For the last 11 years the US has been involved in the Global War on Terror. The War on Terrorism has taken a heavy toll on most of us, but the church can learn several lessons from this war. The one that I think has the most immediate application is from a term thrown around a lot that has many Biblical parallels. That word is Insurgency.
The definition of insurgency is “If there is a rebellion against the authority (for example an authority recognized as such by the United Nations) and those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents, then the rebellion is an insurgency.” Some of the tactics of an insurgency that are Biblically applicable are: “1) Cell-networks that maintain secrecy. 2) Multifaceted attempts to cultivate support in the general population, often by undermining the new regime. 3) Attacks against the government.”
When we look at the Scriptures we see that God has been waging an insurgency against Satan for all of history and it was culminated in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. The Birth of Jesus is the Greatest Insurgency in History.
In the beginning of creation there was a war and Satan fell from heaven, but he didn’t accept his defeat there. He went to the Garden. He deceived Eve and Adam capitulated, they ate the fruit and threw away authority and dominion. Literally, they turned over their rightful, God-given leadership and responsibility of creation to Satan. The Bible refers to Satan’s new found authority in several passages and even calls him the God of this world (Luke 4:5, 2 Cor 4:4.)
God had other plans, though – what is often referred to as the Proto-evangelion (Genesis 3:15) where God pronounces the eventual demise of Satan’s reign of terror.
God already had a plan to redeem mankind and reclaim what was rightfully His. He was sending His Son Jesus to earth as a baby, to preach the gospel and teach a group of men to do the same, then to die on a cross and to be raised from the dead.
I mean consider the weight of this statement. The God of the universe took on human form and became fully man to SAVE US! In theological or liturgical terms we refer to this as the Incarnation: God took on human flesh and became God Among Us.
Shortly after the Baptism of Jesus He choose His twelve disciples. Incidentally, typically twelve is the number of people in a cell. After choosing those twelve men He gave them and us the authority and power to wage war against the god of this world (Luke 9:1-2). Shortly, after that He teaches them how to wage war against the god of this world. He shows them how to fight an insurgency. Jesus literally rebels against rebellion!
When we break Christmas down, when we really look closely at it, it’s simple. There was a war on humanity, God loved us and sent a rescuer who in secret led a rebellion against the enemy of our soul. He came and disarmed Satan, took his power away through the cross and then turned the people of this world against him by preaching the Gospel.
However the insurgency can’t and doesn’t stop there. Jesus left this world and, just as He was sent, He has sent His disciples and US. One of the characteristic of a good insurgency is the leader is the model of how to wage a fight and then his followers imitate their leader and do the same thing. We must continue to lead the insurgency against Satan.
This year as we near Christmas, the advent of the greatest insurgency in history, don’t just buy gifts, sing songs, and go to church but consider what role you are to play in the eternal war for the souls of men, women, and children in your community.
How can you rebel against rebellion and preach the good news about Jesus the first insurgent?
Image: John Milton’s “Paradise Lost“ by Gustave Doré, 1866; public domain/copyright expired
Lower Image: The Nativity by Gustave Doré; public domain/copyright expired