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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Spiritual Warfare & Territorial Spirits

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 Spiritual Warfare & Territorial Spirits


by Japie Grobler

The current idea that man is going to be in charge through Spiritual Warfare is becoming all the more popular and is gaining ground, even in the more orthodox churches. Christians will take over cities, countries and even nations for Jesus. Prayer networks, Marches for Jesus, Twenty-Four Hour prayer vigils and Seven-day long prayer chains are strongly motivated and organized by and through actions like Peter Wagner’s World Prayer Center (WPC) in Colorado, U.S.A. and Bennie Mostert’s Network for United Prayer in SA (NUPSA) are becoming almost everyday activities. Strongholds have to be and are being identified and Spiritual Mapping becomes essential so that "Strongmen" can be bound. "Gatekeepers" are appointed that can open and shut gates through prayer, even guard the gates over areas, cities and even countries.

The Prayer of Jabez and the Transformations video are both adding fuel to an distorted idea that exalts man and not God. Man must prepare God’s Kingdom on earth so that Jesus Christ can come again. This is not the message of the Bible! Jesus wondered whether He would find faith on earth when He returns (Luke 18:8).

Paul writes in 1 Cor. 1:18-31 that the message of the cross is foolishness to the world. This unchangeable central message of the Bible puts the emphasis on God, that He is on the throne and in control, and humbles man to the necessary position of self denial. This message is never going to be popular. Satan knew it in the garden of Eden when he tempted man with the idea of becoming like God and still does so today – a message strongly preached by the Word of Faith Movement, for instance. And man enticed by the idea remains guilty of Romans 1:25 of worshiping the creature (himself) rather than the Creator.

In close association with this idea we have the ever increasing craze of deliverance. People, even Christians must be delivered from all kinds of problems, sins, bindings, generation curses and even demons.

What does the Bible teach about things like binding and loosing, deliverance, generation curses, demon possession, gatekeepers, spiritual mapping and strongholds?

The Great Commission:

It is clear from Scripture that we are to evangelize the world with the Bible as our sole guide for faith and practice. It requires us to adhere to the content of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19) and the nature and authority that Jesus gave to the Church and as passed on by the apostles. Is it not strange then that nowhere in Scripture could practices like those referred to above be found? Like with all cults we once again have to look carefully at Scripture to see how well-known ministers in all sincerity misinterpret the Word of God to lend support to their views which influence Christians to such a great extent.

Spiritual Warfare:

Nowhere in Scripture can these words be found. How do the proponents of this idea then arrive at this concept?

One of their favorite Scriptures is Ephesians 6:10-18 regarding putting on the armor of God.

When the important points in these verses are considered in its context as well as that of other Scriptures, then we find that:

1. There is no mention of a war in which the believer must attack Satan and his demonic forces. The opposite is rather true. Our fight is a defensive one, not an offensive one. The distinction is made by the type of sword in verse 17. It is not the heavy sword used by the Roman soldiers when they attacked, but the short dagger-type sword they used in defense and close combat.

2. After having put on the full armor then the believer has to subject himself to God in prayer (v.18) so that he may be prepared to "make known the mystery of the gospel." Note that prayer is not part of the armor – it is appealing to God for strength, endurance and faith. It seems clear then that true spiritual warfare is fought by preaching the Gospel.

An excellent example is found in Acts 17. Paul is in the city of Athens on Mars hill among an abundance of idolatry. Imagine this: In the shadows of the temples of the head god Zeus and his consort, Diana goddess of lust, Mars, Jupiter and many others he stands in the Areopagus and preaches the Gospel. He had all the opportunities in the world to bind strongmen, spiritually map out the city and identify and name demonic forces over areas, organize Jesus marches and prayer vigils, wage spiritual warfare, appoint gatekeepers, identify and exorcise demons, cleanse areas and claim them for Jesus, but what did he do? He defended the Gospel and reasoned in the synagogues and in public with unbelievers with the result that ". . .some men believed, joining themselves to him, among whom also were both Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris, and others with them."

(v.34, Green’s Literal Translation) The answer therefore, lies in ""[submit[ting] yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7). It is not achieved through all kinds of unbiblical human efforts. The battle has been completely fought and won on the cross. It is through this that, "Giving praise to the Father who has given us a part in the heritage of the saints in light; Who has made us free from the power of evil and given us a place in the kingdom of the Son of His love." (Col. 1:12-13, Bible in Basic English, BBE. Emphasis mine). It is clear from this that God delivered those in Christ from the power of darkness and translated them into His kingdom of light and the darkness can not have any hold over them. If we still have to battle the devil and his foes then God did not complete His work of redemption on the cross. We are to do what God says in His word: "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil." (Eph. 4:23-27). It is, therefore, a matter of renewal of the mind (Rom. 12:22), willful decisions that have to be made, not being delivered from this or that binding.

To connect Daniel 10:13 to Ephesians 6:12 and conclude that we are to actively wage war against spiritual powers, ie., demonic forces is to use Scripture completely out of its context. A strong warning comes from Jude 9: "But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’"

Spiritual Mapping:

The promoters of spiritual warfare make it clear that proper spiritual warfare cannot be fought unless spiritual mapping is introduced and applied. What is this, you may ask? This unbiblical technique is supposed to enable Christians to take areas, cities and even countries for God. How is this done? First of all the name of the strongman has to be known! To achieve this the secular and religious history of an area, city or country has to be researched to ascertain and determine the identity or identities of the ruling spirits over such areas. Once you know this, Dick Bernal tells us, then you apply a four step method to take a city etc., for God.

1. Call for prayer and fasting;

2. Identify the spirit or principality;

3. Determine its geographical location; and

4. Call him/it by name.

(Storming Hell’s Brazen Gates through Militant, Violent, Prevailing Prayer, Jubilee Christian Center, p. 55)

How simple. To ride your area of drug abuse by teenager, just map out the area, identify the strongman through this technique and bind him and your area is free of drug abuse. Bind the strongman of lust and prostitution stops, etc. etc. This concept merely highlights the grave error in theology off those who support this view. Earl Paulk in his book Held in the Heavens: "Christ in us must take dominion over the earth. . . the next move of God cannot occur until Christ in us takes dominion."

This concept has its roots in the incorrect interpretation of Matthew 12:27 and Mark 3:27 dealing with the binding of the strongman and Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 referring to the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Let us briefly deal with the binding of the strongman. The context is found in the preceding verses. Jesus heals a man who was deaf and dumb and in the process exorcises an evil spirit. The Pharisees questioned His technique but Jesus stated that He drove the devil out by the Spirit of God. If he had done it through Beelzebub, then the kingdom of evil would have been divided among itself, which would have rendered it weak and almost powerless, eventually leading to its downfall. Jesus referred to His overcoming of the Devil in the wilderness when He was tempted. This is where He resisted him and weakened him. Jesus, therefore, bound the strongman. If believers consider themselves as having special power over spiritual entities because they hold the keys of the kingdom then they err in very much the same way the Roman Catholic Church errs when they see the Pope as the one holding these keys. Believers open or close heaven to unbelievers by preaching the Gospel or not preaching the Gospel. It is the Gospel that calls people to repentance, not spiritual mapping, identifying strongholds and binding strongmen!

Demonic Possession:

Sins do not originate with demonic influences, but in the hearts/minds of man.

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Gen. 6:5.

It is time we place the responsibility where it ought to be – with man himself. He must take responsibility for his sins and not look for a way out. That he needs to be delivered from this or that binding or even have a demon of alcohol, lust, lying, anger, or whatever driven out – whatever happened to: If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36.

If we continue to seek release from the sins of the flesh through other means than the cross, then we reject the completed work of Christ on the cross – He bore ALL our sins in His body (I Pet. 2:24). Christ’s words, It is finished were then spoken in vain.

Forefather Curses:

Part of the spiritual warfare then and bindings is that we are told these could be the result of one or more of our parents or grandparents having been witches, freemasons – or that they delved in the occult. Therefore, we have to research our past and actively break these curses and confess them. After all the Ten Commandments state: . . . for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me…." (Ex. 20:5). The history of the kings of Israel and Judah serve as an excellent example. Those kings who upheld idolatry were punished, but those kings (sons of kings before them) who destroyed the idols and repented, found favor in God’s eyes and they were blessed. Ezekiel 18 also refutes this delusion.

What better example than that of the blind man in John 9:13:

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him."

This man’s infirmity was not because of sin. Jesus did not drive out a devil of blindness or release him from one or other binding!


So-called gatekeepers form an integral part of this concept. The gatekeeper’s purpose is to stand guard over areas, cities and even countries. Through active spiritual warfare they close gates over their territories to the identified strongmen and evil spirits to prevent them from entering. Thereby they protect the area from evil. They also pray down the working of the Holy Spirit for specific purposes – i.e. they allow the good to enter. A prayer by Bill Hamon serves as a perfect example:

Father, as a father of the prophetic, we release supernatural signs and wonders and apostolic miracles. We open the Eastern Gate, and let the King of Glory come in! Come in! Come in! Come in! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Halleluia! Yeah! Wow! All right.!" (
The duties of these gatekeepers are:

1. Intercessors – pulling down strongholds by spirit-filled prayer, which includes musicians,

2. Apostolic provision – bringing wealth stored up for kingdom work,

3. Prophetic proclamation – announcing God’s purposes,

4. Warriors – soldiers with a warrior’s heart (spiritual warfare),

5. Apostolic leaders – bring forth divine doctrine and government. (

This concept has its origin in the twisting of scriptures in the OT that refer to the elders and others who sat at the gates of the cities to deliberate over important matters as well as the gatekeepers of the Temple. The texts referring to "keys of David" and the gatekeeper of the sheepfold (John 10) are also misapplied by proponents of this concept in an effort to support their teachings.

Let us not loose sight of the connection of this concept with the occult. Witches call on the female guardians or spirits of the east, north, west and south to guard these portals when they draw their magic circle at meetings of their covens. This stems from Buddhism – in drawings of a mandala, there are gatekeepers at the four corners who stand guard over areas.

Editor’s Note: The above was excerpted from an article by Japie Grobler in his newsletter entitled SENTINEL, published in South Africa. VOL. 9. No.2. (Used with Permission). The following article I have had in my files for many years and do not know the author of the article. However, it has been helpful many times and I take the liberty of sharing it with you.

[url=]Original Link - Discernment Ministries[/url]

 2007/8/29 18:53

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