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3 Things The Modern Church and the Devil Have in Common

3 Things The Modern Church and the Devil Have in Common

What do the modern church, “natural” (unconverted) humanity, and the devil have in common? I believe there are three things they share.

First, they all had a good beginning. Think of the wonderful beginning of the church, with the resurrection of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. These events were so real, so powerful, that not only were the disciples persuaded by them, but when they went out and testified publicly that Jesus was alive, more than three thousand people were also persuaded and were baptized. Despite persecution, the early Christians spoke with such authority that some Thessalonians once said that those “who have turned the world upside down” were coming to their city too (Acts 17:6, KJV). What a glorious beginning the church had!

Did the devil have such a wonderful beginning? We know far less about his origin, but what we do know is that the devil once had an exalted position in heaven, and was known as “Lucifer, son of the morning” (Isa. 14:12, KJV). He too had a glorious beginning.

The second thing the modern church, “natural” humanity, and the devil all have in common is a fall. It pains me to speak of the fall of the church, but I must. The apostle Paul knew it would happen. Believers in the Thessalonian church were so sure that Jesus’ return was imminent that some were resigning from their jobs and selling their furniture and belongings. Paul got wind of this and (probably between AD 40 and AD 50) wrote to the church there, warning them not to be deceived, for before Jesus returned, there would be a falling away from the faith, and some would leave the church, seduced by spirits and devilish doctrines (2 Thess. 2:1¬–12). He also said there would be a form of godliness but a form that denied its power (2 Tim. 3:5).

Thinking back across church history, it is clear there has been a series of falls, and in this sense history has repeated itself. The first great apostasy began between AD 90 and AD 100. We see another period of apostasy in the third and fourth centuries with the emergence of Arianism. God used a man named Athanasius to combat this heresy. Then, in the Middle Ages (or the Dark Ages as we sometimes call them) the Roman Catholic Church kept the people in ignorance and superstition until the advent of the great Reformation, when the Holy Spirit spoke to the church and there was a restoration of New Testament doctrine. Sadly, then another form of apostasy emerged, and this has been the pattern since: revivals followed by apostasy.

The devil also had a fall. Isaiah 14:12–14 speaks of this: How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

Jesus Christ described what He had witnessed. “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). What a statement! Satan is now called “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Eph. 2:2), “the prince of this world” (John 12:31). Satan had a fall. The third feature the modern church, “natural” humanity, and the devil have in common is that they all hate the Book of Revelation.

Revelation is an embarrassment to the modern church because it transcends reason. God intended Christianity to be founded on faith. But when there is proof, there is no faith. The people of God are not those who have been persuaded by empirical evidence, but by faith. The Book of Revelation cuts across reason and cannot be explained scientifically: it is apocalyptic. It is not something one can prove using logic or some scientific proof; one can only accept the revelation by faith.

Another reason that the modern church finds the Book of Revelation so profoundly disturbing is because it so often speaks of the Lamb of God, who shed His blood for our sins. This has long been an embarrassment that it has tried to sweep under the carpet, calling this truth “a myth.” However, Revelation confronts the modern church with the truth, and it cannot deal with it.

Furthermore, Revelation keeps alive the idea of the second coming of Jesus—something the modern church would prefer not to think about, for it wishes to protect its conception of future events. Hence the emphasis on the social gospel—the idea that we are going to bring into the kingdom by what we do.

Moreover, the Book of Revelation is an embarrassment to the modern church because it describes the eternal destiny of men and women as one of two places: heaven or hell. To the modern theologian, not only are these ideas too simple and lacking in sophistication, but the thought of hell awaiting unbelievers is an affront. The idea that God will punish sin is repulsive by nature. The entire Book of Revelation, however, reveals God’s justice, and it does not fit the modern church’s image of God. It would prefer a God it could manipulate and bend to its will, a God with whom it could be comfortable.

But what about the devil? It should not surprise you that he hates the Book of Revelation. There are two reasons for this.

First, it shows us Satan’s vulnerability. Now one should fear the devil, but only up to a point. My father used to say to me, “Son, the devil is crafty; he is second only to God in wisdom and power.” That is true, but we should remember he is second and, thus, vulnerable. We can find out more about this in Revelation 12:11: “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb.” Satan hates and despises the blood of Jesus. When, in faith, we plead the blood of Jesus, the devil flees, defeated. This is why it is so important that we are persuaded of the power of Jesus’ blood that was shed for us. Satan does not want us to understand this.

Second, Revelation is a book that shows the final chapter of the devil’s biography: it reveals his end. Satan would much prefer us to believe that he does not even exist. If we do not believe in him, however, he has succeeded with us. The Bible tells us “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Cor. 4:4). So if we do not believe, it is not because we are clever or sophisticated but because we have been blinded to the truth. Yet through the power of His Word God reigns supreme, and one day Satan, who would keep us in ignorance of our own eternal destination, will have an end when he is cast into the lake of fire.

All that is included in Revelation coheres with the great body of proof that this book is the infallible Word of God. It tells us who God is, who we are, and how we can be saved. It tells us there is a heaven and a hell. It tells us all men and women will one day stand before God. On that day our only hope is that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

To read more from R.T. Kendall’s 'A Vision of Jesus', visit

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