There Is More Here Than Meets The Eye

I have been teaching the Book of Daniel and while doing so, I received a needed reminder from the pen of Daniel. In his final vision (chapters 10-12), he records the conflicts between certain nations; namely, Persia, Greece and Israel. But he reveals that behind those nations are powerful angelic (or demonic) beings. In the case of Israel, it is the mighty angel Michael who has been assigned to God’s people to protect them and thwart Satan’s attempt to get rid of them (Dan. 12:1). Michael must be very busy these days. And Satan also has assigned powerful demons (perhaps the “archons” of Ephesians 6:12) to the nations of the earth. They are assigned to these nations to carry out the evil goals of the “god of this world” (John 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4), which is why the whole world “lies in the power of the Evil One” (1 John 5:19). We would assume that God has placed angelic beings in each of the nations of the earth to carry out His purposes and to counter demonic activity.

We know that angelic beings are involved in the life of the church and the lives of believers. They are observing life in the church (1 Cor. 11:10) and learning truths about authority and God’s wisdom (Eph. 3:10). And it appears that they are amazed by the gospel that is preached by believers (1 Pet. 1:12). And angels are involved in the lives of believers as they serve them in a variety of ways (Heb. 1:14). Therefore, it is safe to say that angelic beings are closely involved with us. At first, all this might seem a little weird and the kind of story that Netflix or Hollywood might produce. However, it is no movie and it is not fiction. Angels and demons are real and they play a role in life on earth. They are the reality behind our reality. 

  • Our World Today. 
  • POLITICS. The United States is just about nine months away from the presidential election. Daily, or maybe hourly, the media pundits are putting forth facts, fiction and opinion. Will President Joe Biden be replaced? Will Donald Trump make it out of the legal weeds he is in and successfully run for president? Will some other politician emerge to take the reins? As we contemplate national politics, several truths about the unseen world must be kept in mind. Satan, in talking about his ability to give Jesus the kingdoms of the world, told Jesus: “it has been handed over to me and I give it to whomever I wish” (Luke 4:6). Since he is the “god of this world”, Satan says that he can giving ruling authority to anyone he wants to. But whether Satan realizes it or not, this power is not absolute because God is the One who “removes kings and establishes kings” (Dan. 2:21). So, heaven too is involved in the political world. All this indicates that behind the coming election, there is going to be divine and demonic activity. To some ears, this might sound bizarre, but Scriptures would say it is not. Prayer on the part of God’s people would be appropriate as the election approaches.
  • RELIGION. Satan’s primary method in resisting God’s work in the world is to attack the Word of God. This he has done since the days in the Garden of Eden. His target today is the church. It is no surprise, therefore, that the Bible tells of his behind-the-scenes activity. First, the Bible informs us that false teaching in the church will grow and grow as the end times come, and this fraudulent teaching from men comes from demonic sources (1 Tim. 4:1). Men don’t originate these false ideas, but they are the “doctrines of demons.” These false teachers appear to be so righteous, even as “angels of light” (2 Cor. 11:13-15). And the Apostle Paul observes that this false righteous exterior should not be a surprise since Satan himself tries to appear as an “angel of light.” So, as we listen to teachers, look very carefully at the nice guy or the pleasant lady. Second, Satan actively works at keeping the glorious gospel from the minds and hearts of unbelieving people (2 Cor. 4:4). He will do what he can to keep people from understanding the wonderful truth that a free salvation is there because of the Cross of Christ. Third, Satan just loves it when churches carelessly put men into the office of elder who don’t belong there, because these unqualified men are easily ensnared by the Devil (1 Tim. 3:1-7). These scriptures, and others, are an important reminder to us that behind what we see going on in the church, there is very active demonic (and angelic) activity. Dr. J. Vernon McGee used to say that when Satan fell, he landed in the choir loft. Well maybe, but those fallen beings could be in the pulpit, the conference room or many other places.
  • THE WORLD SYSTEM. The “world” that the New Testament talks about is really Satan’s philosophies. As “god of this world”, Satan has operating philosophies. Satan’s philosophies are seen everywhere, and while there are differences among differing cultures, all of them push the true God out of the lives of people; out of their schools, families, governments and courts. Without a focus on the Lord God, the focus is on self, pleasure, material things and many non-material things. As we are confronted by people with demonically inspired philosophies, the Apostle Paul tells us that believers need to kindly share the truth of Scripture with these unbelievers who hang onto these fraudulent ideas because these people are caught in the “snare of the devil” (2 Tim. 2:26). These folks are caught in the web of Satanic ideas, but the truth of God does set them free.

     Lest we think ourselves immune from the “doctrines of demons”, followers of Christ are exhorted not to be “taken captive through philosophy and empty deception” (Col. 2:8). We avoid these philosophies as we embrace God’s truth. We need to remember that the gal with the purple and green hair did not come up with the ideas she put on her sign or that she is chanting. People did not come up with ideas about gender confusion, support for rapist-murderers like Hamas, and distorted views of marriage, life and the family.  Behind them are very real demonic forces and demonic ideas.  

  • How Should We Respond and Live?

         Over the ages, it seems that Satan has attempted to get people to forget that he even exists, or to swing in the opposite direction and see him and his forces involved in everything, from riots in the streets to getting a flat tire to having a sinus infection. It is better that we keep the biblical perspective. Some of the points that believers ought to remember.

  • Satan is not all powerful. There is no question that Satan is powerful, knowledgeable and has great resources at his command. But James declares: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you: (James 4:7). It appears that an obedient believer, who keeps close to the Lord, is the kind of person Satan avoids. Obeying the Lord is critical to resisting the devil. It is Peter who gives this observation: “Your adversary (enemy) the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in the faith…” (1 Pet. 5:8-9). When we remain in a daily fellowship with Jesus, we not only bear much fruit but we are living safely next to the Savior, someone the Evil One does not like to tangle with.
  • We belong to Jesus. Once we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we are united with Christ (Rom. 6:3-6). And because of our union with Christ, we have the power of the risen Christ. Also, we have the power of the Holy Spirit who now indwells us and we can overcome the flesh (which Satan uses to defeat us). And with Christ and the Spirit we can overcome any temptation that the Evil One may bring our way (Heb. 2:14-15; Col. 2:15). Satan should be respected but never feared. He might be likened to a ferocious mad dog on a chain. No need to fear him, but be careful not to let him get too close.
  • We need to be praying for protection from Satan. In His wonderful prayer in John 17, Jesus specifically prayed for His followers, which includes you and I. He prayed: “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one” (17:15). As we pray for other believers, family members and friends, it is good if we follow Jesus’ example and pray that these might be protected from Satan and his forces.

    Hopefully Daniel’s reminder of the truth that angels and demons are constantly involved in life, might sharpen our understanding on what is going on in this world. There really is more here than meets the eye. And perhaps this truth about the unseen world might even tenderize our hearts some as we look at those hostile, disagreeable folks and recognize that they are in the “snare of the devil.”  We live in this world where demonic and angelic forces are at work. Knowing this, we can live with insights from God’s Word and live with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).