In this article I would like to talk about Satan’s power structure out of Ephesians chapter 6. Sun Tzu said in the art of war that the key to winning is to know thy enemy in Ephesians 6 Paul reveals to us in detail Satan’s military hierarchy. The Bible says, 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.
The enemy wants us to be constantly focused on the flesh and blood plain, our family, our spiritual leaders, politicians, anyone but him. and his demons. Paul tells us however that the real war is with terrorists, or evolutionists the war my friends is with the devil, and his minions.
The Bible indicates that there is a power structure, or hierarchy of all angels. Of God’s elect angels we see Archangels who seem to be the head of the angels, Seraphim who are angels in charge of worshiping God (Isa. 6:1-7), Cherubim who seem to be guardian angels (Ezekiel 28:14-16), and normal angels who are messengers and servants.
In the preceding verse Paul breaks down Satan’s military hierarchy into four ranks: Principalities, Powers, Rulers of the Darkness of this World, and Spiritual Wickedness in High places. I would like to break these down individually so we can get a better idea of what we are up against.
Principalities- The word principality comes from the greek word arche where we get are words like archduke, or archbishop. A principallity can be a word for a princes territory these demons are similiar to Archangels in God’s hiearchy. Because these demons are linked with the geopolitical term princes territory these demons are beleive are political in nature. Everything divisive between nations whether building nuclear weapons, or funding terrorist is spurred on by principalities.
A clear example of a Principality is demonstrated in the book of Daniel in chapter 10 where Daniel is praying for the Lord to bring His people back in to the promised land, a highly political prayer by the way. After 21 days of praying an angel shows up, and says, “I had your answer on the first day but the Prince of Persia resisted me.” Interesting obviously the actual prince of Persia was not resisting this angel, but rather a demonic principality in charge of bringing about Satan’s political agenda in a region. Isn’t it interesting that the Prince of Persia, or modern day Iran is still causing political division, controversy, and destruction through President Ahmadinejad.
So what does this tell us about our approach to Satan in matters of political import. Well it would seem according to the Bible that instead of organizing a political rally, or writing a senator, criticizing a world leader, or starting a group on facebook we need to realize are battle is not against flesh and blood. Stop protesting and start praying for our political leaders there are demons tasked with nothing else but to bring Satan’s agenda into the political arena. What is his agenda the sames as it is for everything steal, kill, and destroy. The battlefield isn’t going to be one in a voting booth, or by conservative talk radio it will only be one on our knees.
Powers- The next kind of demon is Powers which comes from the greek word exousia which means authority these are what I call personal demons. Throughout scripture we see God assigning angels to specific people, even indicating that children have assigned guardian angels (Matthew 18:10). Could it be that each of us has at least one assigned demon to hinder ours, or our families spiritual growth. Worse still what if they have been assigned to your family for thousands of years. That makes them a formidable foe, imagine they have been observing the things that can trip your family up for centuries so they have a headstart on your genetic predispositions, cultural nuances, etc. So if the Fowler family has been succumbing to Beer, or anger or whatever for a 1,000 years then these powers certainly know what to throw at you.
So lets stop fighting with our families, and lets stop attributing all of our failures to natural causes, and realize that there is an enemy out there not just concerened with whole nations, but concern with the destruction of you, and your family. In CS Lewis’ in his book Screwtape letters says of our belief in demons, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.” So let us realize that there is an enemy but he is not on the flesh and blood plane but on in the heavenlies. Next time we’ll cover the other two levels of the hierarchy.
Rulers of the darkness of this world- This phrase in the original is actually one word kosmokratopas which literally means world rulers of the darkness of this age. In the Bible the word Kosmos translated word is often used to refer the the world system. Which is to say the prevailing thought, customs, or philosophy amongst unbelievers this is in distinction to God’s kingdom which operates on different philosophies. So I like to term these demonic rulers as philosophical we could call them rulers of the prevailing dark philosophy of the age. These demons are in charge of spinning how man kind thinks for surely if you can change a mans philosophy or the way he thinks it will change the way he acts.
I believe there are several ways in which these rulers peddle their philosophy of death to the world. A primary way is certainly the educational system in our world, whether the prevailing thoughts they are espousing are seemingly close to God’s thoughts, or diametrically opposed Satan is equally happy. For close only counts in horseshoes, and hand grenades but not in true spirituality. If Satan can sell a counterfeit philosophy to a non-believer he can prevent him from entering a relationship with God, and likewise he can prevent a believer from deepening intimacy with Christ.
The prevailing philosophy of the age for last 500 or so years can be divided into two categories modern thought, and post-modern thought. Both are seemingly very different but have the same core lie, “since man is basically good and constantly improving if we can just “x” then we will usher in a utopian era.” While both approaches have the same foundation they both took a different road to get there. Modernity started at the end of the dark ages with events like the Renaissance, the Reformation, and later the Enlightenment when men became convinced that if they could just discover absolute truth, and apply it universally that we would experience a new utopian era of human perfection. Lets look at some of these failed attempts at absolute truth:
Humanism- a philosophy that overemphasizes the dignity and worth of man, basically man is basically good, and getting better all the time ie. the Industrial Revolution, Enlightenment etc. Through reason, and logic man will constantly improve until he ushers in utopia. Satan has used this philosophy to send millions to hell for if man is basically good he surely doesn’t need a God to interfere.
Materialism- the view that the material world is all that there is; there is no existence beyond the present life.
Naturalism- the view that all things have a purely natural cause, especially the origin of the universe and nature.
Agnosticism- the belief that God may exist but there is no way of knowing him logically, or with the senses.
Colonialism- Is basically the thought that since we have the absolute truth we have some sort of “manifest destiny” to conquer, colonize, and convert all peoples to our version of absolute truth. Satan used this prevailing thought to kill millions of indigenous peoples, who had never heard the true gospel.
Evolutionism- says that through constant struggle, the fittest survive. The best are selected out to reproduce, and through this process beneficial traits accumulate to propel us to higher stages on the evolutionary ladder. Though not often stated, the goal of the evolutionary process is envisioned as a humanistic utopia, in which war, disease and poverty are vanquished.
Racism- This says that basically if we could breed a pure human race, and subjugate or destroy inferior races we can usher in utopia. This is just the natural outgrowth of evolution, a system that has always bred racism. This is the foundation for failed systems such as the slave trade, and Nazism which was endeavoring to build a masterrace.
Communism- Had as its basic premise if we can harness collective synergy of masses of people through removing private ownership, and individual achievment. We can usher in an era of no poverty, war, or other problems that man had faced to that point. Satan used this system to destroy millions of lives, and to hinder the gospel.
This brings us to postmodernism which began to show its face after the second world war. The youth culture looking at these systems of absolute truth, and realizing their utter failure to bring anything but war, famine, and death decided to start formulating a new system. This new system was based on unity, tolerance, and acceptance. College campuses arrested with violence against “the man” (authorities who represented absolute truth). The basic tenet of post-modernism is, since there is no absolute truth we just all need to get along, and get together, and we will usher in a new era of utopia.
The fall of the Berlin wall was the coffin nail in man’s search for one absolute truth as mankind realized these systems were not viable. Lets look at some of the major philosophies of post-modernism:
Tolerance- don’t judge anyone’s moral behavior, no matter what it is, because there are no absolute standards of behavior. Christians are viewed as intolerant because we believe that God has given us certain laws, which if not followed will lead to moral chaos and decay of society.
Diversity- the fact that there’s biological diversity in God’s creation is extended to mean that every type of belief and morality is equally valid; we need to have every type of aberrant behavior or special interest group equally represented to avoid any hint of discrimination.
Multiculturalism- all cultures and religions are equally valid; no one of these is better than any other; therefore there is no such thing as absolute truth, but all beliefs are subjective.
Relativism- This is the notion that there are no absolute standards of behavior, because what’s wrong for you may be perfectly normal for someone else. Moral relativism says that it’s okay to do anything you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.
Pragmatism- since there is no absolute objective truth if a particular philosophy works then its good.
Situational Ethics- since there are no absolutes, or black and white the situations one is placed in determines the right course of action.
None of Satan’s systems has brought us any closer to a utopian society. There is only one truth and His name is Jesus Christ, and one day in the millenium He will in fact usher in a utopian society, and bring peace on earth. In the mean time let us reject the “prevailing spirit of the age” being peddled through professors, scientist, the news media, and the internet.
Spiritual wickedness in high places – This phrase could literally be translated Religious wickedness in the heavenlies. These are what i like to call pious or religious demons these are those demons tasked with preventing salvation, or hindering religious growth through the means of false spirituality. Let’s cover a few of the methods Satan uses to kill, steal, and destroy through religion.
The first group that Satan wants to hinder is the unsaved, and he does this by peddling false religion. A quote from CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters is instructive,”The safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” Thus these religous demons use a variety of methods to send the lost to hell lets discuss a few.
Cults- These religous demons are masters at getting men to blindly follow a variety of cults often tailored to their own culture, or ideals.
False Religions- These demons are masters of imitating light and ensuring man just barely misses the mark. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says, 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Pluralism- Using buzzwords like tolerance and unity these demons convince men that all roads lead to heaven.
Religious Fanaticism- By inciting religious fanatics to acts of hatred, or violence these demons are able to convince people that God is not in existence, or that he is evil. Examples include the crusades, Jihad, the Inquisition, Bombing abortion clinics etc.
The second group these religous demons are after is Christians if an individual accepts Christ they then attempt to keep them from experiencing the abundant life available to them. Another quote from Screwtape is illustrative, I note with grave displeasure that your patient has become a Christian. Do not indulge the hope that you will escape the usual penalties; indeed, in your better moments, I trust you would hardly even wish to do so. In the meantime we must make the best of the situation. There is no need to despair; hundreds of these adult converts have been reclaimed after a I brief sojourn in the Enemy’s camp and are now with us. All the habits of the patient, both mental and bodily, are still in our favour.
“Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that ’suits’ him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches… The search for a ’suitable’ church makes the man a critic where the Enemy wants him to be a pupil.”“But here, as in everything else, the way must be prepared for your moral assault by darkening his intellect. Men are not angered by mere misfortune but by misfortune conceived as injury.”
These religous demons have an agenda to keep you from your birthright as a Christian, and to prevent you from being a light to unbelievers. Let us talk about some of the many ways in which Satan deceives Christians.
False Doctrine- These religous demons peddle in extremes such as hyper-calvinism, hyper-dispensationalism, double inspiration etc. These extremes get us focused on anything other than our realtionship with Christ, and sharing His message.
Division- These religous demons would rather see Christians fight to the death over doctrinal nuances than see our world won to Christ. They use things such as the Bible version issue to turn brother against brother in bitter spiritual civil war.
Tares- In the parable of the wheat and tares we get a clear illustration of these religious demons work through unbelievers in the Church. The field that is planted is the world, the wheat is Christians, the tares are unbelievers. The Bible says that Satan plants the tares, or literally he places unbelievers in the Church. The tare was a weed that looked like wheat, but would produce sickeness, and death if eaten. Be aware that there are false Christians in your Church that look like believers, but Satan can use them to bring about Spiritual death in your Christian life.
Hiding our Gospel- We are God’s chosen method for winning the world to Christ so one of Satan’s primary objectives is to hide our gospel. 2 Corinthians 4:1-4 says, 1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Satan will use a variety of methods to hide your Gospel including:
Indifference- “Their homeless, or another race, or social standing”
Poor Testimony- “If that’s what a Christian is like I don’t want to be one”
Fear- I’m too afraid to speak for Christ I wouldn’t know what to say”
In conclusion let us be aware that Satan’s minions are engaged in a 24/7/365 aerial assault for the souls of men they will use any means necessary, political, personal, philosophical, or spiritual do not underestimate them, and do not fear them for they are under our feet in Christ.