by Bill Burns
Life without warfare is impossible in the natural world as well as in the spiritual realm. The Christian is called to a life of war, and victory will only come when one is active in the war. We are called to walk in spiritual authority and power, which is necessary to establish the kingdom of God on the earth. The Christian is called to wage war on three levels.
Face to face warfare with Satan in where we overcome temptation and the seductions of the flesh and its nature. This is the first level of spiritual warfare, but I must make this point--all spiritual warfare must be done in the power of the Spirit, and therefore, all warfare produces real authority, which produces power. Even in this first level of warfare we "by the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body (flesh)" (Romans 8:13). Then, we will have overcome by resisting, and we will live in Him in victory for He always causes us to triumph.
The second level of spiritual warfare is hand to hand combat in which we enter into warfare for others by bringing truth (witnessing, preaching) to them or through intercession or by casting out demons, thus fulfilling the Great Commission in Mark 16:15-18. Please note that this type of ministry is only for those who have had victory in their own lives in face to face combat. Again, this is done by the authority of the Holy Spirit who is the finger of God. Luke 11:20 "But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you." And, by His commission and authority we cast out demons. Luke 10:18-19 And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
So now let's talk about the third level of spiritual warfare, and may it be so that the Spirit of the Living God open the eyes of our understanding regarding warfare in the heavenlies where the thrones of principalities and rulers of darkness are pulled down.
First, we acknowledge that principalities (Satan's princes) do exist. Daniel 10:13, 20 clearly show that there are princes in the heavenly places, and Ephesians 6;12 clearly tells us that we (the church) wrestle with (engage in warfare) the principalities, rulers of darkness. With these truths firmly established, the only question that remains is how do we wrestle? The word wrestle is pallo meaning to sway or vibrate with principalities. The vibration of prophetic proclamation comes against and causes the throne of principalities to begin to sway, until they topple over and come down. Again, this type of warfare does not take place in our own strength or power. 2 Cor 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
The weapons of our warfare (in the heavenlies--spiritual realm) are intercession by prophetic proclamation (speaking by the Holy Spirit), not bringing a railing accusation but through proclamation that declares the establishment of the Kingdom of God and commands Satan to get behind (a place of defeat) the kingdom and to get under the feet of God's rule. And, as ambassadors for Christ, we must engage the enemy.
In the Old Testament we have a shadow and type of warfare in the heavenlies called pulling down the high places, and you will notice that most did not do this, and therefore, a fullness of the kingdom was not established. In the New Testament we have an example of how this takes place. And now, we get to the heart of the matter, and when one is seeking truth we must go to the Truth, Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith, the Master teacher Himself, and we must examine the example that He left us with, and it is found in Luke chapters 3 and 4. Jesus is not warring on the first two levels of warfare, which we have discussed. The object of warfare is to establish kingdom rule. Luke 4:5-6 "Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, 'All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.'"
Herein the divine plan of spiritual warfare (in the heavenlies--spiritual realm) is revealed.
1. First, Luke 3:22 tells us that Jesus is baptized with the Holy Spirit. I believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential for those who are going to engage in spiritual warfare against Satan and his principalities (princes).
2. In Luke 4:2 Jesus is LED into spiritual warfare by the Holy Spirit. Warfare in the heavenlies is orchestrated by God who gives the gift of discerning of spirits, thereby revealing what principalities are ruling.
3. Jesus does not bring a railing accusation against Satan (neither do we), but He does speak the Word of God by the Spirit of God, and His main message is "Get Behind Me Satan!" In other words, the kingdom of God has come, and you are now behind (or under) My authority, and you must move out of the way--verse 13 says, "He (Satan) departed from Jesus."
The authority of the kingdom must first be proclaimed, this is how Jesus began His ministry. Matthew 4:17-- From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." So the question is, are we supposed to speak to Satan and his principalities? And, by whose authority are the principalities pulled down? Matthew 18:18 "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Mark 11:23 "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says."
What we bind and loose (by proclamation) on earth is done by Jesus in the heavenlies, for He is the Captain of the hosts (His angelic warriors), and it is His angels who pull down the strongholds (fortresses) that Satan establishes. The angels of God were there at the wilderness battle. Mat 4:11-- "Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him."
4. Now most would say the battle is won and is over at this point, but it has actually only begun. Luke 4:13 indicates that Satan may have lost this battle, but he hasn't lost the war yet because his departure has only been for a season.
Now, we must move on to the second phase of spiritual warfare which is to establish the kingdom (dominion) of God by following Christ's example. Luke 4:14 tells us that the establishment of the kingdom will be through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The next key is found in Luke 4:18--"The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed." The kingdom of God is going to be established through the anointing as the Word is preached, and by continuing to cast out demon powers wherever found (Luke 4:35, 36) and by healing the sick (Luke 4:40,41).
5. Okay, a bottom line...The principalities and powers that we wrestle with are pulled down (lose authority) by the establishment of the kingdom of God as the anointed servants of the Lord speak to (bind, rebuke and cast out) and as they continue to do the works of Jesus as He said we would in John 14:12 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father."
It is the continuation of the kingdom of God that destroys the rule of Satan's powers of darkness and the thrones of his rule will diminish in exact proportion to the rule of the kingdom of God in any given geographical area.
It is the responsibility of the church to confront principalities and powers by establishing the Kingdom of God first in their own lives and then by helping others, and thus establishing a witness to the people of God's Kingdom. Ephesians 3:9-12, "And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him."
The victorious Christian life is only available to those who are willing to engage the enemy. We must exercise the authority that we have been given, and if we do, victory is assured!