As we reach the end of 2016 we certainly are seeing events in the world becoming more violent and unstable as though something may be coming to a head soon. I recently had a conversation with a close friend concerning this subject and the recent election. As a result decided that I would try to gather from Scripture all that I could in order to write a biblically based explanation as to why things are happening as they are.
I try to look at things through the lens of Scripture and adhere to a strict biblical worldview because I believe that God is the ultimate authority behind what goes on in His creation. Our world is in a general state of war. The problems in the world brought on by conflict are numerous and complex to comprehend but if broken down a bit, things become a bit easier to understand. There are basically three major players in all conflict that takes place. There is God, the devil and sinful man.
GOD: When we consider God and understand that He is Lord, we realize that there is no contest here for Him. He made the world and everything in it. As the Creator of all that there is, that also makes Him the owner of it all including us. So, as an example, when we get uptight over our personal possessions or begin to feel proud over what we have or what we have done, we have to remember that everything is a gift from God and we are only stewards of what He has given us (Psalm 24: 1-2).
He’s the first cause of all things, He has no beginning or ending. (Hebrews 1: 10-12) He’s all knowing, all powerful and everywhere all at once. Because He operates and lives in the spiritual realm, the only way we can know about Him is through the special revelation of His Word which He has given to us (John 1:1-5; 1 John 1:1-4). He created the angels to be His ministering spirits and messengers. They were made eternal right from their inception and He has given them supernatural power to do His bidding in the earth (Hebrews 1: 13-14).
SATAN: The name “Satan” means “accuser of the brethren” also known as the devil. Satan began his existence as God’s greatest angelic creation (Ezekiel 28: 11-19). Because of the great beauty, enormous abilities and lofty position in heaven that God appointed for him, Satan became proud and rebelled against God and God threw him down (Isaiah 14: 12-23).
Although Scripture doesn’t make it positively known when Satan’s rebellion took place, many think this must have occurred sometime after the creation of the world and before the fall of mankind. At any rate, Satan became God’s arch enemy and lead one third of the angelic host with Him in rebellion against God (Revelation 12:3-4). Those fallen angels became Satan’s force of demons that help him sweep over the earth looking for helpless victims to swallow up (1 Peter 5: 8; Ephesians 6:10-12). His major goal has been to be worshipped as God, in place of God in God’s place of worship (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; Daniel 7:21-25).
MAN: Finally there is sinful fallen mankind who by our very nature is in rebellion against God and blind to the fact thereof. Of course in regards to mankind in general, it didn’t start out that way. Our ancestors in the garden were made perfect like the rest of God’s creation after it was completed. While surveying His finished work at the end of the sixth day, God declared it ALL to be very good, including us (Genesis 1:31). Well, we know that this condition wouldn’t last for too long because God made a change to the protocol.
To the east according to the account, God planted a garden where He placed the new man He had just made. He put two trees in the garden, the name of one was the “tree of life” and the other was the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Then God placed on Man his first prohibition, He commanded that Man not to eat of the “knowledge tree” or he would die (Genesis 2: 8-9, 16-17).
You know the rest of the story in Genesis chapter 3. They were deceived by the serpent, they ate and inherited death and were kicked out of the garden away from the tree of life. The woman, the man and Satan all received verbal curses handed down by God which we all have also inherited just by being born into the fallen world. So we are the recipients of this terrible curse and our condition is grave (Romans 3: 9-20). As a result, sinful man became in need of a savior, someone who could pay an eternal price for the eternal life we no longer had since the fall (John 3:16-21; Ephesians 2: 8-10) .
WHY? The glaring question is WHY? Why did this whole chain of events have to take place and why has the world been subjected to such a long trail of misery and death especially if God is all He claims to be (all knowing, all mighty and a God of love)? One simple explanation could be this: God didn’t create mankind to be robots which simply act on a command when summoned to do so.
We were created to give God our worship, praise and love and express our thankfulness to Him for His loving kindness and mercy. Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is dedicated to showing what it looks like when a person fully loves and depends on God for all aspects of life. I could almost imagine that the very first man and woman in God’s garden probably didn’t have a great deal of opinion one way or another concerning God or their surroundings.
Not that this is good or bad, they were innocent and just plain didn’t know any better. It’s like you don’t know what you have until you lose it. God didn’t make us to be robots. We really can’t love and accept God or anyone else unless we have the equal and opposite capacity to hate and reject Him. So then God presents humanity with His commands (which are only given for our own good anyway) and we’re left with the choice to follow Him or reject Him.
When we, with the knowledge of God reject Him and decide to follow our own path in life are we are actually following the devil and the devil’s fate is the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10, 14). That’s what is known as rebellion against God with a man centered world view. Because of man’s selfish and sinful nature war is in the world (James 4: 1-4). A friend of the world is an enemy of God.
So that’s the basic groundwork and players that are at work in our world and every generation since the creation of man has had to face these conditions and decide where he’s going to place his allegiance. When God created Man in His own image, He originally gave man dominion over the world and all that was created in it (Genesis 1: 26-28). Through his deceitful trickery, Satan actually stole this role and caused man to fall from the position God had originally intended man to have. Because of this Satan gained a somewhat limited domination over the world as the master tempter and corruptor.
The first mention of this Savior of mankind to come is found in the curse that God called down on the devil (Genesis 3:14-15). This is a very important Scripture and lays down the basic nature of the battle between God and the devil which is still playing out today. In verse 15, the offspring of the woman is Jesus who will crush the serpent’s head but the only thing that the serpent (Satan) will be able to do is nip at His heal.
Since that time Satan has tried continuously to destroy the seed of the woman by attacking God’s chosen people, Israel, because it was through them the savior would come into the world and seal Satan’s fate for the rest of eternity. So that is the main reason for worldwide anti-Semitism and hatred of the nation of Israel.
HISTORY OF THE BEAST: Turn now to Revelation chapter 12. In the opening verses you see a vision of a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars on her head. This is imagery for the nation of Israel. Very similar imagery was used in a dream that Joseph, son of Jacob (who was named Israel by God) had before his brothers kidnapped him and sent him away to Egypt where he became ruler second only to Pharaoh (Genesis 37: 9-11).
The woman is pregnant and about to give birth to a male child and an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns is waiting to devour the child. This imagery depicts the human origins of Christ coming from nation of Israel and Satan deploying his failed plans to destroy the Christ child. This is one of Satan’s greatest miscalculations as this caused him to be kicked out of heaven (Revelation 12).
What is behind the imagery of a red dragon with 7 heads and 10 horns? The answer can be found in Revelation 17: 9-14. The imagery is given to prove that the devil has been the powerful de facto ruler of the world since the fall of mankind. The seven heads denote seven world empires (or kingdoms) that either have or will directly affect the nation of Israel. Five have fallen, one is and one is to come. At the time that John penned the book of Revelation in (96 A.D.) the Roman Empire was in world control.
The previous empires that exercised world domination were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Greece under Alexander the Great. Rome came and they were the ones responsible for destroying Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and scattering the Jews all around the world leaving them without a homeland for the last 2000 years. There is one empire left and that one will be in power when Christ comes back a second time to setup His kingdom on earth for 1000 years (Rev. 20:1-6). This empire will have ten regional authorities (this is the 10 horns on the beast) with a supreme leader (Daniel 7:24; 1 John 1: 18).
So that, in a nut shell, is what’s been going on. Satan has been trying hard to save himself at the expense of God’s people the Jews. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians we see that our struggles are not against flesh and blood but are of a spiritual nature and that Satan and his forces are the ones who are acting in defiance of God (Ephesians 6:10-12). But none of this escapes God’s watchful eye and He can use all things both good and bad to accomplish His purposes.
THE END OF THE MATTER: In Matthew chapter 24, Jesus chronicles various events that will take place in the world prior to His Second Coming. In verses 4 to 8, He lists a number of things that are designated to happen and He then likens them to birth pains which increase in both frequency and intensity. The reason for that is because Satan knows that his time is short and he’s ramping up his efforts because his survival depends on it.
The Rider on the white horse of Revelation 19:11-21) is coming soon, if you listen just a little His hoof beats can be easily discerned. I believe that this is what we are seeing take place in the world today. We literally have a front row seat for the greatest performance in the history of the creation. In Revelation 22:20 John records, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”