8 Basic Tests of Faith (not satan’s)
The 8 tests are:
1. the change test (God is the only constant and unchanging force, everything and everyone undergoes change)
2. the rejection test
3. the slander test
4. the money test
5. the sexual test
6. the servant test
7. the patience test
8. the humility test.
it was the Lord testing in all these 8 areas.
We shouldn’t be surprised, as Christ was tested in these 8 areas yet didn’t sin.
“Kingdom? What kingdom? I don’t have a kingdom”
I remember in the “old days” learning about the evil one’s simple spiritual deceptions. One example was that the greatest lie of the adversary is that he doesn’t exist. Now we are hearing another one that is equally important, that the devil does not have a kingdom, that there is only one kingdom and that it is God’s. Someone said that Satan’s kingdom is only a vapor, the darkness in which he resides. If these things were so, then the soon-coming outward manifestation of a spiritual kingdom on this earth would have to be the Kingdom of God, wouldn’t it? It seems to me that if anyone would favor such a view, it would be those in the “revival.” The very core of their Manifest Sons teaching on the Manchild or Joel’s Army (or any of the variety of names they use) is that the “realm of darkness” will be utterly destroyed SO Christ can THEN come back to reign over the Kingdom of God that they’ve brought in. But we know from Scripture that the kingdom they help to manifest will not be the Kingdom of God. In reality, they will be killing off those who carry the true Kingdom of God within them. Just as the New Age speaks of “The Cleansing” and Marian theology of “The Great Chastisement,” the apostate church speaks of “God’s judgment” executed through the Manchild against all who won’t submit to His ways BEFORE CHRIST RETURNS.
Does such a doctrine – that the devil does not have a kingdom – play into the hands of those in the “revival” and the AD2000 agenda? I believe it very well could, that at some time in the near future we will hear the announcement that the kingdom of God has triumphed over all the forces of that evil realm, that dark vapor, and that the kingdom and reign of God has now arrived. This new “doctrine” seems to line right up with the latest fantasies rampant in apostate Christendom. Will this idea that the devil has no kingdom catch on? If it does, the revivalists would love it. Their “final harvest” would be an overwhelming success, and their “kingdom of God” could storm in to take the rule of the world into its grip.
THE OUTWARD MANIFESTATION OF THE “KINGDOM OF GOD,” UH, I MEAN DARKNESS
We hear a lot today about the war between Satan’s forces and God’s, but this war is spoken of as though the victor is yet to be determined. Those now entrenched in the “revival” and the apostasy speak daily of taking back what the devil stole from Adam in the garden, of establishing the “kingdom of God,” and of preparing it for the coming of “Jesus” a second time. How often we hear the new terminology (or old spiritual terms re-defined) such as men being “empowered,” “gifted,” or “anointed,” and the Church “furthering” or “advancing” the kingdom. But what kingdom? Is this global movement really advancing the true Kingdom of God – or the hidden kingdom of darkness?
What is happening out there is surely not the bringing about of a visible manifestation of the true Kingdom of God. WHAT IT IS REALLY BRINGING IS THE MANIFESTATION OF THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS. That manifestation is occurring through what is called “transition” or “transformation.” And it’s not just happening in the world of religion. Government, economics, education, and society in general are being affected by this transformation. The process is being carried out through mind-changing, a change in peoples’ thinking from a selfish lifestyle to one of group think – caring and sharing, tolerance, and helping your neighbor – “good things” designed to bring the world together as one. It is through this evolutionary process that the invisible kingdom of darkness has been slowly rising up into a soon-to-be-visible manifestation of a devilish “unity” of all things. This altering of the mind is undergirded by an evil and insidious spiritual system, and is carried on by ungodly spiritual powers in every area of life. One has only to turn on the television nowadays, or go to the movies, or listen to music, or go to church, to hear or see this process working on the minds of men on a massive scale.
Why is this transition being so successful at the moment? Because “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor 4:4), and “because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thess 2:10). The transformation of men’s minds is escalating the process of preparing men to accept a “Christ” who will usher them into “the kingdom of God.” What a time for this new lie of the adversary to arise: “Satan does not have a kingdom.” Soon the process and the lie will bring forth a world leader, a counterfeit “Christ” empowered by “the dragon [who gives] him his power, and his seat, and great authority” and they’ll be calling it “the kingdom of God” (Rev. 13:2.) Then, as Robert Mueller said, the earth will become what it was intended to be, “the Planet of God.”
THE FUTURE, OUTWARD MANIFESTATION OF THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS
Notice in Revelation 13:2 that the devil (the dragon) has power: “the dragon gave him his power.” Strong’s (G1410) says the word “power” means “miraculous power.” He has “a seat”, meaning “a throne” (Strong’s G2362). He has “great authority,” meaning “exceeding authority” (Strong’s G1849 G3173). And the devil, the head of “the rulers of the darkness of this world, . . . spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12), will give all of this to one man, who will manifest the adversary’s miraculous power and great authority from the throne he receives from Satan. This, too, is an evolutionary process and we are now seeing it grow before our very eyes. We are seeing miraculous power manifested, e.g., the meetings held by Benny Hinn. We are seeing great authority manifested through the rise of the global church while the faithful remnant seems to have less of a voice than ever. Good pastors have been thrown out of their churches, radio programs shut down for opposing facets of this move, researchers threatened – the stories go one and on.
We are not yet seeing the throne that will rule over this pseudo-kingdom of God that will soon be manifested. But the power and authority of the evil one is being manifested in men and through men to bring the world and the Church to a point where that throne can be set in place in the visible world. In other words, we are seeing the kingdom of darkness becoming manifest in this physical world. Who is allowing the adversary to do such things? We need to look at the full picture. God has allowed Satan to retain a degree of authority to deceive the nations and to give a man his POWER, THRONE AND AUTHORITY. But it is man who has given him THE RIGHT to do it. How is that? Because Satan rules the darkness of this world, his realm (kingdom) of operation, and that darkness is found in the hearts of men who refuse to love the truth.
FIRST, THE FULL MANIFESTATION OF THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS, THEN OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Daniel spoke of the endtime manifested kingdom of darkness ruled over by the antichrist, the horn that makes war with the saints and prevails against them:
Daniel 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth KINGDOM upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
The fourth and final beast is a kingdom. It is the kingdom of the antichrist, but also a manifestation of the kingdom of darkness, because Satan is really ruling and working through him (Revelation 13:2 “the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”)
Daniel 7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. 26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. 27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. 28 Hitherto is the end of the matter.
Verses 24-26 speak of the kingdom of the antichrist, the puppet of Satan who will rule with the adversary’s miraculous power, sit on his throne, and enforce his authority. This kingdom will be a kingdom ruled by one man as a servant of Satan and subject to Satan’s authority. But it’s a petty kingdom in the light of “the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom” (v. 27.) Notice: God’s Kingdom is an EVERLASTING KINGDOM, while Satan’s is not. And though God’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, existent and prepared by God before He created anything, it won’t be visibly established in the whole earth until Jesus returns:
Daniel 2:35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
This is speaking of two kingdoms set up visibly in the last of days: first the kingdom of darkness, then the Kingdom of God. The stone, of course, is Jesus’ future return to put all enemies under His feet and rule visibly on the earth. Daniel 7:22 says, “and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” And Matthew wrote about this time:
Matt 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
But what we need to ask is where is the kingdom of darkness NOW and where is the Kingdom of God NOW?
THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN ITS PRESENT FORM
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
In other words, the Kingdom of God is within each of us now, because of God’s mercy and grace and our faith in Him and His word. In the present, the Kingdom of God can be “seen” in His people, who know that they are righteous before Him by His grace, that they are at peace with Him by His mercy, and that they rejoice in Him as the only one who could accomplish something we could not. In other words, the kingdom of God in His people is the character of Christ formed in them by the Holy Spirit, and that righteousness, peace and joy will be the standard in the kingdom of God when Christ makes it visible on the earth. This Kingdom will one day be manifested in visible form. Jesus Christ, the Lord of lords and King of kings, now in the hearts of God’s people by faith, will return in the sky to the earth, visibly and bodily, and by His presence and His rule, the world will see that Kingdom of God manifested openly:
As W. E. Vine says,
“Thus at the present time and so far as this earth is concerned, where the King is and where His rule is acknowledged, is, first, in the heart of the individual believer, Acts 4:19; Eph. 3:17; 1 Pet. 3:15; and then in the churches of God, 1 Cor. 12:3,5,11; 14:37; cp. Col. 1:27, where for ‘in’ read ‘among.’
There is a Proverb in another translation of Scripture (I’ve forgotten which) that says, “As the king is, so goes the city.” So it is with Christ in the hearts of God’s people. The Lord of lords and King of kings is now in His people, and therefore the Kingdom of God is internally present in us, though it is not visible to the rest of the world. When He returns bodily, He will put down all other kingdoms as preparation for His rule over the nations. The Kingdom of God will be visibly manifested because He has been visibly manifested.
W. E. Vine’s notes on the word “kingdom” are as follows:
1, basileia,  is primarily an abstract noun, denoting “sovereignty, royal power, dominion,” e.g., Rev. 17:18, translated “(which) reigneth,” lit., “hath a kingdom” (RV marg.); then, by metonymy, a concrete noun, denoting the territory or people over whom a king rules, e.g., Matt. 4:8; Mark 3:24. It is used especially of the “kingdom” of God and of Christ.
“The Kingdom of God is (a) the sphere of God’s rule, Ps. 22:28; 145:13; Dan. 4:25; Luke 1:52; Rom. 13:1,2. Since, however, this earth is the scene of universal rebellion against God, e.g., Luke 4:5,6; 1 John 5:19; Rev. 11:15-18, the “kingdom” of God is (b) the sphere in which, at any given time, His rule is acknowledged. God has not relinquished His sovereignty in the face of rebellion, demoniac and human, but has declared His purpose to establish it, Dan. 2:44; 7:14; 1 Cor. 15:24,25. Meantime, seeking willing obedience, He gave His law to a nation and appointed kings to administer His “kingdom” over it, 1 Chron. 28:5. Israel, however, though declaring still a nominal allegiance shared in the common rebellion, Isa. 1:2-4, and, after they had rejected the Son of God, John 1:11 (cp. Matt. 21:33-43), were “cast away,” Rom. 11:15,20,25. Henceforth God calls upon men everywhere, without distinction of race or nationality, to submit voluntarily to His rule. Thus the “kingdom” is said to be “in mystery” now, Mark 4:11, that is, it does not come within the range of the natural powers of observation, Luke 17:20, but is spiritually discerned, John 3:3 (cp. 1 Cor. 2:14). When, hereafter, God asserts His rule universally, then the “kingdom” will be in glory, that is, it will be manifest to all; cp. Matt. 25:31-34; Phil. 2:9-11; 2 Tim. 4:1,18.
“Thus, speaking generally, references to the Kingdom fall into two classes, the first, in which it is viewed as present and involving suffering for those who enter it, 2 Thess. 1:5; the second, in which it is viewed as future and is associated with reward, Matt. 25:34, and glory, Matt. 13:43. See also Acts 14:22.
“The fundamental principle of the Kingdom is declared in the words of the Lord spoken in the midst of a company of Pharisees, “the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you,” Luke 17:21, marg., that is, where the King is, there is the Kingdom. Thus at the present time and so far as this earth is concerned, where the King is and where His rule is acknowledged, is, first, in the heart of the individual believer, Acts 4:19; Eph. 3:17; 1 Pet. 3:15; and then in the churches of God, 1 Cor. 12:3,5,11; 14:37; cp. Col. 1:27, where for “in” read “among.”
“Now, the King and His rule being refused, those who enter the Kingdom of God are brought into conflict with all who disown its allegiance, as well as with the desire for ease, and the dislike of suffering and unpopularity, natural to all. On the other hand, subjects of the Kingdom are the objects of the care of God, Matt. 6:33, and of the rejected King, Heb. 13:5.
“Entrance into the Kingdom of God is by the new birth, Matt. 18:3; John 3:5, for nothing that a man may be by nature, or can attain to by any form of self-culture, avails in the spiritual realm. And as the new nature, received in the new birth, is made evident by obedience, it is further said that only such as do the will of God shall enter into His Kingdom, Matt. 7:21, where, however, the context shows that the reference is to the future, as in 2 Pet. 1:10,11. Cp. also 1 Cor. 6:9,10; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5.
“The expression ‘Kingdom of God’ occurs four times in Matthew, ‘Kingdom of the Heavens’ usually taking its place. The latter (cp. Dan. 4:26) does not occur elsewhere in NT, but see 2 Tim. 4:18, “His heavenly Kingdom.” … This Kingdom is identical with the Kingdom of the Father (cp. Matt. 26:29 with Mark 14:25), and with the Kingdom of the Son (cp. Luke 22:30). Thus there is but one Kingdom, variously described: of the Son of Man, Matt. 13:41; of Jesus, Rev. 1:9; of Christ Jesus, 2 Tim. 4:1; “of Christ and God,” Eph. 5:5; “of our Lord, and of His Christ,” Rev. 11:15; “of our Lord, and of His Christ,” Rev. 11:15; “of our God, and the authority of His Christ,” 12:10; “of the Son of His love,” Col. 1:13.
“Concerning the future, the Lord taught His disciples to pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” Matt. 6:10, where the verb is in the point tense, precluding the notion of gradual progress and development, and implying a sudden catastrophe as declared in 2 Thess. 2:8.
“Concerning the present, that a man is of the Kingdom of God is not shown in the punctilious observance of ordinances, which are external and material, but in the deeper matters of the heart, which are spiritual and essential, viz., ‘righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit,’ Rom. 14:17.” * [* From Notes on Thessalonians by Hogg and Vine, pp. 68-70.] (An Extract).
Furthermore, so it is not misunderstood, the kingdom of God in us is not reaching sinless pefection so we can manifest immortality and visible glory BEFORE Christ returns. We do not become a corporate “Christ” or “little christs” who “bring in the kingdom” and manifest “the glory” BEFORE Chrhist’s visible, personal return. He brings in the kingdom and he alone is the Christ of God. We are only sinenrs saved by God’s wonderful grace.
THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS: Only A Metaphor or Idiom?
If the Kingdom of God is presently in the hearts of men, where then is the kingdom of darkness? Scripture says that it, too, is in the hearts of men, and I will get into that reality in the next part or parts of this series. Right now, the kingdom of darkness is not a kingdom openly seen, though it is progressively coming forth and is more noticeable almost daily. One day, the darkness of sin and death and hatred for the truth in the hearts of men will be manifested in one man as the epitome of all men. This kingdom of darkness, and its “christ” (though he is no Christ at all,) will be manifested upon the earth BEFORE Jesus Christ returns to set up God’s Kingdom.
The lie we are hearing today is that the devil does not have a kingdom. Yet Jesus said,
Luke 11:18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. 19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. 20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
One of the two emails I received saying Satan does not have a kingdom also referred to these verses and said this:
“I believe that all of the scriptures you quoted are idiomatic or metaphoric and that God is in control of all satan does. Satan’s kingdom is only in his own mind.”
Spiritual realities cannot be equated with figures of speech. The one is truth, whether seen or unseen, and the other is an abstract way of expressing a thought. Jesus used one figure of speech, “the finger of God,” in the above verses. But God’s Kingdom and Satan’s kingdom are reality. Here’s the definition of “idiom”:
IDIOM: 1, the language or tongue of a people or country; also, a dialect, expression, or construction peculiar to a group or section.
In Jesus’ words above, He wasn’t using an expression peculiar to the Jews, something only they would understand. He had just cast a real devil out of a real man and was now disputing their accusation that He’d done this real work through “Beelzebub the chief of the devils.” If what Jesus said about Satan having a kingdom was idiomatic, then the rest of what He said was idiomatic, too. But in verse 20, Jesus identifies Himself with the Kingdom of God that is our future inheritance as well as a present reality in our hearts. This is not an idiom, but spiritual reality.
Likewise, is God’s kingdom and Jesus’ manifestation of the Sovereignty of God’s Kingdom over Satan’s kingdom a metaphor? A metaphor for what? Jesus is speaking of realities in these verses. The phrase “Kingdom of God” is not a metaphor, nor are Jesus’ words, “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” Here’s the definition of a metaphor:
METAPHOR 1 : a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly : figurative language — compare SIMILE 2 : an object, activity, or idea treated as a metaphor : SYMBOL 2
What could God’s Kingdom and Satan’s kingdom be metaphors for? Is there anything beyond actual spiritual kingdoms that these terms symbolize? Jesus was not speaking in figures or symbols, but about realities. Those in the “revival” constantly symbolize the realities of God’s word, and their doing so opens the door for John Wimber’s “God is bigger than His word” deal, which in turn allows them to put Scripture aside and accept virtually any action or teaching as from God.
The email quoted above says that Satan’s kingdom is only in his mind, but it originated in his heart when sin was found in him. It’s true that he originated the idea – but he is progressively working what is in his heart and mind to bring it to an outward manifestation, and what is in his heart is his five “I will’s,” but only on a temporary, earthly level. He will never touch the throne, power, or authority of God as God. He will never be like our God:
Is 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
Eventually, he’ll get what he wants through lies, deceptions, miraculous signs and wonders: the worship of the nations through a false Christ, and the establishment of his counterfeit kingdom of God. Right now, he’s advancing his kingdom to the point of manifestation through the process of darkening the minds of men to the gospel.
In the verses from Luke 11 above, the word “kingdom,” whether used in reference to Satan or God, is the same Greek word, with this meaning:
KINGDOM 932. basileia, bas-il-i’-ah; from G935; prop. royalty, i.e. (abstr.) rule, or (concr.) a realm (lit. or fig.):–kingdom, + reign.
This word is taken from another word,
935. basileus, bas-il-yooce’; prob. from G939 (through the notion of a foundation of power); a sovereign (abs., rel. or fig.):–king.
The emphasis in this passage is on the fact that a “kingdom” is the ruling of a king over a realm of one sort or another. So says this definition from Strongs. So says the “revival” as well, always using KING for their “Christ’s” coming, even though they are speaking of a different king and a different kingdom.
Satan has his realm (“kingdom” by definition) – darkness – and God has His, and God has brought and is bringing His Kingdom to earth in the person of His Son and the power of His Spirit, according to the timetable and will of the Father. There is no hope at all for the triumph of the kingdom of darkness – none at all. It is not a battle over which kingdom will rule the earth. That was settled in the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. God has assured us by the sending of His Son once and, soon, a second time that we who believe in Him will inherit His Kingdom. What the battle is over is the hearts and souls of men, and who they will be with for all eternity. They’ll either be in the lake of fire with Satan and all those in his kingdom (or realm) of darkness, or with God in the Kingdom He prepared before creation for those who love Him with their whole being because of His Spirit in their hearts. What we need to know is where these spiritual kingdoms are located NOW, as the time approaches for the manifestation of each in their proper order.
As for the kingdoms of the world, the actual nations which the New Age and the “Revival” want to make into the “Kingdom of God,” the devil spoke of these kingdoms in reference to himself in Luke 4:4-6, while in Revelation 11:15 we hear a voice speaking of these same kingdoms in reference to our Lord. The reigns, first of the devil through antichrist by Satan’s power, authority and throne, and then of God through Jesus by God’s power, authority and throne, over the kingdoms or nations of this world is yet to come. The difference is that Jesus is not subject to the power, authority and throne of the evil one, while the evil one is definitely subject to His. God is allowing Satan to do as he will within certain boundaries, and God’s reason for that is the forebearabce towards sinners that all might come to love the truth and be saved. By the time we reach Armageddon, every sinful man will have made their choice who they want to rule over them, Satan through his lies and deceptions, or, God, through the gospel of the Lamb and His finished work. Satan will visibly reign first through antichrist, deceiving the nations into worshiping him. This will be followed by Christ reigning over the nations at His return, when He chains the devil in the bottomless pit for the duration of His millennial reign, and all the nations will have to come to Jerusalem to worship Him.
The nations of this world are made up of people, and as individuals, these people, no matter what nation they reside in, can be in either Satan’s kingdom or God’s Kingdom. The determining factor is whether or not they believe God’s word as it reveals His Son. If not, they remain in darkness and are considered as part of the kingdom of darkness.
Trials: God’s Testing Or The Devil’s Tempting?
In these days of apostasy, it is important to know the difference between God’s TESTINGS and the devil’s TEMPTINGS. In Revelation 13:2, the dragon gives his power to the beast to rule “over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” and to receive worship from them. This man will rule with Satan’s miraculous power, his throne and such great authority that the Bible says he will overcome the saints and wear them out and behead a great number of them. The devil does have miraculous powers (2 Thess 2:9), a throne (Rev 2:13, seen as anti-christ’s throne in Rev 16:10), and great authority (Rev. 13:2), and God ALLOWS this; He is not ignorant of the fact that it lies in our near future. In Revelation 2, we also see the martyrdom of the saints in the early Church at Smyrna. Again, God knew this was going to happen. In fact, Jesus Himself told this church,
Rev 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a CROWN OF LIFE.
Being all knowing, why does Jesus seemingly stand aloof from this soon-coming, fearful situation, telling the church at Smyrna that some of them will be imprisoned, tried, go through deep trials, and be put to death? He KNOWS what is going to happen to them, and yet He DOES NOTHING about it. The risen Christ is certainly ALLOWING it. He is telling these saints that some of them will be slain, and yet doesn’t promise them deliverance in the natural, but a Crown of Life if they do not yield to temptation within that situation. Along these same lines, James wrote,
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that ENDURETH TEMPTATION: for when he is tried, he shall receive the CROWN OF LIFE, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Someone might say, “Lord, you’re placing me into a situation of temptation.” I am sure His reply would be, “You’re to be ready for any situation. I am placing you in a situation where your faith will be tested for your good benefit.” God does everything according to His word and He expects us, as His children, to do the same – IN EVERYTHING. That’s why Scripture says GOD TEMPTS NO MAN. If we’re His, He expects us to live by His words from the heart to the death. Real faith is of the heart, and we can know that we have real faith when His word, and the faith that word brings, is in our hearts and we live by that standard no matter what the cost.
Jesus also said to the saints at Smyrna,
Rev 2:11 He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Overcome what in this trial? Death? No, fear of death; I believe it is appropriate to say the temptation to fear in their very hard situation was unbelievably real.
God’s Testings And Satan’s Temptations
In these verses, two things enter the picture: God’s testing and Satan’s temptations. We have to know the difference, because such times are coming upon us as well. Look at these four points:
Satan TEMPTS our hearts by using material or outward things (the “apples” he entices us with, e.g., possessions, money, fame, positions of importance, etc.) to stir up our inner man’s desires for immaterial things, e.g., pleasure, power, ambition, greed, authority, etc. In Smyrna’s case, it seems quite possible that the combination of the fear of man and the fear of death brought to them the temptation to possibly deny Christ (the inner temptation) for the sake of their own life in the body (the outward incentive to yield to temptation). If one yields to the temptation of saving his life and thus loses it, we have nothing less than the oft repeated replay of the fall.
God doesn’t TEMPT us, but has
2 Pet 1:4 given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
God doesn’t TEMPT us into believing in Him and loving Him or even dying for Him. He has told us plainly, as He did with the Smyrna believers, that we are to know His word and do His will, and know the cost and reward of His will towards us as related in His plainly-stated word:
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
God speaks plainly to us. He’s given us His word in the Scriptures, and it is His standard and we’re to live it, all of it. The devil has all the other words. God can’t and won’t tempt us with His word because His word is out in the open. He never wants anything FOR US except what is in His word, and He allows us to choose if we want to be reconciled to Him from our sinful selves and live by Him and enjoy Him for eternity. Furthermore, He never wants anything FROM US that He didn’t go through in overcoming the world FOR US through His Son’s cross and the empty tomb. In these two events, He overcame the world, and John said,
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
His commands “are not grievous”? No, they are not, even if they lead to the point of obedience in the face of temptation that could bring physical death. Why? Because from God’s perspective, such an act is the crowning glory of His Son in fallen man.
Satan TEMPTS our hearts with the seen and unseen things of this world for one purpose: to cause us to desire and pursue anything but God and His will, and He will even counterfeit God’s own Son to do it.
God TESTS our hearts, meaning that He tests the desire of His children for Him and our commitment to His word. That is for our benefit, not God’s, so that WE can see where we are not walking according to His word and not desiring Him above all things:
1 Pet 1:6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of YOUR FAITH, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, THOUGH IT BE TRIED WITH FIRE, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
Gods Tests Faith For Eternal Purposes
God tests faith in the heart for eternal purposes, that we might receive praise, honor and glory from Jesus when He returns:
PRAISE: Matt 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
HONOR: John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
GLORY: Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 SET YOUR AFFECTION ON THINGS ABOVE, NOT ON THINGS ON THE EARTH. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Temptation Comes On The Heels Of Testing
What it boils down to is that there is really only one true TEST for the Christian, while there are manifold temptations. Paul said of this test,
2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove (Strong’s: 3181: test) your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Satan, on the other hand, tempts the heart with worldly purposes that we might receive condemnation, judgement and damnation at the Lord’s coming. Constantly setting our “affections on things above, not on things on the earth” is half the battle to doing God’s known will. It’s “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). God’s testing is simply His giving us responsibilities with the expectation that we will walk in the image and likeness of His Son come in the flesh.
The confusion about whether we are being tested by God or tempted by the devil is a matter of great importance, especially as we watch what is happening in the Church concerning the apostasy. These people no doubt believe they are being tested by God, when in reality much of it is the result of yielding to the temptations of the adversary. THE WORD OF GOD DOES TEST OUR LIVES, AND WHEN IT DOES, THE ADVERSARY FOLLOWS WITH TEMPTATION, OFTEN CONFUSING TESTING WITH TEMPTING. HOW OFTEN HAVE YOU HEARD SOMEONE SAY, “I DON’T KNOW IF THIS IS GOD TESTING ME OR THE ADVERSARY TEMPTING ME.” The only sure way to know is to get into the word of God and find out:
Matt 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. . .
Changing The Truth Into A Lie
True saints take root in Christ and don’t “change God’s word for a lie” in the face of overwhelming trials. As children of God, we are expected to live totally by His standard, meaning His Son as He is related in His word. When we love the truth and hold to the truth, we love Him. Our affections are on the things above, where Christ is seated at His right hand. But Paul said of those who don’t, who consider the creature – even their own selves – more worthy than God:
Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 WHO CHANGED THE TRUTH OF GOD INTO A LIE, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
In Jesus, we have victory over every temptation “for we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15). The devil could find no place in Him (John 14:30), and through His testing His word in our hearts, God wants the same for us for eternal gain.
The devil loves to change the word of God and the truth of that word into a lie, so that we doubt God. When he attempts to do so, when we doubt something we were excited about that we believed God had really said, we need to scrutinize the origin of our thoughts to see if there is a “Hath God said . . .” underneath them. God’s word stands for ever, and we alone can determine whether we stand or fall:
Eph 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
1 Pet 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
We only stand if we retain the armor God has given us in His word:
Eph 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Who Gave Satan A Place Of Authority In This World?
Satan’s Power And Authority In This World Are Conditional
God tests our hearts according to His set word and His firmly established plan, to bring all to perfect completion. Satan tempts men from out of his rebellion, to entrap them by blinding them to the gospel. He wants men to set up an earthly kingdom of worship of himself and he is doing so by changing the word of God into a lie. Both of these kingdoms are at present invisible, but both will be made manifest in their proper order and at the proper time.
Satan’s power and authority in this world IS CONDITIONAL on man’s accepting the power Satan offers. Man’s responsibility is to love God and love the truth, and if he does that, Satan’s effect on a person IS BROUGHT TO NOUGHT. A good example of that would be the coming antichrist. He will accept the devil’s deceptions to think he could rule the world as God, but if he rejected it, that worship would never come to full fruition. Satan still has the power to attempt to tempt man, but man doesn’t have to accept what is “offered.” In other words, his power would be brought to nought.
God Honors The Authority He Gave Man In The Garden
In the garden, God said to Adam and Eve, “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen 1:28). God has never nullified that command, even though man was deceived into allowing sin and death to enter into his world. This command was to find ultimate fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that man was deceived doesn’t excuse man for what he allowed nor did it nullify God’s command to have dominion.
Man, Not The Devil, Is The Problem
Satan will give temporary world rule to one man and bring chaos and death to the earth, but it will NOT BE GOD’S FAULT. Why? First, God has given His word to all men to know what to do in any circumstance, and second, because man can know the truth and therefore DOES NOT HAVE TO accept what Satan offers through his lies and deceits and his acting like God through the USE of God’s word! The problem is not with God, NOR with the devil’s temptation, BUT WITH MAN and the lusts of his heart. For instance, let’s look at the current “revival.” Paul said,
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
“The time [that] will come” is now. And notice in these two verses, it is THEY, men, who won’t endure sound doctrine, it is THEY, men, who listen to false teachers, it is THEY, men, who have itching ears, it is THEY, men, who turn their ears from the truth, it is THEY, men, who turn the truth into fables. WHY? Because of “THEIR own lusts.” Teachers offering prosperity, success, health, power, authority, the throne and THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD have come and played on those lusts, and men are turning away from what God has plainly said. These men are tempting those in the Church to follow things other than what God has said, playing on the desires of their listeners who refuse to persevere in the life of Christ Jesus on high. These men are tempting many to turn away from the faith because they themselves have yielded to those very same temptations presented by the adversary. As the Church, WE DO NOT HAVE TO LISTEN TO THEM OR YIELD TO THOSE TEMPTATIONS just as they didn’t have to listen to the spirits which seduced them. This is where true spiritual warfare takes place, not outwardly, such as by “taking the nations for Christ,” but inwardly. In every man, the heart is where temptation to pursue the rule of the nations takes place. The nations are only the devil’s reward for yielding to the sin he tempts with.
Jesus Came To Destroy The Works Of The Devil, Not Rule The Nations
God wanted man to have dominion over the earth, but His plan was that a PARTICULAR MAN, His Son, God come in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ, would rule the nations (Isaiah 45:12-13). But today, the “Church” is pursuing taking the nations to rule over them, an effort that came about by a twisting of God’s word through the lies and deceits of the adversary. In the wilderness temptation, Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, and Jesus did what Adam should have done: put that snake under his feet and maintain dominion over it. What Jesus refused, the “Church” has now accepted, because it didn’t hold to the word of God in its proper context. Today, Satan has taken some men captive to do his will, and he is tempting the Church with the nations through these men. These men are not originating those temptations. They are coming from seducing spirits:
1 Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.
Jesus showed these realities to the leaders of His own time, as well. In the gospel of John we read,
John 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
And again Jesus said their problem was not the Devil, but their hearts. In Matthew, He said,
Matt 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? FOR OUT OF THE ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART THE MOUTH SPEAKETH. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
In all the encounters Jesus had with the devil, especially in Matthew and Luke 4, He was not taking back dominion of the outward world as though the devil had stole it in the garden. He was destroying the works of the devil IN MAN and giving man back power to resist temptation when it came:
1 John 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. FOR THIS PURPOSE the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy THE WORKS of the devil [in man]. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
Luke 11:21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.
Jesus came forgiving sin and speaking truth and in doing that, He took the tempter’s armor away and stole his goods: the people under his domination. Did He then send them out to conquer the nations? No, He said it was a time of rejoicing for them. He said,
Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Those in the “revival,” though, are rejoicing because they are taking the nations for Christ. Great celebrations are planned, yet it is all deception because they departed from the word of God through the enticements of the devil. This is why Paul said,
Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
“Thus Saith The Lord” Followed By “Hath God Said”
In the above verses I mentioned, whether or not one places himself under the devil as a child of disobedience depends on whether that person allows the word of God to be changed in their hearts. It’s the temptation of the garden played out time after time, day in and day out in our minds and hearts. The “apple” is still in the heart of every man, and it’s defined today as whatever your weakness is, whatever you lust after. Temptation is when the devil points to “whatever” and says, “Hath God said….?” In the garden, the devil came through a serpent; now he often comes through men with “new revelations” that tempt men’s hearts because of the “apple” still there. These “new revelations” are basically saying, “Hath God said?” For example, God did say man was to rule the nations. What the devil offered man was something God wanted man to have in the first place. But God wanted it accomplished out of a heart that was obedient to His word and according to how He wanted to bring it about. These men come saying there won’t be tribulation, but only blessings from God in these times. They say the “Church” can establish a kingdom, supposedly God’s, and can rule this world. They play on our lust to be blessed and to dominate. Through it all, Satan is saying, “You can have the nations. What I want is the worship that belongs to God.” That’s why Peter said,
1 Pet 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God . . .
MAN, NOT GOD OR SATAN, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROBLEMS OF THIS WORLD
Living “in the flesh to the lusts of men.” What is the opposite? Living in the will of God, revealed through what God has said. Spiritual warfare occurs when Satan comes with his, “Hath God said . . .?” after God comes to us with His, “Thus sayeth the Lord . . . ” This is the difference between the TESTING BY GOD and the TEMPTING BY THE EVIL ONE and it all hinges on what we do with the word of God and with the devil when comes with his, “Hath God said . . .?”
The problem is that man refuses to know the word of God and live by it and instead gives place to the devil. In the garden of Eden, man knew the word of God but didn’t live by it, and he fell for that temptation by allowing God’s word plainly given to him to be changed. THROUGH THAT YIELDING, THE DEVIL WAS GIVEN A PLACE IN THIS WORLD TO TEMPT MAN. Jesus, the second [sinless] man and the last Adam, knew the word of God and did live by it – perfectly – AND THE DEVIL FOUND NO PLACE IN HIM. The first man, a type of the one to come (Rom 5:14), was tested and fell. The second was tempted and didn’t fall and left this world victorious. God’s plan was that man wouldn’t fall, that he would resist the devil so he would flee (1 Peter 5:8-9), that man would not allow himself to lust after anything in this world (1 John 2:16-17) – including the nations of this world – and do according to what God had said. Do you see who is responsible for the devil being here and causing all these problems? MAN! All man had to do was to hold to what God had said and refuse the temptation to do otherwise. All of the fallen humanity and all of the sin and death that man allowed into this world came THROUGH ONE SIMPLE TEMPTATION. If man had said, “No, this is what God has said,” NONE OF THESE THINGS WOULD BE HERE, and man could have said to himself, “The adversary came but had nothing in me.” God didn’t allow all of this evil in; MAN DID. And, now we all have the opportunity to stand in the authority God has given us as His sons in Christ under Christ. Every day, in each of us, the devil points to the “apples” in our hearts in order to find a place in us and cause us to fall just as he gained a place in this world through original man. MAN, NOT GOD, is responsible for the adversary having any place in this world. It is true God allows the devil to tempt man with the nations of this world, but that OFFER IS ONLY TEMPTATION:
Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 Being forty days TEMPTED of the devil. . . 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.”
It was an offer – and Jesus refused. The devil could find no place in Him.
Repentance And Restoration From Temptation
In the following the word “snare” means “temptation”:
2 Timothy:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare [temptation] of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will [because they yielded to his temptations.]
Many in the “Revival” have yielded to the temptations that offer power, success and authority over the nations, but James says God still works in their lives to bring them to repentance. There are also those who haven’t fallen, and James says for those to call it all joy:
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
“Patience . . . perfect work . . . wanting nothing . . .” What if we do let patience do her perfect work in us so we want nothing? Then the lusts, the “apple,” the thing that the devil tempts us with is gone and he has nothing in us in our lives. That’s the image of the Lamb of God who said,
John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
Where did Jesus end up because “the prince of this world [came], and [had] nothing in [Him]?” At the right hand of God, waiting to come back to rule the nations (See Psalm2) because He had no sin and sinned not. We will rule the nations with Him when He returns at the end of the age if we be found in Him. Though He was perfect in His patience to do the Father’s will, we must let patience do her perfect work in us and not yield to the temptations of the devil. Jesus, through patience, received what was to be given to Him anyway. He would not go against what God had said. He resisted the temptation to rule the nations of this world BEFORE God wanted Him to. But the “Church” has not. It has been tempted with the offer to conquer and rule the nations BEFORE the proper time under Christ, because it refused to believe what God has said about His Son. In many cases, the devil tempts us with something that God desires for us anyways. He wanted Jesus and the Church, under Him, to have the nations and rule over them, in His time. The point? In “wanting nothing,” all things are ours in Christ according to what God has written in His word. The nations of this world are but an “apple” on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and men are acting like gods and pursuing just that through the Manifest Sons doctrine. But those not allowing God’s word to be changed in their heart will follow the Lamb through it and He will lead them into the millennial reign at His return. This return is when all temptation by the evil one, and thus his authority and power, will come to a temporary halt during the millennium, when we will rule with Christ a thousand years:
Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Rev 2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
Though God is now allowing the devil to exercise his authority upon the earth simply because man is allowing it, He will not allow it forever. Any authority the devil has or thinks he has is a temporary authority. God’s authority is forever. Christ Jesus will rule on earth after the devil is confined to the bottomless pit. Jesus will bring in the manifestation of the true Kingdom of God at His coming.
True Spiritual Warfare
One prevalent idea, sometimes subtly hidden, is the idea that there is a spiritual war raging, and that either side can win. We, as Christians, know that is not true. The dominion of darkness reigns in the hearts of men that the Bible calls the “sons of disobedience,” while Scripture calls those who believe on Christ the “sons of light.” There are only two types of people in this world, which I’ve just described, and each of them has a ruler. Scripture is clear that men reside under the authority of one ruler or another, while God rules Sovereignly over all. There are no other alternatives, and it is for the sons of disobedience to repent of that disobedience in rejecting the Son of God, Jesus Christ, or remain under the dominion of darkness. Their only way out of that dominion is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, as we Christians have done:
Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
Phil 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
In the meantime, we must hold fast to what we have been given, and the devil will find no place in the remainder of God’s end-time Church:
2 Tim 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
Heb 3:5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Rev 2:24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.
Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Where Is The Kingdom Of Darkness?
Coming Out Of Darkness Into The Light
John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Jesus came for a specific purpose, to destroy the works of the devil and to save sinners. His finished work accomplished that, and Paul describes the result of His coming and finishing the work the Father had given Him to do:
Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 WHO HATH DELIVERED US FROM THE POWER OF DARKNESS, AND HATH TRANSLATED US INTO THE KINGDOM OF HIS DEAR SON: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
Paul is here speaking specifically of Christians, but being translated from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God “through his blood” is technically available to every man. The word for “translated” in these verses (Strong’s: 3179) means “to transfer, i.e. carry away, . . . remove.”
The Breaking Of The Powers That Be
There are basically two things which block man’s way into God’s Kingdom: sin and death. Adam brought these into the world, but through Jesus’ finished work, our sin and spiritual death were washed away, and we have a promise that the death of the body will be overcome as well at His coming. His resurrection assures of us of that, having broken the devil’s power of death over us for all eternity:
Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Jesus died for all men and that work was enough to translate all men into His kingdom. But the reality of that removal depends on one thing: the faith of man in what Jesus did in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and glorification at the right hand of God, at which time He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all who believe. All of these together are called the finished work of Christ, which destroyed the works of the adversary in man. The result of Christ’s work is justification and righteousness before God to those who believe. If a man does not believe on Him, that man has no faith in Him and remains under the authority of the darkness of this world, meaning sin and death, and the devil and his demons:
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Where Is The Darkness Of This World?
Satan and his demons rule “the DARKNESS of this world.” And where is that darkness? True, it is in the world because Christ has not come back yet, but ultimately it is in the hearts of men because the heart of man is evil:
Rom 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Rom 3:10-11 “as it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”
All men have sinned and therefore all men have need of Christ’s righteousness to come out of the jurisdiction of the enemy of our souls, that realm that legally belongs to the devil who rules wherever there is darkness in this world. All depends on how a man chooses to walk through this world:
John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
Why don’t all men believe on Jesus Christ? John answers that for us. In his gospel, we read:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, THAT LIGHT IS COME INTO THE WORLD, and MEN LOVED DARKNESS RATHER THAN LIGHT, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
In verse 19, John wrote, “and men loved darkness rather than light.” Loving the darkness is not an outward thing, it is an inward thing. The Apostle Paul said very clearly,
Eph 4:18 Having the UNDERSTANDING DARKENED, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, BECAUSE OF THE BLINDNESS OF THEIR HEART.
A darkened understanding blinds the heart to a knowledge of God, who is Light. Men refuse Christ because they refuse to come into the light, as their deeds are evil, but also because
2 Cor 4:4 the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
It doesn’t take long for darkness to descend from a darkened mind into a heart that refuses to believe on Jesus as God’s answer to the darkness of this world. In the book of Romans, Paul said the same thing, even of some that knew God:
Romans 1:21 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. . .”
“Their foolish heart was darkened.” Darkness is in the heart of man, and it is there that Satan rules over him through lies and deceptions. When men choose to live in spiritual darkness because they won’t let the light of God’s word into their hearts and minds, there is nothing God can do for them. That doesn’t necessarily mean God gives up on them; only God knows the heart. But for those who hate the darkness and yet are helpless in their darkened selves, Jesus is their answer and the answer for every man.
The Strong Man Bound And Plundered
Jesus said in Luke 11:
21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. 23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
Matthew Henry explains these verses well:
“Verses 14-26. Christ’s thus casting out the devils, was really the destroying of their power. The heart of every unconverted sinner is the devil’s palace, where he dwells, and where he rules. There is a kind of peace in the heart of an unconverted soul, while the devil, as a strong man armed, keeps it. The sinner is secure, has no doubt concerning the goodness of his state, nor any dread of the judgment to come. But observe the wonderful change made in conversion. The conversion of a soul to God, is Christ’s victory over the devil and his power in that soul, restoring the soul to its liberty, and recovering his own interest in it and power over it. All the endowments of mind [and] body are now employed for Christ. . . .”
Jesus doesn’t want any man to remain in spiritual darkness and that’s why He came. He said in John 12:
John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
In all of this, Jesus was and is saying, “I came and I spoke with you that you would believe in me, because I am the light of the world to all people that sit in great darkness, but you received me not.” Therefore, the men of his time “abode in darkness” (John 12:9), and men still do today. There are dangers even to those who have come out of the darkness if they continue in fellowship with the practitioners of darkness:
Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
What do we have through today’s apostasy but darkness being passed off as light, the words of men and of devils being passed off as the word of God? Paul said, “Be not ye therefore partakers with them.”
The Devil Is A Father
Men’s HEARTS are darkened and it is because the devil is the father of these sons of disobedience, for they love the darkness rather than the light of God and His word:
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
Man’s problem is that he lets his heart remain in darkness, exalting the thoughts of his mind over God’s thoughts, which was the devil’s sin:
Is 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 FOR THOU HAST SAID IN THINE HEART, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
This one is eternally wounded. This one is lost to the fellowship of God forever, as he continues to rage against Him with a wishful eye towards being as sovereign as He. Scripture says he was perfect until sin was found IN him, and from WITHIN HIS HEART came his five “I wills.” In the garden, he came to God’s creatures and through his tempting, got man to fall for his subtleties, just as men do today:
Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
The Problem With Man’s Heart: DARKNESS
Darkness fell on the first men’s hearts, and they had only themselves to blame. The devil had tempted them, but they gave him entrance, and God allowed it. The condition of sin and death and darkness within the evil one had now tempted man into a life of sin and death and darkness. Man would live in this condition until God intervened:
1 Cor 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the HIDDEN THINGS OF DARKNESS, AND WILL MAKE MANIFEST THE COUNSELS OF THE HEARTS: and then shall every man have praise of God.
Hidden things, counsels, darkness – all of the heart. Strong’s says the “hidden things” spoken of here are things “concealed, i.e. private:–hid (-den), inward [-ly], secret (G2927)”, and these hidden things are inward in the heart where darkness dwells.
But the time came when the Lamb, too, would come to man as a man:
Matt 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
People sat in the darkness of sin and death, but God would not allow them to do so forever:
2 Cor 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
The treasure that Paul spoke of was the word of God, the light that would shine in the hearts of all men who believe in the Lamb who had now come, that He was indeed God come in the flesh. Some responded, but some did not:
John 1:4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Some men love the darkness. Some do not want the strong man bound. Some do not want the kingdom of God within them, and in their rebellion, keep the door open for the evil one to continue to lead them by his temptations to carry out his wishes. What are those wishes? To take the darkness he’d deceived man into accepting and bring it to an open manifestation for all the world to see, bringing upon this earth a time of deep darkness.
Does The Devil Have A Kingdom?
In Romans 14, Paul said,
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
What is the Kingdom of God, then? It is the Holy Spirit in us who brings us out of darkness into the light of Christ through the word of God. God has His Kingdom within us, a Kingdom that will be visibly manifested when Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, returns. Then, what is the kingdom of Satan? Is it plausible to say too, then, that it is in the hearts of men who refuse entrance into the Kingdom of God? That it, too, will be visibly manifested when their “king” shows up in the person of antichrist? Is it plausible to say that as we are children of light (John 12:36), they are children of darkness (see Acts 13:10)? Jesus said men either have light in them or darkness, but to watch that their light is not darkness.
God has an everlasting Kingdom for us to inherit, and the children of the darkness have theirs, which is temporary. Both lie in our future, and it appears that some of us will see both of them be manifested.