font size | A A A

opposing forces
...opposing forces
the Real Enemy

Warfare: Part Four

by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
(Ephesians 2:12)

"I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me..." John 14:30-31

And he said, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they are what defile a person." Mark 7:20-23

"Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and aliens to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war, against your soul." 1Peter 2:11

The last article of this series, Confronting Evil (click on highlighted words to view content), questioned the absence of a developmental line from the Hebrew word sa-tan of the Original Writings (OT) which means a force of "adversarial opposition" toward YHVH's Words, into a fully blown persona called "Satan" in the Messianic Writings (NT) in which all evil has become embodied. Words mean things. If we are to understand Truth in scripture, we must respect the integrity of the meaning of the words presented to us apart from what the religious traditions of men have declared them to be (Mark 7:13). Yeshua said that evil emanates from the heart of man - not some mystical, ethereal persona (Matthew 12:34, Mark 7:21-23). If the testimony of the Life of Yeshua is to be the benchmark by which everything is measured, including other scripture (Revelation 19:10b). then the exchange taking place in the first two chapters of Job needs to be examined in the light of how much of the rest of Hebrew scripture is written - in figurative poetry. Torah does not speak in purely symbolic, abstract concepts. There is always a literal reality at the core of the subject, which is only then interpreted in a symbolic way to underscore and enhance the truth contained in that reality. Therefore, when the scripture says sa-tan (remember, there are no capitalizations in the Hebrew language and whose definition is a force of "adversarial opposition" - not an entity) came among the sons of YHVH in Job 1:6 and Job 2:1, then that adversarial force arrived as a force from within the assembly that accuses the brethren (in this case, the righteous Job) - in opposition to the Words of YHVH in Leviticus 19:17-18 to love your neighbor as yourself. The exchange that subsequently occurred then, from a Hebrew perspective, was not an exchange between two entities, but a figurative exchange exploring the depth of Truth contained in YHVH's Words. The last chapter of Job clearly states: "…they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that YHVH had brought upon him" (Job 42:11).

In Isaiah 45:7 YHVH says: "I form light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil; I, YHVH, do all these things." The Hebrew word translated "evil" in both of these verses is the Hebrew ra', which primarily means "calamity". YHVH uses calamitous evil to incentivize men into seeking Him. Sinful evil, which is standing in opposition to the Nature of YHVH, originates with man (Romans 5:12, James 1:13, see Defining Enemies for more). To become an accuser of the brethren places one in direct adversarial opposition to the Nature of YHVH found in His Words - which is selfLESSness (see what it means To Be Free). This is why in the last chapter of Job beginning with (verse 7) we find that those who were placing accusations upon their brother, Job, were rebuked by YHVH. It was not until they repented and Job forgave them that the calamities were lifted. Words spoken over the brethren while a participant in bringing the Kingdom of YHVH to earth have immeasurable consequences most have not considered (Matthew 12:37, see what it means To Know Him).

In John 14:30-31 above, the Greek word translated as the English "prince" is only found in the KJV. The actual Greek says archon, which is more accurately translated as "ruler, chief" in the ESV as in what is dominant, that which leads (not necessarily "who" leads). The Greek word translated as "world" in English is kosmos, and is more accurately translated as that which "adorns" or an "adornment" as in an order of government - precisely the reflection of the temptation Yeshua refused to adorn Himself with in Matthew 4:8-10. He rejected this adornment not only in the wilderness but also when others came to make Him wear that adornment as King (John 6:15). He countered that temptation by reminding Himself of the Words of His Father. Merely speaking the Words did not drive the temptation away - but standing in those Words by refusing to engage in the temptation presented did put it at bay, eventually dissipating it. Giving in to that temptation would have meant He would have been acting upon His own determination - placing Him in opposition to the selfless Nature of the Father. Since He only did "exactly as the Father commanded", He could say with certainty that "adornment" had no place in Him, meaning He did not allow it to lead or rule His actions - even though it might have seemed His right to do so (Ephesians 4:27).

the wilderness experience
...the wilderness experience
When we remember that all of the books in the Book were written by Hebrews from this same Hebrew perspective as is found throughout the Original Writings; then, it becomes imperative to examine the Messianic Writings from this same point of reference. Remembering also that Yeshua was as human as you and I (Philippians 2:5-11). then, like Job, Yeshua's encounter with temptation in the wilderness (referred to as "the tempter" in Matthew 4:3) was not an exchange between two entities, but was describing the struggle Yeshua was having within Himself. James 1:14-15 plainly tells us that temptation is not something that comes upon us but, rather, is the pull of our own "lusts" that originate from within. We are "tempted when we are drawn away of our own lust and enticed". The Greek word for "lust" used here is epithymia and means "a desire, craving or longing". Interestingly, this is the same Greek word translated "desire" in Luke 22:15 when Yeshua said it is with "desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you". It is from our own natural desires rising up from within us that entice us to exercise our own determination of what is good or evil apart from what the Words of Elohim have proclaimed as good. As our example of how we are to behave in like circumstance, Yeshua resisted the temptation to turn a stone into bread even though it is a natural desire to want to satisfy hunger and even though He knew the Power was available for Him to do so (James 4:7). Nor did He try to pray His way out of the circumstance He found Himself in after those forty days. Rather than to take control of the circumstance Himself, He stood in the Goodness of the Father and, having stood, continued to stand even though it might mean He would die. He waited on the Father and, in the end, the Father sent angels to minister to Him - He did not leave Yeshua forsaken (Matthew 4:1-11). That is the same promise we have in YHVH today. As James explains, we are tempted when we allow our own natural desires to lead our actions. (see A Pre-Determined Destination).

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places ."
Ephesians 6:12

So, just where are the "high" or "heavenly places"? To properly answer that question first requires an understanding of where heaven is. Isaiah 66:1 and Matthew 5:34 both tell us heaven is where Spirit, whose name is YHVH, abides on His throne in His Kingdom. Yeshua says in Luke 17:20-21 that Kingdom is "within or among" the faithful. The faithful are those who keep the Words of YHVH - just as Yeshua did (John 14:23-24, Psalm 31:23). If the words of Yeshua are true and heaven is within those in whom the Spirit of YHVH abides, then those "high places" are also within. If the Kingdom of YHVH abides within or among the faithful, then those within or among whom it abides become the Gatekeepers of YHVH's Kingdom - those charged with the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of the Virtue found in His Kingdom (Matthew 18:18). This is what the Hebrew perspective of scripture consistently considers a "high place". The self-determination of man found within or among those considered the faithful to exalt his will in opposition to what YHVH has declared becomes "wickedness" in those high places. Understanding this Hebrew perspective brings clarity to the words of Ephesians 6:12 above. The Greek word translated as "wickedness" in this verse is poneria, meaning "depravity" but is derived from poneros, which (as seen in the previous article) is translated as "evil", meaning "full of labours, annoyances, hardships" - not a persona. The English translated "wicked one" or "evil one" in 1John 5:18 can then be seen to mean that the person who keeps himself in YHVH's Words is not touched by this evil ("force of labor") created from his own determination. It is the same word Yeshua uses in Mark 7:21-23 as He is describing what comes out of the heart of a man that defiles him. It is also the same Greek word used in James 4:1 that tells us what causes warfare and fights - "the desires that war in your members". The Greek word melos means "a member of the body". This brings us back to the primary usage of the Hebrew word sa-tan as an accuser of the brethren.

"For although we do live in the world, we do not wage war in a worldly way; because the weapons we use to wage war are not worldly. On the contrary, they have YHVH's power for demolishing strongholds. We demolish arguments and every lofty opinion that exalts itself against the true knowledge of YHVH; we take every thought captive and bring it into obedience in accordance to the Life of the Messiah." 2Corinthians 10:3-5

The Greek verb translated "wage war" here as well as in James 4:1 and 1Peter 2:11 is strateuontai. It comes from strategos, a word that means, "to lead" (as in an army). Our English word "strategy" has this Greek word in its background. In these verses it is in the middle voice (which does not exist in English) meaning that the action described has special importance for the actor. In other words, this war is very personal - a battle that is waged within you! Overcoming means living in the kingdom of YHVH, the Source of Life. Losing means becoming a prisoner in the kingdom of darkness and death itself (John 3:19-21, see Just As - Even So for more). This is the most serious and consequential fight of your life - it is also the most invisible, the subtlest and the most insidious. Without vigilance, the war will be over before you even realize what has happened. What vigilance is required to take to defeat this enemy? The same vigilance as described as being used by the saints in Revelation 12:7-11 that were able to cast out into the world (not down) the accuser of the brethren from heaven, found within their midst. Just as with Job, we must read these verses from the same figurative perspective much of Hebrew scripture is written in. How was the accuser of the brethren overcome? By the saints accepting Yeshua as their Messiah, the blood of the Kinsman Redeemer restoring the Kingdom of YHVH to the rightful heirs of that Promise; the testimony of the Life of Yeshua the saints embraced by their actions; and they were resolved to not have any place found in their midst for accusing the brethren - even if it meant their physical death. The weapons of their warfare were those that captivated every thought exalting itself against the true knowledge of YHVH and bringing them into obedience to His Words.

Are there spirits of darkness loose in the world which can occupy the vessels of men? Yes, Yeshua dealt with them all the time (see where they came from in One Covenant) - but not in the "faithful" and not from an orchestrated center of power embodied in a single persona. The term "believer" found in Christianity has its root in the replacement theology which says a mere verbal assent is all that is required to enter the Kingdom of YHVH while, at the same time, separating the individual from the actionable Words of YHVH. Consequently, this is precisely why so many who call themselves Christians are found to be in need of deliverance from the effects of evil in their lives - because they are separated from the standards of living defining what keeps them free. The Hebrew word translated as "believed" which is counted to Abraham as righteousness in Genesis 15:6 is 'aman, - the same Hebrew word translated as "faithful" in Numbers 12:7 and Deuteronomy 7:9 meaning "to stand firm, to be established in, to stay, to sustain (as a workman), to support". It is interesting to observe that nowhere in the Messianic Writings are the faithful seen undergoing deliverance or healing.

"If we are faithless , He remains faithful " 2Timothy 2:13

What does it mean to be "faithless"? What are the alarms and the warning signs? Perhaps we can glean a little bit of insight if we look at the other uses of this Greek word apisteo. Mark 16:11 uses apisteo for disbelief. These people refused to accept the evidence of the Promised Messiah, the Resurrection of Yeshua. Luke 24:11 uses the word to describe discounting and minimizing a report. Acts 28:24 employs the verb to describe those who put no credence in the message. Romans 3:3 uses apisteo to portray the disobedient disregard of the Hebrews. In each case, the ones who were faithless refused to put their confidence in the proclaimed truth of the promised Messiah to YHVH's family of Israel, Yeshua - not another "Christian / Roman" god of mankind. They were ones who remained unconvinced. Unlike what popular Christian theology would like us to believe, the backside of this verse speaks of YHVH's faithfulness to His Nature - not to Him remaining faithful to anyone in their choice to separate themselves from Him by disregarding His Words. He cannot deny His very Nature - nor will He (2Timothy 2:13, Numbers 23:19). The real enemy found in the Messianic Writings is not some evil persona but is the refusal to be counted among those faithful to keep YHVH's Words - even while proclaiming "I believe".

The Warfare Series
Part One - Defining Enemies
Part Two - Chasing Lucifer
Part Three - Confronting Evil
Part Four - the Real Enemy
Part Five - Authority

"As for you, my son, know the Elohim of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for YHVH searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him ; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever." 1Chronicles 28:9

Please feel free to email me at While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.