Part 15 – The Clash of the Kingdoms

‘The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer’ painted by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904) and held by the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, USA.
‘The Christian Martyrs’ Last Prayer’ painted by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904) and held by the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. The scene is ancient Rome’s racecourse, the Circus Maximus, but the seating resembles that of the Colosseum, Rome’s amphitheatre, in which gladiatorial combats and other spectacles were held. The victims huddled in prayer are about to suffer martyrdom by wild beasts. Others are being set ablaze. Christians in the Roman Empire were persecuted at times – and such persecution could occasionally be brutal. The Roman historian Tacitus (AD 56–117) writes of an infamous outbreak of persecution under the Emperor Nero, following a fire in Rome, for which he made Christians the scapegoats. He writes: “Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people . . . .” These horrific scenes were probably in the artist’s mind as he painted this scene – in this case resetting the scene in the Circus Maximus and replacing the dogs with wild beasts.

Part 15 of the Big Journey is entitled ‘The Clash of the Kingdoms’. It’s a PDF document illustrated in full colour throughout. Click on the PDF icon below to read or download it:

Outline of contents
On the Cross Jesus disabled, disarmed and bound Satan. But Satan continues a fierce rearguard action against God and His people. And he is still trying to build a global world order in rebellion against God.

In this session, we’ll first review the Church’s conflict with Satan and the forces of darkness.

We also follow Satan’s attempt to establish a godless world order on Earth.  Satan’s goal is a false ‘paradise’ – a ‘utopia’. He’s inspiring fallen mankind to use its powers to develop a global economic, ideological, cultural and political system, a society where Satan, rather than God, is honoured, worshipped and served. The Tower of Babel was an early venture.  The Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century was a recent turning point – the modern humanistic worldview was first forged during this time of philosophical and social radicalism.  And the rise of the final Antichrist is Satan’s last-ditch attempt to build a united godless civilization.  In this session we look at what the Bible tells us about this enigmatic figure.  We also look at what the Book of Revelation tells us about Satan’s kingdom – the Dragon and the two fearsome beasts, and “Babylon the great”.  Other questions we address are these: What is the mark of the beast?  What has been hindering Satan from raising up Antichrist and bringing world rebellion to a climax?  What is the great tribulation of Revelation 7.14?  And where and what is the battle of Armageddon? (Revelation 16.13-16)?

Finally, we’ll trace the story of the Church from apostolic times to the present day. For two millennia, God’s people have been under Satanic attack: persecuted, torn apart by division and beset by heresy and corruption.  We see the battle against false teaching, and how the meetings and leadership patterns of the Church moved away from Biblical principles.

But we see how God has burst through such corruption, stagnation and strife to breathe new life into the dying embers through renewal and revival.  The revival flames of the 1700s kindled a new endeavour to bring God’s good news to the whole world, an endeavour that continues to this day.  We are living in an unprecedented time in the history of the Church. God’s Kingdom is advancing powerfully across the globe!  Satan’s world-order is in retreat. Through His Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered people, God is plundering Satan’s domain and making disciples in every nation on Earth (see Matthew 28.19-20).  The Church appears ‑ by worldly standards ‑ small and weak in the midst of powerful godless civilisations that seem at times poised to extinguish it. Yet the Church, in Paul Billheimer’s words: “Through the use of her weapons of prayer and faith, . . . holds in this present moment the balance of power in world affairs”.

Part 15 of the Big Journey is available as a 20-page PDF document illustrated in full colour throughout.  Click on the PDF icon at the top of this page to download it. 

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