4 Keys to Walking Like JesusNovember 29, 2012
Two Extreme Views of the Supernatural in the ChurchDecember 5, 2012
There seems to be a lot of buzz these days around the subject of angels and demons. In the secular media there are books, movies, and documentaries about the spiritual world. In the church, there is talk about angelic encounters and supernatural experiences.
What are we to make of all of this? Are angels and demons real, or simply the result of primitive thinking and superstitious beliefs?
The Reality of the Supernatural World
The Bible is clear that the supernatural world is real. There is a natural, physical world; and there is an invisible, spiritual world. What happens in the spiritual realm has influence over the natural realm.
One incredible example of this is when the prophet Elisha was surrounded by an enemy army. The king of Syria sent his army to capture Elisha, but look what happened:
Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
-2 Kings 6:14-17
Elisha saw beyond the physical realm and into the spiritual. He perceived that though he was outnumbered in the natural, he was surrounded by the hosts of heaven. The end result was that Elisha and his servant were protected from this attack.
Our Battle is not Against Flesh and Blood
The Apostle Paul was also very aware that what happens in the spiritual world effects the natural. He wrote to the church in Ephesus and said:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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 the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Paul declared that we are in a spiritual battle with supernatural forces of darkness. That is, our real battle is not against people, but against demonic powers. A spiritual battle must be fought with spiritual weapons, and Paul goes on to list the armor that God has given to the church:
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
Yes, just like angels are in fact real, so is the devil and his hordes of demons. These are not mythical characters but very real enemies. We must not be ignorant of the fact that the real battle is in the spiritual arena.
How Should We Respond?
We should live in light of the truth that the supernatural world is real. This should not cause us to go into fear on one extreme or fascination on the other (I cover these two unhealthy extremes in another article).
Instead, we should have an awareness that what we see with the natural eye is not all there is to life. There is a lot going on behind the scenes. This should cause us to be thankful to God for His angels that protect and fight on our behalf. We should ask the Lord to open our eyes, so that like Elisha we can see what is happening in the supernatural world.
It should also make us aware that much of the conflict in the world, family, and church, is not merely human problems; it is influenced by powers of darkness and must be dealt with as such. We should take up our spiritual weapons and push back the enemy!
Questions: Do you tend to see the world through the lens of the supernatural, or do you see it primarily in natural terms? Have you had any encounters with angels or demons?