Our Spiritual Enemies
Demons are spiritual enemies and it is the responsibility of each Christian to deal with them directly in spiritual warfare. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Eph. 6:10-12 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds). II Cor. 10:3,4
The scripture employs the analogy of wrestling in reference to our warfare with Satan and his hosts. Wrestling is an accurate and pointed description. It speaks of close-quarter fighting; of personally grappling with the powers of darkness. Most of us would prefer to use a giant cannon and blast away at these enemies from miles away, but this is not possible. The battle is very personal and close. The enemy is a spiritual one. The weapons are spiritual.
Wrestling also suggests pressure tactics. This tells us that Satan’s tactic is to put pressure on us. He does this in the areas of our thought life, emotions, decision making and our physical bodies. Believers often feel pressured by the enemy in one way or another. When one is ignorant of Satan’s devices he may turn for relief to tranquilizers, sleeping pills or even the psychiatrist’s couch. But God’s remedy for victory over demonic pressures is spiritual warfare. The Bible shows us how the Christian can put pressure upon the demons and defeat them! He must then learn the practical ways in which this is done. He must throw away his ineffective fleshly weapons and take up mighty spiritual weapons. The believer must know both his own weaponry and how to employ it, and the tactics of the enemy and how to defeat him.
Ephesians chapter six, verse twelve tells us four important things about our spiritual enemy. First, we are told that we are fighting against PRINCIPALITIES. The Greek word for principalities is “archai” This word is used to describe things in a series, such as leaders, rulers and magistrates. Thus, a “series” of leaders or rulers would describe their rank and organization. So the word "principalities” tells us that the Satanic kingdom is highly organized. Perhaps Satan’s forces are much the same in organization as the army of the United States which his the President as Commander-in- Chief followed by generals, colonels, majors, captains, lieutenants on down to the private. Satan is the head of his kingdom and has under him a rank of ruling spirits ultimate subject unto himself.
The English word "principality” is defined as “the territory or jurisdiction of a prince or the country that gives title to a prince” (Webster). Thus, we see that these ruling spirits are assigned over areas such as nations and cities. This is borne out by the account in Daniel, chapter ten. Daniel was seeking a word from God through prayer and fasting. After three weeks an angel appeared. The angel explained that he had been delayed in getting to Daniel with God’s message by an encounter with "the prince of the kingdom of Persia”. He does not refer to an earthly prince, for no mere man could withstand a heavenly messenger. He is speaking of a demon prince. From this it is clear that there are ruling demon spirits placed by Satan over nations and cities in order to carry out his evil purposes.
Problems that persist and plague churches and homes can well indicate that special evil agents have been assigned to cause trouble in these areas as well. Thus, we discover that our spiritual warfare embraces much more than our individual lives. We are fighting for the welfare of our homes, communities and nation. The enemy is thoroughly organized. His moves are made with evil designs Second,’ we are told that our warfare is against POWERS. The Greek word translated “powers” is “exousias”. This word is accurately translated as “authorities”. This word tells us that the demons who are placed over various areas or territories are given authority to carry out whatever orders have been assigned. The Christian soldier need not be dismayed or discouraged to learn that those whom he faces have been given authority, for the believer has even greater authority. He is vested with the authority of the name of Jesus. And these signs shall follow them that believe: IN MY NAME shall they cast out devils. Mark 16:17 This verse tells us that the believer has greater authority than the authority of demons. Demons are forced to yield to the authority of the name of Jesus.
The scripture reveals that demons not only have authority but they have power. In Luke chapter ten, verse nineteen we read of the “power” of the enemy. The word for “power” in the Greek is “dunamis”. Our English words dynamo and dynamite come from this word. Yet this fact will not daunt the Christian warrior, for he has the promise of God’s Word that he can have greater power than that of the enemy. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Acts 1:8 The power of the believer comes to him with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jesus knows that his followers need both authority and power to deal with the enemy. When he sent the twelve out in ministry he sent them fully equipped.
“Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them POWER (dunamis) and authority (exousiai) over all devils, and to cure diseases.” Luke 9:1 A little later in His ministry Jesus sent the seventy disciples out two by two, and when they returned they reported that they successfully dealt with the demon powers in the mighty name of Jesus: And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power (exousiai) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power (dunamis) of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:17-19
The commission that Jesus has given to His church provides the same authority and power. In Mark chapter sixteen and verse seventeen we are told that believers are to cast out devils in the name of Jesus. The promise was not limited to the apostles or first century disciples, but is for all believers of all times. The commission as stated in Matthew chapter twenty- eight, verses eighteen through twenty, opens with the declaration, “all power (authority' is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore…”
We today have the same authority and power for ministry that was given to the church initially. It would be sheer folly to go against demons spirits without this power and authority. The authority comes through salvation; the power comes through the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The power given the believer through the mighty baptism in the Holy Spirit is evidenced through the operation of the gifts of the Spirit (See I Cor. 12: -11).
The gifts of the Spirit, such as supernatural words of knowledge and discerning of spirits, are indispensable in spiritual warfare. This power and the authority of Jesus’ name are given that the believer might overcome demon powers. The policeman is an example of authority and power. He gets up in the morning and before he goes to duty he puts on his uniform and his badge. Everyone recognizes his “authority” when they see his uniform and badge. But there are some lawless persons who will not respect this authority. So, the policeman straps his billy-club on one hip and his revolver on the other. Now he has the “power” to back up his authority! In like manner, the Christian is foolish to go out against demon forces without both his authority and power. We are not to wait for God to come to our rescue. It is not a time to pray that God will provide power and authority. He has already provided for our salvation and our baptism in the Holy Spirit. He is therefore waiting for us to recognize that He has already made the necessary provisions, and that we are to engage in spiritual warfare and become the militant church prophesied: And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Matt. 16:18
Third, we learn that we wrestle against THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD. The word in Greek for “world rulers” is “kosmokratoras”. The word can be translated 'lords of the world” or “princes of this age”. This designation of the enemy emphasizes his intention to control. Satan is referred to in scripture as “the god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). When Adam fell through sin, Satan gained dominion over the world. Jesus did not deny the devil’s claim made during the wilderness temptations: “Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Matt. 4:9 It is imperative that we recognize Satan to be a defeated foe. He is stripped of his power and his kingdom. We have every right to treat him as a trespasser. Suppose you own a piece of wooded property. You put up signs around that property saying “No Trespassing”. This signifies that you own the property and have a legal right to keep others off it. A hunter comes by. He disregards your notices posted around the property and trespasses. When you find him there you can make him leave. He has no right to stay. It is important that we understand that demon spirits have no legal rights to the Christian. They may trespass, but when we are ready to take the initiative and give them notice they must leave.
Jesus explained His ability to cast out demons in these words: “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him ALL HIS ARMOUR wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.” Luke 11:20-22
Jesus declared that the strong man’s armour was taken away from him. This means that Satan is made completely defenseless. The expression “all his armour” is the Greek word “panolia” This word panoplia is used one other time in the New Testament. In Ephesians 6:11 the Christian is exhorted to take unto himself the WHOLE AMOUR of God. Thus, the Christian is not vulnerable at any point while the devil is vulnerable at every point!
Satan is still seeking to rule the work I, and we must agree that he has made considerable progress. Why? Because the church has not risen up in the power and authority given it. However, a large segment of the body of Christ today is coming into a knowledge of the enemy, and of its own spiritual weaponry and strength and is taking the offensive against Satan and his hosts. The more Christians who enter into the warfare, the more Satan will suffer loss.
Fourth, scripture says that we wrestle against SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS IN HIGH PLACES. The key to this phrase is the word “wickedness”. The word suggests that which is highly injurious or destructive in character. These evil powers have only one objective -wickedness. They may appear as angels of light and by their deceptiveness draw7 many into their nets of destruction. Jesus exposed their wicked purposes in these words: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. John 10:10a
These four expressions from Ephesians 6:12 have given us a very vivid picture of Satan’s kingdom. It is highly organized to carry out its purposes. Demon powers are set in array and given authority by Satan to control the entire world and plague it with pernicious evil. There is no advantage to us in ignoring Satan’s forces and methods. This only permits Satan to work undetected and unchallenged. To fail to become actively involved in spiritual warfare is to suggest that we do not care what becomes of ourselves, our loved ones, our community, our nation and our world. Most Christians have not become engaged in spiritual battle because they have never been taught the importance of it nor the way to go about it. Today Satan is flaunting his power through spiritism, occultism, false religions and cults as never before in all human history.
The church is being forced to re-examine its own resources. Billy Graham has been quoted by a national newspaper as saying, “All of us engaged in Christian work are constantly aware of the fact that we have to do battle with supernatural forces and powers… It is perfectly obvious to all of us in spiritual work that people can be possessed by demons, harassed by them and controlled by them. More and more ministers will have to learn to use the power of God to release people from these terrible possessions by the devil.”
God is raising up a mighty army today that is going forth with spiritual weapons. The results are impressive! Through the ministry of deliverance thousands of God’s people are being set free from the torments of demon spirits.