THE WAR ZONE – Part 6

“Evil is a by-product, a component, of creation. In a world evolving into ever higher forms, hatred, violence, aggression, and war are a part of the evolutionary plan.
– Howard Bloom, The Lucifer Principle, p2

Have you ever wondered why hatred, violence and evil exist?

Who or what is responsible for it?

Did God create a devil or is Howard Bloom correct when he argues that evil is just part of the evolutionary plan?

If God is so good then why does the world seem so bad?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why is there any need for sin, pain and suffering at all?

This planet is right in the heart of a war zone.

What on earth is going on?

The ancient nature religions saw their world in two halves – good and evil, light and dark, life and death, masculine and feminine.

Their gods and goddesses would maintain global harmony through keeping the balance of power between the two forces.

The east has the yin and yang – two opposing but complementary and interdependent forces.

According to the Barna research group, Western society is also embracing the darker side.

The practices of Wicca (magic, sorcery and spell casting) are growing quickly throughout the United States, particularly among younger people.

The national Census research indicates that the nature religions (Pagan, Druids, Pantheists and Wicca) are among the fastest growing religions in countries like Australia.

Is it safe to desire a balance between good and evil? Should our spirituality include some association with darkness?

Is the devil real? If so, is he dangerous?

This study guide, along with the companion lesson “Does God Care?” delves into the mysterious subject of good versus evil.

We will take a behind the scenes look into a cosmic conflict that has raged for thousands of years.

The focus of this lesson is the origin of evil.

Q1 – WHERE DID SIN BEGIN?

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3.8

According to the Scriptures, sin began with the devil.

Evil is not just a force, or part of nature, or an aspect of human consciousness.

Evil emanates from the devil himself.

Many picture the devil as a mythical cartoon character with hoofs, horns and a pitchfork to turn over unfortunate souls roasting in hell.

But the devil is real.

He is responsible for the evil, pain and suffering in our world today.

In fact the devil is referred to on many occasions in the Bible.

The name “devil” is mentioned over 60 times, while “Satan” (another name for the devil) is mentioned over 50 times.

Q2 – WHAT SYMBOLS ARE USED IN THE BIBLE TO DESCRIBE THE DEVIL?

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12.9

The devil is called the great dragon.

He is dangerous, deadly and a formidable opponent.

The devil is also a snake. Clever and crafty, he sneaks up on you and his bite is venomous.

Interestingly, in many pagan cultures, the dragon and snake have been a key focus of worship.

Their symbols can still be seen today.

Q3 – WHAT WAS THE NAME FOR SATAN WHEN HE WAS AN ANGEL IN HEAVEN?

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning. Isaiah 14.12

The name Lucifer literally means “light bearer”, certainly a different name from what he is called today – Satan which means “adversary” and Devil which means “slanderer”.

Q4 – DID GOD CREATE THE DEVIL?

You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. Ezekiel 28.15

Lucifer was created by God as a perfect angel.

His hometown was heaven!

He was gifted in music and held a leadership position among the other angels.

Lucifer was stunningly beautiful, bright and had perfect wisdom (Ezekiel 28:12-15).

Because God is love, the last thing He wants is to be worshipped and obeyed out of force or fear.

He desires His beings to be motivated by love.

God could have created Lucifer as a robot, but robots cannot love or make moral decisions, so God gave Lucifer a free will to choose his own direction in life.

God does the same for us today.

There is a great risk in love. Ask any parent.

They are not certain if their children will grow up to obey or disobey, but they take that risk, because they want someone to love and be loved. Lucifer chose to rebel against God’s love.

He chose evil over good. As a result, an angel became a demon.

God did not create the devil;

He created a perfect being who made a devil of himself.

Q5 – WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL SIN THAT LUCIFER COMMITTED?

“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; Ezekiel 28.17

For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will be like the MOST HIGH Isaiah 14.13,14

Lucifer became proud and selfish.

He saw his beauty and goodness as something to be worshipped and he wanted to be like God.

He was jealous of God. He wanted the other angels to worship and obey him instead of God.

Even today, at the heart of virtually all evil, is pride and selfishness.

It is interesting to note that the middle letter of sin, pride and Lucifer is “I”.

It was Lucifer who began sin with a love of self..

Q6 – WHAT HAPPENED IN HEAVEN WHEN LUCIFER OPPOSED GOD?

And WAR broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, Revelation 12.7

It is hard to imagine a “war” in heaven, but this is what happened when the devil fought against the loving God.

This conflict is the central issue of the entire Scriptures. Good vs Evil, Truth vs Lies, Christ vs Satan, Love vs Hate.

Even though Satan lost this war in heaven, the conflict continues and we are now in the middle of it.

The heart of this “war” was, and still is, worship.

We are happiest when we worship only God (Exodus 20:3).

When Jesus came to earth the devil failed in his attempt to get Jesus to worship him (Matthew 4:8-11).

Now that Jesus has left, the devil turns his attention onto us.

The last great conflict on planet earth will once again revolve around worship.

God is calling the world to a loving worship of Him as the Creator God (Revelation 14:6,7), while the devil’s final attack will be to force people to worship him, or risk being killed (Revelation 13:15).

Q7 – WHO ELSE DOES THE DEVIL HAVE ON HIS SIDE?

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12.9.

The devil was so clever in his deception, that one third of the angels joined forces with the devil against God and were cast out of heaven with him (Revelation 12:4).

It is unknown how many there were, possibly billions, but these angels became demons.

These demons still work as agents for the devil today (Revelation 16:14).

Q8 – WHY DIDN’T GOD DESTROY THE DEVIL?

He who does not love does not know God, for God is LOVE 1 John 4.8.

Because God is love He wants us to worship Him out of love.

When Lucifer sinned, God could have destroyed him immediately.

That would have solved the problem for a little while, but the remaining angels – who knew nothing about the nature of sin – would start to serve God out of fear not love.

They would always have wondered if the devil’s claims against God were true.

So God chose another option. He put His character “on trial” before the whole universe.

He has allowed the devil to demonstrate the results of sin, so everyone could see that God is love and worthy of worship, while the only outcome for sin is pain, heartache and suffering.

This world is now the centre stage for this great drama (1 Corinthians 4:9) and we can see all around us the terrible results of evil.

The major objective for God during this time is to save as many people as possible, eradicate sin from the planet and ensure sin will never rise the second time (Nahum 1:9).

Q9 – HOW DID OUR PLANET GET INVOLVED IN SATAN’S REBELLION?

And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “ The Serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3.13

The devil and his angels were cast to this earth.

As a result, he focused his deceptions on human beings.

God created Adam and Eve as perfect beings. In fact they were a perfect couple, in a perfect environment with a perfect God.

Like Lucifer, Adam and Eve were given a free choice to decide between good and evil.

God gave to Adam and Eve the most beautiful garden, plenty of friendly animals and a personal friendship with each other and God Himself.

However, He asked them not to touch or eat from one of the trees in the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This was a test of worship and obedience.

The devil used the serpent as a medium to deceive Eve into disobeying God.

Eve chose to trust her feelings and the word of the serpent instead of obeying the Word of God.

Q10 – WHO DOES THE DEVIL NOW ATTACK AND HATE THE MOST?

And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12.17

The devil has now turned all his attack onto the “woman” – a symbol for God’s church (Jeremiah 6:2).

You may have heard the phrase “fights like the devil”?

Well the devil is now fighting against God’s last day church.

This true church comprises those who keep all of God’s Commandments and believe completely in the testimony of Jesus – which is a phrase that includes the great prophecies of the Scriptures (Revelation 19:10).

Q11 – WHAT IS THE MAJOR GOAL OF THE DEVIL?

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10.10

The main aim of the devil is to rob you of life.

He attempts to make you miserable, to inflict hurt and discouragement and to give up on life, through breaking up your friendship with God.

Jesus, on the other hand, came to give you life – an abundant life, full of satisfaction and enjoyment.

Q12 – WHAT IS THE DEVIL’S MAJOR WEAPON AGAINST GOD’S PEOPLE?

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a LIAR and the father of it. John 8.44

The devil is a liar. The great conflict between Christ and Satan is not a war of power; it is a war of truth vs lies.

The slanderous Satan mixes truth with error to cleverly deceive the masses.

If he was clever enough to deceive one-third of the perfect angels who actually lived with God, how much more should we be alert to his deceptions today.

Q13 – CAN THE DEVIL BE GOOD?

And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11.14

The devil is at his most dangerous when he is “good”.

He becomes a “Christian” double agent to deceive Christians.

We need to be careful to trust only God’s Word, not just what we see, feel or experience.

Q14 – WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KEY TACTICS USED BY THE DEVIL?

a. Misquotes the Bible in order to deceive (Matthew 4:5,6)
b. Persecutes God’s church to discourage their faith (Revelation 12:13)
c. Performs miracles to deceive into false religion (Revelation 16:14)
d. Works through and impersonates false pastors to deceive (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
e. Brings pain and disease to discourage and blame God (Job 2:7)
f. Demon possession to take full control (Luke 13:16)
g. Traps us into sin (2 Timothy 2:26)

The devil knows the value of effective communication.

He attempts to wipe out our communication lines with God by influencing us to neglect personal prayer, meditation and Bible study.

He then opens up his own communication lines through what we see, hear and feel – primarily through the media.

Many of the movies, television programs, books, internet sites and magazines do a great job in deceiving us into believing the devil’s lies about God and the big issues of life.

Q15 – HOW CAN I RESIST AND OVERCOME SATAN?

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4.7

Put on the WHOLE ARMOUR of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6.11

It is vital that we overcome the devil by making right choices and asking for God’s power.

Firstly, we need to submit or surrender our lives to God.

Then we need to say “No” to the devil. We need to face the devil head on.

Notice that none of the armour mentioned in Ephesians is placed on our back; it is all on the front of us. Jesus resisted the devil by facing the devil head on, using the power of God through quoting Scripture (Matthew 4:10).

We cannot overcome the devil in our strength. We need to ask God for supernatural power for victory.

Q16 – WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS?

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: Matthew 25.41

For those who want to mix the dark life with their everyday life, the warning is given that the devil and all that is associated with him will be destroyed.

The mystery of the dark supernatural may appear attractive; but the destination for such an association is clear.

 

Q17 – HOW DOES GOD FEEL ABOUT THE DESTRUCTION OF THE WICKED?

Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33.11

The heart of God must have been wrenched when Lucifer rebelled.

God loved him and did all He could to influence him to turn from his evil ways.

Today God loves you also, no matter what choices you have made in life.

He knows the end result of evil is destruction, so He pleads with each of us to turn from our evil ways and worship Him.

He knows that only then will we discover true peace and happiness..

Three points to remember:

•God is a God of love who created beings with the power of free choice

••The reason we have suffering, pain and death is due to the evil of Satan

•••The devil will be destroyed and sin will never return

The Story:

A 73-year-old Kenyan grandfather was attacked near his potato crops by an angry leopard.

He had a choice – try and run for his life or resist the attack head on. The peasant farmer, Daniel M’Mburugu, decided to resist the attack.

“A voice, which must have come from God, whispered to me to drop the panga (machete) and thrust my hand in its wide-open mouth.

I obeyed,” M’Mburugu said. The farmer managed to survive the attack by pulling out the leopard’s tongue.

He managed to kill the attacking leopard with his bare hands.

The Bible likens the devil to another big cat. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Relational questions

1. Why is it important that we understand that the devil is a real being?

2. Why is it important that you understand the issues of the great conflict between Christ and Satan?

3. Have you found any effective ways to resist the devil? What are they?

4. Are there any areas in your life where you feel the devil has had
a hold over you, and you would like to give them over to Jesus for victory today?

Your response:

God loves you with an everlasting love. At a time when many in the world have fallen for the lies of the devil and rejected the love of God, would you like to choose today to love, worship and obey Him?

In Lesson 7 we take a look at Steps to Spiritual Freedom

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