“Our first task is therefore to try to grasp what the concept of the enemy really means. The enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the enemy always hates us for a reason, it is his reason, and not ours.” These gripping words open Lee Harris’ book entitled Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History (Free Press, 2004). With this compelling language, Harris challenges us to ponder the very concept of the term “enemy.” This has never been more important. Defining the enemy is paramount to winning any great struggle.
As Christians it is critical to examine how this concept of “enemy” affects the battle raging against our fundamental doctrines and values. Christ was clear as to the nature of our spiritual enemy in His admonition to His disciples. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). The enemy’s methods and agendas will always be contrary to righteousness. He will come up another way, as Christ describes. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1).
Humanity’s most unspeakable crime is genocide. Just look at recent history – not ancient history, but the history that has unfolded during our lifetime. It reeks with unspeakable horror. The Nazi genocide against the Jews, Armenian genocide, Cambodian genocide, Liberian genocide, genocide in the Congo, in Bosnia, and the genocide in many other parts of the world … the sum of the loss represents millions of lives. Millions!
Haris Silajdžić, former president of Bosnia, where more than 100,000 were slaughtered in the mid 1990s, discussed genocide stating that, “genocide is a design, as any genocide must be, because it is not possible to kill a big number of people without prior preparation, mental preparation, military preparation. Sophisticated methods are needed; but the will, not the way—that’s the critical part” (Worse Than War, Goldhagen, 2009).
As President Silajdžić pointed out, the evil of all evils is genocide. Typically, it has been the result of one man’s evil mind (Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin) and such a mind exploits the prejudices, distorted belief systems, and hatred that preexist in a culture. He exploits the desire for utopian ideals. He becomes the heroic leader. Such a leader furnishes not only the language, but the philosophy, justification and the courage to act upon even the basest of selfish desires. “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:31).
We must ask the question whether there is a will among some enemies to destroy what we believe and to climb up some other way? Are there some who not only desire to forsake the doctrine for themselves, but who also want to destroy the influence of truth all together? Do we not agree that there is an Antichrist working in the world? I believe it is our duty to expose anti-Christian forces wherever they appear, especially among Christianity itself. The enemy encourages men to live by their own will. He tells them what they want to hear. His influence causes them to ignore the necessity of truth, spirit and revelation. And ultimately, their misguided passion, to live by their own will and desires, leads them to kill what they once loved.
Jesus said, “my sheep hear my voice” but those who do not accept Christ as the “door” or the way do not hear. Furthermore, when they come to you, they come to destroy. They are not shepherds of truth. They are not shepherds of the way. They come to kill. They are the enemy. The sheep and the shepherd have the same objective: life. “I am the good shepherd.” And, a moment later, He speaks a great truth to them, “I and my Father are one” (John 10.30) and, at this revelation, “the Jews took up stone to kill him.” Christ herein defines the motives of the Antichrist. There was no denying the enemy’s ultimate objective.
It is imperative that the church see the enemy of the church for who he is. He is “the son of perdition” and the father of lies. And those who follow him have identified with that same spirit. “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).
Those who lead our children away from the clear message of the Upper Room, who use their various talents to deceive and deconstruct the Apostle’s doctrine and moral standards—intend to destroy them. What the Apostles preached on Pentecost morning was Christ-given. They had all just received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Upper Room was without contrary opinion. The historical record is clear: they baptized in Jesus’ name because it was the single name given. They knew they had seen the Father manifest in the flesh. It was revealed to them, by the very God who stood before them as a man. They had no concept of a trinity. “O Sweet Wonder,” to quote G.T. Haywood.