The Spiritual Warfare—from Beginning to End :: By Gene Lawley

When we look at the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, we see a time frame of continual warfare. It can be traced to that confrontation between God and Satan that has its beginning in Genesis 1:1a, “In the beginning, God created the heavens….” All that is included in “the heavens” that God brought into being had to be all of the angels and the planets, stars, moons and the whole universe. In Genesis 1:1b-2, then, He continues those initial revelations:

“…and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

This is an important example that nothing happens until God makes it happen. Even though God’s creation of the top angel of all of that host, Lucifer, was given the freedom to disobey by choice, along with a third of all the host of heaven, he could do nothing creative. The earth remained without form and void, even though Lucifer—Satan—had determined to replace God on His throne and rule over the universe. Note that declaration in Isaiah 14:12-15:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.”

That prophecy was established long before it was recorded by Isaiah, and it reaches into the future until Lucifer, now known as Satan, is finally cast into the pit of hell’s everlasting fire, reported in Revelation 20:10-15, along with the Antichrist and false prophet and all those whose names are not written in the Book of Life.

That warfare between God and Satan is the foundation for all of the controversies of mankind over the centuries, past and future, for that spiritual enemy has no letup. Peter describes him as a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

And the Apostle Paul tells us that Satan can also present himself as an angel of light with his powers of deception (2 Corinthians 11:14). Then John, in John 10:10a, reveals a great truth about that thief, Satan, that he “only comes to steal, kill and destroy.” Note that it says he ONLY comes to create devastation and destruction. There is not one tiny bit of goodness in that one.

His purpose is set forth in that passage above from Isaiah 14:12-15, that he intends to take over God’s throne and demand that all worship him as God. But how can the creature rule over the Creator; it will never happen. God is the only one who can rebuke that evil one and his followers, and He, God, is the One who is restraining the onslaught of evil we are seeing as the “falling away” spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7. In that context, we are told that his advanced deceiver, the Antichrist, will personify Satan, bring defamation into the Jewish temple, and demand that all people worship him.

In that spiritual warfare now increasing, Satan is attacking God’s greatest creation, those whom God created in His own image–mankind. How many times do we see in the Scriptures when the plan of God was attempted to be overthrown by some diversion by Satan? One notable time was when Peter rebuked Jesus for His declaration that He was headed for death on the cross in Matthew 16:22-23:

“Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.'”

Note how subtle that contradiction to God’s plan came, even through Peter. It highlights for true believers how careful one must be in rightly dividing the Word of Truth in the positions we take on the doctrines of Scripture.

Theologians have well established that God is complete in Himself, that He does not need anything to fulfill a lacking, for He lacks nothing. As Psalm 90:2 says, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Thus, if He had a need, He could create it. Instead, He created all things for a different purpose.

A question then comes to mind. Does God need glorification? Does He glorify Himself, in a selfish manner? The answer must be “no,” for He is totally complete in Himself. Why, then, are we busy about glorifying God, and essentially so? I submit that it is a strategic issue in that real-time spiritual warfare with Satan.

That passage in Isaiah 14 quoted earlier tells of Satan’s desire and driving purpose to dethrone God and sit on His throne. That will never occur, but it is God’s glory that constantly reminds Satan that his cause has long been canceled, and He is doomed, just as that passage tells us. He will be cast into the lowest place in the pit of hell.

Likewise, the glory of the Lord must be constantly before the world to remind all peoples that God reigns in the universe. Therefore, glorifying the Lord is an ongoing desire in the hearts of true believers. That first and great commandment, and the first four of the ten commandments, reflect that concept of the ultimate supremacy of the God of the universe. Look at that great commandment and note its all-compelling demand for mankind’s complete submission to Him, the giver of all life:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself'” (Luke 10:27).

Finally, we see the end of that warfare at the end of Revelation 20 when Satan is cast into that eternal lake of fire, as always was the fixed plan of God. And we see in the prayer of Jesus in John 17:21 the purpose and intent of God for those who have believed in Him:

“…That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

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