Wow! I am so excited about what I am going to share with you in my letter this month. In fact, I have so much to share on this subject that I’ll continue it in August’s teaching letter as well.
Before I get started, I want to personally thank you for praying for my trip to the mountains of Ararat to see the probable ruins of Noah’s ark. My team and I were there for over a week, filming and documenting the entire site; it was truly amazing. I will be sharing brand-new TV teaching on it in the month of September. I also want to express my heartfelt thanks for your faithful partnership with our ministry. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of people all over the world. THANK YOU SO MUCH!
In other exciting news, I also want to tell you that July 10-31 will be “CHRISTMAS IN JULY” at RENNER Ministries! During those days, our online store will offer a 25-percent discount on all Renner products. So if there are any resources you’ve been wanting to order, this will be a great time to do it. My team asked me to tell you about it.
But today — and in next month’s letter to you — I want to address the issue of spiritual oppression. Specifically, I’ll write about what it is and how to be set free from it. Many people today are suffering from oppression and feel hopelessly trapped, but there is an answer from the Word of God about how to be set free! Perhaps you — or someone you know — are oppressed in some area of life. As you read this letter today, my prayer is that you will be equipped to recognize, identify, and abolish oppression in your life and to help those around you.
Let’s begin with Acts 10:38:
…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
What exactly is oppression?
First, it is important to understand that oppression is not depression; oppression and depression are not synonymous. Depression can be caused by disappointments, diet, fatigue, or a relentless schedule — or it can even be the result of a chemical imbalance. In these cases, depression can often be eliminated by taking a day off, by eating differently, or by medication. Typically, the source of depression is internal or physiological, or physical.
A dictionary meaning of the word “oppression” is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. The etymology of the word “oppression” comes from a Latin word that basically means to press upon. So if a person is oppressed, something from the outside is pressing on him or her. The word “oppression” also means to overburden, weigh down, overwhelm, or overpower. So when a person is oppressed, he or she feels overpowered by some external force, and the result is a feeling of being crushed, put down, smothered, subdued, or even tormented.
In the New Testament, the word “oppression” carries the idea of tyranny. It refers to an outside force that is ruling over, subduing, harassing, conquering, or overpowering — telling the one who’s oppressed what to think, what to believe, and what the future will be.
But Acts 10:38 declares that “…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
This verse opens with the words, “How God anointed….” The word “anointed” is from a form of the Greek word chrio, which in history described the rubbing of oil or perfume upon an individual. It was used in a medical sense to depict a healing anointing. However, in the New Testament, the word chrio describes the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and its results were available to Jesus — and are also available to every believer today.
In Acts 10:38, Peter went on to say that “…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power…”
The word “power” is a form of the Greek word dunamis, which describes explosive, superhuman power that comes with enormous energy and produces phenomenal, extraordinary, and unparalleled results. But this word was also used to describe the full might and power of an advancing army. That means dunamis gives you the ability to make an advance into a territory and drive back the forces of hell!
Acts 10:38 continues, telling us that Jesus, “…went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil.”
The Greek word for “good” is from the word euergeteo, which is comprised of the word agathos, meaning to do good, and the word ergao, meaning to do. When compounded, this phrase “doing good” portrays a benefactor, a philanthropist, or one who financially supports charitable works. This phrase describes an individual who uses his financial resources to meet the needs of disadvantaged people. When the power of God came on Jesus, not only did He heal people who were sick and oppressed, but the power of God also operated in Him to drive back poverty.
But the verse goes on to say that Jesus went about doing good “…and healing….” The word “healing” is the Greek word iaomai, an old medical term that meant to cure or to be doctored. It describes healing power that progressively reverses a condition, and it denotes healing that comes to pass over a period of time. For this reason, iomai is often translated as a treatment, a cure, or a remedy. It pictures a sickness that has been progressively healed rather than instantaneously healed.
It is important for me to note that this particular word is used in connection with those who were oppressed of the devil. The Greek word for “oppressed” is a very long Greek word, katadunasteuo, which is comprised of the word kata, which carries the idea of something that is coming down or something that is dominating, and the word dunamis, which is the word for power. When compounded, these two words for “oppressed” carry the idea of domination, or more precisely, a dominating tyrant. It denotes the oppressive power of a wicked tyrant; one who rules over and cruelly tyrannizes his subjects, bullying them. It further describes one who is cruel; one who rules in despotism; a dictator; or someone who is oppressive or tyrannical.
In Acts 10:38, Peter continued by identifying the name of the tyrant as the devil. The word “devil” is the Greek word diabolos, which depicts one who repetitiously strikes until successfully penetrating an object to ruin it, affect it, or take it captive. This word diabolos means to slander, accuse, or defame; to penetrate by continuous assault; or to ensnare with a net.
The devil begins his attack on someone’s life by repeatedly attacking the mind. His intention is to strike the mind so continuously that he finally penetrates it. When the devil penetrates the mind, he begins to take the mind hostage, and like a wicked tyrant, he begins to dictate what a person should feel, think, and believe. He will tell his victims what they can or cannot do, and like a wicked tyrant, he subdues them. That outside pressure cruelly oppresses them as it tries to gain inside access and control of their lives.
Through oppression, the devil tries to dictate what you are to feel and what you are to believe about your future and your identity. Oppression also carries the ideas of domination, force, harshness, harassment in the mind and emotions, hardness, injustice, ruling with an iron hand, maltreatment, overthrowing, repressing, suffering, severity, subjugation, torment, and tyranny.
In the life of an oppressed person, the devil is literally ruling over him or her like a tyrant. He has found a foothold into the mind, emotions, and imagination and has built a stronghold there. And like a wicked king or tyrant, from that stronghold, the devil is trying to dominate and control his victim’s life.
But in Second Corinthians 10:4, we find that Paul has given us weapons to overcome oppression and strongholds. In that verse, Paul wrote, “For the weapons of our warfare….” The word “warfare” is the Greek word strateia, which describes a well-planned strategic attack. It is from the Greek word strateuomai, which depicts strategic warfare, including a line of attack; methods to be used in the attack; and the route chosen to carry out the debilitating assault.
This means if the enemy has tried to build a stronghold in your mind, you have access to spiritual weapons, and the Holy Spirit will give you a strategy — a well-planned route of attack for a debilitating assault — to pull down those strongholds.
Second Corinthians 10:4 also says that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. The Greek word for “carnal” means fleshly or from the material realm. Paul literally meant that these weapons are not natural. In other words, the use of these weapons cannot be taught by humans. They are of supernatural origin — divine spiritual weapons — and they are mighty.
The word “mighty” is a translation of the Greek word dunatos, which is from the word dunamis. It describes something explosive. It is superhuman power that comes with enormous energy and produces phenomenal, extraordinary, unparalleled results. It is the same Greek word that describes the full might of an advancing army, which means when these weapons are working, it is like an army’s power has been released to drive back the darkness that has tried to attack your mind.
But then the passage tells us that those weapons are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Even the word “to” is important in Greek because it is the word pros and it describes a face-to-face confrontation. This means when the weapons of God and the power of God are working in us, we no longer need to hide from the enemy; we can both confront the stronghold and pull it down. We are talking about demolishing oppression! The words “pulling down” in Greek mean to take down; to disassemble, if needed, bit by bit. So if there is a lie that has been working in your mind for a long time, you have weapons and power to confront that lie. You can begin to dismantle it, destroy it, throw it down, knock it down, break it up, pull it apart, and break it into pieces until nothing is left!
But notice the word “stronghold” in Second Corinthians 10:4. It is from the Greek word ochuroma, and it is very important, for it describes a castle, prison, or fortress. It pictures a stronghold with walls that are fortified to keep outsiders out. But it also depicts a dreadful prison constructed deep inside a fortress that was intended to prevent a hostage or prisoner from escaping — a place of arrest, captivity, confinement, detention, imprisonment, or incarceration to keep people in.
I want you to understand that when the devil has built a stronghold in your mind or your emotions, it means he has built a well-fortified mental fortress in your head. And like a tyrant, he begins to operate through a lie that he has built inside your mind. It is a well-defended lie you have heard for so long that you really believe it. You see, when you embrace the lie the devil has been pounding into your thoughts, the lie becomes a fortress, a prison, and you become imprisoned and held hostage inside the walls of that well-defended lie in your head — a stronghold.
But Second Corinthians 10:4 says that we are to be “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Today my goal was to help you understand the meaning and origins of oppression. If you (or someone you know) have been oppressed, you have been under a spiritual and mental assault of the enemy. But in this letter, I’ve shown you that God has given you weapons to obliterate oppression. If you’ll listen to the Holy Spirit, He will give you a divine strategy about how to pull every stronghold down from your mind so that you — or those you love — can be permanently set free from oppression!
When I was younger, I dealt with oppression in my own life, but by applying the principles of God’s Word to my mind, the power of God set me free from it. In next month’s letter, I will help you identify different types of oppression that people deal with and give you the tools to permanently break free! Oh, I can hardly wait for next month to get here so I can share these liberating truths with you!
If you (or someone you know) have been dealing with oppression, we would love to pray with you. If you’ll call, write, or email us, I promise that we will release our faith with the power of God to obliterate that evil force and break its control over you or your loved ones! Please let us know how to pray and we’ll join with you for Jesus’ victory to become a reality in your mind and emotions!
Believe me when I tell you we are waiting to hear from you right now!
Thank you so much for taking time to read my letter. I pray it has been helpful to you today. Please watch for my letter next month when I’ll continue sharing on this subject. THANK YOU for partnering with and praying for us as we do what Jesus has asked us to do. What we are doing together is making such a significant difference in the lives of so many people — and for your part, I am so extremely thankful!
We love you and thank God for you!
We are your brother and sister, friends, and partners in Jesus Christ,
Rick and Denise Renner
Along with Paul, Philip, and Joel Renner and our ministry team