Tag Archives: glen-jackman

The vile practice of the ungodly

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25).

During the time of the judges, the tribe of Benjamin had scoundrels that raped an Israelite woman who later died. They surround the house where the travelling couple were staying with the intent to have gang sex with her husband! However, the choice was made to toss the girl out the door to the dogs, so to speak.

Sound noble leadership in the current world is negligible. The Christian church is dwindling as the bible is not a standard-bearer for the majority. The gospel is not preached by leaders as it was in the days of Acts. It is often predominately promoting singular differences of doctrine in one church denomination over another. Christ is not heralded with vigour. The result: gender liberality, pornography, and disgusting misogyny abound.

The other tribes got together and attacked and decimated the tribe of Benjamin. The Israelites had sworn thereafter: “Cursed is he who gives a wife to a Benjamite.”

How low can a leadership stoop?

When there are no leaders who are walking in the covenant of  the Lord, chaos ensues: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25).

Disdain for the honour of women continues

The Israelites later came up with a game plan that would sidestep the vow. Their gambit would eliminate any loving romantic relationship for many of the father’s unfortunate daughters.

The Benjamite men would be allowed to randomly sneak up and kidnap the Israelite daughters during the girls’ happy dancing at a festival. Why? So the Benjamite tribe would not shrink into oblivion, as there were few if any Benjamin women left after the war with the rest of Israel who attacked them for the sordid rape by the Benjamite gang. Here is their backsliding disrespect for the women:

“But look,” they said, “there is a yearly feast to the LORD in Shiloh, which is north of Bethel east of the road that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.” So they [the Israelites] commanded the Benjamites: “Go, hide in the vineyards and watch. When you see the daughters of Shiloh come out to perform their dances, each of you is to come out of the vineyards, catch for himself a wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. When their fathers or brothers come to us to complain, we will tell them, ‘Do us a favour by helping them, since we did not get wives for each of them in the war. You have no guilt since you did not actually give them your daughters.” (Judges 21: 19-22)

Sad calculation by the leaders of Israel of their daughters’ value as children of the Lord: Since you did not actually give them your daughters, you have no guilt.

The Benjamites did as instructed and carried away the number of women they needed from the dancers they caught. They went back to their own inheritance, rebuilt their cities, and settled in them. Judges 21: 23

Our Creator’s commitment to this physical world

With the environmental concerns taking a predominant amount of attention, I thought this would be worth taking a look at. 1

1. The new creation includes the world we live in. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). If God’s eternal purpose was merely to fill heaven (a spiritual, disembodied realm) with souls, then why not start with that? If the physical world has no part in God’s eternal plan, then how do you explain the Bible’s conclusion when John reveals, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth…and I saw a holy city, new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven…?” The last chapters of the Bible describe the world as God intended it to be from the beginning. And clearly, the new creation includes the world in which we now live.

2. The Creator is committed to restoration.So committed to his physical world that to restore and redeem it, he sent his Son to be born as a real man in a real body to live a real life and die a real death (Luke 2:7; Luke 23:33-49).

3. God resurrected the body of Christ. Maybe the greatest demonstration of the Creator’s commitment to his created world is the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Luke 24). It was not merely the soul of Jesus that was resurrected—but his body as well. During the 40 days following the resurrection, Jesus publically modeled what a resurrected life would look like. He could be touched (Luke 24:39), he ate food (Luke 24:43), and he was recognized by those who knew him before his death.

4. Jesus ascends in physical form. Finally, consider Jesus’s ascension. When Jesus makes his kingly processional to return to his throne (Acts 1:9), he does not shed his physical body to do so. At this very moment, Jesus, who remains fully God and fully man, sits at the right hand of the Father (Colossians 3:1) and for all of eternity will never cease to be the human God-man, the Son of God the father whom we worship.

I’d also like to add that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and will be our judge to whom we must answer and to whom every knee shall bow, answering for our stewardship of His earth, especially created for mankind to abide with stewardship care. For example we were never to farm the land incessantly but allow it to rest one out of every seven years. Only the creator knows best, not Big Agricultural’s corporate conglomerates like Monsanto who seek to make increasing profits and who do not obey scripture. (Genesis 9:7, Leviticus 25:4)

John’s prophecy in Revelation points to a special reckoning by the Lord for mismanaging the beauty of the earth and its continued ability to sustain man: The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth. (Revelation 11:18)

1 Excerpts from Crosswalk

Another view on hell

The following is the beginning of a rather large undertaking, as I study the few theological views of Hell, without any foregone conclusions. I’ve put this off for years because I knew it would be time-consuming, and annoy some for even doing so. I start with the following study. Why? When in seminary studies in a predominantly Baptist, Pentecostal, Wesleyan, student body, during lunch gatherings, there arose a very interesting academic discussion on Annihilationism as a view on Hell, which many mainline theologians have adopted, including one of my favourite Calvinist theologians, deceased B B Bruce.

The generally accepted, historic position of the church has been that after the final resurrection and judgment, mankind will either live blessedly in the presence of God or live in conscious torment in the fires of hell away from the presence of God forever. Jesus seems to have much support for this viewpoint.

Let’s first test the hypothesis of the view of Annihilationism.

The View of Annihilationism

The following is only a beginning, on this viewpoint. I will be digging deeper into the subject, from most every theologian in support of Annihilationism. Then I will go on to look at the Traditionalist view.

The theological term “Annihilationism” offers up a view of God that will rid his kingdom of all the unrighteous for eternity, which means that he will not punish them torturously for eternity. This doctrine has another theological term to define those that follow this viewpoint of hell — they are referred to as “conditionalist”. They hold strong biblical arguments falling into three broad categories: 1) the biblical vision of eternity, 2) the biblical vocabulary of divine punishment, and 3) the biblical concept of justice.

Annihilationism’s biblical vision of eternity The Bible speaks glowingly of the ultimate victory of Christ over all His enemies, resulting in a universe free from all the effects of the curse, including rebellion, sin, death, and suffering. Many would argue that the traditional view of hell—according to which most of mankind will be endlessly tormented, dwelling in an infernal state of continual rebellion and hatred toward God—does not square with such a vision. It leaves some major business unsettled—or else settled in a very unsatisfactory way.  1 Well respected mainline theologians agree:

This is one of the major pillars upon which the theologian, John R. W. Stott built his case for annihilationism. He wrote: The eternal existence of the impenitent in hell would be hard to reconcile with the promises of God’s final victory over evil, or with the apparently universalistic texts which speak … of God uniting all things under Christ’s headship (Ephesians 1:10), reconciling all things to himself through Christ (Colossians 1:20), and bringing every knee to bow to Christ and every tongue to confess his lordship (Philippians 2:10–11), so that in the end God will be “all in all” or “everything to everybody”, even to those everywhere – even “under the earth” (Philippians 2:10); see also )1 Corinthians 15:28). After surveying various scriptures about the reconciled creation, Stott further remarked: “These texts do not lead me to universalism, because of the many others which speak of the terrible and eternal reality of hell. But they do lead me to ask how God can in any meaningful sense be called ‘everything to everybody’ while an unspecified number of people still continue in rebellion against him and under his judgement.” 2

Clark Pinnock echoed this same sentiment: “History ends so badly under the old scenario. In what is supposed to be the victory of Christ, evil and rebellion continue in hell under conditions of burning and torturing.… The New Testament says that God is going to be ‘all in all’ (1 Cor. 15:28) and that God is going to be making ‘everything new’ (Rev. 21:5).” 3 In the common traditionalist view that sinners remain in a state of rebellion against God forever in hell, the creation is never really free from sin at all. Rebellion has not been conquered. It has only been marginalized and contained in one compartment of the creation. Nor has any final justice been served, since the punishment continues endlessly and is never completed. According to annihilationists, though, all those who remain impenitent to the end will be removed from existence, leaving only such a remnant as would fit the biblical descriptions of a reconciled world and humanity. Hence, the glorious vision of an undefiled eternity is realized by the complete elimination of the contaminating element. 3

Philip E. Hughes, a convinced conditionalist who lectured at Westminster Theological Seminary and was one of the editors of Westminster Theological Journal, wrote: The conception of the endlessness of the suffering of torment … leaves a part of creation which, unrenewed, everlastingly exists in alienation from the new heaven and the new earth. It means that suffering and death will never be totally removed from the scene.… To this must be objected that with the restoration of all things in the new heaven and the new earth, which involves God’s reconciliation to Himself of all things, whether on earth or in heaven (Acts 3:21, Col. 1:20) there will be no place for a second kingdom of darkness and death. 34

1 Steve Gregg, All You Want to Know about Hell: Three Christian Views of God’s Final Solution to the Problem of Sin (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2013), 200–202.

2 Theologian, John R. W. Stott

3 Theologian, Clark Pinnock

4 Theologian, Philip E. Hughes, a convinced conditionalist who lectured at Westminster Theological Seminary

14 Christian Virtues to Guard Diligently

“To him, that overcomes…even as I also overcame” Rev 3:21

Here is a list of good virtues that I assimilated from Benjamin Franklin, which he had sketched for his son.  As a new Christian, in my 20s, I heard about this book from Mark Johnson, a pastor-friend. I read Franklin’s list and added a biblical perspective with scripture attending and stuck it in my bible’s flyleaf.

In retrospect, it made a lot of sense for a young man with a growing family. It is interesting to look back at your life to see how you thought and applied scripture and lifestyle disciplines. Today, having worked in the Lord’s service as an elder, nearing 70, I realize that I prefer to let the Holy Spirit guide me in my planning, which allows for peaceful contemplation as I seek His will. I also recognize that Franklin’s wisdom had a place in time to help me learn basic discipline especially if the Word can stand behind the thesis without pushing legalism.

  1. TEMPERANCE:  Eat not to dullness; gain sufficient sleep for the next day. 1 Cor 3:16, 17; Luke 12:45,46; Ps 127:2
  2. PREPARATION:  Take the Word from the morning study with you after you have attained Love, Joy, and Peace in your heart through prayerful meditation. Gain possession of a strong purpose in Christ. Eph 6:12, 13, 17; Gal 5:22; Ps 143:8
  3. HUMILITY:  Walk as Jesus did, free from pride and vanity. James 4:6,10; John 1:35-37; Prov 28:18; Ps 56:13; Ps 89:15,16; Ps 119:45, Isa 30:21; Rom 6:4; Eph 5:2; Col 2:6,7
  4. SILENCE:  Speak not but when it is for the constructive edification of another, through a demonstration of the love of Christ.  If you speak, speak accordingly.  James 3:2; Eph 4:29, 30 James 1:26; Ps 139:4
  5. ORDER:  Let all things have their places; plan each part of your business to have its time and priority. Practice regularity in rising, study, eating, work, exercise, and sleeping. Ps 119:133; 1 Cor 14:33, 40; Col 2:5; Ps 37:23
  6. RESOLUTION:  Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.  Do not vacillate. Gal 6:9; Prov 22:29
  7. INDUSTRY: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions. The watchwords of enthusiasm: Love what you are called to do, assume your responsibility; do it now; Rom 12:10, 11; Prov 10:4,5; 18:9; Eph 6:5-8
  8. FRUGALITY:  Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; waste nothing and stay within the constraints of income. Save 10-20% of your income. Prov 21:20; John 6:11-13
  9. JUSTICE: Wrong no one by slander or hurtful deceit or by omitting any kindness within your power to bestow. James 4:11, 17; 2:14-17; 1 John 3:17-20; Isa 58:6-8; Prov 25:9; 10:18
  10. TRANQUILITY: Patiently forebear resenting injuries so much even as you think another deserves.  Freely forgive all men. Eph. 4:31, 32; 2 Tim 4:5
  11. MODERATION: Avoid dogmatic, critical opinion.  If you are right, persuade through words such as: I see; I imagine it to be…; Seems to me to be so; Seems to be some difference…; It appears to me at present, etc. rather than: no…; I think…; You should…; For sure…; That’s not true, etc. yet stand firm to principle using tact and skillful conversation.  Matt 10:16; Prov 25:11; 1 Thess 2:5
  12. EXERCISE: Do not let a day pass without a twenty-minute walk outdoors and ten for leg raises situps and pushups. Ps 104:24; 3 John 2 
  13. CLEANLINESS:  Tolerate no uncleanliness in body clothes or habitation.  Drink plenty of water. Fast occasionally 2 Cor 7:1; Luke 5:35
  14. CHASTITY: Guard the mind against entertaining the lusts of the flesh.  Be aware of environmental influences. Gal 5:16; 1 Thess 5:6; Eph 6:18; Rev 3:2; 1 Cor 16:13; Matt 5:28; 1 John 2:16; James 1:14, 15

Flyleaf of my old Oxford KJV.

Sharing the love of Jesus Christ

Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. (John 4:21–23)

When the apostle Paul stood up and preached on Mars Hill, he told his hearers that they were worshipping a Creator they did not know. They lacked understanding. Then he said, “The One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:23).

A view of Athens from Mars Hill. Photo: Glen Jackman 2002

While we often refer to the gospel as a message, we need to understand something as Christians: in reality, preaching the person of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We are magnifying the Saviour so that people will flee to Him for mercy, and when they do, their status changes—from His enemy to His friend. Jesus asked the woman to believe Him. While sceptics often look down on believers with disdain, we know that believing has life-changing ramifications.

If you believe that you are drinking poison cool-aid, you will stop. Beliefs govern our actions and believing the gospel changes our eternal destiny.

Today ​you and I may be with people who ignorantly believe in an idea of God. They may lack knowledge. How can you have ​the ​courage to share the truth of Jesus Christ’s love like Paul did? You must convince yourself from scripture to clarify your assurance that you have eternal salvation in Jesus Christ. Then with the same scriptures, you can share the biblical truths as did the apostles in the early days after Christ’s death and resurrection.

Father, today let me see unbelievers or confused believers through your ​loving ​eyes. Help me be prepared to share your grace with others in love that generates hope and faith.

Inspired by: Jesus in Red: 365 Meditations on the Words of Jesus

Jesus is able to save to the uttermost

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (ESV Hebrews 7:25)

As we approach Good Friday, and the weekend dedicated to remembering the cross of Jesus Christ and what He accomplished for you and me – for anyone who will repent of sin, and trust Jesus as Lord of their life. By accepting Him, you can have your name written in the Book of LIfe – you are forgiven and move from judgement into life eternal. And that eternal life was assured when Jesus rose from the grave on the following Sunday.

When  Jesus was resurrected, it is clear from scripture that he then became the High Priest and became our advocate with the Father.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water…For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. (Hebrews 10:19–22, 24 ESV)

As we learn to trust and obey, the Spirit works to conform our minds into the image of God – to the way to live on earth like Jesus. We may occasionally make a mistake and sin. Here’s where Christ’s advocacy as our High Priest is essential:

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (ESV 1 John 2:1)

Jesus Christ is our mediator between God and man:

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (ESV 1 Tim 2:5)

Jesus understands you. He lived as a man on earth as he ministered to the multitudes.

Since then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence, draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (ESV Heb 4:14-16)

Through Jesus Christ our High Priest, we, just like the early Christians who witnessed Christ’s death and resurrection, and further based their faith on Christ’s promise of salvation and eternal life — have the same hope offered to us. This refers to the personal, heart to heart relationship the Christian is expected to have with Jesus.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish.  (John 10:27–28)

Jesus is ready to forgive you. By His advocacy, we all have access in one Spirit to the Father, and we live through Christ’s Spirit united with Him and the Father, and we can live in newness of life in mind, body and soul in His kingdom now. (John 17:21)

For a deeper dive into the theology of Jesus Christ our High Priest you can access my in-depth study here: Jesus Christ, our High Priest

God Is Bigger Than Your Worldly Troubles

Have you ever stopped to think how different life would be if we were still living in Eden? No broken relationships. No difficult pregnancies. No squabbles with spouses. No financial woes. No cancer. No feeling far away from God. (And this list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface!)

Instead, we live in a world marred by the effects of sin. We daily face all kinds of pain, trouble, suffering, weeping, loss and despair.

The temptation is to blame our woes on God, but let’s be honest: The human race did this to itself. All God ever did was love us, and — when we rebelled — implement a plan to rescue us.

The promise above — a statement by Jesus to his followers — is a sobering assessment of the way things are. But it is also a hopeful reminder of the once and future Paradise for which we were created.

In light of such truth, author Elisabeth Elliot counsels us: “Refuse self-pity. Refuse it absolutely. It is a deadly thing with power to destroy you. Turn your thoughts to Christ who has already carried your griefs and sorrows.”

Our Sovereign Lord’s Promise 

Trials and sorrows are part of living in a fallen world. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV) 

This tells me that Jesus is promising me: I am bigger and more powerful than any worldly troubles you face. 1

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, trials and sorrows are a normal part of life. I don’t like this truth, but it reminds me of my need for you, God. I can take heart in the fact that you will have the final word. I praise you because you are powerful and sovereign over my life — even the hard times. Always keep me looking to you.

1 Once a Day Bible Promises

Dangers and Delusion of Rationalization

…behold, you have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23

When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they . . . made plans to kill him. . . . [But] Judah said to the others, “What can we gain by killing our brother? That would just give us a guilty conscience. Let’s sell Joseph to those Ishmaelite traders. Let’s not be responsible for his death; after all, he is our brother!” (Genesis 37:18, 26-27 NLT)

Initially, out of jealousy for their little brother, Joseph’s elder brothers proposed a plan to kill him. Then they altered their strategy of murdering him, rationalizing a lesser sin, to sell him into slavery to by-passing Ishmaelite traders. When you rationalize your plan to commit a lesser sin, it remains sin. At these times of temptation consider the consequences of your actions. When we justify in such times when deceived that a lesser evil is okay, we surrender our conscience from the guidance of the Holy Spirit to Satan. Rationalizing is, in many cases, delusion in disguise. We might think we are smart while acting in folly.

Begin to consider in what areas of life where you might be rationalizing sin that could lead to harmful consequences.

  • Have I joked crudely, even if it hurts another’s feelings?
  • Do I have a propensity for gluttony, drunkenness, sexual lust, anger, or slanderous gossip?
  • Have I ever told half-lies versus the whole truth?
  • Am I ethically divisive based on political leanings?
  • Do I advise others how to live even if it is against their conscience and thus viewed as sin?
  • Do I ever sidestep the plain truth of scripture that doesn’t fit my denominational group-think?
  • Have I ever rejected Christ as my Saviour?
  • Do I sway others  towards non-Christian ideologies unto ungodly living in this world’s culture?
  • Have I minimized Christ in the family to get along with my partner/spouse?
  • Have I often spoken of the faults of others without exhibiting forgiveness?

Let the Lord challenge you: Live such good lives among the unbeliever that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12)

Theology: The Trinity Doctrine Glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

The doctrine of the Trinity has parallel truths that are complementary, not contradictory. Three unique identities co-exist in one tri-unified Godhead in an equal relationship working distinctly as purposeful personal extensions in the co-creation of the universe, with earth and humankind and all creatures, sustaining potentiation of divine connections to humanity in a communicable (prayer-linked), pedagogical mindset (Spirit-linked): with prescribed laws (prophetically scripture-linked) in all realms psychologically, spiritually, familial in relation with our minds existentially in a created biologic, physic, atomic, and cosmic reality sustained by the highest laws in each energy field. 1

The Christian faith affirms that there is one and only one God, eternally existing while fully and simultaneously expressed in three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Godhead is equally God, each is eternally God, and each is fully God—not three gods but three Persons of the one Godhead. Each Person is equal in essence as each possesses eternally, simultaneously, and fully the identically same and undivided divine nature. Yet each is also an eternal and distinct personal expression of that one undivided divine nature. Because of this, what distinguishes each Person of the Godhead from each other Person is not and cannot be the divine nature, since the identically same one and undivided divine nature is the full and eternal possession of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. So, what distinguishes each Person of the Godhead from each other Person are the relationships that each has with each of the other Persons and his particular roles in relation to the others. In light of both the equality of essence yet differentiation of relationships and roles that exist among the Persons of the Godhead, we consider just how the church came to affirm these truths about the Trinity and how those Trinitarian relationships and roles are expressed within the Trinity of Persons. 2

The bible teaches that the Father is God. Yet it was evident that while on earth as our saviour and representative man, Jesus honoured prayed to and obeyed his Father.

The Doctrine of the Trinity Glorifies Jesus Christ

In 1 Corinthians 8:6 we can see that Jesus was active in creation: yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. 

The triadic relationship of God can be seen into whom Christians are baptized. Matthew 28:19-20 states: Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

Further, we are called to know the true God in the context of Jesus Christ, whom the Father sent. John 17: 3: And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

In 2 Corinthians 13:14: the Hoy Spirit is noted in the triad: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

The Supremacy of Jesus in the creation of all life is noted in Colossians 1:15-20 NLT: Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him, God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

1 Glen Jackman’s philosophic meditations

2 Dr Bruce Ware, Southern Seminary

Demons lurk behind international warfare

Now in 2022, the war in Ukraine brings violent evil to the fore once again and threatens to reshape our global future in ways we can only imagine.

Human selfishness and greed are among the sins that spawn wars: “Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?” (James 4:1, NASB). Collectively, however, the scale of human suffering at the hands of others also seems to presume a dimension of cosmic evil that defies even our recognition of human depravity.

There are reasons for that. The Book of Daniel speaks not just of a succession of world empires but of the spiritual forces behind them. The angelic prince of Persia delayed an answer to Daniel’s prayers until Michael, Israel’s prince, intervened; the angelic prince of Alexander’s empire would follow (Dan. 10:13, 20–21; 12:1). God had sovereignly allotted times in history for various angels and their empires, but his angelic and human servants continued to work for his purposes until he caused them to prevail.

The Greek translation of Deuteronomy mentions that God appointed angels over the various nations, and Jewish thought increasingly recognized such heavenly rulers and authorities—what later rabbis called angels over the nations. These beings were typically hostile toward God’s people, but in the end, God would give the kingdom to his persevering people.

Because our king, Jesus, has already come, Satan has been defeated. His exaltation corresponds with the angel Michael’s heavenly triumph over the dragon (Rev. 12:7–8).

In explaining this story, scholars often invoke the World War II analogy between D-Day and V-Day. In D-Day, the success of the Normandy invasion decided the outcome of the war, and the defeat of the Nazi regime and its allies was merely a matter of time. Yet until V-Day—the final surrender of the Axis powers—battles continued and casualties mounted.

In the same way, all enemies—including the final one, death itself—will be subdued when Jesus returns (Ps. 110:1; 1 Cor. 15:25–26), but his servants face continuing battles until then.

In Ephesians, Paul emphasizes that Jesus is already enthroned above heavenly rulers and authorities (Eph. 1:20–22) and we are spiritually enthroned with him (Eph. 1:22-23; 2:6). In a letter that heavily underscores the unity between Jews and Gentiles in Christ’s body, this enthronement above angels of nations and empires means that our unity in Christ is greater than all the ethnic and national divisions fomented by such angels. Believers are no longer subject to the prince of this world (Eph. 2:1–3).

For Paul, this triumph over divisions has spiritual warfare ramifications, even for the interpersonal dimensions of our lives. In Ephesians 4, for example, denying the devil an opportunity means having integrity and controlling our anger (Eph. 4:25–27). In Ephesians 6:10–20, it means taking hold of the defensive armour of truth, faith, and righteousness, plus a weapon for invading hostile territory: the mission of the gospel.

The upside is that by faith we look forward to our Lord’s final victory over the world conflicts spawned by evil:

  • He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)

  • “. . .in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” — Daniel 2:44 KJV
  • “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” — 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 ESV
Excerpts from: Mark Johnson, Michael Heiser; and Louis Markos, Feb 26, 2022, Christianity Today