By Pr Ay Nee Ng
Early July we had an exercise on waiting on God to train our senses to hear God’s voice. The two words I got were “preparation” and “poise”. We are at the precipice of something big. Church, we are at a war zone, and we need to get ready for the end times, the final battle where Jesus Christ will come again and Satan will be bound and thrown into the lake of fire.
Taken from RT News on Wednesday, August 14, 2013.
‘War zone’: Scores killed in Egypt violence, month long state of emergency proclaimed
A state of emergency was declared on Wednesday August 14, 2013, after Egyptian security forces violently broke up sit-in camps of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo. Reports are coming in suggesting anywhere between 250 to 500 killed and thousands more injured in violent street fights between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the ruling Military. According to the Health Ministry, at least 281 people including 43 policemen have been killed and 2,001 injured in Wednesday’s violence nationwide. “The dead are both from police and civilians,” said the ministry’s spokesman, Hamdi Abdel Karim.
The sign of a prophecy against Egypt: brother against brother. “A prophecy against Egypt: See, the LORD rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear. “I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian– brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom” (Isa. 19:1-2 NIV).
Since the Arab spring began some two years ago, Egypt has experienced a series of bloody confrontations, but perhaps none as bloody as what occurred in August 14, 2013. The prophecy from Isaiah certainly seems to be playing out big time. Yet, one of the very unfortunate things that has also happened, and not being reported, is the destruction of Christian churches. There was a cry to pray for peace to be restored in Egypt and for God to place His hand of protection over the Egyptian Christians as the two Islamic sides fight for control.
In a war zone, there are bound to be casualties of war as well as those that overcome the atrocities of war, and yet some are scarred for life. When you enter a war zone, can you say: “Hey, this isn’t my fight, so leave me alone?” No, because you are in a war zone–whether you are innocent or a bystander. You could fight your opponents, defend yourself, run for shelter, or get hurt. We also are all in a war zone and need to fight to finish the battle and to win the war. We are to fight as children of God to stay in tag with God, to live in good measure of health, and most importantly, to have a restored and close relationship with God. But what do we need when in war? Let us read Ephesians 6:10-20.
10-17 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18-20 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Prepare to Fight the Spiritual Battles in Your Life and around You
In a war, we must get ready, knowing that there won’t be just one battle but many battles until the final battle is won and the war ends. One example is the WWII. In WWII, the allies fought the Germans, and in June of 1944 at the battle of Normandy. It was D- Day when the Germans were pushed back, losing their grounds. Yet, the war didn’t end there, not until VE Day—Victory over Europe—on May of 1945, when the allies won the war.
For every believer of Jesus Christ, our D- Day is when our loving Saviour paid the price of redemption for our sins and His resurrection gave us victory over sin and death. Our VE Day is when our Lord Jesus Christ comes to judge the world, Satan is bound for a 1000 years, and we are in the New Jerusalem.
For us Christians, we are asked to daily “take up our cross”; there are battles to fight every day until the last battle, a battle of religion, where people would have to choose between worshipping the beast or Jesus Christ? War will end when Jesus Christ comes again and Satan is bound and thrown to the lake of fire. From the minute we accept Jesus Christ, we have many battles to overcome because Satan, the deceiver, comes to weave a web of deceit, confusion, and deception, enticing us to fail and fall. These battles are waging warfare with our very being—targeting our identity in Christ, our security in Christ, and our belonging in Christ.
However, Jesus already defeated Satan on the cross at Calvary and has given us victory over sin, condemnation and death. The day when Jesus Christ rose again from death after paying for our sins is just like the D-Day, but it is until Jesus comes again for the final battle to end the war that the VE Day will come. Until then, we are to get ready to wage the spiritual warfare for our lives.
Evil came in the shape of the crafty serpent from the time of creation, creating doubt of authority. It caused Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17) and to give some to Adam to eat (Gen. 3:2-7). They were unprepared for the craftiness of the serpent that weaved the web of doubt of authority and caused them to sin against God. Careful! If we don’t stay close to God, we too can be subject to the craftiness of the devil.
Can we ever be prepared in life for the underhand tactics of our opponent? When our opponent doesn’t play fair or abide by rules, what can we do? It is like Thai boxing, in which you can be attacked at any point by your opponent; there are no rules. So let’s get ready for the final battle by knowing our opponents, the weapons of warfare, and the authority we have in Jesus Christ to combat the spiritual battles that wage warfare with our spirit, soul, and body.
One of our experiences in spiritual warfare and evangelism happened in Vietnam. Before our trip, we were briefed and prepared for the eventuality of whatever may transpire. We had to be ready to run to the extent that even our clothes had to be easy to slip in and out and our shoes had to be comfortable. All personal documents and money had to be carried on us 24/7. Whatever was left in the hotel we had to be willing to part with in the eventually of trouble. We experienced this around 2004-2005 when we went to Ho Chi Minh City when Vietnam wasn’t as open as now to the sharing of the gospel. We were told to go two by two at every interval of 10-15 minutes coming from different directions to enter the same one building by 8.15 am. There, we would share the gospel from 8.30am until 6pm for a week-long conference on cell church and networking with the power of the Holy Spirit. We felt the power of the Holy Spirit each time we met together, and throughout our trip, we and all our teaching materials and Bibles were kept safe.
Know Your Opponents
1. The devil.
“But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:10-11). Other references appear in Ephesians 6:11 and 2 Timothy 2:26. Without forgiveness and repentance, Satan still has a toe hold opening on you. We may also be used as Satan’s tool to cause confusion or to undermine authority. Be aware Satan’s tactics.
The devil is a person just as real as God, but he isn’t as powerful as God. D. L. Moody used to say that there were two reasons why he believed the devil exists as a real being: (1) The Bible says so. (2) I’ve done business with him. When Jesus spoke of the devil, He used personal pronouns. Jesus said to Peter, “Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31). Later, the Apostle Peter said: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walk about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). According to the Bible, the devil is a created, personal, spirit being. Just because we can’t see him doesn’t mean that he isn’t real. He belongs in the invisible realm.
The Bible indicates that Satan was one of the most magnificent creatures ever created; he was the climax of God’s creative wisdom. He wasn’t always the vicious character we know him to be today. He was once a beautiful angel, Lucifer (the devil or Satan), who desired to be worshipped. “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. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you. 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.…” (Ezek. 28:14-16).
Those who believe the message of the Bible believe that there is a real, created devil who is the enemy of God and God’s people. The thief (the devil) comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but Jesus Christ has come that we may have life and that we may have it more abundantly (John 10:10). We don’t understand all there is to know about the devil, but the Bible says he has his own synagogue or place of worship (Rev. 2:9), his own gospel (Gal. 1:6-9), his own ministers (2 Cor. 11:14-15), his own doctrines (1 Tim. 4:1), and his own communion service (1 Cor. 10:20-21).
Schemes/Devices of the Devil
- Satan lies (John 8:44) and blinds people to the truth (Gen. 2:17).
- Satan puts evil suggestions into our minds (In John 13:2, Judas Iscariot; in Acts 5:3, Ananias lied). What are your secret desires? They must be aligned to God’s will.
- Satan promotes an unforgiving spirit among brethren (Jas. 3:14-15). Apply Ephesians 4:32.
- Satan tempts believers to commit sexual immorality (1 Cor. 7:5).
- Satan incites persecution against Christians (Rev. 2:10).
Thus, we are to be alert and of sober mind (1 Peter 5:8) and devote ourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful (Col. 4:2).
2. Rulers, Authorities, Powers of This Dark World, and the Spiritual Forces of Evil in the Heavenly Places.
Principality, power, might, and dominion (Eph. 1:21) are terms consistently used for ruling authorities in both the visible and the invisible realms (Eph. 3:10). The New Testament reveals an invisible hierarchy of evil powers in the 2nd level of heavenly places. Remember the passage where Daniel fasted for 21 days (Dan. 10:12) and the archangel Michael had to fight the Prince of Persia, the territorial spirit, in order for Archangel Gabriel to bring the message to Daniel (read Dan. 10:10-14, 20). Here in Daniel 10:13, we see that some angels have influence over nations. The ruling Prince of Persia, an evil angel whose abode is in the 2nd level of the heavenlies (the invisible realm) attempted to keep the captive Israelites from returning to their homeland. This gives us insight into the powerful control of such principalities and rulers of darkness that exercise over nations and national issues.
In Daniel 10, we also see two other angelic princes who rule nations, Michael, one of the chief princes, who rules and guards the activities of Israel (v13), and the Prince of Greece (v20) who, as it was prophesied, would eventually come and take predominance over the Prince of Persia in control (Col. 1:16; Acts 8:26).
There are territorial spirits that govern a place, locality, or community, normally identified by terror, fear, intimidation, control, burglary, suicides, darkness, witchcraft, and the occult.
Read Ephesians 1:20-23.
I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
There are three levels of heavenly places. The heavenly places don’t refer to heaven, the destined home of the redeemed. The 1St level of heavenly places is earth where there are physical authorities with evil spirits in them, the 2nd level is the invisible realm where the Holy Spirit, ruling spirits, princes and principalities work, and the 3rd level is the abode of our God and His angels. The Greek word for heavenlies in this passage refers to the invisible realm that surrounds our present daily situation, the arena or sphere of spiritual action and activity, that is, the 2nd level of heavenly places. Nonetheless, Christ’s authority encompasses every age, exceeds every known power, and is here and now (see verses 1:3; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12).