I Have a Question - Part 5

Scripture: Revelation 12:7-9
This broadcast covers more Bible questions sent in by listeners. The first question is, "If God is all powerful, why does He not kill the devil?" Another question, "Has the weekly cycle been confused to such a point that we really can't find the true seventh day of the week?"
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We are going to continue today with our series on questions that have been sent in by our radio listeners. I'm sure that you've had some of your own questions answered even if you haven't written in to us; but friends, we'd like to have that card or letter containing your sincere Bible question. A bit later maybe we can work it into our series of questions and answers on the broadcast. Here's our first question today.

If God is all powerful, why does He not kill the Devil?

Now, I hope that most of you have been listening to our broadcast and have heard the messages on Satan, his origin and destiny. The devil was once a beautiful, sinless angel who stood by the very throne of God in heaven. His name was Lucifer, and he began to desire to take the place of God Himself. He became jealous and envious of the position of the Creator, and at last his disaffection was spread to one third of the angels and there was war in heaven, according to Revelation 12, and Satan was cast out with his disgruntled angelic followers. Now there is no doubt that God could have destroyed that beautiful angel before sin had blossomed into open rebellion. The question is, what effect would it have had to destroy the angel who was beginning to transgress. First of all, none of the other angels would have understood just why God destroyed Lucifer. After all, sin had never been known before in those wonderful realms, and the results of transgression were not clearly known. Had Lucifer been suddenly snatched from their midst and destroyed, it would have created an atmosphere of fear among the heavenly hosts. They would have never known whether Satan's charges were true or false. There would have ever been a lingering doubt or suspicion about the right or wrong of God's act. For this reason, God allowed sin to follow its course of development through the ages. God created both angels and men with the power of choice. He wants us to make decisions on the basis of love for Him rather than fear. This is why He allowed the course of sin to develop through the ages. It had to be demonstrated that the devil was absolutely wrong in his rebellion. The only way this could be properly demonstrated was to have an outworking of it through the centuries and have everybody see the results of it. Just remember this, God did not create a devil. He created the beautiful sinless angel who turned himself into an evil one. Another reason God did not destroy Satan when sin first began to grow in his heart, was because He loved that beautiful creature He had made. Just as parents would not think of taking the lives of their children just because they begin wondering from the path of right, so God would not take the life of Lucifer because he had started indulging in sin. Finally, though, the justice of God is going to bring all of His creatures to judgment and sin will be punished in both angels and men. The wages of sin is death. After God's final disposition of sinners and sin, there can be no queston at all concerning His justice and also His love. Finally, as an explanation of the existence of Satan, I wonder if it doesn't keep Christians growing in their Christian life because they have to face the adversary day after day. Nobility in growth and character is possible only when we meet temptation and overcome it. The devil's presence, of course, is a very obnoxious and aggravating evil, but yet it provides opportunity for us to exercise our spiritual muscles and our spiritual faith in God.

I think the experience of fishermen in their boats will help us understand a little bit of what I am trying to say here. Every boat in certain fishing fleets is provided with a tank that is so placed that through its perforated sides the water is constantly flowing in from the sea. Into this aquarium-like enclosure the fish are immediately released after they have been hauled in by the nets. Once they get into these small circumscribed quarters, the fish seem perfectly content. But even so, the fishermen know that the live fish must be disposed of as soon as they can get to the waiting dealers, for experience has shown them that the captives will soon become soft and flabby and listless. The security of the pen, in other words, will take its toll on the fish. They will not be as salable when they get to the shore because they've relaxed in their aquarium enclosure.

One fisherman who seemed to understand some basic principles of life better than the other fishermen struck upon an ingenious plan. It was a plan which guaranteed that he would have the finest, firmest, and most vigorous fish of any in the fleet. When he returned from the fishing grounds, this man's catch was eagerly sought for and always brought the highest price. In vain his comrades tried to unravel the mystery, but through the years, he was as silent as a sphinx. After the old fisherman's death, his daughter, carrying out her father's instructions, told the secret. It was simple, but dramatic and effective. Her father, she announced, had made it a rule to keep a pugnacious catfish or two in the well of his boat. These fighting fish kept the finny freight in a state of alert agitation and alarm. The security the captured ones had in the tank of all the other vessels was denied those who found themselves in the same aquarium with the catfish. Compelled to live in a state of alarm and vigilance similar to their normal life in the sea, they maintained their stamina and strength. The utter security of all the other pens resulted in the deterioration of the favored fish. So friends, to ask the question: Why did not the old fisherman kill the catfish? is to suggest that evil might possibly have some uses after all. And maybe that is the purpose for having the devil around. It keeps us on our toes spiritually, it keeps us trusting in the power of a mighty delivering God. We human beings might be very secure without the devil, and yet we might be morally spineless and just like automatic machines. It is the climate of constant struggle and temptation which actually builds great characters as well as great civilization.

All right, we come to another question, and I think we'll have time to answer it on today's broadcast. You've been speaking a great deal about the Sabbath, but is it not true that time has been lost and the calendars have been changed so that we really don't know which day is the Seventh-day Sabbath?

I'm glad this question has been asked, friends, because it sure needs answering and clarifying. The fact is that time has never been lost. The greatest astronomers of our day assure us that it's impossible for any time to be lost in the history of the past. They are able to reach back by their wonderful methods of calculation and by the precision of the stars in the sky. They can definitely tell us that time has not been lost.

Now what about the calendars? Has it been changed so that we can't tell which day is which? Has the weekly cycle been confused to such a point that we really can't find the true seventh day of the week today? Let me say this about the calendar, we have today what is called the Gregorian Calendar. In the days of Jesus, they had the Julian Calendar, which was introduced by Julius Caesar long before Jesus was even born. Those astronomers believed that the exact length of the year was 365 1/4 days. But friends, the truth is that the year is eleven minutes less than 365 1/4 days. That doesn't seem to be very much but over a period of hundreds of years, eleven minutes added up. By 1582, the numbering of the calendar was ten days out of harmony with the solar system. In that year of 1582, Pope Gregory XIII corrected the mistake by making a small change in the calendar. It was Thursday, October 4, 1582 and the next day was Friday, October 5. But Gregory made Friday the 15th instead of the 5th. In other words, he dropped 10 days out of the numbering of the calendar so that it would come back into harmony with the heavenly bodies. But please take note that there was no change in the weekly cycle whatsoever. Friday still followed Thursday and Saturday still followed Friday, just exactly as it is today. There was no confusion in the order of days. Great Britain did not make this adjustment until 1752 when it was necessary to retrench eleven days, making September 3rd the 14th. Under the present plan, we retrench a day once every 129 years. You can readily see that the weekly cycle is not affected, but the change was made in the numbering of the calendar. Friday still followed Thursday and Sabbath still came after Friday.

So there it is, friends. No time has been lost. This is the reason God made the seven-day weekly cycle in the beginning. It was God who made everything in six days, and He set aside the seventh day as the Sabbath. It was sanctified, holy, and had God's special blessing upon it. Time has never been lost from that time to this. That historic week of seven days has been carried through the centuries unchanged. We know we have the very same seventh-day Sabbath that Jesus had when He was here. There can be no question on this point. The true Sabbath is right in front of your eyes when you look at the calendar in your own home.

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