by Doug Fortune
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." -- Ephesians 6:12
May I suggest that we redefine our understanding of spiritual warfare? However, in order to bring clarity of definition in spiritual warfare, we must bring clarity of definition of the 'spiritual realm'. The word translated as "heavenly places" is epouranos in Greek. There is another word translated as "heaven" which is ouranos in Greek. You will notice that the difference between these words is the prefix epi, meaning superimposition or above. Keep in mind that when contrasting the second heaven (ouranos) and the third heaven (epouranos), this really has nothing to do with geography or physical altitude. Paul describes this as being outside of our physical time-space oriented thinking; "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven..." (2 Corinthians 12:2). At any rate, we know that the third heaven supersedes the second heaven, it is a higher realm (not necessarily in physical altitude). So, what on EARTH does this have to do with spiritual warfare?
It all has to do with location (not physical) or spiritual authority. Ephesians 1:20-23 speaks of this as it says; "Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places (epouranos), FAR ABOVE all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things UNDER HIS FEET, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is His BODY (the Body has feet!), the fulness of Him that filleth all in all." So here we see that in spiritual authority, the third heaven (epouranos) is FAR ABOVE all governing principalities, powers, might and dominion. It is extremely important to note where WE are in this equation; "And hath raised US up together, and made US sit together in heavenly places (epouranos) in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2:6) My friend, WE are FAR ABOVE all principality, power, might and dominion. We are seated in the third heaven, above the government of the second heaven.
Spiritual warfare is NOT a matter of us standing on the earth, our praise ascending to the heavens and piercing the spiritual darkness, casting out governing principalities and powers! Rather, it is much more a matter of US descending, bringing the GLORY of the third heaven to invade the second heaven, therefore DISPLACING principalities and powers!
I believe that at this point it may be helpful to gain a basic understanding of what I'm referring to as the 'third heaven'. We speak of the first-day experience, the Outer-Court, the first feast (Passover), and the first heaven; these are all symbolic of our initial salvation experience. We are now under the blood of the (Passover) Lamb, Christ Jesus, free from the sinful bondage of the 'earth realm', the emphasis on sacrifice and offering, and have gained a heavenly perspective (if nothing else, hoping to GO TO heaven someday). Then there is the second-day experience, the Holy-Place, the second feast (Pentecost), and the second heaven; these are all symbolic of our moving into the realm of the 'gifts' of the Spirit, prophecy, praying in tongues, the illumination (golden candlestick) of the Spirit, and becoming very aware of the governing principalities and powers of the second heaven. Then comes the third-day experience, the Holy of Holies, the third feast (Tabernacles), and the third heaven; these are all symbolic of our moving into the realm of GLORY.
In this realm it's not about US and our sacrifice and our salvation (first day, first heaven), it's not about US and our gifts of the Spirit and our revelations (second day, second heaven), it's ALL about HIM and His GLORY. The primary manifestation of the glory of God is His character, His nature, and the place His glory is manifesting today is IN US; "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the GLORY of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ IN YOU, the hope of GLORY:" (Colossians 1:27). The third-day experience, the third heaven is all about becoming ONE with Him, His nature, His Life manifesting THROUGH us... it's really all about INTIMACY. "...and they two shall be ONE FLESH. This is a great mystery (remember the 'mystery' of Colossians 1:27?): but I speak concerning Christ and the CHURCH." (Ephesians 5:31-32).
Now let's pay close attention here, if we can grasp it I believe this truth will transform our spiritual warfare: Just as the epouranos supersedes the ouranos, just as the third heaven supersedes the second heaven, INTIMACY supersedes second heaven government. I'm going to be redundant for the sake of emphasis; just as the third heaven supersedes the second heaven, INTIMACY supersedes second heaven government!
Let us explore a beautiful prophetic picture of this truth found in the book of Esther:
* "Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus... That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom... In the THIRD year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his princes and his servants; the power of Persia and Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, being before him:" (Esther 1:1-3) For our purposes here, Ahasuerus serves as a type of Jesus Christ seated upon His throne. Jesus Christ is in the THIRD millennial year of His reign, and has prepared a banqueting table for US (His princes) in the presence of our enemies (the power of Persia), the second heaven government of principalities and powers.
* "Also Vashti the queen made a feast for the women in the royal house which belonged to king Ahasuerus. On the seventh day, when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded... To bring Vashti the queen before the king with the crown royal, to shew the people and the princes her beauty: for she was fair to look on. But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king's commandment by his chamberlains:" (Esther 1:10-12). In Biblical symbolism, the woman is symbolic of the emotions or the soul. There is a 'queen' in Churchianity today that is 'fair to look on', at least she looks good on the outside, but she is too busy feasting in the SOULISH things of religion, 'a feast for the women'. Indeed, the King's heart is merry in this seventh millennial day, for this is a season of His favor, but she is too busy with religious activities and false humility to come before Him in royal apparel.
* "Vashti shall come no more before king Ahasuerus; and let the king give her royal position to another that is better than she." (Esther 1:19) - Good news for the 'Esther Company' that God is preparing, bad news for the religious system.
* "And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful;" (Esther 2:7). Hadassah means myrtle in Hebrew. Myrtle speaks of the Feast of Tabernacles as Nehemiah 8:14-15 says, "the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written." The Bride that is being prepared for our King has experienced Passover and Pentecost and is experientially entering into the Feast of Tabernacles. Like the priest Melchizedek, this 'Esther Company' has neither father nor mother, in other words, like Melchizedek she has stepped into the Life that is not bound by natural heritage or natural limitations.
* "Now when every maid's turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)" (Esther 2:12). The 'purifying of the women' speaks of the purifying of the SOUL (mind, will, emotions). "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ENGRAFTED Word, which is able to SAVE your SOULS." (James 1:21)
Twelve is the symbolic number of apostolic order, and apostles are calling the Church to maturity, to lay aside the soulish life of carnality. Myrrh was used as an intimate perfume and used in embalming, six is the symbolic number of man, of carnality. The women would soak themselves in oil of myrrh, which was quite fragrant and made the skin soft to the touch. So when we read of 'six months with oil of myrrh' this speaks of the carnality of the soulish life being intimately exposed, reckoned dead, and 'embalmed'.
We then read of 'six months with sweet odours', which is incense. Gina Tanner describes this so well as she states; "In this time period, women would build a small charcoal fire in a pit in the floor. Incense would be placed in a cosmetic burner and heated in the fire (purification). The woman would crouch naked (totally exposed) over the burner with her robe draped over her head and body to form a tent (booth, tabernacle). As she perspired (ridding of self), her open pores absorbed the fragrance of the oil (Christ). By the time the fire burned out, her skin would be thoroughly perfumed! This is an incredible type of the purification of the Bride until it is no longer 'our' fleshy odor, but the very fragrance of Christ emitting from our being!" It is also important to note that in the Tabernacle, the incense played a very instrumental role. When burned it emitted a cloud of fragrant odor that provided an atmosphere for the presence of the Lord to DWELL; "...and he shall put the incense upon the fire before Jehovah, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not." (Leviticus 16:13) We are now His Tabernacle, and as our lives are heated in the fires of purification, we become a 'cloud' (remember the cloud of witnesses?) in which He dwells!
* "And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath." (Esther 3:5) Ahh yes, the story would not be complete without Haman. We too have a 'Haman' that is full of wrath, seeking to kill, steal, and destroy. Our 'Haman', the prince of the power of the air, operates in the governmental second heaven through principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness. Here we find Haman, just like the 'accuser of the brethren' (Revelation 12:10), involved in lots of 'political' jockeying with accusation and decrees against the people of God. This is where much of our energy in spiritual warfare has been focused. For the most part, we have engaged ourselves in the struggle of the second heaven, mapping, identifying and strategizing to deal with accusation and decrees against us. It seems there are so many 'prayer directives' focused on US DOING something to affect the second heaven government. I believe we may see a higher way in Esther chapter five.
* "...and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer... so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:14-16). There is an 'Esther Company' that is preparing for the King, knowing that they have 'come to the Kingdom for such a time as this'! Just like Esther, some are beginning to recognize that they have a personal destiny to affect the corporate destiny of nations, and have laid aside all self-interests understanding that 'if I perish, I perish'!
So, here we have it... the people of God are in a major crisis, things appear to be going from bad to worse, it seems that the second heaven government (Haman) has prevailed through "the handwriting of ordinances that was against us (them), which was contrary to us (them)." (Colossians 2:14). However, let us look closely at their strategy to overcome. They didn't involve themselves in that second heaven governmental arena at all.
* "Now it came to pass on the THIRD DAY, that Esther PUT ON her ROYAL APPAREL, and stood in the inner court of the king's house... And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained FAVOUR in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden SCEPTRE that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre. Then said the king unto her, What wilt thou, queen Esther? and what is thy request? it shall be even given thee to the half of the kingdom." (Esther 5:1-3) My friend, we are living in the THIRD DAY and there is a prepared 'Esther Company' that is putting on her royal apparel; "...as many as were baptized into Christ - into a SPIRITUAL UNION and communion with Christ - have put on, CLOTHED yourselves with Christ." (Galatians 3:27 Amplified Bible) Like Esther, we must press in to 'the INNER court of the King's house' into the Holy of Holies, the place of intimacy where we bid the King to 'into-ME-see'. This is the place of FAVOR.
What happens then is so incredible, for the King extends to us the golden sceptre. Gold is symbolic of the divine, and a sceptre is symbolic of sovereign authority, the use of the sceptre originated in the idea that the ruler was as a shepherd of his people. So the golden sceptre speaks of divine sovereign authority! When we come before our King, as a Bride who is prepared and focused upon intimacy (into-me-see), I believe He will declare, "What is thy request? it shall be even given thee!" This is what my friend Wade Taylor calls Divine Intervention. Wade says, "Intervention is a state in which the Lord brings forth a condition or experience in the recipient through Divine sovereign power, which is independent of any ability that the individual may possess, to contact the power of God in order to bring these things to pass."
Can we grasp the difference between a spiritual warfare that is fought in the realm of governing principalities and powers of the second heaven, and a third heaven intimate relationship that bypasses warfare through Divine Intervention? This is US descending with the golden sceptre extended toward us, bringing the GLORY of the third heaven to invade the second heaven, therefore DISPLACING principalities and powers! Just as the epouranos supersedes the ouranos, just as the third heaven supersedes the second heaven, INTIMACY supersedes second heaven government. Intimacy splits the heavens wide open where warfare can have limited effects. This is the 'air assault' whereby governmental second heaven principalities and powers are displaced.
In saying this am I reducing intimacy to a mere 'strategy' whereby the enemy is defeated?... certainly NOT! Intimacy with Him, the one-flesh face-to-face relationship IS our VERY LIFE, not a mere 'strategy'. "I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege- the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth and supreme advantage- of KNOWING Jesus Christ my Lord, and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly... And that I may actually be found and known as IN HIM... For my determined purpose is that I may KNOW Him- that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly..." (Philippians 3:8-10 Amplified Bible) "And He ordained twelve, that they should BE WITH HIM..." (Mark 3:14).
My friend, it is time to heed the call to 'come up higher' than the 'second heaven view'! It is time to 'come up higher' to the third heaven! It is time to enter into another realm through the"door standing open in heaven." (Rev. 4:1) It is time to change our focus from sin and the church in the earth, and focus upon the Throne of God and the Glory of God. It is time we begin "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done..." (Isaiah 46:10)
Doug Fortune has a variety of on-line articles which can be found at www.apostolic-prophetic.com/. His Trumpet Call Ministry is a ‘present truth’ ministry helping churches transition into and be established in the Apostolic and Prophetic.
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