Miracle on 82nd Street:  Stories (On Angels and Demons)

This is the seventh chapter on spiritual warfare from my book Spiritual Rants.

Story No. 1:  A Demon

I woke up as the word “DEMON” flashed in iridescent orange in my mind’s eye.  It was pulsating like a quivering neon sign in a bad sci-fi movie.  My heart started playing the drum solo from, “Wipe Out.”

As I came to, I noticed a jarring chirping from just outside my bedroom window.  The muscles in my body shook.  I was going off like a geiger counter to what was outside my window.

I knew what it was.  It was a demon.  I was separated from it by a pane of glass.  I went into a slight panic.  OK, it was a little more than a slight panic.  I couldn’t go back to sleep.  BECAUSE THERE WAS A DEMON OUTSIDE MY WINDOW.

I tried to pull myself together and calm down.

What should I do?

I had just trusted Christ a few months before.  I was now back in my hometown in my childhood home during a break from college in Indiana.  I was sleeping in the same bed upstairs in the same safe bedroom I had slept in since I was about seven years-old.

Though I was only months old in the Lord, I had memorized a considerable number of Bible verses.  A couple of my high school friends has introduced me to a local charismatic fellowship.  I had been prepped in our how to deal with demonic activity. :a person had only to simply cast out the demonic presence and it would flee.  I tried it.  In my mind, “Out demon!”  Response:  “CHIRP! CHIRP!”  My body continued to quake.  Crud.  Now what?

I looked at the clock.  It was a little past 3:oo in the morning.  I tried to calm down and just talk myself back to sleep.  Calm.  Calm.  Calm.  CHIRP!

OK.  I hated to do it.  My father hadn’t shown himself too favorable to my conversion to Christianity.  I thought my parents would be ecstatic that I had found Christ.  Nope.  I guess Jesus did say something about that.  They were not favorable at all.  Even Jimmy Stewart in, It’s a Wonderful Life went to his Dad when he got in trouble.  And who else could I go to in the middle of the night?  I got a similar response to Jimmy in that movie.

I went downstairs and woke my Dad.  He wasn’t very happy.  It was about to become more unhappy.

“What’s wrong,” he asked, sounding much more like Darth Vader than Bill Cosby.

“Do you hear that?” I asked.

“Hear what?” he replied.

I couldn’t believe he couldn’t hear it.  After all, my body was still quaking in response to the cacophony upstairs.

“You don’t hear that?”  It’s ALL I could hear.

“I don’t hear anything.”

“You don’t hear that ‘chirping’?”

“I hear a bird.  So what?”

Ut oh.  Should I say it?  I’d better ease into it, I thought.

“It’s, uh,  . . .”  I blurted it out: “It’s not a bird!”  There it was done.  I had said it.

“Of course, it’s a bird.  What do you think it is?”

Double ut oh.  I paused.  It seemed I could lose my life either way at this point.  My Dad could whack me into next week (he’d down it before) or the demon could get me.

I went for it.  “It’s a demon,” I said sheepishly.

“WHAT!  It’s just a bird.  Go back to bed!”

“I don’t think it’s just a bird.”

“Go back to bed.”

Swing and a miss.  That whole thing didn’t work.  Now I had to go back to my bed.  The “thing” was still out there.  I was still reacting to it.  My body still tight and quivering.

I laid down.  From outside the window, “CHIRP!  CHIRP!”

Now what?  Though I had only been saved for a short while, I had memorized a ton of Bible verses.  I started to go through them.  “For God so loved the world . . .”  Nope.  “For all have sinned . . .”  Not going to help in this instance.

OK.  One of my favorites came to mind.  “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you HAVE received it and it will be yours.”

OK.  I tried believing that I had my answer.  I prayed.  “CHIRP!  CHIRP!”  What was I doing wrong.  God HELP!  Oh, ok.  The thought came to me, I should “believe that it already was gone!”  I did.  I listened.  Silence.  I listened again.  Pure silence.  It was gone!  I went right to sleep.  No, I didn’t.  It took a while.  Then I went to sleep.

Next day I saw my father.  “What’s the name of the pastor at that place you’ve been going.”  I told him.  “You can’t go back there.”

Wow.

A couple weeks later he relented.

Story No. 2:  An Angel

It was a dark and stormy night.  No, seriously.  It was.  It was dark and stormy.  And it was nighttime.

I was driving back home on 82th Street in Indianapolis.  Anyone who lived back then in the 70‘s on the north side of Indianapolis knew the 86th St. bridge.  It was also known as the “Green Bridge.”  Because it was  . . .  green.   (It was later named the David Wolf bridge after the astronaut from Indiana.)  It was and still is an arched bridge over the White River, the same color as the Statue of Liberty.  Like copper that has corroded to green.  It was the scene of some awful crashes over the years.

I didn’t know that at the time.  I just had the car in auto-pilot, at least in my head, as I daydreamed down the road.  I approached the bridge, moving east.  I was jolted out of my haze by the site of a car parked only a few hundred feet in front of me in my lane on the bridge!  I was traveling the speed limit . . .  or I was traveling at least the speed limit.  The bridge at that time was only two lanes: one running east and one heading west.  I jammed on the brakes to try to avoid mating with the stopped car.  I went into a spin.  I hydroplaned to the right and was headed right for the river.  But then I felt a force on the front of my car!  My car felt like it was forcibly being moved back to the left. I was moving counter-clockwise, sliding back around in a prefect circle, coming to rest perfectly headed in the opposite lane and heading west!   I gave the car some gas and began moving back to where I had come from.  I drove west past the end of the arch of the green bridge.  Then I K-turned and headed back east again.  The offending, immobile car had vanished!  It was gone!

Had Clarence once again shown up to help someone in need on a bridge?  It sure felt like it.  I don’t know how else I could be headed one direction into the river and miraculously be pushed back the opposite direction with perfect force, landing perfectly going the other direction!

7b Miracle on 82nd Street:  A Rant (On Angels and Demons)

“WE ARE ENGAGED IN A GREAT CIVIL WAR”

Years ago in Gettysburg Pennsylvania, Abraham Lincoln said, “we are engaged in a great Civil War.”

I taught history at a Bible college a while back.  My approach was to teach American History as “His story.”  In fact, all of history is “His story.”  It is the story of God superintending over the affairs of men.  American history is the story of God superintending over the affairs of America.  I wonder if even Abraham Lincoln realized the full gravity of his words.  All of American history has been about the struggle of Satan over the land that has most dedicated itself to God in the past several centuries.  The American Civil War was a struggle over America and freedom.  God won.  As usual.

The Bible indicates that there are good angels and also bad angels.  The bad angels we call, “demons.”  Many do not realize that there are angels that control countries.  Here are examples.

The Bible says, “For 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.”

There is a story in Daniel 10 that used to really scare me.  It speaks of Michael the archangel.  I know he’s an archangel because Jude calls him that in verse 9.  Daniel, you know, the guy from the lion’s den story, was praying for three weeks.  Daniel was probably the most holy guy in the Bible other than Jesus.  There are no real sins attributed to him which doesn’t mean he never sinned but there probably weren’t many.  Anyway, THAT Daniel is praying.  Not for three minutes or three days but for three weeks!  THEN he gets an answer to prayer.  And what an answer to prayer!  Michael the archangel shows up!  And here’s the scary part.

A “man” appears to Daniel.  I put “man” in quotes because he is like no man I’ve ever heard of.  Here’s the description:

“ . . . before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist.  His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.”

Notice his reaction was the same as most people in the Bible who meet an angel.  He keels over.

“I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves.  So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless.  Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.  A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.”

One version says he, “fainted.”  You would have, too.

Some interpreters think the “man” may have been Gabriel.  There are only two good angels whose names are given in Scripture.  One is Gabriel back in chapter 8:16 of this same book.  The other is Michael.  Michael is named just a few verses later in this chapter.

It is also possible that the “man” in this chapter is actually Jesus Christ.  Whenever you see the term, “angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament, it is often Jesus.  So this being could have been Jesus.

Whoever he is, the scary thing is that although Daniel was heard when he first started praying, the “man” had trouble getting down to Daniel.  Fortunately, he had some help from the angel, Michael.

Michael was the guardian angel of Israel.  He made sure the, “man,” got through to speak to Daniel.  It used to scare me that a man of Daniel’s stature had to pray for three weeks to get an answer to prayer that God wanted him to have!  I’ve since realized that God knows how to time things and that His timing was perfect.  He put it in Daniel’s heart to pray three week’s earlier than he needed an answer!

Note that the force opposing Michael and the “man” is “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.”

A GREAT CIVIL WAR:  DEFINED

The point I’m trying to make is that there is a great civil war transpiring in the world.  It’s the angels vs. the demons.  The world is apparently divvied up with various angels assigned to different nations.  The prince of Persia was trying to impede the guardian of Israel.  The war is ongoing.

What’s that have to do with you?  Well, if you haven’t trusted Christ, you are an unwilling pawn of the bad guys.  If you have trusted Christ, you are either a soldier in the army of the Lord or you may be aiding and abetting the enemy . . . albeit unknowingly.

Did your mother ever teach you that you had a guardian angel?  Turns out she was right!  In the book of Matthew it says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones [children]. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”  This probably explains how you made it through childhood.

Right now mankind is lower than the angels.  In the future, humans will be higher in rank than the angels.  Now we are lower.  Someday Christians will even judge the bad angels!

Now angels are warring in the heavens.  In the future the good angels will dwell with us in heaven.  The bad angels will be judged and sent to Hell.  Did you realize that Hell is going to be created for a dwelling place of the bad angels?  Hell was never intended for men or women.  Of course, if people insist on going there, God is not going to stop them.  C.S. Lewis said there are two kinds of people.  “those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” Lewis says everyone in Hell chooses to be there.  I’d like think that was rubbish but my experience, along with the Bible, dictates otherwise.  Hard to believe, but I’ve seen people outright reject God.  He offers freedom and life with Him in heaven forever but they reject it.

Years ago, after I committed my life to the ministry, the roof fell in on us (contrary to public opinion, sometimes when you commit yourself more deeply to the Lord, things don’t get better from a human standpoint — they get worse!).  I lost my job, my wife lost her job and I ended up parking cars in the Atlanta Hilton.  I witnessed to one of the security guards who worked the overnight shift with me.  I explained that 1)  all have sinned (Rom. 3: 23)  2)  Christ died for our sins (Rom. 5: 8)  3) that he had to personally trust Christ for salvation (Eph. 2: 8,9).  I asked if he understood all that I telling him.  He said he did.  I asked him if he’d like to receive Christ.  He said he’d like to think about it.  I asked him how long he’d like to think about it.  He said for a few days so we agreed on a day the next week I would ask him again.  That day arrived and I asked him if he had thought about what I’d told him.  He said he had.  So I asked if he’d like to trust Christ.  He said he had thought about it and he calmly replied that he did not want to trust Christ.  The next he called in sick to work.  The day after that he was found dead.  His probationary time in life was up.  God allowed his life to end.

I’m not saying every case is like that.  I’m not saying if you reject Christ, you will drop dead.  However, there is a war going on.  The war is for your soul and for every soul in the universe.  The Scripture says, “now is the day of salvation.”  My counsel would be that it’s best not to put things off!

“WE ARE MET ON A GREAT BATTLEFIELD OF THAT WAR”

So there is a great war going on in the spiritual realm.  What does that have to do with you?  Well, Lincoln continued on in the Gettysburg Address and said, “We are met on a great battlefield of that war.”  And we “are met on a great battlefield” of the spiritual warfare.  Where is that?  I’ll tell you.  Look down.  You are looking at the feet of that “great battlefield.”  It’s you!

If you haven’t trusted Christ yet, and whether you know it or not, you are in the midst of a great spiritual battle.  Satan wants your soul and God wants it more.  But the choice is yours!

If you are a Christian, you are also in the middle of a great spiritual battle.  God would like you to represent Him better each day.  Satan wants to ruin your witness for Christ.  Again, the choice is yours!

The story of Job might be instructive here.  Read the first few chapters of Job.  You will read that Job was sitting on top of the world.  He was probably the most committed to God of any man living.  As such, he had a target on his back that Satan used for dart practice.  God had blessed Job with wealth, wisdom, and a great family.  Well, OK, his wife was a little questionable but we’ll get to that.

So Satan, in doing his job approached God and asked to make mincemeat out of Job.  He thought he could make Job say, “uncle,” as a manner of speaking.  He thought Job was committed to God only because God had blessed him so much.  He wanted to get inside Job and prove that Job was not since.  He wanted to do an “inside Job.”

Job never knew what was going on.  In fact, at the end of the book Job still doesn’t know what had happened.  God shows him His view of things which is like a featurette of Jurassic Park mixed with We Bought A Zoo.  Remember when Chevy Chase used to say, “I’m Chevy Chase  . . .  and you’re not!”?  God was saying to Job, “I’m God  . . . and you’re not!”  Good for all of us to remember!

Job never realized that he was in the middle of a great civil war.  It was on a “need to know” basis and God didn’t think he needed to know.

Now, you might not understand all that’s going on in your life.  From God’s standpoint, it’s on a “need to know” basis.  Sometimes He lets us know.  Other times He doesn’t.  So for example, when I committed my life to ministry and both my wife and I lost our jobs, I don’t know why.  I still don’t know why.  It set back seminary for me for at least a year.  But that is God’s business.

WE HAVE HELPERS

Just as we saw in the book of Daniel, God used Michael and Gabriel and other angels to protect Daniel and to protect His plan.

In fact, the Bible even classifies and ranks the angels.  They are all called, “ministering spirits.” But they are “ministering spirits” for Christians only.  Sorry, non-Christians.  If you want one, sign up.

Angels are spirit beings.  They don’t have bodies, at least in the sense we would understand.  They do appear to humans seemingly in human bodies but they are spiritual beings.

Some have six wings to cover themselves and otherwise look like men.  Those are called Seraphim.  Ever heard the term, “cherub”?  Probably in reference to a cute, diminutive angel with a tiny little bow and arrow that shoots people with “luuuuvve.”  Well, in the Bible there are cherubs and they couldn’t be much farther in being than the St. Valentine models.  The cherubim guarded the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve were kicked out.  Remember my “big, hairy angel” reference?  How about this?

Satan was at one point a high level angel.  He most likely was a cherub.  His sin was pride. Note all the, “I will”’s in Isaiah 14.   At one point, it appears Satan sets his goal to be higher than all the other “stars.”  “Stars” is often a designation in Scripture for angels.  Satan is called Lucifer in one translation and means “morning star” or literally, “shining one.” In the NASB and NIV the translation is, he is the “shining one” or, “morning star.”

Not surprisingly, Christians are warned multiple times in Scripture against pride.  Ever heard, “pride comes before a fall”?

A prideful person cannot learn.  They think they know it all.  Therefore, a disciple who is at heart a learner, cannot grow if prideful.

ENTERTAINING ANGELS

For those who are humble and follow the Lord, you can expect angels to bail you out at times.  Even if you’re not very humble, angels can bail you out.  We know that one of the good angels duties is to protect Christians.  Here is a cool verse, “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.  Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it“ (Heb. 13:1-2).  It is probably a reference to several Old Testament stories of believers serving what appeared to be men but turned out to be angels.

I know of of a modern day story wherein a friend of mine, a lady, was traveling a highway in Ohio to her home in temperatures less than zero before the wind chill.  It was actually nighttime, so more accurately, this was a modern night story.  Anyway, a car was stopped facing toward her on the side of the road.  A little ways past it was a man walking in the snow, in sub-zero temperatures in an overcoat, hat, and sunglasses.  Feeling sorry for him, my friend picked him up.  Don’t try this at home!  She took him to her house.  All during the ride there, he talked about Jesus and His “soon coming.”  She got him to her house and fed him.  There’s the hospitality part.  She asked about his car.  The man said that that car on the side of the road wasn’t his.

Shortly thereafter, her pastor husband came home from youth group and, wisely, told his wife that the man would have to leave.  They took him to the local police station in their tiny town .  The police told them that the man would have to be locked up since he hadn’t shown up for a court date in the neighboring county seat.  My friend felt bad that she was responsible for the man being in the clinker over night.  So the couple checked on him the next morning.  The police said they had no record of a man being brought in the night before.  Since they had asked the man’s name, Herbert Kludwinker, they called the country seat and asked if a man by that name had missed a court date and was in jail there.  They also had no record of the man.

So I’m guessing he was either CIA working undercover and just happened to be walking at night in blizzard conditions or . . .  was he an “angel unawares”?  I report.  You decide.

HOW TO HANDLE SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Just as we saw in the book of Daniel, God used Michael and Gabriel and other angels protect believers in doing His will.

1)  GOD WINS

If you are serious about God, you will experience spiritual warfare.  A few weeks after I was saved, I asked the fella that led me to the Lord, “what should I do about Satan?  Can he do anything to me?  What do I need to know?”  He told me that I had already done the worst thing I could do to Satan in accepting Christ.  He was right.  Nevertheless, there are some things believers need to know.  First is that, ‘He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world.”  In other words, God always wins and He ultimately wins!

2)  SATAN BLINDS MINDS

Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers.  After I was first saved, I used a great series done by the Navigators called Design for Discipleship.  They still print it.  It teaches a lot of basic doctrine through questions asked and answered by looking up the Scripture references they provide.  I remember learning that one of the most important things you can do for unsaved people to pray that their “blinded minds” be opened since non-believers often just dont’ “get it.”  And they don’t “get it” because Satan blinds their minds.  Therefore, pray for them that God opens their eyes!

3)  SPINNING YOUR JACKET OVER YOUR HEAD DOESN’T SCARE DEMONS.

It does no good to spin your jacket over your head.  I saw an “evangelist” on TV one time casting out demons and spinning his jacket over his head.  I keep hearing of people taking it upon themselves to “cast out demons.”

Well, here’s the real deal right out of Scripture and why I don’t try to do it myself.  First, see my story above.  It doesn’t work if I try to do it myself.  There’s a story in Acts about seven brothers who tried to cast out a demon.  It didn’t go so well.

Acts 19:14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.

Acts 19:15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?”

Acts 19:16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

God was able to use this incident  But it sure didn’t go the way the seven brothers had imagined!  Again, the phrase comes to mind, “Don’t try this at home!”  In fact, don’t try it at all!

You may have heard that you can “bind” Satan or his demons.  However, check out Jude 9.  (Jude has only one chapter so don’t ask, “what chapter”?  The “9” is a verse number.)  Notice in this passage, even Michael the Archangel himself, did try to “bind” Satan.  He wouldn’t even “rebuke” him!  Michael said he was going to let God take action action Satan.  He was going to stay out of it!  The lesson for us:  We should stay out of it and not take Satan on directly!

4)  BE HUMBLE:

We’ve already mentioned this but it bears repeating.  A person can’t learn anything unless they’re humble.  The reason:  if you’re not humble you think you know everything aka being arrogant.  If you’re arrogant and know everything, you can’t learn anything!  Scripture says,  “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.”  It also opens you to Satan’s attacks.  If you’re under attack, you need to learn something.  That’s why God allows it.  If you won’t allow God to teach you, He’s liable to let you continue being attacked until you learn what He wants you to learn.  God uses Satan that way.  As Mongo says about himself in Blazing Saddles, “Mongo only pawn in chess game of life.”  Actually, Satan is God’s pawn in [the chess game] of life!  He uses Satan as He wants.

Note what happens when you are humble.  “Submit yourselves to God and he [Satan] will flee from you.  The word for submit in the original language actually connotes placing oneself under the authority of another.  In other words, place yourself under God’s authority and trust Him.  He’ll take care of Satan.  But of course, that presupposes . . .  humility!

5)  STAND!

Along the same lines, if we want to be Biblical about all this . . .  and we do!  We should note that the main thing Scripture tells us about spiritual warfare is that we should STAND!  Here’s the evidence.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For 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.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then . . .” Eph. 6: 10-14 NIV11

Have you noticed a word that’s repeated?  I italicized it to help you out a bit.  It’s used four times, the word, “stand.”  It is the English translation of the Greek, “histemi.”  In fact, in v. 13 there is a variation of the verb, “histemi.”  It is “anthistemi.”  What does that sound like?  Anti-histamine?  It’s the stuff we use to fight off allergies.  Allergies are caused by chemicals our bodies makes in response to things to which we are allergic.  Anti-histamines are chemicals or herbs we take to combat or block the histamines.  I guess you could think of spirit-filled Christians wearing the armor of God as huge anti-histamines that fight off Satan’s allergies!

Since Christ has already won the victory over Satan, the Apostle Paul says we are, “more than conquerors in Christ.”  The Apostle John says, “everyone born of God overcomes the world,” and that we overcome by, “our faith.”  I think the sense of the Ephesians 6 passage is that Christ has already won the victory, yet Satan is still active.  Therefore, we need to take our “stand” in Christ and “with-stand” or “resist” him.  If we take our stand, the devil will have to abscond or flee from us.  James and Peter both use the “anti-histamine” derivative of stand to encourage believers fighting Satan.  “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  “But resist him, firm in your faith . . .”

Notice in my demon story, I bumblingly, but finally with-stood the demon, resisted, and exercised faith.  Then it took off.

6)  THE DEVIL AND HIS DEMONS COME IN DISGUISES!

Demonic angels sometimes appear as an“angel of light.”  Well, more specifically, Satan disguises himself as an angel of light so I supposed his followers do as well.  So we must beware that everything that appears good and to come from light might not be from God!  Remember the phrase about wolves in sheeps’ clothing?  Satan’s best strategy sometimes is to appear good.  Good is only good when God says it’s good!  Don’t be fooled by cheap substitutes!

The Apostle Paul once said, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you,a let them be under God’s curse!”  I think he was saying Satan could use his bad angels  . . .  in disguise as good angels . . .  to bring a bad message!

Read your Bible and trust the Holy Spirit and you won’t get hoodwinked!  Everyday is Halloween for demons!

7)  THE DEVIL OFTEN ATTACKS US AT OUR STRONG POINT

Satan often attacks us at our strongest point.  This was a shock to me.  I realized while pastoring a church in the country and early on I noticed several people were questioning my integrity.  I was confused.  I thought it was blatantly clear that I was nothing if not honest and forthright.  Yet the attacks kept coming.  Then I realized the principle that Satan often attacks us at our strongest point!  Why not?  What does he have to lose?  Not to mention that if he succeeds, he can knock a pastor right out of position!  A pastor is nothing if he does not have integrity.  He cannot preach and be believed.  He cannot counsel and be trusted.  He cannot have a witness in the community.  God eventually showed all the people that were attacking me to be foolish when the truth came out regarding all the accusations.  In the meantime, they were able to wreak a bit of havoc.

It is good to keep in mind that Satan steps up his attacks.  He attacks us as He is allowed by God.  He cannot apply more pressure than God allows him.  In the book of Job, Satan was not allowed to do certain things.  Satan was allowed to attack Job’s health but not take his life.

I also believe Satan steps up his attacks in the sense that he initially is more blatant.  I have not had such a clear encounter with Satan as I had when first saved in the story that begins this chapter.  One of my mentor professors at seminary says he is attacked whenever he teaches on angels and demons.  I have been attacked while writing this chapter.  But this time it has been the most subtle attack ever, almost impossible to discern as being satanic but nevertheless strong.  It appears to be a principle that God allows Satan to attack more strongly and more subtlety as a Christian matures.

8) THE DEVIL BLUFFS A LOT

Satan often “bluffs.” He will throw out bogus stuff. Why not? It’s worked for him over the years. That is why he is called in Rev. 12:10, “the accuser of the brethren.”

Not everything Satan does is a bluff. When the devil offered Christ all the kingdoms of the world, he was able to deliver if Jesus had taken the bait. Satan offered Christ all the kingdoms of the world. He hit Jesus with three temptations. Jesus answered all three temptations with Scripture. That is a good model for us. We know Jesus could have just blown Satan away but instead he answer with the Word of God. It also tells us what kind of priority learning the Scriptures should be in our lives!

Don’t fall for Satan’s bluffs. Be alert. Have a crisp mind. Don’t be hoodwinked!

9)  REMEMBER THERE ARE MORE GOOD ANGELS THAN BAD ANGELS

It may be comforting to know that there are many more good angels than bad angels.  The Scripture speaks of “myriads” of angels in the presence of God.   That’s a lot of angels!  Maybe even tens of thousands!  That’s more than any football stadium can hold!  Boy, I’d like to see a football stadium filled with angels!

In fact, Revelation 12 indicates that there are twice as many good angels as bad angels.  One third of the angels in the chapter are swept away by the dragon’s tail.  The dragon is is defined as , “that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray,” being thrown out of heaven.  One third of the “stars” were swept away by the dragon’s tail.   So it is understood that these one third of the angels are the corrupted ones aka demons.  That leaves two thirds on our side!  I like those odds.  So it says in 2Kings about Elisha, “And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”  And in 2Chronicles it says about , “Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him.”  Hezekiah, the king of Judah said this about God being on his side as opposed to numbers in the opposition army.

10) THE DEVIL WILL ATTACK IN WAYS WE LEAST EXPECT

Satan has been perfecting the science of messing up believers for thousands of years now. He can read us like books. He’s seen it all. He knows what you’ll grow up into by observing you while you’re maturing. He knows people like you and he knows how you will act and when and how. I’m guessing he’s rarely fooled. He’s been around the block a few times. Actually, several thousand times. He is probably not fooled. But we are.

The only way to beat him is to hang tight to God. Peter thought he was on top of everything and would never deny the Lord. He did. Jesus knew it. I’m imagining Satan did, too.

My wife has an expression whenever we encounter any kind of a spiritual situation. “Always expect the unexpected.” That is good advice in spiritual warfare. Don’t trust yourself. Always trust God. “Submit yourselves . . . to God. . . .Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Waving your jacket over your head won’t work.

11) KEEP THE FAITH

The ten points above essentially involve faith. We believe God wins because it’s in the Bible and we believe the Bible. The same is true of Satan blinding the minds of unbelievers, that we should allow God to handle Satan, that we should be humble, etc. The way we know about this invisible world is through the Bible. The way we know how to deal with these invisible forces is also through the Bible. All we understand in this area is through faith. “ . . .this is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” “ . . . in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us”

SUMMARY

Angels are real. They are spirit beings. The good ones protect Christians and do God’s bidding. They come in different kinds. Some are bad. The good ones outnumber the bad by a factor of three. Satan heads up the bad angels.

Angel stories may be real. Christians are not told to be concerned so much with angels but are to be concerned with the Holy Spirit for power in this age. For now, angels outrank human beings. In the future, men will rule over angels.

God ultimately will win the spiritual battle for souls on earth. All will be submitted to Him in the future. For now, Christians are given, “marching orders.” Christians are to remain humble and hand spiritual attacks over to God. They are to put on Christ Who is their armor.

Christians are to stand when attacked by spiritual forces. The main term used in Scripture regarding spiritual attacks is stand. Hold the ground Christ has won for you. Resist is another term that is used. It is a related term to stand. It has the same type of idea. Stand and resist. Hold the ground that Christ has already won.

Satan will bluff. He isn’t as powerful as he might like to think he is. He is not as powerful as you might have been led to believe. He comes in disguises, for example, coming as something good or as light. He is neither. He will attack in ways you might least expect. He’s good at it and has tons of experience. One way to do this to attack at your strongest point, not your weakest.

Yes, angels are cool. They are hip. But Scripture calls us to know a lot more than that. We don’t pray to angels. We don’t ask them for their their help. They are real and they are here to help us. Don’t become infatuated with them. The Bible calls us to only be infatuated with God!

A FINAL ILLUSTRATION

During the Viet Nam War, the soldiers would complain that they would attack a position, take ahold of a hill and hold it. Then they would be commanded to fall back and give the ground back to the enemy! That is why the US lost the Viet Nam War. We won battles, then dropped back, then had to win them again.

Spiritual warfare is just the opposite. Jesus has already won the war. All that can be done has been done. The powers of evil have been defeated. Christ has won the war. It is for us to stand and hold the ground He has won.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.