Satan, the personification of evil, like man, is portrayed in the scripture as having a will (2Tim.2:26; 1Ptr.5:8), but he has absolutely no diabolic power of his own to enforce his evil will and intent upon man…that is unless God Almighty allows it
- Jb.1:12; 2:1-6; Zec.3:1,2; Ex.12:23b. At present, and for sovereign purposes of God, Satan is allowed a limited form of dark power over the earthly realm - Lk.4:6; Jb.41:34; Jer.27:5,6. It is written…"Power was given unto them (death and hell)…to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with beasts of the earth." Rev.6:8; 11:6; Jer.24:9,10. Where did this relegated power come from?
Oh Lord, "How TERRIBLE art THOU in THY WORKS!" as seen through the eyes of lowly man - Psa. 66:3,5; 106:22; Jb.4:7-9; 2Cor.5:11. "With GOD is TERRIBLE majesty." Psa.89:14; Deut.32:4; Eccl.12:14. It is the Most High God, not Satan, who actually rules the raging sea of humanity - Psa.89:9; Ex.4:11,21; Jer.51:7; Rev.17:17; Isa.46:9,10; Ro.13:1.
Evil Not Sin
As to the numerous aspects of God's divine control in the working of destruction through evil, here are some principles of this truth as shown in scripture. All sin is evil but evil in itself is not necessarily sin. See Lam.3:38; Jb.2:10; 1Kgs.16:19; Jer.42:6. Rather, sin results from the moral evil of man - Lev.5:4,5; Mic.2:1 Jas.1:13-15. God was, and is, the responsible originator of evil (Isa.45:7), but sin (missing the mark) itself, was actively brought into manifest existence by man - Romans chapters 5 & 7. The Bible declares punishment is evil yet it is not sin - Jer.11:11-23. "Touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out: He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: He will not afflict (forever - 1Kgs.11:39)." Jb.37:22,23; Psa.119:75; Eccl.3:1. Neh.9:6; Psa.94:10; Ro.11:32.
"I The Lord Do All These Things"
We find that the enforcing of all seemingly evil forms of smiting and sorrow, past and present, originate from within the progressive operation and will of God's Spirit - Zep.1:17. He saith, "I WILL OVERTURN, OVERTURN, OVERTURN!" Ezk.21:26. "What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and SHALL WE NOT RECEIVE EVIL (also at His hand)?" Jb.2:10; Jer.42:5,6. Dare we deny that "OUT OF THE MOUTH OF THE MOST HIGH PROCEEDETH NOT EVIL and good?" Lam.3:38; Jer.44:27; Ex.9:14-16. Did not the Lord Himself place the sorrow and curse of death and potential for evil in the realm of man's earthy life? Gen.2:9,17; 3:15-24. Was not vanity in His design? Eccl.1:13; 3:10; Ro.8:20. But it is also important to note at this point that the primary blame was placed on the deceiver and the deceived - Gen.3:14; 2Cor.11:3; 1Tim.2:14.
Originating from God Himself, is the directing "power to help and TO CAST DOWN." 2Chr.25:8; Eccl.3:1-11. The Lord gives life and he takes it away - Jb.1:21. He has sovereign power to withhold and restrain evil and sin (Gen.20:6; 2Chr.10:15; Jb.Chtr.2; 5:12; Psa.19:13; Hos.2:6) or to allow it - Ro.5:12; 8:20. All this which is revealed in this study may be hard truth to swallow, nevertheless, many, many scriptures declare and support these seemingly strange workings of God in both their positive and negative aspects. We are just touching on divine principles found in Isa.45:7. "I form the light, AND CREATE DARKNESS, I make peace AND CREATE EVIL: I THE LORD DO ALL THESE THINGS." Prv.16:4; Jb.26:12,12; Isa.54:16.
God is the declared enemy of the carnal mind (Ro.8:7) and the carnal mind is opposed to His holy Spirit - Gal.5:17. Therefore saith the Lord, "Behold I FRAME EVIL AGAINST YOU, AND DIVISE A DEVICE AGAINST YOU: return ye now everyone from His evil way." Jer.18:11. One of the differences between what the Lord does and what man does is found in the varying motives and reasons for doing them. The Lord is never vindictive, always has a noble purpose as well as a solution for His execution of evil.
The prophet proclaims, "Come, and let us return unto the Lord; for HE HATH TORN, and he will heal us; HE HATH SMITTEN (Deut.28:22), and He will bind us up." Hos.6:1; Psa.71:20. "Though HE CAUSE GRIEF, yet will He give compassion…for He doth not afflict willingly [but of His divine plans necessity] nor [does He in a positive purposelessness, willingly] grieve the children of men." Lam.3:32,33. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of [ultimate] peace, and not of evil to give you an expected end." Jer.29:11; 31:28. "THOU TURNEST MAN TO DESTRUCTION (Prv.31:8) and sayest return, ye children of men." Psa.90:3; Habk.1:12; Jb.31:23. "THE LORD KILLETH and maketh alive; HE BRINGETH DOWN TO THE GRAVE and bringeth up." 1Sam.2:6,7; 2Sam.14:14. "THE LORD SHALL SMITE EGYPT, HE SHALL SMITE and heal it." Isa.19:22; Ex.32:15. The Creator is ultimately responsible. These promises are not ultimately contingent upon man but on the Lord!
The Lord's Deed's Among The People
Although carnal man would teach otherwise, it is clearly and emphatically stated that THE LORD BROUGHT SICKNESS, PLAGUES AND DESEASES UPON HIS OWN CHOSEN. See Exodus 4:24 especially the Amplified version. You don't believe this? Then you choose not to believe His word but prefer the more comfortable doctrines of man. Study for your selves such scriptures as Deut.28:59-68; 29:22; Ex.32:35; 15:26; Lev.26:16; Josh.22:17; 1Chr.21:14; 2Chr.21:14,18; 2Sam.12:15; Psa.105:26-45; Mic. 6:13. "YE SHALL KNOW THAT I AM THE LORD THAT SMITETH." Ezk.7:9; 1Sam.4:3; 5:6, 11. "THE LORD SMOTE Nabel, that he died." 1Sam.25:38. See also Num.14:12; 2Sam.6:7; 2Chr.13:20; 26:20; 2kgs.6:18; 15:5; Ac.5:1-11. And this is by no means all of the scriptures you can study.
This is all part of the higher ways of the Lord our sinless God who has Satan's relegated power in perfect divine control. "See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no God [equal in power and authority - Isa.45:5-7] with me: I KILL; and I make alive; I WOUND and I heal." Deut.32.39; Zep. Chptr. 3; Jb.12:13,14,23; Num.12:9-15; 11:33; Jer.49:35-39; Isa.30:20-26. These are "HIS DEEDS among the people" Psa.105:1.
How does our loving God who Himself can do no sinful evil, perform these works? First by creating (Jb.26:13; Isa.54:16b), then by sovereignly controlling, the instigator and often punisher of our sins! After all, "THE DECEIVED AND THE DECIEVER ARE HIS" (Jb.12:16) to do as He will! 2Tim.2:25,26. So went forth Satan from the presence of the Lord and SMOTE Job with sore boils…" Jb.2:7.
In comparing 2Sam.24:1 with 1Chr.21:1, you will see that it is God's actions which are carried out, through Satan provoking David. See also 1Sam.2:30-33 and 1Sam.22:18-20. Ex.12:23 states the same principle. "THE LORD WILL…SMITE the Egyptians" by allowing "the destroyer to come." It is said that THE LORD SMOTE all the firstborn - Ex.12:12,29; Psa.136:10. Lest you think this was only in the Old Testament, Paul's word was, "GOD SHALL SMITE THEE." Ac.23:3; Deut.28:22,25,27,35.
We continue with other aspects of this same basic truth. The Lord spoke through His prophet Jeremiah, "I HAVE WOUNDED THEE WITH THE WOUND OF AN ENEMY, WITH THE CHASTISEMENT OF A CRUEL ONE." Jer.30:14. David declares, "THOU BROUGHTEST US UNTO THE NET; THOU LAIDST AFFLICTION upon our loins." Psa.66:11. Job states of the same truth. "FOR HE MAKETH SORE, and bindeth up: HE WOUNDETH, and His hands make whole." Jb.5:18. "THOUGH HE SLAY ME, yet will I trust Him" (Jb.13:15) was Job's attitude and should be ours also.
Job referred to his sore afflictions as "the ARROWS OF THE ALMIGHTY" and "the TERRORS OF GOD." Jb.6:4. This righteous man's afflictions were clearly initiated by God and not by Satan - Jb.1:12; 42:11. And the Lord said unto Satan, "Behold he is in thine hand." Jb.2:6; 1:8. But, God controlled Satan's hand in power - Jb.2:10. In the same vain the psalmist reveals, "HE HATH ALSO PREPARED for him [man] the instruments OF death, HE ORDAINED HIS ARROWS against the persecutors." Psa.7:13
Job also states that "GOD HATH DELIVERED ME TO THE UNGODLY, AND TURNED ME OVER INTO THE HANDS OF THE WICKED..HE HATH BROKEN ME ASUNDEER: HE HATH also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for HIS MARK. HIS archers compass me round about…HE POURETH OUT MY GALL upon the ground." Jb.16:11-13; Lam.3:12-13. "DESTRUCTION FROM GOD was a terror unto me." Jb.31:23. IN all this, Job correctly recognizes…"THE HAND OF THE LORD HATH WROUGHT THIS." Jb.12:9. These are the further unseen and hard to understand workings of our Almighty God who continually works His principles and purposes, "that they may do whatsoever HE COMMANDETH upon the face of the world in the earth." Jb.37:12; Psa.105:14; Ezk.30:8-19.
"The Lord Hath Not Done It?"
Again He saith, "Behold, that which I have built I will break down…behold, I WILL BRING EVIL UPON ALL FLESH." Jer.45:4,5. Concerning Israel of old and now spiritual Israel of today, "they rebelled and vexed His holy Spirit: therefore He was TURNED TO BE THEIR ENEMY, AND HE FOUGHT AGAINST THEM." Isa.63:10. The Lord says, "Ye have seen ALL THE EVIL THAT I HAVE BROUGHT upon Jerusalem." Jer.44:2; Ezk.14:21-23. "Shall there be no EVIL in a city AND THE LORTH HATH NOT DONE IT?" Am.3:6; Isa.10:12,13. "For the inhabitants of Maroth waited carefully for good: but EVIL CAME DOWN FROM THE LORD unto the gate of Jerusalem." Mic.1:12; Jer.19:3,15.
Today as always, there are many that believe in their hearts, "the Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil" (Zep.1:12; Jer.5:12), but it is very evident that he does all these things - Lev.26:16; Jer.21:10. "Consider the work of God…which HE HATH MADE CROOKED" (Eccl.7:13) and you should begin to understand how that truly "ALL THINGS ARE OF GOD." 2Cor.5:18; Jb.12:16; 26:13; Eccl.3:10,11; Deut.30:15; Ro.11:36.
The Deployment Of Evil
At least one of the ways the power of evil is dispensed, is through the Almighty's authority in sending forth evil angels to work their opposing powers - Jer.8:17. "He cast upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath and indignation, and trouble, by SENDING EVIL ANGELS AMONG THEM." Psa.78:49. "THE LORD HATH MINGLED A PERVERSE SPIRIT IN THE MIDST THEREOF, CAUSING EGYPT (a type of the world) TO ERR." Isa.19:14. It was the Lord, not the devil that sent the plagues upon Egypt of old - Ex.7:17; 9:14,18; 11:1 etc. But these negative forms of power are used to execute positive righteous judgment (Psa.46:8-10; Jer.5:3,4), the ultimate purpose being for the good of His entire creation,"for the Lord is righteous IN ALL HIS WAYS and holy IN ALL HIS WORKS." Psa.145:17; Isa.11:4.
God in no way loses righteousness or holiness in employing evil to work. "Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil AND BROUGHT IT UPON US: for the Lord…is righteous in all His works which He doeth: for we obeyed not His voice." Dan.9:14. He saith even of His own presently chosen ones, 'I ALSO WILL CHOOSE THEIR DELUSIONS, and WILL BRING THERE FEARS UPON THEM." Isa.66:4; 30:28; 2Ths.2:11. "Hear O earth; Behold, I WILL BRING EVIL upon this people, even THE FRUIT OF THEIR THOUGHTS, because they have not harkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it." Jer.6:19; 11:11; 30:11-17; Ezk.5:14-17; Jb.21:17.
"From The Lord"
We can rest assured that the most High God is in absolute leadership and control of all interplay between good and evil. Therefore whom should we as Christians fear? Psa.112:7,8; 91:5. Let us learn wisdom from the Lord's recorded principles. It came to pass on the morrow, that the EVIL SPIRIT FROM GOD came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house." 1Sam.18:10. An evil spirit from God? Surely that cannot be? Again it is revealed, "and THE EVIL SPIRIT FROM THE LORD was upon Saul…and Saul sought to smite David." 1Sam.19:9. It is also written, "AN EVIL SPIRIT FROM THE LORD troubled him" (1Sam.16:4) and "THE EVIL SPIRIT FROM GOD is upon thee." 1Sam.16:16-23.
Also we find where "GOD SENT AN EVIL SPIRIT between Abimelech and the men of Shechem and [as a result] the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech. - Judg.9:23. Also, who else was it but God who gave Paul "a messenger of Satan?" 2Cor.12:7. He worked this for good!
A good example of how the Lord does this, is found in 2Chr.18:18-22. God was seen with all the host of heaven standing on His right hand and His left.."and the Lord said, who shall entice Ahab?…Then there came out [from the midst of the hosts] a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him. And the Lord said unto him, wherewith? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, THOU SHALT ENTICE HIM, AND THOU SHALL ALSO PREVAIL: GO OUT AND DO EVEN SO. Now therefore, behold, THE LORD HATH PUT A LYING SPIRIT IN THE MOUTH OF THESE THY PROPHETS, and the LORD HATH SPOKEN EVIL against THEE." This is recorded as a witness also in 1Kgs.22:19-23.
A similar example is found in Ezk.14:9… "and if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I THE LORD HAVE DECEIVED THAT PROPHET..AND WILL DESTROY HIM." So we see, although yet through a glass darkly, how God is said to "PREPARE DESTROYERS AGAINST THEE" (Jer.22:7; 2Chr.25:16) and how it is that it can be truthfully said of God that "FROM ME SHALL SPOILERS COME." Jer.51:53; Judg.2:14. It is also said,"THE LORD SENT LIONS" among His people "Which slew some of them" because they feared Him not - 2Kgs.17:25. God in His higher ways prepares and dispatches evil angels and commands the "serpent" to bite - Am.9:3; Deut.32:24; Jer.15:3,8; Nu.21:6.
Surprising as it may seem, the Lord also uses holy angels to execute portions of His wrath, evil and judgment. See Gen.19:1-28; Judg.5:23; 2Kgs.19:35; 1Chr.21:12,15; Isa.37:36; Rev.15:6-8; 16:1. Speaking of Herod, the scripture says. "And immediately THE ANGEL OF THE LORD SOME HIM, because he gave not God the glory." Ac.12:23. In Judg.14:19 there is no mention of an angel. It simply states, "THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD came upon Samson…and he slew thirty men of them and took their spoil." See also Judg.14:14; 1Sam.5:6.
The Law Maker And His Laws
In these scriptures, is God breaking His own commandments of "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not steal?" No! The word kill implies "to murder". Is war murder? Is the Old Testament law of "an eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth" wrong if God institutes it? Apart from this, the basic answer lies in the fact that the commandments were made and given to subdue the evil desires of men. Ordinances, statutes, civic, and state laws came out of these to be administered in religious, moral, and governmental affairs.
God Himself remains head of state, the level where power was granted to administer evil for evil. The law had not greater power than the Lawmaker nor was it greater than the power of sin. The original commandments were merely an expression of God's will, and when they where broken, God had to bring into action His higher laws such as "the law of sin and death" and eventually "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." Ro.8:12.
God is the author of all spiritual law and power - Ro. chptr. 13. But He is not a man that He should be bound by them and therefore sees fit to use them in whatsoever manner he purposes - Zec.1:6. It is in this fact that answers to many scriptural paradoxes may be found. "Who hath known the mind of the Lord?" Ro.11:34; 1Cor.2:16.
Fulfilling His Purposes
The major point to observe in all this, is that God Himself is the primary source in allowing all form of evil to happen in this finite world. To take the life of any man, especially a loved one, is certainly in man's eyes a horrible evil. Yet God forsook His own Son (Mk.15:24) who was without blame, leaving Him to die. If one can see this truth, it is not hard to comprehend that God Himself was the creator and originator of all existing evil powers in death, and He instigates and uses it in judgment and affliction however He pleases (Dan.4:35), in influencing, in bringing forth, carrying out, and fulfilling His own higher intermediate purposes - Jb.37:13; 42:9-
A major ongoing purpose is to turn man back to Himself in repentance - Jer.31:18,19; Jonah 2:8-10; Habk.1:12. "If that nation [or individual] against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of THE EVIL I THOUGHT TO DO UNTO THEM." Jer.8:18; If need be, by His hook and His bridle, he shall bring it to pass - 2Kgs.19:28. God uses evil for His great hidden purposes - Gen.50:50; Jer.2:19; Ac.2:23; 4:28; 1Cor.10:9-11; Ezk.20:21-26. Heb.12:11.
When God allows and carries out evil dispatch, the ultimate results from His progressive works are invariably for the good of His creation whether we can see it or not - Psa.76:10. We can take comfort in knowing that always 'THE CAUSE IS FROM THE LORD (1Kgs.12:15; Ezk.36:33; Deut.28:25) that He might fulfill His divine purpose as outlined in His holy word - 2Chr.10:14; 11:4; Lam.3:32; Ezk.14:22,23; Isa.27:6,7. "Ye shall know that I HAVE NOT DONE WITHOUT CAUSE all that I have done in it, saith the Lord God." Ezk.14:23. "Whatsoever the Lord pleased, THAT DID HE in heaven and in earth, in the seas and all deep places." Psa.135:6; Matt.20:15; Eph.1:11 etc. "There is NO POWER BUT OF GOD." Ro.13:1. "There is no wisdom nor understanding NOR COUNSEL AGAINST THE LORD." Prv.21:30. "Have not I CHOSEN …a devil?" Jn.6:70. And so He did and so He has! And He is well within His rights to do with His own as He wills!
Some Ways And Judgments Yet Unsearchable
Though His detailed ways are beyond our understanding, let us "praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, ALL WHOSE WORKS ARE TRUTH, and HIS WAYS JUDGMENT: and those that walk in pride HE IS ABLE TO ABASE" (Dan.4:34) and "He is ABLE even TO SUBDUE ALL THINGS UNTO HIMSELF." Phil.3:21. Because of the irresistible grace of His love toward men, actually "we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth." 2Cor.13:8. "How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" Ro.11:33; Jer.23:17,18. "It is the Lord: LET HIM DO WHAT SEEMETH HIM GOOD." 1Sam.3:18; Ro.9:14-23; 2Sam.6:10-12.
"Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling His word." Psa.148:7,8.
"Therefore hath the Lord watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us:for the Lord our God is righteous in all His works which He doeth: for we obeyed not His voice." Dan.9:14.
"WHO WILL HEARKEN AND HEAR FOR THE TIME TO COME?" Isa.42:23,24.
"The Lord reigneth…He shall judge the people righteously….He cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth." Psa.96:10-13.
"Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, ALL THE EARTH..be joyful together before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousnessshall He judge the world, and the people with equity." Psa.98:4,8,9. By:
K. Ross Mckay