A few years ago Dr. Billy Graham, in a spirit of love and concern, said according to his research a large percentage of Christians in America are living defeated spiritual lives.
The majority of Christians admit they do not understand the root cause of the breakdown in our country’s moral values nor are they aware of how the enemy has conducted such a successful campaign to corrupt our society’s values. Sadly, this lack of understanding has caused millions of Christians to be hurt by Satan’s insidious tactics and a countless number of Christian families to be torn apart.
Before I share what Scriptures reveal to be the identity of this “beast” in Revelation 13 I need to follow a biblical principle of interpretation the Apostle Paul followed. On the road to Damascus Paul had a revolutionary encounter with the Lord that revealed Jesus was the Messiah. From that moment, and for the rest of his life, Paul was totally dependent upon the Lord. However, those who heard him preach did not have the same dramatic revolutionary encounter that Paul experienced on the Damascus road. Their belief came as he explained the good news of the Gospel and how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies foretold about the Messiah.
I don’t expect you to have a revolutionary encounter like my brother and I had with the Lord. Therefore, following the example of the Apostle Paul, it is my responsibility to explain the prophetic verses that back-up and support what my brother and I say was revealed to be the identity of this “beast.” Please note, I don’t want you to think I am trying to say the experience my brother and I had was equal to that of Paul’s. However, Paul’s experience gives us a Scriptural principle that we can learn from and apply.
One of the first things the Lord began to teach Barbara and me after my revolutionary encounter with the Lord in 1971 was, “KNOW YOUR ENEMY!” This was intriguing to me because in just about every human endeavor, be it military, sports, business—you name it—we try to understand our competition or in warfare, our enemy. In order to be successful it is important to know and understand our competitor’s methods and tactics. It seems we apply this principle in about everything we do, except our spiritual life.
Not knowing how Satan operates has contributed to the reason why good born-again Christians have suffered a major spiritual defeat in their lives. It’s also why countless Christian families have been hurt by Satan’s insidious tactics during these times of his intense spiritual warfare.
Let me give you a few insights about this spiritual enemy that Jesus says, “Was a murderer from the beginning not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Throughout history, Satan has tried to frustrate, destroy and counterfeit God’s purposes on earth. His attacks against God started with the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, causing them to disobey God, and he has never stopped. He caused lawlessness and wickedness to become so terrible in the days of Noah that God had no choice but to cleanse the earth by a flood. Satan’s success in developing the spirit of rebellion and permissiveness in the Jewish people would often cause them to turn against the ways of God. One of the saddest stories in the Bible is how they totally missed the incarnation when God became man and visited planet earth through the person of Jesus Christ. The Bible states that Jesus came unto His own, and His own received Him not.
Satan’s warfare against God’s people continued after the church began. History records that in the first 300 years of the church, his attacks against Christians working primarily through the Roman government were so harsh, an estimated three million Christians were persecuted by every cruel act of torture imaginable.
Similar attacks continued up through the Dark and Middle ages. Then after Martin Luther posted his “95 theses” on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517, the Reformation began and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was once again openly being preached. Soon thereafter, however, the Reformation Wars began and history records that in the 1500s several million Christians were brutally massacred for their faith in Jesus Christ. That was just 500 years ago. You probably remember studying in high school about some of these terrible historical events that occurred during the Reformation Wars. On August 24, 1557, 70,000 Christians were killed in one day in what is known as the “St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.” In fact, it was the persecution of Christians by the church in England that brought the Pilgrims and a massive exodus of Puritans to America in the early 1600s.
Over the last 2000 years (during the church age) nearly 70 million Christians have been killed. Forty-five million of those killed have been since the year 1900. This is in addition to the millions who have been persecuted by being put in jail or by some other means. I tell you these things because they reveal the truth about our spiritual enemy and the extremes to which he will go to attack God and His people.
Another method Satan uses, which may be worse than persecution, is DECEPTION. Deception is much more difficult to discern than persecution. DECEPTION BREEDS COMPROMISE! COMPROMISE LEADS TO DISOBEDIENCE! DISOBEDIENCE LEADS TO SPIRITUAL DEFEAT. THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN DETERMINE THE USE OF DECEPTION IN YOUR LIFE IS TO EXAMINE THE FRUIT THAT YOUR DECISION WILL PRODUCE COMPARED TO SCRIPTURE, THE WORD OF GOD. THIS IS THE TEST WE MUST USE TO TEST THE SPIRITS.
When you or I produce fruit from a decision or a choice that is contrary to what is taught in the Word of God, regardless if we don’t see anything wrong, there is every possibility the enemy is deceiving us. The first attack Satan made on the human race is recorded in Genesis chapter 3. What caused Eve, then Adam to disobey is recorded in Genesis 3:13. It says, “Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” This act of disobedience came through deception. Their decision brought about a major spiritual defeat.
In my next BLOG, I will explore other examples in Scripture where Satan used deception and caused someone to disobey and fall. . . Join us here next week!
Be sure to visit the FREE DOWNLOADS page to find several other books and booklets written by Bob Fraley. The FREE DOWNLOADS page contains complete .pdf files that you may read and download absolutely FREE! Go to: http://www.bobfraleychristianlifeoutreach.com and click on the “FREE DOWNLOADS” button!Tags: 95 thesis on the church door, biblical principle of interpretation, breakdown in country's moral values, Christians brutally massacred, compromise leads to disobedience, corruption of our society's values, Dark Ages, deception, deception breeds compromise, defeated spiritual lives, discern, disobedience, disobedience leads to spiritual defeat, Genesis 3:13, Gospel of Jesus Christ, identity of the "beast" of Revelation 13, insidious tactics, insights about spiritual enemy, Jesus Messiah, know your enemy, lawlessness, major spiritual defeat, Martin Luther, massive exodus of Puritans, Middle Ages, no truth in him, permissiveness, persecution, Pilgrims, prophecies, prophetic verses, rebellion, Reformation, Reformation Wars, Satan attacks Christians, Satan the murderer, Satan's tactics, Satan's warfare, Scriptural principle, serpent deceived me, spiritual defeat, spiritual enemy, St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, test the spirits, the Word of God