Power to Tread on – Serpents?
“And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Luke 10:18-19. I’m sure you are all familiar with the congregations who believe they can handle snakes without being bitten or harmed in any why. Verse 19 above is often misinterpreted by these folks. They believe that what Jesus is saying is that He has given all His disciples the power to tread on literal serpents and scorpions. They believe that it is only a lack of faith that allows them to be bitten and ultimately to die from snakebite. These are foolish people who hold to a form of biblical illiteracy.
“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” Luke 10:17. The serpents and scorpions Jesus refers to in verse 19 above are supernatural, evil spirits (demons). Jesus gave His disciples His power – power to tread on demons. To advance the Kingdom of God unhindered.
When the 70 were out on their mission they encountered the malevolent supernatural realm and realized they did have power over devils through Christ’s name. The demons were no match for the power of Christ; it was not the seventy’s power but the power of Jesus (God Almighty) that prevailed against Satan and his horde.
These seventy disciples of Jesus’ understood His words as follows: “I gave you the power (authority, strength) that no matter what perils you might encounter, your progress would not be detoured or hindered by My enemy.” No matter what machinations and persecutions Satan had determined to throw at them, to thwart the preaching of the gospel, they would prevail. Interestingly, He’s telling us (His followers) the same thing today. As the serpents and scorpions (demons) continually attempt to thwart the preaching of the Gospel, we too shall overcome them – not by our power but with the power of God. “But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” John 1:12. Power comes only from the Creator God of the universe. That power includes becoming sons of God, power to overcome the enemy’s evils, and power to stand firm in our faith. When we receive Christ and believe on His name, we are freely given this awesome power.
The malevolent supernatural beings have powers that humans can’t even fathom. They are beings with varying ranks, and the higher the rank the more power they possess. But to Jesus they were nothing, and He made it plain to His followers that by His power these demonic beings had no power over them. Nor do they have power over His saints today unless we allow them that power. How do we do that? We give them power through our unbelief, and even our doubts. We are surrounded and outnumbered by the demonic realm, yet with all their powers, which they wield mightily over the lost, they have only the power over us that we allow them. Many Christians allow the enemy sovereignty over their lives because they continue to walk in fear and doubt.
We must understand Jesus’ words “Nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Nothing can hurt the real us. The real us is spirit and the world of the demonic can’t touch us because we belong to Jesus. We are His property, His possession, and we should all hold to His promise.
When men and women go off to war they are supplied with materials to help keep them safe. Among many other items they are supplied helmets, bulletproof vests, special boots and clothing, and, of course, weapons. This is all helpful as they go out to meet the enemy, but not sufficient protection to insure them no harm. Compared to the protection God affords His children, our military’s protections are wholly insufficient. God’s protection far exceeds anything even the fiercest supernatural enemy has in his arsenal.
In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians he describes the protection we need as a full buffer against the enemy. We have God’s power protecting us and we have the armor He has issued each of His children. When we put on God’s armor it becomes impossible for the enemy of our souls to breach that protection. The sad thing is few Christians put on the armor and many more never even give their God-given armor any thought.
“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” Ephesians 6:12. “Principalities”, “powers”, and “rulers of the darkness of this world” are ranks of fallen angels. Just as in military forces on earth, there are levels of power, so it is with the satanic realm. God did not leave us helpless and naked when it comes to standing firm against the enemy combatants. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13.
So what are these pieces of God-issued armor? “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” Ephesians 6:14. The first mentioned is that of being girt with the truth (the word of God). When we have the knowledge of the word of God firmly embedded in our minds and hearts we are indeed girt with the truth and we become a formidable foe to be reckoned with. There’s mighty power in His word, freely given to all who seek that truth.
The breastplate of righteousness is only given to those who have become God’s peculiar people, His possession – the born again. That breastplate (righteousness) is a God ordained supernatural boundary impenetrable by the enemy. The picture so far is that of an unyielding, fully protected soldier in God’s army – but hold on to your hats, there’s more protection available.
“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” Ephesians 6:15. This one is obvious. Wherever God sends us we are to be prepared “…to be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15. The word “shod” actually means we are to bind to ourselves the Gospel of peace in the sense that that binding is permanent. Preparation means exactly what we think. We are to study the word of God so that we can’t be caught off guard by any wacked-out supernatural being, or any human being for that matter.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Ephesians 6:16. The shield of faith is the key to all the rest of the armor doing their individual jobs. If we have not faith we have no shield. If we have faith in God then the shield He provides covers us from head to toe. A lack of faith leaves us unprotected. Faith in Christ effectively quenches the fiery darts of the supernatural realm.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” Ephesians 6:17. To take the helmet of salvation means we’ve been born again, it is the protection of our spirit. Without salvation our spirit is fully open to the enemy’s attacks. As a matter of fact, without salvation we would belong to the enemy. When we take hold of the sword of the Spirit we’re taking hold of God’s sword. God’s inerrant word is your sword of protection. Take hold of it and use it every day. It’s your power base. Keep it near.
“Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20. Jesus tells these 70 disciples, thus He’s telling us as His followers today, to take no joy in the fact that the malevolent supernatural beings are subject to us. It’s not our power that repels the demons – it’s not our strength that keeps them at bay – it’s Christ’s power that prevails. God gets the glory for who we are in Christ and how we stand for His Kingdom. Our rejoicing comes into play as we realize that our names are written in Heaven.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Ephesians 6:18. Prayer is our direct line of communication to God; praying always with the desire and need for God who is always in control to be ever vigilant on our behalf and on the behalf of our brethren. Especially as we watch the persecution of the saints intensify in these extreme last days.
The closer we get to the Rapture of the saints our individual wills will be tested…for some, most exceedingly. What kind of power could we possibly possess which would enable us to stand against the enemy? It’s spiritual not physical. We have no chance when it comes to physical strength to withstand the wiles of the devil. That spiritual power given to us by Jesus Himself is far greater than anything we might be faced with emerging from the enemy camp. Yes, the human followers of Satan can kill our body but they can’t touch who we really are. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28.
God bless you all,