These are days that demand we know the time, awake from our sleep and realize that darkness is advancing. People who lack the ability to understand the times or lack the fortitude to take drastic measures to arrest evil will be easily shaken by the turn of world events.
Satan is a false god who infiltrates society on every level. He was evident in Manchester. He works behind the scenes to deceive and empower evil men. Lacking wisdom and understanding, they approach the problem of lawlessness as though it operated with logic and reason.
I believe demonic spirits are assigned geographic regions (cities, countries and so on) of the world and wield great power. Yet Jesus makes it clear that Satan, the "strong man," is helpless against one "stronger man than he" who will overcome him and reclaim everything he has acquired (Luke 11:20–23). God has given the church the power and authority to bind these territorial spirits (Luke 9:1; 10:17). I believe Manchester is an example of territorial spirits resurfacing with similar activities.
This was not the first time that Manchester experienced a terror attack. On June 15, 1996, the IRA (Irish Republican Army) detonated a 3,300-pound bomb in the city center. Manchester also suffered heavily from the bombings from Nazi Germany in December 1940, during which time a large portion of the city center was destroyed, and nearly 700 people died. The tragic loss of lives following the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena was only 0.3 miles from the city center.
The world was stunned in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Shaken and alarmed by this act of lawlessness, people asked many questions. Who was behind the murder of an American president? What was the real motive? Few answers were ever satisfying, and we may never know the full truth. We do know, however, that it was a shocking act of lawlessness.
On July 7, 2016, another shocking act was perpetrated in Dallas: A lone gunman shot and killed five police officers during a peaceful protest. Like the Kennedy assassination, this was an evil and murderous action. Like the Kennedy assassination, it was an act of lawlessness. And like the Kennedy assassination, it occurred not just in Dallas but down the street from the Dallas County Courthouse. The two ambushes occurred just 0.3 miles from each other. I believe we ought to consider a connection in regard to the spirit realm.
During the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, West Germany, the Palestinian Black September terrorist group took nine Israeli athletes hostage (after having killed two of their teammates) at the Olympic Village and later murdered them. Next to the Olympic Village, a shopping mall that had been built for the 1972 Olympics became the site of another massacre, when an 18-year-old shooter with an illegally obtained Glock pistol opened fire at shoppers and mall employees on July 22, 2016. He killed nine people, two of them as young as 13 years old, and injured thirty-six others.
Jesus empowered His followers with authority over evil spirits (Luke 9:1; 10:17). The church, the bride of Christ, is called to bind the strong man in every nation, state, city, neighborhood, school and home. Jesus has commissioned us to go in His Name with power and authority. We do this through prayer, fasting and seeking to reform laws that allow evil to operate unhindered.
We have been given the "keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 16:19) for a purpose. It is interesting that Jesus referred to keys. The exact number of keys is not stated, yet the plural form suggests that there are multiple doors in the kingdom. As I was praying and asking for insight about this, God revealed to me that there are an unlimited number of keys available. With each key comes greater responsibility and authority to make a positive impact in the spiritual realm. In order to overcome the spirit of lawlessness, we are to pursue greater access to Christ's power and authority.
Lawlessness is advancing quickly and without precedent. It will not be a gradual spread of evil but will strike forward and advance so quickly that mankind will fall into fear and despair. Prime Minister May's unprecedented decision to deploy troops demonstrates a lack of understanding of how the enemy operates. A strong show of force in strategic areas only informs the terrorist where not to strike.
Well-intentioned people devise all kinds of strategies to correct problems in our nations and our world, but the real battle is spiritual. Principalities and powers seek to control and dominate individuals, communities and even entire nations. Much of the turmoil can be traced back to unrestrained demonic forces operating in the world. This approach, as we will come to understand, is playing into the hand of the enemy and will open the door for greater acts of lawlessness in our society.
We would do well to remember the words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who wrote, "From the most ancient times justice has been a two-part concept: virtue triumphs, and vice is punished."
If we fail to deal with the evil in the world, it will rise to greater heights and destroy the good in all of us. In his opposition to the Nazi regime, Dietrich Bonhoeffer asked the question we should be asking,
"Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all this when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God—the responsible man, who tries to make his whole life an answer to the question and call of God. Where are these responsible people?"
God has entrusted us with the responsibility to stop evil in our day. If we fail in our responsibility, then Manchester will be the new normal.
Phil Hotsenpiller is widely considered an expert in the field of end-time prophecy, has been interviewed by The Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, The Telegraph, The Blaze and The History Channel on the subject of Armageddon and the post-apocalyptic world. His new book One Nation without Law will be available through major online retailers and in bookstores nationwide on July 4th. Hotsenpiller also conducts regular interviews with various media outlets, including Fox News. He is the founder and Senior Pastor of Influence Church in Orange County, California. He is married to Tammy Lynne Hotsenpiller. For more information, visit influencechurch.org/content/Leadership_Team/.
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