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Decapitating Five Demon-Kings

Hello JDM family.
    Joshua 10, specifically verses 1-28, is something special. It is the context of today's article. Please read it before continuing.
    The more Ukraine moved westward and strengthened its alliance with Europe and the United States, the more Russian president Vladimir Putin became alarmed and furious. Ukraine is simply too important economically (food exports), geographically (whoever controls Ukraine and the Black Sea has the strategic advantage in Eurasia), and culturally (it is the spiritual and cultural heritage of the eastern Slavic peoples). Therefore, instead of starting a war with Europe and the U.S. and obliterating most of the planet into nuclear ashes, President Putin invaded Ukraine.
    There is nothing new under the sun. The Ukraine-Russia drama is an identical copy of the storyline of Joshua 10. King Adoni-Zedek of Jerusalem, after hearing about Gibeon's new alliance with Israel, became "very much alarmed" (v2 NIV). Gibeon was "an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters" (v2). And so Adoni-Zedek formed a five-king coalition to invade Gibeon. Taking Gibeon would give him an economic, geographic, and strategic advantage against Israel, if and when Israel attacked the southern region of Canaan.


That is where today's article begins.

Decapitating Five Demon-Kings

And so Joshua and Israel came to Gibeon's defense. They marched all night and ambushed the five-army coalition, slaughtering most of them while the survivors and the five kings fled. Joshua kept up the pursuit to finish off the remainders. The five kings, however, narcissist cowards that they were, abandoned their soldiers and fled to the cave at Makkedah. When Joshua learned the kings were hiding in the cave, he gave orders to roll large stones in front of it and trap them inside (freeing them up to finish off the remaining fighters). After doing just that, Joshua returned to the cave to bring out and destroy the five kings hidden inside.
    The Holy Spirit inspired Scripture in layers. The first layer is historicity. We can trust the historicity of the Word of God. There are, however, infinite layers of truth beneath the original history. The five kings, for example, are so much more than minor historical figures. They illustrate powerful dark forces that work (hide) in the human soul. Joshua 10:3 lists them:


  • Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem

  • Hoham, king of Hebron

  • Piram, king of Jarmuth

  • Japhia, king of Lachish

  • Debir, king of Eglon

The Soul
The Middleman & Decision-Maker


When God breathed into Adam, the Hebrew does not say he became a living spirit (ruach), it says he became a living soul (nephesh). Genesis wants us to know, in that instant, Adam became self-conscious. He could feel, think, and choose from a self-aware entity inside--the soul. All physical descendants of Adam, all humans, have a soul in addition to a spirit.
    Our soul is the "middleman" between our spirit and body (1Th 5:23). Information from the outside world enters through our body and goes into our soul, where we feel, think, and decide in response. Ideally, we are to let the information continue on into our born-again spirit for prayer and dialogue with God for His response. The vice-versa sequence happens too. Information from God goes into our spirit (Eph 1:17), then into our soul (v18), where it is felt, understood/misunderstood, and a decision made about the information, which the body then carries out in the practical world.
    The soul, therefore, is a middleman, a processor, a decision-maker regarding information coming from our spirit/God (inside-out) or coming from the outside world (outside-in). If the soul has too many unhealed emotions, wrong beliefs, wrong attitudes, idols, etc., the information can be seriously misinterpreted and misapplied by the soul. Think of a malfunctioning microprocessor in your computer. This is why 3John 1:2 says you can only prosper in every area to the degree your soul prospers (NKJV, underline mine): Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
    This is why we need to know what is hiding in the caves of our soul! Five dark forces or "kings" often hide there. Identify them, bring them out into the open, and decapitate them.

King Adoni-Zedek, "master of righteousness"


The leader of the five-king coalition was Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem. (This was pre-Israel Jerusalem, when it was still a Canaanite city.) The name Adoni-Zedek means "master of righteousness". What an odd, counterintuitive, ironic name for the leader of a coalition trying to block Israel's conquest of the promised land.

    Adoni-Zedek, the so-named master of righteousness, illustrates legalism. What, exactly, is legalism? The term is terribly important to understanding true Biblical righteousness versus knockoffs and fakes.
    For the sake of space I will not give a technical definition of legalism, but Scripture's ultimate archetype of legalism: the Pharisees. These self-appointed "masters of righteousness" were heartless moralists, goody two-shoes, perfect on the outside, passive-aggressive, condescending, smug, detached, fake, hypersensitive, sometimes hyperintellectual. That is what legalism looks like and feels like. An icky, slimy religious arrogance that makes you feel gotten and patronized. This is why, before His crucifixion, the sweet Lord Jesus launched seven tactical nuclear warheads at the Pharisees' fake halo. See Matthew 23. See also Isaiah 65:5 for an Old Testament equivalent.


The Disorienting Irony of Legalism
    The confusing irony of legalism is that it opposes the one true God in the name of the one true God. The self-appointed masters of righteousness hated, opposed, and crucified the actual Master of Righteousness. King Adoni-Zedek, the so-named "master of righteousness", sought to block Israel's conquest, a righteous conquest ordered by the righteous God on behalf of His righteous people. Legalistic Christians, in all their narcissistic religious arrogance, do not realize they are fighting the very presence and work of the God they claim to represent.


The "Master of Righteousness" in You
    Did the last few paragraphs unsettle or offend you? Did they make you bow up inside? Did they make you feel a little naked, or a lotta naked? If so, King Adoni-Zedek is hiding in a cave in your soul. Some part of you wants to be master of righteousness. You may not be fully aware of that part, or how it got there, or why it presents in some situations but not others, but you need to go into that cave within and get those transformational answers with God. He will give them if you dig deep into His presence (Eph 1:17,18, Col 1:9), possibly with fasting (Isa 58:6).
    The most important thing you can do immediately is repent deeply, using the detailed language in the previous paragraphs. Get on your face before Him! Yes, touch it to the ground in unprecedented humility before Him. Fruit always starts with repentance (Mt 3:8). After repentance, there are people you need to apologize to, people you hurt or alienated with your "master of righteousness" alter ego. Take off the fake halo and go humble yourself.
    The Spirit will illuminate what other transformational remedies you need to implement. As many of you know, it is not easy bringing Adoni-Zedek out into the light, where his throat can be cut and his body hung on a tree. It needs to happen, though, so you and everyone around you can see that the master of righteousness who once ruled your soul is dead forever.

King Hoham, "whom Yahweh impels"


The second of the five-king coalition was Hoham, king of Hebron. The name Hoham means "whom Yahweh impels". Like Adoni-Zedek, this too is an odd name for someone trying to block Yahweh's conquest of the promised land. (Impel is the same as compel, but stronger.)

False Inspiration
Hoham means "whom Yahweh impels". Quite a headscratching irony since Yahweh absolutely did not impel, compel, or force Hoham to confederate against Israel or Gibeon. Like Adoni-Zedek's name, Hoham, too, is a play on words. Hoham--whom Yahweh supposedly impels but actually is not--illustrates false inspiration. Think of the times we believed God was compelling us to do, say, or be something when He actually was not.
    In the following scriptures, notice "Hoham" in the individuals experiencing false inspiration. Notice they attributed to Yahweh what was not actually Yahweh, most notably, King Sennacherib attacking Jerusalem. With stunning irony, the Assyrian king said in Hoham's voice (Isa 36:10 NASB): And have I now come up without the LORD's approval against this land to destroy it? The LORD said to me, "Go up against this land and destroy it."
    Yahweh did not tell Sennacherib to attack Jerusalem.
    Similarly, Abishai said to David that God had delivered Saul into his hands, he need only drive his spear through Saul's sleeping body and David's entire life would be normal again (1Sam 26:8). David replied, "Oh no Abishai, Yahweh is not impelling us to do that, nope, not at all." (v9-11). Lord make us like David, help us immediately recognize Hoham's false inspiration, whether from inside ourselves or in others!

The Hoham Within
    Maybe we were sincerely mistaken, we really thought it was God. Maybe we kinda knew deep down it was not God, or we were not sure, but said it was God anyway to sound more spiritual or impactful. Maybe it was our emotions, or a deep need we craved to be met, and we confused it as God's direct inspiration in our heart. In the worst case scenario, a demon manifested on our being and we mistook it as God. Whatever the reasons, the soul is perpetually vulnerable to false inspiration. If we do not rigorously and regularly sanctify our soul with Him, with Scripture, and with others; if we do not proactively grow in our revelatory accuracy; we will be ten times more vulnerable to a sneaky little character within, Hoham, who constantly thinks Yahweh is compelling him when Yahweh is not.

King Piram, "like a wild ass (onager)"


The third of the five-king coalition was Piram, king of Jarmuth. The name Piram means "like a wild ass (onager)". What on earth is an onager?
    An onager is an Asiatic wild ass, a relative of horses, zebras, and donkeys, but closer to donkeys (which is why Scripture goes with "wild ass" or "wild donkey"). Onagers are maddeningly stubborn, possibly the most stubborn species of all non-violent, non-predatory animals. Human beings stopped trying to tame and train them and focused instead on horses, donkeys, and mules. God points out onagers to Job in Job 39:5-8. Read it in the NKJV.

The Seriousness & Judicial Consequences of Stubbornness
Sometimes I hear Christians joke about how stubborn they are, or a parent joke about how stubborn their child is, or a spouse joke about how stubborn their spouse is, without realizing the severity of stubbornness to God, and the aggressive judicial consequences He attaches to it. Ponder the following.
    Before God killed Pharaoh's firstborn son, and the firstborn of every family in Egypt, and decimated imperial Egypt to a rump state, God said, "Pharaoh's heart is stubborn" (Ex 7:14 NASB, also 13:15). Under Hebrew law, if a son was "stubborn and rebellious" God said to execute him with stones (Deu 21:18-21). A few chapters later, God insists on the stubbornness theme. If anyone says, "I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart" (29:19 ESV), God terrifies with this warning of judicial consequences (v20,21 ESV): The LORD will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the LORD and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven. And the LORD will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for calamity, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law.
    Lest we think that was merely Old Covenant pugnacity and God lets us get away with stubbornness in the New, Paul wrote equally severely to Christians in Romans 2:5 (NASB, underline mine): But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.
    Stubbornness is not a lighthearted self-deprecating joke. Stubbornness is not a low-risk and face-saving sin to confess in a small group where everyone is confessing something. If you are like an onager, if King Piram rules in your soul, Paul said in Romans 2:5 you are literally storing up God's wrath for yourself.

The Piram Within
    Psalm 32:8,9 is Joshua's blade that decapitates the detestable king of stubbornness, Piram of Jarmuth. It says (NIV), I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
    Here God says He will instruct us, teach us, and counsel us with His loving eye hovering over us (v8). Beautiful! If we are stubborn like a horse or mule or onager, and resist or drag our feet or obey sluggishly, God says He will use a "bit and bridle" as Plan B (v9). What is a bit and bridle? A painful mechanism of control. In other words, God says we can do this the easy way or the hard way. And for a stubborn person who idolizes their own autonomy, nothing is more painful than having an outside power control your life, partially or totally limiting your choice and voice. That is the bit and bridle awaiting us if we let Piram hide and rule in our soul.

King Japhia, "bright, shining"


The fourth of the five-king coalition was Japhia, king of Lachish. The name Japhia means "bright, shining". What could this mean spiritually and practically?

Glowing, Standing Out
    There will always be individuals who seem to glow, who stand out, who seem to embody one or more of the ideals most humans have, who seem to live on a higher plane, who seem to need less, who seem to create reality as they go. While it is tempting to attribute the standout quality to unusual good looks, observation (and even research) reveals this is not always the case. Individuals can shine for a number of reasons, the most important of which is the specific ideal or ideals they seem to have attained. If you acquire or evolve into something that others idealize, you will glow and glow brightly, with or without your permission.
    Not everyone wants to stand out, though, even for noble reasons. Some people are truly overwhelmed by too much attention. However, I have never met a human being who did not want to glow on some level, to be recognized on some level, to have some unique quality or ability or acquisition that distinguishes them from the nondescript ocean of flesh around them. They may not use the terminology I am using but, as a professional counselor and careful Bible studier, I can tell you with 100% certainty that every person wants to be radiant for some reason, on some level. We are like God, we are in His image, we get it from Him.

King Japhia, Lucifer, Glowing for Me
    And so one of the kings in this five-king, anti-Israel, anti-God coalition is named Japhia, which means "bright, shining". Ironic, is it not, that one who is bright and shining would oppose the One who created light and all that is bright and shining?
    Therein lies the sinful catastrophe: shining for my own goals and needs, which automatically makes me polytheistic and anti-God. Polytheistic, because I am worshipping gods above and besides Yahweh--Me, Myself, and I. Anti-God, because if my goals and needs are my motivating center then God's values are my enemy, by default. There is no such thing as a narcissistic Christian (some Yahweh + some Me), as if those two deities could ever coexist. If I am in narcissism to any degree I am a self-idolater and enemy of God to that same degree, functionally no different than Satan. One of the Hebrew descriptors for Satan is helel, which means "light-bearer, shining one" (Isa 14:12). If I am a helel, a shining one, for Me, Myself, and I, guess what? I am channeling the very personality of Satan.

Glowing for God
    God is not against us shining and radiating various degrees of glory, He only requires that we do so within a Romans 11:36 matrix: from Him, through Him, and to Him. In practical terms this means we are to glow within His purposes and for His glory. Yes, that glory emanates from us, yes, that treasure is in our earthen vessel, however, it is the motivating center of our heart that God analyzes. We shine from Him, through Him, and to Him, for His purposes and His glory, and all things are added unto us as well in the form of good gifts, blessings, and rewards. We never have to chase recognition.

King Debir, "innermost part"


The fifth of the five-king coalition was Debir, king of Eglon. The name Debir means "innermost part, hindmost part". It can refer to the innermost or hindmost part of anything--a house, a room, a geographical territory, a person, anything. It is used to refer to the innermost room of the temple, the Holy of Holies or sanctuary, in Kings and Chronicles.

The Innermost Part
    It is pure Sovereign Providence that King Debir was listed last in Joshua 10:3. The innermost part or "debir" of anything is the most important part. The debir of the temple complex was the Holy of Holies, certainly the most important part. The debir of a city is downtown, where most governmental and economic activity happens. What about the debir of a person?
    For the born-again Christian, the innermost part of our overall person is our born-again spirit, the Holy of Holies where God's presence inhabits us. However, the soul also has an innermost part: the subconscious. Every Christian--before we mature and learn to live by our born-again spirit--lives by the powerful needs and forces deep in the soul's subconscious. In essence we have two debirs vying for control of us, the born-again spirit indwelt by God versus the subconscious soul where our total earthly experience is stored. This is why Hebrews 4:12 is so, so, so crucial to the overcoming Christian life (NIV, underline mine): For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit... In other words, the spirit and soul must be distinguished, understood separately, and processed each in their own way.

Debir, King of Eglon
The Subconscious Makes Us Go in Circles

    Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! It is simply astounding to see the infinite realms of Scripture at work.
    Debir was king of Eglon. Know what Eglon means? It means to go in circles like a calf. Eglon is derived from the root words egel, which means "calf", and agol, which means "circular, round, in a circuit". Thus, egel and agol combine to form Eglon. Debir (the innermost part) is king of Eglon (going in circles). The subconscious makes us go in circles. Lord Jesus.


Transforming the Subconscious
    The Word uses several different terms to describe the soul and its various aspects: heart, mind, will, deep waters, conscience, etc. The term "deep waters" refers to the soul's subconscious (Pr 20:5, 18:4), a metaphor even secular psychology employs heavily. David used it in a well-known psalm, but many Bible students do not read the context and realize he is referring to his soul. In Psalm 42:1-6, David mentions his soul in verses 1,2,4,5, and 6. Five times in six verses! Then, in verse 7, he says (NASB, underline mine), Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; all Your breakers and Your waves have passed over me.
    God is calling to and working powerfully in his soul's deeper, innermost part.

    To process and transform the soul's debir is not easy. We need Spirit-inspired courage to go to those scary or extra-sensitive places within. Then we have to go there with God's manifest presence, and possibly with a trusted spiritual sibling or shepherd (Jas 5:16). Then we have to own and verbalize what is there to God (called "confession"), while also fully expressing the assortment of emotions suppressed there (called "pouring out the soul"). This is the fuller idea of 1Peter 5:7, though many Christians miss it because they think Peter is talking about getting impatient in traffic. As the soul's deeper world experiences the manifest presence of God, it heals, restores to original form, transforms, and conforms to the born-again spirit. This congruence between our born-again spirit and transforming soul is what gradually shifts our true center to the born-again spirit where God dwells.

"All Your Waves"
    The subconscious will not transform in one wave of God's calling to it and working in it. David said "all Your breakers and Your waves have passed over me". God will manifest many waves of calling to and transforming our deeper soul. David said God will send "all" His waves. That means He will send wave after wave after wave after wave...until that subconscious is whole, healthy, pure, mature, and complete, lacking nothing.

Tying It All Together

The demon-kings attached to the human-kings of Joshua 10:3 still exist today. New forms, same forces. These dark forces occasionally probe our soul for a cave, for a hiding place, for a match, for their specific kind of evil. If they can find a cave/match, they can create a demonic double portion.
    If your soul has unsanctified legalism in it, you are in danger of Adoni-Zedek manifesting on that part of you, joining his legalism with yours and creating a "master of righteousness" double portion (like the Pharisees). If your soul is unusually vulnerable to false inspiration (too emotional, hypermystical, chronically unmet needs, uneducated in God's voice, etc.), you are in danger of Hoham manifesting on that part of you, joining his false inspiration with your vulnerabilities and creating a powerfully deceptive double portion of "God told me" (when God actually did not). If your soul has unbroken stubbornness in it, you are in danger of Piram manifesting on that part of you, joining his onager spirit with your onager soul and creating a godawful double portion of stubbornness. If your soul has unsanctified narcissism in it, you are in danger of Japhia manifesting on that part of you, joining his Luciferian spirit with your self-idolizing soul and creating a Luciferian double portion (the self-destructive celebrities and politicians in recent years). If your soul's subconscious is still largely ignored, suppressed, and unprocessed, you are in danger of Debir manifesting on those suppressed deep things, joining "the deep things of Satan" (Rev 2:24) with your deep things and creating catastrophic changes to your deeper personality that only God should be allowed to make.
    Hebrews 11:7 says "in holy fear" Noah built an ark. Have the same holy fear that our life is not a cutesy spiritual game, that our soul is not a passive bystander or afterthought just because our spirit has been rebirthed and perfected at justification (Heb 10:14). Our soul is the very landscape that ancient demon-kings probe and scrutinize for caves in which to hide and rule from. We can win every spiritual war for the transformation and prosperity of our soul, but we have to understand how God describes enemy spirits and their activity. Take the description, act on it, start winning, and become a force that overcomes all.

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