Monday, November 25, 2019

War In Heaven: Taking Your Place In the Epic Battle with Evil (2003, 2015) by Derek Prince, Book Review

War In Heaven: Taking Your Place In the Epic Battle with Evil (2003, Expanded Edition 2015) 

by Derek Prince

First of all, do not be confuse Derek Prince with Joseph Prince, the Singapore megachurch pastor. Peter Derek Vaughan Prince (1915-2003) was a great Bible teacher whose daily radio programme, Derek Prince Legacy Radio, is broadcast around the world in various languages even now. The radio has existed before the exposure of social media mind you. I see Derek Prince as impactful and effective as David Pawson, another Bible teacher that I admire so much. Both of them are anointed Bible teachers and have the gift of explaining the Scriptures in a clear, depth and simple way. You can find their teachings online such as in YouTube, podcast and their websites. Derek, who was born in India of British parents and died in Jerusalem peacefully, has helped build a foundation of faith in millions of lives including mine. What makes Derek different from other teachers, in my opinion, is that he emphasis greatly on the spiritual sides of the Christian life. He is sound in theology but he sees more than mere theology – the victory of Christ over all things seen and unseen.

In this book, War In Heaven, Derek Prince writes authoritatively about the spiritual warfare (I highly recommend Derek's other book They Shall Expel Demons) that has been going on since soon after the beginning of time, in between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, where confusion and emptiness enter the world [refer to Chapter 3: A Pre-Adamic World]. According to Derek, when the Devil or Satan, who was formerly known as Lucifer (read Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-18) rebels against God for his pride to be equal with God [refer to Chapter 4: Lucifer Challenges God], he and all the fallen angels who are powerless against Him now aim their attacks to us, human beings, who are created in the image of God and in His likeness. We are made "only a little lower than the angels" but God "crowned us with glory and honour" and gave us "authority over all things" (Hebrews 2:7-8). We are created to be rulers and to have dominions over the all the earth and most importantly to have an intimate fellowship and special relationship with God the Creator [refer to Chapter 5: The Adamic Race: Our Origin and Chapter 6 The Adamic Race: Our Destiny]. But our problem, the big problem is that not only we are attacks by dark forces that are jealous of our future destiny, but we are also tainted by sins that separate us from the holy God. That's when Jesus, the Son of God, came to our rescue [refer to Chapter 11: By the Blood of the Lamb]. "One of the amazing things to me in Scripture," writes Derek, "is how much God concerns Himself with man." I couldn't appreciate the Good News of Jesus Christ and praise God more for His goodness, mercy and grace. Halleluiah!

Maybe I should explain why the title War In Heaven. Isn't heaven supposed to be peaceful? According to Derek and his simple expositions of the Bible, there are three heavens: 1) Low: the invisible heaven we can see with our eyes; 2) Mid: the mid-heaven, an expanse with different types of beings coming and going; and 3) High: the location of Paradise and the place of God's dwelling – the most sacred place in the universe. So, the war in heaven that Derek writes about is mostly referred to mid-heaven but also include low-heaven [refer to Chapter 1: What Is Your Picture of Heaven?]. Derek explains, "Most Christians assume that heaven is a place of unbroken peace and harmony, beauty and worship. That may well be true of the third [high] heaven, but it does not apply to the first and second heavens. Some Scriptures paint a very different picture of what is currently going on in the second heaven. As already stated, it is at times the scene of great conflict between warring angels – some serving God and others serving Satan. It is primarily in the heavenly regions that such conflict takes place. It is here, too, that Satan pours out a stream of slanderous accusations against the Christians on earth who are serving the Lord" [refer to Chapter 2: Life Is a Battle!].

Knowing that the warfare and the battle in heaven are real, what must Christians do? It's no use to be neutral and passive. Either you take a defensive mode and wait for the attack or take a stand in the battle in offensive mode and declare victory in Christ. As Derek said, "The Bible teaches that all Christians must be prepared to encounter conflict and warfare in the spiritual realm." I wish every Christian read this book, especially Christian ministers who are in the midst of God's people business and are expose to many spiritual attacks and daily temptations. Here are 5 ways to Engage In the Battle Equipped (these are my takeaways from this book, please read the book for more details, if you can):

#1 Submit Your Life to God Fully. Don't be a half-hearted Christian. Let the dedication of Caleb be ours: "I wholeheartedly followed the LORD my God" (Joshua 14:8). Amid the battle, we must choose sides. If not, we will be squeezed! "The real issue will be this: total submission," declares Derek, "If Almighty God is willing to come into my life, there is only one logical place I can offer Him: total supremacy, complete Lordship. Anything short of this is a sham."

#2 Let Go of Pride, Be Humble. After examine the fall on Satan, Derek concludes, "I believe it is vitally important for all of us to realize that the first sin in the universe was not murder, not adultery, but rather pride." To be prideful is to be like Satan (Isaiah 14:12-15) and thus vulnerable to evil influence. To be humble is to be like Christ (Philippians 2:6-8). Since "self-humbling is an issue of the will, not of the emotions," we need to make a personal decision to humble ourselves before God. Confess our sins of pride, arrogance and selfishness and repent from all of it. Decide to follow and exemplified Christ and let the Lord change you.

#3 Use God's Word and Intercession Prayer. Ephesians 6:12 says, "We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies" but evil spiritual beings. Thus, our weapons are not gun and bomb but spiritual weapons given to us by God (there are lists of the armour of God in verse 13 to 17). Two offensive weapons in Ephesians 6 are God's Word "the sword of the Spirit" (v.17) and prayer (v.18-19). Derek on God's Word: "The same respect that we owe to God, we owe to His Word" and on prayer: "For effective prayer, there are two things we need: authority and power" [refer to Chapter 7: One Man and His Prayer]. These weapons at the hand of God's faithful servant will enrich his or her own spiritual life and are effective to fight against the evil ones.

#4 Affirm the Authority of God. In Daniel 10-11, the conflict between Gabriel and the angels opposing him lasted for 21 days. "What weapons did they deploy?" asked Derek. "I cannot find any detailed description in Scripture, but my impression is that God's angels do at least three things: they make proclamations, they offer praise, and they worship" [refer to Chapter 9: Angels at War]. In the mouth of God's servants, the making of positive proclamations is one of the most powerful weapons that He has given to His people. In Jesus' early ministry, He read Isaiah 61:1-2, "The Spirit of the LORD God is upon Me… to proclaim liberty to the captives… to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…" Proclamation based on God's Word and Spirit-led, together with true praise and worship, is a very powerful combination! I have experienced this power during mission trips and conferences.

#5 Apply the Blood of Jesus. "In [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7); We are redeemed "with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Peter 1:18-19); "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28); "[The] blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). There are dozens other of verses that talk about the effect and power of the blood of Jesus. By His blood, God makes unrighteous people righteous. But Derek says that the blood gives us the victory only as we learn to testify about it. The blood becomes effective when we testify about what the blood of Jesus does for us [refer to Chapter 10: Now Salvation Has Come!]. By faith, we testify:

Through the blood of Jesus, I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil.
Through the blood of Jesus, all my sins are forgiven.
Through the blood of Jesus, God's Son is cleansing me, now and continually, from all sin.
Through the blood of Jesus, I am justified, made righteous, just-as-if-I'd never sinned.
Through the blood of Jesus, I am sanctified, made holy, set apart to God.

This book, together with Derek Prince's sermon audios, have open my eyes again to the world of the unseen, the reality of spiritual warfare and the power of God available to us (As I read it, I also opened the Bible to check whether the references are accurate or not. This is important). There were times, I confess, when I do the Lord's ministry, I rely too much on my intellect and strength. This book reminds me that I must submit my life and ministry totally to the lordship of Christ and let the Spirit leads me. Derek ends this book by describing the goal of achieving personal holiness (refer to Chapter 12: What Kind of People?]. God "has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (read 2 Peter 1:2-4 for context). "Achieving personal holiness is not something that God will do for us," Derek reminds us, "It is something that God offers us the grace to do for ourselves." Yes, God already provides us – and the church - the grace to win the battle against Satan, but it's up to us to take the Cross, follow Him and take our place in the battle. God is sovereign, His will be done. His desire will be accomplished. The question is: Do you want to be on the side of victory or remain a victim?

Other related Book Reviews that you might be interested:

1. Deliverance from Evil Spirits: A Practical Manual (1995, 2009) by Francis MacNutt (CLICK HERE)
2. Deliver Us from Evil (1973) by Don Basham (CLICK HERE)


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