As we continue to think about the suffering of people on the earth and about the fact that, for so many people, God seems so invisible, there needs to be a very important realization. There is a great enemy who makes war against humanity and particularly against the people of God. Why is there suffering in the world?
- People create suffering
- God is judging the world
- And Satan is on the earth waging war against God’s people
Why does God seem so invisible?
- He has not revealed Himself fully because He is merciful
- And Satan is on the earth blinding humanity
- One way he does this is by creating so many options.
Here are my questions, though. First, who is Satan? Second, why would God place such a destroyer on the earth with us? We can address the second question first. Why would God place Satan on the earth with us? In Revelation 12, there is a great sign in Heaven. There was a great red dragon who swept one-third of the stars of heaven and cast them down to the earth. He sought to devour Israel and the Messiah, who came out of Israel. There was a great war in Heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the Dragon and his. The Dragon was defeated by the blood of the Lamb and there was no longer any place for him, or his angels, in Heaven. Because of this, the dragon was thrown down to the earth. While, in my mind, I am not satisfied with the information given, we can know some very important things about the reason for Satan’s presence on the earth.
- Angels had free will. They could either choose God or not and their decision was final.
- Heaven is a place where God is exclusively glorified because that is where His full presence is revealed.
- If Angels chose not to glorify God, they could not be in Heaven with God. Their being cast out of Heaven was their punishment.
- Christ was celebrated as the redeemer. This means that redemption was always part of God’s plan.
- Satan, being the deceiver, is an instrument of that redemption.
- It seems that Satan was cast down to the earth so that he would tempt people. This is the only way that we can experience God’s love and grace. It is the only way that we can truly know God for who He is.
It is because of the fall that we can even begin to experience God’s goodness. It is because we fail that we can begin to understand God’s love for us and the value that He has placed on us. While this does not answer the question as to why God placed Satan on the earth, we can be confident that God, in His wisdom, chose to place Satan in our midst. Because there is a great enemy among us, we must understand who he is.
When the dragon saw that he had been thrown to earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. The woman was given two wings of a great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness, where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time. From his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river flowing after the woman, to sweep her away in a torrent. But the earth helped the woman. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon had spewed from his mouth. So the dragon was furious with the woman and left to wage war against the rest of her offspring — those who keep God’s commands and have the testimony about Jesus. He stood on the sand of the sea. (Revelation 12:13-18 HCSB)
The dragon’s war, against the woman and her offspring
In his spite toward God, it seems the Dragon wages war against God’s people. It was the serpent in the garden that coerced humankind into sin (though the blame is still placed on Adam). Israel has been the center of conflict for centuries. Every day, persecution against Christians and Jews grows to new extremes.
Satan works to confuse morality. He teaches that life is about how we feel. The most important thing is being happy. Secular equality is more important today than the very lives of children. Moral boundaries are seen in shades of grey rather than in black and white. We can be sure that God sees right and wrong, while we have grown to see right and mostly right.
Satan deceives so many people into worshipping false gods or no gods at all. How much more deceiving can one be than filling the airways with so many choices that people begin to ignore the voices all together.
People every day are fooled into thinking their career is beneficial to life, not recognizing that this life will end!
Satan targets those who carry the testimony about Jesus, and he knows that his time is short.
Trust in God
While Satan’s gaze is focused intensely and directly on God people, God still sees everything. God is not surprised at Satan’s deception. He is the One who cast Satan to the earth in the first place. Satan is not God’s archenemy, he is not a threat to God and he certainly has no power that God has not granted him. He has already been defeated and his deception on this earth only serves one purpose: that God may truly be glorified in His people, who aside from being fallen would not know the goodness of being with God. We praise God because He is worthy of praise. We know He is worthy of praise because we each once lived outside of His grace.
What does this mean for us?
- We can live in confidence. We do not have to be afraid of failure.
- We can live in security, knowing that God will not forsake us.
- We can realize the glory of God, because we each know what it is to be outside that glory.
- We can trust that Satan is not a power that we have to fear. He has already been defeated by the blood of the Lamb!
 v. 12