Recognize the real axis of evil
Mr. Knowles, a Church of God member for many years, makes his living as a writer. This article is part of his "Out of the Box" series of columns.
By Brian Knowles
MONROVIA, Calif.--Not long ago President Bush designated North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil." Since that time press and media criticism for his use of the term has been relentless.
The only legitimate place of argument here is the word axis. The dictionary I have lists 11 separate meanings for the word. Clearly the one the president intended was No. 9, "an alliance of two or more nations to coordinate their foreign and military policies."
It is hard to imagine North Korea--a totalitarian communist dictatorship--coordinating its foreign policy with the Islamic theocracy of Iran (Persia) and the Nazi-like dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Iran and Iraq fought a bloody eight-year war with each other that resulted in a million dead and no clear victor.
But, from the perspective of the three nations in Mr. Bush's axis, we must remember that the United States is viewed as a common enemy. There's an old Arab saying: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Islamic militants will form alliances of convenience if doing so will help them fight a common enemy.
If they can get weapons from North Korea they can use on Israel and the United States, they will form a temporary alliance.
In another circumstance, the Islamic nations might seek to conquer North Korea for Islam.
At the same time, if South Korea were an Islamic state, the communists might seek to subdue and communize it.
Satan had the right
Behind all this is something far greater than the visible politics of the moment. In Matthew 4:8 we read:
"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
Jesus does not argue that Satan did not have the right to give these kingdoms to Him. His silence acknowledged that he did.
Jesus later refers to Satan as "the prince of this world" (John 14:30). Prince is translated from the Greek archon, meaning "ruler."
The point is that, when mankind in the form of Adam and Eve disobeyed God and obeyed Satan, the world over which God had given mankind dominion was transferred to Satan. Satan and his demonic armies preside over the world's ungodly kingdoms.
He has a "prince of Persia" (Iran) and another of Greece (Daniel 10:13, 20). The demonic force behind the Persian rulers was powerful enough to hold up God's angels from reaching Daniel for three weeks. That's real power.
For each generation it seems that Satan stirs up demonic princes who preside over worldly kingdoms to seek to destroy segments of mankind.
Satan is, at base, a murderer (John 8:44). The nations and movements he uses become murderous in intent.
They can be Nazi, communist or Islamic; he doesn't care.
If he can stir them up to attack Jews and Christians, he doesn't care.
If he can use them to destroy any part of the human race that is created in the image of God, he'll do it.
When he's done with them in that regard, he'll induce them to turn on each other and destroy each other.
His goal is the destruction of mankind and God's creation.
Satan is the leader of what we could legitimately call the anticreation forces.
Enemies in our midst
If the West defeats the latest weapon in the hands of Satan--militant Islam--then Satan will simply raise up another enemy to perform the same deadly task--and another and another. As long as nations and their leaders turn away from the true God and turn to false gods, idols or atheism, they will be used as weapons in the hands of the enemy.
When we see members of the news and entertainment media and academia and politicians who oppose and dis the president's war on terrorism, we see the enemies in our midst.
These are, perhaps unwittingly, instruments in the hands of the enemy to seek to undermine the war effort.
But the real war is spiritual, not physical. Our leaders and our nation's armies must fight the physical war we see. They are there for the purpose of resisting evil in the world (Romans 13:3).
We, as Christians or Jews, must also fight on spiritual fronts. As Paul explained, the weapons of our warfare are not physical, but they are mighty for the pulling down of satanic strongholds in the world (Ephesians 6:12).
The true axis
Those in the world who give aid and comfort to the enemies of mankind are treasonous. Those who seek to weaken our war on terrorism unknowingly support Satan in his efforts to destroy mankind.
Satan, his demonic armies and human leaders and nations who support his efforts are the true axis of evil in the world.
The human leaders do not realize that when Satan is finished with them he'll turn on them and destroy them too.
This is the pattern of history. Every nation the devil has used in an attempt to destroy the people of God has been itself defeated. Many have disappeared from the earth. Satan is on nobody's side but his own.
We are either on the side of light or that of darkness. Our allegiance is either to God and His Kingdom or to Satan and his.
We are either engaged in spiritual warfare against the enemy, or we aid and abet his efforts to destroy the people of God and mankind in general.
We are either part of the solution or we are part of the problem.
In truth, we are Christian soldiers, and we do daily battle against the true axis of evil.
Someone recently sent me a quote from Albert Einstein:
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don't do anything about it."
He was right. It's time to put on the whole armor of God and do battle. The outcome of that battle has already been decided. In the end, we win.
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