The War continues…
There is no doubt that the whole world is in crisis today. The earth is racked with wars, famines, diseases, pestilence, earthquakes, famines, poverty, ecological disasters of one sort or another including the pollution of the atmosphere and with the onset of global warming. Added to this, is the murders, the thefts, the adulteries, the sodomies and the frauds and envies and corrupt corporations and a backslidden and lukewarm Western Church not to mention the multitude of religions and ideologies that all lead to hell in the end. There is a war going on today. However, is it just in this physical realm that we can see and touch? Of course the real source of the conflict is a spiritual one between God and Satan, hence the title of these studies; “The War with Satan.” Now we know that when God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that Satan was already dwelling on earth and had already fallen. He could no longer get at God so he went after those made in God’s image and likeness and sought to defile them which of course he succeeded in doing. Through Adam’s act of disobedience Satan gained control over the minds and the hearts of mankind.
Satan will be cast down
In the book of Job we are told that Satan could appear before God and that he did this along with the angels. He had access to the throne of God as he was able to test God concerning His view of Job. However, the day is coming when Satan and his angels will be cast down to earth. At this time Satan will enter into the man of sin also called the Antichrist. What happened with Judas Iscariot will happen with the Antichrist. In our text we are told that Satan will be cast down and go after Jesus brethren both Jews and faithful Christians.
The War with Satan
(Vs7-9) “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.” And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
There is coming a time very soon when the LORD will kick Satan and his angels out of heaven. It will be a final assault and rebellion that will be swiftly put down by God Himself. Satan knows that he has not much time left and will try to force God’s hand. Now God has a very powerful angel in Michael and His angel Michael is the Angel of War. When Daniel was wrestling in prayer with the LORD Satan and his angels were trying to prevent the prayers from being answered. Michael had to come to the aid of the Metatron to fight and overcome the forces of Satan arrayed against them in the unseen and heavenly realm. It took 21 days for Daniel’s prayer to be answered. Michael also will arise at the end to defend Israel in the same way he defended Daniel. At the time of Jacob’s Trouble Michael will stand up and protect God’s people. Prior to this there will be a war in the heavenly realms and Satan and his angels will be cast down to earth. After he has been cast down Satan will make an onslaught against Jews and faithful Christians like never before. This will be a time of distress for the whole world unequalled in past history and never to be equalled again. At this time the whole world will be plunged into an unimaginable nightmare that will see famine, war, pestilence, death and devastation on a scale unprecedented in the history of the world. (Daniel 12:1-3) (Matthew 24:21-22)
There is always hope!
At the end the only hope for the world will be the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. At that time the whole world itself will be on the very precipice of annihilation. Tragically Eschatology is not popular today in most of the Mega Churches and the faith prosperity “name it and claim it” churches. Institutionalised Christianity will become a thing of the past. Already we see “the axe being laid to the root” throughout the Middle East as Churches are systematically destroyed and Christians and Muslims alike butchered like animals in a slaughter house. What most Churches in the west call spiritual warfare today is an attempt to stay prosperous and healthy and to have it good in this world. Many of these churches are teaching that If you have it good in this world then you must be doing something right and that you have faith. However, if you do not have it good in this world then you do not have sufficient faith. This kind of reasoning produces covetousness. Spiritual warfare is a constant battle between the desires of the flesh that war against the desires of the Spirit and a war for the souls of men and women. Satan is trying to destabilize our faith or get us to rely upon the things of this world to survive. The money preaching, faith prosperity teachers and prophets (profits) and there are many today, will be consigned to hell because they are preaching rebellion against the LORD! They are preaching a false gospel Prosperity is in the Bible but their view of it is twisted and unbalanced and the LORD hates unjust balances and weights we are told in the Bible.
Spiritual armour and weapons to fight spiritual battles
It takes spiritual armour and weapons to fight spiritual battles. Just attending church on Sundays and taking it easy during the week will not give us spiritual victory. Satan and his cohorts from hell are working 24/7 around the clock to destabilize us spiritually. It is so easy to become slack where spiritual disciplines are concerned such as praying in the Spirit and praying without ceasing and studying the Bible. Neglect in spiritual things opens up chinks in our spiritual armour that potentially can be hit with the fiery darts of the evil one. Every believer is in a daily wrestling match with the world, the flesh and the devil and with the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and with the pride of life. Every day we need to put on the whole armour of God and take our stand against the Devil and his scheming and we are told that if we resist him he will flee from us. The key word is “resistance” which can be a long and protracted experience and not an instant delivery, cure or “quick fix” as perpetrated by the faith prosperity nonsense we have today. Some spiritual battles are long and tedious and even though we know the war is won we still have battles to fight and enemies in the unseen spiritual realm to overcome daily. If we think we have it tough now what will happen when Satan and his angels are cast down to the earth. All hell will break loose! In that day the war will be intense but we have this assurance from the LORD that “Those who know their God will do exploits!” In the very last days there will be overcomers as we will see.
The Accuser of the Brethren
(Vs. 10) “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.”
One thing Satan is doing right now before the throne of God day and night as it were is badmouthing us to God as he did with Job. Now God permitted Satan to go so far with Job but no further. Even though Job was severely afflicted Satan was not permitted to take his life. In this world we will have much tribulation Jesus said but he also added to be of good cheer because He had overcome the world. The Apostle John also wrote that “He that is in you (Jesus indwelling through His Holy Spirit) is greater than he (Satan) that is in the world.” The time will come when God will say to Satan’s accusations “Enough is enough!!!” and then kick him out! When Satan comes down to earth he will also be resisted and overcome by the very ones he has been continuously bagging before God. In that day he and his cohorts from hell will have more than they can handle from God’s champions and veterans in spiritual matters. Those who resist Satan will not be chocolate soldiers that will melt away in the heat of adversity. How then will those who know their God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ overcome Satan and his cohorts from hell after Satan has been cast down?
(Vs11) “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”
1. They overcame Satan by the Blood of the Lamb
One of the accusations of Satan is to make faithful Christians feel guilty about what they have said and done or failed to say and do in the past. One of the things he uses to trip us up spiritually is to drag up the past. What we need to realise is that the blood of Jesus Christ has fully atoned for all of our sins and offences. The Bible says that as far as the east is from the West, so far has He removed out transgressions from us and again He says “their sins and iniquities I will remember no more.” Now while God knows all things including what we have done and will do in the future He still chooses to forget our past offences and sins if we have truly repented of them before Him. He is much more willing to exercise mercy than He is to dispense judgement. The moment we repented and turned to God for mercy through faith in the blood and merits of our Lord Jesus Christ and trusted him to save us from our sins we were instantly justified and acquitted of all of our previous sins before God no matter how black and dark they were. As it is written; “Since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) And again it is written; “Since we have now been justified (acquitted) by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from wrath through Him!” (Romans 5:9) Of course there will be times when we do sin and at that time Satan will stand there to accuse us however, it is also written that; “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Furthermore, it is also written; “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:14) The way to stay clean is to walk in the light of God’s word moment by moment and we have this assurance that; “If we walk in the light a s He is in the Light then the blood of Jesus Christ His Son continuously cleanses us from all sin.” (John 1:7)
2. They overcame Satan by their Word of Testimony
When the destroying angel was about to pass through Egypt on the night before the Exodus of Israel from Egypt the Israelites were instructed by the LORD through Moses to put the blood of a spotless lamb on the top and the sides of the doorposts of their homes and to shelter under it in their houses. Just having the blood in the bowl was not sufficient as it needed to be taken out of the bowl and applied to the door posts. Only when the Israelites applied the blood were they protected. We can know what the Bible says that the blood of Jesus does and will do but when we begin to testify what the Bible says that the blood of Jesus does for us is when we will be protected against the wiles and accusations of the Devil. That’s how believers overcome and will overcome Satan when he has been cast down to earth. When I was a young Bible college student well over 40+ years ago and was conscious of my sins and shortcomings my old Spiritual mentor and veteran of many spiritual battles brother Alex Hill used to say to me; “Son always keep short accounts with God.” The Christian life is not one of constantly sinning and confessing, however, there will be times when we do sin and at that time we need to confess and claim what the blood of Jesus can do for us. When we confess and renounce it is when we get rid of it. Remember again what God has said; “their sins and iniquities I will remember no more” and again it is written; “As far as the east is from the west so far has the LORD removed our sins from us!” Keep short accounts with God because if we don’t the accuser of the brethren will gain a foothold. If we are sheltering under the blood of Jesus by faith every day and moment by moment trusting Jesus to keep us not only will we be kept from sin through the power of the Holy Spirit but also be spared from the coming wrath of God upon the Egypt of this world. What God said to the Israelites He says to all who are trusting in the blood of His Son; “When I see the blood I will pass over your!” God knows how our lives will end as all things are foreknown to Him and He has already prepared us in advance for the time when we will leave this world. Either we will fall asleep in Christ or be raptured, either way we will all be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye to be resurrected to life and immortality! Once we confess what the Bible says the blood of Jesus does for us the devil will flee from us in abject terror because he hates the blood and its spiritual power to deliver the soul and the life from the power of sin.
3. They overcame Satan by not loving their lives in this world
In chapter thirteen of the book of Revelation we are told; “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for the patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.” (Revelation 13:10) One thing we do know is that God knows the future as He inhabits the past, the present and the future as He dwells is eternity where time as we know it down here does not exist. He sees the beginning from the end. Indeed our days have been planned by the LORD and in all things whether good or bad God works them together for our good and for all who are called to belong to Christ Jesus. As King David said; “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” All things are foreknown to God but the choice is still given. If we persist in sinning after we have received the light then we will be lost, however, if we do not want to be lost, even though we are struggling with sin and temptation, we will never be lost and none will be able to pluck us out of our Fathers hand. If we are conscious of spiritual battles in our lives then it is a sign that we are spiritually alive. Even in the midst of trial, testing, temptation and persecution we can know the Shalom of God that transcends all human understanding and comprehension. That’s what shalom is. It does not mean the absence of conflict nor is its sustainability in our lives dependent on our circumstances.
An unsaved person may have an absence of conflict and have it good in this world but they will have an absence of peace. Happiness as the world defines it is not the Shalom that comes from God. Take away the unbeliever’s possessions, their health or their loved ones and their peace is gone! When you look at Lot’s wife she really loved the world and the things of the world more than she loved God and in the end she perished along with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Likewise, the five foolish virgins did not maintain the oil of the Holy Spirit in the lamps of their spirits and when the darkness came they could not see their way into the wedding feast. Now God has given us all things to enjoy richly in Christ. He who gave us Christ will He not give us all things along with Him? It is also written that; “the blessing of the LORD makes rich and He adds no sorrow to it!” Of course God does prosper His people in order that they might refresh others. As it is also written; “He who refreshes others will be refreshed by God!” God is not mean and or stingy when it comes to bestowing material blessings on His children, however, the danger is always there that instead of owning our possessions that they come to own us. This is always the danger in times of prosperity and peace. The kind of prosperity that the money preachers are perpetrating is a Biblical truth that is being distorted by their greed and covetousness and desires to have it good in this world. The faith prosperity message is teaching gullible and naive Christians to be at home in this world and to commit the sin of covetousness. When the Dragon is cast down the faith prosperity teachers and prophets will be nowhere to be seen! They are hirelings and will abandon the sheep when the wolf enters the sheep pen. Already there are wolves encircling the sheep fold and in many cases they are already among the flock dressed up as sheep. They bleat very well!
“Never give up!”
How we overcome Satan’s wiles every day will ultimately determine how we overcome him at the end when he is cast down to earth. He will need to live in a body and that will be the Antichrist. Only in this way can he be worshipped as God. We are told that he will oppress and wear down the saints through tribulation and persecution but that at the end those who persevere in trial will receive a crown of life and be richly rewarded in the Millennial Kingdom and ultimately in Heaven! So then, how do we overcome Satan every day? 1. By claiming personally the blood of Christ as sufficient for our spiritual cleanliness and relying upon its power moment by moment to keep us clean, to keep us free from sin’s power and to keep us sanctified (separated) to the LORD. 2. By confessing what the Bible says that the blood of Jesus does for us and in us. 3. By not loving our lives in this world and realising the fact that we may have to lay down our very lives for the Lord Jesus if that is our destiny. I really like what a 90 year old former Missionary in our fellowship by the name of Ken Craig has said; “It’s not how we start but how we finish that counts!”