It is very early, still, and cold. I have never been here before, and as I await the dawn in suspense, I try to distinguish shapes in the black yawning chasm before me. The sky shifts gradually to gray and I catch glimpses of rocky peaks in a great emptiness. As dawn seeps into the landscape, rock formations appear—first monochrome, then pastel as the clouds brighten above. The sun rises, tinging everything with gold; and as it climbs, the details of the magnificent Grand Canyon become clearer and even more breathtaking.
Watching the sun rise over the Grand Canyon is similar to the process of searching out the details of the conflict between good and evil in the Bible. God’s war strategy is hard to discern at first. It’s not like human warfare because it concerns hearts and choices. But as it becomes clearer to us, it too becomes increasingly awe-inspiring.
Most people are aware of a clash between good and evil in this world. In fact, it’s a clash between two rival kingdoms. The Bible describes how a powerful angel, Lucifer, became ambitious to rule the universe and dethrone God. Isaiah 14:12–15. He organized a coup in heaven which failed, although he took one-third of the angels with him. But he did better on earth and, through lies, drew the human race away from God’s kingdom of love and truth into his selfish, deceptive kingdom. Revelation 12:7–10, 12.
God knew that because the human race was confused over the character of the two kingdoms, individuals could be salvaged from Lucifer’s grasp. Satan (Lucifer) makes his kingdom look very attractive while he portrays God’s as repressive. The truth is the exact opposite! So God’s plan has been to overcome evil with good and demonstrate, over time, that Satan is lying.
God has given views of what He’s accomplished and also what’s to come in the cosmic conflict. Whether or not we’re aware of it, we’re all in the thick of this battle, right now!
1. What is the foundation of God’s throne and government? Psalm 89:14
For righteousness, read unselfish focus on others’ wellbeing. God’s law is summed up as loving God with all our hearts and loving others as we love ourselves. God’s kingdom is one of truth and justice combined with mercy and kindness. It leads to cooperation, respect, peace, and happiness.
2. What repeated word in the following verses portrays the foundation of Lucifer’s (Satan’s) kingdom? Isaiah 14:13, 14
The pronoun “I” features five times in Lucifer’s goals. His is the kingdom of “me first.” It grew out of pride and jealously and led to selfishness, lies, separation, and strife.
3. By contrast, what was the Son of God’s position in heaven, and what was He willing to do with it? John 1:1–3; Philippians 2:5–8
The contrast couldn’t be greater! God’s Son created everything, including Lucifer himself. Although the throne was His right, He left it and became human to help us. He humbled Himself and made the ultimate sacrifice.
4. How have Satan’s attacks on humanity impacted us and our world? 1 John 5:19; Jeremiah 17:9
From the greatest nations to the lowliest individual, self-interest is seen everywhere, and unkindness, injustice, and callousness towards others is frighteningly “normal.” We’ve all been selfish and sinned, aligning ourselves with the rebel kingdom. But God has not left us at Satan’s mercy.
1. What Old Testament prophecy did Jesus apply to Himself? Isaiah 61:1–2
Jesus came to demonstrate what God’s character and kingdom is really like. He relieved physical, mental, and spiritual suffering in all who would receive His ministry. He didn’t mention God’s vengeance against sin because that was for later. His mission was to defeat Satan and provide a way back to God’s kingdom for the captives.
2. What would Jesus have to go through so we could be in God’s kingdom? Isaiah 53:10–12
For a just God to be able to offer forgiveness and restore self-centered hearts to unselfish love, Jesus had to take the punishment for our sins. Freeing us from sin and Satan was very costly, but there was no other way for God to be both just and merciful.
3. How did God plan to change selfish hearts? Jeremiah 31:33–34
This covenant was made available to everyone. If individuals would accept Jesus’ sacrificial life and death for them, they could receive unselfish, loving hearts like His and begin to experience God’s kingdom immediately.
4. Here’s a description of people escaping from Satan’s kingdom to God’s. What important fact is stated twice? Ephesians 2:1–10
It says twice that we’ve been saved by grace—purely by God’s undeserved kindness. We can’t earn salvation, but if we give ourselves completely to God, we can become part of the kingdom of heaven today, even while living in a world dominated by Satan.
5. What kind of people will we become if we belong to the kingdom of grace? Matthew 5:3–16
Those with new hearts from Jesus will become like Him in character. They’ll also be persecuted as He was. Remember, we’re still in a war.
This is the first phase of God’s winning strategy. Bible prophecy shows us there’s much more to come.
1. Where did Jesus promise He would take His followers at His second coming? John 14:1–3
Jesus promised His followers that He would return and take them to live with Him and His Father in heaven. There they would finally experience God’s kingdom in its full glory.
2. What will the citizens of the kingdom of grace be doing after they enter the kingdom of glory? Revelation 20:4–6; 1 Corinthians 6:23
At Jesus’ second coming, all those who have made God their king will be resurrected or translated without dying. They will live and reign in heaven with Christ for 1,000 years while Satan is incarcerated on earth. They will also have a part in judging those who have rebelled against God.
3. What beautiful experiences with God and the Lamb (Jesus) will those who chose God’s kingdom have? Revelation 7:9, 10, 13–17
The righteous will enjoy the glories of heaven with Jesus during the millennium. They will worship and serve at God’s throne, and God will wipe away their tears. Jesus will be among them and care for them personally.
4. What happens in the final phase of overcoming Satan’s evil kingdom? Revelation 20:11–15
Revelation pictures a solemn court scene in which Satan, his angels, and those who refused God’s mercy are justly sentenced for their sins. See also Matthew 25:41. Destruction follows. The lake of fire is the same kind of “eternal fire” that entirely consumed Sodom and Gomorrah. See 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7.
5. What will become of all who have clung to sin and refused to be part of God’s kingdom? Malachi 4:1–3
Eradication of sin and evil from the universe will be complete. Satan and all his followers, both angelic and human will be completely destroyed—reduced to ashes. God is love: He doesn’t torture His enemies eternally.
6. At the end of this long, costly war, what will God do to restore the sin-damaged Earth? Revelation 21:1–4; Isaiah 65:17
Now God recreates the earth in a pure state as in the original creation. The kingdom of heaven is fully restored on earth. For eternity, His people can enjoy being with Him, living the life He originally planned for them.
7. What will be different about life in God’s everlasting kingdom on the New Earth? Isaiah 11:6–9
Life in God’s beautiful kingdom on the New Earth will be harmonious and safe from evil forever. Everyone will know God personally and understand the principles of His kingdom. No one will ever choose self-centeredness again. All have experienced how inferior it is to God’s way.
Commitment: I am tired of the tinsel and lies of Satan’s kingdom. I would like a transformed heart like Jesus’ heart of unselfish love. Father, thank You for giving Jesus to die in my place. Please take my life, cleanse me from my sins, and make me part of Your kingdom.