The biblical teaching of a Devil who inspires evil in the world is so disturbing that it causes some to doubt that Satan is meant to be taken literally. After all, why would God create or tolerate a Devil? Adding insult to injury, Revelation 20 tells us that 1000 years after Jesus returns and jails Satan, God will let Satan loose again. Satan will immediately inspire men to gather an army against Jerusalem. What is God thinking? Find out how God keeping Satan around today and releasing him from jail later (before he goes to the Lake of Fire with all the wicked) is the most loving thing he could do because of the important truth it demonstrates about evil.
Doubting the Devil
Recently I bumped into a friend at the supermarket and took the opportunity to sit down and visit with her. Since she is a serious believer and I am an author of a book on Bible prophecy, the conversation naturally led to Bible topics. While answering a question of hers I mentioned Satan's key role in history and prophecy. I was not prepared for what I heard her say next. She responded by sharing that she did not believe in Satan.
I was dumbfounded. Although I knew that many Jews do not believe in a Devil, I had never heard of a follower of Jesus Christ who reads the New Testament professing this. Her idea was so radical that I experienced a moment of self-doubt wondering whether Satan was not firmly established doctrine as I had always assumed?
I paused and tried to remember what passages establish the personage of Satan. I immediately recalled Peter's Epistle mentioning the Devil being on the prowl like a lion (1Pe 5:8), the Book of Revelation talking about Satan deceiving the whole world (Rev 12:9), and the extensive testing of Job by Satan (Job 1-2). Since these passages were all plain and unmistakable to me, I knew the doctrine of Satan was solidly scriptural not just in one but in both testaments. This was important because I knew my friend came out of Judaism which naturally made her trust the NT less than the Hebrew OT (which she could read natively as Hebrew-speaker).
Yet when I asked her what about all the passages above, she surprised me again with her response. She said she questioned the validity of Job because “we do not know where he came from,” a reference to how unlike many other OT books, Job lacks a lineage for its titular figure. (I did not know why that mattered, but I let it go.) To negate the NT passages, she applied figurative interpretation. (Now this was no surprise at all after decades around Christians.) She suggested that perhaps Satan refers to the “evil in us all.” She went on to describe a theory that for the Millennial peace to happen, God would have to remove our evil impulses or nature, which is what is meant by Satan being bound in the abyss when Jesus comes (!). I listened, fascinated because I had never heard someone attempt to explain away Satan from the New and Old Testament. When she was done, I marveled at how, once again, two people can read the same Bible passages and come to very different conclusions.
God's Bizarre Handling of Satan
Not that I can blame my friend for doubting the Devil's existence. Whether you think God created the Devil on purpose or he became evil later, how God has handled Satan is certainly perplexing and hard to accept.
Consider these "inconvenient truths:"
- God let a wicked, powerful and persuasive cherub near his newly created children Adam and Eve (Gen 3:1).
- God did not prevent Satan from deceiving them, leading to their sin and expulsion from the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:23).
- God allowed Satan not only to continue deceiving all of Adam and Eve's children but to have dominion over this world (Luke 4:5-7; 1Jo 5:19; 2Co 4:3-4; Rev 12:9).
- Not until Jesus returns will Satan be imprisoned to stop him from deceiving people finally (Rev 20:1-3).
- Nevertheless, Satan will be released from his jail to do exactly what one would expect him to do based on past behavior: inciting people to rebel against God. He inspires an attack on Jerusalem resulting in the attackers' deaths (Rev 20:3, 7-9).
About the only positive thing one might be able to say in defense of God's handling of Satan is that at least he is partially restraining him today. Satan is not allowed to destroy all our property or cover us all with boils like he demonstrated he can do in his persecution of Job. We must assume that God is restraining Satan from simply killing us all instantly, too. We see the record of this universal restraint described when God is speaking to Satan about what he can and cannot do to his servant Job.
Despite this, when you look at God's past and future plan for Satan, it certainly is hard to reconcile it with a loving caring Father God that Jesus spoke of.
However, if, unlike my friend, you still accept Satan at face value, I can explain how this plan for him makes sense for a loving God to make. If you are open to it, you are in store for some of the most profound insights available in the Bible on God's wisdom, love, and way of life. Let's begin with where Satan came from and whether he started out evil (as created by God) like he is today.
Satan's “Origin Story”
Just like with a comic book superhero or villain, there is a back story to the Bible's villain. It's just that you have to turn to the Old Testament and read with a careful eye to see it. The information is spread out in different places and oblique ways.
Most are aware that Satan the Devil first appears as the serpent who beguiles Eve in Genesis (Gen 3:1=Rev 12:9; 20:2). You would think you could not get any earlier in history than that which means God must have made the Devil this way in the beginning. Yet there is a mention of an earlier time than that in the most ancient book of the Bible—the Book of Job. Long after Satan's role in the story ends in Job 2:7, we find an important nugget about the creation of the physical world:
Job 38:4, 7 (HCSB) — 4 Where were you when I established the earth? ...7 while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Job refers to the angels as the sons of God and morning stars. This tells us two things: God created the angels before the physical world and all these angels were in harmony and agreement with God initially. God could not have created an evil Devil for this to be accurate. Therefore, obviously at some point after that before the scene in Genesis 3, one of these joyful angels changed their minds. This change turned him into Satan or literally in Hebrew Ha-Satan (השטן), “the adversary” of God. He then led a rebellion against God that one-third of the rest of the previously joyful, obedient angels followed (Rev 12:3-4).
What precipitated the change in this angel to go against God? Ezekiel 28 sheds important light on it, again, in a manner that requires extra care. It begins by talking about a rich, powerful and arrogant man called the prince of Tyre and then shifts in verse 12 to the king of Tyre who is definitely a different individual paralleling the prince:
Ezekiel 28:12-14 (HCSB) — 12 “Son of man, lament for the king of Tyre and say to him: This is what the Lord GOD says: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God. Every kind of precious stone covered you: carnelian, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and emerald. Your mountings and settings were crafted in gold; they were prepared on the day you were created. 14 You were an anointed guardian cherub, for I had appointed you.
This character is no man, but a cherub or type of angel. Just as Genesis talks of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, this passage says that is where the cherub was stationed. The passage goes on to describe what happened to him.
Ezekiel 28:15-19 (HCSB) — 15 From the day you were created you were blameless in your ways until wickedness was found in you. 16 Through the abundance of your trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I expelled you in disgrace from the mountain of God, and banished you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17 Your heart became proud because of your beauty; For the sake of your splendor you corrupted your wisdom. So I threw you down to the earth;
As it plainly says, God did not create an evil angel on purpose. Satan was full of wisdom and blameless in all his ways when God made him. At first, this seems to contradict what Jesus said that Satan was "a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44). However, "beginning" in that context does not best fit Satan's beginning or creation but must refer to the beginning period when Satan caused Adam's death, making him a murderer, the world's first. Of course, this is something he did some unspecified time after his own creation and change to become the serpent.
The End In 2026? It's Now Possible
Since learning in 2001 that Yeshua must return in a Sabbath year, I've had to rule out three Sabbath year cycle windows for the final 7 years (2003-2009, 2010-2016, 2017-2023). With the next window (2024-2030) less than 7 years away, I'm ready to share why I believe, based on the real end time sign of Mt 24:14, that this can be the one. If it is, the "birth pains" (WW3 + Wormwood, Lk 21:10-11) would hit near its middle in 2026 with Yeshua returning in 2030. Find out what's changed to convince me about 2026 and what you can do about it...
Satan's Fall Explained?
Why did Satan change? Like all of us, Satan was equipped with complete, unfettered free will. He began to think too highly of himself and too little of God—as is a common theme across Bible characters. Great power, riches or beauty often corrupt, leading those possessing them to disregard God and his laws. It happened to King Saul and King Solomon and it happened to Satan.
If you have ever wondered why God so often humbles his servants with prison, wilderness experiences, or suffering and martyrdom before he elevates them (as he did to Joseph, Moses, and the twelve apostles, respectively), this is why. Teaching them humility first is a way to ensure that they can handle their higher position later without being corrupted by it.
Contributing to that could be a particular personality type I think Satan possesses: a suspicious or paranoid personality. After interacting with tens of thousands of people online for over two decades, I've come across this type just a few times. Despite your best efforts, intentions, clear conscience and patience with these people, they come away seeing you as bad or with evil motivations. Maybe you have met the type yourself. You'll know it when in your efforts to clarify and be a peacemaker with them, they throw parts of your explanations back at you as proof of what they thought all along. They don't trust you and are suspicious of you no matter what you say or do and there's nothing you can do to change it. (I've learned to simply cut off communication and say a prayer for these types once I recognize it's what I'm dealing with.)
After seeing enough of this personality type, it dawned on me that this is what was Satan's true problem. He had this personality type through luck of the draw when God rolled the dice for his character. (Note, because of his complete transparency, I think God did not "stack the deck" or prevent such personality types from randomly appearing in the DNA of either angels or mankind, nor did he specifically make Satan predisposed to rebellion.) As a result, Satan is deeply suspicious of God, doubts his goodness and does not trust him. After all, "Who gives life and so much more to others without having an agenda? It's inexplicable if not suspicious behavior..." or so Satan might argue in his defense. (Practice helping complete strangers out of the blue and you'll see this suspicion eventually express itself.)
I think Satan's words to Eve reflect this. He suggested that God was trying to keep them from becoming like God by forbidding the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Have you ever considered that this statement was not a lie or a fabrication he invented to simply "make trouble?" But rather Satan truly doubted God's good intentions and spoke from his heart? Meaning he rebelled against God and told Eve what he did for the exact same reason. Satan suspects that God created both angels and man to use for some hidden agenda, to control us and limit us.
Think about it. Satan has seen God in his glory, his very face, and yet he still doubts his goodness and trustworthiness. Why? I think he is just that rare, distrusting type who also happens to have an inflated opinion of himself.
Why Allow Satan to Continue to Interfere With the World?
Since Satan could not trust and serve God, why was he not removed as soon as this wickedness was found in his heart? Instead of holding off on that until Jesus returns? Why was he even allowed in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were clearly no match for him?
We can figure it out if we think what we know through. Obviously, God is omniscient and could have prevented a Devil and fallen angels from ever happening if he had wanted to. He could have made angels with some kind of built-in limit or fetter to their free will so that, while they could choose anything else like what their favorite color was, wickedness or rebellion against him would be prevented.
Instead, God seems to place the utmost value on true complete free will for his creation—so much so that he is willing to put up with all the evil that is inevitably going to result by their choices.
I can imagine a few possible reasons for this. First, the love or obedience for God by his creation would be a fraud if they did not have complete free will including the ability to choose to rebel or disobey. Second, we humans would not truly be in God's image if we did not have free will exactly as he did.
However, giving people the full power to choose is not so magnanimous if at the same time you slyly limit their options by putting them in an environment with only one choice. It reminds me of the saying of Henry Ford that you could have any color of Model-T you wanted so long as it's black. This is where Satan's opposition to God is good and even deeply caring of God. Rather than God having a monopoly on the universe as the only refined, spirit-powered game in town, Satan is allowed to exist as a worthy competitor to inspire his own sophisticated ways that have spirits behind them.
Satan Provides A Sophisticated Alternative To God
While Satan is certainly not anywhere near as powerful as God is, he is still a spirit with abilities and intellect far superior to man. He literally has superhuman, supernatural powers. This makes him god-like from our puny human vantage point bound by three dimensions and the laws of physics. Satan (along with his network of fallen angels and demons) therefore can truly provide a powerful viable alternative to the true God for humans to consider and interact with. In fact, this is probably the origin of the pantheon of gods that man has invented and worshiped in all the world's cultures. All these evil spirits work together to bring blessings, disaster, prosperity, diseases and even healings (Rev 13:3-4) in response to the worship—or refusal to worship—the gods.
Are they completely to blame for the evil in the world? No. Even if there were no evil spirits inventing and inspiring selfish distractions, the world would still be full enough of evil, suffering, and death. The Bible states and demonstrates that man's heart is selfish and desperately wicked all on its own (Jer 17:9). The spirits speed up the process of exposing what is in our hearts already by making those choices more available, powerful and tempting. Of course, this environment makes it that much harder to remain righteous in the current world run by Satan. Achieving righteousness today requires overcoming much more than those who live during the Millennium. That may seem unfair until you factor in that we will be rewarded in the Kingdom of God based on how much we overcome (Rev 21:7; Dan 12:3; Luke 19:16-17).
Satan's Incarceration and Release
When Jesus comes back to set up the Kingdom, all of this evil spirit counter-programming will be stopped. After six millennial days of most of the world going their own ways and seeing the misery that results, the world will finally get to see for one thousand years the joy and prosperity that results when the majority get to learn and go God's way. It will literally be a utopia.
After the 1000 years are over, people will have the information they need to fairly and objectively judge the two ways of life. They can compare the two results and see which way is better and which is the only way could work for happiness and peace for eternity: God's way of peace and love. You would think that with that there would be no need for any further experiments with the involvement of evil spirits.
But you would be wrong. Revelation tells us:
Revelation 20:7-10 — When the 1,000 years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 They came up over the surface of the earth and surrounded the encampment of the saints, the beloved city. Then fire came down from heaven and consumed them. 10 The Devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur...
It's a perplexing prophecy that poses two questions:
- How could Satan so quickly turn people against God when they have been learning and enjoying God's ways for so long? How could Satan possibly start people preparing for a war on peaceful loving righteous people not bothering them?
- Why is this further evil spirit experiment necessary? What new point does it prove that could not have been made before?
1. The Precedent of Satan Corrupting Eden
The first question is not so hard to answer if we go back to the Garden of Eden. If you think about it, Eden was really a very similar situation to the Millennium. Adam and Eve were in direct contact with God. He instructed them. They were under his government if you will. Yet despite this ideal situation, Satan was still able to come along and turn Adam and Eve against God.
We can easily understand exactly how he did it. Satan pulled it off by sowing doubts about what God had said and what his true motives were. He insinuated that God was selfish and not looking out for their best interests, but his own (not wanting them to be gods, too). He suggested they alone could take care of themselves, not God.
Satan's manipulation worked because the ideas he was presenting were new to them and they were inexperienced. Although he implied untruths about God, these untruths seemed possible. They could not know automatically that they were false from past experience.
When Satan is released on the post-millennial crowd, he will be able to use the exact same tactics to the same result, although it will work for different reasons. Like Adam and Eve, many people will not know the difference if Satan tells them God is withholding something even better from them through his rules and regulations. But really, and this is a big point, many will be thinking and wondering such things already anyway. Everyone is different and some are going to be suspicious of God's intentions and distrusting of him. As pointed out above, these people will be more or less repressed in their Millennial environment. They will be suppressing their true feelings and impulses due to the positive peer pressure around them as well as the powerful “ rod of iron” that King Jesus is ruling with.
Satan's appearance will allow these disgruntled people to finally have a chance to do what they really want to do. Satan won't have to twist their arm.
2. Why it is Loving of God to Release Satan One Last Time
But as we said, this scenario is nothing new. Eden demonstrated along with the six millennial days that followed demonstrated this problem. What is the necessity of unleashing Satan on the post-millennial crowd? What new truth does this make clear to the world that the preceding one thousand and six thousand year periods did not?
When I asked questions like that, it occurred to me to consider what follows this revolt. The following events all have to do with the lake of fire. Satan goes there first immediately after his revolt. Then the Great White Throne Judgment comes when unrepentant wicked humans join Satan along with Death and Hades (the grave) itself. It's what we might call capital punishment, sentenced by the very One who originally gave them life. One who says he is love.
Of course, it is considered to be unenlightened or inhumane to punish people with death. We might ask how is it loving for God to kill people who disagree with him? Isn't God unfair to say that he gives people free will and free choice only to then destroy them because they did not choose what he prefers? Is there not a better, more loving way?
Rather than answering with, “Trust me, I'm God. This is for the best,” God instead is, once again, going to show us the proof. He will demonstrate that as long as Satan and those following his evil, adversarial way are around, there will never be an end to war, strife, and suffering. Satan's release will show us the reason why God has decreed death for those who prefer to not live the way of love and peace that God and his followers choose. It is a necessary judgment. “Live and let live ” is a nice concept, but in eternity it eventually results in misery, war, and death for all. God, in great love, will have removed all doubt about that before he pulls the trigger.
People will agree that God had no choice but to finally "take out his competition," which is how some would try to frame his destruction of Satan and his followers at the Great White Throne Judgment shortly after the Millennium. All these free moral agents had ample time and opportunity to demonstrate that their alternative ways could work or at least even could coexist with those following God's way. They will have utterly failed.
The consideration of God's handling of Satan provides a master's course in how much God values free will for all his children, both angels, and humans. By permitting a wicked intelligence like Satan to spread his ideas and way in the world, God lovingly allows people to have a sophisticated alternative to his way rather than monopolize the market. For six thousand years it will be allowed to demonstrate its futility. In jailing Satan after that in the Millennium, the way of righteousness will be able to be learned and practiced without interference to provide a fair comparison with the previous age going the way of Satan's and man's selfish ways. Finally in releasing Satan and letting him convince the fringe to rebel and attack the righteous, it demonstrates beyond any doubt that God's capital punishment for the wicked is necessary and just. Without ending the experiment of wickedness there would be an eternal war between the camp of the wicked and the righteous. God's plan for Satan shows that the only scenario which works for eternal peace and happiness in eternity is for those who choose misery to be put out of their misery.
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I just want to say that this topic is very helpful as I was asking God about this recently. So thank U. I do want to disagree w/ the “personality type” concept. I don’t think so. I believe we ALL have this potential trait within us (hubris) and we see it all the time, especially today in Academia and the Professional realms where people have been indoctrinated to believe in themselves and their achievements over God. In fact, these realms embody people who are mostly agnostic or worse. It is so easy to fall into that trap and I believe we all do it often. Satan just focused all of his attention on that trait and the seed of hubris grew like a weed and devoured his soul.
I’m sure I will have more to say on this article as I am just getting started:)
I will also say that the reason I turned back to God completely very recently was becuz God showed me that it wasn’t “the liberals” (my old crowd) who had were just great organizers and had single-handedly destroyed America and the Western World:) I “realized” that Satan was the only reasonable “explanation” of the Total Degradation of society. That was the first time I believed there was “actually” a Satan and God made it very clear to me. I was immediately reminded of the Bible prophesies about the End Times and God led me straight to your website/book:)Reply
Bumped into a Christadelphian online, so finally understand the shock of a Christian not believing in the devil. Really makes you second guess yourself but keen to delve deeper into that oneReply
First of all thank you for venturing farther into this topic than most are willing to go. The questions you entertain here are very courageous. However I think that some of your answers although well intended fall short.
First of all let me say I declare Jesus is Lord and is risen from the grave and He as God in the flesh has defeated death and sin for all by his blood on the cross.
That said, there are some problems with your love and free will theory. Heres how critically thoughtful unbeleivers think.
Imagine a man has two children age 4 and 5. He has determined to raise them to be good people and to do that they must learn to trust what Daddy says.
He finds out that the neighbor whose back yard adjoins his own is a convicted pedophile. He says to himself, I will install a gate on my back yard that is unlocked and I will use this to test my children love and obedience to me.
“Children,” he says, “ You may never take candy from anyone other than me is that understood?”
“Yes daddy” they say
“Ok good because if you take candy from anyone else something really bad could happen.”
Then as the Father watched out the window the neighbor stands at the gate and begins to talk to the children.
He opens the gate and invites them to come in and play with his puppies, and oh yes by the way he offers candy. Well the children at the thought of candy and puppies venture forth.
A half hour later they come back into the yard looking traumatized.
The father comes outside and sees them and says where have you been?
We went into the mans yard because he offered candy.
Didnt I tell you not to take candy from anyone but me?
Now I will have to cuss out the neighbor and as for you leave my yard and go live in the street. You failed my test.
I know this is really disturbing and please understand I mean no slander against God and His Word. But this is what we are up against when it comes to atheists and unbeleivers who are willing to ask hard questions.
In this story, stripped of divine authority, we have a parallel to what some people feel God allowed to Adam and Eve in the name of love and free will. The absurdities convince them of either a) the story is a myth or allegory or b) God is a myth.
God is no myth and neither is Jesus. Satan is just as real. But consider the following scriptures:
Woe unto him who would cause one of these little ones to stumble
To him that has the ability to do good and does not to Him it is sin.
Free will seems awefully trite compared to the well being of a child
The only thing that can possible reconcile all these contradictions is that in the end none will be lost and God will reconcile all things unto himself in Christ. If that isnt true then the rest is just madness.Reply
Mark, your story, as with most stories judging God the Father’s behavior by how human parents must act by law, is a bad analogy. Human parents do not have the ability resurrect children to live again (Rev 20:5) nor to heal any and every trauma that befalls them in the interests of not infringing on human free will (Rev 21:4). If he’s raising us up to be eternal children of God in his image, who has free will, free will is paramount for us above suffering, pain, trials, trauma, and even people getting the wrong idea about him for their first lifetime like the children in your story would likely do.Reply
Regarding Satan and the power he has and why Yahweh lets him get away with stuff…..it’s about judicial order. Satan is the god of this world, a Morning Star ranking angel, who was given this position by God. Yahweh has established laws and He keeps to them. Yahshua too is a Morning Star and was sent to supercede Satan. He proved worthy to replace Satan at His first coming and will officially take charge as King of Kings (of the earth) at His second coming. It is all about rank and order…..and perfect timing. There are lots of Scriptures to back the above.
Great article Tim. I have always believed similar to what you have written about. I came out of a group of people that have their history date back to the Holy Ghost outpourings in 1904 at Azuza St. in California. Our founder started in 1914 in Louisville, Ky. At that time the debates about the godhead were going on. I think that is when the Assembly of God churches and the Apostolic churches organized. One went trinity and one went oneness. Our founder believed in two, but he never organized. He believed in freedom to fellowship churches and discuss the scriptures to arrive at truth. They have always been a group that has sought out truth. We have many truths that we agree with you on such as the devil, resurrections, godhead, kingdom to come, etc. We also have some in the group (churches spread across the US.) that believe heavily in spiritualizing the scriptures. So the doctrine of the Devil being a persons flesh is familiar and widely held. They said if you don’t spiritualize the scriptures you are not really spiritual. But the church I went to didn’t believe in doing that except when it came to Babylon, we were taught that it was organized religion. I have believed for a long time now that it is the US. I have always been a lover of the truth and appreciate very much your insight into the scriptures. I have learned now more than ever since I left the church to have an open mind and let God lead me. Keep up the good work and I’m looking forward to learning more.Reply
One thing is for sure….without the illuminated one….there never would have been a Jesus ChristReply
I think 6000 years is enough time to test and see if a system is going to produce good fruit. Now let’s see what happens during the 1000 year alternative system that is fast approaching. Bring it on 🙂Reply
Excellent, always enjoy your work Tim. This is a great one to recall in troubled times:
“Great power, riches or beauty often corrupt, leading those possessing them to disregard God and his laws. It happened to King Saul and King Solomon and it happened to Satan. If you have ever wondered why God so often humbles his servants with prison, wilderness experiences, or suffering and martyrdom before he elevates them (as he did to Joseph, Moses and the twelve apostles, respectively), this is why.”Reply
it is a good privilege to have access into you articles and i know that as it has blessed my life and expanded my knowledge, so it has done to millions of souls, may God bless your work in Jesus NameReply
It’s a real head scratcher how in the 1000 years there’s still a great number of dissenters. Got and Magog are mentioned specifically, but it’s likely there would be other individuals or groups with the same outlook.
Those resurrected after the millennium in the White Throne eon might reason that it’s not their fault they sinned and were anti-God in their lifetime because Satan was influencing their minds. They might reason that if they would have had the easy road given to those without Satan in the millennium, they would have lived a different life.
The rebellion of people living under ideal conditions and without Satan’s sway would strongly refute this idea.
It’s unclear whether there were dissatisfied people during all of the thousand years, or just as the thousand years were coming to an end. The fact that the Bible explains this indicates it was known from the beginning.Reply
GA, it’s not a head-scratcher if you go back and read the section on the same exact thing happening in the Garden of Eden to people with only pure teaching from God himself, and remember personality types. Even with pure, clear, unfiltered teaching on God and his goodness, there will always be a percentage of outliers who can never trust God or feel good about his required way of life (love, sacrifice). Like one third of the angels, they are ripe for the picking when someone comes along willing to give voice to their doubts and lead them to act on them.Reply
Great read Tim thank you. It really clarifies allot for me.
I do have one question. After all is said and done, (eternal life or eternal death), those who have eternal life… will there be no more rebellion, ever against God. I certainly hope that the rebellion will permanently end? The thought of having to go through that again is ugh! but if so does that mean free will has ended as well?
Peace to you and your family
Tina, yes there will be no rebellion in the kingdom and everyone will still have their free will. How is this possible? The only ones allowed into the kingdom are those who have repented after seeing their ways don’t bring them the results they want and have been tested in God’s way of love. God knows the heart and will make sure to test each person so they see where they are still not ready to give up all that is opposed to God for the kingdom.Reply
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” He also said don’t be ‘in love’ with the world and its flashiness. I think we miss an important point. Its easy to divorce ourselves from ‘man’s creations’ but I don’t think God even wants us to be ‘loving’ His creation either. His creation is going to be passing away, like the fires in Northern California the entire earth is to be consumed. I’ve always hated that as I love the mountains and nature and one day it dawned on me, I’m ‘worshiping’ the creation rather than the Creator. Eternity will be so much better than this earth could ever be. The Creator who made everything we see, guarantees it.Reply
Thanks Tim I had not previous questioned the reason God gives Satan a “second bit of the apple” so to speak but I am in agreement with your reasoning.Reply
Good article Tim. After the 1000 years Satan was released and used those wicked who were surrected and tried to attack the Holy City. Not certain.Correct me.Reply
Gert, although it’s not specified explicitly, I feel safe in saying that the second resurrection comes after Satan is released. The whole point of resurrecting people for their second chance is they could not find the truth in a world under Satan’s sway.Reply
Great article, Tim!
I guess it goes a long way in showing just how merciful God is. The time element and allowing Satan to do so much over all these years with only failure upon failure as a result. He won’t be able to touch the resurrected saints after the thousand years but those still in ‘the flesh’ will be tempted once more even though they had a ‘perfect’ ruler, He ended up being just that, a ruler. Christians are to be co-rulers with Christ, not living under a ‘rod of iron’. I think many people who survive into the thousand year rule of Christ will attempt to make changes using ‘human’ efforts, similar to some even today who want to earn their way in. I’ve learned you can’t earn it now and doubt those during the millennium will be able to either. They will have the very environment in which to try. The end result looks to be not very good. I’m so happy I accepted the ‘gift’ when I did!
Hi Tim, Thankyou again. I learn so much from your writings. Peace be with you and God bless you.Reply
Well you’ve done it again Tim. Another provocative (meant in the sense of thought-provoking, not antagonistic) article touching on a subject that few bother to address in any manner except in a most topical way. I’ve often heard people ask why God created Satan in the first place, why would He create a being that He knew would rebel against Him and all mankind and become the source of all misery, frustration and outright destruction. The best I’ve been able to surmise is as you’ve indicated. God knew Adam and Eve would fall; the plan was set in motion from the beginning. But, He, being a God of love, neither wants robots nor to violate anyone’s free will. The best way to display His love, His wisdom, mercy and goodness would be to allow the existence of a being who embodies the very antithesis of who God is. Don’t like YHWH as your God? Well, fine, no one’s forcing you to worship Him. In fact, here’s His polar opposite if you prefer. Let us know how things work out with him. Talk about being secure in your own skin–who among us would allow the prescence of one who merely disagrees with us, much less create one who is diametrically opposed to every fibre of our being? To me, the entire purpose of creation, history and passion of Jesus and what He did were for one reason; so that all created beings and life forms in all of God’s universe could know and understand why He is God. And why He is the only legitimate choice as God. And therefore entirely worthy of our praise and adoration. When we understand that picture does it not make us want to love Him all the more?
Thanks again Tim. Many Blessings to you and yours.Reply
You said, “Like all of us, Satan was equipped with complete, unfettered free will.” Since the phrase “free will” does not exist anywhere in the scriptures, where did you get this notion from?Reply
John, it’s a simple deduction. We were created in God’s image and likeness who has free will. He tells us repeatedly to choose life by obeying and loving him (Dt 30:19). This offer and appeal for love would be meaningless, even cruel, if we lacked free will. And we know “God is good,” right? (Mk 10:18). Instead of forcing us to do what he says or making us robots, God tells us it would be better for us if we go his way (Isaiah 48:18). Backing this up is the fact that he let the Devil exist to create an alternative to himself, for full free choice to go with our free will. He’s really not forcing us!Reply
Thank you for a great article. This topic has perplexed me for quite a while. Thanks for giving me a better understanding.
When the Israelites were about to enter the Land, God instructed them to completely remove the wicked people from the land. If they did not, the Israelites would slowly follow the evil practices of the Canaanite people. We all know what followed after a few years in the Land.
This provides, perhaps, a clear example of why God knows evil in even its minutes form, can not be allowed to remain in any part of His creation.
Tim, your thoughts on this?Reply
Gerry, yes evil does influence good in the flesh while we are still developing and learning, like for ancient Israel and her heathen idol-worshiping neighbors. But in the glorified, eternal life in the Kingdom, evil cannot do that. Those in the kingdom have already been tested and proven before they enter it at the rapture or resurrection. Therefore, the one reason left to remove the wicked is the one I stated in the article: because they are miserable and will continually create conflict with themselves and the good.Reply
My kids were asking me that question, and I found it hard to answer – if we and angels do truly have free will, how can God guarantee a heaven free of evil ‘forever’? Who’s to say down the track someone who has been tested and proven has a change of ‘mind’ and decides to rebel or follow in the footsteps of Satan?
Your thoughts would be valued. I appreciate your insights on such matters.Reply
I sure get uplifted by your articles. Thank you Tim and family.Reply
Thank you Tim for your article on Satan. Why did God tolerate him instead of wiping him out immediately at his rebellion? I believe it is because of the totally free will God gave him and man. What good is free will if there is no choice? God is using Satan to sift out the unfaithful.
So why did Satan rebel? Every wrong choice has a reason. Satan was top dog in heaven. No other angel was his equal. Then one day he overheard the Godhead discussing the creation of man: “Let us make man in our own image.” (What a remarkable creature man must have been before God took the female out of him – just a side thought!) He immediately realized that man would replace him and be over him –
now he could not have that, could he?! So he rebelled and made it his
total intention to interfere with God’s plan and corrupt man. God is using him to present a choice and alternative to man, like in the garden of Eden and again at the end of the millennial Eden. After that God will have no further use of Satan and then he will burn.
Just a few thoughts.
Thank You again, as always I have learned from your article ! Thank You for blessing me today !
Love to you and your family
Your quote above: “He suggested they alone could take care of themselves, not God.”
This is VERY interesting becuz the liberals (as a group) believe the government will take care of them now and the conservatives (as a group) believe they must stand on their own two feet and “bootstrap” themselves under their own power. Both are two sides of the same coin:) Interesting, too, is that America was built on that “independent” spirit, although they did believe in God early on, there was still that idea that it was all up to them. And God permitted the hardships to ensue:) The stubborn-mule syndrome as God spoke of the Israelites under Moses: “stiff-necked people.”Reply