May 27, 2013
(All quotations are from the New King James Version)
Back in Know Your Enemy! – VI, published on May 17, we looked at the numbers of angels and demons. According to what Jesus said in Matthew 26:52 and 53, He could call more than six legions of angels to come to His assistance. A Roman legion at full strength comprised 6,000 soldiers, so Jesus could have summoned at least 72,000 angels! Also, according to Revelation 12:3 and 4, Lucifer, in his rebellion against God, was joined by a third of the created angels who then became demons. So the 72,000 Jesus could have called represents two thirds which means the devil has at least 36,000 fallen angels – demons – at his disposal! There are probably many more than just a total of 108,000 created angels, but still, considering the power of angels, it is an awesome number!
Some people have the idea that fallen angels – demons – are little mischievous creatures who run around causing glitches and troubles for us humans – kind of like Murphy’s Law demons! But Ephesians 6:12 provides another picture, and it shows a formidable force under the devil’s command.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of
wickedness in heavenly places.
Jesus spoke of Satan’s kingdom in Luke 11:17 and 18 when some were accusing the Lord of casting out demons by the prince of demons:
Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house
divided against a house falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how
will his kingdom stand?
Any kingdom that currently exists or has existed in the past has always had governmental structure. Satan’s kingdom, which is of this current world system – “…the kingdoms of the world…and their glory…” (Luke 4:5, 6) – has such a structure. It is not haphazardly thrown together, but is organized to run efficiently to accomplish the devil’s evil purposes. We get a hint of that structure in Ephesians 6:12: “…principalities…powers…the rulers of the darkness of this age…spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places…” – row upon orderly row of competent demons administrating the kingdom of the evil one to carry out his desires.
First is “principalities”. These are powerful demons who are called princes. In Daniel 10:13 and 20 we get a peek at these princes and their assigned territories. In verses 13 and 20 “…the prince of kingdom of Persia…” is mentioned. And also in verse 20, “…the prince of Greece….” These are not human princes. They are evil spiritual beings who are assigned to various kingdoms or nations to keep that portion of the devil’s kingdom under the his dominion. A mighty demon was in charge of the Persian Empire. Another was in control of Greece’s domain, which was the most powerful kingdom in the world until the Roman Empire came into prominence.
The city of Tyre on the eastern Mediterranean coast was an economic powerhouse in Old Testament times. So influential in world affairs was this city and the kingdom it represented, Satan himself was the ruling spiritual prince. In Ezekiel 28, the prophet speaks the words of God concerning this city. He begins the chapter addressing the human king of Tyre. But starting in verse 12, the one addressed is no longer the human king, but the spiritual power behind the king – the one who was “…the anointed cherub who covers…” (Ezekiel 28:14) – the devil himself.
So, you see, there is always a power behind the power! There is always a spiritual being – a demon – who is in charge of keeping his assignment under the dominion of Satan. It should not surprise you that there is the prince of the United States of America, and the prince of the European Union, and…. You get the idea.
But it does not stop there. There are lesser demons assigned to smaller or less significant nations, kingdoms, regions, states, cities, towns, and even families – all to keep their charges under the devil’s control! I would not doubt that there is a demon assigned to specific churches and para-church ministries to hamper their testimony and their work for Jesus Christ. And, since the idea of guardian angels is put forth in scripture – Psalm 91:11; Hebrews 1:14 – might there be enough demons at work in the world to be assigned to keep individuals either in an unregenerate state or ineffective as believers?
So you see, Ephesians 6:12 portrays a highly organized and powerful array of demons – Satan’s army – ready to do his bidding. We are called to engage these evil forces. And in the next blog we will begin to explore what God has given us for the battle – Spiritual armor and weapons – and how to use all our divinely-provided resources for His glory.