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Why do the wicked prosper?

If there is a God, why would He  allow those who lie, cheat, steal and harm others to continue to prosper?

Thousands of years ago a faithful servant of God named Job wondered why God allowed the wicked to prosper and asked God, 

“Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? . . . They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace. Yet they say to God, ‘Leave me alone! We have no desire to know your ways.’” Job 21:7, 13-14

Evil is a reality, but God is love. Why, then, would he permit evil to prosper when it is in direct opposition to his character? The reason that God has permitted man to have a temporary experience with evil is so that all will come to know firsthand the contrast between righteous and sinful living. Although God could have prevented sin from entering the world by programming his creation to be obedient, God, instead, created man in his own image and wanted him to have free will – to choose to love and obey him by choice. 

The good news is that God will not always permit evil to reign over man. After the Church class (true followers of Jesus) is completed and is reigning with Him in heaven, then Jesus’ blood will be applied for the vast majority of humanity during the Millennial Age.

 Then the dead shall come forth from their graves to a period of judgment, or decision. The Scriptures are clear that during this time Satan will be bound. “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:2) Satan will not be allowed to influence people’s minds or create havoc in the world during the Millennial Age as he does today. (See Revelation 20:3.) 

It is true that people will return with their same mind-sets and will need to learn righteousness. However, they will have ample opportunity to do so (at least a hundred years –see Isaiah 65:20). While they are learning to perfect their characters they will not be allowed to harm another. 

“They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9 

In fact, we are given several beautiful pictures of what the peaceable kingdom will be like. (See Isaiah 11:1-9; 32:1-5; 35:5-10 and 65:21-25.) God’s Millennial Kingdom will be nothing like our present evil world. 

“No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected.” Isaiah 32:5 

In Jesus’ peaceable kingdom every human will have an opportunity to learn righteousness so that each can earn life everlasting on a perfected earth. However, some, even after 100 years, will be only partially developed and still give vent to their willful ways, rebelling against God’s laws. These will eventually, if they do not grow in righteousness toward God, be taken away (destroyed) in the second death from which there is no redemption. (Isaiah 65:20; Revelation 21:8) 

Why does God allow evil to prosper? Even though God hates evil, he allows it so that all humanity throughout the ages has the opportunity to learn the sinfulness of sin and, of his own free will, choose righteousness. Messiah’s Kingdom is coming soon when all injustice and evil works will be dissolved. As the psalmist tells us,

“I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like the green tree in its native soil, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found.” Psalm 37:35-36

To learn more about God’s plan listen to, “Is it God’s Fault We Have Evil in This World?”