Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rulers of the Darkness of this World: Armor of God Five

 The word "darkness" in Ephesians 6:12 comes from a root word meaning shade or error. Another word to describe this darkness is obscurity. 

Jesus said we would know the truth and the truth would set us free. The Rulers of the Darkness of this World are beings who are committed to keeping the people of this world in darkness/in error.

They accomplish this through outright lying (Satan is a liar and the father of it). They also work in more subtle ways by shading, manipulating, and obscuring the truth.

The Rulers of the Darkness of This World oppose all truth. Jesus is the Truth. His words are spirit and life. Therefore, the Rulers of the Darkness of This World are committed to opposing the truth of Jesus Christ on every level of understanding, using any method or person they can. There is an entire class of devils [fallen angels]--Powers--committed to this one thing. They are a formidable army with only one goal--that of keeping mankind in darkness concerning every truth that will save, set free, bring any blessing, healing, or relief to us whatsoever.

They bitterly hate us. And if they cannot keep us from eternal doom, they delight in causing us to suffer needlessly.

Needlessly, because so much of our suffering is needless. The scriptures say many are destroyed for lack of knowledge. The knowledge that is lacking is the knowledge revealed in the Word of God. The Truth. The Light.

The scriptures say, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Jesus said, "The Blind lead the blind, and they all fall into the ditch."

We have an enemy who is committed to keeping us in the shade, to obscuring the light, blinding from the truth, and to leading as many as possible into the ditch through error.

In His Word, God has revealed how we can prevent this from happening. Commit to reading his Word daily. And then be doers of the Word, and not hearers only.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Powers: Armor of God Four

 Let's begin this part of the study by defining the word "Powers." It's mind blowing.

The Greek word translated as powers has a variety of interesting meanings, and there is no reason why all or most of them could not be applied to the spiritual foe Paul describes, in Ephesians, as "Powers."

The word is derived from a family of words that denote  "right"-- as in rights and privilege. 

The word also has a "public" connotation. We see this in its use throughout the New Testament with reference to public officials.

"Token of Control" and "Potentate" are found in its list of meanings along with "ability" and "competency."

When the meanings of mastery, force, superhuman, freedom, and influence, are added to the above descriptions, a horrifying picture emerges of superhuman beings who are very privileged and have the right and freedom (along with amazing ability and competency)  to control through influence, mastery, and force?

This is why it is so important to be trained in, and to become skillful, in the art of spiritual warfare.

Without the armor of God, we are no match for these powerful beings. But we are promised in Ephesians chapter six and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 that we have weapons that are mighty through God....

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

What is Fasting: Benefits of Fasting

 Audio commentary on the Beatitudes Matthew 5 and on fasting Isaiah 58

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Principalities Archangels: Armor of God Three

 Lucifer was a Archangel and is now a fallen angel. A principality is a kingdom ruled by a king or prince.  There are two types of kingdoms. There are earthly kingdoms, and then there are spiritual kingdoms. The scriptures reveal that spiritual kingdoms can rule over physical kingdoms. 

It is imperative that we grasp the biblical truth that physical things--the things we can see and touch--are always subordinate to spiritual things which cannot always be seen.
The word "principalities," found in Ephesians chapter six, can be used in reference to either a kingdom or to the ruler of a kingdom. The word is translated from the Greek word "Arche." It is interesting to note that the word is derived from a family of Greek words, all containing the word "arch," which includes the word "archangel" as found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. 

A Principality or Archangel denotes precedence or great authority,  and the principalities we are warned against in Ephesians 6:12 are powerful spiritual entities (archangels/princes) who rule kingdoms here on earth.

Although the title “Principality” denotes rank, it carries no inherent connotation of either good or evil—that must be specified within the context of whatever passage it is found in. In Satan’s kingdom, aside from Satan himself, principalities are most likely the highest ranking (therefore the most powerful) order of devils (or fallen angels) we will ever be likely to come up against.

They are also part of a class of devils that can only be successfully fought by adding fasting to our prayers.**  We see an example of this in Daniel 10:12-13 where an angel was dispatched in answer to Daniel's prayer. But the angel was hindered by the "Prince of Persia"—a principality.

The "Prince of Persia" is ("is" not "was," because this is a spirit being who still exists) a very powerful demon/fallen angel who was able to delay Heaven's messenger for 3 full weeks!

**In this study, for convenience sake, the terms fallen angel, devil, or demon may be used interchangeably as they are all purely evil, fallen, beings. We do not really need to be concerned about the differences between them except to understand the four sub-categories listed in Ephesians 6:12, which this series will look at in detail.

In the book of Daniel, the "Prince of Persia" is a principality so powerful that God dispatched another angel, Michael (another principality--only a good one), to assist the first angel in getting through the lines to Daniel (the battle was not completely won in 21 days--only Daniel's part--because the angel who spoke to Daniel said he was going back to finish the fight).

This principality (the Prince of Persia) was directly responsible for hindering the answer to Daniel's prayer for 21 days. But the fact that Daniel persevered and stuck to his commitment not to eat any pleasant bread (partial fast) is relevant to the final outcome.

Are there times we pray and feel that we receive no answer, and then give up because we believe that no answer is forthcoming? It is possible that a very powerful devil known as a "principality" is responsible for the hindrance. Daniel did not give up when no answer to his prayer seemed forth coming, and neither should we!

** Matthew 17:21 (kjv) tells us that there are some devils which will not come out except by prayer and fasting--if your Bible version does not contain this verse, or has a footnote saying the "oldest and best mss" omit it. Toss it! And get a Bible that retains it.

This verse has around 4000 witnesses [in mss, quotes from church fathers, and version evidence] that it is indeed an original part of the Word of God. It has not been added. The subjective statement about the "oldest and best mss," that are referred to, are only two [very controversial] manuscripts out of thousands—not only have they not been proven to be the best—they also have not been proven to be the oldest.

Hungry for more? Listen to a podcast of Armor of God part three (not a transcript of this post)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Know Your Enemy! Armor of God Two

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.

Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done (fully accomplishing) all, to stand.

We wrestle not against flesh and blood. Our fight is not with our brother, our sister, our neighbor, our co-worker, or our spouse. They are not the real enemy. We must learn to look past the hostile behavior of people and begin to stand against the powers and wicked entities that are using people and provoking the behavior.

The word "wiles," tends to conjure up cartoon images of the Road Runner and Wiley coyote, at least in some.That is not necessarily a bad thing if it helps keep us aware that our enemy is relentlessly hatching plots to destroy us--but all other comparisons should stop right there. Because no matter how hard Wiley Coyote tried to destroy Road Runner, he never succeeded.

On the other hand, our enemy, Satan, is very good at accomplishing the destruction he sets out to inflict. Unless the one he is attacking knows how to put on God's armor and how to use it.

The Greek word translated "wiles," in Ephesians 6:11, is translated from the Greek word "methodeia" (pronounced Method-i-ah). Does that word have a familiar ring to it? It should. Does it sound anything like our English word "method?"

Hmmm....The methods of the devil....

Combine the word methodeia  with the word "trickery," which is part of the meaning methodeia, and we begin to see a clear picture of an enemy who not only uses trickery to trap and destroy, but he is extremely organized and systematic about it.

It is no hit and miss operation that Satan is running. Because of this, we cannot afford to be lackadaisical in our attitudes about an enemy that we are warned in scripture to be vigilant against.

The studies in this section are designed to equip us to stand and fight victoriously against this intelligent, well organized, and powerful, spiritual enemy. This series of articles contains no spiritual platitudes--no feel good stuff. Instead, readers may find themselves dealing uncomfortably with more reality than they are accustomed to.

This study is not for the faint of heart. Persevere.

Hungry for more? Link to podcast of Armor p2  (not a transcript of this post)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The weapons of our warfare: Armor of God One

 All Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare whether we are actively engaged in fighting the good fight or not. Ignoring the reality of the fight will not protect us, but will accomplish just the opposite.

The Bible says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. That means they are not fleshly or natural weapons. Instead, they are mighty spiritual weapons, which, through God, will pull down spiritual strongholds.

The scriptures tell us the only way defeat powerful spiritual opponents--fallen angels (principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places) is by putting on the whole Armor of God.  And we are given no option to using every single spiritual weapon at our disposal if we expect to win.  The "whole" armor means wearing every single piece at all times.

The defensive weapons of our warfare consist of: Truth, Righteousness, The Preparation of Gospel of  Peace, Faith, and The Helmet Salvation.

The offensive weapon, listed in Ephesians chapter six, is the Word of God--the Bible. It is biblical for us to speak or pray the Word of God over people and situations in our lives (an utterance must always be in line with the written Word of God). Jesus gave us a perfect example of how to do this in Matthew chapter four. When he was being confronted by Satan, Jesus stuck stubbornly to his iteration and re-iteration of, "It is written...."

The prophet Isaiah wrote that those who claim to speak for God, but whose words do not align with what has already been written have, "No light in them." (Isaiah 8:20)

How do we apply the armor? How do we wield the weapons?

Will getting up in the morning and mentally picturing ourselves girding our loins with the truth, putting on the breastplate of righteousness, donning our foot gear, or picking up a shield, and putting on a helmet help us?

Of course not. That kind of mental imagery would be an exercise in futility. Yet how times have Christians heard instructions to do this very thing?

This series of posts will focus on learning Bible truth concerning the weapons of our warfare and how we can use the very powerful weapons we read about in Ephesians 6:1-18, so that we can have victory against very real spiritual enemies.

 Hungry for more? Link to audio teaching of Armor of God part one (Not a transcript of this article) 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Armor of God Part Four: Sin, Forgiveness, and the Breastplate of Righteousness

 How to put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. It is part of our protection against very powerful spiritual enemies.

Listen Here
(the link says p3 but it is really p4--typo)

Archangels: Armor of God Part Three

All archangels are not good angels

Listen Here

Spiritual Warfare Part Two: Fallen Angels and the Armor of God

 Fallen angels are real and still busy opposing Christ by attacking his people

Listen Here

Listen to Part One here