We the church have talked about “spiritual warfare” for decades. In the past, we’ve yelled at demonic strongholds and called that warfare, or we’ve described unlucky breaks in life as spiritual warfare.
God is raising the bar in spiritual warfare. We’ve gotten away with ignorance and immaturity and sometimes foolishness for years. But over the past few years, over the next few years, He’s bringing us into a greater level of maturity.
I have only the highest regard for those who have been involved in warfare these many years. They’ve faced ignorance and opposition and sometimes just plain bull-headedness from the church, and they’ve stood in the gap on our behalf.
That incredible faithfulness notwithstanding, I believe the Lord is moving us into a new level of maturity, a new level of authority in the realm of spiritual warfare. I do not believe that those who have been involved in warfare in the Spirit have been only playing at “war games!” However, when we look back on this place from the place God is taking us to, we will say, “up until then, we were only playing with shiny toy guns. We were only waving our arms and pointing our fingers and shouting ‘bang!’”
Here’s the problem: I don’t entirely know where we’re going; I just know we’re moving forward.
I was discussing this with one of my mentors the other day, and we were using the American Military as a metaphor for spiritual warfare; much of this will be familiar.
Foot Soldiers: The most common role in this battle is the simple foot soldier: we obey orders given us from our officers and noncoms over us. We generally don’t have the strategic overview of the war, or even the battle that we’re in; we just point our weapon as we’re commanded and pull the trigger when so instructed.
Noncommissioned Officers: Other non-officers with more skills and more experience and a tactical understanding of the battle; if we’re wise, we’ll follow their advice, even though they don’t wear the brass of an officer. They may not know the big picture, but they know how to get the foot soldiers through this alive! These are the home group leaders, mentors, deacons.
Officers: These men and women have strategic-level understanding of portions of the warfare; they often receive orders from above, but sometimes they are given the objectives to accomplish, and they make their own plans with the soldiers that work with them. Some are junior officers, some senior officers, and their position in the spiritual army does not correspond to their position or influence in this world: I know pastors of huge churches that are faithful lieutenants, and leaders of a group of less than a dozen who are generals, though there are senior officers who lead large ministries as well.
Joint Chiefs: Currently, I’m not convinced that we have a functional Joint Chiefs; I am waiting for the day when we have something equivalent to the Council of Jerusalem of Acts 15: a council of apostles and elders who represent heaven to the forces on Earth. While there are obvious complications, the Catholic “Holy See” (the Pope and the Roman Curia governing body) approaches this authority within the realm of the Catholic Church.
Commander in Chief: We have but one Commander-in-Chief, and He is not elected.
Air Force: These are the intercessors in our war, and the goal is the same: air superiority over the field of battle. Weaponry includes worship, declarations, prophetic actions, and other weird things that reach the heavenlies, where these warriors are known to visit.
Marines: First troops into the territory, elite, but probably not occupation forces. These are the short term missionary teams, the apostolic equipping teams (which will include prophets and teachers),
Navy: Some of our forces are stationed off the coast, and provide artillery, attack forces and supply lines for the rest of the forces. Some of these folks are administrators, support teams, tacticians.
Army: Ground forces occupy the new territory. These include missionaries occupying new territory, evangelism teams on the streets, home groups and new congregations in previously unconquered territory.
Supply Lines: Any army needs food and ammunition. In our battles, these are the prophets, teachers, pastors and friends: the ones who invest in, who love on and support the warriors. These are also donors who support ministries financially, administrators who handle details so others can minister on the front lines.
Firebase: In the natural, this is an artillery base, esp. one set up quickly to support advancing troops or to forestall enemy advances. In this metaphor, this may be a team of intercessors or prophets.
Intelligence: Agencies like the CIA, Secret Service, FBI. This is clearly the role of the prophetic gifts: prophecy, discernment. But not them alone: Researchers (like The Sentinel Group) can give valuable insight into the demonic roots in a region; prophetic teachers reveal principles and application (strategies and tactics). This is often the primary role of prophetic intercessors.
Weapons Development: James Bond has his “Q”; the US Military has DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency); in the Spirit, the developers of new weaponry come from the revelation gifts, particularly from apostles and prophets.
Boot Camp: The church is developing a large number of training schools across
North America to train young men and women: revival schools, bible schools, Masters Commission, YWAM.
Military Academies: Military training schools, like Annapolis and West Point: We’re short on schools to train the officers, particularly to train senior officers in our current warfare.