The War against Marriage, Part 1 of 4

We live in a two kingdom world.  

  • Some people belong to the Kingdom of God, but the majority do not.  The Bible often talks about the ‘world.’  By that it means people who do not submit to God’s authority.  They are quite content to be part of Satan’s kingdom, although they often don’t realise it. 
  • The two kingdoms have different ‘constitutions.’   The people of God’s Kingdom have the Bible as their Law book.  The people of Satan’s kingdom, have no laws to guide them.  They do as they please. They do not regard the Bible as the authoritative Word of God. 
  • Because Satan is hostile towards God and His people, the world in general is hostile towards the followers of Jesus.   That hostility has been evident since the time Cain killed his brother.  1 John 3:12 says Cain belonged to the evil one [Satan].   
  • The world does not understand Christians.  ’They think it strange that [followers of Jesus] do not plunge with them in the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on [them].’ 1   
  • The ‘war’ against God and His people is increasing in intensity.  Revelation 12:12c explains, ‘He [the devil] is filled with fury, because he knows his time is short.’   The short time relates to the final judgment when he and his followers will be thrown into the lake of burning sulphur.  

Adam and Eve, the first married couple   

  • God ordained marriage between a man and a woman shortly after creation.  He created Adam and gave him the right to rule over creation.  Then God created a female out of Adam.  God brought her to him and Adam said, ’This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.’ 2 
  • As Scripture describes it, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.’ 3 
  • God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number;  fill the earth.…’ 4  Though there are couples who cannot reproduce, and God does not blame them, in general man and woman is able to reproduce and fill the earth.  
  • God needs people of many generations to fill heaven.  So obviously, while the world cries, ‘stop the bus, reproduce less,’ it does not worry God.  

Adam and Eve’s honeymoon in the Garden of Eden

  • God planted a garden east of Eden and there He put the couple.  Adam was to work the Garden and take care of it. 5 
  • God put two trees in the middle of the Garden: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.   
  • Adam was commanded not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  He had enough other fruit and probably nuts, to eat.  It was their test of obedience. 

God’s plan for man right from the beginning was an eternal nation of people.  We know that one of the biggest problems in most countries is disobedience.  If all citizens would obey the laws of a country, it would be almost heaven on earth.  Yet most countries need law enforcement departments, prisons, et cetera.  God does not envisage prisons or police officers in His eternal Kingdom.  Therefore He had the test for obedience.  

Note that it was a fairly easy test: don’t eat from one tree, but eat from all the others.  However, the test or command had a ‘clause.’  If you eat of it, ‘you will surely die.’ 6  God did not elaborate on what kind of death because He did not want to instil fear in them to obey.  God always wants free, voluntary obedience out of pure love for the Lord. 

An abrupt end to the honeymoon

All of a sudden, a serpent addressed Eve (not Adam).  That should have alerted Eve.  Yet before we judge her, remember that she was not present when Adam named the animals.  He knew animals cannot talk.  Yet it is strange that he was with her but did not warn his wife when the serpent spoke.  From what we understand, he watched the whole encounter that cut their honeymoon short.  

The crafty serpent asked Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’” (Who was the serpent?  Scripture reveals that he is the ‘Dragon, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan.’ 8  Satan was an angel who rebelled against God and deceived many angels to follow him.  They oppose God in all possible ways.)  

Eve’s response was, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'” 9   Satan replied: 

  • ‘You will not surely die.’  That was the direct opposite of God’s command.
  • ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ 10

Why did the serpent focus on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?  God, as Creator, has the right to decide what is good for man.  After all, He created man.  If they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would become like God and decide for themselves what is good or evil.  

Eve fell into the trap.

‘When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.’ 11

The bubble burst.  Their harmony and peace evaporated.  When Adam ate from the fruit,  Satan took over Adam’s authority to rule over creation.  The rebellious angel had status.  He was now the ruler, the prince of the world.  He wasted no time.  He got Adam and Eve’s firstborn, Cain, as his first human citizen.  Cain murdered his brother because he belonged to the evil one. 12  

The ruined honeymoon opened the way to the two kingdom world we live in.  If we understand it, we are well on our way to grasp what happens in the world.  The kingdom of darkness never stops its war against the Kingdom of Light.  

Conclusion

Genesis 3 explains how the world was divided into two groups that oppose each other.  It is God Almighty with His people and Satan, a created angel, with his people.  That was the beginning of our two kingdom world: the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness. 

To be continued…

References

  1. 1 Peter 4:3-4  
  2. Genesis 2:23  
  3. Genesis 2:24  
  4. Genesis 1:28  
  5. Genesis 2:15  
  6. Genesis 2:17  
  7. Genesis 3:1  
  8. Revelation 12:9; 20:2  
  9. Genesis 3:2-3  
  10. Genesis 3:4-5  
  11. Genesis 3:6  
  12. 1 John 3:12

Why all the violence in the Old Testament?

People often complain that the Old Testament is a book of violence and terror.  They give the wars king David fought, the Israelites’ battles with the Philistines and many other incidents, as examples.  They cannot understand why the Old Testament is so violent, while God is supposed to be a a God of love, peace and happiness.  So let’s consider some aspects of the Old Testament’s violence. 

#  Has the world ever known peace?  

There was a short period of peace for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in God’s presence.  Yet that peace was shattered when the evil one arrived.  By deceit he became the ruler of the world (Genesis 3).  Genesis 4 begins Satan’s violent reign when Cain murdered his brother, Abel.  That became the characteristic of this age: violence, murder, hatred and wars. 

#  Violence in history and the ‘modern’ world 

The Assyrians, Babylonians and the cruelty of tyrants through the ages are examples.  At present it is the violence in Iran, Iraq, Syria and other places, the destruction by ISIS and Boko Haram in Africa, the Rohingya persecution and others.  There is civil unrest in many countries, and that through the ages.  Why?  The answer is the character of the ruler of this world, Satan. 

#  What is Satan like?  

  • In the New Testament, Jesus gave a clear answer, ‘He was a murderer from the beginning….’ 1  Why is the devil so hateful and always tries to mess things up?  
  • Remember he forfeited his eternal life in God’s presence when he rebelled against God’s authority. 2  For that result he hates the God of peace.  He is a vengeful, warring influence, always bent of destruction, whether of families, individuals or nations.

#  The Bible is a book about reality, not a religious book. 

  • The Bible is not a fairy tale, it tells history as it happened.  Scripture explains the mess the world is in under the devil’s reign.  It contrasts it to the magnificent Redeemer, the Son of God who came to earth to crush the head of the devil. 3  
  • Jesus came to change it all (whoever wants to, can call on God to translate them out of the devil’s kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light, through Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross 4).  When Jesus comes the second time He will inaugurate a new heaven and earth, the home of righteousness.  There will be no violence ever again on the new earth.  What a great future awaits those who make Jesus their Lord. 

Conclusion

God calls people in the midst of a fallen violent world, to become part of a nation under the headship of Jesus.  Then the new nation will get a new dwelling, a home of righteousness where Jesus will rule eternally. 5

References

  1. John 8:44  
  2. Mathew 25:41  
  3. Genesis 3:15; 1 John 3:8  
  4. Colossians 1:13  
  5. 2 Peter 3:13

Know once and for all that the talking serpent in Genesis 3 was real.

There is a narrative in the Bible that people love to scoff at: ‘Whoever heard of a talking snake?  That stuff is fairy tales!’  They talk like that because they don’t understand what it is really about.  The example of the talking snake has been repeated through the ages up to the present.  We hear the question the serpent asked, ‘Did God really say?’1 almost every day.

#  How could an ordinary serpent talk to a woman?

  • Genesis 3:1-5 describes a very curious situation.  How did that specific serpent know that God gave Adam a command?  Why did the serpent concentrate only on the one tree and God’s command not to eat of it?  He could have talked about the lovely weather, the fantastic range of nutritious fruit, the privilege of being a couple, et cetera.
  • But, no, it questioned Eve as if it had a mind, almost as if it had a goal with the question.  Was it an ordinary serpent?  God did not create animals with minds, with a curiosity about the trees God gave man to enjoy, or about one specific tree that they were not allowed to eat of.   Fortunately other references in the Bible explain who the real serpent was (and is).

#  The book of Revelation identifies the serpent.

  • ‘And there was war in heaven.  Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.  The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.  He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.’ 2
  • We also read about an angel who seized the devil and bound him for a thousand years in the Abyss, ‘He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.’ 3

#  We learn from the above verses that:

  • Both the devil and his followers (demons) are angels.
  • There are two groups of angels, those who fight on the side of Michael, God’s archangel, and those who fight on the side of the devil, or Satan, God’s adversary.
  • They are at war with each other.
  • The devil, the ancient serpent, is the one who leads the whole world astray.  He is a deceiver, and he showed his colours in the garden of Eden episode.

#  Further Biblical revelations about Satan

  • We can assume that the serpent was a real snake, but somebody else with intellect and intention spoke through him.
  • Revelation identifies that ancient serpent with a very specific person, the devil, or Satan, the accuser of men.
  • It was he who was in the garden of Eden.  Scripture reveals, ‘You were in Eden, the garden of God.’ 4  It also tells us that he was originally appointed as a guardian cherub.  ‘You [originally appointed as a guardian cherub 5] were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.’ 6
  • We can gauge his character from what the passage says about him, ‘Your heart became proud on account of your wisdom, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour.’ 7
  • So we have the picture of a wise holy angel who became wicked and sinned because of his pride and arrogance.  He rebelled and for that was sentenced to be eternally punished in the lake of burning sulphur at the end of this age. 8
  • He hates God and he hates humans who can escape his judgment (eternal hell) through the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.  His heart’s desire is to to deceive and lead people astray from the truth of the Gospel.

#  What was special about the tree of knowledge of good and evil?

God as Creator and Lord of the universe, has the prerogative to decide what is good and evil.  For men to decide it, is to intrude in God’s privilege.  That is what the devil wanted: ‘…you will be like God.’ 9  It is an intoxicating idea that a created mortal can be like God knowing and deciding for him- or herself what is good and what is evil.

#  We often hear that ‘sly serpent’ talk today.

He still questions, ’Did God really say?’  For example, 

  • Did God really create a male to be a male, and a female to be a female?  (Nonsense, choose your own gender.)
  • Is marriage only between a man and a woman? (You must be joking, same sex marriage is glorious and better than heterosexual marriage.)
  • Did God give man free will?  (Please understand, when it comes to choosing God or the Bible, there is no free will.  There it is an illusion.  For other things, like the choice of the food you eat, the work you do, or the products you buy, it is logical: there you have a free will.)
  • Is the Bible really the Word of God? ( Where do you live, in the Dark Ages?  It is just a product of man, not of God.)
  • Was there really a universal flood in Noah’s time?  (Hey, swimmer boy, the fossils were laid down over millions of years.)
  • Did God create in six ordinary days?  (Never heard of Darwin, or Dawkins?) Nature ‘created’ all through evolution over billions of years.
  • Is creation by God scientific?  (Unbelievable, it is just a metaphor.)

And on and on the list goes.

#  Conclusion

Many unbelievers scoff and ask the same question the serpent did.  Could it be that the devil uses them in the same way he used the serpent?  As Jesus said, ‘You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.’ 10  What better proof that Scripture is the powerful true Word of God?

References

  1. Genesis 3:1
  2. Revelation 12:7-9
  3. Revelation 20:2
  4. Ezekiel 28:13
  5. Ezekiel 28:14,16
  6. Ezekiel 28:15
  7. Ezekiel 28:17
  8. Matthew 25:41
  9. Genesis 3:5
  10. John 8:44
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