The spectacle now presented to all enlightened beings of the universe, is that of a mighty celestial being, the god of the earth, who is by creation the full measure of perfection, both in wisdom and beauty, making his last and most desperate warfare, both to realize his own ambition and to thwart every movement of the Most High; knowing that in failure there is no ground for mercy, but only the terrible destruction that has been so long predicted. He knew when he formed this God-dishonoring purpose that it must either wholly succeed or he himself fall into terrible judgment. On the other side of the conflict there is perfect calmness and certainty as to the end, for the judgment and sentence are past; yet every true believer is implored to be instant in season and out of season in the present projects of grace, that the sufferings and separations of earth may be cut short in righteousness.
Well may believers study their own motives in service in view of these vastly differing programs; and question whether there is in them a humble willingness to co-operate in the present purpose of God in preparing the Bride for the returning King: or whether they have carelessly fallen in with the Satanic ideal, which rejects the coming Kingdom of Christ by an unholy attempt to establish the present kingdom of Satan.
The program of Satan, which the world calls “optimistic” rests on the Satanic purpose of a reformed society: the program of God, which is called “pessimistic” in that it discredits this age, rests upon the infinite wisdom, love and power of God; and is so certain and near that the believer is taught to watch, wait, and be ready for the first Divine movement toward this glorious end.
The two great activities of Satan, already mentioned, are referred to in II Thes. 2:4 in connection with the Man of sin, who will be Satan’s last and greatest manifestation. This being is spoken of as he “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” These two activities are inseparable in that, while Satan is seeking to exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, he can keep his subjects or prolong his own existence only by an unceasing warfare in which he opposes himself against God. Whether Satan now believes that he may yet succeed in spite of the decree of the Cross and the evident superior power of God, is not revealed.
It is still further revealed that the enmity of Satan is not only toward the person of God, from whom he has everything to fear, but also toward every true child of God. Too much emphasis cannot be placed on this fact. Satan has no controversy or warfare with his own unregenerate people, but there is abundant Scripture to prove that he makes unceasing effort to mar the life and service of believers. The motive for this effort is all-sufficient: they