Mysteries of the Kingdom

            in awe of scripture, viewing it through the lens of the kingship of Jesus


    Some ask, "If God is good, why does He let bad things happen?" But in many ways, God does not run this planet. He assigned this planet to human authority in the first chapter of Genesis, then we swiftly handed it over to Satan two chapters later. A better question might be, "If Satan is evil, why does he let good things happen?" Satan has legal right to this world as affirmed by John 16:11, yet good things still happen because God intervenes. One of Scripture's greatest mysteries is the tension between the sovereignty of God and the authority of Satan. The Bible calls Satan "the ruler of this world," yet also states, "the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes."(Daniel 4:25)

To what extent does Satan rule?

  1. He led Adam into sin so that every human is born enslaved to sin (Rm6:20).
  2. He runs the "world system" (Jn12:31) of violence, selfishness, lust,  idolatry, and greed. We are born as subjects of the world system.
  3. All who sin must die, therefore Romans 5:17 says death reigned over everyone. Hebrews 2:14 says Satan held the power of death.

To what extent does God rule?

  1. The heavens display His glory.
  2. The whole earth is full of His glory even as the creation groans in its fallen state.
  3. God limits Satan's use of animals (Gen 3), weather (Job 1), and disease (Job 2).
  4. God maintains some degree of control over who rules nations.

    Nothing happens apart from God's permission, but He apparently permits more than He hinders because scripture calls Satan "the god of this age"(2Cor4:4) and says "the whole world"(1Jn5:19) is in his power. Ever since He rose from the dead, King Jesus has held earth's rightful authority (Mt 28:18), but He has chosen to delay the full enforcement of His authority.

    King David illustrated how King Jesus currently operates. In 2Samuel Two, just one of the twelve tribes of Israel willingly recognized David as King of Israel. God had anointed David many years prior (1Sam16:13) just as Jesus had been anointed by the Father (Acts10:38) long before one of the twelve disciples first recognized Jesus as King (Mt16:16). In 2Samuel Two, the old king of Israel had been defeated, but almost all of Israel had chosen to live under the authority of that defeated king by naming his son Ishbosheth as king despite how David had defeated the enemies of Israel.
    David did not go out into the other tribes of Israel forcing His God-ordained authority on the land. He remained only among those who chose him. When citizens of the defeated king came against him, King David swiftly proved his authority (2Sam2:12-17). Likewise, King Jesus rules today those who willingly choose Him and does not generally enforce His authority against His enemies except when they come against Him.

    In 2Samuel Three, we see ourselves in the person of Abner. Though a few Israelites had chosen King David, Abner was among those who rejected David and served the house of the defeated king. In 2Samuel 3:6-10, Abner became frustrated with the line of the defeated king and betrayed him to declare the authority of David. Today we call our betrayal of Satan's authority "repentance."
    In verse 12, Abner then made peace with David, swearing to serve him and to help spread his kingdom throughout the land. King David required Abner to perform an act which showed his betrayal of his former king. Likewise in Acts 26:20 Paul said he preached that people "should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance." The first action we take to show we have betrayed the ruler of this world is what most people call "baptism."
    First Abner did what David required in keeping with betrayal. Then Abner traveled throughout the land urging everyone to acknowledge the rightful authority of David as their king. Abner's testimony sounded much like the ambassadors of King Jesus. Abner said, "the Lord has spoken of David, saying, 'By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel out of the hand of the Philistines, and out of the hand of all their enemies.'" Today we urge people to repent which is to betray the old king just as Paul said to "turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God." We declare God has made Jesus the King just as Peter said, "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made Him both Lord and King, this Jesus whom you crucified."

    If Satan is evil, why does he allow so much good to happen? His enemy (God) has always limited his authority and, God has now installed a new King, inviting everyone to betray Satan and serve the new King, doing works in keeping with betrayal. Today we invite you to turn like Abner and join us under the better King whom God has appointed like David to defeat our enemies. Those who trust Jesus as King receive not only forgiveness (like Abner), but also a much greater gift. Betrayers of Satan receive in the name of King Jesus the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) who is the Spirit of the King (Rom 8:9).

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"The Problem of Evil" by Matthew Bryan was first published at on January 18th, 2013 under the title "Who Rules Whom?" All rights are reserved.