Servant and Leadership Training Courses

Spiritual Warfare
Leader’s Book

Leaders and Members’ Basics House Church Training Materials for Central Asia See page 47 for the full curriculum

TABLE OF CONTENTS I. Introduction...................................................................................................................................................... 3 A. Who is the Enemy? ....................................................................................................................................... 3 B. God Created the Spirit World....................................................................................................................... 5 C. Introductory Scripture Verses ...................................................................................................................... 5 II. The Walk of Believers as Soldiers .................................................................................................................. 6 A. The Soldier’s Commands.............................................................................................................................. 6 B. Facts about the Soldier’s Battle and His “Commander”.............................................................................. 7 III. The Adversary............................................................................................................................................... 8 A. His History ................................................................................................................................................... 9 B. His Characteristics..................................................................................................................................... 10 C. His Methods of Attack ................................................................................................................................ 11 D. His Ultimate Defeat .................................................................................................................................... 11 IV. Angels ............................................................................................................................................................ 12 A. Definition of Angels.................................................................................................................................... 12 B. Nature and Attributes of Angels ................................................................................................................. 13 C. Classification of Angels.............................................................................................................................. 13 D. Ministry of Angels ...................................................................................................................................... 15 V. Demons ........................................................................................................................................................... 18 A. Introductory Remarks................................................................................................................................. 18 B. Their Origin................................................................................................................................................. 19 C. Their Characteristics ................................................................................................................................. 19 D. Their Activity............................................................................................................................................... 20 E. Jesus’ Earthly Ministry against the Demonic Powers................................................................................ 21 F. Demon Possession...................................................................................................................................... 23 G. Demons in the Old Testament .................................................................................................................... 23 VI. The Defense of the Believer ........................................................................................................................ 24 A. Prayer – Part One of Our Defense............................................................................................................. 24 1. Necessary Scripture about Prayer .......................................................................................................... 25 2. Principles of Prayer ................................................................................................................................ 26 3. A Strategy of Prayer............................................................................................................................... 28 B. The Word of God [The Truth] – Part Two of Our Defense ........................................................................ 31 VII. Guidelines for Helping Others Find Freedom.......................................................................................... 35 A. Gather Background Information ................................................................................................................ 35 B. Determine False Beliefs ............................................................................................................................. 36


C. Deal with the Individual, not with the Demon............................................................................................ 36 D. Lead the Person to Freedom in the Lord ................................................................................................... 37 VIII. Seven Steps to Freedom in the Lord Jesus............................................................................................. 37 IX. The Full Armor of God............................................................................................................................... 40 X. Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................................... 44 Appendix A – Ancestral Spirits .................................................................................................................. 45 Appendix B – My Position in Jesus (Who I Am in Jesus) .......................................................................... 46 Appendix C: The Occult ............................................................................................................................ 47 Appendix D – Study Questions................................................................................................................... 49 For Further Study and Training in Righteousness....................................................................................... 50


SPIRITUAL WARFARE I. Introduction A. Who is the Enemy? No matter who we are or what we do for a living, all of us are bound to face struggles in life. Every person faces financial pressures, job loss, personality conflicts, time demands, injury, illness, emotional pain and ultimately – death. As Job’s friend Eliphaz said – “Yet man is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). When faced with problems like these, people often tend to blame God for their circumstances, or other people, or even themselves. However, Scripture urges us to consider another, more evil source for our troubles. Paul called this evil source the “principalities” [rulers] and “powers” [authorities] in the heavenly places. The apostle said that our struggle is not against God or other people but “against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:11 – 12). Certainly there is a place for human responsibility. But Paul is telling us that ultimately, people are not our enemy. Sin and satan are the real enemies. If we intend to stand up to the onslaught of these powerful adversaries, we must fight them on their own ground – the spiritual realm – with weapons appropriate to the conflict (Ephesians 6:14 – 17). Of course, it can be very difficult to persuade people of that in this day and age. Humanistic and secular thinking dismiss all talk of the supernatural realm as so much superstition left over from the ancient world. At the same time, advocates of the occult have stimulated people’s curiosity and have caused many people to have a fascination with evil rather than a determination to overcome it. Nevertheless, the Bible, God’s holy Word, is clear when it speaks about evil in this world. It declares that evil forces do indeed exist in the spiritual realm. These evil forces have a substantial influence upon the world and upon human events. Paul called them “principalities” [rulers]. The word is often used in the New Testament, sometimes as here, referring to fallen angels (Romans 8:38 and Colossians 2:15), sometimes to human rulers (Titus 3:1), or sometimes to any type of ruler other than God Himself (Ephesians 1:21 and Colossians 2:10). Sometimes the presence of evil powers is evident, as in cases of demon possession (please look at Luke 11:14). However, satan and his co-workers have numerous other ways to influence human activity and carry out their ultimate purpose, the capture of people away from God. For example, two methods through which they can work are: Belief Systems – This means our philosophies and our worldviews, which have a powerful effect on the way we human beings live. By introducing lies into the very principles upon which entire societies are based, the evil one can cause incredible amounts of chaos in the world.


Consider, for instance, the belief system that pushed forward the ideas of Nazism. Eventually, these ideas and beliefs led to the most destructive war in history, which claimed tens of millions of lives. This belief system brought about extermination camps in which millions of Jews and others were slaughtered. This belief system disrupted entire nations and economies. Indeed, the aftermath of that dark and evil period of time is still with us. Again, none of this is to suggest that humans are excused from responsibility. But behind the visible, knowable element of human choice, one can detect [or at least suspect] the activity of forces with supernatural ability and evil intent. This prompts people to accept and then to act upon falsehoods. That is why we cannot be too careful about our ideas and beliefs. Sometimes these false and evil beliefs even come from religious teachers, educators, government leaders or the media. Ideas have consequences, both in individual lives and entire nations. Our best protection against deception is a foundation in biblical truth – the truth of God’s Word (Ephesians 6:14, 17). Another method through which satan and his demons work is by using: Human Institutions and Leaders – Human systems and people in authority make ideal targets of satanic activity because of their influence on other people. With this in mind, we can consider and study the character and especially the spiritual choices of such first century people as the following: The Pharisees (Matthew 23:13 – 15, 31 – 36) The Jewish council (Acts 7:51 – 60) The Herods (Acts 12:1 – 2) Caiaphas (Matthew 26:3 – 5) Pilate (John 18:37 – 38, 19:10 – 11 and 1 Corinthians 2:8) The Caesars (especially Nero – Acts 25:12) After reflection and study, we are able to understand the counterattack that satan must have launched after the coming of the Messiah and the founding of the Church. Scripture tells us that human authorities are established by God to carry out good purposes (Romans 13:1 – 7). However, because humans are in control of these institutions, they are vulnerable to the influence of evil spiritual forces. Paul knew that all too well. As he wrote the letter to the Ephesians, he sat chained to a Roman soldier. His only crime was the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 6:19 – 20). On another occasion, he instructed Timothy, the pastor at the church in Ephesus, to have the people pray “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” It is God Himself “who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2: 2, 4). There are many other ways in which the powers of evil and darkness attempt to stop the purposes of God. But it is not to our spiritual benefit to always try to determine at any moment whether something is being “caused” by a wicked spiritual power or not. An unhealthy preoccupation with that leads only to foolish speculation.


Paul gives us a far more positive strategy for standing firm against our spiritual enemies. He tells us to “put on the full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11). By learning to wear and to use these powerful weapons of the Lord, the believer can resist the evil plans of the devil and, when the fight is over, still be standing. B. God Created the Spirit World (Refer to Psalm 148:2, 4, Matthew 13:39 and Hebrews 1:7) Long ago, before God created the heavens and the earth, He created all the spirits. Since God is holy and good, He created the spirits like Himself – holy and without sin. They are too many to be counted. God created them to serve Him, to do His work and to worship Him. One spirit was created far more beautiful, powerful and wise than the others. God created him to guard God’s holy throne in heaven. But this spirit became jealous of God and desired to be like God. He even wanted to take for himself the place of God. The pure heart God had given him became filled with jealousy and wickedness. Finally, in disgrace this wicked spirit was driven out of heaven. He now waits for a day of everlasting punishment. [Other spirits joined in with him in the rebellion and were also put under God’s judgment. They too are waiting for their day of judgment.] This powerful spirit was once called “Lucifer” (the Shining One) because of his great beauty. Now we know him as satan which means “accuser.” Satan seeks to destroy the work of God. However, satan can do nothing except what God permits him to do. The other evil spirits are like satan because they also seek to harm people. But God is more powerful and rules over them. Sometimes God permits satan to test people or to punish them when they become sinful. A special place of punishment called “hell” is being prepared for satan and his demons. On the day when the time of judgment comes, satan will be completely defeated and punished and thrown into hell. Not all of the created spirits became bad. Most of them continued to obey God and serve Him. They are called “angels.” In the past God spoke to people through angels. God sends His angels to help people. He also sends angels to punish people when they sin. At the end of the world God will use angels to gather all people unto Himself for a time of judgment. Human beings are not to worship angels. Angels are powerful and wise, but they are only created spirits who serve and worship God. God alone is ruler of the spirit world for He created all the spirits according to His purpose. C. Introductory Scripture Verses As we conclude this section of introductory remarks, let us list some of the key Scripture passages that will be basic to our study of spiritual warfare. These verses will be used throughout the book and will be helpful as we study. First, in the Old Testament we should note the following passages:


Job 1:6 – 12, 2:1 – 7, 38:7 Psalm 103:20, 104:4, 148:2, 5 Isaiah 14:12 – 15 and Ezekiel 28:12 – 19 Then, we should observe these fundamental New Testament passages: Matthew 13:39 Luke 1:19, 24:4 Acts 12:7 –10 1 Corinthians 5:5 (1 Timothy 1:20) Colossians 1:16 Hebrews 1:7,14, 12:22 2 Peter 2:4 (Jude 6) Revelation 5:11, 12:7 – 12, 20:10 II. The Walk of Believers as Soldiers A. The Soldier’s Commands As we start to study this most serious of topics, spiritual warfare, we should note in the beginning portion of the study that we believers are told how “to walk” here upon this earth. By briefly glancing at these Scripture passages, we will immediately gain some insight on the foundations of our spiritual life. Thus, this will tell us how we should conduct ourselves as “soldiers” in this spiritual war. First, we observe some negative commands. Stated negatively, the Scriptures tell us not to walk: In darkness According to the sinful nature As the “Gentiles” do In deception In sinful ways In idleness, laziness John 8:12 Romans 8:4 Ephesians 4:17 2 Corinthians 4:2 Colossians 3:5 – 7 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 11

Next, we observe some positive commands from God’s Word as to how we should walk in this world. Stated positively, the Scriptures tell us to walk: In the light and in the truth In Him By the Spirit In love As children of light As Jesus walked In obedience to His commands By faith Worthy of our calling Worthy of the Lord Worthy of God In wisdom 1 John 1:7, 3 John 3, 4 Colossians 2:6 Galatians 5: 25 Ephesians 5:2 Ephesians 5:8 1 John 2:6 2 John 6 2 Corinthians 5:7 Ephesians 4:1 Colossians 1:10 1 Thessalonians 2:12 Ephesians 5:15, Colossians 4:5


Concluding this brief section on our commands [our “marching orders”] as believers who are soldiers on the spiritual battlefield, we can state very simply that the Word commands us “to live in order to please God” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). B. Facts about the Soldier’s Battle and His “Commander” As believers who are soldiers involved in daily spiritual warfare, there are certain spiritual facts that we must recognize in order to effectively engage the enemy. Let’s look at five basic spiritual facts that we must know in order to carry on an effective war against satan and his co-workers. These five facts are as following: Fact # 1 – Our enemies in this battle are not easy to recognize. As we mentioned at the very beginning of the book, the apostle Paul has told us that our battle is not against God or against other people. We believers must be able to wisely and correctly discern who our actual enemy is before we can engage him in battle. The Scriptures are quite clear in identifying the various foes of the soldier. According to God’s Word, our warfare is against: The world The sinful nature Satan Evil men False teachers Evil spiritual forces James 4:1 – 4, 1 John 2:15 – 17 Galatians 5:17 – 21, 1 Peter 4: 1 – 4 1 Peter 5:8,9 2 Timothy 3:8 Jude 3, 4 Ephesians 6:12

Fact # 2 – Our battlefield equipment is sufficient for total war. As we read about all of our equipment in Ephesians 6:13 – 17 and also in Paul’s letter to the believers in Thessaloniki (1 Thessalonians 5:8), we quickly realize that the armor is quite sufficient for the job that the Lord has given to us. We are also able to recognize that the armor that God has put upon us is a coat of spiritual armor with divine power (2 Corinthians 10:3, 4). Of great importance to the Lord’s soldier, we learn that the Word of God [the most important offensive weapon] is “sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Fact # 3 – Our commander is the all-powerful Lord Jesus. He is the One who is perfect and undefiled. According to the Holy Scriptures, we read that Jesus, the Commander of the Army, is perfect (Hebrews 2:10), pure and blameless (Hebrews 7:26) and the all-powerful Messiah (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Fact # 4 – The believer’s conquest is a spiritual one. We conquer our spiritual enemies through God’s Word (Ephesians 6:17), by putting on the whole spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10 – 17), by faith in Jesus (1 John 5:4,5) and by trusting in the promises of Jesus (John 16:33).


Fact # 5 – Soldiers in God’s army have certain responsibilities. These responsibilities include such things as: Prayer Obedience Pleasing the commander Self control Standing firm Enduring hardship Showing courage Fighting hard Being pure Being alert Being faithful Wearing the spiritual armor Knowing God’s Word Ephesians 6:18 2 Corinthians 10:5, 6 2 Timothy 2:4 1 Thessalonians 5:6 Ephesians 6:13 – 14 2 Timothy 2:3,10 2 Timothy 4:6 –8 1 Timothy 6:12 1 Peter 2:11, 12 1 Peter 5:8, 1 Corinthians 16:13 1 Timothy 1:18 – 19 Ephesians 6:11 Ephesians 6:17

Having a basic knowledge of these spiritual facts concerning ourselves as soldiers involved in this warfare, and having already identified our enemy in this dangerous warfare, let us now begin to examine the enemy. We shall attempt to discover what God’s Word says [in more detail] about our chief spiritual enemy – satan. He is the great adversary of God and man. III. The Adversary The word “satan” means the great opposer [or, adversary] of God and humankind. This is the personal name of the devil. Some people have trouble admitting the existence of such an enemy as satan. But his presence and activity are necessary to explain the problems of evil and suffering. The Bible makes it plain that satan exists and that his main work is to oppose the rule of God in the affairs of man. Many wonder why God would allow satan, this great embodiment of evil, to exist in His creation. No completely satisfying answer to this question has been found. Perhaps He allows it to show that evil and wrongdoing do not provide the key to the ultimate meaning of life that we so desperately desire. The Hebrew word from which satan comes sometimes refers to our human enemies (such as Psalm 109:6). Once it refers to the angel of the Lord who opposed Balaam (Numbers 22:22). But whenever this word is used as a proper name in the Old Testament, it refers to the great superhuman adversary of God, people, and that which is good (1 Chronicles 21:1 and Job 1 – 2). This use of the word also occurs frequently in the New Testament. A common name for satan in the New Testament is “the devil,” meaning “slanderer” or “false accuser.” Other titles by which satan is identified in the New Testament include the following: “The tempter” (1 Thessalonians 3:5) “Beelzebub” (Matthew 12:24) “The evil One” (Matthew 13:19, 38)


“The prince of this world” (John 12:31) “The god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4) “Belial” (2 Corinthians 6:15) “The ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) “The accuser of our brothers” (Revelation 12:10) Let’s begin now to explore some things about the adversary – things such as his history, his characteristics, his methods of attack and finally his ultimate defeat. A. His History Genesis 3:1 –15 describes a serpent that tempted Adam and Eve, the first human couple. That serpent was none other than satan himself (Revelation 12:9, 20:2). Two main Old Testament passages – Isaiah 14:12 – 15 and Ezekiel 28:11 – 19 – have long been considered by Bible scholars to be a picture of satan’s original condition and the reasons for his loss of that position. These passages were addressed originally to the kings of Babylon and Tyre. But in their long-range implications, many scholars believe that they refer to satan himself. Ezekiel 28:12 –15 describes the “serpent” before he sinned and fell from heaven. He enjoyed an exalted position in the presence of God and the brilliance of heaven was his surrounding (verse 13). He was called the “anointed … guardian cherub” who enjoyed the position of highest honor before God (verses 14 and 16). Isaiah refers to this supreme angel as “O morning star, son of the dawn” (Isaiah 14:12). [The Bible student will notice that after he became God’s chief adversary satan is never again called by any of these honorable titles.] In his splendor before his fall, he was filled with wisdom and beauty, and he was blameless (Ezekiel 28:12,15). However, satan fell because of his pride. His heart was lifted up because of his beauty, and his wisdom became corrupt (Ezekiel 28:17). This statement indicates that satan must have had extraordinarily high rank that led to his pride. There are five “I will” statements that emphasize the devil’s sin (Isaiah 14:13 –14). He desired to enter the very presence of God and establish his throne above the other angels. He wanted to be like the “Most High.” For that reason God thrust him down out of heaven. Revelation 12 sketches the further stages in satan’s work of evil. In his fall from God’s favor, satan persuaded one third of the angels to join him in his rebellion against the Lord God (Revelation 12:3 – 4). Throughout the Old Testament period, he sought to destroy the Messianic line. When the Messiah became a man, satan tried to eliminate or kill Him (Revelation 12:4 – 5). During the future period of tribulation, before the Messiah’s second coming, satan will be cast out of the heavenly sphere (Revelation 12:7 – 12). Then he will direct his hatred toward the Messiah’s people (Revelation 12:13 –17). Revelation 20 notes the final phases of satan’s work. He will be bound for a thousand years and then finally thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:2, 10).


B. His Characteristics Satan possesses certain characteristics and we believers need to be aware of these. First, we see from Scripture that as a result of his original status and authority, satan has great power and dignity. So great is satan’s strength that Michael the archangel viewed him as an enemy too strong and powerful “to bring a slanderous accusation against him” (Jude 9). Satan’s influence in worldly affairs is also clearly revealed. His various titles reflect his control of the world system. As mentioned above, he is called “the prince of this world” (John 12:31), “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). The Bible declares that – “the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Another major characteristic of satan is that he exercises much of his evil power through demons (Matthew 12:24, 25:41 and Revelation 12:7, 9). An outburst of demonic activity occurred when Jesus came to earth the first time because of the Savior’s attack against satan’s kingdom (Matthew 12:28 – 29 and Acts 10:38). Another such outburst is expected just before the second coming of the Messiah, because this will bring about the final downfall of satan and his evil followers (Revelation 9:1 – 17, 12:12 and 18:2). Satan also has high intelligence. Through it, he deceived Adam and Eve and took away their rule of the world (Genesis 1:26, 3:1 – 7 and 2 Corinthians 11:3). His cleverness enables him to carry out his deceptive work almost at will. Yet satan’s characteristics [or attributes], impressive as they are, are not limitless. His power is always subject to God’s specific restrictions (Job 1:12, 2:6, Luke 4:6 and 2 Thessalonians 2:7 – 8). The reins of God on his activities are illustrated by satan’s request to God for permission to afflict Job (Job 1:7 – 12). Satan is permitted, on certain occasions, to afflict one of God’s sons or daughters (Luke 13:16, 1 Thessalonians 2:18 and Hebrews 2:14). But he is never permitted to win an ultimate victory over the children of God (John 14:30 – 31 and 16:33). A part of satan’s continuing ambition to replace God is his passionate yearning to have others worship him (Matthew 4:8 – 9 and Revelation 13:4, 12). Since God has frustrated this desire and put down satan’s rebellion, he has become God’s exact opposite. He is “the evil one” (Matthew 13:19, 38), while God is “the Holy One” (Isaiah 1:4). In addition to the previously mentioned characteristics, satan’s nature is continually malicious. He is constantly opposing God, His people, and His truth (Job 1:7, 2:2 and Matthew 13:28). He is always opposed to our best interests (1 Chronicles 21:1 and Zechariah 3:1 – 2). Through his evil work in introducing sin into the human family (Genesis 3), satan has gained the power of death – a power that Jesus has broken through His crucifixion and resurrection (Hebrews 2:14 – 15). Now let’s shift our focus of study to the various methods that satan uses to try and harm God’s people and their work and service for the Lord.


C. His Methods of Attack Of the various methods used by satan in carrying out his evil work, none is more characteristic than temptation (Matthew 4:3 and 1 Thessalonians 3:5). Satan leads people into sin by various means. Sometimes he does it by direct suggestion, as in the case of Judas Iscariot (John 13:2, 27). However, sometimes he does this through his demonic agents who disguise themselves as messengers of God (1 John 4:1). Sometimes satan works through a person’s own weaknesses (1 Corinthians 7:5). He tempted the Lord Jesus directly, trying to lead Him into sinful compromise by promising Him worldly authority and power (Luke 4:5 – 8). Along with his work of tempting human beings, satan also delights in deception (1Timothy 3:6 – 7 and 2 Timothy 2:26). His lying nature stands in bold contrast to the truth for which Jesus stands (John 8:32, 44). The great falsehood he uses so frequently is that good can be attained by doing wrong. This lie is apparent in practically all his temptations (Genesis 3:4 – 5). As the great deceiver, satan is an expert at falsifying truth (2 Corinthians 11:13 – 15). Satan’s methods are designed ultimately to silence the gospel. He seeks to stop the spread of God’s Word (Matthew 13:19 and 1 Thessalonians 2:17 – 18). When the gospel is preached, satan tries to blind people’s understanding so they cannot grasp the meaning of the message (2 Corinthians 4:3 – 4 and 2 Thessalonians 2:9 – 10). He often opposes the work of God by violent means (John 13:2, 27, 1 Peter 5:8 and Revelation 12:13 – 17). He also brings disorder into the physical world by afflicting human beings (Job 1 – 2, 2 Corinthians 12:7 and Hebrews 2:14). Sometimes God allows him to afflict His people for purposes of correction (1 Timothy 1:20). D. His Ultimate Defeat Considering all of these things that we now realize about satan, perhaps the most important fact of all from Scripture is that he is destined to fail. His rebellion against God will not succeed. His final defeat is clearly predicted in the New Testament (Luke 10:18, John 12:31, Revelation 12:9 and 20:10). The death of the Messiah on the cross is the basis for satan’s final defeat (Hebrews 2:14 – 15, 1 Peter 3:18, 22). This event [Jesus’ death on the cross] was the grand climax to a sinless life during which Jesus triumphed over the enemy often (Matthew 4:1 – 11 and Luke 4:1 – 13). The final victory will come when the Lord Jesus returns and the devil is “thrown into the lake of burning sulfur” (Revelation 20:10). Strength for the believer’s victory over sin has also been provided through the death of Jesus. We believers have the assurance that “the God of peace will soon crush satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20). However, such personal victory depends upon our will to resist satan’s temptations (Ephesians 4:25 – 27, 1 Peter 5:8 – 9). God has provided us the following things to ensure our victory over the evil one: The power of the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11) The continuing prayer of Jesus in heaven for believers (Hebrews 7:25 and Romans 8:27, 34) The leading of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16) Various weapons for spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:13 – 17)


IV. Angels The mention of angels and demons throughout the Word of God affirms the reality of powerful spiritual forces in the universe. Scripture has much to say about angels and demons. Let us begin by first studying what God’s Word indicates about angels. The existence of angels is uniformly presented in Scripture. Thirty-four books of the Bible make reference to angels (seventeen in the Old Testament and seventeen in the New Testament). Essential to the belief in angels is the relationship of angels to the Lord Jesus. For example, consider the following passages: • • • The Messiah was helped by angels after His temptation (Matthew 4:11) He said the resurrected person was comparable to angels (Matthew 22:30) Jesus taught that angels would re-gather the nation Israel at the time of His return (Matthew 25:31 – 32, 41). Therefore, the existence of angels is tied to the reliability of the testimony of Jesus.

A. Definition of Angels Angels are members of an order of heavenly beings who are superior to humans in power and intelligence (Hebrews 2:7 and 2 Peter 2:11). However, unlike God, they are not all- powerful or all- knowing (Psalm 103:20 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7). God often sends them to announce good news, such as at the time of the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26 – 38), or to warn of coming dangers, such as the destruction of Sodom (Genesis 18:16 – 19:29). There are 4 different words used in Scripture to describe angelic beings. Let’s consider each of these briefly as we begin our study of angels in this section. Angel - The Hebrew word “malak” simply means “messenger.” It may refer to a human messenger (1 Kings 19:2) or a divine messenger (Genesis 28:12). The basic meaning of the word is “one who is sent.” This word is found 103 times in the Old Testament. The Greek word “angelos” occurs 175 times in the New Testament. The word “angelos” is similar to the Hebrew word “malak.” It also has the basic meaning of “messenger.” Holy ones - Angels are also referred to as “holy ones” (Psalm 89:5,7). The term “holy ones” simply means that they are “set apart” by God and for God as attendants to His holiness. Host of heaven - Angels are referred to as the “host of heaven,” or “heavenly beings,” which can also be understood to denote the armies of heaven (Psalm 89:6 and 1 Samuel 17:45). The “host of heaven” refers to the millions of heavenly beings that surround God continually in heaven. In Isaiah 31:4, for example, the phrase “the Lord Almighty” means the “Lord of hosts.” Sons of God – Sometimes angels are called “sons of God,” referring to the fact that they are God’s sons by His creation (Job 1:6, 38:7).


B. Nature and Attributes of Angels Angels are spirit beings – At various times, angels may reveal themselves to mankind in the form of human bodies (Genesis 18:2). However, they still are called “spirits” (Hebrews 1:14), suggesting they do not have physical bodies as we human beings do. Thus, they do not function as human beings in terms of things such as marriage (Mark 12:25). In addition, they are not subject to death (Luke 20:36). Angels are created beings – The psalmist calls upon all nature to praise God for His creation. Along with the heavenly bodies, the Lord also created the angels by His word (Psalm 148:2 – 5). Job was reminded that the angels sang praise to God when they were created (Job 38:1 – 10). The Messiah created the angels that they might ultimately give praise to Him (Colossians 1:16). Angels were created simultaneously and innumerable in number – The statement of creation in Colossians 1:16 points to the creation of angels as a single act. The creation of angels does not appear to be continuous according to God’s word. Angels cannot reproduce (Matthew 22:30), thus their number remains constant. The number of created angels is reported in Scripture to be “thousands upon thousands” (Hebrews 12:22). Although the term “thousands upon thousands” (Greek – “muriasin”) literally means ten thousand, the repetition of the word “muriasin” in Revelation 5:11 suggests that the number of angels is too great to be counted. Angels are a higher order than man – Mankind, including our incarnate Lord Jesus, is “a little lower than the angels” (Hebrews 2:7). Angels are not subject to the limitations of man, especially since they are not capable of death (Luke 20:36). In addition, angels have greater wisdom than man does (2 Samuel 14:20) yet their wisdom is still limited (Matthew 24:36). Angels also have greater power than man, yet their power is not an unlimited kind of power like God’s power (Daniel 10:13, Matthew 28:2, Acts 5:19, 2 Peter 2:11). Angels, however, have limitations compared to man, particularly in future relationships. Angels are not created in the image of God, therefore, they do not share man’s glorious destiny of redemption in Jesus. At the end of the age, redeemed man will be exalted above the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). C. Classification of Angels According to the Bible, angels appear to have some type of classification. Let’s briefly study this possibility of the “ranking” of angels. Angels who are highest ranking The angel Michael is called the archangel (Jude 9) and he is also called the great prince (Daniel 12:1). Michael is the only angel designated as “archangel,” and may possibly be the only one of this rank. The mission of the archangel is protector of Israel. He is called “Michael, your prince” (Daniel 10:21). There are chief princes (Daniel 10:13), of whom Michael is one. These appear to be the highest ranking angels of God. In Ephesians 3:10, the Scriptures mention “the rulers and authorities


in the heavenly realms.” Many Bible scholars interpret this phrase to mean a type of ruling angel. However, no further details are given concerning these angels. Angels who are prominent individuals Michael (Daniel 10:13, 12:1 and Jude 9) – The name Michael means “who is like God?” and identifies the only one classified as an archangel in Scripture [as discussed above]. Michael is the defender of Israel who will wage war on behalf of Israel against satan and his hordes in the Tribulation (Revelation 12:7 – 9). Michael also disputed with satan about the body of Moses, but Michael refrained from any accusation or judgment against the devil, leaving that to God (Jude 9). Jehovah’s Witnesses identify Michael as the Lord Jesus. This view, however, would suggest that Jesus has less authority than satan, which is an unacceptable view. Gabriel (Daniel 9:21 and Luke 1:26 – 38) – His name means “man of God” or “God is strong.” Gabriel seems to be God’s special messenger of His kingdom program in each of the four times he appears in the Bible record. He reveals and interprets God’s purpose and program concerning the Messiah and His kingdom to the prophets and the people of Israel. In a highly significant passage, Gabriel explained the events of the seventy weeks for Israel (Daniel 9:21 – 27). In Luke 1:30 – 33, Gabriel told Mary that the One born to her would be great and rule on the throne of David. In Daniel 8:15 –16, Gabriel explained to Daniel the succeeding kingdoms of Medes and Persians and Greece as well as foretelling the untimely death of Alexander the Great. Gabriel also announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias (Luke 1:11 – 20). Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12) means “shining one” or “star of the morning.” He may have been the wisest and most beautiful of all God’s created beings that was originally placed in a position of authority over the cherubim. [For more detail, please refer again to “The Adversary,” beginning on page 8.] Angels who are divine attendants Cherubim are of the highest order or class of angels, created with indescribable powers and beauty. The word “cherubim” actually is the plural of the word “cherub.” The verb form of this ancient word had the meaning of “to bless, praise and adore.” This is probably the correct meaning since the main function of cherubim might be summarized in this way: they are the proclaimers and protectors of God’s glorious presence, His sovereignty and His holiness. They are at all times blessing, praising and adoring the Lord God Almighty. The cherubim stood guard at the gate of the Garden of Eden, preventing sinful man from entering (Genesis 3:24). They were also the golden figures covering the mercy seat [or, atonement cover] above the ark in the Holy of Holies (Exodus 25:17 – 22). Cherubim attended the glory of God in Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 1). Cherubim had quite an extraordinary appearance with four faces — that of a man, lion, ox and eagle. They had four wings and feet like a calf, gleaming like burnished bronze. In Ezekiel 1, they attended the glory of God prior to His judgment.


Seraphim [meaning “burning ones”] are pictured surrounding the throne of God in Isaiah 6:2. They are described as each having six wings. The threefold proclamation of the seraphim – “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3) – means “to recognize God as perfectly holy.” Therefore, they praise and proclaim the perfect holiness of God. The seraphim also express the holiness of God in that they proclaim that man must be cleansed of sin’s moral defilement before he can stand before God and serve Him. D. Ministry of Angels In this section, we shall look at the ministry of angels to God, to the Lord Jesus, to believers, and finally their ministry [or, relationship] to unbelievers. 1. Ministry to God – The cherubim have a ministry to God in defending the holiness of God. Seraphim have a ministry to God in surrounding the throne of God as they attend to His holiness. 2. Ministry to the Lord Jesus – Angels have a significant ministry to Jesus from the time before His birth until His Second Coming. The fact that angels have this important ministry to the Messiah also emphasizes His deity. Thus, just as the angels surround the throne of the Father so the angels attend to God the Son. Angels played a particularly active role in the events surrounding Jesus’ birth, resurrection and ascension. They did the following things: Angels foretold the birth of John the Baptist to Zacharias his father (Luke 1:11 – 38). [John was the cousin of Jesus born six months prior to the birth of the Lord.] Angels predicted the Messiah’s birth (Luke 1:26 – 38). Gabriel came to Mary explaining that her child would be called “Son of the Most High.” He would also rule on the throne of David, His father, and have an eternal kingdom. Angels protected Him during His infancy (Matthew 2:13). An angel warned Joseph of Herod’s intention and told Joseph to flee to Egypt until the death of Herod. An angel also instructed Joseph when it was safe to return to the land of Israel (Matthew 2:19 – 20). Prior to His birth, the angels had counseled Joseph to wed Mary (Matthew 1:20). Angels announced the birth of the Messiah (Luke 2:8 – 15) Angels rolled back the stone from Jesus’ empty tomb (Matthew 28:2) Angels announced the resurrection of the Lord (Matthew 28:5 – 7, Mark 16:5 –7, Luke 24:4 – 7 and John 20:12 – 13). The angels invited the women to enter the empty tomb to see the empty wrappings that they might be certain of the resurrection and proclaim it to the world.


The angels also reminded the women of Jesus’ earlier promise that He would rise on the third day. Angels attended His ascension (Acts 1:10). As angels surround the throne of the Father, so angels attended the triumphal ascension of the Son into glory and reminded the onlookers of Jesus’ future triumphant return. Angels promised Jesus’ return after His ascension (Acts 1:11). At other times, the angels were actively involved in ministry during the earthly life of the Lord Jesus. Consider the following instances from Scripture: Angels ministered to Him after the temptation (Matthew 4:11). This ministr y probably included encouragement following the exhaustion of forty days of temptation, as well as supplying him with food as an angel did to Elijah (1 Kings 19:5 – 7). Angels strengthened Jesus at Gethsemane (Luke 22:43). Just as the Lord had a spiritual battle with satan during His time of being tempted, so too He had a spiritual battle at Gethsemane concerning the cross. Angels strengthened Him as He wrestled in prayer in anticipation of His crucifixion. Finally, angels will attend His Second Coming (Matthew 25:31). Angels will prepare the world for the return of the Son by re-gathering Israel to the land prior to their Lord’s return and rule (Matthew 24:31). As God the Son returns to the earth, He will be attended by a host of angels, adding to the splendor and glory of His triumphal return (Matthew 25:31).
3. Ministry to Believers

Angels are termed “ministering spirits” in Hebrews 1:14. The Greek term for “ministering” (leitourgika) does not convey the idea of any type of household service or slavery, but rather a kind of official functioning. Thus, we can clearly discern from God’s Word that angels have been commissioned and sent forth with the responsibility of helping believers. The following responsibilities are carried out in angels’ ministry to believers: • Physical protection

David experienced physical protection by the angel when he was forced to flee from Saul to the Philistines (Psalm 34:7). Angels may frustrate the plans of the enemies of God’s people (Psalm 35:4 – 5). Angels protect from physical harm those that seek refuge in the Lord (Psalm 91:9 – 13). Angels miraculously released the apostles from prison (Acts 5:19) and Peter from prison (Acts 12:7 – 11). They will protect the 144,000 people during the time of the Tribulation (Revelation 7:1 –8).


Physical provision

An angel brought physical nourishment for Elijah when he was weakened from a lengthy journey (1 Kings 19:1 – 9). • Encouragement

During the storm at sea, an angel encouraged Paul, reminding him that he would arrive safely at Rome to bear witness for the Lord Jesus (Acts 27:23 – 25). • Direction

An angel directed Philip to witness to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26). An angel arranged the meeting of Cornelius and Peter that brought the Gentiles into acceptance in the days of the early church (Acts 10:3 – 7, 22). • Assistance in answers to prayer

There seems to be a relationship between the prayer for Peter’s release from prison and the angel’s releasing him (Acts 12:5 – 11). Similarly, Daniel’s prayer was explained by the angel (Daniel 9:20 – 27, 10:5 – 12:13). • Carry believers home

Luke 16:22 describes the death of Lazarus and the angels carrying him to Abraham’s side. This may be the way God causes all His dying saints “to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
4. Relationship to unbelievers

Angels have often been involved with unbelievers and will continue to be involved in giving out judgment on them. The following are examples from the Word of God of such angelic involvement with unbelievers: • • Angels announced the coming destruction of Sodom because of the sin of the people (Genesis 19:1,12 – 13). Before the climactic “bowl judgments,” at the end of time, angels will announce the destruction of the world powers along with those who worshiped the beast (Revelation 14:6 – 13,15 –19). Angels are judging the people of Jerusalem for their idolatry (Ezekiel 9:1 –11). An angel struck King Herod because he did not give proper praise to God and he died (Acts 12:21 – 23). Angels will be instrumental in judgment at the end of the age when they throw unbelievers into the furnace of fire (Matthew 13:39 – 42).

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Angels will sound the “trumpet judgments” during the time of the Tribulation (Revelation 8:2 –13, 9:1,13, 11:15). Angels will pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath upon the earth (Revelation 16:2 – 17).

As we come to the conclusion of this section on angels, it should be recognized that since the day of Pentecost, the frequency of angelic activity in human affairs appears to have decreased. This may be true perhaps because of the fact that now the Holy Spirit plays a large role in the lives of believers. However, as we have clearly seen, angels are extremely important in God’s work upon this earth. V. Demons A. Introductory Remarks Demons are fallen angels that have been thrown out of heaven. They seek to undermine the cause of righteousness in the world (1 Peter 3:19 – 20, 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6). Scripture describes them with various names such as: “Unclean spirits” (Mark 6:7) “Wicked or evil spirits” (Luke 7:21 and Acts 19:12 – 13) “Spirit of divination” (Acts 16:16) “Deceiving spirits” (1 Timothy 4:1) “Spirit of error” or “spirit of falsehood” (1 John 4:6). “Spirits of demons” (Revelation 16:14) Note: In addition, in Mark 5:9 and Luke 8:30, the demon(s) called himself “Legion” which was probably a collective name for a group of demons rather than the name of a single demon. Scripture presents demons not as mythological creatures, but as real beings involved in actual, historical events. Satan and his demons can work in many ways against the child of God. For example, here are some ways through which satan and his demons may operate against the believer: Through temptation (Matthew 4:1 – 11) Through direct opposition to God’s work and purposes (Daniel 10:12 – 14) Through harmful influence and deception (1 Samuel 28:7 – 20) Through oppression and possession (Acts 16:16 – 18 and Luke 13:10 – 17) By causing physical affliction (Matthew 12:22, 17:14 – 18) By causing emotional turmoil (1 Samuel 16:14 and Mark 5:1 – 5) By working against the mind, causing people to lie [and to believe lies that they hear] (Acts 5:3), to embrace worldly wisdom (James 3:13 – 16), and to accept doctrinal error as truth (1 Timothy 4:1 – 5). By executing satan’s purposes (Matthew 12:26 – 27, 25:41 By hindering the spiritual life of God’s people (Ephesians 6:12) Having made some introductory comments concerning demons, let’s begin to more specifically examine their origin, their specific characteristics as revealed through the


Word of God, their activity, Jesus’ earthly ministry against the powers of darkness, demon possession, and finally a brief look at the Old Testament scriptures concerning demons. B. Their Origin The origin of demons is not explicitly discussed in the Bible. However, the New Testament clearly speaks of first the fall and then later the imprisonment of a group of angels (1 Peter 3:19 – 20, 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6). This group of angels that participated in the initial rebellion against God apparently followed one of their own – satan. The fall occurred before God’s creation of the world. In retaliatory hatred for God, satan and his angels tirelessly seek to contaminate the human race with their wickedness (Genesis 3, Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 12:9). Note: A symbolic view of this “initial” fall of angels appears in Revelation 12:4 where the dragon (a symbol for satan) “swept a third of the stars out of the sky” (a symbol for fallen angels) and “flung them to the earth.” Thus, satan has his own “angels,” who most Bible students see as the demons of the world in which we live. Thus, reflecting upon the Scriptural fact of the imprisonment of a group of the fallen angels, it seems quite clear that there are two groups of fallen angels — one group of demons that have a certain freedom to oppose God and His people and another group of demons who are confined in prison (2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6). There is considerable disagreement among Bible scholars over why this second group is in prison. One viewpoint is that they are the ones who committed the unnatural sin recorded in Genesis 6:2 – 4. Even among those demons that are relatively free, the Scriptures seem to indicate that the activities of some are restricted to certain periods of history (Revelation 9:14, 16:14). C. Their Characteristics They are spirit beings – They are beings called spirits, that is, beings that do not have fleshly bodies (Matthew 8:16, Luke 10:17, 20). Demons are localized but not present everywhere – They can be in only one place at one time. The demons lived in the two men of the Gerasenes, and when they were expelled they went to live in the pigs. In each case, they were localized (Matthew 8:28 – 34). Demons are intelligent but do not know everything – Demons were aware of the identity of Jesus (Mark 1:24). They were also aware of their ultimate destiny (Matthew 8:29). In 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul refers to “doctrines of demons” or, “things taught by demons,” indicating that they spread their false teaching through their own messengers. They seem to promote a well-developed system of their own doctrine. Apparently, their doctrinal deception will become increasingly active at the close of the church age. However, though they are intelligent, they are not all -knowing or else they would be like God. Only the one, true God is all- knowing. And it needs be mentioned at this point that they know [and believe] that there is only one God (James 2:19).


Demons are powerful but are not all- powerful – Because of the indwelling demons, the man of the Gerasenes could break shackles and chains. No one was able to bind him due to his unusual strength (Mark 5:3 – 4). The demon in the boy mentioned in Mark 9 [verses 17 – 27] tried to have the boy commit suicide by throwing him into fire and water, but he could not succeed in killing the boy. Demon possession impaired a man’s speech (Matthew 9:32) and kept a girl in terrible suffering (Matthew 15:22). However, demons are limited in their power. They cannot do the work of God (John 10:21). They will never match the holy and powerful characteristics of Almighty God. D. Their Activity In general, demons, like satan, attempt to thwart the purpose of God in every way possible (Daniel 10:10 –14 and Revelation 16:13 –14). In doing this, they extend satan’s sphere of activity. The large number of demons engaged as messengers of satan is what makes him seem to be present everywhere, though he is not. First, demons can inflict diseases (Matthew 9:32 – 33 and Luke 13:10 – 16). In the Luke story mentioned in the previous sentence, verse 11 tells us that a woman had a crippling sickness caused “by a spirit.” Verse 16 further declares that “satan has kept bound for eighteen long years” this woman in her suffering. Sometimes there is a correlation between mental illness or physical sickness and demonic activity. However, it is not always possible to identify the distinction and anyone attempting to link together physical [or mental] illness with demonic activity must be very careful. Again, we must remember that affliction by satan or his demons can come only as God permits (Job 1:12, 2:6 and 2 Corinthians 12:7 –10). Second, demons can influence the mind. Satan initially deceived Eve into sinning by perverting the truth and changing Eve’s thinking about God (Genesis 3:1 – 6). Satan and his demons continue to influence the thinking of people through “blinding” their minds (2 Corinthians 4:4). This Corinthians passage indicates that satan inhibits the ability to think or reason. Even though this passage refers to unbelievers, satan can also influence the thinking of believers (2 Corinthians 11:3). He is always attempting to lead believers away from their “sincere and pure devotion to the Messiah.” Satan can thus lead the believer away from a single-minded devotion to the Lord Jesus. James 3:15 indicates that earthly wisdom is demonic and leads to envy and selfish ambition. The solution to demonic influence of the mind is to bring the thought process into obedience to the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5). A similar command is given in Philippians 4:6 – 8. The mind will be guarded (verse 7) when the believer entrusts every matter to God in prayer (verse 6) and meditates on the things that are true, noble, right and pure (verse 8). Third, demons can deceive people. Paul was fearful concerning the young Thessalonian church. He was afraid that satan may have enticed them to sin in the midst of their suffering and persecution (1 Thessalonians 3:5). Although the Thessalonians had received the gospel with joy, their hope might have been sidetracked through the onslaught of satan.


Through his messengers, satan also works in unbelievers. Paul refers to the “ruler of the kingdom of the air” “at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:2). The context indicates satan deceives the unbelievers into living according to the lusts of the flesh and the desires of the flesh and mind. Matthew 13:19 further speaks of satan’s deception in that he snatches the Word away from their hearts when unbelievers hear it, blocking their understanding. Fourth, demons can deceive nations. Demons will eventually gather the nations of the world together in rebellion against the Lord Jesus. Demons will deceive the nations through “performing miraculous signs” in order to stir them up into warfare against the returning Messiah (Revelation 16:14). Demons also seem to be concerned with international affairs. Daniel 10:13 speaks about “the prince of the Persian kingdom.” This “prince” seems to be a spirit being who fought against an angel [for 21 days] who was trying to bring Daniel a message. Then Michael the archangel fought against the “prince.” All of this probably suggests that the “prince” must have been a very powerful demon. We have already seen this same suggestion in the evil power behind the kings of the nations of Babylon and Tyre (Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28). In Isaiah 24:21, the Word says that finally “in that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below.” It certainly appears from these passages that there is a great, heavenly warfare involving the nations of the earth. It seems that some demons are powerful enough to sway the affairs of nations. What this may mean in international affairs is not easy to discern, but that it means something significant even today seems clear. In addition to these four fundamental areas of demonic activity, evil spirits can also possess animals (Mark 5:13) and, as mentioned above on pages 18 – 19, they promote false doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1). Sometimes God even uses demons in the carrying out of His plans (1 Samuel 16:14 and 2 Corinthians 12:7 – 9). This reminds us that even the demonic spirits are under God’s complete and constant control. E. Jesus’ Earthly Ministry against the Demonic Powers The New Testament begins with the world of evil forces in open confrontation with the Son of God. As we begin to study the Gospels, we see that in the very first chapter of Mark, Jesus confronted satan during His forty – day wilderness temptation (verses 12 –13). Having won that initial battle [and, in many ways, a decisive battle] with the enemy, Jesus then launched Himself into His public ministry. We notice in the first chapter of Mark that demons try to interrupt Jesus’ ministry, even in the synagogue itself. Jesus quickly silences and sends away the angry, fearful evil spirits (Mark 1:21 – 26). Still in the first chapter of Mark, the Word says that Jesus confronted and cast out demons until late into the night (Mark 1:29 – 34). The next day after His intense nighttime deliverance ministry, Jesus begins His itinerant ministry. He visits the synagogues in city after city. Mark records that in these synagogues Jesus carried out a twofold activity. He was “preaching and driving out demons” (Mark 1:39). This was indeed a world of spiritual conflict!


A primary purpose of Jesus’ earthly ministry was to overcome the power of satan and his angels. The Messiah regularly challenged the demonic powers during His days on this earth and He always emerged as the conqueror of the evil spirits (Matthew 12:22 – 29, Luke 11:14 – 22, John 12:31 and 1 John 3:8). This explains the fierce conflict between Jesus and these evil spirits while He was on earth, and why Jesus promises His people — the redeemed of God — authority over and power to cast out demons (Matthew 10:7 – 8). The Gospels record a large number of encounters between Jesus and the powers of evil. In many of those instances, demon possessions had produced various kinds of physical diseases, such as: Deafness (Mark 9:25) Muteness (Matthew 12:22 and Mark 9:17 – 25) Bodily deformity (Luke 13:10 – 17) Blindness (Matthew 12:22) Epileptic seizure (Luke 9:39) [Note: Ailments like these did not automatically imply demon possession. In fact, distinctions were made between spiritual oppression and physical illness unrelated to evil spirits (Matthew 4:24, 10:8, Mark 1:32 and Luke 6:17 – 18).] The method of Jesus and His disciples in casting out demons differed radically from the magical methods so often used in that time. Through His authoritative command Jesus expelled them (Mark 5:8, 9:25). When Jesus encountered the demon powers, He did not engage in long conversations with them. Frequently, He prohibited them from even speaking. Based on His authority as God, He simply commanded them to depart from the individual they had possessed (Mark 1:23 – 25). He spoke and they departed – the power of the Word of God! Jesus taught His disciples to use the same method – dependence upon His Word. They relied upon the authority of His name (Luke 10:17 and Acts 16:18). In some instances, He taught His disciples that prayer with fasting is necessary before a demon can be thrown out (Mark 9:29). Today, that same work has been delegated to the church (Luke 10:17 and Acts 16:18). The result was that by casting out the demons and restoring people both physically and spiritually, Jesus showed that the kingdom of God — God’s rule in the affairs of mankind — is a present reality. And the Lord clearly revealed to the world that His kingdom was as real as, and more powerful than, the kingdom of the evil one (Matthew 10:7 – 8, 12:28). Unto this day, it is a clear demonstration of His power over satan and over the demonic forces of sin and evil in the world. As we examine the method of the Lord as He conquered the demonic powers, we are reminded that we are in a spiritual battle and must use spiritual methods of warfare. Only these kinds of methods, as taught and prescribed by Jesus Himself, will enable us to be victorious over the evil one. Psychology is often helpful in the task, but it is no match for the kingdom of darkness. Only the “full armor of God” can help believers prevail against satan and the demonic powers that are at war against us (Ephesians 6:10 – 18). We will study this in more detail later in the book.


F. Demon Possession One Bible scholar has defined “demon possession” in this way: “…a demon residing in a person, exerting direct control and influence over that person, with certain injury and harm to the mind and, possibly, to the body. Demon possession is to be distinguished from demon influence or demon activity in relation to a person. The work of the demon in the latter case is from the outside – in demon possession the work of the demon is from within.” By this definition, a believer cannot be possessed by a demon since the Holy Spirit lives within him. However, a believer can be the target of demonic activity to such an extent that he may give the appearance of demon possession. Note: Scripture itself has no evidence that believers can be demon-possessed. The believer’s responsibility is not to look for demons but to be aware of their existence and possible influence and to stand against them in the authority of the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 6:10 – 12 and 1 Peter 5:8, 9). Demon possession usually evidences itself by a change in moral character and spiritual disposition. Frequently the person has a different voice, a different educational level, or even a foreign language will be evident in the affected person. In Mark 1:23 – 24, the demons speaking through the man immediately recognized who the Messiah was. This probably meant that he had supernatural knowledge and intellectual power. Another symptom of demon possession was exhibited by the man in the country of the Gerasenes with his great physical strength and ability to break shackles and chains (Mark 5:3 – 4). As mentioned above, the believer must stand against the satanic forces in the authority of the Lord Jesus. Standing against satan and his demons means that the believer will renounce all sinful practices in his life. He will want his life cleansed from anything that suggests demonic influence. The believer will then be able to walk in the Spirit’s fullness, to practice consistent prayer and Bible study, to experience healing in other areas of emotional and spiritual brokenness, and to be involved in healthy, godly relationships (Scriptures related to these topics – Psalm 13, 133, 2 Corinthians 5, Galatians 6, James 5, Deuteronomy 18 and 1 Samuel 15). We must remember that the void that is left in a person’s life after healing from demon possession needs to be filled with something else (Matthew 12:43 – 45). The only permanent defense against demon possession is the experience of the New Birth, which includes the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. G. Demons in the Old Testament Because the Israelites believed that God’s power was unlimited, the Old Testament contains little information about demons. The primitive status of the understanding of demons during this time is perhaps reflected in the way the Old Testament relates the fallen angels to God. It was “an evil spirit from God” (1 Samuel 16:15 –16, 23) that brought great distress to Saul the king. It was a “lying spirit” from the Lord about whom Micaiah, the prophet of the Lord, spoke (1 Kings 22:21 – 23).


Pagan worship is also related to demon activity in the Old Testament (Leviticus 17:7 and Psalm 106:37). Demons delight in making heathen idols the focus of their evil activities. VI. The Defense of the Believer Much of the book written thus far has shown the evil activity of satan and his demons against believers. As we have already studied, this evil activity is mentioned often and in various ways throughout the Old and New Testaments. For example, satan tempts believers to lie (Acts 5:3), he hinders them by placing obstacles in their paths (1 Thessalonians 2:18) and he causes persecution (Revelation 2:10). In addition, he even causes false believers to infiltrate among true believers to promote confusion and division in the church (Matthew 13:24 – 30, 37 – 43). The believer’s defense against these things involves being on guard and being alert (1 Peter 5:8), and taking a firm stand against the devil and resisting him (1 Peter 5:9, James 4:7 and Ephesians 6:11 – 18). In order to put up a proper defense against the evil one, the believer needs to know and properly use the Word of God and be in the habit of regular, consistent prayer. Without question, these two things – prayer and God’s Word – are the backbone of our spiritual efforts as we battle satan and his demons. Let’s examine now these two elements of protection in our spiritual battle against the evil forces opposing us. A. Prayer – Part One of Our Defense Some people think of prayer primarily as a last resort, an act of desperation to try when all else fails and one is faced with overwhelming odds. But the example of King Asa in the Old Testament shows while prayer ultimately is the best defense, it also is the best offense. It is a spiritual discipline that should be practiced long before the believer faces trouble. Asa was the king of Judah (the southern kingdom) during the approximate time period of 890 – 900 BC when a Cushite (or, Ethiopian) army marched northward against him. Faced against this Ethiopian army [more than three times the size of his own 300,000- man force], King Asa cried out to the Lord God for help. He humbly acknowledged that the Lord, not Judah’s military might, was his ultimate and best defense (2 Chronicles 14:11). The Lord responded to Asa’s prayer by completely striking down the Ethiopian army (2 Chronicles 14:12 – 15). This incident showed that what matters in battle is not the size of the armies, but trust in the Lord. As always, what counts with God is faith. Yet Asa’s trust in God was not just a kind of faith that was motivated by fear. He was able to pray as he did because he had been praying, worshiping and honoring the Lord for years (2 Chronicles 14:2 – 7). In fact, his rule had reversed many of the sinful practices begun by his great-grandfather Solomon. This emphasizes the point that when the people of God made worship and prayer their first priorities, God was faithful to take care of them. But when they turned


away from the Lord and made other things – such as wealth and prestige – their top priorities, then God allowed them to fail. So it is with spiritual warfare today. God wants to see if we will respond in faith when circumstances overwhelm us. But He also is interested in the quality of our faith before tragedy strikes, when things are going well. Either way – in calm or in crisis – we need to pray to the Lord in faith (1 John 5:4). Let's begin our study of prayer by looking at various topics related to prayer and the appropriate Scripture passages. 1. Necessary Scripture about Prayer Kinds of prayer: Secret Family Group Public Parts of prayer: Adoration Confession Supplication Intercession Thanksgiving Personal requirements of prayer: Purity of heart Faith In Jesus’ Name According to God’s will General requirements of prayer: Forgiving spirit Simplicity Humility and repentance Unity of believers Persistence Intensity Confident expectation Without many words Continually Reasons that answers to prayer are refused: Sin Selfishness Doubt Disobedience Inhumanity Pride

Matthew 6:6 Acts 10:2, 30 Matthew 18:20 Ezra 9:1 – 10:1

Daniel 4:34 – 35 1 John 1:9 1 Timothy 2:1 – 3 James 5:14 – 15 Philippians 4:6

Psalm 66:18 – 19 Matthew 21:21 – 22 John 14:13 1 John 5:14

Matthew 6:14 Matthew 6:9 – 13 Luke 18:10 – 14 Matthew 18:19 – 20 Luke 11:5 – 8, 18:1 – 8 Matthew 7:7 – 11 Mark 11:22 – 24 Matthew 6:7 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Psalm 66:18 James 4:3 James 1:5 – 7 Proverbs 28:9 Proverbs 21:13 Luke 18:9 – 14


The posture for prayer: Standing Kneeling Sitting Bowing Hands uplifted

Nehemiah 9:5 Ezra 9:5 1 Chronicles 17:16 – 27 Exodus 34:8 1 Timothy 2:8 2. Principles of Prayer

As temples of the Holy Spirit, our bodies should be houses of prayer. Anything that distracts from vital prayer in our lives is a thief, stealing from us the blessings the Father wants to give us. We need to learn the art of sincere prayer that links us with the almighty God in a miraculous way. If God does hear and answer prayer, then the one thing above all else that I should learn to do is to pray. Failure to pray is a sin. God’s Word says – “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right” (1 Samuel 12:23). What then did the prophet Samuel teach the children of Israel? And what did Jesus teach His disciples about prayer? In Matthew 6:9 – 13, our Lord provided some helpful principles to aid us in our prayer life. Let’s look briefly at six of these principles. We shall ask a fundamental question about prayer before each principle. To Whom Do We Pray? Notice that the Messiah’s model prayer begin with “Our Father.” Right away, we learn that prayer is like a child talking with his Father. Therefore, we must be children of God in order to pray with effectiveness. Not everyone has the right to call God “Father.” Only those who have been born into the family have that right. God makes it clear in the Scriptures that some human beings are not His children. Jesus said of the unconverted Pharisees – “You belong to your father, the devil” (John 8:44). We become children of God and can call Him Father only when by faith we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and are born into His family. John makes this clear when he wrote concerning Jesus – “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11 – 12). If He is your Father, how simple and natural it ought to be to pray. The Holy Spirit has even taught us to pray, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). “Abba” is an Aramaic word meaning “Daddy,” a term signifying closeness and endearment. It was one of the first words upon the lips of a little baby. How thrilling to know that as God’s dear child, we can approach Him with such intimate confidence and simply call Him “Abba, Father.” He is our loving, heavenly Father. What is the Purpose of Prayer? Jesus taught His disciples to simply pray – “Your kingdom come, Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). This tells us immediately that prayer has one major purpose – to


seek and to know God’s will. Prayer is answered only when it is in the will of God. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him” (1 John 5:14 – 15). Praying in the will of God does not mean fewer blessings, but rather greater blessings for us. We should never fear to pray for the perfect will of God. Remember that prayer is not some exercise to try and bend God’s will to fit our will. Prayer is not talking God into doing something that He does not want to do. Prayer is the experience of finding God’s will and then asking Him for it. How do we know God’s will? Obviously, God’s will is made known in a general sense as we read the Word, but there are many specific things that the Scriptures do not touch upon. The secret of knowing God’s will in prayer is not only to know the Word and let its truth abide in us, but to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Remember that God’s Spirit abides within us, and He will help us pray (Romans 8:26, 27). We call this “praying in the Spirit.” We are to pray to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit, as our Helper, wants to think through our minds, feel through our hearts, speak through our lips, cry through our eyes – express Himself through our lives. Prayer is the Holy Spirit’s finding a desire in the heart of the Father and then placing that desire into our hearts. The desire is then sent back to heaven as we pray in the Name of Jesus. This is why we must learn to wait before the Father in meditation and openness when we pray. Do We Pray for Our Needs? Surely, we may ask for our needs (“Give us today our daily bread” – Matthew 6:11). While we should not pray selfishly, we may pray for our personal needs. Our Father is concerned with every need that we have. Remember that this “model prayer” is a guide for praying. Jesus did not literally mean we should only ask for bread. What He did mean was that we should bring all of our needs to the Father and ask Him. The apostle Paul writes to the believers in Philippi: “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in the Messiah Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Notice that the Word does not say “all your wants.” Sometimes we want things we do not need, and sometimes we need things we do not want. Many believers have needs that are not met simply because they do not pray. James reminds us – “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2). Let us learn to ask the Father for the things we need. Nothing that is big enough to concern us is too small to concern Him. Ask Him for your daily needs. He will supply all of your needs. Can We Pray and Have Sin in Our Hearts? Powerful prayer must come from a clean heart. Jesus taught us to pray for daily forgiveness (“Forgive us our debts”) just as we pray for daily bread. Many of our prayers are not answered because we are not including confession and repentance


with our prayer. The prayer from a “dirty” heart will not be answered. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). James warns all of us when he writes – “Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8). We cannot pray effectively with dirty hands or hearts, or a “double mind.” If we hold on to our sins, then we will not enjoy the freedom and blessings of an effective prayer life. Are there sins that we need to confess and repent? If so, pray – “Father, forgive me my debts.” Does God Protect Us as We Pray? Yes, God is our Divine Protector. The phrase – “Deliver us from the evil one” – is an acknowledgement of our need for God to provide us a way of escape from our great enemy, the devil. Satan has already made plans to try and ruin our lives and to hurt our loved ones. Satan cannot harm God directly. However, he knows, as evil persons have always known, that if you cannot harm someone, then the next most effective thing is to harm someone that person loves. God loves us. Therefore, satan has aimed all of the weapons of hell at us. We need the protection provided through prayer. The prayer for deliverance from evil and temptation is like taking preventive medicine. Is Praise to God a Vital Part of Prayer? The model prayer that Jesus taught His disciples opens and closes with praise to the Father (Matthew 6:9,13). This is very appropriate. Prayer must be done in faith, and praise is the very best expression of our faith in God. When we ask God for things, that is petition. But petition without praise is selfish. However, when we link petition and praise together there is much power. If our faith is strong, of course our prayers will be strong. Thus, we pray and believe and we will receive. If we doubt there will be no answered prayer. And it is also very important that we learn to praise God. If our prayer life seems useless and powerless, we must learn to praise. According to the Word of God, the Lord inhabits (lives in) the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). He is very near when we praise Him. The Lord’s Prayer begins with “our Father” and ends with “Yours is the kingdom.” Our Father is a King. We have a heavenly Father who will hear us and a King who is able to answer us perfectly. Should we not offer to God our highest praise, with all of our heart? Praise must become a vital part of our prayer life. Now let us focus upon prayer as an important part of our individual and church strategy in spiritual warfare. 3. A Strategy of Prayer The focus of prayer in our churches is absolutely essential. God’s intention is that prayer be the ultimate and strategic factor in opening doors and hearts closed to the gospel.


Prayer as a strategy is not a new concept. The clearest word comes from God Himself: “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession” (Psalm 2:8). The prophet Jeremiah quotes His words: “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). As far back as the 17th chapter of Exodus, we find Moses using prayer as a strategy (Exodus 17:8 – 13). In Acts 1:14, we find the New Testament pattern: “They all joined together constantly in prayer.” After this type of prayer strategy was begun – Pentecost happened. Biblically, we see a direct connection between the prayers of God’s people and the occurrence of wonderful breakthroughs in the accomplishment of His purposes in the world. History gives vivid examples of the priority role of prayer. In the early 1780’s, William Carey of England knelt before a map of the world that he himself had drawn. He poured out his soul for the lost people of the world. Strategic praying from his burdened heart was the beginning point of the modern missionary movement. Understanding the Strategy Here are some basic ideas in helping us to understand prayer as a strategy: Prayer as a strategy opens the praying person to God’s direction as to how, what and for whom to pray. We do not set God’s priorities, rather we seek to discern what He wants to happen, and then pray for that to take place. We seek to listen with our hearts to know His heart’s desire. Then we pray for the fulfillment of His heart’s desire. And surely, God’s desire is that all the peoples of Central Asia will have the opportunity to know and love His Son, Jesus the Messiah. Prayer as a strategy begins by seeking God’s will. Then, God accomplishes His purposes in this world in response to the prayers of His people. This is His strategy: He releases His power as His people pray. He combines our specific prayers with His power. He causes the gospel to spread to the remote and difficult places of the world. He graciously gives us this essential role of partnership with Him. Again, we pray and He releases His power. Prayer as strategy takes the praying believer into spiritual warfare. Prayer is the strategy that breaks the power of satan and his demons. The evil one is always seeking to blind, discourage and destroy. Breaking his hold is a supernatural task. The only way to do so is through spiritual battle – through earnest and persistent prayer. Paul describes the believer’s armor very clearly in Ephesians 6:13 – 17. Then in verse 18 he says – “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions.” Strategic prayer is a battle that is fought on our knees. Prayer is the only strategy that can reach all areas and all peoples. Peoples often close themselves to other kinds of believer’s strategies, but they cannot close themselves to prayer and to the power of the Holy Spirit. Because of local restrictions in some places and among some peoples, prayer is the only strategy that can be used. In addition, prayer must be the key strategy in those villages and towns in Central Asia where doors are open and witness is not restricted. Finally, we must say that prayer is the strategy that makes all other strategies effective and fruitful.


Important Points about the Strategy Now let us briefly mention some of the important points that we can discuss with our brothers and sisters as we seek to begin this strategic work of prayer in our church. First of all, prayer is the strategy in which every believer can participate. Every believer of every age can and should be a prayer warrior for the Lord. All believers are in different situations. Some can travel from village to village more easily than others. Some can give more money to the work of the Lord than others. However, through prayer [as spiritual warfare], every believer can have a significant impact for the Messiah in his neighborhood, his village, his town and even his nation. Prayer as a strategy brings forth laborers. When God’s people pray His voice is heard and obeyed. God can speak to those for whom prayer is lifted up. He may call out laborers to that harvest as people pray. Prayer as a strategy is the most crucial work we do. A believer many years ago said: “Prayer does not just fit us for the greater work. Prayer is the greater work.” Prayer is also hard work. Prayer requires our time, energy, attention and selfdiscipline. It demands that we overcome our spiritual laziness. Prayer is work, but it brings great spiritual rewards for the kingdom of God. Practical Application How can these understandings be practically applied every day as we seek to serve God through our lives, homes and ministries? First, give prayer the central place in your daily walk with the Lord. Keep at the front of your mind this thought: all the good things we do for Jesus are useless unless our plans and activities come from the mind of God. Then, these plans must be lived out in the Spirit of Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Second, let’s make sure that deep in our hearts we agree with these two key points: 1. The belief that prayer is the ultimate strategy that releases God’s power and accomplishes things that simply will not happen until God’s people pray. 2. The belief that the strategy becomes most effective when believers pray as one – Ephesians 4:3. Our prayers must be united and specific. Third, we must persevere in our work of prayer. “Perseverance” is simply enduring with patience. “Perseverance” is the biblical term used to describe believers who faithfully endure and remain steady even in the face of opposition, attack and discouragement. Those believers who focus on Jesus can bear up under any load. Perseverance involves patience – the ability to endure without complaint and with calmness (James 1:2 – 4). Perseverance also includes persistence in finishing the work (James 1:4) and accomplishing the goals. If our desire is to be productive and effective in the work of the Lord, we will be persevering believers (2 Peter 1:5 – 8).


Believers are to persevere in prayer (Ephesians 6:18), in faith (Hebrews 12:1 – 2), in obedience (Revelation 14:12), and in service (1 Corinthians 15:58). As believers commit themselves to godly living, the Lord abundantly rewards them with the fruit of the Spirit for all eternity. Daily commitment leads to lasting discipline. The world does not like commitment. Promises are easily broken and contracts are frequently not honored. However, children of God are called to a life of commitment to God and each other. To faith, goodness and knowledge, the believer is required to add self-control and perseverance (2 Peter 1:5 – 6). The promise is that those who endure and persevere in overcoming evil will be rewarded with God’s blessings both now and in eternity (Matthew 24:13, Hebrews 11:6 and Revelation 21:7). May we persevere for the Lord God as we seek to use prayer as our basic strategy for reaching the lost peoples in our areas of Central Asia. B. The Word of God [The Truth] – Part Two of Our Defense God’s Word is true and we need to accept His truth in the innermost part of our being (Psalm 51:6). Whether or not we feel it is true, we need to believe that it is true. Since Jesus is the Truth, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and the Word of God is Truth, we ought always to speak the truth in love (John 14:6, 16:13, 17:17 and Ephesians 4:15). What is the opposite of truth? Of course, we all know – the lie. Believers should never lie or deceive other people through their words or actions. We believers should not exaggerate the truth or even tell “small” lies. Satan is “the father of lies” (John 8:44) and he seeks to keep people in slavery to him through deception and lies. However, it is the truth of the Lord Jesus the Messiah that sets all men free (John 8:32 – 36, 2 Timothy 2:25 – 26 and Revelation 12:9). We will find real joy and freedom when we stop living a lie and walk openly in the truth. After confessing his sin, King David wrote – “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit (Psalm 32:2). There are many ways in which satan seeks to deceive us. We learn about these many ways by becoming knowledgeable of the Word of God. Then we must choose the truth of the Word. Choosing the truth is difficult for those who have believed the lies of the wicked one for a long time. All believers need to learn that Jesus is the only defense that we need. Realizing that we are forgiven and accepted by God through Jesus helps to free us. We then place our total faith in Him. What is faith? Faith is the biblical response to the truth, and believing what God says is a choice we all can make. If we say – “I wish I could believe God, but I just cannot” – then we are being deceived. We can believe God because what God says is always true. Sometimes our walk by faith is hindered by lies that we have believed about God. For instance, we are to have a healthy fear (reverential awe, respect) of God, but we are not to be afraid of Him. A main part of walking in the truth and rejecting lies is to deal with the fears that can control our lives. We do this simply by faith. Another way of answering the question “what is faith?” is to say that faith is choosing to believe and act upon what God says, regardless of our feelings or circumstances. It is true – therefore, we choose to believe it. The key question is whether the object of our faith is trustworthy. That is why our faith must be on the


solid rock of God and His Word. This is the only way to live a fruitful life as a believer in Jesus. Thus, our life of faith is based upon the truth of God and His Word. Therefore, in summary up to this point, we may accurately state that our defense against the evil one and his strategy of deception and lies is through our own strategy [as believers] of prayer and the truth of the Word of God. We must defend ourselves and may be called upon to defend [and deliver] other people who are not yet walking in the truth. Thus, they have not been set free. These people who are still in slavery to the devil need deliverance through the truth of the Word of God. We are involved in a great spiritual conflict and the only resolution to this conflict is through prayer and the power [the truth] of His Word. We have already discussed many points about our strategy of prayer in this conflict. Let’s now be specific about our strategy of using the truth of God’s Word in our defense against satan. We shall focus upon four basic principles that will help us understand the resolution of this conflict and how to achieve the ultimate victory. Principle # 1 – We should derive our method for dealing with satan and his demons primarily from the letters of the New Testament rather than from the Gospels and the Book of Acts. Many have gotten their method for deliverance from the Gospels and the Book of Acts because they are the only authoritative sources for examples of driving out demons. Why should we not follow the examples of Jesus and His disciples? Their example clearly shows the battle between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of God. Also, their example proves that the Lord Jesus came “to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8). However, the Gospels record the life and ministry of the Lord before the cross. All authority had not yet been given to Him “in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Jesus had not yet defeated and disarmed the devil (Colossians 2:15). Thus, to confront satan and his demons, a special authority was required. That is why Jesus “called the Twelve together, …gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases” (Luke 9:1). There is a clear distinction between living under the Old Covenant (law) and living under the New Covenant (grace). The historical life of Jesus was lived under the Law. The New Covenant was not effective until after His death and resurrection. This means that the Messiah, who was born under the Law, had to live under it as well. Jesus said – “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17). For example, what if a rich man in your town asked you how he could have eternal life? Would you tell him to keep the commandments? That is precisely how Jesus instructed the rich young man in Matthew 19:16 – 22. Before the cross and under the Law, God’s covenant people showed their faith in God by living according to the Law. However, after the cross and under grace you would proclaim the gospel to such a person. Obviously, our approach to evangelism changed after Pentecost and likewise our approach to spiritual warfare and dealing with spiritual conflict has changed. We battle satan and his demons now as believers who live after the cross and under the grace of the risen and triumphant Lord Jesus.


The Book of Acts is the historical account of the period of transition between the cross and the completion of the Bible. There is some disagreement among believers about how much method and theology we should take from this very important book of the Bible. Therefore, we must exercise much caution in using examples from the Book of Acts as our method/example of driving out demons. Indeed, the Book of Acts clearly reveals to the student of God’s Word that encounters with demons have continued after the cross. We believers realize that satanic forces still continue to oppose the growth of God’s church. However, this book of the history of the growth of the early church does not speak the last, decisive word on dealing with evil forces. Principle # 2 – Simply because there are no instructions in the Letters of the New Testament concerning how to drive out demons does not mean that believers cannot have spiritual problems. It means that the responsibility for living free in Jesus has shifted from the specially blessed agent of authority (refer to the first paragraph after the statement of principle # 1 on page 32) to the individual believer. The individual believer under the Law had no authority over the kingdom of satan and his demons. Now by the grace of God, every born-again believer is seated with the Messiah “in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 2:6). Freedom for believers is based upon what Jesus has already done and on how we respond to Him in faith and repentance. There are many instructions throughout the Letters for living free in the Lord Jesus and dealing with the demonic forces. The final responsibility rests upon the individual believer, not upon some outside agent of authority. For example, I cannot repent or believe for you, nor can I submit to God and resist the devil for you, but I can help you do those things. When we look at the problem from this perspective, there is a very clear passage that instructs us about how to help one another. Consider Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 2:24 – 26 when he wrote: “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” This passage clearly teaches that truth sets people free and that the one who grants repentance is God. Counseling is far more than some technique that we learn. Counseling [from a believer’s point of view] is an encounter with God. He is the Wonderful Counselor. Only the Lord can bind up the broken-hearted and set the captive free. God does, however, work through His servants who are dependent upon Him. Let’s consider for a moment the way many believers are taught to drive out demons. We call out the demon’s name and then command him to leave the possessed person. But if we are successful in driving a demon out of someone without his or her involvement, what will prevent the demon from coming back when we leave? Unless the individual assumes responsibility for his or her own freedom, he may end up like the poor fellow who was freed from one spirit only to be occupied by seven other spirits who were more wicked than the first one (Matthew 12:43 – 45).


Often we think that we are the ones who should be casting out the demons. We call out the demon’s name and drive him out. With this approach [this approach is often referred to as a power encounter], the believer (or counselor) is the deliverer. Possibly the counselor is getting his information from the demon [for example, the name of the demon]. Why should we believe a demon? They are all liars just like their leader, satan, who is “the father of lies.” The Letters of the New Testament paint a different picture. First, the Deliverer is Jesus. He has already come to save and to deliver. Second, we should get our information from the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. He will lead us into all truth and that truth will set us free. People find their freedom in Jesus and they resolve their spiritual conflicts through genuine repentance and faith in God and His Word. We work with people by helping them to truly submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7). It is not necessary to deal directly with demons or to talk with them. Both elements are essential – submission to God and resisting the devil. Principle # 3 – Dealing with the demonic should be seen as a truth encounter rather than as a power encounter. Truth sets people free (John 8:32). There is not a verse in the Bible that instructs us to pursue power. We as believers already have all the power that we need in Jesus (Ephesians 1:18 – 19). The power for living as a believer is found in the truth while satan’s power is found in the lie. Satan does not want you to know your power and authority as a believer in Jesus. That is because his power is effective in the dark. However, all the darkness in the world cannot extinguish even one candle. Believers are to seek after the truth because we already have the power and authority to do God’s will. Truth is what makes an encounter with satan effective because his primary strategy is deception. The devil’s “scare tactics” are intended to provoke a reaction of fear. When fear is controlling a believer’s heart, then the Holy Spirit is not in control. If that happens, satan has the advantage. Faith in the Lord God and fear of the enemy are the opposite of each other. Satan fears detection more than anything else. Whenever the light of truth comes on, he and his demons run. They want to go to the shadowy and dark places. We should remember that satan and his demons are afraid of God and His truth. They are not afraid of mere human beings. However, when the believer approaches and he is walking in the light and truth of God and His Word, the demons tremble. The evil forces may laugh at the believer’s efforts and say that he is weak, but that is just a strategy of intimidation. Satan wants to put us on the defensive and discourage us. We should do everything that we can to prevent satan from revealing himself and glorifying himself through a power encounter. We are to glorify God by allowing His Presence to be revealed. The Lord God Almighty always does everything “in a fitting and orderly way” (1 Corinthians 14:40). God is glorified if we maintain control of the whole process. If the believer loses control, satan receives the glory. Principle # 4 – The primary prerequisites for helping other people are godly character and the ability to teach.


In the past, the church sometimes mistakenly assumed that having certain gifts or callings, or having an official position in the church was what qualified a person to help other people. Recall that from the 2 Timothy 2:24 – 26 passage the primary qualification is to be “the Lord’s servant.” To be an instrument in God’s hand, we have to be totally dependent upon Him. After that basic requirement, the Lord’s servant must be kind, patient, gentle and able to teach. In summary, we need to be able to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), because the truth sets us free. Usually, people are not in slavery because of past traumatic events in their lives, but because of the lies they have believed as a result of those past events. Resolving a spiritual conflict through a truth encounter based upon the Word of God has certain advantages. First, it helps to keep everything in a balanced perspective. For example, it is not a good counseling session if it fails to take into account the realities of demonic forces. On the other hand, it is not simply a deliverance ministry if it refuses to recognize the possibility of psychological problems. People are held accountable; they are responsible for dealing with their problems. Second, the method is reproducible because it does not depend upon any unusual gifts or callings. Third, it will produce lasting results. This is true because the people who are counseled are the ones making the decisions. They are assuming personal responsibility, rather than allowing the pastor or counselor to do this for them. We have studied the two basic components of our defense against demonic forces at work against us---prayer and the Word of God. Now, we shall look at some practical steps to take. This will help us as we seek to help others find their true freedom in Jesus the Messiah and be delivered from the power of satan. VII. Guidelines for Helping Others Find Freedom A. Gather Background Information First, if possible, try to learn something about the person’s family. Try to learn the following types of things about the person: What is their religious or spiritual experience? What is the religious experience of their parents or grandparents? Have they ever been involved in some kind of occult activity? Have they lived in a good, harmonious home? Have there been false beliefs in their family? Idolatrous practices? What about alcoholism, drug abuse, etc. in the family? How would you describe the morals of the family? In order to learn some of these things, you may want to simply ask the persons to share with you about themselves, their families, their childhood and school experiences. Of course, as you listen, be quiet and very attentive. At this point, you are simply trying to understand what happened to them and what may have caused them to have certain beliefs and habits in their lives. You are trying to help them find their true spiritual freedom in the Lord Jesus.


B. Determine False Beliefs Most people who are having problems concerning demons or evil spirits have a wrong concept of God Himself. Usually because of bad experiences in their lives, they have developed false ideas about the Lord. For example, consider a child who grows up in a home where the father is unkind and seems unconcerned about his family and is often gone away on trips, etc. This child grows up to be an adult and may possibly perceive God the Father to be somewhat like his or her own father. People with serious spiritual conflict very commonly have false beliefs about themselves. Most of these people really do not know whom they are in Jesus, which is so very important to know and understand. Nor do they understand what it means to be a child of God. They often question their own salvation and think that the life of a believer just does not work for them as it does for others. Some are filled with anxiety and may be very nervous people. Many of these people feel unloved, worthless and rejected. And they do not know how to be delivered from their spiritual conflicts. Finally, these people often think that they are caught between two equally powerful kingdoms – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of satan – and they are helplessly in the middle. This of course is not the truth and these people are defeated if they believe these things. The truth is that God is all-powerful, all-present and all-knowing and that we are in Jesus, seated with Him in the heavenly places. Satan is a defeated enemy. C. Deal with the Individual, not with the Demon For some people, satan seems more real and more powerful than the Lord God Himself. These types of people usually hear “opposing arguments” in their heads. They are constantly confronted with lies. They may be told (by the demon voices) to stop the counseling sessions. They may be threatened with embarrassment or harm. They may think that you (the counselor) are going to hurt them. So we must counsel them that the mind is the control center. If they do not lose control of their minds, then we will not lose control during the session. The only way that their thoughts will control them is if they believe the thoughts. If they will bring these deceptive thoughts out into the open and expose them, satan is defeated. As soon as the lies are exposed, the power of the devil is broken. Sometimes people may not want to share with you for two reasons. First, they think that you will not believe them. If a person says that he is hearing voices in his head, and he thinks that you do not believe what he is saying, he will stop talking to you. He may talk about what is happening to him, but he will not share what is happening inside him. Second, these voices may be threatening him and thus he is afraid to share openly because of fear of reprisal. In all situations, begin your sessions with prayer. If the person with whom you are counseling is a believer, remind him that because of his faith in God, satan cannot touch him and has no authority over him. In your time of counseling, do not touch the person and do not try to restrain him physically. If he wants to run away, let him run. Wait and pray – he will probably come back. Now we are ready for the 4th step.


D. Lead the Person to Freedom in the Lord The process of submitting to God and resisting the devil is not that difficult. God’s grace is available to all people, regardless of how smart they may be, or how much education they may have. Everyone is able to understand God’s Word, submit to Him, resist the devil and be freed from satanic oppression. There is only One who sets a person free – Jesus. We are just tools in His hands. What sets a person free is his response to Jesus in repentance and faith. The primary focus during the counseling time is the Lord and the person’s relationship with Him. Now, let us go through the “Steps” that you will want to take in order to lead a person to freedom in the Lord Jesus and for him to be set free by the truth. VIII. Seven Steps to Freedom in the Lord Jesus • Step 1

The first step toward experiencing your freedom in the Messiah is to renounce [verbally reject] all past or present involvement with satanic or occult practices and activities, cultic teachings and rituals. This includes all previous involvement with pagan religions. The person must renounce any activity or group that denies Jesus as the Son of God or offers guidance through some other source than the Bible. The person should renounce even passive involvement in the occult. Scripture passages: Exodus 20:3 – 4, Deuteronomy 18:9 – 14, Matthew 4:10, 22:37, John 4:23 and 1 John 5:20 – 21 • Step 2

The second step is to lead the person to openly and verbally accept and believe that God and His Word are the absolute truth. We need to accept His truth in the innermost part of our being (Psalm 51:6). [Please refer back to the introductory comments of section VI. B., made on pages 31 – 32.] Our heavenly Father wants us to know the truth, believe the truth, speak the truth and live in accordance with the truth. However, satan has the ability to try and deceive us in many ways. We know that in addition to being deceived by the world, false teachers and deceiving spirits, we can also deceive ourselves. Choosing the truth may be difficult if we have believed lies for many years. One aspect of walking in the truth and rejecting deception is to deal with the fears that constantly bother many people. Satan tries to use fear to keep us from doing what we know to be right. Fear will weaken us, cause us to be self-centered and control our minds to the extent that all we can think about is that thing which frightens us. However, fear can only control us if we let it. We need to make a “statement of truth” about whom we are in Jesus [see Appendix B – page 47] and carefully think about and stand upon our “statement of truth.” Scripture Passages: Exodus 20:2 – 3, John 1:1,14, Ephesians 2: 6 – 9, James 1:22, Galatians 6:3, Colossians 1:13 – 17, 2:15, 1 John 1:8, 3:1 – 8 and Romans 12:1 – 3


Step 3

The third step toward freedom in the Lord Jesus is to forgive others. If we forgive others, satan cannot take advantage of us. The Word commands us to get rid of all bitterness and forgive others as we have been forgiven. Ask God to help you remember the people you need to forgive. We need not only to forgive others who have wronged us, but to also forget these wrongs. Remember that forgiveness is a choice, a decision of our will. We must choose to forgive. God tells us to forgive, not to take revenge, and let Him deal with the person who has wronged us. If we do not take this third step, we will live in the slavery of bitterness rather than in the freedom of forgiveness. We must not wait for the other person to take the first step – he may never do that. God wants us to be free – forgiveness is the only path to true freedom in Him. Finally, do not pray things such as: “Lord, help me to forgive,” or “Lord, I want to forgive,” but simply pray “Lord, I choose to forgive (name the person) for (what they did or did not do) because it made me feel (share the painful feeling)……” Then, ask God to bless those who have hurt you. He will free those who willingly forgive from their hearts. Scripture Passages: 2 Corinthians 2:10 – 11, Ephesians 4:31 –32, Romans 12:19, Luke 23:34 and Hebrews 8:12 and 10:17 • Step 4

The fourth step toward freedom is to sincerely submit from the heart to those in authority over us. Rebelling against God and the authorities that He has set up in our lives is a very serious sin. It gives satan a wide open road to attack us. The only solution is submission from the heart. When we stand under the authority of God and those He has placed over us, we cut off this dangerous opening for demonic attacks. The Bible makes it clear that we have two main responsibilities toward those in authority over us: to pray for them and to submit to them. Being under authority is clearly an act of faith. By submitting, we are trusting God to work through His established authority, even though they may be harsh or unkind. If authorities abuse their position by requiring you to break God’s laws, then you need to obey God rather than man. Summarily, we all need to have a humble, submissive spirit to one another in the fear of the Messiah. We confess our rebellion against God and others, ask for God’s forgiveness, and then we choose to be submissive and obedient. Scripture Passages: Acts 4:19, Romans 13:1 – 7, 1 Timothy 2:1 – 2, Ephesians 5:21, 1 Peter 2:13 – 23, Hebrews 13:17 and 1 Samuel 15:22 – 23 • Step 5

The fifth step toward freedom in the Lord Jesus is the renouncing of pride and the commitment to live humbly before God. The Bible clearly warns its readers that serious spiritual problems will result when we are proud. We must repent of all sinful pride and selfishness. Remember that pride was the original sin of Lucifer.


In addition, we must renounce all forms of prejudice and bigotry in our lives. Things such as bigotry, hatred and pride most certainly open the door to satanic attacks. We need to ask God to reveal all areas of pride, prejudice and bigotry in our hearts. We should not stop at this point but go ahead and ask the Lord to change our hearts and make us loving agents of reconciliation with other people whom we have disliked in the past or even hated. Scripture Passages: Proverbs 3:5 – 7, 16:18, Romans 12:10, 2 Corinthians 5:19, Philippians 2:3, James 4:6 – 10, 1 Peter 5:1 – 9 and Acts 10:34 • Step 6

There are many sins that can control us. It is our responsibility not to allow sin to have control over our bodies. As you lead a person through the steps to freedom make sure that this step is taken very prayerfully and carefully. The Bible has long lists of sins and sinful practices. If we are regularly committing any type of sin, we are in slavery to that sin and must find the road to freedom. Therefore, step 6 is the step of choosing between slavery and freedom. To find true freedom in Jesus, we must follow James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We submit to God by confession of sin and repentance. We resist the devil by rejecting his lies. After this, we walk in the truth and put on the full armor of God. Confession is not just to say “I’m sorry,” rather it is to openly admit – “I did it.” After all known sin is confessed, then pray something like this: “Lord God, I now confess these sins to You and claim through the blood of Jesus my forgiveness and cleansing. I cancel out all the territory that evil spirits have gained through my willful involvement in sin. I pray this in the wonderful Name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah. Amen.” Scripture Passages: James 5:16, 1 John 1:9, Proverbs 28:13, 2 Corinthians 4:2, Romans 6:12 – 14, 13:14, 1 Peter 2:11, Mark 7:20 – 23, Galatians 5:19 – 21, Ephesians 4:25 – 31, 6:10 – 18 and 1 Corinthians 6:18 – 20 • Step 7

This is the final step to freedom in the Lord Jesus. This final step is to renounce the sins of your ancestors as well as any curses that may have been placed on you by any evil persons or groups. Sins can be passed down from one generation to the next. You must renounce the sins of your ancestors and claim your new spiritual heritage in the Lord [your new position in Jesus – see Appendix B, page 47]. You are not guilty of the sin of any ancestor, but because of their sin, you may be open and vulnerable to satan’s attacks. We all have certain strengths and weaknesses. The “spiritual atmosphere” in which we grew up as children has influenced us. These conditions can cause us to struggle with a particular sin. Ask the Lord to show you specifically what sins may be characteristic of your own family. We want to be free from those sinful influences of the past and walk in our new identity as a born-again child of the Lord God.


As the Lord brings those areas of family sin to your mind, specifically renounce them. Remember, you have all the authority and protection you need in Jesus to take your stand firmly against all such evil activity and influences from the past. Scripture Passages: Exodus 20:4 – 6, Jeremiah 32:18 and Galatians 3:13 • Maintaining Your Freedom

Even after finding freedom in Jesus by going through this seven- step process, a person may still be attacked by demonic influences trying to regain control of his mind and body. This may happen hours, days or even weeks later. But as he continues to walk in humble submission to God, he can resist the devil and he will flee from him (James 4:7). We must realize that one victory does not mean that the battle is over forever. We must maintain our freedom. As long as we remain in right relationship with God, we need not fear. The Lord Jesus securely keeps our freedom. Freedom will continue as long as we keep choosing the truth and standing firm in the strength of the Lord. Ask people to do these six things and they will keep their freedom in Jesus: Be involved in a good, loving fellowship of believers Read and meditate on God’s Word daily Take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Do not go back to old patterns of thinking, feeling and acting Do not expect other people to fight your battles for you Commit yourself to regular prayer – daily “put on the full armor of God.” Let us now move to the last section of the book – a detailed study of “the full armor of God.” In this final section, we shall carefully study the well-known passage of Scripture – Ephesians 6:10 – 18. IX. The Full Armor of God Paul tells the believers in Ephesus to be sure that they “put on the full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11). Paul used the picture of the Roman soldier’s armor and his weapons on more than one occasion in his letters. For instance, he told the Roman believers that they must “put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). He wrote to the Thessalonian believers about “putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (1 Thessalonians 5:8). In his second letter to the Corinthian believers, he wrote that servants of God have “weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left” (2 Corinthians 6:7). He added that “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world” (2 Corinthians 10:4). The apostle Paul tells us to put on the full armor so that “you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). Each separate piece of the armor is to be “put on” to help believers overcome the temptations and attacks of the devil. Thus, we must realize that each piece of armor is important. We must “put on” the full armor because certainly God has given significance to each individual piece. Nothing must be left off. Now, let us examine the full armor of God so that we are knowledgeable about the weapons and protection that God has given us in our fight.


Introduction to the Armor (verses 10 – 13) Paul has already spoken of the church’s heavenly calling and her earthly conduct in the previous chapters of Ephesians, now he is revealing her spiritual conflict. Be strong in the Lord (verse 10) tells how we believers should be continuously empowered as we live in union with the Lord. He is the source of all spiritual power. Spiritual battles require spiritual strength, so we must be strong in Him. When Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God (verse 11), he is indicating that God Himself has supplied the complete armor, but He expects the believer to put it on. “So you can take your stand” – (verse 11) indicates that we must hold firmly to our position in the battle against satan and not retreat or fall down in the struggle (James 4:7). We read the words “against the devil’s schemes” (verse 11) and we realize that the devil’s schemes are attractive, deceptive and can trap us. Satan is a personal enemy, a great adversary, a slanderous accuser and a strong enemy. He uses clever and crafty methods to deceive us. God says that “satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) and he makes “his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15). Satan is the champion of all things that seek to replace the Messiah. His evil aim is to substitute something else and something different for the grace and truth of the Lord Jesus. As we have discussed often in the book, verse 12 describes the fact that we are not engaged in human, physical warfare. “Struggle” means “to throw or swing.” It speaks of a contest between two opponents that continues until one throws the other one down and holds him down. The word “against” gives the idea of a personal enemy. We are involved in a face-to-face and hand-to-hand conflict to the finish. It is a life and death struggle against a personal enemy. “The rulers” and “authorities” refer to the hierarchy of demons, most likely those evil spirits that have great authority. “The powers of this dark world” speaks of the world rulers who are in revolt against God. “The spiritual forces of evil” speaks of the army of invisible evil spirits who live “in the heavenly realms.” This conflict is in the heavenly places, where life in Jesus is lived (Ephesians 2:5 – 6). In verse 13, Paul repeats the command to put on the full armor of God, revealing the urgency of the task. There is no time to lose. No ordinary weapons of warfare will do in this battle (2 Corinthians 10:4). Confronted by the old subtle serpent out of the pit, we need the full armor of God, which is fully provided and freely given. Notice that the believer is “able to stand your ground.” The words here convey the idea of “resisting” or “standing against.” And then – “after you have done everything” – the believer stands – as the victor, the winner, the champion. These words indicate that the believer holds his ground firmly, gloriously and ultimately victoriously. “The day of evil” is taken by some to refer to the end times when satan will launch a ferocious campaign against the Lord Jesus and His army. However, a more common view is that this could be any great spiritual battle in the believer’s life. With this introduction, the apostle now lists [in verses 14 – 17] the six pieces of armor that the believer must put on. We shall discuss them in the order that Paul listed them.


The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness (verse 14) The waist or abdomen area was generally thought to be the center of our emotions. To put on (or, buckle around your waist) the belt of truth is to commit your emotions, indeed your entire being, to believe the truth. Often a person knowingly allows himself to believe a lie because of fear or self-pity. Believers must hold a strong commitment to truth regardless of the consequences (John 8:32). The belt was important to the Roman soldier. He would take his robe and pull it up and tuck it into his belt so that he could fight or work unhindered. Living a life of honesty and integrity enables the believer to be one in purpose with Jesus [who is the Truth] and to be unhindered in the battle against satan, who deceives and lies. Truth is knowledge of the truth of God’s Word (John 16:13 and Ephesians 4:21). The leather belt that the Roman soldier wore around his waist held most of the other pieces of his armor in place. Similarly, the other pieces of the believer’s armor depend on the belt. They are held in place by his spiritual “belt” or his knowledge of the “truth” of Scripture. The breastplate that the Roman soldier wore covered the body from neck to thigh and was made of leather or metal, usually bronze. In verse 14, the phrase “the breastplate of righteousness” may be better- interpreted “the breastplate that is righteousness.” The righteousness that the breastplate represents is not the righteousness of Jesus, which all believers possess, but the practical righteous character and deeds of believers. This piece of the armor represents a holy character and moral conduct. Obedience to the “truth” will produce a godly life (“righteousness”). In some parts of the world, the breast was generally thought of as the place of the soul, or the heart. Thus, the heart must be kept pure and righteous because sin gives a foothold to the enemy. Confession and forgiveness on the basis of the blood of Jesus cleanse the heart (1 John 1:9). Believers do not need to seek protection or right standing with God through works of their own. They can confidently stand in what the Messiah has already done on their behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). Sandals/Shoes for the Gospel of Peace (verse 15) The Roman soldier wore special shoes called “caligae” on his feet, which helped him to advance against his enemy. These were sandals with cleats made of sharp nails designed to give him firm footing on even the most rugged terrain so that he would not slip and fall. With these sandals on his feet, he could much more easily “stand firm” against his opponent in battle (verse 14). “The readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” first of all means “the eagerness that comes from the gospel of peace.” The believer must have a sense of “eagerness” or “willingness” to advance against the devil and fight him. Such “eagerness” to contend against satan “comes from the gospel of peace.” The gospel gives peace to the believer and frees him from anxiety even though he advances against such a powerful opponent. But this particular phrase here in verse 15 may have another meaning.


It may simply mean the readiness to share the gospel at any time. We believers are to be about our Father’s business, which is to spread the gospel of peace and reconciliation. A keen sense of this mission will always keep the believer headed in the right direction (Matthew 28:19, 20) no matter what kind of evil opposition he may face. In addition, “readiness” may possibly refer to a prepared foundation that is the gospel of peace with God (Ephesians 2:17). The Shield of Faith (verse 16) The Roman soldier had two kinds of shields available. First, there was a small, handheld shield often used in hand- to- hand combat. Then there was the large shield to which this passage refers. This long, oblong or oval shield [over one meter in length] was made from two layers of wood covered with linen or animal hides, bound together with iron. When the soldiers fought side by side, they could hold their shields together to form a long, unbroken wall. They often marched into battle this way. Soaked in water, these shields served as an adequate defense against the enemy’s “flaming arrows” – arrows that had been dipped in pitch and ignited. The shield of faith provides the child of God unlimited resources of power and wisdom (Ephesians 3:16 – 21). He then can resist the flaming arrows of distressing circumstances and temptation to do evil (1 Corinthians 10:13). Satan – who is “the accuser of our brothers” (Revelation 12:10) – will send his flaming arrows to instill doubt, fear and guilt. However, faith acts as an invisible shield that deflects such false accusations (Hebrews 11:6). “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). The shield of faith simply means taking God at His Word and believing His promises. Such trust will protect one from all the “arrows” thrown by satan. The Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Spirit (verse 17) The intricately designed bronze helmet of the Roman soldier in the first century not only protected his head but it also made him appear to be taller and gave him a more impressive appearance. The helmet had leather attachments to hold it in place. The head of the soldier was the principal part of the body to defend. The head is the seat of the mind, which, when it has laid hold upon the sure Gospel of eternal life, will not believe false doctrine or give in to satan’s temptations. The helmet protects the head, that is, it protects the mind and thoughts. Assurance of salvation is a strong defense against doubt and insecurity and the kinds of things that come from them (1 John 5:11 – 15). First Thessalonians 5:8 describes this helmet as “the hope of salvation” – that is, the certainty (assurance) of salvation. In this passage, Paul does not urge the readers to be saved – they are already saved (Ephesians 2:8). However, they need protection from evil attacks. Believers can protect their heads from satan’s attacks as they wear the helmet of salvation and as they rest confidently in their wonderful position as members of God’s family (John 1:12, 13). The helmet on the believer’s head reminds him that he is set apart for God’s purposes (Romans 15:16, 1 Corinthians 1:2 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13). Further, believers can know God’s present work of sanctification in their lives,


experiencing daily deliverance from sin (Galatians 5:16, Philippians 2:12, 13 and Colossians 1:10). Finally, the child of God can know that he has the guarantee of future, eternal deliverance from every evil (1 Thessalonians 5:8). The final piece of armor mentioned by the apostle Paul in this letter is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The sword is the only offensive weapon in this armor and it was used by the Lord Jesus Himself against satan (Luke 4:1 – 13). The short, two-edged sword enabled the heavily armed Roman soldier to attack and defeat his enemy at close range. The believer’s sword may be understood to be either “supplied by the Spirit” or “used by the Spirit.” Paul further identified the sword as “the Word of God” (Hebrews 4:12). The Greek term rendered “word” is not logos, referring to the whole Word of God, but rhema, referring to certain portions or selected verses of Scripture. The meaning is probably that the Holy Spirit brings to mind certain Scriptures to meet a particular need. Jesus’ use of specific Scripture from the book of Deuteronomy in His battle with satan in the wilderness shows this fact (Matthew 4:4, 7,10). The living Word is powerful, effective and instructive (Hebrews 4:12 and 2 Timothy 3:16,17). A Closing Word about Prayer (verses 18 – 20) Paul concludes his discourse on the full armor by emphasizing the importance of prayer. Three times in these three verses, once in each verse, he commands the Ephesian believers to pray. Prayer opens communication between God and us. In the midst of the spiritual battle, we believers must keep in constant communication with our Leader for His directions and encouragement. Our prayers for one another are not only important, but they are “powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Prayer is not listed as a separate weapon of warfare but is to be used with all of the other weapons. Prayer is to be continual (1 Thessalonians 5:17) as the believer prepares for battle, engages in battle, and finally rests from the battle. All kinds of prayer are to be offered through the power of the Holy Spirit. Without prayer, God’s armor is inadequate for victory. Prayer is indispensable. Always means “on every occasion,” that is, whenever satan attacks. In the Spirit signifies that with the Spirit’s help such prayer for divine assistance is to be made. The believers are to pray not just for themselves but also “for all the saints.” Spiritual combat is both an individual and a church matter. As Paul reminds us, we must “always keep on praying.” X. Conclusion We began our study by examining the kind of battle that we are in. Then we studied the enemy (satan) in order to determine exactly what kind of opponent we are fighting. We studied about him, his demonic assistants and also those angels who are helping the believers. Next, we spoke about our defense – through prayer and the Word of God. We can best fight the devil as we engage him in Truth. He is a liar and the truth encounter exposes him. Lastly, we looked at our “full armor.” God has provided it – we put it on and then pray. Let us now go ahead in victory with Jesus.


Appendix A – Ancestral Spirits


Appendix B – My Position in Jesus (Who I Am in Jesus) I renounce the lie that I am rejected, unloved, dirty or shameful because in the Messiah I am completely accepted. God says… I am God’s child and I am Jesus’ friend (John 1:12, 15:15) I have been justified (Romans 5:1) I am united with the Lord and I am one with Him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17) I have been bought at a price: I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20) I am a part of the Messiah’s body (1 Corinthians 12:27) I am a saint, a holy one (1 Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1) I have been adopted as God’s child (Ephesians 1:5) I have direct access to the Father by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18) I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins (Colossians 1:14) I am complete through my union with the Messiah (Colossians 2:10) I renounce the lie that I am guilty, unprotected, alone or abandoned because in the Messiah I am totally secure. God says… I am free forever from condemnation (Romans 8:1 – 2) I am assured that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) I am free from any condemning charges against me (Romans 8:31 – 34) I cannot be separated from the love of the Messiah (Romans 8:35 – 39) I have been established, anointed and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21–22) I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be carried on to completion (Philippians 1:6) I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20) I am hidden with the Messiah in God (Colossians 3:3) I have not been given a spirit of fear or timidity, but one of power, love and a sound mind [self – discipline] (2 Timothy 1:7) I can find grace and mercy to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16) I am born of God and the evil one cannot harm me (1 John 5:18) I renounce the lie that I am worthless, inadequate, helpless or hopeless because in the Messiah I am deeply significant. God says… I am the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13 – 14) I am a branch of the true Vine, Jesus, a channel of His life (John 15:1,5) I have been chosen and appointed by God to bear fruit (John 15:16) I am a personal Spirit – empowered witness of the Messiah (Acts 1:8) I am a temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16) I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Corinthians 5:17 – 21) I am God’s co – worker (2 Corinthians 6:1) I am seated with Jesus in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6) I am God’s workmanship, created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10) I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12) I can do everything through Him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13) I am not the great “I AM,” but by the grace of God I am what I am (Exodus 3:14, John 8:24,28,58 and 1 Corinthians 15:10). 46

Appendix C: The Occult The word “occult” is derived from the Latin word “occultus” which means something hidden or concealed. It refers to that which is inner, secret, mysterious, and beyond the range of ordinary human knowledge. Occultism involves various types of secret techniques directed at changing the human consciousness and manipulating the supernatural in order to attain psycho-spiritual power. White and black magic, spiritism (spirit contact), and fortune telling are common forms of the occult. Occultists distinguish between white and black magic. “White” magic is somewhat related to but contrasted with “black” magic and obvious, deliberate satanism. The people who practice white magic consider it to be beneficial – helpful for the good of other people. It ceremonially calls up spirits and seeks to control them with such ritual tools as wands, daggers, robes and belts. White magic is associated with the contemporary practice of feminist goddess worship and witchcraft. Black magic refers to the practice of sorcery and necromancy (1 Samuel 28:7 – 25). In contrast to white magic, it is used against others or for the purpose of personal and material gain. Black magic attempts to produce evil results through such methods as curses, spells and alliances with evil spirits. Listed below are some of the occult practices with a brief definition of each: • • • • • • • • • Astrology – the ancient method of mapping celestial events by means of horoscopes (Isaiah 47:13 – 15, Daniel 2:2 and 5:7) Automatic writing – writing in a trance-like state without conscious control Divination – an illegitimate means of determining the will of God (Isaiah 44:25, Daniel 5:7, Leviticus 19:26 and Deuteronomy 18:10) Fortune telling (divination) – using a wide variety of methods and objects to give advice and to predict the future (Acts 16:16 – 18) Necromancy – communicating with and interrogating the dead (1 Samuel 28 and Deuteronomy 18:10) Numerology – attaching special significance to numbers and using those numbers to analyze character and to predict the future Palmistry – interpreting the future by analyzing the lines on the palms of the hands Sorcery – engaging in the non-medical use of drugs (Exodus 7:11, 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:10 and Daniel 2:2) Spiritism – making contact with deceased or invisible personalities through spirit mediums (1 Samuel 28:3 – 20) or through trances, a form of voluntary possession (Leviticus 19:31, Deuteronomy 18:11 and 2 Kings 21:6)


Tarot cards – using special occult symbols to predict the future

All of these occult practices are demonic in origin. Most of these are specifically described in the Scripture and strictly prohibited (Deuteronomy 18:9 – 13). Believers must always seek guidance through the indwelling Holy Spirit, never through any of the above- mentioned practices. There are many others demonic practices that we need to be aware of, such as astral projection, table lifting, dungeons and dragons, crystals or pyramids and the ouija board. Be careful to instruct new believers that these things need to be renounced firmly and completely. Let us briefly treat the subject of “witchcraft.” This evil practice is closely associated with goddess worship and feminism. Witches claim the “goddess” as a model for the stages of a woman’s life. They maintain that the feminine life force of the universe, the goddess, appears in three forms: the maiden, the mother and the “crone” [see below, note # 2]. This triple aspect of the goddess is supposedly tied in with the cycle of the moon. The waxing moon is the maiden, the full moon is the mother and the waning moon is the crone. Witches draw meaning from the fact that the moon’s twenty-eight day cycle is like the twenty-eight day menstrual cycle of the woman. Witches characteristically belong to a coven – a small group of no more than thirteen members who meet to cast spells, conduct rituals or raise a “cone” of healing energy at the full moon or solstice when the lunar or solar energies are considered to be at their high points. White magic tries to undo curses and spells and to use occult means (gods, demons, spirits or “forces”) for what the coven perceives to be the good of themselves or others. Rituals are used in both black and white magic to bend psychic force to the will of those in a coven. Witchcraft, sorcery and magic are always condemned in Scripture (Leviticus 19:26, 20:27, Deuteronomy 18:9 – 13, 2 Kings 9:22 and Micah 5:12 are a few examples). Demons are also objects of worship in various occult practices forbidden by God. Note # 1 – When the Ephesian believers who were practicing the occult repented, there was a great revival in that place (Acts 19:17 – 20). No believer can ever justify his participation in demonic activities (Ephesians 6:12). Read also Galatians 5:20 and the complete passages of Exodus 20, Leviticus 19, Deuteronomy 18 and 1 Samuel 28 for more understanding of these topics. Note # 2 – The word “crone” is a word originating in 14th century England meaning an ugly old woman, an elderly woman, an old “hag,” a witch or sorceress, etc.


Appendix D – Study Questions 1. What are two methods that satan and his co-workers use to influence human activity? Discuss these two methods. 2. Why was Lucifer driven out of heaven? 3. Give 5 negative and 5 positive commands about how believers should walk. 4. State 5 spiritual facts we must recognize in order to engage the enemy. List at least 10 responsibilities of the believer. 5. Discuss the meaning of the name “satan” and list at least 5 other names that the Bible uses to describe satan. 6. What two Old Testament passages describe satan’s original condition and the reason for his fall? Discuss the 5 “I will” statements of Isaiah 14:13 – 14. 7. Discuss 7 major characteristics of the devil. 8. What has God provided to ensure our victory over the evil one? 9. What are the 4 words used in Scripture to describe angelic beings? 10. In comparison to man, what limitations do the angels have? 11. Who are the 3 angels mentioned by name in the Bible? 12. Discuss the difference between “seraphim” and “cherubim.” 13. Discuss at least 5 instances of the angels’ ministry during the time of the birth and time of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. 14. Name at least 5 ministries of angels to believers. 15. List at least 5 names given to demons in the New Testament. 16. What are some ways that demons operate against the believer? 17. What are the main characteristics of demonic spirits? 18. Discuss the four fundamental areas of demonic activity. 19. Describe Jesus’ method of driving out a demon. 20. What is the difference between “demon possession” and “demon influence?” 21. How does demon possession usually evidence itself? 22. List the 4 kinds of prayer and the 5 parts of prayer. 23. What 6 things will cause a believer’s prayer to be unanswered? 24. What is the purpose of prayer? 25. Discuss the relationship of petition and praise during prayer. 26. How can you implement a strategy of prayer in your church? 27. When satan tries to deceive us, what should we choose? 28. What is faith? What is our faith based upon? 29. Describe the four basic principles that will help to understand and resolve the spiritual conflict we are in and to win the victory. 30. What is a “power” encounter? What is a “truth” encounter? 31. In helping others to find spiritual freedom, what is the first thing to do? 32. Why do people often have false beliefs about themselves? 33. Write down the 7 steps to freedom in the Lord. 34. Can you make Appendix B [page 47] your “statement of truth”? 35. Describe the “spiritual atmosphere” in which you grew up? 36. How do we maintain our freedom in the Lord? 37. For you personally, tell what is important about each piece of the “armor.” 38. What is the only offensive weapon of the armor? What Greek word is used for “word” in Ephesians 6:17? How did Jesus use the Word as he battled satan during His temptation? 39. What does satan fear if we have a “truth encounter” with him? 40. Briefly tell how can you effectively teach “Appendix B” to your people? 49

For Further Study and Training in Righteousness

Doctrine 1. Servant Leadership 3. Personal Evangelism I (The Camel Method) 5. Personal Evangelism II (Chronological Storying) 7. Believer’s Lifestyle 9. Spiritual Warfare 11. Church Planting 13. Doctrine of the Holy Spirit 15. Bible Interpretation 17. Doctrine of Salvation 19. The Godhead 21. Spiritual Disciplines 23. Old Testament Survey 25. Stewardship 27. Personal Evangelism III

Bible 2. Pastoral Letters (1 - 2 Timothy, Titus) 4. Romans 6. Theology of Genesis 8. 1 Corinthians 10. Ephesians 12. The Gospel of John 14. Acts 1 – 12 16. Acts 13 – 28 (The Ministry of Paul) 18. Exodus 20. The Journeys of Jesus (Synoptic Gospels) 22. Galatians 24. Hebrews 26. Psalms

A program of : CASALT: Servant and Leadership Training July 2002