The world has reached the twenty-first century. All my grandparents were born in the nineteenth century. Within that time span—just a little over one hundred years—the world has changed beyond recognition. Mankind now stands on the threshold of annihilation by weapons of mass destruction, with the frightening specter of terrorism spanning the globe.
World conditions grow more ominous as the news of each day seems worse than the last. Events are speeding toward a great crisis at the close of this age. How did there come to be such appalling evils and terrible suffering on a worldwide scale? And why have world leaders failed to improve the countries they govern and the world at large? What is wrong? Why has progress in knowledge, science and technology not delivered man from his problems? Why does civilization stand on the brink of catastrophe—even extinction—without some kind of intervention and rescue?
Many know something is wrong—but do not know what. The supposed experts lack answers to life’s greatest questions.
Few understand that there is a supreme purpose that God is working out here below. Fewer still know what this purpose is—they do not understand the forces at work that have controlled civilization since man first appeared on earth.
The Greatest Kidnapping
Most assume that things are the way they are because mankind has evolved to its present state or condition. This thinking permeates modern education but it is a false—an entirely wrong—premise. Evolution is a fiction created by men who have been led to this theory by the one who seeks to blind all the inhabitants of earth to God’s awesome plan—His staggering purpose for mankind.
Those who hold to the evolutionary theory are prevented—actually blocked!—from comprehending why conditions on earth are as they are. Many statesmen, leaders and thinkers do feel trapped by these conditions, and the general flow of world events, and unable to do anything about them. Indeed, they are trapped. But we need to understand why.
This is not God’s world. It is cut off from Him and held hostage by an unseen super kidnapper. All of humanity has been deceived into believing the soothing words of this great captor, thinking themselves better off under his care and leadership. I speak of Satan the devil and his hijacking—6,000 years ago—of Adam and Eve and all of the inhabitants of planet Earth ever after! But the world has remained a willing captive ever since.
Anyone who reads newspapers understands kidnapping. This crime often involves executives of large companies, whose release is obtained through paying a ransom. Hijackers work in the same way, except that this crime usually involves seizing an aircraft, bus or some other type of vehicle full of victims.
Most hostage victims are captives until someone either performs a daring rescue or a ransom is paid. Earth is now in a state of captivity, requiring supernatural deliverance—rescue—through ransom payment.
Here is modern man’s predicament: Imagine picking up a twenty-chapter book and trying to understand it by starting with the last chapter. You would be lost, completely unable to understand the meaning of persons and events described. In the same way, none can understand events in the modern world because they do not have proper background of what has happened in the previous chapters of mankind’s existence on earth. And it is the very first chapter of the story of humanity that is key to all “nineteen chapters” that follow.
Whose World is This?
You may have supposed that the governments of modern nations reflect God’s way. This is almost everyone’s assumption. Actually, while we will learn that God does, in fact, establish and remove nations, we will also learn that this is not God’s world. This is why Christ foretold the coming of God’s world-ruling supergovernment to replace the confused, ineffective and inefficient governments of man. These governments are powerless to solve any of the world’s biggest problems.
How did the world come to be the way that it is? Why is it in such a state of confusion, suffering and ignorance? Why can’t governments get along—avoid war—find peace—reach agreement? Why such constant instability, scandal and division among leaders and seemingly endless revolutions and military coups? Why is there no shortage of demagogues, dictators and revolutionaries, who always promise to make things better, yet are only able to preside over a continual worsening of problems and conditions?
Despite these conditions, most theologians, religionists and ministers blindly assume that this is God’s world—that it reflects His guidance, His way. Therefore, they conclude that if “all Christians would work together, in love and unity, to make this world and its governments a safer and better place for all, they could bring peace, happiness and prosperity to the world.” This is a completely wrong view. Nowhere did Christ say, “Go into all the world and strive to make it a better place by becoming part of it.” He often said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” Christ did not come to make this world a better place. He came to announce the coming of a better world, under His government!
In short, blind, deceived men think that they can bring world peace through human effort alone. Ironically, this quest often involves “Christian” nations striving to achieve peace through war. They see certain evil forces at work and feel compelled to “do something about it.” They assume that Christ would be an “activist,” seeking to “make the world a better place.”
Be honest! Haven’t you heard this many times? Haven’t you heard churches urge people to “get involved,” or “take a stand,” or something similar, in order to improve some local, national or world problem?
Who Holds Sway Over Earth?
Satan the devil is called the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4), the “prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) and the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). The apostle John wrote that he “deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9).
Satan rebelled against God’s government prior to the re-creation of earth (Gen. 1:1-3) and the creation of Adam and Eve. He had led one-third of all angels into rebellion (II Pet. 2:4; Rev. 12:4). Isaiah 14:12-14 reveals that he had ruled the earth, and Ezekiel 28:15 shows that he was a created being—a great, perfect archangel. He remains as ruler over earth until Christ’s Second Coming. Christ qualified to replace him at His First Coming. (Read our companion booklet Who Is the Devil? It focuses on identifying who and what the devil is—as Lucifer, before his rebellion, and Satan afterwards.)
So, Satan was lying in wait for “baby” Adam and Eve. They were created on the sixth day of the week, Friday, rested on the Sabbath, Saturday, and were seduced by Satan (Gen. 3:1-6) the next day, Sunday—at the age of two days old. No two-day-old child knows how to discern right from wrong. Adam and Eve just thought they were grown-up enough to make their own decisions. Like most children today, they chose not to listen to their Parent, God. Instead, they believed Satan’s lie that they would not “surely die.” In so doing, they rejected the rule of God’s government in their lives.
If Adam had obeyed God’s instruction, he could have qualified to replace Satan and restore the government of God on earth. He chose captivity instead.
Now read this account: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons” (Gen. 3:1-7).
In this historic account, Satan lied to Eve, who led Adam into sin with her. The devil’s deceit captured these two adult children into the belief that they no longer needed to listen to God—their Parent. Being thrust from the garden, they were forced to fend for themselves. They rejected God’s perfect law and rule—His government over all creation—as guides in their lives and were made captive to Satan and his way of sin. Because of sin, they no longer had access to God’s blessings, guidance, protection or the gift of His Holy Spirit, which would have come by eating of the Tree of Life.
Cut off from God by sin (Isa. 59:1-2), mankind has believed the lies of the god of this world for 6,000 years. The core of God’s plan encompasses 7,000 years. Few have understood this. Many have correctly understood at least some of the verses describing Christ’s coming 1,000-year Reign, to begin at His Return (Rev. 20:4-6). But they know nothing of God allotting 6,000 years, or six millennial days of a “seven-day week,” to man’s rule, under Satan, prior to the seventh 1,000-year “day.” We are near the end of the “sixth day.”
We must understand! The Bible says, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (II Pet. 3:8; Psa. 90:4). Of course, most are “ignorant” of almost everything that the Bible teaches. Will you comprehend?
Man (under the invisible sway of Satan) has been given six days, or 6,000 years, to try his own ways, governments, religions, philosophies, value systems and forms of education. Under the influence of Satan, he has practiced sin and disobedience to God’s commands for nearly 6,000 years. He has then tried to treat all of the ill effects instead of the cause, which is breaking God’s commandments. God is allowing man to learn painful, bitter lessons. The masses, who have never known the precious truth of God, must learn that their own ways do not work! (Read our booklet Does the Bible Teach Predestination? to learn about God’s plan.)
How it All Started
John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1) and then continued, “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” If there is One who was God, but who was also with God, it is obvious that two Beings—two Persons—are described.
Verse 14 continues, “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” The only God-Being who ever became flesh in order to dwell among men is Jesus Christ. Remember, it says that the Word “was made flesh.” Christ was not flesh until He came to earth to become the Savior of mankind—to pay the ransom, His life, and eventually deliver mankind from captivity.
Genesis 1:1 states, “In the beginning God…” Moses recorded the first five books of the Old Testament in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew word translated “God” is Elohim, a uniplural word like team, group, family or church. God is one Family—one God—composed of two Beings. This is why Christ could be God and be with God at the same time. John 4:24 states that “God is a Spirit.” God is made up of, or composed of, Spirit. Men are composed of flesh.
God and Christ enjoy perfect harmony and agreement in everything they do. They reflect perfect outgoing concern, love and cooperation. The Father is the supreme leader of a Family that both chose to expand. First, God created the angels and then the entire physical universe, including earth.
Then, later in Genesis 1, we find that God said, “Let us [more than one] make man in our image, after our likeness” (vs. 26). There was clearly more than one person involved in the creation of man. Verse 25 shows that each animal was made after “his kind.”
Dogs come from dogs and have puppies that look like dogs. Cats come from cats and have kittens that look like cats. Horses come from horses and have foals that look like horses. This is true throughout the entire animal kingdom. This is no mystery.
But here is what has been a mystery. Men are not part of the animal kind. They do not carry the likeness of any “beast of the earth” (vs. 25). They are made in the image and likeness of God. They are part of the God kind. So says your Bible!
Genesis 2:7 states, “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Man is made out of physical matter—flesh. While he is not composed of what God is composed of—Spirit—man is formed in the “image and likeness” of God. Also take note that this verse says man “became”—not “had”—a soul. People do not have souls. They are souls!
Throughout the Bible are references to God’s body parts. They show that God has eyes, ears, hands, feet, a mouth, nostrils, arms and legs, etc. In just one location, Isaiah 59:1-2 mentions His face, ears and hands. Numerous verses make reference to the mind of God and Christ (Phil. 2:5). Humans have all of these same physical attributes that God Himself possesses, although made of flesh and not Spirit.
Human beings have been given hands so that they can create. Paws, claws and hooves are not capable of building complex televisions, even if a mind is directing them—and, of course, animals have brains, not minds.
Animals function on instinct. Almost immediately after birth, they know exactly how to function—how to stand up, take steps and find where to get milk. Babies require far longer to even stand up and have to be taught how to do everything.
Human beings are capable of acquiring knowledge. Animals do not have this capability. God has programmed into animals, through instinct, everything that they need to function effectively within their environment.
Human beings do not instinctively know everything that they need to know in order to operate successfully throughout their lives. As they grow older and more demands are made upon them, they must acquire ever more knowledge.
All knowledge that men obtain falls into two categories. First is the knowledge of how to work with matter and physical things. Second is the kind of knowledge necessary to develop a personal relationship with both God and their fellow man. All knowledge, therefore, is either physical or spiritual knowledge.
Physical knowledge is acquired through the five senses—sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. People understand that they must acquire a certain amount of useful knowledge and keep adding to it throughout their lives. They recognize that they must learn to eat, learn to ride a bike, learn to play a piano, hammer a nail, cut the grass, get dressed, drive a car, master one or more skills en route to a career, and many other things. To function as adults requires much physical knowledge. Of course, this is not hard to understand. Most adults recognize that no one can succeed in life without a certain amount of knowledge. Today, people need more knowledge than ever to survive in an ever more complex world.
But there is a big problem in all of this. The physical knowledge that we have described has not been sufficient, or of the right kind, for mankind to be able to solve the complex problems afflicting all the nations of the world. For instance, he is utterly incapable of achieving world peace.
We must now examine what no one understands. Remember, man is made of flesh. But he has another non-physical, critically important component that must be explained. The apostle Paul wrote, “For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:11).
Do not try to “interpret” this verse. Let it interpret itself. Accept it for what it says. This verse identifies two different kinds of spirit—the “Spirit of God” and the “spirit of man.” They are not the same. Each provides a different function in acquiring knowledge.
Human knowledge (“the things of a man”) is acquired because God has given men a human spirit—the spirit in man. Paul’s inspired statement also makes clear that spiritual knowledge (“the things of God”) can only be acquired by the presence of the Spirit of God. Even this very knowledge is in itself truly amazing! Think of it this way. Virtually no one has the knowledge about HOW either physical or spiritual knowledge is acquired!
It is the false doctrine of evolution that holds scientists and educators as captives, completely unable to understand the knowledge described here.
The book of Job plainly states, “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding” (32:8). This confirms what Paul said. This identifies that there is a spirit in man, while recognizing spiritual understanding (knowledge) comes from God—“the Almighty.”
Animals do not have the spirit in man. Animal brains are entirely different from human minds. Humans are given the spirit of man from conception. It allows them, through use of the five senses, to acquire and retain knowledge. Without this unseen spirit element, man would be just another dumb beast. But he is made in the image of God and has been given the power to acquire, retain and use knowledge for all kinds of purposes.
All human beings were created by God to receive two completely different spirits. One comes at conception, and the other comes by an entirely different means. Without the Spirit of God, people are literally “not all there.” Their existence remains limited to what they can acquire on their own without God’s help.
Earlier, we left off talking about the Tree of Life. Let’s now return to it, remembering that Adam was offered the opportunity to eat of this Tree.
Delivered From Death Penalty
Man is not naturally headed toward eternal life. He is headed toward DEATH! Human beings live approximately 70-80 years, and in some parts of the world much less. A few manage to live longer, but all eventually die. Yet, this was never God’s original purpose. God wants everyone to experience life for all eternity.
God intends that all human beings ultimately receive His Holy Spirit. He wants it to eventually enter all minds. Let’s learn what role this second spirit component plays, and how it works with the spirit in man. Notice what Paul wrote: “The Spirit [the Holy Spirit] itself bears witness with our spirit [spirit in man], that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17). Two spirits are described here. Notice that God’s Spirit works “with” the human spirit to bring human beings to salvation as “joint-heirs with Christ.” It is this Spirit that Adam was offered and would have received had he eaten of the Tree of Life!
In I Corinthians 2, Paul also said, “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (vs. 14). This is an enormously important verse. It is not possible for human beings to understand spiritual knowledge—spiritual understanding. Such things can only seem “foolish” to a mind that cannot “spiritually discern.” No matter how intelligent or talented a person may be, without the Spirit of God, it can be said that they have a spiritual I.Q. of zero!
None of the problems common to individuals or nations can be properly addressed and resolved without the involvement of the Holy Spirit at work in minds. Human intelligence and ingenuity are insufficient.
Even attempting to tell people that they do not have this spiritual component is a useless exercise, if God is not opening their minds (John 6:44, 65). It will seem foolish to them because even this information is “spiritually discerned.” The more intelligent, self-reliant and accomplished the person is, the more foolish it will probably seem to him to be told that his mind is incomplete.
If Adam had eaten of the Tree of Life, he would have received the Spirit of God. He would have learned the way of love—the “give” way instead of the “get” way of life practiced by this world. The Bible says that “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10), and that the “love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit]” (Rom. 5:5).
Romans 8:6 states, “For to be carnally [physically] minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” If Adam had received the Spirit of God, he would have had life inherent within him. He would have been an “inheritor” with Christ as much as any true Christian today. He would have also known the way to peace. This is absolutely remarkable understanding—unknown to all but a scattered few on earth today. It has not been understood until our time!
Paul wrote, in I Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” In verse 40, he added, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” It is God’s will that there be order and structure instead of disorder, peace instead of war, decency instead of indecency and clear understanding instead of confusion.
Now we ask crucial questions: Why is this world filled with confusion? Why is it in such a terrible state of disorder? Why do disorder and confusion permeate religion, education, values, morals, ethics, philosophy, politics and government? Why have men not been able to answer life’s most important questions?
This world is filled with disease, war, famine, ignorance, poverty, pollution, hatred, crime, immorality, corruption, misery and unhappiness! Why can world leaders not solve these problems? Is it because they do not know the One who has the solutions? Is it because they do not know where to find the answers?
Is it because the devil is playing a far greater role than realized?
These are vital questions. They require straightforward, plain truth answers. You will hear us say, “Blow the dust off your Bible! Examine it carefully and see the real truth that has always been on its pages.” You will hear us repeat, “Don’t believe us just because we say something, but rather believe it if you see it proven in your Bible.”
The plain truth is that the Bible contains the answers to these towering questions! However, none are what is commonly taught. From as early as Sunday school, most have been taught to believe ideas that everyone assumes are in the Bible. Prepare to be surprised—shocked—at what it really has to say about this fallen angel of whom so much is said but so little is correctly known and understood!
Paul wrote, “prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thes. 5:21) and “prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2).
Will you do this?
We will examine the above questions and how they relate to the devil by looking at the basic, important verses that describe him—who he is—what he is—what his role is. To do this, we must leave behind the ideas of men.