Dear People Who Keep Company With God,
Anytime a particular word or phrase is repeated in the scriptures, we should take note of what is being communicated. In Ephesians 6:12, the word “against” is used five times.
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. Ephesians 6:12
The first time Paul used against was to tell us whom we are not fighting. Our fight is not against flesh and blood yet that is exactly where the devil primarily manifests his attack on us. He is called the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4) because he manipulates people, circumstances and the environment around us to attack and immobilize us. Paul was warning us that when the attack comes we should not focus only on the natural because there is an enemy working behind the scene using the natural in an attempt to destroy us or stop what we are doing.
The other four times Paul used against was to describe the enemy we are up against. What we see in Paul’s description is an organized enemy army starting with the rulers that are equivalent to satanic generals and going all the way down in rank to spiritual forces of wickedness, which are the foot soldier demons. This is why Peter said, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour”. 1 Peter 5:8. The attacks of the enemy are not random, but a well thought out strategy to wear us down (Dan 7:25) and cause us to surrender our position of victory secured by Christ’s defeat of Satan at the cross (Col. 2:15).
I think the meaning of against in the original language gives us a key to understanding how the enemy works, it actually means near to – the enemy in the heavenly places are right around us not in some far off heavenly place. Satan is also called “the prince of the power of the air”(Eph. 2:2). Paul tells us he is a prince with power in the realm of air. Air is the atmosphere we live in, our environment and culture. Satan does have power here. The one offensive weapon Paul mentions, the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17), confirms this. It was a short sword used in close quarters in hand-to-hand combat by the Roman soldiers of that day.
I have personally experienced a prolonged and well-executed attack by a very clever and strong demonic force and it came through believers! Although I had to deal with those individuals I knew it was not them I was fighting and I am convinced they had no clue how the enemy was manipulating and using them to gain access to and attack me. In the end the Lord exposed the demons and their strategy and I was able to bind and break the commission they had against me.
I also think it is important to understand another well used term when it comes to dealing with the enemy –rebuke. If you take a closer look at the original language of the gospels you will find something very interesting; Jesus never actually used the word rebuke in dealing with the enemy. Several years ago a friend told a story of a time when an intoxicated man approached him and his wife on the street and was being very insulting. My friend responded, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus”. The intoxicated man responded very brashly “I bet you would”. My friend went on to explain the word rebuke is not the special word that we have made it out to be. The word rebuke actually describes a series of spoken statements. It means to put down, to shame, to embarrass and humiliate, etc. We see this illustrated when Jesus casts out spirits; He called them unclean (Mark 5:8) which means foul and stinking. Satan is such a prideful creature and will flee when humiliated by the Lord.
Many Blessings, BW