KNOW YOUR ENEMY
P.C. Johnson, U.K.
RECENTLY we have been celebrating the 60th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War. Our enemies then had to be easily recognisable, in order to defend ourselves and frustrate their attempts to conquer us.
Our armed forces were taught to recognise the enemy, their ships, aircraft and tanks, etc. Ingenious designs of camouflage in uniforms, in weapons and in defences were used to render them almost invisible to the opposing forces.
That war is over, God be praised.
We have to recognise however, that a continuous war is still being waged between the forces of good and the forces of evil in our world. We always have to be on
our guard against the forces of evil-our enemy. To do this we have to be able to identify and recognise this enemy.
Reverting back to human warfare for a moment. It is not the bullet, bomb or shell etc. that is to blame for the death of anyone; it is the cause. But the blame rests with the aggressor or instigator of the warfare, and the operators of these weapons.
With mankind, in the war between good and evil, it is a similar story, except that man may take the place of the weapons in that he is being persuaded or influenced
by the instigator, -Satan the devil - to commit sin. Paul makes this point clear in Ephesians 6:12:-
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood (man), but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places".
What does this mean? Well, man could be considered as a willing puppet, with the devil operating the strings. In the same way as the puppet is powerless to resist the operator in reality, so are we powerless, ON OUR OWN to resist the power of Satan. But Paul provides the answer in verse 11 of Ephesians 6:-
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil".
Paul then goes on to list that armour in verses 13 to 18 of Ephesians 6. We are told we have to constantly practise and believe in truth, righteousness, peace,
faith, salvation (through Jesus the Christ) and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God (the Bible) and prayer at all times. If we obey these principles God will assist and defend us against Satan.
So our real enemy is Satan, not a human being who is being manipulated by Satan against us.
Concerning prayer, Jesus's instructions in Matthew 6:6-7 are most important to follow:-
"But when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy (Heavenly) Father which is in secret... use not vain repetitions..."
Peter warns us about Satan's activities in I Peter 5:8-9(pt):-
"Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary (enemy) the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; (cause to sin) whom resist, steadfast in the faith. .. "
As with the participants in human warfare, the devil also adopts camouflage but of a different type. We of course all know that as a spirit, an evil spirit, we cannot
see him. But make no mistake, he surely is always about. One camouflage he has adopted is using us human beings. Persuading us to do his dirty work for him in
committing sin. He is very clever and very successful. He may even persuade us that the sin is not wrong, or even that it is just. II Corinthians 11:14 tells us :-
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light"
We have the remedy to resist him as listed above by Paul in Ephesians 6:11. But more importantly, we must rely and depend totally on the support of God (the Holy Spirit) to defend and protect us. We can be certain he will IF WE ASK HIM and follow his way of truth and righteousness. It is of great help to have behind us a good knowledge of the Bible. Our own most important defence weapon is the sword of the spirit, the word of God, the Bible. It tells us what is right and what is wrong, in case we may have forgotten. Personal Bible reading is essential and indispensable.
In Isaiah 14:12 -14 we read about the origin of Satan:-
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High (God)".
Isaiah goes on to predict Satan's ultimate fate in verses 15 to 17 which should be read. Ezekiel 28:12-9 also should be read with the understanding that the language goes beyond the quoted King of Tyre and is intended to apply to Satan the unseen inspirer of all evil and pride. Satan was previously one of the Cherabim who developed pride. With his words 'I will', sin was introduced into the universe.
Revelation12:7 records a previous war in heaven when Satan and his angels were cast out into the earth. In verse 13 of that chapter we read:-
"And when the dragon (Satan) saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman (Israel) which brought forth the man child (Jesus)".
Further verses give more information ending in verse 17:-
"And the dragon was wroth with the woman (Israel) and went to make war with the remnant of her seed (Israel's descendants) which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ"
This verse cannot refer to the Jews whose religion has not got the testimony of Jesus Christ. Some of the Jews may well be true descendants of Israel, but according to scripture, the majority are not true descendants. I will refer to this again later.
In Luke 10:18 Jesus tells us:-
"... I (Jesus) beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven".
Jesus also describes Satan in John 14:30 as :-
" ... the prince of this world".
Thus, the Bible makes it clear that Satan, the prince of this world, is here with us all.
II Corinthians 4:4 relates to another of Satan's activities:-
"... the god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not (in Jesus), lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God should shine unto them".
This quotation is self explanatory and also confirms the Deity of Christ.
Another weapon Satan uses to deceive us is in persuading those who preach or write about God's word to use obscure (esoteric) words and explanations which are difficult to understand. We must use easily understood (exoteric) words and expressions that are easily taken in. I recall hearing a sermon many years ago, at the conclusion of which I had no idea of what the speaker had been talking about.
The curse of universal sin affects (or infects?) not only all mankind, but all creation as well. It is not generally realized that the earth and all its natural features as well
as all life -the animal world, plant world, sea creatures and insects etc. are all affected as is the atmosphere and the universe. Thus all creation suffers from various
diseases, accidents, malfunctions and disasters etc. affecting everything on earth, on the sea in the air and space. We have a hostile environment, an imperfect world. Man has not helped by producing various machines, products and buildings etc. that are also imperfect. Small wonder that confusion and chaos prevails.
At the control of all this confusion is of course Satan and his demons, ruthless and vicious in their warfare against all that was or is good. Not a pleasant prospect for the future. However, the Bible contains in its prophecies an infinitely better prospect.
All this confusion, referred to as 'babel' and as 'Babylon' in the Bible, is soon to be completely replaced by a just, peaceful, righteous and holy world; - the second coming of Jesus the Christ! Not as a baby as in the first advent two thousand years ago, but as the omnipotent, etemal and glorious King Jesus with his innumerable mighty angels. He will reign over the whole world for one thousand years. In that time he will remove all evil, replacing it with universal righteousness and peace.
We do not know exactly when this will be. But in view of the truth that most of the pre-second advent prophecies in the Bible have now been fulfilled, it must be in the near future.
Reverting back to the present; we are told by Jesus in Matthew 5:44:-
"I say unto you, love your enemies (in mankind), bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you".
How difficult it is to follow this teaching of our gracious Lord! But, wait a moment, let us consider it further. All evil originates from Satan, including all wrong deeds, words and thoughts. We are one of the means by which Satan spreads his evil. It must be remembered that our real enemy is Satan, not the member of mankind (being manipulated by Satan) who offends us.
Perhaps after all, it is not quite so difficult to obey Jesus's instruction to love our enemies. It may be that these human enemies are willing perpetrators of the evil, but remember, we have all travelled that path of sin ourselves and cannot honestly pass condemnation. Jesus tells us in Luke 6:37 :-
"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive and ye shall be forgiven".
Perhaps if we look upon an enemy only as a human being manipulated by Satan and who as a result is not himself as the expression goes, perhaps it may be easier to forgive and - most important - pray for that person. Jude verse 9 relates a supreme example of noncondemnation:-
"Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil (Satan) he disputed about the body of Moses, durst (dared) not bring against him a railing accusation (i.e.,condemnation) but said the Lord rebuke thee".
If the great archangel Michael did not dare to condemn even the evil Satan, then surely we, mere human beings, must never dare to condemn anyone, however much we have been maltreated. We must pray for them and regard them solely as human beings not as sinners.
But it has to be admitted nevertheless that this is not always easy to do, therefore we need to pray about it.
Considering Satan's acts of causing illness, disasters, accidents and other tragedies against us, we often hear the sad complaint -why does God allow such things? It
is, I believe, never a question of God allowing such things. God often prevents Satan from performing such acts of mayhem. Psalm 91 - which should be read - clearly spells out God's protection for us if we truly believe in him and in his word.
God gave us all a free will, the ability to make up our own minds whether to follow good or evil. Unnoticed by us, he is constantly and quietly trying to persuade us
all to follow righteousness and better ways of living for the benefit of all. For example, our conscience, which is our moral sense of right or wrong and is I believe
prompted by the Holy Spirit. Such persuasion may well entail some form of chastisement which may be uncomfortable, upsetting or even grievous.We are told
in the Bible in Hebrews 12:6:-
"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth... "
This is done for our own good, we can be sure that God knows what is best for us. We should always take care not to ignore our ever present God (the Holy Spirit) and his rules for us. He is our only defence against Satan, living as we do in this hostile world.
If we concentrate on God's presence, it is possible to recognize the occasions of God's active care forus and even to recognize the very quiet or silent or unspoken
word that comes to us. How many times have we all said such expressions as 'it suddenly came to me' or 'l suddenly realized'. Such experiences may be of divine
origin, not our own thoughts. But beware, Satan may try the same.
Another of Satan's deceptions is often seen in the term 'political correctness' which we hear of today.The term often seems to apply to some apparent act of good
which may be otherwise. Here the term is being used only in relation to scriptural belief and teaching. The subject is the existence and identity of the Children of
Israel today in this 21st century.
As pointed out above, relative to the quotation from Revelation 12:17, some Jews may well be descended from Israel, but most are not.
According to God's Abrahamic Covenant with Israel, which was totally unconditional, Abraham's descendants were to be very numerous as quoted in several places in Genesis, e.g., Genesis 22:17-18:-
"That in blessing I will bless thee and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore..."
In Genesis 48 Jacob, when blessing Joseph's sons Ephraim and Manasseh in verse 19 says:-
".. .he (Manasseh) also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother (Ephraim) shall be greater than he (Manasseh) and his seed shall become a multitude of nations".
Obviously these quotations cannot apply to most of the Jews today from the point of view of numbers and nations. It is noted that Revelation 2:9 and 3:9 confirm
that some peoples exist who say they are Jews but 'are not'.
The question then arises, where are these numerous peoples and nations who have the testimony of Jesus and are the descendants of Abraham and Jacob? Has
God abandoned them? Paul gives the answer to this in Romans 11:1:-
"... Hath God cast away his people (Israel) God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham and of the tribe of Benjamin".
This is an emphatic NO by Paul to this question. Further, this quotation cannot honestly or logically be spiritualised. It means what it says! Zechariah 10:6 tells us:-
"I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph (another name for the house of Israel) and I will bring them again to place them: for I have mercy on them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off; for I am the Lord their God and will hear them".
It should be noted that, in scripture, the house of Israel and the house of Judah together comprise the whole of the Children of Israel. Jeremiah 31:35-36 gives
a positive proof of Israel's existence today:-
"Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the Lord of hosts is his name: If these ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever".
This also cannot be spiritualised. It means what it says.
The churches today, quite rightly, preach the gospel story of salvation through Jesus the Christ the Son of God, for all mankind. It is of supreme importance. But it is less than half of the story of the sword of the spirit - God'sword, - the holy Bible. Much of the rest of the Bible is often ignored. If God had wanted only the gospel of salvation to be taught, he would not have had the vast rest of the Bible written and made universally available.
Let us now consider an imaginary scenario. What if we suddenly were presented with mass newspaper headlines:-
THE LOST TRIBES OF ISRAEL DISCOVERED.
People probably would not believe it, but they would want to read about it. With the vast mass of evidence both scriptural and secular, many might believe it and
want to know more. If the church were to also believe and/or discover this truth (they seem to be almost totally blind to it at the moment) they would have a far more powerful means of bringing millions to know the love of God and his righteousness.
Now what has all this to do with political correctness and know your enemy?
Political correctness. In the past there have been many members of the churches who were aware of the truth about Israel's identity today, including many lay persons, bishops and at least one archbishop. But today many church people have found that to proclaim this Israel belief results in them being ostracised and ordered not to repeat it because the church believes it to be heresy and even racist.
The church considers it to be politically incorrect! But God's word contains a vast amount of detail and evidence about Israel which is ignored. Teaching the truth about Israel could revitalise the church and be a path to successful further teaching of the gospel of salvation. Be assured the prophecies quoted above and the further mass of evidence in your Bible confirm the sure existence of Israel today.
We can be sure that God is certainly not racist, and attention is drawn to Leviticus 19:34 and Numbers 15:16 wherein we learn that Israel was never a totally
Leviticus "But the stranger that dwelleth with you (Israel) shall be unto you as one born among you and thou shalt love him as thyself".
Numbers "One law and one manner shall be for you (Israel) and for the stranger that sojourneth with you".
So, any stranger could join the nation but had to be respected and also had to obey all of Israel's laws and precepts.
On the subject of knowing your enemy, Satan must be very pleased that the church by and large omits teaching the truth about Israel. The accusation of being racist (which is for us a prohibited condemnation as we saw above) must have come from him. I believe that if the truth about Israel was taught in the churches, it could
be the means of a new reformation. The gospel of salvation is of course also the same as the new covenant made by God with Israel.
Let us constantly remember that Almighty God is always with us and that we must not ignore him. Speak (pray) to him and perhaps he will speak to you. Elijah
experienced a still small voice which reminds me of a verse of a hymn:-
Every virtue we possess
And every victory won
And every thought of holiness
Are his alone.
It is worth putting to permanent memory, that the thought which comes to mind may be of divine origin, not our own.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour, and glory for ever and ever. Amen - (I Timothy 1:17)
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