The disciples of the LORD (in their lack of Spiritual understanding) asked HIM to tell them of the signs which would immediately precede HIS coming again at the end of the world. HE told them that many deceivers would come in HIS NAME, either pretending that they are HIS spokesmen or that they themselves are the embodiment of CHRIST in order to gain a following; deceiving many in the process. HE said they should not be surprised for such is the nature of men who are bent upon establishing their own righteousness, while not submitting themselves unto HIS.
HE went on to say that the wickedness of this world (as in the days of Noah, see Mat.24:37) would continue as it always has, regardless of the manifestation of GOD’s truth and the ongoing establishment of HIS Kingdom, which is not of this world, even though it is made quite manifest in this world (yet the natural man cannot see it or enter therein, see Luke 17:20-22).
HE told them that, the course of human history and the activities of nations would continue as it has since the beginning. Then HE used the illustration of the common nature of warfare among nations which has been going on since the very earliest days of civilization until the present hour and according to HIM shall do so even right up until the end. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” (Mat 24:6-7)
Now just as surely as the nations of this earth shall have conflict with one another, so too it is a certainty that this world shall be in conflict with HIS Kingdom. Therefore the children of the Kingdom must of necessity be set in battle array against all that would set itself against HIM and the seat of HIS glory and power. James speaks of this conflict and the certainty of this battle; “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4) The LORD said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (i.e.; literally “wealth” which is by illustration the definition of the essence of this world.” (Mat 6:24) (see I Tim.6:10)
While the nations of this world continue to fight against one another with material weapons of slaughter and mayhem, each one bent upon the destruction of the other, this is completely at odds with the nature of the weapons which those who are called as the subjects of HIS Kingdom and the soldiers of HIS army, are equipped with. Paul said it quite well, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2Cor 10:3-5)
This sort of “warfare” is not pleasing to the “flesh” which is constantly looking for outward signs of triumph, nor does it serve the interests of the “flesh”. The triumphs of this Kingdom are not often readily observed and sometimes seem tediously slow, as the LORD said, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation.”(Luke 17:20) Though not satisfying to the flesh, the triumph of this warfare, is certain because the battle belongs to the LORD. “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isa 59:19)
It is with this in mind that Paul exhorts Timothy to “war a good warfare”. That soldier who is the most effective in this battle which is waged against the Kingdom of GOD is the one who is the most certain of the outcome of this conflict. For those who have been taught of HIM who is the COMMANDER in chief, recognize that it is HE and not them who does assure the victory since HE has overcome all of HIS foes, triumphing over them openly. The sons of GOD are merely an occupying force, thus HIS allusion to this in the parable. “Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13)
As long as we are in “this present evil world” we can be certain that there will be resistance to our MASTER’s rule. Though HE has thoroughly defeated those who would assail HIS Kingdom and endanger HIS subjects, these foes will continue to harass and oppose those who would be called into HIS service. Each one of those who would be a “good soldier of JESUS CHRIST”, is clad in the “whole armor of GOD” which is provided by HIM who sends forth HIS army with the best equipment which is quite suited to the task at hand. It is this “equipment” that enabled Paul at the end of his life to be able to say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2Tim 4:7)
Paul tells Timothy that it is “according to the prophecies which went before on thee” that he is to wage this war. He then defines exactly what he is speaking of in the next verse when he says, “Holding faith, and a good conscience which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.” (1Tim 1:19) It is the same which Jude writes of saying “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 1:3)
The gospel of CHRIST, is the chief “weapon” which is at our disposal, and it is by this mighty power, (see Eph.6:17) that all of the triumphs in the Kingdom of GOD are made manifest. Imaginations are hereby cast down, along with every thing which would exalt itself against the knowledge of GOD. This is the rallying cry of all who would “fight a good fight” and is the “STANDARD” which is “lifted up” against the enemy. “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:31-32)
A “good warfare” is that which recognizes to WHOM the battle belongs and HE who has triumphed gloriously. This is the purpose of preaching the gospel. “.Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”(Isa 40:1-5)
A “good warfare” is that which relies upon HIM who is “a very present help in trouble.” (Ps.46:1) “And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, ---Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”(Acts 14:21-22) Though the sons of GOD are indeed called upon to contend for the faith, they only do so as HE who is their PERFORMER, works in them both to will and to do of HIS good pleasure.
A “good warfare” is that which rests upon the equipment and strength which HE provides for those whom HE sends to battle. “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? (1Cor 9:7) “Dressed uniform, the soldiers are when duty calls abroad, Not purchased by their cost or care but by their PRINCE bestowed.” The LORD will provide all things needful for the sons of GOD to be faithful to the calling which HE has given them. All do not have the same measure of faith but all have that which is sufficient to stand in the evil day fulfilling that which is pleasing in HIS sight.
Though David penned these words and sang this song, it is in reality prophetic of the words of CHRIST who in turn has given them to those HE loves, “God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.”(2Sa 22:33-36)mam