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Post by sol_drethedon on Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:17 pm


The connection of the visible world, the ministration of angels of God, and the agency of evil spirits, are plainly revealed in the Scriptures, and inseparably interwoven in human history. There is a growing tendency to disbelief in the existence of evil spirits, while the holy angels that "minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Hebrews 1:4) are regarded to many as spirits of the dead. But the scriptures not only teach the existence of the angels, both good and evil, but present unquestionable proof that these are not disembodied spirits of dead men.

Before the creation of man, angels were in existence; for when the foundations of the earth were laid, "the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." Job 38:7. After the fall of man, angels were sent to guard the tree of life, and this before a human being had died. Angels are in nature superior to men, for the Psalmist says that man was made "a little lower than the angels." Psalm 8:5

We are informed in scripture as to the number, and the power, and the glory, of the heavenly beings, of their connection with the government of God, and also of their relation to the work of redemption. "The Lord hath prepared His Throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all." And, says the prophet, "I heard the voice of many angels around the throne." In the presence chamber of the King of kings they wait--"angels that excel in strength," ministers of His that do His pleasure," "hearkening unto the voice of His word." Psalm 103:19-21; Revelation 5:11. Ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands were the heavenly messengers beheld by the prophet Daniel. The apostle Paul declared them "an innumerable company." Daniel 7:10; Hebrews 12:22. As God's messengers they go forth, like "the appearance of a flash of lightning, and his raiment as white as snow," caused the keepers for fear of Him to quake and they "became as dead men" Mathew 28:3, 4. When Sennacherib, the haughty Assyrian reproached and blasphemed God, and threatened Israel with destruction, "It came to pass that night that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand."There were cut off all the mighty men of valor, and the leaders and captains," from the army of Sennacherib. "So he returned with shame of face to his own land." 2Kings 19:35; 2Chronicles 32:21.

Angels are sent on missions of mercy for the children of God. To Abraham with promises of blessing; to the gates of Sodom, to rescue righteous Lot from its fiery doom; to Elijah, as he was about to perish from weariness and hunger in the desert; to Elisha, with chariots and horses of fire surrounding the little town where he was shut in by his foes; to Daniel, while seeking divine wisdom in the court of a heathen king, or abandoned to become the lion's prey; to Peter, doomed to death in Herold's dungeon; to the prisoners of Philippi; to Paul and his companions in the night of tempest on the sea; to open the mind of Cornelius to receive the gospel; to dispatch Peter with the message of Salvation to the Gentile stranger--thus holy angels have, in all ages, ministered to God's people.

A guardian angel is appointed to every follower of Christ. These heavenly watchers shield the righteous from the power of the wicked one. This Satan himself recognized when he said: 'Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge around him, and about his house and about all that he has on every side?" Job 1:9, 10. The agency by which God protects His people is seen in the psalmist: "The angels of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them . Psalm 34:7 . Said the Savior, speaking of those that believe in Him: 'Take heed that you despise not one of the little ones, for I say unto you, that heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father." Mathew 18:10. The angels appointed to minister to the children of God have all times access to His presence

Thus God's people, exposed to the deceptive power and unsleeping malice of the prince of darkness, and in conflict with all the foes of evil, are assured of the unceasing guardianship of heavenly angels. Nor is such assurance given without need. If God has granted to His children promise of grace and protection, its because there are mighty agencies of evil--agencies numerous, determined, and untiring, of whose malignity and power none can safely be ignorant or unheeding.

Evil spirits, in the beginning created sinless, were equal in nature, power and glory with the holy beings that are now God's messengers . But fallen through sin, they are leagued together for the dishonor of God and the destruction of men. United with Satan in his rebellion, and with him cast out of heaven, they have, through all succeeding ages, co-operated with him in his warfare against the divine authority. We are told in Scripture of their confederacy and government, of their vicious orders, of their intelligence and subtlety, and of their malicious designs against the peace and happiness of men

Old testament history presents occasional mention of their existence and agency; but it was during the time when Christ was upon the earth that evil spirits manifested their power in their most striking manner. Christ had come to enter upon the plan devised for man's redemption, and Satan determined to assert his right to control the world. He succeeded in establishing idolatry in every part of the earth except the land of Palestine. To the only land that had not yielded to the tempter's sway, Christ came to shed upon the people the light of heaven. Here two rival powers claimed supremacy. Jesus was stretching out his arms of love, inviting all who would to find pardon and peace in Him. The hosts of darkness saw that they did not possess unlimited control, and they understood that if Christ's mission should be successful, their rule was soon to end. Satan raged like a caged lion and defiantly exhibited his power over the bodies as well as the souls of men

The fact that men have been possessed with demons, is clearly stated in the new testament. The persons thus afflicted were not merely suffering with disease fro natural causes. Christ had perfect understanding of that with which he was dealing, and he recognized the direct presence and agency of evil spirits.

A striking example of their number, power and malignity, and also of the power and mercy of Christ , is given in the Scripture account of the healing of the demoniacs of Gadara.Those wretched maniacs, spurning all restraint, writhing, foaming, raging, were filling the air with cries, doing violence to themselves, and endangering all who would approach them. Their bleeding and disfigured bodies and distracted minds presented a spectacle well pleasing to the prince of darkness. One of the demons controlling the sufferers declared: "My name is Legion: for we are many." Mark 5:9. In the Roman army a legion consisted of from three to five thousand men. Satan's hosts are marshaled in companies , and the single company to which demons belonged numbered not less than a legion.

At the command of Jesus the evil spirits departed from their victims, leaving them calmly sitting at the savior's feet, subdued, intelligent and gentle. But the demons were permitted to sweep a herd of swine into the sea; and to the dwellers of Gadara, the loss of this outweighed the blessings which Christ had bestowed, and the divine Healer was entreated to depart. This was the result which Satan designed to secure. By casting the blame of their loss upon Jesus, he aroused the selfish fears of the people and prevented them from listening to His words. Satan is constantly accusing Christians as the cause of loss, misfortune, and suffering instead of allowing the reproach to fall where it belongs--upon himself and his agents.

But the purposes of Christ were not thwarted. He allowed the evil spirits to destroy the herd of swine as a rebuke for those Jews who were raising these unclean beasts for the sake of gain. Had not Christ restrained the demons, they would have plunged into the sea, not only the swine but also their keepers and owners. The preservation of both the keepers and owners was due alone to His power, mercifully exercised for their deliverance. Furthermore, this event was permitted to take place such that the disciples may witness the cruel power of Satan upon both man and beast. The Savior desired His followers to have a knowledge of the fore whom they were to meet, that they might not be deceived and overcome by his devices. It was also His that the people of that region should behold His power to break the bondage of Satan and release his captives. And though Jesus Himself departed, the men so marvelously delivered, remained to declare the mercy of their Benefactor




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