Has Evil Won?
THE idea of a cosmic struggle between the forces of good and evil has prompted endless speculation by writers and philosophers throughout history. There is a book, however, that contains the accurate history of the battle between God and the Devil. That book is the Bible. It sheds light on the issues involved in this conflict and provides the means of determining who has really won.
Soon after the creation of the first man and woman, an unseen spirit creature, Satan the Devil, challenged God’s rulership. How? By subtly suggesting that God withheld good things from his creation and that humans would fare better independent of him.—Genesis 3:1-5; Revelation 12:9.
Later, in the days of the patriarch Job, Satan raised another issue. Seeking to break Job’s integrity to God, Satan said: “Skin in behalf of skin, and everything that a man has he will give in behalf of his soul.” (Job 2:4) What a sweeping claim that was! By using the general term “a man” instead of the name Job, Satan brought into the arena of doubt the integrity of every human. He, in effect, asserted: ‘A man will do anything to save his life. Give me a chance, and I can turn anyone away from God.’
The victory in the battle between God and the Devil is determined by the answering of two questions: Is man successfully able to rule himself? Has the Devil managed to turn everyone away from the true God?
Can Humans Successfully Rule Themselves?
For thousands of years, humans have experimented with various types of rulership. Different forms of government, such as monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, autocracy, Fascism, and Communism, have been tried in the course of history. Does not the very fact that there has been an ever-present need to experiment indicate that these different ways of governing are inadequate?
“The Roman people found themselves engaged almost unawares in a vast administrative experiment,” writes H. G. Wells in A History of the World, published in 1922. He continues: “It was always changing, it never attained to any fixity. In a sense the experiment failed. In a sense the experiment remains unfinished, and Europe and America today are still working out the riddles of the worldwide statecraft first confronted by the Roman people.”
The experiment in government continued through the 20th century. That century ended with democratic rule gaining greater acceptance than ever before. Democracy theoretically reaches out to embrace everyone. But has democracy shown that man can rule successfully without God? Jawaharlal Nehru, former prime minister of India, called democracy good but added: “I say this because other systems are worse.” Former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing said: “We are witnessing a crisis of representative democracy.”
Even in the fifth century B.C.E., the Greek philosopher Plato detected a weakness in the democratic way of ruling. According to the book A History of Political Theory, he attacked “the ignorance and incompetence of politicians, which is the special curse of democracies.” Many of today’s politicians lament the difficulty in finding talented individuals who are qualified to serve in government. People “are annoyed by leaders who appear small at a time when the problems facing them are so big,” said The Wall Street Journal. It continued: “They are disgusted with finding indecision and corruption when they look for direction.”
Now consider the rulership of King Solomon of ancient Israel. Jehovah God gave Solomon outstanding wisdom. (1 Kings 4:29-34) How did the nation of Israel fare during Solomon’s 40-year reign? “Judah and Israel were many,” answers the Bible, “like the grains of sand that are by the sea for multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing.” The account also states: “Judah and Israel continued to dwell in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree, from Dan to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon.” (1 Kings 4:20, 25) With a wise king ruling over them as the visible representative of the invisible Supreme Ruler, Jehovah God, the nation enjoyed unsurpassed stability, prosperity, and joy.
What a stark contrast between man’s rulership and God’s! Can anyone honestly say that Satan has won on the issue of rulership? No, for the prophet Jeremiah accurately declared: “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.”—Jeremiah 10:23.
Can Satan Turn Everyone Away From God?
Has Satan been successful in his claim that he can turn everyone away from God? In chapter 11 of the Bible book of Hebrews, the apostle Paul names a number of faithful men and women of pre-Christian times. Then he declares: “The time will fail me if I go on to relate about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David as well as Samuel and the other prophets.” (Hebrews 11:32) Paul simply refers to these loyal servants of God as a ‘great cloud of witnesses.’ (Hebrews 12:1) The Greek word used here for “cloud” means, not a detached, sharply outlined cloud with definite size and shape, but a huge formless cloud mass. This is appropriate because the faithful servants of God in the past have been so numerous that they are like a huge cloud mass. Yes, down through the centuries, unnumbered multitudes of people have exercised their free will and chosen to give their allegiance to Jehovah God.—Joshua 24:15.
What do we find in our time? The number of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide has increased to over six million despite the terrible persecution and opposition they experienced during the 20th century. An additional nine million or so associate with them, and many of these are taking decisive steps to enter into a close personal relationship with God.
The ultimate answer to Satan’s claim that he can turn humans away from Jehovah came from God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. Not even excruciating pain on a torture stake broke his integrity. As Jesus took his last breath, he cried out: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.”—Luke 23:46.
Satan uses everything in his power—from temptations to outright persecution—to try to keep humans under his control. Using “the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life” to tempt people, he seeks either to keep or to entice them away from Jehovah. (1 John 2:16) Satan has also ‘blinded the minds of the unbelievers so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ might not shine through.’ (2 Corinthians 4:4) And Satan does not hesitate to resort to threats and to exploit fear of men to accomplish his aim.—Acts 5:40.
Those on God’s side, however, are not overcome by the Devil. They have come to know Jehovah God and ‘to love him with their whole heart and with their whole soul and with their whole mind.’ (Matthew 22:37) Yes, the unwavering loyalty of Jesus Christ and of countless humans adds up to a colossal defeat for Satan the Devil.
What Does the Future Hold?
Will human experiments in government go on indefinitely? The prophet Daniel foretold: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Daniel 2:44) The Kingdom that the God of heaven sets up is a heavenly government in the hands of Jesus Christ. It is the same Kingdom that Jesus taught his followers to pray for. (Matthew 6:9, 10) That Kingdom will destroy all human governments at “the [upcoming] war of the great day of God the Almighty” and will affect the entire earth.—Revelation 16:14, 16.
What is in store for Satan? The Bible describes this future event: “[An angel of Jehovah] seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, that he might not mislead the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended.” (Revelation 20:1-3) Only after Satan is hurled into the abyss of inactivity will the Thousand Year Reign of Jesus Christ begin.
What a delightful place this earth will then be! Gone will be wickedness and those who cause it. The Bible promises: “Evildoers themselves will be cut off . . . But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:9-11) Their peace will not be threatened from any source—human or animal. (Isaiah 11:6-9) Even millions who, out of ignorance and because of lack of opportunity to know Jehovah, sided with the Devil over the course of history will be brought back to life and given divine education.—Acts 24:15.
By the end of the Thousand Year Reign, the earth will be brought into a paradisaic condition, and mankind upon it will have been brought to human perfection. Then Satan will be let loose for “a little while,” only to be destroyed forever along with all opposers of God’s rulership.—Revelation 20:3, 7-10.
Whose Side Will You Take?
The 20th century was a time when Satan wreaked havoc upon the earth. Rather than indicating that he has won, however, the conditions on the earth constitute a sign that we are in the last days of this wicked world. (Matthew 24:3-14; Revelation 6:1-8) Neither the intensity of wickedness on earth nor the majority viewpoint is an issue in discerning who has won. The determining factors are whose way of ruling is best and whether anyone has served God out of love. On both counts, the victory belongs to Jehovah.
If the allowed time has already proved Satan wrong, why does God permit wickedness to continue? Jehovah is showing patience “because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) God’s will “is that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) May you use the remaining time to study the Bible and ‘take in knowledge of the only true God and of the one whom he sent forth, Jesus Christ.’ (John 17:3) Jehovah’s Witnesses will be happy to help you gain that knowledge so that you too can join the millions standing firm on the victorious side.
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By keeping integrity, Jehovah’s Witnesses have added to Satan’s defeat
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Jehovah has many loyal ones on his side