OVERCOMING DEMONIC STRONGHOLDS:

breakstronhlds.jpg

Before demonic strongholds can be overcome, we should understand exactly what demonic strongholds are. The word stronghold appears only once in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 10:4), and the Greek word translated “stronghold” means “a fortification such as a castle.” In this passage, the apostle Paul is instructing the church at Corinth on how to fight against and “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). They do this, not by using the weapons of the world, but by “divine power.” Lofty arguments and opinions are the result of pride and evil and vain imaginations, the very strongholds in which demons reside. This, then, is the essence of demonic warfare—the power of God to overcome the strongholds of demons.

In Ephesians 6:10–18, Paul describes the resources that God makes available to His followers—the armor of God. Here we are told how, in an attitude of humility and dependence, we are to avail ourselves of God’s resources. Note that we are to be strong “in the Lord” and “in the power of His might.” We do not take on demonic strongholds in our own strength. We protect ourselves with the first five pieces of defensive armor and wield the one offensive weapon—the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. We do all of this “with all kinds of prayers and requests . . . praying for all the Lord’s people” (verse 18). In verses 12 and 13 of Ephesians 6, Paul writes, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 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.”

One habit that every believer needs to develop is focusing on Ephesians 6:10–18 and “getting dressed” spiritually every day. It would go a long way to giving victory over the devil and his schemes. Here Paul states that, while we walk in the flesh (we are living and breathing in this human body), we do not war according to the flesh (we can’t fight spiritual battles with fleshly weapons). Instead, as we focus on the resources and weapons of spiritual strength, we can see God give us victory. No demonic stronghold can withstand praying Christians wearing the full armor of God, battling with the Word of God, and empowered by His Spirit.

Prophet Nathan Emol

WHY DOES GOD ALLOW SATAN TO ATTACK US?

1 v8rKz-S3WiQO7TfS8uElng.jpeg

Satan’s attacks against us come in various forms. 1) He uses the ungodly world (which he controls, 1 John 5:19) to stir up fleshly lusts within us that tempt us to sin. 2) He uses the unbelieving world to attempt to deceive us with worldly “wisdom” opposed to God’s truth. 3) He uses false Christians to try to mislead us into a false gospel centered on a false Jesus. 4) He sometimes physically afflicts us or our loved ones with sickness, crime, tragedy, or persecution. Knowing that God is the sovereign Ruler of the universe, we naturally ask, why does God allow Satan to attack us in these ways?

The Bible teaches that God allows Satan a certain amount of freedom (see Job 1:12), but that freedom is always limited. Satan cannot do all that he wishes. Satan chooses to attack God’s children (see 1 Peter 5:8), and his design is always evil; Satan is a murderer (John 8:44). In contrast, God’s design in allowing certain satanic attacks is always good; God loves His children (1 John 4:16). Joseph faced many satanic attacks in his lifetime, but in the end he could speak with confidence of two opposing purposes behind the same events: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good” (Genesis 50:20).

We cannot blame God for what Satan does. Our vulnerability to satanic attack started with Adam’s choice to follow Satan’s lying suggestions in the garden of Eden. When Satan attacked Job through the loss of his family, wealth, and health, Job didn’t blame God. Notice Job 1:21–22, “And he (Job) said: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”

As believers experience the attacks of Satan, they can trust the truth of Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” Therefore, the assumption is that we will experience “good” things and “bad” things, but “all” of these things can be made to contribute toward “good” ends as God works them out. So even the attacks of Satan, although evil, can and will have a “good” result, ultimately, as God uses them to conform us to Christ, His Son (see Romans 8:29). Attacks from Satan, along with all other tribulations, can cause believers to love God more, resist Satan more, practice patience, and grow stronger in our faith in many other ways. Praise God for His sovereign protection. Thank Him for His plan to make everything—even Satan’s attacks—”work together for good” for you!

Prophet Nathan Emol

HOW, WHY AND WHEN DID SATAN FALL FROM HEAVEN?

satan-fall

Satan’s fall from heaven is symbolically described in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-18. While these two passages are referring specifically to the kings of Babylon and Tyre, they also reference the spiritual power behind those kings, namely, Satan. These passages describe why Satan fell, but they do not specifically say when the fall occurred. What we do know is this: the angels were created before the earth (Job 38:4-7). Satan fell before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:1-14). Satan’s fall, therefore, must have occurred somewhere after the time the angels were created and before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Whether Satan’s fall occurred hours, days, or years before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden, Scripture does not specifically say.

The book of Job tells us, at least at that time, Satan still had access to heaven and to the throne of God. “One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, ’Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the LORD, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it’” (Job 1:6-7). Apparently at that time, Satan was still moving freely between heaven and earth, speaking to God directly and answering for his activities. Whether God has discontinued this access is a matter of debate. Some say Satan’s access to heaven was ended at the death of Christ. Others believe Satan’s access to heaven will be ended at the end times war in heaven.

Why did Satan fall from heaven? Satan fell because of pride. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God. Notice the many “I will…” statements in Isaiah 14:12-15. Ezekiel 28:12-15 describes Satan as an exceedingly beautiful angel. Satan was likely the highest of all angels, the anointed cherub, the most beautiful of all of God’s creations, but he was not content in his position. Instead, Satan desired to be God, to essentially “kick God off His throne” and take over the rule of the universe. Satan wanted to be God, and interestingly enough, that is essentially what Satan tempted Adam and Eve with in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-5). How did Satan fall from heaven? Actually, a fall is not an accurate description. It would be far more accurate to say God cast Satan out of heaven (Isaiah 14:15; Ezekiel 28:16-17). Satan did not fall from heaven; rather, Satan was pushed.

Prophet Nathan Emol

HOW MUCH POWER DOES SATAN POSSESS?

angel_of_light.jpg

Satan was an angel created by God who turned against God’s authority (Isaiah 14:13) and became the head of a kingdom of evil spirits called demons, his “angels” (Matthew 25:41). His power both in the heavenly realm and on earth is great and should not be underestimated. However, while Satan and his forces are formidable enemies, Jesus Christ crushed Satan’s power, fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. The cross of Christ won the victory (John 12:31). “The prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:11), and Jesus will one day destroy Satan’s power completely and purify creation (2 Peter 3:10).

Satan’s power in the heavenly realm / spirit world:
Satan’s power has repute in the spiritual realm (Jude 1:9), where he has limited access to the presence of God (Job 1:6). The book of Job provides insight into the relationship between God and Satan. In Job 1:6-12, Satan stands before God and reports that he has been “walking up and down” on the earth (v. 7). God asks Satan if he has considered godly Job, and Satan immediately accuses Job of insincerity—he only loves God for the blessings God gives. “Stretch out your hand,” Satan says, “and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face” (v. 11). God grants Satan permission to affect Job’s possessions and family, but not his person, and Satan leaves. In Job 2, Satan comes again into God’s presence and is, this time, permitted to affect Job’s personal health. (The rest of the book is from Job’s perspective, providing an example of how to deal with suffering.)

This is an important passage because it shows Satan’s place in the spiritual realm. He is able to accuse God’s people in His very presence, and Jude 1:9 shows that even Michael the archangel needs the Lord’s help in overcoming him. However, Satan is obviously restrained from enacting his full fury; he is still a created being under God, and his power is limited.

Satan’s power on the earth:
Job 1 also reveals that Satan does enact evil and cause direct harm on the earth. The most well-known and important of his actions on earth occurred in the garden of Eden. Genesis 3 tells of Satan’s temptation of Eve, the “mother of all the living” (v. 20), and her subsequent first sin. It was this act, and that of Eve’s husband Adam, that brought sin into the world, and it is the reason all humankind must be redeemed from sin in order to be with God.

One day, Jesus met a woman who had been “crippled by a spirit for eighteen years” (Luke 13:11). Jesus attributes the infirmity to Satan, who had kept her “bound” (verse 16). Satan’s power was real, but it was easily overcome by our Lord: “He put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God” (v. 13). Jesus’ miracle was a clear demonstration of His authority over Satan.

Since his instigation of evil on earth, Satan has been named as the “prince,” “god,” or “ruler” of this world (John 14:30; cf. John 12:31; 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 1:13). He is the enemy of God and truth (Matthew 13:24-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12), and he does everything he can to tempt individuals (Genesis 3; Luke 22:31; 1 Timothy 3:7) and larger groups of people (1 Thessalonians 3:5; Revelation 2:10). He “leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9). Satan accomplishes this by various means, including appealing to man’s pride (1 Timothy 3:6; 1 Corinthians 4:6), interfering with the transmission of truth (Matthew 13:18-22, 38-39), and placing false believers within the church (1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Revelation 2:9; 3:9). In John 8:44, Jesus says that Satan “is a liar and the father of it.”

God still grants Satan some authority in this world, which means that his power is not yet completely broken—except in one area: his power of death. Hebrews 2:14-15 says that Jesus came as a man to die in order to “destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil,” a power Satan had held “from the beginning” (John 8:44). The salvation Jesus provides has released us from Satan’s stranglehold. Death has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Satan’s power – the conclusion:
The Bible says that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), and we must “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Yet Christians have a great hope, for Jesus Christ (John 16:33) and our faith in Him (1 John 5:4) have overcome Satan’s evil. “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Prophet Nathan Emol

WHO IS SATAN?

3.jpg

People’s beliefs concerning Satan range from the silly to the abstract—from a little red guy with horns who sits on your shoulder urging you to sin, to an expression used to describe the personification of evil. The Bible, however, gives us a clear portrait of who Satan is and how he affects our lives. Put simply, the Bible defines Satan as an angelic being who fell from his position in heaven due to sin and is now completely opposed to God, doing all in his power to thwart God’s purposes.

Satan was created as a holy angel. Isaiah 14:12 possibly gives Satan’s pre-fall name as Lucifer. Ezekiel 28:12-14 describes Satan as having been created a cherub, apparently the highest created angel. He became arrogant in his beauty and status and decided he wanted to sit on a throne above that of God (Isaiah 14:13-14; Ezekiel 28:15; 1 Timothy 3:6). Satan’s pride led to his fall. Notice the many “I will” statements in Isaiah 14:12-15. Because of his sin, God permanently removed Satan from his exalted position and role.

Satan became the ruler of this world and the prince of the power of the air (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2). He is an accuser (Revelation 12:10), a tempter (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5), and a deceiver (Genesis 3; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:3). His very name means “adversary” or “one who opposes.” Another of his titles, the devil, means “slanderer.”

Even though he was cast out of heaven, he still seeks to elevate his throne above God. He counterfeits all that God does, hoping to gain the worship of the world and encourage opposition to God’s kingdom. Satan is the ultimate source behind every false cult and world religion. Satan will do anything and everything in his power to oppose God and those who follow God. However, Satan’s destiny is sealed—an eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).

Prophet Nathan Emol