With a more complete perspective of God secured from Chapter One, we will now turn our attention to the enemy and the specifics of his craft. As with a correct understanding of God Himself, this information is invaluable in our efforts to effectively serve within the Kingdom of God.
In warfare there is a simple axiom that is necessary to apply if one is to be successful. This fundamental and critical battle principal is universally understood to be: "Know Your Enemy." Understanding this, God has preserved clear instruction throughout His Word for those who would war against the foes of His Kingdom.
As we track the history of God's dealings with men in His Word, we see that satan’s primary route has been able to infiltrate the leadership of God’s people: the pastors, teachers and institutions designed to fuel the children of God. As we trace their history through the Bible, God gives us the ability to know them and overcome their influence. As you read and reference the verses and description which follow, please allow them to sink deep into your mind and soul as they will change your perspective and life!
With much description, God describes our primary enemies as:
· Vipers (Mat. 3:7)
· Polluters of the house of God (2 Chron. 36:14)
· Covetous (Jer. 8:10)
· Money-grubbers (Mic. 3:11)
· Destroyers of The Lord’s vineyard (Jer.12:10)
· Lawbreakers (Jer. 8:8)
· Fools (Mat. 23:17-19)
· Rejecters of the Prophets (2 Chron. 36:14-17)
· Serpents (Mat. 23:33)
· Not of Him (John 8:47)
· Prophets of their own heart (Ezek. 13:1-10)
· Stiff-necked (Jer. 17:23)
· Rejecters of the Word (Jer. 5:13)
· Wicked (Jer. 23:11)
· People pleasers (John 5:44)
· Envious (Mat. 27:18)
· Vain (Jer. 2:8, 8:8).
· Idolaters (2 Chron. 24:17-19 plus 6 other locations)
· Heretics (Mat. 15:3-9)
· Unclean (Mat. 23:27)
· Exalters of themselves (3 Jn. 9-10)
· Those who do not know Him (Jer. 2:8)
· And even described as dung (Jer. 8:1-2)
· They are as Graves (Luke 11:44)
· Liars (Psa. 27:12)
· Whited sepulchers (Mat. 23:27)
· Lovers of vain and foolish things (Lam. 2:14)
· Lovers of tradition (Mk.7:1-13)
· Those who lack understanding (Mk.8:11)
· Deceitful (Jer. 14:13)
· Devoid of the love of God (John 5:42)
· Bringers of false burdens (Lam. 2:14)
· Brutish (Jer. 10:8)
· Seducers (Ezek. 13:1-10)
· Proclaimers of a false vision (Jer. 14:13-14).
· Resisters of the Holy Spirit (Jer. 5:3)
· Merciless (Mat.9:13).
· Murmurers (Acts 7:51)
· Possessors of a bad heart (Mal.2:1-2)
· Those who turn people from Him (Jer. 2:26)
· Lightweights (Zeph. 3:4)
· Wind (Jer. 5:13)
· Those without pity (Zech. 11:4-5)
· Murderers (Hos. 6:9)
· Followers of their own spirit (Ezek. 13:1)
· Lewd (Hos. 6:9)
· Justifiers of themselves (Luke 10:29)
· Those that cling to lineage (Mat. 3:9)
· Those that "major in the minors" (Prov. 21:23)
· Thieves and robbers (Jn. 10:1,8)
· Conspirators (Jer. 18:18)
· False prophets (Jer. 5:31)
· False dealers (Jer. 6:13)
· Hypocrites (Isa. 29:13.)
· Lovers of the ”letter of the Law” (2 Cor. 3:6)
· Denying people the Kingdom (Mat. 22:13)
· Transgressors of the Commandment (Zeph. 3:8)
· Insurrectionists (Mat. 27:20
· Betrayers (Mt. 20:17-19)
· Rejecters of any approach to them (Mt.11:16-19)
· Adulterers (Jer. 23:14)
· Rejecters of the truth (Jer. 18:18)
· Treacherous (Zeph. 3:4)
· Failures to rebuke sin (Lam. 2:14)
· Perverts (Jer. 23:34-36)
· Dishonest (Ezek. 22:27)
· Persecutors of the Prophets (Acts 13:27)
· Grievous wolves (Acts 20:29)
· Full of ravening and wickedness (Luke 11:39)
· Destroyers of the sheep (Jer. 23:1)
· And finally, of satan himself! (John 8:44)
As is evident throughout these passages, God is giving us ample warning as to who the enemy is using and what they are like. How then are they working their evil today, and how should we be concerned about them?
What did these people actually believe?
Contrary to what might be expected, the doctrines of these people are clearly found in Scripture...in fact the things that they held to can best be described as "Fundamentalism."
· They believed in the resurrection of the dead, Angels, and Spirits (Acts 23:6-9).
· They supported the Temple, the Priesthood and the Davidic Kings (See: Ex. 28:1; Num. 3:12; 2 Chron.7:12; 2 Sam. 7).
· They believed in the God of the Old Testament, knew and quoted Scripture, fasted twice a week, paid tithes, prayed and did good deeds.
As is obvious, these were not "Pagan," or a "Cult" or "Liberal," In fact, they believed doctrinally as most Conservative Christians do today! It is this fundamentalist group that Christ called "Children of the Devil" (John 8:44) and "Hell" (Mat. 23:15).
In contrast, the Sadducees were similar in doctrine to today’s Reform Jews or "liberal Christians" in that they denied most of the fundamental beliefs of the Conservative Religious leadership. (See: Mat. 22:23; Mark 12:18). The Sadducees are satan's first line of attack against some issues of the faith but they are not a serious threat to those who know the truth of the Word. For those who know the reality of God's salvation, satan's battle plan is more "covert" and hidden in nature.
Christ traced the problem of Phariseeism back to Cain and Abel (Mat. 23:34-35), to all the persecutors of the Prophets and true Men of God. Cain believed in and worshipped God. He brought his offering to God, but ended up killing his brother Abel because: "the Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering but unto Cain and his offering the Lord had not respect" (Gen. 4:4-5). Truly the roots of Godly error are seen in the misguided efforts of Cain and his consuming jealousy that resulted in his brother’s murder!
Moving forward to the Old Testament, God was forced to raise up Prophets and Men of God outside the Temple Priesthood to preach repentance and His mind to the Children of Israel. These servants of the most high God were all persecuted and even killed by the false shepherds who controlled the Priesthood.
ALL THROUGH THE BIBLE, “SCRIPTURE-QUOTING,” “DOCTRINALLY CORRECT,” RECOGNIZED “RELIGIOUS LEADERS” PERSECUTED AND KILLED THE TRUE MEN OF GOD!
The same spirit and activity of Phariseeism we see through the Old Testament has continued unabated, and has even accelerated through Church history. Most Protestants recognize the traits and characteristics of Phariseeism in the Roman Catholic Church but fail to see it within themselves. While their assessment of Romanism is true, they fail to see that both the Catholics and the Protestants falsely hold tradition as equal or even above Scripture. (One is just more obvious than the other!)
Since the publishing of the Bible, following the invention of the printing press, the Catholic Church’s control over Christendom has been broken. Though this provided a golden opportunity for the Church to break forth into the truth of true reformation, satan was not far behind as he shifted his efforts to the Protestants. With this, much of Protestantism has fallen prey to liberalism (modern day Sadducees) while the more "traditional doctrine" has been compromised and eroded by the modern day, politically correct Fundamentalists and Evangelicals.
As a result of these things we see an even more insidious spread of Phariseeism amongst the Protestant Evangelicals (who continue to maintain that the enemy is Catholicism, Liberalism or the cults). This is totally consistent with satan's plan of attacking the area of most threat to his efforts…and thus weakening the true Churches' power.
So as the Catholics, liberals and cults became the fall guys, Satan has successfully permeated the Fundamentalists. With this he is more than content if the Church has a "form of Godliness", as long as it has little power (2 Tim. 3:5). Likewise, he is happy with some salt…but only if it "has little savor" (Mat. 5:13).
As evidence of this we see in Fundamental Christianity today:
· Bibles everywhere (and every possible translation).
· Gospel programs on radio and TV in an unprecedented way.
· Christian magazines and publications in abundance.
· Huge evangelical meetings and gatherings; Mega-Churches with every possible type of group being catered to.
· All kinds of "special" meetings and groups trying to augment the lack that is evident in the 20th century Church
· Freedom to worship and serve that in the history of the Church is like none other.
· Music, praise and worship of God being expressed like no other time in history.
· Books, literature, "Christian commerce" and digital tools utilized in every conceivable way.
And in the face of all this "Christianity":
· Rampant lawlessness!
· Rampant promiscuity!
· Rampant adultery!
· Rampant divorce!
· Rampant sodomy!
· Rampant violence!
· Rampant drug and alcohol use!
· Rampant abortion!
· Rampant pornography!
· Rampant promotion of sin in all forms of the media!
· Rampant sexual disease!
· Rampant, sin promoting, music
· Role models that are laughable at best and satanic at worst!
· Christian “leadership” and representation that is weak and effeminate at best and justifiably scorned at worst!
· And finally, a politically correct “loving” and “tolerant” god that is scoffed at by people who have no fear of who He truly is!
The bad news? There is little you will be able to do to effectively change this situation, but must live within it as you are able. Christ himself, with the combined power of who He was and the miraculous deeds He did, was unable to functionally overcome the enemy’s power and control of the people and their “leaders”…nor will you!
The good news? With your awareness of these existing and persistent issues you are now able to rise above them and arm you against their assault. Additionally you are now positioned to be able to “work around” these people and their influences, and progress to alerting others of their efforts.
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