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Series Contents
Series Theme:  Spiritual Warfare

Title: 1. The Enemy - His Profile


This page describes the enemy as detailed in the Bible. Before we can fight, we need to understand just who it is we are fighting against. This study starts us off in understanding just who our enemy is.


1. Angels, Spirits or Demons

First of all we note that there are spirit beings, other than God Himself, and we need to remember that HE made them all.

There are:

1.1 Angels:

  •  The term designates a role rather than an entity, a messenger.
  •  They are created beings (created by God) Psa 148:2,5
  •  They largely exist in heaven  Psa 148:2  / Gen 22:11
  •  Yet they appear on earth   Gen 16:7  / Num 22:22  
  •  They are spirits who serve God's purposes Heb 1:14 / Mt 26:53 / 2 Kings 6:17
  •  Satan and the angels that followed him, rebelled and were cast out of heaven and therefore operate from the earth. (These we call fallen angels or demons) Rev 12:7-9   

1.2 Spirits:

  •  The term designates the nature of the being.
  •  Heavenly angelic beings in unseen form carrying out hidden activity 1 Kings 22: 21-23
  •  Frequently linked with an adjective to describe nature: Mark 1:26 evil spirit / Mark 9:25 evil spirit / deaf and mute spirit.

1.3 Demons

  •  Evil spirits.
  •  When fallen angels (Rev 12:4) they are called evil spirits or demons   Mt 8:16 / Lk 4:33
  •  Often simply linked to an effect, obviously caused by them Matt 9:32,33 / Mk 9:17,18 / Lk 13:11
  •  We need to understand that in Scripture there is a distinction made between those who are afflicted because they are demonised and those who are simply sick. Mt 8:16 / Mt 10:1 / Mt 10:8

        Concluding Comments:

  •  Angels are spirit beings.
  •  “Fallen” angels are referred to as evil spirits or demons.
  •  They have power over unbelievers as they are allowed it.
  •  Jesus opposed them and delivered people from them.   

We'll consider more about them further on in the study after we have considered the chief of demons, Satan.


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2. The Devil

2.1 General:

  •  Referred to as Satan or the devil, but has various other names.
  •  He is a fallen angel.
  •  His names also give an indication of his activities.

2.2 His Names:

  •  Job 1:6 / Zech 3:1  / 2 Cor 11:14   - Satan
  •  Rev 12:10 - the accuser
      • Satan means “accuser”
      • Mt 4:3 - The tempter
  •  Jn 8:44 - the devil ..... a murderer ..... the father of lies.
  •  1 Pet 5:8 the devil
  •  Gen 3:1 - the serpent
      • as “tempter” he seeks to lead people astray
      •  as “the devil” he is the leading demon
      •  as “the serpent” he deceived and was a liar, seeking to kill (a murderer)
      •  as a deceiver he comes in disguise to lead astray
  • Rev 12:9 The great dragon ... that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan
      •  he also comes as a “dragon” or “lion”, indicating his intent to create fear
  •  Eph 2:2 - the ruler of the kingdom of the air
  •  Jn 14:30 / Jn 16:11 - the prince of this world
      •  Jesus acknowledged that he was a ruler

2.3 His Limitations

        So that we do not get over-awed by him, we need to know:

  •  He is merely one of God's created beings.
  •  He can only to go as far as God permits. See Job 1 & 2.
  •  His end is decreed by God   Rev 20:10
  •  He is used by God (see Section 5 below).


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3. The Demonic Beings

3.1 Their Origins

  •  We have seen already they are created beings, created by God.
  •  We need to remember constantly that they are mere created beings and are in no way to be compared to God in power.

3.2. Their Organisation

  •  They appear to be organised into a hierarchy that holds sway over different geographical areas - Dan 10:12,13 / Eph 6:12
  •  The higher demonic authorities would appear to hold sway over unbelieving and godless countries, areas, towns etc. until either God moves in sovereign reviving power, or the church in that area/town comes in repentance and prayer to release it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

3.3 Their Individuality

  •  Whereas there appear to be “princes” who rule over areas (as permitted by God because of the rebellion and unbelief of that area), at the lower levels of the demonic hierarchy are the individual evil spirits or demons who the individual comes against.
  •  It would appear that God does not let the powerful princes come against the individual; they appear restricted to warfare with other angelic beings.
  •  Our contact appears, therefore, to be limited to dealing with individual spirits who seems to be identified simply by their activity, e.g. 1 Kings 22:22 - See above / Lk 13:11


3.4 Their Activity

Although we'll look at their activity more fully in the next Part, we'll simply note here that in respect of Christians, the agents of Satan only appear to have opportunity to attack where there is ungodliness and unrighteousness in a person.

They are seen in Scripture as beings USED BY God for various purposes, e.g.

i) to bring judgement

Judges 22-24 God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal's seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelech and on the citizens of Shechem

ii) to deceive, to judge

1 kings 22:19-23 - see above

iii) to chasten

1 Sam 16:14 Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.

          These are similar to the way God uses Satan (see later)

3.5 Their Opposition


In our opposing the enemy we:

i) can resist Satan

  •  Jas 4:7 When we submit to God we can then resist the devil, and he will flee.

ii) can cast out demons

  •  Like Jesus did Mk 1:25,26 / Jn 14:12
  •  We cannot oppose powers and principalities unless expressly led by the Holy Spirit under rare circumstances when he imparts authority.

NB. There is no example in Scripture of anyone coming against powers and principalities. Although we “struggle” against them (Eph 6:12), virtually all that Paul says in the verses following is defensive, about holding your God-given ground.

4. Some Conclusions

  •  Satan and his demons are angelic beings, created by God, and although permitted apparently to wage warfare against the world, they are used for disciplinary or judgement purposes in His dealing with the world.
  •  We are told to resist and oppose them and God has given us the means “in Christ” to deal with them. Because they are ultimately under His authority, it is only as we are led by Him that we receive His authority to deal with them.
  •  As Christians we are to understand who they are, the extent of their activities, their place in God's purposes and, above all, their limitations before Almighty God who created them.

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5. Why God Permits Satan

       We can benefit from understanding the following reasons why God allows Satan's activities on earth:

5.1 To reveal men's hearts

  •  1 Chron 21:1 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel - he was to reveal David's underlying sin of pride - in the parallel verses (2 Sam 24:1)  it is seen as God who was behind it (to deal with the sin)

5.2 To bring judgement on unbelievers

  •  Rev 9:11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon. (both names mean “Destroyer”)

5.3 To bring discipline to believers

  •  1 Cor 5:5 By putting this sinful believer out of the church's protection, it enabled Satan to come against him and humble him and bring him to repentance

5.4 To subjugate unbelievers

  •  1 Jn 5:19b The whole world is under the control of the evil one
  •  Satan is allowed to rule where there is unconfessed sin, i.e. over unbelievers

5.5 To maintain humility in our lives

  •  One of the key things God does with his children is to seek to develop character in them.  As pride is always lurking, sometimes God allows us to be attacked so that we maintain our reliance upon Him and realise that of ourselves we are nothing.
  •  2 Cor 12:7 Because Paul received wonderful revelations from God, to keep him from getting puffed up, he was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment him and keep him from getting proud.

5.6 To develop faith & righteousness in our lives

  •  Faith is one of the key elements God wants to develop in our lives, and so often He does this by allowing us to encounter trying circumstances where our faith is both revealed and developed.  Similarly, such testing times are to reveal and bring about greater righteousness within us.
  •  1 Pet 1:7 Trials are testings and testings reveal our faith - such revelation of our faith brings honour in heaven
  •  1 Pet 5:8,9 Satan seeks to attack us, but we are to learn to resist.
  •  2 Pet 1:4-8 The testing of our faith develops our lives in many ways

5.7 To bring about trials whereby we can be rewarded

  •  These trials, that involve Satan, make us rely upon God, His word and His Spirit and so the outcome of the battles we fight is that we appreciate Him, His word and His Spirit more and more.
  •  Jas 1:12  God blesses the people who patiently endure testing - testing develops us and God blesses through it
  •  1 Jn 2:13,14 It is a battle with Satan which we can win with God's word, as we battle we rely on that word more and more
  •  1 Jn 4:1-6 Our battle is also with Satan's agents; we are to overcome in the mind and we overcome by the Holy Spirit within us, as we overcome we realise the wonder of who it is within us more and more.
  •  Rev 2:17 Our reward, as we overcome Satan's attacks, will be intimacy with Christ
  •  Rev 2:26-28 As we obey Jesus and have the victory so he is preparing us to take authority, both in this world and the next.

5.8 To teach us how to fight

  •  As we face such trials we learn how to overcome.
  •  Judges 3:2 God did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience.
  •  Israel grew in their knowledge of the Lord and how to fight as they opposed the enemy. We do the same in the spiritual sphere.

5.9 To demonstrate God's power over the enemy

  •  We need reminding who is who in the battle. Jesus IS Lord!
  •  Eph 3:10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made  known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.
  •  As we triumph God is glorified in the heavens.
  •  Mt 1:21-27 As Jesus cast out a demon God was glorified.
  •  Acts 13:6-12 As Saul triumphs over Elymas God was glorified.

Concluding Notes:

Although Satan was apparently not created for these express purposes, God takes and uses his rebellion for His purposes.

As Joseph once said, (Gen 50:20) "You intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."

Thus it is that in this fallen world where sin dominates, Satan is allowed access for the sake of God's overall purposes.

We, therefore, need to maintain a right perspective so that we see:

  •  Where the enemy is being allowed activity because of man's unrighteousness, and therefore the unrighteousness is the thing to be dealt with.
  •  Where the enemy should be resisted because he is simply seeking to expand his arena of control, and here we need to look to seek what God is wanting us to learn or develop in resisting the enemy, so we can co-operate with Him.

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