There is an unseen world about which modern man knows very little.
IS THERE a world of spirits or spirit beings? Is there a devil? How do we account for so many areas of extrasensory experience that physical scientists are at a loss to explain? Not so long ago a major British newspaper reported: "Increasing numbers of people who believe themselves to be possessed by an evil spirit are being given exorcism by Church of England clergy." This — in the 20th century? And in the United States a popular newspaper headlined an article: "Transcendental Meditation Is Dangerous." The writer, a former TM teacher, warned: "Once the movement gets a hold on you, life is a constant struggle for sanity," said Richard Scott of Manchester, Conn. "I've seen meditators who were thrown across the room by invisible forces." Invisible forces? In this mixed-up society, many people are bored and frustrated. They become "seekers." They involve themselves with astrology and psychic activities of various kinds. They want to "experience" a spirit world out there. But they forget — or may never have realized — that many who give themselves over to powers they do not understand have not come out the same again! It is time we come to understand the truth about this much misunderstood unseen world — the world of spirit forces behind the increasing manifestations of physically unexplainable events, certain forms of mental illness, the horrifying and unnatural acts of violence masquerading as insanity — and even religious miracles that masquerade as acts of God. The "now" generation is so engulfed in materialism that it is unaware of unseen evil forces that have seduced today's hedonistic society.
The ONE Source of Knowledge
Physical scientists cannot explain what has gone wrong in human civilization. Psychologists and psychiatrists are puzzled. Religions have speculated about the causes of evils. Isn't it time we looked at the ONLY reliable source of knowledge about spirit and spiritual matters — the revelation of the Creator GOD to mankind. Of course you can reject this revelation — which we know as the Holy Bible — but then you have no answer to the very questions that have puzzled thoughtful scientists. God reveals in his written revelations of essential spiritual knowledge that he is spirit (John 4:24). He is the Supreme Creator Spirit Being. He is called the "Father of spirits" (Heb. 12:9). He is spoken of in this way in the Holy Bible. The Bible claims to be the revealed Word of God — a revelation of essential knowledge not otherwise accessible to men. Jesus of Nazareth said that man should live by its every word (Matt. 4:4). Jesus also said that the Bible cannot be broken — cannot be disproved either by internal or external evidence (John 10:35). It is inspired directly by the Creator (II Tim. 3:16). It is God's "handbook" wherein he reveals understanding to man that could not be obtained any other way. The Holy Bible, then, is the final authority on questions of origins, purposes, and whether there is a devil and demons.
The Source Speaks
The earliest part of the Bible was originally written in Hebrew. It reveals the origin of the devil. He did not begin as the devil, but as a super-powerful spirit being — an angel of light. But he let vanity enter his mind and rebelled against his Maker (see Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:11-17). He became Satan. In Hebrew the word Satan means "Obstructer" or "Opposer." This should give us a clue as to Satan's attitude, which he has infused into human civilization. In the Greek New Testament, Satan is defined as the "tempter," the "evil one," the "accuser," the "prince of the power of the air," the "father of lies," the "ruler of this world." So there is an unseen world of spirits — good and evil. There is not only a Creator God, but there are lesser spirit beings, two thirds of whom administer God's government in obedience, and another third who are in a state of rebellion. Let's notice the very first encounter of a human being with the world of spirit. God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion..." (Gen. 1:26). God had created man to be like him — to develop character and ultimately share eternity with God in the very Family of God. Shortly after this relationship was established, Satan appeared to our first parents as a cunning serpent. Notice his approach: "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Gen. 3:1). Immediately, Satan began putting questions and doubts in the first woman's mind: "Has God really withheld something from you? Perhaps God is not fair." Then after hearing the woman tell of the death penalty for sin, Satan told the woman: "Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (vs. 4-6). So now, Satan was in effect calling God a liar — accusing God of withholding the forbidden fruit in order to keep man down and prevent him from becoming "as gods." Satan is the accuser. He is also the "father of lies." So he will often accuse God or God's true servants — whom Satan hates — of being guilty of the very things that he, Satan, is guilty of. In his deceptive approach to the first human beings, Satan lied. He accused God. And he also appealed to physical lusts — the tree looked appealing. Satan appealed to intellectual and spiritual vanity: "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." The devil very often tries to impart the feeling that you are justified in trying to "get" what you want right now. You don't need to wait until you can properly prepare, for example, for marriage, work and save enough money for the new motorbike or car. Just "get it" any way you can — according to Satan's reasoning. "Get" sex without real love, commitment, preparation and marriage. "Get" material things by stealing them, buying them on time payments you can't really afford, borrowing money to buy them. But "get" them and get them now. "You owe it to yourself," Satan says. "You deserve this vacation." Ever hear that kind of advertising before? Who do you think really started this philosophy? But most of all, Satan wants to oppose God's plan for mankind. The devil thinks he can defeat God's plan for man if he can deceive man into believing that he is the true God and that the devil and demons don't exist.
The Devil and Job
In the first two chapters of the book of Job we have a remarkable account of Satan's activities and method of operation. Notice! When God pointed out to Satan that the patriarch Job was a good and upright man, what did Satan do? Satan wanted to tear down and destroy Job and all that he had. Satan resented Job's character and therefore his promised destiny to rule under God over the earth and to "judge" the angels and Satan's demons (I Cor. 6:3). So he immediately started to accuse God's servant Job. Satan implied that Job had wrong motives. Satan challenged God: "But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face" (Job 1:11). God responded: "Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand." Then follows the account of how Satan smote and destroyed virtually all that Job had. No wonder one of Satan's names is "the destroyer"! Later, Satan gained permission and began to destroy Job's health — bringing him to despair and to the brink of death. Yet, notice that Satan can only go as far as God allows him. He can do nothing without God's permission (Job 1:12 and 2:6). But how did Satan become what he is — satanic?
Long Before Star Wars
The popular, award-winning movie, Star Wars, obviously had its genesis in biblical themes. Does Lord Darth Vader live? Yes, in a sense, he does live. He lives in the person of a brilliant, powerful, super-archangel, commonly called Lucifer, who rebelled against his Creator and led off one third of the hundreds of millions of angels in a literal Star Wars type of battle in space (see Isaiah 14:12-15 and Revelation 12:3-4). This gargantuan battle — and there is another one coming up just before the end of this age — simply dwarfed the Star Wars scenario. Because these battles in an unseen world were and are real — they affect your life, your ultimate destiny and the future of whole nations (see Daniel 12:1 for an example). In Daniel 10:10-14, God gives us a brief glimpse into behind-the-scenes spirit BATTLES that determine the well-being and destiny of entire nations and peoples. Here, an angel or messenger from God to Daniel was obstructed by the power of Satan for three weeks until the archangel Michael came to his aid! In Revelation 12:12-14, it is revealed that after Satan's second final massive assault against God's throne, the devil himself will be cast to earth with his total fury concentrated against the true Church of God — the Church that keeps God's commandments and has the testimony of Jesus Christ (verse 17). In the months and years immediately ahead, God's true commandment-keeping Church is going to be accused, harassed and assaulted by Satan in every possible way. And God's birthright people, the American and British peoples are going to be hated, harassed and eventually brought to their knees through a Satan-inspired, final religiopolitical restoration of the Roman Empire. Unless our nations totally repent and begin to keep God's commandments, God will permit this coming time of national trial to teach us lessons that we seemingly cannot or will not learn any other way. Even in the darkest hours of the years just ahead, remember that Satan cannot go one inch farther than the great GOD allows. Never forget that!
"God of this World"
Satan is called the "god of this world" in II Corinthians 4:4. He is the invisible spirit ruler who influences and sways this world's society, educational and religious systems and governments. Since many scoff at his very existence, it is easy for him to get under their guard, deceive them, arouse irrational and even unnatural lusts, hates and jealousies in men and nations he wants to use in destroying others. Satan is called "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2). Satan is in charge of this earth and its atmosphere, and broadcasts wrong attitudes and moods. In this way, he influences people and nations, stirs them up and BLINDS them to the true Creator GOD and his purpose. Jesus Christ acknowledged that Satan has a kingdom (Matt. 12:26). But it is a misguided and confused kingdom, for Satan's system is called "Babylon the Great," which literally means "great confusion" (Rev. 17:5). When accused by the hypocritical Pharisees of being illegitimate, Jesus sharply responded: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). Here the Son of God revealed to us Satan's real character. He is essentially a murderer and a liar. He hates and wants to destroy any who pose a threat to him and his demons. So he will plot and scheme to hurt, to discredit and to overthrow the true servants of God in this age — as he has in every age. Satan hates the preaching of the true Gospel — the "good news" of the soon-coming kingdom or government of God. For this message spells out Satan's doom — the END of his invisible control over this world's society. As in the case of Job, Daniel and Jesus himself, Satan will try to vilify, accuse, discredit, hurt and destroy any who preach this true Gospel to the world! And the devil is like a "roaring lion" (I Pet. 5:8) trying to upset and overthrow all true Christians. There really is a spiritual WAR raging with Satan and his demons trying to overthrow all who truly seek to know, to serve and obey the Creator God. In this spiritual war, we need to understand the steps we must take in our own self-defense!
God is Our FORTRESS
Paul writes in Ephesians 6:10-20, telling us to put on the "whole armor" of God to withstand the "wiles" of a cunning devil. "For," he says, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against... [WICKED SPIRITS, margin] in high places" (verse 12, KJV). There is a spirit world around us! We need to understand that and be sure we search out and obey the truth, build the faith, wield properly the sword of the Spirit — the Holy Bible — and in every way protect ourselves with the spiritual armor Paul describes in this passage. Plain Truth readers are privileged to have access to information that enables them to understand the Bible's message and the meaning of the time in which we are living. Then you cannot be deceived by satanic miracles: "For there shall arise FALSE CHRISTS, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt. 24:24). The apostle James tells us: "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jas. 4:6-7). Learn to do what God says! Learn to follow Jesus' example, to keep God's commandments as he instructed — see Matthew 19:17 — and write immediately for our free booklet The Ten Commandments. Resist Satan and any and all wrong impulses of vanity, lust, hate, malice, resentment. In any temptation, as you resist, ask the great God for the extra spiritual strength, faith, love and understanding that you need. As the Elijah oratorio so beautifully paraphrases the Bible: "If with all your heart you truly seek Him, you shall surely find Him." Certainly God is our fortress, our Savior, our strength, our Deliverer. But you must seek him and OBEY what he commands in his Word. The words of this article will take on even more meaning over the next few years as you watch the continuing decline of the American and British Commonwealth peoples, and as you witness the rising persecution of the commandment-keeping Church of God. You have been warned! Now, you are aware of what you should do through faith to overcome Satan. You have your part to do!