Eleven hundred cannons opened up in a chorus of 10,000 thunders of blazing hot steel at exactly 5:30 a.m., April 9, 1917. The thunder and roar of the big artillery signaled that another battle for Vimy Ridge had begun. Three days later, the battle was over.
What the mighty British and French could not do in three years, the meager Canadians did in three days. Canada wrested Vimy Ridge from Germany.
The Allied generals knew that a German Vimy Ridge stood between the Allies and victory. To put an end to the war, the Allies had to put an end to the German stronghold on Vimy Ridge.
We, too, are in a war, and between us and victory is Satan. To put an end to this world, God is waiting for us to personally put an end to Satan—to individually conquer him.
Revelation 3:21 says: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
The word overcometh, nikao in the Greek, means to carry off the victory, or to come off victorious.
Winning this war must be our singular focus. Zeroing in on our enemy will strengthen our vision.
Know the Enemy
In any battle, the enemy must be correctly identified and counsel of his stratagems taken. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Imagine a drowsy soldier stumbling onto the field of battle. Besides risking his own life, he would be a liability to his comrades. A soldier must be sober, on his toes, and vigilant in the conduct of the principles of war.
For the Allied Powers during the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the enemy was the German Army—a powerful, fierce and unflinching foe.
We have one raging enemy: Satan the devil. He is bloodthirsty, deceptive, determined and crafty. Christ labels him a murderer (John 8:44).
In an article titled “Satan’s Power,” Gerald Flurry wrote: “Many people in this world do not believe in the devil. But even more people do believe in the devil—yet don’t realize what great and frightening power he has! … Who today really believes that Satan has the power to crush nations, or lay nations low, or enslave nations? Do you believe Satan has power like that? And think about this: If he can do that to the nations, what can he do to YOU?” (Royal Vision, January-February 2009; emphasis added throughout).
This is who we must conquer.
Mr. Flurry has stated: “As time draws closer to the end, we must understand that the full force of Satan’s wrath will come against us as a church and as individuals. Satan wants to destroy you!” (Ezra and Nehemiah—Building God’s Temple).
In the early years of World War i, soldiers had been told to rise out of trenches and attempt to hustle across no man’s land to capture the enemy position. There was little attention paid to informing the ordinary soldier of the topography, gun placements or battlefield entanglements like barbed wire or mines.
The Allied planning for Vimy Ridge was much different. Each man had access to a map of the battlefield, with objectives and entanglements identified, topography listed. This greatly aided in the success of the battle.
Writing about the meticulous planning for the Vimy Ridge battle, Dr. Andrew Macphail wrote: “For two months I have had the plan of the battle before me in as much detail as if it were the plan of a house which an architect proposed to build” (Pierre Berton, Vimy). These men had a step-by-step guide on how to conquer the enemy.
For Christians, the Bible is our military manual. In it, God has fully exposed our enemy. The details God provides are meticulous and complete. Satan cannot hide or strike without notice: We know when he strikes, how he likes to fight, where he likes to fight, why he is fighting. God has shown us the battlefield and given us the weapons to carry off the victory! In addition, through the pages of the Bible we’ve also been given a step-by-step guide on how to conquer the enemy.
It is how we wage our war that dictates our success and the enemy’s failure: When we become spiritually weak, he becomes strong. When we become spiritually strong, he becomes weak. When we drift from God, the devil conquers. When we draw close to God, he is being conquered.
God has put much that determines when and how Satan can attack us in our own hands! We must guard against giving our enemy the means of our own destruction.
Many times, while sitting across negotiating tables, the Allies were deceived about German intentions—only to find themselves sitting across from their enemy on a battlefield. The Allies gave the enemy the means to their own destruction.
Mr. Flurry continued in that Royal Vision article: “If we don’t recognize just how great Satan’s power really is, how could we possibly avoid being deceived—or worse—by that great being?” (op. cit.).
In World War i, the Allies knew who the enemy was. They attacked with piston-like consistency. They set their sights on vanquishing the Germans, and did it. What about each of us? Do we know the enemy?
Sacrifice for King and Empire
At the outset of World War i, Canada was a fledgling nation under Britain’s King George v, and the glorious past of the British Empire—of the Battle of Waterloo and Wellington’s deathblow to Napoleon’s armies, of the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson’s great victory, of the naval exploits of Sir Francis Drake—colored the imagination of its subjects and stoked idealistic fervor in the hearts of a generation of boys.
Young lads clamored to join the war effort. And while high ideals swirled in their hearts, they suffered great indignities to their bodies. They left home hoping to find adventure, and arrived in France to find a nightmare—a pit of filth and despair.
Yet the noblest of virtues pounded in their chests: They sacrificed for king and empire.
As the Canadians prepared for the Battle of Vimy Ridge, day by day, countless hours were spent in mud trenches. Vermin, rats and stench were daily annoyances, and the specter of death hung like a pall over each day. Despite the physical trials, the men refused to let the circumstances entangle their spirits or to get them down, to brood or to give up.
As we fight in this war, we must endure hardness for King and the God Family empire! “Thou therefore endure [or suffer] hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
The Greek word warreth means to make a military expedition, or to lead soldiers to war or to battle (spoken of a commander). We are soldiers of a God Family empire making a military expedition against Satan and his henchmen.
On the field of battle, barbed wire was a constant menace. With its spikes and jagged edges, it could catch on a soldier’s uniform, and the more he fussed and wiggled, the more he became entangled—and a target for machine-gunners. It was in a soldier’s best interest to vigilantly avoid contact with these barbs.
We, too, have to exercise great vigilance in identifying and avoiding the barriers to us successfully carrying off the victory against Satan. This world is a web of lies and deceit and empty promises, all too ready to ensnare us!
In Matthew 6:22-34 and Luke 14:26, Christ teaches us to make sure we don’t put any idol ahead of God, be it a career, a hobby or even our family members. Idols are entanglements. Bitterness is an entanglement. This world is an entanglement. Sin is an entanglement. See Matthew 13:18-23 and also read 2 Corinthians 6:17-18 and Revelation 18:4.
The young men who volunteered to fight in Vimy Ridge loved their lives less than they loved king and empire. They gave up their lives for a temporal empire. They made the ultimate sacrifice.
We have been drafted out of this world to give up our lives for the good of humanity—to sacrifice our lives (Romans 12:1). Our sacrifice is for an eternal empire, and the loftiest eternal reward! Our battle cry must be, ”For King and the God Family empire!”
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was the first time all four divisions of the Canadian Army fought as one group under Canadian leadership, including, arguably, Canada’s best general, Sir Arthur Currie. Currie entered the army as a non-commissioned officer, and through experience and success, rose to prominence.
Currie’s plan for Vimy Ridge was so successful that for every 42 British and French casualties attempting to take Vimy Ridge, the Canadians lost only one! Currie was a faithful, compassionate commander. He understood what it was like to face withering fire. He fought in the trenches, commanded men in real action, and took great pains to avoid needless bloodshed.
We, too, have a caring and compassionate Commander in God the Father, and in the Captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Study Christ’s one-on-one spiritual warfare with Satan in Matthew 4:1-10. He was absolutely poured out physically—but razor-sharp spiritually (Hebrews 4:12). He was tested!
As we face the battle each day, we might stumble and fall. A faithful commander is there to pick up a fallen soldier. And that is what God and Christ are doing, without fail—if we cry out for their help when we fall (1 John 1:9).
It is through much tribulation that we will enter the Kingdom of God. Hebrews 10:32 instructs us to bravely fight our afflictions. To obtain the glory of Christ, we must endure the joyful afflictions of Christ (John 15:8; 2 Corinthians 11:24-28).
Every time we stumble and fall, and repent and get back up, God and Christ are urging us onward: Onward Christian soldier, onward! Fight the battle!
Every soldier who fights in an army is given provisions by his government to wage war: a gun, boots, a helmet and a uniform. If we cling to God’s government, we will daily receive the provisions of grace and divine power to wage the battles we face (John 1:12; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Acts 17:11).
Mr. Flurry writes: “We are all sinners. We are all going to disappoint people, including ourselves—and our Father. Even the ministry is ‘compassed with infirmity,’ or weakness (Hebrews 5:2). We all fail to be perfect like our Father. This does not mean it is okay to sin—it is simply acknowledging reality.
“When God’s people stumble and sin, we may think only of God distancing Himself from us—ashamed of us. But that’s not the way it is. Do we realize that, when we draw upon Him, Christ becomes our Advocate, pleading our case with God the Father? When you sin, and perhaps get depressed over it, Christ is at God’s throne being your Advocate! …
“To many [God] is a harsh taskmaster, ready to destroy us if we weaken. Actually, He is just the opposite” (The Last Hour).
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). What an inspiring scripture! God and Christ are faithful Commanders—and always will be.
Weapons of Warfare
The Battle of Vimy Ridge included a number of innovations that contributed to its stunning success. New weapons of warfare were introduced, and these weapons highly contributed to the total pulling-down of the German Vimy Ridge fortress.
We, too, have been given weapons of warfare that must be used to conquer Satan—to pull down spiritual fortresses of sin. “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)”—or fortresses of sin (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
When we were drafted into God’s army, He equipped us with prayer, Bible study, fasting and meditation. These are the four powerful weapons of warfare! We must shoot, smack, surge, thrash, pound, strike, cut, gash, stab and blast at Satan and sin! (Matthew 5:27-30). These weapons, through God, are mighty to the pulling down of wicked spiritual strongholds!
Sometimes we may face a stubborn firefight with a particular sin and think conquering it will be impossible. In Luke 18:27, Christ said: “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” Conquering an impregnable fortress of sin takes the power of God—and is possible if we stick with it and use the weapons.
In the article “How to Be an Overcomer,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote,
“[H]ave you not found that sin has had dominion over you, holding you its slave? Have you not fought it desperately even with tears streaming down your face—only to fail? …
“James says: ’Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you’ (James 4:7)….
“Peter says to humble ourselves, casting ALL our care upon the Lord, and to be sober and VIGILANT, because the devil is walking about, watching for the chance to tempt us when we are off our guard. We should ’resist him, steadfast in the faith’ (1 Peter 5:6-9).”
Mr. Armstrong concluded: “Sometimes it takes a siege of fasting and prayer—earnest, determined, persevering prayer—seeking God with all our might—with weeping—staying with it, determined, until we get through. Then we must keep in continuous prayer” (Good News, August 1985).
Mr. Armstrong gave us a step-by-step scientific warfare strategy for the tearing down of spiritual fortresses of sin! He said it takes weeping and crying, coupled with prayer and fasting, to conquer stubborn sins.
Christ set the example. Hebrews 5:7 says: “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.” If the Son of God, who was perfect and sinless, needed to offer up strong crying and tears to conquer, how much more should we lean hard on God for the power to conquer?
We must put our hearts in God’s Work–the daily (Ephesians 6:15). How powerful is this weapon? At the root of every righteous man and woman of the Bible is an ardent, white-hot, burning love for God, putting Him and His Work ahead of everything! This kind of attitude purifies (1 John 3:1-3).
Putting our heart in God’s Work is the whetstone we use to sharpen our weaponry, and putting those weapons to use in the battle for world freedom is our calling.
Onward to Victory
The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a complete victory. On April 21, just a few short days after Canada conquered Vimy Ridge, Lt. Irving Findley of the 7th Trench Mortar Battery wrote to his father: “I suppose you’re all feeling pretty fine about the war news these days. There’s an absolutely different atmosphere about the war out here than there was a year ago. Everyone is in wonderful spirits. I can’t see now what the Germans have to gain by holding out much longer. … A German officer, Prussian Guard, who was taken prisoner in the scrap said that the defeat at Vimy Ridge was one the hardest blows that the Germans had received in the war” (Berton, op. cit.).
In fact, the Germans held on for another year and seven months! The armistice was signed Nov. 11, 1918. Despite the major victory on Vimy Ridge, the Allies faced many more months of intense fighting ahead.
Stiffer battles lie on our horizon. But we can take heart. “The pcg is entering into fearful times. As we succeed in the Work of God, our angry enemies from outside the Church are going to wage all-out war against us. Our adversaries will come after us from every direction. We are going to have to work and fight at the same time! Our time is the time for spades and swords. We must look to God, do the Work and hold our spiritual swords high. Even with all of this, we must realize that only God can win our battles for us. We must work and fight by faith. Some people could ask the question, Is this Work too much for us? That is the wrong question. Here is the right question: Is this Work too much for God? The answer is a resounding no! A THOUSAND times no!” (Ezra and Nehemiah—Building God’s Temple).
If we use the weapons of war God has given to us, then through Christ living in us and fighting for us, we can obtain a glorious victory over Satan and share God’s throne with Jesus Christ. We must fight. Fight! Fight! FIGHT!
ONWARD Christian soldiers!