Winning the Spiritual War – Part 01

Winning the Spiritual War – Part 01

If you think things are busy on Earth, wait until you see what’s happening in the heavens. If you win the battle above, it will bring a breakthrough on Earth. This is one conflict that the Church is uniquely qualified and equipped to fight effectively. This article will give you a much-needed perspective.

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 – Ephesians 6:12 (ESV).

It is as if we are living in a tumble clothes dryer that is in its final spin mode. Universities across the Western world have been battlefields with pro-Hamas protestors challenging their schools or, in some cases, taking over them. At Columbia University in New York City, there was a police pushback. The impression is that the upheaval has less to do with the Middle East conflict and more to do with a leftist revolution. 

In addition, there is inflation, runaway government spending, serious wars in Ukraine and Israel, and a decided change in the world order. In other words, we are in a time of shaking and somehow God is involved in it.

The Scripture teaches us that there will be a shaking in the last days. Haggai 2:6 and Hebrews 12:25-29 speak about it. The main purpose is to rearrange the world order to accommodate God’s kingdom: to shake the old world order out of business to usher in the divine. A secondary purpose is to wake up and sober up those who are spiritually sleeping or drunken. Some look at it either as a judgment for unrighteousness or a chastening to the wayward righteous.

The turmoil on Earth is merely the proxy war for the conflict in the heavens. The shaking on earth shows that all the events listed above are spiritual – and the solution is equally spiritual. The Biblical Christian life is a blessed, abundant, adventurous life but it is also a fight. We are called to be good soldiers of Christ as we fight the good fight of faith. Since the solution to the problems is spiritual, we need to understand and exercise spiritual warfare.

How Did We End Up In This Conflict?

When God created the world, it was good. Everything He makes is good, indeed, very good. As one preacher put it, ‘God doesn’t make junk.’ 

So what went wrong? We know what went wrong on earth: the first couple sinned by eating the forbidden fruit in violation of God’s clear command. But what happened in the heavens? To gain insight, we go to the Word of God.

In Isaiah 14:12-20, the prophet starts addressing the King of Babylon but then changes gears and speaks to Lucifer, son of the morning. He had lofty ideas of himself. He said he would ascend into heaven, exalt his throne above God’s stars, and ascend above the heights of the clouds. Then, waxing more brazen, he declares he will ascend above the heights of the clouds and be like the most High God. Then came the slap down: Lucifer will be brought down to hell.

A similar thing happened in Ezekiel 28:11-19, where a prophecy to the King of Tyre ended up describing Satan’s fall. He started off being ‘full of wisdom’ and the ‘perfection of beauty’ indeed he had been to Eden the garden of God. He was the anointed cherub who covered and walked upon God’s holy mountain. He was perfect in his ways from the day he was created until iniquity was found in Him. The result: He will be cast out of the holy mountain and destroyed.

In other words, sin in the heavens became sin on the earth. And the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

In his hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, the reformer Martin Luther wrote these words:

For still our ancient foe,

Doth seek to work us woe,

His craft and power are great,

And armed with cruel hate,’

On earth is not his equal,’

Is the Day of the Lord Approaching?

The ‘Day of the Lord’ is a prominent theme in Scripture, particularly Joel’s prophetic Book. In short, after humanity has governed the earth, God will have His day and His kingdom. We are called to be ‘watchful’ of what is happening in the world, line it up to Scripture, and ‘pray without ceasing.’

A prominent passage on this, with some choice specifics, is 2 Thessalonians 2:1ff-5 (ESV): 

We ask you, brothers 2. not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4. who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.5. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things.

What are some takeaways from this passage?

  • The much anticipated Day of the Lord has yet to happen.
  • Before it comes, there will be a ‘rebellion’ or ‘falling away’ (v. 3).
  • The man of sin/lawlessness must be revealed. He is the ‘fake Christ’ who precedes the coming of the true Christ? (v. 3)
  • He will go to God’s temple, declare himself to be God, demand worship … or else. This is called the abomination of desolation, spoken of in Daniel 9 and 12. This is a clear and unique sign of the transition from the earthly kingdom to the heavenly. According to the Book of Revelation, the wrath of God follows.
  • Verse 7 says the mystery of lawlessness is already present, but the Restrainer hinders his full manifestation. Who is this restrainer? The best answer I heard is ‘the Holy Spirit in the Church.’ As long as there are Bible-based, Spirit-filled Christians on earth, praying, evangelising, and Christian discipleship, evil cannot have full sway.

With the war against truth raging, lying – which is the devil’s language – leads to lawlessness, which leads to rebellion, which culminates in violence.

Only the Church is equipped to face, fight, and win this spiritual battle. In our next article, we will learn how.