Jesus And The Spirit-World

“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

(Matt. 12:28)

AS sure as there is a physical world, there is also a spirit-world. After all, God is a Spirit (John 4:24; 2 Cor. 3:17). The spiritual or spiritual experience that an individual may sometimes experience is difficult to measure empirically due to the subjective nature of the experience. Yet it is clear that such an experience includes emotions, senses and the intellect. This is why one does not just forget what happened to you and why certain experiences often bring about real life-change.

The term “spirituality” no longer refers exclusively or even primarily to prayer and spiritual rituals. Nor does it refer to an elite state or a superior practice of Christianity. The term has been extended to include the life of faith as well as the life of the person as a whole, including its physical, psychological, social and political dimensions.

The spiritual supernatural world is far more part of our daily life experience than most people will ever realize. We speak of someone with the wrong attitude as someone with the wrong “spirit”. We talk about enthusiasm as spirit! Someone with a strong character is described as someone with a strong spirit. In the world of sports, a deep, serious spirituality is increasingly welcomed because the relationship world and habits of believing participants are usually healthier. These athletes usually show a greater maturity of character when they do not win and the spiritual support they receive when they are struggling is indispensable. Moreover, athletes and patients believe in the impossible and the supernatural that are essential to endure long therapeutic recovery times. In the medical world, the importance and inclusion of the spiritual aspect of man is becoming increasingly important as part of a holistic approach.

Yet there is rightly a very negative sentiment about the supernatural world outside the Word of God. Devil-art, black art, nigromance, necromancy, witchcraft, sorcery, ghosts, spiritism, idolatry and satan worship make one scared and frightened. Therefore, we rather examine the Scriptures to understand the spirit world and to get a glimpse of what is going on there. The Bible is, as it were, a window for us as well as a manual of terms, names, functions and roles of beings who are active in the spirit world.

List Of Names

The NT uses a wide variety of terms for invisible divine beings in the spiritual realm, good as well as evil. According to these Scriptures, we can deduce their degrees of rank, power, and function in the spiritual world.

We read in the Bible of:

  • A spirit of sickness (infirmity) (Luke 13:11)
  • A spirit of distress (1 Sam. 16:14)
  • Unclean and filthy spirit (Rev. 18: 2)
  • A divining spirit (divination) (Acts 16:16)
  • A spirit of slavery (Rom. 8:15)
  • A spirit of error (1 John 4: 6)
  • A spirit of the world (1 Cor. 2:12)
  • Seductive spirits (1 Tim. 4: 1)
  • A spirit of jealousy (Num. 5:14)
  • A lying spirit (2 Chron. 18:12)
  • A spirit of sorcery (Deut. 18:11)
  • The spirit of the Anti-Christ (1 John 4: 3)
  • A spirit of fear (2 Tim. 1: 7)
  • A spirit of intoxication (Isa. 19:14)
  • The tormentors (Matt. 18:34)
  • Evil spirits (Matt. 10: 1; Acts 5:16; 8: 7; Matt. 12: 43-45; Mark 1: 23-26; 3:11; Rev. 18: 2)
  • Demons (Deut. 32:17; 1 Cor. 10: 20-21; Ps. 106: 37; Matt. 8:16; Mark 7:26; Rom. 8:38; Jas. 2:19; Rev. 9 : 20)
  • Rulers, powers, world rulers of darkness (Eph. 6:12; Col. 2:15; 1 Pet. 3:22)
  • A contrite spirit (Isa. 61: 3)
  • Angels (Ps. 103: 20; Heb. 1: 7; Ps. 104: 4)
  • Archangel Michael (Dan. 10:13; 12: 1; Jude 9; Rev. 12: 7)
  • Archangel Gabriel (Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26)
  • Cherubim (Ezek. 10: 12-14; 1: 4-14, 22-24; 10: 5, 8, 21-22; 41: 18-19; Rev. 4: 6-8)
  • Seraphim (Isa. 6: 2; Rev. 4: 8)
  • Divine assembly of the sons of God (Ps. 82: 1; Job 1: 6; 2: 1; Job 38: 7).[1]

 

There are indeed those who do not believe in the supernatural world at all because they have simply not yet had any tangible experience or experience of the spirit world. Yet there are studies in quantum physics, which Einstein described as “haunting studies” over a distance, where two particles (photons) can “entangle” in interaction, lose their individual probabilities and become components of a more complex probability function that both particles are described together. Eugene Marais made a study of the spirit of the ant where he could not find a natural sensory explanation for how a queen ant controls her anthill.[2]

The Biblical Ancient Worldview on the Spirit-World

In the church world there are two main streams: the Charismatic or Pentecostal stream and the Reformed stream. The latter deals carefully with the supernatural and focuses on Scripture interpretation and exegesis. The first group seeks precisely the supernatural workings and manifestations of the supernatural spirit-world.

According to Michael Heiser, a Reformed theologian and scholar of the Hebrew language and ancient peoples, there is a very clear supernatural worldview in the Bible writers’ understanding of the world from Genesis to Revelation. They see the spirit-world as a family that sometimes meets (Ps. 82: 1), with hierarchies that are either obedient to God or a group that rebels against God. In this spirit-world, Yahweh alone is omnipotent, omnipresent, perfect, and all-wise. There is no rebellion directly against God, but against His creation. Every spiritual being is limited in authority, position, and ability. So there is perfect order in the spiritual world – everyone knows his place. Satan himself had to obtain God’s permission to act against Job (Job 1:12).

Because Scripture clearly shows that we can be seduced by evil, and indeed we experience it, we should make an effort to understand the spirit-world and learn what we have to do to protect ourselves and our families.

The Biblical Perspective Recognizes The Influence of Satan

“… satan fills your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and withhold the price of the land.” (Acts 5:1-3).

“… so that satan will not tempt you by your lack of self-control.” (1 Cor. 7: 5).

“… the tempter might not have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.” (1 Thess. 3: 5).

“… so that he may not fall into contempt and into the snare of the devil.” (1 Tim. 3: 6-7).

“Because some have already deviated from Satan.” (1 Tim. 5:15).

“… walk around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Pet. 5: 8-9).

“… satan must not prevail over us, we know his plans.” (2 Cor. 2:11).

“… unbelievers whose minds are blinded by the god of this world.” (2 Cor. 4: 4).

“… every barrier that is raised against the knowledge of God.” (2 Cor. 10: 3-5).

“… just as the serpent deceived Eve through his craftiness, so your minds may become corrupt, alienated from the sincerity of Christ.” (2 Cor. 11: 3).

The Satanic Trinity

Much deception and delusion about the roles and responsibilities of man towards the supernatural world has already led to harmful abuses. Therefore, we begin our study in Christ again. We learn from Him, as our perfect example, how He dealt with demons, evil spirits and satan. Jesus’ ministry was in conflict with the tri-alliance of the world spirit of Herod (Mark 8:15), the religion of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt. 16: 6) and the evil spirit world (Matt. 12:28). This satanic trinity is unmasked in the book of Revelation: the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth (Rev. 12-13).[3]

War Fight Against the Spirit of the World

One would have to devote an entire book to this subject, but it is well known how people’s worldview holds them back.

The term “life and worldview” refers to the way (glasses through which) you look at the world and life. The biblical worldview is in contrast to the current humanistic, secular worldview we experience daily in the media, certain television programs, university ideologies, politics, and even in the church. See, for example, how directly the secular-humanist manifesto is directed towards an atheistic, biblical perspective.

World knowledge is derived through observation, experimentation and rational analysis.

Humans are part of nature, the product of unaccompanied evolutionary change.

Ethical values ​​are derived from human needs and interests as tested by experience (ethical naturalism).

Life fulfillment comes through individual participation in the service of human ideals.

People are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.

Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.

Respect for different yet human views in an open, secular, democratic, environmentally friendly and sustainable society.

Warning Against the Influence of Worldly Thought

“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mark 8:36).

“…these are all things that the unbelievers in the world are concerned about.” (Matt. 6:30).

“…Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matt. 16:23).

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” (John 1:10).

“The world cannot hate you; but he hates me because I openly declare his deeds evil.” (John 7: 7).

“He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25).

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27).

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18).

We are therefore involved in a battle of faith in our thinking, because our worldview is what we believe about the world and our environment. For example: What do you believe about your future? What do you believe about success? What do you believe are the best careers? What is your top priority: prestige, children, spouse, position, relationships or income? Summarizing all the answers determines your worldview. The test question is: How many of our answers are biblically accountable to a loving relationship with God?

War Against The Spirit of Religion

Jesus warns against the leaven (influence) of the religion of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt. 16: 6). There is a whole chapter on this subject. Feel free to go through it (refer to Chapter 13).

War in the Spirit-World

Once war breaks out, you have to take sides. There is no neutral ground. That is why Paul says: “Nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:9-22).

               “You cannot rebuke a devil that you continually grant access to your life.”

~   Kimberley Pothier

There is no neutral ground in a war for occupation. You must either fight back or lose your land. The spiritual warfare is around the territory of our hearts. Who rules in your heart? Satan or the Lord Jesus Christ? Your life is a habitat, home, territory, a garden. The Lord wants your garden to flourish in all your uniqueness to be like Jesus, in character, values, habits, thinking and action. Satan, on the other hand, is the seducer, to come and steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10).

 

The Issue of Jurisdiction

Every law enforcer works within a certain jurisdiction. For example, he can not just walk into your house and come and give orders. This is because you are the owner, and have jurisdiction over your own home. Therefore, the police must have a warrant before they can come and investigate your house. A policeman from South Africa does not have authority and jurisdiction in the USA until it is mandated by the USA police. Likewise, we have no jurisdiction to simply punish authorities, rulers, and spirits in the spirit world.

Our jurisdiction is on earth. (Gen. 1:28; 2:15).

We have lost this jurisdiction and authority. (Luke 4: 6).

Satan has acquired illegal jurisdiction. He is called:

“… ruler of this world.” (John 12:31).

“… the god of this world.” (2 Cor. 4: 4).

“…the prince of the invisible forces, the spirit that is now at work in the people who are disobedient to God.” (Eph. 2: 2).

“…but against every power and authority, against every spirit that rules over this sinful world, against every evil spirit in the air.” (Eph. 6:12).

Jesus exercised very clear authority and authority over evil spirits. He also gave His disciples power to cast out unclean spirits (Matt. 10:1). “Behold, I have given you the power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and to overcome the enemy with all his might, without any harm to you.” (Luke 10:19).

It is also clear that the evil spirits fear a coming judgment of Jesus (Mark 5: 7). However, with His crucifixion, Jesus took away the keys of the realm of the dead. Keys indicate authority. He disarmed satan, and took back the jurisdiction he had taken from man as the perfect man. In Christ, the full rule and power that God intended man to exercise has been restored.

“He disarmed every power and authority and displayed them in public by taking them captive in the triumph of Christ.” (Col. 2:15).

“But thanks be to God! He always leads us in His triumphal procession because we are one with Christ. Through us He spreads the knowledge of Christ everywhere like a pleasant fragrance.” (2 Cor. 2:14).

Satan therefore still has authority only in people because of their disobedience, and that they place themselves as tools in His hand. He therefore has legal jurisdiction because they gave it to him.

Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.” (1 Cor. 15:24-25).

A policeman does not have to shout loudly to enforce his authority. Maybe at arrest, only when the criminal resists. His authority lies in understanding the law, and acknowledging everyone’s jurisdiction. If, for example, he does not collect, mark and document the evidence correctly, the case is thrown out of court. If he has acted irregularly, the state loses the case against the criminal. Likewise, there is order in the spirit world.

The evil spirits knew exactly who Jesus was (Luke 4:34; 8:28). However, the seven sons of Skeva, a Jewish high priest, met their match when they tried to cast out evil spirits without real spiritual authority. They simply wanted to use magical techniques, even Jesus’ name, without a life dedicated to God or filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:14). The magician wanted to buy this gift (Acts 8:20).

“Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” (Acts 8:22-23).

From these passages of Scripture we can build a very strong argument that a holy life, dedicated to the Lord, full of the Spirit of God, is the basis of spiritual warfare.

Paul explains this even further with a beautiful metaphor: The Christian’s armor is not magic, but a holy way of life (Eph. 6: 14-18). Justice, truth, faith and willingness are acts of obedience that protect us and the Word is our offensive.

Many believers try to use the armor magically by putting it on daily. This is not what Paul wants to achieve with the metaphor. He is merely explaining the spiritual truths we live out in the light of a soldier’s armor. Faith is a way of life and forms a shield against the fiery arrows that satan constantly fires at us.

We have received in Christ all these spiritual truths of life. We each have a measure of faith and we have received salvation, the truth and righteousness all in Christ. Through a lifestyle of willingness, out of the truth and in His righteousness, we live out His salvation wherever we move.

 

The Spiritual Arsenal of the Believer

Study the following Scriptures: (1 Cor. 4:10-15; 2 Cor. 4:8-18; 2 Cor. 6:3-10; 2 Cor. 11:23-28; 2 Cor. 13:9).

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you…(2 Cor. 4:8-12).

In the last few decades, there has been a renewed focus on spiritual warfare in the world of faith.

This focus is partly good, but there are also dangers if we do not understand our place and role. For example, prayer-marches have often been held, worldwide prayer-chains have sprung up, people have anointed the doors and windows and corner posts of their homes and businesses, or house-cleaning rituals have been performed to destroy occult items, studies have been made of spiritual outlines and occult, satanic curses, memorials with satanic meanings, ancestral curses, etc. etc.

The natural question is: What is the outcome now 30 years later? Is the church holier? Are more people being converted? Is there more unity in the church now? Is there revival? The Bible is a collection of strange spiritual stories with supernatural elements, so the Lord can use a march as with Jericho. After all, He split the Red Sea open! God can do anything. Yet, we see Jesus acting very pragmatically in the war against evil.

We cannot fix a wrong lifestyle and its consequences with magical rituals. This is a great deception in the faith community. We cannot fight black magic with white magic!

How Did Jesus Work With the Spirit World?

Jesus’ confrontation with evil is open, direct, and confrontational with respect to the satanic trinity. Jesus’ dislike of Herod and those who serve the world, His open unmasking of the falsehood and cunning of the Pharisees, scribes and so-called religious, as well as His disregard for satan’s strategies are for us an example of direct confrontation. He is openly and directly offensive to evil.

“Now when Jesus had come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother lying sick with a fever. So He touched her hand, and the fever left her. And she arose and served them. When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” (Matt. 8:14-17).

“Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee. Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once. So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them. At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.” (Luke 4:31-37).

Jesus’ Way of Working With Evil

Jesus’ confrontation is direct and upfront: When there are demonic manifestations, He silences them and drives them out with a word. Prayer is primarily directed to God, and demons are cast out when they manifest in His presence. It is therefore once again a matter of jurisdiction. A law enforcer can only act where there is evidence of crime.

Satan’s attempt to tempt Him is briefly done with “it is written” and “away with you satan”. There is no dialogue or long conversations with satan.

Jesus does not use any magic or ritual in His ministry. He does not do one miracle in the same way and He does it without religious, glorious display. He usually instructs the infirm. He lays His hands on the sick. Remember it is about the territory of our hearts.

Jesus does not confront evil as an abstract, invisible reality. There is therefore a direct distinction between the physical and the spiritual world. When the evil spirits manifest in this world, Jesus immediately takes authority over them. We do not see any examples where Jesus or any of the leaders of the early church became involved in prayers, statements or pronouncements directed at the spirit world. Our existence is earthly, and through Christ Jesus we have resumed our original mandate to exercise authority here. We are not spiritual beings and do not have authority to exercise authority in the spirit world, such as commanding angels and giving commands. Only when these spirit beings reveal themselves in our world do we take a position of authority over them. On the other hand, there is, of course, a spiritual response in the spirit world when we obey God here. Every spiritual being has authority on a certain level.

“And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 1:6).

We overcome evil in the world by making disciples of all nations. Just think if we as a church have kept to this one commandment in which God has empowered us: “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” (Matt. 28:18-20). Through the ages we have disregarded this one great mandate and the whole world is suffering because of our disobedience (Rom. 8:22). 

Prayer is directed exclusively to God and not to demons, spirits or authorities. Some people spend a lot of time rebuking spirits in the sky that they cannot see. Why not serve people directly and then, when an evil spirit manifests, take authority and set people free? On the contrary, in deliverance, liberation is very easy, by the owner of the dwellin ~ that is, to get the person concerned to confess where they have given satanic and evil legal invitation. Then when the person confesses and acknowledges Jesus’ rule in their lives, you give an immediate immediate expulsion order! You command the evil spirits with a word!

Our spiritual warfare is to rule over the influence of evil, addiction, sin and temptation in our own lives.

“…in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2). “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” (Rom. 6:12).

So there is a battle of obedience! Who are you going to obey? God or self? God or satan? God or the spirit of the world?

True Spiritual Warfare – Obedience to the Holy Spirit

True spiritual warfare is therefore your own victory in Christ Jesus when you exercise authority and authority over your urges, carnal desires, whispers, thoughts, and emotions that are not based on the Word.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Cor. 10:3-6).

In our surrender and submission to Christ we receive the power and ability to break free from the hold and power of sin. Slavery implies that slaves are under the power of the slave-driver. Jesus came to redeem us from this power. He obtained our legal release so that we can now obey Him through the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual warfare means being salt and light through obedience to the Spirit (Matt. 5: 13-16); to be leaven (Matt. 13:33) and to be a fragrance of life (2 Cor. 2:14). Nowhere is there any evidence that the believers practiced any magical, imaginary spiritual warfare against the rulers of that time.

Even their persecution was seen as an opportunity to preach the Gospel. Jesus’ life of love, caring, mercy, fellowship, self-denial, and forgiveness were the hallmarks of the first believers that distinguished them from the world.

This lifestyle eventually seeped through the world to the point where the mighty Roman Empire adopted Christianity as the official religion. Unfortunately, the Roman world-spirit permeated the church like leaven and ushered the world into the dark ages, before God’s light broke through the reformers again.

Obedience to Jesus is Our Victory Over Evil

“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:17).

Every day we live out this victory in our own lives, but ultimately also for the people around us. We live in harmony with God and our spiritual family eventually becomes a piece of divine territory, an Eden, where God’s will is lived out.

Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” (Matt. 6:10).  “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14).

Our disobedience costs us far more than our obedience. Think of what Adam and Eve’s disobedience cost them, and consequently all of humanity. The territory that satan wants to conquer is a heart dedicated to the Lord. He has no other agenda than to make us give up our creative purpose of being God’s instruments of creative healing love.

To whom are we obedient? God or self? The Holy Spirit or satanic whispers? The word of God or the traditions of men?

Darkness can only reign in the absence of the Light. The lie can only exist in the absence of the Truth. Admittedly, this also means that mankind must accept Jesus as the Truth. Jesus was the light and they did not love the light (John 3:19). Jesus is the only Way, He is the only Truth, and He is the only Life (John 14: 6). Yet mankind chooses to turn their backs on the Truth. It is not God who punishes man, it is man who brings punishment on themselves because they reject the truth. Where the truth is accepted, and obeyed, there is unity, and those who are in Christ retain the holy bond of unity (Eph. 4: 3-6).

It is man’s disobedience, and search for their own gain that opens the door for satanic forces to rule. Where we follow Jesus’ life, and walk according to it, there is order, and social peace. God is looking for people who win the spiritual war, when no one sees. David defeated the bear and the lion where no one sees, to have faith to defeat Goliath in public. “I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:13).

The personal victory over evil, is essential to public victory.


[1] Michael S. Heiser, Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches about the Unseen World—And Why It Matters, ed. David Lambert, (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 43.

[2] Marais, E. (2012). The Soul of the White Ant. Cape Town: Human & Rousseau.

[3] Riekert Botha, Openbaring Ontsluit. (location Eboek 2358)

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