By Elizabeth Prata
The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” (Job 1:7)
God knows where satan has been, of course. God is omniscient. This means He knows all there is to know. When we see that question in the Bible asked by God we know it’s a way of drawing out information from the one who is being asked, as God did with Adam in the garden, (Genesis 3:9), or when God asked Cain where his brother is (Genesis 4:9).
When God asks satan where have you been, and satan replies that he had been walking up and down upon the earth, we might picture satan stomping around causing trouble. But we rarely stop to consider what kind of trouble, what does that trouble look like? We also might not consider how satan has cohorts, conspirators who fell with him, and how they might be acting as an army in unified and precise formations to carry out that evil trouble.
We often hear the angels referred to as “heavenly host.” This is a military term. We can picture squadrons of unholy angels dispersing under orders from their leader satan, the adversary. So what does that ‘trouble’ from the unholy angels look like?
There are myriad varieties of their unified battle against God these long centuries. Wars, genocides, mobs, chaos… Since the unholy angels influence the ungodly and even sway the godly from the path and blind them briefly, when we see a unified action suddenly erupt, we can intuit that a spiritual adversary is behind it. It does not take much for satan to light a fire under sinful people, who are already opposed to God and whose flesh is willing. Here is what I believe is an example of what satan is doing as he roams the earth:
Last week Pastor John MacArthur took a stand for biblical morality. He has a wide influence and a large platform. His call for preachers to preach on biblical morality this Sunday was in response to a Canadian legislative bill banning any conversion therapy for transgender or homosexual people. Even mentioning biblical morality to them would be considered ‘conversion therapy’ and the offender would be arrested as a felon and jailed. Any online content would be removed by the government.
The bill banning conversion therapy in Canada received royal assent on Wednesday, making it into law. Bill C-4 makes providing, promoting or advertising conversion therapy a criminal offence. The bill defines conversion therapy as the “practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, or to change a person’s gender identity to cisgender.” (Source).
Our Canadian preaching brothers appealed to us, their neighbors on the south, and MacArthur took up the call.
"MacArthur, who is known for his syndicated broadcast program "Grace to You," published an open letter on the Grace Community Church website Tuesday calling on "ministers of the Gospel" to join him on the third Sunday of the new year in preaching about "a biblical view of sexual morality." (Source)
The Canadian law takes effect January 8, so MacArthur’s call for faithful men of the Gospel everywhere to preach on biblical morality is for Sunday January 16.
As the wave of push-back against satan’s wiles rose higher, received attention, and garnered public commitments, suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere a huge wave of negative publicity against MacArthur rose up. It muddied the waters, it sidetracked discussions, it was evil and sly.
A video clip of MacArthur allegedly preaching against religious liberty was circulated. I say it was evil and sly because the clip was edited. It was edited in such a way that it made MacArthur seem like he was saying the opposite of what he actually said.
A twitter friend noted, “So John MacArthur is calling on pastors and churches to take a firm stand on Biblical sexuality and against all sexual immorality. Then, SUDDENLY and TOTALLY UNRELATEDLY, there is an outcry over something John MacArthur said from the pulpit, taken out of context, over a year ago?” (@ShinarSquirrel).
Right. See my shocked face…
This article explains in detail what happened if you care to delve. “Clip Of Pastor John MacArthur Had Critics Pouncing…Turns Out It Was Edited.”
Roman soldiers were known for their commitment to formation, operating under orders to the strictest degree, and for their success. They were also known to be terrifying. Would the unholy angel legions be any less committed, less precisely operational, or less terrifying? No. (The unholy angels, AKA demons, are only as successful as God allows them to be. But for now, they are allowed to operate according to His plan).
Not only the unsaved but even strong Christians can be drawn into the fray.
–We can forget that the opposition is actually the mission field,
–We can forget our manners and issue harsh words that are not edifying,
–We can become confused ourselves as we spend time in the fray, or have our point of view slyly shifted,
When we see sudden eruptions against a strong biblical stand, and when we see a lock-step reaction online, in print, or in real life to something biblical, we can heavily suspect satan and his legions behind it. THIS is what spiritual warfare looks like. Satan is roaming around, but what is he doing exactly, and what does that look like in my life and within my spheres? Think on this.
We don’t look for satan or his demon cohort under every rock, but we do have to be mindful that we are soldiers and earth is God’s battlefield. We don’t fight in the usual ways like the Roman soldiers did, but we are in a battle.
1 Peter 4:12 reminds us that the fiery trials are nothing surprising. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though something strange were happening to you;“
Ephesians 6:12 reminds us of who and how we fight, for it IS a battle, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
God wins. Someday the adversary and his evil companions will be locked up and then thrown into the Lake of Fire. What a day that will be!