Sometimes, if you ask a different question, it leads you down an amazing path. When I was reading Colossians, I was struck by something that I had not noticed before. It really set me thinking. Paul wrote these words.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross (Col 1:19-20).

Paul explains that God has reconciled all things on earth and in heaven to himself through the blood that Jesus shed on the cross. I have always known that Jesus blood reconciled people living on earth to God, but I began to wonder what things in the heavens or spiritual realms needed to be reconciled to him. Clearly, the angels do not need to be reconciled to God, because they have been his faithful servants. That leaves the spiritual powers of evil as the only beings in the spiritual realms that need to be reconciled with God.

I began to wonder how the spiritual powers of evil could be reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus. I had not thought about that before. I just assumed that they were irretrievably lost and would be destroyed at the end of the age. However, Paul seems to be suggesting that they could be reconciled with God. That possibility set me thinking.

I discovered that the spiritual powers of evil will shift their allegiance and go back to serving God when they hear the truth proclaimed by Jesus.

Listeners and Followers

To understand how the spiritual powers of evil will be reconciled to God, we need to understand their nature and how they fell. Most spirits, like the angels, are listeners and followers. They were created by God to hear, obey and do. The angels listen and obey the voice of God. They sometimes hear and obey the voice of his people.

Angels are not moral beings, like humans. They are listeners and doers. They listen to anyone with real authority that is near to them. They recognise authority, like the Roman soldier who talked with Jesus. When they hear a voice with authority, they obey.

When the angels were created, they all obeyed the voice of God. They did what the Holy Spirit commanded them to do.

A few angels are archangels (arche = ruling; angelos = messenger). They are ruling angels with the ability to instruct other angels. Michael is the name of one who serves God (Jude 1:9). I am not sure why God needed them, because the Holy Spirit can speak to any angel and tell it God's will. I presume that he needed archangels to control large groups of angels working together on tasks needing concentrated power and structure.

The bad spirits that gained control when angels working on earth rebelled against God were probably archangels used to organising and controlling other angels. The big controlling spirits who revolted against God had special roles and knowledge of what was happening. They said, "We did all the work creating the world, while God just sat and talked. Why should he control it, when we made it"? A few of them decided to take control of the earth they had helped create.

Only a few big controlling spirits rebelled against God. A spirit called Accuser (Satan) tricked Adam and Eve into disobeying God. He is also called Slanderer (devil) because he slanders God's name. Once Adam and Eve had sinned, Accuser and a few of his powerful mates could claim legitimate authority over the earth. The others took on new roles as Death, Wrath, Destruction, Beast, and False Prophet (See Who is in Control).

These big spirits worked together, but they also struggled with each other for power. Paul called them Cosmos Dominators (kosmos krator) of this Darkness (Eph 6:12).

All the other spirits that stopped serving God are listeners and followers, so they obey anyone with authority over the place where they are operating. They naturally obeyed the big spirits who had seized authority on earth.

Third Misled

About a third of the angels were operating on earth at the time of the rebellion. They were waiting for Adam and Eve to give them instructions to care for the earth. When the archangels who had rebelled began to give them instructions, they obeyed because that is what they were created to do. They recognise authority, but they cannot distinguish between good and evil. The big rebellious angels had gained legitimate authority on earth, so they naturally obeyed them.

Only a third of the spirits fell. This was not because they were morally inferior. They just happened to be on the earth when Accuser gained authority there. Once he had legitimate authority, they had no choice but to obey him and the big spirits working with him against God. It was not a moral choice, deliberately made like the one made by Adam and Eve.

According to the Book of Revelation, a third of the angels were swept down by the dragon's tail.

Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon... Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth (Rev 12:3-4).

Stars are angels. A third of the angels were swept down by the tail of the big spirit called Accuser and Slanderer (Rev 12:9). Being swept down by the dragon's tail does not sound like a deliberate choice. Rather, it describes angels being caught up in a situation beyond their control that they did not understand.

The other two-thirds of angels did not fall, because they were operating in the higher heaven close to the Father, so they continued to hear his voice. They were not superior or better, just closer to a true voice. Both groups did what they were created to do, they just listened and followed the voice that they heard. Unfortunately, one group heard the wrong voice and were led into evil.

Followers

The spiritual powers of evil were created to listen and obey, so they just do what they are told by the closest legitimate authority. They do not have the capability to evaluate plans, or make moral assessments, so they just implement any suggestion that is given to them. Unlike humans, they do not know the difference between good and evil. All they know is the difference between legitimate authority and illegitimate authority. They do whatever a voice of authority tells them to do. That is why they often implement actions suggested by God (eg 1 Kings 22:20).

Bad spirits are not very innovative. They were created to be doers, so they often do the same thing over and over again, until an authority tells them to do something different. Unlike humans, who are made in the image of God, and have inherited his creativity, they just do what they have always done.

Bad spirits find it hard to come up with new ways to do things. They are not creative because they were created to follow instructions and obey authority. If they are told to harass a person, an impure spirit just keeps on doing it until someone with authority tells them to do something different. For example, a spirit of fear is not different from other spirits, it is just a spirit that has been told to do fear. If it gets cast out of one person, it just finds another and keeps on creating fear in them.

The impure spirits recognised Jesus authority, so they naturally obeyed him. The same was true of Paul. The spirits recognised that he had authority, and obeyed him. They knew that the sons of Sceva did not have authority, so they did not obey them (Acts 19:13-15).

Bad not Evil

Most English translations of the Bible refer to "evil spirits". That translation is a bit misleading. The Hebrew expression is "raah ruach" (1 Sam 16:14), which means bad spirit, rather than evil spirit. They are spirits that have gone bad by listening to the wrong voice, rather than being inherently evil.

The New Testament expression is "akathartos pneuma". The adjective coming from the Greek word " kathairo" means to be cleansed. The King James Version was closer to the truth when it translated this as "unclean spirits". The best modern translation is probably "impure spirit". These spirits have been lured over to the wrong side, so they are bad or impure. They are not inherently evil, but have become bad.

Learned Evil

The big controlling spirits learned most of their evil from humans. Cain taught them how to kill and destroy by killing his brother. They learnt how to deceive and lie when Adam blamed Eve for giving him the fruit. Other big spirits learned how to intimidate and control people by watching men use their physical strength, emotional force, and threats of rejection to control their wives. Some big sprits learned how to manipulate and control by watching women use their emotional understanding and skills with words to manipulate their husbands. Most evil was created first in human hearts. The big spirits copied what humans did and became skilled at it.

Some of these spirits had worked with God to create the animals and plants of the earth. Once they had learned from Cain and other humans that living things could be destroyed, they used their knowledge to destroy God's creation.

Political Power

Although they were defeated by the cross, the big spirits that rebelled maintained their authority on earth by using political-spirits and government-spirits to control political power and empires on earth (Eph 6:12). These spirits are traditionally called "principalities and powers", but the names are not very informative, because "principalities" do not exist in the modern world. Political-spirit and government-spirit are a better translation of Ephesians 6:12.

A political-spirit or government-spirit in the spiritual realms controls every town, city, nation and region on earth. Their authority on earth is perpetuated by a hierarchy of power.

This hierarchy of power allows the big controlling spirits to exercise authority on earth, despite their defeat by the cross.

The Prince of Persia is a government-spirit that controlled the Persian empire during the time of Daniel (Dan 10:13). The Prince of Greece is another political-spirit operating at that time (Dan 10:21). The King of the South and the King of the North are government-spirits that will arise in the future (Dan 11).

Most modern nations and cities are controlled by a government-spirit or political-spirit. They gain control because people trust in political power for their salvation. The greater the faith in political power and government, the stronger the political-spirits and government-spirits will be.

Government-Spirits

Political-spirits and government-spirits learned their role from humans. Nimrod was the first powerful man on earth (Gen10:8). He began as a strong hunter. When he had become skilled at trapping and killing strong animals, he started to threaten and control humans with his weapons. He eventually gained control of a large group of people. He used his physical strength to become a mighty ruler. His kingdom started in Babylon in the land of Shinar. He later went to Assyria and built Nineveh. Through Babylon a nd Nineveh he was the founder of all human empires.

Political-spirits and government-spirits watched Nimrod and learned how political power could be used to control large numbers of people. They copied what they had learned from him and established spiritual/political control over every town, city and nation where people had gathered on earth.

When political-spirits and government-spirits learned that they could amplify their power by using political authority, the beasts of the earth were born. They took what they learned from Nimrod and used it to control the people of the earth.

Political-spirits and government-spirits control most cities, regions and nations on earth. They learned about political power from humans. This is why the mark of the beast is a human number. Beast learned how to use political and military power from Nimrod, the first powerful man on earth.

Casting out Demons

The political-spirits and government-spirits controlling a city, region or nation rule over all the spirits living in the city, region or nation they control. They direct them where to go and what to do. The follower spirits listen and obey the commands of the political-spirit that controls the area that they are operating in.

When Christians cast out impure spirits, they often do not know where to send them. Some command them to go to hell, but others are uneasy about this because Jesus did not tell us to do it.

Jesus never told impure spirits where to go. He simply commanded them to leave the person they were harassing. In the case of the Gadarene man, he allowed a legion of spirits to go into a herd of pigs. The bible does not say where they went after the pigs drowned (Mark 5:11-13). I presume that they stayed in the same area.

When impure spirits are cast out, they wander around looking for a voice of authority to tell them what to do. They are followers, so they become confused if no one tells them what to do.

When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it (Luke 11:24).

In most situations, the area will be controlled by a political-spirit or government-spirit. I presume this spirit tells the impure spirit what to do. It will usually send it to harass another person in a similar way.

Jesus could not do anything different, as the political-spirits and government-spirits working through the Roman and Jewish authorities still dominated the region. Once an impure spirit left his presence, it fell under their authority again.

The same is true now. If we cast out a spirit now, it comes under the authority of the political-spirit that controls the region where we live. Fortunately, when political power collapses, the power of political-spirits and government-spirits will be broken. Once they lose their authority, there will be no regional government-spirits or political-spirits to control the impure spirits that are cast out.

Followers of Jesus will be able to command impure spirits to shift allegiance and obey Jesus. Then as impure spirits are cast out, they will be switched into the Kingdom of God and become servants of Jesus.

Big Beast

Isaiah describes the rebellion of a big spirit that used political power to wreak havoc on earth. He dominates many nations by controlling many government-spirits and political-spirits. This is probably the spirit called Beast. He said in his heart:

I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High (Is 14:13-14).

This rebellious spirit gained power by controlling kings and nations through political-spirits and government-spirits.

All the unseen rulers on earth, he raises their thrones from all the kings of the nations (Is 14:9).

Isaiah prophesied that a time would come when he would be as weak and helpless as the follower spirits he controls.

They will all respond,
they will say to you,
"You also have become weak, as we are;
you have become like us" (Is 14:10).

Political Change

The Book of Revelation describes the collapse of political power and empire during a time of distress and persecution. These events destroy the hierarchy of power that has been used by the spiritual powers of evil to amplify their authority and maintain control of the earth. When kings and politicians disappear, the power of political-spirits and government-spirits that work through them will evaporate. Their role will disappear and they will become ordinary impure spirits without control over places and regions on earth

Once this hierarchy of power is gone from an area, followers of Jesus will be able to expand the territory that is under the authority of Jesus. This will lead to a massive defeat of the of the spiritual powers of evil, as they are picked off one at a time. When they are cast out of the person they have been harassing, there will be no other government-spirit to tell them what to do. They will recognise the genuine authority of the followers of Jesus and submit to the truth they are speaking. They will stop obeying the dethroned political-spirits and give their allegiance to Jesus. This switch of allegiance will dramatically undermine the power of evil on earth.

Jesus Victory

Jesus' death on the cross opened the way for the spiritual powers of evil to be reconciled with God. That could not happen while they were holding humans to ransom. Once the people of God were redeemed by his blood, the spiritual powers of evil lost the basis for their power. They could be called to obedience and offered forgiveness.

The spiritual powers operating on earth had been deceived by dome big controlling spirits and led into opposing God. Their natural intent is to obey, so when one of their own called them, they followed, as they were created to do. Once humans who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus become the authoritative voice on earth by the advance of the gospel, the spiritual powers of evil will listen to them and be able to return to obeying God and carrying out their previous role on earth.

The reconciliation of the spiritual powers of evil was promised by Paul to the Ephesians.

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the political-spirits and government-spirits in the spiritual realms (Eph 3:10).

The spiritual powers of evil will be amazed by the witness of the church. They will see people rejoicing despite suffering and persecution. They will see people moving in the power of the Spirit and defeating evil. They will realise that they have chosen the wrong side. When they see the joy of the body of Jesus and their wondrous victory, the spiritual powers of evil will desert the spirits called of Wrath, Beast, Death and Destruction and decide to serve God again. This massive switch of allegiance will change the power situation on earth.

Truth

As the gospel advances, Jesus will regain authority over the earth. The spiritual powers at work on earth will hear his voice again and begin to follow him. Many will switch allegiance, as they acknowledge the authority of his voice and obey him.

The spiritual powers of evil will be convicted by the truth when Jesus speaks to them about the suffering, perseverance and joy of his followers. It will be the reverse of the interview with Job. Jesus will say something like this to them.

Have you seen my church? You have thrown every weapon you have got at my people and they are still rejoicing and trusting in me. You have destroyed their wealth and killed them, but they have not denied me. You have tried to destroy my body, but you have failed. The more intense your attacks, the stronger my body has become.
When you rebelled against my Father, way back in the time of Adam and Eve, Accuser lied to you. He promised that you would be victorious and have great fun. He promised that you would get to destroy God's creation.
You have failed. Political-spirits and government-spirits that control the nations have collapsed. Beast and False Prophet have been bound and thrown into the lake of fire. They have lost their power. You are being beaten by the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, wherever you tried to operate. All you evil schemes are failing.
You are not having fun. Being defeated and divided is a miserable existence. Look at the joy of those who are following me and worshipping the father. You could have that joy if you repented and decided to serve God again.
Remember the purpose for which you were created. God made each of you for a special purpose. If you switched sides, you could serve him again.

When the gospel is successful in an area, followers of Jesus will give him authority over their part of the earth. This will allow him to speak with authority and his voice to be heard. The spirits that have pursued evil will hear Jesus speak. They will recognise his authority and the authority of those following him, and obey Jesus' voice. They will switch sides and begin doing his will.

Jesus will often speak through prophets. When a prophet speaks on behalf of Jesus, angels and spirits hear and obey. When bad spirits hear Jesus speaking through his prophets, they will obey his word and come into allegiance to him.

Prophecy is important because impure spirits will often act on it if they recognise the authority of the prophet. They do not realise that the judgement prophesied will often set back their plans of their leaders. When prophets speak with authority, impure spirits will often implement their prophetic words, because spirits are listeners and observers, not discerners of right and wrong.

As the Kingdom of God advances, and Jesus' authority on earth expands, more and more impure spirits will begin following him again. The blood of Jesus releases us from their power and allows the Holy Spirit to fill us for victory. Our witness to the powers of evil shows them that they have chosen the wrong side. They will hear the voice of truth and obey.

Our Choice

The powers of evil will ask, "Can we leave our evil life behind and return to following God."

Jesus will say, "You can, but my followers will make the final decision. The father said that those who follow me will judge the angels".

Do you not know that we shall judge angels (1 Cor 6:3)?

Christians who know that verse and are looking forward to condemning evil angels to hell have not understood it. What God was saying is that we will decide their fate. We will decide whether they are allowed to come back onto his side. We will have to decide if we will trust them to work with us again, after all they have done to us.

We have authority to decide the destiny of the spiritual powers of evil because they operated on earth and authority on earth has been given to humans. Once that authority has been restored by the advance of the gospel, we will have authority over all spiritual power operating on earth.

God's plan to reconcile everything in heaven to him will fail if we refuse, because we do not trust those who have done evil. For his purposes to be fulfilled, we will have to forgive follower spirits and welcome them back to serving God.

The scriptures say that we will judge the angels. This is not a moral judgement, like the one we will face. Rather, when the spirits hear Jesus voice and decide to return to his Kingdom, humans will have to decide if they should be allowed back, given that they have done so much evil. Our natural inclination will be to say "no", because we do not trust them.

Love

If we are going to welcome follower spirits back, we will need to love them as God loves them. I suspect that we have prevented many of them from returning to the fold because we hate them. If we loved them, we would have reconciled many of them already.

God loves all the angels and spirits that he created, even though many opposed his plans. He understands that they have been tricked into hearing and obeying the wrong voice. He has a plan to rescue them and bring them back into his kingdom (Col 1:20).

We hate bad spirit's because they do evil; We find it hard to imagine that they could be reconciled with God. We just assume that they will be evil forever. However, God has never stopped loving them. He created them and is sad to see them hearing and obeying a different voice. He wants to rescue them.

If we were as gracious as God, we would love them and want to see them reconciled with the Father. If we loved them instead of hating them, we would have m ore authority over them, because our voice would be clearer with more authority (hate obscures authority).

We should be praying for the time when the spirits in the spiritual realms will be reconciled with the Father. We have been forgiven much, so we must be willing to forgive those that have done great evil.

Last Spiritual Battle

I have always seen last battle in Revelation 19 as a spiritual struggle, not a physical war, but I never realised that most of the spiritual powers of evil would shift their allegiance and surrender to Jesus.

John's vision describes what happens after political power is destroyed. Jesus has crowns on his head. This means that all authority on earth will at last be fully surrendered to him.

Jesus was given authority on earth by those who follow him. They are riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, which is their righteous deeds (Rev 19:8). White symbolises pure and persevering faith. The fine linen represents faith and trust. They have come to the place of victory through their love and suffering for Jesus.

The name on Jesus' thigh is King of Kings and Lord of Lord. This reflects the fullness of the Kingdom of God and the demise of human political power. All authority and power on earth will be surrendered to Jesus, as the political-spirits and government-spirits that have controlled the earth lose their power.

Jesus is wearing a blood-stained garment, which is a reminder of his mercy and love. The blood on his robe is a sign that the blood brings deliverance for the spiritual powers of evil too.

Jesus rides out to meet political-spirits and government-spirits and the big spirits controlling them that have used kings, generals and mighty men to dominate the earth. They will be destroyed and surrender their power to him. He establishes his victory in two steps.

Firstly, the collapse of political power on earth eliminates the power of political-spirits and government-spirits in the spiritual realms. Beast and False Prophet are captured. They are big controlling spirits that dominated the earth through a powerful political empire, that eclipses all previous empires. Beast establishes a powerful empire by making all political-spirits and government-spirits submit to him.

When faith in political power disappears, the political-spirits and government-spirits lose their power. When political power collapses, political leaders will lose their status. They will become ordinary people again without any power over other people. Their loss of power turns political-spirits and government-spirits into ordinary spirits controlling miserable people. The power they gained by controlling political leaders will be gone.

Beast and False Prophet, the big spirits who controlled them, will be thrown into the lake of fire. It symbolises destruction. It seems that these big spirits refuse to be reconciled with God, so they give themselves over to destruction.

Secondly, follower spirits will be exposed to the truth and be reconciled to God. Jesus has a sword coming out of his mouth, which represents the truth. He speaks the truth to the spiritual power of evil. They will be convicted by the truth and return to serving God.

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).

This sword is not physical, but spiritual. It is a word of truth which eliminates the rebellion from the spiritual powers of evil who have been following the wrong voice. John did not see them being thrown into the lake of fire, so they will not be destroyed. Rather they are totally defeated.

The birds eating flesh symbolise total and certain victory. All follower spirits will be convicted by the truth and submit to Jesus when they recognise the authority of his words. The massive army that they have been part of will cease to exist. All that will remain will be the damage that they have done on earth (represented by the discarded flesh).

Final Defeat

Only a few really big spirits will persist with evil, but they will be so outnumbered that they become powerless and feeble. Incorrigible spirits like Beast, False Prophet, Wrath, Death, Destruction and Satan will refuse to be reconciled with God and will continue to oppose him. They will be captured and thrown into the lake of fire, which represents total destruction. It is the destination of the last few big spirits that hold out against God.

These big controlling spirits will be bound and lose their authority on earth. Follower spirits will recognise that it is gone. They stop listening to them because they are created to only listen to a voice with authority. Once Beast and False Prophet, and the other big spirits are defeated, the rebellion will collapse, because the follower spirits have no voice of authority to obey. They will become confused and do nothing because there is no voice of evil to obey.

The blood of Jesus took us from under the authority of the spiritual powers of evil and sets us free to serve God. The victory of the gospel will restore authority on earth back to the people that God gave it to at the beginning. Confused follower spirits will begin listening to the voice of God's people. They will obey followers of Jesus because they recognise their genuine authority on earth.

As the numbers of people following Jesus increases, bad spirits will get less negative commands to act on. More and more will obey followers of Jesus. This switch of allegiance will bring massive transformation on earth. Evil will disappear and good will reign in the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God will advance on earth and become a reality that is unimaginable today.