Satan Declares War1
Satan has indeed waged war against the revelation of “the mystery of Christ” and its proclamation. In fact, he has marshaled the forces and resources under his authority to achieve his end. When we normally hear the words ‘fight,’ ‘weapons,’ ‘warfare,’ ‘defense,’ ‘captive,’ ‘wrestle,’ ‘armor,’ and the like, we think of physical confrontations and battles among nations and men. Nations wage war with one another sending their soldiers to fight against each other. Various weapons are employed on both sides, along with protective armor and elaborate defense systems. Captives are taken, and advances and losses are sustained. Such warfare, with its respective terminology, is common in the human realm, and we easily understand it. However, the same terminology is repeatedly used to describe what it is that Christians face from Satan and his cohorts in his policy of evil against us in this present dispensation. A war has been declared against us, and warfare is going on. Weapons are being deployed against Christians that are designed to allow Satan to achieve his objective. Fighting as a soldier and defending a position is expected. Armor has been provided, and a battle is on. Being ‘taken captive’ is an unfortunate real possibility. A real and genuine war, therefore, is on in this dispensation. Its nature, though, is different from that of most wars, seeing that Satan and his principalities and powers in the heavenly places wage it. Its' goal is that of preventing an impact to God's glory from being made in the heavenly places. Yet it is a war nevertheless. One of Paul's foremost passages about both the warfare and God's provision for us to be able to stand against it is in Ephesians 6. This passage and its details will be central in our consideration of this matter, but we will begin by examining in this passage the exact nature of this war.
Please read Ephesians 6: 10-12.
It is evident that Satan's policy of evil against us today is indeed that of warfare. As Paul says, we wrestle against him and his cohorts, and God has provided ‘Armour’ for us so as to be able to withstand the confrontations and engagements of this war. Yet the nature of this war is not that of a physical conflict. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, Paul says. Rather, the nature of this conflict and combat is spiritual, involving spiritual beings as well as spiritual armaments, tactics, stratagems, battles, triumphs and defeats.
The full spiritual nature of this warfare is delineated for us in verse 12. First Paul says, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers.” This declares the spiritual nature of the warfare as it pertains to the ones who have waged war against us. They are the spiritual beings—Satan's angels—that occupy the positions of governmental authority in the heavenly places. They are the very ones who will be replaced by us in fulfillment of God's plan to reconcile their positions back to Him. Therefore, though the direct expressions of opposition to the revelation of “the mystery of Christ” may come from men, in reality the sponsors and direct promoters of these things are Satan and his principalities and powers. The contrary ‘winds of doctrine’ with their corrupting effects may come through men, but the movers and the shakers behind the scenes are Satan and his cohorts. Along with this they are the instigators of many of the other tactics that comprise the wiles of the devil, though these tactics may be deployed through the activities of men.
After stating this, Paul goes on to declare that we wrestle “against the rulers of the darkness of this world...” This is not a reference to another category of spiritual beings in the conflict. Rather it is a description of the spiritual nature of this war as it pertains to the field of battle and what the fighting is all about. Satan's principalities and powers are “the rulers of the darkness of this world.” The ‘darkness of this world’ is what they have been charged with maintaining. Obliterating the light of the knowledge of God in this world, ranging from the light of the gospel of reconciliation to the light of the wisdom of God in the mystery of the gospel, is their mission and responsibility. This is the field in which they operate in this present dispensation. It is also the field of battle for the warfare of Satan's policy of evil against us.
Satan not only wants the general ‘darkness of this world’ maintained, but he wants ‘darkness’ regarding what God is doing in this dispensation to be what Christians possess. Such darkness and ignorance of the truth of what God is doing today prevents Christians from making the impact in the heavenly places to the glory of God's manifold wisdom. Therefore, the conflicts in the warfare of Satan's policy of evil against us are fought on the battlefield of the written word of God. Satan and his cohorts assail the written word of God and fight to obscure the truth set forth in it concerning what God is doing today. They work to produce doctrinal confusion and corruption. They lay siege to God's desire and provision for the sound edification of His saints, and labor fervently to promote unsound doctrine from the Bible so true edification never will take place. Hence, the major theaters of Satan's war against God's ‘new creation’ aren't found in the filthy sin-infested corners of this God-less world. Instead, they are found in the very places where the word of God is found. The theaters for the war of Satan's policy of evil are churches, along with Bible colleges, institutes, and seminaries. Wherever the word of God is handled and promoted, there is the battlefield. Wherever sound edification could take place because the word of God is there, there Satan deploys the weapons of his warfare in order to prevent that genuine edification and its results from occurring.
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