We can begin to project our own experiences and though sometimes we may be correct, in other cases we are simply expressing a somewhat self-centered, "the world revolves around me" viewpoint.
It's important to be careful to pray and discern correctly so as to avoid this projection.
But there are times in our spiritual experience when what we go through is in reality occurring more globally.
In writing this particular blog, I hope that I am not in the process of “me-projecting,” but personally I am beginning to sense an increased attack of the enemy upon us; upon Christians; upon you; upon me; upon the world.
The book of Revelation makes it clear that in the end times Satan and his demons will be fully aware that the time of their power here on earth is coming to an end.
We read in Revelation of a heavenly war in which all Satanic powers are cast completely out of heaven,
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him…Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time…And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. " (Revelation 12).
I don't claim to know exactly when Satan and his demons will be fully cast out of heaven as a fulfillment of this scripture. My gut (or hopefully the Holy Spirit) tells me that this will occur during the tribulation period, maybe at the middle point when the antichrist comes into power, or perhaps at the beginning of the seven years when "all hell" begins to break loose on the earth.
Some people believe they have already been cast into the earth as something Jesus said to the seventy he sent to minister could lend credence to this idea,
"...I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven" (Luke 10:18).
This statement brings to mind at least a couple questions: first, when did Jesus see Satan fall from heaven? And, did Jesus mean He saw Satan cast entirely out of heaven, or just out of the part of heaven where God and His holy angels reside?
I ask these questions because it is my belief from the culmination of many scriptures that Satan was cast out of the highest heaven where God resides during the moment of his initial rebellion, but that he and his demons still have a place in the lower part of heaven.
Let me explain. We know from a scripture found in Job that Satan and his demons have had the ability to travel between both heaven and earth after the time of their initial rebellion,
"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it" (Job 1:6-7).
Here we see that Satan had presented himself to God in heaven after having gone "to and fro in the earth."
Something else Jesus told His disciples leads me to believe that demons still occupy at least part of heaven. He spoke of binding demons in Matthew 12 and Mark 3 and then tells the seventy in Matthew 18:18 that whatsoever they “bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.”
When we bind a demon in prayer, we actually bind them from our position on earth, but the binding is also executed on a spiritual, heavenly level. (This topic is addressed more fully in the article “Binding and Loosing” found on http://www.withoutspot.com/.) The demons are literally bound in the spiritual world, the heaven, they occupy.
From the culmination of these scriptures I've drawn the conclusion that Satan and his demons were cast out of the highest heaven into a lower part of heaven and they have yet to be completely cast out of this lower part of heaven, the part of heaven tthey will be completely expelled from in fulfillment of this scripture.
In the meantime Satan still has the ability to go between heaven and earth, but there will come a time when they are completely cast out of heaven and the earth and the spiritual space around the earth will be their only remaining residence.
(As an aside, I have often wondered if demons will at this complete expulsion begin in greater earnest to present themselves as friendly and even unfriendly "aliens." If so, they have been using science fiction writings and movies for years to prepare us for the possibility, not to mention the fact that they may already have presented themselves as such in the past, that is, if you believe that any of the UFO, crop circle, and alien abduction stories have any veracity.)
But returning to our initial purpose, in siting the scripture from Revelation I was trying to make the point that when Satan and his minions are cast out of heaven entirely they are going to be most angry, especially with Christians.
I feel we are at the very door of this event happening and that we Christians stand to be on the receiving end of some major attacks. The Revelation 12 scripture we sited earlier clearly stated,
“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
We are those that have the testimony of Jesus Christ and they truly plan to make war with us on an even grander scale than they already have.
And, if Satan and his demons were already the personification of hate and they were already angry with Christians, how much more will they be when they can no longer move about any part of heaven, especially knowing that we stand to inherit the paradise that God promises in Revelation 21 while they have no promise at all for redemption.
I think the Satanic kingdom is feeling the squeeze even now and I think also that they know that "it's about to be ON," that is, that the final battle-royal between them combined with their human followers against God, His holy angels, Israel, and all of Christianity is even at the door.
In that light, do you know what they would desire most? To take each and every one of us out now. They desperately want to eliminate us as a spiritual threat.
If you are reading this blog, then you are at least somewhat familiar with spiritual warfare. Many of you have seen the major advances and victories that God has given you through picking up the weapons He's provided and using them.
You having done so makes you a target, a priority one target.
Why? Because you are one of the few people in the Church who is actually bringing them serious harm. Every time you pray and fight against them you drop spiritual nuclear bombs on them that not only sets them back, but terrorizes their efforts. THEY ARE AFRAID OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD WITHIN YOU.
So what are they going to try to do to take you out ("try" being the key word here because they can only succeed if we let them)?
- Take you out of the way by getting you caught up in sin.
- Cause you tribulation, pain, sickness, and/or suffering.
- Make you feel like a failure in this world even when you're obeying God and doing the right thing.
- Take whatever righteous desire you are waiting on God to fulfill (see Abraham wanting a son) and do whatever they can to make you feel that God could care less about you as you wait.
- Make you feel you've done wrong when you've done right; that you've done right when you've done wrong.
- Make you feel crazy, stupid, or unintelligent for believing the Gospel.
- Show you the multitudes of injustices that go on day in and day out and make you feel that true justice will never be meted out, even though, let me assure you, it will.
- Make you think that serving God is no-win situation, that you're never going to be able to keep His standard, that you're never going to be able to stop your pet-sin(s).
- Make you feel alone, that no one on earth could know what you're going through or what you're trying to do for Christ. They are going to "pull out the stops to isolate you," make you feel that no one understands, that even God doesn't understand.
- Use people who they possess and oppress to persecute you or to lead you into temptation: your family, your friends, your co-workers, anyone they can find to take you off track. (Think of the Potiphar's wife who tried to tempt Joseph into adultery and when he wouldn't, falsely accused him which sent him to prison.)
- If they can get you caught up in a sin, even if you confess and try to forsake it, they're going to try to trap you in a condemnation that makes you feel you can't escape the sin, or that God can't and won't forgive you even if you do.
- Desperately try to steal your joy in the Lord, because the "...joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). They know that depressed Christians are weak and ineffective. Two good ways to make you depressed is 1) to make you feel unforgiven or 2) make you feel as if the thing you've wanted all your life will never be realized (once again, see Abraham's desire for a son).
- Get you to hate people, to hold onto unforgiveness against those hurt you.
- Get you caught up in relationships that hinder you, even with other Christians when these relationships are not those that God is calling you to have.
But because we have the Lord, His Spirit, His strength, His discernment, His weapons, working for us, we have so much more in our arsenal than they can even imagine. We are guaranteed the victory, but we have our part to do.
What is our part?
- We must first be in fellowship with Christ.
- If we have sin in our lives, we must confess it, forsake it, accept God's forgiveness, and cast out any demons associated with the sin.
- We must forgive everyone that has wronged us. This does not mean you have to remain friends with people who perpetually do you wrong, but you must release them from your anger, your vengeance, and leave them in the hands of the Lord.
- To help you to discern the attacks of the enemy against you and those about you, it is important to pray and ask God for discernment with regard to the enemy's plan against you.
- You need wisdom as well so you MUST read your Bible.
- Then you must live what you read by obeying the Word.
- Praise and worship God.
It is simply a matter of walking in fellowship with God by keeping His commands and sharing a loving, two-way, communicative relationship with Him.
Walk with Him and He will prepare you for the onslaught, show you when and how it's coming, and give you the victory.
It's that simple. Just love Him. Love on Him the way you would love on any creature who has a place in your heart, but more.
I've seen people show more affection toward their pets than they do to God. Love on God with this type of wreckless abandon and I can almost guarantee your defenses will be made strong against the attacks of the enemy.
But note that it is impossible to love Him this way if your disobeying the Word. You (as with us all) will feel a hindrance if you try to love on Him from a place of disobedience. Get in line with the Word and you will find yourself freely able to express this type of love.
Finally, be prepared for this onslaught of the enemy. Now is the time for us to shore up our defenses because the enemy knows his time is short, and he is furious. Let's "batton down the hatches" and weather this storm under the wing of the Lord (Psalm 91).
We can overcome. I leave you with these wonderful words of encouragement from the scriptures about overcoming:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
1 John 4:4
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 John 5:4
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith.
1 John 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it].
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.