This relationship with Our Father (the process of salvation) has many names: path, walk, way, door, and war. Paul alludes to another viewpoint that few consider.
1 Corinthians 9
24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25Everyone, who competes in the games, exercises self-control in all things. So, they do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. 26Therefore I run in such a way as not to run aimlessly; I box in such a way, as to avoid hitting air; 27but I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
We Must Win
If you look at Scripture in its totality, we have the elements of a game. There is a reason we like, for example, card games and sporting events. The concept comes from Yah Himself, just like the function of a courtroom came from the Almighty’s throne room. The article, 5 Game Elements That Create Effective Learning Games, describes the main features designers use to maintain a player’s interest:
Conflict – For a game to be interesting, there should be some sort of conflict to present a challenge for the player to overcome. The challenge could be a physical obstacle, combat with another player, or a puzzle that has to be solved.
Strategy and chance – Strategy-based games put a lot of control into the players’ hands in the form of decisions they can make that affect game play or their odds of achieving the goal. On the other hand, games that are heavily based on chance put the player in a highly reactive mode where they have little control over the outcome. For best learning delivery, serious games should combine a bit of both strategy and chance within the design to make it interesting. …
Aesthetics – … aesthetics consistently rate as an area of high appeal. By themselves, aesthetics have the power to pull people into the game. Visuals are a powerful means of engaging players and helping them immerse into the game experience. …
Theme and story – A theme can add interest and create engagement… The theme can be conveyed with the visuals and with a brief “back story” that is included in the rules. Often, when themes are introduced within games, there is no accompanying narrative running through the game. Thematic elements are used to convey the idea of theme with minimal story. Story offers a narrative thread that pulls through an entire game. Learners find it far easier to remember facts when they are part of a narrative…
The elements of story…
Plot: Something has to happen for it to be a story.
Tension: Often thought of as conflict.
Rewards – Rewards are things or keepsakes that players earn through game play. … A popular strategy is to reward people for completing boring or menial tasks which are necessary within the game. It is also important to give rewards or points for performance rather than completion. For example, giving someone a badge for completing a section may excite learners to hit completion even without understanding the concepts within the game. However, if the reward is given for completion of a section to a certain standard of proficiency, it will encourage learners to perform their very best. Within a game, score is a powerful feedback tool. The players should understand the ways of accruing points or other incentives well and this will motivate them to play better as well as learn better.
All these elements are in the Bible… and our lives to various degrees, depending on Yah’s directives. Some will be offended at having their lives compared to a game or game piece, as if they are trivial in Yah’s eyes. Not so, if you take Scripture into consideration:
Isaiah 27:3 I, YHWH, am its keeper; I water it continually. I guard it night and day so no one can disturb it;
Jeremiah 23:4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or dismayed, nor will any go missing, declares YHWH.
John 6:39 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of those He has given Me but raise them up at the last day.
27My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one.”
Remember, He doesn’t need us; He wants us, or He would not have bothered to create us. We are the tools in His hands, the main battlefield and the prize!
The Adversary’s Role
7YHWH said to the adversary, “From where do you come?”
The adversary answered YHWH and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”
8YHWH said to the adversary, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”
9Then The adversary answered YHWH, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10Have You not made a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11But reach out with Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will certainly curse You to Your face.”
12Then YHWH said to the adversary, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not reach out and put your hand on him.”
So The adversary departed from the presence of YHWH.
13Now on the day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the female donkeys feeding beside them, 15and the Sabeans attacked and took them. They also killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
16While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
17While he was still speaking, another came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three units and made a raid on the camels and took them and killed the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
18While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
YHWH gave and YHWH has taken away.
Blessed be the name of YHWH.”
22Despite all this, Job did not sin, nor did he blame God.
2YHWH said to the adversary, “Where have you come from?”
Then the adversary answered YHWH and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” 3YHWH said to the adversary, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds firm to his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”
4The adversary answered YHWH and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has, he will give for his life. 5However, reach out with Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face!”
6So YHWH said to the adversary, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”
7Then the adversary went out from the presence of YHWH and struck Job with severe boils from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. 8And Job took a piece of pottery to scrape himself while he was sitting in the ashes.
9Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold firm your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10But he said to her, “You are speaking as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we actually accept good from God but not accept adversity?” Despite all this, Job did not sin with his lips.
On two occasions, Father Yah brought up Job to the adversary without prompting by the adversary. Both times, He allowed the adversary to test Job. Who was in control in both situations?
We must keep in mind there are usually two or more interpretations for a verse. When Yah said, “…you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause,” that was Reverse Psychology 101. He did this when He told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac but stopped the man at the last minute. He did this when He threatened to wipe out the people of Israel and start over with Moses. Instead, Moses showed his heart by pleading for Yah’s honor and offering himself in their place. Our Father knew Job had not done anything wrong, but did that mean Job knew everything about his Creator? At the end of the book, the Father tells Job in summary, “I am Who I am. Who are you in the grand scheme of things I do?” Humbled, Job repents of his self-righteousness.
John 9:3 Yahshua answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God would be displayed in him.”
John 11:4 When Yahshua heard this, He said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”
Also, this tale teaches us that bad things can happen to good people for the glory of God. The best example of this was Yahshua’s temptation in the wilderness and His sacrifice on the cross. Notice how well He kept Himself humble, relying only on the Word and the Will of His Father. Let us strive to follow His example in our lives, with His help of course.
2 Samuel 24:1 Now the anger of YHWH burned against Israel again, and He incited David against them to say, “Go, count Israel and Judah.”
1 Chronicles 21:1 Then Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.
One stated the Father incited David, while in the other, written over a century later, the adversary was the culprit. Which one is correct? In light of Job’s story, they both are. I think Ezra, the author of the Chronicles, had a better understanding of the adversary’s role in our lives. We will see this understanding come to fruition later in the Scriptures.
It is kind of sad the adversary does the dirty work of helping to refine us for YHWH’s sake.
The High Priest Stands Accused
2And YHWH said to Satan, “YHWH rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, YHWH Who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a log snatched from the fire?”
3Now Joshua was clothed in filthy garments and was standing before the angel.
4And He responded and said to those who were standing before Him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again, He said to him, “See, I have taken your guilt away from you and will clothe you with festive robes.” 5Then I said, “Have them put a clean headband on his head.”
So they put the clean headband on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of YHWH was standing by.
6And the angel of YHWH admonished Joshua, saying, 7“YHWH of armies says this: ‘If you walk in My ways and perform My service, then you will both govern My house and be in charge of My courtyards, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here.’”
In this account, Joshua, the high priest at the time, was guilt of wrongdoing, symbolized by both the adversary’s action and the filthy clothes. The Lord tells the accuser to shut up and had Joshua’s headgear (mind/heart) and robes (character forgiveness/correction) changed by heavenly servants. The Angel of YHWH (Yahshua, pre-Adamic form) reminded Joshua to maintain this change, and then he will be rewarded by walking among the hosts of heaven.
I believe this passage and the one by David wondering why Yah would place man over the angels inspired the writer of Hebrews.
Again, Who is in control? Sometimes, we forget the adversary was a created being as we are.
Beaten and Tossed
31And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you [all] as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
33But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
34Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
Here is the catch to this exchange: Yah allowed Peter to be used by the adversary to keep Peter alive. Yahshua could have told Peter to stay with the other disciples but didn’t. Peter needed this last bit of fire to shape and mold him into what Yah wanted—the main mouthpiece of the Way to the Lord for the Jews. Also, does anyone believe if John went to see what had happened to his Master that Peter would stay put?
Proverbs 28:15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
He learned the lesson very well.
The End Result
There are plenty of verses describing his demise, my favorite being Isaiah 14:
12“How you are fallen from heaven,
O shining one, son of the morning!
(Not Lucifer, stop using that term! That was a bad translation from Jerome. The Prophet Isaiah was being sarcastic in his imagery, describing what Yahshua would later say was the adversary falling like lightning from heaven.)
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
13For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
15Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit.
16“Those who see you will gaze at you,
And consider you, saying:
‘Is this the [one] who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
17Who made the world as a wilderness
And destroyed its cities,
Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’”
As we can see from these examples in Scripture, the adversary is our enemy, not God’s. He gains permission from the Father to influence us and then turn around to accuse us of wrongdoing, sometimes allowed to spank us as a result. Who wants that job? Maybe now we will rebuff his antics in a more serious manner.
31“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
41“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44“Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.
Romans 16:20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.