Christians, did you ever get the feeling that you are walking in mud up to your armpits? Being prevented from accomplishing anything? Do you make a plan, start working on something, only to be diverted or buried in other “pressing matters” until you’re exhausted? Do you feel like The Angel of Futility is always walking beside you, shoving you down into thick, clinging mud?
You’re right. “Because 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.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Take a closer look at the key words in that verse. Definitions from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:
Principalities: chief magistrates.
Powers: The Greek word “exousia” is defined, depending on tense and part of speech, as “force, capacity, freedom, mastery, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control, delegated influence, authority, jurisdiction, power, strength.”
Rulers: kosmokrator, “those who have seized control of the cosmos”.
Darkness: “shadiness, obscurity.” Also literal darkness.
Wickedness: The Greek word “poneria” is defined as “depravity, malice, plots, sins.” It’s derived from “poneros”, which is defined as “hurtful, evil, calamitous, diseased, guilty, derelict, vicious, mischief, malice, guilt, bad, evil, grievous, harm, lewd, malicious.”
That’s what Christians are fighting. Those beings rule this world, except where and when God overrules them. That verse ends by saying that these beings are “in high places” or “in heavenly realms”. The Greek word used there, “epouranios”, literally means “above the sky”.
We are close to the beginning of “the Great Tribulation”, when “…[the beast, the antiChrist, will be] allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.” (Revelation 13:7)
As we get closer to the Great Tribulation, it becomes more obvious. That’s why King Jesus said, “When you see all these things begin to happen, look up! Your redemption is drawing near!“
HURRAH! AMEN! Return, Lord Jesus!
That’s part of the good news. The other part is that being (IMO) at “T-9 minutes and holding” the strength of evil increases, so we are not expected to accomplish as much as we were even 10 years ago, let alone 20 or 30 years ago. The spiritual resources aren’t there, because God has moved on from failed Western Civilization to the gathering in of the last of the Gentiles – in Asian and Mideast nations which have not had the Word of God in abundance like the West has. Once that has been accomplished, Christians will be “beamed up” from the earth, just like in Star Wars. This gets a little confusing here, so pay close attention.
“…this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:15-18)
We know that this happens before the Great Tribulation, because “… the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only He who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:7)
“He who restrains” can only be the Holy Spirit, because only God is stronger than satan. Remember that “…even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!‘ ” (Jude 1:9)
God the Father stopped being present on this earth after the Fall, and King Jesus returned to Heaven after his resurrection. As He promised, the Holy Spirit came to live in those humans who believed in Jesus.
And “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1st John 4:4) plus “… we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” (1st Corinthians 2:12)
When the Holy Spirit is removed, we will be taken along with Him, because “… the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29)
“And it is God Who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and Who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2nd Corinthians 1:21-22)
The God Who does not lie is not going to seal us, give us a gift, a guarantee, and then take it back. That would be contrary to the eternal character of the One Who does not change: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)
Therefore, when the Holy Spirit leaves this earth, we leave with Him. He leaves when He is “taken out of the way”. See 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-12 for the full description. Excerpt: “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him … that day will not come, unless the rebellion [Greek “apostasia”, apostasy, falling away] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed … And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed …” NOTE THOSE LAST TWO SENTENCES! The Restrainer, the Holy Spirit, will be “taken out of the way” FIRST (and we will go with Him), and THEN the lawless one (the antiChrist) will be revealed. No one will know for sure who the antiChrist is until Christians have been removed from the earth. “Therefore encourage one another with these words!” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)
Those who have kept informed about the horrors that Middle Eastern and Chinese Christians are suffering, and have been suffering for years now, know that the distinction between “light affliction” (2nd Corinthians 4:17) and “the Great Tribulation” is blurred for many Christians. But all of us will be out of the worst of it.
In the meantime (Ephesians chapter 6) put on the whole armor of God, accomplish what you can, and stand fast in faith when you can’t accomplish anything, or can’t accomplish much. Don’t beat up on yourself for not meeting a standard that no longer applies. We are not expected to accomplish much now. We are expected to stand fast in the faith. “Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.” (1st John 5:4) That will be effort enough, and we will be rewarded for that even if that’s all we have to show for our lives.