Spiritual Warfare

Satan and His Kingdom



By John Hoole – November 29, 2009




(Note:  Click on charts and photos for larger version)


In our previous lesson, we introduced the subject of Spiritual Warfare.  And we spent some time defining what this war is.  We also noted that each believer is a soldier in this war.  We are automatically part of the army of our King.


In defining what Spiritual Warfare is, we noted a few things.


1.      It is the battle that’s been going on for thousands of years since the fall of Lucifer from Heaven. It is the forces of Satan and his demons against God and his angels.


2.      This battle finds its focus in humans, who are the highest of the creations of God.  We are the only part of creation that has been stamped with the image of God.


This warfare is the struggle that true believers go through in this material world, where we endeavor to reflect God’s loving influence as much as possible.  And Satan and his demons take great issue with that.  Part of that war is seen in the struggles all of us have in fighting temptation where we are called to be overcomers – but not in our own strength.


It is called a war because there are forces working to impede anything God does in the world.  Our enemies are out to make sure we are not overcomers, but become casualties and failures.


The term, Spiritual Warfare, is not found in the Scriptures, but the concept is certainly taught there.  Two of the most associated biblical passages on the topic were written by the apostle Paul.


2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV


3       For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

4       The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

5       We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.


Ephesians 6:10-12 NKJV


10     Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

11     Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12     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.


In our last lesson, we looked at several aspect of verse 12.  I would like to use it again to begin our current lesson.


Joy Adamson, the naturalist and author, was the wife of a game warden in East Africa.  One day in 1956 her husband brought home three lion cubs that had been left to their own defenses when their mother was killed.  Joy Adamson nurtured the three cubs until they were grown and released them into the wild.  She then told the story of Elsa, one of the lionesses, in her book titled, Born Free.  The book was a best seller and was made into a popular motion picture with the same title.


Apparently Joy Adamson forgot she was dealing with wild beasts capable of destruction.  At age 69, while at a camp 30 miles from a telephone, she was attacked and killed by a lion.  The animal she had befriended became her enemy.


I tell you this simple story only to warn you not to make the mistake of thinking you can tame Satan and his demons from being your tormentor.


By that, I mean we do not have the strength in ourselves to resist, let alone defeat, our spiritual enemy.  The verse we read a moment ago said, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”  The phrase, “in the Lord,” is found in the book of Ephesians 7 times, and in the New Testament 47 times.  Our strength is in the Lord and in His power.  Neither you nor I can have peaceful coexistence with the Enemy.  Sooner or later, he will destroy the careless and foolish.


We know that Satan is a very powerful being.  We alone cannot protect ourselves from Satan.  And most importantly, without Christ we are no match for the enemy of our soul.


While some scoff at the idea of a real devil, the Bible portrays him as real and evil.  Satan has done a good job at getting people to deny his existence.




The word, Satan, is found in the Old Testament only in three passages.


         •  1 Chronicles 21:1  (1 time)

         •  Job 1-2 (14 times)

         •  Zechariah 3:1-2 (3 times)


In each case his existence and his nature is taken for granted.  He is recognized as the highest being who opposes God and His people.  Obviously the serpent in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) is assumed to be Satan.  But he appears in the Garden of Eden without any explanation of his beginning.


Two passages come later through two of the Prophets – Isaiah and Ezekiel.


           •  Isaiah 14:12-15


           •  Ezekiel 28:11-17


In neither of these passage is he called Satan.  But in Isaiah he is referred to as Lucifer, and is the only reference to that name.


The word, Satan is found 43 times in the New Testament.  But, like the Old Testament, there are many references of him without that name.  The word, devil, is found 34 times in the New Testament – and not at all in the Old.


One gets a good idea about the person and character of Satan by looking at the names ascribed to him.




He is also called the thief.


John 10:10 NKJV


10     The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.


Each of these names give us a facet of the nature and person of Satan.  But there are some things that Satan is NOT like.


Yes, a real war is going on against a real Enemy.  Once we assume our position in Christ, then the next step is to know the enemy so that we can be properly equipped.  Let’s again return to Ephesians 6:12.


12     For we wrestle not 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.


The first thing we are told about our enemies is that they are not flesh and blood.  That means, our real enemy is not our boss, our neighbor, our spouse, or any other human.  Our real enemy is unseen.




Unlike human armies, which face physical opponents, Christians in this war face intangible and invisible opponents.  Under normal, natural conditions, the enemy against which we are waging war cannot be perceived by human senses.  This means we are at a complete disadvantage is we try to fight them in our own strength, where we use only natural resources.


Because we know very little about the strengths, capabilities, and strategies of our opponents, and because we cannot usually see into that realm, we must learn to rely exclusively upon the combat information revealed to us in Scripture.


But what or who are these things – these beings – we war against, called principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age and spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places?  That phrase, heavenly places, is found in the Bible five times, all in the book of Ephesians.  The phrase, as it is used in Ephesians 6:12, is a term by which Paul describes those unseen forces above us that influence our lives.


Though our enemy cannot be seen, Satan and his minions are all around us.  These opponents which are invisible are mentioned again in Ephesians 2.


Ephesians 2:1-2 NKJV


1       And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

2       in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,


Yes, we do battle against an invisible army.  Yes, they have thousands of years of experience.  This ought not to scare us, but we need to be aware of their presence.  With Christ in us, we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37).


Now, let’s briefly discuss these other words and phrases in Ephesians 6:12.  In our last lesson, I mentioned them almost in passing.  We have:


         •  Principalities


         •  Powers


         •  Rulers of darkness


         •  Spiritual hosts of wickedness


Let’s take a closer look at these 4 classes of demons.  Every commentator I have read agrees that these classes of demons are depict different ranks, having different levels of authority and power.


Before discussing these ranks of demons, I need to mention that the good angels of God are also ranked using similar names.


In speaking of Christ, Paul writes, in Colossians 1:16 NKJV,


16     For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.


                   These are classification of the good angels of God.


In Ephesians 1:20-21, we read of Christ being set at the right hand of His Father, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion,……”


Now, let’s take a closer look at these ranks of demons.




Hierarchy of demons in Satan's kingdomThe concept of “principalities” is represented by the Greek word, ARCHAS / ARCHÉ.  This word in the Greek means “chief” or “ruler.”  We have a number of English words that are derived from this Greek word that illustrate elevated positions of authority.  Words like, Archbishop, Archangel, Archenemy, Hierarchy.


With regard to the demonic structure, Paul is speaking of those with higher authority.  They possess executive authority in the kingdom of Satan.  We know from Scripture that some of Satan’s minions have territorial rule on earth.  They may be the ruling power behind a particular nation or governmental rule.


You can get an idea of this hierarchy from the belief of the Pharisees.  In Matthew 12:24, they refer to Christ as “Beelzebub, the prince of demons.”


The Greek word translated “prince” in this passage is ARCHON.  It has the same root as arche, as it is used in Ephesians 6:12.  Even the English translations are similar – Prince & Principalities.  Archon means number one in rank or power.


Before going to the next word used in Ephesians 6:12 of demons, let me emphasize that the Pharisees were wrong.  Jesus is not Beelzebub, the prince of demons.  You can read the rest of the account in Matthew 12, where Jesus, in a very logical argument, refutes their assumption about Him.  But their belief in a Satanic hierarchy of demons was correct.




The Greek word used here is EXOUSIA.  This word usually depicts delegated authority or power, although it is not always used this way,  In keeping with this verse, it indicates a fairly high-ranking demon in the hierarchy of Satan.


Rulers of Darkness


The Greek word used here is KOSMOKRATOR.  The word kosmos indicates some sort of orderly system.  The remainder of the Greek word, krator, comes from the Greek, Krateo, which carries the picture of seizing and holding by force.


In Mark 12:12, where we read of the religious leaders seeking “to lay hold on” Jesus, Krateo is the word used there.


In Revelation 20:2, we read about an angel coming down from heaven, and it says, “he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.”  Again, the phrase, “laid hold on” is translated from the verb Krateo.


From these pictures, we get an idea about this “rulers of darkness.”  They are in the business of taking control and doing evil for the expressed purpose of hurting someone.


I am not necessarily making a correlation, but we have English words, part of which have been derived from the Greek Krateo,  A couple of them are, autocrat and bureaucrat.


Spiritual hosts of wickedness


The word, “spiritual” comes from the Greek, pneumatika.  This is a word used of any spirit.  It is used in Scripture 26 time, for both good and bad spirits.  In Colossians 3:16 we read of “spiritual songs.”  In 1 Corinthians 12:1 we read of “spiritual gifts.”  The phrase, as it is used in Ephesians 6:12, is referring to many wicked spirits or demons.


The Greek word translated wickedness is, PONERIA.  This word carries the idea of total depravity.  It is linked with the idea of plotting wickedness with malice.  They want to see others suffer – they have extreme ill will.  They will spread wickedness without any just cause.  Again, this is followed by the phrase, in heavenly places, indicating they are all around us. 


You now know something about the enemies we are up against in this spiritual war.  And they are highly organized under the command of Satan.  In that kingdom, there are various areas and levels of authority.  There are millions, probably billions or more of these malevolent spirits working utter evil.  And they operate as close to us as the very air we breathe.  They propagate all kinds of spiritual filth for the purpose of deceiving humanity.


Earlier, we looked at Matthew 12:24.  In it we noted the word Beelzebub, which was a name given to the prince of devils.  It is a reference to Satan himself.  The Greek word, beelzeboul, is derived from the Aramaic.  It carries with it the definition into English as, The Lord of the DungIn the Old Testament, the Hebrew word Baalzebub is found 4 times.  That small difference renders the translation as, The Lord of the Flies.  I don’t think there is much difference, for flies congregate around dunghills.  This is a good picture of the demons of Satan.  They are like a whole swarm of insects.


One more point can be taken from Matthew 12.     It is found in the statement Jesus made back to the Pharisees after they accused him of being the prince of devils.


Matthew 12:25-28 NKJV


25     But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.

26     If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his [Satan’s] kingdom stand?

27     And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.

28     But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.


These verses clearly state that there are two kingdoms.


         •  The kingdom of Satan, the prince of devils, and the kingdom of God.


Now, when we start talking about demons, a number of questions arise.


In this short min-series, we are not going to address all these questions.  I can say this – the devil and his demons absolutely do exist.  The Greek word, daimon, is found 75 times in the New Testament.  It is the word from which we get our English word, “demon.”  Jesus took them seriously, but did not fear them.  Neither do we believers need to fear.


We are called not simply to be in the army but to be champions in Christ.  At the moment of salvation, God graciously bestowed on us every spiritual blessing and asset we would need to be victorious in the conflict.


Ephesians 1:3 NKJV


3       Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,


This speaks of our position in Christ Jesus – and it must be “In Christ.”  And the Spirit of God indwells, teaches, guides, fills, and illumines our thinking to the truth found in the Word of God.  In the power of Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we stand.


1 Timothy 4:1 NKJV


4       Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,


We are told several things in this verse.  The last days will be characterized by a departure from the faith.  Included in this apostasy will be those deceived by seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.


In 1 Corinthians 10:20, we are warned about religion without Christ, and calls such religious practice a “sacrifice to demons.”  2 Corinthians 11:13-15 warns us of counterfeit ministries.  Ephesians 6:11 challenges us to “put on the whole armor of God.”  1 Timothy 1:18 calls us to “wage the good warfare.”  1 Timothy 6:12 calls us to “fight the good fight of faith.”




The word NIKAO is found 28 times in the Greek New Testament.  It is the root word from which NIKE comes.  In the New Testament, it is almost always translated by the word “overcome.”  I want to close our lesson today by looking at three important verses where this word is used.


John 16:33 NKJV


33     These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."


1 John 4:4 NKJV


4       You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.


Revelation 21:7 NKJV


7       He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.


If language means anything at all, these verses promise the child of God victory of his enemy.  We can have total victory over the devil.  Always remember, we fight from the position of a victory already won by Christ.