The Strategic Nature of the Conflict Between Heaven and Hell
Strategic Remnant Learning Center – Biblical Life Assembly
By Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.
17 “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
Acts 3:17-21 (NKJV)
God views the temporal dimension (linear time) differently than we do. We see in the moment. We may see the years or decades regarding the Kingdom of God if we are insightful. However, God sees beyond the millennia. The Almighty’s interaction with His people (both in ancient Israel and the historical Body of Messiah) is strategic, measured, and multidimensional.
I used to think that the times of restoration began at the beginning of the Reformation in the 1500s. And to a certain degree, this perception was correct. When God touched the heart of Martin Luther with the revelation that “the just shall live by faith,” a restoration process began that spanned over five hundred years. As the Church emerged from one thousand years of spiritual darkness (also called “The Dark Ages”), the Holy Spirit went to work to begin restoring everything that had been lost through the countermeasures of the priesthood of darkness that rendered the Church spiritually powerless.
My paradigm regarding this supernatural conflict and restoration process was expanded shortly after publishing my first book, The Shinar Directive. A series of interviews for my book found me at the Prophecy Watchers studio in Oklahoma City. After recording several interviews, Gary Stearman and I enjoyed a coffee and talked shop. We were discussing our belief in a gap between Genesis Chapter One Verses 1 and 2 (known theologically as “The Gap Theory”). In that exchange, Gary turned to me and said, “Isn’t it amazing that God’s response to the rebellion of the angels was to repair the earth and then create mankind? In the redemption of mankind, God would take care of the angelic rebellion, sin, and the fall of humanity.” (Please note, this may not be word for word. I am working from memory.) It was at that moment that the light came on in my thinking. The restoration of all things started in Gen. 1:3 and stretches to the New Heaven and New Earth in Rev. 21! The seven days of creation were the beginning of God’s divine restoration plan.
After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, the apostolic leadership realized their place in the restoration process. The apostle Peter informed the world (and the kingdom of darkness) that Jesus would remain in Heaven and not return as Messiah ben David until all things were restored.
God Strategically Restores in Stages
9 “Whom will he teach knowledge?
And whom will he make to understand the message?
Those just weaned from milk?
Those just drawn from the breasts?
10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little.”
Isaiah 28:9-10 (NKJV)
I have always enjoyed studying the prophets of Israel. This fascination went beyond their prophetic words. I loved examining the very nature of the prophets (as well as what made them prophets). Another word used in ancient Israel for prophets was “seers.” At the action of the Holy Spirit, these men were enabled by God to hear His voice, see into the Third Heaven (as well as the Spirit Realm), and even view time beyond its linear nature. We also see this dynamic with the apostle John in the book of Revelation. John was taken outside of linear time. Not only did this apostle visually witness the future, but he interacted with a glorified saint and confused him with Jesus!
10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Revelation 19:10 (NKJV)
There was one ancient prophet of Israel whose prophetic visions gave him unique insights into God’s nature and how the Almighty interacts with space-time in this cosmic conflict. This prophet’s name was Isaiah. Isaiah’s name in Hebrew is Yesha’yahu, which means “Yahweh is salvation.” In Isaiah Chapter Twenty-Eight, Verses 9 and 10, Isaiah saw the strategic nature of the restoration progress (working out His salvation plan) that the Almighty used to restore all things. Since God instructed Moses to begin writing, He has restored divine truth to His creation. With each precept and line established by God, there is a nail driven into the coffin of the kingdom of darkness, and a chain is weakened that enslaves humanity. We see this concept of line upon line and precept upon precept, even in developing the Word of God.
- Historical Book of Acts
- Book of Revelation
It takes the entire Bible and the truths presented therein to bring the Body of Messiah to the spiritual maturity needed to overcome the final onslaught of the kingdom of darkness. Agents of darkness have convinced many segments of the Church to jettison the Torah of God or even the entire Old (First) Testament. The result of this rejection of divine special revelation is that the spiritual foundations of those movements have been destroyed by their flawed theologies. Error is then compounded with error until their movements have been reduced to a powerless religion.
Moves and Countermoves
We need to remember that in this supernatural conflict that spans all three heavens, two diametrically opposed kingdoms are represented. Each domain has spiritual power, members of the elder race or angels (both faithful and fallen), and human agents that put feet and hands to God’s plans and the machinations of the gates of Hell. When Heaven would move, Hell would always countermove. As God works to build His strategic plan on the earth, there are times of intense conflict and release of supernatural power. One example would be God sending a man named Moses back to the most powerful nation on the planet at the time with nothing but His name, a shepherd’s staff, and anointing him as an apostle (Moses was the first apostle in redemptive history). God would use Moses to bring this nation to its knees, free His people, and begin the first lines of His special revelation to humanity – the Torah. The second spiritual weapon of mass destruction to the enemy was the sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross and the resurrection. It took several centuries for the kingdom of darkness to calculate an effective countermeasure to the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
The Development of the Roman Catholic Church
For nearly three hundred years, the primitive Church was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and suffered great persecution from the Roman government. The Ante-Nicene period was not without controversy. As the Jewish leadership within the primarily Gentile Church began to wane, various Greek/Pagan concepts slowly crept into Christian thought. In three centuries, a lot of spiritual drift had occurred. Marcion, Origen, and others labored to unhinge the Gentile Church from the Torah and the entire First Testament. Clement of Alexandria wrote:
“Philosophy has been given to the Greeks as their own kind of Covenant, their foundation for the philosophy of Christ … the philosophy of the Greeks … contains the basic elements of that genuine and perfect knowledge which is higher than human … even upon those spiritual objects.” (Stromata 6. 8)
Later, there was a Roman General who became the new Emperor of Rome: his name was Constantine. According to the historian Theodoret (393-458), Constantine wrote:
“It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in the celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded. By rejecting their custom, we establish and hand down to succeeding ages one which is more reasonable. … Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries. … Let us with one accord walk therein, my much-honoured brethren, studiously avoiding all contact with that evil way. They boast that without their instructions we should be unable to commemorate the festival properly. This is the highest pitch of absurdity. For how can they entertain right views on any point who, after having compassed the death of the Lord, being out of their minds, are guided not by sound reason, but by an unrestrained passion, wherever their innate madness carries them.”
One of Constantine’s titles as the new Emperor of Rome was Pontifex Maximus. The pontifex maximus (Latin for “supreme pontiff”) was the chief high priest of the College of Pontiffs (Collegium Pontificum) in ancient Rome. This was the most important position in the ancient Roman religion . . .” It does not take much research into the life of Constantine to realize that he had confused Christ as another version of Mithra. As the Pontifex Maximus over the new state’s version of Christianity, he unhinged Roman Catholicism (universalism) from the First Testament. He proved a thin Christian veneer for the Mystery Religions to hide. In less than a couple of hundred years, Europe found itself at the beginning of an age of darkness that would last one thousand years.
The Reformation – Why Start with the Just Shall Live by Faith?
The Reformation began in the 16th Century when Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of his Church. The Holy Spirit had touched his heart, and Romans 1:17 exploded with meaning.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Romans 1:17 (NKJV)
As men and women found faith in Christ, the Reformation was nothing short of a revolution. The Reformation was established on five truths:
- Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone)
- Sola Fide (Faith alone)
- Sola Gratia (Grace alone)
- Sola Christus (Christ alone)
- Soli Deo Gloria (To God be the glory alone)
The Almighty had established five precepts of truth that began to drive back the darkness. The countermove of Hell was to persecute and kill all of those who had discovered these five truths. Men and women placed their lives on the line to establish the Reformation. When William Tyndale translated the Word of God into English, the Roman Church hunted him down, tried him for heresy, and burned him alive at the stake. The restoration of truth in this era was costly on a personal level and cannot be compared to the Western world today. No one sat in anonymity behind a keyboard in cyberspace fighting and bickering (also called “variance” or “debate” in the Bible and is considered a work of the flesh – Rom 1:29) with other believers over either minor differences in doctrine or the supremacy of their portion of restored truth. These men and women of the Reformation suffered torture and painful deaths to declare that faith in Christ alone was needed for salvation and to bring the Word of God back into the hands of the people.
When reading the Reformers’ writings, the honor they gave to the commandments of God was profound. The commandments of God revealed and defined the nature of sin. Understanding the commandments produced a need for repentance and opened the door to the preaching of the Gospel. Today’s Church (including the Hebraic Heritage Movement) is indebted to the devotion and sacrifice of the Reformers.
Christ Must Be Preeminent and the Enemy’s Countermoves
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19-22 (NKJV)
In Ephesians Chapter Two, Verses 19-22, the apostle Paul reveals an important truth: Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the Kingdom. The apostles and prophets he referred to that established the foundation were ancient in his day. Hebraically, the first prophet was Abraham, and the first apostle (one sent) was Moses. The Torah, the Writings, and the Prophets of the First Testament were the foundational stones that lined up with the Chief Cornerstone – Christ. The entire Second Testament is established on the foundation of the First.
It has been the duty of those functioning within each restoration movement of God to ensure that Jesus remains the Chief Cornerstone of truth. Any movement or group that abandons the central message of Christ is either a countermove of the enemy or a movement that has yielded to the enemy’s machinations and been derailed.
Since the Reformation, God has been adding line upon line of truth. While there was some vigorous debate among the various groups, there was also respect. At the turn of the 20th Century, the enemy planned its countermove: exclusivity. Each group that God used to restore a forgotten truth would have the seeds of exclusivity sown among them by members of the priesthood of darkness. They would then create their theological box and judge everyone and everything by their line or precept of restored truth. They would be raised in pride, and then reject all the lines and precepts of truth that God established before them. Their pride causes them to tear up the foundation that the Almighty has already established and start afresh with their selective truth, which now serves as the cornerstone (many times replacing Christ).
I purposely read broadly in my theological/devotional studies. I will spend time each year reading portions of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, the Reformers, modern Evangelical Christian theologians, and even Jewish scholars, such as Abraham Heschel. My first goal is to ensure that Christ remains my theology’s and practical doctrines’ chief cornerstone. At the same time, I want to ensure that I have not missed a crucial precept or line of truth that the Holy Spirit labored to restore in the Body. Because Heaven moved to restore all these truths, they are strategic and critical for the end-time Church.
Since the beginning of the Reformation, Almighty God has visited each generation to restore several truths into the collective consciousness of God’s people. The Remnant warrior must appreciate and learn those truths to prepare for the days ahead.
Strategically in warfare, the high ground is where you want to be in a fight. Low places or valleys can quickly become killing zones that provide little protection. Almighty God has spent thousands of years since Moses placing the Body of Messiah on the high ground of restored truth for the final conflict (a place of great advantage). However, if we fall for the tactics of the enemy by rejecting what God has so graciously restored, we may find ourselves in the valleys or worse, pits of our own making, and become easy prey for the kingdom of darkness.
About the Author
Michael K. Lake, Th.D., D.R.E.
Scholar-in-Residence, Strategic Remnant Learning Center – Biblical Life Assembly
Best-selling Author of The Shinar Directive, The Sheeriyth Imperative, The Kingdom Priesthood, and The Kingdom Warrior.
 Meaning, Origin and History of the Name Isaiah – Behind the Name: https://www.behindthename.com/name/isaiah
 Pontifex maximus – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontifex_maximus