218 – THE GREAT CONQUEROR
“And Jehovah God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed (Gen. 2:8). “And out of the ground Jehovah God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food” (Gen. 2:9). And he placed in this garden of delights the tree of life, in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Jehovah enjoyed afternoon walks in this wonderful garden, in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:8). Jehovah formed man to cultivate and keep this Garden, and gave him skills, blowing the breath of life in his nostrils (Gen. 2:7). This breath of life is the divine energy, the abundant spirit. In the book of Job, we read that the Almighty blew the understanding in Adam (Job 32:8). Jehovah equipped Adam to take care of the Garden. In Psalm 8 we read, “Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God, and dost crown him with glory and majesty! Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the flesh of the sea, whatever passes through the path of the seas (Ps. 8:5-8; Gen. 2:19-20). Later, seeing that man felt lonely, he took one rib from him and made a woman for Adam. Both could enjoy with Jehovah the garden of delights. The only command that Jehovah gave was not to touch on the tree of the science of good and evil (Gen. 2:17).
Satan, with his tricks, went in the secret garden of Jehovah and caused a great devastation in it. He contaminated the woman, who took the forbidden fruit and ate. After that, she gave it to her husband and he ate it with her (Gen. 3:6). They were both sent out of the paradise, condemned to death with their offspring, and the Garden was locked and defended with a flaming sword (Gen. 3:17-24). Who was the great victor in this story? Satan, who did not care about the curse of Jehovah, and continued on in his devastating work. Four thousand years later he tried to overthrow Jesus Christ (Luke 4:5-8).
There was a second confrontation between Jehovah and Satan. At the time of Job, which according a few learned men, descended from Esau (Gen. 36:28). There was a day in which the sons of God were gathered, and Satan was among them, as if he had never been cursed by Jehovah. And Jehovah told him, in a friendly tone, “’Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.’ Then Satan answered Jehovah, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face.’ Then Jehovah said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.’” (Job 1:8-12). Satan, than, put fire in everything that Job had, and destroyed his flocks and killed his seven sons and the three daughters. Who was the winner in this confrontation? It is obvious that it was Satan. Jehovah confesses this in the second chapter. The children of god were gathered once again, and there was Satan, who had a free pass into everything that Jehovah did. When he saw him, Jehovah said once more: Have you seen my servant Job, a sincere and righteous man, fearing god and turning away from evil, even though you incited me against him? Satan strikes again against Jehovah, saying, “Put forth Thy hand, now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse Thee”. And Satan left the presence of Jehovah and hurt Job with malignant sores (leprosy). Who won this battle? Satan did, for Job suffered without reason, and Jehovah did not deliver him from the hand of Satan (Job 1:6-12; 2:11-7). It is true that in the end of Job’s life, Jehovah changed the captivity of Job and gave him twice as much as he had lost, and he had another seven sons and three daughters (Job 42:12-13). This second blessing of Jehovah did not undo Satan’s victory over him, and the ten new children could not replace the ones lost through the curse. A new child in no way removes the pain of a first one when it dies.
But Jehovah and Satan had another great confrontation, and it was a terrible one. Jehovah is the creator of Israel. “But now, thus says Jehovah, your creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, ‘do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine’” (Is. 43:1-3). Jehovah created Israel for his glory (Is. 43:12). Jehovah declares himself king of Israel (Is. 43:15). Jehovah also declares that the Israelites were his children. “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says Jehovah, ‘Israel is My son, My first-born’” (Ex. 4:22). These children of Jehovah were not holy, and forgot their god and father. Jehovah, then, angered, despises them with infernal fury, and sends plagues, pestilences, and deadly arrows (Deut. 32:18-25). The people, suffering with the retaliation of Jehovah, complain and accuse him, saying that Jehovah, their father, is the one making them go in the direction of evil (Is. 63: 16-17). The final end of this people was two captivities. The first one in Assyria, 720 years before Christ, and the second one in Chaldea, 600 years before Christ. Israel went from hand to hand until the time of Christ, when it was under the yoke of the Romans. Jesus, then, says to the religious Jews, “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44). In this great dispute to know who is Israel’s father, who was victor? Satan was. How did this happen, nobody knows. There was a fourth confrontation between these two giant warriors. Jehovah declared, “Thus says God Jehovah, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its offspring, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk in it” (Is. 42:5). “It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, and I ordained all their host” (Is. 45:12). “Praise Jehovah from the heavens; praise Him in the heights! (Ps. 148:1). “Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all stars of light! Praise Him, highest heavens! Let them praise the name of Jehovah, for He commanded and they were created” (Ps. 148:3-5).And Jehovah declares that he has established the foundations of the earth and set the world over it (1 Sam. 2:8). He also declares that the earth, the world, and those who live on it, belong to him (Ps. 24:1; 89:11). And Jehovah assures us that he rules, and because of this the world will be established forever, so that it will not be shaken (Ps. 96:10; 93:1). Well, Paul declares something different. “For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:20-21). Someone more powerful than Jehovah shook the earth, the world, the creatures, and keeps everything captive (1 John 5:19).
The serious problem is that Jehovah declared that everything is in his hands and under his control, and that no god can shake his power, and that no one escapes from his hands (Deut. 32:39). He declared, also, that whatever he determines, no one is able to change (Is. 14:27). And he also said that he operates everything, and no one can stop him (Is. 43:13). Therefore, in this battle, the victor was Satan, for he subdued Jehovah’s creation, and this world is in his hands (1 John 5:19). Peter also reveals that this world, which Jehovah promises to establish, will be burned with fire (2 Pet. 3:7). Satan totally reigns, with trophies of victory over Jehovah, that is, men. Christ came to deliver from the hands of Satan (Acts 26:16-18).
One thing, though, amazes and astonishes us. Any faithful Christian, full of the Holy Spirit, when he is faced with someone possessed by Satan, can raise his arm and command: Get out of him, Satan, for I rebuke you. And Satan, convulsing, leaves the one. It is a wonder. Christ will not descend from his glory to fight Satan. We are the great victors against him.
by PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA