— Brother Phil Enlow: I’m gonna jump down to the part here I wanted to get to. It says, “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.” (NIV). And so forth, “The great dragon was hurled down….” And we see how the…we see his position as one, “…who leads the whole world astray.”
But yet, something is removed from him. There’s a power that—there’s a restrictive power that comes upon him. He no longer has this exalted place that he has had up to this point. And so, there is a victory that is won and as a result of that, you see, that’s where we go into the part where…rejoice…we’re told to rejoice: “…The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.” And all that’s come. “…The accuser of our brothers…” is cast down, and so forth, and how they overcame him.
But, I guess my mind went to this, not so much just to unpack this part, but to kind of lay a groundwork for how in the world did we get to this place in history? Where did all this come from? We find the Devil in a place of great power and authority over the hearts and minds of men and yet, we see a divine invasion in the form of a baby.
Talk about wisdom that is totally counter to the way the Devil thinks and the way men think. But here’s God invading history in a way that’s gonna bring the ultimate victory. But how did we get to this place?
And it’s…what I had in mind today was to begin to unpack history, and that’s a pretty broad subject. And, like I say, I’m…there’s a part of me that says, oh, Lord, I don’t know how to handle all this. But I’m gonna just, like I say, I’m gonna start. I don’t even know if I’ll get through what I’ve been thinking about up to now. But anyway…let’s look at some scriptures, for a change.
I want to actually open some passages of scripture and let’s see something that Jesus said in Luke 10. Because really Jesus is looking back to the beginning of time, the beginning of creation. And He has, at this point, sent His disciples out, sent actually 70 or 72, depending on which text you’re looking at. And, they were going around teaching and proclaiming, ‘the kingdom has come.’
And I’ll say this…I’ve said it many times recently and I’ll continue to say it. The Gospel is not a gospel, merely, of personal salvation. The Gospel is the Gospel of a kingdom. Okay? God came to establish a kingdom. Personal salvation and forgiveness of sins is one of the benefits that citizens of that kingdom enjoy, but the whole thing is about a kingdom.
So anyway, they come back and they’re rejoicing, Lord, even the spirits are subject to us in Your name! And they’re full of joy. But, anyway…let’s see...that’s verse 17. Verse 18, what does Jesus say? He said, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven.”
Boy, there’s a lot in that, isn’t there? Jesus didn’t begin His existence in the womb of Mary, He was there! It was through Him that God created everything that is! He is uncreated Himself. He is the begotten of the Father, shares the Father’s life, through Him God’s authority over all that is, came to pass. He is the Creator of all things!
He was there and witnessed what we saw earlier…the fall of Satan and all of those that he was able to influence. And so, He’s looking back…we’re looking back through the eyes of Jesus, at the beginning.
Another thing that Jesus says in John chapter 8, tells us something about the Devil. And you remember this is how…He talks to some people that profess their faith in Him and He says, “If you hold to my teaching…” in verse 31, “…you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
And all of a sudden, these religious people started reacting. They said, wait a minute! You’re calling us slaves. We’re not slaves, we’re the children…and they go on and on about their religious heritage. And Jesus finally comes down to a place where he says…let me look at the…let me find the scripture I’m talking about. Somebody can help me find it.
( congregational response ).
Yeah, 40, 41, 42, He said, if you were God’s children…or if you were Abraham’s children, you’d do what he did. And down in verse 44 He says this. “You belong to your father, the devil.”
I’ll tell you, there’s a lot of stuff in this world and we need to see beyond the outward. We need to realize we live in a world where there is a power—there’s a real power! There is an inspiration behind so much that we see and so much of it is religious.
Here were people who supposedly…they were descended from Abraham, supposedly walking in His steps, walking in the Law of Moses and yet, Jesus looks them in the eye and says, you are of your father, the Devil. They had a father but it wasn’t God and it wasn’t Abraham.
But listen to what He says about the Devil. Well, He says, “…you want to carry out your father’s desire. He 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.” I’ll tell you, something happened in the beginning. It’s interesting He says this. He says, “…not holding to the truth…” Doesn’t that suggest something?
( congregation inaudible ).
Yeah! There was a time when he was one of God’s angels. But something happened. Something entered his heart. You know, God did not create His creatures as robots. God doesn’t want a kingdom of people who are simply programmed to serve Him. He has given us…He’s given us wills and responsibility to walk and to want Him.
And God’s eternal purpose is to build a kingdom of the willing…those who are willing to surrender and humble themselves and drink in of His Spirit and allow His Spirit to be the very life that motivates us, that animates us, something that fills us from the inside.
I’ll tell you, Christianity is not, as we’ve said many times, is not a book of rules. It’s a brand-new life that God imparts to the heart of those who open their hearts to Him! And that life grows up and it takes over and everything else dies and that’s the only thing that remains. Oh, Praise God, for that day’s coming! The Lord wants us to lift up our eyes as we see the things that are happening in the world.
But I want to turn to a couple of Old Testament passages. I think it’s time that we look at some of these things. You know, many times when we are talking about Christian living and all of that, we will sort of…well, I hate to use the word ‘cherry-pick,’ but maybe that’s what it is. We’re looking at…we’ll grab a scripture and we’ll take it, and we’ll take this and we’ll kind of put it all together.
But I want us to see a…more of a story, more of a picture of how all of this goes together. ‘Cause I’ll tell you, if you have an understanding of history, of God’s purposes and where we’re at, how we got here, where we’re going, and what God wants of us, and what the Kingdom of God is all about…if we understand that stuff, I’ll tell you, living for God and being the Church falls into place.
Now we’ve got a ‘world view,’ if you will, that helps us to understand why all this makes sense. And I’ll tell you, then you can talk about, yeah, stand up in trials and be brave and all those wonderful things. Boy, they make sense in the view of history.
Many of the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets, especially I’m thinking about Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel…they were called to prophesy concerning foreign nations. I’ll tell you, we see a picture of a God who is in charge.
But many times, the prophet will be talking about a nation and maybe even a ruler but all of a sudden the language goes beyond that, because God’s not just simply looking at human instruments…not looking at kingdoms and building and armies and all that kind of stuff. He’s looking at the real power and the real inspiration behind all of that. And so, there’s language here where he’s seeing…he’s talking about Babylon.
Isn’t that interesting? I’ll tell you, I think most of us…many of us know that Babylon is really a capsule word that expresses the kingdom of this world. This is Satan’s kingdom. Babylon!
But listen to his words that are often quoted from Isaiah 14:12 and following. “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven….” So this is actually looking down to his defeat, in one sense, ‘cause he says, you have, “…laid low the nations….” But it’s also looking back to the beginning and how he got there.
You want to know what the inspiration is behind the news, behind the kingdoms of this world? Yeah, this is where it comes from. All right? You said…now what was going on?
“You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” There it is, in a nutshell…the motivation behind the spirit of this world!
I’ll tell you, God has called us out of this world. And He wants us to have a clarity, especially heading into the time period that we’re heading into—a clarity in our hearts and our minds about what’s going on and what’s behind this world, so that we can take a clear stand. You talk about being fearless servants…we have reason to need to know what that means in real life, every day. So anyway, there’s one picture.
There’s another one that is in Ezekiel, chapter 28. And I don’t know whether he’s talking about Lucifer, himself, or whether he’s talking about one of his high officials, but, whatever it is, there is a picture that goes way beyond the king of a city and an empire, if you will, called Tyre.
Tyre was a city that was just off the coast, in the Mediterranean. It was an island, at one time, until Alexander the Great came along and turned it into a peninsula. He was trying to conquer this island kingdom. The only way he could do it was to scrape off all the dirt and dump it in the ocean and turn it into a peninsula so he could march out there instead of having to sail. But anyway, at this time it was an island kingdom, powerful, proud, full of commerce and just really thinking they were something.
But you see, God is, again, He’s looking past simply the nation, the earthly king and now we’re seeing this, in verse…let’s see. He talks about the King of Tyre in verse 11, 12. “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God….” Obviously he’s not talking about a human entity here, is he? There’s a demonic spirit that was the real inspiration behind this kingdom.
“…Every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God….” I mean, these were beings who were created in power and holiness and beauty and purpose, under God, and it was that against which they rebelled.
“You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.”
And so, again, you have this mixture of the human and the demonic. And he goes on and talks about…well, he carries on in this vein. But you see where he’s going here. The Lord wants us to have a view of history, where we’re not simply seeing nations. We’re seeing the unfolding of something that is way above and beyond what we see unfolding, like I say, among the nations of the earth.
So, go back to the beginning now, and we remember that God did create everything where there was no death, there was no suffering, there was no sin, and our first parents were placed in a paradise. But they were placed there with a choice, weren’t they? There were two trees. One of them was the Tree of Life. Now, what would they have partaken of had they eaten of that?
( congregational response ).
Eternal life! That’s...God’s life was in that! They had the privilege of entering in! You know, the way to the Tree of Life has been opened for us. I mean, there’s specific language in Revelation that we might have the right to the Tree of Life! Who has won that right for us?
( congregation inaudible ).
Jesus Christ, at the Cross! That is my right to come and partake, once again, of the Tree of Life. But anyway, there they were, they had their opportunity to partake of that. But they also had another tree, didn’t they? It was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There was a life force in that, wasn’t there? Where do you suppose that came from?
( congregation inaudible ).
Yeah. This is Satan’s life. And…to what degree there was little fruit, I don’t know. But I’m gonna take what the scripture says. What it was, was an opportunity for them to make a choice. And so, Satan invaded this wonderful, beautiful creation and he did it by tempting Eve.
And he gave her the same kinds of temptations that you and I face every single day, that come from the spirit of the world. What is the spirit of the world? We’re told to not to have anything to do with the world, but what?
( congregation inaudible ).
Okay, what is the world? What’s in the world? “…The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life…” (KJV). Everything Satan appeals to us is based upon pleasing some bodily desire, or is getting stuff that I can call mine and it is a selfish spirit. This is mine, I possess it. You watch kids and you’ll see…see that pretty quick!
You know, I remember an amusing story Brother Thomas used to tell about when his kids were small. Some of you remember this. And one of them had a hold of something and the other one said, don’t be so selfish, give it to me!
( laughter ).
Well, we see human nature…but it’s every single one of us is like that. But the other thing is the pride of life. And so, we want to do things that enhance our sense of importance, usually in the eyes of others.
And so, here is this temptation. Eat this fruit and you won’t die! Not only that, she said…she came to the point where she realized, hey, this is something that is pleasing to my eye. It’s good for food! Man, it’s gonna please my flesh. It also is desirable for gaining wisdom! I can get something out of this that will enable me to be somebody. I don’t have to just be God’s…whatever…pet or whatever. I don’t have to have this relationship. I can get myself up here and make my own choices.
And she fell for it, her husband joined her in the rebellion, and Satan came in and demonic life entered the human race. I’ll tell you, it has infected human nature ever since!
I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again, you cannot fix human nature! Human nature is unalterably corrupted by sin and death! It will not be fixed! It never will be! God’s solution is not to fix it, not to get it to obey rules. God’s solution is to introduce to our hearts a new life, to teach us to live by that life and this other one’s gonna die, sooner or later. It’s gonna die daily, it’s gonna die ultimately. Oh, may it be soon! Praise God!
But anyway, right now at this point, Adam and Eve have sinned. They become conscious of their sin when the Lord comes. And doesn’t that reveal something? The Lord’s still reaching out. He surely knew what was going on. But the Lord is still reaching out and showing where His heart’s at!
None of this took Him by surprise, by the way. That’s one truth that has to be…I hope we have it so clear in our minds that we understand that everything has happened, in this world, is foreseen by God. It may appear to us to be a war in which there is a real contest going on, and that suggests, of course, well, I don’t know how it’s gonna turn out. But I’ll tell you, everything that has happened, God has foreseen from the foundation of the world. He has planned for it.
There is no way Satan…well, he’s already lost at the Cross! And he knows it! That’s why he’s so angry! That’s another thing it says in Revelation 12.
But I’ll tell you, there is the unfolding of something that God has foreseen. And so, here is God immediately showing His heart by reaching out to them. And He finds them and they have to confess, yes, we’ve eaten of it. ‘Course he blames her and she blames the serpent. But there’s one little promise that’s put in here and He addresses the serpent. “Cursed are….” This is Genesis 3. “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Oh, what a tremendous promise is locked up in that! The Devil didn’t have a clue. But here is a woman who has chosen to rebel against God. She is going to be the mother of a whole race of people who, by nature, are God’s enemies, and yet, God says, somebody that is descended from you is gonna crush that serpent’s head. Praise God!
See, God wasn’t dismayed by any of this. It didn’t interrupt His plan. God didn’t have to say, whoops, that didn’t work out, let’s try something different. God knew what was gonna happen. He knew that the Cross was gonna be necessary. And what we’re seeing, in history, is the unfolding of all of that.
So anyway, we see that awesome promise and then immediately, almost immediately, we see the effects of the fall in the account of Cain and Abel. Here were two brothers. One of them brought an offering that was accepted by God, the other one did not. And what happened? He was so upset and angry that he just…he was mad at God, mad at the world.
And the Lord said, if you do well, won’t you be accepted? I mean, there’s an appeal of God. There’s something wrong in here. That’s what your problem is. You don’t get what’s really going on here, but I want to accept you, but I’m not gonna accept you in the condition you’re in…is what’s behind all of this. But nonetheless, he took a hard stand to the point where he murdered his brother. We had the first murder.
And then God curses him, sends him out and he becomes the father of a whole civilization. So anyway, out of this Cain goes out. He begins to build a city. It talks in very general terms about how they begin to discover metal, they discover music, they build civilizations, and God begins to work with a handful of people who know Him, doesn’t He? There was another son who offered sacrifices and men began to call on the name of the Lord.
You come down a few generations and you find a man named Enoch. And what does the scripture say about Enoch? He walked with God! This was somebody who knew who God was! He lived in a world that was going just the opposite. Everybody was wicked and forgetting God, going their own way, walking in the lusts of their flesh, blinded by sin, but here’s a man who walks with God in the midst of that.
Boy, what a lesson that is for every one of us. He was faithful and God took him to be with Him without even him dying. And then, of course, you come down to Noah’s day. And what was the condition of the world in Noah’s day? Every imagination, every thought, every imagination of the heart was, what? “…Only evil continually.” (KJV).
So, you see the effect of Satan’s rule upon men, when they will not walk in truth. How many of you remember the passage in Romans 1? It’s one to look up sometime, because, we’re told that every…that what we need to know about God is evident in creation. We can see that there is a great, mighty God! We know about His character. We can see it in the wonders of creation, in spite of the condition of the world. It’s there.
Men are without excuse. The problem is not that they don’t know. The problem is they rebel against what they do know! And what’s happened is they have descended into a place of deep, spiritual darkness and deception, delusion.
And one of the manifestations of that is that they began to make images and worship them. Here’s my god. I’ll tell you what, it’s just a…it’s an incredible picture. But anyway, God allows them to come to a climax of evil.
And do you know that there’s a point of no return? How many of you know that? For every civilization there is a point of no return! We see it throughout history. We see it in Israel, when God declares in the nation of Judah, at one point…even though there was a good man who rose to the throne, judgment is inevitable.
I find it hard to believe that that’s not the case with America, and with our whole world. I think we’ve gone off the cliff. I believe judgment is just a matter of when, not if. But I believe God is gonna have a people that are ready. I want to be one of those people, don’t you?
But I want to see and I want to understand what’s going on. I don’t want to be caught up in the darkness and the delusion of this world and imagining we’re gonna fix it. We’re not gonna fix it. We may influence it, but we’re not gonna fix it.
But anyway…so, we see this civilization brought to a place where God says, I’m gonna judge it. Every living thing under Heaven is going to die. And that’s exactly what happened. God preserved eight people in a boat that they built…a ship, really, a big one. And God started again.
Do you think God was expecting things to be better? No, He knew what was coming. But one thing we have, in the events of Noah’s day, is a picture, a warning, of what lies ahead in our future. It won’t be water this time. What’s it gonna be?
( congregation inaudible ).
Fire, yes! That’s what lies ahead. And God knows the time. I don’t care about this blood moon stuff and all these dates and things that people come up with. I’ll tell you, God’s gonna do it in His time and His way, and I believe there’s gonna be a people that’ll be ready.