Spiritual Warfare ESV

When you become a Christian, you become a part of the “army” of God.  It is not a natural army with guns and swords, but a spiritual one that is fighting for the will of God to be done throughout this world.

2 Cor 10:3-5  For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.  4  The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  (NIV)

There are three “battlefronts” or places where a Christian must fight in the spirit.  They are:

  1. Our Flesh
  2. Life
  3. Satan

We fight our flesh when our human will does not want to pray or fast or be faithful to the things of God.  We fight against life through everyday duties and trials that come from simply being alive on this planet, such as bills, flat tires, taxes, and unexpected emergencies.  Through all of these things we must be faithful to God’s Word and purpose for our life.  This lesson, though, is about the spiritual warfare that comes from the attacks that Satan would try to bring against us.  Not everything bad that happens to us is from Satan, but the devil does try to bring havoc, doubt, and discouragement into the lives of Christians.  The Apostle Paul put it like this:

Eph 6:10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

There are four “categories” of evil spirits that are mentioned here against which we fight.  The terms used here indicate that there is an order of organization to the evil spirits within this world.  Satan is not omnipresent (able to be everywhere at once) and so he must dispatch his demonic angels and assign them to specific areas and jobs.

The Angels of the Lord

Originally, all of the angels were created to be “ministering spirits” for the Lord’s purpose.  The scriptures speak of their being “millions and millions” of angels.  They were all created by God in the beginning.  There are only four angels mentioned by name in all of scripture, one is an archangel, one is a cherub, the other 2 we know little about.

  1. Michael – He is the only angel in scripture called an archangel. Every time that he is mentioned in scripture, he is fighting or leading a battle in the spiritual realm. It was Michael that fought with Satan over the dead body of Moses (Jude 1:9).  He also helped the messenger angel get through with an answered prayer to Daniel (Daniel 10).  In the last days, Michael will fight against the Antichrist and Satan (Daniel 12:1; Revelation 12:7-9).
  1. Gabriel – Every time Gabriel is mentioned in scripture, he is delivering a message from God. He delivered the message of the revelation of prophecy to the prophet Daniel (Daniel 8; 9).  It was also Gabriel who appeared to Zacharias and told him that he would soon have a son that would be the forerunner of Christ, and he was also the angel that told Mary that she would be overshadowed by the Holy Ghost and conceive the Messiah (Luke 1).  It will probably be Gabriel that sounds the trumpet signaling the Rapture of the Church (I Thessalonians 4:16).
  1. Satan – The “guardian” angel. He was cast from his place in God’s kingdom because he desired to be worshipped instead of God.  The scripture also refers to him as the devil.  We’ll talk more about him in detail in a moment.
  1. Abaddon (destruction) or Apollyon (destroyer). Possibly mentioned a few times in the Old Testament (Job 26:6, 22; 31:12; Ps 88:11; Pr 27:20) and once in the New Testament, Rev 9:11 in which he is simply referred to as the angel of the bottomless pit.

There are many other angels and functions mentioned in scripture.  There are particular angels that are assigned to fly around the throne of God night and day and worship Him continually (Revelation 4:6-9).  

In short, there are at least four distinct types of “angels” in scripture:

  1. Seraphim having six wings and one face – Isaiah 6:1-3.
  2. Angels having six wings and four faces – Revelation 4:6-9.
  3. Cherubim having four wings and four faces – Ezekiel 1:5-25; 10:7-22.
  4. Cherubim having two wings and one face – I Kings 8:6-7.

These angels are obedient to the will of God and help Him carry out His will.  They also protect true believers in God: 

Ps 91:11-12 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 

Ps 34:7 The angel of the Lord  encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Where the Devil Came From

The mastermind of the demonic spiritual empire is Satan who has many other titles in scripture such as “serpent, the accuser of the brethren, Beelzebub, devil, father of lies, son of perdition, lying spirit, spirit of the Antichrist, the Dragon, etc…”  I like to point out that the name “Lucifer” is actually a Latin word and is not in the Hebrew Old Testament, nor is it used in the Greek New Testament. It was brought into the King James Bible due to their reliance upon the Latin Vulgate, a flawed Latin translation of the Scriptures. I say that to simply point out that Satan was never called by the name of “Lucifer” in Scripture.

Satan started as a guardian cherub created by God, whether or not there were others like him is unknown.  There are two places in scripture that give particular insight into what caused Satan to transform into what we now know as the devil:

Isa 14:12-15 How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart,

 ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ 15  But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. 

Ezek 28:13-17 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire,  emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you,  O guardian cherub,

from the midst of the stones of fire. 17  Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.

It is as if during these prophecies, God allowed some insight to the origins of Satan.  These scriptures paint a vivid picture of Satan’s early days. His beauty and talent began to affect Satan and caused him to desire praise and worship and adoration for himself.  He tried to ascend to the throne and take God’s place, and was cast from his position.  This is why Jesus said:

Luke 10:18 And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

In short, Satan is not the opposite of God.  He does not have a pitchfork and red tail.  He does not live in hell.  He is a fallen angel that is jealous of the attention and praise of which only God is worthy and knows that his time is short and that he will end in defeat.  Satan’s goal is to take as many people with him into the lake of fire by causing them to rebel against the plan of God in their life just as he did.  Only God has all power.  Satan is subject to God’s power.  Satan can only have power within our life if we allow him through disobedience to God’s Word.

Weapons of our Warfare

Thankfully, we can overcome the devil and be victorious.  God has given us “weapons” with which to fight our spiritual battles.  Here are some of the many “weapons” available to Spirit-filled Christians:

  1. Submission to God

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

  1. The Name of Jesus

Mark 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 

Luke 10:17 The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”  

  1. The Power of the Holy Ghost

Acts 1:8a But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,

  1. Faith

Matt 17:19-20 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

  1. The Blood of Jesus
  2. The Word of our Testimony
  3. Putting God’s Kingdom First

Rev 12:10-12 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.


We can be victorious against the evil forces of this world!  God has given us the ability to defeat every trick that Satan would try to bring against us.  

2 Cor 10:4-6 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6  being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 

Eph 6:13-18 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 

1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

The God that lives inside of us is much greater than every demon in hell!  In the end, it will only take one angel to bind up Satan (Revelation 20:1-3).  Do not allow the devil to cause fear to arise in your heart or cause doubt in God’s Word, for if we stand upon God’s promises and submit ourselves to Him, we cannot help but be victorious!

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