Who rules the earth? Jesus?

Here are two apparently contradictory statements:

God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. (Acts 17:24)

We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (I John 5:19)

I once asked the Lord how these two statements can be simultaneously true. How can Jesus be Lord, and yet the whole world lie in the power of the evil one? He gave me an illustration.

Photo Credit: kevitivity (Creative Commons)

The picture I had was of a low-income housing project, filled with violence, drugs dealing, prostitution, very similar to the one where we started a church a few years ago. Then the Lord asked me a  question:

“Who rules this housing project?”

I thought for a while. “If you ask the people who live there, many would answer, ‘The drug lords and gang leaders,’ and that would be true. But actually the government has ultimate control.” I realized that the only way that the authorities could change the area in the natural would be to move everyone out and to raze the place to the ground. In Hong Kong there used to be an area called the Walled City which was an ungovernable settlement ruled by organized crime syndicates known as Triads. In 1987, the Hong Kong government rid themselves of the problem by evicting the tenants and demolishing the area.

However, the people who live in the projects have a choice. They can live as though the drug lords rule or as though a righteous government is in control. And when a group of people choose to live a Kingdom lifestyle and to stand up for what is right, it has an impact.

Could that make a difference? I believe so. When we started a church in the projects, our friends who lived there reported that the level of violence decreased and some of the drug dealers moved away. Our prayers and spiritual warfare over the area made a difference.

My original question was answered by this illustration the Lord gave me. Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth. But Satan is in control of the earth, and the only way for God to completely remove Satan’s presence would be to destroy the place. But God loves us so much that he didn’t do that. Instead he sent his Son who, in his death on the cross and subsequent shattering of the bonds of sin and death through his resurrection, defeated all the powers of darkness. It’s now up to us to enforce God’s Kingdom rule. We do that through spiritual warfare.

What do you think?

 

  • Chris Jefferies

    I think yes! This certainly rings true, and it answers something that IS a puzzle. Thank you, Papa, for revealing this truth to Felicity and Tony. There is so much we don’t understand, but you understand it all and can explain it when we need to know.

    Give us ears to hear and eyes to see the things we need to know, Lord. And when we don’t understand and you choose not to explain, give us grace and humility and trust to remember you are all wise, all powerful, and all loving.

    HalleluYah!

  • Jim Wright

    Good stuff. Thanks.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jonathan.a.hutton Jonathan Hutton

    Well said!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1021176008 Janee Campbell

    Spot on! This applies to many aspects of our lives here on earth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charbookguy Mike Burleson

    Very good analogy. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/charbookguy Mike Burleson

    Very good analogy. Thanks!

  • Les Norman

    Thanks for the very insightful illustration, helps a lot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pete.hall.796 Pete Hall

    I think, like the Hong Kong Government, eventually God will evict the tenants and demolish the area.
    That’s in the natural.
    In the spiritual; the powers of darkness are defeated, but not yet destroyed. That is why we still have spiritual warfare, the purpose of which is to save as many as possible via an in-breaking of the coming Kingdom, for which we are ambassadors…… and soldiers.

    • felicitydale

      It’s a helpful concept that the powers of darkness are defeated but not yet destroyed. We enforce their defeat through spiritual warfare. Who knows how many victories we failed to see because we didn’t understand this truth.

  • felicitydale

    Thanks for your encouraging comments, everyone

  • April Sellers

    Wow! I really like that illustration. This is one that will stick with me.

  • Charles

    Great insight and makes so much sense. For too long the visible ‘church’ seems to keep yielding ground and space to the enemy and his agents on the earth. Some in the ‘church’ even wonder why the gates of hell seem to be prevailing; whereas they are not making any attempts to approach and ram the gates of hell. Truly on the revelation of who Jesus is (like the one His Spirit has given you here), He will build His church and the gates of hell cannot prevail. We will occupy till He comes! We will be His kings and priests (not just priests) in His power and for His glory – and He remains the KING of kings and LORD of lords.

    • felicitydale

      Charles, I agree with you. Gates are passive; they don’t come out and fight. The phrase, “the gates of hell shall not prevail” implies that the church is doing the assaulting. We, under the command of our Commander, need to be willing to take the battle from defensive to offensive.

  • http://www.PathwaysInternational.org Miguel

    Sometimes I wonder if we’re so focused on spiritual warfare that we forget to enjoy the spoils of the war already won. Just a thought…

  • Bruce

    The Church can see darkness rolled back, and the enemy pushed back in concrete situations, but it takes a great deal of extraordinary prayer. Two men who have been very influential in the area of authority praying are John MacMillan, former missionary with the Christian & Missionary Alliance, and Paul Billheimer, perhaps best known for his books, Destined for the Throne, and Destined to Overcome, both still in print.

    MacMillan appears to be a strong influence on Billheimer, and his work is actually cited by Kenneth Hagin, in Hagin’s own writing on spiritual authority. If you are not familiar with MacMillan, an eye-opening overview is available here: bit.ly/tgT9M0
    “John A MacMillan’s Teaching Regarding the Authority of the Believer,
    and its Impact on the Evangelical, Pentecostal and charismatic Movements”

    His booklets on prayer and authority are available for free here:
    The Authority of the Believer – http://bit.ly/O28K61
    The Authority of the Intercessor – http://bit.ly/Pewqkx

    • felicitydale

      Thanks for some great resources, Bruce. I’m a great fan of Bilheimer too, although I haven’t come across MacMillan

  • Randy

    I think it is wrong to look at wear the devil is in control and to simply see it as a sign of the times, the last days. We are not supposed to wait for the landlord (God) to destroy this place and rescue us. Jesus taught us to pray, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, ON EARTH as it is in heaven.

    Before I got saved, I was a drug dealer and thief. Satan not God was in control of my life, Tho I am sure God could have taken my life (and I deserved it) He didn’t, He saved me and redeemed me. Satan lost all control of me. As I am changed by heaven, God RULES over me and all who I influence.

    Every believer has the power to overthrow the current ruler of this age, through bringing the kingdom into their own lives and those around them.

    • felicitydale

      Praise God for your transformed life, Randy! You are a living testimony to the fact that he who is forgiven much loves much. May you rescue many from the ruler of this age.

  • Paul Maxim

    yes, from the bottom up, from the inside out. Each of us, where we are, w/ our brethern around us, reaching out to those around us, in every day life. Stories like this re-energize me to pray always. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • felicitydale

      Paul, I love the idea of Jesus ruling from the bottom up, from the inside out. Great thought!

  • http://www.facebook.com/edean.cozzens E Dean Cozzens

    A scheming young boy once tried to win a bet from a wise old man. The boy held a live bird in his hands behind his back and asked the old man to tell him whether the bird was alive or dead. If the old man had answered “dead” the boy would have quickly showed the old man the live bird. Had the man said “live”, the boy would have quickly wrung the bird’s fragile neck and then showed the dead bird. The wise old man answered, “My son, the answer is in your hands.”

    Such is the answer to this question. The answer is in the hands of the believers in the Church.

    In a more complete ending of the book of Mark, in chapter 16 we read 100 extra words to most translations. The extra 100 words are included in the text below:

    Archeologists have found no less than four different endings for the Gospel of Mark. One of the more interesting endings and probably the most accurate includes one hundred extra words that add fuller meaning. This ending is in various documents including the Washington Codex, now in the Smithsonian, which includes Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This codex has been dated by some to the first century! This rendering is in some currently available books including the New RSV. The extra
    words are here separated out with gaps.

    The importance of this passage is that in it we see the Master’s prescription for bringing His Kingdom to earth. It also shows us the mistake that believers tend to make, namely unbelief, which hinders His Kingdom from coming. The 100 extra words are in bold here, making verse 14 100 extra words or so longer, but it makes a lot of sense when they are added. (The New Revised Standard Version adds these in the footnotes.)

    14. Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table;
    and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they
    had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

    Here starts the 100 or so extra words:

    They excused themselves, saying, “This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things of the spirits. Therefore reveal your righteousness now”—thus they spoke to Christ.

    Christ replied to them, “The term of years of Satan’s power has been fulfilled,
    but other terrible things draw near. And for those who have sinned I was handed over to death that they may return to the truth and sin no more, that they may inherit (be given) the spiritual and imperishable glory of righteousness that is in heaven.”

    That ends the 100 or so extra words. Notice how much added meaning it provides and how much more sense it makes to use these extra words!

    15. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news (that Jesus has won the victory over Satan and is now ruling as King on the throne over the whole creation). 16. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18. they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

    19. So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20. And they went out and proclaimed the good news (of a defeated Satan and a reigning Savior) everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by signs that accompanied it.

    • Felicity Dale

      Dean, that’s fascinating. I have never seen that anywhere before but I looked it up, and sure enough, there it is! Very, very interesting. Thank you