In this technological age it might seem there is more interest in scientific subjects, but there is still a real fascination with all facets of the spirit world—both good and evil.
The first question that needs to be asked is: does the spirit world truly exist, or is it just a figment of fertile imaginations?
Most religions have something to say about the spirit world. But how reliable are they? Eastern religion, for instance, speaks of the spirit world, but its numerous books often contradict themselves on the subject. Only the Bible has been shown to be a reliable source of information. In fact, close to 2,000 years ago, biblical teachings caused many to repudiate books dealing with the evil side of the spirit world.
When the apostle Paul visited Ephesus and preached from the Bible, the reaction of those using books on witchcraft and magic was to renounce these sources of spiritual darkness: "Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all...So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed" (Acts 19:19-20).
There is a side to the spirit world the Bible describes as beneficial, having to do with the righteous angels. God told Job the angels existed before the physical earth was created: "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? . . . When the morning stars [a biblical symbol for angels] sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4, 7). Here, the "sons of God" is a reference to angels who shouted for joy when they saw the earth being created.
The apostle John was also shown this angelic world in a vision: "Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands" (Revelation 5:11).
Hebrews 1:14 speaks of angels and tells us: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?" So the angels were created to aid human beings, including protecting us in numerous ways. As Psalms 34:7 states, "The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them." And Psalms 91:11 tells us God "shall give His angels charge over you, to keep [preserve or protect] you in all your ways."
But what about the other side of the spirit world the Bible also describes? Evil began with one of the created angels, called Lucifer in Latin (later called Satan) rebelling against God (Isaiah 14:12-14).
In Ezekiel 28:14-17 God explains about Satan and the beginning of sin and evil: "You were the anointed cherub who covers;...you were on the holy mountain of God...perfect in your ways...till iniquity was found in you...You became filled with violence within, and you sinned . . . Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendour. . ." (Ezekiel 28:14-17).
This angel, a cherub, one of the mightiest of angels, led a rebellion against God and was cast down to the earth with those angels that followed him. When God asked Satan in Job 1:7, "From where do you come," Satan replied, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." By the time Adam and Eve were formed, Satan was already here on the earth, and either presented himself as a serpent or spoke through it to deceive Eve (Genesis 3:1-5).
The Bible also records that when Jesus was tempted by Satan, the devil showed Him the world's kingdoms and said, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish" (Luke 4:6).
Satan is the great deceiver "who deceives the whole world" (Revelation 12:9). Along with his angels, he is an expert in disguising himself as an apparent doer of good. "For Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works" (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
So, whether we are aware of it or not, a spiritual battle is going on. Satan has the power to transmit attitudes and tries to persuade us to do evil. The apostle Paul says of this spiritual warfare: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness" (Ephesians 6:12).
Thankfully, the Bible foretells a future time on earth when Satan will no longer be able to transmit his evil attitudes and the world will finally be at peace (Revelation 20:2-3). But in the meantime, we must be careful to guard our minds as this unseen spiritual battle rages around us!
The Good News Magazine