Kingdom of God
in 13 Weeks
Kingdom Warfare. Part One: Attack and Counterattack! Week 4
Observing the Stuff!
The Remnant is the Church
Attack: Jesus in Combat
n the second chapter of Mark, Jesus continued the assault. Mark records two attacks: the healing of the paralytic and the healing of the man with a withered hand. Mark points out how the religious community responded to Jesus. When Jesus healed the paralytic, the Scribes are amazed and give glory to God (2.1-12). By the conclusion of the section the religious community has become antagonistic and its leaders met to decide how they should kill Jesus (3.6). The summary of this warfare is given by Mark at 3.7-12. He says that many were healed and that many demons were expelled. The first three chapters of the Gospel of Mark show Jesus counterattacking the enemy after he was attacked by Satan in the wilderness.
Counterattack: Satan in Combat
Attack and Counterattack in the Teaching of
The counterattacking ability of the enemy is suggested in the teaching of Jesus about the greatness of John the Baptist (Matt. 11.11-15). John was the first to announce that the Kingdom of God had arrived (Matt. 3.2). His announcement was a declaration of war! Jesus states in Matthew 11.2, From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it. The Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are the same (see Luke 16.16). Another translation could be: From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of heaven is being violently treated, and violent ones are trying to plunder it. The word translated by NIV as violent men can simply be violent ones; there is no word in the Greek text for men.
The text means that from the time John the Baptist proclaimed that the Kingdom was coming, declaring war on Satan, until now, at the point Jesus was teaching and continuing, the sons of the Kingdom were suffering violence; violent ones, the demonic forces which were resisting the advance of the Kingdom by the words and works of Jesus, were plundering members of the Kingdom. In short, the violent ones are trying to reclaim what they have lost: they fight back, they counterattack (Kallas. The Significance of the Synoptic Gospels. 1961. 73-74).
The late Dr. George Ladd argued that "We do not discover (in the New Testament) the idea of Satan attacking the Kingdom of God or exercising his power against the Kingdom itself. He can only wage his war against the sons of the Kingdom God is the aggressor; Satan is on the defensive" (Ladd. A Theology of the Kingdom. 1974a. 160-166). By saying that Satan does not war directly on the Kingdom, (he cannot ascend to heaven and attack God directly) this does not imply that Satan does not attack the people of the Kingdom. He does attack and with great effectiveness when we are unaware of his methods. Dr. Ladd also stated, "God's rule makes its way with great force and keen enthusiasts lay hold on it, that is, want to share in it . God was acting mightily in his own mission; and became the dynamic power of the Kingdom which has invaded the world, men are to respond with a radical reaction." Jesus used violent language to demonstrate that the presence of the Kingdom demands radical reaction (Matt. 10.34; Mark 9.43; Luke 14.26; Ladd. 1993. 69-70).
Satan does strike back when his kingdom is attacked by the Kingdom of God. Jesus taught such in the parable of the sower (Matt. 13.18-23; Mark 4.19). When asked what he meant by this parable, he replied that Satan comes and takes away the word (he fights back to the advancement of the Kingdom). In the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Matt. 13.24-30) he explains that the weeds were the sons of Satan and the enemy who had sown them was the devil.
As we attack the strongholds of Satan's kingdom with the rule of God, we can expect him to forge a counterattack. He will always try to undo the work of Jesus in lives. Paul uses the metaphor of soldiers in an army in pleading with the Ephesians to "put on the whole armor of God." After putting on the armor, Paul exhorts the believers "to stand and fight" (Eph. 6.10-18). God has provided offensive and defensive weapons. With them we can attack as well as sustain the counterattack of Satan's kingdom.
Doin' the Stuff!
BibleHandbook: Resource Stuff
Read the following Dictionary Articles from Easton's Bible Dictionary. Easton's is about a century old, therefore, some of the information is not current with newer Bible Dictionaries. You might read the articles off-line in a number of different Bible Dictionaries. If you do not own a Bible Dictionary, I would recommend New Bible Dictionary 3rd Edition. If you like lots of color pictures, try Revell Bible Dictionary. One of these should suit your personal needs.