Christians suffer as part of the angelic conflict. The Bible says, ““For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).
This is a mystery in many ways, but there is no doubt that Christians are part of an angelic conflict.
Specifically, the demons want our bodies for their own nefarious purposes. One of the more interesting proofs of this is associated with the body of Moses after his death.
Moses died in the land of Moab before the children of Israel crossed the Jordan River to go in to possess the Land of Promise. “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD” (Deut. 34:5). Since no one was with Moses in the hour of his death, the Lord buried His servant. The place of his burial was not revealed. “And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulcher unto this day” (Deut. 34:6).
However, after his death, something remarkable happened. His body became the focus of attention among the Fallen and Elect angels. There was an angelic contest for the body of Moses between Michael the Archangel and Lucifer, who had become Diabolos, the Devil. This event is recorded in Jude 1:9. “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
Why did Lucifer want the body of Moses? It is not hard to imagine one reason, and that would be to deceive the Hebrew people still in mourning for their national leader.
If Satan could have taken the body of Moses and re-energized it with a demonic spirit, imagine the control Diabolos would have had over the Israelites. The course of human history would have been changed forever. However, God did not let Lucifer have the body of Moses. The Lord sent His mighty Angel, Michael (Lit. “Who is like God?”) to take control of the body of Moses and to ward off Satan.
The way Michael won the cosmic battle was by saying, “The Lord rebuke thee.” In other words, “The Lord God Omnipotent commands you to leave the body along!” There are two thoughts in Michael’s rebuke worth noting.
First, Michael did not dispute, or argue with the Devil. The battle is always lost when a person begins a discourse with Satan. Eve began a discourse with Satan, and the consequences were tragic. Lucifer is too cunning and clever for humans to argue with. Michael did not dispute or argue with Satan, and neither should any Christian. When you are tempted, and a battle begins in your mind whether to do something that you know is wrong, arrest your thoughts. Bring them into captivity for Christ. Remember Eve, and model yourself after Michael.
Second, Michael did not show disrespect to Lucifer. He did not bring a railing accusation against the Arch enemy of the Universe. There are people who vilify the Devil as they preach or teach. Strong language against Satan might embolden a soul. It might make for an entertaining sermon, but it is dangerous, for the Devil will remember, and be outraged. He will go about like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour. Whom Satan devours are those who think they can command and control him.
It is not unusual to hear preachers’ rail against the devil. “What a spell the devil seems to cast over the Church today!” said Billy Sunday. Many are fascinated by the Devil, reflected in novels like This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti, or the Left Behind series by Tim LaHave and Jerry Jenkins. Christians should be discrete when they speak to Satan, as Michael was, who did not vilify him.
Third, Michael did not rebuke Satan. Today, many Christians are taught to rebuke the Devil. “I rebuke you.” “I command you.” “I order you.” These are not uncommon imperatives in religious circles. Michael did not do that, but said, “The LORD rebuke you.” It is the LORD who has all power in heaven and on earth. It is the LORD who comes to protect that which belongs to Him.
Moses belonged to the LORD, in life, and in death.
The Devil left the body of Moses alone, and the LORD buried it while taking His soul to heaven where he was given a spiritual body suited for the intermediate state. That too is a fascinating part of the post life of Moses, for the Bible tells us that he finally got into the Land of Promise. Moses was kept out of Canaan during his lifetime, but after death, he was allowed to go in.
Turn to Matthew 17:1-3. “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.” There it is. Moses in the Land of Promise. Moses, with Elijah and Jesus on a high mountain, while Peter, James, and John looked on in astonishment. What does all this mean?
First, it means that Christians are protected by God in life, and in death.
Second, it means that the Angelic Conflict will be won by Christ, and His followers.
Third, it means that though the Devil might be allowed to cause much sickness, as he did in the life of Job, though he might keep some people bound for eighteen years, or more, as he did one woman Jesus met (Luke 13:16), the LORD is still in control, and shall yet heal our bodies, if not in time, then in eternity.
Fourth, the story of the angelic contest over the body of Moses reminds Christians that Satan wants your body. Satan especially wants the bodies of Church leaders, or those who have influence in the Church. Moses is one example; the apostle Peter is another example.
One day Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31). The word for desire means, “to demand.” Satan demanded the body and life of Peter, and for good reason. Satan knew how mercurial Peter could be. One moment Peter was red hot for the Lord, and ready to die for him. The next moment Peter was intimidated by a little girl, much like so many have been traumatized by that 16-year-old Swedish child, Greta Thunberg. She is a pawn in the Climate Change Movement. She is young, passionate, angry, and articulate. She is an emotional mess, and is easily being sifted like wheat, if not by Satan himself, then by his close relatives. She is a living example of what Satan wanted to do with Peter, and what he wants to do with you, and me.
If Satan cannot possess us in life, he can move in our hearts to try to bring about a premature death.
That is what happened to and Ananias and Saphira. Satan found a way to bring about their premature death. The death of Ananias is recorded in Acts 5:3-6. “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. “Soon thereafter, death came to Saphira. Why do Christians suffer? One reason is because we are part of the angelic conflict. It is very, very real.
How does a person deal with the assault on them by the rulers of darkness?
First, make sure you are born again.
Second, make sure you have no unconfessed sin in your life.
Third, guard your heart. Dedicated your body to the Lord (Rom. 12:1-2).
Fourth, ask Jesus to pray for you as He did for Peter. He is our great High Priest. It is a function He is honored to perform. Come boldly before the throne of grace. It is a throne of grace, not a throne of judgment. When we pray for others, for their health, healing, and prosperity, let us also pray for ourselves.
Finally, remember to be humble enough not to rebuke the Devil personally, but to always say, “The LORD rebuke you.” Whatever authority a Christian has is a derived authority, not an intrinsic one. hen, the promise is this. He will flee. The victory will be won.
The angelic conflict is part of the reason why Christians suffer.