Theology

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CHRIST TRIUMPHANT


Triumph of ChristCHRIST TRIUMPHANT

Chapter 1

THE ORIGIN OF THE DEVIL

     What was God’s purpose in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?  The beloved disciple, John, presents a clear answer, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8).”  Paul teaches in Hebrews 2:14 that the Word took part in human flesh that “through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”  Furthermore, Paul says to the Galatians in 1:4:  “Jesus Christ gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.”   Jesus, himself, stated his mission when he read from the Book of Isaiah in the synagogue of Nazareth where he was brought up, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me . . . to preach deliverance to the captives . . . and set at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18).”  Who was the captor?  Who had done the bruising of mankind?  None other than the devil!

     God did not create evil nor did he create Satan.  The cosmic drama between God and evil begins in Heaven after God created an angel by the name of Lucifer, who “was perfect in all of his ways until the day iniquity was found in him (Ezekiel 28:15).”  The name, Lucifer, means son of morning; he was the anointed cherub, who was beautiful and bright (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28). 

     We read of Michael and of Gabriel but Scriptures do not speak of them in their original state as gloriously as Lucifer.   After sinning, Lucifer becomes principally known at Satan, which means adversary.   Evidently, Lucifer in the beginning was the greatest of created beings.  Or did he just think that he was and consider that he should be chief among the entire heavenly host? 

     The Bible is sketchy in the describing the account of the fall of Lucifer.  I will make certain deductions and inferences from the information supplied in the Bible.  Also, God has given us an imagination.  He intends for us to use it.  So I will write dialogue into my narrative of Lucifer’s revolt in order to capture the drama.  We do not have to rely solely on the Bible in learning Lucifer’s ways.  I ignorantly served the devil from my age of reason until I was 29 years of age, since then I have been doing spiritual warfare on a daily basis.  As an old warrior, I have received insights into the spiritual dimension as a result of some fierce battles.  Hence I know the devil and his devices well.

     In the worldview of the biblical writers the spiritual realm of angels and demons is not perceived as something detached from us, but as a parallel world connected to our own. The earthly realm and the heavenly realm interact and influence one another. What happens on earth is a reflection of the heavenly realm and vice versa.       

     Lucifer’s rebellion was tied in with God’s plan to create man in his own image.  The Creator would make man for a little while lower than the angels; he would crown man with glory and honor.  He would set him over the work of his hands (Heb 2:7).   Man was to be the appointed kingly vicegerent of God over the Earth.  That is Adam was God’s administrative deputy.  He was to rule the Earth under the benevolent hand of God.  Evidently, God had greater plans for man than he did the angelic host.  The Almighty must have shared his plans for the creation of man and his high hopes for man with the angels.

       Lucifer was likely jealous of Adam.  Lucifer wanted to reign over mankind and over the Earth.  However, his idea of ruling was not like God’s with a loving hand.  Lucifer perceived love as being a weakness in God.  He even questioned whether God was truly benevolent at all; he considered God to be tyrannical and dictatorial.  Lucifer became cynical, considering that no one is truly loving.  He thought that all beings, including God, were selfish.  To Lucifer God was merely putting on a show of love.  To him love is always a sham.  He considers that selfishness and hatred are stronger forces than unselfishness and benevolence.  Character attributes of God like kindness, compassion and good will were all signs of weakness to Lucifer. 

     Lucifer began to raise questions in the mind of the celestial congregation as to God’s true motivations.  In the future Absalom would use Satan’s tactics to lead a rebellion against his father, King David.  Absalom built support for himself by lying to those who came to David for justice, saying, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” He went on to suggest, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” Absalom also deceived the people by displaying feigned humility by kissing those who approached him rather than accepting supplication.  Thus he implied that he was more of a man of the people than his father, King David (2 Samuel 15).

     After man is created, Lucifer is even more enraged and he set his sights on being equal with God, if not totally overthrowing God.  He began to say in his heart.  “I will exalt my throne above the stars (angels) of God.  I will ascend above the heights of the cloud; I will be like the most High (Isaiah 14:13-14).”

     Lucifer did not desire to be godlike in character, which would have been a legitimate ambition; he coveted God’s power and authority.  He determined that he could govern the universe more effectively than God.  Lucifer perceived that selfishness was a greater force than the love expressed through God’s unselfish character.  By questioning God’s benevolence, Lucifer eventually succeeded in leading a third of the angels against God (Rev. 12:4).  Now this successful of a rebellion does not happen overnight.  It would have taken some time.  Certainly, God must have been aware of Lucifer fomenting a revolt.  However, our Heavenly Father was longsuffering hoping that Lucifer would come to his senses.  Lucifer perceived God’s patience as softness and portrayed himself to the angels, whose hearts he was turning against God, as the strong man and God the pathetic one.  Thus taking further advantage of God’s loving heart.

     What was God to do with this rebellious angel?  How was God to stop this revolt? 

Chapter 2

WAR IN HEAVEN

      “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.”—Rev 12:7.

     What were the weapons of this warfare?  Evidently, they were essentially spiritual weapons.  This was basically spiritual warfare.  Michael’s troops, the loyal angels, used the primary weapon of God, which is Truth or the sword of the Spirit.  On the other hand the dragon, which characterizes Satan, God’s adversary, propagated the great lie that all beings, including God, are ultimately selfish.  God’s arsenal is made up of Love, which is unselfishness; Satan’s magazine is made of malice.  The war will reveal, which is the strongest force, love or hate, faith or skepticism, the truth or the lie?  This is the question of the ages.  Does benevolence win in the end or does ill-will? 

     There is no question that hate and deceit are powerful forces.  Through it Satan had been slowly picking off angels and getting himself a significant following.  Finally, Michael the arch-angel courageously rises up and asks, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”  Michael draws the line in the proverbial sand.  Everything comes to a head.  Two-thirds are faithful to God and a third is loyal unto Satan.  According to John Milton’s account in Paradise Lost, this battle lasted three days, the same amount of time that the Son of God would eventually be in the grave fighting the forces of evil, who were conniving to stop his resurrection.  Michael is able to crush the rebellion and the devil is cast out of heaven.  The everlasting Word was there to observe:  “I saw Satan as lightening fall from Heaven (Luke 10:18).” 

      God had to create Hell for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41, 2 Peter 2:4). 

      This first heavenly war between Michael and Lucifer regrettably proved to be merely the first battle in the war of the ages between Love and malice, Truth and deceit, and Faith and unbelief, which has characterized human history since Satan enticed Adam to turn against his Heavenly Father and bow to the father of lies, the old serpent, who was a murderer from the beginning and who refused to abide in the Truth.

     Jesus called the devil the father of lies.  In Church history the fiercest doctrinal battles have concerned Christology, questions concerning the nature of Christ and his relationship to God, the Father.  Satan centers his attacks on Christ.  Satan’s attempts to deceive men about the nature of the Word, the Eternal Logos, are not unique to the Church Age.  It goes back to the beginning, before the creation of man. 

     Lucifer did not initially reveal himself to the angelic host as an enemy of God.  On the other hand, he presented himself as a defender of God.  He attempted to present the Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, as a usurper to the throne of God, when, in fact, Lucifer was the usurper.  Lucifer was jealous of the Word because all things were made by the Word and for the Word!  Lucifer resented the Logos’ authority and supremacy.  He was determined to turn all of Heaven against him.  He does this by pretending to be the guardian of God’s authority.  Had Lucifer presented himself initially as rebelling against God, he never would have succeeded in even gaining the ears of the angels. 

     The Eternal Word “thought it not robbery to claim equality with God (Phil 2).”  Indeed, he was co-eternal and co-equal with the Father.  But Lucifer saw the Word’s claim of the dominion over the angelic host as his opportunity to undermine the very nature of the Godhead. 

      Lucifer whispered to the angels, “Yes, the Word is older than us.  Still he is a created being like us.  Why should he have preeminence? He claims to be co-eternal with the Father.  How do we know this?  There is but one God!  How then can the Word also be deity?  That would make for two Gods. Do not accept this imposter; do not follow him.  And who is this Holy Spirit?  Why is he unique?  Is not he also a usurper?  We are all spirits! Side with me in defense of the unity of God!  Say not Trinity! The Logos may be a god, but he is not the living God as he claims.”

      When the Word becomes flesh and dwelt among men in the person of Jesus Christ and as the Son of the Living God, he rarely defended himself or spoke explicitly concerning his true nature.  He expected his disciples to proclaim his Deity to the nations and continue the battle for Truth.  And so it was with the pre-incarnate Word.  He expected the angels to combat Lucifer’s lies with the Truth as a test of their loyalty.  Suddenly, Michael enters into the forefront of the battle as the LORD’S defender.  Alas, a third of the angels believed the father of lies and kept not their first estate, but left their original habitation.  God has reserved them in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day (Jude 1:6).  Meanwhile, these fallen angels have become demons with names like the Golden Calf, Moloch, Baal, Amon, Dagon, Zeus, Jupiter, Isis, Diana, Venus, Mercury, Horus, Allah and countless others, who down through the ages have managed to draw men away from the Logos and demanded to be worshipped as Gods.  These false gods have deceived men generation after generation.  They come in different names but they all represent the degenerate character of the father of lies. 

     With Christians the devil is subtle in his deceptions.  He comes proclaiming Christ; he comes as a defender of the Lord; he whispers into the Church’s ear, “The Logos, the Christ, was a created being.  He is not the eternal and everlasting God.  Yes, you may call him God, but he is a lesser God.”  We know this lie in Church history as the Arian heresy.  With a low voice Satan and his minions even have the audacity to quote out of context Jesus saying, “The father is greater than I.”  The old serpent craftily says, “If Jesus is the only begotten of the father, he must have had a beginning.”

       Christians must fight this heresy and defend the faith that was once delivered to the saints, even as Athanasius, the Michael of Church history, who became the champion of the Eternal Logos.  He managed to bring back to orthodoxy a church, which had departed from sound Christology by singing “there was a time when the Son was not.”  Athanasius changed the course of church history and was more responsible than any mortal to give us the Nicene Creed in 325 A.D., which affirms the Trinity and the Deity of Christ.    

Chapter 3

IN THE GARDEN

      Genesis 3:15 is the foundational prophesy of the Scriptures:  “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 Everlasting Word watched Satan like lightening fall from Heaven (Luke 10:18), when Michael defeated the old dragon Lucifer.  Although God created Hell for the devil and the fallen angels, evidently, they are not strictly confined to Hell.  The devil in the guise of the serpent immediately attacks the crown of God’s creation, mankind, who is made in the image of God.  Satan’s attempt to overthrow God is now focused on a coup against God’s vicegerent, Adam, whom God had given Adam dominion over the Earth.  Satan is determined to replace God and Adam as the head of the human race.  Lucifer could not conquer Heaven so he is determined to rule on Earth.  Through subtly he succeeds in getting Eve to question the goodness of God.  He accuses God of withholding from her wisdom, knowledge and understanding by forbidding her to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. 

     Satan convinces Eve that sin is not deadly, “Eve, eat of the fruit, sin cannot possibly be deadly.  Your creator is a loving God; he would not slay you.”  Thus Eve easily falls for the oldest line in the book that sin is not fatal.  She gave unto her husband and he did also eat.  Thus sin and death were to reign over all the descendants of the first Adam since all have fallen for the lie that sin enlightens and iniquity is not lethal.  Each generation of men, like their father Adam, become traitors against God by willfully succumbing to the dominion of Satan.  

     God pronounces judgment on the father of lies and promises a deliverer, who will crush the old serpent’s head, even though the serpent will bruise the Savior’s heal (Gen 3:15).  Through the prophesy of Genesis 3:15 the world is offered hope for its redemption from the headship of the devil.   But it will require an age’s long struggle for this restoration of humanity to occur and for Satan’s regime to be crushed. 

     Adam’s sin results in the first death in the Garden. God kills a lamb to make coats of skin to cover the nakedness of the man and woman, thus showing the need for a vicarious atonement.  The coats of wool symbolically and temporarily cover Adam’s sin.  The lamb suffers death instead of Adam, who survives over nine hundred years and begets sons and daughters. Unfortunately, God’s immediate presence is withdrawn from Adam.  He no longer knows the delightful fellowship he had with his Heavenly Father in his state of innocence within the Garden of Eden.  For the time being God institutes an animal sacrificial system to atone for the sins of Adam’s descendants, who had followed their forefather’s rebellious example.  This blood sacrifice, when offered with a sincere heart, covers the sins of the people until the arrival of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who came to take away the sins of the world.  

      Meanwhile, Satan is ever watchful generation after generation for the one prophesied to ruin him.  The devil is determined to strike the Savior Messiah before he is able to destroy him and redeem mankind from his clutches.  Throughout history the eyes of God are constantly searching to and fro over the face of the earth to show himself strong in behalf of those that are perfect towards him (2 Chronicles 16:9).  In the meantime, Satan is ever ready to nip their strength in the bud, fearing that anyone perfect could become the one to destroy his headship over the earth and the race of sinners.    

     God in his daily walks with Adam in the garden must have warned him concerning the usurper and told him the story of Lucifer’s revolt in Heaven.  Alas, the Father’s counsels were of no avail!  Satan deceived Eve but Adam willfully turned the Earth over to God’s enemy (1 Tim 2:14).  Adam was a deliberate traitor. He failed God by succumbing to the devil’s temptations, thus giving Satan legal claims to dominion over the earth.  Through the planned and prophesied Messiah God’s purpose becomes to recover without resort to violence or physical power Adam’s lost world and race. As for Satan as a roaring lion he runs stealthily to and fro in the earth and walks up and done in it seeking whom he can kill, steal and destroy. God has self-imposed limits of love on his power.  On the other hand, Satan will resort to any tactic, any deception, or any murderous conspiracy to maintain his authority and achieve his end to foil God and destroy mankind.  Selfishness knows no limits.

Chapter 4

 

HAST THOU CONSIDERED JOB?

 

     “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou?  Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it.  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? (Job1:6-8)”

 

     Is it not amazing that even after Lucifer being cast out of Heaven by Michael that God still gives Satan an audience in Heaven?  God immediately throws out the challenge, not waiting for a possible charge from Satan. Why the challenge? God knows Satan “as the accuser of our brethren (Rev. 12:10).” God is convinced that he has found in Job a man who has perfect love. He wants to show himself strong on Job’s behalf and make Job an even greater man than he presently is.  Job is considered to be the greatest man of his day by his contemporaries and God himself regards him as perfect.  Satan wonders, “Could Job be the one who is prophesied to crush me?”  Therefore, he is determined to bruise Job first.  

 

     God is to put Job through the most severe trial of any man in history up until this point.  God does not test Job on simply a whim or bet. God is concerned for the big picture. Job is God’s chosen vessel to cast the false accuser down in order to eventually prepare the way for the defender and champion of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ. God is looking beyond Satan and beyond Job to all of mankind. Job typifies all saints, who suffer for the cause of Christ. Satan represents all those who depreciate faith and undermine virtue. The challenge is for the sake of the human race and its emancipation from the miserable suspicions that prey on the heart from without and from within.  Satan is the one behind the fears and misgivings which rob men of their faith.

 

     Job’s sufferings were to serve the purpose of overcoming the opposition and lies of Satan and to take Job to higher ground. Job’s long time of prosperous years, immunity from disappointment, loss, and sorrow, may have lulled his spirit to relaxation. During his prosperity, his sincerity of heart was not questioned. And his will, though benevolent, was not braced for endurance. Vigor and endurance are spiritually necessary. These qualities are developed by conflict. Job’s faith, virtue and endurance are to be tested in order for them to increase.  In the patience of Job we learn reasons why God tolerates the devil and does not simply destroy the usurper.

 

     Job is not the deliver but he is a type of Christ, who is to be emptied and humbled in order to achieve God’s greater glory. Job, like Christ, endures his sufferings and is in the end victorious over his accusers. The redemptive work of Christ has to include the overthrow of Satan. Job’s test prepares the world for the coming of the Christ to deal a crushing blow to Satan’s kingdom.

 

Job’s sufferings are as much a test of God’s faith as it is a test for Job. Is Satan right about Job? Or is God right that Job is one man who is to be trusted and that he sincerely loves God and that he will overcome the trial? This is a test of God’s faith in Job to be an overcomer even as the Father later puts his faith in Christ to accomplish his mission to ransom mankind from the clutches of the devil, sin, death, the grave and Hell.  

 

     Just as the Father endured the sufferings of his Son for the redemption of mankind, God had to endure the sufferings of his beloved servant Job to demonstrate not only to Satan, but even more importantly to the heavenly host and to the world that there are righteous men and that Job is the most righteous man of his time.  And he is one of the most holy men ever. 

 

     “Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? {10} Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. {11} But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.”

 

       Lucifer entirely overcome by evil long ago lost all faith in the power of good. He is the self-deceived father of lies. He is a pessimist who believes that everything tends toward evil. He is convinced that Job serves God for selfish reasons. He believes that selfishness is at the root of all religion. Satan is convinced that even God is not benevolent but selfish like himself. Satan is the ultimate cynic, who believes that only selfishness motivates the actions of men. He disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.

 

      Man’s arch adversary regards success and happiness to be intrinsically good; and he considers poverty and bereavement to be in and of itself evil. But it is good to be made to drink a cup of sorrow.  The flesh calls pain evil, but the spirit knows it may be for the benefit of our spirit by enabling us to mature in character. Job drinks the bitter cup that later Christ is required to drink for the redemption of mankind.

 

     “Job 1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.”

 

     The Adversary is challenged to do his worst; and Job, as God’s champion, will have to do his best; but he is on his own for God withdraws his conscience presence. The angels are looking on. Later, through this greatest of literary works, the world will look back. The faithful down through the generations will receive great comfort from Job knowing that few men have suffered like Job; yet he endures and his end is greater than his beginning. Job was tempted in all points as we are; yet he did not sin throughout his trial.  The Savior himself in times of discouragement and trial must have been heartened by the endurance of Job.

 

      Job’s property is stolen by thieves, and his children are killed by a storm; yet Job does not sin. Nor does he foolishly charge God with injustice.

 

      Job simply says after his losses, “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD (1:21).”

 

     This is not the response of a fatalist who believes that everything happens by necessity or is a result of the law of cause and effect.  Job is not a victim of fate.  He does not hold to the view that human deliberation and actions are pointless and ineffectual in determining events.  Nor is Job a stoic, who is indifferent to suffering or comfort, joy or sorrow, pain or pleasure.  He a man whom God has determined to complete a wonderful work as Job learns some hard lessons. 

 

     “Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. {2} And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. {3} And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.”

 

     Satan is a troublesome foe for God; but God is a formidable foe for Satan. The two have been battling throughout the ages. Job is privileged to become one of God’s greatest soldiers in this conflict of the ages, the conflict between the selfishness and injustice of Satan and the benevolence and justice of God.

 

     “Job 2:4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. {5} But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. {6} And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. {7} So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. {8} And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. {9} Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. {10} But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.

 

     The wife believes in Job’s integrity; but she does not value it. God holds himself to the same standard of Justice that he holds mankind. A Commander-in-Chief sends soldiers off to war knowing that many will be maimed or killed by the enemy. This is not what any commander wants for his troops; but he knows that there will be necessary losses in order to achieve the greater good of victory.  Job is God’s one man army in a cosmic conflict with the Evil One.  He paves the way for the Father’s ultimate champion, our Lord Jesus Christ, who pays for our deliverance with his own life.

 

      God even treats the Evil One justly in that He does not arbitrarily kick Satan out of heaven as he would have the power to do. He respects certain rights that Satan has over mankind as a result of Adam’s sin and all men following Adam’s bad example.  Job, when tempted, does not succumb to Satan’s cynicism nor join his rebellion. Though wounded he remains faithful to the end.

 

      Job answers Satan and his voice echoes to all of Job’s present day critics, “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil (2:10)?”

 

     Job is not accusing God of moral evil; but recognizes that he may be the source of his natural calamity.

 

     Satan now leaves the scene and ceases to act directly against Job.  We do not encounter Satan again in the Job story; however, he merely changed tactics to conniving behind the scenes through Job’s friends.  Job questions God throughout his trial.  Even as Jesus did in Gethsemane and from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” But Job never cursed God as Satan prophesied.  Job passes every test of God and temptation of Satan.  Job’s ordeal is a precursor for the temptations of Jesus who well knew the Book of Job and was inspired through his manifold temptations by the endurance of this saint of old.     

Chapter 5

IN THE WILDERNESS

      “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).”
     Jesus’ first great earthly conflict with the devil begins after he is baptized, “Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”  The Holy Spirit himself was putting Jesus to the test at the start of his ministry.  Sin and death are the primary works of the devil.  To have the power to destroy the evil one, Jesus needed to be trained and prepared to accomplish man’s salvation through his death on the cross and his victory through his Resurrection.  Though Jesus was the Son of God, he walked, taught, ministered and suffered as a man.  Like any other man, like any other warrior, he had “to learn obedience by the things he suffered (Hebrews 5:8).”

     Jesus had to be “tempted in all ways like we are” and remain sinless in order to taste death for everyman and become an acceptable atonement or sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 4:15).  A sinner cannot atone for his own sins or the sins of anyone else.  “For in that Jesus himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to rescue them that are tempted (Hebrews 2:18).”  Jesus was on a rescue and recovery mission from God against the devil, who had held Adam’s family in slavery for four thousand years. 

     “The Heavenly Father hath given unto the Son authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of Man (John 5:27).”  Jesus was the one person in the Godhead, who had the greatest authority to Judge because he had lived as a man. Man had turned the world over to the devil, now the man, Christ Jesus, was to take it back from Satan by overpowering sin and death.  Jesus experienced all the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil.  And over each of these enemies, he was repeatedly victorious.      

       The temptation in the wilderness was Jesus’ boot camp.  After fasting forty day and forty nights, physically Jesus was weak and spiritually he was vulnerable.  Satan is impressed with power.  The world loves displays of power. Satan challenged Jesus to prove his divinity by a miraculous display.  The tempter said to Jesus, “If thou be the Son of God command that these stones become bread.”  Jesus refuses; thus he overcomes the temptations of the flesh.

     Next the devil took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem and said, “If thou be the Son of God, jump to the ground.”  Had Jesus survived such a jump he would have undoubtedly drawn to himself a large following. But the power of God was not to be demonstrated through spectacular crowd pleasing miracles.  Jesus was not to get his following by making a show of power over the laws of physics to the world.  His authority is to be displayed through weakness and suffering.   His power is to be revealed, of all things, through a cross, which represents agony, suffering, death, rejection, and shame.  His supremacy is to be displayed through his character.  The temptation of worldly fame is rejected by the Lord.

     In effect, Satan third temptation is to get Jesus to come over to his side by offering him the kingdoms of the world, “Jesus, you join forces with me.  We will rule the world together, if you will but bow down and worship me.  You can continue to worship your heavenly father also.”  Satan was offering Jesus the quicker and easier path to glory of self-serving political power.  However, Jesus’ mission was to save the souls of men, not to establish a political kingdom.  The devil appeals to Jesus’ sense of pride.  But the divine road to authority was to be a lowly road paved with humility.  Jesus was not out to make men his political subjects but to bring men into a loving friendly relationship with himself.  He was building a spiritual kingdom.  Whereas the first Adam failed when he was tempted; the second Adam, the Lord from Heaven, overcame the tempter by ordering, “Get thee behind me Satan!”

     The devil then left Jesus for a season and angels came and ministered unto him.  This conflict with the devil in the wilderness was a battle of wills.  And Satan clearly is the loser in this first round of Jesus’ earthly struggle with the enemy of our souls.

     Notice Jesus did not deny that the kingdoms of the world were under the control of Satan.  Three times in John’s Gospel, Jesus refers to Satan as “The prince of this world.”  Some suggest that Satan did not have the authority to offer these kingdoms to Jesus.  If so, then the offer would not have been a real temptation.  Jesus’ mission was to regain for God what Adam had turned over to Satan.  Jesus’ interest was greater than the kingdoms of this world.  His plan was to establish a new Kingdom on Earth, which he called the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God.  But he was not to achieve his goal by a demonstration of force or by violence.  He was to accomplish his mission through the apparent feebleness of suffering and death at the hands of wicked and cruel men.

Chapter 6

A BATTLE OF WILLS   

      Jesus prepared himself for the climax of his earthy conflict with the devil by casting out devils.  Luke, the historian, summarizes Jesus’ ministry, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power:  who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38).”

     But the teachers of the law objected and accused Jesus, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.”

        So Jesus answered them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up (binding him). Then he can plunder the strong man’s house (Mark 3:22-27).”

     Paul referred to Satan as “the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4).” John said, “The whole world lieth under the control of the wicked one (1 John 5:18-19).” Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews, “ye are of your father the devil (John 8:44).”

     The Eternal Logos veiled in human flesh entered into the devil’s realm as a babe born of the Virgin.  “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).”  The New English Translation says, instead of Wonderful Counselor,” “Extraordinary Strategist.”  Jesus, the mighty warrior, had an astonishing strategy for overcoming the wicked one and knocking human governments off Satan’s shoulders and put them back where they belong on the shoulders of God Almighty.  His plan was to allow wicked men to nail him to a Cross.  Who could imagine that through his cruel death, would come life and victory?  No wonder Isaiah asked in Chapter 53, “Who hath believed our report?”

     If the Son of Man was to succeed in triumphing over the devil’s domain, he must first bind him.  The tool to bind him was to not to be a crown and a sword and armies but from a heavy wooden cross.  After binding the devil, Jesus would spoil his house by taking back what Adam and his family had surrendered by submitting themselves to Satan’s lie.  This lie is the oldest line in the book, “Sin is not deadly.”  The serpent duped Eve, “Eat of the fruit, thou shalt not surely die.”  

      In John 12:27-31, Jesus said, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.  Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.  Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

      Jesus’ mission was to cast Satan out of his place of authority and set his captives free.  Satan had had his hour of power for four thousand years.  But now Satan’s time was to come to a dramatic climax as he conspired with the Jewish and Roman authorities to kill Jesus.  However, the height of what appeared to be the devil’s greatest victory was to quickly turn into his judgment and condemnation.  When Jesus sent the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, he was to reprove or convince the world of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged (John 16:11).

       When Jesus was lifted upon the cross, Satan was cast down from his lofty position in the world and plundered of his possession.  For men to be drawn unto Jesus they needed to be delivered from slavery to Satan and to his twin sons, Sin and Death.  “The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).” Romans 7:14 describes man as “sold under sin.”  Adam by eating of the forbidden fruit sold himself under slavery to Satan, who is the author of sin. Adam’s descendants in every generation by choosing to sin confirm Adam’s bond with the devil.

      The means of man’s deliverance was the Savior becoming the sin offering necessary to set man free from the dominion of sin and death by the death of Jesus Christ.  Men are subject to death because of sin; Jesus’ cruel death on Calvary was on account of righteousness.  Our death was the consequence of our sin; his death was made a sacrifice for sin.

       Paul links Jesus’ atonement with the defeat of the devil.  Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

      For men to be saved from the bondage of sin, Jesus had to destroy the authority of the devil and the power of darkness.  Men suppress their of fear death; they live for the moment not considering eternity.  Their attitude is “all we have is this life so let us eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.”  Youth are taken captive by the devil at his will shortly after they reach the age of reason.  With the passage of time, they suffer from the Stockholm syndrome.  They come to identify with their captor; they think that they owe their abductor allegiance.  They consider themselves indebted to the evil one.

     At the cross we find Satan’s minions taunting Jesus:  “They that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save, thyself. If thou be the son of God, come down from the cross (Matt 27:39-4).” 

     Where have we heard this phrase before, “If thou be the Son of God?”  This was Satan’s sneer in the wilderness temptation of Jesus.  Is Satan making one last effort to actually discourage Jesus knowing that he had the power to step down from the cross, was Satan’s taunt one last effort to dispirit Jesus from completing his work of atonement?  Or is the devil merely deriding Jesus, being deluded that that Jesus’ death is the evil one’s hour of victory.  Probably the latter, since Paul says, “none of the princes of this world knew the wisdom of God [as revealed in the atonement] for had they known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Cor 2:8-9).”

     Since it was a voluntary act of rebellion which put man under the devil’s power, God does not want to provide the devil with any seemingly just complaint, which would result in angels and men perceiving God as unjust in his dealing with Satan.  It was essential that God not stoop to any arbitrary method of recovering man by force.  It was the goodness of God that undertook this mission of redemption and glorification of mankind.  Through the cross Jesus was to obtain triumph not only over things in Heaven and in Earth, but also things under the Earth (Phil 2:10).  By being lifted up Jesus displayed his victory over the princes and the powers of the air. By stretching forth his hands he invited all men unto him.  By the foot of the cross plunged into the Earth, he signified the subjecting of the underworld. 

     God cannot be accused of acting unjustly even towards the devil.  Despite the manner by which the devil came by his kingdom, his disputable property rights could not be set aside arbitrarily by God.   Jesus “canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross (Col 2:14).” The bond that Satan held against us was the same which God had made with Adam, “In the day that thou eatest of the tree thou shalt die.”  This certificate of bondage had been originally between God and Adam.  After his transgression it was held by the devil against the whole family of Adam, which has followed him in eating of the forbidden fruit--sin.  Jesus nailed the bond between Satan and Adam’s race to the cross making their compact null and void.  The devil held the power of death over mankind once man transgressed God’s law.  Satan held the keys of Hell and of Death and consequently had the power to enslave men spiritually and kill them physically as a result of their disobedience. But “having spoiled (Satan’s) principalities and powers, Jesus Christ made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (Col 2:15).”

      The claim that man is under Satan’s dominion by Adam’s traitorous action and all of mankind’s consent to Adam’s treachery is arguably a just claim.  At the very least ownership of mankind and ownership of the kingdoms of the world were under dispute when God visited the Earth through Jesus Christ.  There is an old expression in English common law that “possession is nine-tenths of the law.”  But God justly purchases man back through a superior expression of justice, by ransoming him from the devil.   Adam’s descendants ratify Adam’s sin and their predicament each time they sin. Christ, the Redeemer, was the one man over whom Satan had no authority.  Jesus never sinned so neither spiritual nor physical death were his just deserts. In fact no one took Jesus’ life from him; he gave himself willing over to death.  Satan was justly overcome by the loftier justice of God expressed in Christ’s atonement.  In his pride Satan overreached his alleged rights of possession in condoning Jesus’ crucifixion. Satan had conquered weak and sinful humanity but he could not overcome the righteous God-Man. 

     Even though Satan could find nothing unworthy in Jesus, he still promoted his death.  Since Jesus was innocent and willingly laid down his life, death had no hold on him; therefore, Satan had no rightful claim to his body or soul.  Death can only hold sinners.     

     Principles of equal justice under the law are rooted in lessons taught through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice.  In Western Civilization the accused regardless of background or overwhelming evidence against him is guaranteed his day in court.  Even a murderer caught in the act of a heinous crime with the victim’s blood on his hands is allowed a trial and is permitted a defense.   Just governments do not simply arbitrarily decide to execute the accused without a fair trial.  Certainly, the populous has no right to storm the suspect’s jail cell and lynch him.  Despite Satan’s long history of promoting havoc in Heaven and in the world, God will treat him justly.   He will be given his day in court so to speak.       

     The ransom idea is a metaphor, which points to, illuminates and communicates a reality which is greater than the image. God did not sit down with the devil and make a bargain exchanging Jesus for the sinners held captive by Satan.  Nor was a ransom paid to God to appease his wrath or out of respect for his honor.  Yet, there is a sense in which a ransom was paid to the devil as a token of God’s recognition of certain supposed claims Satan had when Adam submitted himself to the evil one and set the precedent for his sons to do the same.  Some have said that the ransom was paid to God in that Jesus gave himself as a living sacrifice to God.  It might even be argued that the payment was made to man to placate him and demonstrate that God is man’s true Father and God has his best interest in mind.  When man understands all that the Word has undergone to accomplish his freedom, this knowledge should deliverer him from the Stockholm syndrome and ought to motivate him to run back to the welcoming arms of his Heavenly Father, who truly loves him and to whom he originally belonged. 

      Jesus states his mission, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45.)"  Our Savior’s ransom was not a commercial transaction or a literal payment.  It was the price warriors pay to set their countrymen free from a foreign power.  The price of freedom is often purchased with soldiers’ blood.  There is a sense in which the blood price is paid to the enemy, who may wound or even kill the warrior and then mutilate the warrior’s broken and dead body.   There is always a price to pay for liberty, especially liberty from sin and death.  In Christendom it has become axiomatic that “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”  Jesus marched toward his passion like a warrior marching off to war to pay our debt, which he did not owe since he was sinless. 

     Satan made the fatal mistake of claiming payment from the Holy One, who was under no legal obligation to him.  Satan was conquered not by force, but by justice and righteousness.  He was subdued by a method which is befitting to a Holy God.  Jesus was crucified in weakness, but the weakness of God proved stronger than the devil or wicked men, who delivered him up to be crucified.

 

  Leading up to the cross, Satan entered Judas Iscariot, and conspired with him to betray Jesus and hand him over to be crucified. Through the cross, Satan and his demons thought that they had finally defeated Jesus. The Lord Jesus hang­ing on the cross, bloodied and dying appeared to be hanging his head in defeat. In reality, Jesus veiled his victory in defeat, concealed his glory in shame, and covered our life in his death. Satan and his demons and the rulers of the Jews and Pilate did not perceive what was actually happening because they lacked the sight of faith. Thus Jesus righteously conquered the devil, who unjustly had him put him to death.  Jesus had no sin despite Satan’s best efforts to tempt him to sin.  Death only has a hold on sinners.

 

      Lucifer’s scheme from the time of his Heavenly revolt has always been to tempt God to sin.  That is to provoke God to act unloving, unjustly and unrighteously.  God’s actual strength is in his love, justice, longsuffering and righteousness.  God’s concern is demonstrating to angels and men that love wins in the end!  He is determined to show that beings in Heaven and Earth have reason to have faith (trust) in him because he is equitable in all of his dealings, even in his transactions with the wicked, and especially his arch-enemy, the devil. 

     It has been said that, “God cannot be tempted with evil (James 1:13).”  But remember that Satan does not believe the Bible; he is convinced that God can not only be enticed but that God’s throne can be overthrown.  If Satan were ever able to succeed in getting God to act selfishly instead of lovingly, he is convinced that he would be able to defeat God.  After all, Satan is the master of deceit and self-aggrandizement; he has been practicing it for ages; should God succumb to fighting battles with Satan’s rules of engagement, God would be no match to the experienced arch-deceiver.

     God always governs according to the eternal principles of his righteousness. Owing to his excessive arrogance, the devil overreached his authority and lost his hold on the human race.

    Christ by his miracles, especially the casting out of demons and through his teaching helped in freeing mankind, but it was not enough.  The climax of the cross was necessary for Jesus to bring an ultimate victory over Satan.  Satan thought that he could succeed by beguiling Jesus to sin.  He appealed to Jesus’ pride in the wilderness to demonstrate his power and might through the miraculous.  But God did not want to demonstrate his glory by his natural attributes of omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience or in his eternity of being and creative powers.  These powers are rarely called into question, even though they are scarcely understood.  God’s glory is not revealed in his power attributes; his glory is demonstrated in his loving and just character.  The Eternal Logos “made himself of no reputation, took upon him the  form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Phil 2).”  

     Satan, the unscrupulous thief and greedy robber, persistently assaulted Jesus with temptations from the womb to the tomb. Since Jesus had emptied himself of his divine prerogatives through his Incarnation, Satan was never sure until after Jesus’ death that he was the Son of God and promised deliverer.  Satan was determined to carry out the just sentence of death over all men, including Jesus.  However, he went beyond his authority in sentencing Jesus to death.  “The kings of the Earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed (Psalm 2:2).” 

  But they failed to conquer the Captain of our salvation.  Satan unjustly required the punishment of iniquity upon Jesus in whom even Pilate could find no fault.  And thus the malevolent terms of the disgraceful compact Adam and his descendants made with the devil are annulled.  And through the injustice of Satan over charging for the release of mankind, the entire debt was cancelled.   It was annulled by the obedience of the Holy One. The saints are no longer indebted to Satan; they are indebted to their Savior for paying the ultimate price of his life.  The purchase is from slavery to sin and Satan to be servants of righteousness and God.  Hence, the Father, who sits in the Heavens, laughs: the Lord has them in derision (Ps 2:4).

     Man’s spirit leaves his body at death, contrary to his will, because it willing left God.  The Spirit of our Mediator shows that it was through no punishment that he met his demise of the flesh.  His spirit did not leave him against his will; his spirit left when he willed it; it left because of his obedience.  Luke records his last words from the agony of the Cross as he cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Having said thus, he gave up the ghost (Luke 23:46).”   

     The devil made the mistake of assuming that the child born to be the Savior of the human race was as much subject to him as all other men are.  The devil neutralized by pride could not recognize Jesus’ divinity through his veil of flesh, which obscured his true identity as the everlasting God.  Thus by his act of injustice of having Jesus put to death, Satan’s case is thrown out of the court of Justice.  “The prince of this world is judged.”  The debt by which the devil held mankind is cancelled.  Jesus owned nothing to death even though he accepted death.  Therefore he was able to loosen repentant sinners, who were liable to death and in bondage to sin.  Jesus’ righteous deed in giving his life was greater than our sin.  It was our means of deliverance from Satan, Sin and Death.  Christ’s righteous sufferings were the ransom which set us free from the slavery.  The devil is conquered in a fierce spiritual battle of wills; he is the loser in a fair trial, which the jury of faithful angels and righteous men must affirm. 

     As the serpent in the Garden snared Adam by the hope of Godhead; he himself is captured by the Godhead in the veil of flesh.  Thus are shown in Christ’s atonement the goodness, wisdom, justice and mercy of God.  God did not resort to his omnipotent might to rescue and recover mankind from the slimy grip of the tyrant.  Should God have used force against the usurper, many would have argued that Satan had just grievance against God.  God in his pity and love conquers evil by becoming a man and dying as a man.  Since Christ’s righteous sufferings were far greater in value than our sin debt, God is able to restore man to an even higher place than he had before his rebellion in paradise.  “Eye hath not seen ear hath not heard neither has it entered into the mind of man the wonders, which God has prepared for those redeemed by the Redeemer (1 Cor 2:9).”              

     So the conflict comes to a glorious apex on the cross and Jesus emerges from the grave victorious over Satan and Sin.  The Resurrection gave the Apostles their war cry, “He is Risen!”  Jesus’ magnificent triumph over the enemies of the soul is available to all who repent and believe the gospel. 

     Not to understand the death and resurrection as including a victory over the devil is to leave the Church vulnerable to Satan’s devices.  John taught that "The brethren overcame the devil by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death."--Rev. 12:11. 

     Jesus overcame the accuser of the brethren through the cross and so must we.  The modern Church is in a defensive mode as the gates of Hell are constantly attacking our fortress mentality.  In truth we should be storming the gates of Hell by the blood of the Lamb, which is the provision for our victory over all the forces of the evil one.  Like Christ we should not cling to our lives even in the face of death.  Only then shall the world see the reality of Christ crucified in us. Without our participation in Christ’s death, any theory of the atonement is just that, another theory.  The atonement becomes a living reality as we eat of our Savior’s flesh and drink of his blood by partaking of his sufferings.  When we have no fear of death, we will be able to prevail against all of God’s enemies.

     “Oh death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:55-57).”

Chapter 7

The HARROWING OF HELL

       

     Cynics often ask, “What is the big deal about Jesus dying on the cross, he knew that he would rise again the third day?”  Jesus resurrection was not automatic; it was not a physical necessity.  Jesus had to fight the good fight of faith in order to rise from the dead.  The Father had to maintain faith in his Son’s strength to overcome the grave and thoroughly crush Satan’s headship.  Satan was not going to let go without one last failing effort. 

        If Michael, the archangel, had to argue and fight over the body of Moses (Jude 9), how much greater the fight must have been over Jesus’ body.  If Satan fervently opposed the resurrection of Moses’ corpse, how much more he would have fought over the bodily resurrection Jesus.  [Earlier Moses appeared with Elijah and Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.  This event previewed the resurrection of Jesus in his glorified body.]

        The Apostle’s Creed teaches that Jesus descended into Hell.  He spoiled principalities and powers, which were holding the righteous dead in the underworld.  These demonic forces must have been rejoicing over the demise of Jesus, when a light above the brightness of the sun suddenly appeared in their midst.  The Lamb that was slain proclaims loudly, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty (Rev 1:8).”
      The LORD demands from Satan, “Give me the keys!”

      Satan replies, “What keys?”

      Jesus answers, “The keys of Hell and of Death!”

      Satan falls to the ground and recoils in fear; the keys fall from his trembling hands into the fingers of Jesus, who then unlocks the prison where the righteous dead have been held.  He preached the gospel to them beginning with Moses and the prophets.  Jesus proclaims his victory for fallen humanity.  He then leads the upright out of the devil’s prison.  Jesus, together with the saints of old, rises from the nether world.   Some saints make brief appearances in Jerusalem.  Then Jesus leads the former captives far above all heavens to the dwelling place of God that he might fill all things. —Eph. 4:8-10, 1 Peter 4:6. 

     Jesus approaches the gates of Heaven and triumphantly quotes from Psalm 24, shouting, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.”

     Behind the gates a chorus asks, “Who is this King of glory?”

     Our conquering Messiah responds, “The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.”

     The Heavenly host responds, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.”—Psalm 24:7-10

      Jesus victoriously marches through the gates and sits down at the right hand of the father far above all principalities, powers, thrones and dominions.  Redemption accomplished!  Christus Victor!

     “And there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever (Rev 11:5).”  Hallelujah! 

       Rev 5:9-10:  And the elders sang a new song to the lamb: "You are worthy . . ., because you were slain, and with your blood you redeemed men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they shall reign on the earth."

 

       Thus the opening prophesy of Scripture is fulfilled, Genesis 3:15, which is God’s judgment on Satan after his successful temptation of Adam and Eve, when God declared, “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.” 

     This key prophecy was finally achieved when the Lord came forth from the tomb and appeared to his disciples in his resurrected body.  He announced unto them, “All power is given unto me in Heaven and in Earth!”  Although Satan struck the heel of the Savior on the Cross, the offspring of the woman, Mary, who is Jesus the Messiah, crushed the devil’s headship over the human race through his death and resurrection.  He set at liberty them who had been bruised by the devil.  Satan’s kingdom was dealt a death blow by our Lord.  The governments were back upon his strong shoulders.  As Simon of Cyrene carried Jesus’ cross to Golgotha, now it is the job of the Church to occupy until Christ returns by fulfilling the great commission to make disciples and plant the cross in all nations. 

      With God’s help the church shall prevail.  Let us have the expectation of triumphing for we have the promise of the Apostle:  “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly (Romans 16:20).” 

     Satan has already been crushed under the feet of Jesus.  We are his body on earth let us make sure that Satan is under our feet.  Jesus said, Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19).”  By his victory the Lord has given unto us the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever we shall bind on earth shall be what has been bound in heaven: and whatsoever we shall loose on earth shall be what has been loosed in heaven (Matt 16:19).”  As we are obedient, like Jesus, we can watch Satan fall like lightening from his high place of spiritual wickedness.

     A Martin Luther wrote in his battle hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,”

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.


          “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”—Romans 16:20

 

 

 

      

 

     

 

 

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