A quick Primer On Spiritual Warfare Copyright John Edmiston 2003 but may be copied & distributed for non-profit use


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Kingdom Of God/ The Heavens

The Kingdom of God is where God’s will is done on earth, including in the individual life, the church, the city and the nation. The gospel is the gospel of the Kingdom and involves a Christian order, a Christian way of living, of treating people well out of the love of Jesus Christ. The Kingdom is righteousness, joy and peace and involves life being ordered by the Spirit in freedom, grace and love.
The kingdom of the heavens is where God’s heavenly power is manifest, where the will of God is done ‘on earth as it is in heaven” where His power reaches out from the Throne and out of the heavens and down to us in healing, resurrections, exorcisms and transformations and in the gospel being preached to the poor.
(Matthew 10:1-8 NIV) He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. ….{5} These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. {6} Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. {7} As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' {8} Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

As noted earlier all the “old religions” before the cross had a certain structural similarity. They all had priests and temples and sacrifices and offerings and clean foods and unclean foods and things that were “taboo’ and feats days and ceremonies. But New Testament Christianity, the Christianity we se in Acts, had none of these things. There were no cats of priests or temples, or even church buildings in Acts and the first festivals such as Easter and Christmas were not observed until much later. What are these old religious forms? Why are they significant and what do they have to do with spiritual warfare?

I will have to introduce a Greelkword - the "stoichea" often translated as the "elemental things" in modern translations but probably better translated 'the measured out things". This latter usage is retained in Chemistry where "stoichometry" is the ratio between elements in compounds - the art of balancing equations. The stoichea are the measured out "abc" building blocks of the spiritual realm.
In terms of day to day practice the BIG difference between OT and NT is the end of the "stoichea". The end of having to have a faith that is measured out, regulated and precise. In the OT everything was precisely allocated. Judah lived in this bit of land, Simeon over there, only people from Levi could be priests, this bit of temple furniture went here, the other over there, behind the curtain was certain death, this food was clean, that was unclean etc.
The cross ended that "measured -out-ness" and we can now move the church furniture and eat pork and lobster ith impunity. To us that seems very ordinary but it was a revolution back then. In fact it was one of the hardest lessons the early church had to learn. There were no more add- ons, no circumcision, no taboos, no lists, no 613 laws.

Taboos, Fear and Dread

The "stoichea" - the taboo things, the measured out things, were spiritually enforced and a certain dread and awe accompanied them. People had fear and trembling about them and would say "You CAN'T do that." The stoichea were enforced by angelic beings in Judaism and demonic beings in Gentile religions (more on that soon). For instance if you intruded on the temple of Diana of the Ephesians and broke her taboos you were in great danger. For a fascinating read try the Idylls of Theocritus which is filled with the dread of breaking minor taboos e.g a shepherd would never play his pan-pipes at noon as Pan rested then and to wake him would arouse the god's wrath and cause great harm.

Taboos ruled the life of Jews and Gentiles alike. Quite a few times in the NT we hear the phrase about "the law that came through angels" e.g.
(Acts 7:53 NRSV) You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it."
(Galatians 3:19 NRSV) Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator. The role of angels in enforcing the taboos is shown in:
(Exodus 23:20-21 NKJV) "Behold, I send an angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. {21} "Beware of him and obey his voice; do not provoke him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in him.
These taboos even applied to where they should go to the toilet!
(Deuteronomy 23:12-15 NKJV) "Also you shall have a place outside the camp, where you may go out; {13} "and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. {14} "For the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you.
These verses imply that God would turn away from them if they did not cover up their excreta! Full relationship was very conditional. It was a world of regulations, taboos, and limitations.

The main religious systems are "angelic" in origin. Both angels and demons operate in similar ways because, before the Fall, they were the same category of creature. The pagan religions had temples, and priests and tithes and taboos, and festivals and laws and ceremonies etc - and so did the Jewish religion. They had very similar modus operandi because they were both under the angelic (good or fallen) realm and its dominion. (see the diagrams earlier). Everyone was a slave of the system from the High Priest to a commoner and the system was run by spiritual beings who inspired dread and awe. In the New Testament the authority of the angelic and demonic realm over human beings is broken. A key concept here is the "heavenly realms" and our new place in them so I will take a paragraph or two to explain that.

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