The title may seem a bit pretentious. It could certainly be used in various different senses.
I am concerned particularly in the attempt of Satan to infiltrate our very homes in order to instruct in the lie. We are, perhaps, not too aware of his attempt. Nor are we always aware of the fact that as the time of the end approaches, Satan will increasingly try to speak to us. His time is short—and he knows that. He, therefore, works frantically in order to undermine or destroy (if such were possible) the faith of the saints.
One striking sign of the end of the age is the fact that Satan through the beasts of Revelation 13, speaks. We read in Revelation 13:5, 6: “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.” Of the second beast we read: (Rev. 13:11) “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” In harmony with the above is the revelation in Daniel (Dan. 7:8, 11, 20).
My intent in this article is to point out that in many ways that speech of these passages can be heard today. We must be aware of this and beware it. Our eyes are often blind to this; our ears are sometimes dull of hearing. Ought we not to see and hear that these passages of Scripture are even now being fulfilled? Surely, the passages of Revelation 13 and Daniel 7 have not yet been fulfilled. The kingdom of the antichrist has not yet been established. The speaking of the beasts, then, has not yet been heard. Yet much of this same sort of speaking is heard today. Do you recognize the speech of the antichrists? Scripture declares: “Neither give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27). We ought to guard against his speech which is presented to deceive.
We can see already how that at the end-time the antichrist can readily speak to all the peoples of the earth. It is this speech which can and does reach into our very homes. In that sense, I speak of the “enemy within.”
The means of modem communication, the mass media, have for the most part been taken over by the world and are used by them to set forth their evil thoughts and desires. We must recognize this and be on our guard against it. The enemy within seeks to undermine—and to a certain extent, we can see the sad consequences in our own homes. I am concerned most about the abuse of television, but the other means of communication can not be ignored: radio, the printed page, the use of film, etc. The world, Satan, and finally the antichrist can reach into our very homes to tell us what to think, what to seek, what to say, how to dress. Are you aware what the enemy within seeks to do to you and your family? I would remind you of a few dangers.
One noteworthy mark of the speech of the beasts ofRevelation 13 is blasphemy. There is blasphemy against God, His Name, His tabernacle, and His people. How extensive this blasphemy already is! Whether on television, radio, or the printed page, it is obvious that there is nothing “sacred” to man. God’s Name is used in vain. His Church is mocked. His Word is often quoted but scorned. Man knows no bounds in his evil desire to denounce all that which is spiritual. Trouble is, all this blasphemy enters directly into our homes. We have almost become immune to its terribleness. It is not unusual to hear children of God even mouth some of these same blasphemies which pour forth into the homes. Our children watch it and read it. Nothing seems too terrible anymore. No wonder children grow up without any sense of the awfulness of all of this! They have almost become hardened to the awful blasphemies so common today. And when the end does come, very few will be shocked at the blasphemies of the beasts of Revelation. How much place have we given to the devil in our homes?
Lust would be the evil, inordinate desire for that which is forbidden in the Word of God. It is seeking the things of the flesh. This may be related to the realm of “sex,” in which there is no regard to the marriage bond. This may be related to the realm of the material, which one sets his heart on the things of the earth.
Now Satan from the beginning has sought to instill lust in man! Already to Eve in Paradise, he brought to her attention the desirability of the tree of knowledge of good and evil—in spite of the Word God had spoken. Eve desired and ate of the forbidden fruit.
The evil of lusting for the things of the flesh is constantly before us through the mass media. The common attempt to arouse sexual lusts ought to be obvious to all. Advertising implies often sexuality related to the material. Usually a new car will be presented with a scantily attired woman in or near it. The desirability of less restraint in the marriage relationship is suggested. The dramas of men, the written stories, the advertising—all these present the evil thoughts of the world. And all these come flooding into our homes.
And there is the gross materialism of our day. Through the various media, one is encouraged to set his heart on earthly things. The appeal of better homes, nicer cars, fashionable clothes, clever gadgets is set forth. Increasingly, it seems impossible to remember that the things of this earth pass away. Our desires, our thoughts, are directed towards the earthly. The advertising, the conversations, of men, these all remind of the pleasures of the material. The speech of the world is heard in our homes. We listen; we hear—and are influenced so much by this all. Are not our desires directed towards the very thing the voice of the world presents? How hard to remember: “Give no place to the devil!”
With all that which enters our homes, it is no wonder that the conscience seems to be almost hardened to what is and what is not sin. News reports consistently present the atrocious, evil, disastrous, corrupt. This is the news. Adultery is presented as a common-place thing. The details of the latest robbery and murder are reported in gruesome detail. The rise in the crime rate is considered almost acceptable. In some cases, one can avidly watch the latest television drama. One becomes wound up in what is presented. One becomes almost sympathetic toward the hero—no matter what his sin: God’s laws are not regarded as absolute. Man in his pretense can glorify the violation of God’s law. All this is presented in our homes. The devil finds somewhat of a place.
And no wonder then that sin does not appear so terrible anymore. No wonder that whole denominations can alter historic stands and adopt positions of this world contrary to God’s Word. What else can they do when the majority of the members simply accept as proper that which God’s laws condemn? I think specifically now of altered positions on movie attendance; of altered positions on abortion; of altered positions on marriage, divorce, and remarriage.
No wonder that one finds “Christian” parents cheating on their income tax forms. No wonder that one finds “Christian” workers stealing from their employers—either a stealing of time or of material objects. No wonder that “Christian” children can appropriate that which belongs to another without any sense of guilt, it would seem. No wonder that lying can be done as though there is nothing wrong in it. Satan has spoken often—seeking to convince that sin is not sin. He has entered into our homes with his lies; we have listened far too much.
What is particularly disturbing in the “voice” of the world which enters our homes is the evil philosophy which is presented—and accepted almost without question. There is the idea of “peace” and “unity” which is presented. I have observed this in children’s television programs, including that oft-approved “Sesame Street.” One can so quickly speak of the “good” programs and “good” articles. Yet a “good” program such as Sesame Street repeatedly emphasizes the unity and oneness of man and the harmony which must exist between them—all without the cross. What are children, who repeatedly hear this in their youth, going to believe as they grow up? I suggest that much of this is built-in instruction by the voice of this world to teach our precious children that unity and oneness and peace are possible without Christ. Why are our children at times even now advocates of “peace” such as the world seeks? Why do they use the “peace sign?” Why do they wear such signs on their clothing? Has not the “voice” of the world to an extent affected them?
Have we also not been affected by the “voice” which encourages materialism? Do we not place great emphasis upon our material possessions? Are we not insistent upon the latest fashions? Do we not want the latest of the labor-saving devices? How much have we not also been influenced by the “voice” which enters our homes? We minimize the reality of this influence only to our own spiritual hurt.
And does not the “voice” within. our homes train us to listen to what man has to say? The repetition of man’s thoughts and ideas flooding into our homes seeks to condition us to hear more and more of the evil philosophies of this world.
USE OF TIME
Perhaps, one could point out the waste of time in connection with the mass media of our day. How many do not spend far more time reading their daily newspaper than they do reading and studying Scripture? How many have no time for study of society lessons or catechism or Sunday school—yes spend hours in front of the television? How many have no time or desire to hear our own “Reformed Witness Hour”—yes have time to hear the godless songs of man on the radio? How much precious time to we waste—because of the “voice” which enters our homes? How much place has there been found for the devil?
I do not advocate the removal of these “mass media.” Such would be virtually impossible. But saints of God had better be aware of the attempts of the world and of Satan to influence our thinking and undermine our faith. Use good inventions to the glory of God, but beware the voice of beasts which even now is being heard. For thus we live as those who know that the “Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:5).