Evangelist Billy Graham, in his interesting and informative book Angels, has shed some light upon the unseen war in the supernatural realm and its effects upon our visible world. He writes,
Satan, the fallen prince of heaven, has made his decision to battle against God to the death. He is the master craftsman who has plotted destruction during all the ages since he first rebelled. His “I will” spirit [see“heavenly citizenship revoked”: C-7, P-I] has worked through his consuming hatred of God to write his tragic story in the annals of human history. In his warfare against God, Satan used the human race, which God created and loved. So God’s forces of good and Satan’s forces of evil have been engaged in a deadly conflict from the dawn of our history. Unless world leaders and statesmen understand the true nature of this warfare, they will continue to be blind leaders of the blind. They can only patch a little here and patch a little there. We will find no final solution to the world’s great problems until this spiritual warfare has been settled. ...
We live in a perpetual battlefield—the great War of the Ages continues to rage. The lines of battle press in ever more tightly about God’s own people. The wars among nations on earth are merely popgun affairs compared to the fierceness of battle in the spiritual, unseen world. This invisible spiritual conflict is waged around us incessantly and unremittingly. Where the Lord works, Satan’s forces hinder; where angel beings carry out their divine directives, the devils rage. All this comes about because the powers of darkness press their counterattack to recapture the ground held for the glory of God.
Every person, no matter how “good” or “pious,” does things he/she knows are not right. Often, these things even are done defiantly, in the face of certain adverse consequences or penalties. We all, without exception, have a sin-contaminated human nature which causes us to be in basic rebellion against God and His Will. But, because He always has our well-being in mind, our actions are self-defeating when we fight against God.
Our defiled spirits exist adjoining corrupted souls and inside of perishable bodies, which is why we have natural, fleshly, human lusts and desires. Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, evil spiritual forces constantly are encouraging these tendencies within us (such as envy, lust, pride, and rebellion against God, the latter marked by disobedience of His laws and commands) to surface, as well as attempting to influence our spirit-minds to give the “OK” to go ahead and manifest them. And when the Holy Spirit speaks to or urges our inner beings, letting us know the right things to do, we often ignore or refuse the advice, because we stubbornly choose to remain under the control of our sin nature.
Paul, an outstanding apostle of Jesus, recognized that he had a daily struggle with these spiritual forces. He related,
...I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ... As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner [spirit] being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my [spirit] mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members (Rom. 7:14b,15,17-23).
No one, Christian or otherwise, is exempt from this struggle with spiritual influences in the mind, heart, and body (although many “self-righteous” people might like to think they are). And there is no one who seriously should not consider developing suitable and effective spiritual armament against the dark powers that surround and attack him/her (seeP-II and P-III).
The first and second commandments of God to Moses and the children of Israel were,
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to thousands who love me and keep my commandments (Exo. 20:3-6).
God is a very jealous God; in fact, one of His names is “Jealous” (Exo. 34:14). He does not like for more attention to be paid to anything or anyone else besides Him. (And why would He? He is God, the Almighty Creator of all!) Doing so is making a “god” or a “representation of a god” (an “idol”) of that thing or person and worshiping it (that is, supplying that living or inanimate object more love, honor, and attention than one gives God). The Bible indicates that people’s obsessive focus upon other people and worldly things is actually an exhibition of hatred and enmity toward God (James 4:4). Since God is the only entity worthy of worship, He will not tolerate this worship’s being given to anything or anyone else more than to Himself, without serious negative consequences eventually resulting.
When someone worships, for too long, something created by God more than the Creator Himself, God will give that person over to his/her own lusts and desires (Rom. 1:25,26a), leaving the person wide open to satanic/demonic attack and influence. This begins or fosters a “generational curse,” which can persist indefinitely until the family line is terminated or until someone repents of the “family sin,” turns to God for help, and stops it. I believe this “curse” is in the form of a predisposition to some negative (sinful) act which God allows to be placed (by demonic forces) into and passed down from one generation to the next. It is a punishment to show people that their lives and the lives of their offspring will lose purpose and become meaningless and chaotic if they focus on the things of the world rather than on God.
The sinful curse being perpetuated can be just about anything (or a combination of things) which becomes a habitual obsession, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, constant criticizing, incest, alcoholism, drug abuse, overeating, smoking, witchcraft, idol worship, cursing, disobedience to parents, murdering, committing of adultery, stealing, lying, coveting, and overall rebelliousness to the laws and values of God. Though not always true, someone is more likely to be predisposed to doing any of these things if they were done by one’s parent(s). One may not enjoy doing these activities, but one feels a suffocating helplessness to resist and an overwhelming compulsion to continue.
The obsessive drive will be carried on, from generation to generation, either until no more offspring are produced or until someone, through earnest prayer (and often fasting), repents of the tenacious sin which keeps propagating itself, asks God to forgive one’s ancestors for performing and passing on the sin, and/or receives God’s Holy Spirit to help one cause the sin’s activity to cease and not to be transferred anymore. One may be able to “kick” a certain habit (at least, for awhile) through strong self-will and without God’s help. However, unless the generational curse is lifted through intercessory prayer (for one’s living predecessors), it may be too easy for one to return to the habit, and/or the proclivity may be passed on to one’s own offspring and thereby be revived and resumed.
The punishment for the sins of one’s ancestors does not have to fall upon oneself; God said he would only punish the children in the third and fourth generation of those who hate Him (Exo. 20:5b). (Recall from earlier in this section that focusing primarily on the things of the world rather than on God is equivalent to hatred toward Him, making oneself His enemy—James 4:4.) God said through Ezekiel,
But suppose this [evil man] has a son who sees all the sins his father commits, and though he sees them, he does not do such things.... He keeps my laws and follows my decrees. He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live (Ezek. 18:14,17bcd).
The tendency to sin is passed on (as a curse). But punishment will be withheld if this tendency is ceased (that is, if the curse is broken), most effectively by means of prayer (asking God to help oneself or someone else to turn away from doing the sin) and sometimes fasting as well.
One must learn, by God’s Holy Spirit, not to blame one’s parent(s) for producing some fault or weakness within oneself; remember, it is not people with whom we do battle but evil spiritual forces (Eph. 6:12—seeP-II) which had the same influence upon our parents and grandparents as they do upon us. One should love and honor one’s parents (Exo. 20:12), which includes forgiveness for wrongdoing, because “...love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8b). And God Himself will forgive and shower great blessings upon those who themselves are able to forgive, to show love to others and to Him, and to be effective in breaking generational curses (Exo. 20:6, 34:6,7a).
Dick Bernal, Christian evangelist in San Jose, California, maintains that low-ranking demons are in control of places like drug-infested neighborhoods, porno shops, and bars. However, one of the most significant spirit dominations is over cities. A given city is under the supernatural influence of a spiritual ruler (archon in Greek). “In sizing up the enemy troops, it is paramount that we understand whom we are facing—a PRINCE. This is an ancient, wise, and certainly cunning prince who has had millenniums of experience at keeping mankind from God.”
He explains that the type of person to drop everything and dash off to the Bay Area during the gold rush around 1850 was the fortune-telling, greedy, nomadic adventurer. Thus, the ruling entities over Bay Area cities would be attracted to these types of people and have these characteristics. Rev. Bernal states the Holy Spirit has impressed upon him that the ruling principality over the entire Bay Area is titled, “SELF.” In addition,
Lesser rulers are perversion, murder, addiction, greed, suicide, contention, just to name a few inhabiting the skies from Carmel to Marin County (just north of San Francisco). Spiritually speaking, a person who is “tuned in” can drive from one community to the next and sense the change of spiritual activity. For example, San Francisco is only across the Bay from Oakland, yet these two are contrasting cities. They have a different “feel”...even to a person who is not spiritually tuned-in. Why? Ruling spirits! In San Francisco the spirit of perversion prevails while in Oakland, the spirit is murder and addiction.
Santa Cruz...has a spirit of death over it. Santa Cruz has become an important occult center in America. Recently it was called the “capital of the serial killers.” Just a half-hour away in Silicon Valley one must battle the spirit of greed. Satan’s principalities are very competitive and territorial.
Evangelist John Hagee, in San Antonio, concurs with the idea of spirit rulers. He affirms that these
...spirit-beings represent “spiritual wickedness in high places.” They manifest their evil personality over the geographic territory they rule on earth. For that reason, cities on earth and in America have distinct personalities reflecting the evil personality of the prince of demons that rules over that area.
For example, the city of Las Vegas has the Spirit of Greed as its ruling spirit which is manifest in the gambling empire there. New Orleans has as its ruling spirit, the Spirit of Lust, evidenced by its wide open prostitution. San Francisco has the Spirit of Perversion ruling over it. San Antonio has the Spirit of Witchcraft ruling as is evidenced by the unknown thousands that openly practice witchcraft there.
Rev. Hagee later adds,
Have you ever wondered why there is such confusion over Washington, D.C.? Because “confusion” is an evil spirit and it reigns over that city. Brilliant men can’t see practical solutions to tough problems facing our nation because of this spirit.
“Religious” and “legalistic” spirits impel people to hate or detest—and in extreme cases to use violence against—those who disagree with their doctrine. Many people believe they can turn other people to God through intimidation or force (see “Holy Spirit vs. religious spirits”: C-9, P-I; and “law vs. sin and legalism”: C-9, P-III). In reality, evil spirits have no interest in turning anyone to God (although the misguided religious zealots influenced by them may believe they are doing just that). These spirits, quite familiar with human nature, know that usually the last way many people (especially strong-willed ones) are won over is by coercion; more often, it repels them and they resist. On the other hand, Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, always comes in peace and with Love, not trying to pressure anyone to come to God. One cannot be forced to accept or to love God. He would not have it that way, which is why He has given each of us a free choice.
Maybe the worst cases ever of violent religious indoctrination were the horribly appalling Crusades and Inquisitions. These were caused by a strong, evil religious and legalistic spiritual influence within the Christian Church. This violent force was not representative of the True Spirit of the Church; rather, the fury was (and, in fact, still is) instigated by Satan, via evil angels, influencing many calling themselves Christians.
Another intense religious spiritual battle involves radical Moslems of the Islamic faith. In effect, the Islamic purpose is (and will continue to be) to possess all of the land of Israel, particularly Jerusalem (see “Christianity and Judaism vs. Islam”: C-9, P-I). In an all-out jihad (holy war), the intent would be to convert everyone to the Islamic religion, exterminating those who resist (which would include virtually all those of the Jewish faith in Israel). The ultimate goal is the conquest and takeover of Jerusalem. In Zola Levitt’s personal letter to supporters (July, 1994) was printed a statement made by Yasser Arafat, Palestinian leader and chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (well-known world-wide for its terrorist tactics), as he made a secretly recorded speech on May 10, 1994, to an Islamic mosque audience in Johannesburg, South Africa: “You have come to fight a jihad [holy war] to liberate Jerusalem, your precious shrine.”
In a film clip on CBN’s “The 700 Club,” aired September 9, 1994, Mr. Arafat further indicated that he wants no outside intervention on the Jerusalem matter: “Jerusalem is a Palestinian issue—the main issue—not with others. They [Jews in the Israeli government] have to discuss it only with Palestinians.” During the historic Israeli-Palestinian peace accords of September 13, 1993, and of September 28, 1995, Yasser Arafat shook the hand of Israeli Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin (assassinated in Tel Aviv November 4, 1995), in Washington, D.C., as witnessed by a world-wide TV audience. Evidently, though, Mr. Arafat only feigns a desire for peace; apparently, a different agenda—which, I feel, is influenced by anti-Jewish spiritual forces—lurks in his mind and heart.
The location of the largest spiritual battle in history is Israel, more specifically Jerusalem. Rabbi Paul Liberman, leader of the Tree of Life Messianic Congregation in San Diego, addressed the Seventh Annual Conference on Messianic Judaism which I attended in Irvine, California, over Labor Day Weekend, 1992. He pointed out that there is a heightened tension over the past few years in the Middle East concerning Israel. He believes all the evil angels sense that God is preparing to “stop the music” in the near future, and whoever is sitting on Israel’s “throne” at that time will rule.
Furthermore, according to Rabbi Lieberman, the angels are well aware of what the Scriptures say (that there will be just one winner—God Himself); but strong deception by Satan (plus the fear of eternal torment in hell) will cause them to make irrational, desperate moves to win the spiritual battle over that nation. (Saddam Hussein’s firing of scud missiles upon Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, during the Gulf War of 1991, was quite senseless and illogical.)
Israel will be the final showdown of spiritual forces. Evil angels will draw people from all over the world to Jerusalem to attempt to sit on the world’s throne. However, only one person has approached that throne with humility and meekness; and only one person, literally and physically, will be sitting on it when the “dust settles.” That person is Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ).
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Copyright © 1998– by Ted M. Montgomery, O.D. Most rights reserved.