For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him. To Him be glory forever! Amen – so be it.”
The words of this precious portion of Scripture cast a ray of divine illumination across the gloomy pages of human tradition that for centuries has confused men’s minds and attributed to Satan the power to be and to do apart from, and in rebellion against God, causing men’s faith in the omniscience, immutability, and omnipotence of the Lord to falter and die. There came a blessed day in my life when my Father in heaven let me hear a secret from His own heart, a secret that few have understood throughout all generations of the Church. When He breathed into my listening ear it well nigh stunned me because of my own tradition and unbelief, yet I could not doubt the truth He taught me when He said, “For by Him were ALL THINGS created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and INVISIBLE, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or PRINCIPALITIES, or POWERS: ALL THINGS were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” (Col. 1:16-17) “ALL THINGS were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” (Jn. 1:3) I was as one shocked by a lightning bolt out of the sky by these words because for years all my teachers had instilled the very opposite into my mind. “God,” they told me, “made a beautiful, glorious angel, but the Devil made himself!” But when I heard the voice of the all-wise Lord, speaking from the throne of His all-powerful majesty, taking upon HIMSELF all the responsibility for THE ENTIRE CREATION, my heart was amazed in His presence and for the first time in my life the “purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will,” began to unfold in my deepest heart.
God is THE CAUSE of all that is. It all exists with the one purpose of showing forth His glory. Every object in nature and every creature in the universe has its only reason of existence in this – that the wondrous goodness and wisdom and power of God may shine out through it. God is the end and aim of all things, because He is their beginning and origin. All must fulfill His will because all came from Him and exist only through Him.
Most of the Lord’s people have an image of Jesus. They think they know just what the Lord looks like. But the image invariably corresponds to the idea of what He was when He was here in the flesh. But there isn’t a single person in all the world today who can know just what Jesus might look like. Until they get rid of that image, they are going to have a very limited conception of the Christ. When the image goes and people begin to see Him as He really is, then our conception of Him will be enlarged beyond anything we can imagine. Now, just as most of God’s people entertain an image of Jesus, SO THEY HAVE ONE OF SATAN. This image, too, must go before any of us can see things correctly. When all of the seventy came back to Jesus with the report that even the demons were subject unto them in the name of Jesus, He counseled them not to rejoice in that fact, but to rejoice in the fact that their names were written in heaven. Then the Lord announced, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Lk. 10:18) The preachers tell us that this refers to the time, away back before the foundation of the world, when Lucifer was cast out of heaven.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is not this the MAN that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isa. 14:12-17) It should be clear to every enlightened student of God’s Word that all truth has applications on different levels. It is my conviction that the inspired statements in the afore quoted passage may be applied on the historical level, the prophetical level, the spiritual level, and the personal level. In its first and historical application the one called “Lucifer” refers to the literal king of the Kingdom of Babylon in the days of Isaiah who – although mighty in political and military power and the most exalted ruler among nations – would fall just like other rulers of the past. The prophetical application points to the king of Mystery Babylon, the chief antichrist of the world’s apostate church system, who is not recognized for what he is, but is lauded as the greatest religious leader in the world, by whom untold millions of those who name the name of Christ are deceived, as it is written, “And the whole world wondered after the beast.” The spiritual application is found in the fall of man from his original position of glory, eminence and dominion. The message is clear – the subject of Isaiah’s prophecy is a MAN – not an angelic spirit-being! “They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this THE M-A-N that made the earth to tremble...that made the earth as a wilderness: that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isa. 14:16-17)
“Lucifer,” instead of being the name of an angel who became the Devil, was THE NAME THE ANCIENT’S GAVE TO THE MORNING STAR. Pliny, a noted historian of antiquity, says, “Before the sun revolves, a very large star...when in advance and rising before dawn receives the name Lucifer, being another sun and bringing the dawn...” Lucifer, the light-bringer, is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word PHOSPHOROS, which is used as a title for Christ in II Pet.1:19. Peter had been discussing the glorious experience that he, along with James and John, had had with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. Speaking of the voice that spoke to them there, he said, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy whereunto ye do well to take heed... until the day dawn and the DAY STAR (Greek: phosphoros; Latin: lucifer) arise in your hearts.” I do not have the ability to make this truth any plainer than Jesus Himself made it when He called Himself the PHOSPHOROS or the LUCIFER in Rev. 22:16, saying, “I AM... the BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR.” In the messages of Christ to the seven churches in the book of Revelation a special promise was always given to him that overcometh, but to the church at Thyatira He gave a promise that is worthy to fill every page of this article. May our Lord give us the spirit of revelation to understand what He said: “And he that overcometh... I will give him THE MORNING STAR.” (Rev. 2:26, 28) Just think of that! My beloved, ponder if you will – whether we call it “Day Star”, “Morning Star”, or “Lucifer” – it is all the same. This “rising of the Day Star” in our hearts is the out-raying of the Christ within, for, you see, HE IS the Day Star! It should be obvious to every spiritual mind that what is recovered through the redemption of Jesus Christ is WHAT ADAM HAD IN THE BEGINNING WITH GOD. Adam in the image and likeness of God was so indwelt by light, so a partaker of the Christ Life, that he was himself a DAY STAR – the shining one of creation!
Truly, Adam is the man who made the earth to tremble, who shook kingdoms, and made the earth a wilderness, for it was to him and him alone that these terrible words were spoken, “Cursed is the ground (earth realm) for thy sake.” (Gen. 3:17) As we meditate upon these sobering words of judgment, we cannot imagine words that more exactly describe the tragic picture of the fall of man from his exalted position in God. Driven from the garden, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth; the whole earth realm (cursed) with sorrow, sin and death for his sake; no more could Adam hear the voice of God walking in the cool of the day – he no longer possessed spiritual ears. No more could Adam eat of the blessed fruit of the tree of life – he no longer possessed a spiritual mind. No more could Adam behold the glories of that heavenly realm – he no longer possessed spiritual eyes. He who had never known anything but the rest of God was to labor and toil in the earth. The heavens were closed, the communion with the spirit was broken, and Adam found himself stripped of the life and light and dominion that had been his – he no longer possessed a spiritual nature. What a loss! What unspeakable loss!
In its personal application the king of Babylon – Lucifer – is you and me and everyman by our first birth – the identity of old Adam. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! When Adam fell, the loss was both his and upon every descendant of his – all were cast into a wilderness of spiritual desolation and shut up in the prison, house of sin, suffering, limitation and death. As one has written, “Now poor, sin-laden mankind darkened in mind and impoverished in spirit, is forever spending money for that which is not bread and laboring that which satisfieth not. Vainly they imagine that their thirst can be slaked by partaking of the stagnant waters of earth’s fleshly cisterns. Like lost sheep they wander through the wilderness of life seeking satisfaction and finding none. Place after place they roam in their pitiful search for the fountain that satisfies, but find it they never can until at last they come to Christ. They fill the bars and nightclubs to buy wine and strong drink that can do no more than dull their senses, unleashing their passions and rage. They throng the places of pleasure in their unending longing to satisfy the thirst that is within them. They fill their lives with the vanity of things and more things, only to find that all they have attained rises to mock them in the end.” Ah – how art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
When the Lord Jesus told his disciples that He beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven, He was saying that he had seen Satan FALL OUT OF HIS (JESUS) HEAVEN, or actually Jesus had seen Satan FALL BEFORE HIM, and become subservient to Him in the realm of the Spirit. So far as Jesus was concerned Satan was no longer in possession of any authority whatsoever. Jesus spake not of an historical event, but a living reality that He had seen occur within His own consciousness, life and ministry. THIS WE ALL MUST SEE AND KNOW if we are to have any sense of victory in our lives, if we are to truly walk as the sons of God. We must realize that if Satan has fallen he is not the almost-almighty head of a kingdom, but he has been stripped and his kingdom has been broken. This must be embraced as a wonderful reality within ourselves. When we realize that Satan has fallen before THE CHRIST WITHIN US, then we really will be set free! When this truly happens we are on our way – not to a rapture – but to that high and holy position that God has created for us and determined to bring us to.
To those who have Satan yet in their consciousness elevated to a position of power and who carry in their thinking an image of him, HE HAS NOT AS YET FALLEN. Such people have made a god of him, but in your life, precious one, He is to be cast down, and you are to know once and for all that THERE IS ONLY GOD WHO RULES ALL. If God is controlling a part of this world and Satan is running another part, may God indeed help us! We would be under two governments and our lives would be a hell. But to some of us, at least, SATAN HAS FALLEN and has ceased to be a king in our domain. When this truth is revealed in power and glory within your deepest heart, for you, at last, THERE WILL BE NO DEVIL ANYMORE!
In closing this message I would share a beautiful and significant vision received by a sister in Argentina to whom the Lord has given abundance of revelations. I do not feel to comment, but leave it for the Holy Spirit to interpret this to your own heart. She relates...
“Rapping me in His love, He carried me away in spirit into the world of harmonic life and light. There, after His usual welcome of love and taking away my fears, He took me to look. When I did so, I saw what seemed to be dark, evil-looking teeth which were sharp, pointed, long and ugly. Coming out from these teeth was something very repugnant which He named ‘poison’. Then God took something that was a part of His very own being and gave it to those ugly, hollow teeth that looked like great serpent fangs which were pouring out poison. This poison from the fangs flowed into that part of Himself which God had given to them, and in this way were fully satisfied. Flowing into the part which God had given, the poison was fully satiated. This part – which had come forth from Him and was a part of His own being – completely absorbed all the poison that these great Fangs poured forth” – end quote. What a Word!
WHY THE DEVIL?
Over the years many books have been written, many songs have been sung, many sermons have been preached, and many things have been said about and blamed on the Devil. Sad to say, but the vast majority of Christians fear the Devil more than they do God! Satan has been blamed for everything from the car breaking down to ingrown toenails. People have painted him as a huge, ugly, impish personage with horns, bedecked with a red suit, having a long pointed tail and carrying a pitchfork. The Word of God, however, has somewhat to say about who and what Satan is and WHY HE IS WHAT HE IS.
Jesus declared of Satan, “The thief cometh not, but for the steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (Jn. 10:10) Out of God’s own mouth proceeds the assertion, “I have created the waster to destroy.” (Isa. 54:16) We gather from this passage that Satan is a created entity with a definite purpose. That purpose is revealed in the opening words of the above quoted verse: “ I have created the smith (the Devil) that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that BRINGETH FORTH AN INSTRUMENT for his work.” The “smith” that “bloweth upon the fire” is also the one who heats the furnace seven times hotter! “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery Mat which is to try you, as though some strange thing had happened unto you.” (I Pet. 4:12) Our trials and testings are associated in the Word of God with the ministry of Satan. You never thought of Satan having a ministry? “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (tested) of the Devil. And when the Tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” (Mat. 4:1-3) “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the Devil shall cast some of you into prison that ye may be tried… be thou faithful… and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10) “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Lk. 22:31-32) “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (I Pet. 5:8-9)
We flounder a bit in our understanding of these things, but as time passes by and the Holy Spirit takes the things of God and reveals them unto us, we begin to understand that in all the universe a thing is a thing ONLY BECAUSE IT HAS AN OPPOSITE. Few will teach you this principle, but I declare it to you today. Good without the knowledge of evil can scarcely be called good at all. Who could possibly speak of the day if night had never been known? There was no first light if there was no darkness. What could we know of life if there were no death? What would we know of health if there were no sickness? What could we know of wealth if poverty had not spread its spectre upon the earth? No man can be trusted until he has been EXPOSED TO THE OPPOSITES, until he has been tempted. No man can be declared strong until he has been tested for weakness. No man can be proven honest until he has been presented with the opportunity to steal or cheat. No man can be declared virtuous until faced with opportunities with women other than his wife. No man can be an overcomer until he has faced the dreadful foe. Those who are worthy to slay their Goliaths must first have slain their lion and their bear. No man can be an overcoming son of God until he has encountered THE SERPENT IN THE WILDERNESS and come forth victorious! Everything has its right and wrong, its truth and error, its good and bad, its proper use and its misuse, and the one must overcome the other. Sweet must overcome and swallow up bitter, smooth rough, soft hard. Life swallows up death, said Paul in II Cor. 5:4; and it gets its strength from HAVING AN OPPOSITE WHICH IT HAS SWALLOWED UP. You cannot say a certain yes in a decision, until you have first canvassed the alternatives and said an equally certain no to each of them. The strength of the yes is swallowing up the no’s! Not in having no no’s, not in ignoring their existence, but in facing them and replacing them by the final yes. And here we have God’s perfect wisdom in the formation of the human race and in bringing forth a convenient opposite, the wrong one, the evil one, THROUGH WHOM HE WOULD BRING HIS VAST FAMILY OF SONS TO MATURITY. “Though He were a Son, yet learned He OBEDIENCE by the things which He suffered.” (Heb. 5:8) “For it became Him... in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation PERFECT through sufferings.” (Heb. 2:10)
As one has written, “God is constructing a temple, made of living stones, through which to manifest Himself throughout the ages to come, hallelujah, and Satan was created (a sinner from the beginning) as a chisel and hammer to be used in the construction of this building. The living stones that are even now being placed in this temple have been chosen, says the Lord, in the “furnace of affliction.” (Isa. 48:10) God, however, is mercy; God is love; God is compassion. He is a healer, not a destroyer. It was, nonetheless, necessary that an oven be heated in which to purify the gold – a furnace in which the wood, hay, and stubble were to be burned – but God, in His nature of love, could not perform the necessary affliction. It was for this reason that He created AN INSTRUMENT that was capable of performing this essential action in the lives of men, for in Satan God literally created a chastening rod.
“If we can realize that behind the acts of Satan is the mighty hand of God working to bring forth gold from these earthen vessels, we can rejoice, as David, in our afflictions and trials and exclaim with him, ‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes.’ (Ps. 119:7) Praise God! When we begin to see the GOOD that comes from the assaults of Satan on our lives, we are able to appreciate all the more the greatness of our God and the depth of the wisdom of His great mind. Praise His wonderful name! He is truly a God of power and might, and ALL things are in His hand – even this adversary whom we call the Devil.”
The Hebrew word for “satan” is used two ways, with the definite article, the satan, and without the article, the word “satan” simply means “adversary.” There is no thought of monstrosity or evilness, but simply opposition. Thus the scriptures speak of “adversary,” “an adversary,” and “the adversary.” It is that which is ADVERSE to ones well being, desires, plans, hopes, goals or causes, whether good or bad, real or imagined. Jesus told His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Peter immediately rebuked Him and opposed His going to Jerusalem, saying, “Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee.” Jesus then turned and said to Peter, “Get thee behind Me, Satan.-thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Mat. 16:21-23) Jesus knew from the law and the prophets what He must suffer. Peter unwittingly was trying to get Him to fail in fulfilling the prophecies and plan of God. Peter was opposing Him in His determination to carry out the mission the Father had given Him, and hence Peter was a Satan (adversary, opposition) to the Lord. From the beginning there has been that which has stood in opposition to the life of the spirit in man, and has fully earned its reputation as the most adroit of adversaries. Paul describes it as the flesh warring against the spirit, the carnal mind that is enmity against God. It is the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience (offspring of old Adam). As a man once said, “We have met the enemy, and he IS US.” Elwin Roach penned the following helpful explanation: “When the definite article ‘the’ is used with the word satan, this is not stating the devil’s name but is saying this adversary is the chief adversary to whomever it is an adversary to. This is no doubt why the government of Iran calls the United States of America “THE GREAT SATAN”; for indeed, we are THE GREATEST ADVERSARY they have. We stand in the way of their desires, their goals and aspirations of tyranny. The United States of America is like the angel of the Lord, with a flaming sword in hand, who is adversely hindering their evil progress. Therefore, they can rightly say we are their Great Satan, but we are not the Satan that is fixed in the average Christian’s mind.” – end quote.
If there are those who feel that in these messages on The Serpent the picture I have painted exhibits the prevalence of the darker hues, I am so glad now to literally splash the canvas with flaming colors. And then in the light that the Spirit brings we will discern the true meaning of the momentary process, and the glory that follows. As one has written, “God is constructing a temple, made of living stones, through which to manifest Himself throughout the ages to come, and Satan was created as a chisel and hammer to be used in the construction of this building. The living stones that are even now being placed in this temple have been chosen, says the Lord, in the ‘furnace of affliction.’ (Isa. 48:10) God, however, is mercy; God is love; God is compassion. He ‘is a healer, not a destroyer. It was, nonetheless, necessary that an oven be heated in which to purify the gold – a furnace in which the wood, hay, and stubble were to be burned – but God, in His nature of love, could not perform the necessary affliction. It was for this reason that He created an instrument that was capable of performing this essential action in the lives of men, for in Satan God literally created a chastening rod. If we can realize that behind the acts of Satan is the mighty hand of God working to bring forth gold from these earthen vessels, we can rejoice, as David, in our afflictions and trials and exclaim with him, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes’ (Ps. 119:7). Praise God! When we begin to see the good that comes from the assaults of Satan on our lives, we are able to appreciate all the more the greatness of our God and the depth of the wisdom of His great mind. He is truly a God of might and power, and all things are in His hand – even this adversary whom we call the Devil.” – Connie Asbill
Ah, my beloved, there is purpose in affliction. There is purpose in trial. There is purpose in temptation. There is purpose in suffering. There is purpose in sorrow. There is purpose in pain. There is purpose in trouble. There is purpose in infirmity. There is purpose in light and darkness. There is purpose in good, and there is purpose in evil. There is purpose in adversity and in the adversary who brings it. Yes, my brother, my sister, there is purpose in the existence and work of Satan! Without this understanding all the work of God in all ages becomes a hit and miss, trial and error affair unworthy of our mighty God of whom it is written, “The Most High… liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His Kingdom is from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and HE doeth ACCORDING TO THE WILL in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and NONE CAN STAY HIS HAND, or say, What doest Thou?”
One of the fundamental laws of creation is that an OPPOSING FORCE is necessary for growth, and to produce strength, stamina, and endurance. Any living thing that grows up without any opposition is weak and powerless. God’s NEW CREATION must be strong and powerful, and anything that desires to be strong, or anyone, must wrestle with a force that is contrary to them. Any man who wants to develop muscular power to be strong, must spend weeks and months and years in vigorous training doing heavy exercises, lifting heavy weights, using the opposing force of gravity to develop his strength. A man who wants to be a great wrestler, doesn’t just wrestle when he is in the ring. At his training center he has his wrestling partners with whom he wrestles by the hour. If he didn’t do this he would be weak and powerless in the ring. A boxer has his punching bags and sparring partners, with whom he spends hours every day. Those opposing forces are indispensable to develop strength and technique. A plant that grows in a greenhouse sheltered from the winds and rains, pampered day after day, may grow large, but it is inherently weak, and if suddenly exposed to the elements will wither and die. But a plant that is constantly exposed to the fierce winds and pounding rains, burning heat and chilling cold, is strong and not so easily destroyed.
So it is with us as human beings. One who grows up in a sheltered environment, who is pampered all his life, everything provided on a silver platter, grows up a weak, helpless, spineless individual. ADVERSITY builds strength of character. If we were never exposed to trials and tribulation, we would grow up weak indeed! The more we are exposed to ADVERSE circumstances, the more we have to wrestle with our environment, the more we are CHALLENGED by the world around us, the stronger we become. Saints, IF WE WOULD BE THE SONS OF THE MOST HIGH we must be STRONG in the Lord and in the power of HIS might! Our Father wants us to be strong, so He has wisely given us wrestling partners to wrestle with, so we will become strong. These are opposing forces – THANK GOD FOR THEM! Is innocence synonymous with virtue? The Father of spirits did not look forward to a distant day, at the time of His begetting, expecting that some day a multitude of innocent ninnies and dummies would stand before Him. How many of those who read these lines want their children to grow up 100%innocent? Never having experienced the slightest temptation or adversity in any form? This is precisely why God placed the Serpent in Eden with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – that man through the experience of the opposites might in the experience be led to OVERCOME all things and to stand before the Son of man in the strength of character, perception of mind, and quality of life of God Himself. It is all part of our Father’s wise and magnificent plan!
“Thou couldest have no power at all against Me except it were given thee from above,” Jesus told Pilate. What Satan wrought against Job was ordained by the Lord who carefully marked the bounds of the adversary’s activity. Job was no baby saint, for no one less than God Himself had given testimony that Job was a perfect and upright man, one that feared God and eschewed evil. God had blessed this man with great wealth and a large family. He had seven sons and three daughters. He owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses. His household was very great with many hired servants so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. The thing we want to note is that although Job was wealthy in temporal things, rich in spiritual things, and proclaimed perfect by the Lord Himself, he had not been “tried by fire” as sons of God must be – he was as yet UNTRIED, UNTESTED, and UNPROVEN. In the midst of Job’s ordeal of affliction and suffering the spirit of prophecy came upon him and he opened his mouth and spake concerning the purpose of God in it all, declaring, “But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10) Never do I cease to be amazed at how the preachers and teachers, apparently without exception, join their voices in unison with those of Job’s contemptible comforters, indicting and blaming poor old Job, charging that God brought all these calamities upon him because he had sin in his life, or because he was self-righteous, or because of some other appalling fault in Job. The only reliable testimony we have of Job’s true state of being is that spoken by the Lord Himself, and HE declared that Job was A PERFECT MAN! Perfect, yes; but untried! His perfection remained to be tested, proven and demonstrated. Now, what does God do but deliberately hand over this perfect and upright man into the hands of Satan to do his worst upon him, only that he should not touch his life. It was because that God desired to test Job that He brought forth “the smith to blow upon the fire.” Please note that it was not Satan’s idea to persecute poor old Job! Oh, no! It was God Himself who brought, up the subject! There Satan was, presenting himself before the Lord, appearing for duty, and God asked, “Where have you been?” Satan replied, “Walking up and down in the earth” (no mention of Job at all). “Well, Satan,” the Lord asked, “have you considered My servant Job? Have you noticed that he eschews evil and fears God? Have you noticed that, Satan?” You can be assured, dear ones that Satan had noticed Job, but he wasn’t doing anything to him.
One of the most glorious testimonies of the preservation of the saints of God is given here in this passage by Satan himself. “Doth Job fear God for naught? Hast Thou not made a hedge around him and about his house and about all that he hath on every side?” Praise the Lord! Yes, there truly is a hedge around the people of God, and that hedge is Jesus Christ Himself. The Psalmist recognized and rejoiced in this fact when he said, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, HE IS MY REFUGE and my fortress: my God, in Him will I trust.” (Ps. 91:1-2) “You’ve put a hedge around him,” Satan said, “and I can’t get to him!” Then he went on to say, “You must put forth THINE HAND and touch all that he hath, and he will curse Thee to Thy face.” But the Lord, who searcheth the reins and the heart, who knoweth them that are His, knows who can be trusted with affliction, and will not allow any to be tested beyond what they are able to bear. He therefore said to Satan, “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power – in thy hand – only upon himself put not forth thine hand.” One can only know God by vital relationship to Him. Job KNEW God! Job knew in his deepest heart that God is good, loving, true, righteous, omnipotent, omniscient, immutable and faithful in all His way. At one point in his trial he exclaimed, “I KNOW that my Redeemer liveth. ...and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God,” and again, “ I KNOW that Thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee.” (Job 19:25-26; 42:2) Being a perfect man Job understood the nature of God, he knew what God is like – how He is. Armed with this knowledge he was unshakable and unmovable as the hand of Satan moved against him. With lightning swiftness the misfortunes fell as tribulation and affliction smote this man of God. All hell broke loose upon him. His possessions were gone. His servants were gone. His cattle, his family, and his dwelling place were as though they had never been. And now he was desperately ill, tormented with pain, and without even a bed to sleep on he lies down in the ashes of what was once his beautiful home to listen to the relentless arguments of his friends, monotonously attempting by lengthy speeches to make a fool of him and prove that his present despair was the result of his own sin and disfavor with God. I do not know how many days their debate continued, but such miserable comforters as these are always at hand, ready to attest that those who have entered the furnace of affliction have been bad examples as Christians, unbelieving, unfaithful, or that they harbor secret sins and so are deserving of punishment. Unless the Lord Himself has convicted them of sin, or lack of faith, or of lack of understanding and applying the Laws of Life, sufferers should pay no attention whatever to them. “If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence before God.” (1 Jn. 3:21)
In one tragic day all Job’s earthly wealth and glory had vanished as a mist before the rising sun. But did Job curse God for all this calamity? Did he even curse the Devil? Was he a fair weather saint without spiritual understanding? No, indeed! He rent his mantle, shaved his head, and falling upon the ground, he WORSHIPPED GOD with the unmistakable words of reverence, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: THE LORD GAVE, AND THE LORD HATH TAKEN AWAY; BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!” (Job 1:22) You see, beloved, all external evidence shouted aloud that God did not love Job that God had forsaken him, that God did not see him, that God wasn’t concerned about what happened to him, and that God wasn’t just. It seemed that God had now revealed Himself to be the opposite of all Job had experienced and known of Him. But, praise God! Job knew God! He therefore knew that in spite of all the external evidence, in spite of how terrible and hopeless things appeared, God had not forsaken him, God did love him, God did see him, God was concerned about what happened to him, God was in control of everything, and God was just. Ah, this is faith – trusting God’s goodness, wisdom and faithfulness in the knowledge that HE has everything in control, that ALL is according to HIS purpose, IN SPITE OF ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY! Faith declares with Job, “Though God slay me, yet will I trust Him,” – and then after being slain – TRUSTS HIM! Job, stripped of all, tried by fire, tested in the furnace of affliction, found that the key to life is not some creed or doctrinal statement of what we believe about God, but that which we KNOW OF HIM by virtue of intimacy of fellowship and vital union with Him. “The trial of your faith is much more precious than gold that perisheth.” (I Pet. 1:7)
Surely this is the lesson learned by Job, and this is the lesson being learned by us as we see our earthly dependencies passing away and withering as grass before our eyes. How could we have a more perfect illustration of how God uses EVIL and how God uses SATAN as an instrument for our good? Although Job suffered intensely, yet in the end HE WAS GREATLY BLESSED BY HIS HARD AND BITTER EXPERIENCE. If God thus uses Satan, the embodiment of evil, as a minister for good in the case of one individual, is it hard to believe that ALL EVIL is utilized by God for good in all cases?
It all fits into the Divine economy, not in the sense that God wills evil, but in the sense that He appoints it for a purpose and unto a greater end and overrules it in the great disciplinary and instructive processes of redemption. He “turns the tables” on the Devil – the wrath of men, as the Psalmist puts it, is made to praise God. The flesh, the world, and the Devil for the final vindication of God’s government have to be permitted to run their course. Most diseases do. Meanwhile the suffering caused and the immeasurable tragedies are designed to serve God’s purposes. We see this, too, in the trials of Joseph carried into Egypt, yea in the passion and death of our Lord Himself. The buffetings of the adversary forge a soul into one, to use the words of a French soldier to his mother. The adversary has put me through some things which a thousand deaths could not approximate. But strange as it may seem, in a large measure the things I most prize, the value of which can only be measured in terms of eternity, all go back to the grueling of the adversary. That the likeness of Christ may be formed in us as we must be hammered into shape on the anvil of affliction. It is Satan who does the hammering. Paul made no mistake when he advised the Corinthians to turn a certain man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh life.
A story is told about a new immigrant who got a job as a gardener. Next door was another gardener, a local man who did not like immigrants. He did all he could to provoke the new man. The family employing the new immigrant asked their gardener what he thought of the troublesome gardener next door. “He is my very good friend,” he replied. Surprised, they asked, “How can he be your friend when he does such unkind things to you?” “He is my very good friend,” was the answer, “because he shows me what not to do.” There is a great and magnificent future ahead for the sons of God, and a great work our Father has for us to do in the ages to come, and He is preparing us and making us ready for the high and holy place He has for us. Can we not see that ALL OPPOSING FORCES WE NOW ENCOUNTER are working together for our good – to develop the strength, character, wisdom and power we must acquire? Why the Devil? After every battle I may say, “Thank you, Mr. Devil! for helping to make me a son of God.” Surely this is the lesson learned by Job, and this is the lesson being learned by us as we see our earthly dependencies withering as grass before our eyes and passing away. The emphasis of many today in the “Sonship Message” is on life – gaining immortality for the body. That is indeed a glorious aspect of our inheritance as sons of God. But I do not hesitate to tell you that it is not enough! In fact, that message by itself is truth out of balance. It is not mere length of life we seek, but a quality of life – the nature of God! Should I today bypass the grave and carry with me into immortality the inherent weaknesses, faults, idiosyncrasies, passions, lusts, and flaws of character which have dogged my steps throughout my earthly sojourn I would still not be fit to reign as an overcomer over the nations and all things. Not only must we have life, we must have the nature of that life fully developed in us producing the image of God. And we will never reign until we have been thoroughly tested, tried and proven!
The New Testament abounds with this same truth. Did you notice how strangely Matthew and Mark speak of Christ’s temptation? “And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil.” What a strange statement! The Holy Spirit of God drives the sinless Son of God into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan, the arch enemy of all righteousness, a murderer from the beginning, and the father of lies! Ah, but it was necessary for the Son to be PROVEN, to be STRONG, to demonstrate His ability to OVERCOME in these realms before entering into His glorious ministry and the death of the cross. Truly God creates evil and uses it, too, for His glory! The apostle fully understood this great truth and practiced it himself. He instructed the Corinthian believers to “deliver such an one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (i.e., the flesh life), that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus,” and he declares in his letter to Timothy that he himself has delivered certain brethren unto Satan “that they may learn not to blaspheme.” But the apostle had experienced something of this kind of discipline also, for he says, “Lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, THE MESSENGER OF SATAN TO BUFFET ME, lest I should be exalted above measure.” All this dearly shows that Satan is a force created by God for a specific work, and even that work shall result in blessing for God’s children and redound to the glory of God!
Since Jesus is the Pattern Son, all that happened to Him is the example for our lives. Jesus was being prepared to launch His ministry which was to declare that the Kingdom of God is at hand. But true Kingdom ministry requires that all His sons be proven before the authority and power of the Kingdom is trusted into their hands. We must know Who the Source of our life is, and Who is the King of the Kingdom of God. That with which Jesus was tempted in the first temptation in the wilderness was to turn the stones into bread. To turn stones into bread might have been a good idea. Jesus had fasted for forty days and was hungry. Bread was His immediate need. That in itself was not an evil desire – for He had no sooner come up out of the wilderness when He performed a miracle, his first miracle, of the very same nature. Instead of stones, it was water – and instead of bread it was wine – but, pray tell, what is the difference between turning stones into bread and turning water into wine? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING? The difference did not lie in the act: it lay in the motivation! The Father had not instructed Jesus to turn stones into bread. If Jesus had, therefore, yielded to the desire to do so, He would have set a dangerous precedent – He would have acted with a power entrusted Him by God to be used for God – but it would have been apart from the word of God because it would have come “by the will of man” rather than by the motivation of the Spirit of God. It was not a wrong desire – it was the wrong VOICE! The Father gave instruction for the miracle at Cana of Galilee, for Jesus said at another time that He never did anything unless His Father gave it to Him to do. Sons of God do nothing based on needs. If the directive comes from the wrong source, the whole act of meeting a need is wrong and will prove a futile effort at best. Man’s religion is saturated with such good work! Many ministries have been launched, attempting to turn stones into bread, but the vast majority of them have heard from the wrong voice. Good works coming from the wrong source bring forth a carnal thing without life. However, good works that originate from the mind of Christ will indeed be good, and will redound to the glory of God. Thus Jesus demonstrated a vital truth we all need to learn: THE SPIRIT MUST BE THE ONLY SOURCE OF OUR ACTIONS; HIS WILL MUST BECOME OUR WILL!
“For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil.” (Heb. 2:14) The word “destroy” does not mean to kill or annihilate, for we know God did not kill the Devil or annihilate him! Destroy, in the original, means “to bring to naught; render powerless; make of no effect” So – through death – the Lord Jesus BROUGHT SATAN TO NOUGHT, RENDERED HIM POWERLESS AND MADE HIM OF NO EFFECT. The Lord came and put upon Himself “the flesh,” “the body of sin,” the “body of death,” the “dust realm,” the “man of earth,” and BROUGHT IT TO THE CROSS that “through death (of the man of dust) He might bring to naught him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil.” When the flesh is crucified, when the dust of the carnal mind, the man of the earth is put to death on the cross SATAN’S GROUND IS DESTROYED BENEATH HIM, his sphere of activity is removed, his base of operation is closed, he is rendered completely powerless and ineffective. Thus, it is by this death on the cross that Christ destroyed the Devil! When the Son of God came into the world, when He had been tested on every point and had overcome the adversary in all things, He uttered these significant words: “I will not talk with you much more, for the prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming. And he has no claim on Me – he has nothing in common with Me, THERE IS NOTHING IN ME THAT BELONGS TO HIM, he has no power over Me.” (Jn. 14:30, Amplified) Ah, this is the glory of sonship – nothing in common with Satan! There was nothing in Jesus that corresponded to him and nothing that responded to him! None of the nature of Adam that pertains to Satan. So mighty was the indwelling life of the Father within Jesus that Satan had no power over Him, no place within Him. And, precious friend of mine, when you have died completely to that Adamic life, when there is none of the dust of Adam in you, SATAN WILL HAVE NO POWER OVER YOU, NO PLACE IN YOU. Satan’s base of operation will have been destroyed, his sphere of activity removed. God destroys Satan by destroying (rendering inactive) YOUR FLESH.
Dear saints of God, don’t believe for one moment that anything in all God’s great universe is out of control! God IS GOD. There is NO OTHER GOD. Satan is NO GOD in his own right. Our God IS in full control of every sphere of activity, and the Serpent himself operates directly under the province of God. May the Holy Spirit illumine our minds to perceive the truth that Satan has no power at all except that which God delegates to him. Do you really believe that Satan could cause all the trouble in the world UNLESS GOD HAD ORDAINED IT? My friend, if you believe Satan is a problem to Almighty God, then your God is entirely too small! Satan is no thorn in God’s side who made him in the first place, who binds his hands daily, who sets his boundaries and limits his power and marks his path. Oh, yes, those who would be sons of God must OVERCOME HIM. Beloved, when that purpose is accomplished, Satan will have completed his course as an instrument in the hand of God who has everything under control! Hallelujah!
There is only ONE GOD – not two. Yes, Satan is indeed “the god of this world,” but those born from above are not of this world even as our Lord is not of this world. Satan enthroned in the temple of the carnal man is “a” god – not THE GOD. There is no power apart from God. Omnipotence has ALL POWER, and our Lord Jesus Christ has ALL POWER in heaven and in earth, and to acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God. Here me now and believe me now or later – G-O-D HAS N-O ADVERSARY! Satan is not the adversary of God! That is a preposterous misconception of popular religion. God created the adversary for our perfection and testing – he is man’s adversary, not GOD’S! The truth is so simple, so plain, a child of ten can understand a principle so apparent, while the learned doctors of theology step right over it and never see it. In relation to God there are no antagonistic powers, nor laws, spiritual or material. Either there is no omnipotence, or omnipotence is the only power. Jesus Christ is OMNIPOTENT! He said so Himself. He that is in you IS GREATER than he that is in the world. He IS! Then if Jesus our Lord is Sovereign, and He is, He can do anything He pleases. He doesn’t have a Devil that opposes His every move and binds everything He does. He doesn’t have a Devil that is trying to take over His whole world that He has created as most people imagine. HE IS SOVEREIGN! HE IS OMNIPOTENT! “ALL POWER is given unto Me,” He said All power is OMNIPOTENCE! He creates His own evil when evil is needed to form and fashion a subject or people or nation He is working on. God does have a NEGATIVE FORCE at work in His creation, a negative dimension of SPIRIT, the adversary of those being conformed into his image, the fiery furnace of refining, the rod of chastening, the sparring partner, the violent storm bending the tree to make it strong. Glory to God! The Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth!
There is a great and magnificent future ahead for the sons of God, and a great work our Father has for us to do in the ages to come, and He is preparing us and making us ready for the high and holy place He has for us. Can we not see that ALL THE OPPOSING FORCES WE NOW ENCOUNTER are working together for our good – to develop the strength, character, wisdom, and power we must acquire? Why the Devil? After every battle we may say, “Thank you, Mr. Devil! For helping to make me a son of God.” In due time the saints are going to take the place of the principalities and powers in the heavenlies, and instead of them ruling over us, we shall rule over them. This is even now reality to the degree that we have met them in battle – and conquered. This is God’s plan for us!
To be continued