Bringing Tongues Of Fire From The
BIBLE STUDY COURSE
WARFARE - IT’S BENEFITS AND DANGERS
By Pastor G. Evan Newmyer
INTRODUCTION TO LESSON 20
This lesson points to what is called Warfare, but centers on the clarity regarding Warfare. Spiritual Warfare seems to be a fairly new concept for the modern day Christian, or at least the interest seems fairly new. Actually the concept of Warfare has been around since Eve faced the serpent, but the concept of Spiritual Warfare is only about 2,000 years old. When the serpent rebelled he lost any spiritual ability he had, he is now limited to the things common to man, or natural elements, thus being a spirit, yet not being spiritual is possible, indicating why Paul said the spirit of man knows the things of man, but is completely ignorant of the things of the Spirit of God. The Corinthians had the Spirit, yet were carnal, thus for us having the Spirit, yet not being spiritual is possible, yet Paul also called it spiritual wickedness (iniquity).
The devil began as a spirit with spiritual abilities, Adam began as a living soul with the flesh. The devil used a physical attraction to entice the soul of Adam to engage in an activity forbidden by God; however, was the fruit evil? The warfare was not over the fruit, rather it was in reference to the desire to reach above what God had granted. Adam made an ungodly decision regarding a God created element, beginning the concept of Warfare. Our venture into this area is to make some Godly divisions and separations so we can bring Order to the prospective of Warfare. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but neither do we want to use the devil’s wheel, calling it of God. We desire to conduct ourselves in the manner God intended in accordance with Mercy and Grace.
We also want to keep in mind an important rule regarding Warfare, doing something at the right time, with the wrong method is still wrong; doing something with the right method at the wrong time, is still wrong; doing something right with the right method, at the right time, is right. Knowledge is not ability, it’s an awareness of facts, past experiences and information. We can have knowledge of something, but use man’s wisdom to force a correction, making it ungodly warfare. We want the Knowledge of God, joined to the Wisdom of God, to bring a Godly result.
IT’S BENEFITS AND DANGERS
Warfare is real, no two ways about it, but understanding the battlefields, weapons and procedures keeps us from fighting ourselves, more important it keeps us from fighting God. Our first combat is to define the concept, rather than make our doctrine of warfare the subject of an imagination ending coming against the knowledge of God. Can it happen? Yes, and has, in some cases we make strongholds out of how we define the term Stronghold. Spiritual matters in the hand of a carnal person ends in an imagination coming against the knowledge of God. Spiritual matters to the natural person are still foolishness, in some cases the natural mind makes foolish conclusions regarding spiritual matters.
One of the most interesting elements of Bible based Warfare as it compares to the world’s method is how the endeavor defines which side we’re on. In the world the sides are determined by political views, uniforms, or some other element making it easy to detect who is on what side. In the Kingdom it’s the method a person uses determining which side they are on. If one uses Godly principles with Godly methods, they are on God’s side. If they use ungodly principles and methods they are on the enemy’s side. If they use Godly principles, but apply them by ungodly methods, they are on the enemy’s side. It’s necessary for us to couple the Godly principle with the Godly method.
Warfare is a conflict between two or more entities; Galatians 5:17 tells us, “for the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, these are contrary to one another”. The day we received the Spirit the conflict began, yet the paradox finds the flesh is imputed dead on the Cross, meaning it’s ineffective, yet it will nonetheless war against the Spirit. If we follow the Greek in Galatians 5:17 we find the flesh uses the mind (lusts) to form resistance against the things of the Spirit; the Spirit uses Grace to resist the flesh, but in a different manner than the flesh wars. This is the same teaching Paul gave us in Corinthians, the spirit of man knows the things of man, but is completely ignorant of the things of God; just as the spirit of the world is opposed to the Spirit which is of God (I Cor 2:11-12). There could be no spirit of the world, until there was first the Spirit which is of God. Paul assured the Corinthians he is not speaking from the spirit of the world, but from the Spirit which is of God; yet they had to accept his words to benefit.
The conflict is over Influences produced by a source; Galatians 5:19-21 lists the “manifestations” of the flesh as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murder, drunkenness, reveling, and the such, but these are “manifestations” or the exhibitions of the flesh, meaning the flesh is sold out to sin. The world attempts to address the manifestation, yet Paul is telling us to address the source. The world attempts to use natural reasoning to define the unseen, causing them to deal with the manifestation while the source remains. One may overcome adultery, but what source did they use? If it was the spirit of man to overcome something from the spirit of man, are they any better? No, we want to overcome in a Godly way; it begins by imputing the flesh dead on the Cross of Jesus.
There is a difference between psychology and ministry; any of us can render psychology, yet think we are ministering, but ministry entails a different source, a different purpose with a different means; ministry without the Spirit ends in psychology. Psychology is a study of the soul, it cannot save the soul, yet apply the Spirit to the Psychology and the healing begins. The word Psychology itself defines it, Psycho meaning mind, Logy meaning study. A soul studying a soul ends in carnal conclusions gaining little in the end. Ministry will always lead to Jesus, while focusing on saving ones soul. Any science without the Spirit is carnal, thus we can train the soul to control the flesh, yet it’s not saving the soul. While we were dualistic we used the flesh to please the soul, the soul to please the flesh, thus they were not in conflict. Once the Spirit enters the equation, we imputed the flesh dead, then the warfare begins. The prize in this is the soul, the flesh being earthly desires to do the will of the earthly which is sensual and devilish. Can the flesh react? Yes, how do we know we’re hungry? The flesh tells us, thus the unsaved soul is more concerned with the flesh, than God. The soul being saved is more concerned with God, than the flesh.
We can give sound advise on a given subject, like marriage, yet if we fail to direct the person to Jesus we have not engaged in ministry. Our purpose is to remain in the area of ministry, thus our first premise is the knowledge of how every person is drawn away by their own lust. If they fall into adultery, they were enticed by a lust in them, which lust is guided by the flesh. The flesh merely manifested the thought, thus the lust used the flesh to resist the Spirit by causing it to engage in some activity hindering the work of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:17-26 we find a division and a conflict; however, we must see there is also a division between the flesh manifesting, and the Fruit of the Spirit. If we’ve read First Corinthians we know there is a “manifestation of the Spirit”, or the manner in which the New Man will exhibit Jesus through us (I Cor 12:1-11). In Corinthians the word for Manifestation is the Greek Phanerosis meaning To make visible something invisible, in Galatians 5:19 the Greek word for Manifest is Phaneros much like Phanerosis, both mean to make something known, whether the something is good or evil. In First Corinthians it’s to make Jesus known, in Galatians 5:19 it’s to make the lusts of the flesh known. In either case we find the visible shows us the invisible. This is the same premise behind how one uses their measure of faith, the faith can be seen, but it comes from an unseen source. If one uses their faith for self-purposes the source is the spirit of man, but if they use their faith in the saving of their soul to please God, the source is the New Man.
The “Fruit of the Spirit” is One Fruit with many characteristics; the metaphor Fruit means something identifying the source as one type. Does an apple tree have only one apple? No, thus the Fruit of the Spirit is one source with much fruit; identifying the source as the Holy Spirit in us.
However, the manifested lust doesn’t necessarily tell you what the lust is, but the Fruit of the Spirit always identifies the source as the Spirit. A lust is deceptive in nature, it will take advantage of any lustful situation to manifest. If a person has a lust regarding greed, yet they refuse to deal with it by the Spirit, the same lust will take advantage of a fleshly weakness to manifest in some other area. Someone could have a lust regarding acceptance, yet have it manifest in any number of ways, deception, greed, pride, self-validation, or any fleshly area. The world will fight the exposed manifestation, but it doesn’t remove the lust. The things of the world are found in one or more of three areas known as, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of life. Therefore, the “manifested” lust can appear as one type, but be another. The Fruit of the Spirit is what you see, it’s never deceptive, nor hidden, yet it will pin point the lust, identify it, give us a means to free.
Natural man sets out to control the flesh, rather than be free of it. Attempting to control a lust, is not being free. The Spirit of Christ in us is fully able to free us, thus we are like a glass who can only hold so much, the more spiritual things we have in us, the less room for the lustful things. The goal then is to be free of the lustful nature, by being complete in the Christ nature. Sounds easy enough, until we engage in the doing.
An apple hanging on a branch identifies the tree as an apple tree, we wouldn’t see the apple then reason, “Oh an orange tree”. When we see love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, or temperance we know they are displays of the Spirit. However, if we see idolatry would it be the manifested lust of idolatry? Maybe yes, maybe no. The lust could be acceptance, or wanting to be validated, thus the person is drawn by a lust to identify with something so they can feel accepted or superior. The lust then becomes a mask, manifesting in many evils, but the manifestation doesn’t always tell us the problem, or the source of the lust, but it does tell us there is a lust. The Fruit of the Spirit tells us the person has the Spirit, the manifestation of the flesh tells us they have a lust. The work of the Spirit in us in those one on one situations will identify the lust, in what is known as “discerning of spirits” (I Cor 12:10). The word Discerning in the phrase “discerning of spirits” is the Greek Diakrsis, meaning to Separate from another, or Divide in order to distinguish one from another. Not only does this apply to discerning the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of error, but it separates the manifested lust from the source. It is far better to deal with the source, then the manifested lust. Someone could be bitter, or hateful, yet the cure may be “you must forgive them”. Someone could be seeking validation for their position in the Body, yet it might manifest as pride, or wanting to be superior.
Jesus told us if we think continually on adultery, plan it out, fantasize about it day after day, then we are prone to commit it. The premise shows it’s the lust working inside, simply controlling the lust isn’t free of it, rather it produces a day to day conflict without victory. Self-righteousness is not the means to be free of the lust, it’s a means to control it to a point. The Pharisees proved they could control the eye gate, but they used pride as a guard. Some of us do the same, we walk around like the three monkeys, we close the eye gate, shut up the ear gate, but keep the pride door wide open. Gates are not the answer, we may end putting a gate of hell in place. Exposure, cleaning and perfection in the Holy Spirit is always the answer.
Jesus promised us Victory, therein lays our hope. The mere occasional thought is a conflict, but as James says, when the lust is conceived it brings forth sin (James 1:15). Some of us have a thought, then think “Oh well, Jesus said if we think it, we did it, I’m done for”. Not so, the language used by Jesus shows a constant deliberation, or allowing the lust to occupy our mind. To the Jewish mindset a person was more righteous if they desired some forbidden food, yet refused it, than a person who never thought about eating the forbidden food. The teaching of Jesus was showing the Jewish concept was completely wrong, the person who knows they have a problem, yet deals with it in a Godly manner is just as righteous as the person who has overcome the lust and is no longer effected by it. It’s the person who ignores the lust or keeps playing with it, who becomes the prey for the devil.
Paul told us not to give place to the devil, which is the same as giving opportunity to the darkness. The premise shows if we can give place, we can take it away. We have the keys, the Cross of Jesus made the devil ineffective (destroyed); we tread on all the works of the enemy. However, we nonetheless have a warfare, what then do we war against? Galatians tells us the desires, or passions of the flesh, yet there are others. We must always remember we are members of the Body of Christ, all things are under the feet of Jesus. We have the authority and power to rule over these hindering elements, but we also know the lust will entice us by pleasure, fear, a false sense of acceptance, or any number of fleshly elements.
A perfect example of ability in warfare is the concept of Submission, not a very popular subject, but if understood the premise, it gives us a great insight to authority and power. At the fall Eve was told, “your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16). From then on she had no choice, if she refused, she was in rebellion. If we are forced to submit to a person or organization we are in a form of slavery, or still subject to the fall nature; however, in the New Testament we are taught “to submit”, meaning we have the authority to do so, completely reversing the fall nature. Submission is simply not interfering with the process, it avoids arguments, controlling others, refuses to cause strife, or division, neither does it get mad when people are not doing what we want them to. If we have the power to submit, it’s a far cry from having to submit. The difference is we make the decision to submit, in the world man is forced to submit. Two completely different means, yet both involve the word “Submit”.
We are told to love one another, again a choice we have to make; thus we are not forced to love one another. If we are Born Again we have the ability to love and submit, yet in doing either we have not given up our Kingdom position. We are still the ones who make the decision, thus we do it by choice. The Kingdom order is far different from the worldly order. Belief is also a matter of choice, thus we can make the decision to believe, or not to, or we can even believe in unbelief.
Mercy and belief are natural, or supernatural elements, anyone can make the choice to believe, or refuse to; just as they can make the choice to apply Mercy or not. We have an added advantage; by the Cross we gained the Mercy of the Father, and the Breath of Jesus to forgive as we are forgiven, but when we add the Spirit to the equation we can produce Living Water (Mercy with Life) from within. Nonetheless, the evidence in the Bible shows believing or not believing is by choice. The children crossed the Red Sea by faith, but failed to believe in the wilderness. There are some who claim they believe Jesus is raised from the dead, yet they also hold many areas of unbelief. Someone can believe in one thing, yet fail to believe other Scriptural premises. Areas of unbelief are calling cards for deception, they will produce fables, or make traditions of men doctrine. Therefore, we war to be secure in Belief so our Faith has a sound platform of knowledge.
On the same note we don’t want to face the same lust day after day, we don’t want to fight it day after day, we want to be free indeed. Galatians 5:24-26 gives us a clue to resistance helping us in all this, “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another”. This also defines Submission is not provoking or envying one another, the opposite would be seeking “vain glory”. Keeping our eyes on Jesus is always a matter of warfare, we see others in the Body doing so well, yet here we are. The seeds of envy are deceptive, yet they can take our eyes off Jesus, causing us to end minding the flesh.
The obvious elements of “vain glory” and “envying” are clues, there are those who desire to be the special of the special, the greater of the greatest. They want revival, but only so they can appear more holy than all the other churches in the area. They want signs and wonders, but only to validate their existence in the Body. They want their own special revelation, or position making them greater than the others, it’s all vain glory, based in envy, produced by the spirit lusting to envy. Does it mean revival is wrong? Not at all, but we must allow the Holy Spirit to discern the Intent from the Thought to determine our motive, as we allow the Holy Ghost to bring revival.
One of the basic rules in warfare is Godly priority, Paul tells us Jesus is far above all principality, power, might, dominion, and every name named (Eph 1:21-23). We are of the Body of Jesus making us also above elements, yet any of us can find ourselves giving worship to the things of God, rather than giving worship to the Lord. We can chase after the anointing, making it a god. We can worship leaders, known as mentor worship, or we can worship our faith, or even worship the ministry God gave us. Keeping elements in their proper position is a matter of knowledge and warfare.
The Cross is the place where the flesh ends, and we begin. We must accept the premise and concept of the Cross by faith before it will work for us. Our natural minds demand “evidence”, but faith is the evidence of the unseen. We imputed the flesh dead, so does it look like it? Not hardly, but faith says it’s so, thus we can be moved by what we see, or the promise by faith. When we were endued with Power from on High, we gained the Spirit, the proof of the Resurrection of Jesus, assuring us we have imputed the flesh dead.
Positions in the Body are appointed by Jesus, ordained by the Holy Ghost, then recognized by leadership. If we are called, the calling will form us into the position. The self-appointed make the outward appearance of having a position, but in truth they lack the anointing, calling, or evidence of the position. An area of warfare is allowing the anointing of the calling to work in us until the time “thou are called” becomes “thou are in position”.
James tells us about the spirit lusting to envy, Paul points to the same thing, only uses a different phrase, as does John. Paul tells us the spirit of man knows the things of man, but is completely ignorant of the things of the Spirit of God, yet the spirit of the world is opposed to the Spirit which is of God (I Cor 2:11-12). Asking the spirit of man what God is doing is foolishness, yet some of us depend on the world for our information. The he in the world is a product of the spirit of the world, it’s against us, or anti the Spirit of Truth, thus it operates in the flesh. Making the he in the world flesh based, it uses self-righteousness in some degree as validation. Our war is to join to the Greater He to vacate the he in the world from our lives.
We are to put our Trust In God, yet we can slip into an area where we are trusting in God to perform to our expectations. We trust people to do what they should, but we don’t put our trust in them. When we put our trust in anyone or anything we are relaying on them to protect us, deliver us, keep us secure, meet our need, save us, or keep us safe. When we put our trust in the world system we are setting ourselves up for disappointment, fear, or a fall. This connects to Paul telling us the spirit of man knows nothing regarding the things of the Spirit of God, we must have the Spirit which is of God to know the things of God. The spirit of the world is the perversion of the Christ nature, it is the spirit of error, the error being it assumes it is Godly, yet it concerns itself with worldly matters as it seeks all sorts of fleshly things, personal vindication, performance, being the elite of the elite, wanting to appear more holy than the holy; more righteous, than the righteous; more moral than anyone else, yet it’s only for appearance sake by using the same fallen nature in a religious mode.
Envy is not the lust, the lust is motivated by envy, thus when given power, the lust will manifest in some form, whether it’s idolatry, legalist thinking, pride, ego, witchcraft, slander, or some other ungodly trait. The Spirit of Truth will remove the lust by inducing some attribute of God, thus, rather than fight the lust, we find we can be free of it by the Spirit of Truth.
Some people just give up attempting to fight the lust with the flesh, when they give up they allow the lust to operate, then they enter the illusion of “false freedom”. The lust will convince them they are “free”, but in truth they are in more bondage than before. The illusion is the person equating to the flesh, rather than hearing the Spirit. They become tired of fighting day after day, but their problem was using the wrong weapons. They fought the flesh with the flesh, one day they just gave up by allowing the flesh to have its way. They become convinced it’s “okay”, since they are not fighting they assume they are free, but it’s an illusion. They end masking the lust in a false sense of holiness, the most dangerous of all illusions. The Spirit will bring many areas to the surface as the Newness of God begins to become resident. When these lusts surface we Jump for Joy, we Rejoice, for the time of freedom is at hand. James tells us to rejoice when we fall, we in the Kingdom are the only ones who can. Why? It’s time to be cleansed by the Spirit, as the Word saves our souls (James 1:21).
The Word of God in us will explore the root of the problem, bring it to the surface, then work with us in removing it. When the lust surfaces it’s not the time to grab the tongs of self-righteousness in some attempt to keep it at arm’s length. It’s a time to submit to the Spirit, admit the lust or tare is not of God. The “feeling” may be enticing us, we may even play with it for a moment or two, but our concern over the things of Jesus will out weigh the feeling of the lust. The internal conscience of the Spirit will also convict us when we venture into places we should not be. However, guilt and conviction are different, guilt means we are found guilty, condemned without recourse; conviction points out the problem, then gives us the recourse to be free.
Someone once asked, “are you saying Jesus would be mad at me for hating a person?”. That is not the question, rather the question is, “do we care if Jesus would be mad?”. Or, do we care if Jesus would be disappointed? A Christian cares what Jesus thinks, as faith sets itself to please God; however when the flesh takes control we really don’t care what Jesus thinks, as the lust by the flesh is guiding us. We have to remind ourselves, and the flesh it is imputed dead on the Cross of Jesus, as we move on to the Power of the Resurrection.
Self-faith is a mind game twisting the premise into pleasing the self, thus it thinks if it’s happy, so is God. Two different types of applying faith, but only one is Faith in God. Balaam felt if he was happy, so was God, but found an angel in the road ready to remove his head.
Our desire is to be free, as we become Spiritual in nature, yet it must be greater than our desire to hold to the envying lust. The war is on, the conflict is manifest, the flesh is on one side, the Spirit on the other, we’re right in the middle. The flesh will use the lust of importance, the lust of justice, the desire for validation, or some false sensation to lead us down the road of destruction, yet it’s an illusion. The person likes the feeling of pride, validation or vindictiveness, yet the lusts are fall centered, purposed to kill us. Warfare is not for the weak of heart, it’s for those who have the seriousness of Grace in hand.
We presume since we say, “In the Name of Jesus” everything we are doing is within the proper Authority, but power used outside of the authority is rebellion. We can use a Godly principle, but apply a lustful desire as the means of performance, yet still say the words “In the Name of Jesus”. When the Spirit begins to expose the lust, don’t you think the same lust will attempt to get us to use the Name of Jesus against the Spirit? Yes, the conflict of the flesh is always to get us to use something of God in an ungodly manner. How can we avoid it? Knowledge is the first weapon for those engaged in proper warfare. As students we want to define the concept as the Bible does, thus let’s find the phrase “Spiritual warfare”. We grab our sturdy Concordance, then search the New Testament listings under “Spiritual” for “Spiritual warfare”. Didn’t find any, must have overlooked it, let’s try again. Still didn’t find one reference, perhaps the Old Testament will help. We search again, yet in the entire Bible we never find the phrase “spiritual warfare”. Yikes! We’re already in trouble. The phrase may not be there, but the concept is. Ephesians tells us we war against the Wiles of the devil, in Romans we war against being judgmental, Corinthians tells us we are against remaining carnal, and so on.
There is internal evidence and external evidence, the internal tells us there is a warfare, while pointing out the limits. For instance we know we don’t war against flesh and blood, people are not the problem, it’s our soulish reaction toward them becoming the problem. We know from First Corinthians the carnal engage in a type of warfare wherein flesh and blood are their enemies, but is it the same type of warfare the spiritual engage in? No. We also know from First Corinthians one can have the Spirit, yet not be spiritual. They used carnal weapons in a carnal manner, yet the carnal minded use the spirit of man, not the Spirit of Truth. If spiritual matters are foolishness to the carnal mind, surely the carnal mind can’t understand the things of the Spirit which is of God. The carnal mind hasn’t a clue to what a spiritual weapon is, yet they will use the Name of Jesus in a second when the event is not pleasing to them. We must receive the Spirit by the baptism with the Holy Ghost, then become spiritual in nature, then we are able to fight the good fight of faith. After it’s settled, we must then define battlefields, as we understand spiritual principles.
Let’s define areas, first no one is Spiritual without the Spirit of Christ. If the Holy Ghost teaches comparing Spiritual to Spiritual, and Paul told the Corinthians they were carnal and unable to understand Spiritual matters, it shows having the Spirit doesn’t make us Spiritual, yet the only way we can become Spiritual is by the Spirit. The world defines words and phrases in all sorts of ways, one of those words they fail to define Biblically is “spiritual”. To the world anything “supernatural” is spiritual, even a person who smells flowers, or dances through the garden with a smile is “spiritual” to the world, but to God the only spiritual beings on this earth are those who walk by the Spirit of Christ. It stands in order to conduct spiritual warfare, one must not only have the Spirit, they must be Spiritual. Meaning our souls are more prone to understand spiritual matters, thus the Holy Ghost being Spiritual teaches the New Man who is also Spiritual, but if our souls are yet carnal, we won’t understand the spiritual, or we will twist it into the carnal.
The Fall proves many things, among them is how a spirit, even an angel who is spiritual will lose their spiritual ability when they use wicked and evil ways. The devil losing his spiritual ability has to tell us he fights from a carnal, natural position, thus he is limited to the things common (natural) to man. This also shows us the devil hasn’t a clue to the things of the Spirit of God, or the Spiritual realm. When he used the tree to gain his lustful desire, he also limited himself to a realm completely void of discerning spiritual matters. We have the advantage, authority and power in hand to win this. This is not to be confused with the “common faith”, which points to the Faith of Jesus, as means for the entire Body.
It makes little sense to use something carnal to fight the devil, we are only adding fuel to his fire of hell, not putting it out. Therefore we find the phrase “spiritual warfare” is not fighting the spiritual, but fighting from the spiritual. “Oh wait, Paul said we war against spiritual wickedness”; how true. The word Wickedness is the Greek Poneria meaning Iniquity, thus the phrase “spiritual wickedness” means A failure to be spiritual, or failing at being spiritual when one has the ability to be spiritual. We war against moving to a carnal area to conduct warfare, which would be an unequal approach, or iniquity. This iniquity can only occur in high places (Eph 6:12), which could also read heavenly places, thus the only ones who can commit this act are those in heavenly places. This is the exact problem the Corinthians suffered from, having the Spirit, but failing to be spiritual; their position was above one realm, but they were failing to be Spiritual, although they had the Spirit. How would we combat spiritual wickedness? By being Spiritual. How do we do that? By minding the Spirit in us.
What would be a good manner to combat “spiritual wickedness”? How about, “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph 4:13). The word “unto” is used twice indicating a war in the process of progress. What would be the failure? “that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles who walk in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over to lasciviousness to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Eph 4:17-19). The flesh desires to walk in the flesh, while minding the things associated to the flesh. The Spirit is preparing us to enter the highest heaven, two completely different premises. Going back to Genesis we find the flesh was formed of the ground, the same ground God saw as void and in darkness, thus the flesh has a tendency to chase after the darkness.
We’ve looked at the word Iniquity, finding it means Not doing something we’re suppose to, or being unequal; however in the area of warfare let’s take it a step further. If we fall into the area of spiritual wickedness what would follow? Sin? Yes, there are all sorts of manifested sins connected to the Iniquity of failing to be spiritual. One example is obvious, the Corinthian Carnal attitude of strife, envy and division. Another would the lust to be superior over other members in the Body, next would be the legalist mindset where they lie in wait to deceive (Eph 4:14). This type of Iniquity is an action against the Spirit, it can only be committed by those who have the ability and opportunity to do something of the Spirit, yet fail to do it while doing something else. One sign is a disrespect of the anointing on others, or the offices. They attempt to validate themselves for failing to do what they should be doing. This ends in a “Lord, Lord haven’t we….”, attitude. We want to avoid spiritual wickedness, thus we walk in the Spirit, or at least try to.
Jesus rebuked the “workers of iniquity”, not the “sinners”. It would be difficult to equate iniquity as transgression when faced with the sayings in the New Testament. “Depart from Me you workers of Iniquity” coupled with, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (I Tim 1:15). Why would Jesus come to save sinners, only to reject them when they do things in His Name? Not only does it fail to make sense, it goes against the nature of Jesus. It wasn’t what they did, it was what they failed to do, making them unequal. Therefore we find our warfare in the area of “spiritual iniquity” is to follow the Spirit, remain spiritual in nature, as we conduct acts of mercy by the New nature. Sounds easy enough, but we know the flesh will resist us.
We must know there are ways to conduct warfare; Paul said we can mind the flesh, or mind the Spirit. On one hand we find carnal minded people using the carnal mind to combat the flesh: they use all sorts of formulas, words and concepts, but in the end they have done nothing more than enter self-righteousness by using the flesh to control the flesh. They say things to believe them, rather than speak because they do believe. The Bible tells us, “as I believe so have I spoken” (II Cor 4:13), it doesn’t say, “as I speak I will believe”. Saying things as a matter of habit, and saying things based on our belief are much different.
If we follow the Spirit, then we treat the flesh as if its dead, because we gained a New Body, known as the Body of Christ. We center more on doing the things of the Spirit, producing the Fruit of the Spirit. When Paul introduced this concept there were some who said, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin so Grace may bound” (Rom 6:1). There are those who would suggest we are merely ignoring the flesh, or not dealing with it. Not so, we deal with the flesh by the Spirit, rather than use the mind to control the flesh. The Cross is the place where the devil, the lusts of the devil, the wiles of the devil, and the darkness become ineffective. We must accept the premise of the Cross, not one Christian would say they didn’t believe Jesus died for them, but they must also accept the death in their place. We must understand and hold to, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the Faith of the Son of God, who loves me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20). Since Paul used “Son of God” he also pointed to the Resurrection (Rom 1:3-4). If we don’t accept the premise we won’t truly believe we are dead and buried with Christ, meaning we won’t believe we will be raised by the Same Spirit who raised Jesus, rather we will continue to use carnal weapons claiming to be spiritual. Using anger against anger means the chance of survival in warfare is questionable, but use Light to overpower darkness we not only do good, but gain peace in the victory.
We have heard about Spiritual Warfare, but there is also Supernatural Warfare, we must use both the Supernatural and Spiritual in proper balance. Before the Cross the disciples did many things, many wonderful things, but none of them were spiritual in nature. We do engage in Supernatural warfare by the Mercy of the Father, laying hands on the sick, casting out devils, preaching mercy are all elements of the supernatural; the problem comes when we engage in supernatural warfare, thinking it’s spiritual. Spiritual warfare is based on clarity, as we understand the wiles of the enemy, and how to defeat them.
We know the Spirit wasn’t given until Jesus was glorified by the Resurrection, thus no one is going to be Spiritual without the Spirit. The disciples had Supernatural Power to do many things in the Name of Jesus, thus the Name of Jesus has two facets, one is Supernatural based in Mercy, the other Spiritual based in Grace. Although the disciples before the Cross did supernatural things, they had no idea what the spiritual entailed. The Supernatural is based on Mercy based on being in the Rock; it gives us power over devils, but only Grace gives us power over the Wiles of the devil.
A basic conflict for the Christian is the war between the natural reasoning we were raised with, and faith reasoning, which are contrary to one another. Natural reasoning uses “facts”, but faith looks at Truth. Whatever Jesus said is Truth, but facts speak as well. Faith has to be based in more than a religious concept, it has to have a basis, a foundation, with something from God to generate it. Faith based in a mind game is short lived at best, faith in God sustains. However, some battles we engage in are self-induced, we may be talking to someone about “faith”, but have failed to apply it to ourselves. Rather than discuss the concept, we find we’re in a debate. Did we have the correct information to support our position? Did we have a stronghold, yet presume they had one? How did we approach them? Were we attempting to prove ourselves right? Or were we attempting to persuade them to the Truth? Are we attempting to impress them, rather than win them over? Those are all issues of Armor preparation, something as much a conflict, as the battle itself.
Then we have the battle after the battle, the time when pride wants to move in and steal the glory. “Oh yes, my faith saw me through”, “I pay my tithe, and God delivered me”, “I prayed for angels to watch over them, and they saw angels”. Self-righteous statements come from the flesh attempting to claim the deliverance was somehow self-imposed. If the truth were known we would have to admit we were shaking in our armor, but after the battle, we stand up with our chest puffed out bragging in the deliverance. There is a battle after the battle we must fight, or we will end stealing the glory from God. Perhaps one of the better ways to win the battle is when we catch ourselves taking the glory, we stop look at the person and admit, “God delivered me, I was so scared it wasn’t funny”.
Many of our conflicts with others involve Mercy and Wisdom, mercy is based in forgiveness, pride is based in validation. God’s Wisdom is spiritual in nature, thus the combination of the Supernatural Mercy with the Spiritual Wisdom produce the victory. Mercy is the constant state of mind prepared to forgive, even when there is no cause. Jesus never told us to wait until they apologize, we are to forgive, even if they never know we did.
Any of us can over anticipate what we think should happen, we begin to minister to someone, thinking they will jump for joy. Yet, they have a stronghold, not only do they fight the ministry, but they attack us. What happened? The most common of all confusions, mistaking our anticipation as faith. We attempted to anticipate what should happen, when it didn’t, we got mad, or frustrated, in some cases we just give up. Faith in God, and natural anticipation are much different. Here we are with our good intentions, yet there they are making nasty cutting remarks, attacking, or using carnal manipulation to gain superiority. If we get mad, it ends in carnal combat, yet the very trick of the enemy was for us to move from Godly wisdom to carnal behavior. If we remain in constant Godly warfare we are prepared to apply Mercy and Wisdom in the face of adversity. Flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom (I Cor 15:50).
There are many things we can do under the Unction of God’s mercy; casting out devils is based in the same power and authority as baptizing others, but there are some things we can see are missing as well. Prior to the Cross and Pentecost the disciples were never told to minister in word to anyone, they never gave each other spiritual advise, really just the opposite was the case. The only ministering they did was in deed, not word. Peter’s mother-in-law ministered by cooking, Mary ministered unto the Lord by deed, Martha by cooking, others by deed, but they didn’t give words of Wisdom or Knowledge. When Peter did get a word from the Father he didn’t know it was from the Father until Jesus told him. Just a few verses later Peter gets another word from Satan, yet he didn’t know the source until Jesus told him (Matt 16:17 & 16:22-23). The first rule to engaging in spiritual warfare is knowing the intent of our thoughts, as the Word in us is dividing and separating so we know the source before we speak. It doesn’t take a change in nature to cast out devils, preach the kingdom at hand, or lay hands on people, but it does take a change in nature to determine the source of the intent.
Patience is a weapon of our warfare, we place our faith on the hope, the Holy Ghost would never tell us to do something unless it were possible for us to do. Patience keeps us from walking on the water, casting our anchor early, or venturing off in some area we should not be. Abraham believed God when the evidence seemed impossible, but did the evidence always seem impossible as far as he was concerned? No, Ishmael proved it wasn’t the case. God didn’t repair the reproductive organs of Abraham, rather we find the Promise had a time and timing in God’s hand which involved one man and one woman so the two could be One (Heb 11:12).
Hagar and Ishmael are a lesson, displaying the result when we fail to submit to God’s timing. After God made the promise, time passed, Sarah began to question who was at fault. The same premise can happen when we make self-determinations when God should act, “I’ve been standing for a week, but I don’t see any results, someone is holding this up”. How many times have we said that? Time to make the prophecy come to pass, time to force something to happen. No, prophecy proves itself, we don’t make it come to pass, we prepare to enter it. Sarah tested the promise, Ishmael was the result. An entire religious system centers around Ishmael, as brother still hates brother. Although God talked to Abraham and Hagar about Ishmael, although God heard Ishmael, God never spoke directly to Ishmael. The only reliable information we have on Ishmael and Hagar is found in Genesis and Galatians. Who was Hagar? A princess? A queen? No, a handmaiden, a slave from Egypt, thus the women of Ishmael are more than likely treated as slaves. Who was the free woman? Sarah, so her daughters should be free. Peter tells us Sarah was not alarmed at the words of “amazement”, but “trusted in God”, submitting to her husband, calling him lord (I Pet 3:1-6). She didn’t trust in Abraham, she trusted in God, yet she submitted to her husband, based on her trust in God. However, she also questioned the time and timing of the promise. When Abraham said “tell them you are my sister”, she did, yet she didn’t lie either, since she was his half-sister. So are there variables in the term Submission? We found to be forced to submit is not the same as the Christian making the decision, but is there more? Sarah submitted for the moment, it was the time and timing calling for patience where she wavered.
In Acts chapter 5 we find Sapphira, from the context it would appear as if she submitted to her husband and died; however, she didn’t submit, she joined in his folly, then paid the price (Acts 5:1-11). The difference may not seem great, but between the examples we learn much. Sarah is an example of “submission”, with the added concept of trusting in God; Sapphira is an example of what one might call “submission”, but she didn’t trust in God, in truth she remained silent when Submission should have spoken. Submission without trusting in God will end to a slavery mentality. Submission doesn’t mean to remain silent, since Sara did speak, thus we can submit, yet voice a Godly concern by a peaceable attitude. If the other person rejects the warning, we don’t attempt to force them to submit to our submission, neither do we join to their folly.
Sapphira is a prime example of someone who thinks the word Submit means “be silent and obey”. Sapphira didn’t say a word to her husband when she knew what he was doing was wrong, it’s not submission, it’s what Adam did to his wife. Sapphira engaged in the evil, then lied to the Holy Ghost; Sarah told the truth, two completely different things. There is also a vast difference between a kind word of warning, and a frying pan across the skull. Sarah was not Born Again, but she knew the power of Godly submission, she didn’t lie for her husband, she called him lord, honored him, yet Trusted in God, thus God delivered her. Why did she Trust in God? The Promise, she knew from her would come the promise, her womb was protected; she knew it. We are protected by the Unction over the Body, yet we can give the devil place (opportunity).
How can anyone love as Christ without the same Spirit as Christ? How can a husband love as Christ Loves the Church if they have no idea how Christ loves the Church? Does Christ beat the Church into submission? Does He manipulate it? Belittle it? Does He tell it to remain silent? Does He make jokes about it? No, He guides and instructs, but always allows choice. The desire is for the two to operate as One, it’s only going to happen when they are one in the Faith by the Spirit. Attempting to be One, yet lacking the wherewithal is not going to work, it only forms ungodly soul-ties where one personality is stronger, or controlling the other. Not all the advise we get from our mate is going to be “right”, but it doesn’t allow us to turn a deaf ear either. Listen, discern, and join together in Peace. “Oh you mean compromise”. No, compromise is different, marriage is the joining of two halves to make a total, the problem arises when either one of those halves thinks it’s the total. Compromise is giving up something we feel is correct to gain favor, or settle a dispute, it’s not the same as submission.
Submission is basically avoiding debates, not inserting opinions, allowing many things to proceed as God intends, yet if we know the other is about to interfere with what God intends, we must make it known. We submit to the powers of the world, which simply means we don’t attempt to interfere in the Plan, yet we do voice concern by preaching the Truth in love. Jesus didn’t overthrow Rome, but He did clean out the temple, yet He didn’t take it over. Therefore, a lust based in fear regarding the world will cause us to attempt to make the world the kingdom, yet we are called to pull the called out of the fire (Jude 22-24).
Many times in our walk we will find the concept of “submit” merely means to allow things to continue on their given paths. Carnal minded people want to make the world a comfortable place, or make the world Christian, yet the world is not Christian. How can we force the spirit of man to be Christian? We are separated from the world, we are not called to make the world the Kingdom. Submission has a voice, it will warn, it will provide evidence of the result of taking the wrong course, but it will not manipulate, or force change.
One of our main weapons is Forgiveness, thus we find the enemy may have send someone to hurt us so deeply, even to the point where forgiveness seems completely out of the question, even beyond impossible. So much so we reject the premise of forgiveness, settling for the illusion of God allowing us to carry the hate and bitterness. The prayer of faith is to obtain God’s Wisdom, one of the attributes to God’s Wisdom is “full of mercy”, giving us the ability to forgive. Mercy is a supernatural power, often forgiveness is a matter of desire based in faith. We know it pleases God for us to forgive, but in the present it just seems impossible, yet by faith we project to the Hope, knowing God’s Mercy forgave us, it is surely able to empower us to forgive. Faith in prayer begins by looking for the hope of the manifestation of forgiveness, based on our knowledge of the power of God’s Mercy.
When we speak of Warfare most of us think of Ephesians 6:10-18, presuming those few verses cover all there is to know about Warfare, but we would be very wrong. The entire letter to the Ephesians touches on 6:10-18 in some manner, but we must have a starting place; Ephesians 6:10-18 seems like the place. Ephesians 6:10 begins with “finally, my brethren”, giving us several clues, the word Finally means concluding, or summing up the information already given, thus connecting to the rest of the letter. Next we find the word “brethren”, showing he is talking to Christians about something to do with being a Christian. Then we are told to be “strong in the Lord”, in the “power of His might” (Eph 6:10). This Conclusion has to connect to something already talked about, thus Ephesians began with a prayer from Paul, in the prayer we find, “and what is the exceeding greatness of His Power to us-ward who believe according to the working of His mighty power” (Eph 1:19). The first premise is Believe; although the English word “power” is seen twice in this verse, we find they are two different Greek words. First, “the exceeding greatness of His power” is the Greek Dunamis (Power), a word we are familiar with. Basically Dunamis means The granted ability to be able or capable to deal with the event, or complete the assigned task at hand. In the case of Jesus it’s not merely Dunamis but the “exceeding greatness”. From this we find there is a Dunamis granted unto Mercy, one unto Grace, yet the false prophet also has Dunamis which can only do evil. The false prophet has the power to seduce the Woman, but he in no way can save her. The word Exceeding is the Greek Huperballo meaning Beyond, it relates to someone tossing something further than it need be, in this case it means more than what is required. The context here in Ephesians means we have more than it takes to reach the intended goal, even the salvation of our souls. This is evident when we see the word Greatness is the Greek Megethos meaning Immeasurable, it would appear Paul is being redundant, but he is not; we find the Dunamis given us goes well beyond what is required to the point it is immeasurable. Having a little more than is required is more than enough, but having so much one can’t measure it shows we are in a win situation.
Then in verse 19 is the phrase “mighty power”, the word for Power is the Greek Kratos meaning Manifested power, or dominion, it’s more closely related to Strength (Greek Ischus), than to the Greek Dunamis, since it relates to Dominion it points to being in the Kingdom. The word Mighty is the Greek Ischus meaning Strength, or to have a mental or moral ability, it relates to an inherent power, whereas Dunamis points more to ability, or capacity to perform. Ischus can mean an inner strength supporting the person’s resolve; both are great, they identify with the power of Jesus, but it doesn’t mean they are to be worshiped. In Ephesians 1:21 we find the word Might is the Greek Dunamis, but the word Dominion is the Greek Kuriotes meaning Authority or Magistracy, or Strength. They are listed as things Under the feet of Jesus, thus the Power didn’t make Jesus, Jesus made the Power. We as humans get it confused, as we look at the Power to identify the personage, but it would be error in the Kingdom. We look to Jesus, the source, not to the Power (the result). Does it mean we don’t desire the Power? Not at all, it means we don’t worship it.
The biggest battle the Babe in Christ fights is giving worship to things. Some worship the glory, some the anointing, some the power, some a position, some are impressed with being a Christian, rather than being impressed by Christ Jesus. We war against making things, even the things of God idols.
In the process we have to determine what “against” means, generally it means "opposed to", but there are various ways to apply opposition. Both James and Peter tell us to combat Pride we become Humble, thus we don’t battle Pride with Pride, nor anger with anger, nor manipulation with the flesh, neither do we humble ourselves to gain Pride, rather we put our minds on being Humble (without argument) in the hand of God. In this manner we accomplish two things, we have sought the hand of God for protection, thus God gives Grace to the Humble, yet resists the proud. If one is carnal they will put on the mask of humbleness, but inside they are proud of their efforts. The world knows by acting humble you will gain favor from man, but we are to be humble by nature under the Mighty hand of God, much different.
In Ephesians 6:11 we are told to war "against" the wiles of the devil, the word Against is the Greek Pros meaning With, This is not Against as in using what is against us, but against something by not using what is against us. The case of pride being defeated by humbleness would be an example. If the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God, then our weapons must be obtained from God, not the world.
The Greek Pros comes from the Greek Pro which means "with" as in joined to something. In Ephesians 6:12 this is clearer when we see another Greek word for Against in the phrase, "not against flesh and blood" as the Greek word Esti meaning To be like. "Yeah, this is about as clear as mud". In the phrase "against the wiles of the devil" the word Against means we war not to use the wiles of the devil, by using something completely opposite, something not available to the devilish nature. In the phrase "against flesh and blood" it means we don't war by using flesh and blood, nor do we war as those who are flesh and blood minded, nor do we consider flesh and blood our enemy. When a person attacks us, the “natural response” is to attack them back, or at the very least make it personal in nature. The Spiritual response is much different, the Spiritual looks beyond the person to the purpose of the attack. In many cases the purpose of the attack is to get us to use some wile of the devil, thus we find people are not our problem, although many times it seems so. It’s what‘s behind the person becoming the problem, the armor of God protects us, while allowing us to see the nature of the problem, or the source of the attack. We have the advantage, we can gain, there is always a Precious waiting for us to find. When we take the blows as personal in nature, we will retaliate; yet the Armor of God is there to take the blows so we can remain calm in the face of the storm.
Jesus told Peter, “get you behind Me Satan”, was Peter Satan? No, he was being used by the things of man, thus Jesus rebuked the source, while at the same time rebuking Peter for using the source. Do we need to rebuke the wiles of the devil to stand against them as Jesus did? At times, but not always, we pray FOR the brethren, yet our prayer request is for utterance to be given unto us, so we may open our mouths to make known the mystery of the Gospel (Eph 6:19). Warfare according to the prayer request of Paul is internal, in order to be used of the Holy Ghost to gain converts.
Jesus prayed for Peter, thus we find the warfare in the case of Peter being sifted by Satan is a lesson in and of itself. Did Jesus stop the sifting? No, He allowed it, but He did pray for Peter, then said, “when you are converted”, knowing the outcome would be in Peter’s favor. Jesus allowed the sifting to take place, but saved Peter through it. At times the situation we face is for our own good, yet the event itself may not seem so.
All this shows, we can be Against something by being For something completely the opposite of what we’re against. We can be against anger, by walking in Peace, Love and a Sound Mind. We can be against disparity by holding to Hope, against unbelief by belief.
The world counters a “right cross” with a “left hook” thinking they used something different, not so. We can’t use manipulation to counter anger, it’s still using a wile of the devil against a wile of the devil. The very meaning behind, “turn the other cheek” means we don’t use the same method used against us. We use “another” way, we don’t retaliate, manipulate, make plans to get even, rather we use a Godly method to gain a Godly result.
It seems like Paul is running on both sides of the road when it comes to warring against “flesh and blood”; we know he talks about the "them", yet he tells us we don't war against the "them". In essence we look beyond the them to the motivation, or tools used, or better what is motivating them. If one lays in wait to deceive, we don't lay in wait to deceive to get even. If they use manipulation, we don't use manipulation to trap them. The world calls it, "giving them a taste of their own medicine", but it’s the point, it’s how the world deals with it, not how we deal with it. The only way we can give them a taste of their own medicine is to be like them, hardly victory.
By looking at some of the Greek words we gain a picture of warfare as the world uses it; yet those same Greek words also give us insight in how we should deal with conflicts. “Yeah, well all I have to do is walk in the Spirit”. True, but how many people use anger, or manipulation yet call it “spiritual”? Far too many, thus there are signs to show us the source. We see someone attacking another by using anger, manipulation, or belittling them, then they turn around and say, “That was prophetic”, or “the Lord wanted them to know that”. In our minds we hear “What???”. We know they used uncontrolled anger, then justified it. Even if we slip and use some wile, we must be quick to repent, thus we never justify ungodly behavior.
While in Ephesians 1:19 we notice the word Principality, thus it also has a connection to Ephesians 6:12. The Greek word for Principality is Arche, which was also translated as Beginning. A Principality is a place, not a person, it also identifies the Prince who belongs to it. There is the Principality of darkness, but there is also the Principality of Peace. There is a Principality of Disobedience, but there is also one of Obedience (Eph 2:2). The phrase, “In the Beginning was the Word” uses the Greek Arche for the word Beginning. Basically a Principality is a dominion within a kingdom or nation, it is not the entire kingdom, but a part of it. So it is with a beginning, the beginning is the starting place, it is not the finish. For instance the Vatican is not Rome, but a Principality in Rome as a separate order found in another order. Rome is a city, it’s not a principality or a nation, or a kingdom. Italy is the nation, Rome a city within the nation, the Vatican a separate entity within the city, not ruled or governed by the city. In order for the Vatican to become a Principality it had to gain permission from the nation, thus the nation was really the kingdom. Once the Principality was granted, then the Vatican became a separate entity, yet it was still subject to the nation. Although we know Italy would never invade the Vatican, it would have the power to do so, since the Vatican is within the nations boundaries.
The prince of the power of the air is the devil, he is not the prince of the air, or the king of the air, the word power means Authority. There is an authority in the unseen natural air around us, but there is also an Authority in the higher air above this earth. Jesus is the Authority above all authorities, even over the authority of the prince of the authority of the air. Simply having a principality subject to the Lord doesn’t mean the principality is above the Lord. There isn’t one principality above Jesus, whether Peace, the Beginning of the Gospel, or any other Principality. One of the first areas of warfare is getting our priorities right, there is nothing higher than Jesus. Whether it’s the anointing, our local church, the Church, the Body of Christ, the Bible, the Power, the Glory, or the Name of Jesus, they are all subject to Jesus, we never worship the things of Christ, we worship Him who is Christ.
An aspect of Warfare far too often overlooked is the warfare of mercy; when someone attacks us personally, how do we react? Or better, do we respond or react? We can react by using a wile of the enemy, or we can respond as the Prince of Peace would. Mercy is the very glue keeping us in Grace, it’s the very element dividing the vessels of honor from those of dishonor (Rom 9:22-24). The workers of iniquity fail at Mercy, not Power (Matt 7:21-23).
Adam had a Principality and a Dominion, the Garden of Eden wasn’t the entire earth, it was a place within upon the face of the earth, if not, Adam could not be cast from it. It was a Dominion since it had a separate Power, if not, there could be no violation of the Commandment. Adam was then a “prince” identified by his Principality, thus he was a living soul, not a quickening spirit.
The Law of Moses is a power, since it has the ability to bless or curse. God doesn’t have to watch over the Law of Moses to make sure it operates, He ordained it to judge man. Therefore the Law of Moses is a principality as well, it is not all Israel is, neither is it the only Law from God. The Ten Commandments also are a power as the foundation for the Law of Moses (Col 2:14-16). The kingdom of heaven is a principality, it’s joined to the Kingdom of God, yet different. If we war against all Principalities, do we then fight the Gospel? Or the kingdom of heaven? No, there are some principalities we war against by not elevating them above measure, thus we never make a principality a “god” or “idol”. The Kingdom of God is within us, yet we don’t worship it, we worship by it.
We don’t do deeds of the Law of Moses to gain favor from God, since the Law of Moses has its place, we have ours. We war against disobedience by being obedient, thus the principality where the prince of the power of the air reigns is disobedience, whose subjects are called the children of disobedience (Eph 2:2-4). The foundational element to obedience is Mercy, God who is Rich in Mercy delivered us, yet by Grace, through faith we’re being saved (Eph 2:4-5). When we came to Jesus we were granted Mercy making us Living souls, the purpose of the Ingress Aires is to give us the ability to forgive to enter Life as a Living soul. Do we fight against it? No, not at all, we fight the temptation to remain as a living soul by becoming a Quickening Spirit, yet we never leave Mercy behind. It’s two-fold, we don’t want to remain at the Cross failing to move forward, but neither do we want to leave the Cross as we move forward.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace, showing Peace is a Principality, so do we fight against Peace? No, James tells us we should be fighting from Peace. Peace is an attribute given to us by the Wisdom of God, but it’s not all the Kingdom is. Peace without faith, hope and love accomplishes little, if anything. What kind of fight would this be? Seeking Peace, without seeking Jesus would be error, seeking Jesus knowing He is our Peace would be correct. At times we chase all the rainbows looking for something of God, yet fail to seek God who made the rainbow. Peace is an attribute, a very wonderful one, but it’s not to be worshiped. Peace, the anointing, the Kingdom, power, authority, and the many other things are given to us, they are all wonderful and honored, but they are not to be worshiped (or did we say that?).
The English word Principality (or Principalities) appears once in the Old Testament in Jeremiah 13:18 in the rebuke against Pride, showing the weapon to defeat pride is to be humble (Jere 13:18). In Jeremiah the word Principalities is the Hebrew Marashah meaning Headship, or Dominion, it refers to the position of the king and queen, or what made their position the center of their kingdom, yet it was not all the kingdom was. It would be akin to Jerusalem being the capital, or the dominion of the nation, yet it’s not the nation. New Jerusalem is the Bride of Christ, thus it’s not a principality, but a personage, yet the Bride is not to be worshiped, she is not God, she belongs to God.
The darkness is also a principality, since it had a beginning, it’s realm is the world, thus we fight to remain free of it by remaining as the Light. There are other principalities we fight to keep free of, disobedience is one, since it’s based in unbelief, thus we defeat disobedience when our obedience is fulfilled (II Cor 10:6). We don’t want to attempt to combat disobedience with disobedience, neither do we want to engage in a carnal conflict by using natural intellect; a type of conflict generally ending in a camel swallowing contest.
John the Baptist was not Born Again, didn’t raise the dead or lay hands on the sick, but he also knew those were not points of his ministry. The Pharisees equated holiness based on their position, rather than their heart, they even dressed to appear as “holiness”, but it didn’t make them holy. John told them God could raise stones to be children of Abraham, thus it wasn’t their birthright or position, but God who gave them the position. Signs and wonders are great, they follow the believer, but they are not to be worshiped or used to determine ones holiness. Signs and wonders are “things” of the Lord presented to us for a purpose, yet if all we do is center on signs and wonders we will miss the many things going on in the spiritual realm.
Holiness and Mercy are joined, thus God’s Mercy endures forever, since His Holiness is forever. We are to be as Holy and Merciful as our Father, we gain the Mercy of the Father when we forgive as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us. The Holiness comes with the New Man, when we become Spiritual, linking the Supernatural with the Spiritual. The Righteousness of Jesus is the Scepter of the Kingdom, we find the New Man is created (or formed, same Greek word) after God’s Righteousness. No amount of dress code, or religious facade is going to produce holiness, it’s an internal product. We can assume if we dress the part, we are the part: not so, as we believe so shall we speak, as we are internally, it will be manifested externally.
We as Christians don’t need to prove who we are, the New Man will prove Jesus through us, the meaning of “Jesus in the Flesh” (I Jn 4:1-4). When Christians begin to compromise they get into international religious competition, attempting to prove they are more holy then other religious orders, causing us to become earthly. Never depend on a comparison with the world as a sign of our holiness, the example is how God used Caiaphas to give a prophesy, yet Jesus said Caiaphas and the other religious leaders were of their father the devil (Jn 11:48-51 & 18:14). Caiaphas being the high priest was used of God, but it didn’t mean the man was holy (Jn 11:49). We are holy when God deals with us as children, but holiness is different. Holiness is based on having a holy internal character, thus God dealing with us imputes us as holy, but the New Man imparts God’s true holiness.
Worldly religions speak of “spiritual” , some even speak of “carnal”, but they confuse the issues, presuming man without the Spirit of Christ can be “spiritual”. They all use the same form of self-righteousness to control the “animal side” of man, yet in several cases we find they are only putting a harness on a mad horse, sooner or later it will be exposed as the vicious fall nature. Being a Christian means we are the only element on the face of the earth who can impute the flesh dead in order to gain the power of the Resurrection. No one is going to be Resurrected until they first die, it’s the Resurrection in us determining the spiritual; therefore, the Seal of the Holy Spirit is our assurance of having the Power of the Resurrection.
We know the false prophet and those who are antichrist in nature failed in the war of Mercy, they left the dominion of darkness, but still used the “authority” (Power in Ephesians 2:2) of the “air”. The term “air” in Ephesians 2:2 is not to be confused with the Air where the Raptured saints meet Jesus. The “air” for the prince of the power of the air is the unseen natural realm of the world, defined as disobedience. The Air where Jesus meets the saints is above the clouds at a place where there is no evil or darkness, an area higher than the natural realm of the earth, yet just short of the Throne of God.
Man still has power on the earth, he still names things like they belong to him, he can still change things on the face of the earth, cause growth, take it away, make desolate, or make it flourish. However, man is also subject to the suggestions from the “power of the air”, the power of suggestion will challenge God, ignore God, or twist what God has said, the three forms of disobedience. There are some perfect examples to how this prince operates, when the prince wants to begin his havoc he sends out a suggestion, someone receives it, then begins a thesis causing the project in be set in motion, thus man is taken by another fear. If God desires all to be saved, the prince of the power of the air desires all to be lost. Many, if not all, of man’s woes in the world are products of man listening to the prince of the power of the air, then allowing fear to produce the confession of fear to produce the woe. The spirit of fear is obvious in the world, it couples itself with the love of money. To the Christian it’s clear, the love of money rules the world system, thus the Mark of the Beast is based on buying and selling. Man fears many things, but the love of money is still a ruler of darkness, man fears losing it, or fears someone will take it. The world economy is the greatest concern for the world, the world gives money power making the love of money the root of all evil. Therefore we find money is a type of principality, it has a power granted to it by man, it rules in its realm, dictating what man can, or cannot do.
In the New Testament we find the word Principality or Principalities in Romans 8:38, Ephesians 1:21, 3:10 and 6:12, in Colossians 2:10, 1:16 and 2:15 and finally in Titus 3:1. Before we venture into those areas we want to look at the word “Principle”, which is also the Greek Arche in Hebrews 6:1 in the phrase “leaving the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ”, so does it mean we fight the Doctrine of Christ? No, does it mean we forget the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ? No, but it does show if we remain in the Rudiments of the Doctrine of Christ we will know about the repentance from dead works, faith toward God, the doctrine of baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment, but none of the other vital elements of the Doctrine of Christ, including our priestly duties. The phrase means to Leave the Principles, but not forget them.
In Colossians 1:16 we find Jesus created all Principalities, even if they are visible or invisible, thus they are subject to Him. In Colossians 2:10 we find Jesus is the Head or Authority over all Principalities and Powers (Authorities). Then in Colossians 2:15 Paul makes his point by saying Jesus having spoiled Principalities and Powers, making a show of them Openly, triumphing over them “in it”, in what? What is “It”? Going back to Colossians 2:14 we read ” blotting out the handwriting of ordinances against us, which was contrary to us, taking It out of the way, nailing It to His Cross”. There are a bunch of “it’s” here, but no “them”. What is the “IT” against us, which was also granted by God? The Law of Moses has Authority and Power since it can either bless or curse, it is not all the nation Israel, yet it is within the nation making it a Principality. It is also a dominion since it has power and authority over the people subject to it. It is not from whom the Law came, but to whom it was directed. The Law of Moses didn’t produce the Cross, since it was never intended to pass through the Cross. This is even clearer in Colossians 2:16 when we read, “Let no man therefore Judge you in Meat, or in Drink, or in Respect of a Holy Day, or of the New Moon, or of the Sabbath [days]”. Clearly those are elements attached to the Law of Moses; Paul isn’t saying let no man judge you for doing them, rather it’s let no man judge you for not doing them.
In Colossians 2:18 we find the “worshiping of angels”, which has three elements, one of importance for today. There are some who still worship angels, but the word Angels goes further than winged beings. People who deliver a Message are angels, yet we can exalt them above measure, which is mentor worship. Our favorite preacher is “our voice of God”, no one can say anything against them, or boy, oh boy they will feel our wrath. The men and women of God are to be honored, loved and respected, but never worshiped.
Another area is making angels our servants, which is the same as making a fellow servant in the Body our servant. We are servants, not because someone made us a servant, but because we made the choice to be a servant. The angels also made a choice to serve God, at the same time when the fallen angels left their first dominion. This is the same as submission, we make the choice to submit, but if someone makes us submit, we are forced slaves, rather than bond slaves. We are not told to make the angles of God our servants, they are sent to minister to those who “shall be heirs” of Salvation (Heb 1:14), but Romans 8:17 says we are Heirs, Heirs of God, and Joint Heirs with Christ. Angels have important tasks to perform, as we do. Angels take their commands from God, as we do. When John fell down before the archangel he was told by the angel, “See you do it not: for I am your fellow servant” (Rev 22:9). The word Fellow Servant is the Greek Sundoulos, meaning Fellow Slave by choice, or a servant of the same Lord in the same class (Col 1:17 & 4:7). John was overwhelmed by the moment, but the point is the angel corrected John’s behavior, they were equal, neither was slave to the other, but both were slaves to the Lord.
Any time we put things, even the things of God above God, we have twisted those things into idols. Any time we worship anything or anyone other than God, we’re in trouble. We can even fall into the trap of making Knowledge a god, or think our theology is our mark of holiness. Not so, if it’s Good, it came from God. Although we are destroyed for a lack of knowledge, knowledge without love is also destructive. It’s not the “thing”, but what we do with it. We can write a sermon with a pen, but do we worship the pen because it wrote? No, it was a tool used, the things of God are tools given us, but we are not to worship them. We could have a vast knowledge of the Bible, yet use it to exalt our pride, while belittling others we don’t agree with. Does it make us holy? No. The Bible is holy, the misuse of it isn’t, it’s the same principle behind the devil misusing the tree against Adam.
Titus was sent to finish the business of ordaining Elders, Bishops and Deacons, he was not sent to appoint Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors or Teachers. Mixing positions violates the Order of God; both Helps and Elders are appointed by leadership, but the Offices granted by the Doma are appointed by Jesus, confirmed by man. When we move into appointing the Doma Offices, we have removed Jesus from the process, ending in natural leadership, separating the Body from Christ, rather than building the Body into the perfect man. The purpose of the Office, regardless of the office is centered on building the Body, thus the anointing of the Office is Body related, not Blood related. The New Man is the anointing relating to the Blood by the New Covenant, different anointings for different purposes.
The Bishop position of late has gained more power than it was intended to, in the beginning under the Order of God it was an appointment to Helps, as an overseer of Helps. Deacons were assigned to Helps as well, the very first appointments of Helps were by the Apostles for the purpose of waiting tables. Philip, one of the first seven deacons, this is not the same Philip as Philip the Apostle, but nonetheless Philip the Deacon shows one can be appointed to Helps, yet still have Jesus grant them a position in governments. We find Titus was sent to set things in Order, in the process he was to lay out certain procedures. Among them was “Put them in mind to be Subject to Principalities, and Powers, and to Obey Magistrates, to be Ready to Every good work” (Titus 3:1). How can we “war against” something, yet be subject to it? Easy, it’s by choice in the true sense of Submission. Maybe the word in Titus is a different Greek word? No, it’s the Greek Arche. All of a sudden warfare takes on a different look, truly we find our Warfare is not an excuse for us to vent anger, or frustration, or attack the devil because things didn’t happen the way we planned. In this case we allow the realm of disobedience to continue, as we pull the called form it.
At times, rather than fight the good fight, we just want to fight. We are mad, yet know better than to shake our fist at God, so we think we can take it out on the devil and remain holy. Wrong, using a wile of the devil, even against the devil is still error, it gives place to the devil. Use the tools of the devil, and soon find he will build his house in your mind.
How about the word “submit” maybe it’s a key, as we saw the word Submit doesn’t mean to lay down as a doormat, or place oneself in the path of a train, rather it’s the Greek word Hupotasso meaning To place in order, changing the concept considerably. Setting things in their proper order is always important, many Principalities, Powers, and the things of the world are all worldly, they have no authority over us, but if we fear them, we grant them authority over us. When we fear anything or anyone, we are giving them authority over us, placing ourselves in a slavery mentality.
We must keep concepts within their given realm, this is also true with the word Wiles, which is the Greek Methodeia, meaning The method, or the Methodology. It’s not fighting the devil, it’s fighting the methods of the devil. Using the method of the devil to force change on people is still using the wiles of the devil, hardly what we are called to do. The supernatural authority and power in the Name of Jesus gives us power over devils, the spiritual grants us power over the wiles of the devil. If the devil is beating our brains out with a two by four, we’re too close to Egypt. Often when things are not going our way we tend to attack the darkness, but we also know there is a trying of our faith. If we can’t tell the difference between the attack of the wile, or the trying of our faith we lack knowledge and wisdom. Often God has us in an uncomfortable place to train us, we don’t like it, we hate it, rather than stay with our belief of God Is, we say the devil is, yet by so doing we fail at faith.
Boldness is another area, there is a vast difference between Boldness in the Lord, and arrogance. Confidence in the Lord, and pride are also different. Knowing we are the anointed is humbling, knowing there are responsibilities to the anointing is more humbling.
The Word in us divides and separates to expose our intent, before it becomes a thought, before the thought becomes an action. The thought can seem good, but the intent can be based in some wile of the enemy. An action of warfare is knowing from where the intent came before we employ a method of use.
The Parable of the Wheat and Tares is a perfect example of Methodology, the enemy came into the field, planted Tares then left. The enemy cannot plant Wheat, he can’t even remove the Wheat, all he can do is plant Tares, yet after he leaves the tares remain. Can Wheat remove Tares? No, can the servants remove Tares? No, only the Angles (the Spiritual discerners) can remove the Tares. Many of us left the devil behind, but brought the Tares with us into the kingdom. Like the children in the wilderness, we are in a safe place, but because of the Tares we don’t think so. The Tares are telling us we’re going to die, all is lost, none of this works, so we build golden calves, walk around murmuring, or wondering where God is. Warfare in this area is to begin with our God Is belief to enter faith to gain the reward, thus allowing the New Man to remove the Tares, as the Wheat grows.
Allowing the Spirit to expose and remove the Tares takes a warfare. “Oh thank you Lord, I’m free, now wait what are You doing there, leave it, no, not that one, it’s my pal, my favorite”. Oops. At times we think some old trait is a friend, something of our personality making us who we are, but we’re wrong it’s a wile of the enemy we’ve been using for so long we have become comfortable with it. The New Man will expose it, but this is still a Covenant, we have to desire to be rid of the tare before it will go (Mark 11:23).
Attempting to defeat strife with strife isn’t Godly, we can chase devils all over the place, yet be using a Wile of the devil to do it. We can ignore the Principality of the Gospel, yet retain the Principality of disobedience. It’s important to keep in mind Principalities are things, some are things of the Kingdom, but it doesn’t mean we remain in a principality forgetting there is more to the kingdom. We can seek Peace, find it in the principality of Peace, yet not know Wisdom, Love, Faith, Mercy or the many other attributes of God. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, thus Peace has a principality, but He is also the King of kings, pointing to other dominions within the Kingdom.
The Law of the Spirit is another type of fruit, it comes from the Spirit. Both the Law of Moses and the Law of the Spirit are Powers, but in different domains. The Law of Moses is not in the Kingdom, it was not designed to get one into the Kingdom, nor was it designed to keep one in the Kingdom, nor was it designed to provide or guide one to Salvation, rather it was designed for Judgment. The Principalities nailed to the Cross must remain nailed, don’t attempt to pull them through the Cross, they will only pull you back. Warfare? Yes, how many think the sabbath day is New Covenant? How many use the tithe under the Law of Moses, while ignoring Tithes under the New Covenant? How many think Mercy was left behind? Therefore our first course in this adventure of Warfare is a matter of Order, keeping things in Order, then allowing the Order to guide us.
The Greek word Arche, or Arkee is used over a hundred times in the New Testament, it’s translated as Beginning, Principality, Power, Magistrates, First, First Estate, with the two main uses as Beginnings and Principalities. Since it was used in the phrase “First Estate” maybe we can learn something about the phrase. Jude tells us some of the angels kept not their First Estate, but left their Habitation becoming devils. Jude also says God has Reserved those fallen angels in Everlasting chains Under darkness Until the Judgment of the Great Day (Jude 6). The fallen angels had a Habitation, a place they were designed for, yet it was their only Principality. In their case they left it causing a change from light to complete darkness. The premise shows we begin in one Principality, but God has called us to another, thus we war not to involve the old ways of left Principality into the New.
The Galatians were attempting to induce another Token of another Covenant into the New Covenant, Paul called them bewitched (Gal 3:1-5). How can it be? The Law of Moses has a dominion, a place where it’s effective, attempting to remove it from its purposed realm into a realm it was not designed for is an act of witchcraft. Clearly keeping things in order is the first order of business in warfare.
Another obvious element in Jude is how the fallen angels are in “chains”, thus they go about acting as if they are Loosed, but they are bound with everlasting chains. They can never enter the light, thus for us to give the devil place means we have to use something of the darkness to get what we want, which places us in darkness. The Cross is the dividing point, when we accepted the Cross we left many things in the principality of darkness. The most obvious Principality we left behind is “wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit working in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind were by Nature the children of wrath even as others”; defining the spirit of man (Eph 2:2-3). If there was a “prince” then there was a Principality, we did walk in the old realm, but we were delivered from there by the mercies of God to enter another realm. The word Course is the Greek Aion meaning an Age; the word Disobedience means Unbelief. Surely we don’t hold to the old principality, so how do we war against it? By not going back to it by using the ways associated to it.
The Law of Moses is an obvious power and principality defined in Colossians 2:15, but do we fight against the Law of Moses? No, we simply allow it to remain in its domain where it belongs, as we refrain from doing deeds of the Law to gain favor from the Law or God. We have a Law designed by God for us, we do the Law set for us, not a Law for a completely different group.
How about something any of us can fall into? The mistaken worship of “things” even Principalities. Yes, the Scriptures are the Bible, the Bible is a document authored by the Holy Ghost, but it is not God. How many worship the Bible, but refuse to worship Jesus? How many hold the Law of Moses above God? You’d be surprised, there are some who hold the deeds of the Law as their holiness and righteousness, yet the Bible tells us God’s True Holiness and Righteousness are found in the New Man (Eph 4:24).
The purpose of bringing us out of darkness was to grant us the opportunity to be saved, Paul advances the concept by first saying, “by grace you are saved” (Eph 2:5), then “by grace you are saved through faith, that not of yourselves, it is The Gift of God” (Eph 2:7-8). There is a notable progress of process given us by The Gift, yet the word for Gift used here is the Greek Doron meaning not only to give, but it shows the generosity of the giver, regardless of the one who receives the Gift. It goes to the act or the intent of the giving, displaying the purpose in giving is always to do good.
Since the context is “The Gift” we have to decide what The Gift is. Could it be Saved? Grace? Or Faith? The answer is found in Ephesians 3:7 where we find, “the Gift of the Grace of God”. The word for Gift here is the Greek Dorea meaning a Free gift with emphasis on the gift’s gratuitous character. Back in Ephesians 2:7 the emphasis was on the Giver, here in Ephesians 3:7 it’s on the Gift. Just a few verses further in Ephesians 3:12 we find the Faith we have access by, “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him”. Then back further in Ephesians 2:18 we read, “For through Him we both (Jew and Gentile) have access by One Spirit unto the Father”. Between verses 2:18 and 3:7 we find the Trinity in full force and effective in the process of Grace. By the Faith of Jesus the works were done, by the Spirit of God we have access through those works to the Father. By the Father we obtain the Mercy to get us to Grace, then by Grace we are saved. The Faith of Jesus made it possible, but the faith issue on our part is a present tense confidence, based on a future tense hope in the ability of God to perform what He promised; however, the Faith of Jesus is proven, the path of victory is complete, yet it still takes the New Man to guide us on the path, so we can follow Jesus.
Grace is the vehicle, Salvation the goal. However, if we hold to the old Principality of the Law of Moses we make the course not only difficult for us, but we place a barrier between us and the Gift, removing ourselves from Grace. The Gift of Grace is based in the Resurrection, but if we continue in the Law of Moses we are on the wrong side of the Cross, making the Power of the Resurrection out of reach.
God is not going to save the old man, He is not going to use the Law of Moses unto Salvation, He gave us a New Man to save us through Grace. On the same note, we are not the old man, the old man is the Nature obtained from the Principality of disobedience, as the spirit of man residing in the flesh nature. The New Man is doing the Work based on our obedience, not on our disobedience.
Here you are a leader, you find an ungodly principality developing within your congregation? Can it happen? Yes, how do you deal with it? Do you preach at the evil of the principality? Or do you preach the holiness to dissolve the principality? The latter of course; preaching about sin is one thing, but if we neglect the Escape, we have done nothing more than establish another principality, the wrong one. If we preach the evil of the ungodly principality, we have done nothing more than empower it. However, if we follow Paul’s advise by preaching the truth in love, pointing to the Godly principality we have given a route of escape. How did Paul defeat witchcraft? Did he preach against it? Or did he preach Christ? He preached Christ, showing Christ is far superior to all things.
We’re still exploring Ephesians to discover the Wiles, but what about this word Wiles? Do we find Paul using it in other places? Yes, in Ephesians 4:14 we find the same Greek word, only there it’s, “lie in wait”, in the phrase lie in wait to deceive (lit. unto circumvention of deceit). How can this be? It’s in the same verse where we read, “that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and the cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph 4:14). Since it’s the same Greek word we could read this, “whereby they use Wiles to deceive”, by inducing winds of doctrine. We could go to Ephesians 6:11 then read it as, “able to stand against the deceitful lying in wait of the devil”. Both show us Method, one would think if we don’t war against flesh and blood why even mention the “them”? The “them” are not the problem, the cunning craftiness is. We may not be like the “them”, yet find ourselves using the same wiles as the “them”, making us like the “them”, not good.
We have to see the “them” to find the result, yet when we are blown about by every wind of doctrine, we can’t blame the “them” who taught it, we must blame the “us” who were enticed. When some “new thing” comes on the scene there go the winds, with those who follow them. The doctrine was not in error, the “wind” was, the fridge element was given more emphasis than it deserved making it error. However, wouldn’t it be nice not to waste years being blown about? Yes, so we war against being blown about by being firm in the Doctrine of Christ. What would be a “wind”? The Doctrine of baptisms is in the Doctrine of Christ; however we know there were some baptized under John’s baptism (Acts 19:3), thus John’s baptism after the Cross would be a wind. It didn’t place anyone in the Body, didn’t grant them permission to seek the Holy Ghost, but in its time it was a valid baptism. Another wind would be to pronounce the Name of Jesus in some basic language, rather than our own. If we used the Name of Jesus and a devil left the person, or darkness left, then it worked, we are in the Body. It’s not the right pronunciation, but having the Authority.
We would be amazed at how many church going people have no idea what the Rudiments of the Doctrine of Christ entail. When we show them verses in Hebrews they respond with, “I would like to know about that”, yet they know each element of the “winds”. God’s people are destroyed, or blown about because of a lack of knowledge.
The source of the “winds” came from the "sleight of men", the word Sleight is the Greek Kubos meaning "cube" as in a "dice cube", which by itself makes no sense at all; however, history tells us this word was used in classical Greek to mean One who cheats or defrauds a fellow player. This clears the context by showing us the culprit is a "fellow player", yet involved in fraud by diverting our attention to a wind, while ignoring the premise of the doctrine. It's one thing to see the world using the wiles of the devil, but a "fellow player"? How do we deal with it? It's obvious we can't attack the person, if we did we would violate First John. Also they are flesh and blood, so what to do? How about speaking words of Grace? Or speaking the Truth in love? Yes, Truth is still a hammer to the stronghold, Grace is always based in Life. How about a sound rebuke? If the Spirit uses us to rebuke, fine, if we decide to use a rebuke, not so fine.
This same verse could read, "we no longer remain as infants in doctrine and knowledge, being blown and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness of their trickery error" (TR). Here we find the Method is the Sleight of men, the cunning craftiness is purposed to Deceive, thus the Method is given us in the first usage, the battlefield in the second. Who else used these methods? The serpent at the tree, yet there are “beasts of the field” who are subtle as well. In any case we don’t want to use the same methods they do, we must war against the natural inclination to attack with the same means we are attacked by. Putting on the New Man who is the Armor of God is a method proven to work. Rather than use some natural element to retaliate, we use an attribute of the God found in the New Man.
Another aspect of warfare is to refrain from taking a sound principle, then making it unsound by adding our own carnal method of operation. We know we are suppose to “bind and loose”, but how? Do we make up our own examples, then apply the principle? If we do, we may find we are doing for the devil, what he was unable to do for himself. When we who are the Power of God misuse the Power we loose forces which should not be loosed. We can even bind them, yet since we are using an ungodly method we find we are really loosing what was already bound. Our goal is to use the right Power by the right Method in order to accomplish a Godly result.
Since the word Wiles refers to Method, wouldn’t it be nice to know what it means? It’s no surprise our English word Method comes from the Greek word Metahodos, meaning After a certain way, or in a certain way. The concept of Methodology is the study of methods, warfare is a study of the methods of the enemy, be as wise as the serpent, but remain as gentle as the Dove. We must check the baggage we are carrying about to determine if we brought some of those wiles with us: if so we must cast them off. The wiles of the enemy are the poison fruit of a tree gone bad, the methods of God are the fruit of the Tree of Life. We desire to flow with the River of Life, not the waters of bitterness.
A method is a systematic way of conducting, or the technique applied to accomplish something. In the Latin this is known as the “modus operandi”, or the method of operation. In some legal circles it’s known as the “M.O.” of the person, the trademark left behind to identify the person as the perpetrator. Paul is asking us to be detectives of warfare, to investigate the methods in order to identify the source. If we can determine the “wind of doctrine” before it becomes our personal tornado we can avoid the danger. If we see the cunning craftiness taking place, we can avoid it. If we see ourselves engaged in it, we can defeat it by allowing the New Man to clean the field. Generally winds produce pride in theology, it makes the person think they are better than the rest of the Body based on using the wind, yet the pride it produces is giving place to the devil.
The only other place where we find the English word Wiles is in Numbers 25:18, where we read, “for they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you….”. Again we find it refers to methods, thus the method leads to the intended result, here in Numbers it was to Vex in order to Beguile (deceive). Do we think those who lie in wait actually know what they are doing is ungodly? A few may, but for the most part they are convinced they have the great revelation of all time, the one to make them rich, famous and popular, or worse, they endeavor to be supreme over the entire Body. Do we think Judas thought he was betraying the Lord? Not at first, he was convinced he was doing a good thing, so convinced when Jesus said, “what you do, do quickly”, he ran to his deed thinking he was the “blessed of the Lord”. Sound study discipline keeps us from forming winds of doctrine, or chasing after them.
The Hebrew word used for Wiles in Numbers is Nekel meaning Cunning, it comes from the Hebrew Nakal meaning Deceiver, thus Nakal is who they are, Nekel is what they do. Paul being learned in the Old Testament Scriptures uses a word defining both the method and how to detect it. We don’t fight the person, we do fight the method. Two fronts? Yes, we fight not to get personally involved, as we fight not to make the person our enemy. How? Walk in Love, be the Light, allow the Spirit to manifest, allow the Word in us to divide and separate, be a discerner and learner. Can one have the Spirit, yet become involved in winds of doctrine? Yes, the Corinthians did, because they failed to be spiritual in nature. They were more concerned on who baptized them, then why they were baptized.
If we use manipulation to make our point, even our Bible point, we are nonetheless using a wile of the enemy. Cult systems use deception as a matter of course, or they use deceptive words and phrases to trap us. When the religious rulers were asking Jesus questions they were attempting to trap Him, yet they could careless about the answer. Why would Jesus answer them? To expose their folly, giving them the opportunity to repent.
There is another connection to the word Wiles in Ephesians, defining the fine line between “flesh and blood”, and the wile. In Ephesians 6:16 we find, “quench all the fiery darts of the Wicked”. The Wicked are people, but the concern is the fiery dart, thus Paul did draw a line between flesh and blood and the wile. The fiery dart is the projectile, the Wicked are those who sent it, but is it a real dart? Or words? Words of course, by words we are either justified or condemned. We don’t want to destroy the Wicked, we want them to be converted, but neither do we want to be overcome by the fiery dart. In this case we Submit to the Armor, not the Dart. Some of us think we are to Submit to everything, “Oh look you have fifty seven darts in your head”, “oh yes I submit don’t you know”. Wrong, we submit to the Armor to resist the dart, thus when the dart comes we don’t react, we respond. The Pharisees reacted, Jesus responded, there is a difference. A reaction is quick retaliation usually ending using a dart, a response is clarity seeking correction unto perfection. A carnal mind will seek to quench the Wicked, a spiritual mind seeks to quench the dart. Here are some of the Wiles with their intent and purposed result:
Intent Wile Result
To deceive sleight of men tossed to and fro
To trap cunning craftiness carried about
Still in Ephesians 6:12 we come to the next area, Powers, which is the Greek word Exousia meaning Authority. This is the same word Jesus used when He said “All Authority has been Given to Me”, it’s the very same word used in Romans 9:21 in reference to God being the Porter with the Authority over the clay. It’s the same word used by Jesus when He said, “I give you Power to tread on serpents”, the same word used when Jesus said, “you may know the Son of man has Power to forgive sins”. If we use the thought of attacking or “coming against” Powers, it means we come against all Authorities, yet we would be in Rebellion. It’s not coming against the Power, it’s keeping them in order. Even the Law of Moses has power; therefore, this is still an issue of Order. The primary battle of order is “for what purpose is the authority granted?”. The Law of Moses has a purpose, Grace has a purpose, keeping them in order is a battle. We resist the temptation to use the Law of Moses by submitting to the Law of the Spirit.
In Luke 10:18-20 the Seventy returned amazed, excited and overwhelmed because even the devils were subject to them in the Name of Jesus. Jesus saw Satan fall from heaven, then said, “I give you Power (Greek Exousia – authority) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power (Greek Dunamis) of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you”. That has got to be great news, it is, but then Jesus added the proviso, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:17-20). This refers to Order, yes it’s great to have power over the enemy, but the order tells us to more concerned about our names being written in the Book of Life. This is confirmed when we find Jesus used the Greek Huptasso translated as “subject unto you”, Huptasso also means To place in order. The other places where it’s used are in I Peter 2:13 in the phrase, “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man”, in James 4:7 in the phrase, “submit yourselves therefore to God”, also in Romans 13:1 in the phrase, “Let every soul be subject to the higher”. So, we find Submission is a process of Order. The devils had no choice, the Authority in the Name of Jesus was applied by those given the Authority, the devils had to obey; not willingly, but mandatory. On the other hand we find we are Asked to submit to the Authority over us to have our names written in the Lamb’s Book of life, not mandatory, but willingly.
It is great news to know the power of the enemy has no effect on us, greater news to know the Name of Jesus has power over devils, but where is the effectiveness of the authority? On earth, there are no devils in heaven. Jesus wants us to keep our eyes on the goal, getting to heaven. Our time on earth is like a puff of smoke, our time in heaven is for eternity.
Let’s face it without Authority we can’t do a thing, really we can’t read the Bible with understanding without the proper Authority. However, Authority is what Jesus gave us, yet the Authority is not Jesus. It’s the issue, the Powers (Authorities) are subject to Jesus, not the other way around. The Authority didn’t make Jesus who He is, He makes the authority what it is. He has a Name (authority) above all names (authorities), making all Authorities subject to Him, thus He placed us in His Body. The mistake the Pharisees made was allowing the sabbath to rule them, thus Jesus pointed out the sabbath was subject to Him, not the other way around. He could keep it if He wanted, but it couldn’t keep Him. The Pharisees failed to see they had made a god out of the sabbath day, using it to guide them, or allowing them to inflict punishment on others. They thought they served God by keeping a day, but the sabbath day was made for man. God rested because the work of judgment was done, the Night is a time when no man can work, but the Day is filled with labor for those who have ceased from their own works. The Pharisees kept the day, but they also did the lusts of their father the devil. Keeping the day didn’t make them holy, although the day was holy.
These are very important issues, some of us allow the majesty of the Authority to become a god, rather than know it came from God. The same is true with the Anointing, we are doomed without it, yet in rebellion if we make it a god. Order, let’s keep things in Order; Paul suggested this Order premise back in Ephesians 3:10 when he told us how the principalities and powers (authorities) in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold Wisdom of God. Wisdom being the manner in which we deal with people and events fits right in with warfare and knowledge. Wisdom keeps things in order, yet the wisdom of man is still carnal, the Wisdom of God spiritual.
Paul also said the Father set Jesus at His own Right Hand (equal power and authority) in “heavenly places”, far above all principality, and power, and might, and every name (authority) that is named, not only in this world (age, the Day), but in the in the one to come (the Night): and has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His Body, the Fullness of Him that fills all in all (Eph 1:19-23). It would appear the Church and Body are the same here, but there is a comma, also it’s “to the” Church which comes from the Body; however, the concept is Jesus is above all these things, they are not equal to, or above Him. Where are these “heavenly places”? Not on earth, who then are they reserved for? Us, part of our warfare is not to lose sight of the purpose, even the salvation of our souls.
If these powers and principalities are below Jesus, yet in heavenly places, why even concern ourselves? Because of two things, they are below Jesus, yet in heavenly places. We know the location where spiritual wickedness is a danger is in heavenly places, it stands we should be fully knowledgeable of what it consists of. It sounds so basic, yet we can allow a ministry to become a god, or a local body to become our god, or even a building to become our god, or we can fail to become spiritual after receiving the Spirit. Take this to the next level, where does one find the enemies of Jesus? His footstool? Correct, where is the “seed” of the devil going to bruise Jesus? On the heel, where will Jesus bruise the “seed” of the devil? On their Head (authority), thus we find the enemies of Jesus are in His own household, yet they are below the feet of the Body, meaning they have no authority over us.
The next area in Ephesians 6:12 is “against” rulers of the darkness of this world, Paul listed many of them for us; corrupt communication, disobedience, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting, idolatry, fellowshipping with the unfruitful works of darkness. Anytime our emotions, or lusts control us, they rule us. These emotions are not of the Light, they are motivated by darkness; it’s also true if anyone controls our emotions, they control us. Although God has emotions, we don’t control them, we can’t use God’s emotions against Him, for our benefit, thus we put on the Helmet to protect us. Wild emotions control the physical body as well, when the emotions rule the physical body, we end in a wreck. Saved emotions become tools we use, they don’t use us.
We please God, we don’t impress Him, or excite Him. The Jezebel spirit (nature) is one of control, the prophet of God faced the evil prophets of Baal, who just happen to work for Jezebel. The prophet sat and watched the wonders of God displayed, yet when Jezebel sent him a letter with threats, he ran. Jezebel is not only a symbol of the self-appointed, but she is also the figure of someone who thinks they can control God. If someone thinks they can get the Holy Ghost excited by what they do, they are also saying they can control God. Not real smart, yet it’s a ruler of darkness, a means used by the devil at the tree as he controlled the thoughts of the woman, making her do as he desired.
Paul said to be angry, but sin not, with never let the Sun go down on your wrath. Of course we know when the Sun goes down, it’s Night, but there is also the thought of allowing anger to seethe like a stew, then it starts to boil the more, we toss and turn all night thinking of what we should have said; leading to thinking of things we’re going to do, traps we’re going to set, getting our vindication, then sin takes its hold. The counter to this is, “be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you” (Eph 4:32). On the other hand, if God desires for you to say something, say it as oracle of God, not to validate, or retaliate.
Okay, well how about a little corrupt communication? You know, just to let off some steam, just to let people know we’re “human”? Let No corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, the wording shows None, not one bit, since it’s food for the devil. The sword of the Spirit is the Word (Rhema) of God, we speak the life giving proceeding Word, rather than corrupt communication. Therein lays a division, from the Rhema comes words of Grace to the edifying; yet corrupt communication is based from the old nature; therefore, the Rhema is the New Man, the corrupt communication is the spirit of man.
If Jesus was angry when He cleaned out the temple, did He sin? Did He allow His anger to rule Him? No, He was angry, but sinned not, the anger was a result of what He saw, it did not become the power behind His actions. If Jesus allowed His anger to control Him, He would have beaten everyone in the Temple, He would not have returned to teach, nor extend Mercy to the Temple workers. We can be angry, but when our anger governs us, we are slaves to anger.
Some of these rulers have friends who tag along, covetousness hangs around with greed, anger with pride; bitterness with self-pity, and wrath with revenge. Disobedience is perhaps the mother of all the rulers of darkness, the primary force used by the prince of the power of the air. In Colossians 3:6 we read, “For which things’ sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience”. There is a Nature accompanying disobedience, it rules the disobedient, thus the disobedient attempt to use the rulers to control others. When our emotions guide us, control us, make our decisions for us, we will also run behind the winds of doctrine like a dog chasing a bus.
Does it mean emotions are evil? Not at all, it means when they are motivated by darkness to rule us, they become evil, yet when they are saved and under authority, they are tools to assist us. God has emotions, joy is one, wrath another, thus the emotion is not evil, they become evil when they rule over us. Simply, when we speak from our anger, or allow our anger to guide us, it rules over us.
This leads us to the battle of Transition, the time between times, the place of waiting, which is perhaps one of the hardest battles. The disciples had two places of transition, one was the three days right after the Cross when they remained hiding. A massive Transition was going on, yet they didn’t have a clue to what was happening. To them it was all over, the Lord was dead and buried. Their fear and disappointment caused them to lose grip of their learning, they forgot the Psalms had recorded the events, Jesus told them it would happen, but He also said He would be raised on the third day. A timed event, we wait for the timing of God to intersect with the time of man.
The Resurrection was set, the time was set, it wasn’t going to be two days and one night, or four days and three nights. After the Resurrection Jesus breathed on the disciples, giving them permission to receive the Holy Ghost, but the proviso was for them to remit all the sins done unto them. This is the prime example of binding and loosing, they had to loose those who sinned against them, thus loosing the Father’s Mercy from heaven. If they refused to remit the sins done unto them, those sins would sit on them, binding the Father’s Mercy in heaven (Jn 20:20-23). The event was not complete until the Resurrection took place, yet they felt they knew what God should do, when God didn’t do it their way, they became frightened.
Leading to the next Transition, the forty days prior to the Ascension. During the time they would Learn of the Kingdom of God, but the granting of the Spirit would not come until Pentecost, thus there was a time of waiting in order to understand the teachings. The time of Transition is the time of enduring, we will find stones of hindrance attempting to deceive us into cutting the time short. There is a time to wait, wait, wait on the Lord.
The other side of the Transition is Opportunity, God gives visions of what will be, or what could be. God may give us a vision of a ministry, yet before we begin the training we presume we’re fully ready, and off we go, down the funny brick road. We may get weary of waiting, then start a ministry we want, but perhaps not the one God desires for us. We are moved by the popularity of a position, or what appears to be some glory attached to a position, rather than wait for the called position to form us, we become self-appointed, or allow someone to appoint us into a position we’re not suited for. It’s never up to us to name our position, but it is up to us to submit as we allow the position to form us. If we become self-appointed we end using manipulation rather than the anointing. We will use what other people say, rather than what the Holy Ghost says. How do we know if we’re in the right position? It will begin to train and form us, we will find our thinking changing to the position as the anointing of the calling forms us into the position. If we just allow the position to form us we will be able to operate in confidence, therein lays the real joy, peace and security knowing we are doing what we should be.
The flesh is deceptive, one day we said something against someone, or retaliated, it felt good, or we felt superior, we loved the feeling. If we used manipulation, domination, anger, or slander then used the basic of all excuses, “God wanted them to know that”, we have lied to justify ourselves. We wanted to validate ourselves, we used self-justification, or we wanted to impress someone with our knowledge to get the feeling, allowing a ruler of darkness to guide and instruct us. For the most part we know the second it happens, the feeling inside puffed us up, we felt superior. Some of us stop it immediately, others play with it, or attempt to mask it with self-justification. Masks are not of God, the Word in us will divide and separate, making all things open so we can stand open before God (Heb 4:12-13).
Pride is the mother of religious conceit, the motivation behind trusting in our talent, or abilities. Some people have a talent which can work anytime, others have a talent coupled with the anointing, it will only work when the anointing is active. We form our own agenda, we attempt to use the talent the way we want, yet no anointing, the talent seems to have fallen apart. Nay, we were giving birth to an Ishmael, the anointing would not become a midwife to our folly. It’s good, it makes us aware immediately, before the birth of the Ishmael takes place.
Some of us use the things of God as masks, we trust in the mask of our talent, rather than trust in God. We use the mask of faith, to mask our lack of faith in God. We attempt to impress people, because we are impressed with ourselves. We use the mask of righteousness in the local religious surroundings to impress “religious folks”. The habit of using masks began when we attempted to be what people wanted us to be, some of us carried those same endeavors into the Kingdom. Regardless of the setting we will be what the situation calls for, if religious we will be religious, if happy, we will pretend we’re happy, if holy, we put on the mask of holiness. We join a local body, then put on the mask to appear to be what they want us to be. The mask gives birth to self-righteousness, then we enter the illusion of thinking the mask is who we are: it is not. When the Word in us divides, separates by removing masks our first retort is, “I don’t know who I am”; we never did, it’s the problem. God wants us to know who we are, then know who we are in Christ, then know what we can be in Christ. We are not all we should be, but we are no longer what we used to be either. Until we submit to the New Man by allowing those masks to be removed we will never know who we can be in Christ.
Friendly fire is merely fire from our side of the battlefield, it’s directed at the enemy, but mistakenly strikes us. We’re in the same Body, at some point in time someone has to grasp how hitting ourselves in the head with a hammer is not beneficial to our ability to think. We are sent to heal, not destroy ourselves. There are those who are carnal, they use the rulers of darkness without knowing it, they belittle people thinking they are doing a service. Some defend their self assuming the problem is the other person, it was once rightfully said, If we have a problem with someone, we’re the problem: we as Christians have the ability to put on the Armor, walk in Mercy, knowing nothing formed against us shall harm us. If we lack the Wisdom of God we will retort, rather than respond. The premise of “neither give place to the devil” is also connected to “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth” (Eph 4:27 & 4:29). If we are in Grace, we have the ability to speak words of Grace (Eph 4:29). If we found Grace, it means we obtained Mercy, making us victors, not victims.
One of the “weapons of our warfare” is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph 6:17). The word for Sword is not a two-edged Sword, it’s the Greek Machaira meaning a small knife used to kill animals, or cut flesh. It was often used in the preparation of sacrifices, but the context here is to Speak the Rhema by the Spirit to divide and separate to bring clarity. The Sword of the Spirit goes past the flesh to the intent, the Words of Grace are to edify as they minister Grace to the hearer, which couples with “by Grace you are saved through faith”. The words must be centered on the purpose of being Saved, rather than to gain some feeling of being superior. Does it mean there is no rebuke? Not at all, at times it calls for a rebuke to wake someone up; they attacked in a personal nature, the response for us to goes to the intent, not the person; giving them opportunity to correct their error. Will they receive the rebuke? At times yes, at times no, but at least they have the opportunity to repent.
Proverbs 15:1 tells us a soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger, which do we think fits the Rhema of God? The soft answer? Or the words of anger? The soft answer of course, the word "answer" means a favorable word contrary to what it is answering. Clearly this is warfare, never return anger for anger, but use favorable words contrary to those being used by the attacking force. At times a simple smile is a good response. Another way to say this is, Bless and curse not, never render evil for evil, or railing for railing.
Proverbs 16:6 tells us Mercy and Truth will Purge iniquity, so where is the Mercy and Truth? Jesus is Truth, as Mercy is a constant state of forgiveness imparted by the Father. First John tells us if we deny the Father and Son, we are antichrist. The New Man in us will purge us of iniquity; however, when the purging begins we tend to think it's some demonic attack, when it's demonic seeds of iniquity being removed. Deception calls the iniquity "our duty to defend the Body”; thus when the exposure comes we yell, curse the darkness, or do all sorts of things avoiding what is really going on. Usually it's only when the result comes we see the obvious, we were being purged (Jn 15:2). The word Purged in Proverbs 16:6 is the Hebrew Kaphar meaning to cancel, or Put off. Ephesians tells us to put off the old man, in order to put on the New. All this shows the weapons of our warfare are mighty through God, and fully capable of obtaining victory at every turn.
The Book of Hebrews tells us Jesus loves righteousness, but hates iniquity. We should be of the same mind, it doesn’t mean our motivation is hate, rather we find our motivation is to Love righteousness; when it’s established, then we can hate iniquity. Don't forget the enemies of Jesus are the "workers of iniquity"; therefore, we don’t hate the workers, we hate the iniquity.
Words have power, if not, they could neither condemn nor justify, but the source of words determines if they condemn or justify. From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, but it doesn’t mean the actual words spoken. Rather it points to the source of the words; the Pharisees said, “we are of our father Abraham”, so were they? Of the flesh yes, of faith, no. Jesus told them if they were of their father Abraham, they would do the works of Abraham. They said, but did not, thus the words are only proven by the ways of the person.
The Book of Ephesians gives us two types of children, yet within the same person. We “were” children of disobedience, but now we are “children of Light” (Eph 5:8). When we walked in darkness we were darkness, but now we walk in the Light of Day. If we walk in the Light why would we have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness? We shouldn’t, but from time to time we do. The difference is of course desire, the sinner desires to sin, we desire not to. Our position is far greater, we have an Advocate in Jesus, Who makes intercession for us continually. However, the position of the battlefield must be established, before we enter the conflict; Ephesians and Corinthians give us the definitive battlefield.
Fear is another ruler, fear guiding or dominating us will control us. We have our fear (respect) of God, but there is also the spirit of fear. The spirit of fear has two sides, one who uses it, and the victim(s). The shield of fear is usually anger or manipulation, thus the anger or manipulation becomes the protector of the fear. Fear can rule in various ways, usually by feeling; most of us have felt fear in the pit of our stomach, or fear running up and down our spine, those times when our minds go crazy from fear all show how fear is ruling us. When fear is exposed we retaliate through anger to protect the fear, thus we use one ruler of the darkness to protect another. If we were still children of disobedience we would be expected to use the wiles of the enemy as weapons, but if we are no longer children of disobedience, thus we no longer use those weapons. If we are children of the Light, we use the things of the Light.
There are times when we use words to impress people, or ourselves, maybe even attempt to convince the devil we believe. We are so frightened inside, everything is upside down, yet we voice faith with the hope of convincing ourselves, or the devil we are people of faith. The premise is “as I believe, so have I spoken”, it is not “if I speak, maybe I will believe”.
Ephesians shows the real battlefield is within, all the elements point to the inner person in one way or another. We put on the Armor, meaning we are within the Armor, a place to consider our own position and condition. If someone approaches us with anger, how do we respond? With anger? Or words to belittle them? Or with words of Grace and Mercy? What happens when Rhema speaks? Faith comes by hearing, but the hearing by the Rhema, thus we speak Rhema to present faith to the other person. What would we do if we shouted, “I come against you in the Name of Jesus”, yet they said, “I come against you in the Name of Jesus”? It’s better for us and them to know the source of the words, allowing someone to change their way of life, than walk off saying within, “jerk”.
Think of some of the rulers of darkness Paul points out, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, foolish talking and jesting. What no jesting? What could this be? The word Jesting is the Greek Eutrapelia it does refer to humor, but in a bad sense. Belittling someone just to get a laugh would be Jesting. Belittling other members of the Body, or denominations, or our mate just to feel superior is a form of jesting which is evil speaking. It doesn’t negate having humor, after all God has a sense of humor.
Is Clamor done today? The word Clamor is the Greek Krauge meaning A public outcry, it refers to making public negative statements about someone. Of course we could write a book about someone using the various excuses, “I’m just concerned about the Body”, “I feel God is leading me to do this”, “someone has to know about these people”, “Paul talked about Alexander the coppersmith, and about Hymenaeus and Philetus, it’s all I’m doing”. All self-justifying statements, it’s true Paul did talk about Alexander as doing him much harm, as he talked about Hymenaeus and Philetus as heretics, but only to warn the young pastor Timothy in a personal pastoral letter opened for our edification, not for our excuses. If we think someone is in heresy, then preach the truth in Love; yet historical enlightenment gives us clues to various heresies of the past, a different situation then slandering someone in print.
Bitterness is a result of hate, it can be hate against people, or things. It can even be a hate against the world system, if hate is our motivation, or driving force we will use the wiles of the enemy to war with. We hate iniquity, but it isn’t our driving force, since we also Love Righteousness. We can justify our hate, “well I hate sin, so I come against it when I find it”. Sounds right, but we find it’s not “sin”, but the person’s political, or religious motivation, thus they think anyone opposed to their views is in “sin”. How do we come against sin? Preach the Truth in love, show the escape found in the Gospel, cast the net, not the millstone.
When bitterness works its way into our life, we can fall from Grace (Heb 12:15). When we forget to seek out the Precious, we will fall into bitterness. When bitterness rules it will exercise hate, motivating more bitterness, making us angry, nasty people. Bitterness and evil speaking are sisters; the wording “evil speaking” is the Greek word Blasphemia meaning slander or blasphemous, thus bitterness is the source, evil speaking the result. Slander is not always based in a lie about someone, Libel is, but Slander is usually based on fact, but the intent is to cause someone harm or injury. The Wicked slander the brethren all the time, thus one sign showing us their source is whether they slander others in the Body. How do we know the difference between slander and exposure? Intent, the Word in us will expose the intent; usually when slander is used there is no escape, or repentance, it’s usually a personal attack. Usually slander is for two purposes, the obvious is to cause harm to another, either personal, or to their reputation; the second is more subtil, it seeks to avoid exposure; that is, exposure came, the person then twists the exposure to point to the person who brought the exposure, the evidence is how the Corinthians treated Paul.
Others belittle or slander someone so they feel superior, most cult systems use this method. They have the special temple service, the only truth, the one thing making them superior over others in the Body of Christ, a different Jesus, a different Gospel, a special book, something they feel makes them superior, yet it’s vanity and vexation of the Spirit.
If we are Born Again we have authority over many things, the spirit of man ruled us in the world, but no longer. The Wicked use the spirit of the world, becoming the he in the world, yet they are not subject to it, they make it subject to them. There is a vast difference between being used by the spirit lusting to envy, and using the spirit of the world for self-advantage. The Wicked have authority over the demonic, but rather than putting the old man off, they use the authority of the Beast of the Sea. We made the choice to submit to the New Man, much different, thus Paul tells us to put off the old man with the deeds of the old man.
We also find from time to time we speak words of bitterness, rather than words of Grace. How can it be? We are a people who came from one nature as we are being formed into another during the process of Transition, thus in the learning process we will slip from time to time; however, when we were in the world it was a way of life, now we slip, much different.
James said a double minded person is one who blesses God, yet curses man, the tense shows it’s a continual action. Who would James be talking to? If they “bless God” don’t you think they would be a people who know God? Yes, the Letter of James is not sent to the world, but to “brethren”. How do we curse man? The obvious is desiring for someone to fail, but we can also pray our will into the lives of others which sets our will above the Will of the Lord, which is a form of witchcraft. There are those who desire for someone to be cursed, or harmed, simply to get even, or gain some revenge, yet they never consider praying for the other person to be saved (which is the Lord’s will), or praying to have the Wisdom to deal with the person in a Godly manner. A double tongue speaks of God on one hand, but against man on the other, especially against those in the Body.
Of course the more we side with the New Man the further from the old we move, but there are times when we reach into the wrong suitcase pulling out the wrong words. Usually during an attack, or a time of exposure. Did God bring the attack? No, did He use it to help us? Yes. Did we like it? Hardly, but it’s a test of faith isn’t it? Do we hold faith in the face of the storm? Are we just as quick to praise ye the Lord in the battle, as we were when we found some extra money? The primary beginning of faith is to believe God Is, which includes God being able to turn the event around for our good.
What evidence do we have here? “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Eph 5:15). We can walk as a fool, or as the wise, the choice is ours. A fool would use “foolish talking”, but a Wise person speaks wisely (Eph 5:4 & 5:17). The phrase “foolish talking” is the Greek word Morologia meaning a type of speech betraying a person as foolish, often it points to a person who uses words to their advantage. They are caught by their words of unbelief, or as some term it “hung by the tongue”. The real point in all this is how we have authority over these issues, the children of disobedience don’t. We can make up our mind to walk in the Spirit; of course we will slip, so what? We still have authority, our desire is still pure, we will make it.
The purpose of the new nature is not only to bring us into a place to be Like Christ, but we also find the Application will effect Eradication (pulling up by the roots), not merely a hedge trimming exercise. At times when we see a lust in us we pluck the fruit off the tree, thinking we’ve won. Not so, we must get to the Root, often the Root is the very thing the old man is attempting to hide. Can we expose the Root? No, we will dig in all sorts of places, or blame all sorts of things, but as long as we’re listening to the old man we won’t find the Root. Only the New Man has the detection devise to expose, then rid us of the Root. Anything not planted in the field by the Father becomes obvious to the New Man, but not so obvious to us. A soul attempting to save itself is still the blind leading the blind, the result is the ditch of despair.
Paul gives us a timely weapon to be used when the thoughts from darkness spring up. “Understanding the will of the Lord, and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:17-18). The Unwise person rejects the Will of the Lord for their personal agenda. Perhaps our agenda is to have the biggest and best ministry the world has ever seen, but the intent is to be associated with the ministry as the “great and powerful leader”, rather than see the Harvest gathered for the Lord. The Wise on the other hand know this battle is internal, they keep it there by “speaking to yourselves in Psalms, Hymns, Spiritual Songs, singing and making melody in your heart To The Lord; Giving Thanks always for All Things unto God and the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:17-20). “Yeah, well there are times when I just don’t feel like praising, so if I did, it would be a lie right?”, no, if we went by our Feelings we would punch someone in the eye then say, “well it was real”. Real dumb. “Well, it’s just a mind game if I don’t feel like it”. It’s a mind game to trust in “feelings”, faith reaches to the hope set before us, thus we praise in faith looking for the hope of Peace.
When Jeremiah was called he told God, “I’m but a child”. Was he? Yes, it was a fact at the moment, but God wasn’t looking at the fact at the moment, He was looking ahead at the calling. God told Jeremiah, “say no more you are but a child”. So, was God telling Jeremiah to lie? No, He was telling Jeremiah to speak words of faith reaching forward to what God saw for the man (Jere 1:6-7). We get involved in the moment, but forget it will pass, it’s the truth of the future faith seeks. If we remain in the moment, we will remain in the moment as the vision passes us by; if we have a word or vision from the Lord, it’s our hope, thus our Faith reaches to the Hope, as our Belief says God Is.
We’ve looked at spiritual wickedness, but what about examples? Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed (Eph 4:30). A failure to walk in love as Christ, or forgive as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us is another (Eph 5:2). The premise is simple, God forgave us based on Christ’s sake, we forgive based on God’s sake. A failure to walk in the Will of the Lord another (Eph 5:15-20). Failing to put off the old man another, failing to put on the New Man yet another (Eph 4:22-23); examples found in Ephesians. Paul didn’t give the Ephesians a guessing game, he outlined the process of warfare for them in his prayer for them.
The word Wickedness means Iniquity as we know, the same Greek word was found in Luke 11:39 when Jesus said, “Now do you Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness”. They did one thing, but failed to do another. Then in Romans 1:29 we read, “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness (intent to cause harm), full of envy, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful”. Wow! A bunch of nasty things, must be the world. No, Paul says they are those who “did not like to Retain God in their knowledge” (Rom 1:28). They had knowledge, but drew back to perdition. These areas define the workers of Iniquity as the ones who send fiery darts. Do they have the ability to apply Mercy? Yes, they asked God to forgive their sins: having the ability and applying it are different.
There are attitudes we expect from those in the world, but our tests usually come from the carnal minded in the household of God. We don’t expect the attack from someone who sits next to us in church, or prays with us, but it happens. It isn’t to say people are wicked, but at times people slip back to the carnal mind, or we find carnal minded people simply don’t understand spiritual matters. They say, and think not. What do we do? Punch them in the nose? Pray them out of the Body? No, follow the Spirit, remembering, “he that converts a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:20). We may be completely innocent, yet tell the person, “I don’t know what happened, but will you forgive me?”. “Forgive Me? Hello, I didn’t do anything”. “For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? But if, when you do well and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God” (I Pet 2:20).
When we read the Gospel accounts we become aware how natural man holds the ability of resistance, as compared to the lack of resistance the devils have. Jesus never had any problems with devils, He commanded, they came out; however when it came to the religious rulers we find they had more power to resist Jesus than the devils. The devil, and devils are real, but just as real are the enemies wiles. Casting out devils while ignoring the wiles is not warfare at all. Real warfare is when we put off the old nature to walk in the New. Casting out devils is really easy, they have no choice, they have to obey, we don’t.
How do we accomplish the application? There are always two ways to proceed, by the flesh, or through the Spirit, but only one is successful. If we mind the flesh we place our mind on controlling the flesh, the same is true if we attempt to vacate the old man by using the old nature. If we mind the Spirit we keep seeking to do the things of the Spirit, thereby driving out the things of the old man. The more water you put in the cup, the less hot air remains.
One tried and true method is the Armor of God, but we have to keep in mind it’s not our armor, nor the armor of the soul; it’s God’s Armor, it only fits the New Man, since in essence it is the New Man. We can’t twist the armor, or make it carnal; we must conform to it. This Armor is not “form fitted” to our agenda or desires, we must adjust our thinking to fit the Armor, yet it has attachments, which are defined as well; the first aspect is being girt about with Truth (Eph 6:14), not opinion, not unfounded theology, but truth. The word Truth appears six times in Ephesians beginning with the obvious, the hearing of Truth toward Salvation (Eph 1:13). Then we learn how to speak the Truth in love (Eph 4:15), coupled with the realization of all Truth is in Jesus (Eph 4:21), allowing us through the New Man to speak to each other in Truth (Eph 4:25), knowing the Spirit in us is all goodness and righteousness and Truth (Eph 4:24 & 5:9). If it’s not centered in Jesus, it’s not truth, it may be fact, it may be theology, it may even sound right, but it must be Jesus centered.
The wording “girt about” is the Greek Perizonnumi meaning all around, or Warp around, giving us the surrounding element of Truth as a type of hedge. This same word was used to define the oriental garments which were long in nature, but pulled and knotted around the waist for freedom of movement. The same idea is seen here, this is not a restricting binding garment, rather it’s Truth giving us Freedom of movement, yet it completely surrounds us.
Next is the Breastplate of Righteousness, yet the Spirit is Righteousness (Eph 6:14 & 5:9), the New Man is created after God’s Righteousness (Eph 4:24). The scepter to the Kingdom is the Righteousness of Jesus (Heb 1:8). This Armor must then be the New Man, there is no way we can fit the Armor to the old man. Also, there is no way we are going to put the armor of the old man on the New Man. Does the old man have armor? Yes, disobedience, deception, manipulation, strife, division, wrapped by the self.
This part of the Armor of God is easy to define, the word Righteousness only appears three times in Ephesians, two times it relates directly to the Holy Spirit, the third time to the Armor correlating it all together to define it as the Righteousness of God, which comes to us when we gain the Truth of being Born Again, showing the Fruit from the internal tree will be external in those times of affliction and stress.
The next area is having our feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace, this is not being shod with the Gospel, rather it’s the Preparation (Eph 6:15). The word Preparation is the Greek Hetoimasia meaning a Readiness, back in Ephesians 1:13 we found the readiness was a desire to Believe. This isn’t faith, it’s belief, yet belief has to come before Faith can be effective: as it was with Abraham the standing was based on the man’s belief, so it could be by faith.
This belief must hold the knowledge of the forgiveness of sins, coupled with the redemption of the Blood of Jesus (Eph 1:7), how we were predestined by God to be in the Kingdom, it wasn’t “I just happened to fall into the Kingdom” (Eph 1:5). Our belief must know how all this is the result of God, not man (Eph 1:10). Also how the Gospel of Peace entails a Peace with God unto Salvation, as we war to line up with God’s will by the Spirit.
We now skip to the Helmet of Salvation, the “head protection”, which protects our thoughts securing us in our authority. Our Authority is based in Grace unto Salvation, not Judgment (Eph 6:17). By Grace we are saved through faith, not of our own. The word Salvation only appears one other time in Ephesians as we read, “In Whom you also trusted, after you heard the word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation” (Eph 1:13). It was not the Gospel of your validation, or the Gospel of your revenge, or the Gospel of your agenda. The purpose is the same as First Peter 1:9, reaching the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls.
As strange as it may seem there are four elements to the Armor body suit, with this being the last of the four. Of course we have the shield and the sword, but those are attachments, they are not part of the body suit. If we have two hands, yet we have a sword and a shield, it seems our hands would be full of the things of God. We don’t find the “club of might”, or the “tongue of deceit”.
Paul went from the mid-section, to the breastplate, to the feet, then the head. What gives? Sounds like a weird way to get dressed, unless he is telling us something. The mid-section, or heart is the subject of the attack, then the ability to stand, then the protection of the “head” or Authority. If we are really “standing” what is under our feet? Principalities and powers, the preparation of the Gospel separates us from those areas. Where then are we standing? In the Kingdom, better be.
The elements of the Armor are also progressive in nature, Truth must be first, yet the New Man is the Spirit of Truth (I Jn 4:1-4). Then Righteousness, Paul already said the New Man is created (or formed same Greek word) after God’s righteousness (Eph 4:24). Then the Preparation for the Gospel of peace, which is belief based in sound doctrine, then the helmet of our salvation as our authority. Without Truth, Righteousness and the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace we will have no idea what our Authority consists of.
When these elements are intact and ready to operate then we know what the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit are for. If this is Faith, whose Faith? Our measure of faith? Or the Faith of Jesus? We have access and boldness by the faith of Him, thus our faith is important, but it’s not going to be enough to shield off the fiery darts of the Wicked. We need the Faith of Jesus, the assurance of who we are in Christ, with the awareness of who we are outside of Christ. The confidence of the Hope set before us, the awareness of God being a Rewarder of those who Diligently Seek Him. The Shield was used to protect the holder, but what would it relate to as far as a priest is concerned? The shied to a Roman soldier was a thing, to us it’s a Who: the Lord is our Shield (Gen 15:1).
The Sword of the Spirit is not for retaliation, it’s not for revenge, it’s to speak the Rhema to the hearer. The Rhema in this case are words of Life and Grace, as Paul says, let it “minister” Grace to the hearers (Eph 4:29). The sword was used to prepare a sacrifice, in our case it’s presenting the Sacrifice.
There is a Process of Purpose; put off the old conversation (nature), which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; to be Renewed in the Spirit (attitude) of your mind (change in nature), as we put on the New Man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph 4:22-24). Before we start we must desire to walk in the newness of Life. What good is it to put on the Armor, if we still play the same old corrupt mind games?
If we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, yet we can grieve the Holy Spirit, if the Armor of God is God’s, then it stands if we put on the Armor yet attempt to use it in a way it was not intended, we will end grieving the Holy Spirit. This takes us back to our Old Testament study, and the word Discouragement. In Numbers 32:6-10 Moses talks to the children about the time when the spies discouraged the children from entering the land, then he tells them how discouragement brought the anger of the Lord (Numb 32:10). Among other things the word Discourage means to grieve, thus the Holy Spirit in us seeks to save us, yet we can grieve the Holy Spirit by using the wiles of the enemy, while rejecting the ways of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Seal, or Token granted by the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, the very mark showing Jesus wants us to become the Church, in order to be the Bride.
What about rebuking, or correcting, wouldn’t it be a form of discouragement? No, rebuking or correcting removes a person from the road of destruction, whereas to discourage removes their courage, or hinders them in their Godly pursuit. When we disciple someone we will from time to time have to correct them when they form illusions regarding Scripture, or rebuke them when they promote ungodly words or behavior. However, the purpose is to save them from being partakers of darkness.
The Sword and Armor are for prayer, but what else? If we are to Speak words of Grace to the hearer, then the Armor has two purposes. First and foremost it covers us with the attributes of Grace giving us a position from which to pray. However, it also protects us from the fiery darts of the enemy, thus giving us a position of being undamaged, or able to respond in a Godly manner. We know the Armor relates to Grace based on the Sword being the Rhema.
The darts are like hooks, they are sent to get us to react in some carnal, ungodly manner, thereby giving the devil place. Rather than Truth, they want us to use opinions or enter self-justification. Carnal minds have no idea of the source of their words, they speak as they are moved by the moment: deception is a way of life, pride their sword, and spiritual matters are foolishness to them.
The main Battlefield is next, it does little good to be prepared for battle, yet not know where the battlefield is located. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph 6:18). Since this is in the Spirit, we find it relates to being Born Again. With this we have two areas of battle where our victory is connected, prior we spoke to ourselves in Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Singing and Making Melody in our hearts to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; however, here we’re not talking to ourselves, we’re in prayer. Who do we pray to? The Lord. Great, so why invite the devil into the conversation? Jesus never invited the devil into His prayer life, neither should we. Who are the subjects in the prayer? “All saints”, not just those in our local body, or our denomination, yet it does limit the prayer to the Body of Christ alone. What about supplication for those who have yet to enter? Jesus never prayed for the world, but He did pray for us when we were in the world. Faith sees the person in the kingdom, thus it’s in accordance with praying for them based on faith toward the hope.
What example do we have? Paul and the Corinthians, they attacked him, he went to the Lord and found Grace is sufficient. If he found Grace, then he had to obtain Mercy first, meaning mercy had to be applied before Grace could be sufficient. Paul prayed before responding, yet in some cases we don’t have the time, not all attacks come in written form. It’s always wise to have the armor in place before the battle begins.
The purpose of the supplication is found in Paul’s own prayer request, “and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Eph 6:19-20). Not to speak beyond what he should, but as he ought.
Do we have another example? Yes, the entire first part of this letter is a prayer by Paul for the Ephesians (or the reader). This will give us some insight to the type of prayer a good warrior will pray. Let’s look at some of the verses regarding the Stand Paul makes:
1:3 - God Who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.
1:4 - God who has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.
1:4 - We should be holy and without blame before Him (Which is the definition of
Righteousness, as He gave us the Seed of God created after Him in true Holiness
and Righteousness to accomplish that task).
1:5 - God having predestinated us unto the adoption of children.
1:6 - God Who has made us accepted in the beloved.
1:7a - In Whom we have redemption through His Blood.
1:7b - The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His Grace.
1:8 - He has abounded toward us in all Wisdom and Prudence.
1:9a - Having made known unto us the mystery of His Will.
1:9b - According to His Good Pleasure which He purposed in Himself.
1:10 - He might gather together in One all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and
which are on earth (subject matter is In Christ, one must be In Christ to enter).
1:11a - In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance.
1:11b - Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who Works all things
after the counsel of His own Will.
1:13 - We are sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise.
2:1 - God has Quickened us, who were dead in trespasses and sins.
2:4 - God who is rich in Mercy, Loved us, and Quickened us together with Christ.
2:6 - God Who has raised us up together in heavenly places with Christ Jesus.
2:8 - By God’s Grace are we saved, through faith, that not of our own.
2:10 - We are God’s workmanship, Created in Christ Jesus.
2:13 - We are made Near unto God by the Blood of Christ.
2:14a - Jesus is our Peace.
2:14b - Jesus has broken down the middle wall between the Holy Place and the Holy
of Holies, granting us permission to come boldly to the throne.
2:15 - Jesus has abolished in His Flesh the enmity.
2:18 - Through Jesus we have access by the Spirit.
2:22 - Jesus has built us for a Habitation of God through the Spirit.
3:5 - Jesus has revealed the Mystery by the Spirit.
3:7 - Jesus gave us the Power of Grace.
3:12 - We have boldness and access by the faith of Jesus.
3:20 - Jesus is able to do exceeding abundantly.
4:11 - Jesus gave gifts (offices), to build the Body.
5:26 - Jesus cleanses us with the washing of the Water by the Word.
From here Paul gave us a list of Do's and Do Not's, but like the Love of God we don't seek to avoid the Do Not's, rather we seek the Do's, knowing we will not do the Do Not’s by doing the Do’s. The do's and do not's are as follows:
Remember when we in times past had no hope
Put off the former conversation
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind
Put on the New Man
Labor to be able to give
Be kind one to another
Tenderhearted, forgiving one another
Be followers of God
Walk in Love
Walk as children of Light
Reprove the unfruitful works of darkness by being in the Light
Walk circumspectly, as Wise
Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called
With all lowliness, meekness and longsuffering, forbearing one another in love
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace
Speak the truth in love
Know the Will of the Lord, and do it
Submit one to another
Wives (congregation) submit to your Husband (leader)
Husbands (leaders), love your Wife (congregation)
Obey our parents in the Lord
Honor our Father (God) and Mother (Bride, Spirit)
Be Strong in the Lord
And in the Power of His Might
Put on the Whole Armor of God
Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.
We War against the Do Not's, by doing the do's, thus to combat anger, we hold to the joy of the Lord. To combat the deeds of the old man, we hold to the New Man. To combat bitterness, we acknowledge God is in our lives.
If we’re depressed do we fight the depression with more depression? No, we sing to ourselves and reach beyond the present, allowing our faith to find to search for the hope, giving us a view (vision) of what God sees.
THE DO NOT'S
Faint not at the tribulations of others in the Kingdom
Henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro
Walk not as other Gentiles, in the vanity of their mind
Be angry and sin not; let not the sun go down on our wrath
Neither give place to the devil
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouths
Grieve not the Holy Spirit
Let no man deceive us with vain words
Be not partakers with the children of disobedience
Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness
Don't walk as fools
Be not unwise in understanding the Will of the Lord
Be not drunk with wine
Provoke not the children.
THE PUT AWAY'S
Put away lying - all bitterness - wrath - anger - clamor and evil speaking.
The "put away's" are the deeds of the old man, if we put away the old man, we must also put away his deeds. Which is similar to sending the bondwoman away with the Ishmael, it does little good to send the bondwoman away, yet keep raising Ishmaels.
There is no way any of us can put away these things without the Spirit; however, it still begins with Imputing. Therein lays the mystery, we impute the old man dead by the Cross, but it doesn’t mean he will stop tempting us; it means the old nature of the flesh has lost it’s power and authority over us. We must reprove the old man and his deeds, but we must be able to discern what the deeds of the old man consist of. What good does it do to attack corruption with manipulation? Attempting to use natural power in this area is dangerous, it usually ends in religious conceit. Religious orders all over the world think they have closed the eye gate, or ear gate, or whatever gate, but they used the pride of life to do it, ending in religious conceit, not freedom. These are faith issues, having the position in the Body of Christ is the first step, thus unless one is in the Body of Christ with the Spirit none of this is going to work. Next it’s by faith, we hear, we have believed, we now couple it with faith knowing God is fully able. Faith is never concerned with the event, it reaches to the hope.
The reality of entry into the Kingdom is the same greatness we felt when those things we hated were taken away, but we retained some things of the darkness we liked, or we continued to use them because they worked for us, or gave us the feelings we enjoyed, yet they were just as deadly as the ones we hated. We need to put them off as well, every tare, the seeds of tares, the shadow of the tare, along with every deed of the old man. The only way we are going to be able to discern which is a tare we hated, or one we liked is by the Spirit, therein lays another battle.
The first discernment we gain is what we see in others, “oh my I never saw how self-centered they are”, “oh my they are so into their self, I never noticed”. Why would God allow us to see those things? Just so we have something to talk about? No, but He did give us seed for prayer by the clarity. We apply the clarity in prayer for others, in the process we find ourselves being cleaned. What else could God be showing us? Ourselves? Yikes!!! Yes, the very thing we became deceived over is now exposed in the mirror of God, now we’re “offended”. We will also find God using people to expose or correct us, yet they haven’t a clue what they are doing. In the same manner, God will use us to correct or expose, yet we won’t have a clue what we are doing either.
We will fight to keep those things we enjoy, but when we see them in others, we see how destructive they are. “Oh yes, I see the control in her, but it’s not control in me, it’s organizational ability”. Oops, we placed a mask on our tare, or gave it another name, thereby retaining what we should be getting rid of. However, when we pray for the power of God to manifest in the lives of others, we will find the beam in our eye leaving so we can assist others with the twig in theirs. There are signs to our behavior, do we think we can control God’s emotions? Or do we think we can get what we want from God by using emotions? Does someone point out how we twisted Scripture to prove our point? The Spirit will show us the four corners of our souls, when the cleaning is evident it merely shows our prayers are being answered, we are becoming more and more spiritual in nature. There is a battle from the old carnal fleshly nature to the New Spiritual Nature. Jesus said that born of the flesh was flesh, our souls related to the flesh, thought of the flesh, made contact by the flesh; but now we are Born Again, the Process is changing from flesh to Spirit. Our Resurrected body is not Spirit, but in order to operate in God’s heaven, we have to be Spiritual in nature.
Paul’s position for warfare was in prayer, his attitude was For people, his posture was to see God manifested in the lives of people, his concern was to walk in holiness and righteousness by the New Man. No where in Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians does he bind the devil, in fact, he doesn’t carry on a conversation with the devil. If he is the one who told us about warfare, don’t you think he knew something about it? It would seem if Paul said don’t give place to the devil, yet inviting the devil into prayer life would be giving place, would it not?
How about the term “Scriptural Warfare”, is there such a thing? Yes, Jesus said more than once, “It is written”, but so did the Pharisees. Many of us have heard someone tell us how “God told them” something, yet we know it wasn’t the case at all. Does it mean God won’t tell us things? Not at all, prophecy is God telling us things, rather in some areas someone hears the old man, they produce a statement opposed to Scripture, yet think it came from the Holy Ghost. Whatever God tells us will never be opposed to sound Scripture, yet there are times when we may not find a Scripture one way or the other, but the truth remains God will not speak against the Scriptures. The Scriptures become the rule book to prophecy, the proof of “God told me”. The early church knew the importance of this area when they established the Cannon of Scripture. They would take letters and Gospel accounts, then find other letters supporting the validity of the document, then pray in earnest over the matter. The reason was not merely for us to have a New Testament, but so we could have documents affirmed as being authored by the Holy Ghost, yet penned by holy men so we could have a written guide in the instruction of righteousness. The Bible won’t give us Righteousness, but it will instruct us in righteousness (II Tim 3:16).
Perhaps one of the best examples is Adam, we know two things regarding the ability of Adam before the fall, he cared for the Garden and he named animals. If someone said, “God told me Adam could fly to various planets”, where is the Scripture to support it? There is none, but is there Scripture reputing the concept? Yes, in First Corinthians 15:47 we find the First Adam was earthly, the Second Adam from heaven. If Adam was earth bound, then he was earth bound. The Scripture keeps the wild imagination from forming strongholds, or elevating people beyond measure. In due time God will exalt us, but we better not exalt ourselves, or exalt others above measure (II Cor 12:7). If we allow our minds to make “gods” out of our teachers or preachers, we will accept anything they say without question. Paul was never impressed by people, especially after he came face to face with Jesus, but he was delighted to see disciples respond in a Godly manner. One such case would be the believers at Berea, who searched the Scriptures daily, to see whether the things Paul preached were correct (Acts 17:11). Paul never told them, “how dare you question me, I’m an anointed apostle of grace”, or “are you calling God a liar”, those would be comments from the carnal mind being exposed, not the mind of a saint.
Another example of ungodly warfare would be using a Spiritual principle through a carnal methods of application. It seems to be Corinthian in nature, although they had the Spirit, they were not spiritual (I Cor 3:16 & 3:1-3). They would hear “prophecy”, but use carnal thinking to interpret it, finding themselves attacking the people of God, rather than encouraging them (II Cor 13:5 et al). In their case it was the prophecy to comfort, edify or exhort, but nonetheless a faulty interpretation doesn’t mean the prophecy is in error, it does mean the interpretation is.
The office of the Prophet brings us direction and doctrine, the prophet never makes doctrine, they deliver it (Acts 15:32). The person may be a “prophet” confirmed by past prophecies, but it doesn’t mean everything they say is taken at face value. In Jeremiah’s time there were the “prophets of God”, but they were moved by the events of the time, as they began to prophesy from their own desires and fears. God called them His prophets, but He also said they were in error (Jere 23:18-20 & 23:28-32). At times we think if we say it, God will honor it: however, prophecy is from God, it’s not a means to make God perform for us.
Although Scripture is our check and balance to “God told me”; there are areas where the exact Scripture can’t be found. “God told me to go to the store”, would be an example. No where in Scripture does it tell us not to go to the store, but we do find “faith comes by hearing”, and “go ye”. If the person is moving in faith, God will keep things in order, if they are moving in presumption, well, we know the result.
In the case of “So saith the Lord” we have two checks, one is of course the other prophets, the next would be the Scriptures. We just looked at the application of what a Prophet in the office does, but what about the rest of the Body? There are times when someone will give a prophecy which is not directional or doctrinal, rather it falls into the area of edifying, comfort or exhortation, yet all of sudden they think they are a “prophet”. They gave a word, but it doesn’t mean they are a Prophet, all of us in the Body fall into the area of giving prophecy as it edifies, comforts or exhorts, but it doesn’t make us prophets (I Cor 14:3-5). At times some of us are impressed with ourselves, presuming since we gave a word, we must be a Prophet. We then speak from our own desires, hurts and fears, adding “so saith the Lord”. So it was in the time of Jeremiah, the prophets were moved by the moment, their nation was in danger, they began to speak from their own fears, yet added “so saith the Lord”, in their feeble attempt to make God perform to their words. The real Prophet has little to say most of the time, but when they speak we find direction, or doctrine. Prophecy can be a “word of wisdom”, or a “word of knowledge”, or some other area fitting the Manifestation of the Spirit. The Manifestation of the Spirit is different from the Offices (Administrations) of the Lord (I Cor 12:4-7).
There are other areas which are “blanket” no matter who we are, or where we are in the Body, if someone told us, “So saith the Lord, you are called of God”. They would be right if they spoke to us, the person next to us, or the person behind us, since we are all called of God. Personal prophecy will confirm something we already suspect, or it will be confirmed in another way other than the prophet. Anyone can say, “so saith the Lord when I sit down, you will know I’m a prophet”, then sit down. The problem comes when the other prophets know there’s error, yet they don’t say anything. When they remain silent, then the congregation thinks the false “so saith the Lord” was correct. Silence at times is not golden, but destructive, yet if we speak let us speak as oracles of God.
What about Binding and Loosing, is it a real concept? Yes, but we must know what to bind and what to loose, as well as why. One day Jesus asked His disciples, “whom do men say I the Son of man am?” (Matt 16:13). They answered by saying, “Some say you are John the Baptist: some, Elijah: and others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets” (Matt 16:14). That was the same mistake the people made regarding the coming of Elijah, they thought the man Elijah would come marching down the road, rather than seeking the Message. They were also looking for Association and Comparison, something any of us can fall prey to. We look at a person struggling, yet feel better about our position, but then we see someone who appears to be on the mountain top, then we fall into the pit of despair. “How can they have a ministry going so well when they keep speaking error?”; “How can God bless them, and not me?”; improper thinking based on the error of comparison. We have no idea what God is doing with them, in most cases we have no idea what God is doing with us. Faith must narrow it down to this, “If God is dealing with me, then I’m loved of God, what do I care what God is doing with others, I follow Jesus” (Heb 13:6, 12:2 & 12:6).
Jesus also narrowed down His question to, “But Whom say you that I am?”. Peter answered by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”. Jesus then said, “Blessed are you Simon BarJona for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but My Father which is in heaven, and I say also unto you, That you are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build My Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt 16:17-19). There is much here, yet it’s all Covenant talk, “I will”, “You will”, “I will”, “You will”. Jesus gave us the keys, but He won’t turn them. He is going to build the Church, we’re not. Jesus began this statement by saying, “Blessed are you….”, the condition of the kingdom is one of blessing, not cursing. Peter was blessed based on the information he received, but more so because he was associated with Jesus. Why did Jesus use Simon Son of Jona? To make a point, then bring about a division between Peter and the Rock. The name Peter means a piece of the rock, but the Greek word for Rock means a massive structure made up from rocks. Jesus indicated the Rock was in place, but the Church was yet future tense at the time: it’s plain in the tenses: “Upon this Rock” is present tense, “I will build” is future tense. Peter was not the Rock, but a part of it, as was John, James, and the rest of the disciples, it’s evident in the Greek words used for “Peter” and the “Rock”. They would receive the authority to be fishers of men, the fish caught would be rocks to build the Rock. However, no man builds the Church, the effort is in the hands of Jesus. When Jesus told us “go”, He commanded us by His authority to build the Rock, but it doesn’t give us permission to build the Church.
Was Simon Barjona the called out one? Or was Peter the called out one? At the time Simon Barjona was still a natural man, yet associated to the Rock. The Church was yet to be established, because no one was Born Again. Jesus confirmed this by saying they would receive the Keys, rather than saying they had them. This is also seen by the tenses used in the phrase, “I will give unto you”.
The keys and gates are much different; gates are not offensive weapons, really they are not weapons at all (unless you take it off the hinge and beat someone with it), they are used to either keep things or people out, or keep things or people in, as means of division, or to produce hindrances. When one runs into a locked gate what do they do? They have to go in a different direction. However, who is going to handle the gate problem regarding the Church? Jesus, but how? By coming against the gates? No, by building the Church in such a way the gates cannot prevail. It seems a little difficult to conceive of the gates not prevailing when we read the seven letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation. After all when there are the Jezebels, Balaams, or the rest of the Wicked running around with their doctrines, it would seem the gates have prevailed. If Jesus is going to build, why does He tell the seven churches to repent? Ahh, they are churches in the Rock, the Church is on the Rock. Is there a prerequisite for being a member of the Church? Yes, one must be of the Rock, as well as have the Spirit, thus the gates being natural cannot prevail against a spiritual entity.
We can bind every devil, loose all sorts of things, yet never fulfill the requirements of Binding and Loosing in a Godly sense. Jesus used a Parable to point out the center focus of binding and loosing, the parable was predicated by Peter asking, “Lord how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?” (Matt 18:21). Peter was looking for the limit, the place where forgiveness ends and vengeance begins. However, Jesus said, “I say not unto you, not until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matt 18:22). Adding up to 490 times, the same amount of years God forgave Israel, before He put them in bondage to Babylon for seventy years because they failed to hear and obey.
Jesus then tells the Parable about the man who owned a certain king a large amount of money, so much it would take the next seven generations to pay off the debt. The man begged the king by saying, “Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you all” (Matt 18:23-26). The king had more than patience, he showed the man compassion as he “Loosed” the man from his debt. The man went out and found someone who owned him about a dollar and a half, then told the man, “You better pay me what you owe me”. The man said, “Have patience with me, I will pay you all that I owe”. The man who was owed the sum said, “No, you owe, you pay”, then he had the man tossed into prison. The king heard of this, then called the man back to the court, saying, “O you Wicked servant, I forgave you all the debt, because you desired me to, should not you also have had compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had pity on you?” The king delivered the man to the tormentors. Jesus then said, “So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if you from your hearts you forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses” (Matt 18:27-35). So much for the loophole, yet in the parable we find the Loosing was based on the debt owed. Peter was looking for a way around the commandment, Jesus said there isn’t any, we do it. What else would this connect to? Freely you received, freely you give, we received the Mercy of God, we are required to give it.
Jesus also equated this to the will of the Father; in Matthew 7:21-23 it was the failure to do the Will of the Father producing the “workers of iniquity”. Binding and loosing then has to do with receiving and granting Mercy. When the man faced the king he had no choice, it was pay or beg. However, when he faced the person who owed him he did have a choice. Freely the man received the mercy of the king, freely he was to grant it to others. However, it would have been easier to forgive, then not, thus his iniquity was something he worked at, making him a worker of iniquity, failing he found himself in the hands of the tormentors.
Another Parable spoke Jesus on binding, it was the Wedding Banquet, the master sent forth for all sorts of people, many came, but one man didn’t prepare his “covering”, rather he failed to be clothed for the wedding, the master asked, “Friend, how came you in here not having a wedding garment?” (Matt 22:1-12). The king said, “bind him hand and foot and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness” (Matt 22:13-14). To bind means to retain, or keep, to loose means to let go. In this case the man failed to respect the Wedding Banquet, or the master of the house, in essence he failed to be covered. We have the Unction of the Body based on the Mercy of the Father, thus any novice can cast out devils, or lay hands on the sick, they can also forgive as they are forgiven.
When we look at the manner in which Jesus dealt with devils, we find He loosed the people from the demonic, but He never bound a devil during His earthly ministry.
Perhaps the Ingress Aires from Majesty on High is the best example of Binding and Loosing, as well as showing the reward for performance. After the Resurrection it was time to take the keys: which means it was time for Jesus to give them permission to receive the Kingdom of God. They were anointed and ordained prior in respect to earthly deeds under Mercy, yet the purpose was preparation to receive Grace. Jesus said His Blood was the New Covenant, so what was the Bread? The place between? Okay, we are the Bread? Okay, what else? The Mercy of God, we as the Bread have received the imputed Mercies of God. Process in the progression, Paul told us spiritual matters to the carnal mind are foolishness, thus before the Spirit was given the disciples were yet carnal. Carnal or not, they understood Mercy, which was the basis of the earthly ministry.
The Keys had to be Applied in a Godly manner, thus Jesus told the disciples, “Peace be unto you, as My Father has sent Me, even so send I you” (Jn 20:21). This is the granting of the Authority regarding the commission of Mercy (Father), but there was more required to enter Grace. They had to “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (Jn 20:22); this was not the granting of the New Man, but permission, hence the term “ingress”. The Breath of Jesus was On them, not In them, it was the Unction to perform the task of forgiving in order to receive the fullness of the Gift. If we are having problems forgiving, we need a fresh Breath of Jesus in our life, or remember we have the breath of Jesus to remit sins done unto us. The disciples understood this, there were many people to forgive in their case. The Pharisees, the Romans, Judas. Did they run about telling them, “I forgive you because my Lord has commanded it”? No. Did they send them letters? No. It was done in prayer; whether the person knows they are forgiven or not doesn’t matter, what we do in prayer does. Getting others to say they are sorry is not the same as us forgiving in a Godly manner; rather it’s demanding validity, or making them aware of something we think they said, or something we think they should have said. This is the place separating the vessel of honor from the one of dishonor, the unworthy from the worthy. We just had an encounter with a brother or sister in the Lord, which was not pleasant at all. We are now at the Table of the Lord, inside the flesh is saying, “curse them, call them down, bind them”, but the New Man is saying “bless and curse not, forgive as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you”. We are between the two, at the moment we are angry, we don’t want to bless them, we don’t want to even think about them, but Faith must speak. Faith sees the result of Mercy applied, even if we don’t feel like it at the moment. The Breath of Jesus gives us the ability to remit sins down unto us; what feelings we have at the moment, we put aside to reach to the result of our faith.
The wording in the Ingress Aires is directly joined to binding and loosing, “whose soever sins ye remit (loose) they are remitted (loosed) unto them, and whose soever sins you retain (bind) they are retained (bound - Jn 20:23)”. The “bound” part does not mean the sins are bound to the other person, it means the sins are bound to us. Unforgiveness never hurts the other person, it always hurts the holder. This is the very area where we hold the Keys, the ability is in hand, our desire is based first on our belief of forgiving being vital to our stand in the Body, second it’s of faith, looking to the manifested result.
This is a hard area for some, but if we understand the Law of Imputing, we know it’s possible. The mountain is another example, it sits on us, it’s unforgiveness, something of the world, not of the Kingdom. We say Go to the mountain, then apply our faith in God to remove it. The Breath of Jesus gives us the permission and authority, but the Power comes when we make the decision. In some cases it’s not so much we can’t forgive, really it’s we don’t want to. Once we see it all hinges retaining unforgiveness binds God’s mercy from us, not the one we’re holding unforgiveness against, then the incentive becomes evident. If we loose the person, God will loose His Mercy from heaven into us, but if we bind the person by holding unforgiveness, we have bound God’s Mercy from us. Unforgiveness is like taking poison hoping the other person dies.
This is the battle after the battle, the enemy used a person to hurt us, so why hold unforgiveness allowing the enemy to win? The reason was used by the enemy to get us in an unforgiving state. There is a process, we begin by asking ourselves two questions, Is the unforgiveness worth our salvation? If so, then we will take it to hell with us. Next, is it the Father’s will for us to forgive? If so, we will forgive. The application begins when we receive the Breath of Jesus; the Unction coupled with our decision grants permission and ability. Faith is a Now confidence based on a future hope, our faith knows the unforgiveness will go, it must, God said it would.
The Lord knows on one side of this scale is the unforgiveness, hate, bitterness, pain and suffering, but on the other is our desire to do what is right, to forgive. Our decision is open before the Lord, He breathed on us, we imputed the loosing on earth by loosing the person whom we have bound to our unforgiveness. The Father then opens heaven by imputing His mercy on us, beginning the process, the mountain begins to fade. Then we impute more, the Father imputes more, the mountain begins to vanish the more. Then comes the impartation, we impart the person forgiven producing the Remission, the Father imparts His Mercy on us in completeness. This is not Remission of their sins, but remission on our part of the sins done unto us. At first we pardon, but we will still have ill feelings, but the more imputing we do, the more Mercy we gain, soon it will be remission which brings joy and freedom from torment.
All this is predicated on Covenant promises; we do, the Lord does, the Lord does, we do. The Lord breathed on us, but He is not going to forgive others for us: we must make use of the granted keys. We cannot tell God, “Okay I understand this, I must forgive, so you give me the feeling of Mercy, then I will forgive”. It won’t happen, this is a battle based on faith, we must fight through the flesh of bitterness and unforgiveness to see the mountain go. Doubt is the thought of God not being able to finish what He started, we gained the Breath, now it’s up to us, but if we allow doubt to enter, we will fall back to the bitterness.
The next keys are deny the self, then pick up our cross, two acts of death. The Covenant Promise is for us to impute death by the Cross of Jesus, then Jesus grants us Life, so we can have it more Abundantly, but it isn’t going to be reversed. Did we accept the death of Jesus? Well look, we’re not dead, so was it a mind game? No, we know better, thus the same principle applies to forgiveness as it did to accepting the death of Jesus. We deny the self the right to vindication, validation, getting even, or justice. This is another area where we find victory over the old nature, the old nature wants vindication, the New desires Mercy more than Sacrifice.
On the same note Jesus isn’t going to give us Life More Abundantly if we refuse to deny the self, or pick up our Cross. So, do we kill the self? No, we deny it, meaning what? Binding the strongman? Yes, to Bind means restrict, or to prevent processing further, thus by binding the old nature on the Cross we make it ineffective. On the same note if we go about “binding the devil”, we are restricting him to a place where he is, but God has already bound the devils in darkness by binding them in chains, as Jude’s letter points out. How can we “cast out devils” yet “bind them”? Those are two opposite commands, come out, stay there, no come out, no stay there.
The strongman is the self-nature, we know the Spirit is willing, the flesh is weak, but the old nature is strong. The self-nature is the nature of natural man, the result of partaking of the fruit; the old nature is only effective in its realm, for it’s purpose. The realm is darkness, the purpose is to kill us. However, the Cross of Jesus gives us the opportunity to impute death, yet gain Life by the Faith of the Son of God who gave Himself for us. Binding of the strong man will loose us by the Cross in order for us to have the Stronger One (Spirit).
The same is true with the Law of Moses, it was granted until death. In our case we have the advantage, the Law is nailed to the Cross, it’s completed by the Cross, thus it can’t judge us. Therefore, the Law looks at the Cross and finds no sin, thus it opens up the granted authority for us to have the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead. How can this be? Imputing, yet imputing is a battle in and of itself. “I impute you dead by the Cross of Jesus”, “Oh yeah, think so, I impute myself effective again”. The war is on, but do we stand toe to toe with the old man, “Yes you are”, “no I’m not”, “yes you are”, “no I’m not”?, No, we join to the Spirit proving the effectiveness of the Cross and Resurrection by showing the ineffectiveness of the old nature.
Was Paul playing a mind game when he said, “I am crucified with Christ”? Surely he was still Saul the Pharisee when Jesus went to the Cross. There isn’t one picture showing Paul nailed to the Cross with Jesus. Not one historical fact showing there were two people on the Cross of Jesus, really Paul was beheaded by Nero. What was Paul saying? Not a mind game, but receiving a Promise of the Lord by faith. Paul accepted the death of Jesus in his place, thus he was Crucified with Christ. Then he accepted the Life granted by Jesus wherein he could say, “nevertheless I live”. It wasn’t a mind game, the evidence is the “change” of natures by the Spirit; evidencing the Resurrection of Jesus. The same inner change is our unseen evidence showing we are Born Again, which proves the Resurrection of Jesus is true.
Faith and Imputing run hand in hand, Faith came by hearing the Lord promise us, the now confidence gives us the trust in the Lord to perform what He promised. Our words joined to the future hope, regardless of the present state of facts. Faith then pulled us by our confidence in God, as the New Man guided us on the path of the Faith of Jesus. However, does it now appear what we shall be? No, but this we know, as Jesus is, so are we. What is Jesus? Son of God? Yes, Son of man? Yes, Isn’t He also Resurrected? The same Spirit who raised Jesus is preparing us for a body yet to come. We are in the fitting stage of our future wardrobe, a Process, yet very Possible.
The Light does shine in a dark place for those who have the Light within. Who turns off the darkness when they enter a room? Who turns on the darkness when they leave a room? Our nature knows to turn on the light if we want to see in the darkness. The same knowledge assists us in warfare, we Loose the person by forgiving them; then God’s Mercy is Loosed on us causing our Light to shine in a dark place. When Jesus talked about our Light shinning, He was also teaching on Mercy. Grace is a Light in and of itself, but Mercy is a Light as well. When we allow God’s Mercy to shine, we will walk in a state of Joy unsurpassed.
Why would we think holding unforgiveness actually hurts someone else? What mental awareness would cause such a thought process? A stronghold, the next battle, but the same battlefield. A Parenthetical Phrase contains words between the Parentheses, it either defines the subject being talked about, or the subject being talked about is defined by the Parenthetical Phrase. For instance if we wrote, “John and I went (downtown to the store) and bought candy”, the Parenthetical Phrase shows we went downtown to the store. Paul used this same technique when he wrote to the Corinthians about strongholds, yet we don’t want to make a stronghold out of defining strongholds, so we will view the Scripture. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians was about one year after the First, the First brought awareness regarding the carnal position of the Corinthians, then to encourage them to enter the Spiritual nature. In his First Letter he acknowledged how they had the Spirit, but he also recognized how they were yet carnal. In his Second Letter he rebuked them for remaining carnal, as he wrote, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh” (II Cor 10:3). Accordingly we find this pertains to warfare, again we find we have a choice; we can walk after the flesh, as did the Corinthians, or after the Spirit as did Paul; of course the success is found in the Spirit. Paul continued by saying, “(for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds)”, this is a Parenthetical Phrase, if left by itself we could devise all sorts of doctrines. We could say Strongholds are devils above cities, or world governments, or most anything, but a Parenthetical Phrase never stands alone, it’s always connected to a subject. Therefore we read, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing exalting itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”. If we are to “bring into captivity” what would it pertain to? Binding? Yes, so we Loose people by forgiving them, but we bring our thoughts into Captivity (Binding) unto the Obedience (submission) of Christ. The Parenthetical Phrase points to the weapons, the subject matter is our own imaginations, as well as the imaginations of others projected toward us. The key to this is Obedience, we bring our thoughts into the obedience of Christ, before we can see the strongholds of others.
We find strongholds hold imaginations, but do they come against God? No. Do they come against us? No. They come against the Knowledge of God; not the Wisdom of God, not the Throne of God, not the Body, or the Blood, rather they attack the Knowledge of God. The enemy knows God’s people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge, so why waste time attacking people, get the people to attack the knowledge of God. “Well, didn’t Paul say knowledge puffs up? Seems we might do better without knowledge.” Ahh a stronghold; Paul did say “Knowledge puffs up” (I Cor 8:1), but he also said in the same verse “we all have knowledge”, if we leave it there we will build a stronghold presuming if we have knowledge, or if anyone else does, they are puffed up. Not so, it’s not the context, Paul shows; if we have Knowledge of Grace without Love we will use the specific knowledge in a prideful manner against people. Knowledge without love will always surface in pride, if we lack love we will use knowledge to exalt ourselves, as we belittle others. Knowledge with Love uses the perfect law of liberty in a Godly manner. Therefore, it’s not knowledge, but the application of certain knowledge void of love causing one to be puffed up.
Here in the area of Strongholds it’s the imaginations (natural reasonings) attacking the knowledge of God. They don’t even attack the natural knowledge of man, but often we find the stronghold is the product of the natural knowledge of man. Strongholds produce winds of doctrine, concepts without sound Scripture to support them, traditions of men taught as doctrine, even heresy. However, some of the more deadly strongholds are not theological in nature. What does God know? Everything? Then we know any of us can have strongholds regarding theology, or people, or events, or most anything wherein knowledge is involved. Knowledge being the basis behind belief also shows if we form a stronghold regarding a person, or event, we will also believe the stronghold is truth. Tares planted by the enemy are deceptive conclusions regarding people and events leading to illusions and delusions.
One evidence of a stronghold is the misuse of the term “stronghold”; Paul defined it as an imagination in the mind, none of us are going to take down strongholds in the mind of another, we present Truth as a hammer to the stronghold, but it still takes a teachable mind for the stronghold to fall. If a stronghold comes against the knowledge of God, what then would be the makeup of the stronghold? Knowledge, not of God. If we take the term Stronghold making it devils we are making strongholds by the misinterpretation of the term! Are we to bind the stronghold? No, we bind the thought by obedience unto Christ before it forms into a stronghold.
A Stronghold is the false concept fortified by the rulers of darkness, in most cases it’s where a person refuses to forgive, the event was real or a fabrication, yet they added, or took away from the event to formulate their own opinion, causing a stronghold. Opinions are what we think are true matters, but we lack the facts or evidence to prove them true. We think some person did this, or that to us because we think they are prone to do it, then we begin our stronghold building process. We put watchdogs on the wall of our stronghold, but they are vengeful spiders we use to protect our egos. They use their legs to hold the stronghold together, while letting everyone know there is a danger if they come near our stronghold. We put Caution signs out based on our anger, or stories about others, when anyone gets too close to our stronghold we attack.
Theology can have a ton of strongholds, but a sound study discipline will challenge the theology before it becomes false doctrine. The idea may sound great, it may have Liberty painted all over it, but once opened we find it’s no more than an empty promise box. Honest ground changes theology in the face of Truth, heresy refuses to.
Division in the Body is based on theological strongholds, or winds of doctrine, or traditions of men taught as doctrine, which seem to be held by carnal minded people in leadership roles. The Corinthians had many, they misread the purpose of baptism, failed to understand spiritual matters, held to false assumptions, Paul said he wouldn’t be surprised if there was not heresy among them (I Cor 11:19). Heresy is merely a natural opinion being taught as doctrine regarding what one thinks the Scripture says, or should say.
Peter showed us the Wicked will “promise Liberty, but they themselves are servants of corruption” (II Pet 2:19). Untested theology allowed to become doctrine becomes an enemy of Truth, rather than a promoter of Truth. If we have some error, small or large the test of our obedience is how quick we make the change when the Truth is known. If we refuse to make the change, we have a stronghold; however, if we teach the stronghold as doctrine after we are aware, it becomes heresy. Traditions of men are not doctrine, they are things one generation did based on the circumstances of their day. However, the next generation takes the traditions twists it into theology causing the next generation to accept it as doctrine. Once accepted as doctrine they form a barrier of intellect, without sound Scriptural support. No matter how the traditions of men start, if they evolve into doctrine they must always take something from the Commandment.
An example of a stronghold in the making would be if we attempted to prove our point by using an unfavorable worldly concept, such as Evolution as Natural Selection, which is the foundation for Hyper-Calvinism. Christians don’t like the wording “Darwin’s Evolution”, or “Darwin’s Theory” for good reason, but if we project a doctrine such as, “No sheep can be a shepherd because it would be crossover evolution”, based on the premise of evolution being ungodly, we would be in error. Evolution is not Godly, but sheep do become shepherds. Peter was a sheep, then he became a shepherd, Jesus is the Lamb of God, yet He is the Chief Shepherd. Metaphors and evolution are not the same; however, if we take the term Predestination then add Natural Selection to it we would have God with an A list and a B list: no matter what one does, if they are on the B list they can’t be saved, but if they are on the A List, no matter what they do, they can be saved; the list theory removes the “whosoever”, negating, “whosever believes in Him shall not be ashamed”. God knows all things, His plan for us is secured in the Report, but it takes the Witness to put us in the plan, it doesn’t mean God will reject us, it means God’s desire is for all to come to the saving knowledge of the Gospel, thus He has a Plan in the Report for anyone who accepts Jesus.
Warfare is centered on clarity, which includes keeping metaphors in order, such as Paul’s use of husband and wife in First Corinthians. If we limit the metaphors to gender alone, then all wives must remain silent, yet the widows can run the aisles yelling to high heaven. We must not limit what God has expanded, we must not expand what God has limited. Either produces Strongholds, becoming destructive in nature.
In First Corinthians 11 and 14 we find suggestions regarding “women”. We can also conclude the same man said, “there is no male or female in Christ” indicating he was speaking about “women” metaphorically allowing us to discover a mystery. Or we could devise doctrine by saying, “no female can serve”. Yet we are faced with Paul allowing females to serve, even preach as did Priscilla the wife of Aquila, or when Paul stayed in the house of Lydia, a business woman who sold Purple (Acts 16:14). Taking it further the comments taken to gender alone in First Corinthians 11 speak only of husbands and wives, not of single women, or widows. It would mean the teaching does not apply to single women or widows, which would be partiality which is a sin (James 1:1-4). Would the Apostle of Grace lead us into sin? No, we are not talking about gender, but metaphorically.
This is even clearer considering Paul’s feelings about a Christian following the Law of Moses, or placing humans between people and God, yet in First Corinthians 11 it appears it’s exactly what he is doing. No wife can get to Christ, except by her husband, which makes her at the very least a second class citizen in the kingdom. No, First Corinthians 11 isn’t about gender, it’s about corrupt leadership. To Paul the phrase “silly women” was a Jewish idiom rebuking teachers of the Law, who knew nothing of Grace. There are “heads” noted in Corinthians 11, if we think the head of the woman is the man, why doesn’t the man have long hair? Does this mean when two people are married, we cut the head off the man and paste it on the wife? A little barbaric. No, the metaphor Head refers to Authority, so does this mean as soon as a woman gets married she is separated from Christ, or she can only obtain authority if her husband allows it? Not at all, it would violate “no male or female in Christ Jesus”, much less “the two shall be one”. This is an area of warfare, especially for leadership. Taking it one step further, if the woman is to remain silent, it means to keep her mouth closed, but her mouth is attached to her head, yet her head is her husband. If the woman is to learn at home, what does it say about the teaching in the gathering?
The Authority (head) of every leader is Christ (the Unction or Anointing on the Body), the Authority (head) of the congregation (wife or women) is the leadership (husband). If the leadership prays or prophesies with their Authority covered, or Yoked by some carnal veil, they dishonor Christ, their Authority. If the congregation (women or wife) are not Covered by Christ centered leadership, they cannot pray or prophesy, for they will dishonor their authority (leadership). This is just for the gathering, thus it makes sense if the leadership is carnal, the wife (congregation) must remain silent. If the leadership has shamed their Head, the congregation cannot pray or prophesy in the gathering, since they would shame their carnal leadership. The congregation as a type of “women” must remain silent, as the Law of Moses dictates; they must also wait until they get home, then learn from their real Husband (the Lord by the Spirit). Why? They are not going to get a Godly answer from carnal leadership. Since the leadership is carnal, they are under carnal laws, the only Godly law for carnal minded people is the Law of Moses. The Law of the Spirit is for those who are spiritual, or at least attempting to be. Carnal leadership can give us history, stories, or what someone else taught, but they cannot give us Spiritual Knowledge. Does not even nature show an artificial covering is a shame, but long hair (anointing) is a glory?
In all this one other thing is obvious, the congregation is not for the leaders, but the leaders are for the congregation. Where did the leaders come from? The congregation, thus the shepherds were once sheep. Even so the congregation is of the leadership, but the leadership is from the congregation, both are parts are of the Body. The problem is of course the “silent” area, the congregation can’t pray or prophesy in the gathering, so what are they to do? Kill the leadership? No, it won’t work. Putting chapter 11 with 14 we find the Praying and Prophesy are linked to the Spirit, thus the congregation enters their prayer closet to pray in the Spirit for their leadership. This in no way means the congregation can go home and pray “in the natural” to gain their way in the gathering, it would be adding witchcraft to the carnal, ending in disaster. Nonetheless, as long as the congregation is under carnal leadership it is a “shame” to their leadership for them to pray or prophesy in the gathering (I Cor 14:34-35).
Carnal leadership produces strongholds, novices have a tendency to fall into Mentor Worship, grabbing sayings without testing them. The novice runs off teaching other novices the stronghold, producing another tradition of man. The evidence is before us, we hear more doctrines of men than most of us have socks, in each case the person would die for the doctrine, yet they have no clear Scripture to support their point. On the other hand they have tons of Scripture, but none to the point.
The thought must be taken captive to Christ (Anointing), it must also fit the Doctrine of Christ with clear evidence of it’s truth. We have one verse telling us to “bind the strongman”, but none telling us to bind devils. How then did we make a career out of binding devils? Strongholds, it sounded right, it was a way to vent our anger in a direction we felt was safe, so why not? Binding something already bound is silly at best, Jude tells us God has reserved the devils in darkness until the judgment, the wording shows they are bound (Jude 6). So, if we bind a devil what are we saying? God didn’t, or God has failed. Often the mistaken premise brings more damage, we bind the devil, so where was the devil? In the person? On the person? Around the person? If we bound it, we adhered it to the person, not something we would call setting the captives free.
There are plausible reasons why strongholds get started, they have to do with failing to loose what we’re suppose to. We are hurt, we want to take it out on someone, we want some vengeance, or validation, so we go after the devil. Sounds okay, except we find through Death Jesus destroyed (made ineffective) him who had the power of the death, that is the devil (Heb 2:14). Paul tells us we war against the wiles of the devil, not the devil. Then in First John 3:8 we find the manifested Sons of God (Greater He in us) destroys the works of the devil. The word “destroy” in First John 3:8 is the Greek Luo meaning To loose, the very same word used in binding and loosing. We’ve been binding devils, when we should have been loosing ourselves from the works (wiles) of the devil.
Strongholds are detected by terms or fables not associated with sound Doctrine, we may hear terms like, “Whore of Babylon”, or “gift of salvation”, or “true Israel”, those are all false terms not supported by Scripture. They tell us the speaker has strongholds, so do we toss out everything they say? No, we would produce another stronghold, we must discern by the Spirit, keep the Baby Jesus, toss out the dirty bath water, but in no case toss out the Baby Jesus with the bath water.
Strongholds can be specific in nature, or general. A person could have a stronghold in one area, yet have sound doctrine in others. They may be sound in the Doctrine of laying on of hands, but hold a stronghold regarding the Doctrine of Baptisms.
Strongholds are like rabbits, they have a tendency to multiply exceedingly fast. Wild imaginations grow like weeds, from one premise to another to another never gaining the answer. We’ve all been there, when someone begins to ask questions so fast they can’t hear the answers, it’s a sure sign they are trapped in imaginations. Before you can answer one question they give birth to another, thus the last one goes unanswered. Why? Even the imagination knows once the answer comes the imaginations are bound. “Do you think angels have four wings or two? If not, do they wear shoes? Do they have five toes like us? How about a nose? How many eyes do they have?”. “Was the Cross really wood, what kind, who made it, how were the nails made, were they pointed, or sharp, round or square”. The next day the same person tells everyone, “My teacher said the angels don’t have toes, and they were the ones who made the Cross”. Ouch! They don’t listen to the answer, rather they mixed the answers given, producing a fable to retain the strongholds.
We can form strongholds regarding people or events, we can forgive the people, but not the event. The stronghold is on guard, when a shadow of a like event appears we’re ready to defend, or attack. Someone walks up, they either hold their head just right, or say something relating to our hurt, then our imagination associates to the past event, as we use our protection of anger to gain our vengeance. All of sudden we’re asked, “Wow, are you crazy or what?”, then we begin to wonder, “Am I?”. No, just strongholds, things lacking clarity, in order for us to leave the past in the past.
We can continue to hold the things of the past, wondering about this or that, which builds strongholds. “God could have done this, or stopped it?”, then away we go breeding strongholds. Paul could have done the same, “God could have stopped me before Stephen was killed”, or “God could have broke my leg and kept me out of Jerusalem”, or “God could have called me as a youth and saved me all those years”. Those things don’t matter, they were then, this is now, our faith is reaching forward. Simply, “let it go”. Of course it’s a battle, because the old man has been nurturing those things for years. However, let patience have her perfect work, cast off the old, retain the New, follow the steps to another Victorious Overcoming event by the Spirit.
Strongholds are illusions and delusions, we can't battle delusions with illusions, nor battle illusions with more illusions. Paul told Timothy, God has given us a "sound mind" (II Tim 1:7), the wording "sound mind" goes far beyond self-control, rather it means the self under control of the Spirit to the point we walk in clarity and soundness of thinking. The Spirit is fully able to remove illusions from our minds, but we must be teachable and humble enough to receive the Truth when it comes. An illusion is a mistaken idea, it comes from a word meaning to mock, thus the illusion is mental. A delusion is a psychotic belief, usually becoming a way of life.
In First Corinthians we are told to "examine" ourselves, allowing the Spirit to search us looking for Strongholds or tares hindering us, or causing us to hinder others. Putting our own salvation on the line is one thing, going about planting tares in others to cause them to fall is something much different, it’s often more dangerous.
Not only do strongholds pertain to the knowledge regarding experiences, they also pertain to Scripture, thus showing any of us can misinterpret Scripture. When we study to prove someone else wrong, or to prove ourselves right, or to find the great revelation to catapult us to the top of the Christian celebrity charts, we form theological strongholds. The carnal mind is not satisfied with being a member of the Body, it wants to be among the 144,000, or the "only ones" who have the truth, or the "only Church", something setting them apart, or above all the others in the Body. We war to remain loyal to the calling keeping Jesus first place.
Someone who has fortified their stronghold over the years will ignore, or deny plain Scripture exposing their stronghold as a fable. Cult systems are famous for this, show them a verse, yet we see them reject it. In order to preserve their fables they either produce a separate book, or their own translation of the Bible. Any of us can place our scholars above the Bible, or make the Bible prove itself to the words of a scholar, rather than the scholar proving their self to the Bible. Anyone can form a translation supporting their agenda, or attempting to prove the improvable. Using the unbelief of someone in history never negates our own unbelief, all we did is find someone who holds unbelief to justify our unbelief.
Truth is a hammer to the stronghold, but we must be teachable as well. If we have no verse clearly supporting the concept, then we better question the concept. We must also study the premise upon which the concept is established. We know one fable is the famed, "you cannot lose your gift of salvation". It’s a stronghold presuming two things not secure in the Scriptures. First is the premise of Salvation as the "gift", second Salvation is something we have. The first test must be to find a clear verse linking Salvation with the word "gift". Since we know there is none, the entire matter should be cast out. If it remains, then it becomes a stronghold, the stronghold then becomes a tradition, the tradition becomes a doctrine, yet the doctrine becomes heretical when taught to others.
The battlefield was defined by Paul, we need not jump around to find the answer, we merely have to look at Second Corinthians 10:4-7. We do cast out devils, but devils are not strongholds; therefore, from the verses we can see the area regarding Strongholds has nothing to do with devils, it has to do with imaginations. What was the imagination of the Corinthians? "We desire to see a sign of Christ speaking through you". They wanted Paul to prove himself beyond the proof they already had, they even questioned whether Paul was still an apostle. They formed a stronghold regarding an event having nothing to do with them, once the stronghold was formed any forth coming information had to be filtered through their stronghold. Whatever Paul said would have to meet the approval of the stronghold, even the things said by the Corinthians had to pass through the stronghold. The stronghold then became a ruler of darkness, something governing the information received or projected. To Paul it was obvious they had strongholds, to them it was not obvious. A stronghold is very deceptive in nature, it uses the mask of truth, but lacks the evidence.
The Corinthians didn’t what to follow Paul’s teaching, so they simply said he lost his position. It was not up to them to make the determination, the truth was something they saw, but they desired to remain carnal. They looked for the excuse, found one, then fortified it. Therefore, if Paul was speaking for Christ, they would have to follow his instructions, or fall into Iniquity. Yet, if they felt Paul wasn’t speaking for Christ, they didn’t have to comply. We will see the same reaction when a carnal mind is corrected, they will turn the correction around to attack the person correcting them. Deception? Yes, they didn’t want to be spiritual, since they thought they were. All they had to do was find some excuse to reject Paul, which allowed them to reject the teachings. Not so, Paul also told them, “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the Faith, Prove your own selves, Know you not of your own selves, how Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates” (II Cor 13:5). They knew Paul spoke the Truth, any excuse they came up with would fall short in the face of Truth.
The Greek word Imagination means a natural reasoning or fable, but is there more regarding the word Imagination in the Bible? The Hebrew has different words used for the English word Imagination; Genesis 6:5, 8:21, Deuteronomy 31:21, First Chronicles 28:9 (imaginations) and 29:18 all use the Hebrew Yetser meaning To frame, or Form, it was used in reference to "forming baskets", as well as forming thoughts. The word shows how the mind begins to weave fables together to form imaginations, producing strongholds. It runs from the “I think” reasoning to “it’s the truth”, then becomes a stronghold. An example would be the power of worry, we know Jesus told us not to worry, yet we know worry enters from time to time. Our minds begin to form what we think the future will bring, we weave and weave until the imagination almost gains a life of its own. When it gains power it begins to haunt us, we worry the more, it begins to grow into a ruler over us. We wake up in the night worrying, we form our lives around the worry, we allow the worry to govern what we do, where we go, or what we think. The worry begins to erode our faith, soon it turns to a constant fear, then we form more illusions about the dangers of tomorrow.
When Jesus said "take no thought", or "don't be anxious", it was in reference to warfare, showing faith counters worry. Faith doesn't ignore things, it simply knows God is greater than the things. It doesn't mean we won't face events and problems, it means they won't overpower us. Today’s problem becomes history tomorrow. On the same note someone who doesn't understand faith may think we simply don't care, not true, we do care, we're just not worried. The world thinks if you worry and fret it's a sign of caring, yet it’s a sign of a lack of faith. What about the person who uses false faith to ignore events? There is a vast difference between ignoring the event, and having faith through it. The battle comes when our faith or integrity are challenged, or when the event attempts to birth worry. We gave the Care to God, but then comes the faith issue, trusting in God's knowledge and ability, regardless of the outcome. Part of our faith is a trust in God going beyond the event, surely beyond the facts. We don't drop our faith if the event doesn't turn out the way we wanted: unless we trusted in God to perform, rather than putting our Trust in God. If we trusted in God to perform, we were using God to bring the event to the result we wanted, yet we called it faith, when it was witchcraft; thus our disappointment in how the event turned out is a sign: we didn’t use faith, we spoke with a hope of God doing what we wanted, regardless of what God wanted. We prayed, “not my will Lord but Your will”, but when the event didn’t turn out the way we wanted, we said, “the devil was able to get in there to cause it to go wrong”. No, we tempted God, then He sent the test to expose our folly. We are not to form an imagination of what we think God is doing, or what we think God should do; faith is not something we use to get God to do what we want, Faith is given to us so we can please God.
The exposure is good, if we receive it. James says count it all a joy when you fall into divers (different types) temptations, yet he also says temptation is when we are drawn away by our own lusts. Be joyful about being trapped by our own lust? It is a joy if we see the lust is exposed, more so to see the Wisdom of God rid us of the lust.
We find the word Imagination used more in Jeremiah than any other Old Testament book, but it's not the Hebrew Yetser, it’s another Hebrew word of importance. In Jeremiah 7:24, 9:14, 11:8, 13:10, 16:12, 18:12 and 23:17 we find the Hebrew Sheriyruwth meaning a hardness, it was used to show how fables come from an unteachable mind. Imaginations tend to seek error when there is none, indicating they produce their own error.
The Pharisees traveled miles just to find error, yet they thought they found error in Jesus, but could there be error in Jesus? No, yet the Pharisees thought they found it. "Why do you heal on the sabbath?", "why do you allow your disciples to break the sabbath?". Simply because they thought they found error, didn't mean what they found was error. Their minds formed an opinion, giving birth to the Imagination, yet they felt they conclusions were sound. They presumed there was error in Jesus, but the error was in their own minds.
They had Scripture, but the Scripture didn't bring the imagination, rather the hard hearts of the Pharisees twisted the intent of the Scripture into an imagination. Jesus said the sabbath was made for man, not the other way around. The sabbath was not God, it came from God, but it was still under the feet of Jesus, thus He is ruler over the sabbath, but the Pharisees made the sabbath a god over them.
The Hebrew Sheriyruwth was used in Proverbs 6:18, again in Lamentations 3:60 & 3:61. All this shows the Imagination is a formation of the natural mind of man, it can be based in fear, bitterness, pride, or another ruler of darkness, in each case the imagination attacks the Knowledge of God. When the imagination has taken root, it becomes a Stronghold, with the strongman standing guard ready to protect it at all costs.
If we bind the strongman, we weaken the stronghold. An example would be the very place where Jesus told the Pharisees to bind the strongman. Jesus was casting out a devil, or loosing the devil from the person, but it was not what caused Jesus to teach on binding the strongman. The strongman was in the minds of the Pharisees as they said, “This fellow does not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of devils” (Matt 12:24). They equated the work of God to the devil, always a mistake. In essence Jesus loosed a person, the Pharisees loosed their strongman. Jesus told them to bind the strongman, the binding would bring the thoughts into obedience, the same premise Paul uses. If the Pharisees would have bound the strongman they too could see the Kingdom at work, but they allowed the strongman to equate the entire event to the devil, thus calling Jesus the servant of the devil, not real smart. They were speaking against the actions of the ministry, yet the Holy Ghost was the authority behind the ministry, thus they spoke a sin against the Holy Ghost (Matt 12:32). The danger is allowing the strongman to continue building the stronghold, soon it becomes so fortified the person is convinced the stronghold is a Truth.
In the New Testament we find three Greek words used for the English word Imagination(s). In Luke 1:51 it's the Greek Dianoia meaning to Agitate in mind, it was used metonymy as the natural mind, thoughts or intellect, it was translated as mind or thoughts. In Romans 1:21 it's the Greek Dialogismos meaning To reason, or the direction granted by natural thoughts. This word shows how the natural thoughts of man attempt to interpret spiritual matters, failure in the making. However, in Second Corinthians 10:5 we find the Greek Logismos meaning A calculation, or something from a reflection, it’s based on ones own natural reasoning of a person, event, or saying. In all three cases the source is natural thinking, the natural mind still can’t reason spiritual matters. This same word was used in the Septuagint, perhaps therein lays the mystery. In Proverbs 6:16-19 we find the seven things God hates, among them is "a heart that devises wicked imaginations", which in the Septuagint it’s the same Greek word Paul uses in Second Corinthians. The other place in the Septuagint where we find the same Greek word Paul used is in Jeremiah 11:9, only there it's translated as "conspiracy". In Jeremiah 11:9, the Lord says, "A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem". Who were the men of Judah, or the inhabitants of Jerusalem? The people of God; therefore, we find a stronghold attacks the knowledge of God, which ends separating us from God. How else could we read this? “An Imagination of Strongholds are found in the minds of the men of Judah….”. It’s the same concept, the thoughts were coming against the knowledge of God. They saw one thing, God was pointing to another.
There is the phrase "high thing" coupled with the term Stronghold, so what is a high thing? Anything prideful in nature, this would include studying to prove ourselves right, or someone else wrong, or to impress people with our knowledge, or finding a new revelation to rush us to the top of the celebrity list. A high thing being prideful in nature also includes anything we use to exalt ourselves, whether intellect, power, authority, money, position, gender, or anything else. Don’t confuse “high thing” with the term “heavenly places”, they are different. Pride gives the person a false sense of elevation, the danger is the delusion of thinking they really are greater than the total. Pride comes in many different forms, there is the obvious puffed out chest, prideful boasting, failure to admit error, but there is also the prideful fear of looking foolish, or appearing as a failure in the eyes of man. God tells us to do something, yet we think, "but if I do it, and it turns out wrong, I'll look like a jerk". Perhaps you would look like a jerk if it turned out right, so what? Be obedient, humbleness is the progressive act to void us of pride, there are times when looking foolish can accomplish the performance of humbleness.
The desire to be right when we teach can be based in one of two areas, but only one is Godly. We can have a desire to be correct because if we're wrong we could lead others astray, thus we study and study, pray and pray, and use all facets of our study discipline. The other is when we want to appear wise, or know more than anyone else, we could care less if the subject is correct, or incorrect, we simply want to appear exalted. This latter aspect is based in pride, completely self-based, it’s the danger of the Novice teaching.
Pride builds Illusions, the thing we think is true and correct about ourselves or others, yet they are merely masks. We think we appear one way, but then we look in the Mirror of God we find what type of person we really are. We repent, turn from the mirror of God, yet forget what we saw, going right back to the same old mask. God will then plant a mirror right on the tip of our nose, the Illusion will be exposed.
The first time an illusion is exposed we are shocked, “what, that’s not me, not so Lord, you don’t know me”. We then attempt to test it, you know what? We find out the Lord was right? Then comes the battle, the change of natures to gain the clarity. There is also the mirror of illusion, an illusion regarding who we think we are. We project an image in the mirror of the self, thinking we’re some kind of a “show pony”. The mirror of God shows us truth, the mirror of illusion gives us the appearance of the mask. We think people see us one way, but then we find many of them saw through the mask, knowing more about us, than we did. The Word in us will divide and separate to bring us to a place where we are naked and open before God, no more “fig leaves” to hide behind (Heb 4:12-13).
Some illusions stem from our natural reasonings of things in the past, things we thought we had all the answers to, yet we had none. We formed our illusion and lived with it for years, when it was exposed, we were crushed. “But I thought all along”. A great deal of our unforgiveness is based in the illusion area, we were hurt, but it was the nature of fallen man who hurt us. Once we remove flesh and blood from our enemy list, we will save ourselves a great deal of mental torment. “Man, would I love to see them get theirs”, wrong thinking, an attitude placing us on the wrong path.
In some cases we form an illusion of forgiveness, we assume we forgave, but we still want some vindication, someone has to apologize, someone has to acknowledge the wrong done unto us. They have to recognize we were right, or the victim, or at least they were wrong. Those illusions are pride based, we want our righteousness and goodness recognized. “Oh no, I just want someone to say I was right”. Illusions and vanity. Right or wrong hasn’t a thing to do with it, forgiving for Christ’s sake does.
Illusions are temptation makers, they set the stage for us to be enticed by our own lust. Anger, revenge, vindication, they are all lusts based in a false sense of righteousness. However, there is no temptation taken us but such is common to man (I Cor 10:13). No matter what has happened we’re not the only ones who went through it, nor are we the only ones going through it now. “Oh no, you don’t understand no one has faced this before, ever”. There is no temptation come unto you not common to man. “Oh no, I’m the only one to suffer this way”. There is no temptation come unto you not common to man. However, God is faithful, Who will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able. “Oh not so, I was not able to bear it”. “Are you alive?”. “Oh yes”. “You were able to bear it”. God will also use the temptation to make a way for us to escape (I Cor 10:13). How? Forgiveness is one way, discernment another, gaining a lesson another, all sorts of ways, but they are like tiny door ways in a maze of madness. We have to be hunters of the Precious, seekers of Truth as we look for the escape. If we’re in the event, then there is a Precious. “I don’t know, I’ve been in this thing for years, and haven’t found it yet”. It’s there, seek and you shall find. Never give up, never surrender to the enemy; God was in the fire long before we got there.
Our faith reaches for the goal, the precious promise set before us, but the enemy attempts to insert the illusion of what was, still is, or what was, will be again. We impute the flesh dead, the old man attempts to impute the illusion saying it didn’t work, “after all, is there really a difference?”, “if you are truly a son of God”, or “how can you forgive what they did to you?”, “do you really think God can use you?”, “you don’t know a thing, how can God use you?’. We have a Godly legal right to impute, the old man doesn’t, thus he uses lies to set up the illusion. We are in a battle, the “fact” of what was, or the “Truth” of what God sees. Which report will we believe? Grace is always Sufficient, but then comes the enemy with the illusion of Grace being insufficient. Or the illusion saying we are yet sinners, or the Blood can’t clean us. Or the biggie, “you have committed the unpardonable sin, it’s all over”. Those who commit the unpardonable sin never consider their slanderous, malicious behavior a sin. If we are concerned about committing the unpardonable sin, it’s a sure sign we haven’t. Hebrews 10:38-39 defines the division, there are the Just who believe unto the saving of the soul, and those who draw back to perdition; they don’t slip and fall back, they draw back by their choice. We are not of them, but of those who believe unto the saving of the soul. If we’re in a battle to remain spiritual, or to become spiritual we are among the Just who live by faith.
The illusions of the world are still based in the deceitfulness of riches, the cares of this world and the lusts for other things. Isaiah 54:14-17 is often quoted, especially Isaiah 54:17, “no weapon formed against thee shall prosper”. It sounds great, it is, but what does it tell us? First it’s a “formed” weapon, not a “created weapon”, but who formed it? Isaiah 54:16 tells us God “created” the iron worker who uses his hands to make things, thus the work is formed. This doesn’t say iron workers are idol makers, it’s not the context, rather it shows God created man, man formed the idol. Anything formed by the hand or mind of man cannot prosper against us. What is formed? Strongholds, Imaginations, Fables, False accusations, witches symbols, idols, none of these have power over us, unless we grant them power. The same is true with principalities, devils, the wiles of the devil, they have no power over us, they cannot make us serve them, unless we grant them opportunity.
All things are under the feet of Jesus, thus all creation is subject to the Creator. How important is it? God said, “I have created the Waster to destroy” (Isa 54:16). Some of us don’t like the verse, but it’s Scripture, we have to deal with it, not ignore it. The context simply shows the Waster knows nothing but to destroy, the Waster can’t save, rescue, bless, or bring peace. Before the devil found the iniquity, or better before he found he could say No to God, God already knew the angel had the ability to do his job, or twist it. Once the Waster entered rebellion his entire nature became to destroy, thus God created the angel perfect, the angel then formed his position. Who has more power, the iron worker? Or the idol he made? The iron worker of course, he can take the same idol and make it into a coat rack. Who then has the more power? The Waster? Or God who created the Waster? God of course, thus God has given us His Seed. The illusion is thinking the thing formed has power to dominate, or control us, when it’s evident the Greater He is far greater than the he in the world.
Think of those who worship idols, they know the idol is the work of man, yet they bow to it. God points out how man will take a tree, cut it down, make a chair from part, cook a meal by making a fire from part, then turn around and carve an idol from another part. The tree is a creation, a product of “everything shall produce after its own kind”, but man takes the creation then “forms” things, including his own idols. What else comes from a tree? Paper, man cuts down the tree, then makes paper, puts figures and symbols on it, calls it money, gives it value, then worships it. The deceitfulness of riches is the thought of money curing our ills; if we only had enough money we would be happy. Illusions, leading to vanity of mind.
Paul told Timothy, "no man who wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life (Greek Bios, meaning the natural, or worldly life); that he may please Him who has chosen him to be a soldier" (II Tim 2:4). First off, are we chosen to be a Soldier? If we are in the Kingdom, we are, yet a good soldier must be trained and well equipped not only to engage in warfare, but to win the battle. Marching off to war, and winning are much different. When we engage in the affairs of this life we are not engaged in spiritual warfare, we are engaged in carnal worldly endeavors. Wrong battle, wrong battlefield, more often than not, a place of defeat. Far too often we use the right term, but in the wrong area, for the wrong reason. Fear of the world overcoming us will cause us to fight the wrong fight, with the wrong armor, for the wrong reason. The world is created, the elements formed, even the flesh and blood are formed, nothing formed can harm us.
Several things are evident in Second Timothy 2:4, first we must be chosen by God to be a solider, therefore, there must be a training period attached to the calling. Next, we do not entangle ourselves in worldly matters, or think our warfare is to change the cares of this world into the Garden of Eden. When we attempt to engage in worldly affairs we are using a Godly principle in an ungodly manner. Next we see the word "please", thus warfare must be a faith issue, since it takes faith to please God (Heb 11:6).
Timothy was in a battle most of us know about, the “Battle Of Leadership”, Timothy was a young pastor who fell into the trap of being impressed by personalities, or the outward appearances of men. He ordained some men who were well trained in the Jewish religion, but about as spiritual as a bagel. Timothy wrote Paul to advise the elder Paul how Timothy was packing his bags and leaving. Paul writes back to remind Timothy you can run, but you can’t hide from God. It would be better for Timothy and the Body at Ephesus to remember how Paul himself was once a “blasphemer and a persecutor”, but God was able to turn him around (I Tim 1:13). Timothy is also reminded how God’s desire is for all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth, included those Timothy appointed (I Tim 2:4). This wasn’t a time to give up, but a time to win.
Paul then gave Timothy some guidelines or “qualifications”, but these were not qualifications to obtain the position, rather they were guidelines for the person who has the position to determine if the position is for them. Therefore, we find the qualifications in Timothy differ from those in Titus. Another guideline for Timothy is not to allow a Novice to teach, lest being lifted up with pride, they fall into the condemnation of the devil (I Tim 3:6). This warning wasn’t so much for those being taught, as it was for the Novice who teaches. When they see the anointing work they think it’s based in their ability, allowing pride to find a mark. This also shows the positions Timothy appointed were not into the Offices, but Helps and elders.
Timothy was not to neglect the gift in him, he was not to use his position to blindly rebuke Elders. Then the battle plan for the future, “lay hands suddenly on no man” (I Tim 5:22). This verse is at times twisted into “watch out who lays hands on you”, but the context is just the opposite, rather, it’s watch out on whom you lay hands. In this case it refers to ordination into helps; then we find a verse seemingly completely out of place, but it’s the very weapon Timothy needed. “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and your often infirmities” (I Tim 5:23). What has it to do with “laying hands” on people? On the surface not much, but when we examine the words we find a mystery. The metaphor Water means mercy, so is Paul telling Timothy to reject giving Mercy? No, the word “wine” means “water and wine mixed”, a common Communion preparation in Paul’s time as well as several hundred years thereafter. Timothy had to become equal by using both Mercy and Grace, not only think of the advantage of having someone in helps, but think of the people it will effect. Therein is the area Timothy neglected, the weakness was not just to have helpers, it was appointing them without considering the effect on the people. This is clearer when we find the word “stomach” is a Greek word used only in this verse, it refers to the opening to the stomach, or the throat the place from where words come, thus Timothy needed to get to the Lord’s table to have the weakness in him become a strength through the Mercy and Grace of the Lord.
Usually when we find a Second letter is to correct misunderstandings, or misuse of concepts spoken of in the First letter. The exception is the difference between First and Second Peter, First Peter defines the Wheat in the field, Second Peter the Tare. However, in Second Timothy we find more correction placed on the leader. The context shows Timothy did get bold, but he went overboard and started walking on water. Timothy was to “stir up the gift of God” in him, the same Gift he was not to Neglect (I Tim 4:14 & II Tim 1:6). Timothy fell into a trap, he had the Authority from the Apostle, he had the guidelines, but he also found, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (II Tim 1:7). This is in conjunction with “stir up the Gift of God”, thus Timothy used the spirit of fear to control the elders, rather than use Grace to correct them. Timothy is to be “strong in the Grace that is in Christ Jesus”, which Grace is the Gift in Timothy (II Tim 2:1-4).
Then we get down to “no man who wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life” (II Tim 2:4). Timothy was clearly in a war, his leadership was threatened, he was facing the most dangerous of all foes, “carnal minded elders”. The temptation is to protect the calling in the same manner as the carnal minded are attacking him, yet it caused him us to use the spirit of fear to manipulate and control. Neither was he to allow them to control him, he was to battle, but in a Godly manner. The Scriptures would be the Sword in this case, teach, preach only the Word (Jesus), be ready in season and out. When is “out of season”? When you lest expect it.
Paul’s simple conclusion was if the carnal minded elders refuse to yield to sound doctrine, or allow the anointing of the office to bring them into the “qualifications”, they will leave on their own. However, remember there are those who follow after their own lusts, who will heap to themselves teachers with itching ears (II Tim 4:3). The “itching” ear is looking for the self-glory, or self-praise, “oh great and wonderful person of God, you have come to us with the Truth”, “Oh thou wonderful one of God, without your teaching, we’re lost”. Saying it isn’t the problem, when the teacher seeks to hear it, they have a problem. It’s the very reason a Novice should not teach, the anointing will work, novice or mature, but the danger is found in the immature Novice thinking their might or intellect brought the teaching.
Timothy didn’t face a John 7 meeting, but Jesus did. John 7 meetings are the result of envy: someone is offended by the Truth, they want the truth and the person who brought it removed. Jesus was not the high priest, nor a Pharisee, but He went about doing good, therein caused the envy in the leadership to set their plans in motion to be rid of Jesus. This meeting may be to get rid of a member of the Body as well, or have someone removed from an office, but it’s still coming against flesh and blood, thus it’s the motive dictating the type of meeting. John 7 meetings are always in secret, based on false evidence, run by the spirit lusting to envy through the carnal minds of those who are set in religious conceit.
Jesus had just taught on the “Living Waters”, or Mercy coupled with the Spirit (Jn 7:37-38); however, the ability to apply Mercy is always in hand. We also find the Spirit would not be given until Jesus was glorified by the Resurrection (Jn 7:39); however, there were the religious leaders, who lacked Mercy, living or not, thus they held their meeting. Their meeting wasn’t based on correction, or support, it was based on destruction. Like most John 7 meetings the only Scripture accepted would be twisted Scripture, but among them was Nicodemus, who brought up clear Scripture reminding them how the Law will not allow them to judge any man before they know what he has done wrong (Jn 7:50-51). Of course he was attacked when they answered with, “Are you also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee arises no prophet” (Jn 7:52). Not only were they wrong, since Jonah came from Galilee (II Kings 14:25), but since they associated Nicodemus with Galilee they were saying he was not a prophet either, or to be received. One lone voice, but the only one who was correct, as well as the only one who used Scripture correctly.
John 7 meetings are vicious, they set plans in motion to deceive, they twist facts and produced false and misleading evidence; however, we find a John 7 meeting can happen in the mind of one person as well. Warfare indeed, we might think we’re going to a prayer meeting and end up in the middle of a John 7 meeting. We might be a leader and hear there is a meeting of “concerned members” going on, yet we’re not invited. What to do? Use more manipulation? How about the spirit of fear? How about preaching on the evils of John 7 meetings? How about preaching the truth in love and finding out what God wants? The last one of course, yet each case is different, there may be legitimate concerns, but presented in carnal ways. There may be an attempted overthrow of authority, which is outright rebellion. Most small bodies on the verge of revival or breakthrough seem to face these very issues, the enemy sends carnal thinkers to set up a gate, or divide the body before the move can take place. The Lesson is great, don’t get caught using the wiles of the devil against the wiles of the devil. There are rules governing leaders, never accept a accusation against a leader without clear cut evidence, there is no room for opinion, or personalities, or some “he said, I said”, rather the evidence must be confirmed by two or more witnesses. All this depends on Discernment as defined as a setting apart the differences, or the ability to separate for clarification. Discernment of spiritual matters is a product of the New Man, never the old man. Those who are of full age can discern, those who are not, can’t.
James tells us our posture of warfare must be from a position of Peace, or we’re engaged in the wrong kind of war (James 3:18). Also James brings up an interesting aspect of prayer, showing there are those who pray from a lust to start wars (James 4:1-4). This is one battlefield, but multisided; there are those who pray from a lust, those who are “hearers”, or tempted to join in the lust, then the victims, those who are targets of the witchcraft. Witchcraft? Yes, anytime we attempt to insert our will into the will of others it’s witchcraft. It’s not the same as asking God to move in someone’s life unto salvation, or for a healing, or any other aspect within God’s Will, this is when we take it upon yourselves to move our will into the life of another person, or pray our will into their life, moving us from saint to witch. Those engaged in witchcraft conduct evil prayer all the time, thus witchcraft works, that’s why witches use it (Acts 16:16-19). In our case if we have our Armor on it, yet we are coming against the brethren, it won’t work on us.
James is a book of prayer on obtaining and walking in God’s Wisdom, but in it we find all sorts of prayers. There is the prayer of faith, the prayer of the Elders, then those who pray from a lust (James 4:1-4). “From where comes wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?”. Clear enough, you lust and have not, you kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain, you fight, and war, yet you have not, because you ask not (in the proper manner), rather you ask from the spirit lusting to envy; clearer yet. The Wisdom of God is an attribute of the Spirit (Word) in us dividing and separating to save our souls, thus God’s Wisdom grants us the ability to deal with people and events in a Godly manner (James 1:21 & 4:1-4).
James tells us to look at the Faith of Jesus, noting how Jesus didn’t have respect of persons, we find being impartial in a Godly sense is an attribute of God’s Wisdom (James 2:1-2 & 3:17-18). The Works of the Faith of Jesus displayed God’s Wisdom as an attribute in the character of Jesus. The same Wisdom is given unto us by God through the Spirit when we apply Faith, then allow Patience to have her perfect work. If it takes Patience, surely it’s a Process.
The “war of wisdoms” is real, we find it happening all the time. How do I deal with this? How do I deal with them? How do I deal with me? How do we know which wisdom I am using? They each have character points defining the source, the Word in us is not going to use the wisdom of man. The wisdom of man is earthly, based in the world generated by the spirit lusting to envy. James says, “do you think the Scripture says in vain, The spirit dwelling in us lusts to envy”. What Scripture? The only Scripture saying it is right here in James. Oh wait a secret book hidden under a tree? No, a secret code? No, well let’s write one. No, we’ve viewed this before, finding it relates to what the Scriptures point out, not a specific verse, rather it affirms the context of many verses pointing to the spirit of disobedience, or the nature of fallen man.
When James used the phrase, spirit lusting to envy he also said, “for where envying and strife is, there is confusion, and every evil work” (James 3:16), going right to, “from where come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts warring in your members? You lust, and have not, you kill, and desire to have….” (James 4:12). These verses define the mind of covetousness, this type of “spirit” is motivated by an evil envy, it must have the biggest anything, bigger and better, more of it, but only to consume it on a lust (James 4:4). Once obtained, it’s not good enough, if envy can’t obtain, it wants to destroy anyone who has it.
The Wisdom of God will drive out the wisdom of man, but in the process of Patience we will have choices. The wisdom of man is centered on envy and strife, the Wisdom of God is first Pure, what you see, is what you get, no masks, facades, or hidden agendas, no lying in wait to deceive, or using trick questions to trap. Then it’s Peaceable, our position of warfare is always Peace based. The idea is to bring calm to the storm, not going about making more storms. God’s Wisdom is Gentle, it’s not harsh, or rash, it doesn’t exalt itself, or belittle others to feel superior. God’s Wisdom is Easy to be entreated, it’s teachable, not stubborn, nor entrenched in fables, or strongholds. God’s Wisdom is full of mercy, quick to forgive, quicker to restore. God’s Wisdom has good fruits, those same fruits of the Spirit are found in the Armor of God. God’s Wisdom is always without partiality and hypocrisy (James 2:1 & 3:17).
Wait, didn’t Jesus show some partiality? After all He did treat the disciples different than He did the Pharisees. He also had James, Peter and John with Him on special occasions, isn’t it being partial? No, partial means to set apart someone because they can benefit us in some manner. James defines it in an allegory, we give the best seat in the house to someone who can benefit us personally, or because they give great amounts of money, or they can bring others who can either give great amounts of money, or make us appear greater than all the others, or they can assure us some status, or importance in the community or denomination. When the mother of Jesus came to the meeting, it was felt she would get the best seat in the house, but Jesus said, “My mother and my brethren are these which hear the Word of God, and do it” (Luke 8:21). The saying signifies a group, but Jesus wasn’t being partial, nor did He discriminate. When we form a group, yet belittle others to make our group superior we are in the act of discriminating, but if we treat all those in the world one way, all those in the Kingdom one way, all those who attack the Kingdom one way, without picking out individuals who can benefit us personally, we are not partial.
The Scriptures say God is no Respecter of Persons, but didn’t Paul have special power? Didn’t the shadow of Peter heal? How come John didn’t get either? Seems like it’s being either partial or a Respecter. God treats all those who come to Him the same, it doesn’t matter if they are Jew or Gentile, if they have fifty degrees, or can just barely read, whether they come from a religious family, or a family of idol worshippers (as did Abraham), we all begin in the beginning at the same place, with the same opportunities. We all listened to the spirit lusting to envy, we all had the flesh as our character. We all needed the saving of our souls, all of us were given more than enough ability to accomplish the task. Man is impressed with man, a saint is impressed with God.
We war against spirits, we cast out devils, yet there are times when casting out a spirit seems the same. A devil is an entity, often an unclean spirit is an attitude or condition picked up by people from demonic influences. There was a woman who suffered from the spirit of infirmity some eighteen years (Luke 13:11-14); she was “bowed”, or bound by this thing, then Jesus “loosed” her, He didn’t bind the spirit, or loose the spirit, He loosed the woman (Luke 13:12). Jesus didn’t cast the devil out of her, yet it shows she had a “spirit”. She is what we would call a hypochondriac, she felt comfortable being sick, yet she hated sickness. Some people feel comfortable in self-pity, yet they hate it. They have a “spirit” or a strong attitude based on a lust seeking self-pity to gain attention. There are others who are so starved for attention they make up stories to get people to pay attention to them.
Jesus knew her problem was binding her; of course this was the Sabbath, causing the religious rulers to have a fit. Jesus told them, “ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, who Satan has Bound, lo, these eighteen years, be Loosed from this Bond on the sabbath day?” (Luke 13:16). It wasn’t Satan in her, but Satan who bound her, thus Satan did the binding, Jesus the Loosing. Not only do we find the correct application of Binding and Loosing, but we find the concept of “spirits” defined in this case as Satan the slanderer planting a binding thought in this woman. She used it, then it became a ruler over her, thus trapping her thinking. She was just as bound as if she had fifty devils, but devils weren’t her problem, her thinking was, thus when she accepted the thought, it became a governing entity. This is also true with unbelief, being bitter, or any of the rulers of darkness, they bind the mind to produce a spirit about the person.
It may seem strange at first, but we know there are people who have a spirit about them, yet they are not possessed; they nonetheless have an obvious wrong or evil attitude governing them. It would be easier if they were demon possessed, dealing with “spirits” is more difficult than casting out devils. Not an impossible task, but it’s a much easier to say, “come out”, then discern the root of a thought process binding someone. This is not a time for carnal psychology, it’s far too lacking, this area takes the Manifestation of the Spirit. There is no soul able to heal another soul, no tare planter is going to help us with our tares, no natural mind is going to show us the spiritual side of things, no formula is going to help us through this process, only the Spirit of Truth can guide us on this path of Righteousness.
However, before we go there we have to look at these “spirits”, and get an idea of how the Balaam types, Jezebel types, and other elements can invade a body. They are not “the devil of Balaam”, but the “spirit of Balaam”, they are mindsets, or attitudes forming the outward expression of the personality of the person, something detected, but not seen with the physical eye. This is a warfare with fronts, if we are faced with a Balaam or Jezebel how do we deal with them? On the other hand if the spirit is part of us, how do we become free indeed? All good questions, the Key is first and foremost to ask for and receive the Wisdom of God, then apply it as God intends. However, to define some of these spirits in a general sense we continue on:
1. False Freedom which is Bondage, using false liberty to place others in bondage (II Pet 2:1, 2:19-20 & I Pet 2:16). False teachers promise us freedom, but we never seem to find it.
2. Deaf and dumb, ears refusing to hear, eyes refusing to see, a mouth cursing man while praising God (James 3:9 & 1:19-23). John says some say they walk in the Light, yet hate (slander and come against) their brother, they are in darkness and "know not where they go, because the darkness has blinded his eyes" (I Jn 2:11). These are antichrist, they refuse to walk in Mercy, but claim Grace.
3. Fear - whether its a fear of man, or fear of what man will think, it's still fear (Prov 29:25 & I Thess 3:2), we have not been given the spirit of fear, which means we neither use it on others, or allow it to be used on us. Fear is a ruler, it governs the actions of the world.
4. Jealousy - jealousy and envy are sisters, Jealousy is a fear of losing something we think we possess, envy is wanting something someone else has, but a lust to envy is not willing to walk the same path to get what the other person has. Jealousy is also a ruler of darkness, it will destroy rather than give up what it thinks it has (Gen 4:8), it uses wrath (Gen 4:5), revenge (Prov 6:34), lusts for competition (Gen 4:4-5), brings variance (division - II Cor 10:11-15). It uses insinuating circumstances, sets a snare with false circumstantial evidence.
5. Pride is the basis for the Judas mindset (attitude), it connects to Balaam and Jezebel; Balaam was unteachable until he saw his life was in danger; Balaam is an example of the misuse of an office. Jezebel points to using emotions against others, or being self-appointed. Balaam was a prophet of God, the man never gave a false prophecy, but his attitude and goals were nonetheless greed driven. Peter used Balaam as an example of one who is presumptuous, or assumes God will honor whatever he does based on having a position. There are those who speak to make God perform for them, thinking if they are pleased, so is God. Pride is a ruler of darkness, it’s Principality is control. It is self-willed, with a self-righteous motivation. Jezebel was self-appointed, she was not a Jew, but she married one to become a queen based on the marriage. She would do whatever it took to make herself seem superior, even threatening the prophets of God. Jezebel controlled the emotions of others, even to the point she caused the prophet of God to run.
6. Ego and Pride are sisters, their brother Arrogance runs hand in hand with them, the old man is the protector of egos, he inflates the ego with arrogance. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Ego and Pride sneak into the event to steal the glory from God, setting itself up as king, while rejecting humbleness. The phrase "pride of life" means "self-confidence", or confidence in the self, removing confidence in God. The pride of life ranks among the three main rulers of darkness, joined to the lust of the eye and the lust of the flesh. There is no "good pride", no where do we find the Father saying, "This is My beloved Son in Whom I am so proud", neither do we find the Son saying, "My Father is proud of Me", nor do we find Jesus saying, "I cast out devils with precision and I'm proud of it", neither did Jesus tell the disciples, “I’m proud of you”, nor did He become excited over their works, they were excited, not Jesus. Pride is a sneaky ruler, it uses bits and pieces to gain a foothold, becoming the enemy in the battle after the battle. We think it's fine to say we're proud of our children, but it denotes their goodness is a result of what we have done, not what God has done. Pride, regardless of the amount is always self-based, it's the very reason the world makes idols out of people, or gives rewards and honors to exalt mankind, while ignoring God.
7. The antichrist spirit is of the world, it’s a product of the spirit of the world, it’s opposed to the Spirit which is of God. The spirit of antichrist refuses change, it links itself to the Lucifer complex (I Jn 2:18-19). It’s the spirit of error, the error is using the traits of the spirit of the world in the Kingdom (I Jn 4:1-6). It will mask it’s behavior, but it seeks to stop the Spirit of Christ, it will use the flesh, or intellect to counterfeit the Spirit of Christ. Rather than wanting to know what Jesus would have them do, they make it appear as if they tell Jesus what to do. The biggest clue is giving more honor to mankind then God. It’s the fable of being able to pull oneself up by their own boat stripes. The antichrist spirit isn't against God, it isn't against Jesus, it isn't against the Law of Moses, it's against the nature of Christ; it’s against the Spirit of Truth in a person. First John centers on this very issue, telling us Fellowship with God begins when we treat the people of God, as God does. The spirit of antichrist uses the brethren to get what it wants, it’s impressed with the things of man, they are Judas minded, Balaam motivated, as they walk the way of Korah. Paul said they come with the a self-transformed appearance of Righteousness, but inside Satan still rules. Peter says they were delivered from the pollutions of the world "through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Pet 2:20). These are not heathens, they are those who entered the Body, yet desired the feelings they obtained from the deeds of the spirit lusting to envy. They like the feeling of pride, of being superior, of being honored among men, or appearing morally correct, or superior over mankind. They have the power to put away the old nature, but they like it, worse, they use it. It’s one thing to slip into the old form, another to use it at will. They returned to the ways of the world by choice (II Pet 2:22). They tasted of the heavenly gift, were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, have tasted the good Word of God, they know about the powers of the world to come, they understand enough about the last days to know sudden destruction comes, thus they know there will be a Day of Judgment, but they don't care, they are power hungry assuming their acts and intellect will gain them status with God. They have deceived so many, they have become deceived, thinking God will set them above all mankind, they will be the king who sits next to the King of kings. Of all the wrongs we face, this is without a doubt one of the most dangerous, yet when the New Man as the Greater He enters this war, it’s as good as over, our victory over the wicked is in hand.
8. The nature of Korah is next, it’s connected to usurping authority, or the attempt to do so. Korah is the thief who steals congregations, he had a calling, was a member of the tribe of Levi, assigned a very important position regarding the Tabernacle, yet he lusted for a power not granted him. He didn't want to do more for God, he didn’t want to assist the leader, he wanted to be in the place of the leader, yet God didn’t pick him. This attitude is powered by envy, wanting the anointing of others, because they assume it will give them a greater status. Korah attacked Moses to get the anointing of the position, yet David refused to attack Saul, not because of Saul, but because God had anointed Saul for the position. Balaam misused his office, Korah came against an office, two different circumstances, both men were termed "spots in your feasts of charity" (Jude 11-12). They are examples of people called of God, but failed to face the spots on their garments, they used the flesh to their advantage.
Here we have a few, by no means are these all the elements we run into, but we will find one or more as the source of those who follow the spirit of man, or use the spirit of the world. Of course we must not attack the person, rather we address the intent. If these are hidden elements are in us, we can be assured the Greater He in us is fully able to drive them out of us as the Word separates and exposes. However, we could sit around and say, "Oh my God, my God we're done for", but we need to add some faith words to the statement, "Oh My God is able, Oh My God is great, the weapons of my warfare are mighty through My God". This war isn't lost by any means, it's just beginning. God is working with us, there are times when we think we just keep failing, but it’s the flesh or old nature attempting to get us to quit. We feel the pains of death, but it’s exactly why we need to rejoice, those old tares and strongholds are dying off. We gain as we move forward; there are times when we learn little by little, but it's never "less by less". The truth remains, "Greater is He in you, than he in the world".
Method and motivation are always exposed by the Word in us, we could use formulas, or fancy words, but it still comes down to having a New Nature. We know Paul had the New Nature, after looking at his prayer in Ephesians it becomes clear, he is telling us to Come Against something, by not coming against it, rather we reach for something of God then hold tight, in so doing we are defeating what is coming against us. Rather than yell at the darkness, we are the Light. When we walk in the Spirit, we defeat the flesh, but if we put our mind on the flesh, we end granting it power. To the carnal mind this seems like pure foolishness, rather they come head long against what is coming against them, in so doing they are giving their enemy honor, place and power. Not so in the spiritual realm, we imputed the flesh dead, but it doesn’t mean it’s dormant, ineffective yes, but it still tempts us. It doesn’t mean we can’t fall, it means when we do, we are the only ones on this earth who can be recovered and restored (James 1:2).
When we fall the Lord picks us up, cleans us, restores us, but we must be ready for the battle after the battle. The battle after the battle can come whenever there is a victory, or when God did something in our presence. God used us, recovered us, or something happened, Joy filled us, we were excited or delighted, as we should be. We were used, Praise ye the Lord, but then comes Pride knocking on the back door. “Wow, you are special, did you see that?”, “Oh thou are a prayer warrior for sure”, “do you know what kind of power you have?”. The battle is at hand, the weapon of our warfare in this case is Humbleness. Grab it quickly, know being used by God is great, stealing the glory isn’t.
If anyone understood this it was Paul, the man had many things happen as a result of his position, but he kept things in their proper order, knowing it was God, not Paul doing the great and wonderful things. Paul’s famed “thorn in the flesh” was termed by him as a blessing, he saw it as an opportunity for order. The thorn showed him there were some who didn’t consider him the “Apostle of Grace”, rather they demanded a sign of Christ speaking through him. The carnal minded are about as stable as air, at times they attack the spiritual for fear of exposure, other times they enter mentor worship: “Oh, you are such a person of God, oh I don’t know how you do it, you are so wonderful”. “Oh yes I am, am I not”. Ouch! Pride comes knocking, but humbleness better answer. If Ego answers, we’re in for a wilderness experience in the sand pit of despair.
The thorn as we know were carnal people, but to get a better grasp of this event let us view it again, only closer. The phrase reads, “there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan” (II Cor 12:7); the messenger was not Satan, it was a messenger of Satan. The word Messenger is the Greek Aggelos which is usually associated with someone who brings “good tidings” as a message, indicating the persons bringing the thorn should have been giving good tidings. Surely this thorn is not “good tidings”, it was directed to reject the Apostle or his teachings. A thorn in the flesh hurts, yet it’s in the flesh, thus the purpose is to get us into the flesh. In this case the message was to arouse Paul to react by the flesh, but rather than immediately react, he did the wise thing: he went to Jesus and found “Grace is sufficient”. On the way to find Grace he gained Mercy removing the desire to retaliate, by instilling the ability to forgive. He then found Grace, enabling him to respond to the attack in a Godly manner.
The temptation to make flesh and blood our enemy comes from the flesh, the flesh will use whatever means it can to retaliate against the attack, yet it’s exactly what the intent of the attack is centered on. Paul knew there were some among the Corinthians who had the outside appearance of Righteousness, but inside Satan was still in residence (II Cor 10:13-15). The message came from Satan through flesh and blood, but not just any flesh and blood, it was from some in a congregation he fathered (I Cor 4:15). It’s also evident how one of the wiles of Satan is to hold unforgiveness (II Cor 2:11). Paul had to respond in a Godly manner, not justifying himself, but allow the Holy Ghost to expose the motivation behind the attack in order to gain recovery, then do it all in accordance with the Will of the Lord. Paul saw a blessing, the temptation to exalt him above measure was something people do, often termed mentor worship. It wasn’t simply exalting him, but above measure, or above what is proper, or in order, thus we do honor the leaders, we respect their position, but in we do not exalt them above measure.
In the experience Paul gained, what the enemy planned for destruction, God turned to good. Paul never forgot it was God who turned it to good, even when talking about the things he went through he knew it was God who delivered him. The event is just an event; what we do with it, how we deal with it, and who we give the glory to determines who we stand with. God can deliver us out of the event, grant us the freedom and victory, yet we can turn right around assuming it was by our greatness, or by our power we gained the victory, but in so doing we use pride to steal the glory, which gives the devil opportunity. On the other hand we can fall into self-pity, thinking we’re no good, which gives the devil another opportunity. When Paul faced his perils, he did so in faith. His confidence was not in his position, nor in his faith, nor in his ability, since he also told us the Lord delivered him out of them all. Paul listed his perils as Waters, Robbers, Own Countrymen, the Heathen, City, Wilderness, Sea and False Brethren (II Cor 11:26). Each peril is a type of warfare, each took a different weapon, but the victory was always based in the Ways of Christ.
The metaphors are:
Waters - bitter, slanderous people who lacked mercy;
Robbers - those who steal the mercy of God, and refuse to pay it back;
Own Countrymen - Jews in reality, but the Wicked; Heathen - unbelievers;
City - Jerusalem; Wilderness - those dry places;
Sea - the world;
False Brethren - wolves in sheep's clothing.
The Jews beat Paul five times, he was beaten three times with rods, stoned three times, suffered shipwreck, spent a night and a day in the deep (II Cor 11:24-25). "Wow, I think I would rather walk on water". Some of us think if we go through these things we're not in the faith, but faith doesn't avoid them, it gets us through them. However, faith misguided is dangerous, we can have faith in our ability, but it puts us right in the middle of the event without hope. Or we can have faith in God, putting the event under us as we find the Precious. The rain falls on the just and unjust, things happen, but only the just know why; only the just gain a Godly benefit. Faith avoiding events is "fear faith", or a faith activated by fear of adverse events, often ending using witchcraft to avoid the event, rather than facing it with faith in God.
Did Paul consider the false brothers his enemy? Yes, they were out to destroy every good seed Paul planted. Did he attack them personally? Or did he preach the truth in love? The weapon used will always tell us the source, the false brothers were motivated by pride, their weapons were false doctrine and slander. We don’t war against flesh and blood, but neither do we ignore them. The enemy came with the vile, but Paul sought after and found the Precious; warfare with victory in hand.
Turning the other cheek doesn't mean we allow them to drive a truck over us, it means we don't react in the same manner as the attack. Rather than react with slander, Paul used Truth. We all face Perils, but our gain is dependent on our faith. If our faith is in God, then our ways will prove it. Anyone can praise God after deliverance, it’s during the event praise will prove who we are. When Patience was called for, Paul trusted in the pureness of Jesus; when in affliction, he held to the knowledge of the Lord; in the times of necessities, he held to the longsuffering of Christ; in distresses, the kindness of the Lord brought him through; during the times of stripes, it was the Holy Ghost who gave him strength to endure; in the imprisonments, he held to his love in God; in tumults, he held to love unfeigned; in the many labors of the office, the Word of Truth was his pillar; in watchings and fastings it was the armor of the righteousness of Jesus on the right (watchings), and on the left (fastings). There were some who knew he stood in honor, some accused him of dishonor, there were the good reports, but there were some who issued evil reports. Did they judge him? Yes. Did he receive it? No. He took it to the Lord, allowing the Lord to Judge.
None of this means we ignore or reject what people say, it means we take it to the Lord. If we feel our chest is puffed out when we preach, or we feel pride when we lay hands on people, yet someone says, “the Lord wants you to deal with your pride”, don’t reject the warning, take it to the Lord. You know you were feeling pride, but you also know you are not dealing with it. How do we deal with it? Admission, then repentance, if we don’t admit it, we will put a mask on it while denying it. After Repentance the Word in us begins to wash us clean of the spots, we become humble, rather than prideful.
Not to leave the area of personal warfare, but we want to interject Body warfare, as we see the weapons God has given us. We came into this by God’s Mercy, the power of forgiveness should have been our first taste of the mighty works of God. The ability to forgive the unforgivable is mighty indeed, the ability to walk in Mercy is a wonder in itself. If we have held back any area of unforgiveness we must deal with it, if it’s the person, event, or even God. God? Yes, we can hold God responsible for not moving in an event, or for not changing the event, or for not changing people. It usually is detected with the “God could have” thoughts, imaginations must be brought into the obedience of Christ. Yes, God could have, but He didn’t, it was then, this is now, if we truly Love God we accept His wisdom as supreme.
The source of the thought is the problem, we submit to the Word in us to deal with it, not ignore it. If we are seeking validation, or justice, or any form of revenge, we must deal with it as well, the source, or intent needs to be exposed. It’s not “where did the thought come from?”, but “why did I have the thought?”. If we retain areas of unforgiveness we will slam the door shut on people the second we hear, “you must forgive”, hardening our heart the more.
Let us look at some attributes and weapons God has given us. If we are in Grace, then there are Gifts attached to Grace. The Greek word for Grace is Charis, the workings of Charis are called Charisma, but there are also the words Charismatic and Evangelical. The word Matic means Motivated, the word Auto means self, thus someone who is “Automatic” is self-motivated, but if someone is Charismatic they are Grace Motivated. The word Evangelical means one believes we are saved by Grace (Charis) through faith, not of our own. It stands, if we are Evangelical we should be Charismatic as well, or if we are Charismatic we should be Evangelical, but we should not be divided. Unity of the Spirit joins to the Unity of the Faith of Jesus.
We understand Grace is a Covenant, there are duties involved, Jesus gives us Peace, we keep His commandments, He grants us the Keys, we turn them, He gives us the Kingdom, we seek it. These are not works of the flesh, they are works to defuse the flesh. We needed something far better than us to accomplish any of this, therein comes Grace, thus Grace is the ability to do Grace by the Spirit. The Comforter is the Holy Ghost, Another Comforter is the Gift by the Holy Ghost also known as the Seed, Spirit Holy, Holy Spirit, the New Man, the Greater He, the Spirit of Christ, Jesus in us, or Christ in us the Hope of Glory. The New Man is created or formed especially for us, he is endowed with special knowledge and awareness to guide us along this path of Righteousness, he is equipped to save our emotions, personalities and souls, yet he is the self same Spirit. We didn’t get different spirits with different objectives, or agendas. The New Man will abide with us forever, if we abide in him, thus the purpose is for the two to be one. The ability to conduct spiritual warfare is not in our ability, awareness, or intellect, it’s based in the New Man.
The Spirit of Truth cannot be seen by the world, they don’t understand spiritual matters, but we do, because the Spirit of Truth is enjoined to our souls (Jn 14:17). By the New Man we have a firm knowledge of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, thus the Witness is forming our souls into Spirit. The New Man hears ABBA Father, then teaches us what He hears. He has the holiness of the Father, based in the Father’s Mercy, thus by the New Man we can be as holy and merciful as our Father. The New Man holds the Righteousness of Jesus, the Scepter to the Kingdom. Through the New Man we are trained in the things of God, the New Man is the New Nature forming our souls. The New Nature seeks the will of God, knowing what to ask for, and how. The New Man will guide us into all Truth; Jesus is Truth (Jn 16:13). The New Man never speaks of Himself, but He does speak of Jesus, so much so we know it’s Jesus in us. These are the very basic elements of the New Man, but they also relate to warfare. Warfare is designed to take us further from the darkness and deeper into the Light, to rid us of the old nature and secure us in the New. We would never know the path of Jesus if it were not for the New Man guiding us. We need ears to hear and a teachable soul, the other matters will fall into place.
Personal warfare has to recognize how the New Man is fully capable of cleaning us by the Blood as well as the scrubbing us by the Washing of the Water (mercy) by the Word (Rhema). We must know the Word in us is the New Man, the Bible is a Word from God about God, but the New Man is the very Word of God implanted in us to bring us into a spiritual nature. Warfare on our part is making sure the Word in us operates unhindered, as we are willing and open for exposure. The guiding includes the engrafting process to save our souls (James 1:21); our faith and belief join knowing the Word in us is dividing asunder as it separates for clarification, correcting unto perfection, is a discerner of our intents and thoughts, as well as the intents of others (Heb 4:12).
There are other elements to Grace, the Charisma of Grace is found in Romans 12:6-21 as a list of “gifts” attached to the Gift of Grace; including prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhorting, giving, ruling and mercy. These are not pick and choose gifts, rather they are attributes found in the New Nature; therefore, they are character indicators accompanied to each Born Again believer. The area of prophecy is not the Office of Prophet, but it does relate to Paul saying how he desired we all prophesy. This type of prophecy is from the New Man to bring comfort, exhortation and edification. It’s not always a pat on the head, it can involve a rebuke, or correction. Ministry should be conducted by all of us; ministry is reconciling people to God. Ministry would include the concept of never rendering evil for evil, rather give words of Grace to the hearer. Teaching is the ability to disciple others, it doesn’t mean being a Sunday School teacher, or holding the office of Teacher, but it is nonetheless important. Exhorting should always be within the limits of exhortation, not venturing into the field of opinion, or exalting someone above measure, we want to Encourage them in the Lord. The attribute of Giving falls within the same concept as a Cheerful Giver, it doesn’t mean one is cheerful because they know the return will be greater than the gift. A Cheerful Giver enjoys giving, regardless of the return, if any. If the Cheerful Giver never obtained a cent in return, it still won’t disrupt their joy in giving. The area of Ruling is the same context as one finds for the qualifications of an Elder, it doesn’t mean to Rule over, rather it means to Rule by example; often this word was used for someone who encourages another. Mercy with cheerfulness separates this from reluctant forgiveness. Reluctant forgiveness is based in, “I forgive you because the Lord told me to”. Rubbish, it’s so self-based it isn’t even funny. Oh sure it sounds right, the word Forgive is there, the Lord is mentioned, but no where are we told to go about telling someone we forgive them, we are told to seek their forgiveness. Turning the principal around to gain the advantage is a deed of the old man, not a manifestation of the New Man. The statement supposes we’re so holy we couldn’t do anything wrong, so the entire problem is their fault, then we show our superior greatness and holiness by forgiving them. It’s self-exalting, not Mercy; rather mercy with cheerfulness is one who is happy to forgive, they enjoy it, like their Father in heaven they look forward to it. All this is still based in a Love joined to Grace; therefore, we never render evil for evil, nor attempt to overcome evil with evil, but we will overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21). These attributes assist us in warfare. The old nature would use, “oh yeah, well I come against you in the Name of the Lord”. What are we going to do if they look at us and say, “Oh yeah, well I come against you in the name of the Lord”. “Oh yeah, well I’m a member of the family of God”. “Oh yeah so am I”. “Oh yeah will I’m anointed”. “Oh yeah, well so am I”. Both maybe, but clearly neither are operating in it.
The next area connects to the last, in First Corinthians 12:1-6 we find four areas connected to Grace, in Romans we saw the “gifts of Grace” (Rom 12:6-21 & I Cor 12:4). Then the Offices of the Lord consisting of the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Teacher and Pastor as the Administrations, or Offices of the Lord (I Cor 12:5 & Eph 4:11). The Offices are different from Helps, these five offices are appointed by the Holy Ghost on behalf of the Lord, yet confirmed by man, but man never appoints to the offices (Acts 13:1-3). Helps (Bishops and Deacons) are appointed by leadership, as are the Elder positions. The Offices are not listed by “importance”, rather we find they are based on time and timing. The disciples were ordained as Apostles before the Holy Ghost gave the Gift, but they were not Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors or Teachers until after Pentecost. On the Day of Pentecost Peter was used by the Holy Ghost to interpret the prophecy of Joel, which was “direction”, thus opening the Office of Prophet. Philip, one of the seven Deacons held a dual position, as a Deacon he operated in Helps, but he was also the only person in the New Testament called an Evangelist (Timothy was told to do the work of an Evangelist, but he was not called one), showing one can be assigned to Helps and Governments.
The role of the Apostle begins churches in virgin areas, it doesn’t mean a new denomination in an area with churches, but establishing bodies where there are none, another act of the Apostle is to bring Commandment. They differ from the Evangelist, since an Evangelist casts the net bringing converts into established bodies, whereas the Apostle starts new bodies, as did Paul, Peter, John, Thomas and the other apostles. Philip began in Samaria, but the Apostles were sent to assist him. The Apostle position before the Cross was somewhat like the New; the disciples brought the Gospel to those it was promised to, but it was virgin ground for the Gospel. They also carried Commandments from the Lord regarding mercy, which is what they preached.
The appointment of Bishops and Deacons in Helps, with Elders was the job given to Titus and others; however, neither Titus or any other disciple was told to appoint Pastors, or Apostles, or any of the five fold office positions. Leaders do Confirm the appointment, but they do not appoint to the offices (I Tim 4:14, II Tim 1:6 & Acts 13:1-3). Acts chapter one is a prime example of what happens when we make decisions outside the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Peter and the others were told to Tarry until they received Power, they were not told to appoint anyone to any office. They prayed, heard nothing, they had verses, but verses don’t establish the authority, thus they ended voting, rather than hearing. They attempted to replace the man, not fill the position. Warfare in this area is maintaining the order of establishment, we as leaders do not make the decision regarding who is to be in an Office, we merely confirm the calling on their life (Acts 13:1-2). On the same note leaders should be able to detect the self-appointed, there is evidence regarding the calling in a person’s life, but the leader still has to hear from the Holy Ghost before making a confirmation.
So far we have seen the Gifts of the Spirit (I Cor 12:4), the Administrations of the Lord (I Cor 12:5), now the Operations of God the Father (I Cor 12:6), which are found in First Corinthians 12:28. The word Operations means the Manner in which God has ordained the operation for the local body; fond in the word Operations as the Greek Energema meaning the Effectual working, or how to gain the Effectiveness of God in the gathering. Connecting to First Corinthians chapter 11 as the leadership governs the authority and anointing over the congregation. Beginning with the Apostle who establishes the local body by bringing Commandments. Then the Prophet, who delivers Doctrine, or gives Direction. Then Teachers to teach the Doctrine. What’s missing? Evangelist and Pastor, how come? The Evangelist is not in the local body, they cast the net to bring converts into the local body. The Pastor is the overseer of the entire thing, making sure all is kept in Order. All three areas, the gifts of the Spirit, the Administrations, then the Operations are for the saints dealing with saints. Even the Evangelist is bringing in converts to local bodies, thus their position is building the Rock.
Any leader given the gift (Doma) of the Office has all it takes to keep the system in Grace, but any leader can take the same good gift and twist it into lasciviousness (Jude 4). The leader can resort to the spirit of fear, or use domination, or manipulation to control the flock, if so they place a yoke on their Head, preventing the authority and anointing, causing their congregation to remain silent. If it were not possible, Peter would never have warned us of the error of controlling the flock (I Pet 5:1-3). Are there signs to show if they are walking in the anointing? Yes, “feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint (manipulation, domination or spirit of fear), but willingly, not for filthy lucre (in it just for the money, more of a job than a calling), but of a ready mind (clear, sober, and centered on the Holy Ghost); neither being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock (the concept of ruling - I Pet 5:1-4). How do we know this points to Pastors? After all Peter does address it to “Elders”. First Peter 5:5 says, “and when the Chief Shepherd shall appear”, the word Shepherd comes from the same Greek word from which we get the word Pastor. Most pastors are Elders, guided by God’s wisdom.
Of course the twisted concepts seem to show up, Shepherding is one of them, which is a dominating influence, rather than guiding. Sheep must be able to venture forth, but to keep sheep locked up is slavery.
After the offices are established in the Operations then comes Miracles, “gifts of Healings”, Helps, Governments, different tongues (both unknown and New). These are all within the local body, all showing Order established, something the Corinthians lacked; therefore, Paul tells the congregation to remain silent. The Operations are for the group, displaying a type of warfare; miracles go further than someone being able to hear or see, it refers to the impossible taking place, deliverance, victory, freedom from bondage, people being loosed. The term “gifts of healings” shows more than one gift with more than one healing. The word Gifts is the Greek Charisma linking it to Romans 12 as extensions of Grace. These are spiritual matters, not carnal ones, thus the Corinthians being carnal had some signs, but lacked the spiritual nature. One will not see Order in a carnal gathering, rather they will see division, strife, women being told to be silent, leadership separated from Christ. They may see some signs, but the carnal minded will have no idea what the signs mean or represent.
Within the gathering we may not have an apostle or prophet present, but we can be assured we began with Paul and Silas, if we are established on the New Testament principles. First Corinthians 12:29 is a series of rhetorical questions showing the answer is built into the question; not all will do miracles, if they did who would receive the miracle? Not all will talk in tongues, or interpret, but neither does it say none will. Each person with a spiritual function, each operating according to the function. What it to do with warfare? Unity; a battle to be fought by each of us. Without Unity we begin to lose the effectiveness of the corporate Unction, rather we end in competition. If we are in a place where only leaders are allowed to function we miss the importance of the Body being in Unity. Of course allowing a novice to become involved in the working, rather than observing would be error as well.
Now to the personal warfare found in the Manifestation of the Spirit, this area points to the New Man in those one on one contacts when Jesus is Manifested by the Spirit through us. Like Romans chapter 12 this is not a pick here or there, rather all of the manifestations are things we expect if we are Born Again. This is how the Born Again Spirit filled believer ministers to all men, within the Body, or without. The nine areas found in First Corinthians 12:8-11 are all by the Spirit in us as the Word (Logos) brings forth the Rhema showing the Witness of Jesus, or as John put it, “confessing Jesus in come in the flesh”.
There are always “general” words anyone can give to anyone at anytime which fit regardless; “So saith the Lord, He has called thee to a closer place with Him”, “God wants you to know He loves you”, “The Lord is with thee, and will not forsake thee”, or “God has called thee”. All of those are true for each person in the Body, but the area of the Manifestation of the Spirit is much different. This is not some thought process of “wonder what would sound good now”, this is yielding ourselves to the New Man. If we are interested in helping people, we can be assured the Greater He in us will manifest.
The word Manifested in First Corinthians 12:7 is the Greek Phanerosis meaning making something invisible to be visible. This may be bringing clarity to an area for a person who has been searching for an answer, or bringing to light something needing to be handled in a Godly manner. It may be as simple as, “you have to forgive them”, or as complex as naming the name of the person to be forgiven. It may be how to deal with someone, or awareness of what the event calls for. However, the New Man is not going to belittle anyone, or exalt us, the manifestation is to minister. An example was Jesus at the well, He told the woman all about herself, her heart was exposed, she knew who He was. Another example is Jesus telling Nathaniel, “before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you” (Jn 1:46-49). These areas open the mind of the hearer where they knew God is among us of a truth. The one hearing knows God does care, God is interested in them. Of course there are those who reject the words given, but at least they were given.
The Manifestation has nine areas, the number nine is the number of the Spirit, there are nine fruit of the Spirit, and nine blessings in the Commandments of Mercy. Some like to group these into three groups of three as they relate to each other, but we will keep them separate, since anyone of them can be manifested, or any grouping, or all at any given time. The premise here is one person who is Born Again being used in any one or more of these areas at any moment. They may give a word of knowledge, then a healing, then nothing. They may be used in all nine, or just one; however, it’s important to know we are being used of the New Man, we are not directing this battle. Is it a battle? Yes, first we are battling to keep our opinions to ourselves, then we are battling to submit to the Spirit within. Next the battlefield is centered on the one being ministered to; there are some who say they want help, but in truth they merely want their fables confirmed. They may say, “I am having such a problem with my mother-in-law”, but the problem is really with their mate, or even with them. The New Man will discern, divide, separate, open up, to bring to light to what is hidden for the specific purpose of bringing a healing, or correction.
When the Truth comes it may not be what they want to hear, they may respond in a kind manner, they may even say, “Oh no, it isn’t it at all”. In some cases you will wonder, “It must have been me and not God”, then off you go saying to yourself, “I will never do it again”. Wrong, we must face the battle after the battle. Months later the same person may come up and say, “you remember the word you gave me? Well it was right on, I just didn’t want to face it”. In the meantime you became so paranoid you refused to give another word. What did it expose in you? A lack of faith? Perhaps, fear of what people think? Perhaps. Whatever, when the exposure “comes right back at ya” it’s time to be as “teachable” as we want others to be when we give them a word. Oops another battle? Yes, we want everyone to be alert, ready, pen in hand when we are about to speak, but when someone else speaks to us we say, “yeah, yeah, okay”. We have to be as courteous and teachable toward them, as we want them to be to us.
The Manifestation of the Spirit begins with a Word of Wisdom, the word for Word is Logos, showing it comes from the Logos in us. Since this is Wisdom it will show how God wants the person to deal with a person, or event. Next is a Word of Knowledge or the awareness of something, or the opening of a fact, but it doesn’t tell us how to deal with people or events. It can be connected to the Wisdom, such as “You must forgive them, you know it’s the Will of the Lord do so”. The last part was Knowledge, the first part Wisdom. It could be information to bring clarity, yet not regarding how to deal with the person or event. It could be revealing the message in Scripture as Philip did with the Eunuch.
The area of “faith” is not some faith we receive, if all this relates to the other person, why would we give them a word of knowledge, yet we get the faith? In Acts 14:9 Paul was preaching to a man as he was preaching he saw the man had the faith to be healed. How? The man heard, the Rhema manifested as faith. How many times have we been sick and had many people tell us, “you don’t have the faith”? Here we find if they spoke the Rhema we would gain the faith needed. Negative statements like “you don’t have the faith”, would be the opposite of bringing the word to encourage faith in the hearer.
The next area is “gifts of healing”, one healing, many gifts. This is different from the Operations, in the Operations it was many gifts, many healings, here it’s for the one person we’re talking to. The gifts may very, physical, mental, emotional, or like the woman bound with the spirit of infirmity. The word Gifts here is Charisma, or the working actions of Charis (Grace), again showing this is the New Man operating through us.
The working of miracles has been covered in the Operations, a miracle can be physical as well as mental, or whatever is needed at the time going beyond the capability of man. Prophecy in this case is not the Office, we are not delivering direction or doctrine for the Body, this is one person we’re talking to. This is the area of comfort, exhortation, or edifying. They may need to be encouraged, or corrected by the Spirit. They may be in an event, wondering if it’s of God or not, thus needing assurance, which is Comfort. Prophecy is different from Wisdom and Knowledge, although it may have either or both. Knowledge is based on information, wisdom is telling us how to deal with the event or person, prophecy is giving us a look at the purpose of the event we’re in, or going to be in.
The discerning of spirits is the New Man dividing the attitudes and separating the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of error. This is the point of clarity, again this is talking to someone else, but it can also assist us. This is different than seeing the obvious, the disciples cast out devils, even Judas did, but it was obvious devil possession, here it’s discerning the source behind the actions of the person.
The Next two areas do relate, Speaking in unknown tongues with the interpretation. It’s evident, if this is a Manifestation of the Spirit, then it’s the Spirit speaking, or giving the interpreting. This is a very touchy area, yet there is only one Commandment concerning speaking in unknown tongues. Whether we want to speak or not is up to us, it’s not a Commandment to speak, but it is a Commandment telling us not to forbid anyone from speaking in unknown tongues (I Cor 14:37-39).
The projection of the language is not a Translation, it’s interpreted by the Spirit. A translation is the exactness of what is said; if the Exactness could be given, why even speak in unknown tongues? To impress people? Not hardly, yet if we do speak just to impress people we need our spirits discerned. This language is not translatable into any human language, the enemy may have counterfeits out there, but only the Spirit can interpret what the Spirit says. This is the area connected to First Corinthians chapter 11, if the leadership has yoked their head, the congregation cannot pray or give prophecy, yet even the carnal Corinthians did both of these, as did Paul (I Cor 14:18).
This is still warfare, “should I, or shouldn’t I?, the person over there says if I don’t, I’m not of God, another one says if I do, I’m not of God”. What does the New Man say? Whatever the New Man says to do, do with the assurance of our obedience is greater than sacrifice. However, after the Spirit speaks, or interprets we find another battle, the time to keep our views to our self: “Should I say something now, they are all looking at me”. If the Holy Spirit gives us something to say, we speak as an oracle of God, if not, just smile and sit down. Speaking what we think should be an interpretation just to have something to say is soulish, often dangerous. The check and balance is found in the discerning, or judging. Paul said the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets (I Cor 14:32). Wow! How many spirits do they have? Sounds like there needs to be some casting out of those spirits. No, it’s the same context we saw before. We know the word “spirits” in this case refers to the attitude, intent or concerns of the prophet. “Son of man prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say thou unto them who prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the Lord; thus says the Lord God; woe unto the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing” (Ezek 13:2-3). Let the other prophets judge the prophecy, never become subject to giving the interpretation of a word we have given, it only leads to us guessing, rather than discerning.
Paul said the Holy Ghost teaches by comparing spiritual with spiritual (I Cor 2:13). The word Comparing is the Greek Sugkrion, from Sun (together) and Krino (to judge), which means the Holy Ghost teaches the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit teaches our souls, but if we are carnal, we gain nothing. We can do, or say anything, then say it's the Spirit, but what check and balance will indicate if it was or not. Some of us will belittle a person, then say, "It was a Word of Knowledge", or "It’s righteous indignation". It was something, but it was anything but righteous, far from Godly, let the others Judge.
The manifestation of the Spirit can come at anytime, it can be for a brother or sister in the Lord, a relative, someone at work, or a perfect stranger. All of us have had an occasion when we told someone something we really didn’t understand, yet their jaw dropped, as the Spirit in us manifested, it surely wasn’t our great intellect.
All of us need to know our motivation before we engage in warfare; are we doing it because we want to show the devil we have more power than he? Are we doing it to show others we have power? Are we doing it to impress people? Are we doing it to feel powerful? Are we inflating our ego? Or, are we doing it because we want to walk in the Spirit? It better be the last. Paul also said, "But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man" (I Cor 2:15). Was Paul judged of men? Yes, time and again; what then could he mean? Gee, do you think Paul is telling us he isn't spiritual? Hardly, it depends on whether, or not one receives the judgment of men, or whether man has any authority to judge the spiritual, or whether it's judgment or correction. On the same note there are those who reject any correction, presuming it’s judgment, yet they turn right around and judge others. The Greek word used for Judge in First Corinthians 2:15 is the Greek Anakrino meaning To examine, or Investigate. The spiritually minded Discern all things, but the naturally minded can't discern the spiritual. Like a dog studying a man, the natural cannot understand spiritual things, yet like a man studying a dog, the spiritual do understand.
Does it give us a right to brag? No, we would be allowing something carnal to take credit for something spiritual. Faith entails the knowledge regarding our authority, but we are a people under authority, we know to use our authority in a manner acceptable to the authority over us. Two dangers exist, one is to presume our authority is greater or equal to the Authority of Jesus, the other is attempting to overthrow the authority of Jesus by using our authority out of order. Both of those are countered by having an awareness of the purpose of authority and power we have: we are a people of authority, but under authority.
Perhaps by looking at the word Battle in the Bible we may be able to find an easy method to view the various battlefields. At last one Greek word which is Polemos, Jesus said there would be Wars (Polemos), and rumors of Wars (Polemos). James warned us how our own mouths can cause Wars (Polemos) among us (James 4:1). A war is usually between two or more entities who have taken opposing sides on an issue, they enter combat to settle the issue. The enemy has waged war against us, we move to the New Man allowing him to wage the war, as we put our minds on the things of the Spirit. “Well, I tell you what, I put Satan under my feet everyday”. If you have to do it everyday, it isn’t working. We don’t see people coming to Jesus and saying, “Lord the devil you cast out yesterday is back in me again”, or, “Lord you healed me yesterday, but this is another day, can you heal me again?”. It doesn’t mean we won’t face what appears to be the same situation over again, but what appears to be the same, may not be the same, it may be the Progression of little by little removing the leaves, limbs, truck and root. At times it’s like climbing a ladder, each step looks the same, but in truth we’re gaining ground. Each chip at the wall of the stronghold weakens it, until the day when it falls as did the mighty wall of Jericho. Warfare for us must be Peace centered, faith motivated, and Spirit activated.
We can form all sorts of strongholds attempting to defeat strongholds, yet be none the better. There are some phrases in the Bible which could toss us a curve if we weren’t prepared, or study minded. Look at the phrase, "unclean spirit of a devil", what is that? How many clean spirits of a devil do you find? One might think it’s the most redundant phrase in the Bible. Are not all devils fallen spirits? So then what is the unclean spirit of a devil? This has to help us understand the term “sprit”, as it relates to the demonic realm. The unclean spirit is what the devil left behind, the tare formed into a stronghold. The stronghold then became a way of life for the person, as it rules their thought process. Whatever subject the stronghold was established in becomes a filter of knowledge for the subject, whatever is said in the same vein has to be filtered through the stronghold before the person will accept it. Whatever they think has to be filtered through the stronghold before they say it. We’ve seen it many times, someone has a stronghold, thus whenever the subject comes up, so does the strongman. People who defend strongholds use carnal methods based on soulish behavior, but the source is still the old man protecting the stronghold. If we bind the strongman (old man), then the stronghold is left defenseless, allowing Truth to remove the stronghold. However, if the strongman remains unbound, he will fight the Truth with a vengeance.
We know there is the devil and there are devils, yet no where in the King James Bible do we find the word "demon". Why is it important? How many strongholds have been formed over the use of the words "devils" or "demons"? "Oh well you see the demons are greater in power than devils", or "demons are little, devils are big". They are one in the same, the same Greek word means either, yet we do find some translations attempting to make a difference, for whatever reason they may have. Nonetheless, the word “demon” is derived from the same Greek word meaning devil. There is the devilish, meaning acting like a devil, we know people can be devils, as was Judas, but there are no regions or grades of devils, a devil is a devil, don’t play with them, cast them out. The Greek word Daimonizomai means Vexed or Possessed by a devil. Then the Greek Daimonion means Demonic, the Greek Daimon translated as devil or devils, but the meaning could throw us. It means One who distributes it's own fortune or misfortune. Devils are givers, they know the principal of giving and receiving, but they use it in a wicked manner. They give their fortune, which is condemnation, fear, darkness or most anything evil in nature, which seems to end in misfortune. The concept of sowing and reaping is well known in the demonic realm, they give trouble and sorrow, it comes back the more, so they can give the more. Their purpose is to trick us through deception into giving evil to others, thereby propagating the evil in our own lives. How would we counter this? By using the principle as God intended, give Mercy, words of Grace to the hearer, maintain faith in God, keep our eyes on heavenly things by walking in the Spirit.
The devil is known by many terms; we know the Bible uses metaphors to refer to the devil in various ways. For instance in the Hebrew we find the word Saiyr meaning A he-goat, then the Hebrew Shed meaning Malignant, with a root word meaning Insolent. It's also from the Hebrew we obtain the word Satan, which is the Hebrew spelling meaning Opponent of mankind, Accuser, Adversary, or Slanderer, thus Satan is opposed more to mankind, than God. Slander is based on the intent to harm someone, it doesn't matter if the information used is fact, or an outright lie, if it’s used to harm someone, it's slander. An example? Our past was factual, we were in sin, we were darkness, but God said All things are New, the devil says, "has God really said?". When someone accuses anyone with information simply to harm them it's from the wrong source as an unclean spirit of a devil.
In Revelation 16:14 we find the wording "spirits of devils", in Luke 4:33 we find the phrase "spirit of an unclean devil". Wait, could this mean there are clean devils? No, these point to different things, we need to know the difference. We cast out devils and evil spirits, but what would we call a "spirit of a devil"? Ahh, two devils, no. We just found the spirit of a devil is what is left behind, or something planted by a devil, an attitude, tare, or a thinking formed into a stronghold, but it doesn't mean the person has a devil, rather it means they have a stronghold based on demonic thinking. The phrase "unclean" means something rejected by the Law Of Moses, or something not accepted by the Law, meaning it’s unholy. Peter obtained a great theological lesson regarding unclean things, one wherein we can gain. The word Unclean is the Greek Akathartos meaning Impure, Foul or Lewd, it's a compound word meaning Without (A), Cleansing (Kathairo); referring to something not Clean, or something which can't be cleaned; to a Jew you can wash a pig for hours, yet it’s still going to be unclean. Accordingly Paul used this word in reference to all idol worship and heathen impurity, yet we know we were all heathens, but now we're being cleaned by the Blood of Jesus as well as the washing of the Water by the Word. Does it mean devils can be cleaned? Hardly, it shows the phrase has two meanings. Some things can be cleaned, some cannot. God is not out to save devils, they cannot be cleaned, but He is out to save us, we can be cleaned through and through.
In Peter's eyes some things other than devils could never be cleaned, but he found God's view, and our view sometimes differ. Peter was hungry, so much so he would have eaten six Jewish meals, but rather than eat, he felt it best to pray. He fell into a trance, seeing a sheet Knit (bound) at the four corners, the metaphor Four Corners refers to the entire earth. On this sheet Peter saw all sorts of unclean beasts and creeping things. Peter looked and heard, "Peter, kill and eat", the part about Kill made sense, the Eat didn't. Could this be a test? Would Peter fall to his lust and eat anyway? Would Peter engage in warfare telling Satan to get behind him? Ahh, it wasn't the devil, it was the Lord, it wasn't a test, it was sent to open his thinking. Another interesting question, was Peter still under the Law? No, but at the time the Jews were the center of interest, thus the disciples kept points of the Law to gain entry into the Jewish gatherings to preach Jesus.
Peter assumed all these common things were unclean, and must remain so, but he heard "what God has cleansed (made pure), don’t you call it common" (Acts 10:13-15). Is this a stronghold Peter held? Let's go back to Mark chapter 7, where we find the disciples were eating bread with unwashed hands, as the Pharisees attacked them for their unwashed hands. Jesus said, "there is Nothing from without a man, entering into him can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those defile the man" (Mark 7:15). What is Peter saying here? "I have never taken anything into me to defile me". Not only did Peter find God could clean the unclean, but he found he did obtain Liberty in Christ, a stronghold was exposed, setting Peter free. This was well after Pentecost, or the Gate Beautiful, thus we continually learn and grow. We know the purpose of the lesson was to allow the Gentile Cornelius into the Body, thus a Gentile at the time was considered unclean by the Jew, but how God would make Cornelius Clean? The same way He did Peter; however, we can see how God used this to clean Peter as well. Not only do we find God is fully able to remove strongholds, but we find even a Spirit filled saint like Peter can have them. Any of us can have strongholds, some may not seem important, but everything produces after its own kind, thus it’s far better to be rid of all of them, rather than ignore them.
The word devil appears 4 times in the Old Testament, 41 times in the Gospel accounts, then 9 times thereafter. Since the ratio is 4 times in the Old, with 50 times in the New, it stands casting out devils is New Testament thinking. The word devilish is only used once in James 3:15 in reference to the wisdom of man, devilish means an act or motive condoning or using the ways of the devil. The word Satan appears 18 times in the Old Testament, with 14 of those in Job, and 35 times in the New. The name Lucifer appears once in the entire Bible, in Isaiah 14:12, the context shows he is a man, but the same context shows this Lucifer as the "son of perdition" or "beast of the earth" as well. The “son” of the household represents the entire household, thus Jesus as the Son of man stood for all mankind, as the Son of God, He stands for God, thus giving Him the Name above all names. The son of perdition gained authority over the world, but entered back therein, representing the house of Perdition. There are those who have escaped the pollutions of the world, but returned to using the ways of the world like a pig to the mud.
The wording "unclean spirit" appears 17 times in the Gospel, and 5 times thereafter. In the Old Testament we find the spirit of jealousy (Numb 5:14), an evil spirit from God (I Sam 16:14), a familiar spirit (I Sam 28:7), and a lying spirit (I Kings 22:21-23). In the New we find there is a dumb spirit (Mark 9:17), a foul spirit (Mark 9:25), a spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11), a spirit of divination (Acts 16:16), an evil spirit (Acts 19:15), and the spirit of antichrist (I Jn 4:1-4), which is also termed the spirit of error. Yet, we know Jesus gave His disciples Power over all unclean spirits, yet at the time they didn't have the Spirit (Mark 6:7). Among the group was Judas, thus Judas cast out devils, it was his own soul he failed to deal with. Therefore, the evidence shows as members of the Rock, whether we have the Spirit or not we still have power over devils. However, in order to have authority regarding the saving of our soul we must be Born Again.
When we find the phrase "spirit of an unclean devil" it must be a clue to some mystery. We have three elements, the "spirit", "unclean" and the "devil", remove any and we lose the importance of the term. The metaphor spirit is relative to an attitude or intellect tending to guide a person, the unclean aspect has to do with something in a religious nature becoming none acceptable, of course the devil is in opposition against God, or the ways of God. Teaching "doctrines of devils" is not teaching about devils, it's teaching the same thing the devils teach, which is always centered in unbelief and/or fear. The term "spirit" also refers to a seed left behind, or something suggested by the prince of the power of the air, then received by the person, thus in the realm of disobedience we find the “children of disobedience”. This is an important area since some of us think we had a "devil" cast out, when it was an evil spirit, or we thought we had a "devil", when it was the "spirit of an unclean devil". It doesn't mean there are no devils, since in order to have the "spirit" of one, there must be one. Neither does it mean we don't cast out devils, it means there are elements relating to these areas we need to explore. We cast out devils, we cast out the spirits of unclean devils, so what's the difference? The devil will go, no problem there, but the "spirit" has developed into a personality trait meaning the person may not want it to leave. They have to see it for what it is, then allow changes in their character, with mediation in the Bible coupled with prayer to bring about deliverance. Anyone can assume they had a devil, someone cast it out, yet the next day the same thoughts and attitude remain. “I guess it’s just me, I’m a devil, no hope”; not true, it’s the spirit left behind, a thought process, a manner of life, something of darkness taken seed in the person’s personality, it will take a change in character and nature to make the difference.
In Psalm 106:37 we find another reference where the children of God sacrificed their children to devils, in this case the devils referred to were the idols of Baal, meaning idols according to God are devils, thus the Jews also considered idols devils. The people actually burned their own children alive as a sacrifice to the Canaanite gods of Molech, Milcom and Chemosh (all Baal type idols - II Kings 23:10). History shows those who engaged in those horrid practices assumed their children were being purged of their dross (evils), so they might obtain union with the deity they used. It seems completely out of place, but shows the natural mind of man builds strongholds. They gave their children to devils, to save their child from devils, in the process they took the life of their own child assuming they were doing the child a service. When we use the wiles of the devil against the devil, we are doing the same, thus using demonic ways to subdue the devil is playing right into his hands.
There are evil spirits unseen to the naked eye, who are bound in chains in darkness, yet they go about seeking whom they may devour. They can't devour everyone, rather they seek whom they may devour, since they are in darkness, they can only attack those in darkness. They cannot venture into the Light, thus in order for them to vex us, we must give them place by moving into the realm where they are active. Jesus said, "You can do nothing to Me, unless it's granted from on high", the phrase became extended by the New Birth to include, "You can do nothing to me, unless I give you place".
The devils use people, either by possession, which is rare, or by oppression, which is giving the devil place, or the more common method of using the "spirit" of a devil; which is the same as using the planted tares through the minds and mouths of natural thinking people. Most people mean well, but if they lack the Word in them to discern their own intent, their well meaning becomes tare planting. Paul’s teaching in Romans chapter 7 is about his own life before he received the Spirit, he wanted to serve God, so much so he dedicated his life to what he felt was the only religion on the face of the planet God ordained. He followed the Law to the letter, but he had to operate through the spirit lusting to envy (old man, or flesh), thus whatever effort he put forth he had to do it through the fallen nature, causing the Commandment Thou shall not covet to convict him, find him guilty unto death. However, Romans Chapter 8 is the saving Grace of God at work, showing once we have the Spirit all things are New, the Goodness then is God’s Goodness in us projecting through us by the Spirit. If we are dead, yet alive by the Spirit, then the works we do are Spiritual in nature, thus Romans 8 shows us how to serve God and please Him in the process. Does it mean our flesh is completely dead? No, it’s imputed dead on the Cross of Jesus, yet it’s still the tent we use on earth.
The consequences of the Fall proves the devil didn’t have to say a thing, his two victims were pleading his case for him. It hasn’t changed, carnal minds assume they are doing good, but they are still motivated by envy, strife and division. For the most part they have no idea their words are “darts”, just as the Corinthians had no idea by attacking Paul, they are also attacking the Office of man which means they were attacking Jesus. When someone hits us with a dart, it's not the person, but the spirit behind them, yet the dart is still demonic in nature, often it hurts. Does it mean the person was possessed? No, it means the fallen nature is guiding them at the moment. Are there people in the Body who have the Spirit, but are still carnal? Yes, the letters to the Corinthians prove it. One battle which is vital is moving from having the Spirit to being Spiritual, is the battle of submission, trust and faith in God to bring about what He promised. The phrase “that Born of the Spirit is Spirit” is the promise of our souls being changed from flesh to Spiritual in nature.
There is a difference between devil possession and devil vexation, yet in both cases we can cast the evil out. However, there is yet the Strongman who holds to the fallen nature, rather than cast him out of another, they, like we must bind him, then put off his deeds. The mistake is thinking we cast out the old man, yet the old man is the corrupt flesh, still acting in the darkness. We impute it dead, thereby the Laws against us are also ineffective. When we put off the old man we are removing any authority over us the old nature had, in essence, we are enforcing the imputing process to make the old man ineffective. Will the old nature say, “oh you have defeated me”? No, it will fight back to show it’s supposed power. It happens often, we see our anger is dangerous, we impute it gone, within hours we find ourselves getting more angry then before. What happened? Anger is attempting to show it’s supposed power, is it bad? No, it’s good, the anger just found it’s defeated, thus we take authority over it by centering on the Joy of the Lord in the Spirit.
After the Fall neither Adam or Eve were devil possessed, yet they spoke from the source of their rebellion. Eve even blamed the devil, but in the process she was giving the devil glory, by ignoring her own fault. They became self-aware, they desired the things of the flesh, which became the things of man. The flesh was formed of the earth, the elements of the earth were in darkness, thus the flesh wants to adhere to the things of darkness. Adam and Eve accepted the nature of darkness, yet they really didn’t know a change had taken place. They didn’t run out of the Garden, they remained, Adam even sought a false covering for his flesh (fig leaves); thereby showing the flesh became the problem, not the soul. His thinking changed completely, from bone of my bone, to the woman you gave me. The seeds of the “self” were evident before the fall, when Adam man saw the woman he was excited, she was “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”, yet we never see where he “thanked” God for the gift. If we assume for a second Adam was devil possessed we missed the point of the conversation at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The devil was using suggestions, he was not forcing the issue. Once the suggestions were accepted, the nature of disobedience was birthed. It was the received nature, not devil possession causing the fall. They accepted the disobedience, in so doing received the nature behind it, causing disobedience to become a way of life, the focus changed to using the flesh to make the soul pleased. How long did it take? A few seconds, yet it happened to each of us. Our connection by the flesh was our contact to the realm of darkness; we heard the flesh, then we accepted the suggestion, allowing the self-nature to become our nature. The Process of Change is what the Gospel is all about, being set free from the old, to be formed into the New. The further into the New we move, the further we move from the old.
We should have these areas fairly well under our belt of Truth by now, however, are there areas of warfare leaders face? Dumb question, we know Paul faced many, we just looked at some. Regardless of the gathering of Christians or those of The Faith, there are various stages of growth, some are still in the conception stage, some are the fetus fighting to secure the root, some carnal, some very carnal, some at the Blade stage, some mature, some very mature. How hard is it to address all in one sermon? Try it sometime. Who could we use as an example regarding leadership and proper warfare? Let’s see, oh yes, Jesus of course.
What was the first battle Jesus fought? Ahh, the devil, no, it was the first battle of the ministry, but not the first battle. Time and Timing was the first, we are not told a great deal about Jesus as a youth, there are many stories, many rumors, but our source is the Bible, not rumor. Luke tells us when Jesus was twelve He went into the temple at Jerusalem, in the mean time His mother was on her way home. She discovered Jesus was not among the youth, then went looking for Him. After Three Days she found Him in the Midst of the doctors and religious leaders who astonished at the answers and understanding of Jesus. Did He have knowledge at the time? Yes (Luke 2:47), if He had knowledge, if He knew who He was, why not just begin the ministry? Time and timing, He waited for the time and timing of the Father, when the Holy Ghost came the ministry for the Son of man was opened.
Being Called and being ready are different, the calling is the invitation, then comes the training, then we are sent. Faith in the process is important, it doesn’t mean we sit in some cave, although it will seem like it. The “cave of the prophet” is the place of discerning the exactness of the calling; however, we can be in the Cave yet among many people at the same time. Elijah was in an actual cave when the clarity of his calling was manifested to him, in our case it’s an inward cave. Three things are vital, we put our trust in God, we put our faith in God, and we maintain our love in God. We can trust others to do as they should, but we never put our trust in people. We never trust anyone for deliverance, security, support, or any facets making us depend on them for our livelihood. Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding". When we put our trust in people, or society, or the world we will fall very hard when they fail us.
Time and timing are elements where our time intersects with the timing of God. John the Baptist had a short timed ministry, but it was dependent on time and timing. John’s ministry couldn’t be late, or early, we wait, wait, wait on the Lord in His timing He will tell us where to go and what to say. It was once said God has missed some golden opportunities to be early, but He has never been late.
Here is a battle and a battlefield, of course the battlefield is our own soul, the battle is taming our impatience by Patience. Staying the course is a battle, we want to jump out of the boat, walk on the water, fly through the air, do something, anything but sit here in this boat. However, the command is to get to the other side, there waits the ministry. Stay the course, let Patience have her perfect work. Patience is not merely “remaining the same” all the time, since one can be nasty all the time, or impatient all the time. Patience means to stay the course until the end is reached without wavering from side to side. If we are told to go to the other side, then we go, we don’t stop to walk on the water, we don’t think about turning back, we don’t interrupt the process, we finish the course. Patience and faith are related, victory comes when patience has had her perfect work, until the result we hold our faith in God to complete what He has promised us.
The next area where Jesus would face a battle was of course the temptations: knowing the Spirit took Jesus into the wilderness just so He could be tempted of the devil would seem barbaric, cruel, or at least not fair. However, it shows the devil must be defeated before we begin. So how are we going to do it? Bind the idiot, no loose him, no, ah what? Don’t you think Jesus had this in hand? Yes, Hebrews 2:14 tells us through death Jesus destroyed (made ineffective) him who had the power of death, that is the devil. In the case of Jesus it was to defeat, then destroy the devil, for us it’s finally knowing the wiles of the devil are ineffective in our lives.
Jesus used the Scriptures, thus for us it’s the Word in us, the same Word defeated then destroyed the devil. Knowledge of our effectiveness as it relates to the ineffectiveness of the wiles of the devil is a victory in hand.
The wilderness of Jesus held many experiences, but the devil was limited to the same three elements of the lust of eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. None of which had any effect on Jesus. The temptation came, but it didn’t mean Jesus was tempted unto evil. As we know temptation is only complete if the person being tempted falls to the temptation. If Jesus would have turned the stones to bread, then temptation would have been complete. Just because the devil suggested or tempted Jesus, doesn’t mean Jesus succumbed to the temptation.
When we came to Jesus we accepted the Plan of Deliverance He offered, then we are elevated above powers and principalities. We must know all powers and principalities are under the feet of Jesus, they have no power over us. Our liberty is so complete we find we can use the Power of Christ, or reject it. Everyone who enters the Kingdom has the same potential, yet we must Accept the gift in its fullness. We don’t pick power alone then reject authority, neither do we pick the knowledge then reject the power. God is equal, we must be as well.
When Jesus was dealing with the religious leaders what Spirit do you think guided Him? The Spirit of God. Okay, what spirit guided the religious leaders? The spirit lusting to envy. When we see how Jesus dealt with the religious leaders we must keep several things in mind, Jesus came to save them, not to defeat them, kill them, or come against them. He presented them with Opportunity; Nicodemus is the best example to prove the point. All the teachers, Pharisees, rulers, scribes, lawyers and other religious rulers, even the high priest, had the same opportunity as Nicodemus. However, rather than submit to the obvious power to move on with God, they decided to be the ones to come against Jesus, yet, Jesus was reaching out to save them, while they were lying in wait to kill Him.
To us all this seems rather basic, but at the time do we think the religious leaders felt they were being guided by darkness? Of course not, they were deceived into thinking they were doing God a great service, giving us something to consider when we decide to tell someone what we think. We could be using the wrong source to accomplish what we think is a good effort, missing the will of God by miles. The religious leaders rejected the obvious, they felt Jesus was doing the works of the devil based on their own ineffectiveness. They failed to look at the evidence, not only the evidence of the works of Jesus, but their own ways as well. The Word in us will divide, separate and expose, but we must be open and teachable.
What did the religious leaders think about the Cross? Did they fall down and say “we have crucified the Son of man”? No, they went home to eat their Passover, like the children in the wilderness who made the golden calf one day then kept the sabbath the next, they felt they were the true warriors of God. They had no idea the Cross defeated the devil, or granted mankind the greatest opportunity of all time.
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, when the temptations came He knew it. He discerned each and everyone of them, but did the religious rulers discern the temptations they fell into? No, did they discern they were tempting Jesus? No, they felt they were only determining the truth of the matter. The person doing the tempting must have a lust in them from which they tempt, thus Jesus told the religious rulers, “why tempt you Me?” (Mark 12:15). The devil tempted Jesus, the religious leaders tempted Jesus, thus Jesus said they would do the lusts of their father the devil (Jn 8:44). Another clue, they ignored their lusts, their ego, religious pride, unbelief and were being used of the darkness, yet felt they were the only Light in town. Tempting is not the same as asking a question, if it were the case there would be no students or disciples. Tempting questions are used to insert superiority, or to lead a person into an area to trick or trap them, so the person asking can appear superior, different from wanting information.
Jesus showed His clarity by rejecting each of the three temptations, but each was later committed by the religious rulers, yet they didn’t have a clue to their intent. The religious rulers attempted to turn the stones into bread, attempted to elevate themselves above the Temple, they attempted to rule and dominate the people. The religious rulers felt they were in control, yet their control was exposed as religious manipulation. Jesus did offend the religious leaders, but did He intend to offend? No, yet the Truth will offend. The offense is not to make one stumble, it’s to expose so correction can produce perfection. When they tempted Jesus, He in turn gave them exposure as a test. The same was found in the Wilderness, the children tempted God, but God was not tempted, rather He sent exposure to them in the form of a test.
The Cross was the purpose since the foundation of the world, yet the Cross as an event took place 2,000 years ago. The Lamb was slain, not murdered, the Lamb “gave His life” for many, He was not escaping events He couldn’t handle. A sacrifice and suicide are completely different, suicide lacks hope, a sacrifice grants hope.
The wilderness was the place where Jesus was tempted directly by the devil, but did those temptations stop when Jesus left the wilderness? No, they continued on, only instead of the devil tempting Him directly, we find the children of the devil would do the lusts of their father the devil. Many of the temptations we face are not directly by the devil, but through people, yet flesh and blood is not our enemy. The religious leaders had no idea they were attempting to do for the devil, what the devil failed at. Jesus looked to the source, thus He was showing the religious leaders their motivation and intent. There are eight references where we find the religious rulers Tempted Jesus, thus the religious rulers were hearing the voice of the spirit lusting to envy by allowing envy to direct their actions and words; even Pilate knew the religious leaders were motivated by envy (Matt 27:13).
We will look at events wherein Jesus faced the religious minded, we see them as examples of Warfare. Whenever we find the Premise in the Bible, we must search out the example. We never make up our own examples for the premise, we will just form another stronghold. In Matthew 16:1-4 the Pharisees and Sadducees wanting a sign from heaven; it wasn't just a sign, rather they demanded the sign they wanted. There were signs many, but they rejected them all; they wanted God to prove Himself to them by their rules, yet they failed to prove they were the people of God. Jesus told them how they could see the heavens and know "red sky at night", or "red sky in the morning", thus the sign was there, they just didn't want to see it. There is an old saying connected to the premise, “red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in the morning sailor take warning”. A red sky at night means a nice day will follow, a red sky in the morning means a storm is coming. Even the religious rulers used the Plan of God to tell what the weather would be, but they couldn’t see the “Plan of God” for mankind. They wanted a green sky, or a purple sky, then they would believe. They wanted Jesus to change the stones into bread, or if the sky is green with no sun, then they would believe. "If Jesus goes through this graveyard and raises the ones I say, then I will believe". What is it? Tempting Jesus. It was done then, it's done now, but we war not to get involved in natural man's foolishness. The temptation to prove ourselves comes as a dart out of no where, “say something in those tongues”, “if you are really a son of God….”, “if you really believe in healing how come you’re sick”, all temptations to get us to justify ourselves, or provide a “sign”, yet even if we did provide a sign, they would still refuse to believe.
Jesus didn't tell the religious minded people, "Signs, Signs, I'll give you signs". Could He? Yes, but He didn't. As evil as these religious rulers were, they were nonetheless part of those Jesus was sent to. Sending fire down on them, praying against them, or forcing them to believe was not in the plan. In our case we are sent to the call the called from the world, cursing the world isn’t the answer, the world is the world. Jesus presented the signs desired of the Father based in Mercy, yet signs can be falling around us like rain, but if we refuse to receive, we won’t.
Next we go to Matthew 19:3-12, which has to do with binding and loosing. The Pharisees were Tempting Jesus with questions of the Law, much like the Pharisees do today. Showing the temptations were still going on well after the wilderness, but it was the religiously conceited who were doing the tempting. The religious leaders asked, "what do you think about...?", yet they could care less what Jesus thought. "Tell me brother, what to you think..", they don’t care, they merely narrowing the path toward the trap. Nicodemus asked questions, but he wanted to know. This event with Jesus is just another example of how a temptation is not complete until the one being tempted is enticed by their own lust, thus when the diver temptations come, it doesn't mean we have to fall in order to rejoice. There is a rejoicing when we see the temptation for what it is, then it becomes a test for us. How do we deal with it? The wisdom of man, or the Wisdom of God?
The question remains, Where was the lust? In the religious leaders, not in Jesus, so when someone tempts us, where is the lust? In the one doing the tempting, it doesn't have to be in the one being tempted. The spirit lusting to envy uses envy, strife, jealousy, anger, religious conceit, wrath, tumults, the expressions of ego, pride, arrogance, all of which are rulers of the darkness in order to produce the temptation; however it doesn’t mean the temptation has to be received.
Paul and Silas were faced with the damsel who was possessed, she followed the two men saying, “These men are the servants of the most high God, who show unto us the way to salvation” (Acts 16:16-19). Her demonic soothsaying must have worked on some, she did bring her masters gain (Acts 16:16). Her saying seemed proper, Paul and Silas were servants of God, their goal was to show the way of salvation, so what was wrong? The motivation was to exalt the men more than God, she was attempting to entice them, in order to preach her Gospel, but Paul discerned the spirit in the damsel and cast it out of her (Acts 16:18 & I Cor 12:10). We find the same with Jesus, He was discerning the intent, separating and dividing and exposing by the evidence. It’s exactly the same as the Word does in us, the division is to separate us from using the wiles of the devil (James 1:21 & Heb 4:12).
The lust in the religious rulers became the source of the temptation, thus the damsel was demon possessed, the religious rulers were being used by the old nature. The damsel was bound by demon possession, the religious rulers by the demonic. The Pharisees wanted to know if a man could put away his wife for any cause. In His answer Jesus not only pointed to the Law, but to the nation as well. God didn't put away the nation for Any Cause, it was specific, yet neither did He leave them, as evidenced by Jesus coming to the Jews. Jesus points to the purpose of God in the very beginning, in so doing He was showing them a sign established well before the Law. It was the same God, thus the Desire of God was in the beginning, the Law provided man a means of divorce, based on man’s heart, not God’s. The religious rulers thought they were the watchdogs of Jehovah, but they were the messengers of Satan; yet Jesus continued to preach the truth in Love. However, Love can produce a sound rebuke, as long as it’s correction leading to perfection. Every time Jesus rebuked the Pharisees He was showing them there remained a work for them, one they couldn’t do on their own, one which would take the Spirit of Christ.
The next place is in Matthew 22:18, the religious minded came with words of praise, but hearts of deceit. Edifying someone, and building their ego are different. The disciples of the Pharisees were joined by the Herodians who came with smooth words, "Master, we know You are true, and teach the way of God in truth, neither do You care for any man, for You regard not the persons of men" (Matt 22:16). Give me a break, even the carnal minded should be able to detect the source of those words. Jesus looked past the words to the intent, knowing the question was a trap, it went right back to the temptation to turn stones into bread. "Tell us oh Master, You who speak Truth, is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?". For these religious leaders they presumed Rome was punishing the people, not the temple. After all the temple was still making money, surely a sign of holiness. Oops, they were also stealing the people blind. The evidence showed they were in error, thus the question should have been, "Master, how do we get free?".
Jesus could have said, "tell Me, why do you have these money changers? Why do you have Caesar's money in your hand?", or "Why do you care?", but He didn't, rather He perceived their Wickedness by saying, "Why tempt you Me, you hypocrites?" (Matt 22:18). Tempt? There it is again, the devil left for a season, but he sent Tares to do his bidding. Of course, they didn't answer the question, because they really didn't know why they were tempting Jesus, they felt it was merely “testing Him”. Jesus perceived the intent, His answer caused the temptation to fail, thus He delivered a test to those who tempted Him.
In Matthew 22:35 a lawyer tempted Jesus by asking a question, this again was using a question as a trap. The lawyer said, "Which is the great commandment in the Law?". We couple this question with the one asked in Mark 12:28, since they are two different things, yet the same question. The intent of this lawyer was to trap; the intent of the scribe in Mark is to find out something. Instead of Jesus saying, "thou shall not tempt the Lord your God", He went to the source and said, "Hear O Israel; the Lord your God is One Lord: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength", then He added the Second which is also based in Love, showing Love is the basis for the Commandments. In Mark the scribe told Jesus, "Well, Master, You have said the truth; for there is One God; and there is none other but He: and to love Him with all the heart and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mark 12:32-33). Jesus then told the scribe, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God" (Mark 12:34). Jesus didn't say the scribe was in the Kingdom, only his knowledge of Love placed him near it. Two questions with two different intents, the one seeking knowledge moved closer to the Kingdom, the one tempting moved further from the Kingdom.
In Mark the Pharisees with certain of the scribes found some of the disciples of Jesus eating with unwashed hands, presuming they "found fault" (Mark 7:1-2). What were they looking for? Fault; thus fault finding comes from the intent of envy. They wanted to find something wrong, so they could reject everything Jesus was saying. This washing was based on the "tradition of the elders", it was not in the Law, it was something the elders did, but the religious rulers made it doctrine. They asked Jesus, "Why do your disciples walk not according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?" (Mark 7:5). This was a challenge, the evidence was in hand, some of the disciples were caught, what to do? Jesus now takes the words of the Prophets, displaying how the Pharisees were fulfilling prophecy, not in the manner they assumed, but fulfilling it nonetheless. In vain they worship God, teaching for Doctrine the commandments of men (Mark 7:7). What a lesson, what a time to examine ones Theology, or Doctrine, could we be teaching Traditions as Doctrine? We need to examine our Doctrine daily, allow the Holy Ghost to challenge any areas where we picked up some error, or misread a verse, or have formed a tradition of our elders into doctrine.
From Mark to Luke and another lawyer: the lawyers of the Law are different from the lawyers of the civil law we find today, at least for the most part. The lawyer of the Law of Moses was one who interpreted the Law for the Chief Priest, it was the lawyer who said, "this is the Law", the Chief Priest would agree. The legal system in most countries came from the English system, but the English system came from the Justinian, as the Justinian came from the Jewish system, thus we also have lawyers who plead the law in front of judges. The punishments very, but how does one know stealing is wrong? The Ten Commandments said so; the punishment may be jail, or cutting a hand off, but the violation was known because God said stealing was wrong. This lawyer was attempting to get Jesus to interpret the Law as He saw it, just to find fault in His answer, thereby accuse Him. The real error was in thinking they knew more than Jesus, surely He would enter error and they would find their fault. In Luke a certain lawyer stood up tempting Jesus by asking, "Master what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25). Accordingly, the lawyers, Pharisees, scribes, or other religious rulers of the time assumed Life was promised in the Law. Later Jesus would say, "Search the Scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me" (Jn 5:39). This was just after Jesus said, "you have not this Word (Logos) in you; for Whom He has sent, Him you believe not" (Jn 5:38). Life is defined in the Bible (Scriptures), but the Scriptures do not impart life. The Pharisees felt since they read about life, they had it. We can read about Grace, but it doesn’t mean we have it.
Back to our lawyer, according to Agenda (tradition), a Jew could only spend one year in hell, after which they went to Abraham's Bosom, the highest point one could reach at the time, so why even worry about hell? This lawyer wanted to know about "eternal life", but in order for there to be eternal life, there must also be eternal death. To these people eternal life was in the Bosom of Abraham, they felt keeping the Law of Moses was the means; however, Abraham never kept the Law of Moses, he was a man of belief and faith. Instead of Jesus saying, "Watch it, you're talking to the Anointed", or "yeah, thou art so stupid", He put the ball back in the lap of the lawyer by asking, "What is written in the Law, how do you read it?". The man’s job was to say what the Law said; since the lawyer asked a like question to tempt Jesus, was Jesus now tempting him by asking the question? No, this is exposure; Jesus didn't start this, but He was fully capable of finishing it.
This lawyer being responsible for reading the Law correctly, used the same terms regarding the Commandments as Jesus did prior; Love the Lord your God, and your neighbor, thus verifying Jesus was not in error (Luke 10:27). What does this Love entail? Mercy? Yes, was Jesus a "neighbor"? Yes, yet the lawyer was using his position to tempt Jesus, but how would he like it if some Pharisee used their position to tempt him? Not at all, so was the lawyer doing the Law? No, why accuse Jesus? We can see how the temptation came at Jesus, but Jesus returned a test to the lawyer. A temptation must entice us by deceiving us, Jesus was never deceived, neither did He deceive others.
Still in Luke we come to the time when Jesus was casting out a devil, some of the Pharisees said, "He casts out devils through Beelzebub the chief (prince) of the devils" (Luke 11:14-15). Prior we saw this event in Matthew, but here we want to look at something else, the attacking mind of the religiously conceited. The irony here is how the religiously conceited claimed Jesus was using the power of darkness, but when Jesus rebukes them He shows they were using the power of darkness against Light. They were attempting to stop Jesus by saying, "the Law doesn't say you can", but He kept saying, "Where does it say I can't?". Hindering spirits are all the same, they look for ways not to do something, rather than seek a way in Christ to do something. The religiously minded needed to recognize the evidence, not investigate it.
The religious rulers again tempted Jesus, seeking a sign from heaven (Luke 11:16). Jesus knowing their thoughts responded with kingdom principles. Their kingdom was in danger, Jesus was saving it, but they couldn't see the salvation at hand. Satan was already dividing their kingdom, they held envy, strife and division, yet they looked at their Savior as the problem, rather than seeing the problem was the Strongman unbound. Jesus answered their question, If He casts out devils by the finger of God, then No Doubt the Kingdom of God is come upon them (Luke 11:20). From where did the Kingdom of God come? Heaven was loosed for them, yet they were bound to the earth. In essence their hearts betrayed them, if Satan was casting out Satan, then rejoice in the Lord, the kingdom of Satan is doomed, if it's by God then rejoice in the Lord, the Kingdom of God is at hand, in either case seek the Precious by giving God the glory.
Warfare doesn't mean we won't have problems, Jesus had problems with the Pharisees. He also had problems with His own disciples; however, problems with answers, defuse the problem. The Holy Ghost will guide us by telling us things to come, thus we know the answer is at hand. Knowing we're in the hand of God is a sign of Peace, knowing God is working to bring us into the fullness of Salvation is Peace in hand. It's our own reaction to the problem, becoming the problem, not the problem itself.
The Doctrine (not doctrines) Of Christ came out of the mouth of Jesus, yet it came from the Father (Jn 7:16). One must Do the Will of the Father in order to know the Doctrine, but what is the Will of the Father? We know the Will of the Lord from Ephesians, the Will of the Father is "hear you Him" coupled with being merciful and holy as our Father is merciful and holy. Were the Pharisees doing any of this? No, they refused to Hear, they refused to grant Mercy, thus holiness was what they thought it entailed. Did they have the opportunity to apply mercy? Yes, more than once, but did they?
There came a time when the Jews had set their minds to kill Jesus. Jesus teaches them how God didn't give them the Law, God gave the Law to Moses, then Moses gave them the Law, yet they couldn't keep it (Jn 7:19). The Law of Moses is a paradox, on one hand it was designed for the carnal minded, but it came from a spiritual source, thus in order to finish the course for the Law of Moses one had to be spiritual, but if one was spiritual, they have fulfilled the Law of Moses, they are then ready to move on to the Law of the Spirit. As strange as it seems, by doing the Law of Moses one admits their sins are not forgiven by God, as well as admitting they are yet carnal in need carnal ordinances they can follow. The Pharisees were doing the Law of Moses, assuming they completed it, but because they were doing it, tended to show they had not completed it. Now they accuse Jesus of having a devil. Foolish? Yes, but the Strongman attacks when exposed (Jn 7:20). If we are offended with we hear truth, the Strongman will retaliate with, "well I'm not so sure it's truth". The Strongman makes his excuses, but he still can't change the truth.
Jesus tells them, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteously" (Jn 7:24). They saw a devil come out, they judged it as Satan casting out Satan, but they never saw the person set free of their torment; where was their Righteousness? It was time for them to repent in order to gain some true Righteousness. Did they have their loins girt about with Truth? No, they were attacking the Truth. Did they have on the breastplate of righteousness? No, they were judging by appearance. Did they have their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace? No, they were warring against repentance. Did they have the Shield of faith? No, they were sending fiery darts. Did they have the helmet of salvation? No, they were judging by using the lusts of their father the devil. These are lessons for us, the written evidence of the strongman unbound should be the incentive to bind him. We can learn, or we can ignore, but it doesn't change the evidence.
Jesus ends this teaching to the religious rulers in the same manner as He taught the Woman at the Well. He who believes shall have rivers of living water flow from his belly (Jn 7:38). The Pharisees could have said, "well we believe the Law", but they didn't, since they failed to do the heart of the Law. The religious rulers also knew living waters pointed to Mercy coupled with Life from the Spirit. Now their envy was growing to the maximum, they would set their trap on the issue of Mercy. A plan made in secret, is the same as laying in wait to deceive. What is a “secret plan”? One where the accused is not invited.
They made their secret plan, then approached Jesus with an event demanding Mercy, yet would appear to be in conflict with the Law. They held a John 7 meeting, but like all John 7 meetings, there was one among them to expose the error. Nicodemus, the same one who heard Jesus teach on being Born Again, questioned the John 7 meeting (Jn 7:51). Going right back to, "judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (Jn 7:24). Did they hear? No, the next morning they began their evil plan, they found a woman caught in the very act of adultery. We don't know how they knew this woman would be in the very act of adultery, but it’s not the point anyway, the point is Mercy. When they caught her did they have the opportunity to show her Mercy? Yes, but they made a decision to use her, in truth they were more the prostitute than she.
They had their plan, if Jesus fails to apply Mercy, He is a false teacher, if He applies Mercy, then He is going against the Law. They asked, "Now Moses in the Law commanded us, how such should be stoned: but what say You?" (Jn 8:4-5). Prior it was "what say You on the Law?", now it's "thus says the Law, what say You?". Here we can see how the lust to envy in the Pharisees was doing the tempting, yet they felt it was gathering evidence.
This area in John regarding the woman caught in adultery was covered in our lesson on John, but here in reference to warfare we can see how the Law had things to say about this woman, but wait, where's the male? Didn't the Law have a few things to say regarding his part in this? Yes, but they weren't concerned about the male, or the female, the woman was a tool to reach the means; all they cared about was their trap. Would Jesus say, "grant her mercy"? If so, what about Moses? Would Jesus say, "If it’s what Moses said, then do it", then what about all the Mercy teaching? Answer the question one way, they would have their evidence, answer another and they would have their evidence, it appeared as if they had Him. What would Jesus do? Use the Scriptures to resolve the situation, but not from the Law, He used the Prophets. Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dirt, thus He wrote, He didn't "say", it was something they never considered. What did He write? The same prophecy Jeremiah gave, "My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of Living Waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (Jere 2:13), and "O Lord, the Hope of Israel, all who forsake You shall be ashamed, and they who depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of Living Waters" (Jere 17:13). Jesus used a physical effort of writing to display the exposure, thus they wanted Him to “Speak” the word, but He wrote it for two reasons. In Jeremiah God said He would write their names in the dust, but Jesus is also pointing them right back to the “written Scriptures”. They used the Law, Jesus used the Prophets, yet it was the same God who gave the words to Moses and Jeremiah, but they didn't want to know what God had to say on the matter, yet the Proceeding word came forth rebuking the religious minded. The Pharisees wanted to kill her, Jesus forgave her, who then did the will of the Father?
There are the areas where we can’t find the wording Tempt or Temptation, but we also find where the exact words were not used, but the actions show a temptation took place; therefore, it behooves us to find how Jesus responded during those events as well. The Pharisees planned their attacks; if one has been on the other end of an attack, they know we Respond, we don't react. The biggest battles we will face relate to Mercy; during the earthly ministry Jesus operated as the Son of man, a position of mercy. When we are attacked Mercy is always the call, we respond in Mercy, we don’t retaliate.
In the next event the Pharisees see the disciples, then report their findings to Jesus: in the last event they saw Jesus and ran to question the disciples, this time it's reversed (Matt 12:2). The disciples were plucking corn (wheat) on the sabbath, Jesus responded to the religious rulers by giving a history lesson. Prior it was the Law, then the Prophets and Psalms, now History. David took the shewbread when he and his men were hungry, yet he did it by permission of the priest, not force (Matt 12:3). Jesus then goes back to the Law, showing the priests are free of the sabbath, since they are free they can't profane it. Therefore, the Law was flexible, it had exceptions. Nonetheless the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. Which means the sabbath was servant to man, man was not servant to the sabbath. Jesus knows they failed the homework assignment by saying, "But if you had known what this means, I will have Mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day" (Matt 12:7-8). This is a very important passage, since it doesn't say "the Son of God is Lord of the sabbath", rather it's the position of the Son of man relating to Mercy.
It didn't take long before the next attack, again the stones of theological abuse would fly. Jesus entered their synagogue therein He did an act of Mercy, will they judge it righteously? Hardly, they attacked, attempting to trap Him again. If we are the ones doing the trapping, then repentance is in order, if we are the victims, then the warfare of Mercy is at hand. What benefit is there for us? Mercy, the more we give, the more we get. When given the opportunity to grant Mercy or vengeance, we must remember Mercy grants us Mercy, vengeance grants us big trouble. However, it’s obvious Mercy applied in a Godly manner may include a rebuke to be given, but a Godly rebuke always leaves room for repentance.
There was a man in the synagogue who had a withered hand, did they pray for him, or use him as a tool for their deception? The latter of course, Pharisees use the healed and sick as tools to attack other ministries. Whether the person is healed or not isn't an issue with them, if they don't get the glory, they will use the person as a weapon to get their brand of justice. The Pharisees asked, "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days?", this was said to accuse Jesus. They just failed the practical exam on their homework; where did it say Jesus couldn't heal? No where in the Law does it restrict good works on any day of the week. A great deal of attacks from the religious minded center in “I can’t do it and neither can you”, which in turn comes out to be “I won’t do it and neither can you”.
When Jesus answered them, He exposed their intent; however, what is exposed will retaliate to show it’s supposed power, the Pharisees proved it. When Jesus exposed their pride, they used anger and manipulation as weapons. They wanted Jesus to fall down before them, or exalt them, but when Jesus pointed to their source, they became offended. Seldom does the attacker think anyone has a right to question them, while they go about questioning everyone. Do we attack the person? No, neither did Jesus, He will address the source of the problem.
Instead of the Pharisees saying, "You know Jesus, we simply can't find a place where You can't do these things, so bless God, do them", they kept saying, "we can't find a place where it says You can do these things, so stop". This is the same principle a hindering spirit uses to bring discouragement; however, it does show the difference between the Law of Moses and the Law of the Spirit, as well as why we can’t do both. The Law of Moses was to restrict the people, the Law of the Spirit is to encourage people.
The people were amazed at Jesus, when the Pharisees heard and saw the people, they retorted with "This fellow does not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of devils" (Matt 12:24). Envy? Yes, the same old spirit of man opposing the Spirit which is of God. This wasn't the first time they made this accusation, back in Matthew 9:34 they said the same. Jesus taught His disciples by saying, "it is enough for the disciple to be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?" (Matt 10:25). Find the premise, then the example, don't go beyond what the Master did, we are not above Him.
Matthew 10:25 came in reference to, "behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Matt 10:16). Know how the serpent reacts and attacks, but don't use the same teeth, be as a Dove. The Dove is a symbol of Peace, when attacked with anger we remain calm, is it easy? No, but when anger attacks anger the devil will insert himself into the conversation.
It was the event in Matthew 12 which produced the saying, "bind the strongman", yet Jesus just loosed a person, so this binding had nothing to do with what Jesus did, but everything to do with what the Pharisees said, thus they needed to bind the strongman. The Pharisees were told to define Mercy, they rejected the concept for the works of the enemy.
Which brings us to Matthew 12:38, where certain of the scribes and Pharisees demanded a sign, they didn't Ask, they Demanded. Jesus then equated their attitude to an Evil and Adulterous generation. Signs follow the believer, we will see signs and wonders, but we don’t demand them from people.
If the men of Nineveh who heard one of the fastest moving sermons of all time repented, so could these Pharisees. The queen of Sheba who heard the wisdom of Solomon knew it was of God, yet she was a heathen. These Pharisees have dedicated their lives to God, or at least they said so, but they failed to see Wisdom before their eyes. They had eyes, but they really didn’t want to see, so it is with unbelief.
Is this warfare? Yes, Jesus is doing battle on a day to day basis, the battle to stay in the Will of the Father, the battle to apply Mercy at every turn, to allow Truth to flow, to remain in the proper position for all those who desire to be as Christ.
The next battlefield will be different from the others we looked at. This battle is the temptation of turning the stones into bread. Jesus entered the synagogue, the people were astonished, saying, “Where has this Man gained such Wisdom and these Mighty Works?" (Matt 13:53-54). So far, so good, but then the strongman with his unbelief jumps up in the unbelievers to judge by appearance, “Isn't this the carpenter's son?” (Matt 13:55). It doesn't matter about the Wisdom, or the Works, this fellow is just some Carpenter's son. They were Offended In Him, thus Jesus could do no mighty works because of their unbelief (Matt 13:58). Who lost this battle? Jesus? No, the people? Yes, their own unbelief choked the word right out of town. Faith came, but they allowed their own unbelief to hinder their hearing; we find we can't make people believe. Either they do, or they don't, it’s not our problem, our concern is our own belief. Unbelief closes the door, doubt jumps out of the ship before the command is complete.
Traditions of men become doctrines of men, when the issue came up, Jesus wasted no time rebuking the Pharisees for using the tradition to avoid the Commandment. Today traditions are used to avoid the Truth, in either case, if we hold to traditions, our worship is vain (Matt 15:9) making the Commandment of God of none effect. Which Commandment? Any Tradition made into doctrine will take something away from a Commandment. There are Traditions of God, but they never take away from the Commandment, they enhance the Commandments.
The things which most offended the Pharisees were either things they were doing which were not of God, or things they failed to do which were of God. Jesus was doing what they should be doing, but why couldn't they? Traditions coupled to their unbelief, thus Jesus rebuked them, not to belittle them, nor to make it appear as if He was more powerful, but to set them free. Jesus came to save man, not destroy mankind. For every tradition we hold, we vacate the Power of Christ to some degree in our lives.
Why were the Pharisees so adamant regarding traditions? Their traditions made them feel superior, the tradition placed them above others, but they fed the strongman with more pride. They came seeking fault in order to show Jesus and His disciples had flaws, yet these simple disciples of Jesus were healing the sick and casting out devils. Did the disciples have flaws? Yes, but Jesus didn’t. When we seek the fault, we blind ourselves to the Precious. A devil is cast out, what did the Pharisees see? “This man does work on the sabbath”, they never saw the person who was set free.
We don't want to confuse discernment with seeking fault either, or we will condemn ourselves every time we try to discern something. Discernment is when the Spirit exposes the intent or source regarding some event or situation in order for us to know how to apply the Wisdom of God. Jesus discerned, the Pharisees sought fault. The difference? Jesus was seeking to heal, correct, or set in order, the Pharisees were not. If all we desire is information so we can belittle someone we’re fault seekers. If we desire information so we can be used to heal, or restore, we are saints being used of the Lord.
One can imagine the frustration of the Pharisees, they assumed there was a calling to be a "watchdog for Jehovah", they thought they were the holy Witnesses for Jehovah, but they were nonetheless doing the lusts of their father the devil. They were motivated by envy, jealousy, religious conceit, pride, ego, self-righteousness, a lust to feel superior over Jesus, yet they couldn't see it. Did they pray? More than some of us. Did they discuss God? More than most of us. Did they read the Scriptures? Most of the time. None of it helped them, because their attitude was based in carnal religious thinking. As long as they were seeking self-righteousness they would continue to miss the righteousness of God. Therefore, we work out our Salvation with fear and trembling, if these religious workers of the Temple couldn't see it, what about us? Do we have something better? Yes, the New Man saving our souls continually.
Was Deception ruling the minds of the Pharisees? Yes, do we think for one second they felt they were wrong? Do we think they knew they were doing the lusts of the devil? Not at all, they were convinced they were doing God a service. Deception is only exposed by the Holy Spirit examining the ways of a person. How do we apply our faith? To please us? Or God? If God uses someone else, do we get jealous? Are we mad because God didn’t use us? Are we full of pride because God used us, and not someone else? Do we get mad when God doesn’t perform for us? Are we excited because God is moving, regardless of who He uses? Is it war? Yes, the flesh is ineffective, but not silent. The spirit lusting to envy seeks whom it can use, in order to devour them. Those feelings are just feelings, we have authority over them, thus we can either allow the feeling of envy, strife and jealousy to rule, or take authority by allowing the Spirit of Christ in us to rule, we have the Keys.
Now to Matthew 21:23, Jesus was in the temple, the one place the religious rulers felt they were master. They felt the temple was their "turf", but they would find although they had authority, they were also under authority. Was the temple in their hands? Yes, if not they couldn't allow one money changer in, but they still had to answer to God for the manner in which they maintained the Temple. They couldn’t destroy it, but neither could they protect it. When they continued to use the temple in the same old evil manner the protection slowly drifted away until one day in 70 AD a drunken soldier of Titus tossed a torch into the temple burning it down. The gold ran between the stones, they destroyed the stones to get to the gold.
When Jesus did clean out the temple the chief priests (no less) and elders, the same ones who held to the traditions of men, came to Jesus and asked, "By what authority do You do these things?" (Matt 21:23). "What is this person doing coming into our church speaking to us that way?", "Who do they think they are?", "Look at them, casting out devils, what are we suppose do with those things now? They're everywhere, why didn't they just leave them where they were?". Been there? Most of us have. When the issue of authority came up, Jesus didn't say "I'm sent here by God", or "Get away, don't touch Me, I come against you in the Name of Jehovah", they sound "right", unless they are used from the premise of pride or manipulation. A humble anointed heart need not prove the anointing, the anointing will prove itself.
Jesus asked by what authority did John come? By man, or God? Of course the Pharisees were more frightened of the people, than the power of God. They reasoned through their fear by saying, "We cannot tell" (Matt 21:27). The day we can't tell if someone is from God or not, we're in trouble. Jesus told them, “Then I won’t tell you by what Authority I do these things”. Why? They can’t tell, what good would it do to tell them?
The next battlefield was an old one, but with a different twist. Matthew 22:15 relates to Authority: this attack came after Jesus gave the chief priests a lesson on the Wicked Husbandman (Matt 21:33-44). As soon as the religious leaders heard the Parable they perceived Jesus was talking about them (Matt 21:45). Did clarity finally come? Yes, but how would they handle it? Through their anger, the religious minded cause their own confusion by allowing their anger to govern their thinking.
This brings up the issue of defiled hands, the Pharisees saw Jesus "lay hands" on people, not in the same manner as they desired to lay hands on Him, rather they saw people healed, or set free. They also knew the disciples cast out devils, or heal people; not only was this Jesus doing it, but His disciples were. Surely John the Baptist would never have allowed this, after all neither John nor his disciples did any of these things. Comparing one ministry to another is like comparing one person’s walk in Christ to another, it tells us nothing, thus Jesus said, "what does it matter to you, you follow Me". The ministry of John the Baptist was preparation, his anointing didn’t call for healings, or casting out devils; the two ministries were separated by purpose and effect.
When Jesus and the disciples went about "laying hands" on people the traditions of the Elders went awry, along with their faulty concepts. There was a lying on of hands in the Law, but it was laying hands on the goat which was sent into the wilderness, just the opposite of what Jesus was doing. What did it do to their tradition of "defiled hands"? If the hands of the disciples were defiled, how then could God use their hands to heal? Their own minds rejected the evidence, producing the fable, "Surely this is Beelzebub, the defiled one". Why? Their traditions, they filtered everything through the “clean hands” stronghold, rejecting the obvious evidence. Even with the man who was born blind, they attempted to reverse the miracle by threatening to excommunicate both he and his parents.
Do we do the same? Perhaps, if someone came to our local body to preach and began to speak without praying, what would we do? “I won’t listen to him, he didn’t pray first”. Where did Jesus pray with the people before teaching them? Or Paul? Really it’s a good idea, but it’s not a mandatory perquisite. If we are proud of our non-traditional thinking, God will send someone to show us how traditional we are. The religious leaders challenged the authority of Jesus, but did He leave? No, He gave another Parable.
Jesus spoke a Parable about a Wedding being prepared, but where are the guests? They're far too busy, one had his farm business, another his Merchandise, after all one must provide for his own house. The use of the word Merchandise goes right back to "Don't make My Father's House a house of merchandise", another lesson they failed to learn. In this case the one who failed to bind the strongman, found himself bound to hell (Matt 22:13-14). The Pharisees were offended, as they should be, but they reacted when they should have seen the exposure and repented. It would appear as if Jesus was saying it was wrong for them to be concerned over their family, but it’s not the case. It’s priority, it’s not whether one is, or is not concerned, it’s whether they engage in self-righteousness because of it.
Jesus will also make a comparison between divorce and the Law, offending the Pharisees again. When asked about divorce, Jesus would say the law regarding divorce came because of "the hardness of your heart". Now wait, is Jesus talking about the law of divorce in the Law, or the Law itself? Ahh, both; God didn't give them the Law because of their righteousness or belief, but because of the hardness of their hearts.
The Pharisees now set their plan, they seek some method in which to Entangle Jesus in His talk (Matt 22:15). Using parts of what a person says, just to set a trap against them is still the mind of a Pharisee. The word Entangle is the Greek Pagiduo, it's only used here in Matthew, it means To lay snares, or to Lay a snare by deceiving questions. This area connects directly to Paul's comments on those who "lie in wait to deceive".
Why would the Pharisees be so concerned about catching Jesus by words? Why not actions? After all they did say He cast out devils by the prince of devils. There is no punishment in the Law for being devil possessed, neither is there any sacrifice in the Law to rid someone of devils; therefore, since the Law didn't cover “devils”, they simply left the devil issue alone. However, Jesus did teach, since there were no blackboards then, the words of the Teacher proved the Teacher. Jesus didn’t teach on the Law of Moses, but He did teach on Mercy. God’s Mercy endures forever, thus it’s eternal, showing it was before the Law of Moses. It had to be the “words”, Jesus Himself said the Words (Rhema) He spoke pointed to Spirit and Life (Jn 6:63). What were the Pharisees seeking? Death. Two completely opposed thoughts, yet both said they represented God. How would one test which is which? Jesus said, look at the ways of a person, not their acts, but words are ways as well. The Pharisees sought to destroy, Jesus presented Mercy, the ways were clear.
In order for the religious leaders to accuse Jesus they needed something from the Law showing a clear violation, something along the lines of "blasphemy". In order to prove Blasphemy they had to have words spoken by Jesus, plus witnesses to those words. They themselves heard Jesus many times, yet they still didn’t have any evidence, so they decided to entrap Him. How could they do it? By asking questions with snares (Matt 22:18). Not only did the Pharisees use deceptive ways, but there would come the Sadducees with deceptive questions. This is a strange setting, the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, the Sadducees did not, thus the Pharisees and Sadducees had points they disagreed on, yet joined forces to trap and kill another Jew. Since the Sadducees didn't believe in the Resurrection, showing their question was based in their unbelief. Jesus tells them "you do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God" (Matt 22:29). All they wanted Him to say, “yes, in the resurrection”, then they would say, “there is no resurrection, you speak falsely”. However, Jesus pointed to the Scriptures bringing a hammer to the wall of the stronghold, but did the wall fall? The truth will slam at the stronghold, but if we keep the strongman as the protector, the stronghold will not fall. We must make the decision to bind the strongman, as we submit to the New Man.
Why would someone who cares less what we thought yesterday, all of a sudden want our opinion today? A snare? Yes, "here, listen to this tape, I want your opinion", "here read this book, I want your opinion". Opinion? Who cares about the opinion of man? The words forming the snare are there, the same means as the Scribes used against Jesus. "Oh man of God, we need your opinion on this matter, tell us....". Ouch, they set the snare by using their deception and cunning ways, then turn right around and say God told them to do it. How can something from darkness, be of the Light? It can't; laying in wait to deceive is a wile of the devil, never use it, or condone it.
Jesus then used Scripture showing it was God who said, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"; showing the all presence of God. God didn't say "I was the God of Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob", rather it showed God looks at life, not death, accordingly God dealt with all three men as the One God. One could view this from man's point of view claming Jesus was in error since all three men didn’t live at the same time, Abraham was dead (Gen 25:8), when Esau and Jacob were born (Gen 25:27), but God is not limited to time, He is always Now, thus when He was looking at Abraham He saw Jacob; God is still the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega. Jesus used the Scripture to show the Power of God, as well as showing them, they didn't know Abraham, but God did, neither did they know Moses, but God did.
The Sadducees wanted to find fault in the Doctrine of Jesus, but they ended with their unbelief and false theology exposed. The Pharisees wanted to find fault in Jesus, what they found was the exposure of their own strongman; what they did with the information was their decision. Both groups came to Jesus with the guise of Learning, yet both were given knowledge, would they receive? God's people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge, not because God didn't give them knowledge, rather it's because they rejected it. Jesus never said, "By My words you will be justified, or by My words you will be condemned", it's our words determining the source, and result.
What about other ministry problems? Did Jesus face unbelief and problems from within? Yes, How many times did He tell His disciples "oh you of little faith"? When it came to the Gentile woman their ministry advise was, "send her away" (Matt 15:23). Also, Peter rebuked Jesus by saying, "Be it far from You, Lord: this shall not be unto You" (Matt 16:22). Then there was Judas, the one Jesus picked at the first, yet Jesus knew Judas was a devil. From the beginning Jesus knew about Judas, yet He appointed him as the, "keeper of the bag". Did He tempt Judas? Or test him? Judas was a thief, yet he deserved the opportunity to repent as anyone else, but why not give the bag to another? The world tells us remove the weapon, save a child, but removing the weapon doesn't deal with “Why” the child used the weapon to begin with. Jesus was working with Judas, thus Judas had more than enough information to know what was right or wrong. Jesus never forced change on anyone, He presented the evidence allowing the person to make up their own mind. Mercy does make a change in a person, Grace more so, if the person submits to the change.
Judas becomes our evidence, one can be anointed, yet turn on the Lord. One can hold an office, yet turn on the Lord. One can have the information, yet reject it for the self-nature. Jesus simply submitted by allowing Judas to follow the course Judas decided upon, yet Jesus also allowed Peter and Paul to follow the courses they decided upon. Jesus gave Judas opportunities to confess, repent and change. Jesus taught him, allowed him to experience the power, but He never forced Judas to do a thing. Jesus is very wise, anyone who has had a ministry for any length of time knows they must face their own Judas, whether he is in their hearts, or among the grouping. Judas knew how the chief priests felt about Jesus, he was there when they took up stones, he was there when they made it obvious how they hated Jesus, he was in the field when they attacked Jesus, right there with the other disciples. He watched the temptations and tricks of the religious rulers, he watched as Jesus conducted Godly warfare. Judas ignored the strongman in his own soul deciding to use the supposed enemies of Jesus against Jesus to get his own way, in the process he ended up as the first son of perdition. Judas attempted to control Jesus, the ministry and the Jews, but ended with a piece of rope, just long enough. Peter was weak, failing to do something for Jesus he honestly felt he could do, Judas did something against Jesus, completely different. Don't get paranoid, we also know eleven of the twelve made it, so the odds of falling are much smaller than those for Victory.
In Mark's Account in the Gospel, Jesus was in a house with the Pharisees and doctors (lawyers) of the Law when a man with palsy was brought to Him. Not only was this man brought to Jesus, but the man's friends cut a hole in the roof and lowered the man down to Jesus. It's a wonder someone didn't yell, "you can't come down to Jesus, He is above all things, you have to come up to Him". Jesus told the man, "your sins are forgiven", yet how could Jesus do this before the Cross? Is there a difference between Forgiveness of sins, Forgiveness of the sin nature, or Forgiveness of sins on earth and Remission? Yes, very much so. When we look at the acts of Jesus and the disciples before the Cross we wonder if those days can return. Those days were Mercy based, not Grace based, we are in the time of Greater Works, but we may be bound to carnal traditions making the Word to no effect.
What do you think the religious rulers did when they heard Jesus say, "your sins are forgiven"? Did they say, "Yes amen"? Or "What say thee?". There were certain of the scribes sitting there who reasoned in their hearts, "who can forgive sins but God only" (Mark 2:7). This reasoning was not a stronghold, it was not a lie, it was the truth, but they failed to apply it to the event before them. God forgives sins, only God can, since only God is sinless. However, God can also delegate authority, through delegation He sends Ambassadors forth to act in His place. Jesus will qualify the act of forgiving sins by saying, "you may know the Son of man has power (authority) to forgive sins on earth", thus showing the delegation of the authority of the Father’s Mercy, yet it was restricted to the earth, not heaven. Therefore, Jesus used the title of Son of man, not Son of God. We are told to be as holy and merciful as our Father, here we find forgiveness relates to Mercy, remission to Grace. The authority must have evidence, it did, the man stood and walked out healed.
After hearing Jesus, the scribes then said "We never saw it on this fashion", which is the same as saying "we never saw it done this way" (Mark 2:12). What did they see? When the high priest came out once a year on the Day of Atonement he said, "your sacrifices have been presented", it was the same as saying "your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more". Did they go and sin no more? No, they were back every year. How would we like to wait a full year to ask Jesus to forgive us? The Law only granted forgiveness based on the Law, which is a far cry from what Jesus was doing. Jesus was applying the Father’s Mercy directly on the people, the Law of Moses worked through the sacrifices of the people, yet it really didn’t free them, since they came back over and over again.
There are those who see Truth, or see a sign, yet their own unbelief will cause them to mock, laugh, or challenge. Is it warfare? Yes, we must remain on course and not allow the voices of unbelief to sway us. The example? Jesus was on His way to heal the daughter of Jairus, the crowd was there, the people were wondering what He would do, but in the house there were the mockers. Before Jesus arrived a woman with an issue of blood was healed, then came the news from the house, "Your daughter is dead", but Jesus was on His way to heal her, didn't He know she would die? Jairus looked to his side, there stood Jesus, the battle for Jairus was on, would Jesus leave? Would Jesus continue on? Would Jairus say anything? If so, what? Jesus made one statement keeping Jairus calm, "be not afraid, only believe" (Mark 5:36). For Jairus the battle was, "only believe", which would counter the Fear in his stomach. Believe what? Believe in what he said, plus the action of Jesus based on what Jairus said. Going back to Mark 5:23 we find Jairus asking Jesus, “come and lay hands on her, that she may be healed, and she shall live”. The last part was the point of belief now, which was, “she may live”. Did Jesus respond to the request? Yes, it was the point of belief, if Jesus responded then all was well, it would come to pass, the daughter would live. For Jesus the battle came when He entered the house, where He was laughed to scorn (Mark 5:40). In the face of bad news the weapon was "be not afraid, only believe", but when faced with the mockers, Jesus didn't say, "don't mock, only believe", rather He cast them out, like one would cast out a devil. The voice of unbelief was abundant in house, but Jarius just heard, “only believe”, there are times when remaining silent is the best weapon we have. The result was the daughter of Jairus did live, thus the reward of silence was in hand.
This also relates to another battle, one the disciples fell into when Jesus returned from the Mount of Transfiguration. A man came to disciples to have a devil cast out of his son, yet they couldn’t. The child would act delivered, but then not. The devil was playing a mind game, but when Jesus came down He discerned it by telling the devil, “go and enter no more”. Then He told His disciples this kind does not come out, but with much prayer and fasting? What, the devil coming out? No, the unbelief of the disciples. The people had gathered, they wanted a show, they were seeking “Jesus Christ and His traveling puppet show”. It’s a small step from ministry to entertainment, we must be on guard, we don’t want to leave ministry to find we have engaged in entertaining people.
Ministry battles happened, Jesus came to Capernaum, where He asked the disciples, "What was it you disputed among yourselves by the way?" (Mark 9:33). The word Disputed is the Greek Dialogizomai which is a compound word with Dia (division, or separation) and Logizomai (reasoning), this was a Division based on Imaginations among members of the ministry, yet Jesus approached it with Truth. The hammer of Truth was striking the wall of the stronghold, inside of the stronghold was the strongman. What was the dispute? Who would be greatest, a battle of egos based in pride and superiority. Why did this come up? Just prior Jesus told them The Son of man was to be delivered unto the hands of men, and they shall kill Him (Mark 9:31). They understood not this saying, but they knew someone had to take over, they sought after position, but Jesus never said, “and one of you shall take My place”. They were ready to divide up the ministry based on the death of Jesus, yet Jesus told them, If you want to be Great, be the least of all. Serve, be humble, receive the children of God. In the world this is foolishness, but we're not of the world. If we want to be Great in the eyes of God, be servant of all with a heart willing to serve as the Lord desires.
Asking Jesus is the same as praying, James and John came to Jesus Asking (praying) for something. This asking was a matter of supplication, or asking Jesus to do something for them. This was also after Jesus told His disciples the greatest would be determined by who would be the least. Prior they argued among themselves, now we find they are tempting Jesus by requesting positions based on their faulty reasoning. Prior it was position on earth, now they desire position in heaven. They wanted Jesus to place them next to Jesus, but they didn't know what they were asking. It sounded good, after all who wouldn't want to sit with Jesus in High Places. Didn't Paul tell us we sit with Jesus in heavenly places? Sitting with Jesus, and taking the place of Him who sits next to Jesus is different. Jesus plainly told them, "You know not what you ask" (Mark 10:38). Would Jesus grant them their request? No, instead He offered them another means, To drink of the cup and Take of His baptism. Jesus knew their request had to do with "who will be greater", thus He again taught them on Greatness In the Kingdom, only this time He produced greater clarity. Whosoever will be great among us, will be our minister, and whosoever will be chief, shall be servant of all (Mark 10:43). James and John were looking to "sit", but Jesus tells us there are things to do before we "sit". Even the Son of man didn't come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and give His life a ransom for many. Again two items, to Minister and Give. The Cup and Baptism indicate Ministry and Service, not personal honor and self-glory. Without the Spirit in us we have no idea what proper prayer is all about, much less “spiritual warfare prayer”.
The scribes and chief priests were on a mission, a mission based on demonic intent, but still a mission. At the Passover, the most holy of all the feast days, they sought how they might take Jesus by craft in order to put Him to death (Mark 14:1). However, they needed some help, a like minded person from within the ministry of Jesus. Judas saw the ointment placed on Jesus, assuming the money the ointment could bring was being wasted: what a failure to be a good steward, someone should say something, and he did (Mark 14:5). Judas having the bag felt the bag was more important than the anointing of the Lord, rather than sale the Dove, he was stealing it. For Judas the ministry was a means to fill the bag, the more in the bag, the more successful the ministry, of course it also means the more for Judas. Some things seem reasonable, but we never make decisions based on money, we make them based on the Will of the Lord. For Judas the ministry became more important than the anointing, the money more important than service.
Judas had some influence with the disciples, this is seen in Mark 14:5 when Judas was able to get the other disciples to murmur against the woman who put the oil on Jesus. Jesus would often step between the Pharisees and His disciples, here He steps between the woman and His disciples by saying, "Let her alone" (Mark 14:6). Judas got them in trouble by using the concern over money as a tool, rather than the Will of the Lord.
The woman was doing a good work, but why is Judas so concerned about money? Then Judas heard, "the poor you have with you always" (Mark 14:7). The heart of Judas said, No, there must be a way to be free of poverty, God's prosperity wouldn’t allow it. Jesus didn't say Judas would be poor, only a ministry to feed the poor was open regardless of the season, but this one act by this woman was a one time for all time event. Judas was blinded by greed, he was in the ministry for what he could get out of it, not what he could put into it. There are several ways to obtain prosperity, but only one gains us God’s Prosperity. The key to prosperity isn’t in tithes, rather it’s in the saving of the soul. John said, “Beloved, I wish (pray) above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (III Jn 2). What is the issue? The saving of the soul, John isn’t telling us to seek health or prosperity, rather he shows when we enter the saving of the soul, then the prosperity and health will follow. The key here is “even as your soul”; the word Prosper is the Greek Euodoo meaning “Godspeed”, or having a directed prosperous journey, or having an easy way, or success, thus this really points to the success promised in the saving of our souls, the real key to victory.
Judas felt there had to be a way around the words of Jesus, there must be a way, a way, ahh, force Jesus to set up His kingdom on earth, open it up to the Gentiles, get more money, fill the bag to overflowing. Wait, didn't Jesus say, "Thou shall not tempt the Lord your God"? "Well, this isn't really tempting, it's merely bringing Jesus into a place to do something He should be doing, it's, it's, it's faith, yes that's it, it's faith". It's a stronghold full of self-deception and greed. Judas would bow to using the professed enemies of Jesus to get his hands deeper into the bag, he would run to the edge of the temple to engage with the messengers of Satan to complete his agenda, he would attempt to turn the stone into bread for his advantage. To Judas stolen water was sweet, bread eaten in secret was pleasant. Judas would do for the devil and the religious rulers, what the devil, or the religious rulers couldn't do for themselves. The difference? Judas was on the inside, neither the devil, or religious rulers were. All the devil needed was one out of the twelve, it didn't matter which one, but the treasurer would be nice; tear down the ministry by stealing the money. Battle? Warfare? From the very first Jesus knew all about Judas, yet Judas not only remained, but Jesus ordained him as an apostle. Jesus warned Judas, just as He warned the others, but we find the last time Judas Iscariot is mentioned is before the Holy Ghost came on Pentecost.
Judas went to the chief priests, they were Glad (Mark 14:11). Anytime we make the religious conceited Glad, we have to wonder about ourselves. All this appeared to be done in secret, but did Jesus also have a plan? We know all things work together for Good to them who Love God, to them who are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28). Judas had his own agenda, Jesus had The Purpose. Although the Cross looked anything but good to the disciples at the moment, it was the best of all things.
One would think Jesus would be glad for Judas, after all he became the means for the chief priests to take Jesus to bring about the Cross. Not so, the intent of Judas was not to do good, rather it was to betray Jesus for self-benefit by using deception (Mark 14:11). Jesus was fighting a battle, but so was Judas, Jesus won, Judas lost. What Judas did, he did by his own power, yet God was able to work it into the plan. However, it doesn’t mean God forced it, manipulated it, caused it, or ordained it, it means God saw it, then used it for the benefit of those who love Him. The betrayal by Judas was a moment to moment happening in the mind of Judas, but seen by God from the foundation of the world.
Jesus was teaching the people what would be, while at the same time giving them the benefit of God’s Mercy. The people still had the responsibility of faith and acceptance. It was time to be free indeed; however, having it presented and receiving it are different, thus receiving can, and often is a battle in and of itself. These people standing before Jesus listened to their strongman, thus they failed at enduring. They ended doing what their strongman said, not what Jesus said. When Jesus said, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears", He didn't say it was settled in their hearts, only it was at their ears (Luke 4:21). "Now wait, faith comes by hearing". True, but hearing comes by the Rhema, which includes the desire to enter Life by the Spirit. Man also lives by every Rhema proceeding from the mouth of God; like Bread the Rhema must be received and acted upon.
The people reasoned, the strongman began to question, they produced their own wild imaginations. Although faith came, they rejected it. Jesus brought Truth as the hammer to the stronghold, "You will surely say unto Me this proverb, Physician heal yourself; whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country: Verily, I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country". First Jesus told them, "You will say", then He told them "I say"; the clarity was there, the strongman was exposed, but Jesus wasn't done with the Hammer. He then told them the many works done in the past, and how the majority of the people called by the name of God rejected what God presented. Before Elijah came on the scene the people had bound themselves to idol worship, thus they bound heaven from them, yet God still had His prophets. Among them was Elijah, one man who proved God provides, when there appears no provision. One widow woman among many heard, then acted in faith. Then came Elisha, a man from the ministry of Elijah who heard the request of one leper out of many, Naaman the Syrian was told by the prophet to do something sounding silly and childish. At first Naaman rejected what he heard, but then he repented and acted on the request, as he received. Although there were many lepers in the land, Naaman received. Two prophets, two people, does it make any difference if Jesus sends us to one, or one million? No, Jesus proved one person is worth the travel, even if it's a woman by a well who is rejected by the people of our own hometown.
When the people heard Jesus speak on receiving, they got mad, really mad, so much so they were filled with wrath (Luke 4:28). When we are filled with wrath, there is a war going on; wrath on one side, the call to peace on the other, with the soul in the middle, thus the battle for us is the Spirit within calling us to Peace, the flesh calling us to wrath. If we lean toward the flesh the wrath will seem the easy way, it will almost feel good to yell at them, tell them exactly what we think, but it's nonetheless demonic; a spirit of wrath is not conducive to the Spirit of Truth.
The wrath of man became a ruler in the souls of the people, it directed them, guided them, causing them to act. They were of one accord, but their motives were destructive in nature, they wanted to kill Jesus. Like most people they felt they were in control of their emotions, but their emotions were controlling them. Jesus could have said, “what a lousy ministry”, but He knew there was a plan of the Father in the making. Some of us think what’s the use, we brought Truth, a promise of freedom, yet the people rejected it! We have Jesus as our example, we present, the receiving is up to them. We believe, yet we can’t make others believe. The people wanted to cast Jesus off the edge of the hill, wait, why didn't He just jump and let the angels hold Him up, for it is written, He shall give His angels charge over You, to keep You, in their hands they shall bear You up, lest at any time You dash Your foot against a stone (Luke 4:9-11). The people entered reasoning, then tempted the Lord in the same manner as the devil did. Could Jesus have said, "Stop, receive or die"? Yes, but He didn't. All of us will face the temptation of validation, the desire to make people admit we are sent, we should be honored as the “servant of God”, but a true servant is humble. Rather than jump, Jesus passed through the midst, untouched, showing how the Anointing can benefit others, while it protects us.
Jesus knew the Cross was future, the ministry was not purposed to stop on the same day it started, no man could bring to an end what God has purposed to continue. The means of the Sacrifice was the Cross, not a cliff. Does it mean we can't hinder our ministry? No, it means we can cause ourselves to be removed from the anointing of the ministry, but it doesn't mean the ministry stops. God knows all things, if we Tempt Him, He has a method in the plan to bring us to repentance.
The biggest deception of all, is thinking we have fooled, or manipulated God. We put on the mask of holiness to get God to give us what we want, we are only deceiving ourselves. Will God provide? In many cases, Yes, but it’s still a great quail hunt.
Jesus was in the house of Simon the Pharisee (not to be confused with Peter the disciple) as a guest, this Simon invited Jesus because he wanted to be associated with this Man of miracles, or be around the power. However, Simon didn't have the same respect for Jesus, as he would a fellow Pharisee. A fellow Pharisee would have received some personal attention, even the most common of welcomes was to have a servant wash the feet of the guest, but this Simon didn't give Jesus any of the expected respect. While in the house a woman of sin burst in with an alabaster box of ointment. She was at the feet of Jesus, but instead of being His footstool, she worshipped at His footstool. Her tears were washing away her tares; she was anointing Him, but His Anointing was healing her. Simon seeing this, judged the person, not the purpose, by saying within himself, "This Man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is who touches Him: for she is a sinner" (Luke 7:39). Simon the Pharisee was right to a point, but Jesus knew this woman was a sinner, yet if she is never forgiven, she will die a sinner.
Jesus compared her reactions to the thoughts and reactions of Simon. Of course Simon didn't Speak the words, thus we find the discernment of spirits detects the unbelief in a person. Jesus told a Parable regarding forgiveness, in the Parable we find if it's one sin, or a billion, it's still sin; however, we also see the word Love (Luke 7:42). Who is more apt to Love the most, the one forgiven of one sin, or the one forgiven of more sins than they can bear? The latter of course, if we knew how many sins Jesus forgave us of, we would surely love Him the more. This doesn't mean we can go out and commit more sins, so we will love the Lord more. It means awareness of sin brings more appreciation for the Lord, when our sins are forgiven.
When Jesus was in the temple caring for the people, where were the religious minded? They were bound to their religious conceit, or captive to their strongholds, thus they came against Jesus. When Jesus asked, "For which good work do you stone Me?", they said, "not for a good work, but for blasphemy". They knew He went about doing good, yet they refused to accept the Good, they conjured up what they thought was the evil. Even when the man born blind confronted them, they rejected his witness as well.
One such case where the religious rejected the good was the matter of the woman whom Jesus healed of a spirit of infirmity. When the ruler of the synagogue saw this healing, he answered with Indignation. This ruler didn't answer Jesus, rather his "answer" was directed to the people, as he said, "There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath" (Luke 13:14). Here we find the religious ruler was hindering the people, prior it was to hinder Jesus. “Don’t come to the Bible study to get hands laid on you, we do it on Sunday night”; yet we should be ready in season and out.
When Jesus operated on the sabbath day, the Jews were insulted, seeking to kill Him (Jn 5:18). The sabbath called for "rest", yet the Rest of God is for those who believe (Heb 3:19). If we believe we are in a constant Sabbath, the true and everlasting Sabbath of the Rest of God. One can keep the weekly sabbath, as well as all the other high sabbaths, yet fail to believe in their heart, their efforts are for naught.
Jesus came to the Pool of Bethesda where there was a man who had carried his bed, even on the sabbath. Yet, it was permitted in the Law, since in his case it was a required need. Unless of course he was healed, which would produce a whole range of theological problems. Jesus asked the man, "will you be made whole?", instead of saying, Yes Lord, the man said, "I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool", but why would he say that? It was the sabbath, no one was going to enter labor on the sabbath, even if the angel troubled the water all day long. The angel must have troubled the water on the sabbath before, or else why would the man be there? The angels are not subject to the sabbath, since the sabbath is for those under the Law of Moses. What about someone who keeps the day simply because they love the Lord? Their love is the source, whether one keeps the day or not, they nonetheless do so unto the Lord. Meaning they don’t brag on it, they don’t expect special favoritism from God, and they don’t make it doctrine. It's not the day, but the heart of the person.
The man was healed without having to enter the water, Jesus is greater than angels. Of course since the man is healed he was not allowed to carry his bed, yet he brought the bed. He couldn’t leave his bed, so now what? The legalism of carnal behavior produces more problems, than it can solve.
Another time the religious rulers thought they had Jesus, saying, "because He not only had broken the sabbath, but said also God was His Father, making Himself equal to God" (Jn 5:18). Wait, didn't Jesus many days prior teach the people to pray by saying, "Our Father"? Yes, but those who seek fault forget many things. A violation of the sabbath was dangerous; in the days of Moses it cost a man his life, but now they think they have the added charge of blasphemy. Their wording was close, but not close enough. Jesus didn’t make Himself God, it was God making Himself man, by taking on the form of man. Paul saw this and wrote, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (Ph'l 2:6). The word Equal in both cases is the Greek Isos meaning Similar in amount or kind, or if you've seen (perceived) one, you've seen the other.
We saw how some of the people knew who Jesus was, giving Him respect and honor, yet there were others who reasoned and attempted to push Him off a cliff, yet others who tempted, mocked, or attempted to manipulate Him. Some changed from calling Jesus "Master" to "hey You" in one day. Jesus taught several thousand at one time, a great meeting indeed, so great it went on until late in the night wherein the people became hungry and needed food. Jesus took the opportunity to prove several things; one was to prove (test) Philip. Okay, what is the difference between a test and temptation? The lust, if it comes from a lust, it’s a temptation, if not it’s a test. However, here we want to look at the people, not the test of Philip. The people were many, the food little, yet when the little bit of food was blessed by Jesus it became more than enough. Some might contend it was a mind game, there was no food, just the thought. There are some who think the Cross was a mind game, or a type of mass hypnotism on the part of Jesus. Strongholds from carnal thinking avoid the truth, missing the glory. Anyway we know the people ate, the disciples took up baskets full of leftovers, they didn't consider the leftovers a product of a mind game.
It was one day, the next day the same people followed Jesus to the other side of the lake, but not to gain Mercy, or to apply it. When they came to Jesus they said, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" (Jn 6:25). Jesus responded with "I say unto you, You seek Me, not because you saw miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled" (Jn 6:26). Exposure, it was there, why are you here? "Oh to hear the gospel of course", no, they were there for another reason, Jesus didn't answer the question, He answered their intent. There are several points of exposure, why do they even care? Are they attempting to control Jesus? It would appear so, since they want Him to account for His actions, then provide for them on their terms and demands.
Let's face it, taking five loaves and two fish to feed this massive group was a miracle, but the people didn't see it. What they saw was the Provision, not the Provider. One of the most interesting concepts is God meeting our Need; at times He meets our Want, but do we seek the product, or do we seek the Provider? Are we more impressed with the Prosperity, or the Provider? Warfare includes the battle to keep things in their proper order by never confusing the Provision with the Provider. Here Jesus says, "Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for the meat which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you" (Jn 6:27). The principle is there, when the Cross is provided the everlasting life will be presented, then the provision will seek you.
Jesus ends this with "Does this offend you?", oh yes, the Truth will offend the old nature. What caused all this fuss? There were some there who didn't believe, it wasn't the fault of Jesus, He gave them more than enough reason and information for them to believe, but they allowed the strongman to reject the Truth. The only verse and chapter in the New Testament reading "6:66", it’s found in John, as it reads, "From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him" (Jn 6:66). This had to include many of the Seventy, yet they were the ones who came back from the mission field all excited saying, "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Your Name" (Luke 10:17). Excitement is often for the moment, enthusiasm in the Lord lasts. The devils may have been subject to them, but were the disciples subject to Jesus? Perhaps it’s why Jesus said, "rejoice for your name is written in heaven". Just because the devils bowed to the Name of Jesus, didn't mean the 70 bowed to Jesus.
The next battlefield has to do with family members, a battle most have to face, or have faced. One particular Feast of Tabernacles was about half way through the earthly ministry, the brothers of Jesus told Him, "Depart from here, and go to Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works You do. For there is no man who does anything in secret, and he himself seeking to be known openly. If you do these things, show Yourself to the world" (Jn 7:3-4). Then we read, "for neither did His brothers believe in Him" (Jn 7:5). It's true they did believe after the Resurrection, as they were present among the 120 on Pentecost, thus we find simply because some family member doesn't believe today, doesn't mean they won't tomorrow.
Like Joseph, Jesus was faced with jealous brothers holding their envy and strife, but Jesus didn't come against His brothers, rather He told them, "My Time is not yet come; but your time is always ready" (Jn 7:6). This isn't a rebuke, as much as hope, the Time for Jesus to ascend wasn't yet, but the time for the brothers to believe was in hand. He told His brothers to go to the Feast on their own, yet we know He showed up, thus He was sparing the unbelieving family members, while still doing the work of the ministry. A battle taking Mercy, Patience and Longsuffering.
When Jesus went to the Feast He found another battlefield, it was developing into a raging War before He even got there. The order had gone out from the Synagogue, "speak of this Jesus, and we'll excommunicate you". The people couldn't say, "Fine, we'll just go to the little church down the street". Why? The Jews had the only show in town, there was no "down the street" temple.
The conflicts abounded, the warring fraction of the synagogue was armed with envy, pride, and religious conceit. They were ready for Him now, they had their watchdog teeth sharpened and ready to go. The stones of theological abuse were piled next to the high priest, the knife of envy was sharp, ready to cut deep, the sword of tradition was set, the helmet of self-righteousness was in place, the shield of unbelief was there, their feet were shod with religious pride; they had their corrupt armor on.
We know some of the events here, but for the subject at hand we want to jump ahead to the purpose and victory as it relates to family members. Jesus did go in secret, but made Himself known during the Feast, during the time we find "As He spoke these words (Rhema), many believed on Him" (Jn 8:30). Battles have victories, we may not see the victory before we begin, but it’s there. Stop counting the stripes, and start giving honor and glory to the Lord who has delivered us.
There was much murmuring already going on among the people, the prince of the power of the air was active, the atmosphere was thick with envy. Conflict and confusion were about, some of the people said "He is a good man", others said, "No, but He deceives the people", two sides to the issue, debate, division and strife. Some of us would have perceived all this going on and said, "I'm not going there, there is no way I'm going to give them a chance to destroy me", but Jesus knew who He was, as He said, "My Doctrine is not Mine, but His Who sent Me" (Jn 7:16). Clearly as the Son of man Jesus was doing the will of the Father. Jesus made the invitation for them to unite, by knowing the Doctrine of Mercy in order to make the decision if it's God or not (Jn 7:17). At this point in time Jesus was speaking for the Father, thus the earthly ministry centered on Mercy, it’s after the Resurrection when the Holy Ghost speaks of Grace and Mercy.
Christianity is never afraid of the religions of the world, what do they have to offer? Self-discipline? Self-righteousness? The paranoid religious mind makes it illegal to preach the Truth, because the Truth far out weighs religious fables. Many worldly religions are afraid of the power of the Gospel. Rejoice, know you are the Power of His Christ. Self-discipline and discipline in respect to denying the self are much different, just as self-righteousness and the Righteousness of God are different. Worldly Religions offer mind power and self-righteousness, with strong self-discipling trends which are more habits than holiness. The person “feels moral”, or “feels religious”, but so did the Pharisees. Self-righteousness is a trap, it generates a “feeling”, or a mindset of holiness as a facade. Paul told us none are righteous, no not one. Those who seek their own righteousness, become blind to God’s Righteousness. We seek the Kingdom and God’s righteousness, at times it too is a battle. The flesh will tempt us to use self-righteousness, as the false thinks seeks to “feel good” about ourselves, yet we used our determinations and flesh to produce the feeling. It wasn’t God being well pleased with us, it was we who became well pleased with ourselves. The true sensation of being pleased is when we know God is pleased.
Since Jesus was the center of the controversy, does it mean He also produced the division? He did say, He came to bring division, but Paul said division was based in the carnal mind. What gives? Jesus presented choice between the darkness and Light a type of division which is Godly. Paul is talking about the opposite effect, a division into darkness from the Light.
Since Jesus showed up, the people assumed He was there to be killed by the Jews, after all they were warned, talk of Him and be excommunicated. Some felt Jesus must have had a "spirit of suicide", as they said, "You have a devil: who goes about to kill You" (Jn 7:20). They were looking at the vile, not the Precious. Jesus knew the time and timing of God; often it’s not what is said, but how it’s said. The people made a conclusion based on the anger of the religious rulers, rather than the Peace of Jesus.
These people were facing their own warfare, it was the time of decision, the time of division, If God be their God, then join Jesus, but if religious conceit be their god, then join those of a like mind. The invitation Jesus gave was in the form of a question; the exposure was there, as was the choice. Even the Law of Moses supported Jesus, what possible reason could they have for taking His life? They had no reason, just their envy and strife motivating them.
As Jesus was speaking the division grew larger, He didn’t cause it, it was their own carnal thinking producing their division (Jn 7:43). Did the Truth cause it? Or was the strongholds in the minds the cause? Truth is never divided, strongholds produce their own tornados. Truth merely exposes what was already there; in some cases we find Truth exposes the stronghold, the stronghold produces confusion, but the person will blame the Truth, yet Truth is never confused.
After this event the real battle took place, Truth versus the stronghold. Right after the woman was forgiven, Jesus said, "I Am the Light", He didn't say "I am Of the Light", or "I am part of the Light", or "I have come to show you the Light"; His statement was clear, He is the very Light spoken of in the Beginning, now a New Beginning was at hand if they receive it. God said "Let there be Light", several thousand years later the Light came to open the Day before the Night falls on mankind.
However, as soon as Jesus said, "I Am the Light", He was bearing record of Himself, or was He? Wasn't He merely confirming what the Father said in the Beginning? Wasn't this the Prophecy of, "Let there be Light" coming to pass? When God said it, the elements obeyed, here the Light came, yet the religious rulers were refusing to obey. This is the Doctrine of Mercy, yet Jesus also said, "though I bear record of Myself, yet My record is true: for I know from where I came, and where I will go: but you cannot tell from where I came, and where I will go" (Jn 8:14). They couldn't be sure where they were coming from, or where they were going. Jesus defines the division by telling these Pharisees (Jn 8:13), "You are from beneath; I am from above: you are of this world; I am not of this world" (Jn 8:23).
It would appear on the surface all was lost, yet there were many who stood there who did believe. Jesus didn't leave them, rather He edified them (Jn 8:30-31). The believing group were told to Continue in the Word, the Truth shall make them Free (Jn 8:31-32). A call for commitment and responsibility, from the Gospel Accounts we know those who placed Jesus on the Cross were few. It was Passover, a time when a majority of the people were home, or had no idea what their religious rulers were doing. There were those who did believe, at least 120 in the upper room, with 3,000 more waiting to hear.
It's not simply knowing the Bible, but knowing the Truth, Jesus is Truth. The Pharisees knew the Scriptures, they simply didn't understand them; they retorted with, "We are Abraham's seed and were never in bondage to any man: how then do You say, You shall be made free?" (Jn 8:33). Never in bondage? What about Babylon? Egypt? Look about gentlemen, what about Rome? If they confessed Abraham, where are the Ways of Abraham? Jesus confessed the Father by proving it through His Ways. If we see Jesus, we have seen (perceived) the Father, so if one saw these religious rulers, have they seen Abraham? Not hardly, they saw something, but it wasn't Abraham. Ishmael maybe, but not Abraham.
Not only did these religious leaders talk evil about Jesus, but they talked evil about His mother, then talked evil about God. The same old schoolyard accusations from the unbelievers, yet we don’t war against flesh and blood. If we narrow our battle down to personalities it only ends in personal attacks. Although the religious rulers were engaged in personal attacks Jesus remained on course.
When they said Abraham was their father, they lied, failing to know their own ways. When they said God was their Father, they lied the more, failing to see their words. Both their ways and words proved they were of their father the devil, the lusts of their father they would do. If they were really of Abraham, then the works of Abraham they would do, if they were really of the Father, then the ways of the Father they would do. The difference is how they were planning to destroy Jesus, but He is reaching out to save them. Therein lays the difference between carnal warfare and spiritual warfare; the carnal use self-justification to exalt themselves, the spiritual attempt to save.
As this is taking place Jesus drops a theological bomb by saying, "Your father Abraham rejoiced in My day: and he saw it, and was glad" (Jn 8:56). Now they go crazy, this time they do pick up stones, their anger is controlling them, their envy has given birth to rage; they are about to do something Abraham never did. "Wait, Abraham took the lad to the mount". True, but he didn't kill him, neither did he kill any member of his three families, not even Hagar. If one is truly a descendant of Abraham they respect the family order, they don’t attempt to kill it. Ishmael might have mocked Isaac, but he never attempted to kill him, not withstanding some of his descendants have a different mindset.
How many of us have been faced with the stones of theological abuse? Here they have real stones, yet Jesus points to the mystery by saying, "I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am" (Jn 8:58). What? Didn't they just say "Abraham is dead, the prophets are dead, and Who do you make Yourself" (Jn 8:53). More exposure, they take up stones, yet they couldn't toss them, they couldn't even come close to tossing one at Him, again He went through the midst of them (Jn 8:59).
Was Jesus done with the battle? No, there remained the finish, thus the finish of any battle for us must end in a Good Work, or we lose. Every battle Jesus fought had a good work, either before, during or after; someone got healed, someone was set free, someone was raised from the dead, someone received a good word, someone was presented freedom from their bondage. As Jesus was leaving the temple He found a man who was blind from birth (Jn 9:1). This man was born blind; the means of the miracle, plus the comments from those who knew him show he was born without eyeballs. As Jesus and His disciples passed by this man, His disciples asked, "who sinned, he or his parents" (Jn 9:2). They knew from the appearance of the man this was not blindness to the eyes, this had something to do with conception, or birth. Wow, a lesson, the Pharisees will die in their sins, so this man must be in this condition because of sin, but whose? If born in this condition, how could it be his sin? Wait, what did Jesus just teach? Blindness is not physical, there are some who have excellent physical vision, but are spiritually blind as a bat. Jesus would prove it, this one man who was born blind, he was not the product of sin, he was there so the works of God could be manifested. Jesus saw opportunity, the disciples were looking for fault. The nature of fallen man is to seek out fault, the battle for us is to seek out the Precious. We can debate the result of sickness all day long, yet never pray for the sick.
It’s not to say the man wasn't under the sin nature, only his blindness was not a product of sin. How do we know? Jesus also said, "Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but the works of God should be made manifest in him" (Jn 9:3). The wording "should be made manifest" is the Greek word Phaneroo meaning To reveal, it differs from the Greek word Apolkalupto meaning to Exhibit. Apolkalupto refers only to the object revealed, but Phaneroo refers to those to whom the revelation is made; therefore, the purpose was to Those to whom the manifestation was purposed. Back in John 7:4 the brothers of Jesus said, "show Yourself to the world", the word Show is the Greek Phaneroo, thus Jesus would Show Himself, but not to the world, rather He would be shown through the belief of this blind man. Jesus saw something in this man, something the Pharisees lacked, belief. This is evident when Jesus asked the man, "Do you believe in the Son of God?" (Jn 9:35). The man says, "Who is He, Lord, that I might believe in Him?" (Jn 9:36). The man didn't say "show me a sign", or "I don't know, let's hear his doctrine", he was teachable. The key word is “Who is He?”, not “show Him to me”.
Later during the Feast of Dedication Jesus was in the temple, as the Jews asked, "How long do You make us to doubt? If You be the Christ, tell us plainly" (Jn 10:24). Did He tell them plainly? Miracles upon miracles, a man born without eyeballs, having eyes and seeing for the first time in his life, the inability for them to harm Jesus, their continued failure to trap Him, not counting the other miracles, healings and profound teachings. Jesus didn't make them Doubt, their own stronghold of unbelief was their problem. It’s sad how unbelief blinds a person, they want a sign, they get one, yet deny it. Jesus confirmed this by saying, "I told you, and you believed not" (Jn 10:25). Did the Word come to them? Yes, Jesus just said "I told you", but they failed to have ears to hear. Faith can come, but we must have ears to hear before it becomes beneficial to us.
Unbelief refuses to believe in the face of the evidence, unbelief produces a hard heart; it shuts off the hearing, blinds the eyes, producing it's own deception. When the evidence of Truth is right there, unbelief will say it's not. Unbelief will seek out scholars who also fail to believe, but using the unbelief of another never negates our own.
Prior Jesus said "Before Abraham was, I am", causing them to pick up stones. Now Jesus says, "I and My Father are One", they pick up stones again (Jn 10:30-31). Did the Jews know the meanings of the statements? Yes, the question was answered, Jesus told them plainly, to be The Anointed One means He must be equal to God, as He was One in God. Jesus came from the Bosom of the Father, the New Birth puts the Seed of God in our bosom, thus to be established as the Church one has to of the Bosom of Jesus.
Jesus asked the Jews, "Many good works have I showed you from My Father: for which of those works do you stone Me?" (Jn 10:32). Again Jesus puts the question, Why? If He did good works, then the Father was manifested before them, why would they stone Him? What motive? What possible reason could they have? Envy, the only answer to the question, the question produced the exposure. The choice was there, would they admit it was envy, or allow envy to rule over them? Their answer tells it all, as they said, "For a good work we stone You not; but for blasphemy: and because You, being a man, make Yourself God" (Jn 10:33). What were they doing? They were taking the responsibility of a person's life, or acting in God's place, thus they being men made themselves God.
Jesus went on to show it was not He, but the Scriptures calling Him Elohiym, as Jesus pointed to Psalm 82, showing God called the religious rulers Elohiym, but perhaps it was their definition of Elohiym. Psalm 82 shows God rebuking those He set as Elohiym, because they failed at Mercy. In quoting Psalm 82 Jesus went right back to the "homework" assignment. They never did find out why God desired Mercy, how do we know? Where is their mercy? Clearly, this battlefield called for Mercy and Clarity by the words of Truth.
The religious rulers had one stronghold upon another, the stronghold will not stop God from using us, but it does stop us from understanding how God is using us. The stronghold becomes the hindering hedge of natural thinking causing us to miss what God is doing. God was reaching out with the hand of Mercy, but the religious rulers were casting it aside for the foot of envy. The high priest proved the point, he was used of God, even gave a prophecy because of his office, yet he failed to understand the prophecy, or why it even came to him.
The last Passover was near, the time touched the timing, the Hour had come, the enemy assumed he had it won, some of the people called of God were now the children of the enemy, the tares were putting together their final plan. Even a trusted member of the ministry had turned on Jesus, from all appearances it would seem like Jesus lost, He failed, it was over. At least it appeared so at the time, but we know better.
However, let's put ourselves in the shoes of the disciples, what would we think then? Jesus taken captive, beaten, spit on, yelled at, punched, then nailed to a Cross. Surely He will now come down, this is what He has been waiting for, to show His ability. Yet, He isn't coming down, He is slipping away from us, what is He saying? "Why has Thou forsaken Me"? Is that it? Has the Father forsaken Him? if so, it means He will forsake us, it was all a bad joke, what do we do now? We believed, now look, it’s over. The warfare of continuing to believe in the face of absolute adversity is the greatest war of all time. When it appears as if God has turned His back on us, do we still believe? The cries of anguish are heard, do we still trust in God?
During those times there will still be signs of hope, the earthly ministry was Mercy related, the disciples knew it, freely they received, freely they gave. What did Jesus just said? Did you hear it? "Father forgive them"? Forgive them? Mercy, even in anguish the nature of the Mercy of the Father was coming from Jesus, it should be a sign showing His nature and character. One small point of belief will lead to another, remember what He said? In three days, let us tarry for the miracle. However, if we panic, or allow fear to rule, vacating our belief for fear, as we end hiding in some corner.
The religious leaders were happy, so pleased, they truly thought they did God a service by saving the nation of Israel. So confident were they in their plan and action, they couldn’t wait to have their Passover. Surely God would honor them more than the prophets, perhaps more than Moses, they were ready to receive their Blessing, they just knew God would favor them greatly. They never questioned their motives, they never considered the evidence, they simply allowed their emotions and envy to guide them. Two separate groups, one saw their Master on the Cross, the other saw what they supposed as the enemy of Israel on the Cross, both had thoughts concerning the event at the moment, yet both were wrong.
We know the result, Jesus conquered the grave, destroyed the devil, yet He still had to upbraid the disciples with their unbelief. Did He say, “That’s it, all these years and hard work, yet you people still don’t believe, I’m going to find some who will”. No, He told them they were picked, even if they didn’t believe, they were to go out and preach, surely someone would believe, the signs would follow those who believe (Mark 16:16-18). It was all true, what appeared to be the Finish, was really the Beginning of something Great. We never define the event by the event, we seek the Precious.
Now, what about devils themselves? How do we combat devils? We will look at how Jesus handled devils, which will lead us to Mars' Hill, and how Paul faced devils. John's account doesn't show one event where Jesus cast out a devil, thus the old saying, "all I ever see Jesus do is cast out devils", is not based on Scripture, there were times when He cast them out, times when He cast out the spirit of a devil, times when He healed those who suffered from the works of the devil, times when He didn’t even mention the devil.
In Matthew 8:16 we find Jesus cast out devils by His Word (Logos), thus before Jesus came no one cast out devils. This also shows His Name gives us the Authority, the Holy Ghost grants us Power. No wonder the religious rulers got angry, they thought they were the power and authority. Then comes Jesus who has authority over devils, no one, not the high priest, nor Elijah, not even Moses had authority to cast out devils. They had to ask, "Where could He have gotten it? Must have gotten it from the devil". Why? They didn't have it. When any religious minded person sees someone do something they can't, they will always give the devil credit.
Then we find Jesus telling the devils to be silent, but we also see they knew who Jesus was (Mark 1:34). This helps to explain why the unclean spirit in Acts told the seven sons "Jesus I know". Really the seven sons of Sceva didn't know Jesus, they didn’t have the authority of the Name, nor where they in the Body, thus the devil didn’t know or fear them (Acts 19:13-17).
Jesus cast out devils several times, one of those events is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke, which means it must have some importance. There was the country of Gergesenes (or Gadarenes), a place by the Sea. In the place there were two devils, one inside a man, the other controlling the people, who attempted to control the man (Matt 8:28, Mark 5:1 & Luke 8:26). The man had a bunch of devils, more than one could count, yet they spoke as one (Mark 5:12). The devils wanted to possess the man, but why? The authority of a human on earth, it’s still the case. How powerful is the spoken voice of a human? So powerful a human can still name the animals, or say “yes” or “no” to God.
Regarding this man in Gadarenes, the people often bound him in chains and fetters, but he broke the bands, and was "driven by the devil into the wilderness" (Luke 8:29). Not only was this man being used by the devils, the people were using him to fend off visitors. The people bound him, he loosed himself, but was nonetheless still bound. This man bound or loosed, appeared to have no hope, then Hope did appear one day in the form of Jesus. Although this man was possessed with so many demons they went by the title “Legion”, all of them together couldn’t stop the man from worshipping Jesus. The man couldn’t cast them out of himself, since he lacked position and authority, but all the devils couldn’t stop him from coming to Jesus.
When Jesus confronted the devils, they talked to Him, but it doesn’t mean every time we come across devils we carry on conversations with them. The devils in this man wanted to be cast into the swine, or at least they said so, but it was the one place they didn't want to be cast. The swine were unclean, when unclean enters unclean it brings about panic and self-destruction. In this case, Jesus granted them their request by putting them in the pigs, result was both falling into the deep.
What about the people? Were they demon possessed, or merely acting on behalf of the devil? When the people saw the possessed man in his right mind, they got mad at Jesus. The man, like most of us wanted to leave, but Jesus told him to remain (Luke 8:39). The man became obedient, other than the disciples this man became the first male hometown preacher, the woman at the well was the first outside of the ministry. The man did as he was told, in so doing he filled the House with Mercy, thus even if those devils came back, they wouldn't be able to find his address.
In Matthew 9:32-34 we find a man possessed with a devil, but in this case the devil kept the man's mouth shut. We also find two different Greek words used for devil, in verse 32 it's the Greek Daimonizomai, but in verses 39 and 40 it's the Greek word Daimonion. The difference is how Daimonizomai means violently possessed by a devil, but Daimonion refers to the demonic, whether it’s devil possessed, or devil oppressed, or just the fallen nature of man, it would still be Daimonion. We get our English word demon from the Greek word Daimonion, some modern translations use “demon”, but it’s the same Greek word translated as “devil” in the King James, there is no difference between a devil or a demon: really the word “demon” doesn’t appear in the King James.
When the devil was cast out of this man, the people marveled saying, It was never so seen in Israel (Matt 9:33). The devil was in the man prior, but the casting out of the devil was not seen before. This was a New Thing, the Pharisees were stuck in the Old, refusing to enter in, yet both the Old and the New were of God, but for different people. We have the Spirit, the Cross, Resurrection and Blood of Jesus, but before the Cross, before the Spirit was given, before the Resurrection and before the Blood of Jesus was shed, the disciples had power over unclean spirits (Matt 10:1). In Mark 3:15 it says they had Power to cast out devils, also in Mark 6:7 Jesus sent the twelve out two by two by giving them power over unclean spirits. How can we think for one second any devil has authority over us? The evidence is clear, the disciples before the Cross, yes even Judas had the authority to cast out devils, and did. They operated in Mercy without the Spirit, we have Mercy and Grace by the Spirit. Why then does the realm of the demonic cause us undue concern? Are we afraid? Fear over devils was called by Paul as “superstitious” (Acts 17:22). Devils are like dogs they can sense fear, at times we use “faith statements” in our attempt to convince the devil we have faith, or we are attempting to prove to ourselves we do? We tend to forget the Name of Jesus is Above the realm of darkness, thus what is below must always obey what is above. John told us to believe in the Name of Jesus, now we know why.
In Matthew 12:22 we find one possessed with a devil, who was blind and dumb. Jesus "healed him", insomuch the blind and dumb both spoke and saw. Yet, the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out the devil by Beelzebub, the prince of devils (Matt 12:24). We went over this prior, but here we find the devil kept the man blind and unable to speak, but the Pharisees saw and spoke, yet their words were demonic, so much so they blasphemed the Holy Ghost. Why the Holy Ghost? The ministry, Jesus was acting within the bounds of the ministry the Holy Ghost was overseeing, thus to attack the works of the ministry, is to attack the Holy Ghost.
Jesus also warned once the unclean spirit is removed, it goes through dry places then returns to the House. If it finds the welcome mat, it will bring seven others more wicked than the first. The “house prepared” for the darkness is one who refuses to accept the Light; yet the person is set free, but rejects the call to enter the Body; however they will never be able to say they didn’t have the opportunity.
The Gentile woman from Canaan came to Jesus, her daughter was vexed with a devil, which means her daughter was under the authority and power of a devil (Matt 15:21-22). The disciples said "send her away", or "really Lord, we don't have time for those who are not Jews. After all Lord, You're the one who said we are only sent to the Jews". Jesus saw it differently, He encouraged the woman to exercise her faith. The more she exercised her faith, the closer she came to seeing her daughter set free. In this case Jesus didn't say "come out", but He did say, "O woman, great is your faith: be it unto you even as you will" (Matt 15:28). Her faith was reaching to the hope, the hope came early to her daughter. When she said, "True, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which Fall from their masters' table", she was submitting to the Master of the Table by asking for the crumbs, or the little pieces of Bread rejected by the children to whom they were delivered. What was she doing? Knocking, Asking and Seeking, she knew Jesus came for the Jews, but she also knew many of the Jews rejected Jesus, thus what they rejected was more than enough to heal her daughter.
In order to break the barrier, the woman had to exercise her faith, once her faith grew, she was able to connect to the Mercy of Jesus. In Mark we find this same woman "fell" at the feet of Jesus, thus she placed herself in the position of the crumbs (Mark 7:25). Also in Mark we find the confirmation regarding the woman's faith as we read, "For this saying go your way; the devil is gone out of your daughter" (Mark 7:29). Her faith reached beyond her position to a time of hope in Jesus. Her belief was also important, but she was reaching to something yet to come through Jesus. This was not a fable hope, or one she dreamed up, it was based in Jesus. Although the disciples were limited to a certain realm, Jesus was not. Something we tend to forget from time to time in the face of adversity.
Luke was a companion of Paul’s, he penned Luke’s Account, and the Book of Acts, the question then becomes, “After the Day of Pentecost did the disciples operate as they did before the Cross, or did they operate like Jesus?”. The Resurrection changed the course of events, the Spirit was given. We can look at Matthew 4:24 as it compares to Acts 5:16:
Matthew 4:24 Acts 5:16
"And His fame went throughout all "There came a multitude out of
Syria: and they brought unto Him the cities round about unto
all sick people that were taken with Jerusalem, bringing sick folks,
divers diseases and torments, and and them which were vexed with
and those which were possessed with unclean spirits, and they were
devils, and those that had the palsy: healed every one".
and He healed them."
The verses are nearly the same; therefore, the relationship between them shows a change took place in the disciples after Pentecost to make them “Christian”; proved when we see Matthew talks about Jesus, but Acts about the disciples. Prior to the Cross they rejoiced over the ability to cast out devils, after Pentecost they matured to know it's far better to have your name written in heaven. The evidence shows there was a change in Natures, the old nature of darkness was removed when they were Born Again.
What about those who were not the Apostles? Did the ability to be Like Christ, or did it stop with the first Apostles? Hardly, one evidence is Paul, he didn't begin until some time after Pentecost. However, he was nonetheless an Apostle. How about others? Philip the Deacon was appointed by the Apostles, but anointed to be an Evangelist. This Philip is not to be confused with Philip the Apostle, rather Philip the Evangelist was among the seven who were appointed Deacons by the Apostles. Philip did many things, including water baptism in the Name of Jesus, as well as casting out devils. Although he was a Deacon, we find he was also appointed by the Holy Ghost as an Evangelist among the five fold Offices (Acts 8:6-13 & Eph 4:11). Another is Stephen, who was a Deacon, not an Apostle, nor did he hold any of the Doma offices, yet he did wonders, and miracles among the people (Acts 6:8). This is a hope, some of us think, “all I’m good for is sweeping the parking lot”, not so, we are being trained for the position; then having done the little things well, we will be granted more abilities.
Philip went to Samaria, which is also important, since the call was to begin in Jerusalem then Judea then Samaria, then to the rest of the world. Philip completed the call to the Jews displaying how he operated as an Evangelist, as the mission field changed to Samaria, then the next step would be the Gentiles. Philip turned the knob on the door to the Gentiles when he water baptized the Ethiopian eunuch into the Body (Acts 8:36-37). Peter cracked the door when he saw Jesus baptize Cornelius with the Holy Ghost, then Paul busted it wide open as the Holy Ghost moved to bring the Gentile into the Kingdom.
When Philip went to Samaria it was without the company of any other disciple, it was the Holy Ghost and Philip, thereby showing us how the "two by two" requirement was no longer in effect. At times warfare includes not attempting “to copy” something of the past to make it appear as if we’re holier than those who lived in the past: in our zeal we may be making the claim how we lack the ability to operate today.
Paul came across a man called "Elymas the sorcerer", for so was his name by interpretation. This Elymas stood against Paul, having done all to stand against Paul, he stood the more (Acts 13:8). Then Saul (who is also Paul) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on Elymas and said, "O full of all subtilty and all mischief, you child of the devil, you enemy of righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the Hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a season" (Acts 13:9-11). Seems like Jesus went about opening blind eyes, but Paul was closing them, or is there more here? The most obvious sign is Paul being “full of the Holy Ghost”, thus is not something Paul decided to do, it was governed by the Holy Ghost. This Elymas was a Jew, he was not only a sorcerer, but a false prophet, so why didn't Paul cast the devil out of him? It wasn't a devil, Elymas was a child of the devil, thus he being a Jew made him worse then Simon Magus. Elymas was among the chosen of God, he made his choice to walk in the Mist of Darkness, thus the Holy Ghost merely allowed his eyes to match his heart (Acts 13:11).
Elymas connected himself through demonic soul-ties to a man by the name of Serguis Paulus, a prudent man. Elymas used the soul-tie to possess and control Serguis, which is a trait of the Wicked (Acts 13:7). When Paul came on the scene things changed, Serguis saw the result of the hand of God then believed (Acts 13:12). The evidence shows Elymas made his decision to be Wicked, but his victim, Serguis made his decision to accept the Gospel and be free.
Then there was the damsel who was possessed with a spirit of divination, whom had the devil cast out of her by Paul. In her case, she was unable to connect her mental powers to the minds of Paul or Silas, yet her goal was to possess as she was possessed. Here we find the use of the Greek word Echo for the English word Possessed meaning to Have hold, this word was used some 709 times in the New Testament, running from Shall have, to Counted, it's meaning shows one has control over another, or control over something, if someone controls our emotions, they control us. However, we lay hold of the good thing, we don't lay hold of people's souls. Once the devil of divination lost it's hold on the damsel, she was loosed, but her masters were not. Her masters made much money from her, thus showing her divination did work on some. Her masters were bound to money, even to the point of using devils to get it.
We're not done yet, we have to travel to Mars' Hill, where we see how Paul handled devils. The only place we find the wording "Mars' Hill" is in Acts 17:22. It is a real location, it was used by the people to worship the god Mars, thus this hill was designed by the people for one purpose, to worship idols. The first thing Paul said was, "I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious" (Acts 17:22). Why didn't he bind these devils? Why didn't he cast the devil out of the people? One can be an idol worshiper of idols, yet not devil possessed. Paul saw opportunity while looking at idol after idol, devotion after devotion, he also knew there was an interest to know God (Acts 17:22-23). He did call them "too superstitious", adding "in All things". Did they have Imaginations and high things? Yes, their Superstitious nature invaded their way of thinking; in the English the word Superstitious means A belief, conception, act or practice resulting from ignorance, or a fear of the unknown, or a fear of devils. Some of us have a fear of the unknown, which makes us Superstitious. Some of us are frightened of devils, which makes us Superstitious. What makes one Superstitious? Being ignorant of the Power we have over devils. The word Superstitious is the Greek word Deisidaimonesteros meaning Fear of the gods, or fear of devils, making the person worship what they fear. A promise of faith is, "so we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Heb 13:6). Faith in God removes fear, but fear in the devil, removes faith.
It's interesting to look at Athens, and the many idols Paul faced. Also interesting is how Paul, of all things, picked the heathen devotion with the inscription "To The Unknown God" as a basis to preach Jesus. Most of us would never use some idol to preach about Jesus, yet here Paul surely did (Acts 17:23). Try it today, they will call you New Age, among other things. Paul was moved by the Holy Ghost to use this devotion, indicating he had no fear of devils, but picked something the people could associate to. He wasn't afraid of some transference of spirits, or some devil taking over his mind, or some devil taking away his possessions, he knew he could tread on all the power of the enemy. Every method of idol worship was on the Hill, history tells us not one element of witchcraft, devil worship, or idol worship was left out. Each idol or witchcraft segment was covered in some manner, so much so they had the devotion to the "Unknown God" just in case they left one out. Yet, Paul the Apostle of Grace marched up the Hill preaching Jesus. Perhaps Paul found the secret of Rejoicing over his name being written in heaven.
In the early days Athens went through several periods, there was the Hellenistic Period from 300 BC to around 228 BC. Then came the Roman Empire when Athens became a free and sovereign city. A favor which was given to them for their zealous Caesar worship, thus Rome rewarded them for their idol worship, in their minds it "worked", after all they were a free city in the Roman Empire. The Jews were captive, yet they worshipped God, the people of Athens were free because they worshipped idols, so to them the idols had more power than God. Simply because one idol worshiper grants favor to another doesn't mean idol worship is greater than God, the result tells the tale.
Standing on the Hill Paul would have seen several statues of Mars (also known as Mavors, Mamar, Marspiter or Maspiter); who in the ranking of idols was second only to Jupiter. Mars was commonly identified with the Greek god Ares; the importance of this false deity ran throughout Italy. Rome itself had a month named after him, as we do today (March). Mars was a god of war, yet the Holy Ghost used Paul to engage in warfare, but Paul wasn't about to use the "ways of Mars", rather he was used of the Holy Ghost. Paul faced the Mythology of the people with their various idols, yet instead of binding them, he preached Jesus, meaning the people who accepted the Truth were set free.
The word Mythology means the Study of myths, the actual term comes from the Greek words Mythos (A tale), and Logos which in classical Greek means An account, or Word spoken once. We know the Logos as Jesus the Word of God made flesh for us, nonetheless the Greek word means an Account or the Word used once. Mythology defined means "the study of fables", thus any theology filled with fables is really Mythology.
Many of the idols gained in their deity position around 400 BC, thus there was a history on Mars’ Hill, a 400 year old history of traditions facing Paul. There was not a mountain, plain, river, fountain, grove, woods, or person of some importance not hallowed by some legend or poetic tale. The twisted concept of one being a Poet was seen in Mythology; James tells us to be a doer of the Word, the word Doer means a Poet, but the actual definition of a Poet means one with beautiful thoughts, not one who makes up stories, or fables about idols.
Greece had her artists who used their talents to make idols; there was Pheidias (500 BC), Praxiteles (400 BC), Apelles (400 BC), and Zeuzis (500 BC). There was also the philosophers, Socrates (400 BC), Plato (400 BC), and Epicurus (300 BC). The statesmen as orators, Pericle (400 BC) and Demosthenes (300 BC); adding the historians, Herodotus (500 BC), Thucydides (400 BC), and Xenophon (400 BC), with the intellects in math, Archimedes (200 BC), and Euclid (300 BC). Greece gained much fame, but as we know the Romans conquered her, yet Athens simply looked at Caesar as another god, from the premise the city gained favor, as noted.
We're not going to enter a history lesson here, but we do want to determine why the Holy Ghost gave Paul the ability to use a false deity, and why the Holy Ghost picked this one Unknown God over all the rest. The counterfeits were many, each counterfeited some attribute of God; although twisted. Today we know the idol worshipers considered the highest idol the "light of the world", yet Jesus is the Light. We begin to see how the devil saw something coming, he didn't know for sure what it would entail, but he nonetheless knew it would crush his head. The devil began to form his own "heads" in his feeble attempt to turn the prophecy around to his favor. The devil is the tail, but he wants everyone to think he is the head.
According to mythology the Sun and Moon were brother and sister, yet we know the Sun is Jacob. the Moon is Zion of the earth, thus mythology twists something true, to produce an imagination, then calls the imagination a truth, while declaring the truth as the fable. For instance the creation of the world according to mythology promotes the fall, becoming a complex issue at best. According to mythology the world was a great shapeless mass of Chaos, out of which was fashioned the first spirit of love called Eros or Cupid, who was in union with the broad-chested god Earth (Gaea). Then came Erebos (darkness), and Nyx (the night), to form a union of these two, from them came forth Aether (the clear sky), and Hemera (the day). Today the theory of the earth coming from a mass of a gaseous form fits more with Mythology than Theology.
We know Eros as Cupid, the little angel; he is not the messenger of love, he is flesh centered, we get the English word Erotic from the Greek Eros. The so-called Olympian deities were twelve in number, is this by chance? Hardly, the counterfeit is too coincidental. The twelve Olympian deities were Zeus (Jupiter), Hera (Juno), Poseidon (Neptune), Demeter (Ceres), Apollo, Artemis (Diana), Hephaestos (Vulcan), Pallas, Athene (Minerva), Ceres (Mars), Aphrodite (Venus), Hermes (Mercury), and Hestia (Vesta). We know from Paul's letters how the craftsmen of the images of Diana caused Paul many problems. It's more interesting how these deities had their problems within, thus they seldom acted in harmony. They would fight and compete among themselves for power and honor, all based in envy or jealousy.
We know the children were subject to the gods of Egypt while they were in captivity, yet they made the golden calf indicating they retained their training from Egypt. We also know about Balaam, with his involvement with Balac to get the children into idol worship, but we also know Jesus used Balaam and the doctrine of Balaam as a type and shadow of false teachers. Using them as examples doesn't mean Jesus, Paul or John worshipped them. Using Balaam as an example of evil, doesn't mean Jesus condoned the behavior of the man. Some of the modern day idol worshipers think if Paul went to Mars’ Hill he did so to worship idols, foolishness is still the product of the spirit of man.
The Romans considered themselves actual descendants of Mars, Rome had a place called the "Field of Mars", thus Mars' Hill was a place connecting Athens to Rome. The term Areopagos is the same as Mars' Hill, according to the myth Mars' Hill was the place of judgment on which courts of justice were held when the decision involved life or death. The method of voting was a black stone for death, or a white stone for life. Paul being on this Hill was not some mistake, he didn't take a wrong turn, or find himself there, he was sent by the Holy Ghost to save those called of God from the hands of idols.
Athens was also the place where the Mysteries of Eleusia were held, these Mysteries had initiation ceremonies as well, taking place at night. They involved play acting to show the mythical concepts of the creation of the world, or the power of the gods and goddesses. A certain modern cult system uses a like ceremony in their rites. These ceremonies took place twice a year, once in the spring and once in September, the latter taking nine days. These Mysteries were held by the people Paul faced on Mars' Hill, the people were known for their intellect, but they were people with many strongholds and imaginations. This was a warfare of great proportion, one centered on the weapon of Truth preached in Love.
We are viewing this area to see the contrast between the strongholds Jesus faced, and those Paul faced. It's obvious Jesus didn't face idols made of stone, but He did face strongholds formed from mental idols. Paul had an example in Jesus, thus Paul used the same methods Jesus used. Paul lived Warfare, doesn't it make sense to find out how he conducted it? Paul never considered himself above the Master, he used the methods of Jesus. Some of us are using methods not in the Bible, in our zeal we are saying we are above the Master. Not wise, not wise at all, especially when we call it spiritual warfare.
Paul also spent time among the Gentiles in locations like Corinth, thus he had first hand knowledge of the stories of the various idols. The church in Corinth was warned about mixing the cup of devils with the cup of the Lord. Athens had a story, or mythology of Erichthonios, who was suppose to be the first mortal who learned from the goddess Minerva how to harness horses for chariots of war. The visible proof and testimony of Minerva's power was the famed Olive on the Acropolis (temple) of Athens. Minerva was also known as Polias, the Protector of Athens. Her image was of a woman with an angel in her right hand, and a great serpent as her power, indicating mythology is a tall tale from the serpents mouth.
Apollo was also known as Thargelios, there was a festival in his honor called Thargelia which was held in Athens during the month of May. This festival was to celebrate the Ripe Fruit of the Fields; in August there was another festival in Athens called the Metageitnia, when Apollo would become "god of the harvest", the Firstfruits were presented to him at this time. His mother was called Leto, the mother of darkness, or the dark of night, thus we find mythology has light coming from darkness, a lie and counterfeit making the light subject to the darkness. According to mythology Apollo held the number Seven as sacred; he was often considered the "god of light", or the "god of heaven's light". We know more about his sister Diana who was also know as Artemis, whose name implies "modest spotless goddess". Not only do we see her in Athens and Corinth, but she held the title "Diana of Ephesus". Her temple in Ephesus was classed as one of the seven wonders of the world. The traders of the shrines of Diana made a great deal of money selling idols in front of her temple. This contrast between the silversmiths of Diana, and the sellers of the Dove in the temple shows why Jesus became angry. Only two times do we find Jesus getting mad, had to do with the Temple becoming corrupt at the hands of man: the only time Jesus struck anyone was for selling the items used for sacrifices, more specific was selling the Dove.
Any fruits or sacrifices presented to Diana had to be perfectly clean and spotless, much like the Law of Moses. Diana like the Pharisees of old, wanted her fish cleaned before she would touch them; we on the other hand we catch the fish, then allow the Lord to clean them. The counterfeit of God's plan has been around since the devil heard his head would be the footstool of the Lord. We as Christians present ourselves as living sacrifices, but when we came to the Lord we were anything but clean and spotless.
Then there was Dionysos, in Athens during the month of December there was a festival in his honor. Dionysos was a god of many names, Bromois, Lyaeos, Dithrambos and Bakchos, he was borrowed by the Greeks from oriental mythology, later introduced to the Romans. This idol was the god of the vine, only in his case it was the excess of wine, pointing to Paul's comments to the Ephesians, "be not filled with wine to excess".
One of the goddesses named Themis held the Delphic oracle, before it was yielded to Apollo. According to mythology it was during the war between the Greeks and Titans when she descended from heaven. We may know her as Justice, the woman with the balances and blindfold. Another goddess was Helios, or Sol who held a torch in her hand as she wore a crown on her head. There were only two goddesses in Athens sharing the seasons with Apollo; both of which were termed "inferior deities". Not only did Paul face the main twelve false deities, but their offspring as well. There is Thallo, the goddess of Blossoming, then Karpo the goddess of Harvest and fruit; however, in Greece the usual number was three, not two. Hora was the third, who was pictured as a woman dancing with a wreath of Palm Leaves on her head. Athens also had the Muses or Pierides, they were suppose to be the cause of Water, of no surprise, there were nine of them. These nine were looked upon as the patron goddesses of music, song, and of poetry. Their intent was to promote the civilization of mankind. Wow, guess we have to stop singing. Not so, it’s the point, the devil counterfeits the things of God to scare us, making us toss out the Baby Jesus with the bath water. We tend to hear "New Age", then go about attempting to make the Real the counterfeit, simply because we are too superstitious. Paul said, the idol is nothing, the idols Paul faced were nothing, it was the honor given them by man becoming the sin, not the idol in and of itself. A piece of stone is a piece of stone, bow down to it, it then becomes an idol. A stick is a stick, bow to it, then it becomes an idol.
They had the wind goddesses, among whom was Lips, the goddess who was said to use the south-east winds to bring home the ships as they neared the harbor of Peiraeus at Athens. We already know of the story of Eros, Psyche and Aphrodite (Venus), as Aphrodite sent her son, Eros (Cupid) to trap Psyche into falling in love with a mortal, thus causing Psyche to lose her powers. However, Eros and Psyche became lovers, thus Paul used the self-based, self-centered love of Aphrodite in contrast with the self-less love of God in First Corinthians 13:1-7; however, in Athens he was looking right at their images. We should be getting a picture of what Paul faced, yet some of us go into what we term "spiritual warfare" when we find the bank overcharged us, or someone wearing a crystal walks into our church.
The Greeks in Athens also had Nemesis, who was the goddess of punishment, with her was Poena, Dike and Erinys, the punishers of evil-doers. In Smyrna there were several "winged beings" of this type, all showing the avenging angels of the gods. There was Eris, called Discordia by the Romans, who was the goddess of strife, it was she who caused a dispute between Athene and Aphrodite over the "golden apple". Fables are imaginations (strongholds) based in natural concepts of man's natural reasoning. These people lacked a "check and balance", a failure proved true by history, on the other hand we have a check and balance, it's called the Bible.
Not only did Paul face the images, but the countless stories as well. Paul would talk about the Protection of the Lord, but those in Athens would say, "we have that"; or about prosperity, they would say, "Look around, we have that", or about Liberty and Peace, they would say, "have that too". Paul didn't talk only about the things of God, he talked about God, they didn’t have Him. Paul began by saying, "God who made the world and things therein, seeing He is Lord of heaven and earth" (Acts 17:24). One sentence and fifty idols became useless, the people were looking at this idol, then another, all are said to have part in creation, but Paul said, "One God". These people were wearing themselves out going from one god to another, often attempting to keep the gods from getting mad at them. They presumed sickness, or harm was the result of making the gods mad. They also felt if they followed one idol, yet there was a war between their idol and some other idol, they would be caught in the middle. Yet, Paul preached the Gospel of Peace by telling them, I have One God who is All, above All and in All, Who is willing and able to save you, yet here you are with all these, showing you really don’t Know Him. Then Paul went on to say how his God, "dwells not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He gives Life to all" (Acts 17:24-25). Instead of idols who take life, Paul has a God who gives life. This was the key, a God who can give Life.
Within Athens there were many temples dedicated to the idols, so many the entire center of the city was one temple after another. According to mythology the gods and goddesses obtained their status through personal efforts, but the efforts were so "god like" no common man could reach the same plateau; however, Paul said God “has determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might chase after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us" (Acts 17:26-27). Paul was speaking of the God above all gods, yet could it be this God would really care about the common man? He pointed out there were the "times of ignorance", a time when man did make graven images, a time when God Winked, but the time has passed, the Day has come, the Light shines, yet there is a time Appointed when God will judge the world in righteousness. It was when they heard of the Resurrection of the dead; some mocked, but others said, "We will hear you again" (Acts 17:32). It wasn't the Cross alone, but the Resurrection sparking their interest, but why? Mythology has gods of death, even the Daemons and Genii, but mythology, like the devil, is centered in the fear of death. Jesus destroyed him who had the power of death, that is the devil, and delivered them who through Fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Heb 2:14-15). It's when these people saw the confidence Paul had in the Resurrection they knew this man had a Hope the idols couldn't deliver. When Paul preached Freedom from death and devils, the people listened.
According to mythology all people had a Daemon assigned to them at birth, this Daemon would identify with the person, as it guided them through life, it would die with them as well. Of course they termed some as good, and some as evil, much like some people look at witchcraft as white and black magic, witchcraft is witchcraft regardless of what name one puts on it, just as devils are devils.
Paul was speaking the truth in love, opening the revelation of Eternal Life, yet the goal of idol worship was simply to survive. Paul went beyond survival in the natural, by speaking of Jesus who through death took away the sting of the grave, giving Life to those who would Believe in Him. The point being the confidence of Paul in his Lord far out weighed the confidence the people had in idols. Among those who believed the words of Paul was one Dionyusius the Areopagite, (Mars' Hill was called Areopagos), Dionyusius was a priest assigned to the Hill, a high ranking member of idol worship. There was also a woman by the name of Damaris, her name tells us she was associated with the worship of Diana, yet from both believed, as others saw them believe, they joined. As high ranking in the act of idol worship as these two people were, the devil couldn't keep them from Jesus, they heard, believed then moved from the old kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God. The reason they failed to know of this “unknown God” was because they filled their minds with strongholds and fables, plus they never heard of the One God Paul knew.
After Paul left Athens, he went to Corinth, although Corinth had many idols, it still wasn't as bad as Athens (Acts 18:1). After facing the many idols in Athens, Corinth was easy, but not the Corinthians, there were some in Corinth who opposed Paul, not idol worshipers, not heathens, who were they? Paul entered a synagogue to preach Jesus to the Jews (Acts 18:4). In Athens some believed, some didn't, but in the synagogue he was faced with strong opposition, he said "henceforth I will go to the Gentiles" (Acts 18:6). Of course Paul made the same statement many times, but we can see there are the lost who fall down before idols, and there are lost who fall down before their theology, but lost is lost.
After seeing all those fables and idols, we wonder, "so what?". Because we see so many fables in theology it tells us how much the old man loves fables, or loves to get us to seek those areas where we can say we have something no one else has. The Truth is still part of the Armor, it’s still the hammer to the stronghold. In Ephesians we find the English word Truth, but we also find two different Greek words for the English word Truth. In Ephesians 1:13 and 4:21 it was the Greek Aletheia meaning The unveiled reality lying at the basis of, or agreeing with an appearance, manifestation and veritable essence of matter. In Ephesians 4:15, 4:25, 5:9 and 6:14 it's the Greek Aletheuo meaning Real as Not counterfeit, or To act genuinely, thus Aletheia is the Act, Aletheuo is the Way, we need both areas of Truth in our lives. The phrase "Spirit of Truth" is the Greek Aletheia, this same word was used when Jesus said, "I am the Truth" (Jn 15:26 & 14:6). Paul says we Hear the Word (Logos) of Truth, as we were Taught Truth, in both cases it's Aletheia, the Act or the Unveiling of Jesus, thus Jesus is the Word, by the Spirit of Truth in us we gain Truth.
When we Speak the Truth in Love, it’s a Way, although it suggests an Act (Eph 4:15). The same is true when we Speak the Truth to our neighbor, for we are members one of another (Eph 4:25). The Fruit of the Spirit includes Truth, thus the Righteousness and Goodness are Ways (Eph 5:9). How can we Walk in the Truth if we haven't Put On the New Man? We can't, thus, Putting on the New Man is akin to Taking on the Armor. When the New Man begins to bring Light to our thinking many things are exposed. We can't jump to Righteousness while avoiding the Truth, Truth must be first in line, then Righteousness, thus Truth is also related to the foundation of the Kingdom of God.
Perhaps the best example of proper Godly warfare is found in Love, as strange as it might sound. We know mountain moving begins when we “say” to the mountain, then we must believe God is able to move it, yet Paul says without Love we can move all sorts of mountains yet become nothing. We could burn ourselves up in service, yet without Love it profits nothing. Those are “good works”, but they don’t address the commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you”, neither do they address, “if you Love Me, do My Commandments”. Without Love as the basis, we allow pride to enter, failing to fight the fight after the battle. There are all sorts of reasons for doing things, some do things to look important, some to gain validation, or be seen of man, or to feel important, but there are those who do things because they Love the Lord.
There are some elements of Agape Love dictating our stand in Warfare. There are eight “do not’s” and eight “do’s” associated with Agape Love, the do’s are; 1) suffers long, 2) is kind, 3) rejoices in the truth, 4) bears all things, 5) believes all things, 6) hopes all things, 7) endures all things, and 8) never fails. The eight do not’s are, 1) envy, 2) vaunt itself, 3) puffed up, 4) behave unseemly, 5) seeks her own, 6) is easily provoked, 7) thinks evil, and 8) rejoices in iniquity. Now the warfare, we can put our mind on the do not’s, or watch making sure we never do the do not’s, but it’s the wrong approach, coupled to the wrong warfare. We can watch our flesh day and night, making sure we always appear morally correct and holy, but it’s still minding the flesh. We can Mind the Spirit after we impute the flesh dead thereby becoming Holy and Righteous by the New Man. The same is true with any form of Spiritual warfare, we can fight and fight not to slander, or we can speak words of Grace, thereby knowing we can’t slander. We can fight and fight to keep the eye gate shut, or we can allow the New Man to clean us of lusts to remove the fear of the eye gate. It stands to reason, if we fight Methods, we must have Methods, yet the Methods we use can’t be anything like the Methods we fight. We war against the rulers of darkness by having the attributes of Light. We war against spiritual wickedness by being spiritual in nature. We war against Principalities by growing up into all things, even the Head. We war against strongholds and fables by holding the Truth. We must have the proper Method, with the proper weapons, then we can put a kick in our step, with a song in our heart.
All this comes down to the phrase, “with man it’s impossible, but with God all things are possible”. We’re all different, no formula is going to bring all this together, yet the Greater He in us can. We must receive with meekness the Engrafted Word so our souls can be healed on the path of Righteousness. The greatest warfare of all is in the saving of our souls, a victory found in the Blood of Jesus. Follow the Master, He won this and gave us His victory.