A Spiritual War Zone (Part 2)
TWO MAJOR WARFRONTS
Have you ever stopped to consider that America is actually engaged in two major warfronts? You probably remember where you were on the morning of September 11, 2001, when millions of Americans huddled around their TV sets. The impossible happened that day, and we are still faced with threats of future terrorist attacks. Our country has entered into a major war against an enemy that has no conventional military and is of no specific nationality. It is a faceless foe.
But there is another fierce war being waged in our country that every Christian needs to be aware of. It is a life-and-death struggle with our spiritual adversary, Satan. He is out to destroy the spiritual heritage of our nation. The difference between the attacks of 9/11 and this second warfare is that the terrorist attack was obvious and abrupt. Because of this, the country united and took swift action! This second attack has slowly been taking place during the last 40-50 years, and tragically, Christians do not stand united in their response. How many believers do you know who talk about or even understand our country’s second warfront? Both wars have the same objective—to destroy the foundation upon which America was built.
SPIRITUAL ATTACK AGAINST AMERICA
With what the Lord has taught me and I am sharing with you, I can say without hesitation that we are living in a crucial period of time. America is under a vicious attack from God’s great enemy. Prophetic Scriptures warn us that this would happen. Unfortunately, Satan’s success in the last few decades has been overwhelming.
This spiritual warfare began in earnest after World War II—after America became the greatest superpower in the history of mankind. That is when the moral standards that had bound our nation together for generations began to unravel. Deception has been at the root of the enemy’s attacks.
We can readily see the effect of this spiritual encounter on our American society. But Satan’s main opponent is not society at large, but the Body of Christ. The devil is always scheming to dilute our saltiness, to keep us from preserving the good and dim our light in a dark world.
A SPIRITUAL WAR ZONE
It is well-known that for some time America has been a great center of Christianity. This means that if we accept what the Scriptures teach about Satan, a major thrust of his spiritual warfare in these last days will be in our country. Understanding this is key to knowing where Satan’s major spiritual battleground will be in the last days. Satan has always tried to sabotage any work of God by undermining what God is doing.
Therefore, as Satan sees his time growing short, he will try to destroy every good thing with which God has blessed our country, especially our Christian values. It also means that many of the prophetic warnings given in Scripture about the last days apply to America as much as anywhere else, if not more so.
The U.S. has indeed become a major spiritual war zone. We are being hit in every way imaginable to compromise biblical standards. Many Christians readily admit they do not understand the root cause of the rapid breakdown in our society’s moral fiber, or the methods by which the enemy has conducted such a successful campaign. This has obviously taken its toll on the effectiveness of the body of Christ to fulfill our mission to be salt and light. These ‘new moral’ standards have influenced the Christian community much more than we have influenced the world. We have become more tolerant to the sins of the world, while this generation feels free to promote its sins, not only by their lifestyle, but also through the media that is available to everyone. This was not the case throughout most of America’s history.
SATAN’S PAST ATTACKS
God and His people have always had a spiritual enemy, and any work of the Lord involves spiritual battles. The fact that the devil is out to destroy God’s calling for Christians in our land is not unique. He has always worked to sabotage God’s purpose. His tactics are ruthless and deadly. He never calls for a spiritual cease-fire!
In the days of Noah, he caused lawlessness to become so terrible that God had no choice but to cleanse the Earth by a flood. As you read through the Old Testament you discover that the devil was constantly developing a spirit of permissiveness and rebellion in Israel. When God Himself came to Earth in the person of Jesus Christ, Satan had so deceived most of the Israelites, they not only didn’t recognize Him, they crucified Him.
Satan’s warfare against God’s people continued after the church began. In the first 300 years of church history, Satan’s attacks against Christians, worked primarily through the Roman government, were so harsh that an estimated three million Christians were persecuted by every cruel act of torture imaginable. They were thrown to wild animals, torn to pieces, beheaded, burned, buried alive and crucified.
Satan’s attacks on the church continued during the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages. Much of the church operated in secret during these time periods. After Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517, the Reformation began, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ started to be preached openly. Satan, however, continued his attacks against Christians, and thousands were brutally massacred for their faith. In France in 1557, the Pope called for an extermination of all believers who were not members of the Roman Catholic Church. On August 24, 1572, 70,000 Christians were killed in the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre. The Spanish Inquisition left more than 100,000 people dead and 1,500,000 banished from the country. Between 1566 and 1598, some 100,000 born-again Christians were slaughtered in the Netherlands. In the country of Bohemia, 3,200,000 Christians were exterminated during the Reformation Wars. And persecution of the church continues. Historian David Barrett estimates that more than 45 million Christians were martyred during the 20th century, including 13,300,000 since 1950.
For the most part, America has enjoyed freedom from religious persecution, and remains a center of Christian witness for the world. Thus, from what the Scriptures teach and from what history has confirmed, it is easy to see why Satan has launched an all-out spiritual attack against our country. He is doing all he can to change every law based on Christian standards. The American church must be aware of this. There is no doubt that we are living in a time of his attack. Prophetic Scriptures warn us that this will happen.
PERSECUTION AND DECEPTION
The Bible teaches that Satan has always used two distinct methods when attacking God’s people: persecution and deception! Both have the same goal—to keep God’s people from fulfilling their mission of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Persecution is easy to detect; deception is not. We can clearly see how Satan uses persecution. He uses deception just as much, if not more so, but it is harder to verify.
Persecution is an attack that usually causes physical harm. Satan’s objective is to get us to deny our relationship with Jesus in order to avoid persecution. Look at the lives of the apostles, almost all of whom were martyred for their faith. Consider this thought from someone who recently experienced persecution and was asked why God had allowed it: “Not only would He not kill our enemies for us, but He would empower us to love them while they killed us.”
Both persecution and deception are dangerous and destructive. However, deception has been the primary method of attack against Christians in America. Deception tempts our sinful nature (using the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life) to disobey God’s Word. This is my definition of deception: Seducing spirits tempt God’s people to exchange the truth of God’s Word for that which is contrary to the Word of God. They attempt to make something wrong seem innocent and irresistible. They try to make the difference between black and white seem like a shade of gray.
If we do not know the Word of God and diligently seek righteousness, and hate every evil way, we will become susceptible to these deceiving spirits. The Apostle Paul writes, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits” (I Timothy 4:1). Deception is insidious and dangerous. It breeds compromise, which leads to disobedience and spiritual defeat! The only way to determine the use of deception is by an examination of the fruit. As we look at the fruit produced by our society in this last generation, keep in mind that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Through persecution, some 70 million Christians have been killed over the last 2000 years (source: World Christian Encyclopedia, Global Diagram 6). But Satan’s use of deception is also ruthless, wicked and severe. It brought down Eve, then Adam, as well as leaders like Samson, Saul, David and Solomon. Today it is destroying the moral standards of American Christians. Many church members and leaders have fallen into sin through deception.
One of the strongest influences the world has had on the Christian community has been to make us self-centered. A fruit of spiritual deception is to serve our self-interests over and above our desire to please God and put His standards first. We may say we are standing against the tide, but in truth, we are simply a few decades behind the world’s acceptance of many of our society’s ‘new moral standards.’ What was permissible twenty or thirty years ago by the world is now acceptable by many Christians. Finding a Christian who has a fear of sinning is rare these days.
Watch for Part 3 of “A Spiritual War Zone” on August 16th, 2010.Tags: compromise biblical standards, deception, fear of sinning, fruit of the spirit, new moral standards, persecution, spiritual enemy, spiritual warfare, truth