Have you visited the His Truth, My Voice Workout Room yet? There you will find exercises in Salvation, Sanctification, Service, and Spiritual Warfare which will help you get in the best spiritual shape ever! You can find it in the menu to the left on the home page or via this link…http://histruthmyvoice.org/?page_id=5756
For those of you who are new to this website, we are currently engaged in a series of exercises designed to help strengthen us in our spiritual walks with the Lord Jesus Christ. Hopefully, these exercises will help explain what Salvation, Sanctification, Service, and Spiritual Warfare are about and, in order to make their study a bit more accessible and orderly, they are arranged chronologically on the Workout Room page located at the bottom left side of the home page.
Once this series has been completed, we will return to our presentation of the Bible as “God’s One Big Story”–where we will once again be enjoying the story of the Bible as it is presented in the form of a play. To learn more about that and what we have covered so far, please follow this link, as it will give you a list of our studies in that series…http://histruthmyvoice.org/?p=2748.
Thanks for visiting today, and I hope that what you find here will be prove to be a blessing to your spirit.
In our last exercise, we learned how important it is to understand the nature of the spiritual conflict in which we, as the Sons and Daughters of God, are engaged. As we shall learn in this exercise, it is equally important for us to discover as much as we can about our adversary—that is, if we want to stay alert and guard against his assaults. For…
…unless we grasp how the devil fits into God’s scheme of things, we will find it more difficult to stand against his conspiracy against us personally and his influence within our culture. How we perceive our enemy will largely determine how we fight against him.
Over the course of the past six exercises in our Workout Program, we have learned a lot about this adversary–the one who goes by the names of Satan, Lucifer, and the Devil—so let’s collect that information here and review what we have learned about him thus far.
- His History and Character
As for his history and character, we now know that Satan…
- Was a created being, making him vastly inferior to the God who created him, and meaning that…
Since he was created, he is not self-existent, and never can be free from the Creator. He may vainly propose to become independent, and even be permitted for a time to act under that delusion; but that only delays the inevitable judgment that awaits him.
- Was created perfect…
…or was the perfect fulfillment of the Creator’s intention. Satan was a free moral agent, capable of choosing evil but not obligated to do so. That he chose evil must ever be to his own condemnation, for the Creator had surrounded him with sufficient motives for choosing the good.
- Was created as one of the highest ranking in a class of Spirit Beings called Angels…
…powerful creatures who have a significant role to play in God’s unfolding plan for mankind; and who…
…were present at pivotal points in the spiritual history of man, including the creation of the universe, the proclamation of the birth of Jesus and will return with Christ’s heavenly army to establish His Millennial Kingdom.
- Possessed a superior intellect and surpassing beauty…
First, consider God’s statement [in Ezekiel 28:12] ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty.’ For the God of the universe to declare that another is perfect in wisdom is remarkable. Satan must have incredible intellectual powers; repeatedly the Bible stresses his brilliance. His beauty and majesty also must be unimaginable.
- Became vain because of his beauty, proud because of his wisdom, and power-hungry because of his position. He conceitedly regarded these things as emanating from within himself, instead of acknowledging them as endowments from God—gifts given to him by the good pleasure of the Almighty, for the benefit of the Kingdom of Heaven…
Lucifer was God’s masterpiece, a showpiece whose presence brought glory to his creator… [And] until he sinned, he existed to serve God, without weariness, struggle, or competition. He was God’s worship leader; the director of choirs and coordinator of praise. If only he had known how fortunate he was!
- Rebelled against God’s authority and attempted to usurp that authority for himself…
… instead of passing all of the praise to God, he began to keep some of it for himself. Like a trader who keeps a bit of the profits that cross his desk, so Lucifer would hold back some of the worship, enjoying what he thought was his share…
…[Until] consumed with jealousy and burning with a desire for recognition, he set out to do what he wanted to do rather than what God wanted him to do.
- Began his career as a liar and a slanderer of God in order to justify his misguided and failed actions…
Satan apparently concluded that he was so magnificent he didn’t need God. Like the first humans, he probably felt he could be his own God.
Once Satan enthroned himself and rejected God’s moral guidance, a whole series of negative character traits automatically developed. Any moral being who rejects God’s leadership finds it psychologically necessary to justify that decision…[Thus] Satan justified his rebellion by finding fault with God.
When Satan rebelled, he became the supreme accuser of God’s character.
- Became a murderer when he provoked Cain to kill his brother, Abel, in an effort to eliminate the righteous son of Adam and Eve—the one he thought might be the redeemer promised to Eve by God…
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts (Hebrews 11:4).
We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous (1 John 3:12).
- His Ambitious Plan
in addition to his History and Character, we also know that…
- Lucifer’s original plan—his Plan A—called for his overthrow of God and the take-over of His Throne in Heaven; this in spite of the fact that God was and is All-Powerful, and his own power was severely limited in comparison. But…
Far from withdrawing, Satan chose to escalate the conflict. Admitting defeat was too humbling; better to forge ahead with sustained rebellion than withdraw from the fray and accept his punishment. He would pretend that illusion is reality; he would call his defeats triumphs. And he would store up more retribution by expanding his rebellious rule.
- This, of course, led to the creation of his Plan B, which called for him to set up his kingdom and reign upon the Earth…
Pride caused Lucifer to gamble his privileges away. He took the big risk, thinking that if he could not dethrone God, at least he could set up his own throne somewhere in the universe. He had underestimated God and overestimated himself.
- This presented him with another problem, though—God had given the Earth to Man to rule, so what was he to do about that?
When the devil noticed that a new being existed, created in the image and likeness of God, destined to have the lordship over creation, he developed his own plan and wanted to destroy God’s work. Satan’s attack consisted in tempting Adam and Eve with exactly the same iniquity that constituted his own ruin. Lucifer himself had wanted to be like God. That was what he offered Eve, saying, ‘You will not surely die…’
- His Overall Strategy
God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’ (Genesis 1:27-28)…
…so that, in bearing God’s image to the ends of the earth…
…the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea… (Habakkuk 2:14)
…for Satan to achieve his Plan B and realize his ultimate goal, his strategy had to include…
- Gaining control of the Earth by taking God’s Representatives and intended Family captive through deception and lies. Lying about who he was, who they were, and who God is, Satan convinced Eve, then Adam, to disobey God. As a result…
Adam dropped the scepter and Satan picked it up. Man, created to be king of the earth, would now become a slave and be everywhere in chains… In Eden, the crown slid from man’s head, Satan picked it up from the dust and crowned himself…He would now treat the world as if it belonged to him.
- Preventing God’s Kingdom from coming to the Earth; keeping his captives from escaping to freedom by blinding them to the Truth of God, and keeping them ignorant of His Word and His free gift of Salvation…
By their disobedience, Adam and Eve abdicated their throne of earthly dominion, yielding it to Satan, the architect and instigator of their fall. This ushered in a counterfeit kingdom that the Bible calls the ‘kingdom of darkness,’ which is in constant conflict with the Kingdom of God…
Satan rules his kingdom of darkness by keeping his ‘subjects’ in ignorance of the true nature of their environment and of the existence of God’s Kingdom. He fills their heads with lies and deception. Satan controls his subjects by keeping them ‘in the dark’ regarding spiritual truth. He blinds their eyes lest they understand the glorious good news of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Harassing, intimidating, slandering, and deceiving them at every possible turn—and, should any of them manage to escape…
Satan sees our down times as his opportunities. True to his nature, he strikes with vile determination when we are weakest… Satan is relentless in his attacks because he utterly hates us. He desires our complete destruction. There is no goodness in him at all. He is absolutely void of virtue and compassion. This is his nature and he is not going to change.
- Frustrating the Service of those who manage to make it to the Kingdom of God by stirring up division and strife among them, and wearing them down until they finally give up and quit…
Satan is unable to destroy Christians, so his ultimate goal is to make us ineffective in our mission. Whether he can destroy faith or stalemate us in other ways, his point is to block Christians’ efforts to rescue those currently under his control…he wants to guard his captives from the power of the gospel. Satan can convince most Christians never even to try to advance God’s cause on earth. Others do try, but he can frustrate their plans or redirect them into fruitless projects…
He can divide believers or get them to pursue foolish, doomed-to-failure tactics. And he has been remarkably successful getting believers to preach a message so alien to the gospel that no one could meet Christ through their message.
- Corrupting all the institutions which affect their lives—especially the Family—and distorting the Image of God on the Earth through Sexual Perversion and Gender Confusion…
…when man chose to renounce the will of God…the knowledge of good and evil made its entrance. Man now had a knowledge that corrupted him, poisoned him…now humanity carries in itself the seed of evil that it transmits from generation to generation.
In the moment in which the devil enters into a place of authority over man and creation, the polluted and corrupt world becomes his vehicle of expression, a system designed to keep humanity in slavery. The Bible teaches us that since then, the world serves the devil’s purposes.
- His Defeat and its Impact on the War
- From his victory over the First Adam to the coming of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, Satan treated “the world as if it belonged to him.” After all, he had wrested the lordship over the Earth from Adam and Eve, and now that they were his slaves, there wasn’t anything that they or their descendants could do about it. That is, until Jesus came, and then it became an altogether different story…
…Jesus came as a human being, living in our post-Fall human context ‘for a little while lower than the angels’ (Hebrews 2:7). As a man He retraced Adam’s footprints up to the point of temptation, facing temptation after temptation and succeeding in obedience where Adam had failed.
Jesus’ obedience, then, took Him even to the cross, and through that to the empty tomb. Thus He won the battle over Satan from behind enemy lines—won it as a man for both humans and God. When the Father resurrected Jesus, a cosmic battle was won, and the usurper defeated and deposed from second place in the universe.
- As a result of His Victory, this Second Adam reclaimed what the First Adam had lost, and restored it to those who would come to the Father through Faith in His Finished Work on the Cross. In spite of his loss, though, Satan isn’t about to roll over and play dead…
…like Nazi Germany even after D-Day, Satan still has plenty of fight left…Knowing he has been defeated doesn’t bring melancholy to Satan; it makes him furious. Seeing his end draw near makes Satan even more frantic to destroy. In the psychology of hatred, rage becomes irrational, and Satan apparently has become angrier than ever. But his strategy is far from irrational. He continues, in calculated and effective ways, to pursue his course of opposition to God’s plans.
- His Kingdom: Past, Present, and Future
From the Garden to the Cross—
- Satan ruled over the Earth with impunity. Having already robbed Man of his innocence in the Garden, he was now free, from the Garden to the Cross, to successfully…
Sear men’s consciences through sin—leading to the destruction of the then-known world through the Flood;
Corrupt the governmental system ordained by God—leading to the rebellion at the Tower of Babel and the confusion of languages;
Introduce a false religious system into the world—which, once the nations were scattered, made its way into every culture in the world; and,
Compromise the worship of the people of God—ultimately leading to their expulsion from the land God had chosen for them.
- At this point, given mankind’s colossal failures and his many successes, it must have seemed to Satan that his rule over the Earth had at last been firmly established. This, however, would soon be proven to be a false assumption. That’s because, in spite of Satan’s best efforts to destroy God’s plan and His people, the Lord has never left Himself without a faithful remnant. As prophesied by Isaiah…
…the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward… (Isaiah 37:31)
- And, it would be through this remnant that the long-awaited Redeemer would finally come…
…when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5).
From the Cross to the Second Coming of Christ—
- Although Christ soundly defeated Satan on the Cross, and conquered his power over death through His Resurrection, for reasons that are His own, God continues to allow Satan to rule—albeit as a Usurper—over the ungodly systems he has managed to establish during mankind’s time on the Earth. As we learned previously…
God could put Satan completely away, but He has chosen to use him to give the Church ‘on-the-job’ training in overcoming. Otherwise, there would be no more warfare of any kind. We are in apprenticeship for our place with Christ on the throne following the Marriage Supper of the Lamb…and without an adversary there could be no practice in overcoming.
…Satan exists as God’s instrument of justice for the disobedient and God’s means of purification for the obedient. Our war with him teaches us about the nature of sin, the holiness of God, and our own helplessness apart from Grace.
- So, until Christ returns to set up His Kingdom here on Earth, Satan…
Though under the restraining hand of God…is now in authority over the unregenerate world, and the unsaved are unconsciously organized and federated under his leading…
This federation includes all of the unsaved and fallen humanity; it has the cooperation of the fallen spirits, and is the union of all who are living and acting in independence of God.
This satanic system has its own ideals and principles which are in sharp contrast to the ideals and principles given to the redeemed, yet these two classes must mingle together as closely as the ties of human life can bring them.
- Jesus made mention of these two conflicting classes in His Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, characterizing the wheat as those in the Kingdom of God, and the tares as those in Satan’s Kingdom of Darkness. Since His instructions at that time were to…
Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, ‘Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn’ (Matthew 13:30)…
…such will be the status of Satan’s kingdom until the time for God’s Harvest.
From the Second Coming of Christ to the End of the Age—
- When the time finally comes for the legal owner of the Earth to harvest the crops sown in it from the beginning of time—that is, when everyone who is going to be saved is saved, and Satan’s attempts at ruling the world apart from God have utterly failed, Christ will return to the Earth to execute judgment on Satan and his kingdom…
God’s judgment is often long in coming, but when it arrives it is swift and sure. When God begins to wrap up human history as we know it, the demise of the Serpent will happen in a series of stages. The lake of fire was inevitable from the moment Lucifer said, ‘I will make myself like the Most high’ (Isaiah 14:14), but for centuries God has postponed the inevitable. When He no longer needs Satan for His own purposes, the end shall come. 
- The three stages of Satan’s judgment are as follows…
First, he is cast out of heaven. Second, he is bound for a thousand years. Finally, he is cast into the lake of fire.
If the first step in Satan’s demise is that he is forbidden to reside in heaven, then the second step is that he is forbidden to reside on earth. For one thousand years the nations are permitted to go their own way without satanic direction or influence.
[Then] He who had always taken his own hell with him… [is] to be cast into a hell of a different sort. He must now relinquish control of all beings he ever influenced. The power is gone, so is the insolence, scheming, and defiance. Stripped of everything he once thought he had, he [the former Light Bearer] is now forced to abide in eternal darkness.
- And, once…
‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15)’…
The destruction of the Serpent in the lake of fire stands as a final witness to the fact that no creature who fights again the Creator will win. No will pitted against the will of God will ever find permanent fulfillment and freedom. God has proved that he alone rules, and beside Him there is no other.
Be sure to join us for our next exercise, when we will begin creating a map of Satan’s territory.
In spite of Satan’s claims to the contrary, there is only one I AM–and it’s certainly not him!
 Erwin W. Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1996),20.
 Lewis Sperry Chafer, Satan: His Motive and Methods (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1964), 17.
 Chafer, Satan, 17.
 Grant R. Jeffrey, Heaven: The Mystery of Angels (Toronto, Ontario: Frontier Research Publications, 1996), 183.
 Dennis McCallum, Satan and His Kingdom (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 2009), 23.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 26-27.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 27-28.
 McCallum, Satan and His Kingdom, 24.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 40.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 33.
 Harold Caballeros, Victorious Warfare (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001), 65.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 44-45, 50.
 Myles Munroe, Rediscovering the Kingdom (Shippensburg, Pennsylvania: Destiny Image Publishers, 2004), 84.
 Dean Sherman, Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian (Seattle, Washington: YWAM Publishing, 1990), 39.
 McCallum, Satan and His Kingdom, 56.
 Caballeros, Victorious Warfare, 67.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 44-45, 50.
 Charles H. Kraft, I Give You Authority: Practicing the Authority Jesus Gave Us (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Chosen Books, 1997), 21-22.
 McCallum, Satan and His Kingdom, 51.
 Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1975), 91.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 191.
 Chafer, Satan, 50.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 167..
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 168, 186.
 Lutzer, The Serpent of Paradise, 191.
Having established some of the foundational principles for Spiritual Warfare in our last two exercises—that…
- Through Christ, we are once-again the divinely Authorized Rulers over Planet Earth; and,
- By learning to exercise our Authority over His and our enemies, we are being trained to rule along with Christ when He returns to the Earth to set up His Kingdom…
…it is time for us to move on to the training exercises that will help ensure our victory in the spiritual battles that lie ahead. To help us get into the best fighting shape possible, this training will include exercises in…
Understanding the Nature of the Conflict;
Knowing the Enemy;
Getting the Lay of the Land;
Gearing Up for Battle; and,
Honoring the Rules of Engagement.
That being said, let’s get exercise number one underway by first assessing what is involved in this conflict; for…
…what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand (Luke 14:31)?
What We Need to Know
At the outbreak of any war, before the potential combatants suit up and march off to battle, it is essential that they know whom they will be fighting and what they will be fighting for. In order for them to be fully committed to winning the war at any cost, they must first understand the reason behind the conflict and just what is at stake in it for them. If they don’t believe they have a personal interest in it, then they won’t even bother to show up. I think this concept is best illustrated by a brief look at the United States and its delayed entry into World War II.
Throughout much of its history, when it came to its involvement in overseas wars, the United States maintained a policy of isolationism because it didn’t see that it had a personal stake in those faraway conflicts. Maintaining this position was possible because, unlike a lot of the nations in other parts of the world—nations which shared common borders—the United States was protected east and west by oceans, and shared its northern and southern borders with only two neighboring—and friendly—countries. So, why become involved in wars on the other side of the world which seemingly had no bearing on life in America?
All of this changed, however, when Adolph Hitler came to power in Germany, and he began his rampage across Europe in pursuit of world domination. At first, even though war had been declared by England and France in 1939 and Hitler had been wreaking havoc across the continent before then (with his oriental ally, Japan, doing the same in the Far East even longer than that), the US refused to become involved. Since it wasn’t being affected by the war, why fight in it? That was its position until Japan attacked America’s naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941—and, then, it became personal! The US immediately declared war and thousands of young men—eventually millions—made their way to the nearest military recruiter and signed up, because they suddenly had a stake in the outcome of the war!
Although the Second World War was…
…the most widespread and deadliest war in history, involving more than 30 countries and resulting in more than 50 million military and civilian deaths (with some estimates as high as 85 million dead)…
…the war which has been raging in the spiritual world since the beginning of time is one that has affected far more people (every person who has ever lived, in fact), and is far deadlier than WWII—or, all of the wars in human history put together, for that matter. That’s because it is the one war which has not only impacted the quality of life on this planet and endangered the life of every human being on it on a daily basis, but it is the one war which has determined the eternal destiny of every person who has made the earth his home. Given this, it is a war in which we all have a very personal stake—and one that we each need to understand more fully and take more seriously!
To help us do this, let’s take a moment and look at this war within the overall context of the Bible Story, in an effort to discover…
The Source of the Conflict;
The Nature of the Conflict; and,
The Outcome of the Conflict.
As we do, we need to keep in mind God’s original goal for Mankind and the Earth—which was, to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth, with His Sons and Daughters ruling over it in Righteousness. We know this to be true because…
- God gave the first Man and Woman Dominion over the Earth—that is, the Authority to Rule it–which they subsequently lost to Satan; and,
- Jesus later came to the Earth and reclaimed that lost Authority through His death and resurrection, and restored it to the Children of God.
In fact, as these verses illustrate, Jesus’ entire ministry was focused on restoring the lost Kingdom of God and re-establishing it on the Earth within the Hearts of Men…
From that time [the beginning of His ministry] Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3, 5)
…but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God…for I was sent for this purpose.” (Luke 4:43)
Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. (Luke 8:1)
When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. (Luke 9:11)
And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried…your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the (Luke 12:29-32)
The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. (Luke 16:16)
…and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:29)
And this gospel [the good news] of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
Since the Kingdom of God—both its restoration and proclamation—was at the heart of Jesus’ mission to Earth, then it stands to reason that it must have been the reason for the conflict in the first place.
The Source of the Conflict
To discover the reason behind this war, we must go back before time even began; when, at some point in Eternity Past, the All-Wise, All-Knowing, All-Powerful God purposed to have a Family and to create the Earth as the place for that Family to live. In anticipation of this, He first created a huge Host of Angelic Beings, whose purpose would be to serve Him by serving His soon-to-be Heirs of Salvation—or, the coming Sons and Daughters of God…
Of the angels he says, ‘He makes his angels winds, and his ministers a flame of fire.’ Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:7, 14)
To facilitate this future Service, God created different types of Angels, each one designed for a specific purpose and each one given a particular rank of Authority—with those highest in rank called Archangels. One of these Archangels was named Lucifer; and, as possibly the highest-ranking Angel, it was his job to protect the Throne of God and lead the Worship which took place around it. He must have been something to behold, because in Ezekiel 28 he was described as being…
…the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty… every precious stone was your covering… On the day that you were created they were prepared.
You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created.
…till unrighteousness was found in you… you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground… (Ezekiel 28:14-18)
Just what could have caused this? In Isaiah 14, we learn that…
You [Lucifer] said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ (Isaiah 14:13-14)
In other words, Lucifer—now the Devil and Satan—so coveted God’s Throne and Power that he rebelled against God in an effort to obtain that Throne and usurp His Power. Having been denied the Throne in the Kingdom of Heaven, Satan then purposed to set up his own kingdom here on Earth.
God had other plans for the Earth, though; for, as we have already learned, He intended for it to be ruled by Man. So, try to imagine the outrage that Satan must have felt when he heard God announce…
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth (Genesis 1:26)…
…as well as his delight when the Woman he tempted…
…saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6).
What a coup! Not only did he succeed in enslaving Man and alienating him from God, but he also managed to wrest the Right to Rule from Man so that he could set up his own kingdom here on the Earth. Where before, there had only been One Kingdom and One Will in existence—that being God’s—there were now Two Kingdoms and Wills, both contending for the hearts and allegiances of Men and Women. As Watchman Nee explains…
We may say that there are two massive contradictory wills throughout the universe. On one side stands the holy and perfect will of God; on the other is arrayed the defiled, defiling, and opposing will of Satan. In between subsists the sovereign, independent, free will of man.
This is so important for us to grasp, because in this cosmic battle of wills, the decision as to which one will prevail on the earth has been delegated by God to the will of each human being living on this planet; and, it is determined every time he or she chooses to do what will satisfy his or her own selfish desires, or what will be pleasing to God. To put it simply, then, this contention for the free will of man is what this war is all about.
The Nature of the Conflict
When we describe this war as a clash between kingdoms, mind you, we are not talking about physical or material kingdoms, but spiritual ones. They are actually the systems of governance which rule the hearts and minds of people and, by extension, the operating systems existing in the spheres where these people live. We need to clarify this because I think there is a tendency on our parts to regard Satan as the owner of the Earth when, in reality, he isn’t. In Ephesians 2:2, the Apostle Paul calls him the Prince of the Power of the Air because that is where his domain is. The Earth itself, on the other hand, still belongs to God…
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein… (Psalm 24:1)
Since Adam and Eve were only given the Right to Rule as God’s governors on the Earth—and not the title deed to it—the Dominion that Satan took from them also gave him the Authority to rule over the world and its systems, but not the legal ownership of the Earth. Even so, this Authority alone was enough to enable him, over time, to establish the political, cultural, and religious systems that are so reflective of his ambition and nature–systems which he has used so effectively to manipulate and dominate his poor, unsuspecting subjects ever since the Garden of Eden.
Because Satan’s kingdom was founded upon pride and rebellion, and operates on the basis of deception and lies, slander and corruption, every institution that he has established as part of this world’s system bears those same characteristics and functions according to the same principles. Through these institutions, as well as through his constant appeal to the pride and baser human instincts of man, he has—as the god of this world—been able to control the hearts, minds, and especially the wills of those in his kingdom, and has…
…blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).
In the war to maintain control of his subjects and his territory, no underhanded scheme or dirty trick has been beneath him—with guerrilla warfare being his specialty. To use the words of Jesus…
He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44); and, is…
The thief [who] comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10).
C.S Lewis, in his classic apologetic novel, The Screwtape Letters, imagines this war of wills through the eyes of a seasoned demon named Screwtape, when he writes…
To us [demons] a human is primarily food; our aim is the absorption of its will into ours, the increase of our own area of selfhood at its expense. But the obedience which the Enemy [God] demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth.
He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself—creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because he has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy (God) wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct. 
In this excerpt, Lewis clarifies the Nature of the Conflict for us: Satan and those in his kingdom want to destroy the individual and absorb his will into their own, in order to satisfy their insatiable greed and increase their power base; while God and those in His Kingdom want to bring the individual into the Family of God, shower him with love, and empower him to become the unique and whole/holy person God created him to be. In the former, the motivation is selfishness and greed, while in the latter, it is giving and grace. Given the marked contrast in the nature of these two kingdoms, we might wonder why anyone in their right mind would will to remain in a kingdom such a Satan’s, when they could will to enjoy the freedom in a Kingdom like God’s. As I see it, the most likely explanation is that they have no idea that the Kingdom of God even exists, and that they can actually choose to be a part of it—a situation directly attributable to the Church’s lack of obedience in carrying out Christ’s final and Great Commission to…
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-19).
As the Sons and Daughters of God–and Soldiers of the Cross, it is our responsibility to take the Light of the Gospel into the sin-darkened territories held by Satan, so that those still imprisoned there can see their way clear to the Kingdom of God. Instead of going AWOL, we need to suit up and show up, ready for battle—because the sooner we do what we are supposed to do, the sooner the war will end.
The Outcome of the Conflict
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9)…
…He will not bring this war to an end until every single one of His Children has been brought home to Him. When all those who will be saved are saved, and His Family is complete, He will crush His enemies, merely by the Word of His mouth, and set up His Kingdom of Righteousness and Peace on the Earth. Satan and all those in his kingdom will be thrown into the Lake of Fire where they will suffer forever, while those in God’s Kingdom will take their places before him and hear, at last, their Father say…
Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master (Matthew 25:21).
In our next exercise, we will learn what this warfare is really all about.
Keith and Kristyn Getty challenge the Church to Arise…
 Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man (Richmond, VA: Christian Fellowship Publishers, Incorporated, 1968), Book 3, 77.
 C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001), chapter 8.
In our last exercise, Spiritual Warfare: A Question of Authority, we were introduced to the concept of Dominion; and, as part of that introduction, we learned that our Destiny, as God’s Children, is to one-day rule alongside of Christ in His Coming Kingdom. In anticipation of and preparation for that Destiny, God gifted the first Man and Woman with the Authority that they (and we) would need to rule over His Earthly Creation.
Unfortunately, this Authority was lost—handed over to Satan—when Adam and Eve succumbed to his temptation to disobey God in order to become “gods” on their own terms—that is, apart from God and through their own wisdom and works. Of course, it didn’t take long for them to realize what a foolish decision that was; for, not only did they immediately lose their (and our) Authority to rule, but both they and we became slaves to Satan, sin, and death in the process.
Thankfully, God already had a plan in place—a plan in which His Son, Jesus, would come to the Earth as a Man, live and die as a Man; and then, through His sacrificial and atoning death on the Cross, He would recover Man’s lost estate—which included the forfeited Right to Rule over the Earth. It was this Authority that Jesus, upon the successful completion of His mission, restored to His Disciples, and to all who would later come to Faith in God through Him.
If We’ve Already Won, Why Fight?
When we say that Jesus, through His Victorious Death and Resurrection, won back our lost Authority, we do not mean to imply that He divested Satan of any of his power. That’s because, in spite of the often-interchangeable use of these words, Authority and Power are two different things. As Dutch Sheets explains…
…authority and power are not the same. Power is the ‘strength or force’ needed to rule; authority is the ‘right’ to do so. They are governmental twins and must operate in tandem; authority without the power to enforce it is meaningless; power exercised without authority—the right to use that power—is usurpation and is morally wrong.
Satan didn’t gain any power at the fall and didn’t lose any at the cross. His power or ability didn’t change at either event; his authority, or the right to use that power, did. In fact, though Christians often state otherwise, Scripture nowhere says that Christ delivered us from or dealt with Satan’s power at Calvary. He dealt with Satan’s authority.
This difference is important for us to grasp because it will help us understand the Apostle Peter’s warning to…
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
It is also an important distinction to be made because…
If Jesus stripped Satan of his power, as some teach, then we longer need to concern ourselves with him—he becomes a nonissue. Or if we Christians have been delivered from Satan’s power, as some teach, then he can no longer affect or control us. We would be able to ignore him completely, which is precisely what many Christians do.
If on the other hand, Jesus dealt with Satan’s authority—the right to use his power or abilities—then we would need to deal with him as a usurper, a rebel, a thief that has no right to steal, kill, and destroy but will if not stopped (see John 10:10). If we have been delivered from Satan’s authority and given a higher authority in Christ’s name, then we must exercise that authority over the devil’s works and power. When we do, God’s awesome power will back up our authority.
Since we know that Jesus has dealt with Satan’s authority, and we have been delivered from his authority and given a higher one in Christ’s name, we must use what we have been given to stop the works of the Satanic Usurper so that the Kingdom of Heaven can come to the Earth—just as God has always intended it to do.
For although Satan knows what Christ did to him at Calvary and through the Resurrection, and realizes that as a part of Christ the believer is his master, he still carries on a guerrilla warfare against the Church through the use of subterfuge, deception, and bluff. While guerrilla warfare is illegal, it is still warfare and must be faced and overcome. God could put Satan completely away, but He has chosen to use him to give the Church ‘on-the-job’ training in overcoming. Otherwise, there would be no more warfare of any kind.
We are in apprenticeship for our place with Christ on the throne following the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The crown belongs to the conqueror—and without an adversary there could be no practice in overcoming.
An Apprenticeship in Overcoming
By definition, to overcome means to…
- to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat: as in, to overcome the enemy; or,
- to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations, etc.); surmount: as in, to overcome one’s weaknesses.
I don’t know about you but the thought of all this effort holds little to no appeal for me; as someone with a serious aversion to confrontation and conflict, it sounds like a lot more hostility and hardship than I want to sign up for. Given my “druthers,” my flesh—that is, my body and soul—would prefer to coast along through life with as few physical challenges and emotional hassles as possible. However, this just isn’t going to happen, is it? As most of us can already attest to, life seems to be one series of obstacles after another; between which, if we are fortunate, we find brief periods of rest and relief. So, in light of this, what should our attitude toward these obstacles be?
The Apostle Paul answers that question for us in Philippians 2:5, when he challenges us to…
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…
…a challenge which then begs the question, what kind of mind did Jesus have? Having reviewed some of the humiliation, rejection, opposition, and affliction that Jesus encountered on His way to the Cross in our last exercise, and considering how He triumphed over every obstacle that stood between Him and the completion of His mission—a mission which ultimately ended with His victory over death itself—I think we can safely say that the mind of Christ was one of an Overcomer.
I bet you didn’t realize it at the time but, when you trusted Christ as your Savior, you also became an overcomer, just like Him. That’s because, before you could even come to faith in Him, you had to overcome three really big obstacles–the things that the Bible refers to as “the world, the flesh, and the devil.” This means that on your way to the Cross, you had to overcome the downward pull of the world and its culture, the inward pull of your sinful human nature, plus all of the obstacles that were placed in your path by the devil solely for the purpose of keeping you away from Jesus. And, since all of this was being accomplished over the course of time, you probably had no idea at all that this was what you were actually doing.
The truth is, that as distasteful as the thought of overcoming may be to our flesh, once we are Born Again through Christ, it becomes a part of our spiritual makeup—or, as these verses attest to, a part of our Spiritual DNA…
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith (1 John 5:4).
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them [opposing spirits], for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne (Revelation 3:21).
Overcoming, then, is the process by which we, as the Church, learn to take authority over the obstacles and the enemies that are trying to keep God’s Will and Kingdom from coming to the Earth. It is imperative that we become adept at this because, as the Bride of God’s Son, we will one-day be ruling with Him over this very same Kingdom. As the Apostle Paul explains it…
…do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! (1 Corinthians 6:2-3)
Therefore, in preparation for her glorious Destiny, the Church—the Bride of Christ…
…must learn the art of spiritual warfare, of overcoming evil forces in preparation for her assumption of the throne following the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. To enable her to learn the technique of overcoming, God devised the scheme of prayer. To give her ‘on-the-job’ training, God delegated to her the authority to enforce His will right here on earth. In order to enable her to acquire the character and the ‘know how’ she will need as co-sovereign, He has placed upon her the responsibility and authority to enforce God’s will and administer His decisions in the affairs of earth.
We’re in the Army Now!
Although they may be unaware of it at the time, when New Believers come to Christ for Salvation, in addition to being Born Again spiritually and adopted into the Family of God, they are also automatically inducted into the Armed Forces of God. Make no mistake about it, this is not a Volunteer Army; for, everyone who is raised to New Life in Christ is immediately conscripted into it as one of His Soldiers.
Unfortunately, some of these Believers, due to a lack of adequate Discipleship Training, remain woefully ignorant of the Spiritual War raging around them and of their responsibility to do battle in it—so they never even report for Service. Some others, when they are made aware of the conflict, acknowledge the reality of the situation but then refuse to become involved; leaving others to do the fighting for them, while they assume the stance of Conscientious Objectors. And, still others, when informed of the War and their status as Soldiers in it, flatly refuse to believe that it is real and go AWOL, choosing to live out their lives in a perpetual state of Spiritual Denial.
But, let’s not be counted among these! Not only does their absence on the Spiritual Battlefield hurt the cause of Christ and hinder the coming of His Kingdom, but it also robs them of the rewards they may have otherwise received in that Kingdom.
Instead, let’s keep in mind that…
…we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil (2 Corinthians 5:10); and,
…whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward (Colossians 3:23-24).
Then, we can…
…press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14); being…
…fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised (Romans 4:21).
In our next exercise, we will be taking a look into the Nature of the Conflict…
Mandisa reminds us that each of us is an “Overcomer” through Christ …
 Dutch Sheets, Authority in Prayer: Praying with Power and Purpose (Bethany House: Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2006), 20.
 Sheets, Authority in Prayer, 21.
 Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1975), 91.
 Billheimer, Destined for the Throne, 49.
So far, in our efforts to become more spiritually fit, we have successfully worked our way through three of the four levels of exercise in our Workout Program; where, at…
Level 1, we covered the basics of our Faith; learning how, through Salvation, we are Redeemed from Sin and Death, and adopted as children into the Family of God.
Level 2, we dealt with Sanctification; or, the life-long training process by which the Holy Spirit transforms us from the Sinners we once were into Holy Sons and Daughters of God.
Level 3, we learned about Service; or, the Work of God that we, as His Children—the Church—have been commissioned to carry out. It was here that we were introduced to the concept that…
…as the Corporate Body of Christ, we are to reach out to those in the world around us, bringing them the good news of God’s Love and Salvation;
…as the Corporate Soul of Christ, we are to relate as Family to those who are already a part of God’s Family; and,
…as the Corporate Spirit of Christ, we are to serve as the Army of Spiritual Warriors charged with the task of liberating those still held in captivity by Satan, and taking his territory captive for the Kingdom of God.
Since this last matter deals with Spiritual Warfare, something which we have only recently touched upon, we will make its study the objective of this fourth and final Level of Exercise in our Program—a Program which, when completed, will have helped us…
Define our Position, as a Child of God;
Refine our Person, as a Child of God;
Outline our Purpose, as a Child of God; and,
Underline our Power, as a Child of God.
It is through this progressive pattern of growth—from Position to Person to Purpose to Power—that we have advanced from our original state of spiritual infancy to God’s more highly desired state of spiritual maturity, becoming better equipped along the way for our eternal destiny with Jesus Christ.
What is this destiny for which we, as the Children of God, are presently being equipped? Contrary to one of the more popular conceptions of what life will be like in the hereafter, we will not be floating around on a cloud, with a crown on our heads and nothing better to do than strum on our harps for all eternity. Not only is this a perfectly wasteful—not to mention boring—way to spend one’s everlasting life, but it in no way compensates us for all of the hardships we suffered through during our earthly sojourns. And, it certainly doesn’t call for any specialized equipping on our parts to prepare for it.
On the other hand, the destiny that God has planned for us is a gloriously challenging one. In keeping with His divinely ordained principles of Sowing and Reaping, it is one that will provide us with levels of rewards commensurate with the levels of faithfulness we have demonstrated during our times of training on the earth, and elevate us to positions of authority in the coming Kingdom of God. From these positions, we will exercise the Dominion originally gifted to us by God, lost to us as a result of the Fall, and restored to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Destined for Dominion, Subjected to Slavery
We first learned about this matter of Dominion during one of our visits to the story of Adam and Eve. For, it was there that, upon his creation, Man—as both Male and Female—was commanded by God to fill the earth with people, and to rule over everything in it. This Right to Rule, however, was lost when Adam, as a result of his disobedience to God, forfeited his Position of Power—a position which Satan immediately claimed as his own.
In his classic book, Destined for the Throne, the late Paul Billheimer explains some of the legal issues involved in this transfer of power…
The entire universe is governed by law…God’s grant of authority and dominion over the earth to man was a bona-fide gift. This authority and dominion became legally his. What he did with it was his own responsibility. If, so to speak, he ‘fumbled the ball’ and lost it, God could not lawfully step in and repossess it for him.
We know from Romans 6:16 that…
…if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness.
Therefore, when Adam chose to obey Satan instead of God, he became Satan’s slave. And…
As a slave of Satan, Adam lost all of his legal rights, not only to his person but also to his domain. This gave Satan legal authority to rule over man and the earth. If Satan’s dominion was to be revoked, a way had to be found to redeem fallen man and recover his lost authority without violating universal principles of justice.
No angel could enter the contest because these legal rights were never his. Thus a member of Adam’s race had to be found who could qualify to enter suit in universal court and wrest Adam’s lost heritage and dominion from Satan. The government of the earth had been given to man. It was lost by man. It could be legally recovered only by a man.
But where was such a man to be found? To qualify for the task at hand, he would have to be a full-fledged human being; and yet, because Adam and all those who would eventually descend from him had become the slaves of Satan, he would have to be sinless in order to be free from Satan’s control…
To the human mind the situation was hopeless, but God found a way. ‘When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons’ (Gal. 4:4). God solved the problem by the Incarnation.
Since Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, the divine nature was present in Him. Because he was sinless, Satan had no claim upon Him. But because He was ‘made of a woman,’ He was an authentic human being and could therefore qualify as a bona-fide member of the human race to enter the legal fight to reclaim Adam’s lost estate.
The Spiritual Battle to the Cross
Although I can’t think of anyone who would willingly sign up for a task like this, the spiritual battle to win back our freedom that Jesus freely committed Himself to was one that was repeatedly characterized by humiliation, rejection, opposition, and affliction; which, when you put them all together, add up to a whole lot of suffering.
Just think of the humiliation involved when…
…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2: 5-8).
Or, the rejection He must have experienced when…
- His family…went out to seize him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind (Mark 3:21).
- The people in His hometown said, ‘Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him (Mark 6: 2-3).
- John the Baptist sent messengers to Jesus, asking, ‘Are you [sure] you are the one [the Messiah] who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ (Matt. 11:3)
- Upon hearing some of Jesus’ hard sayings, ‘…many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.’ (John 6:66)
As for opposition, Jesus had that in abundance; for, even as a child, when He was perceived to be a contender for his throne, King Herod tried to have Him killed. And later, during His earthly ministry, He found Himself constantly at odds with all factions of Jewish society…
- With the Sadducees, because He threatened their economic and political power;
- With the Pharisees, because they considered Jesus a law-breaker, and His teachings overturned their religious traditions;
- With the Essenes, the ascetics of the day, who considered Jesus too worldly because He socialized with “sinners;”
- With the Zealots, or the anarchists of the day, because Jesus preached a message of love instead of rebellion; and,
- With the people who, in their apathy, did not want to be confronted with change.
And, when it came to affliction, no one has ever endured more. Of Him, it was said that…
…he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? (Is. 53: 2-8)
And, if all this wasn’t enough, from the time of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness at the beginning of His ministry until the moment when He drew His final breath, Satan, in an effort to take Him captive through sin just like the first Adam, was constantly working to trip Him up…
The fallen Lucifer, once the Light Bearer, the guardian of the throne of God, the highest of all pre-Adamic created beings, marshaled all of the available resources of the underworld in an effort to break down the allegiance of the God-man to His heavenly Father. One weakness revealed, one thought of rebellion or self will entertained, and all of Jesus’ efforts to repossess the world and its enslaved race from the usurping god of the world would be lost.
But, Praise God, in spite of all this pressure, Jesus didn’t give in; for…
When Jesus died without failing in the smallest detail, His death resulted not only in defeating Satan’s purpose to obtain a claim upon Him—it also canceled all of Satan’s legal claim upon the earth and the whole human race…
Therefore, since Calvary, Satan has absolutely no rights or claims upon anyone or anything. Whatever authority he carried with him on his banishment from heaven passed into the hands of the new Man along with the lost heritage of Adam…
Our Authority Restored
It is this authority that Jesus restored to His disciples; the same authority…
…to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you (Luke 10:19)…
…that Jesus delegated to the seventy-two He sent out to proclaim the Kingdom of God—and, it is the same authority that we possess today. For…
As individuals we have authority over all the combined powers of the enemy. This is an incredible, wonderful truth. Everything at Satan’s disposal—every demon, every coven, every cult and religion, every work, and every influence—is subject to the authority given to us by Jesus.
When Jesus rose from the dead after ripping the usurped authority from Satan’s hands, He did not immediately go to heaven. He stopped off to see the eleven remaining disciples…Jesus handed to them the authority He had taken from Satan. The authority legally changed hands once more and belonged to man again.
This truth is what we need to keep at the forefront of our thinking as we approach our upcoming exercises in Spiritual Warfare—because our success in any battle will be totally dependent upon our acknowledgement of the One who has already won the victory. Satan and his demons certainly know who it is; for, it was Jesus who, after overcoming every form of Spiritual Warfare in His life–on the Cross and through His resurrection…
…disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them (Colossians 2:15).
Even so, Satan and his legions continue to fight on, using our ignorance of the authority in Christ as one of their chief means of success. Let’s determine not to give them that critical edge over us; always bearing in mind that, in whatever situation we may find ourselves, the One who won the war for us has already been there on our behalf…
…For, we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Therefore…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:1-4)
In our next exercise, we will learn more about the destiny for which we are being prepared.
The Gaither Vocal Band reminds us of who we are in “On the Authority”…
 Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1975), 73.
 Billheimer, Destined, 73-74.
 Billheimer, Destined, 74.
 Billheimer, Destined, 76.
 Billheimer, Destined, 79-80.
 Dean Sherman, Spiritual Warfare for Every Christian (Seattle, Washington: YWAM Publishing, 1990), 130-131.
As promised at the end of our last workout session, we are back to finish what we started in our exercise on Service: Women and the Work of God. There, in Part One, in pursuit of a better understanding of the role God intends for Women to play in the Service of His Kingdom, we began, once again, with the story of Adam and Eve; looking at it to determine…
- God’s Purposes for the Sexes;
- God’s Punishment of the Sexes; and,
- God’s Promise to the Sexes.
As a result, before our break, we discovered that in His quest for a Family to love, God created Man as a Spirit Being; a Spirit which He then placed in the two houses He called Male and Female. As a Spirit, Man could relate to God and, in the physical houses of Male and Female, he could (re)produce the Family that God has always desired. We also learned that, because he was created first, the Man was placed in the Position of Head over God’s Creation; with the Woman being created later, to be his Companion and Helper in carrying out the Work of God. This arrangement, however, did not mean that the Male was superior to the Female; for, from the beginning of their history together, they were both…
Equal in their standing before God;
Equal in their call to the work of God; and,
Equal in their blessing by God.
Something else that we learned was that, in his Position as Head, the Man was meant to reflect the Headship of God the Father; while the Woman was intended to be a picture of the nature and work of the Holy Spirit. As such, the Man possessed what the late Dr. Myles Munroe referred to as Position Power, while the Woman possessed what he aptly described as Influence Power. In the words of Dr. Munroe…
Power and influence are equal, but different…
First, position-power generally comes with a title, such as king, governor, doctor, or pastor. Second, position-power is usually executed through commands, whether verbal or written. It is the authority that goes with the position, and the commands, that is the nature of the man’s power.
Influence-power manifests itself in a very different way.
First, a woman may have a title, but she doesn’t need a title to lead. She leads by influence…Second, a woman doesn’t need to talk in order to run things. She leads just by her influence…the woman doesn’t need to say a word; she just looks, and people respond. This is a very powerful influence.
Position-power announces itself. Influence-power just comes in and controls things. By the time you realize its presence, it has already taken over.
We will learn more about these differing leadership functions as we progress in this exercise—especially when dealing with Man’s Testing in the Garden, and the consequences of his failure there. Since that was where we left off in Part 1, that is where we will begin this time—as we continue our look into…
- God’s Punishment of the Sexes
No matter how well you package it, testing is one gift that I think few, if any, would look forward to receiving. At its mere mention, most of us shrink back; no doubt, put off by the mental images it evokes—images of the hard work and preparation it requires, the struggle involved in making the right choices, and the thoughts of failure and the consequences which that would bring. Given the amount of angst involved in testing’s anticipation, it was probably a good thing Adam and Eve did not see it coming.
God, on the other hand, not only knew that it was coming but He purposely allowed it into their lives. That’s because, to Him, testing is essential to the proving of one’s righteousness and obedience to the Word and Will of God; so essential, in fact, that He required the same kind of testing of His Son, Jesus Christ. For, immediately following His baptism and just prior to the beginning of His public ministry…
…Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1).
The Apostle James explains some of the principles of testing in this way…
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death (James 1:12-15).
While this sort of downward progression is something we see taking place in the testing of Adam and Eve, of more immediate interest to us is the cunning plan lurking behind Satan’s temptation, and the bearing it will have on God’s punishment of Man’s transgression.
The Cunning Behind the Con
In Service: Interrupted…By Devilish Design, we learned of Satan’s goal to subvert the Kingdom of God and supplant it with his own. Since God’s Kingdom is a Spirit-Down one, ordered in the following way…
The Man, next;
Then, the Woman; and,
Lastly, the Animals…
…for Satan to achieve his goal, he would have to overturn God’s Spirit-Down order and replace it with a Flesh-Up one. By Flesh-Up, I mean that Man would be living life, no longer under the direction of the Spirit of God, but according to the fleshly dictates imposed on him by his body and soul. In a Flesh-Up order, Man would be dead to the things of God, and the line of communication between him and his Maker would be severed. In this condition, he could not become a Child of God, and any Service he might have rendered as such to the Kingdom of God would be eliminated. This, of course, is exactly the type of situation that Satan was hoping to create when he approached Adam and Eve in the Garden.
As for his method of achieving this end, instead of confronting Adam directly, the possessor of the Position Power and the direct Word of God, Satan made his sly and subtle appeal to Eve.
The devil is clever…he was after the man, because the man is the foundation, but he couldn’t get to the man because position-power can usually stand firm as long as its position is genuine. You can’t destroy position-power directly; you have to destroy it through influence.
So, appearing in the form of a Serpent, he beguiled Eve into eating of the Forbidden Fruit; and then, through the manipulation of her Influence Power, he succeeded in enticing her husband to join her in her Sin. As a result of this coup, Satan’s reversal of God’s order was complete, for…
- A member of the Animal Kingdom had usurped the authority of the Woman;
- The Woman had used her Powers of Persuasion to usurp the authority of the Man; and,
- The Man had rejected the authority of God and His Word, abdicating his position of Headship in the process.
The Consequences of the Con
In Genesis 3: 14-19, we find the record of God’s judgment on this upheaval of His divine order, a judgment in which the punishment was meted out in the same order in which the crime was committed. Addressing the Serpent first, God said…
Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
Next, He came to the Woman, and said…
I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband [for your husband, in some translations], but he shall rule over you.
Then, finally, to the Man, He had this to say…
Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Looking closely at these judgments, we can also see that in each case, the punishment was appropriate for the crime—something to be expected, given that everything in God’s Creation was designed to reproduce “…after its own kind.” We know this to be true because God said so ten times in the Creation Story found in Genesis 1—a principle which was later affirmed by the Apostle Paul in this very familiar passage…
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Galatians 6: 7-8).
Here, then, is the way this Sowing and Reaping Principle played out in God’s Judgment on the perpetrators of this crime…
The Serpent—as an Animal
- Because it had presumed to raise itself above its divinely-ordained station in life, it would be brought down, cursed as the lowliest of creatures, to spend its days slithering on the ground.
- Because it had tempted Eve to eat what she shouldn’t have, it would have to eat what it didn’t want to—which was dust.
- Instead of being looked upon as the beautiful creature that it once was, it would forever after be regarded as a loathsome beast.
- Instead of the friendly relationship it had shared with the Woman in the Garden, from then on, their relationship would be one of mutual hostility.
The Serpent—as the Devil
- As the one who had exalted himself in rebellion against God, leading others to do the same, he was given notice that eventually he would be “…brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit (Isaiah 14:15).”
- Here, he was presented with a “Declaration of War” by God—the notice of perpetual warfare between his kingdom and the Kingdom of God; between his offspring, the Wicked, and the offspring of the Woman, the Righteous.
- And, because it was the Woman whom he had beguiled, here he was notified that it would be through her childbearing of the Righteous Seed of God that he would ultimately suffer defeat and meet his doom.
- The blessing of childbearing, which prior to the Fall, would have been a joy, would now be accompanied by pain and sorrow.
- Submission to her husband, which before the Fall, would never have been an issue or a hardship, would now be a daily struggle.
- Her Influence Power, which before the Fall, would have remained unchecked, would—until the coming of the promised Deliverer and Restorer—have to be regulated by means of external restraints. For, apart from the internal control provided by the Holy Spirit, the Woman would continue to use her Influence Power to manipulate and control the Man, and he would use his Position Power to try and dominate her in an effort to keep her “in her place.” For some examples of a Woman’s Influence Power gone horribly wrong, we need look no farther than the Old Testament…
— To Sarah who, through her Influence Power, convinced Abraham to have a child by her maid, Hagar, rather than wait for God to fulfill His promise;
— To Delilah who, through her Influence Power, succeeded in bringing down Israel’s most powerful judge, Samson; and,
— To Jezebel who, through her Influence Power, manipulated her weak-willed husband, Ahab, and corrupted Israel with her idolatry.
- His habitation from then on would be among thorns and thistles, instead of the lush beauty he had experienced in the Garden.
- His occupation would become a toil, instead of the pleasure that it had once been in the Garden.
- His food would become difficult to obtain, instead of being readily available, as it had been in the Garden.
- His life would be shortened and he would be returned to the soil, instead of living forever in the Garden of God’s Fellowship.
At this point, it is important for us to note that God’s Punishment on the Sexes here was in no way a Curse. That’s because, back in Genesis 1: 28, God had already blessed the Man and Woman. And, from what we learn later in Numbers 23: 8,20, when the prophet, Balaam, was hired by the king of Moab to curse Israel, each time he tried, a blessing would come out instead of a curse. Balaam’s explanation at the time was this…
How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce whom God has not denounced? …he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
Since that which God has blessed cannot be cursed, the only things to be cursed here were the Serpent and the Soil. For the Serpent, there is no hope that his curse will ever be removed; but, for the Soil, there is such a hope, and it will be realized when God’s Promise to the Sexes has been fulfilled…
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now (Romans 8: 19-22).
- God’s Promise to the Sexes.
The Promise that God made to the Sexes may be hard for us to spot at first, and that’s because it’s contained in the unlikeliest of places—it was not given to the Sexes directly, but was first spoken of in the curse which God pronounced on the Serpent. His Promise was that one day, a Holy Offspring would be born to the Woman—the One by whom Satan would finally be crushed, and all that the Sexes had lost in the Fall would be restored. Of course, this Redeemer and Restorer was none other than Jesus Christ, who, through His obedience to the Father, not only secured our Salvation, but restored us to the Purposes of God. Matthew Henry describes the work of Christ on our behalf in the following way…
How admirably the satisfaction our Lord Jesus made by his death and sufferings answered to the sentence here passed upon our first parents.
— Did travailing pains come in with sin? We read of the travail of Christ’s soul (Isaiah 53:11).
— Did subjection come in with sin? Christ was made under the law (Galatians 4:4).
— Did the curse come in with sin? Christ was made a curse for us, died a cursed death (Galatians 3:13).
— Did thorns come in with sin? He was crowned with thorns for us.
— Did sweat come in with sin? He for us did sweat as it were great drops of blood.
— Did sorrow come in with sin? He was a man of sorrows, his soul was, in his agony, exceedingly sorrowful.
— Did death come in with sin? He became obedient to death.
Through His substitutionary death on the Cross—dying the death that should have been ours—Christ redeemed us from the power and the penalty of the Law, delivered us from bondage to sin and death, reconciled us to the Father, gifted us with eternal life, and empowered us with His Holy Spirit. With the Spirit now living within us, writing God’s Laws on our hearts, the restraints previously imposed on us by the Old Testament Law are no longer needed.
Now, empowered from within by the Spirit of Christ, the Man can love his wife as Christ loves the Church, regard her as his equal in the work of the Lord, and not have to resort to his Position Power to dominate her into submission. The Woman, empowered by the same Spirit, can respect her husband and submit to his leadership—for the sake of order—just as Christ has submitted to the leadership of the Father. She can keep her Influence Power in check herself, making sure that it is used to glorify God and not to manipulate others—because…
Under the redemptive work of Christ, the woman is not only restored to fellowship with God but is restored to the position of partner with her male counterpart. Therefore, she is no longer to be dominated or ruled by the male, because, if she were, it would mean that the redemptive work of Christ had not been successful.
Scriptural Stumbling Blocks to a Woman’s Service
Now that we have established the fact that, in Christ, Male and Female are once again…
Equal in their standing before God;
Equal in their call to the work of God; and,
Equal in their blessing by God…
…why is it that Women are still being denied the freedom to exercise their God-given gifts of Leadership in His Service? I think that, in most cases, it can be traced back to a misunderstanding of the two most troublesome Scripture passages that relate to Women. Both of these were penned by Paul, with the first one being found in 1 Corinthians 14: 33-35…
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church…
…and, the second one being found in 1 Timothy 2: 11-15…
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through [the] childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
The reason these passages have created so many problems is that they have, more often than not, been taken out of their immediate context; and, instead of being interpreted in light of the cultural conditions of the day, they have been isolated from the rest of the passage and elevated to the stature of a doctrine which, in its meaning, flies in the face of not only Paul’s but Jesus’ attitudes toward women.
For example, in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul was dealing with a number of problems creating disorder in their church—problems such as spiritual pride, the misunderstanding and misuse of spiritual gifts, marital issues, confusion concerning the resurrection, and even incest. Please note Paul’s emphasis on God not being a God of confusion, but of peace. This is a good indication that there was confusion in the church, and it was being caused by some unruly women.
So what did Paul mean when he told the women to keep silent? If he was indeed saying that women should not minister publicly, he was contradicting what he said earlier when he gave instructions for women’s dress code while prophesying! There must be an explanation. As we examine these verses, we will see that Paul was definitely not teaching against women ministering publicly. Rather, he was correcting the way in which women were ministering in the Corinthian church.
In his letter to Timothy, however, Paul was addressing a different set of problems; ones created as a result of false teaching infiltrating the church at Ephesus—the church where Timothy was ministering. In all likelihood, this false teaching involved some “old wives’ tales” which were being passed down from the older women to the younger ones; tales promoting Eve, in her sin, as a benefactor to humanity, instead of as the transgressor that Paul later states she was. To counter this heresy, Paul first addressed the women of the church in general, instructing them on how Godly women should dress and behave. Then, he directed his attention to one woman in particular—the one most responsible for promoting the false doctrine—and commanded that she not be allowed to teach. Instead…
Paul…commanded this woman to learn but not to teach. Why? Because she had been teaching false doctrine. Therefore, Paul set aside the normal link between learning and teaching in her case. For a season, she was being disciplined, corrected. She couldn’t be allowed to continue spreading false doctrine. It was time for her to abstain from teaching altogether and dedicate herself to study alone.
Paul silenced this woman not because she was a woman but because she was teaching false doctrine to others.*
Now, concerning the question of women being saved through motherhood…
The phrase “the childbearing” is unique. It isn’t found anywhere else in the New Testament…it’s a noun, dramatically preceded by the definite article (‘the childbearing’) to point to one particular childbearing…
‘The childbearing’ refers to the one mediator between God and persons, the person Christ Jesus, the promised seed of Eve, the Child born of a woman. The issue at stake here was salvation, not motherhood. Women aren’t saved by getting pregnant and having babies. They’re saved by the child who was born–Jesus! Throughout this passage, Paul was talking about how men and women are redeemed, not about how they procreate. The central truth of this entire passage is Jesus and God’s desire for all to be saved through the promised childbearing.
As for Jesus’ attitude toward women, I think we can agree that He always treated them with respect. We have no record of Him ever rebuking a woman and telling her to be quiet, or forbidding her to minister in some fashion. Following His encounter with the woman at the well, she left Him and immediately went back to her town and started preaching about Jesus—something which He did not criticize or attempt to discourage. It was to a group of women that He entrusted the good news of His resurrection, and it was to His Bride, the Church, that He entrusted the good news of His saving grace; charging her to use her Influence Power to convince the world of His Truth, and to…
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Matthew 28: 19-20).
Now, for those who may still have issues with Women in Leadership, I would like to offer this suggestion from Dr. Munroe…
…if you as a male have problems with a female preacher, I encourage you to close your eyes and listen to the spirit-man speaking. This approach has helped many men. Listen to what’s being said. If the female house is the problem, then ignore the house and listen to the resident, the spirit-man within, because God speaks through the spirit-man. It is the Spirit that gives life (2 Corinthians 3:6)…
…and, to bring this session to a close with this thought from J. Lee Grady…
Jesus’ blood was shed for all women, and it is the only covering they will ever need. Blood-bought women don’t need a man to bring them closer to God. Blood-bought women don’t need a man to legitimize their ministries. Blood-bought women don’t need a man to ‘cover’ their spiritual endeavors or to replace the leadership of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
The blood of Christ is a woman’s true covering. For the church to require anything more is to renounce our faith.
*Since space and time will not permit a further examination of the passages here, I would like to suggest these books as resources for those interested in a more in-depth study of the subject…
Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman, by Dr. Myles Munroe;
Why Not Women? by Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton;
I Suffer Not a Woman, by Richard Clark Kroeger and Catherine Clark Kroeger;
10 Lies the Church Tells Women, by J. Lee Grady; and,
What Paul Really Said About Women, by John T. Bristow.
In keeping with the theme of this exercise, here is Shackles, by Mary Mary…
 Dr. Myles Munroe, Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2001), 185-186.
 Munroe, 189.
 Munroe, 187.
 Matthew Henry, Commentary on the Whole Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan Publishing House, 1960), 11.
 Munroe, 191.
 Loren Cunningham and David Joel Hamilton, Why Not Women? (Seattle, Washington: YWAM Publishing, 2000), 185.
 Cunningham and Hamilton, 219.
 Cunningham and Hamilton, 224.
 Munroe, 197.
 J. Lee Grady, 10 Lies the Church Tells Women (Lake May, Florida: Charisma House, 2000), 100.
In our last exercise, Service: Interrupted…By Devilish Design, we learned how Satan, in his drive to establish his kingdom’s rule over the earth, has been at work trying to prevent the establishment of God’s Kingdom on the earth. We discovered that from the beginning of human history to the present time he has…
- Grown his kingdom by alienating people from God, taking and keeping them captive through sin;
- Limited the growth of God’s Kingdom by keeping those under his dominion ignorant of God’s goodness, as well as the freedom they could be enjoying as members of His Kingdom; and,
- Hindered the advancement of the Kingdom of God by means of an on-going war, aimed at disrupting the Service of its citizens—namely, those liberated from Satan’s kingdom of darkness and death through the freedom of faith found only in Jesus Christ.
We also learned that Satan has enjoyed a considerable amount of success in this war, simply by keeping those in God’s Kingdom…
- In the dark as to their true mission in life, and ignorant of the resources available to them for successful living, merely by limiting their knowledge and understanding of the Bible;
- At odds with one another by stirring up misunderstandings, envies, and petty offenses among them; and,
- Battle-fatigued, or frustrated, discouraged, and completely worn out from all the conflict.
These aren’t the only tactics he has used to good effect, though. Through his exploitation of the conflict between the sexes, a by-product of man’s fall from grace, he has been able to sideline roughly one-half of the workforce in God’s Kingdom, thereby greatly reducing the amount of Kingdom Work being done in the world. These workers, whose God-ordained right to serve has so often been denied, are none other than the female members of God’s Family—the very ones (as we learned in Service: The Church as the Family of God) who were meant to serve as pictures in the flesh of the person and work of the Holy Spirit.
For us to better understand how this situation came to be, we’ll need to revisit the story of Adam and Eve. This time, instead of focusing our attention on the pattern of seduction used by the devil to ensnare our ancient forbearers, we will be approaching the story with an eye to understanding God’s purposes for the Man and Woman, as well as the ways in which sin has affected those purposes.
- God’s Purpose for the Sexes
As we have mentioned more than once during the course of these exercises, God’s purpose in creating Man was to provide Himself with a Family to love, both now and throughout eternity. As a Family of Beings bearing the image and likeness of the One who was giving them life; and, since…
…God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and truth (John 4:24) …
…it was essential that the members of God’s Family also be Spirit Beings. As the late Dr. Myles Munroe explains in his excellent book, Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman…
…when God made man, He essentially drew man out of Himself, so that the essence of man would be just like Him. In this way, the receiver could be just like the Giver, and could reciprocate His love. Since ‘God is spirit,’ He created man as spirit.
So man—the spirit-man—was created as a result of God’s love. Note carefully that, at this point, we are still talking about man, the spirit. We are not yet talking about male and female. Whom did God create in His image? Man. Man is spirit, and spirits have no gender. The Bible never talks about a male or female spirit. God created the spirit-man without a gender.
Thus, when the time was right for His Family to come into existence, the first thing God did was create a Spirit Being whom He called Man…
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).
And, once this Spirit had been created…
God took this spirit-man, and He placed him in two physical forms: male and female. The spirit-man is neither male nor female. However, to fulfill His eternal purposes, God used two physical forms, called male and female, to express the one entity of man. Therefore, the essence of both male and female is the resident spirit within them, called ‘man.’
Whom did God call man? Both male and female.
With God’s “eternal purposes” being the creation of Family—and a family being the product of the sexual union between Male and Female—God took the Spirit-Man and placed him in separate physical “houses” or bodies; bodies differing from one another because of the unique roles or functions they were designed to perform. In the role of the Male, Man was designed to demonstrate the love, leadership, strength, guidance, provision, and protection of God the Father, and to be the Giver of the Seed of Life; while, in the role of the Female, Man was designed to demonstrate the love, respect, wisdom, care-giving, gentleness, grace, empathy, and sensitivity of God the Holy Spirit, and to be the Receiver and Nurturer of the Seed provided by the Male. Through the coming together of the Giver and Receiver, then, the life shared by them would be reproduced over and over, and the Family of God would grow.
In keeping with His divine order of creation, God built the house for the Male first, as He…
…formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).
Once the Male had become a living being, God placed him in the garden home He had created for him. And, after instructing him as to his responsibilities and the rules by which he was to live, God set about completing His final work of creation, with this pronouncement…
It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him (Genesis 2:18).
Turning His attention to the construction of the house for the Female, He…
…caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed its place with flesh.
And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.
Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man (Genesis 2:21-23).’
Here, in this special construction of the Female’s house, we see how God, in the same way that He had taken Man out of Himself to be someone He could love, took the Woman out of the Man and gave her to him to love. Here, too, we have Man’s acknowledgment that the Woman, having been made of the same stuff as he was, was his equal and partner in the work of God. With His creation then complete…
…God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth’… And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good (Genesis 1:28, 31).
So, here at the beginning of things, and in keeping with the purposes of God, in Man—that is, the Spirit-Man created by God for relationship with Himself—there was no Male or Female. It was only in the human body that sexual distinctions were made—distinctions determined solely by the part each sex was to play in the creation of God’s Family. Here…
- Both Male and Female were equal in the eyes of God;
- Both Male and Female were given the task of stewardship over God’s creation;
- Both Male and Female were blessed by God…
…and, as far as God was concerned, it was all very good!
- God’s Punishment on the Sexes
With so much good going on in the Garden, it seems such a shame that Evil had to rear its ugly head and spoil it all. And yet, for Man to truly be a son of God, it wasn’t enough for him to be…
An eternal spirit, like God;
A rational being, like God;
An emotional being, like God;
A willful being, like God; or,
A moral being, like God.
He would also have to be Holy, like God. Before this could happen, though, he would have to do what was right in every situation, just like God. But, at this point in Man’s brief history, he was living in his original state of innocence, for his righteousness had yet to be proven through testing.
People have often wondered why a Holy God would allow Evil into the world, without taking into consideration that for Man to truly be like God, he must want the same things God wants and love God enough to do what He says. For Man to be free to choose God’s way, then, there would have to be an alternative from which he could choose—with Evil being the only other option to obedience to God.
Of course, Evil in this case did not look like Evil…
…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Instead, it came packaged as a rational self-interest and an appealing religion of works, and was presented in such a way that it would overturn God’s established order of creation, inverting His authority structure in the process. Like it or not, God’s order and authority structure for Creation was this…
Then the Animal Kingdom.
We’ve already established that, up until this time, Man and Woman were…
Equal in their position before God;
Equal in their call to the work of God; and,
Equal in their blessing by God.
But, for the sake of order, God created Man first, placing him as Head over his wife (and eventual family); a position in which he would be held accountable for everything happening in his family. This position of Headship, however, was never meant to be a mark or measure of his superiority over the Woman. If it was, then we would have a serious problem with the following verse…
But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God (1 Corinthians 11:3).
If, being the Head indicated one’s superiority over another, this would mean that God the Father was and is superior to God the Son—and we know from the Scriptures that this just isn’t the case. For…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3).
I [Christ] and the Father are one (John 10:30).
This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:18).
He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God…for in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell… (Colossians 1:15, 19).
From these verses, it is easy to see that, although God is the Head of Christ, Jesus is still equal to God. That being said, what are we to make of this statement by Jesus to His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion?
You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I …I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father (John 14:28, 31).
In this case, is God being “greater” than Jesus an indication that He is somehow superior to Jesus? Or, in doing what the Father has commanded Him to do, has Jesus’ equality with the Father been diminished in any way? No, not at all; for, in His Person and in His Power, Jesus remains equal to God; it is only in His Position, as Leader, that God is greater than He—with this assumption of Leadership being solely for the sake of order. In other words, for the sake of fulfilling the Father’s Kingdom Purposes, Christ Jesus…
…who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped…emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:6-11).
So, although He was equal to God, Christ willingly chose to submit Himself to God’s Leadership so that the Plan of Redemption needed for God’s Kingdom purposes and the creation of His Family, could be realized.
Headship, then, was and is a good thing, and remains an essential and powerful component in the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth. However, it was not the only component that would be needed; if it had been, then God would never have created Woman. For, in His creation of a Helper for the Man, God provided the Man with a power to help get the job done which was lacking in himself—that being, the subtle but dynamic power of the Woman’s suggestion, encouragement, and Influence. Had the Man been left in charge on his own, his way of carrying out God’s Work would have primarily been through fiat; an effective but not necessarily a pleasant way to lead. The Woman, on the other hand, as a picture or type of the Holy Spirit, through her powerful leadership gifts of persuasion, could help him accomplish things that he couldn’t do by himself.
Being fully aware, then, of the limitations of Man’s “Position Power,” God fashioned a partner for him with the “Influence Power” needed to complement or complete him, and to assist him in accomplishing God’s Kingdom Work.
In order for us to more fully comprehend the Fall and its effects on the Male-Female relationship, it is vital that we first understand God’s Purposes for Man, along with the system of order and authority He instituted within His Creation. To be sure, Satan was well aware of them for, when he bypassed the Man in his Position Power in the Garden, and approached the Woman instead, he did so with the intention of using her Influence Power to achieve his Evil end of overturning God’s Kingdom, so that he could advance his own.
Because we have already covered a lot of important information in this exercise—information which will, no doubt, take a little time to digest—and, because there is still much more to come, I think it would be wise for us to divide this exercise into two parts, and take a break for reflection at this point. Having laid the groundwork for our discussion of the role of Women in the Work of God in the first part of this exercise, when we return for part two…
- We will learn how Satan’s manipulation of the Woman’s Influence Power led to the forfeiture of Man’s Position Power, and of the consequences of that debacle;
- We will learn how the Woman’s Influence Power was checked during Old Testament times, and compare that to what is intended for women in New Testament times; and,
- We will briefly discuss two of the most troublesome Scripture passages dealing with the role of Women in the Work of God…
…so be sure to check back soon for the rest of this rather vigorous workout session.
Shane and Shane remind us in “Liberty” that it is for freedom that we have been set free…
 Dr. Myles Munroe, Understanding the Purpose and Power of Woman (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2001), 54-55.
 Munroe, 55-56.
 Munroe, 61.
 Munroe, 185.