JOB: THE KEY THAT UNLOCKS THE
DOOR OF TRUTH ABOUT SATAN
On Page 201 of The Long Day of Joshua and Six Other Catastrophes, by Donald W. Patten and associates Hatch and Steinhauer, we read the most interesting account of the story of Job. “Another significant catastrophe, a major disaster to Job, is somewhat described in the opening chapter of this work of high drama. …“While he was yet speaking, there came also another and said, THE FIRE OF GOD IS FALLEN FROM HEAVEN, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and CONSUMED them. (Job 1:16) And behold there came a GREAT WIND from the wilderness and smote the four corners of the house and it fell upon the young men…!” To prove that God does not bring destructive winds. See I Kings 19:11, 12. Psalm 148:7,8, Hosea 12:1.
Notice Patten’s footnote to this on page 201. “‘A great wind’ in the above text suggests in English, a sudden gust on a stormy, windy day. This suggestion is quite mistaken. The Hebrew word for wind is ruwach which sometimes does mean wind in other texts, but was seen in Isaiah 37:7 and 2 Kings 19:7 as the ‘blast’ or the exploding bolide (a large, brilliant meteor which explodes) which destroyed almost 200,000 Assyrian troops. Among its meanings as found in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance are ‘air, anger, blast, breath, tempest, whirlwind.’ Since this occurred along with falling fire, it must suggest the effects of a bolide which are so comparable to the effects of a nuclear explosion. This cosmic holocaust, in the prelude to the book of Job, so disastrous to the patriarch of Uz, occurred in the year 1663 B.C., in which case it would have been a Case One catastrophe like the Isaihic or the Sodom-Gomorrah episode.”
Here we have a scientist and astronomer attempting to explain what God allowed Satan to do. We know that Satan is the one who did it. He brought the wind and the fire both. This opens the door and lets us see who is really the bad guy in this great controversy. It isn’t our precious Lord Jesus Christ, or His Father, because the Bible clearly identifies Satan as the destroyer (1 Cor 10:10) and God permits him to use these catastrophes at times to destroy those whom God has permitted to go their own way and do their own thing without any repentance. Yet, at times, even good men like Job suffer and some die, as in the case of Lazarus. In Job’s case we have a clue in Job 3:25. “For the thing that which I feared greatly is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” So, fear was the chink or crack in his armor which needed to be sealed up for that was the opening Satan was looking for to break his connection with God and thereby take him down. And it almost worked but Job’s faith carried him through. And the fear he had was eroded from his life because he learned the lesson the Lord wanted him to learn. “But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 10:23. It does not matter what is happening to us, God is always with us to help us through every and any trial. “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matt 28:19, 20. So every trial has a purpose and reason even for the most righteous as we see in the lives of Joseph and Daniel. Even Jesus was perfected by the things that He suffered. “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him;” Heb 5:8, 9.
But it is God who permits and prevents disasters in all of these experiences. Consider ISAIAH AS A HISTORIAN. Isaiah used the historical, astronomical, crises as themes for his prognosis of the coming day of the Lord. He did it repeatedly and his contemporaries knew what he had in mind, for catastrophic events of the past were well-remembered in general. THE SODOM-GOMORRAH SCENE of 1877 B.C. “Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE GOMORRAH.” Isaiah 1:9. Gen 14:10 tells us that the “vale of Siddim was full of slimepits;” the RSV says, “bitumen pit or asphalt.” Tacitus (Hist. v. 6. 7), and Josephus (War iv. 8.4), describe an area south of the Dead Sea (probably now covered by its rising water) as scorched by a fiery catastrophe that destroyed several cities whose burned remains were still visible in their day. Foul gases are said to have come from fissures of the ground. See Deut. 29:23. So, we see that Sodom could have easily been blown up by natural disasters when God removed His protection. See Lam. 4:6.
This catastrophe is an obvious reference to some sort of fiery meteoric shower of fire and brimstone which are really meteorites and bolides hitting the earth. This then could have ignited the oil, gas and bitumen or asphalt that existed in large quantities in the area. Bolides and meteors are frequently referred to in the Hebrew Scriptures. “Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His FURY is poured out LIKE FIRE and the ROCKS are thrown down by him.” Nahum 1:6. “PESTILENCE, AND BURNING COALS WENT FORTH AT HIS FEET.” Habakkuk 3:5-6. “And THE LORD SHALL BE HEARD. ..and with the flame of a devouring fire with scattering, and tempest, and HAILSTONES.” So, we see that “FIRE AND BRIMSTONE,” are actually “BOLIDES AND METEORITES.”
Now, let us take a look at a more recent author whose work has been receiving serious attention from both Creationists and Evolutionists. “IN THE BEGINNING: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood,” by Walt Brown, Ph. D. This 328 page volume, 8 1/2 by 11, first published in 1980, is now in its 7th edition, published in 2001. Although a Christian, Dr. Brown also believed in the theory of evolution. But in June of 1970 he began to have second thoughts when he heard that Noah’s Ark rested near the 14,000-foot level of Mount Ararat in Eastern turkey. “If a gigantic boat was ever at that elevation, a huge flood must have occurred,” he thought. “However, the biblical flood was always hard for me to imagine. After all, where could so much water come from? Where did it all go?” preface v.
As the case for the existence for Noah’s Ark grew stronger many of his questions were answered. Here, in his own words is what finally led him to his decision. “If that much water sloshed over the earth for a year, many dead animals and plants would have been buried in vast amounts of mud and other sediments. This would explain how almost all fossils formed, especially those on the highest mountains. But the fossil record was supposedly the best evidence for evolution, a theory I had passively accepted. If a global flood produced most fossils, where was the evidence for evolution? The more I struggled with this question, the more amazed I became at the lack of evidence supporting creation. By 1972, I had become a creationist.” Ibid.
On page 98 of his book Dr. Brown explains his theory of how comets, asteroids, and meteorites came into existence. He calls them the “Mavericks” of the Solar System. “These strange bodies have several remarkable similarities with planet earth. About 85% of a comet’s mass is frozen water. Water is rare in the universe, but both common and concentrated on earth-sometimes called ‘the water planet.’ The remaining 15% of each comet’s mass is basically dust, primarily the crystalline mineral olivine. Solid material that formed in space would not be crystalline. Olivine is probably the most abundant of the more than 2,000 known minerals on earth. Asteroids and meteorites are rocks similar in many ways to earth rocks. Surprisingly, some meteorites contain salt crystals and liquid water. Some asteroids appeared to have the residue of plant life.” He believes that the “Hydroplate theory” explains the global catastrophe of the flood and all that followed in its aftermath. For example, he believes that about 50% of the water in earth’s oceans today was once in interconnected chambers, about 10 miles below the earth’s surface. pg 99. Dr Brown challenges the many theories of how comets began. “After a review of comets, a new explanation for comet origins will be proposed and tested. It appears that the fountains of the great deep and the power of high-pressure water exploding into the vacuum of space launched comets throughout the solar system as the flood began. Other known forces, acting on the expelled rocks and muddy droplets, created larger bodies resembling comets in size, number, density, composition, spin, texture, strength, chemistry (organic and inorganic), and many orbital characteristics.” Pg 189. Dr Brown notes that comets contain organic matter which many early scientists concluded was “decomposed organic bodies.” He challenges the popular belief that comets brought life to Earth. Instead, comets may have traces of life from Earth.” Ibid 189. This assumption alone seriously undermines the validity of the evolutionary theory. Furthermore, he states “Earth has ten times more water, by volume, than land above sea level. Other planets, moons, and even interstellar space have only traces of water, or possible water. These traces, instead of producing comets, may have been caused by comets or water vapor that the ‘fountains of the great deep’ launched into space.” Pg 199.
“The ‘fountains of the great deep’ launched rocks as well as muddy water. As rocks moved farther from Earth, earth’s gravity became less significant to them, and their gravity became increasingly significant to nearby particles. Consequently, many rocks and their surrounding clouds of water vapor merged to become asteroids. Isolated rocks in space are meteoroids. Drag forces caused by water vapor and thrust forces produced by the radiometer effect concentrated asteroids in what is now the asteroid belt. Asteroids, meteoroids, and comets-sometimes called the mavericks of the solar system-are thus unified.” Pg 219.
Dr Brown differs from most creation scientists in that he believes that the flood waters came from the waters under the earth, the fountains of the great deep which broke loose and were propelled, shot and/or thrown/forced up into the sky and then fell back down to this earth. That is the source of the flood waters, not from the Vapor Envelope of the flood. This concept teaches that most of the flood waters came from the collapse of the water Canopy or Envelope. The reason Dr Brown does not believe in this theory is because, according to him it, it did not exist. Most creation scientists disagree with him. What he teaches is that the flood waters came from the waters under the earth, the fountains of the great deep which broke loose and were propelled, shot and/or thrown/forced up into the sky and then fell back down to the earth. That, he says, is the source of the flood waters, not from the Vapor Envelope.
Although I disagree on that point, I think Dr Brown has made significant contributions with his research and writings, especially in encouraging a closer look at the cause and result of the fountains of the great deep breaking up as well as the tremendous amount of water, rock and dirt that the earth spewed up into the heavens at the time of the flood and fell back down to earth with great force. I think that the rocks which were thrown up into the heavens may well have hit the vapor envelope causing it to crack or break because the fountains of the great deep are mentioned before the windows of heaven, showing the sequence of events. Here is one of the best descriptions I have ever read. “For seven days after Noah and his family entered the ark, there appeared no sign of the coming storm. During this period their faith was tested. It was a time of triumph to the world without….They gathered in crowds about the ark, deriding its inmates with a daring violence which they had never ventured upon before. But upon the eighth day dark clouds overspread the heavens. There followed the muttering of thunder and the flash of lightning. Soon large drops of rain began to fall. The world had never witnessed anything like this, and the hearts of men were struck with fear. All were secretly inquiring, ‘Can it be that Noah was in the right, and that the world is doomed to destruction?’ Darker and darker grew the heavens, and faster came the falling rain. The beasts were roaming about in the wildest terror, and their discordant cries seemed to moan out their own destiny and the fate of man. Then ‘the fountains of the great deep’ were ‘broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.’ Water appeared to come from the clouds in mighty cataracts. Rivers broke away from their boundaries, and overflowed the valleys. Jets of water burst from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and these, in falling, buried themselves deep in the ground.” Patriarchs & Prophets, page 99.
The Bible clearly teaches in Genesis 1:6-9 that there were waters above the earth at the time of the creation and when the flood came the “windows of heaven were opened,” Gen 6:7. Psalms 148:4-5 is also a clue. “Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.” The context of the passage shows us that David is writing about the creation. From the Hebrew meaning, the “waters” in the passage definitely would be cascading water. See also Psalm 33:6, 7 & Job 26:7, 8.
His explanation of the origin of limestone is also interesting. “Too much limestone exists on earth to have been formed, as evolutionists claim, by present processes (from marine animals, such as shelled creatures and corals). Most limestone was deposited as the subterranean water violently escaped to the earth’s surface during the flood. Simultaneously, fresh carbon, needed to rapidly reestablish plant life buried during the flood, was released into the biosphere.” Pg 151. As for the frozen mammoths he believes that “some muddy water from the fountains of the great deep went above the atmosphere where it froze into extremely cold hail. Within hours, mammoths, that cannot live in Arctic climates or at Arctic latitudes, were buried alive and quickly frozen as this muddy hail fell back to earth in a gigantic hail storm. Previous attempts to explain the frozen mammoths ignore many observations and recognized facts….If we now look for the bones and ivory of mammoths, not just preserved flesh, the number of discoveries becomes enormous, especially in Siberia and Alaska. Nikolai Vereschagin, Chairman of the Russian Academy of Science’s Committee for the Study of Mammoths, estimated that more than half a million tons of mammoth tusks were buried along a 600-miles stretch of the Arctic coast. Because the typical tusk weighs 100 pounds, this implies that more than five million mammoths lived in this small region.” Pg 159.
“How could so many millions of animals have survived in the cold, dry and desolate area of northern Siberia? Obviously their surroundings at the time of their death were more temperate and moist. So, what caused the sudden climate change to freezing cold? Oil prospectors who have drilled through Alaskan muck have found ancient tropical forests in a frozen state, not in a petrified state between 1,220 and 1,700 feet below the ground. They even have found palm trees, pine trees, and tropical foliage in great profusion lapped all over each other, indicating they had fallen in that position. What could have caused such a phenomenon the same as with the frozen mammoths? The only logical answer is that there was a sudden and dramatic change from a tropical like climate to a very cold, arctic one. One mammoth contained 40 different species of plants: herbs, grasses, mosses, shrubs, and tree leaves. Many no longer grow that far north; others grow both in Siberia and as far south as Mexico. The obvious conclusion is that so many varieties of plants is proof that the climate of that region of the world was milder than it is today. Furthermore, the discovery of the ripe fruits of sedges, grasses, and other plants suggests that the mammoth died during the second half of July or the beginning of August. The sudden death of the mammoth is proved by the unchewed bean pods still containing the beans that were found between its teeth and the deep freeze is suggested by the well-preserved state of the stomach contents and the presence of edible meat. The mammoth must have been overwhelmed suddenly with a rapid deep freeze and instant death because its cells had not burst. Frozen-food experts have explained that in order for this to happen the temperature of the air would have to drop suddenly to 150 to 175 degrees fahrenheit in a matter of minutes. A typical wild elephant requires about 330 pounds of food per day. Therefore, vast quantities of food were needed to support the estimated 5,000,000 mammoths that lived in just a small portion of northern Siberia.” Pgs 162-167.
GOD’S PROTECTIVE CARE AND THE WORK
OF GOD’S FINAL REMNANT PEOPLE
As we noticed in Eph. 2:2, Satan is the “Prince of the Power of the air.” Whether he is manipulating matter in space or here on “Terra Firma” (earth), the result is often the same; death and destruction to God’s creation. To just give an example of how much God protects his creatures from daily catastrophes from space, I will read to you from the World Book Encyclopedia on Meteors. “Scientists estimate that as many as 200,000,000 [two hundred million or nearly 1/4 billion] visible meteors enter the earth’s atmosphere every day. These and other meteorites are estimated to add more than 1,000 tons daily to the earth’s weight. We first see most of these meteors when they are about 65 miles above the earth. Air friction heats them to about 4000 degrees F ., and they burn out at altitudes of 30 to 50 miles. Meteors that reach earth before burning up are meteorites.” Page 355. 1008 Editor.
God’s angels are constantly guarding us from dangers seen and unseen. Ps. 34:7; Ps. 91:11, 12. We have no idea how much we owe to Jesus for protecting us. But, when the last man on earth has rejected or accepted God’s final message of love, and all the righteous are sealed with God’s eternal seal of His love and righteousness (obedience) in their hearts, minds and lives and the wicked are all marked up and settled into the “BEAST SYSTEM,” for their welfare and sustenance, then probation will close for this age. But, before that takes place, there will be lots of trouble. There will be more after probation closes, to be sure, because that is when the seven last plagues will fall, but there are “plagues and judgments (decisions” before probation ends. If there are seven “last” plagues, this indicates there of necessity must be some “first” plagues. The seven last plagues are the last seven of a long siege of plagues that are going to come upon the earth before Christ returns at the end this age. Most Christians do not understand this, or that God is not the one who closes a person’s probation. Each person does that by his or her own choices. Furthermore, every lost soul will be raised after the 1,000 years for the final judgment and restoration of all mankind. So, when we speak of “probation” we do not mean that God is finished with that person. His probation closed only for this age we are living in now. Most people do not realize that God’s program is progressive, due to our dullness of mind to comprehend His will for our lives. The last work on this earth to be done by God’s people will be helping those who are the sick and mentally and morally fatigued and debased. Isaiah tells us, “…loose the bands of wickedness, …undo the heavy burdens, and…let the oppressed go free…deal thy bread to the hungry …bring the poor that are cast out to thy house…when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him.” Isa. 58:6, 7. Compare this with Matthew 25:31-46. When Jesus comes again he will say to the saved, “INASMUCH AS YOU HAVE DONE IT UNTO ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE MY BRETHREN, YOU HAVE DONE IT UNTO ME.” v. 40. Christ is really quoting and paraphrasing Isaiah 58 which also includes the Sabbath reform message in Isa. 58:12-14.
The Sabbath proves that Christ is the life God, not the death God, and it is also a sign of sanctification, see Ezek. 20:12, 20. Very few people today realize that the final work to be done in this earth is Medical Missionary work. Healing by God’s Natural Methods. As we analyze these seven last plagues, we must realize that they are basically an “ecological kickback.” Also, note that plagues #1, #4, and #7 directly affect the bodies of men physically. The first is a “noisome and grievous sore.” Rev. 16:2. This is a sickness or disease which could not be from the Lord because our God never brings disease. See James 1:17; Luke 13:16 and Acts 10:38. He is not the author of sickness or death. The word “SEA” in Revelation represents “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Rev. 17:15. Therefore, the “sea, is turned into the blood of a dead man,” and the sea is people, it would symbolically mean that the people are being slaughtered, that they are in fact killing each other. Zechariah 14:13 says the same thing. But, we must not rule out the fact that these symbols may have a dual application, in that the sea or body of water will literally turn into some kind of substance like the blood of a dead man, which will become stagnated and toxic.
The plagues of Egypt were literal plagues. God has “control of, or power over,” these plagues, in that He is permitting them to come by letting man’s abuse of nature reap its natural result. The sun scorching men could be from any number of causes. But God is not responsible for this. Satan brings all the aberrations of nature. The ozone layer is also being erased or destroyed by man’s pollutions. All those who believe God kills will reject the true Sabbath (Saturday), the 7th day and accept Sunday worship and the beast system, with its drug therapy. Those who believe God kills will not want to help the sick and the dying. Only true, Sabbath keepers will do MEDICAL MISSIONARY WORK, for only those who know and receive God’s true character will understand that the Sabbath is the sign (Ezek. 20:12, 20) of the life God.
FROGS, LICE, AND FLIES
On page 209 of Patten’s work, “The Long Day of Joshua,” we read the reason Patten gives for the frogs’ appearance in such profusion. “We shall offer two thoughts concerning this rather unusual plague. One view is that, with the invasion of volcanic dust and pumice, and meteoritic dust, water conditions rapidly deteriorated; plants were covered. Faced with a sudden change in their natural environment, frogs came up out of the waters in marshes, canals and rivers to die on the shores, in the streets and almost everywhere.” This view is much more plausible than the second view, which essentially says that the original Hebrew word for frogs meant to “skip about,” and the word tsephardea corresponded to volcanic pumice and ash which descended thickly throughout the land in marshes, in canals, in rivers, on the shores, and everywhere. This idea is totally unacceptable. In the case with the lice and flies, the balance of nature was thrown out of whack by destroying the natural ecological balance. Suddenly denied their normal habitat due to the volcanic fallout, these lice and flies turned upon man and beast alike in vast numbers. This plague of lice may describe voracious mites. At any rate, this concept gives an optional viewpoint which helps us to see that there is another way to explain this so it harmonizes with the way God would work through nature to neutralize or disable those who opposed Him and His truth and His people. God does not work contrary to the laws He Himself has set up, and even when man and Satan pervert the natural order of things He still receives glory out of the situation. He is always in complete control without arbitrarily destroying any human being or interfering with their free moral agency. This is the way He works today and will work in the future during the seven last plagues when He shields the righteous but permits the wicked to bring suffering on themselves.
WHAT THEN IS GOD’S STRANGE ACT?
Throughout the history of the world God has always tempered His JUDGMENTS or DECISIONS with MERCY. (Decisions to let them go and destroy themselves or be injured and/or killed by Satan). A faithful record is kept of all the wicked deeds and even the thoughts of men. Guilt accumulates through the centuries. The following text proves this: “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: THAT UPON YOU (the generation that killed Jesus) MAY COME ALL THE RIGHTEOUS BLOOD SHED UPON THE EARTH, FROM THE BLOOD OF RIGHTEOUS ABEL UNTO THE BLOOD OF ZACHARIAS SON OF BARACHIAS, WHOM YE SLEW BETWEEN THE TEMPLE AND THE ALTAR. VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU, ALL THESE THINGS SHALL COME UPON THIS GENERATION. “Matthew 23:34, 35. Christ was speaking to His own people in that day A.D. 31. What about His professed people today? Will we not suffer as much or more than the Jews did in their day, unless we repent?
And so God’s “STRANGE ACT” is simply that HE NO LONGER IS ABLE TO RESTRAIN THE WICKED FOR THEY HAVE TOTALLY REJECTED HIM. “BEHOLD THE LORD’S HAND IS NOT SHORTENED THAT IT CANNOT SAVE: NEITHER IS HIS EAR HEAVY, THAT IT CANNOT HEAR: But your iniquities HAVE SEPARATED between you and your God…” Isaiah 59:1, 2. “Your sins have hid His face from you…” Psalm 22:24 proves that God never turns His face away from us. He definitely does not leave or reject us Matt. 28:20. We reject Him. God never changes. Mal. 3:6. “I am the Lord, I change not. Therefore, you sons of Jacob are not consumed.” He is always willing to save. It is stubborn and rebellious humanity who refuse to change by turning away from their sins, with God’s help. “And Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37.
AND SO, THIS IS HIS “STRANGE ACT….” He lets it all go, everything, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY GOD DOES NOT RESTRAIN OR PROTECT the sinner from 1) himself; 2) his fellow human. beings; or 3) Satan and his angels. It will be the most terrible ordeal the human race has ever been through since the world began. “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” See Rev 20:12; Mal 3:16-18.
THE WINE OF THE WRATH OF GOD
Jesus referred to the TRUTH that He brought as “NEW WINE,” Matthew 9:17. New wine would not be fermented like old wine and therefore, would not make a person drunk. OLD WINE by contrast represented the doctrines and traditions of men which made many drunk and thus led them astray down the pathway of death instead of up the pathway of life to the Holy City. Jeremiah speaks of the Lord as giving “the WINE CUP of this fury,” to the heathen nations. Jeremiah 25:15, 16. In Revelation, Babylon is symbolically depicted as making “all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornications” Revelation 14:8; compare verse 10; 17:2; and 18:3. In Revelation 16:19 Babylon is given the cup of the wine of the wrath of God to drink of the fierceness of His wrath. Now, unless we understand the true meaning of the “FURY,” and “ANGER,” and “WRATH OF GOD,” we will never understand what the prophets in the Old Testament are saying, neither will we understand what the prophets in the New Testament are saying. God’s Fury and Anger and Wrath are still the same—they simply represented His withdrawing so every person can go his own way and do his own thing without any restraint or rebuke from God.
In other words, the wicked are following the counsel of their own will. “Our lips are our own: who is lord over us?” Psalm 12:4. “Let us break their bands (Father and Son) asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2:3, Hosea 11:4. Now notice how God deals with these rebels, how He pours out His “fury” or “wrath” upon them as they drink down their “own counsels.” “DESTROY THOU THEM, O GOD; LET THEM FALL BY THEIR OWN COUNSELS;” Ps. 5:10.
SO SHALL ALL THE HEATHEN DRINK
“FOR AS YE HAVE DRUNK UPON MY HOLY MOUNTAIN, SO SHALL ALL THE HEATHEN DRINK CONTINUALLY, YEA, THEY SHALL DRINK AND THEY SHALL SWALLOW DOWN, AND THEY SHALL BE AS THOUGH THEY HAD NOT BEEN.” Obadiah 16. “My holy mountain” refers to the righteous “drinking the truth or water of life, “from the Words of the Bible Psalm 36:6; John 7:27,38. Just as the righteous keep on drinking and keep on living, so the wicked keep on drinking (false doctrines) and continue dying and killing each other all over the earth. “A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with the nations, He will plead with all flesh; (Joel 2:28-32) He will give them that are wicked to the sword, says the Lord…Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried: they shall be dung upon the ground.” Jeremiah 25:31-33. The prophet Joel also wrote about this same event and what causes it. Let us read his description of an army that cannot be stopped. This is the reason the Synagogue of Satan will come and bow down before them, pleading for their lives (Rev 3:9) as Haaman did before Esther, the Queen. Esther 7:7, 8. “Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devours the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks.” Joel 2:5-7.
We need to realize here that when the prophet spoke of the wicked being as if they had never existed he is speaking of that particular age or eon. The Greek word for age is “Aion.” So, the wicked will perish in this age in which we are now living and cease to exist as if they had never been born. But they will live again after the 1,000 years because the Scriptures clearly teach that all the dead who have ever lived upon the earth will be raised up in the final day. John 5:25; Rev 20:4, 5, 12-15. The Bible compares the end of the world to the time of harvest. In the Jewish economy there were three phases of the harvest: 1. Barley. 2. Wheat and 3. Grapes. Rev 14:14-20 refers to these three harvests. Jesus referred to the harvest as the end of the world, Matt 13:37-43.
Now, let us consider Revelation 14:9-11. “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall DRINK of the WINE (false teachings of Babylon) of the WRATH (God’s no longer restraining or shielding the wicked from themselves and the delusions of men and of Satan) of God, which is poured out without mixture (with any mixing of His mercy this time, for they have refused it) into the cup of his indignation; Remember that according to Psalm 78:49, God’s wrath, anger and indignation is simply when He permits or allows evil angels to come among them and destroy without restraint.
Luke 23:27-31 tells the story of the women weeping as they see Jesus suffering under the load of the cross; but He tells them that they should be weeping for themselves instead of for Him, for their sufferings will be even greater. “For if they do this in a green tree, what shall be done in a dry.” Luke 23:31. By the green tree, Jesus represented Himself, the innocent Redeemer. GOD SUFFERED HIS WRATH AGAINST TRANSGRESSION TO FALL ON HIS BELOVED SON. (Compare Isaiah 53:10; and Romans 5:9.) Jesus was to be crucified for the sins of men. What suffering, then, would the sinner bear who continued in sin? ALL THE IMPENITENT AND UNBELIEVING WOULD KNOW A SORROW AND MISERY THAT LANGUAGE WOULD FAIL TO EXPRESS. Now, let us consider the last part of verse Rev 14:10: “And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:10, 11. The Greek word of Revelation 14:10 for TORMENTED is BASANIZO.” It also means to torture, “to torment or distress.” This tormenting takes place before Christ comes, especially during the seven last plagues.
Because this experience is a result of receiving the MARK OF THE BEAST, it means that the movement to enforce Sunday worship will play an important part in this time segment of suffering. And since everything is progressive, we may safely conclude that the suffering will also be progressive—that is, progressively more intense and more painful for those who are suffering. When we compare other scriptures which use this same word BASANIZO, we can see that it means mental suffering as well as physical suffering, which will help us to see who it is and what it is that is causing the suffering. That is our main objective in this study, to pinpoint the DESTROYER, the person who is responsible for all the heartache and sorrow and suffering in the world. Is God bringing this special suffering pictured here in Revelation 14 or is He PERMITTING it just like He always has permitted it whenever men have totally rejected his protection by simply going their own way? Compare Rev. 9:3, 5, 11; Matt. 18:33-35, Matt. 4:3. A Tormentor is one who tries and tests, i.e. an inquisitor.
DOES GOD CAUSE MENTAL TORTURE AND SUFFERING?
What we are dealing with in this passage of Revelation 14:9-11 regarding the suffering and torture of those who receive the Mark of the Beast, as opposed to the Seal of God, is not only a physical suffering during the plagues, but a terrible MENTAL TORTURE. It is an inquisition caused by evil angels of Satan who have no holy angels to hold them in check and limit their activity as they have done in the past. THE ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN now has a field day. All the wicked are sitting ducks. The word for torture, BASANIZO, is used in Mark 5:7, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou TORMENT ME NOT.” What we have here is an accusation by an evil angel of Satan. He is accusing Christ of having plans to torment him….or other evil angels like himself. It is a slander against the character of Jesus. The very fact that Christ had not killed the evil angels shows His dealings with them thus far. This angel of Satan was not in Dante’s fictitious inferno, but alive and well, free to roam the world and practice his trade, which is that of devil possession, i.e. tormenting the minds and bodies of human beings. Their only pleasure is in reducing a human being, made in the image of God, down to a slobbering, screaming idiot. In Matthew 8:29, an evil angel asks out of his fear, and defiance, “What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”
Darkness hates light. Evil despises good. Evil fears good. Why? Because it is afraid that the GOOD WILL EXPOSE THE EVIL, that it will tear away its disguise, its mask, and leave it naked and defenseless. Jesus is love and truth, and that is what Satan fears most, for LOVE AND TRUTH ALWAYS Cast Satan out. “THERE Is NO FEAR IN LOVE: but perfect love casts out FEAR: BECAUSE FEAR HAS TORMENT.” I John 4:18. Do the angels know the truth about how God destroys? The good angels know the truth about how Satan destroys now after nearly 6,000 years of observing and helping God reclaim mankind. But, do the evil angels know the truth about God’s love and truth? No, they do not.
Jude 6 tells us they are in “everlasting chains UNDER DARKNESS unto the judgment of the great day.” Psalm 73:6, Proverbs 5:22; John 8:24. Satan evidently has convinced himself and his angels that God is unjust and does torment people; therefore, they exist in a morbid state of perpetual fear and bondage to this false concept of God which they chose to believe at the very beginning of the Great Controversy in heaven. Mark 1:24, 5:7. It is very possible that the reason why Satan left heaven is because he was afraid that God would kill him. He has taught this to his evil angels, Matt. 8:29; Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34. The Greek word basanizo is also used in 2 Peter 2:8 and translated vexed in referring to Lot, who was “vexed with the filthy conversation (conduct) of the wicked.” In Matthew 14:24 it is translated “TOSSED,” referring to the ship out on the sea. Will the wicked be “VEXED,” and “TOSSED,” and in “DISTRESS,” during the last days when they realize they are lost? Their cry then will be, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended and we are not saved.” Jeremiah 8:20. Matt. 12:31,32. The sin against the Holy Spirit is a man rejecting God so persistently that the man’s heart is hardened against God, not God’s heart against that man, for God never rejects anyone, ever, Jn. 6:37. There is no time limit on salvation as far as God’s ability to save a person, but there is a time limit on man’s ability to accept that salvation. The heavenly sanctuary closes only when that last man or woman rejects Jesus’ blood, in this age. God would keep the sanctuary open forever, if it would do any good, for His mercy is Eternal and this will be seen in the age to come in heaven during the 1,000 years, and especially in the great “Age of the Ages” after the millennium when “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:5-11. This is when the Father will become “All in All…for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” I Corinthians 15:28, 22.
WANDERING FROM SEA TO SEA – AMOS 8:11
“Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” Amos 8:11, 12. Will not that be TORMENT? The plan of salvation will have been accomplished, but few chose to accept it. As mercy’s sweet voice dies away, FEAR AND HORROR WILL SEIZE THE LOST. Satan will say to them, “It’s TOO LATE! TOO LATE!!” “They will WANDER FROM SEA TO SEA, AND FROM THE NORTH TO THE EAST, TO SEEK THE WORD OF THE LORD. BUT, THEY SHALL NOT FIND IT.” Amos 8:11. Jer. 8:20. “Anapausis,” is a Greek word which means “cessation, refreshment and rest.” It means that for the duration of the Time of Trouble until they die or Jesus comes and they are destroyed by the terrible earthquake that takes place at that time, they will have no relaxation or reprieve from the TORMENT. This is the mental suffering.
BUT THERE IS A PHYSICAL SUFFERING GOING ON AT THE SAME TIME. The “Fire and brimstone,” of Rev 14:10 has a dual meaning. The cataclysmic catastrophes of the last days are more terrible than anything that has ever happened in the history of the world. The meteorites and bolides Satan may bring in the plagues, combined with the atomic and nuclear weapons of men (they are called swords in the Bible) will cause the most terrible upheavals of all time. John predicted there would be an earthquake that will break all the Richter scales in the world or possibly 90% of them. “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” Rev 16:18.
THE FINAL MESSAGE IS A MESSAGE OF FIRE
In Luke 12:49 Jesus said He had come to bring FIRE ON THE EARTH. Jesus brought a FIRE OF TRUTH AND LOVE, GOODNESS AND COMPASSION TO THE ENEMIES OF HIS FATHER AND OF HIMSELF. Now notice: “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: FOR THOU SHALT HEAP COALS OF FIRE UPON HIS HEAD. AND THE LORD SHALL REWARD THEE.” Proverbs 25:21, 22. Also notice Isaiah 34 which is what John the Revelator is quoting in Revelation 14 and 16 and other places. “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.” Isaiah 34:4. Jesus foretold the falling of the stars in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 and Luke 21 and John the Revelator quotes Isaiah 34 in Revelation 6:13, “And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth (meteors), even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.” It is very interesting to note that the time span from the dark day (May 19, 1780) to the falling of the stars on November 12 and 13, 1833 is 53 years and about six months or exactly half way through the 54th year. Patten stated that astral catastrophes occur every 54 years and every 108 years. See The Long Day of Joshua, pp. 172-173. What significance this may have on our interpretation of prophecy in the past, today, and in the future cannot be determined at this time. However, the Bible tells us that end-time events will be understood by the righteous, (Dan 12:10), but the wicked will not understand because they don’t have the life-giving Spirit of Jesus to interpret the “times and the seasons” as the righteous do. Therefore, the Second Coming of Christ will not surprise the righteous, for they have rightly interpreted the prophetic signs and symbols and are eagerly awaiting their Lord’s return. 1 Thess. 5:1,4. Satan will use these calamities in nature to try to convince the world that we should get a national Sunday law, so God will stop being angry at us. Satan’s angels claiming to be from outer space will come at this time to try to convince the world that our only hope is to get back to God with a NATIONAL SUNDAY Law. “All the host of heaven shall be dissolved. ..and all their host shall fall down….” Isaiah 34:4 may have a dual meaning. Compare Deut. 32:31-35, Jere. 51:25, Ezek. 28:16, 17, Rev. 6:16. It may refer not only to the falling of the stars literally (meteorites of 1833) but to the end time as well; but it may also refer to the complete fall of Satan’s angels who are the “one third of the stars” who fell from heaven with him in the beginning. Revelation 12:4. His tail drew one third of them with him when he LEFT of his own VOLITION. Rev. 9:1; Luke 10:17-19.
SATAN IS THE PRODIGAL SON WHO NEVER CAME HOME
Now, Isaiah 34:5 says; “For my SWORD (Jesus said He came to bring a sword, which were His words of truth and love) shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.” When you compare this scripture with Isaiah 63:1-6 and especially with Obadiah 15-18, you get a clearer picture. Edom or Idumea here represents all the wicked (all the Esaus) who have rejected God’s wonderful plan, His birthright for them. In Isaiah 63 we see how God takes all the blame as usual. He claims that His permissive will in letting the people kill each other with their swords, or weapons of war and destruction is His doing. Because He lets them do it, by not preventing them, He says, “I did it. I killed you all. I bathed my sword in heaven.” It has a dual meaning here, too. The Sword of His Word represents the Word of God, the Bible; and He showers down upon the people who reject Him all the truth about Himself and them too, and it just leads them to get so mad that they set a date to destroy God’s people and are in turn destroyed themselves. This, God calls His anger, wrath, indignation, and trouble. Psalm 78:49; Rom 1:18-28. When you compare Revelation 18:8 and Isaiah 34:8, you see that this has an application to Jerusalem in the time of Jesus and at the end of the 1,000 years as well. It also has the dual element of God’s symbolic fire and the literal fire which He says He causes and brings, but which always happens as a result of Satan and men fighting God, setting a trap for the righteous and then destroying themselves. Job 14:7-14; Psalm 9:15, 16. “AS THOU HAST DONE, IT SHALL BE DONE UNTO THEE: THY REWARD SHALL RETURN UPON THINE OWN HEAD,” Obadiah 15. For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen.
Now, verse 17 pictures God’s people safe inside the Holy City: “But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance and there shall be holiness;” You see it is the Holiness of Jesus that He has imprinted upon the characters of the saints that gives them the power to withstand the final onslaught of the wicked. “And the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions (‘The meek shall inherit the earth.’ Matthew 5:5).” “And the house of Jacob (all the saved) shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph (another symbol for all the saved) A FLAME, and the HOUSE OF ESAU (EDOM OR IDUMEA or all the Lost), for STUBBLE, AND THEY SHALL KINDLE IN THEM, AND DEVOUR THEM: AND THERE SHALL NOT BE ANY REMAINING OF THE HOUSE OF ESAU; FOR THE LORD HATH SPOKEN IT.” Obadiah 18. Their carnal nature dies.
Can you just imagine how angry the wicked will be when they see all the righteous on the inside and themselves on the outside? “There shall be weeping and GNASHING OF TEETH, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, AND YOU YOURSELVES THRUST OUT.” Luke 13:28. They will see all the JACOBS (all the cheaters and heel grabbers they knew in this life who overcame) on the inside of the city and the JOSEPHS (those who lived godly from their youth up) with them in the city; and they are going to say to God: “HEY, GOD, YOU PLAY FAVORITES.” Isn’t that just what the brothers of Joseph said to Jacob by their actions? “Hey, God, how come we are out here and they are inside with all the gold and the pretty coats? You are not fair, God.” Then the Lord will give them the panoramic view described in Ps. 50:3-6, and all the wicked are entranced. THIS IS THE SYMBOLIC PART OF THE FIRE THAT IS RAINED DOWN UPON THEM. “AND FIRE CAME DOWN FROM GOD OUT OF HEAVEN, AND DEVOURED THEM.” Rev. 20:9. GOD SHOWS HIS TRUTH AND LOVE TO THE WHOLE WORLD. AND EVERYONE SEES THAT GOD IS TRULY LOVE AND, “ALL THEY THAT GO DOWN TO THE DUST (bite the dust, as they say, or die at this point) SHALL BOW BEFORE HIM: AND NONE CAN KEEP ALIVE HIS OWN SOUL.” Psalm 22:29. Compare Philippians 2:10, 11, Ezek. 21:24. Psalm 21:8-12 gives a graphic picture of this same experience and Psalm 7 and 9 do also. Read them carefully and you will see it. The idea or concept of a fire that burns in the mind (MENTAL TORMENT) until every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess, which will bring “Glory to God the Father.” These truths should be very clear. Psalm 38:3 is good also, in describing the experience of the wicked in their “mental anguish and torment” before and after the 1,000 years. “There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; (God’s permitting all to be shown and the wicked to go their own way and deal with the sin problem all alone, by themselves: do-it-yourself religion, Pope-Self, righteousness by works) Neither is there any REST (peace or health, margin) in my bones BECAUSE OF MY SIN.” In this last age this will take place in a short time and the wicked will die a terrible death; 2/3rds of them will die in this age. “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.” Zechariah 13:8, 9. Isaiah 25:9. But after the 1,000 years they will all be restored as Acts 3:21 has predicted. I will explain this in much more detail in Chapter 22.
DUAL FIRE CONCEPT EXPLAINED IN ISAIAH 33:10-12
Notice how well this scripture brings out this idea of the symbolic fire that burns within (torments and vexes the guilty conscience, in other words). “NOW WILL I RISE, SAITH THE LORD; NOW WILL I BE EXALTED; NOW WILL I LIFT UP MYSELF.” This is the final coronation of Jesus before every human being that has ever existed. YE SHALL CONCEIVE CHAFF, YE SHALL BRING FORTH STUBBLE: YOUR BREATH, AS FIRE, SHALL DEVOUR YOU.” (THIS IS THE SYMBOLIC PART. The wicked will stoke their own fire with the hatreds and jealousies and backbitings they harbor and hold in their hearts). “AND THE PEOPLE SHALL BE AS THE BURNINGS OF LIME: AS THORNS CUT UP SHALL THEY BE BURNED IN THE FIRE.” Isaiah 33:12. Notice the parable of the wheat and tares. “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind THEM IN BUNDLES TO BURN THEM: BUT GATHER THE WHEAT INTO MY BARN.” Matthew 13:30. Ezek. 15:7.
THE FIRE SHALL TRY (EXAMINE) EVERY MAN’S WORK (FOR GOD)
The most severe condemnation and judgment will fall upon the professed religious leaders in every age. These are the ones whose work will be examined with the most careful scrutiny. Preachers and religious leaders who have received great praise and honor and glory from men in this life will be very shocked and terribly embarrassed to find out that all their “wonderful orations,” did little more than tickle the people’s fancy, but did not touch many hearts for Jesus Christ or convert many sinners from the error of their ways.
“And every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor…let every man take heed how he builds…for other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; EVERY MAN’S WORK SHALL BE MADE MANIFEST: FOR THE DAY (day of Christ’s coming before and after the 1,000 years, Judgment, in other words) SHALL DECLARE IT, BECAUSE IT SHALL BE REVEALED BY FIRE; AND THE FIRE SHALL TRY (TEST OR REVEAL) EVERY MAN’S WORK OF WHAT SORT IT IS.” I Corinthians 3:8, 10, 11-15. Ezek. 15:7. God’s fire is love. Satan’s fire is hatred. I CORINTHIANS 3:13. THIS IS NOT LITERAL FIRE. Paul concludes I Corinthians 3:15 by stating that a man who has worked for the Lord and brought in a lot of souls may sadly discover that he doesn’t have much of a reward after all. Others who thought their work was of little value may have a large reward. Both classes can be saved because of God’s great mercy and power to save. “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” I Cor 3:15. This is a very powerful text proving Universal Reconciliation. The loss itself will serve as that person’s punishment and discipline to restore him back to the throne of God.
It is also a warning to build upon the foundation JESUS CHRIST, and not upon the ideas, method or philosophies of human beings. “THEREFORE JUDGE NOTHING BEFORE THE TIME, UNTIL THE LORD COME, WHO BOTH WILL BRING TO LIGHT (with His truth and love) THE HIDDEN THINGS OF DARKNESS, (Light always exposes darkness), and will make manifest the COUNSELS OF THE HEARTS: AND THEN SHALL EVERY MAN HAVE PRAISE OF GOD.” I Corinthians 4:5. John 3:19, 20. We have already read in Luke 12:49 how Jesus said He came to bring “FIRE,” on the earth. Now in Matthew 3:11, we read, …“He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: HE SHALL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND WITH FIRE.” Isa. 4:4-6, Jer. 15:6-8. Now, notice the two kinds of fire that follow in Matt 3:12: “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge His floor, and gather his wheat into the gamer; (the purging fire of God’s Word separates the sheep from the goats) BUT HE WILL BURN UP THE CHAFF WITH UNQUENCHABLE FIRE.” Cf. Song of Solomon 8:6. Here God in Christ takes the blame again for the self-destruction of the wicked. The wickedness and hatred in their hearts and minds, yes, even in their very souls, could not be burned out by love; so it will now be destroyed by a literal fire that will do away with “both body and soul” in the final flames. See Matthew 10:28.
This now brings us to the last scripture in this section on fire. “And if thy hand offend (the margin says, “cause to offend”) thee, CUT IT OFF (stop sinning, in other words); IT IS BETTER FOR THEE TO ENTER INTO LIFE MAIMED, THAN HAVING TWO HANDS TO CO INTO HELL, (Ghenna, symbolic and literal fire), INTO THE FIRE THAT NEVER SHALL BE QUENCHED: WHERE THEIR WORM DIES NOT, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.” Mark 9:43. The worm represents the ego or FLESHLY, carnal, MIND, Ps. 22:6. Jesus became sin for us. 2 Cor. 5:21. This idea is repeated with the foot and eye using the same words each time: “cut it off,” or “pluck it out,” in reference to the eye. Few people who know scripture at all would take this literally. So, we now have a key to unlock the phrase, “WHERE THEIR WORM DIETH NOT.” Greek, ‘SKOLEX,’ ‘a maggot’. Major, Manson, and Wright (The Mission and Message of Jesus, p. 123) comment, ‘The undying worm is not the symbol of a soul which cannot die, but is the symbol of corruption which cannot be purged.’” John the Baptist and Christ came to purge sin. We read in John 5:35, 36. “He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.”
THE FINAL SECOND DEATH
Now, in Ezekiel 28:18, we read that God is going to “bring forth a FIRE FROM THE MIDST OF THEE, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.” What is this “fire from the midst” that the Lord is talking about? I believe it has two phases. First of all, Lucifer will have to come to the end of his rope, the end of his long journey and war against the kingdom of heaven. Those who have been supporting him for 6,000 years, evil, fallen angels and wicked men, in every age, will turn upon him and blame him for everything. This is the initial phase of the “fire” that will begin to destroy Satan. “He shall come to his end and none shall help him.” Dan. 11:44, 45.
From Ezek 28 and Isaiah 14 we know that Satan was once a beautiful angel named Lucifer, meaning “Light Bearer.” But through pride and self-exaltation he lost favor with God and the two thirds of the heavenly host and was eventually cast out of heaven itself after a war with Michael and his angels, Rev. 12 tells us. Non-canonical visionaries and extra-biblical sources have written about Lucifer’s motives and activities. One such visionary states that after his expulsion from heaven he devised a plan to break Adam and Eve’s light connection with the heavenly throne. He would formulate a temptation by which their loyalty to God would be tested, just as he was allowed to test Job and David and many others. Some passed the test and while others failed. Traditional theology teaches that the test involved some fruit on a tree, according to Genesis 2. Satan’s strategy was to somehow lead Adam and Eve to believe that the true God had forbidden him to eat of one of the trees, the tree of “knowledge of good and evil” which, by the way, was never even mentioned in Genesis 1. Many theologians do not consider Genesis 2 to be the true version of the creation story. At any rate, Satan was able to deceive Adam and Eve into thinking that he was the true God and that he had changed his mind about this one particular tree, which he now calls “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Through this cunning deception, Satan, posing as the Creator, was able to create a doubt in Adam’s mind as to God’s trustworthiness. And so it was that Adam’s faith was weakened through a threat of death accompanied by the prohibition to eat of a perfectly good tree that Adam already believed was legally his. In order to counter this lie, Eve was informed by a talking serpent that nothing was wrong with the fruit. She was told that it was not dangerous at all because the true Creator God had already told them in Gen 1:29 that all the trees were good and they all belonged to them. None of them were off limits. The serpent also categorically stated that they would not die if they ate of the fruit of this tree, which the “Lord God” of Eden had forbidden them to eat. So, Eve checked it out and decided the serpent was telling her the truth. She ate of it and discovered that she did not die, just as the voice speaking through the serpent had told her. So, she knew then that the “Lord God” (actually, Satan, the Impostor, Pretender god of Eden) who had put the tree off limits was lying to them. So, naively thinking that Adam would believe her, she gave some of this same fruit to Adam, who also ate. But the problem with Adam was that he believed the lie that he would die. He was sure that Eve was going to die, so because he did not want to be separated from his beloved Eve he went ahead and ate the forbidden fruit.
Predictably, Lucifer’s brilliant strategy worked. As soon as Adam and Eve ate of the fruit they began to feel guilty and were afraid, and that fear is what broke their light connection with the mind of their Creator and His eternal throne and their robe of light began to fade. Lucifer, pretending to be God castigated them severely, making sure the guilt trip was fully in place. Although some may not agree with this, the bottom line is that Lucifer’s motive was achieved, no matter which version of the fall you may wish to believe. Lucifer (Satan) had a plan and it worked. Adam and Eve needed to be rescued. A plan of redemption must be carried out to redeem them.
Here is one visionary’s explanation of what Lucifer (Satan) believed and his plan. “If Satan could in any way beguile them to disobedience, God would make some provision whereby they might be pardoned, and then himself and all the fallen angels would be in a fair way to share with them of God’s mercy.” SR 27. What does Satan look like now? This same visionary described Lucifer as once being a happy and exalted angel, the wisest of them all. He still has a kingly bearing according to one description. “His features still appear noble but the expression on his face shows care, anxiety, worry, unhappiness, malice, hate, deceit, mischief and every evil. He has a receding forehead from his eyes back. He has practiced evil so long that every good quality has been debased and every evil trait developed to the fullest degree. His eyes are full of cunning. He is sly and has the power of great penetration. He has a large frame but flesh hangs loosely about his hands and face. As he sets a trap for his victim he has an evil and satanic smile which grows more horrible as he fastens his victim in his snare.”
Ok, so he has all this backlog of negative memories of all he has done against God and His creation. He has been carrying them with him all these thousands of years. So, all of this sense of guilt and failure is going to be burning inside of him. But there are also the memories of God’s love before he fell and the reality of God’s patient endurance with him from day one. The fact that the Lord has never hurt him in any way, not even bringing a railing accusation against him, Jude 9, has to also be a positive memory that will burn the love of God into his mind with great power. When every last one of his followers and supporters have abandoned him and Satan remains all alone with only these memories something has to happen.
Amazingly, of all the sources from which I might quote to help us understand who the devil or Satan really is, his personality, how he operates and what will happen to him in the future I find the best one is from a psychiatrist who wrote a book in which he tells of his encounters with Satan. The title of the book is “People of the Lie: The hope for healing human evil,” by M. Scott Peck, M.D. 1985. In chapter 5, “Of Possession and Exorcism,” he seeks to answer the question: “Does the Devil exist?” As usual, the Lord has guided me to share this information with you, the reader, at the exact place in this book where it fits in best.
The following quotes are taken from Dr Peck’s book itself, from pages 204 to 209. “The spirit I witnessed at each exorcism was clearly, utterly, and totally dedicated to opposing human life and growth. It told both patients to kill themselves. When asked in one exorcism why it was the Anti-Christ, it answered, ‘Because Christ taught people to love each other.’ …Queried more, it simply said to the exorcist, ‘I want to kill you.’ There was absolutely nothing creative or constructive about it; it was purely destructive. Perhaps the greatest problem of theodicy is the question why God, having created Satan in the first place, simply didn’t wipe it out after its rebellion. The question presupposes that God would wipe anything out. It assumes that God can punish and kill. Perhaps the answer is that God gave Satan free will and that God cannot destroy; He can only create. The point is that God does not punish. To create us in His image, God gave us free will. To have done otherwise would have been to make us puppets or hollow mannequins. Yet to give us free will God had to forswear the use of force against us. We do not have free will when there is a gun pointed at our back. It is not necessarily that God lacks the power to destroy us, to punish us, but that in His love for us He has painfully and terribly chosen never to use it. In agony He must stand by and let us be. He intervenes only to help, never to hurt.
“The Christian God is a God of restraint. Having forsworn the use of power against us, if we refuse His help, He has no recourse but, weeping, to watch us punish ourselves….In Christ, God Himself impotently suffered death at the hands of human evil. He did not raise a finger against His persecutors. Thereafter in the New Testament, we hear echoes of the punitive Old Testament God, one way or another, saying that ‘the wicked will get what’s coming to them.’ But these are only echoes; a punishing God does not enter the picture ever again. While many nominal Christians still today envision their God as a giant cop in the sky, the reality of Christian doctrine is that God has forever eschewed police power….having forsaken force, God is impotent to prevent the atrocities that we commit upon one another. He can continue to grieve with us. He will offer us Himself in all His wisdom, but He cannot make us choose to abide with Him. For the moment, then, God, tormented, waits upon us through one holocaust after another. And it may seem to us that we are doomed by this strange God who reigns in weakness. But there is a denouement to Christian doctrine: God in His weakness will win the battle against evil. In fact, it is already won. The resurrection symbolizes not only that Christ overcame the evil of His day two millennia ago but that He overcame it for all time. Christ impotently nailed upon the cross is God’s ultimate weapon.”
Dr. Peck then spoke of Satan’s method of operation, his modus operandi. He speaks repeatedly of how the devil uses lies and fear. “In fact, the only power that Satan has is through human belief in its lies….Satan can use any human sin or weakness-greed and pride, for instance. It will use any available tactic: seduction, cajolery, flattery, intellectual argument. But its principal weapon is fear. And in the post-exorcism period, after its lies had been exposed, it was reduced to haunting both patients with dully repetitive threats: ‘We will kill you. We will get you. We will torture you. We will kill you.’ As well as being the Father of lies, Satan may be said to be spirit of mental illness.
“The spirit of evil is one of unreality, it, itself, is real. It really exists. To think otherwise is to be misled. Indeed, as several have commented, perhaps Satan’s best deception is its general success in concealing its own reality from the human mind. Although it has a real power, Satan also has glaring weaknesses-the same weaknesses that caused its banishment from heaven. (Malachi) Martin noted that exorcisms can reveal not only extraordinary demonic brilliance but also extraordinary demonic stupidity. My observations confirm this. Were it not for its extraordinary pride and narcissism, Satan would probably not reveal itself at all. Its pride overcomes its intelligence, so that the demon of deceit is also a showoff. If it had been thoroughly clever, it would have left the two patients long before their exorcisms. But it could not allow itself to lose. It wanted only to win, so in both cases it hung in there until the bitter end-with the result that I and others today now know its reality.
“In the same way, Satan’s intelligence is afflicted with two other blind spots I have observed. One that by virtue of its extreme self-centeredness, it has no real understanding of love. It recognizes love as a reality to be fought and even to be imitated, but utterly lacking in itself, it does not understand love in the least. Its reality appears to Satan only like the reality of a bad joke. The notion of sacrifice is totally foreign to it. When human beings at an exorcism are speaking in the language of love, it does not comprehend what they are saying. And when they are behaving with love, Satan is completely ignorant of the ground rules….Satan’s weaknesses should not encourage us to overlook its strength. It propounds its lies with extraordinary power.” And remember the most powerful lie of all is that “God destroys,” which triggers Satan’s greatest weapon, which is ‘fear.’
“I think it is necessary that we should hate Satan as well as fear it. Yet, as with evil people, I think it is ultimately more to be pitied. In Christian eschatology (the study of the last days) there are two scenarios for Satan. In one all human souls, having been converted to light and love, reach out to the spirit of hate and falsehood in friendship. Finally realizing itself to be totally defeated, with no human body left to possess, with all immune to its power, out of utter loneliness it breaks down and accepts the offer of friendship, and thereby in the end even Satan is converted. That is the scenario I pray for.”
But how will this “conversion experience” take place? We know that Philippians 2:5-11 tells us clearly that every knee is going to bow and every tongue confess in the future. I think Dr. Peck touched upon the point which is going to do Satan in. He never gives up trying to prove that he is right and superior. And this is what will ultimately lead to his complete exposure, the same as it did at the cross. So, the day will come when all of Satan’s facades are gone. Every one will know who he is and they will “look narrowly upon him,” and say, “Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms?” Isaiah 14:16. Yes, it is Satan who makes the earth to tremble with earthquakes and destroys cities at the end of the world. Psalm 9:6, Isaiah 14:17, Jer 25:31-33. His power to deceive will at long last come to an end, but he still does not give up. The hatred and pride and envy and jealousy that caused him to rebel in the beginning still exists. It is this obstinacy of the ego that will not give in no matter how much truth is presented that is going to prolong the suffering of the self-life for years. Isaiah 65:20 indicates this season of time may be 100 years.
So, it is this mental torment that Satan and all the wicked are going to have to go through before they will finally give in. As long as there is any rebellion left, the worm of sin in a person’s life, he will continue to suffer without the comforting of the Holy Spirit. Mark 9:43-50. Each person will suffer according to the number of sins he has not confessed and which he/she still remember. These sins will torture and torment his mind as long as there is more for him to recall. That is how much longer he will have to suffer. In this age, before the millennium, the wicked will begin destroying each other during the battle of Armageddon.
The very atmosphere will no doubt ignite and burn up as well. 2 Peter 3:12. Their suffering is both mental and physical: “the worm of sin and corruption” will cause them torment and anguish as they recall their many sins. The longer the list, the more they will suffer, as they are destroyed both from without and within, Zech. 14:12, 13. Of course, they will not give in and admit they are wrong right away and so the suffering will continue until the sins of their entire lives have all come before them, just as they came before Belshazzer in Daniel 5. Just think how much he must have suffered before he finally was killed physically. The remorse, regret, shame and guilt will burn terribly. Remember one thing, when you read the Bible, the events are not always in chronological order. The reason for this is that God is the great I AM. With Him there is no past, or future. THERE IS ONLY THE ETERNAL EVER PRESENT NOW.
So, the event is what matters. The Hebrew writers were not so concerned with when it happened, but what actually happened. The Hebrew writers, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, did not give emphasis to the time element, but only to the event. When Scripture speaks, therefore, about the wicked’s burning up (consuming, Rev 20:9) when the fire comes “down from God out of heaven.” You must remember tha this fire is not literal, for God does not destroy. It is a revelation of God’s love. Look at Song of Solomon 8:6.
There is a difference between the coming of Christ in this age we are now living and the great age of the ages after the 1,000 years. There will be literal fire of destruction at the end of this age but that literal fire is from man, not from the Lord. The Jews confused the Scriptures pointing to the first coming of Christ with the Scriptures which speak of His coming in our day and after the 1,000 years. That is why the Jews sometimes confused the first coming of Christ with His second appearing in power and great glory. They expected Him to come in power and great glory at His first coming; and when He did not live up to their expectations, they rejected Him because of their false interpretations of Scripture. Remember the prophecy, “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former …,” in Haggai 2:9? We are told that the old men who remembered Solomon’s temple wept bitterly as they beheld the temple of Herod’s day. They wept because they did not understand the prophecy. Their ideas were erroneous. The glory of the latter house WAS greater, not in magnificence of structure, but in the fact that THE LORD OF GLORY HIMSELF, JESUS, WALKED AND TALKED WITHIN IT. Let us make sure we today do not fall into the same trap of interpreting the Bible in accordance with preconceived notions and in anticipation of our own selfish ambitions for our church or for our position.
HOW WERE ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA DESTROYED?
“Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost…” Acts 5:4, 5. No lightning flashed from heaven on this occasion, so how did this man, and later his wife, die? What caused them to die? Did God just give them a heart attack? Did He inject some invisible poison into their veins? Is this the way God operates? No. Of course not. Let us consider the Person who was lied to. It was the HOLY SPIRIT. Can you find an instance anywhere in the Bible where the Holy Spirit killed, maimed, or destroyed anyone? I read that the Holy Spirit LEFT or QUIT PLEADING AND STRIVING WITH THE PEOPLE before the flood in Noah’s day, but it doesn’t say that the Holy Spirit killed them. It also says that Ananias lied to God, as well as to the Holy Spirit. It would seem that if what is true about the Holy Spirit is also true about God (for they are one) then it would be very difficult to pin this death on God or on the Holy Spirit. And it is very interesting that the Bible does not state in this case that God killed them. All that is necessary here to understand how Ananias and Sapphira died is to remember what the WRATH OF GOD is and what the JUDGMENT OF GOD is and how He permits wrath and judgment to take place. The power of the mind to negatively affect the body during periods of fear and/or guilt can be life-threatening and deadly. Ananias and Sapphira probably dropped dead out of pure guilt and fear as a result of having their sins exposed. Ananias and his wife are examples of people in the church who appear to be good Christians, but are not. They are not robbing banks or killing other people, but they would be miserable in the presence of Jesus and the redeemed though and will have to go through and experience the Lake of Fire for more education and discipline before they are ready to enter the kingdom. But, remember that the fire that comes down from God out of heaven is a fiery revelation of truth. Revelation 20:9.
My final point is that we must not overlook the fact that God has the power and wisdom to regulate not only this “fiery revelation of truth,” but also, the “fire” that men begin as well as the “fire” that may come from an astral catastrophe; for God always works in harmony with the elements He Himself created and has the right to do so. He also will reveal more on this subject as we near the end of all things. So, if we do not now completely understand as much as we would like to understand about the fire of truth and love and righteousness, the fire of hate-induced nuclear destruction, and the fire of astral catastrophe, and the relationships herein sustained, let us be patient with ourselves and with God. Let us pray for more understanding and surely the Lord will reveal much more to us in His own good time and way. Eph 1:17, 18.