Most battles are not lost in the initial attack but in an unexpected counterattack. Usually in the initial attack we have our guard up and are prayed up. But the counter attack comes suddenly and unexpectedly and so many are overwhelmed or overcome. In Mark 5 is the story of the demonic of Gedara. A man who was possessed of an unclean spirit who lived among the tombs and could break the fetters and chains they used to try and tie him up. Suddenly Jesus steps off the boat from crossing the sea and casts out a legion of demons from the man that go into a heard of swine and destroy them. Mark 5:14-17 “And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.” The people wanted Jesus to leave their town. The pigs were raised for Zeus, a Greek idol god there and the offering that Zeus demanded was a swine offering. That’s what the Greek man Antioch Epiphanies who worshipped Zeus did when he came to
Jerusalem in about 165-168 BC. So now there were no more offerings for the idol god and the people who sold the swine to the priests were now out of business. Mark 5:18-20 “And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” The Decapolis is the ten Roman cities. This man wanted to go with Jesus. Others who were healed also wanted to follow him, as Bartimaeus after being healed of blindness. It is common for one that you win to the Lord and has been blessed by your ministry to want to follow you and be a part of your ministry (Mark 10:52).
The interesting part of this passage is that Jesus told this man that was delivered of the legion of demons to go and tell others what great things the Lord had done for him (Mark 5:19). Yet as you read through these early chapters of the gospels you see again and again Jesus telling people healed to tell no one. (Some examples are Mark 1:44 after the healing of a leper, Mark 5:43 after Jairus daughter was raised from the dead, Mark 7:36 after the deaf and dumb was healed, Mark 8:26 after healing the blind man). Yet this man was told to go and tell others. This man was probably not always possessed from childhood, but at some point they came to him. We don’t know when or how he became possessed, but the devils drove him away from his home, family and friends. This man could have been afraid to go back home thinking maybe the spirits would be waiting upon him and concerned that if he went back home he could become possessed again. There are many in the church today that will stay as long as they can and don’t go home until they have to because the church is closed and the doors shut because they have to go home to such bad conditions, as an alcoholic abusive husband, children on drugs or some other terrible condition and they want to be in the presence of God and not go home and back to that atmosphere. They prefer to be in the atmosphere of the spirit of God, where He is and where He is blessing people. He must have gone home but he didn’t stay very long because he became as an evangelist publishing what Jesus had done throughout 10 cities.
A few chapters later when Jesus feeds the 4000 men plus their families, it says that the people were from the coasts of
Decapolis (Mark 7:31). The people left their cities and brought their sick and loved ones and went to where Jesus was and were a part of that great feeding miracle.
One of the greatest fears in the life of the believer that they deal with, though many times it is not a conscious thing, but a subconscious one, is the fear that if God really touches me, then the devil will try to come back and put back on me what God has delivered me from. In
there are many who were once touched by God and knew His blessing and deliverance but are backslidden and living the life they did before they learned of Christ and came to Him. If you ask them what happened, why have you left Christ and gone back to the world and sin. They will tell you that every time they got close to God and tried to do what is right, the enemy would tempt them and they would fall and they are tired of the roller coaster of repenting and being tempted and falling again. So they decided to give up and stop trying. They didn’t want to be converted and follow the Lord for fear of failure and that if they tried they would not make it anyway, so why try. America
This fear is what Satan manipulated in their mind to cause them to fall back when they tried to serve God. It is obvious that the fear was there. It is such a lie and deception because the truth really is, the closer you get to God, the more you have of His Word and His Spirit within you, the stronger you will become to fight against and stand against the enemy and temptation. We are taught that if we draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh to us; and if we submit to God and resist the Devil; he will flee (James 4:7-8). It is easier to resist the devil and overcome the works of the flesh after you have drawn nigh to God and submitted yourself to Him. Yet many have this fear of failing God if they get to close to Him. Is there any scripture that teaches that the adversary will attempt to return to one who has come to know the Lord?
Sure! In Luke 11 they are accusing Jesus of casting out devils by the power of the devil. Then he says something in Luke 11:17-18. “But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.” Then the main verse is Luke 11:24. “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.” Some Jews thought that meant at the graveyard because in those days when someone died they didn’t embalm them, but immediately buried them. But an evil spirit will not stay in a dead corpse for it offers him no opportunity for expression. The ‘house’ being referred to is a physical body, a person rather than a physical house. Jesus had just cast out devils and that’s what this was all in reference too. This body is our house, our tabernacle according to Paul. Luke 11:25-26 “And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” The implication here is that someone has gotten delivered by God of this evil spirit and so he gets others spirits that are stronger and tries to come back. The devil will do this to everyone who has been saved out of something, like out of witchcraft or devil worship. Many, when they came to Christ were not possessed of devils to begin with; they were just lost, though some good moral people. But this doesn’t necessarily apply to them for they never had an evil spirit or devil to begin with. This is someone who had been under demonic bondage and the demon that has left will make an attempt to return. The demon may have tried to return by himself and couldn’t so went and got seven others and makes a last counter attack to get in and the pressure is great and the person gives in and they are worse off than at the beginning. If you have met someone who was delivered and had a strong walk with the Lord and backslid and returned to sin, they get hard and calloused, moody and are worse than they ever were before they came to Christ. If you try to restore or win them back it is very difficult. It could have been they were bound by drugs or alcohol or involved in the occult or sexual immorality before coming to Christ and being delivered. But when they go back away from the Lord they become worse than before and more hardened against God and the things of God.
Acts 10:38 “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.” Being oppressed and possessed are two different things. Oppressed is a vexation of the mind, the devil working from the outside and possession is a controlling of the inward spirit, the demon controls the persons spirit from within. Those heavy in the occult will tell you that a demon possesses a person to fulfill its desires. The demon is fed by the sin and disobedience of that person and the demon becomes stronger in the life of the person that keeps walking in that sin.
The important thing is to know that we have nothing to fear if we will walk humbly before the Lord and continue faithful in His Word. Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” When you are sold out to God then your testimony helps you overcome. Though the enemy will try to come back, if you will walk in obedience you have nothing to fear and the enemy cannot overcome you. Satan only has power over those who give him power over them by sin and disobedience or believe that he has power over them. An evil spirit can’t just take over a person without cause because there is no curse without a cause (Proverbs 26:2b).
Spiritual warfare and demon possession is real, but there are lots of crazy unbiblical things going on in churches in this area most of which I am not going to touch on. Most of what some call demons is nothing more than the flesh. If they really saw a demon manifestation they wouldn’t know what to do. We need to stay with Biblical revelation and not add things to it, as thinking that every time a person coughs they cough up a demon. Some have said yell at the devil in tongues. Why? They teach on one hand that which is true, that when you pray in tongues, your spirit prays to God and the devil doesn’t understand. Then what are they doing by yelling in tongues at the devil in a person if he can’t understand what they are saying anyway? You can pray and intercede againt a hindering spirit or a spirit that has targeted someone, but when you are praying in the spirit, the Holy Spirit is praying through you that God will stop the attack, stop the hindrance or bind the spirit. The Bible says we speak unto God, not to the devil. 1 Corinthians 14:2, 14 “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries… For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.”
I truly believe that God the Holy Spirit gives prayer languages that the enemy can’t know. Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” We pray to find the mind and will of God. But many things blamed on the enemy is nothing but the flesh and people not using wisdom in decisions, along with a lack of obedience to the Word of God, as in hanging around the wrong kind of people and having wrong friends and not being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Don’t blame the devil for what you do of your own free will. He does tempt you and do certain things, but you as a believer have the right and power to either submit to the temptations of the enemy or submit to God and resist the devil and it is your choice that determines the outcome. We pray to God and ask Him to bind a devil or we might rebuke a devil, but we don’t pray to the devil and volume isn’t as important as the fervency of spirit and faith. Loud volume may be beneficial to the person praying for resisting the devil, but it isn’t what moves the hand of God. James 5:16 says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Fervent is red hot, with zeal and energy, enthusiasm though there is nothing wrong with raising your voice if it helps you to believe and apply your faith. The key is praying the will of God in faith. 1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” Matthew 21:22 “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
Some have this silly notion that if you can go up into a high mountain or in a plain, you can get above the demon powers and principalities and therefore be able to pray more effectively. That idea is based on the high places or groves in the mountain where they worshipped idols.
went up and cut down the groves. Also Israel went up to the high places to offer sacrifices unto the Lord. So a high place was a mountain where the people worshipped God or an idol depending on the god they served. Ephesians 6:12 “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.” “In high places” has given some the idea that if they could get higher that they could then force them down. Why if they could? In Revelation it speaks of the devil coming down to the earth from heaven. When he comes down, all hell breaks loose. If you could get all those principalities in the heavenlies to come down to the earth you would just make things worse and not better. It doesn’t matter where you are or how high or low you are in the atmosphere when you pray. These things are ridiculous. If you’re going up into a mountain to get alone with God as Jesus did, then that is one thing, but principalities and powers are subject to Jesus and His authority. The enemy has been sidetracking believers concerning warfare and so defeating them. Israel
The reality of the fact is that principalities work through people, personalities. Your problems with demons or principalities will always be them working through people. Samson fell because of Delilah, Solomon fell because he married strange women who worshipped idols, Elijah was hindered by Jezebel, Moses was hindered by Corah, Jesus was attacked through Judas, David was attacked by King Saul who tried 21 times to kill him because an evil spirit possessed him. Paul talked about a messenger of Satan sent to buffet him, it was a demonic angel that followed him around causing him to be beaten and persecuted. This devil worked through people to attack and hinder the Apostle Paul. Everywhere Paul went the devil raised up people to attack him, beat him, and run him out of town or whatever. Demons work through people. Rebuking some devil in the atmosphere is a waste of time and only bringing you more trouble. Your real life problems come from spirits working through people though you may experience being attacked by a demon spirit directly without a person, that is not the rule but the exception.
Where have most of your hindrances and persecution come from? It doesn’t come from the air or some devil in the atmosphere but pressure brought through people. People hinder and block your work with God. Why does Satan and evil spirits use people? Because they can’t fulfill their work and mission without a personality, as when Satan entered Judas and he went out and betrayed the Lord. When it was over he came to himself and wondered what he had done. He woke up and then went and committed suicide. An evil spirit came to King Saul and through him tried to kill David to stop God’s calling from being accomplished in his life. The Satanic world has certain limitations. Demons don’t shoot guns and blow up people, people who are controlled by demons do. Who is involved with prostitution and other terrible immoral things, the people or a demon working through them? A demon cannot work without a body; they are wandering around in dry places with no rest for them and no fulfillment for them without a body. Adolph Hitler was possessed by a spirit that determined his destiny, which can be seen in his own diary.
Satan has no voice without the voice of a person. You may be tempted in your mind or have pressure coming against you but you most likely will never hear an audible voice of a devil unless God allows your spirit to be opened to such. But when they possess someone then the demon can speak through the person’s voice as the demoniac of
Gadara. The head demon spoke and said, “My name is legion: for we are many.” So the one with the most authority spoke for the others. That is one part of possession. Many times the demon will speak though the person, but it is never the same tone as the person’s normal voice. This causes things like a lady speaking in a deep male type voice. Other demons will talk like a child, a man, a lady, etc. They don’t always speak in the same type voice. Also there are people with what they call multiple personalities. Psychiatrists will hypnotize people and call to what they call different personalities in the person but don’t know that it is demons they are talking too, and only one personality is the person.
Can Satan influence a believer? Yes! If the believer submits to what the devil is saying, he can be influenced by that devil. An example is Peter in Matthew 16:22 when he tried to rebuke Jesus shortly after the great revelation he had in Matthew 16:16. “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God… Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” What happened in those few verses? After one the Lord tells Peter that the Father had revealed to him what he spoke in verse 16 (V.17) “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” and then after Peter tried to rebuke Jesus in verse 22, the Lord says, “Get thee behind me Satan” in verse 23. The enemy didn’t understanding everything that was going on but obviously it was he that influenced the words of Peter. This same Peter then is the one who speaks to Ananias in Acts 5:3. “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?.” So these believers yielded their thoughts to Satan.
Though Christians cannot be possessed of a devil, they can be influenced by an evil spirit. There are all sorts of spiritual activity going on in the atmosphere and at times if you are not walking in the spirit and sensitive to the spirit and discerning of spirits, you can be influenced and all of a sudden come up with a thought that is totally alien to you in the natural. It is like the thought just shot into your mind and you wonder where it came from. Sometimes people around you who are bound by strong demons affect you. Your soulish man can pick up on these spirits like a radio can pick up radio waves from the air that you can’t see. The spirits working in and through others at times affect others around them, without possessing them as the one they inhabit, almost like radio waves. There is something the soulish man can pick up or be influenced by. You can go into a certain place, whether a church or a bar, a hotel or a house and sense a certain atmosphere that has to do with what the people around are thinking and what is going on within them. Are they full of strife and contention or hatred? It can be picked up and you can be influenced by it in the spirit. Some children when they come close to people with demons will all of a sudden start acting differently or change in behavior. Their soulish man picking up and is being influenced by the spiritual activity in the area. So know that demons cannot do their work without a person. Demons work through people because it gives them a voice to speak through.
Next, blood is used in many forms of occultism, Satanism and forms of idolatry, including human sacrifice. The reason is that there is no blood in demon spirits. Animals and people have blood. Sometimes they will use the blood of animals, but prefer that of humans. That is what makes us different from all the angelic hosts, good or evil. We have a life force in our blood that they do not have. They life of our flesh is in our blood and it is what keeps us alive. When Adam and Eve sinned in Genesis, the first think God did was to kill a lamb and cover them with the skins of the animal. From that time on there was animal sacrifices. God killed an animal to provide a covering for man and hide the shame of his sin and so animal sacrifices were required until Jesus came to provide a covering for man’s sin. False religions use animals in their worship and drink their blood and some also human blood.
Why? Satan cannot offer or make a blood sacrifice without a person to do it through because without a body he is invisible. The only time you can hear a demon outside a body is if God opens your spiritual senses to also see that demon spirit. So they enter people and get those people to make the sacrifices for them. The reason is that Satan has no blood so in any occultic religion blood is very important because it is the highest thing they can have representing human life. The life of the flesh is in the blood.
Because of ignorance many think that when people die their spirits just hang around the area where they lived and so that is what they think is the source of spirits in what is called haunted houses. They think it is a person that has died and that has no rest because of some injustice done to them before they died. Yet the scriptures makes it clear that when a person dies their spirit goes to one of two places, hell or heaven. Most of the houses that are considered haunted are places where a suicide or murder took place. A person was killed and blood was shed in that house. Demon spirits hang around where blood has been shed. It all goes back to the fact that blood is the most powerful force God gave man. If our blood is taken away, we die. Blood of animals was used to cover sin, but could not bring forgiveness of sin. Animal sacrifice went on from Adam to the time of Christ, some 4000 years. So the spirits also raised up idol religions to offer up blood, just as God had required men to do by faith in an act of humility and repentance. The difference is that God required the blood of a clean animal and Satan requires the blood of an unclean animal. There is something about blood that attracts demons. Genesis 4:10 says that blood speaks, it has a voice when it comes out of a body, at least that of a human body.
Again, principalities work through personalities. This is why demons use people. Your biggest problems will come from people that demons are working through. 2 Corinthians 11:4 “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” So you can receive another spirit. If we are saved and redeemed and have the Holy Spirit we are sealed and kept by the Holy Spirit. But if you open a doorway for the enemy to enter into your life then you can receive another spirit. This was spoken to a people who have received Christ and been washed in the blood. But by our decisions, we can open a door for the enemy to come in and loose out salvation. When this happens the person’s attitude changes and they get in strife, unforgiveness and bitterness and when we do that, things begin to happen that are very negative.
Unbelief is one of the worst spirits that can come upon a believer. Many have fallen prey to that. An example of receiving another spirit is Numbers 14:24. “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” The 10 spies came back with an evil report because of the giants in the land. But Caleb and Joshua the two that had a different spirit were the only ones allowed to enter the Promised Land. Joshua led the children of
Israelthrough 30 victories or war and Caleb possesses a mountain in Hebron when he was 85 years of age he ran three giants off his mountain. What happened here? Caleb had the right spirit and the 10 other spies had the wrong spirit. One of the spies had a name that in the Hebrew added up to 666. It only takes one to start being negative and it spreads like wildfire and soon most everyone is talking negative.
When the Spirit of God is moving you become another person. 1 Samuel 10:6 “And the spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.” 1 Samuel 16:14 “But the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.” When the Spirit of God came upon him, Saul was as another man. That’s how the ministry is, when a man is anointed in the pulpit or when he is ministering. They are not the same as when you just sit talking with them at the table or in normal life. When the Spirit of God was upon Saul, he was a great leader and did great things. But when the evil spirit came upon him, he also became another man. He took a different personality and became jealous and murdered the priests and the high priest, he hated and tried to kill others, he sought out a witch. You are a personality. When the Spirit of God comes upon you, your personality will change because He touches your personality. When the evil spirit comes upon you and touches you it will have just the opposite affect. If you have love in the Spirit, you will have hate by the evil spirit. If you have peace by the Holy Spirit you will have confusion by an evil spirit. If you have joy by the Holy Spirit you will have sadness by an evil spirit. The evil spirit will do the opposite and cause the opposite affect upon your spirit as the Spirit of God. Remember, contrary to most teaching today, a Christian can receive another spirit. They receive a wrong spirit because instead of yielding their spirit to God, they yield their mind and spirit to a wrong or evil spirit. So you should not hang around bitter people, people who complain and criticize and slander others. It will pollute your mind and spirit.
But if a minister is in complete doctrinal error and leading people astray then you have a Biblical right and duty to expose the false doctrine and tell people that it is not right, but false doctrine. It is not that important whether they believe in pre-trib or post-trib rapture of the church as long as they live a clean and holy life. But if their doctrine that affects salvation is wrong, that is a different story. John, Jude and Peter exposed such doctrines that were wrong. That is not the same as disagreeing with the way a person does things or preaches or dresses. There is a difference between having a critical spirit and standing for the truth. If you listen to others who have a bad spirit they will affect you and soon you will become tormented by these spirits. Proverbs 17:11 “An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.” We have to keep a good heart and attitude and stay around good and positive people in order to keep the right spirit like Caleb and not end up like Saul, jealous trying to destroy others we don’t like or who are in our way.
In the ministry of Jesus, Satan slowly progressed toward Christ. He tried to kill Jesus as a child. That didn’t work, so he came against Christ in the services in the synagogue or church services (Mark 1). Then Jesus went outdoors because the crowds became so big, Satan showed up in his meeting in the form of unclean spirits crying out. Sometimes when the devil would cry out, “I know who thou art,” the Pharisees would say, see he is of the devil and working by the power of the devil and they left out the part about him being the Son of God, purposely. So, Jesus refused to allow the demons to speak in his public meetings. So then the devil got into Jesus’ disciples as Satan entered Judas and caused Peter to deny Jesus. The enemy tried to get to Jesus by one means or another again and again. Attacked his doctrine, tried to destroy his integrity, tried to attack his miracles. And nothing worked until Satan got inside the ministry through Judas. Satan got in through Judas’ weakness. Notice when the woman anointed Jesus with the precious ointment in the alabaster box, Judas starts yelling how they could have taken that and sold it to give to the poor. He is really here showing his own greed, because he was covetous for money and stole. That was a weakness in Judas that Satan found and was able to use. Also Peter’s weakness that allowed Satan to get to him was his pride. He was a bit arrogant and cocky and Satan saw it and used it against him. Satan will work through the weakness of people around you to try to create spiritual battles and struggles in your life.
In the ministry of Jesus and the early church, Satan used one of his main tactics, which is the gospel of misinformation and misunderstanding, although those things are not the gospel or any good news at all. It is a strategy of the enemy because the gospel is communication. People cannot be saved unless they first hear the gospel and for it to be heard, it must first be spoken. That is why Jesus kept saying, “take heed what you hear” (Mark 4:24). So he kept saying, “again, I say unto you” as in Matthew 18:19. Seven times in the book of revelation concerning the seven churches, he says, “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.” Why all the emphasis on hearing and especially your spiritual hearing? Because Satan is the prince of the power of the air and there is a power in the air, as we know the media or radio, TV, satellite, and conversation takes place by sound waves. The problem is that by the sound waves, sound leaves your mouth and is receive by someone else’s ears, they can receive it totally different from the way you said it. People will even hear things you don’t say or will read into something you say that which you did not mean.
Jesus was preaching new truth and they say it is doctrines of devils. Jesus casts out devils and they said it was by the power of the devil. In our modern day and time Satan uses misinformation. People hear things that are not true. They hear things about people that are not true. They hear half-truths. If media is doing a report on a Christian minister, you can be sure that they are reporting a one-sided story and not the whole story and do not allow the minister to give his side of the story. They don’t care about lawsuits because of their money and most of the time even then the courts will side with the media as their right of free speech. So before you believe anything on any minister that is negative, you need to check it out yourself and know their personal side of the story.
The enemy envies us. In Genesis 26:14 when Isaac sowed in the time of famine, scripture says he got a 100 fold return and the Philistines envied him. The world will envy us if we have the blessings of God on our lives. They don’t want the church blessed because they love darkness rather than light. They don’t like the message of deliverance and freedom from drugs and alcohol and pornography because they are involved in all that and push those types of things. One of Satan’s biggest tricks in misinformation and the Pharisees tried to frighten people away from the ministry of Jesus by saying he was working and casting out devils and healing by the power of the devil. Be careful of what you hear or listen to. Gossip and slander are great weapons of the enemy. You must understand that there are seasons of spiritual attack and also blessings come in seasons.
Ezekiel 34:26 “And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.” Luke 4:13 “And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” There are times to plant and times to reap. Acts 12:1 “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.” That time has reference to a season of persecution in church history that came in cycles. There were times when persecution was so great the church had to go underground and other times that CHristianity was legal and open. At this time Satan was attacking the leaders of the early church, the apostles. James had already been put to death and Peter had been arrested and put into prison and was about to be put to death but the church interceded for him and his life was spared. In an earthly kingdom your birth determines your rank. If your born into the family of some high political family you will probably go into politics or if born into a royal family you will become a prince. But in the heavenly kingdom your battles will determine your rank. You become what you are in battle rank due to your knowledge and experience and victories in previous wars, as in the military. You don’t go from private to 5-star general in six months in either the military or the
kingdom of God. And you don’t become a prophet overnight. Why do we have a spiritual war when there are such verses as Matthew 28:18, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Luke 10:19 “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Mark 16:17 “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils;” Ephesians 1:22 “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” Colossians 2:15 “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Ephesians 3:20. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”
These are such beautiful promises of victory and overcoming and treading on the enemy. So why is there a war when it seems to already have been won. Yes, to a degree that war has already been won for us by Christ who defeated sin, hell and death. Sin no longer can reign over you for you are no longer subject to sin when the Spirit of Christ sets us free from the body of sin and death, a body with a craving to do that which is sinful. We were bound by the lusts of the flesh. But when we became born again and crucify the flesh, we lose the desires of the flesh to sin. Others don’t understand this and just look at true Christians as squares who live boring lives and have no fun.
We have no desire to go get drunk or take drugs or fornicate or do other things that sinners do. Why? Because Jesus defeated sin and if I am in Christ and Christ is in me, then sin won’t reign over my life.
The power of death and the grave has been defeated and so doesn’t reign over us anymore. We don’t have to go to hell or into the lower chambers of the earth when we die but into the heavenly paradise in the third heaven. So Jesus by His resurrection has the keys to death, hell and the grave.
What Jesus did not do was kill or destroy Satan or the devils, only their power to reign over those who give their lives to Him. Sin doesn’t have to reign over us, the grave has no power over us, death has no victory over us and we don’t have to go to hell. So as a result of Jesus death, burial and resurrection, these things have been conquered for us. But the demons are still there. Though we go through battle with them, they have no authority over us. Satan can still influence the unsaved, as he rose up Herod who killed the babies of
Bethlehem trying to kill the baby Jesus. Satan still has the power to tempt and test us, but we have the power to not give in or yield to him. Because God said if we will submit to him and resist the devil, he has to flee from us. Not because of us, but because of God’s Word which limits Satan. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Satan also attacks through circumstances.
Jesus did not kill the demon powers but he stripped their powers over believers. The only way that Satan can get power in your life is if you let him, by believing his lie over the Word of God, as Eve did. Yet in the life of the sinner or the person that is totally backslid, the demons have power, as Jesus said in John 8:44. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” One in sin has no authority over demon powers. A stronger than the strong man has to come. Satan was the strong man in the life of a sinner and Jesus is the one who is stronger than he. A sinner is subject to sin, death and hell and to give in to all the lies and temptations of the sinner. In the life of the believer, who has put his faith, trust and will into the hands of God, Satan has no power. Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in
Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in.” James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” In Christ, who is our hope of glory, we do not have to be subject to the authority of the devil. There is power in you to speak to him and resist him. But sinners, who may resist temporarily, will give in to the enemy. So Satan has the ability to tempt, test and work against us through unbelievers or circumstances. But his authority over your mind, body and spirit has been stripped and you have been set free in Christ. John 8:36 “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” If you submit to the devil it is a different story. Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth
There is the story of a man who saw a poisonous snake in his back yard that had been injured. He took it into the house and fed it and nurtured it back to life and it almost became a pet to him. He got to the point where he would pet it with an object and he wouldn’t attack him, so then he started petting it with his hand and one day he picked it up. But then the day came that the snake was strong enough that when he reached his hand into the cage the snake bit him in the hand. Then the man realized he was dying and said, snake, what have you done. I took you when you were wounded, brought you in the house and brought you back to strength and now you do this to me. The snake replied, you knew I was a snake when you brought me in the house.
The real story is that people are bringing into their houses things that they know will be detrimental to them. They know it can cause a temptation in their life or cause them a problem. For instance, so many professing Christians have cable TV. They will tell you how there are so many great things, sports, cable news, etc. But with it they bring into their house all sorts of filth and one day they can be snared by it. Many a kid has told others at school how they went to bed and mom and dad got up to watch a dirty movie. It opens up things that are temptation and not clean not only for the parents but that will pollute the children and cause them family problems.
People bring things into their house that opens the door for the enemy, whether TV, video, books, magazines, or Internet. The enemy uses all these things. It’s so easy and convenient. If you know that something is detrimental, don’t bring it into your house or your life and thereby open a door for the devil to return to your life. Don’t bring a dead serpent into your house because you think it can’t hurt you, thinking you can ‘handle it’ because you’re mature. When you cut the head of some snakes off, they can still react for up to 24 hours. There are people who have died by handling the head of a dead snake that bit them. The forces of the enemy are nothing to play with or play around with because the enemy will get you into a flesh trap that you can’t free yourself from.
After some of the great meetings that Jesus had, scripture says he would go apart to pray and rest. One reason is because when you are tired and weary you are more subject to attack. We have physical limitations that affect our emotions and even spiritual sensitivity and Satan will time his attacks against you. Usually after major victories in an individuals life, attack comes, as in the life of Elijah after the great battle at
Mount Carmel. After he called for it to rain and outran the horses of the king for some 18 miles he is totally exhausted. And so when he hears that Jezebel was after him he ran from Jezebel. When Jesus had fasted 40 days, the tempter came. Why then? Because then you are the weakest and Jesus was hungry, so the first area he was tested in had to due with his hunger by tempting him to turn the stones into bread so he could eat and satisfy his hunger. But it would have been performing a miracle for personal gain or for himself and not according to the will of God or by the leading of the Holy Spirit. You don’t see the results of the fast until after you come off from it.
One pastor I heard about went on a 40 day fast. At then end of it, the enemy came and tempted him and he ended up committing adultery. He was tempted when he was weak at the end of the fast and one of the reasons he was fasting was that he was battling the lusts of the flesh and wanted to get victory over it. So this thing surfaced in him at that time and he was too weak to fight it. If he had made it through that temptation he surely would have had a major victory in his life instead of a major defeat.
was bitten by fiery serpents and died and Paul was bitten by a fiery serpent and lived. The difference was that Israel was bitten by the serpent when they were in disobedience to God and Paul was bitten through obedience. So there are here shown two kinds of attacks. There are attacks that come because of disobedience and attacks that come because you are being obedient. But you don’t have to be afraid of an attack when you have been obedient to God because the serpent may bite you but won’t be able to kill you. You will shake it off into the fire and feel no harm as Paul did. On the other side, if you are bitten by an attack of the enemy through an act of disobedience there may be some repercussions and things you have to go through in order to overcome. Israel
There are 6 times that you will more than likely encounter a spiritual battle. There is an old saying that says preparation is 90% of the battle. That is very true.
One: When you are physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted. As you minister you are affected in all these areas. Spiritually you give out of your spirit as your minister, mentally your having to think and use your mind and spirit together to speak and physically you get tired from ministering to people, especially in praying for them one after another and this is why Jesus went apart for awhile when he was tired. During the early tent revivals from the 40’s to 50’s many of the evangelists would set up their tent and go for two solid weeks and then break them down, move and set them up in another location and go for another two weeks. They wore themselves out and had trouble sleeping. Some more liberal minister told them to take a little wine to help them relax and go to sleep and a couple of the great tent revivalists ended up alcoholics and died that way. The scripture tells us that no drunkard will inherit the
kingdom of God. So it is something that should be completely shunned. There are many ministers today, particularly among charismatics that drink socially or take wine to relax in the evening, but this is nothing but opening a door for the devil in your life. Why should you allow yourself to partake of something that has destroyed so many lives and try to justify it? You are affected by being too tired physically and mentally. Others have been affected by taking sleeping pills and becoming addicted. If they would have gotten away to rest when they were physically tired these things would not have happened and their ministries and their lives destroyed. When you are physically and mentally tired, you have to brace yourself for these extra attacks that will come against you, through people, when you are tired and worn out.
Two: When you have to make a major decision or move. Lamentations 3:25 “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” We must learn to wait on the Lord. When you don’t feel good in your spirit about something, don’t do anything. I’ve been there. You say, I’m running out of time, I’m afraid I’m going to miss this or that, or miss God. If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything, but wait upon the Lord. The fastest way for the enemy to sidetrack you is through a bad decision that will divide your energies and time. This has happened to me and cost me greatly.
Three: After the birth of a child that is destined to be a leader. Exodus 1:16 “And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.” Matthew 2:13 “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.” This is why abortion is so bad and some of those children could have become great leaders and men to change the direction of the nation. One of our finest ministers today is a man who was born to a mother who had been raped by a man of a different race but chose not to abort her baby. Numerous other leading minister today have had near death experiences with sickness or accident, but God brought them out like He did Paul when they stoned him. The devil tried to kill them, but God saved them to use them. A child that God has a calling upon may have to be prayed though a lot of struggles or attacks upon their life because the enemy knows when the call of God is upon a child.
Four: When you have set your face toward God for an answer. When there is something you desperately want an answer from God and clarity concerning. Daniel 10 is a good example of that as he seeks God for the understand or revelation of a vision God had given him and it took 21 days of fasting and waiting on God for the answer. Acts 27:20 “And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.” Paul is on the ocean and the ship is being attacked by a storm and he fasted for 14 days and heard nothing and finally God sent the answer. 1 Thessalonians 2:18 “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” Satan can work to hinder you when you set your face toward God concerning something for which you are seeking God for an answer. There will end up being a struggle in the heavenlies according to Daniel 10. And know that the delay to an answer doesn’t always mean no, but that something is happening in the atmosphere. There are powers battling over your future. Your spiritual battles are not over where you’ve been but where you’re going. So know that when you set your face toward God there is always the opportunity for a conflict and struggle during that time though God will answer you because He has promised to do so.
Five: When moving into another level of ministry or level in God there will be spiritual warfare and struggles. New levels, new devils! Prior to God doing something new in your life, there is a new attack. There will be a discouragement, hindrance, or attack of some form. As you move up in God into a new level of knowledge and understanding you gain, the less likely it is that the enemy can pull something over on you because of a greater discernment because of the amount of the Word of God in you and anointing. So the enemy will become less effect in your life. The more established you are in the Lord, the more you are rooted and grounded in the Word and mature in your faith, the more aware you are of the devices of the enemy and when you are not ignorant of his devices, you can understand where it is coming from and expose it, making Satan less effective against you. Also, the more you do for the
kingdom of God, the more affective you can become. So hell reacts to your future and attacks those in line for promotion.
Six: When a promotion is coming from God, whether in the ministry or in the workplace for a believer, an attack may come. When you begin to announce that God has given you a dream or a vision there will be trouble break out, just like when Joseph had dreams and shared it with others. He became called the dreamer and it was his dreams that sent him to the pit and into slavery and into prison. But it was the dreams and his ability to interpret dreams that God used to exalt him into being the Prime Minister in
, second only to Pharaoh. Joseph is the example of one who simply believed God and was ultimately promoted by God, through many seeming failures or setbacks. But God was behind all the events working and orchestrating His divine purposes for Joseph’s life. Egypt
Daniel is another example. He goes to the lion’s den and his friends to the fiery furnace, but he keeps getting promoted. There is a promotion designed for you and the enemy knows if he can stop you or discourage you before you get that promotion he can win the battle. So we need to keep in mind that battles are always for a reason and battles are always for a season. Most battles are not lost with the initial war because you see it coming and brace for it, but they are lost in the counter attack of the enemy. A person gets saved and delivered and the next thing the old buddies and girls come and try to drag them back. A good example of a counter attack is in 2Samuel 5. David had become king and had moved from
Hebron to Mount Zion, the city of David, one of the highest mountains in the country, 2500 feet in elevation. Now David is a ruler over the nation. Anything outside Jerusalem is going down off the mountain. There is a valley between Mount Zion and Bethlehem, the cities being about 8 miles as the bird files. There is a great valley know as the valley of Rephim in 2Samuel 5. It is a Hebrew name for giants. In the time of the Jebusites and Nephelim the giants used this valley to camp in and live.
Judges 1:19 “And the LORD was with
; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” Israel built cities on the mountains and word got around to the ‘ites’ in the land and nomadic peoples that the God of the Hebrews was a god of the mountains and they thought that Israel could be defeated in the valley. Also the iron chariots had a difficult time climbing the steep hills where the cities were built, but iron chariots with horses were really effective in the valley. So when Judah came into the valley to fight, they didn’t have iron chariots and would be outrun and run over and overwhelmed. They could not contend wit the horses and chariots. David is on the moutain and the Philistimes encamped in the Israel valley of Repheim to attack David because they heard he was anointed king of . What is the devil trying to do? Israel Bethlehem is where David was born. It was the city of David and means ‘house of bread’ and it represents the place where you are fed. It was the place of the wheat and grain offering, the wheat and barley and where the bread was made. Jerusalem was the place of authority and rulership.
In Nehemiah the enemies of Israelis tried to get them off the wall and fighting in the valley. This was the intention of the Philistines there at
Zion as David was preparing to progress and prepare for Solomon’s building the temple where the glory of God would come down. It was the place that God had promised them, the place Isaac was offered, the place Abraham met Melchazidek. It was a holy place. David inquired of the lord and was told to go and fight them. God made a breach or an opening among his enemies and called the place Baal-perazim, meaning the God of the breakthrough or The Lord hath broken forth (2Sam.5:20). Then the Philistines encamped themselves again, a counter attack. You defeat the enemy the first time and think it is over. You had a sickness that you were healed from and testified of being healed and the next thing you know, the Philistines have returned. That difficulty, sickness or problem has returned. What did David do? He didn’t fight the same way but enquired of the Lord (2Samuel 5:23-24). This time David literally defeated the Philistines. Even though they could not defeat David and he conquered them throughout his life they brought counter attacks. They didn’t stop attacking David just because he defeated them twice. There are seasons or times of peace and times of war. There is a time of conflict and a time of peace. Ecclesiastes tells us this is a principle of life, good and bad come to all. So we have to make the best of the bad situation.
In 2Samuel 5 David has a great victory over the Philistines twice and now they aren’t showing up. They have stopped for the moment. Then David is attacked a different way. The Ark of the Covenant representing the presence of God was in Gibeon and so David pitched a tent for it in
Mount Zion and was moving the Ark of the Covenant, but was doing it on an ox cart. There are people trying to move the presence of God on an ox cart and it has nothing but big wheels and boards, speaking of people in the church. Ox cart movements! So after disaster David puts the ark of the covenant in a mans house for months and everything concerning him was blessed so he studies to see what went wrong and what to do because he wanted the presence of God in Zion. He had tried to do it the easy way but it was not God’s prescribed way. Then after that was cleared and the Ark of the Covenant was brought up, he brings the ark up with dancing before the Lord. His wife, Saul’s daughter sees him and when he goes into his house to bless his house because of his excitement of having the Ark back in Mount Zion, and she tells him off. Then David told her she hadn’t seen anything yet and as a result of that, it wasn’t that God cursed her, but David didn’t have anything to do with her after that.
So his ministry is affected and his credibility by trying to move the
Ark the wrong way without inquiring of the Lord, now his house and family has been affected as his wife mocked his worship before the Lord. But what can you do when you are married to a person that turns against you? So David goes from one difficulty to another. Finally, one of the most severe attacks comes in the attack with Bathsheba in 2Samuel 11. That could also have been influenced by his relationship that had fallen apart with his wife.
Some of the keys of David’s life was that when he went through something and didn’t know what to do, first he would inquire of the Lord and never made a major decision without inquiring of the Lord. In the Old Testament that was done by going to the priest who would then inquire for them before the Lord, or they would go to the prophet who would speak for the Lord, or at times David went to the tabernacle to seek the Lord for himself. Second, David always repented when he was wrong. When Nathan cornered him, he immediately repented. You say, well he didn’t repent until he got caught. Yeah, and what about you? Is this not human? Most who have had a major failure in their life will not publicly repent unless they are caught.
Three, David was a worshipper, even when Bathsheba’s first baby died; he arose and worshipped the Lord. These are the keys of David’s life that maintained him. He never went into battle without inquiring of the Lord. He repented of his sins and remained a worshipper continually.
When David killed Goliath, he cut his head off. When David was on his way to where Goliath was, David stopped off at a brook to pick up 5 smooth stones. Why? Did he think he might miss? Face it; if he had missed the first time, he wouldn’t have gotten a second chance. David wasn’t afraid of missing, but scripture tells us in Chronicles there were 5 of these giants in the land that were some 10-12 feet tall. When David killed Goliath he was dead. Say you receive a healing and you are set free. But years later it comes back on you. Immediately the enemy says, see, you weren’t healed to begin with. You lied when you testified. Goliath had a brother, but there are still stones in the brook. When God set you free, you were made free indeed from that particular thing. There may be symptoms that look, smell and talk like Goliath, but it isn’t Goliath; it’s his brother. But there are still stones in the brook. In other occasions one of the giants was killed with a spear and another with a sword. The weapons of your warfare are not carnal… (2Cor.10:4). And the battle will not always be fought the same way. When you deal with the counter attack of the enemy you have the name of Jesus, which is as affective now as it was 2000 years ago. You have the Word of God still sharper than any two-edged sword and it is still able to pierce to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and discern the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb.12:1). God has given you His Word as a weapon, the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. One blade of that sword was when God spoke it and the second is when you speak it in agreement with God. The Word won’t do you any good until you get it in your heart, believe and confess it with your mouth. The Word is like a mirror, an anvil, a refiners fire, and like a sword. We are told to hold fast the profession of our faith, nothing wavering. Also, we overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. You also have the anointing of the Spirit (Isaiah 10:27), which breaks the yoke. Acts 10:28 the Spirit delivers those oppressed of the devil. 1John 2:20, 27 The anointing is an unction that teaches us. So you have the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the power of agreement through prayer. If any two agree… (Matt.18:19)
These are keys to New Testament warfare. And remember, if God has delivered you once, He can do it again. If He has every healed you, He can do it again. Where people have problems is the fact that once they are delivered and set free that they experience a counter attack. That is where most lose the battle. They will question, why the attack rather than standing and believing God to deliver once again. Don’t ask, why has this come back against me again and allow doubt and unbelief to thereby come in and hinder the effectiveness of your prayer the second time. They think that it was so much easier to get the victory the first time when they were baby Christians than the second time later in life. The problem is that their thinking and mind has become muddled. When you are a baby Christian the Lord protects you but later expects you to grow in faith and learn to stand and fight yourself. The prayer that delivered you the first time can still deliver you now. The same anointing that came when God touched you the first or second time can touch you again this time. Don’t give up when you experience a counter attack. It is not a sign of defeat but only a sign of attack. In fact, if your experiencing a counter attack it is a good sign that you have been going the right direction. Anyone in a spiritual battle at least has not been defeated. The battle is the evidence that they haven’t lost or given in to the enemy yet.
Three things you need to know about any counter attack. One: It didn’t come without the foreknowledge of God. God isn’t surprised by anything you experience or face. Job makes this clear. Two: Just as in Job while he was going through such great trials, God had already planned a day for him to come out in victory. All Job had to do was respond the right way, not sin and pray for his friends. He went through a learning experience and learns what God wants him to learn and then God brings him out. 1 Corinthians 10:13. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” The word for tempted can also be trial. God planned the way out of your trial before you got into it. There was a way for you to come through it or to come out, for God to meet your need before you even went into the trial, but you have to be patient and wait for God and respond correctly to God. Three: God has given you the ability through patience to outlast the storm. You can do something the devil can’t do. The fruit of patience is a virtue that is the ability to stand and maintain. Satan has no patience. So if you patiently wait on the Lord, eventually the devil will give up and not keep hanging around. He doesn’t have the virtue to do that so you can by this fruit of the Spirit outlast the trouble or the storm. So no matter what you are going through, be encouraged and know that the Lord knows what you are going through. Take what you know about the Word and apply it. Just do what the Lord has called you to do and be encouraged that He will see you though because He is Lord.
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