— Brother Phil Enlow: I’m just gonna start sharing some of the thoughts that I’ve had and if it doesn’t…if the Lord isn’t in it, hopefully I’ll have the discernment. If I don’t, please speak up. We want to hear from the Lord this morning. If somebody else really feels like they have something, now would be a good time…so, praise God!
All right. I guess many people’s thoughts these days have gone to a simple subject, what is happening? It’s obvious that this year has been a year of turmoil and trouble on many fronts, and I believe the Lord wants us to have an understanding, not just of doctrine as a theoretical, somewhere-out-here, bunch of ideas, but as something that is a real picture of what God is doing and where we’re at in history.
And it’s obvious that there is, you know, a lot of things have been upset. Our concept of normal has disappeared. And, we’re having to just look to the Lord, walk by faith. That’s a good thing, because God is faithful, isn’t He? But we’re at a time in history that I believe God wants us to understand.
You know, years ago, when Sue and I first came and some of us, some of you were here, and some others came in around the same general time period, we saw…we went through a period when God was revealing things in a very spectacular way.
And, I thank God that we never went to seed on the supernatural side of it, because always the witness of the Spirit and the witness of scripture took precedence. But I believe God took things that we find in the pages of scripture and brought them to life and said, hey, it’s happening now.
And so, it was common when I first…when we first came to hear messages that were geared to what’s happening and what is the end of the age going to look like? And I don’t think we need to get away from that. I don’t think we need to just talk only about that, but I believe we have to have a sense as we go along.
I think a lot of us, in those days, felt like, well, we’re right…it’s just gonna happen, like five years at the most. Then the Lord’s gonna come and it’s all gonna be over. Well, guess what? The Lord doesn’t work on our timetable, but He works on His and His is certain. And it’s just as certain as the things that He showed us.
But one of the things…there are two threads that I see coming together. One of them is simply the condition of people. We see a pattern throughout history, of God reaching out to men and men responding one of two ways, and usually it’s the great majority that respond in a negative way, and it’s a small minority, a remnant, that says, yes Lord, I surrender. And throughout history we have seen that.
You know, from the very beginning we see God’s heart. When Adam and Eve fell for the temptation, they deliberately made a choice to join and to listen to Satan’s wisdom, and to rebel against what God had told them. They felt a separation from God.
What did God do about it? The Lord was seeking after them. He went after them and began to make provision, didn’t He? And, we know, of course, that the Lord knew all about this, knew it was gonna happen and planned for it.
But you come down a few centuries later, and you find the condition of the world in Noah’s day. These are things we’ve talked about many times. I want to just pull threads together today. The thoughts, every imagination of men’s hearts was, what? Only, “…only evil continually.” (KJV). It wasn’t like, well, I’m kind of leaning this way, but there’s still a capacity…they reached a point where there was no more capacity for people to hear God’s voice.
Do you realize that happens? That people can get in a condition where they can no longer hear God’s voice. They make a choice. And so, we see the world of that day being judged, and we see a remnant being preserved perfectly through the flood. Thank God!
But yet, coming out of that, immediately the Lord was foreshadowing what was gonna happen. I know what’s in man, I know what he’s made of, I know this is gonna…he’s gonna turn away. I won’t destroy the world by a flood again, but I know what’s coming.
And so, we see this pattern throughout history of God dealing, like with the nation of Israel and yet they rebelled. He sent prophets and He waited and He held off judgment and they still rebelled and kept going the wrong direction. Finally, judgment fell.
We see the nation of Israel being utterly destroyed by the Romans after Jesus warned…and yet His heart was expressed in the words of Jesus. O Jerusalem! You wouldn’t listen to the prophets! “How often would I have gathered…as a hen gathereth her chickens…and ye would not!” You wouldn’t listen! You wouldn’t heed what I said. And so, judgment is coming. You’re gonna be abandoned to judgment.
You know, we see the principle of what happens expressed in Romans chapter 1, a scripture we’ve read many times, as to why God’s wrath comes. I mean, we know He’s a God of love, and yet, we know He’s a God of wrath. You can’t have it…you can’t just ignore that side of it. It’s a reality. This world is headed for catastrophe! It is headed for a judgment! It is headed for the wrath of God being poured out upon man!
Why? Is it because this is the way God just wants it to be and He’s just getting a kick out of this? Oh, no. Verse 18…familiar scriptures. “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who…” (NIV). Do what? “…Who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” It’s not an absence of truth. It is, I don’t want to hear that. I reject that. I make a choice here between the truth that I know and what I want to do. There’s a spirit of rebellion.
So he goes on and says, “Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile…” worthless, useless, “…and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
“Therefore…” You see the choices being made. See what they’re doing is not ignorance, it’s rebelling against what they know, saying we’re gonna do it our way. “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity…” and so forth, “…for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.” And it goes on to elaborate what the result is, and you see a world dominated by selfish people in rebellion against God and all it does is create chaos everywhere.
( congregational amens ).
And one of the things that we’re observing…I mean, how many of you have listened to some item on the news where someone has expressed a thought, a belief, and you’ve said, what planet are they on? That’s insanity! How in the world is it possible for a human being to actually believe such nonsense? Well, this is the reason.
We are seeing…and I believe…I was gonna say the final generation. I don’t know the timetable, but we are careening through the last hour of earth’s history in my judgment and I believe God has revealed this to us. We are in that last period. The countdown to judgment is on.
Well, what should we be expecting? If that’s the case, what is going to be the condition of mankind in this period of time, but a rebellion against God, a choice to say, no, to the God of heaven, and yes, to me and what I want. That’s what is dominating people’s hearts and conditions. You want to understand what’s behind all of the turmoil that we see? That’s a major thread, is it not? That’s what’s going on.
But obviously, that’s only part of it, isn’t it? Because we’re not talking about men who simply live in a vacuum and it’s either me or God. There is a kingdom of darkness that rules over the affairs of this world. It began when Lucifer, a servant of God with great abilities, chose to rebel against God. He said…his ambition became, I will be like the Most High. I’m not content just to do what He says, I’m gonna step over here, I’m gonna be my own god, thank you very much.
And he succeeded…I don’t know if it all happened at once or over a period of time, but he succeeded in leading one-third of the angels in rebellion with him. And we see throughout the pages of scripture, glimpses of the reality of the simple fact that there is kingdom which you and I cannot see with natural eyes, that rules in the affairs of men.
Now, thank God, that He’s over that, that His purpose is the one that will prevail! But when you’re talking about the world system, you are talking about a literal kingdom that provides the inspiration behind world affairs. So, we’re not just dealing with people, we’re dealing with a satanic agenda. From the beginning, his aim, is like I say, to be like the Most High, to absolutely rule, unchecked, unchallenged upon this globe.
And he’s tried it over and over again, and we see this constant battle going on behind the scenes where the devil is allowed to do all kinds of things to raise up great nations. Then we see God putting them down, God sending judgment, God intervening here and there. One kingdom will rise up and be filled up with great power and trample over nations, and God said, all right, it’s time. We’re gonna raise up somebody else and your day is over. There’s always this intervention.
You know, you get the glimpse in Daniel that we’ve referred to a number of times over the years, of how Daniel was praying and God sent an angel to Daniel. But, there was a three-week delay between the time he began to pray and that angel came with the answer that he was looking for.
Now what was the cause of that? Why was there a three-week delay? Because he was…there was a Prince of Persia with whom he had to do battle. In fact, he had to have help come down so that he could do battle with this prince.
Now, do you think that was a human being? No, no, no. That was the real power behind the empire. This was a literally…there was a government of Lucifer and there was a kingdom called Persia, and through that kingdom you saw the inspiration come down to the people who were involved.
So, let me just go back to some of the things the Lord revealed to us, and I’m just praying the Lord will help me not to try to cover too much ground. But, one of the things the Lord revealed to us, in those days, concerning the loosing of Satan…remember that? And it was specific, that this was the last loosing of Satan before the end of all things.
Now you’ve got a lot of people that will look at Revelation 20 and they will see a future, earthly kingdom, a political, military kingdom ruled by Jesus from Jerusalem lasting a literal thousand years. Well, they don’t understand the book of Revelation is put in language that is meant to be symbolic, but it’s symbolic of things that are very real. Saying it’s symbolic doesn’t mean it’s just vague. It’s real! There is a kingdom, there is a binding, there is a loosing of Satan. But we have seen that. It is history to us.
I’ve said this before, just to be…I don’t know, humorous, maybe. Poor humor, but nonetheless, you show me a beast with seven heads and ten horns, crawling up on a beach somewhere, ready to take over the world, and I will show you a future political kingdom lasting exactly a thousand years.
There is a reign, there is a binding of Satan that took place at the cross. Jesus gained the victory over Satan! He paraded him in defeat, as we read in Colossians chapter 2. There was a victory parade when…when you see the Gospel, you see demons absolutely bound, Jesus said that He would build His church, “…and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (KJV).
The gates of hell represent the gates of his kingdom where he keeps people prisoner! This is not a neutral world. If you are ever saved, you will be rescued from a very real power. You have no power to escape that apart from Christ and the Gospel!
( congregational amens ).
When you come to Christ you are rescued from the power of darkness and translated, “…into the kingdom of his dear Son.” There are gates that he would place between you and that victory, but God has the power to breach those gates and rescue every one that He has foreseen. Every one of His elect will be rescued, and brought out. In order to do that, He had to win a victory.
Do you think the devil would have been able, if he rules over this world, to simply stand by…or that he would have just put up with the Gospel going out to the ends of the world? Obviously, he’s been allowed to oppose it. But he has not been able to stop it! The Gospel has gone where God has purposed it!
Yes, it has gone in the face of persecution, it’s gone in the face of resistance. But Satan, if he had his way, would stamp it out, end it forever, unite the world under his dominion and that would be the end of it.
But Jesus said to His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” (NIV). And that’s what has happened. Thank God! I’ll tell you, when this binding in Revelation 20:7 took place. It had to do with one thing. It was to keep him from deceiving the nations any more until the thousand years were ended.
The thousand years is just a symbolic period. God doesn’t put stuff in the scriptures so we can calculate dates. People have done that to their shame over and over and over again. I don’t know when this is happening. I haven’t got a copy of God’s schedule, but He does. He doesn’t tell us to figure it out. He tells us to trust Him and be ready.
But anyway, there was a specific thing he was not allowed to do which was to unite the world under his dominion. So what happens when the thousand years are over? “When the thousand years are over…” verse 7, “…Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle.”
And so forth, and it goes on and talks about the fact that they gather and they come against the camp of the saints. You’ve got this imagery of, probably not a lot of people left at that point. I wouldn’t be surprised if a whole lot of people wind up going to heaven by the upper-taker…I mean, by the undertaker…the upper-taker, too. You understand.
A lot of people are gonna die for their faith in years to come. A lot of people are doing it right now. But I’ll tell you, God’s gonna get us every one there. The end is certain. Praise God for His promises!
But here you’ve got a picture of Satan somehow being allowed to bring the world to a place where he’s got them united against God. And he’s just about to snuff out the last little bit of the influence of saints, even their presence in the world! We’ve got it! We’ve got the victory in our hands. We’re just…ready to pounce…we’re poised and ready to pounce. Praise God! Anyway, then what happens? “But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.” Praise God!
God knows exactly when to do what. You know, another scripture that the Lord used many times, and has over the years, in 2nd Thessalonians 2. And I believe we are seeing this play out. Paul is writing and he’s writing concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him. So this is about the coming of the Lord. He’s not talking about God’s gonna make you vanish into thin air and then trouble’s gonna start. This is the point at which He comes, is what he’s gonna be talking about.
Then he immediately says…well, he says first of all…apparently somebody had been writing to him…writing to them and saying, this is what Paul is teaching. You need to listen to this. He says, wait a minute, that’s not from me. I didn’t send that. “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.”
There’s more to this than some singular individual. This is what we’re seeing unfold before us. I believe with all my heart, the rebellion it was talking about certainly fit what the Lord was showing us in the late 1960s. There was a spirit of rebellion against anybody that…against the existing order, against anybody over 30, don’t trust them. Tear down the system. Replace it with…you know, love and peace and joy and drugs and sex, I guess. But whatever it was, we want to do what we want to do. We’re tearing everything down.
And I’ll tell you, you had some of the same things going on then that you do now…militia marching in the streets. I mean, that was happening in neighborhoods near us. I don’t know what it was like here. But it was a terrible spirit of rebellion.
Do you think that just kind of went away? Or do you think it has been percolating in different ways through our society ever since? Those of you who lived in the 50s, let’s say, especially, and you can remember them…I don’t mean if you were two years old. But I mean, you remember the 50’s? Does the American of today even begin to resemble? No resemblance whatsoever! And it’s because the people involved had begun to make choices to not listen to the voice of God. There is a rebellion against God. That’s what you see unfolding here.
So there is a man of lawlessness being revealed. “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” You’ve got all kinds of stuff where…they’re gonna build a new temple in Jerusalem. God’s temple is not built with human hands! God designed human beings to be His temple.
We were made to be a house for God to live in! Your body, if you’re a believer, your body is a temple of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit. You don’t belong to yourself, you belong to Him. We were made for a Holy God to live in us, to empower us to be all that He made us as individuals to be.
We’re not clones. Every one of us has our own individual personality and abilities and all those things, but the energy needs to come from God. That’s what we were made for. But here you have a rebellion going on, in which men say, we’re not going along with You! We are going to be our own gods!