The prince of this world and his army

Marko Joensuu         No comments
In this blog post, my good friend Pastor Claudio Ferro from Rome, Italy, shows how Satan is waging a war against you, the Church and humanity with his demonic army. Also, he reveals some of Satan's strategies in this war. Claudio is the author of Angels and Demons: Modern and Ancient Spiritual Warfareand he travels internationally teaching on spiritual warfare.

We need to be aware of Satan's schemes, as not knowing your adversary will cost you the victory in the battle.
In 2 Corinthians 2:1-11 Paul writes,
"For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices."
You need to know Satan's "devices". He is the "roaring lion”, and he has a well-organised army he uses against church leaders and members, even against the whole humanity.
Using his hierarchically organised army, Satan releases his manipulative, destructive, perverse and controlling strategies down to the lowest ranks of his army and into our world.
Jesus called Satan "the prince of this world" which means that Satan must have at least some power on Earth. But thankfully, He didn't call Satan the King! This means that Satan's control and power on Earth is not total.
Nevertheless, looking at history, it seems clear that Satan has at times been in nearly full control over whole societies, and, even today, his power is evident, even when it is restrained.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 Paul shows how the Holy Spirit is restraining the full manifestation of Satan's power through the Church.
"And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way."
Because Satan's power is restrained, he achieves his goals mainly through deception and bringing his evil ideas from the spiritual realm into our natural world. Ignoring the reality of Satan offers no protection, and that is why even governments and rulers often let themselves be manipulated by demonic forces.

The grim reality is that unless Satan's army is encountered by a victorious Church full of the Holy Spirit, nothing can really stop it. Without the Church living in victory, Satan's army will have unhindered access to the spheres of politics, economy and religion.

Satan—the prince of this world

How can a creature that is NOT all knowing, omnipresent or all-powerful dominate and keep under his control much of human society? The answer is simple—he has a large army under his command, and he is busy giving them orders and revising their strategies.
In Job 1:6-7 Satan comes before God.
"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, 'From where do you come?' So Satan answered the Lord and said, 'From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.'"
Why did Satan tell that to God? He is bragging to God that the earth is now under his control. But God tells Satan that His servant Job is not under Satan's control, which enrages him. But the verses also illustrate how Satan can only be in one place at any time.
So, to achieve the domination of Earth, Satan has an army consisting of the third of the former angels of Heaven who followed him in rebellion. He has under him many legions of demons that he manages and mobilises through a network organised hierarchically in principalities, powers and rulers.
I believe that on the highest level of Satan’s hierarchy there are four types of principalities. They are the generals of his army. Like God has archangels, Satan also has highly ranked dark angels.
Paul uses the Greek word Archas for principalities. It means the "ancient times”. In the Greek society, the Archas were people with high-ranking positions. These Archas are powerful demons that control empires, states and cities. In Daniel 10:13, the archangel—the chief prince—Gabriel is opposed by the principality of Persia—but the prince of Persia was supported by the "kings" of Persia! Here, we can see how the Persian Empire was firmly under the control of a satanic army, so much so that two archangels had to fight for 21 days to get through!

Principalities

I believe that there are four types of main principalities. It seems evident that there is a certain level of specialisation in the kingdom of darkness, as for example in Mark 9:25, Jesus casts out "a deaf and mute spirit", and in Matthew 12:22 He casts out a spirit that causes muteness and blindness.

We can see how the New Testament defines various spirits by the physical consequences of possession. In a similar way, we can define the nature of principalities, powers and rulers by the consequences of their influence. So, it doesn't mean that these principalities, powers and rulers are capable of doing only one thing, but it seems that their rule and operation often has a defining characteristic, hence it seems justified to call them by that dominant, defining characteristic. 

1.  The principality of religion

The main business of the principality of religion is to deceive mankind through producing ideas for false religions, which will deceive mankind to sin and oppression. It achieves its goal by producing religious beliefs and structures that are in contradiction to the Word of God.
1. It posits a plurality of gods.
The apostle Paul says,
“For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6)
2. It promotes the worship and veneration of idols.
God says,
“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.” (Exodus 20:3-5)
3. It teaches that human beings can become like gods.
Satan deceives and says,
“For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)
4. It teaches that people can be saved just through their efforts and their works.
The apostle Paul says,
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
5. It offers esoteric knowledge only to the “chosen” and privileged ones.
The apostle Paul says,
“O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

2) The principality of lust

The principality of lust works to create an environment where the demons of lust can attack our mind directly, releasing sexual fantasies and pushing provocative images that promote the desire to have physical pleasure, without any regard for consequences. It provokes the mind in such a way that it leads to the search for that pleasure, and each time the mind needs deeper pleasures and greater arousal.
It is the principality of lust that has worked to make pornography acceptable in our society, so that its demons can use it as raw material of lust against mankind.

3) The principality of pride

"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18)
This principality has an easy grip on us, because it is the same sin Satan deceived Adam to commit, and Satan himself had first fallen because of that same sin. Satan is a specialist in pride! 
"For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north.'" (Isaiah 14:13)
Most commonly, this principality appeals to our need for power and affirmation. It tempts us to seek success at all cost, and appeals to our arrogance.

4) The principality of occultism

This spirit inspires and instigates working in darkness. It hides itself, and therefore it is difficult to recognise, until it has struck its victims and brought destruction. In the Law of Moses those who practiced occult acts were severely condemned:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritualist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)
Here we find the word “abomination”—toèbah in Hebrew. This is a strong word used to indicate what the Lord hates and rejects. Closely linked to occultism are witchcraft and divination, which manipulate man’s mind.
The word used in the New Testament for divination is paramakéia, which means “to bewitch with drugs”. Parmakos is found in Galatians 5:20, Revelation 9:21, 18:23, 21:8 and 22:15. In Revelation 18:23 parmakéia is used. It means “seduced by enchantment or charm”.
On a small wooden board of Assyria, dated 626 BC, it is written: “Hashish, the drug which removes the mind”. The Assyrians used marijuana as sacrificial incense in their temples.
We see an example of how the spirit of divination works in Acts 16:16-22 that tells about a girl possessed by a spirit of divination. The Greek text says that she was possessed by a “python spirit”. In the ancient Greek culture python was associated with the practice of divination, and predicting future. Today, people practising this are known as psychics. Witchcraft affects physical objects and emotions. The favourite instruments of a witch are drugs, potions, spells, good-luck charms, magic and curses.

The four attributes of Satan

The devil does not just pass orders to his subordinates; they also have similar nature than him. He is the specialist and master in every false thing, and these dark angels have fallen with him, hence they have the same nature of sin.

1) The principality of occultism has destructive nature

In Revelation 9:11 we find two angelic names: Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollion (Greek). They are given to the angel of the abyss. These names refer to the destroyer, and the destructive power of Satan and his demons.
All demons subordinated to the principality of the occult possess this same power of destruction, and they give it to men and women who allow themselves to be enthralled by this type of spirit.

2) The principality of pride desires for control

The second attribute of Satan is the desire for control, and we see it in the names the Bible gives to him: prince of this world (John 12:31), prince of the demons (Luke 11:15) and prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). The principality of pride operates especially in this area, and often through everyone who wants to lift himself above others.

3) The principality of lust has evil and perverse nature

We can see Satan’s third attribute in his names Beelzebub (2 Kings 1:2-6) and Beliar (2 Corinthians 6:15), in metaphorical image of the dragon (Revelation 12:9), and in behaviourial attributes of evil (Matthew 6:13) and murderer (John 8:44). This perverse nature is evident in the principality of adultery.
Beelzebub was the name of a Philistine god and it means the “lord of the flies”, while Beliar that is Greek means someone or something that has no worth, something dirty and evil. Similar terms were also used to refer to the sons of Eli, who were greedy crooks and fornicators. They had the typical attitude and behaviour of those who are influenced by the spirit of lust. 

4) The principality of religion manipulates the mind

Satan’s fourth attribute can be seen in the names given to him, such as the adversary (1 Peter 5:8), the roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), the devil, used more than forty times, and Satan, used more than fifty times.
This manipulative nature of Satan is demonstrated clearly by the principality of false religion. The name adversary is relevant to us because it helps us understand the way these evil forces operate. The word adversary in the Bible has been translated from the Greek word antidiko—made of anti which means “against” and dikos which means “justice”. These demons oppose the justice of God in Christ Jesus with false religion, and they oppose the grace and justification offered by God. In addition, they operate through legalistic religions based on human efforts and self-justification.

Powers

Under Satan and the principalities is the third level of the demonic hierarchy that is defined by Paul in Ephesians 6 with the Greek word Exsousìa. This word means power as delegated authority. These kinds of demons act under the direction of the Archas and manage an army of devils engaged in close combat against us.
Each principality has powers under them, and they command demonic legions against at least four areas of human society: the Church, politics, economics and religion. We make a distinction between Church and religion, as the true Church of Christ is not a religious organisation, but an agent of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is the Head of the Church, and every member of His Church is also a member of His Body.

Rulers

The powers have beneath them the "rulers of the darkness of this world”. In Greek, they are called Cosmokrateros. This word is formed by the word Cosmo that means “order”, and krateros that means “rude strength”. It is a military term that refers to foot soldiers of an army organised in their ranks. This is the infantry in the army of demons that controls the world on behalf of the prince of the air, and opposes all that is from God, in particular, the Church.
Some of these demons are sent to infiltrate the Church formed by believers in Christ Jesus, others influence political and governing powers, others the world of economy and others world’s religions. Each of them receives specific orders from the principality and power it is subject to, and brings them to act with great zeal.
We will now consider different attacks against different areas of human society. We will begin with the Church of Jesus and how the demons organise their attacks to destroy a local church and its witness for the Gospel.

Attack on the Church

The Church is attacked by the powers of darkness, often from within, from spirits whose works often appear harmless, but they are in fact evil schemes designed by ravenous wolves. Each of these spirits has a specific mission to attack a specific area of ​​the church. We must exercise the gift of discerning of spirits to recognise their operation.
We can see the working of these type of spirits in the lives of many biblical figures, and many refer to these type of spirits with the names of biblical characters, such as Jezebel or Balaam. These names can be useful shorthand, as long as you don't think that everything attributed to Jezebel is the work of one spirit called Jezebel, or that these spirits really have the name of Jezebel. But there is a multitude of spirits that operate in a similar way than manifested in the life of Queen Jezebel. And these spirits have not retired just because we have moved from the era of biblical Israel to the era of the Church.
These spirits attack four areas in the Church:
1.      The pulpit from where the ministerial authority is practised and the Word of God is preached.
2.      The leaders who have various ministries including worship, the diaconate, intercession, etc.
3.      The ‘door’ where the ushers welcome people—evangelism etc.
4.      The congregation made up of believers who gather at the various meetings of the local church.


Personally, I have identified four targets that Satan has assigned in the Church, but I am sure that there are more! I believe that each target is attacked by a different ruler under the command of one of the four principalities, and if possible, they deceive people to partner with them.

1) The spirits of Jezebel

We begin with the spirits of Jezebel. These kinds of demons receive orders from the principality of occultism. Jezebel in 1 & 2 Kings was well on her destroy both the Levitical Priesthood and the authority of the king. She succeeded well, until she met the prophet Elijah!
According to 1 Kings 16, King Ahab was a particularly evil king. In disobedience to the Word of God, King Ahab married Jezebel. Her name means "without a husband and without cohabitation”. She was a princess of Tyre and encouraged Israel to worship Baal.
In only a few years Jezebel had usurped the role of her husband. Personally, she financed more than 800 false prophets and throughout Israel she promoted the worship of the false gods Baal and Ashteroth.
Likewise, spirits of Jezebel, exposed by Jesus Himself in Revelation 2:20, infiltrate the Church by deceiving men and women who have a desire for power but do not have a shepherd’s heart. Often, they prefer to stay in the shadows, so it’s not immediately obvious that they are greedy for power. They offer themselves as helpers or supporters, like Queen Jezebel, who let Ahab look like the ruler when, in fact, she manipulated him.

2) The spirits of Absalom

These spirits attack "entrance” and stop the growth and development of the local church.
Absalom was the son of King David. 2 Samuel 14:25 says,
“In all Israel there was no man who was celebrated for his beauty as Absalom; from the sole of the foot to the top of the head there was in him no fault.”
These spirits attack anyone that welcomes new people to the church. They stand as obstruction at the natural and spiritual entrances to the church, stopping the growth of a church.
Absalom was upset with his father, and he wanted to usurp control. He achieved that by stopping the people of Israel going to the king.
2 Samuel 15:1-6 says,
“After this Absalom got himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, 'From what city are you?' And when he said, 'Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,' Absalom would say to him, 'See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.' Then Absalom would say, 'Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.' And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.”
In this way, Absalom stopped the people from having an audience with King David. Similarly, these spirits stop people from having an audience with the King of Kings. They also stop people from going to the church or small group to hear the Word of God, which stops the growth of the church.

3) The spirits of Saul

These demonic powers, receiving instructions from the principality of religion, attack the worship leader, and the musicians and singers. But they also attack anyone who has an intimate relationship with God, like David did.
Saul was the first king of Israel. He was chosen because the people wanted a king. He showed up with a semblance of humility, while in reality, he was only interested in his own personal gain. Initially, he did not want the responsibility of the king, because he preferred to live life as a wealthy, beautiful and egocentric young man. But when he saw the benefits that the position of the king wore, he agreed to be the leader of God's people, but soon proving not to be able to lead the people in God's will.
These spirits take hold in particular on those leaders who have natural skills and exploit them to make an impact in the church for their personal satisfaction, but they cannot bring the people of God to His presence or God's will for the local church or a small group.
This spirit stimulates much carnality in leaders, under a religious cloak, so leaders might have an appearance of godliness but they will deny God's power with their actions. (Timothy 3:5) And from such people turn away!

4) The spirits of Balaam

These demonic powers work directly under the principality of lust, attacking the congregation of a local church by using the same tricks of the false prophet Balaam, as we read in the book of Numbers. This prophet could not curse the people of God in the "spiritual realm"; likewise, this power cannot defeat a church with a direct attack, because the church members are covered by the blood of Jesus and spiritually protected by the Holy Spirit. But they can attack us through our fleshly nature. Since evil spirits know this, they use the same tricks that Satan taught Balaam.
In Numbers 22-24, we read that Balak, the pagan king, an enemy of Israel, paid Balaam to curse the people of God, in order to subjugate them.
But Balaam discoverer himself unable to curse Israel.
In Numbers 23:20-21 Balaam says,
“Behold, I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it. He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel. The Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a King is among them."
Whenever Balaam tried to curse God's people, he ended up uttering words of blessing. He could not curse, because they didn’t walk in disobedience, hence there was nothing that a curse could attach to.
Three times Balaam tried to curse Israel but failed. Then he went to Balak and gave him a textbook lesson on how to harm the people of God. This plan worked, and since then the forces of Satan have used it against the people of God.
Balaam told that a curse could not work, as the people of God were obedient to the Lord. But he advised Balak to send beautiful and seductive women to the men of Israel that would lead Israel to sexual sin and also to worship idols.
Revelation 2:14 and Numbers 25:1 show us that King Balak followed the counsel of Balaam. God's people set foot in the territory of the devil, ate and bowed down before false gods, committed sexual sins and the wrath of the Lord was kindled against Israel.
In the New Testament there are three references to Balaam.
2 Peter 2:15 says, “They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness.”
Jude 11 says, “Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.”
Revelation 2:14 says, “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.”
Balaam could not even attack the people of God in the spiritual realm through sorcery, like he used to, so he attacked them in the flesh by sending in their midst Moabite women who brought the people to idolatry and fornication. The same ploy of Balaam is used by the demonic spirits today, prompting the church members to live a libertine life outside the church—often under the excuse of grace—but yet appear holy in the church meetings.

How to fight them

These demons must be discerned and exposed through prayer. We must confront the principality behind these attacks. If there is a person in the church that the enemy has deceived to partner with him in the attacks against the church, that person will either repent, or leave to another church, complaining how he or she has been treated.
If the person who has been used by these rebellious spirits was not aware of and wants to repent and be free, then a session of deliverance will help the person to be free from the demons activity in his/her life and to be reintegrated in the local church.

Attack on politics

Politics should uphold justice and protect and organise the people, but instead, demonic agents have infiltrated the political world, seducing many leading politicians to express similar characteristics than the demonic world, and to take advantage of the people rather than helping them.
Many politicians have counsellors that operate with occult powers. For example the US President Ronald Reagan had an astrologer on staff in the White House, and he addressed her before making any important policy decisions.
Today we live in democracy and we believe that this is the best model for governing a nation, but often, it seems like the lesser of two evils. 
The idea of democracy comes from the Greeks who sought to exalt the human thinking above all. The Greek model was further developed by the Romans with the Senate.
The model of God is the divine monarchy. Jesus is the King and His plan is to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. But democracy is man’s self-government, and although it is better than tyranny, it is still far from operating like the Kingdom of God.
When the Pharisees asked if we should we pay taxes to the temple or Caesar, Jesus asked them to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. Tiberius Augustus, the Caesar who ruled over the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus, was an emperor of an oppressive government. The church had no part with that Roman government, except to defeat it in the spiritual realm with prayer and to advance the Kingdom of God.
There are principalities with their powers and rulers that orchestrate attacks against human governments.

1) The spirits of sectarianism

These powers operate under the principality of religion; their work is to push politicians to become "sectarian" considering only their own party and not the nation.

2) The spirits of corruption

As the principality of occultism conceals itself and operates from the shadows, it is using the powers of corruption to deceive every level of human power and bring evil and injustice in every level of society.

3) The spirits of depravity

The principality of lust controls and gives orders to the powers of depravity that stimulate the minds of politicians to take advantage of the benefits of their position. In this way, these demonic powers bring those who should be examples to become laughing stocks.

4) The spirits of pride

The principality of pride often has an easy job. History shows us that even a politician who starts his career humbly and with great ideals, when he comes to power will often become puffed with pride. 

How to fight them

The apostle Paul instructs Timothy and the church to fight these spirits with prayer for the authorities.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
We should pray "for" men, kings and those in authority. This preposition "for" is the same that Paul uses in Romans 5:8 and 1 Thessalonians 5:10 where it says that Christ died "for" us—that means in our place.
When it comes to spiritual warfare, we are to pray “in the place of the authorities”, and not just for the authorities. With the authority given to every believer in Christ (Luke 9: 1) we can pray as if we were in the place of our human authorities. Led by the Spirit of God, we can take governmental authority in the spiritual realm, rather than allowing the governmental authorities to be influenced by demonic powers. Romans 13:1-7 asks us to be subject to civic authorities, and we will be subject to civic authorities in the physical but influence them in the spiritual!

Attack on the economy

There are two economies, that of man and that of God. God established the economy of Eden, giving every fruit, tree, plant and seeds to man. He cultivated the land for huge profits, so that all had in abundance. This economy of God is again visible in the book of Acts, when the Church discovered that there is more joy in giving than in receiving. They gave all their possessions, making them available to the whole Christian community, so that no one had too much or too little. Even in the desert God used His economic system of provision to sustain His people for 40 years. Again, through the economy of God, Jesus used to feed 5,000 people with two fish and five loaves!
The economy of man is quite different. Men began to develop it in the beginning of human civilisation in Genesis 4. The development of cities and trades caused the class struggles that today are the basis of modern economy, with the resources meant for the masses in the hands of the few.
Satan manipulates this human economy through his demonic hegemony.

1) The spirits of mammon

This power of mammon receives its directives from the principality of religion. The spirit of mammon manipulates man, shifting its attention and devotion from God, who provides, to worship money.
Jesus warned us against this spirit and the idolatry that comes from the false belief that our needs can only be met by money.
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
So the demonic rulers led by the spirit of mammon work constantly to concentrate the riches of this world in the hands of a few, when they should be available to all. They also work to create a strong desire for wealth in those who don’t have any.

2) The spirits of freemasonry

The principality of occultism influences the finances of this world through freemasonry, so that wealth is managed by a select few who use it to control people and the world.
Many influential families that own the banks, multinationals and the media industries are associated with freemasons.

3) The spirits of prostitution

The principality of lust releases powers of prostitution not only to bring sin and demonic bondage through sexual pleasures, but as a means of exchanging services, where a person’s idea, ideals, integrity, morals are sold to another person for financial gain. 

4) The spirits of greed

The principality of pride releases the powers of greed to deceive people to believe that the value of a man is based on what he owns and not on the identity that God gave him.

How to fight them

Every spirit is attacking an attribute of God or the way God’s presence and will are manifested in our lives. So, for example, the spirit of lust fights the purity that God wants to give to man or woman.
The spirits operating in the area of economy must be confronted by the Church that has no interest in riches and that refuses to submit to the economies of this world. It doesn’t mean that the Church should be poor or in lack of anything, but we should have the right attitude toward money, so that we trust in God for our provision rather than banks or worldly financial advisors.
In 1 Timothy 6:17 Paul says, Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.”
We have to remember that God can multiply fish and bread, pay taxes with fishing one fish, but the right one, provide manna for millions of men and women, and oil and flour for a prophet.

Attack on religion

Paradoxically, one of the best methods used by Satan to deceive and make men prisoners is religion. With religion, he can make man believe that we can be reconciled to God through our works. And Satan doesn't really care what religion it is, as long as he can use it to advance deception.
So, the principalities and powers keep on inventing different and exciting ways that seem to lead to God but, instead, they lead to hell.
Jesus says in John 14 that He is the only way to the Father. Adam's son Abel understood it, and he offered a lamb as sacrifice. It is a symbol of Christ. Cain brought the offering of his own work, the fruits his labour, and this represented the religious work—man's work—that God does not accept.

1) The spirits of idolatry

The principality of religion influences the religions of the world with the help of the spirits of idolatry that lead men to worship an image they created instead of God. This image doesn't even need to be a physical image, but a mental image of aspiration.
In 1 Corinthians 8-10 Paul talks about idolatry to the Christians of Corinth who were in daily contact with idols and idolaters. He says that an idol is nothing more than a picture or statue, manufactured by man but not a god (1 Corinthians 8:4). But when an idolater puts his faith in that image by attributing to it powers that are divine attributes, the faith of the idolater allows demons to manifest (1 Corinthians 10: 20-21).

2) The spirits of magic

The principality of the occult uses magic to bring man into believing in the supernatural to have power and control.

3) The spirits of sexual perversion

The principality of lust sends the spirits of sexual perversion to make man believe that there can be satisfaction and fullness in sexual pleasures outside marriage. We see this spirit acting as promoter of prostitution in pagan temples, in affairs between pastors and their congregation members, in priests engaged in paedophilia, and all other perversions that are at work in the religious environment. The lie of the enemy is in the idea that sexual human pleasures alone are able to replace the pleasure of the union of man and woman in marriage—a symbol of the union between Christ and the Church.

4) The spirits of false fathers

Often, the principality of pride deceives religions and spiritual movements to trust in a false spiritual father to whom power is given power over his followers. This contradicts the teaching of the New Testament, which clearly sets Christ as the only head of His Church.
Jesus warns us about those that want to be head of the Church instead of being servants. I like the way The Message puts it: “Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ." (Matthew 23:8-10)

How to fight them

The spirit of religion brings legalistic control, so the freedom of the Holy Spirit, the grace of God and the abundant life that Jesus gives must be the characteristics of everyday life in the Church. A lifestyle based on the freedom of the Spirit can pull down every stronghold of religion. People influenced by the principality of religion cannot stand the freedom of worship, a lifestyle of grace, or a church that is full of praise.

Attack on man

All human beings have four basic needs that must be met in order for us to feel complete.
ACCEPTANCE: The need for love
SAFETY: The need to feel safe
MEANING: The need to feel needed
IDENTITY: The need for self-esteem
Why is it important for believers to recognise these needs and know how to handle them? Because it is precisely in this area that the enemy of our souls attacks us, leading us to believe that sin can satisfy our need for security, and to feel needed and valued.
The attack on man from the demonic spirits goes in two directions—the attack on the man in Adam and on the man in Christ.

Attack on man in Adam

A man that is not born again in Christ, and who expresses the sinful nature of Adam, is vulnerable to attacks by any demonic spirit.
The demon wants to take control of the human body to use it at will. At worst, this can be demon possession where a demonic spirit takes control of the soul (mind) and through it controls the body, completely suppressing the spirit. Often, the route to demon possession is involvement in occult activities, thus opening the spirit of the man to demonic forces. At other times, the door can be opened through extreme forms of sin.
The actual demon possession is quite rare, but many men and women who are not born again can be heavily influenced and deceived by demonic spirits, as they have no spiritual discernment or defences.

Attack on man in Christ

A born again man is protected from demon possession, as he is a temple of the Holy Spirit who will never share His temple with a demon.
That is why the demonic forces attack the soul, which is not yet regenerated. Our spirit has been born again with the Spirit of God, but our soul and body is still waiting for the resurrection for full deliverance and redemption.
Because the spirit of the believer in Christ is in communion with the Holy Spirit, there is no way for the demon to enter the spirit of the believer. So the demon will use temptations and deception to influence the parts that have not yet been reclaimed by the new birth—body and soul.
When a temptation causes the Christian to sin, the demonic being has access to an area of ​​the mind through the lust of the flesh. And the flesh will keep on influencing the mind, until the demon gains more control. This is not demon possession but demonic oppression. 

The believer and the Tabernacle

The answer to how to live a life completely free from any demon influence—even if temptations will never cease in this life on Earth—can be found in the Tabernacle of Moses which is a symbol of how God has provided sanctification of his whole being for the believer in Christ.
The Tabernacle had three parts.
The cross, represented by the basin, altar, table of bred, lamp, incense and the ark of the Tabernacle, has provided the final redemption to man—the Spirit of the new birth, the soul in the renewal of the mind, and the body in death and resurrection.
Hebrews 3:5-6 says,
“And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”
Here the full meaning of the Tabernacle becomes clear. It was the symbol of man and also the symbol of Christ, the perfect man.
Like the Tabernacle that had three parts: the outdoor courtyard, the holy place and the most holy place, so the man is a being with three parts—body, soul and spirit.
1) The human spirit corresponds to the most holy place, as it is destined to be the abode of the Holy Spirit.
This is symbolised by the Ark of the Covenant with its mercy seat that enabled the living God can to dwell in the midst of his people.
The apostle Paul confirms this when he says: "You are the temple of God” (I Cor. 3:16)—or the tabernacle of God.
2) The soul of man corresponds to the holy place.
The interior, made up of the table of showbread, the golden candlestick and the altar of incense, reflect the human qualities:
The emotions (essential for relations, communion)
The mind (including the knowledge that gives light)
The will (making obedient choices that turn to the praise and glory of God).
3) The human body corresponds to the outer court.
The outer court symbolises man's body with its exposure to the physical world. As Paul tells us in Romans 6, the body is the seat of sin but also the site of the altar of sacrifice. It is also the site of contamination and requires the work of cleaning the basin.
But above all, the man is the abode of God, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit brings the presence and power of God.
Sometimes we hear teaching that the people in the Old Testament period was under the Law and that they didn’t know the grace of God. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It is true that they were under the Law, but the Law was never given to them to be their Saviour. Instead, it was given to reveal their sin and make them aware of how desperate their condition was without the redeeming grace of God. Their problem was not the Law, but the Tabernacle, and the sacrificial system. It was only a shadow of the heavenly Tabernacle, and it could never bring them salvation.
So when we come to the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament, we learn that the shadows have been removed because the only sacrifice that could forgive all sin had been given.
We read: "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Hebrews 10:19). We no longer have to be afraid to enter the presence of God, because by the blood of Jesus, God has removed all that separates us from Him.
The message of the book of Exodus is that, on the cross God has made it possible for a holy and just God to dwell in a sinful man. The Tabernacle is the image of God's dwelling place with His people. The great truth is that God has so completely dealt with the problem of sin in the sacrifice of His Son that Paul is able to write in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
We have perfect access to the Father through the Son, and the Spirit of God, who dwells in us, will never leave. He has made a permanent dwelling place in our hearts!

To find out more about Pastor Claudio Ferro's ministry, please visit ministeroinsieme.com.
Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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