The Separation

The Separation

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the water.

God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.M168 These are the words spoken in Genesis 1:1-3

We learn that God is light in 1 John 1:5. This then is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.M169

There is no darkness in God, and we learned from Genesis 1:2 that darkness was over the surface of the deep on earth. Where then did darkness come from?

In whom was this darkness found, if there is no darkness in God?

Confusion on where darkness came from, if God did not create it abounds, and it’s not surprising, for in 2 Corinthians 11:14 it says, and no wonder! For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.M170 These words begin to unmask the source of the darkness.

This confusion among angels of light is valid because if you read Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 you begin to realize that these words that are spoken to a person are not intended to the person, but to the evil spirit that has come upon that person.

A lot of people do not believe in evil spirits and why this is, is prophesied in Hosea 4:6. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you from being My priest. And because you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.M171

Whose people are destroyed for lack of knowledge?

God’s people. These are the people that are destroyed for not having enough knowledge. There’s a saying that started around the 17th century, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”R10 that I believe is so true.

God’s people are not destroyed by having knowledge but by the lack of having enough. By not having enough knowledge, God’s people do not know who they are fighting against and constantly wrestle with themselves when Ephesians 6:12 tells us who our enemy is, and who our fight is against.

For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.M172

We know that God created the heavens and the earth. But do we realize that it says God created the heavens, which means that God created more than one heaven? God created heavenly places and the earth. The heavenly places that are referred to in Genesis are like saying God created the spiritual and the physical. God created spiritual dwelling places and the earth.

Our limitation is in understanding that which cannot be seen. We find it difficult trying to explain what we see and mean, how much more difficult will it be to comprehend that which cannot be seen but exists.

We read about spiritual dwelling places (i.e. the heavens) in Jude 1:6. Likewise, the angels who did not keep to their first domain, but forsook their own dwelling, He has kept in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.M173

Angels are not from the earth; they are from the heavens. These angels that fell with Satan have joined forces together to fight against God’s people. But God has an army also and we see that reference in Matthew 26:53. Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will at once give Me more than twelve legions of angels?M174

How many angels make up a legion is debatable. Merriam-Webster defines a legion as the following: a large group of soldiers in ancient Rome, a large group of soldiers, a large military force, the principal unit of the Roman army comprising 3,000 to 6,000 foot soldiers with cavalry.MW15

If we use the numbers from a Roman army twelve legions would be between 36,000 to 72,000 angels. In the story from Mark 5:2-16 we again see the word legion referenced again and approximate number used for one legion was 2,000.

When He had come out of the boat, immediately a man with an unclean spirit came out of the tombs and met Him. He lived among the tombs. And no one could constrain him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. But he had pulled the chains apart and broken the shackles to pieces. And no one could subdue him. Always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran up and kneeled before Him, and cried out with a loud voice, “What have You to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure You by God, do not torment me.” For Jesus said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”

Then He asked him, “What is your name?”

He answered, “My name is Legion. For we are many.” And he begged Him repeatedly not to send them away out of the country.

Now there was a great herd of swine feeding near the mountains. All the demons pleaded with Him, asking, “Send us to the swine, so that we may enter them.” At once, Jesus gave them leave. Then the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. And the herd, numbering about two thousand, ran wildly down a steep hill into the sea and were drowned in the sea.

Those who fed the swine fled and reported it in the city and in the country. And people went out to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw him who had been possessed with the legion of demons sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who saw it told them how it befell him who had been possessed with the demons and also concerning the swine.M175

The first thing that this story highlights is that there was a man with an unclean spirit. It wasn’t an evil man; it was a man that an unclean spirit had got a hold of.

The second is that this man lived in the tombs, which means he lived among the dead. Ephesians 2:1-2 helps us understand the connection between the unclean spirit and the tombs of the dead.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the age of this world and according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. M176

There is an unclean spirit at work in those who are disobedient. Disobedience opens the door for an unclean spirit to take hold of a person. It is for this reason in Ephesians 4:27 we are reminded, do not give place to the devil.M177

If we make a place for the devil, he will move in his commander followed by his army (legion) of demons. When the demons took a foothold of him, no one could constrain him, not even with chains. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. This is a scary example of what could happen once we give place to the devil and his companions.

The third most interesting thing of the story was when the man with the unclean spirit saw Jesus from afar, he ran up and kneeled before Him. You’re probably wondering why in the world would a man with an unclean spirit run towards Jesus and go on his knees. It would make better sense to run the opposite direction as the unclean spirit knew that Jesus could torment him. So why then did this unclean spirit do this crazy thing?

The answer to that is in Romans 14:11.

For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”M178

The man with the unclean spirit had no choice because it is written. Notice that it doesn’t say it was written, it says it is written. It is written in the present tense because the word of God is alive, living and has power.

The power of the living word of God can be found in Hebrews 4:12-13. For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart. There is no creature that is not revealed in His sight, for all things are bare and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.M179

How amazing is that piece of scripture! Did you notice that’s exactly what happened?

There’s another thing you start to realize about the word of God when it is spoken. In Mark 5:6-8 we often miss noticing that the unclean spirit cried out after Jesus said in Mark 5:8 “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”M180

It was because Jesus said in Mark 5:8, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”M181 the unclean spirit in Mark 5:7 cried out with a loud voice, “What have You to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure You by God, do not torment me.”M182

Jesus did not torture the unclean spirit, but instead, Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” The unclean spirit replied, “My name is Legion. For we are many.” And he begged Him repeatedly not to send them away out of the country.

Now this is where things get fascinating. When the spirit separated from the man, the spirit begged Jesus not to send them out of the country. The spirit was attached to that country and wanted to maintain their place. Later in the story, we see that they stayed in the country but before that, we get knowledge and insight about who is in the army of the devil.

Demons!

I’m sure you noticed that in the story it went from the unclean spirit begging Jesus to, All the demons pleading with Him, asking, “Send us to the swine, so that we may enter them,”M183 in Mark 5:12.

The unclean spirit which is obviously evil and may have been the leader of this legion; not only made a place for himself with this man but the unclean spirit brought enough demons that it made up a legion large enough to enter about 2,000 swine (pigs).

In Mark 5:12-13, all the demons pleaded with Him, asking, “Send us to the swine, so that we may enter them.” At once, Jesus gave them leave. Then the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. And the herd, numbering about two thousand, ran wildly down a steep hill into the sea and were drowned in the sea.M184

In Merriam-Webster swine is defined as a wild or domestic pig.MW16 Therefore, we can assume that since the people who fed the swine fled and reported it in the city and in the country, this herd of pigs were domesticated.

Before I talk about the part in Mark 5 which I found the most interesting. I just want to explain why Jesus sent the unclean spirit and the legion of demons into the pigs.

The reason why Jesus sent the unclean spirits into the pigs is because pigs are an unclean animal. It would have been wrong for Jesus to send the unclean spirits into clean animals as this would have made those clean animals unclean.

It is in Deuteronomy 14:8 where we learn the reason God made clean and unclean animals. The pig is unclean to you because it divides the hoof, yet it does not chew the cud. You must not eat of their flesh or touch their dead carcass.M185

What I read in Mark 5:14-17 I found more interesting than the 2,000 demons that were sent out of the man. In Mark 5:14-17 it says, those who fed the swine fled and reported it in the city and in the country. And people went out to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus and saw him who had been possessed with the legion of demons sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who saw it told them how it befell him who had been possessed with the demons and also concerning the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart out of their region.M186

Isn’t that interesting?

Because in Mark 5:18-20, when Jesus entered the boat, he who had been possessed with the demons prayed Him that he might be with Him. Jesus did not let him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you and how He has had compassion on you.” So he departed and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him. And everyone was amazed.M187

I’m amazed! The man who was possessed by demons wanted to go with Jesus but all the people from the ten cities (Decapolis) who were amazed at what Jesus had done for him by casting the demons into the pigs, began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

Interesting isn’t it. Right there in black and white. The end of the story is where it all began. For the people in the region to plead with Jesus to leave the region, it would mean that they must also be with unclean spirits. For earlier in the story that’s exactly what the unclean spirit said to Jesus, “My name is Legion. For we are many.” And he begged Him repeatedly not to send them away out of the country. It was because Jesus had given that unclean spirit with the legion of demons, permission to stay that the other unclean spirits asked for the exact same thing. They were afraid they would be sent out of the country.

You may be asking why did Jesus allow them to go into the pigs, why did he give them permission to stay in the country?

The answer to that is found in Matthew 8:29 (NIV) where the demons said, “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”N12

Jesus had to spare the demons for it was not the appointed time. We read about that in 1 Corinthians 4:5.

Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will reveal the purposes of the hearts. Then everyone will have commendation from God.M188

Habakkuk 2:3-5 has insightful words of what the enemy is trying to do.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it delays, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Look, his soul is lifted up; it is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.

Indeed, wine betrays the proud man, who does not stay at home. He enlarges his appetite as Sheol, and like death he is never satisfied. He gathers to himself all nations and collects for himself all peoples.M189

The enemy is gathering all the nations and collecting for himself the people.

This is what God foresaw and why in Genesis 1:4, God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.M190

If we look at 1 John 1:5 again. This then is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.M191

This verse explains two important things. The first, God is light. So when God said “Let there be Light” God allowed or decreed God to exist as light, for God is light.

The second and most incredible statement is that in Him there is no darkness at all. This brings us back to the question we asked ourselves earlier, if God did not create darkness, then who did?

The answer to that can be found in Ezekiel 28:11-19 (NIV), but to understand what’s said in that chapter we have to remember the story in Mark 5. That there was a man with an unclean spirit. When Jesus was speaking to the man possessed with an unclean spirit, Jesus was actually speaking to the unclean spirit.

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite, and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.

So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.

Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.

So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.

By your many sins and dishonest trade, you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.

All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.’”N13

How beautiful are these words?

Clearly they were not for the King of Tyre but to the spirit that possessed the King of Tyre. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the King of Tyre was not in Eden, the garden of God, yet alone an anointed cherub. It is obvious that these words were intended to the spirit of the King of Tyre.

Let’s take a closer look at the words used so we can better understand the meaning of the story and in greater detail. The first interesting word used is lament.

Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre. The word lament as defined by Merriam-Webster to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something.MW17

The next key was the use of the words Sovereign Lord, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says.” In Merriam-Webster Sovereign means, one possessing supreme political power, one that exercises supreme authority.MW18

The meanings of the word “Lord” in Merriam-Webster are one having power and authority over others or a ruler by hereditary right or preeminence to whom service and obedience are due.MW19

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.M192

The words in Ezekiel 28:12 did not say, this is what God says, it says this is what the Sovereign Lord says. What that means is, it was Jesus that was speaking.

In Romans 10:9 it says, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.M193

Romans 10:9 also says that God raised him from the dead. In other words, God raised the “Lord” Jesus from the dead. To whom all authority in heaven and on earth has been given.

Therefore, in Philippians 2:9-11, God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.M194

These words from Philippians 2:9-11, teach us that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

We know that Jesus is the Sovereign Lord not only by what Jesus said in Matthew 28:18 but most importantly by what is written in Revelation 17:14.

These will wage war with the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Those who are with Him are called and chosen and faithful.M195

We know Jesus is the Lamb of God from John 1:29-31. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him, but for this reason I came baptizing with water: so that He might be revealed to Israel.”M196

In those words, that John the Baptist said, he revealed a little bit more than who the Lamb of God is. He told us that Jesus, who came after John was greater because He actually was before John and the reason for John to do the work of God in baptizing people was so that the Lamb of God could be revealed to Israel to take away the sin of the world.

What is the sin of the world that needs to be taken away?

To figure that out we need to go back to Ezekiel 28:12-16 (NIV) where it says: “‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite, and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise, and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned.N14

The sin of the world that Jesus is going to take away is that which the anointed and ordained guardian cherub created. What’s important in that verse is not only that this angel was anointed as a guardian cherub, but that this angel was also ordained by God.

Ordain, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is, to establish by appointment, decree, or law.MW20 God not only in Ezekiel 28:12-13 (NIV) created a seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty but every precious stone adorned this angel: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl N15, but decreed that the angel be a guardian cherub.

Due to wickedness, God drove out in disgrace and expelled the guardian cherub from among the fiery stones. A guardian according to Merriam-Webster is someone that watches or protects somethingMW21. The question was what was this angel watching or protecting?

Since there was no darkness at this time, before it being found in this angel, it would mean that this guardian cherub was watching over something versus protecting that something.

When I read the words, expelled from among the fiery stones, Jacob’s Dream at Bethel comes to mind and if we read Genesis 28:10-17 we get a hint towards what the guardian cherub was watching over.

Then Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Harran. He came to a certain place and stayed there all night because the sun had set. He took one of the stones of that place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. He dreamed and saw a ladder set up on the earth with the top of it reaching to heaven. The angels of God were ascending and descending on it. The Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie, to you will I give it and to your descendants. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and in your descendants all the families of the earth will be blessed. Remember, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you.”

Jacob awoke out of his sleep, and he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”M197

Taking one of the stones there and putting it under his head, may not seem significant to many, but it is to me. When someone doesn’t talk about how the person went from Beersheba to Harran, what he had for lunch or dinner, but decided to talk about taking a stone and putting it under his head to sleep, it becomes significant.

The one thing I learned from reading the Bible, is that it doesn’t provide extra information. There’s nothing in there that’s unnecessary. Every word and statement is carefully selected to give insight. The question is what insight is it trying to provide?

The insight was the place with stones had a ladder reaching heaven which had angels ascending and descending, it was the house of God, the gate of heaven. Similar insight can be found in John 1:47-51.

Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him and said concerning him, “Here is an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.”

Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?”

Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”M198

Similar to Jacob, Nathanael was told by Jesus that he would see angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Jacob saw a ladder on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven. The place that Jacob was in was none other than the house of God; the gate of heaven on earth.

Therefore, the ordained guardian cherub was expelled from among the fiery stones that were at the gate of heaven.

In Matthew 7:13-14 we are reminded to, enter at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it, because small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.M199

Jesus was right when He said only a few find it. We know Jacob found it and Nathanael will also find it. The gate to heaven and earth is narrow and was guarded by the fallen cherub.

The question we should be asking ourselves is who is guarding our gate. For the gate to heaven is our heart.  Let’s look at the words from Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) for wisdom. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.N16

The heart is what is on trial here on earth if you ask my opinion, the gate is how the angels can have access to heaven from earth to seek permission to test the heart of mankind. No story better illustrates and explains this than the story of Job 1:6-7 (NIV).

One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”N17

Satan also came with them; isn’t that an interesting statement. But before I get to that statement, the one that I love the best, is the subtle way Jesus is spoken about in this Old Testament story.

It says the Lord said to Satan, it doesn’t say God and we know from John 20:26-28 that Jesus is Lord and God.

After eight days His disciples were again inside with the doors shut, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand here and place it in My side. Do not be faithless, but believing.”

Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!”M200

When Jesus asked Satan “Where have you come from?” It wasn’t because He didn’t know, it was so that we may have critical insight on where this event took place.

The other reason why Jesus asks Satan where is he coming from is so that we who are reading the word will be made aware of what Satan does.

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”  In 1 Peter 5:8 (ANT) we are told to be alert, be reflective, because your enemy Satan roars like a lion and is walking and seeking whom he may devour.A1

This is where these two stories come together to help us understand the process. You see Satan is seeking whom he may devour, he came and presented himself before the Lord and in Job 1:8 (NIV), the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”N18

Job not only feared God but avoided evil. That’s what the word shun means. Satan believes and wants to prove to God that people will curse Him if all their blessing are removed. He does this so that he can prove his own innocence. Satan wants to prove that there are others just like him, that he is not the devil and the father of evil.

Who the father of evil is can be found in John 8:44 Jesus says, you are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.M201

In trying to prove that Job likewise would fall on his own accord, Satan the devil says to Jesus, in Job 1:9-11 (NIV).

“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”N19

It is in this verse Satan gives a clue that he was speaking to Jesus and not God when he said “Does Job fear God for nothing?”, if Satan was speaking to God he would have said “Does Job fear you for nothing?” What’s more interesting than that clue is the clue that Satan shares next when he says, have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?

Satan declares that Jesus the Lord is putting a hedge around him and protecting him. Psalm 121:5-8 speaks to this, the Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not harm you during the day, nor the moon during the night. The Lord shall protect you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from now and for evermore.M202

Satan needed Jesus to remove the protection He has placed over Job so he can take from Job all that he has.

In Job 1:12 (NIV), the Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.N20

Jesus gave control over everything Job had to Satan, and Satan went about taking away everything Job had.

When things around us become hard and we begin to share similarities to Job, let us remember that Job was chosen by Jesus. Likewise, we have to be found worthy enough to be chosen.

The chosen have to be tested, we have to remember the words from 1 Peter 2:9-10. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession so that you may declare the goodness of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. In times past, you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. You had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.M203

In Isaiah 48:9-10 we begin to understand why these things happened to Job, and that we have also been chosen. For My name’s sake I will defer My anger, and for My praise I will restrain it for you so that you are not cut off. See, I have refined you, but not with silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.M204

The meaning of affliction in Merriam-Webster is the state of being affected by something that causes suffering, or something (such as a disease) that causes pain or suffering.MW22

The first test that Job went through was suffering. In Job 1:14-19 (NIV) we can see the constant barrage of suffering that Satan dealt Job to try and get him to sin against God.

A messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”N21

Despite this assault on Job, he did not sin against God instead offered praise and we see this is in Job 1:20-22.

Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshipped. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked will I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In all this Job did not sin, and he did not accuse God of wrongdoing.M205

Jesus is testing us in the furnace of affliction. In that furnace, the first stage is when we are affected by something that causes suffering in general usually a loss of something. The second stage is when something (such as a disease) causes pain or suffering.

When Job passed the first test, Satan was not happy. In Job 2:1-7 (NIV) we learn that Satan got the opportunity to torment Job a second time. Satan went before Jesus again, because he wanted to prove that when suffering is felt internally by the physical body, a person will turn and sin against God.

On another day, the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

“Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.N22

Did you notice what Satan did?

He afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Jesus permitted Satan to have Job tested in the furnace of affliction so that Jesus can have him refined further from silver and gold as we learn in 1 Peter 1:6-9

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now, if for a little while, you have had to suffer various trials, in order that the genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tried by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom, having not seen, you love; and in whom, though you do not see Him now, you believe and you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving as the result of your faith the salvation of your souls.M206

Satan knows that if he can get Job to sin against God, he wins. He knows the rules, Jesus shares that in Mark 3:28-29.

Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they speak. But he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal condemnation.”M207

For those that are guilty of eternal condemnation and sin are chained in eternal darkness and will be separated from the light. For God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.

For there is a time coming spoken about by Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. Before Him will be gathered all nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left.

“Then the King will say to those at His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in. I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?’

“The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you have done it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you have done it for Me.’

“Then He will say to those at the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

“Then they also will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not serve You?’

“He will answer, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it not for one of the least of these, you did it not for Me.’

“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”M208

When the separation takes place, which side will we be on?

It will help us to remember these words from 1 John 3:18. My little children, let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth.M209