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THE WRATH OF SATAN IN THE LAST DAYS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, December 8, 2013

“The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).


Yes, I believe in the Devil. He is given at least 12 names in the Bible. He is called Satan, the Devil, the Dragon, the Serpent, Beelzebub, Belial, Lucifer, the Wicked One, the Tempter, the God of this World, the Prince of the Power of the Air, and the Prince of this World. We should never make jokes about the Devil, or speak lightly of him. He has great power, greater than any nation, greater than any weapon that man has created. He rules the air, the atmosphere around the earth. His purpose is to hinder the work of God, to prevent prayers from being answered, to delay the Second Coming of Christ, to oppose the Holy Spirit, to stop revival, to destroy human life, and to destroy mankind – God’s highest creation. The Devil is a horrible, hostile, hateful monster. He changes himself into a beautiful, enticing creature. But when he captures his victim, he is transformed into a hideous dragon.

Our text speaks of a time, near the end of this age, when Satan can no longer come into God’s presence, as he did in the first chapter of Job. Up until this point he could come and go from God’s presence in Heaven. But when he is cast forever out of God’s presence, he knows that his doom is near. J. A. Seiss, in his landmark commentary on the Book of Revelation, gives this picture,

We would think that so [great] a defeat in heaven would cure him of his malignity, at least induce him to refrain from any further attempts against God and His people. But he is hopelessly depraved, and nothing but absolute force can [overcome] his devil nature. There is no cure for being so totally perverted. And his ejection from heaven and confinement to the earth only angers him the more, and calls forth increased violence, inducing a state of things by far the worst that this world ever experienced (J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse – Lectures on the Book of Revelation, Zondervan Publishing House, no date, p. 313).

Most of what I learned about the Devil came when I studied as a young person under a great Bible scholar and theologian, Dr. Timothy Lin. Dr. Lin held two master’s degrees from Faith Theological Seminary. He held a Ph.D. in Old Testament Hebrew and related languages from the College of Hebrew and Cognate Languages at Dropsie University. He then taught in the graduate department at Bob Jones University, at Talbot Theological Seminary, and at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield, Illinois. He was one of the translators of the New American Standard Bible, and from 1980 to 1990 he was the president of China Evangelical Seminary in Taiwan – following the presidency of Dr. James Hudson Taylor III. He was my pastor and teacher for over 23 years, when I was a member of the First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles. He baptized me, and chaired my ordination committee on July 2, 1972.

But Dr. Lin was no dry-as-dust theology professor. His lessons and his sermons bristled with the power of living theology. For instance, Dr. Lin firmly believed that we are living in the last days – near the end of the world as we know it. You don’t have to read very much of what he wrote to see that. For instance, in his book on church growth, he repeatedly gives phrases like “The Church of the last days has the same misconception...” (p. 6); “the pulpit in the last days” (p. 11), “Many Christians of the last days are...timid, frightened, and with no faith in God’s word” (p. 17); “The desolation in the Church of the last days is not due to lack of pastors...” (p. 21); “May the Church of the last days think thrice about this” (p. 29); “Some churches of the last days are not concerned...as long as there is a way to obtain money” (pp. 48, 49); “The Church of the last days ignores the distinction between right and wrong” (p. 50); “There are two reasons why the churches of the last days exhibit such extreme apathy towards prayer meeting” (p. 95). (All quotations are from Timothy Lin, Ph.D., The Secret of Church Growth, FCBC, 1992).

You can tell that Dr. Lin constantly thought about the fact that we are living at the very end of the Christian age, near the very end of the last days. Another point that Dr. Lin constantly emphasized was the reality of Satan and his demons. These two themes were stressed repeatedly in his sermons and Bible studies – we are living in the last days, and Satan and his demons are opposing us. You may think that those two negative themes would discourage and depress a church. But the exact opposite was true! His church experienced a phenomenal revival. His church added about 2,000 people in a short time.

And Dr. Lin often quoted our text in his preaching and teaching,

“The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

Commenting on that verse, Dr. Lin said,

Satan fully comprehends that the only means of prolonging his evil life is by delaying the second coming of Christ...For this reason, he employs his evil schemes with all his might towards restraining people from believing in Jesus – thereby keeping the personnel of God’s kingdom from being produced...Satan then starts the second step of his sabotage among Christians, that is, restraining them from devoting time and effort in prayer... Therefore, the closer it is toward the eve of our Lord’s second coming, the greater Satan’s pressure will be against prayer! (Lin, ibid., pp. 95, 96).

Many preachers do not see or understand the “signs” of Christ’s second coming. But the Devil is wiser than them. He sees that the nation of Israel has been reestablished. He sees the apostasy of the churches. He sees the days of Noah being repeated. He knows “that he hath but a short time” to do his evil work of opposing and hindering the work of God in the earth!

“The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

One of the names of the Devil is “Satan.” It means “adversary” or “opposer.” Thus, Satan opposes the work of God. In the last days, in which we live, Satan opposes both the saved and the lost.

I. First, Satan opposes the prayers of those who are saved.

Satan’s main object in opposing the work of God is to stop Christians from praying. Dr. Lin said, “Satan knows (though Christians may not) that prayer is the procedure for the appropriation of God’s riches...If Christians do not appropriate these riches, they will become exhausted spiritually and weakened prematurely... Therefore, the closer it is toward the eve of our Lord’s second coming, the greater Satan’s pressure will be against prayer” (Lin, ibid., p. 96).

Often Christians forget to pray when they get up in the morning. It doesn’t take long to pray the Lord’s prayer and ask God for His help during the day. Without God’s help we cannot do much good. Satan knows that. So he opposes your morning prayer. Then he is delighted to see how powerless you are that day!

Satan also opposes “praying through” – that is, praying for something until you get it. The parable of the persistent widow teaches the need to “pray through” until you get what you need. Jesus gave the purpose of the parable in Luke 18:1, “That men ought always to pray, and not to faint” – or as it could be translated, “...they should always pray and not give up.” The parable teaches that you should keep on asking God for the thing you need until He gives it to you. The parable is simple. A widow woman came and asked a certain judge to avenge her against an enemy. The judge did nothing for a while. But he finally gave her what she wanted because he was tired of being bothered by her. The parable ends by saying that God will “avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them” (Luke 18:7). But the very last verse of the parable says,

“I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

This does not mean there won’t be any faith when Christ comes. It means that most Christians will give up easily when they are praying for some need. They will not struggle on in prayer until they get what they are asking for! “Praying through” in faith will be greatly lessened in the last days. As this age draws to a close Satan intensifies his pressure against praying through. He does this to weaken the churches and cause a delay in the full number of the elect being saved. Thus, Satan seeks to prolong his evil life on this earth by opposing persistent prayer in the last days!

Satan hinders our prayers, and stops many of us from praying through, by telling us, “Prayer isn’t that important. The pastor tells you to pray, pray, pray – but you are wasting your time. Your prayers don’t really do anything. Give up! Don’t waste your time praying.” Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever thought that praying doesn’t really do anything – that it is only a waste of time? If you have ever had a thought like that, you can be sure it is the Devil who put that thought in your mind. Satan will use all sorts of tricks to get you to stop praying for a certain need. Satan spends a lot of time and effort deceiving you into letting your prayers slide. He works hard to stop you from praying before you get what you need from God! In another context, the Apostle Paul said this –

“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (II Corinthians 2:11).

Satan will certainly “get an advantage” over you unless you are very careful not to give up when you are praying for a need. The Apostle James said,

“Ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2).

And often, you still “have not” because the Devil tricked you with one of his devices. He caused you to feel hopeless or depressed. He tempted you until you stopped praying, or weakened your prayers. Remember, Christian – prayer is the main thing we do to win the battle with Satan. Remember – prayer is the battle! An old gospel song says it all,

Did you pray it through till the answer came?
   There’s a promise true for your soul to claim;
At the place of prayer Jesus waits for you,
   Did you meet Him there, Did you pray it through?
Did you pray till the answer came,
   Did you plead in the Saviour’s name?
Did you pray and fight [deep into the night],
   Did you pray till the answer came?
(“Have You Prayed It Through?” by W. C. Poole, 1875-1949;
       altered by the Pastor).

Have you ever heard that sung in our churches? I haven’t! Christians used to sing it, but it’s out of style now. “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

Now watch this! In the tenth chapter of Daniel we read that Daniel’s prayer was heard by God the very first time he prayed (Daniel 10:12). But the answer did not come for “twenty days” because a demon from Satan opposed the answer (Daniel 10:13). We are thankful that Daniel did not let the Devil stop him from praying until he got what he asked for from God! In his great book on prayer Dr. John R. Rice gave this good chorus,

Keep on praying,
   Till you pray it through,
Keep on praying,
   Till you pray it through.
God’s great promises
   Are always true,
Keep on praying
   Till you pray it through.

II. Second, Satan opposes the salvation of those who are lost.

“The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

Satan opposes you as you seek to be saved. He does not want you to become a Christian. He will do everything in his power to keep you from being saved. Why does he do that? One reason is because he is a murderer. Jesus said that the Devil “was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). It is Satan’s nature to murder people. He murdered our first parents in the Garden of Eden, by tempting them to eat the forbidden fruit. He is a murderer of souls – and he wants to murder you as well. He wants you to die and go to Hell.

But there is another reason. In Romans 11:25 we read that,

“...blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25).

The Greek word translated “fulness” is “plērōma.” It means “the full number.” The Devil hates Israel, and he knows that their spiritual blindness will not be removed until “the full number” of the Gentiles are saved. But Satan does not want Israel to be saved. That is the reason he doesn’t want you to be saved.

A certain number of Gentiles must be saved before Israel’s blindness is removed at the end of this age. You are a Gentile. You are living near the end of this age. The Devil knows that he will be judged by God and bound for “a thousand years” when Christ returns (Revelation 20:2). That is why,

“The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

Satan is raging through the world today because he knows his time is short. More than ever, he is doing everything he can to delay “the full number” of Gentiles from coming in and being saved. I am convinced that is one of the reasons it is becoming harder and harder for people to be saved in our time. The Devil will do everything in his power to keep you from trusting Jesus and becoming a real Christian. That way he is able to keep Israel in blindness a little longer.

One of the ways the Devil uses to keep you from being saved is to take away the Word of God from your heart. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus said,

“...then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12).

Two young Chinese men came to our church last Sunday. Both of them were dominated by the Devil. One of them came under Satanic control through Buddhist idols and idol worship in his parents’ home. I do not know how the other one became demonized. But he told me he was tormented by Satan and it seemed clear that he was.

One of those two Chinese boys got saved last Sunday, but the other one did not. Here was the difference – the young man who got saved kept coming to church and listening to the Word of God as I preached the Gospel. He was greatly tempted to give up and leave the church. But by the grace of God he stayed, and came to hear the Gospel every Sunday morning and every Sunday night. Finally, when Dr. Chan preached last Sunday morning, that first boy trusted Jesus and was saved!

But the second Chinese youth refused to listen. I spoke to him myself after the service last Sunday morning. I pleaded with him to stay in the church and hear the preaching of God’s Word. But he stubbornly refused. He bristled with anger and said he could read the Bible for himself. He became so agitated that we had to drive him home right away. I felt sorry for him as he walked away.

Now here is how this applies to you, if you are not yet saved. You have to humble yourself. If you think you know what to do, or what you need to think, or feel – it is too easy for Satan to take the Gospel out of your heart! The Bible says,

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10).

Some of you go on and on in an unsaved condition. You are so proud that you think you know what to do. But you are not wise! You do not know what to do. That is why you are still under Satan’s control. I plead with you this morning,

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10).

An old hymn says it well,

“I give up myself, and whatever I know,
   Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”
(“Whiter Than Snow” by James Nicholson, 1828-1896).

Jesus died on the Cross to pay for your sins. He rose from the dead to give you life. Now – humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up! Now – give up yourself, and whatever you know – and Jesus will cleanse you from all sin with His Blood through simple faith in Him!

If you would like to speak with us about becoming a real Christian, please leave your seat now and walk to the back of the auditorium. Dr. Cagan will take you to another room where we can talk and pray about this matter. Go now. Dr. Chan, please pray that someone will trust Jesus now. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Revelation 12:7-12.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Then Jesus Came” (by Homer Rodeheaver, 1880-1955).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE WRATH OF SATAN IN THE LAST DAYS

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“The devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).

I.   First, Satan opposes the prayers of those who are saved,
Luke 18:1, 7, 8; II Corinthians 2:11; James 4:2; Daniel 10:12, 13.

II.  Second, Satan opposes the salvation of those who are lost,
John 8:44; Romans 11:25; Revelation 20:2; Luke 8:12;
James 4:10

.