By Charles Carrin
When the Roman General Titus, son of Emperor Vespasian, laid siege to Jerusalem in 70 AD, and brought Jewish nationalism to crushing defeat, one of the principle weapons he used against the city was a gigantic battering-ram named, “Nico.” The title, Nico, was prophetic, and in a very real sense speaks to the church today. The word means “conqueror.” “Nico” is the same word used in the Greek text of Revelation 2:15, where Jesus speaks to the church in Pergamum of His hatred for the “doctrine of the Nicolaitans.” The word Nicolaitan is a combination of the words, “nico,” i.e., “conqueror,” and “laos,” meaning “laity,” or people of the congregation. The message of this combination of words is obvious. In the only instance in Scripture where Jesus is described as hating something (though God stated, Esau He hated; publisher), it is used here. He hates the doctrines and deeds that enslave the saints. He wants the saints to be free, and has fully purchased that freedom for them.
Ancient battering-rams, such as Nico, were usually assembled by invading armies at the battle site, and consisted of immense wooden platforms overlaid with iron plates. This metal covering protected the scaffolding from enemy fire. The ram itself consisted of a huge log, suspended horizontally by chains that could be swung back and forth by squadrons of men holding onto ropes below. As the huge butt-end struck the wall and bounced back, the men maintained a rhythm much like the pendulum of a clock. The slamming of the ram against individual stones was important, but of equal value was the fact that the constant thudding set up a vibration that affected the molecular structure of the whole wall.
Though unknown to the Romans, they employed a principle of physics which would not be identified until much later times. It is this: Energy stored in the log by the “rhythm of input” (reverberation; publisher) was transferred into the wall at the instant of impact. This sudden impact overcame what is known as the “moment of inertia” in the stone.
Some of the stones in Jerusalem’s walls weighed 570 tons, were forty-five feet long, fifteen feet wide, and twelve feet high. The fact that stones like these were dismantled and pushed aside by the Roman Army helps us realize the tremendous energy that was released by the battering-ram. Ultimately, it was battering-rams like Nico, mere wooden scaffolds supporting ordinary logs, manned by teams of soldiers empowered by a principle of physics that penetrated Jerusalem’s walls and brought the city to defeat. Many of the towers Titus erected against the walls of Jerusalem were over seventy-five feet tall. Some even had wheels, and were portable. Such was the ingenuity of ancient warfare; Rome conquered because of its overwhelming military superiority. When the Jewish War was over, not one Temple block was left standing upon another. Titus dismantled everything. This was precisely what Jesus had foretold would happen in Matthew 24:2.
The fact that Jerusalem’s stones were larger, heavier, and stronger than the battering-ram, did not alter the fact that they still had to move. Darkness cannot resist light, so the stationary rock wall could not resist the movement of the log. Identically, when the authority of Scripture, spoken by a believing disciple, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, is brought against a demonic stronghold, there is an immediate effect. Hell may pretend that it has not happened but inwardly it knows it has. Best of all, the kingdom of darkness panics with the knowledge of the attack. If the saints proceed in faith, believing what their eyes cannot see, and do not quit the battle early, they will win. When believers follow God’s battle plans it is impossible for them to lose.
These principles of spiritual warfare are clearly taught in the Scripture. Initially, in the log’s striking the stone, it appeared that nothing happened. That, however, was not the case; mighty things took place. Though unseen, the energy in the log instantly transferred into the stone. This is the same pattern that frequently occurs in the realm of spiritual warfare.
Hear this carefully: The power of the Holy Spirit is often transferred through the “laying -on-of-hands” in such shattering force that a demonic stronghold is instantly jarred to its center. I have personally seen suicidals, alcoholics, drug addicts, homosexuals, others, be instantly set free by the Holy Spirit’s power coming through this ministry. Jesus taught it, and honors obedience to it. All questions regarding the “Seat of Power” were answered by Jesus with His declaration that “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Mat. 28:19,20). The sincere Bible student will gladly acknowledge that Jesus not only occupies the Throne of Kingdom Authority but that He also intended that all nations be taught “all things” which He had given the first disciples. Doctrinally speaking, there is no such thing as an apostolic church and a post-apostolic church with different Scripture, different authority, different rules, different expectations, etc., etc. Not so! Jesus established one Church, gave it one Bible, and sent it forth with one Great Commission. Regardless of the age or nation there is simply the “church,” the “gospel,” and the “power.”
Part of the authority that Jesus gave to the church is the power to cast out demons. The Kingdom of God, with its equipment of the Holy Spirit, Scripture, angels, and believing disciples, is the only instrument God has ordained to exercise dominion over the devil. This is where the example of Titus’ battering-ram involves us. There is an exact parallel between the church’s use of its spiritual power and the physical weaponry used by Rome. The similarities between spiritual war and carnal war are so apparent that it should not surprise us that ancient battle procedures are exactly re-expressed in the Bible’s instructions for the church.
- We are soldiers — 2 Timothy 2:3,4
- We have armor — Ephesians 6:11-13
- We are at war — 2 Corinthians 10:3
- We must fight — 1 Timothy 6:12
- There is a battle — 1 Corinthians 14:8
- Satan is the enemy — Luke 10:19
When Jesus said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the attack of the church (Mat. 16:18), He was referring to the battering-ram principle. The church is to pound the gates of Hell relentlessly until it breaks through. Under no circumstances did Jesus imply that the church was to hide in a bunker until the war was over. Never! Quite the contrary! This same battle-plan was identified when Moses led Israel against their enemy, the giants of Anak. He told Israel:
“Therefore understand today that the Lord your God is He who goes over before you; as a consuming fire (1) He will destroy them, and He shall (2) bring them down before you; (3) so you shall drive them out, (4) and destroy them quickly, as the Lord has said unto you” (Deut. 9:3; KJV; parentheses added by author).
Though it is not apparent in most of our English translations, the Hebrew language uses two different words regarding God’s destruction and Israel’s destruction. In referring to God, the word means a total annihilation of the enemy’s presence and power; the second denotes a “clean-up” operation of what the first has accomplished. We have this exact parallel in the New Testament. Jesus defeated Satan at the Cross when He “spoiled principalities and powers” (Col. 2:15), and when He later said, “These signs shall follow those who believe. In my Name they shall cast out demons” (Mat. 16:17). As with ancient Israel in its war, the church is to “drive them out and destroy them quickly.” We are to attack the devil’s strongholds and send demons to the “dry places” (Luke 11:24). The most essential truth for the believer is this: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4).
To the natural eye, the world-system may seem impenetrable by the artillery of the Kingdom of God. But that is not the case. We have weapons that draw upon a synergistic power with the Holy Spirit that cannot be stopped. The only thing that interferes with the saint’s victory is their refusal to take hold of the ropes. Believers are the soldiers. The battering-ram is the word of God. The power that vibrates the wall, loosens the stones, and penetrates the domain of the Prince of Darkness, is the Holy Spirit. But it takes all of us working together harmoniously for the task to be accomplished. We are “workers together with Christ” (2 Cor. 6:1). We must be willing to fight singly and/or corporately.
When Paul wrote the Romans that, “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” he used the word “nico,” but in an intensified form. According to Paul, we are not merely “conquerors;” not at all. The Apostle used the word “huper-nikao,” which you may recognize as hyper-conquerors (or, super-conquerors; publisher). We can go beyond what ordinary conquerors do. In the book of Revelation when John saw Jesus coming upon a white horse “conquering and to conquer,” he also saw Him as the doubly-strong Nico, and used the word twice.
Many believers become disheartened in spiritual warfare because most have experienced numerous failures in themselves. There is a primary reason for that failure: We must fight the Tempter–not just the temptation. We resist sin at its source; not just its after-effect. As a result numerous Christians have never seen the “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” in a visible, public way (1 Cor. 2:4). With that discouragement pressing upon them they look at the 570-ton stone “inside their heads” and say, “It can’t be moved. My problem is too big to be helped.” Discouraged, they surrender the effort. With that attitude it is impossible for them to grab the rope in faith, and begin swinging. Please hear this point carefully: These people did not realize that the “stone in their head” was affected by the first blow. Though unseen, the demonic super-structure was shaken, and began to crack when the initial shock was applied.
It was an identical circumstance in the Old Testament when Joshua brought Jericho to crashing defeat. The walls did not fall until the seventh day. What was successfully begun on the first day was not accomplished until the last. So it is with us: “We reap in due season if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9). When Israel placed God’s battering-ram, i.e., the power of the Holy Spirit, against the walls of Jericho, the city was compelled to fall, even though that did not occur until the end of a week. But ultimately, the wall had no other choice — it had to fall.
The principle is still true today. Do not give up! Continue the pounding! Admittedly, the task is a large one. This is especially true in the effort of bringing our own minds into submission to the truth of Scripture. Our mental walls are too thick, too old, too wrapped in religious bondage for them to surrender easily. Only as the authority of prayer and the Word of God are applied in an unceasing, merciless pounding, will the opposition begin to crack, and fall apart.
We must make a careful distinction at this point, however: The attack is never against another person, no matter how wrong they are. We attack the spirit which is controlling them or ourselves. Before his enlightenment, Martin Luther beat himself with metal-laced whips in the attempt to gain holiness. The effort was totally wasted. Under no circumstances do we “wrestle against flesh and blood” (Eph. 6:12).
An important part of the battering-ram’s message to us is this: It was the unison of the soldiers pulling on the ropes that gave them power far beyond their individual strength. Again, Jesus enlarged upon this spiritual principle when He said, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in Heaven” (Mat. 18:19). The word “agree” could also be translated “symphonize,” that is, through synchronized agreement, believers are able to produce an intensified effect which in praying or working singly they could not achieve. It takes more than one flute, one violin, or one drum, to make an orchestra. Symphonies can be performed only by the full complement of instruments. So it is with the church. Each believer must fill his assigned role.
Strangely, the world seems able to grasp a spiritual principle for its carnal use more quickly than the saints grasp the same concept for its scriptural use. This is a situation which the church absolutely must correct. We are not meant to be lonely flutes playing our solitary tunes. It is group-prayer and group-warfare that wins. The life-power can function only through a complete body; not through separated parts. Singly and alone, we are no match for the devil’s battle-plan. Private praying is important and vital, yes, but wars are won by armies, not by isolated soldiers.
While there are many other factors that worked together for Titus’ ruinous defeat of Jerusalem, one of them very definitely was that his soldiers worked rhythmically with each other. There was no tolerance for disharmony in the ranks of Roman Legions. Identically so today, most of the failure in the current church is traceable directly to our fool-heartedly pulling on God’s rope according to our own denominational ambitions, and not according to the rhythm of the Holy Spirit. A town with ten churches usually has ten competitors for places on the rope with each jerking in the opposite direction from the other. Consequently, nothing is accomplished in the real task of breaking through the devil’s defenses, and converting the town. It was in this very context of which Jesus spoke: “He who does not gather with me scatters abroad” (Mat. 12:30).
I absolutely believe it is essential that the church espouse and employ these principles before it can move effectively into its role of worldwide spiritual warfare.
Born in 1674, English hymn writer, Isaac Watts, expressed the church’s “Call To Arms” this way:
Thy saints in all this Glorious War
Shall conquer though they die
They see the triumph from afar
And seize it with their eye
When that illustrious day shall rise
And all Thine armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies
The glory shall be thine.
CHARLES CARRIN’S ministry spans the final half of the twentieth century. He was ordained in 1949 and in his youth traveled with men who preached in the 1800’s. For the first twenty-seven years of his ministry, Charles was a hyper-Calvinist Baptist pastor and Presbyterian seminarian who denied the miraculous works of the Holy Spirit. Mid-way in his ministry that abruptly changed. Personal crisis forced him to acknowledge Scriptures he had previously ignored. It was a time of intense pain and testing. The truths he saw were frightening; they had power to destroy his denominational ministry and at that point he had no hope that another, more wonderful ministry awaited him. As a result of his submitting to God in that crisis, Charles emerged with an amazing anointing of the Holy Spirit. Today, his ministry centers upon the visible demonstration of the Spirit and imparting of His gifts. This new ministry has taken him to London’s Westminster Chapel, the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, and other significant places. He, R.T. Kendall, the former, 25-year pastor at Westminster Chapel, and Jack Taylor, former Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention, travel together holding “Word, Spirit, Power, Conferences.” As an evangelist/writer, Charles’ articles have appeared in major Christian magazines in the United States and abroad, and his books have been read by thousands around the world. He travels extensively, teaching believers how to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. Visit Charles Carrin Ministries
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