Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time (Revelation 12:12).
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be constantly aware that the devil is out to destroy us. Therefore, Paul says, we need to know as much as we can about the enemy's tactics and plans: Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
The above passage from Revelation tells us Satan has declared all-out war on God's saints. It also mentions that the devil has a deadline to complete his work: because he knoweth that he hath but a short time (Revelation 12:12).
While many Christians slumber at this midnight hour, just as Jesus predicted, the devil is working ferociously, making preparation for war. He is keenly aware of the short time he has to accomplish his evil purposes so he gives his eyes no rest. He is ever scheming, ever devising ways to harass and destroy the church of Jesus Christ!
So, when did the devil first realize his time was short? Did this knowledge come to him over the past century, as he read the signs of the times? Did he realize it as the nation of Israel was reborn, and nation began rising against nation? Did he recognize it when he saw a great falling away from the Christian faith? Did he suddenly deduct from biblical references regarding these events that Jesus was about to return for his bride?
And when the devil came to this realization that his time was short, did he fly into a panic? Did he scramble to set up a war room on earth, planning a last-ditch, frantic battle against the church? Did he say to himself, Time is slipping away. I've got to work fast, because I have only a short time before Christ returns!
No! Satan's deadline was given to him centuries ago. It can be traced to a great wonder that took place in the heavens. This wonder was an incredible warfare, when Satan determined to destroy the Christ child:
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered (verses 1-2).
The sun in this passage represents God. And the woman clothed with the sun represents Christ's bride, or God's chosen people. (She's crowned with twelve stars, which stand for the twelve tribes of Israel, as well as the twelve disciples.) Finally, the child to be born here is Jesus, the deliverer. The passage continues:
There appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon [the devil] having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born (verses 3-4).
Satan is pictured here as waiting on the earth to destroy the Christ child as it was born. And oh, how often the devil tried to devour Jesus! Satan first used Herod to try to destroy Christ, ordering the evil king to murder all the male babies in Bethlehem. Herod's exceeding anger was a demonic rage an incarnation of the devil himself!
You might wonder, If Herod was Satan-possessed, why didn't the devil point out to him which child was Christ? Why did all male babies have to be killed? The Lord blinded Satan's eyes! As this passage tells us, God hid Christ from the enemy for a season: She brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne (verse 5).
Next, scripture says, There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not (verses 7-8). This war was waged by Satan against the son of God and the devil lost. He was overcome by the blood of the cross, defeated once and for all!
Moreover, Satan lost his access to heaven: neither was their place found any more in heaven (verse 8). that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (verse 9).
At one time the devil's movements weren't limited to the earth. Job tells us, There was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them (Job 1:6). The devil must have come before God's throne frequently as the accuser of the brethren.
But today Satan no longer has God's ear. He can't accuse God's children of anything anymore because Christ's blood has prevailed over all his lies! Jesus intercession for us now has nothing to do with refuting Satan's accusations. As far as God is concerned, the victory of the cross negated them all!
Satan may lie to you, giving you no rest from his accusations. But he can't accuse you to the heavenly father. He's been banned from heaven and all his accusations are meaningless!
The War Rages on and It's
Being Waged on Earth!
The great cosmic war is no longer between Christ and the devil. Jesus now sits safely with the heavenly father, well beyond Satan's reach. But the devil is still waging a war against Christ by directing it against his seed!
The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17). The same fury and temptation that Satan aimed at Jesus in the wilderness now comes against all who would follow Christ!
Peter gives us this warning: Be sober, be diligent, because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). This doesn't mean the devil is hovering in the cosmos somewhere, giving orders to his demonic hosts. We just read that Satan was cast down to earth, when Christ defeated him at the cross. Thus, the devil's kingdom is limited to the here-and-now.
(The spiritual wickedness in high places Paul speaks of has to do with spiritual depravity in high government offices and backslidden church leadership. Paul is saying Satan's spirit is at work in many who occupy these influential positions.)
Contrary to the thinking of some Christians, Satan doesn't possess omnipotent power. He has been defeated by Jesus and stripped of all authority. Nor is Satan omniscient, meaning he can't read minds. And he's not omnipresent, he can't be everywhere at one time. He is physically limited to being in one place at any one time.
But Satan does have principalities and powers stationed throughout the earth. And his host of demons feed him intelligence at his beck and call. They hear you when you pray, and they see your obedience to God. And that's what stirs up Satan's wrath against you!
When scripture says, (the devil) knoweth that he hath but a short time (verse 12), it's not referring to the time Satan has left before the return of Christ. Rather, it's about continual deadlines, a series of short times the devil has to accomplish his work. It's all about the brief times he has to make war against God's saints!
As we examine what it means for the devil to have this short time, we need to ask: What do we do that so angers him toward us? What causes him to flood us with hell's entire arsenal? How do we awaken the powers of darkness that try to devour us?
I believe we do three things that draw the devil's wrath:
1. We Anger Satan With Every
Deep Stirring Toward God!
Perhaps you've recently renewed your commitment to pray with all diligence. Or, maybe you've expressed a hunger to walk before the Lord in holiness. Or, perhaps you've consecrated your mind and body to God as a living sacrifice. You've cried out, I'm not going halfway anymore. I'm giving everything I have to Jesus!
These kinds of commitments stir up the devil's wrath as nothing else does. He knows that anyone whose life is wholly given to God is a great threat to his kingdom. He remembers the lives of Peter, Paul, Philip, individuals who stepped out of the crowd and cried, I'm doing it God's way! They surrendered all to Christ and they wrought havoc on Satan's kingdom!
The devil knows all too well that everyone who seeks God with all his heart will find him, that praying saints will eventually prevail, that God will accept every living sacrifice given with a whole heart that the hungry spirit will be satisfied.
But Satan also knows there's a period between the time the prayer is spoken and when it's answered. Beloved, that is the devil's short time to work! He knows the importunate widow cried for a season before she was heard. And, likewise, our answer will come in due season. In the meantime, the devil tries to devour us, as we wait on the Lord!
The fact is, God doesn't jump every time we cry, Lord, I give it all to you! God knows that consecration, surrender and hunger for Christ don't always accompany a one-time, emotional cry. Therefore, his Spirit doesn't respond until he sees in us a sustained determination, some kind of evidence that we won't turn back from our hunger.
Satan recognizes this also. He knows from having observed our lives when we're not serious about our commitment to the Lord. If we're not serious about following through, he doesn't waste his time on us. He leaves us alone in our weakness and sin.
But the moment he sees true devotion in us, a desire to be set free from sin, a determination to put off all foolishness and put on Christ, then he knows his time is short. He knows there will be only a brief period before we're out of his clutches and walking in glory, operating by faith, living in victory. That's when he starts throwing everything in hell at us!
This is the very reason why so many dedicated believers in the body of Christ are going through intense trials right now. Revelation 12 is telling us: Go ahead, Christian step out of your lethargy. Yield your body to Jesus as a living sacrifice. Trust the Holy Ghost to deliver you from every lust. Seek God with all that's in you. But be prepared to face the trial of your life because Satan will come at you with all his might!
The serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood (Revelation 12:15). You're going to be inundated with awful temptations, harassing spirits, weariness, despondency, unbelief, discouragement. The enemy will try to afflict you in body, mind and spirit!
Satan knows your weak spots, your struggles with flesh, lust or mind problems and he'll work hard on you in those areas. He'll try to carry you away in a flood of trials and temptations, doing everything he can to bring you down. He's frantic because he sees you on the brink of victory, and he knows his time is short!
Tragically, the devil often succeeds in this short time. Many believers give up the fight, giving in to temptation and despair. They believe Satan's lies that they're no good, unclean, never going to be free. And they end up shipwrecked in their faith.
Yet the truth is, such lies never reach God's ears. He won't allow anything of Satan in the heavens. So, we have to shut out the devil's lies as well, by faith in Christ's work on the cross!
2. Another Deadline of the Devil
Immediately Follows Our Obedience to a
Fresh Call To Some Ministry or Service.
Ask anyone who has been called by God to step out into some new work of the kingdom and that person will tell you Satan has come at him in a rage, hurling one affliction after another.
The devil listens to you. He hears all about that new step of faith God has called you to take. You've prayed over it, you've talked about it, you've sought counsel from others for it. And when Satan heard you say yes to God, he knew he had but a short time to utterly destroy that call!
So it was in the life of Christ. No sooner was Jesus baptized with the dove appearing, and the voice from heaven declaring him the lamb of God, the savior of the world than Satan went to work. He knew he had only forty days and nights to try to devour Jesus and stop his ministry. And he worked feverishly, using every ploy of hell!
No sooner did Jesus declare Peter a rock of faith than Satan moved in to sift the disciple, driving him to unbelief and betrayal. Satan knew he had to act quickly in Peter's life, before Jesus words about the disciple could come to pass. But the temptation ultimately failed because one day that rock of a man struck fear in Satan's kingdom!
I know what this kind of hellish attack is all about. I am just now emerging from one of the most painful experiences of my life. And it all happened because God recently put a fresh call to ministry on my life!
After spending much time in prayer, I have sensed God's call to expand my ministry by speaking to pastors around the world. (I am not leaving the ministry of Times Square Church, or the ministry of these written messages. I am only adding this occasional aspect of ministry, by the direction of the Holy Spirit.)
I plan to speak this spring to gatherings of pastors in four nations France, Romania, Poland, and Macedonia and the Balkans. This last gathering would include pastors from all the ethnic groups there that hate one another - Serbian pastors, Albanian pastors, pastors from Kosovo and the Balkan countries. These men would be worshipping together, standing as one in Christ, in love with him and one another.
Yet no sooner had I scheduled this trip than Satan moved in. Up to that point I had been at a peak of health. But suddenly I was struck down physically. Within a matter of hours I became so weak I could hardly walk. I felt sharp internal pains, as if I were trying to pass a kidney stone. Soon blotches appeared on my stomach.
A doctor friend told me I had shingles, a disease that comes from the remains of childhood chickenpox. The older you are when you get shingles (and I'm over sixty), the worse you feel it. I spent weeks in pain, and no medication could stop it. I developed sores on top of my blotches, and I couldn't sleep.
The devil seemed to be laughing, saying, So you're taking on this new ministry, are you? You won't if I can help it!
Yet, right now, as I write this message within weeks of my trip, all the sores have disappeared. The Lord has raised me up and given me new strength. It all was warfare from hell!
It has always been this way, throughout my years in ministry. Every new acceptance of a call from the Lord has been followed by demonic attacks particularly against my wife, Gwen, and my four children. The devil has often tried to scare me by threatening, Every yes to God will cost you your wife, your children, your health.
In the late 1980s, when we moved to New York City to establish Times Square Church, Gwen had another occurrence of breast cancer. She had to have an emergency operation, and afterward we wondered if the surgeons had gotten all the cancer. Then, on the day Gwen came home from the hospital, we received a call from Texas: Our daughter, Bonnie, was diagnosed with cancer. She had a 30 percent chance of survival.
I heard the devil laughing then, too, saying, So, you think you're going to establish a church in New York? Think again, preacher!
Satan tries to frighten and discourage every servant of God with such lies. Today Gwen is healthy and strong, and Bonnie has been clear of cancer for ten years. And right now, as I write this message, I feel no physical pain whatsoever.
The devil comes at us with these intense trials because he knows he has only a short time to try to destroy God's plans. But we are not to fear him!
John Knox is a great example of how we can face down the devil's lies. Knox was one of Britain's most powerful preachers. His awesome preaching caused kings and queens to tremble. And he lived a righteous life to back up the gospel he preached, uncompromising to the end.
In Knox's later years, when he became terminally ill, Satan faced another deadline. This man had angered hell probably as much as the apostle Paul had. So the devil set out, in the short time he had left, to send Knox into eternity in fear and unbelief.
Knox wrote, All my life I have been tested and assaulted of Satan. But my present test has assailed me most fearfully. He has set to devour me, and make an end of me. Often, before, he would place all my sins before my eyes. He tried to ensnare me with the allurements of this world. But the Spirit broke those attacks.
Now he has attacked me another way. This cunning devil has labored to persuade me that I have earned heaven by my faithfulness to my ministry! Knox knew that salvation came by faith alone. He had preached this all his life, stating clearly that no one can be saved by his own righteousness, no matter how many good works he'd done. But now Satan tried to damn the preacher by tripping him up over his own faithfulness!
Just before he died, Knox testified, Blessed be God who has enabled me to beat down and quench this fiery dart by passages from the scripture. By the grace of God, I am what I am not I, but the grace of God in me. Through Jesus Christ I have gained the victory. The tempter shall not touch me again in this short time. I will soon exchange this mortal life for blessed immortality through Jesus Christ!
Thank God for the testimony of John Knox! He used scripture to stand against Satan, and the Lord delivered him. He went home to glory singing God's praises in faith!
3. The Devil Has a Deadline
With Those Who Would Come
To Christ To Be Saved And
Delivered From Satan's Power!
What I'm about to say may offend you. But the Bible states it very clearly: If you're a slave to lust, living in sin, without the Spirit of Christ in you, you're a child of the devil himself. Jesus says, Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do (John 8:44). He's saying, Satan is in control of your life. Therefore, your father isn't God, but the devil. You're part of the enemy's family, not the Lord's!
Of course, Christ spoke these words to a religious crowd who thought they were good in God's eyes. They were outwardly clean and religious but inwardly they were full of lust, sensuality, fornication, covetousness.
Yet there is also a sickness that strikes the children of the devil. It's called sin-sickness. The deeper in sin a person falls, the more critical this sickness becomes. It reaches its peak when sin suddenly loses its pleasure, becoming boring and unfulfilling.
Sin-sickness drove a famous young TV star to suicide just weeks ago. The actor was starring in a hit series and making a fortune. He had just signed contracts to star in movies and was dating a beautiful actress. He had fame, fortune and good health.
But then his lifeless body was found in a cheap porno hotel. Apparently, none of the world's pleasures had satisfied him. His life had become empty, meaningless and suicide finally ended it all. He died as a result of sin-sickness!
If you've never given your life to Jesus, then up to now the devil has had complete control over you. He has ruled and reigned over your life. But perhaps now Satan sees a change coming over you and he knows he's losing his hold on you!
Sin has suddenly lost its sweet taste to you. You don't go to the evil places you once frequented. And you're not as anxious to party anymore. Money no longer satisfies you, and neither do sex or possessions. You feel a growing emptiness inside you.
And now here you are, reading this message. Perhaps you've become willing to read the Bible. Nobody's making you do it; something inside is urging you to pick it up.
Dear one, right now Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart, and the devil knows it. And the one thing Satan fears most is that you ll open the door to Christ!
From The Moment The Devil
Hears That Knock On The
Door Of Your Heart, Until
The Time You Open And
Receive Christ, All Of
Hell Goes Into A Panic!
The devil knows he has only a short time left to work on you. And now he's going to try everything he can to keep you from answering God's call! The gospel of Luke tells us of a father who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus. Christ told the father, Bring thy son hither. And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him (Luke 9:41-42). The word tare here means violently convulse, terribly shake.
This young man was coming to Christ about to be set free, translated out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light. The devil saw he was about to lose another victim. So, in a rage, he threw the young man to the ground in one last, violent attack. He wanted to kill him and take his soul before Jesus could deliver him!
Satan will try to do the same thing to you today. The moment you move toward Christ, he'll attempt one last devouring attack. He'll put before your eyes the most alluring temptations. He'll try to cast you down with lies, telling you you'll never be free from sin and lust. He'll try to convince you you'll always be his, not God's!
But let me remind you: The instant you move toward Jesus, the devil is rendered helpless. He can't stop anyone who's headed to Christ! He couldn't keep the demon-possessed young man from reaching Jesus. All Christ had to do was say a word: And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father (verse 42).
James tells us, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). So, how do you resist the enemy? You do it by faith alone! Simply come to Jesus, trusting he'll rescue you from Satan's clutches. Whom resist steadfast in the faith (1 Peter 5:9).
You can be free today. You can say to Satan, When I finish reading this message, I'm going to be a free person. Jesus is my savior and he's going to deliver me from every lust and ungodly passion. It's all going to go because he said so!
The times ahead may get hard for you. But the father's glorious, blazing sun will shine ever brighter for you!
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This data file is the sole property of World Challenge. It may not be altered or edited in any way. It may be reproduced only in its entirety for circulation as "freeware," without charge. All reproductions of this data file must contain the copyright notice [i.e., "Copyright © 1999 by World Challenge"]. This data file may not be used without the permission World Challenge for resale or the enhancement of any other product sold. This includes all of its content with the exception of a few brief quotations. Please give the following source credit: Copyright © 1999 by World Challenge, Lindale, Texas, USA.
This material is solely for personal use and is not to be posted publicly on other web pages. The Lorain County Free-Net Chapel holds exclusive rights from World Challenge, Inc. to publicly post these messages on its web page. You are free to download, copy, print and distribute this material, so long as you do not post it on a different Internet site. You may, however, link this site to reference these messages.
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