Know Your Enemy
Satan's Kingdom in the Last Days
Know Your Enemy
Hello everyone, and welcome to episode two of The Latter-day Disciples Podcast. This episode is titled, Know Your Enemy: Satan’s Kingdom in the Last Days. We are going to talk about the war in heaven, we’re going to talk about Satan as a slanderer, and what the symbolism of 666 means. We’re going to talk about Satan’s earthly kingdom that is absolutely present in the world right now. And finally, we’re going to talk about how we win, because we do. And you might say, ‘Okay, this is a strange topic, not really sure where you’re going with this,’ but I implore you to bear with me, I think there’s some really interesting things that we’re going to present today that maybe you haven’t thought of before, maybe you didn’t know, and which most certainly will help you to better recognize the Adversary not just in your personal life, but in the world around us, because he is so present. And unless we’re aware of that, we’re at a disadvantage.
There is no way to make sense out of life without a knowledge of the doctrine of premortal life. … When we understand the doctrine of premortal life, then things fit together and make sense.
Boyd K. Packer
So we’re going to start with the war in heaven. I love President Boyd K. Packer, when he was President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, he taught, “There is no way to make sense out of life without a knowledge of the doctrine of premortal life. … When we understand the doctrine of premortal life, then things fit together and make sense.” And I think that this is especially true, when we consider the collective enemy of humanity, the adversary of all righteousness, Satan, and who Lucifer was, and what his goal was, and how he rebelled against God.
Satan and His Last Kingdom
Satan, as a name, is so fascinating. It has such telling meanings to it. First off, in the Greek, Septuagint, Satan means diablos, which means slanderer, or someone who makes false statements for the purpose of damaging someone else’s reputation. I think that most certainly in the War in Heaven he sought to slander our Savior by suggesting that Christ would not be successful in performing the Atonement. That He would not be capable of saving us, despite all of our sins and our wickedness. That Christ himself would be overcome, or that Christ would not perfectly keep His covenants. But I also think, and this is something that I’ve seen and I’ve come to realize in the last year, I also think that Satan slandered us. I think that he was telling us not only that we couldn’t make it, and that we wouldn’t be good enough, regardless of whether or not Christ did what He said He would, but I see Satan telling us that we were selfish, and uncharitable, and evil to choose a plan where we knew not all of our brothers and sisters would return. And I think that there are many of our good-hearted brothers and sisters who fell for that. Who said, “You’re right. I am being selfish. I’m not thinking about everyone else if I were to choose the Savior.” Even though his plan was always a lie, and our Savior felt that our agency was worth dying for, knowing that even when we would use our agency wrong, that it would be worth it. That’s a new idea, something that I’ve felt in the last year. And one other meaning of the word Satan is accuser. Certainly he accuses us. He accuses us falsely, and we are apt to believe him at times. That we are guilty of sins we have not committed, or wrong intentions that we don’t truly have. He used that tactic premortally, and he certainly uses it now. All this being said, we know that we overcame in Heaven. And the war moved to a new battleground, where the players are the same. And their priorities are the same. And the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been before.
Satan is the greatest imitator, the master deceiver, the arch-counterfeiter and the greatest forger ever in the history of the world. He comes into our lives as the thief in the night. His disguise is so perfect that it is hard to recognize him or his methods.
James E. Faust
Moving to the last days, and Satan and his kingdom today, and what his kingdom is going to become. We know, and it is true, that Satan is the god of this world. And acknowledging that is not meant to discourage you, or frighten you, but rather to provide clarity. Because when we realize that, we realize that we just cannot trust what appears to be reality to the world. He is still spinning lies, as he always has. And they are compelling. James E. Faust has a quote that I love. He says, “Satan is the greatest imitator, the master deceiver, the arch-counterfeiter and the greatest forger ever in the history of the world. He comes into our lives as a thief in the night. His disguise is so perfect that it is hard to recognize him or his methods.” And he says, “One of the major techniques of the devil is to cause human beings to think they are following God’s ways when in reality they are deceived by the devil to follow other paths.” That’s how good Satan is at his job. And if we fail to see the world through this lens, we’re really giving him a hand up. Satan thrives through invisibility. We learn this in the scriptures. He loves to convince people that he doesn’t even exist. But, if we choose to both acknowledge that he exists and strive to see him and to recognize his methods and to perceive his lies we weaken him every time we choose to do that.
I want to talk a little bit about the number 666, because it’s something that we hear about in the book of Revelation, something that we hear about in modern days as well. But, there’s still a lot left to be understood as well. We recognize that this is a symbol of Satan. But why? I want to start with the symbolism of seven. This is pretty well known. The number seven is symbolic of perfection, of wholeness, of being complete. There were seven creative periods when Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael created the world. There are seven days in a week. And there are 7.000 years of Earth-life. We, being at the very beginning of the last thousand years or so right now. The final thousand years being the Millennium. So that’s the symbolism of seven. And then you have the symbolism of eight. Eight being one whole step above perfection. Eight is a symbol of the Savior. It’s a symbol of the Atonement, of resurrection, and of redemption, 888 specifically. And 777 being perfect as can be, and Christ being a whole level above perfection. I just love that symbolism. That touches my heart to think that that is the God that I worship. That that is the Savior I follow. A whole degree above perfection. And then you have the counter of six, being a whole step below perfection. And this is the symbol of the adversary, 666. Meaning, that Satan is as imperfect as Christ is perfect. He is as evil as Christ is righteous. And he is as weak as Christ is strong. That tells us a lot about him when you just consider that symbolism.
Okay, so let’s talk about Satan’s kingdom in the last days. We know that Satan has risen up kingdoms in the past. In the temple, when you go through the endowment ceremony it even talks about Satan saying that armies and navies, and false priests who oppress, and tyrants who destroy and reign with blood and horror on this Earth. And he has done that in the past. And he will do it again. In Revelation, chapter 13, there’s a brief history of Satan’s rule throughout the length of humanity. And it talks about four specific kingdoms that he rose up. The first being what we suggest to be Babylon. Then there’s the Medo-Persian Empire, and the Greek Empire. And finally, we have described the final empire that will arise. And I just want to go through some of the characteristics of this, and I hope that it will allow you to maybe see things differently, and maybe look at things a little differently, again as we’re trying to perceive Satan and what it is he might be doing in the world right now. So this final empire that will be risen up by the adversary. First off, it is said that it will have power over many nations, which I think is so interesting because typically we think of countries as independent entities. And yet, this empire will constitute some sort of combination, some sort of collusion, some sort of confederacy of (what I would say) independent countries as we currently know them. So that’s the first thing.
The next thing, the empire will oppose and blaspheme God. When I think about this, I think about religious freedom, and how I don’t think that this will be allotted in this final empire. If there is a religion of some sort it will be a religion of secularism. It will be a worship of worldliness. It will not even necessarily be Satanic in that they worship Satan outright, because again, Satan thrives on invisibility. I think that he’s not going to come out and say, “We worship the Devil.” But instead they are going to worship what Satan wants them to worship, and they will mock anyone who does differently. And they will persecute, and they will cause great tribulations to those who refuse to oppose and blaspheme the True God of Heaven and Earth.
Next, it says that it will be as a predator over its prey. The imagery there is so interesting. I always think of a lion. I feel like that’s the top predator that you can think of, land animal at least. And how does a lion behave with their prey? You know they’re subtle, and crafty, and they’re quick to capture and devour their prey. And they consume them completely. There’s not anything left, and it’s bloody, and it’s messy. That’s kind of the imagery that comes to mind for me. And I think that that is what we can expect of this empire and how they will behave against those that they have power over.
The next one, the empire will be worshiped. Not just by the leadership that will exist, or by the higher ups, the elites, but also by the people they subject. And I see this when we study the Battle of Armageddon, being the last, final battle during which Christ will appear, and stand on the Mount of Olives and split the mountain, that the Jews in Jerusalem may escape. That battle will be waged an army of two-hundred million. And you have to be careful with numbers in the scripture, because most of them are very symbolic in nature, rather than literal. But this is a number that I take pretty literally. It doesn’t really follow the pattern of some of the more symbolic numbers. I think it’s got to be one of the biggest quantified numbers in scripture. Two-hundred million is how many will be representing this empire of Satan in the fight against Jerusalem in that final battle. And they will have the mark of the beast, (which we will talk about here in a moment) and they will fight for this empire, this entity that is run by the devil. So when they say it’s going to be worshiped, it’s going to be worshiped by lay people, by the little guys. Upon whose backs this very empire will be built. It’s so interesting, and it’s so telling, and it’s so sad to consider that there will people who are completely and totally oppressed, and who will love their oppressor. Very Stockholm Syndrome-y over here. But yes, it will overpower many, including some saints, because again, Satan is the great counterfeiter.
There will be an Anti-Christ. A person who appears to be like Christ, but is not. I love this quote, I think it’s so important to remember, he [Larry E. Lawrence] said, “Remember, counterfeits are not the same as opposites. The opposite of white is black, but a counterfeit for white might be off-white or gray. Counterfeits bear a resemblance to the real thing in order to deceive unsuspecting people. They are a twisted version of something good, and just like counterfeit money, they are worthless.” That is what Satan is going to be presenting in this empire, a counterfeit Kingdom of God. It appears that this is a good thing on the surface, but it is truly a twisted version that will be worthless, and that really will encompass evil. The same of that Anti-Christ. The anti-Christ personage, (which I am sure we will talk about more as we go along, because there’s a lot to be said of him, and his relationship with Gog of Magog and all of that) will be associated with this empire. And he will perform “miracles” that will deceive. In the scriptures it talks about him calling down fire from heaven, and that will be perceived as a literal miracle that will deceive many people. So he’s going to be associated with this.
We talked briefly, just a minute ago, about how the people will have the mark of the beast. This is a mark that is said to be set in their hand, or on their forehead. It’s a symbol of subjugation, of fidelity, of complete adherence to the state of having been compelled completely by the Devil and by this entity. The word mark in Greek is charagma, which means stamp or etching, an engraving or impression, similar to a brand. Perhaps the most interesting is this word charagma denotes a mark left by a snake bite. What an appropriate word, and what an appropriate symbol for those who will have been bitten by the snake. It’s because of this that personally, I believe that the mark of the beast will be more spiritual and more figurative than an actual physical mark. I recognize that it could be both. There are a lot of people in the last year who have suggested that we are seeing more and more “marks of the beast”. Personally, I think that there is more to be desired before it truly aligns with what is being spoken about here in Revelation. But that’s just my personal opinion. Either way, we know that this will be the signature of the people who fall under this Satanic empire. And then of course, all things will come to a head. Like I said previously, this Kingdom will gather against Israel, and against Jerusalem specifically. That is when Christ will appear to deliver the Jews, some of his original covenant people, despite the fact that many have forgotten Him, or failed to believe that He is who He is. He will come to them, He will rescue them, and that’s when you have those beautiful scriptures about how the Jews will come to Him to thank Him for saving them, and they will say, “What are these marks in your hands, these prints in your feet?” And He will say, “I am He who came unto thee, and was wounded in the house of my friends.” And they will realize that He is the Christ. And what a moment of mixed emotions that will be.
The Fall of Satan’s Kingdom
So how does this empire fall? Well, it’s going to fall at the hands of the Savior, at the feet of the Savior. And I would hate to be them when it does. Because some of the most horrible signs of the times that we read about in the scriptures are reserved, I believe, for this entity. For those who have aligned themselves with Satan. I’m thinking about Doctrine and Covenants 29:18-21, where he says, “Wherefore, I the Lord God will send forth flies upon the face of the earth, which shall take hold of the inhabitants thereof, and shall eat their flesh, and shall cause maggots to come in upon them; And their tongues shall be stayed that they shall not utter against me; and their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets; And it shall come to pass that the beasts of the forest and the fowls of the air shall devour them up. And the great and abominable church, which is the whore of all the earth, shall be cast down by devouring fire, according as it is spoken by the mouth of Ezekiel the prophet, who spoke of these things, which have not come to pass but surely must, as I live, for abominations shall not reign.” I really like the idea that all of that is reserved for those of Satan’s kingdom. (chuckles) As opposed to being general signs of the times that everyone may be subject to. And perhaps I’m wrong, I’m definitely open to other interpretations of this, but my understanding is that some of those most abhorrent experiences will be reserved for Satan and his empire at the last day.
So, what do we do? How do we overcome if Satan is so good at what he does? Well, the great news is that we worship someone better. In Revelation 12:11 it says, “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 death.” This is referring to how we won the War in Heaven. How we overcame Satan then. And I love the three things that it mentioned. First off, by the blood of the Lamb. The Atonement is infinite. And it was in force. When we were in premortality, before the Savior came to perform the act itself, we were benefactors of this unspeakable gift. And we used it, We used the power of the Atonement, the enabling power, the sanctifying power, to grow our relationship with the Savior, and to become strong. Stronger than Lucifer, the Son of the Morning. The next thing was the word of our testimonies, our personal beliefs. The spiritual work that we had already put in during premortality to know our Savior, and to practice the commandments and to use our agency as best as we could. And then finally, I love this, “they loved not their lives unto death.” And to me, that denotes sacrifice. We were willing to give what we had to uphold the Plan of our Savior, and our Heavenly Parents’ plan. Even if that meant that we might be lost, or that our loved ones might be lost. There’s something about the fact that God champions freedom, liberty, and agency that tells us that it must be worth it. And we were willing to follow Them because of that. This is the same way that we’re going to win again. We have to be vigilant. We have to be careful. I love the scripture that says, “wise as serpents, harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) That is what we as disciples of the Lord, Jesus Christ, are called to become. Clearly we see that we wage no common war, Cope with no common foe. The enemy’s awake; Who’s on the Lord’s side? Are you? Then we have no reason to fear. For [to quote the words of Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7-8 ] He said, ”God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.” Don’t be afraid of the things that are going to get us through this. Don’t be ashamed of what you know, and the experiences that you’ve had. Even the world throws doubt, confusion, and questioning at you. Don’t abandon the very things that got you here, to this life, to this second estate, because those are the same things that are going to get you back.
I wanted to do something a little bit different today, and give you guys a book review! Because I am constantly reading new books or listening to all sorts of different resources and I know that you guys want them too. I feel that you guys want to be able to go and study these things for yourself, because my interpretation is one interpretation, and also not necessarily the right interpretation, so it’s good to get other people’s perspectives on the topic of the last days and preparing for the Second Coming. And that is the title of our first book review; Preparing for the Second Coming by Eric D. Richards. This book was published in 2017, so it’s about four years old now. I just finished reading it, and I really loved it! Brother Richards was a convert from the Baptist faith. He ended up serving a mission in Honduras. His mission concluded in Alabama after he had to undergo a surgery to remove a tumor. He has been a seminary and institute teacher since 1996. His handle is @brotherrichards on Instagram and Facebook. My favorite thing about all of his bios is that he is a professed chocolate addict, so I think we all can relate to Brother Richards on that.
A Book Review
So this book, I love the layout. Basically, what he does is he goes through the book of Revelation chapter by chapter expounding on some of the imagery, clarifying doctrine with the use of Greek words and, of course, symbolism, explaining the symbolism. I love how accessible he makes personal, spiritual revelation. Throughout the book he asks reflective questions about things you could be doing in your own life pertaining to the principles and the doctrines that he had just presented as found in the book of Revelation. He narrows in on just small things, little changes for how we can better apply true and simple principles. And it is, again, so accessible. So simplified. I love it especially when you compare it to what otherwise can seem really overwhelming and confusing prophecy, when you consider the language of John in the book of Revelation. I love his footnotes, he had some great quotes in there, along with additional sources for study. I would definitely say that this book is a beginner level introduction to the book of Revelation. Again, very applicable. If you haven’t studied the Second Coming topics before, and you want little bite sized nuggets of goodness of things that you can do in your life right now. Now, he doesn’t include any approximate timelines, it’s not necessarily a chronological list of events that he goes into. And he doesn’t go into some other specific “signs of the times” that we would see in say, the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew 25. Finally though, I love that at the end he pulls out one line sermons from the book of Revelation which are just beautiful. So many of them reveal our Savior and His hand throughout the course of humanity. It’s beautiful. So if you are looking for something that’s easy to understand, that’s enlightening, that’s uplifting, that’s actionable, I think that this is a great pick for you. You can find the book on Amazon, at Deseret Book, or at Seagull Book. Definitely go check it out.
Oil for Your Lamp
Ok and the final piece for our episode this week, of course, is the drop of oil for your lamp. This one coming from President Gordon B. Hinckley, who we all love and miss. He said, “In this work there must be commitment. There must be devotion. We are engaged in a great eternal struggle that concerns the very souls of the sons and daughters of God. We are not losing. We are winning. We will continue to win if we will be faithful and true. We can do it. We must do it. We will do it. There is nothing the Lord has asked of us that in faith we cannot accomplish.” And I want to leave that with you as we conclude our episode this week. I hope that what we presented in regards to the adversary is eye-opening for you, and will help you to more easily recognize him and his tactics that are so subtle. But most importantly, I want to leave you with the truth that you are capable of overcoming him. You did it before, you’re going to do it again. We are winning, and we are going to continue to win so long as we choose our Savior, and cling to none other than Him. I love you guys! I hope you have a wonderful week We’ll see you next time!
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