The Christian and Spiritual Warfare
Watch “The Battle with the Devil” by Dr. R.C. Sproul:
“There can be no Biblical Theology without Demonology.” – Gerrit C. Berkouwer, Chair of the Faculty of Theology during the 1960s, Free University of Amsterdam.
1. The Origins of Satan.
A. War in heaven.
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him… Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” – Revelation 12:7-9; 12b.
According to the Bible, Satan’s following originated with 1/3 of angelic beings that joined Lucifer in his rebellion against God their creator. Some humans later paid devotion to Satan in hopes of earthly rewards. The God of the Judeo-Christian religion is his creator.
Lucifer (a Latin rendering of the Hebrew ‘Heylel’, meaning ‘Shining one’ or, ‘Light bearer’) was God’s highest angel (a ‘cherub’) who stood in His presence. Out of envy, Lucifer rebelled against his Creator, together with 1/3 of the angels (See, Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-15; Revelation 12:3-4). They were cast out of heaven by Michael (Rev. 12:7-9; 12b).
Lucifer is now known as ‘Satan’, which means “Adversary” in Aramaic. The other ‘fallen’ angels are now called ‘demons’ and ‘evil spirits’. Although they were cast out, they were not stripped of their powers and authority over their assigned territories in God’s creation (Daniel 10:12-13 & 20). Only, now they use their powers to create anarchy and destruction in hopes of confounding God’s eternal purposes. They will be stripped of their authority at the Last Judgement (Revelation 20:3 & 10).
B. The war is real and continues to the present time.
“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.” Ephesians 6:12.
It is interesting that, in the “model” prayer Jesus taught His disciples in Matthew 6:9-13 commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer”, Jesus taught them to make this petition daily: “…deliver us from the evil one.”
C. The reality of spiritual warfare on the mission field.
In countries such as Western Europe, The United States and Canada, where Christianity has existed for centuries, most Christians do not take seriously the threat and power of satanic activity against the Church. But nowhere is the reality of spiritual warfare more real than on the missionary front; in third world countries that have never been exposed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as can be attested by missionary evangelists, from all denominations, who have encountered demonic activity first hand on the mission field.
2. Two extreme views on the subject of spiritual warfare prevail in the modern Church:
• Some Christians think that everything bad is caused by demons and evil spirits (i.e. demons are everywhere). This view forgets human responsibility and the weaknesses of our fallen nature, as well as the fallen condition of the created Universe (that it is under a curse because of Adam’s sin and is subject to deterioration and corruption).
• Others take the position that the devil is a “toothless tiger” because he was defeated at the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, and therefore everything bad that happens must have a logical scientific explanation. This view forgets that, according to the Bible, the Day of Judgement, when Satan will be bound, is yet future. Until then, he continues to roam the earth awaiting his doom and, like a drowning man, desires to take everyone with him through deceit.
There is a biblical balance between these two extremes.
3. Knowing the enemy.
A. Basic training for spiritual warfare.
“He who will have, for his Master and King, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Virgin, Who took upon Himself our flesh and our blood, will have the Devil for his enemy.” ~ quoted from ‘Table Talk’ (A collection of the sayings of Protestant Reformer Martin Luther)
The first step a Christian must make before going into battle against spiritual wickedness is his own spiritual preparation. Assurance of salvation and a personal relationship with Christ are essential. Also important are a thorough understanding of God’s Word and regularity in prayer. Knowing the enemy, or, how the devil operates is also important.
When I went through Basic Training and AIT in the Army, much of our “class room” time was spent studying the “enemy”. We studied the kinds of weapons they used, how they built their defenses, booby-traps and mine-fields. We studied their propaganda and psychological warfare tactics. Christians involved in spiritual warfare would do well to do the same.
B. The origin of evil.
The Bible is not clear as to how the first sin and evil entered into God’s perfect creation. In the account of the creation of Man found in the first three chapters of Genesis, we find the “Serpent” (i.e. Satan the enemy of God) already there, together with the idea of temptation and sin. So, obviously, Adam and Eve were not the first of God’s creation to disobey. They were only the first that had been created in God’s image to disobey Him.
The first mention of Satan (by name) in the Bible is in the story of Job. Job lived at approximately the same time as the patriarch Abraham, and long before any inspired Scriptures, as we know them, were ever written down. The author of the book of Job is not known, but it is likely to have been written about the same time as Genesis, or even earlier.
In the account given in Job 1-2, Satan is already a “fallen” creature, but appears before the throne of God with the angels of heaven (i.e. “sons of God”) to give an account of what they have been doing.
Scripture seems to suggest that Satan and his demons are fallen angels. This idea is derived from Old Testament prophecies spoken about foreign kings and princes that seem to have a symbolic or spiritual allusion to angelic beings. (In the study of Biblical prophecy, this is called “the law of double reference”. An example of this is Isaiah 14:12-15, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.” In this passage, Isaiah is actually addressing one of the kings of Babylon, but the allusion to Satan is quite obvious. See also, Ezekiel 28:1-19. In the Ezekiel passage, the prophet addresses the king of Tyre, but calls him the “anointed cherub” in verse 14; again, an obvious allusion to Satan’s past.
C. What we know about the Adversary.
• Satan’s name was Lucifer; Hebrew for “shining one; morning star” (Isa. 14:12).
• He was the “anointed cherub” and was the highest in authority among all the angels (Ezekiel 28:14).
• Through pride, he desired to be like the Most High God.
• Revelation suggests that he led a rebellion of approximately 1/3 of all the angels in heaven (Rev.12:4).
• They were cast out of heaven and into the created Universe. Scripture teaches that they have come down to us in “great wrath” knowing that their time is short (Rev. 12:12). Like a drowning man, Satan knows that he is doomed and wants to take as many created beings with him as he can.
• Scripture suggests that some demons are kept “bound” in outer darkness, in watery depths and in a place called in Greek “Tartarus” (a temporal spiritual prison) until an appointed time when they will be released (See, II Pet. 2:4, Rev. 9:14-15).
D. Satan’s powers are limited.
• Satan wants to be “like” God, but he IS NOT God (He does not possess the attributes of God).
• He is not omnipotent or “All powerful”. He can’t do anything he wants to.
• He needs God’s permission to test or afflict a believer (See Job 1:10-11).
• He is not omniscient or “All knowing”. He does not know your thoughts or plans unless you speak them out loud.
• He is not omnipresent or “Everywhere present”. He can only be in one place at one time, that is why he needs the help of other demons and evil spirits under his authority. (NOTE: The Bible says that he can transform himself into an “angel of light” (II Cor. 11:14), which may imply that he can travel at the speed of light from one place to another.)
4. The wiles of the devil.
A. The two main functions of Satan against believers:
• Temptation. He is called the “Tempter” in Matthew 4:3. He tries to tempt believers to fall into sin.
• Accusation. He is called the “Accuser of our brethren” in Revelation 12:10.
B. How to know the difference between the accusations of the devil and the conviction of the Holy Spirit:
• When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, it is always with the offer of forgiveness and reconciliation.
• When the devil accuses us of sin, it is with the intent to destroy our testimony and relationship with God and other Christians. To discourage us from continuing in the grace of God and “expose” us as hypocrites deserving of God’s judgment like himself.
C. How he plans an attack:
• He studies your strengths and weaknesses.
• In marriages and relationships, he usually attacks through the “weaker vessel” (Gen. 3:1; I Pet. 3:7).
• He manifests himself as an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14).
• He makes giving into temptation seem like the right thing to do (See Genesis 3:4-6).
• He attacks through your mind (especially through the eyes).
• He attacks through the lusts of our fallen sinful nature.
• He attacks through pride.
• He can attack your physical and mental health (See, Job 2:7; Luke 8:35).
“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” I John 2:16-17.
5. Going deeper.
A. Territorial spirits.
The concept of “territorial spirits” in the Bible comes from the account in the book of Daniel in which the angel Gabriel appeared to the prophet Daniel and told him that his prayers had been heard, but that an angelic being called “the Prince of Persia” resisted God’s answer from coming to Daniel: “Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia’.” Daniel 10:12-13. In Daniel 10:20, a “prince of Greece” is also mentioned. It is believed by some theologians that when God divided the nations of the earth and set their boundaries, He assigned angels over geographical areas. Some of these angels fell during Satan’s rebellion resulting in some nations having a tendency toward evil even to this day.
The belief in “territorial spirits” in cultural superstitions is a world-wide phenomenon.
B. Generational curses and sins.
Is sin hereditary? Generational curses and sins are alluded to in several places in the Bible: Exodus 20:5; 34:7; Numbers 14:18; and Deuteronomy 5:9. Under the Old Covenant (the Old Testament), God warned that He is would punish “the children for the sin of the fathers, to the third and fourth generation…”
It sounds unfair for God to punish children for the sins of their fathers. However, there is more to it than that. The effects of sin are naturally (perhaps “genetically”) passed down from one generation to the next. When a father has a sinful lifestyle, his children are likely to practice the same sinful lifestyle. See, Romans 5:12 & 14, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam…”
Jeremiah 32:18 says that the consequences of sin from one generation are passed down to the next generation. Wounds from past hurts can be difficult to overcome. Some believers struggle with generational sin, especially if they are the first generation to follow Christ. It is difficult to honor those who have wounded us. People often want to break negative cycles but do not know how because the way of thinking they were raised with is all they know. It can be very difficult to recognize and break sinful patterns in families. The truth is that without Jesus no one can break the grip of sin, therefore, salvation is the first step to breaking the cycle of generational sin.
“Generational curses” are also interpreted by some Christians as actual curses or “spells” invoked by their enemies upon themselves and their families through sorcery. In my own family, my Grandfather claimed that one of our ancestors was a Judge at the Salem Witch Trials, which occurred in colonial Massachusetts between 1692 and 1693, and that one of the head witches he sentenced to death by hanging cursed him and all his descendants before she went to the gallows. He believed that this was the cause of all the misfortune that had befallen our family since then. Strangely enough, since that time, our family has been predominantly Protestant Christian, however, in each generation, there has always been one in the family that rebelled against God, and sometimes disappeared forever, never to be heard from again.
The Biblical solution to Generational curses and sins is “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ”, Acts 20:21. An example of how to “break” the curse is simply to turn from sin to God, as Jesus told the woman caught in adultery in John 8:11, “And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Romans 8:1-2 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Furthermore, as foretold by the prophet Ezekiel, in Ezekiel 18:20, Generational curses and sins may have been true under the Old Covenant, but they are no longer in effect for believers under the New Covenant of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Ezekiel prophesied, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
If you are a Christian, Generational curses and sins no longer have any power over you, unless you allow it.
C. A ‘Jezebel’ spirit.
A ‘Jezebel spirit’ or, ‘spirit of Jezebel’ is an allegory used by Christian leaders throughout Church history who have encountered spiritual opposition in their ministries characterized by sexual immorality or seduction, idolatry, false religion or doctrine, and attempts to control or destroy their ministry from sources outside the Church.
This concept is based on the story of King Ahab and his pagan wife Jezebel found in 1st and 2nd Kings and Revelation 2:18-29. Jezebel was the daughter of Eth-baal, king of Tyre and Sidon, and priest of the cult religion of Baal, a false god whose worship involved sexual degradation and lewdness. Ahab, king of Israel, married Jezebel and led the nation of Israel into Baal worship.
There are two traits in the life of Jezebel which characterize her and may define what is meant by the “Jezebel spirit”. One trait is her obsessive passion for domineering and controlling others, especially in the spiritual realm. When she became queen, she began a relentless campaign to rid Israel of all worship of the true God. She ordered the extermination of all the prophets of the LORD and replaced their altars with those of Baal. A second trait is a single-minded determination to have one’s own way, no matter who is destroyed in the process.
The best way to define the Jezebel spirit is to say it characterizes anyone who acts in the same manner as Jezebel did, engaging in immorality, idolatry, false teaching and unrepentant sin.
So infamous was Jezebel’s sexual immorality and idol worship that the Lord Jesus Himself refers to her in a warning to the church at Thyatira in Revelation 2:18-29. Some theologians think that the “Jezebel spirit” is a personification of a demonic entity that reappeared in Thyatira to trouble the Church hundreds of years after the death of the actual Jezebel. This could be true in that demons are known to impersonate real people.
6. Demon possession and Exorcism.
A. Rules of engagement.
Conditions which may cause a person to become possessed, or to come under the influence of a demon:
• Christians cannot be possessed (I Cor. 10:21; II Cor. 6:15-16).
• But Christians can be oppressed, afflicted or tormented if God allows (See, Job 1:6-12; II Cor. 12:7-9).
• Non-Christians can be possessed, especially if they dabble in the occult, false religion or sexual immorality. This is evident in the Gospel accounts about Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2). Some authorities on Spiritual Warfare also suggest that bitterness, unforgiveness, hate, drug addiction and rebellion can also lead to demon possession.
• Christians can also be influenced by a wrong spirit. “But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of…’” Luke 9:53-55. (Notice that the last part of verse 55 is usually omitted in most modern translations.) See also, Matthew 16:21-23.
• It is questionable whether an unsaved person really has to do anything wrong at all to become possessed by a demon. In several New Testament accounts of Jesus casting out demons, especially from children; it is doubtful, because of their age, that they could have been “dabbling” in any kind of occult practices or even holding bitterness or unforgiveness against anyone. According to the accounts given in the Gospels, it seems like; somehow, they just simply got possessed, perhaps just playing with friends. (See for example, Matthew 15:21-28: Jesus expelled a demon from the body of the daughter of a Canaanite woman (also in Mark 7:24-30). And, Matthew 17:14-21: Jesus healed a boy by driving out a demon from him (also in Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-49). In other accounts where the possessed was an adult, many times they were devout Jews who would never have dabbled in sorcery or witchcraft. How then can we explain their being demonized other than the probability that demons may choose their victims spontaneously.
• In the entire Bible, there are only 25 accounts of demon possession/oppression and exorcism. Specifically, there is only one account in the Old Testament (the evil spirit that vexed King Saul), seventeen accounts in the four Gospels, and seven accounts in the Book of Acts.
B. Signs of demonic invasion.
Signs of demonic invasion vary depending on the type of demon and its purpose, including:
• Loss or lack of appetite
• Cutting, scratching, and biting of skin
• A cold feeling in the room
• Unnatural bodily postures and change in the person’s face and body
• The possessed losing control of their normal personality and entering into a frenzy or rage, and/or attacking others
• Change in the person’s voice
• Supernatural physical strength not subject to the person’s build or age
• Speaking or understanding another language which they had never learned before
• Knowledge of things that are distant or hidden
• Prediction of future events (sometimes through dreams)
• Levitation and moving of objects / things
• Expelling of objects / things
• Intense hatred and violent reaction toward all religious objects or items
• Antipathy towards entering a Church, speaking Jesus’ name or hearing scripture.
C. Exorcism and the Christian.
Christians have been given the authority by Christ to cast out demons (Matt. 10:8). However, exorcism must be done Scripturally.
• It takes faith in God’s promises (Matt. 17:19-20).
• It must be done in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 16:18).
• Christians must be in a right relationship with the Lord (Acts 19:13-16).
• In some cases, it takes prayer and fasting (Mark 9:28-29).
• In rebuking a demon, it must be done in the Lord’s Name and authority and not in your own authority (See Jude 1:9; Psa. 8:4-5a – “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels…”).
NOTE: Christians are not to assume that they have the authority to “bind” Satan. Jesus’ teaching on the subject of “binding and loosing”, when read in context, is speaking of Church discipline and government, not exorcism.
There is only one place in Scripture where Satan is “bound” and that is in the book of Revelation 20:1-3. In this passage, it took a mighty angel with a “great chain” to bind Satan!
The proper way to “rebuke” a demon was demonstrated by Michael the Archangel in Jude 1:9 where he said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you!”. Even though Satan was cast out of heaven, he was once the “anointed cherub” and was in a higher position of authority than Michael. During an exorcism, Christians should not be arrogant and assume to have more authority than has been given to them in Scripture.
D. The phenomenon of “jumping” spirits.
The history of exorcism goes back as far as the history of the Church itself, and notable exorcists of all denominations have attested to a phenomenon called “jumping” by demonic spirits.
Quoting from an article on the subject of demonic spirits having the ability to jump from one object to another, “Exorcists often use the repetitive recitation of protection prayers as a chant to shield themselves from harm or fear whenever engaging malevolent spirits or demons. Since demons cannot really be destroyed, so to speak, but only banished from one individual or space to another, these prayers also prevent demons from “jumping.” When demons jump, they shift from a currently possessed individual or space to a new one. Demons have been known to do this in order to temporarily fool exorcists into believing they have successfully cast them out, when in fact the targeted demons have only moved to a new space. In extreme cases, when serious mistakes are made by an exorcist, demons have even been known to attempt jumping from the possessed person or space to the body of the acting exorcist. Reciting prayers of protection can offer a protective shield against the demon being engaged.”
An example of “jumping” by demons in the Bible can be found in the account of Jesus casting out the “Legion” of demons from the demoniac of Gadarene, found in Mark 5:12-13, “So all the demons begged Him, saying, ‘Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.’ And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.”
7. The world of the occult.
A. Biblical examples of Satanism and devil worship.
Since ancient times, people that have forsaken God in their hearts, out of greed, lust for power and wealth, etc. have worshipped ‘the god of this world’ (as the New Testament calls him) in hopes of obtaining Satan’s power and favor.
The practice of Satanism as a religion usually involves various ‘secret ceremonies’, involving sex, ritual abuse and animal and/or human sacrifice. Most Satanists believe Satan will be the victor in the end, and that they will be rewarded for their allegiance to him. Most Satanists do not believe in an afterlife. The rewards they are seeking after are the temporal, worldly pleasures of this life.
Of course, worshipping Satan in exchange for wealth, fame, etc. is an example of true Biblical Satanism (Basically, it is selling your soul for prosperity in this life, usually done out of hatred for God.) Matthew 16:26 says, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he tempted Him in this way: “Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’” Luke 4:5-7. First of all, take notice that Jesus did not challenge Satan’s claim that all the kingdoms of the world had been given to him and that he can give it to whomever he wishes. There are probably many people who have been tempted in this way and gave into it. This could be considered true Biblical Satanism. People who have risen to great authority and wealth in this world through the power of Satan probably would not start a Satanic church in San Francisco, but would prefer rather to be anonymous members of a secret society of some kind.
In II Chron. 33:1-7a, King Manasseh did what could be called true Biblical Satanism: “Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he raised up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. He also built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, ‘In Jerusalem shall My name be forever.’ And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. He even set a carvedimage, the idol which he had made, in the house of God…” (King Manasseh’s sins were: Pantheism, Polytheism, Idolatry, Astrology, Astrolatry, Human sacrifice, Fortune telling, Witchcraft, Sorcery and Necromancy. Amazingly, Manasseh repented and God forgave him “Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.” See II Chron. 33:12-13.)
As for what religious texts they use, true Satanists rely on the Judeo-Christian Bible, as well as traditions of ancient cultures for their information about Satan and other demonic spirits.
In 1966, Anton LaVey formed The Church of Satan in San Francisco, CA and published the Satanic Bible in 1969. The Satanic Bible is nothing more than a fictional ‘mockery’ of the Judeo-Christian Bible, written by an author who was obviously bitter at God and Christianity, and used Satanism as an outlet for his anger.
True Satanists have historically been organized into ‘secret societies’, with an anonymous membership that even law enforcement agencies have a hard time tracing. Adherents worldwide is unknown.
B. Some 20th and 21st Century Satanic cults and sects:
Openly active groups:
• Church of Satan
• Temple of Set
• Order of the Black Ram
• Werewolf Order
• Worldwide Church of Satanic Liberation
• Church of War
• The Satanic Temple
• Order Templi Satanis
• The Process Church of the Final Judgement
• Order of the Nine Angels
• Dark Lily
• Ordo Sinistra Vivendi (previously called, Order of the Left Hand Path. Originated in New Zealand)
• Bambini di Satana Chiesa di Satana di Filippo Scerba Chiesa Luciferiana di Efrem Del Gatto Impero Satanico della Luce degli Inferi or Seguaci del Maestro Loitan (An Italian group)
Groups that may no longer exist:
• Church of Satanic Brotherhood
• Brotherhood of the Ram
• Our Lady of Endor Coven
• The Satanic Orthodox Church of Nethilum Rite
• The Satanic Church
C. Satanic Ritual Abuse.
Satanic ritual abuse is a term used to describe supposed ‘memories’ of people who claim they were abducted as children by Satanic and or religious cults or sects and repeatedly used in pagan and often sadistic religious rituals, which they claim included many immoral acts and even blood sacrifice. Many of these are reputable people in society who suffer trauma from such memories. However, most secular psychiatrists (who doubt that such cults would really carry out such a thing) attribute such ‘memories’ to either childhood dreams and nightmares that seemed very ‘real’, or to a psychiatric condition called “False Memory Syndrome”.
Other “experiences” that may be forms of “Ritual Abuse” are: ‘Organized Stalking’ and ‘Psychological Terrorism’. These kinds of complaints are often brought before Law Enforcement authorities by people who consider themselves “targeted individuals”. These people claim they are being systematically stalked and psychologically terrorized by hostile groups using technology such as GPS and cell phone conferencing.
Authorities usually do not take such complaints seriously, first of all, because it is very hard to prove “harassment” without physical evidence or bodily harm. Second, authorities cannot see a motive behind it. Why would any group systematically stalk a person and yet not do any bodily harm to him or her? However, there are some realistic and possible motives that should be considered:
– One motive may be to ruin the person’s credibility, if for example he is considered a “whistleblower” among his peers. If he can be made to look mentally unstable, of course, a court would not call upon him to testify against them. Some Federal agencies have taken this possibility into consideration and actually passed Whistleblower Protection laws to protect harassment and intimidation of Federal witnesses.
– Another possible motive is to murder the individual without physically touching him. Constantly stalking and terrorizing an individual psychologically, and yet not doing anything, will eventually not only ruin the individual’s quality of life, but increase stress and anxiety, lower his immune system, make him physically and/or mentally ill and ultimately kill him. If you doubt this is possible, read the following article from Scientific American magazine, “Can a Person be Scared to Death?” by Coco Ballentyne: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scared-to-death-heart-attack/
According to the Bible, idolatry in any form is devil worship.
I Cor. 10:19-20 says, “What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.”
E. ‘Witchcraft’ and sorcery.
Witches exist in society even in modern times and gather together as ‘covens’ on a regular basis, which makes them a ‘religion’ according to the laws of most countries in the Western world. A ‘Coven” is defined as, “1. a group or gathering of witches or shamans who meet regularly. 2. a secret or close-knit group of associates.” Members are from all walks of life and classes of society. I once read that one of the vows they take to become members of these covens is to “break the faith of at least one Christian in their life-time”.
Witchcraft and sorcery are forbidden in the Bible:
“You shall not permit a Sorceress (“Witch”, KJV) to live.” – Exodus 22:18 NKJV.
“And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?” – Isaiah 8:19.
I believe witchcraft is a real force of spiritual evil that should be dealt with by the Church. God would not forbid the practice of witchcraft unless it was real and harmful.
The fact that witchcraft is real can be demonstrated from the Biblical account of King Saul consulting the “witch” (or, medium) of En Dor in 1 Samuel 28:7-20. In this account, the King James Version calls the woman a “witch” and says the source of her power came from a “familiar spirit” that had attached itself to her. Most modern translations refer to the woman as a “medium” and do not mention the source of her power (perhaps assuming that the term “medium” already suggests spiritual entities). It is interesting that the Scriptures do not deny the fact that she was really able to conjure the ghost of Samuel! Verse 12 of the passage says, “When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice…”
F. The use of hallucinogens in witchcraft.
The New Testament Greek word translated “sorcery” and “witchcraft” is pharmakeia, which is the source of our English word “pharmacy”.
The word primarily meant “dealing in poison” or “drug use” and was applied to divination and spell-casting because sorcerers often used drugs along with their incantations and amulets to conjure occult power.
Historically, the most common drug used by witches has been “Datura”, a hallucinogen extracted from a plant called “Devil’s Weed”. The plant is legal and often grows wild in the United States and Canada, but is considered a controlled substance in Australia.
• There are many ways to administer the Datura plant the most common being tea made from any part of the plants, ingestion of seeds, and smoking blends made from leaves or flowers.
• An ointment can also be made from Datura which is often referred to as ‘Flying Ointment’ due to its use by witches in medieval Europe.
• It is thought that legends of witches ‘flying’ on broom sticks originated from people under the influence of this hallucinogen.
• Datura can produce hallucinations, which the user is unable to identify as fantasy. A user will not be able to distinguish between reality and fantasy and therefore may become confused, agitated or paranoid.
• The “brewing processes” used in preparing these hallucinogenic teas and ointments may have also led to the belief that witches use “Love potions”. Whether Love potions made from “Pheromones” really work is debatable. However, a person under the influence of “hallucinogens” is vulnerable to suggestibility and temptation.
• Datura has been combined with many other drugs, but there are three main combinations, that are repeatedly used by those who practice “pharmakeia”. These are the ‘Flying Ointment’, Ayahuasca brews, and cannabis smoking blends.
G. The use of omens.
Omens are “signs” or subliminal messages interpreted as prophecies of impending bad or good fortune. In ancient Pagan religions, animal entrails were often dissected in search of “signs” of, for example, the outcome of a battle.
Signs or “omens” of impending death, doom and destruction were also often intentionally used to frighten their enemies (sometimes to death).
8. Black Magic.
A. The belief in black magic is a phenomenon found in nearly every culture.
The way black magic is practiced in some cultures of the world is not only by cursing, but also by conjuring an evil spirit and directing that spirit to afflict an individual through use of a photograph, article of clothing, hair or something else that belongs to that person. (Much like hound dogs would be used to track down an escaped prisoner.)
Quoting from an article, “Can Christians Be Hurt by Witchcraft or Black Magic?” by Dan Vander Lugt, “The source of black magic’s power is fear. Academic writers have documented the life and death power of pagan magic over people who believe in it. People in Satan’s power are obsessed and hypnotized by evil. In spite of the power pagan sorcerers and witch doctors hold over people who accept their authority, Christian missionaries have confronted “powerful” witch doctors with immunity to their curses and black magic. Since vulnerability to black magic is rooted in fear and lack of trust, Christians can count on God’s protection when they submit to His authority. But if they actively suppress or ignore God’s moral law for selfish purposes, they enter the realm of the demonic and become vulnerable to its power.”
B. Voodoo dolls and similar objects.
Almost everyone is familiar with how voodoo dolls are used by black magic practitioners from Haiti, New Orleans and other places with an African heritage. Similar rituals are practiced in other cultures using different objects.
Sadism, black magic, sorcery and witchcraft rituals often involve the inhumane abuse of people and/or animals. That’s why they are forbidden by God in the Bible. In fact, the Bible says, “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.” Exodus 22:18. (Of course, that was under the Old Covenant and does not apply to the Christian Church.)
9. The ’new wave’ of modern occult groups.
A brief history of modern occult groups:
History of the Church of Satan and the Satanic Bible – The Church of Satan was established in San Francisco, California, on April 30, 1966, by Anton LaVey. The Satanic Bible is a collection of essays, observations, and rituals published by Anton LaVey in 1969. Of course, Satan and his followers have existed long before these dates. True followers of Satan worship him for their own selfish gain and probably prefer to be anonymous members of a secret society.
History of Wicca – Wicca, as it is practiced now, is only about 50 years old. Wicca is a belief system that Briton Gerald Gardner put together in the 1940s and 50s from a variety of neo-pagan religious traditions. Wiccans call themselves “witches” but really have nothing to do with Biblical sorcery. Basically, they believe that nature is God and that the forces of nature can be manipulated.
History of the New Age movement – The New Age movement is very similar to this with their beliefs in the power of pyramids and crystals; etc. The New Age movement is a religious or spiritual movement that developed in Western nations during the 1970s.
Dungeons and Dragon game clubs, Ouija boards, Astrology, Tarot, Palm reading, etc. – I would consider these things nothing more than the devil’s attempts to distract today’s youth from knowing the true God of the Bible and to create in them a curiosity for the occult.
10. Pagan practices within Roman Catholicism.
A. Roman Catholicism has roots in both Biblical Christianity and Pagan religion.
Under the Roman Empire, the Christian Church was persecuted more severely and systematically than in any other place in the ancient world.
After Emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity, he made a decree of “tolerance” on behalf of the Church, he restored its losses and gave it favored treatment as one among many tolerated religions in Rome.
Christians were elated not to be under persecution by the state any longer.
Christianity was officially made the state religion under emperor Theodosius IX in the year 381.
Mass baptisms were performed upon the citizens of Rome, even upon those who had little understanding of what Christianity was about. This was done with the intent that they would be indoctrinated later.
Because the majority of Roman citizens were Pagan, idolatry was rampant. For many years after Constantine’s decree, the pagan converts resisted the Church’s attempt to rid them of their idols. Eventually the Church compromised and decided to “Christianize” the statues of Greek and Roman gods by renaming them with the names of Christian saints. Today, the official position of the Vatican is that they do not encourage the use of graven images in worship, but it is tolerated because that is what the majority of their people want.
The use of graven images in Catholic worship varies throughout the world, depending on the educational level and cultural background of the country the Parish is in. In American Catholic churches, for example, images are usually plain white statues of Biblical characters and are used as “reminders” of heavenly things. In other parts of the world, however, such as Latin America and Asia, these “statues” are painted to look as real and life-like as possible, sometimes dressed with real hair and real clothing. As an artist, I would like to state, that in Sculpture there is a “fine line” between “Art” and “Idolatry”.
In some third-world Catholic countries, the streets are full of “street magicians” carrying Catholic statues of Mary, the Crucifix or the Boy Jesus, and any tourist, for a small donation, can watch the statue “cry”, “bleed” or even “dance” in the air. Obviously, this is not Biblical Christianity, but a form of sorcery.
It is evident from the example of the Protestant Reformers of the 16th century, many of whom were Doctors, monks and priests in the Catholic Church, that it is possible to come to a true understanding of the Gospel and experience salvation from within the Catholic Church. However, today, it is most probable that true Christian believers in the Catholic Church, who are trusting only in Christ for their salvation, amount to a very small minority in the Church. The great majority of Catholics are trusting in their own penance, good works, prayers to the saints, monetary offerings and in the authority of the Church itself; which is not the true Gospel of Christ declared by the Apostle Paul in his Epistles to the Romans and Ephesians.
B. A rise in demon possession within Catholic parishes.
At the turn of the 20th Century, the Vatican ordered an increase in the number of trained exorcists in every Parish, particularly those in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia, due to a noticeable increase in Demon possession occurring among Catholics. They attributed this phenomenon to a rise in interest and involvement in the occult and Satanism by Catholic young people. (One priest stated that he noticed some young people taking the Eucharist were not swallowing it, but rather putting it in their mouth and then spitting into a napkin later on. He suspected that they were taking it home and using it in occult rituals because it represented the Body of Christ and had been blessed. He now requires all members of his parish to swallow the Eucharist in front of him!) By 2010, an official College on Exorcism for priests and laypersons was established at the University of Rome, and in 2014, the Vatican approved a new Catholic organization called the International Association of Exorcists.
One controversial question among Evangelicals is whether a born-again Catholic should remain in the Catholic tradition.
One point I would like to make about studying the history and doctrines of the Catholic Church, for the benefit of Protestant readers, is that most of the popular books on the subject were written by Protestant fundamentalists who were never exposed to Catholicism in their lives prior to their writing these books. I was raised in the Catholic Church and have read some of these books that are vehemently anti-Catholic. Many of their accusations about Catholic doctrine and tradition are nothing but misunderstandings or blatant lies that have no historical evidence or support. The most reliable sources of information about the Roman Catholic Church are those written by former Catholics (those who grew up in the Catholic Church and were later converted to Evangelical Christianity).
11. Lessons from the front:
A. The danger of confusion in warfare.
From the Vietnam era to the present, everyone who has watched the evening news coverage of America’s military at war while eating dinner, has heard of the term “Friendly fire”.
An article on the subject in Wikipedia describes Friendly fire as, “…an attack by a military force on friendly forces while attempting to attack the enemy, either by misidentifying the target as hostile, or due to errors or inaccuracy. …Friendly fire arises from the confusion inherent in warfare. …Friendly fire is often seen as an inescapable result of combat, and because it only accounts for a small percentage of casualties, can often be dismissed as irrelevant to the outcome of a battle. The effects of friendly fire, however, are not just material. Troops expect to be targeted by the enemy, but being hit by their own forces has a huge negative impact on morale. Forces doubt the competence of their command…”
Christians involved in Spiritual Warfare must be alert and guard against falling into confusion and battlefield disorientation. They should also learn to recognize when and if the enemy causes them to fall into such a state, and learn to re-group and recuperate before continuing.
A Biblical example of battlefield confusion is found in Joshua chapter 5, beginning at verse 13, “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, ‘Are You for us or for our adversaries?’”
Some commentators say this was a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, while others say it was the Angel of the LORD, perhaps Michael. Regardless of who He was, He was on the LORD’s side, but Joshua did not recognize Him. Joshua confronted Him and said, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”
In verses 14 and 15, the Man responds, “So He said, ‘No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, ‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’ Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so.”
B. The danger of battle fatigue.
As equally dangerous as warfare confusion is Battle fatigue.
Again, Wikipedia has this to say on the subject, “Battle fatigue is an obsolete term which may refer to: Combat stress reaction (CSR), a military term for an acute reaction to the stress of battle commonly involving fatigue, slowed reaction time, indecision, and other symptoms. Combat stress reaction is a term used within the military to describe acute behavioral disorganization seen by medical personnel as a direct result of the trauma of war. Combat stress reaction is an acute reaction that includes a range of behaviors resulting from the stress of battle that decrease the combatant’s fighting efficiency. The most common symptoms are fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one’s surroundings, and inability to prioritize.”
The most common fatigue related symptoms include:
• The slowing of reaction time.
• Slowness of thought.
• Difficulty prioritizing tasks.
• Difficulty initiating routine tasks.
• Preoccupation with minor issues and familiar tasks.
• Indecision and lack of concentration.
• Loss of initiative with fatigue.
In Christian Ministry, this is often called “Ministry Burnout”.
Ministers who have experienced this testify that it takes literally years to recover from it.
The Bible says that man was created “a little lower than the angels” (Psalms 8:4-5.) Satan is a fallen angel and has far more stamina and endurance than any human being. He can and will go the rounds with you.
One of Satan’s strategies in causing a Christian leader to fall into sin is to bring him to the point of exhaustion and disorientation where his judgment is impaired, and then throw a temptation at him that he will find hard to resist. He did this to Jesus in the wilderness.
“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’” Luke 4:1-3.
As demonstrated by Christian saints throughout Church history, the secret of having victory over Satan is not to challenge him or try resisting him in your own strength, but to submit to God and yield to His strength alone.
The Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
12. Weapons of our warfare.
A. The power of Jesus’ Name.
• “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.” Philippians 2:9-10
• We can safely assume that those things “in heaven” refer to principalities and powers. Those “under the earth” refer to demons and evil spirits.
B. The power of quoting Scripture out loud.
Jesus resisted temptation with Scripture:
• When Jesus was tested by Satan in the wilderness, he quoted Scripture out loud. He met every accusation and temptation of Satan with “It is written…”
• Make a personal collection of Scripture verses that either rebuke Satan or that proclaim God and His people as victorious, and memorize these.
(I have added an Appendix at the end of this Article with a collection of my own favorite Spiritual Warfare verses.)
C. The power of prayer and fasting.
In the Gospel of Mark 9:28-29, after Jesus had cast out an evil spirit from a young boy, His disciples asked, “…’why could we not cast it out?’ So He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’”
Some modern translations omit “and fasting”, but in Jewish culture, fasting was a normal practice when coming to God with an important petition.
D. The power of praise and worship.
• I am not musically gifted, so it took me a long time to realize how important Praise and Worship is in driving out and defeating the enemy. An example of this power was demonstrated in the taking of the city of Jericho by Joshua and the people of Israel: “But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: ‘Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!’ …So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.” (Joshua 6:15-16; 20).
• Psalm 22:3 says, “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” (NKJV). The old King James version says that God inhabits, or “inhabitest” His people’s praises.
Frankly, Satan cannot stand to hear Christians praise and worship God! He is so jealous of God it drives him crazy to hear people worship the LORD. This is especially true when the songs or hymns have a strong Scriptural basis. During periods of revival in Western countries, Christians often sang songs from Scripture, put the Psalms to music and wrote powerful and doctrinally sound hymns which have become classics today.
E. The power of anointing with oil.
James 5:14-15 says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
• Satan knows the power of God’s anointing because, before his fall, he was the “anointed cherub” (see, Ezekiel 28:14).
• Satan does not like to be reminded of the position he lost in heaven.
F. The power of imputed righteousness – Jeremiah 23:6b “THE LORD: OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS”.
The believer’s righteousness is from the LORD. “’…This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,’ says the LORD.” Isa. 54:17b And, “…this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Jer. 23:6b.
• Before Satan attacks, he will spy you out. He will observe you and learn your every weakness and vulnerability.
• He will figure out what your sinful tendencies are and he will surely find them because the Bible says, “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3:10; 23. See also, Isaiah 64:6a “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags”. And Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.” When King Solomon dedicated the Temple, he prayed, “…then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin)…” 1 Kings 8:45-46a and, 2 Chronicles 6:35-36a.
• He is called “the accuser of the brethren” in Revelation 12:10. He will accuse you before the Lord in an attempt to obtain legal right to attack and torment you.
• Ask God to impute the righteousness of Christ upon you. This will counter all of Satan’s accusations. “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works.” Rom. 4:5-6.
13. The Armor of God.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 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, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” – Ephesians 6:10-18
A. Christians are not to rely on their own strength but on the “strength” (Grk. endunamóō – Eng. dynamic power) of the Lord. Two other synonyms are used to describe the Lord’s dynamic power: krátos refers to the impact of God’s power (Eph. 1:19). “Might” (ischús) implies strength that is inherent to God.
The word for “wrestle” is the Greek word, pálê, a Greek athletic term. When we consider that the loser in a Greek wrestling contest had his eyes gouged out with resulting blindness for the rest of his life, we can form some conception of the Ephesian Greek’s reaction to Paul’s illustration. The Christian’s wrestling against the powers of darkness is no less desperate and fateful.
The believer is engaged in hand to hand combat with the forces of darkness, which are not physical but spiritual. Verse 12 informs the believer what or who his enemies are; a chain of command is given to describe the hierarchy of enemies in the spiritual realm.
• First, there are “principalities”(archế) who have a chief position to inferior spirits. They are the preeminent commanders in Satan’s army.
• There are “powers”(exousía) who are the evil “authorities” of the unseen world. Apparently, there are demons who answer to them.
• Then there are the “rulers of the darkness of this age.” “Rulers” (kosmokrátōr) would suggest strong regimes in this world’s dark affairs.
• Finally, there are “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” These are hordes of evil spirit beings (pneumatikós) of the kingdom in the air (Eph. 2:2).
B. The believer is commanded to “put on” (endúō – to clothe or dress) the armor of God in order to stand firm.
It is an imperative for the believer and not an option. There is never a time when the believer is to be without his armor. It is to be on and kept on.
• “Armor” (panoplía – “full armor”) is the full protective battle gear of the Roman soldier. Each piece protects a vital area of the soldier’s body so that, though he may be wounded, he can escape death.
• Habitual or un-confessed sin can be like a hole or missing piece in the armor (Prov. 28:13).
• The believer’s main objective is to “stand firm” (hístemi – to stand, hold one’s ground, be established), is used three times in these verses (11, 13,14).
• The believer is to stand firm against the “wiles” (methodeía – trickery, crafty, cunning, deception) of the devil. The devil’s schemes include false teaching (Eph. 4:14; II Cor. 11:14) and any tactic that would cause the believer to fall into sin (I Tim. 3:7; II Cor. 2:11).
In addition to standing firm, the believer is also to “resist” (anthístemi – oppose, refuse to yield), through the Lord’s power, withstand the devil’s attacks.
C. A similar admonition is given in James 4:7. The believer is to “resist” the devil. Scripture tells us that the result will be that the devil will flee from us. The first step, however, is to submit to God. The believer cannot attempt to resist the devil without first submitting to God. “Submit” (hupotássō) means to arrange oneself under the authority of another.
D. The believer’s armor.
The believer’s individual pieces of armor in Spiritual Warfare: There are six pieces in all: a belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, and sword.
Ephesians is one of Paul’s Prison Epistles. A Roman soldier was probably assigned to guard Paul’s cell. As Paul viewed the pieces of the soldier’s armor, he saw a spiritual analogy of the believer’s spiritual weapons.
(1) The Belt of Truth.
Truth in doctrine is necessary in the Christian so that the believer will not fall into false teaching. However, subjective and practical truthfulness, honesty and integrity are necessary to the believer’s testimony. Lying is one of the temptations that Satan uses to cause believers to fall. In doing so, they discredit the Gospel.
(2) The Breastplate of Righteousness.
The breastplate was made of metal plates and chains. It covered the body from neck to waist and protected the soldier’s vital organs. He could survive, being wounded in other places on his body. But without a breastplate, a wound to that area was usually fatal.
• The believer is to stand in his righteous standing in Christ (II Cor. 5:21). If an individual does not have Christ’s righteousness, he cannot stand against the devil.
• Righteousness also describes the believer’s behavior (Eph. 4:24). The Holy Spirit works in and through the believer to live righteously by God’s standard (Rom. 8:4).
• Satan can defeat a believer when his conscience is wounded by unrighteous deeds. Therefore, James appeals to our conscience to do the right thing (Jas. 4:17).
(3) The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace.
The soles of the Roman soldier’s shoes were pleated with hobnails in order to gain solid footing. A soldier’s armor only protected him as long as he was in a standing position. If a soldier fell down, he was in an extremely vulnerable position. When a Christian soldier falls down, it has immense spiritual consequences.
The believer is to have his feet prepared with the Gospel of peace (eirếnê). This first suggests that the believer must be fully aware of his peace with God through Christ (Rom. 5:1). Believers are not only soldiers of God’s peace, but ambassadors of God’s peace (II Cor. 5:18-20).
(4) The Shield of Faith.
• The shield was the Roman thureós. A thureós was a large oblong shield with four corners. It differed from the small circular shield called an aspís (Latin, Clypeus). It measured approximately four and a half feet by two and a half feet. The smaller shields were for offensive maneuverability while the larger shields were primarily for defensive strategy. It is interesting that Paul chose to illustrate the defensive shield for the believer’s spiritual warfare. The Roman soldiers lined up shield to shield to protect themselves and the archers behind them. The shields were made of thick wood and covered with metal or treated leather. Both of the outside coverings were designed to extinguish flaming arrows.
• The believer’s shield is his faith. “Faith” (pístis) comes from the Greek root peíthō, which means to be persuaded or have confidence. The believer’s faith is confidence that has been persuaded by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:1).
(5) The Helmet of Salvation.
The next piece of armament mentioned is the “helmet of salvation.” The Roman soldier’s helmet was made of solid-cast metal or leather with patches of metal. The helmet would protect the head from arrows and broadswords.
• The meaning of the helmet of salvation applies specifically to the mind. The believer’s battle is first in the mind (II Cor. 11:3). It is sad but many Christians take an anti-intellectual position toward Christianity. The Scriptures have much to say about the battle of the mind.
• Preparation for action is in the mind (I Pet. 1:13).
• The mind can be defiled (Tit. 1:15).
• The mind is to be set on heavenly things (Col. 3:2).
• The spirit of the mind is to be renewed (Eph. 4:23).
• Another area that Satan can attack the mind is in assurance of salvation. Assurance of salvation is not a feeling, rather it is being assured by Scripture that Christ’s death on the cross brings forgiveness of sins to the believer (I Jn. 5:11-13). The doctrine of Assurance is when a believer is fully convinced of God’s promises. The doctrine of Security teaches that God keeps those He saves (Rom. 8:38-39). It is difficult for any believer to be assured of his salvation while living in sin and disobedience. If Satan is able to cause a believer to doubt his salvation, then the believer will not be able to go forward in the Christian life.
(6) The Sword of the Spirit.
• The Greek word for “sword” is máchaira and refers to the soldier’s short sword or dagger used for hand-to-hand combat. The larger broadsword, which is not mentioned here, is therhomphaía.
• The last piece of battle protection mentioned by Paul is the, “sword of the spirit.” Paul also gives the interpretation of his metaphor that the sword is the Word of God. According to Hebrews 4:12, the Word of God is sharper than any man-made sword. It is able to defeat demons and change the hearts of men. Jesus used the sword of the Spirit to ward off Satan’s temptations in Matt. 4:4.
Appendix: My favorite Spiritual Warfare verses with main points underlined.
Spiritual Warfare Verses (NKJV):
Rev. 12: 7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 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. 11 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. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”
Eph. 6: 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 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. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 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—
Acts 16: 16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour.
Gal. 3: 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
Gen. 12: 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Heb. 11: 1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible… 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
I Chron. 16: 14 He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. 15 Remember His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations… 22 Saying, “Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.”
I Cor. 15: 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I John 4: 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
I John 5: 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
I Pet. 5: 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
II Cor. 2: 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
II Cor. 10: 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
II Tim. 1: 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
II Tim. 2: 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
Isa. 54: 17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the LORD.
Isa. 61: 1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, 3 to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”… 6 But you shall be named the priests of the LORD, they shall call you the servants of our God.
James 4: 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Jer. 1: 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Jer. 23: 6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Jude 1: 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Luke 4: 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’
Luke 4: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…”
Luke 10: 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Matt. 10: 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
Matt. 16: 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Matt. 18: 18 “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.
Matt. 4: 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” 11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
Exodus 14: 13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
Neh. 4: 20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
Psa. 22: 3 But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.
Psa. 23: 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Psa. 25: 2 O my God, I trust in You; let me not be ashamed; let not my enemies triumph over me.
Psa. 60: 12 Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.
Psa. 68: 1 Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered; let those also who hate Him flee before Him.
Psa. 91: 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day… 7 A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you… 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways… 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
Psa. 103: 19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.
Psa. 118: 5 I called on the LORD in distress; the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. 6 the LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
Psa. 149: 6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, 7 to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; 8 to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; 9 to execute on them the written judgment— This honor have all His saints. Praise the LORD!
Rom. 8: 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?… 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies… 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Job 1: 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” 8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” 9 So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, 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. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” 12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
II Cor. 12: 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Romans 16:20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.