Spiritual Warfare Basics

When it comes to spiritual warfare there are many notions out there and several of them conflicting.  Below you will find a quick summary of some of the most common tactics. This isn’t an exhaustive study, but it is a quick how-to of sorts 🙂


One common misconception in warfare is who does the rebuking.  I have often heard people rebuking the devil in their own authority – and even when I didn’t understand why there was a problem with that scripturally, I just know my spirit would cringe when I heard it.

The Word is clear about who does the rebuking. In Zechariah 3:2a (ESV)

And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan!…

We see this in Jude 1:9 (ESV) stated even more clearly with reasoning included

But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

The idea of the Lord rebuking the devil (as opposed to us doing so) is also confirmed in Malachi 3:11.

Casting Out

Let me clarify that I am not saying we should never take authority over demons and cast them out. Yeshua (Jesus) and His disciples cast out demons and we were told one of the signs of believers is that we would do the same (Mark 16:17).


However, in both the scriptures given above we are not dealing with demons, we are dealing with fallen angels.  I think often we forget there is hierarchy in the ranks!  Remember in Ephesians 6:12 we see the exemplified:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The reason understanding hierarchy is important is because if a low-ranking soldier walks up to a general and issues a command, how effective would that be?  I believe that is what Jude 1:9 is referring to as a “blasphemous judgment” – one that the issuer has no authority to make.


Some might argue that we have authority in Christ, but let’s look at His example. In Matthew 4:1-11, satan visit Yeshua and tempts Him.  Please note He does NOT rebuke the devil, He RESISTS the devil and as He does, the devil flees.  This clearly brings to mind James 4:7 (ESV)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Just as I reminded us in Who Will You Worship, we must be mindful not to exalt the enemy, which include not focusing all our time and attention on taking authority over him or casting him out.  Fix our mind on Christ and on being more like Him. In doing so we naturally RESIST which is such a powerful warfare tactic because we are both doing warfare but also focusing our attention on GOD and on praising and exalting Him!

We have been given armor which helps us to resist – Ephesians 6:13-18 (ESV)

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. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints

3 Key Warfare Tactics

  1. Resist (James 4:7)
  2. “YHVH (the Lord) rebuke you” (Jude 1:9)
  3. Cast out demon (Mark 16:17)

When you use which tactic will depend on what you are dealing with hierarchically. We do not read about “casting out” angels (which includes satan since he is a fallen angel), so we need to understand when we are dealing with that level of rank we need to either 1) resist or 2) say “YHVH rebuke you.”

Choosing Your Tactic

First and foremost, walk in humility!  If an archangel walked in humility in warfare (and we know Yeshua did), we should too. This doesn’t mean you can’t be bold; it means don’t be arrogant.  I’ve heard some in warfare who are taunting the enemy – Yeshua never modeled that for us, nor is it in keeping with His teachings.

What do you do if you don’t know what level enemy you are dealing with?  ASK Holy Spirit! He will give you wisdom.  The Holy Spirit is our key advocate – I give examples both in my testimony about my dog, and in How-To Clean House.

But in the event that you are not certain, I would encourage you that if the archangel Michael doesn’t “presume” to rebuke the devil, we should probably follow that lead (especially since the Lord Himself used the same verbiage in Zech 3:2) and simply state “the Lord to rebuke you.”  And of course, you can ALWAYS resist 🙂

Remember we serve YHVH Sabaoth (Lord of Hosts). There are MANY angels at the Father’s command – many more than are on the side of the enemy – but we much do our part in the warfare.

Father, I thank You for Your provision for us to war against the enemy.  Thank You for helping us resist the devil that he might flee, thank You for rebuking him for our sake, and thank You for empowering us to cast out demons… and thank You for Your Holy Spirit who directs us what to do when 🙂

3 thoughts on “Spiritual Warfare Basics

  1. Pingback: Meghan W » Blog Archive » How-To Anoint Your Home

  2. Nice. I’ve never seen this distinction and always rebuked in the name of the Lord. I will keep this in my pocket tho. <3

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