Spoils of war are defined as “any profits extracted as the result of winning a war or other military activity.”
According to 50 USCS § 2204 [Title 50. War and National Defense; Chapter 39. Spoils of War], spoils of war means enemy movable property lawfully captured, seized, confiscated, or found which has become United States property in accordance with the laws of war.
The first mention of spoils of war, in the Bible is in connection with the conquest of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Genesis 14:8-12 (HCSB)8 Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and lined up for battle in the Valley of Siddim9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar—four kings against five.10 Now the Valley of Siddim contained many asphalt pits, and ⌊as⌋ the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, ⌊some⌋ fell into them, but the rest fled to the mountains.11 The ⌊four kings⌋ took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food and went on.12 They also took Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, for he was living in Sodom, and they went on.
Abraham (Abram at the time) went after the invaders because they had taken his nephew, Lot, as their prisoner. He defeated them and recovered all the spoils.
Genesis 14:15-16 (HCSB)15 And he and his servants deployed against them by night, attacked them, and pursued them as far as Hobah to the north of Damascus.16 He brought back all the goods and also his relative Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the ⌊other⌋ people.
After recovering the spoils Abram give a tithe of the spoils to Melchizedek was "the priest of the most high God"
Genesis 14:18-20 (HCSB)18 Then Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; he was a priest to God Most High.19 He blessed him and said: Abram is blessed by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth,20 and ⌊I⌋ give praise to God Most High who has handed over your enemies to you. And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
Here are two other examples of God’s people taking the spoils of military victory.
1 Chronicles 26:26-27 (HCSB)26 This Shelomith and his brothers were in charge of all the treasuries of what had been dedicated by King David, by the heads of families who were the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, and by the army commanders.27 They dedicated part of the plunder from their battles for the repair of the LORD’s temple.
1 Samuel 30:18-20 (HCSB)18 David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken; he also rescued his two wives.19 Nothing ⌊of theirs⌋ was missing from the youngest to the oldest, including the sons and daughters, of all the plunder the Amalekites had taken. David got everything back.20 He took all the sheep and cattle, which were driven ahead of the other livestock, and the people shouted, “This is David’s plunder!”
Christians are God’s People and Entitled to the Spoils of Spiritual Warfare
Those of us who have received salvation by faith through the grace of God are now God’s people just as the nation of Israel.
Genesis 12:1-3 (HCSB)1 The LORD said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.2 I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.3 I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
Deuteronomy 7:6 (HCSB) For you are a holy people belonging to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.
Romans 10:9-10 (HCSB)9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
Ephesians 3:5-6 (HCSB)5 This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:6 The Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
As God’s People We are Conquerors
Romans 8:37-39 (HCSB)37 No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us.38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, ⌊hostile⌋ powers,39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
As conquerors...no more than conquerors, we are now entitled to the spoils of war. As I wrote in a recent series, about spiritual warfare, Christians are in a war that is waged in the mind and the weapon that ensures victory is the word of God which destroys the strongholds that Satan uses to cause us to doubt God.
We attack with the Word of God, not with the power of positive thinking or something we found in a “self help book” or heard at a conference. It is the Word of God that has the power.
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NKJV)4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Paul tells the Corinthians that once they have destroyed the strongholds and things that exalted themselves against the knowledge of God that they were now ready to punish or excommunicate those false teachers who were being used by Satan to confuse and create division in the church. In war you remove your enemy for the battlefield. In spiritual warfare when you attack with truth of the Word of God you destroy the enemy’s fortress (stronghold) and remove them from the battlefield.
If you don’t use the weapon of the Word of God you won’t be able to collect the spoils. In fact you will become a casualty of war.
Peace is a Spoil of Spiritual Warfare
One of the spoils of spiritual warfare is the peace of God. This peace comes as we continue to attack the strongholds and the thoughts and imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.
Philippians 4:4-7 (HCSB)4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
The Greek word translated “guard” is Phroureō which according to The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, is a military term meaning "to guard or garrison." With striking metaphor Paul here portrays the peace of God as a sentinel standing watch over the citadel of man's inner life—mind, will, and affections.
Steven J. Cole writes in his lesson 24 of the series Philippians;
This peace stands guard like a sentry over our inner person, our hearts (the comprehensive term for our whole person) and minds (specifically, our thoughts which threaten to trouble us) in Christ Jesus. We are in intimate, permanent union with Him, and to get to us, anxiety must go through Christ Jesus! So what God promises isn’t just a quick fix, where prayer is a technique that will bring you calm until you get through the crisis. Paul is talking about an ongoing, deepening, intimate relationship with the God of peace, where you seek to please Him with all your thoughts, words, and deeds. In a time of trial, you draw near to the God of peace, you focus on His grace to you in Christ Jesus, you pour out your heart to Him, and the result is, His peace stands guard over your heart and mind.
To those who follow Him, Jesus promised:
John 14:27 (HCSB)27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.
Seven times in the New Testament God is called either the God or Lord of peace
Hebrews 13:20-21 (HCSB)20 Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant,21 equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory ⌊belongs⌋ to Him forever and ever. Amen.
Romans 15:33 (HCSB) The God of peace be with all of you. Amen.
Romans 16:20 (HCSB) The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
Philippians 4:9 (HCSB) Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (HCSB) Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 (HCSB) May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
1 Corinthians 14:33 (HCSB) since God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,
Peace Can Be A Constant Experience
The peace of God can be the constant experience of every Christian, even in the midst of trials.
2 Corinthians 13:11 (HCSB) Finally, brothers, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Romans 8:6 (HCSB) For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.
Colossians 3:15 (HCSB) And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 (HCSB) May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you.
Galatians 5:22-26 (HCSB)22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.26 We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Now that we have the peace that guards our minds, we are able to do as Paul said to the Christians in Philippi;
Philippians 4:8 (HCSB) Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.
This is not the “power of positive thinking”, this is focusing your thoughts on the truths of the “Word of God”, which is our weapon in spiritual warfare.
Whatever is True
John 3:31-33 (HCSB)31 The One who comes from above is above all. The one who is from the earth is earthly and speaks in earthly terms. The One who comes from heaven is above all.32 He testifies to what He has seen and heard, yet no one accepts His testimony.33 The one who has accepted His testimony has affirmed that God is true.
Titus 1:1-3 (HCSB)1 Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to build up the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness,2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.3 In His own time He has revealed His message in the proclamation that I was entrusted with by the command of God our Savior:
John 7:18 (HCSB) The one who speaks for himself seeks his own glory. But He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Whatever is Honorable
1 Timothy 3:8, 11 (HCSB)8 Deacons, likewise, should be worthy of respect, not hypocritical, not drinking a lot of wine, not greedy for money, 11 Wives, too, must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, self-controlled, faithful in everything.
1 Timothy 3:4 (HCSB) one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity.
1 Timothy 2:1-4 (HCSB)1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone,2 for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.3 This is good, and it pleases God our Savior,4 who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Whatever is Just
1 John 2:29 (HCSB) If you know that He is righteous, you know this as well: Everyone who does what is right has been born of Him.
1 John 3:7-10 (HCSB)7 Little children, let no one deceive you! The one who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous.8 The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil’s works.9 Everyone who has been born of God does not sin, because His seed remains in him; he is not able to sin, because he has been born of God.10 This is how God’s children—and the Devil’s children—are made evident. Whoever does not do what is right is not of God, especially the one who does not love his brother.
Whatever is Pure
2 Corinthians 11:2 (HCSB) For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband—to present a pure virgin to Christ.
1 Timothy 5:22 (HCSB) Don’t be too quick to appoint anyone ⌊as an elder⌋, and don’t share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
1 John 3:3 (HCSB) And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.
Ephesians 5:3-5 (HCSB)3 But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints.4 Coarse and foolish talking or crude joking are not suitable, but rather giving thanks.5 For know and recognize this: Every sexually immoral or impure or greedy person, who is an idolater, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of the Messiah and of God.
Whatever is Lovely
The Greek word translated lovely in Philippians 4:3 is prosphilēs. It occurs only here in the New Testament. It means what is pleasing, agreeable, and attractive. Taken in context it means that which is botp pure and attractive. Jesus is inherently attractive, so we should think about Him who gave Himself for us on the cross.
Whatever is Commendable
The Greek word that Paul used that is translated commendable is euphēmos. It refers to something that “deservedly enjoys a good reputation” (F. F. Bruce, New International Biblical Commentary, Philippians[Hendrickson], p. 146).
As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter), love believes the best about another person, it refuses to believe an evil report about a brother or sister until there is certain evidence to establish it.
To sum it up what Paul says, because we have peace as a spoil of spiritual warfare, we can now focus our minds (our thinking) on moral excellence which is a quality of God;
2 Peter 1:3 (HCSB) His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:5 (HCSB) For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge,
We can also focus on those things worthy of praise.
Philippians 1:9-11 (HCSB)9 And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment,10 so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ,11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that ⌊comes⌋ through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.
Romans 2:29 (HCSB) On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. That man’s praise is not from men but from God.
1 Corinthians 4:5 (HCSB) Therefore don’t judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God.
Are you entitled to the spoils of spiritual warfare?
The spoil of spiritual warfare, which “surpasses every thought“ is only available to God’s people, those who walk in victory. Not all of us do but we can if we use our deadly weapon, the sword of the Spirit. However if you are not one of God’s people then you have no chance in spiritual warfare. If you’re tired of losing and want to join the winning army it’s easy to enlist. Here’s how;
Romans 10:9 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Pray this prayer in all sincerity. It doesn’t matter where you are. You may be at you desk on your computer, or somewhere on your laptop, you may be reading this on your smartphone, or your tablet. It doesn’t matter just pray in all sincerity. Don’t just say it if you don’t really mean it, because if you do you will just be speaking words. But if you are tired of trying to change things in your own power, and are ready to turn your life over to the One who can make you a new creature with a renewed heart and mind pray;
“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!”
If you truly understand and believe what you just prayed then you are now one of God’s people and a conqueror. To learn all the benefits of a conqueror find a bible believing church and start to fellowship with other believers. Welcome to the family of God my brother or sister.
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.