The War In Heaven

The War In Heaven

Pastor Don Carpenter

Revival Stronger Than Ever / Separation; Purity; Marriage / 2 Chronicles 21–23; 2 Corinthians 6:14–18

2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Ephesians 6:12 KJV
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

I have some good news and some bad news for you today.

The bad news… is that our world is full of bad news these days.

The good news is, our world has always been full of bad news… and bad news never prevails!

One of the worst moments in our nation’s history happened on December 7, 1941. The Japanese Navy attacked the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor, killing 2400 Americans and disabling almost all of our battleships. That was bad news.

The good news was, our 3 aircraft carriers were out on maneuvers at the time. So our Carrier Fleet was intact. 6 months later, that Carrier group destroyed 4 Japanese Carriers in the Battle of Midway. And ultimately, we won the war.

History is like that. – Wait long enough, and good news always triumphs over bad.

  • On Good Friday, our Savior died. It was the worst news in history.
  • Three days later, He rose again. It was the best news in history. On top of that,
  • He ascended to the right hand of the Father.
  • He sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of us.
  • And He launched the church.

Any appearance of the triumph of Evil is temporary because when there is a war in Heaven, and God always wins.

EZRA

A scribe by the name of Ezra knew that. He and his people were emerging from a national crisis.

? They needed some good news.

? They needed some hope.

? They needed some inspiration.

? They needed some reminders that their great God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.

So Ezra writes stories. Real-life stories, with real-life lessons.

SETTING

1 Chronicles 17 takes place during the reign of King David. One day God says to David,

1 Chronicles 17:10–14 KJV
And since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel. Moreover I will subdue all thine enemies. Furthermore I tell thee that the LORD will build thee an house.

And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom.

He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.

I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee:

But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.

There are two promises in this passage: One is that there would always be a descendent of David ruling over the nation of Israel. The second was that one of those descendants would rule “God’s kingdom” forever. In other words, that the Messiah, the Forever-Ruler, would be a descendant of David.

Throughout the Old Testament there were prophecies that one day the Messiah would come. From this day in 1 Chronicles 17 onward, everybody knew that when the Messiah came, He would be a descendent of King David.

The Israelites knew, and Satan knew. Satan is not all-knowing, but he is exceedingly crafty and creative. And when this prophecy is given, he is clued in that the Messiah must come from the lineage of David.

Satan knows that God must be true to His word. He knows that if he can extinguish the line of David, he can prevent the Messiah from coming and saving mankind from our sins.

CONTEXT/FORECAST

[Pause] In 841 B.C. Satan sees and seizes a strategic opportunity to eliminate the line of the David. Here’s how it happened.

Write this down: #1… in 1 Chron. 17,

A Little History:

God promises that David will never lack an heir on the throne of Israel.

1 Chron. 17:10-14

And #2…

God promises that an heir of David will rule God’s kingdom forever. 1 Chron. 17:14b

Now fast-forward from there 150 years, to the time of King Jehoshaphat. We studied him last week.

During the course of his reign, Jehoshaphat made what seemed to him an expedient decision to secure an alliance with his greatest threat, which was the Kingdom of Northern Israel.

Back in those days, a common way to seal alliances was for two kings to marry their children to each other. In this case, Jehoshaphat married his son, Jehoram to the king of Israel’s daughter who was named Athaliah.

NEED

Follow me carefully for the next few minutes and we’ll learn an important lesson that could save you and your family a lot of heartache over the next 30 or 40 or even 50 years.

Turn to the back of your Bible to a map of the Old Testament, or, if you don’t have one, imagine a map of the Mediterranean in your mind. The nation of Israel sits at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.

• At this time in history, Israel is divided into two kingdoms. The Northern Kingdom is simply called, “Israel.” And the Southern Kingdom is called “Judah.”

• The Northern Kingdom was ruled by a king named “Ahab.”

• The Southern Kingdom was ruled by Jehoshaphat.

• Ahab, in order to secure his northern border, had married the daughter of the king to his north. That kingdom was called “Sidon.”

• It’s king was named “Ethbaal.” – The word, “eth” means, “with.”

• The word “Baal,” means “Baal.” Baal was the fertility God of the Canaanites.

• Ethbaal was “with Baal.” He was a worshiper of Baal.

• Ethbaal’s daughter was named “Jezebel.”

(You may have heard of her before. She is infamous for worshiping Baal and corrupting pretty much all of Northern Israel during the time she was its queen.)

• Ahab married Jezebel.

• Together, they had a daughter they named Athaliah.

• Meanwhile, Jehoshaphat and his wife had a son they named Jehoram.

• To cement their alliance, Ahab and Jehoshaphat married their children to each other.

• This meant that the wife of the Crown Prince of Judah was not a follower of Jehovah, but a Baal-worshiper.

2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

2 Chronicles 18:1 KJV
Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.

This happens about 20 years before our story.

COMMENT

Call this, “The Law of Unforeseen Consequences.” If you marry someone who is potentially dangerous, you might not foresee that something dangerous is going to happen.

Here’s the introduction to our story:

2 Chronicles 21:1–4 KJV
Now Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

And he had brethren the sons of Jehoshaphat, Azariah, and Jehiel, and Zechariah, and Azariah, and Michael, and Shephatiah: all these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel.

And their father gave them great gifts of silver, and of gold, and of precious things, with fenced cities in Judah: but the kingdom gave he to Jehoram; because he was the firstborn.

Now when Jehoram was risen up to the kingdom of his father, he strengthened himself, and slew all his brethren with the sword, and divers also of the princes of Israel.

Your 5th point…

When Jehoram became king, he killed all his brothers. 2 Chron. 21:4

He eliminated all the competition.

RESULT

Suddenly, of all the descendants of David, there is only one direct descendant. That’s Jehoram, along with all the sons that he will give birth to over time.

Well, later on that same year, 841 B.C., Jehoram died in battle. Ezra’s comment in verse 20 was, He died to no one’s regret and was buried in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings. 2 Chronicles 21:20b

Because his life did not merit a kingly tomb.

Often, when a king dies, his kingdom is vulnerable, because the neighboring nations know that the new king will be young and inexperienced, so that’s when they attack.

The attack happens. Judah is invaded by her neighbors: They carried off all the possessions found in the king’s palace and also his sons and wives; not a son was left to him except Ahaziah, his youngest son.

2 Chronicles 21:17 KJV
And they came up into Judah, and brake into it, and carried away all the substance that was found in the king’s house, and his sons also, and his wives; so that there was never a son left him, save Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons.

And your next fill-in:

The Philistines kill all but one of Jehoram’s sons (Ahaziah). 2 Chron. 21:17

And then there was one.

Here’s where our story officially begins. The kingdom and the Messianic line are hanging by a single thread.

2 Chronicles 22 opens with…

2 Chronicles 22:1–2 KJV
And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned.

Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.

If you know what’s coming, you can almost hear the downbeats of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony: dun, dun, dun, dun…

A few months after his coronation, Ahaziah is killed in battle.

No problem, Ahaziah had sons and nephews all over the palace. But they are all young and powerless. The person closest to power was the dowager queen, Athaliah.

? She is not Jewish.

? She’s the daughter of Jezebel.

? She is not a worshiper of Jehovah.

? She worships Baal.

This is when Satan launches his strategic initiative.

When Athaliah, Ahaziah’s mother, saw that her son was dead, she proceeded to annihilate all the royal heirs of the house of Judah. 2 Chron. 22:10

2 Chronicles 22:10 KJV
But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.

You’re seventh point:

When Ahaziah died, Athaliah killed all the royal heirs. 2 Chron. 22:10

? The king is dead.

? His descendants are dead.

? The Davidic line is dead, and with it, all hopes for a Messiah.

This is the Good Friday of the Old Testament.

Baal has triumphed. Satan has won.

This, friends, is the bad news.

? All was dark.

? All hope was lost.

For seven years, Judah lived under the rulership of a foreign queen, worshiping a foreign god.

She was the Covid-19 of her day.

If you’ve lost your job, you know how they felt.

? If you’re depressed,

? or frustrated

? or irritated

? or angry,

you know how they felt.

The person in charge of their state, their nation, has driven a stake through the heart of all their hopes.

But there is a War in Heaven! God will not allow the forces of Darkness ultimate victory!

Let’s watch the story unfold:

2 Chronicles 22:10–12 KJV
But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.

But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not.

And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.

2 Chronicles 23:1–3 KJV
And in the seventh year Jehoiada strengthened himself, and took the captains of hundreds, Azariah the son of Jeroham, and Ishmael the son of Jehohanan, and Azariah the son of Obed, and Maaseiah the son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat the son of Zichri, into covenant with him.

And they went about in Judah, and gathered the Levites out of all the cities of Judah, and the chief of the fathers of Israel, and they came to Jerusalem.

And all the congregation made a covenant with the king in the house of God. And he said unto them, Behold, the king’s son shall reign, as the LORD hath said of the sons of David.

2 Chronicles 23:12–14 KJV
Now when Athaliah heard the noise of the people running and praising the king, she came to the people into the house of the LORD:

And she looked, and, behold, the king stood at his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, also the singers with instruments of musick, and such as taught to sing praise. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said, Treason, Treason.

Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, Have her forth of the ranges: and whoso followeth her, let him be slain with the sword. For the priest said, Slay her not in the house of the LORD.

TRIUMPH!

? The forces of darkness seemed to be in control.

? Satan had won.

? Good was defeated.

? Evil had overcome!

But what seems and what is aren’t always the same.

Friends, the God of the Bible

? is the God of good news.

? He’s the God of the rescue.

? The God of the living hope.

? The God of the second chance.

? The God of the comeback.

With Him, there is always a way out of darkness.

Dreams of Messiah were dead, and then there was a resurrection!

Sorrow may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning!

Athaliah annihilated all the royal heirs, but…

Seven years later, it was discovered that one heir survived. 2 Chron. 23:3

Talk about rejoicing!

2 Chronicles 23:16–17 KJV
And Jehoiada made a covenant between him, and between all the people, and between the king, that they should be the LORD’s people.

Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.

CONCLUSION/APPLICATION

Ezra is recounting Israel’s history so that we can learn lessons during our time in history.

Ezra is letting us know that…

Ezra’s Lessons:

There is a war in heaven that is playing out on earth. 2 Chronicles 18-24

That war is more real than the Iraqi War or the War in Kuwait, or Vietnam or Korea.

Ephesians 6:12–13 KJV
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

The armor of God is faith, and hope, and righteousness, and the truth of salvation, and God’s word, and the Holy Spirit. Stand firm in those friends. Trust God and believe what He says, and do what He says.

Ezra is teaching us that God always has plans…

God always has plans to build up. 1 Chronicles 17:10-14

And those plans are to build up and not tear down.

And that Satan always has plans…

Satan always has plans to tear down. 2 Chronicles 22

And those plans are always to tear down and not build up.

And Ezra is teaching us that…

God always wins. 2 Chronicles 23

The Athaliahs of our world may rule for a while, but never forever. Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

And morning is coming.

Say that after me: The morning is coming!

Say it like you mean it: The morning is COMING!

TRANS

That’s the vertical lesson of our story. It explains the spiritual dimension of our condition and why it all seems so much worse than it actually is.

How Does This Story Change Our Behavior?

Destiny and success is determined by the company you keep. 2 Chronicles 24

Don’t miss this lesson: Jehoshaphat endangered the generations which followed by building an alliance with a Baal-worshiper. He didn’t know he was doing it. It seemed innocent to him at the time.

This may be why God spells it out so clearly in the New Testament when He says…

2 Corinthians 6:14–16 KJV
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

On a practical level, Ezra is telling us:

Be careful who you marry. 2 Chronicles 18:1; 2 Corinthians 6:14

You don’t marry just a body,

? You marry a mind.

? You marry their beliefs.

? You marry their value-system.

And you don’t marry just a person, you marry into their family.

When Jehoram got Athaliah, he also got Jezebel and her Baal-worshiping priests and courtiers and all the evil that went with them.

Ezra is also encouraging us to line up all our partnerships with believers.

Jehoshaphat made an alliance. As a result of that alliance, the lineage of David and the promise of Messiah were almost wiped out.

Satan is always working to defeat God’s plans. He never succeeds.

The story of Joash is the story of triumph from ashes. It’s a story of revival!

It’s also the story of two unsung heroes, who were not kings. One was a rescuer named Jehoshabeath, the other a mentor, named Jehoiada. They happened to be married to each other. Everyone needs a rescuer at some time, and everyone needs a mentor at all times.

This is the story of the war in heaven, and of relationships on earth.

And the moral of the story is, when there is a war in Heaven, God always wins, so stay close to Him, and you will too.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:52 AM December 10, 2020.

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