Laws of War—According to Jesus
“The object of war has been understood to be the submission of the enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible. The military defeat of the enemy in war is intended to advance political objectives”
(Department of Defense: Law of War Manual, pg. 16, 2015).
We Learn from the Wars of our Past
- War has plagued our universe from the moment Lucifer sought to be like the most-high God.
- War has plagued mankind from the time Eve encountered the Serpent.
- War has plagued families from the instance Cain murdered his brother Abel.
- War has plagued God’s people, ever since Abraham went to war against the armies of 4 kings to rescue his nephew Lot.
Jesus wonderfully triumphed over death and hell at Calvary; evil and sin had reigned, to a large degree, without restraint; however, when Jesus Christ walked upon the sands of Israel, He led the captives out of captivity. He dealt a tremendous blow to the forces of darkness, upon His proclamation, “It is finished” (John 19:30, KJV). Victory was achieved; however, the war over human souls would only intensify.
Jesus delegated His authority to the Apostle Peter by giving him the keys to the Kingdom. The message of salvation, preached first to the Jews in Acts 2:38, would also be used to unlock a new dispensation of grace for the Gentiles.
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18, KJV).
This verse stands alone; it enforces the responsibility and duty of a Spirit-born, Spirit-filled, and Spirit-led church. When Jesus uttered these words of prophecy to Peter in Matt. 16:18, He was purposely standing near Caesarea Philippi—a place embodied by pagan temples, as well as the infamous cave of the Greek god named Pan. The “Cave of Pan” was known at that time as the “Gate of Hades.” In presenting Peter with the authority of sharing the gospel of the Kingdom of God with the world, Jesus utilized this geographical landmark as a tactful tool to herald the necessity of war against Hell. Gates were known as being defensive mechanisms against attack; in the context of Matt. 16:18, they are illustrative of Hell’s gates, spiritual doors which suffer the violence of the church.
Herein is the Great Commission emphasized; the church has been called to attack evil, dismantle strongholds of Satan, reconcile souls held captive, and construct a temple upon Jesus Christ—the chief cornerstone and head-stone of the church. It was He who also comprised the laws of spiritual warfare.
Jesus Christ outlined the laws of War (Parts 1 -2)
(Part 1): The Division Principle
The 1st advent of Jesus Christ was a declaration of war against the Devil and his kingdom. The Bible states, “…the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8, King James Version).
Jesus Christ, YHWH in the flesh, ushered a supernatural kingdom into the realm of natural existence—dividing the construct of culture and society with a sword of truth. In Matthew 12:22, Jesus performed an exorcism on a blind, dumb, and demon possessed individual—dividing the demonic spirit from the man or woman. After the Pharisees witnessed this miracle of deliverance, they accused Jesus of working miracles under the authority of Beelzebub, a name closely associated with the ancient god Baal. Jesus discerned their thoughts and proclaimed:
“…Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges” (Matthew 12:25-27, KJV).
Did you catch that? Every divided kingdom will fall; yes, even Satan’s kingdom, a kingdom which suffered the violence of Christ’s victory on Golgotha’s hill. Certainly, a kingdom within a municipality, when divided, will fall. We understand from the passages in v. 25-27 how Satan cannot cast out demons, because if this were so, he would be working against his own agenda and purpose.
(Part 2): The Dominion Principle
Jesus affirmed that His power to cast out demons was done by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit or Spirit of God was known and familiar to the Pharisees as YHWH, the one true God, the creative life force in heaven and on earth. Therefore, because the Spirit of God was responsible for such miraculous healing and deliverance, Jesus Christ was the prophesied Messiah, the one whom was anointed, “…to preach good tidings unto the meek… to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61:1, KJV, emphasis added).
Jesus continues by stating, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:28-30, KJV).
Not only were the Pharisees accusing Jesus of working under demonic power, they also believed Jesus was possessed of the Devil. Jesus defends His position as the anointed servant of God by outlining the dynamics of war. He uses the law of agreement to explain how the Devil could not cast out a demon, for this would cause division or a contradiction in the purpose and motive of the Devil. Likewise, Jesus could only cast out devils by the Spirit of God, because His expressed purpose was to destroy the works of the Devil.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3). No, one must submit!
This same example is shown in the Exodus story. God brought providence to pass through His servant Moses. Moses entered the house of Pharaoh, bound his rule over the people, and liberated the captives from bondage. Like Moses, Jesus demonstrated God’s authority and power by performing miracles, signs, and wonders. The exorcism of the demon in Matthew 12 proved that the Kingdom of God had come to Israel, to her inhabitants, and also upon the Pharisees.
The [stronger man (Jesus)] came to bind the [strong man (Satan)] to plunder the [spoil (souls)] of [Satan’s (house)] of sin and bondage. Jesus rightfully liberated the captives and loosed them who were bound in prison!
Jesus is the Pattern
Although Jesus existed as the fullness of God in the flesh, He also “…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8, KJV).
Nicholas Lamme writes,
“The idea seems to be, not that the kingdom had come in every aspect of its fullness, but rather that the evidence for the kingdom’s presence, in the person of Jesus, had been clearly witnessed to the world by the Holy Spirit. In the face of the kingdom’s Spirit-witnessed presence in the person of Jesus, the Pharisees’ rejection of him was both knowing and malicious. This willful ignorance and hateful rejection of Jesus by the religious leaders is the occasion for the pronouncement of divine judgment upon them.”
The Bible states, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17, KJV).
How Does the Church War?
Today, many battles roar—internationally, nationally, locally, and individually. I want to focus on the battle for dominion in a municipality or area of harvest. God has given Apostolic Faith Church the authority, power, and anointing to bind and loose. We do this in our prayer, in our worship, in our praise, in our lifestyle of holiness, as we express models of modesty and purity, and as we share the love of Jesus towards others. Whether unsaved souls reside in the clenches of false doctrine, are under the attack of demonic activity, or within the pangs of human carnality and unbelief—we must exercise and operate under God’s authority, with His armor, and under the parameters outlined in the Word of God.
The establishment of the church on the day of Pentecost brought a new dynamic of power to God’s people. The essentiality of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is a requirement for salvation and gives us access to God’s power and virtue. While experiencing the new-birth is vital, as the church, we must not only come out of Egypt; we must also strive to experience the promised land in the measure to which God intends for us. I admire the way in which Verbrugge articulates this concept.
“Jesus then describes the essence of this apostolic authority in terms of “binding” and “loosing.” The Hebrew and Aramaic counterparts to these words are used rather frequently in rabbinic literature to refer to interpretative decisions regarding the law of God made by the scribes. By “binding” a decision a scribe declared something to be forbidden; by “loosing” he declared something to be permitted”
Because Jesus came to bind the kingdom of Satan in order to loose the kingdom of God upon the earth, as Apostolic Christians, we ought to exercise this type of authority in our personal arena of influence and in our community.
The Object of War?
“To impose dominion of God’s Kingdom over the enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible. The spiritual defeat of the enemy in war is intended to advance spiritual objectives.”