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Third Week of January 2018
Third Study – The Origins of Evil




Introduction: When we talk about the great controversy between good and evil, we are talking about the actual controversy between Christ and Satan. Familiar passages in the Bible that speak about Satan and his fallen angels are Genesis 3:1-7; Job 1:1-22; 2:1-13; 2 Chronicles 18:18-22; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Daniel 10:13; Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 10:18; 2 Peter 2:4; and Revelation 12:1-17; 20:1-15.

Though this great controversy between Christ and Satan seems long, there is no doubt about how it will end. The assurance of Christ’s victory is repeated again and again in Scripture. Therefore, we need not be afraid of Satan and his evil angels. We have the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit on our side. The Heavenly Trio will utilize all those lovely heavenly angels to aid us in our battle against evil.

1. Where did this war between Christ and Satan begin? Revelation 12:7-9

These verses teach us that at some point in the distance past a war broke out in heaven between Michael and a great red dragon. We learn in verse 9, that the “great red dragon” is Satan, the devil.

Who is Michael? The name “Michael” means “the one who is like God.” Who is the one that is just like God the Father? Who is equal with the Father in being all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, and ever-present? It is Jesus, the Son of God. He is the one that is just like the Father. Jesus said, “he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” John 14:9

There are many names and titles for Jesus in the Bible. There are over one hundred of them. Here are forty-five of them. Notice how these special names or titles for Jesus, point to His divinity and His mission to save the human race:

Advocate (1 John 2:1); Almighty (Revelation 1:8); Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8); Amen (Revelation 3:14); Author and Finisher of our Faith (Hebrews 12:2); Beloved Son (Matthew 12:18); Branch (Isaiah 4:2; Bread of Life (John 6:32); Captain of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10); Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4); Cornerstone (Psalm 118:22); Counsellor (Isaiah 9:6); Creator (John 1:3); Dayspring (Luke 1:78); Door (John 10:7); Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6); Faithful Witness (Revelation 1:5); First and Last (Revelation 1:17); First Begotten (Revelation 1:5); God (Isaiah 40:3); Good Shepherd (John 10:11); Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14); Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 41:14); I Am (John 8:58); Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14); Jehovah (Isaiah 26:4); Jesus (Matthew 1:21); King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15); Lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22); Lamb of God (John 1:29); Leader and Commander (Isaiah 55:4); Light of the world (John 8:12); Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5); Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5); Messiah (Daniel 9:25); Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6); Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6); Redeemer (Job 19:25); Resurrection and the life (John 11:25); Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4); Savior (Luke 2:11); Seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15); Son of God (Matthew 2:15); Truth (John 1:14); Word (John 1:1)

As we consider these names and titles given to Jesus, we are convinced that Jesus is fully divine. He is the Son of God who created the universe. He is the self-existent Creator and Redeemer. Therefore, when we consider the name “Michael” we must understand it in its highest sense. In the book of Jude, Jesus is called “Michael the archangel.” Jude 9. How would we consider the name “Michael the archangel” in its highest sense? What is the highest meaning of “archangel”? “Arch” means “chief, principle, greatest, or highest.” “Angel” means angel or messenger. Therefore, Jesus as “Michael the archangel,” must be understood as Michael the Greatest Messenger, the Highest Messenger. The One who is just like God [Michael], is the Greatest Messenger of Truth. Jesus is the greatest revelation of the Father. After all, He is Michael, “the One who is like God [the Father].” We know that Jesus is not a created angel. Rather, He created all the angels, and is therefore the Commander of them.

Some might ask, “Could God be a messenger?” Consider the opening verse of Revelation, which reads, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God [the Father] gave unto Him [Jesus], to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by his angel [Gabriel] unto His servant John.” Revelation 1:1

Who originated the message of Revelation? It was the Father. Who did the Father give the message to? He gave it to Jesus. Who did Jesus give the message of Revelation to? Jesus gave it to John. John would then send it to the seven churches.

God is the Messenger or Originator of all truth. All the eternal principles and truths taught in God’s Word, come from Him. We are the rich recipients of His Word. Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit “shall teach” us “all things, and bring all things into remembrance. . . He will guide” us “into all truth.” John 14:26; 16:13. Man is not the originate of truth. All that is good, lovely, and truthful comes from above.

But is this the only reason why God inspired John to use the name “Michael” in Revelation 12:7? Notice that the dragon, Satan, is at war with Him who is called “Michael.” What does this tell us? It tells us that Lucifer was warring against the idea that Jesus is the One just like the Father. He was warring against the idea that Jesus is fully divine, equal to the Father, and thus worthy of worship. You might say, Lucifer was jealous of Jesus.

2. What did Lucifer want? Isaiah 14:12-14

The Bible says, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art that cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14

At some point in time, Lucifer desired to be worshiped as God. Will this ever happen? Of course, there are people who have worshiped Lucifer throughout human history. But notice what will happen in these last days. The Bible says, “And they [the world] worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the [first] beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? . . . And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship the [first beast], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:4, 8. In worshiping the first beast of Revelation chapter thirteen, the world will be worshiping the dragon, Satan. It was Lucifer who began creature worship with his hunger and thirst to be worshiped by others. But all such creature worship keeps people from having their names written in the book of life. They will be lost.

3. What caused Lucifer to want to be worshiped like God? Ezekiel 28:14-18

Lucifer was created “perfect.” Ezekiel 28:15. He lived in a perfect environment, namely, heaven. Therefore, the fall of Lucifer is a mystery. How could a perfect being in a perfect environment become imperfect?

What we do know, is that Lucifer somehow corrupted himself. The Bible says, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” Ezekiel 28:17. God had made Lucifer beautiful and wise. But tragically, Lucifer credited his beauty and wisdom to himself. In some mysterious way, Lucifer begin to become self-centered. Instead of praising God for the gifts and talents that he received from God, he desired to be worship as God for his beauty and wisdom. As such, he corrupted his way of thinking. As the Bible says, “Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities.” Ezekiel 28:18

Of course, we wish that this had never happened to Lucifer. If only he had remained loyal to God, then all the suffering and death in our little world, would never have happened. But this war did take place in heaven. And tragically it was transferred here to planet Earth, when Adam and Eve themselves rebelled against God.

4. What do we see as the fruit of Lucifer’s rebellion? Daniel 4:30; 5:18, 20-23

We see in the account of two Babylonian kings, Nebuchadnezzar and Belteshazzar, that pride was the essence of their down fall. Nebuchadnezzar said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30.

All the talent, power, and possessions that Nebuchadnezzar had obtained came from God. However, the king only credited all these things to himself. But who created the stones, the trees, and other materials that it took to build Babylon’s magnificent structures? God had made these things. Where did the king acquire a mind that could reason, plan, make calculations, and organize grand building projects? It all came from God. Yet, like Lucifer, the king took all the credit to himself.

King Belteshazzar did the same thing. The prophet Daniel told Belteshazzar, “And thou his son, O Belteshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this.” Daniel 5:22.

Pride, envy, jealousy, discontentment, and self-centeredness seem to be at the root of Satan’s rebellion against God. The same spirit of rebellion that was in the heart of Lucifer, is now seen in the hearts of men. Consider these words about the antichrist power. The Bible says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the Second Coming of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away first [in the church], and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God [sits within the Christian community], showing himself that he is God [that he has the power or authority of God within the church].” 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4

Similar verses concerning the antichrist power are found in the book of Daniel. “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws. . . Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host. . . and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods.” Daniel 7:25; 8:11; 11:36.

This sounds like the experience of Lucifer. Lucifer went from having a spiritual mind to a corrupted mind. He went from worshiping God to worshiping himself. He went from giving thanks to God, to crediting all that he had to himself. And now we find this spirit of self-centeredness in the nature of fallen humanity. It is like a cancer, that only God can remedy.

There is in our fallen nature a spirit of self-centeredness. There is pride and envy. All of which, must be overcome and crucified. We can come to Christ and ask Him to forgive us of all our sins and all of our selfish ways. By giving our sins to Jesus, we will not only receive forgiveness, but we also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. As Peter preached, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38

When we give our sins to Christ, He gives us the Holy Spirit in return. When we are born of the Spirit, we begin to have new motives and new purposes. We begin to live a new life in Christ. With this new life, we will ask to receive the righteous life of Jesus. We will ask for the humility of Jesus, that we may overcome our pride. We will ask for the love of Jesus, that we may love our enemies. We will ask for the patience of Jesus that we may overcome our impatience. Through the work of the Holy Spirit we can put on Christ. Old things are passed away, all things become new.

5. How many angels did Satan deceive in his self-centered rebellion against God? Revelation 12:3, 4

Satan had deceived one-third of the angels in heaven to join in his rebellion against God.

6. How did Satan take a third of the angels? Revelation 12:4

We are told that “his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven.” What does a tail represent in Bible prophecy? We find the answer is Isaiah 9:15, “The ancient and honorable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.” A “tail” in Bible prophecy represents lies. Therefore, Satan deceived a third part of the angels by lying. God cannot lie, but Satan can. This is one area were Satan has an advantage. However, if we know what is truth, then the lies of Satan will not mislead us like they did one-third of the angels.

7. Who won the war in heaven? Revelation 12:7-9

We learn that Satan and his angels had no more place in heaven and were cast to the earth.

8. How did Satan continue his war against Christ on the earth? Genesis 3:1-6

Immediately the devil tempted Eve to eat from the forbidden tree. He led her to doubt the words of God. God said, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:17.

But Satan would contradict the words of God, “And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die.’ For God doth know that ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4, 5

God told Adam and Eve that they would die, and Satan said that they would not die. Satan made it seem as if God was withholding some good from them. The devil tricked her into believing that she would herself become “as the gods, knowing good and evil.” In other words, she would be able to determine what is good and what is evil on her own.

9. How did the disobedience of Adam and Eve affect their relationship with God? Genesis 3:7-13

Before their disobedience, Adam and Eve would walk with God in the open air. They trusted God and loved to be in His presence. They loved to do His will. But after they sinned, they hid from Him. Adam and Eve would even blame God for their disobedience. Things would never be the same again. Adam and Eve now had a fallen nature instead of a holy nature. They were now unholy, with no ability to make themselves holy. Worse than that, they were now in enmity with God.

Paul wrote, “For to be carnally minded [which is the mind we are naturally born] is death; but to be spiritually minded [which is the mind we receive when we are born again] is life and peace. Because the carnal mind [the natural mind] is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:6, 7

Adam and Eve were created with a spiritual mind. They were created perfect. After they sinned they had a carnal mind. They now had an imperfect nature, a fallen nature, a self-centered nature. With this carnal mind, Adam and Eve would not be willing to submit to the will of God. In fact, Adam and Eve did not even want to be near God. And ever since then, mankind has established one false religion after another. These are religions without a savior. Men are saved by the works of their hands. The religion itself is exalted as a god. Religious leaders become exalted above their fellow men. They are all false.

10. What is the penalty for disobedience? Romans 6:23

The wages of sin is death. God was right, when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit they would begin to die. But there is hope!

11. What promise did God make to the human family? Genesis 3:15

God said to the serpent [Satan], “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.”

To destroy the enmity that now existed between Adam and God, God would put enmity between the serpent [Satan] and the woman [representing God’s true followers]. There would be enmity between the seed of Satan and the seed of the woman. The “seed” of the woman would be Jesus. Jesus is the blessed seed that springs forth new life in the believer.

In the end, the head of the serpent would be bruised, meaning that it would be fatal. Eventually Satan and his kingdom will be destroyed eternally. The seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, would have His heel bruised, meaning that He would be wounded for our transgressions, but He would be resurrected and rule with an everlasting dominion.

The enmity that exists between us and God must be replaced with peace and harmony with God. This is the beginning of a new life in Christ. We go from having a carnal mind to a spiritual mind. We go from having enmity with God to having enmity with Satan. We become born again with a new nature.

God could not bear the thought of losing us forever. There was only one way to save mankind from the rebellious nature of Satan. God would need to save man from the penalty of sin and their sinful natures. To save man from the penalty of sin, God would send His own Son to take upon Himself the sins of the world. In this way, the penitent may give his sins to Jesus, and then be treated as if he never sinned. But man would also need to be saved from his sinful nature that led him to sin. The answer to this problem is also found in God’s dear Son. Jesus would take upon Himself our fallen nature and live a sinless life in our sinful flesh. See Romans 8:3, 4. By the power of the Holy Spirit Jesus lived a spotless and perfect life in our fallen flesh. Through the same work of the Holy Spirit, we may now follow in the footsteps of Jesus. His life now becomes our own. We now live His life through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, God sent His Son into the world to save it, not condemn it. As the Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16, 17

Conclusion

The war between good and evil, between truth and error, between Christ and Satan began in heaven, not on earth. Though Lucifer was created perfect, he became evil. In some mysterious and unexplainable way, he desired to be worshiped like God. In his rebellion against God, he deceived one-third of the angels, and also led astray our first parents, Adam and Eve. Due to their fallen natures, the descendants of Adam and Eve were born with fallen natures with a bent toward evil. In fact, we were born with a carnal mind that was at enmity with God. Due to God’s love, He gave us His only Son to win us back. Through Christ we have the forgiveness of sins and the power to overcome sin. Both of which are necessary to bring us back into harmony with God. As we are brought back into peace God, we will now have enmity with Satan and sin.

Commitment:

I acknowledge that there is a war between Christ and Satan.
I acknowledge that this war began in heaven.
I acknowledge that Adam and Eve sinned.
I acknowledge that they now had a sinful past and sinful nature.
I acknowledge that God has found a way to save us.
I acknowledge that the way is through Jesus Christ.
I acknowledge that I may have peace with God and enmity against Satan and sin.