The War continues…
Satan has two people groups he hates the most in this world namely Jews and faithful Christians and his main objective is to destroy them both. The Judaism practiced today in Israel is not the Biblical Mosaic Judaism but Rabbinic Judaism which in effect is virtually another religion. Likewise, the institutionalised Christian Church especially Roman Catholicism is not the Christianity of the New Testament, like Rabbinic Judaism Roman Catholicism is virtually another religion in many aspects. Rabbinic Judaism has components of Biblical Judaism in it in the same way Roman Catholicism has components of Biblical Christianity in its structure. However, Satan is not concerned about those into religion. In fact he has used religion to bring more people into hell than all of the murders, adulteries and thefts and the other sins combined that men and women commit. As a famous communist leader once said that “religion is the opiate of the people” In other words it inoculates people against really seeing the truth as it is.
A faithful remnant
The Bible clearly tells us that the LORD not only has a faithful remnant in the Church but also in Judaism. They are joined together through the work of the cross and linked through the same kind of faith Abraham possessed that made him right with God. Many are yet to come to faith and they are all foreknown to the LORD. They are foreknown to God but the choice is still given. As it is written; “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2:19) Abstaining from wickedness separates the sheep from the goats. So then Satan wants to kill and to destroy faithful believers and the people of Israel.
“Kill them Jews!”
(Vs 13) “And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.”
This was the catch cry of the Nazis in WW2. Adolph Hitler came from the Lutheran Church which by enlarge became anti-Semitic thanks to Martin Luther who in his later years called for the persecution and death of the Jewish people. Many believe that Luther’s Anti-Semitic rantings was the catalyst that gave Adolph Hitler the excuse he needed to exterminate the Jewish people which he effectively did when he caused the death of six million Jews. Today this Anti-Semitism is spreading throughout the Islamic world and in many cases spreading like gangrene through the western nations and especially within many Christian churches and denominations today. Replacement theology is rife in the professing Christin Church today. Many supposedly Evangelicals are calling Israel usurpers and an apartheid state and calling for a Palestinian State. When Satan is cast down, through the Antichrist and his beast empire, Satan will go after Jews and faithful Christians who will not bow down to neither worship him and his image nor take his mark and the name of his empire. Many within the professing Christian Church who will take the mark of the Antichrist’s beast Empire will be those who hate Israel. These will also betray their fellow Christians to save their own necks as it were from the Antichrist’s chopping block! The woman who gave birth is not a reference to Mary but to Israel who gave birth to the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus was Jewish, the Bible is a Jewish book, the first Christians were Jews and the last Christians to come at the end of days will be Jewish. Satan hates the Jewish people with unbridled vehemence! History has proven this to be true!
“Past History is future history”
When you read the book of Acts you are not just reading past history but future history. What happened in Acts will happen again in the very last days just prior to the return of the Lord Jesus. The face of the Church the Lord Jesus will be coming for will look vastly different from the way it looks now. In the very last days and especially during the brief reign of the Antichrist’s beast empire faithful Christians will be meeting in homes, in factories, offices, in the woods and forests and even in caves as they did in New Testament times. He will go after faithful Christians and then go after the Jews. (Daniel 7:21, 25; 8:12, 24; 12:7, 10) (Revelation 13:7)
Israel will be preserved
(Vs 14) “But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.”
When the Antichrist invades Israel to destroy Jerusalem and put an end to the Jews forever the LORD will protect Israel from annihilation. Many Jews will suffer and half of the city of Jerusalem will be devastated and go into exile again but the other half of the city will not go into exile. The prophet Zechariah speaks about this. Israel will never cease to be a nation before the LORD and Jerusalem will never again be moved from its place. The LORD will see to this personally when Israel is attacked and the city of Jerusalem ravaged. There will be a faithful remnant of believing Messianic Jews who will be spared and preserved from the hands of the Antichrist just as there was a faithful remnant spared during the siege in 70AD by the Roman armies. Satan will kill many Jews but not all! Many in Israel will survive! For three and a half years the faithful remnant of Jewish believers who have escaped the city of Jerusalem will be nourished in the wilderness just as Elijah was nourished in the wilderness when he was fleeing from Jezebel. What happened to Elijah teaches us about what will happen to the faithful believing Jewish remnant at the end. The times, time and half a time is three and a half years by the Jewish calendar and during this brief time period things will be so bad globally that God will cut those days short for the sake of His elect both faithful Jews and Christians. Remember Israel and the Church is like two sides of the same coin, separate yet one having a difference ethnically but spiritually linked together with a common destiny to co-reign with their Messiah our Lord Jesus.
“On Eagle’s wings!”
In the Bible God speaks of Himself being like the eagle that bears its young on its wings when teaching the little eaglets to fly and to trust its mother. God Himself did this with the Israelites when He brought them out of Egypt. “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.” (Exodus 19:4) And again God says; “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, That hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions.” (Deuteronomy 32:11) Despite what many are saying today within and without the Church, God has not finished with His Ancient people the Israelites, neither has He given up on Israel today! Yes they will be facing the Time of Jacob’s Trouble and many will perish, however, a faithful remnant will be preserved in the city and as it were “born on eagle’s wings” and carried into the desert and nourished personally by the LORD during the three and a half years the Antichrist and his forces devastate the city of Jerusalem and commit the ultimate abomination of desolation on the Temple Mount. The siege will be long and bloody, however, the city will not be destroyed as the Lord Jesus will return to deliver the survivors in Jerusalem and they will see their Lord and older brother whom they betrayed and crucified and be gloriously and wonderfully saved.
Life from the dead!
Zechariah the prophet clearly foresaw this great act of God that will be for Israel “Life from the dead!” The serpent is a creature of the earth and cannot fly but the eagle is a creature of heaven and can fly higher than any other bird and when it does die it soars upwards facing towards the sun. This in itself is a picture of the resurrection of a believer when they fall asleep in Jesus. The eagle is superior to the serpent! The serpent crawls along the ground but the Eagle flies heavenward unfettered by what is below. The eagle symbolizes the superior protection and power of God over His people! Indeed for all of His afflicted people who are trusting Him God’s word says; “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
“Like a flood!”
(Vs.15) “And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood.”
One translation says “Like a flood.” This is a clear reference to Satan’s attempts to destroy Israel. A flood in the Bible can be used as a metaphor to describe an overwhelming evil. In the Bible we read; “Had it not been the Lord who was on our side,” Let Israel now say, “Had it not been the Lord who was on our side When men rose up against us, Then they would have swallowed us alive, When their anger was kindled against us; Then the waters would have engulfed us, The stream would have swept over our soul; Then the raging waters would have swept over our soul.” (Psalm 124:1-5) When the armies of Antichrist invade Israel it will be like an overwhelming flood that sweeps away everything in its path. When the Babylonians invaded the land of Israel in 586BC they destroyed everything in their path and even uprooted trees as well. Everything was laid bare. Islam, whose roots go way back to the Babylon of Nimrod, will, like the Babylonians of old, cover the land of Israel like a swarm of locusts and destroy everything in their path. It will be so overwhelming for Israel that even the strongest of men in Israel will grip their stomachs in fear as a woman in labour pains grips her stomach. Men and women alike in Israel will tremble and indeed it will a time of trouble for Jacob but He will be saved out of it! (Jeremiah 30:1-6) However big the ‘flood’ of Satan God’s flood is bigger! As it is written; “When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard (a battle standard) against him.” (Isaiah 59:19b)
“Pursued but preserved!”
(Vs.16) “But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth.”
During the Nazi occupation of Europe there were many non-Jewish Bible believing Christians who sheltered Jews in their homes from the Nazi scourge. Many suffered and were killed for hiding Jews when they were caught; however, multitudes of Jewish people were saved by faithful and courageous Christians who feared God more than they did the Nazis. Some Christians even went into the death camps and died along with the Jews that they might bring the dying Jews the message of salvation in the Lord Jesus, their Messiah. One well known man, not a believer, who tried to protect Jewish people was Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist, spy, and member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories. He is honoured in Israel today for what he did. The day will come when Christians in the western democracies will need to hide and protect Jewish people in their own homes from the scourge of the Antichrist’s regime.
“When the Assyrian invades our Land”
When the Antichrist and his forces invades Israel the Lord will raise up some leaders of nations to resist the Antichrist and his forces as God did in WW2 against the Nazi and Japanese war machines. The Lord Jesus Himself will be their Commander in Chief. Micah the prophet writes about this; “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity… And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the Lord, In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will remain, Because at that time He will be great To the ends of the earth. This One will be our peace. When the Assyrian invades our land, When he tramples on our citadels, Then we will raise against him Seven shepherds and eight leaders of men. They will shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword, The land of Nimrod at its entrances; And He will deliver us from the Assyrian When he attacks our land And when he tramples our territory.” (Micah 5:2,4-6) The “Assyrian” in the context of this prophetic passage of scripture is the Antichrist himself.
“No one will help him!”
The Antichrist will come to his end in the Land of Israel. Daniel writes about this; “But rumours from the East (China) and from the North (Russia) will disturb him, (the Turkish Antichrist) and he (the Antichrist) will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; (Israel) yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him” (Daniel11:44-45). In the Bible the King of Assyria, like the King of Babylon, are major types of the Antichrist. How the Assyrians and the Babylonians covered the mountains of Israel like locusts and like an overwhelming flood the armies of Antichrist will do the same thing. According to the prophet Ezekiel the armies of the Antichrist will be annihilated on the mountains of Israel by the rider on the white horse and His armies.
“Martyrs for Jesus”
(Vs.17) “So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
The word “martyr” is the word from which we get the word “witness.” While in its primary sense it refers to martyrdom for the Lord Jesus it also applies in a broader sense to the whole Body of the Messiah and to believers individually as well. All of us who believe are witnesses to Jesus, to His life, His death, His resurrection and His Second Coming. We are not all evangelists but we are all witnesses. You may not be a preacher but you can hand out tracks or talk to your colleagues’ one on one at work or on the university campus. The fact that we publically witness does make us a target for persecution. In many third world countries and in virtually every Muslim country Christians are targeted. Many are imprisoned, loose their lobs, are rejected by their families and loved ones, treated as dirt And refuse by others, beaten, tortured and killed. Many are crucified and beheaded for their faith in the Lord Jesus as we see with ISIS and fundamentalist Islam.
Targeting the people of the Book!
In the western democracies real persecution has not come to us, however, with the invasion of Islam into the Western democracies through the ‘refuges’ it is only a matter of time until we are faced with Sharia Law and allegiance to Islam. Furthermore, Islam cannot assimilate with other cultures. The Koran teaches Muslims to act subserviently until they gain the upper hand and then they can oppress and force Islam on the ‘infidel’ as we are called by Jihadist minded Muslims. Furthermore, Islam will target “the people of the Book” namely faithful Christians and Jews. In fact, the militant Muslims call Christians and Jews “monkeys and pigs.”
As Western society becomes more spiritually corrupted and morally depraved people will not tolerate Christians who speak out about God’s laws and commandments. One thing that is already conspicuous and will become more common place is rampant militant and even violent homosexuality as it was prevalent in the days of Lot when he lived in Sodom. Of course the only thing that can stop the powers of evil and darkness engulfing our western democracies is a turning back to God, to Jesus and to the authority of the Bible. This is the only way out for the western democracies. We must go back to the Word of God!
Obedience and Faithfulness
The Lord Jesus said that if we really loved Him we would keep His commandments and the Bible also says that in keeping god’s commandments there is great reward. There are many within the professing Christian Church today who say they love Jesus yet do not do what He says to do in the Word of God. He is the Logos made flesh! The Bible is a revelation of Him. He is the eternal and living Word of God, who was eternally with the Father, and manifest in a flesh and blood body! He was fully God and fully man in the one person. If we say we love Him then we will seek to keep His commandments and in keeping them they will set us free from the lust of the eyes, from the lusts of the flesh and from the pride of life. His Word is the perfect law of liberty and freedom from the slavery of sin and from the fear of death and hell itself. When the Lord Jesus comes back he will be looking for faithfulness. He said this when speaking about the persistence of the widow who prevailed over the unjust judge who neither feared God nor man. The Lord Jesus commended her for her faithfulness and persistence and went on to say that “When the Son of man comes back will He find faith (faithfulness) on earth?”
Biblical Faith is faithfulness!
Biblical faith involves believing and trusting but also implies faithfulness in both the Old and the New Testament. Abraham was justified by faith alone but also because he acted upon what he believed, otherwise his faith would have been a dead faith and incapable of changing him or moving God to work on his behalf. After all does not scripture say; “Without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would please Him must believe that He is (that He is whom He claims to be) and that He rewards those who diligently (with persistence and perseverance) seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:12)
We are at war with Satan!
Yes we are at war with Satan! Many problems we face as believers whether in the home or at work or on the university campus or in other situations even beyond our control can be generated by Satan and his demons and often we do not recognize his attacks when they assail us. The main battle field for every believer in the Lord Jesus is the mind and the flesh. Sometimes, the problems we face are not directly from Satan as such but from our own fallen nature or the mind that is set on inappropriate desires of the flesh. As Paul writes; “the flesh lusts against the Spirit.” When we do struggle with the flesh wanting to usurp our thinking and actions Satan will always take advantage of this. In the next study we will look at how to use the spiritual armour of God that He has given us to fight spiritual battles and to run Satan out of our affairs.
Whose camp are we in?
Either we are in Satan’s camp or the Lord’s camp. We cannot have one foot in both camps. There is no middle-ground, either the Lord Jesus is the CEO of our life or the Devil is. You can’t have it both ways! Whose side are you on because the day is rapidly approaching when multitudes of professing Christians will have to decide “Christ or Antichrist?” No one will be left in a vacuum. When persecution comes some will escape by fleeing from one city to the next city, taking the message of the gospel of the kingdom with them. Others will be caught and have to give up their lives while others will face prosecution for their faith and go to prison. The comforting thing is that the LORD knows how our life will end and has already prepared what we will need in abundance to face our final and finest hour in His service. In Revelation the martyrs who have been beheaded for Jesus receive a special reward and honour and a martyrs crown personally from the Lord Jesus because like He did they loved not their lives unto the death and made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of His name.