Tag Archives: Matthew Henry

Under The Influence, Part 2

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.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)

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.

Under The Influence, Part 1

I’d like to begin by quoting two verses from Revelation:

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev. 3:21)

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15)

We are all here, brethren (as those attempting to overcome) because we are awaiting the coming of the great King (who has overcome the same thing that we are to overcome!). We await the establishment of His kingdom on earth. It is sure to happen – this King will take His throne. It will be a world-encompassing coup … and every misguided government, kingdom, fiefdom, dictatorship, and tyrannical dominion will then be gone. I’ve always loved to hear this sentiment expressed in Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

Our Victorious Christ

Christ’s personal war has already been won. His enemies are defeated – He has overcome, and is seated at His Father’s right hand on His Father’s throne. But for each of us, the battle rages on. We are attempting to overcome this world even as He did, but with far less success … and when we do overcome the world, we will be allowed to sit with Him on His throne.

through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. (1 Peter 3:21-12)

His victory has given Him greater authority and powers than anyone except for the Father Himself, and He has already won the throne of this earth. The Father is just waiting till the time is right … and when it is, He will act, an inauguration will take place, and the world will be His.

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Col. 2:15)

I’d like to read a bit from Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse: “The Redeemer conquered by dying. See his crown of thorns turned into a crown of laurels. He spoiled them, broke the devil’s power, and conquered and disabled him, and made a show of them openly – exposed them to public shame, and made a show of them to angels and men. Never had the devil’s kingdom such a mortal blow given to it as was given by the Lord Jesus. He tied them to his chariot-wheels, and rode forth conquering and to conquer – alluding to the custom of a general’s triumph, who returned victorious.”

Born to Overcome

Just as Christ has overcome, we are supposed to be overcoming. 1 John 5:4 provides us with a view of the gestational process of an overcomer. It reads, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.”

The word “born” is gennao (G1080), and can mean “begotten, or born,” but in a figurative sense it also means to regenerate, to conceive, to be delivered of. And I ask you to consider, what fits better with what “overcoming” means for people like us.

Our Bibles contains the words, the ways, the thoughts, and the examples of the King of the coming kingdom. It could accurately be said that this Word is Jesus the Christ. I don’t believe it’s just a clever little play on words that John 1:14 says “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.” The Bible is the King of the coming kingdom personified in print. It’s purpose is to teach the called out ones how to do what the King has already done so that they might become kings also under the King of kings, and sit with Him in His throne. It is His service to us as the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, as the Apostle and High Priest of our calling

How well do we know the King? How strongly do we believe the King? How deeply have we allowed our lives to be influenced by the King of the coming kingdom, and His words, admonitions and warnings to us? What I’d like to do in this series of blog posts, is to take a look at some particular warnings that the King has given us regarding our interactions with the spirit world, and how the evil beings from that realm, having failed in their attempt to prevent Him from overcoming and being seated with the Father in His throne, have directed their attentions to opposing His purpose for us to be seated with Him in His throne.

Under the Influence

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev. 12:7-9)

Notice here, it says Satan is the deceiver of the whole world. No exceptions. Brethren … I’m under the influence, and I have been since birth. All of you are too. Every human being on earth is under the influence of Satan’s deception from birth – from the strongest to the weakest, the poorest of men to the very richest human being on the face of the earth, all of us are under the influence. Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens, popes, evangelists, leaders and followers in the largest religions on earth … all of us are under the influence!

This influence has only been fully overcome by one human being to this point in world history. He is the only One who knows how to overcome the influences of this age and bring us to sit with Him in His throne. In order to be victorious, we are going to need His help, and that’s part of what we’ll talk about next week.