Portswood Church Blog

The Hidden World

The Hidden World
Friday 24th March 2017
Some scientists have theorised about the existence of universes parallel to ours and have called them ‘multiverses’. The Bible also describes a hidden world, not a theory but a reality, where God is at work ‘behind the scenes’ as well as spiritual powers in opposition to God.

Paul in the Bible wrote to the Christians in Ephesus that, ‘…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’ 1  In the book of Job, the writer describes Satan as ‘roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.’ 2  The book goes on to describe how God allowed Satan to test a righteous man called Job by bringing various disasters on him. In 1 Chronicles chapter 21 and verse 1 we read that, ‘Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.’

In the New Testament, before Jesus began his public ministry, he was tempted by Satan who claimed that authority over all the kingdoms of the world are his. During his ministry, Jesus met people who were possessed by evil spirits. One example is in the Gospel of Mark and chapter 5 where a man lived in a grave yard. He was wild and raving, cutting himself with stones. People had tried to restrain him but he had phenomenal strength and broke the restraints. ‘When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “ My name is Legion, “ he replied, “for we are many”. He begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs: allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.’ Later, people from the nearby village came and saw, ‘…the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind…

Once when Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, tried to persuade Jesus not to go to Jerusalem where Jesus’ life would be in danger, Jesus turned and spoke to Satan directly, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’3 In that situation, Peter was being manipulated by Satan. Later, Peter wrote to the Christian church, ‘Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.’ 4

In his letter to the Christians who were in Ephesus, Paul likens squaring-up to these hidden spiritual enemies like putting on a suit of armour. He mentions a shield of Faith to ‘…extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one,’5 for example.

In the last book of the Bible, called Revelation, in the letter to the church at Smyrna, John writes, ‘Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days...’6  So we see Satan inciting persecution against the Christian church. In chapter 20, verses 13 to 17 of Revelation we see him inciting persecution against the nation of Israel as well as the Christian Church. That persecution is only too clear for all to see in the history of both groups. Later in Revelation Satan is pictured inciting nations to go to war.7   The Bible pictures Satan as finally subdued by God. 8

Against this potentially alarming background of gloomy spiritual opposition, we have the triumphant words of Jesus Christ: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” 9  For those who believe in Jesus Christ, John writes in the Bible, ‘…the one who is in you [God, living in the believer by His Spirit] is greater than the one who is in the world.’ [ie Satan].10  In his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul writes, ‘…I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’11

Someone might ask, ‘Why does God allow the devil to perpetrate all the evil he does? Why doesn’t God subdue the devil now instead of waiting for some time in the future?’ We don’t know the answer but it might be linked to why God allows you to carry on as you are. God does not try to ‘subdue’ you, does He, when you do something your conscience tells you is wrong?  God is good, patient and kind, giving you time to turn to Him and love Him. God does not force us but lovingly waits for you and me to come to Him. This way God can judge you (and Satan) justly for he gives you time to change your mind and your ways. When the judgement day comes He can rightly say, ‘I gave you time to love me of your own free will. You chose a life without me, so that is what I will give you – an eternity without Me’.  At the end of the last book in the Bible, Revelation, we read, ‘Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. …The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.’12  God gives a free gift of eternal life to whoever will ask Him for it. It is as simple as that:

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world, through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.’13

Bill

1  Ephesians chapter 6 verse 12.
2  Job chapter 1 verse 7
3  Gospel  of Mark chapter 8 verse 33
4  1 Peter chapter 5 verse 8
5  Ephesians chapter 6 verse 16
6  Revelation chapter 2 verse 10
7  Revelation chapter 20 verses 7 to 9
8  Revelation chapter 20 verse 10
9  Revelation chapter 1 verse 18
10  1 John chapter 4 verse 4
11  Romans chapter 8 verses 38 and 39
12  Revelation chapter 22 verse 17
13  Gospel of John chapter 3 verses 16 and 17
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