II. Basic Training

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A. Purpose

Now that we have reviewed the origin of the spiritual conflict between good and evil, we can begin the ďBasic TrainingĒ of our preparation for spiritual warfare.  In the previous section we learned how our enemy, Satan, opposes and attacks us in a variety of ways.  As Godís adopted children through faith in Jesus Christ, we receive a commission in Godís army to continue the work of Christ in bringing every enemy under Christís authority.  With that in mind, we are given several instructions concerning readiness for battle.   

1. What instructions concerning battle readiness do each of the following verses give us? 

Matthew 10:16:   

Ephesians 6:10,11,13:   

James 4:7:   

1 Peter 5:8:  

We can assume that our enemy is well skilled in warring against mankind, and has about 6000 years of experience!  Training is an essential activity for the warriors who hope to succeed in resisting the enemy and advancing Godís kingdom.  In this section, weíll explore some fundamental areas that we should be familiar with for warfare, including the forces, their capabilities and the enemyís typical tactics.  

B. Kingdoms in Conflict

In conventional warfare, military intelligence is often a key ingredient to victory.  As spiritual warriors, it is important for us to understand the two kingdoms in conflict and the relative capabilities of each.   

1) Godís Kingdom

a. Characteristics

Jesus used many parables to describe the characteristics of Godís kingdom. 

2. For each of the scripture passages, please write the aspect of Godís kingdom that is described: 

Matthew 13:31-33:   

Matthew 18:3-4, James 4:6:   

Mark 16:17, Philippians 2:9-11:   

Hebrews 1:8:    

Hebrews 12:28:   

Jesusí many parables illustrated a kingdom that was radically different from earthly kingdoms.  This difference is especially evident in the concept of greatness in the kingdom.  In earthly kingdoms, military might, wealth and political power are typical measures of greatness.  In Godís kingdom, such things are foolishness, as God has unlimited power and resources.  So how is greatness measured in his kingdom? 

3. Please read the below verses and write how greatness is measured in Godís kingdom:

Matthew 5:19:   

Matthew 18:3-4, James 4:6:    

Matthew 20:25-28, Matthew 23:11:   

b. The Commander-in-Chief

Read Ephesians 1:20-23 and Revelation 19:11-16.

4. Who is in command of Godís army?  

5. What are some of the names he is known by? 

 

6. Describe the commanderís current position and authority: 

 

c. Angels

Holy Angels are created spiritual beings that do Godís bidding.  God can give angels great power and authority to carry out missions (ex. Revelation 18:1).  Iíve listed below some of the typical missions angels are sent to do, along with an example from scripture.  7.  For each verse, please briefly summarize what happened.   

Execute God's judgment on the earth 

1 Chronicles 21:15-27:   

Other examples:  Genesis 19:13, Numbers 22:22,31-32 

Serve in Godís army, which may intervene in human conflicts

2 Samuel 5:23-25:    

Other examples: 2 Kings 19:35, Joshua 5:13-6:5  

Fight against Satan and his angels

Daniel 10:11-13,20:   

Other example: Revelation 12:7-9 

Help Godís people

Helping Godís people is an angelic role particularly relevant to spiritual warfare. Godís angels are "flames of fire" that minister to Christians (Hebrews 1:7,14). 

8.  For each of the below verses, summarize how the angels assisted people: 

Give instructions

Daniel 8:15-27:  

 

Acts 1:10-11:  

 

Other examples: Acts 10:22, Revelation 1:1   

Protect 

2 Kings 6:17:  

 

Other examples: Psalm 34:7, Psalm 91:11-12 

Respond to prayer

Daniel 10:12:  

 

Acts 12:5-11:  

 

Other example: Matthew 26:53 

Strengthen people

Daniel 10:18-19:  

 

Matthew 4:11:  

 

             Other example: Luke 22:43 

We should remember that God directs the holy angels (Psalm 91:11), not us. We are to pray to God, not to the angels.  Many non-Christian religions involve praying to deities who in fact are not gods but demons or ďfallen angels.Ē (ex. Deuteronomy 32:17).     

d. People

People who believe and obey Jesus Christ are among the most effective troops in Godís army.   

9. What is our identity in Christ?

Galatians 4:7:     

Philippians 3:20-21:   

10. Read 2 Timothy 2:1-4.  What is our role in Godís army?   

11. Read 1 John 4:4. What do we have in us that is greater than Satan? 

12. What are we commissioned to do?

Mark 16:15:   

Acts 1:8:    

2) Satanís kingdom

a. Characteristics

Satanís kingdom is basically opposed to Godís kingdom in every way. 

13.  For each of the below verses, write the characteristic of Satanís kingdom that is illustrated:

Daniel 10:13, 20:   

Revelation 20:10,14:   

Matthew 12:24-30:   

14. What are five objectives of Satanís kingdom?

1. John 10:10:   

2. Luke 4:6-8:   

3. Ephesians 2:2:   

4. Revelation 20:7-8:   

5. Revelation 12:17:   

b. The Commander

As we studied previously, Satan was formerly the angel, Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12), who was the covering cherub for God's throne (Ezekiel 28:12-16).  Created perfect in beauty, Lucifer was full of wisdom. Lucifer became Satan, meaning the adversary, when he sinned by pride (Isaiah 14:13-14, Ezekiel 28:17).  He was cast out of heaven to earth and now fights against Godís followers.  He is the current ruler of the earth (Luke 4:5-6, John 12:31) and is referred to as the "prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2 NKJV).    

In addition to his typical work of stealing, killing and destroying, Satan accuses Christians before God day and night (Revelation 12:10).  He is the ďFather of LiesĒ and has been a murderer since the beginning of creation (John 8:44).  He has authority, power and a throne (Revelation 13:2), and may give his authority over the earth to whomever he wishes (Luke 4:5-7).  He will ultimately give his throne, his power and authority to the beast (Revelation 13:2).  

Even though Satan is a fallen angel, he still has power that we should be cognizant of. 

15. What Satanic powers are mentioned in the following verses? 

Job 1:12,16,19:   

Job 2:7:    

Luke 4:5, John 13:2:   

2 Corinthians 4:4, Revelation 20:2-3,8:   

2 Corinthians 11:14:   

1 Thessalonians 2:18:   

2 Thessalonians 2:7-10:   

Satanís power, though considerable, has notable limitations. 

16.  Please note how Satanís power is limited according to the below verses:

Luke 4:13:   

Hebrews 2:14-15, 1 Corinthians 15:24-26:   

James 4:7:   

Revelation 20:7-10:    

c. Forces

Satan has a well organized group of forces to carry out his schemes on the earth.  With the exception of people who serve his purposes, Satanís forces are spiritual entities. 

17. Read Ephesians 6:12.  What are the various groups of evil forces under Satanís control? 

 

 

18. Who are these forces ďwrestlingĒ with? 

i. Evil Angels

Satanís angels are involved in cosmic and human events, just as Godís angels are. Scripture suggests the number of Satanís angels is one third of Godís original population of angels in (Revelation 12:3-9).  Since there are "myriads and myriads" of God's angels, it follows that there is a large number of evil angels as well (Hebrews 12:22, Revelation 5:11). 

19. Please briefly summarize the conflicts that evil angels were involved in for each of these references:

Daniel 10:13,20:   

Revelation 12:9:   

Some rebelling angels were imprisoned just before Noah's flood and now await final judgment (2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6). 

20. Read Genesis 6:1-6. What did these angels do to deserve incarceration? 

 

21. Read 1 Peter 3:18-20. Who came and proclaimed his finished work to these angels while they were in prison? 

22. Read Matthew 25:41. What will ultimately happen to evil angels?
 

ii. Demons/Evil Spirits

While demons and evil spirits could be the same beings as evil angels, there are enough references to them in the New Testament to warrant further study.   

a. Examples

By studying some particular incidents we can learn much about demons and evil spirits.   

23. Read Luke 8:26-35.  How were the demons able to communicate with Jesus? What was their demeanor as they confronted Jesus? 

 

24. How had the demons apparently affected the man they inhabited? 

 

25.What was the corporate name that the demons went by? Why was this used? 

 

26. Did the demons obey Jesus immediately?  If not, what did they do in response to his command? 

 

27. What was the one place the demons definitely did not want to go?  

 

28. From the demonsí bargaining attempts, what can we conclude about the ďhomeĒ they preferred to inhabit? 

 

29. What does the final condition of the man tell us about how the demons had affected him?

 

Markís account of the Gerasene demoniac gives us further details. Read Mark 5:1-13.

30. What additional details do we find concerning the demonized manís strength? 

 

31. What did the man do constantly, night and day? What did he do that was self-destructive? 

 

32. How many demons were in the man? 

Jesus took a few moments to teach about evil spirits, while replying to the Phariseesí request for a sign.  Read Matthew 12:43-45.

33. When an evil spirit leaves a person, where does it go and what does it look for?

 

34. What are two reasons it returned to the person it left?

  1.  
  2.  

35. How did the evil spirit regard the body of the person it left? 

36. What reason does Jesus suggest or imply for the spirit being able to re-enter the house? 

 

37. Who does the evil spirit recruit to come with it when it re-enters its host? How is the host person affected? 

 

38. In summary, what does Jesusí explanation tell us concerning the characteristics and capabilities of evil spirits? 

 

b. Purposes of demons and evil spirits

From the examples we just studied, we can get a feel for the purposes of demons and evil spirits.  From the story of the Gerasene demoniac and Jesusí teaching in Matthew 12 we know that one purpose of demons is to torment their victims, even to the point of causing death.  This may not be their main objective, however, as torment could simply be a means by which to achieve a ďhigherĒ purpose.  We find a hint of such a purpose in Paulís first letter to Timothy.  

Read 2 Timothy 2:24-26.

39. What had happened to the people in opposition to Paul? 

40. Considering that Satanís forces serve him, what can we surmise concerning a purpose of demons based on the above scripture?
 

41. Read Ephesians 2:1-3. What Satanic work in mankind is revealed in this passage? 

 

42. Again, assuming that Satanís forces assist him in this work, what purpose might demons have when inhabiting or influencing people?

 

As we have seen in the examples weíve studied, demons tend to be communal and defensive of their territory.  With the Gerasene demoniac, the group of demons named ďLegionĒ resisted being cast out.  The Matthew 12 demon recruited seven additional demons to come and live with it in the host.  We also know from Mark 16:9 that Jesus cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene.   

43. From a military perspective, what might be the purpose for multiple demons inhabiting a location / host? 

 

44. Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.  What are our spiritual weapons intended to ďpull downĒ?   

 

A stronghold can exist where a person has allowed sin to rule his or her life or simply has tolerated its existence.  By repeatedly sinning in a given area, a person builds a stronghold, which then in turn may allow demons to enter. 

45. Based on the examples weíve studied, what are some ways that demons might reinforce strongholds in people?  

 

46. One final purpose that demons and evil spirits fulfill is illustrated in Acts 16:16-18.  What purpose did the evil spirit apparently have? 

 

c. Responses to spiritual warfare

As weíve seen in previous examples, demons resist being expelled in a variety of ways.  One of the reasons for this is that they apparently vary in power level. Letís examine another example which illustrates this. 

47. Read Mark 9:17-29.  What did the spirit do when it saw Jesus? Why do you think it did this? 

 

 

48. How did Jesus deal with the spirit? How did the spirit respond? 

 

Matthewís account of this story reveals some additional information.

49. Read Matthew 17:19-21. What were two reasons Jesus gave for the disciples being unable to cast out the demon?

  1.  
  2.  

From Jesusí reply we can conclude that some demons are ďstrongerĒ than others.   

A final point concerning demons and evil spirits concerns their ďrecognitionĒ abilities. 

50. Read Mark 1:23-24.  Who did the demons recognize? 

51. Read Acts 19:13-16. By whose authority did the Jewish exorcists attempt to expel the spirit?

 

52. Who did the evil spirit claim to know or recognize? Who did they not recognize?

 

53. What was the implied reason that the spirit was able to beat up the exorcists and chase them away?

 

54. What can we conclude about evil spiritsí recognition abilities? 

 

iii. People: People can knowingly or unknowingly further the plans of Satan by doing evil. 

55. Read Matthew 13:24-30,36-43.  What two groups of people does Jesus describe in this parable? 

 

56. What were the implied missions of the sons of the wicked one? 

 

Perhaps the most dangerous sons of the Devil are those who pose as church people. By infiltrating Godís people, they may gain positions of trust and respect, from which they can do great damage to the body of Christ.

57. Read 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.  What types of positions do Satanís servants seek in ministry? 

 

We find a detailed description of false prophetesses in Ezekiel 13.  Working somewhat ďunder cover,Ē these women were practicing magic against Godís people. God instructed Ezekiel to prophesy against these false prophetesses.  

58. Read Ezekiel 13:17-23.  What were some of the notable things that these women were doing? 

 

Jesus called a group of Pharisees and Scribes sons of the Devil in John 8. 

59. Read John 8:38-47.  What were the Pharisees and Scribes doing that indicated they were sons of the Devil?

 

 

The Devilís sons are not all trying to masquerade as followers of Christ.  Paul encountered such a person in his ministry on the island of Cyprus. 

60. Read Acts 13:8-10. What two things did Elymas the Magician do?

  1.  
  2.  

61. Speaking through Paul, what did the Holy Spirit say about Elymas? 

 

62. What were Elymasís ongoing evil efforts aimed at doing? 

 

Satan is perhaps a master opportunist.  Though he has many dedicated servants, he apparently uses unwitting people often to carry out his will.  We find examples of this in scripture. 

63. For each example below, please summarize how the people served evil purposes:  

  1. Matthew 16:22-23:    

 

  1. John 13:27:  

 

  1. Acts 5:3:  

We should also take a moment to consider the spiritual powers that the Devilís servants can potentially wield. 

64. Read Exodus 7:8-24 & Exodus 8:5-6. What 3 feats were Pharaohís magicians able to accomplish? 

  1.  
  2.  
  3.  

There is one final ďforceĒ that can work to further the Devilís purposes in every person.  In fact, the devil crafts his temptations to appeal to this force in hopes of persuading us to sin.  This enemy has the greatest potential to ruin our walk with God and destroy our lives.

65. Read James 1:14-15 & 1 Peter 2:11-12.  What or who is this enemy?  

 

66.  Read Matthew 15:19-20.  What is a source of our inherent evil desires?   

C. How the enemy attacks us

The devil uses many tactics to accomplish his mission.  By studying examples of the devilís tactics from scripture, we can better recognize them when we face them in spiritual warfare.    

1) Tempt through lust of eyes, lust of flesh and pride of life

Tempting through lust and pride are perhaps the more obvious ways that Satan and his forces attack us.   

67. For each verse below, write down a short description of the temptations used:

Genesis 3:1-6:   

Proverbs 6:23-28:  

Acts 5:3, 1 Timothy 6:9-10:  

Acts 20:30,2 Timothy 3:6-7:  

Colossians 2:8:  

2) Steal, Kill and Destroy

In teaching about the Good Shepherd, Jesus contrasted himself with false shepherds who were thieves.  Jesus said, ďThe thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantlyĒ (John 10:10 NKJV). As the ultimate thief, Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy Godís people, just as the thief did to the sheep in Jesusí metaphor.  Letís consider some examples from scripture of Satanís work in these areas.  

68. Read the below examples and briefly describe what was stolen, killed or destroyed:

Job 1:9-12, Job 2:1-7:   

Matthew 13:19:  

Matthew 13:24-30,37-42:  

Luke 22:2-4:   

John 8:37-44:   

Titus 1:10-11:   

3) Oppose the Gospel of Christ

Another way the enemy attacks is by opposing the Gospel of Christ.  Satan opposes the Gospel in order to stop it from strengthening and expanding Godís kingdom.  The Gospel is the truth that sets people free from the bondage of sin and enables them to become the sons of God they were created to be.  This greatly threatens Satanís kingdom.  Letís examine some examples of his opposition to the Gospel. 

69. Read the below examples and briefly describe the tactic used to oppose the Gospel:

Acts 14:2:   

Acts 14:3-6:    

2 Corinthians 11:12-15:   

Colossians 2:8, 2 Timothy 2:17-18:  

1 Thessalonians 2:18:  

4) Veil the mind from truth

One tactic that is particularly effective in warfare is to veil or blind the mind from truth.  Satan has notable power to deceive people, i.e. to influence what people see and believe.  Letís look at some examples of this ďmind controlĒ in the scriptures. 

70. For each scripture, please describe how peopleís minds were influenced:

2 Corinthians 4:3-4:   

1 John 2:11:  

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10:  

1 Timothy 4:1-2:   

2 Timothy 2:24-26:  

5) Weaken faith in God

Our faith is potentially a very powerful weapon against the enemy.  When we believe God and his word, all things are possible to us.  It makes sense therefore that one of Satanís strategies is to weaken our faith in God.  He does this in a variety of ways.    

71.  Please read the below passages and describe how the enemy (and his forces) tried to weaken peopleís faith: 

Genesis 3:1-6:   

Job 2:1-7:  

Ezekiel 13:17-23:      

Luke 4:3,9-12:     

Luke 8:13, 1 Thessalonians 3:4-5:    

Revelation 2:10:  

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