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


The Capturing Of The Heavenly Realms

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The Capturing Of The Heavenly Realms

After His resurrection Christ ascended "through the heavenly realms" and we ascended with Him and are placed in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus(Ephesians 2:6) and there we receive every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (Ephesians1:3) and can wrestle against the very same powers and principalities that once dominated life (Ephesians 6:10-18). Captivity (domination by spirits and their taboos) is taken captive and spiritual gifts are lavishly distributed (Ephesians 4:10-12). A clear sign of the change in status is the common casting out of demons by Christians. This did not happen in the OT because we were under the angelic realms. We can do it easily in the NT because we are over the angelic and demonic realm. One day we shall judge angels ( 1 Cor. 6:3) and they are our servants now (Heb1:14). Their power over us has been broken.

Along comes Jesus and breaks the power of the spiritual beings on the cross (Colossians 2:13-15). He introduces a new way of being where no-one is a slave of the system any more. Taboos are gone and so is fear and dread. Our position in the spiritual realms is so high and the power of taboos so completely broken that we are "dead" to any requirements to live by superstition and taboo.
(Colossians 2:20-23 NKJV) {20} Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world (the stoichea), why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations; {21} "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," {22} which all concern things which perish with the using; according to the commandments and doctrines of men? {23} These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

The Perils of Religion

Attempts to reintroduce the stoichea aroused such great concern in Paul that it caused him to accuse people of apostasy over things that at first may seem to us to be minor such as observing a religious calendar. He saw such things as placing us back under the authority of minor spiritual beings such as angels and demons.


(Galatians 4:8-11 NKJV) But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. {9} But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements (the stoichea), to which you desire again to be in bondage? {10} You observe days and months and seasons and years. {11} I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.

We can see that Paul saw "observing days and months and years" as so grievous that it involved enslavement to "those who are not gods" and "bondage" and he was "afraid for them" lest they had become apostate. Letting traditions and ceremonies and Sabbaths and diets govern life was a huge backward step.

It was stepping out from the heavenly realms where we were placed in Christ and back under angelic or demonic dominion. It was spiritual disaster. In Colossians when Paul writes of Christ's triumph over the demonic powers he notes that it had, as its first and foremost outcome, release from having to observe dietary regulations and feast days!
(Colossians 2:15-17 NKJV) Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. {16} So let no-one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, {17} which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
We are not to live in the "shadows" - of ritual observances but in the reality which is Christ. To the Greeks this was a striking analogy to Plato's cave illustration where a person chained (for life) to a cave wall and looking away from the entrance saw all reality as shadows cast upon the wall by the fire. Pagan or Jewish religion is just these shadows - the substance is Christ. Thus Paul pits stoichea-enslaved religion against Spirit-empowered Christianity.

This even applies to the "good bits" of the Old Covenant. As we saw in the last chapter to observe ANY of the practices of the Old Covenant in order to gain God’s approval was to place one's self under a curse and cut oneself off from Christ. (Galatians 3:10-14, 5:1-4) The old religious system of stoichea operated via "curses" for disobedience and "blessings" for obedience. When the Jews agreed to the Law at Sinai they also agreed to the curses and blessings that were listed in Deut 26-28. However Christ put an end to curses for disobedience (Galatians 3:10-14) and gave us every spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3, Romans 8:31-32). Therefore under the new Way in Christ there are no taboos, no curses (from God) and no striving for blessings. The old religious system is killed stone dead.

The New Way is not the way of effort and earning but the way of faith and trusting. It is no longer "if I am good and keep the rules God will bless me" but it becomes "as long as I abide in His love I am abundantly blessed".

To summarize

Religion is bondage to the stoichea and systems. Its being a servant of a system ruled by a spirit. Christianity is sonship, freedom and Spirit-led and joyous. There is NO system. There is only faith worked out in love. Praise the Lord!


To wind up this section lets look at a few observations and questions for further discussion.

When we create taboos in church we are re-instituting the yoke of bondage of the stoichea. According to Galatians that seriously imperils the salvation of people. It is in fact "anathema".

When we teach that ANY part of the old Jewish law is binding on believers we imperil them - and that includes Sabbath keeping, tithing and religious festivals. Christmas, Easter and Sunday worship are not required of believers in fact their current form is a carry over from the stoichea. All feasts days, religious calendars, days, months, seasons and years -not just those on the dates of ancient pagan festivals - are "stoichea".

Saints, holy statues, church festivals, religious calendars, holy days, propitious times, lucky numbers, charms, Feng-Shui, religious coins, holy handkerchiefs, images of St. Michael etc are of the demonic ream of the stoichea, belong to the elemental powers and principalities and are NOT for Christians.

Church formalism with spiritual overtones is "stoichea". This includes robes, furnishings etc where such formalities are given clear spiritual overtones. If you like robes - wear them, there is nothing wrong with that per se. However if you have to have a robe on before you can minister - then that is "stoichea" - subjecting yourself to elemental things. That would be going back to the days of Aaron, high priestly garments and immovable furnishings. It is nothing like Jesus ministering to a hill full of people or Phillip sharing the gospel in a moving chariot in the desert.

There is no blessing for tithing or cursing for not tithing. We give freely as God leads. If you have a release of conscience when the coin drops into the bag or plate you have put yourself under the stoichea and enslaved yourself to a ritual. It is the blood of Christ that cleanses your conscience not a gold coin. God's pleasure cannot be bought, it is given freely in Christ. The fear and dread that some people experience regarding their giving is thus sub-Christian.

Alcohol and tobacco may be foolish, unwise and addictive but they are not spiritually unclean or taboo. This calls for wisdom. Paul told the Corinthians to be cautious around idols temples not because they were in danger spiritually but because it could mislead people into idolatry. Even the temple of Aphrodite in Corinth was not taboo and off limits spiritually - it was just the wrong place to be seen! It could hurt someone's faith. I live in a house with a recovering alcoholic therefore I do not drink. Not because it is "unclean" , taboo or unspiritual or because I will incur the wrath of some minor deity but because it would harm my house-mate and not be an act of Christian love.

Don't import superstitious "second heaven" principles into the Christian life which is lived above that. Some Christians read books about pagan religions and spells etc and become enamoured of things like holy water and things to repel demons and sometimes make statements like "drums attract evil spirits". This may or may not be true. However it is living in fear when we have all the power we need to deal with those things in the name of Jesus Christ. We have left those pagan concepts behind. "God has not given us a spirit of fear". Canberra, the capital city of Australia was planned and laid out by Masons - yet I visit there and enjoy my visits. We don't need to run around fearing a pagan symbol on every corner. We can be grieved by it as Paul was in Athens but we do not need to be fearful of it.

There are no "six keys to blessing in the Christian life" - practices we have to do in order to be victorious. There is only one - faith in Jesus Christ outworked in love. We have the blessings in Him already. We have EVERY spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (and by implication the earthly blessings that are subsumed under that) simply because we are "in Christ", "in the beloved" and with Him God freely gives us all things. In Christ we have them, by faith we appropriate them, in love we live them out. There are no "keys" , no technique we must follow, no teacher that we must slavishly imitate, no denomination or particular church we must join, in order to be blessed. We are blessed, already, and completely, in Christ. Mind you it will take all eternity to plumb the depths of those wonderful blessings!

THE OCCULT - WHAT'S WRONG WITH EXPLORING THE "OTHER SIDE"?
People are fascinated by the occult - the dark, the mysterious, the X-files , the tarot cards and the Ouija boards. But "the truth is out there.." - is a falsehood! The truth is in Jesus who said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no-one comes to the Father but by Me" (John 14:6).
Participating in the occult is very dangerous - not just because of what may or may not occur - but because it brings God's anger down on you and your children for up to three or four generations.(Exodus 20:4-5 NKJV) "You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; {5} you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

When Israel was about to go into the promised land Moses gave these warnings against being involved with idols, images or occult practices.(Deuteronomy 7:23-26 NKJV) "But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, and will inflict defeat upon them until they are destroyed. {24} "And He will deliver their kings into your hand, and you will destroy their name from under heaven; no one shall be able to stand against you until you have destroyed them. {25} "You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. {26} "Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing.

Notice the penalty for bringing an object of occult worship into one's house "lest you be doomed to destruction like it... for it is an accursed thing". Idols carry the curse of God on them as do Ouija boards, tarot cards, things used in Satanic rituals, crystal balls, magic books, divination instruments etc. When these things are present in the home, alcoholism, mental illness, chronic diseases and even suicide soon follow.
But you don't have this stuff in you house - you just "get your cards done", have your palm read, read your horoscope etc...(Leviticus 20:6 NKJV) 'And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people." Consulting mediums and spiritists was so serious that it resulted in God's wrath falling in a particularly severe form - banishment forever from Israel.
Here is a catalog of verses about the occult.

The Torah

(Leviticus 19:26-31 NKJV) {26} 'You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying. {27} 'You shall not shave around the sides of your head, nor shall you disfigure the edges of your beard. {28} 'You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD. {29} 'Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry, and the land become full of wickedness. {30} 'You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD. {31} 'Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

(Leviticus 20:6 NKJV) 'And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.

(Deuteronomy 7:5 NKJV) "But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire.
(Deuteronomy 7:25,26 NKJV) "You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. "Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing.
(Deuteronomy 18:10-14 NKJV) 10 "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,11 "or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.12 "For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. 13 "You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.14 "For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you

Old Testament History

(2 Kings 17:17 NKJV) And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.

(2 Kings 21:6 NKJV) Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.

(2 Kings 23:24 NKJV) Moreover Josiah put away those who consulted mediums and spiritists, the household gods and idols, all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.
(2 Chronicles 33:6 NKJV) Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.

Old Testament Prophets

(Isaiah 8:19 NKJV) And when they say to you, "Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter," should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?


(Jeremiah 14:14 NKJV) And the LORD said to me, "The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.
(Jeremiah 27:9 NKJV) 'Therefore do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers, who speak to you, saying, "You shall not serve the king of Babylon."
(Ezekiel 12:24 NKJV) "For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel.

(Ezekiel 13:6-7 NKJV) "They have envisioned futility and false divination, saying, 'Thus says the LORD!' But the LORD has not sent them; yet they hope that the word may be confirmed. {7} "Have you not seen a futile vision, and have you not spoken false divination? You say, 'The LORD says,' but I have not spoken."

(Ezekiel 13:18 NKJV) "and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Woe to the women who sew magic charms on their sleeves and make veils for the heads of people of every height to hunt souls! Will you hunt the souls of My people, and keep yourselves alive?
(Ezekiel 13:20 NKJV) 'Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against your magic charms by which you hunt souls there like birds. I will tear them from your arms, and let the souls go, the souls you hunt like birds.
(Ezekiel 13:23 NKJV) "Therefore you shall no longer envision futility nor practice divination; for I will deliver My people out of your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD."' "
(Malachi 3:5 NKJV) And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien; Because they do not fear Me," Says the LORD of hosts.

New Testament

(Acts 19:19 NKJV) Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.


(Revelation 21:8 NKJV) "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
(Revelation 22:15 NKJV) But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.


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