May 17, 2013
Matthew 26:52, 53 and Other Scriptures
(All quotations are from the New King James Version)
We are going to take a bit of a left turn in our study of Know Your Enemy! It is related to the subject, and will help us to realize what we are up against in the spiritual battle to which we are called to be engaged as Christians. What we will examine reminds me of something Jesus said in Luke 14:31:
Or what king, going to war against another king, does not sit down first, and
consider whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against
him with twenty thousand?
In other words, when engaging in battle with the enemy, you should always have a reliable estimate of both the number of his forces and yours! Also, you need to have an accurate idea of the strength and tactics of both armies before the battle begins. To figure out the strength of Satan’s army compared to the Lord God’s army, we need to examine several scriptures and pull all the information together.
In Revelation 12:3 there is a reference to “…a great red dragon…” who is later identified in Revelation 12:9: “…the great dragon…that serpent of old, called the Devil, and Satan….” Here is what it says about the dragon in Revelation 12:3 and 4:
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold a great fiery red dragon having
seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew the
third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth….
This looks back to Lucifer’s rebellion in Isaiah 14:12-15. Many Bible scholars think “the stars of heaven” is a reference to angels, as it seems to be in Job 38:7. If this is so, then one third of the angels created by Almighty God followed Lucifer in his rebellion and fell with him, being confirmed in wickedness. These became demons – Satan’s spiritual army who do his bidding.
Now we come to our featured scripture of Matthew 26:52 and 53. Jesus had just been apprehended by the temple police sent by Jewish leaders and led by Judas Isariot to arrest and bring in the Lord. One of His disciples – identified as Peter in John 18:10 – drew a sword and cut off the ear of the High Priest’s servant who was part of the mob accompanying the temple police.
Then said Jesus unto him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the
sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to
My Father, and He will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels?”
According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_legion), “A Roman legion…[was] typically composed of up to 6,000 soldiers….” So Jesus could have called more than twelve legions of angels, or 72,000 plus angels! So there are at least 72,000 good angels who do the bidding of God and, as it says in Hebrews 1:14, they are “…ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation….” And if there are two thirds who did not rebel against God when they followed Lucifer, and if those two thirds are at least 72,000 angels, then Satan’s force is at least 36,000 demons!
Just think in terms of the minimum number of angels who are directed by God to minister to His children – how powerful are 72,000 angels? In II Kings 18 and 19, there is described an invasion of Sennacharib, king of Assyria. He came against Jerusalem and besieged it with a large and powerful army. But God came to the rescue. It says in II Kings 19:35,
And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the LORD went out, and
killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and
when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses — all dead.
If one angel in one night can wipe out 185,000 enemy soldiers, what can 72,000 angels do? Sure, there are 36,000 fallen angels – demons – who do the devil’s bidding, and demons are nothing to trifle with! But God’s got ’em beat! I am so glad I am on the winning side!
Our next blog will continue to examine the characteristics of the devil, so you can better Know Your Enemy!