By John J. Blanchard
January 15, 2011
When people first meet each other, introductions always include their names. From that first impression onward your name will take on the qualities and the characteristics that you have in your personality. You literally become your name to that person. It is one of those interesting things about memory (about cognizance) that when we think of a name, we think of all the qualities that go behind that name.
You can even think in a historical sense where just mentioning certain names, your mind will come up with all kinds of memories of what that person must have been like. In other words, if I said Abraham Lincoln, you would have a certain image come up in your mind of a very statesman-like gentleman who was tried through thick and thin and held fast. If I said Mother Theresa, you would think of a very kind, compassionate, and gentle woman who was a fine example for the human race. By the same token, there are names that I won’t mention, but if I did bring them up, you would immediately recoil. You would shudder, because of the qualities and characteristics (the character) behind those names. That is what happens over a lifetime.
We get a name built on the character we develop. The name reflects, in essence, that character. Those who care work hard on their character, making it better and better as long as they live, because they realize that their name (their character) is the legacy that they leave behind just like Abraham Lincoln and Mother Theresa. They also realize that the only thing you do take with you in death is your name, that is your character that you have built up. That is why it is very important to maintain good character and not to ruin other people’s character with slander or libel. There are laws against that because most of us really do care about the name that we have developed. If we feel that way and we are made in the image and likeness of God, we can just imagine how much God cares about His name.
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
I want to turn to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. We are going to read the Third Commandment. God is speaking here to people of ancient Israel. Exodus 20, verse 7: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
We cannot casually or loosely use the name of God. Today most of us have reduced this commandment to the use of simple epithets employing the name of God or perhaps cursing someone in using God’s name or being angry and using God’s name. Sometimes God’s name is used when we are hurt, for instance, if we hit our thumb with a hammer. It is common to hear people use God’s name in vain. Sometimes we reduce that commandment to simply taking God’s name in vain in a situation like that. But that merely scratches the surface of what is meant by not taking God’s name in vain.
We need to understand what is meant by “vain” in the Hebrew. The word “vain” in Exodus 20 is shav (#7723, Strong, 1995) which means to destroy to the point of desolation, evil as destructive, literally ruin, and figuratively useless deception. When we apply that kind of definition to the word vain, it takes on a whole lot more meaning than just using God’s name in anger.
God’s name reflects His many good qualities. I want to look at some of His names. I want to start in Isaiah 9. If you have your Bible, turn to Isaiah chapter 9. We are told some of the names of God here. It is speaking of Jesus Christ in prophecy. Isaiah 9, verse 6: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
We see here among the names of God are Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, and Everlasting Father. There are many names associated with God in the Bible. There are many names that He uses and many descriptive terms. I want to look at just a few: El Shaddai (meaning God Almighty, Almighty Blessed); Father of Lights (meaning to shine and make manifest); Yahweh-Rapha (meaning the God of healings); Emmanuel (meaning God with us). We also see Him referred to as our Savior, our Redeemer, and the Rock. Of course, there is Yahweh, meaning I am and will continue to be that which I am.
There are many other descriptive names of God in the Bible. All of them are beautiful, powerful, and meaningful. That is because God’s character encompasses the meaning behind all of these words, names, and adjectives. He is all of those things. God’s name stands behind all that He does. I want to look at some of the aspects that God says His name is embedded in and that He stands behind.
I want to turn to Romans chapter 1 to start with. This is a Scripture we often look to because all of creation has God’s fingerprints on it. Romans 1, verse 20: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead…”
The things that God made literally help us see into His mind, into His thoughts. It is like He wrote something of Himself into everything that He created. John chapter 1 tells us Jesus Christ was the active Creator following the wishes of God the Father and that He literally created everything that we see.
John chapter 1, beginning in verse 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
People did not realize at the time, except for the 12 and then a few more on that first Pentecost, just what was meant by the life of Christ. But indeed He was the living Word of which we have the written word in the form of the Bible now. Through Him all things that are made were made. He literally made everything.
THE GARDEN OF EDEN
We can go back to Genesis 2. We want to look at the beginning now because the apex of His creation is literally humanity. Genesis 2, verse 7: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
Man became a living being because God created him out of the dust of the ground. We are literally composed of dirt. You could take us apart and analyze us. You would find we are minerals and water. That is what we are.
Back up to chapter 1 of Genesis. We are going to read verse 27 and verse 31: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Dropping down to verse 31: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
God saw everything that He had made, including mankind, and He said it was very good. All creation was very good, and all creation carries His signature (His thoughts) and something of His character. His name stands behind it. He said it was good. It must end up being good because He said so!
At creation in Genesis God was not actually creating the world as a beginning. He was fixing it. He was recreating. He wanted to make creation, that is specifically the earth and mankind, to reflect His thoughts, so He made mankind in His image and likeness. That means mankind had to have a free will. They had to be able to choose to do right over wrong, choose to love God, and not be forced to love God. This caused quite a conundrum of difficulty that God and only God could overcome. God had to make goodness available, but He had to allow man to choose something else if he so desired.
Let’s go to Genesis chapter 2. What did God do to start fixing the earth? Genesis 2, verse 8: “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
God made this beautiful place called Eden, a garden on earth. God literally pushed back the darkness and made a beautiful place for Adam and Eve to learn about Him and to grow in character and understand His plan. Of course to allow them free will in that beautiful place, He had to allow access to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There was a bit of evil in that garden, but it was overwhelmingly a beautiful place where mankind could flourish.
God’s plan was to expand good and reduce evil. Outside of the garden was tremendous evil, but inside there was very little. It was so boxed up, it was in the form of a tree, so to speak, that it could not be unleashed unless man wanted to (unless man took of that tree).
God wanted to fix the earth, so that countless billions of beings would willingly develop character like His and become part of an ever-growing family. His image and likeness is so beautiful and His character so perfect, that God had to come up with some sort of plan that would not fail. It could not fail. Anything that God does has to succeed.
I want to turn to Titus chapter 1. We are going to go to a Scripture in the New Testament that actually precedes time itself. Titus chapter 1, verse 1: “Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…”
God made promises to mankind before mankind even existed and before time itself existed!
Verse 3 of Titus 1: “…but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior…”
Paul says this plan that was instituted before time began was turned over in the form of the word of God and Jesus Christ to people who would preach from it to teach mankind about God’s plan and what God is doing for mankind. It is a beautiful plan that has been unfolding perfectly since well before Genesis! It is up to us to determine how well it is working, and God gives us lots of clues.
I want to go back to Genesis chapter 1 again. We will go to the very beginning now, and see what we can understand about what God is working on and how He is going to achieve His beautiful goals. Genesis 1, verse 1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Between verse 1 and verse 2 we have no idea how much time had elapsed. Scientists have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the earth is billions of years old. They seem to feel it is between 13 and 15 billion years old, which of course means the sun and the solar system are at least that old as well.
Then the earth was without form and void, and we see God’s Spirit hovering over the dark earth. He says here that it was without form and void, so earth was here when creation week started. It has been here for a long time, but there was a problem with earth.
In the New King James Version it says God’s Spirit hovered over the waters. In the King James Version it says “moved over.” That word that these are translated from in Hebrew is called rachaph (#7363, Strong, 1995). That means to brood. So the Spirit of God was moving over the earth, but It was brooding over what had happened. He was literally contemplating over what He was looking at. He was looking at an earth without form and void so what is it that God saw? What is it that He was looking at? He was looking at what needed to be fixed.
The word “form” is tohuw (#8414, Strong 1995) in the Hebrew which means to lie waste, a desolation of the surface, a worthless thing. The word “void” is bohuw (#922, Strong, 1995) in the Hebrew, meaning to be empty, a vacuity, which means totally empty of anything (from God’s point of view) that would be good; an indistinguishable ruin.
For something to get ruined, it had to have been good in the first place. When God did create it, whenever that was, it was good. Now somehow it had turned into a wasted thing, an indistinguishable ruin, a desolation. God was contemplating over what to do and how to start the project of fixing this.
Something had ruined the earth because it was no longer capable of producing any good thing. God said, it is worthless to Me! We need to get to the bottom of what happened. Why was it ruined? We need to get to the understanding of why God wants to fix it and how He is going to fix it. God did set about fixing it (re-creating it).
THE SOURCE OF EVIL
The source of that evil that ruined the garden is also spoken of in Genesis. If you just turn another page to Genesis chapter 3, we see the source of the evil power that had ruined the earth and made it a desolation in the eyes of God. Genesis 3, verse 1: “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”’”
Adam and Eve understood that they were not supposed to touch that tree and that everything else in the garden was good for them. Don’t forget they had never experienced evil in their life. They had no idea how bad evil can really get.
Satan, of course, was extremely cunning. He is an arch deceiver, a liar, and very, very tricky. Satan had become this way over the course of time. If we look back to when Satan was created (because he did have a beginning), he was made perfect like all things that God made. There was no problem. God had made him perfect.
Turn, if you would, to Ezekiel chapter 28. Tyre was a city-state in ancient times about 3,000 years after the Garden of Eden. This city-state was terribly corrupt. We do not want to go into all of their pagan practices, but they were horribly corrupt and very terrible in the sight of God.
Ezekiel 28, beginning in verse 1: “The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, ‘Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘Because your heart is lifted up, and you say, “I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas,” yet you are a man, and not a god, though you set your heart as the heart of a god (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you!”’”’
You can start to see there is a man who is being talked about here who is the prince of Tyre (the king of Tyre), but there is some evil force behind this thing.
Continuing with verse 4: “With your wisdom and your understanding you have gained riches for yourself, and gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches)…”
The king of Tyre was emulating some influence over him, and it made his empire very corrupt. It made him very corrupt, and he more or less thought of himself as a god. If we continue in this chapter, we will find that God is talking to the prince of Tyre, the power behind the throne.
Verse 11 of Ezekiel 28: “Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were inEden, the garden of God…’”’”
Who was in Eden, the garden of God? We saw there were Adam and Eve, but there was also Satan. The king of Tyre lived 3,000 years after that as a physical man, but the evil force that was inspiring him and influencing him and his people was none other than Satan, the deceiver of Adam and Eve as well.
Continuing in verse 13: “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers…”
It is without a doubt that we are talking about an angel here. This has to be Satan who was made perfect originally.
Continuing in Ezekiel 28, verse 14: “…I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones.”
He says, you had access to My throne. You would come in and out of the throne room.
Verse 15: “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”
Until you chose to sin, you were perfect.
Verse 16: “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.”
God destroyed his position. He said, you cannot serve Me in this capacity anymore because you have become evil and violent. You have become destructive.
Verse 17 of Ezekiel 28: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground [which means I cast you to the earth], I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.”
Someday this will be fulfilled where we can actually see that being who made so much suffering on this planet. We will see a little bit more of that in another Scripture in a minute.
Verse 18: “You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading [what you did to influence people, getting them to buy into your way of life]; therefore I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth…”
Literally the people that Satan uses like the king of Tyre have become ashes. The good and the bad, the good and the evil all died together, but God has a special place for those that He will resurrect and teach His way of life someday. But that is another subject.
It is astonishing to see how evil this being was to claim that he could be like a god. Yet he was so violent and so evil.
Verse 19: “All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; you have become a horror, and shall be no more forever.”
Someday he will be locked away forever. He will have no power whatsoever.
We see this being who literally was made perfect, but then he chose to sin, chose to become violent, chose to become evil. That was not good enough for him. He wanted to be like a god. Instead of influencing people to do good, he wanted to influence us more and more to be evil and imbibe of his way of life and follow him as a god.
Lucifer is Satan’s original name. We can go back to Isaiah 14 and read about that. Lucifer means “light bringer” or “morning star” because originally that was his job. He was to bring light to the earth. When God created the earth originally, whenever that was, it was a beautiful place. God used Satan to bring light, to bring understanding to the people of the earth and to influence the earth to be a beautiful place. By Genesis 1 God said, it has been ruined! This being has literally made the whole earth a worthless thing! His evil, his trading, and his way of life have been imbibed upon by the whole earth, and it has nothing to do with the way I wanted it to be. We can understand this by going to Isaiah 14 and get a little bit more depth of meaning here.
Satan’s evil influence has influenced people on the earth for a long time. In this case we are going to talk about influencing the king of Babylon. Isaiah 14, verse 3: “It shall come to pass in the day the Lord gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve, that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: ‘How the oppressor has ceased, the golden city ceased! The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers…’”
We see that Babylon is symbolic of evil and confusion, and we are not speaking of the city of Babylon on earth today. The empire of Babylon back in the day, 2,500 years ago was an evil place. It was a place in opposition to God, but it was not the people who wanted it that way. It was the influence behind them. We can see that by dropping down to verse 12.
Isaiah 14, verse 12: “How you have fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!”
We see it switched to talking about Lucifer. Lucifer was behind the Babylonian system. He was the power behind the throne. Literally his own kingdom (the spiritual realm that he rules over) is called Babylon. The physical empire in that city merely reflected his way of life. We are told here he weakened the nations through that system.
Continuing in verse 13 of Isaiah 14: “For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…”
Just like the king of Tyre, this evil being, Satan, wants to be a god. He wants to rule.
Continuing again in verse 13: “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…” This literally means above the other angels.
Verse 13: “…I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north…”
At that time, he wanted to sit in charge of ancient Israel because he knew that was where God was working. Eventually he brought about their demise. Today we could say he wants to destroy the Church of God, the Church that is trying to continue to bring light to the world. That is how evil this being is. He wants to be on par with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
Continuing at the bottom of verse 13: “‘On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who see you will gaze at you…”
Someday we will be able to see this person for what he is.
Verse 16: “…and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’”
We see the source of the evil that originally turned the world into a wilderness, into a desolate place, a worthless thing. It was Satan! God was trying to fix it by making a beautiful garden and pushing back that darkness. He was bringing light to that garden. Therefore, He said, let there be light. He did not create the sun at that point. He created the meaning behind what the sun stands for: truth. Light and truth go together in the Bible.
God says, someday you will be exposed for the man that you are, Satan. Angels are like in the form of men. You might say they were the first type of men, but they were spirit beings and not physical like we are today. They certainly have influence and power that can move people to do evil things like the king of Tyre and the king of Babylon and other despicable people who followed.
By and large the human race wants to do well. They want to do the right thing, but it is very confusing when you are imbibing of the tree of knowledge and good and evil. How do we sort that out? What is good and what is evil? It is hard for human beings to come up with definitive answers without God, His help, and His inspiration.
THE NAME OF SATAN
Now I want to look at the name of Satan. He started out with the name Lucifer, as we saw in Isaiah 14, and he became Satan the devil. In the Hebrew Satan (#7854, Strong, 1995) means opponent, arch enemy of good, adversary, to attack or to accuse. In the Greek Satan (#4567, Strong, 1995) means the accuser. The word “devil” in the Greek (#1228, Strong, 1995) means a slanderer, a false accuser. Belial (#1100, Strong, 1995) which is another word for the devil in Hebrew means worthless, destruction, and wickedness.
Now we can contrast Satan’s names, which reflect his character, with God’s beautiful names, which reflect His character. We see here two beings who are in diametric opposition to one another. They are opposing forces. They are opposing and opposite character traits. That is where we have to keep it straight. Who is who? It is hard when we are imbibing of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Everything gets mixed up. That is why laws are confusing and nations are confused.
Remember Satan is the one who weakened the nations, and we have been weakened by this being. Someday he will be exposed for what he is, and we can really help God fix the planet by choosing right over wrong and by using our free will to help the earth become a better place.
We want to be associated with God’s name. Remember the Third Commandment in Exodus 20: do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. We do not want to take the name of the Lord God in vain by saying God is coming to destroy the earth and ruin people’s lives in order to fix things. You do not fix things by totally destroying things! God’s purpose is to make things grow into the beautiful plan of God and come to fruition. Remember by his very nature and his names Satan wants to destroy. He wants mankind to kill each other. He would like to make this earth a worthless thing again with him in charge of pain and suffering forever and ever. It would be a true hell on earth! But God is not going to allow that, and God is not going to participate in it.
God has been preparing step by step for the last 6,000 years to liberate mankind from all of this suffering that we see. That is His goal. We have to understand that there are two forces that oppose each other, but God will win! His word and His name stand behind what He is going to do. He will accomplish it.
Let’s go back to a promise in Genesis chapter 3. We will put all of this together. God promised early on right after the fall of Adam and Eve that He was not going to abandon the human race. Genesis chapter 3, beginning in verse 13: “And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’ So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.’”
It is speaking of Jesus Christ. Eventually He would come of the seed of Eve and bruise Satan’s head. He would bring Satan’s kingdom down and get rid of his evil influence. Until that time, Satan was forced to crawl on his belly. In other words, he would have to live among mankind. He would have to eat the dust and get human beings to defile one another through sin. That was a curse. He literally has to make everyone sin and incur the wages of sin, which is death. He was doing a marvelous job until he ran up against Jesus Christ. God said, if you can’t beat every human being, you will be destined to fail.
Of the seed of Eve came Christ, many, many generations later. He defeated Satan by living a perfect life. From that point forward, Satan’s system was doomed to utter failure and collapse. It was just a matter of time.
Adam and Eve, unfortunately, had to be cast out of the garden. God did not want them to have eternal life at that point in their state. They were forced out of this beautiful garden into the world where Satan did have sway. He did have rulership and lots of influence. But God’s plan was inexorably moving forward. He promised Adam and Eve, I will not abandon you. It is through your seed that we will defeat this horrible being. He is well on the way to defeating Satan.
A PROMISE NOT TO DESTROY EARTH AGAIN
We want to discover what was happening between the Garden of Eden and the flood. So many people say, God flooded the earth once before. He killed almost everybody. Won’t He do something like that again? Let’s turn to II Peter chapter 2 in the New Testament, verse 4: “For if God did not spare the angels who sinned [that is Satan and the demons], but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly…”
You find that there was a preacher of righteousness. That means a preacher of the gospel, the good news of the kingdom of God. Noah was a precursor of the prophets who would follow, then Jesus Christ, and then the saints would follow Jesus Christ, preaching of hope and redemption. But in his day, the world was exceedingly evil because there was still so much influence outside of that garden that mankind had been forced into. There was so much carry over of wickedness from ancient times that God felt, We have a preacher of righteousness here (a righteous man), and for My name’s sake and for the purpose and help of all mankind (including those who would die in the flood), We will allow this destruction. Then we will start with a righteousness man and his family and begin to save the earth.
God’s plan is moving forward in perfect order step by step. God made some promises to Noah and to all of mankind that would follow him. Turn back to Genesis chapter 8, verse 20: “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.’”
He said, I promise, Noah! This is it! I am never going to do this again. There will always be the seasons one to follow another: seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night, shall not cease as long as the earth remains. You could go on and read the rest of chapter 9 and find that God put a rainbow in the heavens as a sign of His covenant (His promise). I will not break My word. There will be no more great floods to destroy everyone, nor any other disaster whether it is nuclear winter, a star slamming into the earth, or whatever you can think of. God will not allow it because there will be seedtime and harvest and winter and summer as long as the earth remains.
How long will the earth remain? We do not know, but it looks like perhaps forever! We know for sure that it is at least 1,000 years beyond Christ’s return, and Christ is not back yet. Turn, if you would, to Revelation chapter 20 for the Scriptural proof of what I just said. It is speaking of the Millennium to come.
Revelation chapter 20, verse 1. “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years…”
A BEAUTIFUL MILLENNIUM
God is going to bind up Satan, His adversary, and lock him up so that there is no more influence for a thousand years from that evil being.
Verse 3 of Revelation 20: “…and he cast him into the bottomless pit and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.”
He will be released for just a little while until God shows mankind how good the Millennium was. They will get a little taste of evil, then lock him away again forever. You can see that if you were to continue reading in Revelation 20:4-10.
God says there will be a Millennium, so we know we have the earth to enjoy in a peaceful setting like the Garden of Eden for at least 1,000 years and far beyond that! If you would, turn back to where we were in Isaiah chapter 9. We will read some more of that. We get another hint of how much time mankind has to enjoy. We read verse 6 earlier, and we will read it again.
Isaiah chapter 9, verse 6: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Here is the clue in verse 7 as to how long we will be utilizing the earth. Verse 7: “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.”
God’s government over people will increase in size forever starting from here! The earth will become the center of the universe, simply because that is where God’s throne will be! He will be ruling from here forever in an ever-increasing government. It shows us an awesome future for mankind! It is more than we can grasp! We cannot understand how God will accomplish this, but His word will not be broken.
Turn to I Corinthians 2 because it speaks of that promise in the New Testament and how awesome it is. I Corinthians chapter 2, beginning in verse 7: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things…’”
God is revealing it to us through His Spirit as we need to know. Here at the end of the age we need to know a lot more. We need to know a lot. God is revealing it, but He says you cannot imagine how wonderful the future is for the human race! How wonderful it will be! That has been His design for a long time.
Going back to Isaiah chapter 45 it says something very interesting here about the earth. God does not make mistakes, and He created this world and called it good and beautiful. Isaiah chapter 45, verse 18 has this to say: “For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited…”
God did not create it in vain, to be a worthless thing. He created it to be inhabited.
Continuing again in verse 18: “…I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”
Noah knew there was a promise from God. Abraham and Moses knew there was a promise from God and right on down the line. Now we are to understand that there are promises from God. One of them is that He is not going to destroy this earth ever again! He promised, and He is as good as His word. We can count on it!
We can see by adding up all of these things that God takes His name and the qualities we associate with it very, very seriously. He is a loving Creator, and He is a sustainer of all that He created (the heavens and the earth). Even science is proving that there are more and more galaxies and stars. There even seem to be more and more inhabitable planets. God knew what He was doing. In order to have an ever-increasing government, we need space. There will always be enough room for a population that will grow forever and increase.
We have to keep in mind that it is Satan, His arch enemy, who wants to destroy all of this. He wants to stop God’s plan. He is the one who has been trying to thwart God for the last 6,000 years and even beyond that. We have to keep that in mind, because his name says he is the enemy. In Revelation 12:9 we are told that he deceives the whole world. He certainly has, and he has done a marvelous job at deceiving the world.
Here at the end of the age, and indeed for the last few thousand years, people have been living in this dread that God is going to destroy the world. They think there will be some sort of terrible end time cataclysm. Almost every generation thinks they are living in the time of the end. Now we think we know so much because of all the technology. We feel we know what the whole world is and certainly this is the end of the line! We have the power to destroy ourselves. We can’t seem to stop evil beings from making nuclear weapons. They are making weapons of mass destruction, and how will we ever stop them from using them? We feel God must be behind it. He wants us all dead. God did not say that! That is what Satan has said. That is what Satan desires. God wants the opposite for us.
God wants a beautiful future. He says, have confidence in Me. I have put My name on this plan. I am standing behind it. There is no better promise that you can have but My word. Believe it! Have confidence! Get rid of the anxiety. Step by step He is building a kingdom of God. He is building a beautiful government to get rid of Satan’s government and instill a wonderful government full of beautiful influences. People will have learned the hard way that choosing good over evil pays. Choosing good over evil makes the world a beautiful place.
God did it step by step by pushing back the darkness inEden. Then He had to use physical force to establish a little bit of land space to put ancientIsrael(and put a physical type of His kingdom on earth), so He could show how people could have their sins forgiven. This was necessary because it is the wages of sin that brings about death. He had to have physical blood shed in order to do these things. It was always with the intent of looking forward to a time when we would do battle spiritually for the hearts and minds of the human race. His intentions were to stop Satan dead in his tracks and to stop the four horsemen of the Apocalypse from running any longer.
The effort had to start physically, but that allowed the prophets to write God’s words and bring the prophecies of Jesus Christ into black and white so we could see them. Then with the seed working through Eve, God brought about the conditions to bring Jesus Christ the first time. This bruised Satan’s head, and He said, now it is a count down to the end of your system! Your days are very short in deed. God has brought us to a point now where we can physically do spiritual battle on Satan’s terms.
I want to go back to the Book of Revelation for just a moment because here is what has happened. With Jesus Christ coming the first time, dying, and shedding His blood, we have the power now to go toe to toe with Satan. Turn to Revelation 12, verse 7: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.’”
FORGIVEN BY CHRIST’S BLOOD
Here we see people who now have the option to receive the Holy Spirit, because God is pouring it out for all human beings at the end of the age. This is allowing them to receive a little begettal of His Spirit, and He is allowing them to imbibe in the sacrifice of Christ’s blood. Then when we sin, we do not have to kill an animal to get rid of that sin like they had to in ancient Israel in that physical nation. That was only a portrayal of the eventual spiritual battle that we are involved with now.
We can have our sins forgiven by the blood of Christ. This means Satan can cause us to sin, and we keep getting up. He has the dust of the ground that keeps getting up. It is as if you cannot defeat an enemy. Can you imagine being in a boxing match and every time you hit the other person and they went down, they would just get back up? It would not matter how many times you hit them. This is the situation Christians find themselves in. Because our Champion, Jesus Christ, was resurrected to eternal life, and has shared His shed blood with us to wipe out our sins, we can keep getting up until the day we die. As long as we repent and are in the right attitude, we can keep getting up. It makes us undefeatable to Satan! If we do this right and partake of it right, because of Jesus Christ, we cannot be defeated. We have to stick with the plan and the program.
WEAPONS TO FIGHT SATAN
If we go to Ephesians 6, we can see how this works. Our weapons are not physical, and our enemies are not physical. That is why we need to cut a lot of slack for our brothers in the human race. They are deceived yet. There is a lot of war, suffering, and corruption, but it is going to get reduced, reduced, and reduced until Satan is impotent. He will have no power at all.
Ephesians 6, verse 10: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace…”
This is the same gospel that Noah believed and Abraham believed. They died without seeing all that we have seen up to this point and without all the written record of God. But they knew that God would accomplish it, and we certainly must believe that God will accomplish it.
Continuing in Ephesians 6, verse 16: “…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”
With all of these spiritual weapons, we can defeat Satan. We can get rid of those corrupting influences in our mind that want us to lose our temper or that want us to believe God’s name in vain that He is about to destroy this earth. Instead we can replace those with the confidence that Jesus Christ is going to save us, preserve this earth, and bring us the Garden of Eden so it covers the whole earth. We literally have a beautiful Millennium to look forward to in the not-too-distant future. We can all help hasten the day by adopting this approach now. Forgive our enemies. Take care of our friends and family. Be good citizens and no longer scare each other with a false witness of God, confusing the names of Jesus Christ and Satan by attaching the wrong attributes.
CLEAR GOD’S NAME WITH CONFIDENCE
It is Satan who is the destroyer, the deceiver, the liar. He wants to make the earth a wasted thing again, a ruination, a desolation. Jesus Christ wants to make it a Garden of Eden, a beautiful place, a place full of peace. Christ will be our Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace. We have to keep those two beings totally separate. Don’t start mixing qualities. God hates that, and that is what the Third Commandment is all about. Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. It is much deeper than what we had originally thought. It means so much more, because we are standing for God’s character traits when we take His name properly. We are standing for who He really is.
It is important for all of us at this time to clear God’s name, because too many people think He is a harsh and vengeful God who is about ready to wreak havoc on the earth, when it is just the opposite. Satan has done a masterful job deceiving all of us in the human race into thinking God is so harsh, when really He is so loving and kind. He has been working since before time began to get us to this point where the garden can start sprouting all over the earth. By His name He promises to accomplish His awesome goals for mankind, for all of us. His name is so powerful, it is so sure, it is so solid, we should have absolutely no doubts.
My last Scripture is in Hebrews chapter 6, verse 13: “For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’ And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath…”
God confirmed what He is going to do by an oath.
Verse 18 tells us: “…that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil…”
Those two immutable things that He spoke of were His names, who He is (Jesus Christ and God the Father), and all that their character embodies. He said, I will promise by these two things, by Myself and My Son (the word that I speak through Him) that all things are created and will be good. We will succeed. We will destroy Satan’s kingdom and his power. They will be no more. The earth and mankind (the human race) will have the blessings and the peace that We always intended but for a short time was hindered by this accuser (by our arch enemy, Satan the devil), but We will win. He says, have confidence and assurance and make it the anchor of your soul.
By these words we know that we can clear God’s name with confidence. We know that He is a kind and compassionate God. We know that His future for us is more than we could imagine, but it is certainly beautiful, and awesome, and precious, and wonderful to look forward to!