the present working of Principalties and Powers

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VanVos

Puritan Board Sophomore
According to Ephesians 6:12 we wrestle against Principalties and Powers. My question is how does this work in reality. Do they influence peoples' thoughts, or is it more than that. Also does Satan have the ability to attack people in different places in the world at the same time? 1 Peter 5:8 seems to suggest that he can, as also does scripture such as James 4:7, Eph 2:2. Any thoughts?

-VanVos
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
I definitely think they can influence thoughts both subtly - like Jezebel, Ahab or other wicked people, and like Saul, more directly. I think Christians are often duped or infleucned by thier whispers, as Bunyan would term it.

Satan is not omnipreent. He is a created beaing that is a slave to God's will. Satan's kingdom, like any other army, can affect things in different places around the world at the same time, but I am sure Satan himself cannot do that alone since he is a finite creature.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
OUR principalities and powers...

I think a neglected area in Christian studies is this very topic...I'd like to expand this topic to include unfallen angels - i.e. the good guys...to the fray. I've recently worked through Calvin's Institutes on his chapter on creation, angels, and demons. Wow...one forgets all to easy that there are a thing as angels watching out for us and doing battle. I recommend all to read Calvin on this topic!
 

VanVos

Puritan Board Sophomore
I agree this is neglected subject. Also I agree with you Matthew that Satan is finite being and has limitations. I think scripture which speak of Satan attacking the believer it is probably refering to him and his kingdom at large. I don't think that Satan can be personally attack people on individual level at the same time. Another good question is how do these spiritual battles in the heavenly realms manifest themselves in the natural? Is it that we can only understand the operations of celestial beings through analogy?

-VanVos

P.S. How could I get hold of calvin's works on this?
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
The key to understanding spiritual warfare is understanding the primary aim of Satan in attacking us. He is trying to take back his citizens of darkness and prevent them from going to Christ. The only way for him to do this is to extinguish their faith. Remember that Satan and his minions can't read our thoughts. They are not omniscient. All they have to go on is what they can see with their own eyes too. So, even though they may have a good idea of who is a true believer, they don't know absolutely. So they attack anyone who makes a profession of faith and tries to live accordingly.

All the assaults of Satan have one end in mind, to shatter faith. Faith in Christ is the key to our salvation. It keeps us looking beyond this world and all it's miseries. It keeps us in that eternal perspective, that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory beyond. And our faith also keeps us "connected" to Christ, in that while we are resting on Christ, we are nourished by His Word, remain strong against our enemies and afflictions, and fear nothing this world can throw against us. Satan knows this too, and he probably knows the Word even better than we do.

So in order to disrupt or break our faith Satan fights primarily in the realm of thoughts and ideas. This is the way to turn our eyes from Christ. He tries to decieve us through false doctrines, unbiblical emphasis's on true doctrines, doubting the promises of God, causing us to despair of our faults and sins, or even as simple as distractions in worldly pleasures or necessities. All these arrows aim at our trust in Christ. So even the physical assaults upon us, through sickness, affliction, or even persecution, are intended to cause us to fall into these errors of thought and shake us from faith in Christ. When we turn away we stumble and fall. Thankfully, the elect remain because they are sustained by God's grace and overcome even the hardest falls. But many false professor's will return to darkness by these methods.

So the way to conquer is to remain dependent upon Christ. Become more familiar with His Word, and with His Person. We must combat all false doctrines and imaginations with the Word of God. When we despair of our sinfulness we must remember the promises of God's forgiveness in Christ. When we despair of the wicked prospering in this world, we must remember the promises of grace and glory to come, which is already reserved for us. When we are assailed in body and soul, we must remember that all shall be redeemed in the end, and that redemption is already secured and garanteed in Christ though reserved primarily for a future time. And most importantly, we must remember the promise that all things work together for good to those who love God. Even the most rigorous assaults of Satan are intended by God for our good and will accomplish His purposes despite the evil motives of Satan and those who serve him.
 

VanVos

Puritan Board Sophomore
Excellent stuff Patrick, thanks, that really lays it out very clearly.
Thanks crhoades, I'll be taking a read of that.

VanVos
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
The Book of Job gives us at least a partial menu of what Satan can do. He can kill people, inflict disease, take property, incite them to sin (such as the bandits he incited), etc. Of course, only with God's consent. Further, we know that his demons can possess people and otherwise influence their thoughts.
 
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