ENEMIES OF THE FAITH
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
One of the things that is likely to strike the reader of this article would be the image of the man being stabbed in the back.
This is an apt description of what we are about to discuss. Enemies of God are usually not in plain sight if you don’t know what to look for. And this makes them all the more dangerous so when they strike it hits one in the place least expected.
I remember speaking in a Bible conference somewhere once where I used the phrase “enemy of God.” I also remember how someone, a preacher at that, took me to task immediately afterwards and asked me how God could have “enemies”. He went all sanctimonious on me and started lecturing me as to how God loves every single human being and how God only had friends and no enemies.
I agreed with him on the first part that had to do with God loving humans but thoroughly disagreed as to the part in which he claimed God had no enemies.
I mentioned several scriptures to him and showed that the Bible was replete with references to those that God considered enemies. One of such verses is above.
So, the question later became, “what makes a person an enemy of God?”
When we hinder His program and fraternize with those that want to destroy it we have become enemies of God.
There are three different moulds that are relevant today in order to understand who an enemy of God is.
“Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief…Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words. And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together. Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart. For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”
Nehemiah 6:1-2, 5-9
There were three main sources of opposition that Nehemiah faced while doing the work of God. These are the same three sources of opposition we will face as the Church or as individual believers every time we attempt to do God’s work.
These sources are symbolized by three men:-
(a) Sanballat the Horonite was a native of Beth-Horon; and his name Sanballat, literally means “Sin the moon god has given life”. The name is worth taking note of, and is highly symbolic as this man represents all satanic opposition to the truth of God’s Word, His Church and His work in our world today.
It is no mystery that the devil has a morbid hatred for Christ, the Church, and individual believers. That is not news.
One of the reasons he attempted to rebel against God is to usurp the Throne of God and claim His glory. This is why he would have the audacity to claim he can give life.
Satan is real and influences people to act in certain ways for the furtherance of his objective; he is able to give direction to those that give him attention, ….and many do so unwittingly.
Most of us understand that we live in a three dimensional world.
Almost every tangible thing we see and handle has three dimensions. It has length, breadth, and height. The chair you are sitting on right now, the electronic device you are reading this article on, the bowl from which you would have had breakfast this morning, and practically every other physical thing we use. That is easily seen and easily understood.
What is not as easily understood is the fact that there is a fourth dimension. An invisible, intangible dimension whose major part most people are still oblivious to. The part of the fourth dimension that many of us are conversant with is the intellectual and mental realm, it is in this dimension that we have thoughts and ideas.
For instance, the clothes you are wearing existed somewhere before they showed up in the physical, material realm; the car you drive existed somewhere before it showed up in the physical, material realm. They all existed in the minds of the manufacturers/producers.
That much is understandable.
What many of us do not understand however is that there is more to the fourth dimension than that. Thoughts exist in the mental or intellectual realm, but the intellectual realm is not the only thing that exists in the fourth dimension. There is a spiritual realm that is part of the fourth dimension. There is a sponsor for almost everything we see and do, and that sponsor is either God or the devil.
As we live our everyday lives we consciously or unconsciously incline towards either of the two pathways.
Whether we know it or not we are actively living out a script and contributing our quota either to the advancement of the Kingdom of God or the advancement of the cause of the devil…
There is no vacuum in life.
A wise man said it this way- “Principalities work through Personalities.”
In Sanballat’s case he was consciously opposing the program of God and knew exactly what he stood for, but he most likely did not understand the consequences.
Today we can readily point to groups like Satanists, New Agers, Occultists, Necromancers, Atheists, and several others, and see that they fall into the mould of Sanballat the Horonite.
Yet the above list is not exhaustive.
There are some ways to pinpoint those that are under this mould even if they fit into any classifications other than the ones listed above.
One way stands out prominently for me.
Having studied this phenomenon for a while I have come to the conclusion that any person that has an irrational hatred for God, Jesus Christ, the Church, or believers in Christ is a person who is under an influence- a diabolical influence.
I will go a step further and say that the wave of Anti-Semitism all across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa is a product of that same influence.
The person that sponsors the hatred of Jesus Christ and His Church is the same one that sponsors hatred against Israel. There are many under this influence that are oblivious to the fact that they are. For them their irrational hatred is ordinary.
But we must understand that nothing is ordinary.
(b) The third person who was mentioned was Geshem the Arab; I am putting him second on the list because I would want to end with the second person.
As I previously mentioned Geshem was an Arab, a descendant of Ishmael, the alternative to faith.
This man’s name means “Firmness” and he represents all the legalists who with their fleshly strength attempt to do spiritual work.
He is first and foremost a symbol of Islam and Muslims, especially those who engage in militant Islam. He represents those that actually think they are doing God’s work while all the time they are destroying it.
The Bible says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”
There are these ones that actually believe they are following God but are unconsciously living in opposition to His will. There are some who have embarked on “Jihad” thinking they will gain heaven by killing others.
Watching commentaries on many of the young men drawn to ISIS it becomes more apparent that a majority of those drawn to this warped ideology are petty criminals and wasted youth who try to make some sort of penance in the hope that they can pay for their previous misdemeanors by submitting their lives for a “higher cause.”
A religion/creed/ideology that is based heavily on works and the deeds one must undertake to secure salvation is one that will breed an air of superiority and arrogance in the mistaken assumption that they will pay their way to heaven through observances.
Thus, they will fight those who believe in concepts like the original sin, and that Jesus Christ is the Son and the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world.
Geshem is the profile of those who try to use strict religious observances like absolution, praying five times a day, zakat, and all other fleshly practices to gain spiritual and Providential acceptance.
Tragically, there are also some in the Church who are trying to follow God using the same pattern. The legalistic means they follow is what keeps them bound by the law
(c) The second person in the trio mentioned in the Bible after Sanballat was Tobiah the Ammonite; a descendant of Ammon, the son of Lot. I have placed him last on the list because his profile is the most strategic and tragic of the three and concerns believers the most. He is the most unfortunate character of all three.
We might remember that Lot was Abraham’s nephew and lived with him for many years.
On his own Lot was described as a “righteous man” (2 Peter 2:7); this means that Tobiah had a godly heritage and lineage.
Tobiah’s name literally means “The Lord is good.”
So obviously he understood the language of the Kingdom and if we were to use modern day parlance we could say he was a “church boy”.
Yet he was obstructing the path of the Lord by joining in with Sanballat.
Tobiah was part of the fifth column.
“A fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group—such as a nation or a besieged city—from within, usually in favor of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force…Emilio Mola, a Nationalist General during the Spanish Civil War, told a journalist in 1936 that as his four columns of troops approached Madrid, a ‘fifth column’ (Spanish: Quinta columna) of supporters inside the city would support him and undermine the Republican government from within.”
Fifth columnists exist everywhere. Even in Church. The contest between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil is for souls and for the eternal destinies of nations. It is for influence over this world- to purify it and make life worth living, or to corrupt it, deface it, and absolutely destroy it.
Tobiah represents the 5th columnists, the lip service and carnal “Christians” who cause trouble and hinder God’s program with their fleshly thinking and actions. The name suggests they belong with us, but their words and action prove they are strangers to the covenant of grace. They are in Church but not really of Christ.
Tobiah was more or less a spiritual Uncle Tom.
I have seen people who are supposedly people of God and “insiders” who are the first to blow a whistle on even the smallest indiscretion of their pastors or any other church leaders; they do this even when they are far from perfect and have done even worse than what they broadcast outside. I have seen people who are blessed by a ministry and have had their whole lives turned around only to turn against that same ministry further down the road.
I have seen people who criticize the way their church handles finances even when they have not contributed a dime and have no moral rights to do so. These ones who don’t share in the weight of the vision and contribute absolutely nothing still are the ones that go out to say things they have absolutely no understanding of.
I have seen people who think there are things they should have but the moment their pastor has the same things they are up in arms, even when they have given him nothing. They criticize the pastor, the congregation, the vision, and every other conceivable thing when it does not go their way.
I have seen some church people who are within the church but are not part of it; they use their carnal mindset in decision making and pursue only what they stand to gain from…absolutely not interested in what God wants.
They will readily foist a political candidate on their community or nation for parochial and primordial reasons like race, tribe, or personal financial gain. They would not as much as think about what the Kingdom of God either stands to gain or lose.
When a church person goes out to spread anything that will bring shame to the Church without considering the effect it will have on the unsaved then he fits into the mould of Tobiah.
When a church person goes out to defame the Church or his pastor because of a personal grievance or for some individual gain he fits into the mould of Tobiah.
When a church person takes it upon himself to openly criticize church leaders especially when there is no contribution of his to the church he fits into the mould of Tobiah.
When a church person does not consider the divine program before selecting who will govern him and millions of others he fits into the mould of Tobiah.
When a church person does not understand he is a representative of the kingdom and puts his selfish interests forward and ends up in partnership with the enemies of the cross and possibly ends up spreading what could cause further damage, whether factual or not, to the cause of God and the Body of Christ he, just like Judas Iscariot, fits into the mould of Tobiah.
David, the king of Israel and man after God’s heart, was faced with a situation where he learnt about the death of one who had sworn David must first die; he was told of the demise of one who had sought his destruction in a vengeful manner; he was told of the death of Saul. But because David looked beyond the man who intended for him to perish and saw the significance of his death and the shame it would bring to the cause of He whom Saul once represented, he said-
“The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places:
how are the mighty fallen!
Tell it not in Gath,
publish it not in the streets of Askelon;
lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.”
2 Samuel 1:19-20
This is how a kingdom minded person would think.
So, assess yourself and see if you are an enemy of the faith