Greek Thoughts Archives
First available on March 15, 2009
ANTHISTEMI* - To resist, to oppose
Please note that all Biblical quotes, in this and all other lessons posted to Greek Thoughts, are from The Literal English Translation of the Bible produced by BTE Ministries - The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America.
We are continuing our series of word studies relating to the believer's battle with the attacks of Satan. The first word we studied is the verb diw/kw (Strong's #1377, pronounced dē ō kō**), which has a basic meaning of "to pursue" or "to chase." The use of diw/kw, in both the Old and New Testaments, gives the understanding of the pursuit of a goal, including Satan's pursuit or chasing of believers. It is a concept important for understanding the warfare Satan is waging against believers. This week we add to our understanding of the believer's battle with Satan as we study the word aÌnqi/sthmi (Strong's #436 pronounced än thēs tā mē**), which means "to resist" or "to oppose." ÌAnqi/sthmi represents the plan of God in the first phase of a believer's response to Satan's attack.
We established, from our last two studies, that when Satan attacks believers, he chases or pursues them. This is because he is unable to spiritually overtake believers, since the Spirit of Christ resides within their souls (spirits) thereby sealing them and making them spiritually impenetrable (see Ephesians 1:13). Hence, the believers' flesh is the only thing left exposed to attack. Therefore, Satan attacks in order to cause believers to respond with their minds and emotions. In this way, Satan can continually chase believers mentally and emotionally. Paul addresses this phase of response to Satan's attacks after first teaching on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). He states that believers need the Armor of God, because we are fighting against evil forces in the spirit realm. He then says:
- On account of this, take up the whole armor of God, in order that you may be able to resist (aÌnqi/sthmi) in the evil day, and after all things have taken place, to stand.
The prepositional phrase, "on account of this," points back to the fact that our warfare is against evil spiritual forces, and shows that this is the reason Paul tells believers to take up the whole armor of God. The Greek word for "take up" is the aorist imperative form of aÌnalamba/nw (Strong's #353, pronounced ä nä läm bä nō**), which means "to take up, to raise up." The significance of this word is not just in its definition or meaning, but is actually found in the verb form. The aorist tense denotes a one-time action and the imperative mood denotes a command. Paul is teaching that believers are to take up the whole armor of God, an act which happens only once as each person receives Christ, thereby signifying that every piece of armor is Jesus Christ. Believers are to learn that the Lord serves as their protection against Satan's attacks. Additionally, the purpose clause in Ephesians 6:13 tells us the reason for this, "
in order that you may be able to resist (aÌnqi/sthmi) in the evil day." God's protection for believers, through Jesus Christ, is to keep them from being chased by Satan. It is also important to note that the purpose for the armor of God is to give believers the ability to resist Satan, not to wage war with him. This is because believers are affected emotionally and occupied mentally when Satan engages them in battle. God's plan, however, is for believers to resist, not fight.
James also teaches this principle:
- Therefore be submitted to God. And resist (aÌnqi/sthmi) the devil and he will flee from you.
James teaches that, when believers resist Satan (the devil), the only choice Satan has is to flee. It is important to understand that Satan's only mode of attack is a chase or pursuit, the intent of which is to get believers on the run, fueled by the fear that they will be captured and destroyed by him. Satan's testing of the Lord in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) is a perfect example of the teaching found here in James. The Lord does not fight with Satan; He resists him by staying true to God's Word and truth. Then, after Satan is unable to cause the Lord to move from His position of resistance, the devil flees from Him.
Peter also presents this exact teaching:
1 Peter 5:8-10
- Be sober, be watchful, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, is walking around seeking whom he may devour;
- whom resist (aÌnqi/sthmi), firm in the faith, knowing the same sufferings are to be accomplished in your brotherhood in the world.
- And the God of all grace, the One who has called us into His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after having suffered a little while, He Himself will mend, establish , strengthen, and will put a foundation under you.
Peter says to be watchful because our adversary, the devil, is looking for someone to devour. Those he is looking for are believers. While Satan cannot devour believers in the sense of destroying them, he can cause them to be devoured mentally and emotionally by concerns over the things in their lives that he attacks. In verse 9 Peter says, "Whom resist." Resist is our word of study aÌnqi/sthmi and its meaning is as we have discussed in the preceding paragraphs of this study.
Peter concludes with words of comfort saying that after the trial is all over, God Himself will come and settle, establish, strengthen, and put a foundation under every believer. In other words, the exact opposite of what Satan intends happens when believers obey God and resist Satan's attacks instead of engaging in warfare with him themselves—faith in and relationships with God are strengthened.
So far in this series, we have developed an understanding of the first two principles related to dealing with evil forces in the spirit realm. The first is that Satan (the devil) is only able to chase or pursue those who are in Christ. He is unable to touch or to harm their souls (spirits), since this is where Christ dwells. The second principle is of equal importance and involves the understanding that the plan of God for each believer is revealed as he or she resists the devil's attacks. God's designed plan, then, is the opposite of what believers would implement– which would be to fight with Satan themselves, in an attempt to chase him away!
Unfortunately, many contemporary Bible teachers promulgate this humanistic approach to warfare with Satan, the result of which can only be a continuous battle; and, unfortunately, even though Satan has lost the war, he can still win the immediate battle by keeping believers occupied with the fight. However, God's designed plan is to provide believers with every protective piece of spiritual armor in Christ Jesus, so that they do not have to fight the devil, but rather are enabled to resist him, leaving the spiritual battle to God.
Next week we will move from understanding the plan of God for spiritual warfare to understanding the purpose of God in it, which results from believers obeying God's command to resist.
*ANTHISTEMI is the English font spelling of the Greek word aÌnqi/sthmi.
**English pronunciation of vowel sounds & accented syllables: āle, ăm, fäther; ēve, ĕnd; īce, ǐll; ōld, ǒdd, whö; oi as in oil; ow as in cow; ūse, ŭp, rüde. Bold type indicates an accented syllable.
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