What is God Doing?
Why is there such Misery and Destruction on the Earth? Doesn't God care what is happening to His people on the Earth?
The only answer that makes sense out of these questions concerning why God would permit suffering and death to occur, involves something that the Bible teaches. Yet very few seem to recognize it's importance or even its existence. I am speaking of the rebellion of Satan against God. While evidences of this rebellion is found throughout the Bible, most people seem to either not know about it, or they ignore it's existence.
Let's look at the Bible evidence of this rebellion before we go back to answer why God permits suffering.
The writings of the Old Testament are saturated with both the reminders of God's creative powers, and also of the rival gods who would take the throne if they could.
- For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens. Psalms 96:5
In this verse, it is very clear, that the one thing that separates the LORD from all the other gods is the creative act of God. It is The LORD who made the heavens!
Initially we might surmise that these other "gods" that scripture mentions are only things which the people themselves have made. While it is true that people made the actual idols that they worshiped, we must not forget the experience of Israel when God poured ten plaques on the land of Egypt.
The Egyptians worshiped many things, frogs, the river Nile, cows, etc. What God did was to produce plaques of the things that the Egyptians worshiped.
When we read the story in Exodus, we see that initially, in the first few plaques, the Egyptian priests were actually able to duplicate the actions of God, at least by appearances. They were able to make their rods turn into snakes as well as God did through Moses.
However, the Egyptians later found out that their god had great limitations. While they made snakes with their rods, Moses' snake ate up their snake. They also could not reverse the plaques that God placed on Egypt no matter how much they wanted to; And also, as the plaques became more severe, the priests found that they could not even imitate what God did to them.
How did the Egyptian priests do their magic tricks? Was what they did a cheep magician's trick? Or, was there an outside power doing supernatural acts?
Let's look at a Bible verse which specifies the kind of power that is behind these "magic tricks". Israel corrupted themselves by worshipping an idol of gold. What they were really doing is to worship demons!
- They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
- They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear. Deuteronomy 32: 16-17.
From the writings of Paul in The New Testament, we see even stronger confirmation indicating that worshiping an idol is really an act of worshiping demons.
- What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything?
- Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 1 Corinthians 10:19-20
From the Bible itself, we have reason to believe that the Egyptian priests were supplied with supernatural power from demonic forces who does not want God to rule the universe. The priests did not have power of themselves to do what they did, rather the power comes from a demonic group in the universe who want to take the throne of God by force. When we start reading more of the Bible we start seeing that this opposing force is very determined to undermine what God does and to take over His throne.
Let's look at the opposition:
- 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. Revelation 12:7-9 New King James Version
We often think of Heaven as being an angelic place where nothing bad ever happens, a place where everyone is happy. Yet, here we see that there was a war, an intergalactic war that actually starts in Heaven!
Heaven must have been an extremely unhappy place for war to start. And in the next Bible text we will see that this unhappiness has spread to the earth as Satan and his angels were forced to retreat.
- You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
- You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.
- 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; I (will destroy) thee, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. Ezekiel 28:14-16 NKJV (will destroy) KJV
It is clear that Satan was originally one of the highest angels in Heaven. He was the anointed cherub that covers . . . Did his wings or whatever cover the throne of God. I do not know, but it looks like Satan originally had a very high position.
What makes this war so very ominous is that it started so close to the throne of God? Lucifer's position in Heaven as the covering cherub allowed him to be on the holy mountain of God, midst the fiery stones where God is. How could that happen? how could War start with Lucifer being so close to God?
Verse 15 (above), says that Lucifer was originally perfect until iniquity was found in him. This must have been the time when the unhappiness started in heaven. We know that other angels followed Lucifer in his activities since they also were kicked out of heaven. So we can understand that Lucifer's unhappiness spread to others in Heaven. Lucifer and his followers must have been very unhappy. What could they have been talking about? Let's see if the answer can be found in the Bible.
- How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!
- For you have said in your heart: `I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation 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 (hell), To the lowest depths of the Pit. Isaiah 14:12-15 NKJV
Lucifer, who is now called Satan, the great dragon, is the one who wanted to take over God's throne in Heaven. Lucifer wanted to be like God. We can see that they were very unhappy. This is why there was war in Heaven. They actually attacked God. This is an amazing thing when we consider that neither Satan nor his wicked angels are able to create nor are they able to fight on an equal par against God. So the war must be on an issue that does not involve the power of God.
- But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, And the nations will not be able to endure His indignation.
- Thus you shall say to them: "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens."
- He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. Jeremiah 10:10-12.
It should be clear that these gods are really Satan and his evil angels, and that they have not made anything nor will they be allowed to continue living. They will be destroyed. They will have an end. Only God alone will rule. Again, we see that there is an intergalactic war of two opposing sides and that the power, of being the Creator, is what separates the two powers.
Satan has never had the same power, and it is clear from the Scriptural texts below that the evil angles literally shook with fright when they confronted Christ while He was on the Earth.
- Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice,
- saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!"
- But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. Luke 4:33-35
This kind of conflict didn't happen once, here is an other example of demons speaking out against Jesus:
- When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.
- And suddenly they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" Matthew 8:28-29
This time the demon cried out saying: you came too soon. It's not time yet. "Have You come here to torment us Before the time?" The apostle James, in the Bible text below, said it well when he said the devils tremble!
- Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. James 2:19.
So what is it that Satan and his opposing group of evil angels were trying to do? How did they think they could win against God? Let's look in the Bible to gather more clues to know what has happened. What is this war about anyway?
Our first clue comes from the book of Job. Not only are we told what happens to Job, but we also get to understand what is happening behind the scenes. Also understand that the story of Job is extremely important to the question of why God permits suffering.
As depicted in the book of Job, there is a meeting in Heaven. It must be in heaven because there is no record of God having regular meetings with the sons of God on Earth. In addition we find that Satan is also present and apparently he should not be there. At least it sounds like he is uninvited. Even God asks why he has come.
- Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
- And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." Job 1:6-7 NKJV
We most likely are looking at a meeting of extraterrestrials. Each member at the meeting is a representative of their own world. A system of government for the Universe that God Himself oversees.
Apparently this was an important event. In this meeting the sons of God are presenting themselves before the Lord. It seems that all who were there, except one, had a right to be there. At least we don't have any record of God questioning their presence. The whole point of this part of the story is that Satan was not invited. When God asked Satan why he was there, he essentially answered: from walking around on the Earth.
Is Satan claiming ownership? I think so. Remember, this intergalactic war is over the question of ownership of the throne of Heaven. Satan wants the throne. Apparently, Satan is starting a legal process that he thinks will allow him to take over one planet, the Earth.
In the meeting, Satan seems to conclude that he either owns or he rules our world. He is actually claiming rulership of the Earth in that meeting! That is why I think he went to the meeting. He sees himself as the leader of the whole planet Earth. This meeting most likely is a meeting of the leaders of the Universe with God; So Satan felt he had a right to be there.
We can determine this point of rulership further from the following discussion:
- Then the LORD said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?
- So Satan answered the LORD and said, Does Job fear God for nothing?
- Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
- But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!
- And the LORD said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person. So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. Job 1:8-12.
Because God answers Satan, we should understand that what they were talking about was extremely important! Why didn't God just throw Satan out? He could have but He didn't. He definitely has the power to do so. Instead, God just questioned Satan verbally and challanged his stated position.
We should realize that the manner in which God answered Satan is important as well. They were not talking by themselves, there was an audience surrounding them. All the representatives of the Universe were there personally witnessing what was happening.
Remember, we most likely are looking at a meeting of extraterrestrials. Each member at the meeting is a representative of their own world. A system of government for the Universe that God Himself oversees.
Since Satan himself has rebelled against God, we can see that the rebellion was trying to enter into the system of government of God's Universe! If it was a matter of power, God could have destroyed Satan right there, or He could have just thrown him out. But God did not. Instead, God entered into dialog with him.
Let's talk about the dialog itself. If this discussion wasn't concerning ownership or rulership of the Earth; then, why does God answer Satan's statement of walking over the face of the Earth, with: "Have you considered my servant Job. . ."?
In this discussion, Satan apparently says he has control of the Earth. So God begins questioning Satan's claim by pointing his attention to Job whom Satan is not able to control. God emphasizes the fact that Job is upright, just and he fears God.
I can imagine that Satan here begins to squirm as he essentially says: Well of course Job likes you. You give him everything he wants, why wouldn't he like You? So God tells him: OK, I'll let you try. We'll see who really is in control, but you can't touch his body to make him sick.
If you read the book of Job, you will see that Job does not know a thing about this discussion. He is clearly having a hard time with the reality of his bad fortune. In addition he is forced to consider, from an earthly point of view, why all sorts of bad things are happening to him. Satan seems to be controlling all Job's personal friends as well.
This story is very interesting. Apparently Satan's ownership of the Earth depends upon everyone being subject to Satan's leading. As long as Job was a decided follower of God, Satan could not claim the Earth. We actually do not know if Job was the only follower of God, but at least he was the one that God chose to mention.
Does this war Between God and Satan depend upon the allegiance of people? It seems so, the whole story in the book of Job is dependent on the idea that things will be decided on what one person does. If Job continues to follow God then God has the advantage, on the other hand, if Job listened to his wife and friends and cursed God, then Satan would have had the advantage. That is if he was the only righteous person on the world.
Something really terrible and awful must have happened in Heaven when Satan rebelled. To have a third of all the angels of Heaven take off to side with Satan, against God in a war. Remember this rebellion happened in Heaven! How could this happen? To have the angels who live in Heaven, in the very presence of God, to rebel against God himself!
What did Satan do to the angels to have them rebel against God? What did he say to them that would make them fight against God Himself?
We know that God is all powerful, that He created all things. So why would they decide to enter a war that could not be won by power? They must have known something about God perhaps. It is quite possible that they knew enough about God that they were confident that God would play fair. God would keep to the rules of the Universe that He has created. So they knew that this war must be over opinions rather than power. All the worlds of the Universe might have to decide who is right in this war.
It is also possible, that because Satan is the source of evil in the Universe, that he and his new followers just became so selfish that they lost all sense of reason when they started demanding things of God. They knew that God would play by the rules even when they broke the rules. They probably thought they could take advantage of God.
Let's continue the story of Job to see how it ends out.
A second meeting of the sons of God with God is described in Job chapter two. Again the same issues are brought up but with slightly different specifics in the arguments. Satan failed the first time around to change Job's allegiance from God to himself. So this time he is calling fowl. He still claims the Earth as his and he wants even more power in trying to force Job to obey him. Read the account and see what happens.
- Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
- And the LORD said to Satan, From where do you come? So Satan answered the LORD and said, From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.
- Then the LORD said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.
- So Satan answered the LORD and said, Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.
- But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!
- And the LORD said to Satan, Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.
- So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job 2:1-7.
We can see from the actual text that Satan still claims the Earth. It seems that Satan believes that if all people were under his control then the Earth would rightfully belong to him! There also seems to be some truth to Satan's claim since God counters Satan on the very level that Satan is thinking on.
It seems that these meetings are a regular event and here, God counters Satan's claim by pointing to Job which Satan was unable to control. God adds to what He said before by stating: he still holds to his integrity. Also very interesting to note, we see that God takes the blame! He doesn't say that Satan is moving to destroy Job but He says that you have moved me against him, to destroy him.
Let's look at another clue to this war. Let's see what Satan originally did so he could start claiming the earth as his.
When Satan and his evil angels were forced out of Heaven, they came to the newly created Earth when Adam and Eve were just created. We see that Eve was exploring the garden that God had given them when she approached the forbidden tree. As she was wondering why God did not want them to eat from that tree when Satan went in for the attack:
- 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."
- Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.
- "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
- So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:1-6 NKJV
When Satan came to our world with two people on it, some how he had to win their allegiance to him. This is according to what we found out from Job's experience. He had to become their leader in order to take over the world. As we can see in the third chapter of Genesis, Satan used deception to not only place doubt in the mind of Eve about God, but he was really saying that God is not fair. Satan played on her emotions to get her to want to become like God herself.
It is amazing what Satan had done. In just a few words, he was able to give Eve a whole new series of ideas.
- God could be lying.
- God could be holding back on her.
- Eve wanted more than what she has, she wanted to become like God.
Now, her thoughts were directed to the idea that God is not being fair to her. God is lying while He holds back what should rightfully be hers. While she thinks these thoughts, desire now becomes the major motive that forces her to eat the forbidden fruit.
Earlier, we saw that Satan himself wanted to become like God. Now we see that he is tempting Eve with the very same thought in mind. This is very interesting, we now see that Satan tempted Eve using the same thirst for power, the same desire to become like God, that Satan himself felt. Satan literally gave the same sins that he had, to Eve. The same desires he had for power, he gave to Eve.
It stands to reason, that Satan used the same strategy in Heaven as he later used on earth with Eve. He some how made the angels unsatisfied with their positions in Heaven. Maybe Satan's followers became jealous of God. Satan must have told them that God was holding back on them, and that they should have more power.
The same wicked desires that Satan has, he gave to his angels, to take over God's throne and have the power for themselves. That is why these angels are today evil. They have the same desires as Satan and they work along with him in destroying the human race. They will do anything to get their own wishes and takeover God's Throne.
By looking at the history of our world, it is obvious that Satan and his evil angels have been trying to convert the world to their side so they can claim the world as their own. In fact they have almost always had the majority siding with them. Only a minority has ever followed God. However, there has always been at least one person who was true to God. There was always a Noah, Abraham, or Joseph, or even a Job to give God the advantage.
I think that there are issues concerning the whole universe that affect the war between God and Satan. From the book of Job, we saw that there is a government of worlds. God rules the whole Universe and these other worlds are watching what is going on. If Satan was able to win a third of all the angels in Heaven, what sort of questions would the people on the other worlds have?
Do the other worlds know anything about the war at all? It seems that they do. In the meetings depicted in the first two chapters of Job, we see that everything was done out in the open. Both Satan and God spoke in front of all the other representatives from the other planets of the Universe. Everything that happened occurred in front of everyone!
God actually listens to Satan and answers his charges rather than throwing him out. When Satan says that Job will curse God to his face. God says, OK, why don't you try and see what Job will do. When Satan comes back after having failed the first time, he is still combative saying that if he can make Job really hurt with pain and sickness, Job will then curse God. God answers Satan by allowing him to try again harder than he was allowed the first time with physical pain.
It seems that God is allowing Satan's accusations to be tried out in front of the whole universe. He is not allowing his question to be unanswered. Which makes sense when we consider that all the representatives are listening.
At the same time, Satan is having to act out his intensions before the whole universe as well. How far is Satan willing to go in destroying those around him so he can acquire ownership of a world? What kind of government would Satan have? Is Satan really offering a better idea than God?
So maybe the other worlds are watching the events of this war and they do have questions about what is going on in the rebellion.
In the Bible we have seen some of the evidence that the war is about people's opinion. On the earth, it seems that it concerns people's allegiance. Who will we serve, Jesus or Satan. In Heaven, where a third of the angels chose Satan, it looks like the same issues were important. What about the rest of the Universe? What are the issues that they are looking at in this rebellion?
After seeing the evidence from the Bible, I think that God has to let Satan's true colors show to the whole Universe before Satan's rebellion can be ended and destroyed. How else is the Universe going to understand what is happening when we consider how Satan lies and how he hides his true intentions. The only sure way is to allow Satan to fully act out what he has in mind to do.
It is only in this way that the inhabitants of the other worlds can be sure what is really taking place between God and Satan. They need to understand the motivations of Satan. Why does he really want to take over the throne. Is it because God is really a tyrant and that Satan is trying to protect us by showing us a better way of living; or is it that Satan is really selfish and he only wants the power of the throne for himself? The Universe really needs to know the answers to these questions before God can safely destroy Satan. If not then the other worlds can possibly misunderstand God and possibly another rebellion in the Universe could develop. They need to know that the Creator God is truly worthy to be worshiped and praised.
If the intergalactic war that I am describing is not really taking place, then I would like to ask a question of my own. Is this thing of having Satan tempt us and God letting it happen all a game? What is really happening in the stories we read in the Bible? Is there an actual battle for the ownership of the Earth that is occurring behind the scenes to explain what is happening? Or, do we have God and Satan playing games with the human race in the middle?
If we have read through the entire Bible, and have seen this intergalactic war described throughout it's pages (Especially in Daniel and Revelation) then we will start to see reasons why things have happened the way they have already happened.
God has a Universe that is full of worlds that have intelligent beings on them. The Book of Job indicates this fact. God has to consider the safety and stability of the whole universe not just our world. When Satan rebelled, he did it before the whole universe. He accused God of not being fair in His dealings with Satan and his followers. The whole universe has had to graple with the idea that there is a rebellion that started in the very place where God is. How could that be? In addition, Satan, as can be understood in the book of Job, met with God in an open way that is most likely designed to create the most questions in the minds of the Leaders of the Universe.
If God wants all the worlds to love Him because of His Love, because he is worthy to be worshiped as the King of Kings and Lords of Lords, then He must face these accusations with truth and justice. God is allowing Satan to try his way with the whole Universe looking on. What kind of results will Satan get? What is his motive for doing what he is doing?
Yes, I believe that the war between Christ and Satan explains most or all the stories of the Bible and it also helps to explain why the human race must experience death and destruction and misery in our world today. Also it is our choice if we are going to be on the side of God or on the side of Satan.
However, there is a time coming that is soon to happen. In that day Satan will have his day in court and all will know the real reasons why he rebelled against God. They will also realize all the results of his rebellion: distruction, misery, and death of countless numbers of people.
When Satan has gone over the line, when he goes too far and tries to take the throne (as indicated in Daniel), then it will be time for Jesus to come down and to take us to live with Him. He will at that time end the misery that continues to presently plaque our world. Death, destruction, and suffering will come to an end at last!
At the end of our world's history, Satan will pull all the stops in a desperate effort to have the entire world worship him instead of God.