“Seeds of the Conflict”
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live (Deuteronomy 30:19).”
Last week we began an examination of what the Bible teaches concerning Spiritual Warfare. There are points at which, although unseen by unaided human eyes, the spiritual world and the material world we currently inhabit intersect. What is at stake in this battle is the eternal destiny of every person who has ever lived or will live. There is no middle ground or neutrality – failing to enlist in the Lord’s army is the difference between heaven and hell forever (Matthew 25:46).
It seems reasonable to ask; “what is the cause of this cosmic conflict?” Only the Bible provides men
with any reliable information into this question. We understand early on that Satan smuggled sin into this world (Genesis 3:4-6, 13) that God had deemed to be “very good (Genesis 1:31).” But why should this spirit want to attack mankind?
Firstly, every spirit that God created (Nehemiah 9:6, John 1:3, Colossians 1:16) is under law to obey his Creator. “Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who DO HIS WORD, HEEDING THE VOICE OF HIS WORD (Psalm 103:20-21).” Even the angels are to do God’s will. But it is clear that our Creator has given us the gift of free will in which each spirit may choose to obey Him or follow their own path. As explained before, a loving relationship is impossible under compulsion where there is no choice to do or to do otherwise.
We are given a glimpse into this ages old war’s origin – “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Revelation 12:7-9).” Peter (2 Peter 2:4) and Jude (6) confirm that there were angels who transgressed the law of God and have been punished. It would seem that while men may still receive pardon for violating God’s laws there is no redemption for them (Hebrews 2:16). Perhaps this is due to their more complete understanding of who God is having witnessed His creative powers (Job 38:7) and His magnificent glory which men in this material world understand only by the revelation of His Word.
Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven and have failed in their offensive against Jehovah’s heavenly hosts (Revelation 12:9) and will face condemnation at the final day (Jude 6). Jesus said that the everlasting fires of hell were “prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).” So, being unable to assail God directly, it is apparent that Satan directed his wrath at those beings who are lower than the angels whom God so dearly loved (John 3:16) – men.
God does indeed allow men a choice in whom they desire to serve (Joshua 24:15) and will honor their election. But God has provided His word so that men may have knowledge of His will so as to make an informed decision if they desire (Hebrews 11:6). But He has always allowed men and women a choice to choose His narrow way that leads to life (Matthew 7:13) or the broad path that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:14). Eve was allowed to follow God’s revealed word or to choose to reject his word and listen to the serpent’s twisted word (Genesis 3:4-6). To the Israelites God delivered his word so that they would know the right path. But He also allowed false prophets so as to provide them with a choice to determine whom they truly loved (Deuteronomy 13:1-4). That same choice exists for us today (2 Peter 2:1) but He has provided tests so that we will not be deceived (1 John 4:1-6, John 17:17).
You and I have been thrown into the great war of the ages and our eternity is at stake today.
“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3).”