What is a stronghold?
Putting walls around your settlement, with a gate, gave the inhabitants a source of protection and control, since the walls needed to breached, before contact made.
The better the defense, the more secure the inhabitants.
Soon builders of walled cities realized, walls also make good offense, because it allowed an army a secure base of operations.
An army could rest and relax between offensive campaigns.
The more secure the location, the more effective and powerful the force within.
A city with strong walls and secure location, usually a hilltop or mountain would be able grow in stature and power enriching its inhabitants. As the city prospered, it could then begin to exert control on the surrounding cities and villages, which were less secure. Soon the city would become known as a city-states, examples of these city-states are Babylon, Nineveh, Damascus, Rome, Carthage and others too numerous to list. Eventually some of these city-states became nations; some would become empires, like Rome and Assyria. This was a common occurrence throughout the earth, as humanity spread following the days of Noah. The importance of the walled city would diminish as technology became more pervasive. Nonetheless, the picture of the walled city or fortress was known as a stronghold.
Strongholds were points, which were hard to defeat, because of their design, walls, located on a hilltop, along with the offensive capabilities of an army within. The army could launch attacks, and then retreat to the safety of its walled city. Thus, their point of operation became a “strong hold”.
This picture of the physical stronghold is used to also represent the spiritual stronghold. Spiritual strongholds are represented in scripture, in the same way as physical ones. They are points of operation, where attacks are waged on outlying areas. The become points of offensive operations, which are hard to remove, unless concerted effort is made to remove them.
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war
according to the flesh. 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,
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
17 Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of
Canaan, and said to them, "Go up this way into the South, and go up to the
mountains, 18 "and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it
are strong or weak, few or many; 19 "whether the land they dwell in is good or
bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds;
The twelve spies returned and reported what they saw; we get two different perspectives from the spies. Ten spies reported the land was too strong to take, cites were fortified (Strongholds) and large, the inhabitants were giants, according to the 10-spies.
27 Then they told him, and said: "We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 "Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29 "The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan." Numbers 13:27-29
The Lord Himself led the battle as the commander of Lord’s hosts; Joshua was merely to follow orders (Joshua 5).
They succeeded; Jericho fell because the nation obeyed the Lord (Joshua 6).
However, the next battle was not so successful, because the nation disobeyed; the stronghold of Ai was able to defeat the armies of Israel (Joshua 7).
Why could a little stronghold defeat Israel?
The nation sinned, when Achan of Judah took garments from Jericho, he violated God’s command and the whole nation suffered, falling to the stronghold of Ai.
9 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are:
adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred,
contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions,
heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I
tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who
practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. Ephesians 4:17-19
5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. 8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, Colossians 3:5-10
20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you
such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest
there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions,
backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; 21 lest, when I come again, my God
will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and
have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have
2 Corinthians 12:20-21
In 2nd Corinthians 10 verses 3 to 5, we are instructed on how to war against strongholds, where Satan launches his attacks. What can we learn from this portion of scripture about spiritual warfare?
3 For though we walk in
the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 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,
2 Corinthians 10:3-5