“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.” (Eph. 6:12, TLB)
As followers of Jesus Christ, we find ourselves caught up in a conflict that spans both heaven and earth. The forces that confront us are “persons without bodies”—evil spiritual powers in the unseen realm that oppose all true righteousness and seek to establish Satan’s dominion over the whole world.
Our responsibility in this conflict is unique, because Christ has committed to us alone the spiritual insight and weapons that can give us victory. The governments and the armies of this world, operating solely on the natural plane, have no understanding of the conflict and 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 victory is to identify the nature of the forces that are at work in any given situation. In recent months as I have been meditating on developments in the world—and especially in the U.S.A. and Israel—I believe that God has shown me the identity of the evil, deceptive power that 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, 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-religious religion. For this reason, it can be—and often is—taught in educational systems, such as that of the U.S.A., which prohibit the teaching of religion in its usual sense.
I decided to trace humanism back through history, starting 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 foreshowing 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 (Dan. 2:31–40).
One key factor was impressed upon 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 philosophy, 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 has molded, first, the concepts of Europe, and then, through Europe, 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 this the whole philosophy of rationalism has developed.
In addition to philosophy, another main element of Greek culture was its emphasis on athletic contests. Their Olympic Games represented what was, in fact, an idolatry of athletic prowess, which has come back to life in the present century. The most widely viewed TV programs today are the great international sporting contests.
The Greeks also tended to downgrade the marriage relationship between a man and a woman, and to view a homosexual relationship between two men as being more “intellectually fulfilling.” In their statuary, the idealized male form was usually presented naked, whereas the female was draped with some form of robe.
The so-called “gods” of Greece exhibited all the moral failings of humanity: lust, immorality, jealousy, vindictiveness and deception—a complete absence, in fact, of any binding moral code. This left man free to be his own god, and to establish his own moral code. After all, no people can be expected to live above the level of its own gods.
All these effects of Greek humanism have been increasingly evident in our Western culture throughout the present century. In 1992, however, the spirit of humanism launched a major new offensive against both the U.S.A. and Israel. Almost simultaneously, a cloud of dense spiritual darkness descended upon both nations.
In their national elections that year the spiritual force that brought to power both the Clinton administration in the U.S.A. and the Labor Coalition in Israel was blatant, undiluted humanism. Both administrations represent 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. They have demonstrated that, carried to its ultimate, humanism will believe anything but the truth and will tolerate anything but righteousness.
This exaltation of man is the force which will finally give rise to the Antichrist, whose name is the number of man (Rev. 13:18), 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 Thess. 2:3–4).
Scripture reveals that he 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 (Matt. 24:21–22).
Before this final period of tribulation, however, God still has tremendous purposes to work out for both Israel and the Church. 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. They will be drawn both from natural Israel and from the professing Church. Of them it will be said, “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.” They will be people with one overriding priority; to do the will of God will be more important to them than to hold on to life itself.
Faced with this challenge, we each need to ask ourselves: Am I ready to take my stand as one of the sons of Zion?
Numerically, we 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 Chron. 14:11, NIV)
Let us stand together in prayer!
Part 3: Taking God Seriously