14 January 2022
It grates on my nerves when people ignore the biblical imagery and insert their own mythology. When you walk by your convictions, you become sensitive like that.
I've watched a lot of horror flicks and read a lot similar fiction. What spooks Americans is the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic mythology in particular, and Germanic mythology in general. Even when it's not about demons, it still rests firmly on the kind of crap behind Beowulf. It's based on an entirely false view of what's possible. Even with our false veneer of reason and logic, we still carry around a vast legacy of suspicions about what could happen by certain rules/laws of nature that are utterly false. This nonsense bleeds over into a host of false assumptions about Satan and demons in the Bible. Satan is nothing like Loki, folks.
This will not be a Bible exposition piece. If you understand the passage that begins with Ezekiel 28:11, as well as Isaiah 14, then you'll recognize the Hebraic imagery of Satan's story. God is feudal; Creation itself is feudal. God does precious little with His own hands, but delegates His authority. That's the image God paints of Himself. His Son was the agent of Creation, for example. Well, Satan was the "Covering Cherub," a term that implies he was what protected everything God had made from God's divine perfection in His direct Presence. When God is directly Present, His Creation dissolves -- that's how it's depicted. So Lucifer began as the angel who translated all the traffic between God and His Creation.
Ezekiel indicates that Satan began to filter that traffic, to somehow imagine that he merited some of the glory coming and going between Creator and Creation. This was a huge mistake. He was judged and his punishment is that, instead of dealing with glory, he was forced to deal with curses. He became more or less God's Black Hat. We can't really explain it in human language, but his mission now is to tempt and punish on God's behalf. We can be sure Satan does not like this job; it's a punishment in itself.
Satan is no longer in rebellion. Furthermore, Satan is not competing with Christ in any way shape or form. Christ has always had authority above Satan, and Satan has never doubted it for a second. How many times did the demons openly confess it? The Wilderness Temptations were all about derailing Jesus from His mission and persuading Him to take the easy path of becoming the political Messiah that the Jewish leadership expected. Jesus was determined to restore the Covenant and it's mystical roots so that He could establish a mystical kingdom of hearts. Human politics is the last thing Jesus wanted to engage.
So it's blasphemous nonsense when people write songs, for example, depicting Satan imagining that he had won when Jesus was dead and buried. By no means is that correct. Satan did his best to prevent the Crucifixion. He worked hard to make Jesus fearful of it. But it was his job to make the Crucifixion happen. He tried to get Jesus to use His authority to stop it, to exercise His power and take control of things humans do. That was Satan's appointed task from God.
In some ways, Satan is like God's CIA, except that all the espionage is turned inward. The only targets Satan has for his deception and violence are the Elect of God. Satan is not concerned with keeping those who are damned; nor can he compromise the eternity of the Elect. His whole mission is limited to what he can gain by stealing it from God's people while here on this earth. Everything the Devil hopes to gain is bound up in stealing our divine heritage, keeping you from it. Satan is bound by the Covenant. If you obey the Covenant, you restrict what Satan can do to your shalom. If you don't bother with the Covenant, then you are his asset.
So, the Devil is allowed to lie, and steal and to bring death. He doesn't gain from our physical demise; we are out of his reach at that point. So the death he brings is the moral kind. He doesn't lose much if someone bound for Hell dies, but he wants to bring corruption to those who are spiritually born. So while he makes use of the damned, his primary focus is those who are on the way to Heaven. He wants to keep them from embracing the Covenant and living inside the boundaries.
Satan has highly limited authority to do any of the stuff depicted in popular fiction. He doesn't buy souls; he already owns the majority of humanity while they live on this earth. He has no control whatsoever over the dead. He cannot animate dead bodies via his demons. He doesn't grant powers in the Dark Arts; it's all deception. The problem is that very few Westerners understand the nature of reality in the first place. Thus, he does not have foul dark creatures terrifying people like you see in the movies. All he really has is a deception about what's real. The Western notions of reality are his design, and he strives hard to keep people from embracing a biblical viewpoint.
His domain is this fallen world. Not the natural world or any of its parts, but only fallen humanity, or human space. He doesn't own any creatures except humans. He controls the broad scope of their ambitions and dreams, because it's his job to lie about all of that. He makes all kinds of promises for which he knows beyond any question that he cannot deliver.
He is permitted to enter into lives of those not covered under the Covenant. Demons are allowed to occupy portions of your life until you roust them via Covenant obedience. Being spiritually born does not protect your fleshly existence from him. There is a sense in which he does hold title to your fallen existence. He cannot own your heart unless you are one of the damned. He cannot touch the spirit at all. If someone has an active spirit, they are part of the Elect. Everyone else has a dead spirit, or no spirit, in effect.
The reason that some folks manifest Dark Arts is because reality is not what Americans think it is. Those folks are using features of this fallen existence that are not apparent to most of humanity. It's very difficult to explain, but it's the dark side of where miracles come from. Jesus can grant the authority to change this fallen "reality" in His name. Satan can teach people how to access something similar for the purpose of deceiving folks. However, the real issue is that our apparent reality is not what most people think it is. If you don't buy the lies, those Dark Arts cannot harm you.
Because our fallen reality is far more strange than most folks realize, there is a sense in which ghosts exist. Some of them are demon manifestations, but some of them are a surviving resonance on our fallen existence. That's another of those weird features most folks don't understand. Ghosts cannot hurt you, but demons can trick you into believing something and making it as real as it needs to be to afflict your life. You have the authority to reject it, if you walk in the Covenant. It is part of your divine heritage with spiritual birth, but it is not automatic.
None of these things they do are in rebellion to God's will. They are part of the mission God gave Satan. By the time Satan showed up in the Garden of Eden, he was already on the job. It was his first mission under his punishment. It set the stage; it provoked the existence of a fallen existence over which he rules. The Fall in Eden is how he gained his domain. Otherwise, he has nothing. That's the full extent of his authority. To the degree you walk away from the fallen flesh, you are out of his reach. Does Galatians 2:20 make more sense now? The whole Bible should make better sense, because this is what the Bible teaches. Yes, sometimes you have to read between the lines, but this is what everything in Scripture assumes you already understand.
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