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Reproduced by permission from "Blood on the Doorposts."
©1994 by William and Sharon Schnoebelen


Putting Teeth Back into Your Church
The Issue of Authority in Spiritual Warfare

Please pay close attention to these scriptures:

"…yea, let God be true, but every man a liar;"
Rom. 3:4

"When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:"
Matt. 8:16

"Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God."
Matt. 22:29

In this chapter, we are going to discuss our only offensive weapon-God's secret weapon, the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Since this is the only weapon with which we can fight back against Satan, it is important that we understand the underlying Biblical principles involved.

A key issue in any sort of spiritual warfare is spiritual authority. Most Christians understand that they have the authority of the Believer. But where does that authority come from, and upon what does it rest? Obviously, in the ultimate sense, it comes from Jesus. As the following scripture makes clear, there was something different in the way Jesus taught when He was on the earth:

"And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes."
Matt. 7:28-29

(See also Mark 1:27 and Luke 4:32.)

In contrast to the religious leaders of His day, Jesus taught with an authority the people had never seen. He had this authority because He was the Incarnate Word of God. He had the assurance that He was walking in the authority of God's Word because He WAS God's Word (John 1:14). Incredible as it sounds, Jesus granted His disciples some of that authority:

"Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases."
Luke 9:1

That is a wonderful gift. The entire ministry of the church of Jesus Christ rests upon that basis. This is backed up by the Great Commission passages in Mark 16:15-18 and Matthew 28:18-20, and also by Luke 10:17. The last scripture is important because some Christians believe that only the apostles had the authority to do these things. But the passage in Luke states that seventy other disciples-who were never apostles-were also given this authority.

Now that Jesus-the Word made Flesh-has ascended and is seated at the right hand of the Father, the church derives its authority from the written Word of God, the Holy Bible. Christians should look to the Bible as our ultimate source of all truth. It should be our only guide when it comes to how we attain salvation, live our lives and serve our King.

This is why the Word of God is such a vital tool in spiritual warfare-and probably the most important part of the armour. Without it, we become like the Jewish exorcists, who heard the demons say:

"Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?"
Acts 19:15

This is partially because without the Bible, we wouldn't even know what authority we had. It's also because the Bible is the source of our faith:

"…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Rom. 10:17

Cosmic Counterfeits

Most Christians understand that part of Satan's strategy is to try to rob the authority and glory away from Jesus Christ and place it in various pseudo-scriptures, false gods or their human "apostles."

Any Christian who surveys the religious land-scape today can see that it is littered with cults that try to steal the glory away from the true Jesus and place it in some human fraud, whether it is the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith or some New Age guru. All of these cults have "another Christ" (Matt. 24:24) and "another gospel" (Gal. 1:8).

We all know about the anti-Christ. The prefix "anti-" can mean two things. It can mean that which opposes OR it can mean a substitute for. Contrary to Hollywood movies, the anti-Christ is not going to be a supernatural ogre who will make Hitler look like Mr. Rogers. No, the anti-Christ will be the most perfect counterfeit for Jesus Christ yet seen on the earth. He'll be the most "godly" man of his time. He will be part of the greatest "church" in "Christendom," and a great ecumenical leader.

What is the essence of this anti-Christ spirit? While there WILL be a supreme, ultimate anti-Christ who is revealed during the Great Tribulation, he has been preceded by other anti-Christs (plural-2 John 7), people who are possessed by the spirit of anti-Christ to a greater or lesser degree. Here is what the Bible tells us:

"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
1 John 2:22-23

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
1 John 4:1-3

False Teeth Anyone?

The key test is that the anti-Christ spirit will deny that Jesus is (note the present tense) come in the flesh, and/or will deny the deity of Jesus. We have spoken of anti-Christs and alluded to the fact that the devil has his "anti-churches." Paul confirms that he also has an "anti-gospel" or an "anti-Bible:"

"For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."
2 Cor. 11:4

Many cults are successful because they offer a nearly perfect counterfeit of Jesus, His salvation, His church and His gospel. Why are we surprised then when Satanism runs rampant, or when the majority of converts to cults like Mormonism come from supposedly historic Christian churches? What are we doing wrong?

Part of the reason the church of Jesus Christ is so reluctant to confront these warfare issues head-on is that many good people in leadership have been defanged, declawed-and dare we say it-spiritually gelded by an anti-Christ spirit which has pervaded the highest levels of Christian pulpits and academia.

Most "leaders" won't attack the devil and defend the faith once delivered unto the saints because Satan has stolen their "teeth"-their authority! If they are doing anything at all, they are trying to "gum" the devil to death, because they have lost their spiritual authority.

This issue of spiritual authority involves how to take back-through the Word of God-that ground which Satan has stolen.

A Case Study in Religious "Castration"

In an earlier chapter we spoke about the need for saved cultists to renounce their false scriptures like the Book of Mormon, and shut doorways for satanic access into their lives. Now we need to draw that principle a bit closer to home! We ask, how about a set of scriptures that deny the Virgin Birth?

"The child's father and mother marvelled at what was said about him."

COMPARE TO:

"And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him."
Luke 2:33

Who was Jesus' father, Joseph or God? How about a set of scriptures that casts doubt on Jesus being the son of God?

"Indeed, Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed."

COMPARE TO:

"For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together."
Acts 4:27

"Child" more clearly declares Jesus as the Son of God. We are all God's servants.

How about a set of scriptures that throws out the clearest verse in the entire Bible on the Trinity? (1 John 5:7)

How about a set of scriptures that throw out the blood of Jesus?

"…in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

COMPARE TO:

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:"
Col. 1:14

How about a set of scriptures that deliberately avoid confessing that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh?

"…He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world and was taken up in glory."

COMPARE TO:

"And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."
1 Tim. 3:16

Finally, how about a set of scriptures that attack the very verse (1 John 4:2) which gives the criteria for discerning an anti-Christ influence by placing it in the past tense?

"Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God…"

By now many of you have figured out what we are talking about. It is a set of scriptures drawn from the same corrupt manuscripts as the "New World Translation" of the Jehovah's Witnesses. It is a set of scriptures translated by men who deny that we hold the inerrant Word of God in our hands today. It is also one of the best-selling "bibles" in Christian bookstores, the New International Version, (NIV).

Trusting in the (Academic) Arm of Flesh?

We are certain that at least a few readers feel like we are "messing with their heads." We may have even popped a few of your blood vessels. Isn't the NIV recommended by many great men of God? Isn't it a more modern, better and more readable translation? Does it really make any difference which Bible "version" you use, as long as it isn't some obviously flawed thing like the JW's "New World Translation" (NWT)?

Recall what we have established from the Bible-if anyone denies that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh, then that is of the spirit of anti-Christ. We have just shown that, at least in one place, the NIV denies that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). It also denies the Virgin Birth, the Blood of Jesus, etc. etc.

So does every other major, popular "modern Bible" on the market. There is only one Bible in English today which does not deny those things-the Authorized Version-1611 King James Bible.

Here is the question: If you use the NWT of the Jehovah's Witnesses, what do you have? A "Bible" which is perhaps 90% alright and 10% error. If you use the NAS (New American Standard), you have a "Bible" which is perhaps 94% okay and 6% error. If you use the NIV "Bible" you may have a book which is maybe 95% alright and 5% in error.*1*

But the trouble is-if it even has .0001% error in it, it cannot BE the Word of God! God's Word, HE SAYS, is perfect (Psalm 19:7). God, as the saying goes, does not make-or write-junk! If it isn't 100% perfect, then it isn't the Word of God.

The Bible tells us that there is the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:6). Obviously, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Who-or what-could be this "spirit of error?" Evidently, it is Satan, or one of his minions.

Following through, we see that Jesus is the "Living Word," (John 1:1) and the real Bible is the "Living Word" (Heb. 4:12). This is where the "rubber meets the road" in terms of spiritual warfare. The Spirit of Truth and the Incarnate Word are ALIVE in your Bible, if you have a real, God-breathed Bible (2 Tim. 3:16).

The problem is that the position of 99% of the "respectable" Christian scholars and pastors who are recommending the NIV or the NAS is that you do not have a perfect inspired Bible in your hands. They will tell you that only the "original autographs" written by the apostles are inspired.*2* Of course, the "original autographs" don't exist anymore, so therefore you have to trust these learned "men of God" with their vast erudition and understanding of the Greek to tell you what the text really means.

These scholars are telling us that we can't really access the true and perfect Word of God anymore, but with their intellectual prowess in Greek and Hebrew, THEY can dispense the truth of the Lord to us. Doesn't that sound too much like the Vatican's approach to the Bible? That should not surprise you because the texts upon which these modern translations are based are Roman Catholic. One of them, the most popular and highly regarded, is even called "Vaticanus" (from the Vatican) and can only be seen in the Vatican Library.

They are asking us to trust them-sinful, fallible, imperfect human beings-to interpret the Word of God for us. That is contrary to scripture (2 Pet. 1:20).

Another Bible, Another Spirit?

If your "Bible" has places where it denies or deletes the fundamentals, and if it isn't 100% perfect, can it really be the inerrant Word of God? Can it have the Spirit of God dwelling within it? Anything which tries to take away glory from Jesus is courting an anti-Christ spirit, to say the least!

Suppose you are doing your spiritual warfare using a Bible with an anti-Christ spirit in it? How effective a "Sword" would you think that would be? If you don't have a true Bible, then you don't have a true spirit IN your Bible. It's that simple. Here is how this works in practice:

When you read the Holy Bible-especially out-loud-you transfer the Holy Spirit into yourself in a new and vital way. This is like the fresh manna which God gives us anew every day. Reading the Bible silently is fine for communion with God, for strengthening the inner man and for building the temple of the Holy Spirit-but to have a spiritual impact in your home, and to get into serious spiritual warfare you have to read the Bible out loud because the devil can't read our minds.

What if there is a faulty Bible-an anti-Bible, or "other gospel" (Gal.1:8)-trying to get the glory as if it were the living Word of God? If we read THIS regularly, what sort of spirit would be coming into us when we read silently? When we read out loud, what spirit would come into our home and into our prayer closets? How would this effect our family? What spirit is transferred by all these modern "Bibles" today? The Spirit of truth-OR the spirit of error (1 John 4:6)?

Many wonder why so much of the preaching today is lifeless and insipid, why the church is not smashing through the gates of hell like it used to. Others wonder why their prayers have less power than they used to possess. Might this not be traced to the proliferation of Bibles which may not be Bibles? What if Satan has managed to defang the Christian church by replacing its swords with butter-knives?

United We Stand?

Yet another point of view on this disturbing issue is the total disappearance of group, communal Bible-reading from our churches. If the pastor of most churches were to ask his congregation to open their Bibles and begin reading aloud together (which used to be common practice), there would be a babel of confusion. Words would be changed, phrase order would be different and sometimes entire verses would be missing. But let's look at some amazing prayer meetings in the Book of Acts:

"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."
Acts 1:14

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
Acts 2:1-4

"And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."
Acts 2:46-47

"And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:? And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."
Acts 4:24,31

(See also Acts 5:12, 8:6, 15:25.)

The power of the Holy Spirit is awesome when there is true unity, not just ecumenical chumminess, but true unity of doctrine-doctrine derived from the perfect Word of God. People were being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. Entire buildings were shaken! That's the power of being "with one accord." But how can we have unity of true doctrine when we cannot even agree on which Bible to use? See what a trick the devil has pulled on many Christians?

I'll never forget the time I was teaching in a church on how to witness to Jehovah's Witnesses. I was explaining how to teach a Witness about the Trinity (a doctrine the J.W.s deny). I had everyone turn to 1 John 5:7. One sweet lady raised her hand and said, "That's not in my Bible." She had an NIV.

Imagine coming up against a Jehovah's Witness (whom everyone agrees is a strong opponent) and finding that your "Sword of the Spirit" has the cutting power of a limp noodle! This happened because the woman trusted slick advertising, smooth Christian bookstore salespeople (who often get bonus points and prizes for shoving NIV Bibles down the throats of unsuspecting customers), or a pastor who should have known better.

If the Church of Jesus Christ cannot even pray one verse of the Bible together in unity, how can they stand shoulder-to-shoulder against Satan?

Let God be True, But Every Man a Liar

Before you dismiss all this as too bizarre for consideration, here are a couple of concepts for you. Jesus promises us:

"For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
Matt. 5:18

"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Matt. 24:35

(See also Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33 for verbatim repetition of this verse.)

Do you think maybe God is trying to tell us something here? Peter promised us:

"For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."
1 Pet. 1:24-25

If this is true, then if even one verse in the Bible is wrong, then it cannot be God's Word. It doesn't matter what all the Bible scholars, pastors and teachers in the world say. If God said it, it's true. That is the simple, fundamental foundation of the entire Christian faith!

You could take the minds and learning of all the great pastors and scholars in the entire world-and roll them all into one. Next to the mind of God, they all have the intelligence of a learning-disabled fruit fly! I'm certain that all those men would agree with that statement, but then they turn around and correct His Book! Where is their common sense?

If the above scriptures are true, then there has to be a Bible somewhere which is absolutely and completely perfect and inerrant-the Word of God-that we can lay our hands upon and read from and preach with. Contrary to what your pastor might tell you, it cannot be a "consensus Bible," a mixture of parts of the KJV, parts of the NIV and parts of the NAS, because the modern Bibles contradict the KJV in about 30,000 places.

Logic tells us that a consensus cannot be arrived at between two contradictory things. They would cancel each other out. Black blended with white equals gray! In simpler terms, does 1 John 5 have the 7th verse in it, or not? Either the Bible which deletes it is false or the Bible which leaves it in is false. Logic clearly shows that they both cannot be true Bibles!

Paul warns us in Galatians 5:9, "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." This means that even a tiny bit of sin or wickedness (leaven) quickly spreads to corrupt the entire system. Besides, who decides which parts from which Bible are right? Do we dare let any human being judge the Bible, no matter how wise, learned or Godly they are. Listen to what the Lord says about this issue:

"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."
Ps. 138:2

If God doesn't like you taking His name in vain (Ex. 20:7), imagine how unhappy He would be with someone who took His Holy Word in vain!

It is all a question of authority! If we say that God wrote only one Bible, and for us today it is the Authorized Version-1611, King James Version, then our problem is solved.

But if we say this version is nice, and that version is nice, and it is a matter of preference, then the authority becomes human opinion. Whether it is a Mormon prophet saying only they can interpret the Bible, or the pope or a Bible scholar with PhD's-let God be true, but every man a liar!

Without divine authority, the Bible becomes just another book, and ministers of the gospel might as well be Buddhists. But IF when you read God's Words, you KNOW that they are all God's Words (not just God's Word), just as He said them, perfect and singularly without error-just as Jesus promised us, consider what that does to your spiritual authority!

Contrary to what many Bible teachers say, you DO need the Words of God (all of them) not just something which is the Word of God. Every single word God has given us is indescribably precious:

"But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
Matt. 4:4

We would be upset with any Bible scholar or teacher who tried to take JUST ONE of those words away, if we need them for spiritual life. Job said:

"I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food."
Job 23:12b

For a sampling of how powerful and vital every individual word which the Lord has given us is, see John 6:63, 68; 8:47; 14:23; 17:8, 1 Tim. 6:3, 2 Tim. 1:13, Rev. 1:3; 21:5; 22:18-19.

The Final Determination

How do we know that the King James Version (KJV) is the Word of God? Here are some quick, "down and dirty" reasons why the KJV is the Word of God?*3* You can tell by…

  • The incredible faith and character of the men who translated it. They spent hours in prayer daily and had no doubt that they were handling the true Word of God!
  • How much the devil hates it!
  • The fruit it has borne! Has any other Bible produced the kind of sin-killing, soul-saving, devil-chasing, snot-slinging, tavern-closing revivals that the KJV has?
  • How many millions have saved by it? Wesley used it, Spurgeon used it, Bunyan used it, Jonathan Edwards used it, Finney used it, Moody used it, Billy Sunday used it, the "early" Billy Graham used it-and the list goes on!
  • How it exalts the name, deity and the blood of Jesus Christ more than any other version by a country mile!
  • The fact that it is universally despised by liberal, Pablum-drooling theologians who deny the inerrancy of scripture. (You can tell a Book by its enemies, NOT by its cover.)
  • The fact that, in our many experiences, when you simply open it, demons begin to tremble.
  • The fact that when you read it out-loud, you kick some serious slats right out of Satan's kingdom!

Why is all this? Because, like Jesus, those who preach or minister out of the TRUE Word of God, do so with authority (Mt. 7:28-29)! When we pray for people to be liberated, the people praying and reading the Bible out-loud behind us are using the one, true and perfect Word of God-and they KNOW it! Praise God!

This leads us to the bottom line in terms of spiritual warfare: The devil has a confusing mass of Bibles out there. Do you have the Word of God? Do you have the living Words of God? Or do you have a dead book?

"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."
John 15:7

Jesus was able to minister with authority because He had no doubt about where His authority came from. Some Bible verses state that He cast out demons with His Word. When you pray, teach and preach out of that Book, the Holy Spirit is present in an unprecedented way. We have found repeatedly that when people we minister to study that Book, and memorize it religiously, their recovery time is sliced in half.

If you are using another book as your warrant of authority, what if it's an anti-Christ spirit? Please think about that!

Please understand, God will bless your work and your good intentions, even if you have been ministering out of a fake "bible." Praise the Lord, we live in an age of grace! If the Lord can use a donkey to preach (Num. 22:28), He can certainly get people Born Again or set free out of an apostate "bible."

However, we are in the last days, and the war is heating up fast. Preachers are dropping like flies. Christians are wandering about, wrecked and wounded. Don't we need the sharpest, truest "Sword" we can get?

Now you are going to have to pray about this and see if it's time to toss your NIV, RSV or NAS in the bonfire of vanities. In this war, the Sword of the Spirit, the Holy Bible-is our only offensive weapon. What if yours shoots blanks?

"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
Mark 8:38


Footnotes

  1. Beware of the "New" King James Version, which is also full of pitfalls. Also, its "logo" is a disguised seal of the anti-Christ , a 666. Satan is such an ego-maniac, he loves to "sign" his work.
    (Return to text).
  2. Stewart Custer, The Truth About the King James Version Controversy, Bob Jones University Press, 1981, pp.12-13, provide a good example of this position.
    (Return to text).
  3. For more on the superiority of the King James Version over other modern "Bibles," see Let's Weigh the Evidence, Barry Burton, Chick Pub., 1983; Which Bible?, Dr. David Otis Fuller, Grand Rapids, Intl. Pub., 1970; The Answer Book, Dr. Samuel Gipp, Bible Literature & Missionary Found., 1989; New Age Bible Versions, Gail Riplinger, AV Publications, 1993; The Christian's Handbook of Manuscript Evidence, Dr. Peter S. Ruckman, Pensacola Bible Press, 1976.
    (Return to text).

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