PART 3 THE INVISIBLE FORCES OF EVIL
PART 3 THE INVISIBLE FORCES OF EVIL
Are All of the Spiritual Forces of Evil Angels?
The devil is a cherub, who is the leader of a vast number of forces that have rank and subsequently have assigned to them different responsibilities.
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, (Ephesians 3:10)
Likewise, God has his forces, which are described albeit understandably using the same words. Are all of the spiritual forces of evil, and we might as well add, of godliness, angels?
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, (Revelation 12:7)
This verse will unveil to us the name of a spiritual creature who is the leader of the angels of godliness. Do you know what his name is? Delineated here are the spiritual forces of godliness called angels under the leadership of someone named Michael along with the spiritual forces of evil called angels under the leadership of the dragon (the devil). It appears that the powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world are angels.
But what about the principalities, those who are of first rank like the devil and Michael, are they also angels?
Please go to the book of Jude.
Michael the archangel:
Suggested Reading: Jude 1-21
4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jude is writing a general letter to his fellow believers. As concerning their common salvation (the gift of new life they have received), he urges them to defend, fight, and actively promote the faith (the main tenet of Christian teachings). Apparently, there were certain men (false teachers), who gained admission into the faith under false pretenses. They are called ungodly (in their thinking and living) men, who turn (change) the grace (forgiveness and power to overcome sin12) into lasciviousness (satisfying their own lusts; immoral perversion of spiritual privilege) thus promoting their sinful lifestyle and leading others to take an impure and profane liberty in sinning13. Thus, they rejected being owned by Christ and having to submit to his rule.
After this declaration, Jude gave different examples of: groups of people, individuals, angels, and even the devil, who chose to live in the same manner as these ungodly men, and who like them will receive recompense (divine retribution-punishment) for their transgressions.
9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
One example that we will look at here concerns the story of Michael the archangel, who was disputing with the devil concerning the body of Moses. The word “archangel” signifies that Michael was the chief of the Godly angels. This word “archangel” is found in the singular, which indicates that he was the sole chief of all of God’s angels. This word, however, doesn’t infer that he was the only archangel. This rendering of Michael being an archangel appears to signify that he is an angel.
What about the devil, the cherub, is he an angel? He was not referred to as being an archangel as Michael was. There might be one more way to address this, but before we do, let’s take a look at why the devil contended with Michael for the body of Moses.
This story is not found in the Old Testament, but in writings known as “The Assumption of Moses”, which many believe were written in the first century. It alleges that Michael was given the task of burying the body of Moses by God, but the devil intervened claiming that he had power over this body, and because of such, to do with it as he pleased. Why the devil would want his body is to say at the very least quite confusing. I don’t recollect there being contention for anyone else’s dead body in the scriptures.
Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jude 9)
Apparently, Michael refused to give him jurisdiction over Moses dead body. The devil tried to use a reason as to why Moses body was his, which according to him was because in his younger days he had murdered an Egyptian. Michael did not respond to this charge by rebuking him, but left this matter in the hands of the Lord by saying, the Lord rebuke thee. The story ends with Michael being the one who buried Moses body.
Getting back to the devil as to whether he is angel, believe it or not there is another heavenly creature that we haven’t mentioned. Do you know what the name of this creature is? This might help to shed some light as to whether the devil is indeed an angel or not.
Let’s go to Isaiah 6.
And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts:
Suggested Reading: Isaiah 6:1-13
Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. (Isaiah 6:5)
Isaiah, the prophet, receives a vision from God, who is sitting on a throne. Heavenly creatures, who are called seraphims, are seen worshipping Him. Isaiah was not only deeply impressed with the holiness of God, but also of his own unfitness to join in14.
Then one of the seraphims took a hot stone and caused it to touch his mouth, and as a result all iniquity (implying conscious unworthiness of acting as God's messenger15) was removed, and his sin was purged (forgiven, in relation to the altar sacrifices). After which, he heard the Lord say, whom shall I send to go and speak to the Southern Kingdom of Judah, who because of their sin, rebellion, and worship of false gods are under my approaching judgment? Then Isaiah replied, here am I Lord, send me.
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. (Isaiah 6:1-2)
These heavenly creatures appear to have residence in the throne room of God, where they are found to be worshipping him. Their name means fiery ones. One of the characteristics of their physical features was revealed to being that of having six wings.
And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, (Revelation 4:6-9)
Even though their name is not mentioned in these passages of scripture from the book of Revelation, it is believed that according to the descriptions provided, it appears that these heavenly creatures are seraphims. These creatures are located in the midst and round about the throne of God having six wings. Like cherubim, it appeared that they had four faces and eyes all around.
Now we know there are three heavenly creatures: the cherubim, the seraphim, and angels. Can we deduce that all of these creatures are angels, and if this the case, then the devil would be an angel? We’re getting closer in drawing a conclusion. We have one more creature to look at as to their physical features, that being, of an angel
What Do Angels Look Like?
Let’s begin by taking a look at a story in which a man named Lot was visited by two Godly angels. This is one of the best stories in which the physical characteristics, supernatural abilities, and the divine purpose of Godly angels are clearly delineated. Even though the purposes of the evil forces of Satan and the Godly forces of Michael are different, we can deduce that their physical characteristics and supernatural abilities are similar.
And there came two angels to Sodom at even:
Suggested Reading: Genesis 19:1-29
And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; (Genesis 19:1)
The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are about to be destroyed by God, because of their wickedness. Two angels came to the house of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. The word “angels” means messengers.
And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. (Genesis 19:3)
Lot invites them in, offering food, which they did eat, and shelter.
But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. (Genesis 19:4-5)
All of a sudden, Lot hears voices from the outside of his house. These voices are from the men of the city, who have surrounded his dwelling, asking him to deliver these men to them, so that they might know them (rape them, thus engaging in homosexual relations).
And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door. (Genesis 19:11)
Lot steps outside of his dwelling and tries to appease them. He told them that these men will not be delivered to them; however, they may have their way with his two daughters. The crowd was not satisfied with his response. They attempted to inflict harm on him, but he was brought back into his house by the two men (angels). Being enraged, they decided to try to break down the door of the house in order to forcibly bring the two men out. The two men (angels) smote the ungodly men with blindness (confused or bewildered vision) so that they could not find the door.
And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it. (Genesis 19:12-13)
Lot was instructed by the angels to gather together any relatives and friends, because in the morning they were going to have to leave the premises, as it was conveyed to him by these angels as to their mission, which was to destroy these cities. In a later verse, it said that it was the Lord, who reigned down fire and brimstone on these cities. Maybe the way to reconcile these thoughts is to say that the angels were the ones who reigned down the fire and brimstone by means of God’s power.
On the following morning, the angels lead Lot and his family outside of the city encouraging them to find refuge in the mountains. Lot requests that they allow him to go to a little city called Zoar instead, to which the angels gave the ok.
Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; (Genesis 19:24)
Once they had found safe refuge in Zoar, the Lord rained down brimstone and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah, thus destroying these cities completely.
What can we surmise about these Godly angels in regards to their physical characteristics, supernatural abilities, and divine purpose?
●They looked like ordinary people, appearing in human form.
●They didn’t have any wings.
●They ate regular food.
●They were able to impede adversarial human beings with supernatural ability.
●They conveyed to Lot why they were there, another word what their divine mission was, which was to destroy the cities of the plain.
●They were able to destroy the cities of the plain with supernatural empowerment.
This heavenly creature doesn’t resemble the cherubim or seraphim in any physical way. There are two different conclusions that can be made as to the spiritual forces of wickedness and the spiritual forces of godliness. Either all of the heavenly creatures are angels each with different physical characteristics and purposes due to rank or all of the heavenly creatures are not angels. There are three distinct classifications of these creatures those being cherubim, seraphim, and angels each with different physical characteristics and purposes due to rank.
With this said, we are now going to look at the nefarious tactics that the devil and his angels use to try to keep those who are called born-again Christians entrapped in human perception.
How Did the Devil Coerce Eve to Disobey God?
The devil has fallen. His coup against the almighty God had failed. His only recourse is to somehow coerce and convince those new creations called humans to disobey God so that they would become like himself, a sad and fallen heavenly creature.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (Matthew 25:41)
Is it possible that the devil was made aware that he along with his fallen angels had been sentenced at a future time to a place called the lake of fire? Is it also possible that he reasoned if he could coerce Adam and Eve to enter into human perception God wouldn’t send all of the human race including himself to this place of torment thus cancelling his sentence to the lake of fire?
Let’s go to the book of Genesis and read about the devil’s deceitfulness of persuasion.
Now the serpent was more subtil:
Suggested Reading: Genesis 2:8-25; Genesis 3:1-24
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. (Genesis 2:15)
Adam, whose name means red, was the first man whom God created. He was created out of the dust of the earth, and hence his name. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and gave him dominion over all the lower creatures. The place where he would ultimately reside would be called the Garden of Eden. While there, he would “dress” (preparing and enriching the soil, and in distributing the seeds and training the shoots in the way most favorable for the full development of the plant, and especially of its seed or fruits16) it and “keep” (guard or protect) it. This geographical area had many plants, flowers, trees, and animals in it.
Was the idea to “keep” (protect) the garden related to keeping the animals out or was this idea related to a spiritual adversary?
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)
Adam was asked by God to give names to all of the animals in the garden. He was provided with a helper named Eve, who was formed from one of his ribs. God gave them one prohibition, that’s it. It’s interesting to think that there were no other prohibitions, but only one. Surely the both of them would have no problem obeying this one command. God told Adam that of all of the trees there was only one of which he could not eat the fruit thereof, that being of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Furthermore, if he ate of this tree, then he would die. The word “die” means dying thou shalt die. It speaks of a double death. Thou shalt not only die spiritually, by losing the life of God, but from that moment thou shalt become mortal, and shalt continue in a dying state till thou die17 physically.
Do I think that Adam fully understood the consequences for eating of this tree? I think he did. I don’t believe that God would instruct him to not do something without informing him in a clear and concise manner as to what the consequences would be.
What would it mean to lose the life of God? It would mean that Adam would live a life that was devoid of God’s perception. Another word, he would become self-directed, self-centered. Everything would be about him. He didn’t know what this would be like, but would he really want to find out?
What would it mean to die physically? Again, he didn’t know what this would be like. Would he want to take a chance and forfeit the continuum of his life in the Garden of Eden?
The next thing we know is there was a serpent talking to Eve. There was nothing said by her in response to the snake such as, how are you able to talk? Maybe it was because it really wasn’t a snake at all, but simply a description of the creature known as the devil. We know that in the book of 1 Peter he is called a lion and in the book of Revelation he is called a dragon. If indeed this was the devil in his splendor as a cherub, why didn’t she say to him, who are you, I have never seen you before? Could it be that she had seen him at other times in the Garden having talked to him on other occasions?
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (Genesis 3:4)
This serpent is described as being more subtle (an intent to deceive) than any beast of the field. He brings up in conversation the prohibition that was given to both of them by God to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve’s reply to him intimated that she was aware of this prohibition. The devil said to her that what God had said about you dying, if you eat of this particular tree, was not true.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:1, 5)
He goes on to tell her that what will happen in actuality is actually the opposite of death, in that her eyes will be “opened” (having attained higher wisdom). Then he continues to pour on the deception. He says that God knows that when you enter into this state of higher wisdom you will have become “as gods” (as divinity, as God), knowing good and evil (implying a fullness and accuracy of understanding such as was competent only to Elohim18). While it’s probably true that God is aware of human perception, he never engaged in it, because its inherent nature is evil. What Eve seemingly didn’t realize was that the state of perception that she and Adam were already abiding in was the state of higher wisdom than what the devil claimed God was keeping from her.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. (Genesis 3:6-7)
The devil wanted Eve and Adam to forfeit their spiritual connection with God as he had done, and live a life that is separated from any kind of divine influence. So, Eve decided to eat of this fruit. After which, she gave it to her husband, who seemingly without hesitation also ate of it. All of a sudden, their perception had changed from being God-directed, God conscious to being self-directed, self-conscious. Immediately, they discovered that they were “naked” (with the destruction of the normal connection between soul and body through sin, the body ceased to be the pure abode of a spirit in fellowship with God19).
Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. (Genesis 3:23)
Instead of Adam and Eve remaining in a place of drawing closer to God, they were now sent out to a place where divine judgment was forthcoming. Life as they knew it would never be the same. Continuation of life in the Garden would be replaced with the termination (the end) of life outside of it. The relative easiness of the Garden producing fruit would be replaced by the hard labor of planting and cultivating fruit outside of it. They were removed from the place of peace and God connectivity to a place of human contention and heartache.
This is the ultimate story of betrayal; of someone who pretends to be your friend and seemingly has your best interests at heart, but who ultimately was plotting your spiritual and physical destruction behind your back.
This is what we have learned from this story about the devil’s insidious intentions toward those who are following the Lord.
●He attempts to convince them not to follow God’s directives, because by following what God says will cause them to be deprived of something that will actually benefit them.
●He attempts to convince them that there will be no consequences, if they choose not to follow God’s instructions.
●He attempts to convince them to make decisions that are based on the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
●He wants the occupation of their mind to not be centered on God’s word.
●He wants to take them out of the place of rest and peace in the soul.
●He wants to inhibit their spiritual connection with God.
Wow! Quite a story.
I think that the general idea or theme is this. The devil promotes everything about self, period. He doesn’t see any value in anyone following God. He probably believes that he should be able to live the way he chooses without any consequence from God. Another word, he probably has concluded that he has free will, which he does, that allows him to think, speak, and act the way he chooses, and that God in judging him by sentencing him to the lake of fire was being unfair.
I wonder how many people think this way. Live and let live for tomorrow might never come. If only life was that simple, but it isn’t. Unfortunately, there is a heaven and there is a hell. There is a place where those who believe in God as he was revealed will abide forever. There is another place where those who don’t believe in God as he was revealed will abide forever.
What is the determining factor in order for someone to enter heaven? Heaven, a place of holiness, can only receive those who are holy. How does a person become holy; by believing in God as he was revealed during a particular dispensation (period of time)?
In the Old Testament, it was belief in Jehovah (Yahweh) as He revealed himself to mankind.
During the time when Christ lived on the earth, it was belief in Him as the Messiah.
During the time following Christ’s ascension into heaven and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on his disciples on the day of Pentecost, it was repenting to God the Father and believing in his Son Jesus Christ, who being one of the members of the trinity, came to earth in the form of a man being born of a virgin, having lived a sinless life, being condemned to death on the cross, paying the penalty for the sins of the whole world thus satisfying God the Father’s justice and providing forgiveness (wiping away their record) for these sins, rose again after three days, and ascended into heaven as proof of the Father’s acceptance of his payment.
In the Garden of Eden, man’s communion with God was lost. Following man’s banishment, it has been God’s desire to see this communion be restored. This is the conflict of the ages.
Why is the devil so persistent in inhibiting people from believing in God? What is in it for him, acquittal? What else could he want, but his sentence to the lake of fire thrown out.
The question which we will attempt to answer in the following chapter is this. How does the devil blind mankind from repenting to God the Father and believing in his Son Jesus Christ?
12IVP Bible Background Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005,10 March 2015˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
13Calvin's Commentaries Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 11 March 2015˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
15Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 12 March 2015˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
17Adam Clarke’s CommentaryPc Study Bible version 5, 2004, 15 March 2015˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
19Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 18 March 2015 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
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