July 28, 2014

The Jesus Myth – part 1: Tomb Raiders

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, Satan tagged , , , , at 2:43 PM by E. M.

Jesus myth1

YOU CAN ONLY TAKE A CON SO FAR

The resurrection of Jesus is the most important event in Christian history. The Apostle Paul himself states that if the resurrection didn’t happen, then Christians are even bigger fools than atheists think we are.

Fortunately for Christianity, there is a great deal of documented evidence of the resurrection from eye witnesses, historians, and even from the enemies of Jesus. Christ’s victorious death and resurrection are a matter of historical and spiritual fact. Satan can’t change that. The Meaning of Life WILL happen. The only thing he can do is try to keep as many people as possible from accepting salvation.

Satan and his assorted Mystics throughout the ages have engaged in great feats of logical acrobatics in futile attempts to convince the world that Jesus did not rise from the dead. Their alternate theories to explain away the empty tomb range from the improbably to the downright silly. We’ll look at a couple of them and this post, and two more next time.

Myth 1: Jesus’ Disciples Stole the Body

This myth states that the distraught disciples wanted to save face and/or comfort Jesus’ other followers after His death, so they faked the resurrection by stealing Jesus’ body after it was buried. They then spread the rumor that Jesus supernaturally rose from the dead. Supposedly, this “lie” became so popular and pervasive that is spawned the movement we call Christianity.

The seeds of this myth were actually started by the local mystics (Pharisees) before Jesus was even buried. They knew Jesus said He would rise again three days after His death (something the disciples themselves seemed a little slow to pick up on) and they figured the disciples would try something sneaky so they encouraged Pilate to set up a Roman Guard to watch over the tomb.

This is where this myth falls apart. A Roman guard is no joke. It consists of 16 soldiers who sleep in shifts of four. So at any time, Jesus’ tomb was guarded by 12 very alert, well trained, well-armed military men. Furthermore, since the tomb was under Roman guard, the 2 ton stone that would have sealed the tomb would have had a roman seal in the crease. If that seal was broken (by someone moving the stone), the penalty was death for the perpetrator. Moreover, if the guards failed in their duty, ALL of them would be executed!

So the proponents of this myth would have us believe that a group of 11 distraught fishermen (and a tax collector) managed to sneak by 16 of the best trained soldiers on the planet (who were motivated by the death penalty to do their job), roll away a gigantic stone – the act of which would mean their execution – and abscond with Jesus’ dead body, thus accidentally causing the spread of the greatest spiritual movement in history.

Sound feasible to you? Me neither, but the Pharisees didn’t let something as irrelevant as “logic” get in the way of a good myth.

Myth 2:  The Disciples Made the Whole Thing Up

This theory picks up on the one above but goes to the extreme of virtually denying the Jesus of the Bible. This view was embraced by secular academics beginning around the time of the “Age of Enlightenment” in the 17th century and is still taught to some degree today. The theory states that there was probably no historical person called Jesus of Nazareth. And even IF there was such a person, he bears no resemblance to the guy in the Bible.

In all likelihood, “Jesus” was just one of many itinerant backwoods preachers wandering ancient Judea futility speaking out against the lapsed morality of the Jews and corruption of the clergy. He was little more than a first century version of the crazy guy on the corner holding a “The End is Near!” sign.

It was his disciples that invented the “Son of God” mythology. They created or greatly embellished the narratives of Jesus’ life, mission, miracles, and divinity.

Why would they do this? Fame and fortune of course!

They knew that there are few better ways to gain wealth and power than by inventing a nutty religious cult, get the masses to buy into it, and set yourself up at the top of the spiritual pyramid! (Basically the disciples were L. Ron Hubbard’s inspiration).

But this myth has some very serious problems. First of all, Jesus’ life is one of the most well documented in history. Not just by the Bible, but contemporary secular sources as well. Flavius Josephus, the official regional historian in the first century appointed by the Roman Empire, wrote extensively about Jesus – including His supernatural attributes. Rome was antagonistic to early Christians (that antagonism expressed through three centuries of persecution), so there was no benefit in them sanctioning the documentation of the “myth”. Same with the Babylonian Talmud, another contemporary historical document, this one written by orthodox Jews (who shared Rome’s position on Christianity) that confirmed the life of Jesus.

Secondly, if the disciples made up the narrative of Jesus in the Bible to convince people to join a fraudulent religion, they seem to have gone out of their way to make it a tough sell. I mean if you want people to follow a religion, it’s probably not a good idea to tell them it will make their lives more difficult, that it will alienate them from their families, that it will make them hated everywhere they go, and they’ll probably get killed for it.

Also, if you are going to spread a story about a guy improbably rising from the dead, it’s probably best not to say that a woman was the first eyewitness (women were not allowed to be legal witnesses at the time). It’s also pretty convenient that EVERYONE who saw Him post-resurrection happened to be His close followers.

Lastly, if the disciples WERE just con-men looking to make a quick buck off a fake religion, they were REALLY bad at it. None of them became wealthy, and any fame they gained was not what they’d have wanted. The Jewish leadership (and later the Romans) persecuted Christians furiously in the first century and beyond. But all disciples they had to do to avoid imprisonment, torture and death was simply deny Christianity. If they just said “Hey, sorry folks, we made the whole thing up”, they could have lived. Yet all the disciples willingly endured persecution, and all (with the possible exception of John) were gruesomely executed by beheadings, stoning, being boiled in oil, and even crucified upside down! Why would con-men be willing die for something they knew wasn’t true?

The obvious answer is – they wouldn’t.

The sad thing is that the two myths above are actually the most “reasonable” counter arguments against the resurrection. The rest are even more preposterous. We’ll look at one of the more ludicrous theories in the next post, as well as one of the most subtle and insidious ones – a resurrection myth so seemingly innocuous that it is almost universally accepted and endorsed by Christians! Next time…

 

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July 6, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 4: Victorious Defeat

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare, The Dispensations tagged , , , , , , , at 3:11 PM by E. M.

Victorious DefeatHaving failed to prevent the advent of Jesus as the Redeemer and meeting defeat when he tried physical and spiritual tactics to defeat his enemy, Satan turned to his pet Mystics as a second line of defense against the Great Invasion. But after they were met with utter defeat, Satan and his minions finally turned to the ultimate evil – they sought to kill Jesus.

The narrative of Jesus’ arrest, trials, and execution is a familiar one. First Jesus was betrayed by his disciple Judas -who, despite being an eye witness to three years of the most profound teaching and amazing supernatural feats in history – sold Jesus out for what in today’s money would be the equivalent of an iPad (worst student EVER!). He was then arrested by the temple soldiers, subjected to three illegal Jewish trials, and was finally sentenced by the Roman Governor to a brutal beating and execution by the most torturous method known to man at the time.

All in all it seemed like a very dark time for the good guys, and it appeared that Satan may finally have gotten his long awaited victory.

Yet, as has been the case every time the former light bearer has seemed poised to win, his supposed victory is just the precursor to a devastating defeat.

Even in the narrative of Jesus’ execution, we can already see signs that something’s amiss.

If we do a close examination of the events, it becomes clear that in spite of appearances to the contrary, it’s actually Jesus who is in control of the situation, and He is the one directing everyone’s actions!

Jesus is the one who commands Judas to complete the act of betraying Him! Thus it is Jesus who is in control of when and where He would be arrested.

When the temple soldiers arrived to take Him, Jesus questioned THEM! He made them state their will that they were sent to arrest Him, and when He identified himself, His words made the soldiers fall to the ground! He then commanded them to take Him and leave His disciples alone, and they obeyed!

The Mystics shuffled Jesus around to three different Jewish trials because He kept exposing the fact that they had no valid reason for arresting Him! Jesus forced them to logically defend THEIR rationale for their actions (and there’s nothing brain damaged people hate more than logic and reason).

When the Mystics went to Pilate to try to get Rome to do their dirty work, Jesus let the Governor know who really had the power in that situation.

It’s clear that Jesus was not the helpless victim of Satan’s clever machinations to have him killed.

Moreover, it was Jesus’ mission to be executed for man’s sake. His unjust death wasn’t a cruel surprise, or an unfortunate tragedy. It was the planned end-game that had been strategized by the Trinity from the beginning. Everything that was done to Jesus was according to scripture, down to the exact details of the death process. Among other things,

The Bible states that Jesus would be whipped and beatenfulfilled here

The Bible states that people would gamble for His garmentsfulfilled here

The Bible states that none of his bones would be brokenfulfilled here

(There are a bunch more in this post)

Most incredible of all, the Bible gives a detailed description (in first person) of the crucifixion 200 years before crucifixion was even invented by the Persians! (and 500 years before the Romans perfected it). This is more proof that God transcends time and knows the end from the beginning.

But even with all that said, it doesn’t take anything away from the magnitude of the suffering Jesus endured. Crucifixion is possibly the most agonizing form of execution ever invented. In fact, the Latin word for it, “crux”, is the root from which we get the English work “Excruciating”.

The effects of crucifixion on the human body are truly devastating. The nails in the hands and feet irreparably deform the limbs, and the position that the victim is forced into results in catastrophic system wide organ failures. The cardiac stress of the ordeal eventually causes the victim’s heart muscle to rupture!

Thus as He hung on a cross, being mock and ridiculed by the very people He came to redeem, Jesus of Nazareth literally died of a broken heart.

Jesus’ mission on earth had all lead up to this. As I wrote earlier, His death was part of the end game that had been planned from the beginning. It was a major key to fulfilling the Meaning of Life.

But how did Jesus’ death redeem man? How did His death allow us to have eternal life?

It all comes down to justice!

Of all the men who ever (and would ever) live, Jesus was the only man who NEVER deserved to die!

Like Adam, Jesus was born alive (connected to God). But unlike Adam, He never did anything to lose that connection. Jesus never sinned, thus he should never have lost his life – so His death was unjust!

However since God is always and completely right and just, He had to do several things to balance the scales of righteousness and justice.

  1. Jesus had to be “repaired”. Life is the ability to repair. Jesus’ life was taken unjustly. Justice demanded that His physical life be restored/repaired.
  2. Jesus had to be resurrected in a form that was no longer subject to physical death. Not only did Jesus not sin, he proved that He would NEVER sin. Satan tempted Him at ALL points and He didn’t succumb, so Satan gave up! Then human Mystics gave it their best shot and failed so miserably that they stated their will that they wouldn’t try anymore! Having overcome the worst that His enemies could throw at Him, Jesus showed that He was beyond external influence to sin and since He only did what God told Him to do, He was beyond internal influence all well. So He justly deserved a body beyond physical death.
  3. Jesus had to be given everlasting life. Since Jesus proved that He would never deserve death, He technically should live forever. He has infinite (everlasting) life. Since He possesses an infinite amount of “life”, He could grant it to whomever He wanted without ever running out. He could offer all men everlasting life!

And that is what “Salvation” is all about!

God loved man so much that He sacrificed Himself and died in our place so that we could justly have access to the infinite/everlasting life that He currently possesses, and we could choose to be with Him and take part in the Meaning of Life!

This is how God is able to get what He wants despite the fact that we are not born with His nature. If we choose to accept this gift, we are given a new heart. We become reconnected spiritually to God. We become spiritually alive eternally. And like Jesus, when we die physically, we will be resurrected with incorruptible bodies. But unlike Jesus we don’t have to live a perfect life (He did that for us and any vain attempt to do it on our own is religion). All we have to do is choose this gift ourselves. This is salvation.

When Jesus walked out of His tomb, He had all power over death (infinite life) and all power over evil (infinite repair of destruction).

By Accepting Jesus, we can be free from the power of death and evil. But since it’s a matter of love, it’s a matter of choice.

WE choose whether or not to accept the gift of Salvation. WE choose whether we are going to live or die eternally. WE choose between everlasting life and everlasting destruction. WE choose whether we will be Redeemed or perish.

We are going to examine the ramifications of Redemption when we look at the 6th Dispensation, but we will begin our wrap up of the 5th Dispensation with a series on some of the many myths surrounding Jesus’ life and mission- beginning with the resurrection – next time

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May 31, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 3: Blind in One Eye

Posted in Jesus, Organized Religion, Religion, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare, The Law tagged , , , , , at 11:44 PM by E. M.

HOW MYSTICS INTERPRET THE BIBLE

We’ve been looking at the advent and incarnation of The Redeemer from the perspective of His spiritual enemies. From the point of view of Satan and his minions, Jesus was a hostile force who had come to conquer them and take their territory.

Having failed to prevent Jesus’ advent and being unable to personally defeat Him physically or spiritually, Satan turned to his next line of defense – human Mystics.

As we’ve seen in previous posts, Mystics are individuals or small groups who claim to have and hold secret/hidden knowledge, and they use this knowledge (or the perception thereof) to rule over people.

Religious Mystics specifically claim (and sometimes actually have) special knowledge and/or power from spiritual entities.

Since their beginning, Mystics have found their way into every society and culture – and God’s nation of Israel wasn’t spared of their contamination. The priests of ancient Israel were often guilty of mixing God’s Law with the surrounding pagan practices – starting with the very first priest of Israel!

As with other Mystics, the Jewish religious leaders began to modify and add to God’s Law. The promoted themselves as the only ones who truly knew, understood (and therefore could interpret) the actual meaning of the Law. Thus, as the true “authority” on the Law, the people should follow them instead of actually learning the Law for themselves.

During Jesus’ time, these Mystics were called “Pharisees” (but Jesus had a more accurate name for them).

After Jesus had been baptized and anointed by God to begin His mission, He charged right into the flank of Satan’s second line of defense by doing something that the Pharisees would consider the most vicious frontal attack possible – Jesus taught people the Bible!

Not only did He teach the Bible, He taught it with authority! Jesus’ first major doctrinal sermon was a detailed lesson that amplified and clarified the Law. He juxtaposed the traditions that the Pharisees had ingrained in the people over the years with the true spirit of the Law. And it was brutal!

Jesus’ teaching amazed people because it stripped away everything that the Pharisees had piled onto God’s word (or took away from it) and reduced back to the original intention of the Law – to prove man’s nature and depravity and his need for a redeemer.

As His popularity grew, Jesus went from being an annoyance to a major threat in the eyes of the Pharisees – a threat that had to be dealt with. Unfortunately, the Pharisees thought they were just dealing with a street preacher from the sticks instead of the Son of God.

Their first tactic was to reinforce their authority by challenging Jesus’ understanding and observance of the Law. But they didn’t realize they were confronting the person who embodied the Law. Again and again Jesus showed His superiority to the self-proclaimed experts.

Since Jesus popularity was due to His knowledge (granted, the miracles didn’t hurt), the Pharisees next tactic was to show that He wasn’t the smarty pants that everyone thought He was. The Pharisees came up with one conundrum after another in an attempt to outwit Jesus, but when you challenge someone who has access to all the knowledge in existence, your chances of victory are pretty low.

Not only did Jesus answer every challenge, He gave them a taste of their own medicine by presenting them with a conundrum so challenging that they completely abandoned any future attacks!

But Jesus didn’t just play defense against the Pharisees, He directly confronted them and their errant teachings personally! Jesus called them out for being the deceptive, destructive hypocrites that they were and publicly admonished them for the damage they were doing in the “name of God”. If anyone believes that God categorically endorses someone just because they stand up and claim to be a “Man of God”, they have never read Matthew 23.

It was obvious that the Mystics could not defeat Jesus. With each successive public humiliation, Jesus’ stature grew and the Pharisees’ diminished. They only had one alternative left to preserve their illegitimate status. They had to commit the ultimate evil – They had to kill Jesus.

Looking at the narrative of Jesus and the Pharisees begs one huge question – if these Mystics were experts on the Old Testament, and the Old Testament contains over 300 prophesies that Jesus continuously fulfilled, then why didn’t the Pharisees recognize who He was?

The Pharisees spent their entire lives studying the scriptures and Jesus was the long awaited fulfillment of the Law. They should have been Jesus’ greatest supporters and most sincere disciples, not His greatest adversaries and erstwhile murderers.

Why did they reject Him?

Comparative thinking! Specifically the hyper-comparative thinking known as religion (and the inherent brain damage it causes).

The conflict is that in the 300+ prophesies of the Redeemer, there is a significant distinction in how Jesus is presented. In some of them, He is depicted as the suffering servant who is depised and rejected by men; the Lamb of God who must die a torturous death for man’s sins.

In other prophesies, He is the conquering King who thoroughly defeats the enemies of God and Israel, brings justice to the world and sets up a world-wide kingdom with its capital in Jerusalem.

How are these distinctions reconciled? The descriptions seem to contradict each other, but we know that contradictions don’t exist. Contrastive thinking would lead to the resolution that since there are two distinct descriptions and missions prophesized, then there must be two district advents of the Redeemer! Once as a suffering servant, and another as a conquering King.

When confronted with the two distinct advents of the Redeemer, instead of trying to reconcile them contrastively, the Pharisees decided to ONLY accept the advent they liked and completely ignored the less appealing one! They only embraced and taught the idea of their Messiah as a conquering King!

The result of this brain-damaged thinking was that the Jewish Mystics and the people who followed them were completely blind to the first advent of the Redeemer even though the Bible gave the exact date!

Even worse for the Jews is that God held them accountable to recognize their Messiah. Their failure to do so would have many dire consequences…

Jesus’ enemies were now ready to enact their final and seemingly most effective strategy to defeat Him – murder. But as has been the case throughout this war, apparent victory for the enemy would lead to great defeat. Next time

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April 10, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 2: Game of Thrones

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare, The Dispensations tagged , , , , at 8:24 PM by E. M.

GameOfThronesWe’ve been looking at the advent of the Redeemer from the perspective of His (and our) spiritual enemies. In the last post, we saw that as God revealed more details of how man’s Redeemer would arrive, Satan and his minions focused their war efforts to prevent the invasion. But despite their best efforts, they always met progressive defeat.

Once Jesus was born however, Satan was able to put all of his energy into preventing Christ from completing His redemptive work.

As the time of the Redeemer’s prophesized victory grew closer, Satan worked to lay down a political mine field to keep Him from fulfilling his role as King of the Jews. Since the Babylonian captivity, Israel was occupied by the powerful and demonically energized empires of Persia and Greece. By the time of Jesus’ birth, the most powerful world empire- Rome – held an iron grip on the area. Worse, Israel was a contentious buffer state between Rome and the similarly powerful Parthian empire to the east, filled with disgruntled nationalist Jews. So Christ’s potential kingdom was a backwater political albatross stuck between two hostile super powers.

It was during this low point in national history that God decided to give the Virgin Mary the good news that she’d been chosen to carry the savior of the world (who would be considered a bastard since she got pregnant before she was married).

Now the honorable thing for Satan to do would be to wait until the kid grew into an adult and then take Him on man to man (or Man to Devil). But while Satan can be accused of many things, “honorable and fair” are not on the list. To him, even an infant is fair game.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Roman Caesar got the bright idea to have everyone in the empire travel to their home town for a census. By the time a very pregnant Mary and her betrothed, Joseph arrived in Bethlehem; there was no place for them to stay other than a local stable. Thus the Savior of the world; the Redeemer of man; God in flesh, was born in an animal feeding trough in a barn filled with said fragrant animals.

But as I wrote previously, from the perspective of Satan, the ubiquitous manger scene of Christmas card fodder was nothing less than D-Day; a hostile invasion of his territory by an enemy force. Jesus come to size Satan’s kingdom, and was taking the fight directly to him on his turf.

Satan’s first counter-offensive was to have the local rulership command that all the newly born males in the area be killed. But that tactic failed – just like the last time he tried it. But remember, Satan is incapable of original ideas. All he can do is trot out the same stuff he’s tried before and hope to still get mileage out of it (kind of like a Hollywood movie producer).

Seeing that direct physical force wasn’t an effective way to stop his enemy (Hey, it only took him 3000 years to figure that out. Progress!) Satan move on to his next favorite strategies, manipulation and compromise.

After Jesus reached adulthood and was officially anointed by God to begin his redemptive mission, Satan finally came in for a face to face confrontation with his foe (of course he waited until Jesus was physically and mentally compromised due to starvation because, well, Satan’s an a-hole).

Satan knew he had no chance agonist the Son of God, so he went after the Son of Man – he planned to use his temptations to get Jesus to use His free will to choose Himself over God.

Satan started by appealing to the physical desire by tempting Jesus to sate His extreme hunger supernaturally. But as a man, Jesus ONLY did what God told Him to do, and God did NOT tell Him to turn stones into bread. If Jesus had obeyed Satan, He would have made that decision on His own – as a man – to satisfy His physical desires. He would have made the same mistake as Eve!

Jesus responded to this temptation not with the words of man, but as the Word of God.

Jesus 1, Satan 0

Satan then attacked man’s other major weakness – Pride. Satan challenged Jesus to prove His divinity and position with God.

[Begin dramatic license]

Satan – Oh, so you’re pious huh? Not going to feed yourself because “God’s word didn’t tell you to”? Is that why you claim to be the “Son of God”? Well the Bible also says that if you throw yourself off this building, Angels will rescue you. So go ahead, show me you’re the Son of God!”

Jesus – Seriously? You’re actually going to misquote my own words to me? Try this one – “you are not allowed to test your creator!

Satan – Grrrrrrr!

[End dramatic license]

Jesus 2, Satan 0

Finally, Satan brings out his most effective weapon against man – Compromise. Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and told Him that he would bequeath them all if Jesus would give him worship.

Jesus came to earth to conquer Satan and take his kingdom by force (and as we’ll see in an upcoming post, it is a brutal and costly battle). But Satan offered a short cut – no fight, no suffering, no blood, no torturous death on a cross. Just make a simple pledge of fidelity, and the world is yours.

It was a stunningly attractive temptation. One accepted in various forms by otherwise strong and principled men. But not by this one. Jesus chose God’s way over man’s. He did what the first man could not, and thus proved Himself worthy and eligible to redeem Adam’s sin.

Jesus 3, Satan 0. Game over.

Satan lost a major battle, but the war was far from over. Satan took his best shot and came up short. It was time to call in reinforcements. If Satan couldn’t break Jesus, then maybe He could be broken by the people He came to save.

In the next post, Jesus faces the second front in Satan’s army – the mystics!

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February 10, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 1: War Games

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare at 3:19 PM by E. M.

SATAN'S WAR EFFORTS

SATAN’S WAR EFFORTS

The Advent and Incarnation of Jesus is the most important event that has occurred thus far in human history.  Now that we have established his mission and identity, it’s time to examine the events of His actual time on earth.

The birth and life of Jesus is among the most well-known and celebrated biographies known.  However we’re going to look at that life from a different perspective: that of his enemies.

When Adam failed in the First Dispensation, he not only lost his spiritual connection to God, he also lost his kingdom (and man has been trying in vain to reclaim it without God ever since).  From man’s perspective, the coming of Christ is an amazing story of love, sacrifice, and triumph as Jesus fulfilled His mission to redeem man and reclaim the kingdom.

But to Satan and his minions – who usurped possession of the earth from Adam – the advent of the Redeemer was a military offensive!

Last year, we saw that the war between those who support God’s plan and those who oppose it represents the seed plot of all history.  God promised that the coming Redeemer would herald the end of Satan’s dominion on earth and the ultimate destruction of his followers.

Of course that idea wasn’t terribly attractive to the bad guys, so they set about to prevent the Redeemer’s coming by every means at their disposal.

It’s interesting to take a journey through the Bible and watch how the spiritual war progressed.  As God revealed more details about how the Redeemer would come, Satanic attack became more focused and intensified through the dispensations.

When God said that the “Seed of a woman” would be his undoing, Satan knew that the Redeemer would be a man (an offspring of Eve).  When he got the first male born to Eve to kill the second (and get cursed by God), Satan seemed to be doing pretty well in the war…

Except Eve kept having children.  Who in turn had children of their own, ad nauseam.   Offing them one by one would be too inefficient, so the satanic minions came up with a better idea – corrupt the entire gene pool so there would be no “pure” men left.  And they were amazingly successful!  After over 1500 years of interbreeding, the Bible strongly implies that all the families of the earth were corrupted…

Except one.  Of course the head of that family was a man named Noah, who built a big ol’ boat to preserve his family when God literally flushed Satan’s plans down the drain.

 A couple generations later, God revealed that the Redeemer would be a descendant of a man named Abraham; specifically the 12 sons of his grandson Jacob.  Once Jacob’s family was securely entrenched in Egypt, Satan and his local minions set about wiping them out.  He influenced a new Pharaoh to enslave them for 400 years, then another Pharaoh had all their new born male children slaughtered…

Except one.  That one child turned out to be Moses who was adopted as that Pharaoh’s daughter and lived right under his nose for 40 years.  He then freed his fellow Jews from Egypt and brought them to the land God promised them during Abraham’s time.

But since Satan knew about the land promise of Israel, he had over 400 years to lay down land mines.  He infested the land with Nephalim (a la the 2nd Dispensation).  All the Israelites were afraid to enter the land and rejected God’s promises…

Except two.  God promoted the two faithful guys into leadership, let the unfaithful generation die off, and their children took over the land and drove out the Nephalim.

When God let it be known that the Redeemer would be of the royal line of King David, Satan targeted his descendants.  And again, he was largely successful.  Of all the subsequent kings of Israel, only two of them – Hezekiah and Josiah earned God’s favor.

But the worst of the bunch was the last sovereign king of Israel, Jechoniah (AKA Coniah), who was so bad that God pronounced a “blood curse” on him saying that none of his blood descendants would ever be king.

This posed a serious problem.  One of Jesus’ qualifications was that He be King of the Jews and a descendant of David.  How could He be both if the royal line was cursed?  At this point, Satan probably figured that he finally had his victory…

Except God took advantage of a technicality.  A look at the genealogy of Jesus in the book of Luke shows that Mary was a descendant of David – but through his second son Nathan who was NOT a part of the royal line.  The genealogy in the book of Matthew shows that Joseph, Jesus’ LEGAL father WAS a royal descendant of David (including the cursed Jeconiah).

Thus Jesus was legally of the royal line through Joseph and could make a claim to the throne, but He wasn’t subject to the curse because of his birth mother’s lineage.

I’m firmly convinced that God has a derisive sense of humor, and you can see traces of it in the way He has (and continues to) counter Satan’s machinations.  Every time Satan seems close to achieving his goal, God snatches victory from the jaws of seeming defeat much the same way way Lucy always pulls the football away from Charlie Brown

Satan’s failure to stop the advent of the Redeemer didn’t end with the birth of Jesus.  In fact, his war efforts escalated since he had a single person to focus on.  In the next post, we will look at the life of Jesus from the perspective of the Great Invasion.

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April 7, 2013

Know Thy Enemy – Part 8: Tools of the Devil

Posted in Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare tagged , , , , at 4:11 PM by E. M.

Jimmy Fallon devilThis will be the last post in the current series examining the character and career of the primary antagonist of our existential narrative – the being called “Satan”.  In the last two posts, we looked at Satan’s partners in crime, the many fallen angels who rebelled with him against God and have joined him in his vain attempt to thwart God’s plan.

In this final post, we will see that there is one other group that share the goals and aspirations of the fallen angels and act as their agents in a symbiotic relationship.  They are a group that is familiar to us because we’ve analyzed them before – human Mystics!

The goal of Mystics is to rule over humanity and recreate Eden on earth without (or in defiance to) God.  Since their goals are so closely aligned, its not surprising that they would strike up a partnership with their supernatural cohorts.

The Mystics of Spirit rule over men by claiming to have an association with “the gods”. They keep their position by invoking fear of said gods and have maintained their influence through history by being the keepers of these “arcane secrets”.

And that’s all well and good, however I admittedly left something out of my original posts that can be brought up now.  Which is the question, how could Mystics maintain this façade over any moderately intelligent person for so long based only on their empty claims?

One explanation (and the one we probably default to) is to assume that the ancient masses were just not as smart and sophisticated as we are today.  Basically, the knuckle-dragging morons of the ancient world were so backwards and superstitious that they took theses charlatans at their word when they claimed that sacrificing your first born under the full moon at midnight would assure a bountiful crop next season.  Or they could bring down fire from the gods on infidels.  But of course WE wouldn’t fall for that kind of stuff because we’re soooo much smarter.

But is the depiction of the ancients as drooling, sloped-forehead troglodytes really accurate?

Lets keep in mind the fact that these are the same people who invented math, science, and language.  They built monuments such as the Great Pyramid and Stonehenge, which are structures of such precision, accuracy, and astrological/geological expertise that to this day we cannot duplicate them of figure out how they made them even with all of our sophisticated gadgets.

So if the ancients were not necessarily the rubes we think they were, how were the Mystics able to dupe them?  Well, I think it is highly likely that these was some actually truth in the Mystics’ claims.  Insofar as the fallen angels were given god-like regard, certain Mystics DID have a connection to them that they could use to convince the ancients.

If you get in front if the masses and SAY that you have the power to do the miraculous, you might get a few (or a lot of) suckers to believe you if you have enough charisma (I’m pretty sure that’s how our current president got elected – oops, I promised to keep politics out of this blog…).  But if you make those claims, AND give people an occasional demonstration of your supernatural connections, well your argument becomes exponentially more convincing.

The reason that otherwise intelligent folks in the past believed the Mystics is because they saw proof of their supernatural connections!  Remember, that at the end of the fourth dispensation, when God brought the 10 plagues on Egypt through Moses, the Mystics at Pharaoh’s court were able to duplicate the first two using their spiritual connection to the powerful fallen angelic “gods” who governed that empire!

The occurrences of supernatural events are almost taken for granted in the Bible and other ancient texts.  The writers of these stories fully expected their readers to take them seriously when they presented narratives about floods, and plagues, and signs and wonders.

Not only were there physical demonstrations of power, the apocryphal Book of Enoch implies that fallen angels provided sophisticated knowledge of agriculture, medicine, astronomy, and industry to people of the Second Dispensation.  If this information was kept and guarded by the Mystics throughout the centuries, they could make use of it in very convincing ways.

For example, if the Mystics had (and kept secret) knowledge of the cycle of solar eclipses, they could tell people that “the gods will darken the Sun next Tuesday to show their displeasure!”  You can then imagine the reactions of the masses when the eclipse happened as predicted.

So how did this all work?  Well, starting with the Mother of Mystics (who may have had access to supernatural through the being who sired her son/husband), the connection to the supernatural could have been passed on to her various priests, who, when Babel was divided into nations, took their knowledge and connections with them into other societies as they spread throughout the globe.

In this mutually beneficial arrangement, the Mystics would get the power they desired to rule over men, and in return, the fallen angels would mortal aid in their endeavors to thwart the plan of God.  After all, its one thing for them to try to ruin God’s plan on their own, but its an even bigger slap in the face to have that plan opposed by some of the very creatures it is meant to benefit.

Thus, throughout the ages, certain men have engaged in Faustian deals with the gods of this world to gain incredible wealth, power, and influence, in exchange for their souls and allegiance.

Despite how incredible it sounds, its probably not as uncommon as one would think.  If you look just past the superficial façade of our society, stories abound about people taking spiritual short cuts to success. (I mean how else do you explain how incompetent politicians and talentless celebrities gain inexplicable wealth and influence?  I’m sure that when Satan flosses his teeth, chunks of Jimmy Fallon’s soul fly out).

So then, if all of this is true, it begs an obvious question – Why don’t we see overt supernatural shenanigans today?  Surely with common access to video equipment and the Internet, it wouldn’t be much of a chore to document some infidel getting char-broiled by a Mystic channeling “Moltar the god of fire”.  But instead all we get are the occasional fuzzy shot of a “UFO” or the silhouette of Big Foot ducking behind a ponderosa pine tree.

There are a few possible explanations:

  1. The supernatural stuff only happens in uncivilized parts of the world where you can still find the occasional shaman tuning people into frogs.  Maybe, but why is the western world immune?  Are fallen angels afraid of electricity and freeway traffic?
  2. It still happens, but its kept secret by the current ruling Mystics who only trot out their tricks in hidden enclaves like Bohemian Grove.  This idea is touted by the conspiracy theorist, but despite whatever merit it may have, you still wonder why its kept so clandestine when Mystics of the past made a big show of it to aid their cause.
  3. God is currently keeping things in check.  The Bible strongly implies that in our current dispensation (the sixth), God is actively restraining evil.  In the Sixth Dispensation, God resides in the hearts of believers on earth (obviously we’ll detail all this when we examine the Sixth Dispensation).  God’s active presence in the world is the restraining force that literally prevents all hell from breaking loose.  So Mystics and fallen angels are not free to operate as they once did.  However, when this current dispensation ends, the Bible makes it clear that demonic activity will ramp up exponentially…

If explanation #3 is correct.  It would be interesting to observe how the influence of evil in this world grows in proportion to the amount that God’s influence through His believers wanes…

There is a great deal more to say on the subject of Satan and his minions, but for now, we will end our look at the dark side here.  Its time to get back to out examination of the dispensations.

In the first four dispensations, God gave men fairly open-ended opportunities to chose Him over themselves.  With the failure of men to do so each time, it would seem that the only just thing for God to do would be to give men very specific examples of how things should be done – culminating with the ULTIMATE example of how to choose God over man.  The Fifth Dispensation begins next time…

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January 22, 2013

Know Thy Enemy – Part 7: The Devil’s Advocates (cont.)

Posted in Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare tagged , , , , , at 8:25 PM by E. M.

Angels

ANGELS DON’T REALLY LOOK LIKE THIS (UNFORTUNATELY)

Unlike God, Satan is not transcendent.   He can’t be everywhere at once to rule his kingdom, but he has help.  When he fell, a great number of angels fell with him.

The Bible doesn’t give us a great deal of information about angels, and since human curiosity abhors a vacuum of knowledge, people have filled in the blanks with details and characterizations of angels, any of which are fanciful and/or completely wrong.

For example, there are no female angels; angels are always depicted as male (despite a very convincing argument by Victoria’s Secret).  Also, angels don’t have a pair of feathery wings.  A small group of special angels called Seraphim have wings – but they have six, and it isn’t clear that they look anything like bird’s wings. And they don’t have halos (I’m not even sure what the point of depicting them with halos was in the first place).

In the last post, I presented a Biblical passage which provides a rare look into the world of angels (good and bad).  In this passage from the book of Daniel, we see that there is an invisible war going on all around us that impacts our world (and that we can affect!).   In additions to giving us insight into God’s plan through the prophesy that the angels gives Daniel, this passage also gives us some interesting details about angels.

Angels are powerful

If you were to ever see an angel in all its glory, you wouldn’t feel comforted or enraptured by its beauty.  You’d nearly drop a brick in your shorts, just like everyone else in the Bible who encountered them! Angels operate on a level of power that we can scarcely understand and dwarfs anything we can come up with.  One angel killed 185,000 Assyrians one night after dinner!  There are NOT creatures that you want to mess with.

Fallen angels share Satan’s goals

Satan’s goal is to block and hinder the plan of God and all efforts to advance that plan.  The prophesies given in the book of Daniel are some of the most important in the Bible and reveal much about God’s plan. So it seems that the most powerful territorial spirit of that time went to battle in order to prevent Daniel from getting the prophesy (Persia was the most powerful world empire at the time).  Which brings us to the next thing we learn about fallen angels…

Fallen angels are territorial

When Adam and Eve committed Original Sin, their dominion of Earth was given to Satan and his crew.  We know from Daniel and other Biblical references that spiritual entities are often the power behind human leaders.

Its interesting that the “Prince of Persia” was the spiritual entity trying to block Daniel’s message.  Persia was the dominant world empire and Daniel lived during the height of that kingdom.  But note that the Angel with the prophesy stated that after he goes back to fight the prince of Persia, he will have to later fight the Prince of Greece!  The Greek empire conquered the Persians and became the subsequent world empire, but it wouldn’t happen for another 200 years after Daniel’s life!

There is a LOT going on in the spiritual world that we can only scarcely perceive.  And it leads to other provocative questions: has every dominant world power in history had an evil spiritual “prince” ruling over it?  Is there currently a “Prince of the Power of the United States” presiding over us right now (and is he from a red state or a blue state)?

And to bring it a little closer to home, since there are possibly billions of fallen angels out there (enough for each one of us), are you someone’s spiritual “territory”?  (Boo!)

Satan’s kingdom is fractured

As we saw in an earlier post, Satan’s desire to rule over the earth perfectly is constantly thwarted because men share his rebellious nature and his desire to rule.  Well, the same is true for his angelic counterparts.  Although they may share the same big picture goals, they fall into lockstep with Satan when it comes to ruling their particular principalities.  Note that when the prince of Greece succeeded the prince of Persia as the dominant world power, it wasn’t through an amicable transition of power.  It was the result of a bloody war that cost tens of thousands of lives! (Not to mention whatever battles took place in the spiritual realm)  And so it has been with just about every conflict between kingdoms.  Even as the world marches toward the Armageddon scenario where Satan’s own personal world rule is at its zenith under the Antichrist, there are still kingdoms that don’t fall into line.

So man and fallen angels have something in common in that they share Satan’s comparative goals to rule.  It would seen logical that they take advantage of this shared ambition to advance their common aspirations.  And in fact they do!  Evil spiritual entities have often been the power behind a group of mortals that have had historic designs on ruling this world.  We will explore how Satanic entities have used and been used by our old friends the Mysticsnext time

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December 26, 2012

Know Thy Enemy – Part 6: The Devil’s Advocates

Posted in Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare at 2:43 PM by E. M.

AngDem1

THE ONLY THING SCARIER THAN DEMONS ARE BAD MOVIES ABOUT DEMONS

Pride led the angelic being called Lucifer to rebel against God.  But he wasn’t alone in his rebellion.  Other angelic beings followed his lead and left Heaven as well.  Most probably joined Lucifer’s initial rebellion for the same reasons that he did.  While others succumbed to the same thing that has led many of us to make tragic and regrettable decisions . . . chasing sex.

Whatever their reasons, this world is now inhabited by a multitude of powerful supernatural beings who share the same destructive traits as Satan – possibly as many as a third of the angelic host.  So how large a multitude are we talking about?

Angels were the first intelligent beings that God created.  They witnessed the rest of creation.  We don’t know how many exist, but they are consistently referred to throughout the Bible in relation to “the stars of heaven”.  If this metaphor has a numerical correlation, then the fallen third of the angelic host could easily number into the billions.

That would be more than enough for us to each have our own personal fallen angel whispering evil thoughts to us (not a very comforting thought, but it does explain congresses’ voting record).

Lest we think that this idea is just the stuff of horror movies or sadistic Sunday School teachers, its important to note that the Bible is full of narrations of demon possession(if you read the Gospels it seemed like Jesus was casting a demon out of somebody every week)and supernatural demonic influence.

One event that is particularly enlightening occurs in the book of Daniel, chapter 10.  This is one of the rare instances where the veil is pulled back and we see how events in our corporeal world affect, and are affected by the unseen spiritual world all around us.

 In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks.  I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed.  On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz.  His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult…

But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground…The said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.”…

“Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince. – Daniel 10: 2-6, 9, 12-14, 20-21 NASV

The prophet Daniel had been fasting and praying for three weeks when an angel (a good one) came to him with an important prophesy from God.  This being was so spectacular; Daniel could only describe him by comparing him to fire, lightning, and precious metals.  He frightened Daniel so badly that he practically went into a coma – and this was a GOOD angel!  Imagine how frightening a bad one must be!

But here’s where it gets weirder.  That angel was dispatched by God on the FIRST day that Daniel began praying.  So why did it take the angel 21 days to get to Daniel?  Because another supernatural being called the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” battled him and blocked him from getting to Daniel for three weeks until he got help!

Furthermore, once he was done giving Daniel this message, he had to go back and fight this prince of Persia again – and after that, he had to fight someone called the prince of Greece.

There is a LOT going on in this passage and exploring it will help us understand a great deal about the role, identity, and mission of fallen angels.  Specifically, we will see:

  1. They share Satan’s goals
  2. They have different levels of power and authority
  3. They have specific territorial authority and power
  4. Satan doesn’t have totally control over them
  5. They have historically been the power behind human rulers

All this and more in our next exciting episode!

October 28, 2012

Know Thy Enemy – Part 5: Giving the Devil His Due

Posted in Government, Satan, Spiritual War tagged , , , , at 7:38 PM by E. M.

SATAN’S ARMY

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. – 1 John 5:19

Satan’s position toward man is one of antagonism and envy.  When God created Adam, Satan saw more than a new creature in the universe.  He saw a rival.  Although Adam was not created with the same level of angelic power and glory that he had, it was clear to Satan that God held him in a special place.  Adam was created in God’s image. That is a claim that no other created being, including Satan could make. Moreover, God gave Adam dominion over what was once Satan’s.

Not only was part of Satan’s former primordial kingdom on earth given to Adam, his descendants were destined to have all the things that Satan desired before he fell.

This was not a situation that Satan’s pride could bear.  He desired to bring God’s new creation under his own control and thwart man’s destiny. If Satan could take what God gave Adam, AND get man to choose Satan over God – he would achieve a double victory – he’d thwart the Plan of God and get the worship he desired.

When the serpent convinced Eve (and ultimately Adam) into eating the forbidden fruit, Satan achieved more than just the failure of the First Dispensation; he actually used a legal technicality to usurp Adam’s position as the ruler of Earth (does this make Satan the archetype for all lawyers?  It would explain a lot…).

When Adam fell, the world came under the authority of Satan.  And as a result of Original Sin, we are born with his desire – to rebel against God; to be prideful, deceptive, and destructive.

But even with this victory, Satan does not get what he wants.   God gave man something that Satan does not have – free will.  Although man is born with enmity toward God, he does not automatically turn to Satan as an alternative.  Instead, man chooses to go his own way.  In some cases, man may choose to worship Satan directly, but usually man emulates Satan’s rebellious nature by resisting all authority and doing his own will.  So while the world lies under the SWAY of the devil, men still chose to do what they want in defiance to all authority.  In short, Satan wanted worshipers, but instead got a bunch of unruly teenagers

Satan has legal authority over the earth and if he were able to rule it perfectly, it would go a long way towards showing his equality with God.  But with individual humans possessing a nature as rebellious as his own, Satan cannot replicate God’s perfect rule in heaven. The only way to have perfect authority is for all the subjects under your dominion to have a common will or a common goal.

Although individual humans have their own wills, they have something in common with Satan in that their wills are in defiance to God.  Satan uses this to his advantage in trying to create his kingdom on earth.  Satan uses his evil influence to try to get men to unify behind their dark desires and completely extinguish God’s influence from the planet.  Yet Satan has never been able to completely accomplish this because throughout history, there have always been a remnant of humanity who was willing to choose God.

In Genesis 6, all of humanity was totally subdued by evil , but God found one faithful man through which he could salvage humanity in Noah.  After the flood of Noah, man was again united and, committed to evil, and again God found a faithful man in Abraham through whom he could execute His plan .  Israel was God’s chosen people who preserved His Word and will while Godless world empires rose and fell all around them.  After the death and resurrection of Christ, the early church held up the light in darkness. Their existence kept the world from completely succumbing to corruption. Even today, Satan tempts men to get behind causes that attempt to place entire world under a single authority in defiance to God – be it fascism, communism, socialism, environmentalism, capitalism, theocracy, or any other man-centered form of authority. But the presence of the few who decide to choose God prevent this from happening.

As we’ve seen in this post, Satan’s ambitions to grandeur did not end when he got the boot from heaven.  He still wants to rule the universe and be worshipped.  If you think that this is way too big of a job for a single being to carry out (especially one that does not have God’s transcendence and access to information) then you’re right.  Satan has had a LOT of help.  Satan’s co-conspirators consist of powerful beings like himself, as well as powerful and influential men on earth.  Next week we will take a look at the first of Satan’s little helpers – Fallen Angels.

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October 1, 2012

Know Thy Enemy – Part 4: To Rival the Devil

Posted in Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare tagged , , , , , at 11:45 AM by E. M.

 “From now on we are enemies, You and I. Because You choose for Your instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty, infantile boy and give me for reward only the ability to recognize the incarnation. Because You are unjust, unfair, unkind, I will block You, I swear it. I will hinder and harm Your creature on earth as far as I am able!” – Salieri, “Amadeus”

Satan’s pride and desire for worship led him to rebel against God. He was defeated and cast out of Heaven.  With this in mind, its understandable, that Satan’s position toward God is one of animosity.  But when you look through the Bible (and the world in general), its pretty clear that Satan has a healthy dose of antagonism toward us as well.

Why does Satan hate us so much?  Well obviously if Satan hates God, he’d naturally want to destroy anything that God loves.  But I think there is more to it than that.  Satan doesn’t just see us as cannon fodder in his war with God.  He sees us as his rivals.

In fact, the creation of man may have been a part of the impetus for Lucifer’s rebellion.  We don’t know exactly how it happened; however during a recent beer run in Nepal (no one makes ale like the Nepalese) a street merchant sold me a parchment that detailed a conversation between God and Lucifer that may shed light on the subject (and of course we know that if something is written on a mysterious ancient parchment, it MUST be true.  Right?).  Here is the transcript:

Lucifer – “Oh glorious Lord, your Angels all agree that your creations are a worthy reflection of your holiness and perfection! (None more so than me, of course, since I am your ultimate creation).”

God – “That’s true, but  I’m not done.  What I’m about to do next will be the pinnacle of my creations.”

Lucifer – “…but…I’m the pinnacle of your creations…right?”

God – “Well, yes.  Currently.  But I’m going to create Man.  And Man will be greater than you.”

Lucifer – “But I’m the Seal of Perfection!  How can this  “man” creature be greater than me?!  Nothing is greater than me!”

God – “I’m greater than you.  And I’m going to make Man in my image.”

Lucifer – “Why would you do that?”

God – “To add another Person to my Trinity – to increase Our love.”

Lucifer – “So you’re going to make Man in your image…but he will be created equal to me, right?  After all, I’m your ultimate creation.  Technically you can’t create anything higher than me.”

God – “ Actually I’m going to create Man a in a lower form than the Angels.”

Lucifer – “You’re kidding!”

God – “I don’t kid.  Men will have free will.  I want to give them the opportunity to choose Me, my righteousness, and my love.  If they do, they will become one with me and share my Throne.”

Lucifer – “Are you serious?!”

God – “I’m always serious.”

Lucifer – “How do you expect me to deal with these creatures?!”

God – “I expect you and the rest of the Angelic host to serve and minister to men.  Man will eventually rule over you.”

Lucifer – “No way!”

God – “Way.”

Lucifer – “You expect me to serve these things?!”

God – “Yes.”

Lucifer – “Do you know who I am?!”

God – “Uh, yeah.  I made you.”

Lucifer – “These are absolutely unacceptable working conditions!  I won’t stand for it!  I demand to speak to my union rep!”

God – “What are you talking about?  Where are you going?”

Lucifer – “I need to make some calls.”

Adam was created in God’s image. That is a claim that no other created being, including Satan could make. Moreover,  we’re destined to have all the things that Satan desired before he fell:

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. – Isaiah 14:12-14

However, it is God’s human children who will ascend to Heaven. We will be in a position of authority over the stars [angels] of God . We will share God’s authority .  We will be like the Most High.

So what do you imagine someone as vain, destructive, and temperamental as Satan would do if he felt that someone has stolen what was rightfully his?  He’d steal the things that have been given to them by God!

And Satan has actually been pretty successful in that venture to the point that he has taken possession of much of what God originally gave to man.  How?  We’ll examine that question next time

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