Okay, this is a big one. I wrote what’s below on Sunday under the inspiration of the Spirit of Elohim.
This week we’re reading in 2 Corinthians 10:4–6 on spiritual warfare. It says,
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in Elohim for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
I got inspired to read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. The Ruach nudged me to then do a commentary on it in light of what the Bible has to say about spiritual warfare. Perhaps I could learn something from an expert on physical warfare and then apply it spiritually to us. Needless to say, the saints are in a battle for their lives worldwide against the forces of evil. The Bible prophesied this would be the case in the end times. Largely, the church in the West is asleep! It’s time to wake up. I for one refuse to be caught unprepared. I refuse to lie down for the enemy of YHVH Elohim. As a watchman on the wall, I must sound the alarm and help prepare the troops. So here’s my latest contribution to this effort. I hope it helps someone!
A Guideline to Spiritual Warfare
Natan Lawrence’s The Art of War — An Analysis of and Commentary on Sun Tzu’s The Art of War
Based on the Biblical Principles of Spiritual Warfare
The extracts below of The Art of War are taken from Lionel Giles Translation (www.artofwarsuntzu.com)
Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general, strategist, and philosopher who lived between the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. in ancient China. His work, The Art of War was unearthed in 1972, and since then has become a classic on the art of warfare. It is even used by the U.S. military.
The following are excerpts from this ancient work along with commentary from a biblical perspective giving the spiritual warrior in YHVH Elohim’s (the LORD God’s) army guidelines on how to be victorious over YHVH’s spiritual enemy.
I. — LAYING PLANS
1. Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.
2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.
3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.
4. These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
5,6. The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.
Comment: The moral law is the biblical Torah and the rest of the Word of Elohim as contained in the Bible. The Torah-word of YHVH Elohim (the God of the Bible) are his instructions, precepts, teachings or laws. The Torah is the foundation of truth for the rest of the Scriptures that follow. YHVH Elohim is the Creator and Supreme Ruler of the universe and is thus the originator of moral law. Since Elohim is the Creator and Sovereign Ruler of all the universe, it is the require of every human (and all the more so of those who claim to be his followers) to follow and obey him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any external threats or danger.
7. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.
Comment: The spiritual saint warrior is called to have spiritual discernment (a gift of the Holy Spirit,1 Cor 12:10) and to understand the times and seasons (like the children of Issachar, 1 Chron 12:32) to know when, why, who and how to fight.
8. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.
Comment: The spiritual warrior knows the lay of the land spiritually. He must understand who are his friends and foes, the enemy’s plans and strategies, the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, the enemy’s weapons and fortifications, and one’s own strengths and weaknesses and ability to wage war against the enemy (2 Cor 2:11 cp. 2 Cor 10:4).
9. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.
Comment: The commander is YHVH Elohim, the God of the Bible. The enemy is the world, the flesh and the devil. The virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness are delineated and elucidated in the Scriptures and exemplified by the righteous examples the men and woman contained therein. It behooves the spiritual warrior to be a diligent student of the Scriptures (the Word [i.e. the thoughts, purposes, will and mind] of Elohim) to learn from them and then to be able to practice these values.
10. By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.
Comment: Method and discipline involves loving YHVH Yeshua (Jesus) by obeying or keeping all of his commandments (John 14:15; Rev 12:17; 14:12). Discipline means overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil by walking in a personal relationship with Yeshua the Messiah and by being an active participant in Yeshua’s spiritual army (Eph 6:10–18; 2 Cor 10:4–6), which is comprised of like-minded believers in and disciples of the Messiah. Yeshua is the commander and chief of that army (Heb 2:10). His spiritual warrior-leaders are his apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers (Eph 4:11). The saint-warriors must know (and obey) the Word of Elohim and must use it as a weapon against the enemy (i.e., the world, the flesh and the devil; see Matt 4:3–11).
12. Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise:
13. (1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law? (2) Which of the two generals has most ability?
Comment: The two opposing generals are YHVH Elohim and Satan the adversary (along with the carnal mind of man and the ways of this world or the antichrist world system, which the Bible refers to as the cosmos, and which is in opposition to YHVH and his truth or Word). Only the former is imbued with moral law. It is incumbent upon the warrior-saint to align his life with YHVH Elohim’s moral law if he is to be effective against the enemy (Jas 4:7).
(3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?
Comment: YHVH Elohim is the Supreme Power in the universe, and Yeshua the Messiah, his Son, defeated the world, the flesh and devil when he died on the cross and resurrected from the dead. Through him, the warrior-saint has the advantage over the enemy.
(4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
Comment: That depends. Currently, the Christian church in the West (generally speaking) is in a lukewarm, weakened and anemic spiritual state. It is spiritually out of shape and sick. Revelation 3:14–21 describes this state as epitomized by the Laodicean church. The church isn’t in a healthy state to be able to engage the enemy effectively spiritually. The church has been losing spiritual ground in the Western culture for more than one hundred years. Francis Schaeffer talks about this in his books. Yeshua alludes to this in Luke 16:8.
For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
(5) Which army is stronger?
Comment: Again, that depends. The church is currently weak spiritually. But YHVH is raising up his warrior bride, end time John the Baptists who will be preparing the way for Yeshua’s second coming. These will include Phinehases who will stand against the sexually immoral, Gideons who will overcome the heathen and corrupting Midianites, Davids who will slay the evil Goliaths of our day, Daniels who will be faithful to obey YHVH while enslaved in Babylon, the three Hebrew children in the midst of Babylon who will refuse to worship the devil-gods of the pagans, and end time saints who will be keeping YHVH’s commandments and who will have the testimony or faith of Yeshua (Rev 12:17; 14:12) and who will overcome the Satan the serpent by the blood of the Lamb and who will by willing to lose all including their lives for him (Rev 12:11).
(6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained?
Comment: That depends. Some on Messiah’s side are fit for battle, most aren’t, sadly. Again as Yeshua said in Luke 16:8.
For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
(7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?
Comment: That depends. The Bible presents a plan of great constancy in both rewards and punishments. The problem is that many church leaders either don’t know what the Bible says or are refusing to teach and enforce its laws (because it’s not popular to do so, not politically correct, or because they are gospel peddlers and hireling shepherds who refuse to preach the whole and unmitigated truth of Elohim because doing so might offend their “giving units” and cut into the revenues they receive that keep their spiritual gigs going) along with the consequences for violating those laws. Those leaders who do will have a strong army. Those who don’t will have weak and easily defeated army.
14. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat.
15. The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat:—let such a one be dismissed!
Comment: Follow the whole Word of Elohim and win. To the degree that the saints substitute the Word of Elohim with made-made doctrines and traditions that run counter to the Word of Elohim is to the degree that the enemy will defeat them. Most redeemed believers follow non-biblical man-made doctrines to one degree or another without knowing it more then they follow the actual Word of Elohim. To the degree they do, this will lesson their spiritual effectiveness.
18. All warfare is based on deception.
Comment: It depends on what one means by deception. The spiritual warfare the Bible-believing saint engages in is based on the immutable and divinely revealed truth of Elohim as found in the Bible and deception. Period. The saints must fight with the sword of the truth, which is the Word of Elohim (Eph 6:17). No deception is necessary. That doesn’t mean that the saint shouldn’t fight like a wise serpent and use ingenious tactics to outwit the enemy (Matt 10:16; Luke 16:8). But the saint’s strength is in his adherence to the moral high ground of divinely revealed truth — the Word of Elohim. That truth will be the standard of judgment by which YHVH Elohim (the righteous Judge of the universe) will eventually judge everyone and everything.
At the same time, YHVH will give his warrior-saints ingenious ways to fool the enemy by unconventional methods of warfare, surprise attacks and unsuspecting maneuvers. The Old Testament is full of such examples (Moses defeating the Amalakits by lifting up his hands, marching around Jericho, Gideon using lamps and shofars to defeat the Midianites, Samson defeating the Philistines, etc.).
19. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
Comment: The warrior-saint must rely on the Holy Spirit to give him the battle plans on how to fight the enemy. Be prepared to engage in unconventional methods as the Holy Spirit leads. Those uninformed in the art of spiritual warfare and unfamiliar with the Bible may think that some of the methods by which the Holy Spirit instructs you to engage the enemy are implausible, and even off-the-wall, but the warrior-saint obeys his heavenly Commander and Chief no matter what others say, for he walks by faith, not by sight. Like a good soldier, he follows the orders from his superiors whether he understands the orders or not.
21. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.
Comment: The warrior-saint must know his own strengths and weaknesses. When spiritually weak, don’t engage the enemy. Pull back, get strengthened through repentance of sin and then learn to walk obediently in accordance with the Word of Elohim (Jas 4:7). When one is spiritually weak and unable to defeat the enemy, one must shore up one’s weak defenses through prayer, fasting, Bible study, receiving wise spiritual counsel and fellowship with other strong spiritual warriors. Walk in closer obedience to YHVH’s commands and becoming more grounded in the Word of Elohim. After that, wait for directions from on high on how and when to confront the enemy. Then, act obediently and in faith as YHVH directs, go out to engage the enemy, but not before you have done these things or you will be defeated!
24. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
Comment: The Holy Spirit knows our enemy better than we do, so we must trust YHVH to reveal to us the right tactics to use against the enemy. Yes, we must not be ignorant of our enemy’s devices (2 Cor 2:11), but we mustn’t be overly occupied with studying the enemy either. This could cause us to lose faith and become discouraged, especially if it looks like the odds are against us. Our focus should on and our faith in YHVH Elohim, for he is our defender and shield. He knows our enemy better than we ever could. He will show us how best to fight and defeat the enemy. It’s up to us to obey YHVH in faith trusting him. When YHVH hasn’t told us what to do, we must wait on him to give us directions on how to move against the enemy. While waiting, we must use the time to strengthen ourselves spiritually in YHVH Elohim and in his Word through righteous obedience.
25. These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.
Comment: The warrior-saint must keep close confidences and never divulge the battle plans YHVH has given him to anyone unless permitted by the Holy Spirit to do so. As the WW II saying went, “Loose lips sink ships.”
26. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.
Comment: Before engaging in battle with the enemy, preparations and calculations must be carefully made beforehand in the spiritual temple throne room of YHVH Elohim, Yeshua the Messiah, the Holy Spirit (through prayer and meditation on the Word of Elohim), and in accordance with the counsel of YHVH’s Written Word (the Bible), and among wise and trusted human counselors. (Luke 14:28–32)
II. — WAGING WAR
1. Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.
2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.
3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.
4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.
5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.
6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.
7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.
8. The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice.
9. Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.
10. Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army to be maintained by contributions from a distance. Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished.
Comment: Yeshua instructed his disciples to count the costs before following him. Most of them were martyred for their faith (Luke 14:27–33).
If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
Those who fail to count the costs, or feel the cost is too high to pay shouldn’t go to war.
13,14. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and three-tenths of their income will be dissipated; while government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draught-oxen and heavy wagons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue.
Comment: The warrior-saint’s strength comes from YHVH’s supernatural empowerment through his relationship with Yeshua and the Word of Elohim by the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean discouragement won’t set in. When fighting his enemies, David in the psalms discuss this in great length. But in every case, David found strength from YHVH and in his Word. David never lost a battle, though he had many struggles and obstacles to overcome. Yeshua made it very clear that only the overcomers will inherit his kingdom. This is the lot of the warrior-saint.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. (Matt 10:22)
To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of Elohim. (Rev 2:7)
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev 3:21)
17. Therefore in chariot fighting, when ten or more chariots have been taken, those should be rewarded who took the first. Our own flags should be substituted for those of the enemy, and the chariots mingled and used in conjunction with ours. The captured soldiers should be kindly treated and kept.
Comment: The enemy’s soldiers (other people) aren’t the warrior-saints’ enemies. The saint is to love his human enemies, which is hard to do when they’re trying to destroy or kill you. Yeshua loved his enemies, and we are to follow his example. Yeshua loved each of us while we were still sinners (Rom 5:8 cp. John 3:16), and we should do the same to those who oppose us. We should view them as spiritual captives who need to be set free from enslavement to the world, the flesh and the devil. They are the warrior-saint’s mission field and should be viewed as those who are spiritually lost and need saving. They need the gospel message, and Yeshua has tasked us with giving it to them. We were enemies of YHVH once before he set us free through Yeshua.
III. — ATTACK BY STRATAGEM
1. Sun Tzu said: In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.
Comment: The warrior-saints goal should not be to kill the enemy, but to overcome him and to neutralize him spiritually. YHVH is the Judge who said that vengeance belongs to him alone (Rom 12:19). He will be the one to throw his unrepentant enemies into the lake of fire at the white throne judgment (Rev 20:11–15). YHVH has not given his servants this authority. Our job is to overcome the enemies of YHVH through spiritual warfare, and then we are to share the gospel with them in hopes of winning them over to YHVH’s side thus expanding the kingdom of Elohim on earth.
8. It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two.
Comment: The warrior-saint must seek YHVH for the battle strategies to defeat the enemy as discussed above. To fight our spiritual enemies conventionally is likely to end in either exhaustion of our resources and energies or in defeat. We might win a battle or two, but we’ll lose the war. Why is this? Because Satan is the god of this world and in this world that he controls he has stacked everything against the saint including secular governmental authorities, the judicial systems, the economic system, the mainstream media, most educational institutions, false and unbiblical religious systems and the popular opinion of society’s masses (i.e. “politically correct group think”. The saint can’t expect to win fighting conventionally, since everything in this world is stacked against him begin with. This is why he must seek battle strategies from YHVH. This will surprise the enemy and will turn the tables on him, since he wasn’t expecting it. Furthermore, when the saint fights YHVH’s way, he will support us and bring his spiritual power to bear on the battle to our advantage providing we are fighting according to his will and instructions. The moment we do things our way and not his way, we risk losing YHVH’s support and thus losing the battle or war.
9. If equally matched, we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.
Comment: In YHVH’s spiritual realm, the numerical strength of one’s army doesn’t matter. There are numerous examples in the Scriptures where a few saints defeated much larger and better physically equipped armies. But because YHVH’s servants trusted in him, followed his battle plans and were obedient to his commandments, they were victorious (e.g. David vs. Goliath, Gideon, Samson, Elijah, Elisha, etc., etc.).
And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. (Lev 26:7–8)
YHVH promises to fight for his people, defeat their enemies and bless them on one condition:
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am YHVH your Elohim. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am YHVH. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them. (Lev 26:1–3)
11. Now the general is the bulwark of the State; if the bulwark is complete at all points; the State will be strong; if the bulwark is defective, the State will be weak.
Comment: The warrior-saint’s bulwark is spiritual because his authority comes from Yeshua (2 Cor 10:4; Luke 9:1–2; 10:19). This power and authority to engage the enemy victoriously is based on his personal relationship with YHVH Elohim the God of Israel through Yeshua the Messiah by the Holy Spirit all the while walking righteous and repentant obedience to the whole Word of Elohim (from Genesis to Revelation) and trusting in the Word and promises of YHVH. The saint’s spiritual bulwark is also strengthened through his communion with other like-minded and spiritually strong warrior-saints.
14. (2) By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army. This causes restlessness in the soldier’s minds.
15. (3) By employing the officers of his army without discrimination, through ignorance of the military principle of adaptation to circumstances. This shakes the confidence of the soldiers.
16. But when the army is restless and distrustful, trouble is sure to come from the other feudal princes. This is simply bringing anarchy into the army, and flinging victory away.
Comment: The warrior-saints’ physical leaders (apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers) who are spiritual generals under YHVH Elohim or Yeshua the Messiah must understand the biblical principles of spiritual warfare. Those who are the best leaders are those who have successfully engaged the enemy in the front lines of the battle themselves. Those who have never been to war and understand spiritual warfare from only a theoretical vantage point are likely to be more of a liability than an asset when trying to lead YHVH’s warrior-saints into spiritual battle. The same is true of “armchair” military generals compared to battle hardened generals in a physical army. These incompetent and unqualified generals will fight more like politicians and government bureaucrats who haven’t a clue about the realities of battle, then warriors who understand warfare from personal experience.
(1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
Comment: This is where spiritual discernment and knowing the times and seasons like the sons of Issachar comes in. The spiritual general must be in tune with the Holy Spirit and take his marching orders from Elohim. To be able to do this effectively, the general must know the heart, mind and will of Elohim as revealed in the pages of Scriptures. To the degree that he doesn’t know the Scriptures will be to the degree he will be an incompetent general. The same is true if he believes that certain scriptures are not applicable to him (or have been “done away with”), and therefore, he refuses to apply them to his life, or he has no practical walking-it-out understanding of them.
(2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.
Comment: The number of foes is immaterial to the spiritual warrior for the reasons previously noted.
(3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
Comment: The spirit that animates the ranks of the warrior-saints is the Holy Spirit. All spiritual warriors must be animated, led, directed, motivated and totally empowered by the Holy Spirit in accordance with the full counsel of YHVH’s Word in everything the warrior does, thinks and says. If each warrior is thusly empowered, then the whole army will be so empowered, and no enemy, no matter how large or small, will be able to stand against YHVH’s spiritual army.
(5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.
Comment: For the spiritual warrior, he will win if led by the Holy Spirit of YHVH Elohim, who is the warrior’s Sovereign. Problems arise for the warrior when religious leaders or spiritual sub-sovereigns interfere or conflict with the will of the YHVH Elohim, the Chief Sovereign.
18. Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
Comment: The spiritual warrior must know himself. He must know his weakness, and turn them into strengths through the overcoming sin and repentance. He must then find his identity in who he is in Yeshua. The Scriptures call the redeemed believer an overcomer, more than a conqueror, a child of Elohim, victorious through Yeshua, a saint, a righteous one, one who is no longer under condemnation, one who is saved, a holy priesthood, and one who is seated with Yeshua in heavenly places. The warrior-saint must embrace this identity and then go forward in faith into battle as YHVH leads him.
IV. — TACTICAL DISPOSITIONS
1. Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.
Comment: This is accomplished through spiritual preparation ahead of the battle. The spiritual warrior must prepare himself ahead of time as we have already discussed above.
2. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
Comment: The old adage, “Forewarned is forearmed” applies here. The warrior-saint must know himself (who he is in Yeshua), know and strengthen his own weak areas, know his enemy (his strengths and weaknesses) and then know how, when and who to fight.
3. Thus the good fighter is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the enemy.
Comment: The spiritual warrior is assured of victory because of the promises of Elohim in the Bible. That doesn’t mean that he might not lose some battles along the way, or go through some extremely hard times. After all, look at all that the biblical people of faith had to endure fighting YHVH’s spiritual battles. Many lost their lives for it. But the enemy can’t defeat the servant of the Most High in the ultimate sense, because he can’t kill the spirit and soul of man, only the body.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt 10:28)
And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (Matt 19:28)
5. Security against defeat implies defensive tactics; ability to defeat the enemy means taking the offensive.
Comment: The Christian church in the west is currently in a defensive mode. It’s running for its life. It can’t hope to win the battle against the world, the flesh and devil in such a position. The saint must not only defend, but must be on the offensive. The best defense is a good offense, as the saying goes. What is our main offensive tactic? It is the preaching of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit! When our enemy confronts us with both gun barrels blazing, we must preach the gospel to him. For example, when homosexual-fascists, secular humanists, leftists, Islamists or any other antichrist enemies of YHVH attempt to deprive the saint of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the saint must not only move into defensive mode, but into an aggressive offensive mode as well. He must pull out his strongest weapon, which is the name, blood and Word of Elohim as preached through the gospel message. For example, Yeshua used the Word of Elohim (not men’s words) against Satan in the temptation in the wilderness, thus effectively defeating Satan (Matt 4:2–11). We can’t improve on this battle plan! It worked for Yeshua and the apostles and it will work for us. To use the Word of Elohim against the enemy means that the warrior-saint must know and even memorize the Word of Elohim, so he knows it when he needs to use it. Too many believers have been spiritually AWOL (or absent without leave) from YHVH’s spiritual army. They’ve become involved in and preoccupied with too many secular, flesh gratifying activities — living the so called “good life.” It’s time to turn off the television, computer, social media, video games and other forms of entertainment and other distractive secular activities and to start a regimen of spiritually conditioning as a soldier in YHVH’s army. The only other option is defeat!
7. The general who is skilled in defense hides in the most secret recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven. Thus on the one hand we have ability to protect ourselves; on the other, a victory that is complete.
Comment: The warrior-saint must not love his life unto death (Rev 12:11). He must be willing to lay his life down as Yeshua did. He must be willing to die fighting YHVH’s spiritual battles. This doesn’t only mean physical death, but he must be willing to give up his material possessions, hopes, dreams and relationships for the sake of Yeshua.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Rev 12:11)
Then said Yeshua unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Matt 16:24–27)
8. To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.
Comment: The spiritual warrior sees victory through the eyes of faith — faith in the Word of Elohim, faith in the promises of Elohim, faith that Yeshua defeated Satan, death, hell and the grave, and that we share in that victory if we endure to the end as overcomers.
9. Neither is it the acme of excellence if you fight and conquer and the whole Empire says, “Well done!”
10. To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.
11. What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.
Comment: The warrior-saint has already won the battle through Yeshua’s victory over sin and the grave, thus defeating the world, the flesh and the devil. As such, we are already more than conquerors through Yeshua (Rom 8:37), and if Elohim be for us, who can be against us (Rom 8:31)? The spiritual warrior has excelled in every area, and won the battle with ease through his faith in Yeshua the Messiah. We must remind the enemy of this at every possible opportunity and in every way possible. We mustn’t be ashamed of the gospel message and be willing to proclaim it everywhere we go when confronting the enemy. As Paul declared,
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of the Messiah: for it is the power of Elohim unto salvation to every one that believeth. (Rom 1:16)
13. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.
Comment: The spiritual warrior must have no sin in his life. Sin is the transgression of YHVH’s legal code or commandments (the Torah, 1 John 3:4). To the degree that we have sin in our life will be to the degree that we have chinks in our spiritual armor into which the enemy can shoot his deadly spiritual arrows and take us out (Eph 6:16).
14. Hence the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy.
Comment: This is only possible through a sinless, obedient, submissive life to the Word of Elohim through a spiritual relationship with Yeshua the Messiah.
15. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
Comment: The spiritual warrior goes to war knowing that he has already won the war through Yeshua the Messiah. We can read how the war ends in, for example, the book of Revelation in the Bible. So when we engage in spiritual battles here and now, never forget that regardless how the battle goes for us, we’ve won the war. If we’re walking in right relationship with Elohim, everything that happens to us is for our good, since YHVH loves us and he makes all things work together for our good (Rom 8:28). Sometimes we suffer “defeats” for the greater good of strengthening our faith and making us spiritually stronger. Sometimes we suffer defeats because of our own sin. This is simply an opportunity that YHVH is giving us to overcome that sin and strengthen the weak areas in our lives, so that we’ll be spiritually stronger for the next battle. Regardless, our lives are in Elohim’s loving hands and if we love and obey him, he won’t let us be destroyed. After all, what’s the worst thing the enemy can do to us? Kill us? Hah! That’s simply a promotion for us, for the next moment we awake from the dead, we’ll find ourselves with a glorified body in the Presence of Yeshua!
16. The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success.
Comment: The spiritual, biblically moral leader will be teaching, equipping and grounding his disciples spiritually in the full counsel of YHVH’s Word from Genesis to Revelation.
17. In respect of military method, we have, firstly, Measurement; secondly, Estimation of quantity; thirdly, Calculation; fourthly, Balancing of chances; fifthly, Victory.
18. Measurement owes its existence to Earth; Estimation of quantity to Measurement; Calculation to Estimation of quantity; Balancing of chances to Calculation; and Victory to Balancing of chances.
Comment: Simply put, the spiritual warrior believes the simplicity of the Word of Elohim and the gospel message. It’s so simple that even a child can understand it.
But Yeshua said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 19:14)
But when Yeshua saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of Elohim. (Mark 10:14)
After believing, the warrior-saint must then walk out the Word of Elohim through a relationship with Yeshua. The rest will take care of itself. It’s really rather simple. Elaborate and detailed calculations, estimation and planning aren’t necessary. This is called walking in and being led of the Spirit.
20. The onrush of a conquering force is like the bursting of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep.
Comment: At Yeshua’s second coming, his warrior-bride will return from heaven with him to defeat the Babylon the Great New World Order at the battle of Armageddon and nothing will stop Yeshua or his spiritual warriors from defeating his enemies, taking over the world, and then establishing his millennial kingdom on this earth (Rev 19:1–21).
10. In battle, there are not more than two methods of attack—the direct and the indirect; yet these two in combination give rise to an endless series of maneuvers.
Comment: When the spiritual warrior is walking in and by led by the Holy Spirit, he will be given instructions on how to attack the enemy. Sometimes the direct approach is necessary (e.g. direct confrontations through confrontational evangelism), and sometimes indirect methods are necessary (i.e., spiritual warfare prayer or relational evangelism). Usually the two approaches work hand-in-hand and side-by-side symbiotically and synergistically.
22. When he utilizes combined energy, his fighting men become as it were like unto rolling logs or stones. For it is the nature of a log or stone to remain motionless on level ground, and to move when on a slope; if four-cornered, to come to a standstill, but if round-shaped, to go rolling down.
23. Thus the energy developed by good fighting men is as the momentum of a round stone rolled down a mountain thousands of feet in height. So much on the subject of energy.
Comment: Every warrior in YHVH’s spiritual army must know his place, must know what his battles station is, understand how to use the weapons in which he is skilled, and to know when and how to use them. In so doing, he will be utilizing his spiritual skills and abilities in the most efficient and efficacious manner. He must also know how to follow the orders and signals of his commanding officers and how to coordinate his efforts in teamwork with the other soldiers in his group. Some soldiers are on the front lines directly confronting the enemy, some are prayer warriors, some feed and care for tired or wounded soldiers, some comfort them through music, some act as instructors in the art of spiritual war, some are wise counselors or leaders, others are tacticians and managers. Some tend the fires at home and take care of the children and supplies. Each has his or her role to play. The success of the army will be largely dependent on how well everyone works together in harmony as a spiritual community.
VI. WEAK POINTS AND STRONG
1. SunTzu said: Whoever is first in the field and awaits the coming of the enemy, will be fresh for the fight; whoever is second in the field and has to hasten to battle will arrive exhausted.
Comment: YHVH is looking for spiritual warriors who aren’t timid and fearful, but ready to fight the good fight here and now when he gives the command to do so. Yeshua continually decried those around him for having little faith. Faithlessness is fear (2 Tim 1:7; 1 Pet 4:18). The fearful and unbelieving will have no part in the kingdom of Elohim (Rev 21:8). It is the Holy Spirit that empowers the warrior to fight YHVH’s spiritual battle. The warrior depends on YHVH’s strength and not his own to fight and win each battle.
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting Elohim, YHVH, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon YHVH shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isa 40:28–31)
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
2. Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him.
Comment: When fighting the enemy, the warrior-saint determines the battle lines based on the Word of Elohim and the leading of the Spirit of Elohim. The enemy wants us to play by his rules of engagement (e.g. by dragging us through his secular legal systems) and by trying to silence us from preaching the gospel and speaking the truth. We must play by YHVH’s rules of engagement, which are a whole other way of fighting about which the enemy knows little or nothing. The Holy Spirit in the very hour we need it will tell us what to say (and how to act) before our adversary (Matt 10:19). In this way, we are fighting our spiritual battles in YHVH’s strength and not in our own strength.
4. If the enemy is taking his ease, he can harass him; if well supplied with food, he can starve him out; if quietly encamped, he can force him to move.
Comment: The spiritual warrior must never give the enemy rest when it comes to preaching to him the truth of the Word of Elohim. Confront the enemy with the truth of the Word. When we do this, YHVH has to defend his own Word against our enemies, and this puts the spiritual warrior in the place of YHVH fighting his battles for him, since they are YHVH’s battles. David did this when confronting Goliath. He came running to David in the name of the Eohim of Israel through YHVH’s covenantal relationship with the Israelites. We all know how that story ended!
5. Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected.
Comment: Many of the great warrior leaders in the Old Testament fought unconventionally against Israel’s enemies. We must do the same. Again, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us what to do if we seek YHVH and wait on him to reveal to us his battle tactics to defeat the enemy.
8. Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.
Comment: Again, when the spiritual warrior fights as YHVH leads him employing unconventional and Spirit-led tactics, it will keep the enemy off guard and the element of surprise will be in the saints’ favor. How does an enemy who has a sword and spear fight against a shofar and a clay lamp, or a sling shot, or the Jews praising YHVH through music, or against the ark of the covenant leading the warriors into battle, or against the prophet of Elohim who makes prophet declarations against the enemy, or a band of priest marching around the city walls carrying a wooden box blowing ram’s horns? The enemy has no defense against such tactics. Wait on YHVH and he will teach his warriors how to fight successfully each step of the way leading to victory. Yes, some will lose their lives along the way, but this isn’t a defeat in YHVH’s spiritual economy. Stephen was stoned, but it furthered the gospel in process. His death was for the greater spiritual good of expanding the kingdom of Elohim through the preaching of the gospel far and wide. Stephen won and so did the kingdom of Elohim. The Devil lost!
9. O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible; and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.
Comment: From personal experience, I have learned that in the heat of battle, when confronting the enemy of the gospel, sometimes YHVH makes me invisible to my enemies. I have snuck behind enemy lines and ministered the gospel and defeated the enemy without anyone even knowing I was there. Elohim is great and acts strongly on behalf of his people!
25. In making tactical dispositions, the highest pitch you can attain is to conceal them; conceal your dispositions, and you will be safe from the prying of the subtlest spies, from the machinations of the wisest brains.
Comment: As noted above, never tip your hand to the enemy. Be careful who you talk to and to whom you divulge our plans. Our marching orders must come from the prayer closet in conjunction with the Word of Elohim. Keep tight lips and reveal the plans only to those who are spiritually mature, who share your spiritual foxhole, and will watch your back spiritually.
28. Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.
Comment: Before each battle, the warrior-saint must seek YHVH’s face for new directions on how to fight the next battle. Every battle is different. It’s laziness and incompetence to rely on the same old plan for each battle. It may or may not work. The conditions for each battle are different. Therefore, seek YHVH’s guidance who knows all and see all.
29. Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards.
30. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.
31. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.
Comment: There are times when the spiritual warrior has to make quick decisions on the spot. This is where a close relationship with YHVH is essential with the ability to hear his voice at the very moment his guidance is needed. Not all battles can be completely prepared for ahead of time. The spiritual warrior does his best to prepare ahead of time for each battle, but it’s always a faith walk, since there are always uncertainties. As the Scriptures say, “The just shall walk by faith [in YHVH Elohim],” (2 Cor 5:7; Heb 10:38).
1. Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his commands from the sovereign.
Comment: As already noted, all spiritual military leaders must be in tune with YHVH Elohim if they expect to defeat the enemy. There is no other way!
2. Having collected an army and concentrated his forces, he must blend and harmonize the different elements thereof before pitching his camp.
Comment: As already noted, all the members of the body of Yeshua must be working and walking together in sync. There is no room for division, strife, fear, confusion, sin or disobedience. When the children of Israel weren’t in complete obedience to YHVH’s commands and Achan brought sin into the camp, the Israelites were defeated at Ai. After the sin was put out of the camp and YHVH’s commands were followed, they were victorious over their enemies.
11. We may take it then that an army without its baggage-train is lost; without provisions it is lost; without bases of supply it is lost.
Comment: Similarly, the Holy Spirit is the spiritual warriors source of sustenance, strength and guidance. Without this constant supply of spiritual provision, the saints’ army will lose the battle. The saint also needs the constant support of fellow warrior saints as a body supplying the needs of every other part of the body (1 Cor 12:12–31).
12. We cannot enter into alliances until we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors.
Comment: The spiritual warrior must never make alliances with YHVH’s enemies. Every time ancient Israel did this, they were defeated. There can be no compromise with evil or anything that goes against the Word or will of Elohim. To be unequally yoked with unbelievers is to court spiritual disaster (2 Cor 6:11–18).
13. We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with the face of the country— its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps.
Comment: A spiritual road map to guide us through unfamiliar or enemy territory is essential. Without a map, the battle will be at least confusing and demoralizing to the spiritual warrior if not disastrous. The Word of Elohim, the leading of the Holy Spirit on how and when to apply the Word of Elohim along with the wise counsel of spiritual elders are the spiritual maps the warrior-saint must follow, so as not to get lost in the battle, which can lead to the enemy gaining an advantage over the saint leading to his defeat.
23. The Book of Army Management says: On the field of battle, the spoken word does not carry far enough: hence the institution of gongs and drums. Nor can ordinary objects be seen clearly enough: hence the institution of banners and flags.
24. Gongs and drums, banners and flags, are means whereby the ears and eyes of the host may be focused on one particular point.
Comment: Communication between YHVH’s spiritual warriors, their leaders and YHVH himself is essential to maintain a coordinated attack. Elohim is not the author of confusion. Again, the spiritual body of Yeshua must act like a physical body by working together in perfect harmony as Paul discusses in 1 Corinthians 14.
25. The host thus forming a single united body, is it impossible either for the brave to advance alone, or for the cowardly to retreat alone. This is the art of handling large masses of men.
Comment: Unity along with zeal and a sense of purpose among members of the spiritual body of Yeshua is essential to winning spiritual battles.
VIII. VARIATION IN TACTICS
3. There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must be not attacked, towns which must be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.
Comment: The spiritual warrior chooses his battles carefully. He fights only those battles YHVH tells him to fight. To fight one’s own personal (ego-oriented) battles can invite defeat. Moeover, don’t feel the need to fight every battle. This is impossible to do. No one has the strength, ability or resources to fight every battle with which one is confronted. Some battles are best fought at a later time when the enemy is weaker or we are stronger, or by others who are more able and better equipped to do so.
11. All armies prefer high ground to low and sunny places to dark.
Comment: The spiritual warrior must always stay firmly planted on the highest, moral and spiritual ground. He must never compromise this positions for anything. YHVH’s divinely revealed truth is the ultimate weapon in the saint’s arsenal. The enemy hates YHVH’s truth, for it will eventually judge him and bring him and his ungodly actions to account before the Almighty and Judge of the universe. The enemy doesn’t want to be reminded of this and the thought of it shakes him to the core — never mind the words of bravado, mocking, and scorning he may utter to the contrary. His words belie the true state of his soul. The spiritual warrior must never back down from proclaiming the truth of Elohim the pinnacle of which is the gospel message and whose foundation is YHVH’s holy Torah — his instructions, teachings and precepts in righteousness by which YHVH’s enemies are defeated and the spiritual warrior gains the victory.