8-27-2022 Unholy Triumvirate
Ephesians 6:10-13, John 10:10
Apparently the Ephesians were having a hard time dealing with spiritual warfare, so Paul encourages them: Finally brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you might stand against the wiles of the devil. For we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places. Therefore, take unto yourselves the whole armor of God that you might be able to stand in the evil day and having done all that you can do to stand, stand! (Eph. 6:1-13)
Jesus had been telling His disciples that He would have to go to Jerusalem, die and rise again. Peter then took Jesus and said “Be it far from you, Lord. This shall not happen to you.” Then Jesus replied “Get behind Me, Satan. You are an offence to Me for you don’t desire the things of God, but those of men (Matt. 16:20-23).”
Jesus recognized who it was that motivated Peter’s comments – Satan. So He acknowledged exactly whom He was addressing. Just as the devil entered Judas Iscariot’s heart to betray Jesus (Luke 22:1-4) he had, that quickly prompted Peter’s comments. They sounded good – to keep Jesus safe, but it would have interfered with Jesus’ ultimate plan to save us from our sin. Did Satan possess Peter? Was Peter evil? Of course not! Just momentarily ‘misused’! (get the picture?)
In John chapter ten Jesus tells us the parable of the Good Shepherd who takes care of His sheep. In the parable Jesus cites one, anyone, who is NOT the shepherd, is he who sneaks into the sheepfold and comes to steal, kill and destroy – the sheep of the Good Shepherd.
Jesus tells us, clearly, that He (Jesus) IS the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). He does take care of His sheep!
Father spent years of my life showing me the reality behind this parable. How often are we blinded until the Holy Ghost reveals to us exactly what is right before our eyes? When He (the Holy Ghost) is come into our lives, He will lead us into all truth (John 16:13) and understanding -of the deep things of God (1 Corinth. 2:7-16).
Again, we don’t fight against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, powers and rulers of darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:11-18). So, praying in the Spirit, we put on the armor of God, fervently seeking God so we can stand against the wiles of the devil. Understand that praying in the Spirit is either or both praying in our God-given Spiritual language or praying in our ‘natural’ language focusing totally on the Lord.
First I want us to be on the same page about some of the words used in Ephesians six and John ten.
The Greek word used for principalities in Ephesians is arche (G746) it is also basically a magistrate, power, principle or rule in respects to order, time, place or rank. That is, it is one who has been given authority in a specified area. Think mayor, governor, president, king, etc.
The Greek word used for powers is exousia (G1849) which means authority, liberty, jurisdiction, right, strength in light of force or mastery. Again, one who has overall authority, but not necessarily limited to a specific place.
Rulers of darkness of this world
The Greek word used here is kosmokrator (G2888) which stems from kosmos (G2889) or world and krateo (G2902) which is to take, keep, lay hold of or retain. Kosmkrator is a ruler and he rules the darkness or akotos G4655) which stems from akia (G4639)which is shade or shadow. Ergo, the phrase rulers of the darkness of this world. More specifically, one who has authority which he exercises that authority secretly or through deception.
Wickedness in high places
Here, wickedness is the Greek word poneria (G4189), which is wickedness or iniquity which stems from poneros (G4190) which means evil, bad, grievous, harm, etc. And ‘high places is epouranios (G2032) which is celestial, sky, the heaven(ly). Satan is the prince and power of the air (G109) (Eph. 2:2), or or we might say the ‘breeze’ (or spirits) that blows across the sky. But, note again, not for the good of those subject to that authority.
John 10:10 declares that our enemy has three intents on his heart, so let’s take a look at steal, kill and destroy.
Luke 8:11 – steal the word from our heart. Satan’s job is to do just that! Steal the precious Word of God from our heart. Actually his job is to keep us from getting God’s Word into our heart, but once God’s Word begins to settle in, the devil does his best to steal it away. We may face problems which seem too difficult to overcome or we may even decide that the things of this world look better than the love of God. Sound familiar (read Matt. 13:3-13)?
What can I say? Klepto (G 2813) is a prime word which means to steal. Suggest anything to you? (hint – kleptomaniac?)
Matt. 2:16-18 – Herod orders death of the children. Satan’s attempt to keep Jesus from taking root in anybody’s heart was to destroy Him early in His earthly existence (within two years after His birth – Matt. 2:11-16).
John 13:2 – devil puts it into Judas’ heart to betray Jesus. He brings the authorities to the mount to arrest Jesus. Some may say Judas thought he would force Jesus’ hand as a king, but Satan intended to kill Jesus, thus stopping God’s plan for salvation.
Matt. 27:19-24 – “give us Barabbas”. To assure Pilate that all the people of Israel wanted Jesus to die, Satan aroused the crowd.
Matt. 27:48-54 – physical death of Jesus on the cross. This is why Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified on the cross. Satan thought he had won! Jesus was dead. Yet Jesus gives us the promise of eternal life through His resurrection on the third day! Hallelujah!
Kill? Thuo (G2380, is to kill, slay or sacrifice. Think about this from Satan’s viewpoint. Then Jesus’. In case you are having difficulty – Satan’s intent was to kill, Jesus’ intent was eternal sacrifice so we could live.
1 Peter 5:8 – devour
Apollumi (G622) is to kill, destroy, mar, die, perish, etc. Webster’s defines destroy as to eliminate organic existence, demolish, annihilate. Can we add ‘obliterate’? Peter tells us that Satan also wants to devour us. Not just ‘kill’ us, but totally destroy us or any evidence of our existence. Think about it. How many people today believe that God does not exist? God told Moses “I AM that I AM” (Exod. 3:14). God always was, is and will always be (Rev. 1:8). How many reject this truth, even as an idea? When people don’t believe in God, Satan has fulfilled his goal of total annihilation (eternal death)!
Did you catch the progression of this passage? Steal – kill - destroy?
The unholy triumvirate
Are we getting the idea on how Satan operates?
Now, let’s take a look at our ‘unholy triumvirate’ and see how they fit into the scheme of things.
What do I call the unholy triumvirate – the spirits of: manipulation, control and predator
Webster’s says that to manipulate is deal with hands, to skillfully manage or utilize, control or play upon, to change by artful (sly), unfair or insidious means.
This spirit works things around to its own liking. What does it want? Who? How? What? when? Where? Get the drift? It wants anything and everything to go its way. To please what it wants. And to use any and all means necessary to accomplish this. It wants to be ‘king of the world’ and do nothing to gain it. That is except to manipulate the things or people to gain what it desires. It beguiles people showing a pretense of friendliness. One gets more of what they want with a lump of sugar than a pile of poop. This spirit is friendly (as long as things go its way) and even likeable. Again, as long as things go its way, it’s a happy camper. If you remember the Popeye cartoon and his buddy Wimpy. Wimpy’s catch phrase “I’ll gladly pay you tomorrow for a hamburger today.” Wimpy never intended to pay up! But he was such a sweet, pleasant, likeable, rotund guy, who could refuse him?
Remember the phrase “beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing’? How about “all that glitters is not gold”? Pyrite is just a cheap imitation of that precious metal.
We need to ask God for discernment so we can know that with which we deal!
Webster’s says that control is to check, test or verify by evidence or experimentation, exercise direct influence over, have power over or rule.
The spirit of control is what drives the manipulating spirit. He lies underneath and behind what is obvious. Control doesn’t mind if we spot the manipulator. He’ll lay low for a season then rise up and then change his approach to continue his work. Control orchestrates then the manipulator implements. They go hand in hand, but they are separate.
And Webster’s defines a predator as one that preys (upon), destroys or devours. The predator’s ultimate goal is to destroy with his coup d’etat being to keep souls away from God. After all, what is the ultimate destruction? Burning in the fires of eternal hell. Think about feline predators. Ooh, I guess all cats (of any size) are actually predators in this sense. They scout out their prey, stalk it waiting for the right moment, then pounce! The cat’s goal is dinner, to literally and totally devour its prey. The predator spirit operates in the same manner. It scouts out its victim, stalks it, but then, it seduces the intended prey with that which will get its attention. For the predator spirit, the goal is not immediate death, just to keep the attention of the victim by focusing on false promises until literal death does come in. And that, of course, leads to the ultimate death (eternal separation from God).
And the predator spirit completes this triumvirate by prompting the spirit of control to do his thing. Hiding in the shadows watching as things unfold.
Consider that these spirits can influence our lives through obsession or possession.
According to Webster, obsession is persistent, preoccupation with an unreasonable idea or feeling. Or, basically, anything that takes up too much of your time and/or attention.
Possession, again according to Webster’s, is the act of having or taking control or occupying without regard to ownership. Something owned or occupied. An individual’s normal personality being taken over by another.
So basically the difference between obsession and possession is influencing as compared to actually taking over. Influencing is external pressure where taking over becomes internal occupancy.
Several examples come to mind. Satan did not enter into Peter, but clearly influenced his judgment as Jesus was telling the disciples that He must die (Matt. 16:21-23). Scriptures say that Satan did enter into Judas as he conspired, against Jesus, with the church counsel (Luke 22:3-4). Later, Paul encountered the woman with a diving spirit. This gal was harassing Paul until he finally turned around and commanded the spirit to leave her (Acts 16:16-18). There was also the crazed demonic at the Gergesenes where Jesus commanded the spirits (legion) to come out of the man and allowed them to enter the pigs (Matt. 8:28-22). And then there were the ‘sons of Sceva’ who tried to cast out a demon in the name of Jesus who Paul preached. The demon said “Jesus I know. Paul I know. But whoooo arrrre you?” the brothers were unsuccessful and the possessed man sent them out naked and bleeding (Acts 19:13-16).
I mention these situations so you understand demons can be violent or subtle and one clearly needs to walk in the authority and power of Jesus before tackling any such situation.
Also understand, some people believe in God and angels and some don’t. Some people believe in the devil and demons and some don’t. A person is entitled to his/her belief, but just because one rejects the existence of spiritual beings doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. In fact, one of Satan’s biggest covers is that people don’t believe that he exists. Nor that they believe in God! What one doesn’t believe in can’t hurt, right? Denial is Satan’s biggest cover. It gives him the freedom to do what he wants, where he wants or when he wants – because people a) don’t believe he is or b) don’t believe or trust in God (the Father) for protection.
This enables the predator spirit to activate the controlling spirit who puts the manipulating spirit into action. All too often, we jump on the person who is influenced or actually possessed by these spirits forgetting that we don’t fight against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, the rulers of darkness of this world and against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The victory is in Christ Jesus who has overcome the world (John 16:33). For all things are put under His feet (Eph.1:22-23). And He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). God so loves us that He gave His only begotten Son to stand the gap so we could have eternal fellowship with Him (John 3:16).