The So-Called Angel World
IN Colossians 1:16 we read that thrones, and dominions,
and sovereignties, and authorities were created in the Son of Gods
love. We may take these as the various forms of superior stations among Gods
creatures, in heaven as well as on earth. They seem to differ in kind as well as in the
order of their rank. It is by means of these terms that we are apprized of the so-called
angel world. It will profit us to look at each separately to see what the
Scriptures can tell us about them.
Once we see that celestial
angels are merely messengers, we will want to know, Whose messengers are they?
Who sends them? Of course, many, if not most, are messengers of God. In the writings of
the Circumcision we need not expect much light on celestial things, except as messengers
from these regions come into contact with mankind. Yet even Peter gives us a fleeting
glimpse of our Lords celestial glory, messengers and authorities and powers
being made subject to Him (1 Peter 3:22). It is to Paul that we must look for the
fullest revelation in this sphere. While John was caught away to the third earth, as
detailed in the Unveiling, Paul visited the third heaven also, and he alone tells us of
the heavenly side of our subject. It is striking that, at the present time, angels are not
sent to us from heaven, but we meet spirit hosts in the heavens, where we belong. There is
no basis whatever, in Pauls epistles, for the idea that messengers of God are
ministering to us. In contrast, Satan is called a messenger, and his human messengers are
dispensers of righteousness (2 Cor.11:13-15) and splinters (2 Cor.12:7). Spirits which
come into contact with men today are against us, not for us.
earth there are many thrones. In the Scriptures we read of the throne of David (Luke
1:32), the thrones on which the twelve apostles will rule Israel (Luke 22:30), and the
thrones of the saints who will reign in the thousand years (Rev.20:4). In the future,
Satans throne, which he will give to the wild beast, will also be down here
(Rev.2:13; 13:2). In the new earth will be the throne of God and the Lambkin (Rev.22:1).
In the celestial realms we read of twenty-four thrones (Rev.4:4). These are grouped around
the throne of God, and doubtless are representative of all celestial rule, including that
indicated by the lesser terms dominion, sovereignty and authority. So that, in the
heavens, it seems that government is directed through twenty-four thrones, and through the
single throne of Satan.
had our way, these would be called lordships, for the Greek word is just a form of
this title of Christ. Perhaps masterdoms would be better yet, for that is what lord
really means. It is difficult to distinguish between thrones and dominions, but everyone
knows the difference between Christs office as King of Israel, and Lord of all. The
complement of king is subject, of lord is slave. In Ephesians
6:8,9 we can see this relationship clearly if we remember that a master is one who
has dominion. As a result it is probable that this relationship obtains among the
celestial hosts. It may seem strange to us to think of slavery in heaven, but how can
there be masters if there are no slaves? How can there be dominion if there
are none who are bound to obey?
In Luke 22:25 we read that
the kings of the gentiles exercise lordship over them (AV). This has
little meaning until we see that a lord is really a slave owner, and the point is that the
kings not only rule over their subjects for their good, but treat them as slaves, as their
own chattels for their own benefit. Christ is not only King of kings, but Lord of
lords. Kings are His subjects. Masters are His slaves. He will be over every sovereignty
and authority and power and dominion (Eph.1:21), for He created all (Col.1:16). The despising
or repudiating of dominion will be a feature of the last days.
easier for us to understand the terrestrial than the celestial. Therefore, we will study
the words archee and archoon as applied to things on earth before
considering their application to the heavenly hosts. The word archee comes from a
root denoting ORIGIN, hence is often used of time, and translated beginning.
Sometimes the context alone decides whether it means beginning or sovereign.
In Colossians 1:18 the Authorized Version reads, Who is the beginning,
while the CONCORDANT VERSION has it, Who is Sovereign, because
Firstborn denotes rank rather than precedence in time. The usual word for
denoting this in English is chief. If idiom permitted it, we would rather speak of
the chiefdoms in the heavens. Thus, in other combinations, the CONCORDANT VERSION
renders it chief messenger (archangel), chief priest (high priest), Chief
Shepherd (so, AV also), chief tribute collector, chief of the dining room
(governor of the feast), chief of [the province of] Asia, city chiefs
(rulers of the city). Besides this the element arch, chief, is hidden in
such words as inaugurator (chief-leader; AV, Prince, captain, author), foreman
(chief-artisan; AV, masterbuilder), ethnarch (nation-chief; AV,
governor), centurion (hundred-chief), prefecture (on-chief;
AV, province), patriarch (father-chief), tetrarch (four-chief),
captain (thousand-chief; AV, captain, high captain, chief captain). This
should show us that, when the Scriptures speak of chiefs in celestial regions or
rather chiefdoms or sovereignties, it denotes those of superior rank, who
are heads of the great mass of the heavenly hosts. In each case one with this appellation
is supreme within his own sphere.
The only instance in which
archee is used of superior earthly powers is found in Luke 12:11, which reads,
they may be bringing you before synagogues and chiefs (AV, magistrates) and
authorities. Here we see two district grades of earthly rule. The synonym archoon
is used of the chiefs (AV, rulers) in Israel (Matt.9:18,23; Luke 18:18;23:35; Acts
4:5, etc.) Nicodemus was such a chief (John 3:1). It is also used of the chief (AV,
ruler) of the synagogue (Luke 8:41). It will also help us to note that Beezeboul is called
the chief (AV, prince) of the demons (Matt.9:34;12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15),
Satan is chief (AV, prince) of the aerial jurisdiction (Eph.2:2), and Christ is Chief
or Suzerain of the kings of the earth (Rev.1:5).
Such superior positions on
earth are called chief in order to help us to apprehend what is meant when the
Scriptures mention the celestial sovereignties. Usually, indeed, the earthly and heavenly
dignitaries are both included in the term, as in Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:24;
Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16; 2:10, 15. No sovereignties, no chiefs, captains, or
princes, with all their might, whether on earth or in heaven, will be able to separate us
from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom.8:38). All of these are
connected with rule, and all will be gone when rule retires (1 Cor.15:24). Christ has
ascended above all such, not only on earth, but in the heavens (Eph.1:21). The whole
universe, in heaven and on earth, was created in the Son of Gods love, whether
thrones or dominions or sovereignties (Colossians 1:16).
are perhaps the lowest of the superior stations of intelligent creatures, in the heavens
as well as on the earth. It is always a delegated right, dependent on a power above for
its validity. The centurion whose boy was a paralytic was a sovereign archee over
his men, but was himself authorized by a superior officer (Matt.8:9). In His humiliation
Christ continually claimed authority of some kind. He had a right to pardon sins
(Matt.9:6; Luke 5:24), over unclean spirits (Mark 1:27), to cure diseases, to cast out
demons (Mark 3:15), but not over the times or the eras, which the Father placed in His own
jurisdiction (Acts 1:7). He gave His disciples authority to tread upon serpents and
scorpions and over the entire power which is of the enemy, such as unclean spirits (Mark
6:7) and to cure every disease and every debility (Matt.10:1).
Not His power, to do them
was challenged, but His right. The chief priests and elders came to Him while teaching,
saying, By what authority are you doing these things, and who gives you this
authority? (Matt.21:23; Mark 11:28; Luke 20:2). Instead of telling them that God had
delegated Him to do these things, He shows them that they did not get their
authority from Him, but from the populace, of whom they were afraid. It is a great pity
that the Authorized Version so often translates this word by power. Power belongs
to dunamis, which they usually translate power, but also ability,
abundance, mighty deeds, meaning, might, etc., miracle, strength, violence, virtue,
mighty, and wonderful works. A man may have an abundance of authority but very
little power. They are very different thoughts. The word exousia, authority, has
only five other English words to its credit in the Authorized Version. These are jurisdiction,
liberty, power, right, and strength.
authorities mentioned in the Scriptures include Herod, under whose jurisdiction our Lord
lived (Luke 23:7), and Pilate, who claimed the right to crucify or release Him (John
19:10). Our Lord defined his position by saying, You have no authority against Me in
a single thing except it were given you from above. Both Pilate and Herod were
merely delegates of Caesar. We are expressly told to be subject to the superior
authorities (Rom.13:1). In the future the conquerors of the end time will be given
authority during the last two eons (Rev.2:26). The wild beast will be given power and
authority by the dragon (Rev.13:2-7) over every tribe and people and language and nation.
Spirit authorities also
have jurisdiction on the earth. The Slanderer said to our Lord, after showing Him all the
kingdoms of the habitance, To you shall I be giving all this authority and the glory
of them, seeing that it has been given up to me, and to whomever I will I am giving
it (Luke 4:5,6). Paul was commissioned to turn the nations from the authority of
Satan to God (Acts 26:18). Satan is probably also the chief of the aerial jurisdiction,
the spirit now operating in the sons of Stubbornness (Eph.2:2) and the authority of
darkness (Col.1:13), from which we are delivered.
From these terrestrial
examples we may get a grasp of the force of the phrase the sovereignties and the authorities
among the celestials to whom Gods multifarious wisdom is now made known
(Eph.3:10), and also the spiritual forces of wickedness which are thus
designated (Eph.6:12), with whom we are at war.
SPECIAL SPIRITS IN THE HEAVENS
apt to consider an archangel the highest of the heavenly host. This may not be the case at
all. To be the chief messenger of God, is indeed an honor, but it may not be nearly
so high as the celestial thrones. In the great throne scene in the Unveiling the four
animals are nearest the Lambkin, then come the enthroned elders, and outside of them are
the myriads of messengers. They are not the highest of heavens hosts but the
MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
of all messengers is Michael. Yet he does not presume to argue with the Slanderer as an
equal. He dares not bring against him a calumniating judgment (Jude 9), even though,
later, he leads His subordinate messengers in battle against the dragon and his
messengers, and will succeed in ejecting him thence.
But Michael is more than a
messenger. He is a chief. Indeed, he is one of the head chiefs (Dan.10:13), called
a great chief in Daniel 12:1. The most notable point in his position is that,
though a celestial, his duties are chiefly connected with the earth, or rather, with the
nation of Israel. From this it is evident that there are spiritual chiefs, as well as
human heads, for the nations of the earth. Not only do the nations oppose Israel, but
their spirit heads oppose the spirits who are appointed to serve the holy people. The
chief of the kingdom of Persia stood against a messenger twenty-one days until Michael
came to his help (Dan.10:13), for there is no other spirit that held with him in this
matter (Dan.10:21). Michael is the great chief who stands for the sons of Israel
It is most fitting that
the chief of Gods messengers should be the spirit chief of Israel also, for his
messages to the earth must come through the chosen people. And he it is who will stand up
once more against the spirit foes of the beloved nation in the time of the end (Dan.12:1).
In the past he doubted the Slanderer and argued with him concerning the body of Moses,
their great leader. In the future he will lead his hosts of messengers against the
messengers of the Slanderer and eject them from the heavens. The Slanderer had been
accusing the saints of Israel before God, as he had done in the case of Job. After that
his office will be vacant. After a brief but terrific career on earth, a messenger, either
Michael himself or one of his host, confines Satan to the abyss, so that he will deceive
the nations no longer (Rev.20:1-3).
most honored of all messengers in the work of bringing tidings, is Gabriel, whose name may
be Englished into Deitys-might. He is by far the best example we have of
the position and occupation of celestial messengers. He is far below the celestial
dignitaries who sit on thrones before the Supreme (Rev.4:4). His description of himself
and his office is typical. I am Gabriel who stand before God, and I was
dispatched to speak to you and to bring you this evangel (Luke 1:19). He it was
who announced the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:11-20). And he had the honor of
bringing the most welcome of all messages, the birth of the Messiah (Luke 1:26-38).
The messenger Gabriel was dispatched from God. Michael, the so-called
archangel, might have envied him.
In the long past he had
been similarly honored, for he it was who appeared to Daniel and gave him the
interpretation of a vision he had just seen (Dan.8:16-26). And he it was who was sent and
flew swiftly to give Daniel the message concerning the so-called seventy weeks
or heptads (Dan.9:20-27). His messages occupy far more of Holy Writ than those of any
other messenger. Two large sections of Daniel and two long messages in Luke came through
The problem of Gabriel is
too great a one to enlarge upon at this point. We are too much mastered by our traditions
to view it dispassionately. The facts are: Gabriel is called a man (ish, Dan.9:21).
This does not seem to be figurative. The seeming impossibility of this is neutralized by
the fact that men, such as Enoch and Elijah, have left the earth. They did not die, so far
as the record goes. Hence they must have superhuman might to exist in the heavens. The
name Gabriel points to this. Elijah is mentioned in connection with the transformation of
our Lord (Matt.17:3). It seems that he will be one of the two witnesses of the end time
(Rev.11:3). Only one who is able to examine the Scriptures microscopically, and who has a
tight rein on his own reasonings, is able to delve into such depths. The strange thing is
that the angel Gabriel is called a man, and the man John the Baptist,
is called an angel.
THE FISHY STORY OF RAPHAEL
archangels are taken from the vain writings of men. One merely needs to read
the book of Tobias, and the part played by Raphael, to be disgusted with all such silly
nonsense. Raphael is good at witchcraft. When Tobias was washing his feet in the Tigris, a
fish tried to swallow him. But Raphael bade him grasp it by the fins and pull it out! Then
they ate the fish but saved the heart, the gall, and the liver. Raphael explained to
Tobias that the gall is good as a salve for the eyes, to cure cataract! But the heart and
liver should most interest us, for, the angel Raphael assures Tobias, if you put a bit of
each on glowing coals, the fumes will drive away all kinds of evil spirits, so that they
cannot do any harm! (I think that the smell would drive me away also)!
Then Tobias gets a chance
to marry an heiress. The only drawback was that she had already married seven men, and
they were all in the cemetery, having been killed by an evil spirit on the wedding night.
But they had not used fish entrails to protect them. So Tobias smoked out the evil spirit
and Raphael bound it in the desert in Egypt. He not only proved the efficacy of the heart
and liver, but Tobias cured his fathers cataract with the gall.
such drivel as this which is associated with the names of other angels. Raphael claimed to
be only one of seven angels who stand before God. This spurious book of Enoch has much to
say about them, and gives many names, such as Semjasa, Azazel, and Uriel, who is often
taken, with Raphael and Gabriel and Michael, as one of the four archangels. In
the Book of Jubilees Satan is called Mastema. This book gives only four presence
angels, instead of seven. As usual, it confuses the demons with celestial messengers.
Unless we have already been convinced of these false traditions, these spurious writings
will not ring true. They have simply been forged to satisfy our craving for knowledge
withheld from us by God. But they are always out of harmony with the inspired writing of
There is no scriptural
basis for the book of Enoch. A passage in Matthew 27:9,10 is quoted from the prophet
Jeremiah. No such words are to be found in the book bearing his name. This has created
endless difficulties. But it was declared by Jeremiah, not written by him.
So Enoch prophesied. He did not write a book. Why add to that which is written?
The ancient Jewish
traditionists, and even modern commentators, make Azazel an evil spirit of the wilderness.
This they get from Leviticus 16:8,10,10,26, where oz (which means goat) and azl
(which means DEPARTURE) are combined into one word, usually spelled Azazel. Luther
renders it so, in his version. The Authorized Version rightly translates it scapegoat.
It was the goat of departure, in contrast with the goat that was sacrificed.
Of such stuff are these angels made. This one is nothing but a goat!
also manufactured by translators. The Hebrew word ill is translated
howl by them more than twenty-five times. Once only, for decorative effect,
they rendered it Lucifer (Isa.14:12). It occurs with precisely the same
letters in Zechariah 11:2; Ezekiel 21:12, where they have rendered it howl. Our
word yell is practically the same in sound and significance. It is translated howl
in verse 31 of this very chapter. So Lucifer is nothing more than a howl! The passage
should read, Howl, son of the dawn! It refers to the king of Babylon.
wings of the cherubim are often taken from them in order to manufacture an angel,
notwithstanding the fact that they sometimes have two, sometimes four and at other times
six pinions. The cherubim of Ezekiel and the animals of the Unveiling (Ezek.1:5-11;
Rev.4:6-8) have not a trace of the celestial about them. They are of the earth entirely,
for they are made up of the heads of animate creation down here, not in the heavens. The
lion, the calf, the man, belong to earth, even if the vulture may border on the heavens.
The Hebrew cherub, krub, has the literal meaning AS-MANY. This shows that they are
representative of the animal creation on earth, including man. They never go about
carrying messages, so are not angels.
six-pinioned seraphim are seen only in Isaiahs vision. Unlike Gabriel, they stand above
the throne of the Divine Majesty. That they are not messengers or angels is manifest, for
they do not offer themselves when Yahweh asks, Whom shall I send? It is Isaiah
who is the angel in this case, not the seraphim. Indeed, they would not do. Their name
means BURNING-UP. They take hot flagstones from the altar. Such a messenger would only
consume sinful men.
THE ANCIENT SERPENT, THE SLANDERER AND SATAN
as we know, the first spirit which came into contact with humanity was the ancient
serpent, the Slanderer, and Satan. These are his titles, not his name. They indicate
his office, for he is the Shatan, or Adversary, and the Slanderer of God through out the
eons of evil, a position of great dignity and power. The miserable caricatures which
represent him as a devil with horns and hoofs and a forked tail are serious
libels on his high place as the chief enemy of God and man. He is falsely charged with
much filth which may be as abhorrent to him as to us. He is not the direct instigator of
the evil things that come out of mans decadent heart. He knows nothing of sex. He is
not a demon, nor is he ever found working with demons in the Scriptures.
The views of most people
concerning Satan are based on Miltons fictions and Goethes poem, rather than
the sacred volume. But Satan has not yet been hurled from heaven, as the author of
Paradise Lost would have us believe. He has never been in hell, is not there
now, and never will be. He is, indeed, himself a part of the imperceptible (hades), but he
is never associated with the place of punishment, or fire, until after the thousand years.
Meanwhile his proper place is in heaven, until he is cast down to earth at the time of the
end. Then he will be chained in the abyss during the millennium. The Slanderer sinned from
the beginning (John 8:44). The attempt to see a symbol of Satan in the king of Tyre is
simply an effort to justify our unbelief in the plain declaration of our Lord. To guard
the subject God gives us all of Satans titles in the Apocalypsethe dragon, the
serpent, the Slanderer, and Satan and we are not warranted in adding to this list
these days, when Christendom has forsaken the testimony of God concerning the death state
and accepts the doctrine of demons, it is of the utmost importance that we know what the
Scriptures teach concerning these spirits. Practically no one seems to realize that they
are deceiving spirits. Many who read these words will say in their hearts,
But we have the very best authority. We know what the spirits themselves say.
That may be true. Men of absolute integrity, who have been careful to confirm their words
by ample and competent witnesses, may give an absolutely correct account of the utterances
of demons. We do not question their testimony. But it is folly to believe what the demons
say. The man of faith will think: The Scriptures say they are deceiving
spirits. Therefore, what they utter is sure to be false.
The Scriptures clearly
teach that the dead know nothing (Ecc.9:5). Demons say that the dead are alive and can
communicate with the living. This has become the teaching of the church. It accounts for
the great success of spiritism. Men who write books against spiritism, showing Gods
stand against all such lawlessness, yet acknowledge that the dead are alive, are doing
spiritism a great service. The right or wrong in such a matter is of small weight with
most men. In fact, men of God have boasted that the dead have appeared to them, and have
used such demonic deceptions as clear proof that the Scriptures must be understood to
teach accordingly. Be honest with yourself, my dear reader. If some deceased friend should
appear to you and say that the dead can communicate with the living, what would you do?
Believe the deceptive demon or the Word of God?
THE SLANDERER AND DEMONS
translation devils in our accepted versions, is most unfortunate, especially
as they translate one of the titles of Satan, the Slanderer, as devil also.
Satan is not connected with the demons in Scripture. He is always confused with them in
other writings. Men have almost forgotten Beezeboul, the chief of the demons. Satan is not
their chief. There is no indication that demons are celestial spirits. They are always
associated with the earth. They are usually unclean. Satan is never presented so. There
seems to be an immense distance between these two orders of spirits, as much almost, as
between the aristocracy and the slums among men. Both are satans or adversaries. If
Beezeboul casts out demons or Satan casts out his helpers, both will destroy themselves
(Matt.12:26; Mark 3:23,26; Luke 11:18).
While these two orders of
spirits are at the two extremes of the spirit world, their object is the same. They wish
to draw away the allegiance of mankind from God to themselves. They desire the worship
of mankind. Therefore, they may be confederate. Satan uses demons to accomplish his
object. But I never found any evidence in Holy Writ that either of them is sex-conscious,
or uses sex-sins to accomplish his purpose. Rather, I can well imagine Satan to be
discouraged and disgusted by the sins which men commit because they are devitalized by the
death process into which he lured them at the first. Where is there a plain passage of
Scripture which teaches otherwise? Of course, there are innumerable stories, coming from
the demons themselves, which teach the contrary, but we should not give heed to demons.
James, in his epistle,
clinches the fact that demons have not the feelings of human beings when he speaks of the
wisdom which is terrestrial, soulish, demoniacal (James 3:15). The
Authorized Version renders soulish rather well in this passage by means of
sensual, though this term is not broad enough to include all human sensations.
This is here distinguished from that which belongs to demons. They are not sensual or
possessed of the passions which pertain to the sexes.
Through the mistranslation
devils the demons have been confused with the devil, the usual rendering for
Satan, as the Slanderer. We cannot say that demons are never messengers, or
angels, for three of them will be used to mobilize the nations for the great
battle of the end time, and this is somewhat like the duties of a messenger. But they are
always to be distinguished from celestial messengers. Beezeboul, and not the
devil, or Slanderer, is the chief of the demons (Matt.12:24). Our Lord was
called Beezeboul because the demons obeyed Him (Matt.12:27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15,18,19).
The people of our Lords time never confused the devil and the devils as we are
forced to do through discordant translations. The word devil should have no
place in any Bible, for the grotesque creatures it calls to mind are not like demons, and
libel the dignitary, Satan.
POSSESSION, OR OBSESSION
difference between the Slanderer (the devil) and the demons (the
devils) is marked in the matter of obsession, or possession. With one exception,
Satan is never said to enter into or come out of anyone. He entered into Judas, for Judas,
of himself, would never have betrayed our Lord. But this was not at all like possession,
for he entered for a brief period only, in order to accomplish a specific act (John
13:27). Demon possession is more permanent. It is the settled habit of demons to control
human beings, but the Slanderer, as a rule, works through them. He first put it into the
heart of Judas to betray his Lord (John 13:2), then, knowing that he was not equal to the
actual act, entered himself. Who is willing to say that, under the same conditions, he
would not do as Judas did?
In Scripture demoniacs are
afflicted with certain physical and mental derangements. They are distinguished from those
who are ill, diseased, tormented, in their flesh. The cases recorded in the Scriptures are
undoubtedly signs, and were set down because they give us a picture of Israel and the
effect of the unclean spirit in that nation. At the same time the Scriptures alone are
reliable guides as to the character of demonism, for men are not capable of discriminating
between that which is of the flesh and that which is the direct result of spirits.
In the young, demonism
seems to have a very general character. The youthful daughter of the Canaanitish woman was
evilly obsessed. The case of the boy in Luke 9:38-42 is similar.
Suddenly he is crying out and it is tearing and convulsing him with froth. It
is the bodily reaction of a violent mental disturbance. And he is departing with
difficulty from him, crushing him. The mental conflict is most acute at the crisis
when the spirit leaves. In the Gadarene demoniac this was far more advanced. He became
actually insane, would not wear clothes, became non-social and wanted to live in the
wilderness. Physically, he possessed superhuman strength, hence he was not weakened by
disease or by the injuries he inflicted on himself. His cure restored him to his fellows.
Garmented and sane, He wished to be with Christ. Demons cannot bear the presence of our
Saviour, or even of His believing saints.
The case where a demoniac
became both deaf and mute (Matt.9:32; Luke 11:14) and even blind (Matt.12:22) do not seem
to have been accompanied by violent physical disturbances. But the epileptic
(Matt.17:14-18) seemed to have uncontrollable fits which would fling his body into fire
and into water.
Let us note that the sex
element is entirely lacking in every case. The physical phenomena were always of the
nature which are due to mental aberration. They were not functional diseases or chronic
illnesses. Only in confirmed cases were they constant. In most instances they were
The phenomena of
hypnotism, sometimes called Mesmerism, are very similar to
possession or obsession, only the human spirit of another takes the place of
the demon. Some experiences along this line, which I know to be absolutely reliable, may
help us to understand more of the function of mans spirit, and how it may be
replaced by an outside spirit, which is what is meant by possession. At first
it was necessary for the hypnotist to tell his subject what to do. But, as he became more
thoroughly dominated, the hypnotist needed merely to think, and the subject obeyed his
mental commands. His soul was entirely subordinated. He would not only eat soap with
relish, when told how good it tasted, but asked for more. Perhaps the strangest of all was
the fact that he would do things utterly against his will and, to all appearances, while
he was doing his utmost to prevent it. The case was as follows. It may help to solve some
mysteries in demonism.
The incident occurred on a
mountain where a large party was camping, without collusion or preparation, where no stage
settings were possible. About thirty people were seated in a circle, and the subject was
in the center. Taking an ordinary wooden box, once used for shipping groceries, the
hypnotist placed it in the center of the circle and told a hypnotized boy to hold it down
with all his might, because the box would surely jump about if he did not keep it on the
ground. The boy leaned over the box and grasped it firmly in his hands. His muscles bulged
with his efforts to keep the box stationary. All to no avail. The box suddenly hopped into
the air, seemingly in spite of all he could do. He ran after it, and held it down again,
but it kept on jumping about, until the company were so frightened that they begged to
have the matter ended.
The explanation was
exceedingly simple. The boys muscles were directed by two forces, one apparent and
the other subconscious. Undoubtedly he did his best to hold down the box, even if he was in
a trance. But beneath it all was the subtle suggestion of the hypnotist, that the box
would jump. Therefore, he made the box move. It entirely escaped the terrified onlookers
that the box, which seemed so full of life, never moved unless the boy was holding it
down. All they saw was that he did his best to keep it quiet. The boy himself did not know
what he was doing, so how could they? Many a spiritist scene may be explained on similar
grounds, but, of course, the control is in the hands of evil spirits, not a human spirit.
Possession is immediately
concerned with the spirit of a man. An alien, wicked spirit displaces his own and controls
his body, thus indirectly affecting his sensations, or soul.
While the Authorized
Version translates daimonia almost uniformly devils, yet in one case it
gives us what may be considered as the most discordant of all renderings. In Acts 17:18 it
appears as gods. The same word rendered both god and devil!
Yet this strange variant gives us a clue to the truth about demons. The name comes from
the root da, TEACH. The ancients did not deem demons devils, but gods,
who were worthy of worship. The Athenians thought that Paul was announcing strange
deities. He, on the other hand, says that the nations sacrifice to demons, not to God (1
Cor.10:20). He did not wish the saints to be participants with demons. This opens to us
vast vistas of truth. The worship of the world is largely accorded to these spirits. The
ancient pantheons held not mere idols of stone, but had a background of actual spirits,
who were able to communicate with men through possession and mediums.
FASTING AND PRAYER
the Lord was on the mountain top in glory, some of His disciples were below, unable to
heal an epileptic who often fell into fire or water. What a wonderful picture of the
Pentecostal era! Israel was epileptic, often falling into sore affliction, but the kingdom
testimony was a failure because of their lack of faith. This cannot be cured until the
Lord Himself descends and puts a new spirit into the apostate nation. Of course the church
does not believe this. It can cure the epileptic. How? They will bring the kingdom
to earth and expel the wicked spirits by prayer and fasting! It has even inserted this in
its Bible. This kind goeth not out save by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29) is
not found in Vaticanus and Alexandrinus. It was added by a very late reviser of
Sinaiticus, who has no weight. It is omitted from the Revised Version. It is not
Gods Word. As the editor of the CONCORDANT VERSION felt that he was prejudiced
against it, he retained it in his text. But no further editions will have it. None of the
three most ancient manuscripts has the passage in Matthew 17:21.
This obscure contradiction
in the Bible has led to hazy notions as to the character of demons. In one passage they
seem sensual, in the other ascetic. Our Lord told his hearers, John came neither
eating nor drinking, and they are saying `He has a demon!' The Son of Mankind came eating
and drinking, and they are saying `Lo! a gluttonous man and a tippler...'
(Matt.11:18,19). The contrast is most instructive. The demons are connected with an ascetic.
They evidently do not lead to gluttony and physical excesses, according to the opinion of
the people of that day. And this is the constant attitude of Scripture. Demoniacs are
never driven to fleshly lusts, but are unnaturally severe on their flesh. They are often
most violent in their treatment of the human body.
The teaching that some
kinds of demons may be expelled by fasting and prayer is itself a doctrine of demons. A
vigorous physical constitution and a strong will may successfully withstand them. They
wish to break down the stamina of their victims, to make them passive and receptive.
Nothing is a better preparation for this than fasting, especially abstinence from animal
flesh, and an attitude of prayer or submission to the will of another. Toward God this
attitude is correct, but toward His creatures it is not. It is a sign of the times that,
in Japan, there are evangelistic leaders who take this so seriously that some have starved
themselves to death, thinking that this demonic doctrine was the Word of God, and utterly
oblivious of the denunciation of asceticism by Paul in Colossians (2:20-23).
spirit seems to be another term for demon. Concerning those called
Legion we read, And all the demons entreat them, and, a few
lines further, the unclean spirits coming out,... This shows that we
need not distinguish between them, except that all demons may not necessarily be unclean.
So we read of one having the spirit of an unclean demon (Luke 4:33). These spirits were wicked
(Matt.12:45). In what did their wickedness consist? The man among the tombs was a physical
menace. We have a remarkable description of a demons desires when it comes out of a
man. It passes through waterless places, seeking rest. It is an experience we can
hardly understand, for they are not swayed by the passions of the flesh. That these
spirits are demons is further evident by the frogs which issue out of the mouth of the
false prophet (Rev.16:14). They are unclean spirits ...for they are spirits of
demons. During the millennium Babylon becomes the jail of every unclean spirit.
Satan will be bound in the abyss, but the unclean spirits in Babylon.
unclean never has the special sense of sexual impurity. This is evident from
the fact that, in lists of sins such as we have in Galatians 5:19, both adultery and
fornication, which cover the field of sex sins, must be used as well as uncleanness. There
is not the slightest evidence in the Scriptures that unclean spirits have sex or even
lawful desire, let alone unlawful lusts. Out of the heart of man come adulteries
and prostitutions (Matt.15:19). I am well aware that much has been written, based on
experience with demons, which seems to indicate that they are swayed by the same passions
as men, but I have learned to distrust the testimony of fallible human beings like myself,
and confide only in Gods written revelation. Demons are deceptive. Their words and
actions are not worthy of a place beside the sacred scrolls.
We are too free in
charging outside influences with responsibility for our delinquencies. It is true that
Satan originally led the race astray, but as a result of this, we are directly affected by
the world about us and by the flesh within. I find no intimation in the scriptures that
satan or the demons are sex-conscious, or that they lead mankind into sins of that nature.
There is sufficient cause for that in the flesh. The phrase unclean spirit has
been misapplied. In no case in the Scriptures is the uncleanness between the sexes.
name Magdalen is based on an unfounded accusation against Mary Magdalene, out of whom our
Lord cast seven demons. No character in Scripture has been so unjustly maligned. There is
absolutely no evidence that she had ever been an impure woman. On the contrary, the Jews
associated asceticism, not sensuality, with demon possession. The probabilities are that
she had an austere character, well suited to wait upon the One Who had released her from
the power of the demons.
That which pertains to
spirits cannot be understood by human beings. For instance, their affinity for water. When
the unclean spirit comes out of man and passes through waterless places, it finds
no rest (Matt.12:43; Luke 11:24). The instant that the legion of demons entered into the
herd of hogs, they rushed down into the waters of the lake, even though they had
especially asked not to be sent to the abyss (Luke 8:33), And why mention the abyss? That
also seems to be water, for the word used of the shaft which leads to it is well
the same word which is used of Jacobs well (John 4:11,12). The
smoke which ascends out of the pit is really fumes which
ascend out of the well (Rev.9:2). Finally, great Babylon will become like a
millstone cast into the sea (Rev.18:21) and thus it will become the dwelling place of
demons and a jail of every unclean spirit during the thousand years (Rev.18:2). Water
seems to be the normal element of demons.
To get a grasp of the vast
difference between Satan and the demons we need only contrast their contacts with our
Lord. To meet Satan, our Lord fasted forty days. He made no such preparation to meet the
demons. Satan came to Him in the wilderness. The demons were encountered in human bodies.
Satan had authority to try Him and spoke to Him as an equal. Christ had authority to
dispossess the demons, and they were afraid of Him. Our Lord allowed Satans claim to
the kingdoms of the world, and not only listened to him, but answered him with dignity. He
would not listen to demons and paid small attention to their petitions. At the close He
said Go, Satan, for it is written. The demons he ejected without ceremony. It
is fatal to confuse these two spirit realms in our dealings with them. Satan is not a
superior demon, though of course the demons are all shatans, or adversaries.
While the demons have the
office of adversary in common with Satan, they are not slanderers. It is most misleading
to call both devils. It would not have been nearly so confusing to name them both adversaries.
Satan slanders God. In Eden he questioned His love, and he is continually seeking to
misrepresent Him to His creatures. Demons do not do this. When they speak, they
acknowledge the superiority of our Lord Jesus, and give Him His due. They fear His name,
and have no illusions about their ability to cope with Him. If men only had the faith in
Christ that they have, more demons would be cast out. The demons believe and tremble. The
disciples disbelieve and fail.
Demons are exceedingly
sensitive to faith and unbelief. I well remember going inadvertently into a room where a
medium was seeking to get a message from a demon. I sat down and waited for some time,
with the growing realization of an angry, antagonistic, but invisible presence. At last
the medium turned on me with horrible hatred burning in her eyes, and said, Nothing
can be done while he is in the room. As I was interfering with the desires of those
present, I left.
Lord did not wish the demons to speak. In His presence they could not lie, for they know
He is the Truth. How foolish it is to allow them to have their say! On one occasion the
disciples could not cast out a demon, and the question was, Why not? They had
authority, but they lacked faith. That is abundantly evident in practically every
contact with demons of which we have any record. Even the most godly men not only allow
the demons to talk, but they believe what they say, and thus refuse to believe what God
has said, that is, that they are deceiving spirits. This is the key to spiritism,
or spiritualism, as it is sometimes called. The advanced members of that cult have
themselves come to realize how unreliable the spirits are. One of them said that it was
evident that men had broken through into the spirit world on the spot where they have
their insane asylum!
Spiritism is by no means
confined to its advocates. The very ones who oppose it often unwittingly teach the very
doctrines which the demons wish to promulgate. The Christian church as a whole has
rejected Gods testimony concerning the death state and believes the lies of demons
that they are alive. That which the apostle foretold has come to pass. The church, and
some most earnest, sincere, and faithful men in it, have given heed to deceiving spirits.
As a religion, Christianity teaches what has come from demons to an extent seldom
recognized, because it is all supported by passages in the Bible which have been wrested
from their context or are distorted to suit the doctrine which the demons disseminate.
MANKIND WILL BE ABOVE ANGELS
marvelous vision which opens the throne section of the Unveiling gives us an instructive
glimpse of the different orders of creation and their rank, just as a reception by an
earthly monarch reveals the rank of those who attend, by according them places in keeping
with their nobility. It reverses our ideas completely. The angels, whom we thought the
nearest, stand outside. Mankind, whom we thought the furthest, is incorporated right into
the throne itself. God is revealing Himself through His earthly creation. His Image is a
Man. The animals, or cherubim, are centered in His throne. Israel shall rule the earth. We
shall rule messengers, and the whole universe. We are nearer to Him than the twelve
celestial monarchs, and these are far superior to the messengers. The future habitance is
not subjected to messengers, but to men (Heb.2:5). The whole universe is subjected to
Christ as the Head of the ecclesia (Eph.1:22,23).
misconceptions have robbed Christ of one of His glories, for He fulfills the function of
Messenger in an exalted sense. He is better than any celestial messenger, yet He has a
message for His people when He comes again. He will announce to them the great fact of
their deliverance, that their glorification is due. He will descend, with the voice of an
archangel, like Michaels, and the trumpet of God (1 Thess.4:16). Indignation, wrath,
will be committed to messengers. But such good news could never be confided to them, even
though it is their work. He delights in grace, and wishes to give out the good news
Himself. For this purpose He assumes the archangels voice. His shout of command will
be obeyed by all the members of His body. Thus He excels Michael and becomes the most
mighty of all messengers, the Chief of the chiefs.
The spirit world is not
merely an object of academic interest to us. It is the field of our future efforts, the
sphere in which we are to serve and glorify God. We shall have the unspeakable privilege
of making known to these dignitaries and their subjects the surpassing love of God as
revealed on earth through sin and the great Sinbearer, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
It is not merely ours externally, but the message of the cross and of reconciliation has
been put into us, as it never can be implanted in creatures of a higher origin than ours.
We are last. In Gods grace, that is our vast advantage. Only such are fitted to be a
foil for His favor. And His love can only be properly displayed by making us first. First,
not for ourselves, but for the sake of those who are now above us, who shall through us,
see the face of Him Who desires to be All in them as He is All in us.
[Part One] [Part
Two] [Part Three] [Part Four]
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