Thursday, October 9

True warriors for the King

Last night, while I attended the Men's bible study at the College street campus of The River, I was caught up in the thought ofhe great battle in Heaven, between Archangel Michael and Satan. I guess it was because of the discussion of John Eldredge's book, Wild at Heart, which the group is currently using. Eldredge's talk of Braveheart and movies of that type that stirs something in the hearts of men....the warrior heart.

The question was put on the table by the group leader, Dan, about why is the men's ministry (specifically at The River) was so poorly attended as opposed to the women's ministry. I put forth that the Gospel has been 'feminized' and doesn't speak to men's hearts, but with the growing movement within the body of Christ to regain the masculinity of men and restore it to the God-designed purpose, it seems that such an explanation falls short of the full truth.

Eldredge says that men need 'permission', perhaps to themselves, to be true godly men. Robert Lewis, of Men's Fraternity, says that society has redefined masculinity into a 'feminized' manhood that is far from the truth. Yet, as we walk the hallways of our churches and open our eyes to the powerful imagery and effect of the Scriptures....we don't see the 'godly man', we see 'churchy men'.

God isn't just a god of love. God is full of wrath, vengeance, and jealousy. He is complete, yet only the 'feminine' qualities are announced in the church congregations. God is also a God of War....and men were meant to be His warriors.
Michael and the rest of the Heavenly Host once stood against the vastly superior numbers of Satan's army and held.

Not much is mentioned in the churches today concerning this 'great and epic' battle between the forces of Good (Michael and the remaining angels) vs. Satan, the Great Deceiver, and something like 2/3rds of the Heavenly Host. The Bible doesn't go into much detail about the actual battle itself; the battle was not in the Deceiver's favor and he was cast down with his army to earth.

Revelation 12:7-12: "And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short."

All of Heaven rejoiced with the victory upon the battlefield of Heaven and a warning was sent down to those who lived on the earth, warning that the Devil was filled with fury because he knew his temporary power upon the earth would be short-lived. Whereas angels once led the charge against the Evil One the battle, which still rages today, falls upon the sons of man, equipped by the Holy Spirit and empowered by Jesus Christ's triumph.

From the silence of Adam to the modern day destruction of the family, men are failing to account for their complacency and failure to stand with their backs against the order and beauty that God created them to fight for, protect, and guard against as they face the growing destruction and chaos of a world torn by the enemy forces of a vanquished foe, who knows that he is destined to be utterly defeated. Men don't want to be held accountable for their inaction.

If we would only look to the first battle raged against the forces of Good by the scheming of Evil, we could find our secret; that weapon that brings us assured victory and helps us move into the wilderness of chaos and destruction.....against a vastly superiorly numbered force. We were designed for better, and given the blood of Christ with the strength of our struggles (testimony), to overcome this arrayed army.

We should heed the story of the King of Tyre in the book of Ezekiel, chapter 28. There is a debate amongst biblical scholars about the king of Tyre; this passage speaks of either, an ancient ruler of the city of Tyre named Ethbaal, or Ithobal, a future end-time religious/military leader, Satan, and/or all three. And, of course, there are the wilder theories, such as "the Christian's Satan is none other than the ancient Poseidon aka Neptune."

"Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "`You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more."

Ancient Tyre was a coastal city of Palestine, which now lies in ruins partially reclaimed by the sea. A newer city was built, but not on the original site. It was the capital of trade in ancient times and a very desirable target for the opposing nations. Alexander conquered it by building a road across the sea to lay siege to it.

The human King of Tyre wouldn't have been created, but born of man, and so was far from perfect. He didn't have access to the Garden or to God's throne, being mortal. Rather, this human king was most likely representative of what Satan was and what man could become.

"Many expositors have suggested that besides the literal sense of this lamentation there is an allegory in it, and that it is an allusion to the fall of the angels that sinned, who undid themselves by their pride. And (as is usual in texts that have a mystical meaning) some passages here refer primarily to the king of Tyre, as that of his merchandises, others to the angels, as that of being in the holy mountain of God." Matthew Henry writes about this chapter, "But, if there be any thing mystical in it (as perhaps there may), I shall rather refer it to the fall of Adam, which seems to be glanced at."

Lucifer had the potential to remain perfect and do good works or lose that perfection and produce evil, worthless works and we know, by the battle that raged upon the heavenly landscape, what course he chose. Man is created to live perfectly and chose the same destructive route as Lucifer did; from Adam on down through the generations.

The King of Tyre was looked upon as the wisest among the capabilities of men to be such, and happy in the human way that riches can create, and enjoyed the pursuit of life. He was the complete man, perfect among his kind. He thought of himself as the guardian angel of his people; bright, strong, faithful, appointed, and qualified for the 'office' to which he laid claim. His ruin lied in what he valued most and what was important to him. Not service to a people that he governed rather the beauty and dazzling splendor of his kingdom. He was so concerned with his own sense of greatness that he lost the ability to discern wisdom and the value of such ability. He became that which he valued, temporary and foolish.

"There is nothing outside the man which, going into him, is able to make him unclean: but the things which come out of the man are those which make the man unclean." Mark 7:15 (BEB)

Such is the warning of what happens when men turn the power given by God to be spiritual leaders and the 'head' of the household into unjust self-service. We will fall like Satan did, in the Tyre allegory. Like Adam in the Garden. Like countless leaders in the church today.

That is why men, I believe, don't attend men's groups. Because we want to go at it alone due to a fear that we cannot measure up to the illusion of what we should be; a King of Tyre---handsome, wise, and totally destructive in our sinful humanity.

We are not to be Kings of Tyre rather servants to God --like the Archangel Michael, leading into the chaos and defending the order/beauty that God rendered under our care, never retreating, never surrendering.

The true path of manhood, far from the 'steps' of development offered by Eldredge, Lewis, Crabb, and others, is simple (though they each contribute towards the restoration of men);

"I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. You hold firmly to my name, and didn't deny my faith in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. You also have some who follow what the Nicolaitans teach." Revelation 2:13-15 (WEB)

Standing strong, firm, and with authority....our backs against the beauty and order that God created in our wives, our children, and our friends; facing the chaos and destruction wrought by the Evil one and his minions.

We, instead, have become Nicolaitans and Balaam followers.

The Nicolaitans were a sect of evil influence in the early phase of Christianity, notably in the 7 Asian churches, who ate 'things sacrificed to idols' which was forbidden (Acts 15:29) and most likely fell into a pagan laxity of morals because of their association directly with such practices. Not only did they cause themselves to sin, but they led some in the Pergamum church, and possibly Thyatira, to adopt their teachings.

Balaam was the son of Beor from the Mesopotamian city of Pethor who possessed a gift of prophecy. Balaam knew God, but it appears his knowledge was corrupted by heathen practices and conceptions. He knew enough of God to obey Him, but hoped to win Him over through liberal sacrifices to a self-serving plan of his own. He was a man who loved the gain of unrighteousness, corrupted by superstition, covertness, and wickedness. "Balaam is the type of a teacher of the church who attempts to advance the cause of God by advocating an unholy alliance with the ungodly and worldly, and so conforming the life of the church to the spirit of the flesh." (

Men are called to lead among the path to righteousness, through the right use of the power given through the authority of the Spirit, and to defend against false doctrines. In love, in authority, and under accountability.

"By the word of their testimony: the powerful preaching of the gospel is mighty, through God, to pull down strong holds." ---Matthew Henry

Men are called to hold to Christ's holy name, expand and declare their faith in the troubled times where such is not the 'wise' thing to do, cleanly and without humanism or universalist teachings calling us to ignore the Biblical truths for a more 'easier' approach.

The ultimate war, the one for the Kingdom of Heaven, is still raging in the hearts and minds of men, women, and children of the world today and it is becoming more intense and deadly as it approaches the final stages. Christ is calling His Army to the field, to once again defend, protect, and stand against the chaos and destruction of the Evil One. We, men and women, have retreated from this war for far too long. It is time to resume the battle positions to which we were called, purposed, and created for.

Men, we are called to be the warriors we were created to be, loving others as we love ourselves--by the standard set forth by our Father and our kinsman Christ. We are called to fight for God in the spiritual realm where the battles rage; as a husband servant to his wife, as a father mentor for his children, and as a man brother to fellow warriors in the battlefields wounded, lost, and confused.

Our wives call out for the heroes of old; godly men, wild and mighty warriors who fight not only for them, but depend upon them for their contribution to the war. If we were only made to recognize chaos and destruction, it would be our standard for beauty and order. Our wives, who edify and uplift us, and stand within the gap believing in us and for us, are our equals who have willingly submitted themselves to our authority under God's plan. Submission of an equal to a position under the authority, not the dominance of another.

Our children suffer the wounding of our lack of protecting, instructing, and support as they assume their God-given purposes for the Kingdom. We have, through our own inaction and silence, created a generation of walking wounded.....not equipped or able to fight the battles that Satan brings against the faithful.

Will the warriors of the Army of God be ready to follow our Captain, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the battle to defeat the Enemy's forces once and for all? Or will we be standing beside those to whom we were accountable for and shrug our shoulders in dismay?

Simcox, "Revelation" in the Cambridge Bible; H. Cowan in Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes), article "Nicolaitans"; H.B. Swete, The Apocalypse of John, lxxff;, 27, 28, 37.
Butler's Sermons, "Balaam"; ICC, "Numbers."

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