Territorial Spirits: Some Biblical Perspectives

by Vern S. Poythress

[Published in Urban Mission 13/2 (Dec., 1995) 37-49.  Used with permission.]


What are we to think about territorial spirits?

The Argentinian pastor Omar Cabrera, after selecting a potential site for a new church, checks into a hotal and secludes

himself alone in a room in prayer and fasting.  It usually takes the first two or three days to allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse him, to help him disassociate himself, and to identify with Jesus.  He feels he “leaves the world” and is in another realm where the spiritual warfare takes place.  The attacks of the enemy at times become fierce.  He has even seen some spirits in physical form.  His objective is to learn their names and break their power over the city.  It usually takes five to eight days, but sometimes more.  Once he spent 45 days in conflict.  But when he finishes, people in his meetings frequently are saved and healed even before he preaches or prays for them.1

Peter Wagner’s books contain any number of other examples of dealing with “territorial spirits.”2  In one instance a missionary saw a dramatic contrast between two sides of the same street, one side in Brazil and the other side in Uruguay.  The people standing on the Brazilian side were much more open and responsive to the gospel, apparently because the power of Uruguayan territorial spirits ended dramatically at the Uruguayan border.3  How are we to evaluate these accounts and the strategic advice that accompanies them?  What does the Bible have to say about the idea of “territorial spirits”?


Biblical teaching on spirits

The Bible has quite a bit to say about demons and about spiritual warfare.  We see conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness when Jesus and his disciples cast out demons in the Gospels and the Book of Acts.  We see general statements about spiritual warfare in Eph 6:10-20, Rom 13:11-14, Revelation, and in scattered passages throughout the New Testament (e.g., Rom 16:19-20; 1 Pet 5:8-9; 1 Tim 1:20; 2 Tim 2:22-26).  Yet the dominant focus is on knowing God, not on knowing “Satan’s so-called deep secrets” (Rev 2:24; Rom 16:19-20; Phil 4:8-9).  John Dawson, a prominent worker dealing with territorial spirits, expresses this truth well:

Let me add a strong warning [to my discussion of evil spirits].  The Bible is a carefully edited book that reflects the priorities of God for the believer and shows us the nature and character of Father God as revealed in Jesus.  Although there are many Scripture passages that teach us about the devil and his devices, they are few in number compared with the space given to God’s own character and ways.  Even good angels are peripheral to the mature believer who is preoccupied with the majesty of the living God and Jesus, His Son.

Morbid fascination is a carnal appetite that can drive us to search out the hidden knowledge of the evil realm.4

We cannot at this point rehearse the totality of biblical teaching on evil spirits and spiritual warfare.  It suffices to say that the warfare depicted in Eph 6:10-20 and Revelation is real and crucial as an aspect of Christian discipleship.  Biblical instruction concerning the spirit world needs to be an integral part of our thinking and praying.  Paul Hiebert complained years ago that the dominant mechanistic/scientistic/technological world view of the modern West influenced too many Western missionaries.5  By effectively excluding the activity of both angels and demons, the modern Western world view made missionaries unprepared for the activity of evil spirits that they encountered in pagan countries.

Moreover, we must understand that the Book of Revelation is relevant to our own time and not exclusively to a final crisis or period of great tribulation immediately preceding the Second Coming.  In my view, Revelation does indeed concern itself with a time of final crisis leading up to the Second Coming.  But the features of spiritual warfare that belong intensively to the final crisis also characterize in a less intensive manner the entire course of our warfare.  Paul indicates as much in 2 Thessalonians 2, where he speaks not only of a final antichrist figure, the man of lawlessness, but also of “the secret power of lawlessness … already at work” (2 Thess 2:7).  Similarly, 1 John 2:18 says that “many antichrists have come.”  When we apply this insight to Revelation, we conclude that Revelation reveals general principles of spiritual warfare, in addition to having some focus on the conflict in the Roman Empire in the first century and the final conflict leading to the Second Coming.6


Daniel 10

Now what does the Bible have to say specifically about territorial spirits, that is, the association or confinement of evil spirits or angelic spirits to certain spatial locations or territories?  The Bible contains very little explicit teaching that would satisfy our curiosity or morbid fascination.  But there are some scattered indications of various kinds.  Some texts directly or indirectly indicate that we can expect, at least in many cases, that demons have a particular spatially limited “habitat.”

The most direct testimony comes from a passing mention in Daniel 10:13 and 10:20-11:1.  The sequence of events begins with Daniel mourning for three weeks (10:2).  At the end of the three weeks, a glorious angelic being appears to Daniel in 10:5-6.  He tells Daniel that his prayer was heard from the first (10:12).  But the angelic being was hindered from coming to Daniel:

But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days.  Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.  (Dan 10:13)

The resistance lasted twenty-one days, corresponding exactly to the three weeks of Daniel’s mourning.  The angelic being was opposed by “the prince of the Persian kingdom.”  From the symmetry of the situation, we conclude that the opponent, like the one who spoke to Daniel, is a being of the spirit world; that is, the “prince” of Dan 10:13 is an evil leader in the spiritual realm.  This evil leader was “prince of the Persian kingdom,” a particular geographical and political area.

Daniel 10:20-11:1 confirms these inferences.  The angelic being gives a further account of a struggle in angelic warfare:

So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you?  Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.  (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.  And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.)  (Dan 10:20-11:1)

Here we find mention of “the prince of Persia,” “the prince of Greece,” and “Michael, your prince.”  Michael is clearly identified in Rev 12:7 as a leader of an angelic host: “Michael and his angels.”  Rev 12:7 must be understood as alluding to the Michael in Daniel.  So we know that in Revelation 12 and Daniel 10 we are dealing with similar rather than unrelated phenomena.  Michael, then, is not only an angelic being, but a leader over a sizable group of angels.  He is an archangel, as Jude 9 denominates him.

In Dan 10:21 Michael is also called “your prince.”  Because of the parallelism with “prince of Persia” and “prince of Greece,” we naturally conclude that Michael is prince not merely with respect to Daniel as an individual, but with respect to an entire people–and the people in question is surely the people of Israel.  Michael, then, has some special function to discharge in caring for and defending the people of Israel.  By symmetry, the two other “princes,” of Persia and Greece, have charge of Persia and Greece, and are somehow involved in their political affairs–earlier the one prince is denominated “prince of the Persian kingdom” (10:13).  Michael is a good spirit, an unfallen angel, an archangel.  The prince of Persia who resisted him must thus be an evil spirit, a fallen angel, an archdemon.  In Daniel Persia and Greece are both viewed in terms of their idolatrous character and their threat to persecute the saints (Dan 7:2-6; 8:20-21).  Hence it is probable that the prince of Greece is also an archdemon rather than an archangel.  This inference is confirmed by 10:21, where Michael “supports me against them,” them apparently referring to the prince of Persia and the prince of Greece.7


Other passages on spatial localization of demons

To this account in Daniel we may add many piecemeal observations gathered from other parts of the Bible.

First, from systematic theology we observe that God alone is the omnipotent Creator (Rev 4:11).  There is only one God.  All other spirit beings are creatures (Col 1:16).  Only God is omnipotent (Rev 20:10).  It is natural to infer that only God is omnipresent (Jer 23:24).  Hence angels and demons alike operate in some spatially limited way.  The language in Daniel associating particular spirits with Persia, Greece, and Israel seems to confirm this inference.

Second, the Bible uses language of movement and spatial location in connection with spirits.  Such language implies that spirits are spatially localized.  The language occurs not only in Dan 10:11, 12, 20, but elsewhere, as in Job 1:6-7, 12; 2:1-2, 7; Rev 12:7-13; 20:1-3, 10.  When Jesus confronts evil spirits, they “come out” of the demonized people.  Jesus describes their movement pointedly in Luke 11:24-26:

When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, “I will return to the house I left.”  When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order.  Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there.

One must allow, of course, that in Luke 11:24-26 the fully developed picture of a person leaving a house and then returning has metaphorical dimensions.  Likewise the visions in the Book of Revelation are not wholly literal representations of demonic and angelic action.  These passages provide metaphorical pictures for spiritual realities that we cannot fully understand.  But we must still take seriously the language of spatial location and motion.  It does not seem merely to provide color, but suggests that a literal element of spatial location attaches to spirits.  The involvement of space becomes still clearer in the case of the Gadarene demoniacs (Matt 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-17; Luke 8:26-37).  The demons need some new location to which to go.  They do not want to go to the Abyss (Luke 8:31).  Jesus then permits them to go into the pigs.  The response of the pigs makes the location of the demons physically evident to all.  In sum, the demons are at first spatially located in the man; subsequently they are spatially located in the pigs.  At all times they are attached to a specific spatial location.



We must also take into account biblical teaching about the connection between demons and idolatry.  The Bible has a complex, nuanced view of idols.  On the one hand, idols are less than nothing (Isa 41:24-29).  In contrast to the true God, they are utterly worthless and powerless to bring about predictions.  On the other hand, those who worship idols give themselves over to the power of demons and demonic deceit.  Paul sums up the situation in a single passage:

Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything?  No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.  (1 Cor 10:19-21)

Paul asserts that there is only one God and one Lord (1 Cor 8:4-6).  “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (1 Cor 10:26; Ps 24:1).  But within the sphere of God’s comprehensive rule, God gives idolaters over to the deceits, torments, and confusions of demons, as a judgment on their unbelief.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.  They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.  (2 Thess 2:10-12)

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  (2 Cor 4:4).

Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.  (1 Tim 1:20)

Those who oppose him he [the man of God] must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.  (2 Tim 2:25-26)

They [the supernatural locusts from the Abyss] were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.  They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months.  And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man.  (Rev 9:4-6)

Thus demons operate in conjunction with idols and idolatry.  The association between idols and demons reinforces our expectation that at least in many cases demons may operate within a spatially restricted area.  Any physical idol resides at a restricted location.  The worshipers of the idol have a connection with that location.  Because of their idolatry, the worshipers come under the power of demons.  The power of the demons thus also attaches loosely to the spatial area near the idol.

But in this kind of situation, idolatry rather than spatial location is the more fundamental factor.  Idolatry organizes itself to some extent along spatial lines, because idolatry does not operate individualistically.  God ordains that human beings exist in corporate groupings, not merely as isolated individuals (Acts 17:26).  The corporate existence of human beings gives them power to cooperate either in good or in evil (Gen 11:1-9; 14:1-24).  Idolatries typically spread and hold sway along the lines of social groupings.  Hence, we infer, the demons associated with particular idolatries also hold sway along the lines of social groupings.  Since these groupings often have geographical boundaries, the demonic sway will also have geographical boundaries.

The Bible contains various examples of idolatry with geographical boundaries.  Particular peoples and territories often have “patron” gods.  The Moabites devote themselves to the worship of Chemosh (1 Kings 11:7).  The Ammonites worship Molech and Chemosh (1 Kings 11:7; Judges 11:24).  The Philistines of Ashdod worship Dagon (1 Sam 5:2-7).  The Sidonians worship Baal (1 Kings 16:31).  A plurality of Baal gods seem to be associated with distinct sites: “Each locality had its own Baal or divine lord who frequently took his name from the city or place to which he belonged.  Hence there were Baal-meon (`Baal of Meon,’ Nu. 32:38), Baal-hermon (`Baal of Hermon,’ Jgs. 3:3), Baal-hazor (`Baal of Hazor,’ 2 S. 13:23), Baal-peor (`Baal of Peor,’ Nu. 25:3).”8  One may find many other extrabiblical examples of localized gods from the nations around Israel.  People commonly thought that gods attached themselves to particular regions.  For example, the Arameans reasoned that Yahweh was “a god of the hills.”  The Israelites could be defeated by doing battle in the plains (1 Kings 20:23-25).  The immigrants brought into Palestine after the exile of the northern kingdom made inquiry about the gods attached to their new land (2 Kings 17:26-28).  But the people also continued to devote themselves to the gods of their own social group: “each national group made its own gods in the several towns where they settled …” (2 Kings 17:29).  We thus see an combination of geographical and cultural factors.  The people reckon geographically with “the god of the land” (verse 27) and culturally with the god of the cultural group, “each national group,”   גּוֹי גּוֹי (Hebrew, goy goy).


The redemptive-historical transition through Christ

But some people might question whether we can apply this biblical material directly to our present situation.  A large amount of the biblical material comes from the Old Testament and the Gospels.  But our situation has fundamentally changed, with the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Christ.  In these events Christ decisively triumphed and defeated the whole realm of demonic spirits.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.  (Col 2:15)

He [God the Father] raised him [Christ] from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under his feet …  (Eph 1:20-22)

Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.  (John 12:31)

Should we believe on the basis on these passages that demons have utterly disappeared?  No.  Passages like Eph 6:10-20 and 1 Pet 5:8-9, as well as exorcisms and demonic activity in the Book of Acts, indicate the contrary.  Revelation 5:6-10 indicates that Christ has triumphed decisively.  At the same time, demonic deceit and oppression take place through Satan, the beast, the false prophet, the prostitute, and their agents (16:13-14).  The beast of 13:1-10 is a composite of the four beasts of Daniel 7.  The demonic depredations of the beast thus parallel the idolatrous and persecuting character of the Babylonian, Persian, and Grecian kingdoms, behind which stand evil spirits like the “prince of Persia” and “prince of Greece” (Dan 10:20).

The picture of demons in the New Testament harmonizes with the overall character of New Testament teaching about “inaugurated eschatology,” as described by Geerhardus Vos, Herman Ridderbos, George E. Ladd, and many other New Testament scholars.9  The new age, the eschatological realization, has dawned; it is inaugurated.  Yet the consummation is still to come.  Christ has won the decisive victory; but the full fruits of that victory are yet to come in the consummation.  In the meantime, we live in the overlap of the old age of this world and the new age of Christ’s resurrection.

We conclude, then, both that Christ has decisively triumphed over, curtailed, and inhibited demonic activity, and that, under the heels of this triumph, we can nevertheless expect to see demonic activity analogous to what we find in Daniel and the Gospels.


Idolatry in the Book of Revelation

The more specific pictures in the Book of Revelation confirm these general conclusions.  In Revelation Satan, the beast, the false prophet, and the prostitute war against God and his people.  All these evil characters in Revelation show evidence of demonic energy.  Satan, of course, is the prince of demons.  Satan energizes the beast as his image, a kind of counterfeit of the incarnation (13:1-4).  In 13:11-18 the false prophet or beast from the earth works miraculous signs (verse 13) and demonic deceit (verse 14) in close association with the beast.  The prostitute sits on the beast, indicating that she is supported by his power (17:3, 7-8).  In preparation for the final battle demonic spirits issue from the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet (16:13-14), indirectly confirming that the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet are themselves demonic in character.  They are in fact superdemonic characters from which other evil spirits can issue.

A careful study of imagery in the Book of Revelation also shows that the beast, the false prophet, and the prostitute have institutional and therefore also localized spatial manifestations.  Within the context of the Roman Empire and the seven churches of Asia to whom God addresses Revelation, the beast stands for the Roman Empire, its idolatrous claims, and its persecuting threats.  The false prophet most probably stands for the imperial cult and its priests and supporters.  The prostitute stands for the city of Rome and the temptations of its economic power.10

As we noted earlier, Revelation also invites application to later times.  We find certain features of the beast in modern totalitarian governments and smothering maternal socialist bureaucracies.  The false prophet appears as propaganda to support the political and social status quo.  The prostitute appears in the amoral pleasures offered by the modern city and the din of advertising enticing us to a life of hedonism and sexual abandon.

In fact, even within the Book of Revelation itself there are definite hints that the beast, the false prophet, and the prostitute may appear in a variety of subtler forms as well as in blatant forms.  Jezebel in Rev 2:20-22 is the primary starting point on which the later imagery of the prostitute in Rev 17-18 builds.  But the complacency with riches in Laodicea (3:17) also echoes the false riches of the prostitute in 17:4 and 18:11-20.  In Thyatira Jezebel tempts the people of God to eat idol food and practice sexual immorality.  In Laodicea temptation takes the form of self-satisfaction with external, illusory riches.

Or look at echoes of the beast in Revelation 2-3.  In Rev 2:10 Satan threatens to put Christians in prison and kill them.  Since the power of emprisonment and death belong to the state, this threat arises in close association with demonized state power, that is, the beast.  Rev 3:8 speaks of having little strength, yet not denying the name of Christ.  The possibility of denying the name of Christ again hints at a threat of persecution, and so brings us into the sphere of action of the beast.  Christ promises to keep them from the hour of trial, which in principle encompasses trials from both the beast and the prostitute.  Rev 2:26-27 hints of temptation to feel weak and hopeless, which seems to be the under side of the worldly response to the terrible power of the beast.

The temptations may have various complexions in different churches and in different cities of the Asia.  To some extent the prostitute embodies herself not only in Rome but in each of the seven cities of Asia.  But in each city the temptations to pleasure and worldliness may take different form.  Likewise the beast embodies himself not only in the Roman Emperor but in the political and social power structures of each of the seven cities.

The imagery in Revelation for the beast, the false prophet, and the prostitute speaks concretely to the churches in Asia.  But it expresses also more general principles, and thus is flexible enough to find multiple applications.  In fact, the imagery teaches among other things that Satan is a counterfeiter.  Satan, the beast, and the false prophet counterfeit the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, respectively.11  The prostitute counterfeits the bride of 19:7-9.  As a counterfeiter, Satan has fundamentally no other alternative than to imitate the true.  Thus his actions and the actions of his demons always and inevitably take the form that we find depicted in Revelation.

We conclude, then, that in every city and every social group there will be forms of idolatry.  These forms of idolatry will always correspond to and embody principles operative in the imagery of Revelation.  In idolatry we have a manifestation of Satan, of the beast, of the false prophet, of the prostitute.  Idolatry and the demonic are always in one respect fundamentally the same.  They counterfeit the truth, power, and beauty of God and his kingdom.  At the same time, they take variant forms in every city and every social group.  Since demons are behind idols, the variant forms of idolatry manifest variations in demonic activity.

It should also be noted that demonic activity does not follow exclusively geographical lines, but institutional and social lines as well.  The demonized activity of the beast runs in coherent form throughout the Roman Empire in the form of idolized imperial power.  The demonized activity of the prostitute runs in coherent form through the pagan world in the form of prostitution that is socially accepted, and in the form of economic prosperity enjoyed through participation in city life, at the heart of which is pagan, idolatrous culture.

In the religious climate of the Roman Empire, people inevitably encountered a plurality of options and directions for idolatry.  For example, some Jews attacked Christian faith and moved into an antichristian Judaism.  Revelation describes “those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan” (2:9; 3:9).  The label “synagogue of Satan” shows that despite the claim to be worshiping the true God, the members of this “synagogue” were at root idolaters.  A very different form of idolatry occurs in the teaching of Balaam and Jezebel, who endorsed eating food sacrificed to idols (2:14, 20).  Still a third form occurs in worshiping the emperor (13:1-8).  We can expect to find at least these three kinds of idolatry here and there throughout the Roman Empire.  If we add in our extrabiblical knowledge of mystery religions, Hellenistic philosophies, and various local deities, we get quite a collection of types of idolatry.  None of these monopolized the allegiance of the cities of Asia.

Hence, in the Roman Empire, the specific character of idolatry depends less on geographical location than on people’s attachment to one or another religious group devoted to a particular idol or religious cause.  People’s social and religious solidarity with a particular community of worshipers counts for much more than one’s geographical location.  The same is surely true to an even greater degree in the pluralistic societies of the modern West.  Peculiarly modern idolatries do not attach to locations so much as to particular ideological commitments.  Recognizing this truth, analysts like Jacques Ellul and Herbert Schlossberg make good steps in discerning idolatries in the form of worship of sexual pleasure, revolution, technique, history, humanity, mammon, nature, and power.12  Such analyses apply to the modern scene the themes of idolatry and demonization in Revelation.  In following idolatry along the lines of ideology and socialization rather than strictly geographical lines, they are much closer to a biblically-grounded approach than is speculation about which demons might be assigned to a particular spatial location.


Theistic focus

The ultimate foundation for this world and its history lies not in the works of evil but the works of God.  God is the king (4:3-11).  He does not cease to reign with all control and effectiveness simply because men or angels rebel.  Revelation celebrates the wonder and glory of God, not the horror of Satan.  We likewise should learn to focus on God and his ways, not lusting after knowing “Satan’s so-called deep secrets” (2:24).13

In fact, God-centered worship, service, and spiritual warfare provides the only proper framework for dealing with evil spirits.  Within this framework, as provided by Revelation, we have access to God on his throne and join in praise with the throngs of heaven (Rev 4-5).  We celebrate the inviolable victory of Christ and the sureness of his coming.  We thereby gain confidence and faith to pray for the overthrow of evil opposition (8:3-5; 15:2-4).

Within this context Revelation does call us to recognize how subtle as well as how fearsome and wide-spread is demonic activity.  We recognize also that such activity takes specific territorial form, following the lines of social, urban, and geographically specific idolatries.  Revelation encourages us to pray against the works of evil in whatever specific forms we find them.  Especially the messages to the seven churches in Rev 2-3 encourage us to recognize the specific temptations, dangers, oppressions, idolatries, and underlying demonic forces that confront us in any one specific locale.  But in doing so, we must often acknowledge the way in which modern Western demonization follows ideological and not strictly geographical lines.  We need insight from God, insight from the One like a son of man, with eyes like blazing fire (1:13-14).  But even that insight focuses first on the throne of God and thereby sees the futility, the worthlessness, and the utter defeat of the works of Satan.

The way, then, to confront the territorial spirits of this world is not the way of esoteric knowledge, but the way of the cross, of knowing God in Christ.


Modern experiences with territorial spirits

In these days anecdotal accounts and advice come to us from many sources on the topic of territorial spirits.  It is difficult to evaluate anecdotes if only because they raise so many questions and our knowledge is so partial.  I have chosen in this article to look to Scripture rather than the anecdotes.  We must nevertheless apply Scripture to the immense variety of situations that we confront, using all the variety of gifts that the Spirit gives to the body of Christ.  If nothing else, the anecdotes challenge us to engage in this process of application for ourselves.

For the sake of application, then, we need to wrestle with what the anecdotes report.  I am not equipped to do this well.  I venture only a first tentative impression.  In the anecdotes we see people confronting the same realities of which the Book of Revelation speaks.  But the people in the anecdotes seldom use the Book of Revelation explicitly.  Dispensationalism has sometimes had the effect of pushing the Book of Revelation so exclusively into the future that people no longer see how it empowers understanding and acting in the present.  Whether for this reason or other reasons, the Book of Revelation has not played nearly as strong a role as it could in the church’s present-day spiritual warfare.  By using the Book, we might bring to the struggle the biblical solidity needed to stabilize and strengthen spiritual warfare, thus counterbalancing the exuberantly experimental character of the experiences, and guarding against dangers seen and unseen.



1 C. Peter Wagner, “Territorial Spirits,” in C. Peter Wagner, ed., Engaging the Enemy: How to Fight and Defeat Territorial Spirits (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1991) 45.

2 See ibid. and Peter Wagner, ed., Breaking Strongholds in Your City (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1993).

3 Timothy Warner, “Dealing with Territorial Demons,” in Wagner, ed., Engaging the Enemy 53.

4 John Dawson, “Forward,” in Wagner, Engaging the Enemy xii-xiii.

5 Paul G. Hiebert, “The Flaw of the Excluded Middle,” Missiology 10 (Jan., 1982) 35-47.

6 For exposition of similar views on the Book of Revelation, see Leon Morris, Revelation (London: Tyndale, 1969) 15-22; Richard Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

7 Calvin and some other commentaries interpret the language of “princes” to refer to earthly kings (John Calvin, Commentaries on the Book of the Prophet Daniel [reprint; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, n.d.] 2:252).  But supernatural powers stand behind the earthly authorities, as hinted in Isa 24:21 and openly indicated in Revelation.  Thus many other commentators understand “prince” as a reference to angels and demons.  See Edward J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949) 226-27; C. F. Keil, Biblical Commentary on the Book of Daniel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, n.d.) 416-18; Joyce G. Baldwin, Daniel (n.p.: InterVarsity, 1978) 181; John E. Goldingay, Daniel (Dallas: Word Books, 1989) 291-92; Louis F. Hartman and Alexander A. Di Lella, The Book of Daniel (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978) 283-84.

8 K. G. Jung, “Baal,” in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, rev. ed., ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979) 1:377.

9 Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology (reprint; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961); Herman Ridderbos, The Coming of the Kingdom (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1969); Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975); George E. Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974).

10 See, e.g., G. R. Beasley-Murray, The Book of Revelation (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1974).

11 See, e.g., Beasley-Murray, Revelation 207.

12 Jacques Ellul, The New Demons (New York: Seabury, 1975); Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction: Christian Faith and its Confrontation with American Society (Nashville: Nelson, 1983).

13 So likewise Dawson, “Forward” xii-xiii.


Sign up to receive new posts via e-mail