An Introduction to Spiritual Warfare
The Bible reveals that there is a spiritual realm which is unseen but which affects the physical world. The devil and his demons are waging a vicious and evil spiritual battle all around us, trying to thwart God's plans and trying to prevent people from becoming saved and entering God's kingdom. We as Christians need to know about this spiritual battle so that we are aware of the devil's schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11), so that we can take our stand against the devil's schemes (Ephesians 6:11), and so that we can protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our ministries (Ephesians 6:16). If we are blind to the battle and unaware of what is going on around us simply because we cannot directly see it, then it becomes easy for the devil to deceive us in clever, subtle ways and to prevent us from being effective at saving people and doing God's work here on earth.
This two-part series is intended to be an introduction to the subject of spiritual warfare. The point of this study is not to focus on demons but rather to gain a deeper understanding of who we are in Christ and the authority that we have over the demonic realm. Our focus must always be on Jesus, but in order to be effective soldiers for Christ it is helpful for us to understand the nature of our enemy. Scripture tells us that Jesus has
defeated the devil and his demons, and it says that Christians are God's warrior kingdom here on earth. It is beyond the scope of this discussion to delve into the specifics of how one actually "does" spiritual warfare, but these issues are discussed in the books listed at the end of this article and in many other good books which can be found at your local Christian bookstore.
For a self-deliverance procedure which might help you to rid yourself of demonic afflictions (physical or mental) that may be hindering your walk with Christ, please see my article called
How to Cast Afflicting Spirits Out of Your Life.
I and many others can personally attest that this type of self-deliverance procedure has allowed us to gain victory over areas of sin or physical affliction in our lives which we could not otherwise get victory over.
Do Demons Really Exist?
The idea of evil spirits and demonization is difficult for many people to accept. The "demon-possessions" mentioned in the Gospels are often considered to be nothing more than unscientific first-century explanations for physical diseases or mental illnesses.
However, the Bible is perfectly clear that demons exist. Consider the following passages:
"He [Jesus] called his twelve disciples to him and gave them
authority to drive out evil spirits
and to heal every disease and sickness." (Matthew 10:1)
Notice that Jesus Himself confirms the existence of demons. The argument could be made that the people of the first century were not very scientific or sophisticated and did not have our modern medical understanding when diagnosing diseases, but that argument cannot be used with Jesus, the Son of God! Either Jesus was lying or being deceptive (which is impossible for God - Hebrews 6:18), or else demons really do exist.
"[Jesus is speaking] Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,
drive out demons.
Freely you have received, freely give." (Matthew 10:6-8)
"[Jesus is speaking] And if
I drive out demons
by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if
I drive out demons
by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." (Matthew 12:27-28)
"Just then a man in their synagogue who was
possessed by an evil spirit
cried out, "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!"
"Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!"
shook the man violently and
came out of him with a shriek."
"When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a
man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torture me!" For
Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man.
Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the
into solitary places. Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because
many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss.
A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The
begged Jesus to let them go into them, and
he gave them permission.
demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs,
and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned." (Luke 8:27-33)
What Are Demons?
The following passages tell us that God is a spirit, that angels are spirits, and that the devil and his demons are angels:
"God is spirit,
and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)
So now we know that demons are actually angels (spirits) who made the decision to follow the devil in his rebellion against God. They are now dedicated to pure, vicious evil, which is why the Bible refers to them as "evil spirits."
"Are not all
sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)
"'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for
the devil and his angels.'"
"And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and
the dragon and his angels fought back.
But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called
the devil, or Satan,
who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and
with him." (Revelation 12:7-9)
"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to
the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago"
(1 Peter 3:18-20)
"For if God did not spare
sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment"
(2 Peter 2:4)
"And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home--these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day."
Where Do the Devil and His Demons Live?
In the popular imagination, in cartoons and comic strips, in books and TV shows and movies, the devil is pictured as living in and ruling from a place of fire and brimstone called "hell." This is an incorrect notion, however, because he has never been there! The place of "eternal fire" (Matthew 25:41, Jude 1:7), also called the "lake of fire" (Revelation 20:15), is a place of eternal punishment that has been
for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). The devil and his demons are not in hell, and in fact they have never been there before (Revelation 20:10). This "lake of fire" is also where those who died without Christ will go after Judgment Day (Revelation 20:15), where "the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever" (Revelation 14:11). This is why it is so incredibly important not to let opportunities for evangelism slip through our fingers!
"In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of
those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire."
"If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the
lake of fire."
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the
eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'"
"[After Christ has physically reigned on earth for a thousand years] And the devil, who deceived them, was
thrown into the lake of burning sulfur,
where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.
They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
"And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever.
There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." (Revelation 14:11)
According to the Bible, the spiritual forces of evil include rulers, powers, and authorities which live in the heavenly realms:
"In that day the LORD will
punish the powers in the heavens above
and the kings on the earth below." (Isaiah 24:21)
"His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to
the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms"
our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
"For by him all things were created: things
and on earth, visible and
thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things were created by him and for him." (Colossians 1:16)
disarmed the powers and authorities,
he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (Colossians 2:15)
"And the angels who did not keep their
positions of authority
but abandoned their own home--these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day." (Jude 1:6)
The fact that the spiritual forces of evil include rulers, authorities, and powers indicates that there is a demonic hierarchy or chain of command. But what do these rulers rule over? The Bible tells us that certain demons have control over territories here on earth:
"Then he [an angel] continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But
the prince of the Persian kingdom
resisted me twenty-one days."" (Daniel 10:12-13)
"So he [the angel] said, "Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will
return to fight against the prince of Persia,
and when I go,
the prince of Greece
will come" (Daniel 10:20)
How do we know that these "princes" are actually demons? Notice in the following passages that the term "prince" is often used to refer to angelic beings (both good and bad):
"But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then
[the archangel (chief angel) Michael], one of the
came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia." (Daniel 10:13)
"but first I [an angel] will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except
Michael, your prince.
And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)" (Daniel 10:21-11:1)
"At that time
Michael, the great prince who protects your people,
will arise." (Daniel 12:1)
"But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebub,
the prince of demons,
that this fellow drives out demons."" (Matthew 12:24)
"Jesus said, "This voice [God's voice] was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now
the prince of this world will be driven out.""
"I [Jesus] will not speak with you much longer, for
the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me,
but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. Come now; let us leave." (John 14:30-31)
"When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because
the prince of this world now stands condemned."
In the passages above, the terms "prince of this world" and "prince of demons" tell us that there is an evil kingdom and a hierarchy of command among demons, as the following passages also demonstrate:
"If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can
stand?" (Matthew 12:26)
So there is a hierarchy or chain of command among demons, with some demons having control over kingdoms, territories, and (to some degree) people. The devil has control of the whole world, and Christians are aliens and strangers living in enemy-occupied territory:
"Or again, how can anyone enter a
strong man's house
[Satan's kingdom] and carry off
[unsaved people] unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of
the ruler of the kingdom of the air,
who is now at work in those who are disobedient." (Ephesians 2:1-2)
"For he has rescued us from the
dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves" (Colossians 1:13)
"The god of this age
has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:4)
"To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live--
where Satan has his throne."
"The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads
the whole world
astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him." (Revelation 12:9)
"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than
the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it
seven other spirits more wicked than itself,
and they go in and
And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation." (Matthew 12:43-45)
"We know that we are children of God, and that
the whole world
is under the
of the evil one." (1 John 5:19)
"If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is,
you do not belong to the world,
but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." (John 15:19)
We are aliens and strangers living in an enemy-occupied world. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and we are here on earth as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:15-17)
"We are therefore
as though God were making his appeal through us." (2 Corinthians 5:20)
our citizenship is in heaven.
And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20)
"You adulterous people, don't you know that
friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect,
strangers in the world,
scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia" (1 Peter 1:1)
"Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially,
live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear."
(1 Peter 1:17)
"Dear friends, I urge you, as
aliens and strangers in the world,
to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul." (1 Peter 2:11)
We have now seen that there are spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, and that these evil forces include demons who are assigned authority over territories and people here on earth.
Have you noticed that there are pockets of sin in your city, areas where certain activities seem to be more prevalent? For example, where are the red-light districts? Where are the centers of pornography or strip joints or prostitution? In what part of town does gambling take place? Where are the high murder rates? Where are the deadliest traffic areas? Where do homosexuals tend to gather? If you think about it, you will probably realize that there are areas in various parts of your city which are known for their sinful activities. Why is that? Now that we have seen that certain spirits are assigned to rule over specific geographic regions, and that their intent is vile, malevolent, evil, and violent, we can begin to realize that the "unseen" spiritual battle for people's souls is not always unseen after all.
What Are the Devil and His Demons Able to Do?
The devil creates doubts and deceptions in people's minds, and he twists what God says in order to deceive us and tempt us into sinning:
"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman,
"Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"
"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.""
The devil can only do what God
him to do and nothing more. In the following verses, the devil incited people (the Sabeans and the Chaldeans) to attack, plunder, and kill, and he created atmospheric disturbances (fire from the sky and a mighty wind from the desert). All of these actions had deadly consequences for humans. The devil is a powerful and vicious enemy:
"The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he
has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and
the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword,
and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said,
"The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants,
and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said,
"The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword,
and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly
a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead,
and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"" (Job 1:12-19)
Again we see that the devil can only operate within God's parameters, and that he has the ability to afflict people with terrible diseases:
"The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he
is in your hands; but you must spare his life."
So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and
afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head."
"On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been
crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all."
Here are several more examples which demonstrate that God
evil spirits to perform deeds which ultimately carry out God's plans:
"Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and
an evil spirit from the LORD
tormented him. Saul's attendants said to him, "See,
an evil spirit from God
is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when
the evil spirit from God
comes upon you, and you will feel better." So Saul said to his attendants, "Find someone who plays well and bring him to me." ... David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, "Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him." Whenever
the spirit from God
came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and
the evil spirit would leave him.
[Notice that this is how David entered King Saul's service and thus was on hand to fight Goliath.]." (1 Samuel 16:14)
"After Abimelech had governed Israel three years,
God sent an evil spirit
between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech.
God did this
in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal's seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelech and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers." (Judges 9:22-24)
"Micaiah continued, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left.
And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?'
One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' " 'By what means?' the LORD asked. " 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said. " 'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the LORD. 'Go and do it.'
So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you.""
(1 Kings 22:19-23)
"[Jesus is speaking to the apostle Peter] "Simon, Simon, Satan has
to sift you as wheat [in other words, Satan wanted to put Peter through some trials and tests, but he had to
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."" (Luke 22:31-32)
"As soon as Judas took the bread,
Satan entered into him.
"What you are about to do,
do quickly," Jesus told him,
but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him." (John 13:27-28)
"To keep me from becoming conceited
because of these surpassingly great revelations,
there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
[Compare 1 Chronicles 21:1-3 with 2 Samuel 24:1-3 below]
"Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.
So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, "Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are." But Joab replied, "May the LORD multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord's subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?"" (1 Chronicles 21:1-3)
the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah."
So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, "Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are." But Joab replied to the king, "May the LORD your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?"" (2 Samuel 24:1-3)
Some translations of the Bible imply that demons can "possess" people's bodies. However, the English word "possessed" is not the best translation from the original Greek (demons do not "possess" anything, especially human beings, because possession means ownership and they do not
anything or anyone). For example, Thayer says that the Greek word
means "to be under the power of a demon" (Thayer's Greek Definitions). A better English word is "demonized," which covers the range from mild afflictions to partial control of the person by evil spirits.
"When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two
men coming from the tombs met him.
They were so violent that no one could pass that way."
"While they were going out, a man who was
could not talk
was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was
the man who had been mute
spoke." (Matthew 9:32-33)
"Just then a man in their synagogue who was
possessed by an evil spirit
cried out, "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!" "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!"
The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek." (Mark 1:23-26)
demons came out of many people,
shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But
rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ."
"For Jesus had
commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man.
Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had
broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places."
"A man in the crowd called out, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.
A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him.
Even while the boy was coming,
the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion.
But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father." (Luke 9:38-39, 42)
"With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many,
and many paralytics and cripples were healed." (Acts 8:7)
"Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day
the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"
Then the man who had the evil spirit
jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor." (Acts 19:13-17)
The devil showed Jesus
of the kingdoms of the world
in an instant.
He said that all of their authority and splendor had been given to him (the devil), and Jesus did not dispute this statement! Notice that the devil first attempted to exploit Jesus' weakness at this point: His hunger. Then the devil tried to twist Scripture for his own ends. The devil is a master of lies and deceptions, with millennia of experience, and he will use every cunning trick to deceive us. He knows our weaknesses and he knows what buttons to push to tempt us into sinning. Also notice that Jesus used the Word of God as His only weapon to combat the devil in this encounter. This shows us how vitally important it is for us to be solidly grounded in God's Word:
"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone.'" The devil led him up to a high place and
showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.
And he said to him,
"I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.
So if you worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'" The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered, "It says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time." (Luke 4:1-13)
Here is a spirit which is able to predict the future:
"Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had
a spirit by which she predicted the future.
She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling." (Acts 16:16)
The devil and his demons are able to masquerade as angels of light, apostles of Christ, and servants of righteousness:
"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen,
masquerading as apostles of Christ.
And no wonder, for
Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
It is not surprising, then, if
his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness.
Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
The devil can perform all kinds of counterfeit miracles, and he will use
sort of evil to accomplish his plans:
"The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with
the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,
every sort of evil
that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved." (2 Thessalonians 2:9)
"For false Christs and false prophets will appear and
perform great signs and miracles
to deceive even the elect--if that were possible." (Matthew 24:24)
"Then I saw
three evil spirits
that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are
spirits of demons performing miraculous signs,
and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty." (Revelation 16:13-4)
The devil is said to hold the power of death, but this probably refers to keeping people bound by the
of death. The devil can cause people to die, but
as God allows (as we saw earlier in Job 1:12-19):
"Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy
him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil--
and free those who all their lives were
held in slavery by their fear of death."
"The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he [Job] is in your hands; but
you must spare his life.""
The devil blinds the minds of non-Christians and snatches the Word from them:
"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers,
so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Corinthians 4:4)
"Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? The farmer sows the word. Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it,
Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them."
"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then
the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved."
"Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field." He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom.
The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age."" (Matthew 13:36-40)
The devil's purposes are to "steal and kill and destroy" and to spread lies and deceptions:
"I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a
thief and a robber.
... I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:1, 9-10)
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a
from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for
there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
According to the Bible, non-believers are actually under the
of the devil and they are his
for doing his will:
"Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and
escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will."
(2 Timothy 2:25-26)
We must never forget that we are at war, and we must never underestimate the cruelty and hatred of our unseen enemy. To do so is to open ourselves up as targets for being deceived. It is up to us to help rescue as many non-believers from the devil's clutches as we possibly can!
"We know that we [Christians] are children of God, and that
the whole world is under the control of the evil one."
(1 John 5:19)
"how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were
under the power of the devil,
because God was with him." (Acts 10:38)
"I [Jesus] will rescue you [the apostle Paul] from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and
from the power of Satan
to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." (Acts 26:17-18)