WAR ON THE SAINTS

BY RON WOOD

Verses 21-22 - I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. Verse 25 - He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Most High. (Daniel 7)

Recently I had a persistent prompting to watch the classic movie, "To Kill a Mockingbird." It was the movie that earned Gregory Peck his well-deserved Academy Award. He portrayed the noble character of a small town lawyer named Atticus Finch, a widower, the father of two small children, who defended a good black man from an evil (and lying) accusation of raping a white woman.

The very next week after I viewed the video, actor Gregory Peck died. I felt like I had lost a friend, like a hero had fallen.

This movie was a parable to me, a picture-lesson of an unseen spiritual reality. Atticus was a man who tried to keep his children safe from harm. The drama showed the struggle against lies and against hatred, of good versus evil. How do you raise children in a world where evil is present? It showed the depravity of people with malicious intent, and the necessity of strong action to overcome wickedness and work for justice.

There was one scene where a rabid dog was approaching his family. Atticus took dead aim with a rifle and killed the dog. "Thatís what war is like," I thought. Sometimes you have to be a man of war in order to keep the peace. Evil doesnít seem real until it tries to touch us personally.

Like Scout, Atticusís little girl, we have to end our naivetť concerning wickedness, the works of the devil, the presence of evil, and the persistence of lies in the world. Like Atticus, a man who had the strength of character to fight evil in behalf of others, we all need to rediscover our role as Christians and act to preserve and expand our zone of peace under the rule of Christ.

Worn Out and Beaten Down

One of the Bibleís titles for Christ Jesus is "Prince of Peace." Where Jesus is received as Lord (ruler, master, governor) so that His word is obeyed, peace is the result in our lives. Right living, peace and harmony, and spontaneous joy are signals that the kingdom of God is among us (see Romans 14:17). Conversely, when we labor apart from Godís grace, when we wander into habitual sin, when we walk outside of Godís known will, when we attempt to do something beyond our measure of faith, we will feel the strain on our soul, the draining of our strength. But even when we are do right, we can still suffer.

We are all subject to spiritual "drive-by-shootings." We are in a war of attrition that steals our joy, hassles our souls, and afflicts our bodies.

The Devil doesnít want to just give you a bad day; he wants to take you outÖ permanently! The earth is not a level playing field. Like the early American settlers found out, the Indians were here first and they didnít easily give up their land. Casualties occurred. Likewise, in our advancement of Godís kingdom as we extend the light of the gospel, we have found out that the enemy is very active. Ignorance of his schemes against us provides with absolutely no protection, so there is no safety in pretending heís not real. In this war innocent children, good people, and yes, even obedient faith-filled praying believers will still come under attack from Satan and his wicked imps.

You see, Satan has a skillful strategy. He doesnít come up to you and announce, "Hello, Iím Satan and Iím here to wreck your life." No, he is usually more subtle and secretive than that. Remember, he first appeared to humanity as a snake in the Garden of Eden. He has mastered his craft of deception, temptation, and destruction with eons of practice. He knows we can overcome him by faith. So he focuses his forces against our confidence in God, against our trust in Christ or His word, and against our self-confidence in our new identity in Jesus.

His goal is to wear down the saints. Do you feel it? This is a day of increasing pressure against people, even people who gladly serve God. Battle fatigue is a combat reality. If we ignore Satanís tactics, we will be unprepared for opposition, ambushed by unmet expectations (We wail in tears, "Nobody told me it would be hard!"), and we find our strength of heart failing in the time of testing. The consequences? We cast away our confidence and drop out of the fight of faith. The Devil then keeps the territory he was claiming, and we forfeit our part of the victory that was due us. Sadly, due to unbelief or fear, we will miss out on the inheritance in this life being offered to us by God.

By "wear down," I mean an effort to make us dissolve our resolve, cast away our confidence, forfeit our faith, immobilize our emotions, or as a boxer would say, "throw in the towel." Many a believer has walked away from the fight because they were not equipped to endure the battles in order to win the war. They never factored in the cost! We need proper training if we are to endure difficult times or hardship. We need to be armed with an eternal purpose that will fortify us with a temporal toughness. By Godís design, this kind of "warfare equipping" cannot come exclusively from pastors, but has to be out-sourced to selected apostles and prophets. (Colossians 1:28-29, 1 Thessalonians 1:6)

I saw a carefully prepared colorful book cover coming down from heaven. As I looked, it wrapped itself around the pages of a manuscript awaiting publication. The interior pages were 8-1/2 by 11 inches (like a full-sized teacherís textbook, or perhaps a manual or thesis). The sturdy cover was made all of one piece, 11 by 17 inches, with a nicely done squared-off spine (called "Perfect Binding" by commercial printers, and not an incidental aspect of this vision since "perfecting the saints" is a term used for the equipping task of the Five-fold ministry, especially apostles. For Biblical references, see Ephesians 4:11-12, Colossians 1:28, etc.). The cover was meant to bind the pages inside. I knew the cover represented the finished work of teaching. The front cover signified teaching about apostles and the back cover stood for teaching regarding prophets. The cover was all of one piece, signifying the role of apostles and prophets joined together as an integral unit. The interior pages of the book represented what pastors already know, mostly doctrine about salvation. It was good as far as it went, but by itself, it was incomplete. Without a sturdy cover, the pages would not hold together, nor could the book be published with proper quality, nor could it be easily distributed without falling apart. By the Spirit, I knew that God desires to put the "finishing touch" on the doctrine being taught by pastors. A new teaching grace, a new anointing of the Spirit with new authority from God has arrived so the foundation ministries can teach the whole Word of God with power. (Romans 15:19)

Satan wants you to Surrender

Like a siege against a city, Satanís strategy is to wear down the saints. In a classic military siege, a city is first surrounded by an enemy army thus cutting off all ingress or egress. No food is allowed in. It is very cost effective because no attacking soldiers die, no ammunition is wasted, the cityís inhabitants are demoralized, and ó if it is not broken off by outside help ó it is invariably successful. All it takes to win by means of a siege is sufficient time.

The Psalmist David described the feeling of being under siege, of being hemmed in, abandoned. "For He has made marvelous His lovingkindness* to me in a besieged city. As for me, I said in my alarm, ĎI am cut off from before Your eyes.í Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried to You." (Psalms 31:21-22) It was in the state of siege that David experienced something marvelous: Godís extraordinary great mercy and love.

*(Hebrew- hesed. Most often translated mercy or steadfast love in the kjv, and Lovingkindness in the niv. Like its nearest counterpart in the Greek New Testament, agape, it is a word that is difficult to literally translate into a single English word because it is so full of meaning. My informal "amplified definitions" are: steadfast love, undying loyalty, unfailing faithfulness, persistent kindness, mercy that wonít quit, covenantal fidelity, stubborn affection, aggressive grace, on-going goodness in action)

What is his advice to us when we feel cut off from God and isolated? "Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord." (vs. 24) One of the great illusions of spiritual attack that alarms us the most is the false perception that God has left us alone. Here is where our faith comes in to play. Here is where our knowledge of and belief in the scriptures can help us the most.  How about you? Do you feel under siege? Then read on as we uncover Satanís strategy against you and show you how to overcome.

Danielís insight of the end-times

The prophet Daniel pictured historic events as they unfolded, even events at the end of the age. From his era of about 600 years before the birth of Christ, he saw what was in store for Gentiles and for Jews with amazing clarity. He wrote descriptions of what he saw, prophetic timetables in vivid imagery shown to him by the Spirit of God (see Daniel 7:9-28).

One scenario he foresaw was a scene in heaven. It was like a courtroom drama during which the Lord appeared before the Judge of the Universe and a sentence was passed in His favor. A decree from the throne was issued which gave the Lord dominion over every kingdom on the earth. It was an everlasting dominion, an indestructible kingdom, given to the Son of Man by the Ancient of Days. This pictures for us the final purpose of our spiritual war, the consummation of all human history, the triumph of Christís kingdom.

As Daniel considered what he had seen in this "Holy Spirit forecast," he was greatly disturbed. He inquired of the Lord for the interpretation of the startling vision. An angel answered him, "But the saints of the most high will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come." (Daniel 7:18 nasb) Notice the two different aspects of what the saints must do: receive the kingdom, and then possess the kingdom. These two things are sequential to and distinctive from one another. Receiving the kingdom is not the same thing as possessing the kingdom.

The kingdom of God begins in the hearts of transformed believers. (John 3:3-5) As we mature in faith, as we grow in our knowledge of Godís ways, as we overcome the sinful tendencies of the flesh and live an overcoming life, we begin to represent His rule in the world. In our adoption as sons and joint-heirs, we can use our authority in Christ to possess the kingdom that God has predestined for us.

This is never our authority, but always His authority, merely on loan to us. It is the kingdom belonging to JesusĖ earned by His perfect obedience and His death on the cross, affirmed by His resurrection from the dead, begun by His exaltation to the Fatherís right hand, and soon to be unveiled by His glorious return! But for the saint ó the believers who suffer with Him and rule with Him ó possessing this inheritance will not come without a struggle.

Daniel had insight into the struggle. He saw a cosmic contest in human history that for us has become contemporaneous experience. In this conflict at the climax of history, war broke out. An enemy of Godís purpose was "waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom." (Daniel 7:21-22 nasb) The deciding factor was a decree from heaven. Heavenís throne heard the accusations, heard the defenseís arguments, and ruled in our eternal favor! What was ours by right became ours in fact.

Between receiving the kingdom and possessing the kingdom, the resistance of Satan and his agents of evil against the seed of Christ is unremitting. The struggle appears on the earth but it is actually waged in the heavens. The heavenly realm includes the spiritual dimension that is often unseen but is a present reality nonetheless. This is the realm where we come under the authority of (or are impacted by the power of) very real spiritual entities and forces. We need discernment in these days. Every person needs to be asked, "Who is your god?" "To whom do you submit?" "Whom do you pray to?" "Whom do you worship?" "Where do you get your values?" "Upon what do you base your beliefs?" "How do you practice your religion?" "What spirit guides you?"

These are ultimate issues. We will not come into our divinely appointed inheritance apart from discerning the powers that are warring against us. Then to overcome, we need genuine faith. We have to move from mere saving faith to a more powerful warring faith, a faith that can evict the devil and take possession of everything purchased for us on the cross by Christ. We wonít overcome unless we can persist despite obstacles and evil enemies. To win, we need to defeat the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10). We need to persist in presenting our appeal to the Righteous Judge, the Lord of all the earth. And our appeal has to be based on solid historical evidence and given by clear testimony.

Winning means war. In other words, it is a war of words. Prayer and proclamation will play a primary role in this battle. Prayer is presenting our petition to God. The most powerful prayers are when we pray Godís agenda, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earthÖ." Proclamation is declaring aloud to men or angels the truth of God. Jesus did this when he announced, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me!", or when He said, "The kingdom of God is at hand!" These were battle cries and demons knew it. The early Church would proclaim, "Jesus Christ is Lord!", "Christ has risen from the dead!", "Jesus is the Son of God!" Maybe a modern cry would be, "There is no God but Jehovah and Elijah is his prophet!" It can be whatever utterance the Spirit has given to us to say. It is a war of words backed up by deeds. As they say in Texas , "It ainít bragginí if he can do it." Jesus announced the arrival of His kingdom and then demonstrated His kingdom by works of power through expelling demons and healing the sick. We are to do the same.

Donít lose sight of the fact that at the center of our struggle is the throne of God, the seat of all authority in the universe. What we do must represent the authority of our King. The cosmic battle of the ages will not be fought at Armageddon; it was already fought at Calvary , and Jesus won!

So we come to the Father in prayer with the victory of Jesus chalked up to our benefit, credited to our account, deposited on our behalf by Godís grace and accepted by us by simple faith. This releases God's authority to work in us and for us. The power of God is awesome to behold, but even more awesome is His authority. To Christians, Godís throne is frightening, but familiar. For those who trust in Jesus, it is not a throne of judgment, but a throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).

The epic battle of the ages is this: Who is the rightful heir to the throne? Will the children of God come into their inheritance with Jesus? (Romans 8:16-23) It is a contest over who has the right to rule the earthĖ Satan, because of his rebellion and Adamís default, or, Christ Jesus, because of His obedience and the salvation He provides that includes us?

Satanís Two Main Weapons

At the conclusion of the contest, at the end of the age when the war intensifies, Satanís ultimate weapon is unleashed upon mankind. It is deployed in two ways: accusation and pressure. Accusation refers to charges made by lying spirits against God and His truth. Pressure refers to events Satan unleashes on earth that puts fiery testing and fearful anxiety into every manís heart.

"He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the highest OneÖ" (Daniel 7:25 nasb) Satan is waging war on God and upon people who are created in the image of God. He is accusing God to us and he is pressuring our souls to weaken our faith, hope, and love.

Be warned: The devil wants to wear you out! How does he do this? He uses psychological warfareĖ propaganda of the highest caliber, warfare designed to break your will, divide your heart, cause you to cast away your confidence, and turn you into a prisoner of resentment and failed expectations. Ask yourself: Has the pressure intensified lately? Has your faith been under attack? Has your hope dimmed? Has your love grown cold?

The devilís first weapon is accusation. Accusation, unless it is justified because we are guilty of a crime, is slander. Slander means false charges brought against the innocent. Slander impugns our character and questions our motives. Self-doubt then slows us down. Now, I know the devil accuses us to God and to each other. Thatís why we need to walk in covenant love with one another and also be quick to confess our sins. But the real accusation is bigger. It is a lie leveled against God.

A lie gives advantage to our enemy only if it is believable, and Satanís BIG LIE has worked very well. The greatest indictment Satan has brought against God is an accusation that has been extraordinarily successful in these last days. It is an idea at first hard to refute which now has become as pervasive as any modern cultural worldview can possibly be among western peoples.

Satanís Big Lie

It is THE LIE that all the wrong things in the world can be fairly attributed to God since He (God) is sovereign and so must be in control, therefore, the bad things occurring in our lives and the tragedies in the world must logically all be Godís fault. How has the Devil accomplished this lie? He has brainwashed society and used our own institutions of education and higher learning to do it. He has packaged a clever lie that has deceived the saints and offended secular society.

Satan has used humanistic enlightenment (the pursuit of knowledge which basically produced western scientific thinking) and erroneous theology (the Augustinian notion of sovereignty incorrectly represented as meticulous control absent spiritual warfare as present reality) to cleverly impugn Godís character.

The master of deception manipulates peoplesí thoughts, implanting philosophical deceit into minds that are unguarded by the truth of Godís Word. His ploy has worked remarkably well among prosperous Americans. You might even say the devil is a genius at mind-games. The sad thing is, when you are deceived, you donít realize it! Our only protection is to understand Godís word and Godís ways as revealed in the Holy Bible and then accept it by loving the truth more than we love our own pride or our own knowledge.

Not yet convinced that people are deceived? Then think about this: Even today, when something tragic occurs, the very first thoughts in someoneís mind or the first words they say are,

"Why did God let this happen to me?" "If God is so good, why does He allow bad things to happen?"

And then we ĎChristianizeí our wrong thinking by coating it with this religious platitude: "Well, God must have a higher purpose in allowing this suffering." We put God into the category of a father who hurts his kids "for their own good." (While suffering patiently can certainly be a refining agent to our faith, or merit praise as a testimony if we keep our faith joyfully, or it may be incidental to our apostolic task as we fulfill our calling, it is not Godís preferred method of disciplining people, nor are we to remain passive regarding evil.)

Do you see the not-so-subtle accusation? Satan has succeeded in slandering God and in getting us to join in the accusation! The Devil gets a pass but God gets the blame. By this clever ploy, he persuades us to doubt God. Satan has led vast portions of the Church to withdraw from spiritual war, to welcome affliction as though it came from God, and to quit practicing discernment. We have laid down our weapons, forgotten where they were stored, and weakened our will to resist.

A U.S. Army General said, "War is a human endeavor. We equip the man, we donít man the equipment." Hey, ChristiansÖ neither does God! If we donít fight, the enemy wins. God is looking for people willing to be equipped for war. "I sought for a man to stand in the gapÖ" We keep waiting on God, but God is waiting on us. We need to learn to discern. We need to be trained to know our part and also to know Godís part, because you canít confuse the two issues. We have certain responsibilities in this program.

Our western rationalism causes us to believe in cause and effect. Thatís scientific thinking and thereís nothing wrong with itÖ if we have all the facts and if we start with the correct set of assumptions. For example, we think God causes everything but we ignore the reality of the Fall of Man. We have to take into account the reality of evil and the structure of the universe in which freedom of choice exists. We need a new quantum physics model of looking at spiritual reality.

Adam and Eveís plunge into sin by their rebellion demonstrated that freewill is allowed in this world. But people are not the only free agents. The Devil and demons, forever irredeemable, also make choices and seek out targets. They lie, steal, and destroy, and like roaring lions on the prowl, they look for the weak or the lonely to prey upon, and they do it under the cover of "Its all Godís fault!"

This erroneous system of thought ó the notion of blaming God for evil ó was not part of the Early Church ís original apostolic beliefs. It arose later as more converts came from non-Hebrew cultures and as more Church teachers came from the Greco-Roman world with its pagan ideas.

How insidious and malicious is the serpent, to slander our loving Lord, to attribute wicked works and ill motives to our holy God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator-God of the Bible who alone among all the gods is worthy of worship by men and angels.

It is important to understand this distinction between God and Satan or else we will fall into the trap of blaming God for all our trouble. This becomes even more critical as we approach the end of the age and here arises the last generation before Christ returnsĖ a generation which will see troubles beyond the scope of what we have imagined. When it happens, whom will we blame?

Pressure on the Saints

Jesus said we are to discern the times when there is dismay among nations, when men are fainting for fear of the things coming upon the earth. In addition to global and political upheavals, there will also be a heavenly shaking- "the powers of the heavens will be shaken." (Luke 21:25-36) This refers to the invisible angelic powers that have influence over the affairs of nations. (See Daniel 9- the "prince of Persia ," and the "prince of Greece ") These Strong Men or ruling powers will be unseated as the saints prevail in prayer and team up to spread the gospel of Christís kingdom to the ends of the earth (see Matthew 24:14). Already, the greatest prayer movement in the history of the world is underway, targeting the "10-40" window, and now Europe . A global shift of power is underway.

When these events occur which Christ prophesied, there is a "then" and a "when" (Luke 21:27-32). It is timeframe-sensitive. It will eventually affect the whole globe (Luke 21:35). It is all a precursor to the return of Christ. Christís ear-shattering earth-shaking trumpet-sounding descent is imminent (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Despite the turmoil and pressure preceding it, as believers in Jesus, we are to look heavenward and rejoice for our redemption is drawing near!

Meanwhile, we need to have fireproof unshakeable faith. Can your faith endure suffering? Are you an over-comer or a quitter? We need a kind of faith and a quality of faith that will not fail or cave in when tough times come. Why? The pressure is intensifying. Because Satan has come down "having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time." (Revelation 12:7-12)

In a dream, I saw a mountain with a highway coming out of the base of it. The highway passed alongside the house where I was looking from the window. I heard these words, "Where do apostles come from?" Then I heard the Lordís answer, "Out from under great pressure."

Donít confuse the trouble instigated by Satan on planet earth for the ultimate redemption and glorious kingdom being offered to us by God. Even in fiery trials, knowing the character of God will hold us steadfast as we keep on trusting despite momentary suffering or setbacks.

The Devil is not God. He is not an equal to Jesus, and he is not to be feared. God has given us power over Satan and over all his forces (Luke 10:19), and we are specifically told not to fear the Devil. Look at the differences:

God alone is eternal. God is uncreated. He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, eternal, unrestricted by our dimensions of time and space. Satan is a created being whose existence is bounded by the limits of time and restricted to a certain place in space. The Devil is a fallen archangel, terrible in beauty, full of pride and ambition, angry at his failure to gain dominion, and doomed to a certain fate in hell. But he is not equal to God or to Jesus and he never will be.

God alone has power over life and death. The devil might kill the body, but not the soul. Only God can send a soul to ultimate death, which is eternal separation and darkness, a place called hell. In Christ, we are given the gift of eternal life and made partakers of His nature. Only one religion includes a resurrection, Christianity. Only One Man has ever come back from the dead never to die again, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

God alone is good. God is someone you would like to spend time with. The Devil is not that kind of person. The fruit of Godís life in us is wonderful, while the wages of sin is death, confusion, and disintegration. Satanís seed become like him in perversion and hatred.

God alone is holy and yet also full of grace. Satan is unholy and can never be saved or sanctified. And if he lies and tries to get someone saved by a false religion, it is always through works, not grace. Indeed, all paths do not lead to God. There is only one way of salvationĖ through Christ. Godís holiness is not religious, not legalistic rules filled with reasons to punish us.

God alone is the Creator. His words hold all things together. No other god or angel has the power to speak words that cause matter or energy to spring into existence or bind into molecules, much less bear the spiritual imprint of encoding so life can reproduce itself.

God alone is love. No other being has the innate willingness to sacrifice its own life for the object of its affection, as Christ our Savior demonstrated for us already on the cross.

God alone is truth. He has all wisdom and all knowledge. No other being in heaven or on earth has total information or accurate perspective on the universe or the reason for its creation.

It is time we made an informed decision that we are on the Lordís side. In this conflict at the end of the ages, we have to choose to fight a good fight of faith in order to overcome Satan.

John, the apostle who wrote the Book of Revelation, in his glimpses into the eternal realm saw the conflict of good against evil. He described the contest in poetic imagery. He told us of three weapons which Jesusí followers are able to use to overcome the devil (Revelation 12:7-12). These three weapons are: 1) the blood of the Lamb; 2) their spoken testimony; and, 3) fearlessness, or not protecting our lives by compromising when faced with threats. To say it another way, we can be victorious over the devil by means of faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross (the blood); by using the power of our personal testimony (agreeing with Godís Word and declaring what God has done); and by living sacrificially for God despite danger, even trusting that our God is able to raise us from the dead (willingness to suffer for the cause of Christ). This is the kind of faith, original and apostolic, once delivered to the saints.

Two other sources of strength to us are the Scriptures and the ministry of prophets. To overcome our trials, we have to know and apply the Scriptures from the Holy Bible. They feed our faith and inject strong encouragement into our souls, giving us many examples of victory through overcoming. If you read the back of the Book, you see in the last chapter that Christ and His followers will win!

Another source of encouragement: the prophets of the Lord. The early Church dispatched prophets to travel a circuit through the churches to edify them, to keep them from the trap of legalism, and to build up the saintsí faith (Acts 15:30-35). We need prophets among us helping the pastors. Churches should be refreshed regularly by the catalytic ministry of the Spirit provided by the prophets of the Lord.

Last Man Standing

Jesus spoke a parable in Matthew Twenty (verses 1-16) that taught about laborers in his fields. Some workers got bent out of shape because God paid the last workers the same wages as the first. We miss the point if all we see is that God is generous and has the right to pay anything he wants. The real point is to consider what it means to be the last man remaining standing in the field.

We donít have the opportunity to be the first in the field. That honor went to the early Churchís first disciples, especially the Twelve apostles. All but one died as a martyr for Christ. They paid the price. They laid the foundation. Their words are inscribed as sacred text, canonized as Holy Scripture, a perfect pattern the Lord has said is accurate and true for all time. These original laborers bore the heat of the day.

What is surprising is that Godís generosity offers us in this modern era twenty centuries later the chance to earn the same reward as those early pioneers, here at the end of the day when the time is short. But payment only comes at the very end and it only comes to those who are still standing. The issue is, will we keep standing?

The Holy Spirit has highlighted this phrase, "the last man standing." There is something to be said for staying on your feet in the heat of the day. God admires those who finish what they start. This phrase refers to all believers as well as the Lordís full-time workers who are able to endure and not give up, overcoming pressure, both internal and external, and keeping on working despite Satanic accusations and pressure, displaying the patience of the prophets and the perseverance of the apostles in order to bring in the harvest and thus please the Lord.

Jesus described the end of the age. He said the "harvest is the end of the age." Whatever else may happen at the end of the age, one thing we know for sure: it is harvest-time. Jesus said angels would be activated and would accompany us in the harvest. (Matthew 13:39) Angels will help with the reaping of the fields. They will take people out who persist in evil. A divine sorting into holy and unholy groups is already underway. The stakes are high. This battle is over the harvest of souls that Jesus paid for on the cross.

Last Days Pressures

Satanís tactics are all designed to discourage the workers so as to prevent the harvest. Like Tobiah and Sanballat, a pair of evil workers who tried to discourage Nehemiah from rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 4), the Devil sends false prophecies against us. These are designed to weaken us. Anytime a so-called "prophetic word" weakens you, discourages you, drains you of strength, leads you to give up, recognize that its source is not God, but the Devil.

He also sends unauthorized usurpers (illegal squatters) into the storehouse to rob Godís workers of their wages (For more on this warfare regarding money, see my book Thief in the Storehouse).

James the Apostle emphasized the need for wisdom over money in the last days. He said wealthy people are guilty by reason of the rust on their riches. "In the last days you have stored up your treasure." (James 5:3) Wealth is another mark of the last days. Covetousness will be uncovered in these last days, when wealth is abundant, but hoarded. It is a sin to live in luxury while laborers in the field have to do without.

Why was God angry? Why was the Judge standing at the door? It wasnít about people living comfortablyĖ God has no problem with that at all. God wants us blessed! The Lord of the Harvest (Mt. 9:38) was angry because his workers were being deprived. His anger was about the harvest in the field being neglected. God waits for "the precious produce of the soil." (James 5:7)

The season of harvest is simultaneous with the season of judgment. The threshing of the wheat looks and feels, to the wheat, like tribulation. The ancient paddle or rod used by Romans to crack the husk off the grain and let the breeze carry away the chaff was called in Latin a tribulatum.

Pressure is a good word to describe what is now coming against the saints. Everybody in the world feels it, but Godís people are especially targeted. Pressure is like heat. Eventually it cooks out and uncovers whatever constitutes our soul. Pressure comes from two sources: internal and external.

I saw the Lordís hand offering us something. In his hand were four foil-wrapped candies. Two were hard candies and two were soft. They were all intended for our consumption. With them would come a sweet insight that would bless us. The two hard candies stood for Job and Joseph, two businessmen-prophets who suffered unfairly. The two soft candies represented two gifts of power from the Holy Spirit, the gift of faith and the gift of miracles, even nature miracles such as Elijah performed. These gifts are being re-activated in the Church for warfare evangelism.

Job and Joseph stood for wealthy businessmen who walk with God but endure trials of faith because of their calling. "Consider the endurance of JobÖ see the outcome of the Lordís dealingsÖ" (James 5:11) The Book of Job suddenly became an end-times parable to me. Job came under an undeserved series of attacks from Satan. Even then he didnít yield, not until he started speaking doubt, then he went into confusion. His friends tried to find fault to justify his suffering, but there was no one to blame but Job or God. They had left Satan out of the equation! Only by radical forgiveness and stubborn faith did Job manage to endure. Then God rewarded him with a double blessing. God judged the situation and the parties involved, and used the Devilís attack to justify blessing Job in the end with great favor and an increased inheritance. (See 1 Peter 2:19-23, and 3:9)

Internally, we can wreck our own lives if we ignore or if we conceal our sin, if we hang on to an inadequate self-image, if we hold on to old hurts and refuse to forgive, or if we settle for a woefully deficient barely-get-by kind of faith. Character issues are not peripheral to Godís purpose in our lives. Do you realize, that with sufficient Christ-like character, we can actually cause time to be on our side? We can be so strong in spirit, so joyful in praise, so filled with enduring hope and so out-fitted with genuine faith that we can actually wear the Devil out! I have seen it happen. This is the patience of the saints. The Judge is on our side. He will rule in our favor.

Externally, we face enemies that are not flesh and blood, but sometimes these enemies utilize people who donít know what they are doing. Therefore, we need to adapt our ways and our thoughts to line up with Godís ways and Godís thoughts (see Isaiah 55) God has ways that reveal His wisdom. We will never defeat Satan using Satanís ways. Godís wisdom works, not human cunning. Its source is heaven, not the world. Divine wisdom is (or should be) demonstrated by apostolic models of covenant love in communities that are living by overcoming faith. With sufficient Spirit-inspired faith, we can move mountains of Satanic resistance out of the way, advancing Godís kingdom as we keep putting our hand to the plow and doing His work.

God is restoring a new measure of apostolic and prophetic teaching to the Church that will enable us to deal with both of these realms using new insight into Godís Word and Gods ways.

God is training his children to persevere, to overcome, to band together so we can stand together, so we can survive and thrive in the heat of the battle, and live to see the glory of God, multitudes saved, Satanís works destroyed, and Christ glorified among the nations.

Real faith emerges from the fire purified, not destroyed. Godís payback time has arrived. The devilís plan will backfire on him as we cast him out or wear him down. If he sticks around past his eviction notice, heíll have to listen to us praising God and worshipping in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:14, 18). We have heard our Lordís instructions, "having done all, stand thereforeÖ"

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"War on the Saints" is a prophetic teaching distributed by Touched by Grace Inc. Permission is granted to copy and share this article providing all its contents are kept intact including the information in this byline. The author is Ron Wood, President of Touched by Grace, a 501-c-3 non-profit organization. Our assigned task is to equip emerging apostles in the developing church.

Write us at Touched by Grace, P. O. Box 12749 , Wilmington , NC 28405 USA .   All Scripture quotations are used by permission from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) 1995 updated edition, The Lockman Foundation.

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