It's time to derive your worldview from the Bible

Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”

Philippians 4:6-7 by Charles Clough
(Promise - Philippians 4:6-7) Satan’s program and objectives in human history. Reasons for and categories of human suffering. God adjusts national boundaries according to whether people are seeking God or not. Suffering examples from Zechariah and Job. Satan’s operation is to get the creature to agree with him that God is not worthy of praise, worship and trust. Questions and answers.
Series:Chapter 1 – The Heavenly Origin of the Church
Duration:1 hr 8 mins 39 secs

© Charles A. Clough 2000

Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003

Part 6: New Truths of the Kingdom Aristocracy
Chapter 1 – The Heavenly Origin of the Church

Lesson 160 – Final Countdown—Satan’s Accusation of the Brethren

14 Dec 2000
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD

Turn to Philippians 4:6-7, again just to review a promise in Scripture before we get into the lesson itself. We’ll see if we can go through this one more time and look at the rationale that’s built into this great promise. I have a section on Reformed Theology and Dispensational theology; that’s come up several times in questions and we’ll review when someone says they’re a Reformed theologian or Dispensational theologian what are they talking about. Those two schools of thought have two different views on the role and nature of the church so we want to be clear about that and I’ll be referring to it so I want to be sure everyone understands the terminology. You should understand the terminology anyway because if you walk into a Christian bookstore you’ll see samples from both schools and they’re mixed. A lot of people will come to a conclusion and wonder why there’s a conflict when it looks like it’s the same thing. It’s not really the same thing.

Philippians 4:6-7, just to review and pull out some of the conflict between the content of this promise and the content of the world system that opposes this promise and the battle for faith. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [7] And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Obviously the crux of this promise in verse 7 is the incomprehensibility of God. That goes back to this diagram that we’ve shown time and time again, that in God’s plan, in God’s omniscience, things fit together. In our finite grasp of things, things don’t fit together and the difference is between omniscience and finite knowledge. It’s this that Paul’s talking about when we have a situation, to make our requests known, “the peace of God which passes comprehension” and we read that too fast sometimes and don’t grab what the verse is really saying.

What is the peace that is incomprehensible? We might ask that. How can you rationally talk about something that cannot be comprehended? The answer is because we can rationally talk about the Triune Creator, we can say there’s the Creator/creature distinction; we can say that this God who is Creator and Savior and Redeemer has a perfect plan, and that’s a rational statement. He is omniscient. We can understand what we’re saying when we say God is omniscient. We can also understand what we’re saying when we say we know He loves us. We have no trouble perceiving what we’re saying in those two statements. But those two statements do not say that we know, in this case, how all things are going to work out.

So the peace that is in verse 7 derives from the knowledge of the Creator—not the knowledge of what He is doing in a particular situation. There’s a difference there. We don’t know what He’s doing in particular situations all the time, or most of the time. But the peace that passes understanding is not contingent, is not dependent on us knowing all the details. It is sufficient to handle some of the chaos by looking up and realizing those issues out of our sight, we have pieces down here and we know they fit together.

Just like if you had a jigsaw puzzle you know that those pieces fit together, you might not exactly see how, but you have the confidence they do or they wouldn’t have come in the package. It’s a very similar thing with these pieces that we have, these grasped fragments that they do fit together, but we don’t know exactly how. We can get the piece without having to comprehend all the details.

Now let’s reverse it. We said there are three things to the faith-rest drill. You pick up a fragment of Scripture, you think about its rationale, its consistency, its theological basis, and then you have closure. You want to be able to close out a competing worldview that would attack that promise. If you think about this promise where it says “the peace of God passes all understanding,” if you didn’t operate on that frame of reference, what would you say? You’d have to say that I can’t get peace unless it is comprehensible.

In other words, if I am an autonomous creature and I have finite resources, and I can only see certain things, the only way I can have peace is to have a fully conceived rational plan. And if I can’t have a plan that is comprehensible to me, I don’t have any peace.

This is what leads to fantasies, this is what leads to pseudo plans, this is what leads to faith that the government is going to be your savior, the idea that man can plan, that man can plan out all these things. You often hear it said, “Well, if the government doesn’t do it, who’s going to?” I could name three: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The point is that the government is not a Messiah and making it a Messiah is just a manifestation of the antithesis of verse 7.

You can read verse 7 two ways, the way it reads in the text is that “the peace of God that passes all understanding.” The opposite of that is the peace of man that requires understanding, and the peace of man that man be able to see the whole thing. Well he can’t see the whole thing so what does he do? He fantasizes that he can see the whole thing and he manufactures the peace, but that peace is never secure. It can be fragmented in thirty minutes by the next crisis that hits. So there is no peace, as Isaiah said, there is no peace for the wicked, because there’s no basis for the peace of the wicked; all they have is pieces.

We are reviewing the angelic conflict because it’s part of what Jesus Christ has accomplished; it’s required to understand what Jesus Christ has accomplished is a better way of saying it. We have said that to understand the work of Christ we have to understand the fact that God saves and judges, so we call that judgment/salvation. We have two examples scripturally of judgment/ salvation; one example is the flood, the second example is the Exodus. These two mirror the final example, which is the finished work of Christ.

We’ve said that there are certain features to the way—a pattern—that always exists in the way that God judges and saves. First of all, He doesn’t save unless He judges, and He doesn’t judge without saving. Those two functions of God go together. The first aspect is that there’s always grace before judgment. In the Church Age, the whole Church Age is a period of grace before judgment, before the second return of Christ and the cut off of grace. So you have this period of grace before judgment.

Then we said the second feature is that God always perfectly discriminates between the believers and unbelievers. He did at the Flood, He did at the Exodus and those are two good examples because it’s very sharp the distinction between. There was a sharp distinction between the first-born without blood on the door who died and the firstborn who did not die who had blood on the door.

It was a simple thing, it wasn’t related to personality, it wasn’t related to intelligence, it was related to the idea of whether they believed in the Word of God or not. That was the discriminator, and God discriminates. Man always hates discrimination, but God always uses discrimination, because discrimination implies there exists a standard.

All law discriminates, law sets up the boundary of discrimination and it’s the gospel of Jesus Christ that discriminates. All other religions outside of God’s Word, outside of the Bible, all religions are ultimately based on the merits of man, man trying to save himself, operation bootstrap. There’s only one religion that is completely grace dependent; the bloody substitutionary atonement.

Islam doesn’t have it, Judaism doesn’t have it, and no other religion has it. Only biblical Christianity has a substitutionary blood atonement. Why? Because only Christianity has a God of absolute justice. All other religions ultimately compromise the justice and holiness of God by a program of arbitrary forgiveness based on some relative merit system.

So because God insists upon His justice, there’s always perfect discrimination as to whether people believe or reject the salvation package of the Lord Jesus Christ. Going along with that, there is only one way of salvation. There was only one way of deliverance from the flood, there was only one way of deliverance in the Exodus and there’s only one way of deliverance and that’s with the finished work of Christ.

Then we said that whenever God judges, because God is the Creator and we are the creature, we’re not the only creatures, God judges man and God judges nature. So we’re on this area of nature, linking angelic beings as part of nature and therefore subject to the judgment. Therefore their status changes once the Lord Jesus Christ’s work is finished and He ascends and sits at the Father’s right hand—something changes. We want to grab hold of that change because that’s the basis of the Church Age; something has changed as a result of the ascent and session of Christ.

In the notes on page 19, we went through some of these verses on the struggle in the unseen realm, that not only is the ground cursed, not only does the ground resist man, but the angelic beings that occupy the rest of creation themselves are in conflict. There’s a spiritual war going on in the unseen dimension, and foolish is the person who thinks that evil is something that’s just confined to humankind. Evil is not just confined to humankind; evil is embedded in the environment.

I emphasize this because we’re going to get into eschatology and we’ve already covered it when we talked about premillennialism versus postmillennialism. What is it about premillennialism that stresses the environment? You can’t have the Kingdom of God unless the environment is clean; you’ve got to have an environmental cleansing in the physical environment, in the spiritual environment, before you can have the Kingdom of God. It seems plain. But what happen? All the programs outside of premillennialism always want to bring in God’s Kingdom in some abbreviated version, either politically or some other way. That’s not sufficient because it doesn’t deal with the background forces of evil.

We’re looking at these background forces preparatory to understanding how Christ’s finished work changes and advances that conflict. In the paragraph I list several verses, going through about what Satan’s program includes. We want to look at that. “Satan’s program includes blocking evangelism,” the reason why Satan blocks evangelism is because he doesn’t want people to be saved. Every time someone is saved that’s a defection that changes the count; it’s very significant. This is why every revival in history has always been followed by a satanic counter-revival. The Protestant Reformation stressed the finished work of Christ on the cross. What did the Roman Catholic Church do? They started a counter-reformation in which they attacked Protestantism, and very viciously so. So you had the Reformation and then you had the counter-reformation.

In America you had the second great awakening in the early 19th century and what followed that? All the cults, every bizarre cult you can think of started in American right around 1840–1860. What did we have? We had the Mormons start. We had the Jehovah’s Witnesses start. We had the Seventh Day Adventists start. We had all kinds of things start. Why did you have all those start in such a small time? We haven’t had so many religions start in such a short time since 586 BC when Israel was thrown out of the land and seven world religions started within fifty years of that date. There are these times and periods of history that just spawn all kinds of stuff. America was a breeding ground of this. Why did our country produce such theological sleaze? Because prior to that the great awakening had happened, I believe, and there were too many people getting saved.

So Satan had to cut off that progress of the gospel because remember, for every person who trusts in Jesus Christ that advances the historical clock. The clock, up to the time of Christ…, you can think of it this way, there’s a clock, and the hands on the clock are moving, and they time history. Every time someone trusts in Christ, every time there’s a spiritual victory, the hands move. What are you going to see when you see a revival? The hands are moving fast because there are thousands of people coming to know the Lord. What does this do? This speeds up time; if time is sped up in the spiritual realm what does that mean?

If you’re Satan and you know that, like the demons said to Jesus when Jesus was going to heal the guy, the demons replied “why do you torment us before the time?” Demons know where the end is, “why do you torment us before our time?” In other words, we don’t want history to end. Satan is in the staving off process, trying to stop, trying to slow history down so he doesn’t get down at that end. So whenever you have a spiritual advance you’re speeding history up and he doesn’t want history to be sped up because that shortens his time. He’ll fight viciously, and powerfully, and seductively, and brilliantly to slow history down.

These are the ways he does it. One way is blocking evangelism, that’s Matthew 13:19 if you want an illustration, there are many illustrations but that’s one. “Persecuting believers on the earth (1 Peter 5:8)”, that’s another way. When Satan cannot deceive and have his way that way, he’s like a big bully; he’ll have to resort to violence. Whenever the church is violently persecuted as it is in Somalia, Sudan, China, Egypt, wherever the church is being attacked you can chalk it up to the fact that the satanic forces feel somehow threatened by the gospel.

And the program of deception hasn’t worked; the program of intimidation hasn’t worked so they have to turn the heat up now and let it get physical, we’re going to get violent about it. But whether it’s deception, whether it’s intimidation, whether it’s outright persecution, it’s always the same, trying to slow down the development of the body of Christ.

That’s a second way, physical violence, and that goes on today. Interestingly, there’s a difference between Satan using intimidation and Satan using physical violence, because when he uses intimidation it can be intellectual intimidation, it can just be social intimidation. But when it gets physical, what happens, and the reason why it happens is because you have people who are normal common everyday Christians, humble people that just will not bow their knee to Caesar. They’re going to bow only to Jesus Christ, period.

Those are the kind of people that were thrown into the Colosseum and people watched them get eaten by lions. It wasn’t that they were big powerful strong people; spiritually they were, but they were humble people who knew that Christ was above Caesar. That is offensive and if Satan can’t have his way, because if someone is going to be that stubborn about it and risk their life for Jesus Christ over against all this intimidation, what other tool does Satan have except trying to physically eliminate them? And he tries that for a while, and then he learns the lesson that the church grows in the blood of the martyrs.

Like that Chinese man that Cal Thomas interviewed from China, a little old fellow in his 70s, throw in jail, taken out of jail, beat up and he still has a church that is in some Chinese city. It’s unregistered, still has his classes, second floor of this little old building and Cal Thomas asked him, well how is it that the authorities are letting you lose, letting you out of jail after all these years. They let this 70-something guy get out of jail. He smiles, and he says that’s because when they put me in jail the church grows faster. They just don’t know what to do with this guy.

Here is one of the most powerful regimes on earth, in the most populous country on earth, and they can’t deal with a 70-year-old man, one man who believes in Jesus Christ. He creates all kind of problems for them; the bureaucrats have meetings, they have all kinds of planning sessions, they throw him in jail and that doesn’t work, they let him out of jail and that doesn’t work. They don’t know what to do with this guy. Why? Because it’s the battle of the Spirit of God against the spirit of this world, there’s more to it than just human beings involved and that’s the big idea here.

Blocking evangelism, persecuting believers violently on earth, “accusing them in Heaven,” and that’s the one we want to look at because this is not empirically perceived but it goes on and it’s a source of continual conflict in heaven. We’re going to look at Job as an illustration; and these three illustrations, Job 1–2, Zechariah 3:1 and Revelation 12:10. I think I’m going to work backwards for this.

Let’s go to Revelation 12:10. This is theme or a method that Satan uses to attack believers. There’s something to tie in and get the big picture here what’s going on, to get a handle on it, make sense of what happens in life. When we talked about evil and talked about suffering, we showed a chart and we said that in handling suffering and handling the problem of evil we have some tools. We’ve gone over this, the Creator/creature distinction, the fact is that the center of our faith is that the judge of all the earth shall do right.

We had nine rationales to rest in, and I want to review those, because it’s one of those rationales that comes right here. There are two categories of rationales for suffering; one is what we call suffering that is directly caused and suffering that is indirect. The suffering that is directly caused is simpler to see why that happens, the fall of Adam, Genesis 2:17. So category one, Genesis 2:17, the day that you eat thereof you’re going to die. God has His rules; God has His laws, cause and effect, act and consequence of act. That’s simple to see; it’s not simple to experience, it’s simple to see, “the day that you eat thereof you die!”

Second, true of believers and unbelievers, “whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap,” Galatians 6:7. There’s another verse, category-type-two suffering. That’s a suffering that a Christian who disobeys or a non-Christian that just sins and reaps the results of sin. This country economically is in the hole by billions because of sin. I’ve suggested more than once that certain Christians who are experts in economics and sociology, I don’t understand why somebody hasn’t done this. I can’t believe that somebody at this late date in our country’s history hasn’t done something. It would take less than a month to assemble, and that is research how much in dollars the following life styles cost: divorce, that includes the consequences on children, that includes the fighting, the legal fees, that includes setting up two households in competition where you had one before now you have to have double assets. Just think of that, the economic fallout of broken homes.

Let’s add to that, the economic consequences of alcohol and drugs, not just in crime to support the habits, that’s a big bill. And you can add in all the costs for jail, all the attempts at rehabilitation. You can add into that the welfare that goes to pay the kids that grew up in the homes where the parents are in jail because the parent isn’t here so the taxpayers wind up paying for jail and we wind up paying for welfare over here because we have a stupid system that doesn’t connect the two together. We think jail is going to solve everything.

Add to that the healthcare fallout from those lifestyles. You can just add on and add on and add on. Think of this, we’re talking billions if not trillions of dollars draining right at the bottom of the economy. It’s like pouring water in the bathtub and you’re pulling the plug all the time and wondering why the water never comes up. Because it’s all going down the drain. There’s a price for category-two suffering and it ought to be made clear, it seems like somebody could create the argument from sheer economic statistics.

Category-three suffering, same kind as category two, category two looks at the individual, category three is more like what I just said, a good example of that is in Acts 17:2627, because right in there God adjusts national boundaries according to whether people are seeking God or not, want to be axioms of history, that where you have societies that finally damn themselves because they get so negative to the gospel of Jesus Christ they become so obstructive to the gospel that finally God says that’s it, grace is over for that group, because I want to show grace to the people who have to live there.

I believe that’s an explanation for what years and years ago a famous CBS commentator, Lowell Thomas, was asked after World War II, I believe, to go visit Tibet and visit the Dalai Lama in Tibet and it was because the Tibetans were threatened with communist Chinese takeover and they wanted to make some overtures to the West hoping that their case would be met.

It turns out that one of the things that happened when the communists took over Tibet, everybody was moaning and groaning what a horrible thing, and obviously we didn’t like communism, but Tibet was under the control of demonic monks, the famous red-hooded monks of Tibet. These were guys were so demonic they could levitate themselves and objects and all kinds of stuff. The whole society had become enmeshed in this demonism. The communists marched in and everywhere communism went they put radios because that’s how they maintained communication and indoctrination. So they brought radios to Tibet and guess what happened? The Trans World Radio and the Christians got together and beamed in, rode right in on the frequencies and the gospel went into Tibet like it never had done before.

Acts 17:26–27 is category-three-type suffering, God opens up closed societies when they get too close to the gospel, and it can be war, it can be a disaster, it can be an earthquake, whatever, global warming, flood all the eastern seaboard, get rid of all the corruption on the east and west coast.

Category-four-type suffering is the Lake of Fire, Matthew 25:41. That verse says that the Lake of Fire was created for the devil and his angels. Men get there almost as a secondary thing. The primary reason for the Lake of Fire isn’t for the human race; it’s for the devil and his angels. Men get there because they agree with Satan, so if you want to agree, live with him forever. These are four categories of suffering that are direct, meaning you can see cause and effect.

The other five are not so obvious; these are harder to see and you have to have spiritual eyes to see these. Anybody can see the first four. Category five is suffering because God is calling you to the gospel. We could all give testimony as to how that happens in our family unit. A good example if you want a verse for this is Acts 16:27, the jailor. His jail got busted open and he was a very upset man. That’s the man who asked how to be saved and Paul said “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”

So here we have a case where a man was brought into a suffering situation to wake him up to the gospel. It was nothing that he had done; his suffering, his jail being destroyed, wasn’t because of something he personally did. He’s suffering because God is interfering and intervening in his life to bring him to God. So category five suffering is a mysterious thing that happens, apparently with a surprise, it’s not forecast, it’s not something that’s related to something somebody’s done, it just happens.

Category six is to stimulate spiritual growth and we gave a verse, Psalm 119:71, “It is good that I have been afflicted, that I might learn Thy statutes.” Why is that? That may not be related to anything that you’ve done. It may come out of a clear blue, utterly unrelated. That’s why it’s so hard to see, that’s why we call it indirect. It’s just because for some reason God sees something in our soul that He wants to un-kink and at 11:32 some night it happens, and it doesn’t appear to be related to what you did the previous morning, the previous week, the previous month or the previous year, it just happens. That is a nudge to spiritual growth, category six.

Category seven is as a witness to unbelievers. Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:16-18 that this has happened that it may be an example to them who will, future tense, believe. So here something happens as a testimony. Suffering can occur in a life utterly unrelated to whatever the person is doing, utterly unrelated maybe even to their family or their immediate environment, but somebody somewhere out here, either because they’re going to hear about it, they’re going to read about it, they’re going to hear eighth-hand about it, will be led to Christ because of this. That’s another reason; this is a testimony to unbelievers.

Then 2 Corinthians 1:4, reason eight and that’s as a witness to believers, that we may comfort them with a comfort wherewith we have been comforted. It’s talking about ministry to other believers. You don’t know why this particular thing has happened to you or happened in your life, but you learn a lesson in it and now you are able to have credibility with someone else in that situation.

A good example of this: the lady that has fought CBS to keep Touched by an Angel on the air. Martha Williamson. I’m amazed at how she comes up with script after script, week after week on that program, and she’s dealing with every issue in ordinary life. It’s the only fresh air you can breathe on television that has some semblance to biblical theology. And she’s had to fight like crazy to have that program not shut down by CBS.

She had a program which I didn’t see, but the story was about abortion and it was done very well, apparently very wisely, not preaching. And people say gee, how did she write that good script, how did she get that wonderful balance between yes, it’s a bad thing but you don’t go slamming the girl over the head with a baseball bat. That doesn’t help. There has to be some compassion in here, there has to be wisdom, etc. And it was apparently very well done in a very balanced way. Do you know why? Because Martha Williamson had an abortion earlier as a woman.

There’s an example of 2 Corinthians 1:4, how could she speak with authenticity? Because she walked that road, and when somebody says oh well, there’s no implication for the woman, Martha can say yes there are, don’t tell me there’s no implications for the woman. I had an abortion, I know the implications. See how it comes across, it comes across with much more fire and authenticity than from one of us out here that’s just blabbing the words. So category eight suffering is important for a testimony for the truth.

Now we come to the hard one. This is Ephesians 3:20, and that introduces the subject that we’re getting into with the angelic conflict. That says that things occur in our life to reveal to the beady little eyes that are looking at us from the spiritual realm. While we sit here and talk about Scripture and Jesus Christ and salvation, there are eyes in the unseen realm watching us. It’s those eyes and the spirits of those eyes that are learning and they’re learning something. Not about us—we’re probably jokes to them—but they’re looking to see what God is doing through us. They’re interested because of this angelic conflict.

In light of all that, let’s go to Revelation 12:10. This is during the Tribulation, and the background is that believers have been violently persecuted during the Tribulation, they have been assaulted, they have been killed by the hundreds of thousands. In Revelation 12:10, “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.’ ” Notice that. There is a hearing going on constantly over us and our sin before the holy righteous God.

We’ve just been through six weeks where the world has been run by a group of lawyers. There has been one legal argument after another legal argument after another over everything from dimples to some other substantive issues, such as the Constitution that occasionally should be mentioned, a minor document. All this constant nit-picking, nit-picking, nit-picking, there are still some forty lawsuits going. It just never ends. There’s constant appeal. There’s a case, there’s an appeal and a counter appeal, and another appeal, we’ll take it to another court, we’re going to move it over here and this and that and all the rest, constant arguments trying to sort out, theoretically, what is right. Just for a moment visualize all this in your head, think of a bunch of yelling lawyers; you’ve all seen it on TV, big courtroom scene.

Transfer that imagery that you now have in your mind to this little phrase in verse 10, “who accuses them before God day and night.” What did we say Satan’s name means? Prosecuting attorney, he is constantly trying to prosecute a case before God. He is saying God is just, God is right and there’s something down here, look at these people down here, they’re fallen, they’re minus R, they have unrighteousness, how can You let this go on. See what so and so did, look at that? You’re condemning me God, look at this. And it goes on twenty-four hours a day. Talk about legal controversy, the legal controversy we’ve seen the last five or six weeks is nothing compared to what’s going on constantly since the fall. Day and night, day and night Satan attacks, he accuses, he accuses, he accuses, over and over and over and over again, constantly trying to seek a case. What case? The Bible doesn’t exactly tell us the details of the case but it gives us the outline of the case.

Let’s move to Zechariah 3:1–3. Here’s another example of persecution and accusation. Let’s watch this narration. This is Zechariah being shown this prophetic vision of the throne of God. This is one of those rare times when a prophet was elevated by the Spirit to be able to see something we never can see which is the throne of God. “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.”

Now isn’t this cute! Here we have a believer who is in high office in the nation Israel, he represents Israel, he’s the high priest. Here he is standing before … the angel of the Lord is the preincarnate Jesus Christ, so he’s standing before the Son of God, Satan’s standing at his right hand and he’s doing the same thing in this verse he’s doing in Revelation 12; the same thing, constantly accusing. Zechariah 3:2, “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?’ [3] Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel.” Look at the picture, I won’t go into what the Hebrew word “filthy” means, it’d be too shocking here in church.

Verse 4, “And he spoke and said to those who were standing before him saying, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ Again he said to him, ‘See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with [clear or] festal robes.’ [5] Then I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by. [6] And the angel of the LORD admonished [or warned] Joshua saying, [7] Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways, and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts.’ ” Now look at this, read it slowly, look at this last clause, “and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here.” Who are “those who are standing here?” Verse 1.

So perfect redemption, and this is what so offends Satan, is that you can take a fallen human being, clothe him with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and we get to go into the throne of God, into the very presence of God, and walk where he can’t walk, where he has to argue his case all the time, and here we are, no better than he is. We’ve sinned just like he has, but for us redemption has been promised and we have received the Lord Jesus Christ; nothing of our own merit, but this is the argument, so here we are again, constant accusations, constant attack, a constant legal attack.

See why sometimes lawyers kind of get under your skin? There’s a reason, because they’re a picture of Satan. Satan is one of the great attorneys, he’s a brilliant attorney, he is constantly arguing and constantly trying to prosecute fallen men.

Go to Job 1:8. Job 1–2 are sort of the introduction and orientation to why Job gets clobbered. Ultimately one reason why Job gets caught is he’s in category-nine suffering situation. And the author [blank spot: Job 1:8–10, “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.’ [9] Then Satan answered the LORD, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? [10] ‘Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.’ ”] … the content of verse 10. What’s the theory, what’s the argument behind Satan’s position? You don’t slap the hand that feeds you. The only reason why Job obeys You, God, is because You’re supplying his needs. If I supplied his needs he’s be worshipping me. It’s very simple, he just realizes his dependence on you and he’s going along with it. It’s not because he loves You, it’s not because he has respect for You. It’s because You give him handouts.

Think about what Satan said to Eve in the Garden. Remember when Eve heard Satan, what were Satan’s first words? “Has God said?” Then he followed it up, oh, “He knows that in the day you eat thereof you’re going to be as gods, knowing both good and evil.” See, God has ill intent; the theory of Satan is that God, and here’s the essence of it, God is not worthy of our devotion, of our trust, of our reliance. God is not worthy, He is not the just God He proclaims to be. He is not the loving God that He proclaims to be.

That’s why at the end of history there are two passages in Revelation, Revelation 4:11 and Revelation 5:9–10. Revelation 4 is a great song, “Worthy art thou, O God, because You have created us,” and then in Revelation 5 is “Worthy are you God, because You have redeemed us.” What are those two hymns saying? You are worthy. What is Satan saying? You are not worthy, You are not worthy of respect, and if You cut off all this little special blessing this guy’s going to curse You, watch him.

So what does God do? Verse 11, “But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has, he will surely curse Thee to Thy face.” So verse 12, “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.’ So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.” In other words, don’t take his life, you can take his possessions, don’t touch his life. Then the first disaster clobbers Job. In verse 21 is Job’s response in faith to that first disaster, “And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb. And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.’ [22] Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.”

Job was a solid character. Watch this, Satan can’t let this go. He’s like one of these lawyers, can’t let it go, got to mess with it some more. So here he goes again, Job 2:1, the second meeting. By the way, here’s proof that the word “sons of God,” the bena ha Elohim, means angels, not men. So when you see bena ha Elohim in Genesis, it means angels.

“Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.” Notice he has access to the throne room. Verse 2, “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth, and walking around on it.’ ” What did Peter say? “A roaring lion seeking whom he may devour?” If we don’t think he’s walking around on this planet we’re crazy.

Verse 3, “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast,” see here’s the Lord getting jabs at Satan, notice Satan, “he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him” notice, “without cause.” Category- nine type suffering, what is it? Indirect, not related to something Job did. That suffering came into his life without a cause, i.e., cause within his own life, a higher cause in the angelic realm.

Satan has a theory, verse 4, “And Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. [5] You put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse Thee to Thy face.’ ” Same theory, go ahead, let him suffer some more and see if You get obedience out of this creature, we’ll test this one out.

We all know the story of Job and skipping all the way through the book of Job and we get down to the end, to the lessons that Job learned, we come to Job 38. After all the counseling, after all the theories, after all the discussions finally in Job 38:1 the Lord answers. Notice something. When God answers at the end of the book, He doesn’t talk about Satan, because ultimately Satan isn’t the issue, is he?

What’s the issue here? Is God worthy or is God not worthy? That’s the issue, that’s the issue Satan has raised. So, even though Satan raised it, that’s the issue. In Job 38 that’s the issue again. “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, [2] ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?’ ” Here we are, emphasis on the essence of God, get your eyes on Me says God, I am the Creator, you are the creature, let’s get the channel clear.

Then you skip over to Job 40 and the Lord says, look at this, He says, verse 2, “ ‘Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Let him who reproves God answer it.’ ” And Job responds, “… what can I reply to Thee? I lay my hand on my mouth.” Verse 6, “Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm, and said, [7] ‘Now gird up your loins like a man; I will ask you, and you instruct Me. [8] Will you really annul My judgment?’ ” And look at this one, “will you condemn Me that you may be justified?’”

What God is doing here is Satan has had a field day of putting all kinds of false ideas, aiming them at Job. So God, without mentioning Satan explicitly, is going to come in here, He’s going to cut this stuff off, and He’s going to cut it off by counter-accusing the groundswell of Satan’s dialogue.

Satan’s dialogue is to make God as bad as possible to make him feel good. This is always the story. Small people always attack big people. This is why you have these little nitwit college professors, they’re always running down George Washington or Thomas Jefferson or somebody that they can’t even stand close to, they’re teaching at some silly level of salary because they can’t get a job anywhere else and they practice maligning great men and women to the impressionable college students. They make a profession of this.

This is the same thing. Satan’s same theme is I am going to pull God down to my level; it makes me feel better. If I can smear His reputation, if I can accuse Him, falsely enough, as long as I can smear His character, then we even the score, we bring Him down to my level.

That’s why God is answering that forthrightly, are you going to condemn Me? He’s saying this to Job because Job is vulnerable to this satanic idea, are you going to condemn Me that you may be justified. In other words, your standard of justice isn’t going to be My character, it’s going to be what you say man is doing to determine this.

Then finally in Job 42:1–6, “Then Job answered the LORD, and said, [2] ‘I know that Thou canst do all things, and that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted. [3] Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ ” And Job admits, “ ’Therefore I have declared that which I do not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. [4] Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask you, and you instruct Me.’ [5] I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees Thee; [6] Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” Repent there meaning I totally change my fouled up view of what is going on in my life. He admits that I am totally screwed up here.

This was operation finesse that God did where He completely eliminated the satanic attack in Job’s life. And of course Job responded, and the Bible doesn’t tell us this but I’ll bet there was another meeting. The next time Satan walked in God said oh, been bothering Job again? What did you find out this time? What is happening here? Let’s get back to where we started. Satan is running an operation here and we want to see it. His operation is to get the creatures in agreement with him that God is not worthy. Please notice that. The issue is doxological. Yes, redemption enters into it, but the primary issue is doxological, is God worthy of praise or is He not? That holds to the angels who are not redeemed as well as to the men who are redeemed. Redemption is lower down than doxological. That’s the goal of history.

We’re going to move on to pages 20–22 and on page 21 and 22 you’ll see two tables. These tables are going to relate what we have learned about Jesus Christ last year, and some of those doctrines that we stumbled on. We were talking about the doctrine of the hypostatic union and the doctrine of kenosis, and why did theologians come up with all that stuff. There’s a reason, because those doctrines reveal certain things that Jesus Christ did in the angelic conflict, and because Jesus Christ was God and man and because … remember the doctrine of kenosis, Jesus Christ second column in that table, Jesus Christ gave up the independent use of His divine attributes and accepted 100% creature existence during His mortal life.

And during His mortal life Satan had three shots, Matthew 4. Satan took shots at the Lord Jesus and the Lord Jesus to defend against Satan did not use any of His divine assets. He utilized everything that we would as believers. He identified completely with believers in that discussion, and then when Jesus Christ was victorious He gets promoted above Satan. Why could He get promoted above Satan? Why could He get into the throne room at the level that the Lord Jesus is? Because Satan tried to pull his little agenda on Jesus, repeatedly down through the time of His life, and he failed. He failed in Matthew 4, he failed all during … incite religious riots against Him and kill Him, he failed there. At the crucifixion he thought he had it made because he finally go to murder Jesus Christ, he thought, and he wound up undoing the whole legal foundation from under his case.

There’s a tremendous story here about why the Lord Jesus Christ, during the four Gospels did what He did and now, seated at the Father’s right hand, what He now enjoys and what we should enjoy as a result of identification with Him. All that’s coming up but we had to get the background of this horrible, spiritual invisible war that has gone on since the fall of man all around us, constantly, always involved in our life. We’ll tie this in with the person of Jesus.

Question asked: Clough replies: I think prayer plays a big role. The question is when this episode is going on in Heaven, and all these decrees are made and whose going to attack who, where’s the role of prayer? I think you see that in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself because if you go into Matthew 4, there it’s clear that the Lord Jesus must have been praying in order to have the perception, on the human side, of Scripture that He did, and to be able to have that confidence to hold on to those promises, because He was given a whale of a test there. And He held, He held fast and He held firm.

We know that Jesus Christ prayed in the morning, it’s obvious that Jesus had a prayer life, very obvious. Since He was under attack, it’s clear that prayer has a vital role to pray. We just have broached the topic tonight of just the broad outline of the fact that A, there’s an invisible war going on, and B, behind that there’s an agenda going on of who’s right and who’s just [missing words] involved in that.

So prayer does play a role, and I think as we come into the New Testament more you see that. You can’t, as Peter says, defend yourself against the roaring lion unless you humble yourself before God. Well how do you do that? Prayer is an expression of that. So yeah, prayer plays a vital role in it. It’s not some case where it’s all decided … well it is decided before the throne room, but God’s decisions always work out through things, and He works out through prayer. If He allows attacks against the believer and that believer responds prayerfully, that’s an answer to Satan. Satan can observe this. I hope I didn’t give the impression that negated the human response.

Same person says something about what effect does prayer have: Clough says: on the pain. I think one of the things that right away you could argue for prayer is that part of prayer is worship and what was Satan’s original agenda? That he won’t worship You when the pain comes. So I think right away you’ve got a core right there, of prayer, which is worship, as C. S. Lewis said. The saint who is pinned down by enemy fire, so to speak, who maintains prayer, probably has a very good case to shorten the duration because Satan loses. I mean, if the response causes adoration, is that good for Satan or bad for Satan? I think that kind of answers it, that if we fall apart and don’t pray, then if he’s arguing this case it kind of supports his case.

Question asked: Clough replies: In that case of Paul praying three times I think that shows several things. It shows a lot because first of all it shows you that he didn’t take the suffering lying down. There’s no justification in Scripture when you suffer that you have to be a doormat. Paul got on the case and started praying immediately. And the other thing that I think is interesting about that is that when the Lord answered Paul and said this is going to be for your spiritual growth, actually that defeats Satan too, because God is revealing to Paul just a little tiny bit what he’s doing in his life. Oh, okay, I got a clue now what’s going on here. In that case the prayer helped in not necessarily diminishing the pain but it encouraged him to see a little bit of what was going on here and he could take it better.

Question asked or statement made: Clough replies: It’s testimonies like that that you go through these hard times and you can emerge with a much, much greater sense of who God is and the veracity of His Word. And of course, that defeats it because the whole program that we get that Satan is doing here is to spread discord, is to spread doubt, is to tear down the character of our God, anything he can do to make his kingdom look good and that’s the battle.