Spiritual Warfare Basics: The Enemy’s Equipment and Arms

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 23, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of knowing our enemy and knowing ourselves. Last week, I wrote briefly about the standard issued equipment we, as believers, have for this battle. I also introduced the idea that some of us have specializations for engaging in this battle. Today, I am going to introduce to you what our enemy has at his disposal to use against us. It’s very difficult to make a battle plan if you don’t know what your enemy is equipped with. So let’s dig in.

Scripture actually does not list any armor the enemy uses in the same sense that we have armor. And I have a pretty good idea why. It’s because of our equipment. There is a scene in the movie Lethal Weapon 3 where the villain creates a special bullet that can pierce the police’s bullet-proof vests. And Martin Riggs (played by Mel Gibson) when demonstrating the effect of these bullets makes a comment: “Vests are optional, boys and girls.”

While this scene was how the bad guy’s weapons penetrated the good guy’s armor, the reverse is true in the spiritual realm. Our weapons, because of God’s holy power and provision, are too powerful for any armor they could muster. So they don’t bother wearing any. I see no hint in Scripture that our spiritual enemy wears any personal armor to defend himself in the same way we have armor. But do not let that allow you to put your guard down. An enemy without armor is not necessarily weak.

The same friend of mine who I referenced last week about using “landmines” is using a table-top role-playing game called WarHammar 40K to help him visualize and picture how we could engage in this spiritual battle. One of the races in this game is called the Dark Eldar. This race is very similar to the Orcs of Lord of the Rings. They come in large numbers and are the “minions of evil.” But this race has no defensive stats. What they do have is very high attack power and very high speed and evasion stats. What does this mean? As my friend very well describes it: “If you can spot them from a distance, they are target practice. If you let them get too close, sign the will.” Our enemy uses speed, agility, and offense to fight. They don’t worry about defense very much. They will run before they will try to hold their ground because they know they will lose anyway.

However, in Matthew 16:18, we hear Jesus talking about the “gates of hell.” So they do have some kind of defenses, but that is fortress or stronghold defenses, not personal armor defenses. And these strongholds do not come down with ease, unless you are submitted to the will of God and are using his weapons. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 that our weapons are not carnal but have divine powers to demolish strongholds. These defenses are not actually as strong as they are made to appear. And this brings us to the main weapon our enemy uses: Deception.

Deception was the first tactic used against mankind in the Garden of Eden. The first thing the serpent said was “Did God really say?” You are going to hear me reference this a LOT during this series because it is used extensively when we see the enemy’s tactics in play. In fact, if you study Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, you will be able to summarize it in three words: Deception, Deception, Deception. The reason I keep bringing this book up is because it is the “Bible” of warfare. This book is used in so many different fields and is required reading in every military academy I know. As a church, the principles of this book are being used against us and very effectively.

The Bible records many historical events, and one of the reasons it does is because it gives us a blueprint of the enemy’s tactics. He doesn’t change his tactics very much, only how it is packaged. And his primary weapons, the primary tools he uses, are smoke and mirrors. He’s really good at them. He is really good at making himself appear much bigger, much more powerful than he actually is. He is still a formidable foe if you are not careful. Do not think you can outsmart him. But do not fear; we have a general, a Commander-in-Chief that has never lost on our side: Jesus Christ.

The enemy has a collection of weapons he uses. They include fear, doubt, propaganda, lies, mocking, ridicule, peer-pressure, worldly-system pressure, and deception. But the one I hate the most is one that has proven to be very effective. We expect these types of weapons from an expected enemy source. We expect fear coming from Muslims. We expect propaganda coming from governments wanting to get their people to submit to their ideals. However, where the enemy has been most effective is in planting false teachers and false teachings from within our midst. If you don’t believe that false teachers will be in the church, look at the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. Jesus tells us the enemy will plant false teachers within our midst. Will we recognize them?

All of Scripture verses that warn against false teachers are hard to comprehensively list. Twice in Paul’s letters to Timothy, he addresses these issues. In 1 Timothy 6:20, Paul warns about profane and idle babblings which is falsely called “knowledge.” There are going to be a lot of false teachings that the “experts” are going to call “science” and “fact.” I rail against Evolution because this is precisely the type of thing Paul is warning us about. In 2 Timothy 4:3, Paul warns us there will be times where people within the church are not going to tolerate sound doctrine. Why not? Because they will have bought the deception, the lies the enemy has been planting through the false teachers. Not all who claim to be Christians are Christians, and not every preacher from the pulpit is a tool of God. The way to tell who is who is to be a Berean and to check out what is being said with Scripture.

Now that we’ve established the basics of our equipment and we’ve established what our enemy is going to use to fight against us, let us from here delve into five key principles that every military general must understand to engage in battle: Weather, Terrain, Military Doctrine, Leadership, and the Will of the People. To whet your appetite on this, the weather contains everything you cannot control including conditions of the battle field, the seasons, etc. Terrain is the battlefield itself. It’s not just a matter of what battles you chose to fight, but where you choose to fight them. Military Doctrine is the principles of how generals and soldiers should act and behave. Leadership includes chain of command and dealing with authority. And the Will of the People deals with how both the soldiers on the field and the people back home view the war and support the war. In the next five weeks, I will hit each one of these as a sub-series of Spiritual Warfare Basics.