the Strong Man
An interview with Mahesh Chavda
|NW: Mahesh, what was your first introduction to spiritual
MC: For many people the term spiritual warfare seems pretty nebulous, with little or no practical application. But from Godís point of view, it is thoroughly practical:
Ø if you are going to take a territory, you must confront and conquer the other forces occupying that territory.
My first spiritual warfare- Some years ago, before I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I was attending graduate school and working part time as night manager of a restaurant in Lubbock, Texas. I hired a young man, the son of the restaurantís cook, because the whole family was in financial trouble and I wanted to help them.
ØFrom his first day on the job, I noticed that this young man was acting strangely. Often, during his work as a bus boy, he would suddenly stop what he was doing and go into a trance that would last for several moments. The trances eventually became so severe that he would collapse completely. One day I saw that unmistakable glazed look come into his eyes while ho was holding a large tray of glasses, so I took the tray from him and led him into a storage room where his trance wouldnít cause a disturbance.
ØI had left him momentarily to care for some other matters when suddenly I heard a scream from one of the waitresses. As I turned around I saw huge flames coming from the storage room. I ran over there to find that the young man had lit an entire box of matches, trying to make a big bonfire in the closet.
ØHe was still in a trance and was repeating, "I must make a sacrifice. I must make a sacrifice to Satan." I called one of the other cooks, a very large man, to come put the fire out and help me restrain this young man. But both of us trying together could not control him.
It was as if he had the strength of thirteen men. We asked two other people who were his friends to help hold him down, but even with their help we could not budge him.
ØHe kept calling upon Satan, and when another voice spoke from his lips, cackling and saying, "Did you think you could resist Satan?" the people helping me fled in fear.
ØI thought, "Well, since he is calling upon his lord, I will call upon my Lord."
ØI knew nothing about spiritual warfare at that time, but I put my hand on that young manís head and said quietly, "Jesus, bless him." I had hardly spoken the words when the young man screamed out loud saying,
Ø"Take the cross from my hair! Itís burning me!" I did not have a cross, of course, but had simply laid my hand upon him. Slowly he descended into a chair as if all the unnatural strength in him melted away. I too, felt totally drained of all the energy as the young manís father and some friends led the boy to a car and started home with him.
ØI learned later that on the way home he again had gone berserk, and his father had driven him to the police station for help in controlling him. It took eight strong, Texas policemen and three other men to calm him down and put him into a cell.
ØWe found out later that the young man was part of a group involved in Satan worship.
This was my first encounter with someone under satanic influence, and it taught me how very real spiritual warfare is. That experience was a demonstration of Paulís words in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, "For though we walk in flesh we do not war according to the flash, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses."
NW. Do you think the spiritual warfare we are encountering is in direct proportion to Godís increased activity in the earth? In other words, is the supernatural progress in the realm of the Holy Spirit being opposed by supernatural powers in the satanic realm?
MC: Definitely. When Moses went to deliver the word of the Lord to Pharaoh concerning the children of Israel, there were magician in the court, Jannes and ]ambres, who had supernatural powers.
And when Moses threw his rod down and it turned into a snake, those men did the same. The only difference was that Mosesí snake ate up their snakes and Moses went home with a fatter rod.
ØThe magicians, who were under satanic influence, were able to match the miracles that Moses performed up to a point.
ØBut when Moses turned the dust into lice, the magicians turned to Pharaoh and said, "We cannot do this; this is the work of God." The Gospel today - Likewise, today as we bring the word of the Lord to the nations, we will be confronted by 20th century Jannes and Jambres. But we can withstand them with the power of God if we will persevere. We do not need to be afraid of them, or uncertain of Godís supernatural power working in us. We can be confident that God will confirm the word He has given us to proclaim to the nations.
As the Holy Spirit is being poured out in the last days, the enemy will pour out his demonic powers in the fullest possible measure because he knows his time is about up. The Scriptures say that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord lifts up the banner. We will find that enemy forces will always be where the work of the Lord is, and in the last days they are going to be present in great measure.
NW: When some Christians read what the Bible says about powers and principalities, they find it hard to apply in realistic term. They think of the heavenly realm as having no influence on the earth. Could you discuss some examples of those powers and principalities tangibly wielding power and influence in our society?
MC:Satan is a great strategist when it comes to spiritual warfare. In fact, the Church has often been fighting him at a great disadvantage.
1. First, because it doesnít know how to use the weapons God has provided, and
2. secondly, because it doesnít know how Satan works.
How Satan works
Satan has placed certain delegated angelsover certain geographical areas and over certain kinds of activities such as photography, abortion, and numerous other areas. New Wine once referred to a vision in which a certain area of Nevada was seen to be under a spirit of divorce, and in New Orleans a spirit of witchcraft hung over the city. There are delegated rulers over certain areas who exercise an influence which is very noticeable.
ØFortunately, God has given the Church the authority to fight against these powers.
ØI believe that today God is revealing just how dependent we are on one another, and that only as Christians become united will we be able to confront and defeat these powers.
ØEven the devil knows that a kingdom divided against itself will fall, but it has taken the Church centuries to realize this truth. The more elders and pastors in cities and states can get together to intercede, pray and take authority over Satanís efforts, the more we will see these dark powers yield and withdraw from their appointed areas.
I believe in this decade we are to proclaim the gospel to all nations, bringing the Kingdom to every territory of the world.
ØBut we wonít take those territories without first battling and conquering the principalities and powers of darkness that currently rule those areas Ė "binding the strong man" as it says in Scripture.
ØTo accomplish that, men of God in every nation, state and city need to unite in prayer and intercession against these powers. There is value in individual intercession, but in these last days the Holy Spirit is urgently requiring us to be united in our intercession. Men or God who are under proper authority, when united in prayer with other elders, have a much greater chance of success in pulling down Satan's strongholds.
NW: So you would say that the reason why there seem to be blockades to an increase of the gospel in certain areas is because Christians have not came together and prayed in unity, binding the principalities over that area?
MC: Thatís right. In the ministry God has given me, I have had the opportunity to travel across the country and speak with the elders of various cities, and the main word that God has given me to minister to them is,
Ø"Become one in Christ. Face the reality of your dependence on one another, and with the rest of the Body." It is very important that every Christian realize the urgency of the hour and the need to confront the enemy as a united people, instead of expending our energy bickering and fighting with each other. Unfortunately, instead of uniting against the adversary, our tendency has been to turn on one another. This only furthers the enemyís purpose.
NW: You mentioned cities over which there are specific, satanic principalities that are diametrically opposed to the purposes of God. We know that these vary for each setting, but are there some general enemies that you feel face the people of God as a whole?
MC: In the Ď80s I believe there will be several major enemies that we will be confronting.
power of humanism. This includes communism, which hid humanism taken to an extreme.
1. One, which New Wine has already written about, is the
2. Another power is thepower of witchcraft, or of Jezebel, and I will discuss this in further details later.
3. A third power is thepower of anti-Christ, one expression of which is the religion of Islam.
ØThe entire Middle East area has been under the powerful influence of Islam for centuries, an influence Christians have not recognized as the supernatural power it is.
ØOf course, when I talk about the power of Islam, I am not talking about people or races but about the spiritual force that exists in the heavenlies and that manifests itself in the form of the Islamic religion.
ØJust one example of the tremendous evil potential of this power is that once a year, every Moslem observes the fast of Ramadan. From sun-up to sun-down for an entire month they will not eat anything, and the extremely devout Moslems will not even drink water. In fact, some of the religious leaders will not even swallow their saliva during the fast.
ØImagine what entire nations, such as Iran, Libya and Iraq, can accomplish by fasting for an entire month as a nation. Fasting is a universal spiritual principal; it will release a tremendous amount of power, whether it be from God or from Satan.
This is the powerful force that has been opposing Christianity over the centuries. The number of conversions to Christianity in Moslem countries has never been more than a handful, and I believe the reason is because the spiritual force of Islam has not been confronted in the right way.
4. A fourth power that I believe we are confronting is one which is gaining strength and momentum Ė the power or principality that causes people to consider death as a solution to social problems. This includes abortion and euthanasia. I believe that the power of humanism and the power of witchcraft, or of Jezebel, both strengthen this other power especially in the case al abortion. Like the idol Molech, to whom infants were sacrificed by the Canaanites, the more this spiritual power is fed, the more power it has to confuse and pervert ethics and promote its poisonous ideals in a nation.
NW: Could you give a brief comparison of the worship of Molech to the practice of abortion?
MC:: In the history of Israel, when the Israelites rebelled and turned to idolatry, we read that there was a great increase in infant sacrifices to the god Molech and others (see Lev. 18:21). And what is abortion but the sacrifice of innocent unborn children?
NW: Could you explain more about the connection you mentioned between abortion and the spirit of Jezebel?
MC: Yes. Another power which was present in Biblical times, and which I believe strongly promotes the power of abortion, is the spirit of Jezebel. The major way this power operates is by confusing the proper roles of men and women. This spirit was at work way back in the Garden of Eden when Adam abdicated his role as the head, and Eve made the decision about the fruit instead of Adam.
ØBasically, the power of witchcraft or Jezebel occurs when the male abdicates authority and the female usurps it. This does not necessarily mean the spirit of Jezebel emanates from women only. In reality, it represents the abuse of authority by anyone, or any manipulation or domination or any attempt to take authority that God did not delegate.
ØThe greatest danger about this power is how it effects men of God, as illustrated[ by the story of Elijah and Jezebel. Elijah boldly confronted 450 hostile prophets of Baal, laughed in their faces; humiliated them in their failure to convince their god to burn their sacrifice, and then had them all killed. But when he heard that one woman, Jezebel, was out to kill him, Elijah, the mighty man of God, was terrified and fled for his life. He ran into the desert where he finally collapsed under a juniper tree and begged God to let him die. I have ministered to men of God who have encountered the spirit of Jezebel and what they have gone through is often just like what Elijah experienced. They run; they contemplate suicide; they believe their lives are worthless to God and the rest of the Church.
ØAnother aspect is the loneliness and isolation a man of God feels when the power of witchcraft attacks him, as illustrated by Elijahís lament to God in 1 King 19:10: "l alone am left Ö" Although it was a lie from the devil, even that mighty prophet of God felt totally alone.
But God told Elijah he wasnít alone an that there were 7000 in Israel who had not bowed their knee to Baal. God then instructed the prophet to anoint Hazael king over Aram; Jehu king over Israel; and Elisha as prophet in his place. "And the one who escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword or ]ehu, Elisha shall put to death" (19:17). God knew that in standing against the power of Jezebel, Elijah needed to be supported by other men of God, and that this was no time to go it alone.
ØA final insight into the power of the spirit of Jezebel is found in 1 King chapter 21, when king Ahab, Jezebelís husband, was thwarted in his attempt to obtain the vineyard of Naboth that he coveted. The Bible tells us that Ahab came home to Jezebel acting like a little boy, throwing himself on his bed, turning his face to the wall and refusing to eat. When Jezebel asked her pouting husband why be was so sullen, Ahab told her that Naboth had refused to sell his vineyard to him. To that Jezebel replied, "Don't worry, I will get the vineyard of Naboth for you." And by cunning and deceit, Jezebel arranged to have Naboth killed by writing the elders of Nabothís city, and instructing them to frame Naboth and stone him for a crime he didnít commit. Thus even the elders gave into the power of Jezebel, and an innocent man died as a result. I believe that many innocent man have died, both physically and spiritually, because the elder of their church or city did not discern and bind the spirit of Jezebel, but were rather caught up in it and used by it.
The spirit of Jezebel is very real, and men of God cannot take it lightly. If they think they can humour it or ignore it, they are in for quite a shock. It will violently oppose and attempt to destroy true men of God who are functioning as they should.
NW: So the power of Jezebel, or witchcraft, is unlike other principalities in that it aims at men of God rather than just at the general public?
MC: Thatís right. I would say that it is one of the major weapons that Satan is using to attack men of God today. But it can be defeated if confronted properly. The story of Jezebelís demise gives us some insight on this. After Ahab had been killed and Elijah had been caught up into heaven, Jehu, whom Elijah had anointed, rode into Jezebel's court where she sat surrounded by her eunuchs, men who were impotent. (It is interesting to note that under the influence of Jezebel, even godly men loose their masculinity.) They may have been masculine at one time, but Jezebel could not be around rugged, virile men, so she surrounded herself with eunuchs. But even they sensed the anointing of God on Jehu as he came riding into the courtyard. The presence of God in this man revealed Jezebelís true evil nature to them, and they threw Jezebel down from her tower on Jehuís command and she was destroyed. When godly masculine men confront this power, it can be reckoned with.
NW; What are some practical, effective ways through which Christians can stand against this major enemy and the others that we are facing?
MC: 1) - First of all, we should learn from the experience of Elijah and work toward unity. In this hour, as a man of God, I would not want to be found alone. One of my concerns is that men of God, as elders and shepherds in different parts of the nations, be sensitive to the spirit of Jezebel, that they keep their guard up against this power of witchcraft and be willing to help fellow Christians who are being dominated or persecuted by the power of Jezebel.
ØIf we are united, we have a better chance of defeating this power. If we are to effectively do the work of the Lord, we must be united with other Christians who have the same vision and who can support us in times of spiritual warfare. If we are found alone, then the powers that confront us will pick us off like flies. So one of the most effective ways that I know of to come against these powers is to unite with others in the Body of Christ.
2) Secondly, we shouldnever forget the weapons of warfare that God has already given us:
-the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus,
-and the power available through the blood of the Lamb.
We can be confident of the authority that God has given us through the complete work of Jesus on the cross, through His blood being shed at Calvary.
ØIt is vital that we enter this era of increased spiritual warfare with all seriousness, for the forces we have discussed should not be treated lightly.
ØMost of all, it is vital that we enter this era as a unified Body, for only when we are united in purpose will we defeat the powers and principalities of the kingdom of darkness in every region of the earth, and establish the eternal Kingdom of God in its stead.
the Strong Man -
Wine, April 1981