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7 | Spiritual warfare: How Satan attacks us from the spiritual realm

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Hi my name is Dean Smith and in this episode we are discussing how the spiritual realm interacts with the physical world.

When we read the Bible, it clearly portrays two worlds – our physical realm and as well a spiritual dimension inhabited by God and His angels and as well satanic evil spirits demons.

The question I want to answer in this episode is how does the spiritual realm interact with the physical and how do we fight off demonic attacks?

It was a hot July Saturday morning and I was mowing the lawn in our backyard, when I was utterly stopped in my tracks by a memory that popped into my mind of a stupid thing I did years earlier. I mean years ago.

I had already asked God to forgive me, but here it was blasting me like I had done it today.

I felt utterly condemned and spiritually beaten up over this incident. I became depressed as thoughts raged in my mind over what had happened.

The level of condemnation I was feeling far exceeded what I had done.

So where did it come from?

According to the Bible there are three sources of condemnation:

First the Apostle John writes that our own heart can condemn us.

“If our heart condemns us, we know that God is greater than our hearts.” (1 John 3:20)

Though we have sought God’s forgiveness, this happens because we haven’t really forgiven ourselves. Sometimes this is a result of a false pride, where we actually feel that we should be incapable of doing this. The fact is because of our sin nature and without God’s help we are capable of doing almost anything.

The second source of condemnation is other people. We see that when the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery. After sparing her life, Jesus lifted her from the ground and said neither do I accuse you.

The third source of condemnation is the satanic realm. In the Book of Revelation, John describes satan as the accuser.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power
    and the kingdom of our God,
    and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
   who accuses them before our God day and night,
    has been hurled down. (Revelation 12: 10 NASV)

In this verse we see how satan is relentless in his accusations against believers and will even accuse them as they sleep.

Satan wants to dig up every rotten thing we have done, every mistake we have made and wave it in our face. He wants to beat you down and if he succeeds you will become ineffective for the Kingdom of God.

But it is this latter point that I want to focus on in this podcast. Satan can condemn us, but how does he do it from the spiritual realm?

The Book of Zechariah is one of the strangest, yet most interesting books in the Bible, and it provides a clue.

The book is composed of a series of visions where God pulled back the curtain separating the physical and spiritual realm allowing Zechariah to peer into a realm that up to this point had been invisible to him.

Because of this, Zechariah saw what was happening to Joshua who was serving as the High Priest in Jerusalem at the time.

3 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. (Zechariah 3:1 NASV)

Zechariah saw a demonic being standing at the right hand of Joshua. It wasn’t any satanic being, it was Satan himself accusing and condemning Joshua.

Now Joshua was just going about his business in the temple. He was doing priestly things and was totally unaware what happening in the spiritual realm.

Joshua did not see Satan. He was not hearing actual words, but this accusing roar coming from the spiritual realms was hitting its mark.

How do we know this?

We know this because, the Bible describes Joshua as wearing filthy garments (verse 3). The Hebrew word “soi” s – o – i  — translated filthy is literally the English word for excrement.

Yes, his clothes were covered in that disgusting four letter word, dare I say it on this podcast – poop.

Again, this is not how Joshua appeared in the physical realm, because he would have been wearing his highly decorative priestly robe.

But it revealed how Joshua appeared to those inhabiting the spiritual realm, where they seem to focus on our spiritual condition more than our physical.

Satan’s incessant barrage of condemnation was hitting its mark and Joshua was feeling like a condemned man — a complete and utter failure.

He would have been fine one moment and then suddenly, Satan hit Joshua with an unrelenting, barrage of condemnation.

But for God, it would have stayed that way. In verse 5, we read that an Angel of God stepped in putting a new turban on Joshua and giving him clean clothes, effectively breaking the satanic attack.

This account reveals how a person is attacked from the satanic realm.

But probably the clearest example of how satan attacks is seen in the Book of Daniel which provides a dramatic illustration on how the spiritual realm interacts with our physical world.

It was around 600 BC, and Daniel and his friends were enjoying a day in the sun along the cooling waters of the Tigris River.

A few decades earlier, the Babylonians had conquered Israel and hauled off tens of thousands of Jews into captivity.

But the Persians had recently conquered Babylon and during this prophetic change in government, Daniel realized that God had prophesied that He would restore Israel to the Promised Land after 70 years of captivity.

Daniel knew the time for Israel’s return was near.

At the beginning of Daniel chapter 10, we read how Daniel had entered a time of fasting and prayer. He had some specific questions for God, and an angel was dispatched to provide Daniel the answers to his prayer.

And things took an exciting turn when this Angel finally showed up while Daniel was with his buddies along the Tigris River.

Now here is where it gets interesting because the angel’s arrival sparked several manifestations in Daniel, such as the shakes and falling flat on his face speechless.

Now unfortunately, I’m recounting this story on a podcast because what we really need is huge split screen TV to properly tell this story, because on one screen, we would see Daniel’s bizarre behavior and then on the other screen, we would see the angel’s corresponding action that caused it:

It all started in verse 8 when the angel first showed up and Daniel lost his strength. The other men never saw the angel but they knew something was happening and they fled in terror. Daniel would have undoubtedly joined them, but instead the angel’s appearance caused Daniel to lose his strength and he collapsed to the ground.

  • Verse 9 tells us the angel spoke and Daniel fell into a deep sleep.
  • Verse 10 says the angel touched Daniel and he fell to his knees trembling.
  • Verse 15 says, the angel spoke again and Daniel fell flat on his face speechless.
  • Verse 16 records, the angel touched Daniel’s lips and the prophet was able to speak.
  • Verses 18 and 19 tells us the angel not only touched Daniel but said the words “Peace,” “be strong,” “do not be afraid,” “take courage and be courageous!” and Daniel was instantaneously strengthened.

Without the split screen TV, we would have thought Daniel was completely losing it with all his strange behaviour. But there was a direct correlation between the angelic touches and words with what was happening to Daniel.

But we also see something else key here. When the angel spoke different words, it caused a different result in Daniel.

So if the word “courage” strengthens us, what would happen if an angel spoke the words “fear or terror?”

Why is this so important?

Because when Satan and his lackey fell, they didn’t suddenly lose this angelic ability and now use it to attack, condemn and beat people down through words and touches from the spiritual realm.

Incidents like this explain why the Apostle Paul exhorted believers in Ephesians 6 to put on the armor of God.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will 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.” (Ephesians 6:11, 12 NASV)

Remember how the angel put new clothes on Joshua to break the satanic condemning attack, Paul tells us in Christ we now have spiritual armor that we can put on ourselves.

Paul encourages believers to put on the “Breastplate of Righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14). It is necessary equipment to protect us from satanic attacks of condemnation that Satan can hurl at believers by a simple touch or word.

In the Roman army, the breastplate covered the vital areas of the body from the neck to the thighs. It was made up of plates of metal that allowed some flexibility but still guarded the body and more importantly the heart from the sword or spear.

But in a believer’s case, it is invisible spiritual armor to protect against unseen touches and unheard words emanating from the demons or evil spirits.

But notice how Paul says that we must put it on. It is not something that angels or the Holy Spirit do for us. It is our responsibility. We must put on the breastplate of righteousness through an act of faith.

And I believe when we do this, just as the spiritual realm saw both Joshua’s filthy garments and then his clean clothes, they can tell if we have our spiritual armor on as well.

So how do we put it on?

Paul writes in Romans 3:23, that we are made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ. So we can put on the breastplate of righteousness by choosing to believe what the Bible says about us.

When Satan attacks from the spiritual realm, you can put on the breastplate of righteousness by reciting verses that speak of who you are in Christ.

The amour of God exists in our heart and in our mind. As we choose to believe what the Bible says about us, God’s armor is securely strapped on.

It is absolutely essential we grasp this because the Book of Revelation tells us that as we enter the end times, Satan will up his attack against believer, not only condemning during the day, but even while we sleep.

It will be incessant.

Grab your amour and prepare for war.

  • Credit lead photo: Andre Roberto Doreto Santos/Flickr/Creative Commons

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