Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Testing the Spirits, and Spiritual Warfare
Chapter 8 – Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Testing the Spirits, and Spiritual Warfare
Before we get to spiritual warfare, I thought it would be helpful to cover gifts of the Holy Spirit. Once you know that you are dealing with a demon or fallen angel then spiritual warfare methods would be applicable. However, I have found in my experiences and research that sometimes the hardest step is to identify that you in fact having an experience or encounter with a demon or fallen angel.
Hopefully the summary of modern day activities of demons and fallen angels in an earlier chapter would help you the reader to identify some things easily. But demons and fallen angels are liars, and very intelligent liars.
In the previous chapter I covered the concepts of “antichrists”, “false teachers”, and “false prophets”. We are told that the “spirit of the antichrist” does now exist. Not only that, but we are told that many people are deceivers and antichrists.
” And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this [spirit] is of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that he comes, and in the present in the world it is, now.” 1 Jn 4:3
“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” 2 Jn 1:7
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us”. 1 Jn 2:18-19
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” 1 Jn 2:22
Just like there are many antichrists, there are also many spirits of antichrist. These deceptive spirits of antichrist are literally demons and fallen angels that work for Satan. So “spirit of antichrist” is another term for the goals of a demon or fallen angel, as these are opposed to Jesus Christ. How Christians get to be false teachers, false prophets, or antichrists, is if they end up following an antichrist spirits of a demon or fallen angel. One of the deceptions that these try to work on Christians is to masquerade as a gift of the Holy Spirit, on Christians who do not understand gifts of the Holy Spirit. So it is important to know about gifts of the Holy Spirit, so as to recognize what kind of things show something to not be a gift of the Holy Spirit.
There are many gifts of the Holy Spirit that are listed in the Bible, specifically in the New Testament. These are true gifts from the Holy Spirit, given to Christians. The important point I want to make right now is that just like a spirit of antichrist (demons and fallen angels) do counterfeit the gift of the Holy Spirit of “prophecy”, with a gift of “false prophecy” (caused by fallen angels or demons)… Demons and fallen angels do also try to counterfeit some of the other gifts of the Holy Spirit, in one way or another.
This is one reason why the Bible teaches emphatically,
1 Jn 4:1-3 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”
As Christians, the responsibility that the Bible teaches is placed on us is for us to test the spirits. The Bible teaches us that a spirit of the antichrist will deny the Father and His only begotten Son, or will not confess that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh, and that a spirit from God will confess that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh. We also read,
1 Cor 12:1-3 “Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”
And from this we are given an obvious clarification that a spirit that curses Jesus is not from God, and that no one can say, “Jesus is Lord” but by the Holy Spirit. A spirit that curses Jesus would seem an obvious and easy to recognize counterfeit, by which you would know that spirit has failed your test of that spirit. Knowing a spirit has passed the other test isn’t as easy and obvious.
It is tantamount in importance, when you are dealing with a spirit, that you understand what “Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh” means. Otherwise you cannot discern, by questioning a spirit, if they are confessing Him as such or not. You must know who Jesus the Christ is, and who He is not. You must know He is the only begotten Son of God. These may seem basic to you, but there are a lot of people out there that trust too willingly. As the children’s song says, “Be careful little heart who you trust.” You must be on your guard. All of these points are essential Christian Doctrine, which defines the biblical Christian faith. So familiarize yourself with essential biblical Christian doctrine, so you will know the truth and can more easily spot any lies. Here is a good starting point:
Another Highly important thing to keep in mind is that Jesus is the “Word” of God. The Bible is also the “Word of God”. Jesus said:
Matt 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.”
What does this mean? It means that the Holy Spirit of Jesus, and any true spirit from God (like a Holy angel) is never going to teach, do or say, or try to get you to teach, do or say ANYTHING that is contrary to the Bible.
All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Tim 3:16-17
People say, “The best defense is a good offense”. Something that is absolutely invaluable in “testing the spirits” to tell if they are of God or of Satan, is to know what the Bible teaches. To know the entire Bible, you need to read the entire Bible. Once you have read something in the Bible, the Holy Spirit will help you retain and remember it.
Heb 10:14-17 “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, “THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND UPON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” He then says, “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.”
Jn 14:26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
The Holy Spirit will remind us of what is taught in the Bible, and teach us all things. God will put His laws on your heart and write His laws on your mind. It just makes it so much easier for us if we actually read the Bible. It is time well spent. You do not need to actually memorize the Bible (though that is a good thing) to learn and be reminded by the Holy Spirit of what you have read, for Jesus told us the Holy Spirit will remind us of all that He has said. Reading the Bible, especially the whole Bible, is invaluable in “testing the spirits”.
In other cases, in which the spirit cannot be questioned, but rather a dream, or a Vision, is happening: If at all possible while this is ongoing, rebuke in the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Say, “The Lord Jesus Christ rebuke you.“ Also, take a minute, and begin to pray in the name of Jesus Christ that God would remove any false vision or dream from you. If the vision or dream, etc. is from God, it will remain, but if it is not from God, then it will stop. And it is God who has said in His Word that we need to test the spirits, and I believe when we do this, God is pleased, and it is much safer for us to stay guarded against deceptions. God isn’t going to mind if you take the time to do what He has already told you to do – to test the spirits!
Now that we’ve covered some basics about testing the spirits, I want to go into both the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and also cover some counterfeit false gifts from a spirit of the antichrist (demons and fallen angels).
What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Some key verses tell us what they are, and some about what they are like, and why they are given:
Rom 12:6-8 “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
Eph 4:11-16 “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
1 Cor 12:4-12 “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.”
1 Cor 12:28-13:3 “And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
1 Cor 14:1-6 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified. Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?”
1 Cor 14:12-33 “So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church. For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified. I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. In the Law it is written: “Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me,” says the Lord. Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!” What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two–or at the most three–should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace, as in all the congregations of the saints.”
1 Cor 7:7-8 “Yet I wish that all men were even as I myself am. However, each man has his own gift from God, one in this manner, and another in that. But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I.” “Gift of celibacy”
Eph 3:6-8 “to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ” (apostleship/evangelist)
Here’s a list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in order (or as close as I could figure it):
Apostleship, prophecy, teaching, pasturing, evangelism, miracles, healing, faith, distinguishing between spirits or discerning of spirits, message of wisdom, message of knowledge, serving, encouraging/exhortation, contributing to the needs of others or giving, showing mercy, leadership or governing, celibacy, interpretation of tongues, speaking in different kinds of tongues.
There seem to be 19 gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some people have more than one gift, but every Christian has at least one gift. The Holy Spirit chooses what gift to give a Christian, and the person themselves does not get to choose their gift. People can of course ask for a particular gift, but sometimes they will not be given that gift. The important thing to remember is that each gift is important and needed and special and is a gift and a blessing from God. You can learn much more about them in the online videos and study guide here: http://www.guymalone.com/holyspiritbaptismspeakingintongues.htm
Gifts of the Holy Spirit are used to build up and help the church, both inside, and in its growth, and accomplishing the great commission of spreading the gospel of Jesus the Christ. Tongues is the only gift mentioned for self-edification (unless there is interpretation also), but in general the gifts of the Holy Spirit are meant for edification of the body of Christ the Christian church, or towards the Gospel to the non-Christian.
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? 1 Cor 14:3-4,6
Not just prophecy, but also words of wisdom or knowledge, the gift of teaching in sound doctrine, all serve to edify or spiritually profit the church. This is another important rule-of-thumb to use in distinguishing if something is from a gift of the Holy Spirit.
In distinguishing between true gifts of the Holy Spirit and false gifts of the spirit of antichrist (demons and fallen angels), there are several things to keep in mind. One thing is that a supernatural “gift” which is apart from the Christian church, and apart from Jesus Christ, and brings glory to some other person or being besides Jesus the Christ and God the Father, is a gift to be considered a false gift. A gift which leads one to get involved with sin, magic, worshipping angels, the occult, cults, witchcraft, practices of divination, etc. is not a gift of the Holy Spirit.
In this I want to point out that the body of Christ is designed to function together as a whole- we really do need each other. We all need teachers, we all need discerners of spirits, and apostles, and givers, and speaker in tongues, and interpreters for those speakers, and truly we all do need each other.
For example, one gift is prophecy. There is a lot of varying opinion about what prophecy includes. Some things include visions and dreams, of the present, past, or future. Some people say the gift of prophecy in the New Testament is different than the gift in the Old Testament. Some people say that true prophecy does not today include messages of repentance or else there will be destruction (like with Jonah). But also see Acts 11:27-29 where the prophets were warned of famine before it happened, and then there is the book of Revelation. Some people say prophecy today is often used to convict people of their sin by touching them with miraculous knowledge about themselves, or knowing just what to say to them to help them feel conviction that leads to repentance. So opinions vary. But in addition to the earlier verses pertaining to prophecy, we also read:
Act 2:17-18 “ ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT UPON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN UPON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.”
Num 12:6 “He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream.”
Amos 3:7 “Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.”
The word “prophecy” as used in the Bible must be defined by what the Bible teaches about it. We cannot just make up our own definition of the word “prophecy” based on what we would like it to be. It does include dreams and visions, caused by holy angels. Prophecy can be of the past, present, or future. It is a matter of getting a message from God, and I personally will not limit how it looks when it happens. But the content of the message, compared to the Bible, must be examined in testing the spirits to tell if a prophecy is from God or not.
There are other Biblical standards for prophecy:
Deut 18:20-22 “But the prophet who shall speak a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he shall speak in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ “And you may say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ “When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”
Deut 13:1-5 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. “You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.”
1 Sam 3:19-20 “Thus Samuel grew and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fail. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD.”
The message of future things from a true prophet, with the true gift of prophecy, will come to pass as the prophet foretold. The words of a true prophet with a true gift of prophecy will not fail. A true prophet of God with a true gift of prophecy will not encourage the worship or service of other gods, period.
We learn that even a false prophet can potentially have a sign or wonder that comes true, but that prophet will be known to be false by the fact that he encourages the worship or service of other gods- not the Lord God or Jesus the Christ. Indeed, some people miss that the Bible teaches this, and only qualify that the message of the prophet will come true… but sometimes demons and fallen angels can give (albeit limited) information about the future and give false prophecy. Though many times the message of a false prophet about the future will only come to pass partially, or vaguely. Messages from God will come to pass as God said, in every detail that God gave, and if there is a repentance condition then that will be fulfilled consistently also, as God said in His message.
False prophecy will also sometimes take a tormenting form, in which a person is pushed to do things that violate the Ten Commandments, or other directions given in scripture, and this is a way to determine false prophecy- by it pushing a person to violate clear Biblical laws of what is sin. God is consistent, and He will not ask or push His people to sin.
In having this gift the confirmation of the Holy Spirit is also vitally important. So it seems the Bible teaches that the gift of prophecy is best confirmed with the gift of discernment that can serve as a 2nd witness.
1 Cor 14:29 “And let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.”
The term here “pass judgment” in the Greek is “diakrino” (1252), to discern, separate, make a distinction, try, or decide. This is from the same root word as “diakrisis”(1253) which is used in 1 Cor 12:10 in the gift of “discerning of spirits”. So we are actually told in the Bible that after someone prophesies, that others are to discern regarding the prophecy.
So we as Christians must test the spirits. The better we know the Bible, and what the Bible says about testing the spirits, the more we pray for discernment, and the closer we draw to the Lord Jesus, the better we will be at testing the spirits.
So if a person is having an interaction or attack from a demon or fallen angel, there are spiritual warfare methods that will help. And the first step is identifying that you are dealing with a demon or fallen angel, in whatever manner or form they take.
“Spiritual Warfare” is called such because truly we are all in the middle of a spiritual war.
Rev 12: 12,17 “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.” So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
During the last 2000 years, a war has been actively waging on earth between Satan, and the fallen angels and demons under Satan, against Jesus Christ and Christians. Christians are those who “keep the commandments of God, and hold to the testimony of Jesus”. The apostles and early Christians understood this was the situation, and spoke numerous times of the situation, and gave instruction for spiritual warfare, and how to best deal with the situation as Christians.
The fallen angels are also known as “glorious ones” in this following passage from Peter (distinguished from Holy angels which are just called “angels”), wherein we see that many people did not (and still don’t) understand the current situation:
2 Pet 2:10-12 “He is especially hard on those who follow their own evil, lustful desires and who despise authority. These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at the glorious ones without so much as trembling. But the angels, even though they are far greater in power and strength than these false teachers, never speak out disrespectfully against the glorious ones. These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, who are born to be caught and killed. They laugh at the terrifying powers they know so little about, and they will be destroyed along with them.”
That the “glorious ones” are fallen angels is confirmed in Jude:
Jude 1: 8-10 “Yet these false teachers, who claim authority from their dreams, live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at the power of the glorious ones. But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare bring a blasphemous accusation against Satan, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you.” (This took place when Michael was arguing with Satan about Moses’ body.) But these people blaspheme the things they do not understand. Like animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and they bring about their own destruction.”
Here we see that the “glorious ones” are compared directly to Satan, a fallen angel, and the leader of the fallen angels.
We are cautioned, as Christians, to not be like those who will be destroyed. We are not to laugh at the “terrifying powers” that be, the “glorious ones”, the fallen angels. We are not to speak out disrespectfully against them. The key word there is “disrespectfully”. But everywhere there is darkness we are to expose it with light, which often requires the action of speaking out.
It is pointed out that we should not “scoff at the power of the glorious ones”. We also should not “blaspheme the things we do not understand”, which could be applied generally.
What is blasphemy? Here’s some hopefully helpful definitions from the dictionary: “the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God”, “from Gk. blasphemia “profane, speech, slander,” from blasphemein, “to speak evil of.” Second element is pheme “utterance”. It is to “utter obscenities or profanities”, “speak of in an irreverent or impious manner”, from Thayer’s we get, “speaking evil, slanderous, reproachful, railing, abusive”.
But Probably the most helpful definition is “the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God”. I would also like to point out something Paul said:
Gal 1:8 “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, let him be accursed!”
One thing to notice is that Michael thought it was the Lord’s place to rebuke Satan, not his place. Paul said, “let him be accursed” but did not say, “I curse him”. Michael, a powerful archangel said “The Lord rebuke you.” Not “I rebuke you.” That is an example to us. We are able to cast out demons in Jesus’ name, as the Gospels describe. This is similar, and I think the point here is to, in realism and humility, realize we are powerless apart from Jesus and God’s protection of us, and on our own weaker than these fallen angels present on the Earth, and we should be apprehensive of those facts, and act and speak accordingly.
Our power and authority comes from Jesus the Christ, and from God the Father, and from the Holy Spirit of Jesus, and not from ourselves. We see above when dealing with fallen angels (Satan in this example) that even the Holy archangel Michael (a powerful angel) did not say, “I rebuke you” but rather said “The Lord rebuke you.” Michael realistically understood that the Lord God is the one with the power, and the Lord, Jesus the Christ is also referenced here, and Michael called on the Lord, requested and asked that the Lord rebuke the fallen angel. Michael understood it was not his place or “right” to rebuke Satan, but rather that it was God’s place and “right” to rebuke Satan. Looking at the definition of blaspheme above, this makes a lot of sense. It is something Christians may easily slightly do in their choice of wording, in ignorance, but it is blasphemous as a Christian to assume you have the right and place to rebuke fallen angels yourself apart from being under the given authority of Lord Jesus the Christ and the Lord God the Father. So like Michael, we should say “The Lord Jesus Christ Rebuke You.” (Especially in the case of fallen angels.)
We are to follow this principle, that the authority and power belongs to and is given by Jesus Christ, whether it comes to demons or fallen angels. As this passage illustrates the principle, there is a wrong way to do this:
Acts 19:11-16 “God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
We are not to have a spirit of fear, but at the same time we need to be apprehensive of who really has power over fallen angels and demons: it is not us, but the Lord Jesus Christ, and us only through Him. Jesus has given us authority as his disciples, but we need to use it correctly, as given authority, in His name, and as the Bible has instructed us to do.
Luke 10:17-20 “And the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you. “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
As such, when it comes to dealing with the enemy spirits of Satan in this spiritual war that is waging all around us, I think it best to follow Jesus’ example and Biblical instructions.
But we need to keep in mind that when Jesus rebuked demons and Satan, that Jesus was the Son of God. All of our power over the enemy comes through Jesus. While Jesus said, “Come out of that person”, we are doing so under the authority Jesus has given us, and under His authority, and under the name of Jesus. We have authority over the enemy when we are under the Lord Jesus, under His blood, name, and authority, and what part we can do we do successfully only under the authority and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There are many examples of Jesus casting out demons throughout the gospels. Jesus also told his followers to cast out demons. This point is also shown in Mark 9:16-29:
“And He asked them, “What are you discussing with them?” And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and stiffens out. And I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.” And He answered them and said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” And they brought the boy to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling about and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. “And it has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can!’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and began saying, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” And when Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” And after crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!” But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up. And when He had come into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”
What this shows us is that some evil spirits can only come out with prayer. (This is also something to keep in mind as applicable for some “self-deliverance situations”.) In other words, we must ask the Lord God and the Lord Jesus to make the evil spirit come out, and not enter in again. By saying “The Lord Jesus Christ rebuke you” a person can pray to the Lord Jesus as they say it, pray out loud, and be asking Jesus to make the evil spirit come out and stay out, as they address the evil spirit in Jesus’ name. Though some deliverances require much prayer beforehand and during the deliverance than that. Calling out to Jesus, “Jesus!” also is prayer to Jesus.
We read how the apostle Paul would cast out a demon; the correct way to do this is seen in Paul’s choice of words:
Acts 16:18 “And she continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.”
Where Jesus said to demons, “I command you to come out”, we must recognize we are under Jesus’ authority and say “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out.” Where Jesus rebuked a fallen angel, we would say “The Lord Jesus Christ rebuke you.”
Speaking of addressing demons, I find it important to note that Jesus himself did not have much dialog with demons that he was casting out of people. Jesus asked demons their name.
Mark 5:9 “And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”
Jesus told demons to be quiet.
Mark 1:25 “And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”
And most importantly Jesus told demons to come out. As seen above with Paul, the early church closely followed the example that Jesus set. Jesus said,
Mark 16:17-18 “And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
I think there is something noteworthy here, in that we are to cast out demons in Jesus name, but that does not mean we should have lengthy conversations with them or listen to them or take heed of things they say. They are deceivers and liars, and cannot be trusted in anything they say.
When it comes to fallen angels in specific, we are told that Jesus resisted Satan with scripture, and told him to be gone, rebuking him. (Though demons are applicable also.)
Matt 4:1-11 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'” Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘HE WILL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE CONCERNING YOU'; and ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'” Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'” Again, the devil took^ Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'” Then the devil left^ Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”
We are told in James 4:7 “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” This applies not only to “the” devil, Satan, but also to the other fallen angels. In Luke 10 Jesus said he has given to his disciples “ authority… over all the power of the enemy” , and this includes demons and fallen angels.
Indeed, we are in a spiritual war, and these are the basic things Christians need to know about spiritual warfare. We in this battle we are told to put on the full armor of God.
Eph 6:10-20 “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may 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. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. 1 Thes 5:8
Our spiritual armor includes our loins girded with truth, which is like binding or tying up loose clothes (like a robe) to yourself so you can move with more agility. Don’t have loose pieces that hinder you and could trip you up, but hold the truth tight to yourself.
Also, feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, ready to preach the Gospel of peace, wherever we go, and moving forward with this goal in mind. And we are to be carrying the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, the Bible. Just like a real sword, we need to be familiar with our Bible, and practiced in using it. The breastplate of righteousness is actually made out of faith and love. The shield of faith is possibly made of the same material as the breastplate, not just of faith, but also of love. At least it seems them being from the same material would make sense, in a literal analogy.
Why would love and faith be part of a protective breastplate, called the breastplate of righteousness? First off, because we are counted as righteous by faith, and not by works:
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. Rom 4:5
Second, because the 2 Commandments Jesus gave us, are all about us Loving God and everyone else, and so practicing Love is true righteousness:
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:29-31
Therefore Love is a very essential and important part of spiritual armor, even the very material out of which the breastplate is made, and perhaps the shield also. And then there is also the Helmet of Salvation, and more insight is given here:
Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thes 1:3
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began… Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 1:2,3:6-7
Faith, Hope, and Love are pictured together here. Faith and Love are both described in practice, through work and labor. But Hope is described in practice through endurance or faithfulness, in hope in Jesus Christ and eternal salvation in Him. It seems likely that the Helmet of salvation is made in particular out of the Hope of eternal salvation in Jesus Christ. In this it is clear that having Hope of salvation is important, and the endurance to continue in hope. So the helmet of salvation seems to indicate keeping an eternal perspective, fixed on the hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ. And it is also important in spiritual warfare, in battle, to strengthen Hope by protecting and surrounding it with Love, so it is impenetrable to fear, as “perfect love cast out fear” (1 Jn 4:18).
Keeping all this in mind, research into spiritual attacks on people has shown that there are 3 main causes for spiritual attacks. This summary of these findings is from CE4Research.com, of the CE4 Research Group, Christians who have worked with hundreds of cases of “alien abduction” experiences, and found that they stop in the name and authority of Jesus Christ.
“1. You asked for it. Some people actually ask to have the experience to know what is like or about. Be careful what you ask for.
2. You unknowingly open a door to the realm of this experience. Some people unknowingly opened a door for the experience, by being involved in New Age or Occult activities. When you engage in the unknown things outside of GOD the Creator and His WORD you make yourself vulnerable to these entities. We have found this reason to be the most often found root cause.
3. You are part of a generational cycle or generational curse. When asked about the experiencer’s parents or early family life, we found that the opening had come from one or more of the parents. It IS important how you raise your children. When there is a GODLY covering over the family by the head of the household, the family is protected. But if there is No GODLY covering, the family is open to these types of unnatural experiences.”
-The CE4 Research Group http://www.alienresistance.org/ce43causes.htm
If there are spiritual attacks ongoing, then the solution is to deal with the 3 potential causes above. There can be more than one reason. Any of these can open a door to allow evil spiritual entities into a person’s life, and give them spiritual legal authority grounds to harass or attack a person. But the solution for all 3 is prayerful repentance to God, whether for your sins and involvement, or for the sins or involvement of your ancestors. A person has to get whatever sin or occult involvement or false beliefs out of their life completely, and replace these things with the things of God. This also builds up the spiritual armor of God. In this a person is drawing near to God, and resisting the devil, so he will flee. And spiritual attacks can be stopped, not only once but as a life pattern, by drawing near to God and resisting/rebuking these entities in the name and authority of Jesus Christ.
Please see the resources below for more educational information and testimonies to study on this topic, which is so essential for the church, of spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry. Much more detailed practical information can be found here:
The Bible teaches spiritual warfare, which is meant for all Christians. We do not have to go anywhere to be on the front lines, and we do not need to provoke to start the violence of this war, for Satan has gone off to make war against us. The violence is all around us, and we are on the front lines in one way or form or another. This war is raging on around us, and against each of us, all the time. We were born into a spiritual warzone. And our effectiveness as Christians in reaching the lost, as the church, is in many ways dependent on our effectiveness in becoming spiritual warriors whom practice Biblical spiritual warfare under our Savior and King, Jesus Christ.