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Revelation by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:42 mins 30 secs

Satan's Direct Assault, part I

 

The attack and invasion of planet Earth from other planets is the drift of science fiction. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent every decade in trying to see if we can discover life on other planets. Everybody wonders if there are other rational beings out there in outer space. The Bible says, yes, there are. There is rational life out there in outer space. It is not the other races of Star Trek or Star Wars, they are beings created by God known as angels. And there is a group of angels that have defected from God, have rebelled against God, and their mission is to destroy the human race and to enslave and to dominate it. These aliens are identified very clearly in the Bible as fallen angels. Some are even classified as demons. These are the group of angels who followed their leader known as Lucifer in his rebellion against God. Lucifer is also known as the shining one, the son of the dawn, according to the Hebrew in Isaiah 14. He is the creature who wants to usurp the authority, the throne, the rule of God, and to rule all of the creatures for his own glory and privilege. The course of this rebellion we refer to as the angelic conflict, also called the angelic rebellion, the conflict of the ages, the invisible war; there are many different ways in which theologians and Bible teachers have explained this conflict down through the centuries.

 

It is very important for believers to understand this conflict because whether we understand it or not, whether we fully believe it or not, we are part of it. Even unbelievers are a part of it because, as we learn from 2 Corinthians 4:4 that Satan as the god of this age is blinding the minds of the unbeliever to the truth of the gospel. It is important to understand it because one we become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we are indeed enlisted within the Lord's army. We are part of that group that fights a spiritual warfare, the warfare that is described in Ephesians 6:10ff, and we are all a part of it. At the instant of salvation we become a soldier enlisted in this angelic conflict and we have to be trained. We have to learn what our weapons are, and the weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the flesh, but they are weapons related to the spiritual truth of God's Word.

 

Our own attentiveness to our spiritual life is not really an option. It is in one sense, we have the free will to choose whether or not to really exploit all that God has provided for us. It is always easy to somehow rationalise our focus on our spiritual life and to think that somehow we have learned enough, we know enough, we have grown enough to where we have made it. But even the most advanced of us spiritually is far from where we ought to be in our spiritual growth in order to fulfil our roles and responsibilities in the angelic conflict. If we are believers in Jesus Christ we are soldiers in this army and we can either be a hero or be a spiritual causality. The choice is ours. Unfortunately today we live in an era when most Christians unwittingly are spiritual casualties. They have fallen prey to the spiritual snares and traps that Satan has sent out to ensnare our own sin natures, to attract our sin natures so that we find pleasure in that which distracts us from our own spiritual life, and yet we come under a tremendous amount of self-deception and self-justification and just trying to rationalise our focus on other things rather than our spiritual life.

 

Last time we saw that the focus in this spiritual warfare that we are engaged in is our thinking. Spiritual warfare isn't going out and getting engaged in some kind of direct encounter with the devil. That is what we run into in a lot of circles today. The Bible teaches that the battle here for spiritual warfare takes place between the ears. The battlefield for spiritual warfare has to do with our thought life: how we think and of what we think. We have to learn how to think about everything in life from a biblical viewpoint. We have to learn to think about every realm of God's creation as God thinks about it. His creation is not just limited to our spiritual life. His creation involves every dimension, everything we can possibly think of from the sciences, to the arts, to even drama, to the home. God has something to say about everything He created and everything He instituted, and we can either think about it the way God thinks about it (divine viewpoint) or we can think about it in terms of our own experience, in terms of what is popular in the culture in which we live. Sometimes that is called human viewpoint, the Bible calls it worldliness, and likens it in James 3:13-15 to the thinking of demons. The bible is very clear that we are at any given moment in our life as a believer either thinking like God would think or we are thinking like a demon would think. There is no middle ground, according tie Scriptures. Either we are thinking biblically, divine viewpoint, or we are thinking in terms of human viewpoint, no matter how good and moral that may be; it is still thinking independently of God's plan, purposes and revelation.

 

The Scripture says that we are to war not according the flesh but according to the principles given out in Scripture. 2 Corinthians 10:4 NASB "for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses." These fortresses are defined in terms of thinking, in terms of intellectual thought, arguments, rationalisations, ideas, concepts, ways of looking at art, literature, science. [5] "{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." So we see that this must be a life-long endeavour. It challenges us to think about our thinking.

 

There are many different ways today that allow us to get doctrine and listen on our way to work, on our way home, whatever it is. But we need to take in the Word of God on a daily basis because it is the Word of God that washes and cleanses our mind of a lot of garbage and refocuses our attention on what the real priorities are, and it is the only true stress relief that we ever have in life.

Last time we focused on the divine mandate in 1 Peter 5:8, 9 that is really part of our study. NASB "Be of sober {spirit,} be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in {your} faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world." Being sober is a word that emphasises objective thought, being stable in our thinking, having thought that is based on eternal objective reality. It means we are relaxed in our thinking, we have objective values. So we are to be vigilant, which means to be ever alert and watchful, being aware that we can very easily just suck up false teaching, false ideas, and can easily become distracted. We can easily rationalise our involvement in responsibilities at work. There is often pressure, especially among men in the work place, and it intensifies. Satan has a vast army of millions of demons and he has instituted a number of thought systems that are very attractive and very popular, and it is through these demons and his thought systems (worldliness) that he easily distracts believes from the Word of God. We are told to resist him. The verb histemi [i(sthmi] means to stand firm; it is a defensive term. We have to set up a fortification around our souls, and that fortification comes from the weapons spiritual warfare defined in Ephesians 6:10ff and focus on understanding the Word of God which builds this defensive fortress.

Satan is continuously attacking the human race and we can categorise those attacks in two ways. One is that there are direct assaults and the second is that there are indirect assaults. There aren't many of the direct assaults in Scripture but they are very important to understand. Most of the attacks are indirect, he uses some other means in order to assault, to distract, to tempt, to defeat the believer.

The first direct assault in Scripture takes place in Genesis 3, the temptation of Eve and then Adam. And the fall of Adam is the direct result of the assault of Satan disguised as the serpent in the garden. A second direct attack occurs in Genesis 6, the attack of those that are called the sons of God in which there is an attempt to destroy the genetic purity of the human race by the assault on the seed of the woman. As we go through the Old Testament period there are no more direct assaults. There are a lot of indirect assaults on Abraham, on Abraham's descendants, anti-Semitism throughout the Old Testament, but the next time we really see Satan directly active is in the period of the life of Christ. In Matthew chapter four we have the temptations of Christ where Satan seeks to tempt the Lord Jesus Christ to follow him, to give His allegiance to Satan rather than to God. Then during the period of the incarnation we see a heavy emphasis on demon possession. It is interesting that there are no examples of demon possession throughout the Old Testament. There are no references to demon possession in the epistles of the New Testament, but there is suddenly this host of demonic activity when the second person of the Trinity becomes incarnate and begins to walk on rhe face of the earth. In the modern church age the primary assault is indirect, not direct. The solution is the Word of God. The church age ends with the Rapture and then we go into the seven-year period of the Tribulation. During the Tribulation period there are three demonic assaults of the human race. The first two are described in Revelation chapter nine, the third in chapter twelve, and these are insidious assaults that take place and it just boggles the mind as we read them and interpret what they must mean literally. Then the Lord Jesus Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation, the false prophet and the Antichrist are cast into the lake of fire, Satan is bound for a thousand years, and at the end of the Millennial kingdom he is released and we have the final Gog and Magog revolt that is described in Revelation 20. This is the structure of Satan's assault of the human race in terms of direct assaults. 

Genesis chapter three. Adam has been created and placed in the garden. He has been given a helper, originally identified as Isha. She was taken from the side of the man and her primary purpose was to serve as an assistant to man. They are given one prohibition. God directs His instructions to the head of the family, the head of the marriage. They were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then we come to the drama of the third chapter.

Genesis 3:1 NASB "Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" Satan raises a question to get the woman to think differently, to think according to Satan's categories and not the categories that God has predefined. The strategies that Satan has to distract us are the categories related to thinking, very subtle ways to get us thinking in wrong categories. Once we pay attention to those wrong categories we are in trouble. [2] The woman said to the serpent, 'From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; [3] but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, "You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die".'" Now she has added to the Word of God. [4] "The serpent said to the woman, 'You surely will not die!'" The serpent directly contradicts God. [5] "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." First he challenges that God is just restrictive: God doesn't want you to have something. Now he is going to say God doesn't want you to have it because it is going to be really good for you; you are going to be as great as God is. He entices them with the same temptation by which he fell. Lucifer wanted to be like God, so now he is going to entice them with the same thing.

Genesis 3:6 NASB "When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make {one} wise, she took from its fruit and ate…" At that point she dies spiritually, but nothing happened to anything else because she is not the determinative decision-maker, the man. "… and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. [7] Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings." Immediately something changed. They had a complete awareness that they didn't have before and they became extremely vulnerable, and when God came to walk in the garden they became afraid. This is Satan's first assault in history because in light of the angelic conflict his goal is to subvert God's creation until all of God's creatures follow him. By doing this he becomes the god of this age, the prince of the power of the air, the ruler of the world. But with this act what happens is that Adam who was set over the creation in the image and likeness of God loses his position. It now comes under the authority of Satan and becomes his kingdom. So that in the New Testament when we are saved we told that we are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son. We are born under the domain and authority of Satan and we have an internal traitor called the sin nature that is attracted to Satan, all that he teaches and all that he is, and as long as we are unsaved and in that kingdom of darkness we have this affinity for everything evil, everything wicked, everything sinful, and we have an affinity for everything Satan stands for. But he has a problem and that is that he wants to be God and now he has competition: every human being wants to be God. So he has to bring order into this chaos to ever have victory in the angelic conflict. 

Illustrations