What is spiritual warfare and what does it mean to the end time Christian? This is a look at this issue however, rather than going about this in the traditional fashion by quoting the Apostle Paul’s very important verses in Ephesians and dissecting it as hundreds have already done, I will look at this issue from a somewhat different and 'panoramic' way.
Spiritual warfare is simply put, a war between the forces of God and the forces of rebellion, led by one of God’s most trusted created angelic beings, whose name was Lucifer but is, since his fall, more correctly called Satan. Satan is derived from the Hebrew word meaning opponent.. Satan’s main job as it related to mankind is to accuse God's people. However, his name in the Greek ‘Devil’ means accuser or slanderer. That is, whenever God’s children stumble and fall, or sin against God, Satan goes and accuses the Christian before God’s throne. However, sometimes there need not be any sin at all for Satan to accuse one of God’s servants.
The very first time he is mentioned in scripture (by this name) is in 1st Chronicles and he appears as a ‘tempter’, one who provoke David to number Israel. This thing greatly displeased God and God responded in most negative fashion. Form this point onwards in scripture, we see a pattern develop with Satan, man and God. Satan tempts, Man sins, and God punishes. This pattern is repeated throughout the Old and New Testaments and each time this occurs in scripture we see the overall purpose to Satan’s accusations. It is to get him in hot water with God and to thwart God’s plans and blessings for his people. This is the pattern over and over again in the scriptures. Satan, being a created being is very much a finite and limited spiritual entity, but one far superior in intellect, strength, cunning and even determination than man. Satan is relentless in his pursuit of his goal to thwart God’s purposes and rule the all things under his cruel and evil rulership. What men must understand about Satan that will help him to deal with his wiles are these two important things.
1) His pride and arrogance makes him think he can really be like God.
2) He has an intense jealousy and hatred for mankind because of the great love and plan of salvation that has been offered to man and not to fallen angles.
Each is a very important issue with Satan and his kingdom and the second reason bears a little closer scrutiny. It must be understood that God is very merciful, yet he is far less so with presumptuous sin. These angles who rebelled against God may have figured that God was ‘soft’ and really would provide a way for them to be eventually avoid an eternity in torment in the lake of fire, as he eventually provided a way of salvation for mankind. The entire incident with the fallen angels known as Nephilim is one that is very revealing. First of all this incident happened after the Lucifer’s rebellion against God (Genesis 3:1-6; Genesis 6:1-7) and the incident regarding the Son’s of God (see Article.) These angles knew of God’s anger at rebellion, yet chose to go down and sleep with human women anyway. Here Satan’s warfare against God and man took on an entirely different and dangerous dimension. Satan’s plan was to destroy the purity of the race of men so that God could not save men because the promise of a future redeemer was for the son’s of adam (hebrew - benay adam), not the son’s of God (hebrew - benay elohim). This was a serious threat to God’s plan and Satan wants very much to make God out to be a liar. Thus, here spiritual warfare took on far more of a meaning than just a single individual sinning or even wars and rumors of wars. This was an entirely new dimension to spiritual warfare that man had little control over.
Indeed, much of this warfare is beyond mans ability to see and influence except through prayer and even then, only as God’s Spirit gives revelation into the spiritual world. This is a war and in any war there are casualties on both sides. However in this war, Man has a very special protection from his redeemer. An interesting passage of scripture shows how God protects his people and how a great spiritual army rides with those who do God’s will.
And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain [was] full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed unto the LORD, and said, Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. (2Ki 6:17-18)
This is a fascinating piece of scripture God had an army of spiritual ‘military hardware’ around Elisha and he could not be harmed.
The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. (Psa 34:7)
Yet there are times that God, for his own purpose allows that protection to be removed from his people.
Another interesting piece of scripture can be found in Job.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath [is] in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:8-12)
Here Satan is accusing Job and is complaining to God that Job is so well protected that Satan can’t get to him and that if Job as a run of bad luck, he would curse God. God then allows Satan to test his servant Job. Now the entire time this is happening, Job is clueless as to what just transpired in Heaven and the conversation the LORD had with Satan. All he knows is that suddenly his life is turned upside down and things just keep getting worse. Here we see that Satan had access to the throne room and God’s divine ‘council chamber’. Weather or not Satan still has this kind of access to Heaven and God is a matter of some debate (see John 12:31). It appears that he has been cast out but the actual timing of it and full effect of this comes in Revelation 12:9. On this point scholars debate but most agree that this event has already transpired. Yet the real issue here is that Satan still has a kingdom of evil and still is most desperate to thwart the plans of God for mankind in the hopes that this might in some fashion prevent his ultimate fate. Thus, Satan is still most active in the affairs of men in government and in the spiritual realm.
And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Eph 2:1-5)
In this passage of scripture we notice several things. Paul is tying up several important themes. First that there is a spirit that is working in the ‘Children of Disobedience’ (lost man). That spirit is the Prince of the power of the air (Satan). And this power is aimed at those Children of God who have received the gift of salvation that is not available to fallen angels. Indeed they seem to be most curious and desirous to know of God’s plan for mankind’s salvation.
Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (1Pe 1:12)
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, (Eph 3:10)
God has a purpose not just with man in his plan for salvation but to demonstrate to all creation including and especially to the heavenly host, God’s wisdom mercy and judgment. This is also one of the reasons that war transpired in the spiritual realm. Man is a principle ‘actor’ ( if I may use this metaphor) in God’s celestial play. However, while a theater is make believe, this battle is real and the consequences for serving the wrong side are so horrible that is beyond human comprehension.
The Bible is full of passages that deal with many aspects of this battle. The Angelic, the Moral, the Political and yes what we in our finite minds would call, the weird.
One aspect of this battle has been covered to some degree in an article called Occult Government. This article was rather brief and covered just one very important aspect of a demonic assault on mankind. It showed how secrecy, spiritual darkness and power come together in high finance and in the US Government. Using the occult, obfuscation, propaganda it successfully keeps many Christians from believing that they too could be deceived by individuals who are deeply involved in the Occult and hold positions of influence in government, education and even in Church. This deceit is exactly as Jesus said it would be, so deceptive that if one is not taking extreme care in their walk with Christ they will be fooled into the Devil's kingdom, never knowing that this has happened. People need to become three-dimensional thinkers, in other word not just keep their minds on what is seen and heard but must also consider what can neither be seen or heard, those things in the spiritual realm.
However, the scriptures make some very strong admonitions as to how we go about this. There are many, many forbidden methods of interacting with the spiritual world. These admonitions are going by the way-side in modern American society. These forbidden methods are Crystal-Ball gazing, astrology, tarot cards, necromancy, numerology, witchcraft, and other forms of occultism. Why are these things forbidden? The answer is simple. When one uses any of these methods for contacting or interacting with the spirit world, one is contacting the enemies of the Living God. In short, they are using communication devices (mediums) that are linking them up with fallen angels whose hatred for mankind and hatred for God are beyond human comprehension. Thus, when someone calls up the ‘dead’ in a séance or goes to a necromancer for the same thing we find that not only are they not taking to who they think they are. They are talking to what can only be called spiritual impersonators whose only job is to deceive the hearer into believing these spirits and acting upon what they hear. In reality they are talking to the Devil and his army of deceivers. Spirits beings (both good and evil) are everywhere and evil spirits know exactly what someone has done in their life and can recite it to someone who is unaware of the true source of the this spiritual connection. Thus, many who realize that there is a real supernatural connection, run out and believe that they spoke with a departed loved one when in reality these evil spirits are laughing their proverbial ‘hind-ends’ off at peoples naiveté. Yet they can manipulate people into doing things that they would not ordinary do. Let us remember that Hillary Clinton believed that she spoke with the departed spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt. Dabbling in the occult is very popular in today’s pop culture, as are eastern religions and mysticism. Pop culture icons such as Madonna and Britney Spears are reportedly involved in these arts. Famous actors and actresses are involved in them as well. Thus, we see how easily it is for others, especially the young and impressionable to think it is ‘OK’ to dabble in what are commonly called the ‘black arts. This trend will only continue to the point that God will have to move in and Judge the Earth for colluding with his enemies.
And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. (Rev 9:20-21)
So we can see from this passage that mankind even when he is being punished for his crimes of devil worship, idol worship and sorcery, which this passage seems to imply will increase, he will only continue in his sins and collude with the Satan, not only against God but against themselves. What utter folly!
The Devil really does not have that must power over man, except as man gives it to him or God allows. The Devils main tool is deceit, that is in getting someone to believe something that is not true, when in fact it is (or vice-versa) in order to get him to act in a way that is contrary to God and the individuals own best interests. Once a person opens a door to the kingdom of darkness he has given opportunity to evil spirits to influence his or her life in ways they are completely unaware. This is a key method for the Devil to unleash his arsenal in his spiritual war against God and man.
What does this spiritual warfare mean to the Christian, in these very last days? In every aspect of ones life one can expect to be assaulted in with every kind of temptation. This does not simply include the items mentioned above. There is occult television, you know, necromancers and TV shows that deal in these dark themes. There is sexually explicit entertainment, and even now, one cannot go through a shopping mall without seeing nearly naked women plastered about the shopping centers walls. Sex (illicit) is a powerful weapon in the Devils arsenal, and he will use it. It must be remembered here that God is not against Sex. He created it! It is just that God created it to be used in a very specific arrangement. That arrangement is called marriage. Would a man drive his car into his living room? Would a person go to the bathroom on the sofa? Each of these things and activities has their proper place. A car should be driven on the road not driven in the house where it would destroy the furnishings and quite possible injure or kill the homes inhabitants. No sane person uses the bathroom on the living room sofa, such an activity should transpire in the toilet. The point here is that there is a proper place for these things and there is nothing wrong with cars or going to the bathroom in the proper place. The place for sex in in marriage. This is the only place for it. But the devil, desiring that men should rebel against God’s commandments, tells men otherwise.
This is an area that will gain a Christian many enemies, most notably in the Church. You see once you really begin to attack the kingdom of darkness all of those who are under the authority and influence of this kingdom will come against you with all of the fury of Hell.
But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils. Mat 9:34
The Pharisees were the religious establishment of Christ’s day and they saw the power of God and accused Christ of being in collusion with the Devil, because he was casting out devils. Thus, we see that Satan was actually using the religious establishment to attack Christ’s ministry of exorcism by calling him, in short, a minister of the Devil. It is no different today. Those who embark on this most important spiritual activity of offensive spiritual military operations, will suffer counter attacks from many both inside and outside of the Church.
Yet Christ commanded his disciples to do these things
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. - Mat 10:8
Yet how many Churches to you see engaging in any of these activities? These are offensive spiritual operations we as Christians are to engage in. There is an entirely different world out there and the kingdom of darkness is far more influential and powerful than the average American Church going pew-warmer is aware. There are devils with enormous power
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
And they had a king over them, [which is] the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue [is] Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath [his] name Apollyon.
From this verse we can see that some angels rule over other spiritual beings and thus have more power. They are not all the same nor do they have the same strength, power or freedom to roam the earth.
And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen [were] two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.
And they had a king over them, [which is] the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue [is] Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath [his] name Apollyon.
There are different kinds of Angels. There are Sepahims and Cherubims. From the scripture we know that Lucifer was a Cherubim. Other pre-New Testament Literature says that there are yet more types of angles but the Bible itself is silent on this.
Indeed he was an anointed Cherub that covered. This we learn from Ezekiel.
Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.
Here we see his original office, as a Cherub at the very mountain of God. But notice these other verses carefully (see chart below). Each has a face and they appear to be facing in four basic directions. Yet in Ezekiel 28 there is clearly another cherub that is not listed in Ezekiel Chapter One, Chapter 10 or even in Revelation Chapter 4. Yet we notice he is a cherub and has a specific office on the mountain of God and was in the Garden Of Eden. This is the Covering Cherub, the one who is a master of Commerce, merchandise traffic and violence. He is not listed in these verses (indeed no covering Cherub is present).
I do not want to digress here, but I do believe that understanding who are enemies are in the spiritual realm will give us understanding in fighting them. This is why I bring these matters up in this fashion. There are deep spiritual truths in the Bible if we dig for them and cease reading the same 'Jesus Loves Me' verses over and over again.
Knowing that there is an order and hierarchy in Satan's kingdom helps us to understand why it is harder to bring down some spiritual strongholds than others. When we go on the offensive against the kingdom of darkness we can go into it with our eyes open and know exactly who we are dealing with. Some of these entities are extremely powerful and should never be taken lightly.
One of the most important ways of attacking the spirits of darkness is to cast out devils in the name of Jesus Christ and by the power of his resurrection and to pull down spiritual strongholds through concerted and fervent prayer. These strongholds control governments, corporations, guilds, entire industries that influence mankind. Prayer is a key tool in bringing down or at the very least, weakening these strongholds over men. Demonic forces use various tools against man. But he is very limited in what he can do until men open the door to evil spirits. We as Christians must understand that Satan’s main task is to gain control of men’s minds and thinking patterns. Remember this, in essence the war is over, and the Devil lost, he lost when Christ Jesus rose from the dead! The Devil is only being used by God to give man the clear and consistent choice between good and evil. If God wanted to, he could bring every man woman and child who is alive today and speak to each personally, show them heaven, its beauty, and splendor and offer them the gift of salvation. He has not chosen to do this because God wants people who love righteousness and truth, not just pleasure and the avoidance of suffering. Thus, each and every man on earth must choose in his own mind to love truth and righteousness if he is to walk with God and see life eternal. It is a matter of choice for man and we must choose willingly and wholeheartedly to serve God. God does not want those who love evil and hate good in heaven, they would just mess things up all over again.
The earth, in this respect, is a sort of ‘proving ground’ for mankind.
The Mind And Unseen Strongholds
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (Col 2:8-10)
The worlds ideas and philosophies are designed to lead men away from the truth of Christ and his bodily resurrection. Man does not know that he has been redeemed and that the price has been paid already. It is the Devils job to keep men from discovering this and he will go to every length to keep men from believing the gospel, which signifies the doom of the kingdom of darkness and those who are in it.
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Col 2:14-15
Thees powers are already defeated! Thus, when we pray against strongholds over certain institutions, (the courts, the media and entertainment, the government), we can begin to see things begin to happen in these areas. I can remember praying almost daily (as many others I personally know have), that God would begin to free some of the people in prison that were innocent of the crimes for which they were serving sentences. Many prayers were sent up for over two years. Finally, a spate of cases were being reviewed because DNA evidence could prove many people innocent. Thousands of cases have been reviewed and many people have been released. In some cases it was clear that witnesses had lied on the stand and that the DA’s knew the accused were innocent but continued to prosecute them anyway. Even now I have been praying that these insane drug laws are repealed so that those who are put in jail for minor infractions are not spending more time in jail than those who commit murder (as is the case in many instances) while the big banks that launder the money are immune to serious prosecution. These may seem like little things and not important in the over all scheme of the eternal plan of God’s Salvation, but God is concerned about all injustice, he is concerned about those falsely accused and set up. Do not let any narrow minded, self proclaimed ‘holy-roller’ tell you that God does not care about those people and their situations. He is deeply concerned and will act if you and I bring these matters before his throne in the prayer of faith. Here is where many so called Christians err significantly in supporting candidates and political parties that are supposedly 'tough on crime' for the poor, indigent and non-whites, but couldn't care less about being tough on crime with white-collar crime (where is Ken Lay of Enron fame today?). This is the very kind of love of injustice that God eventually judged and rejected Israel for. Reader beware!
Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; [yea], and sell the refuse of the wheat? The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. (Amo 8:5-7)
God is very, concerned about injustice in America and because of this, the Devil wants to make sure injustice grows and grows to such a point that God must act against us. Unfortunately, like the Pharisees of old, the religious establishment, and many conservative Christians are a key tool (witting and unwitting) in Satan's arsenal.
This is the area that has been covered in so many books that I will not go into it other than to say this.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Eph 6:10-18a)
What is listed here are essentially defensive weapons to be used by the believer. Here the believer is not attacking but standing against the wiles of the Devil. When the Devil goes on the offensive, as he will surely do, these are the things you MUST do to STAND.
Brothers and sisters, many books could be written on this subject and have been. Many have written on this from many different aspects and perspectives. Many of you will not like the way I have dealt with this issue. All I can tell you is that these issues are important and those of you who do not think that you are in a war need to ensure that YOU really have been born again and are known of Christ (as opposed to just thinking that you know him). Those of you who wanted a more thorough work or even a book sized article must consider a few things. Click Here
Mark S Watson
An interesting sermon on casting out demons. Click Here
From H7853; an opponent; especially (with the article prefixed) Satan, the arch enemy of good: - adversary, Satan, withstand.
 I am not so certain that this is the case. It appears that just after the events of revelation Chapter 12 and the devil is cast on earth we can immediately see the results of this in Revelation Chapter 13 where the beast rises out of the sea and the mark of the beast is instituted. This and the fact that he is only given a ‘short time’ to do his dirty work after he is cast out leads me to question this generally held theological assumption (Rev 12:9)