Series: “The Great War” (post #3)
In the previous post, we named the first result of the ongoing war between Satan and God. That result is: Soldiers are enlisted for the war. The soldiers who fight in Satan’s army are the lost unbelievers of this world. The soldiers who fight in God’s army are the saved believers. To be enlisted into Satan’s army, all you have to do is be born into Adam’s fallen race. To be enlisted into God’s army, you must be born again by placing your belief in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.
Now let’s move on and look at the second result of The Great War. That second result is: The war (like any other) produces casualties on both sides. We’ll start by looking at the casualties inflicted by Satan and his army.
In John 8:44, Jesus says about Satan, “He was a murderer from the beginning.” What’s interesting about that statement is that we can study the Bible from Genesis to The Revelation, from the table of contents to the maps, but we will not find even one verse where Satan personally takes a sword or some other instrument and kills someone. So how could Jesus call him a murderer?
Satan uses two methods to get his killing done. Method 1: He creates circumstances that result in the loss of life. Method 2: He uses some of his soldiers (lost unbelievers) to get his killing done. I’ll provide a scriptural example from each category.
For the first category, we can look to the story of Job. In Job 1:18-19, a great wind suddenly sweeps across the wilderness and levels the house in which Job’s seven sons and three daughters are dining. Even though the text doesn’t specifically say that Satan created that wind and aimed it at that house, the implication is clear based upon the events of the previous chapter. That’s the chapter in which God agrees to allow Satan to touch all that Job has (Job 1:6-12). Therefore, it is perfectly legitimate to classify Job’s ten children as casualties of The Great War.
For the second category, we can look to the story of Herod the Great. In his attempt to kill the baby Jesus, Herod had all of the infants two years old or younger from Bethlehem and its surrounding districts put to death (Matthew 2:16). Someone might point out that Satan didn’t directly order Herod to kill those children. No he didn’t, but we have to keep in mind what Jesus said about lost unbelievers. He said their father is the devil and the devil’s desires they want to do (John 8:44). This means that those poor infants can also be classified as casualties of The Great War. They take their place alongside other martyrs such as Abel (Genesis 4:1-8) and Stephen (Acts 8:54-60).
By now you might be thinking, “Boy, Satan has certainly been responsible for a lot of casualties of war!” Well, he has, but let’s not make this particular result of the great war a one-sided deal. The truth is that God has claimed a lot of lives Himself. Consider the following list of examples:
- It was God, working through a worldwide flood, who killed the entire human race except for Noah and his family (Genesis chapters 6 through 9).
- It was God, working through two of His angels, who killed the inhabitants of the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by reigning fire and brimstone down upon those cities (Genesis 19:1-29).
- It was God who killed all of the Egyptian firstborns as the tenth plague that He inflicted upon the Egyptians (Exodus 12:29-30).
- It was God who drowned Pharaoh’s army in the waters of the Red Sea (Exodus 14:1-31).
- It was God, specifically Jesus in the form of The Angel of the Lord, who passed through the ranks of the Assyrian army one night and killed 185,000 soldiers (2nd Kings 19:35).
- It was God, working through one of His angels, who struck Herod Agrippa dead (Acts 12:20-23).
And then there are the stories in which God works through His soldiers (saved believers) to actually take human lives. Here are some examples of those stories:
- God worked through the soldiers of Israel to kill thousands of the inhabitants of the land of Canaan and claim that land for Israel (Deuteronomy 20:16-18).
- God worked through the judge Gideon to kill Oreb and Zeeb, two Midianite princes (Judges 7:24-25).
- God worked through the judge Samson to kill thousands of the Philistines (Judges chapters 14 through 16).
- God worked through the prophet Samuel to get Agag, the king of the Amalekites, hacked into pieces (1 Samuel 15:32-33).
- God worked through David to get the giant Goliath killed (1 Samuel 17:1-58).
- God worked through the prophet Elijah to get 450 of the prophets of Baal executed (1st Kings 18:20-40).
All these stories, as well as others that could be listed, show us that God hasn’t exactly been passive in The Great War. Let the record show that He isn’t anything like the mush-and-gush, grandfatherly deity that so many people envision in their minds. Even though He loves each member of the human race, that doesn’t mean that He doesn’t understand fully that He’s in a war with an enemy who doesn’t play nice. God’s original plan for the human race was the idyllic conditions of the Garden of Eden, but once war was declared He got up to speed quickly on what it takes to fight it.
And what is the greatest piece of evidence that proves that God understands that His war with Satan produces casualties? It’s the fact that He Himself, in the form of God the Son (Jesus Christ), became a casualty of the war. You see, it was the betrayal of Judas Iscariot that kick-started the chain of events that led to Jesus being arrested, tried, and crucified. But what most people don’t understand about Judas is that he was literally demon-possessed by Satan just before he betrayed Jesus (John 13:27). Therefore, because of that Satanic possession, we are right to say that Satan worked through Judas to get Jesus killed. Think about that. The Great War is so bad that it actually claimed the life of Jesus. That’s why we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that it has claimed the lives of many others as well.