I told you in my last blog post that I have been learning a lot about spiritual warfare, and wanted to share some of what I have been learning with you. So, in the last post I talked about the appropriate worldview for spiritual warfare, and in this post I want to talk a little bit about the structure of the spiritual realm. It is important for us to understand how God, spiritual beings, and humans are structured in the spiritual realm and as a result how we can relate to God and spiritual beings.
The spiritual realm is arranged in a hierarchy from the one with the most authority to those with the least, sort of like the arrangement of a company. In a company, you have the CEO at the top, and underneath him the management, and then underneath them, all the normal employees. The spiritual realm is structured in a similar way. At the top is God, who has authority over all else. Under God are spiritual beings – angels and demons. Below them are humans. This arrangement is show in the illustration above, which is taken from “What Every Believer Should Know about Spiritual Warfare”, by Marcus Warner.
The top realm of the spiritual world is God. There are many places in the Bible where we read that God is the only God (Isaiah 44:6; Deut 4:35; 1 Kings 8:60), and that He has authority over all other beings (2 Chron 20:6; 1 Cor 15:27; Eph 1:20-21). The Bible also tells us about God’s character. Two particular traits of God that were shown in His creation of the world is that He is a relational God (John 17:21), and that He is a loving God (1 John 4:8). Because of these things, He created the world in order to live in relationship with humanity, and to demonstrate His love for humanity. These concepts will be very important when we consider humanity’s place in the spiritual world.
In the realm below God in the spiritual world are other spiritual beings which we know as angels and demons. The Bible doesn’t give us a lot of information on how these beings are structured within their realm, but we do know that this realm exists, and also that some of these beings follow God (angels), and some are in rebellion against God and are under condemnation (demons). Revelation 12:5 tells us that it is one third of these beings that are in rebellion against God.
Below the realm of spiritual beings is the lowest realm, which is the realm of humans. Now, if we remember back to the character of God, we remember that He made humans in order to be in relationship with them and to demonstrate His love. We also know that He made humans in His image (Gen 1:27). Humans therefore, were also made as relational beings, who long to be in relationship with others, but most of all with God. However, when Adam and Eve sinned, their relationship with God was broken. As a result, humans are incomplete until they are back in relationship with God. The only way to do this, to fill both God’s desire and man’s need, was for a mediator to bridge the gap between God and humanity. This was done through Christ. He emptied himself (Phil 2:7), made himself lower than the angels (Heb 2:7) and became flesh (John 1:14). Through his death, he paid the penalty for sin, opening the way for humans to re-enter relationship with God. After his death, he rose again and ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God (Eph 1:20-21). Not only that, but because Christ rose, those who believe in Christ are united with him in his death, resurrection, ascension, and seating at the right hand of the Father (Eph 2:4-7; Col 3:1-4). This means that Christians, those who believe in Christ, are placed in a different spiritual realm! While we live bodily in the physical realm, we have authority through Christ over the spiritual realm.
This is a very important concept because it enables us to fight the spiritual battle without fear. Through Christ, Christians have authority over the realm of spiritual beings. This means that we have authority over both angels and demons. However, this authority should not be taken as a matter of pride. It is only through Christ and as we are in relationship with Him that we have this authority. We will talk more about the authority of the Christian in an upcoming blog post.
So what we have established here is that the spiritual realm is arranged in a hierarchy, with God over all, spiritual beings in the middle, and humans at the bottom. However, through the work of Christ, Christians are seated with Christ and have authority over the realm of spiritual beings.
Again, if you have any questions about the structure of the spiritual realm, feel free to contact me!