Elections and Spiritual Power
The governments of nations on earth have their parallel in the spiritual realms. Spiritual kings control a hierarchy of fallen angels that parallel the government military structure of the earthly ruler. Some control cities and provinces. Other spirits manipulate military and religious leaders.
An election will produce a new president or a new government, but the powers in the spiritual realms that control the government do not change. An election does not change the spiritual power; it just changes the people that the spiritual powers control.
This is why things usually carry on the same when a new president or party is elected to power. The same spiritual powers are in control, so nothing changes.
The nations on earth have their parallels in the spiritual realms. A swarm of spirits controlled by a king spirit, with various principalities and power controlling cities and towns match their equivalents on earth. There are many examples in the scriptures.
Tyre was a kingdom on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Yet Ezekiel describes the King of Tyre as a spiritual king.
You were the seal of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden,
the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you:
carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,
topaz, onyx and jasper,
lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold;
on the day you were created they were prepared.
You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.
You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
Through your widespread trade
you were filled with violence,
and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,
and I expelled you, guardian cherub,
from among the fiery stones.
Your heart became proud
on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom
because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth;
I made a spectacle of you before kings (Ez 28:11-17).
This angel was in the Garden of Eden walking in the presence of God, but his heart became filled with pride, because of his beauty. His pride filled him with wickedness so he was driven from God's presence. He was cast down upon the earth, where he became the spiritual power with control of the King of Tyre.
Isaiah described the King of Babylon as the "morning star of the dawn" who has fallen from heaven. When his pride rose up against God, he was cast down upon the earth (Is 14:9-20).
How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
You said in your heart,
"I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High" (Is 14:10-14).
Isaiah also recognized him as a real king.
These two kings were angels working with God at the creation. After they rebelled against God and fell from grace, they each became a spiritual king controlling a nation on earth.
The spiritual kings control a hierarchy of fallen angels that parallel the government and military structure under the earthly king. The principalities and power under them control cities and provinces controlled by the king. Other evil spirits under their control work through the military and religious leaders of the nation.
Nations come and go. Tyre no longer exists as a kingdom, but the spiritual king of Tyre still exists, and no doubt controls another nation. Likewise, Babylon no longer exists as a nation and empire, so the spiritual King of Babylon is now in control in another place.
The spiritual king of Israel is Jesus. But when the nation rejects God, it has a parallel evil spiritual government called Babylon the Great. This spiritual king was once the king of Babylon.
The prophets in the Old Testament often seemed to speaking against nations, but they were actually speaking to the spiritual powers that controlled them. So when Jeremiah warned of an evil nation coming against Jerusalem, he was actually warning of an invasion by a swarm of evil spirits.
Behold, I will bring a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel," says the Lord. "It is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you understand what they say (Jer 5:15).
Moses had given a similar warning in his record of the covenant with God.
The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favour to the young (Deut 28:49).
The Hebrew word for nation is "goy". It is comes from the word for "back", in the sense of a body. It is often a translated as nation, but the same word is also used for a swarm of locusts or a herd of animals. It can also point to a swarm of evil spirits.
These attackers are ancient. They have been around forever. They speak to each other in a way that the Israelites cannot understand. The Babylonians had not been around forever. Their language is not totally different from Hebrew. However, the evil spirits that controlled the Babylonian army had been around since the fall. They spoke a spiritual language, which the Israelites did not understand. These spirits were extremely evil with no respect for the elderly or the young.
These evil spirits have a quiver full of arrows that is an open grave (Jer 5:16). This links to the flaming arrows of the evil one that the shield of faith can quench (Eph 6:16). Their evil arrows come from the grave of hell. These spirits would bring an invading army, but the real attack came from the spiritual invaders.
When Ezekiel says that Gog, Meshach, Persia, Put and Tubal will be gathering against Israel, he is referring to a spiritual army led by the spiritual kings associated with these nations (Ez 38:3-5). Armies of many nations will gather, but they only represent the real spiritual hordes, who are much more dangerous.
War is always a spiritual attack, so it is the spiritual invaders that must be defeated, not the military forces. The latter are just a vehicle that the spiritual forces are using to be carried into the territory. God's people must wage war against the spiritual powers of evil, not the people that they are using to make their attack. The key to defence is keeping the spiritual powers of evil out of the territory.
The Revelation of John seems to describe wars and violence on earth, but this misses the point. The real story of the book is spiritual. John saw a series of events on earth that would lead to a massive defeat of the spiritual powers of evil in the spiritual realms.
We assume that the last battle described in the book of Revelation is a battle between the nations of the world. It is commonly assumed that the armies of the nations will gather to attack Israel. This is part of the story, but the real battle is the battle in the spiritual realms. This battle will be decisive in history.
The spiritual powers of evil will gather from all over the world, attracted by the violence and destruction of war. They will be defeated and destroyed by the power of God. Just as they were created by God's word in the beginning, they will be destroyed by Jesus' word on that day.
The result of this victory will be a massively reduced number of evil spirits left to work in the world. With a much weakened spiritual enemy, the Holy Spirit and his angels will be free to advance the Kingdom of God in a powerful way.
Many popular books explaining the Revelation of John focus on wars between nations. They attempt to identify the nations involved in these struggles. This is pointless, because Revelation describes a spiritual war. To understand Revelation, we must read the book as primarily a description of events in the spiritual realms.
Just as God bound up many evil spirits in the middle of the Old Testament age (Noah's Rainbow Covenant), he will destroy a huge swathe of evil spirits in the middle of the New Testament age. To understand what this means, we need a bit of the history.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they handed authority over the earth to the spiritual forces of evil. This was a huge disaster, because it left God powerless on earth. He still had authority in the spiritual world, but his authority on earth was gone. This was painful for him, as he was committed to sustaining the earth every day, but had lost authority to get involved in the world that he loved.
Once God was squeezed out of his universe, the powers of evil got to work and really messed it up. For nearly a thousand years, God was shut out of his creation, so he could not hold back the forces of evil. The Holy Spirit was entirely shut out of the earth, so evil advanced in a terrible way. All human developments were twisted for evil purposes.
The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Gen 6:5).
The first sign of spiritual life on earth was Enoch, the first human prophet since Abel (Luke 11:51, Jude 1:14). He began a line of prophets that released the ministry of Noah (Gen 5:29). Noah's prayers gave God authority to send the flood that would sweep away the evil that had spread through the earth.
At the time of the flood, some of the spiritual powers of evil tried to smash up the "depths of the earth", but this got them into trouble. God had given authority over the earth to humans, but they did not have authority over the depths of the earth, as God retained control of the planet for himself. When Adam rejected God, the spiritual powers of evil gained authority over the earth. Provided they remained in contact with the earth, God could not touch them.
During time of the flood, some of the spiritual powers attacked the depths of the earth and broke them up.
On that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up (Gen 7:11).
By striking the great depths of the earth, they moved away from the place where they had authority. This left them vulnerable to attack. God was able to send a host of angels and take them captive in the Abyss and prevent them from working on earth any more. He had authority to do this, because they had moved to a place where they did not have authority.
A proportion of the spiritual powers of evil were locked up so they could no longer work on earth (2 Pet 4-5). Peter explained that,
Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison, who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah (1 Pet 3:19-20).
The number of evil spirits working on earth was substantially reduced, but there were still plenty of others with freedom to work on earth. They continued to do evil and oppress the people of the earth.
The legion of evil spirits that controlled the Gadarene man knew about the abyss and understood that spirits were trapped there.
They begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss (Luke 8:31).
They did not want to be trapped in powerlessness. Jesus sent them into the pigs, which ran into the sea. The pigs were drowned, because evil spirits love death. I presume that Jesus could have sent them to the abyss, but chose not to, so people would get a revelation of the power of evil.
An important sequence in the book of Revelation is the Seven Trumpets. When the angels sounded their trumpets, important events were released on earth and in heaven (Rev 8,9). This followed a period of intense intercession in earth (Rev 8:4-5).
The first trumpet brings destruction on earth (Rev 8:6-7). I believe it represents a terrible war that draws in many nations. It might have been fulfilled by the world wars of the twentieth century.
The second trumpet causes a huge mountain to be thrown into the sea (Rev 8:8-9). A mountain is a law system (Is 2:3-4). The sea represents the people of the world (Rev 17:15). I believe this falling mountain is the collapse of the natural law system that had prevailed for many centuries. The rise of democracy destroyed natural law and replaced it with man-made law. This has been a disaster for justice.
The third trumpet caused a great star to fall on the waters of the earth (Rev 8:10-11). Its name was Wormwood, which means bitter. It made everything bitter. In Revelation, seven stars were the angels of the seven churches (Rev 1:20). This event represents the decline of the church in an important part of the world. This church falls away and comes under the control of the spiritual powers of evil.
The fall of the church turned the waters bitter. This is a description of spiritual life in that part of the world turning bitter. This church becomes bitter and a source of spiritual death.
After the fourth trumpet is sounded, the sun, moon and stars turn as dark as night (Rev 8:12). In Revelation, the sun moon and stars represent Israel (Rev 12:1; Gen 37:9) so this is a description of a very dark time in the nation of Israel. It is probably the events often referred to as Jacob's sorrows.
When the fifth trumpet is sounded, the angel of the church that had fallen was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss, and evil spirits came out and began to torment people on earth. They were led by an angel whose name was Destruction (Rev 9:1-11).
This event is a terrible woe for the inhabitants of the earth (Rev 8:13). The evil spirits that had been locked up in the Abyss since the time of Noah were released back onto the earth again. Their release would result in a vast increase in evil. The angel that controls this great army is called Destruction. He had organised a season of terrible destruction on earth when he was the angel that controlled the earth during the Millennium of Darkness between the fall and the flood. This terrible angel and all his followers will be released again to bring their destructions to the earth.
How could this happen? How could the angels that had been shut up from harm's way for so long be released again. The answer is in the trumpets. The Abyss is opened by the star that fell from heaven. This is the angel responsible for the church that fell from grace. It's angel was squeezed out and evil spiritual power took its place. This compromised church allowed the evil spirits to escape from the Abyss.
The words and actions of the weak church allowed the angel to go and open the door of the abyss and allow the trapped spirits to escape. I presume this church said that evil spirits are not real. It would have said that evil is not real. These declarations have spiritual consequences. I presume this church would have said that sinful people should be allowed into the church and not hidden away. These statements allowed the angel to open the abyss.
After the Abyss was opened, darkness spread across the earth (Rev 9:2). The escaped spirits were given power to torment the people of the earth. They took control of governments all over the world and used them to spread destruction.
The release of the evil angel called Destruction and his followers may already have taken place. We might already be seeing the increase destruction that they are causing. Fortunately, the season when they are free to work is quite short, because God will lure them into a trap when the sixth trumpet is sounded and they will mostly be destroyed. The events of the sixth trumpet will be covered further on in this article.
Revelation 15-17 describes angels with seven bowls of wrath. They pour them out to plague the earth. These evil angels work with Destruction. He became skilled in destroying the earth, between the fall and the flood, so he will teach them how to destroy the earth in this season. This destruction is not the work of God. It is the work of evil spirits released from prison by a weak church.
Beast from the Abyss
Revelation 13 describes a beast coming out of the earth. This is a powerful government that gains control of large parts of the earth. However, it is not just a government, it is really a powerful evil spirit. John explains that the beast came out of the abyss (Rev 11:7). We know that only evil spirits came out of the Abyss, so this beast is also a powerful evil spirit. This beast attempts to destroy the prophetic church, but after much suffering, it was restored (Rev 11:6-12).
The beast and the false prophet who supports him both come out of the Abyss. They are evil spirits working in partnership. They had been trapped for thousands of years, so they come out angry and frustrated.
The Great Battle
The Revelation of John culminates in a great battle. This is linked to wars between armies on earth, but that is just a sideshow. The real battle takes place in the spiritual realms and Jesus achieves a great victory. John saw into heaven.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him (Rev 19:11-14).
John saw things that took place in the spiritual realms. Jesus was leading the armies of heaven. These are the hosts of angels that love to do his will. They are supported by the prayers of the saints on earth. John was told that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16).
An angel cried out in a loud voice to call the evil ruler spirits to battle.
I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small (Rev 19:17-18).
The kings, generals and mighty men with their armies are not human kings and armies. They are the parallel spiritual powers that control the governments, nations and armies of men. These spiritual kings and generals control large hosts of evil spirits. They stop fighting against each other and come together to fight against Jesus.
The birds of the air represent ordinary garden variety evil spirits. These are spirits attached to particular sins, rather than to rulers and nations. They know a battle was coming and they hope to gain a position of power in the spiritual realm, when other more powerful spirits fall.
The gathering of the spiritual kings and generals is described in several places in Revelation. When the sixth trumpet was sounded, angels were released to gather armies near the Euphrates area in the Middle East (Rev 9:13-16). This river runs through modern Iraq and Syria. Human armies will gather in this place, but they are not so important. The armies that John saw being gathered were spiritual (Rev 9:17-10). They were destructive spiritual powers.
The same gathering of spiritual powers was described in the sixth bowl of wrath.
The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty (Rev 16:12-14).
Human armies gather near Israel to fight, but the real battle is in the spiritual realms. The human armies will be relatively small, compared with the vast host of evil spirits gather for the battle on the great day of God. The beast and the false prophet are leading spiritual powers of evil.
Big Spiritual Battle
Several multi-national armies gather for war in Israel, where the beast will already be in control. Other nations that hate his power and control will gather to attack the beast. This is what will happen on earth, but John saw what will happen in the spiritual realms.
John saw Jesus coming with the armies of heaven.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean (Rev 19:11,14).
Jesus is motivated by wrath.
He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God (Rev 19:15).
Much of the wrath in scripture is the work of a spiritual leader called Wrath, but this is real wrath. However, it is directed against the spiritual powers of evil, not the people on the earth.
John also saw the spiritual kings and their retainers gather together with all the spiritual generals and their subordinates. All the ruling spirits from all over the world will gather together for a spiritual battle. They see this battle as an opportunity to expand their power on earth, but it is actually a trap, because Jesus and his angels are prepared for them.
I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs, he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur (Rev 19:19-21).
The outcome was dramatic, but inevitable. The beast and the false prophet are captured. These are the ruling spirits that came out of the Abyss. They are captured and thrown into fiery lake of burning sulphur.
Two questions are important here.
- Who captured them.
- Where were they thrown.
I will answer the second question first.
The Fiery Lake of Burning Sulphur
The key is understanding that there are two lakes in the book of Revelation.
- The lake of fire
- The fiery lake of burning Sulphur
The lake of fire is the second death. Hades and death were thrown into this lake. Their role was finished, so the lake of fire is permanent destruction. This lake is the destination of the people whose names are not written in Jesus' book of life. For them it was annihilation (Rev 20:14-15). This fire burns purely, so it is the work of God.
The destination of the beast and the false prophet is different. They go into a lake of burning sulphur. Sulphur is often caused brimstone. It eats away at flesh and destroys it slowly. It was often used in rubbish dumps to destroy organic material.
In Revelation, sulphur is associated with the powers of evil. The evil spirit that came out of the Abyss spat out fire and sulphur (Rev 9:17-18). Sulphur stinks, which also reminds us of evil.
The lake of fiery lake of burning sulphur is a place of torment (Rev 20:10). The Beast and the false prophet are tormented day and night. It is a place set up by the spiritual powers of evil as an imitation of the real thing, but with an evil twist. Torment replaces annihilation. The powers of evil set it up so they can torment other spirits that have betrayed them.
Christians who believe in eternal conscious torment of those who reject the gospel have confused the two lakes. God allows people who have rejected the gospel to be destroyed, if they do not want to be with him. He does not torment people. That is what the evil spirits do.
The answer to this question is now obvious. The beast and the false prophet were captured by other evil spirits. These spirits threw them into the lake of fiery lake of burning sulphur.
In the beginning, the spiritual powers of evil rebelled against God. That set in train a series of events that released destruction and evil on God's good earth. Since then they have always had rebellion in their hearts.
They gather for the great spiritual battle and attack the beast and the false prophet, because they believed that these spiritual powers had made a serious mistake. They rebel against them and capture them.
We often assume that spiritual powers of evil are united in a common purpose. That is not true. Wars and jockeying for power are common in the kingdom of darkness. The strongest spirits hold power, but other are always looking for opportunities to usurp their powers. The big spiritual battle was a rebellion against the beast and the false prophet.
Many evil spirits rebel against the powerful spirits that had controlled them. These rebellious spirits throw these big-name spirits into the fiery lake of burning sulphur and organise for them to be tormented.
The other spiritual kings and generals and their spiritual hierarchies are destroyed. John says that they are destroyed by the sword that comes out of Jesus mouth.
The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh (Rev 19:21).
The sword is the word of God. The spiritual powers of evil were created by a word from God's mouth as part of the creation of the world. These ruler spirits who are expert in controlling government and fighting wars will be destroyed by a word spoken by Jesus.
Evil spirits love the destruction of war. Many governing spirits will have gathered so they can expand their power, but many ordinary spirits show up because they love the blood and death that war creates. They are the ones that John called the birds of the air (Luke 8:5,11). When the power spirits are killed, they gorge on their power. John described this as a "supper".
This spiritual battle will be an enormous victory for God, because the destruction of the ruling spirits will dramatically weaken the strength of the spiritual powers of evil. This is a significant change in the balance of power on earth.
The total number of evil spirits in existence might be reduced to a quarter of what they have been. A third of angels fell, so their number was about half the number of the good angels. The destruction of this great battle will mean the angels outnumber them at least ten to one.
With a large population of people on earth, the remaining evil spirits will be spread very thin and find it harder to harass God's people. This victory will bring a period of peace and blessing on earth.
All the spirits that have skills in controlling governments and armies will be gone. This will dramatically weaken the power of human government's. The collapse of human governments will open the way for the Government of God
How does this happen? The prophets will be the key. In Revelation 10, John described a powerful prophetic voice that emerges in the church. These prophets will pronounce declarative prayers against the spiritual powers of evil, which will release the Holy Spirit and the angelic armies. This massive spiritual power will destroy the enemies of God.
Satan was bound by the cross. He was thrown into the Abyss, but he was not let out with the other spiritual powers of evil that escaped.
He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time (Rev 20:3)
When the time of the Kingdom is fulfilled, he will set be set free for a little season at the end of the age. He will gather the remaining evil spirits for a final rebellion against God.
When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth-Gog and Magog-and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them (Rev 20:7-9).
Satan will gather a horde of evil spirits for battle, but they will be destroyed by God's power.
The devil will be thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulphur
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur for ever and ever, where the beast and the false prophet shall be being tormented day and night (Rev 20:10).
The devil will be tormented with this other pair of powerful spirits who have been held there during the age of the kingdom.
Many other evil spirits will be there too.
Yet the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, the sorcerers, the idolaters and all the false ones-part of them in the fiery lake of burning sulphur, which is a second death (Rev 21:8).
These spirits might be the ones who are tormenting the big-name spirits.
The bible does not really tell us what happens to this remnant of the spiritual powers of evil, but John gives a clue. He says that the fiery lake of burning sulphur is "a second death". He does not use the definite article, so this is not the second death. The second death is final destruction. However, the fiery lake of burning sulphur is a second death. John is also suggesting it becomes a final destruction.
In Revelation 22:1-5, John describes the final reality. There is a river of life, but no fiery lake of burning sulphur. This suggests that God has destroyed it, an along with the remnant of the spiritual powers of evil.
They will not be forgotten. John says,
The smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever (Rev 14:11).
Smoke hangs around long after the fire has gone. The memory of the Satan, the beast, the false prophet will survive into eternity as a reminder of what happens when free people rebel against God.
Idolatry and Political Power
When spiritual principalities and powers get control of a political leader, they release a spirit of idolatry among the people to cement their authority in place.
The children of Israel had picked up this spirit in Egypt by watching the Pharaoh. Once God delivered them, they transferred this idolatry to Moses. When he did not come down the mountain, they created an idol (golden calf) to worship (Exodus 32).
Nebuchadnezzar was Emperor of Babylon. He created an idol reflecting his empire for the people to worship (Dan 3). This was natural because the principalities and powers that controlled him, also released a spirit of idolatry.
We can see the same pattern throughout Europe. Whenever a powerful king, died the people built a statue of the king on a horse in the centre of the town. This reflects the link between principalities and power that controlled the king and the spirit of idolatry at work amongst the people.
We can see the same think in the United States. The idolatry manifests in an idol when a popular political leader dies. The best example are the Washington and Lincoln memorials, but the same thing exists in many state capitals. The monuments and statues reflect the link between principalities and powers and spirit of idolatry.
The link explains why crowds of people gather to see the British royal family and the US President. It explains why people feel honoured when they get to meet their senator or representative, usually for nothing in return. When the principalities and powers get control of a politicians life, they release a spirit of idolatry
This phenomenon creates a problem for the church in nations where the political leaders are controlled by political powers. They release a spirit of idolatry among the people to shore up support for the leader they control. This spirit of idolatry leaks into the church. People afflicted by it will not accept plurality of leadership, even if they have complementary giftings. They will demand a strong pastor as their leader, to whom they can attach their idolatry.