No one who thinks there is no devil, or evil spirits, at work in the world, no heaven or hell, lives in realityeven when realism lies at the heart of his intention. That person lives in partial reality, limited to what he sees and understands naturallyso he is not able to handle the total situation in which he actually dwells.
For believers, the foremost essential is to know, to love, and obey your Commander. The second is to know your enemywho he is, what he intends, and how he and his agents, evil spirits, operate. As a believer, you won't be Left Behindbut you do have to deal with the devil until you're taken.
As much as Jesus and the Apostles spoke of and exposed the works of darkness it is alarming today than much of Christendom has bought the lie that being educated about Satan's devices is giving him glory.
The Chariots of Israel - More Than Meets the Eye
Once, when the king of Syria was at war against Israel, his secrety devised plans were repeatedly frustrated because the King of Israel always seemed to know exactly what they were. The king suspected a spy in his own camp, but one of his servants said, "Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber."
Elisha was in a city called Dothan, the servant said.
So the king sent "horses and chariots and a great army, and they came bv night and surrounded the city." An army was sent to seize one man.
"When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was round about the city." Elisha was encircled and trapped.
"And the servant said, 'Alas, my master What shall we do?' And Elisha answered, 'Fear not, for they that are with us are more than they that are with them."'
That seemed an odd declaration, because no soldiers were with Elisha.
"And Elisha prayed and said, 'Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see. 'And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha." II Kings 6:8-17.
In this account--and at many other points in the Bible the
Scriptures tell of forces and events in the physical and natural realm and of forces and concurrent events in the spiritual and supernatural realm. There was something visible going on and something invisible going on in the same place at the same time, and both had a bearing on the event. Here, for a brief moment, the unseen veil that separates the two was drawn back, so the young man who at first had seen only the army of Syria saw another army camped in that place, the army of the Lord.
What he saw was not a vision but reality. He saw real horses and real chariots on that mountain, but they existed on a different plane of reality than the one on which man dwells. They could come into the natural order and affect it, but they were not a part of the natural order. They exist in an order beyond or above that of the natural, called the supernatural. They are not less real because of their invisibility to man.
For the outcome of this confrontation between natural and supernatural forces see the chapter of the Bible listed above. It is sufficient here to say that Elisha was not seized or harmed, nor were any of the Syrian troops killed, and the last word on it is that "the Syrians came no more on raids into the land of Israel."
There had been one previous occasion on which Elisha had seen a sight like the one he saw that morning. It was while he was serving as a young man under the prophet Elijah. Elijah was one of the holiest and mightiest prophets in the history of Israel. He is one of two men of whom it is told in the Old Testament that they were taken into heaven without suffering physical death. The other is Enoch.
Elisha had been servant to Elijah and when the day came for
Elijah to be taken from the earth, Elisha knew what was going to happen. He followed the older man closely that day, refusing suggestions that he stay behind.
At the end, the old prophet turned to the young man and said, "Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you." Elisha said, "I pray you, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." He was asking that the power of God that had made Elijah a prophet and a worker of miracles rest upon him, but in double measure.
Elijah said, "You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be done for you; but if not, it shall not be so." It came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and separated the two of them. And Elisha saw it and cried, "My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof!' For a moment Elisha had seen things invisible to the human eye, and that made him call out in astonishment and awe. He saw forces assigned as protectors of Israel--real, powerful, efficient forces that the human eye cannot see, because they are not physical but spiritual, not natural but supernatural.
Because they are on a different plane than that of the natural and the physical, in their comings and goings they are, with very rare exceptions, unseen and unheard by man.
That is true of the supernatural forces of God. But it is equally true of the supernatural forces of evil. Both are invisible and both affect events on earth to a degree unsuspected by most men.
Once, when King David had obeyed the will of Satan in a certain matter and disobeyed the will of God, the Bible says that "God sent the angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, but when he was about to destroy it, the Lord saw, and He repented of the evil, and he said to the destroying angel, "it is enough; now stay your hand." "And the angel of the Lord was standing by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite" -- notice that it was a very specific angel standing at a very specific place -- "and David
lifted his eyes and SAW THE ANGEL OF THE LORD standing between earth and heaven, and in his hand a drawn sword stretched out over Jerusalem..."
"Now Ornan was threshing wheat; he turned and saw the angel and his four sons who were with him hid themselves." 1 Chron 21:15, 16, 20
It was given to David and to Ornan to see beyond the natural into the supernatural and to see, taking place in the supernatural, an event that had the most
immediate and momentous bearing on the safety of the city of Jerusalem.
There are events occurring on the earth in our time that are affected not only by what men do and say in the natural realm but by invisible forces operating in the supernatural realm. The Bible reveals that the primary initiative in certain events of history does not proceed from the will of man but from the will of powers beyond man in the supernatural. Since some of the powers are evil, and since their desire is to increase the sum of strife and suffering and death among mankind, it is urgent for Christians to know something about them.
By McCandlish Phillips