V. THE RESULTS OF SPIRITUAL WARFARE
The first result of spiritual warfare is the bringing in of God’s authority. How much we fight determines how much God’s authority will be brought in. God’s authority can only be executed in the place of our fighting. If this warfare transpires in an individual, then God’s authority reaches that individual; if it occurs in the home, then God’s authority reaches the home; if it takes place in the church, then His authority reaches the church. Therefore, the first result of spiritual warfare is the bringing in of God’s authority.
The second result of spiritual warfare is that Satan is driven out and chased away. This is true in the individual, in the home, and in the church as well. So also it is even in the air and on the earth. The place where the saints maintain the spiritual warfare is also the place where God’s authority is brought in; consequently, Satan is driven out from that place.
Among the children of God there are not enough who are fighting the warfare, and the element of spiritual warfare is too little; hence, Satan still rules in the air and on the earth. When our spiritual experience is rather shallow, our sense of spiritual warfare is very weak. We still feel that our problem is with sin, the world, the flesh, the self, and the natural constitution. When we deal with these and enter into the fourth stage of spiritual life, our experience is deepened, and we see that the Body which God uses in the universe is the church. Then we have a strong sense toward spiritual warfare, knowing that whatever we do—our every action, word, and attitude—is an influence upon Satan and an attack against him. Only then will we feel strongly that our only problem is Satan, and that we are here as warriors to deal with this enemy of God. We will see that our preaching the gospel is not merely to save souls, but even more to cast out the devil; our edifying the saints and administering the church are not merely for the building up of the church, but even more to fight for God and chase away the power of darkness which usurps men. Thus God’s authority can come upon a group of people or on certain matters and reign over them. Upon arriving at this stage, whether we are preaching the gospel, edifying the saints, or administering the church, our attitude is always to aim at Satan as the object of our dealing. We know that which hinders the gospel is not the outward environment, but Satan. We know that which usurps men and causes them not to love the Lord is neither human ties, nor the world, nor the flesh, but the satanic power of darkness. We know also that the reason for all the confusion, striving, indifference, and corruption in the church is naught else but Satan. Therefore, we do not deal with things that appear on the surface, but, through the position and authority of ascension, we deal with the power of darkness which schemes behind these things and reigns on the earth.
Revelation 12 reveals that once the manchild, who typifies the overcomers, is caught up to heaven, warfare immediately takes place. The moment they are caught up into heaven, they enter into conflict with Satan and cast him down from the air to the earth. Later, the Lord Jesus brings them with Him in His descent to the earth and casts Satan, who is on the earth, into the bottomless pit. At that time the power of darkness in the air and on the earth will be completely expelled, and no trace of Satan will be found again in heaven or on earth; thus the kingdom of God will come in a practical way. At that time, all the overcoming saints will reign together with Christ and for God a thousand years.
Finally, at the end of the millennial kingdom, the enemy will be released for a short time and rebel for the last time. But again he will be dealt with by the Lord and the overcomers and will be cast into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. All those who belong to him will perish with him forever. At that time, the former heaven and earth will pass away, and a new heaven and new earth will begin. There, in the new heaven and new earth, God’s name will be uniquely honored, all creatures will be subject to God’s authority, God’s will shall be done in the whole universe, and His glory will be fully manifest. Thus, through spiritual warfare, God’s eternal purpose is completely accomplished.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)