Part 3 of the Spiritual Warfare Series
Sadly, many Christians do not really understand the importance of taking God’s Word seriously and obeying it. Instead of reading and being led by the Holy Spirit, they have been taught by people who appear to be “spiritual” and knowledgeable of the Scriptures but in reality they are just blind guides. Some of these teachers may have even obtained degrees from Bible colleges and sound very sincere, but they simply neglect teaching the entire counsel of God’s Word. At some point these blind guides (some pastors, professors and Sunday school teachers) may have decided that they knew everything they needed to know about the Bible and/or they believe that their denominational doctrines and traditions are superior. This mentality is very dangerous and has derailed sincere believers and destroyed many baby Christians along the way.
The Lord Jesus made it clear: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). That means that EVERY WORD in the Bible is important for life. God did not waste His time or words and we need ALL of the truth found in the Bible. Apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit put it this way, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16). This includes the Old Testament Scriptures, in fact that is all they had. Paul addressed this issue in 1 Corinthians 10:1-10 when he stated:
“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
Thus, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul made it clear that even the Old Testament stories and laws are examples for us today to teach us how we should live. This doesn’t mean we are under every aspect of the Old Testament law, but rather that we learn principles for living as we study the Old Testament and compare them to what the New Testament demands. As we study the Bible thoroughly we discover which Old Testament principles carried over into the New Testament and which ones did not. For example, under the Old Testament law, they had to keep Saturday as the Sabbath, but now (according to the book of Colossians), we are not held to keep any particular day of the week as a Sabbath. However, the principle of not forsaking a day of worship with fellow believers is clearly taught in the New Testament (Hebrews 10:25). So we see an Old Testament principle carried over in the New Testament.
In Deuteronomy 7:25-26, the Lord God Jehovah gave His people a serious command about not taking pagan images unto themselves or into their homes. In fact, they were not even to desire or take the gold or silver that might be incorporated into the image. This command was plain and simple and carried a dire warning. And in the book of Joshua, we see what happened when an Israelite disobeyed this command.
“The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.  Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine HOUSE, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.” (Deuteronomy 7:25-26)
“And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city. And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD” (Joshua 6:16-19).
“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel… And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water…And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you” (Joshua 7:1 & 10-13).
So, we see that God gave specific instructions to Israel on how to destroy the demon-worshipping stronghold of Jericho. When they obeyed God’s written Word and His prophetic direction, they saw His mighty power bring down the walls of Jericho and the battle was easily won. However, the Israelites were defeated in battle at the next evil city. What changed? What opened the door to let the enemies of Israel kill 36 of their God-ordained soldiers? It was the sin of just one person. Achan disobeyed God’s Word and took some of the clothing and gold (objects that seemed harmless) from the city of Jericho. His disobedience and the presence of those accursed objects in Israel’s camp opened the door for the Devil to defeat Israel. As a result, thirty-six innocent warriors who may have had wives and children waiting for them at home lost their lives. We see through this story that some spiritual issues ARE literally matters of life and death and they affect others.
Not surprisingly, we see this Biblical principle of accursed objects carried over into the New Testament. In Acts 19 it says that the Apostle Paul spent two years preaching the Word of God in the city of Ephesus and establishing a church there. God set people free from demons and performed miracles as Paul preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was so powerful that even his clothing had the transferred anointing of the Holy Spirit on it enough to drive demons out of people.
In response to those miracles, many people in Ephesus repented and turned from their occult pagan practices. They brought their occult books and paraphernalia together and burned them. This was a glorious testimony of their life change but we must ask this question: As new, baby Christians, how did they know to get rid of their occult objects? One might say, “They just knew it instinctively by the Holy Spirit.” This might be true, but don’t you think that maybe Paul preached to them the above verses from Deuteronomy? Remember, the New Testament had not yet been written and the only Scriptures that the Apostle Paul had at that time was what we now call the Old Testament. I believe that Paul taught the new converts at Ephesus the principles set forth in the Bible, they obeyed them and God blessed them abundantly there.
In another New Testament passage, the Apostle Paul wrote, “What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils” (1 Corinthians 10:19-20). In other words, it is not the physical object that is anything, but instead what people have made them by incorporating them into acts of worship to demons. And Paul was clear that if Christians compromised with these things that they were “fellowshipping with devils.” In 2 Corinthians 6:15-18 he added, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”