The Majesty of God
Chapter Nine – Travail
It was at this point in history that human travail began. Why would God allow suffering? He knew before He made Adam and Eve that they would disobey Him, but He went ahead and created them. He wants our love for Him to be voluntary. If we never have a choice, then it is not voluntary. Thus, He allowed humans access to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and it brought great suffering into the world.
But who originated the suffering? It wasn't God. God made everything in the world pleasurable and pure and provided for our needs so bountifully that nobody would have ever lacked for anything, if sin had not entered the world. It was satan who saw to it that sin entered the world. He is ultimately responsible for the suffering, but many people blame suffering on God because He permits it.
Why does God permit it? Here's why. Lucifer and his angels made the decision to reject God and their judgment was set at that very moment. God does not offer them redemption. They had no excuse for what they did. They were not frail like men.
They also lived in the full light of God's glory. Their eyes beheld closely the wonders of the Universe. They had all the strength they needed in God to hold them in fidelity to Him. God would not have made them, if it was inevitable they would fall. They had to overcome the powerful magnetism of Love and their natural inclination towards holiness in order to fall into the abyss of Self.
They all had the opportunity to see the Universe running in perfect order according to the tenets of Love and enjoy a range of benefits that Man has never known. Yet they chose to be ungrateful and rebel against the order that God had established for the maximum benefit of all. Without mercy, they swooped on Mankind at the first opportunity to trick them into slavery. Their judgment is just.
Through Man, God displays before the Universe the justice and suitability of having Him continue to reign over it, instead of satan or anyone of his horde. There would be no peace in the Universe if Lucifer could win the Throne. It would be in a constant state of civil war and destruction. Only God can bring peace.
A courtroom drama is unfolding upon this planet, and the observers in the galleries of Heaven are referred to in Daniel 4:13 & 17 as "Watchers." The Watchers are being given the opportunity to see how satan torments the vulnerable, instead of giving them the tenderest of care in consideration of their frailty, as Love would choose.
God has His enemies on a chain, but allows them some mobility to let the angels see what satan and his followers choose to do when they are given liberty. He does this to prove the justice of the sentence of condemnation that is upon them. It is a serious matter to condemn angels to everlasting torment and necessitates giving evidence to justify the punishment. The effect upon their character of their choice to rebel against God has to be adequately displayed.
Satan's meddling with Mankind resulted in disease, maiming, poverty, treachery, wars, the defilement of innocence, vandalism, tortures, murders, and many other types of vice and malice.
As Mankind is the race upon which the fallen angels and the disembodied spirits of Earth's previous inhabitants (demons) are permitted to vent some of their spite, it is also the race that has been given the opportunity, through their suffering, to rise to the places of highest honour and power in the Universe under God. It is an awesome privilege to be a human being, even if circumstances have placed one on the lowest level of society, or with the least physical and mental abilities.
Satan and his angels and demons are furiously jealous that God has offered amnesty to Man through the Anointed Lord Yeshua. Amnesty has been denied to the fallen angels and demons; they can never go back to what they were before they rebelled.
Devils and demons try to do everything in their power to prevent human beings from receiving salvation for their soul. They want to get their claws into people, use them as puppets, and drag down souls to writhe in agony forever like they themselves are condemned to do. The idea of any one of us living in eternal bliss infuriates them, and their jealousy goes right off the scale at the idea of human beings sitting on thrones, being co–rulers of the Universe with God.
If the fallen angels can't prevent someone from being saved, or get them to abandon their faith after they receive Yeshua as their Saviour, then they want to, at least, reduce a person's rewards in Heaven as much as they possibly can. They try to intimidate the saints1 from launching out in faith in radical obedience to God, or load them down with apathy, so that they stunt their spiritual growth through various types of selfishness.
However much devils might delude themselves that they can win a war with God, in their innermost heart, they know they are doomed. It is their malice and stubbornness that compels them to wreak as much destruction as they possibly can, while they can.
The fallen angels' damage is limited to our planet and its district and to a short space of time. Six thousand years seems like a long time to the Earth's inhabitants, especially to those who are subjected to extreme suffering, if they view things only from an earthly perspective. When I used to watch Star Trek, in His grace, God used it to help me see a good comparison of what Earth–time is like to the Watchers in Heaven.
There was an episode where the holographic doctor was beamed down to a planet that was out of sync with the rest of the Universe. One minute on board the Enterprise was equivalent to many years on the planet. Something went wrong with the transporter equipment and the crew was not able to recover the doctor from his reconnaissance mission for several minutes longer than they had anticipated.
When they brought him back up to the ship, the doctor told of how he had experienced a full lifetime on the planet that included having a career as an opera singer, getting married, and having offspring. In the same way, six thousand Earth years, or however long it takes to present the evidence, might seem in Heaven to be only half an hour.
Though six or seven thousand years is a very short time compared to the rest of eternity, I am sure that it is agony for the angels to watch the suffering that people are subjected to. It is horrifying for decent people in a jury to have to watch videos that criminals have taken of their rapes and murders, as it would be for any sane person. But God's angels, who are absolutely untainted by evil, are vastly more appalled by sin.
Paradoxically, each minute of having to see the evils committed under the sun is like a century, at least, to them. They probably suffer more than the human victims, because they are so full of God's love and feel what is in His heart towards people.
But angels are made of stronger stuff than us and can endure more than what we can, and they must be absolutely convinced of the justice of the sentence that is on the devil and his angels; otherwise they would be too inclined to feel sorry for them and give them a break, which they would use to wreak more evil. After all, these angels used to be friends and have sweet communion with each other before some of them chose to rebel. The holy angels remember the good that the fallen angels did before they sinned, and how they had passionately loved God and shared glorious insights about His nature before they let satan insert doubt in their minds.
God does not offer redemption to fallen angels and demons, but he does offer it to human beings because Adam and Eve were more fragile than the angels, less informed, and not as strong in their ability to resist temptation. He made Mankind this way so that He could display another aspect of His character besides Judgment, which is Mercy, and thus prove further His qualifications to rule the Universe.
Satan is the god of this world and he is permitted to do evil, but only as God allows. He has to present his plans before God and ask permission first, and if God does give His permission, then satan is compelled to do exactly what he said he'd do, without making any variations.
That is surely annoying to an evil strategist. How can anyone take God by surprise if God makes them tell Him in advance what they want to do, and they can't do anything different? God knows it all beforehand what satan is planning and doesn't need to be told. It is just part of the conditions for getting permission.
Job 41:5 asks in regards to leviathan, which is symbolic of satan, "Will you play with him as with a bird?" This refers to God's ability to toy with satan. I realized what this verse meant after seeing a picture that was painted centuries ago. It showed a little boy playing with a bird attached to a string. God keeps the devil on a leash. Satan can so far, but no farther. He is allowed to use only a very small fraction of his abilities. As horrific as the evil is that humans have been subjected to, it would be exponentially worse if God did not limit satan in what he is allowed to do, for God made Lucifer with a degree of intelligence and powers that placed him among the highest of the angels. He could and would do much, much worse, if he could get off the leash.
Another thing that must frustrate satan no end is how his Opponent can make him get amnesia temporarily, so that he repeats the same mistakes over and over, though in the past similar plans have continually failed and resulted in some kind of advantage to the Kingdom of God.
Satan doesn't realize this until after he is played his hand and gotten his butt kicked again. Then he remembers, "Oh, yeah … we had Pharaoh decree that all the boy babies be killed. It resulted in Moses being brought up right under his enemies' noses, and now this business of Herod killing the babies of Bethlehem backfired, too. The Messiah found refuge in, of all places, Egypt! Not right under Herod's nose, it's true, but in one of my main power bases, and it fulfilled a couple of the prophecies that verify that Yeshua of Nazareth is the Messiah. Arrgh! Some Jews still argue their way around it, but a lot of them slipped out of our hands because they saw that Yeshua fulfilled those prophecies. Dumb, dumb, dumb! How could I have forgotten about how it backfired on me before when I killed children to get rid of a deliverer?!"
What satan intends for evil, God uses to work good. Those who align themselves with God have their pain redeemed; those who stick with satan are left to stew with him in vexation and despair over the extinction of all their hopes and reap the bitter fruit of sin.
The hearts of the kings of the earth are like a river in God's hand, being turned whatever way He wills. He issues an order. Those who have some goodness in them will do as God tells them because they want to do good. Those who are bent on evil will do it for a selfish motive, such as to build a reputation for generosity or justice that enables them to more cunningly deceive. Whatever the motive, even the most powerful people on Earth have to do as God has commanded, though evil people may not realize they are acting on a command from God. Then again, some of them do know that God has issued them a command and, though they don't want to do it, they know they will die if they don't.
When God permits the powerful to do evil, it irrigates the righteous to develop the fruit of the Spirit when they release God's blessings upon themselves by thanking Him in every situation and forgiving offenses. But it irritates the wicked as they gripe and rail against God, blaming Him for their ills, instead of recognizing that it is their negative attitude towards the Creator and His Messiah that continually trips them up, not their circumstances in life.
The game is fixed, but satan has a vain hope that somehow he will be able to slip past all the built–in security measures at the last moment and gain an advantage that will enable him to dethrone God. As said before, however, when Lucifer and his angels rebelled against God, they triggered a self–destruct mechanism within themselves that cannot be reversed.
If satan were able to get God off that throne and sit on it himself, it would blast his little backside off within a fraction of a second. That Throne will not tolerate any but one who is absolutely pure and holy to come into contact with it.
Even at that, they have to be strong enough and wise enough to tolerate sitting there. God is not only able to tolerate it, He is totally comfortable on that Throne, and everybody who has good sense is very glad that He is in control of the Universe and will remain in control of it forevermore. With Him seated there, we can be sure that the Universe is ruled with Wisdom and Justice and Love.
Many people of various religions have claimed God to be on their side. In His Name, they have murdered people whom they considered heretics or infidels. Their rapes and plundering and torturing and murdering demonstrate that they are of their father the devil, and have set themselves against the God of Creation whose Name is Love.
The most wicked religious people are those who know what Jesus taught and say that they are Christians, and yet treat their opponents in such a manner. Yeshua taught that we are supposed to love our enemies, to be kind to them. It is the peak of effrontery to claim to belong to Yeshua, but commit crimes against humanity contrary to His teachings. God does not turn a blind eye to this, nor will He accept anything less than genuine repentance to remove the stain of those sins.
Genuine repentance means to turn away from one's sins – not continue to do them. We need to turn to Yeshua, look to Him to wash our sins away with the Blood He shed on the cross, and trust in the power that raised Him from the dead to enable us to walk in holiness.
The Bible says that the wrath of Man shall praise God. All the evil that people do demonstrates that God is the only One who deserves our praises and worship and obedience. In the Bible, God set forth a brief history of the world that shows how futile it is to oppose Him. All the most important events are there from the beginning right to the end. The winners and losers have already been determined.
The following pages highlight some of those recorded events with insights that mostly have come from my meditations on the Word, but also from various Bible teachers whom I have listened to over the years. Some of their information and insights have set off trains of thought that helped me get a clearer picture of history and spiritual principles.
I have listened to many sermons and read a lot of articles over the last 40+ years, so I can't always recall who said what, and it would be tedious to say that so and so, pastor of such and such a church, preached etc., but people can weigh what I have to say, and see if it stands the test of Bible knowledge and logic.
1The Bible teaches that all of those who have received Yeshua as their Saviour and are washed in His Blood, even if they do not distinguish themselves by phenomenal deeds or outstanding character, are saints of God. The word "saint" means sacred or holy one.
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The Majesty of God, Chapter 10