The exchange principle runs all through the Bible from beginning till end. Hence it is important to understand this principle because it gives us insight in what is happening in the spiritual world.
What is the exchange principle?
Exchanging simply means to give one thing in order to get something else. The whole monetary system in the world is in fact built on the same principle. In former days there was the trade by barter; one would exchange the one for the other.
What does the exchange principle have to do with God?
Would God also work with the exchange principle? Is there something like a transaction in the spirit? Many deny this because they do not consider God’s very nature.
God cannot deny His own nature. He remains faithful to who He is, even when someone becomes unfaithful. Read 2 Timothy 2: 12 and 13 “If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself”. God cannot be unfaithful to His own being. Even towards His enemy He will keep His word and He does not depart from it.
God’s way of working
As we learned from the Bible, Lucifer was kicked out of heaven because He wanted to exalt himself above God. Satan fell on the earth and from that moment on God has an enemy, an opponent. The tactics of the enemy are to accuse, to demand and he is also the thief, the murderer and the destroyer. This is how Jesus calls him in John 10: 10.
God has worked out a plan to eliminate Satan in a righteous way by making him fall away from the earth into the bottomless pit. God does not do this illegally; He is going to work in a complete legal way.
God places mankind on the earth with the purpose to have dominion and to subdue the earth. We read this in Genesis 1: 26-28. This was also a first indication that something was wrong on the earth. Everything, which God had created, was good and thus what was there to subdue? Would this not point to Satan? Satan then comes and deceives man, making mankind submit to him instead of submitting Satan by discerning and resisting his crafts.
God still seeks mankind after their sin and provides for them in animal skins in order to clothe them with it. Here we find the first exchange: animals die in order to provide clothes for mankind.
Despite this seeming defeat, God goes on with His plan and purpose. In Genesis 3: 15 again an exchange is announced. The seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. It would bruise His heel. In this Scripture from Genesis God announces that Jesus would come. He is the seed of the woman and He would bruise the head of the serpent. In other words He would defeat the devil but the devil would indeed bruise His heel. Jesus was bruised for our iniquities as Isaiah 53 also declares. Jesus has suffered in order to conquer the evil one. His suffering and death was a righteous exchange or transaction by which the devil would lose grip on every person who would trust in Jesus.
In the Old Testament we find many references to transactions, which occurred in the spiritual world. The words ransom, to redeem, to give over to, are all indications of buying and selling. This is what it literally means in the original text. God buys and sells. The book of the Judges is full of it.
Moreover the sacrifices were brought in exchange for sin. This was not in accordance to God’s heart though. He Himself declares that He did not require burnt offering and sin offering. David is the one who said this in Psalm 40: 6-8. The same thing is written in several other places.
In Isaiah 43: 3-4 we read the following: “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place. Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you; therefore I will give men for you, and people for your life”.
Nations were rooted out or chased away in order to take possession of the land. Why, because an exchange took place. In order to give the people of Israel a land as a possession, an exchange had to take place.
It is clear that Satan demands things. We see this in the cases of Job or Joseph and in the New Testament Jesus clearly states that Satan has demanded to sift Peter as wheat. Apparently Jesus could not stop this. What He did was to pray for Peter that he would pass the test.
Generally we find two major reasons for exchange:
1. Because of our own fault, because of sin and transgressions a selling takes place. Mankind sells himself to the enemy. The result is suppression and anxiety.
2. God’s plan is being worked out in someone’s life and Satan tries to stop this. Before someone can reach his/her destiny, the person often has to go through the fire of temptation.
Jesus and the exchange principle
We are bought with a price. His blood was a heavy price in order to redeem us out of the hands of the oppressor.
The blood of Jesus was a legal price. Satan did not realize this because Scripture states that the powers of darkness did not realize what they did when they crucified the Lord Jesus. 1 Corinthians 2: 8. God raised Jesus out of death and declared that anyone who would believe in Him would not perish but would receive life.
The exchange principle in the New Testament
Jesus sent out the disciples. See Luke 10: 17-18. Jesus prayed for them and saw Satan fall out of heaven. There was havoc in the spiritual world because of the disciples going out to do God’s work.
The first disciples who went out in the book of Acts were confronted with threats because of the testimony of Jesus. James was murdered, Peter is thrown in jail and then freed, Stephen suffers and is killed and Paul works out a tremendous commission but faces lots of resistance. He calls it an angel of Satan who beats him with fists. See 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10. In verse 10 it tells us what these resistances are: infirmities, reproaches, needs, persecutions, distresses. These did not come from God but from the opponent, who made it hard on him. Because of the spiritual breakthroughs in Paul’s ministry, he had to pay a heavy price. There was no other way….
In the New Testament we find three major reasons for attack and opposition:
1. Because of our own fault
2. Because of threat, since the enemy tries to stop us
3. Because of the destiny on someone’s life; the calling of God requires a price to be paid.
Peter also clearly declares that Jesus gave us an example so that we should walk in His footsteps. See 1 Peter 2: 21-24. Like Jesus suffered, so also suffering is not excluded in the life of a believer.
The devil wants to eliminate God’s servant; this is why so many servants of God fall into sin. The devil wants to hit God by causing the man or woman of God to fall.
How can we keep on standing against Satan?
We must keep on standing. God’s power is always bigger than the enemy. The Bible speaks of resisting the enemy and he will flee from us. Every victory means that we have gone through a battle. We have to fully fulfill our task. See Ephesians 6: 13 and 1 Peter 5: 8 and 9.
In moments of test, it looks like God does not hear us but He watches over us and wants us to reach our destiny. When we fail a test, then we come to a stand still and we will have to go through the same challenge once again. When we stand through temptation, then we grow in authority.
Christianity has lost a lot of territory through the ages because of compromise and lies. These territories have to be conquered once again and that does not come for nothing. The evil one is not giving in easily. In fact it means that we are not more than the Master. Before Jesus could start His ministry He had to pass the test (we read this in Matthew 4); He had to prove to the enemy that He could walk in his territory without failing. If we want to break through, we will have to consider that the enemy will try to stop us, to challenge us or to threaten us. Therefore Paul clearly states that we have to keep on standing in the evil day. Ephesians 6: 13.
In closure in Revelation we read constantly that the Christian is called to conquer through all kinds of resistances. The power of God is given to us and because of the Lord Jesus Christ we also have received power to keep sin outside of our doors and to live a pure and holy life.
In all this we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. Romans 8: 37-38. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Once we take a hold of this, we should not fear anything!
Read more on this topic in my book: And yet God is different!
God bless you richly, Irene Maat