Back in college, I can remember waiting to get my haircut on a Saturday morning and listening to the local farmers talk about a couple weird incidents which happened to some cattle. Apparently, some cattle had been found dead, but completely dry, meaning there was no blood. The story didn’t answer all of the “CSI” questions we would ask today (it was over 20 years ago and CSI wasn’t even a TV show back then…let alone part of our common language). Stories were aloud to be told without them constantly being dissected and psycho-analyzed, especially if you were part of the old-timers group. Anyways, I digress, the story tellers were convinced a satanic cult had moved into the area and was going to kill all of the cattle and steal the children. The temperature of the room was one of utter revulsion and disgust, I decided (at that moment) to get a WWII style flat-top instead of a mohawk for my haircut.
The last couple weeks we have been thinking and talking about angels and their role as ministering spirits in our lives. We have invented labels for their varying roles like “direct orders” and “standing orders”, all the while understanding…that we really have no idea. God uses angels to carry out His will, and like most things God…we are not going to understand it fully. We can say, however, that “The Bad and the Ugly” angels would like nothing more than to stick it to God…and we happen to be the perfect play pieces to do just that. If the story of Job teaches us anything about the relationship between God and Satan it is this…they have one, and it is adversarial.
The other part of that story which has always bothered me is this…Satan already knew who Job was? I mean…Satan isn’t omnipresent or omniscient…but he knew who Job was. In Acts 19: 13-16 we read this, “But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
The demons knew Jesus. (We read that in the Gospel accounts of Jesus casting out demons when they would cry out, “What business does the Son of God have with us?”) The demons, apparently have heard of Paul, but they didn’t know who these ‘sons of Sceva’ were. I find that interesting that “The Bad and the Ugly” angels knew human individuals who worship God…Job and Paul. Yet, didn’t know the human individuals who were trying to cast them out. At least, you would think the demon would have said, “Dude…we’re on the same side.” Does this mean, that as individuals who worship the Almighty, we have attracted the personal attention of “Bad and Ugly”…?
The “Bad and Uglies” in Scripture are commonly referenced as powers, authorities, principalities, dominions, and princes…let alone demons and Satan. The point to the names is CONTROL. Satan wanted it way back when…he lusted after God’s job and found himself sentenced (2 Peter 2:4 “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment…”) Their desire is CONTROL, that is why we read about demon possession all over the gospels and into the book of Acts. Even today…CONTROL is the desire and the game plan for our enemy. To CONTROL us, to influence us, to stick it to God by causing our WALK to meander and change directions. They are really good at what they do and I think our enemy attempts this two different ways. First, I think there are plain old “Bad” angels which do a great job of being evil. I mean evil in the evilest ways you can think of. We see the results of this CONTROL in the populations of our prisons, in the number of homicides and rapes, in the staggering death totals of the innocents and under protected around the world. Evil is alive and prevalent. It is also called as such…”evil”. The farmers in the barbershop were horrified by the evil necessary to drain a cow of all its blood and use that blood in a sacrificial rite of some kind.
Second, I think “the Uglies” are growing more numerous. If we remember, “the Ugly” are “the Bad” angels which disguise themselves as “Good” angels. We need our ‘discernment’ meters on high alert for these kind. A passage in 2 Corinthians 11: 14-15 says this, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.” If the only type of CONTROL the “Bad and Uglies” tried, involved bled out cows and easily discernible evil…the amount of humans influenced to participate would be limited. Limited to the real ‘sickos’ and those that delight in lawlessness. But…since CONTROL can also be established through subterfuge and misdirection…the numbers enslaved are staggering. Those farmers were quick to call down the ‘satan worshipping cow killers’, but they all looked longingly at the college girls walking by in their tight pants.
My point is this, camouflaged evil is still evil. No matter how attractive the sin looks, no matter how right it seems or sounds, sin is evil. “The Uglies” work and work to swing perception…to shade truth…to answer good doctrine with a “yes, but…”. To keep us chasing after….anything and everything….as long as its not God. The spiritual battles which rage around us are all about CONTROL…what controls us. Honestly, the “uglies” are probably way better at pushing our buttons than we care to admit. The “uglies” rejoice when we battle and rage with each other over subjective opinions expressed by someone else. Are we really fighting over this…? Who is ministering to us now…the “good”, or the “bad and uglies”…?
My conclusion on angels is actually pretty simple…God didn’t explain them specifically because it doesn’t matter. If we focus on God, the “good” have a job to do….and the “bad and uglies” will try to stop them and to mislead us. Our job…is to worship God.