“As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:16 KJV)
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:22
“For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.” 1 corinthians 7:22
“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.”
“But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.” Psalm 37:37, 38
“Peace comes when there is security, when there is freedom…This one, we call it a tribal war. It is not a just war.” says Joseph Lugala Wani one of former South Sudan’s millionaires driven out of his home and business–Forced Out: THE SPREAD OF WAR (Part 2).
I came across a Navy Seal going off about the injustices occurring in our world. He said Malcolm X understood the truth. He said the media maligned his name. So I decided to hear Malcolm X’s words for myself. The second video of Malcolm X occurred right after they bombed his home–that was his last speech alive.
The famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy said,
“All the true heroes of history will be forgotten and all the villains will be remembered as heroes.”
If we will live free and independent, we need to listen to and read from primary sources. We must learn to think for ourselves.
This video caught my attention because I am focused on freedom and this man felt strongly against paying taxes to fund useless wars that kill innocent people around the world. He’s a Quaker and I admire how he took a stand against sending his money in taxes to build bombs that kill Yahweh’s children.
“It always seems impossible until it is done.”
— Nelson Mandela
“Only free men can negotiate. Prisoners cannot enter into contracts.”
– Nelson Mandela
These other videos gave me insight into freedom from different angles.
Lord, help me to become the following:
“A prudent person who sees evil and hides himself” (or herself) “and avoids it, but the naive who are easily misled continue on and are punished by suffering the consequences of sin.” Proverbs 27:12
A prudent person who “will know the truth [regarding salvation], and the truth will set” me “free from the penalty of sin.” John 8:32
A farsighted person who is not “…afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather” to fear and respect You “who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
A wise person who recognizes that I was “bought with a price [a precious price paid by” Yeshua]; I am not to allow myself to “become slaves to men [but to” Yehsua]. 1 Corinthians 7:23
Isaiah 61 Amplified Bible
The Dawn of Zion’s [the Dwelling Place of Yahweh’s] Glory
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me
To bring good news to the humble and afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives
And freedom to prisoners,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance and retribution of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following:
To give them a turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning],
The oil of joy instead of mourning,
The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.
So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God],
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up and restore the former desolations;
And they will renew the ruined cities,
The desolations (deserted settlements) of many generations.
Strangers will stand and feed your flocks,
And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.
But you shall be called the priests of the Lord;
People will speak of you as the ministers of our God.
You will eat the wealth of nations,
And you will boast of their riches.
Instead of your [former] shame you will have a double portion;
And instead of humiliation your people will shout for joy over their portion.
Therefore in their land they will possess double [what they had forfeited];
Everlasting joy will be theirs.
For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery with a burnt offering.
And I will faithfully reward them,
And make an everlasting covenant with them.
Then their offspring will be known among the nations,
And their descendants among the peoples.
All who see them [in their prosperity] will recognize and acknowledge them
That they are the people whom the Lord has blessed.
I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has covered me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom puts on a turban,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
And as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord God will [most certainly] cause righteousness and justice and praise
To spring up before all the nations [through the power of His word].
The interpretation of this chapter derives from no less an authority than the Head of our Holy Religion, Jesus Christ himself, of whom Luke wrote, as follows:
“And he (Christ) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book and found the place where it was written. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened upon him. And he began to say unto them, Today hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:16-21).Bible Commentaries Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible Isaiah 61
“…the speaker here is not Isaiah, but the Great Messiah…from… the words of Jesus …”
The Doom of Babylon Announced
1 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, possessing great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his splendor and radiance. 2 And he shouted with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen [certainly to be destroyed] is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a dungeon haunted by every unclean spirit, and a prison for every unclean and loathsome bird. 3 For all the nations have drunk from the wine of the passion of her [sexual] immorality, and the kings and political leaders of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth and economic power of her sensuous luxury.”
4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not be a partner in her sins and receive her plagues; 5 for her sins (crimes, transgressions) have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her wickedness and crimes [for judgment]. 6 Repay to her even as she has repaid others, and pay back [to her] double [her torment] in accordance with what she has done; in the cup [of sin and suffering] which she mixed, mix a double portion [of perfect justice] for her. 7 To the degree that she glorified herself and reveled and gloated in her sensuality [living deliciously and luxuriously], to that same degree impose on her torment and anguish, and mourning and grief; for in her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as a queen [on a throne]and I am not a widow, and will never, ever see mourning or experience grief.’ 8 For this reason in a single day her plagues (afflictions, calamities) will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire and completely consumed; for strong and powerful is the Lord God who judges her.
The Lament for Babylon
9 “And the kings and political leaders of the earth, who committed immorality and lived luxuriously with her, will weep and beat their chests [in mourning] over her when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing a long way off, in fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, the strong city, Babylon! In a single hour your judgment has come.’ 11“And merchants of the earth will weep and grieve over her, because no one buys their cargo (goods, merchandise) anymore—12 cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet; all kinds of citron (scented) wood and every article of ivory and every article of very costly and lavish wood and bronze and iron and marble; 13 and cinnamon and spices and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat; of cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and carriages; and of slaves and human lives.
14 The ripe fruits and delicacies of your soul’s desire have gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and extravagant are lost to you, never again to be found.
15 The merchants who handled these articles, who grew wealthy from [their business with] her, will stand a long way off in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, 16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, for the great city that was robed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, gilded and adorned with gold, with precious stones, and with pearls; 17 because in one hour all the vast wealth has been laid waste.’
And every ship captain or navigator, and every passenger and sailor, and all who make their living by the sea, stood a long way off, 18 and exclaimed as they watched the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What could be compared to the great city?’ 19 And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, for the great city, where all who had ships at sea grew rich from her great wealth, because in one hour she has been laid waste!’
20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints (God’s people) and apostles and prophets [who were martyred], because God has executed vengeance for you [through righteous judgment] upon her.”
The Divine Sentence upon Babylon
21 Then a single powerful angel picked up a boulder like a great millstone and flung it into the sea, saying, “With such violence will Babylon the great city be hurled down [by the sudden, spectacular judgment of God], and will never again be found.
22 And the sound of harpists and musicians and flutists and trumpeters will never again be heard in you, and no skilled artisan of any craft will ever again be found in you, and the sound of the millstone [grinding grain] will never again be heard in you [for commerce will no longer flourish, and normal life will cease].
23 And never again will the light of a lamp shine in you, and never again will the voice of the bridegroom and bride be heard in you; for your merchants were the great and prominent men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived and misled by your sorcery [your magic spells and poisonous charm].
24 And in Babylon was found the blood of prophets and of saints (God’s people) and of all those who have been slaughtered on the earth.”
A.W. Tozer once memorably said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Though I agree with C.S. Lewis’s response to this line of thinking — that “how God thinks of us is . . . infinitely more important” than how we think of him — Tozer’s point is still crucial: “We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 1). How we think about God determines how we live.
Now, what comes into your mind when you think about Satan and his demons? Certainly, it is not the most important thing about you. And what God thinks about Satan and demons is infinitely more important than what we think of them. But what we think about the demonic realm is certainly not unimportant.
“We must be more willing to be considered fools than to cruelly leave people the victims of enslaving evil.”
What do we think of what God has to say about the existence and activity of devils in Scripture? How seriously do we take what he says — not just in creed but in deed? How much does a conscious awareness of spiritual warfare functionally factor into our daily life? How does it affect how we pray? How does it inform the ways we see our areas of chronic temptation, fears, family dynamics, church conflicts, physical and mental illnesses, inhibited gospel fruitfulness, geopolitical events? What kinds of strategic spiritual action do we take in response to these things?
These are important questions. Because how we think about satanic forces also determines in significant ways how we live.
Are We Ignorant of His Designs?
The New Testament authors wrote with a profound awareness of the cosmic war they were involved in. They determined to “not be outwitted by Satan; for [they were] not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
“The devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41) factored prominently in Jesus’s life, teaching, and miracles. From his temptation in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry (Matthew 4:1–11) to the events surrounding his crucifixion (John 13:27), Satan and his forces were an ever-present reality. Jesus taught that demons actively enslave people (Luke 13:16), actively seek to gain influence over religious leaders and institutions (John 8:44), and actively oppose and seek to undermine and corrupt gospel work (Luke 8:12). He also taught that Satan understands his massive influence in the world as his “kingdom” (Luke 11:17–18). When Jesus’s closest disciples described his miraculous ministry, they said, “he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38).
When Jesus commissioned his early apostolic leaders, he sent them into a world of unbelievers “to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18). They understood that they — and all Christians — are involved in a war in which “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
“What comes into your mind when you think about Satan and his demons?”
And they repeatedly warned Christians to “be sober-minded [and] watchful” because “your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). They did not want us to be ignorant of Satan’s designs.
The question we need to ask ourselves, especially we Christians in the West, is this: Are we ignorant of Satan’s designs?
Here’s a test case. How did you emotionally respond to my earlier mention of “physical and mental illnesses” as possibly being caused or exacerbated by demonic beings? Did it provoke some level of cultural embarrassment because the idea sounds so unscientific, even superstitious? Or did it provoke some defensive anger because, especially when it comes to mental illness, you want to emphatically state that no one should assume the affliction is demonic?
Now, before any qualification, let’s take a moment to assess our emotional reactions. If we feel some embarrassment, why? If we feel some defensive anger, why? What’s fueling our responses? How much are they fueled by an accurate biblical understanding of demonic involvement, and how much are they fueled by our personal experiences and/or our culture’s naturalistic assumptions about everything?
It’s important that we query our responses and not accept them too easily. They might expose an unbiblical imbalance or blind spot. Every era has its spiritual blind spots, and demonic forces will, by all means, capitalize on them. The first century had its blind spots, and we have ours. We are naïve to think they don’t significantly affect us. That’s why the Holy Spirit inspired the New Testament writers to instruct Christians of all eras to be sober-minded and watchful, and not be ignorant of satanic schemes.
No, certainly not all physical and mental illness is caused or exacerbated by demonic beings. The Bible doesn’t teach this, nor have the vast majority of Christians throughout history believed this. This is why at Desiring God, along with many resources on spiritual warfare, we also have many resources onmental illness, disease, and disability.
Cost of Supernaturalism
But Western evangelicals in general are not in danger of an overapplication of demonization. We are far more in danger of under-application — of a functional, unbiblical naturalism. This is partly due to cultural blind-spot assumptions. But increasingly, it is also a result of the growing cultural cost of supernaturalism.
“Every era has its spiritual blind spots, and demonic forces will, by all means, capitalize on them.”
We live in post-Enlightenment cultures that consider the biblical, supernatural worldview to be a foolish religious hangover from the Dark Ages. The very idea of a demon-haunted world is ridiculed. But not only is it considered foolish; it is quickly being considered abusive to insinuate that a person might be afflicted by a demon. From a naturalistic perspective, such an assertion only heaps shame on someone already suffering — all because people like us aren’t willing to let go of an archaic worldview whose time is long past.
This packs an emotional punch, often landing on our spiritual solar plexus. Suddenly, the issue is binary: either demons exist and the denial of them (explicitly or functionally) is cruel, or demons don’t exist and the diagnosis of them is cruel. None of us wants to be cruel; we want to help, not harm, the afflicted. But one side of the binary is cruel. One might accurately call it demonic.
For Western Christians, this means if we want to seriously engage in the Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) and see many people “turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18), we must be willing to endure the cultural shaming (perhaps eventually worse) that will come from taking demons seriously. We must be more willing to be considered fools than cruelly leave people the victims of enslaving evil.
How we think about satanic forces, and how seriously we take God’s instruction to us about them, determines how we live. The more aligned we are with the Bible’s view of reality, the more faithfully we will follow Jesus, the more spiritually helpful we will be to people, and the more damage we will wreak on the domain of darkness. But we also will bear the reproach Jesus endured (Hebrews 13:13).
The Bible is a robustly supernatural book. The spiritual war between God and his angels and the devil and his angels, and human beings on both sides of the conflict, fills its pages from cover to cover. And here’s the way it instructs us to live:
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10–13)
Let’s take this seriously. Let’s not leave people captives to demonic schemes. And let’s stand firm in the assault.
How to Acquire Great Skill and Understanding
Daniel talked to Yahweh. He asked Yahweh to hear him and forgive the people. He confessed his sins and the sins of his people Israel. Listen to Daniel by reading his words below aloud to yourself and ponder how you can duplicate the words of Daniel with the same level of sincerity and confidence.
19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. (Daniel 9:19-22)
Satan Hinders Prayers But Cannot Stop Them
When Daniel started his prayer, Gabriel was dispatched immediately to answer his prayer. Satan fought Gabriel and slowed him down in responding to Gabriel’s prayer.
23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolation are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:23-27)
12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
A Vision Made Daniel Speechless
14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
15 And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.
16 And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.
17 For how can the servant of this my lord talk with this my lord? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me.
18 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me,
19 And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.
20 Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.
21 But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.
The prayer of the righteous availeth much.