Angels and demons have been so popular in fictional literature that many people simply believe that they are the product of fiction. However, in Daniel 10, we have actual spiritual warfare going down in the land of Persia.
Dan 10:12 Then said he 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.
Dan 10:13 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.
The message was coming from God to Daniel, but the messenger got waylaid by evil forces, and it took the assistance of Michael, an archangel, to help finish off the delivery.
I find this interesting because we live in a world that doesn’t even like to admit that there are such things as good and evil, but here in Daniel we have literal forces of good and evil coming into conflict. This isn’t just theoretical at this point. There was an actual conflict between a good angel and an evil demon, and there are real consequences of that action.
I know that many people are going to probably open this page and simply laugh it off as fantasy. However, I wrote about the prophecy of Daniel the other day. This book is incredibly accurate at predicting things that really should not have been predictable. If it is faithful in those things, then why would it not be faithful in this instance?
Why would it be faithful about things that might even be controversial for the Jewish faith? Personally, if I were making up the story and I was trying to make God look powerful, I don’t know if I would have His messengers being intercepted. If I was entirely making this up, I think that this might be one detail I would fabricate.
Just to be clear, I don’t think that the fact that a messenger being interrupted diminishes God’s power, but I’m just saying that I think I would have made the story a little bit less potentially controversial. If there was no interruption here, then there would be no possible question brought up here. The path of least resistance would be my choice.
The inclusion of data that seems to encourage debate is not a characteristic of fabricated stories. It is similar to the idea of the Gospel writers regarding that women, whose testimony would not be admissible in a court of law at the time, were the ones who were the first witnesses of the Resurrection. Therefore, it seems to me that the most possible reason that this information was included was because it was what Daniel was told. Therefore, that certainly makes angels and demons seem a lot more like reality and less of the fantasy that many people often think of them as.
This is a topic that seems to intrigue even Hollywood. In Job 2, we see the fact that spiritual warfare does exist.
Job 2:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Satan, a fallen angel, said that he came from walking around on the earth. I assume he wasn’t just walking around while he was here. In fact, after God gave him permission, he started messing with Job and causing him severe physical pain.
Satan was not the only angel that fell either. Using Revelation 12:3-9, some people have concluded that one third of the original number of angels in heaven rebelled. However, in Hebrews 12:22, we find out there is an innumerable number of angels. In mathematical terms, you really can’t define one third of infinity in any more precise terms than that. However, the purpose of the passage is that there were many other angels that were thrown down from heaven by God.
After they had been expelled, we can see their influence throughout the Bible. Jesus Himself dealt with several demons and threw them out of people while He was on earth. Also, recall that in one of Jesus’ demon expulsions, he found out that its name was Legion. Obviously, that is different than Satan and indicates that Satan does have company.
I think that we now have a little bit of information and can define a little bit of what spiritual warfare looks like. We know that Satan and multiple other angels were thrown out of heaven by God. We know that they are capable of operating on earth, and they seem to be able to cause problems for people.
One thing needs to be emphasized however. While the evil forces seem to have some kind of supernatural power that it is hard to grasp, God is still above all of this. In Job, God had to give Satan permission to cause problems. In chapter 1, Satan complained that Job was so happy because he had a hedge of protection around him. That hedge was provided by God, and Satan could not get through it or else it seems like he would have.
I do believe that there are things going on in this world that we can’t see. Through the Bible, we see people interacting with both angels and demons. However, even though it might seem like the evil is much more prevalent, we know how the story is going to end, and it is a lot better to be on God’s side.
There is a pretty cool miracle in the middle of 2 Kings 6.
2Ki 6:15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
2Ki 6:16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
2Ki 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
Generally, we do not get to see into the spiritual domain. I certainly believe that angels and demons are literal beings, and I believe that spiritual warfare is indeed a real thing. However, this is a very interesting thought because we see the interaction between the spiritual and physical worlds.
Elisha is not worried about the physical world because he knows that he has all of the support on the mountain.
I think that this has pretty powerful implications.
For one thing, we can conclude that the spiritual world is indeed involved in our world. You can see other instances of that in other places in the Bible such as when Paul was held up by evil spirits. It is not as if angels are just sitting in heaven playing their harps: they are actively involved.
Another important implication this passage is that angels are powerful. Elisha did not seem too worried about much because he had angels with him. Normally, I would be pretty afraid of a foreign army marching down on me when I didn’t have a physical army. Apparently, that fear was not there for Elisha, and it seems pretty reasonable to conclude that that was because he had angels with him.
I enjoy these types of passages. We don’t always see the things of the spiritual world, but apparently, they were there for Elisha, and they will be there for us.
I love reading about angelic encounters, and we have another one of them in Judges chapter 13. I think the reason I like them so much is because nobody is quite sure how to handle them. Throughout the Bible, the reactions are all over the board, but today I actually want to focus on the angel who doesn’t have a name as far as we are told.
An angel appeared to the wife of Manoah, and she ran back to her husband. Maybe she was just really excited to tell him, but I think we also wanted to make sure she wasn’t dreaming or anything like that.
The angel explained that their son was going to be a Nazarite, and that must have been a bit of a surprise.
After that news, Manoah wanted to prepare a sacrifice for the angel assuming that he was God, but here was his response.
Jdg 13:15 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid for thee.
Jdg 13:16 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.
Angels are powerful beings, but even they realize that they should not be worshiped. They recognize that their job is to redirect glory to God just like we do as humans. There are definitely differences given that angels can survive in the presence of God where humans cannot, but they still realize that they were created for God.
I’m going to leave you with all of Psalm 148. Look at everything that worships. Angels are on there, humans are on the list and everything else is included. Don’t you think we ought to worship?
Psa 148:1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.
Psa 148:2 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.
Psa 148:3 Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.
Psa 148:4 Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.
Psa 148:5 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.
Psa 148:6 He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.
Psa 148:7 Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:
Psa 148:8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
Psa 148:9 Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:
Psa 148:10 Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:
Psa 148:11 Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:
Psa 148:12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:
Psa 148:13 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.
Psa 148:14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.
Gideon is easily one of my favorite characters in the Bible, and we are introduced to him at the beginning of Judges chapter 6. He came into leadership because (surprise) the people of Israel had been rebellious once again. The Midianites came in and essentially wrecked everything in Israel.
As a result, one day Gideon was trying to get his wheat put away quickly before the Midianites came to burn it down just like they had done all over Israel. Then, all of a sudden, an angel appeared to him and said that he was going to save Israel. Needless to say, Gideon didn’t buy it right away.
Jdg 6:15 And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.
Because of earthly constraints, Gideon was worried that he would not be able to do what God had called on him specifically to do. However, the angel didn’t seem to have much doubt.
Jdg 6:16 And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
After the angel essentially torched his offering and disappeared, Gideon recognized that it truly was God that he was dealing with and knew he had to be obedient.
His obedience was immediately put to the test when God told him to go and tear down the altar to Baal. Not only was he supposed to tear it down, but he was also supposed to replace it with an altar to God.
He actually went through with it with the help of some servants, and when everyone in the city woke up that morning and saw what Gideon had done, they wanted to put him to death immediately.
Gideon’s father told the angry people that if indeed Baal was really upset with his altar being torn down, he would be able to plead for himself. The people could not really argue with that one, so Gideon had a little time to gather his army.
However, even after he did this, he wanted a little bit more proof that God would protect them.
Jdg 6:36 And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said,
Jdg 6:37 Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.
Jdg 6:38 And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.
Jdg 6:39 And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.
Jdg 6:40 And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
For today, that is where we leave this story of Gideon. However, I think that what we need to take away from this today is the fact that God does not mind if we do not understand His will. He knows that we are indeed humans, and we cannot always comprehend what He wants for us. However, when we ask these questions, we need to be prepared to follow. Gideon could have had all that proof and decided to go home. That would not have been the right response. However, he did not decide to go home, and he did what he actually was chosen to do.
I had forgotten about the angelic encounter in Joshua chapter 5. Let me give you the verses right away, and then we can take a look at them.
Jos 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
Jos 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
Jos 5:15 And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Joshua apparently did not realize this was an angel right away. The reason I say that is because he did not respond with the terror that most people exhibited when they met angels.
As soon as they began speaking, the angel explained who he was, and Joshua all of a sudden bowed down and asked what God wanted him to do.
He knew that the angel came to him for a reason. Angels don’t generally appear spontaneously. God has a purpose for sending them to talk to people.
This particular angel only had one thing to say. If you look ahead to the next chapter, the angel had gone away. All that he had to tell Joshua was that the ground was holy.
It is kind of funny that the message was so simple, but I think that the angel was preparing Joshua for what would happen next. As we all know, we are getting very close to the battle of Jericho which wasn’t very much of a battle.
Perhaps God just wanted to remind him that this land was not only given by God but also blessed by God. All of the success that the people of Israel were about to have was also directly from God. It is not that Joshua was arrogant whatsoever, but maybe God just wanted to emphasize without a shadow of a doubt that He was there and was powerful.
Both of those cities had fallen greatly, and they were incredibly wrapped up in a variety of sins. As we learned earlier, Lot had chosen to live nearer to Sodom, and we now find him living in the middle of it.
However, he did not die in the demolition. He was warned ahead of time by angels that he had to get out of the city.
Even with that warning, Lot was still taking his time getting out of the city for some reason.
Gen 19:15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
Gen 19:16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.
You would think that if you had heard something about imminent destruction, you’d be on your way out of out of there as soon as possible. Why would you not want to get as far away from destruction as possible when you heard from angels that it was indeed coming?
Yet for some reason, Lot decided that he wanted to linger, and it was only because God essentially forced them out of the city that they actually departed.
Can’t you see the salvation story embedded right in this text?
We live in a world that is full of sin. We should definitely not want to linger in this lifestyle, but we do for some reason. We can’t seem to shake ourselves of these problems for a variety of reasons, but they all seem to come back to familiarity.
We don’t want to leave the life that we know even though we are promised multiple times throughout the Bible that the Christian life is truly superior.
While we are kind of lingering, God reaches down and starts to work on us. Salvation doesn’t come because we have been perfect people. If that was the case, we would all be in trouble.
We don’t deserve to be saved, but God grabs onto our hearts and helps us move closer to Him.
Ultimately, a moment comes where we either figuratively find ourselves outside the city and safe or still in danger inside. That truly is the most important moment of your life.
Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that your life will be instantaneously perfect, but it does mean that regardless of what happens here on earth, but you do know that the ending will be better than anything you have imagined.
Immediately, we jump right into an interesting story, so I will let the Bible do the talking.
Gen 18:1 And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
Gen 18:2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
Gen 18:3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
Gen 18:4 Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:
Gen 18:5 And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said.
All of a sudden, there were three men passing by Abraham’s tent. Apparently, he recognized that they were angels right away, and he ran around making preparations for them.
Shouldn’t we always respond that way when God sends messages our way?
As far as I know, I haven’t had angels literally walk past my door lately, but we obviously still can hear from God mainly through Scripture.
Therefore, when something figuratively walks across our attention, perhaps we should be just as anxious to run out and engage with it.
This kind of reminds me of the story of Samuel. In I Samuel 3, God called to Samuel. At first, he thought that it was just Eli the priest calling him. However, Eli knew that it was God calling, and as soon as Samuel realized that and responded, God spoke to him and their fabulous relationship began to develop even more seriously.
Essentially, we all need to think with this perspective. We need to listen first and realize that God is near us. However, as soon as we understand what He wants us to do, we need to start doing it. We need to be willing to move from the recognition mode to the execution mode.
Abraham has shown us a number of lessons, but this one might be one of the most important. This response is one of the most vital steps that we need to take us Christians.