Is there a war going on between God and His forces on one side and Satan and his forces on the other?

by Mike Ratliff

1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Yahweh, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 And Yahweh said to Satan, “Yahweh rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, Yahweh who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand delivered from the fire?” Zechariah 3:1-2 (LSB) 

I have had a rough couple of days. For a while I could not figure out what was wrong. Then early this morning, not being able to sleep, I asked God for help. Things began to become clear. I was being accused by the enemy. I do not pretend to be righteous by my own merit. If I was I would have lost it a long time ago. However, our enemy loves to attack us, especially when we attack him and his strongholds. It is imperative to know the enemy and how he works. To have an enemy implies that there is a conflict of some kind. Is there a war going on between God and His forces on one side and Satan and his forces on the other?

First let us take a look at Satan, our enemy. Who is he? Should we fear him? Satan is not God nor equal with God in any way for he was created.

13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.
14 You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created
Until unrighteousness was found in you. Ezekiel 28:13-15 (LSB) 

God created him as the model of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says Lord Yahweh,
“You had the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.Ezekiel 28:12 (LSB) 

He was in the garden of Eden and every precious stone adorned him.

13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond;
The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper;
The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald;
And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,
Was in you.
On the day that you were created
They were prepared.Ezekiel 28:13 (LSB) 

He was anointed and ordained by God as a guardian cherub who was blameless in his ways.

14 You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 You were blameless in your ways
From the day you were created
Until unrighteousness was found in you. Ezekiel 28:14-15 (LSB) 

That described Satan before his fall. However, something went terribly wrong. His heart became proud on account of his beauty, and he corrupted his wisdom because of his splendor.

17 Your heart was lofty because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I put you before kings,
That they may see you. Ezekiel 28:17 (LSB) 

He became filled with violence.

16 By the abundance of your trade
You were internally filled with violence,
And you sinned;
Therefore I have cast you as profane
From the mountain of God.
And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the stones of fire.Ezekiel 28:16 (LSB) 

He led many of the angels in a war against God and his angels.

7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Revelation 12:7-9 (LSB)

He tried to take God’s place.

12 How you have fallen from heaven,
O star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the earth,
You who have weakened the nations!
13 But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
15 Nevertheless you will be brought down to Sheol,
To the recesses of the pit. Isaiah 14:12-15 (LSB) 

Satan sinned. He is therefore credited with sinning since the beginning.

8 The one who does sin is of the devil, because the devil sins from the beginning. The Son of God was manifested for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.1 John 3:8 (LSB) 

Because of his actions, he was a murderer from the beginning.

44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 (LSB) 

According to Jude 6 he abandoned his home in heaven. He was driven in disgrace from the mount of God and expelled (Ezekiel 28:16). He lost his place in heaven (Revelation 12:8), was thrown or hurled from heaven (Ezekiel 28:16; Revelation 12:9-12), fell like lightning from heaven to the earth (Isaiah 14:12; Luke 10:18), and was made a spectacle before kings (Ezekiel 28:17).

That is how Satan came to be where he is now and explains why he is the way he is. What is he up to now? He is kept in darkness and is bound with everlasting chains.

6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day,Jude 1:6 (LSB) 

He is filled with fury, because he knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12). Not only does he have power (Acts 10:38), but he is the power of this dark world and is the spiritual force of evil in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 6:12). The whole world is under his control (1 John 5:19), and he leads it astray (Revelation 12:9). He roams the earth (Job 1:7; Job 2:2), and prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Needless to say, he is earthly and unspiritual (James 3:15).

Not only is Satan our enemy (1 Peter 5:8), but he is also an enemy of everything that is right (Acts 13:10). He can present himself before the Lord and make petition against us (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7). Satan asks God for permission to “sift” us (Luke 22:31), and he accuses us day and night before God (Zechariah 3:1; Revelation 12:10). He lies and slanders; in fact, there is no truth in him (John 8:44; Revelation 2:9).

The devil twists the scriptures for his purposes and perverts the right ways of the Lord (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:2-13; Acts 13:10). He is cunning and deceives (2 Corinthians 11:3). He schemes and tries to outwit us (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11), and is full of all kinds of deceit and trickery (Acts 13:10). He takes the Word away from hearts (Luke 8:12), and blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4). He traps and takes captive (2 Timothy 2:26), binds (Luke 13:16), incites (1 Chronicles 21:1) and, in general, is a stumbling block (Matthew 16:23). He can fill one’s heart (Acts 5:3) and lead minds astray from Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).

Satan masquerades as an angel of light, and his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). He is at work in those who are disobedient (Ephesians 2:2). He sows “weeds” (Matthew 13:38-39), and can work through anyone (Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33). He can even display counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

No one is immune to Satan’s temptations; he even tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:2-13). But Satan could not prevail; he had no hold on Christ (John 14:30)!

Satan will put some Christians in prison to test them (Revelation 2:10), and he holds the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). But Christians are not powerless against him. The Bible tells us that faith extinguishes his flaming arrows (Ephesians 6:16), and if resisted, Satan will flee (James 4:7). He has been overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the testimony of Christian martyrs (Revelation 2:11). Christians have overcome him (1 John 2:13)!

Now, with all of that in mind, could we agree that there is a war still going on between God and His Kingdom on one side and our enemy Satan and his powers on the other? Yes, and it is very real. The more I get involved in this struggle the more it has become apparent to me that our enemy can and does use other professing Christians against us. They may very well believe they are not serving him but are serving God, however, their actions reveal that they are deceived. I have learned in a very painful way to discern that I am dealing with one of these. There will always be a few characteristics that give them away. Remember, our enemy’s “people” operate as he does. How is that? It is through lies and deceit. He is the devil and that means he is a slanderer. He twists the truth in order to build doubt in the heart. This is what we must look for in those who come to us as angels of light, but inwardly are nothing more than Satan’s pawns.

They will often have a very convincing appearance of godliness. They use the right words and know a lot of Biblical jargon. However, when those points of contention come to bear such as The Gospel, Justification, Sanctification, the Nature of God, the Nature of a genuine Christian, Doctrine, humility, pride, spiritual warfare, etc. you will find at least one hot button in there where their true nature will be revealed. This can be one of myriads of things, but if we pray for discernment and wisdom, we will be able to spot them. One very telling thing I have found that differentiates these “folks” is the mention of “compromise” and “unity” and “experience” and “Biblical doctrine.” Their reaction to these things are very telling. Also, these people tend to be “universalists” to some degree. If the discussion leads to Spiritual warfare or Spiritual maturity, if they are a pawn of the Devil, they will respond with scorn against the need for either.

They will accuse all who are certain as being prideful. If these who are certain refuse to compromise then they are accused of being so prideful that they must be Satan himself. The cry is unity, unity, unity, at all costs! Compromise, compromise, compromise! To them the truly humble are compromisers who are totally uncertain about anything.

For those reading this who were upset by those last two paragraphs I have some reading for you to do. Start at Ephesians 6:10 and read through 6:20.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the might of His strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, 15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE. 16 In addition to all, having taken up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, 17 also receive THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
18 praying at all times with all prayer and petition in the Spirit, and to this end, being on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 as well as on my behalf, that words may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel— 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains—so that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.Ephesians 6:10-20 (LSB) 

If we weren’t supposed to stand and not give in to the lies of the enemy then why did Paul give us this passage? To stand means we are standing on something substantial. That is the truth of which we are certain. Our example on how to stand is found in Matthew 4.

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”
5 Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,
7 Jesus said to him, “Again, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”
8 Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’” 11 Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him. Matthew 4:1-11 (LSB) 

This is why we must become totally immersed in the Word of God. We must know it. We must always be in prayer with a constant God focus. When we do this much of what calls itself the Church will hate us because we will not be all about unity at all costs, but will be all about the truth and God’s glory. This does not make anyone popular. John MacArthur has said that it is impossible for men to be obedient to God and be popular with the majority. He is right.

To those called to his level of discernment, the way is rugged. It can be confusing and treacherous. Our enemy is a wordsmith and is a deceiver at heart. He knows how to create chaos in our lives to the point that we become disoriented at times. At these times the words of whoever is being used by Satan to attack us will cut like a surgeon’s scalpel. We will believe that our entire being is being exposed in a way to cause us shame. What we hold as right will be twisted in our presence by our enemy to be made to resemble the worst evil and what we know to be evil will appear to be the greatest good. This is why we must NEVER respond to these things emotionally nor from any fleshly position. We must pray and respond with the Word of God for it is the only weapon we have that will make our enemy flee as we resist Him.

As we deal with these people we must also beware of a backlash of “guilt” that we are made to feel because we were “so harsh.” We must be careful here. This is the time to get to a quiet place to pour out our hearts to God. We must repent of what He shows us, but also praise Him and thank Him for helping us stand and not fall. When we do this, more than likely, we will find that those feelings of “guilt” were more fiery darts from our foe as he fled. Never be above asking for forgiveness of these fellows, but do not be surprised when they respond with Satan’s vileness.

God knows that we are fragile creatures who are subject to great emotional stress. He knows that we cannot remain in the front lines indefinitely without some relief. What we must be wary of, however, is to not become complacent during the quieter times. I have found that being in unrelenting battles can wear upon me. I become weary. However, there are times that that is the very moment when the most deceiving of our enemy’s pawns will appear like an angel of light. We must seek the Lord’s face here and plead for help because it is when we are weary that we can make huge mistakes by reacting emotionally in the flesh. This only creates fruitless arguing and hurt feelings that will eventually lead to a very long time on our knees confessing all of this to God, seeking forgiveness, strength, wisdom, and discernment.

Is there a war going on between God and His Kingdom on one side and Satan and his forces on the other? Yes! Sadly, most believers interpret the warnings in God’s Word about this war as it only being Satan trying to tempt Christians to sin. That is only a small part of this war. Satan also attacks the Church. He attacks the Gospel. He attacks the leadership of the Church. Not every Christian is equipped to fight this battle because most are not very mature and are enslaved to their flesh. These are no threat to Satan so they are not attacked. However, those who are maturing and are equipped with God’s armor are a huge threat to our enemy and his kingdom. Therefore, he attacks them. We must do as Paul instructs in Ephesians 6:10-20. We must take up the armor of God and put it on and use it as we bathe our lives in prayer and immerse ourselves in God’s Word. Then when the fiery darts come we will be ready.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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