Introduction to Spiritual
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For the skeptic
in this world, the whole idea of Spiritual Warfare might
cause a good laugh. NBC’s comedy program, Saturday Night
Live had a character known as the “Church Lady” who
attributed everything to “Saaatan!”. People in the audience and
all over America roared in laughter at the characterization of a
Christian who attributed events to a being known as “Satan”.
The audience response is completely understandable; Satan is a
biblical revelation, so why would we expect the world to take
such a thing seriously.
This comedic sketch is just an example of how pervasive the
Spiritual War is around us. What! How is a simple comedy skit
on a Saturday night, part of a Spiritual War you might ask?
Satan according to the Bible is a very real being, who is
opposed to God’s work in every way. According to Jesus, he
(Satan) is the father of lies (John 8:44), there is no truth in
him. Therefore, with millions of people watching, Saturday
Night Live plays its role in causing many to doubt Satan exists,
bringing doubt to the words of Jesus in the Bible. This is just
one of many examples of the Spiritual War taking place all
what is the goal of this Spiritual War? Where is it all going?
First, we have to understand the only reason we know
there is a Spiritual war taking place is because God choose to
reveal it to us through the prophets in the Bible. Without the
revelation of scripture, we would be blind to this battle.
Therefore, to understand this war, we need to see what scripture
says, and not rely on our feelings and emotions. Again,
understanding the Spiritual War requires revelation from God, so
its understandable the world would be skeptical of such a
Secondly, the Bible tells us, there is an invisible realm,
which is distinct from our physical realm. Our physical world
is in many ways under the power this spiritual world. Much of
the evil in the world is direct result of this unseen war. The
number personalities involved in this conflict, are huge, they
involve both the forces of Satan composed of fallen angels and
of God, along with His angels. This battle is played out in the
realm of humanity, the physical world.
According to scripture, the target of this battle is the souls
of humanity, (I Peter 5:8-9), and the battlefield is in mind of
humanity, blinding them from the truth, that they perish without
3 But even if
our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4
whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe,
lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the
image of God, should shine on them.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4
This is the
conflict raging all around us, as the kingdom of Satan wages war
on the kingdom of God, for the souls of humanity. When we come
to Christ, we are saved, but God’s program does just not end at
our salvation. We now become part of the kingdom of God,
opposed to the kingdom of Satan, bringing salvation to the
lost. We become an adversary to the god of this age, who
has blinded the lost. Understanding, the dynamics of this
spiritual world is key, to having victory not only in our life,
but also in advancing the kingdom of God, in territory claimed
by the enemy.
Why we need to
understand Spiritual Warfare?
Have you ever played a game, not knowing or understand the
rules? Imagine you are invited to play in a football game,
without understanding the rules. You might find yourself asking
these questions. What do you do with the ball? Why are these
players hitting me? You might find yourself quitting or lying
on the ground in agony, not understanding why the other team hit
you. This happens in the spiritual realms, when someone comes
to Christ, and is born again. Many times the new
Christian finds himself/herself in the middle of a war, not
understanding the conflict.
The purpose of
understanding Spiritual Warfare is so that we can understand the
dynamics of the conflict, and move forward in victory, rather
than lie in defeat. Our goal is to advance the Kingdom of God,
take territory from the enemy and bring souls into the kingdom.
If we understand how our enemy works, his traps and strategies
are less likely to take us by surprise.
Satan understands the redeemed (saved) are his mortal enemy. His
goal is to remove the advantage of victory they have in Christ,
by causing the saved to wallow in bondage and defeat. A
defeated Christian is one less enemy Satan has to worry about;
one more warrior of the Kingdom of God taken out of commission.
Knowing this is Satan’s goal, allows the believer to pursue
victory rather than wallow in defeat.
need to understand just how Satan wages war in our lives, and in
the lives those around us. If we know his methods, we will then
be equipped to disarm, and tear down the strongholds, which
cause our constant defeat. Knowing the method of spiritual
warfare, allows us to go on the offense, rather than responding
from a position of defense and weakness.
Spiritual Warfare begin?
understand the origin of this Spiritual conflict, our knowledge
of this war comes through scripture alone. God has revealed
through the prophets, in both Old and New Testaments, the origin
of this war. The being known as Satan has many names in
scripture; one among them is Lucifer, who was the angel
who covered the throne of God.
beauty and pride made him rebel against God’s authority, causing
him to lead a rebellion of 1/3 of the angels against God. These
angels along with Lucifer became “fallen” angels. The nature of
Satan’s fall is covered in Ezekiel
Isaiah 14:1-19, where Satan is referred to as
the King of Tyre (Ezekiel) and the King of Babylon
12 "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the
morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened
the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend
into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I
will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest
sides of the north;
14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established
you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and
forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your
ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in
will cover the details of his fall in a later study, but for
now we need to understand that Satan fell from a point of
perfection, through the agency of free-will. He chose to reject
God’s authority, along with 1/3 of the angels (Revelation
12;4). With the fall of these spiritual beings, the war began.
As a place for punishment, God created the everlasting fires of
Hell for the Devil and his angels.
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart
from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the
devil and his angels: Matthew
before Satan was dispatched there, God made humanity and allowed
Satan to question His authority.
The fall of Man
Along with the creation of angels, God also created the physical
world, and humanity, which was made in the very image of God.
Like the angels, humankind had the ability to choose to reject
or obey God’s commands. God created man and then woman, Adam
and Eve, and placed them in the Garden of Eden. Humanity, like
the angels, could choose to obey or reject the command in the
Garden. Adam and Eve, made in the image of God, were given
dominion over the earth; they were to subdue the earth and have
dominion over it, being made in the image of God.
28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful
and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over
the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every
living thing that moves on the earth.”
God also permitted Satan, the fallen angel to
tempt Adam and Eve. By questioning God’s nature and commands in
the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, like 1/3 of the angels paid
attention to Satan, and rejected God’s command. They rebelled
against God and fell. They turned over their rights of dominion
to Satan, who was thengiven authority over humanity. In
rejecting God’s command Adam forfeited his assignment. For this
reason, Satan could tempt Jesus on the mountain, and offer him
the kingdoms of the world, if Jesus would fall down and worship
5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed
Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6
And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give
You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me,
and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 "Therefore, if You will
worship before me, all will be Yours." 8 And Jesus answered and
said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, 'You
shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'
Though Adam and Eve delivered the nations. The
nations (the descendent of humanity) to Satan, God established a
plan of redemption through the seed of Eve, the woman. A
descendent (a seed) of the woman would crush the head of the
Serpent (Satan). The war, which began in the Spiritual realm,
now entered the physical world, as God promised that the
judgment on Satan, would come through the offspring of the
woman. The Messiah, a descendent of Eve, would one day crush
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: "Because you have
done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than
every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you
shall eat dust All the days of your life. 15 And I will put
enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her
Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His
heel." Genesis 3:14-15
fall, followed by God’s declaration, humanity became the
battleground between the forces of God and the forces of Satan.
The Spiritual War now entered the physical world. From the time
of Cain and Abel, we see two groups of descendents emerge from
Adam and Eve, one who seeks God and one who rejects God, like
our spiritual counterparts the angels.
reason, God called out a people from the earth, who would serve
him. These people are the redeemed of the earth. They are the
Lord’s army representing God in the Spiritual War, opposing the
work of Satan. Meanwhile, Satan and his fallen angels works to
corrupt and subvert God’s people, trying to prevent his final
The redemption of humanity and Satan’s fall
Prior to the
birth of Jesus, and even after His birth, Satan’s goal was to
prevent the redemption of man. From the point when Cain killed
Abel, the “Seed” of the Serpent has pursued the “Seed” of the
Woman. In the days of Noah, God separated His people, the
family of Noah, from fallen humanity. After Noah’s Ark landed,
and his descendents began to multiply, we see Satan continue the
battle, which began in the garden. Again, God calls out a
people, Abraham and his descendents who are chosen, to be God’s
people, opposing to the work of Satan.
Satan’s goal is to prevent the fulfillment of God’s Word, which
declared his being crushed by the “Seed” of the woman. God
chose Israel, descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as His
people. In the book of Exodus God refers to the children of
Israel, the descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as “My
people” nineteen times. He makes a distinction between His
people and the people of Egypt.
7 'I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then
you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out
from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
descendents of Israel, God would complete his plan of redemption
in the world. Satan again tries to prevent this. In Exodus
chapter 1, Satan through Pharaoh, tries to integrate Israel into
Egypt by killing all the male children, which would have forced
Israel to become Egypt. Out of this struggle, Moses emerges to
lead the people of Israel back to the land of Canaan,, the land
of promise. On the way the land, God again declares the
distinction between His people and the rest of the nations.
5 'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep
My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above
all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 'And you shall be to Me
a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the
words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."
created to be distinct on the Earth, a unique people, a holy
people. The Hebrew word for holy is
sacred, set apart or saint, the New Testament equivalent is
hagios, which translates as saint. Israel was to be a
nation of saints, among fallen humanity. Through the nation,
God would bring forth the Messiah, who would crush Satan. As we
read the stories of war and battles in the pages of the Old
Testament and the nation struggles with sin, what underlies
everything is the Spiritual War through which Satan tries to
prevent the Messiah’s birth.
such as Isaiah declared the Messiah (Christ), would be a
descendent of King David, who would be born in Bethlehem (Micah
5:1-2). He would rule on David’s throne over the nations and
His kingdom would be eternal (Isaiah 9:6-7). However, the
Messiah would suffer and pay for the sins of man, before he came
in glory and power to judge the nations (Isaiah 53). Jesus at
the cross, defeated Satan who earlier tempted Jesus to worship
him, promising Jesus the nations in exchange (Luke 4:5-8).
died on the cross, He redeemed what Adam and Eve lost and paid
for the sins of humanity. He suffered, the Serpent bruised
(crushed) His heal (Genesis 3:15), but in the process the
Messiah became the payment of sins for all humanity. Again, God
was redeeming His people from those on the earth. The Church is
the body of Christ on the earth representing God’s presence in
the world. In the same way Israel represented God during the Old
Testament period, we represent God today. We have been grafted
into the covenant blessings of Israel (Romans 11:17).
declared his victory over Satan, giving authority to His people,
the saints, over the fallen angels. Therefore, redeemed by the
blood of Christ, we carry the battle forward, having authority
over the enemy. We have authority over the demonic
realm in the name and power of Christ. This is what Satan tried
to prevent, from the fall of man until the time of Jesus Christ.
17 Then the
seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are
subject to us in Your name." 18 And He said to them, "I saw
Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 "Behold, I give
you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over
all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt
you. 20 "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits
are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are
written in heaven." Luke
however, is still at work trying to prevent the advance of the
Kingdom of God in the world, despite his defeat at the cross.
He understands his time is short and that one day the saints,
the redeemed of the earth, will inherit all things. We see this
declaration in the book of Daniel, over 500-years before the
birth of Jesus.
27 Then the
kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under
the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of
the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And all
dominions shall serve and obey Him. Daniel 7:27
We, those in
Christ, march forward in victory over the power of Satan.
Satan’s goal for the Christian, is to take away the victory we
have in Jesus Christ, causing us to live a life of defeat. By
doing this, he removes one more threat against his work. God
however has put limits on just how far Satan can go, whether he
likes it or not. We see this in the book of Job as Satan rejects
Job’s righteousness, because he (Satan) does not have the
permission to touch him, because the Lord has put “a hedge
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My
servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a
blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" 9
So Satan answered the Lord and said, "Does Job fear God for
nothing? 10 "Have You not made a hedge around him, around his
household, and around all that he has on every side? You have
blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have
increased in the land.
world of the Spiritual realms
Satan’s work against the Kingdom of God, takes place in the
invisible realms. We cannot see the spiritual world with our
physical eyes, but its effects are just as real. Scripture
clearly declares the existence of the unseen invisible world
(Romans 1:20, Hebrews 11;27,
Colossians 1:16). This world cannot be
comprehended with our physical senses. The idea of a spiritual
world, stands in contrast the philosophy of materialism,
which teaches all that exists is the physical or of matter.
Paul’s in Ephesians chapter 6, tells us not only is this
spiritual realm invisible but it is organized with a structure
of rule. The battle we face in the world is not one in the
physical world but one in the spiritual.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the
darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in
the heavenly places. Ephesians
word for wrestle
Pale, is found only here in the New Testament. The wrestling
contest referred to here, means a contest between two in which
each endeavors to throw the other, and which is decided when the
victor is able to hold his opponent down with his hand upon his
neck. Paul uses this example to illustrate the contest; we face
against the invisible spiritual realms. Our battle is very
real, its actually against an organized system of power and
influence in the heavenly realms.
Paul wants us to understand that the root behind the conflict is
not the physical, but the spiritual. The angelic world and the
demonic (fallen angels) conflicts are being played out in the
physical realms, which involves us. The extent and
nature of this invisible world is probably more than we can
imagine. However, the Bible gives us glimpses of how the
invisible world interacts with the physical.
In II Kings 6,
the King of Syria is at war with Israel, Elisha the prophet kept
telling the king of Israel what the Syrian king planned to do.
Finally, the Syrian king sent an army to get Elisha. The
morning they arrived, Elisha’s servant was shocked and
frightened, and he cried out to Elisha.
15 And when the servant of the man of God arose early and
went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses
and chariots. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master!
What shall we do?"
16 So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us
are more than those who are with them." 17 And Elisha
prayed, and said, "Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see."
Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And
behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire
all around Elisha. 18 So when the Syrians came down to him,
Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, "Strike this people, I
pray, with blindness." And He struck them with blindness
according to the word of Elisha. II Kings 6:8-17
Elisha, understood the situation from a spiritual rather than
physical viewpoint. The servant was there for our benefit, God
allowed us to see the situation as the servant saw it, so that
we could understand the world we live in. Here two men stood,
Elisha and his servant, who represented the Lord, versus a much
larger physical army of chariots and horses from Syria. In the
world of flesh, Elisha would have no chance of escape. The
physical world however, is subject to the spiritual realms. The
spiritual realms are just as real as the physical only they are
not seen with our physical eyes. This is the point Elisha
wanted his servant to understand and God wanted us to know. The
armies of the Lord are present in the world, and servants of the
Lord have authority over the fallen realms through the power of
Another example of this invisible world is the New Testament
Mark 5:1-13, when a man who was possessed
with demons confronts Jesus. Through this event, Jesus allows us
to see the operation of the demonic realms of this invisible
1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country
of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat,
immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean
spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could
bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been
bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled
apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could
anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the
mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with
stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.
7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to
do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by
God that You do not torment me." 8 For He said to him, "Come out
of the man, unclean spirit!" 9 Then He asked him, "What is your
name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are
many." 10 Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send
them out of the country. 11 Now a large herd of swine was
feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged
Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them." 13
And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits
went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand);
and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea,
and drowned in the sea.
From this event, we can glean a great deal of insight into
the spiritual realms. However, let us just look at some of the
major points for now.
The man had a supernatural strength but his power was subject to
The man in whom the demons dwelt was in torment
He recognized who Jesus was, and appealed to Him.
The spirit dwelt in the man, allowing him to interact in the
The demon was frightened of Jesus
He had an identity, he was named “Legion”
He was more then one demon
They could only do what was permissible, such as entering the
The detail presented here is no accident, Jesus wants us to
understand the detail of the Spiritual War, so we can comprehend
the conflict we are in. In our day, its not uncommon for many
to dismiss the whole idea of demons and possession as a relic of
from the past. Satan’s goal is not to be seen, but to deceive.
In a secular, skeptical world its to Satan’s advantage for
people to think he does not exist.
When Bible teachers and church leaders reject Satan
existence, they not only reject him, but they reject Jesus
words, which is Satan’s object, because Jesus proclaims Satan
does exist. He is very real, and he has a goal, which is to
blind those who are perishing, Satan is called the god of
this age, who prevents the lost from seeing the truth. In
fact according to some polls the majority of people in America
reject the teaching, of Satan as a personal being, including the
about 58% of American adults believed that Satan is "not a
living being but is a symbol of evil."1
More detailed data, collected in 1991, is listed below.
2 Only among born again Christians
did a majority believe in Satan as a living being. A large
percentage of Christians appear to disagree with the teachings
of their churches:”
Satan is only a symbol of evil
Satan is a living being
Average of American Adults
65 years and older
Not born again