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Then my anger shall be kindled
against them in that day,
and I will forsake them,
and I will hide my face from them,
and they shall be devoured,
and many evils and troubles shall befall them;
so that they will say in that day,
Are not these evils come upon us,
because our God is not among us?
(Deuteronomy 31:17, KJV)

And the LORD said to Satan,
Behold, all that he has is in your power.
Only do not lay your hand upon him.
And Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
(Job 1:12, MKJV)

The Cross was Hell

Chapter 9

Job and Fire, Pigs and Lies

Why Does God Allow Suffering?   The Fire of God?   Who is Right about God?   The Tabernacles of Robbers Prosper   Love vs. Demons   Fire from Heaven?   I Will Hide My Face   Wheat, Grapes, Wrath, and Fire   Preview to Armageddon   God Will Grieve Alone   History Repeats   God's Battle Plan   Admah and Zeboiim   God's Ways and Ideas   Sin Burns Itself Out   The Cross Guarantees Peace   The Deep Things of God   God Loved the Egyptians   God's Wrath and Abortion  

Killing Warps the Soul

At dawn, two guards led the prisoner out into the courtyard. They secured his hands, behind his back, to the post in front of the stone wall. One guard softly asked him, "Do you have any last words to say?" The prisoner mournfully replied, "I am sorry for the crime that I have committed. I know that I deserve to die. May God forgive me." The guards then put a black hood over his head. The appointed marksmen, carrying their rifles, filed out in a row and lined up a short distance from the man tied to the post. The warden said, "As you know, all but one of you have been given blanks. None of you will know for certain whether or not you have fired the fatal round. Ready. Aim. Fire."

It is interesting that even when executing a convicted criminal, traditions have been established to shield the executioners from the effects of taking another man's life. We instinctively know that it is damaging to shed blood, even when carrying out the requirements of the law.

 Instinct means the instructions that God has written into our bodies, the genetic code that he has provided for all living things. Of course sin has damaged our genes. The lion now kills. Skunks stink. But in the New Earth the lion will eat straw as God originally designed. Skunks won't stink. There will be no death.

The horror of killing others during war always changes those who are involved. No one comes back unaffected. Some never readjust to "normal" society. Even killing someone in legitimate self-defense can haunt a sensitive person for the rest of her life. God knows how damaging it is to be involved in taking the lives of people. God is more sensitive to the negative effects of sin than any other being in the universe.

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Many people ask the question, "Why does God allow the suffering of innocent people?" The book of Job provides one answer. Satan accuses people of worshiping God for the blessings that they get. Satan demands access to test God-fearing people. In the book of Job, Satan presents himself before God claiming to represent the earth and all mankind. In order to understand God and Satan's conversation, we need to keep in mind that Adam was called the "son of God." It is true that all people are the children of God (See Acts 17:28 TEV). God is our Creator, our Father. However, Adam is the son of God in a special sense, for he has no other father than God. Also, God gave Adam authority and dominion over the earth. Adam was God's representative on earth.

Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, "Let Us make man [Hebrew Adam] in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (NKJ)

When Adam sinned, Satan claimed to have the right to Adam's lost dominion. But, God is the source for all authority and dominion. God had a plan to restore Adam's dominion. God did not use force to deny Satan's claim to the earth, but rather used reason, and evidence to demonstrate and establish the truth. The gathering of the "sons of God," then, would be the gathering of the representatives from the worlds of the universe. Each has authority and dominion over the world that God has given them. God recognized each of the "sons of God" as legitimate representatives of their worlds.

Job 1: 6-12 And a day came when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah. And Satan also came among them. And Jehovah said to Satan, From where have you come? And Satan answered Jehovah and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you set your heart on My servant Job because there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil? And Satan answered Jehovah and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge for him, and for his house, and for all that is his all around? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock have increased in the land. But put out Your hand now, and touch against all that is his, and see if he will not then curse You to Your face. And Jehovah said to Satan, Behold, all that is his is in your hand! Only, do not lay your hand on him. And Satan went out from the face of Jehovah. (GLT)

There is a deeper meaning to the question that God asked Satan: "Where do you come from?" Of course God knew where Satan had come from. God's question informs Satan and the sinless universe that he disputes and challenges Satan's usurped dominion over our fallen world. Satan's answer "From going to and fro in the earth?" is his claim to the earth. What Satan means is, that he can go anywhere on the earth that he wants; all the people of the earth are sinners and are therefore his rightful subjects. God then counters Satan with another question that disputes Satan's claim and offers evidence that Satan is not the legitimate representative of the earth. "Have you considered my servant Job?" Then God reasons, "Job is perfect, he fears [worships] God and turns away from evil." In other words, Job is my servant, not yours, Satan. He worships me, not you. God offers evidence from the life of Job. He loves his children, prays for them, and directs them to God; he is a father to the fatherless, a help to widows and to others in need.

Job 1:9, 12 Satan replied, "Would Job worship you if he got nothing out of it? You have always protected him and his family and everything he owns. You bless everything he does, and you have given him enough cattle to fill the whole country. But now suppose you take away everything he has?he will curse you to your face!"

"All right," the Lord said to Satan, "everything he has is in your power, but you must not hurt Job himself." So Satan left. (TEV)

Notice that it is God who protects and Satan who seeks to destroy. In order to prove that Satan's claims were false, God gives him permission to destroy Job's family and possessions. This brings us to the point in the story where Job's breathless servants relate to him the awful news of sudden disaster. Notice that Satan waited until the day that Job would be the most vulnerable, when he would be the most concerned for the spiritual well-being of his children, the day his sons and daughters were feasting, and drinking wine.

Job 1:13-19 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house; and a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, "when the Sabeans raided them and took them away?indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, "and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" (NKJ)

The Fire of God?

Pay special attention to the statement, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them." Job's servant contended that the fire came from God. Job, his servants, and friends believed that the destroying fire came from God. Yet the first chapter of Job, verse 12 puts the blame right where it belongs: "And the Lord said to Satan, 'Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.'  So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord" (NKJ).

God allowed Satan to destroy Job's possessions and family. Satan destroys whenever God allows it. In order to be able to refute Satan's accusations, in order to clear his name before the "sons of God," to be fair, and to give Satan the room to fail, God has to allow him to destroy. God never uses the same methods of warfare that Satan does. It is Satan that brought the fire down from Heaven to destroy Job's flocks and caused all the other disasters that befell Job and his family. Notice, though, that God never explained to Job the reason for his suffering.

Job was a prince, a leader both financially and spiritually. Job's friends would have been of the same social level. Job had a relationship with God. He knew that God loved him. Job proclaimed his innocence to his friends. Job's friends ridiculed his claim to innocence. They maintained that Job's afflictions were the judgments of God against some secret sin. At first, the calamities that befell Job mystified him. However, using these trials, God brought Job to a far better understanding of his character than the other "church" leaders of his time had.

Who is Right about God?

Listen carefully to the theological discussion between Zophar and Job. Zophar calls things as he sees them. He does not pull any punches.

Job 11:1-9 Zophar from Naamah  said: So much foolish talk cannot go unanswered. Your words have silenced others and made them ashamed; now it is only right for you to be put to shame. You claim to be innocent and argue that your beliefs are acceptable to God. But I wish he would speak and let you know that wisdom has many different sides. You would then discover that God has punished you less than you deserve. Can you understand the mysteries surrounding God All-Powerful? They are higher than the heavens and deeper than the grave. So what can you do when you know so little, and these mysteries outreach the earth and the ocean? (CEV)

Zophar trumpets a mighty mixture of truth and error, "wisdom has many different sides." "Can you understand the mysteries surrounding God??" Zophar's main point is that man, especially a sinful man like Job, cannot understand much of anything about God because God is infinite and man is limited. Zophar is making the case that we can't know God. Many people feel the same way today. Zophar informs Job that he is a sinner and that is why God has punished him. The sarcastic implication is that Job ought to be ashamed to disagree with his obviously more righteous and knowledgeable brethren who are not being punished by God. Zophar continues his good-sounding, but erroneous assessment of Job's situation.

Job 11: 13-20 Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins?even those you do in secret. Then you won't be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless. Your troubles will go away like water beneath a bridge, and your darkest night will be brighter than noon. You will rest safe and secure, filled with hope and emptied of worry. You will sleep without fear and be greatly respected. But those who are evil will go blind and lose their way. Their only escape is death! (CEV)

 Zophar declares that it is obvious that God is punishing Job on account of some secret sin, yet none of Job's friends could convict him of any particular sin. The only evidence that Job's friends could offer was the string of disasters that had befallen him. Zophar eloquently expresses his mainstream theology. They all thought that God was in the business of punishing sinners and giving wealth and good health to the righteous. Many preach the same thing today.

The Tabernacles of Robbers Prosper

However, Job does not buy that mainstream view. Nor should we. Job knows that God works differently. So should we. Job had three good reasons to conclude that God was not punishing him for his sins. One reason was that God had given Job a clear conscience. Amid the calamities and the condemnation of his friends, Job walked the path toward the knowledge of God. Listen carefully to two more reasons that Job knew that God was not punishing him for his sins.

Job 12: 3-7 But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these? I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn. He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease. The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly. But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: (KJV)

Job rebuts Zophar's mistaken view of God,  "My feet are ready to slip but I am as God's lamp, even though those who are at ease [Job's friends] despise the light." Job cautions his miserable comforters that they shouldn't allow the calamities that have befallen him to cause them to reject the light on the character of God that he is seeking to share with them.

Job's story foreshadows the experience of God's elect at the end of time. The entire world will believe that the elect have been rejected by God. People won't listen to the elect because they will be poor, the outcasts of society. The preachers of the prosperity gospel will ridicule God's elect. But only for a while.

"The tabernacles of robbers prosper." Job is pointing out that bad things can happen to good people and that God blesses even robbers and those who provoke Him.

Job makes an additional point, "ask now the beasts." God feeds all the beasts of the earth. God blesses all his created beings, both good and bad.

At the end of the book of Job, in the last chapter, God rebukes Jobs friends. God vindicates Job's theology. Job 42: 7 "After the Lord had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you did not speak the truth about me, as my servant Job did" (TEV).

God is not in the business of punishing sin; He is in the business of rescuing his lost children who are caught in sin. Imagine if God gave you an electric shock every time you cherished a sinful thought! Imagine what would happen if God brought disaster on every person the moment he or she sinned! The consequences would be horrendous. The fear of God would take on a perverted and destructive meaning. Everyone would learn to view God as a tyrant and hate Him, or people would try to obey God from fear of the consequences. Fear-based obedience is not obedience at all. In John 14:15 Jesus told us, "If you love me, you will obey my commandments" (TEV). Love is the only way to obedience. Also, punishment of sin would destroy freedom of choice. We would be nothing more than robots. God has made it clear that we are free to choose.

 Joshua 24:15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (NRSV)

In order to provide freedom of choice, God must bless the good and bad alike. Otherwise, everyone would become a Christian to get the benefits. Christ restated the principle that God blesses the good and the bad alike.

Matthew 5:43-48 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your friends, hate your enemies.'  But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that! You must be perfect?just as your Father in heaven is perfect!" (TEV)

Fortunately for us, God loves his enemies; He blesses those that curse Him. Christ here clearly states that his Father does not punish sinners, but blesses them. He wants us to be just like Him. But make no mistake about it; sin does bring negative, destructive, eternal, and fatal consequences. However, these bad results do not come from God! Also, obedience does bring blessings that are unavailable to the wicked, such as a clear conscience.

Love Versus Demons

Everything that Christ did tended to reveal the character of God, and unmask the true source of sin and suffering. Let's watch as Christ and Satan meet in hand to hand combat on the shores of the sea of Galilee. As the demoniac came running toward Christ, his disciples would likely have trembled in terror, or even ran away. But Christ does not tremble, or run.

Mark 5:1-18 When they arrived at the other side of the lake, a demon-possessed man ran out from a graveyard, just as Jesus was climbing from the boat.

This man lived among the gravestones and had such strength that whenever he was put into handcuffs and shackles?as he often was?he snapped the handcuffs from his wrists and smashed the shackles and walked away. No one was strong enough to control him.

All day long and through the night he would wander among the tombs and in the wild hills, screaming and cutting himself with sharp pieces of stone.

When Jesus was still far out on the water, the man had seen him and had run to meet him, and fell down before him.

Then Jesus spoke to the demon within the man and said, "Come out, you evil spirit." It gave a terrible scream, shrieking, "What are you going to do to me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? For God's sake, don't torture me!"

"What is your name?" Jesus asked, and the demon replied, "Legion, for there are many of us here within this man."

Then the demons begged him again and again not to send them to some distant land.

Now as it happened there was a huge herd of hogs rooting around on the hill above the lake. "Send us into those hogs," the demons begged.

And Jesus gave them permission. Then the evil spirits came out of the man and entered the hogs, and the entire herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned. The herdsmen fled to the nearby towns and countryside, spreading the news as they ran. Everyone rushed out to see for themselves. And a large crowd soon gathered where Jesus was; but as they saw the man sitting there, fully clothed and perfectly sane, they were frightened. Those who saw what happened were telling everyone about it, and the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone! So he got back into the boat... (Living Bible)

How did Christ cast out the demons? What power did he use? The mightiest power in the universe! Jesus was ever connected to his omnipotent heavenly Father. What are God's weapons? Did God force the demons out of the demoniac against the man's will, using some mysterious force, or power? No. The very presence of Christ awakened hope in the afflicted man, and kindled a small spark of faith ? verse six: "When Jesus was still far out on the water, the man had seen him and had run to meet him, and fell down before him." The mighty power of God's love was present and expressed in the face our Saviour.

As the demoniac rushed toward Jesus, the light, the infinite power and glory of God's love, in mighty streams began to pour forth into the heart and mind of the demon-possessed man. The demons could no more stay in control of this man than darkness can abide in the presence of light. Jesus demonstrated that God's powerful love is more than a match for sin, Satan, and even the degrading bonds of demon possession. Satan did not give up without a fight, though. That is why he had his demons ask permission to enter the pigs. Satan knew that if he destroyed the pigs that he could get the people to blame it on Jesus.

God and Satan were battling for the hearts and minds of the people on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (also called Lake Gennesaret). The principles are the same as in the book of Job. When Satan is allowed to destroy, he does it in such a way as to cast the blame on God. However, God, in his love and infinite wisdom, patiently waits for the opportunity of vindication.

Many people from the local villages, most certainly including the owners of the pigs, quickly gathered to see what had happened. The herdsmen told everyone about the pigs drowning in the lake. Together with the destruction of the pigs, the restoring of the demon-possessed man was too much for the local people.

Just as Satan wanted, the people rejected Jesus and asked Him to leave. Even so Jesus did not reject those who asked Him to leave. Always patient, kind, and loving, Jesus required the restored man to stay. He knew that his story would have a powerful influence. It did. The next time Jesus came to the area the people eagerly received Him with joy. Jesus also knew that the man's faith would be strengthened as he shared what Jesus had done for him.

This story of how Christ rescued the man from the evil grasp of demons presents a powerful contrast between God's principles of healing and freedom, and Satan's principles of degradation, slavery, and destruction. The demon-possessed man represents the condition, the end result of a life of sin. He showed what happens to a person that lives by Satan's principles. He had no self-control. He lived alone among the tombs. Sin separates. It destroys relationships. Sin causes guilt and self-hatred. Notice how the demon-possessed man cut himself with rocks. This man had followed his heart rather than reason. He had set reason aside so many times that he had none left. Satan would have us all follow our hearts. If it feels good, do it. But the end result of this path is ugly.

Jesus represents the condition, the result of following Heaven's principles. Jesus had full control of himself. The multitudes followed Him wherever he went. Jesus had close relationships with the disciples and many others. Jesus' face expressed innocence and love. He never engaged in mindless, self-destructive behavior. Jesus had strong emotions. He was more sensitive and had deeper feelings than any other person that has ever lived. But he always set reason above feelings. Jesus controlled his emotions. They never controlled Him. He had appetites and passions. But he always controlled them. To unreasoningly follow the dictates of emotions, appetite, or passion is to enter into Satan's dominion. Let's look at a story where Christ rescues two men from Satan's evil grasp.

Fire from Heaven?

Luke 9:51-56 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?"

But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. "For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." (NKJ)

Those who seek to destroy are of Satan's spirit and kingdom. God's methods and Satan's methods are completely separate. God is holy. God's Ten Commandments, his law of love is holy. God does not use any of Lucifer's principles. None. Never. God never degrades himself by using the dark methods and principles of Satan's government!

I Will Hide My Face

God's principles never change. The same foundation principles that God explained to Moses, regarding the children of Israel, he will use to deal with the unrepentant, unbelieving sinners at the end of time. God hides, or veils his face. Just as fast as God hides his face, destruction comes.

Deuteronomy 31:16-20 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.

 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?

 And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.

 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.

 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant. (KJV)

God gave Moses, his prophet, an accurate, behind the scenes preview of the history of the children of Israel. When Israel sinned by choosing another master, God would hide his face from them. Reluctantly, God would hand Israel over to their chosen master?Satan. Even so, God put limits on what Satan could do to Israel. God's love grants freedom of choice. Never, however, did our Father allow the children of Israel to receive the full consequences of their sin.

Deuteronomy 32: 1-4, 19, 20 Give ear, O heavens, to my voice; let the earth take note of the words of my mouth:

My teaching is dropping like rain, coming down like dew on the fields; like rain on the young grass and showers on the garden plants:

For I will give honour to the name of the Lord: let our God be named great.

He is the Rock, complete is his work; for all his ways are righteousness: a God without evil who keeps faith, true and upright is he.

And the Lord saw with disgust the evil-doing of his sons and daughters.

And he said, My face will be veiled from them, I will see what their end will be: for they are an uncontrolled generation, children in whom is no faith. (GLT)

When the children of Israel chose other gods, they were placing themselves under Satan's banner. Psalm 78:41 "Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel" (KJV). Yes, our heavenly Father's heart churned within Him and he longed to protect his beloved nation, Israel. However, backsliding Israel limited the Holy One of Israel.

God, in his perfect righteousness, desired good things for Israel. As Israel departed from God, their self-centered fears came upon them. Proverbs 11:23 "The desire of the righteous is only good, But the expectation of the wicked is wrath" (NKJ).

Then Satan worked through nature, foreign armies, internal strife, plagues, as a destroying angel, and he even brought fire down from Heaven in the sight of men. Satan made it look like all of these calamities came from our Father in Heaven. Satan uses the same pattern over and over again. Our Father patiently endures the false accusations, biding his time, until people are ready to receive more light. God was constrained by the limitations of Israel's capacity to understand. The full light of God's glory is too much to receive all at once. It takes time. God's wrath is not opposite, or even separate from his glory.

Wheat, Grapes, Wrath, and Fire

The seven last plagues of Revelation describe the wrath of God. We have noted that the Bible defines the wrath of God to be the hiding of his face, or to give up a person or nation to the consequences of the decisions that have been made. In other words, our Father turns hardened sinners over to their chosen master?Satan. Last night as I lay in my bed, I meditated on Revelation 14. John, in the last part of Revelation 14 delineates the wheat harvest, which represents the gathering, or salvation of righteous people. Jesus, in the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-43),  identifies the wheat: "The good seed are the children of the kingdom." The grape harvest, in symbolic language denotes the fate of the wicked. The treading of the grapes denotes the wrath of God, the seven last plagues falling on the lost.

Revelation 14:14-20 And I looked, and behold, a white cloud. And on the cloud sat one like the Son of man, having a golden crown on His head, and a sharp sickle in His hand.

 And another angel came out of the temple, crying in a great voice to Him sitting on the cloud, Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth was dried.

 And He sitting on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.

 And another angel came out of the temple in Heaven, also having a sharp sickle.

 And another angel came out from the altar, who had authority over fire. And he spoke with a great cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.

 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the anger of God.

 And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even to the bridles of the horses, for the space of a thousand, six hundred stadia. (MKJV)

In verse 18, John describes an angel who, "came out from the altar, who had authority over fire." That phrase had puzzled me. Why would God make known to us that the angel directing the initiation of the grape harvest had "authority over fire?" That information seemed completely incidental, useless. What could literal fire have to do with a symbolic grape harvest? Last night, the Holy Spirit impressed me with the importance of this concept. It can best be understood in the light of God's love.

Revelation is a highly symbolic book. The angel coming from the altar has authority over fire?symbolic fire. This fire symbolizes the results of the whole world following the desires of their heart, passions, and appetites rather than God's principle of unselfish love. Revelation 16 describes the seven last plagues. The first plague brings boils, which would surely result from bad health habits and adulteration of the food supply, perhaps combined with a man-made virus.

During the second and third plagues the seas and the rivers are turned to blood. Rodney Barker, in his book "And the Waters Turned to Blood," outlines how pollution has started to unleash a bacterial scourge on the east coast and that could at any time explode into a worldwide scourge. It would then fit the description of the plagues turning the waters to blood.1

God has been shielding the world from the full consequences of sin. But when the world chooses Satan, God must hide his face. He must allow the world to suffer their chosen fate at the hands of their chosen master. Satan has no mercy in his heart. None. The fourth plague might be the result of global warming or perhaps the destruction of the ozone layer. Or it could combine these two with a massive solar flare.

The fifth plague brings darkness and pain. Hot volcanic ash filling the air? Perhaps. The world will soon experience the horrific results of turning from God and embracing Satan. The sixth plague is the great battle of Armageddon. Satan will gather the nations to battle God's people. Satan wants them to annihilate God's special people. This vast throng of people will turn on themselves, though. They have set reason and love aside. They are so degraded and impassioned that they can no longer cooperate with one another.

Preview to Armageddon

God has given us several previews of Armageddon in the Old Testament. We will choose the story in 2Chronicles 20. It tells the story of the nations of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir gathering together to destroy Israel. Satan was always trying to move the nations to destroy Israel. 

2Chronicles 20:17-24 This battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.' Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you." Then Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

 They rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God and you will be established; believe his prophets." When he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy splendor, as they went before the army, saying, "Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever."

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the Ammonites and Moab attacked the inhabitants of Mount Seir, destroying them utterly; and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.

When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; they were corpses lying on the ground; no one had escaped. (NRSV)

Don't miss how God ambushed Satan's horde. God allowed Ammon and Moab to destroy the people of Mount Seir! Then they turned on one another. No one survived! This story foreshadows the battle of Armageddon. God's people will praise Him with songs and shouts of joy. Satan's hordes, Gog and Magog, which are all the nations of the earth, will finally understand that they have been deceived and that they are lost. Enraged and in despair, they will turn on one another with desperate fury and destroy one another totally.

The multitudes will focus their hatred on the false teachers ministers and leaders who have deceived them. This is the treading of the winepress of Revelation 14. First the wheat harvest and then the plagues of the grape harvest. Our God is sovereign. God has chosen to allow the wicked to destroy themselves. Who are we, finite mortals, to tell God that he must violate his infinite love to directly punish, kill, and destroy?

Notice, that the "Son of man," (Jesus) harvests the wheat, or in other words, saves the righteous. Notice also, that the angel throws grapes into the winepress, but blood is what comes out! God uses symbolic language to real to us what will happen shortly. The blood coming out of the winepress is the blood of the lost. When the Holy Spirit is finally grieved away from the multitudes of the lost, violence, murder, and war will cause the blood to flow.

The angel who "had authority over fire" signals the beginning of the fiery passions, the winds of strife, the rage, grief, terror, and anguish of the lost. John also here describes this as the treading of the winepress. This occurs when everyone on earth has decided to accept or reject Jesus. Revelation 22:11 "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still" (KJV). Our Father will hand the lost over to Satan, the master they have chosen. Our Father will hide his face and Satan will torment and destroy those that God has reluctantly relinquished into his power. John refers to this time, this event:

God Will Grieve Alone

Revelation 15:5-8Then I looked and saw that the Temple in heaven, God's Tabernacle, was thrown wide open! The seven angels who were holding the bowls of the seven plagues came from the Temple, clothed in spotless white linen with gold belts across their chests.  And one of the four living beings handed each of the seven angels a gold bowl filled with the terrible wrath of God, who lives forever and forever. The Temple was filled with smoke from God's glory and power. No one could enter the Temple until the seven angels had completed pouring out the seven plagues. (NLT)

The reason no one can enter the Temple in Heaven at the time of the pouring out of the seven last plagues is because no one could understand, or even survive the passionate display of our Father's infinite anguish, and wrath at seeing his precious children fall into the horrific hands of Satan, the Destroyer.

Jesus separated from his disciples when he knew that he faced extreme soul anguish. The Father will also separate himself from all created beings when he begins to endure the unspeakable sorrow and soul anguish when he is constrained to hand his lost children over to Satan's control. God never stops loving sinners, even those that finally reject Him. The greater one's love, the greater one's risk of pain. God's love is infinite. The plagues cause God immeasurable pain.

Satan leads the lost to blame the plagues on God. The lost "blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory" Revelation 16:9, (KJV).

The seventh plague ends earth's history of sin. God thunders from his throne in the temple saying, "It is done!" (Revelation 16:17 NRSV). The worst earthquake of all time and hundred pound hailstones devastate the people of the earth. The mountains and cities are leveled, and the islands disappear. The wicked of the earth curse God, blaming Him for the plagues.

History Repeats

In Heaven, Lucifer sowed the seeds of discontent. Then he blamed the results on God. Lucifer assumed the part of peacemaker, reconciler. But he was the one that had caused the trouble. So it continues on today. Satan causes catastrophes on the left hand and on the right, all the while teaching men to blame God. As a result of Satan's lies, men shake their fist toward Heaven and blame God when it is Satan who brings these destructive natural disasters.

Satan uses men's guilt against God. Satan leads men to look upon our Father as a stern and harsh Judge. This error leads to another. Satan's destructive actions and man's own warring, crime and destructive actions, are presumed to be the "judgments of God." Satan is the one that advocates stern justice, and harsh punishment against man. Satan is the Accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). Another name for Satan is "Abaddon," or "Destroyer." The Destroyer and all who choose his side of the war will come to an awful end.

However, God does not arbitrarily destroy the wicked. God in his infinite wisdom and mercy has been shielding Satan from the full effects of sin and rebellion. However, Satan will suffer for the sins he has caused. In the sanctuary, this was symbolized during the Day of Atonement when the high priest transferred Israel's sin and guilt to the scapegoat, Azazel. Then the scapegoat was led out into the wilderness, by the hand of a fit man (symbol of Jesus), and left there to die.

The wilderness is a fit symbol for the abyss (the empty place) that Satan and his angels will be confined to during the Sabbath millennium of rest. The abyss is empty because all wicked people are dead and all righteous people have been taken to Heaven with Jesus. No hand was laid upon the scapegoat. Nor will God actively destroy Satan. Satan will bear the weight of his own sins, which include leading people into sin. Satan is not our sin bearer. Even so, he does carry the heavy responsibility for initiating sin.

God used the sanctuary service to shed the light of his love upon Israel. Despite this, through the long centuries, selfishness and sin blinded Israel and they remained in deep spiritual darkness. That same darkness covers much of the world today.

God's Battle Plan

Jesus came into our dark world to bring the light of the truth of the beautiful knowledge of God's character of love to his precious children. Mt 4:16 "The people who sat in darkness saw a great Light; and Light has sprung up to those who sat in the region and shadow of death" (MKJV).

A lack of knowledge, or a misunderstanding of God's character can cause people to perish. Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (KJV).

There will be no pain and suffering, no death and destruction in Heaven. Our heavenly Father explains why this will be. Isaiah 11:9 "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (KJV). The "knowledge of the Lord" means knowledge about our Father's heart, character, personality and law. God hates to see our pain and death.

It might seem a difficult task for God to wage war without using force and destruction. It is! That is why it is taking six thousand years for God to bring sin to an end. If God had been willing to use threats, coercion, force, or destruction, the rebellion would have been brought to a swift end. We would never have even heard of Lucifer. However, God's subjects would have lived in fear. Rebellion would have simmered beneath the surface, in the hearts of God's children. God could not truly bring security to Heaven with force. God found it prudent to give sin time to burn itself out.

God chose to do battle by revealing his love through his Son. God saved us, and the whole universe, through his Son. By looking to Jesus and meditating on his life and death, we can come to know what our heavenly Father is like. To know God is to love Him. To know God is to enter into eternal life. John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (NRSV).

Remember that God loves sinners with a deep, infinite love that led Him to lay down his life for us. God's infinite love never changes. Our good deeds won't make Him love us more. Our bad deeds won't make Him love us less. God's anger, his wrath is to hide his face, (withdraw his protection), to honor the decision of those sinners that have persistently rejected Him and chosen Satan and his kingdom. That is his strange work, his strange act.

Admah and Zeboiim

Isaiah and Moses gave us insights into the heart of our heavenly Father. Paul restates these same truths. Paul defines God's wrath for us as handing over the sinner to his own desires and the dire consequences that brings. God's anger, his wrath is to withdraw his protection, to hide his face from those who have persistently rejected his love and care.

Romans 1:18,24, 26, 28 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; (NKJ)

Listen to the heart of God as he weeps over his apostate children.

Hosea 11:7,8 "My people are bent on backsliding from Me. Though they call to the Most High, None at all exalt Him. How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you like Zeboiim? My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred." (NKJ)

Don't miss, "How can I hand you over Israel? How can I make you like Admah." Admah and Zeboiim were among the cities that were destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah. In other words, God is saying, "How can I hand Israel over, as I handed Sodom and Gomorrah over, for Satan to destroy. Malachi 3:6 "For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob" (NKJ). Our Father in Heaven lives and rules by eternal principles. Sin has not caused our Father to alter the principles of his government at all. The foundation principle of the government of Heaven is the principle, or law, of self-sacrificing love.

God's Ways and Ideas

If the appearance of sin on Heaven's scene had made it necessary to change any of God's eternal principles, then Lucifer would have been proven right, for Lucifer claimed that God's law of love could be improved upon. It was Satan's idea that sin and rebellion should be punished. But this is not God's idea. God expressed his idea through the life and death of Jesus Christ. Punishment and death are not part of God's eternal principles. Rather, suffering and death result naturally from living out of harmony with God's law of unselfish love. The cross has proven God right.

Sin brings guilt, self-condemnation, suffering, and death. We judge and condemn other sinners based on the measure of our own self-condemnation and guilt. This error leads to another error?that sinners need to be punished. It also results in people taking revenge into their own hands.

For example, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Innocent people die on both sides of the conflict. Each side wants to avenge itself. The Palestinians send a suicide bomber into Israel. Israel responds with tanks or helicopter gunships. Hatred breeds hatred. The only good solution to their conflict is for both Palestinians and Israelis to learn of God's love and to accept it. Otherwise, they will keep destroying one another, despite temporary, futile efforts at peace.

A self-righteous religion always leads to the condemnation of others. The condemnation of others, in reality is self-condemnation. Both of these problems come from a mistaken understanding of the character of God and an underestimation of the destructive power of sin. A self-righteous religion always ends up resorting to force. False religion will yet persuade our government to enforce her decrees. And God's people will suffer.

When God's people suffer, God suffers. "In all their affliction he was afflicted." Remember how Jesus interrupted the triumphal entry to weep over Jerusalem! What an awful, sad, strange act for God! Remember that Christ could only do what he saw his Father doing. Our heavenly Father also wept when he was "limited" by his people Israel, when he had to give them over to their chosen ruler, Satan. This is God's strange act! This is the wrath of God.

Beholding God's holy character of love, experiencing his love for us is the truth that sets us free to love and obey Him, which is eternal life. It is the only way that we can learn to truly love one another.

The death of Christ fully revealed the character of God's love and also the dark destructive power of sin. No one except Christ has ever experienced the full results of sin. God has always shielded men and fallen angels from the fullness of the natural destructive consequences of sin. Ecclesiastes 8:11 "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" (KJV). This same principle applies with equal force to fallen angels.

Sin Burns Itself Out

If Lucifer had believed that God would punish his rebellion with death, Lucifer would have stayed loyal to God, but not out of love. What Lucifer did not immediately understand, was that the inevitable, natural, unassisted, outcome of rebellion (sin) is self-destruction (eternal death). The wages of sin is death. Lucifer knew that the Creator God had infinite power, and could easily destroy him for his rebellion. God does not desire a fear-based worship. Lucifer understood that God's character was pure love. Lucifer knew that God would not destroy any of his created beings, for that would be inconsistent with the foundation law of all Heaven?unconditional, unselfish, holy, love.

  However, rebellious Lucifer and sinful, deceived mankind alike underestimate the self-destructive power of selfishness, which is sin, rebellion, the transgression of God's law of love. Lucifer has led men to accuse our holy, loving God of sending those sinners who, in human weakness, failed to reach his high standard of holiness to an eternal fiery torment (hell).

Unbelieving, rebellious men and angels who reject God's merciful offer to carry their sin, to be their Sin-Bearer do come to an end. God's strange act is to grant them the desire of their heart, which is to hang onto their sins. Sin destroys totally. They have rejected Christ's mercy, their only hope. Sin killed Jesus on the cross. Let's not blame it on God the Father.

Satan's rebellion played out here on our planet shows the entire universe once, and for all time, the shameful, degrading, and destructive results of sin. Satan's principle of self-seeking has degraded men and angels. Look at the demon-possessed people in the Bible; No one wants to be like one of them! Even so, that is the end result of anyone who chooses to hang on to sin and thereby come under the full control of Satan.

The Cross Guarantees Peace

God's law of love is the only path to harmony, peace, happiness, and security for all his children. Satan's method of harsh punishment and rigid justice have failed here on earth. Notice the corruption that fills the corporate world today. Our elected government officials lie to us regularly. Crime continues unabated. Our earthly system of reward and punishment is not working. Satan's system has failed. Perhaps it is time to give God's principles a try!

After the close of this earth's painful history no one will ever again think to set aside God's law of love. None will ever again doubt the goodness and love of God. The cross of Calvary, Jesus the Son of God, and his infinite sacrifice will have won every heart that has responded to and accepted Jesus' love. Nowhere in all the universe, in all of time, have we ever, or will we ever see a more intense revelation of God's wrath and his love than in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Humanity's history of sin will be a protection for the ages of eternity. The cross will keep us safe.

Jesus, on the cross of Calvary fully revealed God's love, his mercy and justice, and his wrath. I stand in awe of the pure, practical wisdom of our heavenly Father.

Those who are open to the Holy Spirit can look at Jesus on the cross and begin to see a revelation of infinite love. They can also begin to see the infinite depths of the Father's wrath against sin. God's wrath against sin is to hide his face. Please do not make the terrible mistake of thinking that "God hiding his face" is a trivial thing! Look at the Son of God's reaction as the world's sin and guilt began to block his view of the Father's face!

Matthew 27:45, 46 At noon the sky turned dark and stayed that way until three o'clock. Then about that time Jesus shouted, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you deserted me?" (CEV)

Christ suffered our fate, the results of sin. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (NKJ). Sin brings death. God brings life. God hates sin, because it brings suffering and death to those whom he loves. Remember that God loves the world.

John 3:16, 17 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (NKJ)

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NKJ)

The Deep Things of God

1Corinthians 2:7-10 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (NKJ)

God's glory is his character of love. If the rulers of Christ's age had understood the glory of God's unconditional love, they would have recognized the holiness of Christ's love, his glory. They would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Today, we too must pay attention to what Paul taught. We must avoid the errors the Jewish leaders fell into. They believed that God used force to overcome his enemies. He does not. God risked everything to turn his enemies into his friends!

The Holy Spirit has revealed the deep things of God to us. There's nothing deeper, higher, broader, or more powerful than God's infinite, unconditional love. God showed us his love by creating us. When we fell, God showed us his love by redeeming us. Soon God will show us his love again and come to take us home! God's love gives each human being infinite value.

God has shown the value he places on each human being by allowing his Son to die the second death, to save us from sin. The life and death of Christ rebukes sin and points out its dangers and its inevitable end result?eternal death. But Christ never once punished sin. Nor did he kill anyone. Jesus is the embodiment of the law, which is a transcript of the character of the Father. Since Christ is the law lived out, we can safely conclude that the law does not punish or kill either. Christ is the express image of the Father.

God Loved the Egyptians

When we see calamities fall on other sinners, our guilt, our self-condemnation causes us to misunderstand the true issues involved. Pharaoh was a sinner. Did God harden Pharaoh's heart? Did God send the plagues upon the Egyptians? Did God slay the firstborn sons of the Egyptians? Let us examine this Bible story in the light that streams from the life of Jesus and the cross of Calvary.

Our heavenly Father had blessed Egypt. He is the One that had given them sunshine and rain (Matthew 5:45). He had caused their crops to grow. His power had kept the frogs in the river. He had protected them from the swarms of locusts. He had kept the flies and the lice in check. He had kept the hail from destroying animals and crops. Why did God pour out all these blessings upon the Egyptians? Because he loved them! Remember that God didn't love Israel instead of the other nations. God wanted to love the other nations through Israel. Israel failed, God didn't.

Every soul was precious in his sight. But the Egyptians worshiped other "gods." Satan claimed the right to destroy them, as they had chosen him. Remember Job chapters one and two, and Deuteronomy 31:16-30. God allowed Satan to test a perfect, godly man like Job. Satan destroyed all Job's possessions and family. Then Satan plagued Job with boils. Imagine what Satan could do to those who reject God! God sent Moses to the Egyptians as a mediator, a type of Christ. God sent Moses to save Egypt, not to destroy it. Pharaoh repeatedly rejected his only mediator.

Exodus 5:1, 2 And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. (KJV)

Even though the Creator God had poured out his blessings upon Egypt, Pharaoh in his ignorance and pride chose not to recognize the Source of these blessings. his sorcerers and enchanters convinced Pharaoh that Egypt's prosperity was a result of natural causes. Every time that he hardened his heart, God was forced to honor Pharaoh's decision and step-by-step give the land of Egypt over to the destroying angel?Satan.

Jesus hardened Pharaoh's heart in the same way he hardened Judas' heart?by loving him. But every warning, every blessing rejected, we turn into a curse upon ourselves. It is the same warm sun that melts butter, but hardens clay.

Psalm 78: 42-51 They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy. How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan: And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink. He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them. He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust. He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost. He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts. He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them. He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence;  And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham: (KJV)

God had been protecting the land of Egypt. As God allowed Satan to afflict the Egyptians with each new plague God longed for them to recognize his love and care for them. If the Egyptians had turned to God, he would have had the right to spare them. Remember that God and Satan are at war. There are rules of engagement. Remember also the book of Job, chapters one and two. But Pharaoh insisted on believing that all God's blessings and all Satan's plagues were the result of natural causes. God's wrath against the Egyptians was to hand them over to the consequences of sin. Notice the phrase, "by sending evil angels among them."

In the light of the cross we need to understand this to mean that God allowed Satan and his evil angels to bring the plagues on the Egyptians because they had chosen Satan. Satan glories in destroying God's beloved children. Remember that God did not love Israel instead of the Egyptians, but rather he desired to show his love to the Egyptians through Moses, Aaron, and the children of Israel.

Exodus 9:19,20 Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every man and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die. Those officials of pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. (NIV)

God loved the Egyptians as well as the people of Israel. He warned both peoples about the plague of hail.

God's wrath is an expression of his love. Reluctantly, God hands over his children to taste some of the consequences of sin, hoping to draw them to feel their need for a Saviour.

God's Wrath and Abortion

The Old Testament often mentions God's anger and wrath. The Hebrew word aph is commonly translated as anger or wrath. According to Strong's Concordance, the Hebrew word aph can mean forbearing, long-suffering, face, nostrils, nose, angry, before, countenance, forehead, and snout.2 God has led me to view his anger and wrath toward humans more as long-suffering and forbearing than a mere human anger. Aph is derived from the primitive root anaph, which Strong's concordance defines as to be angry, to be displeased, or to breathe hard.2  A deep breath could be a sigh.

Our loving, long-suffering, heavenly Father must surely sigh and cry in sadness and in pain when he sees his children choose the path of self-destruction. Jesus reveals to us the Father's heart. When Jesus saw rebellious and unrepentant Jerusalem, during the triumphal entry, he wept in uncontrollable anguish. He did not want to let his children go. That is a demonstration of the wrath of God. God creates and saves life. Satan destroys life.

Life begins at conception. Life is a gift from God. Taking life at any stage is unethical, immoral, contrary to God's character of love, and against God's law; in short, abortion is murder, a violation of the sixth commandment.

Abortion approved by our nation's laws brings negative results upon our great country. This should cause Christians to be concerned and to take action. We should speak out against such things, contact our representatives, educate, etc. However, using violence to oppose abortion would not be in harmony with God's principles.

God does not promote sin in order to fight sin. Absolutely not! God does allow sinners to fight each other to stop some of sin's excesses. Even so, people that shoot doctors and bomb clinics that practice abortion are also guilty of murder. I do not judge their motives, just the actions. In the war between good and evil we must overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21 "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (RSV). Fighting fire with fire just creates a bigger fire. Fighting sin with sin just adds to the misery, suffering, and guilt in our world. God is not honored with such practices.

If God had wanted to punish sin with sin he would have destroyed Lucifer as soon as he rebelled. Lucifer became Satan the Accuser. He is alive and well, actually sustained by God's power. Were God to withdraw his power from any of his creatures, life would cease. Psalm 104:29 "When you turn away, they are afraid; when you take away your breath, they die and go back to the dust from which they came" (TEV). That applies even to Satan. Psalm 22:29 "All the prosperous of the earth shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust shall bow before Him, even he who cannot keep himself alive" (NKJ). The phrase "even he who cannot keep himself alive includes angels as well as humans. God is the Source and Sustainer of all life; Satan lives only because God upholds him. God sustains Lucifer in order that we may freely choose between good and evil. Evil must be given the full opportunity to burn itself out.

God is just, fair, merciful, kind, wise, and loving. God is wise to allow Satan to continue so that we can choose between the two proposed governments. Also, so that we can see how God deals with rebellion, which is with great patience, care, and gentleness. Christ struck the deathblow to Satan's claims at the cross. Time, sin, and the rebellion continue, however, until we as humans can fully see the difference between Jesus and Satan and until everyone has made their final decision. Let's help bring this world of suffering to an end by accepting Jesus for who he really is!

2Peter 3:9 "The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent" (NLT).

1. Barker,Rodney (1997). And the Waters Turned to Blood. New York: Simon and Schuster

2. Strong, James (1990). New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.


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