No Sympathy for the Devil
by Patricia Backora
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Some Christians believe in UNCONDITIONAL, ALL-INCLUSIVE love. Period. A very few even believe Christians should feel deep sympathy for satan because he’s sitting on death row. Rev.20:10, the great glad news of satan’s destruction in the Lake of Fire, actually brings tears to their eyes! Really, though. Does the Bible support the doctrine of UNCONDITIONAL love for EVERYBODY at ALL times, under ALL circumstances? Does God have a soft spot in His heart for satan, His arch-enemy? Are WE obligated to feel affection not only toward the most impenitent sinners, but even toward satan, their daddy (John 8:44)?
Smile! Jesus LOVES You! During the Jesus Revolution of the late 60’s and early 70’s, this message was proclaimed by a yellow smiley face pasted onto the bumpers of rainbow-colored vans and VW’s driven by “Jesus freaks” who had repented of their love-ins and drug trips. But in their eagerness to spread the great glad news of Jesus’ UNCONDITIONAL love for the most depraved sinners, these hippies “high on LJC” (Lord Jesus Christ) overlooked the possibility that God may hate not only the sin but unrepentant sinners foreordained to be vessels (containers) of wrath fitted to (Gk.katartizo, fitted themselves for) destruction (see Rom.9:13, 21-22). This verb signifies the close relationship between one’s character and his destiny. A righteous God who pours out His wrath upon sinners simply did not fit in with the starry-eyed Christian romanticism of the Jesus Revolution. The phrase “unconditional love” appears NOWHERE in Scripture. God can and does show tender concern toward all His creatures, but the sinner cannot relate to God as Heavenly Father. Until we repent of our sins and accept Christ as Savior, we are at enmity with God (Rom.8:7; James 4:4).
While Christians twist scripture to reassure a sinner that God is too loving to ever get angry with anyone, conveniently forgotten is that God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalms 7:11). Instead of warning every man with fear (I Pet.3:15) and teaching reverential fear and repentance toward the God Who is a consuming fire (Deut.4:24; 9:3; Heb.12:28-29) the sinner is left with the mental picture of a Captain Nice who smiles at everybody and avoids conflict at all costs.
God never changes (Mal.3:6). But various scriptures do point to dispensational differences in God’s dealings with the wicked. Today we’re to go out and preach the gospel to ALL nations (Matt.24:14; Mark 13:10; 16:15). But back in the OT God reserved His special love for Israel (Deut.14:2). Far from loving ALL with an UNCONDITIONAL love, God Himself even ordered the annihilation of an entire nation in the Promised Land (I Sam.15:3). Elijah destroyed his enemies with fire from heaven (2 Kings 1:10). But there’s an about-face in the NT. Jesus strongly rebuked His disciples for wanting to copy Elijah and call down fire from heaven upon enemies (Luke 9:51-56). Instead, Christ commanded love to be shown even toward persecutors (Matt.5:44). If an enemy hungers, you are to feed him. Interestingly, Elijah wasn’t rebuked by God for slaying his foes, many centuries before Christ came to teach a better way. Instead of being upbraided for having an unloving attitude. Elijah was counted as a righteous man. Unlike most of us Elijah even went to heaven without first dying (2 Kings 2:11).
In the OT, God dealt more harshly with His foes. He forbade Israel to show kindness toward certain nations who had wronged them (Deut.23:6; Ezra 9:12). Israel was not to seek the peace and the good of people God was against. God even dealt sternly with Israel in the days of her apostasy. God had harsh warnings for false prophets who promised peace and prosperity instead of divine judgment.
Jere.14:11: Then said the LORD unto me, PRAY NOT FOR THIS PEOPLE FOR [THEIR] GOOD.
When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.
13 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.
14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
15 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.
16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.
Jesus commanded His disciples to pray even for wicked persecutors and to bless them. But in the days of Jeremiah God condemned prophets who preach God’s “unconditional love” and give the impression that God won’t punish sinners.
Love is Christ’s commandment (John 13:34). But is it a sin to hate things God hates?
Ye that love the Lord hate evil (Psalms 97:10a).
Abhor (strongly hate) that which is evil (Rom.12:9).
Are we to love ALL things ALL the time? For every thing there is a season.
Ecclesiastes 3:8: A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Rom.12:18: If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.* * **Sometimes peace ISN’T possible because some folks don’t WANT peace! Some people aren’t happy unless they can stir up a tornado of trouble. Some people are so hardened in wickedness that the Holy Spirit may make an alarm go off inside to warn you away. I’ve experienced this before, and when I ignored the warning I always paid the price. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to live with manipulative, backstabbing, quarrelsome people in peace, and the peaceful Christian can’t be blamed for this.
Is it a SIN to rejoice when God dispenses His justice?
In Revelation 12:10 satan is cast out of heaven down to the earth, unable to appear before God anymore to accuse the brethren. Do the inhabitants of heaven feel sorry for satan?
Rev.12:12: Therefore rejoice (Gk.euphraino, to make merry, to cheer), [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.*** Instead of boo-hooing because God has been mean to satan, the inhabitants of heaven rejoice! But woe to the people on earth, because during the Tribulation, satan’s headquarters will be on earth. He and his demons will be under “house arrest” on earth until Jesus comes back in Rev.20:6. At that time the devil will be cast down into the Bottomless Pit until he is thrown into the Lake of Fire at the conclusion of Christ’s thousand-year Reign.
What was God’s attitude toward punishing the wicked in the Bible?
Psalms 2: Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
Verse 2: The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
Verse 3: Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
Verse 4: He that sitteth in the heavens shall LAUGH: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Verse 5: Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Psalms 37:12-13: The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall LAUGH at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
2 Chron.19:2: And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore [is] wrath upon thee from before the LORD.***Here somebody gets into deep trouble for loving the wrong people!
Psalms 11:5: The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
Psalms 5:5: The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
Ezekiel 7:4: And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.
The Lord shall abhor (strongly hate) the bloody and deceitful man (Psalms 5:6).***So much for “hate the sin, love the sinner”.
What about the apostle Paul? Surely HE never felt harshly toward any poor sinner.
I Cor.16:22: If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema (accursed) Maranatha.
Gal.1:8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed***Here Paul includes apostate preachers in the “accursed”.
Verse 9: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Titus 1:7-8: For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;***Why didn’t Paul simply say: “a lover of ALL men” instead of “good” men, if all are to be equally loved and accepted?
Surely Christian love demands that hospitality be offered to ALL people, regardless of the content of their character?
2 John 1:10: If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed:***Here John instructs believers to be careful who they let into their home. If certain professing believers bring the wrong doctrine, they’re not to be kept as house guests! That would certainly apply to some drunken, blasphemous pervert as well!
Some Christians think it’s a sin to be repelled by sinners and their conduct. What did the Risen Christ say to one struggling church?
Rev.2:2: I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear (stand) them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:***Not only doesn’t Jesus rebuke these people for being “judgmental” toward false apostles, He doesn’t even rebuke them for admitting they can’t stand those who are evil!
The devil doesn’t deserve our sympathy. He has blasphemed the Holy Spirit and tempted others to commit this unpardonable sin. satan has hindered the spread of the gospel and led billions to hell by causing them to reject Jesus. He murdered God’s Holy Son in the cruelest way. The devil is behind all outrages against little children, every abusive step parent, all domestic violence, every sexual assault, every robbery, every bloody, horrible war ever waged by man. When he gets barbequed in God’s hickory pit, it will be the icing on the cake after Christ’s Thousand-year Reign on earth.
If God hates anyone during this Gospel Age, it must be with the greatest reluctance. God makes rain to fall upon both the righteous and the wicked (Matt.5:45). But God’s attitude toward the wicked will soon return to a stern one of divine judgment. During the Great Tribulation the Two Witnesses will do like Elijah and destroy God’s enemies with fire (Rev. 11:5). During the Millennium which follows the Tribulation, God will withhold rain from sinful nations (Zech.14:18). Even Jesus, the King, will destroy the wicked (Isa.11:4b). At the conclusion of the Tribulation Period Jesus will wage war against the armies of Antichrist (Rev. chap.19).
Although Church Age believers have patiently loved even their worst enemies, a change in dispensation, the Tribulation Period, is coming soon. God will once again stir up His wrath against the impenitent, During the Tribulation, a clear distinction will be made between those who accept the Mark of the Beast and other people who still have a chance for repentance and eternal life (Rev.14:9-11). There is some controversy as to whether the Mark will be clearly visible on people’s bodies, or whether it will be an implanted microchip invisible to the naked eye. Still, I can’t imagine that any Tribulation believer would be required to love a blasphemer who goes around bragging that he has taken the Mark and is at war with Christ.
As of yet, there is no Mark of the Beast system in place where you can easily tell the hopeless sinner from the potential convert just by the outward evidence of the Mark. Today only God knows for sure. So on the basis that ALL are assumed to be possible candidates for salvation we’re to love all men (I Thes.3:12).
Suppose there’s a zoo employee who has a “pet” lion he talks to every day. But the man knows the lion is bigger than he is, and he lacks the expertise to control such a dangerous animal. Instead of entering the lion’s cage to spoon feed him his dinner, the man either passes the lion’s food through the bars or throws it over the top of the enclosure. People who constantly tear you apart emotionally and spiritually are too dangerous to get too close to. You can love them from afar by praying for their salvation and sharing as much of the Gospel as they’re able and willing to receive. But beware of unwise soul ties which would bring you into captivity to the same wicked spirits holding them in bondage. Just like we don’t kiss somebody who has the flu, sometimes we must withdraw from hardened blasphemers in order to safeguard our own souls. I strongly believe that just being constantly around evil people exposes you to demonic oppression. Prolonged school bullying opened the door to demons of depression and suicide which I had to resist for years afterward. Many times, seemingly out of nowhere, these wicked spirits of the air (Eph.2:2;6:12) attacked me with suicidal thoughts and feelings of sadness. Such attacks are “fiery darts of the enemy” (Eph.6:16).
So what has satan DONE to earn my hatred? I barely have time to scratch the surface. But I’ll expound on just one reason: the bullying.
Back in the late 60’s school children had NO right whatsoever to learn in a peaceful, secure environment. They had NO right to basic human dignity, no civil rights as an individual. Not only could children torment other children without fear of punishment, teachers could treat you any old way they wanted. They could inflict any indignity under the sun upon a child short of severe physical assault or murder.
I was too naïve to realize this at the time, but just like Hollywood talent scouts search for new people to promote as stars, bullies size you up as a potential victim from the very first day you come to school. I should have zipped my lip but I was poor at reading people. The bullies’ Deep Throat agent asks potential victims questions, then reports the answers back to the gang of bullies searching for someone to pick on all year (and longer). Then, from out of nowhere, you’ll be insulted BY NAME by kids you’ve never once met personally.
The devil despises the variety in God’s human creation. If you didn’t look like a Barbie Doll you were in for it. If you had a funny last name or didn’t have soft shiny hair you were liable to be bullied, and accused of being from some unacceptable ethnic group. Even if you ironed your hair and dieted down to size zero, the bullies wouldn’t leave you alone because you were ALREADY their designated target for life..
When I was bullied in school satan saw to it that I had not ONE peaceful day at school where I wasn’t under continual emotional (and occasional physical) attack. The devil inspired one or two of my enemies to urge me to kill myself to end my misery. But I wouldn’t give ‘em the satisfaction!
Before those awful high school days, I’d gotten saved at the age of twelve, but couldn’t grow spiritually. Since the Baptism of the Holy Ghost wasn’t taught at that particular church, my newfound joy in the Lord wore off after a couple of days. My Sunday School teacher taught that if you committed just ONE sin after conversion, you were forever lost. You can imagine how scared I felt after my next argument with my brother!
Most local churches could present the basic facts on how to receive Christ as a Savior from hell, but offered little help on how to overcome satan’s attacks in the power of the Holy Spirit. Most churches were cold warehouses for those who’d “prayed the sinner’s prayer”. The Christian life consisted of “church” attendance, powerless prayers, sleepy sermons, and trying to persuade others to believe in a better life to come after this lousy one ended. As for living victoriously, you either sank or swam on your own steam. And if you “fell by the wayside” it was your own fault.
All I could see was the phoniness of “Christian” kids who didn’t give a hoot about their precious Savior when they were at school and only cared about being popular. Where was their “Christian testimony” while I sat alone in the lunch room or auditorium, surrounded by a sea of empty seats? I lived in the South, so there were bound to be two or three out of every thirty kids who were genuinely born again. My home town teemed with KJV-only churchgoers. No wonder I thought God was dead. Country club churches and their WASP “Jesus” lent respectability to hypocrites who forgot all about God six days out of seven.
As for “Christian” kids who join in bullying or otherwise give in to peer pressure, how would they “make a stand for Jesus” if they had to stay on earth during the Tribulation period? If they can’t keep Jesus’ commandment to “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” just because they don’t want to stick out as being different, it’s safe to assume that during the Tribulation Period those teenagers would chicken out and take the Mark just to stay popular!
During my high school years I felt like God either didn’t care or was powerless. I didn’t get spiritually revived till I was out of school and filled with the Holy Spirit. Some would say that even if I WAS born again before my hellish high school years, I would have gone straight to a far worse hell if the bullying had overcome my natural survival instinct enough to make me take my life. So if satan came that close to destroying me for time and eternity, then why should he get any sympathy from me?
Bully-induced suicide of Christians opens a big theological can of worms, because there are perhaps millions of other such sad cases, some of which end in tragedy. Christians, like everybody else, are capable of doing something desperate when they’re overwhelmed by crushing stress. Many get no support from other believers or are not well-grounded in God’s Word. Somehow I survived. I’m here today writing this. I wouldn’t relive those miserable years if you gave me all of Bill Gates’ money. So WHAT IF I’d taken some crumb’s advice and checked out early to escape additional emotional abuse? WHAT IF God’s mercy doesn’t extend to broken, depressed born-again kids driven BY BULLIES to take their own lives? WHAT IF God would send ANY suicide victim to hell, even someone who had been converted as a small child, before bullies robbed him/her of their innocence?
If I’d died in my teen years, my wonderful daughter never would have existed. I wouldn’t have lived long enough to discover that just because a can is labeled “Christian” doesn’t mean it’s full of the love of Jesus. Later in life, I learned to divorce heartless hypocrites from my concept of Jesus. I learned that the REAL Jesus loves even gals who don’t look like Barbie. Christ actually valued me so much that He died to save ME from death and hell. Yet, WHAT IF I’d listened to the lowlifes who called me filthy names, cursed me, and urged me to take my own life? What would a Christian who believes in UNCONDITIONAL LOVE have said to my grieving parents? Even if my mother knew I went to hell for committing suicide and had no further hope of heaven, would she have been big-hearted enough to forgive the bullies who drove me to hell before I could learn about the love of God?
So if it’s really stretching it to love a bully who sends your own child to hell after making his/her life hell on earth, then saying you have to shower satan with tender compassion is pouring salt in a raw wound. How can anyone feel sorry for a devil who could ruin the life of a poor, lonely child, then trap that child into ending up in the ETERNAL flames of hell?
When a war is fought valiantly but fairly, sometimes a soldier might shed tears over a fallen foe who died fighting for what he believed in. At that moment the enemy soldier shares a fleeting moment of empathy with a fellow human being who has suffered in the war just as greatly as himself but didn’t make it home. Satan is NOT a valiant soldier! He’s a skulking coward who attacks frail old people, little babies, and creatures too weak to defend themselves. Like a gang of bullies who beat up a guy in a wheelchair, satan never picks a fight he stands a chance of losing. Thank God Jesus defeated the devil just when all seemed lost!
UNCONDITIONAL love. With a doctrine like that going around, no wonder so many people question the justice of God and wonder whose side He’s on.
We’re commanded to love and forgive other human beings who are capable of receiving the love of God, but we aren’t commanded to love the devil. He laughs at the sufferings of God’s children. Satan engineers the most horrible persecutions against Christians worldwide. It’s high time God wiped the dirty smile off satan’s face, and someday He will, with my blessing! I for one, will be in the forefront of the cheering squad when old sluefoot finally takes his lumps. It will be the Greatest Show on Earth to see my enemy get a taste of his own nasty medicine for all eternity.
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