Read: Revelation 12:12-17
The Heidelberg Catechism makes special reference to the enemies who oppose God’s church and kingdom: “destroy the works of the devil and all violence which would exalt itself against Thee.” Part of the coming of God’s kingdom is the overthrow of God’s enemies.
The enemies of the church are numerous and powerful. The Catechism specifically mentions the devil, because he is the chief enemy of God and the church. The devil was not always evil. He was created as a good angel, sometime during the creation week. At some point after the creation week, he fell into sin and rebelled against God. This fallen angel, now known as Satan or the devil, took with him many other angels, who are now demons.
The devil hates Christ above all. One of the devil’s names, Satan, means adversary. Satan is the great adversary of God and is consumed with bitter wrath against God. As Rev 12 teaches, Satan vents his wrath against the church. He makes war with the church and tries to overthrow her. Satan conducts this war with all kinds of weapons. Sometimes he uses physical persecution; sometimes he uses doubts and fears; sometimes he uses temptations to sin. Whatever his weapon, his goal is always the destruction of God’s people.
Satan is not the only enemy of the church. There is also the unregenerate, wicked world. The world hates the church because the church is a constant testimony against the sins of the world. The wicked world puts pressure on the church to abandon her confession and be like the unbelievers. Sometimes this pressure takes the form of persecution, other times it takes the form of ridicule, other times it takes the form of making sin look attractive and desirable. Whatever form it takes, the goal is always to silence the church’s testimony against the sins of the world.
The church also faces an enemy within her own bosom: the old man of sin that lives in every child of God. Like the devil and the wicked world, this depraved nature of the child of God wars against him.
These enemies are powerful, but they are not sovereign. There is One whose might far exceeds that of all of the enemies put together. The power of God is infinite, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against Him. He takes pleasure in His church and will preserve her to the end.
Therefore we pray: Thy kingdom come . . . against the enemies.