GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 11/03/02.
The Angelic Conflict
Beelzebub and his Satanic Deception Against the Human Race
Now that we have begun to study the fallen angels who are still fully operational and who are all around us today, we should recall scriptures such as 2TI 1:7, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind"; and 1Jo 4b, "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." This is the second category of fallen angels under the authority of Satan in the angelic conflict.
We have already noted one of Satan's most powerful demons, Abaddon, who is incapacitated (non-operational) at this time, imprisoned in the abyss. There is only one other fallen angel who is probably on an equal basis with him, and his name is Beelzebub, Satan's master of deceit. Beelzebub deals in the realm of deceit whereas Apollyon deals in the realm of the military. Beelzebub is the prince in charge of covert warfare against the human race; a good example of his work is "operation fake healer," Satan's plan to give demons and false teachers credibility in the Christian community. Satan's human deceivers include sorcerers who perform necromancy, exorcists, so-called "divine healers," and anyone involved in satanic signs and wonders, including the reproduction of the gift of tongues. No one has spoken in the legitimate gift of tongues since A.D. 70, 1CO 14:21-22.
1CO 14:6-9 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching? Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp? For if the bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.
This is a warning against exactly the kind of religious nonsense going on in many churches today, and this religious emotionalism is why many people are turned off from Christianity. Unfortunately, they do not realize it is Satan's counterfeit religion systems. The Apostle Paul continues in 1Co 14:10-12, "There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning. If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me. So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church." Those are the gifts that build up and edify the body of Christ, and not oneself.
1CO 14:18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.
Tongues were a sign to the unbeliever rather than the believer, 1CO 14:20-22, "Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be babes, but in your thinking be mature. In the Law it is written, '"By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me," says the Lord.' So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers, but to those who believe. If therefore the whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?" The modern tongues movement, along with other deceptions such as healing, miracles, and signs and wonders, is the work of an angelic covert aggressor named Beelzebub.
God will at times directly heal a person in response to prayer, however, the great power in the post-canon period of the Church-age is the power of the Word of God. Even the Lord Jesus Christ did not heal everyone He met. Satan and his demons, especially Beelzebub, promote miracles rather than living the spiritual life that God has provided. This is always one of the signs of the kingdom of darkness and evil, MAT 12:39, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign." In 2TH 2:9, we are told of the Antichrist, "He is the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders." Teachings that promote tongues, miracles, signs and wonders are evil in our day and age. Carnal, emotional people desire a miracle over living the spiritual life that God has provided.
Beelzebub is the head of a great demon organization that practices miracles of healing; in fact, even the Pharisees knew that Satan would use miracles to deceive the human race, Mat 12:22-24. When Beelzebub orders demons out of a human body, the illnesses they have been causing are instantly healed. There are three categories of illness,
(1) physiologically-induced illness related to the functions of the body,
(2) mentally-induced (psychosomatic) illness, and
(3) demon-induced illness. Certain forms of demon possession can cause illness, and when the victim goes to a so-called "divine healer" (who is only working for Satan), Beelzebub orders the demons to withdraw, resulting in an instant and real cure. People assume that the fake healer has great power and must be from God, and they listen to his false doctrine. This is how even born-again believers are led astray.
In addition to the two demon assault armies we have already noted (one led by Abaddon and the other by the four demon generals), there will come a third demon army commanded by Satan himself. These fallen angels, who currently reside in heaven, will attack at the sounding of the seventh trumpet in REV 11:15-12:17, launching a vicious assault upon all Jews in the greatest wave of anti-Semitism the world has ever seen. This army will even be engaged in warfare in heaven, but will be defeated by the angelic order of battle led by Michael the archangel, REV 12:7-8. As a result of this defeat, this third demon army will attack planet earth, REV 12:9. This attack is specifically directed against the Jews and is Satan's final attempt to wipe out every Jew on the earth.
The fact that Satan has an organization of fallen angels means that he is prepared to attack the human race. His structure and his organization is described in EPH 6:12, which says in corrected translation, "For our warfare is not against blood and flesh [the souls of other people and their sin nature], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."
· Rulers (archás) = the highest-ranking demons in Satan's organization, such as Abaddon and Beelzebub.
· Powers (exousías) = demon officers with great authority. They are extremely well-trained under a phenomenal system of leadership, and they control the cosmic system.
· World forces (kosmokrátoras) = Satan's demon ambassadors who control many of the rulers of this world.
· Spiritual forces of evil (pneumatiká teés poneerías) = demons in the atmosphere around the earth, the stellar universe, and even in the presence of God, representing Satan.
During the Church-age, demon attacks on the unbeliever come in two forms-demon possession and demon influence, in which "doctrines of demons" enter the soul of the unbeliever. Demon attacks on believers are limited to demon influence, in which the doctrines of demons invade the right lobe of the believer's soul, as in 1TI 4:1-3. This takes place because of negative volition toward doctrine, which creates a vacuum in the soul and takes in the false concepts Satan has developed to distract people from the plan of God. This happens to the believer under demon influence, beginning with the process of wiping out all the doctrine he has learned. As our enemy in the angelic conflict, Satan employs strategies against us, 2CO 2:11, That no advantage be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his strategies."
Satan can easily take advantage of us unless we understand his strategy and the reason we are here.
EPH 6:11 commands us to "put on" Bible doctrine in our soul: "Put on the full armor from God so that you may always be able to stand firm [hold your ground] against the schemes [strategies] of the devil." For anyone who wonders why the devil is allowed to use strategies of deception on the human race, the answer is simply this: we are in the middle of a conflict between two kingdoms, and both kingdoms are after our soul! Satan's offensive action necessitates dependence on the Lord and the wall of fire on our part. The commands for defensive action against Satan, such as EPH 4:27, are very important to the Christian life: "And do not give the devil an opportunity." The Greek noun for "opportunity" is "topos," meaning a place or a room in your soul; Paul is warning us not to give one room in our soul to the devil. This defensive action, commanded in many passages such as EPH 6:13, JAM 4:7, 1PE 5:8-9, is a grace function for believers dependent upon the grace provision of God.
What God has provided for us He provides in grace, therefore we need to learn the value of grace. Grace for our defensive action has no weaknesses. However, when we use our human strengths and abilities against Satan, we are defeated and overrun. We are to take a defensive stand against Satan because he and his angels attack with offensive action, and God created the human race to resolve the angelic conflict. In human history, the sovereign will of God and free will of man coexist by divine decree, because human history is an extension of the prehistoric angelic conflict.
One question that needs to be answered is, "Why did a holy and righteous God, who is all-powerful and all-knowing, allow the fall of Satan and his angels to occur?" Based on God's Word, we may presume the following reasons:
· As we noted before, God is perfect, therefore His plan is perfect, and He allowed evil to come into being. Therefore, we must trust in the character and nature of God and believe that He knows exactly what He is doing and what is best for His creation. He does not desire His creatures to be robots, and in His justice He created them with free will.
· God allowed Satan and the fallen angels to rebel so that the elect angels and the human race would see the evil of sin and rebellion.
· God allowed sin because he wanted the angels to have a free-will choice to serve Him from their own personal love. Therefore, it was necessary to allow the fall of angels to show the grace of God in saving the elect angels and in the redemption of the human race. In man, God will magnify His grace forever before angels.
EPH 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
Satan learned in the prehistoric angelic conflict that he cannot attack the incorruptible sovereignty of God, so he attacks the volition of God's creatures, trying to coerce them to choose against the Creator and for the creature. (If you can't get to the parents, try the children.) Since man was created in history to resolve the prehistoric angelic conflict, Satan attacks at the weak point-the volition of mankind. The greatest attack on human volition occurred in the dispensation of the hypostatic union against the humanity of Christ. Our Lord was attacked constantly and was tempted beyond anything we will ever know, HEB 4:15, "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin."
Satan's offensive began in the prehistoric angelic conflict when he revolted against God with the thought, "I will be like the Most High God." The angelic conflict began with the satanic revolution in eternity past. Like all revolution and conspiracies, it began with a thought. Satan, as the most powerful of all creatures, succeeded in persuading one third of all angelic beings to revolt with him, REV 12:4. The result of the conflict was a great trial, in which Satan and all fallen angels were condemned to the eternal lake of fire, MAT 25:41, "Depart from me you who have been condemned into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels." Satan was already judged and condemned before the creation of the human race. However, he appealed the judgment, and God granted his appeal, and therefore mankind was created to resolve the angelic conflict. All witnesses in the appeal trial are members of the human race.
Satan's offensive strategy is directed entirely toward the volition of mankind, especially believers. Satan no longer attacks the volition of elect angels. His strategy is designed to attack the human race and corrupt human volition at two critical points, (1) the Gospel and (2) Bible doctrine. He will try anything to obscure the content of the Gospel and to corrupt the message of faith in Christ alone for eternal salvation. His objective is to establish systems of religion in which the works of mankind replace the function and mechanics of the grace of God, 2CO 4:3-4. Another attack on the Gospel is salvation by works, or faith plus some form of human effort, and of course this is a direct attack against scripture, GAL 2:16, ROM 3:28. Satan attacks the volition of the believer in the hope that he will reject doctrine. He seeks to obscure the importance of Bible doctrine through false doctrine, legalism, distraction, false scales of values, and any other form of pressure he can use. By neutralizing the importance of Bible doctrine, he hinders the believer from executing the predesigned plan of God. The goal of that predesigned plan is the glorification of God in the angelic conflict.
Another legitimate question that people may ask is this: "If the devil and his angels have already been sentenced to the lake of fire, then why does God allow them to roam free today?" An excellent answer is found in ROM 9:22-23, "What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory." In context, this deals with the unbelief of the Jews and the salvation of the Gentiles, however, the principle can still apply to Satan and the fallen angels. God is enduring with much patience "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction," namely Satan and the fallen angels, and He does so in order to reveal "the riches of His glory" upon "vessels of mercy," members of the human race.
Because Satan cannot directly attack God, he must concentrate his attack on humans who are vulnerable to his offensive strategy. His hope and plan is to persuade mankind to attack the character and nature of God as the third party in the conflict. This was his whole purpose in attacking the man named Job. It is very interesting to note that the first book of the Bible ever written is the book of Job (written in Archaic Hebrew). Job was written long before Moses wrote the first five books in the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). It is fascinating to see that the very first written book that God gave to mankind opens with a scene in the courtroom of heaven and the angelic conflict, as a man is being entered into evidence testing as a witness for the prosecution (God's case against
Satan). The book of Job is a phenomenal revelation of the angelic conflict and provides great insight into the reason we are here. And we are all here for one reason only, and that is to bring glory to God as His witnesses!
For a more detailed study, order last week's tapes, IA11-233 to IA11-236.