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Revelation by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:1 hr 1 mins 3 secs

The Course of the Conflict; Character; Your Battlefield

 

All of human history is part of the huge conflict that we have been studying called the angelic conflict. It was initiated by Lucifer in eternity past and will come to a definite conclusion at some time in the future. If we understand this conflict it will help us understand what human life is all about. It will help to answer those questions we ask: Is there really purpose and meaning in life as a whole? Is there purpose and meaning to my life as an individual? After all, why am I here? What should I be involved in?

 

At the very core of this we learn that the most important issue in our life, the most important issue in this conflict that defines the existence of the human race, is our spiritual life. By spiritual life we don't mean our happiness or wellbeing. That is how many people use the word "spirituality." We live in an era today when spirituality is defined on the street in psychological terms of wholeness and wellbeing and mental stability, some kind of happiness. But that is not what the Bible means by spirituality. The Bible defines spirituality in terms of our relationship with the eternal creator God of the universe. It teaches us that we are all born spiritually dead. If we do not have a trust, a belief in Jesus Christ as our Saviour we don't have a spiritual life, the Bible says, we are born dead in trespasses and sins, separated from God, unable to understand the things of God, unable to have a relationship with God.

 

The solution to that problem occurred when Jesus Christ died on the cross. It wasn't just a tragic death, it was a death that was intended and planned from eternity past by God the Father in order to solve the sin problem so that human beings who were created in His image and likeness could have a relationship with Him and could have their spiritual life restored. If we are believers in Jesus Christ our spiritual life our spiritual life and our involvement in this cosmic conflict isn't an option, it is a reality. The issue at the very core of our life is that relationship with God and everything else flows out from that relationship. As a result the development of our spiritual life is the most important thing in our life. And if we study the Scripture what we realise is that the development of our spiritual life doesn't have anything to do with emotions or happiness or psychological wellbeing, it has to do with learning how to think like God thinks. We must learn to think, not as our family thinks, as our peers think, not as our teachers have taught us, not as the culture at large thinks, but as Jesus Christ thinks. Only when we face the events of life or reality on the basis of reality, which is defined by how Jesus Christ thinks, can we properly understand what is going on in this cosmic conflict and angelic rebellion that is raging all around us. We can't live our lives apart from an understanding of the angelic conflict because that defines history and our lives.

 

What we have to do as believers is to assimilate into our own thinking the thinking of Jesus Christ which is revealed in only one place, and that is the Bible. Therefore our job is to learn the Bible. Whatever our vocation might be our avocation must be the study and assimilation of the Word of God into our lives. That is what is supposed to drive everything else. We are to learn the doctrines revealed in the Bible, we are to let the Holy Spirit expose the areas in our own thinking that are contrary to the Word of God, we are to let the Holy Spirit kick us out of our comfort zones of human viewpoint so that we can let divine viewpoint dominate our thinking. To put it in computer terms, our operating system has been corrupted by sin and we need to let God the Holy Spirit completely reformat the hard drive and program it with Bible doctrine and not human viewpoint. This tells us that our primary task as a soldier in the angelic conflict, and every one of us is whether we like it or not, is to assimilate this thinking into our souls.

 

Paul talks about this in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NASB "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. {We are} destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and {we are} taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." The term for fortresses refers to that deeply embedded comfort zone of human viewpoint and sin habit that dominates our life. They have embedded themselves into our thinking and into our behaviour and the only thing that solves the problem is for God the Holy Spirit to take the scalpel of the two-edged sword of Word of God and surgically remove that. And sometimes He doesn't use anaesthesia!  Paul goes on to say "destroying speculations." This tells us that this battle is a battle related to the intellect and thought. It is not a physical or emotional battle, but we are to deal with the arguments, the rationalisations, the intellectual positions that are set up to oppose God. In other words, it is dealing with the thinking of the world versus the thinking of Christ. The spiritual life is about thought. Again and again and again the Scriptures emphasise that, and by thought is not meant the absence of mental attitude sins, it goes much deeper than that. It is not about the absence of jealousy, envy or arrogance, though that is part of it, but it has to do with the very thought basis for our life, how we think about everything in life. James chapter three says that the thinking of the world is natural and demonic, so that if you don't think biblically you are thinking like the demons. That puts it in its most stark contrast, the harshest way of expressing it. When we think in terms of human viewpoint we are thinking just as Satan wants us to think. Our job as believers it to get rid of that kind of thinking. "…every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God." There is the conflict. We are to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. This is talking about every area of intellectual thinking that we can think of. It needs to be rethought in terms of divine viewpoint framework. So this is the great challenge that we have as believers. This means we can't get there just by showing up at Bible class once a week. We have been indoctrinated by the world's system and our own sin nature for X-number of years and the Word of God has to re-educate us, we have to have truth drilled into our soul, and we have to be reminded of it again and again and again because the natural bent of our sin nature is to just let is slide.

 

Titles that Satan is given in the Scriptures: a) Jesus says that he is the ruler of this world [kosmoj], John 12:31. Cf. John 14:30; 16:31; b) The god of this age, 2 Corinthians 4:4. The age is the temporal period from the time of the fall to the destruction of the Antichrist when Satan functions as the god of this age and he has the ability to blind men to the truth; c) He is the prince of the power of the air, Ephesians 2:2. He has an authority over the entire earth.

 

We must understand that man is truly in a Satanic kingdom when he is born, and there are various passages which indicate the nature of that kingdom. It is a position of slavery, Romans 6:6. We had no option until we were saved. Romans 6:17, "…though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed." Once we trust Christ as Saviour we are freed from the tyranny of the sin nature, and furthermore, we are transferred out of Satan's domain. We still live in the world but we are not of the world. Acts 26:18 NASB "to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me." As unbelievers we under the power of Satan. The word that is used in the Greek for "power" is exousia [e)cousia] which means authority, domain, dominion. We were born in the kingdom and as a subject of Satan. In Colossians 1:13 Paul talks about the process of salvation as being delivered from the power of darkness and being transferred into the kingdom of the Son of His love. At salvation there is a spiritual transaction that occurs and our citizenship in the kingdom of Satan is cancelled and we are given a new citizenship in the kingdom of God, a whole new identity, and are adopted into the royal family of God. At the time of Christ there were a lot of wonderful people in Israel, they were called Pharisees. Jesus never read How to Win Friends and Influence People and He told the disciples that they were of their father the devil. Modern liberal theology wants us to think that God is everybody's Father. But that is not true. We were all born not only in the kingdom of Satan but he is out father.

 

He is a murderer, John 8:44 NASB "You are of {your} father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own {nature,} for he is a liar and the father of lies." At the very core of his character he is a liar and a deceiver who wants to redefine reality. That is a very important concept to understand because when we were born into the kingdom of Satan we were born into a psychotic kingdom, totally divorced from reality, living as if God doesn't exist and the reality defined in Scripture is not reality. Only when we understand that God exists and that He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins do we get the first glimpse of genuine reality. Reality is what God created and God is the one who defines reality. But Satan came along and thought that he could redefine reality, restructure reality, and that he should be the one who operates as God. So we are born in Satan's domain, we are born under condemnation, we are blinded to the truth, and we operate on a worldview of a lie, John 8:44. Satan's primary mode of operation is to define truth as error and error as truth. We see this in 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15 NASB "No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds."

 

We share Satan's destiny, Matthew 25:41 NASB "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels'." He is set to go to the lake of fire which has already been created. The centrepiece of history is going to be what takes place at Calvary's cross when Jesus Christ is crucified. That is when Satan is defeated even though the actual judgment of Satan until the end of history. We are now living in the church age, a period when the angelic conflict has intensified because Satan knows that his number is up and that he has to do everything that he can to try to prevent God from fulfilling His plan for history. The Rapture will end the present church age, then there will be a seven-year period of Tribulation, part of which is known as the wrath of Satan. He will personally indwell the Antichrist and try to set up His kingdom on the earth, but the Lord Jesus Christ will return at the Second Coming and will defeat him, at which time he will be cast into the bottomless pit for 1000 years. He is released at the end of the Millennial kingdom, he has a final revolt, and then is destroyed in the lake of fire.

 

As we study all of this one of the important things to understand is the contrast between Satan and Jesus Christ because in that analysis we see that the core issue in the angelic conflict is related to character, to what we do with our spiritual life. It is not related to simply an knowledge of Scripture but it is related to a demonstration that living life in dependence upon God in relation to His virtue is the only life where there is meaning and purpose and happiness. So we can contrast what is displayed by Satan and his character in contrast to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

First of all, everything flows from arrogance. He is oriented to what is best for himself and he is totally self-absorbed. In contrast, Jesus Christ exhibits perfect humility, Philippians 2:8. Satan's total mental attitude is expressed in the five "I wills" in Isaiah 14:12-14, in contrast to the Lord Jesus Christ who says, "Thy will be done." Jesus Christ is totally oriented to God's authority and will. Hebrews 10:7 NASB "THEN I SAID, 'BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.'" This is expressed also in the garden of Gethsemane.

 

Satan is concerned with his own glory, he wants to glorify himself. Jesus Christ was more concerned with the glory of the Father, Matthew 5:16 NASB "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven"; John 17:4 NASB "I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do"; 14:13; 12:28. Satan is anti-authority, he is disobedient to authority in his orientation, but we see that Jesus Christ is completely obedient to the Father. This is the essence of humility. Humility isn't being walked over, isn't giving in to everybody else, isn't turning one's self into some sort of dish rag; it is being properly oriented to authority and obedient to God.

 

Satan in his operation and use of authority is tyrannical, whereas Jesus is a servant. He said He came to serve, not to be served. His leadership is not tyrannical, it is non-coercive, Matthew 11:29, 30 NASB "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

 

Satan is also self-serving in his ethics. He has a value system totally oriented to what is best for him. He is the centre of his universe. But Jesus Christ has an internal ethic that is absolute righteousness, Isaiah 9:6, 7 NASB "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of {His} government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this."

 

Satan operates on the principle of works—go out and earn it yourself, do it yourself. The Lord Jesus Christ operates on the principle of grace. John 1:16, 17 NASB "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ."

 

Satan distorts reality, he wants to redefine reality, he wants to make himself equal to the creator; Jesus Christ defines reality. Jesus said: "I am the way, I am the truth." John 8:32 NASB "and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

 

Satan is over-reaching, he was grasping for deity. Jesus Christ who is eternal deity did not think it something to grasped for, Philippians 2:6.

 

Satan is destructive, whereas the Lord Jesus Christ is the creator, Colossians 1:16, the redeemer, and He is the healer and restorer of the destroyed creation, Romans 8:20-23.

 

Satan is hateful. He is the father hate and yet Jesus Christ is true love, John 13:1 NASB "…having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end." 

 

Satan is hostile to the truth and hostile to God's Word: Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God's Word.

 

In light of this, in light of the angelic conflict, what is the issue for us? The first issue is to determine our relationship to the kingdom. Are we part of God's kingdom or are we part of Satan's kingdom? We were born in Satan's kingdom and destined for death. We were in the kingdom if darkness where there is no truth, no light, no real happiness, it is all just a sham. So we have to make a decision. Do we want to remain in the kingdom of darkness or do we want to be transferred into the kingdom of light? It is not a matter of works or ritual, it is just a matter of realising and understanding that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. Our sins are paid for, all we have to do is trust in Him and we will have eternal life. Then we are born again, the Scripture says. We have new life in Christ, we are a new creature in Christ, we have a new citizenship in God's kingdom, and that can never be taken from us.

 

For the believer the issue is not whether we are in but how are we living as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. The issue is: Are you walking in darkness, are you still living like an unbeliever, or are you walking in the light as he is in the light. What is our priority? Is our priority just getting enough to get by, our career, our education, our friends, our social life, the details of life, or is our priority understanding our role and responsibility as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven to live as Jesus lived, to think as Jesus thought, and to understand the Scriptures. That is our priority and it doesn't happen by chance. The issue for the believer is to really learn how to think like Christ. We have to always remember that we are in this battle. 1 Peter 5:8 NASB "Be of sober {spirit,} be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." Whether you are an obedient Christian or not, wether you just want to hide and not really be part of the conflict or not, Satan (and the hole demonic army) knows who you are, where you are, and you have a target on your backside. The demons have a licence through the cosmic system to put the assault on all of us. We can't escape the fact that as believers we are dead centre in the angelic conflict. [9] "But resist him, firm in {your} faith [in doctrine]…" It is only when we know the Word of God and learn to think as God thinks that we are truly armed as soldiers in this war to have real victory in our own life in the angelic conflict.

 

Illustrations