To Demand the Withdrawal of the Oppressor
...to Live in the Presence of God
THERE ARE THREE POWERFUL STATEMENTS in the New Testament regarding what the Lord Jesus, our Substitute, did to the devil, our oppressor. We need to learn these and hold them available for the Holy Spirit to quicken them in us. Be assured of this: our conflict with the oppressor will continue. The intensity of his attacks will increase. But, our faith and security in the Lord will remain strong to the end as the Holy Spirit brings upon us an anointing of confidence.
The words of the context surrounding these three statements are important, but seeing them alone helps us remember them so they can always be resident within us. Mark them in your Bible. Write them out on cards and place them in a prominent place. Memorize them. Meditate on them. Let their power find release in you.
• Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
• Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that
had the power of death, that is, the devil.
• I John 3:8b....... For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
(I encourage you to become familiar with the whole passage containing each of these verses. Know them in the context in which they were written.)
TAKE SPECIAL NOTE of the three words we've underlined. Two of them are the same here, but they are each different in the Original. Our understanding increases as we see their meanings.
In Col 2:15 spoiled is from the Greek apekdúomai. This word means to strip someone of all authority--to despoil, to defrock, to defeat them to the point of utter humiliation. Jesus did this to principalities and powers, the spiritual forces sent from the realm of Satan to oppose Him--and us. Picture if you will a band of captives brought back from battle, defeated and humiliated, paraded in chains for all to see. See that the most prominent ones in the display are the principle ones who led the attack. This is what Jesus did to the principalities, the leaders of Satan's force. They are the giants of his spiritual realm, the ones next to himself who oppose God's rule in the earth. What authority knowing their defeat gives us! We can say to the principalities and powers, "The Lord Jesus has stripped you of all your power. Withdraw from my life. I submit to His authority, not yours." The only hope an evil prince has to accomplish his purpose is when we allow him to do so. Thus, he seeks to work without being detected.
He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it contains some powerful and important words. With boldness, Jesus made a public spectacle of the principalities and powers. Note the word openly. It is from the Greek parresía (par/rheh/SEE-a), an important word for us which we shall see later. It means "with open boldness." The word triumphing is from a word that means to make a public show or spectacle. There was nothing private about the overthrow of Satan. We can participate with the Lord Jesus in making it openly manifest.
In Heb 2:14 the word destroy is from the Greek katargéo. This means to render someone powerless, to take from them all ability to accomplish anything, to reduce them to complete inactivity. Jesus took our place to do this to the devil. He entered the ultimate physical stronghold of the satanic realm, death itself. He destroyed him who held the dominion there. In Rev 1:18 Jesus said, I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. The word power in Heb 2:14 is krátos. It means "governmental power." Thus, Jesus rendered Him powerless who held the dominion in death's realm. No longer can Satan rule us from this sphere. For those of us committed to the Lord Jesus, the beginning of our life, its continuance, and its end are in His hands alone.
In I John 3:8 the word destroy is from the simple and beautiful word lúo. This is the first Greek word I ever learned. I was taught it meant "to loose." When I saw it in this verse, that meaning didn't make sense. I pursued its meaning and found it means "to loose" in the sense of undoing something that has been wrought. It means to untangle, undo, dissolve. We need to know this regarding the works of the devil. The mess into which he brings some lives is so complex and hopeless that only the powerful work of the Lord Jesus Himself can undo it. This is where hopelessness takes exit and we see--over and over again, in life after life--that Jesus can untangle a mess. There's no satanic complication in any life too great for Him.
When the power of the three statements we are considering resides in us, we have bold authority to demand the withdrawal of the enemy from our lives. We cannot deny his determination to hold on, however, if he finds legal ground in us. If there is ground in our life that belongs to his realm, he will harass us to possess it.
Therefore, consider these two statements:
• Eph 4:27 Neither give place to the devil. This means, "Don't give the devil any ground in your life that he can claim as his own."
• Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. We take note that there is a twofold requirement: submit to God and resist the devil. This means, "Place yourself under the authority of God; come out from under the authority of the devil."
NOT ONLY FOR US DID THE LORD JESUS strip the devil of his authority, He also opened the way for us to come into the Presence of God. Thus, He gives us a twofold freedom: to take leave of Satan and to come before God.
A friend drew my attention to that very important word parresía which we saw in Col 2:15. Literally it means freedom to speak with boldness and assurance. It is often translated confidence or boldness. We could translate it "bold freedom." It is the true "freedom of speech" for which mankind longs. It reaches in two directions. It means bold freedom to stand before the devil and demand his withdrawal from any situation. But it also means bold freedom to come unto our Heavenly Father, converse with Him freely, and live in His Presence.
It is in the direction of these two freedoms that the Holy Spirit is quickening and empowering us for the last days.
We find many people with their confidence weakened in these two areas. They are fearful and ignorant when it comes to dealing with the devil and they are fearful and ignorant when it comes to dwelling in the presence of God.
When I'm tired, when I'm bothered by what someone has done, when I have not been meditating on the Word of God, when I have not been still in His presence, my confidence becomes weak. The enemy rejoices in this. So, with new lessons we are learning to wait on the Lord, to rest in His work, to give attention to Him instead of to those who provoke us.
Let me direct you to several places in the New Testament that use parresía to speak of our bold freedom in the Presence of God. Soak in these verses. They provide valuable information for the time of trouble.
• Eph 3:12--(Jesus Christ) In Whom we have boldness (parresía) and access with confidence by the faith of Him. In Christ we have freedom to come into the presence of God with the assurance that He receives us as He receives His Only Begotten Son. What confidence this gives us when we pray! And remember, we have a dual position with Him--on earth and in heaven. We are there in Him; He is here in us. With confidence, we can stand in the midst of trouble, demand the withdrawal of Satan's forces, and rejoice in the presence of God without changing our physical location.
• Heb 3:6 But Christ as a Son over His Own house; Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence (parresía) and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. As we lay hold on our freedom in Christ, and hold it fast, and as we rejoice in the hope that becomes ours in every circumstance, we discover we are His Own house, His actual dwelling place. Even in the midst of trouble, He continues to live in us. We're admonished not to let this go.
• Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly (with parresía) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. The admonition goes further. When we are going through difficulty, let us use the bold freedom that is ours to draw right on up to God's throne where His enabling grace prevails. Here we find the very heart of God. The boldness that we have in Christ allows us to come into the Throne even when we feel unworthy in ourselves. This is the reason for grace.
• Heb 10:19,22a Having therefore, brethren, boldness (parresía) to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith... Where does this boldness bring us? Right on into the holiest place of all. The admonition continues: come on in close, closer, closer still to the heart of God! Come in with a firm persuasion that He receives you because you come in the train of Him Who took your place in sin.
• Heb 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence (parresía), which hath great recompense of reward. In other words, "Don't let this go!" Nothing is so valuable for the days upon us. In the days to come, when every sweet frame of life will face the battering rams of affliction, what we lay out here will have more meaning than ever. Store it in your heart and mind. Practice living with confidence in His Presence every day.
LOOK NOW AT THESE THREE PRECIOUS STATEMENTS from John regarding the freedom Christ Jesus gives us to live in the presence of God. With the utmost confidence in His love and care, we can stand in the day of judgment. We can come through any trial. We can ask anything according to His will and know that He will hear us.
• I John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear; we may have confidence (parresía), and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. Ashamed means "confounded and brought to disgrace." This is what Satan wants to do with us before the Lord Jesus returns. He will make every effort to strip us of our confidence and bring us to shame. The secret to defeat him comes when we learn to abide in Jesus Christ. According to the preceding verse, the Holy Spirit is teaching us now to do this very thing. … Even as it (the anointing of the Holy Spirit) hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him--I John 2:27b.
• I John 3:21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence (parresía) toward God. It is out of the heart that confidence arises. If our heart condemn us, then our confidence is weakened. Condemn means "to find fault with, or to bring accusation against." Frequently, one's ability to hold on to confidence in the presence of God arises out of something the heart knows but the mind will not admit. A lie, a misconduct, a point of bitterness, a jealousy, a perverse lust, an attraction to something unseemly all may lie in the heart while the mind may deny their presence. But if they are in the heart, confidence before God is weakened. That's the reason the Holy Spirit is getting deep into our hearts to cleanse us there.
Many of us have thoughts and ideas that were placed in us as we were growing up that now hinder our relationship with the Lord. How many times we have heard, "God will get you for that!" We come to think of Him as an unapproachable Magistrate in heaven Who keeps record of all wrongdoing. Sin does demand judgment, but the Lord Jesus has taken ours and has opened the way for us to come on into His Father's loving arms.
• I John 4:17 Herein is our love (or "love with us") made perfect, that we may have boldness (parresía) in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. This is something wonderful! When we are in Christ, no matter where we are or what we are facing, we remain in the presence of God. Just as the Lord Jesus, our Substitute, is there before the Father, so are we here in this world. We are there in Him; He is here in us. We can never say this too much. There is no conflict brought on by man, Satan, circumstance, or natural disaster that can alter who or where we are in Him.
• I John 5:14,15 And this is the confidence (parresía) that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us. And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him. Take note of the word know two times in this passage. It is from the Greek oída, an old Perfect form with the sense of the Present. This means the knowing we have now is based on what has been so tried and perfected that there is no room for doubt. It is a perfect kind of knowing that even supersedes faith. Faith still has a reach in it as it lays hold on what it cannot fully see. But the tests that produce this kind of knowing have been so severe and the standard by which the judgment has been made are so final that nothing of doubt can intervene. What a place of confidence this is for the time of the end!
WHILE WE EXAMINE this powerful understanding, I want you to go with me to a Scripture the Lord used to begin teaching me what is ours in Christ. If I were left on my own to search this out, I would not have gone to this passage first, but this is where I just happened to be spending time in those days. I was searching out the truth revealed through the Prophet Zechariah. As I was bathing in his Word, I began seeing that the anointing to be released from the Spirit of God would do a twofold work at the time of the end. It will teach us to retain a bold freedom as we take our release from Satan, and it will teach us to maintain a bold freedom as we live in the presence of God.
I remember teaching from that wonderful Chapter 4 of Zechariah. As usual, my instruction for instructing others was coming from the Holy Spirit. I had just graduated from Seminary where I had received instruction from the learned Doctors of Theology, but everything was flat until the Holy Spirit came upon the scene. Let me draw your attention to some of Zechariah's verses I was considering in those days. They, like other Scriptures we have known for years, are taking on new dimensions of understanding as we draw closer to the end of this age.
We take note of something the Prophet saw and what he requested of an angel who talked with him regarding what he saw. . .1 have looked, and behold • a candlestick all of gold, with • a bowl upon the top of it, and his • seven lamps thereon, and • seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: and • two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? (Zechariah 4:2b-4)
The angel didn't undertake to explain what the candlestick of all gold meant, or the bowl upon the top of it, or the seven lamps or the seven pipes. He simply said: This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. (4:6b) Zechariah was a Prophet among the Jews when they were returning from their captivity in Babylon. They were under the leadership of a man called Zerubbabel. There was much intrusion and opposition from the enemy, especially as they began rebuilding the temple that had been destroyed in the overthrow seventy years before. This was a prophetic word to Zerubbabel assuring him the work on the temple would come to completion.
As a type, Zerubbabel foreshadowed the Lord Jesus and His work in building a temple for the last days. Many of the terms Zechariah used were end-time terms. In fact, there are about thirty verses in the Book of Revelation that use terminology from Zechariah. One is Rev 2:1 where we see the Lord Jesus walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. Here we perceive that they represent the church. This was something Zechariah could not fully understand in his day. The seven lamps and the seven pipes represented the work of the Holy Spirit Who, for Zechariah's day, would anoint the people rebuilding the old Jerusalem temple. The whole word pointed, however, to a far greater anointing that would come upon those involved in the building of the end-time temple--of which you and I are a part.
Zechariah asked, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? (4:11) I'm glad he asked. I would never have understood.
The answer came: These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. (4:14) Literally, this means, "These are the two sons of oil." They were standing upon the right side and upon the left side of the candlestick. They were also standing by the Lord of the whole earth. They had a dual position--in the presence of God and by the sides of the candlestick. Thus they brought the presence of God with them to the candlestick.
At this point I needed more instruction than Zechariah received. This could only come from the Lord. I asked what was the meaning of the two anointed ones represented by the two olive trees? He did not then lead me to Rev 11 which speaks, indeed, of the two olive trees and identifies them as my two witnesses who will stand in the last days of this age. If I had seen this at that time, I would have left the matter and considered that it had no immediate meaning for myself or those with me. At that time the Holy Spirit just kept me in Zechariah. Then it came to me, apart from considering any other Scripture, that the two anointed ones had final reference to the twofold anointing that would come upon the church in the final days--to demand the withdrawal of Satan and to keep us in the presence of God.
The interpretation that came to Zechariah regarding his vision was a word for the ancient Jews as they returned from their captivity. They would finish their work not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. But the interpretation did not remain for them alone. It shoots like an arrow to our time. It has cast its shadow over all the people through the ages who would receive its principle. The enemy has opposed the church from the beginning and will continue his pursuit to the end, with more vigor than ever. When man has exhausted every human device against him and failed, then we shall see--more than at any time in history--that our triumph is not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.
Might is from a military word. It means an army of trained soldiers who are equipped, powerful, and wealthy. Might is not part of the answer for completing the work of the end-time temple. Power is from a word meaning human strength and efficiency. Neither is power a part of the answer. It is by the Spirit of the Lord--and this alone--that the temple shall be completed and anointed for its end-time purpose. We are that temple, the dwelling place of God.
THERE COMES an anointing that teaches us to walk in that finished work the Lord Jesus completed for us when He brought down Satan. Therefore, we are not afraid of impossibility, nor are we fearful of the enemy. This is because the Holy Spirit is teaching us to live in the presence of God with a wonderful and bold freedom to know Him intimately.
WHO ARE the two witnesses of Rev 11? I can't say. I do know this: if they are two individuals, I want to be rightly related to them. If they represent a company of end-time people, I want to be a part of that company. Don't you?
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