Battlefronts Of The New Testament
By Frank Hilton • ©Word-Spirit • All Rights Reserved.

INTRODUCTION
In my last article; Battlefronts Of The Old Testament, I discussed how we can learn to spiritually war by seeing how warfare is played out in the physical. In this study, we are going to focus on the New Testament and how we don't fight physically, but how we spiritually war.

In the Old Testament, warfare was both spiritual and physical; except the actual battles played out between actual people, swords and spears. We can learn a whole lot about spiritual warfare by keying on what God instructed Israel and/or men to do to win a battle. You can also see the different ways God defeated Israel's enemies with a song, with a stone and marching around a city. So, now that we are in the New Testament, spiritual warfare is mostly all limited to spiritual struggles. And even though men are involved, the results of the spiritual warfare is played out in the results and not in actual fighting with swords and spears.

THE FIRST PROPHECY OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

After Adam and Eve fell, the devil was cursed. This is the first prophecy spoken concerning the warfare that would take place between sinful men (seed of the devil) and righteous men (her seed) of God. The above scripture sets the tone for warfare throughout the entire Bible. The scripture reveals a spiritual warfare that would cultivate into a major battle between Jesus and the devil (serpent).

This is VERY IMPORTANT to remember because everything that took place in scripture (and forward in time) helps us understand why we have to deal with spiritual warfare in the world. Understanding that God made it a point to war with the devil in saving lost humanity will help us choose the proper ways to engage in spiritual warfare. And ultimately, we know God wins in the end, but, until then we must fight the good fight of faith.

THE LIFE OF JESUS
The biggest warfare of all of humanity actually took place between Jesus and the devil as the first prophecy mentioned above states. Time would not permit me to tell all the spiritual clashes that took place such as; Herod killing all the babies two years and younger, and the Scribes and Pharisee's constant attacks on Jesus. When you read the gospels you can see the spiritual conflict very clearly.

JESUS RESISTS THE DEVIL
The first recorded conflict that was directly between Jesus and the devil himself was of course the 40 days of fasting and being tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4). This was orchestrated by God because Jesus, as a man had to resist the devil. This spiritual warfare had to take place because Jesus had to do what Adam and Eve failed to do... and that was to say "NO" to the devil. He defeated the devil by fasting (denying himself) and by fighting the devil with God's word.

The spiritual application is that the only way to overcome the devil and live a victorious life is to deny ourselves and resist the deceptive voice of the devil by using the word of God. We all must reach a place in our lives where we get the upper hand against the devil. We cannot truly succeed in spiritual warfare for others if we have not overcome "he (the devil) that is in the world."

Fasting and praying is essential in spiritual warfare. We must first learn to master ourselves by pulling down strongholds in our own mind. The first spiritual warfare we engage in must happen to ourselves. We do this by asking God to change our thinking, help us resist the devil and "crucify" our own fleshly ways.

SATAN TRIES TO USE PETER AGAINST JESUS
The disciple Peter was not filled with the Holy Ghost yet, and he was being taught by Jesus about the kingdom of God. However, in this training process, Peter still had some major flaws. Jesus was telling the disciples that He was going to be killed by the elders of Jerusalem. But, Peter rebuked Jesus and said that is not going to happen to him. Jesus then replied...

Mat 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Jesus wasn't calling Peter a devil directly, but Jesus was actually addressing the devil himself that was using Peter's mind and mouth. Because Peter and the other disciples were looking for Jesus to set up a physical kingdom, Peter didn't see that Jesus must die for humanity. So, because of Peter's lack of knowledge, satan used Peter to try and persuade Jesus that he didn't have to die. Remember the first prophecy; Satan knew Jesus and himself was going to have a major spiritual battle at Calvary.

The spiritual application is that when we or any other person doesn't know and understand God's will, sometimes the devil can get a person to think wrong and even act on the devil's behalf. We must always bring our thoughts into subjection to the word and will of God. The spiritual warfare part of this is in actually girding up (control) the loins of our mind and putting on the mind of Christ, which may require prayer, fasting and sanctification.

THE PRAYERS OF GETHSEMANE (Mat 26:36-46)
Just before Jesus was going to die, there was another mental death that had to take place first; and that was submitting to the will of God... in other words, He had to deny himself and be willing to physically die. This time of prayer was agonizing for Jesus, He even asked if there was another way this could be done. The biggest struggle for Jesus was not the devil, but his own will. In His struggle to live, He had to spiritually wrestle with His mind. This took three brutal hours of prayer; so much so, that He sweat as it were great drops of blood. However, when the battle was over, Jesus' flesh submitted to the will of God. That is why scripture says that Jesus laid down His life; and not that it was taken.

The spiritual application is that there are times in our walk with God that we will have to pray agonizing prayers and spiritually wrestle our own strongholds into the submissive will of God. It won't be easy, and it will be a struggle, but by far, this is the greatest spiritual warfare a person will wage... and that is conquering self!

SATAN'S HEAD IS BRUISED - JESUS SUFFERS FOR VICTORY
The entire spiritual battle had finally come to a head as spoken by the prophecy above. Jesus submitted Himself to this battle by way of suffering a brutal death. This death truly bruised the "heal" of the Lord. Satan used the rulers of Israel to get Rome to kill Jesus. After a torturous judgment, Jesus was nailed to the cross and hung there for six agonizing hours. Just before Jesus died, he said "It is finished." Satan thought he had won! After they put Jesus in the tomb and set guards to watch, three days passed by. Jesus, while in the grave went and conquered the keys to death and the grave. When He rose victoriously, Jesus WON THE VICTORY!

Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

What happened on Calvary and in the tomb, was the final victory for Jesus over the serpent (devil). Jesus may of had "bruised heels", but the devil suffered a "bruise to his head;" meaning that Satan's power was weakened! Jesus conquered the principalities and powers by openly defeating the devil's grip of death and the grave. Now, we must understand that the devils power is still active, but it can be overcome. It's not that Jesus did away with the devil's tactics, but instead; because Jesus conquered the devil through his death, we can conquer the devil through Jesus and not by our own works.

The spiritual application is that because Jesus won the battle between Him and satan, we now can engage the devil in spiritual warfare as long as we; 1) Are born again; 2) Live righteously; 3) Understand how to war against him. We cannot defeat the devil on our own strength; that is why we must conquer ourselves first, gain authority in the spirit realm and then engage the enemy.

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES (CHURCH)
In Acts chapter 3 is the account of the first miracle of the Church; a lame man was healed. Then in Acts 4:1-31, is the first spiritual battle that comes against them. The rulers of the Jews, didn't like what the Apostles were doing and it made them mad. They arrested them that night. Then the next day, they brought them before the counsel and demanded that they stop preaching in Jesus name. Then Peter preached to them Christ. But, the rulers couldn't fight against the miracle, so they threatened them some more and let them go.

After those things, the church gathered together in one place and the Apostles let the people know what had happened. So, they began a prayer meeting and entreated God for this issue. Then the Lord responded this way...

Act 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

The spiritual application is that the devil used the religious Pharisee's (people who don't know truth) to come against the church. People often come against the REAL light  of God, and that warfare can be seen when people try to get you to be quiet about the truth. What we have to notice in this account is that they didn't fight the Jews with sword or spears, but went to God in spiritual warfare by using prayer as their weapon of choice. We can see how God gave them boldness after being threatened with fear; and they didn't stop preaching in Jesus name.

ANGEL DELIVERS PETER OUT OF PRISON
In Acts 12:1-17 is an account of King Herod (a Jew) vexing and persecuting the church. He had killed James (brother of John) and beheaded him. And since it pleased the Jews, they arrested Peter and put him in prison. The church had gathered in prayer because of the persecution and for Peter. God heard their prayer and sent an angel to miraculously deliver Peter. After being freed, Peter goes to where the church was gathered and tells them what happens. King Herod was later killed by God for his pride.

The spiritual application is that once again, we can see how the corporate prayer of a church engages the enemy. That prayer is what bound the powers of the air and God sent an angel to set Peter free. We can also learn that through spiritual warfare God will take care of the enemy.

PAUL TANGLES WITH A DEVIL IN A SORCERER
In Acts 13:8-12 is an interesting account of a man named Elymas the sorcerer. This man withstood Paul and Silas and tried to turn the deputy away from the faith. Paul, then rebuked him (the devil in him) and pronounced a curse on him because he was an enemy of God. This man became blind and walked away. When the deputy saw this, he believed God and was astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

The spiritual application is that when we are full of the power of God, we can confront enemies of God, even sorcerers, witches and demon possessed people. Now, this is an extreme case, but God does bring about judgments like this. The reason Paul could be used of God like this is because Paul was dead to self, an overcomer and he understood spiritual warfare. We can see that the devil will try to stop us when we are trying to win someone to God. So, we have to be wise and allow God to help us deal with the issue that will bring Him the most Glory!

PAUL CASTS OUT DEVIL OF DIVINATION
In Acts 16:16-18, a woman who was possessed with a devil followed Paul saying, "These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation." On the surface, this seems okay; but she did this many days. When Paul discerned that it was just a devil of divination mocking him, he being grieved, turned and said to her... "I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." That devil came out! However, it made the towns people mad because she made them a lot of money.

The spiritual application is once again, Paul engaged in spiritual warfare by taking authority and casting out that devil. Paul discerned that she wasn't praising them because they preached the gospel, but he perceived that it was a devil mocking them.

PAUL'S THORN IN THE FLESH
In 2 Corth. 12:1-10 is the account of a different kind of spiritual warfare. Paul has many visions and revelations from God, so much so, that they were not written. However, there was a "thorn in the flesh" (some infirmity) that buffeted Paul on a regular basis. This "thorn" was a messenger of satan that attacked him. We don't know what this spirit said to him, but enough was said to trouble him. He prayed three times in deep prayer for God to deliver him of this problem. However, God told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness."

The spiritual application is that to keep Paul humble, God allowed this infirmity and messenger of satan (some spirit) to attack Paul. By doing so, Paul had to wrestle with his soul in order to keep himself humble. This kind of spiritual warfare is not to bring down a stronghold or conquer a devil, but to keep oneself from getting pride. So, we can conclude that some problems God will not remove in order to keep us weak, and to keep us trusting God.

CONCLUSION
There are so many examples I could write on this study, but what we can see is that there is no confrontations with actual swords or spears. Spiritual warfare in the New Testament is done through prayer, struggles in the minds of people and even with our own infirmities.

As we move forward in this study, I am going to get into the real nitty-gritty of warfare. So far we have just been giving you a glimpse into what spiritual warfare looks like.

READ NEXT: The Christian Soldier

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While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. (Act 10:44-48)
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