Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 02-21-99
A reconnaissance team is sent out, generally composed of Calvary, to search ahead for the enemy's location, to search out their forces at hand and to even note the generals in charge. The more information they can secure, the better. Such information becomes power itself in that it better equips one's own forces in preparing for battle. Without accurate knowledge of one's enemy the position of stability cannot be decided. It takes knowledge to make the proper decisions. A perfect example of this was what happened to General Lee in Pennsylvania. His Calvary reconnaissance, headed by the dapper Calvary General Jeb Stuart, was out making the rounds in the nearby town rather than securing the crucial information Lee so badly need on the location and numbers of the Union forces.
You see, this battle was not planned, Lee was heading north to find shoes for his men. However, the Union commander of Meade's advance cavalry, General Buford, happened upon Lee's position and recognized the strategic importance of Gettysburg and secured the best ground there. Buford held this site until reinforcements arrived. This was the first time Lee had no eyes going into a battle because his Calvary was ineffective at this time. Meade through Buford knew his enemy, Lee through Stuart did not. In the past battle Lee's Calvary always supplied him with a beautiful scenario. But now, all Lee could do was guess and we know his decision for a frontal assault on the third day was disastrous and lost him the battle, as well as a great number of men. Had he known his enemy's location, layout, and numbers, Lee's tactics upon entering into the battle of Gettysburg would have been quite different.
Knowledge lays the ground work for the proper preparation and only the proper preparation gives way to effective action. What if what was taught to all Christian soldiers was such doctrines as the love of God, God's essence, the substitutionary spiritual death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the order of the elective decrees, and so on. Nothing wrong with such truths of power but to leave it at that would render the believer's reconnaissance incomplete and mitigate God's plan. The whole realm of truth must be apprehended and inculcated into the believer's soul in order to make a full circle around the enemy's camp and know their situation. The Christian soldier must know that he is a full time soldier who possesses a full time enemy. The Christian soldier is not only to become intimate with God's character but also with the knowledge of the enemy. There is a spiritual conflict waging around us and without the proper knowledge of our enemy we lay ourselves completely vulnerable to his tactics.
Most Christians are all into the l-o-v-e of God and cleaning up the world. They never come to know that the world is Satan's and has been rejected by God. They never come to know what their true purpose is. Therefore the list of Christian casualties grows and grows. Satan smugly attempts to blind believers to their true calling and blind unbelievers to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. But we know that there is a conflict and in such there is an opposing force. The enemy, Satan and his forces which make up the kingdom of darkness, is as real as we are. Just because they are invisible does not dilute their power. In fact, it increases their deception which is why it is so important that we learn all that the word of God has to tell us concerning our enemy.
We were not put here to skip through life always happy, having everything go our blissful little way. Clearly happiness can be found in the natural realm but happiness is also found in the spiritual realm. Happiness in the spiritual realm is based on knowledge not emotion. And, knowing one's enemy brings to the believer, confidence and power. It brings the assurance of action and the ability to hold one's ground under pressure. The believer therefore, reconnoiters the enemy camp through Bible doctrine. The word of God gives us great detail as to the character of our enemy, his position, his history, his forces, and his future. We know that Satan is not omnipresent as God is, but he does control a huge host of fallen angels who spread themselves around, observing and reporting back to the boss. In such, the kingdom of darkness has eyes everywhere. And since angels don't die, his fallen angels have been around since the beginning of human history. They have complete files on you and every one in your family tree. They make special note of the weaknesses that run in your family as well as your own personal weaknesses as they seek to exploit them.
Satan's Demon Table of Organization consists of four categories as noted in EPH 6:12...
1) The Rulers
2) The Powers
3) The World Forces
4) The Spiritual Forces
The Rulers are made up of the highest ranking demon generals such as Apollyon (who is at this time imprisoned in the Abyss the 4th compartment of Hades) and Beelzebub, who is free. Apollyon, which is his Greek name is also called Abaddon in the Hebrew. He is mentioned once in the N.T., REV 9:11 and he is mentioned 9 times in the O.T. His name means destruction and is a synonym for Sheol or Hades. His name is associated with Sheol in that it is never satisfied, it is a place of no contentment. Apollyon is the king of the Abyss and will not be released until half way through the tribulation. Once he is released the world will know a terrible time of wrath, judgment, indignation, punishment, trial, trouble, destruction and darkness! Fortunately we, the believers in Christ, will have been raptured out from the world before the Tribulational period. Those left behind will encounter a lifestyle completely different than any thing we know. For the first time in human history since Genesis chapter 6, fallen angels will actually be able to be seen. But just as God can use the wrath of man to praise Him (PSA 76:10), He will also use the wrath of fallen angels during the Tribulation to praise Him. Presently, elect angels can take visible form to human eyes, but fallen angels cannot due to their transgression of Gen 6, when they violated the rules of the angelic conflict. The demon general Beelzebub who is free at this time, though invisible, deals in the realm of deceit. He operates as Satan's inside contact in covert warfare against the human race. He is in charge of fake healings, signs and wonders. He is in charge of the eggastromuthos demons who are the ventriloquist demons representing the (false) gift of tongues. Often times Beelzebub will cause physical or mental induced illnesses and then heal the illness in a show of miracles. Many Christians today fall for this type of nonsense. Again, Beelzebub is in operation now and Apollyon is presently imprisoned and will not be in operational status until the middle of the Tribulation. So that takes care of our first category of Satan's Demon Table of Organization, the Rulers. Next we have the Powers. The second group, the Powers as noted in REV 9:11 consists of commissioned officers under the authority of the four generals mentioned inREV 9:13-21. These officers are under the authority of Satan, Apollyon, and Beelzebub and are devoted to implementing the policy and strategy of Satan throughout the world. Each of these generals has fifty million demons under his command. The whole number between the four generals amounts to 200 million demons. In the Tribulation they will be horrifyingly visible and vicious seeing that they have been preparing and have kept themselves in a state of readiness for the anticipated time. The demons who are free now control the atmosphere under the rulership of Satan, EPH 2:2. They are also in the atmosphere learning and observing us, EPH 3:10. These are the fallen angels who make up the kingdom of darkness, COL 1:13.
Our third category in Satan's Demon Table of Organization is the World Forces of Darkness. These are Satan's demon ambassadors who control many powerful rulers in the world in order to carry out Satan's objectives. They influence world rulers in order to execute the policies and mandates of Satan. This is a special group of demons assigned to discrediting and attacking rulers and believers. They attack any nation operating under the laws of divine establishment. They attack any local assembly operating under the truth of Bible doctrine and they attack any positive believer and every grace gift from God. They not only attack spiritual VIP's like the apostle Paul, but they also attack anyone in the vicinity of a VIP believer. Many of these fallen angels are behind the major world powers today, in the past and also during the Tribulation to come, when they will again be visible and will again mingle with humans as in Gen 6. We have an example of such past influence in Daniel chapter 10 in Cyrus the king of Persia, currently made up of Iraq, Iran and Greece. Note that it is not the king himself but the spiritual beings behind his empire who were in demonic rule. These same fallen angels were able to intrude upon the messenger headed for Daniel and prevented his coming to Daniel for 21 days. This demonic group is hard at work now in our own current day systems and will be numerous during the Tribulation. At that time they will constitute a significant political organization.
The last group is the Spiritual Forces of Wickedness in heavenly places. This group resides in the atmosphere which surround the earth, the stellar universe and even in the presence of God, representing Satan. This group of spirit forces of evil are the demons who are currently operational. These are the rank and file demons under the command of Satan. They perform numerous functions, some indwell people to perform sickness, some control the vocal cords of people, some manufacture pressure situations against believers who have positive volition toward doctrine. They also promote human good, evil, and sin.
So, EPH 6:12 reads this way, Because our struggle is not against blood [people's souls] and flesh [their old sin nature], but against the rulers, [these are the archons like Apollyon and Beelzebub], against the powers, [demon generals], against the world forces of this darkness, [demons who specialize in possessing or influencing the world rulers], against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places or against the spiritual forces of evil in the atmosphere around the earth, the stellar universe and in the presence of God.
EPH 6:13 "Therefore, take up the full armor of God, hat you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm."