Know your enemy

  12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12

 

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Sun Tzu: The art of war

 

Words of wisdom from a wise man who knew all about war.  Powerful words that apply to spiritual warfare.     If you don't know your enemy and you don't know yourself, you have no idea how to defend against him, let alone defeat him.  We know from the bible that the enemy is Satan and his army of demons.  What's amazing is that many people, Christians included, do not believe there is a Devil and yet Jesus referred to Satan many times calling him the evil one, the devil, even the ruler of this world.

Matthew 13:36-43 RSV

  • Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." He answered, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world, and the good seed means the sons of the kingdom; the weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of man will send His angels, and they will gather out of His Kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear"

John 12:31-32 RSV

  • "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."

John 8:43-44 RSV

  • "Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Matthew 13:19 RSV

  • "When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in his heart"

(Matthew 12:24-28 RSV)

  • "But when the Pharisees heard it they said, "It is only by Beelzebul [Baalzebub (Hebrew) or Beelzebul (Greek) means lord of the flies], the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons." Knowing their thoughts, He said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand; and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you"

So, we know that Satan is the enemy defined by Christ himself.  So the first question is, who is Satan and where did he come from? 

He was the former Lucifer, the most intelligent, beautiful, highest ranking angel of creation.  His title was the anointed Cherub who covers. The Bible does not describe the anointed Cherub who covers.  It does describe the four remaining Cherubs who guard God’s throne and transport it from place to place in Ezekiel chapter 1:1-21.  Jewish tradition suggests that Lucifer’s position had been above or before God’s throne as the anointed Cherub that covers.

 

 “ ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.  So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.  So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. 18By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries.  So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.

 

Ezekiel 28:12-18

*Note the New King James Bible adds, "The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.” Timbrel’s and pipes were musical instruments like tambourines and flutes which were designed and built into Lucifer by God.  Which seems to indicate that beautiful music flowed through and around Lucifer which is why he is believed to have lead the angelic choirs in worshiping God?

Can you imagine how beautiful Lucifer must have looked with the light of God reflecting through and off all the precious stones and gold he was covered with?  That combined with incredible music flowing through and around him.  Wow! He was spectacular and he knew it!  And that became the root of his problem! 

Lucifer's fall

Again, tradition indicates that Lucifer lead the angelic hosts in praise and worship of God.  He was the seal of perfection, wisdom and beauty until it went to his head.  Somewhere along the line Lucifer began to crave worship for himself.  In short Lucifer developed "I" problems. 

 

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Isaiah 14:12-15

 

Ezekiel 28: 16-17 says:

Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings.

                       

Why did Lucifer fall? Pride!

"I will be like the most High."  He wanted to be worshiped and adored.  In his heart and mind he began to dream of rebelling against God and putting himself on the throne of all creation.

It's interesting that the originator of sin should have "I" problems. 

Notice that "I" is the selfish heart of sIn. 

The Sin Process

The bible defines the action of sin as a three step process James 1:14-15.

14. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  15. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

James 1:14-15

 

Step one: Identify the lust of the heart

 

James used the word δελεάζω (deleázō bait") – "…. is drawn away" which means to bait a hook or set a trap with bait; (figuratively) entice a victim into a moral trap, luring them in through their own selfish impulses. James used the word ἐπιθυμία (epithymia desire), for lust which is defined as: craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden The word “lust” means a longing or craving or a strong desire; a wish; sexual appetite; an expressed wish.

 

Over the thousands of years of human history the devil and his evil armies have skillfully learned to identify human weaknesses, to pinpoint the lust of our heart.  Once he identifies our weaknesses he moves on to step two.

 

Step Two: Enticement

 

The word “entice” means draw on by exciting hope or desire; to allure or attract; to stimulate or excite.  The devil is a master of stimulating our desires.  He knows how to implant mental pictures, to stimulate our desires through touch, smell and sound.  He whispers in a sultry voice “No one will ever know! No one will see! Nothing will happen!  You won’t get pregnant!  You won’t become addicted.”  “Don’t worry, just think how good it will feel!” “Just do it, go ahead, what can happen?”

A example of this process is a fish and a fishing lure.  Fish have only two desires in life, to eat and make more little fishes.  The fish is swimming along, hungry with a rumbly in his tumbly.   He hears a plop in the water and looks up to see what looks like a wounded minnow struggling through the water.  Food! His stomach starts to growl.  But a warning goes off in his tiny little fish brain, “minnows don’t swim in the open water like that!” he reasons to himself, “but this one is wounded and all alone.  All I have to do is race out these weeds and grab it before another fish does.”  He watches the lure wobbling through the water.  His stomach rumbles, he is getting hungrier by the second.  What should he do? Remain in the safety of the weeds and stay hungry?  Or, swim rapidly out, swallow the minnow and race back to the safety of the weeds?  

Fishing lures are designed to attract and excite fish, fooling them into thinking that what they “see” is an easy delectable meal.  Their desire “to eat” is stimulated.  The enticement “the lure” looks and moves like a wounded minnow, frog or insect; their favorite foods.  What the fish doesn’t know is the lure has hooks hidden in it.

 The fish watches the lure wobble through the water.  His stomach rumbles, the lure looks so good he has to have it.  In a flash he makes his decision, shoots out of the weeds flying through the water, closes his eyes and sucks the lure in his mouth.  However, the experiences are far from what he expected.  The hook attached to the lure bites deeply into his jaw, and no matter how hard he fights he is pulled from the safety of his home into an environment he would never choose and then death.

Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:15) .

Lucifer lusted after God’s throne.  He fed upon his lust until it grew to consume him and sin was conceived in the heart of an angel.  When his sin was full grown, he began to act on that sin by throwing out his lures of enticement to his fellow angels to rebel against God. 

16Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.  So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.  So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.

In his exalted position, Lucifer traveled among the rank and file of Heaven carefully seeking out angels of every rank, seducing them into following him in rebellion.   What did he offer them? Advancement in rank, pleasure, power?  Only God knows.  However, Revelations 12:3 says that Satan's powers of persuasion/enticement were so great that he successfully persuaded one third of the angels in heaven to join him in mutiny against God.  The rebellion failed.  Lucifer and his angels were cast down to earth to become Satan and his demons.

But Satan wasn’t finished. Even in defeat, he defied God and brought sin and rebellion to mankind!

Enticement is the devil and his demons number one weapon to lure people into the traps of sin. Satan’s lures, however, are much subtler.  He displays sin in beautiful packages offering tiny bites of enticements and pleasure, hiding the hooks until he drags his victims down a slippery spiral of sin that pull its victims downward to spiritual death. 

Though defeated, Lucifer/Satan is still an incredibly intelligent, powerful foe that is remorseless, evil, and morally bankrupt.  His rebellion failed, but the war is not over, because he brought it to earth in the Garden of Eden!  His first victims were Adam and Eve; Genesis chapter 3.  He convinced them to rebel against God by eating the forbidden fruit.  And, through the fall of Adam, Satan gained dominion of earth.  Along with him he brought his host of demonic forces, referred to variously in the New Testament as principalities, powers, rulers, authorities, world forces of darkness, and spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.  

But we have hope in Christ.

13  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

The titles and names the Bible attributes to the fallen Lucifer are as follows:

 

Abaddon

Revelations 9:11  They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).

Accuser

Rev 12:10  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.

Beelzebub

Matthew 12:24  But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons."

Devil

Matthew 4:1  Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Evil One

Matthew 13:19  When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

Prince of the Power of the Air

Ephesians 2:1-3   1And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 

Roaring Lion

1 Peter 5:8  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Ruler of this world

John 12:31  The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out.

 

Some of Satan's Powers

Tempting to Disobedience

Genesis 3:4; 1chronicles 21:1

Slandering Saints

Job 1:9

Disease

Job 2:7

Opposing the Righteous

Zechariah 3:1

Removing the Good Seed

Matthew 13:19

Sowing Tares

Matthew 12:39

Ruining the Body

Luke 13:16

Instigating Sin

1 Chronicles 21; John 13:2

Preying on People

Revelation 2:10

 

Satan’s Weapons

 

Lie’s/ Murder

John 8:44

Deceit

Gen 3:4-6; 2 Cor 4:14; 2 Cor 11:3; Rev, 12:9; Rev 20:3 &10

Discouragement

 

Unbelief

 

Fear

 

Lust

 

Envy

 

 

Christians should be never underestimate the persuasiveness power of the prince of the power of the air.  He is a charismatic and seductive manipulator of the highest level.  His power is phenomenal and not to be taken lightly.  For example it is written that even Michael the Arch Angel respected that power.

But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

Jude 1:9

 

Satan’s cruelty and limitations

Contrary to popular belief Satan is not all powerful.  He also has limitations.  He is also a very cruel and merciless adversary. The story of Job offers insights into Satan’s malevolent cruelty and his limitations.  The story of Job shows how God put specific limitations on what Satan could do and could not do. 

Job chapter One:

1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.

4 His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom.

6 One day the angelscame to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”

9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.

12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.

Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

ATTACK #1

Satan planned his strategy against Job carefully, then launched his attack on an unsuspecting Job.  One day Job was going about his normal daily routine when a servant came rushing in panting:

  • Gasping for breath the servant blurted out, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby.  Then Sabeans suddenly came galloping in and killed all the other servants and drove the herds off. I’m the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
  • While he was still speaking, another servant came rushing in exclaimed, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!
  • While he was speaking, another servant came and said, “The swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!
  •  While he was speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a powerful wind from the desert slammed into the house and it collapsed on them.  They are all dead, your sons, your daughters and all the other servants.  I managed to climb out of the ruble to tell you!

In one day Satan ruthlessly took everything from Job, including his family and his livelihood.

Reeling Job tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship  and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.[c]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

 

Time passed and once again it was time for the angels to present themselves to God (Job chapter 2).

2 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

4 Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”

6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

 

ATTACK #2

 Satan's attack was merciless.  He infected Job with boils that covered his entire body. 

 

Boils are painful, itching bacterial infections of hair follicles. They are sores that are slightly raised above the skin surface and have a visible core of puss. Boils most commonly occur on the face, back of the neck, buttocks, upper legs and groin area, armpits, and upper torso even on the bottoms of the feet.   Boils are tender and sore to the touch and itch insatiably. The bible says that Job’s torment was so intense that he took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself trying to relieve the painful itch.  Needless to say that head to toe boils would be a miserable condition making it impossible for Job to get comfortable or even sleep.  Satan couldn’t kill Job but he made sure he made him as miserable as possible.

Job’s turmoil was intense yet he refused to curse God even though his friends and even his wife said “Job curse God and die!”  Job continued to worship God despite his pain and loss. What happened to Job in the long run?

The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first.  He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.  And he also had seven sons and three daughters. ---- Nowhere in all the land were found women as beautiful as Jobs daughters and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.  After this Job lived a hundred and forty years.  He saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.

Job 42:12-16

Satan Does Not have Authority over Christians

HERE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT KEY FOR CHRIISTIANS TO REMEMBER:

  • 2 Timothy 1:7
  • Romans 8:1
  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

But that does not mean he and his demons can't make life miserable to Christians.

Satan Does have Authority over Non Believers

  • Acts 26:18
  • 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

 

DEMONS

Satan is not omnipresent(meaning everywhere at once) however, sometimes it seems like he's omnipresent. Why?  Because he has a vast, highly organized army of demons spread across the globe doing his will.  Who are these creatures?  The bible does not specifically say where demons originated.  However, most biblical scholars believe they are the fallen angels Lucifer lead in rebellion against God.  They are cold hearted, intelligent, malevolent, evil spirits and tricksters, and ruthless. They exist in a governmental/army like rank structure serving Satan. 

Scriptures concerning demons:

14When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15“Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”  17“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.”18Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. 19Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”[21]

Matthew 17:14-21

28When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,c two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

30Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

32He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. 

Matt 8:29

33In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34“Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

35“Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.

Luke 4:34

 11Whenever the impure spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 12But he gave them strict orders not to tell others about him.

Mark 3:11

 

Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

Luke 4:41

 The enemy is real, thoroughly entrenched and set against Christianity.  The Bible says that the Holy Spirit restrains and holds back Satan and his demonic hordes, keeping them from totally destroying the world until the time God has declared (2 Thessalonians 2:7).  When the Holy Spirit releases His hold, Satan and his armies will make this world a living nightmare. That’s when the lawless one (the anti-Christ) will be revealed and turned loose on the world.   I believe the countdown has begun and the pieces are being set in place for the rise of the anti-Christ.  Now more than ever, Christians need the armor of God to survive. 

Sun Tzu was right! But I would take it one step further, “Know your enemy, know God, know your bible, know yourself, know your armor. Put it on and learn how to use it!”  The battle’s are fierce and the war is long.  But praise God we know who wins in the end.

 

Refecting Christ's Light

RECOMMENDED READING

DEALING WITH ADVERSITY

Both of these books available on Amazon.com

 

 

 

 
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