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The Satanic Rebellion- Background to the Tribulation

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					The Satanic Rebellion- Background to the Tribulation

Part 1

Satan's Rebellion and Fall

by Dr. Robert D. Luginbill

http://www.ichthys.com/Default.htm#Rebellion



Outline of the Series:
Part 1: Satan's Rebellion and Fall
Part 2: The Genesis Gap
Part 3: The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man
Part 4: Satan's World System: Past, Present and Future
Part 5: Judgment, Restoration and Replacement

Outline for Part 1:
I. Introduction
II. Angelic Pre-History
III. Satan's Original Status
IV. Satan's Character, Sin and Fall



Introduction to the Series: This five-part series serves as an essential introduction to the
biblical study of eschatology (literally, "last things").(1) It is presented in the manner of strategic
overview, that is to say, it takes at one sweep the rebellion of Satan and his angels against God,
God's response in creating mankind, Satan's continuing counter-attack throughout human history,
and God's answer in Jesus Christ, His final disposition of Satan, resolution of all related issues,
and the final termination of human history.


I. Introduction to Part 1: Satan's Rebellion and Fall:

1) Before He Created the Universe, God Existed: Before Satan, before angels, before the creation
of mankind, there was God. The triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) has always existed
independent of man, angels, the universe, or even time itself.

The Word [Jesus Christ] existed at the very beginning, and there was reciprocity between the
Word and God [the Father]. This One both existed and enjoyed reciprocity with God from the
very beginning. Everything came into being through Him, and without Him, nothing has come
into being which has in fact come into being. John 1:1-3


This fact is an extremely important one to keep in mind, because as believers in Jesus Christ, we
need to remember that for all his terrible power, Satan is still only a creature, operating entirely
within the universe of time and space which God has created, and is therefore entirely subject to
His sovereign will and omnipotence. By way of contrast, however, our infinite Lord is in no way
whatsoever limited by or dependent upon this finite environment of time and space so essential
to our existence, and to the existence of all His creatures, including Satan and the fallen angels:(2)

God, who created the universe and everything in it, even He who is Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in temples our hands have made, nor is He ministered to by the hands of men (as
if He needed anything from us) - [on the contrary], He is the One who gives life and breath and
everything else to us all. Acts 17:24-25

In terms of relative power, therefore, the infinite, omnipotent Lord versus Satan and his coterie
of angelic subordinates can not even be termed a "contest" in any reasonable sense of that word.
Should it please God to annihilate the devil and his minions, He possesses the power to do so in a
nanosecond without the slightest effort. That He has not done so is most revealing of the
awesome character of the God with whom we have to do. Satan is allowed to exist, allowed to
rebel against the generous Lord who made him, and his rebellion is allowed to run its course,
precisely because God loves us so much. For the supreme love that God the Father has for us as
demonstrated in the sacrifice on our behalf of His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, can also be
seen in His determination to let us, to let all His creatures, choose whether or not we wish to
follow Him of our own free will. Although God loves all His creatures with a perfect love, He
does not force any of them to love Him back. When history finally comes to an end, the only
creatures, men and angels, who will be with Him forever are those who have chosen it.

In its simplest expression, creature history (angelic and human) is a chance for each of us to
demonstrate conclusively whether we are with God or against Him, whether we want to accept
and respond to His amazing love (and spend eternity with Him), or instead to reject His love (and
spend eternity apart from Him). For us in the world today, that choice is made very simply in the
decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ through faith, or instead to reject the indescribable
gift of His Son who died on our behalf. The angels, however, have already made their choices,
and it is a measure of the genius of our Lord that it is by means of that very rebellion of His arch-
creature Satan,

1) that He validates our choice of Him (despite satanic opposition, we still chose Him, so that
choice must be genuine),

2) that He demonstrates His love for us (Satan's seduction of Adam brought us all under sin and
thus necessitated the sacrifice of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, an act that is the very
embodiment of His love),

3) and that He furthers His own glory in the process (allowing Satan's rebellion to run its course
only serves to validate God's condemnation of him).

Had we not come through the fiery testing supplied by the devil and his corrupt world system,
we would never be able to appreciate God's marvelous provision for us and His deliverance of us
from all our trials (2Tim.4:18). Only by allowing us to experience His grace in the midst of the
devil's world, can God bring us to the fullest understanding and appreciation of His love for us,
while at the same time leading us to a full and genuine love for Him. Thanks be to God for His
ineffable and unsearchable wisdom!

2) God's Creation of the Universe: Although He was under no obligation or necessity to do so,
God did in fact create the universe we behold today. Before time, in an instant of time, He
created time and space and all matter from nothing.(3) He did so to provide a temporal and
material frame in which we, his creatures, might exist. This then is the purpose of the universe
and its creation: to give us and His angels a home and a habitation. For being creatures, we need
an environment in which to exist. God is spiritual and infinite, and has no existential need of the
finite universe. But He made all things - for us, for our benefit, that we might come to seek Him,
to know Him, to choose to follow Him, and to love Him, for He first loved us (Acts 17:26-27;
1Jn.4:19). Much as we human beings desire to share our lives and our love and so bring children
into the world, so our heavenly Father has prepared the heavens and the earth for us, His
children, for our benefit - and for His glory. We are not toys or pets or any such silly rubbish -
we are His offspring (Acts 17:28). The fact that He sent His only Son to share flesh and blood as
we do and then to die in our place that we might live is incontrovertible evidence that His
creation of us and of all that we see is no accident, but flows directly from the matchless wisdom,
purpose and love of our God and Father.

3) God's Creation of Angels: Inasmuch as in the present day we are being bombarded by false
information about angels through our popular culture, we need to take a moment to consider the
biblical perspective on them. Overall, angels are not particularly prominent in the Bible. Mention
of them does not even occur at all in about half of the books of the Bible, and a little reflection
(or investigation) will show that they are seldom the focus of events in any biblical narrative.
There is a very good reason for this. God has given us the Bible as the standard of our faith and
practice here in the world; that is to say, scripture explains how God is dealing with us, and only
tangentially examines His dealing with angelic kind. This point is important, because it is no
secret that excessive fascination with angels and their activities (especially that which runs far
beyond the legitimate information contained in the Bible) has been and continues to be a major
stumbling block to believers and unbelievers both, drawing their attention away from the saving
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (about whom there is so much to learn) to a
world of fancy (mis-information about angels and their activities). All this is not to say that some
knowledge about the angelic realm is not important and necessary, but the Bible approaches the
subject of angels very much on a "need to know" basis: it doesn't tell us all we'd necessarily like
to know, but it does tell us all we should know to understand God's plan for the world and for
us.(4) The actions, functions and organization of angels, elect and fallen, will be treated in part 4
of this series, but it will be helpful here to outline some of the basic principles discernible from
scripture that have an immediate bearing upon our present study:

a. Angels are an order of creature apart from mankind:

Everything in the heavens and on the earth was created by Him (Jesus Christ), things invisible as
well as those visible - whether thrones, authorities, rulers or powers, everything was created
through Him and for Him. Col.1:16
One of the more pernicious misconceptions of contemporary, conventional wisdom about angels
is the completely fallacious and harmful notion that angels are departed human beings. Nothing
could be further from the truth. Scripture is clear about the fact that angels preceded man in
God's creation (Job 38:6-7), and that mankind was originally created with less glory and power
than the angelic creation (Ps.8:4-5).(5)

b. Angels are finite beings: Despite their obvious present superiority, as created beings, angels
are also dependent upon time and space. Though more powerful (2Thes.1:7; 2Pet.2:11), mobile
(Gen.28:12) and knowledgeable (2Sam.14:20; Acts 7:53) than mankind, they are neither
omniscient (Matt.24:36), nor omnipotent (Rom.8:38), nor omnipresent (Dan.10:13). Angels are
often described as the "host of heaven" and otherwise compared to the innumerable stars (e.g.,
Job 25:3; Ps.103:20-21; Is.40:26 w. Lk.2:13), but although they are a highly organized group and
quite numerous it should be understood that they are finite in number, however large that
undisclosed number may be (Deut.33:2; Ps.68:17; Dan.7:10; Heb.12:22; Rev.5:11).

It has been debated over the centuries whether angels are spiritual or material, and the common
opinion has, more often than not, come down in favor of the former on account of such passages
as Hebrews 1:7 & 14. Indeed, angels, as depicted in scripture, are not subject to many of the
material restrictions under which we labor. They apparently do not grow old, or hungry or tired.
They can, on occasion, even enter into human bodies (as in cases of demon possession: Lk.8:26-
39), and are, for the most part, completely invisible to us, even as they go about their work in our
world (or mischief as the case may be). These and other facts speak to the immaterial aspect of
their nature. However, angels can at times appear in bodily form (as in the case of the
announcement of Christ's birth: Lk.2:8-15), and can also affect the material world with great
power (consider the angels who control the winds: Rev.7:1-3). These further facts, taken in
conjunction with their subordination to time and space discussed above, makes it clear enough
that angels, though "spiritual" in substance, are not excused from being vulnerable to certain
material restrictions and restraints as well. For example, they can be confined and made subject
to the compulsion of God's judgment (as in the case of the final disposition of the fallen angels:
Matt.25:41).

A brief consideration of the future, post-resurrection bodies we are destined to receive (after the
pattern of our Lord, Jesus Christ) will be helpful in this connection.(6) Man is a spiritual, as well
as a material creature (more about this in part 3 of this present series), but while our present body
possesses an earthly materiality, we are told (and shown by the example of Christ in resurrection)
that our coming body will possess a heavenly materiality. As the apostle Paul puts it, "[the
human body] is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body" (1Cor.15:44). Now we know
from the example of Christ that this "spiritual" body is still a body in every sense of the word:
Jesus was still discernible to His disciples, talked, walked, even ate with them; and when
doubting Thomas finally saw Him, Jesus commanded him to "thrust your hand into My side" - in
no small part to demonstrate the true materiality of our Lord's new "spiritual-body".
Corporeality, the possession of a true body, is thus a hallmark of the human being, before and
after resurrection. Such is not the case for the angels, however. In Luke 24:39, our resurrected
Lord appearing to His frightened disciples assures them that "a spirit (pneuma - the same word
used for angels in Heb.1:7 & 14) does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." This
absence of true corporeal substance on the part of the angels is at the root of many of the
differences between us: our spirits are willing, but our flesh (now) is weak and a major source of
the temptations that confront us, temptations to which the angels are oblivious (for example, they
have no need for money). In a curious way, however, the very absence of sensual experience that
only a true body can supply was apparently no small contributing cause in the fall from grace of
many of Satan's angels (see section IV below).

c. Angels are temporarily superior to mankind in many ways: Having established that angels are
creatures too, and that they are not possessed of infinite power and ability, it is important to
acknowledge that their power and ability is considerable, especially in comparison to mankind.
First and foremost, angels are not subject to death (Lk.20:36), nor do they reproduce (Mk.12:25),
leading us to the conclusion that their number has been the same since their collective creation.
That is not to say, of course, that the fallen angels will not be subject to separation from God
forever and eternal punishment (an event which, in the case of human beings, is termed the
"second death": Rev.20:14 w. Matt.25:41). So while mankind is enjoying a sequential residence
on earth (generation following generation), angelic kind has been experiencing a continuum of
existence in heaven, even before the creation of Man. This longevity, combined with the fact that
they are not subject to the restraints and necessities of time and space that encumber mankind,
undoubtedly contributes to their superior knowledge and wisdom. Yet we should point out that,
by its very essence, the angelic nature is superior to our present earthly human nature in terms of
appearance, intellect, power, mobility and authority (2Pet.2:11). Such, however, will not always
be the case, for just as our Lord (who is our precursor in the resurrection) is superior to angels in
every way, including all aspects of His humanity (Heb.1:4 - 2:18), so also we are destined to
share that superiority with Him in our resurrection (1Cor.6:3; Heb.2:5).

d. Angels are similar to mankind in several important ways: Despite their present, relative
superiority to mankind, as fellow creatures of God, angels share some important attributes with
us. Like us, they possess personality and individuality (as evidenced, for example, by joy: Job
38:4-7; Lk.15:10; desire: 1Pet.1:12; and choice: Jude 6). And like us, they are created to serve
and worship God for His glory (Ps.103:20-21; 148:2; Matt.4:11; Heb.1:14; Rev.4:8). As in the
case of human beings, this service and worship is not compulsory, but something God desires
from angelic kind of their own free will (exactly as He desires our free will allegiance to Himself
through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ). This proposition implies what is elsewhere in scripture
made very clear: while most angels have chosen to continue following and serving their Creator,
some have rejected Him, and are destined to pay the consequences of their action (Matt.25:41).
These two groups of angels are traditionally referred to as elect and fallen angels (based upon
1Tim.5:21 and Is.14:12 respectively). As to the fallen angels, we know from specific scripture
references (e.g., Job 4:18; 2Pet.2:4; Jude 6) as well as and from their association with Satan
(whose fall we shall explore below) that their "fallen" status is not the result of some arbitrary
decision of their Creator; rather it is a direct result of their own, individual choices to reject Him
and His authority. This moral accountability, then, is the most important similarity between
angels and humans: we have both been given an existence wherein the primary issue is our
choice to follow (or reject) God.

The differences between the character of our choice and their choice is entirely explainable by
the differences in our respective natures. Angels, originally existing in a holy state, made their
decisions long ago, before the creation of Man. We human beings, however, are limited as to
life-span (not to mention our geographic, intellectual and physical constraints). Even more
significant is the fact that we are born sinful, and as a result must choose to turn away from sin
toward God (through faith in Jesus Christ) in order to be saved. The angels, by contrast, were all
created holy, and, as a result of this quite different nature, faced a very different choice: to
remain loyal to the Lord of the universe, or to choose instead to turn away from God and join in
Satan's sinful rebellion.

God's ineffable wisdom shines clearly through in this distinction of choices presented to us on
the one hand and to our angelic fellow creatures on the other. Angels are by nature such that their
ultimate decision of whether or not to stay faithful to God seems to be the sum of themselves
from eternity past to eternity future. That is to say, they are not subject to the temporal restraints,
limited knowledge and deceptiveness of the flesh that produces in us the capability of "changing
our minds" (whether towards repentance or apostasy). The very longevity, intellect and ability
which angels possess apparently produces a certainty and resolution of decision-making that is
largely unaffected by historical developments. As human beings, we have all experienced the
change of perspective which the passage of time can produce - a factor of our gradually
increasing knowledge, experience, and, one would hope, wisdom. Angels, vastly superior in
intellect and knowledge at the point of creation, have already logged thousands of years of
existence - and that without experiencing the process of maturing and aging. This is not to say
that they can't learn or be surprised by the unfolding of God's plan in human history, but it does
seem to indicate that their perspective is more universal, spiritual, even eternal - it is a
perspective little changed from the beginning to the end of time on account of their unique
nature. Angelic decision-making seems to encompass or "straddle" time in a way we temporal
creatures cannot fully appreciate. Therefore angels (who start out perfect and either are
confirmed in their loyalty-perfection or lose it when they rebel and fall) seem to have made their
decision about the Lord once and for all. They do not have "changes of heart" like we human
beings sometimes do, turning to the Lord (or, sadly, away from Him on occasion), precisely
because their nature is different from ours. So while these fellow creatures of God share with us
the fact that the central issue in their existence is to choose for or against the Lord, the manner in
which they have done so is different from the manner in which we do so.

Indeed, the idea that we can change our minds (repent), and, more importantly, that God can find
a way to accommodate our repentance and provide for our deliverance from sin is a source of
surprise and fascination to the angels, for just as we have a difficult time seeing things from their
perspective, so they cannot fully appreciate our point of view, not being creatures of spirit and
body as we are. And how could they? They are creatures for whom repentance is an
impossibility (just as backsliding is). Whereas, in the case of Man, we start imperfect and in need
of help (salvation, as provided through Christ's sacrifice). In the process of "working out our
salvation" a number of twists and turns may very well take place. Being subject to a finite,
temporal life, to pressures and temptations that are part and parcel of being in the flesh
(especially the corrupted flesh), being under fire from the angelic dimension (would Adam and
Eve have sinned without Satan?), and being most limited in our knowledge under the best of
circumstances, we find ourselves in a very different position from our angelic brethren - not
perfect creatures who must refrain from choosing the wrong path, but imperfect, already
condemned creatures who must choose to accept the gracious gift of life in Jesus Christ in order
to lay hold of eternal life.
This difference in our natures, in the essence of our free will choices, and therefore in our
perspectives about God's dealings with us is critical for a proper understanding of His treatment
of angels and men respectively. For it helps to explain the testimony of the scriptures to the
effect that angels are actually learning about God from observing the unfolding of His plan of
salvation on earth:(7)

1. As seen from their observation of the life of Jesus Christ:

[Jesus Christ], who appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the [Holy] Spirit, was revealed to
angels [i.e., was observed by them], was preached among the nations, was believed upon in the
world, was taken up in glory.     1st Timothy 3:16

2. As seen from their witnessing the progress of believers:

I charge you before God [the Father], and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels, that you keep to
these [commands] without partiality, doing nothing out of favoritism. 1st Timothy 5:21


3. As seen from their desire to know about God's plan of salvation:

Even as they foretold this salvation that was to come to you, the prophets of old diligently
investigated and inquired about this [gift] of grace, being eager to discover the precise time the
Spirit of Christ within them was signifying as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the
glories [of salvation, among other things] that would follow [the cross]. For it was revealed to
them that in prophesying these things, they were not so much serving themselves as they were
you - and these same things have now been proclaimed to you through those who gave you the
gospel through the Holy Spirit, sent from heaven - even angels want to look into these
things.         1st Peter 1:10-12

Elsewhere, we are told that the apostles were made "a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels
as well as to men" (1Cor.4:9), that "because of the angels" women should maintain a sign of
authority on their heads (1Cor.11:10), that there is "joy in heaven" over every repentant sinner
(Lk.15:10: i.e., from the angels; cf. Lk.12:8-9; Rev.3:5), but that those who reject Christ to
worship the antichrist will be tormented "in the presence of the Lamb and His holy angels"
(Rev.14:10). Moreover, it is quite significant that angels are recorded as present at all the major
events in the life of Christ: His birth (Lk.2:13-14), temptation (Matt.4:11), resurrection
(Lk.24:4), ascension (Acts 1:10-11), and return (2Thes.1:7) - a fact which underscores angelic
interest in this the most crucial phase of God's plan.(8)

Thus angelic interest in human affairs transcends the completion of their duties and ministries on
our behalf (e.g., Heb.1:7 & 14). As they observe human beings escaping the slavery of sin,
choosing for God and trusting Him in spite of all opposition, they are "learning" something very
important about Him: they see His righteousness, His justice, His power and His love in the
mission, sacrifice and victory of Jesus Christ and its effective transmission to believing
humanity.
God's faithfulness to us through and on the basis of the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, while
essential to our salvation and subsequent spiritual growth, also carries an important "lesson" for
the angels. We learn about the faithfulness of God by experience at salvation and afterwards; the
holy angels, however, have never had need of salvation, nor have they ever been hungry or
thirsty, nor have they ever been in danger or experienced the fear and the grief of death. Because
their nature exempts them from most of the pressures that so define our human existence, they
cannot learn about the faithfulness of God personally, but can only do so by observation of His
great love and mercy to us here on earth as we are bombarded by the devil's attacks. Angels exist
by Christ and for Christ, but can only fully appreciate Him (and the Father) by actually viewing
the sacrifice of the cross and the playing out of God's plan in perfect faithfulness to human
beings who choose to believe.

Thus it is that angelic observation of the working out of God's plan of salvation in human
history, both strategically (i.e., the provision of salvation through Christ's incarnation, death,
resurrection, ascension, session and return) and tactically (i.e., the imparting of salvation to and
support of the progress of individual believers) is a necessary ingredient in God's destruction of
the works of the devil and in His ultimate restoration of harmony and order (1Jn.3:8):

1. As seen from the ultimate consummation of all elect angelic and human kind in Christ:

[The Father] has made known to us the mystery He has willed according to His own good
pleasure which He purposed in Him[, Jesus Christ], for administering this [present] fulfillment of
the epochs [i.e., "these last days"; cf. Heb.1:2; 1Pet.1:10]: namely the incorporation of all things
in Christ, things in heaven, and things on earth - Ephesians 1:9-10

2. As seen from the ultimate demonstration to angels through the Church of God's ineffable
wisdom in sending His Son to die for us:

This gracious favor has been given to me, the least of His saints: to give to the gentiles the good
news of the indescribable wealth [that is in] Christ, and to enlighten everyone as to how this
mystery (once hidden from the ages in God who created everything) is now being administered,
so that the enigmatically intricate wisdom of God might be made known to the rulers and
authorities in the heavenly realms through the agency of the Church. Ephesians 3:8-10

3. As seen from the ultimate reconciliation of all heavenly matters through Christ:

For it was [God's] good pleasure for the fulfillment [of His plan] to reside entirely in [Christ],
and so through Him to reconcile everything to Himself (having made peace through Him,
through the blood of His cross) - whether things on earth, or things in heaven. Colossians 1:19-20

The three passages above explain (among other things) the effect of God's plan of salvation on
angelic affairs: by observing the sacrifice of Christ and God's resultant calling of the gentiles
through the formation of the Church of Jesus Christ, the angels learn about 1) Christ's authority
and centrality in God's plan (Eph.1:9-10); 2) the breathtaking wisdom of God's plan in sending
Christ and calling out the Church (Eph.3:8-10); 3) the ultimate effect of God's plan in
reestablishing complete harmony and peace in heaven and on earth based upon Christ's sacrifice
(Col.1:19-20).

The point made by the last passage treated above, Colossians 1:19-20, calls for some comment.
One element in this angelic "instruction by observation of human history" is, no doubt, the
complete refutation of Satan's deceptive (and self-deceptive) assertion of God's inability to
confront his rebellion, an assertion used in the first instance to deceive fellow angels and win
them to his cause (see section 4 below), and in the second to deceive and ensnare mankind (an
operation still very much in progress: see part 4 of this series). Based upon what we know of the
fall of Satan and his present modus operandi, we would not be far wrong in reconstructing the
essence of this false assumption as follows:

I and my followers shall be free of God's retribution, because if God were to destroy us or
otherwise eternally punish us, the completeness and harmony that a God-like universe demands
would be forever lost:

1) God cannot replace us (no completeness), and

2) God cannot rehabilitate us (no harmony),

3) therefore God cannot punish us.

How ironic it is that Satan, who knew much better than we the awesome power of God, has been
relying all along on the character of God to protect him from the wrath of God! No doubt he
thought to put God in an insoluble dilemma: either tolerate the breach in universal order and
harmony or rend unity and peace forever by crushing Satan. Satan counted on God's tolerating
evil rather than taking an irrevocable step that would permanently mar His creation. But Satan,
who should have had a better understanding than anyone else in the universe of the ineffable
wisdom of our God (who planned the beginning and the end of all things before time began and
who is therefore incapable of being surprised), failed to take this paramount consideration into
account. The present working out of the Father's great plan of salvation in the person of Christ is
demonstrating this very fact to Satan and his followers:

1) Replacement: Elect mankind is, in effect, replacing fallen angelic kind in God's universal
order (Lk.10:17-20; 1Cor.6:3; Rev.20:4). Though aware of God's ability to produce other
creatures, Satan seems to have assumed that such an action would prove futile, because, if given
the requisite free will, these new creatures would react similarly to the angels. However, elect
human beings (who choose to be saved) are a perfect complement to elect angels (who chose not
to sin) and a fitting replacement for the fallen angels who would not choose to be reconciled to
God.

2) Rehabilitation: Beyond the issue of choice is the issue of opportunity. Satan also must have
reasoned that God would not be able to provide a means to expiate sin. Therefore no
rehabilitation (or salvation) of angels would be possible. But the Father's plan of salvation for
mankind through the blood of Jesus Christ - God becoming Man - was an event the devil never
anticipated. Through the analogy of mankind, the angels are seeing first hand that if any fallen
angels would have repented (an action not in their nature as we have seen), God could have
provided the means of restoring them to Himself, as indeed He has done for sinful mankind at
the highest price of all: the sacrifice of His only Son on our behalf.

3) Satan's Conclusion: The false assumption that God would be unable to restore harmony and
completeness to His creation has thus been refuted by His creation and salvation of elect
mankind. By making and saving Man though Christ, the Father has, in effect, knocked both
props out from under Satan's assertion that God would be unable to punish him for his rebellion.
The reconciliation of human beings to God throughout time, paid for historically by Jesus Christ,
and picking up momentum as we draw ever nearer to the end of things, has clearly given the lie
to Satan's confident assertion. These are surely things even angels want to look into (1Pet.1:12).

This discussion of the original satanic rational (expanded upon in section 4 below) helps to
explain Satan's dogged opposition to the inexorable plan of God as it has been working in the
lives of men since our first parents were expelled from the garden. For God's deliverance of us
through Christ and His promise to us of eternal life in Christ demonstrates unmistakably to all
angelic kind that He can and will and is replacing Satan and his followers, the end of which is
eternal punishment for their unrepentant rebellion against the One who made them. For as it says
in 1st John 3:8, Christ appeared "to destroy the works of the devil". Satan thus badly misjudged
God's character relative to both angels and men, failing to fully understand that the ultimate
working out of His love, justice and truth would inevitably result in redemption or replacement,
justification or rejection, and reconciliation or punishment (as has transpired for mankind
through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ):(9)

God's goodness overflows with love, providing grace for sinful Man:

though evil says a loving God can't condemn,

He did condemn His Son that we might live,

redeeming us in love with the blood of Christ.

God's holiness overflows in justice, offering mercy to sinful Man:

though evil says a just God can't forgive,

He did forgive us, by condemning His own Son,

making us righteous through the blood of Christ.

God's faithfulness and truth overflow in life, producing peace with God for sinful Man:

though evil says that a God of integrity can't restore us,

He did make peace between us through His Son,
reconciling us to Himself and granting us eternal life on the basis of the blood of Christ.


e. A balanced perspective on angels: When discussing the topic of angels, their similarities to us
and differences from us, it is important that we keep in mind both their present superiority to us,
and their eventual subordination. Angels are not to be disrespected (Lk.10:20; 1Pet.2:10-12; Jude
8-10; cf. Rom.13:7), but neither are they to be worshiped (Rev.19:10; 22:9; cf. 2Kng.17:16;
Jer.19:13; Col.2:18). This tandem of caveats is especially important in regard to fallen angels.
Possessing as they do all the attributes and history discussed above, Satan and his angels are
formidable adversaries; and yet at the same time we must keep in mind that they are not the only
angels: God counterbalances their evil efforts with the work and ministrations of His holy, elect
angels. Therefore, although we are to have a healthy respect for the Adversary and his potential
to oppose us (2Cor.2:11; Eph.6:11; 1Pet.5:8), we are not to be unduly terrified by him and his
minions. And while we are to have an awareness and appreciation for the positive function of the
elect angels on our behalf, we are not to be inordinately fixated upon them (especially since both
their persons and their work are invisible to us). In neither case should we "go beyond what is
written" in the Bible about angels, whether through excessive fear of Satanic influence or an
exorbitant fascination with the ministrations of the holy angels. After all, it is God we are to fear,
God we are to love and follow, and it is upon God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord
that we are to fix our gaze while here in the devil's world.

Only do not rejoice in this, that the spirits obey you. But [rejoice] that your names have been
recorded in heaven. Luke 10:20



II. Angelic Pre-History:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.      Genesis 1:1a

1) The Creation of Angels: At some undisclosed time following His creation of the heavens and
the earth, God created the angels (Ps.148:2-5; Col.1:16). That is to say, at some specific point
between the original creation of Genesis 1:1 and the restoration of the earth described in Job
38:4-7 (see section V below)(10) which followed God's judgment of Satan, God created all
angelic kind. He created them holy (Deut.33:2; Ps.89:7; Mk.8:38; Lk.9:26), giving each of them
distinct duties and definite domains in which to exercise their delegated authority (Col.1:16;
Eph.6:12; Heb.1:7 & 14; Jude 6).

2) The Realm of Angels: The realm of angels is often assumed to be the heavens, and to a certain
degree this is true, at least at this present time: a) they are often called "heavenly hosts"
(1Kng.22:19; Ps.103:20-21; 148:2; Lk.2:13); b) angels are invariably present on the heavenly
scene (1Kng.22:19; Job 1:6-7; 2:1-2; Lk.15:7 & 10; Rev.5:11); c) and angels are often identified
with the stars of heaven (Job 38:7; Is.14:12 &13; 40:26; Rev.1:20). Since elsewhere in scripture
stars are literally stars (cf. Gen.1:16b), it is likely that this designation is a reference to angelic
spheres of authority (cf. Eph.1:20-21; 3:10; Col.1:16). Fallen angels, for example, are termed
"wandering stars" in Jude 13 (in a comparison to false teachers where the reference to "blackest
darkness ... reserved forever" recalls the lake of fire in supernatural darkness prepared for the
devil and his angels; cf. Matt.8:12). This term is reminiscent of their failure to "keep their own
domain", i.e., choosing to interfere with human affairs in Satan's behalf, they abandoned their
ordained, heavenly realm, (Jude 6).(11)

3) The Three Heavens: What exactly is meant, then, by heaven? When we speak of the heavens
in biblical terms, we are referring to the three-fold division of the cosmos beyond the earth: a)
the earth's atmosphere ("the sky"); b) the universe at large (i.e., "space"); c) the "third heaven",
the abode of God (or "heaven", as it is customarily termed).

In Genesis 1:1a, God's original creation of the heavens (in all three of its parts) and the earth is
stated. This, we must emphasize, is original creation, not the restoration of heaven and earth
detailed later in the chapter (a topic to be covered in detail in the second part of this series). The
Hebrew word for "heavens" used in Genesis 1:1a is shamayim (,ymw), a noun whose form is,
significantly, dual in number (i.e., "two" of something as opposed to a single unit, or multiple
units beyond a pair). The meaning of the dual of shamayim comes into its full significance later
in Genesis chapter one. When God creates a raqiyah (iyqr), or "firmament" (v.6), He later calls it
shamayim, or "heavens" as well (v.8). In this instance, the firmament (or heavens) is clearly the
atmosphere, for it "divides the waters", that is, those in the deep below from those in the clouds
above.(12)

However in verse fourteen, the raqiyah, or firmament, is now the place of the sun, moon and
stars. Significantly, the exact Hebrew terminology used in verse fourteen is raqiyah-hasshamyim,
"firmament of the heavens". The difference is a substantial one, for it suggests that these
shamayim, or "heavens", are in some sense distinct from those referred to earlier. From our
earthly perspective as we look up at the night sky today (and how much more so in 1400 B.C.),
the heavens that surround us (i.e., the atmosphere) and the heavens above (i.e., space, or the
universe) appear as one continuum. The dual of the Hebrew word shamayim perfectly reflects
this reality of two distinct elements (sky and space) in one continuum. These are the first heaven
(the atmosphere) and the second heaven (the universe beyond earth) respectively and
collectively.

The third heaven is the abode of God. In 2nd Corinthians 12:2-4, the apostle Paul describes a man
"snatched up" to this "third heaven"; in verse four, the location is also referred to as "paradise", a
word which in biblical terms suggests the presence of and fellowship with God (see below). This
third heaven is also referred to in the Old Testament as the shamey shamayim "heavens of the
heavens", a Hebrew idiom for "highest heavens" (Deut.10:14; Ps.148:4; cf. Eph.4:10). Thus, in
the Bible, all three parts or levels of the heavens (the sky, the universe, and the abode of God)
can be and often are called "heaven" individually and collectively without the various authors of
scripture feeling any need to distinguish the three, as this concept of the three-fold division of the
shamayim was apparently well understood in biblical times. Angels are capable of entering all
three sections of the heavens, but a word must be said at this point about their reasons for doing
so.

4) The Operational Sphere of Angels: For a variety of reasons, for example their occasional
association with the stars (see above) and their apparently hierarchical organization (cf.
Matt.26:53; Eph.1:20-21; 3:10; Col.1:16; 1Thes.4:16; Jude 9), we conjecture that angels have
spheres or authority and certain duties in the second heaven (the universe at large), although the
scriptures do not provide an exhaustive account of these (cf. also Jude 6). We know more about
their journeys to the first heaven and their ministrations on God's behalf to mankind (in the case
of the elect angels), or their attempts to carry out Satan's designs against mankind (in the case of
the fallen angels). These ministries (and satanic operations) will be treated more fully in part 4 of
this series, but suffice it say at this point that angels are actively conducting operations here on
earth, although it is not at present their primary sphere. Jacob's vision of the famous "ladder"
which revealed multitudes of angels ascending to heaven and descending to earth illustrates
clearly enough that the elect angels do not remain upon the earth at all times, but rather return to
heaven at certain intervals (Gen.28:12; cf. Jn.1:51). Even Satan, described in Ephesians 2:2 as
"the prince of the power of air", that is "the ruler whose realm of authority is the atmosphere"
(Greek aer, referring to the first heaven and thus stressing his temporary, limited authority over
the earth), does not remain here at all times, but on specified occasions assembles with the other
angels in the presence of God, the third heaven (Job 1:6; 2:1; and cf. 1Kng.22:19).

Angelic assembly before and fellowship with God in the third heaven is important and revealing.
It should not be surprising that, in addition to their actions here on earth and in the universe at
large, the angels are frequently to be found in the presence of the Lord. For they are His angels
(Gen.28:12; 32:1; Ps.103:20; Matt.26:53) and logically therefore assemble where He is
(Deut.33:2; 1Kng.22:19; Job 1:6; 2:1; Ps.82:1; 89:5 & 7; Matt.18:10) to worship, serve and
attend Him (1Kng.22:19; Dan.7:10; Rev.5:11-12). The angels (the elect ones, at any rate) have
always and will always follow this pattern, even with the return of the Trinity to earth at the end
of human history (Heb.12:22; Rev.21:12; cf. Rev.21-22). Therefore what determines the place of
angelic assembly is not the particular level of heaven, but rather the presence of God. And just as
the elect angels always assemble in His presence, so when this present short and temporary era
we call human history is concluded, believing humanity will likewise assemble in the presence
of the Lord for all eternity. After all, the Greek word ekklesia (which we translate "church")
means "assembly". This place of assembly will ultimately be the new earth and, specifically the
new Jerusalem (Rev.21-22). What is most pertinent to our current study is that the original place
of angelic assembly was likewise not in heaven, but rather on the pristine, original earth.

5) Eden: the Original Home of Angels and Ultimate Home of Elect Mankind: Eden is most
commonly associated with the garden in which God placed Adam and Eve. And while Adam and
Eve's Eden was certainly one Eden it was neither the first nor the last "paradise" (as is obvious
from passages such as Ezek.28:13; Lk.16:19-31; 23:43; 2Cor.12:4; Rev.2:7; 22:2).

a) Etymology: As far as meaning is concerned, "paradise" and Eden are functionally almost
synonymous. Respectively, Eden is the Old Testament and paradise the New Testament term for
the place of the pleasurable presence of God. Eden (Hebrew 'eden, ]di) means "pleasure" or
"delight". In a similar way, "paradise" (Greek paradeisos, ), a Persian word first
used in Greek by the historian Xenophon, meant originally "the king's private preserve", a unique
and "delightful" place.(13) Thus it was quite a natural thing to substitute the term "paradise" as a
Greek equivalent to the Hebrew phrase "the garden of Eden/delight".(14) What, then, is so
pleasurable about Eden-paradise? Nothing less than the presence of God, in whom is all joy and
delight (Ps.21:6; 27:4-6; 84:10)!
b) The Illustration of the Tabernacle: The construction of Israel's tabernacle helps to explain and
illustrate this relationship between Eden-paradise and God's manifest presence. It will be recalled
that the layout and furniture of the tabernacle are patterns or types, "a copy and shadow of the
things in heaven" (Heb.8:5). Time does not permit a thorough discussion of all the symbolism
and detail of the law here, but a brief discussion will be useful, for the tabernacle is itself a
picture of the present "Eden", that is, the third heaven where God is currently in manifest
residence (Lk.23:43).

Entrance into the tabernacle is not permissible without first passing the altar (where the blood
sacrifices depict the saving work of Christ on our behalf in various ways; cf. certain cases where
there is an actual placing of the hand on the victims head) and the laver (where the symbolic
washing away of sin on the basis of the sacrificial work of Christ is clear enough; cf. baptism).
The only way to get into the tabernacle (heaven) is through the blood (of Christ) and appropriate
cleansing (forgiveness on the basis of Christ's sacrifice). The rituals ordained for the high priest
on the Day of Atonement give an especially vivid picture of the restoration of a way into the
presence of God, into the Eden-delight of His company. He is behind the veil that separates the
holy place from the holy of holies, a place entered only once a year by the high priest in a picture
of the ascension of Jesus Christ to the throne room of the Father. The blood of the sacrifice
represents Christ's work, while the ark where the blood is sprinkled (covered by the "mercy seat"
with its two golden cherubs that guard it) represents the Father's throne and His acceptance of
Christ's work (the ark, for example, is described in 1st Chronicles 28:18 as a "chariot", the form
of the throne of the Lord as we know from e.g., Ezek.1:4-28). It is also significant to note that the
veil separating the holy place from the holy of holies, replete with embroidered cherubim (the
protectors of the holiness of God from anything profane), was split from top to bottom
immediately after the death of our Lord opened the way for us back into fellowship with the
Father (Matt.27:51):

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence in this access of ours into the [heavenly] holy of
holies by the blood of Jesus, an entryway, so to speak, through the veil (which is His flesh), an
entrance which is new(15) and alive and which He has consecrated - and since we have [this]
great high priest over the household of God, let us pray with a truthful heart in complete faith,
our hearts sprinkled [clean] of [any] bad conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:19-22

In the passage above, the writer of Hebrews makes clear the analogy between the tabernacle and
the throne room of heaven. The earthly holy of holies, where the ark-chariot resides, is an
unambiguous type of the Father's throne, and therefore a symbol of the presence of the Father.
Until the efficacious sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His Son, there was no admittance for sinful man
into His holy presence, but now all who accept Jesus Christ do have that access on the basis of
the work of the one who "split the veil" sacrificing His own body on our behalf. Before the
sacrificial death, resurrection, ascension and session of Jesus Christ at the right hand of the
Father (Ps.110:1; Rom.8:34; Eph.1:21-22; Phil.2:9; Heb.1:3; 12:2; 1Pet.3:22), those who died in
the Lord were conveyed not to heaven, but to "Abraham's bosom", the pleasurable part of sheol
located beneath the earth (Lk.16:19-31; and cf. 1Sam.2:6; 28:15; 1Kng.2:6; Job 11:8; Ps.139:8;
Is.7:11). By His victory at the cross, however, Christ won a literal "access" into the Father's
presence, so that paradise is now to be found in the third heaven (1Pet.3:18-19):
I know a man, [a believer] in Christ - fourteen years earlier such a one was snatched up to the
third heaven (in his body perhaps, or out of it, I don't know - God knows). And I know that this
man (in his body perhaps, or out of it, I don't know - God knows) was snatched up to paradise,
and heard inexpressible words which are not permissible for a man to speak. 2nd Corinthians 12:2-
4



The tabernacle, then, is a picture of the third heaven, with the ark and its mercy seat representing
the throne of the Father in the holy of holies (cf. Rev.5:11-12), and with the veil and its
embroidered cherubim representing the separation between God and mankind which was rent in
two by the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ (Matt.27:51; Mk.15:38; Lk.23:45; cf. Heb.10:20).

The holy place, the larger of the two rooms in the tabernacle, is also representative of the
fellowship between God and sanctified believers in paradise. Like a new garden of Eden, there
believers who have passed over to be with the Lord enjoy the inexpressible pleasure of
fellowship with the Trinity (cf. Ex.29:44-45), an event foreshadowed by the three articles
contained in the holy place (Ex.25:23-40; 30:1-10). After accepting Christ's sacrifice at the altar
on our behalf and after being cleansed from our sins at the laver through His work, we enter the
holy place containing the golden table, the golden lampstand, and the golden altar of incense
(gold being a symbol of divinity). In one sense, these three articles are reminiscent of the blessed
provisions of the tree of life enjoyed by Adam and Eve in the garden before the fall: the shape of
the golden lampstand recalls the appearance of the tree of life (Ex.25:33-34)(16); the bread of the
presence on the golden table recalls its fruit (compare the twelve loaves of Lev.24:5-9 with the
twelve crops of Rev.22:2; and cf. the analogies of manna and communion); and the incense from
the golden altar recalls its fragrance. But it is in their depiction of Jesus Christ, the true "tree of
life" (Jn.15:1-8; Rom.11:17-24), that these three articles have their most profound significance;
in heaven, we are destined to enjoy the benefits of the tree of life (Rev.2:7; 22:14 & 19) because
of our Lord Jesus Christ, the One who died on a tree to give us access to the eternal life the tree
of life represents (1Pet.2:24):

       The Bread: The "bread of presence" on the golden table is a picture of Christ the Bread of
        Life (Jn.6:35: "I am the bread of life") being offered by the Father (Jn.3:16).

       The Light: The light emanating from the golden lampstand is a picture of Christ the Light
        of the world (Jn.8:12: "I am the light of the world) being empowered by the Holy Spirit
        (Is.11:2; Rev.1:4; and cf. Lk.4:18, the anointing oil of the Spirit).

       The Aroma: The incense rising from the golden altar directly before the veil of the holy
        of holies is a picture of Christ in resurrection ascending to heaven (Jn.11:25: "I am the
        resurrection and the life") having provided through His sacrifice a fragrant aroma of
        salvation most acceptable to the Father (Eph.5:2; cf. Heb.1:3).

All of us blessed to die in the Lord are privileged to enter and abide in the tabernacle-paradise of
God, where we shall enjoy the His fellowship forever more. The three articles also speak to
God's eternal provision for us in the paradise to come: 1) the bread speaks of physical sustenance
and life, eternal life; 2) the light speaks of spiritual illumination and truth, divine truth; 3) the
incense speaks of physical and spiritual joy, everlasting joy. In the tabernacle of heaven, all our
needs will be provided for as we fellowship with the Trinity for all eternity because of the
sacrifice of Jesus and our decision to follow Him in this life. Thus the tabernacle is effective
shorthand for the eternal bliss that should be our focus in this life, as well as the means to
achieving it through acceptance of the sacrifice of Christ.

As illustrated by the tabernacle, therefore, Eden (or paradise) is the place where God fellowships
with sanctified mankind. It is a place of delight because there is no greater joy than communing
with God apart from sin and the troubles of the world we now know. But despite the trials and
tribulations that are inevitable for believers in the devil's world, it is also important to note that in
this place that is certainly no paradise, God has nevertheless always made it possible for those
who would seek Him to "walk with Him" (Gen.5:24). Moreover, in the days of Israel, He dwelt
amongst the congregation of believers (Ex.25:8), and today He and His Son dwell in the hearts of
those who have believed and so received His Holy Spirit (Jn.14:23; 1Cor.3:16-17; 6:19;
2Cor.6:16). Our fellowship with God now is a foretaste of the bliss and delight of the restored
Eden to come, when "the dwelling of God" shall "come to men" (Rev.21:3 & 21:22). It remains
to consider in a comprehensive manner all the manifestations of Eden-paradise, in order to lay a
sure foundation for our discussion of the original fall of one of God's creatures from that perfect
fellowship, namely that of Satan.

6) The Seven Edens: As the foregoing discussion has indicated, the biblical terms Eden and
paradise are synonymous for the place of perfect pleasure in fellowship with God. These words,
therefore, have, as we have already seen in brief, a wider range of application than the garden in
which God placed Adam and Eve. Common factors in every place that bears the name paradise
(or Eden) include delightful sights and sounds, enjoyable work or worship, physical and spiritual
wholeness, and, most importantly, the presence of and fellowship with God Himself. Seven
distinct paradises may distinguished from scripture. They are all perfect places God has
established for communing with His creatures, dating from angelic pre-history to the end of time:

   a) The Perfect Original Earth: The first Eden is particularly germane to our present study, as it
was the original place of meeting between God and angelic kind. It was from this first Eden, the
earth in its original pristine perfection (not to be confused with the restored earth, home to Adam
and Eve's garden of Eden),(17) that Satan was expelled.(18) This much is made clear by Ezekiel
28:13, where God declares of Satan, "you were in Eden), the garden of God".(19) This first
paradise, the place of God's throne and God's presence, was, interestingly enough, not in heaven
but on earth (on the "mount of assembly, the recesses of the north": Is.14:13; cf. Ezek.28:14 &
16; Ps.48:2 compared to Mt. Zion). Since this point will prove to be an important one, some of
the other references in the context of Isaiah fourteen need to be considered in brief:

      1) "fallen from heaven" in Is.14:12 looks forward to the events of Rev.12:9 (as does
Ezek.28:17b: "I threw you to the earth"); Satan is expelled from this original paradise before the
creation of man, but he will not be expelled from heaven until the appointed future time (cf. Job
1-2).


     2) "I will ascend to heaven" in the first part of v.13 is better translated "heavenward",
meaning to the top of the mount of assembly, the place of God's throne on earth directly above
the "stars" (i.e., the other angels; cf. Job 25:3; Ps.103:20-21; Is.40:26 w. Lk.2:13).

    3) "above the tops of the clouds" in v.14 confirms the earthly location of this mountain
which is so tall and imposing that it rises above the clouds, though located on the earth.



There are also a number of important points of similarity between this original lofty location of
God's throne and Mount Zion in Jerusalem:(20)

    1) It is a holy mountain (Is.14:13; Ezek.28:14 & 16), and so is Mount Zion (Is.56:7; 57:13;
65:11; Ezek.20:40).

      2) It is high and lofty (Is.14:13-14), and Mount Zion is likewise destined to be raised above
all other mountains (Is.2:2-3; Ezek.40:2; Mich.4:1; Zech.14:10). Note that the New Jerusalem
appears to have this same superior elevation as the source of the river of the water of life which
flows from before God's throne (Rev.22:1-2).

    3) As the seat of God's throne, it is at the center of the universe of that time (Is.14:13-14;
Ezek.28:13-16), just as Jerusalem is described as the "center of the world" (Ezek.38:12; cf.
Ezek.5:5), and will be the ultimate place of God's residence (Rev.21-22).

    4) It is described as "Eden, the garden of God", just as the New Jerusalem, the ultimate
Eden, will contain the river of the waters of life and the tree of life (Rev.22:1-4).

   b) The Interim Third Heaven: After Satan's rebellion, the universe, naturally and from its
original creation a place of light, was "blacked out".(21) We have no way of knowing how long
the Lord left Satan and company in fearful anticipation of immediate judgment before restoring
the earth and the universe. We can assume, however, that there was still a place where He made
His presence known for fellowship with the elect angels. This would most likely be in heaven,
given the devastation of planet earth as an initial judgment upon and restraint of Satan's activities
(a situation to be described in Part 2 of this series). When restoration of the earth does occur
(along with the new Eden), we do in fact find the elect angels in God's presence, filled with joy
as they observe the event (Job 38:4-7).

   c) The Garden of Eden: The garden of Eden in which God placed Adam and Eve is by far the
best known of the seven paradises. In Part 3 of this series, we shall cover the purpose, creation,
and fall of Man in detail. Like the other Edens, it was a place of fellowship with God (Gen.2:16-
17; 2:19; 3:8), a place of physical and spiritual delight (Gen.2:9), and a place of enjoyable
occupation (Gen. 2:15; 2:19-20; n.b., sweat and effort only exist after the fall: Gen.3:17-19).
Attempts to fix a location for the garden based on the description of the rivers in Gen.2:10-14 (a
difficult task when the significant geographical alterations that must have been wrought by the
world-wide flood of Genesis chapter seven are considered), often fail to take into account that
the mention of "Cush" (Gen.2:14) can be (and most probably is) a reference to the land of the
Kassites (modern day southern Iraq).(22)
   d) Abraham's Bosom: Believers who die in the Lord since His ascension to the presence of the
Father go to be with Him where He is, in heaven (Jn.12:26; 14:1-3; 17:24; 2Cor.5:8; Phil.1:23).
However, before the resurrection, ascension and session of our Lord Jesus Christ, pre-cross
believers were not admitted into the third heaven, but were instead taken to a provisional
paradise in the heart of the earth which Jesus calls "Abraham's bosom" in the parable of Lazarus
and the rich man (Lk.16:19-31). The reason for this temporary separation (albeit in a place of
blessing) was the prior requirement that sinful Man be redeemed before entering into the
presence of God (a promise in which these Old Testament believers had put their faith, but one
which would not be fulfilled historically until the cross). That is why, after the expulsion from
Eden of Adam and Eve, God stationed His cherubs at the entrance to the garden, namely, to deny
mankind access to the tree of life when sin made further direct communion with Him impossible
without prior redemption from that sin (Gen.3:24). There could thus be no admittance to direct
fellowship with God, before or after death, until Christ should pay in full with His precious blood
the redemption price of sinful mankind (Heb.1:3), and thereby win access for us once more into
the presence of the Father (Rom.5:2; Heb.10:19-22; 1Pet.3:18).

The abode of the Old Testament dead is often referred to by its Hebrew name sheol, lvaw (New
Testament "Hades"), alternatively translated in the English versions as "hell" or "the grave"(cf.
1Sam.2:6; 28:15; 1Kng.2:6; Job 11:8; Ps.139:8; Is.7:11). As Lk.16:19-31 indicates, sheol (hell or
Hades) is composed of several compartments:

     1) the place of the saved (Abraham's Bosom, the place of blessing where Lazarus resides);

     2) the place of the unsaved (sheol proper, or "torments" where the rich man finds himself);

    3) the Abyss (not in the parable but elsewhere in Luke), the place where certain of the fallen
angels are presently incarcerated (Lk.8:31; 2Pet.2:4; Jude 6; Rev.9:1-11; 20:1-3).(23)

It is to this interim Eden that Jesus refers when on the cross He tells the believing thief "today
you will be with Me in paradise" (Lk.23:43; our Lord's proclamation to the angels imprisoned in
the Abyss, part of His descent into sheol or "hell", is referred to at 1Pet.3:19). While hell proper
and the Abyss hold fast their inhabitants even today, the blessed occupants of Abraham's Bosom
were brought to heaven to be with their Lord in the wake of His ascension to the Father (compare
Ps.68:18 and Eph.4:8-10 with Jn.12:26 etc.; see also Part 5 of the present series).

   e) The Present Third Heaven: Deceased believers currently reside in the third heaven, the
paradise, as we have seen, referred to in 2nd Corinthians 12:4. This "heaven" is the place of the
Father's throne, and is also called the "heaven of the heavens" or "highest heavens" (Deut.10:14;
Ps.148:4; cf. Eph.4:10). Its location and character are the same as the interim third heaven
(treated above under point b.), with the important exception that it now serves as paradise for all
who die in the Lord since His ascension to the Father's right hand. First and foremost, we can
take great comfort in the fact that our destiny in the next life is inextricably linked to that of our
Master, Jesus Christ. He has promised us unequivocally that we shall be where He is, which, at
this present time, is at the Father's right hand ((Ps.110:1; Rom.8:34; Eph.1:21-22; Phil.2:9;
Heb.1:3; 12:2; 1st Pet.3:22):
Whoever serves Me, must follow Me; where I am, there My servant will be also. Whoever
serves Me, My Father will honor. John 12:26

Don't let your heart be troubled. Believe in God, and believe also in Me. There are many rooms
in my Father's house. If there weren't, I would have told you. For I am going in order to prepare a
place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Myself,
so that where I am, you may be also. John 14:1-3

Father, as to those You have given to Me, I want them to be with Me so that they may see the
glory You have given to Me, because You loved Me before the foundation of the world. John
17:24

And so we take heart, preferring to be away from the body but at home with the Lord.       2nd
Corinthians 5:8

I am torn between the two [alternatives], desiring to depart and to be with Christ, for that
[condition] is better by far. Philippians 1:23

When we do depart this life to be with the Lord "we shall not be found naked", that is, entirely
disembodied, but a blessed habitation awaits us in the third heaven (2Cor.5:3), an interim body to
serve us until the time of our resurrection (see Peter #20 for details), one in which we shall be
visible as the persons we have always been (Rev.6:9), one capable of speaking (Rev.6:10), of
wearing clothing (Rev.6:11), of worshiping God (Rev.7:9-10), and of experiencing all the joy of
communion and fellowship with Him and with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Rev.7:15-17).

This joy is impossible for us to comprehend at present, but from the time of our transfer to the
third heaven (probably, as in the case of Abraham's Bosom, conveyed there by angels: cf.
Lk.16:22), there shall be no more unhappiness of any kind, only the bliss of eternity in the
presence of the Lord (Rev.7:15-17; 21:4).

  f) The Millennial Jerusalem: When Christ returns at the 2nd Advent, He will establish His
kingdom and rule entire world from Jerusalem (e.g., Zech.8:3; 9:9; 14:9). As the capitol of the
Messianic Kingdom, Jerusalem will be the preeminent city on earth, even in a geographic sense,
on the supernaturally elevated Mt. Zion (Is.2:2-3; 24:21-23; 52:2; Ezek.40:2; Mich.4:1;
Zech.14:10). The conditions that will obtain in the millennial Jerusalem will make it a veritable
Eden restored:

The Lord will have compassion on Zion, and compassion on all her ruins, and He will make her
desert like Eden, and her wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Isaiah 51:3

In that blessed "favorable season" to come (Is.61:2), the curse on the earth will be removed
(Gen.3:17-19; 5:29; cf. Rom.8:19-23) and conditions similar to the garden restored (Acts 3:21).
Comparable to the tree of life of Gen.2:9, and to the "tree(s) of life" in the final New Jerusalem
(Rev.22:2), the millennial, Edenic Jerusalem will also be provided with trees that share the same
purpose of imparting spiritual as well as physical blessing (cf. Is.41:19; 55:12-13; Ezek.34:27;
36:8; Rev.22:2):
And on the bank of the river gorge on both sides will spring up every sort of food-producing tree.
Their foliage will not wither, nor their produce fail, but every month they will yield a new crop,
for they will be irrigated by the waters flowing from the sanctuary; their produce will serve as
food and their foliage as medicine. Ezekiel 47:12

And it is not only in the tree of life that the millennial Jerusalem will resemble Edens past and
present, for the river on whose banks the trees described above will flourish will share important
qualities with the river of Genesis chapter two and with the "river of the water of life" of
Revelation chapter twenty-two:

     1) a central source: Just as water flowed out of the garden of Eden, so the millennial river of
living water will rise from a fountainhead at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem (Ezek.47:1-12;
Joel 3:18; Zech.14:8), a very similar scene to that of the river of the water of life in Rev.22:1-2.

     2) a fertile effect: The river is associated with agricultural fecundity and abundant fisheries
in Ezekiel 47:1-12, while Joel 3:18 connects the fountain with the blossoming of the land in
general (cf. a similar symbolic reference in Is.66:12: "I will extend peace to her like a river and
the wealth of nations like a flooding stream").

      3) a life-giving influence: The river is one of "living water" in Zechariah 14:8, a title which,
in light of Revelation 22:17, suggests the spiritual blessings it will confer (see also Jer.2:13;
Is.55:1).

The Kingdom of Heaven as it will be set up by Christ following His 2nd Advent presents a unique
situation in its capacity as the sixth Eden, for, unlike the garden of Adam and Eve or the final
paradise, New Jerusalem, it (and the rejuvenated earth) will be home to a mixed population that
will include individuals both imperfect (people of various spiritual states still in their natural
bodies) and perfect (resurrected believers). The righteous rule of Christ (Ps.2:9) will suppress the
effects of the sin nature so pronounced in our experience (e.g., crime and war), and the result will
be a veritable heaven on earth, an environment as perfect as possible (given the limitation that it
will contain imperfect human beings), a world overflowing with blessing in its sights and sounds,
its prosperity, and in the physical and spiritual wholeness, flowing forth from Jerusalem:

Beauty of the Rejuvenated Earth:

The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf with the
lion and the fatling together, with a little boy leading them. Isaiah 11:6-9

Your eyes will gaze upon the King in His beauty, and you will see the land expanding out
[before you]. Isaiah 33:17

The desert and arid land will rejoice, and the wilderness will exult and burst into bloom like a
crocus. Isaiah 35:1

I will make rivers spring forth on the barren heights, and fountains in the valleys. I will fill the
desert with pools of water, and the arid places with springs of water. Isaiah 41:18
The mountains and hills will let out a cheer and the trees will clap their hands. Instead of thorns,
cypress will grow, and instead of thistles, myrtles. Isaiah 55:12

Prosperity and Happiness:

Enlarge the place for your tent. Let your tent curtains stretch wide and don't hold back. Lengthen
your ropes and strengthen your stakes. For you will burst forth on the right and on the left. Your
offspring will possess the nations, and the deserted cities will be inhabited. Isaiah 54:2-3

Your gates will be open always, day and night they will not be closed, so that the wealth of the
nations may be brought to you, and their kings led before you. Isaiah 60:11

You will feast on the wealth of the nations, and boast in their riches. Isaiah 61:6

I am about to extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an
overflowing torrent.    Isaiah 66:12

Raise a joyous shout, Daughter of Zion. Shout for joy, Israel. Be happy and exult with all your
heart, Daughter of Jerusalem. Zephaniah 3:14

For there will be prosperity for what is sown: the vine will yield its fruit, and the land will bring
forth its produce, and the sky will give forth the [necessary] moisture. Zechariah 8:12

The wealth of all the nations round about will be gathered up, their gold and silver and clothing
in abundance. Zechariah 14:14

Physical and Spiritual Wholeness:

The mountains will bring forth prosperity for the people, and the hills righteousness. Psalm 72:3

"Come let us go to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach
us of His ways, and that we may walk in His paths." Isaiah 2:3

And the Lord will create over Mount Zion and over all her assemblies a cloud - one of smoke by
day, and of a shining flame of fire by night. For there will be a canopy above the glory [of His
presence, covering it] entirely. It will be a shelter from the heat by day, and a refuge and hiding
place from the storm and rain. Isaiah 4:5-6

To His dominion and its prosperity there will be no limit or end. He will establish it and lay its
foundation on David's throne and over his kingdom, in justice and righteousness, now and
forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:7

You will joyously draw water from the fountains of salvation. Isaiah 12:3

Justice will dwell in the desert, and righteousness in the cultivated fields. Isaiah 32:16
I will rejoice over Jerusalem and be filled with joy for My people. The sound of weeping and the
cry of distress will no longer be heard in her. No longer will there be there any infant that
perishes in his youth, nor any old man who fails to live out his days in full. For a man will be
accounted but a youth, should he die at a hundred, even the sinner a hundred year old who
suffers this curse. Isaiah 65:19-20

The Lord their God will deliver them on that day (for His people are to Him as a precious flock,
like jewels in a crown set prominently in His land). For how fair and beautiful they will be. Grain
will make the young men flourish and new wine the young women. Zechariah 9:17

In that day a fountain will flow for the house of David, [to cleanse] from sin and impurity.
Zechariah 13:1

The Most Profound Blessing of All: The Presence and Personal Rule of Jesus Christ (see also
Ps.2; 45; 48; 72; Is.2:1-5; Ezek.48:35; Dan.7:14; Zech.14; Lk.1:32; Rev.19:11-20:6):

For a child is born to us, and a Son is given to us. Dominion shall rest on his shoulder, and His
name will be called "He whose counsel is wondrous", "Mighty God", "the Father of Eternity",
"the Prince of Prosperity". Isaiah 9:6

In those days and at that time, I will make a Branch of righteousness sprout forth for David, and
He will accomplish justice and righteousness on the earth. Jeremiah 33:15

But you, Oh Bethlehem Ephrathah, too small to be numbered among the clans of Judah, from
you I will bring forth the One who is to rule over Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, even
from the days of eternity. Micah 5:2

Thus says the Lord: I will return to Zion and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And Jerusalem will
be called "the City of Truth", and "the Mountain of the Lord, the Mountain of Holiness".
Zechariah 8:3

Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion. Shout [for joy], daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, your King will
come to you. Righteous and victorious He is; humble and riding on a donkey, even on a colt, a
donkey's foal. Zechariah 9:9

And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be the only One and His
name the only name. Zechariah 14:9



   g) The New Jerusalem: Most of what we know about the ultimate, eternal state, the last Eden,
is from the book of Revelation (chapters 21 &22). But the new heavens and the new earth, the
location of the New Jerusalem (Rev.21:1-2), is well known throughout scripture. In contrast to
the new heavens and new earth, the biblical principle of the transience of human life (e.g.
Is.40:6-8) applies with equal force to the present "old" world in which now we live:

For this world in its present form is passing away. [NIV] 1st Corinthians 7:31
The world and its lust are passing away. 1st John 2:17

Satan's rebellion, the fall of Man, and the sin which has marred all of human history (and which
was judged in Christ on the cross) has made necessary the complete destruction of universe in
which we now dwell (Ps.102:25-27; Is.34:4; 51:6; Hag.2:6; Matt.24:35; Heb.1:11-12; 12:26-29;
2Pet.3:10-13; Rev.20:11). For our eternal abode, where we will be with God forever, He has in
mind a place where there is no longer the slightest taint of sin or rebellion, only righteousness,
that is, the Father's kingdom, the "new heavens and new earth" (cf. Is.65:17; 66:22; 1Cor.15:24):

And the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire by that same word (of God),
preserved for the day of judgment and the destruction of godless men. Let not this one fact
escape your attention then, beloved, namely that one day is like a thousand years in the Lord's
eyes, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not delaying in the fulfillment of His
promise (as some think); rather He is exercising patience for your sake, being unwilling for
anyone to perish, but desiring all instead to come to repentance. For the day of the Lord will
come like a thief, a day in which the heavens will depart with a roar, the very elements will
ignite and dissolve, and the earth and everything which has been done upon it will be laid bare
[for the Lord's inspection]. Since all these things are destined to disintegrate in this way,
[consider] what sort of [Christians] we ought to be, [devoted to] holy and godly conduct, as we
wait with eager expectation and apprehension the advent of the day of God. For on that day the
heavens will burst into flame and dissolve, and the elements will catch fire and melt. But we are
awaiting new heavens and a new earth just as He promised - [a world] where righteousness
dwells.           2nd Peter 3:7-13




It is significant to note that this ultimate paradise will not be "in heaven", but on the new earth,
when the New Jerusalem descends from heaven (Rev.21:10). As creatures created to dwell on
the earth, it makes perfect sense that earth, not heaven, should be our final home. And as the
original Eden was on earth, a place where God communed with the angels until sin entered the
picture through Satan's fall and rebellion, it should also come as no surprise that the Father
Himself will reside with us in the ultimate paradise (Rev.22:3).(24) The New Jerusalem will be a
true paradise in every sense of the word (Rev.2:7). It will contain the tree of life (Rev.2:7; 22:2),
and the river of the water of life (Rev.22:1 & 17). God will be present there in person and we
will enjoy fellowship with Him (Rev.21:3; 22:3). Finally, this ultimate Eden will be a place of
exquisite beauty (Rev.21:9ff.), where the pain and suffering of this life will be a distant memory
(Rev.21:4). In this way, everything will come full circle for humanity. Having lost paradise in
the first instance, because of the sacrifice of Christ and the grace of God we are destined to
reclaim it in the end; and, as is frequently the case where the wisdom, grace and majesty of God
are concerned, what we will have in the end will be far better than Adam and Eve had in the
beginning: a glorious New Jerusalem which will far outshine the glories of the garden, and an
eternity of perfect communion with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in our new, perfect bodies,
with no further possibility of sin.

  h) Our Own Personal Eden: Tribulation we will have as long as we live on this present earth,
under Satan's sway (Jn.16:33). But as believers in Jesus Christ, we can - in spite of pain and
privation - begin to enjoy the most important benefit of paradise here and now, that is,
communion and fellowship with our God. The Holy Spirit is like the river of life springing up
within us, our pledge of eternal life (Jn.7:37-39; cf. Jn.4:14; Is.55:1). Our Lord Jesus Christ is
within us too (Jn.14:20; Rom.8:10; 2Cor.13:5; Eph.3:17; Col.1:27). He is well known to us as
the Branch (e.g., Jer.23:5), and the true vine in whom we bear fruit (Jn.15:1-8; cf. Rom.11:16-24;
see also Ps.1:3; 52:8); He sacrificed Himself for us on a tree (1Pet.2:24), that we might forever
enjoy the right to the tree of life (Rev.2:7). And we have been promised by Him that if we love
and obey Him, the Father too will fellowship with us (Jn.14:23). So that even on this sinful earth,
our bodies, imperfect as they are at this present time, are temples of the living God (1Cor.3:16-
17; 6:19; 2Cor.6:16; Eph.2:21-22; 1Pet.2:5), with whom we are always free to enjoy
communion, the greatest blessing of paradise right here in the midst of the devil's world (cf.
Ps.36:7-9; 46:4):

Happy is the man who does not walk in the path of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners,
nor sit in the seat of scoffers. His delight, instead, is in the law of the Lord, and he meditates on
His law day and night. He will be like a tree planted where the waters divide, which will yield
its fruit in its season, and whose leaf will not wither. Psalm 1:1-3



III. Satan's Original Status:

We return now to the original paradise, that primordial angelic Eden, to a time before Satan had
rebelled from God and had fallen from his privileged status. What we know about Satan in his
pristine state comes mainly from the testimony of Isaiah (chapter fourteen) and Ezekiel (chapter
twenty-eight).(25) When we consider in some detail the information contained in these two
chapters, we can arrive at a rather vivid picture of Satan's situation before he rejected God. In
anticipation of the points about to be covered, suffice it to say that the devil was the preeminent
creature in the universe before his fall, and each of the various characteristics described below
call attention to specific aspects of this preeminence. Satan is described by these two prophets as:
a) the "morning star" and "son of the dawn"; b) one who sealed up perfection; c) full of wisdom;
d) exemplifying beauty; e) in Eden; f) adorned with precious stones; g) equipped with timbrels
and pipes; h) anointed; i) a cherub; j) one who "covers"; k) on the holy mountain of God; l)
walking amidst the "stones of fire":

   a) Morning Star (Is.14:12): This title speaks of Satan's role in reflecting the glory of God (cf.
Job 38:7, where all the elect angels are described as "stars of the morning"). The Hebrew heleyl
(llyh, literally, "shining one"), was translated in the Greek Old Testament as "light bearer" and
by the Latin Vulgate as "Lucifer". "Morning star" (or "day star") is an apt rendering of this title,
for it betokens a heavenly body so brilliant that it can be seen even in daylight. As the prime
creature of the primordial Eden, a place without darkness (for darkness did not exist before
Satan's fall), Satan was the foremost representative of God's splendor, mirroring, for all angelic
kind to behold, the brilliant glory of their Creator. It is a tragic irony that through his own choice
he has now become the ruler of the domain of darkness (Eph.6:12; Col.1:13). Far from reflecting
God's glory, he now opposes it in every way, but his ultimate destiny is to have his light
extinguished forever (Jude 6, 13). In contrast to Satan, our Lord Jesus Christ, the new Morning
Star (2Pet.1:19; Rev.2:28; 22:16; cf. Num.24:17; Is.9:1-2; 42:6; 49:6; Matt.2:2; 2:9; 4:16;
Lk.2:30-32; Jn.1:4-5; 8:12; 9:5), is the perfect reflection of the Father's glory (Heb.1:3).

   b) Sealing Perfection (Ezek.28:12): "Sealing perfection [or proportion]" is a literal rendering
from the Hebrew and can be expanded to the meaning "the one who puts his seal on harmonious-
proportion" or, better, the "touchstone of symmetry" (that is, norms and standards of all kinds as
seen from the divine point of view). That is to say, Satan, in his un-fallen state, could be looked
to as one who upheld, embodied and represented perfect divine standards. It is a tragic irony that
he is now the prime example of all that is wicked, wrong and anti-God. In contrast to Satan, our
Lord Jesus Christ is the One who died to satisfy the Father's righteous standard regarding our sin
(2Cor.5:21; 1Pet.2:24).

   c) Filled with Wisdom (Ezek.28:12): This epithet is clear enough: Satan did not reject God out
of ignorance. To the contrary, he was the wisest of God's creatures until he perverted that
wisdom (Ezek.28:17). It is a tragic irony that Satan corrupted this wisdom and so became the
"father of lies", the adversary of God's wisdom and truth (Jn.8:44). In contrast to Satan, our Lord
Jesus Christ is the very wisdom of God (1Cor.1:24).

   d) Exemplifying Beauty (Ezek.28:12): This phase, also used of the beauty of Jerusalem at
Lamentations 2:15, is often translated "perfect in beauty", but more precisely means "summing
up" or "comprising the totality of beauty" (the Hebrew chaliyl, lylk, meaning an all embracing
wholeness). As originally created, Satan was the very model of pulchritude, the most magnificent
creature in the universe, demonstrating to all who viewed him the beauty of God that must lie
behind such an exquisite act of creation. It is a tragic irony that through his rebellion he has
become the author of and agent behind all the ugliness and abominations that infest this present
world which is his realm, an infestation so repulsive that it will not be cleansed without a
universal conflagration that completely destroys the devil's world (cf. 2Pet.3:10). In contrast to
Satan, our Lord Jesus Christ will reign forever in the unparalleled beauty of the New Jerusalem
(Rev.21-22).

   e) In Eden (Ezek.28:13): As we saw above (section II, 6, a), this "Eden" is the pristine,
original earth before its renewal in Genesis 1:3 and following. Though he was the premier
creature in a utopian setting, Satan was not content. It is a tragic irony that through his rebellion
he has exchanged a perfect environment for eternal residence in the lake of fire, and is leading
his followers to share his fate (Matt.25:41). In contrast to Satan, our Lord Jesus Christ has
prepared a place for us (Jn.14:1-4), a place whose wonders will outstrip even those of that first
Eden (Rev.2:7).

   f) Precious Stones (Ezek.28:13): The precious stones mentioned in this verse are indeed
additional manifestations of Satan's beauty, but it is likely that they also mark him out as the one
who represented the angels before God. The nine stones mentioned in this context bear a striking
similarity to those placed on the high priest's breastplate (Ex.28:17-21; 39:10-14).(26) In the
Exodus context, each of the stones represented one of the twelve tribes of Israel and bore its
name inscribed on the gem. Exodus 28:29 states that Aaron (i.e., the high priest) shall wear the
breastplate with the stones inscribed with the twelve tribes "over his heart" whenever he enters
the Holy Place "as a continual memorial before the Lord"; the verse also calls the breastplate so
equipped "the breastplate of judgment". Each of Israel's tribes is thus a precious jewel in God's
sight, and was represented before Him in this fashion whenever the high priest entered into the
presence of God. Moreover, the breastplate also served the practical function of acting as a
means of communication from the Lord in designating specific tribes for specific tasks.(27) What
we see in Ezekiel's representation of a very similar apparatus on Satan, therefore, should be seen
as fulfilling a similar function. As the "anointed cherub who covers" (see below), Satan would
have been continually in the presence of the Lord as the prime representative of angelic kind in
the same way that our Lord Jesus Christ (symbolically represented by Israel's high priest) has
been continually in His presence as the "last Adam" (1Cor.15:45) and "the Son of Man" (e.g.,
Jn.9:35) since His ascension.(28) It is a tragic irony that Satan, who used to represent his angelic
brethren before the Lord would go on to corrupt many of them, thus leading them to eternal
punishment (Matt.25:41). In contrast to Satan, our Lord Jesus Christ is our guide to eternal life
(Heb.2:10; 12:2; n.b., the Greek word archegos in these two verses is better rendered "leader" or
"guide" than "author", as some of the versions have it), having paid the price of admission for us
with His blood.

  g) Tabrets and Pipes (Ezek.28:13): The KJV's rendering of these next two Hebrew words is,
though archaic in terms of its vocabulary, essentially accurate (not so many more modern
versions, including the NIV, which try to take these words as meaning settings and mountings
for the jewels mentioned above). We may, if we wish, substitute "tambourines" and "flutes", but
the essential meaning is the same: from the day of his creation, Satan was endowed with a golden
musical apparatus, instruments of percussion and wind, that made him uniquely qualified to sing
the praises of God. It is a tragic irony that Satan, a creature specifically designed for praising
God, should devote his existence to cursing Him instead, and suffer the consequence of being
eternally cursed. In contrast to Satan, Christ became a curse for us (Gal.3:13; Rev.22:3), that we
might exist for the praise of God (Eph.1:6; 1:12; 1:14).

   h) Anointed (Ezek.28:14): The word translated here as "anointed" (mimshach) and the word
for Messiah (mashiach) come from the same Hebrew root (xwm, mashach) and are very close in
meaning. Both indicate "to be consecrated through the process of anointing". In ancient Israel, it
was the custom to anoint with oil both priests (Ex.28:41), and monarchs (1Sam.10:1; 16:1 & 13)
at the inception of their offices. Such anointing marks God's choice of the individual in question,
and is symbolic of His power and support. The oil of anointment itself represents the Holy Spirit
(cf. 1Sam.16:13), whose guidance, encouragement and enlightenment would be especially
important for those commissioned by the Lord for spiritual or temporal governance (i.e.,
Ps.51:11). This appears to be the meaning in our context. Satan was not anointed with a literal
oil, but was given a special measure of the Holy Spirit to aid him in his capacity of supreme
angelic being. This anointing marked him out as God's number one creature. It is a tragic irony
that Satan, having been thus commissioned into such a unique position of trust, giving him such
an incomparable opportunity for fellowship with and assistance from God, should betray that
trust and reject Him entirely, only to seek his own aggrandizement. In contrast to Satan, Christ
(whose name means "anointed one") accepted the Father's commission without reservation,
humbling Himself to the point of death on the cross for our sakes, that we might receive the gift
of the Holy Spirit for faithful service to the true Messiah.
   i) Cherub (Ezek.28:14): There is a considerable difference between the image conjured up by
the word "cherub" in our culture and the creatures designated by the biblical word cherubh
(bvrk). Biblically speaking, cherubs are among the highest ranking and most privileged of the
angels, for they are blessed with extraordinary access to the presence of the Lord. What we know
of Satan's unique, pre-fall status as a cherub is to be garnered from the description of the cherubs
who replaced him (described elsewhere in scripture).(29) Cherubs take the lead in worshiping God
(Is.6; Rev.4:8b; 5:8 & 14; 7:11-12; 19:4), act as intermediaries for God in His regal
manifestations (Rev.6:1-7; 15:7), and, perhaps most significantly, control access into His
presence and fellowship (a duty most strikingly evident from their guarding of the "way to the
tree of life" after Man's expulsion from the garden: Gen.3:24). Not surprisingly, therefore, the
cherubs are usually seen in close connection with the throne of God, that is, as we have seen
above, His mobile "chariot-throne" (represented by the ark of the covenant; cf. Ex.25:17-20).
God sits "enthroned" between the cherubs (Ps.80:1), and it is there "between the cherubim" that
He met with Moses (Ex.25:22). The seraphim of Isaiah chapter six, and the "living creatures" of
Revelation (especially Rev.4:6ff.) are representations of these same creatures. In all of these
instances, the creatures depicted are multi-winged angels, closely associated with God's throne,
engaged in worshiping Him as they shield (and sometimes propel) His chariot throne. Though
some would make the living creatures and seraphs separate orders of angelic beings, it is more
likely (given their identical functions and similar descriptions) that these additional names are
merely alternate designations for this highest angelic rank. For instance, the living creatures,
whose multiple faces bear an undeniable similarity to the cherubs of Ezekiel, praise God with the
refrain "holy, holy, holy" in the exact manner of the seraphs of Isaiah ( Is.6:3; Rev.4:8b). The
Hebrew word seraph ([rs) most likely means "burning ones" and this designation matches well
the description of Ezekiel who notes that "the appearance of the creatures was like burning coals
of fire or like torches" (Ezek.1:13; for this fire imagery compare Deut.4:24; Ps.104:4; Ezek.1:4;
10:2; 28:14; Rev.4:2-6).(30) These unique angels, then, guard the throne of God, protecting His
holiness against all that is profane, controlling access to His presence (compare their depiction
on the veil that guarded the holy of holies of the tabernacle: Ex.26:1, 31). It is a tragic irony that
Satan, having once been entrusted with this guardianship of God's holiness, should now, by his
own treachery, be fated to an eternal existence shut off from the presence of God, seeking in the
meantime to deny mankind access to the Father which was once his special prerogative. In
contrast to Satan, Christ by His loyal fulfillment of the Father's plan in sacrificing Himself for us
has gained for us access into the holy place, past the cherubim, and into the presence of the
Father (Rom.5:2; Eph.2:18; 3:12).

  j) He Who Covers (Ezek.28:14): The primary reference for this passage is Exodus 25:20,
where the cherubs who stand above the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant (the representation
of God's throne) are said to spread their wings and "cover" the seat (the same Hebrew verb,
sachach, being used in both contexts). This same verb is also used of the veil "covering" the holy
of holies (Ex.40:3; 21). The main idea here is one of "shielding" or "protecting" as can be seen
from the use of the word in the Psalms (e.g, Ps.5:11; 91:4; 140:7). Satan's original position can
thus be described as that of the ultimate "imperial guard", charged with warding off all that is
profane from the exquisite holiness of God (the function now, as we have seen, of numerous
cherubs). It is a tragic irony that Satan's position as a bulwark against the profane has been
altered by his own rebellion into that of a promoter of all that is detestable to God's holiness. In
contrast to Satan, Christ kept Himself completely chaste from sin, so that in fulfillment of the
Father's plan He might "become sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in
Him" (2Cor.5:21).

  k) On the Holy Mountain of God (Ezek.28:14): This is a reference to the perfect, original earth
(see section II.6.a above). Satan's place in the pristine perfection of God's original creation was
compromised by his rebellion and he has thus exchanged this blessed habitation for the ultimate
condemnation of the lake of fire (Rev.21:10). In contrast to Satan, Christ, by enduring the
condemnation of the cross on our behalf, has opened the way into the true holy of holies for us,
that is, into the presence of the Father, and has thus forever vouchsafed our place in the ultimate
restored paradise (Heb.6:19-20).


   l) Walking Amidst the Stones of Fire (Ezek.28:14 & 16): Mentioned only here in scripture, the
"stones of fire" would appear to be memorial stones, along the lines of the gems on the high
priest's breastplate (see section III.f above). But in contrast to the collective reference of the
gems on the breastplate (as with the gems worn by Satan), these "stones of fire" seem rather to
represent the remembrance of individual angelic beings before the Lord. We see parallels for this
function in the foundation jewels of the New Jerusalem (one for each apostle: Rev.21:14-21),
and in the "white stone" that is given to everyone who "overcomes": a name is written on this
stone "which no one knows save he who receives [it]" (Rev.2:17). The fact that the very memory
of Satan will be obliterated (i.e., "I will destroy you from the midst of the stones of fire" in v.16;
cf. the use of 'abhadh here and in Deut.12:3 & Is.26:14) argues for this interpretation. The
stones, then, would serve, for angels, a purpose similar to that of the "book of life" for believers
(cf. Ex.32:32; Dan.12:1; Lk.10:20; Rev.20:15). That these stones should be "fiery" is perfectly
understandable when we consider the natural affinity of angels for fire as described elsewhere in
scripture (Ps.104:4; Is.6:6; Ezek.10:2). It is a tragic irony that Satan should abandon his special
place amidst these memorials to the Lord's personal remembrance of every holy angel and
embark instead on a mission of alienating from God as many angels and men as he could. In
contrast to Satan, Christ offered Himself as a memorial before the Father to bring to repentance
and salvation all of mankind (Eph.5:2).

Conclusion: Satan was the top-ranking angelic creature, blessed with extraordinary offices and
privileges which were never to be paralleled again (except in the person of Christ, an issue we
shall explore in part 5 of this study). His preeminent status begs the question of why he would
jeopardize (let alone renounce) such an exalted status. The sad truth is that all these benefits and
blessings were not enough for Satan. He wanted more, wanted the only thing with which he had
not been entrusted: rulership of the universe. It was not enough for him to be guardian of the
throne of God; he wanted to occupy it as well.



IV. Satan's Character, Sin and Fall:

   1) Satan's Character: As Ezekiel 28:15 states in unequivocal terms, Satan was created
"blameless". This is a critical piece of information, because through this scripture we are assured
that his decision to sin was not some inevitable action originating with God, but was instead a
free-will decision on Satan's part. Satan was created without sin, and with no necessity to sin. He
and he alone is the one who bears the complete responsibility for all the trouble he has brought
upon his fellow angels, upon humanity, and upon himself. God bears none of the blame for
Satan's fall. Satan took the opportunity of using the free will God gave him to reject God and
follow instead the path of evil.

As is the case with all of us, Satan's decision to eschew God and all that is good and true, meant
that he would necessarily follow the path of evil and of the lie. Make no mistake - there is no
middle ground. Ultimately, no one is entirely independent in his actions. We only choose the
master we will serve, be it good or evil, truth or lie, God or Satan. Thus the choice-issue that
confronts human beings today is in its essence the same as that which confronted Satan before
human history ever commenced. Like that primeval super-creature, we too must choose whether
we will follow God, accepting the truth He has made available to us, or reject Him, accepting
instead the devil's lies.

The issue of choice in Satan's case is of the most critical importance (as indeed it is with every
one of God's moral creatures). Satan had to be given the chance of rejecting God and His truth
just as Adam and Eve did, just as you and I do. Without the opportunity of rejecting truth in a
tangible and meaningful way, there would be no genuine choice, no true free will. A situation
where His creatures praise Him and follow Him simply because there is no other option is clearly
not what God desires or intends. The free will God has provided to His creatures is inextricably
bound up with the choice of accepting or rejecting Him, but the choice is real and legitimate
nonetheless. According to any other scenario, we would be little more than robots, and morally
indistinct from the animals.

God's provision of free will to His creatures has not been effected without stupendous cost.
Endowed with the option of rejecting Him, all too many angels and humans have availed
themselves of this dubious opportunity. And the loss is not ours alone: to redeem sinful mankind
from the disastrous decisions of our first parents, God would have to pay the ultimate price in the
death of His own dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross. The ultimate victory, of course,
will belong to God, as all will eventually acknowledge Him, whether from choice or from
necessity (Is.45:23; Rom.3:19; 14:10-11; Phil.2:10-11).

Though originally blameless, Satan made the mistake of using his freedom to choose "freedom
from God". But such a prospect is wholly illusory: "freedom from God" means in truth only
slavery, captivity to sin and death, and so to Satan (Heb.2:14-15 cf. Is.14:17; 61:1; Jn.8:34). For
"to whatever you give your allegiance, to that you are enslaved" (Rm.6:16; cf. 2Pet.2:19). As
L.S. Chafer has observed, the issue for us all is "independence from God" or "oneness with
God": as creatures we can't ever actually attain the former, but are free to choose the latter. Satan
started with a pristine and blameless character, but in declaring his independence from God, he
embraced the lie perforce, and become the very father of it (Jn.8:44).

  2) Satan's Sin: In Paul's instructions to Timothy regarding the necessary qualifications of
pastors, he concludes the section by warning that the candidate should not be a neophyte (i.e, one
newly in the faith and spiritually immature). Otherwise, Paul says, the man might easily "become
puffed up (i.e., blinded by arrogance) and so fall into [the same] condemnation as the devil [did]"
(1Tim.3:6). In Paul's caveat here, pride, that is, an unwarranted sense of superiority, creates a
breeding ground for further sin. This was certainly so in Satan's case. His exorbitant pride over
the qualities and attributes given him by God (Ezek.28.17) led to further corrupt thinking and
plotting (Is.14:13-14; Ezek.28:17b), and finally to action: full scale rebellion against God. The
substance of this corrupt thinking, a pattern of thought completely divorced from reality given
God's graceful generosity to him and the absolute folly of opposing Him, is recorded for us by
Isaiah:

For you said in your heart, "I will ascend heavenward. I will set my throne above the stars of
God. And I will take my seat on the mount of assembly on the sides of the north. I will ascend
above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High God. Isaiah 14:13-14

All five of these famous "I wills" of Satan speak to the same objective: replacing God's rule over
the universe with his own. However, we can glean some specifics about Satan's intentions from
each:

"I will ascend heavenward": Not "to heaven" as we have seen (see section II.6.a above). The
primordial Eden, it will be remembered, was on earth. Furthermore, the "heights" of the mount
of assembly were apparently dizzyingly high so as to make this expression quite apropos (see
"above the heights of the clouds" immediately below, and compare the massive dimensions of
the New Jerusalem, some fifteen hundred miles high: Rev.21:16).

"I will set my throne above the stars of God": These "stars" are the other angels, as we have seen
(cf. Job 25:5; Ps.103:20-21; Is.40:26 w. Lk.2:13). There is no indication that Satan had any such
throne. As we have seen, he was the cherub-guardian of God's throne, a throne which he sought
to usurp. His current throne, or rulership of the world, will be held only temporarily.

"I will take my seat on the mount of assembly on the sides of the north": See 6a above for
similarities between this description and Jerusalem. Here Satan imagines his moment of
installation as supreme ruler in the place of God.

"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds": As with "stars", "clouds" too has a double
meaning, refering both to height and to the other angels (for clouds are often used to describe the
assembled armies of God: Dan.7:13; Matt.26:64; 1Thes.4:17; Heb.12:1; Rev.1:7). This thought
reprises the first "I will" and acts as a solemn asseveration of the plan contained in the first three
"I wills". In non-poetic language it is equivalent "Yes, I will indeed do this thing."

"I will be like the Most High God": This is the essence of Satan's plan and his desire, directly
expressed without further equivocation. The statement, a prophetically inspired quote of Satan's
actual thinking, removes any doubt about the fact that he was indeed aware of the consequences
of his actions. Satan meant to replace God and so take all His glory to himself. As is so often the
case in human experience, this pattern of thinking eventually led to action and to overt sin, thus
bringing about Satan's rebellion and fall.

  3) Satan's Fall: If chapter fourteen of the book of Isaiah describes the development and
expression of Satan's mental state, culminating in his launching of a rebellion against God,
Ezekiel chapter twenty-eight describes the process of putting his arrogant plan into practice,
albeit in largely reverse order, tracing the matter backward at first from the result to the cause
(vv.15-17), before more fully explicating the charge against Satan in verse eighteen. It will be
helpful to translate and briefly analyze these verses in their sequential order before moving on to
a full consideration of Satan's coup d'etat, his revolutionary platform, and the scriptural names
given to him which mark out his character for all to see, branding him as a deceiver and an
opponent of the Lord God Almighty.

Your heart became haughty because of your beauty, [and so] you destroyed your wisdom on
account of your splendor. So I cast you to the earth, and I made a spectacle of you before
kings. Ezekiel 28:17

Arrogant pride, attributed specifically to Satan's high esteem for his own appearance, is at the
root of the thought pattern whose course we saw Isaiah chronicle. Persistent and obsessive
preoccupation with his own loveliness over time had a corrupting influence upon Satan's whole
mental attitude, neutralizing, then effectively destroying his conscience, his character and his
wholesome fear of God (cf. Eph.4:19; 1Tim.4:2). The judgments described in the second half of
the verse are perfectively future, that is, it is a fate so certain (since it has been decreed by God)
that it is described as already having happened. The first half of the judgment, being "cast to
earth", will be carried out during the second half of the tribulation, the so-called "Great
Tribulation" (Rev.12:7-13). The second half of the prophecy, becoming a "spectacle before
kings", refers to Satan's final disposition into the lake of fire (Rev.20:10). Satan destroyed the
wisdom God had given him and ungratefully rebelled against God, therefore God will destroy
him. He who would be king shall be humbled before God's appointed royalty by the King of
Kings (cf. Rev.21:24).

In your extensive conspiring, you were filled with wickedness, and you sinned. So I cast you
from the mountain of God as one profaned, and I blotted out [your memory] from among the
stones of fire, O covering cherub. Ezekiel 28:16

Satan's conspiracy is first explicitly mentioned here, that is, his active attempt to carry out his
plan of the five "I wills". The Hebrew word rachal (lkr), translated here as "conspiring", has the
two-fold meaning of repetitive motion ("trading" or "trafficking") and of slandering. In the
context of Satan's activities, it fits our notion of conspiracy quite well. As arrogance led to
perverted thinking (v.17), now we see these mental attitude sins blossoming into the overt
activity of canvassing his fellow angels for support, slandering God in the process, an activity
characterized by Ezekiel as "wickedness". Satan was attempting to besmirch God's reputation to
gain adherents and further his own goals, but God here declares another fitting judgment on
Satan: the future obliteration of any remembrance of him, let alone his reputation, and his
physical expulsion from the place he feign would occupy as ruler of the universe.

In all your ways you were perfect from the day of your creation until unrighteousness was found
in you.       Ezekiel 28:15
In the abundance of your iniquity, in the unrighteousness of your conspiring, you profaned your
sacred trusts, so I made fire come out of your midst which devoured you, and I made you like the
dust of the earth in the eyes of all who beheld you. Ezekiel 28:18

These two verses, one at the head of this section, and the other at the end of it, both treat Satan's
sin and fall in summary form. Verse fifteen takes a subjective viewpoint: Satan was made perfect
- God is not to blame for his rejection of God. Nevertheless, by his own actions he became
"unrighteous", that is, unqualified for eternal contact and residence with God because of sin.
Verse eighteen sums up from an objective viewpoint: Satan's conduct is described as "iniquity"
(Hebrew 'aven, ]vi, a strong word for egregious and presumptuous sin and the guilt it incurs);
this activity is further described as a lack of righteousness here too but the word 'avel (lvi) is now
applied not to Satan himself (as in verse fifteen), but to his deeds, namely, his conspiratorial
actions. Once again, the future judgment is described as already having occurred, its eventuality
being so certain as to be without doubt. Satan will actually be cast into the lake of fire following
Christ's millennial reign (Rev.20:10). Entrusted with the guardianship of the innermost shrines of
the Lord, Satan betrayed and polluted his trust, therefore God has decreed that Satan himself
shall be desecrated, his pollution incinerated in eternal fire.

   a) Satan's Coup D'etat: As would be usurper of God's throne, Satan found himself in a delicate
position. When he conceived his nefarious ambition, he was on his own. Even in his unparalleled
arrogance, he must have realized that he would need help if were to successfully dethrone the
Lord of the universe. Satan did have some advantages, however. As the preeminent and highest
ranking angelic creature (not to mention the most impressive), Satan had considerable influence
and authority over the other angels. None would be likely to rebel from the Lord instantaneously
on Satan's say-so, but, with proper preparation, it might be possible to sway some of his fellows.
Satan's plan was not to overthrow God by force (for such a course of action was a complete
impossibility, as even Satan with his inflated sense of self saw clearly enough), but rather to
effect a coup d'etat: by winning over the allegiance of the angels, Satan thought to present God
with a fait accompli which He would be powerless to reverse. For if the angels were to choose
Satan over God, the devil seems to have felt secure that this fact in itself would protect him from
divine retribution. This conclusion about Satan's thinking and strategy is, in fact, necessary,
unless of course we are to assume that Satan really felt he could overpower God with a band of
rebellious angels (and surely the wiles that the preeminent among God's creatures has
demonstrated during our own human phase of history show clearly enough that Satan was
smarter than that). But why should Satan feel secure from the wrath of an omnipotent God
against whom he planned to rebel, simply because of some success on his part in seducing other
angelic creatures into following his lead?

The answer to this difficult question lies in Satan's false perception of God's character. Satan
realized, of course, that God had the power to crush him and his rebellion instantly and
effortlessly. What Satan was counting on, however, was not that he would be able to oppose the
omnipotence of God, but that God would be forced, by His own perfect integrity, to refrain from
annihilating Satan and his followers. Even as the devil claims today that a truly loving God
cannot punish His own creatures and still be consistent with His love,(31) so in eternity past Satan
outrageously staked the success of his traitorous ploy on God's own character. The universe at
that time, populated as it was with its numerous angelic inhabitants, was a perfect, harmonious
whole. Would God, could God really rend its fabric so drastically and unalterably by
condemning Satan to destruction (along with the plethora of angels he was absolutely certain he
could convince to follow him)? Satan must have reasoned that without some opportunity for
reconciliation, and without some means of replacing what would be lost and thus restoring the
perfect whole, his condemnation would be inconceivable because it would be completely
inconsistent with the loving, fair, perfect God he knew. But neither of these two necessities
would be possible. Reconciliation (and therefore restoration) would be impossible because 1)
there would be no way to expiate treason against God, taken as it would be in complete
knowledge and understanding of the implications, and 2) by their very nature as we have seen
above (I, 3d), the angels who would choose for Satan would do so unalterably once and for all.
Replacement also seemed to be an impossible option, inasmuch as angelic kind (as important and
meaningful to God as everyone of us believers are: witness the memorial "stones of fire" as
treated above) was created corporately and simultaneously: it would seem to have been
inconsistent with God's character to begin a new round of partial creation to "patch up" and
repair the damage done by the devil.(32) No action God could take in response to the planned
rebellion (at least as Satan summed up the situation) would redound to His glory. In the devil's
reasoning, therefore, God would find Himself boxed in by the insurrection he was planning, and
would be forced by His own perfection to leave Satan be as the universe's new de facto
sovereign.

As delusional as Satan's thinking (as we have reconstructed it here) seems to us now, the devil,
originally the wisest of God's creatures, had a point. We can see, after all, from God's gracious
handling of our own first parents' sin that reconciliation and restoration (and the replacement of a
rebellious angelic element with an obedient human one) flow from the very core of who and
what our God is. Indeed, none of this has been a mistake, or an afterthought, or a successful
minor repair in our present universe - in all that has happened since the original creation of
Genesis 1:1a, the Lord's plan has proceeded apace in its perfect, inexorable way. Our creation,
and the grace God has shown to us in sending His only Son Jesus Christ to die for us and thus
restore us (and thus replace Satan and his legions) have always been central to His plan. For by
saving us through this his matchless grace and the gift of His Son, God has thoroughly exposed
the devil's lie and gloriously proved His character for all the universe to see.

Satan's arrogance did not prevent him from making a largely correct assumption about the
character of God, that He was just and fair. Yet Satan's arrogance blinded him to the obvious fact
that no creature could ever anticipate what the Lord Almighty might do in justice and fairness.
By creating mankind, and by offering us the choice of salvation through Christ, God is
demonstrating to the angels this justice and fairness, as well as the boundless depths of His love:
for all who would be reconciled, there is no limit consistent with His character to which He will
not go to reconcile them - even to the point of giving His own Son over to death; for all who
would remain alienated from Him, He is perfectly able and justified to find others who will
choose for Him (and to pass judgment on those who will not). And this last point is more than
replacement: the salvation of human beings and our wedding together to Jesus Christ who has
Himself come to share our humanity constitutes a restoration of far more than what was
originally lost. Oh the ineffable and unfathomable wisdom of our God, who heals what is broken
into something stronger, and replaces what was lost with something better! For in the new
heavens and new earth where we shall all dwell with Him forever, the blessings which once were
will be multiplied beyond our comprehension because of God's boundless love for us His faithful
creatures.

It is evident from the events that followed the conception of his plan that Satan was indeed able
to bring a large proportion of angels over to his way of thinking about God's probable reaction to
any such coup d'etat (an appropriate name for an overthrow of authority based not upon a contest
of relative force, but rather political intrigue). For before any of the angels followed him, they
would need to be convinced of the prospects of success: had they instead been certain of swift
retribution from the Lord Almighty, it is fair to ask how many would have voluntarily enlisted
into Satan's cause. There had to be something more, however. Satan's own motive of universal
rulership is clear enough, but his potential followers would have to be wooed. Paradise, after all,
could not have been so terrible as to force them into rebellion against God for its own sake, and
the obvious fact that, in spite of Satan's assurances, at least some element of risk would be
involved in betraying God could not have been lost on them. Satan needed a platform, one
persuasive enough to convince his contemporaries to throw in their lot with him and take the risk
of eternal condemnation.

  b) Satan's Revolutionary Platform: It is apparently a condition common to angelic and human
kind alike to want what we don't have, especially if we can't have it. The original example of
Adam and Eve vis-a-vis the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is sufficient evidence for this
(not to mention the roughly six thousand years of human history since). Perhaps even more
important than convincing his would-be followers that rebellion against God would be safe and
meet with success was the necessity of a positive platform, a goal that could tempt his audience
and incite their lust. But what do angels lack, and what could they possibly want? They are not
affected by the elements, as we are, not plagued by disease or the ravages of time, not in any
need whatsoever that might incite the lust for acquisition that so inflames mankind. Yet it is
precisely in that fact which liberates the angels from all the cares and concerns we humans feel
so intensely that Satan found his chief selling point, the prime inducement to his fellow spirit-
creatures to gamble their eternal futures and bind their fate to Satan's forevermore: the very fact
that angels lack physical bodies.

While we humans possess both a spiritual and a material part, angels, as we have seen, are
primarily spiritual creatures (see I, 3c above). The absence of true corporeality (such as we
possess) is in many respects a blessing (sparing the angels the pain, suffering and tears which are
the common heritage of mankind since the fall), but it seems to have left many of the angels
wondering what might have been. For while human beings had not yet been created when Satan
launched his campaign to unseat God, it will be remembered that the original paradise from
which Satan and his followers fell was on earth (see II, 6a above). And though this is neither the
time nor the place to discuss the fossil record that has been such a stumbling block over the years
to pure biblical faith, we can at least observe that much of that record no doubt hearkens back to
the era we are presently discussing. For the pristine, original earth, though not described in
scripture, is unlikely to have been a barren desert. God creates only perfection (cf. Is.45:18). In
the absence of other information, we would do well to assume that this original paradise was a
wonder to behold in every way, fully furnished with all types of vegetation and, most significant
for our present study, an entire complement of animated (if not morally responsible) creatures as
well. We can expect that such an order of creation would have piqued angelic interest. For
though angels can affect material, they cannot have the rich experience of the material that
creatures who are both material and spiritual can have. Without possessing a body, it is
impossible to experience the sensual life of the body.

Now from everything we know about the angels from scripture, possession on their part of
animals and of humans is contrary to the will and the law of God in every way. Satan observed
the curiosity and interest of his fellows and applied the universal principle of sinful motivation
treated above: they didn't have bodies and, moreover, were forbidden to possess the bodies of
other creatures; therefore they wanted them, wanted to experience first hand the sensual,
corporeal life "that had been denied them" (according to satanic propaganda). Clearly, God was
not going to stand by and allow a wave of possessions contrary to His commands (much less any
program of breeding and genetic manipulation that may be evidenced by the hominid portion of
the fossil record: see Part 2 of this series). They only way to "escape" the rather pure spirituality
God had "inflicted" on them was to fall in behind a new leader and take what they wanted in
defiance of God.

God rained down complete destruction on the world of that time (as we shall see in Part 2), but it
is interesting to note that there are number of biblical passages which demonstrate that the lust of
his followers for bodies which most approximate their own essential shape is still very much
alive:

1. Angels have no strictly material bodies of their own: Without taking possession of the bodies
of other creatures, angels are unable to fully experience the material world in any sensual way
(see II, 3b above). Paul's list of "bodies" in 1st Corinthians chapter fifteen mentions "heavenly
bodies", but by this he clearly means the planets. Significantly, he does not mention angels. We
have also seen above many passages that stress the spiritual (and hence non-material) nature of
angels (Heb.1:7; 1:14; 2:14-16 [esp.v.16]). This radical difference from human (and animal) kind
helps to explain how they can occasionally be called "gods" (i.e., having more in common with
the spirituality of God than the materiality of Man: Ps.8:5; 82:1 & 6). Angels are not "flesh and
blood" as we, in our material part, clearly are (Eph.6:12). When our Lord appeared to His
disciples and was taken for a ghost, He commanded them to "touch Me and see that a spirit
(pneuma) does not have flesh and bones as you see Me having" (Lk.24:39). The word He used,
the Greek pneuma (), is the same word used for angels wherever they are deemed
"spirits" (e.g., Heb.1:7 & 14). No stronger confirmation could be asked to show that angels are
different from us in this main, crucial point of corporeality (and, therefore, in the enjoyment of
all that is sensual).

2. The Serpent of Genesis 3: It is no accident (and by now should come as no great surprise) that
when we first encounter Satan in scripture, he has taken possession of a material creature, the
serpent. We can assume from the context that this especially "subtle" creature was Eve's special
pet, and a perfect vehicle for the devil's seduction. Given the nature of the prehistoric fossil
record, we might well wonder whether his choice of the serpent is also due in part to an earlier
angelic fascination with reptiles (see part 2 of this series). But was his possession of the creature
necessary to accomplish his goal (any more than his possession of Judas was: cf. Lk.22:3)? What
we can say is that possession of the bodies of material creatures is part of Satan's normal modus
operandi, and indicates that this is more than something the fallen angels "have to do" to
accomplish their nefarious purposes. Rather, it is something they dearly desire to do.

3. The Angelic Infiltration of Genesis 6: As both Jude 6 and 2nd Peter 2:4 make clear, "the sons
of God coming in to [mate with] the daughters of men" was a Satanic attack of immense
proportions which violated God's ground rules for the resolution of the angelic rebellion in
human history (see the upcoming Part 4 of this series where the Gen.6 attack will be treated in
detail). The direct mixing of angelic and human seed is clear-cut proof of the desire on the part
of Satan and his followers to attain the (for them) unattainable: corporeality.

4. The Legion of Demons and the Swine: In Mark chapter 5, when Jesus cast the demon legion
from a single man, these fallen spirits "begged" Him to "send us among the pigs; allow us to go
into them" (v.12). There is very little to explain their motivation for this request until we accept
that these satanic angels, being deprived of their human home, were desperate to regain some
material adobe, be it ever so mean.

5. The Wandering Spirit (Lk.11:24-26): The return of the "wandering spirit" to the man he had
previously possessed is a likewise telling case that only fully makes sense when we take into
account the "addiction" the fallen angels have to the corporeality which, as part of our nature, we
understandably take for granted. The demon goes through desolate places seeking "rest" (i.e.,
another willing subject to inhabit), but when it is disappointed in this hope, it returns to its
"house" (Greek oikos). The terminology used here is significant, for in 2nd Corinthians 5:2, Paul
calls our coming resurrection body, the super-material home in which we shall spend all eternity
with the Lord, a "dear-house from on high" (Greek oiketerion, the diminutive of the very word
used for house above being used in a [grammatically] familiar sense). Our material abodes, the
bodies that house our spirits now and then, are given to us by God, but it is the devil's plan, and
his prime inducement to his followers, to take by force the homes that properly belong to others.

Satan's false gospel to the angels who fell with him was one of "deliverance" for their non-
sensual state. He found them curious about the experience of material existence, and inflamed
this curiosity into outright lust and rebellion, so that they became obsessed with the possession of
material bodies, and addicted to the experience (in the same way that many of our fellow human
beings are destroyed by drugs). Therefore, the widespread and dishonest trade of Ezekiel 28:16
& 18 is better translated "canvassing" or "campaigning". Satan found his issue and seduced a
large part of angelic kind with it. In this his activity is quite similar to that of Absalom in his
conspiracy to overthrow his father David, the rightful king. We are told that Absalom used to get
up early in the morning and go to greet all who came to Jerusalem for adjudication, praising
whatever case they might have (regardless of the justice of it) and swearing justice for all, if only
he were to made "judge" (2Sam.15:2-6). By flattery and such false promises, Absalom "stole the
hearts of the people away" in very much the same fashion that Satan must have done. The
temptation to follow such an attractive leader who was promising them so much (and the
assurance of the safety and success of their cause) proved more than many of the angels could
resist.(33) Satan always strikes the weakest point in our defenses, and there is always a weak
point. Adam and Eve had bodies, but no such vast knowledge as the angels possess, so Satan
appealed to their desire for such; the angels had vast knowledge, but no material bodies, and that
is where the devil chose to strike. Undoubtedly, the angels had no more real need for material
bodies any more than our first parents did for "knowledge of good and evil". Rather than to trust
God for what is truly needed, however, it is an all too common creature reaction to decide for
ourselves that what we don't presently have is absolutely essential, and to assume that somehow
we are being "deprived by God" (though He is really only looking out for our best interests in
keeping us from things which are essentially harmful to us).



Conclusion: God's Reaction: How would God react to such high treason against His person and
His legitimate rule? When our series continues, we shall chart the unfolding of His perfect divine
plan as He disposes of Satan and his rebellion in a breathtaking way, gaining more and more
glory at every step and bringing about for His faithful creatures even greater blessing in the end
than obtained in the beginning:


* God's judgment on the original earth and its restoration (in Part 2: The Genesis Gap).

* God's creation of Man and Satan's aggressive response (in Part 3: The Purpose, Creation and
Fall of Man).

* God's suspension of summary judgment, and Satan’s nefarious world-rule over the course of
human history (in Part 4: Satan's World System: Past, Present and Future).

* God's ultimate replacement and final judgment of Satan and his followers (in Part 5: Judgment,
Restoration and Replacement).

Return to ICHTHYS homepage



Notes:

1. The forthcoming Part II of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Eschatology: The Study
of "Last Things" will eventually be available as an overview on this topic.

2. For a more detailed look at the essence, nature and character of God, see Part I of Essential
Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Theology: the Study of God.

3. This ex nihilo creation, as it is conventionally termed, will be discussed in detail in The
Genesis Gap, Part 2 of this series.

4. In Lk.10:20, our Lord gives us the proper perspective: "But don't rejoice over this, namely that
the [evil] spirits obey you; rather rejoice that your names have been written in heaven."

5. For the distinction between angels and mankind, see also 1Cor.6:3; Heb.1:14; Heb.2:16;
12:22-23.
6. For a detailed treatment of the resurrection, see the Peter series, lesson #20.

7. For a more detailed discussion of the topic of angelic observation in the context of Christian
testing, see the Peter series, lesson #22.

8. See L.S. Chafer, Systematic Theology (Dallas 1947) v.2, p.26 for more references.

9. See Part I of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Theology: the Study of God.

10. God's destruction and restoration of earth pursuant to Satan's rebellion will be discussed in
detail in The Genesis Gap, Part 2 of this series.

11. Fallen angels are also connected by scripture to the stars in their capacity as demons
masquerading as "gods" (Deut.4:19; 17:3; Acts 7:43). It should be noted, however, that believers
are also occasionally referred to as stars to emphasize heavenly approval in the face of satanic
persecution (Dan.8:10-13 & 24 [not NIV]; 12:3; Phil.2:15; Rev.12:1 & 4 [where both are
meant]).

12. Compare the many similar Old Testament references to this "atmospheric heaven": Gen.7:11;
8:2; Job 38:22; Ps.104:3 & 13; Prov.8:28; Is.24:18; Mal.3:10.

13. Compare the Hebrew pardes, used at Neh.2:8; Eccl.2:5; SS.4:13.

14. So the LXX, and later the New Testament.

15. Literally, "newly slain".

16. The lampstand or menorah is meant to represent the almond, the ultimate of the "best fruits
of the land" (Gen.43:11), and, significantly, the form taken by Aaron's rod when it budded
(Num17:8).

17. See Part 2 of this series, The Genesis Gap, for a detailed discussion of the destruction of the
original earth and its restoration as depicted in the seven days of Genesis chapter one.

18. See Part 5 of this series, Judgment, Restoration and Replacement. The commonality of
names is deliberate, indicating that the newly created human race is meant as a direct
replacement for Satan and his angels (just as the new garden of Eden on the new earth replaces
the old Eden on the old, original earth - see Part 2 for details).

19. The applicability of Isaiah chapter fourteen and Ezekiel chapter twenty eight to Satan will be
discussed during a complete exegesis of these passages beginning in section III below.

20. Whether the primal, angelic Eden was located at the same exact spot as the now and future
Mount Zion is an open question. For instance, Mount Sinai is also called "the mountain of God"
(Ex.24:7). However, Mount Sinai is a mountain of judgment (Gal.4:21-34; Heb.12:18-24), not of
grace. When Abraham was instructed to sacrifice his son (Gen.22:2), it was to Mount Zion that
God directed him for this foreshadowing of the gracious sacrifice of Jesus Christ (cf.
2Chron.3:1). In any case, it seems probable that along with the other three earthly Edens (the
garden of Adam and Eve, millennial Jerusalem, and the New Jerusalem), this primal Eden is also
to be located within the confines of the sacred territory of Israel-cum-New Jerusalem (compare
the dimensions of Num.34:1-12 with the proportionally expanded ones of Rev.21:15-16).

21. See Part 2 of this series, The Genesis Gap, for a detailed discussion of God's judgment upon
the original earth and universe as a result of Satan's rebellion.

22. Nimrod, son of Cush, operates in Babylonia, not Ethiopia. See "The Rivers of Paradise," by
E.A. Speiser, in Festschrift Johannes Friedrich (Heidelberg 1958) 473-485.

23. See Part 5 of this series for a complete discussion of Genesis chapter six and the reasons for
this imprisonment of a portion of Satan's angels.

24. On the advent of the Trinity, see the forthcoming Part II of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in
Outline: Eschatology: The Study of "Last Things"

25. The majority view among conservative exegetes is that Is.14:4ff., the "taunt" against the king
of Babylon, and Ezek.28:1ff., the prophecy against the king of Tyre, are primarily directed
against Satan, and are to be interpreted in this sense. As Chafer points out in his Systematic
Theology, v.2, p.46ff., many of the details of either passage could only apply to Satan ("you were
in Eden", for example, would not be true of the literal king of Tyre in Ezek.28:13).

26. The identification, order, symbolism and significance of these jewels is discussed in detail in
Part 4 of this series (section III.3.a.1).

27. The order of jewels on the breastplate was used when seeking the Lord’s guidance (cf.
Num.27:21; Judg.1:1-2). These almost certainly followed the order of military march (Num.2),
since divine selection of tribes was ostensibly for military purposes, and since a list that excludes
Levi, but gives Ephraim and Manasseh separate representation would be necessary for such
purposes. See Part 4, section III.3.a.1.

28. Positing a nine-fold of angelic kind has, therefore, much to recommend it, especially given
the close parallel between the high priest's breastplate and the jewels adorning Satan. This is all
the more true in light of what would be a very similar function of memorial and selection of the
human and angelic divisions by their respective representatives. It is also worth noting that a
similar division (still unrevealed in its specific application) may obtain for the Church, for the
wall of the New Jerusalem also has twelve foundation gem-stones which are inscribed with the
names of the twelve apostles of Christ (Rev.21:14; 19-20).

29. The word "cherubim" is the transliterated Hebrew plural of the word cherub, "-iym" being the
standard masculine plural suffix.

30. The description of their location is similar as well: the living creatures are "in the center of
the throne around the throne" (Rev.4:6b), that is, at the four corners of and intimately connected
with the throne; the cherubim are "within it [the throne]" (Ezek.1:4); the seraphs are "above" the
[stationary] earthly throne in Isaiah chapter six.

31. The issue of how God's attributes work together in perfect harmony (without any
compromise, as evil suggests must be necessary) is fully discussed in Part I of Essential
Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Theology: the Study of God.

32. On the issue of God's consistent grace attitude of filling up what is missing we may compare,
for example, the case of the daughters of Zelophehad (Deut.25:5-6), as well as the principle of
levirate marriage (Num.27:1-11; see also Gen.2:18).

33. It is worth noting that we shall see this pattern of propaganda and usurpation again when
Satan's chief minion on earth, the antichrist, rises to power (Dan.11:21-45).



The Satanic Rebellion Background to the Tribulation: Part 2, The Genesis Gap



                   The Satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation

                                                     Part 2

                                               The Genesis Gap

                                         by Dr. Robert D. Luginbill

Outline of the Series:
Part 1: Satan's Rebellion and Fall
Part 2: The Genesis Gap
Part 3: The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man
Part 4: Satan's World System: Past, Present and Future
Part 5: Judgment, Restoration and Replacement

Outline for Part 2:
I. LinguisticEvidence for the Genesis Gap
II. The Context of Judgment in Genesis Chapter 1
   1. The Description of the Earth in Genesis 1:2
   2. The Darkness
   3. The Sea
   4. The Restraining Ministry of the Holy Spirit
   5. The Timing of the Satanic Rebellion
III. Creation and Re-Creation
   1. The Seven Days of Creation
   2. The Genesis 2:4 Summary
   3. God's Answer to Satan
Introduction to Part 2: The Genesis Gap:

                 Before all else, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Lusting after the glory and adoration God was receiving from the angels, Satan conceived,
planned and executed what he assumed was the perfect coup d'etat, designed to replace God's
rulership of the universe with his own (see Part 1: Satan's Rebellion and Fall). But Satan's
assumptions about what God could and would do in response to this treachery were faulty: God
could and did frame a response that would fulfill His perfect standard of righteousness without
compromising His holy character, and, in the course of what we call time, restore perfection and
completeness to His universe (see part 1). Satan did not believe that God would or could react
effectively to his perfectly planned rebellion. Just as the wicked often do, the devil and his
followers convinced themselves that the Lord would be forced to ignore their iniquity (cf. Job
22:13-17; Ps.10:11-14; 59:7; 73:11; 94:3-7; Is.29:15; Ezek.9:9; Zeph.1:12). Men often make this
assumption of the basis of relative sin, and their logic runs something like this: "Since no one is
perfect, God cannot judge me without judging everyone else" (salvation corollary: "Since I
assume that some people have not heard the gospel, God cannot condemn me for not believing in
Christ"). So despite all his wisdom and cleverness, it is turning out for Satan and his angels as
the Psalmist records:

[The wicked] forge an evil plan for themselves. In secret they speak of laying their snares. They
say, "Who will see them?" They plot outrages and say, "Our plan is flawless." But though men
are subtle, heart and soul, God will shoot them with His arrows, and their wounds will come
upon them in a moment. Psalm 64:5-7

Contrary to Satan's expectations, God was quite capable of answering the attempted coup d'etat,
but, in His inestimable wisdom, has chosen to do so in a manner that the devil couldn't possibly
have anticipated. The instrument by which God has chosen to smite Satan is Man (ultimately in
the person of the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ); and the process, the mechanism through
the course of which God has chosen to humble the devil is human history (parts 1, 3 and 5 of this
series explain this principle in detail). Therefore God's reaction, while inexorable and totally just,
has been in process since before the creation of mankind: for the Lord, the passage of
chronological time is not an issue (Ps.90:2-4).

Completely secure in His divinity and perfect character, God was in no hurry to vindicate
Himself (as our sense of time as creatures might suppose). What transpired following Satan's fall
and successful seduction of a large number of his fellow angelic creatures seems to have been
analogous to the events following the fall of Adam and Eve. For as with Adam and Eve,
instantaneous judgment and death (the stated penalty for transgression) did not immediately take
its anticipated form: physical death would be delayed for some time, though spiritual death,
separation from the grace of God, was immediate. In a similar way, though sentence has been
passed upon Satan and his followers (cf. the lake of fire "prepared for the devil and his angels":
Matt.25:41), final execution of this sentence has yet to be carried out. And just as Adam and Eve
were ejected from their Eden, so God ejected Satan from the original paradise, wreaking a
terrible judgment upon the pristine earth and plunging the entire universe into darkness (see
below section II.2).

Scripture neither mentions nor records the length of the interval between God's confrontation of
Satan's coup and His judgment of the primeval world, but it is entirely possible that this period
was aeons long in human terms. Such a grace interval would demonstrate beyond any shadow of
a doubt who had chosen for God and who for Satan, as the devil commenced his earthly reign
over what had been the original paradise, the original "Eden" (see part 1). Given the demons'
longing for physical bodies and the integral part in Satan's plan that the satisfaction of that desire
played (see part 1), it is not unreasonable to suppose that much of the fascinating fossil record we
now possess of the archaic earth is a result of the devil's manipulation and misuse of the earth's
original fauna for just such purposes: the Bible's identification of Satan with reptiles (dragons,
serpents), and his obvious fascination with the same (cf. Gen.3), make the possibility of this
theoretical satanic origin of the terrible, powerful creatures of pre-history all the more
conceivable (see below section II.3.f; demon genetic manipulation will be addressed in part 4
and 5 of this series).

Eventually, earth came to bear no resemblance to the primal paradise the Lord had created, and
when no further purpose could be served by further delay, but, to the contrary, the devil and his
angels had emphatically confirmed their evil and rebellious intentions, God Almighty executed
an awesome judgment upon the pre-historic earth. He had demonstrated to all angelic creation
how pitifully inadequate Satan's efforts were, how hollow his promises, how tyrannical his rule.
Now was the time to put an end to the devil's "experiments", to turn out the lights in the universe,
and to leave the adversary and his followers shaking in their boots.

The Lord's cataclysmic judgment upon the world of that era (see section II below) also served to
demonstrate the faithfulness of the angels who rejected Satan's appeal. They trusted instead in
God, that He would somehow not allow His universe to remain cloaked in darkness and
devastation, and they were not disappointed. For truly, the Lord's solution was something that
Satan and his followers did not expect in their wildest imaginings: the complete re-creation of
the heavens and the earth, accompanied by the creation of something completely new: Man, a
creature who would be God's means of exposing all of Satan's slanderous lies, a creature who,
while possessing obvious limitations, had what Satan and his demons coveted most: a physical
body to house his spirit.

The present heavens and earth, tainted as they are by evil, will ultimately be incinerated and
replaced by the new heavens and earth "wherein righteousness dwells" (2Pet.3:5-13). At that
time, all wickedness (and all wicked creatures) will have been forever removed from God's
perfect new universe, a complete and completely harmonious universe which shall never see
corruption. Things will be as they originally were, only better, and without the possibility of evil.

The rebellion of Satan, his fall, God's judgment upon the world of that time, His re-creation of
the world and creation of mankind to reprove and repudiate Satan and His lies, and God's final
judgments upon the devil and the present world are all issues of prime importance for Christians.
Without understanding these matters, it is impossible to fully grasp all the implications of the
working out of the Lord's plan through the ages, and, therefore, of our purpose and mission here
on earth. The assumption that Genesis 1:1 is of a piece with the seven days of re-creation that
follow is an error that undermines proper understanding of these extremely important scriptural
teachings.



I. Linguistic Evidence for the Genesis Gap:



               Before all else, God created the heavens and the earth.    Genesis 1:1




As Chafer and others have surmised, between Genesis 1:1 and what follows beginning in verse
two, we are to understand a break or "gap" in the flow of the discourse.(1) The traditional
translation of the Hebrew phrase bereshith (tywarb) as "in the beginning" is an acceptable
rendering, but tends to be somewhat misleading.(2) In the Hebrew (as in the Greek equivalent en
archei: ), there is no definite article, no "the". Semantically, the difference may seem
small enough, but the problem with the traditional translation is that it seems to link the sentence
forward, connecting it with what immediately follows. According to such interpretations,
Genesis 1:1 would then be a summary of the seven days of creation (and what follows an
expansion), rather than a straight-forward statement of the fact of God's initial creation of the
universe (against which the reconstruction of the world is then set).(3) The former view is one
which the language of Genesis 1:1 cannot be easily made to bear.


First of all, the opening sentence of the Bible (taken by itself, and examined without
preconception) purports to be just what we are suggesting here: an historical description of God's
first action vis-a-vis the material universe, namely His original creation of it. On the other hand,
problems for the alternative summary-statement theory arise as soon as we move on to verse two.
For the earth is there described as being "without form, and void" (KJV). But if verse one is not
an actual description of the creation of the heavens and the earth, but rather merely a summary of
the whole seven days that follow, then how are we to explain the fact that there is no re-
statement of its actual creation in the detailed account? Where did this formless "earth" come
from? Are we to suppose that it did somehow exist before the seven days begin? That would be
quite a blow for all who genuinely believe in a God who transcends the universe and in His ex
nihilo creation of the it (see part II below). If, on the other hand, earth really was created "from
nothing", it seems odd not to mention that creation in the detailed account of the seven days, and
strained to assume that the bald statement of its creation in verse one is a mere summary.

A second problem with taking Genesis 1:1 as a summary of what follows rather than an event in
its own right is found in the grammatical connection between verses one and two. Following the
description of God's creation of heaven and earth in verse one, we have, in the Hebrew, a
disjunctive clause in verse two. The combination of the connective waw and a nominal form (as
opposed to a finite verb) indicates contrast in Hebrew, that is to say, much more of a "but" than
an "and".(4) Grammatically speaking, we would be on much firmer ground to translate "but the
earth ..." rather than "and the earth ..." (KJV). This rendering (to which the actual language of the
verse points so insistently despite theories to the contrary) causes only head-scratching for those
who hold to the summary interpretation. But for those who are willing to follow where the Word
of God actually leads, it is an unmistakable sign post, one which points definitively to a gap right
in the middle of the Bible's initial verses, an hiatus of action in which something dramatic
transpired, but which is not being addressed at this time. The Genesis Gap is clearly there in the
original Hebrew, a pause in the action between God's original, perfect creation of the world and
His re-creation of a world ruined by Satan's revolt:

Before all else, God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth came to be ruined and
despoiled ...

Genesis 1:1-2a



Logic, grammar and (as we shall see immediately below) context all argue for what by now
should be apparent: verse one describes in simple, straight-forward terms God's creation of the
world out of nothing, while what follows, beginning with the disjunctive clause of verse two,
describes the state of affairs resulting from Satan's revolt. This is followed in turn by God's
reconstruction of the world to make it once again habitable for an entirely new species of moral
creature through whom it will be God's good pleasure to repudiate the devil's revolt beyond any
shadow of a doubt, a species created "a little lower than the angels" (Ps.8:5) but destined to rise
above them: mankind.(5)


II. The Context of Judgment in Genesis Chapter 1: If the language of Genesis 1:1-2 suggests
a gap between original creation and the seven days of re-creation, the context of what follows the
first sentence in the Word of God would seem to demand as much. The contextual problems
involved in taking Genesis 1:1 as a summary rather than an event in its own right are daunting
indeed, especially if one stipulates a grammatically correct translation of the two verses:


Before all else, God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth came to be ruined and
despoiled - darkness lay upon the face of the abyss while God's Spirit brooded over the surface
of its waters. Genesis 1:1-2


1. The Description of Earth in Genesis 1:2: The ruination and destruction of the earth under
Satan's pre-historic rule is aptly described by the Hebrew phrase tohu wa-bhohu (i.e., "ruined and
despoiled": vhbv vht). Many creative (and misleading) translations of this phrase have been
offered in an effort to remove the difficulties caused by a literal translation of this phrase. For the
description of earth in this devastated condition causes obvious problems for the summary-
statement interpretation of verse one: how and when could the earth have been so ravaged if no
gap is to be understood between verses one and two?
The words tohu and bhohu always refer to "emptiness", "uselessness" or, "worthlessness", that is
to say, a confused, chaotic state, usually the result of some cataclysm, and often one that has
been brought on by divine judgment (cf. Deut. 32:10; 1Sam.12:21; Job 6:18; 12:24; 26:7;
Ps.107:40; Is.40:17; 41:29; 44:9; 45:19; 49:4; 59:4):


The ruined (tohu) city lies desolate; the entrance to every house is barred.   Is.24:10   (NIV)


And He shall stretch over it the line of desolation (tohu) and the plumb line of emptiness
(bhohu). Is.34:11 (NASB)


Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled. Suddenly are my tents
spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of
the trumpet? For my people are foolish, they have not known Me; they are stupid children, and
they have no understanding; they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. I
beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form and void (tohu wa-bhohu); and the heavens, and
they had no light. I beheld the mountains and , lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I
beheld and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld and, lo, the
fruitful place was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of the Lord,
and by his fierce anger. Jer.4:20-26 (KJV)


This last passage is of particular interest because of its description of the divine judgment upon
the land of Israel in the exact same terms used of the ruined earth in Genesis 1:2. Jeremiah must,
therefore, have understood the Genesis 1:2 description in this same way. Earth (in verse two)
was a ruin, a chaos resulting from divine judgment, and thus an apt parallel to what was soon to
become of the land of Israel once the looming judgment of the Lord was released.

One of Isaiah's uses of tohu is also particularly pertinent to our discussion here, because it
directly contradicts the notion that God's original creation of the earth could in any way be
described as tohu wa-bhohu:


For thus says the Lord, creator of the heavens. He is God, shaper of the earth. He founded it. He
did not create it a ruin (tohu). Rather He formed it to be inhabited. Isaiah 45:18


The word for "create" in the verse above is bar'ah (arb), the same verb used in Genesis 1:1 and
the the word most commonly employed in the Old Testament to describe the Lord's miraculous,
creative acts. According to this passage, God's purpose in originally creating earth was for its
useful habitation. It is a confusion, a confounding of His purpose to assume that He had created
it as an uninhabitable chaos. Therefore He did not create earth a tohu. In my opinion, it is
impossible to reconcile this verse with Genesis 1:2 until one understands what the Hebrew
grammar of Genesis 1:2 strongly suggests: that a gap exists between the two verses, a gap
spanning an indefinite and undefined space of time. Isaiah 45:18 only makes sense when we
understand that Genesis 1:2 does not describe the earth immediately after its creation, but after
its devastation (i.e., a ruined world destroyed because of Satan's activities).


2. The Darkness:

Before all else, God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth came to be ruined and
despoiled - darkness lay upon the face of the abyss while God's Spirit brooded over the surface
of its waters. Genesis 1:1-2


In biblical symbolism, darkness is not good. Darkness is, in fact, symbolic of evil. The
description of earth as lying under a shroud of darkness is meant to present a very negative
picture - not one of blessing (which we should expect in the wonderful, original paradise of
Genesis 1:1: see Part 1), but of cursing instead. A survey of some of the uses of darkness in the
Bible will make this point clear:

a. Darkness as a symbol of evil:

Do not participate in dark deeds which bear no fruit. But rather expose them as such.      Ephesians
5:11

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against [angelic] princes, against [angelic]
authorities, against the cosmic powers of this [present] darkness, against evil spirits in the
heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

[God the Father], who rescued us from the power of darkness and delivered us into the kingdom
of His beloved Son. Colossians 1:13

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and we walk in darkness, we are lying, and not
acting truthfully.    1st John 1:6

But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness, and is walking in the darkness; and he doesn't
know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1st John 2:11



b. Light as a symbol of good:

In Him was life, and this life was the light of men. And this light is shining in the darkness, and
the darkness has not quenched it. John 1:4-5

And this is the message which we have heard from Him and report to you, that God is light, and
in Him is there is no darkness. 1st John 1:5
Every good gift and every perfect present is from above, coming down from the Father of
lights. James 1:17

And the city has no need of the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God illuminated it
and the Lamb was its lamp. And the nations will walk by its light. Revelation 21:23-24



c. Darkness and light contrasted:

If your eye is bad, your whole body is dark. So if the light within you is darkness, how great that
darkness is! Matthew 6:23

This is the [basis for ] judgment, that the light came into the world, and that men loved darkness
rather than light. John 3:19

To open their eyes, and to turn them away from the darkness and into the light, and from the
power of Satan unto God. Acts 26:18

So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and clothe ourselves with the weapons of
light. Romans 13:12

You were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord.      Ephesians 5:8

What partnership does righteousness have with immorality, or what fellowship does light have
with darkness? 2nd Corinthians 6:14

But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be preserved in order that
you might proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of the darkness into His marvelous
light. 1st Peter 2:9


But you, brothers, are not in darkness that the day [of the Lord] should catch you like a thief. For
you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness. 1st Thessalonians
5:4-5




d. Darkness resulting from divine judgment: A special category in the biblical use of darkness is
the literal blotting out of light that attends divine judgment. This category of usage is particularly
important to our discussion because it is exactly this sort of darkness which we are considering in
Genesis 1:2. As a result of Satan's activities on the original earth, God judged that primeval
world and the earth was cursed by association with Satan's sin (just as the restored earth would
later be cursed for its association with Adam's sin: Gen.3:17-19; Rom.8:19-22). One of the
results of that judgment was that God plunged the original earth (and universe, for that matter)
into darkness. In this and other instances, we may say that in addition to being symbolic of evil,
the darkness is also very real, inflicted in literal fashion as part of the judgment of God (cf.
Is.5:30; 8:22; Ezek.32:7-8; Acts 13:11):


1. The Supernatural Darkness upon Pharaoh's Kingdom: Darkness was one of the ten plagues
upon Egypt which demonstrated God's power over Pharaoh (Ex.10:21-29; cf. Ps.105:28).
Although the rest of Egypt was "blacked-out" by the Lord's powerful judgment, the Israelites
were spared from the plague (Ex.10:23). The darkness was apparently horrible, a palpable curse
which constituted the penultimate plague, to be followed only by the death of the Egyptian first-
born (Ex.11). A similar divine blotting out of all light occurs at Exodus 14:20. Here the cloud of
God's presence creates a supernatural darkness for the purpose of restraining the Egyptian army,
yet at the same time it provides light to the Israelites (cf. Josh.24:7).


2. The Supernatural Darkness at the Crucifixion: Just as the Passover lamb, that poignant type of
Jesus Christ dying for us, was commanded to be slaughtered "between the evenings [pl.]", (i.e.,
at a time neither clearly day nor night: Ex.12:6; 29:39-41), so Christ's death on behalf of all
mankind was destined to be accompanied by an analogous, yet supernatural darkness. The three
synoptic gospel writers all record this darkness (lasting approximately three summertime hours:
Matt.27:45-54; Mk.15:33-39; Lk.23:44-49), with Luke adding the important detail that "the sun
gave out" (literally "eclipsed"). Immediately following this period of unprecedented darkness,
the veil of the temple is split miraculously in two, and our Lord breathes His last - until His
resurrection. Thus the supernatural darkness of the cross is likewise a sign of divine judgment -
our Lord Jesus Christ on our behalf submitting to the Father's judgment upon all our sins and
dying in our place. He endured this terrible darkness and all that it entailed that we might forever
live in the light with Him.


3. The Supernatural Darkness at the Second Advent: Prior to the return of our Lord (the second
advent), earth will undergo the most terrible period of her history, the Great Tribulation
(Dan.12:1; Matt.24:21 & 29; Mk.13:19 & 24; Rev.7:14). But before the devil and his antichrist
can accomplish their purposed annihilation of all believers, the "day of the Lord" will begin, a
day of wonders and judgments that will shake the earth as never before (Joel 2:1ff.). A period of
supernatural darkness is prophesied as one of the final portents immediately preceding Christ's
return, a judgment from God upon antichrist and his kingdom (Is.13:9-13; 34:4; 60:1-2;
Ezek.32:7-10; Joel 2:2, 2:10, 2:31; 3:15; Zeph.1:15-18; Zech.14:6-7; Matt.24:29; Mk.13:24-25;
Acts 2:17-21; Rev.6:12-13; 16:10)..


4. The Supernatural Darkness of the Lake of Fire: The picture of "hell", as it is commonly
understood, differs in the Bible quite substantially from many of the popular accounts with
which we may be familiar. One difference apropos to our topic is that hell will be a place of
terrible and unbearable darkness. This is despite the fact that hell is also described as a lake of
burning sulfur and fire (Is.66:15-16 & 24; Dan.7:9-11; Matt.3:11-12; 5:22; 18:8-9; 25:41;
Mk.9:43 & 48; Jas.3:6; Rev.19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8). Here is the "outer darkness" that will
deprive its inhabitants - those who rejected Christ in life - of the very thing they so stubbornly
rejected in life, i.e., "light" (Jn.3:19-21). Just as the darkness of the Exodus plague (Ex.10:21)
and the bowl judgment of Revelation (Rev.16:10-11) are tangible, this too will be a palpable,
painful darkness (Matt.8:12; 22:13; 25:30). Even now, this particular type of supernatural
darkness and fire exists in the interim hell (for unbelieving humans: Lk.16:24; 2Pet.2:17; Jude
13) and Tartarus (for certain of the fallen angels: 2Pet.2:4; Jude 6), although the ultimate "lake of
fire" has yet to receive its first inhabitants (Rev.19:20; 20:10).


Therefore, from everything we know about the use and meaning of darkness elsewhere in the
Bible, to describe the universe as dark and without light (as Genesis 1:2 does) is to describe a
status quo of cursing, rather than blessing, and of divine judgment, rather than original,
miraculous creation.



3. The Sea:

Before all else, God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth came to be ruined and
despoiled - darkness lay upon the face of the abyss while God's Spirit brooded over the surface
of its waters. Genesis 1:1-2


In biblical symbolism, the sea is usually not a positive sign. On the contrary, the sea is often
associated with evil. In keeping with usage employed elsewhere in the Bible, any description of
the earth's surface as lying under the face of the deep conveys a very negative picture - not one of
blessing (which we should expect in the wonderful, original paradise of Genesis 1:1: see Part 1),
but one of cursing. This can be readily seen from a survey of these symbolic uses of "sea" in the
Bible:

a. Water Versus Land: Despite the somewhat romantic picture that we have of the sea today, we
need to understand that from the point of view of an ancient agricultural people such as the
Israelites were, land is the thing. For people not much involved in maritime commerce, the sea
marks the boundary of what can be cultivated, of what can be inhabited and inherited. Land has
value; the sea merely marks its end (e.g., Josh.15:12 & 47; 23:4). It was a good land the Lord
promised to the Israelites, a land "flowing with milk and honey" (Ex.3:8, 17, 13:5; Lev.20:24),
whose bounty in no way derives from the sea. This "good land" was to form the basis not only of
the economy, but of the community now-and-future through the principle of everlasting
inheritance (Lev.25:8-55). Viewed from this perspective, it should be clear that the references to
the dark abyss (i.e., the deep sea) and to the waters of a universal ocean then engulfing the entire
earth (implied, and then confirmed in verses 6-10) could only have seemed foreboding in the
extreme to their contemporary audience. This impression is strengthened by God's assessment of
His removal and collection of these waters in order to allow the dry land to appear once more:
"And God saw that it (i.e., the separation of the dry land from the sea) was good" (Gen.1:10). As
a race, we humans were originally taken from the ground (Gen.2:7), and even though it has been
temporarily defiled with a curse as a result of Adam's sin (Gen.3:17-19), it is still one of the
primary provisions of God's grace to us through its agricultural bounty (Acts 14:17). The land,
that is, the earth, will see its redemption and restoration at the return of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:21;
Rom.8:19-22). Land is our ultimate habitation, while the sea, despite its own unique bounty and
appeal, is essentially inhospitable to human life, and changeable by its very nature, a quality that
puts it completely at odds with God's promises of eternal and lasting inheritance.

b. The Sea as a Sign of Divine Judgment: As we saw in more detail in Part 1 of this series,
Hades, or "hell", is divided into three compartments: 1) Abraham's Bosom, the place of deceased
believers prior to Christ's ascension (Lk.16:19-31); 2) "hell" or Hades proper (also referred to as
sheol, gehenna, "torments", and "the grave"), the place of the deceased unsaved to this day
(Matt.5:29-30; 23:33; Lk.12:5; 16:23; Rev.20:13-15); 3) the Abyss, the place where certain of
the fallen angels are presently incarcerated (Lk.8:31; 2Pet.2:4; Jude 6; Rev.9:1-11; 20:1-3).
Therefore to translate Genesis 1:2 with the word "abyss" (as we do above) is to suggest a context
of divine judgment (rather than one reflecting the blessing of original creation). There is good
reason to suggest that this translation is justified:

The word we are translating "abyss" in Genesis 1:2 above (often rendered "the deep") is the
Hebrew tehom (,vht). While one might have expected to encounter here the far more common
Hebrew word for sea (yam, ,y), we find tehom employed instead, doubtless because of its
somewhat more sinister connotations. The word is usually suggestive of dramatic and powerful
events, often involving the judgment of God (cf. Ex.15:5 & 8; Job 38:16-17; Ps.42:7; 71:20).
This point was not lost on the ancient scholars who made the famous 3rd century B.C. Greek
translation of the Hebrew Bible known as the Septuagint (abbrev. LXX). They eschewed more
common Greek words for "sea", instead rendering tehom with the Greek abyssos (), the
word, incidentally, from which our English "abyss" is derived. From this point on in the
Septuagint, abyssos is by far the most common translation of tehom, establishing a precedent
which greatly influenced the writers of the New Testament. So we see, for example, that in
Revelation the Beast can be described in one place as "coming up out of the sea" (Rev.13:1; cf.
Dan.7:3), and in another as "coming up out of the abyss" (Rev.11:7; 17:8), since the apostle John
was quite comfortable interchanging this name for the chasm of Hades with the sea whose depths
cover it. Thus, from a scriptural point of view, the subterranean realms below the earth can be
construed as part and parcel with the deep sea which covers them (cf. Job 26:5-6, where sheol
and "under the sea" are one and the same).

This equating of the sea with the nether-world buried beneath it helps to explain the difficult
passage in Revelation where we are told that at the final judgment, "the sea will give up her
dead" (Rev.20:13). When John immediately adds to this statement that "death and Hades will
give up their dead", he is merely explaining that in prophetic terms there is virtually no
difference between the sea on the one hand and death-and-Hades on the other (a hendiadys for
one single place: torments, or hell). These two venues are in fact essentially one and the same
place, that is, the present location of deceased unbelievers: believers have already been removed
to heaven from Abraham's bosom at the ascension of Christ, and the demons, long since under
sentence of judgment along with their leader, Satan (Jn.16:11), require no further adjudication
after the Satanic rebellion is at last finally disposed. But "the dead" [unbelievers] in Hades, their
abysmal place of incarceration lying below the sea's deepest depths, will stand judgment at the
end of human history before being consigned to the lake of fire (Rev.20:11-15).
That the sea often corresponds to hell in the Bible is another indication that its appearance on the
scene in Genesis 1:2 in this world encompassing form should not be taken as a neutral signal. An
imperfect world, a world in the grips of divine judgment, a world that needs a hell, has a sea.
The very presence of the sea (especially in the form of the tehom-abyss sea) suggests very
strongly that in Genesis 1:2 we are dealing with the aftermath of some awe-inspiring divine
judgment, and not with the original creation of Genesis 1:1.

c. The Sea as an Instrument of Divine Judgment: Besides being a sign that divine judgment has
occurred, the sea is sometimes an instrument of that very judgment. Cases of this type of divine
judgment are relatively rare in scripture and always highly significant events. In addition to the
Genesis judgment we are now considering, two other large scale "water judgments" stand out:

1. The Antediluvian Civilization (Gen. 6-9; cf. 2Pet.2:5; 3:5-7): God "did not spare" that ancient
world but "brought the flood upon its ungodly people" (2Pet.2:5). Water was the means of
annihilating the pre-noahic civilization, completely extirpating the sinful world of that time in
one of God's most spectacular water-judgments. His promise to Noah afterwards, sealed with the
rainbow, has guaranteed for us that the flood and the Genesis Gap judgment will be the only two
universal water judgments on the present earth (Gen.9:8-17).

2. The Egyptians in the Red Sea (Ex.14-15): The fact that there will be no more world-wide
water judgments in the manner of the flood has not ruled out water as a more local instrument of
divine judgment (cf. Tyre: Ezek.26:19-21). The most spectacular of these is the destruction of
Pharaoh and his army in their pursuit of the Israelites through the Red Sea. God actually parted
this massive body of water (see the Exodus 14 series) to demonstrate His power and majesty in a
complete and devastating judgment upon Pharaoh and his followers (Ex.14:18; 15:1-18).

As an additional parallel to the Genesis Gap judgment (or, perhaps better, a corollary) we might
also add that of Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 1:1-2, we see in the Bible only the result of
divine judgment, i.e., the depths of the sea surrounding the entire earth, whereas in the case of
Sodom and Gomorrah, we see in the Bible only the judgment actually delivered (Gen.19:23-29),
that is, the fire and brimstone "rained down" upon the entire area. Nevertheless, the location of
these cities can scarcely be anywhere else but below the waters of the Dead Sea (now covering
the "plain of the Jordan" of Gen.13:10ff; cf. Zeph.2:9). Similarly, the fossil record we possess of
the pre-historic earth has often been taken to suggest a cataclysmic end (fire and brimstone?) to
some of the more famous ancient inhabitants, the dinosaurs (although we are left to supply the
reason: God's judgment against Satan's perversion of the original earth); the Bible mentions only
the aftermath: the sea.

One other thing these water judgments have in common is the fact that they were all provoked by
exceptionally evil and hard-hearted conduct. The unprecedented evil of the antediluvian world
(Gen.6:1-7; 8:21), the outrageous behavior of the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen.19:4-
25; 2Pet.6-10; Jude 7), and the extraordinary hard-heartedness of Pharaoh (see the Exodus 14
series, #2), all suggest that for a water judgment on the order of what we find in Genesis 1:2 (i.e.,
the complete devastation of the entire earth), some horrendous assault against God's justice must
have taken place. Given that no other morally responsible creatures except the angels existed at
this point, we may take this as further strong evidence that Satan's rebellion was the cause that
provoked this complete inundation of the earth. When we take this perspective, what happens
next in the context of Genesis chapter one makes good symbolic sense. God's recovering of the
land out of the water is a very clear picture of restoration and deliverance from evil's grip (cf. the
Israelites' passage through and out of the Red Sea, and our transfer "from the power of darkness"
"into the kingdom of His beloved Son", Col.1:13). The water has symbolically cleansed away the
evil (very much like the ritual of baptism) and now new life is once more free to take hold by the
grace of God.

Finally, it is worth asking whether God would, through an act of original creation, create a world
deluged, one in which there was no possibility of life, only dark waters prevailing everywhere,
especially in light of the strong biblical symbolism of judgment such a state implies. It seems to
stand much more to reason that Genesis 1:2 is recounting the after effects of judgment (after
effects that will require the restoration of the following verses to counteract) rather the
characteristics of God's original creation of the earth.

d. The Sea as a Medium for Evil: Although scripture recognizes and allows for the economic
necessities of life, arrogant and idolatrous super-commerce, both past and prophetic, has a
special relationship to the sea on which it depends. Both Tyre (Is.23:1-18; Ezek.26-28), and the
antichrist's Babylon (Rev.18:11ff) maintain a world-wide arrogance of commerce (associated
with idolatry, and symbolized by prostitution) which negatively affects their partners, and it is
the sea that acts as the link between them. Significantly, it will be remembered from Part 1 of
this study, it is the Prince of Tyre whose "trafficking" is used symbolically for Satan's activities
in seducing many of his fellow angels to join his cause (Ezek.28:12-19).

e. The Sea as the Point of Origin for the Antichrist: The sea is the place from whence the Beast,
or antichrist, rises (Rev.13:1). As the point of origin for the one who most completely opposes
Christ while operating most closely with Satan (2Thes.2:9), the sea is more nearly to be
connected with cursing than with blessing. The symbol of "coming up from the sea" first occurs
in Daniel 7:3, where all four of the major anti-God empires of history arise from that source, the
last being Rome, in both its historic and prophetic incarnations; the title of "beast" is then
transferred from the kingdom to its ruler in Revelation 13:1, making the sea the origin not only
of the most anti-God empire in history but also of its anti-Christ emperor (cf. Dan.7:3-14; 9:25-
27; 11:21-45; 2Thes.2:1-12; Rev.13:1-18; 17:1-18). In Revelation 13:1, Satan is also shown
summoning antichrist up from the sea. This association of Satan, the antichrist and the sea should
seem natural enough by now. As the location of the abyss (not to mention Hades), the sea is the
present abode of some of Satan's incarcerated followers (2Pet.2:4; Jude 6; cf. Rev.9:1-11), the
future temporary prison of Satan (Rev.20:1-3), and analogous to the ultimate home of the devil
and all fallen angels (i.e., it is the lake of fire for a reason: Matt.25:41; Rev.20:10). It should also
be kept in mind that it is the object of our present study to show that the sea was the means God
employed to judge the original earth, after Satan's coup had netted him temporary control of the
first Eden. Viewed in these terms, for Revelation to associate antichrist, Satan's all-time main
candidate for world rule, with the sea, the means and place of God's judgment on Satan during
the Genesis Gap, is to closely link Satan's last attempt at total world rule (which will result in
God’s judgments at Armageddon) to his first one (which resulted in the Genesis Gap judgment).
Thus the symbolism linking the sea to God’s judgment on evil is very clear indeed in this
respect.
f. The Sea as the Home of Symbolic Monsters Representing Satan: Besides being the symbolic
point of origin for antichrist, the devil's chief minion, Satan himself shares in this close
connection with the sea through his identification with the two mythical monsters of the deep,
Leviathan (cf. also Job 3:8, 41:1-34; Ps.74:12-14) and Rahab (Job 9:13, 26:12-13; Ps.87:4; 89:9-
10; Is. 27:1; 30:7, 51:9-10). Biblical writers made use of the names of these legendary creatures
to represent Satan symbolically (in his capacity as the dragon-serpent: see Amos 9:3):

On that day [i.e., the Day of the Lord, beginning with the 2nd Advent, following the Tribulation;
cf. Is.26:20], with His fierce sword, great and mighty, the Lord will punish Leviathan [i.e., Satan;
cf. Rev.12:1-13:1], the slippery serpent, even Leviathan the twisting serpent, and He will kill
the monster [or dragon] who lives in the sea. Isaiah 27:1

Often, these monsters are also used to represent empires inspired by Satan (compare the beasts of
Dan.7), as in the case of the following passage where the satanic Egypt of the Exodus is called
Rahab (notice also the use of tehom here for "the great deep" instead of the usual word for sea,
yam; see section I.3.b. above):

Was it not You who hacked Rahab to pieces, who pierced the monster [or dragon]? Was in not
You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep [tehom]; who made the depths of the sea
into a highway for the redeemed to pass through it? Isaiah 51:9-10

g. The Removal of the Sea: The lack of any sea in the eternal state has puzzled many readers of
Revelation 21:1, but should come as no surprise in light of our discussion above. When evil has
finally been banished forever and we inhabit at last the new heavens and new earth "where
righteousness dwells" (2Pet.3:13), there will no longer be any need for a sea, either as a means of
judgment or as a memorial to judgment past. This clear truth is all the more reason to regard the
sea in Genesis 1:2 as a result of (and memorial to) God's initial judgment on Satan's rebellious
activities, and not as a part of His original creation of the earth.



4. The Restraining Ministry of the Holy Spirit:

Before all else, God created the heavens and the earth. But the earth came to be ruined and
despoiled - darkness lay upon the face of the abyss while God's Spirit brooded over the surface
of its waters. Genesis 1:1-2

That the Holy Spirit should be mentioned here in His customary role of Restrainer is a further
indication that Genesis 1:2 is describing the aftermath of God's judgment upon Satan and his pre-
historic rebellion, not continuing the discussion of original creation from verse one. In His role
as the Restrainer, the Holy Spirit hinders the activities and practice of evil, so that His presence
in Genesis 1:2 is perhaps our strongest evidence so far that in the second verse of the Bible we
are dealing with a waste-land of judgment, a world apart from the original Eden of verse one on
the other side of the Genesis Gap. A survey of the Spirit's restraining ministry will make this
clear:
   a. Holy Spirit Restraint on the Individual Level: As we saw in brief in our prior study of
Theology, the Holy Spirit, like the wind (from which His name is derived) is a potent, invisible
force.(6) In the analogy of wind used by Jesus, we can perceive it and experience its effects, but
we can neither see where it has come from nor tell where it is going (Jn.3:8). In the case of the
Spirit's ministry too, though we do not see Him (as believers have seen Christ) or hear His words
(as we read the Father's words in scripture), we are nevertheless greatly dependent upon His
power and influence in all that we do as believers. This is especially true in this present age
where Christians are indwelt by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit's ministries are many and mighty, but
the one that concerns our present study is His role as a barrier to sin and evil, through His
resistance to its contemplation and execution. It should be noted that in this capacity, the Spirit
has been at work from the dawn of human history -- the only reasonable explanation for the fact
that mankind has not yet self-destructed. Occasionally in scripture, we are given a glimpse of this
important ministry which doubtless forms a large part of every human life, especially of
believers. From the point of view of perpetrating evil, for example, the Spirit's production of
ecstatics in Saul and his men prevented his execution of David (1Sam.19:20-24). From the point
of view of protecting believers from evil, on the other hand, we may cite the Spirit's prevention
of Paul and companions from entering Asia and Bithynia during the second missionary journey
(Acts 16:6-7). Paul's description of the Spirit's opposition to sin and evil in His individual
ministry to each one of us generalizes the principle (note that James 4:5 in the Greek says
essentially the same thing as Gal.5:17):

Thus the flesh [i.e., the sinful nature of Man] sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit sets
its desire against the flesh. For these two are antithetical to each other, and so the result is that it
isn't your own will that you are carrying out. Galatians 5:17

The last part of the verse is critical to understanding the difference between most instances of the
Holy Spirit's ministry of restraint to individuals and the over-arching cosmic ministries of the
Spirit we are about to cover below. We are in a position to limit His personal ministries by the
action of our free will. He will guide and restrain us from mistakes - up to a point, but,
ultimately, God is not going to take away our free will and keep us from the commission of evil
when we are dead set on it. That is what is meant by "quenching the Spirit" (1Thes.5:19) and
"grieving the Spirit" (Eph.4:30), i.e., stubborn insistence on pursuing a wrong course of action in
despite of the Spirit's clear restraint. More extreme cases of this thwarting of the Spirit's ministry
of restraint to individuals include "lying to the Spirit" (Act 5:1-11) and "blaspheming against the
Spirit" (Matt.12:31). What all of these cases have in common is human persistence in the face of
the Spirit's resistance to sin and evil, but, in all of these cases, free will acts as the point beyond
which the Holy Spirit will no longer restrain from wrong actions.

b. Holy Spirit Restraint World-Wide: Scripture also records two important ministries of the Spirit
toward mankind collectively. In these, larger scale instances of Holy Spirit restraint, the course
of human history overall is affected. We can certainly assume that, as is the case with
individuals, the actual scope of the Spirit's intervention in human affairs goes far beyond what
has been written (as is clearly implied in Acts 17:26-28, for example):

1. Restraint of the Evil Pre-flood Civilization: The pre-flood satanic attack on the human race is
examined in Part 4 of this series, so that it will be enough here to state that in the days before that
great deluge, true humanity was on the brink of elimination. Angelic cohabitation with "the
daughters of men" had begun to produce a not-quite-human population that came close to being
universal (this is the most straight-forward interpretation of Gen.6:1-2; cf. 2Pet.2:4-5 & Jude 6-7;
see also Part 1 of this series for similar satanic "experiments" in the pre-historic period). This, no
doubt, is the kernel of truth behind the many myths of super-human heroes that have come down
to us from antiquity; angelically engineered offspring would certainly be "men of renown" (see
Gen.6:4). But though powerful in their bodies, this new hybrid race was apparently virulently
hostile to God and, by implication, to God's true people (Gen.6:5 and 6:9). Only the restraint of
the Holy Spirit - "My Spirit shall not strive with Man perpetually" - enabled Adam's unpolluted
seed to coexist with these monsters until the time when God eradicated them from the earth
(Gen.6:3, cf. also vv. 5-9).

2. Restraint of the Man of Sin: A different sort of deterrence is to be found in the case of the
Spirit's restraining of the antichrist (2Thes.2:6-8). Instead of preventing the action of a large
group of inherently evil beings (as in Genesis six), the Holy Spirit is actually preventing the
appearance on the scene of history of the most evil human being of all time: the Beast, or
antichrist. By this ministry, the Spirit refuses to allow Satan's intense attack on the people of God
to occur before its proper time. Not until every moment, every spiritual opportunity of this
present age of Christ's Church has been played out will the Spirit stand aside and allow the Great
Tribulation to begin. It is a matter of some controversy in evangelical circles as to whether the
"Restrainer" in 2nd Thessalonians 2:6-8 is the Holy Spirit (this despite His other well-known
ministries of restraint). But the fact that the seven seals must be released from the "Book" in
Revelation chapters 5-6 before the Great Tribulation can begin, clearly points to the Spirit as the
Agent of restraint (holding back antichrist and the Tribulation) as implied in the idea of sealing:
the Spirit is elsewhere described as the "Seven Spirits" (Is.11:2; Rev.1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6), and the
sealing ministry of the Spirit is well-attested in other contexts in the New Testament (2Cor.1:22;
Eph.1:13; 4:30). This last point brings us full-circle to where we began our discussion of the
Holy Spirit's ministries of restraint. He keeps us safe from the antichrist, keeping him and his
world-wide reign of terror sealed up until its due time; He has also sealed us up to keep us safe
from all threats to our salvation; mind we only take care not to use the freedom God has given us
to thwart His ministry (2Cor.1:22; Eph.1:13; 4:30).

Genesis 1:2 clearly constitutes a case of world-wide Holy Spirit restraint. The description of Him
"brooding" over the dark waters that have been poured out in judgment on the earth speaks of
deterrence, specifically, restraint of any further satanic activity, of any further interference on
earth, of any angelic attempt to reverse the effects of judgment: God would not allow this, and
the presence of the Spirit in restraint-mode serves to make this abundantly clear. Before the
seven days of restoration, earth has been "sealed up" with the strongest "lock" of all making any
attempt by Satan to resume his activities impossible:

         Am I the sea or a monster of the deep that You set a guard upon me?        Job 7:12



5. The Timing of the Satanic Rebellion: Finally, it should be mentioned that, in addition to the
compelling reasons listed above for placing Satan's rebellion within the time frame of the
Genesis Gap (that is, between original creation and the eventual re-creation of the earth - a
period of unspecified length), there is, in fact, no other period in which it can reasonably be
located. After the angels sing for joy with obvious relief at earth's re-creation (and the sea's
restriction: Job 38:4-11), the temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan follows their creation in
apparently rapid succession, leaving scant time for Satan's own fall and seduction of a large
portion of angelic kind (Genesis 1-3; see Part 1 of this series).



III. Creation and Re-Creation:

Before all else, God created the heavens and the earth.    Genesis 1:1

Genesis 1:1 describes the original creation of the heavens and the earth. This initial creation of
the universe was directed by the Father (Gen.1:1 & 3; Rev.4:11), carried out by the Son
(1Cor.8:6; Col.1:16), and empowered by the Spirit (Ps.33:6; Prov.8:27-31). It was an
instantaneous action, a true "creation ex nihilo", that is, a creative act that produced the universe
in its entirety out of nothing (except the will and the power of God). As vast as the universe is, it
is yet insignificantly small compared to God. We may think of the heavens as infinite, but if that
is so, they are but unimpressively finite in comparison with the infinity of God.(7) The act of
creating the universe was, according to the natural principles with which we are familiar,
impossible. It was, by definition, miraculous:

By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the Breath [i.e., the Spirit] of His mouth
all their hosts. Psalm 33:6

Everything came into being through Him [the Son], and without Him nothing which has come
into being came into being. John 1:3

Everything in the heavens and on the earth was created by Him (Jesus Christ), things invisible as
well as those visible - whether thrones, authorities, rulers or powers, everything was created
through Him and for Him. And He Himself is before everything, and everything subsists in
Him. Colossians 1:16-17

At the end of these times [of verse one], God spoke to us by a Son, whom He appointed heir of
everything, and through whom He [the Father] made the ages. Hebrews 1:2


As we have seen, however, the second verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:2, is split grammatically
from verse one with an abrupt, adversative construction. Verse two propels us untold eons
forward in time from the original, awesome act of creation, and moves us to the other side of the
Genesis Gap, describing for us the state of the universe as it existed before God re-created the
earth:

But the earth came to be ruined and despoiled - darkness lay upon the face of the abyss while
God's Spirit brooded over the surface of its waters. Genesis 1:2
Original creation had been marred by Satan's revolt, and cast into darkness by God's judgment
upon the rebellious angels. In order to make the universe habitable once more for creatures with
physical bodies (the attempted possession of which was a major issue in Satan's pre-fall
propaganda, it will be remembered from Part 1 of our study), a re-creation of the earth was
essential. Genesis 1:3 - 2:3, the account of the seven days, is a description of this renewal of the
heavens and the earth. The objective behind this process of the seven days is also quite clear: the
creation of Man. Everything God accomplishes within the period of re-creation is specifically
designed to make life supportable for this His second category of creature possessed of free will:



1. The Seven Days of Re-Creation: The creation of Adam and Eve, their temptation by Satan,
their fall, and their judgment by God will occupy Part 3 of this series, but we need first to
consider several other points concerning the earth's refitting during the seven days:

a. The presence of the heavens and earth in place at Genesis 1:3 shows this is re-creation: As
God begins to work on the earth in Genesis 1:3, earth (and the heavens in which it exists) is
already in place (an impossibility unless this is a re-creation).

b. The presence of the angels during the seven days shows this is re-creation: The angels are
present too (also necessarily having been created at some earlier time - before the Genesis Gap -
an impossibility unless this is re-creation), "shouting for joy" at the reconstruction of the earth
(Job 38:4-7).

c. God's pronouncement of His acts as "good" shows this is re-creation: God, being God, creates
only what is good in the first place. Bringing light out of darkness, dry land out of only sea, life
out of lifelessness, are all acts of bringing something good out of something "not good" (i.e.,
darkness, sea, lifelessness). The pronouncement "and God saw that it was good" is a stamp of
divine approval on the restoration of what had been originally good and now was restored to its
"good" condition following an interval of judgment upon evil (Gen.1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31).

d. The firmament as the sky (not the universe at large) argues that this is re-creation: To translate
the name God gives to the firmament in Genesis 1:8 as "heaven" (KJV et al.) is, at best,
misleading. Although it is true that the Hebrew word in that verse, shamayim (,ymw), is indeed
the word for heaven, we saw in Part 1 of this series that, scripturally speaking, there are three
"heavens" (the sky, the universe at large, and the Lord's residence). Genesis 1:8 is clearly
referring to the sky (sic NIV). For one thing, the earth, above which this firmament is set, is not
to be supposed to be existing in nothing. Nor should we imagine that the light and darkness, now
separated, are being represented as existing "not in the heavens" somewhere. Therefore, since
there was already a universe, the formation of a "sky" to serve as an atmosphere for earth is an
act of re-creation. This all becomes more clear when we understand that the raqiyah (iyqr)
separates the "waters above" from the waters below. Now in our present world, the sky is indeed
a repository for water vapor (which of course returns to earth in the form of rain, etc.), but what
we have here is not just a phenomenological description of the way things currently are. Genesis
1:8 is describing the earth after the restoration that follows the Genesis Gap, but before the flood,
an event whose impact was so mammoth that many of the original climatic characteristics of the
restored earth were changed forever. We shall have occasion to consider the flood along with its
causes and effects in Part 5 of this series, but for now we need only note that one of the many
climactic changes it wrought was the effective removal of the "waters above" the firmament of
the sky. The sky (i.e., the raqiyah or firmament) still draws water and releases it in the form of
rain, etc., but before the flood, there was no rain (Gen.2:5). The restored earth was encompassed
by a dense belt of moisture (the "waters above" the raqiyah or firmament) which "watered the
earth" by producing a prodigious "mist" (Gen.2:6: not "streams" as the NIV has it) and which
apparently protected earth and its creatures from the sun's radiation, among other things (a factor
which no doubt goes far to account for the much longer pre-flood life-spans, and for their rapid
reduction immediately following it).

e. Re-creation explains appearance of age: The Genesis Gap is the most likely explanation for the
perceived contradiction between the biblical account of the seven days and the fossil record. The
exact space of time between Genesis 1:1 and God's creation of the angels, or between their
creation and Satan's fall, or between God's judgment on the original Eden-earth and His
restoration of it in Genesis 1:2 are not recorded for us anywhere in scripture and could well
encompass untold eons of time (a commodity which is felt and measured much differently in the
angelic sphere, after all). In addition, there is also the point that when God creates, He creates in
mature perfection. The plants, animals, and people (Adam and Eve) created during the six days
are all created in a mature status, thus giving the appearance of age. It is no great stretch to see
the restored "heavenly lights" and reconstructed earth benefiting from a similar, complete
creation that might well give every impression of a lengthy geological history that does not in
fact comprise real time, in our limited understanding of it:

By faith we understand that the ages have been constructed by the Word of God, so that what we
see [i.e., the material world] has not come into being from the things we now see. Hebrews 11:3

For it escapes their notice in maintaining this, that heavens existed long ago and an earth formed
by the Word of God from and through water -- [and that it was] through these [waters] that the
world of that time was deluged by water and destroyed. Now the present heavens and earth have
been reserved for fire by that same Word (of God), preserved for the day of judgment and the
destruction of godless men. 2nd Peter 3:5-7

f. Re-creation is analogous to other divine restorations: Adam's fall resulted in a curse on the
earth that is analogous to (though not nearly so devastating as) the Genesis Gap judgment
(Gen.3:17-19). Nevertheless, all creation now "groans" in anticipation of the removal of the
curse, a phenomenon to come at the return of Christ which also parallels the restoration of earth
in Genesis 1:2 (Rom.8:19-22). A few of the many other such instances of the pattern of divine
judgment followed by gracious restoration include: 1) the renewal of the earth after the flood
(Gen.8-9); 2) Joseph's deliverance from prison and restoration to his family (Gen.45); 3) Israel
restored to the land after the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 1); and 4) the most significant and
spectacular restoration of all: the reconciliation of sinful Man to God through the redemptive
work of the God-Man, our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. esp. Rom.5:6-11). Suffice it to say that our God
is a gracious God who may hold just judgment in the one hand, but always has merciful
restoration in the other for all who will repent and return to Him. The restoration of the
devastated earth was a clear sign to Satan and his followers that their slanderous insinuations that
God would be unable or unwilling to provide for reconciliation (see Part 1 of this series) were
about to be undeniably refuted.

g. Re-creation is focused on Man as a replacement for Satan and his angels: Finally, all of God's
work throughout the seven days is focused on Man:

•Day 1: Light out of darkness, necessary to sustain life.

•Day 2: Atmosphere, also necessary for all life.

•Day 3: Dry land, essential for any animal life, and for Man; vegetation as a source of food,
materials, pleasure, etc.

•Day 4: Lights to "serve as signs": for the ordering of human life in necessary increments of
time.

•Day 5: Other creatures: enriching human life.

•Day 6: Land animals and livestock to support and bless human life; finally, Man.

•Day 7: God's Sabbath rest.


Notice that in Genesis 1:26-30 the creation of Man is the culmination of God's work. The process
begins with the divine conference of the Trinity announcing God's decision: "Let Us make Man
in Our image, according to Our pattern" (v.26). Man is then created in the image of God (v.27),
blessed and given rule over all other creatures on earth (v.28), and provided with food (v.29; as
are other creatures: v.30). The creation of Man, along with an environment to support our lives in
these physical bodies, is clearly the purpose and goal of the seven days of God's restorative work
in the world. Only after the earth has been restored to viable conditions, Man created upon it and
placed in charge of it, does God conclude that all He has made is "very good" (v.31: the Hebrew
adjective me'odth being added only here to God's evaluations of His various acts during the
seven days as "good"). Even the pattern of the seven days is one that suits and reflects the
subsequent history of mankind, with each day standing for one millennium of human history and
with the seventh day signifying the millennial rule of Christ (this principle will be explained in
more detail in Part 5 of this series). The fact that God's restorative work during the seven days is
entirely focused on Man also argues for Genesis 1:2 beginning a process of re-creation, for Man,
specifically through the God-Man, Jesus Christ, is meant in no small part as a replacement for
Satan and his fallen angels.



2. The Genesis 2:4 Summary
Genesis 2:4 has traditionally been at the root of much of the confusion about the Genesis Gap
and the legitimate distinction drawn by scripture between the original creation of Genesis 1:1 and
the seven days of re-creation. For example, the New International Version translates as follows:

This is the account of the heavens and earth when they were created.

[double break in spacing]

When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens - [v.5] and no shrub of the field had yet
appeared ...


By translating in the manner above, the NIV (and other versions that take a similar approach)
leaves the English reader under the definite impression that verse four is grammatically split in
two, with the first half looking backward to the seven days of re-creation, and second half
looking forward to the detailed account of the creation of Adam and Eve. Nothing could be
further from the truth. In fact, verse four is an indivisible grammatical unit, and, what is almost
universally misunderstood, a summary of all that goes before (original creation and the seven
days of restoration). Punctuation can be important. Genesis 2:4 ought to be carefully
distinguished from the following verse, because verse five begins a more detailed account of
God's creation of Adam and Eve, an event that occurred on the sixth day of restoration
(Gen.1:27). As did Genesis 1:2, Genesis 2:5 also begins with an adversative waw construction
which makes the break clear in the Hebrew (see section I above):

Now this was before any wild foliage existed on the earth and before any wild herbage had
sprouted, for the Lord had not yet caused rain to fall upon the earth, and Man did not exist to till
the soil. Genesis 2:5



It is just prior to this detailed account that we are given the summary statement of verse four:



These are the generations of the heavens and the earth in their creation, throughout the entire
period that the Lord God fashioned them. Genesis 2:4


Coming as it does immediately after God's resting on the seventh day, verse four begins in the
classic manner of an explanation with asyndeton (that is, with no intervening connectives like
"and"). Theoretically, the verse could look backwards or forwards. The disjunctive opening of
verse five eliminates the latter possibility (because an introductory explanation would not then be
immediately followed by a rough break of the sort occurring in verse five). However, if we take
verse four as a summary of everything written so far in the book, the sense will be confusing at
best - unless we factor in that it includes both original creation and the seven days of re-creation.
Failure to understand that both elements are included in the summary of verse four is at the heart
of attempts to unnaturally link the verse to what follows, or even split it in two in the manner of
the NIV.

The vocabulary used in Genesis 2:4 to summarize creation and re-creation is both consistent and
precise: we are told of the "creation" of heaven and earth, and the Lord God's "fashioning" of
them. The word for creation is the Hebrew bar'ah (arb), while fashion or make is the Hebrew
'asah (hwi). Now bar'ah is most often used in scripture for miraculous, creative activities of the
Lord (the word, incidentally, found in Genesis 1:1 for "created"), whereas 'asah is the most
common word for making and doing and has many subjects in scripture in addition to the Deity.
The clue to why Moses, the writer of the Pentateuch, felt the need to employ both verbs here is to
be found in the word "generations" (toledhoth, tvdlvt). This plural is normally used in the Old
Testament to detail the ancestry or lineage of human families, and therefore necessarily includes
the idea of development over a significant amount of time. Here, therefore, "generations" is
clearly being used by way of analogy to sum up the "developments", that is, the different periods
of history for the heavens and the earth, namely: 1) original creation; 2) judgment and Genesis
Gap; 3) re-creation. So while it is clearly difficult to reconcile this verse with a seven-day
original creation theory, by combining the verb of creation (ba'rah - Genesis 1:1: most suited for
original creation), with the verb of manufacture ('asah - found throughout the seven days, e.g.,
Gen.1:7, 16, 25: more suited to reconstitution), and by setting both verbs in a context of lengthy,
"generational" development, Genesis 2:4 makes perfect sense as a summing up of all that has
gone before: the original creation of Genesis 1:1, the Genesis Gap, and the seven days of re-
creation:

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth in their creation, throughout the entire
period that the Lord God fashioned them.      Genesis 2:4



3. God's Answer to Satan: As we saw in Part 1 of our study of Satan's rebellion, the devil made
a convincing case to his peers that, because of His merciful character on the one hand and the
absolute and finite number of the angels on the other, God would be unable to bring judgment
upon them for the coup Satan proposed (and subsequently carried out). The devil was wrong on
both counts. Judgment came precipitously, the universe was plunged into darkness, and the earth
was devastated. To their great surprise, however, final disposition of Satan and his followers was
not immediately made. The universe was allowed to remain in darkness with the earth covered
by the world-wide sea for an unspecified length of time. Finally, God did begin to restore the
earth - an essential first step if Satan were to be refuted and replaced (and not just condemned).
The angels who had remained faithful to God were overcome with joy (Job 38:4-7), but the
demons must have shuddered (cf. Jas.2:19). Restoration, re-creation of what had been the
original Eden, was clear proof that God not only possessed a means of and a plan for the final
disposition of Satan and his angels (in complete justice), but also of replacing what had been lost
through their fall.

God was about to do "a new thing", a totally unexpected thing. Man, a creature far inferior in
power to the angels (Ps.8), but possessed of the precise thing Satan had lobbied for, a physical
body, would be introduced to the very same earth (now reconstituted) that had been headquarters
for Satan's abortive coup d'etat. The conflict would resume - on God's terms. Through mankind,
God would demonstrate his ability to be merciful and righteous at the same time, refuting Satan's
lie and providing for his replacement at one stroke. In Part 3, we will examine God's creation of
Man, Satan's temporary tactical success at the fall of Man, and God's sealing of the ultimate
victory in the provision of the God-Man, His Son, Jesus Christ. Through Jesus Christ, mankind,
born in sin through Adam's fall, would choose for God, and thus replace the fallen angels,
created in perfection, who had chosen against God.



Notes:

1. L.S. Chafer, Systematic Theology (Dallas 1948) v.2, p.39 et alibi; also F. Delitzsch, A System
of Biblical Psychology tr. R.E. Wells (rpr. Grand Rapids 1977) 71-77.

2. For parallels (e.g. Is.15:1-2) see Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar para. 100.2a.

3. Summaries, by their very nature, are more appropriate to the ends rather than the beginnings
of literary treatments. Genesis 2:4 is just such a summary, encompassing the whole of creation
(and re-creation) up to that point, and occurring where we might expect it to - at the end of the
account of the seven days. Curiously, many who take Genesis 1:1 as a "prior" summary are
inclined to see Genesis 2:4 as yet another preceding summary to be linked with what follows.
There is no other way to explain the scrum of these verses made by many of the versions (most
notable the NIV).

4. See Lambdin's Introduction to Biblical Hebrew (Cambridge 1971) para. 132. For parallels see
Gesenius para.164.b.3, as well as these passages: Gen.14:4; Jdg.3:23 with verse 24.

5. For Man's ultimate status vis-a-vis the angels, see Part 1 of this series, Satan's Rebellion and
Fall.

6. See Part 1 of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: "Theology: The Study of God", and
Peter #10. These issues will be treated in much greater detail in Parts 5 & 6 of Essential
Doctrines of the Bible in Outline, "Pneumatology" and "Peripateology" respectively.

7. See Part I of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Theology: the Study of God.



 The Satanic Rebellion Background to the Tribulation: Part 3, The Purpose, Creation and Fall of
                                            Man



                The Satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation

                                               Part 3
                                The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man

                                          by Dr. Robert D. Luginbill

Outline of the Series:
Part 1: Satan's Rebellion and Fall
Part 2: The Genesis Gap
Part 3: The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man
Part 4: Satan's World System: Past, Present and Future
Part 5: Judgment, Restoration and Replacement

Outline for Part 3:
I. The Purpose of Man
II. The Creation of Man
   1. The Image and the Likeness of God
   2. The Creation of Adam
   3. The Human Spirit
   4. The Dichotomy of Man
   5. The Creation of Eve
III. Status Quo in Paradise
IV. The Fall of Man
   1. The Temptation
   2. The Fall
   3. The Judgment
V. Satan's Hollow Victory



Introduction: As we saw in our last installment, until the restoration of earth and God's
reconstitution of the heavenly lights, Lucifer, the "light-bearer" and his followers had found
themselves in the dark, awaiting their fate. Satan's coup d'etat had ended a dismal failure, and his
nefarious experimentations on earth, the original Eden, had been summarily terminated by a
divine intervention that left not only the earth but the surrounding universe as well buried in deep
darkness. We know from the testimony of scripture that a trial followed in which God
condemned Satan and his fallen angels for their rejection of His authority and for their rebellion:

Behold, He does not place [unreserved] trust in His servants, but charges [even] His angels with
error. Job 4:18

Then He will say to those on His left, "Away from Me, you accursed ones, into the eternal fire
[already] prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41

Concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.        John 16:11

Satan's case (and that of his followers) has thus already been adjudicated and his ultimate fate
pronounced. By the time he and his fallen angels are cast down to the earth during the Great
Tribulation (Rev.12:7-9), he will be well aware of the fact that he has "but little time left"
(Rev.12:12). At the conclusion of human history, but not until that point has been reached at the
end of the millennial rule of Christ, Satan will face the execution of his sentence (Rev.20:10;
Is.24:21-22), a verdict adjudged before human history began. The question may well be posed,
"why the delay in judgment? Why did God not simply plunge the devil and his minions into the
fires of hell immediately after their just condemnation?" The answer to all such questions is
intimately bound up with God's creation of another species of sentient, morally responsible
creatures, namely, Man. So it is that to the purpose, creation and fall of mankind that we must
now turn.


I. The Purpose of Man

Though already under sentence of death for his unrepentant attempt to overthrow God's rule over
the universe (Job 4:18; Matt.25:41; Jn.16:11), Satan still retains his freedom of action. We find
him spying on our first parents in the garden (Gen.3), appearing before the Lord to slander our
brethren (Job 1&2; Zech.3; Rev.12:10), and prowling the earth in search of believers whose
defenses are down (1Pet.5:8). The reason for the devil's intense interest in mankind is similar to
the reason for our creation in the first place (and to the reason for the delay in carrying out the
sentence of death under which he stands as well): Man is meant as a response to Satan's
rebellion, a living refutation of the devil's slanderous lies against the character of God. God has
created mankind 1) to demonstrate to all angelic kind His ability to reconcile His creatures to
Himself, and 2) to actually replace all that was lost through the devil's defection.


1. Man created to demonstrate God's righteousness in acting mercifully: Although every aspect
of God's perfect character is visible in His gracious dealings with the human race, the
demonstration of His righteousness most directly answers Satan's slanders regarding God's
ability to provide reconciliation. It will be remembered (from part 1 of this series) that part of the
devil's appeal to his potential followers rested on his assurance that God would be unable to
effect any reconciliation between Himself and His rebellious creatures. Satan reasoned that God's
righteousness would stand in the way of His mercy and thus make forgiveness impossible. God
would thus be "put in a box", unable to act in mercy without compromise, unable to execute
punishment permanently marring His creation in an irreversible way. No matter how much He
might dislike it, God would be forced to tolerate Satan's usurpation of power. And though it
would not have formed part of his public pitch, the devil was no doubt also working on the
"safety in numbers" principle, reckoning that while God might choose to chastise one rebel,
removing the vast multitude of angels whom Satan had been able to recruit would create an
irreparable rift in the fabric of the universe. But the devil’s logic failed to take into account the
ineffable love of God, and was oblivious to the idea that our God is a God of such grace that He
would even sacrifice His most beloved possession, His Son, Jesus Christ, on our behalf. Satan
was correct about the righteousness of God preventing His mercy from arbitrarily forgiving sin
in any form, but what the devil did not count on was God's willingness to pay for sin Himself
through the sacrifice of His Son, so that we might justly be accounted righteous in his eyes
(2Cor.5:21):

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power whereby God may save everyone
who believes (whether the Jew first, or the Greek). Because in it the righteousness of God is
revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, "and the righteous man shall live by faith. Romans
1:16-17
We are saved by faith in the person and work of the One who died in our place and paid the price
of sin for us, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Because Jesus paid the price, God can forgive our
sin, not arbitrarily, but justly, since it has been paid for in full in the most precious coin. God is
therefore not only merciful to forgive us and welcome us into His family when we believe in
Jesus, He is also just in justifying us, righteous in proclaiming us righteous, "not from works of
righteousness which we have done" (Tit.3:5), but from our acceptance of the work of the One
who died for us. Angels being angels, as we have seen (part 1), any decision to rebel against God
would be final. Possessed as they are of perceptive abilities that far exceed our material
limitations, it can be truly said of them that "they knew what they were getting into" (at least as
far as creatures can know). Reconciliation of fallen angel to merciful God was therefore never a
real possibility - because they would not have it, not because God could not or would not do it.(1)
The truth of this last point He has proven irrefutably by the loving sacrifice of His only Son on
mankind's behalf, paying a price so steep we can only dimly comprehend it. If the devil and his
angels had been the sort to receive such an incomparable gesture of sacrifice and mercy, God
would have generously provided it. By giving up His Son to the cross, God has demonstrated
beyond any shadow of a doubt both His willingness and His ability to rescue His creatures, for
He has in fact done so for us, even though it meant paying the price His righteousness demanded
with the blood of His own Son.

Thus human history is on the one hand a demonstration to angelic kind (elect as well as fallen) of
God's mercy and His ability to act justly in providing that mercy (albeit at tremendous cost to
Himself). We human beings are actually experiencing God's love and mercy as He provides for
us here in the world despite the devil's opposition. To the angels, however, we are a
demonstration of that love and mercy, made efficacious through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and
our faith in Him. Being spirits and so not subject to the material limits that so try our souls, they
must learn by observation, and observe us they do in great earnestness (Job 1&2; Matt.18:10;
Lk.15:10; 1Cor.4:9; 11:10; 1Pet.1:12).(2) That this demonstration will have been of over seven
thousand years' duration (when human history shall finally have run its course) is merely further
proof of the graciousness and long-suffering of God (Is.30:18; Rom.2:4; 2Pet.3:9&15 etc.).
Through the long course of this demonstration (which is our collective human experience), the
elect angels will come to know God and His perfect character better than ever before, while the
fallen angels will see their leader's every blasphemous accusation refuted and destroyed in
voluminous detail. And when all is said and done, God's righteousness will have been affirmed
as beyond reproach in the merciful salvation of believing mankind.

2. Man created to replace Satan and his angels: The creation of Man following the Genesis Gap
judgment (see Part 2, our previous study) is a clear indication that these two events are intimately
related. For God to create a new species of creature, possessing along with the angels both
spirituality and free will, and then to deposit them on the very scene of Satan's rebellious activity
was no subtle indication that at least one of God's purposes for mankind would be the
replacement of the devil and his evil legions. This must have been abundantly and immediately
clear to Satan. For here was a new moral creature who (left to his own devices) might just do
what he and his would not: obey God's will without rebelling against Him. Perhaps, as soon as
the requisite population was reached through procreation, Satan and company could be removed,
harmony and completeness having thus been restored. Judgment, after all, had already been
pronounced (Job 4:18; Matt.25:41; Jn.16:11). What could remain except for a one-for-one
replacement of fallen angels with human beings, once our numbers became sufficient?

Satan's motives for precipitating the fall of Man are therefore clear. Unwilling to repent, neither
could he afford to accept the status quo. With judgment set, execution of God's sentence against
him would be inevitable if not immediate (cf. Rev.20:10):

And it will come to pass on that day [i.e., the "day of the Lord"], that the Lord will punish the
host of heaven above [i.e., the devil and his angels], and the kings of the earth below [i.e., those
who have opposed His Christ], and they will be gathered together, bound in a dungeon, jailed
and imprisoned. And after many days they will be punished. Isaiah 24:21-22




Moreover, with the creation of Man, the de facto replacing of Satan in due course was looking
inevitable, a development that would remove the only remaining, tangible barrier to his
execution. The principle of God's desire to retrieve what is lost and replace what is missing is
clearly seen in scripture in the parable of the lost sheep (Matt.18:12-14; Lk.15:4-10), the law of
levirate marriage (Deut.25:5-6), and, of course, in His longing for all mankind to accept the gift
of Jesus Christ and return to Him:

[God] who wants all men to be saved and come to accept the truth.       1st Timothy 2:4

Ample evidence suggests that elect mankind is, in effect, replacing fallen angelic kind in God's
universal order (Lk.10:17-20; 1Cor.6:3; Rev.20:4). The principle is most clearly seen in the God-
Man's replacement of the original covering cherub (see Part 1): Lucifer (the "light bearer")
replaced by the Morning Star, Jesus Christ (cf. Is.14:12 with 2Pet.1:19; Rev.2:28; 22:16). Thus it
is only fitting that the followers of the Morning Star should replace Lucifer's followers. In this
way the harmony and integrity of the creation will be restored, while everything that was lost
will be replaced with something even better: willing worshipers of God in union with His Son,
the God-Man, so that ultimately "God may be all in all" (1Cor.15:28).


3. Man created for the glory of God: The replacement of Satan and his followers with willing
worshipers, and the ample demonstration of God's love and righteousness through the sacrifice
of His Son to save these sinful human beings abundantly redounds to the great glory of God.
After watching the events of human history unfold, the elect angels (and, in fact, all creatures)
are moved to praise and glorify the Lord almighty for this matchless grace (cf. Ps.148-150):

To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and power for
ever and ever! Revelation 5:13b [NIV]


It is for God's praise, for God's glory, that we have been created (Is.60:21). By making us and by
saving us through Christ, God shows His love and exposes the devil's lies. In us, in what He has
done for us, the glory of God shines forth, and those who love Him cannot help but praise Him:

Having foreordained us for adoption to Himself through Jesus Christ according to the good
pleasure of His will, for the purpose of producing praise for the glory of His grace which He has
graciously bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:5-6

In whom we also have an inheritance, having been ordained according to the design of Him who
is working everything out according to the desire of His will, that we who have previously
placed our hope in Christ might serve the purpose of generating praise for His glory. Ephesians
1:11-12


Everyone who is called by name, for My glory I have created him, I have formed him, indeed, I
have made him. Isaiah 43:7

As the passages above indicate, it is only regenerate mankind (i.e., believers in Christ) that
forms this replacement of fallen angelic kind. Human beings who choose to reject God's gracious
gift of Jesus Christ will share the fate of the devil and his followers in the lake of fire
(Rev.20:11-15). This too is a part of the demonstration of the righteousness of God, and also
redounds to His great glory. Not only will the entire universe witness His gracious provision of
mercy towards all who turn to Him, but all who oppose His will, Satan and all rebels, be they
angels or men, will be crushed materially (in judgment) as well as spiritually (through the
demonstration of human history). And everyone, whether rebellious or regenerate, will
eventually acknowledge the majesty, the righteousness, the glory of God:

By Myself I have sworn. From my mouth a righteous word has gone forth, which will not be
revoked, that every knee will bow to Me, and to Me every tongue will swear. And so they will
acknowledge Me: "Only in the Lord are righteousness and might." Before Him will come all
who raged against Him and they will be put to shame. Isaiah 45:23-24

It is in the nature of God not to let a lie stand, but instead to expose all lies to the blinding light of
the truth. Human history constitutes, in effect, the "last judgment" of fallen angelic kind, a vivid,
living demonstration of their error and utter sinfulness in the course of which "every mouth will
be stopped" [i.e., every excuse destroyed] (Rom.3:19; Ps.107:42; Mich.7:16) and at the end of
which every knee will bow and tongue declare the glory of God and the grace of God in the gift
of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom.14:11; Phil.2:10-11).



II. The Creation of Man

We may be a response to the rebellious defection of the devil and his followers, but God also
loves us. He was under no obligation to create angelic kind. He was under no obligation to create
the human race. He did not have to give His Son to die for us. He did not have to pay that awful
price the magnitude of which we can only dimly hope to comprehend. Yet create us He did. In
making us, He shared Himself with us. He blessed us in making us, with blessings that have only
just begun to flow our way. To create us, to save us, though it cost Him His Son, to make us part
of His family, to take us to Himself and ultimately to come to reside with us forever, these are
the acts of a God who is love itself, and we are truly blessed to call Him Father.

1. The Image and Likeness of God: According to the first chapter of Genesis, God created Man
and Woman on the sixth day of restoration. After the heavens had been restored, and the earth
refitted and replenished, when all conditions were suitable and everything marvelously in place,
God gave life to our first parents, Adam and Eve, forming them and depositing them in a place of
perfection:

Then God said, "Let us make Man in our image, according to our likeness, so that he may rule
over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and over the beasts and over the whole earth and
over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth". So God created the man in His image; in the
image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26-27


As Genesis 1:26 indicates, the express purpose of Man's creation is his rule and oversight of the
newly reconstructed earth (along with its creatures). This purpose is reemphasized at several
points in the more detailed narrative of Adam's creation in Genesis chapter two:

Now Man did not yet exist to care for the land.    Genesis 2:5b

So the Lord God took Adam and placed him in the garden of Eden to care for it and to guard
it. Genesis 2:15

Now as we saw in Part 1 of this series, Satan was the first trustee of earth, the original Eden,
where he held the prestigious position of "covering cherub", i.e., the guardian of the throne of
God on the Holy Mountain of the primeval, as yet unblemished earth. It was this pristine earth of
which he seized temporary control in his bid to lead the angels in revolt against the Lord
Almighty. Placing Man on this same earth, now rejuvenated, with a mandate similar to the one
which Satan had rejected, is a clear indication that God meant Man (and his progeny) to assume
a role very similar to the one abdicated by Satan (and his followers): namely, faithful, obedient
supervision of God's creation. Now as we have seen, while angels and men are quite different in
some important respects (most notably qualitatively superior longevity, knowledge and absence
of corporeality), they do share one critical similarity: both possess spirituality of a type that
mirrors the image and the likeness of their Creator; both are intelligent, sentient, morally
responsible, capable of being put in a position of responsibility. But the most critical point of
comparison in each case, Man and angel, is the ability, indeed the necessity, of making a
conscious choice to serve faithfully. For the angels, the tangible test was continued allegiance to
God or defection to the devil; for Adam and Eve it was the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil (Gen.2:16). But for both species there was a test and the corresponding ability of spirit to
choose. Beyond all argument, God could have created innumerable beings to serve Him who
would have been incapable of sin or rebellion. But God desires instead, creatures who will
choose for Him of their own free will, who will love Him and serve Him and worship Him
willingly (Jn.4:23). To be proper replacements for Satan and his followers, mankind had to
possess a spiritual makeup that was essentially the same as the angels in two important respects:
1) the ability to make responsible and responsive choices (with the mental and emotional assets
to support this quality), and 2) individuality (i.e., a personality unique and independent from all
others in the species). Like the angels, Man is a creature capable of exercising and responding to
authority within the parameters laid down by God, and, like the angels, every one of us must
make these essential choices for ourselves. These two essential qualities of spirit (i.e., the ability
to choose for God and the individual responsibility to do so) are referred to in the Genesis 1:26-
27 description as the "image and likeness of God":(3)

Then God said, "Let us make Man in our image, according to our likeness, so that he may rule
over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and over the beasts and over the whole earth and
over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth". So God created Man in His image; in the
image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26-27


It is almost universally acknowledged that the purpose of the description "in our image,
according to our likeness" is to mark out the similarities between Man and God. Naturally, the
difficulty of comparing infinite God with finite Man makes any such analogy problematic, but as
men and women of faith, we understand that God was well aware of this when He gave these
words to Moses to pen. "Image and likeness", when properly understood, do in fact give us a
wonderfully precise description of the ways in which this new creature would be like His Maker.

The first thing to understand about "image and likeness" is that the points of analogy between
God and Man are entirely spiritual. And while it is true that more than one misguided theologian
over the course of the millennia has attempted to bring Adam's physical shape somehow into the
picture of "image and likeness", as Christians who believe in a God who made the universe and
is Himself entirely spiritual, we must of necessity reject such fanciful notions out of hand.(4)
Secondly, and this point is considerably more controversial, the "image" of God and the
"likeness" of God, though both spiritual, are not identical. In an effort to make the best out of a
bad argument, one often hears proponents of the "image only" school say that "image and
likeness explain each other", or claims to that effect. But such pleas bespeak a clear
embarrassment about the need to essentially explain away the second phrase "in our likeness".
From the standpoint of those of us who believe in the economy and purposefulness of what the
Word of God has to say, "in our likeness" on the face of it ought to be providing additional
information. This is especially the case when we consider that the two words "image" and
"likeness" are introduced by different Hebrew prepositions with quite different meanings.

In fact, the two phrases "in Our image" and "in Our likeness" describe two very distinct areas of
spiritual similarity between God and Man. Throughout the history of the Church, scholars have
struggled with this problem, and the roots of the solution (if not the solution itself) are to be
found in the likes of Gregory of Nyssa, Origen, and the Schoolmen, with the distinction
(generally put) being between a general principle (image) and an individual application
(likeness).(5) It has fallen to the lot of modern exegetes to move the discussion away from biblical
ethics and back to biblical psychology (where it properly belongs). J. Laidlaw's insightful
analysis that saw in image and likeness both (species-wide) self-consciousness and individual
personality is very close to the mark.(6) Laidlaw, however, took image and likeness to represent
this distinction collectively, and it falls to the great credit of R.B. Thieme to have first seen
"image" as mankind's common spiritual essence (analogous to the divine essence which is
common to all three members of the Trinity), and "likeness" as the individual personality of
distinct human beings (analogous to the different persons of the three members of the Trinity).(7)

That this interpretation has hit upon the exact truth of what distinguishes the likeness and image
is made all the more clear by the two Hebrew prepositions with which the two terms are
introduced. Man is said to be made in the image of God, but according to the likeness of God.
As many have affirmed (indeed, the point is obvious to all with even a rudimentary knowledge
of Hebrew), the preposition be (b), translated "in" above, ought by all rights to express a much
closer relationship than the preposition ce (k), translated "according to" above.(8) This contrast of
usage corresponds nicely to the distinction we have affirmed: Man's spiritual nature is more
closely parallel to God's image than to God's likeness. In terms of our common human essence,
the essence of God provides a rather close parallel in terms of the points of commonality that are
important for Man to be a sufficient replacement for the fallen angels in every way: like the
angels, we have delegated authority which authority parallels the sovereignty of God, and the
spiritual facets and abilities to make proper use of it, which facets parallel in a very finite way
the infinite essence of God. In terms of our individual human personalities, however, the three
persons of the Trinity offer a similar, though somewhat looser, parallel. Like the Trinity,
mankind is composed of multiple members, each possessed of an identical spiritual essence; but
unlike the Trinity, we are not so closely bound together as a species in terms of our essence so as
to be "one" on anything like the level that is true of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Therefore
the difference in closeness of comparison to God between "image" and "likeness" is not just one
of quantity (i.e., very many human beings, only three members of the Trinity), but also
qualitative on two separate levels: 1) the obvious disparity between a Person of the Trinity and a
human personality, but also 2) the qualitative difference between a spiritually unified Trinity and
a multiplicity of human beings who, though sharing the same type essence, do not actually share
the same essence in the way that the Trinity do.(9) Besides the obvious point that Man is not, nor
will he ever be comparable to God, there is another very good reason for the disjunction between
the individual "essences" of separate human beings: we shall all have to make our own
individual choice about whether to answer God's call to follow and serve Him, and those who
choose to reject Him will ultimately be separated from Him and from us (yielding a separation in
human essences that could not nor will ever obtain in the case of the divine essence).

The Hebrew word translated "image" in Genesis 1:26-27 above is tselem (,lj); its Greek
counterpart, also meaning "image" (as used in the Septuagint and New Testament), is eikon
(). Both tselem and eikon refer to Man's spiritual mirroring of God's essence. Although it is
possible, as some have argued, that tselem is to be derived from tsel (lj), "shade" (and that the
connection between the words would be felt by the Hebrew reader in any case), in scripture
tselem means "image" in a fairly concrete sense; the word is often used for statues of pagan idols
which, after all, are meant to be exact replicas of the god in question.(10) On this analogy
(transferred to the spiritual realm), the image of God would seem to be a very clear reflection:
Man acts for God (in paradise) and even as God in certain instances. God made us to serve Him,
therefore when we are behaving properly we are indeed acting in His stead. We are el (la), a
"small g" image of the God (`elohiym: ,yhvla), "God with a capital G" (although in the Hebrew it
is a question of a singular noun in the first instance, versus a plural "of majesty" used for God
Himself in the second).
I said, "You are gods, and sons of the Most High, all of you." However, you shall die in the
manner of Man, and fall like any other [human] prince. Psalm 82:6

Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law: 'I said, You are gods'?   John 10:34

It makes perfect sense, therefore, to find this analogy of creatures called "mighty ones" (i.e.,
"gods") applied to the angels as well as to mankind, because by His delegation they too share in
the authority of God (the Mighty One):(11)

I will praise You with all my heart. Before the angels (lit. "the gods") I will sing of You.   Psalm
138:1



Everyone who serves an idol will be put to shame, all those who praise images. Worship Him, all
you angels (lit. "gods"). Psalm 97:7

What is Man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you care for him? You made
him a little lower than the angels (lit. "the gods"), you crowned him with glory and honor. You
made him sovereign over all the works of your hands, you put everything under his feet, flocks
and all cattle, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the skies and the fish of the sea, and
whatever swims the paths of the seas. Psalm 8: 4-8

This last passage, Psalm 8:4-8, is particularly apropos of our study because it provides a link
between men and angels as God's delegates here on earth. The angels are described as "mighty
ones", "gods" with a small "g", while Man, we are told, has been made "a little lower" than these
entirely spiritual creatures who were the first to enjoy God's delegated sovereignty. Nevertheless,
it is Man who has now been made sovereign (as God's representative) over the earth and
everything that God has created on the earth (in place of earth's original angelic sovereign,
Satan as we know from other scriptures such as Is.14:12-20 and Ezek.28:12-19).(12)

Now it is true that mankind fell (corporately, or "positionally") in Adam (Rom.5:12-21;
1Cor.15:21-22). It is also true that, as a result of Adam's fall, Satan is the present "ruler of the
world" (Lk.4:6; Jn.12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 1Jn.5:19). But the devil's usurped sovereignty has never
gone and will never go unchallenged by God (Gen.3:15; Rev.20:10). God has used (and
continues to use) the sons of men to challenge the devil's temporary sovereignty which was
destroyed positionally (i.e., in principle) by the Son of God in His victory on the cross (Is.42:3-4;
Matt.12:20; 1Cor.15:54-57; 1Jn.5:3-5) and will be destroyed experientially (i.e., in practice) at
His return (Ps.110:1; Rev.19). For it is Christ who is the exact image of the Father (Heb.1:3).
And it is Christ who will rule over the earth in complete and perfect sovereignty as delegated by
the Father (Is.9:6-7) until all His enemies have been crushed and the kingdom can be handed
over to the Father (1Cor.15:24-28). Then we shall witness the Father's unchallenged rule over the
new heavens and earth where "righteousness dwells" (2Pet.3:13), where there shall no longer be
the slightest trace of evil.

Psalm 8 thus describes Man acting properly in his capacity as a true servant of God, ministering
in God's creation according to God's will. So it is not at all surprising to discover that this
passage finds its ultimate prophetic fulfillment in the Last Adam, our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ:

For it is not to angels that He subordinated the world to come (which is our present topic), but
someone testifies as some point saying, "What is Man that you are mindful of him, or the son of
man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels, you crowned him with
glory and honor. You made him sovereign over all the works of your hands, you put everything
under his feet." For in subordinating the world to him, He left nothing that was not subordinate to
him. However, we do not now yet see the world in subordination to him. But we do now see
Jesus crowned with glory and honor on account of the death He suffered, even He who became
"a little lower than the angels" for a brief span so that by the grace of God He might taste death
on behalf of us all. Hebrews 2:5-9

All of the scriptures just considered refer to the idea we have discussed above, namely that the
central point of the image of God in Man is the ability to exercise and respond to authority, to
act sovereignly in God's place where He so delegates, and to be responsible to Him for our
actions.(13) This key characteristic of spirit requires other obvious mental and spiritual aspects
and assets (such as self-consciousness, will, mentality, conscience, etc.). But just as the
sovereignty of God is the coordinating characteristic of His perfect character,(14) so the ability to
judge and govern, and to be morally responsible (in terms of our own lives along with whatever
God places in our charge) is the key quality of comparison between the essence of God and the
essence of Man, between God as archetype and Man as His image:

Then God said, "Let us make Man in our image, according to our likeness, so that he may rule
..." Genesis 1:26a

The Hebrew word translated "likeness" in Genesis 1:26 above is demuth (tvmd); its Greek
counterpart, also meaning "likeness" (as used in the Septuagint and New Testament) is
homoioma or homoiosis (', '). Both demuth and homoioma/homoiosis refer
not to our common mirroring of God's character, but to the fact that we have an individual
responsibility to seek, follow and serve God.(15) "Likeness" then refers to mankind's multiplicity
in terms of many, unique and individual personalities. In this point, by analogy, we parallel the
persons of Trinity (though more loosely than we parallel His essence-image for the reasons
discussed above). The fact that the pronouns in Gen.1:26 are plural ("Us", "our image") makes it
very difficult to exclude the Trinity from this passage.(16) We share the image of God on an
overall essence basis, but the likeness of God relates to the fact that just as the Trinity is "We",
so mankind is composed of many different members, each of whom shares the image of God
(and the corresponding individual responsibility to seek, follow and serve Him). Although it is
possible, as some have argued, that demuth is to be derived from dam (,d), "blood" (and that the
connection between the words would be felt by the Hebrew reader in any case, and also with the
words 'adam, Adam, and 'adamah, ground), in scripture demuth means "likeness" with no
demonstrable connection to this admittedly important term and concept. It is also important to
remember that the point of analogy for the likeness of God is the threefold personality of God,
entirely spiritual in every way.
This is the account of the generations of Adam: When God created Man, He made him in His
likeness. He created them man and woman and He blessed them and He called their name "Man"
on the day He created them. Now Adam lived 130 years and he fathered [a son] in his likeness,
according to his image, and he named him Seth. Genesis 5:1-3


Genesis 5:1-3, far from being a crux of interpretation on account of the reversal of the
prepositions used with image and likeness (be and ce, "in" and "according to" respectively),
actually helps to confirm the points just expressed. The critical distinction between Gen.1:26-27
and Gen.5:1-3, quoted immediately above, is that the subjects of the two passages are entirely
different: in Gen.1:26-27, the subject is God; in Gen.5:1-3, the subject is Adam. Obviously, a
comparison based on an analogy with Man will of necessity be quite different from one based on
an analogy with God. This fact accounts for the reversal whereby we have in Gen.5:1-3 "in his
likeness" and "according to his image". Between a man and a man, "likeness" or individuality is
exactly parallel: all of us are human beings (contrasted with the comparison of Man to God in
Gen.1:26). However in terms of "image", by comparing man to man the comparison becomes
less exact here, because now we are not contrasting divine essence to similar (in principle)
human essence, but we are instead comparing a whole man (body and spirit) to another complete
person: without question Adam and Seth, though similar in terms of species, were at the same
time very different, even to the naked eye (not to mention the differences of mind, emotion,
aptitude -- all the factors that make for differences in personality). Reversing "in" and "according
to" is the only way to make clear, based on the pattern set in Gen.1:26, this distinction between
the "man to man" image-likeness relationship on the one hand, and the "Man to God" image-
likeness relationship on the other.

We have already seen that mankind has been created for the glory of God (section I.3 above).
While this glorification of God is primarily accomplished by what He does for us (most
especially in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ on our behalf), we too have a role to play
through the exercise of our will here on earth. Our image and likeness to God, that is, our self-
determination and separateness, our ability to choose for God and the individual responsibility to
do so, our limited sovereignty and its common disbursement (to a greater or lesser degree) to all
members of our species, are aspects of spirit without which it would be impossible for us
participate in this glorification process (otherwise known as human history). Simply put, God is
glorified by our obedience, by our response to His sovereign authority. Our will is not really
"free" in the sense that we can choose the course of our lives without consequence. We really
have only one choice: obey God. If we do, God is glorified by our obedience. If we do not, we
suffer the consequences (and God still enjoys a measure of glory by dealing with us in justice,
though He would have preferred to deal with us in love). No, we really do not have "free will" in
the overarching sense of the phrase. Either we choose to do God's will, or, by default, we end up
choosing to follow the present "ruler of this world" by default (Gal.5:16-17). Either we accept
His sovereign authority over our lives, an authority He possesses by nature of being God, an
authority He has underlined to an unimaginable degree by the price He has paid for us through
the death of His only Son, or we reject Him for the usurped authority of the devil's world
(1Jn.2:15-17). If we seek Him, if we follow Him, if we serve Him, if we obey Him, we will find
that in our lives, in our spiritual gifts, in the production that flows from the ministries He assigns,
we will be partakers in the delegated sovereign authority of God that was bestowed upon Adam
so long ago. But instead of ruling over the perfection of Eden, our task is to manifest the glory of
God by contesting whatever part of this battlefield called earth that the Lord has assigned to us.
Whatever the spiritual gift, whatever the ministry, whatever the effect God has granted us, these
are spheres of God's delegated sovereignty every bit as significant as Adam's charge over Eden.
We serve at His pleasure, in His might and for His glory, demonstrating God's power at work in
our hearts here on this alien battlefield, once the devil's charge (but spurned), once Adam's
charge (but lost), now the arena wherein some of Adam's fallen seed do choose for God -
because He first chose us - rejecting the devil's authority, accepting God's sovereignty, and
glorifying Him in Jesus Christ.

Thus Man, as a replacement for Satan and the fallen angels, had to have the image and likeness
of God, i.e., he had to be capable on an individual basis of exercising authority (as delegated by
God) in order to reflect His glory by acting as His faithful steward (in place of the rebellious
usurper: Eph.2:2). Since His victory at the cross, Christ is now our immediate authority, our
"head", all power and authority on heaven and earth having been granted to Him (Matt.28:18;
Col.2:10; cf. Matt.9:6; Jn.5:27; 17:2; Eph.2:20-23):

Any man praying or prophesying with [hair] hanging down from his head dishonors his Head
[i.e., Christ: cf. v.3]. And any woman praying or prophesying with her head uncovered [i.e., hair
torn and unkempt as a sign of mourning] dishonors her head [i.e., husband: cf. v.3]. For then she
is one and the same with her who has been shaved [as a sign of disgrace]. So if a woman is not
keeping her hair in order [through styling, pinning, braiding, etc.], let her be shorn. And if it is a
shameful thing for a woman to be shorn or shaved [and it is], then let her wear her hair properly
arranged. For a man ought not to wear adorned hair [an effeminate mark of submission] since he
is the image and glory of God. A woman, on the other hand, is the glory of her husband. 1st
Corinthians 11:5-7

And everyone of us, if we reflect the Lord's glory with no "veil" obscuring our faces [i.e., with
unsullied Christian witness], is being transformed into the same image [i.e., become more
Christ-like] so as to reflect an ever greater degree of glory - exactly what is to be expected with
the Lord's Spirit as the agent of our transformation. 2nd Corinthians 3:18

A comparison of the use of the word "image" in the two passages above reveals an apparent
(though only apparent) contradiction: in 1Cor.11:7, Man still bears the image, while in
2Cor.3:18, the fact that we Christians should be in the process of being transformed into "the
same image" has seemed to many to suggest that we do not at present possess the image of God
(or at least that it has been marred in some way, and so needs to be repaired).(17) The root cause
advanced for this putative "defacing" or "erasing" of the image of God is Adam's fall. But at the
heart all such theories is inevitably the misconception that the image (usually undistinguished
from the likeness) is, at least in part, related to the body of Adam. In fact, as we have argued
above, both the image and the likeness of God are entirely spiritual.(18) Since the fall, our bodies
have become subject to corruption and infected by sin, but our spirits retain the same two critical
facets bestowed upon them by God on the sixth day of re-creation: 1) the capability of exercising
and responding to authority ("image"), and 2) the responsibility for our own individual
personalities ("likeness"). 1st Corinthians 11:7 clearly states that Man is still the "image and
glory" of God (exercising and responding to God's delegated authority as appropriate). And on
closer examination, moreover, it becomes clear that 2nd Corinthians 3:18 is talking about
something quite different. In that passage the "same image" which we as Christians are being
enjoined to emulate is that of Christ (cf. Eph.4:24; Col.3:10). Christ is the exact image of the
Father (Heb.1:3), and our ultimate role model who followed the Father's will in perfect
obedience (e.g., Matt.16:24; 1Cor.11:1). The "image and likeness" which is our common
heritage as human beings is spiritual - but we are born in sin (Rm.7:18 & 24). As human beings,
we have the potential to seek, follow and serve God, to willingly strive to transform ourselves
into His Christ-like followers, but this requires obedience and response to God's authority in first
believing in and then following Jesus Christ. Only in this way can we fulfill the potential of His
"image and likeness" and bring the glory to God for which He created us, then re-created us in
Jesus Christ (Jn.3:3).(19)

2. The Creation of Adam: The overview of the creation of Man (Adam and Eve) in Genesis 1:26-
27, therefore, deals with general principles: 1) we are all made in the image of God (i.e., we
share an identical type of spiritual essence whose most salient feature is our ability to understand,
exercise and respond to authority for the purpose of being obedient and faithful stewards of God
on earth); 2) we are all made in the likeness of God (i.e., we are all unique personalities with an
individual responsibility to respond to God's authority). In Genesis 2:7, however, we find a more
detailed description of the actual event of God's creation of the first human being, Adam:(20)

And the Lord God formed the man [i.e., Adam's body] from the dust of the ground, then blew
into his nostrils the life-giving breath [i.e., his spirit], and [thus] the man became a living
person. Genesis 2:7

It is important that we have this description of Adam's creation in addition to the Genesis 1:26-
27 passage, for while that first passage tells us about Man's spirit, this verse describes for us the
creation of Adam's body and God's quickening of that body by infusing it with a human spirit.

The agent of Adam's creation is "the Lord God"(yhvh `elohim: ,yhvla hvhy). Although all three
members of the Trinity are called Lord, the Father's representative and agent of creation is our
Lord, Jesus Christ, the very one who has been chosen to lead the fight against the devil and
ultimately to replace Satan as world ruler (Jn.1:3; Col.1:16; Heb.1:2).(21) When He does, it will
be as the God-Man, a genuine human being, body and spirit, in eternal union with undiminished
deity. God's creation of a body for Adam, the first member of the species that was to replace
Satan and his followers, must have sent a seismic shock through the diabolical rank and file,
given the importance of possessing them in the Satanic platform.(22) In fact, everything in this
passage emphasizes the true materiality of Adam's body: 1) he is created from the dust (or loose
dirt), emphasizing his material origin; 2) he is "formed" (the Hebrew verb yatsar, rjy),
emphasizing the plastic nature of the process and often used of the potter at work (e.g., Is.29:16);
3) the very name Adam ('adham, ,da) is closely related to the name for ground ('adhamah, hmda,
emphasizing the man's close connection with the earth from which he was made.

Finally, the material, plastic, earth-connected creation of the body, in and of itself, does not result
in life - life occurs only after the Lord God puts a "living spirit" into the newly formed body.
Moreover, it is only as a result of God's breathing into the first man of a human spirit (the "breath
of life", i.e., "life-giving breath"), that Adam becomes a "living person". This process, observed
by angels and recorded for all of Adam's posterity, makes it abundantly clear that 1) Adam is
both a spiritual and a material being; 2) neither the human spirit nor the human body is meant to
exist without the other:

For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.    James 2:26

For we know that if our earthly tent-dwelling [i.e., our physical body] be struck, we have an
abode [that comes] from God, a dwelling made without human agency, eternal in the heavens.
For indeed we do groan in this one, desiring to put on our habitation which comes from heaven.
And if we do put off this present one, at any rate, we [i.e., our spirits] will not be found naked
[i.e., "body-less"].   2nd Corinthians 5:1-3




3. The Human Spirit: Adam's creation serves as the pattern for us all. It goes without saying that
our bodies are now formed indirectly through natural procreation, not directly by the immediate
creation of God. Nevertheless, the pattern of body formed first, life-giving spirit introduced by
the Lord later, obtains now as it did with the creation of the first man:

The God who created the world and everything in it, this is He who as Lord of heaven and earth
does not dwell in temples made by human hands nor is He tended to by the hands of men - as if
He were in need of anything - He it is who gives life and breath and everything else to all [of
us]. Acts 17:24-25

The passage above is reminiscent of Adam's creation. Working backward in the process of
creation, in Acts 17:24-25 Paul enumerates the same three elements in God's construction of
Man that are found at Genesis 2:7:

•1) life (the living person - life resulting from the fusion of body and spirit occasioned by God's
implantation of the human spirit into our bodies at birth).

•2) breath (i.e., the human spirit).

•3) everything else (i.e., our bodies and what is necessary to sustain them in the world).


Most important for the purposes of our current discussion is that just at it was at Genesis 2:7, so
in the Acts 17:24-25 passage "life" is the result of God's gift of "breath" (i.e., a human spirit).
Only after God places the human spirit into the body does life occur, and apart from this infusion
of spirit, there is no life. Other passages of scripture confirm that human life is the result of God's
imparting of a human spirit, without which the body would be dead:

1) The human spirit is given by God:

Then [at death] the dust [i.e., the body] will return to the earth whence it came, and the spirit will
return to God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7
Thus says God the Lord, who creates the skies and stretches them out, who fashions the earth
and its produce, who gives breath to the people upon it, even a spirit to those who walk upon
it. Isaiah 42:5


2) The human spirit's entrance into the body results in life:

Thus says the Lord God to these bones, "Behold, I am about to put a spirit into you so that you
may come to life. And I shall place sinews on you, lay flesh upon you, and put skin over you.
And I shall put a spirit into you so that you may come to life and know that I am the
Lord. Ezekiel 37:5-6

Then He (Jesus) took [the dead child's] hand and spoke to her, saying, "Child, wake up!" Then
her spirit returned [to her], and she immediately got up. Luke 8:54-55a

And after the three and one half days, a living spirit from God entered into [the bodies of the two
witnesses who had been slain by the beast], and they stood up on their feet. Revelation 11:11

3) The human spirit's exit from the body results in death:

If [God] should so purpose in His heart, and gather His spirit and breath to Himself, then all
flesh would expire together, and Man would return to the dust. Job 34:14

Then Jesus shouted out again in a loud voice and exhaled His spirit.        Matthew 27:50

Then they began to stone Stephen while he called out and said "Lord Jesus, receive my
spirit." Acts 7:59

The Hebrew words used for the human spirit are ruach (xvr), literally "wind", and neshamah
(hmwn), literally "breath". The Greek word for the human spirit is pneuma (), used for
both wind and breath. A point that Hebrew ruach and Greek pneuma have in common is that, in
addition to the human spirit, they are also used in scripture to refer to the Holy Spirit or to literal
wind, a fact that makes even more sense than is apparent at first glance as we shall see below in
section II.4 "Dichotomy". What is clear at this juncture is that wind and breath are largely
invisible, though very real, phenomena, and so make perfect analogies for the immaterial, unseen
part of Man which quickens the body and results in life upon implantation, that is, the human
spirit:

   a) The human spirit is who we are: The human spirit is more than just a life-force that
animates the body; the human spirit is essentially "who we are". Our will and self-determination,
our conscience, our understanding and mentality, our consciousness and self-consciousness are,
while not independent of the body, essentially aspects of the particular, individual human spirit
that is us. Below is a list of scripture passages touching on the human spirit in its facets, qualities
and functions. Taken together, they paint a vivid picture of what the human spirit is in the Bible,
namely our "inner person", the real "us". The spirit is the place of
conscience: The spirit of Man is the Lord's lamp, searching out the inner chambers of his
heart. Proverbs 20:27

reflection: For who among men knows the things of Man except the spirit of Man within
him? 1st Corinthians 2:11a

perception: And Jesus, immediately recognizing in His spirit that they were reasoning thus to
themselves, replied to them. Mark 2:8

refreshment: And in my encouragement, I rejoiced all the more over the joy Titus felt because
his spirit was refreshed by all of you. 2nd Corinthians 7:13

wisdom: But there is a spirit in Man, even the breath of the Almighty which gives him
understanding. Job 32:8

willingness: The spirit is eager [i.e., to do God's will], but the flesh is weak [i.e., so as not to
follow through]. Matthew 26:41

volition: After these things had occurred, Paul determined in his spirit to pass through
Macedonia and Achaea, then proceed to Jerusalem. Acts 19:21a

intellect: For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, how I
continually make mention of you ... Romans 1:9

personality: [For I have already decided, i]n the name of our Lord Jesus, when all of you are
gathered together with my spirit by the power of our Lord Jesus, to hand such a one over to Satan
for the destruction of his body so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 1st
Corinthians 5:4-5

mentality: For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my [fleshly] mind is unproductive.
What should I do then? I shall pray with my spirit, but also with my mind. I shall sing [praises to
God] with my spirit, but also with my mind.                     1st Corinthians 14:14-15

growth: [You have been taught to] put off according to your previous behavior the old Man,
the one that is being destroyed by deceptive lusts, and instead to be re-made in the spirit of your
mind, and [so] to put on the new Man, the one that is created in righteousness and sanctity of the
truth according to God's standards. Ephesians 4:23

understanding: For the Spirit Himself testifies to our spirit that we are God's
children. Romans 8:16

worship: For God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit [i.e., the
human spirit responding to the Holy Spirit] and in truth. John 4:24

blessing:     The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.   Philippians 4:23
When we die, our bodies return to the ground, but, as believers in Jesus Christ, our spirits (i.e.,
we ourselves) enter into the presence of God (cf. Rev.7:9ff.), temporarily clothed in an interim
state (2Cor.5:3 [Greek]; Rev.6:11), to await resurrection and their (i.e., our) entrance into a new,
permanent and highly superior home, the "resurrection body".(23) That the spirit so housed is
really "us" is clear from Jesus' story of Lazarus and rich man (though the pre-cross believers in
the story have now been transferred to the third heaven: see Part 1 of this series). In Luke 16:19-
31, we see an Abraham, Abraham's spirit, who though temporarily clothed in this pre-
resurrection state seems in every aspect to be just as he was in life (except without toil and tears).
This is also true of Lazarus, and even the rich man (except for the torments he now endures). The
loss of our bodies will not change the essential facts of who we are, and, since God made us as
creatures who possess both spirit and body, we will never be "naked" (i.e., without any covering
for the spirit: 2Cor.5:3), and the day will come when we shall receive our eternal body for which
we so eagerly hope (Rom.8:23). The body is important (1Cor.6:13), but rather than being who
we are, it is properly a tool for who we are, that is, for our spirits, tools, that is, for the service of
God:

Therefore I entreat you by God's mercy, brothers, to dedicate your bodies as a living sacrifice,
well-pleasing to God - [this is] your "priestly-service" spiritually performed. Romans 12:1

Don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you (whom you have
from God), and that you don't belong to yourselves? You were bought at a price. So glorify God
with your body.                       1st Corinthians 6:19-20

Don't you know that all the runners in the stadium run the race, but that only one receives the
prize? Run in such a way so as to achieve what you are after. And again, everyone involved in
competition exercises self-control in all respects. Those athletes go through such things so that
they may receive a perishable crown of victory, but we do it to receive an imperishable one. So
as I run this race of ours, I'm heading straight for the finish line; and as I box this bout of ours,
I'm making every punch count. I'm "pummeling my body", one might say, bringing myself under
strict control so that, after having preached [the gospel] to others, I might not myself be
disqualified [from receiving the prize we all seek]. 1st Corinthians 9:24-27

For we must all stand before Christ's tribunal, so that each of us may receive recompense for
what he has accomplished through this body, whether it be good or worthless. 2nd Corinthians
5:10

For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision that
comes from the Spirit of Jesus Christ, in keeping with my expectation and hope that I will in no
way be put to shame, but that now as ever, holding nothing back, Christ will be magnified by
means of this body of mine, whether through my life, or through my death. Philippians 1:20

After the fall of Adam and its consequent corruption, however, the body influences the spirit
(i.e., "us") for ill. So, as believers in Christ, we find ourselves caught between the body's (now)
pernicious influence and the divine influence of the Holy Spirit. Our spirits (i.e., "we") thus face
the choice in this life of whether to follow the Holy Spirit in service of God the Father and Jesus
Christ our Lord, or instead to give in to the desires, cravings and lusts of our sinful bodies:

The Spirit is what gives life. The flesh doesn't benefit you at all.   John 6:63

Don't offer up your [bodily] members to sin as weapons of unrighteousness. But rather offer
yourselves up to God (as those now alive from the dead), and [offer up] your [bodily] members
to God as weapons of righteousness. Romans 6:13

I know that nothing good dwells in me - that is, in my flesh. For to will what is good lies in my
power, but to carry it out does not. Romans 7:18

So then, brothers, we are under obligation - but not to the flesh to live by its rules. For if you are
living by the rules of the flesh, you are destined to die. But if by the Spirit you are putting to
death the practices of the body, you will live. Romans 8:12-13

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans for carrying out the lusts of the
flesh. Romans 13:14

But I tell you, walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out what the flesh lusts for. For what the
flesh lust for is contrary to the Spirit's will, and the Spirit is opposed to what the flesh desires.
Since these are diametrically opposed to each other in this way, what you are doing is not what
you yourself choose. Galatians 5:16-17

   b) The human spirit is created by God: In six days, God re-established and refurbished the
heavens and the earth. But the seventh day of rest is not to be interpreted to mean that from this
point forward, God no longer creates, only allowing (as some would have it) His creation to roll
along entirely on its own momentum. Our Lord, speaking about His own miracles (performed on
the seventh day) addressed this matter directly:

Then Jesus answered them, "My Father is working right up until this present day. And I am
working too".       John 5:17

The human spirit is not passed down biologically through natural procreation (traducianism), nor
was it "pre-made" in eternity past, then deposited in a heavenly storehouse for later implantation
(pre-existence). The human spirit is the immediate creation of God (creationism):

Then they fell upon their faces and said, "Oh God, God of the spirits of all flesh (i.e., mankind),
shall one man sin, and will you be angry with the entire congregation? Numbers 16:22

For I will not contend eternally, nor will I be angry forever. For [Man's] spirit would faint away
before Me, even his breaths (i.e., human spirits) which I have made. Isaiah 57:16

Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth, who
forms Man's spirit within him. Zechariah 12:1b
I charge you before God who gives life to all things ...     1st Timothy 6:13a

At that time we had those who fathered our flesh to discipline us, and we respected them. Shall
we not all the more submit ourselves to the Father of our spirits and live? Hebrews 12:9

   c) The human spirit is implanted by God at birth: Adam, of course, was not born.(24) His body
was formed by the Lord from the dust of the ground. Immediately thereafter, the Lord breathed
into his nostrils the "life-giving breath", and as a result of this implantation of the human spirit,
Adam became "a living person". After our first parents, however, it is physical birth that has
been the means of producing and providing bodies for us all. So it is that physical birth forms the
first of the two natural termini of human life that scripture takes for granted from Genesis to
Revelation (Gen.4:1; Job 3:11; Eccl.3:2; 7:1; Rev.12:2).(25) Therefore birth is for us what the
Lord's formation of Adam's body was for him, that is, the point at which our life begins, when
the Lord breathes into us our human spirit. The case of the first Adam (our common forefather)
was unique; he is the only person whose body was formed by the Lord from the dust of the
ground. In the case of the last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ, the taking on of true humanity by
undiminished deity is the most unique event that has ever transpired in the history of the
universe. His conception was also unique, for He was virgin born by the power of the Holy
Spirit. But He came to share in our humanity so as to rescue us from the common fate of wrath
that was our lot through our descent from Adam, and so His birth was after the pattern which we
all have in common. He entered the world in the manner of us all:

Therefore as [Jesus Christ] was coming into the world [i.e., at His birth] He said, "You [Father]
did not desire sacrifice or offering, but you have prepared a body for Me". Hebrews 10:5

At that time [i.e., His birth] He [Jesus Christ in His deity] said, "Behold, I have arrived (i.e., been
born) - in the scroll of a book it is written of Me - to do your will, oh God". Hebrews 10:7

Though His body was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ entered the world when we all
do: at birth. This explains why in Matthew 1:20-21 the angel tells Mary "the thing which is in
you is a thing which has been engendered by the Holy Spirit. And you will give birth to a son."
Both the grammar (Greek neuters) and the prophecy (of the birth of Christ; cf. Jdg.13:7;
Lk.1:15), make it clear that it is not His conception, but His birth that is the point of the entrance
of our Lord into the world after the pattern by which we have all entered it: the physical birth of
our bodies followed by God's breathing into us of our human spirit. The star of Bethlehem and
the angelic chorus that herald His arrival are celebrating His birth (Lk.2:8-20), the point when He
first drew breath as a human being (albeit the only divine One: Phil.2:6-7; Heb.2:14):

The Spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gave me life.          Job 33:4

So once again we return to the analogy of breath, a function of our physical life that only occurs
after birth and ends with death. Breath, a manifestation of physical life not synonymous with but
coterminous with that life, is therefore the perfect symbol and analogy for the life that begins at
birth, when God puts our human spirit into our body. This is why Jesus, to explain our need for
eternal life, told us we must be born again, not "conceived again", for birth is the point where
life begins by means of an act of God, whether it be the first or the second birth (Jn.3:3).(26)
Thus it is the human spirit (eternal if we follow Christ to eternal life) that is all-important, not
this flesh that profits nothing because it will not long endure in its present form. But the body is
the battleground whereon this battle we wage against the "principalities and powers" of Satan is
being fought out (Eph.6:12). We have seen that the human spirit (i.e., "we") will of necessity
follow either the sinful flesh (influenced by the devil's world and all that is in it) or the Holy
Spirit, but in order to grasp the mechanics of this process, we must first consider a subject that
we have so far deliberately avoided: the soul.

4. The Dichotomy of Man: In non-technical (and non-scriptural) discussions of this sort, the
word "soul" is often employed much in the same sense in which we have used "[human] spirit"
above. Probably no concept has been responsible for greater misunderstanding of what the Bible
actually has to say about the constitution of Man ("anthropology" in most systematic theological
treatments) than that of the soul as a third element in that constitution. According to a proper
understanding of the scriptures, Man is not a trichotomous being (i.e., tripartite, composed of
body, soul and spirit), but rather a dichotomous one (body and spirit being the only two discrete
elements of his nature).

  a) Definition and Etymology: The word "soul" is of Germanic extraction, part of our common
Anglo-Saxon heritage that forms the oldest stratum of the English language. All other things
being equal, "soul", our word for something spiritual, immaterial and animating, would not be a
bad translation for the Greek pneuma or the Hebrew ruach (both of which we have translated as
"spirit"above). The problem is that while "soul" could be a synonym for the human spirit, it most
definitely is not an additional element in Man's constitution.

When the Lord first breathed a human spirit into Adam's newly formed body, the result was that
he became a "living being" (Gen.2:7). But beginning in the 3rd Century B.C., the Hebrew word
nephesh (wpn - properly translated "being" above) began to be translated into a very loose Greek
equivalent: psyche (). The task of rendering this particular Hebrew word into Greek was, to
be sure, not a simple one. Greek notions of "anthropology" (the human constitution) are flexible,
to say the least. But psyche was a particularly unfortunate choice, because the word much more
closely patterns what we should call the human spirit.(27) This initial precedent was then
perpetuated throughout the Septuagint, by and large, and then followed by the writers of the New
Testament, who naturally built upon the conventions of their day. Correct interpretation is not an
issue as long as one realizes that psyche in the New Testament means nephesh ("being", not soul
or spirit). But most English versions incorrectly identify psyche as "soul", taking their cue from
Greek literature rather than from the Hebrew semantic exemplar. Worse to tell, these same
versions also generally impute the error backwards, taking nephesh to mean "soul" as well,
because it is translated by psyche in the New Testament! To be fair, the error is an ancient one,
and the Latin Fathers who made use of Platonic and other philosophical distinctions (which have
no place in biblical interpretation) often translate psyche as animus and pneuma as anima, that is,
taking "soul" and "spirit" as "immaterial person" and "animating principle" respectively (which
nearly reverses the true state of affairs). No matter how such concepts may appeal to us (because
of preconceived notions of our possession of both a soul and a spirit), it is well to remember that
the Bible needs to be our guide on these matters rather than conventional wisdom, no matter how
comfortable. To resolve this issue, we need to return briefly to Genesis 2:7 and reexamine the
critical passage that divides true dichotomy from false trichotomy:
And the Lord God formed the man [i.e., Adam's body] from the dust of the ground, then blew
into his nostrils the life-giving breath [i.e., his spirit], and [thus] the man became a living
person. Genesis 2:7

Two elements are clearly present here: 1) the body, formed from the earth; 2) the spirit, breathed
into the body by the Lord. The result of the combination of body and spirit is that the first man
"became a living nephesh" (the word we are translating "being" in contradistinction to the
erroneous "soul"). Notice that the verse does not say that the Lord also created a soul/person as
some third, distinct element. Quite the contrary. When the two true elements of Man's
constitution combine, he (i.e., in his entirety) becomes a soul/person (nephesh), so that beyond
all argument, nephesh in this most critical of all anthropological passages represents the whole
person (i.e., the combination of body and spirit into one living person, and not some third,
discrete part). That is why where the word nephesh is used in the Old Testament, and where
psyche is used in the New Testament, almost inevitably one can substitute "person" or
"individual" or "self" (or some other personal pronoun) for these words which are often
(misleadingly) translated "soul" (compare the K.J.V. renderings of the following: Prov.19:8;
Is.32:6; Acts 7:14; 1Pet.3:20):

Any person (nephesh) who sins unintentionally ...       Leviticus 4:2

Therefore, "soul" (nephesh-psyche) is the term used in the Bible to make clear that the whole
person is in view. We are not just body, nor are we only spirit. As we have suggested above and
shall revisit in greater detail immediately below, the human spirit is, at present, limited in its
capabilities because of the limitations of our present bodies - it has to work through the body
(which is constantly struggling against the human spirit's will). It stands to reason, then, that the
writers of scripture would, more often than not, refer to people in terms of the whole person, in
which case the word "soul" (nephesh-psyche) is often the term of choice, but it is critical to
understand that by "soul", the entire human being, body and spirit, is meant - the one thing that
"soul" (nephesh-psyche) does not mean in scripture is the immaterial part of Man exclusively.(28)

This principle actually helps to clarify passages of scripture which are often taken to be support
for the trichotomist position:

For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating
even to the point of being able to divide the spirit from its earthly life (lit., the "soul") and the
marrow from its bones; [The Word] acts as a judge of the thoughts and intentions of our
heart. Hebrews 4:12



Just as the marrow cannot normally be separated from the bone without destroying life
(especially from the 1st century A.D. perspective), so the spirit is, for all practical purposes, one
with the life it enjoys in the body - only the Word of God, the most penetrating force in the
world, could make such a distinction.
And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you in every part, and, may your spirit, life (lit.
"soul"), and body be preserved completely intact and without blame at the advent of our Lord
Jesus Christ. 1st Thessalonians 5:23

"Life", or "soul" is here sandwiched in between the spirit and the body, because "life" (or "soul")
is the result of body and spirit being combined by the Lord (Gen.2:7). Only in this union of spirit
and body, complete and intact, can there be a "living soul":

For this reason it has also been written of the first Adam: "The man became a living person
(nephesh)"; [but] the last Adam[, Christ, became] a life-giving spirit. 1st Corinthians 15:45

For Adam and for us, the body is psychikon, i.e., attuned to the "soul" or "physical life" we now
lead, but when we follow Christ in resurrection, it will be pneumatikon, i.e., attuned to the human
spirit and to the eternal life that we shall live with Him forever. In the verses that precede and
follow 1st Corinthians 15:45, Paul explains this principle, and so it is worth our while to quote
the passage at length:

So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The body sown is corruptible, the one raised
incorruptible. The body sown is dishonorable, the one raised glorious. The body sown is weak,
the one raised powerful. The body sown is suited to physical life, the one raised to spiritual life.
If there is a physical body (and there patently is), then there is also a spiritual one. For, so it has
also been written: "Adam, the first man, became a physical being (nepesh), possessing life, but
Christ, the last Adam, became a spiritual being, bestowing life." However it is not the spiritual
body, but the physical body which comes first, and the spiritual body follows. The first man was
earthly, being taken from the ground. The second Man is heavenly. And as was the earthly man,
so also are we of the earth. And as is the heavenly Man, so also shall we be when we too take on
heavenly form. For just as we have born the image of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the
image of the heavenly Man.                           1st Corinthians 15:42-49

The body is a home for the spirit, and this body we now inhabit is more "soulish" (i.e., more
attuned to the physical life we now lead), while the resurrection body will be more attuned to our
spirit, giving it much greater rein than we can now even imagine for our service to and
appreciation of the Lord:

For at the present time our view [of Him] is obscured [by the limitations of this body], a dim
reflection [of who and what He is]. But then [when we meet the Lord] we will see [Him] face to
face. Now I have only partial knowledge, but then my knowledge [of Him] will be complete, just
as He has always known me.                     1st Corinthians 13:12

   b) The heart: interface between body and spirit: The word "soul" is not the only biblical word
that refers to the whole person, a combination of spirit and body into a living human being. The
word "heart" (Hebrew: lebh, bl, or lebhabh, bbl; Greek: kardia, ) likewise refers to the
human being as a unity, but with a special twist: scripture uses the term "heart" to refer to the
whole person from an internal point of view, focusing on and encompassing all the facets of the
inner life (e.g., mentality, volition, emotion, conscience, etc.):
Many are the plans of a man's heart, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be
established. Proverbs 19:21

The "heart", then is the Bible's word for the interface between the body and the spirit. That is to
say, when scripture mentions the "heart", it is referring to the inner spiritual, mental and
emotional functioning of our person, of our human spirit thinking, planning, emoting, deciding,
all through the apparatus of the body (via the brain, the mind, etc.). In our present constitution,
the body is a tool for our spirit's expression, but a delimiting one. For example, genetic,
developmental and environmental factors have a great deal to do with our current capacity for
thought and memory, for emotional control and expression, in a way that will not be true of our
resurrection body (which will be pneumatikon, i.e., designed to give our spirit full expression:
1Cor.15:45). It will be recalled that a central plank in Satan's appeal to his potential followers
was the promise of a body to give these angelic spirits sensual expression (cf. Lk.24:39: "a spirit
does not have flesh and bones"). What we have, they crave, and what we shall have (a body
perfectly attuned to our spiritual life) is something that at present they marvel at as they behold
the first One to possess such a magnificent "home" for the human spirit, the humanity of our
Lord Jesus Christ.

When that great day of our resurrection arrives, we shall no longer be subject to the limitations
and the temptations of the home we now inhabit. But as things stand now, here in this present
body of corruption, the limitations are severe, and the temptations intense. "It has not yet
appeared what we shall be[come]" (1Jn.3:2), but what we are now, who we really are now deep
inside is best summed up by the "heart" in its scriptural usage, for "heart" is the essence of our
inner selves, where only God can know our true thoughts, our true motives:

For the heart is more inscrutable than anything else and beyond curing [of its duplicity]. Who
[among men] can [really] know [what] it [is thinking]? "I am the Lord, the One who probes the
heart and tests [a man's] motives, to repay everyone according to the path he [walks], in fitting
recompense for [all] he does". Jeremiah 17:9-10

As to the term heart, in Hebrew, Greek and English, it does refer in secular usage to the physical
organ that pumps life-sustaining blood throughout our physical bodies. Its selection as the "pith"
of who and what we are as individuals is, therefore, no accident. As the queen among our bodily
organs, at the center of our physical being, and inextricably bound up with the circulation of the
blood, a fluid recognized from earliest times as essential to our continued physical existence, the
"heart" was a natural choice for this prime designation. "Blood is the [symbol of] the life-soul"
after all (Deut.12:23) - physical life, that is, and it is in the heart that for literary (if not medical)
purposes that we imagine this to be concentrated. This is why Old Testament scriptures connect
the blood with the nephesh, the "soul" (Gen.9:4): when the blood flows out, so does the physical
life, just as when the breath-spirit departs, so does the physical life. We see the end of physical
life, the blood upon the ground, but the spirit departs we know not where:

Who knows whether a man's spirit rises upward or whether the breath of the beasts goes down to
the earth below? Ecclesiastes 3:21
In spite of its corrupted sin nature (Rom.7:18), God has demonstrated very clearly through His
superintendence of its development (Job 10:8-12; Ps.119:73; 139:13-16; Is.44:2, 21, 24) and His
loving provision for it (Matt.5:25-34). He is "for" this body we now possess (1Cor.6:13). We are
the human spirit, not the body (2Cor.10:2-6), but we live in the body, and the battle we fight for
the Lord, we fight out on the battleground of the heart, endeavoring to make our entire life, inner
and outer, well-pleasing and acceptable to Him:

For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful for God, for the destruction of
strongholds, destroying sophistries and every presumption that raises itself up against the
knowledge of God, and taking every thought prisoner so as to obey Christ. 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5

But I perceive another law in my bodily members, waging war against the law in my mind and
taking me prisoner - [a prisoner to] this law of sin that dwells in my body. Romans 7:23

By this we know that we are of the truth, and before Him we persuade our heart, that if our heart
condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows everything. 1st John 3:20-21



   c) The word "soul" used as a synonym for "heart": Finally, it is necessary to point out that
there are times when instead of "heart", the center of the "living being" we now are (thanks to the
union of our spirit and our body), writers of scripture employ "soul" as a synonymous term. This
development is common enough in literature. The specific literary figure involved is called
synecdoche, the whole being substituted for the part. In the case of the use of "soul" for "heart",
the whole of our "living person" is substituted for the nucleus of that person (where all thoughts,
emotions, decisions and pangs of conscience occur). This substitution is very similar to "my very
being (longs for, craves, desires, etc.)". Problems of interpretation only arise if one mistakenly
takes this common literary use to mean that somehow the "soul" is a separate entity of our
makeup (rather than the entire "being" we have seen it to be, encompassing our body and spirit in
a living union):

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul (i.e., your whole
person) and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

As a man thinks in his soul (i.e., his "heart"; cf. KJV), so he is.   Proverbs 23:7




5. The Creation of Eve (Gen.2:18-24): Up until now we have been speaking of mankind in the
generic sense, "Man" with a capital "m", comprising both genders of our species. Before we
move on to the original status of our first parents in the garden of Eden along with their
temptation, fall and judgment, we must first consider what the Bible has to say about the creation
of Eve and its implications. To appreciate the nature of Satan's attack on Adam and Eve and the
consequences of their sin to all subsequent relations between men and women, it is first
necessary to understand, by way of preface, that the status of the relationship between the first
man and the first woman in paradise before the fall was very different from what would obtain
after they had been expelled from the garden of Eden after the fall:

Then the Lord God said [immediately after giving Adam instructions not to eat of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil in verse 17], "It is not a good thing for the man to be alone. I will
make for him a helper compatible with him". Now the Lord God formed every beast of the field
and every bird of the sky from the dust of the ground and brought them to Adam to see what he
would call them. And whatever he called any living thing, that became its name. So Adam gave
names to every beast and to all the birds of the sky and to every wild creature, but he did not find
[one that could be] a helper compatible with him. Then the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall
upon Adam, and when he was asleep, He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh behind it.
And the Lord God sculpted the rib which He had taken from the man into a woman, then He
brought her to Adam. And Adam said, "This now is bone from my bones and flesh from my
flesh. She shall be called woman, because from man she was taken". For this reason, a man shall
leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, for the two will become a single
body. Genesis 2:18-24

As it was with Adam, so the creation of Eve's body is unique. Neither of our first parents were
born, Adam's body being formed from the dust of the ground and Eve's constructed from part of
Adam's. In terms of her inner essence, however, that is to say her human spirit, we have no
additional information given in the passage above. What we do have, however, is the statement
in Genesis 1:27 that delineates the creation of the spiritual essence of both Adam and Eve:

Then God said, "Let us make Man in our image, according to our likeness, so that he may rule
over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and over the beasts and over the whole earth and
over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth". So God created the man (i.e., "Adam") in His
image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26-27

The shift from "Man" (no definite article in the Hebrew) to "the man" (with the definite article in
the Hebrew) is highly significant. On a collective basis, verse 26 applies to all human beings
(i.e., "Man"), so that we may say that all mankind in a corporate sense must possess the image
and likeness of God, and, consequently, the mandate to respond to God's authority. In verse 27,
however, the switch to the singular means that the focus has shifted from the general (all human
beings) to the specific (Adam in particular), and here the scripture is careful to attribute the
image of God to Adam, but not to repeat this attribution when "male and female" come into view
at the end of the verse. This apparent (but only apparent) contradiction is repeated in the New
Testament where Paul can write in 1st Corinthians 11:7 that a man is the "image and glory of
God", but that, on the other hand, a woman is "the glory of her husband", and yet say in a second
epistle to that same church (2Cor.3:18), that all of us (clearly men and women alike) are being
"transformed into the same image [i.e., becoming more Christ-like]".

What are we to say then? Do women share in the image of God or not? Genesis 1:26-27 is the
beginning of the answer to this question, for in spite of carefully avoiding a positive answer,
neither is a negative reply forthcoming in that passage. In fact, these two verses supply no basis
for finding any spiritual differences between men and women. The only distinctions to be found
are the two already mentioned:
   1) male and female are separate categories. However, from the collective statement of verse
26, the conclusion seems unavoidable that the basis for this distinction is not spiritual, since no
spiritual distinction is mentioned in this statement of the corporate creation of mankind (and we
should expect something here if indeed men and women were to be distinguished spiritually). It
must be assumed, therefore, that the human spirits of men and women are exactly the same, and
that the mention of male and female categories in the following verse is a reference to our
respective bodies (see below).

   2) verse 27 makes no specific positive attribution of the image of God to Eve - but this is a far
different matter from denying the image altogether.

The first point given above is easily buttressed by scripture. In Christ, a spiritual relationship,
there is "no male or female" (Gal.3:28); men and women are equally "fellow heirs of the gift of
eternal life" (1Pet.3:7); and, in eternity, both are relieved of the institution of marriage with its
respective biblical roles (which is at the root of the apparent dilemma with which we are now
dealing: Matt.22:30). We may also make a persuasive "argument from silence" and add that in all
the passages of the Bible that speak of our hope, our resurrection and reward, nowhere is there to
be found a shred of evidence to imply any distinction between men and women on a gender basis
in eternity, so that any distinction that exists now would seem to be entirely confined to time and
to be entirely a function of the different bodies we currently occupy.

The second point given above is also conditioned by our current, earthly circumstance. Less so in
the garden of Eden, but much more so after the fall, the relationship between husband and wife
turns on the issue of authority. As co-heirs in Christ, women clearly must share in the image and
likeness of God, partaking of the exact same spiritual essence men enjoy. But just as the male
role was altered by the fall (Satan's usurpation of Man's rulership over the earth and the
replacement of perfection with toil and hardship), the female role was also changed dramatically
in respect to authority relationships (see section IV below). As a result, scripture is careful
neither to deny woman's spiritual equality, nor to minimize the authority of the husband by
stressing that equality. For before God we are all equal, but in this present body, we are all under
various forms of authority, all ultimately delegated by God, and our proper response to that
authority is intimately connected to the spiritual conflict that now rages unseen all around us
(Eph.6:11-12):

For man did not come from woman, but woman from man. Moreover, man was not created
because of woman, but woman because of man. For this reason, a woman ought to have a sign of
authority on her head [i.e., properly arranged hair] because of the angels. However, in the Lord,
woman does not [have priority] over man, nor does man [have priority] over woman. For just as
women are begotten by men, so men are birthed by women. But everything comes from
God. 1st Corinthians 11:8-12

This passage clearly affirms what we have suggested above, namely, that there are two ways of
looking at this issue which are only superficially contradictory. Creation teaches both principles
that Paul outlines above: 1) the authority of the husband over the wife; 2) the equality of men and
women before God. Paul switches the order in which these two principles are treated in Genesis
1:26-27. He first reproves the Corinthian woman for tearing and disheveling their hair in
mourning after the pagan manner (a practice that shames our hope in the resurrection: cf.
Deut.14:1; Mic.1:16). Using the priority of creation as an argument for their obedience on this
point, Paul argues that such a practice dishonors their husbands by effacing the symbol of respect
they are due by this priority of creation (cf. 1Tim.2:13). However, having established the
obligation for the Corinthian women to respond to their husbands' authority on this point of
abuse, he is quick to anticipate the false conclusion that men are somehow "better" than women
in the eyes of God. In truth, he tells us, we are all equal "in the Lord", with absolutely no
advantage accruing to the male gender, nor any disadvantage to the female gender. This lesson
too, Paul reminds us, is taught by the natural order of creation: since neither men nor women can
exist without the other, it stands to reason that God does not place a premium on either gender.
And in fact, all things originate from the creative hand of God, so that neither gender has any
grounds for boasting - all of us are subordinate to God's authority. This last point - that
"everything comes from God" -- is the most crucial. Whatever authority a husband has over a
wife, an employer over an employee, a government official over a citizen, a pastor over a
member of his congregation, all these forms of authority have been delegated by God for His
own wise and sovereign purposes and it is well to remember that there is no man, no woman who
is not subject to many forms of God's delegated authority as long as he or she be in this present
body. The predominate reason for the current distinction in authority between the sexes is the
marriage relationship and the obligations it places upon both parties, but in eternity, there will be
"no marrying nor giving in marriage" (Matt.22:30).

The present status quo of authority distinctions in the institution of marriage will not obtain in
eternity, where there will be no corruption and no marriage. The relationship between the first
husband and wife in Eden, however, occupies a middle ground between our present
circumstances and our future hope. There was marriage in paradise (and certain central points of
the marriage relationship continue today as they were in the beginning: Matt.19:3-9). But the
specific delineation of the husband's authority over the wife which we find stated in principle in
Genesis chapter three (and spelled out in detail in the New Testament epistles: Eph.5:21-33;
Col.3:18-19) was apparently lacking for the simplest of all possible reasons: it was unnecessary
(see section III, immediately following).



III. Status Quo in Paradise

Eden, whose very name means "delight" in Hebrew, was a place of perfection; nothing was
lacking that could contribute to Man's legitimate happiness, nor was anything present that might
make his life bitter. God placed Adam in charge of the garden, making him God's delegated
authority, God's "regent" on earth (Gen.1:26-30). The duties that fell to Adam's lot as a result of
God's charge seem to have been entirely satisfying and enjoyable, while at the same time none
too taxing nor onerous:

      The garden was irrigated by a system of rivers and mist specially constructed by the Lord
       (Gen.2:6; 10-14).
      The trees brought forth a pleasant variety of sustenance "pleasing to the sight and
       enjoyable for eating" apart from any horticultural care (Gen.2:9).
      Boredom was not a problem, for God provided satisfying intellectual and physical labor,
       such as the classification and categorization of the complex and intricate system of flora
       and fauna He had created (Gen.2:19-20a).
      Nor was spiritual sustenance lacking, for the Lord placed in the center of the garden the
       tree of life for spiritual refreshment (Gen.2:9 with Rev.22:2), and visited our first parents
       after their working day was done for spiritual fellowship (Gen.3:8).

The one want Adam had, God remedied almost immediately, that is, his need for companionship.
The elimination of this deficiency is, after all, God's stated reason for creating Eve: "It is not a
good thing for the man to be alone" (Gen.2:18). Obviously, the Lord was aware of this point
before He created Adam (a point emphasized by the mandate in Gen.1:28 to "be fruitful and
multiply"). But Adam was a human being, the exact same divine mix of body and spirit that each
one of us are, so that God did not deem it appropriate to merely supply him with a mate in the
manner of animals. Adam is instead allowed to discover his need for companionship through an
heuristic process of observation (Gen.2:19-20), with the result that he can appreciate both his
own need and God's gracious gift of Eve to him (Gen.2:23):

I will make for him a helper compatible with him.      Genesis 2:18b

The verse above is crucial to our understanding of the point we are now discussing, namely that
things were different in the garden. Eve is not to be a servant but, literally, "a help" (Hebrew: rzi,
'ezer). Secondly and critically, she is to be "someone who corresponds to him" (Hebrew: vdgnk,
ceneghdo), that is, someone who complements and fulfills him in all compatibility. The
closeness and intimacy of the relationship between our first parents foreshadowed in this verse is
underscored by Eve's creation. The Lord's formation of Eve's body from one of Adam's ribs adds
the physical dimension to the spiritual one outlined in Genesis 2:18b above. In short, it would
have been impossible for Adam and Eve to have been any closer, body and spirit, and still have
been two distinct people. When the Lord presents to Adam this wife who was in every way an
answer to his search for companionship, his words bespeak not only gratitude, but an
appreciation for this God-given relationship of exceptional intimacy and closeness:

And Adam said, "This now is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She shall be called
woman, because from man she was taken". Genesis 2:23

Ideally, based on the pattern in paradise, the marriage relationship should even now continue to
be what it was then: closer than the closest of all other human relationships, the parent-child
relationship:

For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, for the two
will become a single body. Genesis 2:24

Scripture, then, while emphasizing the closeness of the union between Adam and Eve, does not
provide many specifics on the issue of authority between the first man and woman prior to the
fall. We know that Adam was created first (cf. 1Tim.2:13), and that Eve was created for Adam,
not the other way around (cf. 1Cor.11:8-9). However, neither the Genesis account, nor the New
Testament references intimate an authority structure between husband and wife similar to the one
instituted in Genesis chapter three by the Lord as a result of the fall of that first couple
(Gen.3:16b).

The reason for this absence, as we have suggested above, is that such an authority structure was
unnecessary in paradise. For instance, Adam and Eve had no monetary and no sexual problems.
Given the extremely high percentage of marital difficulties today attributable to these two factors
alone, one can appreciate immediately that this first marriage was operating on a much different
"battlefield" than every marriage since. Furthermore, and perhaps more to the point, our first
parents were sinless before they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Neither Adam nor Eve was initially capable of being selfish or hurtful, self-centered or
insensitive. The garden was a world full of intriguing possibilities, all of them perfectly
legitimate - with one exception. As long as our first parents abstained from the forbidden fruit,
nothing was withheld from them, nothing was lacking for them, no personal ambition or desire
that they could in innocence conceive was denied them. In short, there was essentially no area
where authority might even have any opportunity to function between the first man and the first
woman. There was no occasion for Eve's will to bump into Adam's, because there was nothing
that Adam could or would tell Eve to do or not to do, even if such a thing had occurred to him or
to her (and that is doubtful given their innocence and their perfect surroundings). Indeed, the
only negative prohibition was the command to abstain from eating of the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil, and this command came from God Himself and was equally applicable to both
Adam and Eve. As long as they both followed God's will on this point, marital problems were an
impossibility, and, therefore, the issue of "who was in charge" was an entirely moot point.

In status quo in the garden of Eden, then, God had provided this new species of spiritual
creatures having bodies every means for complete fulfillment of their lives (spiritual and
physical). Adam and Eve (and their progeny, had it come to that) had the opportunity to
experience the never-ending bounty of God's provision in paradise, perfect in every way, yet
completely apart from sin. Even the short span of time that this state of perfection did continue
was sufficient to demonstrate to the fallen angels the futility of their own designs and the
hollowness of Satan's promises. For the perfect mix of spirit and body which God provided for
our first parents was undeniably superior to any creature-possession that the devil could ever
hope to engineer. Satan, of course, did not waste time in analyzing the situation, and soon found
a devious method to induce our first parents to throw paradise away. But before we cast too
wistful a glance back to the garden, we should consider that this fiasco too was anticipated by
God's plan, and that the ultimate state of redeemed humankind will be even more glorious than
Adam and Eve could ever have imagined in the garden, on that blessed day when we rise
incorruptible in the new bodies that God has preordained for us who love Him and His Son.



IV. The Fall

The creation of a new species of spiritual being, capable of moral response to God's authority,
was rightly perceived by Satan as a threat, even a direct challenge to his continued existence.
There could be no doubt that Adam and Eve were "aimed" at him. Mankind was ...
      Placed on the same world (now re-constructed) from which he had been so
       unceremoniously evicted.

      Entrusted with God's delegated authority over the earth and its creatures - a charge very
       similar to the one which he had abused.
      Commanded to multiply.

This last point must have been particularly disturbing to the devil. In perfect conditions, it would
not be long until the population of this new species, so much like his fallen minions in all the
morally important ways, expanded to the point of equaling the numbers of his followers. At that
point, Satan and his angels would be de facto replaced in God's universe, person for person. And
when earth was filled with a population of obedient, God-serving, morally responsible creatures,
all responding to the Lord in the exact way that Satan and his followers should have done ... the
lake of fire was already in place (Matt.25:41; Rev.20:10); the judgment had already been passed
(Jn.16:11). There could be little doubt that the noose was tightening. All wishful thinking that
might suggest otherwise would have been removed by the realization that this new creature also
possessed a God-given, God-designed body, the central point in the devil's original indictment of
God and in his temptation of his would-be followers as well. One would have thought that, by
now, Satan and his angels would have realized the impossibility of out-thinking God (let alone
out-maneuvering or out-fighting Him). Satan, however, was not about to wait upon events.

1. Temptation: That Satan should, upon recognizing the threat posed to him by the unhindered
multiplication of mankind, choose to fight tooth and claw, is a clear indication of the degree to
which he (and his) had been confirmed in their evil. His attitude is unequivocal: if Man is the
proof of his rebellion, then destroy the proof; if Man is the replacement for him, then eliminate
the replacement. Do not respond to God; rather, oppose God at every turn in every possible way.

   a. God's last olive branch: The question may well be asked whether God's creation of Man did
not have an additional objective besides checkmating, then replacing Satan and his minions. Did
there not still remain some avenue for grace? Before the temptation and fall of our first parents,
when Man had not yet fallen into sin, Adam and Eve were, in a moral sense, very much like the
reprobate angels before their fall (with the notable exception of the limitation of their knowledge,
a point to which we shall return below). At that point, our first parents were not in need of a
Messiah. They had not yet passed the point of no return, and the devil's record -- in respect to
them, at any rate - was still unmarked. God had restored the earth; could He not also restore
Satan and his followers, if they were willing? These fallen angels must have observed Adam and
Eve for a considerable amount of time before they struck. What if this observation had led them
to rethink their conclusions, to realize the impossibility of struggling against the God of the
universe? What if they had seen reaffirmed in His restoration of earth and His creation of and
gracious provision for this new species a glimmer of the grace that characterizes His perfect
person? What if they had come to see that the limitations of spirits in bodies (in the innocence of
initial creation) were significant, and that their untrammeled spirituality was not, in fact, due to
any desire on God's part to deprive them of anything. In short, what if Man was a lesson to the
fallen angels just as he has come to be to the elect ones? Of the boundlessness of God's love and
mercy there can certainly be no doubt. Indeed, we can really only dimly appreciate how much
the infinite God loves His creatures, "not wishing for any to perish" (2Pet.3:9; cf. 1Tim.2:4),
knowing even the number of the hairs on our heads (Lk.12:7), searching out every lost sheep
(Matt.18:12-14), every missing coin (Lk.15:8-10). These scriptures, to be sure, refer to human
beings, but God is also concerned for His angels, "calling each of them by name" (Ps.147:4), so
that "not one of them is missing" (Is.40:26). What, then, if Adam and Eve in paradise were the
devil's "last chance" to recognize through observing them the power of God, the justice of God,
the grace of God, the mercy of God? The placement of Adam and Eve in the garden is rightly
seen as an action taken by God against the devil.(29) But what if, at the same time, it was also the
Lord's last olive branch to these wayward creatures, a last appeal to his reprobate children to
return to Him?

In the event, by attacking Adam and Eve and attempting to destroy them, Satan gave undeniable
confirmation of the evil that was in him, and set in motion the inexorable machinery by which
God is defeating and replacing him. But it is especially in our God's provision following the fall
that we see His grace and goodness, His deep love for His creatures, shining through so clearly.
Having fallen into sin, we needed a Savior, and He has provided us with Jesus Christ. Can there
be any greater proof of the love that God feels for His creatures, of the hurt He experiences on
their behalf, than that He was willing to hand His Son over to death to rescue us? God's provision
of our Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate refutation of all the devil's lies. There can be absolutely
no doubt about the justice and mercy of a God who would sacrifice His own Son in order to pay
for the sins of His fallen creatures and so rescue them from death. In rejecting this final
demonstration of the grace of God, Satan and his followers have voluntarily taken up the cup of
His wrath, determined now in their hardness of heart to drink it to the dregs, and so fill up the
full measure of their sins (cf. 1Thes.2:16b). This seemingly irrational conduct of Satan and his
followers is most reminiscent of Pharaoh's opposition to the Lord's demands to "let My people
go" - a hardening of the heart to an absolutely unbelievable degree that demonstrates God's
power, justice, and mercy. The all-out opposition to God's plan that next transpires in human
history demonstrates lucidly the confirmed sinfulness of Satan and his angels, heaping up
veritable mountains of incontrovertible proof of the devil's guilt and deserved fate.(30)

We find in scripture no hint of any desire on the devil's part to take note of God's gracious
provision to another, less powerful, but morally similar species, no indication that "learning" or
"repentance" ever seriously entered the demons' collective mind. Quite the contrary, the
ferocious and devious attack of Satan upon Adam and Eve serves to confirm beyond all
argument to the contrary that God was right and righteous in His judgment of the devil and his
followers, for Satan's response to this new development was to destroy, to annihilate, to murder
these new creatures at the very inception of things (Jn.8:44). Let there be no doubt: but for the
restraining hand of God, the devil and his demon army would even now make quick work of all
of us who now draw breath upon the earth (cf. Job chapters 1-2). In His grace, of course, God
was not about to allow the devil and his angels to blast Adam and Eve off of the planet by means
of their superior angelic power. Satan, therefore, counterattacked in the most effective way that
was open to him: temptation.

  b. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil: The first man and woman, as we have already
seen, were apparently free to do anything and everything that their innocent hearts could
conceive. The one exception to this principle of complete liberty to enjoy God and His creation
in a positive and wholesome way was the prohibition that God gave Adam against eating fruit
from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil:

Then the Lord God gave orders to the Man as follows: "You may certainly eat from any tree in
the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil -- from it you may not eat, for on
the day you eat from it, you will certainly die". Genesis 2:16-17

Before discussing what this tree was and why it was in Eden in the first place, one salient point -
often overlooked in discussions of these verses - needs to be addressed: God in His grace not
only told Adam not to do it, He told him why not. Under no obligation to do more than make the
matter plain though a straight-forward prohibition, the Lord nonetheless reinforced the ban on
eating fruit from this one particular tree by adding an absolutely truthful explanation of the
penalty for disobedience. This is no small point. Adam and Eve may have been in a condition of
"innocence", but that does not mean that they were childish or child-like, incapable of
understanding anything beyond a flat "no!". Indeed, their level of intelligence was most likely far
superior to ours.(31) God did not treat them like children, because they were every bit as mature
and perceptive as any of us (only without sin). His disclosure of the pertinent facts was full and
complete. The critically important truth that death would follow disobedience turned out to be
the point where Satan ultimately attacked (by distorting this truth, as we shall see below).
Nevertheless, God, in full knowledge of what would happen, still did not deny Adam and Eve
this essential knowledge: as spiritual creatures morally bound to respond to His authority, it was
important for our first parents to know not only what was prohibited, but also the consequences
of disobeying the prohibition. Adam and Eve did not have a need to know good and evil in the
garden, but they did need to know the punishment for rebelling against God, for without such
knowledge, the seriousness, the permanence, the utter irrevocability of such a sin could hardly
have been appreciated. Adam and Eve did indeed understand the gravity of violating this
command, because the Lord God Himself made it clear to them. To have done otherwise would
not have been in keeping with His perfect character.

As to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil itself, it is important to remember that it was
planted (and thus created) by God Himself:

Now the Lord God caused to spring up from the ground every sort of tree which was pleasant to
behold and good for food, and the tree of life in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9

This is essential to understand, because this famous tree, stemming from God's creative hand,
was not evil in any way. Rather, eating from it (in violation of God's specific and unequivocal
commandment) gave the partaker a knowledge of good and evil (as the name and the events of
Gen.3:7 make clear). For sinful persons in the midst of the devil's world, a knowledge of good
and evil, of "right and wrong" as we should say, is of tremendous importance. This natural
conscience is now an integral part of our physical makeup as a direct result of our first parents'
sinful partaking of the forbidden fruit (Rom.2:14-16). For those naturally inclined to be sinful, a
clear grasp of what is sin (and what is not) is indispensable for navigating a safe course through
the devil's world (not to mention being an indicator of our utter sinfulness and need for a Savior:
cf. Gal.3:23-25). But for two perfect people in paradise, insulated from the evil in the universe
authored by Satan, such knowledge was completely unnecessary. They were not subject to
temptation or capable of sin in any way whatsoever - with the single exception of the prohibition
against eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a prohibition with a
corresponding penalty out of all proportion to the pleasure of eating its fruit (easily duplicated
from almost any other tree in the garden). Here is the wisdom and grace of God: Adam and Eve
had no inordinate desire for the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and no need
for or independent interest in attaining a knowledge of "good and evil", ideas for which they
lacked any frame of reference entirely. But God in His grace and in His wisdom so provided for
them that if they should violate His command (and so experience immediate spiritual death,
entering into a state of sin), they would then also acquire the knowledge that they would then
require for their new fallen state: i.e., a knowledge of what was good and what was evil, of what
was right and what was wrong. For, after sinning, this would be the only way for them to see
God's goodness and their own sinfulness, and so discern the devil's deception.

A second tree stood beside the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the very middle of the
garden of Eden: the tree of life. The tree of life was the most sublime of all the flora which God
had created. Its fruit gave spiritual refreshment and provided physical rejuvenation (Gen.3:22 ;
cf. Rev.22:2). It was the focal point of Adam and Eve's universe, and most likely the place where
they met with the Lord "in the cool of the day" (cf. Gen.3:8). Had they merely refrained from
that other, prohibited tree, they could have, they would have lived forever in bliss in the middle
of this perfect paradise, constantly refreshed and restored by the fruit from the tree of life.

So why was it there, this other tree, this tree of a type of knowledge for which Adam and Eve
had no need whatsoever, would only need, in fact, if they should disobey God and eat of its fruit?
Why did the Lord place it immediately beside the tree of life, the focus and means of refreshment
and spiritual fellowship? The answer to these questions is simple enough. By creating a tree
whose fruit was forbidden to them, God gave our first parents the option of not following His
will, a will that clearly had only their best interests at heart, for violation and rebellion would
result in immediate spiritual death. And just as God did not hide from them the consequence of
disobedience, neither did He hide away the tree of the knowledge of good and evil itself. Nothing
could be clearer about the choice Adam and Eve faced: life and death stood side by side in these
two trees, the one a source of life and blessing which they experienced every day, the other a
source of death, prohibited by God and explained by God (as we have seen). We have also
discussed at great length (Part I of this series) that God wants worshipers, followers, believers
who want Him. In terms of power, He is more than capable of forcing us to do His will, but that
is not the God we have. Our God is a loving, merciful, good God, who will not force us to
choose Him if we are determined in our hearts to rebel from Him. But what is clear from
scripture, from human experience, and from the record of Adam and Eve, He always makes the
issue crystal clear for us: to choose for Him is to follow a path of grace that He has lovingly
constructed for our good before the dawn of time; to choose against Him, to rebel against His
will, that is what takes the effort, a self-willed, arrogant, self-deceptive "kicking against the
goads" that, from its inception to its ruinous conclusion, must break through all the barriers of
grace and love that He has constructed in our behalf to guide us back to the true path. As sinners
at birth, we are not in the situation of "maintaining paradise" (as our first parents were), but
rather of "accepting salvation". Everything that God has constructed, all nature, all science, all
we know and see and think and feel, declares His existence (Ps.19:1-4; Rom.1:18-21), and yet
everything we observe about ourselves and our fellow man virtually shouts that we are sinful and
in desperate need of His help, His salvation (Rom.7:7-11). As Adam and Eve in the garden
merely had to follow the unmistakably clear guidance of God to avoid death, so they and we
outside of the garden only need to follow the powerfully magnetic pull of God's truth in the
gospel of Jesus Christ to transcend death through Him (Jer.31:3; Hos.11:4; Jn.6:44-45):

And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself.      John 12:32

   c. The devil's strategy: In order to continue enjoying paradise, Adam and Eve, created perfect,
had only to refrain from something God had personally told them would kill them. Moreover,
they knew very well what God had told them not to do, and had every reason to believe that what
He had said about the dire consequences of violating His prohibition was absolutely true. For
their entire lives (the period between their creation and fall, however long), they had experienced
nothing but the favor, the blessing, the goodness of God. Even more to the point, there was no
reason whatsoever for them to violate His will on the point of abstaining from the fruit of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In fact, it is entirely doubtful that in the absence of the
devil's clever attack it would ever even have occurred to our first parents to eat this forbidden
fruit, let alone actually do so.

Satan's motives in moving against Adam and Eve have already been discussed and are clear
enough. The propagation of these new creatures, willing to respond to God's will would not only
be a demonstration that other creatures (creatures with bodies, moreover) could and would be
obedient to God, thus vindicating His character against satanic slander and demonstrating the
righteousness of His condemnation of the devil. The spread of perfect mankind would also form
a natural replacement for Satan and his angels: Perfect human beings who chose not to sin would
have made a perfect complement to the elect angels, and a fitting replacement for the fallen
angels who would not choose to be reconciled to God.

We have no precise information as to how long the devil waited to launch his attack. It stands to
reason that, given his own experience, Satan would want to give Adam and Eve time to sin on
their own.(32) After all, the devil had done so without temptation, and we may assume that part of
his defense before God had been that any sort of creature would eventually act as he had acted
(i.e., sooner of later fall into sin and rebellion against God). But even though Man had possessed
a freedom of the will comparable to that of the angels, it soon became apparent to the devil that
he was unlikely to sin against God - without a push. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil
had not the intrinsic attraction for Adam and Eve that the usurpation of universal rule had for
Satan and his angels. The reason for this relative lack of interest in transgressing the bounds that
God had set for them was rooted in the relative limitations of their knowledge and abilities. As
terrestrial, corporeal creatures, mankind did not (and does not) possess an inherent knowledge of
the spiritual realities of the universe, and was at the time incapable of leaving the earth in any
case.(33) This lack of extensive and multifaceted knowledge (as possessed by the angels), coupled
with the absence of angelic power and ability, thus turned out to be a strength in terms of our
first parents' resistance to temptation. But every strength has a concomitant weakness, and the
devil was quick to assess the vulnerabilities of this new species.
Prohibited by God from destroying the first man and woman physically, the devil designed an
ingenious spiritual attack instead. If Adam and Eve's mental and physical limitations (relative to
the angels) made the possibility of their disobedience remote (in a vacuum), these very same
limitations might open them up to a more subtle assault. Our first parents' appreciation of the
omnipotence, the magnitude, and, especially, the truthfulness of God fell far short of the angelic
perception, and this turned out to be an exploitable avenue for the devil's strike. Satan's angelic
followers had possessed vast angelic knowledge and perception, but not physical bodies, so the
devil had concentrated his efforts to tempt them in this area. Adam and Eve, on the contrary, had
perfect physical bodies, but lacked the knowledge and perception of the angels precisely because
of their physical limitations, and so it was toward these limitations that Satan directed his attack.
It was her relative ignorance of the glory, the power, and the absolute veracity of God that would
open Eve up to temptation along these lines, and, if successful, a similar failure on Adam's part
to appreciate the magnitude of God's knowledge and faithfulness might well lead him to follow
suit. Satan saw his opportunity and decided to seize it. The strategy was careful conceived. If
successful, it would disqualify mankind from being God's regent on earth (thus regaining for
Satan some claim to the mastery of his former realm), and would place mankind in the same or at
least analogous situation to Satan and his angels: fallen from the grace of God and under
sentence of divine judgment. It must have seemed to the devil a perfect plan, and, in his
arrogance, it is doubtful he had any idea that his actions were to set in motion God's gracious
plan of salvation for mankind in which God Himself would partake of humanity, wrest the world
from Satan's grasp and cleanse the universe of the devil and his followers once and for all. Just as
Satan had failed to appreciate God's final olive branch (as offered in the example of Adam and
Eve), so he failed to realize that the all wise God had anticipated his every move.

2. The Fall: It is extremely important for every believer in Jesus Christ to understand the devil's
method in his temptation of Eve, because his essential tactic in tricking her is the same one
which always lies behind his attacks: distortion of the truth.

Truth is the one essential issue for Christians (Jn.8:32). Truth is what we are all about; truth is
why we are here. Our God is the God of truth (Ps.31:5), and in truth we are to worship Him
(Jn.4:24). Without faith in the truth, we cannot please Him (Heb.11:6), and only by listening to
His truth can we grow close to Him and serve Him effectively (Zech.1:3-4; Mal.3:7; Jas.4:8).
God's word is truth (Jn.14:6; cf. Jn.1:1; 1:14; 17:17). It is the word of God which Jesus, the Word
of God (Jn.1:1), always emphasized (Jn.18:37b), and it is only by our acceptance of and
allegiance to the living Word through the written word that we even are "believers" (Jas.1:18),
that is to say, those who accept and respond to the truth of what God has to say. The first
principle of truth is Jesus Christ (Jn.14:6). Once we accept Him, the truth of what the Father and
the Spirit say about Him (Jn.14:16-17), then we enter into a life of learning about Him, about
what He has to say to us, about what He wants from us (1Tim.2:4). Everything that emanates
from Him is truth, the prime example being His Son who is, in fact, "the Truth" (Jn.17:17). Our
Christian lives involve a great many issues, activities, decisions, tests and trials, but central to
everything we do and everything we are as Christians is the truth that comes from God. To the
extent that we appropriate His truth, learn it, believe it, test it, rely on it, live by it and are ready
to die for it, we advance, we grow, we honor Him. Apart from what He says, we can do nothing,
for apart from the truth of God, we do not even know what to do or how to do it. No action, no
thought, no word from our lips can be right, can be true, without the knowledge of, the belief in,
and the commitment to God's truth, as Jesus' final prayer on our behalf shows so well:

I have given them Your word, and the world hated them, because they are not of the world just
as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you protect
them from the evil one. For they are not of the world just as I am not of the world. So make them
holy by means of Your truth - Your word is truth. And just as you sent Me into the world, so I
have sent them into the world. I am consecrating Myself for their sake, so that they too may be
made holy through truth. John 17:14-19

Today, we know where to go to find the truth: God's truth is found in the Bible, "the word of
God, the word of truth" (Jn.17:17; Heb.4:12). Now Adam and Eve did not have a Bible; instead,
they had personal instruction from the Lord God Himself (an epiphany of the pre-incarnate
Christ).(34) This brings up an interesting and important point: the case of Adam and Eve is just
one in a series of scriptural examples that prove beyond any doubt that lack of faith and failure to
grow spiritually have nothing whatsoever to do with the form in which God has made His truth
available. No vision, no sign, no dream, no epiphany, no personal appearance of God Himself,
no rapture to the third heaven, nothing, in fact, will serve to turn unbelief into belief, simply
because of its form. For every Paul on the road to Damascus, there are millions and billions of
lost souls who would never have responded the way Paul did (as vouchsafed by the multitudes
that rejected our Lord in person during His first advent, or the rebellious activities of the Exodus
generation who had seen so many of God's mighty miracles first-hand). The hard heart of
unbelief is more impenetrable than any material known to Man. But God is just, and faithful, and
merciful, and He well knows what manner and means will reach those who truly wish to seek
Him.

The personal appearance of the Lord in Eden to deliver His mandates did not keep our first
parents from sinning; and when He came in the flesh, His teaching was often rejected (for He
experienced the rejection of all but the most faithful of His disciples: Jn.6:60 & 66). Similarly,
there are many people who blame their lack of faith upon the form in which God's truth is
currently "packaged", assuming (in ignorance) that somehow the Bible is "not quite" God's
inspired Word. Unbelief always manages to find an excuse (as it did in Jesus' day), and the devil
always manages to exploit this lack of trust in God and His Word (as he did in the garden). The
essence of Satan's strategy in attacking Adam and Eve was the same then as it is now: drive a
wedge of deception between the believer (or potential believer) and the truth.(35)

And the two of them, the man and his wife, were nude, but they felt no shame. And the serpent,
more than any other wild creature which the Lord God had made, was shrewd. Genesis 2:25-3:1a

The Hebrew word 'arum (,vri, rendered as "shrewd" above, is very difficult to translate into
English. It refers to a complexity of character which may either be laudatory ("prudent, careful,
circumspect") or derogatory ("wily, crafty cunning"). Thus the King James translation is, in one
sense, quite good, for "subtle" is one of only a handful of English adjectives that can bear the
meaning of "deep and complicated" in reference to personality without choosing between
positive and negative attribution. Now this is a very important issue in the interpretation of
Genesis 3:1. The serpent, along with all other living things on the earth, was one of the Lord
God's own creations (Gen.1:24-25). We cannot be sure of its appearance before it was cursed to
crawl on it belly, but one thing of which we can be certain is that such a creature would never
have been capable of (or interested in) tempting his human sovereigns to sin (cf. Gen.1:26 & 28).
"Subtle" and "shrewd" bespeak a quality of animal personality without at the same time
attributing to the serpent an innate malevolence - what it did, it did under the control and
guidance of the devil (as we shall shortly see). But within these famous verses of scripture is an
important point often overlooked in exegesis: the final verse of chapter two is intimately
connected with the opening verse of chapter three, and the paronomasia between "nude" and
"shrewd" (i.e., between 'arom and 'arum: almost identical in the Hebrew) serves as a very
deliberate connection and contrast. Adam and Eve are naked; so unsophisticated in the ways of
the world are they that they do not even perceive the necessity for what is perhaps the most basic
of all human conventions, the wearing of clothing. One should expect nothing less from our first
parents before partaking of the fruit of the forbidden tree: they had no cognizance or
understanding of the difference between good and evil since everything they saw, or touched, or
experienced in any way was good. Certainly they felt no shame at being naked - they hadn't a
clue what shame was. In the animal kingdom, the wild creature who contrasted most sharply to
our first parents was the serpent. His careful, circumspect, shy behavior was very different from
the innocently open and straight-forward conduct of Adam and Eve. This was animal behavior,
of course, behavior in quite a different category from our own, but inevitably viewed by us (and
our first parents) in anthropomorphic terms (in the same way that we observe distinct
"personalities" in our pet cats and dogs). Adam and Eve would certainly have even more reason
to think in these terms if, indeed, some of what these pre-fall creatures uttered was perceptible to
them (Eve, after all, does not seem at all shocked when the serpent addresses her). By calling the
serpent "subtle" or "shrewd", scripture directs our attention to his "worldliness" in contrast to
Adam and Eve's "innocence", without, at the same time, making the serpent seem intrinsically
bad (he certainly did not seem so to Adam and Eve before the fall). The serpent was the perfect
choice for Satan's attack. Apparently a creature very familiar to our first parents because of his
uniqueness. And because his "personality" bespoke a careful "wisdom" of sorts, he was just the
mouthpiece the devil was looking for to spread his lies.

And he said to the woman, "Did God really tell you not to eat from any tree in the
garden?" Genesis 3:1b

This is not a "Balaam's donkey" situation (cf. Num.22:28-30). This verse and the ones which
follow clearly depict a casual conversation between Eve and the serpent, that is to say, an
uncommon event (in contrast to Balaam being addressed by his donkey). The first woman
betrays no surprise at the fact that the serpent speaks to her, and it seems quite clear that this was
not their first conversation. As a creature with a "special relationship" to Adam and Eve, the
serpent was Satan's obvious choice as a vehicle (through possession of its body) for attacking our
first parents. The identification of the devil with the serpent here in the first book of the Bible is
most clearly presented in the Bible's final book:

And the great dragon, the ancient serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, was thrown down;
even he who deceives the entire world was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown
down with him.       Revelation 12:9
However, what should have caught Eve's attention was not who was speaking, but rather what
was said. For the serpent's question contains a number of subtle indications that all is not right:

      the serpent refers to the Lord God with the more familiar title "God", thus subtly
       diminishing His authority and bringing Him down to her level (cf. Gen.3:8, 9, 13,14).

      the serpent evinces surprise that the Lord God would go so far as to prohibit her from
       doing anything, thus subtly suggesting that He has unfairly deprived her of something
       desirable.

      the serpent mis-states what the Lord God actually did tell Adam (Gen.2:16-17).

This last point is the most subtle of all. Typically, the devil's attacks center around a distortion of
God's truth. Satan was not looking to plant a false idea in Eve's head. His strategy was much
more devious than that. Satan had found a weak link in our first parents' armor, and by mis-
stating God's very specific prohibition, he was probing that weakness. No one would have been
more surprised than the devil had Eve agreed with the serpents question. Nor did he suppose that
she would express ignorance on the subject. On the contrary, Satan fully expected Eve to correct
her misguided pet. This approach had two advantages:

   1) Based upon his observations of the first woman over what might very well have been an
extended period of time, it was clear to the devil that some sort of diversionary attack would be
necessary. Otherwise, the bizarre event of her pet acting and talking more like Adam and herself
than a subordinate animal would be bound to raise Eve's suspicion (and this had to be avoided at
all costs). This seemingly innocent question on the serpent's part cried out for correction. The
serpent's assumption was wrong, oh so wrong, demonstrably wrong, since he had observed the
first couple eating from many a tree in the garden for lo these many years. This point, of course,
should have occurred to Eve. Although it is true that she had no idea her little pet had been taken
over by the devil, the question was so ridiculous as to be troubling. But Satan had correctly
discerned that Eve's natural urge to correct, to "educate" this weaker creature, her maternal
instinct, if you will, would override her suspicions, and draw her into the dialogue.

  2) Satan had also observed that Eve's understanding of the Lord God's command was
imprecise. Once the devil had managed to get Eve engaged in this conversation, he was
confident that her false appraisal of what God had actually said would provide the leverage he
needed. For as soon as she began to question God on one point, Satan knew that everything He
had commanded would then become subject to interpretation (and disposal at whim).

The devil's strategy as employed against Eve is thus critically important to us today, for his
tactics remain essentially the same: first, involve us in a "dialogue", some form of subtle
temptation, verbal and otherwise, which engages our egos and our arrogance; second, use this
dalliance with him to throw the slightest shadow of doubt upon some aspect of God's word,
God's commands, or God's character; finally, as soon as a fracture of distrust, a fissure of failing
belief, appears in our shield of faith, then slam home whatever wedge will fit the crack.
Our entire Christian experience is predicated upon an initial and an abiding faith, trust and belief
in God through the person of His Son Jesus Christ, the living Word, as expressed in His
scriptures, the written word. Satan will always be lurking to sever us from this faith, and his most
effective methodology in doing so can be clearly seen in his attack on Eve: that is, the perversion
of the word of God. It is no accident that in both the first multiple book of the Bible (the
Pentateuch or Torah), and in the last book of the Bible, we are severely warned not only against
subtracting anything from the Bible, but also about adding anything to it (Deut.4:2; Rev.22:18).
Both the omission of critical truth and the addition of non-truth play right into the devil's hands.
For if he can get us to compromise on one point, anything else is possible.

Then the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden."     Genesis 3:2

Had Eve stopped there, the entire course of human history would have been radically different.
But she was not content to correct the serpent's mis-statement (though, as we have suggested, the
question itself should have given her pause). Instead, she allows herself to be drawn into the
discussion which clearly lies behind this loaded-question. The entire thrust of Satan's carefully
planned assault is to get Eve thinking about and discussing God's commandment concerning the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil (without, at the same time, alerting her suspicion).
Having disabused her pet of his false notion, Eve simply cannot stop herself from repeating and
explaining her understanding of God's command, an understanding which was noticeably
imperfect (as Satan must have known only too well). Let it be noted that the serpent, as an
animal, had absolutely no need to know about this prohibition: the command not to eat had been
directed by God to mankind only. The gratuitous nature of the lesson she proceeded to give the
serpent should also have set off some sort of warnings in the back of Eve's mind, but it is clear
from the biblical account that the process of temptation was, as it so often does, gaining
momentum with every step of the dance.

"But from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said that we must
not eat from it, and that we must not touch it, lest we die". Genesis 3:3

Although Eve is eager to give the serpent a "lesson" in what God has and has not said, it is most
unfortunate that she is so very quick to follow her pet in referring to the Lord God (His name as
used elsewhere in chapter three: Gen.3:8, 9, 13,14) by the much more familiar "God".
Familiarity, as the proverb has it, often breeds contempt, and the lack of respect engendered by
this breach of etiquette was to cost Eve dear. Whenever we, as Christians, seek to make it a
matter of personal policy to always sanctify God in the eyes of all with whom we deal
(respecting His name and His person, giving Him the credit as due, testifying by our deeds as
well as our words that we do trust and hope in Him), we can expect this commitment to be
challenged by the devil (cf. Num.20:12; Matt.6:9). It is always easier to accommodate ourselves
to lower opinions of the Lord held by those with whom we may be with. Such was Eve's
situation, and instead of properly rebuking the serpent for his lack of respect for the Lord God,
Eve chose to sink to his level. Accommodation is often a very valuable tool in communicating
with others, but the one thing that can never be compromised is God's truth. Eve failed to see that
a principle had been attacked here, the principle of the Lord God's dignity and, hence, His
authority. Once Satan had effected a breach on this front, his victory was not far off. In order to
pass this most difficult test, it would have behooved Eve to have a healthy fear of God. The last
thing she needed in the face of the devil's wily attack was the feeling that she was somehow on
equal terms with God, "more or less". This sort of arrogance is the height of folly, and has been
at the root of many a shipwrecked faith in every generation since:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.     Proverbs 1:7

Ironically, Adam and Eve had first to reject this one principle of wisdom which they did possess
and understand in order to gain the "knowledge" that doing so had been a very bad idea indeed.

As a teacher of the serpent, Eve was not well prepared. She added to the Lord's injunction, and
followed this up by mimicking the serpent's lack of respect for Him. One further item in her
admittedly short response also demonstrates that she was not prepared to teach this vital lesson:
she calls the tree of the knowledge of good and evil the "tree which is in the middle of the
garden" (Gen.3:3). Now there were, in fact, two trees in the middle of the garden, and Eve's
failure to state the obvious here is an indication of her inability to grasp the importance of this
point. The other tree, of course, was the tree of life, placed by God in direct opposition to the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil. This other tree, located opposite the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil, was also a clear sign and symbol to our first parents, a daily, visual reminder that
their continued life depended upon their abstinence from that other tree which brought death.
The tree of life, the one whose fruit sustained, maintained and enriched their lives, had not been
denied them by God. Only that other tree, the one whose fruit would most certainly bring
immediate death, had been forbidden, with both the injunction and the consequence spelled out
by the Lord God Himself. By positioning these two trees directly opposite each other, God had
made the issue of life and death perfectly clear: it was impossible to physically turn and face the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil without first turning away from the tree of life.

"You will surely not die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that on the day you eat
of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God [or "gods"], knowing good and
evil." Genesis 3:4 -5

With this violent contradiction by the serpent, Eve quickly transitions from teacher to student.
Having hastily (and faultily, as we have seen) set to correcting the serpent, she is now only too
eager to drink in these cunning words. In this swift reversal of Eve's position, we see the inherent
weakness of conviction which is based upon emotion rather than absolute faith in the truth. That
Eve did not have an unshakable faith in what the Lord God had said about the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil is certainly proved by her willingness to accept the serpent's lie in
place of God's truth. While it is certainly true, as many commentators have noted, that Satan
undermined Eve's resolve by appealing to her arrogance, and that his method of temptation was
both deceptive and highly effective, the point cannot be made too strongly that if only she had
really believed what God had said, she would have been more inclined to disbelief of these
words of the devil which so directly contradicted our Lord's words.

As we have had occasion to say time and again, it is a basic principle of the human spirit as
conceived and constructed by God, that truth must first be rejected before the lie can be accepted.
In her eagerness to become the serpent's instructor, Eve had not made God the issue, but herself.
Specifically, she had gloried in her own knowledge (as inadequate and defective as it was). As a
result, when the serpent unexpectedly challenges her position, she is easily shaken, because she
is not grounded firmly in faith of God's truth, but in the unstable emotional false confidence of
her own ego. Further, since her position is built upon emotion and false information, there is no
logical bedrock from which to mount a defense against this challenge. With the skill of a
Socratic philosopher or a defense attorney, the serpent has led Eve into a forensic cul-de-sac.
With her confidence shaken and her passive skepticism about God's commandment exposed, she
has been rendered receptive to the lies that now spew forth from the serpent's mouth.

The devil (in the guise of the serpent) wasted no time in demolishing Eve's shaky bravado. As he
so often does when dealing with moral weakness (nonchalance about God and His word in this
case), the devil launched a direct assault. His statement that Eve and her husband would "not die"
as a result of partaking of the forbidden fruit was a compound lie. In truth, disobedience meant
instant spiritual death (condemnation by and alienation from God), eventual physical death (as
the process of degeneration began), and ultimate eternal death (in the absence of some
amazingly gracious intervention by God Himself, of which possibility it is doubtful that even
Satan had any clue at this juncture). Physical death, we know, would not come immediately after
the first couple ate the fruit, but it did become inevitable, so that there is really not a grain of
truth in what the devil had to say. From any point of view, this was a horrendous lie, not only
because it was so untrue, but because it was meant, in effect, to mercilessly murder the first man
and woman (Jn.8:44).

Satan's lie was, in fact, so brazen, that Eve couldn't believe it wasn't true. The so-called "big-lie"
phenomenon is one which has been repeated many times since in the course of human history.
Claims and falsehoods that are so bold and so outrageous as to contradict the obvious truth are
often capable of stirring a latent and powerful arrogance set deep in the human heart. For
instinctively we as a species seem to understand that if truth itself can be destroyed and negated,
then there is no obstacle that can stand in our way, there is nothing to prevent us from storming
the very gates of heaven itself (and joining the ruler of this world in his quest to unseat the Ruler
of the universe). But this, of course, is an impossible "if", and despite the waves of mind-
numbing arrogance it may send pulsing through the dark places in our hearts, whether in
universal terms or a simple statement in the here and now, truth shall ever stand, and the lie shall
always be doomed to repudiation and defeat.

The possibility of disobedience with impunity, "eat and not die", quickly transforms Eve from an
advocate for God to a curious listener. Her zeal for God ebbs away rapidly and she becomes
more than willing to give the devil his say (Rom.10:2). What she hears after this reassuring lie
completes the transformation from opponent, to listener, to disciple: if only she will eat of the
forbidden fruit, she will become "like a god".(36)

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and was attractive to the eye, and that the
tree was desirable for bestowing insight, she took some of its fruit and ate it, then gave it also to
her husband with her and he ate. Genesis 3:6

True to the lesson she gave the serpent, Eve is still focused on the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil rather than its fruit. This was unfortunate for her, because concentrating on the tree
(which was merely the carrier of the fruit) clouded the crucial issue: eating its fruit was enjoined,
not touching the tree that bore it. As a tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was
apparently quite similar to the other trees in the garden, and that realization now sweeps through
Eve's mind: it bore fruit, pleasant to behold, and had a specific use - just like many (if not all) of
the trees in the garden with which she had long been familiar. Seeing this particular tree as just
one of any number in a much larger category (none of which had ever done her any harm) went
far toward mitigating whatever healthy fear she still possessed.

The Bible does not tell us whether it was Adam or Eve who expanded the Lord God's injunction
to include touching in addition to eating, but, besides generalizing the tree (as we have just seen),
Eve's unhealthy focus on the carrier over the fruit itself also had the unintended consequence of
emboldening her to eat the fruit. Touching can be accidental, and it certainly constitutes a much
less dramatic involvement with anything than does "taking and eating". Had the barrier been seen
right from the start as the actual eating of the fruit, the very sensual and deliberate nature of the
act might have given Eve pause and led her to reconsider. But, because of her erroneous
understanding of the Lord God's command, the barrier in her mind was the flimsy, almost
arbitrary "touch-barrier", and we can almost see her sidling over to the tree and gingerly tapping
it with her fingertip as we would a hot stove. Once this easy, false barrier had been breached,
Eve must have felt secure that no further consequence would ensue from eating the fruit.

Beyond both of these two points which result from Eve's faulty understanding of God's word
(i.e., the generalization of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil into the category of benign
trees and the lowering of the transgression barrier in her mind), it must also be said that neither
eventuality would have been of much effect if Eve had not lost her fear of God. What happened
in her case is most important to note because it is a pattern for all of her children ever since.
Ignorance, complacency and lust often combine to lead us into sin, and that was certainly what
took place at the fall. Eve's relative ignorance of what God had said combined with her relative
complacency about what the consequences of disobeying God might be made for a very weak
shield of faith with which to meet the devil's attack. When challenged on her uncertain
knowledge and assured that there would be no consequences, the prospect of "becoming god-
like" was more than enough of a temptation to kindle her lust and strip away her meager
defenses. This is the way the devil always works. He observes the chinks in our armor, our
ignorance of the word or God, our disbelief, our doubts, our nonchalance about following in the
footsteps of Christ (in general or on particular points), and then, armed with this critical
"scouting report", he attacks, providing false information, false assurances, and tempting us (or
frightening us) right when and where we are at our weakest.

The devil had a "file" on Adam too. Just as Satan had correctly discerned the most effective way
to induce Eve to throw away her life for a hollow promise and a vain hope, so he had shrewdly
observed Adam's main point of vulnerability: Eve. Men in love have been writing poetry to and
about the objects of their affections for millennia, but it is often overlooked that the very first
poem in human history was written by Adam on the occasion of the Lord God's presentation to
him of his wife:

And Adam said, "This now is bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh. She shall be called
woman, because from man she was taken". Genesis 2:23
This couplet, in Hebrew poetic form, effectively encapsulates for us Adam's enthusiasm for this
captivating new creature. No English translation can easily reflect the beauty, simplicity and
wittiness of this poem. For example, Adam's clever naming of the woman ('ishah: hwa) is an
elegant paronomasia on the word "man" ('ish: wya) derived by adding a feminine ending to it -
the sort of thing which cannot easily be duplicated in our own tongue. Adam was clearly
motivated to do more than say "thank you" to God and "hello" to the woman; for this grand
occasion he mobilized his considerable verbal talents to create an entirely new mode of
expression (poetry), providing us with an exquisite and graceful first specimen of this entirely
new genre. Obviously, Eve inspired him - and why not? Of all the marriages that have since
transpired in the history of our race, this is the only one of which we can saw of the bride and
groom that they were "a perfect match" for each other (because God Himself made the match,
making the bride specifically for the groom: cf. 1Cor.11:9). Nor could there be any more perfect
location for a honeymoon than the garden of Eden. Eve and Adam both, moreover, besides living
in a perfect place, were themselves perfect, with no possible source of rancor, division or
estrangement save one: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

When Adam returned to the center of the garden (after an enjoyable day of observing and
classifying Eden's flora and fauna, no doubt), his expectation of another blissful homecoming to
the woman he so adored was quickly overturned. The Bible does not record for us the scene
when Eve met him that day, but we can be sure that Adam realized immediately that all was not
right in Eden, and relatively certain that he, with his exceptional intellect, was quick to
apprehend that Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit - the only potential source in Eden of
"trouble" (a concept hitherto not experienced). Eating the fruit had instantly rendered Eve
spiritually dead (i.e., alienated from God and condemned by Him), had begun the inevitable
process of physical degeneration, and had destined her for the carrying out of God's sentence of
death in eternity (barring gracious intervention on His part). However we need not assume that
her body had undergone any noticeable change that would have alerted Adam to the new
situation. What did change though, what had to have changed significantly was her behavior.
She was no longer perfect, and she knew it. She was now mortal, death was inevitable, and she
knew it. She had been terribly deceived, was alienated from God and the life of God, and knew
it. Her eyes were indeed opened, opened to all the fear and horror which her new status as a
sinner bequeathed. Eve was in grave trouble, wracked with guilt, and terribly afraid. The state
she must have been in when Adam came home we can scarcely imagine.

The mention scripture makes about Adam's part in the fall is that Eve "gave [some of the fruit]
also to her husband with her and he ate". These two short but all important prepositional phrases
speak volumes about Adam's reaction to the alarming situation he encountered upon returning
home that evening. The Bible is quite clear that Adam did not eat the forbidden fruit because he
was deceived about what the consequences of so doing would be (1Tim.2:14). Adam knew very
well that by taking the forbidden fruit from his wife's hand and eating it as she had done, he too
would suffer the three-fold death whose initial consequences he could plainly see being played
out in the woman he loved. Confronted by the love of his life, his perfect soul-mate, weeping
inconsolably and having passed irrevocably beyond the pale of paradise, Adam now faced an
impossible decision. How could he possibly desert the one person who made him complete, his
own flesh and bone? She was helpless, desperate, and in dire need. How could he just turn his
back on her and walk away? The phrases "to her husband with her" make it clear enough that
such was essentially Adam's thinking: he was her husband, and would stay with her. Adam did
not flee at the sight of his fallen wife. He did not separate himself from her for a time to think
things through. He did not consult God about the situation. Adam's compassion for this woman
he loved so deeply was such that he stayed with her, consoled her, listened to her, gave in to her,
and ate the fruit. Adam was not bullied into it; he was not nagged into it; he was not tricked into
it. Contemplating the possibility of a life without Eve, and with his heart breaking to help her, he
cast his lot in with her and joined her in death.

The romantic and noble aspect of Adam's decision should not inspire us. He was every bit as
wrong as Eve. In fact his conduct was the more culpable, because he knew exactly what he was
doing. Both of our first parents betrayed God (Eve in ignorance, Adam in cognizance), and both
transgressed for essentially the same reason: failure to believe Him. Eve was deceived about the
nature and the content of what He had said; Adam failed to trust Him, failed to believe that for a
God who could create an Eve, nothing would be impossible. We are, of course, not told what
"would have happened" or "might have happened" had Adam waited on the Lord instead of
immediately trying to solve Eve's problem for her in the only manner he could devise (i.e., by
joining her in her sin), but with the entire Bible as our guide, the one thing we can say for certain
is that "nothing is impossible for God" (cf. Gen.18:14; Job 42:2; Jer.32:17; Matt.19:26; Lk.1:37;
18:27). By assuming, as Adam may have done, that his added sinfulness would force God to
"reevaluate", the first man stepped into exactly the same trap of arrogance, the same false
assurance, that had originally trapped the devil: i.e., assuming himself to be irreplaceable.(37)

While it is altogether right and proper that we point out the failings of our first parents in this
connection, it also behooves us to realize and understand that none of us would have done any
better. Eve was the first human being to ever experience temptation and the attack launched on
her by the devil represents some of his "best work". With our current perspective, well-informed
about Satan and his devices as we are, we might have done better, but then so would have Eve.
Assuming a complete ignorance of the devil and his wiles, which of us would venture to say that
he or she would not have succumbed to this most clever assault? Adam's shoes are likewise very
difficult for any of us to try on. What he lost when Eve fell was the perfect relationship, the
perfect person, perfectly designed for him. We cannot really even imagine the duress such a loss
put him under, and it would be well to admit that any of us would almost certainly have reacted
in the same way.

Although the first Adam failed when confronted by Satan's considerable might, and although all
of his progeny ever since has (with one exception) confirmed this dubious heritage, the Last
Adam has left for us a stirring example of how to contend with the devil's temptations. Christ
met Satan's best efforts not in a paradisaical garden, but in a desert at the end of a forty day fast
and vigil. Satan's threefold temptation of Christ was his masterpiece of deception, and only
Christ could have withstood it, but we would do well to note how He withstood it. The Son of
God, the Word of God Himself, met the devil's charge with the shield of the word of God,
refuting Satan's words with God's words. I can think of no better brief for the importance of
learning what the Bible says and means (the basis, along with belief, of Christian spiritual
growth) than the example left for us by our Lord. Every subtle temptation of the devil is laid bare
for the lie it is and rebuked - by scripture (Matt.4:1-11; Mk.1:12-13; Lk.4:1-13):
  1. The temptation to become distracted from God's word:

And the tempter approached Him and said, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to
become bread". But He replied, "Man's life does not depend on food only, but on every word that
comes from God's mouth" (Deut.8:3). Matthew 4:3-4

Christ was hungry, not having eaten for forty days, and certainly had the power to turn stones to
bread. This would have been a very easy act to justify, under the circumstances, and to
rationalize. But our Lord had been led into this test by the Holy Spirit, so that it was without any
doubt the will of God for Him to endure this trial, not to bring it to an abrupt end at Satan's
urging (Matt.4:1; Mk.1:12; Lk.4:1). The hard thing about this test, the really difficult part of it,
was not the hunger (although it is fair to say that any of us deprived of food for forty days would
be sore pressed to resist the opportunity to eat when it suddenly arose after such a long period of
time). No, for Christ, the deceptive part of this temptation was the challenge thrown in His face
by Satan: "If you are the Son of God". For the devil's implication is crystal clear: the real Son of
God wouldn't be deprived like this, and would certainly be able to call upon God's power to
supply His legitimate needs. Christ's intense hunger is merely a contributing factor to the
temptation, for it is really the fact of His deprivation, used by Satan to reproach Him, that
constitutes the real test. Christ's situation here is analogous to that of Job's. Job's comforters
failed to understand that his suffering was not deserved, but was instead part of God's plan (the
ultimate divine compliment, in fact). These men self-righteously assumed that intense suffering
had to mean God's disfavor (punishment for sin), and Job, who had up until their arrival endured
the most intense persecution at Satan's hands without faltering in his faith, was finally tripped up
by the stinging reproaches of his erstwhile friends. Satan's "if" is an attempt to break down our
Lord's resolve in the exact same way by prodding Him into "proving" the devil wrong.

But our Lord, instead of focusing on the words of the tempter (as Eve had done) or over-focusing
on the reproach (as Job had done), gave instead his complete attention to the word of God. Jesus'
quotation of Deuteronomy 8:3 (and indeed His answer of every one of the devil's challenges with
scripture) is riveting. He doesn't make Satan the issue, nor His hunger, nor the devil's challenge
to His true status as God's only Son. He makes God the issue. And how does He do so? By
quoting a small part of God's truth that cuts through the devil's lie like the sharpest sword. For
Christ's selection of scripture proves more than that He had memorized much (if not all) of the
Bible as it existed in His day (the Old Testament). Christ's absolutely appropriate choice of
quotation shows that He understood it and believed it. Unbelievers can memorize scripture. Only
for believers can the Bible truly become an irresistible sword, and only to the extent that it is
understood and believed.

Our Lord's handling of the devil's temptation is the perfect model for us to follow. Christ's
impeccable understanding of and absolute belief in God's word gave Him the ability to rebut this
deceptive and "right sounding" suggestion of the devil. For Jesus understood and believed from
the Bible that sometimes it is God's will for us to endure privation and hardship, in order to teach
us that His word is more important than anything else, even food. In the context of Deuteronomy
8:3 (the verse Jesus quotes), the Israelites experienced hunger that they might learn through this
temporary privation to trust God, to believe that whatever His reason for bringing on their short
term suffering, He had only their best interests at heart. The use of this quote shows that our Lord
understood that it was necessary for Him too to put God's word and God's will first, and to "learn
obedience through the things He was suffering" in order to prepare Himself to face the ultimate
reproach, the reproach of the cross (Heb.5:8; cf. Heb.2:18; 4:15; 11:26; 13:13).

  2. The temptation to test God:

Then the devil took Him to the holy city, stood Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to
Him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written that 'He will command
His angels concerning You', and 'They will lift You up in their hands lest You strike your foot
against a stone'" (Ps.91:11-12). Jesus said to him, "It is also written, 'You shall not put the Lord
your God to the test'" (Deut.6:16). Matthew 4:6-7

Satan's second temptation of Christ is very similar to the first. Once again, he is attempting to
provoke Christ into disobedience by challenging Him to prove His standing as "Son of God". But
instead of inviting Christ to abuse His special powers to do something legitimate (that is, eat
when hungry), this time Satan entices Him to take an ordinary human action (i.e., jumping) to do
something illegitimate (that is, without authorization to put the Father in a position of having to
rescue Him).

Satan's second temptation is more than just a wily variation on the theme of the first. The devil
sharpens this particular arrow by giving it the cachet of apparent scriptural support. If the
promise of angelic protection has ever applied to any human being, it certainly applied to our
Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Matt.26:53). Indeed, immediately after Christ's successful negotiation of
these temptations, the angels did minister to Him (Matt.4:11; Mk.1:13). This challenge to our
Lord's standing as the Son of God is at once more direct and yet also more subtle. Only the Son
of God could expect to be rescued after following this suggestion of the devil. Now Christ was
and is the Son of God, and was well aware from His perfect knowledge and understanding of
scripture that these verses quoted by Satan did indeed apply first and foremost to Him as part of
the body of prophecy in the Old Testament which looked forward to the coming of the Messiah
for its complete fulfillment. For our Lord to refuse to jump might give the appearance that He
lacked faith in this divine promise - to everyone expect God, that is (and to those who have
adopted God's point of view as Christ did perfectly). Please understand that such a temptation
would be of no effect if directed against you or me, because we are not the Son of God, and
because we do not possess the perfect faith that Jesus did. You see, Christ knew that the Father
would deliver Him and that the verses with which the devil was taunting Him referred uniquely
to Himself. He could easily refute the devil's insinuation that He was not really the Messiah by
merely jumping and thereby showing Satan that he was dead wrong.

The living Word of God, a prodigy in the understanding of the Bible at age twelve (Lk.2:41-52),
was now, after two additional decades of the most intensive study of the word of God,
impervious to Satan's guileful misapplications of scripture. He would have to be. Throughout His
earthly ministry He would encounter similar reproaches that would tempt Him to end His
personal suffering and silence the blasphemous insinuations of those who opposed Him. Perhaps
the most galling of these would come as He hung on the cross, dying for the sins of those who
were abusing Him:
"If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!" Matthew 27:40b



  3. The temptation to give allegiance to someone or something besides God:

Then the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world
and their glory. Then he said to Him, "All these I will give to you, if you fall down and worship
me". Jesus responded to him, "On your way, Satan. You shall worship the Lord your God and
worship Him alone" (Deut.6:13). Matthew 4:8-10

It is often said that everyone has his price. Certainly we all have particular areas of lust where
bribery of one sort or another will be more likely to succeed, and areas of weakness where
pressure will be more likely to make our resolve crumble. Satan, as we have remarked before, is
a shrewd observer who makes a point of gathering intelligence to use against us (cf. Job 1-2;
1Pet.5:8). The report he received on Jesus Christ, however, was most disheartening, for beyond
His true status as a flesh and blood human being, there was absolutely no sin, no weakness, and,
very importantly, no area of ignorance about the word of God. Nevertheless, the devil crafted a
subtle strategy. He would offer our Lord something many human beings have desired, but no one
has ever possessed: world rulership.

Again, however appealing we may imagine this offer to have been, it would have been much
more so to Christ, for to this He had been born (Jn.18:37), and He was well aware of the
scriptures that proclaimed this as His birthright (e.g., Ps.2:8-9). But this time the devil's "if" is
not directed toward Christ's status as Son of God, but presents instead a condition for fulfilling
the offer: the worship of Satan. It is one of the devil's favorite tricks to make us think that our
receipt of blessings is dependent upon him, and our prior accommodation with him and his evil
world system. Whenever we fail to acknowledge God as the source of all we have, we play right
into Satan's hands, and so become vulnerable to his manipulation. But Christ fully understood
and believed that only the Lord God is worthy of our worship, for from Him only do our
blessings flow (Deut.6:13).

Eve became distracted from the word of God and opened herself up to the devil's deception
(temptation #1). Adam put God to the test by throwing his lot in with Eve, vainly hoping that he
would be "lifted up" before crashing to the ground (temptation #2). Both of them failed to trust
God alone for blessing (provision of a wonderful life without the forbidden fruit in Eve's case,
provision of a wonderful life without the woman in Adam's case), and so effectively gave Satan
their allegiance in place of God through their respective sins (temptation #3). Satan's use of these
same temptations on Christ failed, because the word of God pulsed through Jesus' heart, not
merely as empty phrases, but as living truth, fully understood and fully believed.

We can only resist the devil by following the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and taking the
word of God into our hearts as He did, listening to it, learning and understanding it, believing it
then acting upon it in faith (Jas.4:7). Eve didn't listen well enough; Adam listened, but didn't
believe well enough. When push came to shove, neither of them was strong enough in faith to
maintain their allegiance to God under the pressure of the devil's assault. If we are to grow up
spiritually and gain some measure of safety against Satan's deceptions, we must commit
ourselves to the word of God, to understanding it and to making it our own through faith,
because only in this way can we hope to follow in the footsteps of Christ, and avoid the
stumbling blocks that tripped up Adam and Eve.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked, so they sewed
together fig leaves and made garments for themselves. Genesis 3:7

The opening of Adam and Eve's eyes, that is to say, their sudden understanding of good and evil,
was a tremendous shock and disappointment. What their now opened eyes perceived was that, by
their disobedience of the Lord God's command, they had forsaken what was good and embraced
what was evil. Their newly developed perspicacity of good and evil was only of any use because
they had sinned and were now sinful beings. Eating the forbidden fruit immediately changed
them and their progeny forever, polluting their previously perfect bodies with the corruption of
inherent sin. From now on, sin would always be "crouching at the door" (Gen.4:7), so that an
ability to distinguish between what was sinful and evil from what was good and right would be
essential to the survival of the human race. For mankind to be inherently sinful without a
conscience or consciousness of sin would make our continued existence as a species impossible.
Equally tragic would have been the complete absence of any shame, any recognition of evil, any
possibility of remorse (and potential repentance, should God provide a way). Viewed in this
light, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in addition to providing a way for man to show
his free choice for God (by abstaining from it), was also a most gracious provision, because, in
the event of sin, it would, along with sin, provide the capacity to distinguish and recognize sin.
Recognition of our sinfulness is always the first, essential step toward seeking relationship with
God, for it is the conscience that separates the devil's lie from the truth of God, the truth that we
are sinners and in desperate need of His grace:

[The nations] demonstrate that the law has been written in their hearts when their conscience
testifies against them, and their thoughts alternate between allegations or even excuses. Romans
2:15

Along with the common human heritage of utter sinfulness, we also possess, thanks entirely to
the grace of God, a natural consciousness of that sinfulness. This realization is gracious because
it provides motivation for all who will respond to God to seek Him for a solution to the
devastating problem of sin, sin that controls us, sin that destines us to physical death, sin that,
unless it should somehow be blotted out, means our ultimate damnation for all eternity. It is the
consciousness of sin that moves us to seek God.

God must, however, be sought in the proper way, His way. Nothing man can do to atone for sin
or to make up for sin or to cover up for sin will ever be sufficient for God. Only the blood of His
beloved Son is acceptable payment. No ritual, no good deeds, no amount of praying or working
or singing or chanting or self-effacement or fasting or self-affliction or any other activity of
human energy will bring us so much as a single step closer to our God. Only what He has done
for us through the sacrifice of His Son can save us from our sin, and only if we accept that
sacrifice in the way He has ordained: the simple obedience of believing, of trusting, of following
Christ, today, tomorrow and forever.
Adam and Eve were conscious of their sin. Instead of some grand vision, their opened eyes saw
only their own guiltiness, their own sin. Their nakedness now testified against them, for now
they had a sense of shame (unnecessary in a world without sin). But awareness of sin is merely
the first step in the process of being reconciled to God. Our actions can't do it; we have to wait
for God to do it; we have to put our faith, our trust in Him, in the work of His Son, a fact for us
since the cross, a promise for all those before the cross. Adam and Eve did not wait for the Lord
God to return to the garden. They decided instead to "fix" the problem on their own. They would
"do" something to remove the problem of sin. Nakedness was the symptom, and that could be
readily alleviated, it could be easily covered up:

"If I have concealed my sins like Adam, hiding evil in my heart ..."   Job 31:33

So the first man and woman set to work busily manufacturing garments out of some likely large
leaves that graced one of the garden's trees. After they had donned their new invention, their
consciousness of sin did not leave them, nor did the sin they have since passed down to their
descendants through their now mortal bodies. But at least they had managed to cover the
problem up. Maybe God wouldn't notice. Maybe God would find this sufficient. While their
actions and thinking may seem ridiculous to us now, we should realize that covering sin up with
fig leaves, the quick fix laid upon the problems of the devil's world by which mankind thinks to
score points with the Almighty and somehow reconcile this evil world to Him, has been in vogue
ever since and is proceeding with a vengeance in our own day. Satan loves to encourage people,
especially Christians, to become involved in schemes and activities that will "solve" the
problems of this world, fig leaves on an incurable cancer of evil that can only be eradicated by
the return of the Lord Himself.

How to know what is a genuine Christian act and what is merely playing into the devil's "do-
gooder" hands? Specific applications must be left to you, dear reader, for only he who is actually
in any given situation is capable of judging aright. But a good "rule of thumb" is that anything
you do yourself (a cup of water offered in the Lord's name) has the most chance of being
legitimate service to the Lord, whereas anything that is done through an organization you do not
control (i.e., outside of your local church) is highly susceptible to being co-opted by one of the
devil's schemes. Ultimately, only Christians who are growing spiritually, seeking God and
drawing nearer to Him through His word, have any serious chance of consistently discerning
what is truly good in God's eyes (Rom.2:18; 14:22; 1Cor.11:28; 2Cor.13:5; Gal.6:4; Eph.5:10;
Phil.1:10; 1Thes.5:21):

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by this renewal of your thinking [i.e.,
through obedience to the word of God; cf. v.1], so that you may discern what God's will for you
is, namely what it is good, well-pleasing, and correct [for you to do]. Romans 12:2



3. The Judgment:

Then they heard the voice of the Lord God [as He was] walking about in the garden at the [time
of] day when the evening breeze [came up]. So Adam and his wife hid themselves from the
presence of the Lord God in the midst of the garden's trees. Then the Lord God called out for
Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" And Adam responded, "I heard your voice in the
garden and was afraid because I was naked, and so I hid myself. Then He said, " Who told you
that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree from which I told you not to eat?" Then Adam
replied, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave to me from the tree and I
ate".         Genesis 3:8-12

The appearance of the Lord God in the garden quickly melts away the false confidence of our
newly sinful first parents, dissolving their self-delusion, leaving only fear in its place. The
sudden realization that their feeble attempt to cover over their sin is woefully insufficient puts
the fear of God into them, and they rush to hide from Him for whom nothing is hidden
(Heb.4:13). Their reaction is entirely understandable, for which of us would not find his
rationalizations similarly shattered, his fig leaves similarly withered, if he were to be suddenly
confronted by God Himself?

"Woe is me, for I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people
of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!" Isaiah 6:5

The effects of sin which had been so obvious in Eve's behavior are now similarly evident in
Adam's response to the Lord God's interrogation. For Adam, whom we saw only hours before
choosing to suffer the consequences of mortality with Eve in place of an immortal life without
her, now, in his new, sinful state, has no qualms about attempting to pass off all the blame to the
love of his life. Though often portrayed as amusing, the seriousness of Adam's betrayal should
not be overlooked. For all Adam knew at this point, this "selling out" of his wife for his own
sake might well have brought down upon Eve a swift and terrible vengeance from the Lord God.
But Adam, now under the influence of the sin that has infected his entire body, is much more
concerned about the consequences for himself than he is with the consequences for the woman
for whom only shortly before he had sacrificed everything.

Adam's words, "The woman whom You gave to be with me", besides redirecting the blame
toward Eve, also constitute a none too thinly veiled reproach against God. Creativity in shifting
responsibility away from ourselves and pointing the finger at others (especially at God) is an all
too common characteristic of sinful humanity. Adam's intimation that God is to blame for his sin
because God gave him Eve is breathtaking. Is God somehow responsible for our sin and the
trouble we bring on ourselves because He has graciously given us life and physical bodies and
resources - without which sin would be impossible? Heaven forbid! This is a case of the pot
reproaching the Potter (Is.29:16; 45:9; 64:8; Jer.18:4-6; Rom.9:20-21). Nevertheless, trying to
hold God responsible for our evil just because He made us is a ploy one finds below the surface
of nearly all evil rationalizations and is even older than Adam, for this outlandish accusation is at
the heart of all the devil's lies.

Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And she replied, "The
serpent deceived me, and I ate". So the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done
this, you are accursed, more than any beast or wild animal. You shall go on your belly and eat
dust all the days of your life. And I shall place hostility between you and the woman, that is,
between your seed and her Seed. He will attack your head, but you will attack Him from
behind". Genesis 3:13-15

In an attempt to avoid responsibility, Adam had responded in a most circuitous fashion to the
very direct question asked of him by the Lord God ("Did you eat?"), prefacing his response with
a self-serving defense that sought to shift the blame (Eve gave me the fruit and You gave me
Eve). Eve's response to the Lord God's interrogation, however, is a good deal less tortured and
convoluted. Despite the fact that she is given more latitude to respond ("What is this you have
done?" as opposed to "Did you eat?"), Eve simply states the facts: she was deceived by the
serpent and she ate. For good reason Adam had found it necessary to offer a defense before
answering God's question. His sin had been committed in complete cognizance of the specifics
of God's prohibition, of the issues at stake, and of the consequences his act would have. Adam
had no excuse, so in his guilty sinfulness he tried to manufacture one. Eve, on the other hand, did
have an explanation (if not an excuse) and so had no reason to embellish her story. This is not at
all to say that Eve's conduct was excusable (sin is sin, whether committed in full knowledge or
suborned by deception). But Adam's sin was clearly inexcusable under any interpretation. The
fact that Adam sinned in complete cognizance of what he was doing (and what effect it would
have) is the essential reason why sin passes to all of us "through Adam" rather than through Eve
(i.e., through the male line: Rom.5:12-21).

The serpent, as we have seen, was (and is) just an animal. But since he was Satan's chosen
vehicle for this first assault on mankind, the serpent was cursed for this association. He became
(and remains to this day) a fitting symbol for the devil and his snake-like, deceptive attacks upon
mankind. God's judgment upon the serpent is thus most appropriate, for the reduction of this lithe
and subtle creature to the status of crawling vermin serves as a reminder of and a memorial to the
devil's deceitful method of attack, lying in hiding, waiting like a viper to strike whenever we
present him with the opportunity.

The Lord God's further promise of future hostility between the woman's Seed (Jesus Christ: cf.
Gen.22:17 with Gal.3:16) and the serpent's seed (all who follow Satan) is a further confirmation
that this judgment has broader implications. The prophecy of Christ's direct assault upon the
devil (accomplished at the cross), and Satan's continuing tactics of sneak attack against Christ
and His followers (in all generations of human history) is often called the protevangelium,
because it constitutes the first occurrence of the gospel message (i.e., a promise that God would
Himself right mankind's wrong and crush the adversary in the process). As the Seed of the
woman, Christ is here clearly foreshadowed as taking on true humanity in order to attack the
serpent head-on. This prophecy to destroy in a most direct fashion the devil's power over sinful
mankind by striking at the serpent's head was fulfilled at the cross, where the hold Satan won
over mankind at the fall was finally broken:

Therefore since "these children" (i.e., believers given to Christ by God: v.13) have a common
heritage of flesh and blood, [Christ] too partook of these same [common elements] in a very
similar fashion (i.e., not identical only in that He was virgin born and so without original sin), in
order that through His death He might put an end to the one possessing the power of death, that
is, the devil, and might reconcile those who were subject to being slaves their whole lives long
by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15
When Adam and Eve sinned, a threefold death became the new reality of their lives:

   1) They instantly experienced spiritual death, that status where we are, because of our sin and
unrighteousness, accounted dead by a righteous and holy God who can in His perfection have
nothing to do with us any longer (except on His own terms of grace: salvation from our
predicament through our acceptance on a non-meritorious faith-basis of Christ's saving work on
the cross). Eating the forbidden fruit contrary to the explicit prohibition of the Lord God
destroyed our first parents' relationship with Him (spiritual death), leaving them helpless to alter
or remove this alienation (as their fig leaf experiment demonstrated most clearly). Reconciliation
would come, but on God's terms, as Adam and Eve both accepted and trusted in the Lord God's
promise of the Seed.

   2) Their bodies were also instantly rendered mortal. The process of decay and degeneration
began immediately upon partaking of the fruit. Under the conditions that pertained in this
antediluvian world, Adam and Eve and many of their children had, by our standards,
exceptionally long lives, but even living a thousand years seems infinitesimal when compared to
immortality. Eating the forbidden fruit contrary to the explicit prohibition of the Lord God also
eventually destroyed their bodies (physical death). Even the restoration of their relationship with
God through their faith in His promises would not erase this appointment with death (Heb.9:27),
but God had promised them the Seed who would save them through His sacrifice. The "coats of
skin" with which the Lord God would clothe them (Gen.3:21) in preference to their own
creations are a clear foreshadowing of Christ's work on the cross: in contradistinction to our own
pitiful acts of what we would call good (fig leaves), God will only accept the blood of Christ as
payment for our sin. The animals slain, their blood spilt to clothe us in our need, are pictures of
Christ's death on our behalf (and such animal sacrifices would remain the dominant symbol for
His death on the cross until the day of its fulfillment). As our first parents did, we too must stop
relying on the arrogant acts of our own tainted "goodness" and trust instead in God's solution,
Jesus Christ, if we are to live beyond physical death through the resurrection (Heb.2:14-15).

   3) As a consequence of their spiritual death, Adam and Eve were alienated from the life of
God (Eph.4:18: cf. Rom.5:10; Eph.2:12). As a result of their impending physical death, they
would not be able to abide forever in this world (Heb.9:27). Already condemned, therefore, and
facing the end of temporal life, eternal death was the sentence that hung over their heads,
inevitably and inexorably approaching - unless they accepted in faith God's solution in the
person of the promised Seed.

Though not always articulated, and more often than not deliberately obfuscated, this threefold
death that is our common human heritage eventually impinges upon everyone's consciousness.
Our conscience teaches us how far we fall short of the holiness a perfect God demands
(Rom.2:14-16), and we are only too well aware of the horrible and tragic end of life that is our
collective lot. The fear and the terror we humans feel in regard to death is sign enough that, on
some very basic level, we understand that through our own devices no good result waits on the
other side. This fear is the devil's ace trump. Through it he has entrapped uncounted millions,
coaxing them into a variety of false religions that promise relief and solution, but without Christ.
Jesus gives us the power to escape this fear through faith in Him and His resurrection.
To the woman He said, "I will surely multiply for you the labor-pains that follow conception: in
pain you will give birth to children (lit. "sons"). For you will desire your husband, so he will rule
over you". Genesis 3:16

Along with the natural consequences of their sin (the threefold death), Adam and Eve receive, as
the serpent did, specific additional judgments that suit the nature of their individual
transgression. Eve's first additional punishment, pain in childbirth, is a relatively straight-forward
one: sinful people in a sinful world beget children tainted by sin from the moment of their
conception (Ps.51:5), so that it is only fitting that the process of bringing them to birth should be
a painful one.

The second penalty is far more controversial and requires a few words of explanation. The
Hebrew word teshuqah (hqvwt), translated "desire", does not refer here to the female libido.
Marriage in the garden of Eden had been a pleasant and an easy prospect. Adam may have been
the titular "head of the family", but, as we have seen, issues of authority would doubtless never
have come up in such a perfect paradise between two sinless people. Outside of the garden,
however, and between imperfect people, clearly delineated hierarchies are essential for all
organizations, including marriage. By virtue of his original position as God's representative on
earth, on the basis of his priority of creation, and because of the fact that he had not been
deceived, Adam would be heir to the authority position in marriage as would his male
descendants - provided there would be any marriages (1Tim.2:13-15). It is well to ask what
incentive Eve (or any of her female descendants, for that matter) would now have to put
themselves voluntarily under someone else's authority, especially given the fact that said person
would also be imperfect and sinful. Part of Eve's penalty, a curse that has been passed down to
women throughout the millennia (in the same way that the serpent and Adam also pass down
their individual penalties), is this "desire" for a husband, a marriage, and children (the meaning
of the phrase "you will desire your husband"). This is not to say that men do not desire wives,
marriages, and children, or that women would not do so without this curse, but while marriage is
a sacrifice for all parties, in many ways it constitutes a far greater sacrifice for the woman,
because she must give up so much of her freedom to make it work. Without the "desire" of
Genesis 3:16, we may surmise that far fewer women in the history of the world would have been
willing to contract marriage at the price of having their husbands "rule over" them.

And to Adam He said, "Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I gave
you the commandment not to eat from it, the ground is cursed on your account. In painful toil
you will eat from it all the days of your life. When you go to eat wild plants, you will find the
ground producing thorns and thistles for you. And bread you shall eat [only] by the sweat of your
brow, until you return to the ground from which you were taken. For you are dust, and you will
return to dust". Genesis 3:17-19

Adam's punishment also fits the crime. Although he had enjoyed all the wondrous fare of
paradise without expending any effort whatsoever, under the pressure of the potential loss of his
spouse he ate the one fruit from which the Lord God had commanded him to abstain. As a result,
by this one act of disobedience, Adam brought an end to the free bounty of the garden of Eden.
From this point forward, Adam (and his progeny) would have to work for a living. The ground
would no longer yield its crops without the effort of cultivation, and even the vegetation which
would bear fruit apart from Man's husbanding, would still yield it grudgingly, amid thistle and
thorn. And the end of a life of toil would not be victorious accomplishment, but the
disintegration of one's body and of all one had accomplished upon the earth. Adam had
understood before he ate the forbidden fruit that death would result, but this last curse, the vanity
of necessary effort, was perhaps the most grievous and demoralizing of all (cf. Eccl.2:22-23 et
passim).

Then Adam named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of every living person. Now the
Lord God made clothes of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said,
"Behold, Man has become like One of Us in respect to his knowledge of good and evil. So now,
lest he also keep stretching forth his hand and taking [fruit] from the tree of life and [so] live
forever ...". So the Lord God expelled Man from the garden of Eden to work the ground from
which he had been taken. Thus He drove Man away, and placed in front of the garden of Eden
the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword to block access to the tree of life. Genesis 3:20-24

We have mentioned above the coats of skin as part of the promise of the woman's Seed to come.
Animal sacrifice was not only commanded in the Mosaic law. It existed throughout the age of
the gentiles and may be traced back to this original point of origin (cf. Gen.4:4; 8:20-21; 15:8-
21). The bloody loss of life is a clear picture of the horrendous death that Christ would die on our
behalf to rescue us from death (1Cor.5:7b). We are helplessly exposed to the ravages of sin -
until God clothes us, taking away the shame of our nakedness through the sacrifice of Jesus
Christ on our behalf.

We have seen how through their sin, Adam and Eve brought upon themselves and upon us their
children the threefold curse of death (the spiritual death of alienation from God; the inevitability
of physical death; and the condemnation of eventual eternal death - apart from the provision of
salvation). We have also seen how they brought upon us all the gender-specific curses treated
above. But there was one final consequence to their sin. By their disobedience to the Lord God's
commandment, they also forfeited their right to reside in the garden of Eden.

It would be unthinkable for spiritually dead, sinful creatures to live forever in paradise. Such a
state of affairs would amount to a festering cancer on the universe that would never be resolved.
Eternal life can only work for perfect people (Adam and Eve) or people made perfect (as
eventually we shall be through our faith in Jesus Christ: cf. Heb.12:23b). Paradise without
perfection would be unstable, for God would eventually have to act to resolve such a situation
(through fiery judgment). Furthermore, without the sure and certain knowledge of an impending
physical death, human beings would have little motivation to consider their sinful manner of life
and their need for a Savior to deliver them from sin and death.

Inasmuch as Adam and Eve had not refrained from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
despite their state of perfection, it was not likely that sinful mankind would voluntarily abstain
from the tree of life after being expelled from Eden. God therefore placed "the cherubim and the
fiery revolving sword" at the garden's entrance to prevent any attempt on the tree of life. The
reference here is to the chariot of God with its sword-like flashes of lightning, carried by the
cherubim (cf. Ezek.1:13).(38) As His holy throne, this chariot symbolizes the presence of God
Himself, and it is a sad final commentary on the fall of Man that the presence of God which had
once been such a blessing to our first parents had now become an awesome and terrifying sight,
blocking their access to eternal life, filling their consciences with guilt and the consciousness of
impending judgment. Thanks be to God that He Himself has provided His children with a way
back to the tree of life through the sacrifice of His own Son Jesus Christ on our behalf: He
endured the judgment, that we might eat once more the fruit of life eternal.



V. Satan's Hollow Victory

What Satan did to Adam and Eve was very similar to what he had previously done to a large
number of his fellow angelic creature, that is, convince them of the desirability (and advisability)
of rejecting God's authority. That such a course of action was tantamount to accepting his
authority in place of God's was a fact lost on Adam and Eve (and possibly not completely
comprehended by many of his angelic followers). But it was a fact certainly central to the devil's
plan. Indeed, such is his typical modus operandi today: first pry the intended victims away from
God (and anything else good he or she may be holding on to), then they will follow the path of
evil as a natural consequence of their rejection of the good.

By the same means, then, that he used to gain control over a large part of the angels (i.e.,
deception), Satan regained a measure of control over the earth he had once (temporarily) ruled:

And the devil said to Him, "I will give you all this power and all their glory - for it has been
surrendered to me and [so] I [can] give it to whomever I please." Luke 4:6

The Greek word paradidomi () in the passage quoted above means that Satan's
reign over the earth was not wrested from God or awarded to the devil, but was rather
relinquished by Adam, abandoned, abdicated, given over by default, or "surrendered". The
devil's policy of undermining God's authority, then corrupting others and thereby gaining control
over them (and all they possess) proved just as effective on Adam and Eve as it had on those
angels who followed him in rebellion against God. As a result of the first man's dereliction of
duty, "the whole world now lies within the control of the evil one" (1Jn.5:19). By listening to a
creature instead of his Creator (Rom.1:25), Adam forfeited a large measure of mankind's
dominion over planet earth. As they walked out of the garden, Adam and Eve were not only
entering a world characterized by pain, toil and ultimate physical death, but also a world where
the devil's influence would be great and pervasive. This was no Eden, but a world where only the
unseen protection of God would prevent them from being annihilated by the satanic forces
swirling around them, a world where only the diligent seeking of God (in response to the
consciousness of sin they now possessed from their knowledge of good and evil) would lead
them away from the otherwise inevitable path of death.

Satan had now brought Man down to his level. Just as the devil and his followers were
essentially on parole from "death row", awaiting God's administration of the sentence of death
already passed against them, so Man finds himself under a similar stay of execution after the fall,
albeit one limited by the relative shortness of human life. However, the devil was not allowed to
gloat and enjoy his hollow victory for long. For, as had been the case in his earlier rebellion, he
may have won a battle, but he lost the war. The immediate offer of a Savior (in the Seed of the
woman, His sacrifice adumbrated in the coats of skin) took Satan as completely by surprise as
did the destruction and re-creation of the earth. Once again, God in His omniscience had
everything planned before the devil had even conceived his counter-attack. Because they do not
share the intellectual, temporal and material limitations of mankind, the angelic creatures who
followed Satan were not prone to have a "change of heart", but rather were confirmed or
"hardened" in their opposition to God (as we saw in part 1 of this series; see also section 4.1.a
above).(39) Man, on the other hand, born in relative ignorance, and subject to severe temporal and
material limitations, upon the realization of his mortality and sinfulness has the potential of
responding to God's redemptive offer of grace in Jesus Christ, our Savior who was "given over
for our transgressions, but raised for our justification" (Rom.4:25).

The final battle was now on in earnest. The devil instantly sized up the new situation: without a
concerted effort on his part, the generations of human beings to come would in large numbers
turn to God, and the promised Savior. The Last Adam destined to restore what the first Adam
had lost, would come to save them from their sins and wrest back the control of the world Satan
had only so recently regained. The end of such a process could only be what he had feared from
the unimpeded procreation of the first man and woman in paradise: the replacement of himself
and his followers with a new race of obedient creatures (only now they would choose to follow
God instead of choosing not to rebel against Him), the reestablishment forever of God's rule over
the earth, and the final execution of his sentence: the lake of fire for all eternity. All future
satanic strategy, therefore, would be designed to prevent these eventualities. In the next part of
this series, we shall examine Satan's desperate counter-strategy, the world system established to
blind the eyes of mankind and oppose to the utmost all those who would seek God's truth.

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Footnotes:

1. cf. especially Heb.2:16: "For certainly it is not angels with whom He consorts, but rather the
seed of Abraham with whom He associates Himself".

2. See Peter #22 for a more detailed development of this principle. The issue is also addressed in
Part 1 of this series.

3. J.E. Hartley in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, R.L. Harris, G.L. Archer, B.K.
Waltke edd. (Chicago 1980) v.2 p.768, points out that tselem and demuth are immediately
explained by Man's rulership over the creatures.

4. F. Delitzsch, A System of Biblical Psychology (Erlangen 1855) 78-87, points out that the
Church Fathers generally saw the image and likeness in a spiritual sense.

5. See Trench's discussion in Synonyms of the New Testament (London 1880) 49-53.

6. The Biblical Doctrine of Man (Edinburgh 1895) 160-175.
7. R.B. Thieme Jr., Adam's Rib (Houston 1973) 5, et alibi. Laidlaw [supra n.5] had also insisted
that the Trinity was the model in these phrases for distinct, human personalities, 170.

8. See for example Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, R.L. Harris, G.L. Archer, B.K.
Waltke edd. (Chicago 1980) v.1, 438.

9. See Part I of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Theology: The Study God.

10. e.g., 2Kng.11:18; Ezek.7:20; Rev. 13:14ff. This point can be clearly seen from Heb.10:1,
where eikon (as something fairly precise: the good realities to come) is specifically distinguished
from the "shadows" of the law.

11. Additionally, angels (like men) are called the "sons of God" (Gen.6:1-4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7;
Ps.29:1; 89:6-7).

12. See Parts 1&2 of this series: Satan's Rebellion and Fall and The Genesis Gap respectively.

13. Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (Princeton 1871) v.2, 99, says of Man "he is a spirit, an
intelligent, voluntary agent; and as such he is rightfully invested with universal dominion".

14. See Part I of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Theology: The Study God.

15. For example, Jas.3:9 uses homoiosis for "likeness of God" because mankind in general (i.e., a
generic plurality) is in view.

16. As Laidlaw points out so effectively: 1895 [n.6. supra] 168ff.

17. See L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids 1949) 202-210, for a thorough synopsis
of the varying views on this subject.

18. See section 3 below.

19. The common human potential for seeking God is taught, for example, in Eccl.3:11; Ps.19:1-
4; Acts 17:26-27; Rom.1:19-20; 2:14-16.

20. Genesis 2:4 is a summary of the seven days of re-creation; Genesis 2:5 begins this more
detailed account (contra NIV et al.). See part 2 of this series, The Genesis Gap.

21. See Part I of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Theology: The Study God, section II,
C: "The Trinity in the Old Testament". For the roles of the Trinity in creation, see part 2 of this
series, The Genesis Gap, section III: Creation and Re-Creation.

22. See part 1 of this series, Satan's Rebellion and Fall, IV, 3, b.

23. See Peter #20 for a detailed development of this doctrine.
24. Eve's body too was formed by the Lord (from one of Adam's ribs). See section II.5 below.

25. The other, of course, being physical death (the natural consequence of the fall of Adam).

26. For more detail on the principle of the new birth, see Peter #19.

27. When Odysseus visits the underworld in the tenth book of the Odyssey, for example, he and
his men see the psyche of Achilles (among others).

28. Generally speaking then, the word "spirit" refers to the "inner Man" (as opposed to the body),
and "soul" to the whole person (a human spirit in a live body). The significant exception is when
"soul" (nepesh-psyche) is used as a synonym for the "heart", i.e., the whole person with and
emphasis on the inner person as we are now constituted (i.e., pre-resurrection). See II.4.c.

29. As Delitzsch remarks [supra n.3], God opposing Man to the devil's rule was true even in
Eden, where the devil's presence (in his possession of the serpent) was "a destructive power to
which man was placed in opposition that he might overcome it" (SOBP, 75).

30. See Part II of the series Exodus 14: Hardening Pharaoh's Heart.

31. Just as the inhabitants of ancient civilizations (e.g, Egypt, Israel, Greece and Rome) were, on
an individual level, of superior intellect to the current population of the world, the same was
probably the case for the first several generations of mankind (to an even greater degree). It is
true that in today's world we possess greater collective knowledge, but, man for man, and woman
for woman, we would be no match for our ancestors of millennia past: e.g., an individual Roman
could build a bridge to last thousands of years; we can all use computers (but cannot on our own
build all the components that run them).

32. According to the "seven day" theory of biblical chronology, Adam and Eve would have been
in the garden at least several decades before their fall (see part 5 of this series).

33. The sum of millennia of technological developments has only served, when objectively
viewed, to reinforce this appreciation of our severe limitations vis-a-vis even the physical
universe (despite our arrogant human tendency to celebrate our somewhat paltry achievements in
space-flight). In terms of the spiritual dimension, our technology has not (nor can) penetrate this
barrier in the least.

34. See Part I of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Theology: The Study God.

35. See Peter #27 for a detailed analysis of the Satan's method of attack at the fall.

36. The Hebrew word for God (`elohiym, ,yhvla) is, strictly speaking, a plural form, and can
mean "gods" as well as God (cf. e.g., Num.25:2).

37. See Part 1 of this series, "Satan's Rebellion and Fall".
38. See Part 1 of this series: Satan's Rebellion and Fall.

39. See Part II of the series Exodus 14: Hardening Pharaoh's Heart.



    The Satanic Rebellion Background to the Tribulation: Part 4, Satan's World System, Past,
                                     Present and Future




                    The Satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation

                                                        Part 4

                            Satan's World-System, Past, Present and Future



                                            by Dr. Robert D. Luginbill

Outline of the Series:
Part 1: Satan's Rebellion and Fall
Part 2: The Genesis Gap
Part 3: The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man
Part 4: Satan's World-System: Past, Present and Future
Part 5: Judgment, Restoration and Replacement

Outline for Part 4:
I. Strangers in the Devil’s Realm
   1. Sojourners in the devil's world
   2. The vanity of life
   3. The hostility of the world
   4. The battlefield
   5. The enemy
II. Satan’s Position after the Fall
III. Satan's Order of Battle
   1. The current heavenly truce
   2. The Kingdom of God versus the kingdom of Satan
   3. The organization of holy angels (including titles, ranks and functions)
   4. The organization of fallen angels (including titles, ranks and functions)
   5. God's employment of evil spirits
   6. Angelic combat
   7. Believers versus Unbelievers
IV. Satan’s World-System: Tactical Doctrine
   1. Satanic Lie #1: "I don’t need God"
   2. Satanic Lie #2: "I am like God"
   3. Satanic Lie #3: "God needs me"
   4. The integrated system:
     a. Religion and the occult
     b. Politics and society
     c. Economics and technology
  5. The believer's perspective
V. Satan’s World-System: Tactical Methodology
  1. Names for the devil
  2. Demon Influence: the Tactics of Temptation
  3. Demon attack
  4. Demon possession
  5. Accusation of believers
  6. Resistance

Introduction: The world that Adam and Eve entered after their expulsion from the garden of
Eden could not have been more different from the perfect environment they had so recently
taken for granted. Instead of abundant prosperity, ready at hand, they had entered a world of
limitation, shortage and scarcity. Instead of a world where all their needs were instantly provided
for without any effort on their part, back-breaking toil was now necessary for survival and
uncertainty for the future entered into the equation. Life was now a matter of pain, sweat, tears
and trouble. Our first parents would also now experience for the first time the full gamut of
destructive and sinful emotions, including fear, jealousy and hostility. The domestic tranquility
that had reigned in Eden as a matter of course would now be infected by anger, frustration,
bitterness and resentment. Before too many years had passed, Adam and Eve would even come
to see one of their own children murder his brother. And finally, in crowning futility, when they
had lived out their finite years, the ground would receive them back to itself as the Lord God had
proclaimed. Death would put an end to all they had worked and striven for in the sorrowful
interim.

But God did not leave them orphans on the earth, completely bereft of all hope and of Himself.
In the same judgment that rendered our first parents mortal, God also promised them the Seed
who would one day crush the head of the serpent who had deceived them. Christ's sacrifice was
also foreshadowed in coats of skin with which He graciously clothed them, replacing the
garments born of their own efforts with symbols of the coming One who would one day die in
their place (discussed in Part 3). Thus before they even left the garden of Eden, God had given
Adam and Eve a new tree of life to replace the one they had forsaken: that is, the cross of Jesus
Christ (foreshadowed in the animal skins and in the prophecy of the Seed). Like their
descendants after them, Adam and Eve were thus given the opportunity to regain the spiritual
relationship with God lost at the fall. He Himself would make the promised sacrifice that would
blot out sin and destroy the advantage the devil had gained, crushing Satan's head first at the
cross and making a final end of him at the conclusion of history. It only remained for our first
parents to accept our Lord's generous offer of boundless grace, trusting in Him for their
deliverance from the inevitability of the grave, the unavoidable reality which had now become
life's central issue.

From a spiritual point of view, life remains essentially the same for us today as it was when our
first parents trekked out of Eden some six thousand years ago. The critical issue for every human
being is identical now to what it was then: we must all choose whether or not to accept through
faith God's solution to the problem of sin and death (in the person of His Son Jesus Christ). And
just as Adam and Eve were left in the world beyond the point of faith, so also we today are not
immediately transferred to our heavenly home after salvation, but remain here in the world to
prove our faith, to grow in it, and to help others do the same. But this world is no Eden. As
followers of God and believers in Jesus Christ, we can be forgiven for feeling ill at ease in this
present world where we scarcely even belong, for it is not a place where the knowledge of God
abounds and the will of God is always done. On the contrary, this parlous world through which
we pass lies largely under the influence of the evil one (1Jn.5:19).



I. Strangers in the Devil's Realm

1. Sojourners in the Devil's World: Though no doubt relieved that the Lord God had not visited
upon them a swift and fiery judgment, Adam and Eve would have been anything but comforted
by the harsh realities of the new world east of Eden into which they were forced following their
eviction from the garden. This, assuredly, was no paradise. Life was no longer wonderful,
especially in contrast to the bounty so recently lost. Everything was now flawed, and strangely
unsatisfying. The pain, the privation, the decay and corruption - and more than the anything else
the absence of God - must have driven home the contrast to Eden.

Unlike our first parents, we do not possess the experience of a perfect Eden as a vivid point of
comparison to this imperfect world we now inhabit. But despite the fact that familiarity tends to
inure one to hardships, this unforgiving world of trouble and tears has a tendency from time to
time to slice through even the most deep-rooted Stoicism, through even the most fortunate
circumstances, reminding us all that this is not a paradise designed by God for our happiness and
pleasure. On the contrary, this is the devil's world.

That Satan's world of deep unhappiness is essentially corrupt is a truism evident at life's every
turn. Everything decays. Nothing good lasts. Sin and evil are ubiquitous. And not too far down
the road in every individual life lies the grave, the reward and legacy awaiting us all, no matter
how blissful or disappointing our lives have been in the interim. Only God is truly meaningful
here on earth, if we would but search for Him. Only Jesus Christ offers a solution to the futility
of life and the inevitability of death, if only we would believe in Him. Only on the other side of
this life is there true meaning, true fulfilment, true and lasting happiness, when we are at last re-
united with the God who loved us enough to sacrifice His Son on our behalf, if only we have
chosen Him in this present life over the deceptive vanities of the devil's world. Until that time,
like our first parents Adam and Eve before us, we have been left in this strange and alien world
where the blinding reality of God is largely obscured from view, revealed almost exclusively in
His Word to those who seek Him out. Until that time, we wait for something better as homeless
wanderers in a world which finds our perspective and our hope worthless, even idiotic. But by
our faith and the actions that faith produces, we show the world that we are not of it, do not love
it, and acknowledge that we have no true part in it -- except for the God who is the focus and the
object of our love all the days of our sojourning here in the devil's inhospitable desert.

  Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.         Psalm 73:25
[NIV]
2. The Vanity of Life: In His judgment upon Adam and Eve, God laid down the fundamental
calculus of human life outside of the garden: that we must earn our bread through sweat and toil
throughout our short lives and afterwards return to dust (Gen.3:16-19). The curse of a life filled
with difficulties followed by an inevitable death will only be removed when God has brought
history itself to an end (Rev.22:3). In the meantime, the cycle of painful birth, thistles and thorns,
and return to the ground from whence we were originally taken is destined to repeat for us, one
and all.

  "Utter futility! Utter futility!" says the teacher, "Everything is futility!"   Ecclesiastes 1:2

Many men strive for things that cannot be achieved, for even with prodigious effort, achievement
is not really within the power of Man to control:

The race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise, or wealth
to the brilliant, or favor to the learned, but time and chance happen to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:11
[NIV]

And of those who do achieve what they have set their hopes on, many of them will lose what
they have striven for, since everything in this life is ephemeral (cf. Is.40:6; Matt.6:19-21;
Lk.12:14-21; 12:33; Jas.1:10-11; 5:2; 1Pet.1:24; 2Pet.3:10-13):

Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are
taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them. Ecclesiastes
9:12 [NIV]

And of those who do manage to retain what they have striven for all the days of their lives, death
will ultimately bereave them of all their precious accomplishments. For death, in particular,
makes a mockery of all human achievement:

What profit will a man have if he gains the whole world but loses his life?        Matthew 16:26

The ultimate loss of life is the common heritage of all mankind, so that Jesus' words are
particularly penetrating: unless some solution can be found to the overarching problem of our
physical mortality, even achievement on a level unsurpassed in human history is essentially
meaningless. Indeed, one may even make the argument, that the greater the achievement, the
greater the futility, on account of the correspondingly greater loss involved at death. Along with
life, the poor lose only their poverty in death, but the rich, successful person loses the things
esteemed most in this vain, secular world. Death thus renders all secular achievements
essentially pointless:

Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he
will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him. Psalm 49:16-17
[NIV]

Nothing we do is truly original (Eccl.1:10). Nothing we do will ultimately be remembered
(Eccl.1:11). Despite all our efforts, death will snatch away from us all we have gained in this life
"though we had named lands after ourselves" (Ps.49:11b), and we will be oblivious to the fate of
our prized possessions after our departure (Eccl.2:17-21). Nothing is secure. Nothing is forever.

It is in this context that our Lord commanded us to look beyond the hollow rewards of this life to
the true rewards, eternal in the heavens, which come from God:

Don't stock up treasures for yourselves on the earth, where moth and corrosion eat them away
and where thieves dig through and steal them. But stock up treasures for yourselves in heaven,
where neither moth nor corrosion eat them away and where thieves neither dig through nor steal
them. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.    Matthew 6:19-21

Even apart from this divine perspective, moreover, the essential vanity of human effort and the
ephemeral nature of life is difficult to ignore or deny (for anyone conducting an honest appraisal;
cf. Is.40:6; Lk.12:14-21; 12:33; Jas.1:10-11; 5:2; 1Pet.1:24; 2Pet.3:10-13):

Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up
wealth, not knowing who will get it. Psalm 39:6 [NIV]

At no time in history has this truth been more clearly perspicuous than in our modern world of
technology, affluence and leisure time, where the phenomena of apathy, depression and suicide
are all in the process of increasing exponentially. That modern advances (which are supposed to
be a blessing to human life) are found to be correlated instead with reactions of hopelessness
may seem contradictory from the secular viewpoint. From the biblical viewpoint, however, the
correlation seems perfectly reasonable. Apart from God, life is hopeless; therefore to the degree
that mankind is relieved of the daily necessities (which for most of history have occupied human
existence), one should expect this hopelessness to shine through with ever greater clarity. What
is surprising from the biblical point of view is that this pall of futility does not hang even heavier
over the unbelieving world (a phenomenon to be attributed to the spiritual blindness which sets
in once God is rejected).

While Satan uses a variety of techniques to control the human race, it is fair to say that to the
extent life's futility motivates mankind to seek eternal solutions to the hopelessness of temporal
life, to that extent it is clearly in the devil's interest to direct humanity's activities into other
channels (as best he can). Much human effort over the millennia has been directed toward
solving, mitigating or flat out denying the essential truth of the meaninglessness of life apart
from God (see section IV below). Indeed, mankind has made a science of discovering interesting
amusements and diversions to try and take the sting out of life - in vain. For the sin we have
inherited from our first parents guarantees that the sting of death will continue to loom large for
all who ever choose to take a sober, realistic look at the true dynamics of life (1Cor.15:54-57).

Oh the ineffable wisdom of God's judgment upon Adam and Eve! Giving them pain and toil in
addition to ultimate death was the best possible encouragement to look beyond this life for
solutions. The promise of the woman's seed (Christ) and the sacrifice for sin He would provide
(foreshadowed in the coats of skin) were eagerly received and believed, at least in part because
the contrast of the good life in Eden with the complete futility and hardship of life outside was so
stark. God has not left us as orphans in this cruel world. Quite the contrary. He has made
provision for our complete restoration to Himself through faith in the One who died for us, our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The hardships of this life, and the essential pointlessness of it apart
from God, are, in truth, a part of His grace, for they lovingly and effectively divert our gaze from
the bitter life around us -- if only for a brief, necessary moment - that we might seek something
better.

Examined from the point of view of mortality, life (apart from God) is futile, pointless, and vain.
Death destroys all progress, all accomplishment, all wealth. And no amount of progress,
accomplishment or wealth can ward off death. Furthermore, as the days lengthen, all
remembrance of the dead is eventually extinguished, so that the myth of "living on" in the
memories of men, or in the "collective consciousness of the human experience" is pure
gossamer, a fantasy that dissolves with the slightest touch. Not that it would or could provide any
comfort for the dead if they were to be remembered for generations to come - for all the world to
see, by the world's own empirical standard, their lamp has gone out and they are no more:

Anyone who is among the living has hope - even a live dog is better off than a dead lion! For the
living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even
the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since
vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun. Ecclesiastes
9:4-6 [NIV]

Whatever shred of remembrance there is for the dead, it benefits them not a whit. Funerals and
memorials are for the living. Life for the living, moreover, when examined from this same point
of view (i.e., mortality), and contrasted with the perfect environment of Eden, is a terribly
frustrating experience. For there is no really compelling purpose for all the effort that goes on
under the sun. All Man's labors are ultimately to put food in his mouth, but that mouth can never
be filled nor its appetite satisfied (Eccl.6:7). Whatever men strive for, enduring toil and pain, will
not satisfy - only the unattained and the unattainable are truly attractive. And even they turn to
dust before the eyes if the gaze is prolonged but a moment. If money is the object of desire, there
will never be enough of it; if wealth is the objective, there is never enough to satisfy (Eccl.5:10).
If you hoard wealth, it is useless to you; if you spend it for your enjoyment, you no longer
possess it (Eccl.5:11). And if through toil and pain and effort wealth is achieved, it vexes the
sleep of the rich, while the laborer sleeps sweetly after a simple meal (Eccl.5:12).

Toil and pain and effort - the new calculus of life after Eden demands it. Without such sweat and
labor we would not eat. But no matter how long and hard and successful the work, it cannot ward
off death forever, nor can it even provide lasting satisfaction. In light of the ultimate futility of
life, both taken as a whole and viewed in terms of the pointlessness of effort beyond the bare
necessity of survival, it is understandable that mankind has historically devoted itself to the
principle of diversion, a principle that explains almost all human behavior of a non-spiritual
nature:

Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die.    1st Corinthians 15:32b

The secular conclusion above (presented by Paul as a perfectly logical modus operandi in the
absence of any hope of eternal life) is a succinct way of stating the principle. If death be
inevitable, and if life be an essentially dull and pointless continuum of toil and pain, what better
way to "get through" than to devote oneself to diversions (of one sort or another). Work and
accomplishment can serve effectively in this capacity as well. Anything that distracts from the
overall vanity of life fulfills the diversion principle.

Between birth and death, we human beings have nothing but time, time which must be served on
this earth under the Genesis curse. We fill the time with work, with relationships, and with
various pleasures and pursuits. We fill the time, we waste the time, we strive desperately not to
be at loose ends with our time, lest the realization of life's vanity dawn and bear heavily down
upon us. To the extent that the effort produced by our time-filling, time-wasting activities is
directed at all, it is inevitably directed toward the impossible goal of making ourselves happy
(whether directly or indirectly). Whether a man toils a lifetime in the depths of the earth
searching for treasure, or spends his days at the corner pub, happiness is the ultimate objective,
and who can say which man is the greater fool? In the latter case, happiness stops almost
instantaneously with "last call"; in the former, great success will only bring an end to the
diversion of toil and bring on the realization that riches do not produce happiness (dispelling the
illusion that motivated the distracting toil in the first place).

Do we not enjoy our pleasures? Certainly we do. Much of human ingenuity since Man's
expulsion from the garden has been devoted to the science of amusement. And in our modern
western world of high technology and super-abundance, pleasures and diversions are available
on a scale never imagined millennia ago. Never before has there been so much prosperity, and
never has there been so much depression. The more we human beings have pursued happiness,
the more unhappy we have become. The harder we have toiled for it, the more easily it has
eluded us. The less pressing the necessities of life have become, the more despondent we have
become. For the toil of work, the Genesis curse, is the one thing that is capable of effectively
distracting us from the grinding realization that life is pointless. Work alone (along with the
taking in of sustenance which work makes possible) is the one necessary element in life, and so
provides a satisfying distraction unmatched by all other pursuits of happiness:

Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his
toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him - for this is his lot.
Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy [lit. eat]
them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the
days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart. Ecclesiastes 5:18-21[NIV]

But as the last verse above indicates, work too is essentially a diversion. Challenging, time-
consuming, satisfying, work distracts the mind from reflection about the futility of life. The days
pass productively (if pointlessly) so that the issue of vanity and futility never weighs heavily
upon the soul. Without God then, the best mankind can hope for during these meaningless days
under the sun is a challenging profession that occupies the energies, provides creature comforts,
and a state of mind oblivious to the logic of mortality. The best that one can hope for, therefore,
is to be like the animals, who pursue and enjoy sustenance and creature comforts, without being
conscious of the approach of death:

I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.
Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the
other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is
meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust and to dust all return. Who knows if
the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth? So I saw
that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can
bring him to see what will happen after him? Ecclesiastes 3:18-22 [NIV]

From the Christian point of view, life is indeed tremendously significant. Only in life can we
choose to follow Jesus Christ. And in the matchless grace and wisdom of God, the very vanity of
life turns us to God by removing all other solutions; only in Him is there meaning and truth.

As Christians, it is all the more important for us to understand and appreciate the vanity of life,
any aspect of life, which is not related to God. As Christians, we have come to God through
Jesus Christ; we have as our mission the responsibility of growing in Him every day, and of
helping others to turn to Christ and do likewise. How important it is for us who have recognized
the pointlessness of secular life (and have opted to follow Jesus instead of the desires which the
world esteems), how important it is for us not to "return to Egypt in our hearts" (Acts 7:39), not
to let the cravings for the "good life" we have rejected for Christ's sake regain control over us (as
that first generation of the Exodus did to their grievous harm: Ps.78 & 106; 1Cor.10:1-5;
Heb.3:16-17; Jude 1:5). This life is a desert which must be crossed, but on the other side is a land
flowing with milk and honey, a land where our Lord Himself dwells. On our journey there, there
will be trials and tribulations (2Tim.3:12), but God will never fail to refresh and revive and
satisfy the heart which rests in Him:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God
has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you". Hebrews 13:5 [NIV]

It is important for us as Christians to maintain our sense of proportion, our orientation, our true
priorities, given that heavenly citizenship we affirm to be more valuable to us than all worldly
wealth:

But whatever I had gained [in my former godless life], compared to Christ I have come to
consider these things as losses. Indeed, I consider everything to be a loss compared to the
surpassing importance of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord, for whose sake I have suffered the loss
of everything, and consider [everything I have lost] as garbage, compared to gaining Christ, and
being found in Him - not having a personal righteousness [developed] through [following] the
[Mosaic] law - but having that righteousness [that comes] through faith in Christ, that
righteousness [that comes] from God based on faith. Philippians 3:7-9

As Christians, we still live here in the devil's world. Our Lord has a purpose for leaving us here,
and was entirely cognizant of the dangers to our spiritual health here on earth, dangers which we
continue to face every day (Jn.17:15). Even as we make our way through the world, it is critical
that we maintain our Christian orientation and momentum, and not return to the values, the
priorities, the lusts and desires which the world exalts in place of God (Rom.12:2; 1Pet.4;3;
2Pet.2:20-22). In order to survive in the world, Christians too need to work and eat (legitimate
sources of secular pleasure and satisfaction); Christians are not enjoined from family
relationships, or indeed from many potentially non-sinful activities in which the world engages
for relaxation and entertainment; but Christians do need to recognize the fleeting and
inconsequential nature of any and all activities not directly related to their primary relationship,
their membership in the family of God the Father through faith in His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
The world, especially the modern, western world, is full of distractions that have the potential of
becoming obstacles to our spiritual progress, idols, in effect, that may harm our relationship with
God.

Satan has incorporated into his system of world rulership as many material distractions as
possible (see section IV below for details). Affluence, the increase and spread of wealth,
communication and technology are factors which, from one point of view, are very beneficial to
the devil's control of mankind. For one thing, fear is a major element in Satan's manipulation of
humanity, and to the extent that men enjoy and rely on such things for their happiness and
security, to that degree the fear of losing them produces a sort of bondage which the devil is
quick to exploit (cf. Heb.2:14-15 for the principle).

In order to prevent our enslavement to the delights of this world (as well as to its necessities), an
area Satan knows only too well how to manipulate against us, we need to have a full and sober
appreciation of what the world really is. We need to be very aware of the world's essential vanity
and of the pointlessness of its distractions and diversions. We need to be able to keep the
pressures and exigencies of life (as well as its pleasures and delights) in proper perspective. God
is important. Knowing Him and serving Him is why we are here. Everything else is mere
context. We are neither asked nor commanded to get through life without taking any joy or
pleasure in worldly things. And we certainly will not pass through the human experience without
worldly pressure and problems (especially as Christians). But it is all these largely extraneous
matters which we must compartmentalize, and not God. We dare not put God "in a box", giving
priority to everything the world sees as important (but which from the Christian point of view is
ultimately inconsequential), and neglecting the One who made us, who bought us, and whom we
claim is our Master. Whenever we allow the "weeds" of life to grow high, and fail to tend our
faith, we endanger our spiritual growth. Necessary weeds, good weeds, bad weeds, whatever
blocks out the sunlight of God's truth, must be kept cut back if we are to fulfill the mission God
has given us (cf. the parable of the sower in Matt.13; Mk.4; Lk.8).(1)

Ironically, believers have a tendency to do better spiritually in times of severe testing than in
times of ease and plenty (cf. Deut.8:10-20). One "weed" which can be particularly dangerous to
the Christian perspective is the prosperity weed. In these last days it is especially important for
Christians to avoid a pair of assumptions which are equally dangerous:

1) that affluence is necessarily a sign that God is blessing us, and therefore, if we are wealthy,
that we must be doing just fine in our spiritual lives. God does provide material blessings,
occasionally of an exceptional nature. He did bless Abraham and David with affluence, for
example, though John the baptist and our Lord certainly did not live lives of material luxury. It is
well to consider that in the history of the world, many unbelievers have experienced exceptional
material wealth. It would be a mistake, therefore, to assume that affluence is any indication of
spiritual maturity. To make but one further point on this subject, we who are blessed to live in
this country (and consequently enjoy a higher material standard of living than most of the rest of
the world) are not automatically "better" Christians than our brothers in other parts of the world
where life is harder in this respect.

2) that the result of spiritual growth and a prosperous relationship with God is necessarily
material wealth (i.e., the "prosperity gospel"). In fact, the opposite effect is certainly not without
precedent, that is, the spiritually mature encountering greater testing on this score (e.g., consider
Job's trials, or Elijah's privation).

Morbid over-emphasis on material prosperity has always been an occupational hazard of the
human race in general, and, the closer we come to the end of history, the more we can expect this
issue to grow as a threat to Christian spiritual growth. During this last era of the Church, the
Laodicean era, there is destined to be an ever increasing tendency toward equating wealth and
affluence with spiritual success (Rev.3:14-22). God is our source of all our blessing, material
prosperity included. But the assumption of spiritual maturity and spiritual safety based solely
upon material possessions is extremely dangerous. This is true for many reasons, not the least of
which is an all too natural tendency to become complacent in the Christian walk, assuming
spiritual maturity on the basis of material prosperity:(2)

I know your deeds, that you are neither hot nor cold. Would that you were cold or hot. But as it
is, since you are tepid, and neither hot nor cold, I am on the point of vomiting you out of my
mouth. For you say [to yourself], "I am rich, and have become wealthy and have no need [of
anything]!" But you do not realize that you are the one who is wretched and pitiful and poor and
blind and naked. So my advice to you is to buy gold from Me that has been refined in the fire (so
that you may become rich), and white clothing (so that you may be [properly] dressed and not
have your shameful nakedness exposed), and medicinal salve to treat your eyes (so that you may
see [the situation accurately]). Revelation 3:15-18

After all, the idea that the world is a wonderful place, filled with all sorts of delights which we
have been put here expressly for the purpose of enjoying, is decidedly un-Christian. This is not
the garden of Eden, but rather the devil's world (at present), and we need to order our perspective
and our priorities accordingly. Material prosperity, even when it truly originates from God, is a
far cry from true spiritual wealth, and can very easily induce a false sense of spiritual security.
As Christians, we need to take care to esteem the genuine "gold" our Lord and Master dispenses,
that is, His word of truth, and remember that excessive concentration on the ephemeral gold of
this world to the detriment of the truth of the word of God (upon which our relationship with
Him is based) is both perilous and ultimately pointless. The issue is all the more significant in
our materially prosperous world here in the last days of the Church, for prosperity in the realm of
material possessions (which are admittedly essential for human life) often has the undesirable
side-effect of breeding spiritual complacency. Affluence, however, is not spirituality. And if
success in the material realm should cause us to neglect our commitment to God and to His
Word, it is well worth asking whether such prosperity has indeed been a blessing.

Untroubled lives of ease in the midst of abundance are neither the norm nor the objective of the
Christian life. The closer we walk with God, the more we can expect that walk to be opposed by
Satan and his angels:
Indeed, all who are willing to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.   2nd Timothy
3:12

Satanic opposition, then, should be expected by growing believers. Even when the advancing
believer finds himself in the midst of material prosperity, it should not be assumed that the devil
will allow that person's Christian walk to go unchallenged:

Jesus said, "In truth, I tell you, there is no one who has left behind a house or brothers or sisters
or a mother or a father or children or fields for My sake and for the sake of the gospel who will
not receive a hundred-fold more in this present time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers
and children -- with persecutions - and in the age to come, eternal life." Mark 10:29-30

Thus, Christian maturity and continued spiritual progress may or may not be accompanied by
affluence (although the passage above refers to the "affluence" of being part of Christ's Church),
but they will certainly be accompanied by trials and tribulations:

Beloved, don't be amazed at the fiery ordeal of testing you are now undergoing, as if something
out of the ordinary were happening to you. But to the degree that you are [truly] participating in
Christ's sufferings, be joyful about it, so that at His glorious revelation, you may also rejoice with
great gladness. 1st Peter 4:12-13

Opposition from the world to our spiritual progress is the rule, not the exception, and it is largely
through our successful response to such tests that we come to appreciate the truth of the divine
point of view about the world - that its rewards (and so also their loss or absence) are of small
consequence in comparison to the rewards of eternity, blessings that will never fade and will
never be taken away:

Brothers, when you are being beset with all manner of trials, take pains to be joyful about it. For
you should keep in mind that this testing of your faith develops perseverance. So let your
perseverance develop fully, that you may become fully mature and entitled to a full reward,
having been found lacking in no respect. James 1:2-4

Thus material prosperity in this present world is ultimately of little true account to those who
have chosen to follow Jesus Christ. For in our trials and tribulations, whether we have material
abundance or no, we have chosen to put our Master's priorities first; we have chosen God and
His Son over the material prosperity which this world proclaims as its god:

No one can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or cling to the
one and despise the other. No one can serve God and Mammon. Matthew 6:24

For the unbeliever, the issue is likewise a simple one. Having rejected God (and often even
having denied His existence), he is forced to place an incorrect emphasis and inordinate
importance on this present world. Such blindness, such self-delusion, such suppression of the
truth about God necessarily elevates the world and its present ruler into the realm of "god" in the
unbeliever's eyes:
God's wrath is about to be revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness - on
men who suppress the truth [about God] in their unrighteousness. For that which can be known
about God [from everyday experience] is obvious to them, because God has made it obvious. His
nature, though invisible, is nevertheless plainly apparent, and has been since His foundation of
the world, for it may be clearly inferred from this creation of His - [this is true of] both His
eternal power and His divinity - so that they are without any excuse: they knew about God, but
they neither honored Him as God nor thanked Him. Instead, they gave themselves over to [the]
vanity [of this world] in their speculations, and their senseless hearts were filled with darkness.
Claiming to be wise, they became foolish, for they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God
for images and likenesses of corruptible men, of birds and beasts and reptiles. Romans 1:18-23

This is the point at which spiritual degeneration begins for the unbeliever. As the passage above
makes plain, everyone comes to appreciate the existence of the Creator, in most cases early in
life; the fact that the majority of people in the history of the world have gone on to reject Him,
replace Him in their thinking with other objects, and deny His existence altogether, does not
change the truth of this principle. Once God has been rejected, some substitute will of necessity
be accepted in place of the ultimate truth (2Pet.2:21-22; and cf. Matt.7:6).

This process of substituting worldly concerns for God is the inevitable path of unbelief. And it is
important for Christians to have no illusions in this regard, lest we share in any way in the
downward spiral that comes from choosing the vanity of this world over our relationship with
God in Christ:

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you no longer live as the gentiles do in futility
of mind, darkened in thought and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is
in them, because of the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity [to God's truth], they
have given themselves over to sensuality to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual
lust for more. Ephesians 4:17-19

Hardness, blindness and self-delusion are inevitable results of rejecting truth and turning away
from God.(3) And once the "god of this world" has thus blinded the mind of the unbeliever
(2Cor.4:4), the quest for God is quickly replaced by the quest for happiness. We have it from
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived (apart from our Lord) that no avenue of human activity,
no amount of success or accumulation of wealth can ever bring true happiness, for all such
"chasing after the wind" is ultimately pointless (Eccl. chapp.1-2). The great irony of the
unbeliever's search for pseudo-happiness it that once God has been rejected, life really is
pointless and futile, even from the standpoint of true, spiritual happiness (which has been
rejected along with God). Contradictorily, however, this "guaranteed futility" only serves to
intensify the unbeliever's struggle to achieve happiness and security in this ephemeral life (cf.
Matt.6:32).

There is some logic in the vain pursuit of temporal security and pseudo-happiness that
characterizes the unbeliever's lifestyle. For one thing, all the effort and striving involved in
attempting to achieve these two illusory objectives do serve to cloud the issue of mortality. The
question of death, after all, is one which is largely impossible for any unbeliever to inspect too
closely or too often (apart from the aid of one of the many lies about death which the devil has
spread over the millennia; see section IV below). Excessive introspection of the mortality issue
(though justified by the circumstances of life for those who have not found resolution in Christ)
is just too much for most people to take. And so it is that although our extremely limited life-
span and the exceptionally fragile nature of our existence is without a doubt the most pressing
concern for any given individual, it is largely (and foolishly) ignored. Death is an uncomfortable
topic, especially for those who have not found eternal life in Jesus Christ. But death makes a
mockery of all for which the unbeliever strives. What good are achievements, what good is
wealth, if in a few short days, or months, or years, death rips you away from them? Even
assuming a stable world (also an uncertain proposition), nothing can last because we don't last. It
is sadly ironic that the madcap rush for wealth, fame, glory and pleasure often serve to distract
the unbeliever from the central truth of life outside of the garden: all these things are vain,
because we shall all return to dust in the blink of an eye. The godless pursuit of pseudo-
happiness (and false security) can never take the sting out of death, but for all those who are
manically involved in it, it does provide distraction from death's approach. The unbeliever, after
all, has every reason to fear death, more so than he may know. We should not be surprised,
therefore, to find him engaged in a frantic cycle of activity, accepting any and all substitutes to
blind his eyes to the reality of death's grim approach. The unbeliever, in short, although mortal,
behaves as if he were immortal, and that is the essence of his folly. He stores up wealth, as if he
will be around to enjoy it forever; he seeks glory, fame and achievement, as if it will not fade
with his impending demise; he indulges himself in all pleasures, as if the grave will not put his
enjoyment of them to an end. The Bible counsels the unbeliever to enjoy his work and daily
bread as necessities which are also legitimate pleasures (Eccl.2:24-25; 3:12-13; 3:22; 9:7-10); in
so doing, the days of his life slip by without an excessive contemplation of death, and without
the frantic and pointless search for pseudo-happiness and false security. The best that the
unbeliever can hope for, therefore, is to lack self-consciousness in the area of mortality, much in
the same way as the animals, hunting for food and enjoying what God has provided, never giving
a thought to the day of death (Eccl.5:18-21).

But for all those who seek after solutions apart from God, the devil has a lie that, like some
super-addictive drug, grasps its victims tight and seldom releases its prey. The devil's lie is that
happiness can be achieved in this world apart from God, and that, with enough effort, security
can be vouchsafed for such gains. Sufficient space has already been expended to establish the
principle that death makes a complete mockery of this lie from the outset (for any and all who
are willing to make a truthful appraisal of the essential calculus of human life in this world
outside of Eden). This fact, however, has not prevented a majority of humanity from falling into
the pseudo-happiness, pseudo-security trap. Having rejected the truth of God, most people in the
history of the world have gladly embraced the myth of true happiness capable of enduring. The
exact incarnation of this "myth-happiness" takes many forms, of course, and is sought in a
multitude of ways, but, inevitably, it is never really achieved. It always remains vaguely future,
no matter how wealthy, or famous, or successful, or powerful a person manages to become in
this short life: "I'll be happy if only I get/do/experience _________ ." Filling in this blank merely
opens up the way for other blanks that need to be filled in order for the elusive, never-actually-
achieved myth-happiness to be attained. The fact that human beings who have sought happiness
apart from God seldom if ever seem to wake up to this progression of the never-ending finish
line for a happiness they cannot ever seem to catch is a measure of just how powerful the
narcotic of myth-happiness truly is.
The reality, however, is that a personal Eden cannot be achieved here in the devil's world. There
is, as discussed above, a measure of satisfaction and security to be had in the simple, non-self-
conscious approach to life of involving oneself in one's work, ones's family, and one's daily
sustenance (Ps.127:3-5; Prov.5:18; Eccl.9:7-10). For believers who put God at the center of their
lives, of course, there is (as we have seen and will revisit below) abundant joy to be had in a life
lived in the light of Christ, in anticipation of the glories of eternity (Phil.4:4; Jas.1:2-4). But from
the purely secular perspective, all joy must of necessity be related to this life alone, the godless
myth that has ever enslaved the world.

This heathen quest for "myth-happiness", that is, satisfaction in life apart from God, is vain for
two primary reasons: 1) apart from God, very little can truly satisfy; 2) apart from God, security
can never be guaranteed. Beyond the simple, God-given pleasures of food, family and labor, the
attainment of successive plateaus of wealth, fame, power or pleasure may entertain for a brief
moment, but like a feast to a man with a full belly, they quickly lose their appeal, thus spurring
the myth-happiness faithful on to the next level of dubious achievement as the cycle progresses
on its never-ending way:

       Fame fades; no one can continue to capture the public eye forever; all glory is fleeting,
        and death eventually reduces all its remnants to dust (Eccl.1:11).
       Pleasure sates easily; no experience can be savored forever, like tears in a bottle; no
        experience can be exactly repeated or guaranteed for the future; and though one were able
        to push enjoyment into areas never before experienced, even these would eventually
        mock the practitioner, when in the end satisfaction drain away, leaving death to bring an
        end to pleasure altogether.
       Power is inevitably circumscribed by human limitations (among other things: Acts 17:26-
        27), and while its accretion may feed arrogance, arrogance' appetite is a bottomless sea
        that can never be satisfied; and death eventually sweeps away even the most powerful
        ruler.
       Wealth likewise can never be sufficient; the more one has, the more obvious it becomes
        to the possessor that, after an initial flush, all the fame, pleasure and power it can provide
        do not ultimately produce lasting satisfaction; the more wealth, that universal secular
        solution which myth-happiness proclaims will certainly bring joy, the more frustration
        when joy is not achieved.

The second point mentioned above, that is, the inability of the secular man to attain security for
himself, his accomplishments and his possessions, is equally trenchant, for it drives home the
essential fact of the futility of myth-happiness, even to the degree that it may be thought to be
attained. Fame must be added to or it fades, yielding the irony that achieving a pinnacle of
notoriety merely sets one up for a fall: what has been gained can be all too easily lost. The same
is true of power and wealth -- there is nothing a man can do to ensure that either will endure with
absolute certainty. A brief survey of the history of the world will show definitively that wars,
depressions, revolutions, climactic catastrophes (to name but a few of the more prominent and
general sources of instability) have deposed many a ruler and impoverished many a millionaire.

Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are
taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them. Ecclesiastes
9:12 [NIV]
Do not strive to be rich. Put it out of your mind. For as soon as your eye lights upon [wealth], it
is no more. Indeed, it will surely sprout wings for itself and fly off to the heavens like an
eagle. Proverbs 23:4-5

Whoever loves money, never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with
his income. This too [i.e., struggling for wealth] is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10 [NIV]

The sleep of the laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of the rich
man permits him no sleep. I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm
of its owner, or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when he has a son, there is nothing
left for him. Ecclesiastes 5:12-14 [NIV]

Pleasure is even more ephemeral than wealth. Like mist, it cannot quite be grasped and held, and
so the ability to repeat it is virtually impossible to ensure, even in the near term. That is not to
say, of course, that mankind has not devoted an inordinate amount of its collective energies to
devising ever more exotic and entertaining diversions, but this is in itself an argument for the
biblical position that earthly pleasures (again, beyond the simple, godly ones) cannot really
provide true happiness or real inner satisfaction. For if they could, one would think that our
present, western world should be the happiest in history, inasmuch as devising and marketing
entertainment has never before been carried to the heights we are now experiencing. But the
reality is that we have also never before seen so many people so completely bankrupt in the
spirit, so completely unsatisfied just as soon as the entertainment of the moment has passed.
There has never been a place or a time characterized by so much depression, so many suicides,
or such an intensive rush to push this pseudo-enjoyment of the world to ever new extremes -
certainly not because people are building happiness upon irrepressible happiness, but rather
because every successive round of invention leaves them just as empty the last.

All man's efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied.   Ecclesiastes 6:7 [NIV]

And whether it is pleasure or wealth or power or fame or any other avenue of pursuing happiness
in this life apart from the truth of Jesus Christ, death ultimately will mock them all:

Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing
from his labor that he can carry in his hand. Ecclesiastes 5:15 [NIV]

For all his wealth, a man will not abide [on earth forever]. He is like the beasts that
perish. Psalm 49:12

Without the confident hope of life after death, what is the point of living long and prospering
when afterwards one dies? Can a long life and the experience of material prosperity really soften
the blow of death for the unbeliever when it finally arrives? It may do so for the living who feel
less grief for someone who has died peacefully in a good old age and in a prosperous state, but
does past experience, however blissful, really make the loss of everything an easier pill to
swallow? While the average unbeliever generally makes a habit of ignoring the possibility of his
own death (until it comes suddenly upon him), one thing is sure: no amount of achievement or
wealth can forestall the inevitable:
Why should I fear in troubling times, when I am surrounded by the wickedness of my deceivers,
those who trust in their wealth and boast in their great riches? Surely, no one can redeem a man
[from God's hand], no one can pay a ransom to God for him. For the redemption price of a life is
too precious for Him to relent forever, that one should live on forever, and not see
corruption. Psalm 49:5-9

But while human beings are only too willing to accept the idea of the mortality of others, a sense
of personal immortality, or, more correctly put, an ability to procrastinate mentally until the very
moment of death, is the rule when one examines one's own life. Just as "somebody else's
troubles" cause little anxiety, so the eventuality of death is always in another man's court, until
the actual termination of life (at which point contemplation and re-examination is, needless to
say, too late). Great wealth may help to postpone the inevitable (at least people seem to think that
it can), but no matter what fastidious care we are able to take of our lives and persons, the delay
achieved will ever be laughably insignificant (Matt.6:27). So despite the fact that our ephemeral
nature is the prime lesson of life, human beings persist in running after wealth and
accomplishments until some mythic, personal Eden be achieved, ever hedging in their gains and
themselves, as if the brief moment would or could last forever. But in the absence of the hope of
the resurrection, the hope of myth-happiness achieved and preserved continues to be the holy-
grail of the unbelieving life, that, and the equally vain hope that grasping the brass ring for a few
short moments will somehow take away the sting of death.

Attaining the goals and desires the world esteems may act as a narcotic to the painful and
ephemeral nature of life, but, like all narcotics, striving and accomplishment have an even more
significant dark side. As wealth and achievement grow, so does worry (cf. Matt.13:22). Worldly
progress is, because of the nature of the world, vulnerable to loss, and even when very carefully
and intelligently hedged, will never lose its essential fragility. This factor makes all who have
bought into the struggle for myth-happiness (especially those who have experienced some
measure of success) even more sensitive to the possibility of loss. The principle that "losing it is
worse than never having it in the first place" creates an enslavement effect, a dependency that is
every bit as great as narcotic dependency. Fear of loss comes to control the life of the successful
to an even more intense degree than desire for gain motivates those who are still striving for the
brass ring.(4) Combined with increasing myth-happiness "tolerance" (the principle that, as with
narcotics, the effect of every new gain and achievement tends to wear off with increasing
frequency), fear of loss helps to ensure a constantly accelerating cycle of futility.(5)

When these essential realities of life are faced honestly, it is easy to conclude with Solomon that
"everything is wearisome, more so than a man can express" (Eccl.1:8a). Nothing is new
(Eccl.1:9-10). Nothing lasts. If you build a bridge, it will eventually fall down; if you save a life,
you have not staved off death forever. What delights and thrills you today cannot sustain you
tomorrow, and the anticipation of new excitements inevitably surpasses the reality once
achieved. There is no gain or accomplishment (beyond the necessities of life) that has not been
ultimately motivated by the jealousy and envy of the gain and accomplishments of others
(Eccl.4:4; cf. Prov.14:30b): if gold and diamonds were as plentiful as dirt so that anyone could
possess them, then no one would value them or lust after them; it is not uncommon to hear
complaints about old and outmoded devices (cars, computers, etc.), though the very possession
of such things when first introduced was wildly coveted. How quickly the thrill of ownership and
the joy of experience fades, only to be immediately replaced by the covetousness of some other
possession or entertainment. And although the newspapers are daily filled to overflowing with
the detailed accounts of the unhappiness of the rich, powerful and famous, such cautionary tales
do not deter mankind one whit from pursuing headlong the same futile course: somehow we
would be different if only we could have what they have.

On and on, in never-ending cycle, the more knowledge we amass, the more miserable we
become (Eccl.1:18); the more doctors and medical technology, the more suffering; the more
wealth in the world, the more poverty (cf. Eccl.5:11); the more information available, the more
ignorance reigns. As material prosperity increases and technology advances, as peace and
security expand, the more complacent we become, and the more easily the essential pointlessness
and vanity of life can be ignored. And, bereft of God and His divine perspective, the unbeliever
rarely "gets it", rolling on instead, as if backward into the future, while the days slip away, only
superficially accepting the ultimate reality of mortality, not really facing it, filling the days with
whatever the menu of life has to offer, whatever best distracts from the inexorable approach of
the day of death.

Everyone dies. The statement is banal - and yet profound. This essential truth of human life, the
common legacy we have received as a result of our first parents' sin, has implications and
ramifications that the world tries hard to ignore. Mankind in general over the millennia has
hardened its heart against this simple truth, spending the balance of its precious time in complete
denial of life's fundamental principle of mortality. In this point, the unbeliever is not much better
off than an animal, for what good is his consciousness of his own mortality beyond supplying
him ahead of time with the horrible news of his inevitable fate? Adam and Eve changed the
rules, unalterably so. Before the fall, whatever pleasure they took could be repeated; whatever
work they accomplished would endure; whatever accomplishments they enjoyed would last
forever and could be enjoyed forever. Not so their progeny. Whatever we do, acquire or
accomplish will ultimately turn to dust, and we will certainly precede our deeds into the grave
long before.

There is a profound sense in which the mockery death makes of us all (and of all we do) is part
of God's inestimable grace. Had God executed sentence against our first parents immediately in
Genesis chapter three, there would have been no opportunity for repentance. On the other hand,
if He had allowed them to continue to partake of the tree of life in their sinful state, there would
have been no need of it. Only a limited life-span could provide both opportunity and motivation
to repent and seize God's gracious provision of salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus
Christ.

Life outside of the garden is meant to be difficult; it is meant to be frustrating. For while it is all
too possible for men to harden their hearts to the approach of death, for at least one brief moment
in every life, God makes Himself known, that He might be sought and found as the only solution
to the futility of life and the inevitability of death (Ps.19:1-4a; Acts 17:26-28; Rom.1:18-22).

I have seen all the work that God has given Man to occupy himself with. [God] has made
everything beautiful in its [limited] time; but He has also placed the [the notion of] eternity in
the hearts of mankind - and [He has done this], moreover, without Man being able to discover
the work which God has done from the beginning unto the end. Ecclesiastes 3:10-11

Cognizance of God, cognizance of the ephemeral nature of life (a sure indication of the sin for
which mortality is the judgment), and cognizance of, even a yearning for eternity in hearts of us
all, are a combination of blessings to which the whole human race is heir, the proper response to
which will ever lead us to God and the immortality we crave through the resurrection of our Lord
Jesus Christ.

I know that everything God does will stand forever; it is impossible to add to it; it is impossible
to take away from it. God has established matters in this way so that Men will be in awe before
Him. Ecclesiastes 3:14

From the Christian perspective, life is an entirely different matter, because it has purpose. Our
time in this world is neither pointless nor futile, for we remain here in the devil's world as
servants of God, as followers of Christ. Having recognized our mortality, having acknowledged
God and turned to Him through Jesus Christ our Lord, we know that for us immortality lies
directly behind the mortality the world sees (or chooses to ignore); we know that for us rather
than there being no ultimate point to anything we do, there is instead great significance to
everything we do. For as believers in Jesus, we remain here as instruments of God, as members
of the body of Christ, in order to do His will, that others may likewise turn to Him through Christ
and likewise grow in spirit through His Word day by day:

Then the Lord said to him, "Go. For he is My vessel, chosen to carry My name before nations,
and kings, and the sons of Israel." Acts 9:15

I have given them Your word, and the world hated them, because they are not of the world just
as I am not of the world. I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You protect
them from the evil one. For they are not of the world just as I am not of the world. So make them
holy by means of Your truth - Your word is truth. And just as You sent Me into the world, so I
have sent them into the world. I am consecrating Myself for their sake, so that they too may be
made holy through truth. John 17:14-19

Don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you (whom you have
from God), and that you don't belong to yourselves? You were bought at a price. So glorify God
with your body.                      1st Corinthians 6:19-20

Don't offer up your [bodily] members to sin as weapons of unrighteousness. But rather offer
yourselves up to God (as those now alive from the dead), and [offer up] your [bodily] members
to God as weapons of righteousness. Romans 6:13

Therefore I entreat you by God's mercy, brothers, to dedicate your bodies as a living sacrifice,
well-pleasing to God - [this is] your "priestly-service" spiritually performed. Romans 12:1

Believers are certainly not exempt from the dual universal curse of a lifetime of work followed
by an inevitable death. Indeed, for the believer, the world is even less a garden of Eden than it is
for the unbeliever on account of the devil's strenuous opposition to our spiritual advance.
However, in contrast to the unbeliever, he who has placed his faith in Jesus Christ can rest
assured that his life is not futile, but is instead endowed with the most profound significance. For
us, therefore, happiness in the accomplishment of life's daily necessities is not merely an escape
from the grim reality of pointlessness. When we enjoy work, food and family, we are not burying
our heads in the sand, denying the underlying realities of life, but are instead living life in the
light of our equally inevitable eternal life, knowing with certainty that, for us, death will not
mean the end, but rather only the true beginning.

This is only part of the picture. For it is not only that the vanity, futility, pointlessness and
meaningless of life from the unbeliever's (realistic) perspective is turned completely around by
our reception of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, but we are also ushered into a new
sphere life, where our joy as believers has the potential of outshining any happiness the
unbeliever has ever imagined. God is light and life, true joy and bliss. In Him, as part of Him, as
members of His Son's body and as vessels filled with His Spirit, every good thing we see and
touch, every legitimate thing we think and say and do, can be about Him, and can bring
exceeding joy. The more we grow, the closer we walk with Him, the more abundantly the seed of
His Word is sown in our hearts, the more we can find an inner peace and joy, an all-conquering
quiet happiness, that transcends the experiences of the world, whether mundane, or horrible, or
pseudo-delightful.(6)

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I [it] unto
you. John 14:27a [KJV]

Rejoice in the Lord all the time! I will say it again, rejoice!   Philippians 4:4

Though you have never laid eyes on [Jesus], yet you love Him. And though you cannot see Him
at this present time, yet you have faith in Him. For this reason you rejoice with an inexpressible
joy that bespeaks the glorious future to come, when you shall carry off in victory the ultimate
prize - your life's [eternal] deliverance - which is the very purpose and objective of this faith of
yours. 1st Peter 1:8-9

The happiness we Christians can experience here in the devil's world though profound, is
nevertheless quite different from the effortless bliss Adam and Eve enjoyed in the garden of
Eden. Like the woman in childbirth, we anticipate the blessing to come in spite of our present
pain, filled with the confidence that the experience of life, though at times excruciating, will yet
give way to transcendent joy when our hope is fulfilled (John 16:21). The Christian life is
therefore "addition", not "subtraction"; that is to say, we too suffer all the trials and tribulations
that are the heritage of mankind, plus the devil's opposition; and, on the other hand, we too can
enjoy the simple pleasures of work, food and family (though without the nagging reality of
ultimate pointlessness), plus the hope of everlasting life, eternal reward, resurrection, and an
eternity with our Lord. The Christian life is thus neither asceticism nor hedonism. We are not
here to withdraw from the world (1Cor.5:9-10), nor are we here to make full use of it (1Cor.7:29-
31). We are here as God's servants, as God's representatives, and because of His grace and His
goodness, we can always find solace in Him, refuge and restoration, hope and happiness in the
midst of the pain and sorrow that pulse through Satan's world (Matt.5:3-12; Lk.6:20-23):
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen
trouble.        Psalm 90:15 [NIV]

Be happy, even though you are poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.
Be happy, even though you are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.
Be happy, even though you are crying now, for you shall laugh.
Be happy when people revile you and exclude you and reproach you and disparage your
reputation on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy in [anticipation of] that [future] day, for behold, your reward in heaven
is great; after all, your ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. Luke 6:20b-23

The Christian life is a long journey through a trying wilderness (Acts 14:22). Like Israelites in
the desert, we are marching on towards our own promised land, in full certainty that on the other
side of Jordan lies a land flowing with milk and honey. Instead of a literal desert, however, we
are trekking through the devil's world, where the snakes, scorpions, hardships and ambushes
often take on more subtle forms. But despite the difficulties, we can enjoy the journey, living day
by day in the light of our eternal future, confident in God's provision for us throughout the short
time of our sojourning here in enemy territory, and looking forward with assurance toward that
future day of resurrection and reward.

The day by day perspective, though scriptural, can, admittedly, be difficult to maintain
(Matt.6:34). It is all too easy for us to "plan" (often mere worrying) and thus lose the divine
perspective of what is going on here on earth (cf. Jas.4:13-17). God, after all, counts little
difference between a day and a millennium (Ps.90:4; 2Pet.3:8-9), because nothing is impossible
for Him, nothing is time-dependent. This world and its tawdry forms, we must never forget, are
in the process of passing away:

For this world in its present form is passing away.     1st Corinthians 7:31b [NIV]

The world and its lust are passing away.    1st John 2:17

Therefore we need at all costs to gain and retain the sojourner mentality that puts our primary
mental focus upon God, upon being with Him and our Lord Jesus Christ forever, not allowing
ourselves to slip into the unbeliever's pattern of morbid fascination and dangerous interaction
with Satan's cosmos. We need to follow day by day in the footsteps of Abraham, who looked
beyond what his eyes could see to a glorious future that even now has yet to be fulfilled:

By faith, Abraham, when He was called (by God), obeyed and went forth into the place he was
destined to receive as an inheritance. He went forth, moreover, in ignorance of where [exactly]
he was heading. By faith, he sojourned as an alien in the land he had been promised, dwelling in
tents with Jacob and Isaac, coheirs of [this same] promise. For he was waiting for the foundation
of that city whose architect and builder is God.        Hebrews 11:8-10

These all died [while still walking] in faith, though they had not received the [fulfillment of
their] promises. But [while they lived] they did catch sight of [these promises] from a distance
and salute them, [so to speak], thus making it plain [to all the world] that they were [in effect]
strangers and sojourners on the earth. For people who express [their faith] in this way make it
quite evident that they are eagerly in search of a homeland [other than the place they now
occupy]. Indeed, if these [believers'] hearts had yearned for the [land] from which they had
departed, they would have had [ample] opportunity to turn back. But they were zealous for a
better place, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God. He has, in
fact, prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16

To follow in these wanderers' footsteps, we need to continue to grow through the truth of God's
Word every day (hearing it, learning it, believing it, and living it), grow toward the ideal of
making every day, every punch count. God has not only given us the command to do so, He has
also given us the means and the motivation. For we are marching forward toward the Kingdom
of Heaven in the power of the Spirit He has poured out upon us, toward a reward, a resurrection,
and an eternal relationship that will infinitely surpass anything that could ever be gained in this
life.

Don't you know that all the runners in the stadium run the race, but that only one receives the
prize? Run in such a way so as to achieve what you are after. And again, everyone involved in
competition exercises self-control in all respects. Those athletes go through such things so that
they may receive a perishable crown of victory, but we do it to receive an imperishable one. So
as I run this race of ours, I'm heading straight for the finish line; and as I box this bout of ours,
I'm making every punch count. I'm "pummeling my body", one might say, bringing myself
under strict control so that, after having preached [the gospel] to others, I might not myself be
disqualified [from receiving the prize we all seek]. 1st Corinthians 9:24-27

Redeem your time, for the days are evil.     Ephesians 5:16

Walk wisely in regard to those outside [the body of Christ], redeeming your time.        Colossians 4:5

From time to time, we all stray from this steep and narrow path. We sin, we fail, we fall; but we
are called to wash not to wallow, to grow closer to God, not to keep Him at a distance. Our sin
nature is in fact our adversary's greatest ally. The "lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and
the boastful pride of life" that percolate through our corrupt bodies are ever present opponents
that attract us to the meaningless things of life and will, if not mastered, draw us into the same
life of vanity and futility we have escaped through God's grace in Jesus Christ (cf. 2Pet.2:20-22;
1Jn.2:16). As Christians, we are not here in this life to love the world, but to love God; we are
not here to mold ourselves after the world, but after God:

Don't be a lover of this world, nor of what is in this world. If anyone is a lover of this world, a
[genuine] love for the Father is not in him. 1st John 2:15

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by this renewal of your thinking [i.e.,
through obedience to the word of God; cf. v.1], so that you may discern what God's will for you
is, namely what it is good, well-pleasing, and correct [for you to do]. Romans 12:2

As believers, we still have to live here in the devil's world in order to fulfill the purpose God has
for our lives. Like all human beings, we feel the pull of myth-happiness, the lie that tells us there
can be satisfaction apart from God on the other side of our multifarious lust. But with God's
help, through the truth of His Word and the anointing of His Holy Spirit, we have ample
resources, both the knowledge and the power, to resist the lie (Jn.8:31-32; Gal.5:16-17). Such
behavior is completely unintelligible to the unbelievers amongst whom we move (1Pet.4:4). But
the devil understands: we are true servants of the God he has defied, and his blood enemies by
nature. For this reason alone, we will never, can never be at home here on earth as long as Satan
exercises any measure of control. As long as this earth is in any sense "the devil's world", all who
have sworn their allegiance to Jesus Christ will find it to be enemy territory.

3. The Hostility of the World: From the moment we turn away from the hollow manner of life
handed down from generation to generation (1Pet.1:18), and turn instead to the living God
through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, we are reconciled to Him, and at the same time alienated
from the world. There can be no middle ground. Either we are friends of God, or friends of the
world (Jas.4:4). Satan has done his best to structure the kingdom he tenuously controls and its
mode of operation to invite compromise and involvement in the activities and values he
sponsors. But God is holy. God is righteous. God is absolute, and the issues He puts before us (of
accepting salvation first, and following Jesus Christ ever afterward) are equally absolute. To be
sure, Christians sin, Christians stumble, Christians fail; but our imperfect obedience does not
change the fact that God's standards are unbending, unsullied and perfect in every way:

You adulterously unfaithful people! Don't you know that friendship with the world means
hostility toward God? Whoever wants to be a friend of the world establishes himself as an enemy
of God. James 4:4

This world, often referred to in the New Testament by the Greek word kosmos (, cf.
"cosmos"), is and has been since the fall of Adam and Eve a place by nature antithetical to godly
values and godly lives.(7) In no small part for this very reason, scripture often refers to the
physical earth, its population, and its present system of diabolical governance under the all
encompassing moniker of "the cosmos", that is to say, "the world". For "the world" sums up not
only geographic planet earth with its human population, but also the entire system of satanic
influence with which the devil has been manipulating mankind since the first day our original
parents fell into sin. The scriptural designation is both fitting and important, because it is truly
impossible to separate one from the other, and extremely dangerous for Christians to try. Only
God can sever the monstrous tie between the devil's system of influence and administration
(called in this study "Satan's world-system") from the anthropological-geological earth. Sever the
two He will, but through His own might in Jesus Christ when He returns to crush Satan under
His feet (Rev.20:1-10). Until that future time, everything the world is represents a threat to those
who believe in Christ, to those who follow God and not the devil. Christians ignore to their peril
this reality of the world's essential evil and hostility towards them.

It is true that Satan's rule is not absolute; he operates under certain divinely imposed restraints as
we shall see below - otherwise he would long ago have wiped the earth clean of all truth and of
all who believe the truth. Even considering the fact that God is far from uninvolved in what
transpires here on earth, we should not underestimate the pervasiveness and the power of Satan's
policies, for the term "the world" is essentially a description and summation of these policies. As
a system designed and administered by devil, the world (or "kosmos") is uncompromisingly and
irretrievably hostile to God, to truth, and to all who believe. The implications of this truth for
believers especially are profound. Not only can there be no compromise with a world-system
established and administered by the devil, but it is also impossible for such a system to be
"fixed" or "repaired" in any way. The world as we know it will never be, can never be a place
without sin and without evil, for not only is it populated by sinful people, the majority of whom
refuse to acknowledge its original Creator and Sovereign, but also and even more significantly
because the world is Satan's operation (within, or course, the confines set by God). Any and all
efforts undertaken by mankind to create a "more humane" world, therefore, are ipso facto not
only doomed to failure, but actually play directly into the devil's hand. The world, as the devil's
system, is inherently hostile to truth and to those who acknowledge the truth. Satan's system is
designed to encourage atheistic attempts at improving the cosmos. And Satan himself is
constantly fomenting and furthering such false quests in order to capture as many unwitting
victims as possible.

The devil's world will never be healed; the devil's system will never be successful in bringing in
perfect environment apart from God. Indeed, Satan's kosmos is not at all designed to do so - it is
to the contrary constructed to appear to have the betterment of humanity as a prime objective, in
order to further the devil's plans of enslaving and misleading as many people as possible. While
masquerading as a kingdom of light, Satan's world is entirely a kingdom of darkness, and so the
scriptures describe it, making abundantly clear the distinction between God's world to come and
the present cosmos of evil.

For men of this sort are false apostles, workers of guile, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And
it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 2nd Corinthians 11:14

But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be preserved in order that
you might proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of the darkness into His marvelous
light. 1st Peter 2:9

[God the Father], who rescued us from the power of darkness and delivered us into the kingdom
of His beloved Son. Colossians 1:13

The theme of light and darkness in the Bible is critical to understanding and appreciating to what
an absolute degree the world is not only vain and pointless, but utterly evil. For just as the
original cosmos, a place of brilliant light, was plunged into literal darkness at Satan's fall (see
part II of this series), so following the fall of our first parents (with which the devil had much to
do: see part III of this series), this present world became morally dark, and irremediably so.
Following the fall of mankind and expulsion from Eden, our world was plunged into spiritual
darkness (cf. Rom.5:12 "sin entered the kosmos"). As a result, this evil world is now the devil's
"kingdom of darkness", and in it there is no "light" whatsoever apart from God. In biblical terms,
light is a very clear and potent metaphor for truth and holiness, while darkness, on the other
hands, is an equally powerful symbol of the lie and of all that is sinful and repugnant to God.
Nothing good can come out of such utter darkness; the only hope for the world was that light
would somehow reenter it through the grace of God. In His grace, God has always made the light
of truth visible and available to mankind, even in the midst of Satan's light-less world, and this
light of truth has always been embodied in His Son:
In Him was life, and this life was the light of men. And this light is shining in the darkness, and
the darkness has not quenched it. John 1:4-5

Jesus Christ is the true light of world, the embodiment of all truth, the living Word of God, the
One who illuminates the sinful darkness with blinding, holy light.

I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but will have the light
of life.         John 8:12b

I have come into the world as a light, in order that everyone who believes in Me may not abide in
darkness. John 12:46

In this regard, Christ is clearly pictured as invading an enemy kingdom, a kingdom where evil
and darkness reign. He is "sent" as the world's Savior (1Jn.4:14); He "comes into the world" as
the true light (Jn.1:9-10); He "conquers the world" (Jn.16:33), and ultimately "triumphs"
(Rev.5:5). The Bible's symbolism of Christ as diametrically opposed to the world we now inhabit
is striking and unyielding: light to darkness. The implications of this symbolism are important,
for they reinforce and validate what we have been saying from the beginning of this section (and
this study): life without God is truly meaningless, and little wonder, for the world in which we
live this life is dark and evil - only in God through the true light of the world, Jesus Christ, can
we escape the darkness.

It should come as no surprise, then, that all who become "light in the Lord" (Eph.5:8) have from
the point of salvation forward little in common with the world in which they walk. As was
stressed above, we believers in Christ are no longer "of the world" (Jn.17:14-16), but are
sojourners and aliens in a strange and hostile environment. The corollary to this principle is
equally true and equally compelling: just as we have chosen God over the world, so the world
has little use for us who have rejected it. The fact that the present kosmos is under the devil's
influence makes this eventuality the more understandable (1Jn.5:19). As soon as we stop playing
according to Satan's rules, we are no longer his subjects, but only interlopers in his realm. Thus
we lose all further consideration on the part of the world and its ruler. By choosing Christ, we
gain our lives, but lose the world, thus incurring its undying hostility (Matt.16:26):

I have given them Your word, and the world hated them, because they are not of the world just
as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you protect
them from the evil one. For they are not of the world just as I am not of the world. John 17:14-16

This hostility on the part of the world towards believers is complete and absolute. As those who
reflect the light of God's truth (2Cor.3:18), believers naturally stir the resentment of those whose
deeds are evil, those who love darkness and hate the light (Jn.3:19-20; 1Jn.3:12). No one
challenged the world and its evil more than did the true light, Jesus Christ. And there can be no
greater example of the fact that the world as a system of evil is incurable than what the devil's
kingdom did to our Lord and Master. Though He was the true light of the world, the One who
not only told the truth but was the truth, the One who came into the world to save all those in the
world who would turn to Him, He was nevertheless crucified by the world (cf. Acts 3:13; 13:27-
28; Rom.3:11; 1Cor.2:8; 2:14-15; 2Cor.4:3-4; 1Jn.3:1). As the Light of the world, He naturally
incurred the world's hostility, because He exposed the world for its utter and unrepentant evil:

And this is the [basis for] judgment: the Light has come into the world, yet men loved the
darkness more than the Light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who commits
detestable practices hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, lest his deeds be exposed
[for what they really are]. John 3:19-20

As His followers, we Christians are targets of the same hostility, when we walk as He walked,
for in so doing we reflect His light in an ungrateful world:

Though the world hates you, know that it came to hate Me first. If you belonged to the world, the
world would love its own. Now because you are not [a part] of the world, but I chose you out of
the world, for this reason the world hates you. John 15:18-19

You are the light of the world. A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a
lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it illuminates everything in the house.
Let the light within you shine in this way before men, so that they may see your good deeds and
glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Do everything [you do] without grumbling and criticizing, that you may be blameless and
undefiled, children of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you
shine as light-givers in the world. Philippians 2:14-15

A world steeped in sin, populated for the most part by people who want no part of God (cf.
Eph.2:1-3), and ruled by the devil will never be a "comfortable" or "friendly" place for those
who choose to follow Jesus Christ. Of this we must be sure. There is perhaps no greater mistake
a believer can make than to assume friendship with the world and its diabolical sovereign is even
a remote possibility (Jas.4:4). This is one reason why peace and prosperity are potentially
harmful to the believer's spiritual equilibrium. For the devil is at work in "good times" too.
Indeed, he does some of his most effective work on such occasions. Followers of Christ need to
remember that the world is not an essentially "friendly" place where bad things happen only from
time to time. Rather, it is an entire cosmos of evil where darkness reigns, a mad beast that can
never be tamed, only destroyed (as God shall eventually do: cf. 2Pet.3:10-12). Our gratitude is
indeed due to God that in our time we have been the beneficiaries of much divine restraint, but
during the Great Tribulation (that future eschatological event to which this series is an
introduction), the true nature of the world and of him who currently rules it will become manifest
to all. Until that time, we Christians should be ever vigilant not to allow "good times" to blind us
to the true nature of our relationship to the world. We are journeying through enemy territory, as
did our Lord (1Jn.4:17b). God is our life, our love, but the world does not know Him (Jn.17:25).
Therefore it does not understand us, sees us as weak and foolish (1Cor.1:28-29; cf. 1Cor.3:18-
19), and is even resentful of us (Jn.15:18-19; 17:14; 1Jn.3:13). We are not "of" this present evil
world (Jn.17:14-16), but in Christ have been delivered from it (Gal.1:4; Col. 1:13), and crucified
to it (and it to us: Gal.6:14; cf. Col.2:20). As citizens of the kingdom of heaven and as
ambassadors of Christ, we still remain in it (Jn.17:15; cf. 2Cor.5:20; Phil.3:20; 1Pet.2:11), but
are not to be conformed to it (Rom.12:2). From God's point of view, the world is filled with
spiritual pollution and moral corruption (2Pet.1:4; 2:20; Jas.1:27); as long as we are in it, we will
have trials and tribulations (Jn.16:33), but through Him we will overcome the world (1Jn.4:4;
5:4-5) and come to judge it (1Cor.6:2).

Though we once walked as the world did (Eph.2:1-3), as soldiers of Christ we now walk in the
way He has shown us, confident that the present, morally ugly form of the world will not long
endure (1Cor.7:31), and determined to turn away from its evil, ever looking instead to the true
Light that is our life.

You adulterously unfaithful people! Don't you know that friendship with the world means
hostility toward God? Whoever wants to be a friend of the world establishes himself as an enemy
of God. James 4:4

Don't be a lover of this world, nor of what is in this world. If anyone is a lover of this world, a
[genuine] love for the Father is not in him. 1st John 2:15

While you have the Light, believe in the Light, that you may become sons of light.        John 12:36



4. The Battlefield: As believers, we are sojourners in a world in which we can never truly belong,
a world of vanity and of largely meaningless pursuits, a world that is by nature hostile to us, a
world whose wounds will never be healed until Christ returns, a world of darkness where the
truth of the Word of God (and those who believe it) provide the only light until the coming of the
one true Light on that future day. But there is another dimension to be considered beyond our
alienation to the world, beyond its essential futility, and beyond the enmity between it and us: the
world is also a battlefield where the struggle between Satan's present kingdom and the coming
kingdom of heaven continues to be played out in deadly earnest (as has been the case since the
devil's fall).

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against [angelic] princes, against [angelic]
authorities, against the cosmic powers of this [present] darkness, against evil spirits in the
heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

So far then from being capable in any way of essential betterment or rehabilitation, the world is a
combat zone where the devil and his minions, visible and invisible, are waging war against the
plan of God. Therefore, we who have chosen for God through Jesus Christ are all combatants in
this largely unseen conflict, like it or not, perceive it or not. We are living out this temporary life
of the flesh on a battlefield, and cannot separate the two. We may chose to be poor soldiers in the
fight; we may seek to avoid the fray as far as possible; we may (as many have done in the past
and even more are predicted to do in the future) go "A.W.O.L." from our Lord or even desert to
the enemy. But the fact remains, no matter how we choose to respond to it, that this world is the
prime battlefield of the struggle between God and the devil, and that this truth has more to do
with the texture, course and purpose of our individual Christian lives than the things our eyes can
see, than the things the world tells us are really important.

Endure hardship with me like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.      2nd Timothy 2:3
Satan has never and will never lose sight of his objective to hinder and oppose in every
conceivable way the plan of God for salvation (which, as we have seen in the previous three
parts of this series, necessarily entails his replacement). The devil's strategy and tactics will be
considered later in this study and in the final installment of this series, but it will suffice for our
purposes here to note that as soldiers in the army of the Son of God, we believers are of no
inconsiderable interest to Satan.(8)

Stay sober and stay awake [on guard]. Our adversary the devil roams about like a roaring lion,
looking for someone he can devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, remembering that your
fellow believers in this world are undergoing the exact same sort of suffering [as you are]. 1st
Peter 5:8-9

We are more than interlopers in Satan's realm. We are chosen by God, choosers of Him, and
eventual replacements for the devil's followers. We are sons of God whose continued existence
here is a testimony to the power and faithfulness of God and a continual reproach to the devil.
We are soldiers of truth, who seek to know, to live, and to proclaim the truth, whose very
presence here on earth contradicts the devil's lies and threatens to undermine all that he seeks to
accomplish. For nothing shatters the power of darkness like light.

The night is close to over, and day is near at hand. So let us put aside the works of darkness and
put on [instead] the armor of light. Romans 13:12

It is therefore foolish to assume that we believers can somehow remain aloof from the unseen
conflict that rages around us, especially since Satan's system can be seen in full operation
throughout the world (if only we would open our eyes to look). Moreover, the devil and his
forces, both human and angelic, are operating with the clear and discernible objective of
opposing the kingdom of heaven with all possible means, and will be doing so with an
increasingly desperate sense of purpose as the ultimate day of reckoning draws ever nearer.

Woe to the earth and the sea, for the devil has come to down to you, having great anger, because
he knows that he has [only] a short time [remaining]. Revelation 12:12

But when the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?        Luke 18:8b

We may not always have a precise understanding of the enemy's specific tactical objectives in all
the complicated web of human (and angelic) affairs - after all, our intelligence as to the
particulars of individual situations is necessarily limited. But scripture does make clear that we
believers are primary targets of all the devil's martial assets, and that we are to order our lives
accordingly. Failing to understand the dangers the world really poses, failing to maintain a
conscious alertness as to our role as Christians in it, or, worst of all, falling into the devil's most
insidious and effective trap of trying to improve "cosmos diabolicus",(9) are mistakes that can put
our entire Christian walk, our entire faith at risk.(10) We have enlisted in the army of Jesus Christ,
and until He calls us home, or the final trumpet blows, we have a fight on our hands here in the
enemy's territory:

Fight the good fight of faith.   1st Timothy 6:12a
I give you this command, Timothy my child, in accordance with the prophecies that were made
long ago about you, that you conduct a good campaign, one that is in keeping with them. 1st
Timothy 1:18

I have fought the good fight. I have completed my course. I have kept the faith.     2nd Timothy 4:7

When our life in the world is viewed in this light, we can see Satan's cosmos entirely for what it
is: a battlefield wherein our adversary the devil has established many hostile fortifications, land-
mines and booby-traps. It is a dangerous place garrisoned by his forces of darkness, an area
under hostile fire wherein we are combatants. It cannot be emphasized often enough that the
world is therefore not "fixable" any more than a combat zone can be "fixed" in any way before
the enemy who disputes its control has been utterly defeated. At the second advent, Jesus Christ
will return in glory to completely vanquish the forces of Satan, human and angelic. Until that
day, as long as we campaign here on the devil's earth, we must fight our battles on the spiritual
plain with the "sword of the Spirit", the Word of God (Eph.6:17):

For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful for God, for the destruction of
strongholds, destroying sophistries and every presumption that raises itself up against the
knowledge of God, and taking every thought prisoner so as to obey Christ. 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5

After the fall, when our first parents accepted God's gracious offer of salvation, they "hit the
beach", so to speak, becoming, in effect, invaders of the devil's realm. From this time forward,
the devil would hold as his enemies any and all who would choose to follow God, to think and
act contrary to the manipulative system of lies that Satan has developed to keep as much of
humanity as possible enslaved to his will. Amid the set-backs, the trials and the tears, amid the
harsh realities of life as Christians in the middle of the devil's realm, it is tremendously important
that we learn this essential principle of Christian soldiering: what ever you do, don't take it
personally. As Jesus told us in very plain language, the world opposed Him, and so it will oppose
all who belong to Him as well (Jn.15:18-19). This struggle for control of the earth, for the
salvation of those who walk in darkness, for the spiritual advance and growth of all who follow
Christ, this struggle is not about us individually; this struggle is about Jesus Christ. Despite the
economic and technological "prosperity" that characterizes our present day and age, from a
spiritual point of view we live in some of the toughest times the Church has ever experienced.
The devil's system has never been so close to dominating world thinking and controlling world
culture; and never since the tower of Babel has Satan been closer to forging a world-wide uni-
culture (based on his intricate and multifarious lies). Everything that is in any way connected to
the truth is under increasingly heavy assault from the forces of cosmos diabolicus. Under such
trying circumstances, it is absolutely imperative that we who believe the truth, who love the
truth, who serve and seek the truth, not take the devil's assaults on us personally.(11) Because of
the nature of the world as a battlefield in the conflict in which we are now embroiled and our
status as followers of Jesus Christ, we must expect tribulation to be the rule, not the exception:

[They were] strengthening the hearts of the disciples, and encouraging them to remain in the
faith, and saying "We must pass through many tribulations to reach the Kingdom of God". Acts
14:22
Remember this principle I taught you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted
Me, they will also persecute you. John 15:20

Indeed, all who are willing to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.   2nd Timothy
3:12

Beloved, don't be alarmed at the fiery ordeal which has befallen you and is putting you to the test
- as if something out of the ordinary were happening to you. But to the degree that you are [truly]
participating in Christ's sufferings, be joyful about it, so that at His glorious revelation, you may
also rejoice with great gladness. 1st Peter 4:12-13

This persecution, this "sharing of the sufferings of Christ" (cf. Rom.8:17; 2Cor.1:5-7; Phi.3:10;
Col.1:24; 1Pet.4:13) only occasionally originates from obvious, human sources; more often than
not, it comes from invisible, demonic roots, or through human agencies in ways that are not
overtly connected to attacking us for our Christianity per se. Satan has many minions, many
means of turning up the heat on all who are determined to follow Christ in the midst of his
kingdom and in despite of his lies:

Stay sober and stay awake [on guard duty]. Our adversary the devil roams about like a roaring
lion, looking for someone he can devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, remembering that your
fellow believers in this world are undergoing the exact same sort of suffering [as you are]. 1st
Peter 5:8-9

As believers in Christ, followers of Christ, ambassadors for Christ, indeed "little Christs" (as the
name Christian indicates), we need to understand that the resistance, attacks and persecution we
receive from our adversary the devil are not personal, any more than enemy artillery fire on a
strictly human battlefield is meant for any one soldier in particular. Now the fact that Satan's
attempts to discourage us, seduce us and even to destroy us are not personal do not make them
any less deadly. The point is, like soldiers in combat, we need to be able to react to the "shot and
shell" in an impersonal, highly professional way. We simply cannot afford to allow our morale to
be seriously damaged or even destroyed by the devil's inevitable assaults. We are not unique. As
the passage from 1st Peter quoted above teaches very plainly, all believers are subject to the same
type of treatment. Satanic opposition is, quite frankly, a normal and continual part of the
Christian life. Certainly, these assaults will take a variety of forms; certainly, they will differ
greatly from time to time, from place to place, and from individual to individual. But the fact of
their occurrence is a given. As long as we march across this battlefield, we are going to be
subject to enemy fire, of greater concentration and intensity to the degree we increase in the
effectiveness of our Christian lives (growing spiritually and helping others to do likewise).

This struggle is not about us, but we cannot avoid being completely involved in it as long as we
maintain our position on planet earth. With the crucifixion, resurrection, ascension and session of
our prince leader Jesus Christ (Heb.2:10; 12:2), the devil has lost his last opportunity to attack
our Lord directly. We are the next best thing. And while (as we shall see in sections IV and V
below) we are hardly the exclusive targets of satanic operations in this world, we believers are
nevertheless special "targets of opportunity", whom the devil delights in tripping up, then
accusing in the presence of God (Rev.12:10). When we are being "hit" by set-backs, suffering,
even disaster, we, as potentially very emotional creatures, need to remember this principle of
"not taking things personally". Like Job, we don't know, can't know now the exact purpose that
our individual episodes of suffering have in the plan of God; and like the unseen chariots that
Elisha revealed, we can't see the forces that God is deploying in our defense and support. Our job
is to continue to advance up the hill God has given us to assault; we should expect the enemy to
fire back (why wouldn't he?). What we cannot afford to do is to become disoriented by the
experience and take this satanic opposition personally, "as if some strange thing were happening
to us" (1Pet.4:12-13), or as if we were the first to fall under the devil's fire (1Pet.5:8-9).

This is, admittedly, a difficult perspective to maintain, but a very important one nevertheless.
Most notable in scripture in this regard is the example of Job, who - after enduring tremendous
and tremendously unexpected suffering with a patience that was destined to become proverbial -
finally made the mistake of taking the experience personally in the end (as a result of the cold
comfort doled out by his supposed friends). We can certainly understand Job's reaction, his
vehement "Why me, God?", but we must also acknowledge that God has preserved his story for
us for a very important reason: whenever we find our ourselves under grinding, unexplained and
unexplainable pressures, we need to be extremely careful not to blame God. When we groan, and
moan, and complain about our lot, we are not far different from the soldier who is convinced that
trench foot was invented by the enemy to plague him personally, or that his adversaries are
shelling the position in order to kill him personally. Such notions are ridiculous. But how much
more ridiculous is it for believers who profess to trust God, who claim to know something about
His mercy and grace, to whine and complain that "God isn't listening to me!" or ask "Why did
God let this happen to me?" Job didn't realize that the intense suffering he was forced to undergo
was in fact an incredible compliment. For God had in fact singled him out from all the believers
of his day to reproach the devil:

Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job? For there is no one like him on
the earth: a blameless man and righteous who fears God and turns away from evil. Job 1:8

Like Job, we too are in the dark about the particulars of the unseen conflict that rages around us.
We know so very little about what is happening in heaven or in the invisible angelic realm here
on earth that it is incredibly foolish (not to mention wrong) for us to ascribe our problems and
difficulties to some indifference on God's part - the very God who sacrificed His own Son to
save us from hell. He did the most for us then; will He not also take heed of all our other
problems as well (Heb.13:5-6, and cf. Rom.5:8)? We may know intellectually that He provides
for us and protects us, we may also have believed this essential principle, but it is certainly a
different matter to apply this truth when we fall under intensive enemy fire. It is all too easy to
become focused on ourselves and our problems (massive and insoluble though they may be), and
forget why we are here and who we are here for; it is all too easy to take our suffering
personally, and, if we are not careful, once we head down this slippery slope to blame God. We
are here for Him, for His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; we are here to serve God. We have pledged
our lives to Him. Indeed, we claim to wait in eager anticipation of the next life, the eternal life
that we have been promised by the Father and the Son and has been pledged to us through the
indwelling Holy Spirit (Eph.1:13-14). Death, the inevitability that makes a mockery of life on
this earth without God, no longer has any terrors for us, or so we say, for to us to die is gain
(Phil.1:21), a blessed entrance into the real, eternal life we yearn for, into an everlasting
fellowship with God, into reward, refreshment and ultimate resurrection. If the worst that the
devil and his world can do to us is to hasten our exit from this life of tears into the next with all
its joy and glory, then why do we often behave as if this world and our residence in it will go on
forever?

Between this life and the next, we are here to serve God in whatever way He desires. There has
never been a problem or a disaster or a heartache that He has not known about - long before the
earth was made; and there has never been any situation that He has not made provision for - long
before Man walked the earth. He is perfect; His plan is perfect; His provision is perfect. These
are simply facts - to those who believe. God could have taken us home to Himself immediately at
the point of our entrance into His family through faith in Jesus Christ, but He has left us here, in
the devil's world, on this battlefield called earth, to soldier on according to the Word with which
we have been entrusted. The world being what it is (as we have seen), and given the implacable
nature of our adversary the devil, opposition, resistance and suffering are not the exception for
Christians, but the norm. One of the biggest mistakes we can make as we proceed on this
journey, this mission, is to forget where we are (the world), why we are here (to serve God), and
what our Christian growth will cost (intensifying opposition from the adversary). The last thing
we can afford in this dangerous and hostile place and in the face of such a wily opponent is to
take the devil's harassment personally.

We are not here to do our own will, or to follow our own course, or to choose our own life apart
from what God would have us do. Whenever our thinking begins to be dominated by personal
concerns to such a degree that we lose perspective about our place in God's plan, our spiritual
life is bound to suffer. We have of necessity many ties with the world (family, business, etc.).
This is all the more reason to strive to keep God first in our thinking, our conversation, and the
actual living of our lives, approaching the distractions of life (whether harassment or enticement)
with the proper, professional Christian point of view.

I say this not to put a noose around your neck, but for your own good, [that you may live] for the
Lord in a proper, steadfast and undistracted way. 1st Corinthians 7:35

I mean this, brethren: there is not much time left. So in the future, let those who have wives be as
those who don't have them, and those who weep as those who don't weep, and those who rejoice
as those who do not rejoice - and those who make use of this world as those who do not take full
advantage of it. For this world in its present form is passing away. And I want you to be free of
worries. 1st Corinthians 7:29-32a

It is all too easy, all too natural for us take our "eyes off the ball", to become distracted in this
world from the real reason we have been left here, from the real Person we are here to serve. It is
all too easy to become distracted from the Word of God and the truths it contains - even in the
accomplishment of otherwise valid tasks. Martha became so distracted by her legitimate service
that she not only neglected our Lord's teaching of the Word of God, but tried to draw her sister
into the same mistake (Lk.10:38-42). We can't afford to let anything distract us from God or
from our only means of knowing Him and drawing nearer to Him, the Word of God. Life makes
many demands upon us, but if the appropriate functions of life draw us away from what is really
important in this life, what is the point? The entire purpose behind all legitimate Christian
service in the first place is to make possible the reception of the Word of God for the initial
development of the unbeliever’s and consequent deepening of our fellow believers’ relationship
with Him.

The more distracted we allow ourselves to become from the real issues of life, the more likely we
are to lose sight of the battlefield, the objectives of this war we are waging, and our commander
in chief, Jesus Christ. Satan appreciates this fact very well. The devil, moreover, is adept at
making us squirm. He has a large "file" on every believer, you can be sure. He knows your most
vulnerable individual "pressure points" (as anyone with average intelligence would who could
follow you around for any length of time). Whatever Satan has "tried" on you that has worked,
be sure that he will use it again and again (at least until it stops working). In addition to subtle
ambushes, Satan is also well versed in the direct assault, blows that in the common experience of
mankind hit us all with tremendous force (e.g., disease and disaster). Yes, because of the nature
of the conflict in which we are engaged, God "lets things happen" to all of us. If He did not, it
would be like taking the tree of the knowledge of good and evil right out of the garden; it would
have the effect of removing our free will from the equation; it would give us little opportunity to
prove to the world and the devil, and to demonstrate to God, that we really do esteem Him more
than anything in this life. After all, God desires, "willing worshipers" (Jn.4:23). Without the
continued choice to exercise our will in a negative way too, the validity of the positive choice to
follow Jesus Christ could not be affirmed. God does "let things happen", but we must never
forget that all things happen for a purpose, His purpose, for His glory, and for our ultimate good:

And we know that everything works together for good for those who love God, for those who
have been called according to His plan. Romans 8:28

You planned evil against me, but God planned it out for good.      Gen.50:20a

We must not, therefore, react to adverse circumstances by taking things so personally that we
forget the circumstances of our sojourn on this earth and begin to doubt our God. No matter how
bad things get, God has not forgotten us nor forsaken us (Matt.6:25-34; Heb.13:5-6). God's
character is perfect in every way, and when we consider who and what He is from any aspect of
that character, we are forced to admit that such a loving and gracious and faithful God could only
have our best interests at heart, could only be operating beyond the ken of our limited human
perception to work out everything for our ultimate good.(12) God knows what is best for us and
always has. He knew all that would happen to us in our lives, having in fact planned it all out in
eternity past - for the best. He has also already provided for us and all our needs. As to the great
care He has for us, nothing could demonstrate this more clearly than the provision He made for
our sinfulness, our rebellion, our evil: He sent His only Son to die for us. God cares for us, loves
us more than anything else in the world. Is there really anything else we need to know? Not if we
believe it, believe in who and what He is, believe in what He has done for us in sacrificing Jesus
Christ for us. But these essential realities, facts of faith that the world rejects, have to be more
real to us than anything our eyes can see. Indeed they are more real, but Christians have to affirm
their reality by faith in every skirmish of every day as we make our way across this battlefield we
call the world.

All this takes faith, and faith requires diligent intake of God's Word consistently applied to life in
order to grow. Only through the continuation of this irreplaceable process do the realities of
heaven begin to become more real than the ephemeral "realities" our eyes behold. But once we
have grown to this perspective, we may honestly say as Job did "the Lord gives and the Lord
takes away; blessed be the Name of the Lord" (Job 1:21). As soldiers of Jesus Christ, we will be
opposed by the devil, but if we stand our ground the victory will be ours (Jas.4:7). As soldiers of
Jesus Christ, we will be tested, but God will never allow the pressure to intensify beyond what
we can actually bear (1Cor.10:13). As soldiers of Jesus Christ, we will know sorrow and
suffering, but God will never leave us without superabundant comfort (Jn.16:7; 2Cor.1:3-7). As
soldiers of Jesus Christ, when our race is finally run, we shall be able to look back on this short
life and say with the apostle Paul that though in every way we were oppressed, we were not
completely distressed, that though we were without lavish means, we were not left totally
without them, that though we were persecuted, we were not left completely in the lurch, and that
though we were thrown down, we were not destroyed (2Cor.4:8-9). When we came forth into
this world, it was not the garden of Eden we found, but a battlefield where our enemy the devil
held sway. May it be said of us all that in this life we served honorably - even with distinction -
the One who enlisted us into His service by His own blood.

Endure hardship with me like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one on military campaign
becomes involved in the affairs of normal life. [He avoids such things] that he may please the
one who enlisted him. 2nd Timothy 2:3-4


5. The Enemy: It is no accident that life, once perfect, become vain and meaningless; our first
parents, while undeniably guilty, were manipulated into their sinful behavior by the devil, the
event that brought about God's just judgment of mortality. It is no accident that the world is
hostile to everyone and to everything that is in any way related to or in any way acknowledges
the truth of God's Word; the devil is currently exercising no small modicum of influence over
this world, and he has constructed a system of world rulership that takes very effective advantage
of humanity's plight (taking maximum advantage of the sin nature which resides in each and
every one of us). It is no accident that we Christians are special targets of the world's hostility
and the devil's ire. He is anything but a disinterested party. For, despite his claims (Lk.4:5-7), the
world is not his exclusive domain. God has never left Himself without witness upon it (Acts
14:17). And indeed, God has already won it back for all intents and purposes through the victory
of Jesus Christ (Jn.16:33; 1Cor.15:57). During these last days, therefore, Satan finds himself
effectively and increasingly "boxed in" by God. His days are numbered. Following the cross, the
plan of God is now moving inexorably ahead toward the final disposition of Satan and his
followers. Their complete replacement in the family of God and their final eviction from the
world is now not far distant. Thus the devil, whose only real strategy has always been a series of
reactive attempts to frustrate God's plan, finds his options dwindling by the day as his time
becomes ever shorter. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that his wrath towards us, towards
all who take God's part, should be intensifying to a corresponding degree (cf. Rev.12:12).

This series is designed to provide important background information to the final events of history
as outlined in scripture. The final chapter of earth and our role here in the waning days of the
present age can only be fully understood in light of Satan's rebellion and the manner in which it
has played out in human history. As representatives, as soldiers and surrogates of Christ on earth,
we can expect to bear the brunt of Satan's wrath. As the devil's prime targets, it behooves us to
understand his techniques, in so far as scripture addresses this important subject. So it is to the
study of the devil's system of world administration (and manipulation) that we now turn. As
good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we need not only to be aware of the conflict in which we are
engaged and the battlefield on which we now fight, but we also must understand what the Bible
has to tell us about the organization, the doctrine, the methods and the tactics of our adversary.


II. Satan's Position after the Fall

In the previous installments of this series, we have seen how, following Satan's rebellion and fall,
the Lord God recreated the earth and placed Adam in charge of the new Eden. However, through
his own sin and fall, Adam forfeited his position of rulership over the earth and was expelled
from paradise.(13) Many scriptures affirm for us the fact that the devil is now the new ruler of
planet earth (e.g., Lk.4:6; Jn.12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2Cor.4:4; Eph.2:2; 1Jn.4:4; 5:19). Even more
passages (many of which will be discussed in sections III, IV and V below) detail his
considerable influence upon mankind. However, the issue of Satan's specific, "official" position
is not quite so simple. For God has never "officially" relinquished any control over the earth, and
has certainly never appointed the devil as its ruler (as God most definitely and explicitly had
done with Adam: Gen.1:26-28; Ps.8:5-8; cf. Heb.2:5-9).

One incident that helps to illustrates the complicated position of the present rulership of planet
earth is the devil's temptation of Christ in the wilderness. During this temptation of our Lord,
Satan claimed to be able to deliver rulership of the world to Him (at the price of Christ's worship
of the devil, an arrogantly insane notion: cf. Lk.4:6). A brief analysis of a further passage
recorded in the gospel of Mark will be of use in sorting out the precise status of the devil in this
regard and will help to explain the extent to which he does control life on this planet.

Now the scribes came down from Jerusalem and were saying that [Jesus] was possessed by
Beelzebub [i.e., the devil] and that He was casting our demons by the [power of] the ruler of the
demons. So He called them over and began speaking to them in parables, [saying], "How can
Satan cast out Satan? For if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And
if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. Therefore if Satan stands
in opposition to himself [with his forces] divided, he cannot stand, but is done for." Mark 3:22-27

Besides being a pithy and effective refutation of the scribes' slanderous accusation against Him,
Jesus' response quoted above contains several important basic revelations about the status and
position of the devil after the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden. First of all,
Jesus' statements give us authoritative evidence that the devil is active in the furtherance of
systematic demon possession (which is actually occurring) on earth. Secondly, the points of
reference used by our Lord in this parable suggest that the devil does indeed possess a responsive
organization (that is, a "kingdom") along with some sort of ruling elite beholding to him (that is,
a "house"). Thirdly, Jesus' argument suggests that the devil's continued control of this
organization (and so of its control of earth) is dependent upon a sustained and judicious use of
the forces available to him so that he can't afford to use them unwisely (that is, by "dividing"
them). Fourth, loss of control will mean not only loss of rule but personal jeopardy (for then he
would be "done for"). Finally, God, through the person and ministry of Jesus Christ, is seen here
directly assaulting the devil's ability to control his realm (by casting out Satan's demons).

Thus the devil's control of earth is neither official, nor absolute, nor indefinite. Expanding our
investigation beyond the passage cited above yields the following observations:

1. Satan was allowed to play the role of tempter in the garden of Eden: In the previous part of
this series, we considered in detail the devil's temptation of Eve and his instigation of the fall of
mankind in Eden. In addition to furnishing the garden with a test of obedience in the form of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Satan was not only allowed to observe these new
creatures destined to replace him and his followers, but also to provide them with false
information. Picking his target and lies carefully, Satan took full advantage of his opportunity to
subvert mankind and was successful in inducing our first parents to choose foolishly against
God.(14)

2. Adam forfeited his God-given rulership of Eden/earth at the fall: Adam and Eve's subsequent
expulsion from the garden of Eden and their subjection to the curse of mortality were not the
only negative consequence of their actions. Adam also lost his position as undisputed regent of
the Lord's re-created earth, serving under the delegated authority of God.(15)

3. By instigating the fall of Man, Satan has usurped the rulership of earth: As we have seen,
Adam's right to rule earth in God's place was given to him by the Lord (Gen.1:26-28; Ps.8:5-8;
cf. Heb.2:5-9). Scripture records no such grant to the devil. Indeed, even Satan himself supports
the proposition that he is currently in control of the world as a result of Adam's forfeiture and
fall. While in the process of attempting to persuade Christ to "worship him", the devil showed
our Lord all the kingdoms of the world and proclaimed ...

"I will give you all this power and all their glory - for it has been surrendered to me and [so] I
[can] give it to whomever I please." Luke 4:6

The Greek word paradidomi () in this passage indicates that Satan's reign over the
earth was not wrested from God or awarded to the devil, but was rather relinquished by Adam,
abandoned, abdicated, given over by default, or "surrendered". The devil, therefore, has
temporarily usurped or "snagged" dominion over planet earth. To put the matter in legal terms,
Satan's rulership of the earth is based only a de facto control - his reign has never been and will
never be a de jure one.

4. Satan is now allowed a wider range of influence over mankind: The sphere within which the
devil now operates on earth is much larger than was the case in the garden of Eden. Instead of a
single tree to test the hearts of mankind, we now face an entire world filled with multifarious
temptations. And instead of the limited lying influence of the devil (in possession of Eve's
shining serpent), satanic lies and influences are ubiquitous in this world we inhabit, ranging from
the patently obvious to the almost invisibly subtle. The limited avenue of opportunity in the
garden of Eden proved to be sufficient for Satan to instigate humanity's corporate fall in Adam.
Small wonder then that with exponentially greater access to mankind and a freer reign to
exercise his influence that the world "lies in his [sphere of influence]" (1Jn.5:19). The devil also
has an extraordinary advantage in his quest to lead humanity astray: the sin nature that now
resides in the flesh of all of Adam and Eve's descendants (Christ being the sole exception).(16)
For the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life" (1Jn.2:16), universal
manifestations of mankind's collective heart, are tailor-made for satanic exploitation. Indeed, it is
not too much to say that the devil has kept our sinful tendencies in mind in constructing his
world-wide system of temptation, deception and control. It should come as no surprise, then, that
the world is the terrible place that it is, given the evil resident in the heart of Man, and Satan's
ability and opportunity to exploit that evil.

5. The limits of Satan's control over the world: The devil's dominion over the world is in some
ways analogous to a hostile power's temporary control of territory conquered during a protracted
war. As in the case of the Nazi occupation of France, conquest did not eliminate resistance, and
the occupation did not last forever. In like fashion, Satan's rulership of the earth is temporary,
and must be maintained by force and vigilance. But analogies only take us so far. It is important
at this point, therefore, to consider in some detail the nature of the limitations and restraints upon
the devil's control of the world, vast and terrible though it is.

In the first place, Satan's control over earth is restricted by the will of God. The devil can do that
which and only that which God allows him to do. Much as he clearly would have liked to, Satan
was not permitted to lay a finger upon Job until God expressly gave His consent, and, despite his
unique sufferings, Job never was completely destroyed, because God would not allow it (Job 1 &
2; 42:12ff.). Satan's request to "sift [Peter] like wheat" was denied in response to a prayer on his
behalf by our Lord (Lk.22:31-32), and there are at least two New Testament cases of rebellious
believers being "handed over to Satan", plainly indicating that the withdrawal of God's protection
had to be sought by apostolic intercession before the devil could have free rein with them
(1Cor.5:5; 1Tim.1:20; cf. Ps.78:49; 109:6). These and many other passages and considerations
(as we shall see in sections IV & V below) demonstrate very clearly that the devil's range of
action in the world is not absolute, and that this is especially true where God's followers are
concerned.

A prime reason for Satan's malevolent will being restricted by God's gracious will is our free
will. As we saw via lengthy consideration in the three preceding installments of this series, the
existence of mankind cannot be fully understood without reference to Satan's rebellion against
God. A primary purpose for our creation was and continues to be God's replacement in the
family of God of unwilling fallen angels with willing human beings.(17) Much to his surprise,
Satan's successful seduction of our first parents did not head off this inevitable eventuality - it
merely changed the circumstances and timing of the filling up of the full number of willing
worshipers from the ranks of human kind.(18) It goes without saying that if humanity could be
eliminated from the earth, or be subjected to a degree of manipulation so severe that the exercise
of a free will choice for God would be impossible, God's plan (not to mention our eternal future)
would have been in jeopardy. Therefore while God allows the devil to operate within a wide
range of latitude in this world which Satan claims as his own, his sphere of operations is not
absolute, and is unquestionably more restricted in the case of those of us who have chosen to
become followers of God than it is in the case of those who have chosen to become followers of
Satan.
An important point to notice at this juncture is that the current mess in which the world finds
itself is the result of two factors: 1) mankind's sinfulness and mortality (incurred by mankind of
mankind's own free will in the persons of our first parents), and 2) the devil's current rulership
and influence. Blaming God in any way for the troubles and disasters we see or experience is
therefore not only terribly wrong but actually puts things completely backwards: God is the One
who has given us a second chance - salvation through Jesus Christ - and without God's gracious
restraint, mankind would long ago have been exterminated; if the devil didn't destroy us, we
would have killed ourselves off.(19) The fact that we have any opportunity to exercise free will at
all, any latitude for choice, is because of God's grace. Saying "how could God let this happen",
therefore, is foolish, for it betrays a complete lack of understanding about the true situation on
planet earth since Adam's fall and Satan's usurpation of earthly rule.(20) Rather, we should say
"thank you, God, for preserving us in the face of all this sin and evil". For the reality of the
world's current diabolic status quo is that sin, evil and disaster are the norm that should be
expected, whereas deliverance and blessing are the exceptional provisions of a gracious,
beneficent and forgiving God. Despite our natural sinfulness and despite the sin and evil we
commit, with the sacrifice of His only Son, God has provided for the salvation of all who
respond to His gracious offer, and is in the process of winning back this world for Himself in its
entirety, a process that will enter its final stage when Satan's "head is crushed" at Christ's return.

To return to Satan's present control of the world, it is interesting (and informative) to note that
the Bible never actually proclaims him "ruler of the earth". This fact is significant. The devil is
"ruler of the cosmos (i.e., world: Jn.12:31; 14:30; 16:11 )", but his rule is not one of physical,
material occupation in the sense of an invading army visibly and corporeally on the scene,
holding sway on the earth. A simple visual inspection of our surroundings confirms this obvious
fact. Satan's rule over the world of mankind is instead exercised largely through human beings,
by means of demonic influence and possession.(21) This point helps to explain a number of
passages that deal with the devil's current rulership of the world:

      Ephesians 2:2 calls Satan "the prince of the power of the air", and, "the spirit who is now
       working in the sons of disobedience". This is a description that squares perfectly with the
       discussion above: the devil's sphere of influence proceeds from the air around us rather
       than proceeding from a material and visible earthly presence. He and his followers are
       spirits and their influence on mankind largely of a non-material nature (influencing and,
       occasionally through possession, compelling, but altogether invisible).
      Ephesians 6:12 says that "our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but with ... spirits of
       evil in the heavenly places". This passage likewise identifies the devil's realm of power
       and influence as off of the physical earth (though nonetheless powerfully influential).
      1st John 4:4 tells us that He who is in us "is greater than he [i.e., the devil] who is in the
       world". For Satan is in the world exercising great power, but he is not directly and
       physically administering planet earth.
      1st John 5:19 states that the "whole world is in him", i.e., under the devil's non-material
       influence rather than his corporeal control.
      2nd Corinthians 4:4 calls Satan the "god of this age", also emphasizing the non-material
       nature of his control. He is further said to have "blinded the eyes of unbelievers"
       indicating the means and method of his influence, not a physical compulsion generally,
       but a spiritual deception that induces human beings to turn away from the one, true God.
Thus the devil's kingdom is predominately an immaterial (or "spiritual") one, "hovering over" the
human kingdoms of the world, and using demonic influence of varying degrees to produce the
desired effects. Mankind is still "in charge" of physical planet earth in a sense (cf. Ps.8:4-8;
115:16), but is far inferior in power and intelligence to angelic beings. Left to our own devices,
we could no more hope to get the better of a spiritual encounter than we would from a material
one (should the devil be allowed to attack us in this way). But God has graciously laid down very
specific boundaries that preserve our existence and ability to exercise free will in this life, in
spite of the massive power of the devil's forces. True enough, there have been exceptions to the
general rules of engagement which do not allow demons to become visible or assume a material
form, but for the most part (and especially at this present time), Satan must be content with
administering his "kingdom" by means of influence, possession, and whatever occasional
material interference God will allow.(22) The devil's primary method of control, therefore, is to
persuade us to do his will. Given our naturally sinful tendencies, his clever use of deception, and
the vast forces at his disposal, it should not be difficult to understand why the world does in fact
find itself under the influence of evil to such a large degree.

Indeed, even with these significant restraints upon the scope of his conduct, it is altogether likely
that Satan would have made rather short work of the human race if left entirely to his own
considerable devices. But thanks to the grace of God once again, mankind has been blessed with
additional safeguards that have acted as brakes upon demonic influence, and so have helped to
limit the devil's control of the world.

6. The conscience as a restrainer of satanic influence: The first of these safeguards, common (at
least initially) to all human beings, is today most often termed "the conscience". As we have
seen, subsequent to eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve acquired
an internal, mental and emotional sensitivity that was capable of distinguishing between right
and wrong, between good and evil.(23) God graciously constructed the necessary test of their
obedience in such a way that disobedience would provide them with this essential internal
compass, a mechanism without which moral navigation through a satanic world would be
impossible, especially for persons in a sinful state. Once the protection of the perfect
environment of Eden had been removed, and the entire world transformed into one big tree of
testing, as it were, an "internal guidance system" became necessary gear for the human race. For
while in the garden there was only one, very straight-forward test about which the Lord God had
given specific instruction, the devil's world would be full of all manner of tests and temptations,
ranging from the completely obvious to the quite subtle. Without some way of judging the
rightness and wrongness of our actions (both potential and completed), we human beings would
be completely at the devil's mercy, master of deception that he is. Eating of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil resulted in our first parents acquiring just such an ability, and they
have since passed this capability down to all of their offspring:

The conscience, therefore, is a universal, God-given aspect of our common human nature
capable of evaluating the goodness (and evil) of the phenomena we encounter in this world, and
is especially concerned with our own behavior. It is not really a separate organ, but a facet of the
heart (the inner person as a complete combination of body and spirit). The word conscience per
se never occurs in the Old Testament. That is understandable given the more earthy, less
conceptual nature of expression in the ancient Hebrew culture and language as compared to that
of ancient Greek (the language and cultural milieu of the New Testament). The absence of the
concept-noun "conscience" in the Old Testament, however, does not mean the absence of the
concept. That much is surely obvious from the very existence of the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil, from the consequences of Adam and Eve's partaking of its fruit, and from the
effect of the fall on human behavior ever since: we not only "do wrong" as a result of the sin now
inherent in our mortal bodies, but we also know when we do wrong, at least until the conscience
is so seared that its function is lost or even perverted (cf. 1Tim.4:2):

But afterwards, David's heart smote him on account of the fact that he had cut off the hem of
Saul's robe.      1st Samuel 24:5

The New American Standard version actually translates the more literal rendering above as "[his]
conscience bothered him", a fine translation for it correctly estimates that this is indeed what had
happened, as well as the way in which we would express the feeling in our day. The fact that we
(and the Greeks) have a specialized vocabulary word for this important feature of our nature does
not in any way indicate either that the people of Old Testament times lacked a "conscience" (as
we would call it), or (even more importantly) that they failed to appreciate the inner guidance
regarding right and wrong that the conscience provides.

The etymology of our English word "conscience" is helpful to note, partly because it precisely
parallels the Greek word for conscience as it occurs in the New Testament (syneidesis), and
partly because in both cases the derivation of the words points to their real life function. The
English word comes from Latin, being derived from the root meaning "know" (scientia <scio)
and the prefix meaning "with" (con <cum). The Greek eidesis <oida and syn bear the same
meanings respectively. And "knowing-with" really is what the conscience does; we have
knowledge and consciousness of what is done, of what we contemplate, and of what we do. But
the conscience evaluates these things from the perspective of truth; it knows too (from a more
important moral point of view), and shares that knowledge with us.

Needless to say, then, the more truth we possess in our hearts, the more we are attuned to it and
the more we are committed to responding to it, the more effective and accurate a guide our
conscience will be. All people are endowed with an innate sense of right and wrong, a
conscience, capable of pointing them in the right direction (and warning them against the wrong
one). After attaining maturity, the commission of evil, criminal, and sinful behavior requires us
first to break through this God-given internal barrier to wrong conduct (Deut.1:39; Is.7:15-16).
However, whether this facet of heart becomes more sensitive and more precisely related to God's
true view of right and wrong over time or, on the other hand, becomes complacent or even
"seared" to the point of ineffectiveness is entirely related to each individual person's relationship
to truth, whether that truth be found in the Bible (for believers pursuing God's "good"), or in the
tangible indicators of right and wrong that God has provided for all mankind (societal customs,
civil and criminal laws, incidents of outrageous behavior that teach by negative example, etc.). In
practical terms, then, we can only "let our conscience be our guide" with impunity if we have
taken pains to keep it pure and to adjust it to God's true standards.
While applying oneself to the truth of the Word of God strengthens the conscience, ignoring and
rejecting its guidance leads to "the hardening of heart" or as it is otherwise called "the searing of
the conscience" (1Tim.4:2).(24) This is essentially the squelching of God's truth as it resides in
one's heart. Initially, the conscience resists being stifled, but with persistent sinful and lawless
behavior, the conscience weakens, becoming virtually ineffective in extreme cases.

This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many
schemes.        Ecclesiastes 7:29 [NIV]

Truth is always the issue. As human beings, we are born with an innate ability to distinguish
between right and wrong, between good and evil. This ability (our conscience) can be dulled
over time, and not only through personal acts of sin. Often we are persuaded by the evil around
us (the wisdom of the world) to adopt false standards in place of what we originally "knew in our
hearts" was wrong. In the absence of the truth of the Bible, this process is very often the rule
rather than the exception. Highly sophisticated, well-educated, influential opinion makers often
make the best purveyors of evil in modern society, stroking the arrogance of a less cultivated
audience (a point we shall revisit in detail in section IV below): no matter if the cause be world
peace or the end of poverty or any number of noble-sounding motives, at the end of the day there
is still war, there is still poverty, and only the cause of evil has been advanced.

But whether the issue is overt sinfulness or subtle, humanistic deception, before evil can find a
comfortable home in our hearts, the conscience must first be suppressed. As sinners by nature,
we are predisposed toward wrong, but thanks to God's gracious provision (initially through the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil and subsequently by inheritance from our first parents)
we are also born with an inner compass which, until we willfully de-magnetize it, will point in
the general direction of the good, and which, if we conscientiously calibrate it with God's truth,
is capable of giving us very clear and specific guidance. Conscience, then is a universal barrier in
the hearts of all human beings that must broken down before the devil can exert his influence and
will.

7. Law and nationalism as a restrainers of satanic influence: In addition to the internal check that
conscience provides on the devil's manipulation of mankind, God also limits Satan's control of
human affairs by law (cf. Rom.2:14-15; 13:1-5; Tit.3:1; 1Pet.2:13-17), by nationalism (cf.
Gen.11:6; Deut.32:8; Job 12:23; Jer.18:7-10; Acts 17:26-28), and by direct divine intervention
(e.g., any of the myriad occasions of the Lord's direct annihilation of Israel's enemies). Often
administered by the Holy Spirit and elect angels (though occasionally described as being under
the Lord’s direct supervision: cf. Ezek.32:3ff.), God's direct intervention into human affairs so as
to hinder the devil's operations will be covered in Part V of this series (see also sections IV and
V below).(25) Since God's destruction of the tower of Babel (cf. Gen.11:6), law and nationalism
have been and continue to be the two major visible barriers that keep Satan from complete world
domination.

Law is an outgrowth of conscience, a society-wide codification of our collective impulses to
protect what is right and restrain what is wrong, built on tradition, experience and
experimentation, but always for the general purpose of good. Not that any system of law has ever
been perfect (with the sole exception of the law handed down to Moses by God Himself).
Imperfect human beings produce imperfect systems of governance, but the fact of orderly,
generally good-oriented legal authority is definitely from God in every legitimate case (i.e.,
where crime is outlawed and punished, while good behavior is protected and rewarded):

Let every person be subject to [all] superior authorities. For no authority exists which has not
[been established] by God. And those that exist are [in turn] subject to God. Therefore whoever
opposes [established] authority has taken a stand against God's [ordered] arrangement, and those
who have done so will receive judgment upon themselves. For rulers do not exist to discourage
good deeds through the fear they inspire, but rather evil ones. So do you wish to have no fear of
the authorities? Then do what is good, and you will have praise from them. For they are
ministering to God on your behalf for your [own] good. But if you do evil, beware, for they have
not been invested with the power of punishment [lit., "sword"] for nothing. For they are
ministering to God in the severe vengeance [they bring down] upon those who do evil. Therefore
it is necessary to be subject [to authority] not only because of this severity, but also for
conscience' sake. Romans 13:1-5

Abuses are as inevitable as the sinfulness of human beings who administer the legal system in
any given country at any given time. However, the fact that no organized society has ever lacked
some system for punishing and preventing gross evil (as manifest, for example, in the universal
punishment of murder and theft, and the universal protection of marriage and children), even if
this only exists in a tradition administered patriarchally, is a clear indication of mankind's
common, original conscience projecting general notions of good and evil.

Nationalism also acts as a serious check on the devil's earthly operations.(26) This can be seen
clearly enough by considering the horrendously evil state of affairs into which the entire world
had fallen prior to the great flood. A universal society, with an identical culture and language (as
the antediluvian world was) is much easier for the devil to control and manipulate: as in the case
of a single biological entity, as soon as any virus invades it, the disease quickly spreads and
infects the entire organism. A one-world state thus offers no more resistance to gross forms of
evil, once initially penetrated. A multi-national world, however, is more resistant to Satan's
influences, precisely because of its diversity. Communism, or Nazism, or sexual libertinism, or
what have you, must be introduced and promoted in every country individually, giving time and
space for resistance to whatever new strain of evil the devil is currently promulgating.

When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when He divided the sons of men, He
established the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of
Israel. Deuteronomy 32:8

For from one man [Adam], [God] created the nations of mankind, that they might inhabit the
entire face of the earth. And He predetermined both their appointed times and the boundaries of
their settlement, that they might seek God, if perhaps they might even [deign to] grope after Him
and so come to find Him - for He is not far from every one of us. Acts 17:26-27

This last passage makes clear that nationalism has been important, not only in the preservation of
human life on earth, but also in the greater purpose for which mankind has always needed to be
preserved: to seek and find God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Satan styles himself "ruler of the
world", and so he is - but not without limitations. He prides himself on the power and authority
he has usurped (from Adam at the fall) and the consequent dominion he exercises over the world
(cf. Job 1:7; 2:2). And although the "equal" status he desires to lay claim to along with God is
certainly an arrogant overestimation (not to mention temporary in every aspect), his power and
influence are nonetheless extensive and real. Revelation 13:2, for example, tells us that during
the Great Tribulation, the devil will lend antichrist the "power, throne, and great authority" to
which Satan is now heir. The visible world-wide kingdom of darkness that will result should be
indication enough of the extensive invisible scope of Satan's present realm. In the meantime,
before that last, satanic, one-world state emerges, part of the devil's platform is to undermine
nationalism in favor of internationalism (in order to remove this important barrier to his
operations as far as possible). God is ultimately the One in control of the history of the nations
(cf. Is.10:5-7; 10:15; Jer.10:7; Dan.2:21), but the devil does his best to undermine the barriers
that keep them separate (within God's permissive will):

Those who look at you will contemplate you; they will consider you: "Is this the man who
confounded the earth, who weakened the nations? He made the world like a desert, and trampled
its cities underfoot. He did not let its prisoners go home. Isaiah 14:16-17

8. Satan is now on the defensive: The devil's hold on his kingdom is thus far from complete or
automatic. Retention of control requires Satan and his followers to act aggressively in opposition
to God's plan (even though such action will ultimately be futile). Continuing to blind unbelievers
to the truth and control them as far as possible for evil on the one hand, and to kill, destroy, or at
least discredit and neutralize believers to the greatest extent possible on the other, remain
essential priorities in order for the devil to maintain his grasp on the world. For besides
beginning limited, the devil's hold on the world is also temporary. Though Adam's disobedience
gave Satan the opportunity to usurp much of this world's authority and so become the de facto
"ruler of this world", the obedience of the Last Adam, Jesus Christ, has effected and confirmed
the salvation of those who have chosen (and will choose) for God (in place of the devil and his
minions who chose against Him).

For just as through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] the many were made sinners, so also
through the obedience of the One Man [Jesus Christ] the many will be made righteous. Romans
5:19

God's plan for the defeat and replacement of the devil through Jesus Christ has been rolling
irrepressibly forward ever since Adam and Eve departed from the garden. Moreover, since the
Kingdom of God became imminent with the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ in human form
(without diminution of His deity), the devil has stepped up his operations (Matt.11:12;
Lk.16:16), and these will find their most intense expression during the Great Tribulation when he
is finally excluded from the heavens, once and for all (Rev.12:7-17).

Thus this has never been an uncontested struggle, and, indeed, Satan's ultimate defeat at the
hands of Jesus Christ was prophesied by God before human history outside of Eden began:

So the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you are accursed, more than
any beast or wild animal. You shall go on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. And I
shall place hostility between you and the woman, that is, between your seed and her Seed. He
[Christ] will attack you head-on [so as to destroy you], but you will attack Him from
behind". Genesis 3:14-15

Christ's "head-on" or mortal attack on Satan and his kingdom began at the cross and will be
effectively completed at the second advent when the Son of God returns to regain complete,
direct control of the earth for Man on behalf of God as the God-Man. Even until that time,
moreover, Christ is nonetheless the de jure authority over all the earth (Ps.110:1; cf. Ps.82:8;
Jn.5:27; 1Cor.15:27):

Then Jesus came over and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to
me, so go and make all nations my followers by baptizing them into the Person [i.e., "name"] of
the Father and [into the Person] of the Son and [into the Person] of the Holy Spirit, and by
teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.            Matthew 28:18-20a

Christ's parable of the growing seed (Mk.4:26ff.), and mustard seed (Mk.4:30ff.) depict the
spread of the militant Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, a veritable invasion of the devil's realm
in the person of believers who are not of this world or subjects of Satan in any way, but are
instead by the blood of the Lamb citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven (Jn.17:16; Eph.2:19;
Phil.3:20; 1Pet.2:9 & 11).

The imminence of the Kingdom of Heaven means also the concomitant imminence of the devil's
removal. Christ came to "destroy the works of the devil" (1Jn.3:8b; cf. Heb.2:14), and even
before His sacrifice at the cross spoke of Satan's impending fall from heaven (Lk.10:18), a
prospect made even more secure by His triumph on the cross (Col.2:15). This assurance that our
adversary the devil is on the point of defeat is a part of normal Christian encouragement
(Rom.16:20). It is also a the fulfillment of God's judgments against Satan dating back to his
original fall:

Concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned [already].         John 16:11

Now that Christ's victory is secure, we await only the completion of the calling out of the full
number of Christ's Church (and the prophesied events of the last days), until Satan will be
completely expelled:

Now is the judgment of this world. Now will the prince of this world be driven out.      John 12:31

Until the devil is removed from the world (and sin removed from mankind) the world will never
be a truly "good" place (cf. Matt.12:29). Indeed, even after a thousand years of Christ's personal
rule, Satan will be allowed one last attempt on mankind, and will in comparatively short order
bring about the rebellion of a large portion of the earth's population against our Savior's perfect
regime (Rev.20). This will be the last time sin and Satan team up. From this point on God will
create a new heaven and a new earth "in which righteousness dwell", where there is no more
devil and no more sin nature (mankind existing at that time only in a resurrected, perfected state).
No, God is not going to "fix up" this present world, but will instead create a new, perfect one,
where every trace of sin and evil have been burned away forevermore:
For on that day the heavens will burst into flame and dissolve, and the elements will catch fire
and melt. But we are awaiting new heavens and a new earth just as He promised - [a world]
where righteousness dwells.        2nd Peter 3:12b-13

On that blessed future day, we descendants of the first Adam who have in this world trusted in
the Last Adam (our Lord Jesus Christ), we who have a share in Him will also share in the new,
blessed world to come, replacing Satan and his followers in a restored, complete family of God.
When Christ shall have defeated the devil once and for all, and turned His Kingdom over to the
Father (cf. 1Cor.15:28; Rev.21:1ff), then God's reign on the new earth will begin at last, never to
be challenged again.

Having now discussed the true nature of this world (section I) and the extent of the devil's
authority in it (section II), we now turn to a discussion of Satan's forces (section III), his overall
strategy for controlling the world (section IV), and the tactics he employs in doing so (section
V).


III. Satan's Order of Battle

"Order of Battle" is a military term generally used to denote the force structure of a particular
combatant in any given military campaign. The term is appropriate for our discussion of the
devil's forces, given that angels in general are organized into "hosts" (i.e., "armies", the Hebrew
word abj, tsabha': e.g., compare Judg.9:29 with 1Kng.22:19), and that God's angelic forces will
one day "do battle" with and defeat Satan's angelic forces (Rev.12:7-17).

Possibly the most effective way to discuss the devil's forces is to examine them in conjunction
with the elect angels. After all, Satan's angels may be fallen, but they are still angels. There is no
indication from scripture that their physical appearance or abilities or their essential nature has
changed in any way from the time of their original creation - only their relationship to God has
changed, for they rejected Him to follow their current "lord".

1. The Current Heavenly Truce: In the middle of the Great Tribulation, God will cast the devil
and his angels from heaven once and for all (Rev.12:7-17). Until that time, however, such
conflict as there is between the angelic forces of God and Satan respectively seems to be taking
place exclusively on the earth. For example, the elect angels appear before God at certain
appointed times (the so-called "assembly of the holy ones", i.e., of the angels; cf. Job 15:8; 38:7;
Ps.29:1ff.; Jer.23:18 & 22):

And let the heavens praise the wonder of You, Lord, yes [let them even praise] your faithfulness
in the assembly of the holy ones [elect angels]. For who in [the realm of the] cloud[s] can set
himself in array against the Lord? [Who] among the sons of the mighty ones [i.e., the angels] can
compare with the Lord? The awe God inspires in the council of the holy ones is exceedingly
great, and He is revered by all who attend Him. Psalm 89:5-7
But there is evidence that the fallen angels too, on occasion, present themselves at certain
appointed times before God in company with the elect angels, and, one may infer, after the same
organizational pattern that obtained before their fall (cf. 1Kng.22:19-22; Job 2:1; Zech.3:1):

Now the day came when the sons of God [i.e., all the angels, elect and fallen; cf. Gen.6:4] came
to assemble themselves in the presence of God. And Satan also came into their midst. Job 1:6

The continued assembly on the part of Satan and his rebel angels indicates what may be gathered
from a number of other passages of scripture, namely that there exists in the angelic realm a
certain obedience of necessity on the part of the devil and his followers toward God (cf. Jas.2:19;
1Pet.3:19-20; 2Pet.2:4; Jude 6). This is not in any way a choosing for God from the heart, but
rather an enforced response (along the lines of the restrictive rules of engagement that govern the
limits of demonic activity on earth: cf. Job 1:12 & 2:6).

The fact that the devil and his forces continue to abide by these mandatory restrictions and
commands indicates that are well aware of the awesome might and irresistible power of God. As
was pointed out in the first lesson of this series, Satan has pinned his (false) hopes for the future
not on overpowering God (an impossibility about which the devil has no illusions), but rather,
through subtle attacks upon mankind (of which the temptation of Adam and Eve is the first and
in many ways clearest example), on placing God in some impossible ethical dilemma vis-à-vis
humanity which will necessitate God's unconditional forgiveness of his evil. Such an outcome,
however, is equally preposterous, since God's holiness and righteousness can never be
compromised. As He foretold as early as the judgment in Eden, God would and did solve all of
our insoluble problems at the cross. It is typical of the devil, however, to appreciate the raw
power of God, but to underestimate His boundless wisdom and impeccable character.

It may be worthwhile here to make a brief observation off the point. Would it not be grand if all
Christians shared to even some small degree the devil's conviction of God's immeasurable power
and ability? All too often we forget or fail to apply the principles of God's omniscience,
omnipresence and omnipotence, which, if we truly do believe them, are most effective in
reassuring us of the fact that nothing is impossible for God Almighty (no matter that our eyes
cannot now see these realities and we must for the present rely on the vision of our faith). After
all, God made all that we see through Jesus Christ (Heb.1:2); nothing we see would endure if He
were not continuing to sustain it through Jesus Christ (Heb.1:3); and the day will come when He
will remake it all on the day of Jesus Christ (2Pet.3:10-13).(27)

2. The Kingdom of God vs. the Kingdom of Satan: God's Kingdom has existed since the original
creation. Furthermore, the fact that it is not at this time materially and physically visible on earth
does not in any way diminish its spiritual role, either in the past, or in its even more significant
present role (as witnessed to in the person of all those who are citizens of the Kingdom though
here on earth, that is, believers in Jesus Christ in whom Christ dwells). The physical
reestablishment of God's worldwide Kingdom on earth, prophesied until John the baptist (who
first heralded its coming: Matt.11:12; Lk.16:16), then offered in the Person of Jesus Christ (and
rejected: Jn.1:11), will not take place until our Lord's return, finally to become permanent and
unchangeable when the Father returns to take up His residence with His children on the new
earth, with every enemy being finally defeated and annihilated (1Cor.15:24-28; Rev.21:1ff.).
Currently, this world is the devil's world, that is to say, the kosmos of sinful mankind under the
all pervasive dark influence of Satan and his forces. Scripture is very carefully not to ascribe this
present, sinful world-order to God. It is certainly true that in an absolute sense this world belongs
to the Lord, and that His authority, witness and influence here in the devil's kosmos are definitive
(e.g., Job 41:11; Ps.24:1; 29:10; 33:10-11; Is.40:22). As we have seen, however, in keeping with
His plan of allowing every moral creature the chance to choose to follow Him of their own free
will, Satan has for the present been allowed a significant latitude of operation in order to test the
hearts of sinful mankind, so much so that Christ in particular regularly refers to "the world" as an
area of Satan's influence and control (e.g., Jn.12:31; 14:30; 15:30; 16:11). Therefore by referring
to the "devil's world", we are in no way denying nor undermining the Lord God's absolute
dominion in every part of the universe; but to fail to recognize the devil's vast and pernicious
influence on earth as it is presently constituted would not only be a mis-statement of the
teachings of God's Word, but also a dangerous underestimate of the perils that surround us
because of that influence.

It is important to note that this "rule" over the earth on the part of the devil is: 1) a usurped rule
(based on his dethronement of Adam); 2) a rule depending entirely on God's permission (to make
the issue of free choice clear); 3) a rule limited in the main to influencing human beings to follow
himself and his will instead of God and His will; 4) a rule which is temporary, soon to abrogated
at the return of Jesus Christ.

God is not at present theocratically administering the world in an outright and absolute manner.
He did so in the past (before Satan's fall, and on the re-created earth before Adam and Eve fell);
He will do so in the future (during Christ's millennial rule, and to an infinite degree in the eternal
state which will follow it). However, during the six thousand years between Eden and Christ's
return, this world populated by sinful people, is, to a very large degree, under the devil's control
by way of his extensive and powerful influence over every heart that does not belong wholly to
God.

The devil has clearly constructed his rule and his kingdom as an antitype to God's rule and God's
Kingdom. Establishing a "replacement realm" has been part and parcel of Satan's plan ever since
he decided that his position of "Covering Cherub" was not grand enough for his abilities and
sought to replace God in his pre-historic coup d'etat (a subject we covered in some detail in Part
1 of this series). When called into the presence of the Most High, the devil promenades as if he
were on an equal footing with God (Job 1:7; 2:2). He styles himself (and so is called) the "ruler
of this world" (Jn.14:30; 16:11), and represents himself on earth as being a god in his own right
(2Cor.4:4); in this capacity the devil is the real object of worship for all false religions
(Rom.1:25; 1Cor.8:5-6; Rev.13:4-12). The devil has a "throne" or center of worship on earth
(Rev.2:13), earthly servants (2Cor.11:15; cf. 1Tim.5:15), and legions of angels organized for
battle (see section III.3 directly following). During the Great Tribulation, he will also have an
earthly pseudo-messiah who will rule over a world-wide satanic kingdom, destined to be
destroyed by Christ at His return (Dan.2:44; 7:27; Rev.11:15). In this world, the devil's world,
only those of us who have chosen the Kingdom of God over the kingdom of the devil have been
delivered from his most terrifying power, that is, the power to blind the eyes of the unbelieving
and lead them to destruction; only those who have trusted in Christ have been rescued from
Satan's realm:
To open their eyes, and to turn them away from the darkness and into the light, and from the
power of Satan unto God. Acts 26:18

[God is the One] who rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the
Kingdom of His beloved Son. Colossians 1:13

[Jesus Christ], who gave Himself on behalf of our sins, that He might deliver us from this
present evil age according to the will of our God and Father. Galatians 1:4

In keeping with our observations about the limitations upon the devil's powers and abilities, it is
important to note several key differences between Satan's realm and the Kingdom of God:

          God's Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (Dan.2:44); the devil's kingdom is temporary,
           and its demise is imminent (Jn.12:31; 16:11; Rom.16:20).
          God's Kingdom is universal (Ps.47:2-3); the devil's kingdom is confined to this world and
           limited in its control here (Rev.11:15).
          God's Kingdom is one of eternal life (Rev.21:6-7); but in the devil's kingdom, fear of
           death is an important element in Satan's continued control (Heb.2:14-15).

During His first advent, Christ bore witness that His Kingdom would not take literal possession
of the world until the appointed time (Matt.25:34; 26:29; Jn.18:36; Acts 1:3-8; cf. Dan.7:22).
Until He comes again, the nations of the world, often heavily influenced by the devil, are in
nominal control. But in spite of the devil's considerable influence, we must not forget that history
is ultimately in the hands of the Lord. All that Satan does, he does only through God's permissive
will and, in the end, cannot hinder the inexorable progress of the plan of God in even the most
minute way. The Lord God Almighty is the one who is truly in charge of all that happens in
history; He is the real ruler of the nations (cf. Ex.19:5-6; Ps.9:7-8; Is.40:23):

Who will not fear You, oh King of the nations? For You are worthy [of such respect].       Jeremiah
10:7

[This has been decreed] that [all] living may know that the Most High reigns over the kingdoms
of mankind, and that He bestows [this authority] upon whomsoever He desires, even elevating
the lowliest of men [to power]. Daniel 4:17b

Seven years will pass you by until you recognize that the Most High reigns over the kingdoms of
mankind and bestows them upon whomsoever He desires. Daniel 4:25b

His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the
peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven
and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you
done?" Daniel 4:34b-35 [NIV]


3. Organization of the Holy Angels:
a. Its military nature: Much of what the Bible has to say about angels, holy and fallen, is couched
in military language and terminology. This is not surprising. There are no non-adult angels, and
they never grow old. Furthermore, there are no "4-F" angels, so that there is no reason why every
male angel would not be permanently capable of military-like functions.(28) Just as the Israelite
assembly was, when "numbered" a warrior assembly (Num. chapp.1-2; cf. Deut.1:15), so it is
only natural for the angels to be characterized in the same way, especially considering that they
are God's servants (Ps.104:4; Heb.1:7 & 14). Furthermore, God is not only Lord of the armies of
Israel (Josh.5:13-15; 1Sam.17:45) and King of the nations (Job 12:23; Jer.18:7-10), but is also
"Lord of Hosts", that is, commander of the angelic armies (e.g., Ps.84:3; Is.6:5; Am.5:14-16;
Zech.1:3-17):

I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right
and his left.       1st Kings 22:19 [NIV]

Besides hosts, moreover, "army" (Lk.2:13; Rev.19:19), "legion" (Matt.26:53; Mk.5:9; Lk.8:30),
and "band" (Ps.78:49) are among the military terms used to describe angelic groupings. And
angelic behavior is also often described in military terms:

  1) assembly (1Kng.22:19; Job 1:6; 2:1; Dan.7:10; Matt.16:27; Heb.12:22; Jude 14; Rev.5:11)

  2) equipment (use of horses and chariots: 2Kng.6:17)

  3) encampment (Gen.32:1-2)

   4) siege paraphernalia (Gen.28:12: note: the "ladder", Heb. sullam, is literally a siege ramp,
sloping up to heaven)

  5) command structure (they take and give orders: Ps.91:11-12; Matt.13:41; Rev.7:2)

  6) signals (by trumpets, or "bugles": Matt.24:31; 1Thes.4:16; Rev.8:2; 9:1; cf. 1Cor.14:8)

  7) combat (Jdg.5:20; Job 19:12; Rev.12:7)

b. Its specific hierarchy: Scriptural references as to the specifics of angelic organization and
hierarchy are even fewer than is often supposed. Many common assumptions about the
arrangement of angelic organizational structure are based on extra-biblical sources rather than on
what scripture itself has to say on the subject.(29) Here is an overview of what we can say about
the hierarchical structure of the elect angels of God:

*) The Angel of the Lord: The Lord Jesus Christ, a true human being in addition to His divinity
ever since the virgin birth, is not an angel. It is, however, important to remember at this point that
along with being Head of the Church (Eph.1:22; 4:15; Col.1:18), He is also Head (and creator) of
all angelic kind (Eph.1:21; Col.1:15-20; 2:10; Heb.1:1-4). It is in this capacity of "the Angel of
the Lord" [i.e., heavenly "messenger" - not, in His case, an actual angel] that He appeared as the
visible representative of the Godhead prior to His incarnation.(30) For He who is "the Son of
Man" (Matt.8:20; 9:6; 26:64; Mk.14:62; etc.), is also the King of all human kings and Lord of all
angelic lords (Rev.17:14; 19:16; cf. 1Cor.8:5; 1Tim.6:15), His titles and authority having been
confirmed by His victory on the cross (Matt.25:31; 28:18; Eph.1:20-23; 3:10-11; Phil.2:9-11;
Col.2:15). This appearance to human beings in angelic likeness was particularly appropriate, for,
in His humanity, our Lord Jesus Christ, the "first born of all creation" (Col.1:15-18; cf.
Rom.8:29; Heb.1:6; Rev.1:5), was destined to become the head of all angelic kind as well, an
honor held by Satan before his revolt (see parts I and V).

                                          Titles of Rank:

1) Cherubs: As set forth in some detail in the first part of this series, the terms cherubs, seraphs,
and "living creatures" all refer to the same order of angelic creature, namely the four attendants
of God's chariot-throne (See The Satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation, Part 1:
Satan's Rebellion and Fall, section III, i). This is apparently the highest angelic rank. Satan was
the "covering cherub", that is, the ultimate "imperial guard", charged with warding off all that is
profane from the exquisite holiness of God. He was Lucifer, the "morning star", who is replaced
as preeminent creature by the Son of Man (and true God), Jesus Christ, the "Bright Morning
Star". Satan's unique guardian role is taken on by four angelic creatures, variously described as
cherubs, seraphs and living creatures (see the discussion in part I).

2) Elders: Next in rank behind the cherubs are the angelic elders (Greek: presbyteroi,
). In terms of their physical location, they are closest to the Father after the cherubs
(seated around the chariot-throne of God which the cherubs bear). In terms of their description,
they bear royal paraphernalia (crowns and thrones: cf. Is.24:22-23; Rev. 4:4; 4:10; 5:5-6; 5:8;
5:11; 5:14; 7:11; 7:13; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4). Given that they are described in regal terms, we may
assume that these (kingly) elders are mimicked in Satan's system by the "thrones" mentioned in
Colossians 1:16. Though never a set number, there always existed in Israel as well a multiplicity
of elders, chiefs or "nobles" of the twelve tribes. It will be remembered from the first part of this
series that in his capacity of guardian cherub, Satan was adorned with nine jewels comparable to
the twelve jewels found on the breastplate of the high priest of Israel, where each jewel
represented one the twelve tribes liable for military service (Levi being excepted). In a similar
way, the nine jewels born by the covering cherub represented the nine original divisions of the
angelic order (as was suggested in Part I). Now Revelation 12:4 describes the great dragon (the
devil) as sweeping away a third of the stars of heaven and casting them to the earth. Many
commentators are of the opinion that these stars are human beings, not angels (and certain
passages of scripture do describe believers as stars: Dan.12:3; Phil.2:15; cf. Rev.12:1). However,
the grounds given for this event in Daniel 8:10-13 are a "rebellion", apparently on the part of the
believers who are thrown down (Dan.8:12 & 13: pesha, awp), and such an interpretation jibes
well with the prediction of the Great Apostasy destined to take place during the tribulational
period.(31) This brings us back to our discussion of the nine jewels worn by the guardian cherub,
for the best solution for the Revelation 12:4 reference is that both angels and believers are meant
in this highly synoptic picture of the devil's rebellion and assault on humanity, encompassing as
it does all the main points of that conflict from the beginning of history up until the
commencement of the Great Tribulation (Rev.12:1-17). For when in the allegory of the dragon
and the woman we are told that the dragon's tail "swept away a third of the stars of heaven and
threw them to the earth", we are not only reminded of believers (especially from Dan.8:10-13 &
12:3), but also of angels (e.g., Judg.5:20; Job 38:7; Is.40:26 w. Lk.2:13).(32) Therefore the
statement would appear to be accurate of both the angels that chose for Satan (and are cast down
to the earth with him during the Tribulation) and also of the believers who fall from grace in the
event known as the Great Apostasy (and are in this sense cast down by the devil and his earthly
minion, the antichrist: cf. Dan.8:12-13; Matt.24:10-13; 2Thes.2:3; 1Tim.4:1). This combined
reference to fallen angels and fallen believers who are literally cast down due to prior judgment
(in the case of the former) and figuratively cast down due apostasy (in the case of the latter)
during the tribulational period can be best appreciated by a comparison of the two most telling
passages where the actions of the devil and his earthly surrogate (antichrist) are described in
comparable terms:

And [the little horn = antichrist] magnified himself against the host of heaven [both categories],
and he cast down to the earth some of the host [fallen believers] and some of the stars [fallen
angels], and he trampled them underfoot [i.e., their association with him is their
downfall]. Daniel 8:10

And [the dragon's = devil's] tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven [both fallen angels and
fallen believers] and threw them to the earth [i.e., their association with him is their
downfall].(33)     Revelation 12:4a

If angelic behavior is clan/tribe orientated (as in Israel, our memorial jewel point of comparison;
cf. the rebellion of the ten tribes after Solomon's death: 1Kng.11:26ff.), and if we posit a
rebellion of three of the original nine angelic clans (the "third" of Rev.12:4), then we are left with
six loyalist clans, and therefore four elders for each of the six angelic divisions remaining faithful
to God and rejecting the devil's appeals for rebellion (yielding twenty-four elders in toto). This
interpretation is strengthened by the consideration that the number four is a particularly common
and important angelic number:

  a) four cherubs: Ezek.1:4-29; 10:1-22 (also four living creatures [Rev.4:6-9; 5:6-8; 5:14; 6:1;
15:7; 19:4], but see section 1) immediately above for the proposition that this category, along
with the seraphs, are really identical with the cherubs)

  b) four charioteers: Zech.6:1-8

  c) four horsemen: Rev.6:1-8

  d) four restrainers of the winds: Rev.7:2

  e) four destroying angels: Rev.9:13-15


Furthermore, positing that the jewels on the high priest's breastplate are arranged in military
order as suggested above (i.e., as in Num.2:1-31; 10:11-38; cf. Ex.28:17-21; 39:10-14), then the
row of jewels not represented on the guardian cherub would correspond to the three tribes
Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin, the sons of Rachel (Jacob having adopted Joseph's two sons
as his own on this same extra portion principle: Gen.48:5).(34) As offspring of the beloved wife of
Jacob, that is, Rachel, whose womb was closed until late in life, and as the last of Jacob's sons,
these three tribes would indeed be the most likely candidates for the extra portion of Israel vis-a-
vis angelic creation and therefore also of the human family of God at large (see Rev.21:12-
14).(35) With twelve essential divisions, the human family of God thus doubles the six remaining
divisions of elect angels (and quadruples the three rebellious divisions), demonstrating the
principle that God changes cursing into multiple blessings (cf. Ex.22:4-9; 2Sam.12:16; Job
42:10; Is.40:2; 61:7; Joel 2:25; Zech.9:12; Matt.19:29; Mk.10:30; Lk.8:8; 18:30; 19:8), for He is
the God who brings light out of darkness. The relative positioning of the gemstones also has
significance as follows:




   a) There is no parallel in the original angelic divisions for the three additional tribes
represented by the third row of the high priest's breast-plate [i.e., the extra portion referred to
above]: 1) Jacinth (or hyacinth) [Heb. ,wl, leshem] for Ephraim; 2) Chrysoprase [Heb. Obw,
shebho] for Manasseh; 3) Amethyst [Heb: hmlxa, `achalamah] for Benjamin. In the encampment
order of the twelve tribes (Num.2:3-23), this group of three is stationed behind the tabernacle
(i.e., on the west), or the third position in terms of rank (corresponding to the third row on the
breast-plate). The positional order of rank in encampment is identical to the ranking of the rows
on the breast plate, and represents the priority order of appearance before the Lord God Almighty
on His heavenly throne (which the ark in the tabernacle represents):

     1) first in rank: to the front of the throne (tabernacle): east (the group led by Judah, the tribe
of our Lord).
    2) second in rank: to the right hand of the throne (tabernacle): south (the group led by
Reuben, the first born).

      3) third in rank: to the rear of the throne (tabernacle): west (the group led by Ephraim, the
tribe specially blessed by Joseph ahead of his brother Manasseh, even though younger). The rear
rank is symbolically superior to the left hand in that it indicates the special place of the guardian
(in the place of [symbolic] vulnerability: Satan was the "guardian cherub").

   4) last in rank: to the left hand of the throne (tabernacle): north (the group led by Dan, from
whom antichrist is destined to arise).(36)

    b) Comparing the angelic order to that of the breast plate, one finds that Ezekiel's entire
second row has been demoted to fourth place on the breast-plate (i.e., the gemstones tarshish-
chrysolite [Heb. wywrt], shoham-aquamarine/beryl [Heb. ,hw], yashepheh-peridot [Heb. hpwy]).
It is likely that, in the angelic order, this row represents the three rebel clans which removed
themselves from God's family and authority to follow Satan during his pre-historic coup d'etat.
The fourth position is not only last in order on the high priest's breast-plate, but the three Hebrew
tribes represented thereby are also in the least prestigious position in the encampment order of
the twelve tribes (i.e., the north side of the camp, representing the left hand position, where Dan,
Asher and Naphtali encamped). Demotion from second place to last place (and in the angelic
scheme of things, really to no place) is also a significant occurence, for second place is
inevitably the "jealousy" position, that is, the place most likely to stir up envy in its occupants
who believe that they should, in fact, be "number one". This, after all, is the basis of Satan's
rebellion, who, although he was highest ranking among the creatures, found himself in "second
place" to the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Christ, and so coveted His position that he
dared the fatal rebellion against God (which ironically is destined to result in his complete
replacement as well as that of all his followers). Other indications that this last row is also least
in status (corresponding the demotion/expulsion of the three angelic orders which cast their lot
with the devil) are:

     1) the fact that this grouping of Dan, Asher and Naphtali eat the dust of all the other
divisions on the march (Num.2:31).

     2) the fact that they are the only one of the three groupings which do not maintain contact
with any portion of the tabernacle when the nation is on the march (the ark going before the first
division; the tabernacle proper going before the second division; and the tabernacle furnishings
going before the third division).

     3) the fact Dan, Asher and Naphtali are the last three tribes mentioned in Moses' inheritance
blessings (Deut.33:1-39).(37)

   c) A rearrangement of the ranks of the six angelic orders which remained faithful to God may
also be posited from the realignment of the gemstones from Ezekiel's description of the gems
worn by the guardian cherub as they are reordered on the high priest's breast plate. This
rearrangement (see immediately below) is doubtless the result of varying degrees of merit
demonstrated by those six faithful angelic divisions in the wake of Satan's attempted coup d'etat:
     1) the two highest ranking orders ['odem-sardius, corresponding to Judah, and pitedhah-
sardonyx, corresponding to Issachar] retain their positions.

     2) order number three [yahalom-jasper, corresponding to Gad] moves down three places to
sixth (last) position (literal and relative demotion by row and rank).

      3) order number seven [sappir-sapphire, corresponding to Simeon] moves up two places to
fifth position (relative promotion by row by virtue of the expulsion of three orders; but lower in
rank by one position in relation to the remaining orders).

     4) order number eight [nophekh-carnelian, corresponding to Reuben] moves up four places
to fourth position.

     5) order number nine [bareqeth-emerald, corresponding to Zebulun] moves up six places to
third position (most impressive promotion, from dead last to first row).




While we are not given the names of the six surviving and three expelled angelic orders, we can
at least glean something about the course of events during the devil's prehistoric attempt to
replace God as ruler of the universe. The fact that several orders defected to him is clear enough,
but it is interesting to observe that the degree of commitment and energetic, meritorious service
on God's behalf on the part of those orders that remained faithful was relative. Some (sardius and
sardonyx) fulfilled the expectations of their preeminent rank. Others (emerald preeminently, but
also carnelian) exceeded the expectations their positions suggested. And still others (most
dramatically jasper, but also sapphire in a relative sense) displayed an underwhelming lack of
zeal. Thus is it ever so. We shall have occasion in the near future to study the seven historical
eras of the Church represented by the seven churches of Revelation and shall note the several
separate trends that have (and presently are) playing out in history. But as with the various
responses of the angelic orders who chose for God, so with individuals in the church: some
match, some exceed and some fall short of the expectations and opportunities which God
provides.(38) All are rewarded with inclusion in the family of God, but great reward attends those
who meet and exceed the grace opportunities God has given:

Many who are first will be last, and the last first.   Mark 10:31

3) Archangels: "Archangel" is a Greek word, a combination of the two roots arch- (rule/ruler)
and angel- (angel), and is almost certainly a rendering of the Hebrew word sar, meaning prince
or chieftain.(39) Although scripture only mentions one archangel by name, i.e., Michael (Jude 9),
the mention of other unnamed sariym ("princes") in Daniel chapter ten indicates a plurality of
archangels (Dan.10:13; 10:20-21; 12:1).(40) We can also glean from the usage in Daniel chapter
ten (as well as from the use of the word sar for human leaders elsewhere in the Hebrew Old
Testament) that sar ("prince" or "archangel") is a martial office; hence the need for a distinction
between this military designation and other non-military angelic offices (for example, the special
attendants of God, the cherubs). The situation outside of the book of Daniel confirms this
impression:

  a) the archangel of 1st Thessalonians 4:16 shouts a command for the dead to rise (followed by
a military trumpet blast commanding assembly).

  b) Michael in Jude 9 fights with Satan over Moses' body.

  c) in Revelation 12:7, Michael leads "his angels" in battle against the devil and his forces,
successfully driving them from heaven down to the earth.

As the last two examples indicate, Michael, as the archangel of Israel (Dan.10:13: "Michael your
[plural = Israel] prince"; 10:20; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev.12:7, where the description of his victory over
the devil is sandwiched inside the allegory of the "woman" Israel), holds a unique position
among the unnamed number of archangels (or "princes"), both elect and fallen:

  a) he is the protector of God's preeminent people (into whom we gentiles are grafted by grace:
Dan.12:1; Rom.11:11-24).

  b) he is the only named sar/archangel (Dan.12:1; Jude 9).

   c) he is not only called "one of the great princes" (Dan.10:13), but also "the great prince who
stands over your people" (Dan.12:1).

Finally, we should also understand the angelic "rulers" or archai of the epistles of Paul to be
archangels (1Cor.15:24; Eph.1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col.1:16; 2:10; 2:15; also the "angels" of
1Pet.3:22, where the arch- part is left out), the -angelos part of their title being omitted as
unnecessary (and potentially confusing) since in all of the instances cited, they are mentioned in
company with other angelic ranks.(41)

4) Authorities: Along with the two following categories, the majority of scriptural mentions of
these angelic offices are references to fallen angels, but the designations are valid for elect angels
as well (e.g., Eph.1:21), and so may be taken as part of the original hierarchical structure.
"Authority" (Greek: , exousia) is a somewhat lower rank than that of archangel, but, as
their name implies, these angels are invested with significant spheres of operational authority.
We may take them as high-level commanders, subordinate to the archangels (indeed, the archai
are usually only mentioned in tandem with the exousiai: 1Cor.15:24; Eph.1:21; 3:10; Col.1:16;
2:10; 2:15; 1Pet.3:22 [where angeloi = {arch}-angeloi]), but with significant numbers of
subordinates of their own.

5) Powers: In three places (1Cor.15:24; Eph.1:21; 1Pet.3:22), a third category of ranking angel is
mentioned: that of "power" (Greek: , dynamis). The meaning is of an angel of some
considerable ability and command authority (undoubtedly with a significant number of
subordinates), higher in importance than the rank and file, yet considerable lower than the
superior "authorities". In Ephesians 6:12, these angels (at least in the Satan's order of battle) are
referred to as "world-powers" (Greek: , kosmokratores), emphasizing their
control as limited to the devil's "cosmos".

6) Spirits: Rank and file angels, that is, angels of no special or significant rank or position, are
often referred to simply as "angels" and also quite frequently as "spirits" (the term "demon"
being reserved for rank and file angels of the devil's forces; this is also true of the term kyriotes,
or "lord[ship]",on which see below, section III.4.6). The vast majority of angels, elect and fallen,
belong to this category. Of the elect rank and file we must observe that, just as is the case in the
Body of Christ, these "private soldiers" are no less significant in God's eyes or less important in
the accomplishment of His plan (cf. 1Cor.12:12ff.). This becomes even more obvious when we
consider some of the special functions and general services entrusted to individual spirits often
designated simply as "angels":

                                 Special functions of elect angels:

1) Restraining (as agents of God): of the Winds: Revelation chapter 7 (cf. Michael in Dan.12:1).

2) Watching (as agents of God): the horsemen watchers of Zechariah chapter 1, and four chariot
watchers of Zechariah chapter 6 who observe events on earth on behalf of the Lord (this function
is also referred to in Dan.4:13, 17, 23, under the Aramaic title of "watcher": 'iyr).

3) Judgment (as agents of God): the seven angels with the seven trumpets (Rev.8:6ff) and the
Bowl carriers of Revelation chapters 15-16 are prime examples of angels who carry out the
Lord's decreed destructions (cf. also Gen.19:1ff; Ezek.9; Rev.7:3; 14:18; 16:5).

                                  General service of elect angels:

1) to Churches (as ministers of God): We know from Revelation chapters 2-3 that local churches
have individual angels assigned to them, no doubt for oversight, guidance and protection (as the
context of the seven churches indicates).

2) to Believers (as ministers of God): Much extra-biblical speculation exists on the topic of
"guardian" angels. What we can say for certain is that scripture does indicate a definite role for
angels in the protection, guidance and oversight of individuals (see especially Gen.32:1;
2Kng.6:16-17; Ps.91:11-12; Dan.6:22; Matt.4:11; 18:10-11; Lk.16:22; Act 12:15; Heb.1:14).

3) for Special Tasks (as ministers of God): As servants of the Lord God (Ps.103:21; Heb.1:7 &
14), angels are entrusted with a variety of tasks in the accomplishment of His will. Some of those
recorded in scripture include:

   a) escorting the spirits of believers to heaven [currently; prior to Christ's ascension, escort to
the subterranean paradise] (2Kng.2:11-12; Lk.16:22).

  b) escorting believers to their resurrection-rendezvous with Christ at His return (compare
Lk.17:35 with 1Thes.4:16-17).

  c) escorting of inspired believers in visions (Rev.17:3; 21:9-10; cf. 2Cor.12:4; Rev.4:1-2).

  d) providing manna during the years of the Exodus (Ps.78:25).

  e) rescuing believers (1Kng.6:16-17; Dan.6:22; Acts 5:19; 12:1ff.).

  f) making proclamations and communicating with believers on God's behalf (Matt.28:5-7;
Lk.2:8-15).

  g) praising God (Neh.9:6; Rev.5:11ff.)

Despite the wealth of information scripture provides about angels, elect and fallen, the Bible's
treatment of that subject is neither exhaustive nor comprehensive. There is much more that we
would like to know and many questions we would ask if we could. There are certainly grounds
for the Bible's lack of full disclosure on the topic. Non-scriptural speculation throughout the ages
has been responsible for many a full-blown system of angelic worship. From ancient Gnosticism
to modern, more "respectable" religions, there has always been a tendency outside of true
Christianity to glorify angels and so, for all intents and purposes, to worship them (exactly the
result which the quondam ranking angel, Satan, has always craved for himself). Much of the
Pauline epistles Colossians and Ephesians are devoted to refuting gnostic teachings (e.g.,
Col.2:8-10; see also Eph.1:23; 3:19; 4:10; Col.1:19; 1:25ff.; 2:2; 2:20-23), and the epistle to the
Hebrews goes to great lengths to emphasize Christ's superiority to angels (see esp. chapter 1-2).
In short, as fascinating as the topic may be to some, we must never forget that angels, despite
their present superiority, are creatures too, and that all glory belongs to the Creator (Rom.1:25):

Let no one gain control over your life, desiring to [enslave you to himself] through a show of
false humility and the adoration of angels, basing his approach on what he has [allegedly] seen
while puffed up by his own fleshly thoughts, yet not embracing the Head [Christ]. For it is from
this Source that the entire body [the Church] is [truly] supplied and instructed through [all] its
joints and sinews, and [thus] produces the growth that God has given. Colossians 2:18-19

And I, John, am the one who saw and heard these things. And when I had seen and heard them, I
fell down at the feet of the angel who was showing them to me in order to worship him. And he
said to me, "Don't do this! I am a fellow servant of your brethren and of the prophets and of
those who keep the words of this book. Worship God!        Revelation 22:8-9



4. The Organization of the Fallen Angels:

The first point to be made about the devil's angels is that in purely physical terms they do not
seem to differ in any way from the elect angels. Whatever properties, whatever abilities,
whatever general physical characteristics are possessed by the one class seem to be entirely
similar in the other. The notion that the devil and his demons are horrible in their appearance is a
fancy for which there is no trace of biblical support. On the contrary, scripture tells us that it is
the devil 's practice to try and pass himself off as a true minister of God whenever possible, and
that it should come as no great surprise that his minions do likewise (2Cor.11:14-15). Where the
two groups do differ - and this is no small point - is in their moral character. For while the elect
have chosen to remain faithful to God and serve him, the followers of Satan (usually referred to
as "fallen" angels) have chosen to rebel against God and serve Satan instead. And as it is
certainly the case in human kind, the gulf between those who have chosen to reject the good
(inherent in both the person of God and also in the moral law that permeates His creation) and
those who have chosen to respect, to follow and to embrace it is very wide indeed. The
difference between the ministrations of a holy angel and the attacks of a reprobate demon are
entirely a matter of allegiance, the former to God, the latter to the devil.

Therefore just as there are great similarities between the elect and fallen angels in basic
characteristics, yet a huge divide in the area of behavior (toward God and thus as well toward
mankind whose hearts constitute the present battleground between the two opposing sides as we
shall discuss in detail below), so also we see on the one hand a considerable degree of similarity
in organization between the two groups, and yet significant differences as well. These
differences can be attributed not only to the sharply disparate missions of the two camps (serving
and opposing God respectively), but also to definite imperfections in the devil's reorganization of
his forces (versus the perfect, original organization of God).

Satan, it will be recalled from our discussion in Part 1 of the present series, used a two-fold
strategy to build a following in his attempted coup d'etat against the Lord God, offering not only
pseudo-incarnation to all who followed him (against the natural order and specific orders of
God), but also promising a share in his rule. This second element, promotion in rank and realm,
is no doubt being honored by him, at least in form, under his present organizational scheme. We
may therefore posit a significant increase -- indeed, an inflation of ranks and ranking officers in
the devil's hierarchy partly as a result of Satan's desire (and need) to reward powerful and/or
influential members of his following with suitable plums, much in the same way that a liege lord
would entitle a useful subordinate. To carry the analogy a step further, a useful expedient in such
cases has always been to assign newly promoted lieutenants of this sort a particular territory to
administer, especially when said territory was not entirely (or not at all) under the lord's present
control.

The devil seems to have divided up planet earth in a similar way. Therefore, when we hear in the
book of Daniel (Dan.10:13 & 20) about "the prince of Greece" and "the prince of Persia", clear
references in the context to adversarial angelic beings (see below), we are doubtless dealing in
the main with tangible (if loosely held and impermanent) rewards bequeathed by Satan on some
of his more prominent subordinates. The kingdoms and territories of this kosmos have been
divided up by Satan and portioned out to his minions (no doubt in a highly political and therefore
less than perfect way). Retention and degree of domination over individual areas of the globe
will then be dependent on a number of factors, not the least of which will be the ability,
resourcefulness and determination of the devil's followers. That is why Satan's statement to
Christ to the effect that all the kingdoms of the world have been "handed over" to him and that he
is free to give them to whomever he wishes (Matt.4:8-9; Lk.4:5-7) is, like so many of the devil's
lies, in some sense true (though in its totality it is a clever lie): Adam's fall did indeed leave the
door open for Satan to usurp his God-given rule over the earth, and the devil has done so to a
large degree, so much so that our Lord would call him "the prince of this world" (kosmos:
Jn.12:31; cf. 2Cor.4:4). However, the degree to which the devil is able to exercise this rule, as
we have by now pointed out many times, is far from absolute. For it is limited by the over-
arching will of God, the free will of mankind (ever protected by God through various grace
means) - and also by the imperfections of the devil, his followers, and their overall organization,
tactics and strategy. Created perfect by a perfect God, the devil and his angels have corrupted
themselves through rebellion against God, and the arrogance, jealousy and avarice under the
influence of which they are now operating (to name but a few of the sinful trends manifest in
their collective behavior), make for serious imperfections in all three of these areas. The devil's
overall strategy (and how it matches up against God's plan) will form the main thrust of Part 5 of
this series. The tactics employed by the devil are the subject of sections IV and V below. His
organization, as best we can reproduce it based upon the biblical evidence is as follows:

   1) Satan (cherub level): The devil was originally a cherub, first in rank among the elect angels,
and second only to the theophanic manifestation of the second Person of the Trinity, that is, our
Lord Jesus Christ appearing as The Angel of the Lord.(42) In God's system, Satan has now been
replaced by the four cherubs who continually attend God. In his own system, the devil represents
himself as being God - this is clear from all his words and deeds, from his original coup d'etat
which attempted to replace God (see Part 1 of this series), to his present representation of himself
as the god of this world (2Cor.4:4; cf. Jn.12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Eph.2:2), to his predicted
appointment and possession of the antichrist, the beast who will temporarily rule the earth
representing himself to be God (2Thes.2:4; cf. Ezek.28:2). In terms of his followers, the devil is
very clearly "the ruler of the demons" (Matt.12:24), and "father" of those who reject the truth of
our heavenly Father (Jn.8:44). Satan, it seems, always has a headquarters on earth. In circa 67
A.D., that headquarters was in Pergamum (Rev.2:13). We might have expected Rome, but when
one considers 1st century Pergamum's prominence as a site emperor-worship as well as pagan
idolatry, the choice is more understandable. As we have already mentioned (and will consider in
greater detail below), the devil's power over humanity stems almost exclusively from influencing
human behavior. Key to his success has always been and will continue to be the especially
deadly combination of worship of himself (all false religion) coupled with the worship of live
human beings (to culminate in antichrist). Scripture is not specific about previous satanic
headquarters (Babylon at the time of the tower of Babel seems a likely guess), and we can only
conjecture about the centuries since, but suffice it to say that wherever men are worshiped as
gods and the spirit of idolatry runs high in any of its forms (Eph.5:5; Col.3:5), the devil is likely
to be near.
   2) Thrones (elder level): These "kings" are apparently the heads of Satan's world-wide
network for administering his "kingdom of this world" (Rev.11:15). These highest ranking of the
devil's subordinates are likely much more numerous than their elect equivalents, the
elders.(43) For rather than sitting enthroned before God Almighty (and rendering Him appropriate
worship before His throne: Rev.4:4-10; 5:6-14; 11:16;19:4), these "kings" sit enthroned
throughout the nations of the world posing as gods. In the guise of pagan deities, these high
ranking members of Satan's inner-circle receive worship from men (instead of giving it to God).
As the plural number in Daniel 10:13 makes clear (plural in the Hebrew as KJV; NIV is
incorrect), pagan nations inevitably possess a plurality of such "kings".(44) 1st Corinthians 8:5
also states there are many of these so-called "gods", confirming for us the fact that high-ranking
demons stand behind pagan religious practice. Amos 5:26, for example, equates false gods, idols
and "kings" in this sense. Given that anything men worship besides the true God is idolatry
(Ezek.14:3ff.; Eph.5:5; Col.3:5), we may expect the full complement of these "thrones" to be
numerous indeed, and present in an authoritative and influential capacity wherever excessive
human enthusiasm approaches an idolatrous pitch.

   3) Princes (archangel level): These are the sarim discussed under archangel above. Daniel
10:13 and 10:20-21 mention the "prince of Persia" and the "prince of Greece", from context not
only demons, but probably of equivalent rank to the angel who speaks with Daniel, and certainly
of comparable power to the archangel Michael, whose help is necessary for Daniel's interlocutor
to disengage and come to his help (Dan.10:20-21). Like the elect archangels, these "princes" are
high ranking military officers with significant numbers of subordinates. It is likely that Abaddon-
Apollyon also falls into this category (Rev.9:11),(45) as well as "the four angels" of Revelation
9:14-15.

   4) Authorities (authority level): This is the only rank level for which there is apparently no
additional or alternative name among the fallen angels. The best explanation for this fact is that
authorities are high enough in rank to be uncommon, but not so high as to attract special
attention in the biblical account. We only find them mentioned in combination with other
demonic officials, most commonly right after the archai, or "princes", the demon equivalent to
archangels, whose deputies the exousiai or authorities are (1Cor.15:24; Eph.1:21; 3:10; 6:12;
Col.1:16; 2:10; 2:15; 1Pet.3:22).

   5) World-rulers (power level): These are the demon equivalent to the dynameis or "powers".
They are actually called "powers" in the majority of passages in which reference is made to them
(1Cor.15:24; Eph.1:21; 1Pet.3:22). The exception is Ephesians 6:12, where they are called
kosmokratores (). The implication of their name, "those who exercise power in
the kosmos" is that, beyond any mid-level command authority they may hold, they also exercise
special powers of some kind. We may note in passing that they would likely be the type of
demon behind the exercise of pseudo-miracles and satanic demonstrations of power (cf.
Rev.13:13). The restriction by name in Ephesians 6:12 to this world shows that their originally
God-given powers/authority are now limited to doing the devil's work in his present realm.

  6) Lordships (spirit level): This is both the rank and file of fallen angels and the common
name by which all of them are described. Known by a variety of names, demons (Lev.17:7;
Matt.9:34), evil spirits (Lk.7:21; Acts 19:13), unclean spirits (Matt.10:1; Mk.1:27), and devils
(Jn.6:70), the term "lordship" (small "l") is employed for them at Colossians 1:16 and elsewhere
(cf. Rev.17:14; 19:16), because they exercise angelic, or "lordly" power, a basic function
common to all angels vis-a-vis humanity until the resurrection changes the situation.(46) Jesus
Christ, in addition to being King of the kings of the earth, is also Lord of all angelic lords, elect
and fallen, from the highest to the lowest (Rev.17:14; 19:16).

                                           Additional Issues

   1) A large number of the demons are not currently at liberty: One third of angelic kind
followed Satan in his rebellion against God (see the discussion under the subject of the elect
angelic elders above). At present, however, the devil is operating with less than this full
complement of his original supporters. As a result of their pre-flood attempt to pollute the purity
of the human line (an activity which violated the parameters God had set for Satan's attacks on
mankind, and a subject we shall treat in depth in Part 5: cf. Gen.6:1-13; Jude 6), a large number
of demons are presently being restrained below the earth in a compartment of Hades variously
called Tartarus and the Abyss (Lk.8:31; 2Pet.2:4; Rev.9:1; 20:1). Some of these are destined to
be released temporarily during the Tribulation (Rev.9:1-12). Judging from the request of the
demon "legion" to our Lord not to throw them into the Abyss, we can say that incarceration in
the Abyss for conduct out-of-bounds is an ever present possibility that prevents Satan and his
followers from overstepping the limits of behavior God has set for them (Lk.8:31).

We also know of one additional large contingent of demons presently restrained: the four demon
generals and their horde of some two hundred million (Rev.9:13ff.). These sarim (and their
army) are presently "bound" at the river Euphrates (as opposed to the Abyss). This is evidently
the site of their incarceration because of its proximity to Babylon (a place which, symbolically, is
most significant throughout the Book of Revelation). The reason for their imprisonment at this
site is not specified, but, on the Genesis chapter six analogy, some egregious violation of God's
ground rules for putting humanity to the test must be the root cause. Now the most significant
anti-God action recorded to have taken place on the Euphrates is the building of the tower of
Babel. This one-world scheme was designed to accomplish politically and socially what the
demon-infiltration of Genesis six was meant to do biologically, namely, to destroy any
possibility for mankind to seek God. Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews represents the tower
of Babel as a ramp to heaven whereby Nimrod sought to storm the dwelling of God Most High,
and it is interesting to note that Jacob's "ladder" is really a rising set of stone steps, that is a ramp,
whereby the (elect) angels make their way from heaven to earth and back again.(47) The tower of
Babel was clearly the "mother of all ziggurats/pyramids" and the inspiration for these later
manifestations of the form. But in regard to the tower of Babel, its purpose truly was
megalomaniacal. If not to storm heaven (as Josephus suggests), at least it was meant to replace
God's Name with a name mankind had - with demon help - manufactured for itself and
immortalized with the greatest structure the world had ever seen (Gen.11:3-4). The inspiration
for this blasphemous idea, its undertaking and its near completion were certainly demon-
inspired. God's judgment upon humanity was to disperse us by confusing our (at that time)
universal language (Gen.11:5-9). God's judgment upon the demon armies supporting this
operation was to imprison them at the site until the future events of Revelation chapter nine take
place. That is, until the time when a new "universal" Babylon (the kingdom of antichrist) is
similarly in process of attempting to forcibly unite the entire human race for evil purposes (cf.
Dan.2:42-43).

   2) The demons differ from one another in terms of degree of wickedness: In our discussion of
the elect elders above, we noted that the degree of performance of the faithful angelic orders
differed (as different individuals and orders demonstrated everything from zealous to lukewarm
support for the Lord in the face of Satan's attempted coup). A similar situation obtains in the case
of the fallen angels in that they too are subject to personal differentiation. There are apparently
varying degrees of depravity among the demons (Matt.12:45; Lk.11:26), and varying degrees of
persistence in that depravity (Matt.17:21). The point should be made in this connection that the
"less evil" demons are in no wise less subject to the judgment of eternal damnation because of
their lesser evil: evil is evil. In the same way, eternity will find not only the Caligulas and the
Hitlers in hell, men who are remarkable for the exceptional evil they committed (relative
"goodness" is nothing; only the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ brings
salvation). No, all who have rejected God (by rejecting His Son) are unfit for the kingdom of
heaven, regardless of their manner of life. In the angelic realm, eternal security is based upon the
decision to choose for God rather than for Satan; in the human realm, it is based upon choosing
Jesus Christ over the devil's world.

5. God's Employment of Evil Spirits: Satan and his demonic forces can do nothing apart from the
permissive will of God. For His own purposes, purposes having to do with His own glory and the
principle of free will, human and angelic (which we have discussed in detail in Part 3 of this
series), God allows the devil to operate within certain specified parameters. What, then, if He
should use Satan and his minions in the furtherance of His plan? In one sense, everything that
happens is part of the plan of God for the ultimate possible good (Rom.8:28). It is thus of no
great moment if He should choose to make specific use of evil spirits to accomplish His own
perfect will. As Christ gave instructions not to prevent those doing God's will out of whatever
motivation (Lk.9:50; cf. Phil.1:18), and as the apostle Paul on occasion made use of the
inclinations of demonic forces for divine ends (1Cor.5:5; 1Tim.1:20), so there are a number of
instances in scripture where God clearly employs the devil's minions for His own perfect
purposes, by allowing them to perform mischief that would otherwise be denied to them:

  a. God's permissive testing of Job (Job 1:12; 2:6).

  b. The evil spirit sent by God to Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem (Jdg. 9:23).

  c. The evil spirit from the Lord who vexes Saul (1Sam.16:14; 18:10).

  d. The Lord inciting David to number the people through Satan (2Sam.24:1 with 1Chrn.21:1).

  e. Micah's story of the evil spirit who volunteers to deceive the king (1Kng.22:19-23).

  f. The unleashing of demonic forces to warn and to punish the earth during the tribulation
(Rev.9:1-19).
Every action Satan and his subordinates have ever taken has been fully anticipated by God and,
indeed, incorporated into His plan. The fact that God can, in the furtherance of that plan, even
employ, at will, His sworn enemies is indicative of the complete degree of control He has over
all the events that are transpiring in the world (or ever have, or ever will).

6. Angelic Combat: Open warfare will not break out in heaven until mid-way in the (future)
tribulational period when Satan and his angels will be ejected from heaven and hurled to the
earth (Rev.12:7-9). At the present time, there is an uneasy truce in the heavenly realms. Although
angelic conflict is apparently incessant upon the earth (consider Daniel chapter 10), with elect
angels and fallen angels struggling with each other in an invisible warfare (2Kng.6:17), Satan
and his followers are at present free to appear before God (and the devil makes full use of this
opportunity to accuse believers: Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7; Lk.22:31; Rev.12:10).

The actual course of Satan's rebellion and God's defeat of it is the subject of Part 5 of this series,
but it will be helpful at this point to note what scripture has to say about the manner of angelic
combat. In the first place, angels, as non-corporeal beings, cannot be "killed" in the way that
human beings can. Our earthly perspective on such things is entirely (if understandably) at odds
with the way God's universe actually works. All men and all angels will continue to exist from
the point of their creation on for all eternity. In the case of angels, they will continue as spiritual
beings. In the case of human beings, we will continue as corporeal-spiritual beings, but with our
bodies passing through an interim stage (be it in heaven or hell) before final resurrection when
we shall possess permanent bodies that will not be capable of destruction (a fact true for
unbelievers, destined to inhabit the lake of fire forever, as well as for believers, destined to
inhabit the New Jerusalem with God forever).(48) Human beings can be wounded (with obvious
temporal effects) and even killed in battle. Yet in the context of God's progressive conquest of
the devil, the event that forms the back-drop for all human history, death is a transition for us
from one phase of our existence (time - where we make our critical choices vis-a-vis God and
His Son) to the next (eternity, an existence either of eternal life or of the second death). We do
not cease to exist after death, even if we have rejected God in life (although the horror of eternity
apart from God is something that should motivate every believer to personal evangelism). After
death, like the angels, we are no longer subject to the kind of bodily damage that is ever a
concern here on earth. This is how it is with the angels. In all their warfare and conflict, they
cannot be destroyed, and there is no scripture to suggest that they can be damaged or wounded.

Angelic combat consists, therefore, not in destroying or damaging each other, but rather in
hindering each other from certain actions or, alternatively, compelling one another to certain
actions. The angel who visits Daniel in chapter 10 of that book is at first kept from coming by
demon opposition (Dan.10:13a), then helped (i.e., the hindering demons are forced to relent) by
Michael (along, no doubt, with forces under his command: Dan.10:13b; 10:21). The actions of
the unseen angelic forces supporting Elisha against the king of Aram (2Kng.6:17), the
(unrealized in this instance) actions of the legions of angels at our Lord's disposal (Matt.26:53),
or any of the many actual angelic appearances and operations documented in scripture (and the
innumerable instances not recorded in the span of human history) all entail, potentially at any
rate, the necessity of such combat against satanic forces wishing to oppose God's will. Michael,
for example, was not allowed to collect the body of Moses without a fight (Jude 9).(49) Earth, and
more precisely, mankind is at issue now, with Satan and the demons vying with the elect angels
of God for control of the hearts of men. Jacob's vision of the angelic siege ramp or military
highway (see note 47) stretching up to heaven to the presence of God (Gen.28:10-19; cf. Jn.1:51)
makes the situation very clear: it is the earth (not the heavens) that is being contested.(50) While
the world may, in the sense of gross diabolical influence, be in the power of the devil, God's
overarching control is absolute (see section III.2 above), and He keeps a close watch on the earth
by means of His angelic servants (e.g., Ps.91:11-12; Zech.1:9-17; 6:1-8; Rev.7:1-4; see also
section III.3 above: General service of elect angels). Mid-way through the tribulation, Satan and
his followers will be forced out of heaven (and restricted to earth) by elect angels under
Michael's command (Rev.12:7-17).

At present, being incarcerated is the worst fate that can befall Satan's angels. The "legion" of
demons about to be ejected by our Lord from the demoniac at Gadara frantically begged Christ
not to have them confined in the Abyss (Lk.8:31: the imperfect tense connoting repeated action).
As we have seen, a goodly number of demons are now imprisoned (in the Abyss; at the river
Euphrates), and will be joined by Satan (along with his followers) following our Lord's return at
the second advent (Rev.20:1-3). Ultimately, all of God's enemies will come to occupy the lake of
fire (Rev.20:10). Like reprobate human beings, the devil and his angels will not be destroyed, but
will be relegated to this terrible place forever.

Our Lord, in His victory at the cross and in His resurrection, has become in His humanity
superior to all angels in every way (cf. Eph.1:20-21; Col.1:16-17; 2:9-10; 2:15; 1Pet.3:22;
Heb.1:1-2:18). As His body, the Church, we believers share in this superiority positionally and,
in the resurrection, will do so experientially. This superiority is not only one of rank, but also of
abilities. In terms of our future superior rank, we shall sit in judgment over individual fallen
angels (1Cor.6:3; Rev.20:4; cf. Matt.19:28). It is unclear whether resurrected humans will be in
any way involved in physically depositing demons in the Abyss or the lake of fire (elect angels
do this where such activity is recorded: Rev.20:1-3; cf. Rev.9:1-3; 12:7-9), but given the superior
properties our resurrection bodies, we will certainly be capable of it:

And it will come about on that day [i.e., the 2nd Advent] that the Lord will visit punishment upon
the host of the [heavenly] heights in the [heavenly] heights [i.e., the fallen angels], and upon the
kings of the earth upon the earth [i.e., antichrist's elite following]. And they will be crowded into
a crowd, like prisoners in a dungeon, and imprisoned in a prison, and after many days they will
be punished. Isaiah 24:21-22

7. Believers vs. Unbelievers: Finally, included in the devil's order of battle are a vast number of
living human beings. We have noted above (and will consider in greater detail below) that the
primary way the devil and his minions exercise their power in the world is through their
influence upon its inhabitants. Absolute dominion over certain persons by way of demon
possession is certainly one extreme form of control, but an even more insidious and widespread
method of swaying the will of individuals and thereby affecting the course of events is that of
demon influence. Demon influence (covered in section V below) is the propagation of demon
doctrine (covered immediately below in section IV). Such influence need not be direct. Whether
the thinking Satan and company wish to promulgate be grossly and obviously anti-God (e.g.,
religion), or merely subtle disinformation (e.g., philosophy), it matters little whether the object
has had a demon whisper in his ear or has simply read a book or watched a television show. The
result, in both cases, is the same for all who believe the lie, whatever the source: enlistment into
the devil's auxiliaries. Often, the battle lines are not so clearly drawn. Unbelievers, for example,
to the extent that they are moral, law-abiding citizens (see section II.7 above), are in large
measure useless to the devil. He can only hope to keep them from Christ, and to use their
example and influence to hinder the salvation of others as well. On the other hand, nominal
believers, to the extent that they have bought into one-world politics, or self-generated solutions
to societal ills, can be very useful to Satan indeed. Of only one thing can we be sure among the
ranks of the auxiliaries (however long their enlistment and however vehement their loyalty): the
devil will use anyone he can, to the greatest degree that he can, and has absolutely no loyalty to
those who serve him, or compunctions about the destruction of those who have benefitted him:

[the servant of the Lord must] in humility be correcting those who oppose him, in the hope that
God may grant them to repent and acknowledge the truth, and that they may come to their
senses, [escaping] from the devil's trap, though they have now been taken captive by him to do
his will. 2nd Timothy 2:25-26

You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you desire to do.   John 8:44

And you [too were once spiritually] dead in the transgressions and sins in which you then lived
your life, after the fashion of this temporal world [kosmos], after the pattern of the ruler whose
holds sway in the air [around us, i.e., the devil], that spirit who is now at work in those who
have chosen disobedience. Ephesians 2:1-2

[These] have exchanged the truth of God for the lie [of the devil], and have worshiped and
served the creature [Satan] in place of the Creator, who is [worthy to be] blessed forever.
Amen. Romans 1:25

As soldiers in the army of the Lord, we also need to keep it in mind that these captives of the
devil are our fellow human beings, men and woman for whom Christ died, and whom God
desires to save (1Tim.2:4; 2Pet.3:9). Unlike purely human conflicts, where one side is out to
destroy the other, God's desire is (and our desire must also be) the winning over to the love of
Jesus Christ of all those who have been drafted by the devil:

We beg you on Christ's behalf: be reconciled to God!      2nd Corinthians 5:20




IV. Satan's World-System: Tactical Doctrine

Satan's world-system is an administrative philosophy designed to secure and increase his control
over human kind for the purpose of opposing God's plan to replace him and his followers. The
working out of God's plan in time and the devil's counter-strategy will form the subject of Part 5
of the current series. In this section, we will be concerned with the specifics of Satan's world-
view for mankind, an all encompassing system of lies, carefully crafted for maximum seductive
effect, a mesh of doctrines, teachings and ideas that the devil has employed since the expulsion
from Eden and designed to delude and enslave humanity. We have termed this system "Satan's
world-system" in order to better correlate the idea with the Greek word kosmos ("world"), the
term that most frequently references in the Bible the devil's system of anti-truth.

As Christians, we are to have as our focus in this life the Word of God, both the living Word,
Jesus Christ (Jn.1:1-5), and the written Word, the Bible (2Pet.1:19-21). Truth, therefore, is at the
very center of our earthly lives (Ps.119), and we walk according to what our God tells us is true,
not by what our eyes see (2Cor.5:7), for everything in this life is passing away, but God's Word
is forever (Is.40:6-8; 1Pet.1:23-25). Satan's world-system is predicated on the principle of
opposing this basic tenet of all orthodox, Christ-centered thought. For it is the primary objective
of the devil's system to reverse this perspective, to turn humanity's focus completely around and
fix it firmly instead on this earthly life. For Satan, every human being who looks away from God
and towards this world instead is a triumph, just as for God, every person who turns his gaze
away from the devil's dark world unto Jesus Christ is a victory:

"[I have am sending you to them] ... to open their eyes that they might turn away from darkness
and toward the light, even from the power of Satan unto God, that they might receive forgiveness
of their sins and a share among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me." Acts 26:18

Stay sober, stay awake! Your adversary the devil roams about like a roaring lion searching for
someone to devour. 1st Peter 5:8

As he proved in his cunning seduction of so many of his fellow angels, Satan has a tremendous
grasp of how best to prey upon his fellow creatures. He understands his subjects (angelic and
human alike) and does not shrink from boldly exploiting any and all weaknesses. A common
theme in his approach is his focus upon whatever it is that one of his intended victims lacks: the
angels lacked physical bodies, so he promised these to them (the fact that engineered, possessed
bodies would never have amounted to the real thing doesn't concern the devil, only that the lie he
is selling be believable: see Part 1 of this series). Adam and Eve lacked the knowledge of good
and evil, so he tempted them to acquire it (no matter that it meant their ultimate physical death:
see Part 3 of this series). Following the fall, human beings are, in many respects, much easier
targets for Satan. Instead of a narrow window in which to attack (where the temptation is in no
way connected with necessity: i.e., physical bodies for angels; knowledge of good and evil for
perfect humans in paradise), human beings outside of the garden of Eden face a wide range of
potential shortages and needs (as a result of our now universal mortality and the curse God has
placed upon the ground). Add to this the fact that the devil has a natural ally on the inside of each
and every one of us (i.e., the sin nature), and it is not difficult to see how Satan's system of false
promises and lies has been able to make so many converts throughout the course of human
history - the vast majority, in fact, of all human beings who have ever lived. Yet God has never
left Himself without a witness; all have had a choice; in every generation there have been those
who have heard the small still voice of truth and turned away from the devil's system unto God
(1Kng.19:12; Acts 14:17; 17:27).

Even for believers, however, temptation emanating from the devil's system continues to be an
issue throughout life for obvious reasons: 1) salvation brings forgiveness for sin but does not
eradicate the sin nature resident in our corrupt flesh which will continue to remain a source of
temptation for us throughout this earthly life (Gen.8:21; 1Kng.8:46; Ps.130:3; Rom.7:18 & 24;
Jas.1:13-15); 2) our mortality (the ultimate result of this corruption) coupled with the inherent
nature of the post-Edenic world (prone to shortages and requiring hard labor to produce
sustenance as a result of God's curse in sharp contrast to the garden: Gen.3:17-19). Just on the
basis of these two primary factors that largely drive human behavior in this life, much of the
depraved and godless conduct that is human history would no doubt have come about even
without the devil's help. But, inasmuch as it is in his interest to oppose divine influence in his
realm, Satan has developed a tactical scheme and philosophy of administering this world
calculated to maximize the blinding of mankind so as to 1) lead us away from truth, away from
God; 2) lead us to do his will instead of God's. While the present section will be concerned with
the devil's system per se, the following section (section V) will deal with the implementation of
the system.

The devil's main tactical aim is to increase his influence and control over humanity (individually
and collectively), and he mercilessly exploits any opportunity, any weakness to do so. The
essence of his approach, the premier weapon aimed at the battleground of the human heart (the
mind-spirit interface: see Part 3) is the lie. Satan is the deceiver of the whole world (Rev.20:1-3),
and the father of lies (Jn.8:44). These titles are suggestive of his central tactical objective: to
obscure the truth in any and every way. Satan's world-system, however, is no mere
disinformation campaign. The devil is (and always has been) out to win the "hearts and minds"
of all human beings. He is very well aware that we can be influenced, pressured, and tempted
physically and emotionally as well. Much of his system is directed toward the body with the
purpose of affecting the heart thereby. The satanic world-system is thus a network of
interconnected lies, emotional appeals and physical pressures which, at their most effective, are
difficult to disentangle.

Satan's world-system is the lie writ large, extending like a spider's web into every corner of the
globe, into every area of human activity, and thus making its way into every single human heart
(as far as the devil can bring that to pass), blocking, denying, opposing God's truth however,
wherever and whenever it can. It is important to note at the outset that the satanic world-system
encompasses not only behaviors that anyone and, indeed, almost everyone would view as
satanic, and areas that are generally acknowledged as sinful, but also very many areas that are
normally deemed "good" (see section IV.3 below). Tactically, the devil has no scruples. He will
encourage any and all behavior - what men may see as good or what they may see as bad - in
order to block God's truth and thus increase his influence in the world.

Since the fall, three facts have stood at the very foundation of human experience:

1) Universal mortality: the reality of death for all (Gen.3:19b).

2) Universal depravity: the reality of sin in all (Gen.2:17 [spiritual death - see Part 3]).

3) Universal temptation: the reality of the devil against all (Gen.3:15).

Because of Adam's sin, we shall all die physically. Because of Adam's sin, we are all born with
inherent sin (which in every case - except that of the virgin-born Christ - works its way out in the
practice of sin). Because of Satan's usurpation of Adam's rule over the earth, we are all subject to
the attacks of the evil one.

These three essential realities of human life, made clear while Adam and Eve had yet to be
expelled from Eden, are the basis for three all-important corollary principles that establish the
ground rules for restoring and building our relationship with God.

1) We need God (we cannot turn death into life).

2) We are not God (we cannot expiate our own sin).

3) God does not need us (we cannot substitute anything for His Word so as to help Him).

This basic calculus of human existence was made clear to our first parents at the fall, and there is
every indication that they accepted the truth of it. In His awesome grace, God promised, and has
since provided in the flesh, a substitute to wipe away death by carrying our sins - and there is no
substitute for Him. Adam and Eve knew they needed God, recognized immediately their own
inability to atone for what they had done, and accepted the promise of Him who would die in
their place (evidenced, among other things, by their acceptance of the coats of skin provided
through symbolic sacrifice: Gen.3:21).

Nevertheless, most of humanity has in fact lived their lives as if the opposite of each of the three
basic principles listed above were true. The reason for this is the system constructed by Satan to
turn these essential truths of human existence on their head, and to replace them instead with a
system of lies to blind mankind to the truth, a world-system designed to capture and ensnare as
much of human kind as possible. Satan's kosmos is thus based on a complex system of
propaganda which he and his demons foster throughout the world, a clever and elaborate
network of lies that at their root are simple refutations of the basic truths 1) We need God; 2) We
are not God; 3) God does not need us:

1. Satanic Lie #1: "I don't need God":

Synopsis of the devil's propaganda lie #1:

truth: We need God.

lie: I don't need God.

analog truth: Yours is the power.

analog lie: Denying and doubting the power of God.

denial: Death and mortality.

impetus: Worry.
manifestation: Greed.

scriptural referents:

Lord's testing: Man does not live by bread alone.

Lord's prayer: Give us today our daily bread.

1st John 2:16: Lust of the flesh.

counter-virtue: Faith (counter: faith in possessions, not God).

object of worship: Things.

main issue: No gain solves the mortality problem.


Truth #1: I need God. God is the only thing, the only Person we really do need. He made us to
need, to appreciate, to worship and to enjoy Him. Apart from Him, there is no real fulfillment, no
true joy, no lasting peace. By acknowledging our need for God to deliver us from the power of
death, we are led to eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. And when we, as believers, fully
acknowledge our continuing need for God in this life, He becomes our focus and our rock, our
fundamental source of strength and joy.

Lie #1: I don't need God. Those who fail to acknowledge their need for God become vulnerable
to this most fundamental satanic lie. In the post-Edenic world, sweat and effort are necessary to
sustain life. Independence from God (a reality only in the mind of those who turn away from
Him) starts when in this struggle to provide the necessities of life one doubts God's faithfulness
in provision and turns instead to trust in oneself. Christ told us to seek first His kingdom and
righteousness, and that then everything else would be provided for (Matt.6:33). If we first seek
God, He will take care of us (Matt.6:26 & 30). Indeed, in His matchless grace He provides for
the entire world, sustaining the ungodly along with the righteous in order that they too may have
their chance for repentance (Matt.5:45; cf. 1Tim.2:4; 2Pet.3:9). Hypocritically, the devil would
destroy us if he could, but puts it out that God is unreliable. The first step in believing that one
does not need God is believing that God will not provide what is needed, so that one must rely on
oneself instead. "I don't need God; what I need is money and/or (fill in the blank)". When one
says "I need this thing, irrespective of God", it really is one and the same with saying "I don't
need God". For when we put our perceived need for things (and in quick succession our desire
for them, since need is more often than not relative) before our true need for God, we buy into
the devil's first lie.

Analog Truth #1: Yours is the power. We would not last a minute on this earth without God. He
created us. He gave us life. He is the one who sustains us, who upholds us with His righteous
right hand (e.g., Ps.3:5; 18:35; 37:17; 37:25; 41:3; 54:4; 63:8; Is.41:10). He loves us so much He
sacrificed His only Son, Jesus Christ, on our behalf (Jn.3:16). Will He not, therefore, freely give
us everything we have need of (Rom.8:32)? Cannot the one who made the heavens and the earth
provide for our relatively meager needs? The issue is beyond any doubt: our omnipotent God has
the power; nothing is impossible for Him (Lk.1:37).(51)

Analog Lie #1: Denying and doubting the power of God. When Jesus addresses this issue in the
gospels, He reproaches those who will not accept the sufficiency of God's provision with the
epithet "Oh ye of little faith" (e.g., Matt.6:30). Recognizing our need for God and trusting in
Him and His provision is the smallest act of faith; failing to trust Him and His provision for this
life and for eternal life (in Jesus Christ) may start with doubt but ultimate leads to denial of God's
power and ability to sustain us in this world (in practice if not explicitly so). Once this mind-set
is embraced, self-effort becomes the new focus, and as with the gentiles who frantically seek
after the things of this life (Greek epizeteo: Matt.6:32), material acquisition now takes
precedence over seeking God (cf. Heb.11:6).

Denial #1: Death and mortality. Staring the reality of death in the face without any rationale
whatsoever is something we human beings by virtue of our God-given nature are not capable of
doing. Mortality is the ultimate issue of life, and death the ultimate concern.(52) Consciousness of
our own eventual death is one of the most important phenomena that separates us from the
animals, and, for unsaved people living in the midst of the devil's world, it is a clear
manifestation of the grace of God. For this realization of our own mortality is a powerful force
that drives us (or should drive us) to seek out God as the only solution - only He holds the
solution to the problem of death, only He possesses the key to eternal life as all human beings
inherently are aware (at least initially, as we saw in section I.2 above: cf. Eccl.3:11; Acts 17:26-
27). But despite His breath-taking grace in providing forgiveness for all mankind, in providing a
way of eternal life for all people (through faith in the One who bought us, our Lord Jesus Christ),
the terrible, awful, inexplicable truth is that most human beings are unwilling to turn to God and
seek Him. Most of the seed of God's Word sown in this world falls upon hardened hearts, and the
devil is quick to snatch away the words of truth (Matt.13:19; Mk.4:15; Lk.8:12).(53) And for all
those who fail to respond to this clearest possible appeal and warning from God's grace, Satan
has plenty of ready-made propaganda to help twist and distort the uncomfortable truth into a
more palatable lie. Indeed, once God has been rejected as the only true solution to the universal
problem of death, the fear of death is Satan's number one weapon for manipulating the human
race and for bending it to his will:

Therefore since "these children" (i.e., believers given to Christ by God: v.13) have a common
heritage of flesh and blood, [Christ] too partook of these same [common elements] in a very
similar fashion (i.e., not identical only in that He was virgin born and so without original sin), in
order that through His death He might put an end to the one possessing the power of death, that
is, the devil, and might reconcile those who were subject to being slaves their whole lives long
by their fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15

As the context of Hebrews 2:14-15 makes quite clear, the devil's "power of death" is wholly
vested in the "fear of death" felt by the majority of human beings who have opted not to trust in
God for deliverance from death. Fear of death without solution (once the divine alternative has
been rejected) is a powerful manipulative tool indeed. Fear of death (without God) helps the
devil keep the human race in slavery. As all of Satan's "solutions" are necessarily fraught with
sin, once God is rejected as the only hope for deliverance from death, the devil's alternatives
become like quicksand into which his victims sink deeper at every turn (Job 18:14; Is.14:17;
61:1; Lk.4:16-21; Jn.8:34; Rm.6:16; 1Jn.3:8; Rev.1:5). Many of these pseudo-solutions to death
and mortality will be covered in more detail below (this list does not make any claims to be
comprehensive: the rationalizations of the human heart are manifold and often complex):

1) Ignoring the issue: Total or partial denial of the problem is a common way of "coping" which
Satan enthusiastically supports. This "backing into death" becomes more difficult in times of
extreme stress or danger and as one draws nearer to the end of life as well. Nevertheless, the
ability of the hardened heart to "compartmentalize" this ultimate concern of life is a truly
amazing thing (and a horrible one for those of us who appreciate the reality awaiting the unsaved
after death).

2) Oblivion: Eternal oblivion was a hallmark of Epicureanism, and is still a favorite in many
cultures and philosophies. There is no need to fear death, according to this lie, because there is
"nothing" after death. Whether the departed person joins a "world-soul" or somehow takes his
place in a broader cultural or biological whole is immaterial. The twofold idea that death holds
no terrors (denial of the universal judgment: cf. Acts 24:25), and that in some manner, no matter
how unbelievable, the person is remembered or continues in some collective fashion, provides
pseudo-comfort for those who have accepted this version of Satan's lie.

3) Pseudo-eternal life: If a person is not saved God's way - and unadulterated faith in Jesus Christ
is the only true way to eternal life - then what is being followed instead is one of Satan's false
alternatives. No matter how "good" the organizations, personae, or religions may seem (they may
even claim to be "Christian" or throw in something about Christ along with their own salvation-
by-works agenda), there is no eternal life apart from God's provision of salvation through pure
faith in Jesus. In our own society, the pseudo-alternative often takes the form of "making a deal
with God", that is, doing something "for Him" that is somehow supposed to open heaven's gates
after death. In any case, whatever form the pseudo-eternal life offered by the devil's alternatives
(e.g., higher spiritual planes; reincarnation; etc.), eternal life without Jesus Christ is just another
satanic lie, formulated to keep the devil's victims satisfied with their (in reality) untenable
situation in this life, lest they turn, repent, seek God and thus escape Satan's power.

As far as fear is concerned, the reality of life on this earth is that if we truly fear God (Ps.19:9;
Prov.1:7), we have nothing to be afraid of, but if we don't in truth fear God, then we have every
reason to be afraid (Heb.10:31; 12:29; 1Jn.4:17-18).

Impetus #1: Worry. For those who have rejected God's provision of eternal life, choosing instead
one of Satan's security-blanket alternatives, their perspective on this ephemeral life becomes
completely warped. Since none of the comforting alternatives the devil offers can completely
convince (they are lies, after all, and leave rumbling doubts in the depths of every heart so
affected), concerns about the nuts and bolts of everyday life become exaggerated out of all
proper proportion. It is difficult enough as a believer to suppress the sin nature's incessant and
insistent protests and heed our Lord instead: He told us not to worry, for God cares for us and
God will take care of us (as indeed He always has: Deut.31:6; Ps.37:25; Matt.6:25-34; Heb.13:5-
6; 1Pet.5:7; cf. 1Cor.7:29-31):
For this reason [i.e., v.24] I say to you, stop worrying about your life, that is, [worrying about]
what you'll [have to] eat. And stop [worrying] about your body, that is, [worrying about] what
you'll [have to] wear. Isn't your life more [meaningful] than food? And isn't your body more
[meaningful] than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky - they neither sow, nor reap, nor gather
into granaries. And [yet] your heavenly Father feeds them. You're more important than they are,
aren't you? Now which of you can add a foot and a half to his height by worrying? Why then do
you worry about clothing?(54) Consider well the wild lilies - how that they grow, though neither
toiling nor spinning. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was attiring himself like
one of these. And if God dresses the wild plants in such a way - here today but thrown into the
oven tomorrow - will He not all the more do so for you, oh you of little faith? So don't worry,
saying "What shall we [have to] eat?" or "What shall we [have to] drink?" or "What shall we
[have to] wear?" After all, these are the things that the gentiles [i.e., the unsaved] are frantically
pursuing. Now your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. Therefore seek first the
Kingdom and its righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you in addition. So
don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself: there is [already] sufficient
evil in any given day [without you adding to it ahead of time]. Matthew 6:25-34

Manifestation #1: Greed. Money cannot provide security. There is no true security apart from
God. But the prime manifestation of buying into the devil's lie that God will not provide you
with the necessities (and therefore that you don't need Him) is the drive to provide the necessities
apart from God, and to provide an abundance for tomorrow in the vain hope that such activity
will in fact provide security. For in spite of the curse upon the ground, the post-Edenic need to
wring a living out of life by the sweat of one's brow, God has left Man and the earth suitably
well-endowed to accomplish this essential task. Indeed, only in exceptional cases of divine
judgment (cf. Deut.28:15ff.; 1Kng.17:1) does this prove a severe difficulty, if one judges from
the point of view of true necessity. Nonetheless, the foolish, secular drive to provide for
superabundance is endemic among those who trust in possessing the things of this world in lieu
of trusting in God (cf. the parable of the rich fool: Lk.12:14-21). Now while it is true that much
acquisition lust is aimed at (or consumed in) the luxuries of life, the grinding fear of being
reduced to the point of necessity (or below) stands at the heart of greed. And there is never, can
never be enough to so completely sate greed so that the gnawing fear behind it is quenched. That
is impossible, for at the root of greed is the fear of death and the insane hope that if only
"enough" can be acquired, then death can be forestalled.

But man, though he be rich, will not live forever. He will come to his end like the animals
do. Psalm 49:12

[Alas] those who trust in their wealth and boast in the abundance of their riches - surely [these
things] cannot redeem a man; they cannot provide a man's ransom price to God. For the
redemption of their souls is too costly [in terms of worldly coin] for Him to forebear forever, that
a man should live on eternally and not see corruption. Psalm 49:8-9

And [Jesus] said to them, "Be careful to guard against every sort of greed, because the
superabundance of possessions is not what one's life depends on." Luke 12:15
Christ illustrated this principle with the parable of the foolish rich man who, blessed with
abundance, planned for the far distant future, little knowing that God would take his life that very
night (Luke 12:13-21). The mind-set of trusting in material possessions instead of God inevitably
results in covetousness and greed, and the effects of success upon this basic lust are almost
counter-intuitive: the more material wealth and pseudo-security those who have turned away
from God attain, the more insecure they often feel, or, at the very least, the more they seem to
think they must possess in order to feel secure (witness the phenomenon of the super-rich
greedily scrambling for ever more). It is for this reason that our Lord told His disciples, on
observing the reluctance of the "rich young ruler" to part with his possessions (Matt.19:16-22),
that it is next to impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt.19:23-24). God
is not a "respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34; Rom.2:11; Eph.6:9; Col.3:25), and the possession of
wealth is not sinful in and of itself, but it is certainly true that the more one possesses the greater
the tendency to rely on those material possessions rather than on God. It is just for this reason
that Jesus told this rich young man to give away all that he owned and then to follow Him: i.e., to
demonstrate the dominating allegiance that material wealth can command (to the detriment of
one's allegiance to God). The Bible has much to say about the issue of greed and its root cause
(i.e., trusting in material possessions instead of God, and ever lusting for more in search of
mythical security), and it is worth sampling a few passages here:

1) You cannot truly give your allegiance to God while at the same time trusting in and lusting
after material gain - you can’t worship both God and "Mammon" at the same time (Matt.6:24;
Lk.16:13).

2) We brought nothing into this world and will take nothing out of it (1Tim.6:7).

3) Lust for material gain makes us vulnerable to the devil's attacks, and threatens our salvation
(1Tim.6:9).

4) The love of money is a source of all sorts of evils, turning us from the faith and causing us
much anguish (1Tim.6:10).

5) Greed is essentially idolatry (Col.3:5), and its practitioners idolaters (Eph.5:5).

6) Covetousness lured Balaam into sacrificing his relationship with God for the sake of money,
so that his actions are proverbial for the deceptiveness of wealth (2Pet.2:15; Jude 11).

7) Envy is the true root of acquisition lust (Eccl.4:4).

8) The lust for wealth can never be satisfied by any success (Eccl.5:10).

9) Wealth can be a severe disadvantage, keeping us from God (Lk.18:23-25).

10) Where your treasure is, there is your heart also (Matt.6:19-21; cf. Lk.12:32-34).

11) What does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul? (Mk.8:36; Lk.9:25)
12) Your life does not depend upon an abundance of possessions (Lk.12:15).

13) Storing up material things rather than striving to be rich towards God is folly (Lk.12:21).

14) Discipleship requires the willingness to put God before possessions (Lk.14:33).

15) Wealth can distort one's perspective, choking spiritual growth (Mk.4:19).

16) Nothing is permanent, not even great wealth; great wealth merely subjects the possessor to
greater temptation and a higher standard of judgment (Jas.5:1-6 and Lk.12:48).

17) Covetousness is forbidden by the 10th commandment (Ex.20:17; Deut.5:21).


Scriptural Referents #1:

Lord's Testing #1: Man does not live by bread alone. The most basic material need is for food, so
that filling one's mouth is at the root of most of mankind's striving, even though that need and
desire can never be completely satisfied (Eccl.6:7). But it is the Word of God that is our true
bread, our true food (Deut.8:3). God humbled the children of Israel, then fed them with manna in
order to teach them this lesson (Deut.8:3). And our Lord demonstrated His complete mastery of
this lesson by enduring 40 days without material sustenance, then responding to the devil's
temptation by replying "Man will not live by bread only, but [he will live] by every word that
comes forth out of God's mouth" (Matt.4:4). For it is God's mouth and the words of life that
come forth from it that needs to be our primary concern, not the problem of filling our own
mouths. Testing and temptation in the area of material needs is the most basic and most common
of all the trials we as human beings must undergo in the devil's world. But our Lord showed us
the way. He had not chosen to go out into the wilderness and suffer this extreme privation: the
Holy Spirit had led Him to do so (Matt.4:1; Mk.1:12; Lk.4:1). This was a test from the Father
that not only demonstrated Christ's willingness to put the will of God before His own physical
well-being, even in extreme circumstances, but also to prepare Him for the ministry ahead: there
would be many times in the next three years when our Lord would often be "without" material
security (cf. Matt.8:20; Lk.8:3; 9:58) - and in the midst of an intensely draining ministry and
while surrounded by unprecedented opposition (Mk.8:31; Lk.2:34; Jn.15:18; 15:25). He had to
be completely and perfectly ready to put the Word of God before everything material, and, in the
end, even to sacrifice His life for it, for us (Rom.5:8). If we are slaves to material things, it is
them that we shall serve (Rom.6:16-18), but if we follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior,
the living Word, we will put what God has to say first, and in so doing will never need to fear
any lack of provision on His part, for He is faithful (Deut.7:9; 1Cor.10:13; 1Thes.5:24;
2Thes.3:3; 2Tim.2:13; Heb.10:23; 13:5-6).

Lord's Prayer #1: Give us today our daily bread. For forty years in the wilderness, God faithfully
provided the children of Israel with manna to eat. This manna came every day, relieving their
hunger and fulfilling their needs. It could not be saved up (except for the double portion to be
gathered on the day before the Sabbath: Ex.16:4-5). For the exodus-generation, there could be no
anticipation of future need - they had to trust God every day, and He was faithful, every day.
When our Lord taught us to pray this prayer, "Give us today our bread for the day to come"
(Matt.6:11; cf. Lk.11:3), He was reminding us that though we may think we have resources
beyond the day at hand, only God knows what will come to pass. In God's reality, we are given
only one day at a time, and we need His provision every day in the same way. Manna stored up
for use beyond the day at hand rotted immediately (again, with the exception of the Sabbath
portion: Ex.16:20). In the same way, all earthly wealth will rot (not immediately, perhaps, but
ultimately: Jas.5:2-6; 2Pet.3:7-13). What we need, what we truly need, is not a superabundance
of wealth and the physical means of life - God knows we have need of these things and freely
supplies us with them on a day by day basis. What we need is to remember Him who is the
source of all our provision. Moreover, as important as literal bread is for sustaining life, as
followers of Jesus Christ our need for Him, the true bread of life, is greater still. Even more than
food, we need the daily bread of the Word of God that teaches us about and brings us into ever
closer fellowship with the Bread of Life Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ (Jn.6:32-58). God rained
manna upon the children of Israel, but they did not learn to love the One who gave it (Ps.78:32).
Jesus fed thousands with a few loaves and fishes, but those who ate did not appreciate the One
who provided the food (Jn.6:60-66). For the Maker of heaven and earth, providing for our
physical life day by day is a very easy thing. Though He needs must command the ravens to
bring us meat, nothing is impossible for Him. More than this, He has given us the true Bread of
Life, Jesus Christ, through whom we have eternal life. What is problematic is our response. Will
we learn that we need Him more than bread? Will we learn to trust Him to be faithful in fulfilling
all our needs? Will we finally learn that spiritual sustenance is far more important than the
material things of this world?

Be laboring - not for the food that passes away - but for the food that will stay [with you] unto
eternal life, [food] the Son of Man will give you. John 6:27

1st John 2:16 #1: Lust of the flesh. Our body has needs, and it is not shy about communicating
them. As possessors of a sinful nature, which indeed we all are, there will always be pressures
from our sinful flesh that, unchecked, would drive us into covetousness and greed in all their
manifold expressions (Rom.6:11-14). Satan is well aware of all our sinful tendencies and his
system is constructed to maximize the temptations to the all-too-natural lust reflex in everyone of
us. Using both the carrot of seductive temptation and the stick of fear of privation, he and his
tailor their attacks against us hoping to inflame this basic weakness.

Counter-Virtue #1: Faith (counter: faith in possessions, not God). While the devil would have
the world believe that possessions are the true foundation of security and the basis for personal
satisfaction, as Christians we recognize this lie for what it is. No amount of wealth can bring
security, for all die. No abundance of material acquisition can truly satisfy, because as creations
of God we are spiritual as well as material beings, and only God, His truth, His Son, can satisfy
the spiritual need deep down in our heart of hearts. Without God, even super-wealth only brings
frustration, precisely because, at least on some level, its possessors are aware that their bounty is
a short-lived thing, not transferable beyond the grave, and that even riches on the grandest scale
have not been able to fill the hollowness in their souls. This we know by faith, and by faith we
have appropriated the most valuable possession of all: God, through faith in Jesus Christ, the
Word of God, the Bread that never crumbles, that always satisfies, that sustains not only life in
the short-run, but gives life for all eternity (Jn.20:31).
Object of Worship #1: Things. God made us to worship Him (Is.43:7; Jn.4:23; Eph.1:6 & 12),
and worship Him for all eternity we shall, all of us destined for eternal life. But the devil,
personally having turned his back on God, wants us to do the same. Satan knows how we are
built, knows about our deep inner-need for some object of worship, so he provides a substitute.
Call it Mammon, money, possessions, wealth, or, simply, "things", the transfer of our natural
praise and worship from our God to mere material items is the essence of idolatry, for greed is
idolatry, the worship of the material creation over Him who is the author of our spirits (Col.3:5;
Eph.5:5; cf. Rom.1:25; Heb.12:9).

Main Issue #1: No gain solves the mortality problem. Satan's #1 lie is "given the lie" by our
universal mortality. We do need God. The fact that we die shows unequivocally our need for
someone to deliver us from death - obviously, no one else but God can. So at the end of the day,
when all is said and done, the means of life, no matter how superabundant they may be, are not
life. No sum of money, no amount of possessions, can deliver us from death, much less
vouchsafe for us eternal life. Only God can do that. We may have little money. We may have
few possessions. But if we have God's gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ, then we are truly rich
indeed. For, like the world they set in motion, money and possessions will decay, but he who has
embraced the Savior of the world will not lack a place at the table in God's eternal kingdom
forevermore.



2. Satanic Lie #2: "I am like God":

Synopsis of the devil's propaganda lie #2:

truth: We are not God.

lie: I am like God.

analog truth: Yours is the glory.

analog lie: Seeking your own glory while denying God's blessing.

denial: Sin and sinfulness.

impetus: Subjective arrogance.

manifestation: Rejection of God's authority.

scriptural referents:

Lord's testing: Worship God only.

Lord's prayer: Forgive us our debts.
1st John 2:16: Lust of the eyes.

counter-virtue: Love (counter: love of self in place of love of God).

object of worship: Self.

main issue: No accomplishment makes you God.



Truth #2: We are not God. It is quite a comment on the human condition that such an obvious
truth in principle is so little taken to heart in the application of daily life. For if we really do
accept the obvious fact that we are not God, it should have a serious impact upon our behavior.
In the first place, since we are not God, beyond any doubt we have no right to question or
challenge His authority. Behind the devil's initial rebellion, it will be remembered, was the desire
to be free of God's authority, to be an authority unto himself, and, ultimately, to replace God as
ruler of the universe. But before attempting to replace God in respect to his fellow angelic
creatures, Satan replaced God in his own mind, he became a god unto himself. This is really the
essence of what we shall call in this section "subjective pride", that is, the inner arrogance that
eliminates God from one's thoughts, that removes Him from the universe, as far as the proud are
concerned (Ps.10:4 [NASB, not NIV]). Such thinking, of a certainty, borders on insanity, but is
not for that reason any less common in the devil's world. Indeed, the majority of humanity
throughout history have rejected Him and followed Satan's dark path in this respect. It matters
little that they have embraced substitute "gods", whether expressly or not. Once the true God has
been replaced in the heart by self, His authority has been overthrown in that person's thinking.
When we decide to "go our own way" in this life, to ignore and reject God's will for us, to pick
and choose what truths we will accept or reject by our own will, what commandments we will
choose to obey or not, we have, in effect, set ourselves up as the arbiters of truth and have begun
to replace God - at least in our own minds. This is subjective pride, the arrogant abuse of the free
will that is the common heritage of all mankind. Instead of using our free will to respond to the
grace of our merciful Lord, accept Christ, and strive to serve Him in this life, being careful to
follow all He commands, we soon find that this willful rejection of God's authority plays right
into the devil's hands. Once we begin to question and reject what God has to say, we truly do
find ourselves on a slippery slope headed straight for destruction. Pride, the devil's original sin, is
so terribly devastating precisely because it is the physical equivalent of turning our back to God
and marching straight away from Him and what He wills for us (in our best interest though it is).
And, ironically, this subjective arrogance of choosing self-will over God's will far from being
truly liberating only leads to complete enslavement: to sin, and, of necessity, to Satan and his
will. For we are not our own, no matter how we may deceive ourselves: if we will not serve God
(ignoring His existence, His will), but become instead gods unto ourselves in our own minds, we
inevitably come to serving the devil in the end.

Lie #2: I am like God. This sentiment, to whatever degree, however expressed, is deadly to any
relationship with Him. Our power is in no way like His power. Our glory cannot be compared to
His glory. Our will cannot in a plethora of lifetimes match His will. His power, His glory, His
will are what matter in this life, not ours. We are very limited creatures, of extremely limited
means. What makes us think that we are like Him in any respect? We may claim that we do not
in truth think this, but when we disobey Him, when we ignore Him, when we set up our opinions
as superior to His, when we arrogate to ourselves choices that are not ours to make, when we, in
effect, live life as if there were no God, we are setting ourselves us as gods (at least in our own
minds).

Analog Truth #2: Yours is the glory. We are fragile, ephemeral creatures (Ps.144:4). The
grandest of our accomplishments are as dust - in time they, like we, corrode to dust. Moreover,
there is nothing we have, nothing we may accomplish, the glory of which is not rightly to be
attributed to God. For He gave us life and breath, He provided whatever talents, whatever
physical power, whatever personality strengths we may have. He has kept us alive in the midst of
an unseen warfare that would quickly blot us off the face of the earth except for His merciful
provision. There is no accomplishment, no success, no acquisition, however great or small, that
we could ever bring about apart from God's original and continuing grace provisions - and this is
equally true of unbelievers as well as believers. Even the devil's continued existence is dependent
upon God's gracious forbearance and sustenance of the universe (Heb.1:3a); and the talents he
now marshals against the Lord were given by Him (Ezek.28:12-15). No creature, therefore, has
any basis for boasting - our only proper boast is to boast in the One who made us (Ps.44:8;
Jer.9:23-24; Rom.4:2), for His and His alone is the glory, forever and ever, Amen.

I am the Lord. This is my name. And I shall not give My glory to another or My praise to
idols. Isaiah 42:8

Analog Lie #2: Seeking your own glory while denying God's blessing. Given our limited means,
our evanescent accomplishments, and our complete dependance upon God (both for our initial
abilities and continuing existence), it should be clear that, not being God and not possessing any
of His abilities or attributes, we are certainly not worthy of praise, honor and glory - these things
are all rightfully His. If we do accomplish anything outside of His will, that is in actuality to our
great shame, and whatever we accomplish within His will is, in reality, because of His gracious
provision, seen and unseen. All glory, therefore, belongs to God alone. When we attribute
success, accomplishment, or natural endowments to ourselves, we are robbing God of the glory
that is His by divine right. What makes us think we have any right to take credit for what God
has done? This is really corollary behavior to ignoring His will and doing what we please. We
are not God, but to reject His authority and then claim the glory for our godless acts is really to
behave as if we were. There is very little fear of God in seeking to promote our own glory while
denying the fact that His contribution is the basis for everything we do, whether we have used
His grace for good or abused it for evil. Now the fear of the Lord is the foundation of all wisdom
(Prov.1:7), so that when we seek to magnify ourselves in celebrity, power, fame, success and or
any of the various accomplishments of life, when we seek to promote ourselves, we engage in
the most foolish of activities, equating ourselves with Him, in effect, whether we put this name
to it or not. Scripture is very clear on this issue. All that we are (apart from our evil), all that we
have (which is good in any way) comes from God, so that we have no basis for boasting before
Him:

Do not keep magnifying your words more and more proudly, or let them come arrogantly from
your mouth. For the Lord is a God who knows, and by Him deeds are measured. ..... The Lord
disinherits and makes rich. He lays [one man] low, yes, and sets [another] on high. He lifts the
poor up from the dust. From the ashes He raises the needy, to sit them down with princes, and
grant them a glorious throne as their inheritance.                   1st Samuel 2:3 & 7-8a

I say to those who boast, "Don't boast!", and to the wicked, "Don't lift up your horns. Don't lift
up your horn on high, or speak on with your arrogant neck". For promotion comes not from the
rising or the setting of the sun, nor from the desert [to the south], but God is the One who judges.
He brings one man low and sets another on high. Psalm 75:4-7

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be
exalted. Matthew 23:12

Who marks you out as special? What do you have that you did not receive [from God]? And if
you really have received [whatever you have from God], then why do you boast as if you hadn't
received [everything from Him]? 1st Corinthians 4:7

Thus has the Lord spoken, "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, nor let the strong man
boast in his strength. Let the rich man not boast in his riches, but let the one who boasts boast in
this: in understanding and in knowing Me. For I am the Lord, the One who renders mercy,
judgment and righteousness upon the earth. For these are the things in which I take
delight. Jeremiah 9:23-24 (cf. 1Cor.1:31; 2Cor.10:17)

Where then is boasting? It has been completely excluded. By what law? That of works? No
indeed. Rather [boasting has been completely excluded] by the law of faith. Romans 3:27

So consider your calling, brothers, namely [the fact] that [there are] not many who are wise by
fleshly standards, and not many who are in positions of power, and not many of privileged birth
[who have been called to Christ]. But God has instead chosen what is foolish from the world's
point of view, that He might put to shame the wise. And He has chosen what is weak from the
world's point of view, that He might put to shame the strong. And He has chosen what is ignoble
from the world's point of view, yes, what is considered completely worthless, of no account
whatsoever, that He might do away what does count [in the world's opinion], so that no flesh
may boast before God. 1st Corinthians 1:26-29

Denial #2: Sin and sinfulness. A necessary first step in the megalomaniacal assumption that Man
is a god unto himself is the denial of human sinfulness. Obviously, inherent sin and the universal
practice of evil exclude by any definition the possibility of true divinity.(55) As human beings, we
are aware of ourselves, and aware of the freedom God has given us to respond to Him, to seek
Him and serve Him.(56) But to take this freedom and use it to serve ourselves instead of God, and
to magnify ourselves instead of God, requires deliberate ignorance of our true situation: as
sinners by birth, by practice, and (if we turn from God to ourselves) by occupation, we are
completely unworthy of worship. Not that we would be in any sense "gods" if we should
somehow be returned to Adam and Eve's pristine state (an impossibility, of course), but the fact
that we are not only not divine in any way but rather steeped in sin makes the devil's second
strategic lie all the more breathtakingly appalling: God is holy - how can sinful, corruptible flesh
even contemplate coming into His presence, let alone comparing themselves to Him? Denial of
sinfulness (in fact, despite possible lip-service to the principle) is, therefore, a necessity and a
powerful first step in the devil's plan to involve humanity in self-worship. Along with mortality,
cognizance of sin should lead us to seek God, demonstrating beyond all doubt that we are in
desperate need of help that only God can provide (Rom.3:19-20; 7:24-25; Gal.3:22-25). But
subjective pride, the arrogance of self-awareness turning its back to God and directing its gaze
toward one's own self instead, the insane belief that we are somehow on an equal footing with
God, rejects the unpleasant notion that we are sinful, and this rejection, this denial, opens the
way for a deeper involvement in Satan's world system (beyond the frantic search for material
things instead of seeking God as treated above). Pride, after all, was the devil's original sin. He
was never under the pressure of physical necessity (the impetus behind his first lie treated
above), but the desire for self-elevation, self-glorification, power and control, yes, even the
replacement of God Himself, was the object of his presumptuous sin. To think this way, God's
authority, God's will, must be rejected, and the sinfulness of one's own defiance of that will
disregarded, for to accept one's action as sin is the first step in repentance. As God's creatures,
we are all made in such a way that truth must attract us - or repel us. Defying God, considering
ourselves equal to God and gods unto ourselves, - the reality, in effect, of the self-glorifying
lifestyle - is completely at odds with owning up to personal sinfulness. There are, to be sure,
varying degrees of involvement with this the second of Satan's strategic lies. But common to
them all is the serving of sin at the same time that one denies the fact (Jn.8:34; Rom.6:16; 7:14;
2Pet.2:19). This behavior introduces an especially destructive progression which has two
particularly dangerous effects:

1) Spiritual blindness results from the denial of this basic truth of our inherent sinfulness
(Matt.6:22-23; Mk.4:12; Lk.8:10b; cf. Jesus' use of this metaphor: e.g., Matt.15:14; 23:14-26; cf.
Jn.12:40).

Jesus said, "I have come into this world [kosmos] for judgment, so that those who don't see might
see, and so that those who see might become blind." Some of the Pharisees heard this and said to
Him, "We're not blind too, are we?" Jesus said to them, "If you were [physically] blind, you
wouldn't be committing sin [by saying this]. But, as it is, because you say 'We can see!', your sin
continues." John 9:39-41

And to the degree that our gospel really is covered by a veil, it is obscured in this way only in the
case of those who are perishing. For in the case of such persons, the god of this world has
blinded the minds of these unbelievers, in order to prevent the shining forth unto them of the
light of the gospel of Christ's glory - even Him who is the very image of God. 2nd Corinthians 4:3-
4

2) As entanglement with (often increasingly gross) sin worsens, the reluctance of those so
involved to turn back to God increases concomitantly (Eph.5:6-14).

This is the [basis for ] judgment, that the light came into the world, and that men loved the
darkness more than the light. This is because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does what
is wrong hates the light and does not come to the light so that his deeds might not be called to
account. John 3:19-20
3) Finally, beyond this reluctance to repent, the denial of personal sinfulness inevitably results in
the denial of any need for a personal Savior. The world's hostility to Christ is part and parcel of
this (Jn.7:7).

If we say "I haven't sinned!", we make Him out to be a liar and His Word isn't in us.     1st John 1:10

Denying our sinful nature, our past sins, and our continuing need for God's cleansing cannot help
but alienate us from God. Accepting the uncomfortable reality that we are sinners is the first step
in spiritual recovery, but failing to accept this truth leads to blind arrogance.

Impetus #2: Subjective arrogance. We want to feel good about ourselves - that is a natural
human tendency. There is great satisfaction in walking in a way pleasing to God, for it is for this
purpose that we have been made, and the Lord is a delight far beyond anything else in this life
and beyond (Ps.37:4; Phil.1:25; Col.1:9-12; 1Thes.4:1; 1Pet.1:8; Jude 24).(57) However, just as
our need for God can be twisted into a greed for things (according to Satan's first cosmic lie), so
in this second lie the devil seeks to pervert our natural joy in God and our owed obedience to
Him into a false delight in self. Following in the devil's footsteps, internal conceit and desire for
recognition misdirect our subservient happiness in following God to a hollow, unfulfilling focus
on following our own lead, esteeming our own selves, seeking and striving for our own glory,
and measuring joy in terms of approbation accruing to our own persons instead of delighting in
the Person and works of the Lord. We are here on earth to seek God, not to seek our own
aggrandizement.

Manifestation #2: Rejection of God's authority. The essence of arrogance and, indeed, of all sin,
is the rejection of God's authority, God's Word, God's will, and the replacing of what God wants
with what we want. It should come as no surprise, then, that if we don't care to know and
appreciate God, but are instead only concerned to seek our own glory, then we will have very
little regard for His will. Rejection of the Lord's sovereign authority, throwing off this our
Maker's essential right over us, is an inevitable result of buying into Satan's lie that we are "like
God". For if we are equal to Him, then it is not important to be concerned with anything He
might have to say. As "gods", we can do what we like. This really is the essence of the situation
for the bulk of mankind, even if the logic is often expressed in reverse: "I can do what I want; I'm
not subject to any authority but my own". Law, circumstances, physical limitations and the like
may keep this essential sentiment of cosmic lie #2 in check to a degree, but the thought is always
there, ready to break forth given the opportunity.

Scriptural Referents #2:

Lord's testing #2: Worship God only. Satan's offer to Jesus of rulership over all the kingdoms of
the world (provided He would worship him) was met by this response from our Lord: "You shall
worship the Lord your God and serve Him alone" (Matt.4:10; cf. Deut.6:13). Our Lord was
looking forward to the day when God would promote Him to world rule, just as we should look
forward to the day when we will share in that rule (cf. Rev.3:21). Desiring to promote oneself
according to one's own time-table and in one's own way necessarily falls afoul of God's plan and
leads inevitably to serving the devil. Jesus would face similar tests during His years of ministry,
most notable of which among those that occur in scripture is the attempt of the people (who had
experienced His miraculous provision of bread and fish) to place Him at the head of a rebellion
against the Roman authorities (Jn.6:15). In doing God's will, Jesus not only declined this offer of
a crown, but, in the end, had to give up everything - even His life - in order to accomplish God's
will. In doing so, He made it abundantly clear that He came to worship, follow and do the will of
God, not to glorify Himself.

Lord's prayer #2: Forgive us our debts. Far from being independent "demigods", we creatures of
the Living God are in great need of His help, for we are in bondage to sin. Without His
forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ, we would be entirely and irretrievably lost.
Even more important than our daily bread is God's continuing mercy and cleansing based upon
what Christ did for us on the cross. If we view life and our own personal lives in truth, we
understand just how desperately and completely we need Him, how dependent we are on His
redemption through our Lord Jesus Christ. For God has not only created us, He has also bought
us back from the power of death and hell through the sacrificial death of His only Son our Lord.
When we pray this part of the Lord's prayer everyday, it should call to mind our weakness and
frailty, and our complete impotence to deal with sin apart from what God has done for us. Only
blind, subjective arrogance can minimize the problem of sin or trivialize God's gracious solution.

1st John 2:16 #2: Lust of the eyes. Just as the sin in our flesh provides a natural drive toward
material covetousness, so also, in response to the world we see, it provokes us to desire
approbation from the world. Everyone naturally wants to be well thought of, but this sin nature
tendency is easily coaxed by the devil out of appropriate and godly channels. As sinful human
beings, we are very much prone to want to be attractive, famous, influential, powerful, sought-
after by others in all sorts of ways. When this lust takes hold and begins to influence our
behavior, it is a very simple thing for Satan to suggest all sorts of evil means to achieve these
ends. We should desire God's approbation above all else. Does it really matter what people
think? To fulfill God's will, our Savior had to run a course that in the end alienated everyone -
except His Father. It is the height of presumption, it is blind, subjective arrogance to wish to
redirect the glory rightly belonging to God towards oneself instead.

Counter-Virtue #2: Love (counter: love of self in place of love of God). Loving God (and then
reflecting that love into the world) is the premier Christian virtue (1Cor.13:1-13; 2Pet.1:5-6).
Focusing on Him and appreciating Him is what we were created to do.

Object of Worship #2: Self. Shifting the proper focus mentioned above (i.e., love for God) to
ourselves instead and, in effect, loving and worshiping ourselves in God's place is exactly what
the devil would have us do. For once we have begun to esteem ourselves above all else, we are
easily led into sinful behaviors in an attempt to gratify that self-love (striving to achieve the
fame, recognition, accomplishment and approbation to which we feel entitled). When we travel
down this path, we not only become vulnerable to Satan's tricks and traps, but, potentially, very
useful to him as well.

Main Issue #2: No accomplishment makes you God. No matter how successful we become, no
matter how much power, how much celebrity we achieve, we will never "be like God". Though
we pride ourselves on what our hands have wrought or on the notoriety we may win, we human
beings are in reality impotent to affect the course of events. Nothing in the history of the world
has ever happened (or ever will) apart from God's all-inclusive plan and overarching will. Fame,
celebrity, success fade - often right before our eyes. Only spiritual success and spiritual
accomplishment is of any true worth, because only what is done in the power of God and
according to the will of God will withstand the test of time. His glory abides forever, but human
glory is as transient as the morning mist. For this reason, the promise of self-glorification, to be
"like God" in this life, is an illusion, and, indeed, a terrible deception.

Lord, you establish peace [i.e., prosperity] for us; all that we have accomplished you have done
for us.      Isaiah 26:12 [NIV]




3. Satanic Lie #3: "God needs me":

Synopsis of the devil's propaganda lie #3:

truth: God does not need us.

lie: God needs me.

analog truth: Yours is the kingdom.

analog lie: Bringing in the millennium is possible.

denial: Denying and seeking to replace God's control of history.

impetus: Objective arrogance.

manifestation: Self-righteousness.

scriptural referents:

Lord's testing: Do not put God to the test.

Lord's prayer: Lead us not into temptation.

1st John 2:16: Boastful pride of life.

counter-virtue: Hope (counter: hope in human solutions versus God's deliverance).

object of worship: Satan.

main issue: Bringing in the kingdom only brings in Satan's kingdom: the ultimate evil.


Truth #3: God does not need us. Beyond the fear-induced lie that seeks to deny our need for God,
and beyond the subjectively arrogant lie that seeks to claim an equality with God lies a third,
subtle step in the progression of falling prey to the propaganda system Satan has established to
bend the human race to his will: seeking to "help" God. Subtlety, it will be remembered from the
previous installments of this series, is a hallmark of the devil's strategy. It is, of course, right and
proper for every Christian to want to please His Lord as we have just affirmed in the previous
section - but only according to His will. When Paul went to Damascus with every intent to have
the leaders of the Christian community there arrested and brought back to Jerusalem for trial and
what amounted to judicial murder, on some level, at any rate, he felt that he was "doing good"
and "helping God" by working to eradicate this blasphemous sect. In reality, of course, he was
persecuting Jesus Christ and His church (Acts 9:5; 22:7-8; 26:14-15; Gal.1:13), the cause to
which he would later devote his life and and for which he would ultimately lose it. During the
tribulation, things will come to such a pass that such evil, done "in the name of God" will be
universal:

But a time will come when everyone who kills you will think that he is making an offering in
worship to God. John 16:2

The reader can easily supply other examples of evil called good taken to similar extremes, but
what concerns us most in this section is the more common, much less obvious, more subtle
behavior of "helping God" in general. Such a mind-set is, in and of itself, offensive to God. God
does not need any help - He is God! Whenever someone thinks in this way, they overlook the
obvious truth that God does not need us. He is omnipotent, perfect in every way. No one can
oppose Him or His plan - although that is exactly what the devil is trying to do. As we saw at the
beginning of this series, Satan's entire rebellion was predicated on the vain hope that God would
not be able to find a way to justly eliminate His opponents and restore the completeness of His
creation, so that He would be forced to allow the devil to remain in charge as the new de facto
ruler of the universe. In this "cause" Satan portrays himself as a hero, providing benefits to his
followers that God would not, "doing good" in effect, and so "helping God". Does it seem absurd
to describe in such terms one who has actively taken up arms against the Lord of the universe in
an effort to depose Him? How much more absurd should it seem then for pitiful mankind to
think that we can "help Him" and to arrogantly strive to do so against His will? This is the issue:
God wants us to do true good according to His will - that is what He wanted from Satan, and
what Satan had every opportunity to do in great blessing and satisfaction. God is not, however,
going to tolerate the devil (or us) deciding for Him what is good to do. It is, admittedly a subtle
point, a point that turns entirely on the will of God. Doing God's will is good, and is "doing
good" in truth. Doing what God does not will is not good, and is "doing evil" in truth. And it
does not matter if every single human being on the planet thinks something is good. God's
opinion is the only opinion that matters. Yes this is certainly a subtle point: if God says
something is good, it is good; if He says something is evil, it is evil; if God desires us to do
something, it is good and right that we do it; if He wills us to refrain, it is sinful and evil to
persist. Everything turns on what He wills. Therefore if we are wise as Christians, if we truly fear
God as we should, what God wills, what He wants us to do (and wants us to stay away from)
should really be the only issue. It is bad enough to reject His provision and trust in things instead,
bad enough to seek our own glory instead of His, but what is truly the height of arrogance,
objective arrogance, is when we take the attitude of not needing God past feeling ourselves equal
to God all the way unto thinking that we can somehow help God. For now we have not only
expressed lack of need and lack of respect, now we have reduced God in our thinking below our
own status. We must have done. For we can help Him, though we don't need Him. And He is - in
this blasphemous mode of thought - not smart enough to figure out what is truly good. Has God
not told us of His will? Certainly He has, as Paul reminds us:

Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.   Romans 10:18
(Ps.19:4)

Through his prophets and apostles, through the witness born to Him by His creation, through the
Holy Scriptures, vast and deep enough to occupy every waking moment of our lives, God has
made His will perspicuously clear. If we have chosen to ignore it, if we have chosen not to seek
it out, that is, certainly, nothing that can be charged to His account.

Lie #3: God needs us. Failure to seek out God, failure to seek out His will, inevitably leads to
making faulty assumptions about what He is like and what He wants from us. Satan counts on
this tendency and makes great use of it. For example, the world and its history are filled with
pseudo-religions and religious movements that have absolutely nothing to do with the true
Living God (though if any single person who bought into such lies had ever expressed a desire to
know Him, He would have - and has - made Himself and His ways known). Ignorance of God, of
His truth, of His Word, is one of the devil's most powerful weapons. For almost everything that
Satan hopes to accomplish on this earth must come through human beings who have been
molded to his diabolical will. And the best way to induce people to follow the devil's will is to
first misinform them about God's will. In most cases, this is not a difficult problem for Satan,
since the majority of mankind in any given period of human history has had absolutely no use for
God or anything He might say. Once the true will of God is removed from the picture, replacing
the true good of God with a fabricated, satanic replacement "good" is a relatively easy thing for
the devil to accomplish. With this third lie, Satan sucks unwitting humanity completely into his
world system. Rejecting any need for God, for truth, for seeking God and obeying His will,
human beings, blinded by their fear and self-centeredness, buy into the devil's propaganda that
tells them they can produce good apart from God, as if God were incapable of accomplishing all
His will.

How you turn things upside down! Should the Potter be equated with the clay? Should the thing
made say to its Maker, "You didn't make me"? Or should the pottery say of the Potter, "He didn't
know what He was doing"? Isaiah 29:16

Serving Him, and, in the process, accomplishing the good He has pre-formed for us to do
according to His will is one thing, but deciding on the basis of our own arrogance what is good -
regardless of what the Lord thinks about it - is not really "helping God" at all, but is helping the
devil maintain and strengthen his control over the world.(58)

For you have been saved by (God's) grace through faith (in Christ); and this did not come from
you - it is God's gift. Nor did it come from what you have done, lest anyone should boast. For we
are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for [the purpose of accomplishing] good works,
which [very works] God has prepared ahead of time for us, that we might walk in them [i.e., live
our Christian lives in the accomplishment of them].        Ephesians 2:8-9
Analog Truth #3: Yours is the kingdom. At the proper time, God will bring in His kingdom as He
has promised.(59) When Jesus Christ returns, the millennial kingdom of heaven ruled by the
Messiah's iron rod will be a realm in which good and evil are very carefully distinguished. But
we do not at present see this hope fulfilled (along with the concomitant hope of our resurrection),
because Christ has not yet returned (Rom.8:22-25).(60) God will bring perfect environment back
to the earth in His own good time, at the proper time, and with no help from us.

Analog Lie #3: Bringing in the millennium is possible. Adam and Eve were evicted from the
perfect environment of the garden of Eden both because of their willful rebellion against God
and also because of the inevitable after-effects of their sin. As we saw in the last part of this
series, continued existence in perfect environment, with continued access to the tree of life,
would have been the last thing fallen mankind needed. For only the reality of mortality and the
harsh life they now faced would bring them to God. Few things could be worse than sinful
human beings living on forever in a world where no effort was required, no death imminent.
Expulsion from the garden was necessary for God's plan of redemptive history in Jesus Christ to
progress (and for mankind to be motivated to partake in the repentance He offers). It is a most
significant part of the devil's counter-plan to offer mankind the hope of a new, pseudo-Eden here
on earth, to be achieved by human effort. But this lie is an impossibility (and one which the devil
is not really at all interested in bringing to pass). Sinful mankind will never be happy, never be
satisfied, and certainly never achieve "victory" over poverty, crime, disease, or any other of the
multitudinous manifestations of the sin nature within us all. And Man will beyond question never
"conquer" death. Trying to make the world "a better place" apart from God and God's will is an
effort that is not only doomed to failure because of the nature of man and of the devil's world,
but buying into this satanic lie and energetically embracing it is subtly, yet completely anti-God.
This is not a brief against charity or good works. As Christians, doing the work that God has
given us to do, fulfilling the promise of the spiritual gifts He has given us, is the right and proper
focus of our mature spiritual lives, the fruit, the crop that God looks for from us. All our
legitimate production as Christians, however, is wrought in the power of God by the Spirit of
God according to the will of God. If either our means or our ends are out of God's will, then any
resulting "production" is compromised. If we look to God, to His Word, seek out His true will,
He will prepare us spiritually and lead us into legitimate, righteous good works that He has
prepared for us to do according to His will. A good litmus test for discerning the legitimacy of
purported "good works" is to ask whether the ultimate goal of the ministry is truly to help bring
people closer to God, for the glory of God and the benefit of the people so helped. Feeding the
hungry for Christ's sake is very much different from feeding them for one's own personal
satisfaction and glory - God may use both efforts (His ways are truly undiscoverable and
marvelous: Rom.11:33), but let not the person who has "done good" in his own energy apart
from God think to have gained approbation from God. We are not "helping Him", as if He could
not make earth an indescribable Eden in an instant! It is entirely a gift from Him that He has
given us the opportunity to share in His good work. But if we take the credit for otherwise
legitimate work, or, worse still, if we do things against His will and call them "good", we are
only deceiving ourselves and embracing the devil's lie.

Denial #3: Denying and seeking to replace God's control of history. Jesus Christ is the only true
good - the center and focus of all God's solutions, the number one thing that the devil would like
to replace and substitute for. "Doing good" apart from Jesus, worse yet, "doing good" while
denying Jesus subverts the entire purpose of the plan of God for history and for the lives of every
individual. For only in Jesus Christ is there any solution to the mess we sinful human beings find
ourselves in. Only through faith in Him and His work on the cross are we saved and delivered
from the sin, the evil, the disease, the death that characterize this world. Claiming to be able to
do good apart from God, to be able to improve a world that God has long ago marked for
complete destruction in order to burn the evil out of it entirely, is, in essence, to deny the need
for a Savior, to deny the need for God's help, to proclaim arrogantly instead that we are somehow
able to "help God" by these paltry activities.

Impetus #3: Objective arrogance. The attitude that one can help God fix this world is really part
and parcel of a mind-set that one really needs to replace God. After all, God is not doing the job.
Along with proclaiming that he would be "like the most high", Satan had boasted that he would
"sit enthroned" on high (i.e., in God's place: Is.14:14). After we have no need of God we become
like God. After we become like God, we replace God. This twisted thinking is just what the devil
fell into, and he now peddles it to the human race (with frighteningly great success). This is
objective arrogance, that is, a pride that has moved beyond inordinate self-esteem outward, and
is now mentally reducing the true Sovereign of the universe to a subordinate role. But the truth is
that He made us all, and there is absolutely nothing that we can "do" for Him.

For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has become His counselor, or who has given
Him anything, that He should repay him? Romans 11:34-35

Manifestation #3: Self-righteousness. When we believe in Jesus Christ, God justifies us by faith
(in the same way that Abraham was justified by faith: Rom.4).(61) In this way all who believe
come to possess God's righteousness - not as a result of anything we have done, but strictly on a
grace basis through what Christ did for us (Tit.3:5). Therefore God is not helped or aided (and
we are not in anyway commended to Him) by virtue of any righteousness that we have
developed on our own. Seeking to make the world a better place apart from God and His
directive will can often make people feel good about themselves and their actions - and these
actions (especially in the case of charitable activities) may be perfectly fine and even
commendable Christian ministries (in the case of believers who are truly serving God in what
they do). God's will is what divides a righteous response to God from a self-righteous insult
against God. Both Cain and Abel offered sacrifice to God. Cain's efforts were rejected because
they were not what God wanted, not what God had required: Cain offered fruits and vegetables
which did not speak of God's coming sacrifice of His Son. Abel's efforts were accepted because
they were exactly what God wanted, what He had required: Abel's animal sacrifice foreshadowed
the death of Jesus Christ, the price God would pay on our behalf. Abel followed the Word and
the will of God in what he did. Cain, on the other hand, ignored what God had said and decided
for himself what would be good to do. He decided to "give God something", to help God, in
effect, instead of realizing that God doesn't need any help, but that we very much need His help.
No doubt to the uninformed observer, Cain's offering of the works of his own hands would have
seemed "a good thing", and God's rejection of them may well have come as a shock (Gen.4:6-7).
But behind this self-made good lurked the evil of self-righteousness, and when challenged it
burst forth into sin and murder. In murdering his brother, Cain showed that he was not at all
interested in God's will but only in furthering his own will, and when he was first "crossed", he
immediately set to destroying the object of offense, the one who had righteously done God's will
(namely, his own brother) and had thereby shown up his own self-righteous intent.

Not like Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And why did he slay him? Because
his deeds were evil and his brother's were righteous. 1st John 3:12

... that I may be found in Him not possessing my own righteousness, that which comes from the
law, but having rather that which comes through faith in Christ, namely the righteousness of God
which [is given] on [the basis of] faith. Philippians 3:9

Like Cain's righteousness, many people in this world "do good" entirely apart from God, seeking
in reality to promote their own righteousness by what they think to do "for God". But like Cain's
sacrifice, such works are not acceptable to the Lord. Instead of "helping Him", anything done
apart from His will, apart from His Spirit, is not really done for Him at all, but for self (and so
plays right into the devil's hands). God knows who are truly His, but in the devil's world it can
often be difficult for the rest of us to tell when otherwise legitimate good deeds are, in the case of
the individuals in question, merely fig leaves donned over self-righteousness and evil.

For such men are false apostles, treacherous workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And
it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. So it is no great matter if also
his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end shall be according to their
deeds. 2nd Corinthians 11:13-14

Scriptural Referents #3:

Lord's Testing #3: Do not put God to the test. The devil's suggestion that our Lord throw Himself
down from the pinnacle of the temple was cleverly meant to sound like a "good thing" to do.
After all, as Satan pointed out, scripture promised God's deliverance for the Messiah. Doing as
the devil suggested would prove 1) that God's promise was valid; 2) that Christ was indeed the
Messiah; 3) that He was not afraid, but trusted in the Father's promises completely. For you or I,
this would not have been much of a temptation, but for our Lord, this was a very subtle test. He
most certainly did believe, as He looked down at the rocks far below Him, that His Father would
rescue Him from such a fall. In fact, only some one with a complete and perfect understanding of
scripture who also possessed Christ's faith would be capable of passing this test. Our Lord
understood that to do as Satan asked would be unnecessarily doing a right thing in a wrong way.
No one would be helped (Satan was not going to become a follower of Christ, after all). But it
must have been very tempting for Christ to "prove it" to the devil, thus vindicating God (and
Himself). Jesus understood the issue and was not even budged by the request. But how tempting
for us, when we are asked to "prove it" on terms of someone else's making. It is important for us
to follow our Lord's example, and avoid the temptation of vindicating ourselves under the guise
of vindicating God. He does not need our help. We have to understand that if we "look bad" in
the eyes of the world, God can and will vindicate us and Himself in His own way and at His own
proper time. Christ would have to face the issue of the world's approbation (and lack of it) many
times. He was praised when He healed them and fed them, but when He told them the truth, as
He invariably did, they hated Him for it (cf. Jn.6:66), and when He died for them, they rejected
Him.
Lord's Prayer #3: Lead us not into temptation. Satan's pseudo-good is so subtle and all-pervasive
in his world system, that Christ advised us to pray every day for God's guidance and protection
"from the evil one" and his systematic temptation. It all started with the devil's temptation of
Eve: wouldn't it be a good thing to have knowledge, knowledge of good and evil? The fig leaves
with which Adam and Eve clothed themselves after their fall are now proverbial for this sort of
arrogant "God-helping" mind-set. What our first parents needed was a Savior to die for them, not
a superficial cover for their sin. In all too many instances, actions which, in the fulfillment of a
legitimate Christian ministry might well be truly good, are nothing more than fig leaves that
cover deep and treacherous evil. Nazism, Communism, and the antichrist's political movement
all put on a fine face to the world, but behind the facade lie only the bones of the dead. As
Christians, we need to be particularly careful about sharing in the sins and evil of others
(Eph.5:11; 1Tim.5:22; 2Jn.11), and be on the alert daily that we might we might be "delivered
from the evil one" and his most clever trap: the snare of pseudo-good that enslaves us to his will
(Matt.6:13; cf. 1Tim.3:7).

And [in hopes that God may grant them] to wake up from the devil's trap, when taken captive to
do his will.    2nd Timothy 2:26

1st John 2:16 #3: The boastful pride of life. Beyond the excessive lust for recognition for what we
do, or have, or are in life (the lust of the eyes) there is another level of sinful actively addressed
by this third element in 1st John 2:16, namely, actively boasting about the accomplishments of
satanic pseudo-good. Desire for fame, recognition, admiration on whatever sinful basis is a
passive thing, subjective arrogance. But actively parading what you have done to help God, like
the Pharisees who hired trumpeters to announce their almsgiving, is even worse, an objective
arrogance that reaches forth in a boastful way to proclaim just how good you really are, to prove
your righteousness to the world (and to God). Christ made it abundantly clear that true service is
a humble response to God (Matt.6:1-18), not a boastful act of self-promotion aggressively
published before men - ostensibly "to help God", but really only to satisfy this supreme type of
arrogance, the arrogance of assuming that your will is God's will, that whatever you think is
good, God will have to accept as truly good, that although this lust of yours to establish your own
righteousness has nothing whatsoever to do with God, that God will somehow be forced to honor
it anyway.

Counter-Virtue #3: Hope (counter: hope in human solutions versus God's deliverance). True
Christian hope looks beyond the veil of tears that is this life into the blessed future that God has
promised to all who trust His Son and follow Him. We look forward to the resurrection of this
corruptible body, to the end of toil and tears, and to the return our Master, who will rule the
world with a rod of iron, crushing every evil enemy under foot. When Christ returns, things will
be wonderful. Until Christ returns, there will be "wars and rumors of wars" (Mk.13:7). The very
notion that mankind can accomplish what God tells us explicitly in scripture will only be
accomplished through the direct intervention of His Son is thoroughly blasphemous. Even worse,
this idea of "a better world, a good world" by the planning and implementation of sinful human
beings is precisely the devil's most cherished plan - not the actual accomplishment of it, for Satan
has no regard for us at all, but it is the acceptance of this lie itself for which the devil so
energetically works. The idea of a perfect world by Man's own hand has historically (and will to
an even greater degree in the future) mobilize more aggressive pseudo-good, anti-God "good"
(otherwise known as evil) than any other scheme the devil has ever devised. For the dream of the
tower of Babel, that is, of unified mankind working together for one "good" purpose inevitably
has a single, horrible purpose at its base: freeing oneself from God - the original proposal of
Satan to his fellow angels. For those who see no hope in God (the true viewpoint of all who have
turned aside to put their hope in Man instead), throwing off the chains of divine restraint comes
naturally (cf. Ps.2:3). True hope looks beyond this life, but pseudo-hope looks to human
solutions to bring in a "heaven on earth" through blasphemously arrogant acts of pseudo-good
that invariably trample justice and true good under foot (the inescapable consequence of all
causes that disregard God).

Object of Worship #3: Satan. When he led a large number of his fellow angels in rebellion
against God, the devil did so by promising freedom from God's restrictions, a promise, in effect,
to bring about a better world. He did and still does categorize his actions as "good", and all those
who accept this sort of pseudo-good, good not from God or according to the pristine and
righteous standards of truth as set down in the Bible, but a type of self-made, self-righteous good
that emanates from the individual concerned according to his whim, are not only not worshiping
God in so doing, but have actually exchanged their Creator for Satan as the new object of
worship (Rom.1:25). For this has always been the devil's method: i.e., to do whatever he pleases,
and to call it good. Rejecting God's law and God's true good of necessity makes one a pawn and
vassal of the devil.

Main Issue #3: Bringing in the kingdom only brings in Satan's kingdom: the ultimate evil. There
is really no such thing as true "good" apart from God. As His creatures, we are incapable of
being truly independent of Him. We can obey, or we can rebel (at different points along the scale
in each category), but, whatever we do, the relationship is there. Doing what we proclaim is
good, totally apart from His counsel and His Word, without regard to His plan or His will, is
really not good at all, but evil. We cannot bring in God's kingdom. He will bring it in at the
proper time. He has given all Christians gifts and the opportunity to use them in proper, humble
response to Him. Arrogantly going our own way does not result in the production of divine good,
no matter how many people may praise us, no matter how much money or effort may be
expended. And it is pointless. Satan has a vested interest in making sure that none of the reform
efforts he sponsors are ultimately successful. His control of the kingdom of this world thrives on
division and competing visions, aggressively implemented with no thought of God. Satan
supports pseudo-good on all sides and in all places, however that pseudo-good may be defined.
In all this, the only sure way to tell true, divine good from satanic, pseudo-good is to seek God's
will and pursue God's Word. Certain rules of thumb apply - that which is organized is even more
likely to be suspect than that which is individually motivated, for example, but there is really no
way to be safe from the bane of pseudo-good apart from a humble walk of faith, informed and
nurtured by the Word of God.



4. The Integrated System: The three basic lies treated above form the essential propaganda
system for Satan's implementation of his rule over the world. The three are progressive (in the
order listed above) and, when accepted, serve to mutually reinforce each other:
      lie #1: The devil turns need to greed (common human material pressures are its base).
      lie #2: The devil turns self-awareness into self-worship (subjective ego is its base).
      lie #3: The devil turns our innate desire for God into playing his game instead (objective,
       self-glorifying ego culminating in evil-called-good is its base).

The lie is the basis for Satan's world system. He gained a following through the lie that seduced
many of his fellow angels. He re-gained control of the earth through the lie that corrupted Adam
and Eve. He exercises control over his cosmos through the lie that seeks to ensnare all of
mankind. The human responses to the devil's propaganda of greed, pride and self-righteousness
culminate in an integrated system of organized sin and evil that is better known as the chaos
called "human history". History is not really progressive at all from the divine point of view, but
actually and inherently regressive. Without organization and help from the evil one, this would
not necessarily have been the case. Given active divine restraint of gross evil (the flood being
one prime example), and given the internal mechanism for evaluating right and wrong contracted
at the fall from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the sensible efforts of good and just
men may well have moved humanity "forward", or at least have retarded its decline. As it is,
however, human kind and human civilization are accelerating on the downward spiral that has
been our track since being expelled from the garden of Eden. The wide-spread fallacious
assumption that we are now somehow better off than mankind of ages past certainly does not
proceed from a divine or even a humanistic, moral point of view. Faith is in shorter supply and in
more diluted form than ever before in the history of the world, and the progression of evil, one
may even say the astounding invention of new and more elaborate forms of evil and their
widespread distribution and availability, is in greater supply and in more concentrated form than
ever before. This trend will continue, through the dark tribulational period ahead, until the return
of our Lord. How is it that though our present world boasts less self-discipline and self-control
than ever before, and at the same time more crime, more sin, more demonstrable evil, and more
opportunity for the exercise of these vices (along with an ever greater ability to rationalize them)
that we can even think in terms of progress? The answer, of course, is that in terms of "human
achievement", things are surely different. We do live in an era of change, technological-
economic, socio-political, even religious change. And while most Christians would see many of
the changes as bad (increase in occult activities, dilution of genuine faith in and adherence to the
Bible, for example), many of the changes that masquerade as advances are anything but benign.
To cite but one example, recent reports indicate that more time is logged on the Internet in
pornography and sexually deviant activity than any other single use. Many of you access these
studies via the Internet, and there are other positive uses for the medium, not to mention morally
neutral ones, but there is no question about the fact that this technological "super-highway" for
information is being used by Satan in a most aggressive fashion. Technology is a tool, but a tool
in the hands of sinful person is at best a morally ambiguous thing. Add to this equation a world
system influencing such a person to accentuated sin, passive and then finally active evil, and
technology becomes merely a means to accelerating the devil's implementation of his will. We
are not Luddites. We cannot stop technology nor do we wish to try. Indeed, we use technology
for God's work and our own. But we would be foolish to bestow too much praise upon it, for,
like almost all "progressive" forces in history, it is in truth helping to cement the devil's hold on
his world and advance his plans for the enslavement and destruction of the human race.
Dearest to the devil's heart, as we mentioned above, is the establishment of a one-world state for
"good" (wherein all of God's built-in restraints to protect human freedom of will could be
abolished - a phenomenon which God will not allow to happen until the dark days of the Great
Tribulation). Thanks in great part to this materialistic "progress", the realization of this wicked
dream is closer than ever before. Part of the reason for this is that such techno-cultural progress
is inevitably coupled with a corresponding spiritual regression. The reason for this is simple. The
more we depend upon ourselves and our human abilities, the less we are interested in God and all
that He does for us. Technological and scientific "progress" require no moral progress at all.
Indeed, all our collective accomplishments on this score (minuscule from the standpoint of all
that is in the universe, not to mention from the true point of comparison, the Creator of the
universe) have helped to alienate mankind from God, creating a false sense of mastery over the
material world (though death remains and suffering has, in some cases, intensified). If we are not
careful to take the true spiritual realities of life into consideration (the forgiveness of our sins
through the blood of Jesus Christ, first and foremost), it is all too easy to let this dependence
upon our technology undermine our reliance upon God.

Plunging headlong into the myth that scientific, technological, social, cultural human progress is
the ultimate value is merely helping the devil to build the new tower of Babel.(62) Faith in
technology (instead of faith in God), hope in political solutions (instead of God's solutions), and
love for human cultural accomplishments (instead of for God and the sacrifice of His Son) are
common variations to the devil's theme of working to make heaven on earth. But cutting God out
of the equation is not only impossible - it is foolhardy. For only God can satisfy the true needs of
humanity: forgiveness, spiritual peace, and eternal life. Satan's offer of a re-won paradise here on
earth is insanely laughable for sinful, mortal creatures. Or it would be, if so many had not bought
into this myth. It is the height of absurdity to openly flaunt a disbelief in God (despite the
limitless witness He has reserved for Himself in every aspect of His creation), while at the same
time proclaiming unreserved faith in sinful mankind's "progress". The pseudo-trees of life
offered by the devil merely hold out false hopes. In worshiping progress, we are merely
establishing a new system of idolatry here on earth behind which is a new god: the devil.

Satan's integrated world system has inserted its tentacles into the entire woof and warp of human
life. For our purposes, however, it will be helpful to concentrate on three well-recognized
categories of human experience where the devil's influence bleeds through most perspicuously.

1. Religion and Occult: This area is perhaps the most obvious of Satan's infiltrations of influence
into the world of mankind, since it is in the field of religion and occult where the devil opposes
the truth of God most directly.

I am the way: the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.      John
14:6

Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. Before Christ, those who sought Him looked forward to
the promise of the cross, from Adam and Eve and their coats of skin onward (bespeaking Christ's
work through symbolic animal sacrifice). After Christ, we look back to His saving work for us
on the cross (commemorated in the ceremony of communion). But before or after the cross,
Christ has always been the only way to God. All other religious and/or occult systems, doctrines,
groups etc. are false paths. To approach God, we have to do it God's way, and His way is a
narrow way, the only true Way, His Son Jesus Christ. Only pure and unadulterated faith in the
Son brings salvation, forgiveness of sins, and the promise of resurrection. This cannot be
achieved by good works, by self-sacrifice, or by ritual. It cannot be achieved by membership in
any organization. Salvation comes through faith in Christ alone.

Despite the hyper-materialistic nature of the world in which we live, human beings have a
spiritual side and a deep and abiding need to satisfy this essential part of their makeup. Only a
true relationship with God through Jesus Christ will do, but the devil, recognizing the drive for
spirituality in mankind, has developed a kaleidoscopic variety of alternatives. These run the
gamut from staid and traditional religions to outlandish, mystical or cabalistic activities. The
devil is anxious to find something for everyone, anything to intrigue the spiritual side of man,
anything but the truth of Jesus Christ. Any and all religious activities which do not put Christ in
the undiluted center of things put Satan there by default. For by helping to still the innate desire
to seek their Creator, such activities merely perpetuate separation from Him.

Organization is one of the keys to satanic false religion. The devil knows well that people will do
things in a group that they would never do on their own. Corollary to this and equally important
is the principle that if enough people are doing something in an organized enough manner, then
an air of legitimacy will be lent to the enterprise, a false patina of orthodoxy, in effect, that will
help to blind initiates new and old to the fact that God and Christ may really be entirely absent
and the organization subtly evil in every way. Once enough people become involved in such
religious organizations, a momentum and critical mass is achieved that allows pseudo-groups to
present to the world a false picture of spirituality (even though in truth God is not in their midst
at all). Furthermore, it is a common human failing that once we become involved in something,
once we have "thrown good money after bad" long enough, we come to have a vested interest in
believing the lie we have been sold, for if we admit we have been had, we not only look foolish,
but all our sacrifice has been in vain. For these reasons, organizations make good targets for the
devil. Even legitimate, originally God-fearing Christian groups can and have historically
succumbed to Satan's infiltration: succeeding generations of followers and leaders alike are
almost never as dedicated and clear in their thinking as the original founders, and when tradition
and organization become as or even more important than the Word of God, it becomes more and
more easy for the devil to gain a foothold.

There are a number of common factors, present in varying combinations, that connect paganism,
cults, the occult, and organized pseudo-religion. First and foremost is the fact that by denying the
power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they are fellow participants with the devil in the process of
"blinding the minds" of potential believers (2Cor.4:4), "stealing the seed" of the gospel out of
seeking hearts before they can turn to God in Christ and thus be saved (Lk.8:12):(63) Some other
derivative characteristics one often finds in Satan's substitutes for the true worship of God
through Jesus Christ include:

      Emphasis on "secret doctrine", clandestine acts and esoteric materials.
      Denial of death or its consequences, denial of final judgment, denial of hell.
      Substitution of another god or gods, whether of a different name, or so perverting what
       the Bible says about the God that it amounts to the same thing.
      Promise of "becoming a god" or "like God" or otherwise transcending the mortal plane.
      Denial of the need for a Savior, substituting works or reincarnation.
      Focus on ritual and rote worship instead of true communion with God.
      Emphasis of feelings or ecstatic behavior over scripture.
      Odd, alienating, isolating behavior.
      Intolerance of other opinions and dogmatism without true biblical authority.

False teaching within the flock of true believers in Christ is a particularly perfidious satanic
attack that requires special, individual treatment. As the Body of Christ, the Church universal
(those who genuinely follow Jesus Christ) understandably comes under more severe pressure and
more insidious attack than any other segment of humanity. Often unable to persecute and destroy
the godly outright, Satan reverts to false teachers and false doctrines, hoping to turn believers in
Christ from the true path. Though in every age of the Church (and, indeed, since the serpent in
the garden) there have been false teachers and false doctrines ready to compromise pure faith in
the truth of God's Word, a trend toward intensification of this insidious phenomenon in these last
days is prophesied in scripture. It would be hard to underestimate the importance for the believer
of being forewarned on this critical issue. The reader's careful attention, therefore, is sought in
examining these pertinent scriptures (see also Col.2:16-23; 1Tim.4:1-5; 2Tim.2:23-3:9; 2Pet.
2:1-22):

I entreat you, brothers, to mark those who are creating conflicts and pitfalls contrary to the
doctrine you have learned, and stay away from them. For such men do not serve our Lord Christ,
but their own stomachs, deceiving innocent hearts with their fancy sermons.        Romans 16:17-18


For men of this sort are false apostles, workers of guile, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And
it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. So it comes as no surprise
that his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be according to
their deeds. 2nd Corinthians 11:13-15

[Let us grow spiritually] ... that we may no longer be immature, swept off-course and carried
headlong by every breeze of so-called teaching that emanates from the trickery of men in their
readiness to do anything to cunningly work their deceit. Ephesians 4:14

The Spirit explicitly says that in the end times certain men will rebel from the faith, giving their
attention [instead] to deceitful spirits and demonic doctrines. With their own consciences seared
away and speaking with the hypocrisy of men [who peddle] lies, they will [instruct their victims]
to refrain from marriage, and to keep away from certain foods ...        1st Timothy 4:1-3a

These [false teachers] must be silenced - they are the sort who disrupt entire households by
teaching things they should not, for the sake of disreputable gain. Titus 1:11

And there arose among the people false prophets, just as there will also be false teachers among
you, who shall introduce destructive false doctrines - even denying the Master who bought them
- and bringing swift destruction on themselves. And many will follow their lascivious ways so
that the way of truth will be subject to blasphemy on their account. And in their greed they will
exploit you for profit by means of their fraudulent teachings.           2nd Peter 2:1-3a
With eyes full of adultery and on the lookout for sin without restraint, they entrap those
insufficiently grounded (in the truth). They are accursed children whose hearts are well-trained
for greed. Having left the straight way behind, they have wandered astray and followed the way
of Balaam, son of Beor, who loved the pay that comes from unrighteous behavior. 2nd Peter 2:14-
15

Who is the liar if not the one who claims that Jesus is not the Christ? This is the antichrist, the
one who denies the Father and the Son. 1st John 2:22

For certain men have slipped in among you unawares, men who long ago were destined for this
very doom, ungodly men who substitute lasciviousness for the grace of our God, and deny our
only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 4

Certain essential characteristics of these false teachers can be summarized from the passages
above:

1) They have always been present, but as we approach the end of the Church age, will become
more prominent, more numerous, and more influential.

2) They have a facade of righteousness, but are in truth steeped in sin under the surface (though
this may be covered with the ascetic veneer of the white-washed tomb: Matt.23:27).

3) They are out for their own profit, advantage and pleasure, utilizing their followers as chattel
rather than genuinely caring for them.

4) They teach things which are not biblical but have been manufactured to gain a following and
to promote their own ends (though they may claim a scriptural basis).

5) They falsely pretend to be servants of the Lord (though in reality they only serve themselves,
and Satan).

6) They deny Jesus Christ as Savior (though they may fill their speech with His name, they deny
salvation through faith in His name alone).

This last characteristic, the "Christ test", is the most basic and most essential criterion for
ferreting out false teachers, but its employment is also becoming an ever more subtle matter as
charlatans increasingly try to make capital out of our Lord's name. That the words "God" and
"Christ" come easily to a person's lips does not guarantee that they are believers and followers of
God and Christ according to the will of God as set forth in His Word.(64) As L.S. Chafer pointed
out, "denying the Master who bought them" does not mean that false teachers will necessarily
deny the person of Christ - they may only (surreptitiously) deny the work of Christ and the need
for His death to cleanse us from sin (or deny His true humanity, or deny His deity, e.g.).(65) For it
is true that there are many ways to deny Him in fact while giving the appearance of embracing
Him. Coating their lies in cocoons of hypocrisy, giving their false teachings bright and shiny
"white-washed" coverings, cleaning the outside of the pot, the outside of the tomb, but brimming
with abomination within, are characteristics of false teachers of which our Lord Himself warned
us to beware. Ultimately, only Biblical Christianity is of God, all else is of the devil. Between the
false extremes of materialism and superstition stands the truth of the Word of God.

Occult practices (easily and normally separated from religion) are also becoming increasingly
pervasive, accessible and influential in our world. All such acts and activities, no matter how
innocent they may appear, are extremely dangerous. It is a much smaller step than people are
generally willing to believe from the Ouija board, the horoscope and the tarot card to the
destruction of one's faith and complete ensnarement by demon forces. Occultism is a more direct
acknowledgment of and allegiance to Satan than even false religion is. For in such activities
there is a relatively clear understanding that the devil and demons lie directly behind such
blatantly anti-God practices. A partial list of such activities includes the aforementioned Ouija
board, horoscopes, tarot cards, voodoo, angel worship, demonism, Satanism, chanting, magic,
witchcraft, spells, potions, curses, amulets and charms, superstitious actions and behaviors,
attributing anything to "luck", fortune telling, anything related to "seeing into the future", visions
and dream-interpretations (apart from God), divination from any sort of "-mancy", any system of
false taboos, secret wisdom, special day worship, mediums, seances, hypnotism, any ecstatics,
mind-reading, psychics, false tongues, "channeling", trances, psycho-kinetics, anything to do
with ghosts or vampires, graveyard fetishes and the like. The preceding list does not make any
claims at being complete: forms of direct demonic involvement of this kind are becoming more
numerous by the day (and more popular too). The fact that we human beings collectively seem to
be losing our outrage, disgust, fear and suspicion of such activities merely heightens the danger,
both of their expansion, and of the rapid ensnarement of those foolish enough to become
involved with these things on even a seemingly superficial level. In reality, there is no such thing
as superficial involvement with the devil:

Can a man take fire into his lap and not have his clothes burned up? Or can a man walk on [hot]
coals and not have his feet scorched? Proverbs 6:27-28

All such things are, for good reason, forbidden by scripture (cf. Duet.18:10-12; 2Chron.33:6;
Jer.27:9; Mic.5:12; Gal.5:20), for behind them lie real and effective satanic influences (cf. the
case studies of Jannes and Jambres: Ex.7:11; 8:7; Balaam: Josh.24:10; the witch of Endor:
1Sam.28:15; the man of sin: 2Thes.2:9). It is in this connection that we should note that occult
activities are very closely related to pagan idolatry (a phenomenon on the verge of mounting a
comeback). The Bible is particularly intolerant of idolatry, the out-and-out worship of demons by
other names (Deut.32:17; Ps.106:37; Acts 8:9ff.; 13:6ff.; 16:16ff.; 19:19ff.; 1Cor.10:20;
Col.2:18; 2Thes.2:9-10; Rev.13:14).(66)

2. Politics and Society: Scripture is clear in stating the importance of organized authority to
suppress and punish lawlessness (Rom.13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1Pet.2:13-17). Additionally, separate
governments promote freedom and preserve the opportunity for mankind to seek and worship
God (impossible under one-world rule: Gen.11:1-9; Acts 17:26-27; cf. also Dan.10:13; Is.14:16-
17; Ezek.28; Ps.2; Rev.16). The new millennium is opening with a series of disturbing trends
which see the basic purpose for government (protection of rights, punishment of evil-doers)
being undermined, and government being used instead for the advancement of evil purposes.
Relativism in law, reluctance to punish criminals, the increasing venality of justice, the intrusion
of political and social agendas into the legal arena, use of law and politics to address social issues
in perverse ways with no regard to underlying principles of justice, blanket application of faulty
and un-biblical sociological principles by fiat without regard to individual cases - space does not
permit an exhaustive treatment of the issue. It is enough for believers to read the "signs of the
times" (Matt.16:3), and understand the gathering momentum of the satanic forces around them. It
is also important for believers not to react to the point of being caught up in the devil’s
machinations. Satan is presently experiencing great success in captivating believers and
honorable unbelievers with a number of modern socio-political "causes" that appeal to the self-
righteous crusading instinct in us all. While it is understandable that believers should shudder to
see many of the degenerate trends engulfing modern society, Satan in his crafty way makes use
of this reaction too, and is always thrilled when he can persuade people (especially Christians)
out of boredom or lust for an exciting challenge to attack the symptoms of social degeneration
rather than being concerned with the root causes and the one true solution. Turning to Jesus
Christ and deepening our relationship with Him through faith in Him and His Word (and the
application of that faith to our lives and ministries) is the only way to have "impact" for God.
Buying in to Satan’s propaganda lie #3 and trying to make the world a better place "for God" by
one’s own self-righteous efforts is not of God and therefore only furthers the devil’s purposes.

As in our discussion of the occult, the number of bizarre and anti-God cultural aberrations
sprouting up in modern society are too numerous and ubiquitous to mention comprehensively.
One rule of thumb: anything touted on a bumper sticker probably should be included on any such
list of what to avoid. Vegetarianism, animal rights, anti-meat, anti-fur, anti-almost anything, drug
use of all sorts, gambling, sexual aberrance, celebrity worship, glorification of athletes and
athletics, most (if not all) of what appears on television, fantasy of all kinds, most (if not all) of
what can be heard on the radio - one could go on at length. To put it in perspective, the Bible has
nothing good to say about any human cultural activities (with the exception of those related to
worshiping God, almost exclusively related to the construction of and worship in the tabernacle
and temple). Culture inevitably involves some sort of mimesis, that is, a mimicking of some
aspect of life to entertain (whether the level be gross, sublime or somewhere in-between). All
such mimesis is, by definition, not the truth, not really "real". Whether it be Disney or depravity
we are "watching", there is an element of unreality there, an artificiality, a lie, to be specific, and
attention to lies is anything but healthy from a spiritual point of view. It is, to be sure, very
difficult to avoid exposure to such influences, but we should at least be aware that the influence
is there. Science fiction, to cite one particularly egregious example, may be "fun", but it leads
(especially in the simple-minded) to the horrendous and anti-God belief that there actually might
be some other focus to the divine plan than the conflict in which we are presently engaged on
this earth. Such speculations and beliefs are an insult to God and to His Son who came here to
save us. In sum, political, societal and cultural contacts and associations can no more be avoided
in this world than can the air we breath or the food we eat (1Cor.5:9-10), but it is incumbent
upon us as believers to be aware of the influence they wield and the threat they pose, and so to
approach them with appropriate circumspection (1Cor.15:33).

3. Economics and Technology: Perhaps the most difficult of all areas of modern human activity
for believers to maintain a healthy degree of separation from are economics and technology.
These all-pervasive forces are inseparably interwoven with the need for us to earn our daily
bread by the sweat of our brow. And, in turn, these two powerful forces interweave with culture,
politics and society, thus making Satan's integrated system a tar-baby of sorts, that is virtually
impossible to stay completely clear of (monastic movements failed in this in the past - how much
more so today!). Ever since Cain (cultivation: Gen.4:1-18), Tubal-Cain (techno-crafts: Gen.4:19-
22), and Nimrod (urbanization, specifically, his one-world ziggurat construction project:
Gen.10:8-12 with 11:1-9), satanic fostering of science, technology and "enlightenment" has paid
dividends. Modern rationalistic materialism has, in fact, reached such a pitch that any belief in
the spiritual, non-material dimension is considered "ignorant". Mass communication,
technological advance and economic globalization are moving ever more rapidly toward the
diabolic dream of one integrated world - a world where there are no fire-walls to resist the
implementation of the devil's will (a horrible prospect destined to come to full fruition in the
Great Tribulation). Faith does not oppose development in these areas, but it is a fact that
increased reliance upon and faith in techno-economic progress cannot help but undermine faith
in God - it is impossible to serve two masters. Possibly the best example of this is the
phenomenon of modern medicine. As believers, we understand that God's will is paramount
(Matt.6:10), and that His plan has taken all the various circumstances of our lives into account
(Rom.8:28). We know that He is a God who heals (Ps.103:3), and yet we also know that He
gives us means to deal with the needs and problems of life (cf. Acts 10:15). For the believer firm
in his faith, modern medicine presents less of a problem, but the issue is a subtle one. It is all too
easy for the general public (and for the medical establishment itself) to see medicine as the new
religion, hospitals as the new temples, and doctors as the new priests, even gods. For it is
(obviously) in the sphere of and the fear of death (and, therefore, of life-threatening illness)
where our mortality is most acutely felt, and it is just this fear of death, as we have seen in rather
exhaustive fashion, which is one of the devil's main weapons for the enslavement of humanity
(Heb.2:15). Over-emphasis on medical solutions to health problems is very much akin to the
problem of excessive worry about the economic means of life (food, clothing, shelter: cf.
Matt.6:25-34), only so much worse to the degree that 1) except in times of severe catastrophe,
provision of the rudimentary means of life is far easier for the individual than retrieval of health
is likely to be, and 2) the consequences of health-threats in normal times are also likely to be
more immediate and more dire (not to mention more painful). Improvements in medical
technology have only served to heighten this potential problem, for in history past, the
limitations of medicine made the issue much more clear that, without God's help, there would be
no healing. From a believer's point of view, the choice a mere century ago was rather
straightforward: seek what medical help was available - a means like any other - but trust to God
for deliverance. Today, without question, this is still the issue (and the proper approach), but
increases in medical effectiveness, increases in cost out of all proportion to results (the mortality
rate, for instance, remains at 100%), morbid media preoccupation with health issues and
concerns, and growing "options" available for the sufferer (with no guarantees) have all
contributed to a climate of growing fear of illness, over-estimation of the worth of medicine, and
a concomitantly increasing threat to faith - not from disease, but from an unhealthy reliance upon
the magic religion of medicine. Even as believers, we know we are going to die. We have that
from God. We are not going to live forever in these corrupt bodies - we wouldn't want to. The
resurrection bodies we have coming are beyond anything we could ask or think (Eph.3:20-21).(68)
There is no harm in making sensible use of available medical technology to help deal with
legitimate health concerns. What is harmful is succumbing to the very real pressures of the
current medical climate and making the terrible mistake of trusting medicine more than God.
5. The Believer's Perspective: It is important for believers to remember that we are not
"missing out" on anything by following God. It is important because everything in the devil's
world-system militates against us exercising pure, uncompromising faith. In every place, in
every sphere of life, the siren-song of Satan's kosmos seeks to draw us away from really
believing God, from really seeking God, from really knowing God, and from really walking with
Him day by day. By way of contrast to the devil's kingdom, there was a nation where belief in
God, where deep abiding faith in Him was the rule, not the exception. The example of Israel
(past and future) is the precedent which all present-day believers ought to emulate, for it is this
cultivated olive tree into which we wild olive branches have been grafted (in company, of
course, with the present-day remnant of believing Jews). This was an entire nation that (for many
of its citizens during much of its history) really knew and trusted God! Close attention to the
Psalms of David or the Law of Moses or the examples of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph,
Hannah, Elijah and Daniel (to name but a few) shows how real God was to these great believers
of the past.(69) In this last generation of the Church, the influence of anti-"superstition" science
and technology and the world-wide explosion of information has certainly engendered a "know-
it-all" attitude and a general belittling of God, not just among the masses of unbelievers, but
sadly among those who style themselves believers as well. This failure to recognize who and
what God really is, the magnitude of Him, the glory of Him, is exactly the mind-set that the devil
seeks to cultivate.

The coming Kingdom of God is so much more desirable than anything the kingdom of this world
has to offer, the glory of God is so much more satisfying than any glory we could receive
ourselves in this ephemeral world, the power of God is so much more real than anything the
science and technology of this world can generate, that it behooves us as believers to be careful
not to give undue attention to the cheap substitutes of this world, to worship them, in effect,
instead of the One who possesses the true kingdom, the true power, and the true glory. As
believers, we are warned not to love this present age (2Tim.4:10), not to love this present world
(1Jn.2:15), and not to be conformed to it (Rom.12:2), but to love God instead and be transformed
by Him (Matt.22:37-38; Rom.8:29). In keeping our focus on God (and off of the devil's world)
there is great profit (1Tim.6:6). After all, what price, one might ask, can be put on eternal life?
And, once we are secure in our salvation, can the most dramatic accomplishments, the most
extensive acquisitions in this life really be put in the scales with even the slightest, smallest bit of
eternal reward? The tiniest bit of praise from God as we stand before Him is without question
more valuable than the most vociferous and widespread of accolades possible in this life. And if
we believe all this, should we not then live as if we did?



V. Satan's World-System: Tactical Methodology

In this final section of our investigation of Satan's World System proper, we shall examine the
actual methods and tactics used by the devil to manipulate humanity. By way of introduction, it
will be helpful to give a quick overview of some of the most important scriptures concerning the
devil and his activities in this regard:
And the ones beside the road are those are who have heard [the truth of the gospel], then the
devil comes and removes the Word from their heart, so that they might not believe and be
saved. Luke 8:12

Simon, Simon. Behold, Satan has asked to winnow you like wheat.          Luke 22:31

Now while the supper was in progress, the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas
Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Him. John 13:2

Then Peter said, "Ananias, why did Satan fill your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and appropriate
for yourself part of the proceeds of the lot?" Acts 5:3

To open their eyes, and to turn them away from the darkness and into the light, and from the
power of Satan unto God. Acts 26:18

Now the God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet.        Romans 16:20

[For I have already decided, i]n the name of our Lord Jesus, when all of you are gathered
together with my spirit by the power of our Lord Jesus, to hand such a one over to Satan for the
destruction of his body so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.   1st Corinthians 5:4-
5

Do not deprive each other, except for short periods by agreement in order that you may have
opportunity for prayer, and may then be together again, so that Satan might not tempt you
through your lack of self-control.     1st Corinthians 7:5

[I grant my forgiveness] in order that we might not be taken advantage of by Satan, for we are
not ignorant of his schemes. 2nd Corinthians 2:11

For men of this sort are false apostles, workers of guile, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And
it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 2nd Corinthians 11:14

And on account of my superabundant revelations, for this reason (lest I become puffed up
beyond measure) I was given a stake in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to batter me, that I might
not become puffed up beyond measure. 2nd Corinthians 12:7

In these [sins] you once walked, according to the temporal orientation of this world (kosmos),
according to the prince of the power of the air [the devil], the spirit who is now working in the
sons of disobedience. Ephesians 2:2

So do not give the devil an opening [lit. "place" to attack].   Ephesians 4:27

Put on the full armor of God, so that you may be able to stand firm against the tricks of the
devil. Ephesians 6:11
Therefore we wished to come to you - I, Paul did, not once but twice - but Satan impeded
us.                  1st Thessalonians 2:18

Among these [apostates] are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that
they might be taught not to speak blasphemously. 1st Timothy 1:20

Don't [appoint] a novice [as pastor], lest his head swell and he fall under the [same judgment as]
the devil.       1st Timothy 3:6-7

For some have already turned aside to follow Satan.    1st Timothy 5:15

[A]nd that they may come to their senses, [escaping] from the devil's trap, though they have now
been taken captive by him to do his will.     2nd Timothy 2:26

Likewise [Christ] also partook of [flesh and blood] in order that through His death He might put
an end to the one possessing the power of death, that is, the devil. Hebrews 2:14b

Therefore subordinate yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.    James 4:7

Stay sober and wide awake. Your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, looking
for someone to devour. 1st Peter 5:8

The one who is committing sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the
beginning. For this reason the Son of God appeared, that He might put an end to the devil's
deeds. 1st John 3:8

We know that we are from God, but that this entire world lies in the power of the evil one.   1st
John 5:19




1. Names for the Devil: Nearly all of Satan's scriptural names are descriptive designations which,
in very straight forward fashion, reveal much about his character and his modus operandi:

   a. Lucifer: This Latin name meaning "light-bearer" is a common translation for the Hebrew
heylel (llyh) at Isaiah 14:12, and refers to the Morning Star. This is the only title for the devil
which is not derogatory, stemming from his pre-rebellion status as the representative of God to
the angels. As God's representative who replaces him, Jesus Christ inherits the title (2Pet.1:19;
Rev.2:28; 22:16; cf. 2Cor.11:14).(70) For the original "bringer of light" has become the "prince of
darkness" (cf. Acts 26:18; Eph.6:12; Col.1:13).

   b. Satan: The Hebrew word satan (]us), connotes enmity and opposition. According to this
primary name, the devil is the Enemy (cf. Lk.10:19), the Opponent (cf. 1Pet.5:8), or the
Adversary (1Tim.5:14).
   c. Devil: The Greek word diabolos () means "slanderer" or "accuser". According to
this primary name, Satan is the one who accuses us before God and slanders God to mankind
(Zech.3; Job 1-2; Rev.12:10).

  d. Tempter: (Matt.4:3; 1Thes.3:5).

  e. Liar: (and the father of it: Jn.8:44; cf. 1Jn.3:8).

  f. Murderer: (from the beginning: Jn.8:44; cf. 1Jn.3:8).

  g. Evil One: (Matt.5:37; 6:13; 13:19; 13:38; Jn.17:15; Eph.6:16; 2Thes.3:3; 1Jn.2:13f. 5:19).

  h. Snake: (in any language, snake or serpent implies treachery, danger and guile: cf. Gen.3;
2Cor.11:3; Rev.20:2). Several other related terms should be noted. Dragon, Leviathan and Rahab
add the notion of monstrous size and power the snake's other characteristics:

    1) Dragon (i.e., a very large snake-like creature: Rev.12:3-17; 13:1-4; 16:13; 20:2; cf. Job
26:13).

     2) Leviathan (i.e., a sea-serpent: Job.3:8; Ps.74:14; Is.27:1).

     3) Rahab (i.e., a sea-monster: Job 26:12; Is.51:9).

  i. Belial: or Beliar"; the name means "without profit" or worthless (2Cor.6:15).

   j. Beelzebub: the name means "ruler of the flies" and is formed from the Hebrew-Aramaic
word for lord (bal, bel) and the onomatopoetic sound of the fly (zzzbhbh; cf. Matt.12:24-27).
Flies, because of their pesky nature and disgusting habits, made a good analogy for demons.

   k. Pseudo-god and world ruler: These terms describe the devil in his would-be role of master
of the earth and human race, for example: "god of this age" (2Cor.4:4); "ruler of this world"
(Jn.12:31; 14:30; 16:11); " prince of the power of the air" (Eph.2:2); "strong man" (Mk.3:27).

2. Demon Influence: the Tactics of Temptation: For most human beings in most instances,
demon influence and demon temptation are enough to accomplish the devil's goals (i.e., without
direct attack or possession). Not only that, but in the vast majority of instances, such influence
and temptation does not even require direct demonic involvement. The world system which
Satan has so laboriously constructed is by now so chock-full of ready-made temptation and
institutionalized satanic influence that a sizeable, built-in momentum for perpetuating (and
deepening the influence) of this kosmos among mankind has already been achieved. Without
divine intervention, one may hypothesize safely that no further direct demonic activity would be
required for the world to continue in its degenerate direction until absolute corruption had been
achieved. Satan, of course, is not satisfied with this. His only (false) hope for avoiding the
inexorable approach of God's judgment lies in the complete obliteration of faith from the earth
(see the forthcoming Part 5 of this series). For this reason, continued and intensifying demonic
influence (through his world system) and temptation (individual entrapment) can be expected as
the devil makes every effort to strengthen his grip on the world. Having already covered his
systematic strategy for control of the cosmos, we now turn in this section to the tactics he and his
minions employ to trick, trap and tempt believers and unbelievers alike to do his will.

The devil's "will" for us may take many forms, but one point on which we can always rely is that
in every case it is contrary to God's will for us (2Tim.2:26). As we have seen above, Satan has a
built-in ally in each one of us: our sin nature (Jas.1:14). Luring us into sin is the basic approach.
It must be remembered, however, that sin encompasses more than gross lascivious conduct. In
terms of the devil's propaganda system, those who buy into the lie of self-worship (i.e., lie #2: "I
am a god": subjective arrogance) and the lie of self-glorification (i.e., lie #3: "God needs me":
objective arrogance) are ultimately the most useful to him. And Satan is always recruiting
"useful" human beings. We have already made the point that demons are not allowed by God to
do everything they would like to do on the earth, otherwise they would long ago have
extinguished the human race entirely (the one sure way to extinguish the lamp of faith). They
don't have their own bodies and their ability to possess human beings has been restricted by God
(see below). Their attempts to create a hybrid angel-human race was crushed by God through the
flood (discussed in detail in Part 5). In short, their material influence on the earth and human
beings is limited. The most effective way the devil has, therefore, of exercising control over his
erstwhile domain is have human beings do it for him. In the history of the world, Satan has found
no lack of individuals who, actively or passively, in full or partial knowledge, embracing or
merely being influenced by the system of lies he has established, have "joined his team", so to
speak, and contributed to his control and direction of the world. The world "lies in the lap of the
evil one" in large part because the evil one has found so many volunteers to help him rule it
(1Jn.5:19).

Beyond the influence of the world system already in place, the devil also employs active
temptation of human beings he has targeted. Scripture is limited in what it has to say on this
subject, but certain basic principles are clear enough.

   a. Acquisition of Targets: In the same way that God employs angelic watchers to reconnoiter
the earth (cf. Zech.1:11; 6:5ff.), we can safely assume that Satan too employs his extensive
demonic assets to "keep tabs" on as many human beings as possible. It is important that we not
under-estimate the amount of intelligence that the devil possesses about us, but it is also
important not to over-estimate his efforts: unlike God, he is not omnipresent. About the fact that
we are being observed by angelic kind the scriptures are clear (Job 1 & 2; Lk.15:10; 1Cor.11:10;
1Pet.1:12).(71)

   b. Targeting: From what we know of his methodology, we can also expect Satan to be
opportunistic and efficient (according to his lights) in the employment of his resources.
Temptation of human beings utilizes assets, and so we can safely assume that not every human
being will come under the same degree of direct, demonic temptation. Highest on the devil's
priority list will be those who might serve him most effectively in extending his influence (the
rich, powerful, prominent, or those possessing potential in these and other important areas).
Particularly important targets from Satan's point of view are any and all individuals who are on
the point of becoming believers in Christ: the devil makes every effort to remove the seed from
their heart before they can believe (Matt.13:19; Mk.4:15; Lk.8:12). Believers are perhaps the
most tempting targets, and, in corresponding fashion, we may expect that the more useful we are
to God, the higher on Satan's list we will be (cf. Job 1:8; Lk.22:31). Timing is also a key issue in
the devil's selection of targets for active temptation. We should not underestimate his ability to
discern either the temptations to which we are likely to be the most vulnerable or the best time
for him to set the temptation in motion. Common sense tells us that if we could observe someone
(even ourselves) for an unlimited time in complete secrecy, we would easily come to know (or at
least be able to guess with some assurance) their specific areas of weakness and the best time to
put them under the pressure of temptation (1Pet.5:8). On the other hand, it is also important not
to over-estimate the devil's abilities in this regard. Only God is omniscient. The devil, for
example, can only guess what is going on in our hearts.

   c. Tempting: Satan does actively employ a strategy of temptation against human beings,
especially believers, in order to distort the truth, disrupt proper behavior, disrupt the environment
for learning and applying the truth, prevent us from coming to God and following Him, disrupt
our faith, destroy our witness, degrade our usefulness to God, and create a usefulness for himself
(1Thes.3:5). We know from scripture that even great believers sometimes succumb to these
methods (e.g., David moved by Satan to number the people: 1Chron.21:1). It is important to
remember, however, that the devil is not omnipotent. And we have it from God that He will not
allow Satan to bring more pressure to bear upon us in this regard than we are able to bear
(1Cor.10:13). We can summarize the most important aspects of the devil's methodology of
temptation as follows:

      1) Deception: At the heart of all direct temptation from the devil lurks the lie. Deception is
the true key to effective temptation (Gen.3:14; Jn.8:44; 2Cor.2:11; 11:3; 11:14-15; Eph.6:11;
2Thes.2:9-12; Rev.12:9; 19:20; 20:3 & 10). For, if we knew the truth, feared God as we should,
and appreciated the consequences of succumbing to temptation, we would appreciate how
counterproductive, how devastating to our faith and to our lives every defeat at the hands of the
devil truly is. In short, we would never do it. Satan (through his demonic servants) makes a point
of masking the truth in all his efforts at temptation. This is obvious from the first case study in
human experience, Adam and Eve, where we have seen (in the previous installment of this
series) that the fall of our first parents into sin would never have occurred had not Satan deceived
them into a false appraisal of the situation. The devil may deceive us by suggesting that some sin
isn't sin at all, that some sin is necessary, or he may simply present us with an offer that is "too
good to pass up", but even in this last case, we have been deceived as to the hollowness of the
prize before us and the painful consequences certain to follow turning away from God.

      2) Verbal Suggestion: One of the best ways to tempt someone to sin is through suggestion
and encouragement from others (cf. 2Pet.2:18-19). There is something about the human heart
that leads it to eagerly embrace a suggestion from another person that it would never adopt (or
perhaps even conceive) on its own. Peter's suggestion to the Lord that He put out of His mind the
idea that He must suffer death is an example of the devil trying to use another human being as a
lever to induce sin (as our Lord remarked: Matt.16:23).

     3) Visual Suggestion: Sometimes the mere appearance of an object of temptation (or
something closely related to whatever one lusts for) is enough to start the wheels of the sin
nature rolling. In our mass-media world, where sin-inducing images abound (consider that
advertising, for example, is almost completely directed towards stoking our natural
covetousness), it is no great matter for the devil to probe our resistance by supplying the most
tempting images at the most opportune time (Job 31:1; Ps.101:3; 1Jn.2:16).

     4) Subconscious Suggestion: Subtle suggestion below the conscious level is also a weapon
in the devil's arsenal (1Chron.21:1; Matt.16:23). It is important to note that we no more have to
take any heed of sinful and evil "ideas" that occur to us (only some of which are from any
demonic source - our sin nature is quite capable of generating a sufficient dialogue in this regard)
than we do the overt verbal suggestions of others enticing us to leave the path of truth. At some
point along the spectrum of increasing openness to sin and evil, however, receptivity to such
communications increases and this direct channel to demonic doctrine widens (Eph.2:2;
1Tim.4:1).

     5) Coercion: Satan does not "play fair". He uses any and all means available to him. One
particularly effective means of temptation is the pressure of circumstance. Fear, of loss, of
embarrassment, of inconvenience, of injury, of unpopularity, of death, of anything in the face of
which we feel fear, is a powerful tool in Satan's hands. By suggesting to us the terrors that may
result from doing what is right (or abstaining from what is wrong), the devil is often able to
manipulate us into sin and evil (and away from God's will: Rm.8:15; 2Tim.1:7; Heb.2:14-15).

     6) Reassurance: For every potential wrong action, there seems to be no lack of examples of
those who have acted similarly without serious consequence. Such observations are faulty, for
God is a judge of perfect righteousness (cf. Ps.37 for the eventual recompense of the wicked). In
addition to such apparent (though only apparent) case studies ready at hand that seem to cast
doubt on the principle of divine punishment for sin and evil, the devil is always quick to supply
those who are only too willing to give us verbal reassurance that what we are doing is "O.K.".
After all, everybody does it, just about. And who can say whether it's "really" wrong. And,
anyway, it's not really your fault - you just found yourself in a situation. Such false reassurance
has a powerful tendency to undermine the resolve of those who receive it. However, relativism,
avoidance of responsibility, and blaming God for the circumstances in no way absolve us from
sinful or evil conduct. As believers, we ought to take great care not to be guilty of subverting the
resolve of those for whom we care (a thing which is all too frequent and often done out of
misguided love: we ought not to condemn the sin of others, but we also ought not to give false
information about its consequences).

     7) Sin: Temptation does not have to result in sin. When it does, it is because of our own free
will choice to take the wrong path. James (chapter 1:14-15) tells us the mechanics: after being
tempted, lured and baited (by our own lust), that lust then comes to fruition in sin (i.e., we
succumb to the temptation), and sin in turn alienates us from God (death in a spiritual sense).
The devil, being "a sinner from the beginning" (1Jn.3:8), is well-acquainted with this process.
Instead of succumbing to temptation (or refusing to recover from our lapses), we ought to
remember that Christ died for these sins of ours precisely to rescue us from this present evil age
(Gal.1:4)

     8) Reinforcement: Failure to seek God's forgiveness and face up to our errors tends to
reinforce bad behavior. As a result, we become more and more reluctant to come to the light of
God's love and grace (Jn.3:19-21). Left unchecked, complete spiritual blindness (2Cor.4:4), and
total negativity toward God (Job 21:14-15) can result. In the end, we become fit only for the
devil's use.



d. Case Studies (Satan’s two most significant temptations):

  1) Adam and Eve (Gen.3): Satan’s deception in the garden of Eden concentrated on
heightening the desirability of the unknown by means of cleverly concocted lies (see Peter #27,
and Part 3 of this series for a more detailed treatment).

   2) The Temptation of Christ (Matt.4; Lk.4): The three temptations (also treated above and in
Part 3 of this series) of Christ, the Last Adam, present a view of the devil’s strategy of temptation
in outline:

    a) stones to bread: the temptation to do a right thing in a wrong way (food is legitimate, but
God’s purpose was for Christ to abstain during this period).

      b) kingdom’s of the earth: the temptation to do something that seems right but is subtly
wrong (Christ is certainly the coming King, but not through Satan’s agency, and not in that way
or at that time).

     c) jump: the temptation to act impulsively in order to justify oneself (putting God in a
position to have to rescue you in order to prove something to the devil is wrong on all counts).

3. Demon Attack: Within a restricted range, demons can occasionally make material attacks
upon people and property. Although direct demon attack was widespread in times past (the era of
lawlessness preceding the Great Flood: see Part 5) and will be again in the future (during the
Great Tribulation: see Part 5), during the current period of the Church, this type of demonic
activity is fairly limited. As indicated by the examples of Job (Job 1 & 2), Micah (1Kng.22:19-
23), Peter (Lk.22:31), and Paul (1Cor.5:5; 1Tim.1:20), such attacks are apparently limited to
instances where specific divine permission has been obtained. Demons cannot attack arbitrarily,
for God is in complete control of His creation (Jer.27:5).

Disease constitutes an important sub-category of demon attack which is to be distinguished both
from it and from demon possession. It is important to note that much disease has no demon
involvement at all (though much illness is in fact a result of demonic assault), and also those
cases of disease which are attributable to the work of demons often do not involve demon
possession (Lk.13:11-16; Acts 10:38). Job and Paul we know for certain were afflicted precisely
because of their superior spiritual status, and were not touched without God's specific knowledge
and express purpose (Job 2:6-7; 2Cor.12:7-10). In the present post-apostolic pre-tribulational era
of the Church - far from being able to state with certainty whether a demon-induced illness is
divine punishment or an acknowledgment of superior spiritual achievement - it is impossible to
say for certain even whether any given illness is a result of demon attack. The New Testament
contains many instances of such cases, but it is important to remember that not only were special
spiritual gifts operational at that time to deal with these unique problems, but also that a large
part of the reason why such intense and visible demon activity was allowed was to demonstrate
the power of God and the imminence of His Kingdom in the person of Christ through its defeat
at Jesus’ hands (Acts 10:38):

Then his disciples questioned Him, saying, "Master, who sinned, this man or his parents that he
was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but [this has
happened] so that the works of God may be revealed through him". John 9:2-3

4. Demon Possession: Demon possession is an especially virulent form of demonic attack that
must be addressed separately. In demon possession, a fallen angel (or several) takes up residence
in the body of a morally accountable human being. In so doing, the demon gains a large measure
of control over the individual in question (through that person's body). It will be remembered
from Part 1 of this series that the possession of bodies was a major selling point in the devil's
enlistment of followers to rebel against God. Fallen angels crave the sensual experience that only
a physical body can provide, and it is safe to say that without divine restraint, much more such
possession would occur. Demon possession does not extinguish the personality or the will of the
possessed, but it does repress it to a very great degree. The Gadarene demoniac, for example,
was able to bring himself to Jesus in search of deliverance despite the resistance of a whole
legion of demonic inhabitants (Lk.8:26-37; cf. also Acts 16:16-18). Judas, (possessed by Satan
after becoming confirmed in his decision to betray Christ: Jn.13:27), later was able to express his
(pointless) regrets. Soothsayers and oracles (the witch of Endor, for example: 1Sam.28:3-19)
also exhibit greater or lesser ability to maintain some sort of joint control of their persons in
company with the forces that possess them.

As with demon afflictions of all kinds (see above), demon possession is also subject to the
permissive will of God. Unlike demonic attack and infliction of disease, however, demon
possession does require the willful acquiescence of the possessed.(72) A person has to "agree" to
demon entrance in order for it to happen. This agreement need not be in the form of a
conversation, but merely a conscious consent to allow an unnaturally great influence of
supernatural forces into the life. Involvement in paganism, the occult and even some aspects of
more "respectable" non-Christian religions obviously helps to advance this process and make
possession more of a likely possibility. Any activity that surrenders the will in a supernatural
context (even "socially acceptable" practices like hypnotism, Quija board use, tarot cards, etc.)
helps weaken resistance to demon entrance. The fact that spiritism (necessarily involving
possession) is strongly prohibited in the Old Testament demonstrates the ultimate culpability of
the possessed (Lev.20:6, 27; Deut.18:10-11; Is.8:19). Demon possession, inevitably regretted
after the fact, is as much an individual responsibility as is getting "hooked" on drugs, alcohol, or
any other destructive behavior. As temples of the Holy Spirit (1Cor.3:16; cf. 1Cor.10:22),
believers are exempt from demon possession, a principle that makes much sense when one
considers that opening oneself up to overtly satanic influences (a practice antithetical to
following Jesus Christ) is a prerequisite for possession (see Eph.4:17ff.; 1Tim.4:1).

You can't drink the Lord's cup [of communion-fellowship] and the cup of demons. You can't
share in the Lord's [communion-fellowship] table and the table of demons. 1st Corinthians 10:22
Ending demon possession is not a simple matter, but it must be kept in mind that God is still in
charge of His creation, and that He is capable of terminating all such cases whenever and
however He chooses. He is also a God who answers prayer, and the prayer of those who seek
Him diligently is always highly esteemed (Jas.5:16b).(73) As to the issue of exorcism, the word
itself does not occur in the Bible, exorcism being the noun form of the Greek word "adjure", as
in, "I adjure you in the name of Christ whom Paul preaches" (Acts 19:13). In the case just
mentioned, the "exorcists" were not believers, and the exorcism was ineffective. Examples of
believers putting an end to demon possessions (not associated with disease) are few and far
between in the scripture. Aside from the deliverances on this score wrought by the Lord (e.g.,
Mk.1:34, 1:39; Lk.4:41), we have the example of the 12 and the 72 sent forth by Him to proclaim
His kingdom (Matt.10:1; Mk.3:15; 6:7; 6:13; Lk.9:1; cf. Lk.10:17), and Paul's command for the
demon to come out of the slave girl with the familiar spirit (Acts 16:18). The first instance set of
instances deal with the heralding of the kingdom of Christ (an offer that Israel of that day would
reject). The incident in Acts 16 is part of an apostolic ministry establishing the Church of Christ.
The spiritual gifts and abilities given to the 12 apostles of the kingdom and the spiritual gifts and
abilities given to the 12 apostles of the Church were extensive and unique, wholly in keeping
with the unique ministries they were to discharge. Extraordinary gifts and extraordinary events
quite commonly precede important eras in the history of the world, that is, in the history of world
from God's point of view (see Part 5). One can consider by way of comparison the exceptional
events and exceptional miracles performed by Moses at the time of the exodus from Egypt. We
will next see a concentration of such events and miracles on the verge of Christ's return (in the
tribulational period). At the present time, however, most such gifts and miracles are not
functioning. Since "authority over the demons" is a power (or gift) only given to apostles and
their associates, "exorcism" is not a valid activity for believers. The only weapon we possess to
combat suspected cases of demon possession is prayer, but, as our Lord told us, this is the most
powerful weapon of all (cf. Mk.9:29). Where the power of God is involved, anything is
possible.(74)

5. Accusation of Believers: The last and most despicable method of demon attack is reserved
entirely for believers. Satan, as we have mentioned, engages in intensive observation of human
beings, especially believers, and makes the most effective use he can of the information
gathered. In the case of believers, this includes "ratting them out" to God. Now God, of course, is
omniscient, and is well aware of all our failures (knew them, in fact, before we or the universe
were created). But the devil, whose name means "accuser", delights to point out to God the sins
and errors of His followers, partly to imply that God is inconsistent (which is a lie, of course),
partly to attempt to get God to do the devil's work for him by punishing the offending believers.
Scripture records this particularly annoying habit of the devil in a number of places (Zech.3:1;
Job 1& 2; 1Pet.5:8; Rev.12:10). We should not underestimate this venue of attack, for Satan and
his minions are powerless in the face of God's defense of us, but who can oppose God? What a
joyous day it will be when the devil no longer has access to the throne room of heaven to cast his
accusations against us (Rev.12:10)! Until that time, it is a most salutary thing that we have as our
advocates before God both the Holy Spirit (Jn.14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), and Jesus Christ, the
righteous One (1Jn.2:1).

6. Resistance: It is helpful to consider that even during the early days of the Church, when the
apostles operated with exceptional powers, "spiritual warfare" as it is often termed today,
consisted of very limited direct contact and confrontation with demon forces. These great
believers functioned on the whole in the same way that we do (read "should") today, that is, they
fought the good fight by seeking God, committing themselves to spiritual growth, and
energetically setting themselves to the ministries God had given them. They were not overly
concerned with details they could not know about a conflict they could not see (beyond certain
physical manifestations, sicknesses and the like). If that was true during a time when miracles
were being empowered for the reasons discussed above, how much more is it true today? We do
gain great encouragement from the knowledge scripture gives us about the impending victory of
God over the devil and our place in the struggle (cf. Lk.10:18). Many things are explained
thereby, and we are guided to put this world and our lives in it into the proper, biblical, God-
seeking, God-fearing perspective. But we must never succumb to a morbid fascination with such
things. We must "not go beyond what is written" (1Cor.4:6), and must take care to give a wide
berth to anything that smacks of the occult.

Only do not rejoice in this, that the spirits obey you. But [rejoice] that your names have been
recorded in heaven. Luke 10:20

Direct demon interaction in the world seems less obvious today than ever before. In part this may
be due to a strategic decision by the devil to concentrate on using science and technology to
undermine faith for the time being. Part of the reason seems also to be, however, due to God's
sovereign decision to make it so, through the restraint of the Holy Spirit (2Thes.2:6-7). In short,
when we believers are under pressure, we cannot know the precise source of the pressure
(whether demonic or otherwise), but we should know that God is with us in any and every strait:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present
nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be
able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 [NIV]

We can also take comfort in the many scriptures that assure us that along with an unseen enemy,
there are many unseen allies, angels of God (too numerous to count) to fight this battle for us
(Gen.19:11; 1Kng.19:5; Ps.91:11; Dan.6:22; Matt.4:11; Matt.18:10; Lk.16:22; Acts 5:19; 12:10-
15; Heb.1:14). Unable to perceive the ebb and flow of the spiritual conflict around us, we
become like private soldiers on the battlefield, only conceptually aware of what is going on
beyond our individual fox-hole. Under such circumstances, the correct procedure is to walk by
faith, not by sight, and to learn to trust God unfailingly (Ps.23). The closer we move to God, the
more we grow spiritually, the safer we shall be in this conflict, and the more effective our
prayers to influence what we can see will become. The one thing that a solid understanding of
the matters discussed in this study (and this series) should produce is the conviction that every
single scrap of scripture, every small opportunity improve our relationship with God, is of
critical importance, because a much larger, all-inclusive battle is being waged just beyond what
our eyes can see. In all circumstances, and especially touching our demonic foes, trusting God is
our main line of defense:

The Lord is faithful, who will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.     2nd Thesslaonians
3:3
I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You guard them from the evil one.        John
17:15

But deliver us from the evil one.    Matthew 6:13




Conclusion: In summary, the knowledge that we are living out our lives on what amounts to a
spiritual battlefield here on this vain earth should not be depressing, but liberating. Knowing this
truth "sets us free" in great measure (Jn.8:32; Gal.5:1), because in this way we come to see
clearly that all the pointless things of life, things after which the world runs with such gusto,
things that in the end do not satisfy, are not the things that are really important. We come to see
the world as it really is, looking with the eyes of faith to the things that are not seen (2Cor.4:18),
the things that are eternal. And we have confidence that our personal victory over whatever part
of the devil's world we now occupy will find its ultimate complement and fulfillment in Christ's
complete victory over Satan and his cosmos when He returns.

Knowledge of the vanity of the devil's world is a clarion call to turn away from that world's evil
and towards God for the only real answers there are in this life. The world and the devil supply
handy false answers, but only God has the truth. The devil's realm is a vast desert in which there
is nothing of value, nothing that lasts, nothing that satisfies, nothing but false directions, endless
marching toward empty nothingness - only in God through Christ do we gain true direction. In
this desert of a world, where almost everything else is a lie, in God, in Christ we find the cold,
clear, refreshing water of truth.

In Part 5: Judgment, Restoration and Replacement, we shall trace historically the defeat of
Satan's kingdom and its replacement by the Kingdom of God.



Footnotes:

1. See the Peter series, beginning with lesson #12, for a detailed discussion of the parable of the
sower and the issue of spiritual growth.

2. The seven churches of Revelation 2-3 and their relationship to the eras of Church history is
slated to be covered in detail in part II of the forthcoming series, The Tribulation.

3. For more on the principle of the hardening of the unbeliever's heart, see Part II of the series
Exodus 14: Hardening Pharaoh's Heart.

4. Even the brief "feeling of accomplishment" is unfounded, because the element of "time and
circumstances" under God's direction is paramount in all accomplishment, no matter how much
men wish to attribute their success to their own efforts (Eccl.3:14; 9:11).
5. Solomon, the wisest sinner who ever lived, and a man who possessed greater means for the
exploration of pleasure and met with more success in personal accomplishments than any man
who has ever lived before or since, makes it quite clear that no level of progress and prosperity
ever changes this essential equation (read: Ecclesiastes).

6. For more detailed discussions on the topics of spiritual growth and the Christian walk, see,
respectively, the Peter series (especially lessons 10-14), and the upcoming Part 6 of Essential
Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Peripateology and Ecclesiology.

7. i.e., ever since the expulsion from Eden and the devil's de facto coup d'etat, whereby he
established himself as "ruler" over the earth in a manner very similar to his actions in the
original, heavenly Eden before human history began: see Parts 1-3 of this series, and below,
section II.

8. Sections IV and V below detail the devil's tactics and tactical objectives. Part V of this series,
The Satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation: Judgment, Restoration and Replacement,
will detail his strategy and strategic objectives as employed over the course of human history.

9. L.S. Chafer's discussion of "cosmos diabolicus" elegantly elucidates this issue in his
Systematic Theology, v. 2, pp. 77-78.

10. See Peter #27, Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith.

11. On the biblical topic of suffering, see the Peter series, lessons 1-6 and especially lesson
number 26.

12. This point is just one of many reasons why a firm grasp of the what the Bible has to say
about God's nature and character is of critical importance to Christians. These issues are covered
in detail in Part I of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Theology: The Study of God.

13. See Part 3 of this series, The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man.

14. See Part 3 of this series, The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man.

15. See Part 3 of this series, The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man.

16. Christ's sinless perfection, virgin birth, and hypostatic union will be covered in the upcoming
Part 4 of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Christology and Soteriology (see now
lesson #17 of the Peter series); the sin problem is addressed in its essentials in Peter lesson #15
(and will be covered in greater detail in Part 3 of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline:
Anthropology and Hamartiology).

.

17. On the fulfillment of the number of the gentiles (only part of this picture but very topical to
this point) see Lk.21:24 and Rom.11:25 (cf. Gen.1:28).
18. See especially lesson #1 of this series. Full replacement would have apparently happened -
and even more quickly - had mankind continued in the perfect environment of Eden and without
the devil's interference. The parable of the wedding banquet (though strictly applied to willing
gentiles versus negative Israel) offers a good parallel on the mechanics of divine replacement
(Matt.22:1-14; Lk.14:15-24).

19. See the discussion immediately below on inherent law and nationalism.

20. Contemporary culture, heavily influenced by the devil, is filled with this message, sometimes
subtly delivered, but often overtly proclaimed.

21. See section V below.

22. The most notable exceptions to these general parameters occurring in scripture are the
demonic destruction of Job's family and possessions, and the pre-flood attempt to destroy the
human race in toto through infiltration (Gen.6 - an episode to be covered in detail in the next and
final installment of this series). We also know that Satan visibly appeared to our Lord on the
occasion of his tempting of Him in the wilderness (Matt.4; Lk.4).

23. See the extended discussion in the prior installment of this series.

24. For more detailed discussion of the hardening process, see the Peter series, lessons 21, 26,
and 27, as well as the series Exodus 14: Hardening Pharaoh's Heart.

25. Until available, see the discussion on the Restraining Ministry of the Holy Spirit in part 2 of
this series, paragraph II.4.

26. Nations are made by God (cf. Gen.11:6-9; Deut.32:8; Job 12:23; Acts 17:26-28). The term
"nationalism", however, is considered by some to be applicable only to comparatively modern
times (i.e., the eighteenth century forward). But whatever term one prefers, the differentiation of
peoples (according to language, culture, geography etc.) is a phenomenon which goes back
thousands of years (specifically, to the post-Babel diaspora of the nations).

27. For more on the character and essence of God , see Part 1 of Essential Doctrines of the Bible
in Outline: Theology: the Study of God.

28. The question as to whether there are female angels is not specifically addressed in scripture.
However, in Zech.5:9, two winged woman take the woman "wickedness" away to Babylonia in a
basket. While it is true that "wickedness" is a personification rather than a true person in that
context, the two creatures who transport her seem to be angels, functioning in a typically angelic
way, and they are clearly described as female. Jesus assures us that in the resurrection, we will
not marry (Lk.20:36), but this does not mean that we shall no longer possess gender. Finally,
angels cannot produce angelic progeny, but this does not mean that they do not possess gender;
they are commonly described as "the sons of God" (e.g., Job 38:7), referring no doubt to the
military assembly described below, in the same way that "sons of Israel" does not imply that
there are no Jewish women. In Genesis chapter six, verses 1-4 , we have an occasion where some
of the fallen angels do produce half-human, half-angelic progeny (a violation of God's order of
things for which they are subsequently cast into the abyss, a subject we shall discuss in detail in
the following installment to this series).

29. The apocryphal Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs is a particularly glaring example of
ancient, non-inspired speculation on the subject, and by no means an isolated one (cf. also the
apocryphal Book of Enoch).

30. For a full discussion of Christ's Old Testament appearances under the designation "Angel of
the Lord", see section II.C.3.f in Part I of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Theology:
The Study of God.

31. See Peter #26 for an overview of the Great Apostasy; for the process of apostasy see also
Peter #27.

32. Robert H. Mounce, in The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids 1998) 184-185, notes that the
passage is deliberately reminiscent of the "falling star" angel of Revelation 9:1, and mentions
other parallel passages: Lk.10:18; cf. Is.14:12.

33. In Daniel 7:7 and 8:7, throwing to the ground (the latter passage only) and trampling (both
passages) indicates destruction and assimilation of previous opposition. This would seem to be
the case in both passages quoted, where fallen angels and apostate former believers join forces
with the devil, thus losing their heavenly citizenship (= "cast down to earth") and suffering for
their association with devil as a result (= "trampled" by him and his minion: cf. Rev.11:2).

34. See Part I of this series, section III, f.

35. On the principle of the double-portion, see the story of Hannah, the likewise beloved second
wife who was also originally barren and also received a double portion: 1Sam.1:1ff. The issue of
Israel as the central root of the family of God will be covered in the forthcoming Part VI of
Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline: Ecclesiology and Peripateology : the study of the
Church and the Christian walk.

36. In the order of encampment, Dan and Judah occupy the northeast slots of their respective
groupings, so that the tribe of the Messiah and the tribe of antichrist are geographically opposed.
The association of antichrist with the tribe of Dan will be discussed in detail in Part II of the
forthcoming series, The Great Tribulation.

37. In addition to this point and to the numerous negatives associated with Dan, the tribe of
antichrist (see the previous note), there is also the fact that all three tribes are associated with
materialism: Dan is represented by the "gold stone" or tarshish (a name that refers to Tyre, the
commercial harlot, an alias of Babylon); Asher is blessed with "delicacies" and Naphtali with
"beauty" in Gen.49:20 and Genesis 49:21 respectively (cf. also Deut.33:22-25). Additionally,
these three tribes represent three of the four children born not of Joseph's legitimate wives, but of
his wives' handmaidens (the fourth being Gad).
38. The corporate expulsion of three angelic orders does not, of course, preclude the possibility
of individual angels deciding contrary to the trend (analogous to the secession of states during
the American Civil War - some individuals chose against their states). The three sons of Noah
furnish another pertinent parallel: the second son, Ham, acted in a rebellious manner, while the
third son, Japheth, acted meritoriously in company with the eldest, Shem (Gen.9:19ff.).
Consequently, Japheth is blessed with increase and association with the heir of the spiritual
blessings, Shem, while Ham is cursed (analogous to the expulsion of one third of the angelic
orders). Needless to say, however, during the course of human history, believers (and
unbelievers) come from all three bloodlines: God looks on the individual's heart.

39. In Daniel chapter 10, Michael is referred to several times in the Hebrew as sar, and this word
is rendered in the Greek of the Septuagint alternately as archon and angelos.

40. Along with Gabriel (Dan.8:16; 9:21; Lk.1:19; 1:26), Michael is the only elect angel
mentioned by name in scripture.

41. The Greek word arche () is also used by Paul (and Luke) for human authorities
(Lk.20:20; Rm.8:38; Tit.3:1).

42. The issue of Christophany is covered in Part I of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline:
Theology: The Study of God, section II.C.3.

43. Colossians 1:16, in mentioning first "thrones" and "lordships", gives the highest and lowest
demonic ranks respectively (see below on "lordships").

44. cf. Molech and Milcom (Malcom) whose names are related to the Semitic root for king,
malach (Heb.: ;lm).

45. While it is true that Abaddon-Apollyon is called a "king" in Rev.9:11, in light of the fact that
there never was a standard Greek translation for the Hebrew sar (the word is translated by
literally dozens of different Greek words in the Septuagint including, at least once, "king"
basileus), and given the military context, it seems best to consider this particular demon
commander a "prince" rather than a "throne" (where we should expect a religious, idolatrous
context). Significantly, he is also called "the angel of the Abyss", though we know from Jude 6
and 2nd Peter 2:4, among other passages, that there are many angels in the Abyss. In the other
scripture where "angel" means more than just some generic angel it is also shorthand for "arch-
angel" (1Pet.3:22).

46. Along with the more common 'adon (cf. Ps.136:3), one poetic Hebrew equivalent to this
word is 'el or "mighty one" (Ps.8:5; 82:1 & 6; 138:1; cf. Jn.10:34). The word can also mean
"god", or, occasionally (mostly in poetic contexts), God. Just as there is a sense in which all
human beings are "gods/mighty ones" because they have been entrusted with the words of God,
so there is a sense in which all angels are "gods/might ones" because they have been entrusted
with the power of God. The issue of what one does with the Word and with the power is all
important.
47. Gen.28:12: the word sullam translated "ladder" is from the Hebrew root salal (llc), and is
close in form to the word solelah (siege mound). The "ladder" is most likely the ramp used for
besieging an enemy city (cf. the Mandaic semlah for a rising flight of stairs).

48. See Part 1 (I.3.b) of this series for the distinction between angelic and human constitutions.
On the resurrection, see Peter #20.

49. Retention and preservation of Moses' body was essential for the eventual fulfillment of the
two witnesses prophecy (Zech.4:14; Rev.11:1-12; cf. Deut.18:15-16 with Mal.4:5-6). Compare
also the unearthly departure of the other witness, Elijah: 2Kng.2:11. Uniquely in Israel, Moses'
and Elijah's bodies are "buried in heaven" since they will be called back into service during the
Tribulation.

50. Compare Jacob's experience on his return to Palestine in Genesis 32:2. The angels of God
meet him and he calls the place "Mahanaim", i.e., [military] encampments.

51. The omnipotence of God is covered in detail in section I.A.5 of Part I of Essential Doctrines
of the Bible in Outline: Theology: The Study of God.

52. cf. section I.2 above: The Vanity of Life.

53. The parable of the sower is treated in detail in Peter #12.

54. Clothing was in shorter supply in the ancient world than it is today, wore out more rapidly,
and required more effort, and/or a greater monetary output to secure. In a like fashion, the
provision of essential calories in our culture is far less an issue than in Jesus’ day. Housing costs,
or individual transportation, often considered a necessity for earning a living in today’s world,
would be closer analogies in terms of the percentage of income required in our contemporary
economy. The point is, there will always be essentials that we are tempted to "worry about"
(even if we are fortunate enough not to have to fret over food and clothing).

55. On the holiness of God, see section I.B.2 in Part I of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in
Outline: Theology: The Study of God.

56. For the point that free will is that quality of our spirituality which allows us respond to God's
authority and exercise a delegated form of it, see the previous installment of this series, section
II.1: The Image and Likeness of God.

57. See Part 3 of this series, The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man.

58. On the utter wickedness of all aspects of the cosmos, see L.S. Chafer, Systematic Theology,
v. 2, pp. 59, 84ff., 100.

59. On the millennium, see Parts 1 and 5 of this series.
60. On the time and manner of the resurrection see Peter #20. 2nd Peter 3:12 is often
misunderstood in this context: "waiting expectantly for and being eager for [not "hastening" or
"speeding"] the coming day of God". The Greek word speudo means to demonstrate enthusiasm
for something (often resulting in speed), but the original text here in no way indicates any
potential on the believer's part to accelerate the coming of the kingdom of God: we are to look
forward to our Master's return and be ready for it to happen at any time.

61. The "justification by works" of James 2:14-26 has to do with production resulting from true
faith demonstrating the depth and reality of that faith. What James says is in no way contrary to
the scriptural truth that no one can be justified by the works of the law (Gal.2:16). In fact, the
cases that James cites, Abraham and Rahab, are examples of individuals who believed God's
Word (despite potentially doubt-inducing circumstances) and then acted upon it - in faith.

62. For more on this topic, see the forthcoming Part 5 of this series.

63. For a more detailed treatment of this topic, see "Cult Characteristics" in the special
monograph, Read Your Bible: A Basic Christian Right and Responsibility.

64. See "The Christ Test" in the special monograph, Read Your Bible: A Basic Christian Right
and Responsibility.

65. Systematic Theology v.2, p.106.

66. The association of stars and fallen angels in idolatrous worship can be found at Deut.4:19;
17:3; 2Kng.17:16; 21:3-6; Zeph.1:5; Rev.9:1.

67. On the nature and origin of the human spirit and human life see Part 3 of this series.

68. On the resurrection body, see Peter #20.

69. For example, just read Genesis chapter 42 or 1st Samuel chapter 2, where the assumed reality,
power, nearness and involvement of God in day to day life is very foreign to the view of most
moderns.

70. This particular point will be discussed in full in the next installment of this series.

71. For more information on this point, see, in addition to Part 1 of this series, Peter #22.

72. The case of the "boy" with the unclean spirit is sometimes taken as an exception
(Matt.17:14ff.; Mk.9:24; Lk.9:37ff.). When Jesus asks the time of his initial affliction, his father
replies "since he was a boy", however this phrase translates the Greek adverb paidiothen which
means here not "from childhood" but "from adolescence", based on the word pais () which
is often used to make this distinction in Greek.

73. It will be remembered that the most difficult case of possession encountered in the gospels
brings the observation from our Lord that "this kind only come out with prayer" (Mk.9:29).
  74. Consider, for example, Christ's expulsion of one demon from a distance (Mk.7:29). Demon
  expulsion is no easy matter under any circumstances (cf. the implications of Lk.11:18), and not
  necessarily a once and for all thing. The restless spirit who brings seven more wicked spirits
  back with it reenters the victim (Lk.11:26), and in one case our Lord specifically commanded the
  demon not to reenter the formerly possessed person (Mk.9:25). Demon possession only happens
  by acquiescence, and, even after expulsion, there is no guarantee that without turning to Christ a
  victim of possession will not resort to his or her former behavior.



       The Satanic Rebellion Background to the Tribulation: Part 5, Judgment, Restoration and
                                          Replacement




                       The Satanic Rebellion: Background to the Tribulation

                                                         Part 5

                                    Judgment, Restoration and Replacement

                                              by Dr. Robert D. Luginbill

Outline of the Series:
Part 1: Satan's Rebellion and Fall
Part 2: The Genesis Gap
Part 3: The Purpose, Creation and Fall of Man
Part 4: Satan's World-System: Past, Present and Future
Part 5: Judgment, Restoration and Replacement

Outline for Part 5:
Introduction: Sanctification and the Plan of God.
I. Judgment, Restoration and Replacement I: Positional Victory (Progeny and Promise)
   1. Judgment I: of Satan and the universe
   2. Restoration I: of Earth
   3. Replacement I: Adam and the Last Adam for Satan
   4. Satan’s Reaction: The temptation and fall of Adam and Eve
II. The Plan of God in Human History
   1. The One Central Person of Human History
   2. The Two Phases of Human History: The Foreshadowing and Fulfillment of Jesus Christ: The Old and New Covenants
   3. The Three Wilderness-Pilgrimage Eras of Human History
      a. Gentile era
      b. Jewish era
      c. Church era
   4. The Four Ages of Human History
      a. Gentile Age
      b. Jewish Age
      c. Church Age
      d. Millennial Age
   5. The Five Dispensational Divisions of Human History
      a. Gentile Patriarchy: from Adam to Abraham
      b. Jewish Patriarchy: from Abraham to Moses
      c. The Mosaic Law: from Moses to Christ
      d. The Church: from Christ’s first advent to His Second Advent
      e. The Millennium: from Christ’s return to the end of history
   6. The Six Chronological Periods of Human History
      a. The Antediluvian Period
      b. The Postdiluvian Gentile Period
      c. The Jewish Period
      d. The Church Period
      e. The Tribulational Period
      f. The Millennial Period
   7. The Seven Days of Human History
      a. The Antediluvian Civilization
      b. The Division of the Nations
      c. The Nation of Israel
      d. The Kingdom of Israel
      e. Centralized Christianity
      f. Decentralized Christianity
      g. The Millennium
   8. Evidence for the "Seven Days" Interpretation
      a. Direct Biblical Testimony
      b. The Seven Days of Re-Creation
         i. The Uniqueness of Israel
         ii. The Church
         iii. The Mystery of Christ
         iv. The Bride
         v. The Revelation
      c. The Jewish Ceremonial Calendar
      d. The Testimony of Irenaeus
      e. The Problem of Science and the Bible
      f. Chronology in the Bible
   9. Specific Chronology of the Seven Days of Human History
      a. The Life of Christ
         i. The Birth of Christ
         ii. The Census
         iii. The Crucifixion of Christ
      b. Days 4-3, and 2-1: Jewish and Gentile millennial days
      c. Days 5 and 6: the two millennial days of the Church
      d The Break-points of the Three Pairs of Days
      e. The Tribulational Overlap
      f. Day 7: The Millennium
III. Satan’s Counter-Strategy
   1. Satan’s antediluvian attack on the purity of the human line (the Nephilim)
   2. Satan’s postdiluvian attack on human freedom (the Tower of Babel)
   3. Satan’s attack on the line of the Messiah (Anti-Semitism)
   4. Satan’s attack on the body of Christ (Persecution of the Church)
   5. Satan’s supreme offensive (the Tribulation)
   6. Satan’s last battle (the Gog-Magog Rebellion)
IV. Things to Come: Judgment, Restoration and Replacement Phases II and III
   1. Phase I: Constitution: Lays the foundation for the eternal victory (the "much" phase).
      a. Judgment I: the Genesis Gap
      b. Restoration I: the Seven Days of Re-creation
      c. Replacement I: the First and the Last Adams
   2. Phase II: Completion
     a. Judgment II: the Tribulation
     b. Restoration II: the Millennium
     c. Replacement II: Christ the King and His Church
  3. Phase III: Consummation
     a. Judgment III: the Final Judgments
     b. Restoration III: the New Heavens and the New Earth
     c. Replacement III: the Advent of the Father
V. An Historical Overview of God’s Disposition of Satan
  1. God’s initial disposition of Satan
     a. God’s First Best Will Rejected
     b. Judgment and Demotion
     c. Judgment on the Universe
     d. The Delay of Execution
     e. First Parole
     f. The Last Olive Branch
  2. God’s interim disposition of Satan
     a. Imprisonment
     b. Second Parole
  3. God’s final disposition of Satan
VI. God’s Q.E.D
VII. Background to the Tribulation




Introduction: Sanctification and the Plan of God: In our previous lesson, we discussed the devil's
organization, tactical plans and procedures, and his integrated system for the enslavement of humanity.
We now turn our attention to God's point of view and shall see how He has been in complete control of
the process of human history all along. In this final installment of the present series, we shift our focus
to a chronological and strategic overview of God's plan for humanity as it moves resolutely and
inexorably forward toward history's final conclusion, decisively pushing aside in the process all satanic
resistance, defeating the devil at every turn until he and all the evil he represents are finally eradicated
from the universe. As is the case with so many aspects of divine truth, the process of judgment,
restoration and replacement, a threefold set of actions that can stand as short-hand for the plan of God
overall, are themselves divisible into three distinct parts. In this respect, they parallel the believer's
sanctification (see Peter #13), the process whereby an unsaved human being is restored to complete and
eternal fellowship with God better than what was lost at the fall:

       Initial sanctification: in Christ, we enter into the family of God through faith in Jesus and are
        restored to fellowship (though the full reality of these blessings to come is yet future). Just as
        God restored light to the universe in Genesis 1:3, so new believers are transferred out of
        darkness into the light by believing in the true light of the world, Jesus Christ (Jn.8:12; Col.1:13;
        cf. Jn.1:5; 1:9), and so positionally become "light in the Lord" (Eph.5:8).

       Experiential or progressive sanctification: by following Christ, we are transformed in this life
        through spiritual growth toward the goal of living like restored persons in spite of the sin within
        us and the evil in the world around us (demonstrating thereby the power of God to His glory).
        Just as God sustains light in the universe as a witness in this dark world (Ps.19:1-6; 74:16;
        136:7-9; Is.40:26 Jer.31:35; Rom.1:20), so as believers we are charged to continue to reflect
        experientially His light as we make our way through life (2Cor.3:18; Eph.5:8).
       Ultimate sanctification: with Christ, we are literally transformed through resurrection, bringing
       the process of restoration to completion (1Jn.3:2). Just as God will at the end of time replace the
       limited, restored light of the sun with the glory of the Son and of Himself (Rev.21:23), so we
       believers will ultimately shine forever like stars in the firmament in the Kingdom of God forever
       (Dan.12:3; 1Cor.15:41-43; cf. Rev.2:28).

God's overall plan of universal history is constructed in parallel fashion to this individual plan of
sanctification for believers. Phase one of judgment, restoration and judgment set the stage for restoring
God's harmonious universal order in a positional way in the person of Adam (though the actual
realization of this is yet future). Phase two (otherwise known as human history) is bringing about an
experiential restoration in the persons of believers of all eras, and will reach its culmination in the
millennial rule of Jesus Christ (where grace, truth and goodness will rule in spite of the continued
presence of sin). Phase three will see the destruction of the present material universe, the final execution
of Satan and his minions, and their final replacement with perfected, resurrected human beings, along
with other perfect (angelic) creatures living forever with the Father and the Son in a perfect world
without spot or blemish.



I. Judgment, Restoration and Replacement I: Positional Victory (Progeny and Promise)

1. Judgment I: of Satan and the universe: Untold eons before the dawn of human history, the devil
conceived and led a rebellion against God (the subject of this series). With his thinking corrupted by his
own arrogance, Satan brought himself and others to believe that God would be unable (by reason of His
own character and perfection) to call the devil to account (see Part 1 of this series). This attempted coup
d'etat was, much to Satan and his supporters' surprise, met with an overwhelming initial judgment
whereby the earth, the focus of the universe and center of Satan's rebellion, was destroyed, and the
entire universe blacked-out (see Part 2 of this series). The devil, along with the rest of angelic creation,
was left to tremble in anticipation of what God would do next. Instead of an immediate and final
termination of Satan and his minions, however, God did something that had to have come as a complete
and utter surprise to all of His creatures: He re-created what had previously been destroyed.

2. Restoration I: of Earth: The ways of God are truly unknowable, and marvelously so (Rom.11:33). In
all His ways, He is a God "who hides Himself" (Is.45:15; cf. Deut.29:29; Prov.25:2), who acts not as the
world would expect or assume, but according to His boundless and unsearchable wisdom (Job 5:9; 11:7;
Ps.139:6; Eccl.8:17; Is.40:28; Matt.11:25; Eph.3:8). Whether in blessing or in judgment, God seems to
make a point of doing things in a way that makes the ears of all who hear of it "tingle" (1Sam.3:11-14;
2Kng.21:12; Jer.19:3). Our God is a God not only of unexpected judgments, but of magnificent
surprises and blessed mysteries, the chief of which is Jesus Christ who now resides in all who believe in
Him (Col.1:27; see also Eph.3:4-6; Col.2:2-3). The restoration of the universe in six days was just such
an unanticipated, blessed event. God did not ignore Satan's rebellion (as the devil and his followers had
hoped), nor did He entirely annihilate His creation (as all angelic kind must have feared). Instead, as is
His wont, He did something astoundingly different, something that had never been done before (cf.
Is.43:19; Jer.31:22). He re-created heaven and earth, making them habitable again, bringing illumination
back to the universe with that most significant command "let there be light" (see Part 2 of this series).
And, most astoundingly, He created a new type of creature, morally accountable as were the angels, but
lower than they in terms of power and knowledge, a creature whose very purpose would be to establish
the character and glory of God while replacing those who had disparaged it (see Part 3 of this series).

3. Replacement I: Adam and the Last Adam for Satan: Because of their possession of a life-span and
range of knowledge beyond human comprehension, the decision of each individual angel as to whether
to side with Satan or with God in the rebellion at issue was, for all intents and purposes, an irrevocable
one (see Part 2 of this series). But God offered a last olive branch in the person of Adam (see Part 3 of
this series). Coupled with the unmistakable threat of impending final judgment embodied in the
destruction of earth and the universal black-out, and the promise of mercy inherent in the restoration of
heaven and earth, the creation of Adam that followed was a clear signal to all who had opposed God
that this was their final chance at repentance, for they could indeed be replaced after all. In fact, with the
command to Adam and Eve to propagate and fill the earth, it would take no great effort on the part of
the fallen angels to deduce that within a relatively short amount of time (especially by angelic
standards), the full complement of their replacements would come to be present on the restored earth,
and so their time for deliberation would soon expire. Instead of reconsidering, however, Satan wasted
no time in launching an all out effort to thwart God's plan of replacement, concluding that if only he
could corrupt mankind, no further threat from this quarter would need to be feared. In the end, however,
his very success merely opened the door for the promise and eventual reality of the coming of the Last
Adam (1Cor.15:45), whose sacrifice would restore to life all of Adam's progeny who would choose to
believe in Him.

4. Satan's Reaction: The temptation and fall of Adam and Eve: The devil's temptation of Eve (and the
subsequent fall of Adam as a result: see Part 3 of this series), was a textbook display of Satan's use of
deception and of the anatomy of his most potent weapon, the lie (see Part 4 of this series). By leading
our first parents into sin, the devil assumed that their corruption (and the inevitable corruption of all of
their offspring) meant that mankind would forever be useless as potential replacements for himself and
his followers. But God, all along, had planned a way to restore His human progeny through the promise
of His Son, Jesus Christ. At the judgment in Eden, Eve is told that her progeny (those who will choose
for God) will be opposed to the devil's seed (those who choose against God), and that her Seed (the
Savior of the world), will crush his head (i.e., achieve the ultimate victory over Satan and all who follow
him). This victory would not be without cost, as the prophesy of the crushed heel foretells, speaking as
it does of the price He would pay by His death on the cross for all our sakes (also prefigured in the coats
of skin in Genesis 3.21 and in ritual animal sacrifice in general). By returning to God, saved human kind
would in this way regain more than had originally been lost. For through the promised resurrection to
come, elect mankind will not only become superior to angelic kind in every way, but will come to
possess eternal life which can never again be compromised or called into question. The greatest blessing
to rise forth out of the curse of Genesis chapter three, however, is the promise and the (present) reality
of Jesus Christ. For in the wake of the death sentence Man brought upon himself by his own sin, God
brought eternal life out of death through the death of His Son. This sacrifice, the true cost of which we
can only dimly comprehend this side of heaven, demonstrated beyond any possible question or doubt
the love of God for His creatures, for He sacrificed what was dearest to Him for our sake, despite our
sin against Him. Just as God would not abandon His angelic creation, but restored the universe (even
going so far as to offer His fallen creatures a second chance through the creation of Adam), so in the
person of Jesus Christ, so far from not giving up on us, God has actually wed Himself to His creation
for the sake of mankind. For in the person of Christ, true humanity has been inseparably and irrevocably
united with undiminished deity, so that there can be no further doubt about His commitment to all His
creatures who have chosen for Him:
For God loved the world so much, that he gave His only beloved Son, in order that whoever believes in
Him might not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

Such is the blinding and ineffable glory of God. Instead of blistering judgment, in His matchless grace
He offers mercy to all who will but receive it of Him in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is thus
the key to all human history, because in Him is the only solution to the sentence of death mankind has
willfully placed over its own head, and because in Him deity and humanity have been joined
forevermore, guaranteeing beyond all doubt the absolute solidity of the promise of eternal life through
His name. For through Him we have become eternally united to Him forevermore:

      As partakers of the divine nature (2Pet.1:4).
      In fellowship with Him and the Father (1Jn:1:3).
      As His bride (Eph.5:25-32; Rev.19:7).
      For we have been baptized into His person (nothing to do with water: Matt.28:19; Rom.6:3-11;
       1Cor.12:13; Gal.3:27)
      And are in Him (Jn.14:20; Matt.28:19).
      Inseparably united with Him (Rom.6:5).
      As He is in us (Jn.14:20; Rom.8:10; 2Cor.13:5; Gal.2:20; Eph.3:17; Col.1:27).
      Until God becomes all in all (1Cor.15:28).


II. The Plan of God in Human History

Long before it ever entered Satan's mind to draw our first parents into sin, God's plan for all people
throughout the entire course of what would be known as human history to follow had already been
determined, namely, salvation through the incarnation and sacrificial death of His beloved Son. Indeed,
one cannot even speak about God's plan for mankind without mentioning Jesus Christ in the same
breath. For in the name and in the person of Jesus, God's entire will for the human race is given its full
expression, and by that name alone are we saved from the otherwise inevitable fate that is our collective
lot as descendants of Adam and Eve. In every single human life, from the time paradise ended and the
history we know began, Jesus Christ has been the issue, and He will continue to be so till God brings
history to an end, incinerating every trace of evil in a final, universal conflagration (2Pet.3:7-13). Until
that time, Christ is the dividing point in every person's life (chronologically as well as spiritually). For
every human life is divided into two essential phases:

1) pre-cognizance: from birth until the point of being conscious of God.

2) post-decision: from response to God (leading to faith in Christ), or rejection of God.

The critical point in any given person's life arrives when he or she becomes aware of the existence of
God. With the exception of those who die as children (or remain children mentally), God leads all
human beings to this point (Rom.1:18-23; cf. Ps.19:1-6; Acts 17:26-27). Response leads to faith in the
Son of God (as foreshadowed and promised before the cross; in the flesh with the promise realized after
the cross), while rejection leaves no hope of deliverance from the inevitable.(1) So it is that Jesus Christ
is the true center and the proper focus of every life, the Person in respect to whom every life is
ultimately divided in two, and absolutely, without question the only possible way of salvation.
1. The One Central Person of Human History:

... according to His plan for the ages [i.e., history] which He has implemented in [the person of] Christ
Jesus our Lord ...      Ephesians 3:11

Jesus Christ is the linchpin of human history. He is the mystery shrouded before the cross, revealed after
the cross (Eph.1:9-10; 3:9-10; Col.1:26-27). He is the Son of God (undiminished, genuine deity:
Matt.16:16; Jn.1:18), and the Son of Man (perfect, genuine humanity: Mk.8:31). He is uniquely Man
and God, and so alone is qualified to sacrifice Himself to God on Man's behalf at the cross, the turning
point of all human history.(2) Like the highest mountain peak, or a giant vortex into which everything is
eventually drawn, Jesus Christ, in the most complete sense of God's point of view, is history, because
human history has no purpose without His saving work on the cross (which is the entire point of
history). From the first, prehistoric Eden (see Part 1 of this series), to the garden of Eden, to the dark
world in which we now find ourselves (wherein He is the only light: Jn.1:4-5; 1:9; 3:19; 8:12; 1Jn.2:8),
to the coming Kingdom of God, Jesus Christ is and has always been the visible Person of God, the face
of God (2Cor.4:6; Heb.1:3), and the ultimate issue for every human being who has ever lived. No one,
therefore, can approach God the Father apart from embracing the Son and His saving work:

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the
Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent
Him.                John 6:22-23 [NIV]

He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in He who sent Me.        John 12:44

I am the way: the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.      John 14:6

In response to the Father's will, Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe, of men and angels alike, and
all things owe their continued existence to Him.(3) Therefore even the stage upon which human history
is played out is His work, for the world was created by Him and for Him.

Everything in the heavens and on the earth was created by Him (Jesus Christ), things invisible as well as
those visible - whether thrones, authorities, rulers or powers, everything was created through Him and
for Him. And He Himself is before everything, and everything subsists in Him. Colossians 1:16-17

2. The Two Phases of Human History: The Foreshadowing and Fulfillment of Jesus Christ: As Christ is
the central person of human history, so the death and subsequent resurrection of Christ is history's
central event. From the divine point of view, all history before the cross looks forward to it, and all
history since looks back at it.(4) The cross divides history into two discrete phases, both referencing
history's central Person:

      Phase one: Shadow (anticipation of the Messiah and His sacrifice).
      Phase two: Reality (revelation of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice)

The cross (followed in short order by the resurrection) was obviously the focal point of our Savior's
earthly life, and it is history's focal point as well (in tandem with the resurrection). All human history
funnels down to this point, and expands forth from it. The shadows of the temple ritual and the Mosaic
Law are fulfilled in Him and His work, and give way to the reality of Him, resurrected and exalted at
the right hand of God. Just as each human life is divided into two distinct phases, the acceptance of
Christ (or rejection of God) being the fundamental turning point, so God has ordered human history in
such a way that the appearance of His beloved Son to effect salvation through His death on the cross
forms "the conjunction of the ages" (Heb.9:26; cf. Gal.4:4). Throughout the Old Testament period, the
promise of a coming Savior was clearly given by God, "at many times and in many ways" (Heb.1:1; cf.
Gen.3:15; Deut.18:15; Ps.2; 110; Is.9:1-7; 11:1-5; 49:5-7; 52:13-53:12; Dan.7:13-14; Zech.13:1).
Furthermore, the substitutionary sacrifice that He would perform on mankind's behalf was continually
foreshadowed through animal sacrifice, even before the giving of the Mosaic Law (e.g., Gen.3:21; 4:4-
5; 8:20-21). But the exact nature of the Messiah (i.e, that He would be human and divine), and the exact
manner of His coming (i.e., that He would come twice, first as the Servant to expiate sin, second as the
King to eradicate evil), were shrouded in mystery (cf. Eph.1:9-10; 3:9-11; Col.1:26-27). Scripture tells
us that many Old Testament believers were eager to know what we now understand about the Messiah
and His work (1Pet.1:10-12; cf. Lk.10:23-24). Nevertheless, when He finally did come to face the cross
as God's humble Servant, He was rejected by His own, at least in part because He did not fulfill their
kingly expectations of Him (Matt.21:9; 27:41-43; cf. Jn.6:15). They wanted the Crown, but stumbled
over the Cross (Rom.9:32-33; 1Cor.1:23; cf. Lk.7:23). Even those He chose did not at the time fully
understand what He had come to do (e.g., Mk.9:31-32; Lk.9:44-45 ). Only after His death and
resurrection did the true reality of His saving work on the cross become fully perspicuous to them (cf.
Jn.14:25-26). Jesus' sacrifice at Calvary's cross wrought salvation for all who had (or would) trust God
for forgiveness of their sins. As a result, we now no longer look forward to the future fulfillment of a
salvation whose time and manner we can but dimly comprehend, but possessed of a much more
complete understanding of who He is and what He did for us by the shedding of His own precious
blood, we eagerly anticipate His return. With the coming of the Messiah in person, and His victory won
at the cross an accomplished fact (Jn.16:33; Col.2:15; Rev.5:5), human history has now entered its
second and final phase. No longer do we deal with shadows of what is to come (Col.2:16-17; Heb.8:5;
9:11-12; 9:23; 10:1), but we are instead direct recipients of God's amazing grace which has replaced the
shadows of the Law through the reality of the God-Man Jesus Christ, based upon His sacrificial death
and glorious resurrection (Rom.6:14). Today we enjoy the historical reality of the Cross even as we look
forward to the future reality of the Crown, eagerly anticipating the return of our Lord and Master when
He shall come in glory to take possession of His Kingdom (1Cor.1:7; 16:22; Phil.3:20; 2Thes.1:7;
2Pet.3:12).

... as we await our blessed hope, namely the glorious and majestic appearance of our God and savior,
Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13

The Old and New Covenants: These two phases of human history correspond respectively to the two
covenants, the Old Covenant (or testament) and the New Covenant (or testament). The Hebrew word for
covenant/testament is beriyth (tyrb), literally, a treaty, alliance or agreement. Since these "agreements"
are not made by two equal parties, but are made by God at His own instigation on Man's behalf,
translators have always felt the need distinguish the Old and New "beriyoth" from person-to-person or
state-to-state agreements. But one of the main points of the beriyth is indeed that God has chosen to
bind Himself to fulfill all that He has promised - for our benefit, not for His. That is to say, if God has
said it once, it is true and it will stand, but for the sake of our encouragement and perseverance, He has
undertaken to give us assurances above and beyond anything we could ever deserve or ask for by
formally "ratifying" His Word (cf. Heb.6:16-20).
A covenant/testament/beriyth is, therefore, first and foremost a promise from God, and it is for this
reason that we find the word beriyth closely associated in the New Testament with the concept of
"promise" (epangelia: ; cf. especially Eph.2:12: "the covenants of the promise"). Now the
Greek word for covenant/testament is not epangelia but diatheke (), and this is the word that
literally translates the Hebrew beriyth. But as the usage of diatheke in the New Testament makes clear, a
"covenant" is still essentially an agreement, that is, a solemn, formalized promise or collection of
promises which God has obligated Himself to fulfill (cf. Lk.1:72; Acts 3:25; Rom.11:26-27; 2Cor.3:14;
Gal.3:17; Eph.2:12; Heb.7:22). The best way to understand the idea of the covenant/testament/beriyth,
therefore, is in terms of God's ultimate promise to mankind. For the Old Covenant (really a series of
promises, to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, etc.; cf. Acts 13:23; 13:32-33; 26:6; Rom.4:13; 9:4;
Gal.3:16; 3:29; 4:28; Eph.3:6; 2Tim.1:1; Heb.4:1; 6:12; 9:15; 10:36; 11:38-39; 1Jn.2:25) was first and
foremost the promise of salvation (and all that it would entail), while the New Covenant is essentially
the fulfillment of that promise (through Christ's incarnation, sacrifice and resurrection).(5) The Old
Covenant is thus a looking forward through the shadows to the New Covenant, the reality of Christ and
the fulfillment of all God's promises for salvation and eternal life through Him (1Cor.11:25; 2Cor.3:6;
Heb.9:15):

And we are proclaiming this good news to you, the promise made to our fathers now become a reality.
For this promise God has fulfilled for us, His children, by raising Jesus from the dead. Acts 13:32-33a

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcision for the sake of God's truth, that is, to
confirm the promises [i.e., covenants] made to their ancestors - and also so that the gentiles might
glorify God for His mercy [i.e., in providing salvation through Jesus]. Romans 15:8-9b

This cup is the new covenant [ratified] by My blood which is shed on your behalf.         Luke 22:20b.



From mankind's point of view, hope is always the central idea behind the promises of God solemnized
in covenant form. That God has promised, sworn, and obligated Himself to provide for our salvation
(Old Covenant perspective), and that Christ has accomplished and fully ratified all the promises of the
Old Testament through His blood (New Covenant perspective), is indescribably encouraging news,
good news, that empowers and strengthens our hope that one day we shall indeed be with Him.

For men are accustomed to take oaths on the authority of something greater than they are, and there is
absolutely no doubt about the fact that an oath is taken for the purpose of confirmation. Just so God, out
of a desire to make it abundantly clear to us, the heirs of His promise [after the pattern of Abraham's
faith], that His will in this matter [of salvation and its resultant blessings] is unchangeable, guaranteed it
with an oath [Gen.22:16-17], so that through two unchangeable matters wherein it is impossible for God
to prove false (i.e., His Word and His oath), we who have escaped [the wrath to come] and taken hold of
this hope offered to us might have a strong basis for encouragement. And this hope [truly] is what
"anchors" our lives, so to speak: it is certain; it is solid; it penetrates beyond the [heavenly] veil into the
[holy of holies] where our vanguard, Jesus, has entered on our behalf, having become a high priest
forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:16-20

Hope then, in the biblical sense, is much different from the way the word is often used in contemporary
English. Hope in the biblical sense is not an uncertainty for which we wish, but rather a certainty we
cannot yet see. Secular Greek usage reflects this same idea, for the word elpis (), refers to a
likelihood about future events, a definite expectation, whether good or bad.(6) In the New Testament,
hope is always good, a confident anticipation about what is going to come, and, specifically, the sure
and certain knowledge, belief and conviction of our salvation, resurrection, gathering together with
Jesus Christ, and glorious eternity with Him. We do not see it yet, but we know for certain that through
Christ's victory and our faith in Him it is only a matter of time before we actually experience the things
we hope for:

For it is in this hope [of the resurrection of our bodies] that we have been saved. Now a hope that is
visible is not [really] a hope. For why should someone wait expectantly for what his eyes can see? But
we have set our hope on what cannot be seen, and so are patiently awaiting its fulfillment. Romans 8:24-
25

It is faith, moreover, that substantiates what we hope for. [Faith] provides proof of things
unseen. Hebrews 11:1

The Old Covenant looked forward to the coming of the promised Messiah, to the redemption of all
mankind through His work (Rom.11:27). With the advent of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross now
an accomplished fact, the New Covenant that God has made with all mankind includes not only
forgiveness, but innumerable blessings besides, prominent among which is the gift of the Holy Spirit
(Jn.7:39; cf. Is.59:21). Now that Christ has been resurrected, ascended to heaven and sits at the Father's
right hand, we who believe in Him have received the gift of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts as well, an
unfulfilled promise from the Old Covenant perspective, but, like the coming of Christ in the flesh, a
reality under the New Covenant (compare Is.44:3 and Joel 2:28 with Acts 2:14-21; Rom.12:5-8;
1Cor.12:1-11; Eph.4:7-13).

Jesus Christ is thus the key to the two phases of history with its two concomitant covenants. He is the
unique Prophet (Deut.18:17-19), the eternal Priest (Ps.110:4) and the promised King (Is.9:6-7). He is the
fulfillment of the all the Old Testament promises (Rom.15:8; cf. Acts 3:24-26), of the Old Covenant
(2Cor.3:14; Heb.7:22), and of the Law (Rom.10:4; Heb.7:12). He is the One who has delivered us from
the bondage of the Old Covenant and brought us into the freedom of the New Covenant (Gal.4:24f.). He
it is who has mediated for us a better covenant than was in force before, a covenant built on better
promises (Heb.8:6; 12:24; cf. Eph.2:12; Heb.9:15-16).

But the fact is that the ministry which [Jesus] has received is a more excellent one to the same degree
that the [New] Covenant of which He is the mediator is better [than the Old]. For this [New Covenant]
has been instituted on the basis of better promises. For if that first [covenant] had been perfect, an
occasion for the second would not have been sought. Indeed, in finding fault with [those under the first
covenant, God] says,

Behold, the days are coming", says the Lord, "when I shall ratify a New Covenant with the house of
Israel and the house of Judah - not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I
took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not remain [faithful to] My
covenant, and so I in turn disregarded them." says the Lord. "For" says the Lord, "this is the covenant
which I shall make with the house of Israel after these days: I shall put my precepts in their minds and
write them upon their hearts, and I shall be their God, and they shall be My people. They shall not teach
each one his fellow and each one his brother, saying 'Know the Lord!', because all shall know Me, from
the least to the greatest of them. For I shall have mercy upon their unrighteous deeds and shall
remember their sins no more." [Jeremiah 31:31-34]

In mentioning a "New [Covenant]", He has rendered the Old one obsolete. And that which is obsolete
and antiquated is close to disappearing. Hebrews 8:6-13

Not that every promise from the Old Testament has already been fulfilled in every aspect and detail
(Heb.11:39-40). Indeed, even now under the New Covenant we still await the return of our Lord and our
gathering together with Him in resurrection. But all God's promises have in fact been completely
fulfilled in principle through our Lord Jesus Christ's victory over sin at the cross, a victory that resulted
in our redemption from sin and thus cleared the way for all the coming blessings of eternity. Therefore
the actual fulfillment of all the promises to Israel and to us, our resurrection, eternal life, our reward and
eternity with God in the new heavens and new earth are a reality by which we are separated only by a
short span of time (and one for which we wait with eager anticipation: 2Pet.3:10-13).

Synopsis: Covenants in general in the ancient Middle East required two parties and a formal blood-
sacrifice for ratification wherein both sides agree to abide by the terms specified. A biblical covenant is
an agreement made by God on mankind's behalf, wherein God undertakes to bless all those who
faithfully follow Him. God's part is two-fold: He supplies blessing (culminating in resurrection and
eternal life), and He provides the blood-sacrifice (the gift of His Son, necessary to redeem us from sin
so that we may be blessed). Our part is to keep faith with Him (i.e., accepting Christ and continuing to
trust Him, believe Him, obey Him, follow Him: cf. Gen.15:6). God's covenants are formalized promises
that provide those who have set their hearts on following Him with a strong basis for confident hope,
because God has not only promised the eternal life and concomitant blessings we eagerly await, but has
irrevocably bound Himself to fulfill them. Therefore although part of these covenants' fulfillment is still
yet future (requiring those who accept God's gracious offer of salvation which is at the heart of both
covenants to trust Him while waiting patiently for fulfillment after the pattern of Abraham's faith and
patience), fulfillment is absolutely certain for all who embrace the promises and persevere in faith.(7)
Both Old and New Covenants are ratified by blood: the Old through the shadow of animal blood, the
New through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross (where the reality of His death on our
behalf and in our place [and wherein He did not bleed to death: Jn.19:30-37] is symbolized by the
phrase "the blood of Christ": Heb.9:16-22). God promises, formalizes the promises, and pays the most
severe price to fulfill the covenants He has established - the price being the sacrifice of His only beloved
Son. We benefit from His unconditional and glorious act of grace, if we but trust in Jesus and stay
faithful to Him. Whether it be present day believers who partake of the communion which proclaims the
completed reality of salvation through the blood of Christ (Matt.26:26-29), or believers of the past who
partook of sacrificial meals "of covenant" that foreshadowed the future reality of salvation (Ex.12:1-12;
cf. Gen.31:51-54), our participation "proclaims the death of Jesus until He comes" (1Cor.11:26) and so
pledges our continuing faith and faithfulness. The old, shadow covenant(s) (cf. Ezek.16:60 "covenant of
youth") and the memorial, "New" covenant (cf. Ezek.16:60 "everlasting covenant) thus both proclaim
the salvation to which we are heirs and partakers by the work of God through our continuing faith in
Jesus Christ:

But Christ has already arrived [in heaven] as high priest of the of the good things to come, [having
passed] through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, that is, the one which is not of this creation.
Nor was it through the blood of goats and bullocks, but through His own blood [i.e., His death] that He
entered once and for all into the holy of holies, having wrought eternal redemption. For if the blood of
goats and bulls and the ashes of the heifer sprinkled upon the unclean render a person holy in respect to
bodily cleansing, how much more will the blood of Christ, who offered Himself without defect to God
through the eternal Spirit, cleanse our conscience from dead works so that we may serve the living God?
And it is for this reason that He is the Mediator of a New Covenant, so that those who have been called
might receive their eternal inheritance on the basis of the death He suffered to redeem us from the
transgressions [committed] under the first Covenant. Hebrews 9:11-15

I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and shall take You by the hand, and guard You, and
appoint You a covenant for the nation and a light for the gentiles. Isaiah 42:6

3. The Three Wilderness-Pilgrimage Eras of Human History: Since the expulsion of Adam and Eve
from the garden of Eden, this world has largely been under the devil's control (see Part 4 of this series).
And since the garden of Eden, there has been no paradise on earth, nor will there be until our Lord's
return and the commencement of His blessed thousand year reign (i.e., the Millennium).(8) Until that
time, this world, lying as it does in the lap of the evil one (1Jn.5:19), is a desert world, a place of
hardship that must be gotten through with God's help, rather than enjoyed to the full (1Cor.7:29-31). For
this world is not yet a place where God dwells manifestly and in person, but rather a wilderness through
which we who believe in Christ are making our pilgrimage to God (1Chron.29:15; Ps.39:12; 119:19;
Heb.11:37; 13:13-14; 1Pet.1:1; 2:11):(9)

Happy is everyone whose strength is in You. Their hearts are set on the highways [of pilgrimage to
Zion]. As they pass through the [dry] valley of Bachah [i.e., the wilderness of life], they make it a place
of springs. Even the early rains enwrap it with [their] blessings. They go from strength to strength, until
they appear before God in Zion. Psalm 84:5-7

These all died [while still walking] in faith, though they had not received the [fulfillment of their]
promises. But [while they lived] they did catch sight of [these promises] from a distance and salute
them, [so to speak], thus making it plain [to all the world] that they were [in effect] strangers and
sojourners on the earth. For people who express [their faith] in this way make it quite evident that they
are eagerly in search of a homeland [other than the world they now pass through]. Indeed, if these
[believers'] hearts had yearned for the [land] from which they had departed, they would have had
[ample] opportunity to turn back. But they were zealous for a better place, a heavenly one. Therefore
God is not ashamed to be called their God. He has, in fact, prepared a city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16

There are three wilderness-pilgrimage eras in human history. They are defined by and take their names
from the pilgrims who sojourn through them:

      Gentile era
      Jewish era
      Church era

The first wilderness-pilgrimage era (Gentile) runs from the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden
of Eden until the call of Abraham. Its pilgrim-believers are exclusively gentiles. In this era, there is an
individual focus to the pilgrimage (i.e., following God as separate persons).
The second wilderness-pilgrimage era (Jewish) runs from the call of Abraham until the birth of Christ,
when its completion is postponed till the commencement of the Tribulation. Its pilgrim-believers are
primarily Jewish (along with gentiles in association with Israel). In this era, there is a national focus to
the pilgrimage (i.e., following God as members or associates of a national community established by
God and dedicated to Him, namely, Israel).

The third wilderness-pilgrimage era (Church) runs from the day of Pentecost until the onset of the
Tribulation. Its pilgrim-believers are both Jews (the original branch) and gentiles (grafted into Israel)
combined into the single body of Christ. In this era, there is a corporate focus to the pilgrimage (i.e.,
following God as intimate members of His family, the body of Christ which is the Church universal).

Though they differ in many respects, all three eras have several important aspects in common. They are
all ...

      post-paradise: they all follow the garden of Eden temporally.
      non-paradise: no establishment of direct, divine administration at any time during the eras.
      pre-Kingdom: they all precede the 2nd Advent.
      syn-cosmic: they all run concurrently with Satan's administration of the world, his kosmos.
      syn-chronic: they all share a duration of two thousand years.

These three wilderness eras demonstrate God's grace in providing for believers under three different
pre-Kingdom pilgrimage circumstances: 1) as individual pilgrims; 2) as a discrete nation of pilgrims; 3)
as a world-wide family of pilgrims. To each and for each of these pilgrimages, the Millennial rule of
Christ forms the capstone. For it is in the Millennium at Christ's return that the believers of all three eras
receive their rewards (Matt.16:27; 19:28; Lk.14:14; Rev.11:18; 22:12). Gentiles, Jews and both as
members of Christ's Church have been trekking toward the promised land through the desert of this
world since the expulsion from Eden. At our Lord's return, we shall enter the ultimate land of milk and
honey in a literal as well as a spiritual sense, for we shall all be with Christ for His thousand year reign
on Mount Zion in Jerusalem (see Part 1 of this series, section II.6.f). Until that time, this world is a
wilderness, like the desert of Sinai through which the children of Israel journeyed. The devil's world is
truly a dry and trackless place, a valley of Bachah (as in Psalm 84:6a above), a name that not only
connotes arid conditions (as a place of Balsam trees), but also suffering and tears (as almost
indistinguishable from the Hebrew word for weeping). But with hearts stayed upon the Lord, we
pilgrims can experience the blessings of the water of life in the midst of this desolate wilderness
(Ps.84:6b).

4. The Four Ages of Human History: Before the rebellion of the devil and his angels, Satan occupied a
unique position in God's creation (see Part 3 of this series, section III). He was the guardian cherub,
assigned to protect the holiness of God from everything profane, and he appeared before God bedecked
with memorial jewels betokening the original nine angelic divisions.(10) Created to serve and glorify
God in these and other special ways, the devil decided instead to attempt to replace God as ruler of the
universe. As a consequence, Satan has now been replaced in his duties as the cherub by four other
(elect) angelic creatures.

These newly appointed cherubim, in addition to taking over the devil's former duties, also have the
important function of symbolizing the life and work of the One who is, as the new Morning Star, the
ultimate and transcendent replacement for Lucifer, the Redeemer of those whom the devil seeks to
destroy. In this capacity, each cherub represents the four major aspects of Christ's role as the Savior-
King of human history, and each of these four aspects likewise corresponds to a distinct age of that
history in which that aspect is visibly revealed:

      Gentile Age: Christ promised to all humanity in general as Savior.
      Jewish Age: Christ promised to Israel in particular as Messiah.
      Church Age: Christ come in person in the (virgin-born) flesh in humility as the Servant.
      Millennial Age: Christ come in person in the (resurrected) flesh in glory as the King.


As we saw in the first installment of this series, Satan, in his role as Lucifer (the Morning Star), was
meant to be a unique reflection of the glory of God. In this role, he was the creature counterpart of the
divine Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ (see Part 4, section III.3.b).(11) After the devil's
rebellion occasioned the events we call human history, however, the appointment of a college of four
cherubim was symbolically necessary. For Jesus Christ would personally supplant the devil in a
transcendent way, so that the function of the cherubim from the standpoint of reflecting the divine glory
would now be directed towards the victor of human history, our Savior. So it is that the four cherubs
who attend God's throne represent four important aspects of Christ's unique person and work. Moreover
in doing so (a point which is apropos of our immediate topic), the symbolism which each of the four
faces of the cherubim espouses corresponds to a primary aspect of Christ's person and work as it is
revealed within each of the four ages of human history:(12)

      Bullock-face: (Gentiles): Christ promised to all humanity in general as Savior.
      Lion-face: (Israel): Christ promised to Israel in particular as Messiah.
      Human-face: (Church): Christ come in person in the flesh in humility as the Servant.
      Eagle-face: (Millennium): Christ come in person in the flesh in glory as the King.

We have discussed the cherubs in Parts 1 and 4 of the present series (and will have occasion to revisit
the issue anew in Part 2 of the series, The Coming Tribulation). Several points about them should be
clarified here, however:

a) Their Number: The cherubs (also called seraphim in Isaiah chapter six) are, according to the above
discussion, four in number, and are almost always described as such. The one true exception to this rule
is their depiction on the mercy seat. This exception is entirely understandable when it is considered that
the mercy seat and the temple depictions are essentially two dimensional representations. Since the
cherubim stand by the sides of God's chariot-throne in pairs (when carrying the throne), only two
cherubs are fully visible to someone viewing the scene from the direct forefront, and so it is that they
are represented in this context (a point with significance for their faces as well as we shall see below).

b) Their Wings: The wings of the cherubim are described as numbering six in Isaiah and in Revelation
as well. Ezekiel’s mention of only four wings is to be accounted for by the fact he is describing the
cherubs as they are in the process of transporting the chariot-throne of God (not the case in either Isaiah
or Revelation where the throne is at rest). The "wheel-with-a-wheel-within-it" which Ezekiel describes
as being by the side of each cherub (Ezek.1:15-18; 10:9-13) is, in actuality, the additional set of wings
providing rotary locomotion to the chariot wheels (thus giving the appearance of a "wheel within a
wheel" in each case; cf. Ezek. 3:13). The description of these "wing-powered wheels" overheard by
Ezekiel and recorded in verse thirteen of chapter ten as the "whirlwind wheels" (Hebrew: galgal: lglg) is
most revealing in this respect, for this image (i.e., of a funnel cloud) portrays substantial three
dimensional depth just as a circularly rotating pair of wings (one from each side of the cherub) would
possess, but which wheels alone would not. This also explains why the wheels are "full of eyes", a
characteristic of the cherubs’ wings: the rapidly rotating wheels with the pair of wings interlocked gives
the appearance that the eyes are part of the wheels (compare Ezek.1:18 and 10:12 with Rev.4:6 and 4:8).

c) Their Symbolism: As described above, all four cherub-faces symbolize Jesus Christ, with each
representing that aspect of His historical mission at the forefront during the age for which they stand.

      The bullock face (Gentile age) is a picture of Christ the suffering Servant. The bullock not only
       bears burdens (as Christ bore our sins: cf. Is.53:4), but is also the most esteemed sacrificial
       animal, whose blood was shed under the Old Testament economy as a symbolic representation
       of Christ's promised work on our behalf (Lev.1:5ff.).

      The lion face (Jewish age) is a picture of Christ as the promised Messiah. The lion is the symbol
       of the tribe of Judah (Rev.5:5; cf. Gen.49:9-12), and has a messianic connotation throughout the
       Old Testament (cf. Num.23:24; 24:9). The generation of Israel to whom He came was ready to
       embrace the lion (the Messiah as avenging warrior), but stumbled over the bullock (the Messiah
       as self-sacrificing servant).

      The human face (Church age) is a picture of Christ as the incarnate, visible Savior of the world.
       He is the Son of Man (Matt.9:6), the archetypal human being who is truly human in every way
       apart from sin (Heb.2:14 with 4:15), the last Adam (1Cor.15:45). The Church, composed of all
       believing Jews and gentiles, is His body here on earth, not yet glorified as indeed He was not
       glorified until after His work on the cross was completed (Jn.17:1-5).

      The eagle face (Millennial age) is a picture of Christ exalted in resurrection and victorious in
       battle. Glorified by the Father for His victory at the cross ( Eph.1:19b-23), following His
       resurrection and ascension He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father until the day of
       His return (Ps.110). At that time (the Second Advent), He will fulfill all the messianic
       prophecies recorded in the scriptures and will rule the world in glory for a thousand years
       (Eph.3:10-12; Col.1:20). With its connotations of forbidding majesty and awe (Deut.28:49;
       Jer.48:40; 49:22; Ezek.17:3; 17:7; Dan.7:4; Hos.8:1; Hab.1:8), the eagle is an appropriate
       symbol for Christ's majestic and awe-inspiring double victory, first at the cross (with its
       accompanying resurrection, ascension and session at the Father's right hand), and ultimately at
       the Second Advent (Matt.24:28; Lk.17:37; compare the picture of the glorified Christ at
       Rev.1:12-16).

d) The Number of their Faces: Of all human features, the face is at once one of the most memorable and
expressive, making it a most effective means for the type of symbolic representation discussed above.
Although their bodies are in human form (Ezek.1:5), the four faces of the cherubim are unique, and
stand symbolically for the various aspects of our Lord's earthly ministry just described. In this way, the
faces of the cherubim reflect the glory of the Son of God instead of their own glory, just as, ideally, the
world should see the face of Christ in us, His servants, when we walk as He commanded us to do
(2Cor.3:18; cf. Matt.16:24; Jn.13:15; 1Cor.11:1; 2Cor.2:15; Gal.4:19; Eph.5:1; 1Thes.1:6; 1Pet.2:21).

All four faces of the cherubim are entirely obscured in Isaiah (Is.6:1-7), because as the cherubs hover
over the throne of God, they cover their faces with one set of wings (so as not to look upon the glory of
God). In Ezekiel (Ezek.1:4-26; 10:1-22; 41:18-20), the cherubs (along with their wing-wheels) are
positioned under the chariot throne, so that no veiling of their faces is necessary. All four faces, as a
result, were visible to Ezekiel. In Revelation (Rev.4:6-8), the cherubs encircle the throne and are part of
it (i.e., in direct contact with it), but are not positioned so as to provide locomotion (i.e., they have
rotated into a guardian position: see the diagram below). Here, they are roughly on the level of God's
throne (i.e., not completely below it as in Ezekiel, nor hovering above it as in Isaiah). As a result, we
may surmise that they are seen by John covering all but their outward looking face (so that he can
describe them as if they had only one face).(13) In actuality, therefore, each cherub in all three passages
possesses all four faces: that of a man on the front, an eagle on the back, a lion on the right and a
bullock on the left (as in Ezek.1:6-9). From the viewer's perspective, however, each cherub may seem to
have only one face, since only one of the faces is generally visible at any given time (cf. Ezek.10:14,
where it states literally in the Hebrew that "the face of the first one was ... [etc.]", although Ezekiel is
previously quite clear about the fact each cherub has four faces: Ezek.1:6-9).

e) Their Order: Ezekiel's initial description of the faces in verse ten of chapter one proceeds in a natural
and understandable order, making mention of the forward looking face first (that of a man), then
moving to the right and left sides (the lion and the bullock respectively), and finishing with the
rearward-looking face (the eagle). Ezekiel 10:14, by way of contrast, is not a generic description of a
single cherub, but rather an account of the entire college of four as they carry God's chariot-throne.(14)

Each had four faces. The face of the first was [that of a] cherub; the face of the second [was] the face of
a man; the face of the third [was] the face of a lion; the face of the fourth [was] the face of an
eagle. Ezekiel 10:14

In this second description, Ezekiel's account thus moves around the ark in a clockwise fashion (left-
front, front-right, right-rear, rear-left), mentioning the outward-looking face in each case. Ezekiel begins
with the cherub stationed on the left-front corner of the chariot no doubt because this angel was closest
to his view, for the chariot-throne is described at this point as standing south of the temple (Ezek.10:3),
while Ezekiel himself was positioned near the temple's entrance (viz., to the north of the chariot-throne:
Ezek.8:16). His description of this cherub, elsewhere with the bullock face, as having "the face of a
cherub" may be explained by fact that in the Hebrew culture the cherubh (cherub: Hebrew bvrk) must
have generally been understood as having the appearance of a bullock, precisely the reason why Ezekiel
made such a point of articulating that the genuine, heavenly cherubs had four faces, only one of which
resembled a bullock.

The order of the cherubim given in Revelation 4:7 of Lion, Bullock, Man, Eagle, is thus consistent with
what is found elsewhere in scripture (i.e., Is.6:1-7; Ezek.1:4-26; 10:1-22; 41:18-20). In Ezekiel's
description, the cherubs are actually in contact with the chariot-throne while flying, in Isaiah's
description, the cherubs (called seraphs) are disengaged and flying, and in Revelation, the cherubs are in
contact with the throne (though they have apparently shifted positions: see the diagram immediately
below), and are not flying (i.e., they are "in the midst" of the throne; Greek: en meso:
).
As to the order per se as given in Revelation 4:7, John lists the cherubim in the following manner right,
left, front, rear. This is similar to what Ezekiel does when describing the four faces of the individual
cherubim in the tenth verse of chapter one, but not identical. For while Ezekiel sandwiches the left and
the right in between the front and the rear, John, on the other hand, shifts this order, giving the left and
the right, followed by the front and the rear. This change of order (from the more natural order of
Ezekiel) is due to the fact that, in the book of Revelation (the "unveiling of Jesus Christ", its literal title),
it was appropriate for John under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to list the faces of the cherubim so as
to reflect these symbolic representations of the person and work of our Savior in respect to their specific
relationship to the overall Plan of God. Therefore the ranking in Revelation 4:7 (Lion-Bullock-Man-
Eagle) has the following significance:

       The symbol of the historical Age of Israel is placed first.
       The symbol of the coming Kingdom of Israel is placed last.
       These two symbols enclose the two symbols of the predominantly gentile ages, of which ...
       The symbol of the Age of the Gentiles is placed first.
       The symbol of the Church Age (where gentiles are grafted into Israel) is placed next to it.
       Thus Israel and Kingdom Israel enclose the gentiles and the mystery gentiles (Eph.3:6).

The symbolism thus rendered of Israel enclosing the gentiles and the gentiles fulfilling Israel is at once
powerful and appropriate, for Christ, whose Person and work these four ages and their corresponding
cherub-faces represent, is the One who fills and completes everything in every way (Eph.1:23; cf. 1:9-
10).

5. The Five Dispensational Divisions of Human History: The word "dispensation" is at once a
descriptive and unfortunate term for the five segments into which history is divided in respect to God's
allocation of resources for pursuing a relationship with Him (i.e., salvation and spiritual growth). This is
because while "dispensation" is a perfectly good English word that closely shadows the biblical
vocabulary on the one hand (translating the Greek word oikonomia: ), on the other hand the
connotations the word carries from Roman Catholic usage as well as from traditional, evangelical
"Dispensationalism" can be misleading.(15) The Greek word oikonomia may also be translated
"economy" and "stewardship" (cf. Lk.16:2-4; 1Cor.9:17; Col.1:25; 1Tim.1:4), but these words too have
taken on specialized meanings that obscure the real force of what biblical oikonomia really is. God's
dispensations are periods of time distinguished by the different grace means He uses in each one to
"dispense" the resources necessary for seeking Him to all those who desire to do so (Eph.3:2).(16)

It should go without saying that God has always made Himself available to those who want to know
Him and who wish to have a relationship with Him - that is the whole point of our existence (Deut.4:29;
Prov.8:17; Is.45:22; 55:6; Jer.29:13; Matt.7:7; Lk.11:9). The manner and the means whereby He
accomplishes this, however, differ, corresponding to the dispensational division in question. To know
God, one needs to have information about God; one needs truth, truth which must then be believed and
put into practice. And while certain truths are obvious to all mankind (e.g., the existence of God, the
basic distinction between right and wrong, etc.),(17) more specific information about God, the salvation
He has provided in Jesus Christ, and the knowledge essential to cultivating a relationship with Him are
areas of truth that are not available to mankind independent of the grace means God has provided for
their dissemination. While our omnipotent, omniscient God is certainly capable of giving any and every
interested human being independent revelation of all His truth, He has for the most part in the course of
human history chosen to work through various agents, stewards or "dispensers" who have been
responsible for providing spiritual food to the family of God. Until the coming of the canon of
scriptures, this was a direct process wherein the Word of God came exclusively to certain individuals of
God's choosing called "prophets" (Hebrew: nabi' - aybn; Greek: prophetes -) who were
responsible for dispensing divine truth. During the formation of the canon (a period of some fifteen
hundred years), prophesy and the written Word were dual means of dispensing truth. With the close of
the canon and the passing of the apostolic generation, God's Word is the sole source of special
revelation about Him, so that the dispensation of truth during the division known as the Church is
correspondingly different from preceding dispensational divisions (the ministry and gifts of the Spirit
being crucial at this present time). With the commencement of the end times and the millennial reign of
Christ that follows, scripture will be complemented once again by extraordinary prophetic
empowerment as the knowledge of God will come to fill the entire world (see below).

The "dispensations" of God's gracious provision of truth about Himself (necessary for salvation and
spiritual growth) are five in number. They are:

      Gentile Patriarchy: from Adam to Abraham.
      Jewish Patriarchy: from Abraham to Moses.
      The Mosaic Law: from Moses to Christ.
      The Church: from Christ's first advent to His Second Advent.
      The Millennium: from Christ's return to the end of history.
a) Gentile Patriarchy: In keeping with the individual focus of the times of the gentiles, God worked
primarily through individuals during that period of history which preceded the call of Abraham. After
the pattern of Enoch (Gen.5:21-24; Heb.11:5), Noah (Gen.6:9; 6:13-14; Heb.11:7), Job (Job 1:8), the
king of Salem (Gen.14:18-20), and, until his circumcision, Abram (Gen.12:1-3; 15:6), God provided
Himself with stewards, men to whom He granted great knowledge about Himself through personal
revelation. These men were prophets whom God blessed with special revelation of His truth, and whom
He used as means for the stewardship or "dispensing" of that truth about Himself.

b) Jewish Patriarchy: In terms of the dispensing of divine truth, God's grace means from the call of
Abraham to the giving of the Mosaic Law are similar in the sense of being visited upon individual
believers, exceptional in terms of their relationship to God. In the Jewish division as in the gentile
division, heads of households prominent for their favor in the eyes of the Lord remain the focus of
divine revelation, often through direct communication with God (as well as through visions, dreams,
and their interpretation). The main difference between the Gentile and Jewish dispensational economies
is expressed in their respective titles: before Abraham, no familial distinction existed; after Abraham,
God made particular and preeminent use of Abraham's seed to witness for Himself and to distribute His
truth. For example, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all functioned as prophets (cf. Gen.20:7). All three
patriarchs are recorded in scripture as having received special revelation directly from God (e.g., see
respectively Gen.15:12-16; 26:2-5; 28:13-15). The procedure of the dispensation of truth is thus
identical for the first two divisions of history, only that in the second, revelation comes predominantly
through the line of the Messiah.

c) The Mosaic Law: With the giving of the Mosaic Law, God's truth took written form for the first time
in human history. While prophets would continue to receive direct revelation from God, they were,
beginning with Moses, sometimes instructed to record the Word of God. The act of writing down
scripture is thus a prophetic one, accomplished exclusively by prophets (e.g., Moses: comparing
Deut.18:15 with Num.12:6-8), and always at the behest of God (e.g., Ex.34:27-28), and under the direct
guidance of God (cf. 1Pet.1:20-21).(18) With the giving of the Law, there was now a body of written
truth about God which could be taught independently of prophecy (a function for which the priests and
Levites were primarily responsible: Deut.33:8-10; 2Chron.17:7-9; 35:3; Neh.8:9; Ezek.44:23). More
than this, the entire national lifestyle dictated by the Law was itself designed to teach truth. The
behavioral requirements of the Law functioned as a "pedagogue", so to speak, designed to expose our
sinful nature and so lead the way to salvation (Gal.3:24-25). Its stipulations for separating the clean and
unclean taught God's holiness and the need to emulate it. The sacrifices it enjoined in particular spoke of
Christ and His sacrifice for us on the cross (cf. 1Cor.5:7), and the system of festivals taught God's
ultimate plan for the ages (see below). The tabernacle and its furniture were also rich with symbolic
meaning, communicating much truth about God (cf. Heb.9:23-28).(19) Even elements which may seem
superficially trivial have deep spiritual significance (cf. 1Cor.9:8-10). In short, with the giving of the
Law, God's dispensation of knowledge about Himself was no longer confined to exceptional
individuals, but was now more widely and immediately available, although concentrated in His priest-
nation, Israel.

d) The Church: The death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, followed by the advent of His
Holy Spirit, brought about a revolution in the dispensation of God's grace means for learning about
salvation and pursuing spiritual growth. With the explosion of grace to the gentiles and the formation of
a world-wide family of God, a major change in the dispensation of truth was also required (cf.
Heb.7:12). As a single family, united to Christ, the work of spiritual growth is very much now a group
effort. The two key factors which allowed this transformation to take place are 1) the giving of the Holy
Spirit; 2) the completion of the canon of scripture. Apart from the early days of the Church (and it
would be well to remember that all the writers of scripture were either apostles who had seen Christ or
writing under their authority: cf. the discussion of prophecy above), the dispensation of knowledge for
salvation and spiritual growth has rested almost exclusively on these twin pillars, whether directly or
indirectly. For all believers have the gift of the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:9), and all truth necessary for
salvation and spiritual growth is contained in and limited to the Bible (with the exception of "general
revelation": e.g., recognizing God’s existence from contemplating the magnificence of His creation).
That is not to say, of course, that in our current dispensation it is "every man for himself", and that every
believer is authorized and capable of "self-dispensing" the spiritual food necessary for growth. To the
contrary, we the Church are the most interconnected group of believers in this respect that the world has
yet seen. We are one body, and we function as parts of that body, each one of which is essential, each
one of which has great need of all the others (1Cor.12:12-30). As those who have accepted Jesus Christ,
we are all here with the same dual-objective: to grow spiritually and to help others do the same.(20) The
Holy Spirit bestows spiritual gifts upon all new believers (1Cor.12:4-11), so that through His
empowerment of these gifts and His indwelling of every believer we of the Church age have greater
opportunities than every before both for personal spiritual advance and also for helping our fellow
believers grow as well. As spiritual advance in the midst of Satan's world is no easy mandate, the
mutual support of the body of Christ is essential for effective, collective growth. Furthermore, the
dispensation of divine truth is no longer accomplished through prophesy (a gift that apparently ceased to
function with the passing of the apostolic generation, once the canon of scripture was complete:
1Cor.13:8).(21) Nor is it now a matter of close adherence to a very strict set of symbolic rituals (the Law
having been abrogated by the reality of Christ's incarnation and work on the cross: Rom.6:14; 10:4;
Col.2:17). We are now free to accept the responsibility of spiritual growth without the burden of
following the Law in all its particulars, educational as they may be (Gal.5:1; 5:13; 1Pet.2:16). For
everything we as Christians need to know about God and our role in His plan is now contained in one
unique book, the Bible (2Tim.3:15-17). God used inspired men to write this Book of books (2Pet.1:20-
22), and now uses prepared men with the requisite spiritual gifts to teach and so to "dispense" the truths
it contains (1Cor.12:27-31; Eph.4:11-16; 1Thes.5:12-13; 1Tim.5:17):(22)

For [God] has made known to us the mystery He has willed according to His own good pleasure, one
which He purposed in [Christ], for the dispensing [of truth] about the completion of history, namely,
that all things have now been incorporated in Christ, both things in heaven, and things on earth -
  Ephesians 1:9-10

This gracious favor has been given to me, the least of His holy ones: to give to the gentiles the good
news of the indescribable wealth [that is in] Christ, and to enlighten everyone as to how [the truth] of
this mystery (once hidden from the ages in God who created everything) is now being dispensed, so
that the enigmatically intricate wisdom of God might be made known to the rulers and authorities in the
heavenly realms through the agency of the Church.          Ephesians 3:8-10

It is of this [Church] that I, [Paul], have become a minister according to God's mandate given to me for
dispensing [the truth] to you, in order to bring completeness to God's plan [lit., "word", Gk. logos] that
is, [to make known] the mystery hidden from ages and from generations [past], but now revealed to His
holy ones [i.e., believers]. To all such God desired to make known what wealth there is in this glorious
mystery regarding the gentiles, for it is that Christ - your hope of glory - is in you. Colossians 1:25-27

And command them not pursue myths and endless genealogies, things which provoke controversies
rather than the dispensing of the truth of God by faith. 1st Timothy 1:4

e) The Millennium: With the return of Christ at the Second Advent, our Lord will take up direct rule
over the earth (along with those who are His at His coming: 1Cor.6:3; 1Pet.2:5; 2:9; Rev.1:6; 2:26-28;
3:21; 5:10; 20:4; 20:6). The commencement of the reign of Emmanuel (which name means "God [is]
with us") will begin for the first time since Adam's fall the personal and direct rule of God on earth in
the divine person of the Son of God. The dispensation of divine truth at that time will be such as the
world has never before seen, for, in addition to the other wonders of millennial perfection, the
knowledge of God and His truth will be universally and bountifully available:

"For" says the Lord, "this is the covenant which I shall make with the house of Israel after these days: I
shall put my precepts in their minds and write them upon their hearts, and I shall be their God, and they
shall be My people. They shall not teach each one his fellow and each one his brother, saying 'Know the
Lord!', because all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest of them. For I shall have mercy upon
their unrighteous deeds and shall remember their sins no more." Jeremiah 31:33-34

They shall not harm nor destroy on all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be filled with the
knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:9

However, despite this perfect environment, and despite unprecedented revelation abounding to all, truth
which it will be impossible for mankind to ignore or be ignorant of, many will nevertheless resist the
truth and choose to follow their sinful natures instead, even to the point of rebelling against the perfect
King just as soon as the opportunity arises (when Satan is temporarily released: Rev.20:7-10).

6. The Six Chronological Periods of Human History: These six periods divide history from a secular
point of view, listing in order the significant divisions of human history chronologically rather than
categorizing them on the basis of any spiritual significance (which is the basis for the five
categorizations that precede and the one which follows). If, as many exegetes throughout the history of
the Church have claimed, "six" is the number of Man, six periods of history from the human as opposed
to the divine perspective are all the more understandable.(23) For one thing, six periods are certainly one
short of the one number which most clearly has symbolic significance in the Bible: i.e., "seven" (see II.7
immediately below). However that may be, for our purposes it is enough to note that history, divided
into the six periods listed below, is significant not for any divine trend or characteristic, but for the
different emphases of satanic attack manifest in each one. These six periods, therefore, present history
largely from the devil's point of view. Specifically, they highlight the major objects of his attacks on
mankind from the fall to the end of history:

a) The Antediluvian Period: From the fall to the flood. Primary satanic target: true humanity.

b) The Postdiluvian Gentile Period: From the flood to Abraham. Primary satanic target: freedom and
law.

c) The Jewish Period: From Abraham to Christ. Primary satanic target: the people and the nation of
Israel.

d) The Church Period: From Christ to the beginning of the Tribulation. Primary satanic target: the truth
of the Word of God.

e) The Tribulational Period: The seven years preceding the return of Christ. Primary satanic target: all of
the above (humanity, freedom and law, Israel, truth) along with a particular emphasis on eradicating
believers from the earth, as the devil employs any and all means available to him in the short time he
has remaining.

f) The Millennial Period: The thousand years following the return of Christ. Primary satanic target: the
rule of Christ (attacked after Satan is released at the end of the period).

Satan's counter-strategy (against God's plan), therefore, forms the basis for the six periods listed above.
This strategy (and its implementation within human history) is the subject of section III below and will
therefore be reserved for detailed discussion. It should be noted here, however, that from the human
point of view, history is a dark, unpleasant progression, characterized only by the successive attacks of
the devil upon all that is righteous and truly worthwhile. Only through God's divine control of history
are we delivered from the adversary and blessed in this his evil world.

7. The Seven Days of Human History: When God restored the heavens and the earth to habitable form,
He did so in six literal days, leaving the seventh as a day of rest to memorialize the principle of peace
and rest available to all who trust in Him. These seven days of the earth's re-creation began the process
of God's judgment upon evil, His restoration of the universe, and His replacement of Satan. As we saw
in section I above, following His divine judgment upon the heavens and the earth in response to Satan's
rebellion, God restored the earth and set the stage for the replacement of Satan and his followers with
Adam and his progeny. Though the devil thought to disrupt this prospect through his temptation of
Adam and Eve, the fall of mankind merely set in motion the grand Plan of God for human history, a
design which pivots around the incarnation and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and which will culminate in the
ultimate replacement of the devil and his followers at history's end.

Besides marking the first phase of judgment, restoration and replacement, these first seven literal days
were also symbolic of the entire course of human history that was to come. For the seven days of re-
creation correspond to the seven millennia of human history, a definite period of time ordained by God
before the foundation of the world, within which mankind would be saved by the gift of Christ and
within which all things would be judged, restored and replaced. As we have seen above, different
conditions prevail in different periods, both from the standpoint of God's provision of grace and from
the point of view of Satan's method of attack. Just as the restoration of what was destroyed in heaven
and on earth in the wake of God's original judgment upon the devil and his followers was replaced in
phases during seven literal days, so throughout the course of the seven millennia of human history God
is phasing in replacements for Satan and the fallen angels, demonstrating in the process His multifarious
grace to believers regardless of the vastly different circumstances under which they are called out:

Days 1 and 2: The Gentiles: (ca. 4065-2065 B.C.)

1. The Antediluvian Civilization:
Time Frame: From Adam's fall to circa Noah.

Challenge to believers: To maintain and develop faith in God while transitioning from perfect
environment to the hardships of the present world.



2. The Division of the Nations:

Time Frame: From circa Noah to Abraham.

Challenge to believers: To maintain and develop faith in God in the face of unprecedented satanic
attacks (i.e., the genetic dilution of Genesis chapter six, and Satan's post-flood attempt to establish one-
world government).


Days 3 and 4: Israel: (ca. 2065-2 B.C.) [the 70 years of the Babylonian captivity excepted; the seven
years of the Tribulation still future]

3. The Nation of Israel:

Time Frame: From Abraham to circa David.

Challenge to believers: To maintain and develop faith in God as His unique witnesses (and as primary
targets of the devil) in the midst of a pagan world.


4. The Kingdom of Israel:

Time Frame: From circa David to Christ.

Challenge to believers: To maintain and develop faith in God as members (or associates) of His unique
nation Israel (the central point of satanic opposition) in the midst of a world of devil-worshipping
nations.


Days 5 and 6: The Church: (ca. 33-2033 A.D.)

5. Centralized Christianity:

Time Frame: From Christ to circa the schism of the Church.

Challenge to believers: To maintain and develop faith in God despite growing opposition to the truth
from monolithic, bureaucratic pseudo-Christianity.
6. Decentralized Christianity:

Time Frame: From circa the schism of the Church to the Second Advent of Christ.

Challenge to believers: To maintain and develop faith in God in the face of mounting attacks on the
truth from all quarters (religious, social, economic and political), culminating in the most intense period
of pressure and opposition in human history, the Tribulation.


Day 7: The Kingdom of God (the Sabbath Day): (ca. 2033-3033 A.D.)

7. The Millennium:

Time Frame: From the Second Advent of Christ to the Gog-Magog Rebellion.

Challenge to believers: To maintain and develop faith in God while transitioning from the devil's world
to Christ's perfect rule over mankind (sinful human beings facing the ultimate prosperity test).


Evidence for the "Seven Days" Interpretation:

1. Direct Biblical Testimony: The interpretation of human history as a set of seven millennia has a
certain internal logic when we remember that history in the aggregate has been designed by God for the
very specific purposes outlined in this series of judging evil, restoring righteousness, and replacing evil-
doers with faithful followers, all through the agency and saving work of His Son:

By faith we understand that the ages have been constructed by the Word of God.        Hebrews 11:3a

There are clear indications in scripture that God's specific plan of construction for that part of time we
call human history is indeed a series of seven millennia. We may start with the fact that the Millennium,
the final period of human history, the only period of human history specifically named and delineated in
scripture, is most definitely described as a period of one thousand literal years (Rev.20:1-7). Elsewhere
in scripture, the Millennium, the time of the reign of Christ commencing with His triumphant return and
concomitant judgment upon His enemies, is called "the day of the Lord" (Is.2:11-21; 10:11-34; Joel
2:28-32; Am.5:18-20; Ob.1:15; Zeph.1:14; Zech.14:1-7; Mal.4:5; 1Thes.5:2-4; 2Thes.2:2; 2Pet.3:10;
Rev.6:17; 16:14), and "the year of the Lord" (Is.61:2; 63:4; cf. Is.49:8; Lk.4:19; 2Cor.6:1-2). In the case
of the Millennium, therefore, the Bible clearly calls a literal and specific period of 1000 years "a day".
While from the human perspective the difference between a day and a millennium is massive, to God,
the Creator and Master of time who exists outside of time and is in no way subject to it, these two finite
chronological periods are much the same:

For a thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the
night.           Psalm 90:4 [NASB]

Let not this one fact escape your attention then, beloved, namely that one day is like a thousand years in
the Lord's eyes, and a thousand years like one day.      2nd Peter 3:8
By using short periods (hours, days, weeks) to designate much longer chronological periods, scripture
reflects God's complete sovereignty over time. This tendency of scripture to diminish the significance of
a given period of time in proportion to the importance of time's Inventor and Master is common in the
Bible and is often accomplished in this same way, namely through the use of relatively small units to
refer to much longer chronological spans. For example, the "year of redemption" in Isaiah 63:4, and the
"day of vengeance" in both Isaiah 34:8 and 63:4 refer to the thousand years of the Millennium, while the
"day of salvation" in Isaiah 49:8 refers to the two thousand years of the Church in addition to the
Millennium (cf. 2Cor.6:1-2). In the "seventy sevens" prophecy of Daniel chapter nine, each day of the
"week" is a one year period (Dan.9:25-27). Similarly, at Revelation 12:14 the "time, times and half a
time" refers to the three and one half years of the Great Tribulation (as in Dan.4:16 the seven "times"
are seven years). The effect of all these passages is to make it clear to God's elect that even though time
plays such a seemingly dominant role in our lives, it is nothing at all to God and presents not the
slightest obstacle to the accomplishment of His will. It is merely a tool He has invented for the ordering
of our lives wherein we may choose for Him (time is merely the stuff of choice: Eph.5:16; Col.4:5).
Therefore seven thousand years, the sum total of human history, may seem a long span to us from our
earthly perspective, but in terms of the eternity that God has constructed for us His faithful followers, it
is an inexpressibly minute period of time.

As we shall see below, the chronological records found in the Bible yield approximately 2000 years
from Christ to Abraham and an additional 2000 years from Abraham to Adam. Given that the Gentile
and Jewish ages both covered ca. 2000 years, and that the Millennium, the final "day" in God's plan for
human history, will be 1000 years, it requires no great leap of exegetical skill to posit a comparable
2000 years for the Church age. In so doing, a total of 7000 years results wherein each millennium is
reckoned as "a day" in God's system. The analogy to the seven day week, another divine invention (cf.
Gen.1:3ff.),(24) is also impossible to ignore, especially considering the very close analogy between the
seventh day of rest, the Sabbath, and the seventh day of human history, the Millennium, with all its
promised peace and abundance, which likewise comes as the final "day" of the seven (cf. Is.9:6-7; see
Part I of this series, section II.6.f.).(25) Based on the analogy of the week, therefore, the Millennium of its
own accord invites us to posit six prior thousand year "days". This evidence is all the stronger when we
consider that the original period of time wherein God began the process or restoration and replacement
known as human history was the original week of seven days, also ending in a day of rest.

2. The Seven Days of Re-Creation: That the seven day week is a reflection of God's overall design of
human history can be seen most perspicuously from the original week of re-creation, which, occurring
at the dawn of that history, foreshadows the seven ages to come. During those original seven days, God
conducted a comprehensive refitting of the earth (as we have seen in Part 2 of this series), a restoration
of the material world which parallels very closely His Plan for replacing Satan and his followers over
the course of the seven thousand years of human history:

Days 1 and 2: The first two Genesis days of re-creation are clearly paired in that they alone focus upon
acts of separation almost exclusively (the re-kindling of light being the significant exception): light
separated from darkness (Day 1); the waters above separated from waters below by means of the
firmament or sky (Day 2). This first pair of days provides essential groundwork for physical life through
the provision of light and air. This physical provision is analogous to the essential spiritual groundwork
provided by the first two millennial days of the Gentile age:
Day #1 - Gentile age millennium #1: Just as light, the foremost necessity of physical life, first appears in
the dark world on day one of re-creation, so God's truth, the foremost necessity of spiritual life, first
appears in the devil's dark world during the first millennium of the Gentile age, beginning with the first
promise of Christ (Gen.3:15). This legacy of truth is then perpetuated through the line of Adam and Seth
down to Noah and his family.

Day #2 - Gentile age millennium #2: Just as air, a necessity without which physical life cannot be
maintained, is provided on day two of re-creation, so during the second millennium of the Gentile age
God guaranteed the fresh air of freedom for mankind, an attribute as absolutely essential for spiritual
life as air is for physical life, through:

1) the elimination of angelic interference (Gen.6:1-7).

2) the restraint of crime through law (Gen.8:21-9:17).

3) the repression of one-world tyranny through nationalism (in specific response to the tower of Babel:
Gen.11:1-9).


God's instrument of judgment whereby (1) the angelic outrages of Genesis six are brought to an end, (2)
after which the rule of law is established, and (3) in consequence of which the nations are divided, is the
great flood, the deluge that temporarily restored the earth to its pre-dry land condition (cf. 1Pet.3:18-22;
2Pet.3:5-6). Therefore it is exactly because of the deluge that the legacy of truth is protected, finding a
more secure foothold in the environment of freedom (provided through limitations on further angelic
interference, the establishment of law, and the development of nationalism).

Separation: As the first pair of Genesis days focuses on the formation of an essential environment for
physical growth through the separation of light from darkness and the waters above from the waters
below, so the first pair of millennial days (the age of the Gentiles) focuses on the formation of an
essential foundation for spiritual growth through the provision of divine truth (separated and protected
from the devil's lies) and human freedom of choice (separated and protected from the devil's best efforts
to destroy free will demonic interference, murder and intolerant internationalism).

Days 3 and 4: The second two Genesis days of re-creation are clearly paired in that they alone witness
acts of both separation and filling: dry ground separated from water and the filling of the earth with
vegetation (Day 3); the sun, moon and stars filling the heavens and separating the light from the
darkness (Day 4). Note that separation precedes filling on day three, while filling precedes separation on
day four, evidencing the progression (from separation to filling) that we are observing here. The second
pair of days provides more essential groundwork for physical life through the provision of dry land and
the specific division of time. This second pair of days also provides the first two installments of re-
filling the empty world through the creation of vegetation and heavenly bodies. This physical
provisioning on the one hand and filling up of the empty world on the other is respectively analogous to
the further building up of essential spiritual groundwork on the one hand, and, on the other, to the
enlistment of believers provided by the second two millennial days of the Jewish age.

Day #3 - Jewish age millennium #1: Just as the separating of dry land on day three of re-creation was
necessary for human life, so the separation to God of a holy people during the third millennial day was
essential for establishing an environment in which truth and spiritual growth could flourish. And just as
the creation of vegetation on that third Genesis day was the first installment in the re-filling of the
empty world, so the calling out of the seed of Abraham provides the first substantial and contiguous
echelon of believers in the process of replacing the devil and his followers with a people after God's
own heart, with the faith of Abraham, the "father of many nations" providing the pattern of salvation for
all who would later believe (Rom.4:17; Gal.3:7-9).

Day #4 - Jewish age millennium #2: Just as the separation of light from darkness into distinct and
regular phases on the fourth Genesis day was necessary to provide a regular flow and sequence for time
(required by human life), so the separation to God of a holy nation during the fourth millennial day was
essential for stabilizing the environment in which truth and spiritual growth could flourish and then be
witnessed to the nations. And just as the heavens were filled with the celestial lights on the fourth
Genesis day, so the establishment of Israel, a holy nation to be a light to all the nations, was an essential
step in the expansion of the family of God (Is.42:6; 43:21; 49:6; Acts 13:47).

Separation: The calling out by God of a specific family and its development into a unique, witnessing
nation necessitated its separation, its sanctification from all that was profane in the pagan world in
which it existed. The mark of God's promise to Abraham of a holy progeny, namely circumcision,
served to distinguish Israel as unique in God's eyes, and was also, importantly, a symbolic testimony of
belief in God and His promises (Rom.2:29). The Mosaic Law was also a means of separation,
sanctification and demarcation, for it called on Israel to "be holy as I am holy" (Lev.11:44-45;
1Pet.1:16), and an essential underlying principle in all of its precepts was to separate the holy from the
profane (Lev.10:10; 20:25-26). The Ten Commandments, the essence of the Law (cf. Deut.4:13),(26)
speak to this same basic idea of separating the people of God from anything evil, sanctifying our
conduct in life's most important areas:

Area #1: Holiness toward God (sanctifying and separating Him in what we think, do and say):

1. No other gods: guarding the sanctity of how we think about Him.

2. No idols: guarding the sanctity of how we act toward Him.

3. No misuse of His name: guarding the sanctity of how we represent Him in our speech.


Area #2: Holiness toward Life (sanctifying and separating ourselves from reliance on the world):

4. Keep the Sabbath: guarding the sanctity of the day of rest; trusting God, not ourselves, for provision
in this life. n.b.: this is the only commandment not repeated in the New Testament. As the book of
Hebrews emphatically assures us, specific day observance has been replaced with the reality of
continual rest in and reliance on God (in the same way that animal sacrifice has been replaced by the
reality of Christ's sacrifice: Heb.4:1-11; cf. Rom.14:5-8; Col.2:16-17). Since the cross, we are to rest in
God at all times, not just on one particular day.
Area #3: Holiness toward Authority (sanctifying and separating ourselves from rebellion against
divinely constituted authority):

5. Honoring Father and Mother: guarding the sanctity of our behavior toward legitimate authority, all
those who under the charge of God function as stewards in His place towards us (parents being the first
and prime example).


Area #4: Holiness toward Others (sanctifying and separating ourselves from infringement upon the right
of others to use this life to seek God):

6. No Murder: guarding the sanctity of life, the sine qua non for every human being to seek after God in
the time God has given.

7. No Adultery: guarding the sanctity of the family, the basic support network required by the vast
majority of people for normal function in life as a base for seeking God.

8. No Theft: guarding the sanctity of property, a necessary element for survival in the world that one
may seek after God.

9. No False Witness: guarding the sanctity of freedom of the innocent before the law, an important
requirement for being able to freely seek God.

10. No Covetousness: guarding the sanctity of freedom of action in general from threats of evil action
and intent which impede, hinder and prevent the search for God.


Finally, the firm establishment of the nation Israel with the ascension of David, a clear type of Jesus
Christ (Ps.110), provided the dark world with a shining example of the righteousness and accompanying
blessings from God upon a nation that followed Him and His perfect divine standards, standards
(expressed in the Law, the Old Testament and the sanctified nation) which regulated an environment for
seeking God and witnessing to Him in the midst of a dark world in a way analogous to the regulating
function of the heavenly bodies that produce the sequence of light necessary for human existence (cf.
Ex.19:5-6; Lev.20:26):

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people who
are His special property, separated from all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy
7:6

And He said, "It is too small a thing for you to be My servant, to establish the tribes of Jacob and to
restore the sanctified ones of Israel. Therefore I have appointed you as a light for the nations, to be My
[instrument of] salvation to the ends of the earth. Isaiah 49:6

Filling: With God's promise of progeny to Abraham and the birth of Isaac, the process of expansion of
the family of God began in earnest, and the line of faith from Adam to Seth, a linear witness with little
numerical expansion in the world (as Noah plus seven at the time of the flood demonstrates: 1Pet.3:20),
now develops into a significant expansion in breadth as Israel the vine begins to flourish under the now
more favorable circumstances and to spread out in the world in a manner analogous to the filling of the
earth with vegetation on the third Genesis day (Ps.80:8-16; Is.5:1-2; Jer.2:21; Ezek.17; Hos.10:1; cf.
Jn.15:1). The pledge of circumcision (the mark of a people apart) and the giving of the Law (the perfect
separation of right and wrong) served as prime elements of this sanctification. The formation (from this
expanded family) of a holy nation was also key to God's plan of replacement, for as He says to Moses
on the occasion of golden calf rebellion, "I will make you into a great nation" (Ex.32:10). The protection
of Israel in Egypt while her numbers grew, her testing under a harsh Pharaoh, her training in the
wilderness, and the divinely directed and aided expulsion of the Canaanite tribes were all part and parcel
of God's expansion of His family out of one man's seed. With the coming of the nation of Israel, a
definite state within definable geographic boundaries under the initial direction of David, a clear type of
Christ, the process of filling and replacement continues for the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham
that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars of the heavens, analogous to the filling of
the heavens on the fourth Genesis day (Gen.15:5; 22:17; 26:4; Deut.1:10; 1Chron.27:23; Neh.9:23;
Heb.11:12; cf. Gen.37:9; Rev.12:1), and a harbinger of the replacement of the fallen angelic "stars" with
believing "stars" who choose for God (compare Rev.12:4 with Rev.12:1).

As the second pair of Genesis days focused on the completion of an essential environment for physical
life through the separation of dry ground from water and of light from the darkness (specifically, of
concentrated, sequential light, not the general division of light from darkness accomplished on day one),
so the second pair of millennial days (the Jewish age) finds the plan of God for human history
sanctifying for Himself first a people, then a nation, to provide first an expanded family of God that
would be holy and separate from the rest of the pagan world, then, as a nation, a safe haven for the
worldwide testimony of God through the light of Israel.

And as the second pair of Genesis days focuses on the initial filling of the earth with vegetation and of
the heavens with the sun, the moon and the stars, so the second pair of millennial days (the Jewish age)
finds the first significant expansion of the family of God in human history (through Israel the vine, and
the nation Israel, as numerous as the stars), and so, in terms of numbers, the beginning of the process of
replacing those angelic creatures who have chosen to disassociate themselves from the family of God.

Days 5 and 6: The third pair of Genesis days of re-creation are clearly paired in that they alone witness
acts of filling exclusively: the filling of the waters with aquatic life and the sky with birds (Day 5); the
filling of the earth with terrestrial creatures (Day 6), culminating in the creation of Man (a type of Christ
as rightful ruler of the earth, and here, symbolic of the completion of the replenishment of the family of
God at the end of the sixth millennial day). The third pair of days completes the re-filling of the empty
world through the creation of aquatic and terrestrial life. The completion of the process of re-filling the
empty world is analogous to the completion of God's enlistment of believers during the fifth and sixth
millennial days as replacements for the followers of Satan.

Day #5 - Church age millennium #1: Just as the creation of aquatic and bird life on that fifth Genesis
day represented a quantum leap in the re-filling of the empty world, so the first Church age millennium
witnessed a veritable explosion in the numbers of the family of God on earth as the gospel was taken in
earnest to the gentiles for the first time. The fifth millennial day is characterized by the collection and
distribution of the holy scriptures into one, complete Bible, and the emergence of an infra-structure
necessary for studying and teaching it in its original languages: i.e., the creation of a Christian scholastic
system, the development of the codex form (that is, the invention of the book, credited by many scholars
to early Christians), the production of translations in many languages (resulting from the first two
events), and the growth of literacy (making possible the reading of the Word of God by more than just
the educated few). These events had the effect of actually expanding the evangelical explosion of faith
begun by the apostles in the first generation of the Church, in spite of the fact that many of the Spirit's
miraculous gifts did not continue beyond that inaugural era (e.g., apostleship, tongues, prophecy,
healing). The Spirit's ministry continued, however, as it does today, and thus in the groundswell of faith
that follows in both of the Church age's millennial days we have historical proof that the powerful
combination of the Spirit of God (given on the day of Pentecost) and the Word of God (made available
to teachers through the establishment of education and wide availability of the Hebrew and Greek
originals, and generally available to all Christians through translations) is more dynamic and effective
than the most impressive miracles and the most exotic spiritual gifts.

Day #6 - Church age millennium #2: Just as the creation of terrestrial life on that sixth Genesis day
completed the re-filling of the empty world (culminating in the creation of Man), so the sixth millennial
day has seen the creation of the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ. With the establishment of the means
for teachers to study God's Word in the proper way (education in the original languages of scripture,
training in theology, and in the historical and cultural background of the Bible), and with the growing
availability of the Bible in an abundance of languages, the gospel message has penetrated to nearly
every clime and place. This process will continue until with the universal availability of the gospel and
the final enlistment of the last replacement members of the family of God the end will come with the
return of Jesus Christ (Matt.24:14; Rev.10:1-7; 14:6-7).

Filling: With the proliferation of the gospel to the gentiles (through the agency of Israel), the third pair
of Genesis days completes the process of bringing in the promised and prophesied great expansion of
the family of God, reaching its completion just prior to the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. For that the
gentiles would one day turn to the Lord in unprecedented number is a matter about which the Hebrew
scriptures give clear prophetic indications (cf. Acts 9:15; 15:13-19; Rom.9:1 - 11:36; 15:15-16), a fact
that the divinely inspired writers of the New Testament understood very well:

As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you [Abraham], and you shall become the father of a multitude
of nations.   Genesis 17:4 [cf. Romans 4:17]

And Abraham shall certainly become a great and powerful nation, and all the nations of the earth shall
be blessed in him.   Genesis 18:18 [cf. Galatians 3:8]

Rejoice, oh gentiles, with His people.      Deuteronomy 32:43 [cf. Romans 15:10]

Therefore, oh Lord, I shall praise You among the gentiles.     Psalm 18:49 [cf. Romans 15:9]

All the nations [i.e., gentiles] which You have made will come before You and will worship You, oh
Lord, and they will give glory to your Name. Psalm 86:9 [cf. Revelation 15:4]

Praise the Lord, all you gentiles. Laud Him all you peoples.     Psalm 117:1 [cf. Romans 15:11]

And on that day the Root of Jesse shall appear, even the One who will stand as a sign for the peoples.
After Him shall the will gentiles seek, and His resting place shall be glorious.   Isaiah 11:10 [cf. Romans
15:12]

Thus He shall sprinkle [with salvation] many gentile [nation]s. Kings will shut their mouths at [the sight
of] Him. For those [gentiles] who had not been told shall see, and those [gentiles] who had not
understood shall hear. Isaiah 52:15 [cf. Romans 15:21]

For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations [i.e., gentiles].   Isaiah 56:7b [cf.
Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46]

"And I shall say to them who were not My people, 'You are My people', and they shall say, 'You are our
God.'" Hosea 2:23b [cf. Rom.9:25]

"On that day I shall stand David's fallen booth back up, and repair its holes and everything else which
has been trampled down I shall [also] stand up. And I shall rebuild it as in days of old, so that the
remnant of mankind and all the gentile [nation]s which are called by My name may seek Him, declares
the Lord who is going to accomplish this."(27)        Amos 9:11-12 [cf. Acts 15:16-17]

Therefore, however large the first major installment of Christ's bride (i.e., the believing Israelites from
Abraham to Christ), in numerical terms it cannot compare to the massive wave of those saved that has
followed in the wake of the advent and sacrifice of Him who won that salvation. And it is certainly
appropriate, moreover, for the Savior of us all, the One for whom and through whom the world and
human history exist, the One who is the key to and cornerstone of history and through whom we have
been given the inestimable privilege of becoming sons of the Living God, to have the flood tide of those
human beings who would be saved (in replacement of those fallen angels who would not) follow in the
train of His life and death of sacrifice on our behalf, and in the train of the resurrection that assures our
hope of eternal life (cf. Jn.1:16; Gal.4:4):

For it was fitting for [the Father] to make complete through sufferings Him on whose account all things
exist and through whom all things exist, namely, the Captain of their salvation, even Him who has led
many sons to glory, [our Lord Jesus Christ]. For the One who sanctifies and those who are sanctified
belong to One [Father], and for this reason [Christ] is not ashamed to call them His brothers, as He says:
  I will proclaim Your name to My brothers. In the midst of the assembly I shall praise you.
and elsewhere,
  I [too] shall put My confidence in Him [i.e., the Father].
and elsewhere,
  Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me.
Hebrews 2:10-13

Thus the Church age completes what the Jewish age began and what the Gentile age delineated in
principle, namely, the systematic, one for one replacement of rebellious fallen angels with faithful
human beings in union with the God-Man, Jesus Christ. This can also be seen from the scriptural
analogy of the holy building, established on the essential Cornerstone, Jesus Christ (Is.28:16;
Matt.16:18 [Christ, not Peter, is the Rock(28)]; Rom.9:33; Eph.2:21; 1Pet.2:4-7):

1) the Gentile age believers, a series of prototype men of righteousness, are analogous to the structure's
blueprint (Heb.11:4-7).
2) the Jewish age believers, the line of Christ and the authors of the Holy Scriptures, are the structure's
foundation (Eph.2:20).

3) the Church age believers, the great influx of the faithful, Jews and gentiles alike, are the "living
stones" who comprise the edifice proper (1Cor.3:10-17; Eph.2:22; Heb.3:6; 1Pet.2:5).

All are fully and equally members of Christ's body, Christ's assembly, and God house (1Tim.3:15;
Heb.3:6), and when the last trumpet blows and our Lord returns, the entire "structure" will be united in
resurrection to join Him in His triumphal return (1Cor.15:50-54; 2Thes.4:13-17; 1Jn.3:2; Rev.19:14). It
is wrong to think, therefore, that the early gentiles, the Jews, and the Church are somehow different in
any important way.(29) Together, we are all one body in Christ, for He has broken down the barrier that
separated us:

So remember that you were once gentiles in the flesh, called "un-circumcised" by those of the so-called
circumcision which is fleshly and man-made. Remember that you were without Christ, alienated from
the polity of Israel and strangers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the
world. But now, in Christ Jesus, you who were once far away have been brought near by the blood of
Christ. For He Himself is our peace, for He has made both [Jews and gentiles] one, and has broken
down the middle wall of partition, that is, the enmity between us, by discharging the Law of the
commandments and its requirements with His [own] body, so that He might re-create the two into one
new Man by making [this] peace, and might reconcile both in one Body to God through His cross,
having by means of it abolished the enmity [between God and mankind]. For when He had come [1st
advent], He proclaimed the gospel of peace to you who were far away [from God], and peace to those
who were near. For it is through Him that we both have our access to the Father by means of one Spirit.
So then, you are no longer strangers and hangers-on, but you are fellow citizens and fellow members of
the household of God, established upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Himself
the cornerstone, in whom the entire structure is in the process of being riveted together and is growing
into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you too are being built up into a dwelling place of God by the
Spirit.            Ephesians 2:11-21

The Uniqueness of Israel: It should not be overlooked that in the preceding passage, gentile believers
of the present day are portrayed as having become part of the household of God along with Israel, rather
than replacing Israel. This picture is consistent with every other passage in the New Testament where
the issue is discussed. We gentiles are the wild olive branch that has been grafted into the natural olive
tree Israel (Rom.11:13-24). The truth of the matter is that the Church is composed of Jews and gentiles,
and that Jewish believers are the foundation for the holy building that God is erecting - not only in the
Jewish age, but in the Church age as well:

1) All of the apostles of Christ were Jewish. And although the New Testament is written almost
exclusively in Greek, the dominant gentile language of the time, all of the writers of the Bible, New
Testament as well as Old Testament, were Jewish (cf. Deut.4:6-8; Ps.147:19-20; Is.59:21; Rom.3:1-
2).(30)

2) Though many first century Jews rejected the gospel in the same way that their Judean countrymen
had rejected their own Messiah, even a cursory reading of Acts and the Epistles demonstrates clearly
that Jewish believers were both the original foundation of the Church and continued to play a huge role
after the influx of the gentiles had begun.

3) Jewish believers not only exist but have played and continue to play a critical part in all generations
of the Church (Rom.11:5). For the gospel is theirs by first priority, and ours (as gentiles) by the grace of
God: "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek [i.e., gentile]" (Rom.1:16; cf. Matt.10:5; 15:26; Acts 13:46;
Rom. 2:9-10).

4) The hardness of the majority of the line of Israel during the Church age has been since Paul's day a
heavy burden on the heart of their believing countrymen (Rom.9:3; 10:1). Jesus Himself mourned their
lack of belief (Matt.23:37), and predicted these "times of the gentiles" which comprise the two
millennial Church age days, when gentiles would flood into the Kingdom while Jewish belief would be
reduced to a trickle (Lk.21:24; cf. the wedding banquet parable where those invited fail to come and
others are brought in instead: Matt.22:1-14; Lk.14:15-24).(31) In the case of the resistant majority, two
issues always seem to lie at the core of this resistance which is in such stark contrast to the preeminence
of Israel in matters of faith both in the past and in the prophesied future:(32)

a) refusal to accept a suffering Messiah (Matt.16:21-23; Jn.6:66; 1Cor.1:22-23; cf. the desire for
displays of miraculous power instead of the cross: Matt.16:4; Mk.8:11-12; Lk.11:29), and consequently
tripping over the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ, and the "offense" of His cross (Rom.9:32-33; 1Cor.1:22-23;
Gal.5:11; Heb.11:26; 12:2; 13:13).

b) resentment over the inclusion of gentiles into the family of God, seed of Abraham by faith alone
(Matt.27:18; Acts 13:43-45; 17:5; 22:21-22; Rom.10:2), and, corollary to this, trusting in their own
righteousness from the Law instead of faith (Rom.9:30-32; 10:3-4). This second issue is very much a
post-cross problem. Jesus' earthly ministry was focused entirely upon Israel, not the gentiles, so that our
Lord's contemporaries never had this excuse. They rejected Him before believing gentiles became an
issue (Matt.7:6; 10:15).

This "hardness in part" of Israel is destined to continue "until the fullness of the gentiles comes in ..."
(Rm.11:25), that is, until the calling out of the mass of gentile believers is complete, a process
characterizing the Church age, and a process that will continue and be completed just prior to the 2nd
Advent of Christ (cf. Rev.11:2; 12:17). At the moment of His return, everything will change for Israel,
and the vision of Him returning in glory will bring about a profound and glorious change of heart
(Zech.12:10-14; Rev.1:7; cf. Matt.24:30).

5) Despite this general "hardness", during the last phase of the Church age, when the Jewish age
overlaps with it for its final seven years known as the Tribulation, Israel will once more take the lead in
spectacular fashion. Moses and Elijah, the two witnesses of Revelation chapter eleven, will be
resuscitated for a warning ministry of the greatest significance (the only two Jewish age believers of
whom we know whose bodies were "taken" by God for precisely this purpose: (Deut.34:6 compared
with Jude 1:9; 2Kng.2:11-12). And the final world-wide witness of the Gospel (and God's warning of
impending doom) will be carried to the four corners of the earth by 144,000 Jews (Rev.7:1-8; 14:1-5),
thus fulfilling through Jewish hands the prophecy of universal evangelization of the gentiles
(Matt.24:14; Mk.13:10).

6) The Millennial glories of Israel and her undisputed prominence when the Son of David returns to rule
the earth as her King show clearly the pride of place that Abraham's seed enjoys in the plan and family
of God (see section IV.2 below and also Part 1 of this series for Millennial details).

7) The preeminence of Israel can also be clearly seen from the description of the eternal state in
Revelation chapters 21-22. The twelve gates of New Jerusalem (named for the historical Jewish capital)
are named for Israel's twelve tribes (21:12), and the twelve foundations of its wall are named for the
twelve (Jewish) apostles (21:14).(33)




8) And the Messiah comes from Israel (Jn.4:22; cf. Ps.2:8). We should never forget that Christ is
Jewish, the seed of Abraham, the Vine of the vine of Israel (Ps.80:8-16; Jn.15:1ff), the Branch of
David's line (Is.4:2; Jer.23:5; 33:15; Zech.3:8; 6:12), and, prophetically, the Light of Israel, the Light of
the world (Is.42:6; 49:6-7; 55:3-5 compared with Jn.1:5; 3:19; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46).

Therefore while it is true that gentiles are Jesus' "other sheep" (Jn.10:16), that they have been made one
with Jews in Christ (Gal.3:28; cf. our "brotherhood" in Matt.23:8), that the barrier between the two
groups has been broken down through His cross (Eph.2:11-21), and that there will be many from the
east and the west who will recline together with the Lamb at His victory banquet (Is.25:6; Matt.8:11; cf.
Zech.2:11), Christians of gentile stock need to understand that we are Israel's spiritual seed (Rev.12:17),
and sons of Abraham by faith (Rom.4:11 & 16). For we are a wild olive branch, and it is the root of
Israel which bears us, not the other way around:

So even if some of the branches have been broken off, and you, wild olive branch that you are, have
been grafted into their place and become a partaker of the rich root of the natural olive tree, don't boast
over those branches. For if you boast, [remember] that you don't support the root, but the root supports
you. Now someone may say "Branches have been broken off for me to be grafted in." True enough.
They were broken off because of their unbelief, and you stand secure because of your faith. But don't
think arrogant thoughts. Rather, have a care. For if God didn't spare the natural branches, He will not
spare you either. So consider God's mercy and severity. For He is severe towards those who have fallen
away, but merciful towards you - if, that is, you continue in that mercy. But if you don't, you too will be
cut off. And if they don't continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted back in.    Romans 11:17-23




The Church and the Mystery of Christ: Given Israel's obvious uniqueness in the plan of God and her
special relationship with Him (Deut.4:6-8; 4:34; 7:6; 1Kng.8:53; Zech.2:8), the calling out of the
gentiles in such unprecedented numbers to be part of the family of God, though foreshadowed in
prophesy (as documented above), came as quite a surprise - especially to the devil. We can assume that
the seven thousand year outline of human history is well-known to him, as is the one for one
replacement of him and his followers with believing humanity - a plan that should by rights be
completed at the inception of the day of rest. Looking at his no doubt carefully tabulated scorecard
before the day of Pentecost, it must have seemed impossible that the necessary replacement figure could
possibly be met on schedule, given that in the two thirds of the available time already elapsed (i.e., the
Gentile and Jewish ages), only a small fraction of the requisite number had believed and chosen for
God. But just as the incarnation and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, God taking on true humanity and
dying for Man, is God's great strategic surprise and victory of the ages, so the filling up of Christ's
assembly of believers with a flood of gentiles during the last pair of millennial days is the great
"mystery" that followed in the wake of the victorious cross. Just as the final pair of Genesis days sees
the re-created earth filled in earnest with a plethora of inhabitants, so the final pair of historical
millennial days fills up the family of God with believers, filling up the body of Christ, the bride of
Christ, to its full and complete number - the fundamental purpose for the history of the world from the
divine point of view.

a. The Church: The word and the concept of the Church must be seen in these terms. For the Church,
properly understood, is ultimately composed not just of those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ
since the day of Pentecost, but of all believers throughout the first six millennial days (on the
Millennium, see below). Stephen's mention of "the Church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38 - NIV
"assembly") is a clear indication that the universal assembly of believers antedates what is normally
thought of as "the Church". The English word "church" is derived from the Old English borrowing and
transformation of the Greek adjective kyriakon, or, "belonging to the Lord", a clear attempt on the part
of believers of an earlier time to distinguish between local assemblies of believers and the universal
Church. In the Greek New Testament, the word translated "church" is an entirely different term:
ekklesia (). Derived from the verb "to call" and the preposition "out of", this is the same word
used for the assembly of enfranchised citizens in the classical Greek city-states. These notions of special
selection and special privilege can also be seen in the adjectival form eklektos, cognate in form and
meaning with the Latin word from which our English "elect" is derived. That the Church is thus
properly the universal assembly of all who choose to faithfully follow Jesus Christ during the first six
millennia of human history, a chosen few (by grace through faith, Eph.2:8-9), an elect group called by
God out of the devil's world and into His own family, is a truth not only supported throughout the New
Testament (cf. Matt.22:14; Rom.8:33; 1Cor.1:27; 1Thes.1:4; 1Pet.1:1; Rev.17:14), but consistent with
the picture given by the Old Testament as well, where ekklesia is the standard translation for Israel's
assembly, the qahal (lhq).(34) Central to the idea of our "election" is the purpose for it. For we who are
elect are so because of Him who is the elect, Jesus Christ, and it is for Him that we have been chosen
out of the world, to share eternity together with the chosen One (compare Is.42:1 with 44:1; and cf.
Lk.9:35; 23:35; 1Pet.2:4):

Though the world hates you, know that it came to hate Me first. If you belonged to the world, the world
would love its own. Now because you are not [a part] of the world, but I chose you out of the world, for
this reason the world hates you. John 15:19

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every
spiritual blessing heaven has [to offer], seeing that even before the world was founded He chose us in
Him to be sanctified and blameless before Him. Ephesians 1:3-4

This, then, is the true meaning of the Church, the select assembly of Christ, formed and chosen for Him
from every age of human history to be His special unique possession.(35)

b. The Mystery: In the Greek, a "mystery" () is most commonly a cryptic rite, a ritual or
arcane piece of information that only the initiates of certain cults (the Eleusian mysteries, for example)
were permitted to know, a secret, in other words, that was generally hidden from all but the select few.
That mysterion was used by Jesus and the writers of the New Testament is no surprise when one
considers that the word is most often used to refer to Christ and His Church. For "mystery" perfectly
reflects the particulars of both the nature of the Messiah's first advent (His incarnation and victory on
the cross) and the nature of the calling out of the complement of His Church that followed in its wake
(the flooding of gentile believers into the assembly of God in completely unanticipated numbers). As we
have seen above, both the suffering of the Messiah and the great influx of gentiles into the family of
God were predicted in scripture, but the particulars of the second Person of the Trinity taking on human
existence and dying for our sins, and the particulars of the unprecedented surge of believing gentiles
would have surprised even the Old Testament prophets who alluded to them. It was, in short, "a
mystery" that has only come to light since the cross:

The prophets [of old] diligently investigated and inquired about this salvation [destined to come to you
gentiles (cf. v.1)], when they prophesied about the grace [that was to come] to you (i.e., the mass calling
out of the gentiles). For they were eager to discover the precise time the Spirit of Christ within them was
signifying as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow (i.e., the filling up
of the Church). For it was revealed to them that in prophesying these things, they were not so much
serving themselves as they were you - and these same things have now been proclaimed to you through
those who gave you the gospel through the Holy Spirit, sent from heaven - even angels want to look into
these things. 1st Peter 1:10-12

In this last verse we have the answer to a question so profound that the mystery of Christ and of the
Church would remain effectively cloaked until His resurrection: If Israel, God's chosen people, the one
people on the face of the earth after His own heart, did not accept Him en masse but only in part (cf.
1Kng.19:18; 1Cor.10:5; etc.), then how could it ever be that the gentiles, so much farther from God,
would flood into His family in such unsurpassed volume? The answer, as verse twelve above makes
clear, is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit's ministry is a rich and detailed subject that will be
given full treatment in Part 5 of Essential Doctrines of the Bible in Outline. It must suffice to say here
that the gift of the Holy Spirit, an event that could not take place before the victory and glorification of
Christ (Jn.7:39; Phil.2:5-11; cf. Is.53:2; Jn.12:23; 13:31-32; 17:1-5), is one of the most momentous and
significant features of the Church age. It is the ministry of the Spirit which was behind the expansion of
evangelism from Pentecost forward (Acts 2:1-41; 5:12-14; 8:4-6; 8:29; 10:44-46), the broadening of
evangelistic focus beyond the borders of Israel (Acts 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 20:28), and the massive influx
of gentile believers into the family of God, which trend continues to this very day (Jn.3:5-8; 15:26-27;
16:5-11; Rom.8:2; 8:26-27; 1Cor.2:4; Gal.3:2-3; 5:16ff.; 1Jn.5:6-7). The line of the Church (the early
gentiles) and the foundation of the Church (historical Israel) antedated the coming of the Savior, but it
was appropriate for the erection of the great edifice of the Church to wait upon His victory and
glorification, and it is the Spirit's work to bring to completion "the joy" that Christ had set His heart
upon (Heb.12:2), namely, to complete within the present two millennial days the bride that completes
Him, the Church. In the meantime, the comparable surge of Jewish belief (though in every generation
there is at least a remnant of believing Jews: Rom.11:5), likewise anticipated in scripture (cf. Jer.31:33-
34), has not been abrogated, but is merely pending, waiting for the ministries of preparation predicted to
come in the last days, and ready to burst into full flood at the 2nd Advent of the Messiah:

Brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery (and so think more of yourselves than you
should): hardness has come over a part of Israel until the time when the fullness of the gentiles has come
in [to the family of God]. And it is in this [following] way that all Israel will be saved just as it is
written:
   The Deliverer will come from Zion. He will expel ungodliness from Jacob. And this will be My
covenant with them when I take away their sins.
Romans 11:25-27

So the change of heart that brings a flood of Jews to faith in Christ (comparable to the flood of gentiles
that characterizes Church age) will be the Messiah's actual return. When they look upon "Him they have
pierced" (Zech.12:10-14; Rev.1:7; cf. Matt.24:30), Israel will turn to Him in numbers that will
proportionally outstrip the greatest gains of the Church age, as God purges and restores His chosen
people, fulfilling all the promises He has made (Is.65:8-10; Jer.31:31-34; Ezek.20:33-38; 37:11-14;
Hos.1:10-11; Mal.4:5-6; Matt.23:39; Rom.11:26). The fact that this much anticipated spiritual (and
geographical) restoration of Israel would not take place immediately after the Messiah's (first)
appearance, but would wait upon the completion of His Church through the calling out of innumerable
gentiles is the "mystery" we have been experiencing since His triumph on the cross (and as a direct
result of that victory: cf. Lk.2:32; 10:17-20):

Then one of the elders said to me, "Don't cry. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David,
has conquered so as to [be able] to open the book and its seven seals." Revelation 5:5

[God] has erased the charge against us along with its particulars [i.e., our sinful nature and personal
sins] which opposed our [relationship with Him], and He removed it [as an obstacle] between us by
nailing it to the cross. [For by means of the cross, God] has stripped [demon] rulers and authorities [of
their power] and subjected them to public humiliation, having triumphed over them in
[Christ]. Colossians 2:14-15
(1) For this reason [i.e., the building up of the Church into a holy temple: cf. 2:14-22], I, Paul, am
Christ's prisoner on behalf of the gentiles. (2) And I assume that you have heard about this dispensation
of God's grace given to me on your behalf [i.e., his mandate as an apostle to "carry Christ's name to the
gentiles": Acts 9:15]. (3) For it was through [God's] revelation that this mystery [of His calling out of
the gentiles] was made known to me as I wrote you briefly before. (4) When you read these things you
will be able to understand my spiritual insight into this mystery of Christ, (5) which was not made
known to mankind in previous generations as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets
by the Spirit. (6) [And the mystery is this]: that the gentiles are [now] fellow heirs, members of the same
body, and equal partakers of the promise [of salvation to Israel] in Christ Jesus through the gospel, [the
proclamation of His victory]. (7) It is of this gospel that I have been made a minister by the gift of God's
grace given to me through His dynamic power. (8) To me, the least of all His holy ones, this gracious
charge has been entrusted: to proclaim to the gentiles the unfathomable wealth that is Christ, (9) and to
shed light on this mystery[, the calling out of the gentiles] which is now being brought to pass [lit., "the
dispensation" of it], though it was once hidden from the ages in God who created everything. (10) God
[did this] so that [His] enigmatically intricate wisdom might be made known to the rulers and authorities
in the heavenly realms through the agency of the Church, (11) according to His plan for the ages [i.e.,
history] which He has implemented in [the person of] Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephesians 3:1-11

Fully digested, the passage above teaches virtually the entire content of what we have been discussing
on the subject of the mystery of the fifth and sixth millennial days, that is, the calling out of the gentiles
to fill up the body of Christ, a prophecy not fully understood until its implementation, and therefore a
mystery, the mystery of the Church (when viewed from the standpoint of the bride, the Church) and at
the same time the mystery of Christ (when viewed from the standpoint of the bridegroom, Jesus Christ):

      verses 1-2: the object of Paul's ministry is to implement or dispense the mystery of the calling
       out of the gentiles, made known to Him by Christ.
      verse 3: the mystery, hidden in the past, was unveiled or revealed to him by divine agency
       (revelation is the counterpart of a mystery).
      verse 4: Jesus Christ is the mystery (because the mystery, seen from Christ's point of view, is the
       fulfillment of His body and His bride, the Church).
      verse 5: this mystery has now been fully revealed to the present day apostles and prophets (who
       needed to know about the calling out of the gentiles in order to properly minister to them).
      verse 6: Paul explains the mystery specifically from the point of view of the bride of Christ,
       namely, the new co-equality of the gentiles (and their subsequent thronging to God and Jesus
       Christ).
      verse 7-9: it is Paul's job to minister to this unforeseen expansion of the family of God through
       the gospel, the proclamation of Christ's victory, which has opened up the wealth of Him to the
       gentiles (cf. Rom.11:12; Gal.3:8), and in the process to bring the mystery to light.
      verse 10: God's wisdom in filling up the assembly (the Church of Christ) is thus made known in
       heavenly places so that the devil and his angels are refuted and replaced.
      verse 11: Such has been God's purpose for and plan of human history all along: the construction
       of His replacement assembly, the Church, for the Person and through the Person of Jesus Christ.

c. The Bride: The Church is Christ's "body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way"
(Eph.1:23). The Bible is consistent and insistent upon drawing this analogy between Christ and His
Church on the one hand, and man and wife on the other. At the end of a lengthy discussion in Ephesians
chapter five of the wife's duties of obedience toward her husband and the husband's duties of love
towards his wife, in the final verse (Eph.5:32), Paul admits that this is a great "mystery", but, rather
unexpectedly, informs us that he has been speaking all along primarily about Christ and His Church,
and only about the relationship between husband and wife by way of analogy. Thus the intimate
relationship between the Savior and His saved is so close, so intense, that in itself it comprises both
sides of the mystery we have so far been discussing, namely, the incarnation and sacrifice of Jesus for
His Church, and the filling up of that Church in such a marvelous and unanticipated way following His
triumph. The analogy (between Christ and Church and man and wife) is, therefore, incredibly close, and
can be seen from the very beginning of human history when God invented and sanctified the human
institution of marriage. Indeed, it is not too strong a statement to say by way of inference that the whole
idea of marriage (something unique to human beings: cf. Lk.20:35-36) was designed by God for
mankind in order to teach us about the fundamental and essential tenet of His plan for all of human
history: the incarnation and sacrifice of His Son (the loving husband) for the salvation of His Church
(the faithful wife). For it is certainly fitting for the most fundamental and original human institution
(marriage, consecrated in Eden before the fall: Gen.2:18-24) to mirror and reflect His most fundamental
and central purpose for human history as He constructed it (the saving work of Jesus Christ and the
calling out of His Church). Just as God has constructed human existence and human nature so that man
needs woman and woman needs man (Gen.2:18), so He has established the span of human history as the
type to this antitype, with the coming of Jesus as a true man and the preparation and calling out of His
bride the cardinal events of these first six millennial days. Thus the whole purpose and reason for
history (salvation for the Church from Christ) is reflected in what is perhaps the dominant human
concern in this life: the marriage relationship. And in every marriage relationship we learn something
about the greatest of all mysteries, the great love of Jesus Christ and the faithfulness of His Church. This
is true notwithstanding the weakness of our flesh and the resultant imperfect nature of human
relationships here in the devil's world. Do men fall short of the perfect standard of Christ's love? Of
necessity, they all do (only the degree is in question), but we can learn about the wondrous nature of
Christ's perfect love by comparison to the imperfections of every husband we meet: every human lapse
reminds us of our divine Husband's perfection. Do women fall short of the perfect obedience and
faithfulness that the perfect love of Jesus Christ is due from His Church? Every such instance is a
reminder of the perfect responsiveness due to our heavenly Husband. Even the Church itself, that is, the
part which remains in these bodies and in this world, is far from perfect in these respects. But it should
be noted with care that, in respect to Christ, we as the Church, women and men, find ourselves in the
woman's role, and are called upon to manifest the same submissive obedience and faithfulness toward
God demonstrated by Christ during His sojourn on the earth, humbling Himself even to the point of
total humiliation and death on the cross (Phil.2:5-8). And so we can learn from observation of any wife
something about not only the relationship of the Church to Christ in general, but also (and very
importantly) about our individual relationships to Christ. Do we observe a wife who is extraordinary in
her duties toward her husband? We examine our own performance toward the One who bought us with
His blood and can be challenged to be found likewise in His eyes. Do we observe a wife who in our
estimation falls far short of the biblical standard? We would do well to consider our own performance
toward Christ and His forgiveness and faithfulness in the face of our rebellious behavior. In short, by
applying the analogy of marriage, we learn about who Christ is and what He would have from us, and
we learn about our true priorities and His estimation of our behavior. This is indeed a great mystery,
revealed now to the Church through Jesus' chosen apostles, and with close consideration can help us to
know our Master better and bring us closer to Him by making us better servants for Him. Just as the first
Adam was espoused to Eve by God, flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, so the Church is the bride of
the Last Adam, Jesus Christ (1Cor.15:45; cf. Rom.5:14), the perfect complement to Him, designed for
Him, and destined to be one with Him forever (Matt.9:15; Matt.25:1ff.; Mk.2:19; Lk.5:34; Jn.3:29;
2Cor.11:2-3; Eph.1:22-23; 5:22-33; Rev.19:7-14; 21:2-4; 21:9ff.; 22:17):

"Let us rejoice and be jubilant, and let us give glory to [God], because the wedding of the Lamb has
come, and His bride has prepared herself. And it has been given her to wear a pure, resplendent [gown]
of the finest material (now this fine material represents the righteous acts of His holy ones [believers])."
And [the angel] said to me, "Write this down: Happy are those who have been called to the wedding of
the Lamb". Revelation 19:7-9

d. The Revelation: While we now know the mystery of Christ and of the Church, it has not been fully
revealed what we shall be (1Jn.3:2), for the glories to come cannot be fully appreciated until
experienced. Therefore the final and full experiential unveiling of the great mystery still lies in the
future, awaiting the day when Christ shall be fully unveiled to the world at His return (Lk.17:30;
1Cor.1:7; 2Thes.1:7; 1Pet.1:7; 1:13; 4:13; Rev.1:1), and we, His bride, shall be unveiled with Him
(Rom.8:19; cf. Rom.16:25-26; Gal.3:23; Eph.3:5-6).(36)

Thus God took Satan completely by surprise, and though He had given indications of future events,
before the cross the great mystery was hidden - to His glory and the devil's discomfiture (cf. Prov.25:2;
Matt.13:11; Mk.4:11; Lk.8:10). Christ, now human and divine, coming to earth to die for our sins is the
mystery (Col.2:1-4; 1Tim.3:16), and the miraculous completion during this age of the Church, His body
and His bride for whose sake He died is the converse side of that mystery (Eph.1:23), for Christ and His
Church are inseparable.

As the antitype to the fifth and sixth Genesis days, the Church age reflects the refilling of the newly
refurbished earth. For as the previous four Genesis days had made life habitable for the creatures placed
upon it by God during the fifth and sixth day, culminating in the creation of human kind in Adam and
Eve, so the Church age has seen the arrival of the bountiful crop sprung from the seed of faith planted in
Gentile age and sprouting in the Jewish age. Noah along (along with seven others) had kept this seed
alive at the time of the great flood (1Pet.3:20), and the cadre of believers during the Jewish age
constituted the growing remnant of that faith as the seed grew into a plant (Ps.80:8-16; Is.5:2; Jer.2:21;
Ezek.17; Hos.10:1; cf. Jn.15:1). But during the Church age, as in the fifth and sixth Genesis days when
the filling up of the world with creature life had occurred only after the favorable conditions created by
the first four days - all the particulars necessary to physical life in the Genesis type - so in the antitype of
human history the abundant "hundred fold" crop of salvation throughout the world which that plant is
now producing, the filling up of the body of Christ, has been occurring only after the necessary
conditions have been met (Lk.10:2): the advent and victory of Jesus Christ, the Seed of promise and the
Branch of Israel. The Church age is truly the "fullness of times" for in it the Church is fulfilled
(Eph.1:9-10). And just as the final pair of Genesis days culminates in the creation of the man and of the
woman who fulfills him, so the final pair of historical days begins and ends with the Son of Man's two
advents, and is taken up with the completion of the Bride for whom He died. The Church age is thus the
mystery age, because it is in this age that the mystery of Christ and of His Church has been revealed and
is being fulfilled. And now, at the end of these days, the unsearchable and perfect plan of God is on the
point of being completely fulfilled, with the gap in the family of God created by the defection of the
devil and his angels nearly filled up by Christ and His Church, a feat seemingly impossible before the
cross and the resultant dissemination of the gospel to the gentiles, but at this late hour all but an
accomplished fact, a mystery hidden and still hidden from all those whose eyes are blinded by the
prince of this world, but an essential and blessed truth to all who have had the privilege of partaking of
the riches of Jesus Christ:

It is of this [Church] that I, [Paul], have become a minister according to God's mandate given to me for
dispensing [the truth] to you, in order to bring completeness to God's plan [lit., "word", Gk. logos] that
is, [to make known] the mystery hidden from ages and from generations [past], but now revealed to His
holy ones [i.e., believers]. To all such God desired to make known what wealth there is in this glorious
mystery regarding the gentiles, for it is that Christ - your hope of glory [i.e., resurrection and reward] - is
in you. Colossians 1:25-27


Day 7: As discussed in the previous section, the seventh Genesis day of rest and the Millennium, a time
of universal peace and rest under the perfect rule of Jesus Christ (Is.9:6-7), are not only mirror images
of each other, but also occur in identical order in the sequence of seven: the ultimate position, connoting
a crowning, final perfection, and demonstrating in each case that what God has wrought (in both re-
creation and replacement) is absolutely perfect, with nothing further to be done.(37) The important
difference between the two is the same as we have observed all along, namely that in the case of the
Genesis days, the type is the reconstruction and refilling of the earth, while the antitype in the case of
the millennial days is the formation and completion of the Church (i.e., the reconstruction and refilling
of the family of God, depleted by the Satanic rebellion). So while on the seventh Genesis day God
ceased His work of re-creating the earth because it had been perfectly accomplished, in the analogous
seventh millennial day, God will cease from His work in filling up the body of Christ's Church (because
she will have been perfectly and completed filled up to the full replacement number, and resurrected to
be with Christ forever). As in beginning of human history in Eden, however, when the command "be
fruitful and multiply" made clear that it was God's will for what He had made full to become even fuller
(Gen.1:22; 1:28), so during the Millennium a new multitude of believers in addition to the Church will
be called out to join the family of God, fulfilling once again the principle that where God is at work,
loss (in this case that of the devil and his followers) is met not only by replacement, but by
superabundance.

Just as the seventh Genesis day was, therefore, a demonstration that everything God had done in re-
creating the earth "was good" (Gen.1:31), so the Millennium will demonstrate that only a world ruled by
God (through His anointed Son), can be made "good". The earth of Genesis chapter one is gradually
reclaimed from a condition of darkness and devastation (following God's judgment upon Satan's revolt:
see Part 1 of the present study) by systematically ridding it of all factors unfavorable to human life and
habitation, both by separation from elements hostile to life, and by replacement and filling with the
elements necessary for life (as we have discussed in detail above). In an analogous fashion, the
millennial earth under the perfect rule of Jesus Christ will restore "goodness" to the world again, not
only by removing from it the most pernicious source of evil (the devil and his angels and the world
system of evil they promote: Rev.20:1-3),(38) but also by the provision of all things necessary to bring
about blessing and abundance under the perfect reign of Jesus Christ.(39) Only when Satan and his
followers have been removed from interference in human life, and only when the world finds itself
under the direct reign of the Son of God (Ps.2; Rev.19:6) will the earth be "good" again, and it is
important for believers to understand that without these two key factors of the devil's removal and
Christ's return, no paradise on earth is possible.(40)
In Genesis 2:1-2 we are told that when God had accomplished all He had set out to do in restoring the
earth and replacing its creatures (following His prior judgment upon it), that He blessed the seventh day
and "made it holy" (i.e., sanctified it). This special "setting apart" (the essential meaning of the Hebrew
and Greek roots for holiness respectively: qadash, wdq; hagiazo, ) of the seventh day serves to
make it a special memorial to God's holiness, faithfulness, and goodness. In the face of the rebellion of
so many of His angelic creatures, God did not compromise His holiness but acted in justice, judging the
earth, and in so doing opened the door for His righteous mercy. In restoring light to the universe and
habitability to the earth, God demonstrated His faithfulness in the face of creature unfaithfulness,
bringing about the requisite conditions for life on earth again, thus restoring wholeness (biblical
"peace"). In replacing earth's plant and animal life (and in creating the conditions for replacing what
was missing in the family of God, either through reconciliation of the fallen angels or their replacement
with mankind), God rendered the pre-fall cosmos "good", thus demonstrating His great and unique love
for His creation, and the boundless and incomprehensible nature of His grace.

In a similar fashion, the Millennium will see, through the perfect rule of the Son of God, the reclaiming
of God's direct control over the earth and Man's as well in the person the Jesus Christ, the Last Adam,
reclaiming that which was lost by the first Adam. Though sin will not disappear until the present
heavens and earth are destroyed by fire and replaced with the new heavens and earth (Is.65:17; 66:22;
2Pet.3:7; 3:10-13; Rev.21:1), the Millennium will be a period that begins and ends with winnowing and
purification (Ezek.20:34-38; Zech.13:8-9; Matt.3:10-12; 25:31-46; Lk.3:9-17; 2Thes.1:7-8). Like the
seventh Genesis day, it will be a time sanctified (i.e., made holy) by the Lord, indicating a world of true
justice and righteousness enforced by the Son of God Himself (Ps.2; Rev.). According to Deuteronomy
5:15, a major purpose of the Sabbath day was for Israel to remember their deliverance from Egypt by
God's mighty power. It was to be a day of rest so that even those without recourse, servants and animals,
might have some repose (Deut.5:14). Just so, the Millennium is a time to remember God's deliverance
of the world from the devil's grasp, so vividly and horribly experienced in the Great Tribulation which
immediately precedes it (Rev.20:1-3), a time to enjoy the rest and blessing of the Christ's perfect rule,
and to celebrate the great deliverance God has wrought from the worst period of human history:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me [the Messiah], for the Lord has anointed Me. He has sent Me to
proclaim victory on behalf of the afflicted, to bind up the wounds of the broken hearted, to announce
liberation for the captives and freedom for the prisoners, to announce the year of the Lord's favor [the
Millennium], and a day of vengeance for our God [the 2nd Advent], to comfort all who mourn, to
provide for those who grieve for Zion, to anoint them with joy as with a crown in place of their grief,
and to dress them in garments of praise in place of their faint spirits. Isaiah 61:1-3a

A major part of this Millennial restoration of "good" in an environment of superabundance is the
fulfillment of all of God's promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and the Jewish nation as a whole.
The Millennium will see the complete fulfillment of all the Old Testament covenants, with Jews from
everywhere on earth brought back to the land of Israel, established with her promised borders, and ruled
by the Son of David, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will preside over the entire world from His capital,
Jerusalem (see section IV.2 below and Part 1 of this series for references).

The Church (believers from all three prior dual millennial day sets or ages) will return with Christ,
being resurrected just prior to His 2nd Advent (1Cor.15:51-52; 1Thes.4:13-18).(41) This is the "wedding
of the Lamb" of Revelation 19:7. The Church is thus complete at the return of Christ, but there are many
who will turn to Him after He returns with His bride. These are those "invited to the wedding supper of
the Lamb" (Rev.19:9; i.e., those implied in 1Cor.15:24 vs. the Church of 1Cor.15:23). First and
foremost, the new wave of Millennial believers will be Jews, who, when confronted with the reality of
the returning Messiah, will turn to God (Jer.31:31-34; Zech.12:10; Rom.11:12; Rev.1:7). Throughout
the course of the Millennium, however, many more will believe - gentiles as well as Jews - as the
human race, lately decimated by the events of the Tribulation, expands geometrically in the paradise
conditions of Christ's world-wide Kingdom (Is.9:6-7; 49:19-21; 54:1-3; Dan.2:35; Zech.2:4; 10:10;
Matt.13:31-33; Mk.4:30-32; Lk.13:18-21). These Jews and gentiles who will turn to the Lord after His
glorious return are a complement above and beyond the fullness which is the Church at Christ's return.
That is, they are given to Christ over and above the number needed to replace the devil and his
followers on a strictly one for one basis (for that is accomplished by the resurrection of the Church at
the 2nd Advent). These post 2nd Advent believers, "invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb" (the
uniting of Christ and His Church and its celebration throughout the memorial time of the Millennium:
Rev.19:9), will share and enjoy the world-wide blessing and bounty of Christ's Millennial reign. Thus
the believers of the Millennium constitute an additional blessing for Christ, a "double portion" blessing
that is traditionally the right of the first born (Deut.21:15-17; cf. 1Sam.1:5; 2Kng.2:9; Is.61:7;
Zech.9:12; 1Tim.5:17; cf. Gen.48:22), and so very appropriate for the "First Born of all creation"
(Col.1:15; cf. Ps.89:27; Col.1:18; Heb.1:6), so that He might truly be "the First Born among many
brethren" (Rom.8:29).(42)

Summary: the Seven Genesis Days compared with the Seven Millennial Days:

                Genesis Days                                             Millennial Days

1. separated: light from darkness (general)                                 separated: the truth from the
lie

2. separated: waters from waters yielding air                               separated: freedom from the
devil's coercion

3. separated: the dry land from water                                       separated: a holy people
from a pagan world

  filled: vegetation                                                        filled: Israel the vine

4. filled: regulating heavenly bodies                                        filled: Israel the standard-
setting nation

  separated: light from darkness (specific)                                  separated: right from wrong

5. filled: fish and birds                                                   filled: the Church's
evangelistic base

6. filled: terrestrial animals and livestock                                 filled: the Church's
evangelistic expansion
  completion: the First Adam by Eve                                          completion: the Last Adam
by the Church

7. rest: blessing on the re-created world                                    rest: blessing on the re-
claimed world

As illustrated in the chart above, both sets of days are subdivided into three discrete pairs (with the
exception in each instance of the seventh day). Whether taken in tandem or taken individually, both the
first six Genesis days and the first six millennial days demonstrate an essential progression of separation
(the good from the bad, physically and spiritually respectively) and of filling (to replenish the material
world and the family of God respectively) leading toward an ultimate goal: the habitability of the earth
for mankind in the case of the Genesis days, and the filling up of the full number of family of God for
the Son of Man at His return in the case of the millennial days. The seventh day in each case is a
crowning glory, a memorial time of rest and blessing with paradise conditions under the rule of the First
Adam and the Last Adam respectively. Thus the seven re-creative days of Genesis serve as a model for
God's plan for human history, wherein the people of God are progressively separated from the devil's
world and enter God's lists in progressively mounting numbers through faith in the Son of God, Jesus
Christ as replacements for Satan and his followers (Ex.32:32-33; Ps.69:28; Dan.12:1; Phil.4:3; Rev.3:5;
13:8; 17:8; 20:12-15; 21:27).

God had originally created the entire universe in the blink of an eye (Gen.1:1; see Part 2 of the current
series). Therefore His utilization of six literal days merely to restore the earth to habitability (with a
seventh memorial day of rest to follow), was certainly not the result of any need on His part for what in
comparative terms was a much longer period of time (He is omnipotent, after all, and not subject to
space and time).(43) We must conclude then that God's re-creation of earth over seven days was neither
accidental nor without significance. In fact, as we have just sought to demonstrate above, the seven
Genesis days have great symbolic significance, for they provide a blueprint of God's plan for human
history in the planting (Gentile age), growing (Jewish age) and harvesting (Church age) of the Church
for Jesus Christ (with a second, memorial bumper crop to follow in the Millennium). Just as was the
case in His provision of marriage (with that institution providing mankind with a constant synchronic
analogy for the overarching purpose of history: the marriage of Christ and the Church), so through His
re-creation of the earth in seven days and the resultant weekly seven day pattern governing our lives
God has given us a continual diachronic memorial for remembering and considering His essential
objective for human history: the calling out of the Church for Christ. Every day and every week - the
essential units of time by which we organize our lives - offers us a reminder of God's plan for the ages,
perfect and inevitable. For every day and every week serve as divinely constructed analogies to God's
design of human history in the progressive and systematic formation of the Church, centered and
focused upon the Person and the work of Jesus Christ.

3. The Jewish Ceremonial Calendar: The third proof of God's seven millennial day construction of
human history is to be found in the pattern of festivals He ordained for Israel in the Mosaic Law. The
Jewish ceremonial calendar was, after all, not produced by human agency, but was instead given to
Israel by God Himself through His intermediary Moses (Gal.3:19). It is not surprising, therefore, that,
just as the seven Genesis days give us God's blueprint for human history as a whole, so the yearly
system of dates and festivals ordained by the Mosaic Law likewise lays out the pattern for God's
historical agenda. The Jewish ceremonial calendar (to be distinguished from Israel's civil calendar
which, commencing in the seventh month, was roughly equivalent to our fiscal year) began with the
month of Abib (or Nissan), March/April in our calendar. This ceremonial calendar, by means not only
of its festivals, but also through the significant gaps it contains between the festivals, mirrors the overall
progression of God's plan for human history. For the Jewish calendar is essentially composed of four
"gaps" (periods of no festivals) separated by three festival clusters, wherein both the festivals and the
gaps give specific information about God's grand design in Jesus Christ and the calling out His
Church:(44)




I. Gap #1: The Age of the Gentiles: 14 days: from Abib 1 through Abib 14. It is significant that the
Jewish religious year does not begin on the day of Passover, but that Passover is held two weeks into the
first month. As is the case in all four gaps, we have a fourteen day period symbolizing the two
millennial days of the age it represents. In all of these cases, the basic period of the week is, in a yearly
context, performing a similar symbolic function to that of the day in a weekly context (cf. Is.63:4 where
"day" and "year" refer to the same millennial period). That is to say, in this first fourteen day period
representing the Age of the Gentiles each of the two weeks stands for one of that period's two millennia,
just as in the case of the Genesis week, each day represents one thousand years.

1) Passover (Ex.12:1-14; Lev.23:5; Num.9:1-14; 28:16; Deut.16:1-7): Preceding each of the next three
gaps, a festival (or festival-cluster) occurs that both inaugurates and at the same time represents the age
symbolized by the gap which follows. No festival had preceded the initial two weeks representing the
age of the Gentiles because that age was, as we have seen, concerned with preserving the line of faith,
and not with the calling out of sufficient numbers to fill up the Body of Christ. However, the three ages
which follow that of the Gentiles all produce significant numerical contributions to the growing family
of God, so that the calendar given to Moses precedes the gaps in the year which represent them with
appropriately symbolic inaugural festivals. Thus Passover represents the Jewish Age in its own right,
but also precedes the gap in the calendar which symbolizes the Jewish Age. The essential reason for this
double symbolism (treated in more detail below) is that while the festival-clusters provide an overall
analogy for the ages they represent, the gaps 1) specifically relate the millennial day symbolism of the
Genesis week to that of the religious year (through the use in each gap of two sets of seven days, each
standing for one millennial day), and 2) also and importantly give the proportion of believers entering
the family of God in each of the three ages of filling (through the use in each of the last three gaps of
additional twelve day sets: see below). It is both significant and appropriate that the festival cluster
representing the Age of Israel should be the one which also symbolizes the sacrifice of the Messiah.
Technically, the festival of Unleavened Bread (treated next) symbolizes the Age of Israel. Passover, the
inaugural feast of the Jewish ceremonial calendar, is well-known as a festival richly symbolic of the
death our Savior. The blood of the sacrifice is symbolic of the blood of Christ, the Passover lamb, a
first-born with no broken bones and with no spot or blemish, is symbolic of the perfect first-born Lamb
of God (Ps.34:20; Jn.1:36; 19:36; 1Pet.1:19; Rev.5:6); the sprinkling of blood on the door posts in the
form of a cross is symbolic of the death He died for us, while the deliverance from the angel of death
through this mark of blood symbolizes our deliverance from death to life by His sacrifice (1Cor.5:7).

It is, in fact, difficult to imagine a feast more closely symbolic of the death of Jesus Christ on behalf His
people than Passover is. This is especially true when we add to the above discussion the fact that
Passover, symbolic of the crucifixion and occurring on Friday, is followed on Sunday by the First-fruits,
a feast illustrating the resurrection of our Lord as the first-fruits of all whom God will resurrect (see
below). The symbolism of the Passover, therefore, carries over into the seven day festival of
Unleavened Bread which began on the following day (with First-fruits occurring on its second day,
Abib 16). And like the feast of Unleavened Bread (which is representative of the age of Israel as a
whole), Passover too has important symbolism for the Jewish Age. For it not only illustrates the death of
the Messiah for the world, but also provides a clear picture of the life of faith in response to that
precious sacrifice. Occurring as it does on the day before the week long festival which represents the
Jewish Age, Passover demonstrates that Israel is founded upon the expectation, hope and faith of the
coming Messiah and His sacrifice. Secondly, the manner in which the Passover was to be celebrated
speaks of the life of faith responding to God's offer of salvation through this sacrifice. The sacrificed
lamb is eaten, a picture of belief (Jn.6:35-58), and eaten completely (an act of unreserved faith). It is
eaten along with bitter herbs, with unleavened bread, and in all haste, standing up with readiness to
depart. These elements speak, it is true, of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt,(45) but Israel's temporal
experience is symbolic of the spiritual experience of all people before or since who have turned to God
for salvation in Jesus Christ: Egypt with her slavery and harsh rule symbolizes the devil's world, while
the bitter herbs bespeak the unsatisfying nature of all that the world offers. The hastily baked bread and
posture of readiness tell of the need to embrace God's gift fully and hastily - the way of evil and death
must be abandoned completely, forthrightly and without hesitation.

2) Unleavened Bread (Ex.12:15-20; 13:3-10; 23:15; 34:18; Lev.23:6-8; Num.28:17-25; Deut.16:3-8;
16:16): The feast of Unleavened Bread is the first of the three seven day festivals and represents the Age
of Israel in the same way that the feast of Weeks and Tabernacles represent respectively the Church Age
and the Millennium. The ceremonial week as a basic, symbolic unit is a feature of divine revelation we
have noted above in our discussion of the Genesis week and Daniel's seventy weeks of years (Dan.9:20-
27), and can also be seen in the observation of the sabbatical year (Ex.23:10-11; Lev.25:1-7), the
seventh year in the series of seven weeks of years to be followed by the Year of Jubilee (Lev.25:8-55;
27:17-24; Num.36:4). In the feast of Unleavened bread, the first of the three seven day festivals that
symbolize the age represented by each of the gaps which follow, the dominant image is the bread made
without leaven, a symbol with two main foci: 1) leaven generally represents contamination and sin
(Matt.16:6-12; Mk.8:15; Lk.12:1; 1Cor.5:6-9; Gal.5:9), so that bread without leaven is an effective
picture of the sinless Messiah. Eating this bread for the entire seven day period is therefore a call for
Israel to believe in Him at all times and remain separate from the contamination of evil, to, as God says,
"be Holy as I am Holy" (Lev.11:44-45; 1Pet.1:16); 2) bread without leaven is also symbolic of hardship
and oppression (i.e., "the bread of affliction" of Deut.16:3), so that eating this bread throughout the
festival calls attentions to the fact that a life of following God, as Israel is called to perform throughout
her history, is no easy matter though an absolutely necessary choice: in this world we have tribulation if
we follow God, but, through the Messiah, God has overcome the world (Jn.16:33).

3) First-fruits (Lev.23:9-14): The feast of First-fruits takes place in the middle of the feast of
Unleavened Bread and the timing is of critical importance, for it clearly represents the day of the
Messiah's resurrection, taking place on the Sunday after the Friday Passover, just as in the case of our
Lord's resurrection. It should therefore not be surprising to learn that the symbolism of the feast of First-
fruits appropriately betokens Christ's resurrection. Twice in 1st Corinthians, Paul calls Jesus "our First-
fruits", both times in the sense of His priority in the bodily resurrection which precedes the resurrection
of all who will believe in Him (1Cor.15:20 and 15:23). The waving of the barley sheaf, the main
symbolic event of the festival, is clearly a type of Christ in resurrection, the first-fruits of the abundant
harvest to come at His return (1Cor.15:35-44).(46)

II. Gap #2: The Age of Israel: 14 days plus 36 days (12 x 3). The second gap, representing the Jewish
age, can be variously constructed. It runs either from Abib 16 (the day of the festival of First-fruits
symbolizing the resurrection of Christ) to the feast of Weeks on Sivan 6-7 (cf. Lev.23:11:b with 23:15-
16), or from the end the festival of Unleavened Bread to the same terminus with the addition of a five
day period of intercalation (discussed immediately below). In either case, the gap is 50 days long, a
number from which the New Testament designation for the feast marking its termination is derived: i.e.,
"Pentecost", coming from the Greek word for fifty. Given that the Jewish religious calendar is based on
the approximate lunar cycle of 30 day months, roughly five additional days per year would be necessary
to keep it in harmony with the solar calendar. We have no record of original Mosaic practice on this
score (from the Bible or elsewhere), but regardless of latter custom, the facts are that 1) the gap was felt
to be fifty days (witness the name Pentecost for the feast which follows); 2) a five day intercalation
every year and at the beginning of the year would have been more practical (especially in an entirely
agricultural economy) than an entire month being added every six or seven years (which would put the
calendar seriously out of line with the seasons);(47) and 3) the five day overlap of remaining days in the
festival of Unleavened Bread after First-fruits is exactly the overall deficit, which, when matched with
an additional intercalated five day period, results in the precise number of days necessary for filling up
both this gap (see below) and the solar year with the requisite number of days. The close relationship
between the festival of First-fruits and the feast of Weeks (the full harvest festival coming fifty days
later which also marks the close of the Jewish age gap) also argues for this solution. For both of these
festivals are harvest feasts, with First-fruits representing the resurrection of Christ, while the feast of
Weeks symbolizes the calling out (or "harvesting") of His Church, so that First-fruits should by rights
be the beginning just as Weeks is the end (an eventuality accomplished only by understanding a five day
intercalary period). The fifty day period which separates these two festivals is also significant in one
additional way. The interval is calculated as one day plus seven weeks (Lev.23:15-16; Deut.16:9)(48),
indicating that to the perfect number of seven sevens, an additional single period is to be added. That
final period, Daniel's 70th week (Dan.9:25-27), is the Tribulation, a seven year period at the end of the
Church Age (and shared in common with the Church Age) which will be treated below.

4) Weeks or Pentecost (Ex.23:16; 34:22; Lev.23:15-21; Num.28:26-31; Deut.16:9-12; 16:16): This main
harvest festival (the bringing in of the wheat crop) symbolizes the Church Age, the bountiful harvesting
of an unprecedented number of believers for the filling up of Christ's Church. Harvest and crop
metaphors in this connection are plentiful in scripture. Our Lord's parables of the growing seed
(Mk.4:26-29), of the sower (Matt.13; Mk.4; Lk.8), and of the wheat and the tares (Matt.13:24-30 & 37-
43) all make use of the same essential analogy: those who believe and grow in Him are God's crop (cf.
Matt.7:16-20; Jn.4:35-38; 1Cor.3:6-8; 15:35-44; Rev.14:14-16).(49) The bounty of believers during the
Church age is in numerical terms the richest so far:

Haven't you been saying, 'There are still four months(50) until the harvest comes.'? Behold, I tell you, lift
up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already ripe for harvesting. He who reaps is receiving a
reward and gathering grain for eternal life [i.e., bringing those who respond into God's family], so that
the sower and the reaper may rejoice together. John 4:35-36 [cf. Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 10:2]

Though in terms of sheer numbers, gentiles predominate in the Church Age, Jews, as we have seen, are
the pillars of the Church and included as the "remnant according to the election of grace" in every
generation of the present era (Rom.11:5). This duality of Jew and gentile is symbolized in the ritual of
the feast of weeks by the presentation of the two bulls (Num.28:27), the two rams (Lev.23:18), the two
lambs (Lev.23:19) and the two loaves (Lev.23:17), this last element being unique to the feast of Weeks.

III. Gap #3: The Church Age: 14 days plus 108 days (12 x 9). The 108 days from the end of the feast of
Weeks until the commencement of the feast of Booths (or Tabernacles) represents the Age of the
Church, a sizeable hiatus in the cycle of festivals signifying an interruption in the Jewish Age (cf.
Matt.21:33-44; 22:1-14; Mk.13:10; Lk.20:16; Eph.2:14-22; the concluding of the Jewish Age with the
seven year Tribulation is discussed below). The tally of days from the end of the feast of Weeks until
the sixth day of the month of Sivan when the feast of Booths began is only apparently 107 days.
Through inclusive counting (necessary because of the injunction to calculate the time of the festival of
Weeks from the morning after the first Sabbath [i.e., instead of from evening to evening in standard
Jewish reckoning: Lev.23:11, 15, 16 - Hebrew, not NIV]), an additional day is gained through including
both book-end days instead of one, a point illustrated by the fact that the "morning after" stipulation in
Leviticus has resulted in Weeks being celebrated on both the 6th and 7th of Sivan. The occurrence of the
feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement within this gap is significant, indicating that the
tribulational period they represent is a common era, shared jointly by the ages of Israel and the Church
(an issue addressed below).

5) Trumpets [Rosh Hashanah] (Lev.23:23-25; Num.29:1-6): Known popularly as Rosh Hashanah (lit.,
"beginning of the year"), the feast of Trumpets takes place on the first day of the seventh month
according to the religious calendar and is only "New Year's Day" according to the civil calendar (which,
as was mentioned above, ran on a six month offset to the religious calendar in a manner comparable to
our fiscal year). The trumpet blasts which constitute the dominant imagery of this festival are symbolic
of warning. This symbolism is easily seen from numerous scriptural parallels where sounding the
trumpet acts as the main alarm in moments of crisis (e.g., Num.10:1-9; Josh.6:20; Jer.4:19-21; 6:1;
Hos.5:8-9; Amos 3:6; Zeph.1:15-17; 1Cor.14:8). The seven warning trumpets of Revelation 8:6-11:19,
moreover, are more than an illustrative parallel of this festival's primary symbol. They are, in fact, the
fulfillment of that prophetic symbol, for they represent God's warning judgments upon the world that
introduce the first phase of the seven year Tribulation. Thus the feast of Trumpets represents and marks
the beginning of the tribulational period of seven years, and the blasts sounded thereon represent God's
warning to the world of impending judgment.(51)

6) Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) (Lev.16:1-34; 23:26-32; Num.29:7-11): Occurring on the tenth day
of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement is symbolic of the beginning of the second half of the
tribulational period, generally referred to as "The Great Tribulation" (Dan.12:1; Matt.24:21; Mk.13:19;
Rev.7:14). That the sacrificial rituals of the Day of Atonement represent Christ's efficacious sacrifice on
our behalf and, specifically, of His ascension to heaven and propitiation by His blood of the Father's
wrath toward our sins is well known from the detailed exposition of these matters in the New
Testament, the book of Hebrews in particular (Heb.9:1-28; cf. Matt.27:51; Heb.4:14; 6:19-20;
Rev.11:19). This is important from the standpoint of the festival's eschatological symbolism. Coming as
it does a mere three and one half days before the termination of the gap in the Jewish calendar which
represents the Age of the Church, the Day of Atonement puts its Jewish participants into the attitude of
anticipation of God's great judgment to come. From a purely historical point of view, Christ's ascension
and God the Father's acceptance of His sacrifice occurred at the point where the Jewish Age was
interrupted and the Church Age began. Symbolically, however, its place in the calendar moves Israel
forward to the threshold of Christ's return to judge the earth. This will be a time of great soul-searching
for Israel occasioned most spectacularly by the ministries of Moses and Elijah on the one hand
(Mal.4:5-6; Matt.11:12-14; 17:3-12; Rev.11:3-13), and the 144,000 Jewish martyrs on the other
(Rev.7:1-8; 14:1-5; cf. Matt.10:5-42). It will culminate at the 2nd Advent with a wholesale repentance on
the part of non-believing Jews world-wide (Zech.12:10-14; Rev.1:7; cf. Matt.24:30).(52) In this context,
the "afflicting of heart" commanded of all Israel on this day is most appropriate (Lev.23:27, 29 & 32;
Num.29:7, all clearest in KJV), and God's resultant cleansing fittingly symbolic of God's forgiveness of
Israel at Christ's return (compare Lev.16:30 with Is.4:2-6; 59:20-21; Jer.31:34; 50:20; Ezek.20:33-38;
36:24-38; Zech.12:10-3:1; Mal.3:2-4; Rom.11:26). Also highly significant is the timing of the festival,
seven days after the feast of Trumpets, and three and one half days before the feast of Booths
(Lev.23:32; for the reckoning, see point number four above).

The eight days which follow the feast of Trumpets and precede the Day of Atonement represent the first
half of the tribulational period wherein God will, through a series of seven trumpet judgments, warn the
inhabitants of earth to repent or face His wrath (Rev.8:6-11:19). Each trumpet blast equals one "day" or
six month period, with one additional actual day to represent the period of silence observed in heaven
for "half an hour", a six month interval of grace for repentance before the actual commencement of the
Tribulation (Rev.8:1-2). The four days between the Day of Atonement and the feast of Booths represent
the second half of the Tribulation, that period known as "the Great Tribulation", following which Christ
will return and establish His millennial kingdom (Dan.7:25; 12:7; Rev.11:2; cf. Rev.12:14; 13:5). This
four day period is, in prophetic terms, really three and one half days, for the final half day (i.e., the
daylight period of the fourth day which, in the Jewish system follows the evening) represents the period
of time directly preceding the 2nd Advent, a "unique day" on which there will be no daylight
immediately prior to Christ's return to judge the world (Zech.14:6-7; cf. Is.13:9-13; 34:4; 60:1-2;
Ezek.32:7-10; Joel 2:2, 2:10, 2:31; 3:15; Zeph.1:15-18; Matt.24:29; Mk.13:24-25; Acts 2:17-21;
Rev.6:12-13; 16:10).(53) The shift of real-time days from representing six month periods to full years
before and after the Day of Atonement respectively is a symbolic indication of the intensification of the
world's distress during the Great Tribulation. Finally, the fact that both the feast of Trumpets and the
Day of Atonement have special significance for Israel and yet occur within the Church Age gap is a
reminder of what we know from elsewhere in prophecy, namely that the final horrendous period of
seven years known as the Tribulation will see the reestablishment of Jewish leadership within Christ's
body, the Church.

7) Booths (Tabernacles) (Ex.23:16; 34:22; Lev.23:33-43; Num.29:12-34; Deut.16:13-16): After the
three and one half day interval following the Day of Atonement (representing the Great Tribulation),
and after the additional half day (representing the period of supernatural darkness that precedes the
Messiah's return), there occurs on the fifteenth day of the seventh month the seven day feast known as
the festival of Booths. This festival is symbolic of the millennial reign of Christ which will commence
immediately after His 2nd Advent. Known also as the festival of "ingathering" (Ex.23:16), the feast of
Booths represents the restoration of the Jews to their land under the Messiah's care in a manner similar
to the gathering in of crops into a storehouse (Is.66:20; cf. Is.11:11-16; 14:2; 43:5-6; 49:19-26; 54:7;
60:4 & 9; Jer.31:10; 32:37; Zech.8:23; Matt.23:37; Lk.13:34). This ingathering of Israel is
commemorated by a sacred assembly on the first day of the festival (Lev.23:35; Num.29:12). The joyful
mood of this festival (Deut.16:14-15) is in stark contrast with that of the Day of Atonement as one
might well expect for a feast symbolizing the fulfillment of God's promises to Israel (in comparison
with the judgment foreshadowed by the Day of Atonement). The booths or tabernacles in which the
celebrants of this festival lodged for the seven days of the feast, are a reminder of the temporary shelters
in which the Jews dwelt on their departure from their permanent homes in Egypt (an event in its entirety
symbolic of God's retrieval of His people from the rest of the world for resettlement in the land of Israel
at the Messiah's return: Lev.23:43; cf. Zech.14:16-19), as well as on their initial entrance into the land of
promise (Neh.8:17b), and on their return after the Babylonian captivity (Neh.8:17a).

8) The Sacred Assembly (Lev.23:36; see also Num.29:35-38): Finally, directly following the feast of
Booths, though not technically a part of it, is the Sacred Assembly on the "the eighth day". This final
event of the Jewish ceremonial calendar comes at the conclusion of the feast representing the
Millennium, and therefore occurs symbolically at the end of human history's seven millennial days. It is
the "closing assembly" [Hebrew rji, 'atsar], indicative not only of finality but also symbolic of God
coming to be with mankind forever (cf. 1Kng.8:2's description of the dedication of Solomon's temple at
the time of this festival, and the resultant filling of the newly consecrated temple with God's glory:
1Kng.8:10-11). The Sacred Assembly therefore represents the eternal state, the Kingdom of the Father
that will be brought in at history's end when the present heavens and earth melts away and the New
Jerusalem descends from heaven to be the dwelling place of God and all who love Him forevermore
(Rev.21-22).(54)

IV. Gap #4: The Millennium: 14 days plus 144 days (12 x 12): Following the final event of the Jewish
ceremonial calendar, the Sacred Assembly which takes place at the conclusion of the feast of Booths,
the last and longest gap occurs, representing the millennial kingdom of the Messiah. That this gap
begins in the seventh month of the year is likely more than accidental, for it symbolizes (and provides
information about) the seventh and last millennial day of human history, the Millennium.

The Symbolism of the Three Week-long Festivals: As noted above, the three week long festivals
represent the Jewish Age, Church Age and Millennium respectively.(55) The three are positioned on the
Jewish ceremonial calendar in the same order in which the ages they represent occur. Additionally, all
three immediately precede gaps which also represent the same ages which the festivals symbolize. The
three week long feasts are "the Lord's appointed feasts which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies
for bringing offerings made to the Lord by fire" (Lev.23:37). This statement from the book of Leviticus
when applied to the historical symbolism of the three week long feasts indicates that, regardless of what
man under the influence of the devil may think or say about them, these portions of human history are
God's "feasts" (so to speak) for the "assembling" of those who hear His call, for the calling out His
sacred assembly, an offering sacred to Him, one based upon the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Rom.15:16
with 1Cor.5:7-8).


The Symbolism of the Four Gaps and their Twelve-Day Groupings: It is not only the three week
long festivals which are symbolic of the last three ages of human history. The gaps in the Jewish
ceremonial calendar which follow them represent their respective ages as well. The festivals, complete
seven day weeks, each accomplish conceptually the symbolic task of designating one of the four major
divisions of history, and as such appear in the exact same proportions (i.e, seven days each, a perfect
whole). The gaps which follow these festivals, on the other hand, are not uniform in length and
purposely so. For these gaps are designed to give us important information about the historical periods
they represent. Specifically, they tell us the proportion of believers called out in the Jewish Age, Gentile
Age and Millennium respectively. Each of the three calendar gaps is composed of a sum of fourteen
days plus a variable number of twelve day periods. As the symbolism of the week long festivals was
conceptual, with the single week representing the complete age in question, the symbolism of the
fourteen days is temporal, with each week in this case (expressing as it does the idea of a complete,
integral unit) representing one millennial day. That the gap representing the Millennium should also
contain a like fourteen day period (although it consists temporally of only one millennial day) may be
explained as follows:

1) The Millennium is the age of Christ's double portion (discussed in this section above under "Day 7";
cf. Is.61:7).

2) The Millennium is the only age lacking direct satanic rule and, by way of great contrast, benefitting
greatly from the rule of the Son of God. It is thus an age of double blessing as evidenced by the fact that
double the number of human beings will be saved therein as in the whole of prior human history (see
immediately below).

3) The Millennium will combine Jews and gentiles in full, functional participation and service in God’s
plan in contrast both to the Age of Israel (where gentile participation in Israel was rare, with gentiles
shut out of most religious observance) and to the Age of the Church (where in numerical terms Jews
have formed but a numerically small remnant of believers in keeping with the "hardness" prophesied to
endure until the eve of the last times: Rom.11:5; 11:25-27).

Subtracting these fourteen day periods from the number of days in each of their three respective gaps,
we are left with a varying number of twelve day complements: 12 x 3 for the Jewish Age, 12 x 9 for the
Church Age, and 12 x 12 for the Millennium (see the discussion above and the chart at the beginning of
this section). Twelve is, of course, the number of full and overflowing wholeness, a principle most
perspicuously seen from the number of the tribes of Israel according to which (and into which) the
entire saved complement of humanity will ultimately be organized:
1) Israel is the ultimate measure: According to Deuteronomy 32:8, the boundaries of the nations were
established by God "according to the number of the sons of Israel", making their number the standard in
conformity to which the Lord has planned human history.

2) Israel is the ultimate root: Following the cross, Jew and gentile are now one in Christ (Gal.3:28;
Eph.2:11-22; Col.3:11), but it is the root of Israel into which gentiles are grafted, not the other way
around (Rom.11:18).

3) Israel is the ultimate foundation: The prophets (including, for example, Moses, David, Elijah, and
Elisha), all writers of scripture (see above), all the apostles, all of the ultimate evangelists (viz., the
144,000 of Rev.7), and, last and most significantly, the Messiah all come from Israel (Eph.2:20;
2Pet.2:6).

4) Israel is the ultimate goal: We are all looking forward to the day when we shall inhabit the New
Jerusalem, the essential geographical Israel, a place where the twelve gates will bear the names of
twelve tribes of Israel and whose wall's twelve foundations will bear the names of the twelve Jewish
apostles of the Lamb (Rev.21:12-14).

5) Israel is the ultimate organization (Is.14:1; Jer.51:19): That tribal reorganization within Israel will
ultimately ensue is indicated by the fact that the twelve apostles (clearly not evenly distributed among
the tribes: James and John are brothers as are Peter and Andrew) will judge the twelve tribes
(Matt.19:28; Lk.22:28-30; cf. also Is.66:21; Heb.7:14). Given the importance of gems and stones in
designating tribal division in Israel (cf. Ex.28:17-20; 39:10-13; Josh.4:2-24; and the discussion of
angelic elders in Part 4 of this series), we should take the promise of the "white stone" inscribed with a
"new name" in Revelation 2:17 as an indication of tribal assignment for all believers (cf. Zech.3:9). We
are all precious stones to God (Zech.9:16; 1Pet.2:5), and in His Son, the Rock, Jesus Christ (Matt.7:24-
25; 16:18; Rom.9:32-33; 1Cor.10:4; 1Pet.2:4-8), we share all that Christ is, including being a part of
Israel as Abraham's spiritual seed and as part of the Body of Christ (Eph.3:6; cf. Rom.8:16-17; 8:32;
1Cor.12:2; Gal.3:29; Phil.3:3; 2Pet.1:4).

So remember that you were once gentiles in the flesh, called "un-circumcised" by those of the so-called
circumcision which is fleshly and man-made. Remember that you were without Christ, alienated from
the polity of Israel and strangers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the
world. But now, in Christ Jesus, you who were once far away have now been brought near by the
blood of Christ (i.e., into Christ along with Israel, and therefore into Israel by way of Christ). For He
Himself is our peace, for He has made both [Jews and gentiles] one, and has broken down the middle
wall of partition, that is, the enmity between us, by discharging the Law of the commandments and its
requirements with His [own] body, so that He might re-create the two into one new Man by making
[this] peace, and might reconcile both in one Body to God through His cross, having by means of it
abolished the enmity [between God and mankind]. For when He had come [1st advent], He proclaimed
the gospel of peace to you who were far away [from God], and peace to those who were near. For it is
through Him that we both have our access to the Father by means of one Spirit. So then, you are no
longer strangers and hangers-on, but you are fellow citizens and fellow members of the household of
God, established upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Himself the cornerstone,
in whom the entire structure is in the process of being riveted together and is growing into a holy temple
in the Lord, in whom you too are being built up into a dwelling place of God by the Spirit. Ephesians
2:11-21

For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is significant, but what is significant is a new creation (i.e.,
Jewish and gentile believers united in Christ: cf. 2Cor.5:17; Eph.2:14). And as many as walk by this
standard, may peace be upon them, that is, upon God's Israel (i.e., the entire elect, saved human family
of God). Galatians 6:15-16

The human family of God is thus a unity, born of the seed of faith coming down from the Age of the
Gentiles to Abraham, sprouting into the vine of Israel, and bearing bountiful fruit in the Church Age.
And since the stock of this plant is Jewish, it should come as no surprise that in resurrection the human
family of God will eventually be arranged into the twelve tribal divisions of Israel. The further
organization of believers in each of the three fruit bearing eras of human history into the matching
echelons of twelve discussed above is to be understood as reflecting this same, ultimately tribal
organization. Moreover, the disparate length of time comprised by the th