For the week of June 5, 1999 / 21 Sivan 21 5759
Torah: Bemidbar / Numbers 8:1-12:16
Haftarah: Zechariah 2:14-4:7 (English 2:10-4:7)

There Is a Dark Side

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him (Zechariah 3:1).

Satan is mentioned by name only three times in the Tenach (Hebrew Scriptures). He plays a prominent role in the beginning of the book of Job. He incites King David in 1 Chronicles 21:1 to do wrong, and he stands to accuse Joshua the High Priest here in Zechariah.

Satan is not a concept or myth; he is real. There really is a being in the universe who opposes God, his purposes, and his people.

Good and evil are not parts of one whole. Evil exists independently of God. While God has created all things, he himself is not part of his creation. So Satan, like all created beings, exists as a separate entity.

Some confuse God's omnipresence (his being everywhere at the same time) with pantheism, which is the belief that God is in everything. God created the universe separate from himself. We can learn about God from what he has made, but we should not confuse the creation with the Creator himself.

God created the universe good. Evil is foreign to the creation's original design. While its origins are not altogether clear, Satan is seen as its prime perpetrator.

Evil was introduced to humans in the Garden of Eden by Satan in the form of a snake. Because Adam and Eve gave into his deception, evil became part of human life. And while evil has affected our nature, it still remains an outside force seeking to overcome us.

God wants to set us free from evil. This is why the Messiah came. "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work" (1 John 3:8). Through Yeshua we can be free from Satan's onslaughts. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

Evil is temporary. One day Satan will be destroyed:

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Revelation 20:10).

And those who follow Satan share his destiny:

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death (Revelation 21:8).

The dark side is not just a concept; it is real. But God has no part in it. Do you?

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