IV. THE NEED OF KNOWING THE POSITION OF WARFARE
In order to know the ascension, we need fourthly to know the position of warfare. The position of spiritual warfare is absolutely in the heavenly places. Whenever we lose the position of ascension, we are unable to carry on any spiritual warfare. On the battlefield, all military strategists pay attention to the problem of position. Whoever takes the high ground against the low ground can win the battle. On the spiritual battleground, this principle is even more important. We can say that spiritual warfare depends solely on the problem of position. If we wish to win in the fight, the position of ascension must be absolutely known and kept.
We must see the fact that the spiritual warfare mentioned in the sixth chapter of Ephesians is based on the position of ascension in the second chapter. The second chapter of Ephesians declares that we are sitting together with Christ in heavenly places. Then the sixth chapter goes on to speak of our wrestling against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places (v. 12). This means that we must first be men of ascension with the position of ascension before we can attack the enemy in the air from above. If we are men of earth and lose the position of ascension, we will fall into the hand of the enemy and cannot fight against him. Therefore, the position of spiritual warfare is absolutely in the heavens.
Genesis 3:14 tells us that after the serpent enticed Eve, God judged him by causing him to move about on his belly and to eat dust all the days of his life. Moving on his belly limits the sphere of his activity. He can only creep on the ground. Eating dust limits the object of his devouring. He can only eat things pertaining to the dust of the earth as food. The serpent in Genesis 3 is the embodiment of Satan. Therefore, the judgment against the serpent is also the judgment against Satan. Today, the sphere of Satan’s activity is earth, and the object of his devouring is the man of earth. First Corinthians 15:47-48 tells us that Adam and all those belonging to him are earthy. Therefore, whenever we live in the earthly life of Adam, we are earthly and also on earth. We not only cannot fight against Satan, but we also fall into the sphere of his activity and become the object of his devouring. Contrariwise, whenever we live in the heavenly life of Christ, we are heavenly and are in heaven. Thus we transcend Satan’s sphere of activity and are no longer the object of his devouring. Hence, we can attack him and overcome him.
This principle of warfare is also very evident in our practical daily living. Whether in the church, at home, or at the place of our employment, whenever we have a touch of sin, a love for the world, a display of temper, a dealing in craftiness, or a living in the earthly life, we simply cannot be strong before the enemy and fight against him. At this time we are already earthly and have fallen into the hand of the enemy. On the other hand, if we constantly have fellowship with the Lord, walk in spirit, and live in the heavenly life, we are heavenly and abide in the position of ascension. Then we can stay on higher ground over against lower ground and deal with Satan. At this time, should the church encounter difficulties, we can engage in prevailing prayer before God, demanding God to come forth to judge His enemy. We can rise to express our attitude to God, saying, “We will not allow these things to happen in the church.” We can also say seriously to Satan, “We are disgusted with this. We are against this.” When we make such a severe declaration and strong expression, the entire host of Satan will retreat. His work will also be completely destroyed. But if we live in the earthly life, using natural methods and means, we will never be able to solve these problems. We have already fallen from heaven and lost the position of warfare. We have no way to deal with God’s enemy and nullify his works.
Why does the position of ascension cause us to be victorious in battle? It is because only in the position of ascension may we have heavenly authority. In order to wage spiritual warfare, we need to depend upon heavenly authority. There is only one place where we can obtain heavenly authority: this place is heaven. If we pass through death and resurrection to reach the heavenly realm, we will surely obtain heavenly authority. Therefore we will surely be victorious in battle.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)