“Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my king, He would not in mine age have left me naked to mine enemies.” —William Shakespeare, “Henry VIII”, Act II-
When I taught Sunday school, the boys in my class loved the battles and wars that were fought throughout the Bible in the Old Testament. There were plenty of them centering on the tribes of Israel as they battled other nations. As Israel obeyed the Lord, He fought their battles for them, but if not, He allowed them to be led into captivity. Behind the physical battles past, present, and future lies a spiritual dimension—a battle between good and evil—between truth and the lie. We know from Genesis three that the battle lines between Satan and his seed and the woman and her seed were drawn by God after the Fall (Gen. 3:15). Just as the purpose of the great Flood (Gen. 6), God allowed Israel to use the sword to kill their enemies to preserve the woman’s seed (Gen. 13:7, 14:5, 15:18-21, Ex. 23:23, Deut. 7:1-4, 20:17). When the angel Gabriel brought a message to the prophet Daniel, he told Daniel he’d been trying to hack his way through enemy lines for 21 days, but the demon prince of Persia had resisted him. Gabriel finally broke through when the warrior angel, Michael (angelic ruler for Israel), came to help him fight (Dan. 10:12-13). When it was time for the seed of the woman to be born Satan attempted to kill the baby, and then later when he was a man (Gal. 4:4, Matt. 2:3-8, 16, 4:1-10). The enemy didn’t realize that his ultimate demise and the purpose of God was connected with the death of Christ “by death to destroy him who has the power of death” (Heb. 2:14). This is the reason for Satan’s hatred of the Bible as its first book, Genesis foretells of his doom and in the last book, Revelation it describes it (Rev. 20:10). Christ, in the meanwhile, is seated at God’s right hand, awaiting the time to make all His enemies His footstool (Heb. 10:12-13).
Satan didn’t quietly resign when Christ ascended into heaven (Note his titles in Matt. 9:34, John 12:31, 2 Cor. 4:4, Eph. 2:2). He still desires to be worshipped and to blind the eyes of men and women so he can hinder the purposes of God in Christ from being accomplished (2 Cor. 4:4, 1 Tim. 2:3-4, Eph. 2:10, Phil. 2:12-13). One example is when the apostle Paul was stopped from going to the city of Thessalonica (1 Thess. 2:18). The physical battles may be obvious yet the spiritual battles may not be so apparent. Wisdom is to recognize the on-going battle within and utilize the provisions that God has given us to combat it (Gal. 5:17, Rom. 13:12, 14, Eph. 6:11-17, Heb. 4:12). Paul understood this spiritual battle well (Rom. 7:18-25) and gave the Corinthians and Ephesians advice that we can heed today, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” as “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (2 Cor. 10:3, Eph. 6:12). The weapons that God has armed the believer with to stand and withstand the wiles of Satan today are “not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:3-5, Eph. 6:10-18). May these wonderful gifts be realized.
FUTURE WAR “But of that day and hour knows no man, nor the angels in heaven…” (Matt. 24:36).
The Lord Jesus Christ is the one great subject of the entire Bible, either directly or indirectly (Luke 24:27, John 5:39). He is the promised “seed” of the woman (Gen. 3:15) and fulfilled what was written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms regarding Him (John 1:1-3, 1:45, Matt. 5:17, Luke 24:44). He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, and the First and the Last (Rev. 21:6, 22:13, Col. 1:15-18). As everything in the Bible centers in and around Him, apart from Him it can’t be understood. Revelation or Apocalypse is the Greek word apokalupsis and means a taking away of a veil or bringing into view what was once hidden (as by a veil). The Revelation is the unveiling of Jesus Christ as Lord of lords and King of kings. The earth is the battlefield of His unveiling and He’ll be coming with the clouds, appearing in power and glory to lawfully judge the earth and set things right (Rev. 1:13-16). The Lamb of God Who willingly laid down His life for our sins will be coming to wage war and put away all that’s evil and cursed for good (2 Cor. 5:21, John 10:17-18, Rev. 19:11-16, 22:3, 1 Cor. 15:24-28). This final conflict will be the biggest, bloodiest battle ever fought between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. The Old Serpent is on one side, and the Lamb is on the other. The curtain is pulled back and we get a glimpse behind the scenes from heaven where seals are broken, trumpets are sounded, and vials are poured out that dictate what will occur on earth. Many think the book of Revelation is difficult to understand. That’s only because they have not studied it in its proper context and dispensation. Its beautiful structure is simple as it clearly connects the things that are unseen (heavenly) with the things that are seen (earthly). Refer to chart A (below). All that occurs in Revelation completes all that Genesis began (including fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis 3:15). Refer to chart B (below). The Bible forewarns of the events leading up to this grand battle. Many can be found in chapters 24 and 25 of the book of Matthew. As we are seeing sin abound and the abandonment of God’s truth one might be tempted to believe that the period referred to in Revelation is to occur in our time. The great subject of Revelation is not the church of today but God‘s dealing with mankind as a whole (Rev. 4-19) and His fulfillment of the covenant that He made with Israel in Exodus 34:10. See chart C (below).
The Church of today (“the One Body”) will not be included in this epic battle as it will be “called on high”, made like Christ’s own glorious body, and received up in glory before the thief comes, and the Day of the Lord (Phil. 3:14, 20-21, Col. 3:4, 1 Thess. 5:2). However, iniquity will ripen and there will be signs of the beginning of apostasy as the age of this present dispensation near its close. Starting in 1 Timothy, there’s a warning concerning the abuse of prayer, the vanity of women’s focus on outward adornment, the takeover of authority by women over men in the manner of teaching (2:8-12) along with warnings re: the love of money, trusting in uncertain riches, vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so called (6:10, 17, 20). According to chapter 4, verses 1-11, there will be those who will depart from the faith, give heed to seducing spirits, and teachings of demons, speak lies in hypocrisy, abstain from meats (which God has created to be received with thanksgiving), and have an unhealthy obsession with bodily exercise. In Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy he warns of perilous times to come in the last days where “men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (3:1-9).
THE DAY OF THE LORD (prophesied in Joel 2-3) will arrive after the man of sin is revealed and the Mystery of Iniquity materialized. This infidel king and false messiah will make a covenant and treaty with the Jews for seven years, but at the end of 3-1/2 years, he’ll break his agreement and demand that his image be set up in the temple and worshipped and then the Great Tribulation will begin (Zech. 5:5-11; 2 Thess. 2:3-4, 8-12; Dan. 9:27; Rev. 13:15). At the time of the end there’ll be ten kings that’ll be subordinate to the great antichristian despot (Rev. 17:12-13, as prophesied in Daniel 2:42, 7:24). The Babylon spoken of in Jeremiah 50 and 51 will be rebuilt (Rev. 17-18). God never leaves Himself without a witness and so throughout the 3-1/2 years two witnesses will bear their testimony and only cease when the antichristian beast eventually is permitted to put them to death (Rev. 11:3-8).
THE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM
At this time Israel will look upon Him Whom they have pierced and be converted and enter in to their long deferred destiny as a Kingdom of Priests (Zech. 12:10-14, Rev. 1:6). “The Millennial” will be ushered in where Christ will reign with a rod of iron for 1,000 years (Rev. 2:27, 12:5, 19:15, 20). During this time the earth will be restored and blessed and those who didn’t take the mark in anyway (the martyrs/those beheaded) will live and reign with Christ.
SATAN’S FINAL REBELLION
When the thousand years expires, Satan will be let out of his prison and will easily deceive the nations of the earth (Rev. 20:7-8). The battle will end, and the enemy utterly destroyed, (including death) (Rev. 20:9-10, 14).
A NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH (Rev. 21:1) will be set up where there’ll be no more sin, sorrow, or suffering… (Rev. 21:4). The curse will be broken (Rev. 22:3) and the Age of Glory (aionos ton aionon) will begin—” world without end” (Ephesians 3:21). “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power…that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:24-28).
“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” -George Orwell—
When God’s rightful place of sovereignty is accepted in our lives, the Bible is moved into a position of authority and we can heed the Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy from his 2nd letter as our CALL OF DUTY today:
—BE BRAVE. Fear has no place in a soldier’s mind when he/she is in full gear. -2 Tim. 1:7-
—HOLD FAST to truth. -2 Tim. 1:13-
—BE STRONG in grace (that is in Christ Jesus). -2 Tim. 2:1-
—ENDURE hardness (suffer evil) as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. -2 Tim. 2:3-
—AVOID worldly affairs (no matter how tempting, don’t get entangled) -2 Tim. 2:3-
—FOCUS on pleasing the chief commander, whose commendation is the reward. -2 Tim. 2:4, 15-
—IGNORE profane and vain babbling. -2 Tim. 2:16-
—FOLLOW righteousness. -2 Tim. 2:22-
—AVOID foolish and uninstructed questioning. -2 Tim. 2:23-
—BE READY to teach in patience and meekness. -2 Tim. 2:24-25-
—BE PREPARED to suffer persecution. -2 Tim. 3:12-13-
—STAY EQUIPPED for every good work. -2 Tim. 3:16-17-
—PREACH the truth (in love). -2 Tim. 4:2-
— FIGHT the good fight, FINISH your course, and KEEP the faith (you’ll be rewarded). -2 Tim. 4:7-Laura