SOME ASPECTS OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Author John Holland
This booklet does not attempt to present a complete study on
spiritual warfare and deliverance, but instead presents different
aspects of spiritual warfare not generally found in other books.
Published by COVENANT MINISTRIES INC. 2000.
the reality of demon spirits
From studying the gospels, we cannot help but conclude that a significant part of the ministry of Jesus on earth dealt with casting out demon spirits from those who were oppressed.
He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all
He Authorized His Disciples to Cast out Demons
“Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.” Luke 9:1.
He Authorized all Those Who Believed in Him
"And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons…” Mark 16:17.
CAN A CHRISTIAN HAVE A DEMON?
Speaking to Christians, James says, ““Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” James 3:13-16.
Paul writes to the Corinthian church, “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it!” 2 Cor 11:4.
And to Timothy, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons…” 1 Tim 4:1.
We read this startling account from the Book of Acts. “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?” Acts 4:32, 5:1-3.
Deliverance Was a Ministry to Christians
In the description of the gifts of the Spirit we are told that they were for the profit of all Christians. “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.” 1 Cor 12:7. Among the nine gifts listed is “discerning of spirits.” “…to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits…” 1 Cor 12:10. This gift is an essential tool in the deliverance ministry.
THE WORLD IS UNDER THE POWER OF SATAN
First of all we must understand the extent of Satan’s control of the world. Jesus referred to Satan as “the ruler of this world.” [John 14:30]. The apostle John verified this when he wrote, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” [I Jn 5:19 NKJ].
Jesus did not come to reform the world, or to take it out of Satan’s
control. The judgment of the world has
already been announced. Jesus came to
deliver us out of the worldly system that is under the power of Satan, and to
establish us in His kingdom of righteousness. “For (God) delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us
to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” [
This then is the basis of spiritual warfare--Jesus is endeavouring to deliver us out of the kingdom and power of Satan, and establish us in His kingdom, and Satan is attempting to bind the world in a state of wickedness.
How Does Satan Control the World
Part of Satan’s deception is to deny the presence of demon spirits in our midst. Consequently, people are persuaded to believe that demons are a figment of our imagination--that Christians cannot have a demon--that evil spirits cannot dwell in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Supposedly, demons were banished with the advent of the church. Paul expressly denied this when he said, “For we (the church) do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (the atmosphere).” [Eph 6:12].
The Book of
Revelation figuratively describes the opening of the bottomless pit in the last
days, and the emergence of hordes of demon spirits. “And he opened the bottomless
pit, and smoke (of deception and darkness) arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and
the air (the light of truth) were
darkened (obscured) bec
This description is given credence by Paul’s warning of the state of so called Christians in the last days. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness (professing to be Christians) but denying its power.” 2 Tim 3:1-5.
The truth is that the whole world is flooded with the presence of “spiritual hosts of wickedness,” and that we as Christians are being continually confronted with their influence.
“For a certain man named Demetrius, a
silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the
craftsmen. He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and
said: "Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. Moreover
you see and hear that not only at
stood before Pilate, the crowds in
The nature of occultism is to control or manipulate another person, and bring them into bondage. History is full of examples of dominant personalities indoctrinating whole nations with their ideologies, even inciting them to war with other countries.
When people allow themselves to be occultly bonded to cult leaders, they open themselves to be oppressed by the spiritual powers associated with them. The fanatical adoration of super stars by multitudes of young people is so captivating that it may have a significant influence on their behaviour or manner of dress.
These spirits reside in a particular area, settling on those who enter. When we depart from the area, they often leave us a legacy of listlessness, heaviness, or perhaps even a headache. While most people do not realize it, they come in contact with their presence when they enter shops selling Eastern wares such as buddas, and are confronted by the heaviness of occultist spirits. Residential spirits often congregate in large shopping malls and places of worldly trade and commerce, and leave us drained when we depart.
These spirits are not confined to a particular area, and so are more likely to have a prolonged affect on us. We may encounter spirits of heaviness, depression, gossip, resentment, anger, etc from those with whom we have made contact. By identifying with the attitudes of a person we attract similar spirits, which then oppress us. E.g. A person enters our house and unloads the burdens of an unhappy marriage relationship. If we enter into the circumstances, associating ourselves with the injured party, then we open ourselves to attracting similar spirits of anger, resentment, rebellion, and so on. And they will stay with us until we personally repent and reject such attitudes in Jesus’ name.
Demon spirits may be associated with the way we entertain ourselves. For example, we may be confronted with spirits of lust or violence associated with certain films. Again, the degree to which these spirits influence us depends upon how much we identify with what the film portrays. And again, the spirits will remain with us until we personally repent and renounce our involvement with them.
Any pursuit that holds us in bondage--such as gambling, alcohol, sport etc--has spirits attached to it.
How Are Spirits And Their Influence Transferred?
Transference of evil spirits is probably a phenomenon that we experience every day. Of course the first condition is that we must come into contact with them. A spiritually aware person should know where there is a concentration of residential spirits, and to avoid such areas. If this is unavoidable, as in a shopping mall, we should protect ourselves by the spiritual covering of the blood of Jesus.
There are numerous other occasions where
we are unavoidably confronted with oppression from other people. We may have spiritual oppression dumped on us
in the form of gossip, depression, heaviness, negativeness, rebellion, and so
on. To what degree we are affected
depends on our reaction to the circumstances. We must disassociate ourselves
from the oppressions, even if they are being exhibited by someone as close as a
husband, wife, son, or d
Soul ties occur when closely knit friends adopt the likes and dislikes of each other. When adopting the undesirable traits of each other, spirits can readily transfer between them. A bonded person attracts identical spirits associated with the other person. The Scriptures warn us, “Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.” Prov 22:24-25. Unhealthy ‘soul ties’ should be renounced and broken in the name of Jesus.
Generational curses occur where one behavioural trait is passed on from
generation to generation. God warned of this when He said that the
sins of parents might be visited “upon
the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth
generation." Exod 34:7. This is bec
Generational bondage is often discerned by sin patterns that repeat from generation to generation—e.g. witchcraft, drunkenness, violence etc. Personally confessing the sins of our ancestors and renouncing any association with them may break generational curses.
In all cases spirit transference occurs as a result of involvement in occultist practice, such as tarot cards, fortune telling, ouija boards, astrology, divination, martial arts, or possessing occultist images, charms, buddas etc. It should be apparent that being involved in any form of occult experience forms a direct association or link with demon spirits.
To be set free there must be genuine repentance and renouncement of the occult, and the severing of all links to satanic spirits in the name of Jesus. Note the reaction of the Ephesian believers when they were informed of their involvement with the occult. “Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totalled fifty thousand pieces of silver.” Acts 19:19.
THE LORD’S Deliverance
Coming under the influence of demonic spirits and being delivered, are deemed as remote experiences, equated more with medieval times. It is commonly assumed that a person coming under the influence of evil spirits must be desperately wicked, and that the ministry of deliverance is a painfully harrowing experience.
The truth of the matter is that we all are constantly being subjected to the influence of demon spirits. It is a part of our daily walk. Similarly we are continually being spontaneously set free as we turn to the Lord in repentance, and as we honour the Lord in prayer, praise, and worship. It is only on few occasions that a formal deliverance ministry is necessary, incorporating the counsel of other members of the body, and the use of the gifts of the Spirit
THE SOURCE AND TARGET OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matt 5:43-45.
And likewise Paul, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom 12:19-21.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Rom 12:14-15.
But on the other hand, in the Book of Revelation Jesus commands the ‘two witnesses’ to call down the fire of judgment on the heads of their enemies.
“And if anyone wants to harm them (the two witnesses), fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. Rev 11:5.
In this reading, Paul seems to contradict his instruction to bless those who persecute you. “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 1 Tim 1:18-20.
“Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.” 2 Tim 4:14-15.
two responses to persecution
Why are there two different recommended responses to persecution? Basically, the difference relates to the source and target of the persecution.
On one hand the persecution or hatred or wrongdoing may come out of a person’s ‘flesh,’ and be directed at us personally. It may take the form of intense dislike, gossip, whisperings, defamatory remarks, jealousy, rejection, mistreatment, and so on. When confronted with this type of behaviour, Jesus’ first command applies - “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
We have an
example of this in Jesus’ response when rejected by the Samaritans. “And as they went, they entered a village
of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because
His face was set for the journey to
In this incident, Jesus sent
some of His disciples ahead to find lodgings, but He was rejected because it
was obvious that He was bound for
On the other hand, persecution or opposition may be initiated by demon spirits in a person, having the ultimate aim of minimising a ministry, and destroying the work of Christ. Satan uses those over whom he has some control to act in a way that threatens the effectiveness of our ministries. In these cases we are commanded to enter into offensive warfare--even to calling down the fire of judgment so that the opposition will be brought to nothing.
occasion, Jesus had set His face towards
In the case of Alexander the coppersmith, “he… greatly resisted (Paul’s) words.” In delivering him over to the power of Satan (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit), Paul was in effect removing his hedge of protection, making him vulnerable to the demon powers he had cooperated with. The reason why Paul took such an action was “so that the message might be preached fully through (him), and that all the Gentiles might hear.”
The same applies to Jesus’ instruction to the “two witnesses” in the Book of Revelation. Those who have the commission of the two witnesses must wield the word of God in prophetic teaching to prepare the way for the Lord’s second coming, and “the restoration of all things.” [Acts 3:29] Because the work is vitally important to the Lord’s purposes, the witnesses are instructed that “fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner.” As with much of the Book of Revelation, this language is figurative. They must call down the fire of judgment on “anyone (who) wants to harm them (i.e. the ministry of the two witnesses),” until they are ‘killed,’ or their opposition is brought to nothing.
We have a further striking example in Paul dealing with Elymas the sorcerer. “This man (Sergius Paulus) called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit (therefore acting under the guidance and power of the Spirit), looked intently at him and said, "O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time." And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand.” [Acts 13:7-11].
Again, it was because the work of the Lord was threatened that Paul called down the fire of judgment on Elymas the sorcerer. This action took place when Paul was “filled with the Holy Spirit” i.e. his current ministry was anointed and directed by the Spirit.
THE NATURE OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE
AVENUES OF ATTACK
Spiritual warfare may be directed through a number of different avenues. The following are some examples.
The mind is subjected to the most extensive spiritual conflict. Through his spirits, Satan has the capacity to run thoughts across our minds. We have the choice to entertain and pursue them, or to dismiss them as an intrusion of Satan. It is important that we learn to discern the difference between our thoughts, and those introduced by Satan.
As a guide, when thoughts intrude on the general trend of our thinking, (e.g. Ridicule--discouragement--vain imaginings--depression--negativeness--rebellion at circumstances--lust--resentment, and such like), thoughts that take away our peace and serenity in the Lord, we can be assured that they originated from Satan. It is vital that we understand that THEY ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS until we entertain and extend them. By accepting them as our thoughts and entertaining them further we are opening the door to spiritual oppression.
Jesus said that Satan “was a murderer from the beginning.” John 8:44. He compared His ministry with Satan’s purposes for mankind.
"The thief (Satan) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10.
"…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38.
Satan’s aim is to wear down, or totally incapacitate the saints, in order to impede their work or spiritual progress. Our defence is by testifying to the many healing passages in the bible, and then standing on “the word of our testimony.” Rev 12:11.
We may personalise our testimonies to make them more effective. e.g. “(Jesus) Himself bore (my) sins (with all their evil consequences of sickness, pain and infirmity) in His own body on the tree, that (I), having died to sins (and Satan’s legal right to afflict my body with sickness), might live for righteousness (partaking of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus)--by whose stripes (I was) healed.” [1 Pet 2:24].
Those most vulnerable to fall prey to deceiving spirits are those who act independently from the body, and engage in lawless works of the flesh. We are to maintain a position of rest in the Lord, and find safety in the nurture of the body--particularly in the oversight of the elders.
Satan spoke of God’s protection of Job’s possessions in this manner. "Have You. (God) not made a hedge around him (the protection of His angels), around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” Job 1:10. We must be diligent in pleading the blood of Jesus over our work and our possessions, consecrating them to God’s service.
spirits of Satan try to strike fear in the hearts of the saints by their lying
deceptions. Our sure defence is to
retreat into Jesus Christ and His glorious finished work on the cross. The word says to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you (your
old self) died, and your (new)
life is hidden with Christ in God.”
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust." Ps 91:1-2.
through his evil spirits, continually tempts us to gratify the desires and
lusts of the flesh, and through idolatry to covet the things of the world. Again Jesus is our safe refuge. We are to “put off the old man with his deeds (declaring it crucified in
Jesus warned His followers, “…you will be hated by all for My name's sake.” Matt 10:22. This type of hatred is borne out of a rejection of the truth. But all hatred, including that borne out of fleshly animosity, is of the devil, and it projects a spirit of death. The apostle John said, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer.” I Jn 3:15. We must abide under the covering of the blood of Jesus, and return every weapon back on those who initiate it.
Satan attempts to cause disharmony and disunity in the body of Christ through unnecessary personal contentions and doctrinal disputes. E.g. creation, sectarian divisions, and. denominationalism, causing disunity in the body. The apostles were consistent in their warnings against harm through such divisions.
“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” Rom 16:17.
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you.” 1 Cor 1:10-11
“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” James 3:14-16.
“For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults…” 2 Cor 12:20
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” Gal 5:14-15
AN EXAMPLE OF SATAN’S ATTACKS
commissioned by God to rebuild the walls of
Nehemiah’s response was a valid tactic in spiritual warfare when confronted with unwarranted attacks. He turned their weapons back on their own heads. Verse 4: “Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, and give them as plunder to a land of captivity! Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have provoked You to anger before the builders.” If we are being obedient to God’s commission, and have covered and consecrated both ourselves and the work in the blood of Jesus, Satan and his agents have no legal right to afflict us, and so we are entitled to return all warfare back on the heads of those who precipitate it.
This was a common reaction of David, when he was unjustly oppressed. “For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit, which they have dug without cause for my life. Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, and let his net that he has hidden catch himself; into that very destruction let him fall.” Ps 35:7-8.
Having resisted the first attack, Nehemiah continued with the work. Verse 6: “So we built the wall, and the entire wall was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.”
Satan’s next ploy was to create confusion by creating attacks from different directions. Verse 7: “Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion.”
Nehemiah’s response was crucial in situations when warfare abounded. He was constantly watchful, alert, and persistent. Verse 9: “Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them we set a watch against them day and night.”
plan of attack is to undermine the
strength of God’s servants by constant pressure, to the end that they become
physically and spiritually depleted, and unable to see clearly. Verse
To strengthen the attack, Satan now used negative spirits in people in their midst to cause doubt and discouragement. Verse 12: “So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, "From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us."
At this point Nehemiah armed his brethren, and adopted a defensive position. He focused their attention on the Lord God, their mighty deliverer. Verse 13: “Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, "Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses."
Nehemiah and his brethren were confronted with what Paul refers to as “the evil day” - a time when it becomes obvious that we are being subjected to a sustained attack from Satan. In these circumstances Paul instructed us to “take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (firm).” Paul told the Ephesians that in such a day they were not to look for foes amongst man. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Eph 6:11-13.
First we are told to bind the truth to us. Verse 14: “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth,” The belt held the whole armour together. Likewise the truth of Christ’s victory over Satan, and we incorporated in that victory, is the key to our defence. Therefore we bind to us the truth of our salvation, our righteousness, our sanctification our redemption from Satan’s kingdom and power, and our unity with the Lord Jesus Christ--raised with Him in authority to heavenly places, where we have “the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, (symbols of Satanic spirits) and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt (us).” Luke 10:19.
tells us to “put on the breastplate of
righteousness.”(Verse 14). The blood
of Jesus is the foundation of our righteousness, and so we are to declare the
covering of the blood of Jesus over ourselves and all our circumstances. Because of our righteousness, or right
standing before God, every legal ground of Satan is removed, having been “nailed to the cross.”
Next Paul tells us to “shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Many people interpret this as having a preparedness or readiness to preach the gospel, but this loses sight of the aspect of defensive armour. Figuratively, feet speak of our spiritual walk or direction. In the Hellenistic Greek, the word for ‘preparation’ has the sense of ‘establishment’ or ‘firm foundation,’ and this interpretation better suits the reading. Paul is saying that we should have our walk or direction firmly established on the foundation of the Lord’s peace. If we allow our decisions and direction to be guided by the Lord’s peace, we are safeguarded from being led astray.
The next piece of protective armour is the shield of faith. Verse 16: “(A)bove all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts (accusations) of the wicked one.” In Thessalonians faith is aligned with love. “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love.” [1 Thes 5:8]. Again, in Galatians, faith is set with love. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” Gal 5:6. Christ loves us with a love that does not depend on our ‘goodness.’ Paul wrote to Timothy, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Tim 2:13. When we understand and embrace the love of the Lord, we can easily trust in His faithfulness to keep and protect us.
Next, Paul says, “And take the helmet of salvation.” Of course we have acquired eternal salvation through the cross of Christ. But we are being continually saved in our daily circumstances by the overcoming life of Jesus in us. Paul wrote, “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, having been reconciled, we shall be save by His life.” Rom 5:10. The extent of our continual salvation is highlighted in the wider meaning of the Greek word ‘sozo’ for salvation. It means ‘to heal,’ ‘to make whole,’ ‘to preserve,’ and ‘to save.’ In putting on the helmet of salvation, we are to receive in our hearts and minds the saving power of the life of Jesus in us.
Next we are to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The word of God, or the Scriptures, is to be wielded as Christ did when confronted by Satan in the wilderness. To each of Satan’s temptations, Jesus answered, “It is written.” e.g. “He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matt 4:4.
In the book of Revelation, the word of our testimony is listed among the overcoming weapons. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Rev 12:11. The word ‘testimony’ means ‘to agree with.’ When we quote the Scriptures to refute Satan’s accusations, we are in effect saying, “I agree with what this word is saying, and it applies to me.”
And finally Paul advises those being confronted by “the evil day,” to pray to God continually, interceding in the Spirit. Verse 18: “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Eph 6:12-18.
the example of Nehemiah. Even though
Satan’s efforts had been thwarted, the work continued in a state of alertness.
Nehemiah and the people continued the work with vigilance, dressed in armour,
with weapons ready. Verse 15: “And it happened, when our enemies heard
that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that
all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work. So it was, from that time
on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held
the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armour; and the leaders were behind all the house of
When it is apparent that warfare abounds, and the work is being opposed, we must be diligent in putting on our defensive armour daily, and being on the alert to use our spiritual weapons. The reading also shows the necessity of having the watchful oversight of elders, who must be ready to sound the alarm.
Next we are
shown the benefits of unity and the support of the brethren in times of
warfare. Verse 19: “Then I said to
the nobles, the rulers, and the rest of the people, "The work is great and
extensive, and we are separated far from one another on the wall. "Wherever you hear the sound of the
trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us." So we laboured in the work, and half of
the men held the spears from daybreak until the stars appeared. At the same
time I also said to the people, "Let each man and his servant stay at
In severe warfare, it is important that we solicit the help of others. “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Eccl 4:12.
Once again we are shown the necessity to be fully clothed in our spiritual armour until the work is completed. Verse 23: “So neither I, my brethren, my servants, nor the men of the guard who followed me took off our clothes, except that everyone took them off for washing.”
The saga of Nehemiah’s conflict with Sanballat and Tobiiah, Satan’s agents, continues in Chapter 6. This time their strategy was to compromise the work on the grounds of ecumenism, or a false cooperation. “Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono." But they thought to do me harm. So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?" But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.” But Nehemiah recognised the falseness of Sanballat’s offer of cooperation, and his persistence was rebutted by Nehemiah, as if to say, “And what communion has light with darkness”? 2 Cor 6:14.
attack continued unabated. This time he
used lies and accusations of ‘empire building’ to make Nehemiah afraid of
reprisals, and thereby stop the work.
But Nehemiah was sure of his commission, and his position before God,
and so trusted in Him to maintain his c
“Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as
before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. In it was written: It
is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to
rebel; therefore, according to these rumours, you are rebuilding the wall, that
you may be their king. And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim
concerning you at
Satan’s next attack shows us how we must be alert to his subterfuges. This time he used one of Nehemiah’s acquaintances with ‘a word from the Lord.’ Many ministries and works have been derailed by accepting and acting on a false ‘word from the Lord.’
“Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah
the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he
said, "Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and
let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed,
at night they will come to kill you." And I said, "Should such a man
as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his
life? I will not go in!" Then I perceived that God had not sent him at
all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me bec
Because of his alertness, his patient endurance, and dependence on God, Nehemiah triumphed over his enemies. “So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days.”Neh 6:15.
THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE
OUR WEAPONS ARE SPIRITUAL
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (using our natural abilities). For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds (e.g. pride stubbornness deception), casting down arguments (reasonings or imaginations) and every high thing (haughty mental attitude) that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of (unto) Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience (Gk: ‘parakoe’-hearing amiss, inattention, or refusing to heed) when your obedience (Gk: ‘hupakoe’--‘attentive hearkening’) is (shall be) fulfilled.” 2 Cor 10:3-6.
In this address to the Corinthian church, Paul discloses the main reason why many of them were still held captive by Satan. Because of their spiritual pride, or indifference, they were inattentive, and turned deaf ears to his teaching. The apostles would use spiritual weapons to bring their thoughts into obedience to Christ, to the end that they expected the whole church to take heed to his teaching. This is the main objective in all warfare that is aimed at setting captives free.
We must use spiritual weapons to release minds from bondage, so that a person may hear the truth and make a clear choice. Sometimes we may offer up endless prayers for a person’s deliverance or salvation, but to no effect. Often the reason is that Satan is holding their thoughts captive, and they are incapable of hearing properly until we wield our spiritual weapons to release their minds from bondage.
Jesus entrusted Peter with the keys to the kingdom of heaven, that is, the keys of authority to bind Satan’s power, and to loose whatever is held in bondage. "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock (of his testimony) I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matt 16:18-19
Later Jesus entrusted this authority to bind or loosen to the whole church. "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them." [Matt 18:18-20]
stressed the need to bind the power of Satan operating in the
circumstances before attempting to set captives free. "But if I cast out demons
by the Spirit of God, surely the
Similarly we may loose a person by the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ from all bondages that are holding them captive and preventing them from receiving the truth.
Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” [Matt 28:18]. This authority has been entrusted to us. "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions (symbols of demon spirits), and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” [Luke 10:19]. When the word says that God “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Eph 2:6), it means that we have been raised to a spiritual position where we share the authority of Christ’s throne. We have the authority associated with the name of Jesus.
Speaking of the excellence of the name of Jesus, Paul wrote, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.” Phil 2:9-10.
The apostles knew the authority and power associated with the name of Jesus, and so when Peter was asked how he had healed the lame man, he replied, "And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” Acts 3:16.
THE THREE PRIMARY WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE
The Blood--The Word--Total Consecration
Three primary weapons for overcoming Satan are listed in the Book of Revelation.
“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by (1) the blood of the Lamb and by (2) the word of their testimony, and (3) they did not love their lives to the death.” [Rev 12:10-11].
(I) The Blood of the Lamb
The blood of
Jesus is our most potent weapon bec
Through the blood of Jesus we are redeemed, sanctified, and made righteous before God. The blood of Jesus has eternal or ever working power to redeem us and break Satan’s power over us. “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” [Heb 9:12].
Releasing Those Held in Bondage
There is another aspect to the power of the blood of Jesus, which may be used in loosing those held captive by Satan--particularly the unsaved. We should only enter all warfare at the initiation of the Holy Spirit. However, in this case we must be even more careful in being sure of the initiation of the Holy Spirit before using this weapon.
The apostle John wrote, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only (Christians) but also for the whole world.” [I Jn 2:2]. Jesus became a sin offering for the whole world. The blood He shed was the price of the forgiveness of sins of every man in the whole world. Whether they have claimed their forgiveness or not, the blood of Jesus has been spilt for every man in the whole world.
many who are incapable of receiving the truth bec
In such cases, on the basis that Jesus was the propitiation or ransom price for the sins of the whole world, we may claim that the ransom price for their sins has been paid. The blood of Jesus has been spilt for their own sins, and by the prompting of the Holy Spirit we may declare their sins forgiven. Jesus instructed us. “So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’" [John 20:21-23].
This, combined with the weapons of binding and loosing, has the effect of stripping away any legal claim that Satan had to hold the person in bondage, and releases his mind and heart to receive ministry. It does not mean that the person is suddenly saved, healed or delivered, but it has given him the freedom to make a choice. Note that in this ministry of releasing a person to make a choice, they need not be physically present.
(II) The Word of Their Testimony
As explained before, the word of our testimony is agreeing and claiming what the word of God says applies to our circumstances. The Father and the Holy Spirit are totally committed to upholding the word. “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” [I Jn 5:7]. God the Father, and the Holy Spirit uphold our testimonies because they uphold the word spoken in faith.
(III) They Did Not Love Their Lives Unto the Death
This means that they did not cling on to their self lives--even to the death of their ‘old man.’ By our total consecration to God, and by our relinquishment of all things into His hands, we are opening a doorway for His divine power to operate in our circumstances.
In the gospels we read of a remarkable incident in which Jesus rebuked a fig tree, which subsequently died. “And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, "Let no fruit grow on you ever again." And immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither away so soon?" So Jesus answered and said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' it will be done.” [Matt 21:19-22].
But why did
Jesus rebuke the fig tree? Obviously it
was not bec
The mountain to be removed and cast away speaks of an obstacle in our lives--like for example a life threatening disease. In such an analogy, the fig tree, as a living organism, could be likened to the disease. In the story, when Jesus rebuked the fig tree it began to wither at the roots and die. This was not instantaneous. In Mark’s gospel the disciples noticed the change the next morning.
The reason Jesus rebuked the fig tree was to show us that we might do the same thing in rebuking and casting away a mountain that Satan has imposed on our lives. The fact that the result was not instantaneous shows us that we may have to rebuke the ‘fig tree’ daily for some time until it is overcome.
And because the fig tree started withering from the roots, we are shown that the root cause of our obstacle must be exposed and dealt with.
RECOGNISING AND DEALING WITH CURSES
A curse may be defined in a number of ways. Some examples are:
A supernatural force of evil directed at a
person to c
The evil or injury that has been invoked.
Any profane oath or obscenity.
Derogatory words or predictions about a person.
That which c
The existence and effects of curses in people’s lives is far more prevalent than we may expect. Here are some of the signs that indicate that a person, or family, may be under the influence of a curse.
Experiencing repeated failures
Never having sufficient money--even though having ample provision
The ‘land’ does not bring forth its increase. e.g. “You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olives shall drop off.” [Deut 28:39-40].
Constant accidents and injuries
Generational weaknesses or immoral traits
Preoccupation with Satanic things
Inability to understand spiritual teaching
Areas of struggle or patterns of behaviour that cannot be overcome
In general terms, a curse in a person’s life forms a cloud or blight that retards them in areas of their lives. It produces frustrating patterns of failure and defeat in areas like careers, relationships, finances, health, business, and spiritual growth.
Causes of Curses
Curses may come from many sources. Some examples follow.
1. From Spoken Words
Solomon said, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” [Prove 18:21]. The words we speak have the potential of inducing spiritual curses against other people or places. e.g.
“Then Joshua charged them at that time,
saying, "Cursed be the man before the LORD who rises up and builds this
“In his days Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho; he laid its foundations with the loss of Abram his first-born, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son Segue, according to the word of the LORD, which He spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.” [I Kings 16:34 NAS].
Of course Joshua’s curse was spoken knowingly through the inspiration of the Lord God. But on other occasions people may unwittingly direct curses towards others through their unthinking use of words. Examples: “He will never amount to anything.” “It’ll never work.” “He’ll end up like his father.” “I don’t think he will ever be a Rhodes scholar.” and so on. Satan is able to use these words to gain a legal right to inflict people with failure and defeat.
Even worse, there are self-inflicted curses that are imposed when a person continually speaks in a manner that limits or belittles himself. E.g. “I could never get as higher grades as my brother.”
2. Unholy Alliances With Ideologies or Organizations
Curses are inflicted on people, and even passed down their family line, when they become covenantally involved with groups, organizations, and ideologies that are cultist and opposed to God. Examples: Freemasonry, Eastern religions and philosophies, New Age philosophies.
3. Involvement With the Occult
Due to ignorance, many people are involved in some way with the occult. Examples:
Through objects like pendants, charms, tokens statues, etc.
Participation in martial arts.
Occultist activities such as tarot cards, séances, divination, ouija boards, necromancy, etc.
4. Generational Curses
Passed on from generation to generation--this was discussed previously.
5. Frugality or Meanness
Malachi contrasted the blessings bestowed on those who gave generously, and the blight that accompanied stinginess. “You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field," says the LORD of hosts.” [Mal 3:9-11].
6. Trusting in Man Rather Than God
“Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.” [Jer 17:5-6].
Jesus said that “if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” [Matt 6:14-15]. When we are not forgiven we have to bear the punishment associated with our sins. Entrenched unforgiveness of any person who has harmed us often induces a curse like a long term sicknesses or debility, which is only removed when we make a heartfelt decision to forgive.
8. Through Erroneous Prayer
People under the power of the spirit of antichrist, and bound in apostasy, are prone to pray erroneously against those who they believe are endangering the traditions of the church. They may pray prayers like “bring them to repentance Lord”, bring them undone Lord,” or even worse, hand them over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh. Those who have a genuine commission from the Lord must be aware that most warfare comes from those in the apostate church rather than the world, and to regularly loose themselves from erroneous prayer.
9. Curses From Satan’s Disciples
Those bound in Satanism are used by the powers of darkness as instruments to direct curses on those endangering Satan’s kingdom. When detected, the curses should be turned back on the heads of those who directed them.
Jesus Christ has provided us with the key spiritual weapon to break any illegal curse encompassing us.
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” [Gal 3:13-14].
On the cross
Jesus suffered every curse of the broken law in our stead, to the end that we
might walk in the blessings of Abraham, and receive the Holy Spirit. By this atoning work, every legal right of
Satan to burden us with curses has been stripped away from him. This passage of Scripture is a fundamental “word of our testimony” to be used in
breaking curses. E.g. “On the grounds
that Jesus became a curse for me on the cross, I am redeemed from all
cursing. Therefore, by the
However, if Satan has legal grounds to inflict a curse on us (e.g. Unforgiveness), then first we must remove those grounds by taking some or all of these measures.
1. Recognise and close the doorway through which the curse was able to enter.
2. Confess all sins--in some cases the sins of your ancestors.
3. Forgive everyone who has mistreated you.
4. Renounce any attachment to accursed things, getting rid of occultist articles or literature.
5. Renounce and release yourself from any involvement in occultist activities.
6. Claim the forgiveness afforded by the blood of Christ.
7. Break Satan’s legal claim by the word of your testimony.
8. Bind and cast away any demonic spirits that you have been involved with that has opened the door to the curse. (name them if they have been discerned).
9. Praise and thank the Lord Jesus Christ, and claim the blessings of His atonement.
WHY IS SPIRITUAL WARFARE PERMITTED BY GOD
The Lord has the capacity to shield His children from each and every attack, and yet He allows Satan to afflict us--even illegally. He warned Peter, “"Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."” [Luke 22:31-32].
Here are some of the reasons why warfare is allowed.
1. It is a quirk of human
nature that if we are left in a state of ease, we forget the Lord God and
‘settle in our lees.’ "Beware that
you do not forget the LORD your God when you have eaten and are full, and have
2. God allows these attacks so
that we may be refined, and delivered from the shackles of flesh. P
3. That we might grow in faith. “(N)ow for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” [1 Pet 1:4-7].
4. That we might be spiritually tempered like steel, and prepared as vessels through whom the Lord may wage warfare in setting the captives free.
5. That we might glorify the name of Jesus in continually displaying His victory over Satan.