The essence of God’s ultimate purpose in this age is very simple—it is to establish His kingdom on earth. This priority was the first request Jesus taught us to pray in the Lord’s Prayer:
“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10 KJV)
Please notice that Jesus said, “on earth.” When we pray these words, we are aligning ourselves with what God wants to see accomplished on earth. It is God’s first priority—and all through history, it has never changed.
In the establishment of His kingdom, it is important for us to understand the role we play through God’s calling and purpose for our lives. In Revelation 5:9-10, the Apostle John writes about the followers of the Lamb:
“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’”
It is almost impossible for us to imagine ourselves as kings and priests, sharing Christ’s throne, and reigning on earth! Even so, I believe the Holy Spirit is laying an ever-increasing emphasis on preparing us now for what lies ahead. We need to seriously consider what this calling to reign means to us personally. How do you and I prepare, as Christians, to step into this place of incredible privilege and responsibility? The answer to that question is the focus of this Teaching Legacy series, Preparing to Reign with Christ.
In our previous letter, we stated that it is not enough to merely be “born again.” That experience alone will not bring us to the level of maturity we will need to serve the Lord effectively. Let’s briefly review some of the main requirements we examined in that letter as part of the preparation process:
Our preparation for reigning with Christ will inevitably mean confrontation with spiritual forces which are at enmity with God and His eternal purposes. In this letter, I will share about the most dangerous and powerful deceptive force which is gaining momentum in our modern world today. Paul aptly describes our engagement in spiritual warfare:
“For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.” (Ephesians 6:12 TLB)
As followers of Jesus Christ, we find ourselves caught up in a conflict that spans both heaven and earth. The forces confronting us are “persons without bodies”—evil spiritual powers in the unseen realm that oppose all true righteousness. Their number one goal is to establish Satan’s dominion over the whole world.
Our responsibility in this conflict is unique. Why? Because Christ has committed to us—and only to us—the spiritual insight and weapons that can give us victory. We must understand this vital truth.
The governments and the armies of this world, operating solely on the natural plane, have no understanding of the conflict. They have no power to deal with the satanic forces in the heavenlies. On the contrary, without realizing it, they themselves are manipulated and controlled by those forces.
One essential requirement for our victory is for us to identify the nature of the forces at work in any given situation. Over many years, as I have assessed developments on the world stage, I believe God has shown me the identity of the evil, deceptive power Satan plans to use to consummate his purposes for the end of this age. It is humanism.
I had always thought of humanism as a comparatively harmless error. When I consulted a dictionary, however, I was taken aback by its definition:
“The denial of any power or moral value superior to that of humanity; the rejection of religion in favor of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts.”
I realized that humanism is not spiritually neutral. On the contrary, it is a deliberate denial and rejection of God’s power and authority. It is an anti-religion religion. Under that façade, humanism can be—and often is—taught in educational systems, even in countries where the teaching of any other religion is prohibited.
When I began to trace humanism back through history, I started with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of an image with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, and legs of iron. Daniel interpreted this as foreshadowing four Gentile empires which would arise in succession. The head was Babylon; the chest and arms were Media-Persia; the belly and thighs were Greece; the legs were Rome (see Daniel 2:31–40).
One key factor occurred to me: the reproductive organs were in the area identified with Greece. With my background in Greek philosophy, this became particularly vivid to me. I realized that it was Greece—more than any of the other empires—which, through its philosophies, reproduced itself in subsequent cultures.
Two of the early Greek philosophers of whom we have a record are Heraclitus and Protagoras. Three of their surviving sayings state: “all things flow” . . . “you can never step twice into the same river” . . . “man is the measure of all things.” It is amazing how these three sayings sum up the essence of humanism. They assert that everything is relative; there are no moral or legal absolutes; and man is the highest authority in the universe.
It is outside the scope of this study to analyze how this thinking first molded the concepts of Europe, and from there went on to infiltrate the concepts of contemporary “civilization.”
The Greeks idolized the human mind. Aristotle’s concept of God was a perfect mind contemplating itself—because nothing less was worthy of its contemplation. Out of these ideas, the whole philosophy of rationalism has developed and is now in full bloom in modern society.
All these effects of Greek humanism have been increasingly evident in our Western culture, causing a cloud of dense spiritual darkness to descend upon the nations of the world.
In many countries, we see an open and deliberate rejection of God’s righteous laws and of the covenants He made with man, first through Moses and then through Jesus Christ. The power of humanism which has filled in the void, carried to its ultimate conclusion, will believe anything but the truth and will tolerate anything but righteousness.
This resulting exaltation of man is the force which will finally give rise to the Antichrist, whose name is the number of man (Revelation 13:18). He will be the man of lawlessness, who opposes and exalts himself above everything that is called God or is worshiped, and even sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).
Scripture reveals that the Antichrist will bring under his dominion all who have refused the love of the truth. For this reason God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie—the original lie, that is, with which Satan deceived our first parents: “You will be like God . . .” or “like gods.” This exaltation of man in the place of God will usher in “the great tribulation”—a period of worldwide agony so terrible that it will exceed even the holocaust of 1939–1945 (Matthew 24:21–22).
Before this final period of tribulation, however, God still has tremendous purposes He will accomplish through His followers in all parts of the world. A harvest of mercy will precede the harvest of judgment. God’s preparation for this is revealed in Zechariah 9:13: “I will raise up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece. . . .”
The “sons of Greece” are those who embrace the deception of humanism. The “sons of Zion” are those who take their stand upon the infallible Word of God, embracing both its promises and its covenants. Of them it will be said, “And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11).They will be people with one overriding priority: to do the will of God. This priority will be more important to them than life itself.
Faced with this challenge, we each need to ask ourselves a piercing question. Am I ready to take my stand as one of the sons and daughters of Zion?
Numerically, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are vastly outnumbered by the forces of humanism. Nevertheless, we can take courage from the example of Asa, king of Judah. Facing an invasion by an overwhelmingly superior army, his prayer of desperation turned sure defeat into total victory. For us today, his prayer provides a wonderful pattern with which to counter the self-exalting forces of humanism.
“LORD, there is no one like You to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, O LORD our God, for we rely on You, and in Your Name we have come against this vast army. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against you.” (2 Chronicles 14:11 NIV)
Are you ready to step up and take your place as a warrior for God’s Kingdom? If so, please join me in this prayer:
Lord, we clearly see the advance of mighty, humanistic philosophies all around the world. Even so, we declare, “There is no one like You, Lord, to help the powerless against the mighty.” We take our stand with You, Lord—as the sons and daughters of Zion. You will prevail—and we will reign with You in victory for all eternity. Amen.