Greatest battle in history

Tomorrow we again celebrate the single most important event in the history of the world – the battle waged around the Son of God, Son of Man.  The usurper, Satan, intended to kill the Son of God, Son of Man.  Satan thought he had bagged it when Jesus was crucified.  Why was it so important to him to get rid of God’s Son?  

Scripture testifies to how it happened that Satan became ruler of this world,    

1. Earth was given by God to man,

‘The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth He has given to man.’   Psalm 115:16   

2.  God wants man to look after the earth,

‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.’  Genesis 2:15 

3.  God gave man authority to rule over creation.  Satan rebelled against God.      He coveted Adam’s rulership and by deceit he got it,  

‘We know that we are children of God and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.’  1 John 5:19

God foreknew it would happen.  Already, at the time that Satan took over the rulership from Adam, God promised that there will be a Seed of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15).  Satan was wary all the time to make sure that Seed did not destroy his reign of destruction, hatred, bloodshed, violence, et cetera.  He recognized that Jesus was the promised Seed of the woman.  It became Satan’s obsession to kill Him.   

The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John testify about the Son of God who became Son of Man.  Jesus taught and preached and revealed the Kingdom.  Satan had to get rid of Him.  His time came.  After Jesus endured excruciating pain he was crucified.  Jesus was declared dead and buried.  The grave was sealed.  Guards were placed outside to make sure nothing happened to the body.  

Jesus was resurrected and emerged as the eternal Victor.  Satan’s efforts to get rid of Jesus failed and Satan’s loss is permanent.  That is what we once again celebrate this Easter – our Savior’s eternal victory because of His immeasurable love. 

What about violence in the New Testament?

Some people think that the Old Testament God is very aggressive and violent, while the New Testament God and Jesus are peaceful, loving and kind.  

#  Superficially it looks like it.  

  • The fourth chapter of Genesis began with a murder and from there it deteriorated to such an extent that, ‘The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.’ 1 
  • Contrary to that, in the New Testament we meet a host of angels that sing, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rests.’ 2  That was when the Messiah, Jesus our Lord was born in Bethlehem.  However, initial observations can be misleading. 

#  Incidents of violence in the New Testament 

  • Herod killed the boys under two in Bethlehem and vicinity. 3
  • Pilate mixed the blood of the Galileans with their sacrifices. 4  It refers to Passover pilgrims who were butchered by Roman troops in the temple while they sacrificed. 
  • Saul of Tarsus (later called Paul, the apostle) persecuted and killed Christians. 5

#  Death by crucifixion in the New Testament 

The treatment Jesus received before He was crucified typifies the violent times.  

  • He was cruelly subjected to flogging. 6  A crown of thorns was put on His head and struck into His skull with a staff. 7   They pulled out His beard and spit in His face, 8  mocked Him, 9 blindfolded and hit Him. 10  
  • Isaiah 53:14 explains, ‘Just as there were many who were appalled at Him [Jesus on the Cross] – His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness….’   

#  The slave revolt under Spartacus 11

  • It is an incident that is not recorded in the Bible.  By the time Jesus was born, the Roman Empire ran almost on slave labor.  The Romans did not always treat their slaves with the respect a human being deserves.  Because of all the wars, the captives were used to construct buildings and other projects.  Most families had many slaves to serve them.  
  • Spartacus was a gladiator and escaped with others.  They had quite a few victories against the Roman armies, but were eventually defeated.  Although the whereabouts of Spartacus remains shrouded in mystery – whether he died in battle or not – 6,000 of the captured slaves were crucified.  
  • That explains why Jesus did not organise a revolt against the Roman Empire to free the slaves.  Thousand would have been killed.  Jesus came to save, not to destroy. 

#  The book of Revelation describes violence never seen before in human history.  

  • Jesus warned about the signs at the end of the age.  There will be wars, famines, earthquakes, blazing stars that fall on earth and destroy man and beast.  The book of Revelation graphically describes that destruction.  One can even call it, ‘The Book of Blood.’  
  • Although the calamities will be on an unprecedented scale, God will still desire to see men saved.  His mercy and grace to sinners is available to the very end: ‘Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth – to every nation, tribe, language and people.’ 12

Conclusion

Will peace ever come?  Yes, when this age ends the eternal age will finally come.  Then the reign of the devil will end.  He will go in to his eternal jail.  All unbelievers and people who hated God will be removed and peace will ensue.  For the first time in human history there will be peace – for eternity.  God will have achieved His goal.

References

  1. Genesis 6:5  
  2. Luke 2:14  
  3. Matthew 2:16-18  
  4. Luke 13:1  
  5. Acts 22:4-5  
  6. Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15  
  7. Mark 15:17-19  
  8. Isaiah 50:6  
  9. Psalm 22:1-21  
  10. Mathew 26:67
  11. Spartacus, Wikipedia  
  12. Revelation 14:6

Scripture shows that God is faithful

This is what we celebrate at Easter – God’s faithfulness to do what He promised. Jesus crushed the head of the devil. He was victorious over sin, death and the plans of the devil. It paved the way for us to become part of the Bride of Christ, the glorious Son of God, who gives us the wonderful Holy Spirit. We may rejoice in our King! He deserves all the honour, glory, praise and worship.

Easter is a time of celebration for the followers of Jesus.  What do we celebrate?  The fact that God is faithful and does what He says He will.  After Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and disobeyed God, He said, ‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.’ 1  ‘That ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan,’ 2  God’s and man’s enemy, understood that the one who will crush his head will be born of a woman.  So he set off on his efforts to make sure it will not happen.

#  Demonic intermarriages

In Genesis 6:1-9 he tried to taint the pure blood of Adam’s descendants with his demonic intermarriages.  But…Noah was a man, blameless and righteous.  The ark preserved him and his family and all the demonic offspring died in the flood.  Satan failed.

#  Drown the Israelite boys in the river Nile.

He tried to kill all the Israelite boys in Egypt.  Again, he failed, because God used Moses to lead the nation out of Egyptian slavery through the 10 plagues. 3

#  The bloodline of King David

When Athaliah, mother of king Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to kill the royal family.  One prince was saved by Jehosheba and eventually Joash was proclaimed king.  He had offspring that carried on the line of king David through whom the Messiah was to be born. 4  Satan failed.

#  The Jews saved by queen Esther

During the times of the Persians, Haman had a plan to destroy all the Jews.  His plan failed. Satan failed.  God’s prophecy of Genesis 3:15 still stood.

#  Herod kills all the boys under 2 years in Bethlehem.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Satan used Herod to try to kill Him.   An angel warned Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt. 6  Satan failed.

#  Jesus’ temptations

The devil tried to kill Jesus when he suggested that He jump off the highest point of the temple.  Jesus rebuffed him. 7  Satan failed again although he still hoped to thwart God’s prophecy in Genesis 3:15 – ‘When the devil had finished all his tempting, he left Him until an opportune time.’ 8

#  The Crucifixion

That opportune time came when the Jews decided to crucify Jesus.  Did the devil love that?  He enjoyed it when Jesus went through all the various tortures.  Did he feel very smug when Jesus was finally declared dead, buried and the tomb sealed?  Sure he did.  Victory at last!

#  The Resurrection

However Satan forgot that when God promises, He surely delivers.  The promise was that the Son, born of a woman, will crush his head.  Then, on the third day, when Jesus rose from the dead, he must have had a fainting fit and banged his head against the wall in frustration (metaphorically).  He failed and Jesus won.

Conclusion

This is what we celebrate at Easter – God’s faithfulness to do what He promised.  Jesus crushed the head of the devil.  He was victorious over sin, death and the plans of the devil.  It paved the way for us to become part of the Bride of Christ, the glorious Son of God, who gives us the wonderful Holy Spirit.  We may rejoice in our King!  He deserves all the honour, glory, praise and worship.

References

  1. Genesis 3:15
  2. Revelation 12:9
  3. Exodus 1-11
  4. 2 Chronicles 22-23
  5. Esther 3-9
  6. Matthew 2:1-12
  7. Matthew 4:5-6
  8. Luke 4:13
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