Christ said He saw Satan fall as lightning from heaven (Luke 10:18). We need only to look at the state of the planet we live on today – the insanity that surrounds us – and the evidence in scripture to see where that fall from heaven took him.
Who is “the God of this world”?
Reading Ephesians 6 describes a type of warfare going on right now, just as it was described in Revelation 12:7 (which we read in last week’s post). This war is happening on an angelic plane, in a dimension which affects us even though it is not visible to us. We need spiritual armor, for an engagement with a wily, clever adversary, and against a hierarchy of wicked spirit-beings.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:11-12)
Of these adversaries, Matthew Henry says, “we struggle with the opposition of the powers of darkness, and with many enemies who would keep us from God and heaven. We have enemies to fight against, a captain to fight for, a banner to fight under, and certain rules of war by which we are to govern ourselves.” He continues to say,
“The devil is a spirit, a wicked spirit; and our danger is the greater from our enemies because they are unseen, and assault us ere we are aware of them. The devils are wicked spirits, and they chiefly annoy the saints with, and provoke them to, spiritual wickednesses, pride, envy, malice, etc. These enemies are said to be in high places, or in heavenly places, so the word is, taking heaven (as one says) for the whole expansum, or spreading out of the air between the earth and the stars, the air being the place from which the devils assault us. Or the meaning may be, “We wrestle about heavenly places or heavenly things;” so some of the ancients interpret it. Our enemies strive to prevent our ascent to heaven, to deprive us of heavenly blessings and to obstruct our communion with heaven. They assault us in the things that belong to our souls, and labour to deface the heavenly image in our hearts; and therefore we have need to be upon our guard against them. We have need of faith in our Christian warfare, because we have spiritual enemies to grapple with, as well as of faith in our Christian work, because we have spiritual strength to fetch in. Thus you see your danger.”
In many places, the word of God gives us evidence of an unseen army of enemies under the command of “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph 2:2). It speaks of familiar spirits, evil spirits, lying spirits, dumb spirits, foul spirits, seducing spirits, spirits of perversion and whoredom, and spirits of divination, just to name a few.
Seeing Invisible Enemies
How can you and I recognize these invisible enemies and come out from “under their influence? A short answer is that the Spirit of God gives us the ability to recognize both good and bad spirit influences and choose which we will become involved with.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Cor. 2:12-13)
One of the spiritual gifts is “discerning of spirits” (1 Cor. 12:10). This ability to discern spirits means to recognize them, and respond to their influences. Let’s look at the types of spiritual warriors arrayed against us in our quest for the throne of the king of kings, and remember that they have a personal stake in destroying the image of Jesus the Christ in our eyes.
There are spirits behind men, brethren, and we are to try them – to test them to see whether they are of God and in line with what we know of God through this Book. Here, we see that the focus of the test is how these “spirits,” fronted by human “prophets” view the King of the coming kingdom. Turning back to chapter 2, we see much the same focus.
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:18- 22)
Spirit of Antichrist
The spirit of antichrist is one that has particularly intrigued me over the years. Have you noticed the progression of antichrist doctrine even within the church over the last 10-15 years? It began (in my church at least) with an effort to distance ourselves from “Protestantism,” because they were teaching of a “sweet baby Jesus in a manger,” “a dead savior on a pewter cross you can hang around your neck as an idol,” “or a lawless Jesus who did away with His Father’s commandments and gave us license to sin.” It has progressed through the years to the point where some are teaching that the name Jesus means “son of Zeus” and should not be used at all … should be replaced with Yashuah, Yaweh, the Messiah, the Anointed, ect. Many question His divinity, and teach a variety of doctrines about His origins. Many teach what most worldly PhDs believe, that the New Testament wasn’t canonized until the 4th century A.D., and question the validity and authenticity of the NT and even the existence of Jesus, the Christ. I’ve personally lost some of my closest friends to these heresies … and we were warned of these very things in scripture. You’d think someone who’s spent 20 + years in the churches of God, 4 years at Ambassador College, and 10 years as an elder in the church would know a doctrine of the anti-Christ when they see it, but even people with these credentials can run after error.
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. (Matt 24:3-5)
Christ is saying the same thing here that 1John 4:1 said, “watch out for men led by this antichrist spirit, who preach in My very name and still deceive.” He touches on it again in verses 11–13, and again in verses 23–26. And I would submit to you brethren that in order to deceive the very elect, these antichrists would have to insinuate themselves into the churches where the very elect are worshipping.
In Exodus 3:14, the Lord – the Eternal One who became Jesus, the Christ – introduced Himself to Moses, and Israel as ““I AM WHO I AM.” Have you noticed the number of leading ministers in the various churches today claiming great titles for themselves? They say “I am … the anointed … the apostle … the messenger … the watchman.” I would submit to you, brethren, that anyone who makes such claims bears some very close watching … because he’s under the influence! This is where we’ll pick up in next week’s post, with how to recognize imposters perpetuating deceptions about Christ.