Know Your Enemy! – X

Ephesians 6:10, 12

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

In This Means War! – VI, we looked at the minimum numbers of both angels and demons:

  • According to Matthew 26:52 and 53 Jesus said He could call more than six legions of angels to come to His assistance! A Roman legion at full strength comprised 6,000 soldiers, so Jesus could have summoned more than 72,000 angels!
  • Revelation 12:3 and 4 can be interpreted that Lucifer, the “…great, fiery red dragon…was joined in his rebellion against God by a third of the created angels who then became demons!

So if the 72,000 plus angels Jesus could have called represent two-thirds of the original heavenly host, the devil has at least 36,000 demons at his disposal! There are certainly many more than just a total of 108,000 created angels. But considering the power and might of angels, 108,000 is an awesome number!

Some people have the idea that demons are little mischievous creatures who run around causing problems, glitches, and troubles for us humans, kind of like Murphy’s Law imps! But Ephesians 6:10 and 12 provide a different picture, and it shows a formidable army of demons under the devil’s command! Paul writes…

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord 
and in the power of His might...For we do
not wrestle against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, a-
gainst the rulers of the darkness of this
age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness
in heavenly places.

In Luke 11:14 Jesus “…was casting out a demon….” Some detractors in the watching crowd were accusing the Lord by saying, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons.” (Luke 11:15).

  • Beelzebub in the Greek is Βεελζεβούλ, pronounced beh-el-zeb-ool’ , and means, “…dung god; Beelzebul, a name of Satan.” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary).
  • To these charges Jesus replied in verses 17 and 18, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?

If the devil in his battle against God had gained territory by the actions of one of his demon troops influencing or taking possession of a person, why would Satan then permit the Lord Jesus to cast out that demon using the devil’s own evil power to do it? It is not logical thinking!

Any kingdom (or nation) that currently exists (or has existed in the past) has always had a governmental structure. Satan’s kingdom, called “…the power of darkness…” in Colossians 1:13, is organized in much the same way!

  • The devil’s dominion consists of “…the kingdoms of the world…and their glory…,” as he told the Lord Jesus in Luke 4:5, 6. And that dark kingdom also has a governmental structure!
  • It is not haphazardly thrown together, but is organized to run efficiently to accomplish the evil one’s purposes!
  We are given a hint of that structure 
in Ephesians 6:12: “...principalities
... powers...the rulers of the dark-
ness of this age...spiritual hosts of
wickedness in heavenly places....


The picture is row upon orderly row
of competent demons serving under
King Beelzebub and administering the
kingdom of Satan to carry out his
desires!

Let’s look at the four titles identifying those serving in this wicked army:

…principalities…”: The Greek word is ἀρχη ́ (pronounced ar-khay’), and meaning, “…the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader…the first place, principality, rule, magistracy…of angels and demons….” (Thayer’s Greek Definitions).

  • Principalities are led by powerful demons who are individually called a …prince…” in Daniel 10:13 and 20. We are given a peek at these evil princes and their assigned territories:
✡  “...the prince of the kingdom of Persia
...” is mentioned twice, in verses 13
and 20.

✡ “...the prince of Greece....” (verse
20).
  • The Hebrew for prince is שַׂר (pronounced sar), and meaning, “…prince, ruler, leader, chief, chieftain, official, captain…” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Definitions).
  • These…princes…of Persia…and…Greece…are not human leaders! They are evil spirit beings who are assigned to various kingdoms or nations of the physical world to keep that portion of the devil’s kingdom under his dark dominion!
✡  A mighty demon was in charge of the 
Persian Empire.

✡ Another was in control of the domain of
Greece, the most powerful kingdom in
the world until the Roman Empire (which
had its own demonic overseer) came into
prominence.

The city of Tyre on the eastern Mediterranean coast was an economic powerhouse in Old Testament times. So influential in world affairs was this city, and the kingdom it represented, that Satan himself was the ruling spiritual prince! In Ezekiel 28, the prophet writes what God says concerning this city. He begins the chapter addressing the human king of Tyre. But starting in verse 12, the one addressed is no longer the human king, but the corrupt spiritual power behind the king of Tyre, the one who was…in Eden, the garden of God…the anointed cherub who covers…[the one of which God said] you were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:13-15).

  • The king of Tyre was never “…in Eden, the garden of God…!
  • That earthly ruler could never be called “…the anointed cherub who covers…!
✡  By the way, a cherub is not a cutesy 
little boy or girl angel, as many ar-
tists have depicted them.

Lucifer, the cherub, is one of the most
powerful angels ever created, if not
the most powerful! And he was the ruling
prince over Tyre!

There is always a power behind the power! There is always a spiritual being, a powerful demon, who is in charge of keeping his earthly assignment under the dominion of his evil master.

  • It should not surprise us that there would be…
...the prince of the...United States 
of America!

...the prince of the...European
Union!

...the prince of the...People’s
Republic of China!
  • A mighty demonic being is given charge of any kingdom, nation, people group, etc., to ensure that part of the world is kept under the influence of the devil!
  • But it doesn’t stop with top leadership positions!
There are lesser demons assigned to 
smaller or less significant regions,
states, cities, towns, and even fami-
lies, all to keep their charges under
the devil’s control!

I would not doubt that there is a
demon assigned to specific churches
and para-church ministries to ham-
per their testimony and their work
for Jesus Christ!


Also, since the idea of guardian an-
gels is put forth in scripture (see
Psalm 91:11; Hebrews 1:14) might
there be enough demons to have one
appointed to cover and control an
individual person? That demon’s job...

...would then be to keep that
unsaved person in an unregen-
erate state! Or...


➔ ...(if that individual is a
Christian) would be to make
sure that one remains ineffec-
tive for God in witness and
works!

We have only covered the first of four named divisions of demons in Ephesians 6:12. We will continue in the next Gem. But can you already see that Ephesians 6:12 portrays a highly organized and powerful Satanic army of demons ready to do their master’s bidding! We are commissioned by our Prince (the Lord Jesus Christ) to engage these evil forces! For it plainly says in Ephesians 6:10, 11, and 13 (Modern King James Version):

Finally, my brothers, be strong in the 
Lord and in the power of His might. Put
on the whole armor of God so that you
may be able to stand against the wiles
of the devil....Therefore take to your-
selves the whole armor of God, that you
may be able to withstand in the evil
day, and having done all, to stand.

This Means War!– IX

Revelation 12:9, 10

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

In Revelation 12:9 and 10 we learn another characteristic of our enemy, the devil:

   So the great dragon was cast out, that 
serpent of old, called the Devil and
Satan, who deceives the whole world; he
was cast to the earth, and his angels
were cast out with him. Then I heard a
loud voice saying in heaven, “Now sal-
vation, and strength, and the kingdom
of our God, and the power of His Christ
have come, for the accuser of our breth-
ren, who accused them before our God
day and night has been cast down.”

The devil certainly keeps himself busy!

  • Revelation 12:10 – He…accused them…our brethren…before our God day and night….
  • I Peter 5:8 – He…walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
See the April 15th 2016 Gem entitled 
Scat Cat!

The Greek word for walks about is
περιπατέω (pronounced per-ee-pat-eh'
-o) meaning “...to tread all around
...Strong’s Greek Dictionary.

It seems like treading all around and day and night accusations are both full time jobs!

  • How does Satan accomplish both? I don’t know!
✞  We human beings, in our present 
earthly existence, are physically
limited creatures!

Lucifer, a fallen angel, is a cre-
ated spirit being who is not bound
by physical limitations!
  • Remember also that the evil one has a large number of demons (fallen angels) who do his bidding! I will cover this more thoroughly in the next Gem. However, you can preview this subject in the Gem of May 27, 2013 entitled Know Your Enemy – X.

We have two Scriptural examples from the Book of Job that show us how Satan accuses God’s children:

  • Job 1:8 through 11:
   Then the LORD said unto Satan, “Have you 
considered My servant Job, that there is
none like him on the earth, a blameless
and an upright man, one who fears God,
and shuns evil?” So Satan answered the
LORD, and said, “Does Job fear God for
nothing? Have You not made a hedge a-
round him, around his household, and
around all that he has on every side?
You have blessed the work of his hands,
and his possessions have increased in
the land. But now, stretch out Your
hand and touch all that he has, and he
will surely curse You to Your face.”
  • Job 2:3 through 5:
   Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you 
considered My servant Job, that there
is none like him on the earth, a blame-
less and upright man, one who fears God,
and shuns evil? And still he holds fast
to his integrity, although you incite
Me against him, to destroy him without
cause.” So Satan answered the LORD, and
said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a
man has he will give for his life. But
stretch out Your hand now, and touch his
bone and his flesh, and he will surely
curse You to Your face.”

Satan’s accusations against Job involved predictions of what Job would do if all his worldly blessings, and even his health, were taken away:

   Job’s faith is superficial! He is pre-
tending to be godly to ensure You will
keep blessing him! But take away the
layers of blessing that You, God, have
laid upon him, and You will see the
real man underneath! This man is wicked
to the core and...will surely curse
You to Your face...!

Now God is omniscient! He knows all! And He can certainly see through the devil’s tricks and lying accusations. But that does not stop the evil one from accusing the LORD’s children before Him! It seems, from reading the text of Job, chapters 1 and 2, that Satan actually changes God’s mind by his accusations!

  • The Almighty, hearing the accuser, allows hard testing to come into the life of this good man!
  • But if we read the whole book we will see that the severe trials God allowed to touch Job’s life actually brought forth a much higher quality of character in him!

So it is with us! Yes, the devil accuses each Christian before God. And by these accusations, God may allow hard trials to touch us. But know this:

  • It is written in Romans 8:28 and 29, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son….
  • We are told in James 1:2 through 4, “…count it all joy when you fall into various trials. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
  Only Jesus was perfect and complete!

✞ God’s goal for us is to be like
Jesus!
(see II Corinthians 3:18;
I John 3:2,3
).

As we go through the hard trials of life…

  • …be aware of what it says in Hebrews 5:8 (Jubilee Bible): “…although He was the Son of God, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.If Jesus learned human obedience by the things which He suffered, what might we learn from God-ordained suffering?
  • …also consider what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 10:13: “…God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it…..
✞  He will give us the means to escape 
the temptation, or...

He will give us the strength to bear
up under the resultant trial!
  • …keep in mind that…
  ...although we have an enemy who 
constantly accuses us, we are con-
tinually under God’s direction and
protection!

...someday, this one who continu-
ously makes accusations against the
children of God will get his due –
eternal suffering in hell!

…Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ…
!

(I Corinthians 15:57)

This Means War! – VIII

Matthew 13:3, 4, 18, 19; II Corinthians 4:3, 4

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Why is it that most of the world does not embrace Biblical truth? And why do so many reject Jesus Christ as the Living Truth? Consider…

  • …the Lord Himself said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
  • …Jesus, in praying to the Father, stated in John 17:17, “Thy word is truth.

According to…

  • …the World Population Clock (www.census.gov/popclock/world), the current number of human beings populating the earth is nearing 8.04 billion!
  • …a Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary study (www.gordonconwell.edu/center-for- global-christianity/resources/status-of-global-christianity/), there are just under 2.3 billion people who practice some form of Christianity

But there are far fewer genuine Christians in the world than those who simply profess some form of Christianity! That is a bold presumption! On what do I base this presumption?

  • In Matthew 7:21 through 23 Jesus gave this warning:
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” 
shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he 
who does the will of My Father in heaven. 
Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, 
Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, 
cast out demons in Your name, and done 
many wonders in Your name?” And then I 
will declare to them, “I never knew you; 
depart from Me, you who practice lawless-
ness!”

✞  These people were doing a lot of things 
   in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, 
   even miracles (deliverances and other 
   wonders)! They thought they were believers!They were even doingbelieverthings!

  But, apparently, they were lacking what 
   was most important! 

   ➔  The people questioned Jesus in 
       John 6:28, “What shall we do, 
       that we may work the works of 
       God?”

   ➔  He answered in John 6:29: “This is 
       the work of God, that you believe 
       in Him [the Son Jesus Christ] whom 
       He [the Father] has sent.”

   ➔  As Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8 and 
       9: “For by grace you have been saved 
       through faith, and that not of your-
       selves; it is the gift of God, not 
       of works, lest anyone should boast.
  • Daniel was given a vision of the Great White Throne judgment (see Revelation 20:11-15) in Daniel 7:9 and 10:
I watched till thrones were put in place, 
And the Ancient of Days was seated; His
garment was white as snow, And the hair
of His head was like pure wool. His throne
was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning
fire; A fiery stream issued And came forth
from before Him. A thousand thousands min-
istered to Him; ten thousand times ten
thousand stood before Him. The court was
seated, and the books were opened.

✡ One interpretation of “A thousand
thousands ministered to Him...
(verse 10) is that these one million
are the redeemed who are helping the
Lord at that final judgment. (see I
Corinthians 6:2, 3).

✡ The “Ten thousand times then thousand
[who] stood before...” the Lord could
be the one hundred million unsaved,
destined for hell! (see Revelation
20:15
).

✡ The ratio of one million over one
hundred million can be reduced to
1/100! If this is the proper inter-
pretation of Daniel 7:9 and 10,
there is one believer for every 100
unbelievers
!
  • This would bring the present-day world population of true Christians at just about 80.4 million! Then the current number of those who do not truly follow Christ at just under 7.96 billion

Why do so many reject the truth? The answer is found in our two featured Scriptures:

In the first featured Scripture listed above, Jesus highlights an aspect of Satan’s blinding work in the Parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:3 and 4 (with the interpretation of this parable in Matthew 13:18 and 19):

Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he 
sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and
the birds came and devoured them....There-
fore hear the parable of the sower: When
anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and
does not understand it, then the wicked
one comes and snatches away what was sown
in his heart. This is he who received seed
by the wayside.
  • According to…
...Hebrews 4:12, “...the word of God 
is living and powerful...

✡ ...Isaiah 55:11 (English Standard Ver-
sion), God declares,...My word...
shall not return to Me empty, but it
shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for
which I sent it.
  • But if the devil steals the Word before a person can be truly influenced by its life-giving power, then he or she will…
✞  ...not be able to comprehend what 
God has spoken! (see Acts 28:27;
Ephesians 4:18; Colossians 2:2
).

...have nothing of that Word to
meditate upon! (see Colossians
3:16).

✞ ...not experience the Word’s poten-
tial to give new spiritual life!
(see I Peter 1:23).
  • Though the devil can steal the Word away, Joel 2:25 reminds us how God can reverse this satanic tactic: …I will restore to you the years that the…locust has eaten….
I have often heard it said (and I 
believe it), that God is more than
able to give back what was stolen
from us!


While Satan and his minions can
steal, the Lord is able to restore
more of that Word into the victim’s
mind, especially if He prepares
that one to be more willing and
able to receive it!

In the second featured Scripture, I Corinthians 4:3 and 4, Paul emphasized Satan’s work in blinding the minds of unbelievers:

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is 
veiled to those who are perishing, whose
minds the god of this age has blinded
who do not believe, lest the light of the
gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the
image of God, should shine on them.

The devil has the power to blind the minds of unbelievers! While he cannot totally stop the true light of the gospel shining in the world, apparently, he does have the ability to hinder individual people from seeing it!

  • According to this I Corinthians Scripture, Satan has at least some access to the minds of human beings!
✞  He can blind them to the truth 
and plant devilish ideas and temp-
tations in its place!
(see Luke
11:35; Romans 1:28-32; Galatians
5:19-21
).

It becomes evident that the mind
is our spiritual battlefield! (see
II Corinthians 10:3-5, James 4:7
).
  • But the Lord Jesus can reverse physical blindness!
He healed blind people at least 
eight times in the gospels (see
Matthew 9:27, 28; 11:5; 12:22;
20:30-34; 21:14; Mark 8:22-25;
John 9:1-7
).

If He can heal physical blindness,
He can certainly heal spiritual
blindness, allowing that one so
afflicted to see spiritual truth!

Blinding and stealing – the two are related in that both satanic actions negate the opportunity to see and believe that Jesus died for our sins. Thank God…

  • …that He is always greater and more powerful than the devil!
  • …that He can overcome any and every tactic of the enemy!

One more thought concerning an unbeliever’s ignorance of the truth: All the world dwells within the light of natural revelation (the proclamation of the gospel through nature).

  • Natural revelation proclaims…
...that God created it all! (see 
Psalm 19:1-4
).

✞ ...that the ...invisible attributes
[of God] are clearly seen...includ-
ing...

...His wrath and holiness (see
Romans 1:18
).

➔ “...His eternal power and God-
head...
” (Romans 1:20).

...very specifically that Jesus
Christ is the living Savior! (com-
pare Psalm 19:4 with Romans 10:9
and 18).

A warning: None are so blind as those who dwell in the midst of the light (as in America where the gospel is freely proclaimed), and yet they refuse to acknowledge that revealed truth! Jesus warned of this very thing in John 3:18 through 20:

He who believes in Him [Jesus Christ] is 
not condemned; but he who does not believe
is condemned already, because he has not
believed in the name of the only begotten
Son of God. And this is the condemnation,
that light has come into the world, and
men loved darkness rather than light, be-
cause their deeds were evil. For everyone
practicing evil hates the light, and does
not come to the light, lest his deeds
should be exposed. But he who does the
truth comes to the light, that his deeds
may be clearly seen, that they have been
done in God.

If a person persists in his or her godless ways, then the Almighty will allow that one (although it breaks God’s heart) to continue in that lifestyle, following Satan all the way into …the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death…– eternal hell! (see Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).

There is only One, Jesus Christ, who can…

  • …restore that which has been stolen!
  • …heal satanically induced blindness!

He is the One and the only One who can give you eternal and abundant life! (See John 10:10).

  • If you have already come to the light, continue to grow in your Christian faith so you can better give forth …the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…to the lost!

Only Jesus…

…can heal unbeliever’s blindness!

…can restore the Word stolen from their minds!

…can bring them into His kingdom!

This Means War!– VII

I Peter 5:8, 9; Genesis 49:8-10; Revelation 5:5

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Satan delights in being compared to the Lord Jesus Christ, who He is and what He does! In today’s Gem both are likened to a lion!

  • I Peter 5:8 and 9 deals with the devil: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
  • Two Scriptures are applied to the Lord Jesus Christ, one in the Old Testament and one in the New:
✡  Genesis 49:8 through 10:

   Judah, you are he whom your brothers 
   shall praise; your hand shall be on the 
   neck of your enemies; your father's 
   children shall bow down before you. 
   Judah is a lion's whelp; from the prey, 
   my son, you have gone up. He bows down, 
   he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, 
   who shall rouse him? The scepter shall 
   not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver 
   from between his feet, until Shiloh 
   comes; and to Him shall be the obedi-
   ence of the people.       

Revelation 5:5 – Jesus is identified 
   as “...the Lion of the tribe of Judah, 
   the root of David....

Let’s examine more closely how these two Scriptures apply to Jesus. First, Revelation 5:5, “…the Lion of the tribe of Judah….

  • The setting is in heaven. The aged Apostle John had been exiled by the Roman emperor to “…the Island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 1:9). As he “…was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day…” (Revelation 1:10), he was given an extended vision which he wrote down, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, the last book of the New Testament.
In Revelation 4:1 and 2, John was caught 
   up into heaven! 

   ➔  God is about to reveal to the 
       apostle things yet to come.

   ➔  Many Bible scholars think this 
       ‘catching up’ is a picture of 
       the Rapture (see I Thessalonians 
       4:14-17).

A scroll is presented “...sealed with 
   seven seals...And no one in heaven or 
   on the earth or under the earth was 
   able to open the scroll, or to look 
   at it.” (Revelation 5:1, 3). What 
   is this scroll?

   ➔  There are a number of postula-
       tions concerning what the scroll 
       is all about.

   ➔  I think it could very well be 
       the deed to reclaim the earth 
       from “...the god of this world
       ...” (II Corinthians 4:4 – KJV), 
       Satan, who wrested dominion that 
       God gave to Adam (see Genesis 
       1:26 and 28. Also, see the discus-
       sion of the devil’s second temp-
       tation of Jesus recorded in Luke 
       4:5-7 in This Means War! – II).
  • Jacob, in Genesis 49:8 through 12, prophesied concerning his twelve sons from whom came the twelve tribes of Israel. His fourth son was Judah. Here are some highlights from that prophesy:
✡  Verse 8 and 9 – “Judah...your hand shall 
   be on the neck of your enemies; your 
   father’s children shall bow down before 
   you. Judah is a lion’s whelp....he lies 
   down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall 
   rouse him?”

✡  Verse 10 – “The scepter shall not depart 
   from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between 
   his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him 
   shall be the obedience of the people.

It becomes obvious from other Scriptures that Jesus Christ is the One to whom verse 10 is referring!

  • In His humanity His lineage is directly traced from the tribe of Judah through His mother Mary (see Luke 3:24-31).
  • His royal heritage is through His step-father Joseph (also of the tribe of Judah) who is a direct descendant of Israel’s kings, David and Solomon (see Matthew 1:2-16).
  • As the angel Gabriel announced to Mary in Luke 1:31 through 33:
   ...behold, you will conceive in your 
   womb and bring forth a Son, and shall 
   call His name Jesus. He will be great, 
   and will be called the Son of the High-
   est; and the Lord God will give Him the 
   throne of His father David. And He will 
   reign over the house of Jacob forever, 
   and of His kingdom there will be no end. 

Does Jacob’s prophesy in Genesis 49:9 hint of the coming Savior when three times Judah is described as “a lion”? If that is so, it is the only other time in the Bible that the Messiah is likened to a lion!

Now let’s get back to our “…adversary the devil…:

  • …the Lion of the tribe of Judah…” (Revelation 5:5) fights for us!
✞  Jesus is all powerful! (see Matthew 
   28:18). 

✞  Victory over Satan, sin, death, and 
   hell is guaranteed by the Lord and 
   for all who follow Him!! (see Romans 
   8:31-39; I Corinthians 15:57; Revel-
   ation 19:11-21).
  • The “…roaring lion[who seeks] whom he may devour…” (I Peter 5:8) battles against Christians! Why?
Remember, Lucifer is a created being, 
   a cherub angel who was highly exalted 
   (see Ezekiel 28:12-17). But he wanted 
   more! According to II Thessalonians 
   2:4...

   ➔  ...he desires to be God! (see 
       also Isaiah 14:12-14). And so...

   ➔  ...he “...opposes and exalts 
       himself above all that is 
       called God or that is wor-
       shiped....Satan thought he had finally reached 
   his goal of becoming Almighty God when 
   heengineeredthe cross and killed 
   Jesus! (see I Corinthians 2:6-8; Rev-
   elation 12:4).    

   ➔  But as the Lord told the Apostle 
       John in Revelation 1:18, “I am 
       He who lives, and was dead, and 
       behold, I am alive forevermore.”

   ➔  He is now out of the devil’s 
       reach! For He “...was caught up 
       to God and to His throne...” 
       (Revelation 12:5), where “...He 
       is...able to save to the utter-
       most those who come to God 
       through Him, since He ever lives 
       to make intercession for them.” 
       (Hebrews 7:25).

✞  The wicked one now cannot defeat Al-
   mighty God!But he tries his devilish best 
       to thwart the Father’s plans by 
       inflicting damage in the lives 
       of God’s children! 

   ➔  Since God the Father is our 
       Father through faith in the 
       Lord Jesus Christ, Satan can 
       bring pain to the Father by 
       leading His children astray! 

We are called to …resist the devil…! (James 4:7).

We are called to battle against him
and his forces!
(see Ephesians 6:10-18).

…thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
” (I Corinthians 15:57).

This Means War! – VI

Matthew 26:52-54

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

The picture above depicts legions of angels waiting for the commands of God! Why did I choose this illustration? It is because of what Jesus told Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane when the mob sent by the Jewish elders and chief priests came to arrest the Lord.

  • John 18:10 – “Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear.
  • Matthew 26:52 through 54 (our featured Scripture):
Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in 
its place. For all who take the sword will 
perish by the sword. Or do you not think 
that I cannot now pray to My Father, and 
He will provide Me with more than twelve 
legions of angels? How then could the 
Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must hap-
pen thus?

In Revelation 12:9 there is a reference to “…a great, fiery red dragon…[who is] that serpent of old, called the Devil, and Satan….” Here is what it says about the dragon in Revelation 12:4, “His tail drew the third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth….

  • This statement hearkens back to Lucifer’s rebellion recorded in Isaiah 14:12-15 (see This Means War – I).
  • Many Bible scholars think “…the stars of heaven…” is a reference to angels, as it seems to be in Job 38:7.
If this is the right interpretation, 
   then one-third of the angels created 
   by Almighty God followed Lucifer in 
   his rebellion and fell with him, 
   being confirmed in wickedness. 

These “...stars of heaven...” became 
   demons! And demons are... ...Satan’s spiritual army! (see 
      Ephesians 6:12).

  ➔  ...under his command! (see Mat-
      thew 12:24).

Let’s do some math:

  • If Lucifer was joined by one-third of the angels in his rebellion against God, then that leaves two-thirds of the angels remaining loyal to the Almighty!
  • According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_legion), “A Roman legion…[was] typically composed of up to 6,000 soldiers….
  • Jesus told Peter, “…do you not think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?
...twelve legions of angels...” at 
   full strength would be 72,000 angels 
   loyal to the LORD!

And Jesus said “...My Father...[could] 
   provide Me with more than twelve legions 
   of angels...! How many more? 

  ➔  In Revelation 5:11 the Apostle 
      John wrote, “Then I looked, and 
      I heard the voice of many angels 
      around the throne, the living 
      creatures, and the elders; and 
      the number of them was ten thou-
      sand times ten thousand, and 
      thousands of thousands....Innumerable angels!

  ➔  “...ten thousand times ten thou-
      sand...” is one Billion!

  ➔  “...thousands of thousands...” 
      are millions and millions more!
  • Add one more figure to the equation: In II Kings 19:35 (Contemporary English Version) we read this: “That same night the LORD sent an angel to the camp of the Assyrians, and he killed one hundred eighty-five thousand of them. And so the next morning, the camp was full of dead bodies.
One angel, in one night, slaughtered 
   185,000 Assyrian soldiers!

✞  What do you think 72,000 plus angels 
   might be able to do? 

  ➔  The mob sent to arrest Jesus 
      might have been up to forty 
      or fifty people!That would have been a piece 
      of cakefor the least of God’s 
      angels!

Why have I presented all this math? It is because of a short parable Jesus taught in Luke 14:31: “…what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

  • The Lord gave this parable to challenge those who might become His disciples to count the cost! For as He told the crowd who were following Him:
Those who come to Me cannot be My disciples 
unless they love Me more than they love 
father and mother, wife and children, bro-
thers and sisters, and themselves as well. 
Those who do not carry their own cross and 
come after Me cannot be My disciples. 
(Luke 14:26, 27 – Good News Bible):
  • Yes, ‘count the costof becoming a soldier in Jesus’ army fighting against the evil one and his forces!
  • But remember, with the resources that the Lord Jesus Christ has in this battle…

…we are guaranteed the final victory!

In the next Gem we will continue to examine the characteristics of the devil.

This Means War!– V

II Corinthians 11:12-15

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

How can one so evil look so good? The Apostle Paul, after his conversion (see Acts 9:1-19), preached Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord everywhere he went! (see Acts 9:20-29).

  • For about eight years of his later life, Paul conducted three missionary journeys spreading the gospel in Asia Minor and Greece.
He founded numerous churches, appointing 
   elders and bishops to oversee the con-
   gregations. 

Extant are thirteen New Testament epis-
   tles that Paul wrote...

   ➔  ...nine to several congregations 
       instructing, correcting, and en-
       couraging the believers. 

   ➔  ...four to influential church 
       leaders for the same purpose.

   As we read in... 

   ➔  ...Colossians 1:3 and I Thessalon-
       ians 3:10, the apostle prayed much 
       for these converts!

   ➔  ...Galatians 4:19 (Bible in Basic 
       English), Paul agonized overMy 
       children, of whom I am again in 
       birth-pains till Christ is formed 
       in you....
  • It is no wonder this dedicated apostle was upset that false teachers had invaded the church he founded at Corinth! This is what he wrote in II Corinthians 11:12 through 15 concerning them:
...those who commend themselves...measuring 
themselves by themselves, and comparing 
themselves among themselves, are not wise. 
For such are false apostles, deceitful 
workers, transforming themselves into apos-
tles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan 
himself transforms himself into an angel of 
light. Therefore it is no great thing if 
his ministers also transform themselves in-
to ministers of righteousness, whose end 
will be according to their works.      
  • They …are not wise.Being not wise is the opposite of being wise!
✞  Being not wise is to be a fool! 

✞  And to be a fool, according to Psalm 
   14:1 and 53:1, is to live as if there 
   is no God!
  • But they could look so wise and good…
✞  ...just like true...apostles of 
   Christ...”!

  ...but they are children of the devil! 
   (see John 8:44). And their father, their 
   lying master can present himself as...an angel of light...!Satan trained them!They follow his lead!

The main point of this Gem is this: Satan is not what he so often appears to be! He is a fraud! He can look so good, but he is up to no good! He can even appear as “…an angel of light…! Now, who wouldn’t trust an angel of light? Such an angel would have to be sent from God, right? NO! But there are still a lot of people who have bought into this deception of the devil!

How can one so evil appear as…an angel of light? According to Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:12 through 16, the devil was an angel in the beginning – Lucifer, the covering cherub (read again This Means War! – I). Apparently, he has lost none of his original beauty, but all of his original goodness! He is not a horned, arrow-tailed, red, ugly devil, carrying a pitchfork, and reigning over hell! He is active upon the earth today! He rules over many spiritual beings who help him spread his evil, fallen angels (also called demons). He will only be in hell when the Lord casts him into that final place of judgment (see Matthew 25:41; Revelation 19:20).

Let’s see how easily this one who “…transforms himself into an angel of light…” can deceive people. Can Christians, born-again Christians, be deceived? Here are two examples that stand as a warning:

  • I led a home Bible study for over 17 years. For the last three years of that study, we delved into the book of Revelation, chapter by chapter, verse by verse. As we started the study, I asked the 16 or so Christians in attendance to turn to Revelation 6:2. When they had found the Scripture, I asked one with a strong voice to read that verse aloud: “And I looked, and behold, a white horse. And he that sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him; and he went out conquering and to conquer.
Now to whom,” I asked, “is this verse 
   referring?” Almost everyone in atten-
   dance (except my well-grounded wife) 
   replied, “It has to be the Lord Jesus.” 

  ➔  But it isn’t the Lord Jesus! It 
      is a picture of the antichrist 
      in the first half of the Tribu-
      lation, the first relatively 
      peaceful and prosperous part of 
      that final seven year period.  

  ➔  If you don’t know what the real 
      Savior looks like, the devil 
      incarnate can look quite good!  

Then I had them turn to a description 
   of the Lord Jesus Christ coming with 
   power and great glory in Revelation 
   19:11 through 16:

    And I saw heaven opened, and behold, 
    a white horse. And He who sat on him 
    was called Faithful and True, and in 
    righteousness He judges and makes war. 
    His eyes were like a flame of fire, 
    and on His head were many crowns. He 
    had a name written that no one knew 
    except Himself. He was clothed with a 
    robe dipped in blood, and His name 
    is called The Word of God. And the 
    armies of heaven, clothed in fine 
    linen, white and clean, followed Him 
    on white horses. Now out of His mouth 
    goes a sharp sword, that with it He 
    should strike the nations.  And He 
    Himself will rule them with a rod 
    of iron. He Himself treads the wine-
    press of the fierceness and wrath of 
    Almighty God.  And He has on His robe 
    and on His thigh a name written: KING 
    OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

I ask you, reader, which Scripture des-
   cribes the Lord Jesus Christ and which 
   one the deceiver? Remember what Paul 
   wrote in II Thessalonians 2:9 through 12:

    The coming of the lawless one [who is 
    the antichrist, the devil incarnate 
    in a human body] is according to the 
    working of Satan, with all power, signs, 
    and lying wonders, and with all unright-
    eous deception among those who perish, 
    who did not receive the love of the 
    truth, that they might be saved. And for 
    this reason God will send them strong 
    delusion, that they should believe the 
    lie, that they all may be condemned who 
    did not believe the truth but had plea-
    sure in unrighteousness.

✞  When you know what is real, it is much 
   easier to identify what is false!
  • The second example is also from the book of Revelation. Chapter 13 expands on the reign of the antichrist and his unholy prophet in the second half of the last seven years, called the…great tribulation…” in Revelation 7:14 (see also Matthew 24:21, Revelation 2:22).
✞  This prophet...performs great signs, 
   so that he even makes fire comes down 
   from heaven on the earth in the sight 
   of men.”  

  ➔  Impressive! No wonder so many of 
      Earth’s inhabitants pledge their 
      loyalty to the antichrist!Did 
      you see that?” we might hear so 
      many people say. “That’s amazing!  
      That’s miraculous!  That one has 
      to be from God!” 

  ➔  However, if you know what the Bible 
      says about the antichrist and the 
      false prophet, you would not be 
      deceived!No,” you would answer. 
      “This is definitely of the devil! 
      I know what the Bible says!

Consider those who are trained by our government to spot counterfeit money. They are instructed more concerning the real thing rather than spending their time and energy concentrating on the counterfeit. They are taught to be so familiar with what is real thing (the look, the apparent features as well as those that are hidden, the feel, the smell….all the characteristics of genuine currency). With this focus, they can spot a counterfeit quite easily!

Are you so familiar with the Lord Jesus Christ that you can spot the one who …transforms himself into an angel of light…”? (II Corinthians 11:14). There are a lot of “…false apostles, deceitful workers…” (II Corinthians 11:13) ready to lead astray those who are not thoroughly familiar with Scripture.

Get in the Word!

Become so familiar with Jesus Christ and the truth of the Bible that you will be able to spot the devil’s lies quite easily!

This Means War!– IV

John 8:44

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

The followers of the LORD are commanded to speak the truth! It is one of the major tenets of the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments:

  • Central to the Old Testament are the Ten Commandments! The ninth commandment is, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16).
✡  The Easy-to-Read Version translates 
   verse 16 this way, “You must not tell 
   lies about other people.”

✡  In Proverbs 6:16 through 19 there is 
   a list of “...seven...things the LORD 
   hates....” (notice that three of the 
   seven have to do with lying):

     A proud look, a lying tongue, hands 
     that shed innocent blood, a heart 
     that devises wicked plans, feet that 
     are swift in running to evil, a 
     false witness that speaks lies, and 
     one who sows discord among brethren.

✡  Solomon, in Proverbs 8:7, wisely applies 
   the ninth commandment to himself: “...my 
   mouth will speak truth; wickedness is an 
   abomination to my lips.
  • The Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 4:25, tells believers, “…putting away lying, each one speak truth with his neighbor….

Speaking truth with one another builds trust! And Christians are to be trustworthy!

Concerning our enemy, Satan, we must know that, as Jesus said in John 8:44, “…the devil…does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” But he is very clever! Satan hides his lies in half-truths. More accurately it should be said that he often hides his lies by wrapping them in about 90% truth!

This tactic is evident in the initial interaction with our first ancestors, Adam and Eve! The incident is recorded in Genesis 3:1-5:

Now the serpent was more cunning than any 
beast of the field which the LORD God had 
made. And he said to the woman, “Has God 
indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every 
tree of the garden’?” And the woman said 
to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit 
of the trees of the garden; but of the 
fruit of the tree which is in the midst 
of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall 
not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, 
lest you die.’” And the serpent said to 
the woman, “You shall not surely die. 
For God knows that in the day you eat 
of it your eyes will be opened, and you 
will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

How did the devil accomplish victory in this first battle of temptation against humanity?

  • First – Satan planted a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind! He posed to Eve this question, “Has God indeed said…?” (verse 1). The devil was, in effect, saying, “Are you sure God said this?
✡  However, Eve was wrong in believing 
   that God had told them not to ‘touch’ 
   the fruit of the tree of knowledge 
   of good and evil. For what the LORD 
   had actually said is recorded in 
   Genesis 2:16 and 17: 

     And the LORD God commanded the man, 
     saying, “Of every tree of the gar-
     den you may freely eat; but of the 
     tree of the knowledge of good and 
     evil, you shall not eat, for in the 
     day that you eat of it you shall 
     surely die.”

✡  But this command was given before Eve 
   was created (compare Genesis 2:17 with 
   2:22). So Adam shares the guilt because 
   he did not accurately communicate to 
   his wife the command the LORD had given 
   him!
  • Then the devil laid another 90% truth and 10% lie on Eve: “God knows that in the day when you eat of… the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5).
✡  “God is all powerful and all knowing! 
   He is holding back the greatest thing 
   He could give you......because He 
   doesn’t want rivals! He alone wants 
   to be God!”

✡  Yes, Adam and Eve would know good and 
   evil! What Satan didn’t tell them......while they would know good 
        and evil......they would no longer be able 
        to do the good, only the evil!

Genesis 3:6 reveals another important point:

...when the woman saw that the tree was 
good for food, that it was pleasant to 
the eyes, and a tree desirable to make 
one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. 
She also gave to her husband with her, 
and he ate.

Notice that “…her husband [was] with her…! Apparently, Adam was right there with his wife when this devilish conversation was going on. He did nothing to correct her misconception!

  • We are told in I Timothy 2:14 (Contemporary English Version), “…Adam wasn’t the one who was fooled. It was the woman Eve who was completely fooled and sinned.” Yes, Eve did sin! She…was completely fooled…! But Adam sinned much more grievously because he did it willfully!
Adam entered into this drama with his 
   eyes wide open!

    ➔  He not only shares the guilt of 
        that first sin...

    ➔  He is the one who is most guilty!

✡  This explains why in Romans 5:12 we are 
   told, “...through one man [Adam] sin 
   entered the world, and death through 
   sin, and thus death spread to all men 
   because all sinned....
  • Adam is the father of the human race. You could also say, he is the father of all the sin that is in the world! And sin brings forth death!
Sin brings forth physical death!

    ➔  Human beings were created to 
        live forever.

    ➔  When sin entered the world, 
        disease, corruption, and 
        death came with it!

✡  But sin also brings forth spiritual 
   death – separation from God!

    ➔  When God came as usual to commune 
        with His highest creation, Adam 
        and Eve ran and hid! (see Genesis 
        3:8).

    ➔  Human beings have been running from 
        God ever since!

✡  If that separation is not corrected in 
   this mortal lifespan, it becomes perman-
   ent!That one spends eternity suffering 
        in hell, separated from the LORD 
        forever!Jesus paid the price for our sins 
        on the cross so we could be recon-
        ciled to the Father! (see II Cor-
        inthians 5:21). That forgiven and 
        reconciled person spends eternity 
        in heaven, enjoying the presence 
        of the LORD God Almighty and other 
        saved believers!

Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior today!
Then follow Him in obedience as your Lord!

Beware of our enemy! Satan still uses the same tricks to lead us into sin. The temptations that Satan gives are very often close to the truth. But those promises are at best 90% truth and 10% lie! And that one-tenth falsehood so delivered makes any promise totally false!

  • This is why it is so important to know the truth that God has revealed in the Bible.
  • So beware!…he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44).

The devil is oh-so-clever,
and his lies can look oh-so-good!

We will continue with the enemy’s characteristics in the next Gem.

This Means War!– III

John 8:44, 10:10

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Yes, it is a meat cleaver! And on the internet I found described several cases of murder committed with a meat cleaver! One such case was of a man who murdered a psychologist in her New York City office, slashing her fifteen times with a meat cleaver! He believed Satan was talking to him through his thoughts, and that he himself was the Messiah.

Why do I picture a meat cleaver in the third Gem of this series called “This Means War!? This series is not specifically about gruesome murders, but it concerns the spiritual war in which Christians are to engage their arch enemy, Satan! And whatever weapon he might employ, one of his primary characteristics is this:

…the devil is a murderer!

  • In John chapter 8 Jesus is challenged by the unbelieving Jews…
✡  ... led by the Pharisees... 

   ➔  ...who accuse Him of lying (see 
       verse 13).

   ➔  ...who question His parentage 
       (see verse 19).

   ➔  ...who claim, “We...have never 
       been in bondage to anyone. How 
       can You say, ‘You will be made 
       free?’” (verse 33).

   ➔  ...who strongly hint Jesus was 
       born out of wedlock (see verse 
       41).

✡  The Savior then lays out a scathing 
   rebuke in John 8:44, “You are of your 
   father the devil, and the desires of 
   your father you want to do. He was a 
   murderer from the beginning....
  • In John 10:10 the Lord continues with the characteristics of Satan:The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy….

My wife Hope and I have known Heather since infancy. As she grew up she became friends with our granddaughter, now both in their early thirties. Heather could not continue to afford her rent where she had to pay not only the monthly rent but also all the utilities. She was afraid she might end up homeless, living in her car. So we offered her our guest room, room and board for less than a third of what before were her living expenses.

Now if we had been advertising for a tenant and received a reply from someone we didn’t know, we would definitely have requested references.

  • Let’s say four of the references contacted told us our perspective tennant was a fine upstanding person who always paid the rent on time and could be trusted in all situations.
  • But one reference, from a retired police officer, strongly cautioned us against this person!
The prospective tenant was caught 
       in several lies!

   ➔  There was an unsolved incident in 
       which this person was a suspect 
       in a homicide!This one had a rap sheet’ – ar-
       rested for shoplifting multiple 
       times!
  • Do you think we would rent our guest room to this person? NO! Of course not! Why would we open our home, our lives, to this untrustworthy, even dangerous, person?

Why do so many people choose to keep close company with such a dangerous devil? Why? Because he can make himself look so good, and what he offers is very inviting!

  • The Apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 11:12 through 15, warning the believers in Corinth about…
...those who desire...to be regarded [as 
true apostles]....For such are false a-
postles, deceitful workers, transforming 
themselves into apostles of Christ. And 
no wonder! For Satan himself transforms 
himself into an angel of light. Therefore 
it is no great thing if his ministers 
also transform themselves into ministers 
of righteousness....
  • And in II Corinthians 4:3 and 4 Paul tells us…
...if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled 
to those who are perishing, whose minds 
the god of this world has blinded, who do 
not believe, lest the light of the glori-
ous gospel...of Christ, who is the image 
of God, should shine on them.

Although it was brought out in the first Gem of this series, let us once more consider the primary motivation of the devil. He is identified as “…the anointed cherub…” in Ezekiel 28:14, a powerful angel who desires to overthrow the LORD God, and take His place! This primary motivation is presented as five “I wills” in Isaiah 14:12 through 14:

  • I will ascend into heaven….
  • …I will exalt my throne above the stars of God….
  • …I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north….
  • …I will ascend above the heights of the clouds….
  • …I will be like the Most High.

I will be like the Most High.The New American Standard Bible translates this last “I will” statement this way: “I will make myself like the Most High.

  • This desire to be God has been the driving force of the devil all through the ages!
  • Even at the last, when he becomes incarnate as the antichrist during the final seven-year Tribulation, he still manifests that ultimate purpose. That desire, that purpose, is spelled out plainly in II Thessalonians 2:4, “…he sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.The devil selfishly wants to overthrow God Almighty and take His place as the ruler of all creation!

In his pursuit to be God, Satan has tried multiple times to thwart the Father’s plans to manifest His Son Jesus Christ to the world as the only Savior of mankind!

  • In the Old Testament the Jews were threatened again and again with extinction by various enemies, and Satan was behind all those deadly plans!
  • In the book of Esther, neither God nor the devil is mentioned. But it is obvious that both are behind the scenes, trying to engineer the outcomes.
The devil failed miserably!Haman was hanged!The Babylonian enemies of the 
       Jews were defeated!Satan was decisively thwarted!Jehovah God was the victor, and the 
   Israelites of Babylon were saved from 
   destruction!
  • The devil was the motivation behind the decree of Herod the Great when he sought to kill the young child Jesus! It was another of Satan’s attempts to steal God’s glory and throne and thwart the Lord’s mission, “…to seek and to save that which was lost…” (Luke 19:10).
✡  But Herod only succeeded in murdering 
   the Bethlehem innocents and causing 
   much sorrow! (see Matthew 2:12-18). 

✡  “...an angel of the Lord appeared to 
   Joseph in a dream..., ‘Arise, take the 
   young Child and His mother, flee to 
   Egypt...for Herod will seek the young 
   Child to destroy Him.” (Matthew 2:13).

But Satan’s coup de grace was to engineer the cross, the crucifixion of Jesus! Yes, it was all planned out by God to redeem mankind “…before the foundation of the world…” (I Peter 1:18-20; Revelation 13:8). But the evil one thought he had planned it! It says in I Corinthians 2:8, “…none of the rulers of this age knew [God’s plan]; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.The rulers of this age are the devil and his demon henchmen, who (as the spiritual powers behind human rulers) are assigned to maintain control of the nations and societies of this world! But…

  • …they did not comprehend the divine strategy!
  • …they unwittingly became pawns of the Lord God Almighty to fulfill His grand plan of redemption!
Too late the devil realized that what 
   he thought was his ultimate triumph 
   of killing Christ only ensured his 
   total downfall and destruction...

✡  ...when the resurrection took place!  

Actually, Satan hasn’t even yet fully realized his defeat because he thinks he can still possibly overthrow Almighty God! (see Luke 4:7; II Thessalonians 2:3, 4; Revelation 19:19).

In wanting to be God, the devil is the sworn enemy of the One True God!

  • It is he who tries to thwart the fulfillment of the divine purpose.
We are not the main objects of the 
   devil’s efforts, God is! But if he 
   can hurt the Father by stealing from, 
   killing, and destroying His obedient 
   children, then he will do it with 
   evil delight.  

✡  We are the focus of his efforts only 
   as we live for the Lord and allow Him 
   to do His will and work in and through 
   us to advance God’s kingdom! But if he 
   can hurt the Father by stealing from, 
   killing, and destroying His obedient 
   children, then the devil will do it 
   with evil delight!  
  • So beware!
   Know your enemy!  

   By knowing who he is and how he 
    operates, you can better......be an active soldier in this 
       spiritual war!...escape the snares he lays to 
       entrap you.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, “…for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (II Corinthians 2:11).

May we never be found to be
…ignorant of his devices.“!

We will continue to examine the devil’s character in the next Gem.

This Means War!– II

II Corinthians 4:4; Luke 4:5-8

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

We have an enemy! And he is a real and personal spiritual entity! His original name was “…Lucifer…” (Isaiah 14:12), created as one of the angelic beings called cherubim. He is called “…the covering cherub…” in Ezekiel 28:14, and God gave him the responsibility of serving the newly created earth and its fullness, including human beings!

He is also known in the Bible by several other names and titles (most of them applicable after Lucifer’s initial rebellion against the LORD):

  • Satan (see Revelation 12:9 and 55 other instances in 48 other verses).
  • the devil (see Revelation 20:2 and 45 other instances in 43 other verses).
  • son of the morning (see Isaiah 14:12).
  • a great red dragon…the great dragon (see Revelation 12:3, 9).
  • that old serpent (see Revelation 12:9).
  • the tempter (see Matthew 4:3; I Thessalonians 3:5).
  • the accuser of our brethren (see Revelation 12:10).
  • adversary (see I Peter 5:8).
  • Beelzebub (see Matthew 12:24, 27).
  • the ruler of the demons (see Matthew 12:24).
  • Leviathan, that slippery snake…that twisting snake (see Isaiah 27:1 – God’s Word to the nations).
  • the enemy (see Matthew 13:39).
  • the father of…a lie (see John 8:44).
  • the prince of the power of the air (see Ephesians 2:2).
  • the ruler of this world (see John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)
  • the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (see Ephesians 2:2).
  • the wicked one (see Matthew 13:19, 38).

Lucifer fell from divine favor and became the devil when he desired to be God himself! That has been his driving purpose through the ages, and he wars against the Almighty, a war that involves all of us who are God’s children! Why? Because we are called to represent our Creator and Redeemer, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, and allowing the Lord Jesus to work out His redemptive purpose in and through our lives!

I think it is important to peek ahead to the finale of the spiritual war between the devil and the Lord Jesus! It is decidedly one-sided!

  • Satan is not omnipotent (all-powerful), and God is!
  • Satan is not omniscient (all-knowing), and God is!
  • Satan is not omnipresent (everywhere at once), and God is!

God is all this and so much more! Revelation 19:19-21 describes Armageddon, that great war at the end of the age when Satan, incarnate as the antichrist, incites all the nations of the world to battle against Israel and Israel’s King, Jesus Christ!

And I saw the beast [the antichrist], the 
kings of the earth, and their armies, gath-
ered together to make war against Him who 
sat on the horse [Jesus Christ] and against 
His army. Then the beast was captured, and 
with him the false prophet who worked signs 
in his presence....These two were cast a-
live into the lake of fire burning with 
brimstone. And the rest [of antichrist’s 
army] were killed with the sword which 
proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat 
upon the horse. 

Did you notice the description of the battle between the Lord and the greatest most powerful armies the world could ever muster? Look closely, it is between the first and second sentences of the Scripture just cited. There is no description! The power, might, and victory are so lopsided in favor of Jesus Christ that all it says is Then the beast was captured…! So this is how the battle ends……immediate victory for the Lord Jesus when He intercedes! And being a Christian, one of Jesus’ own, I am on the winning side! Praise God!

But we haven’t even gotten to the main point of this Gem yet. Satan is called, …the god of this world…” in II Corinthians 4:4. Why? Because Satan is in charge of this world, this worldwide societal system composed of every nation on earth! He owns it! On the Mount of Temptation (located in southern Israel, north of the Dead Sea), the devil tempted Jesus three times (recorded in Luke 4). In verses 5 through 8 the second temptation is described:

Then the devil, taking Him up on a high 
mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of 
the world in a moment of time. And the 
devil said to Him, “All this authority I
will give You, and their glory; for this 
has been delivered to me, and I give it to 
whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will 
worship before me, all will be Yours. And 
Jesus answered and said to him, “Get be-
hind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You 
shall worship the Lord your God, and Him 
only you shall serve.’”

Satan claimed ownership of all the kingdoms of the world! And Jesus didn’t challenge him concerning that claim! It all is his because he tricked our first parents into giving all such authority to him. According to Genesis 1:26 through 29, God gave Adam…dominion over…all the earth…” (verse 26). But when the devil tempted Eve (and Adam through Eve), Adam, as it were, bowed down in obedience to Satan and worshiped him, thus transferring dominion over all the world to the evil one! (see Genesis 3:1-6).

What did the devil offer Jesus?…the kingdoms of the world…and their glory…” (Luke 4:5, 6)…..the whole world system! Jesus is called …the last Adam…[and] the second Man…” in I Corinthians 15:45 and 47, because He came to restore humanity and all creation…

  • …back to what the first Adam lost!
  • …back to what God created at the beginning!

If Satan could have induced Jesus to bow down to him, as did the first Adam, then the evil one would permanently keep his title as …the god of this world…! No, more than that!

  • Satan would take God the Father’s place!
  • The devil would become the God of this world!

But because Jesus obeyed His Father instead of Satan, the angel could proclaim in Revelation 11:15, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.

Look around! The mess that this world is in is just temporary! There is coming a time, perhaps very soon, when it shall be as the prophet foresaw: “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14).

Actually, this explains a lot! When I look at the world and the mess that the societies of this world are in, I would have to say, “If God was really in direct control of …the kingdoms of the world…,He would be a pretty poor God!But while the Heavenly Father is in ultimate control, He allows the devil to practice his stolen dominion! However, Satan can only go as far as God allows! And someday, when the …kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ…

  • …Jesus will then right all the wrongs of society!
  • …the mess the devil has made of this world will become so clean, right, and holy that mankind will fully reflect the glory of God!

The next Gem will deal with the devil’s characteristics.

This Means War!– I

Ezekiel 28:12-15

(English Standard Version)

Isaiah 14:12-15

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Starting on May 6, 2013, I began a twenty-one-part study on Spiritual warfare entitled Know Your Enemy! That was almost eleven years ago. That study was important for Christians then, and it is even more important today! So I am going to reproduce that series of Gems and, as I have learned further truths regarding Spiritual warfare (and perhaps further refined my writing skills), I will expand on the information I present as it becomes appropriate.

Why is this study worth repeating? There is an increasing attack around the world against the Lord God and His followers! Believers need to have their knowledge refreshed concerning the war being fought against us, and our enlistment in the fighting force of Jesus’ army:

  • Who our enemy is.
  • His plans and goals.
  • How he will implement those plans to reach his goals.
  • His strengths and weaknesses.
  • The soldiers in his army.
  • Our enlistment in Jesus’ army – the opposition force:
  • The prophesied outcome of the battle against the devil.

…and so much more!

So let’s get started:

We have an enemy, a very dangerous enemy whose purpose is to defeat God and to totally nullify what the Lord wants to do in us and through us! And the sooner we realize the devil’s purpose, the sooner we can be ready and available for Jesus Christ to use us in His kingdom work.

But just to realize we have an enemy is not enough. We have to know who he is, his personality, his background, his purpose and his tactics! So the next several Gems will be about the devil, the enemy of all that God is and does!

There are people who raise their eyebrows in doubt or disbelief when Satan is mentioned. Yes, even those who identify as Christians do not believe in the existence of a personal

  • In all the Bible, Satan and demons are never presented as mythical!
  • In the gospels, which are the record of the Lord’s incarnational mission…
  ...Jesus spoke of the person of Satan 
   as very real, as real as His heavenly 
   Father and the Holy Spirit! 

  ...The Lord dealt with the devil and 
   his demon minions as factual spiritual 
   beings who are very active in their 
   opposition to God and His work.

So should we!

Let’s start with examining Ezekiel 28:12 through 15 (English Standard Version):

Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the 
signet of perfection, full of wisdom and 
perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the 
garden of God; every precious stone was 
your covering, sardius, topaz, and dia-
mond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, 
emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in 
gold were your settings and your engrav-
ings. On the day that you were created 
they were prepared. You were an anointed 
guardian cherub. I placed you; you were 
on the holy mountain of God; in the midst 
of the stones of fire you walked. You 
were blameless in your ways from the day 
you were created, till unrighteousness 
was found in you.

What iniquity was found in him? He is identified as Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12. And the record of his iniquity and resulting fall from God’s favor is recorded in Isaiah 14:12 through 15:

How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, 
son of the morning! How are you cut down to 
the ground, you who weakened the nations! 
For you have said in your heart: “I will 
ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne 
above the stars of God; I will also sit on 
the mount of the congregation on the far-
thest sides of the north; I will ascend 
above the heights of the clouds, I will 
be like the Most High.” Yet you shall be 
brought down to Sheol, to the lowest 
depths of the Pit.

Lucifer’s desire was to defeat God, take His place, to reign over all creation, and to be in control of everything! 

  • This was his motivating purpose at the beginning (see the two Old Testament Scriptures above).
  • And according to II Thessalonians 2:4, he retains that driving motivation to the end!
  He...opposes and exalts himself 
   above all that is called God or that 
   is worshiped, so that he sits as God 
   in the temple of God, showing himself 
   that he is God.  This Scripture is speaking of the 
   antichrist who will appear during 
   the seven-year Tribulation at the 
   end of this age. The antichrist is 
   just the opposite of Christ! 

   ➔  As Jesus was incarnated into 
       human flesh...

   ➔  ...so the antichrist is the 
       incarnation of Satan in human 
       flesh!

Logically it follows that we are not the devil’s primary enemies! God is his primary enemy!

  • We become his enemies as we yield ourselves to the Lord and allow Him to do His will and work in us and through us!
  • If we are not yielded to the Lord Jesus and living for Him, then we are not much threat to Satan, and he will generally leave us alone!  The trials in the life of a Christian living outside or on the edge of the Lord’s will are…
  ...either our own doing! Or...

  ...God trying to get our attention!

In the next Gem, we will examine why, in II Corinthians 4:4, the devil carries the title, “…the god of this world….