[From Part 1]
Now, if we are to understand the purpose of future events, we have to note several tragic consequences of man joining Satan’s rebellion against God. The first tragic consequence is the fact that the theocracy was lost from planet earth. Remember, theocracy is a form of government in which the rule of God is administered by a representative. And now that Adam, God’s representative, had made the fateful choice to join God’s enemy, Satan, in his rebellion against God, God lost His representative and therefore the theocracy was lost from planet earth altogether.
A second tragic consequence of man joining Satan’s rebellion is the fact that Satan was now able to usurp the rule of the world system away from God. And the Scriptures make it quite clear that Satan and his forces have been dominating and controlling the world system ever since. In fact, they’re doing so even right now in this day and age in which we are living.
Several things in the Word of God make it very clear that Satan was able to usurp the rule of the world system away from God. For example, in Luke 4:5-6, where Luke records Satan tempting Jesus while Jesus was here in His first coming, we find that one form of the temptation was that he took Jesus to the top of a mountain. And this is what we read: “And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time” (Luke 4:5). Notice, Satan had the authority to cause all the kingdoms of the world system to pass before the Lord Jesus in visionary form.
Then verse 6: “And the devil said unto Him, ‘All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them for that is delivered unto me,’” literally, “It has been handed over to me,” “and to whomsoever I will, I give it.” Please note, Satan said to the Lord Jesus, “I have the authority to turn over the rule of the whole world system to whomever I wish,” and he told Jesus why he had the authority: “for it has been handed over to me.”
Who handed over the rule of the world system to God’s enemy, Satan? Adam did, because Adam was the one to whom God originally gave that rule. And whether Adam recognized it or not, when he made that fateful choice to join Satan’s rebellion against God, he was thereby handing over the rule of the whole world system to God’s enemy, Satan.
This is why the Lord Jesus, on more than one occasion while He was here in His first coming, referred to Satan as “the prince of this world,” literally, “the ruler of this world.” One place where Jesus made such a reference was in John 14:30. And this is why the apostle Paul referred to Satan as “the god of this age” in 2 Corinthians 4:4. He’s the one who controls the whole spirit and temperament of the present age in which we are living. This is also why John in 1 John 5:19 very literally said, “The whole world lies in the wicked one.”
And by the way, this is why James in James 4:4 warns Christians that we had better not be a friend of the world system in which we live because whoever makes himself the friend of the godless world system, thereby becomes an enemy of God. The reason is, God’s enemy is the one who is dominating and controlling that world system today. So the theocracy was lost, and Satan was able to usurp the rule of the world system away from God.
But there was a third tragic consequence of man joining Satan’s revolt against God back there in the Garden of Eden, and that is the fact that all of nature was put under a curse. In Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve had fallen away from God, and God came down to the earth to confront Adam, Eve and Satan with their roles in the fall of man, this is what God said to Adam: “Cursed is the ground for your sake. From now on, it will be by the sweat of your brow that you will till the ground to grow food to sustain life.”
It’s my understanding that through that curse that was put upon the ground, the fertility level of the soil of planet earth was radically reduced from what it was when God originally created it. And as a result, it would be much more difficult for man to grow food or crops to sustain life here on planet earth.
Even animal nature was radically changed from that curse. There are implications in the Bible to the effect that before the fall of man, all animals were completely tame and were vegetarian in diet. But now that the curse of man’s sin came upon them, animals became wild and many of them became carnivorous or flesh-eating, tearing at each other’s flesh as a source of food. This is why the apostle Paul in Romans 8 says that “all of creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own choosing.” Nature didn’t ask to be put under this curse, but it was subjected to it nonetheless. And Paul goes on to say that “the whole of creation groans and travails in pain” and can hardly wait until the ultimate day of redemption when the curse of man’s sin will be lifted off of nature.
Well, now that Satan had both angels and humans as subjects within his kingdom, his kingdom was established and functioning and so now there were two major spiritual kingdoms functioning in the universe: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. And since Satan’s goal was to become the ultimate sovereign one of the universe and God was already that ultimate Sovereign One, and since there can only be one ultimate sovereign one, this meant that there was going to be all-out war. And Satan, throughout the course of history, has been working to try to overthrow God as the Sovereign Lord of the universe and make himself that sovereign lord.
And may I point out to you that warfare that began back near the beginning of time has continued on down through the ages of time. It’s going on around us in the world today, and as we shall see, it’s going to go on into the future. And it is that continuing warfare between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan that provides us with the key for understanding the ultimate purpose of history. Satan’s purpose is to unseat God as the Sovereign Lord of the universe and make himself that sovereign lord in place of God. But God’s purpose for history and therefore the ultimate purpose is to glorify Himself by demonstrating the fact that He alone is the sovereign God of this universe.
Now, the Scriptures indicate that in order for God to accomplish that purpose, there are three significant things God must do before the history of this world comes to an end. Number one, God must crush His enemy Satan and get rid of him and his kingdom rule and his forces from this planet altogether. Since this earth started out without Satan and his forces controlling the world system, but then Satan was able to usurp the rule of the world system away from God through the Fall of man, if God doesn’t get rid of Satan and his rule from planet earth before the history of this earth comes to an end, then God ends up defeated by His enemy Satan within the scope of this earth’s history. God must crush Satan and get rid of him and his kingdom rule from planet earth altogether.
The second thing God must do is this. After He does crush Satan, God must restore His theocracy back to this planet in which once again God will have a man, an Adam, as His representative administering His rule over this entire earth. And the Word of God makes it very clear that God has such a man. His name is Jesus Christ. And this is why the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:45 calls Jesus “the last Adam.” You see, the first Adam lost the theocracy for God by joining Satan’s revolt against God. But Jesus Christ, in His glorious second coming back to planet earth after the seven-year tribulation, will return as the last Adam to restore God’s theocracy and then, as His representative, to administer God’s rule over this entire earth for the last great age of world history that is called “the millennium.”
May I point out to you, this is one of the reasons, not the only one, but one of the major reasons why the incarnation of Jesus Christ was absolutely essential. One reason, obviously, was so that He could die as our substitute on the cross of Calvary to pay the penalty for our sins. But another reason is, so that in His second coming, He can return to planet earth as a man, as an Adam, to function as God’s representative administering His rule. I would like to challenge you sometime to look in the Gospels at the places where Jesus referred to His second coming, and almost invariably, He calls Himself “the Son of man” at His second coming. He’ll still be the Son of God, absolute deity, but He’s emphasizing His humanity in His second coming because He’s returning as the last Adam to restore God’s theocracy.
But then the third thing God must do to fulfill His purpose for history is this: when He does restore that theocracy through His Son, Jesus Christ, God must lift the curse of man’s sin off of nature and restore nature back to the way it was before the Fall of man took place.