The Three Layers of War
When most people think about war, they mainly focus on the physical nature of war – the battles and destruction of lives and property that take place. This is especially true for those who are living in the middle of the fighting - their focus is fully on survival: on their physical safety, food, water, protection, etc. For others not in the midst of a war, the pictures, videos, and stories bring home the agony and horror of the conflict that touches us deeply. This outward situation is therefore the most seen, known, and primary layer of war. But there is more to war than simply physical conflict. As we look at the next layer, we will start to see the reason why wars happen and what our response ought to be.
The second layer of war has to do with our soul or psychology - our mind, emotion, and will. If we read the Bible carefully, we see God created man and desires man to be one with God and also one with other men, but Satan came in and corrupted man. This corrupting was centered in our mind, emotion, and will so that men would be divided one from another and thereby ruined for fulfilling God's purpose in creation. During warfare, there is a deeper battle going on in man's soul. Living through war can bring in crippling fear, anxiety, anger, and hatred toward others. Satan ultimately wants to divide people against each other by instigating fighting and war and then by keeping people divided against each other. This is not only because Satan hates men and wishes to cause them to suffer, but because he wants to frustrate the eternal purpose God has for mankind.
God desires to have an intimate and loving relationship with man. In the Bible, this desire is realized by the church. The church is not a building – it is the Body of Christ composed of all the people who have believed into Christ and become the members of the Body of Christ. Furthermore, when God gains the church as His Body to the full degree, this will result in the defeat of Satan. As the Lord Jesus declared in Matthew 16, “upon this rock [Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Son of the Living God] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades [Satan’s kingdom] shall not prevail against it.” So, Satan has been fighting with all his power for the last two thousand years to prevent this from happening.
Hence, beyond the physical and phycological layers of fighting, there is a third layer - the spiritual aspect. If Satan is able to divide humanity, continually pitting one group of people against another so that they are frustrated from receiving Jesus and becoming members of the Body, who love God and one another, then God's purpose is frustrated. While it may seemingly be two countries at war against each other, Satan is always there behind the scenes instigating the fighting to divide mankind. We need a deep vision to see what is actually going on “behind the scenes” in the spiritual realm so that we can stand with and for God's purpose to gain His church as His Body.
For further reading, we recommend reading the Glorious Church to see God’s view of His church, His people. It is available for free – https://www.rhemabooks.org/en/free-christian-books/glorious-church/