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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, October 12, 2018

Ephesians 6:10-12 (Lesson 37)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Ephesians (6:10-12)                                                       (Lesson 38)                               

Welcome to HBS.

For the past two weeks we’ve been studying Satan simply because many people deny his existence.  He has these folks believing him to be nothing more than a “principle of evil;” a disciplinary tool used by the Jewish fathers of old to frighten their children into behaving.  Today our society believes this “principle of evil” is comparable to a virus or a disease, an intangible unseen thing that floats around in our atmosphere attacking mankind.  And then there are folks who ignore him altogether, including Christians.  Do you not know the existence of Satan cannot be determined by the opinions of men?  The only source of truth about the devil is the Bible; that is why he tries to discredit God’s Word.  His attacks on Believers are designed to make them ineffective servants of God.  So, make no mistake Satan is not some imaginary principle, He is a real being and he’s every true Believer’s adversary:  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking someone whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8 - KJV).

Naturalists have observed a lion roars when he’s hungry.  They also say this is when he is the most dangerous.  Perhaps this tidbit helps some of you understand why the Apostle Peter warns people to be vigilant.  Note how he describes the devil.  Peter said, “he walketh,” he roareth,” and the Apostle John later wrote, “He is to be chained” (Revelation 20:1-3).  Ask yourself, would these men of God have written these words of warning to Believers, if Satan were only a “principle of evil.”  The short answer is “No.”  They’re telling us the devil is as real as real gets!

In the Grace Age our Apostle Paul identifies Satan as “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), and “the god of this world (i.e. age)” (2 Corinthians 4:4).  The latter doesn’t mean Satan is the God of the earth for that designation belongs to the Creator God:  The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1).  The god of this world (or present evil age – 5:16) means Satan is the god of the world systems, i.e. business, politics, religion, and every facet of society.  If you question this truth, try to name one world system that is not corrupted by evil (wickedness)!

The prince of the power of the air “means Satan is the ruler of the powers of darkness of the spirit world (Ephesians 6:11-12) and his position is so exalted Michael the Archangel may not speak against him (Jude 9).  He is so powerful mankind hasn’t a chance against him without divine assistance, and this is why we’re all here.  To answer the question:  What does this book have to say about our chief enemy and his schemes?

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Please open your Bible at Ephesians 6:10-12.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle (we wrestle – KJV) is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Here we have our Apostle Paul’s final command on how to walk worthy in this section of scripture.  He begins with the word “Finally,” but it doesn’t mean we’ve reached the end of Paul’s letter.  It conveys the meaning “here’s the final item you need to tend to, in addition to those things I’ve already mentioned.”  What still has to be done?  Believers are to “Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. 

There’s a similar message to Joshua in 1:6-7 I want y’all to see:  Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people (the Israelites) possession of the (promised) land (flowing with milk and honey) which I swore to their fathers to give them.  Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.

Through Moses, the LORD God promised His chosen people they would inherit a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8).  This was the Promised Land and it would belong to the nation of Israel always, God said so.  But here’s the thing, there were enemies living in the land, some of whom were giants (See Goliath).  Thus the reason for the LORD’s admonition “be strong and very courageous.”  The LORD had promised He would go before His people as a “mighty Man of war” to do battle on their behalf:

“The LORD is a man of war:  the LORD is His name (Exodus 15:3). 

These words are actually part of a song or poem, raised by Moses and the whole nation of Israel after the LORD God spared them from the wrath of Pharaoh and his army by destroying them in the Red Sea. 

I mentioned last week most Christians either overplay spiritual warfare or they don’t give it a second thought, thereby playing right into the devil’s hand.  Believers are to be sober minded, vigilant 24/7/365, otherwise even the elect can be led astray.  

Jesus Christ is informing those who have “ears to hear” how it will be in the last days:
For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:24 - KJV).

It isn’t likely a true Believer will set themselves up as Christ Jesus, or as a false prophet, but it is possible for a true Believer to be temporarily deceived and this is because there is so much around us that is designed to lead us astray.  But if you’re a true Believer, led by the Holy Spirit, holding fast to what the Bible has revealed, you won’t be deceived for very long.   

Why?  Counterfeits are easy to spot if you’ve studied the real thing!  Rookie treasury agents are trained to recognize counterfeit money by studying genuine U.S. currency.  They spend so much time poring over real money, when they come across the “funny money” the deception is rather obvious.  Thus, if you’re a diligent Bible student intent on obtaining knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, you too will recognize a “wannabe” or a false statement, even if you’ve been momentarily deceived. 

Therefore every Believer needs to familiarize themselves with the writings of our Apostle Paul (he is God’s called Apostle to the Gentiles – Romans 1:1) such as the heavenly blessings they have received at conversion and their eternally secure position in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1, 2).   In addition they should recognize the spiritual significance of each blessing because the battle has shifted from the earth to the heavenly realm, as Paul explains in 6:12: 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness (where) in the heavenly places. 

At the present, the heavenly realm (the first and second heaven) is occupied by Satan and his fallen angelic host, and he has no intention of relinquishing any of his authority or territory without a fight!

Since Satan’s rebellion in eternity past, he has sought to thwart the plans and purpose of God.  It begins for us in Genesis chapter 3 when the serpent deceived the woman, this caused the man to decide to eat the forbidden fruit for sin and death entered the world through the man not the woman (Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:21).   In order to prevent the seed of the promised Redeemer from entering the world, he influenced Cain to kill his brother Abel (Genesis 4:1-17).  Cain’s descendants perished in the world-wide flood.  The genealogy of Adam goes through his son Seth to Noah (Genesis 5:3-32; Luke 3:23-38).   Then in the days of Noah he corrupted the entire human race (Genesis 6:1-2).  When the LORD God turned His attention from the Gentiles (the entire human race) to Abraham (the father of the Jewish nation – Genesis 12), this placed a target on his back and then the Israelites in turn, causing them to disobey and rebel against the LORD God repeatedly.  Some of you may be aware Satan tried to do away with the baby Jesus.  When King Herod the Great, the Roman-appointed King of the Jews, heard of Jesus’ birth from the Magi, he ordered the death of every infant two years old and younger (Matthew 2:16).  

Now that Israel has been set aside in unbelief (but not forgotten as some people believe – Acts 7) God has turned His attention to the Body of Christ (the church) and all true Believers are targeted by the devil, especially if you’re leading in the cause of Christ.  Believe me when I say Satan intends to silence you and the message of the Cross.

This is why Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord,” or “Strengthen yourselves in the Lord.”  The first thing y’all should realize is we’re no match for Satan.  He is a powerful spiritual being and we must not try to take him on alone.  Satan knows God is our power-base.  Therefore it stands to reason Satan’s goal is to get between you and God and the world is filled with stuff to accomplish this.   

Satan was defeated and his stranglehold on humanity was broken at the Cross of Christ Jesus.  But the devil doesn’t want people to be aware of this:

For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). 

Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.  Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out” (John 12:30-32). 

Let’s study Ephesians 6:10b next. 

and in the strength of His mightfirst, this is the Lord’s battle, not ours.  The next thing is we are merely willing soldiers in Christ Jesus’ army and we obey all orders from Headquarters without question (2 Chronicles 20:12-15; John 14:15, 21-24; 2 John 1:6).

The Apostle James wrote:  Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7), meaning we all should keep as much distance from the devil and his schemes as humanly possible.  Paul exhorts us “… do not give the devil a foothold” in your life (Ephesians 4:27).  Although our Apostle Paul is tying this command to his previous statement, ‘BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger… (4:26), in essence he’s saying, “Do not yield to the suggestions and temptations of your adversary.”  The old adage, “Give the devil an inch and he’ll take a mile” has meaning.  We put distance between Satan and ourselves by recognizing the snares he has laid in our path and saying, “No” to temptation. 

If you’re frequently revisiting sinful practices, playing in the devil’s sandbox, you are first and foremost not displaying Christ-like character.  From the world’s standpoint this makes you a hypocrite, because you’re trying to wear two faces simultaneously, one a Christian and the other the devil’s playmate.  Secondly, Satan is achieving his goal in making you an ineffective ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). 

“…and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one;” (Matthew 6:13).

No temptation has seized you, except what is common to man.  And God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able (to resist; just say no), but will also provide with the temptation the escape, to be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

…if all this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment (2 Peter 2:9).

Idle hands (and minds) are the devil’s workshop” (Proverbs 16:27-29).  Here’s an example from scripture which most folks are aware of:  King David, “the man after God’s own heart,” opted to stay at home instead of leading his men in battle.  In a moment of idleness, i.e. “weakness” he spied Bathsheba taking a bath from his rooftop and the rest is unfortunate history.  I say unfortunate because this event and those that followed could have been, should have been, avoided.   If David had tended to the LORD’s business instead of engaging in monkey business, he would not have had to deal with the effects of his sin (Numbers 32:23; 2 Samuel 11).    

So Paul challenges all true Believers to be strong in the Lord because we’re up against a formidable adversary.  Please don’t misunderstand.  His power is limited; he can’t read our minds and he can’t be everywhere at once, for instance.  In the book of Job we find Satan seeking permission from the LORD to harass Job (Job 1).  But the devil knows us better than we know ourselves and by that I mean to say “He knows our weaknesses and floods our life with them.”  And he doesn’t work alone.  He has his forces of this darkness to help him do his dirty work. 

Perhaps you’ve seen an episode on Animal Planet (or the like) where they show a lion on the prowl and him attacking his prey.  This is usually the animal found daydreaming or lagging behind the main pack due to illness or a physical restraint?  The film shows the lion pouncing on his prey, dragging it down, and devouring it.  Satan operates in this fashion.  His primary goal is to drag you and as many others as he can down.  He is crafty; he waits and watches for the best time to attack us, usually when we’re alone because this is when we’re most vulnerable and prone to weakness.  So, we must never take Satan on in our own strength because we are powerless to defeat him; we’ll simply suffer one setback after another.  The only way the Believer can endure the devils attacks is to “put on the full armor of God and standing firm relying solely in the strength of His might (6:10-11).

So my question for the group is this, “Why would Believers doubt God’s is Omnipotent (all powerful) after all He’s done for us?”  Paul began this letter with a list of God’s blessings we all received at our conversion:   

God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him (1:4)

He predestined us to adoption as sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will (1:5)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished upon us (1:7-8)

He made known to us the mystery of His will (1:9)

we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (1:11)

having also believed (the gospel, a.k.a. good news), you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption (1:14)

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 (2:4-6).

God is on His throne and in control.  Knowing this why do people believe God lacks the power to get them through the trials and tribulations they’re facing along with those unseen difficulties just over the horizon?  The greatest display of God’s power was demonstrated in raising His Son from the grave on the third day? 

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe.  He displayed this power in the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:18-20; Psalm 110:1; John 10:11, 17-18; Acts 2:24, 27, 13:33, 37).     

If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31).

Being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might without a doubt is preliminary to the preparation for spiritual warfare.  It will do you no good to put your armor on and enter the fight if you have no source of strength.  Imagine a knight of the realm putting on all that heavy armor and attempting to go into battle with a serious case of the flu.  What do you think will happen?  The armor is of no use to him because he lacks the strength to lift his shield and parry his enemy’s sword thrust.  He will become a casualty of the battle and of no use to his liege quite quickly because he’s unable to stand firm.     

Thus, the preliminary step in preparation for battle is to be strong and in spiritual warfare that strength cannot be found in us.  If you think our knight was in trouble trying to fight while suffering from the flu, trying to fight against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (6:12) in your own power is considerably worse.

An example of this principle occurred in Ephesus in Acts 19:13.  There were seven sons who were Jewish exorcists and they went from place to place attempting to cast out evil spirits.  They would try to get the demons to leave an individual by invoking the name of Christ as an incantation saying, I bind you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”  Verses 15-16 record the evil spirit’s response, I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”  And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued and overpowered them all, so that they fled out of the house naked and wounded.  This is the result of going into spiritual warfare without being “strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

To be strong in the Lord literally means:  to be strong or courageous in His cause.  Our Apostle Paul suffered greatly “for this cause” (Acts 9:15-16).  One example of this is he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (the prison letters) during his first Roman imprisonment.   What was the cause?  Paul preached the revelation of the mystery to Gentiles and the Jews: 

…if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you (Gentiles); that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery (secret), as I wrote before in brief (Ephesians 3:1-12). 

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; (Romans 16:25-26; 2 Corinthians 4:5-18).

…giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry (the cause) will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report… (2 Corinthians 6:3-10).

Like ocean waves beating against the shoreline, persecution, trials, tribulations, and the ensuing suffering come in unrelenting waves.  Case in point, no apostle of Jesus Christ suffered more than our Apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 11:22-28) and yet he “fought the good fight” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).  He didn’t surrender to his hardships, in other words.  He stayed the course for the cause for which he had been called, i.e. the stewardship of the mystery of grace, giving God the glory. 

Our Apostle Paul didn’t have a moral flaw to attack, so here’s an example of the devil’s all out attack on his person and the reason for it:    

Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!  Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Paul’s thorn in the flesh came by way of a messenger of Satan with a dual purpose.  Whatever this malady may have been it tormented him day and night and it kept him from being conceited or as Paul said, “to keep me from exalting myself.” 

Who among us has not experienced persecution, trials and tribulations, things that torment us mentally and physically in this life?   But who, when they felt cornered and  the weight of the world was upon their shoulders realized God is not only with us He is for us (Romans 8:30-32, 37-39).   

Look at what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:7:  For God has not given to us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  

And then to the saints in Philippi:  I can do all things through Him (Jesus Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). 

The battle isn’t ours; it belongs to the Lord and we draw our strength for spiritual warfare from Him.

The next thing Paul said we’re to do is Put on the full armor of God.  Why - “so that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

True Believers mustput on the full armor of God.”  Some may be asking “Where do I find this armor?  It’s important to understand God has already provided us this armor; all we need do is put it on.  I find it remarkable many people look to worldly armor for protection.  Permit me to explain:  the theologian Charles Hodge (1797-1878) correctly warned “men have always been disposed to trust [the arms] which they provide for themselves or which have been prescribed by others. Seclusion from the world (i.e. flight rather than conflict), ascetic and ritual observances, invocation of saints and angels, and especially, celibacy, voluntary poverty, and monastic obedience...” This is the armor of false religion, and not the armor of God.

The purpose for this spiritual armor is so we may be able to “stand firm” against the “schemes” of the devil.  The Koine Greek word for “stand firm” is Steko (stay’-ko), Verb, Strong’s Greek #4739, meaning:  to stand firm, to persevere.  Paul borrowed a military term to convey the meaning Believers are to hold their ground, i.e. hold their present position. 

The word “schemes” is the Koine Greek word Methodeia (meth-od-i’-ah), Noun, Feminine, Strong’s Greek # 3180, meaning:  a method; scheming, craftiness, deceit.  We get our English word method from this term.  Paul’s saying the great deceiver, the devil, has many methods which he uses to attack people.  Paul’s saying “stand firm; hold your position against these attacks.” 

We will discuss this further in the upcoming Bible lesson, but for now I want us to focus solely on the devil, his demonic horde, and his well organized schemes for it is these we’re to stand firm against.  Why, because one of Satan’s schemes is distraction.  He wants the Church not only to be divided against itself, he wants them thinking people are the real problem.  Warren Wiersbe brings this matter into the light by saying, “We are wasting our time fighting people when we ought to be fighting the devil who seeks to control people and make them oppose the work of God.”

The devil wants our focus off of the spiritual battle and onto the problems we’re facing.  He wants us to believe people are the problem, when in fact Satan is behind the disorder.  We know this because Paul clarifies it in 6:12, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood…”  People are not the problem.  Sin and the devil are the problem and if we lose that focus we end up fighting one another which is a complete waste of time and energy.   

We need the full complement of the armor of God because the devil is scheming – methodical – in trying to exploit our weaknesses.  He’s looking for weaknesses in our armor so he can attack us.  We also need it because Satan has a well organized horde of demonic followers.  We also learn this from v12 Paul said our struggle is “…against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

The KJV uses the word “we wrestle” instead of the word “struggle.” This is a good description of our struggle because the language used here is that of hand-to-hand combat; the most brutal type of fighting there is.  Today we launch cruise missiles at our enemies from far way never seeing their face.  The type of fighting Paul explains is front line action; trench warfare.     

Revelation 12:4 indicates a third of the angels rebelled along with Satan and they were defeated.  Paul has divided these demonic forces into ranks.  We need to know this is a vast army, and it is well organized.  Here Paul describes these forces of wickedness as:

Rulers or principalities (Ephesians 3:10); Powers (Ephesians 3:10); World-forces of this darkness (Ephesians 1:21); and Spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:2). 

Some people in the church have tried to specify the abilities and duties of each of these ranks.  However, the Bible doesn’t go there and neither will I.  We understand we’re not wrestling with flesh and blood, an allusion to the ancient Isthmian Games of Greece.  It was named after the Isthmus of Corinth where they were held.  One of the fan-favorites was wrestling (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).  Here it refers to the struggle or combat which the true Believer must maintain. 

We also know a demon referred to as the “prince of the kingdom of Persia” withstood the angel sent to answer Daniel’s prayer for 21 days until the Archangel Michael, called on one of “the chief princes” to help (Daniel 10:13).  This tells us God’s angles and Satan’s demons are both ranked, but here’s the thing, the ranking and ability of any demon is unimportant to us, what is important is the devil’s demonic ranks attack us from the second and first heaven so, we need to stand firm 24/7/365.  

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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Friday, October 5, 2018

Ephesians 6:10-11 (Lesson 37)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

Established November 2008                                                 Published Weekly on Friday

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men (and women) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (1Timothy 2:3-4)

Ephesians (6:10-11)                                                       (Lesson 37)                               

Welcome to HBS.

Beginning in Ephesians 4: our Apostle Paul began explaining how true Believers are to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” or how to conduct themselves in the church, their marriage, their family, the workplace, and now the world-at-large.  Paul’s teaching these folks how a citizen of heaven ought to live as an ambassador of Jesus Christ here on earth (Philippians 3:20; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 4:15 - 6:11).  He also wants these folks to understand they have three enemies that intend to hinder their daily walk with the Lord, the flesh, the devil, and the world.

We began a study of our spiritual adversary, Satan, and his proven strategy last week which the Bible defines as “the lie.”  Satan blinds mankind from the Truth and the “light of the gospel” that saves and he has had great success in convincing people “They can be like God” (Romans 2:16, 16:25; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; 2 Corinthians 4:4).

Put simply, Satan doesn’t want you to know the Truth.  Instead he promotes his lie, considering himself as god:  Again the devil took Him (Jesus Christ) to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him,All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me  (Matthew 4:8-9).

Think this through.  Were “these things, all the kingdoms of the world,” his to give?  Absolutely, since the fall, the devil is recognized as “the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons (and daughters) of disobedience” (Genesis 3:14-15; John 8:32, 12:31, 14:6)!   But the devil’s hold on mankind and the world has an expiration date.  One day future God the Father will “sum up all things in Christ Jesus,” i.e. to gather up into one.  The Lord Jesus Christ will be the Head of everything in heaven and the earth:

…as a plan for the fullness of time, to bring all things in heaven and on earth together in Christ” (Ephesians 1:10);

For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow to me, and every tongue will give praise to God (Romans 14:11).

A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet" (Psalm 110:1)

Our Apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 2:11 said, “We are not to be ignorant of his (Satan’s) schemes” or the plans, the strategies, and the snares the devil has laid in our path.  True Believers are to be aware of him and how he works his evil on mankind.  We accomplish this by knowing something of his character and his repeated practice of deception and confusion.  The Word of God unmasks Satan’s disguises and reveals his true character and schemes, so there is no reason to walk (live our lives) in ignorance.

So, in our study of Ephesians 6:10-11, HBS is attempting to show y’all what God has revealed about His enemy and ours by opening the pages of the Bible.  We’ve already seen one of the cleverest tricks he ever played was getting the world to believe he doesn’t exist.  If there is no enemy, there isn’t a need to defend ourselves, our homes, our marriages, our workplace, and the world in which we live.

For those who aren’t fooled by Satan’s deception he doesn’t exist, he establishes false ideas about himself.  “…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).  Make no mistake Satan is the master deceiver of the universe.  Therefore true Believers are to “be sober minded (clear minded)” alert (vigilant) at all times, because “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

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THE LIE and the End of the Age

Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.  And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things?  Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”  As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age” (Matthew 24:1-2)?

Jesus’ statement about the LORD God’s temple stunned the Twelve.  His distressing statement created many questions among them.  They asked Him when these things would occur and when would He return and end the age.  They were especially interested to learn when the age would end and when He would establish the Messianic kingdom because Jesus had promised they would rule in it (Matthew 19:28; Acts 1:6-8). 

In Jesus’ explanation of the events that would occur He emphasized one point repeatedly:  do not be deceived.”  

And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many (Matthew 24:4-5, 7:13-20). 

The word translated “mislead” is Planao’ (plan-ah’-o), Verb, Strong’s Greek #4105, meaning:  lead astray, deceive; cause to wander.  Jesus warned his disciples two more times in this passage essentially underlining this vital warning about the coming deception:

Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many (Matthew 24:11). 

For false Christ’s and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24).

Here Jesus means to say “Do not be led away from the truth” (John 14:6; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

What “age” is this?

The greatest deception the world will experience will occur at the end of this “age.”  C.S. Lewis said, “God will invade.  But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in world matters realize what it will be like when He does.  When the Lord returns (to the earth) it is the end of this world (this age).  When the Author (Colossians 1:13-20) walks upon the stage, the play is over.” 

The O.T. prophets called this time the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:30-32; Zephaniah 1:14-18).  Jesus called it the tribulation (Matthew 24:15-22) and the great tribulation (the last 3.5 years) Matthew 24:21); “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).  Now, it’s a fact many churches today recognize and teach this as a day of celebration and joy.  But that is a false teaching because the Second Coming of the Lord is not a picnic by the lake; it’s a time of judgment and God’s wrath!

Go into the rocks and hide in the dust from the (what) terror of the LORD and the splendor of His majesty (Isaiah 2:10).

The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed; thorns and thistles will grow over their altars.  Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!”  (Hosea 10:8).

Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; (Revelation 6:15-16).

Do the passages above describe a delightful scene?  I don’t think so.  During this time period Jesus warned of the “abomination of desolation” of Daniel’s prophesy (Daniel 9:27).  It is a time when God will pour out His wrath and judge a disbelieving, Christ-rejecting world.  These events will occur sometime after God has completed the building up of His church, the Body of Christ and removed it from this planet.  How do we know this?  This is what the Bible says.  Let’s take a look at what our Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about the Day of the Lord:

Now as to the times and the epochs (seasons), brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.  For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief, for you are all sons of light and sons of day.  We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others (the unbelievers) do, but let us (do what) be alert and sober (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11). 

Paul always wrote to Believers, not to unbelievers.  He distinguished between “they,” “them,” i.e., unbelievers (verse 3) and “you,” “we,” “us,” i.e., Believers (verses 1-2, 4-6, 8-11).  Members of the Body of Christ will not, indeed, cannot experience God’s wrath, i.e., the Day of the Lord (Tribulation) because “God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9, 1:10). 

The salvation Paul wrote about here was salvation from the day of the Lord through the event known as the Rapture.  Paul had written about it earlier in the letter (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53).  This church event removes the Body of Christ from harm's way.   

There is much disagreement about what Paul wrote.  But in Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he corrected the false teaching that had come to the Thessalonians.  They were being taught members of the Body of Christ would go through the Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).  But the church will not experience God’s wrath it is reserved for the belligerent, unbelieving world.  So let's be clear, God will remove His Church prior to the great and terrible day of the Lord (Zephaniah 1:14-18).

Paul’s letter of 2 Thessalonians elaborated on doctrine he had written in his first letter. In that letter, he made it clear God would remove the Church, a.k.a. the Body of Christ before the day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  He began his first letter with a word of assurance that they would not experience the day of the Lord, i.e., “the wrath to come.”  

Paul wrote:  For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10). 

Paul expected the Lord to return during his lifetime and He would rescue all true Believers from the day of the Lord.

The Coming Antichrist: the Embodiment of the Lie

Following the Lord’s healing of a man at the pool by the sheep market, Jesus made this declaration to the Jews in Jerusalem: 

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.   I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.   I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him” (John 5:39-43). 

Jesus warned the Jewish nation that while they had rejected Him, another would come whom they would receive.  Jesus told them He had come in His Father’s name but that an impostor would come in his own name proclaiming to have all the right answers to the troubles this world is facing.  This individual will be the Antichrist, the lawless one, the son of perdition, or the beast of Revelation.  In his second letter to the Thessalonians Paul provided additional information about the deception with the coming Antichrist which he received by revelation from the risen Lord.  He wrote:

“Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of (who) Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,  and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.  For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

Another way of putting this is, “And on account of this (their rejection of God and His invitation to be saved by grace through faith (alone) – 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) God will send all these folks (the unbelievers) a deluding influence so they will believe Satan’s lie.” 

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.  Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.  For they exchanged the truth of God for (what) a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen (Romans 1:22-32).

The lie during the day of the Lord will be Satan is god (Isaiah 14:14) in the person of the Antichrist.  But the book of Revelation also reveals Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet, to be the counterfeit, unholy trinity.  These three will perform supernatural signs and by so doing deceive the world with the lie that Satan is god. 

The Warnings in Revelation

In Revelation, Jesus appeared to the Apostle John and gave him specific instructions to seven Jewish assemblies, a.k.a. the 7 churches.  John sent the book of Revelation to these assemblies to strengthen them in the tribulation they were experiencing (Revelation 1:9).  The interpretation of the events depicted in the book remains future.  However in the future, a generation of Jews will study these words as they experience the Day of the Lord.  Jesus’ words are words of salvation for that future generation as they face the pressure to worship Satan’s man, the Beast, and accept “the mark of the beast.”  The Lord’s instructions to them were an extension of His teachings to the Jews in Matthew 24.  John wrote the things he witnessed in the Spirit were “on the Lord’s Day.  John is not referring to the Sabbath day, as some people teach; he’s speaking of God’s righteous judgment to come on the day of the Lord (Zephaniah 1:7-18; Joel 2:1-7). 

The world of Revelation is a wholly different world from the world we experience in our Age of Grace.  Miracles, prophecy, signs, wonders have returned.  They will be reestablished because the time of Revelation is the last seven years of Israel’s history according to Daniel’s prophecy regarding Israel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:24). 

Signs and miracles were routine occurrences during the Prophetic Program or the LORD God’s dealings with the nation Israel.   

Paul wrote:   For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22). 

While the Day of the Lord will affect the entire world, in terms of prophecy, the nation of Israel is God’s primary focus.  It is called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7).  Jesus warned of the great deception of the Antichrist.  He arrives on the end-time stage claiming to be god, the messiah, God incarnate, and he will produce miraculous signs to support his claim.  Working through him, the beast, Satan will attempt to fulfill his boast, “I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14) and maintain his rule of the earth (Ezekiel 28:13; Matthew 4:8-9; 2 Corinthians 4:4).

The warnings Jesus gave to these future Jewish churches have two key elements.  The first is the admonition, “he who has an ear, let him hear.”  The second is Jesus’ refrain about “overcoming.”  The language of “overcoming” is clearly associated with salvation, “not hurt by the second death,” “not erase his or her name from the book of life,” etc.  Overcoming” here means an individual remains faithful to Jesus Christ which will be accomplished in one of two ways: 

1) Accepting death (martyrdom) instead of worshiping the beast, worshiping his image, and accepting the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:3-4, 7-10, 15-17, 20:4). 

2) Surviving until the Lord returns  Since the majority of earth’s inhabitants will die at this time, surviving God’s Judgments will be quite a feat (Revelation 6:9-11, 9:13-14, 17:6). 

It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.  All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.  If anyone has an ear, let him hear.  If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed.  Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints (Revelation 13:7-10). 

Religion is Satan’s system to blind humanity about God. Religious deception will reach its apex during the Tribulation. John witnessed the advent of the great false religious leader who corresponds to the Holy Spirit in the false trinity. The Holy Spirit draws men and women to Christ. The False Prophet will draw men and women to the Antichrist.

John recorded:  Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.  He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence.  And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.  He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.  And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life (Revelation 13:11-14).

At the mid-point of the Tribulation, deception will intensify greatly upon earth since God will remove Satan from heaven onto the earth.  Satan will recognize he has but a short time to accomplish his goals (Revelation 12:12). 

The following verses reveal the deception Jesus warned about:

…and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery (Revelation 18:23). 

And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone (Revelation 19:20). 
…and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time (Revelation 20:3). 

Conclusion

Satan is “the father of lies” who proclaims “the lie.”  He is the master confidence artist. His pitch can be appealing but it always leads to sorrow, loss, and death.  Despite the New Age church’s teaching, there is but one path to eternal life and that is faith in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  God never disappoints.  He is Faithful (Revelation 3:14, 19:11).  Trusting and following Him leads to joy, honor, and eternal life.  So, it goes without saying the first step to unmask the devil and remove Satan’s cloak of deception is to believe the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24; Romans 2:16; Galatians 1:6-9).

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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