Posted in theology

The Invisible Civil War

By Elizabeth Prata

Soldiers in the US Civil War (1861 to 1865) fought most frequently in open fields shoulder to shoulder. The tactic might seem stupid to us now, but they didn’t have a death wish. It was the most modern war tactic they had available to them at the time, said Historian Garry Adelman at the American Battlefield Trust.

Hannibal’s Carthaginian army’s defeat of Roman soldiers at the Battle of Lake Trasimeno was the world’s biggest successful surprise ambush. WWI was a horrific advance in war tactics. “World War I accelerated the evolution of warfare, catapulting it out of the Victorian era into nearly the middle of the 20th century. The trouble was that the technology of defense had advanced much more. The combination of machine guns, barbed wire, and increasingly complex systems of concrete-reinforced trenches meant that attacks—and casualties—were bigger than ever before.” (Source).

Of course, WWII had the atomic bomb, forever changing not just the tactics of warfare, but war itself through mutually assured destruction.

War tactics and strategies change. They are always evolving. The catalyst for those changes are advances in weaponry.

American Battlefield Trust

Therefore, wars evolve. However, when one side of the war uses the new tactic, the other side is often slow to catch up. In WWI, “generals persisted with [outdated] mass assaults anyway, justifying them (sometimes after their failure to achieve a hoped-for breakthrough) as a strategy of attrition.” (Source).

Why write an essay about war strategies and tactics on a Christian blog? Because we often forget one important part of our walk as Christians: we are in a war.

We do not war with flesh and blood, as earthly soldiers do. We war with our own sin, but we also war against philosophies and against the powers of this dark world.

Paul used military language often. Here in Philemon 1:2a this greetingto “Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier…” the Greek word for soldier here means “an associate in labors and conflicts for the cause of Christ”, (Strong’s). In 2 Timothy 2:3 Paul wrote, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” And the same in 1 Timothy 1:18 fight the battle well. 2 Corinthians 10:4 Paul speaks of strongholds.

Ephesians 6:10 is famous for putting on our warlike armor, each piece not for running an enemy through with our sword, but each piece standing for a piece of spiritual armor in which to do battle.

We are in a war.

We as Christians are not unaware of satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11) but are we to suppose that his tactics never change? That as the battles over eons go forward, that satan never uses the most up-to-date weaponry available to him? He is a crafty and smart opponent. Just think, he dwelled in glory WITH God, but still managed to convince a third of the myriad innumerable angels up there with him to war against God Himself.

Satan used half truths and appeals to flesh with Eve in the garden. (Genesis 3:1b). He used lust with David. (2 Samuel 11:2) He sends demons to indwell humans. (Acts 16:16). He uses money. (Acts 19:24). He used weather with Job. (Job 1:19). He gets a King’s own decrees used against him. (Esther 3:9). He knows how to get people to use their unrighteousness to suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18).

As this long war goes on, as with any war, the tactics evolve. Satan adds to his weaponry as new weapons are invented. Here in the US we are currently engaged in a Civil War. Many people don’t realize it. They are still shoulder to shoulder infantry using outdated methods watching for the enemy, while satan employs up-to-date tactics that are apparently successful.

EPrata photo

The latest tactic satan has included in his arsenal is technology and social media. He is warring against churches and he is warring for the mind of America.

It’s effective because his latest tactic is invisible.

The war we’re in is always one of worldviews. Satan’s aim is to perpetuate sin. He wants to drive, entice, or lead people away from God and His precepts. Our aim is to share the Gospel which creates a new man and a transforming mind into Christ’s likeness.

You might say, “Well, the war you’re talking about is political, not religious.” True, but the secular war always creeps into the religious spheres. The feminist revolution of the 1960s and 70s is now full-blown impacting churches. The race wars of the 60s and 70s is now a full blown war inside our churches (Critical Race Theory, Wokeness, White Repentance, etc). We have to recognize the dangers of the secular wars infiltrating the church.

If Christians were covered in tar and set alight as Nero did, we’d say, sure, we’re in a war. We are surely being persecuted. When ISIS lined up Christians on a beach and beheaded them on video, we say sure, that’s war. It’s persecution. That’s hard persecution. But another of satan’s schemes is soft persecution, silent and stealthy. (Jude 1:4, Galatians 2:4, 2 Timothy 3:6).

Covid was a convenient tactic to shut churches down. Many are still to this day, 7 months later, fighting to reopen or stay reopened. A masterstroke to use an invisible virus to stop the in-person preaching of God’s word. Governments aligned with satan’s worldview are savvy in grabbing and keeping their power and advancing their territory via tyranny over an invisible virus.

This week, a bombshell article by the NY Post was published concerning one of the Presidential candidates, Joe Biden. Biden used to be our Vice-President. The story alleges that Biden’s son was given a job with the Ukrainians so that the Ukrainians would have access to Biden. Seeking influence at the highest levels is always a good tactic. Haman did it. The Wise Men who had Nebuchadnezzar’s ear opposed Daniel and his friends.

However, Twitter and Facebook, two of the largest and widely influential social media sites at the present time, banned and/or limited distribution of the story. This was a major blow to distribution, and was cause for upset and outrage. It’s censorship. The Washington Examiner posted an article about the situation. Folks on Twitter posted the suppressed NY Times story line by line, just to get it out there. The outrage was not just in the US, but as far afield as Australia. Sky News called the suppression of this important news a “Disgrace!” And also a threat to democracy.

But the current civil war is bigger than this tip-of-the-iceberg smoking gun. Conservative and Christian sites online have long complained that their content is being limited or outright suppressed. Conservatives – but not liberals – are often sent to what is known as “Twitter jail” for sharing biblical precepts that oppose secular worldviews- particularly views concerning feminism, homosexuality, and abortion. Twitter jail is when Twitter administrators lock out an account and prevent the account holder from sharing its content. Facebook does the same thing.

During the summer when Antifa terrorists were rampaging in major Western US cities, people attempting to get their opinion or news out about them online using various social media sites were often also likewise suppressed in various ways. Facebook decided to “fact-check” facts from the COVID issue. I myself was ‘fact checked’/post denied, on a posting using the Center for Disease Control as a source! But it was opposing satan’s narrative and that is something satan has begun controlling access to in the public square.

Our tactics never change because they are from God and His is highest. He has already gained the victory from His Son who died for sinners, was buried and resurrected on the third day, having lived a sinless life. The Gospel is our war tactic. Satan, however, shifts like a chameleon and we must not be unaware of his schemes. Controlling the print & broadcast media and social media online is a way to transform minds away from Christ. What you think about, see, and absorb is what you become. It’s why Paul urged Christians to stay in the word, so that what we read will keep us on course and we will not drift.

God has kept His word preserved and alive for thousands of years and He will continue to do so. (Matthew 24:35). He helps his people formulate new ways to get the most important news out there. I mean, the Gutenberg printing press! But be aware, Christian, that the foe is formidable and his tactics ingenious. We are in a civil war here in America, not only politically but ultimately of worldviews that preach the Gospel and those opposed to it. What happens politically will drift into churches soon enough. Twitter, Facebook, other social media sites, and the mainstream media are enemies of Christianity and powerfully influential in limiting or suppressing the Good News.

What do we do? Be fervent in speaking truth real life, pray for boldness online amid the cancel culture, and stay in the word. Pray for opportunities to share the Good News as often s possible while we still can. And share it online often, using God’s actual word. Be wary of the political atmosphere but stick to sharing in love and kindness as often as possible from God’s word. The Lord is creative and it’s interesting to see what he is doing and what he is allowing satan to do. I’m at once concerned for us here on earth but also amazed at His ways and how He is orchestrating present history.

Take heart. no matter what, He is on the throne! And, Jesus won the war!

Posted in history, theology

Who was King Chedorlaomer in Genesis?

By Elizabeth Prata

Jut as it didn’t take long after the Fall for the first murder, (Genesis 4, Cain killed Abel), it also didn’t take long for the first war to erupt, Battle of the Valley of Siddim. (Genesis 14).

In those days Kings ruled cities and near environs. There was what was known as the Five Cities of the Plain; Sodom, Gormorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, plus tiny Zoar. (Genesis 13:10-13). They are also known as the Cities of the Valley. It used to be a fertile and lush area, that was the reason Lot chose it when Abraham suggested they split their flocks due to crowding. Now it’s an area of wasteland, salt, and not much else. Most people believe the Plains referred to is the area south of the Dead Sea (Salt Sea).

The kings of the cities of Shinar had warred with the kings of the Plains and won. (Victors were Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim.)

The triumphant kings exacted tribute from the vanquished, and expected it regularly. Chedorlaomer is mentioned as the King receiving the tribute, perhaps he was the lead king among the five who were allies. His Elamite kingdom extended in what is today modern day Iran along the Persian Gulf. It is believed that the Elamite nation began in the area of modern day Iran sometime around 2700 BC and continued through 640 BC. From the Table of Nations of Noah blessing his sons Ham, Japheth and Shem, that the Elamites were perhaps descendants of Shem.

Except, 13 years later, having grown rebellious with the state of things, the Kings of the Plain decided to stop paying the tribute to Chedorlaomer. Of course this promoted a war, Chedorlaomer having called upon his allies for rectification of the situation.

Well, the Kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah Zeboiim and tiny Zoar, lost soundly. Chedorlaomer  ransacked the Cities of the Plain and carried off as much booty as they could, including Abraham’s nephew Lot and all his people and all his goods. (Genesis 14:12).

We know from the subsequent chapters that Abraham pursued Lot’s kidnappers for hundreds of miles. With 300 men Abraham eventually got Lot back and all his people and all his goods, too. Abraham praised the Lord.

Who was Chedorlaomer, though? Not much else is known of him via the Bible. He held sway as a successful King over a large area, so he must have been powerful. He is also noted in Chapter 14:5 to have warred against Rephaim, Zuzim, Emim, and Horites and conquered them, too.

His name is known to be a compound word meaning worshiper- ‘Chedor’ and ‘la’omer,’ (“lagamaru”), the name of an Elamite deity, noted by Assurbanipal. In 1896 TG Pinches was reviewing some of the clay tablets held by the British Museum (they had been severely delayed in cataloging them, over 21,000 tablets came in from one site alone) and he thought he read Chedorlaomer’s name on one of the tablets, and there was general excitement in the biblical archaeology community for some years, but it was later disproven. To my knowledge, there are no secular sources in archaeology that mention Lot’s kidnapper king.

Now, Abraham was savvy in war and knowledgeable, but the Bible notes that he defeated mighty Chedorlaomer, powerful King of Elam and victor over many tribes, with only 318 men. As we know, the LORD does this to indicate HIS power and might, over all humans, including mighty kings, if it be His will. Melchizedek King of Salem said as much in Genesis 14:19-20,

Blessed be Abram by God Most High,
Possessor of heaven and earth;
and blessed be God Most High,
who has delivered your enemies into your hand!

Blessed be the Lord, King of Kings, King over all, even mighty Chedorlaomer, who, in the end, worshiped wrongly and paid the penalty for it. All those who believe in King Jesus, King of all, will have eternal life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10).

crown

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

The war to end all wars: Thoughts on War and Peace

WWI represented a sea change. The technology available by the time that war in Europe broke out was like none ever seen in any previous war. The new technology could kill millions at a time. And it did.

Planes, flame throwers, tanks, poison gas…all created by man for the express purpose of killing in war and used in WWI.

WWI was also known for a stirring slogan, or motto. “It is the war to end all war!”

The is thanks to HG Wells, as this article from Vision describes:

This year marks the centennial of the outbreak of World War I. [1914-1918]. While the so-called Great War quickly proved to be anything but the war that would prevent all future conflicts, the concept is still intriguing: Can a war put an end to war?

HG Wells wrote: “This is now a war for peace. It aims straight at disarmament. It aims at a settlement that shall stop this sort of thing for ever. Every soldier who fights against Germany now is a crusader against war. This, the greatest of all wars, is not just another war—it is the last war!”

We’re all disheartened by war. As a child of the 1960s (born in 1960) the Viet Nam war raged as the bloody backdrop to my entire childhood. Scenes and clips of army men manhandled on stretchers through the jungle, bloody bandages, helicopters hovering over wildly waving tree top greenery, Walter Cronkite intoning the numbers of dead and wounded…all provided a confusing view of the world.

Into my adulthood, the dominating Soviet Bloc was bearishly stomping all over the world, the Berlin Wall went up, President Reagan and the real possibility of nuclear holocaust informed my adulthood as much as it perplexed it. We all felt that the world could end at any moment.

And now today, the North Korean President has intimated he could and will perform an attack on the US in the form of an electro-magnetic pulse. Such an attack, where a nuclear bomb explodes in the atmosphere above any land area emits a pulse that wipes out the electrical infrastructure. An EMP bomb exploded over the central US would impact all 48 of the lower US states by immediately turning off all electronics, including landlines, cell phones, wi-fi, internet, cars with chips int hem, etc. Mass starvation, disease, and violence from societal collapse would do the rest and 90% of the population would die withing the first couple of years.

Wars and rumors of wars have always been with us. It’s rough out there and it has been since almost the beginning. Look at Genesis 4:13-14. Cain had killed Abel. God spoke to Cain and told him his punishment will be that Cain will be a wanderer over all the earth for the rest of his days. Cain immediately worried that he would be killed by anyone who found him.

Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”

Only one chapter after the Fall we not only have murder by Cain against Abel but Cain knows that people everywhere are violent and likely as not would just kill him as to invite him in for a cup of tea.

As a child and teen and young adult I used to wonder quite often why the world was like this. Why were there wars after wars? Why was there always war? If we could just get the right ingredients to mix smoothly, we could solve this war problem. Is it that there are too may dictators? Unjust land grabs? Economic disparity? Unequal power? What was the magic balance so that we would never have war again?

Here is the answer as to why there are wars.

We are all, individually at war with Jesus. Inside us, we are born for war, each and every one of us. Our depraved nature demands it. We war against the King, the Supreme Power, the Creator who made us. We love sin and hate holiness and battle against holiness daily, hourly, every moment.

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4).

because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God: It does not submit to God’s Law, nor can it do so. (Romans 8:7)

Our hostility is the basis for all our actions. The enmity, or hostility, we feel against Jesus causes a battle within ourselves, battle against our neighbors, battle against Jesus, battle against nations. The rage we feel against the knowledge we all possess against a Holy God to whom we are accountable expresses itself in personal violence and national violence. (Romans 1:18-20).

“The War that Will End All Wars” will be Armageddon. All wars are leading up to that Big One. The entire world as represented by the global armies assembled at Har Megiddo will come together to fight Jesus. (Revelation 19:19). They will lose. (Revelation 19:21).

The only peace we can ever have is the peace that Jesus gives us. Redemption and His salvation settles the battle we wage in our hearts against Him and His holy standard.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27).

Once we are reconciled with Him,we are no longer at war with our own selves (except our sin-nature, but the Spirit helps us quell it). We love our neighbors, we love the King, we love His holy abode and release attachment to this earth.We are simply aliens in it.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7).

We were not only called to salvation, to holiness, to the Kingdom of Light, we were called to peace. Before salvation, there is no peace. Only war. After salvation, we are called to His peace

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called. (Colossians 3:15).

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

The cycle of war will soon be broken

This first appeared on The End Time in March 2010.

The LORD makes us some promises that are fear-inducing. Other promises He makes are awe-inspiring. Some are both at once. They are bookends of man’s folly and His glory.

In Joel’s prophetic book, at chapter 3 verse 10, it is written: “Beat your plowshares into swords And your pruning hooks into spears; Let the weak say, “I am a mighty man.”

Most of us have heard the line that we will beat our swords into plowshares. That verse is located at Isaiah 2:4 – “And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.”

Did you know that there were opposite prophecies concerning the plowshares, the one in Joel and the other in Isaiah? God is great and His Word is great.

A plowshare is the pointed part of the homemade plow that digs into the ground. (Image source, University at Buffalo). The cutting point was often laced with bronze or (later) iron. This advance was introduced by the Greeks. In those days as it often as now, metal was expensive. In times of war it was reused by melting it down or forging to make weapons. In WWII America scrap metal drives were held to accumulate metal to be used in munitions. One scrap metal drive accumulated over 5 million tons of metal in just three weeks. It was common or people to strip the metal from their plowshare and beat them into swords when war loomed on the horizon. When the war was over, the reversed the process and beat them into plowshares again. Life on earth has been a never-ending cycle of war-peace, war-peace; plowshares into swords-swords into plowshares…

The Joel verse about the plowshares in context describes war that occurred, war that is ongoing, and also speaks of a (near) future war. It will be a time when God will gather all the people to the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Valley of Decision) and render unto them His wrath, because “you have divided my land.”

War is coming. Not only does Joel describe the last war when all nations are gathered, the horrendous WWIII, but war will occur prior to that ultimate war as prophesied in Psalm 83, Isaiah 17, and Ezekiel 38-39.

However, the good news is that there is a glorious ending to the story. The never-ending war cycle will be broken! Isaiah prophesies that “they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war.” Oh, merciful Lord! No more war. Plowshares forever.

Can you imagine a time or a place where war is never rumored, never occurs, where the earth never requires reconstruction nor cleanup? A place where a peaceful, loving, agrarian society quietly lives and loves other nations? It will happen. You can be part of it. All you need to do is recognize you are a sinner, and feeling sorry that you sinned, ask Jesus to forgive you. If you accept Him as savior and Lord, (meaning He is the only one Who can and will forgive all your sins) you will be forgiven and live forever in a place where there is no war. Hallelujah! The Lord is victorious!

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

War no more

Sin is the oldest negative thing on earth. After God created the world and the two people and called it all “very good”, sin came. Shortly after that came murder, lying, anger, jealousy, polygamy, and war.

War has been with us for so long.

I remember growing up, the Viet Nam War. It was the first war to be broadcast on television, and in living color, too. There were reports every single night. We’d hear the tally of dead and wounded. Scenes to my young eyes of limbless men hanging off gurneys in the jungle, helicopters, camouflaged men skulking with rifles pointed through the leafy undergrowth were plenty scary. They were scenes of chaos and blood.

That’s war.

I saw a news article from the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

A cannonball fired by the British during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759 has been unearthed at a building site in Old Quebec. The rusted, 90-kilogram projectile was unearthed during excavation work last week at the corner of Hamel and Couillard streets and still contained a charge and gunpowder. The work crew that found the ball picked it up and gathered around it for photographs, unaware that it was still potentially explosive.

The cannonball is from Britain and was fired at Quebec City from Lévis,
across the St. Lawrence River. (Facebook/Lafontaine Inc)

In Genesis 4 we have the first murder. The Bible isn’t specific on how Cain killed Abel. Later in Genesis 4:22 we read, Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron

Knowing that Tubal-can was in the line of ungodly descendants of Cain, and knowing the evil heart of man, I’d say with near certainty that some or all of those instruments were instruments of war. Many of those implements were likely arrows, shafts, spikes, and the sort.

Then by Genesis 6:11 we read Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.

Violence that included war, with implements, I’m sure.

We all know about Galileo. He was famous for looking through his telescope and making

“observations that strengthened his belief in Copernicus’ theory that Earth and all other planets revolve around the Sun. Most people in Galileo’s time believed that the Earth was the center of the universe and that the Sun and planets revolved around it.” (Source: NASA).

But 20 years before that, Galileo experimented with, produced, and wrote about military technological advances, in a treatise called The Operations of the Geometrical and Military Compass. Galileo’s invention of the military compass was used to calculate precise trajectories of cannonballs and other military killing projectiles.

Throughout the Renaissance many attempts were made to develop a universal instrument  that could be used to perform arithmetical calculation and geometric operations easily. This need was felt especially in the military field, where the technology of firearms called for increasingly precise mathematical knowledge. … The geometric and military compass of Galileo belonged to this class of instruments. [T]he Accademia Delia was founded in Padua to provide mathematical instruction for young noblemen training for a military career.

Imagine how much of our mind will be released when we don’t have to devote so much of it to devising evil. Imagine when we are freed to think up ways to worship Jesus, or ways to praise Him, or anything else, than to creating military items that maim and kill and destroy.

He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

Jesus will dissolve the earth in a fervent heat. When He creates a new earth, there will never be a cannonball to dig up. There will never be any implements of war found anywhere, like arrowheads or bullet casings or swords. Forgers of instruments of bronze and iron will be making plowshares and pruning hooks.

Won’t it be great when we will study war no more? Peace. Peace will reign in men’s hearts, between men and Jesus, and between men and men (and animals). Peace, shalom, war no more.