When the Coronavirus first broke out, I kept hearing in my spirit the phrase, “Smoke and Mirrors.” But not being given anything else to go on, all I could do was wait for further instructions. Then, when George Floyd was killed and all of the riots broke out, I heard “Smoke and Mirrors” once more—again, without being given any additional information or instruction.
Afterward, while observing the fallout from these events, I was amazed by the clear dividing line that was being drawn—not among the unbelievers but among those whom I considered to be committed and mature followers of Christ. I was simultaneously stunned and grieved to see so many of these people being manipulated by the spirits of chaos and anarchy that were so obviously at work in these events.
At this point, I asked the Lord if He wanted me to comment on the situation and if so, what was I to say. I didn’t get an answer right away but a few weeks later, I distinctly heard, “Don’t get caught up in the fray, show the way.” Now that may seem like a rather cryptic word to be given, but when I heard it I knew immediately that it was the Lord’s way of reminding me to stay focused on the Truth, and not to get caught up in the emotions of these events and go off half-cocked, chasing rabbits.
This, then, begs the question of just what the Truth is that we should be focusing on right now? Well, in keeping with the words I had received earlier, it is that both the pandemic and the racial upheavals are really “Smoke and Mirrors”—that is, they are…
…something that distorts or blurs facts, figures, etc.; like a magic or conjuring trick; an artful deception.
Pay Attention–Don’t Let Him Distract You
They are the sleight-of-hand maneuvers of the devil designed to shift our attention from one thing onto another; a short-term shift giving him the time and space to achieve his long-term goals undetected and unhindered. He has been using this classic diversionary tactic, so essential to the success of both the magician and the military strategist, to keep us confined and cowering in fear because of the pandemic, and so emotionally wrought up and divided because of the riots and violence that we can’t see what’s really going on, much less come together to deal with it.
We need to remember that the devil is not concerned with the unbelievers in all of this because he already has them in his pocket; but it is the true followers of Christ that he hopes to divide and conquer through these events. That’s because they make up the bulk of Donald Trump’s support base, and it is he and the other conservative candidates that the devil wants to defeat in the upcoming elections. Why? Because the outcome of these races will directly impact the long-term agenda for the establishment of his kingdom here on earth. Before we can really understand why they are so critical to that agenda, we must first have an adequate understanding of the devil’s long-term goal and the warfare that it has engendered.
Before getting into that, though, I think it is important for me to emphasize here that I am called to teach the Truth of God contained in His Word, the Bible—and not to publicly endorse or promote one candidate or party over another. However, when God’s Truth and His Kingdom Purposes and Politics collide, it is imperative that I speak to the Church regarding these issues, as that is all part of it what it means for me to “…show the way.”
Satan’s Kingdom Agenda
Although Satan (aka Lucifer and the devil) was created as one of the highest-ranking angels, when he became vain because of his beauty and power-hungry because of his position, he rebelled against God’s authority and attempted to usurp that authority for himself.
His original plan—his Plan A—called for him to overthrow God and take over His Throne in Heaven; this in spite of the fact that God was and still is All-Powerful, and his own power was severely limited in comparison. When this coup failed, he was then forced to come up with a Plan B, one which called for him to set up his kingdom on the earth instead. This presented him with another problem, though, because God declared that He was giving the earth to Man to rule over, so what was he to do about that?
For Satan to achieve his Plan B and realize his goal, he devised a strategy which would allow him to gain control of the earth by taking captive God’s representatives and intended family through deception and lies. When this proved successful, the authority  to rule over the earth which had once been delegated to them, became his. Since then, armed with this authority, he has been working tirelessly and ruthlessly throughout history and in every realm of human existence to establish his kingdom, all the while doing his best to eradicate the knowledge of God and the Truth, and replacing God with himself and the Truth with a lie.
Satan’s first real drive to consolidate political power began at the Tower of Babel where he nearly succeeded in establishing the first world government on the plains of Shinar. Although God’s dispersion of the people into different ethnic groups made Satan’s attempts at consolidation more difficult, it certainly didn’t deter him from the quest. Not only was the first organized False Religion that he began there scattered abroad along with the people, but from that time until now, in every tribe and nation, he has been working, seeking to ensure that the godless rise to power and control all the wealth and resources, while the masses under them remain in poverty and in bondage. Gradually, as those with the most ambition and might launched out and conquered more territory, empires developed which have been and are currently being ruled by the devil and his demons.
We are living in one of those empires now—an Americanized version of the old Roman Empire; however, we are very quickly being moved toward what is referred to in the Bible as the Revived Roman Empire—but, in secular terms is the Globalization of Government, Banking and Business, Education, Media and Entertainment, and Religion known as the New World Order. This amalgamation of the structures of human life is what Satan has been working toward ever since his failure at the Tower of Babel, as it will be the vehicle through which he, through the persons of the Antichrist and False Prophet, will finally realize his dream (however short-lived as it may be) of being revered and worshiped as god on a world-wide level.
The Bible tells us that in the last days of this age, this New World Order will be a One-World Government ruled by a charismatic but ruthless dictator. According to Daniel 7: 7, 23-24, this government will be comprised of Ten Kingdoms which, for the time being, have no kings to rule over them. It will be supported by a Global Economic System, and united by a One World Religion. Although the plans for this government have been in the works for millennia, and it has been partially realized in fits and spurts at various times throughout history, its ultimate realization has been all but impossible due to nationalism, ethnic rivalries, and problems attributable to distance and communication. Until recently, there was no way to centralize all of the governmental powers, financial institutions, and religious organizations in the world and bring them under the control of just one person. But now, due to all of the improvements in travel and advancements in technology made during the past century, what was formerly merely a dream has now become a reality.
Quick to exploit these many innovations, Satan, working through his greedy, globally-minded human puppeteers, has been busy orchestrating the consolidation of the world’s Political and Economic Structures, Cultural Structures, and Religious Structures—national ones which have taken him centuries, if not millennia, to construct. Mind you, he has not been dismantling them, just merging them into a single Global Unit, so that…
Through its multifaceted Cultural System, he can control what human beings think and how they feel about themselves, the family, and the world around them; and,
Through its counterfeit Religious System, he can control what human beings believe and what or whom they worship.
Controlling the Masses through Political Power
Controlling the Masses through Economics
Satan’s Political and Economic Advances…
— Through the establishment of the Federal Reserve System in 1913, he has gained control of the money supply, ensuring that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer—and, his future front men will be able to enforce his worship through their control of the economy;
— Through the creation of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in 1921, whose stated purpose is…
…to advocate the ‘building [of] a new international order [which] may be responsible to world aspirations for peace [and] for social and economic change…
…he has taken over the Department of State and filled the most important and powerful positions in the government with its members. These constitute the deep state, whose job it is to ensure that the President adheres to the Globalist Agenda. Additionally, through the Council on Foreign Relations, he has spawned a number of spin-off groups, such as the Bilderbergers, the Club of Rome, and the Trilateral Commission—charging each with carrying out a specific task within the broader mission of establishing the New World Order;
— Through the creation of the United Nations in 1945, he has provided the nations of the world with a model global government as a means of conditioning them to accept the real one when it materializes;
— Through the establishment of the Bilderberger Group in 1954—a super-secretive group of some of the world’s most powerful people—he has been working…
… to submit the sovereignty of the free nations of Europe to a Bilderberger-controlled British-American One World Government, using a nuclear threat as a battering ram against the rest of the unwilling world.”
[However, when the Cold War came to an end, their weapon of choice became Global Warming.]
The Bilderberger’s have also been his go-to group for the vetting of potential candidates for the highest offices in the land. They interview the candidates, regardless of their party affiliation, to see who can best advance their agenda over the next four years. Then, once one is decided upon, they will see to it that he is fully funded by the globalist-owned financial institutions and promoted at every opportunity by the globalist-owned media.
— Through the establishment of the Club of Rome in 1968—a group charged with the task of overseeing the regionalization and economic unification of the entire world—he has already divided the world into ten political/economic regions, which the group refers to as Kingdoms. These “kingdoms” sound very much like those prophesied by Daniel, and have been arranged by the Club in the following order…
In its push toward the economic unification of these kingdoms, the Club has been at work over the past several decades, bankrupting the individual nations’ economies and then taking them over in order to absorb them into its universal system.
— Through the founding of the World Economic Forum in 1971 under the leadership of Klaus Schwab…
…he has brought the world’s leading businesses together in order to usher in a new business model based upon the shared environmental goals of the One World Government, where every business or government organization will no longer be an independent, autonomous entity but merely a cog in the wheel of his Globalist Economy.
— Through the establishment of the Trilateral Commission in 1973—he has fostered an economic interdependence among the top three of these “kingdoms”—North America, Western Europe, and Japan—for the purpose of assisting its sister organizations in their regionalization efforts and in their promotion of a world government.
Satan’s Cultural Advances…
Since Satan is (and always has been) incapable of creating living beings over which he could rule, his only option has been to take those created by God for His glory and then, through the systematic eradication of the Divine Image within them, as well as their knowledge of the Divine Plan for them, remold them in his own distorted image and in accordance with his own devilish plans. To accomplish this, he has become a master manipulator of every form of Media--Art, Music, Theatre, Films, Television, Books, Magazines, Newspapers, and Social Media—as well as the curriculum at every level of Education, from Preschool through Post Graduate Work, slowly and insidiously redefining in the minds of men, what it means to be a human living on planet Earth.
Controlling How the Masses Think through Education
— Through his control of the Educational Structure, he has succeeded in changing the way Man thinks about himself and the world around him by replacing the previously accepted Biblical Worldview with one promoting Evolution in place of Creationism. His strategy for this, like that used with Adam and Eve, has been simple yet highly effective—just Discredit the Word of God and then Replace the Truth with a Lie. This, he has accomplished, using the three-pronged approach of…
Promoting an Alternative Worldview—by offering Evolution to the intellectual community as an appealing alternative to the Biblical Worldview. Through its near-universal acceptance, Satan has succeeded in changing Man’s perception of himself from being a Unique Creation made in the Image of God to being just the most highly evolved animal produced to date from a long line of genetic mutations. This would mean that Man is no longer accountable to a higher power, there are no absolutes that he needs to concern himself with, and there is no such thing as sin.
Compromising Biblical Scholarship—by infiltrating seminaries with the New Worldview, he has managed to undermine the credibility of the Word of God and the integrity of the ministers who proclaim it. With the seminaries no longer producing ministers who believed the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, he has been able to change the Church’s message of Salvation through the cleansing of the blood of Christ to one promoting the betterment of the individual and the improvement of society. Then, with Man no longer thinking of himself as a sinner, all that he would need in life is an education and the motivation to become his best self.
Corrupting the Public-School Curriculum—by first infiltrating the Teacher Training Schools, then the Public Education System, Satan has succeeded in changing the curriculum to promote the Alternative Worldview. Through this revision (spearheaded by atheist John Dewey, the “father of progressive education), patriotism has been replaced by globalism, traditional values such as parental authority and faith in God have been undermined, and the high academic and moral standards previously required have given way to such things as socialization, values clarification, and sensitivity training.
Controlling What the Masses Want and How They Feel through Media
— Through his control of the Media (he’s not called the Prince of the Power of the Air for nothing), Satan has gradually been replacing Man’s God-given Image with his own corrupted one. Through Media’s programming of television, music and music videos, movies, the internet and social media, and video games, he has saturated today’s airwaves with Images promoting hedonistic and godless lifestyles. Through their appeals to the flesh—the baser human instincts—he has successfully convinced many that what is evil is really good, and what is good is really evil. Routinely, these Images are being used to promote idolatry and a rejection of God; vulgarity, swearing, and cursing; disrespect for parents and one another; disrespect for authority and for life; drunkenness and substance abuse; lying, cheating, stealing; violence and murder; greed, covetous, and corruption; sexual immorality—both heterosexual and homosexual; and marital infidelity and divorce.
And if that wasn’t enough, through Media’s profit-seeking promotion of Consumerism and the millions—perhaps even billions—of advertising messages it conveys each day, Satan has managed to entice and keep many in debt up to their eyeballs, relentlessly chasing unattainable images and lifestyles, like gerbils on a wheel; narcotized by mindless “entertainment” while being left ill-informed about what is actually happening in the world; and, so confused about their sexual identity that they are willing to try anything, no matter how outrageous it is, in an attempt to figure out who they are.
Last but not least, through Media’s control of the News Outlets, Satan has been manipulating every election—local, state, and national—for decades. With every newscast, he has been telling us what we should think and how we should feel about any given issue, what we need to fear, and whom we should vote into office. In short, he has been reprogramming our minds and emotions, using every form of social interaction to transform the masses into willing, or at least cooperative, “citizens” (slaves) for his New World Order.
Controlling What and Who the Masses Worship through Religion
Satan’s Religious Advances…
Because most people consider Religion to be the means by which we are drawn closer to God, to say that Satan uses it to do just the opposite might seem somewhat incongruous at first. However, once we have examined the matter more closely, I think it will become evident that the difference between Religion and the Righteousness required by God is as vast as the distance between Heaven and Hell.
Like Sin, Religion had its origins in the Garden of Eden. There, Man was presented with two Trees—the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—and told that he could eat freely from the one but was forbidden to eat from the other. What he was really being given was a choice between the Righteousness that leads to Life—the fruit produced by the first tree, and the Religion of human works that leads to Death—the fruit produced by the second tree. Sadly, he chose Religion.
Sadder still is the fact that what began as just a small seed of unbelief in the hearts of our first parents, very quickly matured into full-blown evil in the heart of their son, Cain. When his brother Abel’s offering of faith was accepted by God and his own offering of works was rejected, Cain rose up in anger and murdered his brother. Why? According to the Apostle John centuries later, it was…
…because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous (1 John 3:12).
Ever since then, Satan has been pitting the Wicked (those who have chosen the way of Works leading to Death) against the Righteous (those who have chosen the way of Faith leading to Life). Again and again, he has done this merely by discrediting the Word of God and then replacing the Truth with a Lie—The Lie, in this case, being that Man can save himself and become a god on his own terms, through good works, religious rituals, or a belief in his own innate goodness.
It is this last belief that will be the defining characteristic of Satan’s coming kingdom. As Lewis Sperry Chafer so astutely discerned back in 1919…
…Satan’s ambition was not to become a fiend, but rather to become like the Most High. Therefore he will strive for all that is moral and good, yet at the same time do all in his power to draw men from their natural reverence of God in order, that, in due time, they may acknowledge him without fear. The satanic ideal of this age is, then, an improved social order, a moral and cultured people who are devout worshippers of Satan, though for the present they many imagine that they are worshiping Jehovah through their empty religious forms and ceremonies. Actually, they are in a state of God-dishonoring unbelief, and all their thoughts are energized by Satan alone. The satanic message for this age will be reformation and self-development, while the message of God is regeneration by the power of the Spirit.
Satan, in his imitation of the Most High, also is working toward a universal kingdom of morality and people upon earth, which will be temporarily realized under the reign of the Beast (Rev. 13). The difference between Satan’s ideal and the purpose of God, apart from the utter folly of the one and the glorious certainty of the other, is the difference of both method and time. According to the satanic program, the present order of society, with Satan on the throne, is to be developed into an ideal brotherhood, in which all men will practice what is moral and good.
And it is this push for a universal brotherhood of man that we see taking place in every major sphere of influence today.
Back to the Present
Although this has been a lot to take in, it is essential that we are made aware of it so that we can see just how far Satan’s plans for World Domination have progressed in recent years. We now know that…
The Ten Kingdoms over which Satan will soon rule are already in place and ready to go;
The World’s Money Supply has been centralized and computerized—and, with so many now shopping and doing business online, he is already exercising virtual control over the World’s Economy;
With the World’s Purse Strings safely under his management, he can continue his efforts aimed at dismantling Capitalism—the goal being the elimination of prosperity and the creation of a divided society; one with no middle class—only rulers (the globalists) and servants (everyone else);
We have a centralized Educational System, one with a curriculum designed to dumb down our children while indoctrinating them with Marxist/Atheistic philosophy, and with the goal of rewriting our nation’s history;
Thanks to this Educational System and to the Media, Satan is well on his way to the creation of one International Identity and one set of Universal Values which—serving as a counterfeit version of the Family of God—will find full expression in the Universal Brotherhood of Man during the reign of the Antichrist;
Over the past several decades, the Message of the Church has been watered down and its Mission obscured in an attempt to make the Church more User-Friendly and Relevant to the Unchurched (just another way of packing the pews with more butts!). Instead of the meaty sermons which we were once being fed—those dealing with the life and death issues of Man’s Sinful Nature, his need of Salvation, and God’s Forgiveness and Redemption—we are now being served up little Snacks of Self-Help that are leaving our spirits in a serious state of Spiritual Malnourishment. This, while the traditional programs for Biblical Education and Discipleship Training have been done away with in favor of more Social Activities, and while the “old fashioned” Evangelistic Outreach Programs have gone the way of the dinosaur.
Clearly, by comparison, God’s Kingdom on Earth—in its current state of weakness and division—has suffered tremendous losses of territory, while Satan’s Kingdom seems to have been expanding its territory at an exponential rate. In fact, all that seems to be standing in the way of the realization of his kingdom goals are the…
Nations and their individual seats of power, which need to be removed and replaced by one centralized system;
National militaries, state and local police forces, which need to be done away with and replaced by a universal enforcement agency;
Restoration of a strong US Economy, which needs to collapse so it can be taken over by the World Bank; and,
Re-awakening, Revitalization, and Reconciliation within the Church; along with her Recommitment to the Great Commission, and the Recruitment and Training of soldiers for Spiritual Warfare.
Satan was well on the way to the accomplishment of the first three of these goals—at least until the 2016 Election and the surprising election of Donald Trump as President of the United States! As Trump’s goals stand in direct opposition to those of Satan and his globalist henchmen, he was surely the last man they wanted to see come into power. Moreover, because he was voted into office without any of their financial backing or promotion by their Media,they have had no leverage power over him, as they had with the previous presidents that they put into office. This goes a long way to explaining why they have done everything in their power to discredit him and his policies, to force him from office, and to keep him from being re-elected for another term.
Trump–The Globalists’ Worst Nightmare
From a personal standpoint, I never cared for Mr. Trump and, in the past, had considered him to be nothing more than an arrogant, egotistical opportunist. But then, when he began his run for the Republican nomination for President—and I had lost count of the times that he had put his foot in his mouth—I was so perplexed as to how he had managed to stay in the running, when anyone else doing the same things would have been kicked to the curb long before, that I asked the Lord what was going on and this is the answer that He gave me at the time…
I have chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty…the base things of the world and the things which are despised I have chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in My presence. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
This insight helped me to stop looking at Trump the man and start focusing on what I hoped God was going to do through him—things which I could see were the very ones that Satan and his gang were working so hard to destroy…
The sanctity and protection of human life;
The restoration and strengthening of oureconomy;
The re-arming and strengthening of ourmilitary and law enforcement agencies;
The strengthening and protection of our borders;
The care of our veterans; and,
The restoration and protection of our religious rights.
Once I started assessing the platform upon which he stood, and in spite of my personal misgivings about the man, I found that I had no reservations about giving Trump my vote. That’s because, I was not voting for him to become my “Pastor-in Chief,” I was hiring him—as the tough street fighter that he was—to come into an impossible (and potentially dangerous) situation and like the proverbial “bull in a China shop,” break up what appeared to be our finest (but actually cracked and corrupt) State China, so that it could be replaced with something better and far more in keeping with God’s plans for our nation. I don’t think anyone with less chutzpah would have been up to the task, and been able to stand up against the powerful, pervasive, well-financed, and unprecedented opposition that he has encountered.
If God had put a godlier man than Trump into office and he succeeded in implementing the aforementioned changes in our government, we would have been very quick to shower him with the praises which should rightly have gone to God. If, on the other hand, God chose to use someone like Donald Trump to accomplish His purposes, then we would all have to acknowledge that it was He who had done it and He who was deserving of the glory.
I think the wisdom of God was further evidenced in His choice of Mike Pence as Vice President. There can be no doubt that he is a godly man—one whom God has raised up out of relative obscurity and placed in the second most important position in our government, in much the same way that He did with Joseph in Egypt. I shudder to think what President Trump’s behavior would have been like without the prayers and godly influence of this truly devout man.
This, then, brings us back to question of just what all of this has to do with the events taking place in our country now. If we look again at the first three of Satan’s unrealized objectives…
The elimination of national borders;
The dismantling of the military and police forces; and,
The bankrupting of the US economy..
…we can see that there is a direct correlation between them and the events taking place recently. Given what we now know, it should be obvious that…
During previous administrations, the devil had been making great strides toward his goal of breaking down borders and erasing national identities by flooding the countries of Western Europe and the United States with refugees and illegal aliens. As a result of the wars, governmental corruption, collapsed economies, and persecution which he had fomented in their homelands, many lost everything they had and were forced to try and find safety elsewhere–not only creating havoc and culture shock for them and the countries where they sought asylum, but also tremendous financial demands upon the economies of those countries. Because of Trump’s strong stand on securing our borders,Satan’s efforts in this area have suffered a serious setback.
Trump’s support and strengthening of the national military and local and state law enforcement agencies is so counterproductive to Satan’s global aspirations that he has resorted to using the death of George Floyd as a match, thrown into the tinderbox of racial injustice, to create such an inferno of confusion and anarchy that people are actually beginning to think that we need to do away with these agencies.
Because the economy had rebounded and become so healthy during Trump’s administration, it was necessary for the devil to do something to cause it to crash again. It didn’t take a lot to make that happen—just the release of a little germ—COVID 19—the fear of which was the only thing needed to bring about the universal shut-down of all businesses and institutions and an end to life as we had known it.
Pandemic–A Sure Way to Crash the Economy
Throughout all of this, the globalist-controlled Media has been working overtime in an effort to keep everyone stirred up, confused, and in a constant state of uncertainty. It has been playing upon the emotions of people in order to keep them paralyzed by fear—not only the fear of becoming sick and possibly dying, but also the fear of being thought of as intolerant—intolerance being the cardinal sin in Satan’s One World’s Set of Universal Values. Operating under this fear, many otherwise rational people have been motivated to join in the demonstrations and some have even gotten sucked into taking part in the violence.
Certainly, racial injustice is a problem that needs to be dealt with but make no mistake about it, Satan isn’t the least bit interested in bringing about healing in this area, nor does he have the power to do it–and surely violence is not the way to bring it about. That’s because it is a problem requiring Love, Repentance, Forgiveness, and Reconciliation—which is a God-Thing, and the very business of His Church. Sadly, Satan has been exploiting the failureof the Church in this area to manufacture the chaos needed to serve his kingdom purposes—the dismantling of the police, the destruction of personal property, the shut-down of the economy, and a division among the people—especially God’s People! All of these are just Smoke and Mirrors, distractions designed to shift our focus away from the real issues involved.
However, we must not allow this to happen. We must maintain a clear view of the Big Picture—which is, the real and fierce spiritual warfare now being waged between God and His Kingdom Purposes for the earth, and those of Satan—and not allow these Smoke and Mirrors diversionary tactics of the devil to obscure that view and bringing more deception and more division to God’s People!
Let’s Remember Who is Behind All of This
Has Satan been successful in this? Absolutely—at least, so far! What, then, can possibly prevent—or at least delay—him from the realization of his long sought-after ambition? The re-election of Donald Trump, the election to Congress of new Representatives and Senators who do not support Satan’s global agenda–but who are committed to the healing and prosperity of our nation and its economy; and the…
Re-awakening and Revitalization of the Church of Jesus Christ; Reconciliation within the Church and in Society at large; Recommitment of the Church to its Commission; and Recruitment and Trainingof soldiers forSpiritual Warfare.
In short, the time has come for the Church, the Bride of Christ, to pull up her Big-Girl Britches and get busy about the business of being the Church—which will require our participation in all of the above. This is certainly do-able, because we have both the Spirit of God to empower us and the Promise of Godthat…
…ifMy people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
All I can say at this point is, no matter where you stand on these issues, buckle up your seat belts–it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
 Note—Satan did not gain title to the earth because, according to Psalm 24:1, it still belongs to God. He only obtained the authority or right to rule over the earth—something which Christ won back through His death and resurrection and re-delegated to His Church.
 Gary H. Kah, En Route to Global Occupation (Lafayette, Louisiana: Huntington House Publishers, 1991), 33, 36.
When we left Abram at the end of Episode #2, he had just returned from the daring and successful rescue of his nephew, Lot, along with the other inhabitants of Sodom and the surrounding cities. Although, before he could return the captives and the loot taken in the raid, he was met by Melchizedek—the Priest and King of Salem—with whom he shared communion and to whom he gave tithes from the spoils of that war. As a result of this worshipful encounter, when he was offered the recovered loot by the King ofSodom, Abram was fully prepared to turn it down, choosing instead to maintain his integrity and witness before the pagan king and the peoples of the land.
This temptation turned out to be the third in a series of Tests that Abram has been undergoing. As we have seen in our study of him, God has progressively been revealing Himself and His plans for Abram and his descendants through a series of revelatory encounters—with each one involving a promise, and each one followed by a period oftesting. This chart summarizes Abram’s progress so far…
Abram’s Report Card
This, then, brings us to Abram’s next revelatory encounter in Genesis 15. Although he doesn’t know it yet, throughout this process, Godhas been preparing him to become the Father of Israel, a role we will see him step into here in Episode #3 of his story, as he enters into a marriage covenant with God for his descendants–those who will eventually become the nation of Israel, theWife of Jehovah.
With the lights now going down now in the theatre and the curtains slowly starting to rise, we hear the voice our off-stage Narrator once again, as he begins setting the stage for us…
Episode #3 of Biopic #1 Cast: Narrator God Abram
Narrator:Lot has just departed on his merry way to Sodom, leaving Abram shaking his head and wondering whether all his efforts to rescue and restore his backsliding nephew have not been totally in vain. The king of Sodom has left, rubbing his hands over the recovery of all his goods, at no cost to himself and, no doubt, discussing with the secretary of his treasury what particular form of insanity possessed Abram so that he refused his share of the spoil. Melchizedek has gone, leaving Abram with only a memory and a new appreciation of God. Aner and Eschol and Mamre have gone, congratulating one another on their prowess in war and gloating over the rich profits they have reaped. And Abram is left alone, somewhat depressed and a little fearful perhaps lest his unexpected display of military power might not stir the Canaanites into a league against him. Moreover, he has probably been listening to the excited chatter of Lot’s children, which reminds him—he has no child of his own. It is at this point that God, in His love and care, comes to talk with Abram about the building of his family…
Narrator: After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying…
God:Do not be afraid, Abram. I AM your shield, your exceedingly great reward.
Abram:Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus? Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!
Narrator:And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying…
God:This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.
Narrator:Then He brought him outside and said…
God:Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them….So shall your descendants be.
Narrator:And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. Then [God] said to him…
God:I AM the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.
Abram:Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?
God:Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
Narrator:Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then God said to Abram…
God:Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.
Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.
Narrator:And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces. On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying…
God:To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
With nothing further to add, this Episode comes to a halt, indicating that it is time for us to pull out our Critic’s Caps and begin our Review of it. As always, we will be approaching this Episode from three levels…
TheEarthly Level—where we will be looking for any Life Lessons that we can take away from it;
TheHeavenly Level—where we will be looking for the Contributions it has to make to God’s One Big Story of Redemption; and,
The Eternal Level—where we will be looking for the Revelations of God contained in this part of the Story.
So, with these as our goals, let’s begin our Review by first going over…
The Most Important Points in this Episode
1. In our previous episodes, when God “spoke” to someone, it was not made clear just what form that took. But here, the Word of God came to Abram in a vision—making this the first mention of a vision in Scripture. This kind of appearance is called a Theophany, and is a pre-incarnate vision of Jesus Christ.
2. With this visitation coming closely on the heels of his battle experience, God reassures Abram that he did the right thing in rejecting the spoils, and that whatever happens as a result of his “military offensive,” He would be Abram’s protector and provider.
3. Given that in each of his previous encounters with God, Abram was promised either a nation or descendants, when he meets with God this time, it only seems logical that the first thing he mentions is his lack of children—after all, how can you have descendants if you don’t have any children?
In response, the Lord promises him—for the first time—that his heir will not be his adopted servant but a son born from his own seed. At this, he is told to count the stars. Back in Genesis 12:14ff, God told him that He was going to make his descendants as the dust of the earth. These two promises speak of Abram’s two seeds—his natural and supernatural descendants, with the natural being those who are born of the flesh—the Jews, and the supernatural descendants being those who are born of the Spirit—the Church.
4. The Lord’s self-identification as I AM is used here for the first time. Later, in John 8:56-59, Jesus stated unequivocally that He was the I AM. In this particular confrontation with the Jewish leaders, when He told them…
…if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death…
…the Jews said to Him…Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead?…
Jesus answered…Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.
Then the Jews said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?
Jesus said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.
5. Although Abram had believed God before—enough so that he packed up, left his homeland, and became a wanderer in the Land of Promise—this is the first time that it has been said that his belief has been accounted to him for righteousness. Why do you think that is?
Unlike all of God’s previous promises to Abram, this is the first mention and direct promise that a son would be born to him, and that this son would also be in the lineage of the Seed promised to Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15. It was his faith in this promised Redeemer that is being counted or credited to him as righteousness.
6. In spite of the fact that we have just been told that AbrambelievedGod, when God promises him the land again, he asks for a sign—why? Does this demonstrate a lack of faith?
No. Back in Genesis 9:8-17, God gave Noah the Rainbow as a sign or reminder of their Covenant that He would never again destroy the earth by a flood. So, in asking for a sign, Abram was asking what the tangible reminder of this Covenant would be. We can regard the sign, then, as the equivalent of God’s signature on this contract.
Abram Prepares and Protects the Sacrifice
7. To this, Abram is told to prepare an offering/a sacrifice. Even though he very quickly obeys, there is a long delay before anything else happens—other than him having to chase away the What do you think these things might mean?
The delay was probably meant to indicate that the fulfillment of this Covenantal Promise would not be immediate; while the Vultures were meant to be a picture of the demonic forces that would be at work until then, trying to keep this Covenant from being fulfilled. Later, in Luke 8: 5, 12, in the Parable of the Sower, Jesus used a similar analogy to illustrate this practice of the enemy…
A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it…
Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
8. After protecting the sacrifice all afternoon, when darkness falls, a deep sleep overtakes Abram and in it, he is shown in dream of the future of his descendants, where they will be afflicted in a foreign land for 400 years. This raises such questions as…
After giving the Land to Abram, why would God allow them to be taken out of the Land of Promise?
In later chapters of Genesis (especially chapter 28), we find that the corrupt culture of the Canaanites was beginning to impact the behavior of Jacob and his family. To protect them from these negative influences—while giving the people of the land plenty of time to repent before bringing judgment upon them—God removed HisPeople from the land and sequestered them in Goshen, the best land in all Egypt.
Why would God allow HisCovenantPeople to be subjected to such suffering and affliction?
During the first part of their sojourn in Egypt, as the family of Joseph, the Israelites enjoyed special treatment and were being provided for by Joseph. Even during the great famine, they were prosperous, not really needing to look to God for anything because their needs were being met by the government. But, when a ruler came to power after Joseph, they lost their privileged position and were reduced to slavery instead. It was then that they began to call upon the Lord again. So, their affliction can be seen in one of two ways—as the means God used to restore His People to faith in and dependence upon Him, and as a picture of the persecution that the World routinely inflicts upon the PeopleofGod.
Abram, on the other hand, was promised that he would live a long life and die in peace.
9. While he is asleep, the Presence of the Lord passes between the sacrificial elements. What do you think is significant about this?
In the Ancient Near East, when a covenant was made, it was ratified by first slaughtering animals and then creating a path between their divided carcasses. Both parties would walk through these animals, pledging to fulfill the terms of the covenant…
By cutting the animals in half during covenant ceremonies, the parties making the covenant were effectively saying, ‘Let this be done to us if we break the terms of this covenant…’
By being the one who passes between, Yahweh places the penalty of violating the covenant on Himself. He is showing Abram how serious He is about His promises.’ 
God Ratifying the Covenant
…we have learned that…
For the first time, Abram has had a face-to-face encounter with JesusChrist—an encounter of faith which has made Abramrighteous in the eyes of God;
God allays Abrams’fears about his past actions and assures him of a glorious future with a Son of his own to be his heir;
This Son of Promise will be the foundation stone upon which the nation of Israel will be built; and,
As a sign of this Promise,God “Cut a Covenant” with Abram in which He swears by oath that He will fulfill every promise He has made concerning Abram and his descendants.
Now, in conclusion, we need to ask ourselves..
1. What Life Lessons can we take away from Abram’sexperience in this episode?
Everyone, no matter how important or insignificant they may be, must come to God in the same way—that is, through a personal faith encounter with His Son, Jesus Christ;
Once they stand righteous before God, He will cover their pasts, and protect and provide for them as they follow Him into the future;
God’s testsare not punitive butpreparatory. They are designed to grow everyone in faith and in righteousness, and prepare them for their divinely ordained destinies.
Like Abram, Believers today are participants in a Covenant with God—a NewCovenant, written in the very Blood of Jesus, in which the Spirit of God comes to live within them, writing God’s Laws upon their hearts and teaching them to live like Children of the Most High God.
2. What Contributions does this episode make to God’s One Big Story of Redemption?
This episode marks a pivotal point in God’s One Big Story. Everything that has gone before has merely been preparation for this event—the cutting of the Covenant between Godand Abram. In reality, this Covenant is a Marriage Contract in which Abram betrothsIsrael—the Nation that will come from him—to God.
In the Ancient Jewish Wedding Tradition, which provides the format for the StoryoftheBible, the three phases in a Jewish Marriage are…
The Negotiation or Arrangement Phase—in which the Bridegroom’s Father, the Bridegroom himself, or his Agent goes to the Father of a Bride and negotiates a marriage contract. If arrangements acceptable to both parties can be arrived at, and if the bride gives her consent, then the Bridegroom and Bride become legally betrothed or engaged. At this point, the Bridegroom returns to his Father’s house and begins preparing a home for his Bride.
The Betrothal Phase—which usually lasts for about a year, is a time during which the Bridegroom is at work building a home and the Bride is busy preparing her wedding garments
The Consummation Phase—which includes the actual Marriage, its consummation, and the Wedding Feast that follows, only happens when the Father of the Bridegroom is satisfied with the work of his Son and gives him permission to go and get His Bride.
So, with the MarriageCovenant between God and Abram having been ratified by blood, the NegotiationPhase is now complete and God and Israel have entered into the Betrothal Period.
3. What Revelations of God does this episode give us?
As we have just learned, God is seen here as the Celestial Suitor, the Bridegroom who has just become betrothed to the Nation of Israel. And, even though she isn’t even a reality in the natural as yet, in the mind and heart of her Beloved, she has been in existence since before the foundation of the world.
Here is a video that will help explain the Love Story behind the One Big Story of the Bible a little better…
Early on in our study of Abram, we learned that he was called to Wander, Worship, and Witness, and in our last episode, we learned that he was also called to Warfare. In our next episode—in Chapter 16—we will discover that he has also been called to do one of the hardest things ever—and that is, to Wait!
 John Phillips, Exploring Genesis (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1992), 132.
In January, 2014, at the invitation of our tour guide, Horatio, we boarded the Truth Train for a Journey into the Land of Revelation Knowledge—that is, we launched out into a study of the Bible quite unlike any other that we’ve ever taken. That’s because, in this study, the Bible was to be presented as a Love Storyin the form of a play–one that would be acted out for us on the fourteen different Stages positioned along our journey’s path.
In February, 2016, we saw the curtain drop on Act 1, Scene 1of our Story but, rather than move on to Stage #2, we broke for what turned out to be a rather lengthy intermission. During this intermission, we opened the Workout Roomwhere, since March, 2016, we have been working to get into the best spiritual shape possible through a series of exercises dealing with Salvation, Sanctification, Service, and Spiritual Warfare. Now, having recently finished the last of these exercises, the time has come for us to once again change directions, re-board the Truth Train, and resume our journey to Stage #2, where Act 1, Scene 2 of our Story will soon get underway.
To help facilitate a review of what we have experienced so far, the His Truth, My Voice Theatrepage is now open; there all of our earlier episodes can be viewed in the order of their presentation. This should help both our more seasoned travelers and any who are new to this tour understand just where we are at this point in our journey. That being said, it’s time for us to find a comfortable seat on the train so that we can make our way to Stage #2, where we will very shortly be introduced to Abraham–the Father of Israel–and, to the others in Genesis 12-50 who connect him with her .
At long last, we are nearing the end of our exercises in Spiritual Warfare. Our graduation from Boot Camp is right around the corner, as is our return to our duty stations where we will have the opportunity to put into action the things that we have learned here. As we do, we can be confident that…
Because of what Christ accomplished on the Cross, we now possess the Authoritywe need to overtake and defeat any foe that we come up against;
Everything we will be called upon to overcome is all part of God’s way of preparing us for our Destinyof ruling and reigning with Christ when He comes to set up His Kingdom;
As we take theLight of the Gospel into the sin-darkened territories presently held by Satan, we will be bringing liberation to those who are still being held captive there; and,
To prevent us from completing our missions, Satanwill do everything in his power to stop us.
In light of this last point, before we can graduate and move on, there is one last exercise for us to complete—one providing us with an understanding of the basic principles of Strategic Warfare and the Offensive Weapons needed to ensure our success on the battlefield.
As we learned in our last exercise, we have been outfitted with a top-notch arsenal of defensive weapons known as the Armor of God. These—the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Shoes of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit—when worn faithfully and used as directed, will provide us with the defensive covering we need whenever we come under attack by the devil. However, there is more to Spiritual Warfare than merely protecting ourselves while we maintain our current positions. To the contrary, we have been charged by Christ to launch out into the world and be sown as seed among the nations, in order to free Satan’s spiritual captives and bring the Kingdomof Christ to the earth. For, it was Christ who boldly proclaimed…
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19)…
…and, it was He who also commissioned us to…
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).
We Need to Carry Out His Strategy in Ways that Honor Our King Understanding Strategic Warfare
Understanding Strategic Warfare
When seeking to understand the principles of Strategic Warfare, it is essential that we first establish a clear definition for the term. Since strategic is defined as…
…pertaining to, characterized, or of the nature of strategy…
…with strategy being…
…a plan, a method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result.
When we put this into a military context, Strategic Warfare can be defined as…
…the science and art of military command aimed at meeting the enemy under conditions advantageous to one’s own force…
…a military command in which…
…a distinction is made between strategy and tactics. Strategy is the utilization, during peace and war, of all of a nation’s forces, through large-scale, long-range planning and development, to ensure security. Tactics deals with the use and deployment of troops in actual combat.
Here, in this definition, we have two levels of war described for us; but, according to modern military theory, there are actually three that we need to take into consideration—the strategic, the operational, and the tactical, where…
…the strategic level…involves a strategic concept, plans for preparing all national instruments of power for war or conflict, practical guidance for preparing the armed forces, and leadership of the armed forces to achieve strategic objectives;
…the operational level is concerned with employing military forces in a theater of war or theater of operation to obtain an advantage over the enemy and thereby attain strategic goals through the design, organization, and conduct of campaigns and major operations; and,
…the tactical level translates potential combat power into success in battles and engagements through decisions and actions that create advantages when in contact with or in proximity to the enemy.
To put this into more understandable terms, at the Strategic Level, those at the top of the chain of command are responsible for creating an overall plan for winning the war, taking into account the manpower and materials they have at their disposal. Once their plan is in place, they delegate different aspects of the plan to those serving under them at the Operational Level, those whose duty it is to orchestrate and oversee the campaigns assigned to them and their individual theaters of operation. Directives from this level can then be sent down to the Tactical Level—to those in charge of the troops on the ground—to make sure they are deployed to the right place at the right time, are appropriately trained and armed for each engagement, and that they have adequate intelligence and support for each and every battle.
Why is this so important for us to know? Because this is the same way that the Spiritual Warfare we’re engaged in is structured and carried out. At its Strategic Level, creating the plan for the war itself, is God—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Charged with the implementation and oversight of their plan’s many Operational Level campaigns are the Angels of various ranks and with specific responsibilities. The troops on the ground at the Tactical Level are us—the Born Again members of the Church, serving under the leadership of the apostles,prophets,evangelists, pastors and teachers, whose responsibility it is to…
…equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes (Ephesians 4:11-14).
Given that our enemy is merely a copier/counterfeiter and not a creator, he has pretty much duplicated this strategic structure—with the exception that, instead of the All-Wise, All-Powerful, and Everywhere-Present Creator God making the plans—he, the quintessential Usurper is the one devising the schemes that he hopes will one day defeat God’s Army, overthrow God, and catapult himself onto the throne of the universe. Unlike our Commander-in-Chief, who is headquartered in the Third Heaven, this Presumptuous Pretender to the throne has been relegated to the less advantageous location of the Second Heaven, where he and his generals occupy what will prove, in the end, to be temporary thrones from which they oversee his operations in the First Heaven and on the Earth.
As we learned in Spiritual Warfare: Getting the Lay of the Land, these operations are carried out by an army of demonic subordinates whose responsibility is to keep their human charges on the earth in bondage to their master– should they somehow fail at this, to prevent those who do find freedom in Christ from growing in their knowledge of Him and from serving Him and His Kingdom purposes successfully.
The Plan for Winning the War
To help us better understand the part Strategic Warfare plays in the on-going conflict between God and Satan, let’s assess and compare how each side makes use of these three levels. We know from our exercise in Spiritual Warfare: Knowing the Enemythat…
Satan’s original plan—his Plan A—called for his overthrow of God and the take-over of His Throne in Heaven; however, given the fact that God was and still isAll-Powerful, and Satan’s power was and still is severely limited in comparison, this proved to be a colossal failure.
This led to the creation of Satan’s Plan B, which called for him to set up his kingdom and reign upon the Earth—but, this plan, too, hit a wall when God created Man and gave him Dominion and Authority over the Earth instead.
Undaunted, Satan then devised a scheme whereby he could gain control of the Earth by taking God’s Authorized Representatives captive through deception and lies. So, lying about who he was, who they were, and who God is, Satan convinced Eve, then Adam, to disobey God. As a result, Man and Woman became slaves to Satan, sin, and death, and the Authority which should have been theirs was handed over to Satan.
Satan’s plan was dealt a bitter blow, though, when eventually he, sin, and death were defeated through Christ’s Atoning Death and His powerful Resurrection. As a result of His Victory, this Second Adam reclaimed the Authority that the First Adam had lost, and restored it to all those who afterward would come to the Father through Faith in His Finished Work on the Cross.
But, because Satan had already established rulership over the world’s systems and its structures, he continues to occupy territories which rightfully belong to Christ and His Church. What is enabling him to maintain his grip on them is the ignorance,timidity, or unwillingness of the Church to rise up and retake these areas in the Name and Authority of Christ, through the Power of the Holy Spirit.
So, Satan’s Strategy is—by whatever means necessary—to keep the people who don’t know God from knowing Him, and to keep those who do know Him too ignorant, too fearful, or too self-seeking and apathetic to do anything to dislodge him.
Given that Satan’s Strategy is primarily focused on maintaining control of the territories presently under his rule, it is essentially a Defensive Plan. On the other hand, God’s Strategy, being one of Infiltration, is a decidedly Offensive One. Because He is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance, God has chosen to strategically place His very own Sons and Daughters in positions behind enemy lines where they can reveal the Love of Christ to the captives and, shining the Light of the Gospel into those dark places, they can illuminate a way of escape into the Kingdom of God. This is exactly what God did when He sent His willing and obedient Son,Jesus, into Satan’s authorized territory where, having shone the Light of God in the darkness and revealed the Love of the Father there…
…Jesus’ obedience, then, took Him even to the cross, and through that to the empty tomb. Thus He won the battle over Satan from behind enemy lines…to defeat the enemy and begin to establish His own Kingdom in the middle of enemy territory…
…and, since this was behind enemy lines, it meant warfare—spiritual warfare aimed at taking back God’s world from the usurper.
Like our Savior, we have been assigned to carry on this mission in the very same way.
The Individual Campaigns of the War
Because Satan is neither omnipresent nor omniscient like God, he is limited to being in one place at a time. Therefore, he must depend on a hierarchy of subordinates to carry out his operations, and rely on this system of underlings for his much-needed intelligence reports. Depending upon their nature and location, these operations are most likely carried out by one of these three groups…
Satan’s Hierarchy—consisting of Rulers, Principalities, and Powers, with…
Rulers—being the spirits charged with gaining/maintaining control of the world’s authority structures, such as government at all levels, schools, businesses, churches, civic groups, athletic organizations, and families;
Principalities or Territorial Spirits—being the demonic spirits that are in charge of operations taking place within a specific geographic area or ethnic/cultural group of people; and,
Powers or Strongholds—being the spirits representing the evils associated with certain sins and the demons assigned to their promotion.
Forces of Darkness—the lying spirits behind any Religions, Philosophies, and Ideologies that are opposed to God and the Truth, including humanism, atheism, evolution, New Age, reincarnation, existentialism, socialism and communism; and,
Lower Level Spirits—the wicked spirits assigned to individuals in an effort to influence their behavior.
No doubt imitated by Satan when he set up his own kingdom, God’s Operational Level is also made up of a hierarchical structure of spirits who carry out the operations called for in His plan. Although the Bible doesn’t give us a lot of specifics about the structure itself, what we do know is that it consists of Angels operating at different levels, and possessing various degrees of authority. From what we can gather in the scriptures, those closest to God and His Throne, and those highest in rank and authority, are the…
Cherubim; Seraphim; and Living Creatures.
The Cherubim are probably the highest ranking of all of the Lord’s Angels. The first time they are mentioned in scripture is in Genesis 3:24 where, following Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden, they are placed as Guards at the entrance to the Garden, to keep Adam and Eve from returning and eating from the Tree of Life while in their fallen state.
They are next mentioned in Exodus 25:18, when God instructs Moses on how to build the Tabernacle. For the Most Holy Place, Moses is told to make two Cherubim of gold and to place them at the two ends of the Mercy Seat…
The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be…
There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel (Exodus 25:20, 22).
The Mercy Seat which the Cherubim sheltered was also known as the Seat of Atonement and revered as the earthly Throne of God. Verses such as these inform us that, in addition to their role as Guardians, the Cherubim also serve as the Bearers of God’s Throne…
The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake (Psalm 99:1)!
“O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth (Isaiah 36:17).
Ezekiel saw this throne and gave us a description of these incredible creatures in Ezekiel 1:5-14…
And this was their appearance: they had a human likeness, but each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot. And they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands.
And the four had their faces and their wings thus their wings touched one another. Each one of them went straight forward, without turning as they went. As for the likeness of their faces, each had a human face. The four had the face of a lion on the right side, the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces.
And their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies. And each went straight forward. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went.
As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches moving to and fro among the living creatures. And the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures darted to and fro, like the appearance of a flash of lightning.
Later in Ezekiel 28:14, we learn that Lucifer, Satan’s name in his pre-fallen state, was one—probably the highest ranking one—of these Angels…
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. Ezekiel 28:14
Angels Carry Out the Operational Campaigns of God
Because the Seraphim are only mentioned once in the Bible—in Isaiah 6:1-3, 6-7—much less is known about them and their ministry. From Isaiah’s description…
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for…
…it would seem that because of their non-stop praise and their access to the heavenly altar, their primary ministry is as priests before the throne of God. And, given that their name means “burning ones,” I think we can infer that they are burning in passionate devotion to God and in their dedication to the praise of His holiness.
Although Ezekiel, in his vision, describes the Cherubim as Living Creatures, in Revelation 4:6-8, we find another set of Living Creatures being described…
…around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight.
And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:6-8)
These are set apart from those in Ezekiel in several ways…
…in Revelation, each one has only one face, whereas in Ezekiel each had four faces. In Revelation, each has six wings; in Ezekiel, they had four. In Revelation, they have eyes around and within; in Ezekiel, the eyes were in the wheels, and the spirits of the cherubim were in the wheels. In revelation, they do not move; in Ezekiel, they propelled the throne of the sovereign God throughout the world. 
As for their ministry, in Revelation 6:1-7 and 15:7, we learn that, in addition to their worship and praise, these creatures also play instrumental parts in the execution of the God’s end-time judgments on the world.
The Other Angels
From other portions of scripture, besides being the worshipers at, the guardians of, and the priests before the Throne of God, we learn that the Angels carry out God’s operations in a number of other ways…
In Luke 2:10 and Acts 27:23-23, they serve as God’s Messengers;
In 2 Kings 6:17 and Daniel 10:13-20, they are God’s Warriors in the heavenlies and on earth;
In Daniel 4:13 and 17, they serve as God’s Watchers, observing and recording the affairs of men and nations;
In Psalm 34:7, Psalm 91:11, Daniel 6:22, and Acts 5:19, they provide Protection and Deliverance for God’s People;
In Genesis 24:7 and Exodus 23:20, they give Guidance and Direction to the righteous;
In Matthew 13:39-42 and Mark 13:27, Jesus informs us they will be the Reapers in the End-Times Harvest;
In Revelation 1:1, they bring God’s revelation to man;
In 2 Kings 19:35, Acts 12:23, and Psalm 78:49, they are God’s Instruments ofJudgment and Destruction;
In Revelation 7:1-2 and Revelation 16:1, we learn that they have Power over God’s Creation;
In Matthew 18:10, we are told that they are the unseen Guardians of Children; and,
In Luke 16:22-23, we discover that they Escortthe Saints into the Presence of God upon their deaths.
The Troops Deployed on the Ground
With Satan’s Rulers engaged in controlling the world’s Authority Structures, and his Principalities busy riding roughshod over its Geographic and EthnicTerritories, it seems that the actual Tactical Maneuvers of his plan have been delegated to his Powers, Forces of Darkness, and Lower Lever Spirits for implementation. These are the spirits who are responsible for establishing Strongholds, or bases of operation, in the minds of men and women, from which Satan can exercise control. This is accomplished through their promotion of certain sins, through the lies contained in their false religions, philosophies, and ideologies, and through the intelligence gathered by and resulting from the harassment of the Lower Level or Familiar Spirits.
Those in this last group are the spirits that most of us must contend with on a daily basis. They are the demons who, much like God’s Guardian Angels, are assigned to us at birth—those who study us, our habits and tendencies, throughout out lives, looking for ways and opportunities to trip us up and keep us in a perpetual state of confusion and defeat. As Familiar Spirits, they become so well acquainted with us that they can pretty much predict what we’re thinking about and how we will react in any given situation. Armed with such valuable information, they not only know which sins we will be predisposed to give into and which lies we will fall for, but also which of the Devil’s D-Bombs will be the most useful in rendering us ineffective…
The Devil’s D-Bombs are Some of His Most Effective Weapons
Distraction—a loss of focus, confusion;
Distortion—of the truth; or,
Deception—disguise and outright lies;
Disobedience—a disrespect for authority;
Delay—in answers to prayers and provisions;
Disruption—of plans and schedules;
Discouragement—resulting from stress, overwork, lack of appreciation, hurt feelings;
Depression—mental and emotional ailments, especially due to repressed anger;
Defeat—after repeated failures;
Destruction—a loss of property and reputation;
Disease—physical ailments and suffering; or,
Death—suicidal, accidental, or disease-related.
Apparently, in his dealings with those who already belong to him, Satan is free to use these, or any other evil tactics he can come up with, against them with impunity—especially if and when he finds that they are in danger of going over to the other side. When it comes to dealing with those who belong to God, however, he doesn’t enjoy the same privilege. We know this because, when he came against righteous Job (Job 1: 9-12), seeking to prove that Job only worshiped God for the blessings he could get out it, he had to obtain God’s permission to do so. Later, in 2 Corinthians 12:7, we find out that he had to get God’s permission to harass the Apostle Paul, permission which was granted in order to achieve God’s higher purpose…
…to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
While being limited in what he can do to the Righteous, Satan does enjoy a distinct advantage in his dealings with everyone else. Because every person coming into the world is born “in sin” and in a state of alienation from God, they not only already belong to Satan, but they are, by virtue of their carnal natures, predisposed to living according to their physical appetites and soulish desires. This state of affairs makes it easy for the Powers of Satan to do their work of establishing secure Strongholds within them—Strongholds from which they can operate throughout their lives, even if these people later come to Faith in Christ.
If We are to be Victorious, We Must Identify and Eliminate the Devil’s Fortresses in Our Lives
What Are Strongholds?
Simply put, Strongholds are faulty patterns of thinking which have developed such a “strong hold” on us that they keep us bound by bad habits, irrational behaviors, pride or an exaggerated sense of self. They are anything in our lives that misrepresents God, anything that deceives us about who we really are, and anything that deludes us into thinking we can live life successfully apart from God. These misrepresentations, deceptions, and delusions are ways of thinking that have developed in our minds over time, and which serve primarily as a means of keeping us alienated from, and at odds with, God.
Their points of origin can be traced all the way back to our births, when we arrive in this world with the strongest of all Strongholds already intact—an “IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!” mentality. Then, as we make our way through life, others are gradually added; with the most deeply ingrained ones coming first from our interactions with family, friends, and our early experiences in life, and with later ones coming from our educational and religious training (or lack thereof), or as a result of our encounters with the cultural forces at work all around us. As such, they become fortresses erected around our erroneous beliefs; fortifications which, in our minds, serve to protect and justify our choices in life, and to help insulate us from any potentially painful experiences—and, which Satan delights in using to keep us in bondage or to render us useless in our Kingdom Service.
But, it needs to be noted here that bondage of this or of any other kind is an anathema to God. Therefore, the Strongholds in our lives are one of the first things we must deal with in Spiritual Warfare. Before we can successfully liberate any of Satan’s other territories, we must first rid our own of its enemy outposts. As Jesus would say…
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5).
Because they are the heavily guarded outposts of lies and deceptions built up in our minds by the devil, and the devil is a powerful spirit whose chief aim is to keep us from God and His revelation of the Truth, the only way for us to deal with these Strongholds is through the power of a stronger Spirit–the Holy Spirit of Truth—and the Spiritual Weapons God has made available to us. For…
…though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
With our spiritual armor in place, we can begin the process of taking our thoughts captive by exercising the authority delegated to us by Christ in Matthew 28:18; with it, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can proceed to bind up the “strong man,” or the demonic being in charge of protecting that mental fortification. According to Jesus’ instruction in Mark 4:27…
…no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
Once this strong spirit is overthrown, we can move in and take captive any of the lying thoughts previously under his protection, and replace them with Truth from the Word of God. As we do, we begin erecting a Strong Tower of Truth, built in the very place where the Stronghold of Lies once stood. And, as warriors for Christ, we will have reclaimed territory too long in the possession of His enemies.
When it comes to God’s Tactical Operations, unlike Satan’s, which are nothing but destructive, God’s tactics are always redemptive and remedial, because they are borne out of love. In Spiritual Warfare: Understanding the Nature of the Conflict,we learned that the goal of Satan and those in his kingdom is to destroy the individual and absorb his will into their own, for no other reason than to satisfy their insatiable greed and increase their power base. However, it is the goal of God and those in His Kingdom to bring the individual into the Family of God, shower him with love, and empower him to become the unique and whole/holy person God created him to be. In the former, the motivation is selfishness and greed, while in the latter, it is giving and grace.
So, to help His Children realize their spiritual potential and prepare them for their eternal destinies, God routinely deploys them to the front lines of the conflict where, in the heat of the battle, their character will be refined and they can learn to use their Offensive Weapons to overcome His enemies.
Fighting the War with God’s Weapons will Ensure Our Victory
Our Offensive Weapons
When it comes to a discussion of our Offensive Weapons, it may come as a surprise to learn that the most powerful one in this category is a Godly Lifestyle. That’s because…
Spiritual Warfare is not just a prayer prayed or a demon rebuked—it is a life lived…everything we do either aids the forces of darkness or repels them…
Since it is sin that gives the devil an entryway into our lives, we need to take seriously the charge given to us in Ephesians 4:27 to…
…not give place to the devil.
Maintaining this kind of lifestyle, though, demands that we “keep short accounts with God.” To do so, we need to vigilantly guard our hearts and minds, and routinely examine our lives to see if there is any sin that has gone unchecked and unrepentant of, for…
Repentance is a major weapon against Satan. It’s simple: if I repent, I break the powers of darkness. But if I’m disobedient, I allow the enemy to work. If I obey God, I hold the devil off. If I’m moving in unbelief, I make room for him. But if I exercise faith, I cut him off.
The reason behind this is also a simple one. Because Spiritual Warfare is the cosmic conflict between two competing wills—the holy and perfect will of God and the perverted and opposing will of Satan, both vying for the allegiance of man—and, because the decision as to which one will prevail on the earth has been delegated by God to the will of each human being living on the planet, every time a person chooses to do that which satisfies his own selfish desires, he is actually empowering Satan to carry on his work.
To help us keep this from happening, we need Faith and Obedience, two more of the weapons making up our offensive arsenal. Faith is that inner assurance or confidence we have that because our Father knows what exactly He is doing, He has a good plan in place even if we don’t know yet what it is. As we develop more of this kind of Faith, it becomes easier for us to believe God for the impossible, to launch out into new territories, and to pray our way to victory. Jesus told His disciples as much in Matthew 17:20 when he said…
For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.
Our Obedience is simply the outward demonstration of our inner trust that this is so. In our submission and obedience to a higher Authority, we are not only coming at Satan in an opposing spirit—which serves to render him ineffective in that situation—but, we are also keeping him from sowing his seeds of pride and rebellion in our hearts.
When We Come at Our Enemy in an Opposite Spirit, He is Rendered Ineffective in that Situation
Although we may not realize it, obedience is a key factor in Spiritual Warfare because…
There are rules and principles by which the spirit world operates. Among the most important of these: the rules that govern authority relationships.
As we have emphasized so many times over the course of these exercises, God has established a very specific authority structure within Creation, and it is one that He expects us to honor. When we don’t—that is, when we use our wills to do things that overturn that order—we are actually giving Satan and his demons permission to carry out their wills in the spheres where we live…
Scripture is clear that there is a close connection between the spirit world and the human world. In spite of our habit of regarding spirit things and human things as separate, in Scripture these realms are not compartmentalized from each other. They are tightly interrelated, with events that go on in the spirit realm having repercussions in the human realm, and vice-versa.
Furthermore, the same rules seem to govern interaction between humans and God and humans and Satan. The authority of God to do what He wants, for example, seems enhanced when His devotees obey, acknowledge the authority of, pray to or worship Him. Likewise, the authority of Satan to do what he wants is enhanced when his devotees respond in such ways to him.
It looks as though a major principle is this: The way authority is exercised in the human sphere affects what goes on in the spiritual realm, and vice-versa.
Closely associated with our Obedience, then, are the weapons of Discipline and Self-Control—two things which must be instilled in any soldier who is to be used by God. These are essential to us if we are to avoid the many land mines of temptation that the devil has carefully laid out in his effort to sideline us from our service. This is a reality that even the Apostle Paul had to come to grips with in his ministry, leading him to…
…discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27).
And it stands to reason that we must learn to do the same.
For the Battle is the Lord’s
As for Prayer and Worship, if God’s authority is enhanced through our implementation of these two weapons, then they are ones that we definitely need to use more often. When we pray, we are not just staying in touch with our Father, but we are activating the ministry of His Angels on our behalf and releasing His power into the lives and situations that need it, while rendering the enemy in those situations powerless. Then, when we worship God and offer Him a fitting sacrifice of praise, we are not only giving God His due, but we are actually creating confusion in the enemy’s camp and throwing his troops into disarray.
Probably the best illustration of this is the story recorded for us in 2 Chronicles 20:14-15,17,20-23. When the Moabites, Ammonites, and people of Mount Seir came against Judah and godly King Jehoshaphat, the king prostrated himself before God, and pleaded with Him to deliver him and his people from these enemies. At that point…
…the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, ‘Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s…
You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.’
And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.’
And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.’
And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.
Afterward, all Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah had to do was collect the spoils, something which took three days for them to do.
In addition to the Prayer, Worship, and Praise offered by the people to God in this situation, it is apparent that the Word of God, which was given to them by means of His prophet, played a decisive role in the securing of this victory. In our last exercise, we learned that the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit with which we guard our minds against our enemies’ assaults; but this is not the only way that God intends for it is to be used when it comes to Spiritual Warfare. Because His Word is the Spirit-inspired revelation of His character and His will and His purposes for Man and the Earth, when we speak His Word into a situation, we are actually declaring that His will regarding that situation be done. And when we speak His Word into that situation, the resources of heaven are activated to ensure that His Will is carried out there.
Some of the other Offensive Weapons at our disposal, that we don’t make use of the way we should are…
…patience, consistency, and tenacity, by which we learn to wait on God and His timing, and to not give up even in the face of adversity and suffering;
…giving, for when we are generous with our time, talents, and resources, we sow seeds of provision into the lives of others and in our own lives as well;
…love, because it covers a multitude of sins, and it enables us to overcome evil with good; and,
…unity, because it not only increases our effectiveness exponentially and helps to speed our victory—but, because it was the chief concern on Jesus’ heart when, on His last evening before going to the Cross, he offered this prayer on behalf of His disciples…
And now, Father…I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me…keep them in your name…they may be one, even as we are one.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word…that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me (John 17:6ff).
Amen–may it be so, Lord Jesus!
“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one…” John 17:22
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir reminds us what it is all about…
For some time now, we have been involved in a rather rigorous training program, a Spiritual Boot Camp of sorts, designed to prepare us—as followers of Jesus Christ—for service as soldiers in the Army of God. As part of this training, we have…
Learned a little about Our Enemy, Satan, and discovered that the Nature of this Conflict, at its core, is a Battle between him and God for the Will of every Man, Woman, and Child on the face of this planet; and,
Completed a Reconnaissance Mission of the Enemy’s Territory, Spiritually Mapping out…
Having completed these preliminaries, the time has come for us to suit-up in our uniforms and learn about the weapons we will be carrying with us into battle. Unlike the heavy duty combat attire worn by most soldiers—designed to camouflage both a soldier’s person and location (as well as any dirt that he might pick up along the way)—the uniforms we will be wearing are robes of purest white, made of the finest linen, and designed to call attention to our holy lifestyles and identify us as saints set apart for service to our Lord and Savior. According to Revelation 19:7-8, this is what we, as the Bride of Christ, will be wearing to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb…
…for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And, according to Revelation 19:14, it is what we will be wearing when we accompany our Bridegroom,Jesus Christ, on His return to earth to crush His enemies at the Second Coming…
And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.
Our Uniforms are Meant to Shine as Lights in the Darkness
These Kingdom-Issued Spiritual Robes are what each of us receives when we come to Christ for Salvation—robes that were purchased for us by Him through His sacrificial death on the Cross, and given to us to replace the filthy, sin-saturated civilian clothes we are wearing when we are first saved. We find a wonderful illustration of this in the spiritual re-outfitting of Joshua, Israel’s high priest, in Zechariah 3:1-4…
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.
And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?”
Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ And to him he said, ‘Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.’
Like the new garments given to Joshua, our robes, when first issued, are spotless and bright white; however, because we are still living in bodies of flesh and in a corrupted world system, it doesn’t take long for them, too, to become soiled by sin. This, of course, brings us to the matter of maintenance; for, as Soldiers of God, we need to understand that once we have been issued our uniforms, we must make every effort to see that they remain in the same pristine condition as when we first received them.
Fortunately, we have not been left on our own in this endeavor; for, from the moment we are born into the Family of God, we are placed under the supervision of our very own Drill Instructor/Inspector General—the Holy Spirit—who comes to live within us 24/7 for the rest of our lives in order to train us in the righteous ways of God, to empower us to live obediently to His commands, and to call attention to any violations of God’s uniform code of conduct. When such violations do occur, and our uniforms become soiled and tattered due to sin, He is there to inspect us, convict us of our need to repent, and assist us in carrying our dirty laundry to the Cross of Christ where it can be cleansed in the Blood of the Lamb. We can be assured of this because of the promise of God that…
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Putting on the Mind of Christ
Developing a Missional Mindset
In His capacity as our DI, the Spirit of God works tirelessly to transform us from the raw recruits we once were into the seasoned soldiers we need to be; those who are trained and fully equipped to meet any challenge that might eventually be faced on the battlefield. However, just providing us with uniforms and then helping us to keep them clean isn’t enough to make us into this kind of soldier. To really prepare us for service in the army of our King, along with a change of clothing, we must also undergo a change of mentality—one in which we replace our old carnal, self-centered, civilian ways of thinking with new spiritual, selfless, and mission-oriented mindsets. In other words, it is essential that we learn how to…
…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24).
What does it mean to be renewed in the spirit of our minds? Well, it means that we; must…
Put on the mind of Christ…
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:3-8).
We must have a mind of humility, servanthood, and obedience and, like Christ, we must be willing to give our lives in service to God our Father.
Learn to live in submission…
First, to God…
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7)
Then, to Earthly Rulers…
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people (1 Peter 2:13-15).
And, to others…
…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21).
We should be living as one “under authority,” respecting whatever authority structure God has placed over us—like the Roman centurion, who told an impressed Jesus in Matthew 8:9…
For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.
Like Jesus, be prepared to suffer…
[For] Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered (Hebrews 5:8).
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2).
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
Train ourselves in godliness…
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
Our Spiritual Dog Tags
We do this as we study our Training Manual in Righteousness, theBible…
[For] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
We do this by learning to Communicate and stay in contact with our Father and Commander-in-Chief through Prayer…
…I call to God, and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old…because they do not change and do not fear God (Psalm 55:16-19).
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil (1 Peter 3:12).
And, we do this as we Dedicate our Lives and Wills to the Purposes of God through Worship…
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).
…for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (Corinthians 6:20).
Therefore…let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29).
We Must Remember Who Our Real Enemies Are
The Weapons in Our Armory
Now that we have addressed the matter of our uniforms and their maintenance, and our mental attitudes have been reoriented from individualistic, self-seeking, and opportunistic ones to those that are more team-spirited, selfless, and completely dedicated to God’s mission in the world, we can move on to an introduction to the weapons that we will be carrying with us into battle.
The first thing we need to know about these weapons is that they, like the warfare we will be engaged in, are spiritual, not fleshly, in nature. We need to remember that we are not battling flesh and blood people, or warring against the physical, cultural, or religious structures that we’ve identified in our previous exercises, but against the evil spirits who are working in and through these to accomplish the will and work of Satan. As the Apostle Paul explains in Ephesians 6:12…
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Our real enemies, then, are the powers of Satan who are…
…organized in a hierarchy of ruler/principalities (archai), authorities (exousia), powers (dunamis), and spiritual forces of evil (kosmokratoras). It is reasonable to assume the authority structure here is arranged in descending order. Daniel 10:13 and 20 unveil the identity of the archai as high-level satanic princes set over nations and regions of the earth.
The word exousia carries a connotation of both supernatural and natural government. In the Apostle’s understanding, there were supernatural forces that ‘stood behind’ human structures…
Presumably, the dunamis operate within countries and cultures to influence certain aspects of life.
The kosmokratoras are the many types of evil spirits that commonly afflict people, e.g., spirits of deception, divination, lust, rebellions, fear, and infirmity. These, generally, are the evil powers confronted and cast out in most deliverance sessions. Even among them there is ranking, the weaker spirits subservient to the stronger ones…
These insidious powers continue to work through human governments, religions, and powerful personalities to keep people in bondage to legalism, social ideology, and moral compromise. Their role is to pollute the minds and pervert the wills of people, diverting them from redemption, holding them hostage to the father of lies.
Powerful spiritual enemies such as these require powerful spiritual weapons to ensure their defeat—the kind of weapons which can only be provided by our All-Powerful Lord…
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy [enemy] strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete (2 Cor. 10: 3-6).
We Are Never Out of His Line of Sight
Our Defensive Weapons
As for the weapons themselves, these fall into one of two categories—they are either defensive or offensive in nature. In Ephesians 6:10-12, Paul describes those in the defensive category by comparing them to the armor worn by the Roman soldiers in his day. During his many imprisonments, when he was either chained to or guarded by one soldier after another, he had countless opportunities to study these warriors up close, and plenty of time to reflect on the parallels between Rome’s mighty fighting machine and the kind of warriors we should be for Christ. Given this insight, Paul’s instructions to us are to…
…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might…
Here, at the outset, Paul admonishes us to remember just where our strength for the battle comes from—it comes from the Lord. This is so important for us to keep in mind because, on our own, most of us don’t even have the strength to deal with enemies that we can see—much less take on enemy forces that we cannot see. Fortunately for us, the Lord is not at the same disadvantage that we are. Not only is He All-Powerful but He sees everything—and, according to 2 Chronicles 16:9…
…the eyes of the Lord run to and from throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.
In fact, He has made the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead and exalted Him far above all rule and authority and power and dominion available to us so that we can…
…walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy (Colossians 1:10-11); and,
…to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us (2 Corinthians 4:7).
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm…
Being fully assured of having the strength we need to fight, we can now put on the armor that will protect us from our enemies. And, armed with the knowledge that every need of ours will be supplied by our Commander-in-Chief, we can, with confidence…
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Cor. 16:13-14).
The Belt of Truth
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…
As strange as it may seem, the very first piece of armor we are told to put on is the Belt. That’s because, while seeming to be the least important piece of equipment in our arsenal, it is actually the most important. Although it is nearly invisible when the rest of the armor is put on, this piece is so important because, like the Belt worn by the Roman soldier…
It secures the soldier’s robe and keeps it from flapping around in battle;
The soldier’s shield and lance are attached to it when they are not in use;
The soldier’s breastplate is attached to it and held in place by it; and,
The sheath containing the soldier’s sword is also attached to it.
Unlike the Roman soldier’s belt, though, our belt is not just any old piece of leather. Paul refers to it as the Belt of Truth because Truth, for us, is the foundational piece of our spiritual armor—Truth, for us, is none other than Jesus Christ. Not only is He the One who holds everything in life together but He is the One who gives us eternal life and brings us into the Family of God in the first place. As soldiers in the Army of God, we know the Truth that…
…In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1)…
…[and that] the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
We know that He is…
…the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [Him] (John 14:6).
And, we know the saving Truth that God wants everyone else to know is…
…there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time (1 Tim 2:5-6).
Ours is One of Righteousness
And having put on the breastplate of righteousness…
The breastplate worn by a typical Roman soldier was made of either bronze or brass and was the shiniest and most beautiful piece of equipment he owned. It covered the area of the body from his neck to nearly his knees and protected all of his vital organs, especially his heart. It consisted of two sections of metal—one going down the back and the other going down the front—which were held together at the shoulders and attached to the belt at the waist. No doubt, when Paul saw this breastplate, he was reminded of an image of protection similar to the one afforded to us by the Righteousness of God, and made available to us through Christ…
…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe (Romans 3:22).
When we come face-to-face with the Truth that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life—and the only mediator between God and men—and we put our faith in Him for Salvation, we are immediately made righteous in the sight of God and empowered to live righteously by the Spirit of God who comes to live within us. These are the two aspects of Righteousness—one Positional and one Practical—that we need to take into consideration here. John MacArthur explains them in this way…
Basically, God’s gift of salvation in Christ brings a believer into a position of righteousness. God imputes the perfect righteousness of His Son to the believer, and thereby declares him righteous positionally. But as you know full well, believers still have sin in their lives — Christians are not practically righteous, 100 percent of the time. However, it is on the basis of our positional righteousness, that we are exhorted to strive for practical righteousness in our daily lives.
As a Christian you are: spiritually alive unto God, dead to sin, forgiven, declared righteous, a child of God, God’s possession, an heir of God, blessed with all spiritual blessings, a citizen of heaven, a servant of God, free from the Law, crucified to the world, a light in the world, victorious over Satan, cleansed from sin, declared holy and blameless, set free in Christ from the power of sin, secure in Christ, granted peace and rest, and led by the Holy Spirit…
Positionally, you cannot increase or decrease in the favor of God. As a genuine Christian, nothing you do, or fail to do, can change to the slightest degree your perfect standing before God — for ‘in Him you have been made complete’ (Colossians 2:10).
…that completeness does not mean that when you understand your position you will remain as you are—no, you will see changes in your life. The New Testament continually emphasizes your identity as a believer and urges you understand and apply your spiritual resources. As you continue to mature in Christ, you will not only come to a greater understanding of who you are, but you’ll also rely more consistently on your resources — those granted to you as a result of your position in Christ — to handle the practical aspects of Christian living. 
Because of our Positional Righteousness, we can pray with expectation…
Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me (Ps. 5:8); and,
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me (Ps. 71:2)!
And, as we maintain our Practical Righteousness, we can trust God’s promise that…
Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but sin overthrows the wicked (Prov. 13:6).
Our Shoes are for Carrying the Gospel of Peace
…and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace…
Although they might seem relatively insignificant, especially when compared to his massive and beautiful breastplate, the shoes worn by a Roman soldier were critical pieces of his equipment. Like the breastplate, they, too, consisted of two parts—the greave, which was a piece of metal—a sort of shin plate—extending from the knee to the ankle; and, the shoe itself, which was made of leather with long, dangerous spikes on the bottom of the shoe. Not only did these shoes enable him to stand firm while engaging in hand-to hand combat with an enemy but, because of the spikes, they could also be used as weapons to maim or even kill his opponent. When properly shod, the Roman soldier was prepared for whatever the war threw at him—he was ready to march to the next battlefield and ready to fight when he arrived there.
The spiritual parallel for us is this: having put on the belt of truth—that is, having put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14), and having been covered by our breastplate of righteousness—both the positional and the practical or personal, we are ready to put on our shoes and take the gospel (the good news) of peace with us wherever we go. Being so shod, we are equipped for both the march and any enemies we may meet along the way; remembering…
How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news,who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’ (Isaiah 52:7).
To Protect Against the Flaming Arrows of the Enemy
In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one…
So far, in the donning of our spiritual armor, we have put on…
our Belt of Truth—the Truth being Jesus Christ, whom we also know to be the Word of God;
our Breastplate of Righteousness—our Positions of Righteousness with God and our Practices of Right Living made possible through our relationship with Christ; and,
our heavy-duty Shoes—which enable us to take the Gospel of Peace–the good news about Jesus–across some rough and rugged spiritual terrain to those in need of it.
Before we march out, though, Paul tells us that we must take up our Shields of Faith to protect us against any enemy missiles that may be launched at us as we proceed. Since we’ve already exercised Faith in coming to Christ for Salvation…
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9)…
By Faith, we have been made Righteous and live Righteously…
…’my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls (Hebrews 10:38-39)…
And, it is with Faith that we launch out with the Gospel of Peace…
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel…(Philippians 1:27)…
…what Faith could Paul be referring to here, when he tells us to take up the Shield of Faith? Since Faith is…
…the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)…
I think he is referring the assurance we need that—before going into battle…
If God is for us, who can be against us?…[assurance] that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
…and the conviction that…
…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8: 31, 37-39).
….everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith (1 John 5:4)…
…where does this Faith come from? Well, according to Romans 10:17, it comes from the Word of God, for…
…faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17).
To help illustrate why Paul chose this particular piece of equipment to represent the protection afforded to us by Faith, we need to take a closer look at the shield used by the Roman soldiers in his day.
A Roman legionnaire usually possessed two shields—a small round one made of metal that was highly decorated, and only worn when he needed to dress to impress; and, a large rectangular one, sized and shaped very much like a door that, when used properly, would cover just about every part of his body. It was this shield that he used in combat and the one that Paul was referring to in this instruction.
This type of shield was usually formed by taking at least six layers of animal skin and laying them on top of a piece of wood. These were then tanned and woven together to create a nearly impenetrable surface. In order to keep the leather on the shields from becoming dried out and brittle over time, a regular application of oil was needed—something which became an important part of a soldier’s daily routine. In addition to this, prior to going out into battle, a soldier would immerse his shield in water until it was completely saturated. In this way, be could prevent his shield from catching on fire when it was struck by the enemy’s flaming arrows.
I am sure that when Paul learned how the soldiers cared for and used their shields, it put him in mind of the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit and the Water of the Word he mentioned at another time in Ephesians 5:25. It is through our saturation in the Water of theWord of God, applied to us daily by the Holy Spirit, that we receive the Faith needed to move out onto the battlefield with confidence, laying claim to the victory that Christ has already won for us. We can do this because we know that…
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him (Proverbs 30:5).
The Helmet of Salvation
…and take the helmet of salvation…
As for the helmet of the Roman warrior, it too was made of bronze, with pieces of armor attached to the sides to protect his cheeks and jaw. It was often decorated with elaborate engravings and usually had a plume made from either feathers or horsehair standing straight up from the top of the helmet—so it was quite impressive to behold. Because the helmet was so heavy, the inside of it was lined with a cushiony substance which protected the head. A wise soldier wouldn’t dare go into battle without it because he surely would have lost his head to an enemy’s battle-axe or sword.
Paul tells us that we, too, have a helmet for the protection of our heads—in our case, our minds—that is found in our Salvation. When we come to Christ for Salvation, we come to a personal Knowledge of the Truth, something which we had never known before. That’s because…
…the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).
But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another (Ephesians 4:20-25).
Just as the Truth is in Jesus, the Truth is now in us, and given that, we are to live as people of the Truth. In our former civilian lives, all we knew were the lies that the enemy wanted us to believe; but now, as people of the Truth, our minds must be renewed so that we think like Jesus—and, when we start thinking like Jesus, we will start acting like Jesus. So, in putting on our Helmet of Salvation, what we’re doing is protecting our minds from the lies, accusations, and false guilt that the enemy hurls at us in an attempt to render the “command centers” of our minds inoperable.
…been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God (1 Pet. 1:23)…
…we can protect our minds from the devil’s onslaught by filling them with the very same Word of God. As we do, we will learn more about who we are in Christ and become more confident and secure in our identity as the Children of God. Our “heads” will then be as protected as a Roman’s soldier’s was in his helmet, and the enemy will be denied the access to our mind that he has long been scheming to get.
The Word of God
…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…
In Hebrews 4:12, we are told that…
…the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart…
…and, it was the two-edged sword of the Roman soldier that Paul had in mind here. Although a soldier usually had five swords at his disposal, not all of them were suitable for use on the battlefield; some were too big and unwieldy for hand-to-hand combat and some were too small to inflict very much damage. But the two-edged sword was just right for this purpose; it was the sharpest, easiest to maneuver, and the most lethal weapon he had in his arsenal.
This sword was about 19 inches long and in addition to its two razor sharp blades, it had a tip which turned upward. When it was thrust into an enemy combatant and twisted, it could virtually rip the foe’s insides apart. As gruesome as the thought of this may be, it was the image Paul chose to use when describing the Word of God as the Sword of the Spirit; for, it is the one weapon capable of penetrating a person’s innermost being, separating one’s thoughts from his feelings, one’s blood from his bones, and one’s mind, will, and emotions from those of God.
Probably the best example of the effective use of the Word of God as a defensive weapon can be seen in Jesus’ use of it in His wilderness testing, recorded for us in Matthew 4:1-11…
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, He will command his angels concerning you, and On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’
Then Jesus said to him, ‘Be gone, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Three times, Jesus was tempted by Satan to act apart from the will of God and each time He met the temptation with the spoken Word of God. This is exactly what we should do when confronted by the devil or tempted by “…the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).” Hindsight being what it is, if the First Adam had wielded the Word of God as faithfully and forcefully as the Second Adam, just think how different life on the earth would have been!
The use of the Sword of the Spirit is not limited to its use as a defensive capacity, however. Unlike the other pieces of our armor, it also serves as an offensive weapon. But we will have to wait until our next exercise to learn more about that and our other weapons of offense–and, about the Strategic, Operational, and Tactical Levels of our Warfare.
Armed and Ready for Battle
The Gaither Vocal Band reminds us of the faithfulness of God’s promises…
Original Armor Images by Rev. Yves Langevin, courtesy of www.freebibleimages.org.
Image of the soldier’s shoes from Dressed to Kill by Rick Renner.
 Thomas B. White, “Understanding Principalities and Powers,” in Territorial Spirits, ed. C. Peter Wagner (Chichester, England: Sovereign World Ltd., 1991), 61-62.
 Rick Renner, Dressed to Kill: A Biblical Approach to Spiritual Warfare and Armor (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Harrison House, 2015), 261-262.
…it is time for us to move on to a survey of its third tier, which is the Religious Landscape over which he rules. As we do, we need to keep in mind that the Structures in these Landscapes have been especially designed to maximize Satan’s control, conditioning, and corruption of Corporate Humanity’s Body, Soul, and Spirit. As we have learned previously, it is through the manipulation of the…
Physical and Financial Structures that he Controls what people
can do and where they can go;
Educational and Media Structures that he Conditions the way people think and feel;
…and, as we shall learn in this session, it is through the…
Religious Structures that he Corrupts the worship of God and
redirects that worship to himself.
As we have been reminded of so often over the course of these exercises, Satan’s motivation for this Corruption is his obsessive and self-destructive quest to usurp God’s throne and grab the glory that goes along with it. Since most people consider Religion to be the means by which we are drawn closer to God, to say that Satan uses it to do just the opposite, might seem somewhat incongruous at first; however, once we have examined the matter more closely, I think we will come to see that the difference between Religion and the Righteousness required by God is as vast as the distance between the Heaven and Hades we learned about in Spiritual Warfare: Getting the Lay of the Land. So, to clarify what we mean when referring to Religion, we must pause for a DOT—or, a Definition of Terms for this particular structure.
Religion—What Is It?
As defined by Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia,Religion is…
…a system of thought, feeling, and action that is shared by a group and that gives the members an object of devotion; a code of behavior by which individuals may judge the personal and social consequences of their actions; and a frame of reference by which individuals may relate to their group and their universe.
Breaking this definition down, we find that…
Because it is a system of thought, feeling, and action, Religion is something that appeals to, encompasses, and makes use of every aspect of the Human Soul—both the individual and the corporate one;
Because it is shared by a group, Religion provides its adherents with a community that they can be a part of and relate to; and,
Because it provides its followers with an object of devotion, a code of behavior, and a frame of reference…
Religion satisfies their inherent need for something to worship or revere;
Religion provides them with guidelines on how to behave or act by defining morality and establishing boundaries for them; and,
Religion helps them make sense of the world around them and explain its origins.
Religion, then, is the belief system expressly designed to meet the needs of the Human Soul which, as we know from our previous exercises, has been a part of Man’s Carnal or Fleshly Nature ever since it became separated from his Spirit (and God’s Spirit, as well) as a result of Sin. Given this, and the fact that…
…God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24); and,
…all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment (Isaiah 64:6)…
…the Soulish Worship produced by Religion—no matter how pious it may appear to be on the surface—is something which is reprehensible to God.
Religion—When and Where Did It Originate?
When trying to determine just when and where Religion originated, we must first decide which approach to the subject we are going to take—the Secular Approach or the Biblical Approach. In choosing the secular one, we would find ourselves in the company of Anthropologists, Sociologists, and Historians who approach the subject from an Evolutionary Perspective; one which…
…starts with the view that man evolved from a pre-simian ancestor. Since animals have no religion, there must have been, it is said, a long ascent through apish chatter and fear of the dark unknown to…a ‘belief in a vague, potent, terrifying inscrutable force.’
Animatism developed into ‘animism,’ the spirit-fearing religion of most isolated tribal people. Then came the polytheism immortalized in the Greek mythologies. Israel’s glory, so this summary of the development of religion suggests, was that she was able to narrow down the many gods of the surrounding nations to one tribal god. And eventually the one Creator-God of the Hebrew prophets, together with the philosophical monotheism of Plato, paved the way for higher religion.
The Biblical Approach, on the other hand, gives us a completely different and, to my way of thinking, a far more reasonable explanation; for…
According to the Bible, the first true man was a monotheist, and when he falls into sin, he seeks restoration through animal sacrifice. The theory of the evolution of religion suggests that man is an animal taking a long time to become divine. The Bible describes a human couple made in the image of God, who degenerated into what we are now.
According to this approach, instead of it being the unexpected byproduct of, or the evidentiary support for, Man’s upwardly mobile evolutionary journey,Religion is actually the degenerative process that was set in motion by Man’s Original Sin back in the Garden of Eden. Although we have made quite a few trips to the Garden already, it will be necessary for us to visit there once again, if we are to expose the roots and the true nature of Religion’s False Faith.
To do this, though, we must first have an understanding of the significance of the Garden to the relationship between God and Man. Because God is Spirit and Man is Flesh, for the two of them to enjoy fellowship together, it was necessary that a special meeting place be created for them. In much the same way that man’s spirit and his body of flesh needed his soul to be a place of mediation between two such disparate entities, God and Manneeded a place—something like a Sanctuary, a Tabernacle, or a Temple—where they, too, could come together. This, then, is what the Garden represented to them.
Although the world that God created was beautiful enough in itself, when it came to creating the Sanctuary of the Garden, He pulled out all of the stops. He filled this Sanctuary with everything that was beautiful to behold and to enjoy. It was well-watered by a river flowing up from underground springs and filled with every tree that was good for food. In addition, the areas surrounding it were also well-watered and filled with gold and precious stones! When this special Sanctuary was completed, God took the Man He had created and placed him in it, and charged him with the responsibility of caring for it. God made it clear to Man at the time that if he wanted to maintain their fellowship and continue living there, he would have to obey the Word God had given him, even when tempted to do otherwise.
In addition to all the other trees in the Garden, God placed two very special ones at its center—the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. His purpose for doing so was to test Man—giving him the opportunity to choose for himself whether to obey God and be blessed, or to go his own way and reap the consequences. In reality, what He was setting before the first Man and Woman was the choice between the onlytwo Systems of Faith that would ever be available to mankind—the choice to either put their Faith in the Works of the Flesh and try to achieve Salvation on their own terms, or to do things God’s way and put their Faith in His Word as the only means of securing their Salvation and Eternal life. Since these trees were representative of those two systems, an examination of their roots and fruit will aid in our understanding of the systems themselves.
A Test of One’s Faith
Such an examination reveals that…
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil…
…was rooted in the same desires that motivated Satan to rebel against God. As listed in Isaiah 14:13-14, these were…
I will ascend into Heaven; I will be like the Most High; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; and, I will also sit on the Mount of the Congregation.
The SAP produced by it wasSelfishness and Pride, and its Fruit was all about Me and My Glory.
On the other hand…
The Tree of Life…
…was rooted in the same desires that characterized Jesus, as described for us in Psalm 40:6-10…
I delight to do Your will; Your law is within my heart; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; and, I have proclaimed the good news of [Your] righteousness in the great assembly.
Its SAP was Submission and Praise, while its Fruit was all about God and His Glory.
In comparison, then, the Two Systems of Faith line up something like this…
The Roots and Fruit of the Two Trees
Of course, hindsight being what it is, it’s easy for us to see that the reason the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was so attractive to Adam and Eve was because of its overpowering appeal to their flesh—to their selfishness and pride, as well as to their desire for self-determination and glorification. Unfortunately, when they chose to eat of this tree, there was no way for them to know the kind of fruit it would bear in the lives of their children, grandchildren, and in the generations to come. They had no idea that in choosing the Way of Works over the Way of God, they were dooming every one of their descendants (with the exception of Jesus Christ) to enter this world already bound to the same system–the system of Satan’s Soul-Centered False Faith of Religion, which actually leads it followers away from the Truth of God and on to their Spiritual Deaths.
Religion—How Did It Develop?
Starting out as just a small seed of unbelief in the hearts of our first parents—but, nurtured as it was in the fertile soil of Satan’s prideful ambition—it didn’t take long for this False Faith of Religion to grow into an enormous tree with a very sturdy trunk. That’s because it was founded upon Cain and his self-styled Worship of Works, it was fed and grew stronger on Man’s Worship of Nature, and its reach was eventually extended to cover the whole world through the many branches it developed following God’s confounding of the languages at the Tower of Babel.
Cain’s Worship of Works
That Cain and his offering would serve as the base upon which the Tree of Religion was founded should come as no surprise to us; for his—and his brother Abel’s—offerings were the first ones to be recorded after their parents’ expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Given their proximity to that event, in both time and location, it seems reasonable to expect that Adam and Eve had instructed their sons concerning the type of offering that would be required of them by God. The fact that Cain brought an offering of produce from his field, which was rejected, and Abel brought a lamb to be sacrificed and it was accepted, would tend to lend support to this theory. But, was the difference in their offerings the only reason to look upon Cain as Religion’s Founding Father, or was it something that went much deeper than that?
We get an indication of the real issue in Hebrews 11:4, where we learn that the truly distinguishing feature between these two men and their offerings was faith, for…
By faith, Abel offered up a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts.
Why, then, was faith the deciding factor here? Because…
…without faith it is impossible to please him [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6); and,
…the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, the Lord looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
If it was a heart of faith that was required to please God, how did Abel’s offering reveal that? The most logical conclusion is that, since…
…faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17)…
…Abel must have taken to heart the Word that he had received—most likely from his parents and something to the effect of “…without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22)”—then, acting upon that Word, he offered up to God his best lamb as the substitutionary payment for his sins.
Cain, on the other hand, having rejected the same Word, and determined to do things in his own way, foolishly attempted to come to God on his own terms, rather than approaching Him in the manner previously ordained. Such an arrogant action on his part revealed that his heart was far from God, he was in denial concerning his sinfulness and need of sacrificial atonement, and his faith was in his own worthiness and works. So great was Cain’s sense of self-righteousness that even when he was corrected by God and given an opportunity to repent, he refused—choosing instead to try to vindicate himself through the murder of his brother. The true nature of Cain’s heart and actions were described centuries later by the Apostle John, when he warned his readers…
We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous (1 John 3:12).
So, it was these characteristics of Cain…
An unbelief in and a rejection of the Word of God;
A life built upon deception;
A faith based on self-worth and the works of the flesh;
An inexplicable resentment and envy of the truly righteous; and,
An unjustifiable need to suppress and eliminate those who are walking with God…
…that have, ever since the time of Cain, become the hallmarks of the structure we know of as Religion—hallmarks which were clearly demonstrated by the Religious Leaders of Jesus’ day who, in their resentment and envy of Him, felt completely justified in their persecution and crucifixion of the very Son of God.
The Way of Cain
Man’s Worship of Nature
I must admit that when considering the transition from Cain’s Worship of Works to Mankind’s Worship of Nature, I was at a loss to explain how it could have happened. I mean, why would any reasonably intelligent person choose to worship a being or a material entity lower in rank in the created order than himself? It just didn’t make any sense, for the leap from the one to the other seemed far too great. Thankfully, in Romans 1:21-25, the Apostle Paul provided us with some insight into this highly illogical progression (regression, actually) as he explains that it was really just a short hop because…
…although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!
It would seem, then, that if we—like Cain—don’t believe God and we reject His Word as the only source of Truth in the world, not only will we fall for any and every lie that comes down the pike, but we will also have to invent a few of our own if we’re going to ever make sense of our existence and the world in which we live. After all, how else can we explain why…
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west on a daily basis;
The moon and the stars come out at night and move from place to place in the sky;
The wind is so powerful and yet invisible;
The thunder thunders and the lightning flashes randomly across the sky;
The land is separate from the seas and the earth, at times, rumbles mysteriously under foot;
The rivers race downhill from the mountains to the sea;
People are people and animals are animals—why we eat one but not the other; and,
People die and what happens to them after they do?
Well, those in ancient times chose to explain these things through the use of Myths…
Myths explained how Earth was created, where life came from, why the stars shine at night and the seasons change. Why there was sex. Why there was evil. Why people died and where they went when they did. In short, myths were a very human way to explain everything.
…in its most basic sense, a myth is defined as ‘A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the world view of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society (American Heritage).’ ‘Explaining aspects of the world’—that’s another way to say ‘science’ or ‘religion,’ the two principal ways people have used to explain the world.
Creation myths set out to explain the origin of the world, the birth of gods and goddesses, and eventually the creation of human beings. Explanatory, or causal, myths try to give a mythic reason for natural events, such as the Norse belief that Thor made thunder and lightning by throwing his hammer…another fundamental type of myth is the ‘foundation’ story, which explains the beginnings of a society—often with the distinct sense of superiority that direct descent from the gods clearly implies.
This eventually gave rise to the rule and domination of men over men because…
Once local rulers understood that connecting themselves to the gods would cement their hold over people, myth was elevated to an institution that could prove more powerful than an army. Most of the great ancient civilizations…were theocracies, in which there was no difference between religion and state. With connections to the gods and usually the cooperation of a potent priesthood, divinely anointed rulers held the power of life and death over their subjects…
…a development which eventually led to the founding of the world’s first empire in the land of Shinar—as well as the world’s first Religious System at the Tower of Babel.
A Few of Religion’s Many Faces
A System of Worship for the World
In Genesis 11:1-2, we are told that following the flood of Noah’s day…
…the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
Then, in Genesis 10:8-12, we learn that Shinar is where Nimrod, Noah’s great-grandson, came to power—and, where it was said of him…
…he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD. Therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before [against] the LORD.’ The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. From that land he went into Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.
Although the Bible doesn’t tell us much about Nimrod, there are a number of references to him in ancient extra-biblical literature. One such reference is in Antiquities of the Jews, compiled by the Jewish historian, Josephus…
Now it was Nimrod who excited them [the people] to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power…
From what we read here, Nimrod sounds very much like the man of lawlessness the Apostle Paul warned his readers about later in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10—and described there as…
…the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God…The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan, with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing because they refused to love the truth and be saved.
And, from Josephus’ description of them, it would seem that those who were following Nimrod were very much like those just described by Paul…
Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than anyone could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was. It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water.
It should be noted here that the building of this tower…
…was not an innocent, scientifically naive, primitive effort to reach the highest heavens! It was, instead, a brilliant but blasphemous effort to dismiss forever the God who had commanded Noah and his three sons after the Flood to ‘be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth’ (Genesis 9:1). Instead of honouring His name [i.e. God’s character and attributes], they said, ‘Let us build for ourselves a city … and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth’ (Genesis 11:4).
In reality, this tower was created to be a religious center; one designed in the shape of a mountain which, when ‘scaled’ through the accomplishment of varying degrees of religious ritual, would elevate men to the status of deity and to the pinnacle of human power. The ziggurat—or stepped tower–is probably what this “mountain” would have looked like; a place where…
The top compartment represented heaven. The inner walls, in all probability, were decorated with blue glazed tile, with the sun, the moon, and the five known planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn) lined up along the plane of the zodiac. In the centre of the room would be their “god” seated upon a throne! Nebuchadnezzar later rebuilt such a tower in Babylon, which the Sumerians had called E-TEMEN-AN-KI (‘the building of the foundation-platform of heaven and earth’). The pyramids of Egypt and, much later, the great Mayan temples of Central America, reflected the design of the original Tower of Babel.
Most Likely What the Tower of Babel Looked Like
So, in addition to establishing himself as the first tyrannical emperor in human history, Nimrod also made a name for himself as the instigator of the first organized false religious system in the world—one …
…based primarily upon a corruption of the primeval astronomy formulated by Noah’s righteous ancestors before the flood. In the original this system, depicted by means of constellations, [was] the story of Satan’s rebellion and the war in the heavens, his subversion of mankind, the fall of Adam and Eve, the promise of One to come who would suffer and die to relieve man from the curse of sin [and] then be installed as Lord of Creation, and the final re-subjugation of the cosmos to God through Him.
[However] These eternal truths were corrupted…into a mythic cycle wherein the great dragon is depicted as the rightful lord of the universe whose throne has been temporarily usurped by One whom we can recognize as the God of the Bible.
According to this corrupted version…
…the serpent creates man in his present miserable state, but promises that a child would one day be born of a divine mother—which child would supplant God, become a god himself, and return rulership of the Earth to the serpent…
Madonna and Child
…and, it was this woman and child who would later become known everywhere as the Madonna with Child.
These fables…were introduced under the guise of revealing hidden esoteric knowledge [but]…this esotericism…only masked the actual goal, which was the worship of…Satan’s army of fallen angels.
Satan was quite willing to receive worship ‘by proxy,’ hence the third major element of the mystery religion was emperor-worship. This religion was propagated by a hierarchy of priests and priestesses, to whom were assigned the task of initiating the populace at large into its ascending degrees of revelation, culminating at the highest level in both direct worship of Satan and demon-possession.
Given the true nature of this rebellious and blasphemous endeavor—and the fact that it was God’s declared will from the beginning that human beings scatter abroad over the earth so that the earth would…
…be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14)…
…it was no wonder that…
…the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.’
So the LORD dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth (Genesis 11:5-9).
As a result of this scattering, when the people made their way into strange new lands, one of the things they all carried along with them was the false religion they had known at Babel in the land of Shinar—the place later called Babylon…
…from Babylon this mystery-religion spread to all the surrounding nations…Everywhere the symbols were the same, and everywhere the cult of the mother and child became the popular system…The image of the [Madonna] queen of heaven with the babe in her arms was seen everywhere, though the names might differ as languages differed. It became the mystery-religion of Phoenicia, and by the Phoenicians was carried to the ends of the earth. Ashtoreth and Tammuz, the mother and child of these hardy adventurers, became Isis and Horus in Egypt, Aphrodite and Eros in Greece, Venus and Cupid in Italy, and bore many other names in more distant places. Within 1,000 years, Babylonianism had become the religion of the world, which had rejected the Divine revelation.
And, it was for this reason that Babylon came to be known as the “mother” of every pagan religious system in the world— the system referred to in the Bible as Mystery Babylon, and the one described in Revelation 17:1ff as…
…a woman arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality;
…the great prostitute…with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk; and,
…having written on her forehead a name of mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.
Mystery Babylon–Satan’s False Religious System
This is the same Religious System used by Satan throughout history to deceive and seduce those following in the Way of Cain, and to oppress and destroy those choosing to follow in the Way of Abel. The one…
Out of which God called Abram, in order to create Israel as the nation through which His Son would come into the world;
That enslaved the Israelites in Egypt—and, the one that God crushed when He delivered His people from bondage there;
That God commanded His people to destroy when they went into the Promised Land—but whose failure to do so led to their eventual corruption;
That killed the prophets God sent to call His people to repentance;
That eventually carried God’s people into captivity, destroying their temple and leaving their land barren and in the hands of their enemies;
That crucified Christ;
That has persecuted the Church throughout its history and been responsible for the death of its martyrs;
That was responsible for the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and all the religious wars throughout history;
That led to the formation of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Rationalism, Atheism, and every cult the world has known; and,
Whose syncretism is now manifesting itself in the New Age Religion that will soon serve as the State Religion during the reign of the Antichrist.
4. Religion–How Will It End?
Most importantly, it is the one that God will one day judge and destroy…
Like Her Master, She Will Meet a Fiery End
…and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. Rev. 16:19
…for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Rev. 18:5
‘Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.’ …her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her. 18:6,8
Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste. 18:16-17
Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, ‘So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more;’ 18:20-21
…[for] all nations were deceived by your sorcery…and in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.” 18:23-24
In that day, like her Master and Manipulator,Satan’sSoul-CenteredFalse Faith of Religion will meet her well-deserved doom—and, she will be seen no more!
Phillips, Craig, and Dean remind us that our salvation is all about God’s amazing grace–not our works…
Education is One of the Most Important Pillars in Satan’s Cultural Landscape
In our last Workout Session, as part of our on-going effort to map out Satan’s Kingdom, we began surveying the Landscapes of the Terrestrial or EarthlyDivision of his realm. Given the amount of territory to be covered in this exercise, it will no doubt prove to be one of the most strenuous ones we have undertaken to date; so strenuous, in fact, that it must be spread it out over the course of four sessions, with…
Since the subject matter of these sessions is also progressive—with the first one laying the groundwork for the second, etc.—to help prepare us for the additional stretching we will be doing in this second session, let’s pause briefly to review what we learned about these landscapes during the first of these sessions. So far, we know that…
Just as the human body is made up of a Body, Soul, and Spirit, Humanity as a whole also has a Body, Soul, and Spirit.
In order to keep Humanity under his control, Satan—as the ruler over this world’s systems—has designed these systems to not only satisfy the needs and wants of Humanity’s Body, Soul, and Spirit, but to do so in ways that allow him to maintain his domination over of every aspect of its being…
Through the ubiquitous Political and Economic Systems, he can control what human beings do and where they can go;
Through the multifaceted Cultural System, he can control what human beings think and how they feel about any given issue; and,
Through his counterfeit Religious System, he can control what human beings believe and what or whom they worship.
As for the Political and Economic Landscape, over the past century Satan has used it to establish the framework for the coming OneWorld Government—over which he will one-day dictate—through the creation of the Federal Reserve System, the United Nations, the Bilderberger Group, the Council for Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Club of Rome, the World Economic Forum, and their assorted subgroups.
Although most people have no know idea what these groups do—or, that they even exist, it is essential that we familiarize ourselves with them and their activities because, as we shall eventually see, they are, in effect, being employed as Satan’s puppet-masters who, from behind the scenes, are pulling the strings that determine what we see, hear, and read in the media, what we or our children are being taught in school, and what we as a people are supposed to believe about the nature of Family, the World, and God.
To understand the necessity for such control and coercion, we must remember that Satan’s ultimate goal is to be like God—that is, he wants to rule the world and receive the worship which should rightfully go to God. He made a giant leap in this direction when he successfully wooed and won Man away from his Creator in the Garden of Eden; however, given his own experience with willful rebellion, and knowing all too well that Man, also endowed with a mind and will of his own, could one day choose to reject him and follow God once again, he has remained ever-vigilant in his control over the systems which might otherwise be used to reveal the Truth about God to those under his dominion, and expose him as the lying, thieving murderer that he is.
So, with this ultimate goal in mind, Satan has designed…
The Political and Economic Structures of the world’s systems to be the external controls which will eventually be used to coerce the masses into worshipping the Beast, the Antichrist, and, ultimately Satan himself;
The Cultural Structures of the world’s systems to reprogram our minds and emotions; using every form of social interaction to transform the masses into willing, or at least cooperative, “citizens” (slaves) in his New World Order; and,
The Religious Structures of the world’s systems as the ultimate deception and the best counterfeit of God’s Kingdom; using them to convince the masses that they are part of the one great Brotherhood of Man and, the gods and the masters of their own destinies, while simultaneously alienating them from the One True God and conditioning them to worship him instead.
Now, having established in our previous session that the Political and Economic Structuresare the legs upon which Satan’s future kingdom stands, it is time for us to learn how, through the Cultural Structures he has erected, Satan is filling out the torso of Humanity’s Corporate Body, and using its soulish aspects to deceive the masses into accepting and supporting the ideals espoused by that kingdom.
The Cultural Landscape
Since the Human Soul—both the Individual and the Corporate one—is the seat of our Personality or our Mind, Emotions, and our Will; and, since the Thoughts and Feelings produced by our Mind and Emotions are what determines the things that we Will to do, in order for Satan to direct our actions, he must first gain control of the way we think and feel. To do that, he has fashioned an entire Cultural Landscape through which he and those whom he empowers work relentlessly to…
Change the Way We Think About the World;
Change the Way We Feel About Family; and,
Control the Things We Will to Do…
As a Man Thinks, So Will He Do
…a necessary course of action if he is ever to realize his goal of world-wide rule and worship. As he is (and always has been) incapable of creating living beings in his own image over which he can rule, his only option has been to take those created by God for His glory and, through the systematic eradication of the Divine Image within them, as well as their knowledge of the Divine Plan for them, remold them in his own distorted image and in accordance with his own devilish plans. To accomplish this, he has become a master manipulator of every form of Media–Art, Music, Theatre, Films, Television, Books, Magazines, Newspapers, and Social Media—as well as the curriculum at every level of Education, from Preschool through Post Graduate Work, to slowly and insidiously redefine, in the minds of men, what it means to be a human living on planet Earth.
Changing the Way We Think About the World
Before we can grasp the changes that Satan wants to make to our worldview, we must first understand what God has to say about the World—for the former will be in direct opposition to the latter. From the revelation He has given us in Genesis 1-11, we know that…
God created the world ex nihilo—that is, out of nothing;
The world came into existence in an orderly and progressive manner over the course of six days, in response to the spoken Word of God;
The world was created to be the home for Man, and was especially designed to sustain his life and to meet his physical needs;
The world was meant to be ruled over and blessed by the Righteous Rule of Man—both Male and Female—but instead, it came under a Curse and the Right to Rule over it was transferred to Satan as a result of Man’s Sin; and,
Because of Man’s Corruption of it, the primeval world was destroyed by a catastrophic and Universal Flood, which permanently altered the Earth’s Climate and Geologic Features.
Of course, this Worldview, as a God-Centric one, is one that demonstrates God’s great Wisdom and Power, His Love and Grace toward Man, and Man’s High Calling and Superior Standing in and over the created world—something which Satan is determined to eliminate from the Mind of Man. From the Garden of Eden onward, he has been busy feeding Lies about the World and its Origins to every gullible person who has ever rejected the revelation of God—for, in his rejection of the Truthful testimony of the only Eye-Witness present at the time of the Earth’s inception,Man has been left with no other choice but to come up with his own explanations for how it and he came to be. And, throughout his history, he has managed to come up with some real lulus.
Man’s Answers are Always Hopelessly Inadequate
For example, in one of Man’s earliest civilizations in Sumer of Mesopotamia, near where the fresh waters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers merged with the Persian Gulf, he concluded that the earth originated when two creator gods emerged from the eternal and sacred primordial waters. Apsu, the god of the freshwaters, and Tiamat, the goddess of the salty waters of the sea, came forth from the primeval chaos, merged their waters together and, in the process, brought into being the other gods who made up the Sumerian pantheon, or household of gods.
Unfortunately, life in this household did not remain divine for very long, for the younger, rowdier gods soon became too noisy to suit their father. In an effort to get some peace and quiet, Apsu came up with a rather extreme solution—he decided to kill the “kids” to ensure that he could get a good night’s sleep. Before he could carry out his plan, though, one of his sons, Ea, found out about it and killed Apsu first. Ea then took his dad’s place as ruler; after which, he and his wife, Damkina, gave birth to their own wonder-son, named Marduk, who later became the sun god.
Relationships in this family of gods went from bad to worse when Tiamat, the mother of the younger gods, decided to avenge her husband’s death. Taking the form of a dragon, she gathered together an army of monsters for the purpose of waging war against her own children. Marduk, her grandson, went to the other gods and offered to fight Tiamat on their behalf—but only if he could become their ruler. Once they agreed to his terms, Marduk went into battle, first defeating the monsters, and then Tiamat. After killing his grandmother, Marduk cut up her body, using half to make the sky and the other half to make the earth; then, with some leftover parts, he created other features such as rivers and mountains.
Following a period during which he whipped the rest of the universe into shape, Marduk decided to create man. The motive behind this decision was in no way benevolent, however, for Marduk and the other gods were just so tired of doing all of the dirty work needed to maintain order on the earth that they decided to create a race of people who could do the work for them. Their plan became a reality when Marduk, after killing Tiamat’s consort Kingu, mixed some of his blood with dust to create man as a servant for the gods. It would seem, then, that to the ancient Mesopotamians, the earth came into existence because the loser in a family fight among the gods was hacked up by the winner and then hung up to dry; with the earth’s human residents being created solely for the purpose of doing the earth-related housekeeping chores—chores considered too menial for the gods to do.
Pan Ku Chiseling Away at the Earth
As far-fetched as this explanation might seem to us today, it is no more fantastic than those found in many other ancient cultures. Take, for example, one of the early Chinese creation myths which began with the cracking of a giant “cosmic egg.” Contained within the egg were the two forces of Yin and Yang, the universal but opposing principles of masculine and feminine. As these forces struggled inside the egg, they caused it to break in two, making it possible for the creator god, Pan Ku—usually described as the child of Yin and Yang—to emerge. As he did, the “light” or masculine part of the egg, the Yang, rose to become the sky, while the Yin, the feminine or the “heavier” substance, dropped down to become the earth.
For 18,000 years, Pan Ku held the earth and sky apart, while he busily worked on the creation with his hammer and chisel. When he thought the sky was finally secure and wouldn’t fall down, he laid down to rest, but died instead. As he expired, Pan Ku’s body morphed into the various elements of nature: his voice became the thunder; his breath the wind and clouds; his eyes the sun and moon; and his limbs the mountains. Additionally, the fluids in his body turned into the rivers and the rain, while his body itself became the soil; the hair on his head became the stars, the hair on his body changed into vegetation, and his teeth, bones and marrow became the minerals in the earth. Lastly, the bugs on his body became human beings—a rather inauspicious beginning for humanity, to say the least!
Sadly, in the absence of the Truth provided by God, and when left to their own devices, these are the kinds of crazy stories concocted, in all seriousness, by men of old, from cultures all over the world, seeking to explain the origins of Life. Each story is a reflection of the unique culture which produced it, and of the environmental conditions impacting the lives of those within that culture; and yet, as dissimilar as these appear on the surface, when examined more closely, there is a detectable pattern—a methodology, if you will—in the way they were created; one requiring their…
Observation of the then-current environmental conditions around them;
Projection backwards in time in an effort to come up with a theory as to how those conditions came to be; and,
Creation of a story around those natural elements which might explain events happening before their time.
In other words, those responsible for the creation of these myths arrived at their conclusions by trying to explain the unknown past through their observations of the natural processes occurring in their present time—something which men have continued to do until this day; with the one difference between then and now being, that those in earlier times typically made gods out of the elements they observed, while those who came later sought to eliminate any reference to god in their explanations.
A Modern-Day Creation Story
British Naturalist Charles Darwin
Probably the best and most successful example of this—and, by successful, I mean the most well-known and universally accepted one— is the explanation produced by a British Naturalist, living in the nineteenth century, named Charles Darwin; a man who, like the men preceding him, set about trying to explain the unknown past by first observing the natural processes at work in his day. In 1859, he presented those observations, and the suppositions which he had drawn from them, to the world in a revolutionary book entitled, On the Origin of Species—a book which laid the foundation for the modern-day Creation Story we commonly refer to as the Theory ofEvolution. Although it has been touted as fact and embraced by most of the scientific community, in reality, this evolutionary theory is nothing more than a pseudo-scientific religion; one in which God has been eliminated and Man reduced to the status of a highly-evolved species of animal.
In sharp contrast to what we have already established about the world’s origins from God’s Word, Darwin’s theory was predicated upon four basic principles…
…the first and most fundamental one which states that all life originated from one single cell. If true, this would mean that all forms of life are related genetically, and that all plants, animals, and humans are derivatives of the same original substance. Although this principle has come to be regarded by most as scientific fact, no one—not even Darwin—has ever been able to say just when, where, or how this single cell came to be. In fact…
… “Darwin himself speculated that spontaneous generation of life may have occurred by chance formation of proteid in ‘some warm little pond’ with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat and electricity (emphases added).”
The second principle, as an outgrowth of the first, proposes that life, since its origination from that one primitive cell, has been a progressive development from the simplest of life forms to those of the most complex. This upward movement resulted from the on-going struggle of the cells, and their subsequently produced organisms, to survive in the natural elements; with their survival being made possible through the changes, modifications, or mutations taking place in some of the life forms. The surviving cells or organisms—those proven to be the “fittest’ for survival—were the ones having undergone genetic mutations or random changes in their makeup, changes which gave them advantages the other organisms didn’t have. In short, the organisms with mutations were the ones that survived, while those without them died.
The third underlying principle supposes that, as a result of this natural process of selection, the struggling, upwardly mobile organisms became more and more complex, more numerous, and more adaptable to their environments. As they did, somehow they were able to come together to form the earth as we know it, and the various life forms that came to exist upon it.
Closely related to this is evolution’s fourth principle—which states that, since these random mutations take so long to occur, the earth would have to have been in existence for millions of years in order for them to have taken place.
Is there any evidence that we’re getting better and better?
According to these principles, when it comes to understanding our origins, evolution would have us believe that as human beings, man is nothing more than the accidental product of millions of years of genetic mutations. Having originated from the same cell and being genetically linked to all other forms of life, including the animals, means that he need never aspire to being anything more than the most highly-evolved form of animal life—a species which, through self-effort and chance alone, has happened to work its way to the top of the food chain.
In its classification of him as an animal, evolution has provided Man with a rationale for eschewing accountability to any and all forms of externally imposed laws or codes of conduct. The one exception to this would be the “the law of the jungle,” the one code permitting humans to act beastly with impunity. In its reduction of men to mere brute beasts, without any codes to guide or control their behavior, humanity is also relieved of its need for any morality or religion in life.
With these restraints removed, man’s purpose in life becomes focused on the pursuit of physical or fleshly gratification, with the highest ideal of this gratification being the mating with, and the reproduction of, the most genetically superior humans possible. In this way, he can continue to produce offspring with the most favorable mutations, insuring that in the future, the species will become even more highly-evolved than it is now—and, with the expectation that these more highly-evolved humans will be better equipped to solve life’s most perplexing problems. Given enough time, perhaps a few more billion years, they may even evolve into perfect human beings, or physically superior specimens of male and female who are absolutely devoid of any soul or spirit.
As for satisfying the basic human question concerning life after death, evolution promises us that there won’t be any afterlife to worry about;our animalistic bodies will simply return to the earth from which they came, with our only lasting contribution being in our service as the most genetically superior fertilizer to date, for the soil of all future generations of human animals.
What we’re presented with, then, are two diametrically opposed ways of looking at the World—the Biblical Worldview originating with God, or the Secular Worldview, produced by Man’s Enlightened Thinking…
It’s Either One or the Other
This certainly begs the question, that given the more meaningful and hopeful nature of the Biblical Worldview, why would anyone (most of the world, in fact) choose to buy into the meaningless and fatalistic existence offered by the Secular Worldview? Well, two reasons immediately come to mind; there is…
The Theoretical Reason—this being the same reason Adam and Eve chose the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil over the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden—because they fell for the Big Lie promising them their independence from God and divinity on their own terms; and,
The Practical Reason—because this Big Lie has been promoted world-wide through the Cultural Landscape set up and managed by Satan.
Selling the Lie
When it comes to selling people a Lie–big or otherwise–nobody does it better than Satan, and the method he continues to use is the same simple one he has been using since his initial success with it in the Garden of Eden. As he did with Adam and Eve, when it came to convincing the masses to buy into this Secular Worldview, all Satan had to do was…
Discredit the Word of God; and, Replace the Truth with a Lie.
And, the best way for him to do this on such a massive scale was with a masterful manipulation of the Educational System and the Mass Media.
Because we will be discussing Satan’s use of the Media at length during our next session, what’s left of this one will be given over to highlighting how he has been working through the Educational System to discredit the Word of God and replace the Biblical Worldview with a counterfeit one. His strategy for this, like his Lie, has been simple yet highly effective, and is based upon the three-pronged approach of…
Promoting an Alternative Worldview—Offering the Intellectual Community an Appealing Alternative to the Biblical Worldview;
Compromising Biblical Scholarship—Infiltrating Seminaries with the New Worldview in order to Compromise Biblical Scholarship;
Corrupting the Public School Curriculum—Infiltrating Teacher Training Schools, then the Public Education System, and gradually but systematically changing the Curriculum to promote the Alternative Worldview.
1. Promoting an Alternative Worldview
Before the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species, the Biblical View ofCreation was the most widely-accepted one—at least, as far as Western Civilization was concerned. For some time before that, though, the scientific community had been searching for an alternative theory; the reason being, that for centuries the institutional church, in its zeal to prevent any potential heresy, had routinely suppressed scientific inquiry and persecuted those who were engaged in it. The intellectually curious, who had long suffered under this type of oppression, were ready to cast off the teachings of the church and pursue a more rational, enlightened explanation for the Earth’s Origins. They had a big problem, though—which was, how to explain the more dramatic features of the earth’s landscape, like its mountains and canyons, apart from any reference to supernatural catastrophes which may have taken place in the past. This belief was called Catastrophism, and it…
…was accepted as the only possible explanation until about the 18th century. Catastrophism taught that the geologic rock strata were primarily a result of catastrophes like the world-wide flood of Noah. At that time James Hutton and Sir Charles Lyell proposed an alternative explanation of uniformitarianism. The theory of uniformitarianism taught that the present was the key to the past and exactly the same slow process that we see today is the one responsible for the formation of all the geological rock strata.
Since deposition with the uniformitarianism theory was so slow, long eons of time were required. This meant that the current biblical beliefs at that time of a young earth, the recent history of the life on earth and the worldwide flood of Noah were discredited. In addition, uniformitarianism laid the foundation for Darwin’s’ theory of evolution, which also needed an old earth to be credible.
So uniformitarianism dethroned catastrophism and evolution dethroned biblical creationism and both became the dominant theories in academia and science until the present time.
“Higher Criticism” is the just another version of the SOL–the Same Old Lie!
2. Compromising Biblical Scholarship
Given the speed at which it was embraced by the academic disciplines, it would seem that Satan had picked the perfect time for the publication of Darwin’s book because…
…his book seemed to provide support for a point of view, a world outlook that was just what the intelligentsia of his day wanted. What Darwin wrote was evidently just what the ‘mainstream’ of academia in England, and subsequently in nation after nation, were waiting for.
Not surprisingly, then—given who was pulling the strings behind the scene—one of the first disciplines to be affected by this broad-based acceptance of Evolutionary Theory was Theology, with the person most responsible for its application to Biblical Scholarshipbeing a German rationalist scholar named Julius Wellhausen…
Wellhausen was an Old Testament scholar, an intellectual, and a theologian…and produced a colossal change within the church by presenting to the Christian community a new, and he would say better, way of understanding the Bible.
He held…that human reason was totally dependable and insisted that it was the Bible that could not seriously be trusted. He presented the idea that the Bible, far from being the Word of God, was in fact a sublime collection of human documents. For instance, he insisted that we must not hold that Moses wrote the Pentateuch. Rather, this history of early man was given to us by a number of writers, whose views were compiled to form what we now call the Pentateuch. Therefore, the story of Adam and Eve is a lovely myth that can illustrate certain truths, but it surely does not represent the actual story of people whom God called ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve.’
Exodus, he thought, was completely historical; prior to that, all was myth.
During his career as a theological professor, Wellhausen published many books in the German language on the subject of biblical criticism. Over the years, his reputation grew as the leader of a school of thought concerning a method of interpreting the Old Testament Scriptures. This school of thought came to be called Higher Criticism…
…a school whose scholars…
…’seek to explain Old Testament belief in God in terms of evolution. They would have Old Testament monotheism be the resultant from lower stages, or from polytheism, or regard it as a peculiar instinct of the Semites, or as borrowed from neighboring nations.’
The lasting effect of all this was…
Wellhausen’s scholarship became an important contribution to liberalism as it sought to demythologize the Bible by taking God and spiritual things out of it. Through this means, Wellhausen opened the door for subsequent scholars to expand the base of liberalism and add to it their own interpretations of biblical truth. Some found the Bible to be an endless round of allegories rather than necessary historical truth.
The logical consequence of all this speculation was a defection from sound doctrine by the church and its leadership, as well as a fundamental shift in religious allegiance from Christianity to an empty humanist religion.
Satan’s Plan is to “Train up a child in the way…(Prov. 22:6)” he wants him to go.
3. Corrupting the Public School Curriculum***
With the seminaries no longer producing ministers who believed the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God, the Church lost much of its spiritual power and was fast becoming more of a social institution, preaching a social gospel. As such, it…
…abdicated its responsibility to be a corrective within society and instead cooperated with the golden promises of the secular humanists. Moving with the tide, the church quickly changed its message of salvation through the cleansing of the blood of Christ to a message of salvation through the improvement of the social structure…
…thus, leading to the conclusion that…
If man is no longer a sinner, all he needs is education and inspiration, and the flame of bright possibility will burn brilliantly in all society.
Of course, Satan had a man ready to step into the situation—one who would revolutionize the educational system that was training new teachers, and the system that was shaping the minds of the children in the Public Schools of America. This man, known as the “father of progressive education,” was John Dewey—a socialist and one of America’s leading atheists—who wrote…
There is no God and no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable (unchangeable) truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or permanent moral absolutes.
Dewey viewed public education as being…
…a massive behavior-shaping tool and enterprise. Dewey knew that that you could sway the beliefs of a generation in the classroom and thereby alter the course of society. He saw the public school system as an ideal platform to proselytize his radical socialistic view. Regardless of what the parents believed, it was only a matter of time before the successive generation took over.
But John Dewey’s ideas did not just come out of a vacuum. He was influenced by an insider group of intellectuals in England known as the Fabian Socialists…an elite intelligentsia of world socialists who envisioned an end to war and poverty by a united world order dedicated to the ideals of socialistic humanism.
Unlike Marxists, who advocated bloody revolution for world socialism, the Fabian Socialists of Britain advocated a more gradualist path to socialistic globalism. The plan of these early one-worlders was to use intellectual penetration, from the top of the pyramid down, into key areas of influence on society. Elite minds were to influence and change the social order.
A brief resume for Dewey reveals that…
He began his career teaching classics, science, and algebra to high school students.
From there, he went to John Hopkins University, where he earned his doctorate in 1884.
That same year, he became a professor at the University of Michigan, where he stayed for ten years.
Then, in 1894, he became chairman of the Department of Philosophy, Psychology, and Education at the University of Chicago. While there, he ‘…founded the Laboratory School, which then became known as the Dewey School, and wrote a number of important books on education.’
In 1904, he took on his longest and most influential position as chairman of the Education School at Columbia University in New York City; and…
…from this position of influence, he labored until his retirement in 1930, gaining international prominence for his radical views in education and philosophy. The Columbia Teacher’s College soon became a training center for teachers from around the world, thereby spreading Dewey’s education philosophy literally to the ends of the earth.
The Effects of Dewey’s Progressive Education
So, how has Satan used Dewey’s views on education and his tenure at Columbia Teacher’s College to transform the mindsets of students and teachers across America?
Dewey knew that to penetrate the existing social order a united front of educators, who embodied the new viewpoint, needed to emerge from graduate schools. These teachers of teachers would then influence future teachers. Among the new views was a national self-criticism that spurned narrow patriotism for a broader globalism. At the same time all traditional values were to be questioned, from parental authority to the validity of established religion.
Rather than equipping the child to handle the demanding academic and moral standards of the old order, with its McGuffey Reader and its implicit moral virtues, Dewey’s progressive education considered behavior-shaping as its highest education priority. ‘Socialization’ was now defined as a type of learning at least equal to traditional learning. Now the old morals and ethics could be replaced by situational ethics or ‘values clarification.’ Reading, writing, and arithmetic took a backseat to an array of experimental programs such as ‘sensitivity training.’ The virtues of hard work were replaced by new permissive standards that would pass a failing child rather than ‘harm’ him by labeling him a failure. Total equality was the new ideal…
Now, if we go back to our question of why anyone would choose to buy into the meaningless and fatalistic existence offered by the Secular Worldview, we have our answer. It’s because they have been duped by the master deceiver into thinking that it is the only viable one out there—which is why, for a lot of people…
It’s more comfortable to feel that we’re a slight improvement on a monkey thin a fallin’ off from the angels.
I, on the other hand, would prefer to believe that I am a unique creation of my Heavenly Father’s Love, rather than anything remotely similar to a monkey…
*** I am well aware that there are many fine, godly educators in the public school system–my husband being one of them–so in referring to the corruption of public education, I am referring to the system and not to those ministering so faithfully as teachers–so often overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. I am also so grateful for the truly dedicated teachers who have taught all five of our sons over the years.
 Information on the creation myths of ancient cultures is summarized from these sources:
Philip Wilkinson, DK Illustrated Dictionary of Mythology (New York: DK Publishing Inc., 2006), 22-23, 46-47.
Kenneth C. Davis, Don’t Know Much about Mythology (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005), 137-150, 370-373.