THE WAR HAS BEGUN
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
It appears the war in Heaven, described in Revelation chapter 12, may have commenced already. It is possible that the present war in the Middle East is a reflection of what is taking place in the heavens.
THE WAR HAS BEGUN
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)
This brief essay is based on the sermon of Mr. Stan Josephsen, the assistant pastor of Mount Zion Fellowship of Poway, California, given on Sunday morning, April 14th, 2002. In time past I have taught that in the last days there would be a remnant of believers who would overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and by loving not their lives to the death. I pictured that when those critical consecrations had been established, the Father would give power to Michael and his angels and they would mount an attack. Satan and his angels would be hurled down from the heaven into the earth.
I envisioned this victorious attack as taking place during a brief period of time.
As Pastor Stan was preaching he said a few weeks previously, the moment he awoke in the morning he realized “the war has begun.” He understood this expression to be referring to the war in the heaven, in Revelation chapter 12.
Stan then emphasized three points, which certainly are worth considering. First, he said, wars usually do not take place in a moment, but over a period of time. Second, wars do not suddenly just happen. There are a number of events that lead up to a war. A war is the culmination and climax of what took place previously.
Third, Satan and his forces did not immediately relinquish their position in the heaven. They fought back.
As I have thought about this, I have found Stan’s point of view to be reasonable and most likely accurate.
He mentioned also, as I remember, that the current unrest in the Middle East appears to be a reflection of what is taking place in the heavenlies. As we think about the battles occurring in the land of Israel while I am writing, we can see there are two forces involved. The first, and obvious force, is political. The Palestinians believe the Jews are occupying land that belongs to the Palestinians. The Jews believe the land they are living on rightfully belongs to the Jews.
However, if I am not mistaken, the primary force is spiritual. The issue is not room to live on, for the Palestinians have a great deal of real estate available to them that the Arab nations will not share, or so it seems to my unlearned mind. Rather, the issue is Jerusalem. The issue is the Muslim god and the Muslim religion against the Jewish God, who also is the God of the Christians, and the Jewish-Christian religion.
Jerusalem is the city from which Jesus Christ will rule the nations of the earth. This is why it is being contested thousands of years after King David governed from there.
It appears the conflict in the Middle East is a war between two religions. I think the Muslims recognize this more clearly than the Christians do.
In yesterday morning’s paper, two highly placed Egyptian prelates of the Muslim faith have proclaimed that the suicide bombers are serving Allah. Sheik Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi stated that suicide attacks are “an Islamic commandment until the people of Palestine regain their land and cause the cruel Israeli aggression to retreat.”
Ahmad Al Tayyeb, a mufti (a Muslim scholar and judge), declared that “the solution to the Israeli terror” lies in a proliferation of suicide attacks “that strike horror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” (The San Diego Union-Tribune, Monday, April 15th, 2002).
I believe there will be continued negotiations concerning the allocation of land to the Palestinians. But let us not be deceived. The Muslims will never rest until they have Jerusalem as their capital. And I am not sure the Jews will ever agree to this. Therefore we have the basis for a conflict that will escalate until the major nations of the earth are involved.
One time when I was walking on the Temple Mount, between the two mosques, I thought I heard these words: “Whoever would rule the world must do so from here.” I think it was the voice of the Lord. Also, I read one time, in a secular journal, that Jerusalem is the center of the land mass of the world. I do not know whether or not this is the case.
But I do know from the Bible that Jerusalem is destined to be the governing city of the world, the place of God’s Throne, the source of all light, all glory, and all righteousness. The Lord Jesus Christ will sit on His throne in Jerusalem and govern the world from there.
There is no authority or power in the heavens, on the earth, or emanating from the dark regions under earth’s surface, that in any manner can prevent the Lord Jesus Christ from governing the creation from His throne in Jerusalem. Allah will not govern from there, at least not permanently. Christ will govern from Jerusalem for eternity. God has given to Jesus Christ the city of Jerusalem, to no one else. So it is just a matter of time.
The holy city of the Muslim religion is Mecca, on the west coast of Saudi Arabia. No non-Muslim may enter there.
Jerusalem is the holy city of the Jews and Christians.
We can understand, therefore, why Satan will deploy his forces around Jerusalem. When Christ occupies Jerusalem, as He will at His return, Satan, having lost his place in the heaven, will then be driven from the earth. The Kingdom of God will be established. Finally all sin will be removed. There is coming an end of sin.
All the saved peoples of the earth will go up to Jerusalem to experience the Presence of God in His Church.
In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2,3)
At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. (Jeremiah 3:17)
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. (Isaiah 62:1,2)
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:2,3)
It is possible that the Muslims in the near future may be able to establish all or part of Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. It does not matter. God has given the Lord Jesus all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth. God will put all of the enemies of Christ under His feet, and Christ will sit on the Throne of David in the city of Jerusalem. This is what the unchanging Scriptures declare, and there is no authority or power that can change this declaration.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, And his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, Which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, Far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:17-23)
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)
I know of a certainty there are numerous fine Arab people. My heart goes out to them, especially to the young people who have been taught, from earliest years, to hate. But they must come to understand the true and only God, the Creator of all, has given to His Son, Jesus Christ, all that belongs to God. Christ has inherited all from His Father. Although He is loving and patient, He is an oriental Monarch, not the member of a democratic society. He will govern with an iron rod of righteousness. Woe be to the individual who seeks to resist Christ!
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalms 2:10-12)
No doubt the conflict of the ages has commenced. Good against evil. Christ against Antichrist. The Holy Spirit against the False Prophet. God against Satan. We human beings are as so much dust. There are spiritual titans arrayed against one another. We are approaching the final solution. The shoulders of the adversary, Satan, will be pinned to the mat.
Christians, both in the spirit realm and on the earth (for the two realms actually are one as we approach the overthrow of Satan), are responsible before God to assist in the final defeat of Satan.
We must learn to rest in the total atoning power of the blood of the Lamb. As long as we are following the Spirit of God, Satan cannot penetrate the forgiving authority of the blood of Christ.
We must give a true testimony of the Person, will, way, and eternal purpose of God in Christ. A true testimony is not being given by Christians, to a deplorable extent. We are prattling about Christians being caught up to Heaven (not a shred of scriptural evidence for this position) to lie around in their mansions, leaving the earth and its nations to the tender mercies of Satan. Where is the Kingdom of God in this manmade doctrine? Where is the strength of righteousness? The putting an end to sin?
We are preaching that God’s grace is an excuse for our sins; God’s people no longer have to keep His commandments.
We are making proselytes instead of disciples by wooing people with cheap grace. They can continue with their fleshly way of life for they now have a ticket that will open Heaven’s gates to them. This is the testimony of the righteous King of Israel?
We must deny ourselves, love not our own life to the point of death, offer our body a living sacrifice, take up our cross, and follow Jesus step by step throughout each day and night.
Today we are being advised to go into all the world and tell people they do not have to keep Christ’s commandments, just “accept Christ”—whatever this has come to mean! Then we are supposed to build an increasing number of church buildings to house the spiritual babies.
But the Great Commission is not to get people “saved” but to make disciples; to challenge people to be baptized into the death of the cross, to arise to walk in newness of life, to turn away from the world and seek Christ at all times. We have been charged to make disciples! Disciples! Disciples! Not church members, but disciples!
We always manage to pervert the Words of God. Christ commanded us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the field. How do we respond? We tell people the Lord said to go into the field. The Lord says pray. We maintain He commanded us to go. The Lord said He would make us fishers of men. We say the Lord commanded us to fish. We simply have none of God’s “salt” in ourselves and so we never can hear God correctly. We have a condition known as “hardening of the heart.”
Will we ever cease from our own works and obey Christ as He builds His own Church? Will we ever offer our body a living sacrifice and do what He is saying at all times instead of charging out in our own wisdom, strength, desires, and objectives?
If instead we will choose to obey Christ, there is no telling what victories God will give.
So we have war in the Middle East, a reflection of the final struggle against Satan’s Kingdom. The issue always is Jerusalem, for the Divine Word has installed Jerusalem as Christ’s capital city.
What is our part? Our part is to overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and by loving not our life to the death.
As we overcome the accuser, Christ, the male child, is formed in us. As He is formed in us He is caught up to the right hand of God in Heaven, the Source of all authority and power. He who is being formed in us is the only legitimate Ruler of God’s creation.
Pastor Stan said the final war would be the product of many preceding tensions and conflicts. He maintained it would be fought over a period of time and not in one instant battle, as I had always thought. And he stated Satan would fight back. He would not surrender instantly.
Today the battle is reflected in the increasing world pressure on Israel to permit the worshipers of Allah to establish Jerusalem as their capital city. The suffering on both sides is tragic as the Jews and the Palestinians fight against each other.
However, the actual battle is fought in the spirit realm, the invisible and true world of real substance and power. Satan is standing before the Christian Church, seeking to devour the child, Christ, as He is being formed in the saints.
Notice the term “devour.” It means to consume by eating. The dragon intends to eat up the child as soon as it is born.
His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so he might devour her child the moment it was born. (Revelation 12:4)
It is interesting that the enormous red dragon is not seeking to murder or kill the child that is ready to be born, but to eat it up.
What does this mean, and how is it different from murdering or killing the child?
Satan is extremely wise. He understands that to confront the saints is counterproductive. Trouble tends to strengthen the Christians and purify them.
In America, Satan is swallowing up that which is seeking to come forth in the Church. Satan is using every device possible to keep the believer distracted from the real issue—that of bringing forth Christ. Not only are the elements of the world enticing, there are in addition a multitude of Christian programs that invite the Christian to enter this activity or that activity. While no doubt many of these programs and activities are valuable, the eternal work is accomplished only as Jesus Christ, the Ruler, is being formed in us.
Christians in America have opportunities for higher education, for making much money, for perfecting their musical or artistic talents, for gaining political office, for eating and drinking whatever they want, for watching the television and the Internet by the hour, for pursuing whatever is of interest to them. We do not ordinarily regard our customary pursuits as harmful. But they are. They “swallow up” the Divine Life that is supposed to be formed in us.
We are too busy to attend to the forming of Christ in us. If we are not busy in worldly activities we are busy in religious activities. Many of us are not spending enough time listening to Christ. He is knocking, but we are not opening the door to Him. He wants to dine with us, He being nourished by our obedience and adoration; we being nourished by His body and blood.
If the Son, the Ruler, is to be formed in us, which is to say if the Kingdom of God is to be formed in us, then we are going to have to keep our involvement in the world to a minimum and concentrate on that which the Holy Spirit wishes to create in us.
It is time now for Christ to be formed in the saints. Ours is a moment of travail, a travail to bring forth Him who is to govern the works of God’s hands.
The land of Israel is in travail. The Christian Church is entering (as I said before, both on earth and in the spirit realm—for at any given time almost all of the Church is in the spirit realm) a related, corresponding travail. The travail is to bring forth the Kingdom of God, the putting to an end of all sin.
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24:7,8)
Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. (Daniel 9:24)
“To put an end to sin”!
Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. (Micah 5:3)
Get a feel for the travail, the birth pains. If I am hearing from the Lord correctly, much blood is going to be shed in the United States, and perhaps in England also. We have a history of both being Christian nations, but we have turned our backs on God. Now God is going to chastise us soundly and severely lest we be altogether lost.
Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry. Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment. How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet? (Jeremiah 4:19-21)
The above passage applies to us in America. Like Israel of old, we may despise the word of prophecy. But those who are in prayer will hear the war drums of El Shaddai and the war drums of Hell beating to the attack.
Because we of America have not, like other countries, experienced the slaughter of large numbers of our population (except for the American Civil War), we are going to have to become aware of the reality of the invisible world. The invisible world, the world of spirits, the world where most members of the Christian Church are living, is the real world. Our present existence is in the valley of the shadow of death, a temporary environment while we are being tested and perfected in obedience (if we truly are following the Lord Jesus each day.)
When we see our family members killed, or hear of whole areas of our country devastated by one means or another, we are going to have to be able to remember that we are only in a shadow land at the present time. The real, substantial world is invisible to us. Our slain loved ones have merely become invisible to us. They have passed into the real world. We will see them again as soon as we die.
When people die physically, nothing is lost except their ability to function as a visible assembly of molecules. They do not go anywhere, necessarily. They are under the scrutiny of Christ at all times.
If they are serving the Lord when they die, then He is there to meet them.
If they have been careless in their discipleship, then when they die the Lord will be far off, if even visible.
If they have been wicked, and a Christian believer, they will go to a place of punishment. Not a purgatory where they can make amends for their behavior, but to a fire that will burn away their worldliness, lust, and self-seeking. If they call upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation they will be saved into His Kingdom. But they will pass through hot flames, and in the end will emerge with all their accomplishments burned away. They will be governed by those who have served Christ faithfully.
So we do not panic when people are in danger, or die physically. Christ is in control of each individual. Our loved ones merely become invisible to us until we too have entered the real world, the world of spirits. Then they will be visible to us once again.
Recently I finished reading “Black Hawk Down.” This is an account of a brief incursion into Somalia in Africa by some members of the American Special Forces. Although the military intervention was motivated by humanitarian considerations, much blood was shed on both sides. As I was reading about the ghastly episodes, I felt the Lord say to me: “This is going to happen in America.”
I do not pretend to be a prophet. So if such takes place, then it was a true word. I would not mind being proved wrong in this instance.
Up to this point in church history we have been at the Jewish feast of Pentecost, spiritually speaking. The following feast is that of the Blowing of Trumpets. It is time now for us to open the everlasting doors of our heart and let the King of Glory enter us, the Lord—strong and mighty in battle. Such is the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Trumpets.
Will Jerusalem finally be established as the capital city of another god?
Not according to the Scriptures.
As for you, O watchtower of the flock, O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem. (Micah 4:8)
This is what God has declared. No power can prevent it.
But now many nations are gathered against you. They say, “Let her be defiled, let our eyes gloat over Zion!” But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan, he who gathers them like sheaves to the threshing floor. “Rise and thresh, O Daughter of Zion, for I will give you horns of iron; I will give you hoofs of bronze and you will break to pieces many nations.” You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the LORD, their wealth to the Lord of all the earth. (Micah 4:11-13)
Does the above sound to you that Israel will finally be overcome? There is no god as great as the God of Israel, the Father of the Lord Jesus. What He has declared is carved in steel, in granite. Heaven and earth shall pass away; but what God has declared in His unchanging Word shall never pass away!
Study the following passage carefully and see if you can notice the relationship between the struggle to gain control of Jerusalem, and the travail of the Christian Church to bring forth Christ.
Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve. “Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God. “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her. (Isaiah 66:6-10)
The “city” is Jerusalem. The “uproar” from the city is the noise made by the Lord as He executes vengeance on His enemies.
Then we see the first birth, a birth that occurred apart from the travail of Zion. The Son is born in the manger, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then we learn that a nation will be brought forth in a moment. That nation is the royal priesthood, the holy nation. The holy nation comprises God’s elect including Jews and Gentiles by physical birth.
After this we are told Zion will be in labor and bring forth children. This is referring to Christ being formed in us.
We may be in some confusion and dismay now, but we are to rejoice. God has declared that He will not close up the womb. He will bring to delivery. He will bring forth Christ in your life if you will serve the Lord diligently. Christ will finish what He has begun in you, so be confident and rejoice.
The end of all this is the holy Jerusalem, first on this earth when Christ returns and establishes His throne on the Temple Mount; second on the new earth when the new Jerusalem, the Tabernacle of God, descends from God through the new sky to be established for eternity on the earth.
In the first century the saints in Galatia were wavering between the new covenant and the Law of Moses. Paul knew the only answer was to have Christ formed in them.
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
The believers in Galatia had been saved, as we use the term today, and had been filled with the Holy Spirit. But they still needed to have Christ formed in them.
So it is today. We have been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Now we need to have Christ formed in us to a far greater extent than has been true to this point.
Indeed, Christ has keep the best wine until now. God has prepared the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles for the hour when Satan in his rage and fear will incite the world to come against Jerusalem, against the physical Israelites as well as the Christians, both Jewish and Gentile by birth.
God’s answer to the persecution of the saints is not a silly rapture, a flight of worldly believers to Paradise.
God’s answer is the forming of Christ in the saints. Then, when Christ has been formed in them, the Father and the Son will enter them. They will become the very Throne of Almighty God. They will prevail against Satan and all of His works.
God will roar out of Zion, out of the Christian Church. The enemy will be utterly confounded and dismayed.
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. (Joel 3:14-16)
Ours is a day of decision. The time when we could be in the middle, be lukewarm, has passed. We will be an active part of Christ or we will default to Satan. There is no middle ground.
The nations shall quake with fear. The heaven shall be shaken along with the earth. All that has not been established in Christ shall be torn down. By established in Christ I mean each individual who is to be able to maintain his position at the right hand of God in Christ will have to have learned stern obedience to the Father. All disobedience shall be removed from the Presence of God.
The true saints will be driven from the major cities of the earth and forced into hiding in wilderness areas. There they will be joined with the elect of the Jews. The Throne of God will be in them. Together they will await the appearing of Christ in the sky with His holy angels.
Christ shall descend, bringing the deceased saints of all ages with Him. He shall remain in the sky. They shall descend in the Spirit and take up their bodies from the places of interment. Then they and Christ shall be visible to the peoples of the earth.
The saints shall be called up to Christ with the sound of the trumpet of God. Now God shall pour out the vials of His wrath upon the wicked nations, preparing them for the onslaught of the heavenly cavalry. The Kingdom of God shall be installed on the earth with irresistible force. Sin shall be driven from the presence of God and His saints. Jesus Christ shall be installed as King of God’s righteous kings and Lord of God’s righteous lords.
Then all nature shall break forth into singing. The travail is over. The Kingdom of God has been brought forth.
God wants you and me to be part of the remnant who will be able to bring deliverance to those who call upon Christ for help. Our nation is going to need us in the days to come. But if we are to be a help to other people, we first must get our own house in order before the Lord.
Church liturgies and activities as we have known them will no longer be able to serve the needs of the saints or of the world. There must be an intense following of Christ, looking to Him at all times for direction. We will be able to give one last great witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, and then the end of the Church Age will be here.
What a glorious, dangerous era in which to live. Many who are last in time will be of first rank in the Kingdom. Thrones of glory are available to those who care enough to leave the world behind and lay hold on that to which God has called them.
Will you be one of those who rely on the blood of the Lamb; who bear a true testimony of the Person of God, of His ways, of His will, of His eternal purpose in Christ?
Will you choose to lay down your own life that the will of Christ may be performed?
If you are ready to be such a person, you will be of great service to Christ and to the peoples of the world. God will protect you and your loved ones during the Gentile holocaust on the horizon.
But if you continue to be caught up in the folly of the American culture, giving your prime energies and time to working, playing, reproducing, eating, sleeping, all necessary in their place, but are not spending time in prayer, Bible reading, assembling with fervent Christians, denying yourself, and carrying your cross after the Lord, there will be no Divine protection over you or your loved ones. You will be removed from the Vine, from Christ, as an unfruitful branch. People eventually will curse you because you betrayed your God and your generation.
You will be cursed like Meroz for not coming to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
All there is, is now. Now we are entering the age of moral horrors, Now the conflict of the ages is upon us.
How will we respond?
The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:31,32)
(“The War Has Begun”, 3587-1)