We continue in the burden from the last Straightway articles dealing with the powers of darkness in the End Time. This issue carefully examines the drawing influences of the Devil upon Christians. May the Lord grant us understanding of how the Devil stealthily influences God’s people in drawing them away from the Lord and His Word.
Articles 1–20 of 312 for All Records
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How often in warfare a battle is lost because military strategists did not know their enemy. This becomes a sad, but obvious reality about many Christians who are not aware of Satan’s devices that bring defeat to their lives. Yes, it is imperative that we know our enemy. Certainly, the number one reason for failure in the Christian life is the lack of abiding in the Lord. However, another prominent reason is that the Christian is not aware of his spiritual foe, the Devil.
As we continue to witness the aggressive momentum of evil and the overt powers of darkness increasing against Christianity around the world, we must consider in the light of biblical prophecy what God’s saints will face in the time of the End. It is already evident that these powers have swept across the nations of the earth, and we are now seeing this fomenting hatred against Christianity rising in our own nation. In this last article we will consider the powers of darkness and the final intent of the Devil against God’s saints.
How often we have reminded our reading audience that we are living in the End Time of the last days. Acts 2:16, 17 and Hebrews 1:2 assure us that the last days began with the coming of Christ to earth. Therefore, we have been in the last days for the past two thousand years. In Matthew 24, Jesus Christ also spoke of an “end time.” When reading this chapter, we must acknowledge that our Saviour’s words divided the End Time into two segments. While the early verses (24:4–8) reveal the beginning of the End Time, the latter verses (24:9–14) speak of the end of the End Time. The Last Days began with the first coming of Christ; the End Time of these Last Days is identified with the second coming of Christ.
We now must give attention to the great power of the Devil set against God’s children seeking to continue their lives with the Lord. The Devil casts thoughts in the mind of the believer to hinder any deepening of his desire for the things of God. To understand this wicked craft, we must go back in biblical history and reflect upon the beginning of these powers of darkness.
When God created all the angelic host, He certainly knew that one of them would rebel against Him. When the seventy came back rejoicing that even the devils were subject unto them, Jesus, the Son of God, responded to His disciples, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18). These words are a revealed insight that nothing Lucifer thought or did before his fall from heaven surprised God. We have carefully observed the verses in Isaiah 14 of the rebellious thoughts within his heart. We have also observed in Revelation 12 how his communications with other angels convinced one-third to rebel with him against God. Did Lucifer finally go before God and attack Him, gainsay Him, and defy Him at the height of his rebellion? How long did all of this take in the process of angelic time? What was the sequence of events: initial thoughts against God privately within his heart; then speaking with the angels in falsity and lies to convince them to cast in their lot with him; and finally, a confrontation with God?
Psalm 68 commences by giving God praise in dealing with His enemies. As this psalm continues to unfold, we read of praise to God for His doings at Sinai and in the wilderness; and then of praise to God for the conquest of Canaan and a series of victories culminating in the full establishment of David as king over Israel. Within this context of praise, we read, “The Lord gave the word.” The understanding is that He gave the watchword, the word of promised victory, a word that initiated the period to do battle with the enemy. And, “great was the company of those that published it [that word].” This verse announces that there were those who went from house to house heralding the watchword of the Lord. These were the damsels calling the men to battle, declaring confidence in the Lord in their going to battle, because the word of surety had been given by God.
Our burden in this article takes us back to the great prophet Moses and his writing of the inspired Pentateuch, the term commonly designated for the first five books of the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 17:14–17, Moses prophetically reveals the coming of kings for Israel; he warns that when such leaders arise in history, they are not to multiply horses, wives, or gold. The prophet then commands in 17:18–21 that each king is to make a copy of the Pentateuch for himself in order to rule the nation by that Word.
The Bible is the singular revelation from God that reveals the plan of God for the full conformity of an individual to the image of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the revelation that proclaims the universal Gospel for all mankind. It is the revelation that carefully unveils the self of all who come to its pages. It is the revelation that discloses how Christ can take the life and form it to become what God desires for the individual.
The Christian must first understand that God is eternal and dwells in the dimension of eternity. He has no beginning; He has no end. There is no past or future with God. He dwells in the infinite present tense of His continual existence.
In the light of this truth concerning God, all His purposes and plans are found in eternity. God created the universe, including the angels, in dateless time (Gen. 1:1). Our concept of time did not come into existence until Genesis 1:3. When God created the dimension of time, He automatically declared the concept of beginnings—establishing a past, a present, and a future.
Edwin Hubble (1889–1953) has been called the “Pioneer of the distant stars.” His studies proved the existence of galaxies other than our own Milky Way and opened the vastness of the study of the universe. What was once considered at 100 billion galaxies in the universe has now recently been expanded to nearly 2 trillion galaxies. These changes are prompting questions among physicists like “what is a universe?” and “is there a concept of other universes?” Have we come to the understanding of multiverses? Is there an all-encompassing omniverse where all the various concepts exist? As the term epistemology has become the extensive word for the universe of knowledge, omniverse has now become the blanket word for all the known and yet to be known concepts of existence, whether visible or invisible. This word therefore includes the concept of the existence and the dimension of time.
In the book of beginnings, we have the word genesis, dealing with “origin” and generation, dealing with “posterity.” Eleven generations are presented in the first book of the Bible. The Hebrew word for generation has the understanding of “births,” an account of a man and his descendants. The Greek word bears a similar meaning. Sometimes the term refers to a race or class distinguished by common characteristics, such as a “faithless and perverse generation.” There are also contexts where it can refer to an age, or the average lifespan, or a generation. Sometimes it is used as a figurative transference of thought applied to duration in eternity. Ephesians 3:21 declares, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end [Gr., ‘to all generations of the age of the ages’]. Amen.”
The Bible is clear that time was made by God. He made the sun, moon, and stars as parts of the measuring of time for this planet. He also made the seasons of the year, yea, the revolutions and change of times. He can make bad times better and turn night into day. He can make the sun go backward or stand still, as in the days of Joshua and Hezekiah. It is God’s prerogative to change times. He also decrees how long one influence shall prevail and when another shall become operative. The seasons are in His hands, shorter or longer, as well as the occasions when it is suitable to do a thing. Yes, God controls the time.
Because of the depth of man’s falling away from God’s original intent, his very thinking has been affected. Globally today, mankind has fully entered the dark, cold, foreboding caverns of the death of reason. Mankind now dwells on the other side of reason, the side of existentialism and postmodernism. The political and demonic powers that lead the world today have created an abounding of angst (fear) and hopelessness, spreading perplexities so complicated that man lives simply to get by from day to day with an aimless existence.
In all the great movements in God’s providence (though some have been of greater influence and magnitude), none has arisen at a more crucial hour in Church history than the Fundamentalist movement. We must remember that Fundamentalism was not a denomination but a trans-denominational movement in its influence. We must also keep in mind that the beginning of any historical movement is very fluid; only its future will determine where it will flow and how it will end—in greatness of truth or in tragedy of spiritual demise. Fundamentalism began not as an organization but rather as an organism.
When God gave man the Bible, He gave him the most wonderful treasure that could ever be received through the medium of language. The miracle of language or speech (the utterance of articulate sounds or voices) was appointed by God for mankind to express and communicate thoughts. It is evident in the creation of man that God furnished both the faculty of speech and speech itself (the knowledge and use of words as vocal sounds or ideas). This gift of language existed even before the formation of woman, at which time we read of the first uttered words of Adam.
Our first article unfolded the principle of present history rejecting Truth and coming to believe in the Lie. Often in history powers have intentionally created their own truth (which was a lie) and have successfully convinced great numbers to embrace their lie as the truth. Roman Catholicism was able to hide its pervading and deceptive leaven in Church doctrine thereby destroying truth. What remained was a created myth for the world to believe. Such a powerful deception necessitated the Protestant Reformation to boldly and aggressively bring the truth of God’s Word back to the public arena, dispelling the doctrinal myths of Rome.
Man since his fall has known multitudes of defections from the truth. But Paul reveals in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “a [Gr., ‘the’] falling away first.” Apostasies eventually bring man to the final apostasy to arise globally in the End Time of the last days. A season in world history is approaching when defection from truth will be known in every compartment of life. It will be a time when the whole world will believe the Lie.
Forty-five years ago, an unpretentious meeting took place on the outskirts of Dunn, North Carolina, in the home of Dr. O. Talmadge Spence. This meeting proved to have far-reaching importance for Dr. Spence, his family, and a remnant of individuals. The birth of the “Christian Purities Fellowship” was Dr. Spence’s last major attempt to call his fallen, spiritual-mother denomination back to her legacy of the Fundamentals and separatist living.
Back in 1973 my dear father, Dr. O. Talmadge Spence (who went to be with the Lord in July 2000), began a publication entitled Straightway. He took this word from Mark 1:18 that reads, “And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.” In this context Mark’s commentary on two of the Lord’s disciples depicts the tonal quality of his book as a part of the harmonious quartet of the Gospels.