Renew Americaby Marsha West
"Two boys were walking home from Sunday school after hearing a strong preaching on the devil.
One said to the other, 'What do you think about all this Satan stuff?'
The other boy replied, 'Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It's probably just your Dad.'"
What do you think about all the Satan stuff? Do you believe Satan exists? If you do, where do you think he hangs out? He must be a regular globe trotter. Every minute of the day, in every part of the world, exorcisms are being performed on people who are supposedly possessed by the devil. If these exorcisms are indeed legitimate the implication is that Satan can be in a million places at once.
According to Scripture Satan, a fallen angel, is a personal being. Note that Jesus used the personal pronoun when referring to him: "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44).
Logically, Satan can only be in one place at a time. So I've been giving his whereabouts some serious thought. To me it makes sense that he would be headquartered on Capitol Hill. But I could be wrong. Perhaps he's in Iran or Pakistan or for that matter, even Hollywood. Regardless of where the "liar" resides, you've got to admit that some pretty powerful demonic forces are working their wiles on a number of our elected officials. I mean, think about it. The Left's diabolical agenda most certainly is influenced by liars.
All kidding aside, the Bible contains quite a few references to angels and demons. A Bible believing Christian knows that the spirits are very real â€” a clear and present danger.
Even after I accepted Christ I remained skeptical of Satan and his legions of demons for quite some time. As I worked my way through the Bible I came to believe that there are indeed "spiritual forces of evil." You first meet Satan (the serpent) in Genesis 3:1. He shows up in the Garden of Eden intent on tricking Eve into disobeying God. (More on Eve and the snake later.) In the last book of the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, he finally gets his comeuppance. Without going into the gory details, let's just say that Satan and his demons are sent spiraling into the abyss where they will cool (or warm) their heals for all eternity. God's judgment is final, by the way. No spirit or human being sentenced to eternal punishment (Mat. 25:46) in the lake of burning sulfur (Rev. 20:10) gets out on good behavior â€” or for any reason!
But before Satan takes up permanent residence in the place prepared for him and his angles, and all those who reject the Son of God, he shall remain the "god of this world" (2Cor. 4:4). Answers.com explains Satan's influence: "Satan is the major influence on the mind-set expressed by the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. His areas of influence also encompass the world's philosophies, education, and commerce. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions."
Angels were created with a free will. When some of them exercised their free will and rebelled against God, He cast them out of heaven to earth. For thousands of years God has allowed these spirits to wreak havoc on this planet. And one has to admit they're doing a pretty thorough job of it.
In Ephesians 6:12 Paul "outs" mankind's true enemy:
"Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
The Bible calls the struggle "spiritual warfare." Spiritual warfare has been ongoing since the Fall of Man. Although Satan has won a multitude of battles, in the end he will be the big loser.
A word of warning before I move on. Evil spirits have supernatural powers that man does not possess, never will possess, and should not endeavor to possess. Deceptive spirits have persuaded some people to think they are among the "enlightened ones" (EO). Allegedly EOs are a spiritually advanced order of philosophers and peacemakers. (Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey are said to be EOs. Joe Biden, not so much.) These folks believe they're here to help usher in a new way of being on the planet. In other words, to help humans evolve to a higher plane of existence. Supposedly an EO possesses superior intellect, has been given extraordinary insights, and is magically empowered. Many EOs seek guidance from spirits.
In Scripture God makes it abundantly clear that spirits, including angels, are not to be evoked, called on, invited in or channeled. We should never try to connect with spirits and we certainly shouldn't try to glean information from them. Jesus Himself often told the demons to keep quiet!
Christians who are in contact with so-called angels will read this article and get a little testy with me because they see nothing wrong in contacting angels â€” and they sure don't want anyone raining on their parade! But here's the thing. Getting a little wet sure beats getting struck by a lightening bolt from above.
The purpose of this article, in part, is to attempt to give sincere Christians a clear understanding of the Bible's teaching on spiritual warfare and also to pass on some of the practices God strictly forbids.
One thing is clear. Contacting spirits or consulting mediums for any reason is forbidden. In other words, participating in the occult is taboo. (Deut. 18: 10-12) You ask, "Why does it matter to God?" As I pointed out, the spirits are malevolent. They are counterfeit...phony...fakes! (There are rumors that Adolph Hitler, who was an occultist, invoked the "Spirit of Anti-Christ" for guidance. Look where it got him!)
One final point. Many Christians have a misconception of "spiritual warfare." Nowhere in Scripture does it say that believers are to go into enemy territory. God's people, says Paul, are to be "strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." As well, we are admonished by Peter to, "Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith..."
Be strong in the Lord! Resist the devil! Put on the full armor of God! When God's people stand firm in their faith the tempters make tracks. (To help give Christians an inside look at angels and demons fighting for control of the mind of a back-slidden Christian, I wrote an allegory on the armor of God. Read it here http://emailbrigade.com/322.html)
AN ALL OUT SPIRITUAL BATTLE
Most of the "experts" now agree that our beloved country is in dire straits. Some of them have gone so far as to say that our economy is teetering on the brink of collapse but that remains to be seen.
Thanks largely to the secularization of America, the culture is becoming darker, more corrupt and perverse as time goes on. Almost everyone I know has gone through â€” or is currently going through â€” trials and tribulations. It seems people all over the globe are getting pummeled by evil forces! I would go so far as to say that there is an all out spiritual battle going on for the hearts and minds of men!
What's behind this? I'll use Paul's terminology: rulers, authorities, powers, spiritual forces of evil in the supernatural realm. In other words, Satan and the fallen angels.
Some of you reading this article probably think I've gone 'round the bend. But keep in mind that a large number of rational people who resist the idea of the devil believe in angles. Many people believe in ghosts to include those of the dearly departed. Still others believe the planet is being visited by extraterrestrials. I don't have the space to cover all of what people believe in, so I'll move on.
Scripture clearly teaches that there are forces of good and evil occupying the heavenly realm. Angels are good, demons are evil. The chief of fallen angels has many names including Satan, Beelzebub and Belial. He's called the old serpent, our adversary, god of this world, prince of darkness, father of lies, great dragon...enemy...deceiver... murderer...let's leave it at that. Fallen angels are not benevolent beings. They do not come to impart wisdom and give guidance. On the contrary. They're lying spirits! (1 Kings 22:22, 23; 2 Chron. 18: 21, 22) Moreover, they have nothing but contempt for humans. They are hell bent on destroying God's entire creation.
If you're not a Christian and you're still reading this, you'll be rolling your eyes about now. Fear not! The best is yet to come. Stay with me and you will see what many orthodox (conservative) Christians believe about angels and demons and why we believe it. Additionally, you'll learn the ways in which Jesus and His apostles dealt with the devil. There will also be some examples of Satan's victories in both the Church and the culture.
THE FATHER OF LIES
In our postmodern culture many self-identifying Christians deny that Satan, or the devil, actually exists. As I said, these same people readily admit to a belief in ghosts, angels, fairies, and extraterrestrials yet they reject the notion that Satan is real. Some skeptics think of the devil as a sort of mythological character while others say he's merely a symbol of evil. Then there are those who think of him as a caricature. Parents who view him that way often dress their children in devil costumes on Halloween. Most of the costumes are a combination of red and black, have a long tail with a spear on the end, bat-like ears and a three pronged pitchfork. Women's devil costumes are usually sexy.
Christians who read and study Scripture know that Satan relishes being thought of as a silly, or sexy, caricature. Most people have no fear of a person who goes around in red tights, sporting a cape and carrying a phony pitchfork. These sorts of devils are not taken seriously. I mean, why would anyone fear something so....ridiculous?
What we must remember is that Satan doesn't wear a costume. He comes as one of us.
THE DEVIL WITHOUT TIGHTS
According to a number of Bible scholars, Isaiah 14: 12-15 tells the story of Lucifer, an archangel, who fell from God's grace and became the devil. God tossed Lucifer out of heaven because he conspired to make his throne higher than the clouds. In other words, he contrived to dethrone God.
Lucifer is Latin for "morning star" or "light-bearer." (In 2 Peter 1:19 morning star has no relation to Satan.) The way Isaiah describes him is a far cry from the way in which he's viewed by our culture:
"How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit." (NIV for clarity)
Many people have heard the story of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman created by God. Adam and Eve were born with a free will. They did not have a sin nature. In the beginning there was no death. We learn from the book of Genesis that they made their home in the Garden of Eden. Then one day the wily serpent came to the garden with evil intent. He found Eve alone and, through lies and deceit, convinced her to disregard God's command to Adam "...you must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for when you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen. 2:17) The serpent claimed that God had withheld knowledge that would make them like God and give them hidden wisdom. So Eve chose to disregard God's warning and took a bite out of the fruit. The serpent was right as it relates to God withholding knowledge from them. However, the hidden knowledge turned out to be detrimental. The moment Eve ate of the fruit her eyes were opened...and sin came into the world. Eve handed the fruit to her husband and he also chose to disregard God's command and ate the fruit. Adam and Eve went from God-centeredness to self-centeredness. When God confronted them with what they had done Adam blamed the whole thing on his wife! Adam and Eve's sin (going against God) precipitated the Fall of Man. The consequence of sin is death. (2 Cor. 11:3) Because of the Fall, human beings are in bondage to sin and the kingdom of Satan.
Â© Marsha West