A popular understanding in many so-called Christian sects is a fantastic belief that there is and has been a type of literal war beyond the stars: of God against Satan, the fallen angles against the angles of light, between Nephilim and man, of the good army struggling to overcome armies of darkness. To get this understanding many students refer to the book of Revelation and interpret literally that Satan and his angles were physically cast out and down to earth. They then place this time of war back and before Genesis, before the creation of man. This accompanied perhaps by other precepts, sets the stage for an intergalactic space drama with a cast of wonderful characters. It is held fast that a climax will soon manifest; the moon turns to literal blood, the sun burns up, the stars crash to earth’s crust and the elements, atoms, molecules literally fizzle, crack and pop away in end time cataclysm.
Enter Jesus who gallops on a flesh-and-blood horse through the vacuum of space and into the stratosphere. He comes quickly to gather into the clouds the saints- who stand naked next to their ridiculously-neat folded clothes. Just moments before, the Pope declares himself God, the temple in Jerusalem becomes desecrated and the chip is administered. China and Russia randomly, recklessly lunch nuclear missiles unintelligibly to and fro. Chaos ensues. Monsters rise up out of the seas. The oceans are blood. The long anticipated great tribulation dawns the horizon while the contemporary Christian, more than ever, is ready to live ‘glory’ to ‘glory’ and is rapture ready.
In the meanwhile, in reality, man is being oppressed by violent, complex systems of exploitation on earth.
Hear and now.
Are we literally dealing with a war beyond the clouds? Some type of Star Wars in the high and lofty places of heaven? If so, who is at war with who? Is the war a literal one like out of a movie, or is there something more figurative being used to describe the situation in the bible?
It becomes a mental exercise- if you are looking at this war literally- how angelic beings, beings that can materialize or dematerialize, being forms of energy, can be subjected to the forces of gravity. The question is, how can gravity have the capacity to pull beings that can descend or ascend into the heavens? If we signify Satan and his angels were cast down to earth literally we compromise other passages and unwittingly limit our understanding– we butcher the text and further confuse the bible.
Seemingly every sect, every denomination in modern Christianity proclaims to have the so-called truth and attached to each stake is a different interpenetration of the text. Most (probably) look at scriptural matters through Greco-Roman spectacles and come away from the bible with fairy-tales that turn a lot of people off. When taken literally the bible is not a reality to the average oppressed person. Rightly so. In essence, the average Joe has more in common with the redemptive struggle revealed in the bible than the contemporary Christian. To gain understanding you have to interpret the figurative language, especially in the book of Revelation, against the prophets and apostles. If not you will think monsters are going to come out of the water with seven heads and horns etc; most sensible people cannot fathom that. For example, unless you can relate that the beasts spoken of in the book of Revelation are representing something figurative you won’t get the attention of many who would otherwise be active in the revolution that Jesus started.
The book of Revelation is full of signs and symbols and we understand that in each generation of man Satan and his deceitfulness must be continually driven out of the earth. Therein is the battle and the struggle. We will examine this battle and struggle, and identify what it looks like.
In the book of the Gospel of John is a conversion taking place between the Messiah and a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Nicodemus is acquiring about the being born again process. Jesus explained that if he could not understand earthly things he wouldn’t be able to understand heavenly matters. The things Jesus told him, the things he testified of, were the things and spiritual matters pertaining to the earth that he himself knew. His students were at a point where their minds were opened up to comprehend but Nicodemus, however, could not comprehend these teachings and knowledges of God.
John chapter 3
11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
There were spiritual matters on earth that were to take place, the being born again process, that Nicodemus could not comprehend. He could not grasp the heavenly matter. If we cannot understand this process, and if you can’t make it past this, this resurrection, you might as well hang it up. You have to make it to the born again process before that time.
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
What does it mean to ascend up to heaven? Many will proclaim that this means to literally ascend to the throne of the Creative power. Yes, but there is more to the text. In this conversation Jesus also spoke about the one who came down from heaven.
Many could say this manifestation of Jesus was the power that came from the heaven; true. But remember he also said at the same time, “even the son of Man which is in heaven.” So he is come down from heaven and at the same time is in heaven? What does this mean? This is signifying him being born into the human species. Jesus in this conversation is looking Nicodemus square in the face, both are in the same room probably and yet he told him he is in heaven. What is this dealing with? How can the Son the man, being signified as a human, being made a little lower than the angels, be presently in heaven?
We need to broaden our scope of heaven; to understand more fully what it means and what heaven signifies. Are we in error when we find ourselves imagining the heavenly places beyond the clouds; that there is some sort of Star Wars going on commanded by Satan, who bound by gravity fell to the earth with his staff of angels? We will do well to humble ourselves before the scriptures to begin to understand the reality of our current situation.
Notice what Jesus in the same conversation begins to explain to Nicodemus about the struggle that was to take place,
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
What does this mean?
Some are familiar with the account of Moses lifting up the brass serpent but what relation does this have with the Son of man? Is it only that we should have faith in his crucifixion? Absolutely, but what does this entail? Consider that the execution of the Messiah would come with a confrontation between him and the powers and authorities that ensued from his teachings. It was a direct confrontation. The substance of his message is why they hunted him down, put him on trail and condemned him to capital punishment. Yet, Jesus declared that he is in heaven and is now telling Nicodemus that he shall be lifted up even as Moses lifted up the serpent. He is signifying the faith aspect but we must understand why he was lifted up. He was executed (lifted up) because of his direct confrontations with the Roman empire. Next he told Nicodemus,
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Jesus did all this for us (went through all). What in the world was going on that the powers of darkness arrested him and executed him? Does this have anything to do with heaven? This is a valid question because Jesus in his conversation with Nicodemus (while being on the face of the earth) told us he was in heaven. We can bring heaven closer to our realm because the Son of man proclaimed he was there. Was Jesus the only one finding himself in heaven? Are there others? Not THE heaven. But rather in heaven where the war is taking place?
Briefly, what was John the Revelator making reference to when he explained that Satan and his angles were cast out? To go forward in this study we need to get a description and identify where the war is.
Revelation chapter 12,
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Prior to this (in verse 1) John begins to describe a confrontation between a woman clothed with the sun and the moon paining to be delivered. We can learn in the scriptures that this woman represented the kingdom of the redeemed. We can learn further about this redemption of Zion through the prophetic language of Isaiah were a man child brings forth a nation; he’s describing the struggle here on earth. The prophets reveal this too and it is not just limited to the Messiah. Through this struggle Isaiah winds-up at the war in heaven. Again, what is the significance of this war in heaven? Did this war take place before the earth was made?
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
The vision was in heaven. John was in heaven and heard it in heaven. He says now is come salvation and strength. Why is salvation and strength now come since Satan has been cast out of heaven? If you look at it in a literal sense and if salvation is taking place then who is salvation coming to? If this is all literally taking place above the stars where these angelic beings are fighting, beings who are now being cast out with salvation come, what significance does this have for us on earth? According to the literal interpretation and most popular understanding this casting out from the heaven above the stars is now big trouble for the inhabitants on the earth. How can this be salvation? Recall also that Jesus said he was in heaven while we was speaking to Nicodemus and at the same time he declared he would be confronted by the powers and lifted up.
We can start to understand that heaven is extended away from just above the clouds. Right in our realm, right where we are, there is a war in heaven.
10 for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
The accuser was accusing people on earth and now that he was cast down salvation has come to the brethren. There had to be somebody on the earth to accuse. But Satan was in heaven the same time people were on earth. How does this make sense if you hold on to a literal interpretation that Satan was really above the stars? Does man live above the clouds as well?
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
John is bringing in the life of the lamb into our examination; how the people overcame Satan by his blood and by the word of their testimony. These people even overcame their own martyrdom because they gave up their own lives. We are still discussing a struggle, of a war that was spoken of in the preceding verses by the figurative language John used: The dragon coming before the members of the Creator’s kingdom symbolized by the woman in pain to be delivered etc. This struggle is between the powers of God against the worldly powers governed by Satan– who as we are learning will be cast down.
Jesus also brought the war among the powers into play by claiming that he shall be lifted up like the brass serpent. As we peel back the layers we see that he would confront these world powers and be sentenced and executed according to their capital punishment. All because the war in heaven. Something was and is going on. The same lifting up that Jesus spoke about shows that the same blood of the lamb is to be poured among the people so they too can receive salvation–just like the martyrs who loved not their own lives but loved the lamb.
We conclude correctly that when there is a confrontation with the world powers it is also described as a war among the angelic beings. And just like Isaiah said, the bible is written line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little that some shall go and fall and be snared and broken. What did he mean? Some could be snared and broken by the bible. It’s important that we do our reading in humility and abide carefully in context so we too don’t become broken by what we are reading. If we don’t approach the text this way the Creator may not open up our understanding and we will find problems.
In the book of Daniel (chapter 10) we find Daniel wanting understanding on a vision being revealed to him. We will learn more about the angelic beings fighting in the war and how it all plays out in the world of men. For our purpose here we won’t deal with what the vision means but rather let’s notice the language being used,
5 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: 6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.
Polished brass shines. Everything was illuminated and he seen this illuminated figure before him. This angelic being he witnessed told him,
9 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.10 And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
These passages are not talking about a literal man in Persia holding down this angelic being whose eyes are lamps of flame, who has been sent forth by the most High with a voice like many waters; and this is not talking about Cyrus and Xerxes of Persia literally holding Daniel. Rather this is about how he was held up for 3 weeks. What happened? As Daniel said, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
He is taking about a struggle going on in earth between this angelic figure and a figure who represented the rulership over the kingdom of Persia. We understand this latter figure to be Satan or an adverse being. One angelic being held up this other angelic being that came to talk to Daniel. What did Micheal do? He came to cast them off and freed up the angelic being who came to speak with Daniel. This all came at the time of the exchanging of the these world powers. The Greeks came and arrived at Persia’s door. This is a major event in history. However this vision was for many days and it continued to reveal to Daniel,
20 Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. 21 But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.
This angelic being was to fight against the prince of Persia but he was not going to yield a sword and shield to go fight literally. But yet there is a war going on in the heavenly plain that is unseen. It all plays out in the world of men and when we read the book of Revelation we can start to understand what it means when it says there was a war in heaven and Satan was cast out.
When this angelic being was to go fight in the war the Greeks overcame because these beings were fighting against Persia. When we read about the struggle with angelic beings we don’t always seen them fight literally as we might see two men upon earth fighting.
Let’s recap what we have learned thus far:
We learned so far in Revelation chapter 12 that Satan was cast out into the earth along with his angles. We also learned that now salvation and strength, and the kingdom of God had come with the power of the Christ. This had all happened because the accuser of the brethren was cast out. John describes the kingdom of God descending out of heaven and the beast kingdoms ascend out of the water, out of the abyss below. Figuratively he is describing something high and lofty and something abased of a lower realm. Since Satan has been cast down salvation and strength came, and the kingdom of God in power. Why is this all come when Satan is cast down?
Next we learned in Daniel chapter 10 how angelic beings make battle and war but not necessarily literally, but in the unseen heavenly plain.
Let’s continue in the book of Luke with the one bringing in the kingdom of God. Jesus of Nazareth. This revolutionary went through all the land of occupied Israel declaring that the kingdom of God was at hand. Soon his teachings and message began to circulate throughout the Roman world. He began to organize and send out his students into the cities of the land. This is in part why he would be lifted up.
Luke chapter 10
10 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.
2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.
3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.
6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.
His students, apart of the struggle with him, are sent two by two to go cast out devils. They were to go organize and be missionaries among the people. The people of the cities they went to either received or rejected the message. If the peace of the Son was in the city then their peace shall too come unto them.
8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
Remember what we learned in Revelation that after Satan had been cast out there was a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God; and the power of his Christ.” What are these disciples sent by Christ going to proclaim in the cities? That the kingdom was nigh and come. It was at hand. They were declaring through their works the power, strength and salvation to those who had received them. Their peace was now on them along with the power of the Christ. The sick were healed. Devils were cast out.
Again, this could only be done through the power of Christ and since the inhabitants received those sent by Christ, salvation had come to them. All this was proclaimed after Satan was cast out of heaven.
10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, 11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.
12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.
The kingdom of God came nigh by the power of the witnesses that came to the city. However, the peace of these witnesses did not rest upon the city that did not receive them. Neither did the power of the healing; nor did the power of Christ fulfill its measure in that city. Satan was not cast out and thus held his rule. Because of unbelief not many mighty works were wrought and consequently the kingdom of God was not established. On some occasions Jesus marveled at such unbelief and he instructed his students in the same situation to dust off their feet and move on. This is not uncommon for the cities to reject the Gospel because the rulership was, like in Sodom, under Satan.
Continuing in Luke the 10th chapter,
16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
Notice that hearing entails learning and it takes place in the mind. Right in the head. He is describing that those in the cites that hear and receive him and the apostles will receive the power of Christ; but those who do not judgment will be pronounced against.
17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
The devils are subjected to the apostles. Do you think they were doing this by themselves? It was through the strength and power of the Christ. Salvation had come. The whole idea is that there are cities where Satan rules. The cities that received their peace had the devils subjugated to the powers of heaven in the name of the Messiah.
Did Greece defeat Persia just by Alexander’s might alone? Or was it the angelic beings that allowed him victory, who fought against Persia? It was the powers of the angelic beings engaging in direct conflict above our unseen realm. They are engaging in conflict when human beings engage in conflict. We see direct conflict between the students of Jesus and with whom they were preaching to in the cities and in the country side as they began their missionary journeys.
Notice what Jesus says in response to his students,
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
What does this mean? This is the same description we read in in Revelation chapter 12. When these devils are subjected to the disciples do you make the claim that salvation had come? Could what his disciples did in the name of Christ be a testimony to the cites who received of their peace and repented? Surely they can proclaim: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Where the devils dwell the disciples drive them out and they fall like lighting from the kingdom of heaven. Satan the accuser and his angels are being cast out of the place where they reined over the people. He lost his authority to the power of the disciples who had the spirit of truth. This spirit of truth is coming from these who you call angelic beings. Like Michael.
19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Serpents and scorpions are the devils who are being represented as low on the earth. They have been cast down to the earth before the disciples to be tread upon.
20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Who fights for the people? The spirits. Michael and his angels, standing for the children of Israel. This was what Daniel explains to us further. Him and the prophets describe these things to us so we can understand how it works. It tells us in Daniel chapter 12 that when the time of trouble was to come upon Israel Michael was signified as standing up so Daniel could receive the message from the other angelic being. It was Michael and his angels who pulled all the Prince of Persia so the message could go forth to Daniel. Michael stood up to protect the people; him and his angles fought against Satan. So salvation and strength, and the power of Christ could come.
Notice Daniel chapter 12
12 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
Remember that the book of Revelation told us that Michael and his angles fought against the Dragon and his angles. Now we have the children of Israel, the apostles, going out having devils and spirits in subjection to them. Again, here is Michael standing up because he is the one who stands for the children of the people of Israel. He does not just stand up one time.
Let’s recall what we had just read in Luke chapter 10: Jesus here is explaining to his disciples about this war in heaven and about this power they now possess over the powers of the enemy. He said not to rejoice that they have this power over the enemy but rather rejoice in that they have their names written in heaven.
Recall that Jesus also told them, “I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions” coupled with “over all the power of the enemy.” This means that the power of the enemy can be found symbolically being described as scorpions and serpents. What is the dragon then? It is synonymous with serpent. Michael and his angels fought against the Dragon, or the serpent; the devil and his angles.
This war is also in heaven.
Now we have to investigate to see and confirm if the power of the enemy is in heaven.
Let’s look a little further to put this struggle in its place. If you go to fight against the powers and tread over the power of the enemy and if this enemy is in heaven then you can know you are engaging in a war in heaven. It takes place on this earth and in our mind. Jesus signified this to us when he told Nicodemus that he was currently in heaven.
When the 12 disciples went to engage the enemy and cast out devils, healing the people what was exactly happening? Remember that every city these disciples went into the power of the Christ was upon them. The 7o who went as ambassadors of the kingdom of God (two into every city) were to go and cast devils out. Jesus declared then, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” There is truly a war in heaven going on here and now.
In Acts chapter 10 Peter describes the works the disciples did,
36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
This is what they were commanded to do, to go preach in every city and bring peace to the cites that received them. Peace would indeed ensue. They went teaching, healing and organizing.
37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
How was it published? By them going out, two by two, city to city spreading the strength and power of the kingdom of heaven in the name of the Lord Jesus.
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
With power of the holy ghost Jesus went about healing all those oppressed of the devil. This is what the apostles did too as they went to the cites. This was the confrontation: releasing the people form the bondage of sin and Satan. What did bondage and sin have to do with it all? This is a confrontation between a new government that was being established according to the promises made to Abraham against the old order of Satan. The Messiah was declaring the kingdom of God to be in confrontation with the old imperial powers of Rome. The good news is that there is a kingdom on the horizon that will be redemption to the people. The sign of the kingdom is that some will be healed from sickness, Satan cast out, those who were lunatic freed etc. The Messiah declares that the devil is cast down as lighting when the people are freed form oppression.
We can not fail to realize, or remember, that the context of the Messiah and the disciples are in the context of a new kingdom. Not necessarily just an individual who wants to live a pious life. Sure, it entails that but first and foremost we are looking at the establishing of a new society or kingdom. And chiefly, there is a problem under the old powers ruled by Satan who has to be continually cast out. Where does Satan have to be cast out of? He first has to be cast out of the people’s minds; then he has to be cast out of the social system that oppresses.
The political world of a society first exists in the minds of men. It is born here. This is were every inkling of labor beings to build anything. And if Satan rules the mind you will build the kingdom of hell. The mind is the high and lofty place in the human. This is it. The mind is the part of the human being that communicates with the unseen powers that will come and make their abode within you.
Right in your mind.
It is in the mind where God and the Messiah will come to make their abode. Do you think they will literally come down from THE heaven to do this? Is your mind apart of the heavenly realm? Certainly. But before God can do this Satan has to be first cast out and down to the earth. Then salvation can come with the power and strength of his kingdom. Once Satan is cast out, signifying he no longer rules within this realm; when he no longer occupies your mind and with the Messiah within you, the kingdom of heaven can be established in earth. Right now the kingdom of Satan is established but the kingdom of God is growing. His is a kingdom of governments and order.
We will find that the purpose of the Church is to engage in warfare against the principalities and powers in heaven. To cast Satan to earth so that the kingdom of God and the power of his Christ can bring forth salvation to mankind. John who wrote the book of Revelation engaged in this warfare. So did the apostles. It all starts in the mind. This is not a war that is literally above the clouds, above the stars. Rather it is in this realm. It is even among words, actions, thoughts and deeds. It all begins in this unseen world where God dwells. If you allow God to dwell in your high and lofty place and receive the peace of his Son then you can begin to engage the enemy.
In the book New Testament Survey by Merrill Tenney,
The political world:
At the time when the New Testament was written the entire civilized world with the exception of the little know kingdoms of the far east were under the domain of Rome.
This also sheds light about the woman who rode the back of the beast. It was described in the book of Revelation that all the kings of the earth were drunk of the wine of her fornication. The far east never converted to Catholicism (not the kingdoms themselves). We have to consider that Rome’s reach did not literally extend to every kingdom of the world. But another reach did…
However the known civilized world was under the domination of Rome,
From the Atlantic ocean on the west to the Euphrates river in the Red Sea on the east, and from Rhone to the Donau, the Black Sea and the Caucasus mountains on the north, to the Serra on the south stretched one vast empire under the headship and virtual dictatorship of the emperor called both king and Augustus.
Who gave the Roman empire all of this reign and dominion? We can identify the beast in which the woman sat upon. She was the driving force.
13 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
We find out that the dragon is Satan (Revelation 12:9). The dragon gave this empire its power, seat and great authority. We have to now see if this great empire is in heaven because there was a war in heaven and Satan and his angels were cast out. Note also that it took place when Satan was accusing the brethren. This let’s us know that this casting out did not take place before man was created.
New Testament Survey,
Under his rule Roman imperium was thoroughly established under Augustus. Politically the new precipitate was a compromise between the old Republicanism and the dictatorship that Julius Caesar had advocated. The Senate was retained as a theoretical ruling body. In 27 B.C. it conferred on Augustus the office of commander and chief of the armed forces of the empire. He was given tribunal power for life which meant he had control over the popular assembly and was appointed the permanent representative of the people.
He strengthen the defense of the frontiers, though his armies suffered a crushing defeat, Augustus organized the police and fire departments of Rome and appointed a supervisor for the grand supply. Augustus boast was though he found Rome brick he left it marble. He restored the confidence of the government, replenished the treasury, introduced an efficient public works department and promoted peace and prosperity.
Augustus was popular and began to set Rome back in order. According to the measure of the world, he brought prosperity and we know he received this power and great authority from Satan. However, the Messiah himself claimed he was in heaven and then declared he would be lifted up by these same powers Augustus yielded, who had received the seat from Satan. Jesus also told his students that they would have powers to drive out the devil, and Satan. To tread over scorpions and serpents, to have the spirit of the devils subjected by the spirit of truth.
This is indeed a war in heaven. Can you see the confrontation?
The Father and Son are to make their abode with the disciples. We learned that this abode takes place in the mind and in the community of people which shall be established. Conversely, where does Satan make his abode? In the mind and in the community and society of people who have built his kingdom. There are only two paths. Either you are going to dwell in the kingdom of God or in the kingdom of Satan. Before you can dwell in the kingdom of God he has to reign in our mortal bodies, but only after Satan is first cast out of the mind. Then the kingdom of heaven can be built where Satan has no more rule or authority–now that he has been cast down like ‘lighting’.
Notice Mark chapter 16. Jesus is talking to the same disciples who he has given the power, strength and authority to cast out the powers of Satan,
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
This is the same testimony he gave in Luke chapter 10–how the disciples went to all the cities and whatsoever city received them had the sick healed, the Kingdom of God proclaimed and devils cast out. This is the same message here in Mark. The message is for he that believes; and for the ones who don’t (like the cities who did not) damnation was at the door. This is because the powers of Satan continue to reign there.
This message is now going to go through all the world.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Cast them out of where? Out of of heaven and into the earth. This is the figurative language we see John use in the book of Revelation. This is why that after Satan was cast out of heaven salvation had come, and power to the brethren.
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
This is the same message he gave to the 70 as they went out into the cities. And when they accomplished their mission Jesus said he beheld Satan fall from heaven like lighting. What will happen when the mission ‘to go out into all the world’ is accomplished? John already described it. When the accuser of the brethren is cast out power, salvation, the Kingdom of our Christ and strength comes. You can only cast out Satan if power has been given by the holy ghost, the spirit of truth. This is a war of action, words and deeds and in the realm of the heavenly. As we learned from Daniel this is also a war between Micheal and Satan.
From the book New Testament Survey we learned that Augustus had brought prosperity and peace to Rome. After he died Tiberius began his reign. It was during this time we find John and the Messiah as young men and also a great economic depression (the Great Panic of A.D. 33). Through the historical record we know that not everyone enjoyed peace and prosperity in the Roman empire. It was limited to those in alliance to the powers of darkness. Augustus only brought prosperity to the rich. Most people were impoverished. That is why the kingdom of God was good news to the people because the sides were to change. This was the message brewing among the young men who started the Christian movement; a movement that was in direct confrontation with the same powers who were to become in subject to them. Though the Messiah was executed he delivered a huge blow in casting Satan out. This is why salvation has come
In the book Communism of the Early Christianians,
There was a powerful influence on European society as Christianity gradually spread across the Roman empire. It had been pointed out again and again that when Christianity first appeared in the Roman empire it was torn asunder by social class divisions. Great distress and despair existed among the masses of the people and the new religion was naturally regarded as the ideal of popular hope and longing, holding out as it did the promise of immense renovation and transformation of things and a gradual change and shift of power.
The gulf between rich and the powerful holding all the wealth of the empire while the people were living in abject poverty threatened to bring about a serious social disruption. Usury and mercantile speculation spread ruin among all but the great capitalists. The wealth extorted form the provinces increased the chasm between a bloated plutocracy and the impoverished proletariat in the capital.
The people oppressed by Satan, who the Messiah and his students were casting out, were being redeemed. They were longing for this renovation of the social empire. We know that the foundation of any empire is its economic status. To be a world power you need a strong base. Satan let’s the Messiah know he is distributor of the wealth and can give it to whom he wills. Once he offered this seat to the Messiah but he refused; however, Rome took it. The United States has it. And truly, while they have all the earth’s wealth to themselves the common man is impoverished.
Today the same struggle is still going on. The developed powerhouses are the same bloated plutocracy that oppressed the people in Rome. The commander in chief of the United States, overseeing the empire, is in direct conflict with the legislation of Moses. There is a war and the problem is the people don’t know about it taking place (Western theology has done much for the kingdom of the devil). This is why the Messiah said the harvest is great and the laborers are few. How is that people are not engaging in the battle to cast Satan out? Jesus is waiting for those of the people to repent so we can go to the battle; but we don’t know how. We find ourselves on the side, licking the boots and scratching at the door, of the rich capitalist class to get in ourselves.
The doctrine and religion of Satan supersedes the cultist superstitions of all the worlds religions. His religion is found deeply embedded in the capitalist order. Capitalism is surely a religion as it’s simply a structure of beliefs in the pursuit of private gain. It’s a religion that accepts all religions as long as it partakes in the Capitalist structure. Capitalist religion does not discriminate: you can be Muslim, contemporary Christian, Buddhist, Jewish Hindu etc. It has open arms to all and many people are busting down their doors to be educated to partake in this system.
Let’s turn our attention to Ephesians chapter 3,
Remember the message has been given to the disciples to bring forth the good news of the Kingdom to the world. They will have power to tread over serpents and some of us will die in the revolution, die in the battle to cast out the powers of Satan. In our martyrdom strength will be given to others to continue in the movement. Our bodies become a sacrifice and a sweet smelling savor to the Creator; who as John saw were described as the souls of those slain under the alter. This is symbolism of those slain in the revolution. This is the war taking place! We are to fight against the powers in well doing.
Let’s look at the mission of Church,
3 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
What does it meant to be a fellow heir? An heir of what? None other than the promises of Abraham. That Abraham shall receive a nation and kingdom that will bring justice and equity in the earth. The promise of what Paul is speaking of is dealing with a new government and the other nations are to be able to partake in this new nation that will fill the earth. This new one will replace the old ones that are under the reign of Rome. If you repent and let the peace of the Son dwell in you will also be a heir to this new kingdom.
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
What is the uniting and the solidarity of this mystery of the kingdom that will rise? This mystery of the kingdom of God, which the people are heirs, is being revealed to Paul for the intent that now the powers who are in heavenly places might know it by us the church: the manifold wisdom of God. Though the church, the principalities and powers in heavenly places might know the wisdom of God. The wisdom is the coming kingdom. The church is to confront the powers of the world with the gospel of God. To cast out the devil ruling and oppressing us in its economic, social and political systems. To cast out Satan to the earth like lighting form the mind where every inkling of labor begins. Principalities are the order, ranks and magistrates; those in authority, the ones who yield controlling power.
If the Church has to make known the wisdom of God and his coming kingdom to the ones who yield controlling power in the world then know we are dealing with war in the heavenly places.
Notice how Ephesians 3 reads from the English Standard Version:
8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
The plan from the beginning was to create a utopia of justice and equity for all man. The Church is not going literally to angelic beings to proclaim the message, but to the world powers. This was why the Son of man was lifted up. He confronted the powers himself and gave us the power to confront and to make known the mysteries of God.
Let’s move to the book of Acts chapter 16.
We discover that Paul and the disciples are brought before the people because they had interfered with the gain of certain business men. Afterward they started to preach the kingdom of God to the principalities, the powers in the heavenly places.
We pickup and learn about this woman making money for a few capitalists. She was divining the future for profit,
19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
The apostles were against the unjust gain of the businessmen and were brought before the Roman powers and the citizens. They were declaring the kingdom by shutting down the injustices of how these riches were gained; by doing this they were preaching the kingdom. This was a problem.
13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.
What was the apostle Paul bringing forth? The kingdom of God. He was eventually arrested for his activity in the movement. They were to accuse him of treason. He preached another king who was contrary to Roman principalities. Jesus.
Back to Ephesians in chapter 1,
Notice what is described,
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
This is his new Kingdom. It is filled with the glory, his kindness and justice. This is why the Messiah explained that those that are hungry now will be filled. His riches shall fill the earth.
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
What is Paul saying? He is saying that this Messiah, this king, that they preach to the world shall be heir over the new kingdom. Jesus had been exalted above all governments and all rulers. This government of his shall consume all the world kingdoms. We thought Augustus was great, or Tiberius, or Nero was great in bringing prosperity, but the reputation of Christ and his prosperity cannot even compare. We are talking about governments and the promise to the saints is a new kingdom, a new nation of peace and true prosperity for not a few, but for all. There will be no more class divisions.
Pay close attention to what Paul then explains in the next chapter. He had just read above that the Messiah is set in heavenly places, at the right hand of the Father. Let’s see if we sit there too.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
We were dead, but now he has brought us up as new men.
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
You see how these heavenly places are being used? If Christ Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God in heavenly places, and if we are sitting with Christ in heavenly places where does that put us? At the right hand of the Father as well. Unless you understand what is going on this is total blasphemy to you because you look at this in a whole different angle. Paul is saying the saints of God have become part of this kingdom of Christ. This kingdom of Christ was signified by Jesus being made king, sitting on the right hand of glory. Us being heirs also sit on the right hand of this government as well. We did not make this up. It’s in your bible too. We have been raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. Why? So that in ages to come God may show his grace, his exceeding great riches and kindness to us through Christ.
That’s why Paul was explaining it is the mission of the Church to declare the power of God to the principalities in high places. The saints are in heavenly places. The powers of darkness are in heavenly places. If you are there and if the governments and kingdoms are there where do you think the war is taking place? In heavenly places. Where will Satan be cast out of? Heavenly places. Where are the heavenly places? In your head and in the rulership and dominion in these world governments. That is when Christ’s government will take the throne and the people shall be filled with the knowledge of God when Satan is cast down.
There are two powers in heaven: the powers of Christ and the power of Satan. The powers of Christ receive their power form the power of God and his angels. The powers of Satan are instructed and encouraged by him and his angels. Thus there was to be a confrontation.
Notice Ephesians 6,
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
These brethren who will cast out demons and tread over serpents are in heavenly places sitting beside Christ. This is what Paul wrote to the Church in Ephesians chapter 2. The wiles of the devil are the principalities and powers which are also in heavenly places. Notice that even though we are confronting the powers the fight is not really among flesh and blood. Even though many saints were and will be killed and arrested the fight is against the spiritual wickedness in the high places.
The Interlinear Bible reads that the high places are the heavenly places. They are the same thing. The high and uplifted realm is the heaven. That is why Jesus declared to Nicodemus that he was presently in heaven, in the high places. The saints of God, according to Paul, dwell in high and lofty places sitting with Christ on the right hand of the Father. The principalities of Satan also sit in high and lofty places as well. They are the judges, the magistrates etc. They are the ones who yield worldly power.
In the Hebrew English translation called The Scriptures (in Ephesians 6),
For the rest my brothers, be strong in the Master and in the mightiness of his strength. Put on the complete armor of Elohim; for you have power to stand against the schemes of the devil. Because we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against authorities, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual matters of wickedness in the heavenlies.
There is another witness out of the New American Bible,
10 Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. 11 Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Is there a war in heaven? You better believe it! This war is first taking place in the mind. This is were it begins and it is engaged in confrontation in our own actions as we confront the rulers and powers of this world. As Paul declares in Epehsians 3,
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
He is explaining that the Church are the ones to shall make known to the principalities and powers the unsearchable riches of Christ and the mysteries of God. In this confrontation, while the church is making this known, Paul reminds us
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 4 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
What happens when you win? You cast Satan down when he is cast out of heaven. Like lighting according to the Messiah. The prevailing of the Church in the war, John the Revelator declares, is how salvation comes with power and in the kingdom of our Christ.
We find that the principalities are in heaven, according the apostle Paul, but what are they? In Jeremiah chapter 13 notice what he proclaims to the government that he found himself fighting against.
15 Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. 16 Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.
The world kingdoms are the kingdoms of the powers of darkness, and yet they are in heavenly places.
17 But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord‘s flock is carried away captive. 18 Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory.
The queens and kings are of the world’s principalities. Of the powers of darkness. What are they coming down from? From the high and lofty places of heaven. Their powers which were in heaven shall be brought down. The rulers of Satan, which are in heaven, shall then be cast out; and this is what the Messiah started to spearhead in his confrontation with the powers of the world. He just did not confront a corner church or synagogue of the average-Jack preacher. He went up against rulers. And this is the job of the saints as well by doing all we can to bring forth social justice and to bring the communities of the kingdom of Christ into the world. Search the scriptures or call us to learn about it. And when you learn about it in spirit and in truth your hand will then reach out to the brothers and sisters. This is when you truly tap into the Gospel. It’s not an individual thing.
In closing, let’s examine Colossians chapter 2
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
The Messiah removed out of the way the death sentence for us transgressors. Notice what else he did while being put to death,
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
His crucifixion was a political blow to the empires of Satan because now the mysteries and the heirs of the kingdom of God would now be brought forth. He spoiled the powers and rulers of the world.
We have read that the apostles had declared the authorities and the principalities of the world powers will be given to the saints in the new government who sit at the right hand of Christ. We understand the figurative language of the text and know that these saints sitting on the right hand of the Father are to gear up and go engage in warfare against the powers of Satan. It is the duty of the saints to make known to the world principalities the mysteries and knowledge of Jesus and his kingdom.
…thus the redemptive struggle of man goes on.
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