An examination into the warfare of God
Since the dawn of mankind, we have all been active participants in an age old battle. From the origin of sin to the Battle of Armageddon, a war rages all because Satan desires a foothold in heaven. As Paul illustrates in Ephesians 6: 12, we are in a battle against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
John of Patmos quotes a voice in heaven as saying:
1Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. (Rev. 12:12)
In this life we have a very real enemy, and he has an army of his own. And so the attacks come, whether big or small, nation against nation, man against man, spirit against spirit. And yet, to even begin to understand this war, we must first understand our enemy and the battlefield we find ourselves in.
Even in the days of Jesus’s earthly ministry, there were those who sought access to the kingdom by force. Jesus made an interesting observation when he said, (Matthew 11:12) “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”
Sadly, we see this same “force” at work within the church today. There are those who seek to force the Holy Spirit to conform to their own desires. This force, Jesus witnessed as violent, causes damage to the kingdom. It is a weakness in the wall of an otherwise fortified city.
Still, for so many, taking is easier than obeying. And therein lies the first battlefield. The front lines of this violent war…the heart.
Know whom you serve
In Genesis 12 God promises Abraham he will make a great nation from him and that his decedents will claim the land of Canaan. God tells him he will be a blessing, and that in him shall all families of the earth be blessed. But why did God promise him his generations would dwell in Canaan, of all places?
Because God had plans to establish a foothold of his own. And Abraham was faithful to the extent that God credited it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:22). Such was Abraham’s faithfulness that everywhere he traveled throughout the land, he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. Effectually, petitioning God to come dwell among them, even in pagan lands.
Through Abraham’s faithfulness (righteousness), God was advancing His camp, and preparing a way, that thru him, all families of the earth would be blessed.
Abraham was claiming his promise. And his claiming was in obedience to God’s voice.
Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven…. Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:8-20)
By contrast, the Canaanites are described in the Bible as a wicked, idolatrous, and fierce people. Descendants from Ham, the cursed son of Noah. The Israelite spies whom Moses sent into Canaan reported what they described as the descendants of Anak (Numbers 13:28, 33) – giants, whom by comparison, the Israelite’s saw themselves as grasshoppers. The Israelites were so afraid of these large inhabitants that they refused to claim the land God had promised them. In the end, only two, Caleb and Joshua were bold enough to enter. With the exception of Joshua and Caleb, that entire generation of Israelites was denied entry into Canaan, because of their lack of faith.Obedience is required.
In due season, Joshua –descendant from Abraham – was commissioned by God to fulfil the promise God had made. Joshua, understanding his commission, declares, (Joshua 24:14-15) “…Choose you this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Understanding whom you serve is critical. But it starts with a choice. Joshua acted in faith on God’s promise and entered enemy lands.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28).
Do not be afraid. No man has the power to remove you from the hand of God.
Know your commission
Loosely defined, a commissioned officer is a commanding officer in a unit. It is a ranked soldier who understands his authority. Jesus remarked on the eagerness of men to snatch and carry off the riches of heaven’s blessings like spoil from a conquered city. (Matthew 11:12) It grieved him that there were (and still are) those who would seek to take the kingdom for selfish gain. He even compares them to children who sit in marketplaces calling for attention to their games.
There is no power in this type of action. It foolishly misses the purpose of giving mankind access to the kingdom. Jesus clearly defines the commission of his followers (Matthew 28: 18-20) when he says, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The church received its commission upon the death and resurrection of Christ. Just as Joshua received his commission upon the death of Moses. (Joshua 1:1-18) The LORD commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous, and to not be afraid, neither dismayed, but that the LORD God would be with him wherever he would go. (Joshua 1:9)
Both commissions were given with the promise that they will not have to fight alone, and both commissions give a directive to take ground from the enemy.
Why then are some acting like children playing games in the marketplace, while the enemy is waging war on God’s people?
There is no authority in attempting to force God’s hand to your own benefit. Know whom you serve. If you are not obedient to your commission, you are in the enemy’s camp.
Know your battlefield
Before Joshua was able to take the walled city of Jericho, the LORD spoke to him, directing his every move. After the miraculous drying up of the Jordan River so that they crossed over into the Promised Land, the LORD instructed Joshua to remove twelve stones from the river, out of the place where the priest had stood with the ark, and take them to their campsite. (Joshua 4:1-5) Joshua did so, calling twelve men, one out of every tribe. Joshua explained the meaning of the twelve stones was so that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that you might fear the LORD your God for ever. (Joshua 4:24)
By comparison, the bride of Christ is described as a walled city with gates and foundation stones. (Rev 21: 9-27) Specifically, twelve gates representative of the twelve tribes, with an angel stationed at each gate. Additionally there are twelve foundation stones, representing each of the twelve tribes, and twelve walls, with the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. But John of Patmos notes, that in the new city, there was not an ark or temple within, for the LORD God and the lamb are the temple of it.
Needless to say, at the time, of Joshua, the ark of the testimony served as the seat of God among his people. Joshua’s obedience in something as small as pulling stones from a river set the stage for a sweeping victory. Still, Joshua waited on the LORD to take Jericho.
And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, what saith my Lord unto his servant? And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15)
Only through Joshua’s obedience and decision to serve the LORD whole heartedly was God able to remove the reproach of Egypt from them and make pagan land holy. Joshua may have had to face some faith shaking situations along the way to taking Jericho, but the LORD was with him. Every step of the way.
In preparation to taking the walled city, the LORD commanded him to take his men of war, and march the city once a day for six days. (Joshua 6:1-4) But that also, the ark was to be brought as well, with seven priest bearing seven trumpets before the ark, they were to blow each day and on the seventh day, they were to compass the city seven times, and the priests should blow their trumpets, and the people were to shout with a great shout. (Joshua 6:5)
In Revelation, John is shown a prophetic vision of a coming battle, in which seven angels stand before God and they are given seven trumpets. He then sees, a golden alter before the throne, in which an angel mixes incense with the prayers of the saints, the smoke from which ascended up before God.
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. (Rev 8:2,6)
Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew about binding and loosing? What is done on earth, is done in heaven. Certainly the battle described in Revelation is a future conflict, and the battle at Jericho is, for us, in the past. But the Commanders of the armies on the battlefield have never changed. There is a purpose in all things God ordains.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Heb. 13: 8) If you want victory, know whom you serve.
Know that victory is the Lord’s
And it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. 16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city. (Joshua 6:16)
Joshua declared victory in boldness of faith before the walls ever came down.
20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20)
Likewise in the final battle as described in the book Revelation, the trumpets sound, and voices are heard in heaven proclaiming victory.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever… And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail (Revelation 11:15, 19-20)
In both battles, victory is proclaimed before the battle begins. Claiming is more than believing. It is faith in action.
In comparing the two battles, a lot of parallels can be made. But the most significant are the understanding that prayer reaches the throne room of God and has the power to bring heaven to earth, faith is acting in obedience. Aligning your heart with God’s word, knowing his voice, accepting that the battle is inevitable for the present time, learning to lean not on your own understanding, and when to take your sword and declare victory in Jesus’s name, are all necessary combat skills.
Battles aren’t won in our time, they are won in God’s time. He is a God of peace, but he is also a Commander of heavenly host. And you have been called to battle.
Know whom you serve.
Know your commission.
Know the battlefield.
Know that victory is the Lord’s.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (John 1:1-4)
The spirit of antichrist is already at work in the church. Many who claim to be men and woman of God are opening gates that are allowing the enemy in. Yes, you have been called to battle, but you have also been given all you need to succeed. Start using your commission and take ground from the enemy.
The Bride is preparing for her wedding day. Will the devil not know what is to come?
“There is only one place the devil has a right to be and that’s under your feet.” – R.W. Shambach
Submittes by Christy Peers