Before engaging in spiritual warfare, we must understand the truth about the reality in which we live. The first of our weapons of spiritual warfare is the belt of truth.

Take your stand with the truth like a belt around your waist (Eph 6:14).
If we donít understand the truth about spiritual reality, we will lose the battle. If we stand in the truth that God has revealed, then we will go onto victory.

The second spiritual weapon is justice.

and putting on the breastplate of justice (Eph 6:14).
To achieve spiritual victory, we must have an understanding of Godís justice as outlined in the law of Moses. If we do not understand the nature of true justice, we will be defeated again and again.

The truth is that we need to understand that we are involved in an intense spiritual war. There are no easy victories. If there were, then evil would have been driven out of the world a few hundred years after Jesus completed his ministry. The battle is tough. The spiritual powers of evil know that they are defeated, but are fighting hard to desperately hold onto power. They know that their days are getting short, but they will not give up, because the alternative is total defeat.

The spiritual powers of evil are using their two best weapons, Israel and political power, to hold to power. As long the Jews reject the gospel of Jesus, and humans trust in political power, they will be able to hold onto a place of power.

In many local situations, there is not Christian with sufficient authority to deal with some of the challenges that arise. The politicians usually have greater authority than an individual Christian or group of Christians.

The spiritual powers of evil usually concentrate their forces to attack the leaders of an institution. If they can get the leader or leaders to participate frequently in a particular sin, the leaders are submitting to the spirits that are seeking to control them. If several leaders engage in the same sin, over time, the evil spirits get serious control over the institution. Often it will be a spirit of pride or a spirit that loves power and control.

Once government-spirits get control over the leaders of a nation, they do not let go, so the same spirit will control a nation down through the ages. This why governments often carry on in the same way, even when elections put one human government out and another in. The parties have different policies, but they are controlled by the same government-spirit, so they behave in the same way.

The powers of evil prefer working through nation-states, because they are the institutions with the most authority. Governments exercise enormous authority, so the spiritual powers of evil get a better bang for their buck. They can really leverage their power.

Michael and Prince of Persia

The evil spirits that get control of nations are called government-spirits (principalities). The Prince of Persia was a spirit who gained control over Persia in Danielís time. This spirit had authority in the Persian empire. He controlled the Persian emperor. When Daniel prayed, the Prince of Persia was able to hold back the angel that was coming to Daniel with an answer for twenty-one days. This was not because, the Prince of Persia was physically stronger, it was because he had authority in Persia where Daniel was living. Daniel was submitted to the ruler of Persia, so he was indirectly submitted to the Prince of Persia (Dan 12-14).

God sent an angel called Michael to assist the angel with the message. They did not win, because two are stronger than one. Rather Michael is a ruler-angel with authority over the Jewish people. The message the angel had was for the Jewish people. It did not affect the current emperor of Persia, because it applied to the future. It was a religious message rather than a political one. In this context, Michaelís authority was greater than the authority of the Prince of Persia, so the message went through to Daniel. This was not a power struggle, but an issue of authority. The message was for the Jews, so Michael had more authority over it. The message of this passage is not persistence in prayer, although it is important, but understanding authority.

Empowered by People

The spirits that control an institution have been given authority over it by its leaders. When the leaders submit to the leading of evil spirits, they give those spirits authority in their lives. However, because the members of the institutions are submitted to their leaders, the spirits get authority over them too. The spirits have authority over the leaders, who have authority over the people, so the spirits have authority over the people. Put the other way, the people submit to the leaders, who submit to the evil powers, so they are implicitly submitting to the evil powers to, often without realising it.

The only way they can escape from this control is by withdrawing their submission from their leaders. This removes the leaderís authority over them, and eliminates the power of the spirits controlling the leaders, over their lives. The problem is that it is hard to leave a nation-state. The only way to escape the authority of the government is to migrate and go to another nation-state, but that just puts you under the authority of another controlling spirit. If you remain in the nation-state where you were born, then the leaders and the spirits that control them have some authority over you. The best thing is to stand apart as much as possible from the power of the state.

When Christians start praying against the government-spirit that controls their nation, the situation gets tricky. They have the authority that Jesus has given them, but his authority is still not recognised in much of the earth. The problem is that if the Christian binds the government-spirit and commands it to leave, the leaders of the nations are speaking words or taking actions that invite the spirit back. One person is saying the spirit must leave, but the leaders are saying it can stay. The leaders of the nation have more authority in the nation than the Christian praying, so in these struggles, the leaders win, without realising it, and the government-spirit remains.

Getting lots of Christians to pray against a government-spirit does not make much difference, because all the Christianís are indirectly under its authority, so they will be unable to defeat him. In these situations, numbers do not count. It is authority that wins the day. One person with authority outweighs hundreds with none. The political leaders have far more authority in their nation or city than any group of leaders, especially if they are submitted to them.

Winning the Victory

We cannot defeat a spirit that we are indirectly submitted to through submitting to leaders. Because were submitted indirectly, the spirit has authority over us, so we cannot tell it what to do. This is why the same government-spirits have remained in control of nations for a long time, despite the prayers of godly Christians. The leaders of the nation have more authority than the godly people praying.

This problem can be beaten in two ways:

This is unlikely to happen in the short-term, because the government spirit and its helpers keep the political leaders under their control. Even if one repents, they others are likely to follow.

Removal of submission destroys authority. The authority of government-spirit can be broken, either by the people withdrawing trust and submission, or the leaders withdrawing submission. The latter is more likely than the former.

Getting into the government is not a solution. People need to compromise with political power to get political power. This compromise would put them under the power of the spiritual powers of evil that control their nation or city, so they would be no better off.

Solutions

The solution is to form a community that can remain as separate from the power of political leaders as possible. If a body of believers submit to each and pray for each other, most of the authority in their lives has been given to those believers and to Jesus, so they will be relatively safe. This is why it is so important to form Kingdom Communities. People living in Kingdom Communities do not need the resources or authority of the state, so political leaders have very little authority over them. They only submit when they are forced to, but they do it unwillingly for the sake of peace. This keeps them relatively free.

The key is to love and serve people. The people you will serve will learn to trust you and will gradually submit to your wisdom. If a group of people are doing this together and submitting to each other, they will relatively free. The greater the love, and the more effective the service (without control), the greater will be the submission, and the greater the authority.