God’s Kingdom Brilliance

Many people understand the message of the Bible only as salvation by Jesus.  Jesus Himself did, however, also emphasise the Kingdom.  The message is so important that after His Resurrection He, ‘…appeared to [His disciples] over a period of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.’  Acts 1:3  The Kingdom is made up of people who repented, believed in Jesus, were baptised and received the Holy Spirit (explained by David Pawson in ‘The normal Christian Birth’ – Youtube). 

The Kingdom can only be a success if all the people are unified and have the same mind and heart.  

  • To understand it better, we can just look at the lack of unity in nations today.  The various factions spend more energy to fight with and oppose each other, than to build up the country.   
  • God had to keep unity in mind.  It would be of no value to take divers people that are not of the same heart. 
  • The Old Covenant could not provide unity among the Israelites.  However, Jesus, through His death on the Cross, brought the precious unity God requires: 
    • Jesus circumcised our hearts.  God explained it in Hebrews 8:10b, ‘I will put my laws in their minds, and write them on their hearts.’  God’s ways changed from outward laws to grace.  We now become righteous in God’s sight by faith and not effort.  Therefore the ‘citizens’ of God’s Kingdom have the same faith.  
    • Because we were slaves to sin and set free by the precious blood of Jesus, our love and loyalty for the Saviour unites us.   
    • Jesus gives us all the same Holy Spirit.  Because He is Spirit, He can be in billions of the followers of Jesus at the same time.  The Holy Spirit teaches one unified doctrine about the King and His plans for man.  Therefore, despite our differences in gifts and talents, we are united by the same Holy Spirit who teaches from one Scripture.  

Conclusion

What God accomplished in Jesus on the Cross is brilliant: only Jesus could give God a unified nation that will glorify and love Him with one heart for all eternity. 

The Long Song of Solomon

Contrary to what we are made to believe, there are men and women who are happily married.  They remained married and they still love each other, even after many years.  

The Long Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs in the Bible) is relevant in our society today.  Long, because almost 3,000 years after it was written, its principles still remain.  And, a society which has as its ruler the devil, opposes it big time.  Today it is regarded as nonsense that a man should marry only a woman.  Nothing is fixed.  One’s romantic choices depend on one’s mind or preference.   We are told that a man can become a woman if he believes he is one, and vice versa.  There are so many gender variations that it needs serious studies to keep up with it.  

Things have changed so much because: 

  • The Song of Songs not only points to man/woman relationships, but most importantly to the Bridegroom, Jesus and His future Bride, the Church.  
  • Just as in God’s design for marriage, love and fidelity is of prime importance, so it is in the God Designed Marriage of Jesus and the Bride. 

It is interesting to think that the Song was written by king Solomon of Israel who had 700 wives and 300 concubines.  But even if he didn’t remain loyal to one woman, in writing the Song, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit, like all the writers of Scripture.  That explains why the principles are true, no matter what.  

The lesson? 

Even though written long ago, the war against God’s marriage principles flared up in our ‘modern, enlightened’ age.  Yet we know one thing: the Glorious King is the Victorious King.  We just have to cling to the King, and our future is secure.

Satan’s long war against God, Part 6 of 6

Summary of first parts

Genesis 3:15 is the core of the Bible.  In it God promises that a Redeemer will crush the head of the Serpent, Satan, and free us.  

Satan hates it.  He designed his strategy against it.  We have discussed his attempts to taint human blood with his satanic hordes.  God sent a flood and thus thwarted his plans.  

We will shortly discuss some of Satan’s major wars against God.  As a summary, he failed in them all.  Finally, he will be crushed at the second coming of Jesus, as described in the book of Revelation.  This explains the hostility, persecution and anger at the Bible, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Church that we see all over the world.  The hostility stretches to countries like China, the USA, Europe, England, India and beyond.  Satan does his best to keep people under his control and to keep heaven empty.  

Part 6, The road to Satan’s Final demise

The second major offensive – get rid of the seed of Abraham.

God called Abram to leave his country and go to the land God would show him.  God gave him a promise, 

‘…all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’  Genesis 12:3b

That ‘blessing’ referred to one of Abram’s descendants (it would of course be the Redeemer, Jesus, who would crush the head of the devil).  Satan understood it, so the obvious way would be to destroy Abraham’s descendants.  If Satan could stop that line he would be successful.  

So he used the Pharaoh in the time of the Israelites’ slavery in Egypt, to drown the baby boys in the Nile.  Exodus 1:16  It failed, since God freed them from slavery and destroyed the whole Egyptian army. 

Satan failed with his second offensive.   

The third major offensive – get rid of the seed of King David. 

David was a very loyal follower of God.  He also had great faith in God and wanted to build the temple for God in Jerusalem.  God would not allow it, because he was a man of war.  God did promise David that one of his descendants would be the promised Redeemer of Genesis 3:15,

  • ‘Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne will be established for ever.’  2 Samuel 7:16  
  • ‘Paul …set apart for the Gospel of God – the Gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son, who as to His human nature was a descendant of David….’  Romans 1:1-3
  • ‘Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David.…’  2 Timothy 2:8

The genealogy of Jesus proves God’s faithfulness to His promise to David: 

  • ‘A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David, the son of Abraham.’  Matthew 1:1
  • ‘Now Jesus Himself was about thirty years old when He began His ministry.  He was the son of Joseph, so it was thought, the son of… the Son of David…the Son of Abraham…the son of Adam, the Son of God.’  Luke 3:23-38  

The devil’s second big offensive would be to get rid of David’s descendants.  He waited, and at the right time, the queen mother Athaliah, played into his hands.  In the turmoil of war, her son Ahaziah was killed.  Then she sprang into action, 

‘When Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to destroy the whole royal family [David’s descendants from whom the Messiah would be born].’  2 Kings 11:1; 2 Chronicles 22:10 

That plan of the devil failed because Jehosheba, the daughter of king Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, saved Joash, the youngest son and hid him in the temple.  2 Kings 11:2-3; 2 Chronicles 22:11-12 

Satan failed with his third offensive.

The fourth major offensive – get rid of the complete seed.

While the Southern Kingdom was in exile, during the reign of the Persian king Xerxes, one of his trusted officials, Haman, got enraged at the Jews.  He asked permission of the king that all the Jews in his kingdom may be killed on a certain day, and the people can take their property.  With the help of God the disaster was averted.  The book of Esther describes the whole history.  The efforts of Hitler to kill all the Jews is almost a mirror image of that incident which took place around 470 BC.   

Satan failed with his fourth offensive.

The fifth major offensive – get rid of the revealed seed – the baby.

The devil kept careful watch over events in history.  He sensed that things began to heat up when the angel Gabriel announced to Joseph, 

‘She [Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’  Matthew 1:21 

The Magi confirmed the birth of the King of the Jews, 

‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?  We have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’  Matthew 2:2 

Mary announced the glorious news in a song to Elizabeth, 

‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour….  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name.’  Luke 1:46-49 

So the devil and his followers knew that what Gabriel said to Mary, was true, 

‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.’  Luke 1:35

The devil’s plan was to work through Herod.  Herod was a very jealous and heartless leader who did not want anybody to usurp his kingly throne.  So he decided to kill Jesus.  He first asked the Magi to reveal the whereabouts of the newly born King, 

“Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and make a careful search for the child.  As soon as you find Him, report to me, so I too may go and worship Him.'”  Matthew 2:7-8

God acted and warned Joseph about it, 

“When they [the Magi] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.  ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.  Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill Him.'” 

In his frustration, Herod later ordered that all the young boys two years and under in Bethlehem and vicinity, be killed.  Matthew 2:16  However, Jesus was very safely hidden in Egypt. 

Satan failed with his fifth offensive. 

The sixth major offensive – get rid of the seed’s ministry.

The devil knew that Jesus was the Son of God.  One of Jesus’ names was Immanuel, God with us.  Matthew 1:23  There was also the prophecy about Jesus, 

‘For to us a child has been born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Councillor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’  Isaiah 9:6

The devil is one of the most brilliant students of the Bible.  He studies it intently to look for clues to oppose God and deceive mankind.  So he was very aware of the following verse, 

‘Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted.  But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.’  Isaiah 53:4-5

As he recalled Genesis 3:15, the devil pieced it all together and realised, ‘This is it.’  This man must be stopped.  We have to get rid of Him.’ 

Jesus Himself told His disciples that He would fulfil Isaiah 53,

‘From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.’  Matthew 16:21 

Jesus repeated it often in the Gospels: Mark 8:31-32; 10:33-34; Luke 9:22,44; 18:38; 24:25-27,44

The devil tried his best to seduce Jesus after Jesus fasted 40 days in the desert.  He reckoned that Jesus was so weakened, He would succumb to his suggestions.  In Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13 he tried his clever plan that worked so well with Adam and Eve.  The crowning coup was to offer Jesus all the kingdoms of the world (that would mean that Jesus would not have to go to the cross).  What he did not realise was that Jesus knew He [Jesus] would inherit an eternal Kingdom, not the kingdoms of the world that would one day be destroyed by a massive fire.  

Jesus, the Word, the glorious Son of God shows us faith in action, 

‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’  Hebrews 12:2 

The devil pulled back, but Scripture is very accurate when it says, 

‘When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time.’  Luke 4:13

The opportune time came.  He thought it would be the final time to outwit God and make sure his head is not crushed by the One born of a woman.  

He had all his guns out for Jesus.  He would make sure that Jesus would be as dead as a doornail, never to rise from the grave.  He, Satan, would be the world ruler, the king of this planet – he hoped, eternally.  He would rule over humanity, harass them with evil, violence, murders, wars, et cetera. 

He would make sure that Jesus suffered cruelly and intensely.  He was successful. Jesus died and was buried.  The grave was sealed and Roman soldiers posted around the grave.  Matthew 27:62-66  The devil thought nobody could get out of that grave.  Nobody could ever come back from death.  He would make sure God’s promise that Jesus would be raised on the third day, was impossible.  The war to keep Jesus in the grave must have been fierce, since Scripture tells us, 

‘…[God’s] power is like the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion….’  Ephesians 1:21

We know from Genesis 1, when He created the heavens and the earth in six days, that God is omnipotent.  Yet here it says that,

 ‘He exerted His mighty strength when He raised Jesus from the dead.’ 

The devil and his demons must have fought valiantly, desperately, to the end, but to no avail.  Jesus was raised from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven.  

What a devastating defeat for Satan, yet the final one is still to come. 

While all the devil’s defeats took place in history, the final one is still in the future.  That will be the last battle between the Kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness.  What are the devil’s chances of victory?  If we look at his record, it is nil.  The Bible reveals the outcome,

‘The kingdom of the world [the devil’s kingdom] has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever.’  Revelation 11:15 

The devil cannot thwart any of God’s plans.  There is a place, however, where he can still inflict terrible pain and sorrow, death and destruction.  Scripture tells us, 

‘…But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you!  He is filled with fury, because he knows his time is short.’ Revelation 12:12  

The devil, as the pseudo ruler of this world, uses whatever he can to achieve the following: 

  • ‘…the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.’  Revelation 12:9  

Note that he leads the whole world astray.

  • ‘Those who oppose [the Lord’s servant] he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.’  2 Timothy 2:25-26
  • ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.’  Luke 22:31  

This applies to all people of faith.  The devil wants to sift us, hoping we will fall. 

Take note that wherever the devil gets involved, it leads to banishment.

  • He and his angels were banished from heaven. 
  • Adam and Eve were banished from the garden. 
  • The devil and his angels will be banished from the new heaven and earth. 
  • All humans who belong to him, like Cain, will be banished from God’s presence eternally.  Genesis 4:16; 1 John 3:12

‘If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’  Revelation 20:15

So we, as followers of Jesus, have to be very careful at all the times.  We need to discern what the devil tries to do in our lives.  That is why the counselling and indwelling of the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary.  It is God’s grace and mercy that He equips each of His children with a personal Guide, the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God the Holy Spirit. 

‘Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.’ Galatians 5:25 

Satan’s preferred strategy to cause rebellion against God

‘To be like God’ (Genesis 3:5), is the strategy Satan used on Eve to get her to eat from the forbidden tree. 

  • That must also have been the strategy he used to convince one third of the angels to defect, to rebel against God.  He could not tell them God is bad.  They saw God, and knew it was not true.  Satan could not convince those angels that they have no place in God’s heart, because they experienced God’s love.  
  • He could, however, promise that each and every one of them will be like God one day, mini gods themselves.  That is a difficult promise to withstand.  It is always enticing to be like God, to have His glory, His might, His superior position.  
  • He still uses that ‘winner strategy.’  Tell a person he or she is wonderful, entitled to good things, independent.  He or she does not need to rely on some invisible omnipotent Creator God.  

Conclusion

A very short sentence in the book of Revelation seals Satan’s future, 

‘And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.’  Revelation 20:10 

What are the chances that it will happen, based on the record of Satan’s major defeats?  The answer is equally short and sweet: 100%

We understand one thing very clearly: Cling to the King.  With Him, our future is secure.  We have a hope of eternal life.