Knowing Your Enemy

Knowing Your Enemy

We’ve been considering spiritual warfare and how to preach about it in your church.  Here’s the first in the posts on that subject.  In this post we’re going to consider that knowing your enemy helps in the fight against the evil one.

George Patton and the First Principle Of Battle

George C. Scott at Patton

George C Scott riding in a unbuttoned tank, wearing full combat gear in a scene from the film ‘Patton’, 1970. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)

I remember watching the movie, Pattonstarring George C. Scott.  Since it’s an old movie (1970), let me refresh you about the plot.  Scott plays the Word War II general, George Patton.  Patton is famous as the first general to defeat Erwin Rommel in battle.  Patton, who is watching his forces battle the Germans through binoculars, declares: “I read your book!”

What Patton declared is that he knew what Rommel was going to do, because he had studied his enemy, and knew who he was and what he was likely to do.

Know your enemy is a basic principle of warfare.  So, who is our spiritual enemy?

Know Your Enemy’s Background

The first thing we learn about our enemy when we look at Scripture is that he was a prominent angel in heaven.   Here are some Scripture passages that commentators believe refers to our enemy, and if you want more, check this site.


Ezekiel 28
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18 By your many sins and dishonest trade
you have desecrated your sanctuaries.
So I made a fire come out from you,
and it consumed you,
and I reduced you to ashes on the ground
in the sight of all who were watching.


Isaiah 14:12

How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!

Knowing Your Enemy’s Desires

So, what happened?  We have this beautiful, powerful being, created by God to serve Him and us, and yet he is cast out of heaven.

What happened is that war broke out.  One more Scripture passage, this time from the New Testament book of Revelation.  This passage is key to knowing your enemy in this battle.

Revelation 12:7-10

7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.

This gives a new understanding of the story in Genesis 3 of the fall into sin of Adam and Even, doesn’t it?   The battle is here, on earth, with us.

Knowing Your Enemy’s Name

The name is Satan.  It means adversary.  First of all, he is the adversary of God himself, but secondly, he is our adversary as well.  In other words, he has set himself up to try to defeat the work of God in the world.  That means something pretty important for us.  He is against us!

The Watchman Principle

You are a watchman.  In the times of the Bible, a watchman was someone who stood on the walls of the city looking for the enemy so that no surprise attack would come.  Think of that as you read the following passage:

Matthew 26:41

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Jesus encouraged his disciples to watch, to look for the approach of the enemy, but they failed at the moment the enemy was approaching.

In the movie The Passion there is a powerful moment at the beginning as Jesus rises to meet the approaching soldiers and steps on the head of Satan.  You can see that moment displayed below.  That’s the idea here.  As people who watch for the approach of the enemy, we call out that he’s sneaking up.  We’ll look at this more closely in coming posts as we look at the strategy of Satan.  For now, consider the reality that this adversary is coming against you.  When your life turns bad in some way shape or form, then be in prayer to do battle against his attack against you, your family, your church, as well as those you love.

Stay tuned to the next posts as we look at this more closely, and as we explore how knowing your enemy is important for every part of your life.