As the last-hour battle heats up, Satan’s attack on us will intensify. He will use the “short time” he knows he has to focus on seducing us through lying and deceit. We cannot afford to become lethargic or be caught dozing!
We live in a time when human freedom and civilization are at stake! There are profound lessons we can learn from the way Adolf Hitler lured the Western democracies into his confidence as he prepared to smash them in the 1930s.
The physical world mirrors events that take place in the real spirit world. “[T]he invisible things of [God] from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made [seen]” (Romans 1:20).
Spirit is more real than matter. The spirit world—the world we cannot see—is reality! Satan is the god—the supreme ruler—of this unseen spirit world (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9).
In the prelude to World War ii, “[t]he paranoiac Hitler was roaring and snarling like a modern Attila, the narcotic Hermann Goering, in effulgent military attire, was masquerading as a field marshal, the pernicious Goebbels was spewing out his venom to poison the minds of his people, while the murderous Himmler with his Gestapo was committing every bestial crime with the carnal instincts of beasts in the disguise of men” (Francis Trevellyan Miller, General Douglas MacArthur: Fighter for Freedom; emphasis added throughout).
The beastly instincts displayed by Hitler’s henchmen were only a reflection of warfare in the real world—the spirit world.
The propaganda machine Goebbels ran was child’s play in comparison to that run by the god of this world. Satan runs the greatest mind-control machine imaginable. He broadcasts in moods, feelings and attitudes. The media, entertainment, music, sport and dress are all tools he uses to peddle his propaganda. Our nature—human nature—has been injected by him. The way we relate to each other as individuals, families and nations is a product of the nature instilled in us by the invisible, but very real, arch-deceiver—Satan. The inequality, selfishness, misery, terror, wars and human suffering evidenced all around us are physical manifestations of a world that is festering to explode!
We have been called to resist and conquer the influence of the god of this evil spirit realm to pioneer a new way of life on Earth. We have been drafted into a great spiritual war—into direct conflict with the god of this world and his legions of fallen angels!
“For ours is not a conflict with mere flesh and blood, but with the despotisms, the empires, the forces that control and govern this dark world—the spiritual hosts of evil arrayed against us in the heavenly warfare” (Ephesians 6:12, Weymouth New Testament).
The Anesthetic Before the Operation
Motivated by the same evil being as its Axis partner Germany, “Japan, with wily treachery, sent two ‘peace delegates’ to Washington to ‘cement friendly relations with the United States,’ bringing with them assurances of eternal friendship—while at that very moment Japanese battleships and transports were hurrying troops to strategic positions in the Pacific to strike like a hydra-headed monster” (Miller, op. cit.).
Satan, with the same wily treachery, while planning to strike God’s Church and cast the truth to the ground, was fomenting his “mystery of iniquity” within the Church—through the “synagogue of Satan” (2 Thessalonians 2:7; Revelation 3:9).
The seduction of a church—or nation—into moral passivity and disintegration from within is Satan’s first line of attack. It is the “anesthetic” he administers before the “operation”—before the bombs, before the military attack—before he smashes!
“Here was the cry of ‘Wolf! Wolf!’ And these were the wolves in sheep’s clothing who came to the United States with ‘peace’ proposals on Sept. 25, 1941. Tall Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura, an admiral by trade, and short Envoy Saburo Kurusu, sat smiling and rubbing their hands in the office of Secretary of State Hull. They had come to assure the secretary that their mission was ‘peace and nothing but peace.’
“At this very moment in the far-off Pacific, the Japanese fleets, with transports carrying hundreds of thousands of soldiers, were sailing on to the Philippines, Hawaii, Wake Island, and the peaceful countries along the Asiatic coasts—agents of Hitler who pulled the strings. The ‘peace envoys’ were on a sinister mission to cover up Japan’s vast troop movements until they were ready to strike” (ibid.). They were administering the anesthetic—seducing, while preparing to smash.
“There is no blacker page of infamy in all history. It was diabolical treachery in its most hideous form. …
“The event which was taking place that hour was so atrocious in the face of promises made by these Japanese villains of intrigue that one wonders how any people can be so devoid of honor. …
“The whole perfidious plot under the cover of peace was exposed instantly on [the] fateful day of Dec. 7, 1941. …
“America was literally bombed into World War ii by the Japanese plot to strike before she could prepare to defend herself—a plot dictated by Hitler with diabolical cunning and savage instincts.
“Japan, while waving the white flag of peace at the world, struck simultaneously on the ill-fated Sunday of Dec. 7, 1941, at British Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, Nauru Island … Pearl Harbor, Guam, Wake Island, the Philippines—thus proving that the treachery had been plotted weeks in advance. …
“Radio and press brought the news of the shocking tragedy, which shook the world like an earthquake” (ibid.).
The tactics the Axis powers employed to rock the Western democracies to sleep as they prepared to smash them mirror exactly Satan’s method in the real spirit world.
After the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, Satan shook God’s Church like an earthquake! While waving the white flag of peace, Satan had perfidiously plotted his treachery well in advance. Using time as his ally, his plot had been dictated with diabolical cunning and savage instincts.
Through his cunning craftiness, Satan was able to smash God’s Church and stop the work for 1,150 days. In the real spirit world, and in its visible reflection in affairs on Earth, he has been consistent in his modus operandi—first the seduction, then smash—then the earthquake!
Satan’s two-stage stratagem is as old as Satan himself. “… 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” (John 8:44). Satan first seduces through his lies, then he smashes. He murders through his lies.
As a Roaring Lion
If we are to prevail and conquer in our great spiritual conflict, we must know our enemy and his cunning—his skill, his tactics, his stratagems, his “devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Peter warns us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Knowing how a lion devours its prey reveals something crucial God wants us to understand about Satan’s cunning.
“When lions hunt … [t]hey watch for that single moment when their quarry slackens its vigil, or, on the run, slackens its speed. By reacting one moment too late, the hunted gives the hunter that instant that lies between life and death …” (Thomas Allen, Animals of Africa).
The lion stalks with stealth, then strikes! As the lion pounces it lets out a mighty roar. By the time the roar is heard, the quarry is won—the hunt is over!
Peter’s admonition to be vigilant reinforces this aspect of Satan’s cunning. The word vigilant is translated from a Greek word that means “to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one” (Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon).
Peter wants us to understand that, like a lion, Satan first stalks and seduces, then he strikes and smashes! We cannot afford to be the slightest bit remiss or indolent—complacent or inactive—in Satan’s world. If we are, we will be devoured suddenly!
He Persecuted the Woman
In the spiritual earthquake that occurred at the time God’s end-time Elijah died, Satan was smashed down to Earth. In this great conflict he was gravely wounded.
A wounded lion is a vicious lion!
LionCentral.com relates, “One lion killed 70 people, and in no case visited the same place twice. When he was eventually killed, five bullets were found healed over in his flank, and it was speculated that this could have enraged the lion against humans. Once the lion develops a taste for human flesh, he will actively seek them out.”
Like the lion with five bullets in it, Satan is presently in a very grievous attitude. Having mauled 95 percent of God’s Church, he has developed a taste for human flesh. And he is actively seeking whom he may devour!
God warns us, “… Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child” (Revelation 12:12-13).
How has Satan persecuted the woman—the Church?
Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon defines persecuted: “to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away … to press on … to pursue (in a hostile manner) … in any way whatever to harass, trouble, molest one … without the idea of hostility, to run after, follow after: someone … to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavor to acquire.”
Satan has pressed on, harassed, troubled and molested Christ’s Bride. He has put her to flight—driven her from the bosom of her Husband! He has pursued God’s Church in a hostile manner, without the appearance of hostility. As editor in chief Gerald Flurry has written, this is not the time Satan is smashing—he is seducing. And a seduction, while it is happening, feels good! Most Laodiceans will tell you things in their lives have never felt better. We need to be sure we’re not being guided by our feelings or emotions.
“Lie With Me”
Satan’s modus operandi is evidenced in how he pursued Joseph through Potiphar’s wife. “And it came to pass after these things, that [Potiphar’s] wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me” (Genesis 39:7). She cast her eyes upon Joseph—just as Satan has his eyes cast upon you. And you can be sure she was “packaged” to stir the hormones and gratify the senses—just as Satan appeals to our feelings and emotions. But Joseph “refused, and said … how … can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (verses 8-9). Joseph, with golden character built through his love for God, resisted Satan’s persecution.
But did Satan give up? Does he give up on us? Never! “And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her” (verse 10). Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day Satan relentlessly pursued Joseph—just as he does us. “And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within” (verse 11). The implication here is that Potiphar’s wife sent all the servants away in order to “have her way” with Joseph—to accomplish her goal. Working through her, Satan prepared his battleground—manipulated circumstances to catch Joseph alone—just as he manipulates circumstances to place stumbling blocks in front of us. “And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out” (verse 12).
Potiphar’s wife ripped Joseph’s garment off—just as Satan has done with most in God’s Church of our era. Joseph tore himself away—fled, and got him out!But, as William Congreve said, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” In a frustrated rage, Potiphar’s wife lashed out and had Joseph jailed on trumped-up charges!
First she tried to seduce. When unsuccessful and in a rage, she smashed!
Satan, who influenced her, operates exactly the same today. There is no new thing under the sun. He is presently pursuing in a hostile manner without the appearance of hostility. God’s Church is in spiritual tribulation, and 95 percent have capitulated. When Satan realizes it is not possible to seduce God’s very elect, he will, like Potiphar’s wife, smash.He will plunge this world into “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
Temporary Retreat for Future Advance
In World War ii, the Nazis failed in their objectives. But, in advance of American occupation, they went “underground” to prepare for the next round. They made a temporary retreat to prepare for a future advance.
The Apostle John referred to this strategy over 1,900 years ago: “[T]hey that dwell on the earth shall wonder [be dumbfounded] … when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (Revelation 17:8).
In the prelude to the war, Hitler ranted: “It is a simple matter for me to produce unrest and revolt in the United States … these gentry will have their hands full with their own affairs. … They are permanently on the brink of revolution. … We shall break down the enemy psychologically before the armies begin to function.
… The enemy must be demoralized into moral passivity. … We shall not shrink from plotting revolutions. … We shall have friends who will help us in all enemy countries … they will come of their own accord. … Ambition and delusion, party squabbles and self-seeking arrogance will drive them into mental confusion … indecision … panic … these are our first weapons” (Miller, op. cit.).
Similarly, in our great spiritual crusade to restore God’s way of life on Earth, Satan early employed his first weapons. He infiltrated God’s Church, and, through ambition, delusion, party squabbles and self-seeking arrogance, drove it into mental confusion, indecision and, after Mr. Armstrong died, panic.
President Franklin Roosevelt, aware of the sinister force at work through Hitler, warned: “From the Bureaux of Propaganda of the Axis powers comes the confident prophecy that the conquest of our country will be an inside job—a job accomplished not by overpowering invasion from without, but by disrupting confusion and disunion and moral disintegration from within ….” (ibid.).
The conquest of God’s end-time Church has been an inside job—accomplished by disrupting confusion, disunion and moral disintegration from within.
Shortly before America was bombed into World War ii, “the dictators were establishing secret bases and organizing their forces to strike in the night against both North and South America. Nazi secret agents with their Fifth Columnists were setting up arsenals in every part of the United States and in all the countries of southern neighbors. The United States Secret Service had tracked down hundreds of plots and plotters waiting to strike when the command came from Berlin—ready to sabotage America’s great industries, water supplies, food supplies, transportation, and attempt to create nationwide panic. The evidence in possession of the government is overwhelming” (ibid.).
In World War ii, the Nazis plotted to sabotage America from within. In the next round, learning from past mistakes, they will succeed. It will be an inside job! When weakened internally, the Western democracies will be unresponsive to the alarm of war—they will be easy prey (Ezekiel 7:14).
Again, Satan is employing his age-old tactic—first seduce, then smash!
On the evening of Dec. 9, 1941—two days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor—President Roosevelt spoke to the nation and the world over the radio. He declared, “Powerful and resourceful gangsters have banded together to make war on the whole human race. … The course that Japan has followed for the past 10 years in Asia has paralleled the course of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe and Africa. … It is actual collaboration so well calculated that all the continents of the world, and all the oceans, are now considered by the Axis strategists as one gigantic battlefield” (ibid.).
Right now, the grievously wounded Satan and his legions of fallen angels are confined to this Earth. It is one gigantic spiritual battlefield, strewn with the dead and dying corpses of 95 percent of God’s end-time Church.
Satan is in a frustrated rage because he has been unable to seduce God’s very elect. Knowing it is through His very elect that God will liberate the world, Satan is about to lash out in an uncontrolled rage—as he did using the Axis powers in World War ii. Like an undisciplined, rebellious, vindictive child, he is poised to lash out in a last-ditch attempt to destroy what he cannot have.
Watch and Be Sober!
President Roosevelt concluded his Dec. 9, 1941, radio broadcast: “We are now in the midst of a war, not for conquest, not for vengeance, but for a world in which this nation, and all that this nation represents, will be safe for our children” (ibid.).
Similarly, we are in the midst of a war—a great international crusade—to hold fast to all that our spiritual nation represents (Hebrews 11:16) so it will be safe for our spiritual children—for all mankind (John 3:16-17).
Knowing Satan’s method—first he seduces, then he smashes—we should know, “when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:3-6).
The term watch is a military term. It means to be cautious, on guard, alert, vigilant—on full military alert! To be sober means to be calm and collected—awake and alert spiritually.
In an old letter to various clergymen who opposed national defense, Gen. Douglas MacArthur wrote, “It is my humble opinion that the religion [Christ] came to establish is based upon sacrifice, and that men and women who will follow in His train are called by it to the defense of certain priceless principles, even at the cost of their own lives. And I can think of no principles more high and holy than those for which our national sacrifices have been made” (ibid.).
In the same vein, Christ pleads, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). We have been drafted to sacrifice our lives in defense of God’s priceless law of liberty—the principles on which His abundant life of joy and peace is founded.
General MacArthur stated, “The inescapable price of liberty is an ability to preserve it from destruction” (ibid.).
We have been drafted to be part of Christ’s last-hour, last-ditch, spiritual Marines. We have been extended the great honor of sacrificing our lives in the climactic battle to preserve God’s law of liberty, restored in His Church, from destruction. From the Church, we will establish God’s way of life on Earth. From Earth, we will extend it throughout the universe.
As Winston Churchill said, when speaking to the world on July 14, 1940, “We are fighting by ourselves alone—but we are not fighting for ourselves alone!”
Mr. Armstrong wrote, “We are in a spiritual war—on the firing line with Christ as our General—firing spiritual bombs of God’s truth—the message of Christ’s own gospel [and His last-hour warning]—to make this whole world conscious of the good news of Christ’s soon coming and His Kingdom, to rule the happy, peaceful World Tomorrow!” (member and co-worker letter, Oct. 25, 1985).
The bombs dropped in World War ii knocked people unconscious and wounded or killed them. The bombs we are firing knock people conscious and wake them up to real life—spirit life!
Mr. Armstrong continued, “There can be no letting down—no slacking—no quitting in this war!
“What would happen in a war if an army, by a sudden burst of effort, surged forward to win a single battle, then laid down their arms and decided to take it easy or go on furlough? They would then lose the war! Christ said it is only he who endures to the end who shall be saved! Let us carry on, more determined than ever—more dedicated and devoted to Christ’s great mission than ever! We must not win a partial battle, and then lose our war. Let us now plunge on harder than ever to final victory!”