Fear is a tricky thing. In the biblical worldview it originated—of all places—in a garden named pleasure. It is the child of insecurity, the product of removing one’s heart focus from the all-powerful, benevolent, pleasure-giving Creator God, and trying to lean on a broken branch. Not safe! Such a position seemed right at first to Eve, and then to Adam, but the results are obvious, around us and in us.

Have you ever noticed that the prime setting for fear is an encounter with the supernatural? From Adam and Eve’s first meeting with God after their fall to story after story of people encountering angels, fear is usually the first reaction. You can read the non-verbal emotion, “Oh, my! What is going to happen to me?”

God and His team understand our insecurities. That’s why their first words were often, “Fear not.” It’s why we read, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” not the end of it. What I hear God saying is, “Put your heart’s focus on Me, with all your insecurities. Be afraid of losing Me more than anything else, including your life.”

God and His team understand our insecurities. That’s why their first words were often, “Fear not.”

That’s why Jesus said plainly, “Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. . . . Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luke 12:4-5). But do you recall what Jesus said next? “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (verses 6-7).

Did you notice it—”fear” and then “fear not”? As we keep our focus on Him who is love, and His love matures us, anchors us in our God-given value, perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:16-18).

I’ve been thinking a lot about the supernatural forces in our universe. We’re immersed in a battle much bigger than we are. It can be very frightful. Our real enemies are not even human! I encourage you to study the “armor” we need for the encounters (see Ephesians 6:10-18). We’re going to need every piece of that armor more and more in the days ahead.

Fred Bischoff
Adventist Pioneer Library

Fred Bischoff became involved in Adventist history while working as a preventive medicine physician in southern California for Kaiser Permanente and serving on the clinical faculty, School of Medicine and School of Public Health, Loma Linda University. He found his greatest joy in exploring and explaining "the simplicity that is in Christ" in relation to history and prophecy, which culminate in the Adventist mission.