As we are all aware, in war there is a supreme requirement– preparation. That is to prepare, to plan, to execute. What army does not calculate who, what and where the enemy is, and how to formulate their battle? The greatest “war” of all time is happening in our midst, it’s the final Spiritual war happening in an intense battle. The souls of the world and particularly the Seventh Day Adventists (God’s remnant church) , are being fought over. Christ our King and holy angels against Satan and his army of angels.
Obviously we know who wins this battle, but does that make the battle go away? Do we have to remain in this war, to endure it’s struggles? The answer is that only a “few” are active in this battle. The evil ones have no problem with the vast majority who haven’t decided to engage in the battle. The “rich and increased with goods” people are just who the devils enjoy. So what is this battle centered on? The last word from the Lord–His Elijah message of hope and life saving instructions.
In describing the plans and words of Satan to counter this last message of warnings, admonitions, and instructions, we read, ” I will have unbelieving ones present who will express doubts in regard to the Lord’s messages of warnings to His church. Should the people read and believe these admonitions, we could have little hope of overcoming them. But if we can divert their attention from these warnings, they will remain ignorant of our power and cunning, and we shall secure them to our ranks at last.” (Test. to Ministers, p.475)
Let us now look at the many facets of this war and learn more about this enemy we are fighting.
In (Eph.6:12) we read, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
In the above we find powerful and clear clues to this spiritual warfare. First, we see that our struggles are against the ones in power, the rulers, the powers of the dark world and the spiritual forces of evil surrounding us. This clearly points out that Satan and his army is behind our struggles and battles. Our family, neighbors or friends may upset us, but the real upsetting comes from the “dark forces” behind it all. But as hard and tough as this battle becomes, we must ever remember “greater is He who is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
As we go into this post, it’s important to ask yourself — “Am I having spiritual struggles, battles on a somewhat regular basis?” If you are not, and find that your walk with Christ is mostly a coasting experience, a mellow all’s well and comfortable experience, then you should be awoke to the fact that something may be amiss. You may not have decided to enter the war. For we are directly told that, “.. all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,“(2 Tim. 3:12). This “persecution” isn’t like the days of old, the throwing you into the lions den, or going to the stake, but rather the murmurs against you, the demotions and dis-fellow shipping from positions in the church, the loss of friends, the mental struggles because of the dark forces surrounding you. All these are evidences that you are in the war. You’re not a looker on or bystander.
Let’s briefly speak about the mental struggles. Once you begin to stand up for the Lord and his purpose for you, you’ll notice that your sighing and crying, your warnings, will sometimes place a burden upon you. After all it’s tough to speak of the negative of situations, instead of the positive. But because we serve a “HOLY GOD” we must view sin as HE sees it.
Ellen White spoke about this, “The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God.” (Test. for the Church, Vol. 5, p.211). “Those who have excused these wrongs have been thought by the people to be very amiable and lovely in disposition, simply because they shunned to discharge a plain Scriptural duty. The task was not agreeable to their feelings; therefore they avoided it…The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in it’s real, sinful character.” (Test. for the Church, vol.3 , p.266)
So now let us look at our enemy and some of his devices he uses today to trip us, to even make us fall if possible.
1) Rich and increased with goods. This is so prevalent today. The devils are active in whispering in the lukewarm member’s ears–”You’re safe you got the knowledge concerning your walk with Christ. Who needs any more messages from the Lord? You have “need of nothing”(Rev. 3:17).
The messages from the pulpit today are largely peace and safety. The same ol same ol. You are saved just because you show up to church.
“The crisis is fast approaching. The rapidly swelling figures show that the time for God’s visitation has
about come. Although loath to punish, nevertheless He will punish, and that speedily. Those who walk
in the light will see signs of the approaching peril; but they are not to sit in quiet, unconcerned
expectancy of the ruin, comforting themselves with the belief that God will shelter His people in the
day of visitation. Far from it. They should realize that it is their duty to labor diligently to save others,
looking with strong faith to God for help.” (Test. for the Church, vol. 5 p.209)
Remedy- Learn all you can about the Elijah message. This strikes the enemy in his heart. This message helps you survive the upcoming church purification. The instructions given are specific and clear. In (Mal 4:5) we read, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Obviously the focal point of Elijah’s message is to warn us how we are to survive the great and dreadful day.
2) Murmurs and slander against you. The evil ones are not letting anyone who decides to accept the sealing message of Elijah, get away from people saying things against you. This is a center piece in their drive to divide the people of God. What better way to do it than to get the unconverted to talk against you? If we are silent and speak no words of warning to our brethren, then we can rest assured we won’t have this problem. For the devils love those who look the other way at sins in our midst. Does the speaking against us bother us- of course. But does this ploy by Satan and his unsuspecting workers become effective in stopping us from proclaiming the Elijah message of warning? Absolutely not. Did the multitude against Joshua and Caleb succeed in persuading them that the land of Canaan wasn’t able to be taken? They looked to God and believed in Him, not man.
Ellen White describes the actions of Satan in the last days. “We must cause distraction and division. We must destroy their anxiety for their own souls, and lead them to criticize, to judge, and to accuse and condemn one another, and to cherish selfishness and enmity. ” (Test. to Ministers, p.475)
“…The messages from heaven are of a character to arouse opposition. The faithful witnesses for Christ and the truth will reprove sin. Their words will be like a hammer to break the flinty heart, like a fire to consume the dross. There is constant need of earnest, decided messages of warning. God will have men who are true to duty. At the right time He sends His faithful messengers to do a work similar to that of Elijah.” (Test. for the Church, vol.5, p.254).
Remedy- Keep on doing what you are suppose to–warn, counsel and admonish when needed. As we read, it is our “duty to labor diligently to save others.”
3) Neglect to sigh and cry. This is a real biggie. For we know from the Lord’s Elijah message that “only” those who sign and cry for the abominations done in the church and our own life, will be sealed. God is not playing around when He says in Ezekiel 9 –”..put a mark (seal) on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done in the midst. To the others He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. (Ezek. 9:4-5)
But the devils are very active in countering these words of God. One of the sure ways they deceive is to say that this was past. Ezekiel 9 happened in the old days of Israel. But when you study and learn the truth you can tell anyone who doubts to read Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, p.260. ”Study the ninth chapter of Ezekiel, these words will be literally fulfilled.”
Remedy- Learn the specific abominations being done in the church. Then protest against them. There are many ways to do this. You can mention the wrongs to the fellow church members, elders, or even pastor. For example, a while back we had noticed that cell phones were going off in the sanctuary. We brought to the pastor’s attention. Shortly after, the church now prints on the Sabbath program flyer “please silence all electronic devices in sanctuary”.
You can start a blog and speak out about them. You can email brethren. You can from a small study group to discuss them. You can spread the posts and studies of present truth to the brethren. You can post your comments on Facebook. The main point is that you sigh and cry. You let the Lord know you are not a partaker and therefore you have the real chance of getting that eternal seal in your forehead.
4) Dark forces surrounding you. One can look at the situation like this. The whole world is in much darkness. Yet the ones who are converted, the ones who “sell-out” to Jesus and walk in all the light given them, are shining in the midst of the darkness. In other words the devils can spot them right away. In the spiritual realm this is obvious to them. So what happens? They concentrate on these elect of God. Satan has his army stationed around the ones who are doing the most damage to his cause.
Ellen White describes the dark forces surrounding the people of God in the last days.
“I saw some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, pleading with God. Their countenances were pale and marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle. Firmness and great earnestness was expressed in their countenances; large drops of perspiration fell from their foreheads. Now and then their faces would light up with the marks of God’s approbation, and again the same solemn, earnest, anxious look would settle upon them.
Evil angels crowded around, pressing darkness upon them to shut out Jesus from their view, that their eyes might be drawn to the darkness that surrounded them, and thus they be led to distrust God and murmur against Him. Their only safety was in keeping their eyes directed upward. Angels of God had charge over His people, and as the poisonous atmosphere of evil angels was pressed around these anxious ones, the heavenly angels were continually wafting their wings over them to scatter the thick darkness.
As the praying ones continued their earnest cries, at times a ray of light from Jesus came to them, to encourage their hearts and light up their countenances. Some, I saw, did not participate in this work of agonizing and pleading. They seemed indifferent and careless. They were not resisting the darkness around them, and it shut them in like a thick cloud. The angels of God left these and went to the aid of the earnest, praying ones. I saw angels of God hasten to the assistance of all who were struggling with all their power to resist the evil angels and trying to help themselves by calling upon God with perseverance. But His angels left those who made no effort to help themselves, and I lost sight of them.”(Early Writings, p269-270)
We see that only the ones with “strong faith and pleading” are the ones having to deal with the “pressing darkness”. But then she describes the others who are “indifferent and careless”. Notice that these put up no resistance and go through no “agonizing and pleading” for the Lord. The hard stance of proclaiming the unpopular message of Elijah of church warnings, is the all consuming truth for today from the Lord, and hence the devils continue to press their “poisonous atmosphere” at the ones with the “earnest cries.” The sighers and criers are the ones in the battle!
In describing this darkness we read, “Moral darkness, like a funeral pall, covers the earth. All manner of false doctrines, heresies, and satanic deceptions are misleading the minds of men. Without the Spirit and power of God it will be in vain that we labor to present the truth.” ( Test. for the Church, vol. 5, p.158)
Let us remember a very important Scripture, which we have brought up several times in past sudies. It is the Lord’s first description of those who won’t make it to heaven. “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly...shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:7-8). The Lord has always rewarded those who have stood up. David, Noah, Elijah, Caleb, Joshua, Moses, among others were steadfast in courage. In this final war we must be of courage and not be afraid.
Remedy- Stay focused on Him who gives you strength. Read the Scriptures, SOP, and the Elijah message often. Know that because you are taking a stand in the battle that the evil ones will come at you. But because you know their schemes you can be better prepared to withstand their arrows. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Eph. 6:11)
Here’s an appropriate quote from the Elijah prophet, “The old devil well knows that this is the last message the world will ever receive and that it will chain him for a thousand years and at last reduce his being down to ashes as though he never was.”(Symbolic Code News, vol. 2, no.3-4, p.3)
5) No need to worry about the Tithes. In our present system, there is no doubt that “money makes the world go round.” The Lord knows full well that His work needs funds to reach the honest and willing souls. But Satan and his angels know this just as well. EGW states what Satan says about it , “ We must do our utmost to prevent those who labor in God’s cause from obtaining means to use against us. Keep the money in our own ranks. The more means they obtain, the more they will injure our kingdom by taking from us our subjects. Make them care more for money than for the up building of Christ’s kingdom and the spread of the truths we hate, and we need not fear their influence; for we know that every selfish, covetous person will fall under our power, and will finally be separated from God’s people.” (Test. to Ministers, p.474)
The tithe we must remember is the Lord’s, it’s not ours. So if we deny the Lord His money, we are in effect–thieves. And breakers of His 8th Commandment. His blood can cleanse us of our sins if we repent and turn away from them . But if we continually trespass without asking for repentance (such as stealing from him on a regular basis) are we not in a very dangerous position?
We also know that our Lord pleaded His case to us in His final letter to us in the Old Testament. “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, “In what way have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings. (Mal 3:8)
But this has two elements to it. One, we must be loyal to tithing to Him. Two, we must bring the tithe into His “storehouse”, so that their will be “food in My house.”(Mal. 3:10). The big problem today in our churches is that there is no food (present truth). Meaning that their message is not one of present truth, but past truth. The message of peace and safety week after week is largely what we see. And the devils are perfectly fine with it! So the tithes must be sent to God’s storehouse of present truth. Where the latest and most applicable truth from the Lord is proclaimed.
Remedy- Be faithful in providing the Lord’s money to the right storehouse. If we pay our tithes faithfully yet they go to places where the Lord’s end time truths are not spoken of, are we not defeating the whole purpose of “food in His house”?
Our final quote says the following, “
“Satan’s snares are laid for us as verily as they were laid for the children of Israel just prior to their
entrance into the land of Canaan. We are repeating the history of that people. Lightness, vanity, love of
ease and pleasure, selfishness, and impurity are increasing among us. There is need now of men who
are firm and fearless in declaring the whole counsel of God; men who will not sleep as do others, but
watch and be sober.” (Test. for the Church, vol. 5, p.160)
In closing, I must say that prior to accepting and proclaiming the Elijah message, the comfort and ease in my walk was much more prevalent. But what kind of servant, relaxes on the couch and takes life’s ease? They go to work, but in this case it’s war– the great spiritual war of all-time. The above 5 points are just a small example of some of the ways we are tempted and pursued by Satan and his angels. The enemy can and will be defeated. It’s only when we can look to our all powerful Lord and His word that we gain strength in this battle of all-time. As I am active in this spiritual war, I have found one of the best ways to combat the arrows thrown (and I feel many ), is to sing to the Lord in the middle of your moments of trial. When things seem very tough, that’s when I turn the tables and sing as if all is just fine. This flusters the evil ones to no end! And it also pleases the Lord! Remember Paul singing in jail?(Acts 16:25).
Ok, let’s put on that armor and go to work, knowing that “.. For the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 52:12)