Angelic Conflict part 239: The fight of the believer – 1Ti 1:18-20; 6:11-16; Job 1-2.
length: 77:03 - taught on Jan, 19 2014
Title: Angelic Conflict part 239: The fight of the believer - 1TI 1:18-20; 6:11-16; Job 1-2.
In terms of arriving at an ultimate explanation for evil, as the church progressed the question got filed under the providence of God (that it is God’s will) instead of under the category of spiritual warfare, that is, under the topic of what satan, rebel angels and fallen humans freely choose to do against God’s will.
The Church at large has failed to expose the true sources of evil which has served to only weaken the Church and give more opportunities to the devil.
God has made a risky world instead on one without risk. The risk comes from free will and self-determination. He has made a world in which He does not control everything, though He could, but if He did, which He will very soon, there would never be a sin or evil act. The fact that He will soon control everything removes the worry or concern about an ongoing contingency of evil and lack of justice.
Since the cross and the resurrection, the time has been rapidly moving to a far better eternity in which the ultimate purposes of God will be accomplished.
Men have occupied themselves with the why to explain the free will action of sin and evil, especially from an un-tempted satan and as to the why of God’s will in allowing such sin and evil in full knowledge of its occurrence. Such questions are misguided and the quest for an answer is senseless. The question is unanswerable and the Bible does not attempt to answer it. We don’t see the writers of Scripture even ponder the question, but they rather simply state it as fact. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Satan was perfect in wisdom and beauty until unrighteousness was found in him. She ate and she gave to her husband and he ate. Try to explain the reasons for everything you do. If we cannot do that for such a small thing as our own souls then there is no way we are going to answer that question in regards to millions of years, trillions of angels, hundreds of billions of people, and infinite God.
The reality is that sin and evil exists and that God has allowed it for a time and because of that permissive will, bad things will happen to good people.
The warfare view is the only explanation and the Biblical one. If the earth has indeed been besieged by a controlling diabolical force who command legions of hostile demons, then, but only then, it is not surprising that we see around us more signs of the demonic than the spiritual.
We are not surprised that in this war-torn land, there is more pain and misery, injustice and violence than love, prosperity, justice and joy. This is exactly what war looks like.
We now understand why particular atrocities occur. In a state of war, bullets fly, bombs explode, mines are stepped on, and children are unjustly maimed. War is hell and that is to be expected.
Therefore we conclude with Peter:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;
The only problem is the confrontation of evil and the overcoming of it.
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
Hence the doctrine of the Angelic Conflict, the worldview of a world at war frees us from futilely asking questions we cannot answer and empowers us and motivates us to fight battles we can win through the power of our Savior.
1TI 1:18 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight,
1TI 1:19keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
1TI 1:20Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
The believer can win the battle over his conscience, which is his priority list of norms and standards.
1TI 6:11 But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
1TI 6:12Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called [resurrection life], and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1TI 6:13I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,
1TI 6:14that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1TI 6:15which He will bring about at the proper time — He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords;
1TI 6:16who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
The believer can pursue virtue, live the resurrection life, and keep righteous commandments in the midst of a sinful and evil world.
When the enemy is upon you, does it matter why? When the battle is brought to your doorstep do you have to know why he is there or do you defend your household? Why did we get attacked today and not yesterday? Why was it this kind of an attack and not that kind of an attack? Why did God allow this and not that? Keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ!
However, modern people mostly do not take seriously the existence of angels let alone believe that the behavior of these supernatural beings might explain much of the features of our world. Especially in western culture, the last several centuries has seen a more secularized view of what the Bible has to say about satan, demons, angels, and the sin and evil that resulted from their fall.
The world has rapidly increased in materialistic viewpoints of everything, which leaves little room for the belief in angels and demons.
One liberal, progressive theologian who taught NT theology and Biblical interpretation at a fairly prestigious seminary in NY city wrote concerning angels and demons:
"We moderns cannot bring ourselves... to believe in the real existence of these mythological entities that traditionally have been lumped under the general category "principalities and powers." ... It is as impossible for most of us to believe in the real existence of demonic or angelic powers as it is to believe in dragons or elves, or a flat world." [Walter Wink - professor of NT theology]
Many modern theologians have come to believe that the Bible needs to be "demythologized" if it's real significance is to be salvaged for modern people. This was the view of a German theologian who died in 1976 who was thought to be a major voice in 20th century biblical studies. To then explain the principalities and powers the moderns have had to allegorize them. Some have taught that they are the world's institutions and completely deny the existence of any literal interpretation of supernatural creatures. This marginalizes satan and his demon organization and they like that just fine. It also marginalizes God and they love that as well.
None of this is helped by the Victorian depiction of little baby cherubim or the depictions of satan as an wily goat of some sort.
The importance of our warfare is greatly diminished if one thinks that God's opposition does not consist of real beings who for the time being have an autonomous existence and a free will and who genuinely fight against God, against each other, and against believers.
Many theologians and pastors believe that God is the author of evil and has instituted it for a purpose. God has a purpose, but evil is not a part of it. They use three passages in particular to defend their view and all three are taken out of context. All three of these passages clearly reveal that God will allow evil to discipline His people.
God will allow evil angels, people, and nations to discipline His people while always warning before the discipline and always providing a divine solution.
The context of these passages are easy to determine and so in the spirit of time we will not study them here.
Instead we turn to the most open depiction of satan in the OT and that is in Job.
Was Job under discipline? We know the answer is no, but what did Job conclude and what did his friends conclude? The issue in that great poetic book is that no one can judge the servant of another, for before his own Master he stands or falls.
JOB 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil.
Job was blessed with family and wealth.
JOB 1:2 And seven sons and three daughters were born to him.
JOB 1:3 His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants; and that man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
JOB 1:4 And his sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
JOB 1:5 And it came about, when the days of feasting had completed their cycle, that Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, "Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.
His integrity resulted in tremendous love for his children.
JOB 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord [angels], and Satan also came among them.
JOB 1:7 And the Lord said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the Lord and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it."
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
He is the ruler of the earth, after Adam had lost it, and he arrogantly responds to God that he had been roaming around it, and we can infer from 1PE 5:8, that he was looking for someone to devour. God will bring up Job, knowing that satan was looking to devour him, for satan knows all about him. But satan can't touch him because he can't hurt those who don't hurt themselves. The wall of fire around Job is a direct result of his divine integrity and faith. This shows us that God can lift the restraint of evil and in this war, He does. But all things work out together for good for Job, even though both he and his friends come to an erroneous conclusion for the reason of the calamity.
God enters Job into the conflict as a witness. This is rightly called evidence testing.
JOB 1:8 And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."
Evidence testing - The pressure of evil is allowed upon a mature believer who has developed divine virtue. This pressure only makes the virtue shine.
JOB 1:9 Then Satan answered the Lord, "Does Job fear God for nothing?
JOB 1:10 "Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
JOB 1:11 "But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face."
satan = accuser or adversary. devil = slanderer. His cross examination is that the believer's virtue has an improper motivation.
Ironic that he would accuse another creature of having wrong motives, but entrenched arrogance blinds a person to their own faults. Arrogant accusers often project their own flaws on to others, while they self-justify.
satan is attacking God's character as well as Job's. God would have never allowed this if He didn't know that Job was up to the task.
The attack is two-fold. God is blessing Job for no reason or arbitrarily, and that Job only worships God for the blessing and not from his knowledge of love of God.
satan desires to show that all creatures will curse God to His face if blessing is removed. satan's blessings were removed in his rebellion against God.
What Job shows and all virtuous believers have also shown under similar circumstances is that they freely choose to worship God despite the loss of material blessings, children, health, or any other tragedy that evil brings their way.
satan is the source of the evil while God is not. God is not pleased with the evil that is brought upon Job. Job's integrity was already there and God saw it. God didn't need this to see it. He didn't need others to see it. Yet God has allowed this fall and evil to enter His universe and it has positioned itself against Him and therefore against all who honor Him.
The kings of the earth take their stand,
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His
The maturing, virtuous believer reveals that his virtue depends on the person of God and not the blessings of God. The person of God is eternal and immutable.