An end to Enmity
Why is there so much hatred in this world? This negative emotion eats away like cancer causing resentment, animosity and hostility often leading to violence, murder or even war. Where does it come from? Will we ever be able to rid ourselves of this powerfully destructive emotion?
Hatred and animosity have been with us a long time. An early reference can be found in the Book of Genesis, when God described to Adam and Eve the consequences of their sin. He started by addressing Satan, the one who persuaded them to disobey His instructions, saying “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15).
How many times have we glossed over these words without realising their impact on humanity? It is important to understand how these prophetic words, uttered nearly six thousand years ago, affect our lives today! The word enmity means animosity, hostility or hatred. God said that hatred would exist between Satan and the woman’s offspring. While this was referring specifically to Jesus Christ as we see in the later part of the verse, it does have a serious impact on us - we are also Eve’s offspring and the recipients of Satan’s hatred.
Make no mistake about it – Satan does exist! And his hatred for us is intense! Not only does he hate us, he has also, with great cunning and subtlety inculcated his hatred into our psyche, “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” (Genesis 3:1). So great has his influence been that we have become like him. His hatred has been inculcated into our very own nature which has become a mixture of good and evil, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5).
To understand the how and why of what has happened we need to understand who Satan is.
Most people don’t believe he really exists. The popular concept is that he is a mythical red creature with horns and tail, dressed in black and associated with the flames of ‘hell’. But the Bible doesn’t describe him like that at all. From what we can glean from the pages of the Bible, Satan was formerly Lucifer. A high-ranking angel of great beauty and talent, he was created as a ministering spirit, one of the two cherubim that covered the very throne of God, “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” (Ezekiel 28:14-15 see also Exodus 25:17-20).
The Bible doesn’t tell us how long it took for Lucifer to develop a rebellious attitude. But eventually iniquity (sin) was found in him and he rebelled against God trying to take over God’s throne, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:12-15). After he was defeated in his attempt to over throw God, Lucifer became known as Satan, which means adversary.
Angels were created for a different purpose and were not given the same potential as humans “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?” And again, "I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?" (Hebrews 1:5). And “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:” (Hebrews 2:5-7).
God’s purpose in creating mankind was to give them the opportunity of becoming His own sons and daughters to be joint heirs with Christ, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:14-17).
Lucifer tried to take the glory and honour reserved for man by trying to depose God from His throne. Having been defeated he is now focusing all his efforts on preventing us from reaching our potential - from becoming part of God’s family. Like a roaring lion he seeks to destroy us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (I Peter 5:8).
Who Do you Serve?
The Bible clearly says that we are servants, or slaves of whom we obey, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16, see also II Peter 2:19). Under Satan’s influence we have all disobeyed God’s laws and by default become his servants. Sin is the transgression of God’s law, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law… … He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.” (I John 3:4 and 8) And we have all sinned, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23 see also Romans 6:20). We have all made the same mistake that Adam and Eve made. Until we consciously reject Satan and turn to God we unwittingly remain his servants.
Many don’t realise that the Bible describes Satan as the god, or ruler of this world, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (II Corinthians 4:3-4). Even though He would not worship him, Jesus Christ Himself acknowledged that Satan was the prince of this world, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” (John 14:30 see also Luke 4:5-6).
As the invisible god of this world, working fervently behind the scenes to achieve his purpose, Satan has subtly infected mankind with his emotions of hatred and animosity, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” (Ephesians 2:2). And. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12). He has taught mankind lies and deceit, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44).
The carnal mind under the influence of Satan has an enmity toward God, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7). It permeates every aspect of our lives, determining our actions and destroying our relationships. The whole world has been deceived, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world:” (Revelation 12:9). He has deceived us into thinking that he does not exist; that he is just some figment of the imagination. And all the while he is turning our minds against God and against each other.
After having deceived Adam and Eve he turned the mind of their firstborn, Cain, against his brother Abel, whom he murdered, “And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Genesis 4:6-8). It is also reflected in our history books covering the last six thousand years, which drip with the blood of the countless millions who have died in so many senseless wars. Satan’s ultimate goal is to drive mankind to the point of self-destruction. Ever present is the prospect of nuclear holocaust and the unimaginable destruction that would be caused by the unleashing of biological weapons, - just one of several ways of destroying life on earth. Fortunately God is in charge and Satan can do nothing without His consent. For example when Satan attacked Job’s character he was restricted in what he could do to him, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” (Job 1:12). ).
Similarly with the rest of the world - God will not allow Satan to destroy it! Jesus Christ was sent to destroy the works of Satan, “….For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (I John 3:8). And He will be returning to complete the task.
God has a seven thousand year plan that involves six thousand years for mankind under Satan’s sway and a thousand years under the direct influence of Jesus Christ, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4). During Christ’s reign, Satan will have no affect on, or power over, the population, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” (Revelation 20:1-3).
It will be a time without hatred, without murder and war, “And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Micah 4:3, see also Isaiah 2:4 and 11:9).
There will be restoration of all things including mankind’s relationship with God “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21) and the blessings that go with it (Deuteronomy 28:1-13).
The End to Enmity
In the meantime we can’t escape the fact that Satan does, for the time being, rule this earth. And while we must contend with that, we can take comfort in the fact that God is in charge. Satan cannot do anything unless God lets him and if we turn to God in repentance, calling on His mercy, He will give us the power through Jesus Christ, to resist Satan’s influence. With God’s help we can overcome the negative influences of Satan and be freed from the bondage in which he not only holds mankind but also grips the whole world we live in, “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Romans 8:19-22).
While we sin we are held in bondage by the one who has overcome us “…for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” (II Peter 2:19). But through Christ we can be freed, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1). If we resist Satan he will flee from us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:7-8). And God will strengthen us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” (I Peter 5:8-10). He knows how to protect us, “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:” (II Peter 2:8). And will help us when we need, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).
Over six thousand years ago God indicated that mankind would suffer under the rule of Satan, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed” andat the same time indicated that Christ would put and end to the rule of Satan when He said, “He (Christ) shall bruise your (Satan’s) head,”. Although Satan would be responsible for the physical death of Jesus Christ, Christ would ultimately crush the serpent’s (Satan’s) head (his rulership) forever. Satan’s enmity toward mankind will not last forever – his time is limited.
When Jesus Christ returns to establish God’s Kingdom on this earth the relationship between mankind and God will be restored. At that time there will be an end to enmity.