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In this series of studies, we’ve been dealing with the theme of spiritual conflict. And in the first two studies we saw that spiritual conflict is a part of the Christian life. In fact, conflict is a part of life in general. And no Christian is exonerated from this conflict. Every Christian is called to a conflict. Every Christian has to take his place, he has to know his responsibilities, he has to know his weapons, he has to know how to use them. Otherwise, he cannot be the kind of effective Christian that God desires.
We asked ourselves: What is the background of conflict? Why is there conflict on every hand, throughout the whole area of the human race and maybe even beyond that? Why do we find conflict, warfare, struggle, opposition? My answer was that the root cause of all conflict is one thing. It’s rebellion—rebellion against the righteous government of Almighty God.
We then asked, How did this rebellion begin and who were the opposing forces? And by a careful study of certain passages in Genesis and other passages in Scripture, we came to the conclusion, which is very clear to me, that there was a period in the history of the universe, a period of unmeasured time. We don’t even have a standard of measurement for it. We could think of it in terms of thousands or even millions of years before the creation of Adam and his descendants. And that in this period rebellion first took place. But rebellion did not begin with the Adamic race, but it began amongst the angels.
We saw that God created the heavens and their hosts, the people that inhabit them before He created the earth. And amongst the angels, the Scripture reveals three by name. The names originally given to them are Lucifer, Gabriel and Michael. And it would appear possible, at least, that each of them was in command of one-third of the created angels. It is certain that Lucifer became a rebel and organized and promoted rebellion against God. And it seems extremely probable, many Bible commentators believe, that one-third of the angels followed him in rebellion against God. Not all these are established facts, but they are probable supposition in the light of what the Scripture reveals.
Now I did in the previous study give a brief outline of what would possibly be the course of events in connection with Lucifer’s rebellion. I am going to read this outline again because it’s condensed and it gives us a good starting off point for this third study. So here is the outline that I have already read once in the previous study.
In the pre-Adamic period, heaven and earth alike were perfect from creation onwards. God committed to Lucifer a certain realm of authority which included the earth. Earth was inhabited by a pre-Adamic race (or races). There was a pre-Adamic Garden of Eden, which means “pleasure,” with a temple and a sacred mountain.
Lucifer was guardian of the temple and directed the worship of God.
Lucifer became proud of his own wisdom and beauty and aspired to a position of equality with God. Probably this was the position occupied by the Son of God, revealed in history as Jesus of Nazareth. Lucifer systematically promoted rebellion and seduced the angels under his charge from their loyalty to God. And again, in all probability this was the Son. And then led them in an assault upon God’s throne. For this he and his angels were cast down from the heaven of God’s dwelling. They then set up a rival kingdom in opposition to God situated in the heavenlies, that is, between God’s dwelling and the visible heaven.
At some point Satan and his rebellious angels caused the inhabitants of earth to join them in their rebellion and in every form of wickedness. Ultimately God brought a tremendous judgment, mainly by water, upon the whole earth and its inhabitants. The result of this judgment is described in Genesis 1:2. Mythology contains many references to a so-called “golden age,” which would be the pre-Adamic age, and to a whole continent submerged beneath the Atlantic. This may be the origin of what the Scripture calls the abyss, which is often translated “the pit.”
The disembodied spirits of a pre-Adamic race (or races) probably constitute the evil spirits or demons of the present age. Now we will go on to various different passages of Scripture which apparently refer in different ways to these events which I have outlined. We had time in our second study to look at a very remarkable passage in Ezekiel 28, primarily verses 12–19. We will not go into this again in detail but let me just point out to you that in this passage we have presented to us by prophetic revelation two persons. The first is called the prince of Tyrus, the second is called the king of Tyrus. And it is absolutely clear that they are distinct persons. The prince of Tyrus is a man, although he claims to be God and sits in the temple of God.
The Scripture says emphatically that he is a man and that he will die as a man. But the next person, the king of Tyrus, was never a man and never will be a man. It’s perfectly clear that he was a created cherub. And in the various verses in that passage we have the following statements made about him which I will briefly recapitulate. Verse 12, it is stated that he was “full of wisdom, perfect in beauty ...” In verse 13 it was stated that he “had been in Eden, the garden of God,” which I understand to be the pre-Adamic Eden. Also in verse 13 it is stated that “every precious stone was thy covering.” In other words he was of dazzling beauty. In verse 14 he is called “The anointed cherub that covered.” Presumably covered the place of the manifestation of God’s glory in His temple, just as the cherubs in the tabernacle of Moses covered the mercy seat and the place where the visible glory of God appeared. It was stated also in verse 14 that he had been “upon the holy mountain of God.” And in verse 15 it is stated that he was “created perfect until iniquity was found in him.” So we found out that he was a cherub, an angelic being created perfect, but at a certain time he sinned and iniquity or rebellion was found in him. Verse 16 and also in verse 18 we have these two very, very interesting words which are translated in the King James Version “merchandise” and “traffic,” but though they’re two different words in the English version of the King James, they’re one and the same word in the Hebrew. And the word means essentially to go about as a talebearer or a slanderer. And in various other passages in Leviticus, Proverbs, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, this word is translated either “a talebearer” or “a slanderer.” Particularly the significant passage, I think, is Leviticus 19:16 where it says:
“Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people ...” (KJV)
Apparently this was exactly what Lucifer did. He went up and down over a whole realm of the universe—we do not need to specify exactly—promoting and organizing rebellion against God.
And in Proverbs, this practice of talebearing is linked very closely with the one that flatters with his lips. And we’re warned against the flatterer. So I personally picture Lucifer as going up and down amongst the angels and saying, “Now, God doesn’t really appreciate you. You’ve got a position that is far below your capacities and what you should have. Now if I were to take over, believe me, I would promote you and I’d understand your merits and your value, and I’d give you a much more responsible position in the control of the universe.” Now you may smile at this and I smile myself, but in actual fact, you see, one thing about the devil is he really never has changed his tactics. He is still doing exactly the same in the church and in the world today. He doesn’t have to change his tactics because they always work. That’s the trouble. This is the picture that we have. And in my understanding it could have gone on for a very long period.
We read then in verse 16 of Ezekiel 28 that he was cast out of the mountain of God. And in verse 17 we are told another aspect of this person: that his heart was lifted up in pride because of his beauty. And I do believe it is so important that we realize the first sin in the universe was not murder nor adultery, but it was pride. And it produced rebellion. And when we get to the root of problems, they’re still the same today.
They have not changed. The sins that most preachers deal with in church are just branches on a trunk. The trunk is sin, but the roots of that trunk are rebellion. That’s where the whole problem began and when you really want the problem settled in your individual life, that’s where you have to go to, the roots.
And God has to deal with every one of us about this whole issue of rebellion. It’s not a remote thing that just happened way back in the history of the universe and never affects any of us. It is the root problem in every one of our lives. Possibly in the closing verses there in Ezekiel 28, of the passage that I read, verse 18–19, the final stage of judgment is still future. Because in prophecy, past, present and future blend. Or they’re separated sometimes in the translation by something like a comma because time is not always the important element in prophecy. Sometimes it’s the causal connection between one thing and another.
Now having dealt with this passage in Ezekiel 28, let us look at the second passage which apparently has reference to these events that I have sought to outline which is in Isaiah 14:12–15. Isaiah 14:12–15. And I will read the King James Version.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (KJV)
Here we have the name Lucifer, which is the name that Satan had before he fell. Lucifer means “the bright one,” “the shining one,” “the glorious one.” Since he had that name from creation, it would appear that even amongst the created angels he was outstanding in his beauty and resplendence. And of course, this was the origin of his problem as we have said. He became proud of his beauty and there is says clearly “thou art fallen from heaven, cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations.” Some of these phrases are not altogether easy to understand. I am inclined to think myself that it means that Satan corrupted the nations in the pre-Adamic period. You see, in all the pictures of the “golden age”—of course this is only mythology—we have a general picture of indolence and ease and indulgence and luxury. Nobody ever had to do any work, they just lolled around and drank and ate and had a good time. And it would appear to me that Satan, already there, introduced all sorts of viciousness and immorality and things that were contrary to the divinely appointed laws for His creatures, of God, for His creatures to live.
Notice now again, we are taken by Scripture to the very heart and root of the problem and you will find in verses 13–14 there is one phrase repeated five times. You know what that is? “I will.” And there it is again. It is the will set in opposition to God that is the root of all problems. “I will,” what? Ascend into heaven — exalt my throne — sit upon the mount of the congregation — ascend above the heights of the clouds. This would give me the impression that the rebellion was led from earth. This may not be true, but it would seem to me that there was an attempt as it were, to storm heaven from earth.
And the climax: “I will be like the most high”—like God Himself. You see, when a person becomes a Christian, and starts to lead the Christian life, you know the first step? “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself”—say no to the “I will.” And we cannot really move into the Christian life until we have denied that ego. The promotion of the ego is Satan’s stronghold. I will. I will. I will. Five times. And the climax of his ambition, to be like—or equal—to Almighty God. And it was because of this that he fell. He was cast out. Cut down to the ground, fallen from heaven.
Now if we turn to Luke’s gospel, chapter 10, we find, I believe, another reference. Luke 10, reading verses 17–20:
“And the seventy [whom Jesus had sent out preaching] returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name [devils should be demons. What they said was even the demons have to obey us through thy name]. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits [the demons] are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (KJV)
These disciples came back with tremendous excitement. What thrilled them most was that even the evil spirits had to obey when they spoke to them in the name of Jesus, and come out of the persons in whom they had been residing. And they were really excited about this. They said “even the demons obey us in your name, Lord.” And the Lord apparently, it seems to me, went back in His recollection to a time before He came to earth in human form and said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Why did He say it at that point? Because the reason for Satan’s fall was pride. And He detected the origin of pride in His disciples. And then He said, “It’s wonderful that the demons obey you, but don’t get excited about that. The thing to rejoice in is that your names are written in heaven.” I have seen this is very, very true. The Lord has led me into this ministry of casting out evil spirits. And I’ve seen quite a number of other people brought into it and the exhilaration of seeing that the demons have to obey you is sometimes liable to go to a person’s head. And then that person is going to get into trouble through spiritual pride. And so Jesus immediately checked this tendency to pride and said, “That’s wonderful. But remember, I saw Satan, for the very same reason, fall from heaven. So rejoice—but don’t rejoice about the demons being subject unto you, rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Because Satan’s name is no longer registered up there.”
Mind you, I believe we’re entitled to rejoice when we see tormented souls delivered. That’s another aspect of this. But taking this in relation to what we are dealing with now, it seems to me personally clear that Jesus is speaking about the time when Satan was cast out of heaven.
That’s my personal belief. Much of what I am telling you is a personal opinion and if you or anybody else feels otherwise, we cannot say absolutely, well I know it was this way. But my opinions have been formed gradually over a period of time and they’re built up on the fact that they present a coherent picture. It’s not based on one or two Scriptures, but on many different passages of Scripture and also on the spiritual significance of them. You see, I find myself, as I study this type of thing in the Scripture, that it creates in me a holy sense of awe. I don’t know of anything more disposed to make a person careful in living than to see what has happened to Satan and others before. To me this is not irrelevant, it’s not remote. It’s very, very practical and very, very personal. And every one of these truths that I am bringing out, I have seen many times over enacted in the lives of the people that I’ve had to deal with.
Let’s take a little look at the contrast to Lucifer which is given in Philippians 2. And again, Philippians 2 is a warning to Christians against being high-minded. Proud. For instance, from verse 3 let’s read through verse 9 of Philippians 2:
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. [You see, the key note is be careful you don’t get puffed up and proud.] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. [Don’t spend all the time thinking how wonderful you are, but notice the good points of other persons.] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. [Learn to think the way that Jesus Christ thought. And then we’re given this illustration of the mind that was in Christ Jesus. And I want to read this rather carefully.] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” (KJV)
Actually, you have there the seven great steps down that Jesus took from heaven’s glory to the death on the cross. It is perhaps worthwhile just to look at the successive steps. In verse 7, He made himself of no reputation. Literally, He emptied Himself. And I think Charles Wesley in one of his hymns says “He emptied Himself of all but love.”
Secondly, He took upon Him the form of a servant. He was the Lord of Glory, but He stepped down to become a servant.
Thirdly, He was made in the likeness of men, He came in the form of the Adamic race, made a little lower than the angels.
Fourthly, He was found in fashion as a man. He looked just like a man of His own day. He was just a normal man. There was nothing outstanding or special about Him.
Fifthly, He humbled Himself. He was a humble man. He wasn’t a priest, He wasn’t a ruler, He was the carpenter’s son.
Sixthly, He became obedient unto death.
And seventhly, the death of the criminal on the cross.
Those are the seven great downward steps of the Lord Jesus.
And if you want to see the seven steps of exaltation, let’s look at them for a moment. Beginning at verse 9.
God hath highly exalted Him, number one.
Number two, given Him a name which is above every name. Number three, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow. Number four, things in heaven. Number five, things in earth. Number six, things under the earth.
And the seventh, every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. See the perfect construction of Scripture?
Seven steps down, seven steps up. And remember that Paul wasn’t writing a theological treatise. He was writing a letter in prison. And I don’t believe anything but the Holy Spirit could have given such perfect construction and cohesion and harmony.
But now let’s look at the picture of Jesus before He took these steps down. In Philippians 2:6:
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” (KJV)
In my margin, it has what I believe is the correct translation, “counted not equality with God a thing to be grasped at.” This, I believe, is correct.
And now, you see, we’re presented with a deliberate contrast with Lucifer. Lucifer was not in the form of God, he was a created being. He had no right to be equal with God, he grasped at equality with God and when he grasped, he fell. Jesus was divine by eternal nature, He had equality with God, He did not need to grasp at it, but He humbled Himself. And I have no doubt that when Paul wrote those words he had this contrast in mind.
And so we have here an illustration of the truth that Jesus brings out in Luke 14:11. Luke 14:11:
“For whosoever exalted himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (KJV)
Now this is an absolutely unvarying principle. There’s no exceptions to it. “Whosoever exalted himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” The way up is the way down. That’s the great secret. “Before honor,” it says in Proverbs, “is humility.”
If we turn back to Philippians for a moment, a wonderful thought which I probably will return to later in this series. I believe myself that Jesus had to earn His exaltation. Because it says in Philippians 2:9, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him.” You might have thought, “Well, automatically at the end of His suffering on the cross He would return to His position.” But as I understand it, He had to earn that right. And He earned it not merely for Himself, but for all who believe in Him. We’ll come to this later in this series.
Now let’s look at another aspect of truth in Matthew 12. All this tying in with the picture that we have given of the results of Lucifer’s initial rebellion. Matthew 12, we can read from verse 22 first of all. Matthew 12:22:
“Then was brought unto him [Jesus] one possessed with a devil [demonized], blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” (KJV)
They had to find something to say about Him wrong. So they said He was in league with Satan. And Jesus knew their thoughts and said unto them:
“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?” (KJV)
Without going into the immediate reference to evil spirits, which we’ll come to in a moment, notice that Jesus shows without any shadow of a doubt that Satan has a kingdom. In fact, in the casting out of evil spirits, we have the clash of kingdoms. For Jesus said in verse 28 of that chapter:
“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (KJV)
In other words, the actual casting out of Satan’s agents, the evil spirits, in the name of Jesus, or with the authority of Jesus, brings into the open in a way that nothing else does, this clash of two kingdoms— the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. The opposition is always there, but it’s the actual ministering and casting out of evil spirits that brings the clash right into the open so that it’s laid bare before the eyes of people. And this I have found. I have found that nothing in the ministry does so much to show people the reality of spiritual conflict of the opposing forces than the ministry of casting out evil spirits. In fact, most people, when they are confronted with it for the first time or two, are shocked because they have not realized what kind of a situation they’ve actually been living in. People have said sometimes to me, “Brother Prince, you scare me.” And my answer usually is, “You probably needed to be scared!”
Most Christians need to be scared in actual fact. Most Christians are living in a kind of fool’s paradise. As if everything was all right—and it’s far from all right. I don’t mean to say that we need to be scared of the devil when we’re right with God and we know what we’re doing. But most Christians are not scared because they’re right with God and know what they’re doing, they’re just ignorant. Jesus said here in the clash of two kingdoms, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. And He said about Satan, that he had a kingdom, that it was under his control and it was not divided. There is no division in Satan’s kingdom. The law of Satan’s kingdom is not love, it’s compulsion. But it’s very effective. Satan has complete control over his kingdom. Every person in his kingdom has to do what he demands.
Now in Ephesians 6:12, the passage that we’ll look at several times in the course of these studies, I think the apostle Paul tells us clearly where Satan’s headquarters are located. Ephesians 6:12. I’ll read the King James Version and then give you the Prince version. In other words, a more literal rendering.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (KJV)
Our wrestling match is not against flesh and blood, it’s not against human beings. But against rulerships, and the realms of their authority. Against the world rulers of the present darkness, against spirits of wickedness in the heavenlies. Where the King James Version says “in high places,” the correct translation is “in the heavenlies.” If you want to check on this, the same Greek word, epouranious, is used in four other places in Ephesians. And in every other place, the King James Version translates it “heavenlies.” Why they changed it there, I don’t know. I suppose that they found it hard to understand how Satan could be in the heavenlies. This is a problem for many Christians, but it is a problem that we can solve right here and today. It’s not really a difficult problem. But just to back my point out, let me give you the other places in Ephesians where this word is used. Ephesians 1:3:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (KJV)
The Greek says “in the heavenlies.” You see, actually a great part of the action in Ephesians is set in the heavenlies. It’s, in a sense, the loftiest of all the epistles of Paul. A great part of it is above the earthly level.
Then in Ephesians 1:20:
“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” (KJV)
But the word doesn’t actually say “places,” it says “in the heavenlies.” And then in Ephesians 2:6:
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (KJV)
And then Ephesians 3:10:
“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God [in the heavenlies].” (KJV)
So in the four other places, the King James Version uses the word “heavenly” and there is no question that’s the word that should be used in Ephesians 6:12. Our wrestling match is against rulerships, and the same word is used of the angel princes. That’s Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer. The ruler princes, rulerships and the realms of their authority.
Against the world rulers, it’s a compound noun of the present darkness, and spirits, not spiritual wickedness but spirits, it’s persons, spirits of wickedness in the heavenlies. So that’s the battle that every Christian is involved in. And if you will read the context you will see it is not just a few special Christians, like missionaries or preachers, but all Christians are inevitably involved in this wrestling match. If you want to be a Christian, you must take your place in the wrestling match. If you don’t want to be in the wrestling match, then you cannot be a Christian. You don’t have any other option.
So the headquarters of this undivided kingdom under Satan’s total control is not on earth, it’s in the heavenlies. All right. You say, “Now, how can that be?” Well, now look at 2 Corinthians 12:2. Paul says this:
“I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. [And then he says of the same person in verse 4] How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which is not lawful for man to utter.” (KJV)
Most commentators always speak as though this was Paul himself. But to me there isn’t a single reason for believing this is Paul. Paul says “I knew a man,” I’ll boast about that man, I’ll not boast about myself. However, it’s not important for our purposes. At any rate, Paul says clearly that this man was caught up to the third heaven. Now I’m simpleminded and I believe if there’s a third heaven, there must be a first and a second heaven. You cannot have a third without having a first and a second. Some people talk about the seventh heaven, I haven’t located that one in Scripture. Some people talk about cloud nine, I don’t know where that is in Scripture either. But I do know that there is a third heaven. And that causes me to understand then that there must be a first and a second heaven.
Now my opinion—and it is shared by many, many Bible commentators, and I claim no originality for this—is that the first heaven is the visible heaven that we see. Then there’s what’s called in Revelation “the mid-heaven” and then there is the heaven which is the dwelling place of Almighty God. And the Scripture says elsewhere that God dwells in the “heaven of heavens.” In other words, there’s a heaven that’s as high above heaven as our heaven is above earth. And as a matter of fact, the Scripture says God is above the heaven. Even when you get to the highest heaven, God is still above that. But we don’t need to go into that. But it is clear then that we have at least three locations called heaven: the visible heaven, a mid-heaven, which is between the first and the third, and the third heaven which is the location of Paradise, where God Himself dwells. And I think it is perfectly clear that the heavenlies in which Satan’s kingdom has its headquarters must be the mid-heaven. The intermediate heaven between the visible heaven and the third heaven, which is God’s dwelling place. And many, many other passages of Scripture line up with this. That’s the reason why I personally accept it.
Now let’s turn back to Matthew for a moment and notice one other truth which I think is very important. In the 12th chapter of Matthew which we have already looked at, Matthew 12:24. Notice the Pharisees criticizing Jesus said:
“This fellow doth not cast out devils [demons], but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils [demons].” (KJV)
And Jesus takes out the word Beelzebub in verse 27 and uses himself. So it is a word that has divine authority. Now it’s a Hebrew word or of Hebrew origin. Beel means “lord,” zebub means “flies.” There is a modern novel which I have never read and don’t propose to read called the Lord of the Flies. I suspect some of you have at least seen the title on bookstands. And that is the correct translation of the name Beelzebub.
Now this is the title of Satan particularly in relation to demons or evil spirits. And I believe the thought is that evil spirits are compared to the insect world. And actually, the more you know about them, the more you see the validity of this comparison. The insect world actually challenges man’s existence.
Most of us don’t realize this, but once in East Africa I saw a film called “The Other World,” an educational film. But it impressed me. It pointed out that man is just about keeping his head above the insect world the whole time. One of the interesting facts that was brought out about it was just one little insect, the anopheles mosquito which kills one man every ten seconds somewhere in the world. Just one insect. Fantastic, isn’t it? And you think about the insects, there are myriads and myriads and myriads of them. Often we ignore them. Many times they can even kill us without our being aware that they’re there. They harass and they breed on corruption, transfer corruption. They’re our enemies. Mostly. And I believe that this is a picture of the demon world. And it’s in this connection that Satan is called the lord of the flies, the insect. Flies in Scripture, I think, are always a curse, from Egypt onward.
So, the point that I want to bring out in saying this is that Satan has two levels on which he operates. In the heavenlies, he has a kingdom of rebellious angels. On earth, his police force or his secret service or his Mafia or whatever you want to call it, are the evil spirits. And they are the actual instruments that carry out his purposes on earth in relation to the human race. Angels, as I understand it, normally do not want to operate on earth. Their habitat is in the heavenlies. That’s what they were created for, that’s where they belong.
Let me point out these things, points of difference between demons and angels. I know some people believe that demons are fallen angels. I would be perfectly prepared to believe it, but I just cannot. Because I have dealt with too many of them and they’re just entirely different in nature and character, as far as I understand. So I have pointed out these two points of distinction. Demons are at home on earth, angels in the heavenlies. You see in the 12th chapter of Revelation Satan and his angels have to be forced out of the heavenlies. But they never willingly will come down.
Secondly, demons have an intense desire to occupy physical bodies. So much so that rather than be without a body they’d rather go into the bodies of pigs or other animals like that. Whereas there’s nothing to indicate that angels ever want to occupy physical bodies because they have a spirit body of their own. So I am absolutely convinced in my own mind, I don’t try to convince others, that demons are a different order of being. And the most probable solution to me is that they are the disembodied spirits of pre- Adamic race (or races), that were already in rebellion together with Satan against God before the judgment came upon the first pre-Adamic world. And that some, not all of these spirits, have been left free under Satan’s control and are instruments of testing for the human race. You see, one of Satan’s rank jobs is, he’s the great tester. Left to test man’s obedience. He’s called in Scripture “the tempter.” And actually, that’s his job. If he does his job and you do your job, he won’t succeed against you. But if you’re not as faithful in your job of resisting him as he is of tempting, then you may fall.
And so we have on earth— You see, another thing about demons, you find that their real horror, the one thing they fight against, is being sent into the pit. “Don’t send us into the abyss,” they said to Jesus, in the Gadarene demoniac. And I believe because they know, through personal experience, that’s where many of their fellows have been confined. And why or how many God has permitted to remain at large, I don’t offer to explain but there it is.
So in Matthew and Ephesians and 2 Corinthians, putting them together we have a picture of a very efficient, highly-organized, and I would say elaborate kingdom, which is under the supreme control of Satan, and has two echelons (or levels): the angelic level in the heavenlies, the demonic level on earth— and it is in total unrelenting opposition to God and to all who stand for God. The moment that you or I take a stand for God and Jesus Christ, automatically the whole of this kingdom is turned against us. And we better bear that in mind. We are then confronted by the most fearful array of evil, cunning and power. And if we don’t learn our rights in Jesus Christ, and the protection and the means and the weapons God has given us, we’re headed for trouble.
How many of you have discovered that? You wondered why. Well, somehow or another we have to learn. And some people only learn the hard way. In fact, I don’t think there are any of us here that haven’t had to learn the hard way sometimes. But my prayer is: Lord, not the hard way, let me be willing to be learned, let me be teachable. And, you know, another thing I like to do is learn by other people’s mistakes. I find it’s much less painful.
And I tell you, in the last few years in the Christian ministry, I have seen so many people crash that it has scared me. It really has scared me. I will tell you, the fear of God is in me.
When I see the cunning, the relentlessness and the cruelty of Satan, and as soon as any person begins to become in any way effective against Satan’s kingdom, believe me, the demons are not just doubled up, he probably puts a hundred on one person. See? I mean, normally speaking, just one demon is enough to keep a Christian, you know, pretty inactive and occupied with his own problems. But if anybody ever rises above that level, Satan says, “Now you fellows, you get on to that man there. Watch him. Dog him, study his movements, notice his weak points and bring back a report to me and I will see what to do.” Now, you can smile at that, but I believe that’s almost exactly how it operates.
I’ll tell you this, the spiritual warfare is much more real than most people imagine. It’s just as objective as the material world. The color of these walls is off-white I would say. We can’t change that by hoping it was otherwise. The color of my eyes is brown. I can’t change that by thinking they were blue. And everything in the spiritual world is just as real and just as objective as things in the material world. More real, because they are permanent. Paul said the things which are seen are temporal. But the things which are not seen are eternal. That’s the only real difference. And people think about the spiritual world as a lot of vague pieces of mist floating around there. It’s absolutely incorrect. God isn’t a mist and the devil isn’t a mist. And angels aren’t mist and demons aren’t mist.
Let’s go on, I think we can complete this section of the outline in this study, and it would be good to do so. Let’s turn now to a fantastic passage in Daniel. And I do believe that a person that does not accept the type of presentation that we have been giving just cannot account for this 10th chapter of Daniel. That’s all there is to it. There isn’t any way to understand it. Daniel 10, and I’m only going to read a few marked verses. I suggest that if you’re interested, at your leisure, you yourself read through the whole chapter. That’s one reason why we provide an outline is because I know this material is much too condensed to receive the whole of it in just one hearing. Daniel 10:2–3:
“In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. [You know what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount about those that mourn? Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. There is a mourning in Zion which is acceptable to God.] I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three full weeks were fulfilled.” (KJV)
Twenty-one days Daniel was mourning, I would say semi-fasting, seeking God in grief because of the condition and bondage of his people Israel and the desolation of the city of Jerusalem. And he was rewarded by a divine, angelic visitation. Gabriel came to him with a revelation which continues. Actually we often don’t realize this, but the revelation is chapters 10, 11 and 12 of Daniel. One continuous complete revelation which is a revelation about the events that will overcome Israel at the close of this age. And some of these things are just getting lined up to happen right now today. All right.
Looking on again in the same chapter, verses 12–13:
“Then he [this is the angel that had come with the revelation] said unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.” (KJV)
So Daniel had been praying twenty-one days, his prayer was heard the first day. But the answer came the twenty-first day. What was the reason for the delay? The reason is given in verse 13:
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.” (KJV)
Now notice this is entirely on the angelic level. Human beings are not in this picture at all. The archangel Gabriel is sent from God in answer to the prayer of Daniel to bring a revelation, and Satan, knowing how much is tied up in that revelation, turns out all his forces in the mid-heaven to resist the archangel Gabriel from coming to earth with the revelation.
And now there are things, I cannot fill in the details, but it took twenty-one days for Gabriel to break through the opposing ranks of Satan’s angels which were straddled across the line of his descent from God’s heaven to the human earth. “The prince of the kingdom of Persia” is not a man, it’s the satanic angel charged with seeing that Satan’s will was done in the Persian Empire. And it’s important to remember that Satan has the earth, its kingdoms, its empires and its governments allotted to his various angels. And without a doubt, he has some pretty important angel responsible for sowing confusion in Washington, D.C. That’s one thing you can be sure about. He has another angel responsible for Peking and another for Moscow and another for London. That’s just the beginning. And if we don’t understand these things we can never be the effective kind of Christians, witnesses and prayer warriors we need to be.
The conflict in the heavens amongst the angels was so intense that the other chief angel, Michael, had to come to the help of Gabriel. All right.
Now then, he begins to speak about the revelation and then in the last two verses of this chapter he tells him what’s going to happen. Verses 20–21:
“Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia [The job isn’t finished.]: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come [the prince of Greece. Now, the prince of Greece is another satanic angel charged with responsibility for the empire of Greece. And then]. But I will show thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” (KJV)
These two great archangels, Gabriel and Michael were united in this business of ministering to Daniel, answering his prayer. And notice that Michael is called “your prince” in relation to the fact that Daniel was an Israelite. Michael is the angel that is particularly responsible for God’s purposes for Israel. Just turn to Daniel 12:1:
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people [that is, Israel].” (KJV)
See, in Revelation 12 when we see Michael and his angels we’ll know that the real heart of the matter I believe, is Israel. In fact, it is not the church, it’s Israel. But that’s a personal opinion.
Now turning back for a moment to this 10th chapter of Daniel we’ll see that when the archangel Gabriel was coming down from heaven with a message to Daniel, he was opposed by a satanic angel called “the prince of Persia.” And with the satanic angel were other satanic angels called “the kings of Persia.”
Now in our normal use of the English language, a king is above a prince. But this is just an accidental translation. And it could be misleading. The prince is the top, the kings are under him. See? Prince is actually the word “ruler.” This creates quite a lot of problems also in the New Testament where Satan is called “the prince of the power of the air”—means the ruler of the power of the air. The ruler is above the kings. I mean, I just explain this—so here is a combination of satanic angels charged with the responsibility for seeing that Satan’s will is done in the kingdom of Persia. And to break through these took twenty-one days of angelic conflict. Then when the angel is about to leave, he says, “I’ve still got more to do with the kings of Persia; the job isn’t finished.” And he says, “When we’ve dealt with them the next one to come along will be the prince of Greece”—the satanic angel responsible for seeing Satan’s will is done in the empire of Greece.
Now why were Persia and Greece of particular importance? Because of their relationship to Israel. There were four successive kingdoms that were responsible in some measure for the enslavement or the captivity of Israel and held rule over their land and the city of Jerusalem. Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. And remember, that when we deal with prophecy in the level of history, the center is always Israel. Not the church, the church is in a different bracket, shall we say. It’s an interesting fact. You’ll find there’s practically no prophecy, historical prophecy, about the church. You can’t find it. And while Israel had been away in dispersal from their own land, prophecy really stopped. Since Israel has come back, prophecy has started to be relevant again. For about eighteen centuries you could hardly find one event in human history that was predicted in Bible prophecy. But as soon as Israel gets back, why, God’s clock starts ticking.
You see, the whole scene is set for the culmination of this age. And these eleventh and twelfth chapters of Daniel deal primarily with this as also do the seventh and eighth chapters and a lot of other passages in other areas of the Bible.
We have the tremendous privilege of moving into the climax of the present age. And there are hundreds of passages of prophecy that deal with events that are taking place in our day.
But even at the beginning of this century, seventy years ago, you could hardly find one event that was referred to in prophecy. So that the conflict is around God’s people and God’s purposes. And whatever God seeks to do for His people and in His purposes, Satan will resist. He is the resister. And the conflict is not merely on earth, but it’s in the region called “the heavenlies.”
And you know what thrills me most? Our part is decisive. Heaven didn’t move until Daniel started to pray. That, to me, is thrilling. And the angels couldn’t get through until Daniel prayed them through, as I understand it. So if you start praying day number one and you’re praying a good prayer, and it doesn’t get answered, it may not be because your prayer is not in the will of God. It may just be because there’s some nasty old prince up in the heavenlies standing in the way of the answer. And do you know what we have to do? Pray him out of the way.
“Men ought always to pray and not to faint.” The trouble with most believers is they underestimate their own importance. You see, the universe, in a certain sense, revolves around us. When we pray, heaven moves. If we hold on praying, heaven’s purposes get through. But if we stop, we frustrate the purposes of God.
We’ve already seen in Ephesians 6:12 that not merely were Daniel and the angels in the Old Testament involved in this—this is our warfare. Our wrestling match is not against flesh and blood. It’s against rulerships and powers and the realm of their authority, spirits of wickedness in the heavenlies.
Let’s look at one final passage of Scripture that just lines up with this in Job 1. In Job the first chapter we have another passage of Scripture where the curtain is lifted on heaven. We see not merely what is happening on earth, but what is happening in heaven. And we read there in Job 1:6:
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.” (KJV)
The “sons of God” I understand without any question to be the angels. And even here, long after the events of the fall of Adam, Satan still has access to the presence of God. Isn’t that a remarkable fact?
“The LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou?” (KJV)
Certainly I’m inclined to believe that the only person who knew who he was was the Lord. The Scripture says he’s transformed as “an angel of light.” I’m not sure that the other angels knew just who this person was. But the Lord did. He said, “What have you been doing, Satan?” Satan said “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” And you know what I believe? I believe that was his job before he ever fell. I believe he was in charge of an area of the universe which included earth. And his business was to bring reports back to heaven of what was going on in earth. And after he fell and rebelled, and this is so typical of the wicked, he said to God, “Well, God, let’s carry on as if nothing had happened. I’ll keep on.” I don’t whether you’ve ever dealt with people like that, but I have. The unrepentant. No matter what they do, they’ll slap you in the face, step on your toes, cheat you out of your money, say, “Never mind; let’s carry on.” And it seems to me Satan is saying, “Let’s just carry on as if nothing had happened. I’ll keep on with my reports, I’ll still walk up and down on the earth, I’ll come back with reports.” But, of course, every report that he comes back with now is directed against one class of person. You know who that is? The true believer. Everything he aims at is to discredit those that believe in God.
And God entered into a kind of dialogue: “Satan, what about Job? Have you seen Job? Honest, perfect, upright.”
“Huh! What does Job do that for, because You blessed him in every way. You’ve multiplied him, You’ve prospered him, You’ve built a hedge about him. Take away all that and see what he’ll do.”
And in the second chapter, you’ll remember, back comes Satan, the Lord says, “Where have you been, Satan?”
“Walking up and down the earth going to and fro in it.” “And what about Job?”
“I took everything away from him.” “He hasn’t cursed Me, he’s still—”
“Ah, well you just touch his body and see what will happen.” “All right, Satan, you can touch him, but you can’t take his life.”
Isn’t that remarkable! But you see, in context with what we are studying at the moment, I see that Satan is still acting as if there had never been a fall. When he was in charge of earth, when he went up and down in it, when he brought God reports—and he is still doing it, but every report that he brings is negative against the people of God.
Look at one closing Scripture and that will be the end of this study. Revelation 12:10, and I do believe that these events in Revelation 12 are still in the future. I cannot accept any other interpretation of Revelation. And so if they’re still in the future then the things described are still happening and it says in Revelation 12:10:
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” (KJV)
Who is “the accuser of the brethren”? Satan. And until the time of his casting down here, which I believe is still future, what is he doing? Accusing us before God. It is most important to understand that. And actually the whole spiritual battle ultimately centers around one issue, that we know how to deal with Satan’s accusations. And the only way we can do it is by accepting the righteousness which is by the faith of Jesus Christ. The whole spiritual conflict ultimately revolves around this issue of righteousness. You remember—you weren’t here, some of you when I was doing the charismatic gifts, the first instance of charisma specified in the New Testament, the first gift, the gift of righteousness. And that is where it all begins. We’ll see other reasons in subsequent studies why Satan has to prove the human race rebellious.
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