The Battle of Battles
Genesis 3:15Â is the sum and substance of the Biblical meta-narrative. If you want to understand the Scriptures you must come to terms with what this verse teaches about the war that God establishes between the Kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of the Son of His love. It is interesting to see how, in the unfolding of Redemptive-history, Genesis 3:15 finds its ultimate fulfillment in the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles. He had said, at the turning point of His ministry, "I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." The Gates of Hell were seeking to prevail from the beginning of the work of redemption. He was building that church, in one sense, from the time that the promise ofÂ Genesis 3:15 was given in the Garden; but He was, in a special sense, building the church in the days of His birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, as well as in the subsequent outpouring of His Spirit for the apostolic ministry. He is still building that church today.
The battle came to a head in our Lord's temptation in the wilderness--at the beginning of His ministry. It raged again at the beginning of the apostolic ministry (Acts 4-6). There was Satanic assault on the church from without and within. The apostles saw it in the form of religious and political rulers, as well as in the form of hypocrites and divisive church members. The promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church indicates that Satan would make every effort to prevail. He is called the prince of the power of the air, and his army is often referred to as "principalities and powers." This is striking because the same terminology is applied to political and religious opposition to the church. Satan's primary means of attacking the church of Jesus Christ is through religious opposition and political force. He is behind the powerful rulers of this world. But we must remember that Jesus Christ has "disarmed principalities and powers" at the cross. He has "bound the strongman." "He who sits in the heavens laughs" at the vain attempts of the evil one to gain victory over His work through political and religious persecution. As the church of Christ grows, so will the opposition. This is the picture the Spirit has painted for us in the opening chapters of the book of Acts. It is the picture we see in the annals of church history. We must not forget that we are constantly in a battle. Led by our Lord Jesus Christ, the victory is guaranteed. "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet." We must watch and pray, and say with the apostles, "We cannot help but speak the things we have seen and heard," for "there is no other name under heaven given among men byÂ which we must be saved."