36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.
If King Jesus says, “blessed are the peacemakers”, but another kingdom is saying that blessing comes by violent acts, that kingdom is in contrast to Jesus’s kingdom. If King Jesus says, “love your enemies”, but another kingdom says that you are to hate your enemies, that kingdom is in contrast to Jesus’s kingdom.
It is Inauguration Day, and it has been two weeks since the attack on the Capitol on January 6th. Men and women stormed the Capitol and attempted to break into where the electoral votes were being counted. Some of them had different intentions for breaking in, but they all included the destruction of property and five people are now dead. In the crowd leading up the steps and into the building was a mixture of Trump flags, signs that said, “Jesus Saves”, and many other messages of both Christian and religious meanings. There is even video of an eerie prayer that the rioters prayed on the House floor.
Was this attack a “Christian” response or something more sinister?
My personal counselor once said, “one way that we know that demonic activity is at play is when we see an angry mob.”
The crowd is untruth.” – Søren Kierkegaard
So what are the powers at play when we see an angry mob, especially for a political purpose?
Revelation 12 is an apocalyptic image that metaphorically speaks of Satan, who is depicted as a dragon, that was cast from heaven.
4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.
This ties to the understanding of the heavenly hosts. The Jewish understanding is that the stars were heavenly hosts (spiritual beings). It is saying that when Satan fell, some of the spiritual beings fell with him. We will come back to this idea.
9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
In this metaphor of Revelation 12, we see the fall of Satan and spiritual beings. In Revelation 13, we then see the metaphor of the anti-Jesus’s kingdom ways of the kingdoms of this world, like Babylon, depicted as beasts. This chapter tells us that they receive their power from the dragon (the satan).
4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”
5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.
Sounds pretty familiar to what we see of many political leaders in our world! Sounds pretty familiar to what happened on January 6th. Because of the worship of one man and one political ideology, people were threatened with death. The remaining part of Revelation 13 uses metaphor to talk about the second beast that puts people to death if they do not worship the first beast mentioned above.
If you understand the ancient Jewish perspective, the spiritual beings were given the task of helping oversee civilizations. Some of these spiritual beings rebelled against God. They also led civilizations into idolatry as rebellion, because of their rebellion. Some of these accounts in the Old Testament play out in clear worship of false god and visible idols, but many in places like Babylon played out in the less visible ways of greed, sex, violence, powerful hunger, etc.
We see in Genesis 11 that at the Tower of Babel God confused the languages of all people, but we see in Deuteronomy 32:8, we see that God also divided the spiritual beings for these civilizations.
Here is how the Septuagint ((LXX) – the ancient Greek translation of Hebrew Old Testament) reads this verse:
ὅτε διεμέριζεν ὁ ὕψιστος ἔθνη ὡς διέσπειρεν υἱοὺς Αδαμ ἔστησεν ὅρια ἐθνῶν κατὰ ἀριθμὸν ἀγγέλων θεοῦ
English translated from the Septuagint:
When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God.
“Angels of God” in the Septuagint was translated from the Hebrew “ben elohim” or “sons of God”. This is how the Old Testament often refers to the heavenly hosts that God has given ruling responsibilities to, and many rebelled.
In ancient times, it was believed that it was the “morning star” or “day star” who ruled over and gave power to Babylon. Later this star was named ‘Venus”. Venus is the last heavenly host to be in the sky as the sun comes up. It holds on until morning and was seen to show strength because of this. In Latin “Venus” translates to “Lucifer”. This is where we get the word that we have named Satan later on in history, but this also tells us that it was the understanding and is consistent with the scriptures that Satan, rules and gives power to the kingdoms of this world.
Babylon is seen, in scripture, as embodying ways that are counter to Jesus’s promised kingdom. You can see this from the Old Testament through Revelation. Brute mob violence for the sake of gaining power is an evil way of Babylon. Jesus continually condemned this kind of violence. It is an alluring way that is part of why Babylon held on so long before it fell (because it was powerful), like Venus (Lucifer) that is the last heavenly body to be visible in the morning, and was believed to be the heavenly host that gave Babylon its power.
Here is a part of Isaiah’s taunt to Babylon:
12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star (Venus – Lucifer), son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
Just like Lucifer was seen to be behind Babylon, John’s Revelation tells us that it is the dragon (a different metaphor for the same evil) that is behind the evil anti-Jesus’s kingdom ways of the kingdoms and empires of our world (in the New Testament context it was Rome).
We then get to what Paul said:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Do we believe this? When we see the angry mob, we are seeing the power of the spiritual beings (demonic) and Satan at play? People are drawn to this kind of demonic response of violence! People are called to worship these demonic/satanic alluring ways and powers, by the beastly and dragon-like forces of this world.
James says it like this:
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
King Jesus had a response to these powers two thousand years ago.
15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
He will have a response once and for all when He returns and judges the living and the dead.
10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Remember, when you see an angry and violent mob, it is not of God. Jesus was crucified by an angry and violent mob. Jesus disarmed Peter (who attempted to fight violently) and laid down His life to make a spectacle of the evil powers and authorities.
Jesus is Lord! Caesar is not! The way of Jesus is peacemaking and not in line with the demonic response of the angry mob for political power!
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser (the Satan) of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on David Ruybalid