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The Christian Counter

 



Satan Allowed to Live

 

Many people have asked the question: Why did God allow the devil to live after casting him out of Heaven? Why didn’t God exterminate the devil and his angels right away and protect the universe from Lucifer’s rebellion? These are great questions and the answers are just as important. Consider the following:

 

  1. Before Lucifer rebelled, the universe, with all its created beings, did not understand the nature or impact of sin. If God had immediately annihilated Lucifer and one-third of his angels, He would not been able to justify His actions. If God had destroyed Lucifer as soon as he sinned, surviving angels would have concluded, “Whoa! God does not tolerate angels having views that are contrary to His.” If God had immediately annihilated His opposition before the knowledge of good and evil had a chance to mature, reasoning and highly intelligent angels would not have loved and trusted God. Angels (and mankind) should love God because He is fair, reasonable, generous, and forgiving, not because sudden death is a consequence for disagreement. If God had killed Lucifer and his followers before the outcome of their rebellion matured, the remaining angels would have concluded that God was a bully. They would have said, “He may claim to be a God of love, but His actions just proved that it is His way or death.”

 

  1. God has infinite wisdom and perfect foreknowledge. His ways are perfect. He foreknew that sin needed a few thousand years to mature so that the entire universe could understand its deadly and horrible consequences. Bu allowing the devil and his angels to live, God gave the universe two contracting governments to study – one in Heaven (free of rebellion, full of joy, happiness, and peace) and one on Earth (full of sin, decadence, depravity, selfishness, and death). By permitting two governments to simultaneously exist, intelligent beings can see the difference for themselves. God does not have to defend Himself.

 

  1. God gives the power of choice to each created being. This means that His subjects do not have to obey Him, love Him, or respond to His goodness and generosity. Lucifer and his angels have proven that free will actually exists. They chose to rebel against God and His law. God gave Adam and Eve the power of choice and they also chose to disobey. For 6,000 years, sin has flourished on Earth. History has proven over and over again (with the rise and fall of numerous civilizations) that human beings always suffer in direct proportion to our departure from the laws of God. Sin may offer some temporary pleasure and excitement, but it always extracts a price that is far greater than its benefits. Sin takes us farther than we want to go and sin costs more than we want to pay. No matter how well Satan disguises sin, “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) God foreknew that lawlessness would end in death and His kingdom is established on laws that prevent sorrow and death. Created beings that rebel against God’s laws are not really arguing with God’s authority because created beings do not have omnipotence. The argument with God is over wisdom. Who knows best what the endless corridors of eternity require – the Creator of the created?
  2. The Father certainly foreknew the consequences of allowing Satan and his angels to live, so He created a plan to save everyone who would live on Earth. He loved the people of the world so much that He gave us Jesus as our atonement for sin. For no other reason than love, Jesus was willing to become man and die in our place so the penalty for our sin could be paid! The Godhead has suffered more and paid a higher price for the existence of sin than any human being will ever know! Incidentally, and this is an important point, God did not create a plan of salvation for Lucifer and his angels because they were confronted with the truth many times yet remained willful and defiant, and chose to reject God’s counsel. Without question, Lucifer and his angels committed the unpardonable sin. (Matthew 12:31,32)

 

When these four issues are synthesized, we can see why God did not immediately destroy Lucifer and his rebellious followers. The conflict between Christ and Lucifer over mankind has been ongoing for thousands of years. Today, Jesus and Lucifer are striving to win the affections of people. Look around. Good is being overcome with evil and this contest will reach a climax during the Great Tribulation.

 

A Demon with Many Titles

 

The devil is called by a variety of names in the Bible. Daniel calls him a stern-faced king. (Daniel 8:23) Ezekiel calls him the ruler of Tyre. (Ezekiel 28:2) Isaiah calls him the king of Babylon. (Isaiah 14:4) Paul calls him the man of lawlessness. (2 Thessalonians 2:3) John calls him an enormous red dragon (Revelation 12:3), the beast that comes up from the Abyss (Revelation 11:7), a beast having two horns (Revelation 13:11), the false prophet (Revelation 16:13), and the angel king of the Abyss (Revelation 9:11).

 

God gave Lucifer various titles for several reasons. Here are two: First, the devil is invisible and different titles help us understand his vast capabilities. Second, God gives the devil various titles to undercut the devil’s deceptions! For example, when the devil physically appears on Earth, he will gloriously masquerade as Almighty God. His deception will be so convincing that it could deceive the “very elect” if that were possible. (Mark 13:22) Notice how the title, “the man of lawlessness,” describes the behavior of Lucifer after he appears. Lucifer will do as he pleases and no one can stop him. The laws of mankind will mean nothing to him. The devil will create and enforce many laws that will have no purpose but angst and destruction. God gave Bible writers all of Lucifer’s titles and each one speaks volumes about Lucifer’s character, power, and ways  

 

Babylon, the Leopard-like Beast

 

“And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each had a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had the feet of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The [great red] dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.” (Revelation 13”1=3, italics and insertion mine)

 

Ever since the book of Revelation was written, there has been a great deal of speculation about the identity of the leopard-like beast. This beast has numerous specifications and resolving each one takes more than time and effort. Valid results require a valid set of rules. If a person just wants to accept any interpretation that seems reasonable, there are to many interpretations from which to choose. However, there is one solution to the problem of identifying this beast, and to get to the truth, we need to address and correctly resolve each specification.

 

To make this presentation as simple as possible, I have decided to identify the leopard-like beast first so you can see how each specification contributes to the conclusion as we proceed. The leopard-like beast will be a religious authority; a crisis government that religious and political leaders of the world will create shortly after the Great Tribulation begins. The leaders will create this beast of a government to mediate between God and man.

 

When the censer in Revelation 8:5 is cast down and the first four trumpets fall on the world in rapid succession, it is a gross understatement to say that the survivors will be overwhelmed and terrified. The destruction of thousands of cities and 1.75 billion people is unimaginable – incomprehensible. As the survivors survey the damage, almost everyone will concede that God is angry with this world because mankind is far more degenerate and decadent than we should be. We live on a degenerate and decadent planet, but most people do not know that God’s wrath has been overdue since 1994 when the Jubilee Calendar ended.  We have been living on borrowed time. God’s wrath is stirred when He sees children abused, woman raped, people robbed, elderly cheated out of their savings, addicts agonizing for more drugs, endless violence, and bloodshed. 

 

 The chapter on the seven trumpets showed that God has many objectives for His judgments. God wants everyone to know about Jesus and His salvation. God will judge the living and terminate the sin problem. God will wipe the universe clean and start over. His plans are written in the books of Daniel and Revelation. Unfortunately, few people really want to understand the ways of God. The mysteries of apocalyptic prophecy are often ignored because they take too much work and many people think, “they do not pertain to salvation.” Nevertheless, once the world sees the awesome destruction caused by God’s wrath (the first four trumpets), everyone on Earth will be traumatized. What does it say about man’s degeneracy when a God of love has to destroy a third of the planet and twenty-five percent of its inhabitants to get the undivided attention of the survivors?

 

God’s wrath will bring the religious and the political leaders of the world together and for the first time since the flood in Noah’s day, this gathering will be a humble meeting. God’s judgments will embarrass them because these events will force the leaders of the world to recognize the higher power and a reality of a living God who holds everyone accountable for his actions. Together, the leaders of the world will work out a solution to appease God’s anger. Their solution will be to create the leopard-like beast. The leopard-like beast will be a religious authority, designed to carry out a global mandate: Appease God so that His wrath will cease. While the idea of appeasing God’s wrath may sound appropriate, the process will be impossible from the start because our world is so religiously diverse. Nevertheless, religious leaders will conclude that God’s anger can be stopped if decadence and corruption can be eliminated. The leopard-like beast will have the authority to determine for each nation the best process for outlawing decadence and corruption, and the political leaders of the world will voluntarily submit to the demands of the beast. At first, almost everyone will cooperate with the leopard-like beast because no one wants to experience more of God’s wrath, but this is only the beginning of the story and a lot of tribulation….

 

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit an automobile manufacturing plant in Dayton, Ohio. It was an unforgettable experience. I was a kid in a candy store. As I walked through the huge building that covered thirty acres, I saw all kinds of interesting parts and pieces that would eventually come together to make up an automobile. I was overwhelmed, but one thing that most astonished me was the amount of coordination and communication that goes into the construction of each vehicle. Items of all kinds – tires, engines, seats, horns, carpets, tail pipes, and headlights – were moving around on tracks and as each moving chassis reached another assembly station, the necessary parts for that vehicle arrived at that station. It was so interesting how the correct items arrived just in time to put that item on the chassis! I have shared this experience with you because I want you to consider a parallel. At the end of our tour, our tour guide told us that enough parts were in the building at any given time to build approximately 100 vehicles, even though there was only one completed vehicle in the building at any given time. Similarly, all of the parts necessary to create the leopard-like beast exist on Earth today, but the beast itself has not been assembled. The appointed time for assembly does not arrive until the fourth trumpet.         

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