The Conflict in God’s Family

With this blog we begin chapter one of Conversations About God, by Graham Maxwell, edited from the oral text by Jon Paulien.

Conversations About God 1:1

Even though our heavenly Father is so incredibly gracious, even toward those of us who have misbehaved, the Bible describes an amazing reality. Conflict broke out in God’s family, even to the extent of war in heaven. The most vivid description of this war is presented in the last of the sixty-six books of the Bible, the book of Revelation (12:7-12):

“Then war broke out in heaven! Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, who fought back with his angels; but the dragon was defeated, and he and his angels were not allowed to stay in heaven any longer. The huge dragon was thrown out! He is that old serpent, named the Devil, or Satan, that deceived the whole world. He was thrown down to earth, and all his angels with him.
“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying: “Now God’s salvation has come! Now God has shown his power as King! Now his Messiah has shown his authority! For the accuser of our brothers, who stood before God accusing them day and night, has been thrown out of heaven. Our brothers won the victory over him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the truth which they proclaimed; and they were willing to give up their lives and die. And so rejoice, you heavens, and all you who live there! But how terrible for the earth and the sea! For the Devil has come down to you, and he is filled with rage, for he knows that he has only a little time left.” (TEV)

As we hear these words, it’s good to reflect that before there was war, there was peace throughout the whole universe. There was peace because all the members of God’s vast family trusted each other, and all of them trusted their heavenly Father. The Father in turn could safely trust in them. Where there is such mutual trust and trustworthiness, there is perfect freedom. Perfect peace. Perfect security. And that’s the way it’s going to be in the hereafter. The Bible never talks about prisons in eternity. There will be no police on every corner. And women can safely walk the streets alone at any hour.

How the prophets must have enjoyed describing the peace, security, and freedom of the hereafter! They do this in many places. Isaiah, for example, says there will be wolves, leopards and lions mixed in with the farm animals. And little children will lead them (Isa 11:6-9). While there may be lions in heaven, there will be no reason to be afraid. Zechariah offers another beautiful picture. He says that in the city to come, elderly men and women will sit in the streets with staff in hand, while boys and girls play safely there (Zech 8:4-5). But not yet.

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