Category Archives: Demons

The Personality of the Devil

the_devilThe literal existence of an evil spiritual being named Satan, arch-enemy of God and man, is increasingly called in question these days, it being considered more rational and up-to-date to view the relevant Biblical references as alluding to the abstract principle of evil. To be tempted by the Devil, it is suggested, is simply the natural human propensity to sin; to overcome the Devil the suc­cessful suppression of that propensity and adop­tion of the right and proper course of conduct in respect to the particular matter concerned. Whilst all this undeniably suits the temper of a society which tends more and more to reject the super-natural in religion and explain all things from the viewpoint of human material reasoning. It does ignore the fact that the greater part of Biblical mention of Satan cannot possibly be read as other than deliberate reference to an intelligent and super-human creature, moreover one whose nature is completely subordinated to evil and who is in a state of continuing rebellion against God. Against the rejection of this understanding by the intellec­tualism of today has to be placed the fact; a somewhat strange fact in the light of modern irreligion; that the International Social Survey conducted in 1991 showed that less that nineteen percent of the world’s population still believe in a personal Devil. Since less than one in twenty go to church today, it would seem that many can hold the belief without feeling they need do much about it! It might well be that, church going or no church going, a greater number of people than might have been suspected can only account for the evil and misery that is in the world by concluding that some mighty super-human power is behind it all; and in this they are absolutely right.

The Bible writers are quite positive. From the Apostle John, writer of the last Gospel, and last of those who knew Jesus in the flesh, back to the unknown scribe on the banks of Euphrates who first set down the story of Genesis, two and a half millenniums before Christ, there is a fixed and manifest conviction that the introduction of evil and sin amongst mankind is due to such a being. Jesus spoke of Satan as a personal and powerful adversary, and the Apostles counseled their con­verts to be on their guard against his devices in a fashion which can be true only of such a one. In so doing they were all on sure ground, for quite apart from Scriptural passages referring to Satan’s activities in the world throughout human history, and the menace to the would-be doers of right which he represents. There are definite factors in the operation of the divine plan which only “make sense”, so to speak, if there is indeed this powerful adversary at work.

The first of these factors arises from the posi­tion with man at the beginning. Evil was not in­herent in man’s nature; it was not even indwelling. The old medieval dogma that the flesh is basically corrupt and unclean is not true. When God intro­duced the first intelligent creatures upon this earth, He looked upon what He had made and found it “very good.” Man at his creation was perfect and sinless, and capable of everlasting life while he so remained. The story of Eden makes plain that sin was introduced from outside, that an exterior agent in which sin already resided was the means of seducing the first humans from loyalty to God. That agent claimed to have knowledge of God and of the things of God not as yet possessed by the human creation. In consequence of this suc­cessful seduction God judged and condemned that agent.

Moral responsibility cannot be attributed to an abstract principle of evil, only to an intelligent creature capable of both moral and immoral conduct, “Because thou hast done this,” God said to the Tempter in the story “thou art cursed … and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed” (Gen. 3.14-15) This is not the language that would be employed were the object merely to reprove the woman for her fault and exhort her to resist the temptation in future; this speaks of a lasting warfare which was to commence and subsist between the serpent with his progeny and the woman with hers; later Scripture shows that the “seed of the woman” is Christ and that in Him and by Him the overthrow of the Devil will be accomplished. The fact that in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, a time is shown to come when the Devil is “bound with a great chain”, restrained, “that he should deceive the nations no more” (Rev. 20.1-3) while for a considerable time thereafter mankind are still in process of cleansing from sin and not yet recon­ciled to God is evidence again that it is not merely evil as such, but the personal and literal living instigator of evil, who has thus been active since the days of Eden and now at last will have been restrained from further interference with humanity by the power of God.

The Old Testament has little to say about Satan and refers to him by that name only twice. The first occasion is in the book of Job where he appears as one of the characters in the prologue to the book, the preliminary sketch explaining how Job’s troubles came about. The other is in the book of Zechariah, where Satan appears, again in a prophetic vision, to obstruct the work of God in the rehabilitation of the nation of Israel after its restoration from Babylon, and, spiritually, the church in its earthly career. In both cases the word Satan is prefixed by the definite article, indicating, as is verified by Gesenius, that it should be taken as a proper name. In many other instances where the word is found in the Hebrew text, but without the article, it bears its basic meaning of an adver­sary or opponent.

The connection in which Satan appears most vividly and in the course, not of prophetic vision or poetic drama, but of strict historical narrative, is in the story of Eden. The Book of Genesis as we have it stems from a Sumerian original and the serpent of Eden is derived from the legendary creature known as the “saraph”, a mystic heavenly visitant dazzlingly glorious in appear­ance but in this case bearing occult and unlawful knowledge to men. This one, says Genesis, was craftier than any terrestrial living creature; every aspect of the story of Eden therefore demands that Eve did hold converse with an intelligent male­volent celestial being who set out to seduce her into disobedience and disloyalty to God.

Jesus knew the reality of His opponent. He called him “a murderer from the beginning” and the father of lies (John 8:44), acknowledged him to be the “prince of this world” (John 14:30) and asserted that in time past He himself had wit­nessed his expulsion from heaven, which must have been at the time of his defection from righte­ousness (Luke 10:18). He warned Peter that he was particularly a target for Satan’s devices (Luke 22:31). The Apostles were equally certain. Peter, much later, warned his flock in turn that the Devil as a raging lion walked about seeking whom he might devour (1 Pet. 5:8). Paul said that in certain circumstances “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14) and again, that “Satan hindered us” (1 Thess. 1:18); again, in a very trenchant sentence he declares that “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:4). On the reverse side of the picture he assures us that “the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly” (Rom. 16:20), an evident allusion to the condemnation of the serpent in Gen. 3:15, and this is confirmed and amplified by the writer of the book of Hebrews in the declara­tion that Christ, through His death, will “destroy hm that hath the power of death, that is, the Devil” (Heb. 3:14). With all this, and more, in the pages of the New Testament it is difficult to resist the conclusion that the founders of the Church possessed a vivid consciousness of a mighty spiritual and unseen but nevertheless very real enemy against whom they must struggle with all their powers.

Another factor meriting consideration lies in the region of the occult. For a long time scoffed at in modern materialistic thought it is now becom­ing increasingly accepted by investigators and observers that there is a reality in certain occult phenomena, some kinds of witchcraft and necrom­ancy and so on, which so far has defied what is glibly called rational explanation. Such pheno­mena have been in evidence all down the ages, and back in the first century the Apostle Paul at least was quite certain about their reality and their source. “Our fight is not against human foes” he says “but against cosmic powers, against the authorities and potentates of this dark world, against the superhuman forces of evil in the heavens” (Eph. 6:12. NEB). That there has been, in some remote past time, a rebellion against Divine authority on the part of certain ones in the angelic world, and that these “rebellious angels” have been and are in a continuing state of evil doing, which threatens not only Christ’s followers but all of mankind, is plainly shown in Scripture. It follows as a matter of logic that Satan is the leader and inciter of this “host of wickedness”. If indeed it could be shown on other grounds that there is no evidence for the existence of a personal Devil it would necessarily follow that, given the existence of the rebellious angels, whoever is leader among them would himself automatically fill the role. That this is the position is indicated by Jesus in the parable of the Sheep and Goats when he refers to “the Devil and his angels”. (Matt. 25:41). All this does help to establish the solid fact that, behind the veil which shrouds things in the spiritual world from our senses, there is a force of beings animated by evil whose leader is the one we know as Satan.

This, then, is the champion of evil. Created by God, for all life comes from God, he must of necessity have come from his Creator’s hand per­fect, innocent, sinless. Thoughts of rebellion and sin must have shaped themselves in his mind as in the exercise of that free will which is the gift of God to all his intelligent creatures he began to sense the possibilities which disloyalty could offer. The Bible says as much. There are two meta­phorical passages in the Old Testament in both of which, under the guise of great earthly potentates, the Prince of Darkness is obviously pictured. In the one he is depicted as saying to himself “I will ascend to heaven above the stars of God; I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly, I will make myself like the Most High”. (Isa. 14:13-14 RSV), Here is overwelming ambition, the created, aspiring to be equal to the Creator. So came the word of God to him “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till iniquity was found in you … so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God” (Ezek. 25:5-16). This is the fall of Satan, perhaps at a time far anterior to the creation of man upon earth, perhaps, as some have surmised, at the very time of that creation. Perceiving the potentialities inherent in this new expression of the creative power of God, Satan, think some, might have determined to win this new incipient empire for himself. Whatever may have been the motive and whenever the time, the end was inevit­able. In the fine language of the Authorized Version “therefore will I 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” (Ezek 28:18). Here is the doom of Satan; the fire of his own sin, pro­ceeding from within himself, destroys the life which once held such great promise but because of it having been given over completely and wholly to sin has become incapable of reformation. Be it noted that this passage does not picture a kind of judicial execution sanctioned by the Most High: the extinction of being which is described in these tremendous words is the logical and the inevitable result of sin, accepted into the heart and allowed to reign unchecked until every impulse and feeling of right and truth has been eliminated and the whole personality is given over irrevoc­ably to the pursuit and practice of evil.

It goes without saying that the medieval con­ception of Satan as a hideous monster having horns and tail, armed with a trident and breath­ing fire, is nothing more than artist’s license of the times. As a member of God’s celestial creation Satan must have been what man in his own world was when God looked upon that which He had made and found it “very good.” In his own sphere and among his own companions Satan would have been transcendently glorious. He must have appeared to Eve in Eden as a radiant and assur­ing presence. Isaiah gives his primal appellation as the Morning Star, the planet Venus. (“Lucifer” in Isa. 14 is derived from an ancient term for Venus meaning “the splendid star” and has only become a proper name by custom). These allusions substantiate the intention to portray a particular and intelligent celestial being who was originally made, like man, “In the image and likeness of God”, and by transgression fell from that high estate. According to Ezekiel he was “a cherub with outspread wings, set upon the holy mountain of God”. Of his rank and position and activities in those first days before thoughts of sin entered his heart we know nothing; of the terrible results of his apostasy and commitment to total evil, so far as this earth is concerned, we have full and sad experience. Of the future, with no indication of remorse, of sorrow, of repentance. We have only the inexorable words of God, as recorded by Ezekiel “you have come to a dreadful end, and shall be no more for ever.”

The Winds of Anarchy

8437520_15627243_pm“I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth … Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.  (Revelation 7:1-3)

For a number of years, the third spasm of trouble (anarchy) has been progressing. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)  At the present, the winds of anarchy are blowing furiously. However, the fact that there are still a few of the consecrated on this side of the veil, total anarchy has not yet begun.  As soon as all the “light” and “salt” has been removed from the earth, total anarchy will begin. (Matthew 5:13, 14)  For a short period of time, before divine intervention stops the trouble, it will be very dark and corrupt. (Matthew 24:21, 22)
CURRENT EVENTS
The winds of anarchy are increasing. The month of July has been one of violence throughout the world.
“They shall fight everyone against his brother, and everyone against his neighbor; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Isaiah 19:2)   “For I set all men everyone against his neighbor.”  (Zechariah 8:10)
“Wherefore, I will bring the worst of the heathen, and they shall possess their houses. …” (Ezekiel 7:24)
“The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fail, and not rise again.” (Isaiah 24:20)
The prophecies are in the process of fulfillment with more to follow.
Jeff Hood, who claims to be a Baptist member, is actually a sodomite pro-Muslim agent. He was the organizer of the Dallas “Black Lives Matter” rally that resulted in the murder of 5 Dallas police officers and injury of numerous others.  Hood said, “I think that Texas Muslims are the real Christians.”
Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently said that the Department of Justice would stand with the Muslims in the wake of the San Bernardino jihad attacks.  …  Lynch was also a part of a Jew-hating Pro-Terrorist Harvard Group.
Gatewood, a director of the NAACP branch in North Carolina, said that the one who killed 5 police officers and wounded others was a “defenseless” victim. ( DEFENSELESS ???)
The first black Miss Alabama has been suspended from her job at a Miami TV station after calling the Dallas cop sniper a “martyr”.  (MARTYR ???)
Recently more than 100 people were arrested and 21 police officers injured in Minnesota.
At least 3 police officers are dead and 3 others are injured after a shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Police in Arizona say a single suspect may be responsible for a series of shootings that have left 7 people dead.
At least 84 are dead and many were injured after a truck plowed into a crowd at Nice, France.
During the last 18 months 234 people have died in French terror attacks.
Police in Berlin say 123 officers were injured in clashes with leftist protesters over the redevelopment of a district in the east of the city.
Gunman killed nine in Munich, Germany.
On the social media, ISIS supporters celebrated the Munich killing.  (HOW SAD!)
While responding to a shooting report, a Kansas officer was shot and killed.
About 3,500 protesters marched through Friedrichshain recently.  Some were masked and threw missiles, police said.
In Kabul, Afghan, the death toll from a suicide attack climbs to over 80 and more than 230 injured.
An attacker who murdered a Catholic Priest in France was under police supervision.
A car bombing in Syria killed 44 people;  ISIS claimed responsibility.
Lawyers filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Facebook Inc. alleging it allowed the Palestinian militant Hamas group to use the platform to plot attacks that killed four Americans and wounded one in Israel, the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Israel’s military is operating in the Sinai Peninsula with Egypt’s blessing – working to crush ISIS.  Israel is operating armed airborne drones in the Sinai, with the full support of Egypt.
Between 2009 and 2014, Israeli settlements expanded by 23 percent in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.  Upwards of half a million Jewish Israelis already live in more than 150 Jewish only settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Forces loyal to the Turkish President quashed a coup attempt by some members of the military that began Friday evening and devolved into turmoil and violence.  At least 200 died and more than 1400 were wounded.
Several of the anti-Trump protesters admitted they answered an ad on Craigs list and were getting paid to protest Trump.
Floods in China have killed more than 150 and hundreds of thousands evacuated.
In January, 2009, 32 million Americans were receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  During Obama’s administration, an additional 16 million people have been added, making a total of 48 million people. (Some reports have it much higher.)
    After an almost five year journey to the solar system’s largest planet (Jupiter), NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit during a 35 minute engine burn.  Confirmation was received on Earth on July 4.
A $100 million representation of Noah’s Ark was opened recently in Williamstown, Kentucky.  The ark is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high.   Its 3 decks span more than 120,000 square feet.
The second evil world (dispensation), under the usurped control of the adversary, Satan, that old serpent, will come to an end, at the time the trouble is terminated,  Satan will be fully bound, and the demons who have not repented will go out of existence.
Righteousness will then begin to prevail and gradually all the willing and obedient will reach human perfection.  (Revelation 22:17; Isaiah 35:8; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28)

How Jesus Preached To The Spirits In Prison

preaching in hell“Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the spirit, by which (two experiences–death and resurrection) he preached unto the spirits in prison.” – 1 Peter 3:18, 19.

This text has been made the basis for some peculiar presentations.  From it some have deduced an intermediate state lasting between death and the resurrection.  Others have claimed it as an authority for the doctrine of Purgatory.  The difficulty in every case seems  to be the failure to remember that the Bible always and everywhere teaches that the dead are really dead, that they know nothing, and that, therefore, it would be impossible to do any preaching to the dead humans.  Undoubtedly the theory that people are more alive after they die than when they were alive, is responsible for nearly all the foolish things which we have all at some time professed to believe.

Before dismissing the thought that these “spirits in prison” are human spirits, let us note the fact that to say, “human spirits,” is an absurdity of itself, because human beings are not spirits, and spirit beings are not humans.  “Who maketh His angels spirits” is the Scriptural proposition.  True, we do sometimes speak of humans as possessing a spirit of life, but by this we merely mean that they possess the power or energy of life, and the same would be equally true of the lower orders of creation, beasts, fish, fowl, etc.

Again we sometimes speak of the Church as spirit beings–begotten of the Holy Spirit.  Thus the Apostle speaks of the natural man in contrast with the New Creature, a spirit being.  To appreciate this statement we must remember that the Church class receives the begetting of the holy Spirit to the end that, if faithful, they may attain unto a spirit resurrection and become spirit beings, like unto the angels and like to the Redeemer.  But we are not spirits yet, except by faith–by hope. However, the context shows that the Apostle had no reference to the Church, either; we were not in prison; we received the Message of salvation through the Apostles.

Spirits Once Disobedient

The spirits to whom the message was given had proven themselves disobedient, says St. Peter.  He even tells us the time of their disobedience, namely, that it was “in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing.”  Surely, if noticing these particulars mentioned in the context, no one would be excusable for misunderstanding this Scripture and considering it in any way applicable to humanity of our day or to humanity in general.   However, it is helpful to us to learn the full particulars of the matter.  What was their disobedience, and when and how were they imprisoned?

Turning to Genesis 6:1-5, we find there the cause of the disobedience of those angels, who for a time had been permitted to see what they could do for the uplift of humanity, or, rather, permitted to demonstrate that the downward tendency of sin is incurable except in the manner which God has already arranged for through Messiah and His glorious reign of a thousand years.

Instead of those angels helping mankind out of sin they helped themselves into sin, and by so doing they increased the depravity amongst humanity, until the astounding record is that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth,  and that every imagination of the thought of his heart was only evil continually.”  The particular sin of those angels was that when they were granted the privilege of materializing–or taking human bodies for the sake of helping and instructing mankind–they misused this power and took to themselves the daughters of men for wives.

These angels came gradually to prefer to live as men amongst men, and to rear earthly families, rather than to abide in the condition in which they were created–spirit beings, higher than humans.  Not only was this wrong in the sense that it was taking a course in opposition to the Divine arrangement, but it was wrong also because the thing was done for the cultivation and gratification of lust, and it led to their own moral defilement as well as having a baneful influence upon humanity; for we can readily see that for the angels, of superior powers and intelligence, to become leaders in lustful practices would mean a great influence upon mankind toward sin and defilement of mind and body.

We are particularly told that the offspring of this improper union between the angels and the daughters of men were giants, both physically and mentally superior to the fallen human family–“men of renown.”  And this statement, that they were “men of renown,” was at a time when manhood’s estate was reached at a hundred years, and implies that God did not interfere to hinder or stop the progress of sin for perhaps several centuries.  In the meantime, the race had become so corrupt that apparently only Noah and his family were uncontaminated–all others had more or less come under the influence, directly or indirectly of these fallen angels or their giant sons.  Hence, of Noah it was written (not that he was a perfect man, but), “Now Noah was perfect in his generation” (uncontaminated) and his family apparently the same.  Hence these alone were saved in the ark, while all the remainder, more or less contaminated, were destroyed by the flood.

“In Chains of Darkness.”

It was then and there that God imprisoned those spirits, angels, who kept not their first estate, and are, therefore, called fallen angels, devils, demons.  They were not imprisoned in some far-off world called hell, nor are they engaged there in stoking fires for the torture of poor humanity.  Following the leading of the Scriptures we find that when the flood came they were not destroyed, because, while their fleshly bodies which they assumed might indeed perish, yet they would merely dematerialize, or assume their spirit conditions again.

The record is that God cast them down, that He condemned them to an overthrow–that they might not any longer associate with the holy angels, but must be reserved in tartaroo–our earth’s atmosphere.  Here they were imprisoned, not in a special place, but in the sense of having their liberties restrained,  in chains of darkness.”  They were no longer permitted to materialize, and thus to associate with humanity. These things are distinctly told us by St. Jude and St. Peter (Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4, 5)–an explanation in full harmony with the Genesis account of their fall.

Once Disobedient–Still Disobedient

We, of course, cannot know that all of those fallen angels are still in a disloyal condition of heart.  On the contrary, in harmony with our text, we may suppose that some of these fallen angels have since repented of their wrong course, and it would be none too strong a way to state the matter–that any such repentant ones would surely have terrible experiences as a result.  To be obliged to be in close touch and relationship with the more evil and malignant ones, and to have knowledge of all. their evil designs and efforts, would be a terrible experience, and, besides this, we may be sure that the rebellious would not hesitate to persecute the repentant ones in every conceivable manner, as they would be lawless, regardless of the Divine will.

On the other hand, the repentant ones would be obliged to restrain themselves and to not render evil for evil, knowing that this would be contrary to the Divine will.  In other words, repentant ones amongst those fallen spirits, influenced by the preaching of Jesus, or otherwise, would have a kind of purgatorial experience, and the very thought calls forth our sympathy.

When imprisoned or cut off from the privilege of materialization, many of the fallen spirits, we know not what proportion, continued their active opposition to God, after the manner of Satan.  Hence they are spoken of as his angels, his messengers, his servants, and he is spoken of as Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons.  Satan, who sinned much earlier than the others, and in a different way, the Scriptures tell us was an angel of a higher rank, or a higher nature, and this superiority of his has made him the Prince or ruler over the hosts of fallen spirits.

Fighting Against God

The fight of Satan and his fallen angels is against God, against all who are in harmony with Him, against all the regulations of righteousness, and against all the channels and servants whom the Lord may use. St. Paul’s words along this line are forceful; he remarks that God’s people contend not merely “with flesh and blood,” but also “with wicked spirits in high positions,” and the question arises, “Who is sufficient for these things?”  The reply is that none is sufficient; without the aid of the Redeemer, His Church would be quite overcome and vanquished by evil.

Likewise, without the Redeemer’s aid through His Kingdom, without the binding of Satan, without our Lord’s releasing of the world from the bondage of sin and death, there would be no hope of the world’s recovery from its present bondage.  But with the Apostle we  exclaim, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”—Romans 5:31

Through Mediums and Obsessions

Satan’s original plan of attack was to bring our race under his influence by misrepresentation–by putting darkness for light and light for darkness–for instance, the temptation under which Mother Eve fell. Satan there represented himself as Eve’s friend, giving her sound advice.  He represented God as having a selfish motive behind His command that our first parents should not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Satan declared that God had told an untruth when He said that the penalty for sin would be death.  Satan declared that man cannot die.

And has he not since kept up the same line of falsification? And has he not deceived the whole world upon this very subject?  Do not all peoples in every land believe that when a man dies he does not die, but gets more alive–exactly Satan’s lie of the first instance? How few have believed God, even amongst His people who truly love Him, and who truly desire to believe the teachings of His Word’.  We have all been under a kind of “hoodoo.”  “The god of this world (Satan) hath blinded” our minds on this subject.  We are now coming to see that death is the penalty for sin, and that the resurrection is the salvation which God has promised and will provide.

Satan has had powerful allies and servants in the fallen angels, and it is through their persistence that his lie has triumphed over the Divine Word of Truth–“Dying, thou shalt die.”  These fallen spirits have made various manifestations in every land for centuries, and thereby have apparently substantiated the theory that a dead man is more alive than when he was alive.  Knowing that mankind would have nothing to do with them if their real personality were known, they hide their personality, and represent themselves as our dead friends who desire to speak with us, either directly or through mediums.

A further desire of these angels is to obsess or to get possession of a human being.  Being chained, or restrained from the privilege of materialization, the next most desirable thing, in their estimation, is to gain control over a human being, and to use his body instead of their own.  This is styled obsession, and persons so afflicted today are sent to an insane asylum, where, it is estimated, they constitute at least one-half of the entire number.  In the days of our Lord these were not mistakenly supposed to be insane, but rightly declared to be obsessed. All remember the New Testament account that our Saviour and His Apostles cast out fallen spirits from humanity.

“Know Ye Not That the Saints Shall Judge Angels?”

We need not discuss this question with Bible students, for it is too well recognized to be disputed.  We suggest a topical study of this subject by all of our readers.  See how many times Jesus and the Apostles cast out demons, and note the particulars.  Although we still have with us spirit mediums, and many obsessed, we cannot know whether the proportionate number is greater or fewer than in our Lord’s day.  Since the world’s population today is so much larger, the same number of evil spirits (which do not increase) would show proportionately less.  But, however that may be, we may assume that some fruitage resulted from the great sermons preached to these in connection with the death and resurrection of our Lord, respecting which St. Peter tell. us in our text. Additionally, St. Paul remarks, “Know ye not that the saints shall judge angels?”  (1 Cor. 6:3)  We do know that the holy angels need no judging, no trial, hence the Apostle must in some way refer to a trial or judgment or testing of these spirits in prison who were once disobedient, in the days of Noah.  And if the judgment or testing is a part of the Divine plan, it implies a hope for them, and in conjunction with St. Peter’s statement in our text it gives the reasonable inference that the preaching which Jesus did to them was not wholly in vain.

How Jesus Preached in Death

Here arises another question:  If Jesus was really dead, as the Scriptures declare, if “He poured out His soul unto death,” and “made His soul an offering for sin,” and His soul was not raised from the dead until the third day after His crucifixion, how could He in the meantime preach to spirits in prison, or to anybody else?  We reply that He could preach in the same way that the Apostle refers to, saying, “He, being dead; yet speaketh” (Heb. 11:4); and again, in the same way that the blood of Abel is said to have cried to God figuratively.  Of one thing we are sure, namely, that Jesus gave no oral address while He was dead. He preached in the way we sometimes refer to when we say, “Actions speak louder than words.”

It was the great object lesson which the fallen angels saw that constituted to them the great sermon that gave them a ground for hope.  On several occasions the fallen spirits, when commanded to come out of human beings, declared that they knew Jesus.  In the long ago they had known Him, when, as the Only Begotten of the Father, and His Representative, He had created them and all things that are made, and was also the Mouth-piece for all Divine orders and regulations.  They realized that He had come into the world to be its Redeemer; they perceived the great stoop that He had made from His lofty position on the heavenly plane to the servant position on the human plane.  They admired His loyalty and faithfulness to God, but doubtless believed Him to be foolish; they never expected Him to rise from the dead.  But when they perceived His resurrection on the third day, to glory, honor and immortality, “far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named,” His sermon to them was complete, namely, that “the wages of sin is death,” but that “the gift of God is eternal life.”  (Rom. 6:23)  And as they realized thus the power of God and the love of God for His human creatures, the Apostle’s words imply that this constituted to them a message of hope.  Perhaps if they would show full contrition God eventually would have mercy upon them, even as He had had mercy and had provided for humanity.

The lesson is one for all.  God’s power is Infinite, so is His love, His mercy, His goodness.  Nevertheless, every willful sin will have its punishment, a just recompense of reward, and only the willing and obedient shall have the Divine favor and everlasting life.  Let each apply the lesson to himself.

The Binding of Satan

binding-of-satanThere are six pictures or Jesus establishing the Kingdom round in the last three chapters or Revelation.  The binding or Satan is the first or these six.  The restraint or Satan’s power is the keynote of Rev. 20:1-3.  Jesus is here correlating things that he had told the apostles and disciples before.  We will consider some or these in discussing this passage.  In reading the passage we see several important points.  In verse 1 we read about the angel which comes down from heaven having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.”  The angel is Jesus, who has the keys to hell and death.  (Rev. 1:18)  The key is to the bottomless pit, and represents power to release and confine anything or anyone in the confines or its door.  The bottomless pit represents oblivion. The Diaglott translates it as the deep abyss.  It certainly represents a condition or complete restraint.  The second thing the Lord has in his hand is a chain.  We will examine this symbol later.

In the second verse the symbols continue.  The person referred. to by the four symbols emphasizes Lucifer, God’s archenemy, in all his various disguises and forms.  In Vol. 4 foreword, pages V to VIII, Bro. Russell identifies the Dragon as Rome, the world civil power.  This is elaborated in Reprint article, page 4609 (The Binding of “The Strong Man”).  The serpent identifies him as the father or lies and evil associated with deception.(John 8:44)  The word Devil” in the King James Translation is translated accuser’ in the Diaglott.  Satan has accused God’s people or various dishonesties, wearing them out in their stand for righteousness at any cost.  He is also the accuser of God Himself–“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’  (Gen. 3:4, 5)  Rather than “Satan” as in the King James version, the Diaglott renders it as “Adversary.”  Remembering God’s curse on Satan in the Garden or Eden, we see here the early stages of the execution of that curse of Gen. 3:15–“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

The rest of verse 2 (Rev. 20) says that God’s archenemy is bound 1,000 years.  Two very important elements are here, for an incorrect thought on either the binding, what it is what it is not, or the 1,000 years will give us the wrong thought entirely.

Binding here comes from the Greek word, “de’o.”  It means to bind, fasten, tie when translated literally. Vine’s commentary on the Greek text says that when used symbolically, it implies a restraint or collective process. Arndt and Gingrich suggest that it is used metaphorically.  Remembering that we are reading Revelation as signs, or symbolically (Rev. 1:1) we will do ourselves harm to read only the literal meaning out of “bound” and ignore its symbolic significance.  We will examine other uses or the word “deo” in the symbolic sense and will see the appropriateness or the thought or restraint in a collective way.  The 1,000 years here, as in other uses, refer to the length or time Jesus is to bind or restrain Satan, not less and not more than the length or time Jesus is to bind or restrain Satan, not less and not more than 1,000 years.  The time periods and numerical values or Revelation should evidently be understood literally to be consistent with other Scriptures about the same measures. Thus, the emphasis or verse 2 is that Satan is restrained in a collective sense, a period or 1,000 years.

Verse 3 (Rev. 20) also tells us that Jesus also puts Satan into the abyss. And there he shuts him up, absolute confinement from humanity, and sets a seal on him, without hope of anyone without the “key” releasing him.  The purpose is to keep the devil from the deception he had practiced for over. 6,000 years.  It is important to recognize here that even though Satan is spoken of as being restrained by the chain (bound) for 1,000 years, the Scriptures are not saying that he is placed into the pit (absolute confinement from humanity) for the full 1,000 years.  This distinction is very important for the Lord is telling us that Satan is restrained (bound) for the 1,000 years and that for the latter part of the 1,000 years, his restraint is so complete that it is likened to solitary confinement, (in the abyss).  The purpose of the abyss confinement is to stop the deception Satan has practiced on the nations previously.  It is not until he is put into the abyss, then, that he stops the practice of deception on the nations.  This distinction makes it clear that Satan is permitted to deceive the nations during the early part of his binding period, the part that is not also the time he spends in the abyss.  However, the binding of the first part of the 1,000 years when he is restrained, but not to the extent of absolute confinement, restrains him to some degree from the license he exercised prior to the 1,000 years.  So we have three conditions identified:  1)  Satan being fully at liberty to deceive the nations before; the 1,000 years, 2)Satan having his liberty to deceive the nations restrained, with his deceptions permitted only to the extent Jesus saw it could be used to destroy its own influence, and 3) complete restraint and confinement, that the nations would not be deceived by him until the end of the 1,000 years.  The last part of verse 3 tells us that he will be released from the abyss, complete confinement, to again serve the interests of righteousness by practicing deceit on the nations.  This condition is elaborated in verses 7 through 10.  We are assured there that his final loosing will serve the purpose of exposing the dishonest among the human family in the Kingdom, and finally end in Satan’s own complete destruction.

Satan’s Liberty and Restraint

Verses 4 and 5 (as corrected by the removal of the spurious part) are not part of the description of Satan’s binding, but serve to emphasize the condition of the Church during that time.  They show that the 1,000 years is coincident with the period of the first resurrection.

So we see that the power struggle of the two great enemies, Jesus and Satan, is described in a capsule. The 1,000 years is the time when righteousness is being exercised to restrain the power and influence of Satan for the eventual destruction of evil practices and finally Satan himself.  But to understand the process by which this is achieved we must investigate the doctrinal statements relating to the working of good and evil during the 7,000 years, and the triumph of Jesus’ power during the last of those 7,000 years.

First we must recognize that Satan’s power is restrained in varying degrees for the entire 1,000 years, though it is not eliminated until some time after the 1,000 years have started.  The Scriptures tell us the magnitude of Satan’s power before the 1000 years have started.  They say that he had great power.  1 John 5:19 tells us that the whole world lieth under the evil one (Diag. translation).  Eph. 2:2 calls Satan the prince of the power of the air, whose spirit works in the sons of disobedience. Both these Scriptures emphasize that Satan’s power included the domination of the world as well as controlling the evil spirit beings.  It is very significant that both apostles recorded the power of Satan over the world and evil spirits but not over the true church.

Satan’s power is referred to in symbol as darkness.  This refers to the darkness of the mind enchained by ignorance, dishonesty, superstition. As noted above, John 8:38, 41, 44 refer to Satan as a liar from the beginning and the father of lies.  2 Cor. 4:4 refers to him as the god of this world who has blinded the minds of the human family, to keep them from recognizing God.  2 Cor. 11:13-15 tells us that Satan is transformed into an angel of light.  The word here translated “transformed” is a very different word from that of Rom. 12:2.  In the Romans reference the word comes from the Greek metamorpho meaning an orderly change, as in the change of a caterpillar to a butterfly, and a justified, spirit begotten human being into a New Creature.  The word in 2 Cor. 11, referring to Satan’s change comes from the Greek metaschematizo, meaning to change in fashion or appearance.  It is not a real change that Satan makes, in-to an angel of light, only an appearance of a change.  He is really an angel of darkness, and is content to appear only as an angel of light. The Scriptures carry the thought of false angels of light over to Satan’s associate angels.  They too only appear as angels of light, while really remaining as angels of darkness.  Paul tells us, in 2 Thess. 2:1, 10 that Satan’s power and signs and lying wonders exercised with all deceivableness of unrighteousness extended to those under his influence. The devil’s power, dishonesty and deceit of the people, are referred to as that of a sorcerer, producing a child of the devil, full of subtlety and mischief.  Satan, joined by the consortium of evil angels, is a prince over his household.  (Eph. 2:2; 2 Pet. 2:4)  The great organizations of Christendom are his masterworks of deceit.  He has put the administration of its various religious, political, economic and social institutions under the authority of his loyal, evil angels.  Jude 6 tells us that Satan’s disciples are confined in chains of darkness. Satan’s superior control, through the chains of darkness, has kept the institutions loyal to his designs.  The chains of Jude 6 are translated from the Greek word desmos, meaning bonds.  The close association of deo–meaning bound in Rev. 20:2–and desmos–meaning chains in Jude 6, emphasizes the restraint of the victim, though in both cases the restraint alone does not mean immobilization.  In the Revelation Scripture, the complete immobilization is referred to by the abyss condition.  Therefore we see that Satan’s power is represented by darkness and is literally deceit, dishonesty (in their various forms) and ignorance, even over his own household.

However, great as Satan’s power is, it is not supreme.  The Scriptures record our need to be armed with the righteousness of God and exercise it as our faith.  (Eph. 6:11, 12; 1 John 5:4)  In so doing we will be free of the power of the evil one.  Satan’s power has always been restrained from doing injury to the New Creation.  Jesus reassures us of this in John 14:30 where he tells us that the prince of this world has nothing in him.  Paul also warns us that we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with Satan and his minions, to be victorious if we keep on the whole armour of God.  And we are delivered “from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of His dear Son.”  Thus we see that Satan held virtually complete power over the people of the world, the nations.  But when it came to his power over the church, he is deficient because of Jesus’ righteousness and our growth in the truth, the light.

In reviewing Satan’s power, we note three conditions of its restraint:  1) by God’s power, 2) at God’s time and by His discretion, and 3) by the use of the truth–as may have been specified.  We recall the experience that Job had, due to his faith in the Lord, and Satan’s jealousy of that faith.  God’s permission to Satan included the restraint of Satan’s power to take Job’s life.  God here literally restrained Satan’s power.  Just how He did it we do not know.  But we do know that His restraint was sure because Job’s life was saved.  Satan’s power is also restrained by Jesus and the Church.  The Scriptures tell us that both use the truth to destroy sin, with the symbolism of light destroying darkness. In Matt. 4:1-11 we learn about Jesus rejecting Satan’s influence, or restraining his power by a “thus saith the Lord;” Jesus’ use of the truth. In 1 John 3:8-12 the apostle John is telling us that Jesus’ power destroys the works of the devil.  The Apostle Paul emphasizes the restraining of Satan’s power over even the weak ones in the Truth because the power of the  Holy Spirit in Bro. Timothy was strong enough to recover the weak “out of the snares of the devil.”  In Rev. 12:9-12 the Apostle John sees the Christian overcoming Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of the Testimony.  Again Satan’s power is thwarted by the greater power of Jesus’ sacrifice and the power of the Truth to overcome evil of any kind.  In 1 Pet. 5:8, 9 the apostle tells us to resist the devil by steadfastness in the faith.  Again the devil a power is restrained by the Truth and its faithful use.

Our Lord had a very important experience with the scribes when they accused him of casting out devils by Beelzebub.  (Mark 3:22-27; Matt. 12:22-30; Luke 11:14-26)  .Reading these passages gives us an important insight into the relationship of Jesus’ and Satan’s powers.  The element of time is clearly shown as a vital part of their relationship.  And the delay of Jesus, to exercise his power over Satan, is in itself a special power.  In reading the passage in Luke, we note several points. First, Satan is not casting out himself when his scheme is failing. Second, the casting out of demons indicates the exercise of a greater strength than Satan’s, for if he seems to rise against himself, it means his schemes are failing and his defeat is near.  Also, the Lord said again that Satan’s empire would be near its end when his house was divided.  And he stressed Satan’s fall again by saying that when Satan’s kingdom was divided it meant its fall.  Jesus established the point of Satan’s loss of power three different ways.  It must be very important for us to understand our Lord to repeat it three times.  After the emphasis of three references, then Jesus explains that in order to break up Satan’s house, he, Satan, must first be bound.  The word here of bind is the Greek word de’o, meaning to bind, fasten, tie and thus to restrain.  Then Jesus explains that the binding would occur as a surprise, that it would be done by one who was stronger than Satan and one who would have the authority to restrain Satan.  And then, to make the timing of the binding very clear to us, Jesus said that the binding would occur before the spoiling of Satan’s goods.  It is important to note here something that Jesus did not say.  Jesus said that he would bind Satan, restrain his power.  But he did not say that we could recognize that restraint by a lessening of evil in the world.  He said that we could recognize that restraint by the dividing of Satan’s kingdom and his house.  The lessening of evil would have been an obvious sign of the dividing of Satan’s house, if it were a valid sign.  And the parable would have been an appropriate place for Jesus to include the lessening of evil as a valid sign, if it were.  But, we believe, the fall of Satan’s kingdom and house means greater evil than when Satan was in full power, not less. The Luke passage adds a portion of Jesus’ advice not included in the other passage.  Verses 23-26 of Luke 11 seem to allude to Satan’s minions of evil angels who revolt from Satan a power and now, for their own evil purposes, start using the part of Satan’s empire they formerly controlled for their evil prince.  In both cases their control is against Jesus (V. 23), but when they control the evil institution for their own benefit, rather than Satan’s, the evil seems to be uncontrolled.  It also seems to degenerate to an even lower level than when under Satan’s own power.

Recognizing that before the disintegration of Satan’s empire can start Jesus must have begun his restraint over the evil one, let us examine some Scriptural bindings where the Greek word deo is used.  In Matt. 16:19 our Lord commissioned Peter with power to restrain or loose as he was directed by the Holy Spirit in promoting the Kingdom message.  He told Peter that his actions would be recognized and honored in heaven.  And we see Peter explaining the freedom from the law and the liberty and bondage of Christ not only to the Jews but also finally to the Gentiles. Paul was bound in the spirit to go to Jerusalem.  (Acts 20:22)  A wife is bound to her husband (Rom. 7:2) by the law until her husband dies.  In Luke 13:16 the beloved physician tells us that Satan bound a woman to her infirmities.  There are many other general statements of binding.  They, as these, refer to restraint in some manner or form, and to a greater or lesser or unspecified degree.  As in the case of the married woman, she was to reserve certain rights to her husband only.  But the law did not prescribe that she had no rights of her own.  It did not incapacitate her as a person by binding her to her husband.  The binding in each of these cases of the use of deo refers to a definite restraint of the one bound but not the incapacitation of the bound one.

Now let us consider the binding of Satan in the context of what we have already considered here.  First we recognize that the parable Jesus gave about the binding of the strong man refers to the same binding as in Rev. 20:1-3.  We note that there is only one binding of Satan by Jesus because there is only one destruction here.  Secondly, we recognize that the act of binding of Satan began very early in the Lord’s second presence (Matt. 24:43) for if Satan had realized our Lord’s presence he would have avoided his own binding and the consequent binding of his goods and house. Thirdly, Satan’s binding is symbolic (Rev. 1:1) and represents restraint in some form, symbolized by the chain.  The chain representing the restraining force, must include more than one thing.  We do not know the actual description of everything used to restrain Satan as a spirit being. But whatever it is, it binds Satan to permit the collapse of his empire. As Bro. Russell points out, the chain includes the truth.  We have seen references of its power are symbolized in Isa. 27:1; Psa. 74:13, 14; 2 Thess. 2:6-10.  As these symbols of the sword, strength and brightness of his presence, Jesus uses the truth to destroy Satan’s power.  1 Thess. 4:16 refers to the shout of the archangel (Dan. 12:1) in establishing the Kingdom of righteousness to replace Satan’s empire.  Isa. 42:13-16 prophesies that the Lord will use jealousy, pain and discomfort, neglect and starvation, and disclosure of the truth as part of the chain to keep Satan from stopping the destruction of his house and goods.  These are all things that our minds can grasp as tools, or as the Revelator puts it, chains which the Lord uses to restrain Satan’s power.  There are probably other restraints of a strictly spiritual nature which our natural minds would find difficult if not impossible to comprehend.  We do not know what they are but leave it with the Lord to apply them as they are needed.

The fourth consideration about the binding is that it results in a divided Satanic house that falls.  It results in the evil angels working against Satan and his stratagem, Christendom and its orderly structures. It appears reasonable to view the evil angels as using parts of Satan’s goods to their own selfish purposes, now opposing Satan as well as Jesus. Nihilism, communism, socialism, humanism, the clergy challenging their hierarchical authority; people questioning all religious and other forms of authority, wanting more and more education, only to promote the decrease of faith in God and the imbalance of technological achievement versus the sociological values–these continue to disrupt Satan’s evil, but organized empire, precipitating an evil and chaotic revolution and the empire’s final destruction.  The structure of society is collapsing in disarray.

The shouts of liberty, to be free of Satan’s burdens, are being wrongly used to promote chaos and their own eventual destruction.  The false claims issue from the evil organizations only draw them to the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16:13-16).  Zech. 8:10, Rotherham’s translation, tells of the time when God looses every man’s hand against his neighbor.  Then the four winds of Revelation, loosed after the church is complete, will turn men to yearn for the higher authority.  Then the binding’s early stages, just enough restraint to bring chaos within Satan’s house, will have served its purpose and will completely enclose God’s archenemy in the bottomless pit, where he will have no influence at all.  That is the time, of course, when Jesus will have suppressed all evil in all the evil angels too, and all men are drawn to Christ (John 12:32).  It seems very important to recognize the difference between just the binding, or restraint of Satan, and the combined binding and absolute confinement in the bottomless pit.  The latter is completely restrictive while the former is restrictive only to the extent that it best serves the Lord’s purposes.

Before summarizing the thoughts of this study it is important to mention the keys from the Pastor used to gain the understanding here presented. The following reprint articles were most helpful:  THE BINDING OF THE “STRONG MAN” (Reprint 46O9); BINDING OF THE STRONG MAN (reprint 3784); THE WHEAT AND THE TARES (reprint 4635); THE DISPUTED CLAUSE (reprint 501); NOT IN VAIN (reprint 877); THE BINDING AND LOOSING OF SATAN (reprint 1233;1687, par. 2);  The Binding of Satan (Sermon Book, pages 94 to 106) was also most helpful.  Volume References include B 353; A 324; E 18 and 20; C 57 and the Foreword of Volume Four.  Also the notes from Brother Chester A. Sundbom’s talk on SATAN’S HOUSE DIVIDED helped in gaining the perspective of God’s viewpoint of Satan’s binding.

Now to summarize:  Satan’s binding of 1,000 years began at the Lord a second presence.  And the binding started then, is continuing progressively more restrictive until he is fully restrained, being placed in the bottomless pit.  Sin is everywhere worse than before.  Therefore it means that he is more active, but less in control of the evil angels who are now active on their own behalf.  The binding of Satan exposes his power as error.  It does not eliminate all sin.  The destruction of the nations and institutions is the restraint of their lies and methods by the truth and righteous methods and the use of evil against evil, as in the revolution of Satan’s house.  The increased activity of sin in Satan’s chaotic empire means that Satan is being bound rather than indicating that he isn’t being bound.  The binding of Satan permits the destruction of his house rather than the preservation of it.

As applied to our own lives, this truth should make us the more rejoicing Christians, that we may lift up our heads as we see these things coming to pass.  (Luke 21:28)  “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good  that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”   Isa. 52:7-12.

Prince Lucifer of Old is Now Prince of Demons

lucifer“The God of Peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” – Rom. 16:20
Doubtless many have been much surprised when told that Satan is  not in some far-off place stoking fires and torturing human or
other victims, but that he is present amongst men, an invisible
angel of evil, ably supported in his work as an Adversary of God
by legions of other fallen angels, of whom he is master a “Prince
of Demons,” either because of his superiority of nature, or
because of belonging to a higher rank or grade than the ordinary
angel. It is a surprise many to learn that Satan, so far from being
ill favored, is beautiful, according to the Scriptures, and that he is
supervising the work directly and through the fallen angels, his
servants, to mislead and to deceive humanity putting light for
darkness and darkness for light, error for truth, etc.

The time was not long ago when intelligent people made light of
everything in the Scriptures respecting invisible spirit beings,
good and bad the messengers of God and the messengers of
Satan. This, however, can no longer be done. Under the
increasing light of the New Dispensation man himself today can
do things which but a short time ago would have been
considered impossible. Can we not speak with our friends over
hundreds of miles with a telephone and recognize each other’s
voices? Yet there is no pipe, no tube to convey the sounds and
nothing, seemingly, carries it over the wire. We speak into a hole
in the wall and our friends hundreds of miles away hear plainly.
Still more marvelous is wireless telegraphy and wireless
telephony. If man can accomplish these things, what cannot the
Almighty accomplish? Who can deny the possibility of the
invisible presence of spirit beings and yet admit the possibility of
wireless telegraphy? We are safe, dear friends, in guiding our
judgments directly by the Word of God and reasoning inside and
not outside of its boundaries.

THE BIBLE IN PERFECT ACCORD

The Bible, and it alone, explains certain phenomena, and all of
the Bible explanations, although written, some of them centuries
apart, are in most perfect accord. Thus in Genesis the Bible tells
us respecting Satan’s deflection, and the book of Revelation,
written more than three thousand years later, tells us of his
binding for a thousand years, of Messiah’s reign and Satan’s
ultimate destruction. Isaiah and Ezekiel tell us of his being at one
time in full harmony with God, and that then he was the
“covering cherub,” glorious, grand, beautiful, and that his name
was Lucifer, which signifies the Morning Star.

All of the angelic, heavenly hosts are termed stars, bright ones;
but Lucifer, being of a higher order, was styled the Morning Star,
the Brightest Star. It was at that time, while in Divine favor, that
Satan permitted the lodgment in his mind of a disloyal thought of
how, indirectly, by being in higher responsibility, he could work
some wonders and do some things better than the Almighty. He
craved the opportunity to make a demonstration of what he could
do. But the Scriptures declare that, first of all, he said this merely
in his heart and uttered it not. “He said in his heart, I will ascend
into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God (still
farther above his angelic associates), I will be as the Most High”
a ruler.

THE OPPORTUNE TIME CAME

Never had there been sin in heaven. Satan was the first of all its
inhabitants to cherish, to entertain, a rebellious thought and to
bring it to a consummation. He held the thought in abeyance
until the opportunity afforded, and God Himself afforded the
opportunity, with full knowledge of the consequences, and with
the desire that this test of the entire heavenly host, and of a
human race as well, should be effected, because God seeketh not
the worship of constraint, but “seeketh such for worshipers as
worship Him in spirit and in truth,” voluntarily, joyfully.

It was when Satan beheld our first parents, in the image and
likeness of God, yet not spirit but flesh, earthly, that he perceived
the opportunity of gaining the coveted power for an empire,
separate from that of Jehovah. In the first pair the Adversary
beheld a new thing, a creature of Godlike qualities and possessed
of the power to propagate his own species. Satan realized that the
conquest of this pair and the bringing of them into subjection to
himself would signify the capture of a world full of people
eventually that the enslavement of the parents would signify the
enslavement eventually of the race.

SATAN’S METHODS WERE SUCCESSFUL

We cannot deny that Satan’s plans were logical and that he has
carried them out with great success so that the Scriptures declare
him “the Prince of this world” (John 14:30);and again, “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4). Nevertheless, his victory was not so great a one as he doubtless expected it to be.

No doubt he expected that he was capturing an immortal race.
Quite probably he believed the falsehood he told mother Eve,
when he contradicted the Word of God that sin, that
disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit, would bring upon
them the penalty of death, “dying thou shalt die.”

Satan’s charge was that God had misrepresented the facts for the
purpose of holding His creatures in mental slavery to Himself;
that He did not wish them to be wise, therefore He forbade the
eating of this particular kind of fruit and declared the penalty of
death for the transgression of His Law. “I, Satan, assure you that
you need not be afraid of the fruit; I assure you that it will do
you good, and that you will not surely die from the eating of it.”
Alas! Mother Eve believed the Adversary and disbelieved her
God, and then enticed her husband, still thinking, no doubt, that
she would not die and that the serpent had told her the truth and
that God had been the deceiver. St. Paul tells us that father Adam
knew better and ate the fruit, knowing that it would cause his
death, willing thus to disobey in order to maintain the fellowship
of his wife, whose life, he realized, was already forfeited.

When the Divine sentence began to go into execution, when our
first parents were driven out of Eden to battle with the thorns and
thistles until they should return to the dust, no doubt Satan was
disappointed. He would rather be the Prince of a noble, living
family of angels or of humans than the Emperor of a weak and
dying race. However, from that day to the present time he has
been fighting upon the same line; he has been contending with
mankind that the Word of God is false when it declares that “the
wages of sin is death,” and that “the soul that sinneth it shall
die.” From that day to this he has been using this falsehood to the
injury of our race, and surely he has succeeded wonderfully.
Today, not only in heathen lands, but amongst the most civilized,
it is freely believed (and by many Christians considered
Scriptural to believe the nonsensical) that a dead man is more
alive than before he died. People of good, sound, reasoning
faculties on ordinary subjects seem to be “hoodooed” by this
falsehood of Satan, “ye shall not surely die.” So true is this, that
it seems not inconsistent to them to say that a man hit over the
head with a stick and knocked senseless knows nothing, but a
man hit over the head harder and killed, knows everything.

THE FALLEN ANGELS

It was sometime after the fall of Satan and the fall of man that
the Lord permitted the great test to come upon the angels of
heaven, under which test a host of them fell into sin,
disobedience, etc. and since then are known in the Scriptures as
the fallen angels, and as devils more properly demons. These
fallen angels, demons, are under Satan as their great Prince and
they have been his active agents for long centuries in deceiving
mankind and opposing the Divine Program.

SATAN THE GREAT MURDERER

No less an authority than our great Lord and Redeemer tells us
that Satan is a murderer and a liar. He declares that “He was a
murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth; when he
speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own, for he is the father of lies.”
(John 8:44) It is well that we keep this Divine testimony in our
minds. It is well that we note just what the first great lie was,
namely, Satan’s misrepresentation saying, “Ye shall not surely
die.” It is important that we notice this, because so thoroughly
has Satan accomplished his deceptive work that practically
everybody, heathen and civilized, accepts Satan’s version of the
matter and discredits that of the Almighty.

Let us notice that Satan is a murderer; that he murdered Father
Adam and Mother Eve, and that his lie is still murdering our
race, under the just laws of heredity. The error of believing Satan
instead of God has gotten many into the confused situation of
disclaiming that God proposed that man should live forever on
earth in a Paradise, and, as his family would increase and
continue in harmony with His wise regulations, the boundaries of
his Paradise would be enlarged and be a Paradise filled with the
knowledge of God and the home of a perfect humanity, in accord
with God, privileged to maintain everlasting life here. And, says
this theory, by Satan’s lie and our first parents’ fall, we die and
by dying become more alive and some of us go to heaven and
the mass to some eternal, fiery hell, of which we have no
knowledge.

THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE (Rom. 6:23)

God, while permitting Satan and sin and depravity and death to
take their course, has not been idle. He has had, and still has, a
great plan for human salvation a plan for recovering man from
sin and from death and from all of his fallen conditions, a plan of
restitution to human perfection, a plan by which the Seed of the
woman shall yet, literally, crush the Serpent’s head, and undo
Satan’s great original misdeed recover man from his murdered
condition and from his fallen estate to all that he had at first plus
the knowledge and experiences of the present life and plus the
experience incidental to his uplift, during the reign of Messiah,
for which we pray, “Thy Kingdom come.”

The Scriptures clearly show us that all of this recovery is to be
accomplished through the merit of Jesus” sacrifice—” the just for
the unjust.” That the work has not yet begun is evident. We are
still living under the reign of sin and death. The Messianic
Kingdom must come in power and great glory and be
established, the Scriptures tell us, in a great time of trouble. Then
the earth will be made to blossom as the rose, and the wilderness
and the solitary places will be made glad, and all mankind will
receive Divine blessing and opportunity to return to Divine favor
and eternal life as human beings. And the willfully disobedient
and the negligent of those opportunities will die the Second
Death, from which there will be no recovery, no resurrection, no
hope.

THE SAINTS SHALL JUDGE THE WORLD (1 Cor. 6:2)

These great blessings of restitution, for which Israel and the
whole world are waiting, cannot be brought about until first the
special salvation of a special class, the salvation of the very elect
not to human nature, but to a heavenly nature, as the Bride of
Christ shall be accomplished. The selecting of these has
progressed for nearly nineteen centuries and, apparently, is about
complete. The Divine blessing and work then to be inaugurated
will be restitution to earthy nature and perfection—” to the Jew
first.”

SATAN SERVES THE SAINTS

During all these centuries, while Satan has been the Prince of
ruler amongst the children of this world, and while he has
blinded them with his sophistries and falsehoods, he has also
done another work for the saintly few now being called to the
heavenly places. For these he has, so to speak, turned a polishing
grindstone to prepare them for the riches of the heavenly glory as
New Creatures, as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ
their Lord. Quite unwittingly, we may be sure, he has served the
Creator’s purposes and helped to prepare, through trials, this
class for the glorious things which God has in reservation for
those that love Him.

SATAN AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT

St. Paul declares of Satan, “We are not ignorant of his devices,”
and he tells us that Satan and his servants transform themselves
into servants of righteousness, etc. We see this principle in
operation as we read Church history. Satan, all through this Age,
has sought to pervert Christian hopes and distort Christian
doctrines by presenting counterfeits of Bible truths. Thus, for
instance, the Scriptures tell us that eventually the Church, “a
little flock,” will be associated with Messiah in His Kingdom of
glory, to reign a thousand years. It was Satan’s method to
counterfeit this hope, to suggest to men the establishment of an
earthly Kingdom with an earthly little flock, an earthly glory, an
earthly reign. This was set forth as the fulfillment of the second
Psalm.

And when later on some of Satan’s dupes began to get free from
some of his snares, he became their leader in an opposite
direction, called them Reformers and led them to claim that all
the civilized kingdoms of the earth are the kingdoms of Christ.
This is the status of affairs today. The world in general believes
that Christ’s Kingdom has come, even through they are still
praying, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is
in heaven.” Satan has led them away from careful attention to
making their own calling and election sure by Christian character
development, into the various reform movements of the world,
whose trial time has not yet come. Thus Christians of all
denominations have been bewildered, confused by the artful
wiles of our enemy. Now, however, as the morning of the New
Dispensation dawns, our eyes of understanding are opening. We
perceive that our Adversary has but a short time until he must be
bound for a thousand years; that the Messianic Kingdom must
prevail that all the families of the earth may be blessed through
the Seed of Abraham. Finally, at the close of that reign of
righteousness, the Scriptures declare, Satan shall be destroyed.
The Church is the Body of Christ, of Messiah. Hence the
Apostle’s words of our text apply to the Church in glory—” The
God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly”.

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?



May Christhalloweenians and their children participate in Halloween activities? To answer this question, we should first distinguish the secular observance of Halloween from such important Christian festival days as Christmas and Easter. Christmas celebrates the birth of our Savior and Easter commemorates his resurrection. Both these Christian holidays memorialize profound aspects of the life of Jesus.

The celebration of Halloween has no such Christian spiritual features. True, this holiday falls on October 31st, which is the eve of All Saints Day, which is a festival day celebrated by some Christian churches. However, the modern celebration of Halloween is not generally thought of as a Christian time of worship.

The day does have religious significance for some people, particularly wiccans and druids. For some people and in some regions, Halloween or some of its elements may have a non-Christian religious meaning. Some Halloween activities could be considered anti-Christian, and would, therefore, be avoided. Christians would want to avoid demonic associations, for example. With these things in mind, it would be appropriate for Christians to consider carefully their activities on this holiday.

For most children, however, there is no religious significance involved in either the day itself or in such elements as pumpkins or costumes. It’s true that such things as jack-o’-lanterns, bonfires and black cats, which are part of the Halloween tradition, may have roots in pre-Christian activities. But when children go trick-or-treating or visit “haunted houses” at the local shopping center, they are not thinking about participating in any religious festivities at all. They are just trying to “have fun” as they would at a movie or amusement park.

Most Christians believe they can celebrate Halloween (in some respects) as a purely secular day of fun. We should remember that much of the television we watch and many movies we see are what we often call “mindless entertainment.” Many other things we do for fun, we do precisely for entertainment and for no other reason. That’s the way entertainment is. Playing checkers or a video game, for example, has no redeeming features of a cosmic nature except that it’s fun, and sometimes relaxing. Many classic children’s stories include magic or other elements that children know are make-believe.

Many people see trick-or-treating or visiting a haunted house as being in the same category. It’s just plain fun, and has no spiritual, religious or enduring significance. Viewed on that basis, participating in various Halloween fun activities wouldn’t be any different than going to Disneyland’s “haunted house” or enjoying similar entertainment.

The issue of whether to celebrate Halloween in any way is usually only a question for parents who have small children.  Retailers advertise Halloween as a time of great fun for kids, so they naturally want to participate in trick-or-treat walkabouts, don spooky clothing and visit local “haunted house” stations provided by some merchants or involve themselves in other related activities.

For parents who don’t want their children involved in such things, they might consider having a home party with other parents and children that don’t involve Halloween-type festivities.  Some churches offer an evening get-together for children and parents, with fun Bible-centered games and party snacks.

Should Christians and their children participate in Halloween activities if they are unsure whether it is the right thing to do or are convinced it is wrong? The Bible teaches us that we should be fully persuaded in our own minds about these things—either pro or con. But we should not judge or condemn others who are of a different persuasion. The apostle Paul’s advice in Romans 14 can be applied to the question of Halloween activities.

If some people feel uncomfortable participating in Halloween activities, perhaps due to problems in their region, then they should not do so. The day has religious significance only to those who give it religious significance. (Of course, as mentioned earlier, we would do well to avoid those activities that still do have an unChristian flavor.) It is the responsibility of each Christian to decide, based on biblical and Christian principles, whether to participate in Halloween activities, and to avoid judging other Christians who have different circumstances and make different decisions.