We live in an age in which evil abounds. Most modernists donâ€™t want to personify it, but a great deal of this has to do with the evil realm, Satan and his demons. This is their last chance before the Lord Jesus Christ comes to set things straight in a world gone crazy and crooked.
How is evil manifested? Well, through people, of course, especially those who have set their hearts to do evil, but sometimes it happens to â€œregular people,â€ who just get caught up in the pull of society and its norms. Unfortunately, Christians are not an exception because the lure of â€œgreener grassâ€ can get the best of us.
I donâ€™t need to recount here the daily horror that shows up on our TV screens, as the news keeps us apprised of the latest developments of evil. Most often these people who perpetrate these horrendous acts are actually motivated by The Evil One, who will show himself as the most despicable person ever known to humankind in the coming years. Iâ€™d call this â€œthe devolution of man,â€ as people all over the globe will give their hearts and souls to a man known in the Bible as â€œantichrist.â€ Incidentally, the antichrist spirit has been here since the beginning:
â€œBut every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; you have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world nowâ€ (1 John 4:3 (Holman Christian Standard Bible).
Attraction to evil
Iâ€™m always amazed that people are so attracted to evil. Yes, itâ€™s exciting except when itâ€™s real, and it happens to us! People flock to horror movies and spend a ton of money on Halloween. On the highest day of the satanic calendar, Halloween, Americans shell out billions of dollars on decorations and entertainment designed to scare us even more. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend $7.4 billion this year for Halloween. That $7.4 billion includes $2 billion for Halloween candy and $350 million for pet Halloween costumes. Yes, you read that correctly. We are collectively going to spend $350 million on Halloween costumes for our cats and dogs. To put that number into context, the same NRF survey found that Americans planned to spend $3.3 billion as recently as 2005. Obviously, the interest and the money spent are increasing every year.
Recently, in San Diego, someone paid $500,000 to set up a house of horrors in which for eight hours people were tortured, splattered with blood and had their heads shoved into a cage full of snakes. These are just a few of the jollies that made up this â€œfun event.â€ Last count, there was a waiting list of 24,000 people who wanted to go through this ungodly mess!
But what exactly is evil?
First of all, the Hebrew word for evil, “rah,” is used in many different ways in the Bible. In the KJV Bible it occurs 663 times. Four-hundred-thirty-one (431) times it is translated as “evil.” The other 232 times it is translated as “wicked,” “bad,” “hurt,” “harm,” “ill,” “sorrow,” “mischief,” “displeased,” “adversity,” “affliction,” “trouble,” “calamity,” “grievous,” “misery,” and “trouble.” So we can see that the word does not require that it be translated as “evil.” This is why different Bibles translate this verse differently. It is translated as “calamity” by the NASB and NKJV; “disaster” by the NIV; and “woe” by the RSV (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry – http://carm.org/does-god-create-evil).
Evil comes in pretty and seductive packages
In the New Testament the Greek word for evil is â€œponerosâ€ from which we get our word porn or pornography. You think thereâ€™s a problem with evil here? According to Covenant Eyes (http://www.covenanteyes.com/pornography-facts-and-statistics/), the size of the adult industry is difficult to determine because most of the industry is privately owned, and there are no agreed-upon definitions for what consists of an â€œadultâ€ service. According to the Free Speech Coalition, â€œVarious gross income totals for the industry have been estimated by a variety of mainstream news sources, but exact, reliable figures are simply no available.â€ Tom Rhinelander, a Forrester research director, says their researchers have given up trying to put a price on the adult industry.
However, in 2006, the sex-related entertainment business estimated revenues were just under $13 billion in the U.S., according to Paul Fishbein, president of the Adult Video News Media Network. These estimates included video sales and rentals, Internet sales, cable, pay-perview, phone sex, exotic dance clubs, magazines and novelty stores.
In 2007, global porn revenues were estimated at $20 billion, with $10 billion in the U.S. The Free Speech Coalition estimated both global and U.S. porn revenues have been reduced by 50% between 2007 and 2011, due to the amount of free pornography available online. According to a survey of data published in the Journal of Internet Law, in 2005, pornography accounted for 69% of the total pay-per-view Internet content market, outpacing news, sports and video games.
This â€œvictimlessâ€ occupation destroys homes, binds the minds men and women to images that refuse to leave the brain and sets the mind of viewer on â€œhazardous waste.â€ It is the modern version of the Old Testamentâ€™s worse form of idolatry, worshipping the body of another, primarily a woman. One of these was the Asherah or Asherim (the plural).
For this activity God judged Israel again and again for taking on the habits and sins of pagan nations that worshipped at the shrines of Asherah. The Book of Jeremiah, written circa 628 BC, possibly refers to Asherah when it uses the title “Queen of Heaven,” stating: “pray thou not for this people…the children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the Queen of Heaven, and to pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.” According to the Bible, there were demons behind all idolatrous worship (I Cor. 10:14-20).
Evil is not a playground
Scripture says weâ€™re to hate evil and cling to what is good (Rom. 12:9). Years ago I heard a couple testify on TV that they nicknamed their son â€œSatanâ€ because he was born on Friday the 13th. The 4-year-oldâ€™s speaking blasphemies and threatening to kill his parents followed this cute little designation. The parents, who were not Christians at the time, took the boy to psychiatrists, who had no explanation as to why the kid was doing these things and couldnâ€™t help them. In their desperation, they called one of their â€œBible thumpingâ€ friends. This man came to their rescue and cast away the evil that was tormenting the boy and the couple. Need I tell you they became Christians after this?
Living in the Evil Day
We live in the midst of an â€œevil day,â€ most would agree. And many of us would say, â€œThe Evil Day.â€ Never before in the history of the world have we witnessed so much simultaneous evil. And things are getting worse day by day. Are you worried about Ebola? Can you imagine this deadly disease being used as a weapon? It will be, according to reports from World Net Daily (WND). WND says that ISIS terrorists are being infected with the virus on purpose, and then entering our country from the Southern border to spread the disease. Remember, these are the nutcases who believe that blowing yourself to kingdom come gets you heaven and 70 virgins! And, think about it, our government has done nothing to protect our borders or close our airports to countries where people have been infected with this deadly disease.
Unless youâ€™ve been under a rock, you know something about what Muslims believe. Hereâ€™s the gist in case you have found yourself under that rock. Some of them believe that Jesus, who is accepted only as a prophet, will be the advance man for â€œMahdi,â€ the Muslim Christ type, who will return to reward Muslims for their true devotion to him; hence, the desire to kill Jews and Christians (â€œthe infidelsâ€) as part of clearing the way for this personage. (ISIS has its own brand of this insanity, slaughtering fellow Muslims who disagree with their own doctrine.) According to this belief, the Mahdi will then reign over the earth with Muslims or those converted to their belief by worshipping him. Does this sound familiar? If you want to know more, read the interview with a popular Muslim TV personality (http://www.wnd.com/2014/10/popular-muslim-personality-jesus-christ-is-among-us/). He says the Mahdi will get instructions and help from spirits called â€œdjinn.â€ This TV personality says heâ€™s in touch with the djinn as well. Evil spirits? You bet.
Making sense out of nonsense
Can you see how Satan has set this up? At the time of Christâ€™s return, he strategizes to have a false Christ appear for millions of duped out-of-their-minds people who are clueless about the real Jesus, whose coming will bring peace to a world in utter chaos.
Satan uses fear to unleash so much worry and anxiety about where the world is headed with a broken economy and plagues so sex-focused and mixed up people who canâ€™t discern right from wrong remain in the dark. He works hard in â€œreligionâ€ to ensure that churches remain â€œsafeâ€ to ensure the Holy Spirit canâ€™t be fully released in them because those churches fear being â€œtoo charismatic.â€ At the same time, he ensures some TV preachers look so goofy and materialistic in front of the world that itâ€™s a turn off to people who might come to Jesus. You may think Iâ€™m being a little hard here, but I think itâ€™s pretty realistic.
What to do
Some of this seems quite hopeless, doesnâ€™t it? Thank God, our hope isnâ€™t in this world and what it has to offer, but Jesus has told us to â€œoccupy until I come.â€ Itâ€™s also good to remember that the United States is NOT the Kingdom of God! Letâ€™s consider what one should do if we open our eyes to whatâ€™s actually happening here.
1. First and foremost, if you arenâ€™t a Christian, give your heart to Jesus Christ. Then find a church that isnâ€™t afraid to preach the truth of the Bible and one that welcomes the presence of the Holy Spirit. If it doesnâ€™t do that, leave it.
2. If youâ€™re a Christian, love Jesus with all your heart.
3. Of course, put on your spiritual warfare armor every day (Eph. 6:12).
4. If youâ€™re involved in evil activity, renounce it.
5. Stop following the crowd that leads you away from God! Love them but kindly say it â€œainâ€™tâ€ your thing anymore.
6. Get in a biblically sound â€œsupport groupâ€ or Bible study that focuses on getting your mind changed and renewed. There are plenty of these groups everywhere.
7. Get fear out of your life! The Bible says, â€œFear notâ€ 103 times! That means empty your soul of fear. You can do this by â€œsetting your mind on things aboveâ€ (Col. 3:1), resisting the devil (James 4:6) and commanding fear to leave you. If you need deliverance from fear and other tormenting spirits, seek help from biblically sound people of God who are anointed to do this.
8. Be filled with the Holy Spirit! He has the greatest power on the face of this earth, and asking Him for wisdom may save your life in the Evil Day.
9. Understand and apply Psalm 91. It is the greatest Psalm for protection of oneâ€™s life in the entire Bible. Especially noteworthy is verse 10 where the Hebrew word â€œnegaâ€ is used for plague; one of the meanings of the word is disease. Key: The person who â€œdwells in the secret place of the most highâ€ (Psa. 91: 1) will be protected from disease!
10. If you are hurting because of the emotional wounds suffered in your life, seek inner healing.
11. Learn your spiritual gifts, use them, and serve God in some capacity.
12. Seek God daily in prayer and biblical meditation.
13. Ask God to hide you from evil. There are plenty of Scriptures in the Word of God that teach we can be hidden in Christ.
14. Die daily to yourself. We are deceived because we are first self-deceived by allowing our old nature, which died on the cross with Christ, (Romans 6) to remain â€œalive and kickinâ€™.â€
15. In Revelation it tells us that believers overcame Satan by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they werenâ€™t afraid to die for what they believed (Rev 12:11). I believe the word â€œtestimony,â€ as it used here, is not just saying youâ€™re a Christian but that it speaks of your identity with Christ in every area in your life.
16. Iâ€™m not trying to be offensive here, but if your head is in the sand, get it out! Our government is doing next to nothing to protect us from the evil that wants to overtake us, and as one former government rep said, it is even encouraging our enemies at times to do just that! I donâ€™t care if youâ€™re white, black or green, understand this: President Obama wants to be a dictator! If Ebola canâ€™t be stopped, he has the power to declare martial law and become The Law, overruling Congress and the courts in every area of life. This isnâ€™t about race. Personally, I would love to see a wise and Godly black man become president!
17. Pray for our authorities, especially the president, to put their trust and faith in the living God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
18. Donâ€™t panic but let your focus remain on the peace of Christ, and let that peace rule in your heart. The Bible promises that the peace of Christ will soon crush Satan under your feet! (Rom. 16:20).
Joseph Beckham is the author of Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls. http://amzn.com/1493781286