There is a great war being waged in the world today. It is not a conflict between nations, tribes, or government leaders. It is not a rebellion or coup. It is an important invisible battle taking place in the spirit world. The Bible states that God’s people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). One of the main areas in which believers are being defeated due to lack of knowledge is in spiritual warfare.
The early Church viewed their spiritual experience in terms of warfare. Military terminology is used throughout the New Testament. Protection was seen in the armor of God. The Word of God was compared to a sword. Satan’s attacks were called fiery darts. Faith was the “good fight” and believers were told to “war a good warfare.” The early Church knew they were engaged in an intense spiritual struggle.
The same spiritual battle continues today but instead of fighting the enemy, believers are often building great church buildings, producing musical dramas, holding fellowship meetings, and fighting one another while this great spiritual battle wages around them. Satan has even intensified his attacks against a church that has withdrawn from the front lines of battle. As the end of time approaches it is even more important for believers to understand spiritual warfare than in the early days of church history. The Apostle Paul warned:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (II Timothy 3:1)
In order to be properly prepared for these perilous times, renewed emphasis must be placed on the strategies of spiritual warfare. The Christian life is war. The sooner we recognize andprepare for it, the sooner we will experience victory.
Luke 14:31 says, “What king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not downfirst, and consulteth whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” No king ever entered into a battle without a careful examination of his resources and development of battle strategies. In essence, that is what we are doing in this course. We are making a careful evaluation of the strategy, weapons, and power available to us to win the war against our enemy, Satan. In the military world, “strategy” is the science of forming and carrying out military operations.
It is the method or plan which leads to the goal of victory. In this course you will learn to formulate and carry out spiritual military strategy which will bring victory in the spirit world.
Each lesson is presented in military terms consisting of the following sections:
THE CALL TO ARMS:
Chapter 1 explains the invisible war and sounds the “call to arms” for all true believers.
All armies in the natural world have induction procedures. These are special things you are required to do in order to join the forces. The same is true of God’s army. Chapter 2 explain how to enlist in God’s Army.
After induction into an army, a soldier always receives basic training. Basic training for God’s army is presented in Chapters 3 through 9. The battle lines of the invisible war are defined. The forces of good and evil are discussed, including the Lord of Hosts, angels, Satan, demons, the world, and the flesh. Enemy territory and strategy are identified, and a general overview of God’s battle plan presented.
Training is useless unless an army is mobilized. To “mobilize” means to “put in a state of readiness for active military service.” In the “Mobilization” section of this course in chapters 10 through 13, you will learn about offensive and defensive warfare, how to use the weapons of our warfare, and natural parallels of spiritual warfare.
During an invasion in the natural world, an army enters the actual combat zone to conquer its foes and claim territory. Basic training is useless unless what is learned is put into action. Even a mobilized army equipped with weapons is not enough if it stands inactive on the sidelines. To be effective in warfare, you must actually enter the combat zone. In the “invasion” stage, consisting of Chapters 14 through 19, you will enter the combat zone of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. You will study the battle in the mind, with the tongue, over the spiritual walls, in high
places, and over strategic territory. In each of these lessons specific strategies of Satan are identified and counter strategies for overcoming the enemy are presented.
SPIRITUAL WARFARE ADVANCED TRAINING:
After gaining some experience in battle, soldiers usually receive advanced training in specific areas of warfare. This portion of the manual is entitled “Spiritual Warfare Advanced Training,” the initials of which spell “SWAT.” In military action, a “SWAT” team is a specialized group of soldiers used for difficult missions. In the advanced training offered in this manual, you will learn about transference of spirits, how to assist prisoners and casualties of war, and how to deal with demonic powers. You will also learn how to lose a battle and still win the war.
During “final briefing” in Chapter 26 you will study “the final conflict” which will bring this war of the ages to a triumphant conclusion.
In the Appendix of this manual, you will examine the historical record of “Decisive Battles Of The Bible” as you continue to develop your spiritual warfare skills.
Each lesson in this warfare manual is organized as follows:
These are the spiritual warfare goals you should achieve by studying the lesson.
KEY VERSE FROM THE ARTICLES OF WAR:
When a nation declares war, they often issue “Articles Of War.” This document explains why they are at war, identifies the enemy, and declares the objectives of the war. The Bible is the written Word of the one true God, the Commander of our spiritual army. The Bible contains our “Articles Of War” for spiritual combat. In each lesson, the “Key Verse From The Articles Of War” emphasizes the main concept of the lesson.
The introduction provides an overview of the content of the chapter.
This presents the “military briefing” for that chapter. A “briefing” is a time of instruction prior to battle which provides information necessary to wage effective warfare.
In a natural army, “inspections” occur regularly to check on the preparation and skills of the soldiers. The “Inspection” section of each chapter is an examination to see if you have obtained the objectives of that lesson.
During tactical maneuvers in a natural army, soldiers apply what they have learned to actual combat conditions. This part of each lesson provides opportunity for you to apply what you have learned and to study other materials related to the lesson.
ARE YOU READY?
The exposing of the enemy and his strategies is one of the greatest revelations of God’s Word. Even greater is the revelation that as believers we have power over all the powers of the enemy. This manual is by no means an exhaustive study of the subject of spiritual warfare, but it is an in depth Scriptural analysis. As in natural warfare, skill in spiritual warfare is progressive as you enter the combat zone and begin to fight.
Upon completion of this course you will be able to:
• Identify the two spiritual kingdoms.
• Explain what is meant by “spiritual warfare.”
• Recognize causes of this great spiritual struggle.
• Identify the spiritual forces of good.
• Identify the spiritual forces of evil.
• Recognize strategies of Satan.
• Effectively use spiritual counter strategies.
• Apply natural parallels of warfare to war in the spirit world.
• Use both offensive and defensive spiritual weapons.
• Detect demon possession.
• Understand how deliverance from demons is obtained.
• Win the war even if you lose a spiritual battle.
• Describe the final conflict which will end the invisible war.
• Identify spiritual warfare principles in decisive battles in the Bible.
THE CALL TO ARMS
A SUMMONS TO THE INVISIBLE WAR
There is a great battle being waged in the spiritual world. It is a personal battle within between the flesh and the spirit. It is a social battle with the evil forces of the world. It is a spiritual battle with evil supernatural powers.
In Old Testament times a trumpet was used to summons God’s people to battle. Today, a spiritual summons is sounding throughout the nations of the world. It is a summons to the invisible war. It is a call to arms.
THE INVISIBLE WAR
Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:
• Write the Key Verse from memory.
• Demonstrate understanding of the natural and spiritual realms.
• Define the word “king.”
• Define the word “kingdom.”
• Identify the two spiritual kingdoms.
• Determine to which kingdom you belong.
• Identify the spiritual forces of good.
• Identify the spiritual forces of evil.
• Explain what is meant by “spiritual warfare.”
• Identify the reason for the invisible war.
• Identify the basic principle of understanding spiritual warfare.
KEY VERSE FROM THE ARTICLES OF WAR:
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. (Ephesians 6:12)
As you learned in the introduction to this course, there is a great war being waged in the world today. It is not a conflict between nations, tribes, or government leaders. It is not a rebellion or a coup. It is an invisible battle taking place in the spirit world.
This chapter introduces the invisible war in which every believer is engaged. It is a war where no one wears a uniform, but where everyone is a target. The historical and prophetical record of this war is contained in God’s Word, the Bible.
THE NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL REALMS
To understand this invisible war, you must first understand the natural and spiritual worlds. Man exists in two worlds: The natural world and the spiritual world. The natural world is that which can be seen, felt, touched, heard, or tasted. It is tangible and visible. The country, nation, city, or village in which you live is part of the natural world. You are a resident in a natural kingdom located on one of the visible continents of the world. You can see the people who are part of your environment. You can communicate with them. You can experience the sights, sounds, and smells around you.
But there is another world in which you live. That world is a spiritual world. You cannot see it with your physical eyes, but it is just as real as the natural world in which you live.
Paul speaks of this division of natural and spiritual:
There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (I Corinthians 15:40)
All men have a natural body which lives in the natural world, but man is also a spiritual being with an eternal soul and spirit. Man is body, soul, and spirit. Your spiritual being (soul and spirit) is part of a spiritual world just as your natural body is part of the natural world.
Because spiritual warfare is just that–spiritual–it must be understood with a spiritual mind. In our natural, sinful state, we can not understand spiritual things:
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (I Corinthians 2:14)
It is necessary to use “spiritual discernment” to understand spiritual things. Perhaps one of the best examples of natural and spiritual discernment is recorded in II Kings chapter 6. It records the story of a natural battle in which troops of the enemy nation of Syria had surrounded a small town called Dothan where the prophet Elisha was staying. When Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, saw the great host of the enemy he became fearful. Elisha prayed that
God would open Gehazi’s spiritual eyes so he could see the angelic hosts surrounding and protecting them. On this occasion, God actually opened the natural eyes of Gehazi and allowed him to visibly see the superior forces of God aligned for battle.
The story of this battle at Dothan is similar to present spiritual conditions in the Church. There are some, like Elisha, who see clearly into the realm of the spirit. They know there is a conflict occurring, have identified the enemy, and recognize the greater forces of God that assure victory.
There are others like Gehazi, who with a little encouragement, will be able to open their spiritual eyes and no longer be fearful of and defeated by the enemy. But sadly, there are many people who, like those in the city of Dothan, are spiritually sleeping. They do not even know that the enemy has surrounded them and is poised for attack.
TWO SPIRITUAL KINGDOMS
Within the natural and spiritual realms of which we are speaking there exists separate kingdoms which are ruled by natural and spiritual leaders.
All men live in a natural kingdom of this world. They live in a city or village which is part of a nation. That nation is a kingdom of the world. A natural kingdom is a territory or people over which an actual king or political leader is the sovereign ruler. The Bible speaks of these natural kingdoms as “kingdoms of the world.” The kingdoms of the world have come under the power and influence of Satan:
Again, the Devil taketh Him (Jesus) up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give thee, if you wilt fall down and worship me. (Matthew 4:8-9)
John 5:19 sadly reminds us that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”
In addition to the natural kingdoms of this world there are two spiritual kingdoms: The Kingdom of Satan and the Kingdom Of God. Every person alive is a resident of one of these two kingdoms.
The Kingdom of Satan consists of Satan, spiritual beings called demons, and all men who live in sin and rebellion to God’s Word. These, plus the world and the flesh, are the spiritual forces of evil at work in the world today.
The Kingdom of God consists of God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, spiritual beings called angels, and all men who live in righteous obedience to God’s Word. These are the spiritual forces of good.
The Kingdom of God is not a denominational church. Denominations are man-made organizations of groups of churches. They have been established for practical purposes of organization and administration. Denominations are major church organizations like Baptist, Assembly of God, Methodist, Lutheran, etc. The Bible speaks of the true Church which is not a denomination or religious organization. The true Church is composed of all those who have become residents of the Kingdom of God.
At the present time in the natural world, the Kingdom of God exists individually within every man, woman, boy or girl who has made Jesus King of their lives. It exists communally in the true church and wherever people make this world the kind of world God wants it to be. In the future, there will be an actual visible manifestation of God’s Kingdom.
THE INVISIBLE WAR
The invisible spiritual war is a battle which involves all men and women. Because the Kingdom of Satan is a spiritual kingdom…
…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. (Ephesians 6:12)
Spiritual warfare is not a natural battle between flesh and blood. It is not a battle of man against man. It is not a visible battle. It is an invisible struggle in the spirit world. It is a battle within and around man. It is not a visible war is because spirits are involved and we learn in Luke 24:39 that a spirit does not have flesh and bones.
Spiritual warfare is “multidimensional,” which means it is fought in different dimensions. It is…
1. A social battle between the believer and the world: John 15:18-27
2. A personal battle between the flesh and the spirit: Galatians 5:16-26
3. A supernatural battle between believers and evil spiritual powers: Ephesians 6:10-27
Every person alive is engaged in this battle, whether he realizes it or not. There is no neutral ground. Unbelievers are in bondage to evil and have been taken captive by enemy forces. They are victims of the war.
Believers have been freed from the enemy through Jesus Christ and are victors, but they are still engaged in the war. The key verse for this chapter indicates that we (all believers) wrestle against evil spiritual forces.
“Wrestling” involves close personal contact. No one is exempt from this battle. No one can view it from a distance. You are in the midst of conflict whether you acknowledge it or not. If you believe it will get better, you are wrong. The Christian warfare never ceases.
WHERE THE BATTLE RAGES
This invisible war is being waged on earth:
The thief (Satan) cometh (on earth) not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Satan fights to maintain control of the kingdoms of the world. He does not want them to come under God’s authority. The battle also rages within the hearts, minds, and souls of men and women. Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers and attacks believers in the areas of worship, the Word, their daily walk, and their work for God.
HOW THE BATTLE STARTED
The invisible war started in Heaven with an angel named Lucifer who was originally a beautiful angel created by God and was part of the Kingdom of God. Lucifer decided he wanted to take over God’s Kingdom. You can read about his rebellion in Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28:12-19. You will study about it in detail later in this course. A group of angels joined Lucifer (now called Satan) in this rebellion. Lucifer and the rebellious angels were cast out of Heaven by God. They formed their own kingdom on earth:
And there was war in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon (Satan); and the dragon fought and his angels. (Revelation 12:7) And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)
Lucifer became known as Satan and the angels which followed him in rebellion as demons. Demon spirits can enter, torment, control, and use humans who belong to Satan’s Kingdom. They motivate evil acts which are done by men and women. Satan directs his demons in their evil activities. He combines these powerful forces with the world and the flesh to war against all mankind.
REASONS BEHIND THE CONFLICT
Man was originally created in the image of God and for the glory of God (Genesis chapter 2). The invisible war against man started with the first temptation in the garden of Eden (Genesis chapter 3). Satan caused Adam and Eve to sin. This resulted in all men inheriting the basic sin nature and committing individual acts of sin due to this nature:
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12) It also resulted in the invisible war between man and the forces of evil:
And I will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman (mankind), and between thy seed (the forces of evil) and her seed (the forces of good represented by the Lord Jesus Christ)… (Genesis 3:15)
Because of sin, man was separated from God and condemned to death. But God loved man so much that He made a special plan to save him from sin:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
Through belief in Jesus, confession of and repentance from sin, men and women can be released from the power of the enemy. The death and resurrection of Jesus not only resulted in salvation from sin. It also defeated the enemy, Satan:
…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)
But if Satan is defeated, why does the war still rage? Following any war there are always pockets of enemy resistance, rebellious troops that will not give up until forced to do so. Although Jesus defeated Satan, we are living in territory which is still occupied by enemy resistance forces. Understanding spiritual warfare strategies gives us the ability to deal with these evil powers.
Satan is trying to keep men captive in sin. Through deceptive methods he is enticing men and women to temporary lusts of sinful living. He aims for the affections of the soul and spirit which rightfully belong to God:
The thief (Satan) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Satan still wants to be the supreme ruler. He is waging an intense battle for the heart, mind, soul, and spirit of man. His strategies are directed at God, His plan, and His people. The battle will continue until the great final conflict which you will study about in the last chapter of this course.
THE MEANING OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Spiritual warfare is the analysis of and active participation in the invisible spiritual war. It includes study of the opposing forces of good and evil, the strategies of Satan, and spiritual strategies for overcoming the enemy. Spiritual warfare is more than a mere analysis of spiritual principles. It includes active participation in warfare by application of these strategies in life and ministry.
One of the most effective strategies of Satan is to keep believers ignorant of his devices. Paul said it is important to know Satan’s strategies…
…Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (II Corinthians 2:11)
We should learn all we can about Satan’s strategies of attack. We must also understand the Scriptural basis of victory over Satan and the forces of evil. We are called to intelligent combat. Basic to the understanding of spiritual warfare is this key principle:
You must recognize that all battles of life, whether physical, spiritual, emotional mental, financial or with human personalities are only outward manifestations of a spiritual cause.
Although in the natural world problems may seem to occur through the circumstances of life, the basis of these natural battles is in the spirit world. Read the story of Job (Job chapters l-2) which confirms this principle.
We have tried to correct the evils of this world through education, legislation, and improved environment. It has not worked because the visible evils of the world are the results of an underlying spiritual cause. They cannot be corrected by natural means.
TO WHICH KINGDOM DO YOU BELONG?
In the natural world a king is the sovereign ruler of a kingdom. All the territory and people in the kingdom belong to him. He has the power of life and death over his subjects. The same is true in the spiritual world. You are either part of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Satan.
Either God or Satan has power over your life.
One of the parables told by Jesus illustrates that all men are either part of the Kingdom of Satan or the Kingdom of God. Jesus compared the world to a field. The good seed in the field were children of the Kingdom of God. The bad seed, which resulted in the growth of tares (weeds), were children of the wicked one:
The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the Kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one. (Matthew 13:38)
People enter the Kingdom of Satan through natural birth. The Bible teaches that all men are born in sin. This means that they have a basic sin nature or the “seed” of sin within. Their natural inclination is to do evil:
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psalms 51:5)
Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (Romans 5:12)
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Because we are born with the basic sin nature, we have all at one time been part of the Kingdom of Satan. All who remain sinners remain part of the Kingdom of Satan. The whole message of God’s written Word, the Holy Bible, is the appeal to man to move from this evil Kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God. Men are born into the Kingdom of Satan through natural birth. They must be reborn into the Kingdom of God through spiritual birth.
Entrance to the Kingdom of God is by new birth experience explained in John chapter 3. There are only two divisions in the invisible war. Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23). You cannot be neutral in this spiritual war. You are on one side or the other.
Some believers, because of their fear of confrontation with the enemy, try to ignore the war and form a truce with the enemy. They think if they ignore Satan, he will not bother them. This is one of Satan’s main strategies. He tries to render members of God’s army immobile by his terror tactics.
But there is no neutrality in this war. You are either a victim or victor. The spiritual “call to arms” is going out…Are you on the side of good or of evil? Are you part of Satan’s Kingdom or the Kingdom of God? To which kingdom do you belong? Are you a victim or a victor in the invisible war?
Write the Key Verse from the Articles of War.
2. What are the two divisions made in I Corinthians 15:44-49?
3. What are the two invisible kingdoms in the world today?
4. List the spiritual forces of evil.
5. List the spiritual forces of good.
6. Define the word “king.”
7. Define the word “kingdom.”
8. What is meant by the term “spiritual warfare”?
Answers will be published on the next article. Thank you.