This is a serious call to all those who have their finger on the Divine Pulse, who recognise in their spirits the overwhelming spiritual darkness that covers the earth.
Even the proverbial “man in the street” knows that the world is in danger of overwhelming conflict. The newscasts via TV, radio, and other news-media provide him with sufficient information to cause alarm. The impending war with Iraq, the nuclear situation in North Korea, the everlasting problem in the Middle East between so-called Palestinians and the Jews, these are but a few of the insurmountable problems that face the world. The United Nations (a misnomer if ever there was one) presents a strangle-hold on action, so that a state of tension is maintained, and no one is able to release it. Diplomacy has become a new god, who delights in tension without resolution. Political correctness is making a mockery of us all, in the name of Peaceful Coexistence, yet another god of modern man. This represents just a brief review of a few of the world’s problems, and almost all of us are aware of the problem, but 99.99% of us are totally unable to influence the deadlock.
So much for the world-view, and the man-in-the-street’s shrug of the shoulders, as he sits down to watch the latest football match to take his mind off that which he cannot do anything about, that which if he thinks about it too much only causes him to be demoralised. Hence the western world’s people drive towards anything and everything to dissipate any feeling of wretchedness, by the love of money, the love of comfort, sport, holidays, expensive electronic equipment and so on.
Let’s move away from this and take a look at the “church”. I put it in quotes because it covers such a vast and disparate selection of “believers” who nominally call themselves “Christians” that it is virtually impossible to define in simple terms. We read that 25% of Anglican clergy no longer believe in the virgin birth. (A recent Daily Telegraph poll). This is just one symptom of the present malaise. One could quote similar alarming statistics from almost anywhere in the Western World. The churches delight in the “most rapidly growing movement of recent decades”, namely the Charismatic Church, but on examination is seems to be intent on experientialism rather than personal faith. It creates an appetite for the “happy clappy” times of fellowship. Don’t they know that their flagship has been holed below the waterline, and within hours their guitars will become silent? Faith is not built up by watching miracles, dancing in the spirit, conference-hopping, Toronto delusioning, or any of the other gimmicks that are rife within the charismatic movement. Faith is built up by a personal, individual walk with the Lord, a getting to know Him in one’s inner life. This is being side-lined today.
But what about those who do have their finger on the divine pulse, who truly sense in their spirits the engulfing darkness, the proliferation of evil, the subtlety of Satan, and the minute size of God’s faithful warrior band? Do they feel like the man-in-the-street? Do they sense the size and the power of the enemy to such an extent that they feel totally overwhelmed, something like the ten spies who returned from the land, saying that there were giants, before whom they were but grasshoppers for size? Where are the Joshuas and Calebs who trust in the overcoming ability of the Lord God? If the Scriptures assure us that our Lord and Master has won the victory over Satan, why are we bowed down with grief, finding prayer more and more difficult, answers to prayer so few and far between?
Why is God’s church in such a depressingly low state? Why is it that, if we are truly living in the days of the “final battle”, our forces are not measuring up to the job in hand? If, as many believe, we are witnessing the very first rays of Kingdom Light on the Eastern Horizon, why are we not rising to the situation and acting as soldiers in a spiritual battle? I can remember, as a boy, the situation in Englandin September 1939, when war broke out. We were living in London, the hub of activity. The whole nation was being mobilised. Quite apart from the armed forces, all civilian personnel were taking part in the war effort. Women were working on the land, manning lathes in engineering workshops, and helping with the distribution of essential supplies. Non-service men were playing their part in national defence, building air-raid shelters, and so on. There was a new camaraderie in operation in the nation. People were pulling together as never before. The enemy had been identified, and must be stopped at all costs, lest he overrun the earth and put all men under slavedom. The following six years were difficult, and the losses were great, but the outcome was positive.
But what about the present situation? Has the enemy been fully identified? Oh yes, we all know about Satan, but so often he is depicted as a mythological creature with horns and goat’s legs. He is not taken seriously. The real enemy is indeed Satan, but he is the archangel of cunning, who presents himself to society in a hundred and one different guises, most of which are accepted by mankind as necessary in the running of the world’s affairs. I wrote recently about my cure from cancer. In the quest for information my wife found that the pharmaceutical companies of the world were responsible forpreventing simple cures by the financial stranglehold they possessed. This is just one of the outlets of Satanism. It may be considered minimal in the eyes of some, but it hits on the devil’s pulse. He uses man’s love of money as his biggest weapon. I have shown in previous articles that all the information relating to 666 in the Bible is connected with finance, wealth, riches, the love of money – which is the source of man’s political power. Lay aside all such analyses as identifying the Beast with Nero, Napoleon, Kissinger, Prince Charles, and a dozen or so other names. The real culprit is not so much a man as a financial system. This is at the root of Satan’s work.
How does Satan get a stranglehold on God’s children? The prophecies of Daniel have the answer. The Beast, there depicted as the Little Horn, is shown to gain power over God’s people by defection from rectitude, by casting away the foundations of the faith. See 8:12 “A [military] host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgressions, and truth was cast down, and he did it with effect and succeeded.” It was the transgressions of God’s people that gave him the power he needed to enact his programme of deceit, and succeed in his venture. Are we not seeing this happening today? See again the desperate situation depicted in Daniel (8:24-25) “His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power, and he shall destroy amazingly, and shall prosper and practise, and destroy mighty ones and holy people. And through his policy he shall cause deceit to prosper in his hand, and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by careless security shall destroy many.”
Those dreadful words, “careless security”, ring a bell. When Chamberlain returned from the Munichconference in 1939, waving his umbrella, and saying “Peace in our time”, he had been fooled by Hitler. Shortly afterwards Hitler invaded eastern European countries, and when Poland’s turn came, Britainwas forced into the war by virtue of promises we had made to the Poles. In those days the enemy was human, his policies were visible once he began his venture, and the need to arm against him was clear to all. The spiritual situation is now very similar in the unseen dimension. Satan is out to govern this world, and prevent the Kingdom of God arising at all costs. This new “Hitler” is not recognised, and his plans are cunning, deceptive, and easily adopted by believers who are transgressing the covenant. What does this mean? To transgress the covenant is to renege on the foundations of true Christian faith, to depart from rectitude, to compromise with the world, to value one’s own person above loyalty to Jesus Christ. It rears its ugly head in so many different directions and under different guises, but is always found to be governed by one or more of these items.
Many of us have now seen two episodes of “The Lord of the Rings” by Tolkein. The visual display has been breath-taking, and most of the characters live up to the expectations of those who are Rings-buffs. Certainly the film expresses eloquently the essence and spirit of Tolkein’s story. But more than that, it contains all the elements of the present spiritual warfare. The powers of evil are many and varied -Saruman the defector, Gollum the corrupted, the Orcs (like demons), the various monsters, and Sauronthe one who made the evil ring to encapture all mankind. The powers of good are limited, few in number, and limited in power. Gandalf the wizard is clearly a power of good, so also Aragorn and his friends, the Elves and the Ents, but the Hobbits are the vulnerable little beings who against all odds eventually accomplish the desired end, that good will overcome evil. Is that not a brilliant description of the ways of God, who chooses the weak things of this world to confound the mighty?
My plea is that we place the requirements of this final battle squarely at the top of the list of life’s priorities. Pray that our eyes may be opened to see through the veil of deceit, to recognise the “man of sin” under his various suits of clothing, and become warriors for the Lord. It’s not good enough to say that the battle is already won, just because we know by prophetic word that judicially this is so. God requires that His purposes be advanced through human agencies. That has always been His method since Adam and Eve. We are required to take up our armour, then use the sword of the spirit, the word of God, as an offensive weapon against the principalities and powers of darkness. This is no local skirmish. This is a world-wide battle for supremacy. Are we going to shirk our responsibilities, and pray into our own domestic circumstances, expecting God to bless us, or are we going to “hang our harps on the trees of Babylon” and realise that we are in a desperate situation? I write these words, having been personally convicted of the needs and necessities of the times. God grant us the vigour and resolve to enter the fray, for “the battle is the Lord’s”. We shall not be fighting in our own strength, but under His banner.