The art of entrenchment . . . shall serve the defender not to defend himself more securely behind a rampart, but to attack the enemy more successfully.
—Carl von Clausewitz, Principles of War
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
—The Apostle Paul, Ephesians 6:10–12
Security may be divided into three parts: 1) intelligence of the enemy, 2) continual protection against the enemy, and 3) a final stand against the enemy. Before we can be secure from attacks by an enemy, we must know there is an enemy. The nation that has no enemy is very secure. The nation that has an enemy but does not think so is very insecure. That nation could be surprised, completely unprotected.
Intelligence of an enemy ensures knowing who he is, his intentions, and his methods of operating. This prevents deception and surprise. In physical warfare, this intelligence is gained by listening to everything the enemy says and reading everything he writes. Since the enemy does not want his opponent listening in on everything he says, he establishes safeguards: fences, guards, soundproof rooms, security checks to expose spies or traitors, and encryption of his radio, telephone, and internet communications. In order to gain this intelligence, the opponent sends in spies, breaks down fences, steals safes, bribes or kills guards, taps telephone wires, and practices cryptanalysis. Thus, to be secure from the enemy, one must gain access to his communications while safeguarding all of one’s own communications.
In the early months after Pearl Harbor, our carriers were operating in the Southwest Pacific, our battleships were out of action, and the Japanese were moving a three-pronged strike and invasion fleet toward Midway Island and the Aleutian Chain. There would have been no stopping this force if it had not been for our intelligence of the enemy. Through cryptanalysis, the U.S. Navy cracked the Japanese code and moved more planes, submarines, and carriers to Midway. The Japanese lost four carriers to air action, while we lost one carrier and one destroyer. This, the turning point of the war in the Pacific, illustrates the absolute necessity of intelligence of the enemy to ensuring security.
So it is in spiritual war. Our enemy is Satan. We must know who he is, what he does, his intentions, and his methods. We can read his history in the Bible and observe his victories and defeats in his actions with men. We can also read of his contact with the Son of God, his failure in the temptation in the wilderness, and his defeat at Calvary.
At present there seems to be among Christians an inordinate, almost insatiable desire to be informed about cults, the occult, and new age movements. Although we are not to be ignorant of Satan or his devices, we are not to fill up our heads and hearts with foul, evil untruths.
“I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as to what is evil; then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Rom. 16:19–20). We find that Satan is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, and that he has very definite limitations. Apparently through ignorance of God’s “plan of attack,” Satan perpetrated the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ by blinding the religious and political leaders of two thousand years ago. The Bible says, “None of the princes of this world knew [the wisdom of God]: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8). This failure of Satan to discern God’s plan was a factor in his defeat, for through the cross God wrests men from Satan’s grasp and enlists them into His eternal kingdom.
We are neither omnipotent nor omniscient, but we have access to a power and knowledge of which Satan knows nothing. Christ has revealed to us the wisdom of God, though it is “hidden” from the world. He also endows us with His power. Christ said to the apostles: “All power is given unto me. Therefore go” (Matt. 28:18–19).
There are many things Satan does not know and cannot do. Let us find out his strengths and weaknesses, “Lest,” as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Let us discover the information that is the key to our spiritual security.
(To be continued tomorrow…)
*Excerpted from Principles of War. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.