Understanding It All...the Battle of the Ages

Written by Jeff Carlson on .

Fighting CoupleOne of the goals of the Carlson Report is to help our readers develop a better Biblical discernment to 1aqunderstand the times we are living in. Discernment is often the missing ingredient in our churches and electorate today. In general, people have little idea of what is happening. Our thinking has become shallow and confused by a steady flood of media and the outright manipulation of the truth. Many of our churches, and Christian leaders, do not even have a basic Christian worldview regarding fundamental Christian doctrine. Instead, our churches and leaders are adrift in a media world that is largely influenced by partisan politics. Sadly, such confusion rarely allows us to sort out these challenges and make a difference for the Lord at such a time as this.

Just recently most of us probably saw the image of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, tear up a copy of President Trump's State of the Union speech, while standing behind him before millions of people. Few things in American political history have so clearly demonstrated the rancor, rage and alienation going on in our nation at the present time. These deep divisions in our nation are obvious to just about everyone that is not living in a cave. Our political divisions have spilled over to our families, schools and workplaces. It seems there are no "safe spaces" where you can go without the media bringing this political war into our daily lives.

All of this ongoing drama forces us to ask ourselves a great unanswered question, "What is this stuff really all about?" Surely the battles going on 24/7 must have more behind them? Surely there must be a deeper explanation that would explain why America's political civil war continues  to go on with no sign of letting up? One thing, however, seems to be clear in this current time of conflict. Whatever is going on in America today does have an explanation, even if most of us can't discern it or see it right now. That explanation, of course, is found in the Bible's message to us. As a matter of fact, the answer we are looking for, concerning this ongoing battle, is found right away in the Bible's story in Genesis 3.
 
You see the real story of the Bible starts in Genesis 3 with the fall of humanity from fellowship with the Lord. Once Adam and Eve's sin comes into the world, a great prophecy is given by God about what will happen in the future regarding the coming conflict between God and those who are opposed to Him. This conflict or enmity is described in Genesis 3:15 where we hear the Lord explaining this coming battle with these words directed to the serpent,
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and hers;
He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.
In this passage the Lord tells the serpent, later understood as the devil in Revelation 12:9, that He would put enmity between the devil's seed or offspring and the woman's offspring. As a result, there would be a great battle between two groups of people, one connected to the woman and the other connected to the serpent or the devil. As this battle unfolded, the Lord would enter into it to defeat His enemy by "crushing" the head of the serpent or devil. This defeat of the devil would ultimately have a cost related to it because God would allow the devil to "strike" at His heal. This "striking of his heal" would eventually be seen as an early reference to the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. This ongoing battle or enmity would end up dividing humanity into two groups of people. One group would be connected to woman's offspring and the other group would be connected to the serpent or devil and his offspring.

Now this prophecy of the great battle between the Lord's people, seen in the woman, and the devil and his people was fulfilled immediately in Genesis 4 in the story of Cain and Abel. The story of Cain and Abel would outline exactly how this battle or enmity would unfold throughout history. Cain's enmity with his brother Abel was caused by his enmity with Lord. Cain tried to make the wrong sacrifice to God, but was unwilling to change it when the Lord challenged his behavior. Cain's enmity with God eventually spilled over toward his brother Abel, resulting in Abel's murder. This battle between Cain and Abel ended up being the storyline for the ongoing battles in human history. The story of Cain and Abel tells us that the world will be divided into two groups of people. One group, representing the woman, would be interested in the Lord and His ways. The other group, however, representing the devil and his people, would be alienated from the Lord, His ways and His people as seen in the woman's offspring.

Now as we examine this ancient prophecy and spiritual battle, announced by God in Genesis 3:15, we see some amazing things that give us discernment about everything going on in our world today. It turns out that the battle between the offspring of the woman and the serpent or devil is the exact storyline that defines the great battle at the close of the age, just before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Revelation 12:1-3 we hear this battle being described in powerful, apocalyptic language,
A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.
Here the Bible is once again telling us about this battle between the woman and her offspring and the serpent or devil and his offspring. In this passage the serpent or devil has taken on a new form and is seen as an enormous red dragon with many heads and horns to symbolize the many offspring with him. This great battle of the ages is now moving toward a final climax in the Book of Revelation. That is true because Lord Jesus Christ is getting ready to end the battle once and for all as He makes His glorious Second Coming in Revelation 19:11-16. The Lord's return marks the end of this battle of the ages. That  ongoing battle ends with a great judgment that separates God's people from those opposing Him. 

Now the great insight that is needed to apply all of this to discerning today's world is given by understanding that the woman mentioned in Genesis 3:15 AND in Revelation 12 is no other than the nation of Israel. Israel is God's woman, His people. The woman seen in Revelation 12 is a direct fulfillment of the description of Israel given in a dream by the patriarch Joseph in Genesis 37:9. Hence, the woman referenced in Genesis 3 points beyond Eve to God's people, His woman that comes to its fullness in the nation of Israel, both ancient and modern.

Once we understand the enmity and conflict of Genesis 3:15 is embodied in the battle over Israel and seen in the modern rise antisemitism, we have the key to unlock and discern the times before us. As a result, anyone today of any political party or nation that is at enmity with Israel and the Jews is connected to the spirit of Cain and is the modern equivalent of the offspring of the serpent or devil. How interesting then, that just as we see a terrible rise in political rage, anger and division within our nation, that we are also seeing a shocking rise in anti-Semitism being directed against Jews and Israel that is coming from our own elected leaders in Congress and from others around the world. This fact helps to explain the enmity we are seeing every night in our political discourse. Surely it is not possible to put Cain and Abel in the same government and expect peace and harmony. No, that same spiritual battle must lead to deep political enmity that we are seeing unfold before us. There is nothing new under the sun. This terrible battle, announced by the Lord from the beginning, has once again reared its ugly head in an unmistakable way that is affecting every American and the whole world. Can anyone miss that this ancient battle is being lived out before our eyes 24/7 through our media and nasty political discourse?

All of this spiritual and political division points to and reinforces the same message that was seen during our Lord's crucifixion. When our Lord died for the sins of the world there were 3 crosses not 1. The Bible goes out of its way in Luke 23:33 to tell us that Jesus died in the middle of two other men on crosses on either side. This picture at our Lord's crucifixion is central to life itself. The Lord Jesus Christ divides every decision we make as being for him or against him.  All of our decisions are on one side of him or another.  One of the criminals on one side of him believed in him (Luke 23:40-42), while the other criminal on his other side rejected and cursed him (Luke 23:39). So too in our modern world, there are only two groups of people in the world, the offspring of the woman that follows the Lord and those aligned with the serpent or devil that reject him.  Every decision or path we take ends up being divided along those lines.  Such discernment may not be broadcast in the media, but this reality is as plain as anything going on today. It is this understanding that outlines and defines the battle of the ages.

Finally, the wonderful news for all of us, in the midst of these battles is the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the offspring or seed of the woman. Our Lord came into the world to crush the head of the serpent or devil on the cross to forgive our sins and give us a new beginning of life forever more ( Colossians 2:13-15). All of the drama we are experiencing today is somehow connected to that great battle of the ages and everybody is going to end up one day on one side or another of it.  The Lord has truly set before all of us life and death (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). The Lord wants everyone to choose life, to choose him and to find his redeeming love in Christ and live forever more in a restored relationship with him.  Let's all share that Good News or Gospel message with everyone we can that might be lost or casualities in the current battle.