Spiritual Warfare - Lesson 4

Territorial Gods

From this lesson, you will gain insight into the concept of spiritual warfare, focusing on the heavenly war worldview. The lesson explores the significance of Genesis 11, where human unity and defiance of God lead to the scattering of people and the formation of nations. This act involves the distribution of nations to various angelic beings, reflecting a key aspect of spiritual warfare. The lesson emphasizes that even when people turn away from God, He remains faithful and seeks to bring them back to Him, as seen in the biblical narrative.

Gerry Breshears
Spiritual Warfare
Lesson 4
Watching Now
Territorial Gods

I. Introduction

A. Spiral of Sin from Genesis 3 to Genesis 11

B. Building the Tower of Babel

C. Rejecting God and Making Their Own Way

II. God's Response

A. God's Observation and Concern

B. God's Decision to Confuse Their Language

C. Scattering the People

III. Theological Insights from Deuteronomy 32

A. The Most High's Distribution of Nations

B. Sons of God or Sons of Israel?

C. God's Faithfulness Despite Idolatry

IV. Other Gods and Spiritual Beings

A. Different Levels of Angelic Beings

B. Territorial Spirits and Demons

V. Spiritual Warfare and Earthly Conflicts

A. Spiritual Warfare Leaking into Our Reality

B. The Pain and Suffering Caused by Spiritual Warfare

C. Territorial Spirits and Their Conflicts

D. Conflict Among Territorial Spirits

  • Dr. Gerry Breshears discusses some of the main teachings of the Bible on Spiritual Warfare and then participates in a live question and answer.

  • Discover Dr. Breshears' journey from science to spiritual warfare, debunking scientific explanations for demons. Unveil a seminary student's anxiety battle, uncover curses, theological misconceptions, and inner demonic voices. Prepare for a course on spiritual warfare and staying loyal to God.
  • Gain insights into worldviews within Christianity, including polytheism, American monotheism, and Christian monotheism. Explore the nature of spiritual beings and idols.
  • Gain insight into powerful spiritual beings tied to nations in the Bible. Warning against intermarriage and foreign gods emphasized.
  • You'll gain insight into spiritual warfare through Genesis 11, where human defiance led to the scattering of nations and involvement of angelic beings.
  • You will gain insight into a distinct biblical interpretation that views the universe's creation as an act of shaping Eden within a pre-existing cosmic war, and the role of humans in this ongoing battle by cultivating goodness and order to combat evil and chaos.
  • In this lesson, the story of Adam and Eve is analyzed within the context of spiritual warfare, highlighting the serpent's strategy to question God's goodness and encourage independence, while God responds with a call to confession and hints at a future Messiah's role in redemption.
  • This lesson offers an insightful interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4, presenting the "Sons of God" as angelic beings who sinned by marrying humans, leading to the Nephilim, linking this perspective to New Testament passages and the symbolism of baptism as a victory declaration against evil forces, deepening your understanding of the nuanced interpretation of these biblical passages and their importance in Christianity.
  • The passages reviewed in this lesson reveal a unique portrayal of God's actions, using unconventional methods. Challenge common interpretations, caution against single-verse doctrines. Embrace the mystery of God's ways, avoiding rigid interpretations when context is unclear.
  • This lesson reviews a passage in Colossians, offering insights into spiritual warfare and the dichotomy between the kingdoms of light and darkness, emphasizing believers' rescue from darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God, forgiveness of sins, and the essential elements of faith, all of which are vital for confronting demonic accusations and oppression.
  • Learn the core of Ephesians: spiritual warfare, dedication to God vs. Satan, moral maturity, and becoming Christ's partner. Emphasizes unity, living in light, using God's Word, and the power of prayer in this battle.
  • Learn to resist the temptations of the world and the devil by humbling yourself, casting anxiety on God, being self-controlled, alert, and standing firm in faith as taught in James and 1 Peter, emphasizing the importance of using your strengths for God's kingdom and opposing pressures and distortions from the enemy to avoid being devoured.
  • This lesson highlights the significance of facing spiritual forces in Jesus' name, stressing that authority alone isn't enough. Faith, confidence, and prayer-driven competence are vital for effective spiritual warfare. It inspires you to confront spiritual battles like Jesus did, with authority and unwavering faith.
  • This lesson delves into a biblical narrative highlighting Jesus' authority over evil spirits. It emphasizes the transformative power of His deliverance and the profound change it can bring to those tormented by demonic influence.
  • This lesson provides deep insights into Satan's fall in the Bible, covering Old Testament passages (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28) linked to it, addressing their ambiguity. It also discusses withholding Satan's name due to his evil nature and how Jesus broke his authority in the New Testament, though he remains a threat to believers.
  • This lesson delves into the intricate dynamics between believers, demons, and the world in the biblical context. You'll uncover Satan's mysterious role in Judas's betrayal of Jesus, posing questions about the motivations and divine alignment in this pivotal event.
  • This lesson equips you with the knowledge of how Jesus confronted temptation and spiritual warfare, emphasizing three essential steps: quoting Scripture to the devil, commanding the devil to leave in Jesus' name, and shifting your focus from demonic attack to Jesus' provision.
  • This lesson explores 3 Deliverance Ministry models: 1) Classic - resist Satan's temptations, 2) Power Encounter - deal with sin before casting out demons, 3) Truth Encounter - dispel lies, reclaim identity in Christ. Dr. Breshears prefers the Truth Encounter model while allowing for diverse biblical approaches.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights on dealing with the demonic from a biblical perspective, emphasizing the triumph of Jesus over Satan, the ongoing spiritual battles, the importance of faith in the midst of adversity, and the need to follow biblical patterns while avoiding unnecessary fascination with evil and excessive fearfulness.
  • This lesson explores demons and Satan's impact on believers, emphasizing that even righteous individuals can face their influence. It reveals how deception, curses, and accusations can create strongholds in belief systems, perpetuated by Satan. Demons exploit weaknesses, desires, and ignorance, leading to destructive behaviors. The lesson ends with the assurance that believers are never abandoned by the Holy Spirit.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insight into the Dr. Breshear's approach to identifying potential demonic influence in people's lives, focusing on areas like accusing voices, oppressive presence, and occult involvement. He emphasizes the importance of assessing these influences when individuals face issues like anxiety, addiction, or persistent problems. By probing into their experiences and thoughts, the goal is to recognize and address these negative influences, ultimately seeking to remove them from the person's life.
  • This lesson provides insights into assessing potential demonic influence in individuals' lives, offering strategies to distinguish personal issues from demonic influences and empower individuals to confront and overcome such challenges with the authority of Jesus Christ.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insight into the controversial topic of demonic influence and possession within Christianity. The lesson explores the various meanings of "possessed" and the debate surrounding whether a Christian can be dominated or influenced by a demon. It emphasizes that while ownership by a demon is generally denied, the extent of demonic influence remains debated.
  • You will learn a comprehensive approach to address demons in a pastoral setting, emphasizing individual empowerment, cooperation, and the transformative potential of confronting these malevolent forces to achieve freedom and healing.
  • This lesson delves into spiritual warfare, discussing curses, demonic attacks, and their real-life impact. It highlights curses arising from disobedience, similar to God's curse in the Bible. Instances like a cursed object in Africa demonstrate their harm. The lesson promotes rejecting curses and dedicating spaces to God while emphasizing that curses have power only when received, suggesting turning to Jesus for protection and deliverance.
  • This lesson explores demon nature, influence, and approach. It dispels the myth of immunity in the US, highlighting demons' subtle tactics. Demons' origin is unclear, and prayer and fasting aren't mandatory. Living as children of light and invoking Jesus' name is key. Mind-reading by demons is uncertain, but they exploit confessed sin. Whether they can inhabit believers is unanswered, but they influence through deception. Demons may dwell in specific places and require confronting with Jesus' authority. Believers engage in spiritual warfare to deliver the oppressed, empowered by Jesus.

There is an ongoing battle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Followers of Jesus, who are in the kingdom of light, have been given authority by God to command demons. By studying Jesus' life and other passages in scripture, we can gain insights into how to respond to the influence of demons effectively.


Spiritual Warfare
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Territorial Gods

Lesson Transcript


Now this, we've got to dig in a little bit deeper. And what I want you to do is go back to Genesis chapter 11, and there's a whole long story beginning from Genesis 1 up through Genesis 11. You have the first sin in Genesis 3, but then you have a whole series of things after that. And you've got spiral down from the original sin of Eve and Adam in Genesis 3. And by Genesis 11, this is the epic sin. This is the final straw, so to speak. So Genesis chapter 11, people were eastward. They found a place in the plain in Shinar and settled there. They said, "Come let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." So use bricks instead of stone, tar for mortar. And they said, "Okay, we've got this great technology. Let's build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens. So we make a name for ourselves, otherwise we'll be scattered."

What they're doing here is they're saying, "We will make our own way back to the tree of life. We'll make our own way back to spiritual success. Forget you, Yahweh. We want nothing to do with you. Make a name for ourselves. We are rejecting the Yahweh worship completely. We're going to do our own thing, and this is the ultimate sin. I don't need you, God. I can do it myself." And that's what they're doing here. So the Lord, verse five, that's Yahweh, comes down to see the city. And the Lord said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun do this, then nothing they plan will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." So God's Yahweh scattered them all over the earth, and they stopped building a city.

It's like a riot, and you're going to disperse the riot. And that's what God does because this united front to do evil has to be stopped and God does it. And this is one of the Us passages, four of them in the Bible. So this is actually a Trinity passage. So the Lord scattered them. They stopped building the city, and that's why it's called Babel because the Lord balaled, confused. Why do we keep a Hebrew word play in English that nobody understands? The word is Babylon everywhere else except here because this ancient Hebrew word place. So anyway, that's what it is. It's why it's called Babylon to use the way it's translated everywhere else in scripture because it's where God balaled the language of the world and God scattered them over the face of the whole earth. And you look at that and say, "That's a weird story." And it's more weird if we look at it in context. I think there's an explanation of this story. And to see this, you have to go to Deuteronomy chapter 32.

This is the last speech of Moses before the people go into the land and he's explaining, "I'm calling them to faithfulness," Deuteronomy 32. And so he's speaking to his creation, heaven and earth. "Listen and I will speak," God says. "Let my teaching fall like rain." This is Moses, sorry, speaking not God. "Let my teaching fall like rain," and all this sort of stuff. And then verse three, "I will proclaim the name of Yahweh and praise the greatness of our God. The name of Yahweh, the greatness of our Elohim, he's the rock. His works are perfect. It's great. A faithful God does no wrong." Verse five. "They were corrupt and not his children." Who's he talking about here? "To their shame they are warped and crooked generation. Is this the way you play Yahweh, you foolish unwise people? Is he not your father, your creator who made you, who formed you?" Then verse seven, "Remember the days of old. Consider generation's long pass. Ask your fathers and he will tell your elders and they'll explain to you." Now timeframe, Moses's timeframe is I say 1500, give or take a bit.

And he's talking a time before 1500. That's the days of old. So that's quite a ways before 1500 that could be maybe back the time of Jacob. We just don't know yet. But now look at verse eight. "When the most High," who is the most high? Who is that? Well, that would be Yahweh. It's capitalized and should be. "Gave the nations their inheritance." Now what are the nations? Again, don't think United States, 330 million people. Think a tribe of a few hundred or a few thousand people, or if you're really big, it might even be up in the hundreds of thousands, like Nineveh. "When he divided all mankind and set the boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel in Ephesus." Now, this is a famous textual problem in the Hebrew Bible. If you go down to the bookshop and buy a Hebrew Bible, you'll be what we call the Masoretic Text. And it will say, "Bene Israel," Sons of Israel.

If you look in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which of course is much, much older than the Hebrew text we have, that goes back to pre-Christian times, it says Bene Elohim, Sons of God or Sons of the Gods. And I think it's Sons of God would be the correct translation. If you look in the Septuagint, it has Sons of the Angels. So who are the Sons of God? Bene Elohim. And if you look in ESV, it has in the text Sons of God. NIV has in the footnote Sons of God in an explanation. It's a textual issue in the Hebrew text. We know it well. The Sons of Israel makes no sense. There was no time when the sons of Jacob, the 12 kids, 12 boys, ever were over the other nations in any sense of any kind, especially by the time of Moses writing this in 1500 BC. Sons of Israel makes no sense. Sons of God, however, Sons of God would be like Genesis 6 Sons of God. That actually makes sense because the Sons of God are angel level beings that have rebelled against God in many cases.

Some are faithful but some are not. That's the same crowd you see in Job 38 that says, "And the Sons of God rejoiced to see God's creation." Clearly those are not humans, those are angelic beings. So I think what this is is this is referring to Genesis 11. Remember God came down and scattered the people and sent them into nations with languages. I think what this is saying is he said, "You don't want to worship me? Okay. I will accept that. I will turn you over to angels, spiritual beings, gods, and they will be in charge of you. And I will not be your God anymore because you would decisively rejected me." Now you get this a little bit further, and that's the same thing God's going to do to people at the end of the age when he turns them over and puts them into hell. "Okay. You don't want to worship me? I'll let you not worship me and you'll be there." But this is what's happening. I think he's turning the nations over to other gods, angel level beings.

And so that's when Canaan comes under Baal and Asherah, God of rain and power, God of storm and power, and Asherah, the God is sex, fertility. You've got Chemosh over Amon. You've got Moloch over Moab and so on. And that's what we're talking about here. I think Deuteronomy 32 tells us a bit of explanation of what happened back in Genesis 11. And then down verse nine, "For the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob has allotted heritage. In a desert land, he found him in a barren, howling waste. Shielded him, cared for him, guarded him as the apple of his eye." It's got all this great stuff, how God did all this amazing stuff to the one he found, and that's Abraham and his descendants I think. But then on verse 15 it says, "Jerusalem grew fat and kicked, filled with food, they became heavy and sleek. They abandoned the Elohim who made them and rejected the rock their savior. They made him jealous with their foreign Elohim." So there's Elohim and then there's foreign Elohim, the gods of the nations.

"Angered him with the detestable idols." Verse 17, "They sacrifice to," NIV translates this as false gods. It's just Elohim. The word false isn't there. "Sacrifice to Elohim which are not God." And there's a play on the words there that is a little hard to bring out, but the NIV does a good job of this. "Has sacrificed to false Gods, angel level gods, which are not God, Yahweh level God, gods they had not known, gods that had recently appeared." And it goes on and talks about that. And there's a lot more we could do with this to unpack this. I think what happens is Yahweh distributes the nations, gives them over to angel level beings. Then he picks Abram and through Abram, he says, "Through you, I will bring blessing to all the nations."

That's Genesis 12. But then what happens is the people of God, Yahweh, Abram and his descendants, when they get into the land, they start worshiping the gods of Canaan, the gods of Amon, the gods of Moab, the gods of Egypt, instead of Yahweh. And that's what Deuteronomy 32 is talking about. Here it's a warning. Don't do it. 1 Kings 11, when it's talking about Solomon, they're doing it. And that's where we're at, is the people of Yahweh, Abraham and his descendants, Israel, are worshiping other gods, which is precisely what they should not be doing. They should be faithful to Yahweh, the rock of salvation who has showered them with goodness. And they start worshiping other gods instead. Oh man, this is bad news. This is bad news. Now, question. If you were Yahweh or if I were Yahweh and I had done all this good stuff and they started worshiping my enemies, those were set to destroy me, what would you do? I know what I would do. I would push flush and we'd start over again.

Yahweh does not do that. He remains faithful to his people even as they're worshiping other Gods, other spiritual beings, Baal and Chemosh. But when they keep doing it after several hundred years, then he says, "Okay, you're going to be punished." And he sends them to Babylon as a means of punishment. Then he says, "I'll go with you, and I'll bring you back. You're still my people. But we've got to clean you up because Messiah is coming through you." And that's what we see in the story of the Old Testament is the unfaithfulness of many people in Israel, a faithful remnant to remain loyal to Yahweh. And there's a whole story that we won't have time for in this class. But the thing of it is the other nations, particularly the Canaanites with Baal and Asherah. Baal the storm God and power, Asherah the sex goddess, fertility, get a lot of worship. A lot of worship.

And that's just absolute affront to Yahweh and kind of the top affront. We see it in Jeremiah 7, Jeremiah 32 as they're sacrificing their children to Moloch to get his favor. And they're doing it in the valley of Ben Hinnom. And if you've been in Jerusalem, the Hinnom Valley is just south and east of Jerusalem and I've been in. And that's the picture of hell in the New Testament is Gehenna. And that's where they sacrificed to Moloch, and that's the place of worship of other gods. And God says, "Okay, go to the place of other gods. And that's the picture of hell is you're away from me, away from the temple. You're in the place of burning children." But he doesn't give up. See, this is the key thing. God does not give up. He remains gracious to his people and to the people of the nations. And that's what we're at today. Now, Elohim, Yahweh is an Elohim, Michael and Gabriel are Elohim, Baal and Chemosh and Satan are Elohim. Well, we need to go back one step further to understand this biblical worldview that's behind what we call the spiritual warfare.

So let me ask a clarifying question. These beings that you're talking about that are connected to certain areas, are they demons or are they something else? Or is this where you're going?

Well, no, that's a great question. Let me just steer into that a little bit because this is... What I'm trying to lay here is there are different levels on the angels side. You've got archangels, Michael and Gabriel, and you've got angels like the unnamed angel in Daniel 10, who's lower because he needs help for a higher powered being. And we don't get much of that in the Bible. We get a lot of that in Second Temple literature. But on the other side, on the dark side, apparently Satan is the top level guy. And you've got people like Baal and Chemosh, they're Canaan, Moloch, those guys. The place where you can see the differences is Acts 19. Okay. So we've got to look at the Bible here. Is that okay? Can I look at the Bible?


If I go to Acts 19, this is Paul going to Ephesus, and it talks about him arguing persuasively for the Kingdom of God. And it talks about, "God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched him were take back to the sick and their illnesses cured and evil spirits left them." Evil spirits are demons. And we find Paul regularly casting demons out, those kinds of things. So some Jews try to use the name of Jesus, and it's funny because Jesus is not a magic name and they get the snot beaten out of them. I think that's a great idea. But what happens there is that Paul is accused of attacking Artemis, who is the God, the high level God, like Asherah and Baal, of Ephesus, the great city in the ancient world and he doesn't. In fact, when the charge comes, the city clerk says, "These guys have not blasphemed our goddess."

So I think what we're seeing here in Acts 19, Artemis is the territorial God, Elohim, the high-powered thing that has a temple and that sort of thing. Paul does not go after her directly. Paul takes away the worshipers and business is bad, and that's what makes everybody mad. But he's casting demons out of people. He's not tearing down Artemis directly, but he is taking away her worshipers and bringing them to worship Jesus. So Artemis is a territorial demon. Territorial spirit would be a better term. Demons are personal malevolent beings.

When we talk about spiritual beings and more fair and general, are you thinking primarily of the demons or do the territorial spirits who are one level up, can they affect us?

They absolutely can affect us.


That's what we see in the gods who turn snakes into staffs. There are other stories in there, and what they're doing there is they're giving blessing for purchase and they want our worship. So we do sacrifices and that sort of thing for the demon powers, the gods, the evil gods, and they will respond to us but they never work for free. And those gods are still around today. They're not gone.

So when Paul says, "We struggle, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers," what we're struggling against either directly or indirectly is this massive hierarchy of spiritual beings that's apparently very well organized, geographically located. I mean, it's an army, isn't it?

It is an army.


It is an army. And when I listen to people represent the dark side, there's huge war between the evil gods. And we see that represented in the wars down here on earth, which are representing heavenly warfare as well. And that's where Revelation pulls back the curtain a little bit, and we see the spiritual war that's behind the earthly war between Jerusalem and Rome and all those things.

In Dr. Garrett's class on Job that we have a biblical training, he talks about this war that's going on that every once in a while leaks into our reality. I don't know if that was his word, but-

That's exactly right.

And that accounts for a tremendous amount of the pain and suffering because we are then feeling the effects, not only of the lesser demons, but of the territorial spirits that are a level higher.



Yep. And so when we see the war today between Iran and Iraq, that's the ancient war between Babylon, Assyria, and Persia. So Babylon would be Iraq today. Persia would be Iran today. And the hatred between those two countries is an ancient warfare, and it's their gods at war as well as the peoples at war.

So the territorial spirits don't like each other necessarily either?

That's correct. Yeah. The cooperation we see in the Trinity and the angels on the God side is way different than the conflict that goes on. The Bible doesn't talk a lot about the conflict on the dark side, but if you talk to people that are involved in the dark side, they will tell you about it. It's vicious.