In the first part of this discourse, Lessons from the Greatest Spiritual Warrior, I mentioned how many Christians are rather daunted by the concept of spiritual warfare, and even to some degree in denial about it, and therefore neglect the matter. It is absurd to think we could actually live by the radical truth of the Gospel without reckoning with the fundamental reality of spiritual opposition. Christians who do not beware of the onslaught of dark spiritual forces are left wide open for the attacks of the adversary without even realizing what’s happening to them.
This tendency of denial naturally defaults to a philosophy that presumes the Devil is not really one to worry about, and as long as we are “going to Church”, praying and reading our bible – the Devil can’t touch us; Knowing our enemy is of little importance as long as we know God. Well, there may be some truth to this view, but it is dangerously flawed.
Of course, knowing God is of the utmost importance, but how can we expect to withstand the attacks of of such insidious spirits when we don’t even know our opponent and the strategies they use against us?… How can we expect to elude their schemes when we have insufficient intel on our adversary?… Knowing our enemy is part and parcel to knowing God, as the New Testament abounds with warnings and instructions on the snares of Satan. ~ Matthew 7:15, 7:22-23, 4:1-11, 10:16, 17:21, 24:5, 24:11, 24:24, Acts 20:29 ~ 2nd Corinthians 2:11, 11:13-15 ~ Ephesians 6:11-18, 4:11-16, 4:26-27, 5:11 ~ Galatians 1:6-9, 2:4 ~ James 4:7 ~ 1st Peter 5:8 ~ 2nd Peter 2 ~1st John 4:1 ~ Jude ~ Revelation 12:12, 12:17
The Nature of Our Enemy
The nature of Satan may be somewhat of an enigma, but the scriptures give us many clues and depictions which provide insight to the nature of this spiritual being, and the spirits of his forces. First of all, he is not a god, but a created being, thus he cannot possess attributes of God such as ‘all-knowing, ‘all-powerful’ and all-present’. In other words, his power and knowledge is limited and he can only be at one place at a time.
Yet understanding these limitations should not lead us to overlook his abilities. Satan and company are cunning beings and are very proficient in maximizing their resources and technologies. And while they are not all-powerful like God, the power they do possess can certainly be considered supernatural, as their abilities go beyond the means of natural human beings. Some examples of such powers can be seen in Job 1 & 2.
An “Angel of Light” In prophesy, there are often encrypted messages which allude to another figure or event besides the literal reference. It is true that many prophesies pertain to more than just the literal matter at the time, but render a dual meaning and theme. Many Messianic prophesies are delivered in this style (Psalm 22, 16:10 ~ 2nd Samuel 7:12-16 ~ Isiah 59:16 ~ Zechariah 13:6, 11:12), as well as references to antichrist (Daniel 8:23-25 ~ Matthew 24:15-21 ).
So it is not unfounded to see the Spirit of God prophesying about a certain king which perfectly parallels another figure. With such precedence, it it reasonable to infer that the Spirit of God is making a reference to Satan while confronting the King of Babylon – via Isaiah 14 – and the King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28. These two citations provide significant background info on our enemy:
The name Lucifer means ‘shining one’ – which indicates an essence of most particular brilliance (Isaiah 14:12). Along with such a shining aura, is exquisite splendor of stunning quality (Ezekiel 28:11-15), which led to his corruption (Ezekiel 28:17), and delusions of grandeur in which he aspired to be greater than the Most High (Isaiah 14:13-14).
Such passages give us great insight on the nature of Satan, and the caliber of beauty and splendor he may be capable of displaying, so that it should come as no surprise to see Satan presenting a high profile level of majestic glory; Or as The Apostle Paul said, “No wonder even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. “ (2nd Corinthians 11:14).
It’s interesting that angels, being so glorious, have been mistakenly worshiped as God; Even God’s very own profit – John, the Apostle and New Testament scribe, had to be corrected on two occasions for such a mistake! (Revelation 19:10 & 22:8) So if Satan can indeed present himself as an angel of light, then we should not overlook the fact that the Devil has immense capabilities to achieve massive deceptions as one who is in the business of counterfeit. Real life examples of such deception would include the angel(s) that groomed Muhammad, or Ignatius of Loyola, or Joseph Smith.
A Predator Distinct from the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, that is Christ, which represents the noble and majestic attributes of a lion; Satan, being a predator, exudes the hounding & bloodthirsty nature of a lion – “… Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” –1st Peter 5:8
Such an illustration gives us insight to the prowling & devouring nature of Satan, so it is that his ministers are likened to wolves (Matthew 10:16). Interesting how such predators are swift opportunists – which take advantage of the weak, the young, the exposed, the sick, the injured, the isolated, etc. The predator is poised upon any vulnerability which gives opportunity to strike. Wherefore, the premise of Peter’s illustration is “Be sober and alert…” .
We will cover the armor of God later, but for now, note when we are exposed without our spiritual armor, or vulnerable with little discernment, or mesmerized in fantasy-land, or wandering away from the fellowship – then we become easy prey for the Devil.
A Thief Distinct from the Good Shepherd, Who is always watching over His flock, is the thief, who cares only for his own agenda – to steal from the flock of the Good Shepherd; And his thievery is of a most ravaging degree, “..to steal, kill and destroy…” –John 10:10. It hurts to ponder how much innocence has been stolen, how much peace & joy and goodness & quality… Yet the Good Shepherd has laid His own life down to redeem all things.
A Snake Here is the most insidious of all traits of Satan, and subsequently the most lethal. With the abilities afforded by his cunning nature, Satan can penetrate deep into the heart of God’s assembly to infuse his venom (2nd Peter 2 ~ Jude).
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field…” –Genesis 3:1 – No doubt this is what Jesus was deriving from when He called His disciples to rival the cunning of demons when He said, “… be wise as serpents…” –Matthew 10:16
This beguiling attribute of the devil connects a full circle back to the “angel of light” persona with which he deceives the whole world; and it is this most insidious nature of Satan that lends so well to his most effective strategies – which are used against God’s Church.
The Strategies of Our Enemy
“…that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the Devil…” Ephesians 6:11
The word here rendered as “schemes” or “wiles” is from the Greek word methodeía (the root of the English term, “method”) – meaning a pre-set method used in organized evil-doing (well-crafted trickery); devious or cunning stratagems employed in manipulating or persuading someone to do what one wants; a disarming or seductive approach.
It’s upon this premise of such diabolical schemes, that the Apostle Paul calls us to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). The enemy is spiritual, so the armor of God is to be spiritual: standing firm in truth, righteousness, readiness of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God; praying always, being watchful with all perseverance and supplication. Such spiritual disciplines are of the essence in order to withstand the devious and cunning stratagems of Satan.
Fifth Column Tactics Fundamental to the schemes of the Devil is the disarming and seductive approach, which penetrates in a most insidious way. Such well-crafted trickery can be much more effective than conventional frontal assault tactics. Fifth column tactics employs the underhanded approach of undermining and conquering the subject from within; to become the very fabric of that which it intends to conquer.
With all its subtleties and variations, the fifth column approach is apparently the strategy of choice for Satan and company. This becomes more and more obvious the more acquainted one becomes with the schemes of the Devil. Thus the arts of espionage and infiltration is the name of the game, as there is an abundance of warnings in the New Testament about this: Matthew 7:15, 7:22-23, 24:5, 24:11, 24:24, ~ Acts 20:29 ~ 2nd Corinthians 2:11, 11:13-15 ~ Galatians 1:6-9, 2:4 ~ 1st Peter 5:8 ~ 2nd Peter 2 ~ Jude
Deception warfare can be used in all kinds of different tactics & strategies, but it’s the fifth column–conquer-from-within approach – which proves to be most effective, since the enemy may go about freely and unbeknownst in his opponents territory wreaking havoc with such internal access. This tactic is not content with mere spying, but taking the seat of governing positions.
When succeeding such penetration, the following objectives are more easily acquired:
- Taint the Doctrine
- Change the Direction
- Alter the Paradigm
- Dismantle the Integrity
- Demoralize the People
- Quench the Vitality
- Divide & Conquer
Hegelian Dialectics The Hegelian Principle is a quite sophisticated stratagem, and while it is distinct from fifth column tactics, it often operates in conjunction with the other. The basic idea of Hegelian Dialectics is the process of clashing opposing views together to eventually come to a compromise or convergence of some kind of synthesis; Thesis verses anti-thesis eventually equates to a synthesis; Harmony through conflict; Order out of chaos.
Understanding this device enables us to recognize how entire nations are manipulated into everything from giving up their rights -to- marching into war. Such a form of social engineering controls the masses by orchestrating various forms of terror, such as shootings, bombings, assassinations, wars, revolutions, economic crisis, etc.
In politics, it typically takes the form of a right wing vs left wing schism, and even the Church is manipulated with a conservative wing and liberal wing, and theological schisms such as “old earth vs young earth” or ‘Calninism vs Arminianism’, which results in sectarian divisions – being the very first issue the Apostle Paul addressed in his first letter to the Corinthians.
This stratagem is the ultimate tool for the most ambitious conspiracies, which involves a great deal of cooperation from different agents. The scriptures account for redemptive history – which is littered with numerous intrigues that ultimately stem from the great conspiracy in the spiritual realm; So we need not be too surprised to see how the Devil has so developed and mastered such collaboration and subterfuge, yet it is rather astonishing and quite alarming when we begin to recognize just how deep this rabbit hole goes. – See Order Out of Chaos
Temptation is the most commonly known strategy the devil uses against us, but is well worth covering because it’s not only a key component within the more technical strategies of Satan, which we just covered, but so fundamental to the common struggle of any spiritual warrior. The prince of this world offers us all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life… –1st John 2:16
Indeed, that is the very basis of the serpents original temptation way back in Eden: “So when the women saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh), that it was pleasant to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and a tree desirable to make one wise (pride of life), she took its fruit and ate.” –Genesis 3:6
While that served as the clincher, we must not overlook the very first step the serpent laid to prime the women for this temptation — “Has God really said…?” –Genesis 3:1
After planting that seed of doubt in questioning God’s Word, he gives a crafty rebuttal after Eve recited that Word, “…You shall not surely die. For God knows that the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” –Genesis 3
Here are the bullet points of the serpents pitch:
- “You shall not die”
- “Your eyes shall be opened”
- “You will be like God”
- “Knowing all”
What an exceptional offer! What sizzling selling points! Who wouldn’t take the bait, hook, line and sinker?! Especially after the original fall, when corruption set-in, mankind having inherited the sinful nature of Adam, being all the more tempted and prone towards such an offer. And indeed the serpent still makes the same offer to this day – and it still works like a charm!
- “You shall not die” ~ a most desired aspiration for so many seeking that “Fountain of Youth” (though it’s a bogus promise)
- “Your eyes shall be opened” ~ enlightenment from the “Angel of Light” (actually a condemned dark angel)
- “You will be like God” ~ Humanism – evolution unto deity (another bogus promise)
- “Knowing good and evil” ~ Esotericism – having an inside track to secret knowledge (deep dark secrets of the the satanic-occult which leads to hell)
At face value, this offer seems so good and virtuous; Lucifer himself esteemed as the “Virtuous One” – “The Lightbearer & Morning Star” – “who rescued man from the oppressive clutches of Yahweh out of the prison of Eden” – Well most are not initiated to the degree of acknowledging the name of Lucifer, yet far enough to share in the same accursed destiny as him.
And this is not just the secular world I’m referring to, but this offer is being sold to the masses in the “Christian Church” through the ‘Word of Faith Movement’, ‘Charismatic Movement’ and ‘Emerging Movement’ – the same Luciferian Mysteries sold in Eden are being sold today under the guise of Christianity! -See Is the Law of Attraction Compatible with Christianity?
The Flesh The sinful nature of man, often referred to as the flesh, is a distinct element opposed to God which is inherent of the human condition: “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death…” –James 1-14-15
While the flesh may be distinct from the demonic element, we’ve already seen from the very beginning the role played by the serpent – to bring down the state of man, and with that debased condition, the flesh of man is exacerbated by the crafty ways of the tempter. Indeed their is a synergistic relationship between the flesh and the unclean spirits, in which our own flesh serves as the most lethal weapon Satan uses against us.
Many times we may find ourselves feeling particularly agitated and just dismiss it as the weakness of our flesh. However, our vigilance should cause us to at least consider that their may be other forces working in conjunction with our flesh, or that it may sometimes be demonic entities which even somehow generate a spirit of fatigue and agitation and even sickness. –Luke 13:11-16
“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation; The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” –Matthew 26:40-41
Giving a Place to the Devil
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, there is a particular warning about our enemy – a warning which just about gets lost in translation, but may be more clearly discerned with deeper analysis:
“…do not give the devil an opportunity.” –Ephesians 4:27
It’s the word rendered as “opportunity” or in other translations – “foothold” or “place”. In the original Greek language, it’s the word topon – which means a place, a seat, a region, a room, an opportunity. The passage above uses this word in a metaphorical sense, but the vast majority of New Testament texts use this word to indicate an inhabited place, a city, a region, a territory
Considering this can help this illustration really light-up as Paul is basically giving a warning that may be rendered as, “do not give the Devil a place to live, or any territory”. Sure the word ‘opportunity’ is still a legit rendering, but when we get some extra insight from the original language, we may see that it may really be one hell of an opportunity we could potentially give to the Devil.
Now think about the implications of this warning. The opportunity that we may give Satan, if we do not properly keep ourselves, could be an opportunity that penetrates deeper into our life than most of us would like to think. That we might actually be opening our soul and offering the Devil a room with accommodations!
The meaning of Paul’s warning challenges the view which presumes to limit demonic activity to just two categories: 1) possession -and- 2) oppression. With all that we have already considered, I think these cunning and insidious spirits have a plethora of various angles to exploit, and it may be a dangerous thing to underestimate the different channels, means and methods they may use to infiltrate our lives.
Culture Culture seems to have a certain sanctity, and with that, a jurisdiction which commands its society to conform within certain patterns of customs, traditions, ideologies and practices. It tends to promote a sort of herd-mentality which requires individuals to temper any tendencies they have that may disrupt the unity & spirit of the community (i.e. collectivism). It’s a kind of unwritten code which keeps a certain order and way of life.
This facet may be considered a reasonable mechanism to foster a more cohesive society, as each culture is an expression of a unique kind of people. Still, there is a culture which is not of this world:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD…” –Isaiah 55:8
Another way the above quote could be read – “For My culture is not your culture”. God is of a different order, a different expression and way of thinking & living. So does this mean that earthly culture is not compatible with heavenly culture?… Apparently there are positive qualities to culture, but there are definitely some pitfalls God has addressed:
“Why do you violate the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” –Matthew 15:3
At its essence, culture is really just the way of the world; Even with all the diversities of distinct cultures, they are all just different renditions of the worldly way; Thus Paul writes, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” –Romans 12:2
Paul also writes of the mortal condition according to the present system of this world: “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, which you formerly walked according to the course of this world…” (and is the course of this world according to God?…) “according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” –Ephesians 2:1-2
So we see that culture (the worldly way) is not merely of man, but of Satan, the prince of this world (John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11), who’s spirit is conforming the ways of man to his way. Indeed, culture is heavily influenced by the prince of this world, in which we are immersed in satanically inspired ways of living. Most people do not recognize the real source of so much of their cultural components, but all it would take is a crash-course in the occult to become privy to the language, symbols, themes, schemes and dreams of Satan to realize that every different kind of culture is bursting with satanic elements. (For such a crash-course, see Know Your Enemy)
Anyone who has studied the use of subliminal messages may notice quite a diabolical ploy, which implants corrupting elements deep into our mind. Subliminal messages as well as overt influences have such an impact on our psyche as we are inundated with countless messages since we were babies (most being sexual) . Such messages accumulate in our subconscience to the point of creating anchors in our soul which can drive our behavior contrary to our better wisdom.
Media is an exceedingly powerful cultural channel for the influence of Satan to easily slip right into our minds. Most people have no idea the degree of witchcraft that is infused into our favorite movies & shows, and the songs we’ve grown up singing to; “Lord of the Rings” ~ “Star Wars” ~ “Stairway to Heaven” — such are saturated with Luciferian themes with spellbinding elements. The basic purpose of witchcraft is to influence and control; and Satan, being the control-freak that he is, holds no reservation in leveraging the faculties of his earthly kingdom to seduce us with the doctrines of Balaam.
The word entertain is a contraction of the words enter + detain. The idea being – to detain so something can enter you; to hold so something can be deposited into the interior. When we are in entertainment mode, our neural pathways are wide open to “take in the goods” (or not so goods). We are kidding ourselves to think that we can withstand this kind of exposure without a significant degree of satanic influence being branded into our psyche!
Mind-control comes in many forms as our adversary has been deeply engaged in the art & science of manipulating the human psyche for ages. Human nature loves to be hypnotized & mesmerized, and such inducements allows easy access for the enemy to get into our head. Even many of the other kinds of amusements and diversions which are not as invasive as many forms of entertainment – can still serve to lull us into a slumber – to be ever such docile prey for the enemy.
Manifestations Having already considered the supernatural abilities of these evil spirits, we should always maintain careful reservation when it comes to supernatural experiences. Too often people are too quick to presume their divine-like experience must have been from God – without out even exercising much discernment;
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” –1st John 4:1
So many in the Church are so readily accepting of just about anything as long as it’s ‘in the name of Jesus’ – or shows ‘great signs and wonders’ , or gives a ‘feel good experience’. Forgetting to heed the many warnings Jesus gave about impostors in the Church, or the Apostles doctrine to “Test all things and hold fast to that which is good”; And how many in the Church bother to‘search the scriptures daily to find out whether such things are so’ , as the Berean’s did? ~ 1st Thessalonians 5:21 ~ Acts 17:10-12
Many of these manifestations of false light can be quite compelling, but here are just a few quick points to consider in discerning some of the more common signs:
- Tongues is perhaps the very easiest sign to counterfeit as the demons have been around for millennia to pick up different languages; in fact speaking in tongues is very common in pagan cults
- “Healing’s” are a common phenomenon within satanic deception, but we must notice that such healing’s are not of the same degree as those of Christ & the Apostles, who often healed to complete restoration and even raised the dead; Yet the counterfeit is limited to healing’s of a minor degree, or those of a psychosomatic nature which often only give partial or temporary alleviation. Though it’s rare, there are some counterfeit healing’s which succeed a more impressive level – see The Beautiful Side of Evil
- Predictive Prophesy is the most difficult for Satan and company to counterfeit, and in fact impossible since they are not transcendent from time like God is. Therefore, this is the easiest dead-giveaway for those impostors who attempt to predict the future.
- False Doctrine is another dead giveaway, being part and parcel to lying signs and wonders, which often includes carnal living – you will know them by their fruit –Matthew 7:16-20
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!” –Matthew 7:23
Many folks are so like children tossed to and fro by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:13). So many of these storming doctrines blowing through the Church with charismatic signs – sweeping many souls to dangerous waters. For more discernment on this epidemic, see Kundalini Warning and A Call to Discernment.
The Wrath of Satan
“…Woe to the earth and the sea! The devil has come down, having great wrath, knowing his time is short.” –Revelation 12:12
The premise of this alarming message from Revelation 12 is that of the triumphal event resulting in Satan and his angels being cast out of heaven. Before this, Satan still had access to heaven as he accused them (the saints) before God day and night. Revelation 12:7-10 ~ Job 1:6 ~ Job 2:1 ~ Zechariah 3:1
No doubt the accusations were in conjunction to God’s very law, thus being convicted of our violations and sentenced to death; yet Christ having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross… (Col 2:14); and it was at that time …when He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, having triumphed over them through Him. –Colossians 2:15
That public spectacle was no doubt the grand display of Satan and his angels being cast out of heaven with devastating defeat – upon the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. The shame and agony of such a scorching defeat is the premise of Satan’s fierce rage and wrath, which is working overtime since he knows his days are numbered; and such relentless wrath is what we are now subjected to – “…So the dragon was enraged with the woman (Israel), and went off to make war with the rest of her children (Church), who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” –Revelation 12:17
This revelation gives great insight as to the unprecedented degree of cruelty of persecutions throughout the Church age. In the prior dispensation, there was persecution of God’s people, Israel, only when they were disobedient; but now on this side of the cross, God’s people are persecuted, not for disobeying God, but BECAUSE OF THEIR OBEDIENCE TO GOD! However, this persecution is not God’s wrath, but the wrath of Satan, yet is allowed by God for sanctification purposes. ~ 2nd Corinthians 12:7 ~ Psalm 66:10-12 ~ Job ~ 1st Peter 4:12-19 ~ James 1:2-4
“It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them…” Revelation 13:7
No wonder Jewish prophets like Daniel and John were so perplexed and dismayed by such visions of persecutions of God’s faithful servants – this was not the general principle of God’s order in which there were blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. Yet, even on this side there is still ultimate blessing for obedience, but the fullness of it will just be a bit delayed until the consummation of God’s Kingdom. And the saints are not ultimately overcome either, but are just afflicted for a time; and by enduring that affliction the same way Christ endured His, the saints are the ones who ultimately overcome Satan, though their bodies may be destroyed,
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even in the face of death.” ~ Revelation 12:11
By the Revelation of Jesus Christ, God has allowed His saints to foresee the ultimate outcome – that His saints prevail and God’s kingdom reigns. However, many Christians fall into complacency with this knowledge, overlooking the abundance of New Testament exhortations to stand with the full armor of God to be vigilant and cunning in excercising the resources that we have in Christ to overcome the struggle, lest we be swept away by the onslaught of the enemy.
Make no mistake about it, the forces of Satan are extremely serious about the spiritual war, and if more of God’s people were going forth with the same kind of trajectory – then we would be advancing God’s kingdom with greater progress and greater glory- because we have so much greater power in Christ than what Satan has (that is, if we use it).
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” –Ephesians 6:11-13
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