Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s selected passage is found in verses five through twenty-eight of the sixteenth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find it to be the continuation and completion of the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew. The sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel begins and opens up with the religious system once more demanding of Jesus a sign, with this particular occasion being the Sadducees being the ones to come unto Jesus demanding a sign from heaven. It’s actually quite interesting to consider the two different times when the religious system and religious community came unto Jesus demanding Him show them a sign, for it is is directly linked and connected with Jesus’ time in the wilderness. I do not believe it is any coincidence that when. Matthew describes the religious system and community coming unto Jesus demanding a sign, he described how when they came to Him demanding a sign, they did so in order that they might tempt Him. There is not a doubt in my mind that in order to completely and fully understand the two different occasions the religious community came unto Jesus in order that they might tempt Him with a sign, it is first important and necessary to consider and pay close attention to the temptation of Jesus. It is the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness which in all reality sets the stage for the various other times within the life and ministry when Jesus would face temptation, and a temptation of power, a temptation of mighty, a temptation of glory, and a temptation of dividing. We dare not miss the incredible and tremendous importance of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, for it is His temptation in the wilderness that helps set the stage for what we find and what we read later on in His earthly ministry—particularly and especially when it comes to Jesus being tempted by the religious system and community concerning showing them a sign. What’s more, is that in order to fully and completely set the stage for these two occurrences of temptation, it is necessary—not only to explore Jesus’ temptation as it was recorded by the apostle Matthew, but it is also necessary to explore it according to the beloved physician Luke. What’s more, is that it is Luke’s account of Jesus’ temptation that truly sets the stage for future and further interactions with and temptations by the tempter, who is the Devil and Satan. Consider if you will the account of Jesus’ temptation as recorded by the apostle Matthew, as well as the account of Jesus’ temptation as recorded by beloved physician Luke:
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, he shall give His angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot againast a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is wirtten, again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdom of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto Him, Get thee nance, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him” (Matthew 4:1-11).
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the w ilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days He did eat nothing: and when they were ended, He afterward hungered. And the devil said unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. And He brought Him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: fFor it is written, he shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto Him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season” (Luke 4:1-13).
Pay close attention to that final phrase which was mentioned and used in the fourth chapter of the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus as recorded by Luke, for after describing Jesus’ interaction with the Devil in the wilderness, Luke records how once the devil had completed all his temptation of Jesus there in the wilderness, he left Him for a season. It is necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to this particular phrase, for it reveals that just because Jesus overcame the tempter there in the wilderness with the word of God, that didn’t mean that Jesus’ interactions with the devil were complete and had drawn to a close. It was true that Jesus had overcome the tempter there in the wilderness, however, we must recognize that just because Jesus overcame the tempter by and with the word of God, that didn’t mean that Jesus’ temptation by the tempter was complete. I am completely and utterly convinced that there is a wonderful and powerful prophetic truth that is found and contained within this particular passage of Scripture, for there would be many who would think that just because they overcome the tempter once in their life—perhaps twice, or perhaps even two or more times—they are somehow exempt from any future and further temptations by the tempter within their lives. There are men and women among us who may experience a wonderful and delightful victory over the enemy of their souls—the tempter, known as the Devil and Satan—and yet they are somehow naïve to think and believe that they cannot and will not experience further and future temptations and interactions with the devil. I am convinced that such a thought and such a way of thinking is not only false and naïve, but also incredibly dangerous within the hearts and minds of men and women. In fact, I can’t help but be reminded of the words of the apostle Peter who wrote in the fifth chapter of his first New Testament epistle concerning our adversary the devil, and our response to him within our lives. If you begin reading with and from the fifth verse of the fifth chapter of this first New Testament epistle which was written by the apostle Peter you will find the following words which were written by him concerning our adversary the devil:
“Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5 :5-11).
The apostle Peter knew that we had a very real adversary, and one who walks about like a roaring and raging lion in order that he might seek whom he may devour. There is not a doubt in my mind that the apostle Peter not only thought and looked back to his encounter with Jesus as was recorded in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, but also to Jesus’ own words concerning his life, and how Satan had desired to sift him as wheat. When the apostle Peter wrote unto the saints and Christians within this first epistle, I am firmly and completely convinced that he remembered back to that moment when the Lord whom he had faithfully followed for three and a half years turned and looking straight at him emphatically declared and proclaimed, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23). What’s more, is that I am convinced that the apostle Peter looked back to that moment when the Lord looked at him point blank and without hesitation and reservation looked at him and emphatically declared that Satan desired to have him that he might sift him as wheat. In the twenty-second chapter of the. New Testament gospel of Luke, beginning with the thirty-first verse of this chapter, the beloved physician Luke recorded the following words concerning Jesus’ interaction with Peter, and Satan’s desire to have Peter in order that he might sift him as wheat. Consider if you will the account of Jesus and His disciple as it is recorded in this particular passage of Scripture:
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. And he said unto him, When I sent you without a purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said HE unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and but one. For I say unto you, that this is written must yet be accomplished in me, and he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough” (Luke 22:31-38).
During the life of the apostle Peter—at least during the time of his life when he actually physically walked with Jesus the Christ upon this earth—there were two specific occasions and occurrences when Satan’s name was mentioned as Jesus spoke with him. The first is when Peter took the Lord and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” These words were spoken by the apostle Peter when Jesus began to shew forth unto His disciples how He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things at the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Upon hearing the words which were spoken by the apostle Peter in response to Jesus describing His suffering, death and resurrection, the Lord turned to Peter and actually spoke directly to Satan, emphatically instructing Satan to get behind Him, because he was an offense unto Him, for he did not savor the things which be of God, but those that be of men. The second occurrence when Simon Peter was directly linked and connected to Satan, or at least when Satan was mentioned in the same sentence as the apostle Peter was when our Lord declared unto him that Satan desired to have him in order that he might sift him as wheat. What’s interesting is that even after the Lord declared unto the apostle Peter that Satan desired to have him that he might sift him as wheat, He would go on to declare unto him that He prayed for him that his faith would fail not, and when he was converted, he would in turn strengthen his brethren. When the apostle Peter wrote concerning the adversary walking about like a roaring and raging lion seeking whom he may devour, there is not a doubt in my mind that he thought back to these two occurrences and instances when the adversary personally sought to devour him. In fact, the Lord even told him point blank that Satan desired to have him in order that he might sift him as wheat. Imagine being in the company and presence of the Lord and hearing these words—hearing that Satan desired to have you in order that he might sift you as wheat. What an incredibly sobering statement this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for the Lord held back no punches when declaring unto Peter that Satan did in fact desire to have him that he might sift him as wheat. In all reality, Satan did desire to devour the apostle Peter, and not only did so through his rebuke of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also through his hour of temptation when he would be confronted with the reality of whether or not he knew Jesus the Christ. When speaking directly unto Peter concerning Satan desiring to sift him as wheat, it was in direct connection with the apostle Peter denying Jesus—not once, not even twice, but three times.
The apostle Peter—when writing concerning the adversary walking about as a raging lion seeking whom he may devour, and instructing the saints to resist him steadfast and firm in the faith—also wrote unto them declaring that the same afflictions, the same trials, the same tribulations were taking place among all their brethren around the world. In other words, that which they were facing was not exclusive to them, but was actually being experienced by those before and those around them all over and all throughout the world. We dare not miss the importance of this reality—particularly and especially when reading and considering the words which the beloved physician Luke wrote concerning Satan the tempter leaving Jesus for a season. It was true that there in the wilderness the tempter came unto Jesus and tempted Jesus three different and three distinct time, and it is true that Jesus overcame the tempter with and by the word of God, however, it is true that that hour of temptation was not the final time the Lord would encounter the tempter within and throughout His ministry here upon the earth. There are countless men and women who would like to revel and bask in the glory of victories won against the adversary and against the temptations he hurls against them within their lives, however, such men and women do not think about and consider the fact that such victories—while they are in fact great turning points and milestones within one’s life—are no guarantee of the absence of future and further encounters with the tempter. Jesus overcame the enemy and adversary there in the wilderness, and even afterward was not only ministered to by angels, but also returned to Judaea full of the Holy Spirit and power, however, that victory in the wilderness didn’t exempt Jesus from encountering the enemy and adversary later on within His life and ministry. In fact, I am convinced that the words which the beloved physician Luke wrote in the fourth chapter of his gospel account of Jesus’ life and ministry suggests that even though Jesus overcame the tempter there in the wilderness, He needed to know, and He needed to prepare Himself to a future and further encounter with the tempter later on during His life and ministry. In fact, I am convinced that there are three specific occurrences and occasions within the life and ministry of Jesus that speak directly to these future occurrences and showdowns with the devil who would again come to tempt Him. Two of these encounters are found within this particular chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew , while the other would be found in the twelfth chapter. Consider if you will these particular occurrences within the life and ministry of Jesus beginning with that which is written in the twelfth chapter:
“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But He answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here” (Matthew 12:38-42).
“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired Him that He would shew them a sign from heaven., He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed” (Matthew 16:1-4).
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto His disciples, how that He must go unto JEruslaem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from me, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But He turned and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:21-23).
If you read the four gospels concerning the life and ministry of Jesus Christ you will quickly discover that there were other occasions when Jesus would again be tempted—more often than not by the religious community and the religious system of and during that day. In all reality, if you read the four gospels which were written by each individual author, you will find that nothing sought to tempt Jesus as much as the religious community of that day. Time and time again the religious community of that day sought to tempt Jesus—tempting Him by shewing them a sign from heaven, tempting Him with and according to upholding the law, and tempting Him concerning what it takes to inherit eternal life. Consider if you will the words which are found in the nineteenth and twenty-second chapters of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, as well as the eighth chapter of the gospel of John:
“And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished those sayings, He departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; and great multitudes followed Him; and HE haled them there. The Pharisees also came unto Him, tempting Him, and saying unto Him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Mathew 19:1-3).
“But when the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting Him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” (Matthew 22:34-36).
“Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives. And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery: and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not” (John 8:1-6).
While there are different accounts of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and those within the religious community seeking to tempt Jesus, it is this particular passage that is found at the beginning of the sixteenth chapter that truly sticks out, for on this particular occasion the Pharisees and Sadducees came unto Jesus in order that they might tempt Him to shew unto them a sign from heaven. I do not believe it is any coincidence that the word temptation is used here, nor that the temptation centered around shewing a sign from heaven, for when the tempter first came to Jesus there in the wilderness, the tempter demanded of Him two distinct acts—the first was an act of turning stones into bread in order that He might satisfy His own hunger, while the second was an act of thrusting Him down from the pinnacle of the Temple and trusting in the Lord to send His angels to lift and bear Him up in order that He might not dash His foot on a stone. I am completely and utterly convinced that the temptation we find and the temptation we read in this particular passage of Scripture is closely connected to the temptation there in the wilderness, for that which the tempter tempted Jesus to do was to demonstrate His power, to demonstrate His divinity, to demonstrate His authority in the wilderness by turning stones into bread. This the tempter tempted him with in order that He might not only show and prove that He was indeed and in fact the Son of God, but also to see whether or not He would use His divinity and power to satisfy His own needs, longings and desires. When Jesus was there in the wilderness alone with the devil, the devil sought to tempt Him to display and show His power by turning and transforming stones into bread, and both Matthew and Luke record for us how Jesus overcame this temptation by and according to the written word of God. Jesus emphatically declared unto Satan that man should not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God. Jesus overcame the tempter there in the wilderness by and according to the word of God, and one would think that it was the first and last time He would encounter the tempter. In fact, if you read the gospel of Matthew alone you would think that Jesus would never again encounter the tempter within and throughout his life and ministry within and upon the earth. The truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case, for Luke writes and records for us how when the tempter left Him there in the wilderness, the tempter left Him only for a season. In other words, the tempter would return and the tempter would be back. THE TEMPTER WILL BE BACK AND THE TEMPTATIONS WILL RESUME! GET READY FOR ROUND TWO! #THISISNOTAONEROUNDFIGHT
As I am sitting here right now reading the words which the apostle Matthew wrote and recorded in the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, I can’t help but be confronted with the fact that even though Jesus overcame the tempter there in the wilderness, that didn’t mean that Jesus’ time with the tempter had drawn to a close and come to an end. We would like to think that this was the first and last time Jesus would encounter the tempter, and that His victory, His triumph, and His overcoming the tempter there in the wilderness would somehow be enough. The truth of the matter, however, is that the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew brings us face to face with the fact that the temptation wasn’t over there in the wilderness. The experiences and encounters Jesus would have with the tempter would continue within and throughout His life and ministry, and would even emerge there in the garden of Gethsemane when He wrestled with drinking the cup of suffering which His Father had ordained Him to drink and drink completely. What we find within this particular passage of Scripture is not only Jesus once more being tempted, but Jesus being tempted to shew forth a sign from heaven—undoubtedly to demonstrate that He was indeed the Son of God. In fact, you will recall that when Jesus cleansed the Temple by driving out the money changers and overturning the money tables, the Pharisees and scribes asked Him by what authority He performed such actions and engaged in such behavior. If there is one thing the words which Luke wrote in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel which bears his name proves and reveals, it’s that any victory we experience over and against the devil, and any victory we experience over temptation doesn’t automatically mean that complete and total victory has been won. Jesus overcame the tempter there in the wilderness, but even overcoming the tempter in the wilderness—and overcoming him according to the word of God—did not mean Jesus would never encounter or experience the tempter again. In fact, I would dare say, and am completely and utterly convinced that victory over the tempter and over his temptations only heightens and enhances his desire to look for and seek to find a more opportune time to come against us. Undoubtedly the tempter didn’t think for one moment that Jesus victory in the wilderness was the end of all matters and Jesus’ ultimate victory and triumph over him. Undoubtedly neither the tempter, nor even Jesus Himself believed that this would be their final showdown and encounter one another, and there seems to be every indication within the four gospels that the tempter who is the Devil and Satan sought after a more opportune time to come against Him. It’s worth noting that even within the apostle Peter’s life we find the tempter who is the Devil and Satan coming unto Jesus—first to rebuke Him for thinking and believing that He would die upon the cross and be raised from the dead, and second to have Peter in order that he might sift him as wheat.
If there is one thing this particular passage within the New Testament gospel of Matthew reveals, it’s that even though the tempter left Jesus in the wilderness after Jesus overcame Him by the word of God, the tempter would not make an end of his attempt(s) to come against Jesus. I am convinced that what we find and what we read in this particular passage of Scripture are two examples of the tempter coming unto Jesus in order to dissuade Him from the mission, the work and the assignment He was sent to the earth to fulfill and accomplish. The sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew opens and begins with the Pharisees and Sadducees coming unto Jesus in order that they might tempt Him to shew forth a a sign from heaven, while the same chapter concludes with Satan resisting the plan, the mission and the assignment that was given unto Jesus Christ to go unto Jerusalem, to suffer many things at the hands of the scribes, the Pharisees and the religious leaders, and to ultimately die and be raised to life on the third day. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand what is taking place within this passage of Scripture, for we must not think or believe for one moment that victory over the enemy and adversary is somehow enough to guarantee that he can and will no longer and never again come against us within our lives. In fact, I am convinced that the exact opposite is true, and that with each victory we gain over the enemy, the enemy only gets more and more adamant about coming against with vehement opposition and ferocity. We dare not think or believe for one moment that this fight against sin, this fight against temptation, this fight against the enemy and adversary is a single round fight and that we can somehow come out on top in the first round. There are no technical knockouts in the first round, and we dare dare not think or believe for one minute that this fight will not go until the final bell and will not go all twelve rounds. Those among us who revel and marvel in one victory are incredibly naïve and place themselves in a vulnerable position, for while they are basking in their initial victory, the enemy and adversary is regrouping and planning on a secondary strike. It’s imperative that we recognize and understand that each retreat from the enemy is not a final retreat and a withdrawal from our lives, but is only a regrouping in order that he might come against us once more with more ferocity, with more strength, and with greater forces. Away with all this thinking that we can somehow gain such a victory over the enemy that he cannot and will not any longer and any more come against us in opposition. We do ourselves and those around us a great disservice when we lead people to believe that any single victory against the enemy is somehow the final victory, and that the enemy cannot and will not come against us again. It’s important that we note and understand that this war against us is one of attrition as the enemy and adversary can and will seek to wear us out by coming against us over and over again. I leave you with the words which are written and recorded—not only within the seventh chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel, but also within the twelfth chapter of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ:
“…and he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7;25-27).
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time…And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns two crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints” (Revelation 12:7-12, 13:1-10).