Today, if you admit that you believe in an unseen world, you may be accused of having mental illness. In our scientific culture, things that cannot be seen, felt, or weighed are sometimes discounted as not being real. However, the Bible gives us a glimpse into a world that exists beyond the scope of our senses. It speaks of angels that do God’s bidding. It also tells of a time in the distant past in which an angel led a rebellion against God. He lost and is now called Satan, or the devil. Those that joined in his foolhardy uprising are called demons.
I don’t claim to understand everything about angels or demons, but I believe in their existence. Their reality is a given throughout the pages of Scripture. One very interesting episode occurred in the life of Daniel the prophet about 525 years before Christ. He had had a vision of a future war, but didn’t understand its meaning. For three weeks he sought God’s interpretation, until finally, an angel arrived with the explanation.
The angel said, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come. Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.” (Daniel 10:12–15, 20-21)
God dispatched an angel to Daniel on the very first day he prayed. But the angel met resistance for three weeks. It wasn’t until the archangel Michael came to his aid, that God’s angelic messenger was able to proceed to Daniel. The most likely explanation of the “Prince of Persia” and the “Prince of Greece” is that they were two high-ranking demons assigned to influence the respective nations of Persia and Greece.
Have you ever considered that there is demonic activity designed to undermine nations and create chaos? Just look around the world at the pervasive evil of drugs, dictatorships, terrorism, persecution of Christians, vandalism, theft, and unjust killings. This kind of evil can’t be explained away simply as the outworking of personal wickedness of some. Even Judas, in spite of being a greedy embezzler, did not betray Jesus until “Satan entered him.” (Luke 22:3)
Paul may have had Daniel in mind when he wrote, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) Usually “authorities and rulers” refers to governmental leaders, but in this case, Paul specified that he was NOT referring to human institutions or people.
Make no mistake, the devil and God are not equal foes. Satan is no match for Jesus. Demons always cringed in fear when Jesus confronted them. Satan is a created being, intelligent, but limited to being in one place at a time. Jesus is the eternal, self-existent triune God. Through the Holy Spirit, He is constantly with all who follow Him, and we are safe in His arms.
While we can’t blame the devil for all of our sin, neither can we ignore his influence in our lives. Any time we choose to elevate our own will over God’s will, you can be sure that Satan or his demons are nearby, applauding our rebellion. The Apostle Paul encourages us to “not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness.” (Romans 6:13) Our victory is secured only by yielding our lives to Jesus each and every day.