Bible Correspondence Course Lesson 14
Your Bible reveals that angels inhabited the earth long before Adam and Eve. But these angels sinned! What was the CAUSE of their sin? And what about the righteous angelsó what are they doing today? GOD is the Creator. God has existed from eternity. WHO and WHAT God is we learned in the last lesson. In John 1:1 we read: "In the beginning was the Word...," that is, the Personage called the Word. He is the Spokesman. "And the Word was with God...." God, then, is another Personage. There are actually two persons revealed in John 1:1. But notice further:
"And the Word was God." The Word also is God and "all things were made by him..." (verse 3). In the Word was LIFE (verse 4).
These verses in John 1 speak of none other than the two eternal members of the GOD KINGDOM. There is "God" who became the Father, and the "Word" who became Christ. They have life inherent. And they lived with each other. How did they live? The way of LOVE!
God loved the Word. He said of the Word after He became Jesus the Christ:
"My beloved Son...." And the Son loved and obeyed the Father. This loveóthis
WAY OF LIFEówas the attitude that guided what they both did.
The Creation of Angels
What did the God Family Do? What is their occupation? God is CREATOR. But even before creating the physical universe, God first created angels.
As both members of the God Family have eternal LIFE inherent within themselves, so the Word imparted life to the angels when He created them. They had life inherentóself-contained life within themselves. The angels served at the throne of God in heaven. Two of them, with the rank of cherub, were trained at the headquarters of God in heaven and spread their wings over Godís very throne (Ezek. 28:14). One of those two was Lucifer.
Later the Word created the earth at the same time as the rest of the universe (Gen. 1:1). Over the earth God set His government. He placed under Him angels, apparently a third of them, on our planet (Job 38:4-7; Isa. 14:14; Rev. 12:4) to develop, beautify and complete the creation.
But how were these angels to accomplish their purpose on earth? How were they to get along successfully with one another and be happy? What was to regulate their conduct toward their Creator and toward each other? Godís government over them!
Since God is Creator, God governs, rules, and determines the way of
life of created intelligent beings. Godís government directs those under
it into His way of life which is love, cooperation and outgoing concern
for others. To administer Godís government on earth, He set the great archangel
Lucifer on a throne over the whole earth (Isa. 14:12-14).
Godís Law of Love
All government is based on a foundational law or constitution. And the constitution or basic law of Godís government is the Law of Godóthe way of life by which the two members of the God Family live! Godís government is simply the administration of God s WAY OF LIFE.
Godís Law can be summed up in the one word love (Rom. 13:10). This is because Godís very nature is LOVE (I John 4:16), and Godís Law reflects His loving character. And so the government of God is the application of the PRINCIPLE of LOVE.
The love of God is out-flowing toward others. God is concerned about the good and the welfare of others. Godís love is the attitude of cooperation, serving, helping. It is the way of "give" instead of "get."
God has always loved the Word and the Word has always loved God. The
Father, as we have noted, said of the Word when He became Christ, "This
is my beloved Son" (Matt. 3:17). The Son loves and obeys the Father who
has always been in charge (John 8:28-29; 15:10). The two have lived in
harmony from eternity (John 10:30). The LOVE they have for each otheróthis
WAY OF LIFEóis the attitude motivating everything the God Family does.
Lucifer Rejects Godís Law
The Law of God applies in principle to angels the same as to man. The principle underlying Godís Law remains the sameólove toward God and love toward one another.
The Bible clearly tells us that the angels who were placed on earth abandoned the way of love and sinned (II Peter 2:4). Sin is the transgression of Godís Law of LOVEóthe way of peace, cooperation and harmonyóthe way of giving as opposed to the way of getting.
Lucifer allowed VANITY to lead him into the attitudes of coveting, envy, jealousy, competition. He began to live the way of "get" instead of Godís way of "give." So Lucifer rejected God and His Law of love. Thus the government of God ceased to be administered on earth.
Lucifer finally organized a third of Godís angels into an army and ascended to heaven in an attempt to "take" rulership of the universe away from God. But they were repelled and cast back to earth. As a result, the earth became "without form and void" (Gen. 1:2). It became a darkened, ruined planet!
Letís learn the full story of what happened and the steps God is taking to restore His governmentóHis way of lifeóto the entire earth. Then weíll see what the righteous angels are doing today and how we can be protected from the wiles of the Devil and his demons.
But before we begin this important study, get your Bible so you can
turn to all the Scriptures given in answer to the questions in this lesson.
You will also find it very profitable to copy these verses into a notebook.
This will not only enable you to review your studies at any time in the
future, it will also help make these Scriptures become a part of your very
being. Now letís begin this lesson!
Lucifer Rebels Against Godís Government
When God placed angels on the earth, He set a great archangel over them to administer the government of God. This archangelís original name in Hebrew meant "Light-Bringer"ó"Lucifer" was his name in Latin.
Lucifer was an awesome spirit being of majestic beauty, dazzling brightness, great knowledge, power, intellect and wisdom. But Lucifer sinned!
Two Biblical passagesóIsaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28--tell us of Luciferís original created state and his great sin.
1. Was Lucifer one of the anointed cherubs who covered Godís throne? Ezek. 28:14; Ex. 25:18-20.
COMMENT: In the 25th chapter of Exodus is recorded Godís instruction to Moses giving the pattern of the Ark of the Covenant that was to be made for the tabernacle. The description of this unique chest begins with verse 10. On its top, as verses 17-21 show, was to be the mercy seat which depicted the very throne of God in heavenóthe headquarters of the government of God over the whole universe. Two cherubs, or cherubim, were to be stationed at the mercy seat, one on each side. Their wings were to cover this likeness of Godís throne.
Lucifer, then, had been stationed at the very throne of God (Ezek. 28:14). He was trained in the administration of Godís government before God placed him in charge of angels on earth.
2. Did the former Lucifer decide to leave the earth and ascend to heaven in an attempt to exalt his throne (which was in Eden, the garden of God) above all the angels ("stars") of God? Ezek. 28:13; Isa. 14:12-14.
3. Did Lucifer actually want to be like the Most High God? Isa. 14:14. COMMENT: It is apparent that Lucifer had nothing less in mind than knocking the Creator God off His throne and becoming the Supreme Ruler himself!
Here was the supreme masterpiece of Godís creative power, as an individually created being, turning on his own Creatoróas a Frankenstein monster attempting to destroy its own makeróin an attempt to assume all power to rule the vast universe!
His would not have been a government based on the principles of Godís LOVEóof giving, of outgoing concern for the good of othersóbut rather based on competition, self-centeredness, vanity, lust and greed; on envy, jealousy, hatred, violence and destruction; on spiritual darkness and error, instead of light and truth; on ugliness instead of beauty.
4. Lucifer, the super archangel, was perfect in all his ways from the day of his creation until something happened in him. What was found in him? Ezek. 28:15. Did he become vain? Did he corrupt his wisdom? Verse 17.
COMMENT: When Lucifer began thinking thoughts of competition, vanity, envy, lust and. greed, then thoughts of resentment and rebellion, his ability to think rationally changed. His mind became perverted, distorted, twisted. His thinking became totally warped!
Lucifer was no longer satisfied with rule over only the one planet. He wanted to rule the universe! He said, "I will exalt my throne above the stars [angels] of God..." (Isa. 14:13). Thus Lucifer became the first rebelóthe first sinner!
Lucifer subtly, perhaps very, very gradually, subverted the angels over whom God had placed him until he succeeded in turning their minds to rebellion. (This, incidentally, might have taken Lucifer a very long time, perhaps millions of yearsóthe Bible does not say.) Lucifer made the angels feel dissatisfied and wronged by God, injecting resentment and bitterness into their minds.
5. What happened to Luciferís and his angelsí attempt to wrest control of the universe from their Creator? Isa. 14:12; Rev. 12:3-4. How did Jesus describe Satanís fall from heaven? Luke 10:18.
COMMENT: Lucifer deliberately became his Makerís adversary. That was
his choice, not Godísóyet God allowed it! And so God changed his name to
what he becameóSATANówhich means adversary, competitor, enemy. And the
angels who were cast back down to the earth with him became known as demons.
Earth Becomes a Ruined Planet!
Godís Law is the basis of Godís government. And as we learned in our previous studies, SIN is the transgression of Godís Law (I John 3:4). We also learned that sin carries penalties. Notice what was the cataclysmic effect of the sin of angels.
1. Does the Bible plainly state that angels sinned? II Peter 2:4. COMMENT: Can you imagine angels becoming sinning angels? Yet that is what God reveals. And since sin is the transgression of Godís Law, these angels transgressedórebelledóagainst GODíS LAW OF LOVEóthe very foundation of Godís governmentóGodís way of life!
2. Does the Bible clearly show that worldwide sin brings worldwide destruction? II Peter 2:5-6; Gen. 6:5-13.
COMMENT: These verses in Genesis 6:5-13 show that worldwide, human sin brought worldwide destruction to the earthís surface! All flesh worldwide had sinned. Only Noah found grace and forgiveness in Godís sight. Only Noah "walked with God." So the Flood destroyed all human life on earth, except for Noah and his family.
Later, the homosexuality and other sins of Sodom and Gomorrha spread over the entire territory of those two cities. And so physical, fiery destruction came from God to the entire area and destroyed everything!
The sin of the angels, which occurred before man was created, was worldwide; therefore the effect of their sin upon the earth was also worldwide. The universal, worldwide sin of the angels who "kept not their first estate [the earth], but left their own habitation..." (Jude 6), resulted in the physical destruction of the entire face of the earth! But how?
God created the earth to be used, maintained, improved and beautified. This use is regulated by Godís Law. When the angels rebelled against God, the Law of His government ceased to be administered on earth. And so the preservation of the physical earth and all its original beauty and glory also ceased. The result was decay and finally darkness on the face of the earth!
Lucifer was created a perfect bringer of LIGHT. Now he became the author of DARKNESS, error, confusion and evil.
3. How does the Bible describe the extreme cataclysmic conditions on the earth which resulted from the angelsí sin? Gen. 1:2. (Review in Lesson 13 the conditions on earth brought about by Luciferís rebellion. Lesson 13 explains the meaning of the Hebrew words tohu and bohu, which are translated "without form, and void" in Genesis 1:2.)
COMMENT: By now you might be wondering if God knew, in advance, that Lucifer and the angels under him would sin and cause this earth-wide destruction. After all, doesnít God know everything?
The answer is NO! If God were to decide to know in advance what choice they would make, He would have had to "program" their minds to do so and thus force them to make it. Instead, God gave these spirit beings, as He also gives all human beings, the power to think for themselvesóto reason, to choose, to make decisions. Otherwise they, and we, would be mere automatons doing what we were preset or made to do!
God chose to make angels, and later humans, free moral agentsócapable of free choice. Otherwise neither angels nor humans could develop righteous character.
God bestowed upon angels minds of their own possessing great knowledgeósuperior to that possessed by man. One might suppose that, endowed with such great knowledge, they would never choose wrongly, or commit sin.
Yet a third of all the angels did transgress! Their great knowledge did not prevent rebellion, sin, and worldwide chaos and destruction. They turned from Godís way of life to vanity, lust and greed, jealousy and envy, competition leading to strife, violence, war. They came to resent Godís rule over them. They chose to follow their own wayóthe way of "get"óand rejected Godís wayóthe way of "give." Thus by this deliberate choice they formed within themselves evil character.
But God did not leave planet earth in a state of decay and ruin after
Luciferís rebellion. God set about to restore the earth so it could support
human lifeóthe next step in His planóas described in Genesis chapter one.
A Successor Had to Qualify
At this point in our study we must understand a basic principle of Godís governmentóthat the state can never be without a head.
Originally, God placed Lucifer over Godís government on earth. When he rebelled against God he ceased to administer the government of God and disqualified himself from further rulership in Godís government. But he (his name now changed to Satan) must remain on that throne over the earth until his successor who has qualified to replace him has been inducted into office!
The very fact that Satan was in the Garden of Eden to tempt the first humansóthat he is even now "the god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4) and "the prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2) who had "all the kingdoms of the world" to give to Christ (Matt. 4:8)--is sufficient evidence of this basic principle of succession in Godís government.
When Lucifer turned to rebellion and a third of the angels followed him, it became obvious that only the two members of the God Family would not and could not sin. The next step for God was to begin reproducing Himself through human beings who would, once BORN of Godís Spirit as very members of His divine Family, never sin or deviate from Godís government.
It was also within Godís plan that a successor qualify to replace Satan as world ruler while living on an earth still ruled by Satan. He had to withstand the temptations of Satan to prove that he would obey God instead of the Devil. And so God gave the first man, Adam, the opportunity to replace Satan. But Adam failed!
The incident of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden tells the
story. It is extremely important that we understand what really happened!
Why First Adam Failed to Quality
1. What kind of trees did God cause to grow in the Garden of Eden? Gen. 2:8-9. And what specific command did He give Adam regarding these trees? Verses 15-17.
2. What was to happen to Adam if he ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Verse 17.
COMMENT: The tree of "life" and the tree of the "knowledge of good and evil" have tremendous significance for us today. These were literal trees, but they were also symbolic.
The tree of life represented the Holy Spirit of God and eternal LIFE. It also represented the way of Godís government which is the spiritual Law of God. Thus by partaking of its fruit, revealed spiritual knowledge could be received and understood.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil represented the way of the Devilóthe way of rebellion against Godís government, the way of deciding for oneself right from wrong. It pictured sin and its penalty, which for man is eternal DEATH (Rom. 6:23). And so God commanded Adam not to partake of the fruit of this tree of DEATH!
Letís really understand.
Adam was made from the ground and given a temporary, physiochemical existence. He did not have eternal LIFE inherent within himself. Like a wound-up clock running down, he was in the process of aging with every breath he took. At any time he was, as we might say, "only one breath away from death"ócessation of existence.
God therefore offered Adam the tree of "life," which represented Godís Holy Spirit and eternal LIFE. Had Adam and Eve partaken of its fruit, they would have received Godís Spirit and been begotten of Him. God does not impart immortality instantaneously. One is first begotten--impregnated by the spiritual life of Godóand thus becomes an "heir" to eternal LIFE as explained in Lesson 8. Godís Spirit also would have given Adam and Eve access to Godís mindóHis love, faith and power which lead to eternal LIFE! The Holy Spirit would have provided the strength to perfect the very character of God in them, and finally changed their mortal bodies into spirit-born members of the God Family!
Godís Spirit would have also imparted spiritual knowledge, understanding and wisdom to Adam and Eve. It would have revealed an understanding of the spiritual Law of Godóthe way of life that leads to peace, happiness, contentment, success in life, cooperation and mutual concern for fellowman.
There are, broadly speaking, the two ways of livingóexemplified by the two trees in Eden. The one is out-flowing LOVE. We term this for brevity and simplicity, the way of "give." The other, the way of "get." They are the two divergent ways of life, leading in opposite directions, producing opposite effects!
3. But did the wily Satan cleverly delude Eve into disbelieving God and disobeying His command? Gen. 3:1-7. Did the Devil lie by promising her that she had an immortal soul in a material body and would not die? Gen. 3:4. And did Satan subtly imply that God was hiding certain vital "knowledge" from her which she ought to have? Verses 5-6. (Notice the words "make one wise" in verse 6.) Did Adam deliberately eat of the forbidden fruit? Verse 6.
4. Was Adam deceived into disbelieving God, or did he really know better? I Tim. 2:14. Did he nevertheless choose the way of disobedience to God by partaking of the forbidden fruit with his wife? Gen. 3:6.
COMMENT: On that first Sabbath day, the God who created the first humans and who later became Jesus Christ, instructed Adam and Eve in Godís wayóthe way of the government of God based on the Law of Godójust as Lucifer and his angels had been instructed in the ways of Godís government after their creation.
Soon afterwards Satan subtly deceived Eve into disbelieving what God had taught. She took of the forbidden fruit and gave some to Adam. By taking that fruit Adam chose to disobey Godís command and thus rejected Godís government over them.
When Adam took the forbidden fruit, he took to himself the authority to determine the spiritual knowledge of good and evil. He appropriated the prerogative of deciding what is good and evilówhat is right and wrongó what is righteousness and what is sin. But Adam didnít have this ability of himself.
Adam rejected revealed spiritual knowledge from God. He made the choice that limited him to knowledge of the physical and material. He rejected the spiritual knowledge that would have produced a happy relationship with God and with fellowman. He rejected Godís Holy Spirit, Godís love, Godís government, and eternal LIFE! He disobeyed the explicit command of his Maker. Adam SINNED and brought the penalty of sin upon himself and all his descendants! (Rom. 5:12-19; 6:23.)
5. What happened to the minds of Adam and Eve after they chose to follow the way of Satan? Gen. 3:7.
COMMENT: The eyes of both of them were "opened." The Devilís attitude of rebellion entered Adamís mind when he took the forbidden fruit. Satan, who is a spirit, imparted to both their minds the attitudes of vanity, of selfishness, of "get," of resentment of authority. Those characteristics we call "human nature"óthe carnal mind (Rom. 8:7) described in Jeremiah 17:9--come from Satan the Devil himself! (Recall that we studied this amazing revelation in Lesson 9.)
6. Were Adam and Eve denied further access to the tree of LIFE and Godís Spirit? Gen. 3:22-24.
COMMENT: When Adam sinned, he cut himself off from God (Isa. 59:2).
And God cut him and his descendants off from access to the tree of LIFE.
The human family was cut off from the Holy Spirit. Man, until the second
Adam came, had no access to the Holy Spirit, except for a special few whom
God individually called.
Second Adam Qualifies to Rule
1. Who is the "second Adam" spoken of in the Bible? I Cor. 15:45-47.
2. Did Christ make the Holy Spirit and eternal LIFE available again? I Cor. 15:22; John 1:4; 10:10; 7:37-39; I John 5:11-12. But since Jesusí first coming, is it only those whom God the Father calls who may receive His Spirit and become one of His "firstfruits"? John 6:44; James 1:18.
COMMENT: Mankind since Adam was not offered eternal LIFE until Christ, the second Adam, established His Church and began offering LIFE to those firstfruits the Father would call before Jesusí Second Coming. Some of you, like Adam, are being offered LIFE today! And you have to choose.
We all have Satanís evil influence to contend with, so it is not easy to overcome now. But God helps us to obey Him through the power of His Spirit. Those who demonstrate that they want to follow Godís way of LIFE will be His "firstfruits"óthe first to have LIFE and a leadership role in Godís ruling Family forever!
3. Before Jesusí human birth, did God reveal that Jesus was to become a ruler and be given a throne? Luke 1:30-33. Will there be not only no end to His government, but no end to the increase of His government? Verse 33; Isa. 9:6-7.
4. After Adam failed to replace Satan as world ruler, did God reveal that a future descendant of mother Eve would conquer Satan? Gen. 3:14-15.
COMMENT: This prophecy actually foretold the birth of the second Adam who would overcome Satanóthat Jesus Christ would succeed in qualifying to replace Satan ("bruise" the serpentís head) and restore the government of God on earth!
5. How did the second Adam qualify to replace Satan as ruler of this world? Matt. 4:1-11.
COMMENT: Before Jesus could replace Satan as world ruler, He had to be subjected to the supreme test to prove He would faithfully administer the government of God.
As God had allowed Satan to test Adam, He now allowed him to test Jesus, but only after Jesus had fasted 40 days and nights. Under the extreme pulls of hunger, Jesus quoted and obeyed Scripture three times in resisting the DevilóHE OBEYED THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD!
Jesus proved that He was loyal and faithful to Godís government and that nothing could move Him to defy or disobey it!
Jesus thus qualified to replace Satan as world ruleróto administer Godís government over all nations. But Jesus was not then inducted into office.
6. After qualifying to replace Satan and to become King over the entire earth, and after His resurrection to His former glorified state, Jesus Christ returned to heaven (Acts 1:9-11). Until when is Jesus scheduled to remain in heaven? Acts 3:20-21.
COMMENT: The government of God, which ceased to be administered on the earth when Lucifer and his angels rebelled, will be restored at Christís Second Coming. Jesus Christ is coming to restore Godís government over all nationsóone supreme, divine government which will bring the world a "utopia" of lasting peace, prosperity and the knowledge of Godís great master plan to all mankind!
7. What important work must be done before Christís return to reestablish Godís government on earth? Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10.
COMMENT: Jesus foretold that just prior to His return He would raise up an end-time Work to proclaim to the world His coming to restore the government of God on earth (Matt. 28:19-20). For this very purpose He raised up the Worldwide Church of God through Herbert W. Armstrong, the end-time apostle of Godís Church and His chief spokesman to world leaders today. And as Christ trained the apostles who in turn taught their studentsódisciplesóto teach others, so in this end time Mr. Armstrong has established Ambassador College to teach and train students to teach others today.
This Church is boldly proclaiming the truth about Godís Law and coming government. Through the "World Tomorrow" television and radio broadcasts and the pages of The PLAIN TRUTH and Good News magazines, God is revealing His plan to restore His way of love, peace and joy to the world.
And in addition we publish these Bible Correspondence Course lessons with which you are learning the truth of Godóas it has been revealed to His chosen and faithful apostleóthrough a verse-by-verse study of the Bible. 6,000 Years of Satanís Rule The cause of all troubles in the world today originated in the incident of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden!
Adam, in choosing the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, chose to "go it alone" without God. As a result he got himself and his offspring into a world of trouble. Mankind has been suffering the results of that wrong decision ever since!
When Adam partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he rejected Godís "give" way of life. He chose instead the "get" way of Satan. God therefore set aside the first six millennial "days" of human history for a testimony to the fruits of following Satanís way of life.
What we have had, therefore, is a world of MANíS making, with the chief architect being none other than the invisible "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2)--the real "god" of this present evil world (II Cor. 4:4)-- Satan.
After the sin of Adam and Eve, God adopted basically a "hands-off" policy toward the world. We now have had almost 6,000 years during which humanity has been cut off from God. During this time humanity has been under the invisible and unrealized sway of Satan the Devil. Human beings have been trying to organize their own societies, their own governments and their own religions according to the way that seems right to man, but which has led to DEATH! (Prov. 14:12.)
During this period God has not attempted to save the world spiritually (Heb. 9:27). All who have lived and died without understanding the truth of God will yet come into future judgment, in a resurrection to physical life at the end of the 1,000 years. Only Abel, Enoch, and Noah are recorded as having turned to Godís way during the first 1,900 or so years. After the Flood Abraham obeyed, believed, and relied on God. But God never promised spiritual salvation to the nation of Israel in the days of Moses. If they would obey His government, God promised them national wealth, greatness, and power, but not eternal LIFE. (This will be thoroughly explained in a coming lesson.)
Through all these millennia only the prophets and a select few others were given Godís Spiritóand they only to carry out an assignment from God (see Jeremiah 7 for an example). Then came Jesus proclaiming the same knowledge He revealed to Adam and Eve. But the people did not believe Him. Many believed on Him, but did not believe Him!
And so as we learned in Lesson 1 about the 7,000-year "week" of time God allotted for human history, God turned over to Satan six 1,000-year "days" in which to demonstrate the falsity and utter futility of his "get" way.
As a result this entire worldís civilization has become mentally, morally and spiritually sick, and has been making progress in reverse. It has become decadent and is now bringing about its own destruction! The terrible state of this present evil world is the end result of past and present living by Satanís way of "get" instead of Godís way of "give," and is traceable back to the decision of our first parents, Adam and Eve!
So God has permitted Satan to exercise dominion over the earth for 6,000 years. "Six days," God said in effect to Satan, "shalt thou labor and do all thy work"óin this case Satanís work of deception and hostility toward Godó"but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work" (Ex. 20:9-10).
Thank God we are near the end of six working days allotted to Satanís
dominion. Godís thousand-year "Sabbath day" is about to dawn!
Utopia After Satanís Removal!
At the return of Jesus Christ, the archdeceiver who was responsible for the sufferings of this world and for bringing mankind to the brink of annihilation, will be totally restrained from deceiving the world for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:1-3).
War shall then be outlawed and abolished. The coming Kingdom of God will restore the laws and rule of God to the entire earth. And it will bring about a new civilization based on GODíS way of life that will result in world peace (review Lesson 4).
People will find security and happiness. Fears and worries will disappear. Sickness and disease will be eradicated. Idleness and laziness will disappear as people find purpose in and experience accomplishment from gainful employment. Families will live together not just out of a sense of duty, but in warmth, happiness, and harmony. Broken homes and divorce will be a thing of the past.
In this joyous world tomorrow, the whole earth will break forth in singing, dancing, and rejoicing! People will learn what abundant living really is. And it is then that God will set His hand to save the world as the millions are taught the way to eternal LIFE!
Now that we have compared 6,000 years of Satanís rule to Christís 1,000-year
rule over the earth, what about the angels who long ago chose to remain
obedient to God? What are they doing today?
Role of Righteous Angels Today
The Bible indicates that two-thirds of the angels remained loyal to God. These countless millions of created beings are His servants in helping to carry out His plan for mankind, as well as performing other responsibilities. Letís see what Godís Word tells us about them.
1. In the Bible are described various types of angels whose appearance and function differ. Are there cherubim at Godís throne? Ps. 99:1. And seraphim? Isa. 6:1-7. Are there other angelic creatures and "elders" surrounding Godís throne? Rev. 4:2-11.
COMMENT: Cherubim are associated with Godís throne, either transporting it about, or carrying out important directives from that throne, such as guarding the tree of life after Adam and Eve sinned (Gen. 3:24). Recall that Lucifer, an anointed cherub (Ezek. 28:14), was given great authority to administer Godís government over millions of angels on earth before Adam.
The best description of cherubim is found in the book of Ezekiel. In chapters one, nine and ten, we read of cherubim transporting Godís throne. They are large, powerful, and described as four-faced creatures with four wings.
The seraphim bear a general resemblance to the human figure and have six wings, whereas the four "beasts," or, better translated, "living creatures," are described as having the combined features of cherubim and seraphim. No description of the 24 elders is given in the Bible except for the fact they are dressed in white clothing, each having a golden crown on his head.
2. Does God also have angels who continually walk through the earth to observe and report to Him overall conditions in the world? Rev. 5:6; Zech. 4:10; II Chron. 16:9. Are there other untold millions of angels serving God at His universe-ruling throne in heaven? Dan. 7:9-10.
3. In Hebrews chapters one and two, the apostle Paul speaks about the difference between man and angels. Are we plainly told that "the world to come"óthe Millennium and thereafterówill not be ruled by angels? Heb. 2:5. But if we become the spirit-born sons of God, are we promised rulership over angels? Heb. 2:6-8; I Cor. 6:2-3.
COMMENT: God inspired Paul to point out that man has been made a little lower than the angels for now, but will in the future be placed OVER Godís "works"óall His creation, including angels!
4. What, besides composition, accounts for the tremendous difference between angels and man? Heb. 1:5, 13.
COMMENT: Man, now lower than angels, has a destiny far higher! Neither animal, nor angel, nor any other being, except man, was created to be literally begotten by the spiritual reproductive process and then actually be BORN into the divine GOD FAMILY!
Angels were not, and never can be, begotten and BORN of God! No angel can ever become a literal part of the DIVINE FAMILY OF GOD!
5. What, specifically, is Godís purpose for His created angels? Heb. 1:7, 14. Are spirit-begotten Christians the "heirs" Paul is talking about? Rom. 8:16-17; Gal. 3:26-29; 4:6-7.
COMMENT: Angels, higher than man is now, were created to be Godís servants, messengers, and representatives in the administration of His universe-ruling government. Now, in relation to man, angels are commissioned to minister to and serve the spirit-begotten children of God who are His spiritual "heirs".
To illustrate the primary activity of Godís angels today, we might consider the status of the young son of a wealthy man. While still a child, he may be under the care of an adult servant or guardian designated by his father. The servant is older, farther advanced in knowledge, much more developed physically and mentallyóbut far lower potentially. For when the son is mature, he will inherit his fatherís wealth and power. Therefore the servant, older and more mature, is only a servant "ministering" to the young "heir." Likewise, angels are ministering to spirit-begotten humans today.
6. Do Godís children have the protection of angels who are in close contact with the Father in heaven? Matt. 18:10; Acts 12:15.
7. Are angels powerful? II Peter 2:11. Do the angels of God keep close to His obedient children to protect them from accidents, calamities, plagues and other evils? Ps. 34:7; 91:1-12. Will Godís angels also fight our enemies for us? Ps. 35:1, 5-6.
COMMENT: Godís ministering spirits are assigned to help His heirs along the road to eternal life; to save them from premature death and/or accidents and to help fight their battles and protect them from the Devil and his demons.
8. Do Godís holy angels have the power to physically manifest themselves on occasion in the likeness of men in order to carry out their duties? Dan. 9:21; Heb. 13:2. Also read all of Genesis chapter 18 and verses 1-22 of chapter 19.
COMMENT: Angels are also messengers. They appeared to Abraham, Lot, Hagar, Moses, Gideon, Elijah and many of the prophets and apostles. When these angels manifest themselves to human beings, they do so in the form of ordinary men. Paul points out in Hebrews 13:2 that they sometimes travel incognito on Godís business, not revealing that they are angels. But righteous angels never capriciously appear and disappear merely to amuse either themselves or men.
9. Why did the prophet Elisha ask God to open the eyes of his servant? II Kings 6:15-17.
COMMENT: No wonder Elisha had no fear of his physical enemies. He saw one of Godís spirit armies standing upon the mountain! 10. Did God commission a special angel to watch over the children of Israel and bring them into the promised land? Ex. 23:20-23. 11. Is Michael (one of the archangels who remained loyal to God) the chief guardian of the descendants of ancient Israel? Dan. 12:1. ("At that [end-] time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people," is how the Revised Standard Version renders Daniel 12:1.)
COMMENT: The Bible mentions by name three angels of very high rank: Lucifer (Isa. 14:12), now Satan the Devil; Gabriel, who appeared to Daniel on two occasions (Dan. 8:16; 9:21), to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19), and later to Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-27); and Michael, called one of the chief princes (Dan. 10:13), and whom Jude identifies as an archangel (Jude 9). Michael is the archangel specifically assigned to protect and minister to the twelve tribes of Israel.
It is interesting to note that twelve of Godís angels will be the gatekeepers in the new city of Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12), one for each tribe of Israel. These twelve may be assisting the archangel Michael right now. 12. Was Gabriel sent to give the prophet Daniel understanding of visions, and even to fight spiritual battles with powerful fallen angels ("princes") of the Devil in order that Godís will be carried out among the governments of men? Dan. 8:15-16; 9:21-22; 10:10-14; 20-21.
COMMENT: From these accounts in Daniel and elsewhere in the Bible, we can gather that the spirit world is teeming with activity! God works (John 5:17) and His righteous angelic servants are busy helping to carry out His will for mankind. Satan and his demons are just as busy trying to thwart, tear down, and destroy the plan of God.
13. What did an angel of God do when the civil rulers put some of the
apostles in prison? Acts 5:17-20. Did this enable the apostles to continue
preaching the truth of God? Verse 21. COMMENT: We have covered only a few
of the many verses showing how Godís angels serve Him and His saints today.
Letís be grateful to God for sending His powerful, holy, and righteous
angels to assist and watch over the work of His Church and those of us
who are His spirit-begotten childrenóHis heirs soon to be born into the
universe-ruling Family of God!
Beware of Your Adversary!
As this lesson has clearly shown, God did not create Satan the Devil. God created a cherub of high rankóan archangel named Luciferóperfect in his ways, but with the power of free choice. Lucifer transformed himself into the Devil by his rebellion against the government of God! By his rebellion Lucifer became Satan. By his own choice in opposing God, he made himself Godís adversary.
Recall that the great Lucifer and all the other created angels were never destined to be more than the servants of God. None of the angels can be begotten of God and born into the very Family of God as mankind can be. After the rebellion of Satan and his angels, God created humans and opened to them the potential to become the born-again SONS OF GOD to rule this earth and ultimately the entire universe with Jesus Christ.
Satan and his demons know and hate this fact! Consequently, Satan views human beings as a grave threat to his way of life. With his perverted and twisted mind, Satan, who tried to usurp all power and authority from God, now looks upon humans as "competitors" because God has designed man to replace him and his demons as rulers of this world!
And so what could be better, Satan reasons, than to cause these "competitors" to disobey God and thereby disqualify themselves so God cannot use them! Therefore Satanís whole self-willed purpose, beginning with Adam and Eve, is to destroy all mankind and thus, he hopes, thwart the plan of God. That is why Christ called the Devil a "murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44).
Satan attempted to thwart Godís plan to reproduce Himself by first succeeding in getting the first Adam to rebel against his Creator, thus disqualifying himself from replacing Satan. He then attempted to have Christ, the second Adam, killed by the civil human government while He was still a young child. Then, when Christ was an adult, Satan attempted to spiritually destroy Him by tempting Him to sin.
Had Satan won this titanic spiritual battle, he would have retained world rule. If Christ won, He would depose Satan and become world ruler at His Second Coming. Christ did win that battle by proving He would obey the government of God, resist the Devil, and faithfully rule by Godís Law throughout eternity. And so must we if God is to give us co-rulership of the entire universe with Christ!
We, too, must overcome Satan by the Word and Spirit of God as Christ did. God shows us how we can win the battle.
1. Are we plainly told that spirit-begotten Christians are in an all-out battle for their spiritual lives? I Pet. 5:8; Eph. 6:12. Can we afford to be ignorant of Satanís battle tactics? II Cor. 2:11.
COMMENT: We are in a spiritual warfare with wicked spirits. We need to know how to protect ourselves from these invisible enemies who are out to destroy us spiritually!
2. What is the chief weapon Satan uses in his attempt to destroy Godís saints? Eph. 2:2-3.
COMMENT: Satan, formerly the great archangel Lucifer who was originally created perfect in his ways (Ezek. 28:15), developed his satanic nature by his own reasoning and choice. Humans, in turn, acquire Satanís nature which is part of what we call "human nature." Notice how Paul described this natural frame of mind: "The carnal mind [an attitude acquired from Satan] is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7).
But once the Holy Spirit of God is added to a personís mind upon repentance and baptism, he has the spiritual awareness and strength to resist the attitudes of self-centeredness, lust, greed, vanity, jealousy, envy, resentment, bitterness and hate, which are "broadcast" to the mind by Satan!
No person is compelled to respond to and obey these impulses from Satan. The Devil has no power to force anyone to think or do wrong! But the unsuspecting automatically do so without realizing what is taking place in their minds. Most people just drift along, responding to emotions and impulses which are often expressed in a sinful way (Gal. 5:19-21).
3. After one is begotten by Godís Holy Spirit which makes one a real Christian (Rom. 8:9), will the Devil continue to try to beguile the newly begotten Christianóto deceive his or her mind and lead the person away from Christ and His ways? II Cor. 11:2-4. Did some Christians in Paulís day begin to fall victim to the Devilís promptings once again? Gal. 1:6-8; 3:1. Does Satan also have his own ministers though whom he works? II Cor. 11:13-15.
COMMENT: Conversion does not shield you from Satanís "wavelength." He continues to "broadcast" the attitudes of his nature to our minds and works through others to subvert our life in Christ. When Jesus spoke of overcoming, He referred to overcoming the ways of Satan, which are contrary to Godís way. Those who have turned from Satanís way are to be on guard against him and must FIGHT TO OVERCOME his subtle urgings and remain true to Godís way!
Before Jesus Christ could qualify to restore the government of God and rule all nations, He had to withstand Satanís most severe temptations. Christ overcame the Devilís wiles by the spiritual Word and power of God. He knew Godís will. Therefore, the Devil could not deceive Him! He responded to the Devilís temptations by citing the appropriate scripture that applied in each situation. He knew the Word of God thoroughly.
4. Are Christians today also to resist the Devil by remaining firm in the truth God has revealed to them? I Peter 5:9. What must the Devil do if we resist him steadfastly? James 4:7.
5. The apostle Paul gives us specific instructions on fighting against the impulses and attitudes of the Devil. What are Christians to put on in order to fight this spiritual battle? Eph. 6:10-13. Of what does Godís spiritual armor consist? Verses 14-20.
COMMENT: "Truth" refers to the inspired Word of God (John 17:17), the first piece in the Christianís spiritual armor. The "breastplate of righteousness" is obedience to Godís commandments (Ps. 119:172); the "gospel" is the message of the coming Kingdom of God when Christ will rule this earth and bring it peace.
The "shield of faith" refers to the faith of Jesus Christ which can be within us (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 3:9), not just to our own human faith. This faith is Godís gift imparted by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). And it is this faithóChristís faith put within usóthat will enable us to conquer and overcome Satan and sin!
The "helmet of salvation" is the knowledge of what salvation is, what it involvesóthe purpose of life, the true goal and potential of mankindó becoming divine members of the Family of God!
The "sword of the Spirit" refers to the written Word of God (Heb. 4:12). It is the Christianís offensive weapon in fighting against the wiles of the Devil. To rightly use this weapon in waging a winning battle against the crafty rulers of darkness, we must study the Bible and learn Godís will and His promises!
What Paul finally mentions in withstanding the attacks of Satan is "prayer." Christians are to draw close to God in persevering prayer (I Thes. 5:17)--praying for Godís Church, its work and its ministers, for all of Godís people, and themselves.
This is the way to overcome Satan and force him to flee! This is the
perfect strategy for defeating the Devilís army of demons. If you diligently
follow this formula, your success in overcoming these satanic foes will
Satanís Final Attempt to Wrest Dominion From God
Satan, aided by millions of fallen angelic demons, is the "god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4)--the invisible world ruler who incites mankind to disobey God.
Although Satan and his demons were cast back to the earth after their attempt to dethrone God, they still seek to wrest dominion from God. These are the inordinately ambitious, unscrupulous and ruthless angels who, not being members of the God Family, seek by any and every way they can to make of themselves the universe-ruling "gods" over and above the Supreme CREATOR God and His Familyóthe Kingdom of God!
1. Did Jesus reveal that Satan would make another attempt to wrest dominion from God? Rev. 12:7. Would he be cast back down to earth again? Verse 9. Does verse 10 show this happens shortly before Christís coming to establish the Kingdom of God? Will Satan be permanently cast out of Godís presence and from ever having part in the government of God again? Verse 8.
2. Will the Devil then bring great wrath upon the whole world? Rev. 12:12. Will he be especially wrathful against the end-time Church of God? Verses 13-17. Why will he be extremely angry at this time? Verse 12, last part. "A short time" before what? Rev. 20:1-3.
COMMENT: Once cast back to the earth for the second and last time, Satan will know that only a very short time remains before he will be completely restrained from further deceiving the world for a thousand years, and from attempting to destroy Godís saints both physically and spiritually. Therefore he will pull out all stops in a last-ditch effort to destroy the remnant of Godís Churchóthose who are not "accounted worthy to escape" (Luke 21:36). 3. Revelation 12 speaks of Godís end-time Church, personifying it as a woman. Will God provide His Church with shelter away from the wrath of the Devil? Rev. 12:14-16. (Also read Revelation 3:10.) However, will a "remnant" of Godís Church be lukewarm spiritually, and not be accounted worthy to escape? Verse 17; Rev. 3:14-19. Will God rebuke and chasten them, allowing them to suffer the fiery trials of the wrath of Satan to wake them up spiritually? Verses 18-19. COMMENT: This end-time prophecy tells of an "escape" for His faithful servants from the terrible tribulation caused by Satan the Devil. Godís Church will be in a "wilderness" where she will be protected from Satan, his demons and his human agents, and from the devastation of a world at war around them. Will you be there?
The way to make sure you will be taken to this "place" of protection
has been made clear in the Bible!
This multiple choice test is designed to help you review the preceding lesson. Itís an enjoyable way of putting to use some of the vital knowledge and understanding you have gained through this lesson.
Select one of the four choices given under each question or incomplete statement. The other three are incorrectóunless stated or indicated otherwise.
Take sufficient time to understand each question or statement, as well as the choices. Try to do as many as you can without referring to the lesson. If you have difficulty deciding on the correct answer, then review the part of the lesson in question.
1. Both members of the God family are eternally living beings because: A. they donít require oxygen to live. B. have self-contained life within themselves C. are composed of non-spirit substance. D. sustain each other in some incomprehensible way.
2. God created the angels out of spirit so they A. would be equal with God. B. could develop Godly character. C. would not have an eternal existence. D. would have self-contained life like the God family.
3. The earth was originally created to be A. the habitation of angels. B. the dwelling place of man. C. the abode of the God family. D. merely an example of Godís creative power.
4. Godís government, based on His law of love, A. involves the administration of Godís way of life. B. directs those under it into His way of life. C. was established over the angels to regulate their conduct toward their Creator and toward each other. D. All of the above.
5. Whom did God set over the angels to administer His government? A. The Word, before His human birth. B. The archangel Lucifer, who had been stationed at the very throne of God in heaven. C. A cherub without any training in government. D. One of the 24 elders.
6. Lucifer, as God originally created him, was A. always an adversary. B. an ordinary angel. C. a glorious archangel with remarkable attributes. D. predestined to fail.
7. Lucifer was perfect in all his ways until A. he began thinking thoughts of vanity, envy, lust and competition and sinned. B. he fell from heaven. C. God assigned him to another planet. D. other angels convinced him to become the first rebel.
8. After Lucifer rebelled, God A. removed him from his office of rulership over the earth. B. has been in constant fear of being overthrown by sinning angels. C. changed his name to Satan which means adversary. D. realized He erred in making angels free moral agents.
9. How many of the angels abandoned Godís way of love and followed Lucifer in his rebellion? A. One-fourth. B. One-third. C. One-half. D. Two-thirds.
10. God chose to make angels, and later humans, free moral agents so they A. could develop holy, righteous character. B. would be like automatons. C. would rebel. D. would sin and need a savior.
11. The sin of the angels A. was a total surprise to God. B. destroyed the government of God. C. was a fatal blow to Godís plans. D. proved that only members of the God family would not sin.
12. After the sin of the angels, the next step in Godís plan was to A. provide a savior for fallen angels. B. promote the loyal angels to sonship in His family. C. begin reproducing Himself through human beings. D. dispense with the idea of free moral agency.
13. What did the "tree of life" symbolize? A. The Holy Spirit and eternal life. B. The way of Godís government which is the Law of God C. Revealed knowledge that could be received and understood. D. All of the above.
14. Which one of the following did the tree of the "knowledge of good and evil" not represent? A. The way of rebellion against Godís government. B. Eternal life. C. The way of deciding for oneself right from wrong. D. Sin and its penaltyóeternal death.
15. Had Adam and Eve partaken of the tree of life, A. they would have received the Holy Spirit and been begotten of God. B. they would have immediately received eternal life. C. their character would have been perfected instantly. D. they would have been led into Satanís "get" way of life.
16. When Adam partook of the forbidden fruit, A. he gained access to revealed spiritual knowledge. B. he limited himself to the knowledge of spiritual things. C. God shut the Holy Spirit off from mankind. D. All of the above.
17. The "second Adam," Jesus Christ, A. restored the government of God on earth before ascending to heaven. B. made the Holy Spirit available again after His resurrection, but only to those God would call. C. failed to replace Satan as world ruler. D. was inducted into office as the new world ruler after defeating Satan.
18. Which of the following is not true? A. Man was made a little higher than the angels for now. B. The World Tomorrow will not be ruled by angels. C. Spirit-born sons of God are to rule over angels. D. Angels can never become members of the divine family of God.
19. Angels are not intended to A. be Godís messengers. B. serve potential sons of Godís divine family. C. protect Godís Spirit-begotten children. D. amuse either themselves or men by supernatural feats or tricks.
20. Satan looks upon all mankind as "competitors" because A. humans are competing with him for rulership of the world. B. God has destined man to replace Satan and his demons as rulers of this world. C. Satan and man both have the potential of becoming Sons of God and ruling all things under Christ. D. he feels inferior to man.
21. The evil characteristics of human nature are A. expressions of the mind of Satan the devil. B. expressions of Godís love. C. the results of demon possession. D. inherited from our parents.
22. How does Satan transmit his nature to our minds? A. By using radio signals. B. He doesnítówe are actually born with his nature. C. He spiritually injects or "broadcasts" his attitudes. D. He canít do this to Christians because conversion shields them from his attitudes.
23. How can a Christian overcome Satan and his demons? A. By simply mentioning the name of Christ. B. By putting on the whole spiritual armor of God. C. By resolving not to sin. D. By just praying regularly.
24. Which of the following statements is not true? A. Satan will again attempt to dethrone God B. Once cast back to the earth, Satan will know he has but a short time before being restrained for 1,000 years. C. Satan, once cast down again, will attempt to physically and spiritually destroy Spirit-begotten Christians. D. Satan will always have access to Godís throne.
25. During the coming time of Satanís wrath upon the whole world, Godís obedient servants will: A. be miraculously protected in a special place prepared by God. B. flee to local forests and mountains where they will hide. C. be whisked away to heaven in a "rapture." D. have to suffer along with the rest of the world.