For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.Ephesians 6:12
Do you know for sure that you are in a battle? A spiritual battle. It is not so obvious when it is a spiritual battle. Many miss the point and are limited to the empirical world. The world of the five senses. “The world is what I can see and touch and smell and taste and hear, Ian. There nothing more than that.” In Bible Gems 437 when talking about the gift of discernment I wrote the following:
“I know people who have this gift [of discernment]. For some it operates as a vision or the appearance of evil forces about the person who is in question. It is like these so gifted ones can see into the spiritual world and determine when there are demonic forces at work. Like Elisha, being able to see the forces of heaven arrayed about them while Gehazi his servant didn’t have that ability (2 Kings 6:15-17). Some see the evil forces, others sense them with a word of wisdom, knowledge or a prophetic word. I have been in situations where someone in the body has declared “there is a spirit of error operating here” or “I see the words Jezebel spirit” or “occult”.
What we see is not all there is. There is more. Just stop and think for a minute. Look around your room. Look everywhere, even look in all the drawers, close cupboards, wardrobes etc. Check it all out. You have seen everything that is in room right? Wrong. There are some things in your room that you cannot see. Donald Trump may well be face to face with you in the room at this very moment but you just don’t see him. “What are you talking about Ian? Now I know you have gone crazy.” No, I am not crazy. Donald Trump is in the news at moment right? It is highly likely that his face is all around you in the images meant for television. You can’t pick them up but that are there. It may well be that Jacinda Adern’s voice is in your ear at the moment but you don’t hear her. That’s right, because her voice is being sent out on the radio waves. But the point is you are not tuned to receive radio waves; you are not equipped as a TV set. You don’t see or hear all that is going on. There is more than meets the eye, and ear, nose, taste buds on the tongue and touch receptors on your skin. You are not programmed or made to pick up such input.
So too with Gehazi. He thought he could see everything but he couldn’t. You think you can see everything and know what is around you but you don’t. We do indeed battle against unseen forces in heavenly places. Wake up to reality people. A wider dimension of reality than you have imagined was possible. We must be discerning people. Willing to accept there is more than we realised there was. Not only that but Paul says the spiritual reality is organised in hierarchies.
That is the point of Paul’s list:
- Evil rulers
- Authorities of the unseen world
- Mighty powers in this dark world
- Evil spirits in heavenly places
Most commentators and Bible scholars believe this to be a listing of the hierarchy of spiritual forces arrayed against us. Just as I said yesterday we have to know the strategies of our enemy we also need to have an awareness of the way it is all organised. In John Dawson’s book “Taking Our Cities for God” he mentions the concept of “territorial spirits”. I believe it was C Peter Wagner who first came up with the idea of territorial spirits. The term was coined from Paul’s list above. There is much debate over this notion. There are those who espouse it, there are those who rubbish it. I don’t know where you align dear Gem reader.
When I looked at strongholds in Bible Gem 567 I made the following comments:
“History keeps repeating itself, within the family or household, in the local area or at national level.”
“Why is it that certain parts of the world keep experiencing the same kind of excesses or traumas. They no sooner get rid of one burden then they encounter the same thing again but through a different leader. Let me illustrate what I am talking about. Naziism in Germany is a repeat of what that area has been experiencing for centuries, since the time of the Vandals, the Goths and the Huns. From then until now when neo-Naziism is raising its head in Germany again. How can that be?”
I haven’t talked about other examples from around the world where the manifestations of the same spiritual issues keeping cycling from one generation to another. Ask yourself why is it that the Middle East, the old Cradle of Civilisation keeps turning out despotic ruler after despotic ruler from ancient times. Saddam Hussein-like-people bent on world domination to some degree and willing to do whatever it takes to get it. Always within the same part of the world. Ancient Chaldea, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Iran, Iraq etc. Lots of different places? No, same place, renamed. It just keeps happening. And it like that elsewhere too.
What Paul depicts as a hierarchy of evil is a truism. No matter how you package it or term it, it’s a reality nationally and individually. There is much to be said about this but I don’t intend to handle it at depth in Gems. I am merely making the point. I know there are some who will accept this and some who won’t. It may even lose me readers because you disagree with me. That is fine too. I can only be true to myself and what I believe to be true from the Biblical truth I have gained. It is clear that some men don’t like what I said about submission related to men. Some women react vehemently to even the notion of submission. Others of you will react because I mention “territorial spirits” – one way or another. But that won’t stop me commenting on what I believe to be the truth of the Bible. I trust it helps some at least and stirs others to at least think about it.
I have link a Nugget series to this Gem in order to point you to more I have written on this topic.
Three eternal truths: things are not what they seem, the world is at war, and each of us has a crucial role to play.John Eldredge
Prayer is a wartime walkie-talkie with which we communicate with the General. Prayer malfunctions if we try to use it as an intercom with which to call the butler to bring more pillows to the den.John Piper