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-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Rodney Hogue <rodhogue@aol.com> http://www.restorationdepot.org
Editors: Donna King, Harriette Osborn, Petru Prinsloo, DeAnna Torres, Teresa Seputis & Leona Ward Transcribers: Roberta Capps, Virginia Norris, Linda Selby

Prayer-School Course #21

A Beginner's Guide to Spiritual Warfare

Lesson 10

The War And The Enemy

By Rodney Hogue

Are You Fighting The Right Enemy?

Ephesians 6:11-13 says, "Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." (NAS)

Paul is describing how large and expansive the kingdom of darkness is. He is not giving awe and glory to the kingdom of darkness but informing the saints of their enemy. He tells us that we have what is necessary to come against the enemy and fight. During this teaching, always keep in mind that God is greater and no matter what you see of the enemy; know that God is always greater. However, we must not be ignorant of the schemes of the devil, and Eph 6:11-13 says that we are to put on the full armor of God.

"Put on" is the word 'enduo,' which means, "to clothe yourself." Clothe yourself with the full armor of God. In verse 13, it means, "to take it up". It is the full armor; it is not pieces of it. You do not get to choose which pieces you want and which ones you do not want. You need them all. You cannot say, "I like the shield; I do not care so much for the belt, but the shield really looks nice on me so I think I'll take that one." You need to put on the full armor of God so that you so will have the ability and power to stand against all the schemes and plots that the enemy has against you -- and there are plenty. We must stand and hold our ground and not give up. We are to hold our ground, and when the battle is over and the dust settles, we will still be upright, not flat on our backs.

What Warfare Entails

When Paul describes this warfare in Eph 6:12, he uses the term 'pale' which we translate "wrestling." But you need to be aware that the Roman concept of wresting back in Paul's day was very different than it is today.

When we study the scripture and come across certain words, we have images that come to our mind. We do not always fully understand the images that came to the mind of the reader from a Roman culture or background. Rick Rick Renner wrote a book titled "Living in the Combat Zone." Renner shares the picture that the word "wrestling" would have brought to mind for the people that Paul was writing to. Paul used the word 'pale' to mean wrestling. That ord paints a very different mental picture in our culture than what Paul was trying to communicate. What do you think of when you think of wrestling? Most of you do not think of high school wrestling competitions. Most of us think about a bunch of guys with muscles who are yelling, screaming and throwing chairs, and all that kind of stuff.

The Roman wrestlers were a little bit more civilized in many respects. It was a common thing. Many people liked to watch wrestling matches. It was common throughout the culture, but very few people wrestled in this kind of competition. Renner shares what it was like in his book.

They fought in the nude. When they wrestled, they had no rounds and no rules. They would try to pick their opponents up and try to slam them in order to break backs. Gouging the eyes was okay. Choking your opponent until he passed out was okay. Sometimes people died in wrestling, but not as often as they died in other things. If someone was a good wrestler or boxer, then he moved up in the ranking. These guys were brutal. Not too many people survived in the higher ranks. Nothing was off limits. Either they were killed or they simply surrendered.

When we think of wrestling, we think of World Wrestling Federation (WFF). When these guys were thinking of wrestling, they had a completely different concept -- a completely different picture of what was involved. Paul used this term to describe our struggle with the kingdom of darkness.

When we think of boxing, we see a referee making sure that no one is hitting in places where they should not, and pulling the boxers apart. The bell rings and they go sit down and a guy squirts a little water on them, rubs them down, shakes their muscles up, and pushes them back into the ring. In addition, they go through all these rounds. The Romans did not have rounds. Their boxing was so brutal that they wore helmets. Their gloves had metal wrapped around them. In the pictures of this ancient art, these guys are missing ears, noses and things like that. It was a brutal event. They quit fighting when the other person gave up or died. There was only one rule. They could not grab the opponent's gloves.

What Does This Tell Us?

First: our warfare is an intense conflict. It is not a passive venture. It is an active venture. It is hard, not mild. It saps your energy and wears you out at times.

Second: the powers of darkness abide by no rules. Anything that they can get away with, they will get away with. Anything goes. If the kingdom of darkness attacks us, what do we say? "That is not fair." It is not fair because they do not play by any rules. They do not have any off-limit areas or boundaries. God has put some parameters around them, but they violate every rule that they can violate. When thieves come into your house, do you notice that they do not steal the junk? They steal the good stuff. They take all that they want. However, they do not take the old, beat-up stuff. They take all the good stuff.

How does the Bible characterize the kingdom of darkness? As a thief that comes to kill, steal and destroy. Thieves do not play by fair rules. We should not expect the devil to play by fair rules -- he does not. In the Bible, we see a young boy who was demonized. The father went to Jesus, and he said, "Can you help my son? This demon gets a hold of the boy and throws him in the fire and it is really bad." We look at that and we think, "He's picking on a kid. Why don't you pick on somebody your own size? That's not fair. You're messing with a child here!" That is the way the kingdom of darkness operates. They do not play by fair rules.

Third: there are no rounds or breathers. I know you would like to go to your corner for a little while. You would like some lemonade and rest up a bit. There are neither rounds nor breathers. You do not get to quit somewhere in the middle and say "Okay -- time!"

This battle, like wrestling, takes place in close quarters. It is not a long-distance thing. I know there are times when you can pray and bombard the heavens with your prayers. However, a lot of stuff you are going to be doing is face-to-face.

Watch war movies, and you will see how the ships in World War II shot off bombs that went 15 or 20 miles and landed someplace far away. We say, "That's my kind of war. I want to stay out on the ship where it's safe and blow up these things way over there." That is not the way it's going to be. It is going to be face-to-face and hand-to-hand combat. That is the term used to describe our struggle. Therefore, we need to put on the whole armor of God.

-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from copyright@godspeak.org --

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