WAVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE
THIRD WAVE SPIRITUAL WARFARE
Resources to aid your Understanding
Subtitle: More Unscriptural Teaching From The Signs And Wonders Movement
In case you are not familiar with the term "Third Wave," it is the latest description attributed to those who are charismatic in worship. Some scholars have denoted the first wave as Pentecostalism, the second as the Charismatic Movement, and now the third is the burgeoning growth of what began as the Vineyard Christian Fellowship. But regardless of the name applied to that overall system of belief, it continues to place more credence in personal experience than what the Word of God actually says. Emotions are running roughshod over solid exegesis of the Scriptures while warnings from concerned brethren are ignored.
The sheer number of unscriptural practices and abuses taking place within this movement is staggering. But even though many of those from whom we receive email readily admit such things are true, it is always the "other guys" who are wrong--not them! And more often than not, the rationale they offer is personal experience. In other words, they have personally spoken in tongues or have seen "demons cast out," etc, so this automatically guarantees the validity of such spiritual gift(s). But all who rely upon experience to "fill in the blanks" where the Bible does not give clear doctrinal teaching (as opposed to statements in the narrative about what took place at a given time) are most unwise.
And that brings us to the biblical subject of "Spiritual Warfare" and how it is being totally misrepresented by preachers within the charismatic camp. Our struggle against the powers of darkness is strictly defensive in nature and nowhere does the Word of God instruct believers to "rebuke and bind Satan" by exercising authority over him and his demons. To the contrary, even God's angels refrain from doing so without being given specific authorization (such as that seen in Rev.20:1-3).
"But when [even] the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, judicially argued (disputed) about the body of Moses, he dared not [presume to] bring an abusive condemnation against him, but [simply] said, The Lord rebuke you!" Jude 1:9 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified, emphasis mine).
Believers are instructed in the Book of Ephesians to clothe themselves in the spiritual armor God provides:
"In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].  Put on God's whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.  For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.  Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].  Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God,  And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.  Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].  And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.  Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God's consecrated people). Ephes. 6:10-18 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified, emphasis mine).
Clearly, the exhortation is to stand and hold our ground against the onslaught of unseen enemies--by utilizing the armor and weapon the Holy Spirit Himself wields on our behalf. And in the context of armor and weapons carried by a Roman soldier, the sword of the Spirit is the Greek word machaira--a short sword or dagger used defensively when an enemy got entirely "too close for comfort"! It was a means of last resort when someone got inside the protection of the soldier's shield and grappled with him in mortal hand to hand combat. That infighting "kill or be killed" situation is the mental image the Apostle Paul paints for us with the words of Ephesians 6:12 (above). Our "wrestling" with supernatural powers is a life and death struggle and to emerge victorious, we must drive them from us with God's Word.
When Jesus Christ went into the wilderness to be tested by the devil (Matt.4, et al), He used the Word of God--the "short sword" of the Spirit--to defend Himself. As Perfect Man, He entered that spiritual and physical ordeal to experience it from our perspective. And when all was said and done the devil was forced to retreat, thereby demonstrating the complete adequacy of the defensive weapon God has provided! The Lord did not go on the offensive by "binding" Satan and unleashing God's mighty sword of judgment--because the Word of God itself is infinitely more powerful than the prince of darkness will ever be.
My friends, common sense should tell us that if Satan could be "bound" by the spiritual warfare of believers (a total misunderstanding of the Lord's teaching in Matt.12:29), how does he keep getting loose and causing so much misery? The fact of the matter is that the devil is unfettered and seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet.5:8). God's plan is to allow him all the rope he needs to hang himself and, as based upon the experience of Jesus Christ Himself, that involves the testing of believers. The Old Testament patriarch Job was a perfect example of that principle! He just stood his ground and endured and did not make the unscriptural mistake of trying to take the fight to the enemy by intruding into the supernatural realm
Charismatic teaching today regarding spiritual warfare revolves around the false concept that believers can be demon possessed. And without exception the scriptures they use to try to defend this error are taken from the four Gospels and Book of Acts--all of which were transitional in nature as they bridged the gap between law and grace. Nowhere in the epistles written by the Apostle Paul to the Church will one find doctrinal teaching to substantiate that belief. (Most doctrinal error comes from a failure to understand that Paul was chosen by the risen Lord to set forth the great doctrines of the Christian faith. And if he does not cover a subject in those epistles--it is not Church doctrine! For instance, the handling of snakes and foot washing are two which quickly come to mind).
Neil Anderson is an author who continues to influence many charismatics with his teaching concerning the possibility of believers being demon possessed. Yet in his book, "The Bondage Breaker," he inexplicably offers a statement that both contradicts his position and explains the error of its premise:
"We have mistakenly formulated our methods for dealing with demonic powers from the Gospels instead of the Epistles. This is easy to do, since the only specific examples of demonic expulsion are found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts.....Some Christians object to making a sharp distinction between the Gospels and the Epistles. Yet all dispensational as well as covenantal theologians see at least some distinctions in moving from law to grace and from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant" (The Bondage Breaker, p.207--as cited by Rick Meisel in a related article from Biblical Discernment Ministries).
At the time Jesus Christ presented Himself to the nation of Israel as their Messiah, the Bible narrative clearly shows that Satan and his demons were very much in opposition. Various supernatural manifestations of demon possession were rampant among the people and the Lord cast them out to demonstrate divine power and authenticate His ministry. By extention that power was also given to His Apostles as they spread the Word throughout the land. For many centuries prior to that day God had placed His stamp of authenticity upon the ministries of Israel's prophets by the use of miracles. Beginning with Moses and the burning bush, Israel's long and checkered history was punctuated with many instances in which God led them by sight because they demonstrated little or no faith. And that process continued into the early years of the New Testament era as God continued to lead the lost sheep of the house of Israel to their Messiah. The Holy Spirit gave miraculous "sign gifts" such as speaking in tongues, healing, raising the dead, etc., to various individuals in the early church as an ongoing witness to Jews in their communities. They had always expected signs--and even demanded them from the Lord--but He told them that the sign of the prophet Jonah would be the only one they would receive. Of course, "the three days and nights" Jonah spent in the belly of the "great fish" referred to Christ's impending death, burial, and resurrection. And as the old commentator Matthew Henry said about this topic, "Justly might Christ had said, 'They shall never see another miracle': but note his wonderful goodness. They shall have one sign of a different kind from all these..." In other words the miraculous sign gifts would continue for a time in order to draw individual Jews to Christ, but the different sign the Lord spoke of was intended as a testimony to the entire nation--most of whom would not believe. And as a result of that unbelief God brought judgment upon the nation of Israel in A.D. 70 when the armies of Rome scattered them across the face of the earth. Then at that point historical evidence appears to indicate all miraculous signs ceased because there would no longer be a specific witness to the Jews. The canon of Scripture was complete and its message--its witness-- was for all men, Jews and Gentiles alike.
And I believe the Apostle Paul predicted the end of such signs when he said:
"For we walk by faith
[we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting
man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus
we walk] not by sight or appearance"
2 Cor. 5:7 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified, emphasis mine).
The Greek word eidos translated "sight" means "to strike the eye" and miracles were certainly intended to do that. But to seek them today is to express a desire to walk by sight and not faith--a concept alien to New Testament Christianity. Remember the Lord said, "an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign..." (Matt.12:39a).
But getting back to the subject of demon possession--a genuine believer is possessed by God and his/her body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit:
"Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own" 1 Cor. 6:19 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified, emphasis mine).
The genuine believer belongs to God--is literally possessed and indwelled by Him as the temple of the Holy Spirit. So why in the name of reason would anyone reasonably think that the Holy Spirit will share possession and allow demons to reside within His temple? That is patently ridiculous, my friends! However, I must add that the oppression of a wayward believer by demons is a distinct possibility if God allows it. We see that demonstrated in the fact that God gave Satan permission to oppress the patriarch Job--after stating His servant was a godly individual:
"And the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who [reverently] fears God and abstains from and shuns evil [because it is wrong]?" Job 1:8 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified).
So in view of Job's being a loyal servant of God, why was the devil allowed to afflict him so severely? The answer is seen in the outcome: Job's proper response to the adversity brought honor and glory to God.
The Bible shows us that demonic principalities and powers have an organizational structure and system of rank. But nowhere does the Word of God offer any teaching about "territorial demons" and how to run them off in order to claim property they hold. Marching around buildings/plots of land, driving stakes into the ground and anointing them with oil, waving "spiritual flags", etc., are methods being used today in the name of "Spiritual Warfare"--but they are without solid Scriptural backing. Yes, Joshua and the children of Israel marched around Jericho because God gave them specific instructions to do so. But no believer today will find such instructions in the Bible that apply to us. Yet, charismatics continue to insist "God told them" to do such and such by giving them "a word of prophecy," or a vision, or spoke to them in an audible voice!
Now wait just a minute. Surely any believer with spiritual discernment should be able to recognize the inherent danger in depraved, sinful humans like us thinking we get messages directly from God telling us to do things that are not clearly revealed within the Scriptures. If such messages are truly legitimate, then where does ultimate authority reside? Who or what determines truth if the Scriptures are not the absolute standard for faith and practice? If we allow that benchmark standard to be ignored, the result will be similar to "jailhouse" lawyers trying to defend clients in a world without laws!
I was called into the ministry relatively late in life (49) and that required me to leave behind a good job and house to follow the Lord's leading. Did I receive a message from Him telling me what to do? No! He dealt with me in such a way that His will was obvious. It was the only path that brought peace of heart and mind--so I knew I must take it! Then to erase any doubts I had (and there were several), I was greatly relieved to find that He had already moved upon my wife to encourage and support that decision. We obeyed the call and have never looked back. Every aspect of that life changing experience was according to scriptural principles and God continues to bless us richly. But not once in my entire life has He ever given me a vision, "word of prophecy", or spoken to me in an audible voice--nor have I ever spoken in tongues. And that "lack" is equally true of many hundreds of godly people and preachers I have been privileged to know and love over the years. So does it not stand to reason that if such things was intended to be the norm for Christians today, a discernable and proportional number of our number would experience them? Or are we to believe that God segregated us and only one group has been chosen to receive them?
I do not wish to appear uncharitable or unkind to any brother or sister in Christ, but the total absence of such manifestations among so many brethren around the world forces me to a logical deduction: God has either shortchanged millions of us or millions more are being deceived. And since Scripture clearly tells us the former is not the case, the latter is the only option left!
"May blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm!" Ephes. 1:3 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified, emphasis mine).
Prior to the completion of the canon of New Testament Scripture God gifted some within the various churches to orally communicate His Word to believers. And those utterances were the very Word of God--New Testament Scriptures--before they were put in written form. But, as a "check and balance" He also gifted others with the ability to discern whether or not such utterances were from God:
"To another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues" 1 Cor. 12:10 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified, emphasis mine).
Satan was lurking about seeking every opportunity to deceive believers by distorting or changing the message. That is why all who claimed to be speaking for God had to pass the test of being cleared by those who had the gift of discernment. And this balanced system of utterance and verification got the job done during the early days of the church while believers in any given assembly were still relatively few in number. But over time increasing numbers and sinful human nature would obviously make it very difficult to maintain purity of the Word. So "it is written" became a reality for the New Testament when the Apostle John penned the final word "Amen" in Rev.22:21. At that point the miraculous gifts of (1) speaking and (2) verifying the authenticity of the very Word of God were no longer needed, because everything God wanted man to know about Himself and His salvation was tangible and in written form.
And men need to understand the admonitions of God in both the Old and New Testaments concerning adding to or taking from His Word (Deut.4:2; 12:32, and Rev.22:18-19) now preclude all possibility of anything else being communicated via a sinful human! Because Satan still seeks opportunity to deceive and absolute chaos will always be the inevitable result when men presume to go beyond scriptural authority.
I mentioned something in a previous article that needs to be repeated: All who are charismatic should read the on-line book entitled "I Speak In Tongues More Than You All." It was written by a charismatic for charismatics and can be found at the following Internet address:
"Experience is the best teacher" when learning to do something, because repetition is the key to learning and failure is a part of that process. But in no way should experience ever be considered the final authority where matters of faith and practice are concerned. Just because you have experienced something--including a "salvation experience"--does not necessarily mean it is of God! Please beware! Everything of a spiritual nature must be held up to the light of His Word and be measured by it.
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
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