The Opposition

March 27, 2017

As we continue our look at the topic of spiritual warfare, let’s consider the inspiration behind the conflict: the devil and his angels. Who is the devil? Is he a real entity or just a mythological figure?

Who is the Devil?

The Bible teaches that the devil is a real person, a spirit being who was originally one of God’s most glorious creatures, but by an act of rebellion, he has become God’s archenemy (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28). The Bible tells us that he is incredibly powerful, exceedingly intelligent, and immeasurably evil. Scripture also teaches that he is perpetually at war with God and His people. He is the commander and chief of a multitude of creatures similar to himself. Paul refers to this army of evil creatures as “principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places” (see Ephesians 6:12). All of these indicate organized opposition.

By way of analogy, consider the Roman Empire. Caesar sat in Rome and made policy based upon his counsel with the senate. The senators would pass the decisions of the counsel down to the governors and rulers who would then implement their decisions. Likewise, within the kingdom of Satan there are those high-ranking officials making policy and those lower-ranking representatives that implement policy.

The book of Daniel gives us insight into the kingdom of Satan:

Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Daniel 10:12–13 NIV, italics added

Notice what the angel said: “But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days.” Cyrus was the king of Persia at that time, yet he most certainly was not the one resisting this angelic messenger. The reference is to the spiritual power behind the Persian Empire. Similar accounts appear in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 where the prophets are prophesying against the kings of Babylon and Tyre. As they are prophesying, suddenly and without explanation, they begin to address the spiritual power behind these earthly rulers.

The Invisible Kingdom

These passages, among many others, should undoubtedly lead us to conclude that the world we live in is not solely the material world it appears to be. There is also a spiritual dimension, and the world is actually governed by “wicked spirits in high places.” It is imperative that we recognize this biblical truth.

We find another example of this invisible kingdom in the New Testament. When the Lord was being tempted, Satan showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in all their glory and said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish” (Luke 4:6). Jesus neither disputed Satan’s claim of authority over the kingdoms of the world nor his ability to give them to whomever he wished. In fact, Jesus affirmed Satan’s claim when He later referred to him as “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30).

Our Spiritual Well Being

Understanding these biblical facts is vital to our spiritual well being. Tragically, many Christians have been seduced into thinking the way the average person thinks—regarding everything as merely a result of natural processes. However, Paul says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” We as Christians need to remember that.