Conquering Satan’s Torment

By John Thiel, Audio: Conquering Satan’s Torment

Scripture reading:Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 

We are living in a grand and awful time as we see wicked spirits are gathering around.  The torment the evil one puts us through and we need to understand and conquer that torment.

The day is at hand. For the lessons to be learned, the work to be done, the transformation of character to be effected, the time remaining is but too brief a span.  {Ed 184.2}

To develop character, to reach a particular point in time, it’s too brief a span to reach it.  Sanctification is the work of a life time.  According to this quote, we don’t have a life time in fact we have too short a period, too brief a span.  The thought that affected me with this statement is, is it too late now to develop character to pass the judgement when God examines us?  Are we who are born in this time lost as we come to the knowledge of present truth which has been proclaimed since 1844? The above statement was written in 1903.  The day is at hand.  Here we are over 100 years from that time. Where do we stand now?  I had not been able to answer this for some time until recently.  I looked at the seven churches and focused on Philadelphia. The period of Philadelphia is the period of Gods church from 1833 to 1844 – the church of brotherly love and it pointed to the people who were being prepared for the message of the judgement when Jesus goes from the holy to the most holy place.  There commences the day of judgement.

Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

The people of this period 1833 to 1844 as they have kept the word of His patience, God will keep them from the hour of temptation to try them. It says the hour of temptation which shall come.  If we read it and apply it to our time, we think the temptation is yet to come.  But this was written for the people from 1833 to 1844. Those who were the pioneers from the William Miller period to the disappointment. It is those people that it’s talking to.  Do you think that by 1903, that generation may have already died of?  Laid to rest?  They had been protected from that which was to come ahead from their time.  Let us follow the illumination as you think about this, if this was stated for them back there, where are we now?

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” In this scripture is brought to view the hour of temptation that is to try them that dwell upon the earth. We are now living in this trying hour. {RH, July 9, 1908 par. 8}

This was written in 1908. Under inspiration she identified what Jesus was speaking about in the church of Philadelphia.  I will keep thee from the hour of temptation that is to come.  She says we are NOW living in this trying hour.

There is no escape for any from this conflict. If in your life there are defective traits of character that you are not striving to overcome, you may be assured that the enemy will endeavor to take advantage of them; for he is watching vigilantly, seeking to spoil the faith of every one. In order to gain the victory over every besetment of the enemy, we must lay hold on a power that is out of and beyond ourselves. {RH, July 9, 1908 par. 8}

If we are self-sufficient, and think that we may go on just as we please, and yet hope to come out on the right side finally, we shall find that we have made a terrible mistake.  {RH, July 9, 1908 par. 8}

Character

In this (1908) trying hour, this is now the time that the others were kept from.  If we had defective character traits which we are not striving to overcome, in other words I’m contented with my character thank you, if that is the case, you may be sure that the enemy will take advantage of those character traits. The day is at hand in 1903.

The day is at hand. For the lessons to be learned, the work to be done, the transformation of character to be effected, the time remaining is but too brief a span.  {Ed 184.2}

If I have character traits that I have not dealt with, the temptation time that Jesus spoke of, is going to be very hard for me to survive in.  The day is at hand for this terrible time.  We have grown up to take for normal everything around us.  Are people dissatisfied with the present situations of the world?  Many are.  The problem is to survive this time of temptation.  If our character is not understood that it is imperfect, we will not cope with this terrible time. The time being at hand that we need to identify is the experience of this terrible time of temptation that comes upon the world.

I saw that those who of late have embraced the truth would have to know what it is to suffer for Christ’s sake, that they would have trials to pass through that would be keen and cutting, in order that they may be purified and fitted through suffering to receive the seal of the living God, pass through the time of trouble, see the King in His beauty, and dwell in the presence of God and of pure, holy angels.  {EW 67.1}

Sr White saw those who have of late come to the knowledge of the truth, she says, they will have to know what it means to suffer.

“Deny self; ye must step fast.” Some of us have had time to get the truth and to advance step by step, and every step we have taken has given us strength to take the next. But now time is almost finished, and what we have been years learning, they will have to learn in a few months. They will also have much to unlearn and much to learn again.  {EW 67.2}

Here is the focus that for those of us who have come to the understanding of the message of the three angels of Revelation 14, the advent of Jesus, the time of the end. If we have come to it recently, if we have been born in the very midst of it, what is written?  Those who have time to do, the others will have to learn in a few short months.  What about us?  We have to be able to learn character strength to survive as we are going through the trouble because the temptation started that He would keep the others from.  We have been born into this trouble.  To survive and conquer we must know what it is to suffer for Christ’s sake.

As I saw what we must be in order to inherit glory, and then saw how much Jesus had suffered to obtain for us so rich an inheritance, I prayed that we might be baptized into Christ’s sufferings, that we might not shrink at trials, but bear them with patience and joy, knowing what Jesus had suffered that we through His poverty and sufferings might be made rich.  {EW 67.2}

This is what was shown.  That is what we want to see right now.  What it means to face this suffering that we might be baptised into Christ’s sufferings so we would not shrink at trials and bear with patience and joy these terrible temptations.  Is patience a trait of character?  Are you patient?  How patient are we?  If I’m not patient with things going wrong around me, I’m going to be tormented in this temptation and I’m going to have to learn how to conquer this torment without giving up.  This learning from Jesus in His torment and temptation is that which we need to embrace.  Is not this the message of the remnant of Laodicea?

Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

This is the people at whose heart He has been standing wanting to come in.  Him who overcomes. Jesus overcame and conquered.  He says I’m going to sit on my Father’s throne with you who conquer like I did.  This is the present truth for you and me.  We have been in the present time of the terrible temptation that God said that the Philadelphia brethren will be kept from.  As Jesus overcame temptation, the kind of temptations He had to meet, we are going to meet.  Examine where that took place.  After He was baptised He went into the wilderness.  Here is what we must learn from Jesus so we may conquer as He did.

Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

The temptations took place and Satan came to Him first querying Him, are you really the Son of God?  If you are, make these stones into bread.  Look at you, you’re so disheveled.  If you are the son of God, jump, display your power, God will take care of you, He’s promised you.  Can you see the kind of temptations Jesus went through? Then Satan took him into a high mountain and said, see the world, its glory, look at the glitter, you can have it.  You’re going to die for the people?  You don’t have to do that I’ll give it to you.  Adam gave it to me, just bow down and worship me.  As Jesus went through all this, what effect did it have upon Him?

Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

Was that not Jesus?

Isaiah 52:14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

Think of how much it cost the Saviour, as in the wilderness He battled with temptation. For forty days He fasted and prayed. Weak and emaciated from hunger, worn and haggard with mental agony, “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.”  {ST, October 29, 1902 par. 3}

This statement is also repeated for His experiences in Gethsemane.  He was walking with the disciples and He began to sway. He could hardly walk straight and the disciples had to hold Him.  He went where He could pray and He went through torment of mind.  Have you ever been so tormented of mind that you can’t even walk straight?  So heavy was His mental anguish that His blood pressure went so high, that the serum of the blood was squeezed through the pores of His skin.  From what?  From the battling with temptation.  His mental agony went to such intensity.  We remember when He died, His heart ruptured because of the agony.  Here is the understanding that Jesus said to us that live at this present time.  If you are going to follow me and be my people, you must conquer as I conquered and you will sit with me on my throne, the people at the present.  Consider the horrendous physical, emotional and mental torment that Christ experienced and recall what He said.  As I overcame and sit on my father’s throne, you will as well.  Apostle Paul described this principle that he wanted seeing he came to the experience of meeting Jesus.

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

The apostle Paul knew that for him to be saved, he needed to enter into fellowship with Jesus Christ.  For us in these last days, if we are going to survive the temptations for these times, then we are going to have such a relationship with Jesus, such a pertinent exchange of character strength that He himself exercised so that we can conquer as He died.

You and I at this time, have the privilege to know and understand this fellowship more than any other generation has ever experienced it.  This is why the 144,000 are that special people.  They will be standing on the sea of glass with Christ in their midst as they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.  You really begin to understand that meaning.  This generation is the generation which is not only in the midst of, but near the end of this terrible turmoil and it’s written off in Revelation.  Satan and his evil host are not angry with the church as they have always been but now something else.

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Who does he make war with?  Those who have made their counsellor Jesus.  They have decided they are going to keep the commandments and follow Jesus.  The remnant is being made war against in the same way he made war against Jesus in the wilderness.

The remnant church will be brought into great trial and distress. Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects, he has gained control of the apostate churches; but here is a little company that are resisting his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete. As he influenced the heathen nations to destroy Israel, so in the near future he will stir up the wicked powers of earth to destroy the people of God..”  {5T 472.2}

Here was this angel who led the other angels who fell.  He with his power, if he could blot them from the face of the earth, he wants to obliterate them.  What does this mean?  Exactly the same as he wanted to obliterate Jesus and here is this little company living in the last days that he is going to thrust his energy and power as he did upon Jesus in the wilderness.  He wanted to make him fall, and he wants to make you and me fall with the same intense ire that he had against Jesus.  How does he do it? We need to understand what he is up to so to be clear which way he is working.  Remember the intensity of the temptation of which we live.

There is no escape for any from this conflict. If in your life there are defective traits of character that you are not striving to overcome, you may be assured that the enemy will endeavor to take advantage of them; for he is watching vigilantly, seeking to spoil the faith of everyone. {YRP 365.2}

We are all living on the planet and Satan has got the planet. He said to Jesus, its mine, I will give it to you if you bow down.

The conflict that we are passing through is the last we shall have in this world. We are now in the midst of it. Two parties are striving for the supremacy. In this conflict we can not be neutral. We must stand either on one side or on the other. {RH, July 9, 1908 par. 6}

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Here again we are admonished to faithfulness, in view of the conflict. We must not yield any point that we have already gained. From now on till Jesus comes, the battle will wax fiercer and still fiercer. {RH, July 9, 1908 par. 9}

If she said, we are in the midst of it now, then where are we now?  Is there any doubt in your mind we are on the end of it?  If the battle gets fiercer and fiercer, where is it now?  How is your character? How are you going to cope?  Let’s have a look at the actual detail of the manner in which Satan works.  This helped me from losing my way when I was 20 years of age.  I was told that the writings of Ellen White I’m reading are not from God, I said where are they from then?  The devil?  The person said maybe mesmerised. This can’t be true.  How can the devil unveil himself unless it is by God.

“But our principal concern is to silence this sect of Sabbath keepers. We must excite popular indignation against them. We will enlist great men and worldly-wise men upon our side, and induce those in authority to carry out our purposes. {TM 473.1}

“But before proceeding to these extreme measures, we must exert all our wisdom and subtlety to deceive and ensnare those who honor the true Sabbath. We can separate many from Christ by worldliness, lust, and pride. They may think themselves safe because they believe the truth, but indulgence of appetite or the lower passions, which will confuse judgment and destroy discrimination, will cause their fall.  {TM 473.2}

That’s pride isn’t it?  I’m safe, I believe the truth.  What will he do?  He will say oh yes, you are good, you have the truth, that’s nice.  He’s a great teacher of truth and through wise men out there in the theological circles, he can give people the wonderful cushy sense, we’ve got the truth, rich and increased with goods.  He’s got them.  That is one way.

We must be present at all their gatherings. In their large meetings especially our cause will suffer much, and we must exercise great vigilance, and employ all our seductive arts to prevent souls from hearing the truth and becoming impressed by it.  {TM 474.2}

“We must cause distraction and division. We must destroy their anxiety for their own souls, and lead them to criticize, to judge, and to accuse and condemn one another, and to cherish selfishness and enmity. {TM 475.2}’

How is it in the home?  In the church?  Is it all okay?  If not Satan is at work, if you forget your personal walk with Jesus, and forget about your own personal responsibility of character building and being faithful yourself, Satan will begin to turn your attention to judge and criticise the others around you.  That way he has got you.  Has he been hard at work upon you?  How easy it is to look at another person in the church.  Who isn’t sinful?  Have you obeyed everything God has said?  Haven’t you failed sometimes?  See, that brother and sister has deceived you.  They are not Gods children, you don’t have to be part of them, come and join me.  Satan has many people who say, you can go to other churches, you don’t have to be part of this company. How do you cherish this?  By staying there and thinking about it.  Have you trouble sleeping at night thinking about many things?  This is Satan.  The only way I can turn him off at night is to trust in the arms of Jesus.

For these sins, God banished us from His presence; and all who follow our example will meet a similar fate.”  {TM 475.2}

He wants you to be banished from Gods presence like he was.  How does he do this?  There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men.  As he comes with greater force in these times in which we live, the fierce battle is more severe now than ever before, he suggests thoughts.  He gives you feelings.

There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence. Oh, that we each might become a savor of life unto life to those around us!.–RH, Mar 27, 1888.  {2MCP 432.2}

Have you ever been aroused?  You become angry at something?  Where does that come from?  He is doing that to you.  Every time you become aroused, you know exactly its Satan.  A feeling that makes you go yuck, it’s the devil.  Be aware of it, its him.  Thoughts and feelings by which he is tormenting and annoying you. In this scenario there is another powerful quote.  Do you pray and while you are praying, you have thoughts going through your thinking what is the use of praying?  Have you ever had that feeling?  Of turning to the lord in prayer and in come these horrible thoughts that have nothing to do with your prayer?

A few hours ago I listened to the complaints of a distressed soul. Satan came to her in an unexpected way. She thought that she had blasphemed the Saviour because the tempter kept putting into her mind the thought that Christ was only a man, no more than a good man. She thought that Satan’s whisperings were the sentiments of her own heart, and this horrified her. She thought that she was denying Christ, and her soul was in an agony of distress. I assured her that these suggestions of the enemy were not her own thoughts, that Christ understood and accepted her; that she must treat these suggestions as wholly from Satan; and that her courage must rise with the strength of the temptation. She must say, I am a child of God. I commit myself, body and soul, to Jesus. I hate these vain thoughts. I told her not to admit for a moment that they originated with her; not to allow Satan to wound Christ by plunging her into unbelief and discouragement.  {2MR 343.5}

The more the temptation comes, the more happy you are conquering in Jesus.  How does Satan do it?  He plunges us into unbelief and discouragement.  That is what he is doing with thoughts and feelings.

They say, It is useless for me to pray. My prayers are so mingled with evil thoughts that the Lord will not hear them.  {HP 78.3}    These suggestions are from Satan. In His humanity Christ met and resisted this temptation, and He knows how to succor those who are thus tempted. In our behalf, He “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7).  {HP 78.4}    Many, not understanding that their doubts come from Satan, become fainthearted and are defeated in the conflict. Do not, because your thoughts are evil, cease to pray  {HP 78.5}

Are you picking up the torment that is so rampant in the thoughts of those who decide to leave the world?  The things that happened in the church, these don’t happen out there.  Why is the church so riddled with these silly behaviour patterns? Satan is making war with us and is bringing out the worse which each one of us.  You like it?  It’s distressing isn’t it?  He is bent on destroying our love feasts.  He is bent on destroying our happy assimilation on Jesus Christ.  He hates Jesus and he wants him obliterated out of our mind.  He comes to us with these subtleties.

The assaults of Satan are fierce and determined, his delusions are terrible {RC 371.4}

It’s because you are following Jesus.

Self must be crucified. Sacrifices must be made that will seem like taking the very life-blood from the heart.  {GW92 470.2}

I am sharing with you the answers that must be found when these things come upon me.

“Do not fall into the temptation to harass your own life and make yourself miserable by your own reflections, which are frequently the direct insinuations of Satan.”.  {UL 314.5}

Your reflections are the direct insulations of Satan.

When we see these horrible thoughts and feelings being stirred, our reflections, many times they are from Satan.  Only the clear light is the reflection of Jesus.  Anything dark and shadowy is from Satan.  The hellish shadow of Satan is often repeated by the writings of the sop.  As soon as you can feel these arousing thoughts and feelings that are black, not happy and distressing you, be assured it is Satan.  What will be your dark internal sense?

The powers of darkness gather about the soul and shut Jesus from our sight, and at times we can only wait in sorrow and amazement until the cloud passes over. These seasons are sometimes terrible. Hope seems to fail, and despair seizes upon us.  {RH, April 22, 1862 par. 12}

This is the hellish shadow of Satan, the dark cloud, we must let it pass, and it will pass. You don’t have to stay in it, let it go it will pass just like the dark clouds pass over us in nature. The intensity that started back there as Ellen White identified will intensify to the time of Jacobs’s trouble and you want to read great controversy.  We are already in it now and it is intensifying to its final degree.

As Satan accuses the people of God on account of their sins, the Lord permits him to try them to the uttermost. Their confidence in God, their faith and firmness, will be severely tested. As they review the past, their hopes sink; for in their whole lives they can see little good. They are fully conscious of their weakness and unworthiness. Satan endeavors to terrify them with the thought that their cases are hopeless, that the stain of their defilement will never be washed away. He hopes so to destroy their faith that they will yield to his temptations and turn from their allegiance to God.  {GC 618.3}

What character must you and I have to be able to conquer? I must learn it now as quick as possible NOW.

The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger–a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time.  {GC 621.2}

Probation is fast closing. To have a character that will not give up. We have to bear it quietly.  To bear it joyfully.  Why?  Because Jesus is by my side.  Amen. He is by my side when I go through those times.  I see him in the darkness. By depending on Jesus we can conquer. I

want to conclude with the positive comfort we can take from this. It’s an ugly picture, we don’t want to hear these things.  One person once asked me – why do you highlight the darkness of Satan to us?  We should be talking of Jesus.  Satan wants that, he wants us to be ignorant of this devices. Satan arouses thoughts and feelings.  This is a direct connection with Jesus in the time of his temptation.

He who dared to face, and tempt, and taunt our Lord, and who had power to take Him in his arms and carry Him to a pinnacle of the temple, and up into an exceeding high mountain, will exercise his power to a wonderful degree upon the present generation, who are far inferior in wisdom to their Lord, and who are almost wholly ignorant of his subtlety and strength.  {Mar 206.2}

What did Lucifer do?  Imagine the sensation in Jesus. He was all frail and weak from the temptations of the past and here is this angel lifting him up to the top of the temple, then flying him to a high mountain, the sensation.

In a marvelous manner will he affect the bodies of those who are naturally inclined to do his bidding.  {Mar 206.3}

He will give you sensations touching your body.

Oh, that all could get a view of it as God revealed it to me, that they might know more of the wiles of Satan and be on their guard! I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God’s people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing stiffly for present truth. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of Almighty God could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling.  {EW 44.1}

Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past,  {EW 44.2}

He will touch their bodies as Jesus was affected. We need to deliberately handle that, understand it comes from Satan and conquer it.

I saw evil angels contending for souls, and angels of God resisting them. The conflict was severe. Evil angels were corrupting the atmosphere with their poisonous influence, and crowding about these souls to stupefy their sensibilities. Holy angels were anxiously watching and waiting to drive back Satan’s host. But it is not the work of good angels to control the minds of men against their will. If they yield to the enemy, and make no effort to resist him, then the angels of God can do but little more than hold in check the host of Satan, that they shall not destroy, until further light be given to those in peril, to move them to arouse and look to heaven for help. Jesus will not commission holy angels to extricate those who make no effort to help themselves. {1T 345.2}

If you don’t look to heaven for help deliberately, heaven can’t help you.  When further light comes and you know what to do, then angels can come to help.  You must deliberately reach out and depend on the help of Jesus. You will be surrounded by impenetrable darkness.

But in these dreadful hours we must learn to trust, to depend wholly upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, and cast our souls in their helplessness and unworthiness upon him who is mighty to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God by him. We shall never perish while we do this, never.  {RH, April 10, 1894 par. 5}

Isn’t that comforting?  The word of God has been upfront with us. His Holy Spirit is telling us explicitly what we are living in.  He says you don’t have to perish, equip yourselves with the truth that we are studying with a firm resolve to act on the information that we have gained.  The angels are waiting.  As soon as you feel the dark shadow creeping upon you between your soul and the joy from the past, between your soul and the brethren, practice this;

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse [your] hands, [ye] sinners; and purify [your] hearts, [ye] double minded.

Look to Jesus, draw near to God, no matter how you feel, continue to pray.  Give no countenance to Satan’s influences.  How important that is.  If you turn your face to those things you are giving countenance to them.  Don’t give countenance to them.  Act as though they don’t exist.  We will never perish, never if we do these things.

Amen.


Posted on August 23, 2009, in Divine Service Sermons, The Nature of Christ and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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