#32 Deliverance From The Adversary
Our text for this morning is found in (Revelation 12:7-17) where we read these words “And war broke out in heaven: some translations say that war broke out in heaven, others that there was war. A word for word translation from Greek to English sounds like this, (a) “And occurred war in heaven,” or (b) “There came to be war in heaven.”
Biblical scholars have different opinions about what is going on here. Some say that this is a reference to the original rebellion of the devil and in a previous lesson I spoke of that original rebellion in which the devil and a third of the angels were cast out of heaven. And that original rebellion was seen in verses 3-4 “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth…”
Now here we have the devil, the accuser of the brethren trying to fight God and His Holy angels. One commentator said that “As the coming of Christ brought on fresh manifestations of diabolic power, just so Christ’s return to heaven is pictured as being the occasion of renewed attacks there.” This gentleman supports his viewpoint with several passages.
(Mr 1:13) “And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto Him.”
(Lu 22:3) “Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. Also verse 31 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat…”
(John 12:31) “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
(14:30) “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”
(16:11) “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”
Now speaking of war we must understand this truth: there is such a thing as spiritual warfare. The scriptures are plain when they say that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities…
Spiritual warfare is just as real as our enemy the devil. And in Paul’s description of putting on the armor of God, what we see is an attitude of dependence upon God. We cannot fight the devil ourselves. We don’t have the strength necessary for the task. We have no weapons of our own to use against spiritual forces. And again I must remind you of Jesus’ words, “apart from Me you can do nothing.” Just as it was by His mighty power that we were saved, so too it is by His mighty power that we are sustained.
And Jesus Christ is our great defender! He stands before the Father as our advocate. That is, He is like our defense attorney who stands before the Throne and pleads our cause. This is a great mystery but all I know is what the scripture says.
(1Ti 2:5) “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Job, not understanding this lamented that “Neither is there any daysman (umpire, a referee, someone to stand between us, someone that might lay his hand upon us both.” (Job 9:33)
And yet the great truth of the gospel is that we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (1John 2:1b). The word ‘advocate’ comes from the Greek word Parakletos. Here are the definitions of what it means to have Jesus as our advocate: He is first our comforter. He has been called to our side to render aid to us. He pleads our cause before God the righteous Judge. He is our intercessor.
This is the ministry of Christ in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins as the word of God says in (Ro 8:34) “Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Therefore as Paul says, “If God be for us, who can be against us. But in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Ro 8:37) That is, in Christ we gain a surpassing victory.
But that is a key point. We must be in Christ or all is lost and we are of all men most miserable! And all of this should humble us into the dust for we have nothing in us that is worthy of anything other than condemnation. It is Christ who has made us acceptable to God. It is Christ who has made us new creatures, created us unto good works that we may bring glory and honor to Him. Many people get off the track and start strutting around saying “I’m a child of the King!” But they get hung up on “I’m”! That is, they are looking to themselves and thinking they are something. But I ask you to remember the guy in the book of Acts named Theudas. In (Ac 5:36) Gamaliel who is giving the Sanhedrin wise council concerning the disciples, says “For before these days of Jesus Christ, rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; according to context, clearly “somebody” of importance to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
Jesus warned us of boasting and redirected our thoughts to that which is most important; that our names are written in the Lambs book of Life! Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Defender! Look to Him for deliverance. Call upon Him in time of trouble. (Heb 4:16) “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
To come boldly does not mean arrogantly. There is no place for swaggering before the Throne of God. The word boldly comes from the Greek word, Parrhesia and means to come with confidence, openly, plainly. We may come to the Lord with freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance. Notice the last words of the Hebrews passage…and find grace to help in time of need.”
It is in Christ that we find help! He and He alone can deliver us from our trials. Remember what God, through His servant James taught us? (Jas 4:7) “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Notice the order: Submit yourselves to God. That is the first thing. Many Pentecostal people just go to the resisting part first! I remember reading of one man “telling the devil where to go and how to get there” thinking that he had power in himself to do such a thing!
But again there are those words of truth from Jesus, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” and so we must submit ourselves to God. What exactly does that mean? The there are two Greek words here, one is Hupeiko which means to yield and Hupotasso which means to subject yourself, to obey to submit to God’s control. So the idea here is to bow before the Lord God and acknowledge His Sovereignty, to understand that He alone has the power to help you in your time of need and to be obedient to Him as your Lord!
When you come to this place you are in a good place. You are in the place of submission to the Lordship of God. You are no longer kicking against the goads but you are humble, teachable, giving all honor and glory to God!
And then James tells us, “Resist the devil”. The Greek word “Anthistemi” means to take a stand against. Understand this truth now: we are to submit ourselves to God, that is we are to bow before Him, pleading His help and His strength and in His strength we are to resist the devil. And it is Jesus Christ who is giving us the strength to resist the wiles of the evil one! And by our Father’s almighty power the devil will flee from us.
This is the power by which Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and and we see that the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, why not? Because God cannot be overthrown! Evil men and women have tried and are still trying today to overthrow God; that is, remove Him from this sphere of existence. They do not want God around because they cannot stand to be in His holy, evil exposing light! But they cannot. Just as we read that the devil and his angels did not prevail, neither will his servants here on earth!
Notice how complete the defeat was: nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. No more access to the throne to accuse the brethren! It was so complete that we read in verse 9 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.
10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. Here is a picture of the complete rout of the evil one by the power of God. Jesus’ sacrifice delivered once for all those whom the Father gave to Him. No power can remove us out of His hand.
Then too, though evil forces gain seats of power in this world they have no place to rejoice for their very places of power have been granted them by the God they hate. He is the Lord of all thrones and principalities and powers. He holds absolute sway over dictators and demagogues having “made all things for Himself, even the wicked for the day of evil.” (Pr 16:4) And He has declared that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church!
Notice what verse 11 says And they overcame him not by themselves, not by some inherent power of their own, not by their arrogant declarations of faith, but by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Rejoice, the Lord omnipotent reigneth and every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. To God be the glory and to His servants there is a place prepared in heaven. Their future is as secure as they are, for they are safely in His omnipotent arms!
But what of those who hate God, who despise His Holy Law, who spurn the wonderful provision of salvation that is found in His Son Jesus Christ? What of them? The scriptures tell us: Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” And isn’t it interesting that he will vent his spleen on those who love him as well as those who stand firm in the faith.
The rest of the chapter deals with the persecution of the church. We read in verse 13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. Who is this woman but the Church! Do the Catholics think that the devil persecuted Mary? Probably!
Then too there are those who believe that this refers to Israel. And what these people believe is that national Israel: that is, the entire nation will be saved! And this is not new. There are preachers here in America who think that the United States will not go through the tribulation because we are such a godly nation! They teach that the whole country will be ‘raptured’ into heaven and be saved!
But what do the scriptures say? (Ro 9:27) “Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved…” (Ro 11:5) “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” Remnant speaks of something that remains, a leftover, a residue. Paul says that though there are millions of Israelites only a small number of them will believe so as to be saved.
And the same goes for this and every country. There are billions of people on this planet and yet not all of them have believed Jesus Christ so as to be saved have they? Indeed it is only a remnant, a small number, a fraction of the population of the globe that knows the Lord. Now there are millions who say, “I believe in God” but we know that the demons believe and tremble; yet they are not saved!
There are many religions in this world that claim to ‘believe in God” such as the Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses…etc. And there are many religions like the Muslims who say that they love God! What do we do with all of these people? The answer is simple: (Joh 14:6) “Jesus saith…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
While some of these religions acknowledge the existence of Jesus, even to the point of saying that His ministry was of God, they always fall short of this truth! Jesus is saying, “I am the only way to God. I am the only truth about God; that is I alone have revealed God to you and I am the One who bestows the eternal life that comes from God, upon whomever I choose! There is nothing man can do to make himself acceptable to God. And Jesus Christ died for the sins of all whom the Father gave to Him to save. Therefore if you have the Son you have the life. (1st John 5:12) “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”
This means that you can be the most religious man on the planet. You can try to live by the Ten Commandments, or perform any number of religious rituals, you can pray till you’re black in the face and fast for days without number! But according to the word of God “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags; (a cloth made up of bandages to cover a putrid sore, or defiled with the menstruous blood of a woman or whatever may be most filthy) and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isa 64:6)
It is “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Tit 3:5) So we can see that these religions are hopeless attempts by man to gain what he thinks is heaven, or God’s favor or eternal bliss with 72 virgins or your own planet, or simply a cessation of existence.
Where is Jesus in all of this? He is excluded! And where are they in His grand scheme of things? They are excluded. It is He who saved us and not we ourselves! We are the work of His hands, the result of His work on the cross. And it is He who carries us through this life on step at a time. Job rightly said we brought nothing into this world, “naked we came and naked we shall depart.” So we return to the truth of God being all and we nothing. As we walk through this world we have many trials and tribulations. We wrestle against spiritual forces in high places and as I said at the outset of this lesson we don’t have any weapons of our own to defend ourselves. That is why Paul called it “The armor of God!” It is God who arms us, who equips us with weapons, energized by His omnipotent power! Therefore it is He who defends us!
And we see how wonderful He does His work in verse 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth.
At each turn God defended the woman, the church! The devil persecuted the woman but she was given wings to fly away to safety. He tried to drown her but the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood!
Remember how God defended Israel in the days of Samuel, David, Asa, Hezekiah, and others! These men were faced with overwhelming odds humanly speaking! The Philistines were closing in on Samuel and the people at Mizpah while they worshiped the Lord. When the people saw the Philistines they cried out to Samuel and he cried out to God who thundered upon the Philistines with a great thunder and overthrew them with such devastation that they never returned to Israel during His lifetime.
David stood before a giant named Goliath who was truly a monster! And yet by the power of God he was able to sling a stone directly between the eyes of the giant and kill him. Asa and the armies of Israel were attacked by an Ethiopian army of 1million men. Such odds were overwhelming. But notice what happened. In (2Chr 14:11-12) “And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. 12 So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.”
Hezekiah was faced with the overwhelming army of the Assyrian Empire. Sennacharib bodaciously railed against God and His people and God sent one angel who wiped out 185,000 men in one night and delivered His people!
And He is the same God that we worship today! He has lost none of His power! And we are His chosen people, the called out ones, part of the elect from every nation, the sheep of His pasture, He being the great Shepherd who defends His sheep for His own great Names sake! And though men may kill our bodies they cannot touch our souls. We are safe and secure in the arms of our Great Defender; The Lord God! I close with the words of Isaiah and the commentary of Matthew Poole:
(Isa 54:17) “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; they cannot do any thing against you without My leave, so I assure thee I will not suffer them to do it; and if any smith shall make any weapons to be employed against thee, he shall not succeed in it. and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. I will deliver thee not only from the fury of the war, but also from the strife of tongues, from all the threatenings, and boasts, and reproaches of thine enemies, and from all the claims and pretences which they have of any right and power over thee. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD.” this blessed condition described in this chapter is the portion allotted to them by Me.