This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
Let’s turn to our opening Scripture which we will find in the sixth chapter of Ephesians. Ephesians 6 and I am going to read from verse 10 through verse 12. I habitually read the King James Version, but I don’t stick to it. I amplify it, amend it and add to it and it thus becomes the “Prince Version.” This is not available in print! Reading then Ephesians 6:10:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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.” (KJV)
In these words Paul alerts us that as Christians we are inevitably going to be engaged in a spiritual conflict. That our conflict is going to be primarily against the devil who is named in those verses very specifically. And he warns us that the devil is a very wily or cunning adversary. So once we have come to faith in Jesus Christ and begun to read the Bible, none of us has any excuse any longer for being ignorant of these basic facts.
And then in verse 12 Paul gives us a breakdown of the nature of the warfare and the opposition that we will encounter. I’ve read it to you in the King James Version, I’m going to now change it to what I call the “Prince Version,” which is more literal and more up to date and slightly amplified. Let me point out, first of all, that many Christians in reading verse 12 have punctuated it wrong. Many Christians read it this way: “For we wrestle not.” Period. That’s the wrong place to put the pause. Paul says, “For we wrestle but not against flesh and blood, but against other things.”
Now this is the way that I would like to pass the verse on to you: For our wrestling match is not against flesh and blood, or not against persons with bodies. That’s taken from one of the modern translations. We are not wrestling against human beings; they are not the primary source of the problem. And let me say that many of us in our spiritual problems and frustrations get angry or embittered with human beings. And as a result we never come to a solution of the problem. The problem goes deeper than human personality. And if we simply view ourselves as dealing with persons, human beings, we never really understand the true nature of our problem. All right.
For our wrestling match, that’s a more literal way of saying it. Paul compares our spiritual conflict to a wrestling match. He had in mind I think the contests of the Olympic Games of his day, which were not unlike those of the modern Olympic Games. There were various types of personal conflict and I think the wrestling match was undoubtedly the most intense and the most exacting. And I think it’s significant that he chose that picture. We are in a wrestling match. In a wrestling match the whole person is pitted. His mind, his body, his will, his skill, every part of him is involved. And that’s what Paul is implying. We are totally involved in this wrestling match. For our wrestling match is not against persons with bodies, but against rulerships and the realms of their authority. Now that’s a departure from the King James text. Against the world dominators of the present darkness, against spiritual hosts or forces of wickedness in the heavenlies.
Let’s go through that and see some reasons why I’ve chosen those translations. For our wrestling match is not against persons with bodies but against rulerships and the realms of their authority. There are two basic Greek words used there. The first word that I’ve translated “rulership” that the King James translates “principality” is the Greek word arche and it means “ruling.” From it we get such words as archangel or archbishop. An archangel is a ruling angel, an angel who rules over other angels. An archbishop is a ruling bishop, a bishop who rules over other bishops. So we have a person depicted here as a ruler. Bear in mind that in the time of the King James translation rulers were normally termed princes. So a principality is a rulership.
Then it says “rulers and the realms of their authority.” Now the word translated “power” in the King James is the Greek word exousia which means more literally “authority.” So we have rulers and authorities. I take it a little further and I say “rulers and the realms of their authority” or “rulers in the realms of their authority.” The words principality and power are joined together quite frequently in the New Testament. They’re joined together in the epistle to the Ephesians in at least two other places. So there is a direct connection and I think you understand it when you understand that every ruler has an assigned area of authority in which his rulership is effective. So we are dealing with rulers who have assigned areas of authority. And I think in due course as we go further in these studies it’s going to be important for us to see because I believe in many cases we’re going to have to know the particular ruler in the particular area that we are concerned with—whether it be a city or a state or a nation or an empire. For the principle, let us look back in Ephesians 2:2 where it says speaking about all of us in our condition before we knew Christ and had been saved by His grace:
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world [according to the way this present world order operates], according to the prince of the power of the air...” (KJV)
Now you notice we have the word prince and the word power. First of all, who is the prince of the power of the air? In one word, Satan, that’s right. Let’s take those two names for a moment, Satan and the devil, just briefly. Satan is the Hebrew name and its literal meaning is “the resistor, the opposer.” So under that title, Satan is the one who opposes and resists God’s purposes and God’s people. The New Testament name of Satan is Diabolos which is translated in English “devil,” from which we get the Spanish the word diablo and many other similar words. In French, ?diable?, et cetera. And the literal meaning of that word is “a slanderer or an accuser.” Normally it’s used only in the singular as a specific title of Satan. However, for reasons which I will not attempt to analyze, in 1 Timothy 3 it’s used once in the plural and applied to the wives of deacons. However, it still retains its basic meaning, a slanderer or an accuser. And in Revelation 12:10–11 Satan is presented as the one who accuses the brethren, that is to say, the believers in Jesus Christ. So we are dealing with one who opposes God and His purposes and one who accuses the brethren. We’re going to need pretty intense concentration to absorb these truths. And we need to bear in mind that our absorbing them will be systematically opposed by Satan. Because if there’s one thing he dislikes it’s being unmasked. All right. So we’re talking now about Satan who is described here as “the prince of the power of the air.” Those are the same root words that occur in Ephesians 6:12. Satan is the ruler of the realm of authority defined as the air. Now the air, in Greek, there are two words for air, both of which have corresponding words in English. The first word is aither which gives us the English word “ether.” The second word is aer which gives us the English word “air.”
Now there’s a difference. Aither means the higher air, more rarefied, further from the earth’s surface.
The word aer means the air contiguous with the earth’s surface, the lower air.
It’s interesting because sometimes this distinction is significant. For instance in 1 Thessalonians 4 it says, “We shall all be caught up to meet the Lord in the air,” the word used is aer. In other words, it means that the Lord will come very close to the earth’s surface and then like pieces of metal attracted by a magnet we will be caught up and joined to Him. The word aer is also the word that’s used here in Ephesians 2:2. Satan is the prince or ruler of the air, the lower air. That is, by inference, he is the ruler of the surface of this globe. The globe is under his authority. So he’s a ruler. The realm of authority here referred to is that of the air, the air that’s contiguous with the surface of the globe.
Now, Satan does not rule over everybody on the earth’s surface. But he is the spirit, going back to Ephesians 2:2, who now works in the children of disobedience. In other words, as long as people are disobedient toward God, they are under the authority of Satan. But if they repent and turn from Satan and commit and submit themselves to Jesus Christ, they are delivered from the authority of Satan. Though still physically on the surface of the earth, spiritually they are no longer in Satan’s realm. But all those who walk in disobedience toward God upon the surface of this earth are under the rule of Satan. He’s the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. And please note the “children of disobedience” is not a denomination. And it’s not the denomination that you don’t belong to. What it means is that insofar as any of us are disobedient toward God, in that measure, Satan has control over us. That’s a very far- reaching thought.
Just to look at the transaction that takes place at conversion, let’s look in Colossians, the first chapter, we’ll be going back to Ephesians 6, but let’s look in Colossians 1:12–13.
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet [the Greek says “made us capable”] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light ...” (KJV)
We cannot partake of the inheritance of the saints in light unless God makes us capable. In ourselves we are incapable. God has done that as is described in the next verse, verse 13:
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness ...” (KJV)
Now the word power is again the same word that we’ve seen in Ephesians, it means authority. Darkness has authority. Satan is the ruler of darkness, he has authority. We need to know that. Satan has legitimate authority over the disobedient. He’s pictured in Job 40 as Leviathan. And in the last verse of that chapter he’s called a “king over all the children of pride.” As long as we walk in pride, self-will and stubbornness, Satan is our king. He is the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. And he has authority, God-given authority. I’ve dealt many times in deliverance with people who had an evil spirit that would manifest itself and speak out of them. But when you challenge it to come out, it would assert that it had a right to be there because that person had not met God’s conditions for deliverance.
I remember my friend Don Basham sharing this instance with me of a woman who manifested many spirits including suicide and insanity, et cetera. But after a period of time, there was one manifested which named itself as lust. So Don told the lady to renounce the spirit of lust and disassociate herself from it. So she said, “I renounce that spirit of lust.” And Don commanded the spirit to come out of the woman and the spirit said, “No, I’m not coming out. She wants me here. She invited me.” So Don said, “Well, when did she invite you?” And the spirit said, “When she went to that dirty sex movie.” And the spirit was legally right. That woman had done something to let that spirit in. And she had to confess that as a sin and renounce it before the spirit could be compelled to leave. So you understand, Satan has a legal right over people who walk in disobedience toward God. That word, “the power of darkness” is a legal word. It means the authority of darkness. But when we totally repent and turn from Satan and disobedience and rebellion, and submit to Jesus Christ, then God delivers us from the authority of darkness and the rest of the verse says:
“... and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son ...” (KJV)
Or more literally, “the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Notice, conversion does not leave you without a ruler. It’s an exchange of rulers. You were ruled by Satan; now you’re ruled by Christ. But if you’re not willing to be ruled by Christ, you have no options but to be ruled by Satan. There’s no middle ground. It’s a deliverance from one area of authority into a kingdom where Christ is supreme king and ruler and lord.
All right. Going back now to Ephesians 6. You’ll probably hear this verse if you stick with me in these studies, you’ll probably hear this verse fifteen times at least. I make no apology for that. “For our wrestling match is not against persons with bodies, but against rulerships in the realms of their authority.” Now we go onto the next phrase: “Against the world dominators of this present darkness.” There is a system of darkness which is seeking to dominate the whole human race. I use the word dominate because it’s so typical of Satan. The Greek word is the same word that gives us, in the book of Revelation, the title of Jesus Christ, the Almighty. The part that’s translated mighty there is the word that I translate “dominate” here. And let me say just by way of information, there are two words that are typical of Satan’s activity: dominate and manipulate. And wherever you encounter domination or manipulation, you encounter not the rule of God, but the attempts of Satan to control. And we have to learn to distinguish between the rule of Jesus Christ, which is by voluntary submission. It’s not imposed, nor is it manipulated. Jesus doesn’t seek to control us by ways that are independent of our free cooperation. But Satan and his agents will. And so let me just suggest to you anytime in your life, and most Americans are frequently confronted by these things, you are confronted by domination or manipulation just know
behind it is the power of darkness.
“Against the world dominators of this present darkness, against spiritual”—and we’ve got to put in a word, there’s no word in the Greek. But Greek can do it, we can’t. You’ve either got to put “spiritual forces” or “spiritual hosts” of wickedness. But it really means “the spirituals of wickedness in the heavenlies.” Now that’s very surprising to some people. The reaction of many Christians is, “I thought Satan was in hell.” My answer to that is, “It would be nice if he were, but he isn’t.” He’d be a lot less problem if he were.
Hal Lindsay has a book which is doubtless familiar to some of you entitled Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth. Well that’s true, but it’s not the final truth. Satan’s actual habitat, his place of residence is not the earth. It’s the heavenlies. He’s an angel. The natural place of residence of angels is not on earth but in the heavenlies. And it says in the epistle of Jude when the angels, some angels, not Satan, but some angels, left their natural place of residence to come down on earth and cohabit with women, human women, God intervened. And in the Greek it says “sent them to Tartarus.” We don’t have time to go into this in detail. If you look in the standard Greek lexicon, which is Little and Scott, which is about that thick, it describes Tartarus as a place as far beneath Hades or hell as hell is below earth. And it says in the epistle of Jude that God has reserved these angels in everlasting chains under darkness awaiting the judgment of the great day.
One point I want to bring out is something happens that always causes God to intervene when angels leave their natural place of residence. That’s the particular thing those angels did. They weren’t all the rebellious angels. But when that happened, God had to step in because a certain order was breached which is essential for the maintenance of the order of the universe. Now of course some people are going to say, “How can Satan be in heaven? I thought God was there.” The answer is both are. “Well, how can Satan and God share the same place?” The answer is they don’t.
And now I want to take a few moments, and I could take a whole period but I don’t want to, to point out to you that heaven in the Bible is always plural. Heaven is introduced to us in verse 1 of the Bible. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The word for God in that verse is Elohim. Im is the plural ending in Hebrew. God is presented plural right in the opening verse of the Bible. The verb that follows it, “created,” is singular. We have a clash of grammar in the opening verse of the Bible because God introduces us to the mystery that God is both one and more than one. It’s all there in seed in the opening verse of the Bible. The other word that’s plural in that verse is heaven which is ?shamayim?. Im is plural. God introduces us to the fact that there’s more than one heaven in verse 1 of the Bible. We need to know that.
Interestingly enough, just by way of comment, there are two other words in Genesis 1 which are plural. ?Chaim? which is the word for “life.” The Jewish toast when they clink their glasses and drink, which of course you good fundamentalists don’t do, is l’chaim, which means “to life.” And what God is telling us there is there’s more than one kind of life. That’s right there. The other word that’s plural is ?maim?, which means water. God is telling us there’s more than one kind of water. Jesus says in Revelation, “I will give unto him that is athirst of the river of life freely.” That’s not the one we drink out of the tap every day.
However, we’re just dealing with heaven right now. Heaven is plural. There’s more than one heaven.
You say, “Prove it to me,” and I say, “Gladly!” Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 12:2:
“I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body I cannot tell; or whether out of the body I cannot tell; God knoweth) such an one caught up to the third heaven.” (KJV)
That’s all I want to point out, that a man went to the third heaven. Now before I became a preacher I was a logician. My subject was logic. And I think sometimes it’s helped me in my preaching. At any rate, my background in logic tells me this: that if there’s a third heaven, there must be a first and a second. I just cannot get around it any way, you cannot have a third of anything without the first and the second. That’s all I’m asking is that you agree with me there must be at least three heavens.
Some people talk in modern English about the seventh heaven. I question whether that’s scriptural. What they really mean is cloud nine. Now I’ll accept cloud nine but I question the seventh heaven. I think cloud nine is probably in the third heaven but that’s—
The other passage I want to look at again is in Ephesians 4:10. This is speaking about Jesus between His death on the cross and His resurrection. And it says:
“He that descended [into hell] is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.” (KJV)
You notice the word “all heavens.” Again, English demands that you do not use the word all of less than three. If it’s two, it’s both. So the minimum that justifies the use of the word all is three and that’s all I’m asking for. But there are at least three heavens. Now I think Scripture states that.
I am now going to present you with an inference and I want to suggest to you that we need to be very careful when teaching to distinguish between statements and inference. Statements are things that are actually said, inferences are conclusions that we draw from them. It is legitimate to draw inference. In fact, it’s essential. I believe that’s part of teaching. When Jesus said, “the Holy Spirit shall lead you into all the truth,” being led is a process of inference. But as a teacher, I have an obligation to point out to those whom I teach where I step out of statement into inference.
Statement, if you believe the Bible, you must accept. Inference you may examine. There are many inferences. For instance, it’s an inference that the people who were baptized got wet. There’s no statement in the Bible to that effect. Taking something more serious, it’s an inference that people who are baptized in the Spirit always speak in tongues. Basically, nearly all the Pentecostal movements accept that inference. But there’s no verse in the Bible that explicitly states it. I’m inclined to think it’s a valid inference. But we should distinguish it as an inference from a statement.
Now I say the Bible teaches there are three heavens. I believe that’s a statement. Now I am going to give you an inference. I am going to try to locate each of the heavens. I don’t think it’s difficult, and certainly not original with me. Other Bible teachers have taught the same. The first heaven, I believe, is the visible heaven that contains the sun, the moon and the stars. We look up into it by day or by night. We already know that the third heaven is the heaven where God dwells. That’s where the man was caught up and heard unspeakable words. And also we know that Paradise, which is the place of rest of departed righteous spirits, is located there. So I believe that’s the highest heaven. And remember that God looks down into heaven. In other words, heaven is not the limit of where God goes. And Solomon said that God had set His glory above the heavens. God isn’t even confined to heaven. He fills heaven and earth. But I believe the third heaven is the highest heaven, the place of God’s normal dwelling, the place where Paradise is now located (it was not always located there, only after the resurrection of Jesus).
So we’re left with the second heaven. And again, logic would indicate that it must be between the first and the third. And that’s where I believe it is. I believe there is a mid-heaven which is the dwelling place and the headquarters of Satan and a kingdom of rebellious angels. I accept the teaching which is again an inference that one-third of the created angels followed Satan in rebellion against God. That’s where their headquarters are, in the second heaven.
Now that’s what we are fighting against. Let me say one thing about Ephesians 6:12 again just to enforce what I’ve said. The word that the King James translates at the end of that verse as “high places” is the Greek word ?epuraneous?. It occurs five times in Ephesians. And in every other place in Ephesians it’s translated in the King James “heavenly.” So that the King James translators knew the normal meaning was heavenly. Why didn’t they translate it “heavenly” in this place? I think, myself, their minds could not accept the fact that Satan was somehow still in heaven. And of course, many Christians find that likewise difficult. Let me give you just a couple of other places where “heavenlies” occur in Ephesians. It really is one of the key words of Ephesians. Ephesians 1:3:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (KJV)
So if you don’t have all the spiritual blessings, you’re not residing in the right place. They’re in the heavenlies. When we’re there, they’re ours.
Again in Ephesians 1:20 it says God raised Christ from the dead and set him at his own right hand in the heavenlies.
And Ephesians 3:11 says that God’s purpose is to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenlies might be known by the church, the manifold wisdom of God. That’s an astonishing statement! God is going to reveal His many-sided wisdom to all the unseen spiritual powers in the heavenly realm by us. I don’t think if I’d been God I would ever dare to conceive such a plan. And it’s sobering to realize that each one of us in our place in the body reflects in some unique way the wisdom of God. And we are the demonstration of God’s wisdom to the universe.
All right. Let’s look in Matthew 12. I want to turn here just to substantiate the fact that Jesus Himself taught very clearly that Satan has a kingdom. And that that kingdom is in opposition to the kingdom of God. In this chapter, beginning at verse 22, Jesus had cast out an evil spirit out of a man who was healed as a result. The people were impressed, but the religious leaders said, “He’s in league with Satan. That’s how He’s able to get the evil spirits to obey Him.” And we get that comment there in verse 24:
“But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out demons ...” (KJV)
Don’t use the word “devils.” As I said, that’s nearly always used in the singular as a title of Satan himself. The Greek word there is ?daimonion? which gives us the English word demon. And demons are in the plural. The devil is singular, demons are plural.
“But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out demons, but by Beelzebub the prince [the ruler] of the demons.” (KJV)
Now we need to consider the meaning of the word Beelzebub for a moment. It is an Aramaic or a Hebrew word and it means literally, “Lord of the Flies.” There is a modern novel which I’ve seen in the bookstands, I’ve never read it, called Lord of the Flies. I believe that is specifically Satan’s title as the one who rules the demons. My personal opinion is that Satan’s kingdom is on two echelons, two levels. In the heavenlies he rules over rebellious angels. On earth he rules over demons spirits, or evil spirits or unclean spirits.
Now I certainly don’t want a theological argument. Many people think that demons are fallen angels. And I will not say that’s not so. I personally am inclined to doubt it. I’ve dealt with thousands of demons and they don’t act like angels. Not the least bit. They’re silly, small-minded, in many cases ridiculous and I find it hard to picture them as angels.
I remember one demon I dealt with when I first came into this ministry, and there was a very big, strong man. He was about six-foot-three and much wider than I was. His wife enticed me into helping him. And later on I learned wiser. And I just started to go at it and the demons began to manifest themselves and the man started behaving in a very strange and rather violent way. And his wife drew me aside and said, “At home he throws chairs at me.” So I thought to myself, “Why didn’t you tell me that sooner!” So I thought, “Let me handle this with care.” So the next spirit manifested itself and I said, “What is your name?” And it said, “I’m unclean.” I thought, “Now this could be embarrassing.” So I said, “Unclean thoughts.” Then I said, “You demon of unclean thoughts, come out of this man.” It said, “That’s not my name.” And I didn’t want to know what its name was because I got all sorts of lurid pictures in my mind. And so I went at it as a demon of unclean thoughts and ultimately it came out. But the last thing it said as it came out is, “That isn’t my name! That isn’t my name!” And I thought, “How small-minded. You know, it was really upset that I wasn’t calling it by the right name.” And so because of that type of behavior which could be multiplied many times over, I find it hard to picture demons as fallen angels. Furthermore, there are certain facts which I’ll mention and leave you to form your own conclusions.
As I’ve already said, I believe the normal place of habitat of angels is the heavenlies. Whereas demons are earthbound.
Secondly, a demon’s most intense desire is to occupy a body, preferably a human body, but if necessary, the body of a pig. Well I don’t believe that an angel would desire to occupy human bodies. I believe that would be a place of imprisonment for an angel.
Thirdly, for what it’s worth, the Bible says angels fly and demons walk.
Now I’m not saying that that’s final, but I offer you those three considerations. But my whole picture of the unseen world is on these two levels. Rebellious angels in the heavenlies and evil spirits on earth.
Now you say, “Where did evil spirits come from?” The Bible doesn’t tell us. There’s a lot of interesting, exciting things the Bible doesn’t tell us. The Bible is very practical. It doesn’t tell us where evil spirits come from, but it does tell us how to get rid of them. And of the two pieces of information, the second is much more important. If you want a book that does present what I consider to be a very reasonable theory, it’s called Earth’s Earliest Ages by a man named Pember. And I think if you have my latest newsletter, it’s advertised in it. At any rate, it’s published by Revel and another religious publishing house whose name I forget. It’s just been republished, the copyright ran out on it. It’s over fifty years old and it’s a remarkable preview of the close of this age written at a time when most of the things that we are familiar with seemed remote and unreal. But I’m not saying the book is right.
Anyhow, coming back here. Jesus had cast out the evil spirits, the Pharisees say, “He’s in league with Satan, Beelzebub, the ruler of demons.” Pause for a moment and ask yourself why Satan is referred to as the “Lord of the Flies” when it comes to demons. In my way of thinking this is very vivid. Let us take flies to represent basically the insect world. When I was in educational work in East Africa about fifteen years ago, a principal of a college for training teachers, the education department circulated a movie which they wanted us all to see. And it was called, if I remember rightly, The Rival Kingdom. And its theme was rather remarkable. In fact, it was an eye-opener for me. That there is a rival kingdom on earth to man’s kingdom which is the insect kingdom. And the theme was that man just about succeeds in keeping one step ahead of the insect kingdom. But that if we don’t watch out, it will beat us and destroy us. And they produced many interesting statistics. Incidentally, at that time the number one killer in the world was malaria. And at that time, one person died of malaria somewhere on the earth every ten seconds. Well, you doubtless know, you well informed people, that malaria is transmitted by the proboscis of a little mosquito called the anopheles. And I will add without further comment, that it’s only the female of the species that transmits malaria. And I have seen that little sting turn a strong, healthy, active man into a shivering, feverish mass of flesh. Think of it, the power for evil that is in that little thing.
And so I’ve meditated on the demon world is really much like the insect world. Basically we tend to ignore it. We tend to write it off as being insignificant. Many times it’s invisible. Even when it’s visible we don’t pay much attention to it. That little mosquito can fly around and as far as I can remember it doesn’t even buzz. And if you consider all that insects do, actually imparting deadly diseases, transmitting infections, transmitting corruption and systematically attacking our food sources, I think you see we’re really in a continuous battle. And one of our problems is we tend to ignore the battle.
Well all that is very, very vividly typical of our relationship to the demon world. So I offer you that thought that that’s why Satan is called Beelzebub, the Lord of the Flies, as the ruler of the demon world. And I suggest to you his kingdom is in two echelons. Rebellious angels with his headquarters in the heavenlies, and evil spirits on earth.
Now let’s look at what Jesus says. Verse 25 of Matthew 12.
“And Jesus knew their thoughts and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?” (KJV)
Please note Jesus states clearly that Satan has a kingdom, and that it is not divided. It’s under his supreme control. Now as I’ve already said, the law of Satan’s kingdom is domination. The law of Christ’s kingdom is voluntary submission. But with his domination Satan does a good job. He keeps his entire kingdom under his undivided control. And then verse 27:
“And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.” (KJV)
The practice of exorcism was already prevalent amongst Israel in the time of Jesus. Going on verse 28, this is the significant verse:
“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (KJV)
Now to me that is the key verse. Jesus says when evil spirits, in the name and authority of Jesus, are commanded to leave theirs victims and has to do it, then you know the two kingdoms have met. Two unseen kingdoms. The kingdom of God, a spiritual kingdom. The kingdom of Satan, a spiritual kingdom. But the actual manifest evidence of their meeting in conflict is when evil spirits have to submit to the superior authority of Jesus and the kingdom of God. To me that gives a particular significance to the ministry of deliverance. It is the specific evidence chosen by Jesus that the kingdom of God is at hand.
However, going more generally, we see the picture of these two kingdoms. Two spiritual kingdoms, each invisible to the natural eye, one the kingdom of God and of light. The other the kingdom of Satan and of darkness. And Paul says we are pitted in a life or death struggle with this kingdom of darkness. Many of you know I’ve been involved in the ministry of deliverance for about twelve years at least. But many years ago I saw clearly that demons were the small change in Satan’s kingdom. And I knew in my spirit there was a day coming when we were going to have to take up the real conflict, which is with the unseen forces or hosts of wickedness in the heavenlies. I’m teaching this series now because I believe that day has come. And I personally do not believe the kingdom of God will advance further till we learn how to do it.
All right. Now then I want to take one example from the Old Testament. Daniel 10. Now this chapter relates an incident in the later life of Daniel. He had determined to seek God with a kind of partial fast for twenty-one days. And it describes how at the end of the twenty-one days a heavenly angel from God came to him with the answer to what he was fasting and praying for. But the angel of God, sent to Daniel the first day that he began to pray, did not arrive till three weeks later. Why did it take God’s angel three weeks to get from heaven to Daniel? The answer is not because it’s a long journey. The answer is because that angel of God, on the way from heaven to earth, encountered the opposition of satanic angels. And there was a battle of angels in the heavenlies which took three weeks to resolve. Let me point out right now while I think about it, the interesting fact about Daniel’s prayer. First of all, Daniel’s prayer initiated the action in heaven. Heaven moved when Daniel prayed. Secondly, it seems that Daniel’s prayer was needed to help the heavenly angel get through. That may be mind boggling to you, but it appears to be a logical conclusion for the story. So I say that that you may more fully value what your prayers can mean. Your prayers can initiate action in heaven that would otherwise not be taken. And your prayers may be needed by heaven’s angels to help them in a conflict.
Another thing I would point out to you is you may be praying in the will of God, God may hear your prayer the first day as He did with Daniel. And yet it may take awhile for the answer to come because of satanic opposition in the heavenlies. So don’t give up.
Now I’ll read just a few verses. Daniel 10, beginning in verse 2, reading verse 2–3. I’m not going to read all the verses, I’ve given you the outline of the story, you can fill it in for yourself if you will. Daniel 10:2–3.
“In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” (KJV)
All right. He was mourning, that’s a semi-fast, and praying for three weeks. Now look on to verse 12.
The angel has come and is now speaking to Daniel.
“Then he said to me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.” (KJV)
Notice Daniel’s prayer was heard and accepted by God the first day he started praying. But he didn’t get the answer for three weeks. And then the angel explains why. Verse 13:
“But the prince [or ruler] of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days [three weeks], and lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” (KJV)
Now none of those persons are human beings. All of them are angels. God’s angel was on the way and the angel that ruled the kingdom of Persia for Satan withstood him. Why? Because Daniel’s prayer concerned the future of the kingdom of Persia. Daniel’s prayer was that God’s will might be done with respect to the kingdom of Persia. Satan’s particular angel that was charged with responsibility for the kingdom of Persia resisted the angel because his responsibility was to see that Satan’s purposes were worked out for the kingdom of Persia. The two purposes were in conflict. Therefore, the two angels came into conflict. And God’s angel says in the middle of verse 13:
“... lo, Michael, one of the chief princes [but we would call that one of the archangels, one of the ruling angels], came to help me...” (KJV)
Why Michael? The answer is that Daniel 12 reveals that Michael is the archangel specifically responsible for watching over the interests of Israel, Daniel’s people.
So we see that both on the side of light and on side of darkness, under God and under Satan respectively, there are angels who are ruling angels who are charged with specific responsibilities on earth’s surface in earth’s kingdoms and people. That’s the lesson I want you to take away because that’s where we are at right now. And let me say right now I believe that God’s will for the United States will not be done unless God’s praying people in the United States learn how to deal with the kingdom of darkness. All this is not just theory. It may seem so this morning, but my purpose is to apply it in a very practical way to the very time and situation in which we find ourselves today.
All right. Now, we won’t deal with the message that the angel gave to Daniel, but we’ll just turn to the last verses of the 10th chapter of Daniel. Daniel 10:20.
“Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto there? And now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia ...” (KJV)
Again, that’s on his way back. That’s not on the earthly level. He’s going to go on with the conflict against the satanic ruler over the kingdom of Persia.
“... and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia [or Greece] shall come.” (KJV)
Again, that’s not a human being, that’s Satan’s angel charged with responsibility for the kingdom or empire of Greece. Historically, the four great empires that dominated Israel and Jerusalem and the land of Israel from Nebuchadnezzar onwards were Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. We’re dealing with the two middle ones, Persia and Greece. They follow one another in that order. When Persia’s influence waned, Greece’s influence took over. And those two kingdoms with their respective satanic rulers are significant because they primarily determined the destiny of God’s people, Israel, and the destiny of God’s city, Jerusalem, and of the Holy Land. In other words, there are certain main areas of spiritual conflict. And I could believe today that the United States is one of those areas. Not the only one.
All right. Now we’ve got to say one more thing in our study now and we’ll close. We’ve seen that we, as Christians, are charged with the responsibility for waging a life and death war against an unseen spiritual kingdom dominated by Satan. The war is not in the natural realm, it’s not in the visible realm, it’s not in the physical realm. It’s in the spiritual realm. Because of this, God has logically committed to us the appropriate weapons with which to wage this war. And the weapons are appropriate to the realm of the war which is not physical, or material, but spiritual. We’ll look now in 2 Corinthians 10:3–5.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh ...” (KJV)
The strange thing that Paul always seem to leave us is possibly negative. You could say we do not war after the flesh so we don’t war. But what Paul is saying is we do war, but not after the flesh. Just as he said in the other place, we are in a wrestling match, but it’s not against flesh and blood. All right. So he goes on to say logically in the next verse:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [what’s the opposite of carnal? Spiritual, that’s right. By implication they are spiritual], and mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” (KJV)
Whose strongholds? Satan’s. Whose responsibility is it to pull down Satan’s strongholds? Ours. And let me say the responsibility rests upon us because we alone have the appropriate weapons. Political rulers don’t have them, scientists don’t have them, military commanders don’t have them, we alone have them. Therefore, we alone can do the job. And if Satan can keep the church ignorant or paralyzed, his kingdom is safe. Because we are the only ones with the weapons that can cast down his strongholds.
You understand, one major battle is to dispel the ignorance of God’s people. As long as we are ignorant, Satan is safe. I personally believe that Satan has a list of sermons that he doesn’t want preached. And the one I’m preaching now is number one on the list. I won’t tell you how I’ve proved that experience, but I have.
All right, going on then. We’re still dealing with this warfare, verse 5 of 2 Corinthians 10:
“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 ...” (KJV)
Now where the King James says “imaginations,” my margin gives me “speculations.” Some of the modern versions use “reasonings.” And I want to pick out certain key words in that 5th verse. Imaginations, speculations, reasonings, knowledge and thought. If you take those words, they clearly indicate a specific realm. What is the realm? The realm of the mind. This is what we need to understand. Our warfare is not in the realm of the body; it’s in the realm of the mind. Satan has a purpose to captivate the human race through their minds. And he’s gone a long way to doing it. If you think today of the assaults that are made on the minds of the American people, incessantly, the subtlety of it. Take mass media advertising. Or you take some local election. Vote for Shetley. It doesn’t tell you any reason why you should vote for Shetley but if he gets it out on enough utility poles and hoarding boards and so on, the hope is that it will bypass your reasoning and get in there somewhere where your mind will motivate you to do the things he wants. And those are very naive examples. I am forced to conclude that the American people, though educated and sophisticated, are extraordinarily gullible. I mean amazingly gullible. If you think what the representatives of Sun Moon and Krishna can do in airports, it should tell us that we’re gullible. I believe the average girl selling flowers for Sun Moon in airports can make at least three thousand dollars a month. All right. What does that tell us about Americans? We’re saps. Without reason and without gumption. Some lady comes along and pins a flower on you and you haven’t got the guts to say, “I don’t want to buy your flower”? You haven’t got the sense to say, “Well what about the starving children of the world? What evidence have I got that that will feed them?” I believe it’s a well established fact that Sun Moon has acquired millions of dollars by the simple process of planting his young ladies in airports to sell flowers. That couldn’t work in any nation that had its head on the right way. What is the evidence? The evidence is that the battle is for our minds. And Satan has got a lot of strongholds that he’s built up there. What’s our responsibility as Christians? To cast down his strongholds. And to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. You see what our responsibility is? Satan has captivated them, we’ve got to liberate them from their captivity to Satan and bring them into captivity to the obedience of Christ. This is our responsibility. Others cannot do it. They do not have the weapons, we do.
I remember when I was a missionary in East Africa, from l957 to l961. When I went out there it was British East Africa. When I left it was almost completely three independent new nations that had emerged: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. And I could almost in my mind’s eye see a war going on to captivate the minds of the newly emerging nations of Africa. I believe a similar war is on right here in America to captivate the minds of the American people. And we in the church have slept and been delinquent so long that we’ve got a real uphill fight before us now to undo the result of our neglect and disobedience. But that’s our responsibility. And I personally am convinced that the primary factor in determining the destiny of this nation is whether we Christians in America will do what God has charged us to do or not. We will settle the destiny of this nation. For good or for evil. I personally believe it can be for good. I do not believe the battle is lost. I believe the situation is critical, I believe there’s evidence recently that we’ve been gaining ground. I praise God for that. But it certainly is not going to be easy.