Spiritual Warfare – Our Enemy


Dr. John Hoole - October 20, 2019




Today, we continue our series on the subject of Spiritual Warfare.  In previous lessons, we spent some time defining what this war is.  We also noted that each believer is a soldier in this war.  If you are a believer in Christ, you 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.


In our very first lesson in this series, I presented you with Five Basic Truths about Spiritual Warfare.  And the following week we dissected each of these five in some detail


Let me refresh your memory.


1.  First Basic Truth: There is an invisible world.


2.  Second Basic Truth:  We are involved in an invisible war.


3.  Third Basic Truth:  Our Foe is Formidable


4.  Fourth Basic Truth:  We must respect our foe, but not fear him.


5.     Fifth Basic Truth:  We do not fight for victory, we fight from victory.


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.


The enemy in our spiritual war is named in this second Passages.  We are only given a few characteristics of others who follow the devil’s orders.  Elsewhere in Scripture, we are told they include his fallen angels.  Also, we are told the weapons used in this war are not of this world.


Yes, there is an invisible world.


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.


This informs us that Christ created both that which is visible and invisibleThis invisible world includes the Trinity and all the created angels.  Some of those angels no longer serve Elohim, but have left their first estate.


Angels fascinate us.  There is something special and attractive about these bright beings so often portrayed with white wings and golden halos. Two of the angels of God are named in Scripture.  Michael and Gabriel.  The last two letters of their names – EL – stand for “God.” 


The name,…… Michael means “who is like God” and. Gabriel means “strength of God”


But the first angel mentioned in Scripture has a dark side.  We know him as Satan – or the devil – the serpent  And he is only one of four persons on the scene as the Bible begins.


                That would be:        God, who created the universe,……


                Adam and Eve – human beings shaped by God in His image, and……


                Satan – an intruder, a fallen angel with an attitude.


The first three chapters of Genesis, featuring only these four beings, raise some of the most basic questions in our own lives – and it answers them.


                       •  Where do we come from?


                       •  What is unique about us compared to other creatures?


                       •  What is God’s attitude towards us?


                       •  Why does the world have so much evil?


                       •  Is this world, and our life, all there is?


All of these questions come into view sharply when Satan intrudes into a garden called Eden.


The first chapter of Genesis pictures God creating our universe.  With a burst of unimaginable power He spreads a vast expanse, and then with delicate and loving care God focuses His attention on a single planet hung in endless space.  Step by step, God intricately shapes this planet, forming seas and dry land, then enriching it with an assortment of vegetation and filling its skies and valleys and seas with an infinite variety of living creatures.


This is the way the Bible introduces the first Person identified in Scripture: GOD.  At this point, we know little about God.  We know that He exists and that He is the source of our universe.  We know He has unimaginable power.  From looking at the design of our planet, we know something of His wisdom, His love of beauty, and His appreciation for what is good.  As we read further, we will also learn of God’s special concern for the human creatures He will soon place on the planet He has shaped.


The second and third persons introduced in Scripture are Adam and Eve.  Our first impression of them underlines the specialness of these creatures.  Genesis describes God’s process of creating every other thing.  We are told that God spoke and what He spoke came into existence.


But Genesis 2 says that God stooped to fashion Adam from the “dust of the ground.”  Then, bending near, He breathed “into the nostrils the breath of life” (2:7).  Later, Eve was carefully fashioned from Adam’s rib.  This indicates that mankind will have a unique relationship with their creator.  It further tells us that humans are created after the image of God, according to His likeness.


The key to understanding human identity is not to be found in our supposed link with animal-like creatures, as the evolutionist would have us believe, but rather in our personhood, which forever links us to God.


The fourth person in this early history is an intruder disguised as a “serpent” – The Devil and Satan.  Into this paradise of God – called Eden – came Satan as a serpent.  And when he speaks, he unleashes his most potent weapon against God and man – the lie.  And potent is was – and still is.  This was the beginning of Paganism in all its manifestation.


Paganism, for my purposes, is any system of belief that is:


 1.     Designed to exclude God,


 2.     Deny His path of salvation,


3.     Worships and serves created things rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:18-23).


Satan’s serpentine lies are the foundation of all paganism, whether that paganism presents itself as scientific or religious.  Satan vainly imagines himself to be God’s equal, but his self-delusion in this matter makes his lies especially cunning and dangerous.  While his lies are subtle, Satan merely retells endless variation on the same untruth.


The apostle Paul instructs us to not be ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).  And we do well to investigate the nature of Satan’s deceit.


The phrase, “I would not have you ignorant,” is used on a number occasions by the apostle Paul.  He would not have us ignorant of “spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:1).  He would not have us ignorant of the “mystery of Israel” (Romans 11:25)He would not have us ignorant of what happens to those who have died (1 Thess. 4:13).


But a change occurs when speaking of the devices and schemes of Satan.  He does not repeat the aforementioned phrase of “not having us ignorant.”  Read it in 2 Corinthians 2:11 (NKJV) 


11      lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.


When Paul said he did not want the church to be ignorant, he used the Greek word AGNOEO.  This word is based on the Greek word, ginosko – to know, to understand.  From this word comes another Greek word – Gnosis, which means, “knowledge.”  You know that putting an “A” as a prefix reverses the meaning.  Agnosis is where we our English word, Agnostic, meaning without knowledge.


So our word in 2 Corinthians 2:11AGNOEO – meanings “without understanding, or, as it is usually translated, “ignorant.”


So, what Paul is saying is that he wanted no agnostics – no one ignorant – in the church.  He intends that we learn something of the strategy which our enemy is liable to employ.  God wants us to be familiar with ALL that He has revealed to us in Scripture.  And that includes how Satan works against God and His people.  Now is not the place for complacent agnost-icism inside the Church.


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.


While found only in 3 passages in the Old Testament, 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.  And we won’t know his original name – Lucifer – until the writings of Isaiah in the 9th century before Christ.


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





We also looked at some things that Satan is NOT like.


•  Unlike God, he is not self-existent.  Satan was created – meaning he is clearly inferior to God.


•  He is not sovereign.  Satan rules a domain of demons, but not beyond the bounds God has established.  Satan never rids himself of the to rule as God.  Actually his rebellion failed him totally.


•  He is not omnipotent.  Satan is powerful, but not all powerful.  1 John 4:4 says, “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”


•  He is not omniscient – all knowing.  Satan does not know everything.  I don’t believe he can read our thoughts.


•  He is not omnipresent.  Angels may travel fast, but they cannot be in two places at the same time.


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, in our kingdom, we have the ultimate intelligence officer.  He knows the plans of our enemy even before they plan them.  And He has given us the means to defend ourselves and rout the enemy.


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 and around 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).


There are some other words and phrases in Ephesians 6:12.  We have:


                       •  Principalities

                       •  Powers

                       •  Rulers of darkness

                       •  Spiritual hosts of wickedness