Know your Enemy
Know your Enemy
Words of Faith 5-5-2021
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2021
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
How do you prepare for battle? First, must know your strengths. Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Second, you must know your Enemy.
It is critical that we know who our Enemy is, what his strengths are, and what his weaknesses and limitations are. Paul was clear that the struggle is not against flesh and blood--your boss, neighbor, family member or spouse. Your Enemy is the hierarchy of spiritual forces of evil-- the rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The head of this hierarchy is Satan. He goes by Lucifer, Beelzebub, Father of Lies, Accuser, and other names. He was the most beautiful angel and the one who led the rebellion against God in heaven (Isaiah 14:4-19). He was cast out with one-third of the angels (Rev. 12:9-10). Jesus testified to this-- "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18). His testimony is good enough for me.
We don’t struggle directly against Satan. He is only one. He is not an "evil ever-present god." He is just a fallen angel. He is only one. He is not omniscient--all-knowing. He is not omnipotent--all-powerful. He is not omnipresent-- everywhere or in more than one place. If Satan were to devote direct attention to one, he would neglect the rest of the world that he is trying to corrupt. This is why he works through hierarchies of underlings.
There are many demonic spirits that fell with Satan but no more than at the time of the rebellion before man was created. They do not reproduce. We struggle against is this finite group of representatives that are like a spiritual mafia. Through his underlings, Satan seeks to lead the whole world astray, accuse believers, and rob believers of the spiritual blessings God has given them. Satan will be cast out in the middle of the tribulation (Rev. 12:9-10).
The hierarchy of Satan is described in several levels with specific terms.
The "Rulers" or principalities are demonic forces already defeated by Christ on the cross but exercising limited authority until the end of the age. Ephesians 2:1-2 declares-- "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, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient."
The "Authorities" are those who are temporarily opposing the purposes of God. These "evil authorities" influence government or corporate systems. Some demons seem to be assigned to a geographic region or an arena of influence.
The "Powers of this dark world" are those who aspire to world control. This was a phrase used frequently in classical and rabbinical literature. These would be pagan "savior gods" identified with the sun or local gods such as the word "allah" in the Arabian peninsula. The phrase also refers to anything that purports to be "light," which, in fact, is darkness. This would include the "angel of light" revered as in forms of contemporary American paganism.
The final level described consists of the "Forces of wickedness." These are the lower level of demons that hold a grip on human lives. This is usually through pagan influences that control life without Christ.
We need to know that there are significant limitations to what Satan can do. First, he was defeated at Calvary, so if you resist him, he must flee from you (James 4:7). Also, Satan is only one. His demonic forces are finite in number-- they do not procreate, nor are any more being created. Dealing with a planet of 7.79 billion people, the demonic forces must operate like terrorist cells.
Demonic forces do not know your thoughts. They cannot read minds. They only know your actions and words. We must be careful what we do and what we speak to them. Speaking our fears simply informs them of our vulnerable points. Speaking praise to the Lord causes them to tremble and flee.
These forces must focus their efforts carefully. If you are unreached, they have no need to bother with you. If you are worldly, they have no need to bother with you. If you are self-absorbed, there is no reason for them to worry over you. If you are walking after your sinful nature, they are already winning. If you are one who gossips, slanders, or speaks in divisive ways, you are operating for the Enemy team, and they will encourage your hard work for them.
Father God, guard my heart and my thoughts and my tongue. May I be used to praise You foremost. May my thoughts honor You. May my heart and life be an encouragement to others and build unity. Help me to know my Enemy and to resist his ploys. Lead me away from temptation and deliver me from evil. In Jesus’ Name.