Angelogy & Spiritual Warfare
Scripture affirms the presence and existence of angels, both holy angels and fallen angels. Angels were among that which was created by God, however the fallen angels chose their fate after creation. Angels are superior to human beings and uphold a higher level of wisdom. Although invisable (Col 1:16) and large in numbers, angels are creatures, not of flesh and blood or a physical body necessarily, (but also not likely the societal picture of the white, winged cheribum). As servants of God, (or in the case of fallen angels, slaves of Satan), they are unable to act according to their own will and may only act within God’s ultimate permission. They are not omnipotent, but they do derive superhuman power from God.
God’s holy angels are referred to in such roles as divine messengers (1 Kings 19:2, Luke 7:24, 9:52), council (Ps. 89:7), assembly (Ps. 89:5), and watchers (Dan 4:13, 17, 23). They minister to believers (Acts 5:19), are consistent in praise (Job 38:7, Luke 2:14-14), assist in revealing God’s message (Acts 7:53) and in executing judgement (2 Kings 19:35). They will also be accompanying Jesus in the Second Coming (Matt 25:31).
God’s fallen angels, also referred to as demons, have chosen to abandon their Creator and are now slaves to the enemy. Satan, as the leader of these demons, is also under the restriction of God’s permission and was defeated entirely by Christ’s atoning death on the cross. While still trying to fight despite his guaranteed defeat, he is active in blinding, lying and sinning and directing all forces of evil to lure the believer away from Christ. He cannot be defeated by the believer solely by his or her own strength, but only by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:26, 1 Cor 3:16). Satan will ultimately be bound for one thousand years (Rev 20) and after a short release, be forever cast into the lake of fire and brimstone with the rest of the fallen angels.
In the meantime, they continue to interfere with mankind as much as possible; which leads to the reality of spiritual warfare.
Spiritual warfare is as real as Christ in Christianity. All believers, (who accept that Christ died on the cross for our sins, and indeed won the battle over death), inclusively understand that Christ battled against Satan. Christ came to earth as the example of how we are to do exactly the same – to incorporate the Holy Spirit and pick up our cross and follow Him (Matt 16:24).
Within ministry, one must focus on maintaining the example of Jesus and the words of Scripture to present a balanced viewpoint and engagement in spiritual warfare. It is clear that spiritual warfare need not be public, when it can and should be done privately between the believer and God (such as in fasting). It is clear that we are not to directly test or challenge a creation of God (“may lightning strike me dead”, wrapping potentially dangerous snakes around our necks), nor are we to speak directly to the enemy, as we are unqualified to do so. Only Jesus Himself can safely engage with the devil (Matt 16:23), (and even when He did, He didn’t go looking for the interaction, it was instead His reaction in being approached).
Further, Jesus always used Scripture in battle. While Jesus was God himself, and could have merely blinked to obliterate Satan, He instead became the fully human example of how we are to fight alongside of Him. Being a Christian does not make a believer immune to any pain of this world, including a bite from a snake that is perhaps being mishandled or used inappropriately. In fact, the Bible directly confirms that we must be willing to give up all and suffer greatly if necessary for the will of God (Matt 16:24). No believer is qualified to test the snake, or “the serpent” for the sake of spiritual warfare.
We must remember that spiritual warfare will continue to be real until the enemy is indeed crushed for once and for all during the Second Coming (1 Corin 15:26), and that as such we are to take it seriously and understand that it affects all believers, and not just those especially “gifted” to do so. We must immerse ourselves in the Scripture so that we know the verses to apply to the specifics of the warfare as it arrives. We are to maintain, repeat and meditate on those verses without additional theatrics in order to maintain our appropriate position within spiritual warfare. And we must remain in discernment to avoid any type of practice which brings prideful recognition to the “exorcist” as a result of their “victory”. The victory belongs to Christ alone, and believers are granted the privilege to engage only as the voice of truth; responding in the words of Scripture, presenting the facts that the victory has already been declared.