From the book “THE TRUTH ABOUT ANGELS”
by Terry LAW
Evil Angels and Thought
If an angel strengthened our Lord Himself after His agony
in the garden, His people also may experience the support
of angels; and if evil angels tempt to sin, good angels may
allure to holiness.1 -Charle, Hodge
If every action begins with a thought, where do thoughts come from? Is every wicked or every good thought solely of man's production?
Is there any truth to the cartoons we have seen over the years showing an imp whispering in one ear of a person and an angel whispering in the other?
The late John Wimber, author, pastor, and founder of the Vineyard churches, said our minds are "the landing fields" for demons. Can good angels also influence our thought patterns?
Many theologians believe we are influenced by outside "inspirations" as well as by thoughts and imaginations that arise within our minds and hearts. Hodge suggested that good angels not only execute the will of God in the natural world but also act upon the minds of people.
They have access to our minds and can influence them for good, in accordance with the laws of our nature and in the use of appropriate means. They do not act by that direct operation which is the peculiar prerogative of God and His Spirit, but by the suggestion of truth and guidance of thought and feeling, much as one man may act upon another. If the angels may communicate one with another, there's no reason why they may not, in like manner, communicate with our spirits.2
[MAYBE, THEN MAYBE NOT IS MORE CORRECT. GOD CAN AND DOES SEND ANGELS TO RELATE A MESSAGE, EITHER IN PERSON, OR IN DREAMS. IT IS GOD’S SPIRIT THAT GUIDES AND LEADS IN MANY WAYS; ANGELS ARE MESSENGERS ONLY RELATING MESSAGES DIRECTLY SENT BY GOD. THEY DO NOT KINDA “LIVE” IN US; JESUS TAUGHT THAT IT WAS GOD AND HIMSELF WHO WOULD LIVE IN US VIA THE HOLY SPIRIT (SEE JOHN 14:23) - Keith Hunt]
When I interviewed the late Kenneth Hagin Sr. for the original edition of this book, he told me the Holy Spirit taught him years ago how demons operate in influencing the minds of people. He commented:
If demons and evil spirits can influence people's thoughts for bad, then angels must also have access to the thinking processes of people, and they can influence people for good. Angels can suggest thoughts to people in line with the direction of the Holy Spirit.
[AGAIN I REALLY DO NOT THINK SO PER SE. FOR WE HAVE A BIGGER GUIDER, TEACHER, INSTRUCTOR - WE HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHEREBY GOD AND CHRIST LIVE IN US ON AN EVERYDAY WORKING BASIS, AS LONG AS WE DON’T PUSH THE SPIRIT AWAY. IT IS WRITTEN BY PAUL “LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU WHICH WAS IN CHRIST JESUS.” SO THE POWER IN US, THAT UNITES OUR MIND WITH GOD’S MIND, IS GREATER THAN ANGELS. THEY ARE “SPECIFIC” MESSAGE BRINGERS, NOT JUMPING INTO OUR MIND WHENEVER THEY FEEL LIKE IT - Keith Hunt]
Both Hodge and Hagin, as well as other theologians, pastors, and teachers, have indicated in their teachings that angels—good and bad—can affect the thinking processes of mankind. However, this may be one of the best-kept secrets in the Christian world today!
[CERTAINLY FALLEN ANGELS CAN WORK IN OUR MIND; SATAN TEMPTED JESUS AFTER 40 DAYS FASTING IN THE WILDERNESS; EITHER VERY PERSONALLY AS HE WAS THE GOD-SAVIOR, OR IN JESUS’ MIND. GOOD ANGELS ARE “SPECIFIC” MESSENGERS ONLY IN THE BIBLE. OR SPECIFIC MIRACLE WORKERS FOR US, AS WHEN PETER WAS LET OUT OF JAIL WITH MIRACLES AS RECORDED IN THE BOOK OF ACTS. JOSEPH HAD AN ANGEL COME TO HIM TO TELL HIM HE COULD TAKE MARY FOR A WIFE, AS THE CHILD SHE WAS CARRYING WAS BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. IT IS THE FATHER AND JESUS WHO LIVE IN US VIA THEIR HOLY SPIRIT, TO TEACH, GUIDE, CORRECT, INSTRUCT. AND THAT HOLY SPIRIT IS IN US ALL THE TIME, AS LONG AS WE DO NOT PUSH IT AWAY BY YIELDING TO SINS - Keith Hunt]
Does the Bible give us any specific indication that angels can influence the thoughts of mankind?
Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 are very interesting.
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
In those two verses Paul linked the word strongholds directly with imaginations and thoughts, and connected spiritual weapons to pulling down these strongholds. He indicated that imaginations and thoughts can be evil strongholds established by demons even in the minds of Christians. We can see Satan's modus operandi from his first attempt at this (Gen. 3).
[WE ARE OF COURSE DEALING HERE WITH FALLEN ANGELS THAT CAN INFLUENCE OUR MIND; BUT WE HAVE A GREATER POWER UNITED TO OUR MIND….. THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THE FATHER AND JESUS LIVING IN US; WE HAVE THE GREATEST POWER OF THE UNIVERSE IN US TO TELL SATAN/DEMOND….. “IN THE NAME OF JESUS GET OUT OF HERE!!” - Keith Hunt]
Biblical Examples of Satanic Brainwashing
Satan asked Eve the question that is the heartbeat of all sin: "Hath God said?" Notice that Satan did not make a dogmatic statement declaring God's Word was not true. All he did was ask a question carefully designed to begin a process in her mind of questioning and distrust. That ploy worked so well that he still uses it today. He has mastered and perfected the business of temptation by injecting thoughts into our minds.
Can Satan actually put thoughts into our minds?
I believe he can. I believe he cannot force us to think anything, but he is a master of suggestion. Evil spirits fire suggestive thoughts into our minds like the "fiery darts" that Paul wrote about to the Christians in Ephesus (Eph. 6:16).
In fact, we have specific examples of this in the Bible, not just passages that can be applied to the possibility.
In John 13:2, Jesus was eating the Passover (the Last Supper) with His disciples, when...
Supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him [Jesus].
The Bible explicitly states that the devil put the concept of betrayal into Judas's heart. That means the devil had the ability to influence Judas's thinking processes. When two members of the early church, Ananias and Sapphira, lied to Peter about the price they had received for their property, Peter said:
Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
Peter had no doubt that Satan had filled this man's heart with a lie. The only way that could happen was through thought attack.
At one point in Jesus' ministry, He asked the disciples who men said He was. Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16). Jesus replied that this truth had been revealed to Peter by the Father in heaven. However, only six verses later Peter rebuked Jesus when Jesus began to talk of what was going to happen to Him.
Jesus' reply was very different:
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou sayest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
It is obvious that Jesus was not calling Peter "Satan." Rather, He was dealing with the fact that Satan had dropped a thought into Peter's mind. How interesting that at one moment Peter makes such a powerful declaration of truth and faith that Jesus commends him for it, only to be rebuked a few moments later for a thought from Satan that was a subtle attempt to hinder Jesus.
There is a truth here that all Christians should keep in mind: even at the times of our greatest faith, our minds are still susceptible to the thought attacks hurled at us from Satan.
[YES, BUT REMEMBER WE HAVE THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN US, WHICH IS THE FATHER AND CHRIST IN US AS I’VE SHOWN YOU. WE NEED NOT BE SCARED OF SATAN OR DEMONS; WE HAVE THE GREATEST POWER IN THE UNIVERSE IN US - Keith Hunt]
Not only can evil spirits apparently drop suggestions into our minds, but they can also take thoughts out of our minds. In the parable of the sower, Jesus told of seeds falling on good soil, rocky ground, and by the wayside. He interpreted the seeds that fell "by the wayside" as the Word of God that someone hears and does not understand. Jesus explained that the "fowl" that devours the "seed" of the Word is the wicked one (Matt. 13:19).
[YES IT IS SO, BUT IF WE LOVE TRUTH; IF WE HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS, WE SHALL BE FILLED AS JESUS PROMISED US. OUR PART IS TO WANT AND TO LOVE TRUTH, TO BE WILLING TO BE CORRECTED, TO GROW IN GRACE AND KNOWLEDGE. I WAS 19 AND WAS READING A STUDY THAT WENT EXACTLY OPPOSITE TO WHAT I HAD BEEN TAUGHT AS A CHRISTIAN GROWING UP. I THREW THE ARTICLE DOWN IN DISGUST AND WENT OFF TO THE RANCH; BUT A STILL SMALL VOICE (GOD’S SPIRIT) SAID TO ME, “NOW YOU HAVE NOT OPENED THE BIBLE TO SEE THE VERSES GIVEN AND STUDY TO SEE IF THIS ARTICLE IS TRUE TO GOD’S WORD; WHAT IF IT IS CORRECT? ARE YOU WALKING AWAY FROM CORRECTION?” OH WOW….. THE MESSAGE HIT ME LIKE A TON OF BRICKS. I DETERMINED THAT THAT NIGHT I WOULD SIT DOWN AND REALLY STUDY THE ARTICLE….. I DID, AND I SHOUTED FOR JOY I HAD BEEN CORRECTED AND LEARNT A WONDERFUL TRUTH I HAD NOT KNOWN - Keith Hunt]
In what ways can evil spirits push thoughts out of our minds?
* It is possible for someone sitting in a church service or even reading the Bible to allow his or her mind to wander.
* It is possible for a young mother to be planning meals for the coming week while listening to a sermon.
* It is possible for a businessperson to be planning corporate strategy while sitting in a church pew.
Notice, these are not wicked thoughts; they are simply thoughts planted by the enemy to gently tug our attention away from the Word.
I believe evil spirits are more active on Sunday mornings than at any other time. If they can divert our attention from the sermon, they can "catch away" the Word that was sown into our hearts.
[WELLLLL…..YES THEY ARE ACTIVE INDEED; THEY HAVE ALREADY DECEIVED HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS (CATHOLIC CHURCH ALONE IS 1.3 BILLION OR SO MEMBERS) TO THINK SUNDAY IS “CHURCH DAY” - MOST DO NOT EVEN CALL IT “SABBATH” DAY TODAY; WHEN ACTUALLY THE TRUE “WORSHIP DAY” THE TRUE “SABBATH DAY” OF THE WEEK, IS THE 7TH DAY - OR SATURDAY ON OUR CALENDARS - Keith Hunt]
When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.
Jesus accentuated this possibility again in the parable of the two kinds of builders, the wise man who built on a rock versus the foolish one who built on sand (Matt. 7:24-27). It rained and the floods came while the winds blew and beat upon both their houses.
[YES INDEED, BUT MOST DO NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT IS THE ROCK TO BUILD ON, AND WHAT IS SAND. THE 4TH OF THE GREAT TEN COMMANDMENT IS VERY VERY CLEAR…. IT IS THE 7TH DAY THAT IS HOLY TO GOD, THE SABBATH DAY. MOST BUILD IMMEDIATELY ON SAND, BY NOT OBSERVING THE 7TH DAY AS HOLY; WHY MOST DO NOT EVEN OBSERVE SUNDAY (1ST DAY OF THE WEEK) AS A HOLY DAY, LIKE THEY ONCE DID AS I GREW UP IN THE 1940/50. THEIR HOUSE IS BUILT ON SAND - Keith Hunt]
One house stood, but the other fell. Why?
Jesus pointed out that one man was a "doer" of the Word and the other was not. Notice that both men apparently heard the Word. In modern terms, let us suppose that both men attend your church faithfully every Sunday morning.
However, one leaves the church with a commitment to do the Word that he has just made an effort to hear and understand. The other man is simply a listener. He has not really heard and understood what was said. He probably goes home, turns on the football game, and promptly forgets everything. His spiritual house is built on sand, while the other man's is set solidly on the Rock that is the Word of God.
[NOPE, THE SUNDAY CHURCH KEEPER IS ALREADY BUILT ON SAND, IT IS JUST A MATTER OF DEGREES BETWEEN ONE AND THE OTHER. NOW IF LIKE ME IN MY GROWING UP, YOU BELIEVE AS I DID THAT SUNDAY WAS THE 7TH DAY OF THE WEEK, THEN YOU ARE CERTAINLY IN A BETTER POSITION THAN THE OTHERS, WHO KNOW WHAT THE 4TH COMMANDMENTS SAYS BUT WILL NO FOLLOW IT - Keith Hunt]
These examples show us the commitment of Satan and his evil spirits to affect the process of our thoughts. An undisciplined thought life leaves one vulnerable to the enemy. A passive mind, a lazy mind, or an undisciplined mind makes it easy for the wicked one to drop in thoughts or to steal those dropped in by the Holy Spirit …..
Romans 8:7 says that a carnal mind, one operating on fleshly motives, actually is at enmity with God.
Judson Cornwall has written that Satan even aims his attacks at us when we are children. Satan knows that early training determines the course of one's life (Prov. 22:6) .3
[YES, AND I THANK GOD THAT HE REVEALED HIMSELF TO ME WHEN I WAS 7 YEARS OLD AND AFTER. READING THE BIBLE, DOING MY BEST TO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENT, I WAS KEPT SAFE FROM MANY SINS AS I BECAME A TEENAGER - Keith Hunt]
The Battlefield Is the Mind
I believe that many Christians have no idea that evil spirits are dropping thoughts into their minds because they accept them as their own. We badly underestimate the influence that thoughts have on our lives. Yet the Bible has many verses about thinking only on good things and avoiding evil thoughts (Josh. 1:8; Phil. 4:6-8)………
When the City of Faith medical center was operating at Oral Roberts University, I asked Jim Winslow, chief surgeon and director of the hospital, if thoughts had anything to do with disease. He said most doctors would agree that about 70 percent of all disease originates in the human mind. An article in the New England Journal of Medicine some years ago placed it higher than that—at 80 percent. The article said that about half of the remaining 20 percent would get well by themselves!
That does not mean all of these diseases are imaginary, but many of them began with a thought or a belief and developed into a physical condition. Many of us have heard self-fulfilling prophecies such as, "My grandfather had a heart attack at forty, my father had a heart attack at forty, and I probably will, too."
I am not talking about mind control or mind over matter
I am talking about thoughts that allow the Word of God to be stolen out of your heart so that your faith is hindered or erased by doubts and fears.
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul wrote of two things Christians need to do:
Present our bodies a living sacrifice.
Be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
This means living according to God's moral principles and bringing our bodies into subjection to Him. Renewing our minds requires meditating on the Word of God, which means to actively read, think on, speak about, and dwell on the Bible.
This is the only way to defend ourselves against the thought attacks of evil angels or demons. The present invasion of predominately evil angels into society foretells major thought attacks that are about to come against the church.
If you know the Bible well enough to know the principles and thoughts of God, then thoughts that run against God's Word will immediately stand out as alien. If you have the real in your heart, the counterfeit or the false will be easily recognized.
[TO HAVE THE “REAL” YOU HAVE TO STUDY, AS PAUL SAID, TO SHOW YOURSELF APPROVED BY GOD. JUST EMOTIONS ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH BY A LONG SHOT. JUST “THINKING” YOU HAVE THE REAL, DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE IT. YOU HAVE TO READ AND STUDY GOD’S WORD TO KNOW THE TRUTHS IT CONTAINS; YOU HAVE TO LOVE TRUTH; YOU HAVE TO HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS (SEE WHAT RIGHTEOUSNESS IS IN PS. 119: 172). TO KNOW THE COUNTERFEIT RELIGION, YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE TRUE RELIGION OF GOD - Keith Hunt]
If you have a mind actively fixed on the Word of God, it will not be easy for the enemy's thoughts to take root.
Victory over the devil does not mean constantly casting out demons. The most enduring victory comes from getting your mind so transformed that your spirit so agrees with the Holy Spirit that it will not accept the ideas of the world.
Neil Anderson, chairman of the Practical Theology Department at Biola University, calls this method of opposing Satan "truth encounters" as opposed to "power encounters." Certainly there are times when demons need to be cast out of some people, but demonic attempts at thought control are aimed at everyone. Not every person has a demon to be cast out. Anderson wrote:
If Satan can place a thought in your mind—and he can—it isn't much more of a trick for him to make you think it's your idea. If you knew it was Satan, you'd reject the thought, wouldn't you? But when he disguises his suggestion as your idea, you are more likely to accept it. That is his primary deception.... Since Satan's primary weapon is a lie, your defense against him is the truth. Dealing with Satan is not a power encounter; it's a truth encounter. When you expose Satan's lie with God's truth, his power is broken. That's why Jesus said: 'You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32) .4……….
[INDEED SO, BUT AGAIN YOU HAVE TO WANT AND LOVE THE TRUTH, AND YOU HAVE TO SEARCH FOR IT; THIS MEANS REAL DEEP BIBLE STUDY; SEARCHING THE WORD, FINDING ALL SCRIPTURES ON ANY TOPIC IN THE BIBLE - YES THIS TAKES EFFORT ON YOUR PART. MOST “CHRISTIANS” SIMPLY WILL NOT DO IT, THEY ARE COMFORTABLE IN THE CHURCH OF THEIR CHOICE, HENCE WILL NOT FIND THE TRUTH AND WILL BE LED INTO MANY A FALSEHOOD AND DECEPTION - Keith Hunt]
Expose the lie, and you can defeat the liar
Demons have no right to override a human being's free will. But they fool us into thinking that these thoughts and desires are our own, and somehow that makes them valid and credible to us. We then accept the thought, act on it, and even defend it as our own.
That battle extends beyond the devil's ranks, making us susceptible to our own flesh and the world around us, the cosmos diabolicus.
The World, the Flesh, and the Devil
* Believers can yield to alien thoughts and be defeated.
* Believers can yield to the carnal desires of the flesh and be defeated.
* Believers can yield to the influence of the world and be defeated.
Temptations of sex, food, drink, and other lusts such as gambling, the love of money, or an inordinate desire for material possessions can be identified immediately as sins of the flesh. Sometimes the devil accentuates and emphasizes these things if he knows one of them is your weakness. However, most of the time what people are battling is simply their own flesh.
In Galatians 5:19 Paul gave an outline of the works of the flesh: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and so forth.
When Jesus said to pluck out your eye or cut off your hand if it offended you (Mark 9:43-47), He was not speaking literally. He was talking about fleshly lusts and appetites. Paul spoke similarly of "mortifying" our flesh, or putting it to death (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5).
The pleasures of the flesh are not demons or evil spirits. Eating is a lust or a pleasure of the flesh that, when pushed to the extreme, is gluttony. But it is not necessarily a demon at work. It can be a lack of temperance or self-control (Gal. 5:23). Actually, the greatest war the believer will ever wage is not with the devil but with the flesh.
[BUT AS THE AUTHOR SAYS THE DEMONS CAN ZERO IN ON YOUR PARTICULAR WEAKNESS OF THE FLESH, AND HELP YOU ALONG INTO IT - Keith Hunt]
The world system includes many things that are beautiful and attractive. It also includes knowledge, humanitarian concerns, social programs, art, music, and politics. None of these are evil in themselves, but none of them are totally founded on God and His principles.
We often overlook the fact that religion is part of the world's system. Children of God do not observe a "religion." They enter into and develop a relationship with God the Father.
[AND WITH JESUS CHRIST; BUT SOME GET CAUGHT UP IN LOOKING TO A MAN OR AN ORGANIZATION; THEY TAKE THEIR EYES OFF THE BIBLE; THEY TAKE THEIR FAITH INTO TRUSTING A MAN OR GROUP OF MEN; THEY STOP READING THE BIBLE TO BE TAUGHT AND CORRECTED BY THE BIBLE - OH THIS HAS HAPPENED AND IS HAPPENING ALL THE TIME; SO JESUS SAID “FEAR NOT LITTLE LITTLE (A DOUBLE DIMINUTIVE IN THE GREEK) FLOCK, FOR IT IS THE FATHER’S PLEASURE TO GIVE YOU THE KINGDOM” - Keith Hunt]
* Religion is Adam and Eve covering their nakedness with leaves from the tree.
* Religion is always man's self-efforts to cover his nakedness, rooted in pride.
* Religion appeases the mind into thinking it is in right-standing with God.
Christianity involves the shedding of innocent blood to atone for man's sins. God clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins after the animals' innocent blood was shed. That is true Christianity.
The world, the flesh, and the devil all make their first approach to a person through the mind. If thoughts come indirectly through the world's entertainment system, the ultimate source is the satanic world. If the thoughts are triggered by the flesh, they are also traced indirectly to Satan through the fall of Adam and Eve.
We can overcome these thought attacks by meditating on the truth of God's Word. In the next chapter, I want to give you the essential information about another way of resisting Satan—-spiritual warfare.
Spiritual Warfare and Angels
We are not too unlike the flea on the head of the elephant who, just after the elephant crossed an aging bridge, leaned over to the ear and whispered, uWow! Didn 't we shake that bridge!”
I have been amazed at the recent proliferation of teachings in the church on directly attacking Satan's evil angels. It seems people have become aware that we are at war. Movements and organizations are bringing new understandings in this area to the church.
Many of these men and women have great ministries and unusual abilities at communication. They also have valid insights into the Bible and a passion to win the world for Jesus, which I admire with all of my heart.
However, I believe a basic misunderstanding about the battle between Satan's troops and the church can lead to errors and possible extremism. I could not write a book about angels without talking about how we can stand against evil angels and demons and cooperate with the angels of God. Conversely, I find it is necessary to write about how not to deal with them.
Although there is much truth in what spiritual warfare groups are saying, I believe that in some cases they are operating out of faulty interpretation of Scripture. The reason I am so sure of this is that I made the same mistake in my first book, The Power of Praise and Worship. I used the three primary scriptures that they use, and I since have seen that my interpretation was inaccurate. Those three scriptures are Ephesians 6:12,2 Corinthians 10:3-5, and Daniel 10:12. The mistake is this: the Greek word for "strongholds" in 2 Corinthians 10:4 is okuroma. It appears only once in the New Testament, and I did what so many others have done: I built a major doctrine on that one word.
[NOT THE FIRST TO BUILD A FALSE DOCTRINE ON ONE WORD OR ONE VERSE - Keith Hunt]
How many spiritual warfare choruses have been written lately about pulling down strongholds?
How many "militant" choruses have been written and sung by Christians who actually are losing the real battle with Satan in their minds and flesh?
How many are projecting the sin in their own hearts onto demonic forces, venting anger and hatred, yet not dealing with those things in themselves?
How many cities can say they have lower crime rates because principalities and powers were "pulled down"?
I had connected those verses in 2 Corinthians 10 with Paul's outline of spiritual hierarchy in Ephesians 6:12 and used the Old Testament example of Daniel to "prove" that we should use our weapons against principalities and powers. Actually, those verses do not connect in this way, although most of the books I have read on spiritual warfare make the same artificial connection that I once did. The facts are these:
1. "Strongholds" in 2 Corinthians 10 are explained very explicitly as "imaginations," "high things" (or thoughts) that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God. Paul wrote that we should bring every thought into obedience to Christ. Some translations are even plainer, saying "arguments," "theories," "reasonings," "speculations," or "pretensions." The mind is the number-one battleground between Christians and Satan.
These verses in no way depict a cosmic struggle against territorial spirits that rule over our cities. In fact, none of the verses about warfare in the New Testament really involve Christians coming against heavenly powers.
For example, in 2 Timothy 2:3-4, the warfare in which Paul exhorts Timothy to be "a good soldier" involves the affairs of this life, not evil angels and authorities. In James 4:1-2, James calls "wars and fightings" the lusts that war in your members. "War" for the Christian obviously refers to the war of the spirit against the flesh, as does 1 Peter 2:11. It has nothing to do with fighting evil angels or spirits.
2. Ephesians 6:12, at first glance, may seem to endorse Christians fighting against evil angels in ruling positions. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
However, taken in the context of verses 10 to 18, Paul is not writing about pulling fallen angels out of the heavens but about resisting the enemy's attacks in everyday life. He is talking about the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the sandals of peace, the sword of the Spirit, truth as a covering for the "loins," knowing the Word and prayer (Eph. 6:13-18).
3. In Daniel 10, an angel visited Daniel in answer to his prayer and fasting. In addition to the answer Daniel sought, the angel told him that the prince of Persia had "withstood" the angel until he got help from the archangel Michael
(v. 13). This verse is the foundation of most of the present teaching on "territorial spirits" and is used to explain Ephesians 6:12.
I would like to point out that this story from Daniel took place under the old covenant. After Jesus died, rose, and ascended, there is no indication in the New Testament that territorial spirits are able to stop or hinder our prayers from getting through to God.
We are sons of God and have immediate access to the throne of grace at any time. We are told to come boldly to the throne of grace in Hebrews 10:19 because of Jesus' blood. In John 15:7, the Word says, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." This obviously allows no opportunity for satanic intervention. When we understand our authority in God's kingdom, there will be no fear of territorial spirits interfering with our prayers.
Let me make it clear that I do believe there are territorial spirits, and I have encountered them in the more than eighty countries where I have traveled and ministered.
It seems clear from the Bible that Satan's evil angels are arranged in ranks of various authorities. However, I believe that Christians have not been told to pull them down. The only strongholds believers are to deal with are in their own minds, flesh, and lives. The only evil spirits we are to deal with are demons that sometimes must be cast out of people through personal ministry.
Genuine spiritual warfare mostly has to do with the mind and the flesh, which, of course, involves the influences from the world and the devil.
Genuine spiritual warfare involves fighting "the good fight of faith." That means keeping our mind renewed, our flesh in check, and resisting the temptations of the world. That is the bulk of the fighting that Christians are called to do.
To borrow a phrase from Judson Cornwall, we need to see clearly whose war this really is.
Whose War Is It Anyway:
If Jesus defeated Satan, and if He "spoiled principalities and powers," then why should believers have to do that?
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Since we are seated with Christ "together in heavenly places" (Eph. 2:6), that means we already are positioned above principalities and powers. Some people are leasing airplanes to get to a high altitude and pull down "high places." Others are renting the top floors of tall buildings for this purpose.
[OH MY REALLY??? SHOWS HOW INEPT SOME ARE AT READING THE BIBLE, OR TAKING JUST ONCE VERSE OUT OF CONTEXT WITH OTHER VERSES, AND MAKING SOME “NEW DOCTRINE” OF THEIR OWN IMAGINATION. I HAD NO IDEA SOME WERE DOING SUCH THINGS - Keith Hunt]
What difference does natural altitude make? Would it have been more effective if Jesus' cross had been on Mount Everest instead of Mount Calvary?
It seems that if strongholds needed to be pulled down over cities, Scripture would give examples of the apostles doing so at such notorious locations as Ephesus, Corinth, or Rome……
Spiritual warfare traditionally has meant simply praying about something until the answer came. Even in the Book of Daniel, angels of God—not Daniel—fought the evil territorial spirit on Daniel's behalf. The authors of The Foundations of Pentecostal Theology commented:
Nowhere are Christians told to fight the devil. Our Lord did that once for all on the cross. Our part is to claim, by faith, and stand in His victory. "Resist the devil—do not fight him—and he is the one who will "flee from you" (James 4:7). [First] Peter 5:9 explains how this is to be done: "Whom resist, steadfast in the faith." Faith in the account of Christ's victory over the devil, and faith in God's promises, is the secret to victory.... Faith in God's Word is the secret of the believer's daily triumph.3
[FAITH ALSO MEANS THE TRUTHS OF GOD - STAYING STEADFAST IN GOD’S WORD OF TRUTH, MEANS THE DEVIL AND DEMONS ARE HITTING THEMSELVES AGAINST THE ARMOR OF GOD THAT YOU HAVE PUT ON - THEY CANNOT GET THROUGH TO WOUND YOU TO DEATH - Keith Hunt]
So what does it mean to wrestle against things that are not flesh and blood? Vine's expository dictionary says the meaning of the Greek word pale, translated "wrestling," is akin to pallo, which means "to sway" or "to vibrate."4 Vine wrote that this is used figuratively concerning spiritual conflict. Yet many of the proponents of territorial warfare interpret this literally and believe that we actually wrestle with territorial spirits in the heavenlies.
[AGAIN….WOW….DID NOT KNOW SOME WERE BELIEVING THIS IDEA….WHAT SOME COME UP WITH JUST BLOWS ME AWAY - Keith Hunt]
Paul was trying to draw a word picture for believers that opposition comes from the enemy, not from other people. The whole point he is making in Ephesians 6 is not about spiritual warfare in the heavenlies but who the enemy is. He was trying to keep Christians from fighting among themselves or even against unbelievers over things the devil stirred up.
What a wrestling match it is to dismiss past failures!
What a wrestling match it is to remember that snide comments and derogatory remarks from friends or relatives do not make them our enemies! Our enemy is the one who provoked those thoughts in their minds or who reminds us of past faults and failings that have been placed under the blood of Jesus.
What a wrestling match it is to avoid self-righteousness and believe that good deeds gain us status in heaven and not to take part of the glory for what God does through us!
I have no argument with those who say there are territorial spirits. My only difference is in whether or not we are to pull down defeated foes that are already defeated.
The situation is no different with evil angels than with Satan. Few believers would slip into thinking they have to bind and pull down Satan himself. They know all they have to do is resist him in all areas of their lives. The same holds true for his angels. If Satan is a defeated foe, then so are his angels.
Satan knows his ruling spirits cannot be pulled down or bound before his "lease" runs out. Remember, his lease is not for the world, nor does it involve the kingdom of God. Satan's dominion is a time-lease on the systems that rule all areas of this planet…….
We can resist him in our culture by buying videos or going to movies that reflect God's ways, by buying godly books and magazines, and by watching television programs that promote the concepts of God.
We can resist him in education by becoming active on local school boards.
We can resist him by fasting and praying about any of these areas.
In other words, we can resist Satan by living a biblical, "normal" (as taught in the Word) Christian life.
The most important thing about that passage in Daniel is not that there are territorial spirits. It is not even that good angels fight them.
The most important thing is that God answers sincere heartfelt prayer, even if it means dispatching angels to bring the answer.
Personally, I am concerned that the devil is enjoying all this attention paid to something that he knows is wasting Christians' time and energy. In books and articles and at spiritual warfare conferences, so much time is spent focusing on Satan's power and influence that our eyes are off what Jesus already has done.
Judson Cornwall said the bigger problem with some spiritual warfare is that "the emphasis is upon the power vested in us far more than the power in the blood of Jesus Christ. It walks a very fine line between Christianity and humanism, which teaches the deity of mankind.... True warfare occurs when we exalt Christ in righteousness and faith."5
I am confident that what is going on under the title of spiritual warfare is neither spiritual nor warfare. It is fleshly activity, energized by soul power. [It] is far more mass hysteria than it is warfare. It accomplishes nothing in the heavens, and often what it accomplishes on earth is divisive, mystifying, and destructive to the participants.6
A Spiritual Balance
We should not back off from praying for our cities, states, and nations simply because some are operating in error or extremism.
We should pray for our countries and for those in authority ((2 Chron.7:14; 1 Tim. 2:2).
We should pray for people's hearts to be open to the gospel
To live victorious lives, we must not underrate or overrate our enemy, Satan. We cannot understand how to relate either to good or to evil angels if we do not understand authority in the spirit realm.
Kenneth Hagin Sr. has described the real reason why Christians cannot pull down territorial spirits over cities:
We do not have Scripture for breaking the power of the devil over an entire city once and for all time, because a city is composed of people. People have free choice, and they can choose whom they will serve—Satan or God—and in every city many people choose to serve Satan and to continually yield to him. But we can push back the influence of darkness in prayer so that the Word has an opportunity to prevail in people's hearts and lives through the preaching of the gospel.7……….
[I HAD NO IDEA PEOPLE HAD MADE THIS TEACHING, THINKING THEY WERE TO GO OUT AND TRY TO PULL DOWN DEMONS OVER CITIES AND NATIONS…..BUT IN THE EMOTION OF THINGS MANY PENTECOSTAL GROUPS GET CAUGHT UP IN EMOTIONAL FALSE IDEAS AND JUST PLAIN WRONG THEOLOGY - Keith Hunt]
TO BE CONTINUED