John Morton (New Zealand): Why is there so much hatred in this world? This negative emotion eats away like a cancer causing resentment, animosity and hostility often leading to violence, murder or even war. Where does it come from? Will we ever be able to rid ourselves of this powerfully destructive emotion?
Hatred and animosity have been with us a long time. An early reference can be found in Genesis 3:15, when God described to Adam and Eve the consequences of their sin. He started by addressing Satan, the one who persuaded them to disobey His instructions, saying "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed."
How many times have we glossed over these words without realizing their impact on humanity? It is important to understand how these prophetic words, uttered nearly six thousand years ago, affect our lives today! The word enmity means animosity, hostility or hatred. God said that hatred would exist between Satan and the woman's offspring. We are Eve's offspring - the recipients of Satan's hatred.
Make no mistake - Satan does exist! And his hatred for us is intense! Not only does he hate us, he has also, with great cunning and subtlety (Genesis 3:1), inculcated his hatred into our psyche. So great has his influence been that we have become like him. His hatred has become part of our very own nature. To understand the how and why of what has happened we need to understand who Satan is.
Most people don't believe he really exists. The popular concept is that he is a mythical creature with horns and tail, dressed in black or red and associated with the 'flames of hell'. But the Bible doesn't describe him
like that at all. From what we can glean from the pages of the Bible
Satan was formerly Lucifer. A high-ranking angelic being of great beauty and talent, he was created as a ministering spirit, one of the cherubim that covered the very throne of God (Exodus 25:17-20, Ezekiel 28:14-15).
The Bible doesn't tell us how long it took for Lucifer to develop a rebellious attitude. But eventually iniquity (sin) was found in him (v.15) and he rebelled against God trying to take over God's throne (Isaiah 14:12-17). After he was defeated in his attempt to overthrow God, Lucifer became known as Satan, which means adversary.
Angels were created for a different purpose and were not given the same potential as humans (Hebrews 1:5, 2:5-8). God's purpose in creating mankind was to give them the opportunity of becoming His own sons and daughters (Romans 8:14-17). Lucifer tried to take the glory and honor reserved for man by trying to depose God from His throne. Having been defeated he is now focusing all his efforts on preventing us from reaching our potential - from becoming part of God's family. Like a roaring lion he seeks to devour us (I Peter 5:8).
Who Do You Serve?
The Bible clearly says that we are servants (slaves) of whom we obey (Romans 6:16, II Peter 2:19). Under Satan's influence we have all disobeyed God's laws and by default become Satan's servants (I John 3:4, 8, Romans 3:23; 6:20). Sin is the transgression of God's law, we have all made the same mistake Adam and Eve made. Until we consciously reject Satan and turn to God we unwittingly remain his servants. Many don't realize that the Bible describes Satan as 'the god of this age', or ruler of this world (II Corinthians 4:4). Even though he would not worship him, Jesus Christ acknowledged that Satan was the prince of this world (John 14:30 and Luke 4:5-6). As the invisible god of
this world, working fervently behind the scenes toachieve his purpose, Satan has subtly infected mankind with his emotions of hatred and animosity (Ephesians 2:2, 6:12, John 8:44).
The carnal mind under the influence of Satan has an enmity toward God (Romans 8:7). It permeates every aspect of our lives, determining our actions and destroying our relationships. The whole world is deceived (Revelation 12:9, II Corinthians 4:4) into thinking that he does not exist; that he is just some figment of the imagination. And all the while he is turning our minds against God and against each other.
After having deceived Adam and Eve he turned the mind of their firstborn, Cain, against his brother Abel, whom he murdered (Genesis 4:6-8). It is also reflected in our history books covering the last six thousand years, which drip with the blood of the countless millions who have died in so many senseless wars. Satan's ultimate goal is to drive mankind to the point of self-destruction.
Ever present is the prospect of nuclear holocaust and the unimaginable destruction that would be caused by the unleashing of biological weapons - just one of several ways of destroying life on earth. Fortunately God is in charge and Satan can do nothing without His consent. For example, when Satan attacked Job's character he was restricted in what he could do to him (Job 1:12, 2:6).
Similarly with the rest of the world - God will not allow Satan to destroy it!
God has a seven thousand year plan. It involves six thousand years for mankind under Satan's sway and a thousand years under the direct influence of Jesus Christ (Revelation 20:4, Isaiah 30:21). During Christ's reign, Satan will have no effect on or power over the population (Revelation 20:1-3). It will be a time without hatred, without murder and war (Micah 4:3, Isaiah 2:4, 11:9). A time for the restoration of all things including mankind's relationship with God (Acts 3:19-21) and the blessings that go with it (Deuteronomy 28:1-13).
The End of Enmity
In the meantime we can't escape the fact that Satan does, for the time being, rule this earth. And while we must contend with that, we can take comfort in the fact that God is in charge. Satan cannot do anything unless God lets him and if we turn to God in repentance, calling on His mercy, He will give us the power through Jesus to resist Satan's influence. With God's help we can overcome the negative influences of Satan and be freed from the bondage that grips this world (Romans 8:19-22, Galatians 5:1, II Peter 2:19).
We are instructed to resist him and he will flee from us (James 4:7, I Peter 5:8-10, II Peter 2:8, Hebrews 4:16). Over six thousand years ago God foretold the suffering mankind would experience under the rule of Satan, when He said "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed". At the same time He also prophesied the demise of Satan with the words "He (Christ) shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15).
While Satan would be responsible for the physical death of Jesus Christ, Christ would ultimately crush the serpent's (Satan's) head (his rulership) forever. Satan's enmity toward mankind will not last forever - his time is limited.
When Jesus Christ returns to establish God's Kingdom on this earth the relationship between mankind and God will be restored. At that time there will be an end to all enmity.
To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.
For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Volume 4 Issue 4, July/August 2000. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.
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