You are standing on a battle field. There is a war raging around you constantly. In these last days the intensity and the capacity of this war is immense. Do you know this?

The combatants in this war are supernatural. And there is clearly only two sides. That means there is no middle ground. None at all.

On one side is the Creator, Yahweh, or YHWH. While on the other are evil intelligences who have made it their choice to rebel, long long ago. They are vicious, mean, lustful and will go to any length to harm the Christian believer and the Church of Jesus.

In the days gone by people were more sensitive to the battle and the struggle around them. In our world today…we are caught up with so much stuff about ourselves, and are busy feeding those fleshly desires we pick up from the various influences and philosophies in the world system around us.

We may be church going Christians, but we still struggle with choices we must make. Our moral standards somehow link up and fit with the world, because we are also afraid to move against the voices that are around us.

Nearly three thousand years ago, if the Bible is to be believed, people understood that nations were ruled by gods.

Nations in the Ancient Near East had national deities that had to be worshipped. Their nations were run by the whims and fancies of these gods, that ruled through the system of leadership. Here are some of them. There was Osiris or Amun Ra in Egypt. Baal for the Canaanites. Marduk for the Babylonians. Enlil for Sumer. Ashur for Assyria, and so on.

Let me say this from my heart…today’s Christians have a very vague idea of the cosmology around us. The Old Testament clearly shows that ancient Israel was very much opposed by these entities. The authors of the Bible understood that there were many small-G gods. They also knew that these gods had been assigned to the nations. Look at the OT writers and you will know that.

Here’s an example.

Exodus 12:12

On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.

Again it is mentioned by Moses himself.

Numbers 33: 3, 4

The Israelites set out from Rameses on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after the Passover. They marched out defiantly in full view of all the Egyptians, who were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them; for the Lord had brought judgment on their gods.

Were these just bits of carved wood or stone, so that God would cause His judgement to fall on these carvings? Or what? Or were these real entities that had to be judged by God Himself.

In the serious reading of Psalm 82, (Please read this), and the subsequent study of this a great lot is revealed.

Dr. Michael Heiser, Academic Editor for Logos Bible Software, teaches this Psalm with tremendous clarity.

In short, here is the understanding. Yahweh presides over a divine council that is tasked with carrying our His orders. Over the course of time some of these supernatural beings disobeyed, and were informed by God that because of this they would die “like men”. This threat would make no sense if in Psalm 82, if God was addressing a human audience!

(if you have never heard of the divine council understanding, it is worth a study to comprehend the Supernatural kingdom. I recommend Dr. Michael Heiser’s excellent book, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible).

In a nutshell, seventy, ‘bene elohim’ (sons of God), were assigned to supervise the nations after God divided mankind at Babel. These seventy ethnic groups are name in Genesis 10, which is the table of nations. These ‘bene elohim’ decided to present themselves as gods to humankind. Then God made a counter-move. He reserved on nation to Himself, Israel, that would one day produce the Saviour.

But then God has always had His plans for us.

Just three things we need to take note of as we read.

Joel 2:29,20

Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke.

When God pours out His Spirit in the last days, He will pour it on men and women. But He will show wonders. What are those wonders!

There are three mentioned here…

  • Blood
  • Fire
  • And billows of smoke

More next time…