What causes a man to direct his army into a peaceful nation and rob, kill, and destroy innocent people? The images of suffering and destruction we are seeing today in the Ukraine are reminiscent of former World Wars, and the evil that covered the world at that time.
Whose fault is it that evil exists on earth? If God is sovereign and all powerful, why does He permit men to hurt, kill, and destroy others? The answer to this paradox is found in the question: It is people who commit evil, and cause the suffering we see on earth, and ruin the lives of everyone else.
But couldn’t God stop evil and suffering if He wanted? Since He has not, doesn’t this make God complicit in our suffering?
Once again, the answer is in the question: What was the purpose of Jesus coming to earth? Certainly to die for the sins of the world and make our redemption possible. The secondary reason was to end our suffering, cease evil from the earth, and give us all the opportunity to live in a perfect world without evil, suffering and death. How was this accomplished? By destroying satan’s power over the earth and his reign of terror.
“The Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.” ~1 John 3:8
The Bible makes it clear that at the beginning God created the earth and human life—perfect, and there was no evil, suffering, or death. It was the introduction of sin that caused the earth to fall into suffering, not the actions of God.
“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” ~Romans 5:12
Adam was given dominion over the earth, but when he sinned and rebelled against God, he lost his dominion to satan, who has reigned over the earth up until Jesus came and defeated Him.
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” ~Genesis 1:26
Adam lost his dominion to rule over the earth, and satan became “the god of this world.”
“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:4
When Jesus died upon the cross He paid the penalty for the sin of every person. All that is required for eternal life, is sincere sorrow for our sins and repentance from our sins, and a belief that Jesus’ death has paid the debt we owed for our sins.
What saved Abraham and made him righteous in the sight of God is that he believed what God said. Genesis 15:6 states that God spoke to Abraham, and everything that God said, Abraham believed. This belief that God would do what He said is what saved Abraham. The same is true today. God said we are sinners, separated from Him because of our sins. If we believe what God said; that Jesus’ death paid our debt, He will forgive all our sins and give us the assurance of heaven.
Jesus’ death on the cross, destroyed the power that satan had over human life to keep us in slavery to sin, and the fear of death. Jesus’ death ends satan’s reign of terror, evil, and suffering that has plagued our planet since Adam fell into sin.
Anyone who denies that God and satan exists, must explain how the world exists as such a terrible place of suffering. Everything that the Bible says about sin and evil, is exactly what we see on the earth. Jesus ended satan’s reign of terror, and made it possible for every person to be a part of the perfect world that God has promised those who believe.
Why do we still see suffering and evil, even after Jesus’ death and resurrection?
After Jesus completed His sacrifice for all sins, He returned to earth and gave the world an opportunity to hear what He has done, believe, and be a part of God’s family. We have a choice: live for this world and forfeit our eternal life; live for Jesus and obtain eternal life.
This time that we all live in now, is the period of Grace that God has given us when He will forgive our sins and place us into His family if we do what He said: Turn from our sins; trust in Jesus for our salvation; live for Jesus; and continue to trust Him until the end of our life.
When Jesus returns to earth, it will be to end suffering, evil, and death—permanently. Jesus came the first time to die for us and make our salvation possible; He will come a second time to complete our salvation by removing us from this present evil world. Today we have a chance to be saved; at His return, when Jesus comes again with those He has saved, He will rule over a perfect earth where righteousness never ends.
“Jesus was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” ~Hebrews 9:28
This essay details the mechanics for how sin came into the world and ruined the earth; and how God will restore perfection to the earth once His plans and purposes are fulfilled. In this process that God has determined, we can understand why evil and suffering exist, and reconcile this with the love of God.
Where is God in the midst of evil and suffering?
In order to understand why the earth and human life is the way that we find it today, we must go back to the beginning and learn our early history.
The universe is ruled by God, who made all things. He has, however, given rulership of the earth to other beings over the course of earth’s history. There is some debate as to whether there has existed a race of nonhuman beings, who were under Lucifer’s authority, before Adam was created. Evidence for this possibility is seen in the fossil record of skeletal remains that display beings not related to Homo sapiens. Anthropologists have stated that these skeletal remains are dated as far back, in earth’s history, as 5 million years ago. Scientists have asserted that these beings are not human, they are not apes, and they are certainly not an intermediate species. Some scholars believe that these beings could have been a part of a global catastrophe that caused the earth to be formless and void, as described by Genesis 1:2.
We may gain some insight, into this time, from correctly understanding what God is saying in the Genesis text; but we will never know for certain, until we are all finally home with the Lord in heaven.
The following information is provided for those who are interested in the history of earth before Adam, a period when the Bible states that Lucifer was the ruler of earth.
The purpose of this information is to provoke thought and discussion, and not to promote a new doctrine or add to the Bible.
The original creation of the universe by God is described by Genesis Chapter 1:1.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
We should be clear here that the Bible does not state when this original creation (in the beginning) took place. We cannot link the events of Genesis 1:3-31, when God made the earth ready for human habitation during six days, with this original creation described in verse 1. They are two separate statements of two separate events, separated by verse 2, in which the earth became formless and void.
The earth is described as “formless and void,” by God, after it was created to be inhabited
Moses writes in Genesis chapter 1:2, that before the six days when God made the earth ready for human habitation, it was formless and void:
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Isaiah writes that when the Lord created the heavens and formed the earth, He made it to be inhabited, it was not created formless and void:
For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in formless and void, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.
Beginning in Genesis 1:3, God brings the earth out of its state of formlessness and allows the sun to be seen once again on the earth; the land is separated from the oceans, and man is placed on the earth along with the animal kingdom.
The fallen Lucifer, who is now called satan, is described first by Ezekiel as the evil power behind the king of Tyre, followed by Lucifer’s original description as the “anointed cherub” who was cast out of the mountain of God because of his pride and desire to overthrow God’s rulership.
Ezekiel chapter 28 begins with a description of the king of Tyre, an earthly man, but quickly it moves to the evil power within this earthly king, that originated in the fallen angel, Lucifer. The first section, indicated by the underlined text, God is speaking to the literal human king of Tyre. Then He switches to Lucifer who was the source of power behind the king of Tyre, and why God destroyed Lucifer and he became satan.
Son of man, sing this funeral song for the king of Tyre. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God. Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone—red carnelian, pale-green peridot, white moonstone, blue-green beryl, onyx, green jasper, blue lapis lazuli, turquoise, and emerald—all beautifully crafted for you and set in the finest gold.
They were given to you on the day you were created. I ordained and anointed you as the mighty angelic guardian. You had access to the holy mountain of God and walked among the stones of fire. “You were blameless in all you did from the day you were created until the day evil was found in you.
Your rich commerce led you to violence, and you sinned. So I banished you in disgrace from the mountain of God. I expelled you, O mighty guardian, from your place among the stones of fire.
Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor.
So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings. You defiled your sanctuaries with your many sins and your dishonest trade. So I brought fire out from within you, and it consumed you. I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.
All who knew you are appalled at your fate. You have come to a terrible end, and you will exist no more.”
Lucifer, before his fall, was in “Eden, the garden of God”—a term often used to describe paradise or a geographical area like the Jordan valley, in Genesis 13:10.
And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar.
This was not the Eden that Adam was placed in—for we see Lucifer as satan, the fallen being, in that garden.
God describes the conditions of Lucifer’s heart that caused his fall, and the events that took place as a result:
17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you. 18 You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever.
God describes satan as dwelling inside the king of Tyre, in Ezekiel 28:12, as the one who was behind this evil king’s rulership and fully in control of that kingdom. Beginning at verse 14, the true identity of the king of Tyre is revealed: He was “the anointed cherub” who was formerly in the Garden of God, a title reserved for the angels. It is certain that God is describing Lucifer, before and during his fall from heaven, when he determined to overthrow God’s rule and take the kingdom by force for himself.
Verse 17: It was pride that caused his fall.
Verse 18: He possessed sanctuaries; he was turned to ashes upon the earth; his fall was seen as a horror by those who occupied the earth at that time.
Verse 19: The people who observed Lucifer’s fall were astonished.
The context of Ezekiel 28:19 is pre-Adam, pre-Genesis, verse 3. Lucifer was on the earth, seen by people, and removed by God as a ruler. Perhaps the most revealing fact is that Ezekiel describes the people who witnessed his fall as “shocked.”
…I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you.
Some scholars conjecture here that the events of this fall resulted in the earth becoming formless and void, at Genesis 1:2. This occurred as a result of the fall of Lucifer and the destruction of the kingdoms, peoples, and all living things on the earth at that time.
The context does not allow for the possibility that this took place during the time of Adam, when, in six literal 24-hour days, God brought the earth out of its formless state.
Job Chapter 38 describes Lucifer and all the angels rejoicing over the creation of God when He created the universe. This took place at a time of great distance from Genesis 1:3.
In Job 38:4,7 (God asks Job) “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?…When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
This text from Job is in the oldest book of the Bible, and it references the angels, including Lucifer, already alive for a long duration of time, before Adam was created in the Garden.
The Opposition of Satan
When Adam was created, we see that there was great opposition to his rule over the earth from the fallen Lucifer. We are not told the original source of his hatred against Adam. It is certainly possible that had satan received rulership from God over the earth before Adam and forfeited that rule at his fall, he would be in great displeasure that Adam would receive the kingdom that was formerly his.
Throughout the Bible, we see consistent malevolence against the line of descendants that would bring the Messiah to earth. It is the Messiah and all those who trust in Him, that will rule over the earth forever.
The source of this hostility is most certainly satan. A continued hatred for the descendants of Abraham is exhibited in Haman (from the Book of Esther) and, much later, Hitler—both of which sought the extermination of the Jews unsuccessfully. When king Herod dispatched soldiers to kill all of the children at Bethlehem, Herod was directed by satan. This was an attempt to stop Jesus from fulfilling His eternal plan to save all those who would trust in Him.
The fact that God has preserved the Jews, throughout the history of the world, despite overwhelming hatred and attempts at their annihilation, is evidence of a transcendent plan and purpose for these wonderful people—a plan that finds its origin in God, who first called Abraham to believe in Him.
The Bible reveals that in the last days, all Israel will be saved, as they come into a knowledge of their Messiah and receive Him. The Jews and the Gentiles will be united as one people under God’s final kingdom that will be ruled by the Messiah, and last forever.
Rulership of the earth was won by satan from Adam when he fell into sin
When satan deceived Adam, he lost his dominion over the earth. This rulership was given to satan and he became the ruler of this present world. Jesus confirmed this fact, in John Chapter 12:
John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
Paul confirmed that satan is the god, or ruler of this present world: satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
These verses of scripture also explain why the whole world is aligned with the agenda of satan through those who he has held captive. The New Testament is very specific that people who reject Christ and His Gospel, are “blinded and unable to see the glorious light of the Good News about Jesus.”
This also explains why the liberal agenda, Hollywood and social media, are aligned against Christians and exhibit such hatred and contempt for the Bible and the message of salvation in Christ. Jesus said the reason the world hates us, is because it first hated Him:
“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.”
This is the reason the world is filled with evil, violence, and hate. This present world system is ruled and controlled by satan and his demons. This is a fact of scripture that Jesus and the New Testament make clear. Most of the people in the world don’t know that satan is the god of this world, and they assume that human beings are in control of the world.
In studying the text of Isaiah 14, and Ezekiel 28, we learn that many of the leaders of nations, and governments, are overseen by satan and his angels. Although God is sovereign over the universe, as a part of His sovereignty, He permits satan to continue for a brief period, so that the hearts of people can be manifested and their judgment might be clearly seen.
God is still sovereign over the earth, but the Bible clearly describes an imputed rulership that God gives to certain beings, to rule to world of men.
This right of rulership by satan has continued through the ages, until the day that Jesus died for the sins of the world. John wrote that one of the things that Jesus accomplished by His death and resurrection, was the destruction of satan’s rule over man.
…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
The slavery to sin that satan has had over men was defeated the moment that Jesus died. No longer do we have to live as the rest of the world, as pawns and puppets of the devil. Without realizing, everyone who has yet to come into a new relationship with Jesus by trusting in Him for their salvation, the Bible says, these persons have been taken captive by satan to do his will.
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
Paul described those who are without Christ, as being unaware that their disobedience to God, in refusing Jesus in their life, has opened them up to the power that satan has over people in the world:
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.
Everyone who has surrendered their life to Jesus does not have to worry about the devil taking control of their life and making them his captive. “Greater is Christ who lives in us, than the devil who lives in the world.”14 No Christian is a slave of this world, to sin, or to the devil. Jesus’ death has freed us from these three and we can serve the Lord as free people.
When Jesus returns to earth, it will be to destroy satan and his rulership, and establish a righteous kingdom of the Messiah for one thousand years.
When Jesus died and rose again, He received the right to reign as King over the earth. There was far more happening during the time that Jesus died for the sins of the world on the cross, than most people realize. While this event was taking place, a spiritual battle ensued where satan believed that he had thwarted God’s plan to secure the salvation of everyone who would believe in Jesus.
Paul alludes to this battle in his comments from 1 Corinthians: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age understood; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
Unknown to satan and his angels, the death of Jesus ended the rulership that satan has had over the earth. If satan had known this, Paul writes, the unseen rulers of this world would not have crucified Jesus. When Jesus died, not only were our sins removed, but Jesus also destroyed satan’s power and authority to rule over this world. Jesus became the King, though His reign was delayed for the past two thousand years.
Peter later commented that the reason Jesus has been waiting to return and establish His righteous kingdom, is because God doesn’t want anyone to be lost:
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
The reason Jesus has not taken His rightful place as the King of earth, is His desire to give people more time to hear the Gospel and respond. Jesus wants everyone to be saved, and not one person to be lost. For this reason the world must wait for the return of her rightful King.
Jesus reign will begin when He returns to earth at the end of the seven year Tribulation, with His church. In the Book of Revelation Chapter 5, we see Jesus taking the title deed to the earth from the hand of the Father and opens each of the seven seals.
John writes: 1 “Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it.
4 Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. 5 But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6 Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth. 7 He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne.
8 And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 And they sang a new song with these words:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.10 And you have caused them to become a Kingdom of priests for our God. And they will reign on the earth.” 17
This opening of each seal brings God’s judgement to the world and grants Jesus the authority to take back the earth from satan’s rule. The opening of these seven seals begins the seven-year Tribulation period.
Verse 1: We see the Father sitting on the throne of God in heaven.
Verses 1-5: A cry from heaven is heard, asking “who is worthy to open the seals that are on the scroll,” the title deed for the earth. No one is found worthy, except one: the Lion of the Tribe of Judah—a name used for Jesus.
Verse 6: Jesus is seen coming from the one throne in heaven, from the midst of this throne where the Father sits. He is described as “a Lamb as though it had been slain.”
Verses 7-9: Jesus takes the scroll from the hand of the Father that causes praise to break forth from those who have been redeemed by Jesus’ blood. These individuals begin to proclaim that Jesus alone is worthy to receive the kingdom because of His death and resurrection. He has redeemed people from all over the earth, out of every tribe, tongue, nation, and people.
Verse 10: Upon Jesus assuming authority over the earth as its ruler, He will appoint kings and priests to co-rule with Him when He returns. These kings and priests are those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus as Lord and Savior during the time before the Tribulation began.
The right to rulership is limited.
It should be noted that, although satan has won the right to rule over the kingdoms of this world from Adam, he does so under the total sovereignty of God. We see an example of this in the Book of Daniel Chapter 4. God tells Nebuchadnezzar that it is He who gives the power to rule, not men.
…In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.18
God never loses His sovereignty over the earth
We observe that God always remains sovereign over every matter on earth, even when rulership is won by others. An example of this limited rulership granted by God is seen in the Book of Job, when satan requests that God permit him the opportunity to afflict Job in order to prove whether Job’s love for God is genuine, or because of the benefits he receives from the Lord.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and satan also came among them. “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked satan.
satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”
Then the Lord asked satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”
Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”
“All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So satan left the Lord’s presence.
The accusation of satan is: “Does Job fear God for nothing?” God has placed a hedge of protection around Job so that satan is not permitted to harm him. The request by satan is that God allow him the right to harm Job as a test of the true motivation for Job’s fear of God (respect, honor).
This texts efficiently illustrates the fact that although satan has temporary rulership over the earth, he is still under the authority of God as sovereign over the universe. It also proves that God is actively involved in every aspect of human life down to the finest details.
These facts also establish that those who do not trust in the Lord, are under the authority of satan and he can do with them, as he pleases. Only the saved have the protection of God, as with Job. This explains why there is so much evil and suffering on the earth: satan controlling the unsaved, causing them to do acts of evil and cause human suffering.
God is not the author of evil, nor can He ever, do evil Himself. On earth as satan is the god of this world during this current time, satan and the unsaved can do evil.
God’s sovereignty versus the will of man
The Bible teaches a fundamental principle that God is sovereign; but He allows mankind the privilege of making personal decisions, for which He holds us accountable for the consequences of those decisions.
In the Book of Revelation, there is an example of how the Lord fulfills His purposes, by guiding the affairs of men to accomplish His will. People who have chosen to worship satan as the “beast,” God will place into their hearts a desire to fulfill His purposes. Remember that these individuals are not the saved, but those who have given their worship to satan.
For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
In the Book of Acts, we see both the sovereign will and power of God working together with the actions and choices of people, to accomplish God’s purpose.
Men of Israel, hear these words: 1. Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—23 Him, 2. being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, 3. you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom 4. God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
Follow this narrative carefully:
- Jesus of Nazareth was attested to by God as the Messiah.
- He was delivered to Israel by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God.
- Evil men took Jesus by their lawless hands and crucified Him.
- God raised Jesus to life.
Notice that in this short description, we see that God’s sovereignty was working together with the actions of men, to accomplish the death and resurrection of the Messiah so that God could offer salvation to all people.
First principle: Rulership may have been Lucifer’s before Adam was created. When Lucifer sinned and turned against God, he lost his rulership. This rule was then given to Adam, who lost it again to satan. It has remained under satan’s limited authority since Adam’s forfeiture. When Jesus died and rose again, He acquired the right to rule over the earth once again. This rulership is delayed until the return of Jesus to the earth, at the end of the seven-year Tribulation Period.
The question could be asked: “Why has God permitted satan to exist at all, since he is clearly in opposition to God and has such great hatred for all the descendants of Adam?”
The answer to this question is: God is allowing satan to continue on the earth as a part of His sovereign will and plan for all mankind. The right to rule was fairly won by satan from Adam. This is likely what prevented God from expelling him altogether from the earth.
Second Principle: we should understand that satan and the fallen angels are no threat to God or the descendants of Adam, under God’s oversight. God has allowed satan to continue for the apparent purpose of allowing each human being a choice—either to love and trust God to rule over their lives, or to reject Him and live under the rulership of satan’s kingdom.
This is a fundamental principle of rulership in the universe. There are only two kingdoms: God’s kingdom of light and love, and satan’s kingdom of darkness and death. A person who does not choose God’s kingdom automatically defaults to satan’s kingdom. Many people are of the opinion that they will not serve either God or satan. This is not possible. To reject God is to give allegiance to satan. There is no other option from God’s vantage point. This principle is vividly defined throughout the Bible.
(Jesus said) He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.
One classic example of this is seen in the previous verse from Ezekiel 28:12, where God describes the king of Tyre as being under the control of the cherub, Lucifer, who once dwelt in heaven. Today he dwells on the earth, creating havoc and death, and ruling through the leaders of nations who are given to his will.
There is no guarantee of protection from satan for the unsaved.
Remember the principle of two kingdoms. At the present, by our own choice or lack of choice, we either belong to God or to satan. It is important to understand that God only protects those who are in a personal relationship with Him. Job was under the Lord’s safekeeping because Job loved the Lord and served Him. Those who do not belong to God—satan is free to influence, afflict, oppress, direct, and kill. Do you see how this principle explains why there is so much evil in the world today? It is not God’s fault that evil men chose evil actions—as they are led by their king, the fallen angel, who has the authority to control and direct all those who chose not to love God.
Paul described this power that satan has, to blind the eyes of people who do not belong to God, by causing them to not be able to see who Jesus is and receive Him as their Savior. Notice that Paul describes satan as “the god of this age (little “g”).
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Jesus described people who have hearts that are hardened by bitterness due to their hurt or the wrongful actions of others, and find that their ability to comprehend who Jesus is and receive Him is hindered.
When anyone hears about Jesus, and does not understand, satan comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.
Jesus will rule over the earth at His return.
When Jesus came in fulfillment of the 400 Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, which are detailed in this book, He came the first time to fulfill the scriptures that describe the Messiah as coming to earth for salvation. When Jesus returns the second time, He will fulfill the scriptures that describe the Messiah as coming to rule over the whole earth as the rightful King.
Although Jesus arrived the first time on earth as a humble servant who laid down His life for all mankind, at His return He will come with great power as the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron.
The Book of 1 Samuel develops this principle of one King as the ruler over all of God’s people. In 1 Samuel 2:10, God illustrates this concept at its highest ideal and brings the righteous kingdom of God’s Messiah to earth. It has been the eternal purpose of God that all mankind should be ruled by Him alone. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and the One appointed by God to rule the earth.
The world under satan’s kingdom
Why is there so much suffering in the world? If there is a God of love, why does He permit evil in the world?
This is what the world looks like when satan is the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:3). When Jesus returns to rule over the earth and puts an end to satan’s rule, there will be perfect peace, and no one will hurt or kill anyone on the earth ever again.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.
Why doesn’t God do something about evil?
His answer is: He has done something. God sent His only Son into the world to destroy the works of the devil. Jesus has defeated satan at the Cross and has won the right to govern the kingdoms of men. Jesus will return to the earth at the end of the seven-year Tribulation, with His redeemed church, to rule over the earth in perfect righteousness and peace. At that time, the people of the earth will see what God has intended for our world, when it is ruled with justice and equity for all people.
Today we see the effects of a world ruled by satan, with men and women given over to him, serving his plans and purposes. Each person makes their own decision for who they will serve. Since most of the people on the earth chose not to submit their lives to God, and live in opposition to His will, a great number of people are unwittingly serving under satan’s rulership. As a result, our world suffers greatly, due to the effects of sin and evil. We cannot blame God for the pain and suffering, which exists in the world, that is caused by the evil and selfish actions of men and women who live under the dominion of satan’s opposition to God.
God has a plan that is in progress today—bringing to an end all of our suffering. When Jesus returns to earth, as its rightful ruler—evil, pain, suffering, and death will end. What more could God have done, in sending His only Son to die for us, in order to defeat the evil rulership of satan on the earth? All that could be done has been done. Until that glorious day when Jesus does return, the earth will continue to suffer.
The testing of Jesus that qualified Him to rule.
When Jesus began His public ministry, there were three temptations that satan brought to Him. Jesus came as the second Adam; therefore, He had to be tempted in all of the same areas as the first Adam was tempted. If Jesus could not pass these tests, He could not be the Savior of the world.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
These trials came to Jesus when He was at His very weakest point as a man. After having gone without food for forty days, His body was emptied of all physical power.
The physical aspects of a 40-day fast
Medical experts state that in days 1-3 of a fast, the human body is using up the remaining food that is left in the intestines. It is during these first three days that a person will experience intense, gut-wrenching hunger pains with headaches, body aches, and even joint pains. During this initial phase, the body is ridding itself of all the toxins that have been stored over a prolonged period of time. From days 4-39, a human body will use the fat that it has stored during past periods of feeding. It is during days 4-39 that a person may feel no hunger or desire for food at all. Most people do not experience intense hunger pains again until around the fortieth day of a fast. After this forty-day period of time, when nutrients that had been stored in reserve no longer exist, the body begins the process of death.
Here in Matthew’s gospel, after forty days without food, Jesus is in the process of dying. It was during this moment of incredible weakness and physical suffering, when satan came to Jesus to tempt Him. Temptations to sin will often come to us when we are at our weakest point. Lack of sleep, times of hunger, or in the presence of pressure and stress—these are some of the points of contact that satan uses to bring temptations to sin into our life.
There are three main temptations that are described in the Bible:
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
- The Lust of the Flesh
- The Lust of the Eyes
- The Pride of Life
In the beginning, at the Garden of Eden, it was in these three areas that Eve was tested.
Now the serpent was more deceptive than any animal of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and 1. you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (The Lust of the Flesh) So when the woman 2. saw that the tree was good for food, (The Lust of the Eyes) that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree 3. desirable to make one wise (The Pride of life), she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Jesus’ First Temptation: The Lust of the Flesh
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
In the original Hebrew language, the term “If You are the Son of God” is more correctly translated as “Since You are the Son of God…”
“Since You are the Son of God, go ahead and use Your power to change these stones into bread” (The Lust of the Flesh).
After 40 days without nutrients, the flesh is screaming for food. The temptation for Jesus to use His power as God and turn one of these large, round Judean stones into hot bread must have been great. Jesus would not use His power to satisfy His flesh by changing the stones to bread in order to feed His human need for food. Jesus would submit Himself to the Father and prevail in the course that He had determined to go through. All of this was so that He could be our Savior, and undergo all of the same trials and temptations we will experience as human beings. Jesus understands what it is like to be you, because He went through everything you will go through in your life. This is why He is able to have compassion on you when you are suffering. Jesus was tempted, and He suffered, and yet He did not sin nor turn His trust away from God.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Second Temptation: The Lust of the Eyes
Then the devil took Jesus up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “Since You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘God shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they will bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ”
It is interesting that in the account of this event, Matthew describes satan as bringing Jesus “up into the holy city.” Then he says that satan “set Him on the pinnacle of the temple.” Apparently, Jesus allowed satan to carry Him to the top of the Temple. The purpose of this action by satan was to bring Jesus to a place where He could observe, with His eyes, the majesty of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. In the emotion of that moment, as Jesus gazed out onto all that was before Him, satan again tempts Jesus to demonstrate His power as God, by jumping off the Temple pinnacle and be unharmed. According to Psalm 91:12, God will give His angels charge over the Messiah, to protect Him.
For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 12 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra.
An added element to satan’s tactics is the use of the word of God to justify using this power: “For it is written: ‘God shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus corrects satan’s misuse of God’s word and rightly states the correct application of scripture for this situation: “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.” This, a reminder to satan that God is still LORD over all his actions and that whatever satan does, he does so by God’s sovereign will, for His own purposes.
Although satan quotes Psalm 91:11 and part of verse 12 in applying to Jesus as the Messiah—the object of David’s Psalm—apparently he forgot to read the rest of this verse where the Messiah “shall tread upon the cobra and crush his head.”
Third Temptation: The Pride of Life
Again, the satan took Jesus up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then the devil departed, and the angels came and ministered to Him.
The authority to rule over the earth is claimed by satan.
In Luke’s gospel, he records this event as the second that occurred; Matthew records it as the third event. Luke also adds the detail that satan said to Jesus: “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.”
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
Finally, the opportunity that is presented by satan to Jesus: He can have all of the glory and power right now, without going through the pain and suffering of the cross—if Jesus will only bow in worship to satan.
There is a claim made here by satan, in Luke 4:6, that he has the right of rule over all the kingdoms of the world (this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish). Notice that nowhere does Jesus dispute this fact, that satan has the current right of rulership. Jesus only argues that worship and adoration belong to the living and eternal God, not to any of His creatures.
This fact being true, it answers the question: “If there is an all-loving God, why does He permit so much suffering?”
The answer is that satan has won the right to exercise rulership over the earth, having received it from Adam back in the Garden of Eden. Adam was given this dominion, and under his righteous leadership there was no pain or suffering in the world. When satan deceived Eve, and Adam disobeyed God, he lost this right of rulership to satan. Ever since that time, the world has been under the dominion of satan, who is called “the god of this age.” This is the primary reason the world is filled with evil and violence. This is what the world looks like when it is ruled by satan.
This dominion by satan is limited by God, otherwise satan would murder every person on the earth.
God is sovereign over all of the affairs of men. All kings and kingdoms are placed where they are for God’s own purposes. The lesson of this truth was hardly learned by one of the most powerful kings the world has ever known: Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful man in the world during that period of history. At one point, he began to think that all of his power and his vast kingdom came about as a result of his efforts and wisdom. God sent Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, to inform him that the kingdom he had received came to him by God. It is the Lord who places men in positions of leadership, not other men.
The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.
God instructs Daniel to inform Nebuchadnezzar that, as a result of his pride and public declaration that the entire kingdom of Babylon came about by his own power, Nebuchadnezzar will be driven into the fields of Babylon where he will lose his mind and eat grass like an animal. This condition would last for a period of seven years—until Nebuchadnezzar would acknowledge that God rules over all the kingdoms of men and gives this power to whomever He chooses.
They shall drive you (Nebuchadnezzar) from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.
This same principle is repeated by Paul in the New Testament:
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
Men are influenced by evil, with the source of all evil coming from satan. Because men will not submit their lives to the true and living God, they are under the dominion of satan’s kingdom. There are only two kingdoms in the universe: the kingdom of light, under God; and the kingdom of darkness, under satan. Every person is serving under one of these two kingdoms whether by choice or by indecision. This is what the Bible teaches, and the reality of this truth is demonstrated by the condition of human society. We see the evidence of evil as the preeminent fact of human life all over the face of the earth. Mankind, for the most part, is under this dominion of satan and follows his evil plans for the destruction of all people.
“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.”
It is not God’s fault that there is so much suffering in the world today; it is our fault. Before we blame Adam for all of the suffering in the world, we must look at ourselves and ask the question: “Am I fully surrendered to God’s will in my own life?” Are we living lives of righteousness as required by God? It is a fact that most of the suffering that happens in the world today is caused by people.
Why would a loving God deprive us the right of self-determination and free will? It would not be loving nor fair for God to force men to obey Him in this present dispensation of Grace. Today men have the free choice to serve God. Until Jesus returns to set up His kingdom on the earth, the freedom of choice will continue. The option to commit evil is the fault of those who perpetrate that evil, not God who gives men the right to choose.
We live during an unprecedented period of history in the universe. For a brief time, God allows some of His creation to rebel against Him. In every other corner of the universe, all of creation is already in submission to God, and that is all He requires. We have been given the supreme gift of choosing our eternal destiny. God has provided a choice; the decision is ours. If we choose wisely, we will spend eternity in eternal peace and joy. If we choose poorly, we will have no one to blame for our incredulity, except ourselves.
“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.”
Those who will submit their life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior have the assurance, in the word of God, that when they die, they will have heaven as their home. This is because Jesus has already fully paid for all of our sins and has taken the penalty we deserve. Once we have exercised our option to submit our lives to Jesus’ authority and believe in Him for our salvation, we have passed from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. The kingdom of light will be ruled forever by the Messiah, King Jesus.
1 Genesis 1:1
2 Genesis 1:2
3 Isaiah 45:18
4 Ezekiel 28:12-19 (NLT)
5 Expositors Bible Commentary: Eden” is used often in the Scriptures to refer to the Paradise described in Genesis 1- 3. “Eden” clearly is used also as a simile to portray the splendor of a given geographical area, like the Jordan Valley viewed by Lot in Genesis 13: 10.
6 Genesis 13:10
7 Ezekiel 28:17-19
8 Ezekiel 28:18
9 2 Corinthians 4:4 (NLT)
10 John 15:18-20 (NLT)
11 1 John 3:8 .
12 2 Timothy 2:24-26 (NKJV)
13 Ephesians 2:1-2 (NLT)
14 1 John 4:4-5 (NKJV) You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.
15 1 Corinthians 2:7-8 (NKJV)
16 2 Peter 3:9-10 (RCR)
17 Revelation 5:1-10 (NLT)
18 Daniel 4:17
19 The author never capitalizes the word “satan,” because to do so is to honor a being who should not be honored.
20 Job 1:6-12 (RCR)
21 Revelation 17:17
22 Acts 2:22-24
23 Jesus speaking to the Chief Priest and the Pharisees of Israel: 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
24 Luke 11:23
25 2 Corinthians 4:3
26 Matthew 13:19 (RCR)
27 Revelation 19:11-15 (ESV)
28 Isaiah 11:9
29 Matthew 4:1-2
30 Shelton, Herbert, The Science and Fine Art of Fasting, American Natural Hygiene Society, Incorporate; 5th edition (August 1978)
31 1 John 2:16
32 Matthew 4:3
33 Hebrews 4:15
34 Matthew 4:5-7 (RCR)
35 Psalm 91:11-12
36 Matthew 4:8-11 (RCR)
37 Luke 4:5-8
38 Daniel 4:17
39 Daniel 4:25
40 Romans 13:1
41 1 John 5:19
42 Psalms 119:89
Categories: Battle of Gog and Magog, Encouragement For The Day, Expecting Jesus Return, Living For Jesus, Overcoming trials, Rapture during Rosh Hashanah, Robert Clifton Robinson, Ruling with Jesus, Sickness and Suffering, The Battle of Armageddon, The Second Arrival of the Messiah, The Tribulation Period, To die for the world's sins, True Repentance, Understanding Suffering, Watching for Jesus return