Hierarchies: Hidden Hordes of Heaven and Hell

Wisdom's Friend

Hierarchies: Hidden Hordes of Heaven and Hell

Hierarchy is not an academic subject, as some might suspect, with little effect on daily life, but has powerful impact in our real world. To prove this, all that is needed is to look at what happened when one man tried to force his own vision of hierarchy on the world. That man was Adolf Hitler.

The hierarchy of Nazism had a master race at the top with lower, sub-human races beneath. Millions of people were either forced into slave labor or systematically slaughtered to try to bring this hierarchal vision into being. But, as horrible as that evil plan was, something far worse is to come. For the Bible prophecies that at the end another evil man (or being) will appear, and he will force “everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name” (Rev. 13:16-17 NIV).

Those who refuse to submit to this plan will be killed (Rev. 13:15) if they are found (Rev. 12:14). Sound familiar? But, just as there were those who refused to submit to the evil schemes of World War 2 and yet escaped, so will there be those who remain faithful to God in this future repetition of that previous scheme, and also be preserved. Many will be killed, it is true, but that will be for God’s glory and purpose, and though their bodies may die, God will rescue their souls in that very death (Ps. 107:20, Ps. 49:15). They will be rescued because they hid themselves in their God.

“Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you” (Ps. 143:9 NIV).

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3 NIV).

Though God sometimes allows his faithful servants to die at the hands of wicked people, their deaths are highly prized by him (Ps. 72:14, Ps. 116:15). In addition, God never allows evil people to wipe out completely his own people. He saved eight people from a wicked world with Noah and his family (1 Peter 3:20); he reserved 7,000 who did not bow the knee to the false god Baal (1 Kings 19:18). Always, there is a faithful remnant that is hidden from the hand of the wicked that would destroy them.

Being hidden by God is a powerful yet unseen way that God preserves his people. Therefore, whenever we are tempted to feel that we are useless to God, with no visible evidence of our use in his army, we should remember all those who have been hidden by him in the past, likewise with no visible, outward recognition among God’s church or people.

We all recognize the name of the apostles, John and Peter and the others; the names of other leaders like King David, the prophets Elijah and Daniel; and many other famous names of the faith also shine out (Heb. 11:4-13). But there are far more unknown, hidden people of God than those few whose names are recorded in Scripture. Besides the unnamed 7,000 faithful who did not bow to Baal, there is the nameless widow who gave her mite to God (Mk. 12:42-43); the unnamed man who carried the jug of water (Mk. 14:13); the nameless 500 who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection (1 Cor. 15:6); and many more. The point is, there will always be far more unknowns in this world than the few who are famous–and we should be glad that this is so.

When I was in boot camp in the military, a sergeant once told us about the mother of a young man in his training group who complained to him that when she visited her son at the base, the training officers never mentioned his name and didn’t seem to know him. The sergeant explained to her that she should be glad that that was so. For there were only two ways a person could be well known to those in charge of so many: either they did something outstanding, which was seldom the case, or else they had done something reprehensible or seriously against regulations, which was far more common.

It is always easier to rebel than to discipline oneself and submit to needful regulations and overseers. Therefore, never to be noticed is actually a good thing; it means that you are conducting yourself maturely and for the good of the unit, rather than seeking only one’s own welfare. The same holds true for those enlisted in the army of the Lord. We have this word from the Lord:

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4 NIV).

And this:

“Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not. For I will bring disaster on all people, declares the Lord, but wherever you go I will let you escape with your life” (Jer. 45:5 NIV).

Clearly there was no looking out for the interests of others in the holocaust of WW2. There was only the distorted and depraved vision of an evil man, who had at his disposal a hierarchy of power to seek to force his vision upon the world. Hitler’s hierarchy included a vision wherein he would confer upon those beneath him portions of the nations of the world, once his conquest of the world was complete, much as the Bible prophecies that the coming world ruler will do (Rev. 17:12). To combat this, an opposing army was raised to thwart the imposition of that vision and hierarchy upon the world. A surprising aspect of this opposing army was revealed when the Russian army turned back the invading Germans. No one knew that Stalin had so many soldiers to draw upon; it was a hidden army (though some historians discount this).

Whatever the truth about the hidden hordes of Russian troops in the great war of the last century, there is a similarity to be found in the coming battle at the end of this world. This battle will involve huge armies battling each other. It will be the armies of the devil and the world against the army of God (Ps. 2:2, Rev. 10:14-15, Rev. 16:14, Rev. 19:19 ).

There is also a similarity in why these two battles occur. The reason for these battles is that no one voluntarily submits to the ruthless plan which these would-be world rulers seek to impose on others. Therefore, those who want to remove the current hierarchy of the world and replace it with their own, self-serving one must use force to accomplish their goal. It is all about glory and power for oneself, at the expense of everyone else. Each person in that hierarchy wants a piece of the earth to call his own.

How different for the unnamed, hidden servants of the Lord, who are willing even to part with that little piece of the earth (Gen. 2:7) that is their own body.

“They overcame 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” (Rev. 12:11 NIV).

No, they do not claim for themselves even that small part of the earth that is their earthly body. Rather, they desire that it and the entire earth be handed over to the One to whom it rightly belongs, Jesus Christ (Ezekiel 21:27, Rev. 11:15, Rev. 4:10). Those who submitted to Jesus as Lord in this world will be united with him at his coming and “then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power” (1 Cor. 15:29 NIV).

Notice the mention of hierarchy: dominion, authority, power. There is a hierarchy of good and one of evil. The hierarchy of evil was brutally expressed in WW2, as the whole world was enveloped in suffering and evil. But we should not be surprised.

“​​​​​​If you see the extortion of the poor, or the perversion of justice and fairness in the government, do not be astonished by the matter. For the high official is watched by a higher official, and there are higher ones over them” (Eccl. 5:8 NET).

That is the hierarchy of evil. Each person in that hierarchy seeks to grab whatever he or she can. That is the way of the devil and his followers, not the way of the Lord and his followers.

“But Jesus called them and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions use their authority over them. It must not be this way among you!'” (Mt. 20:25-26 NET).

And right here is where the difference between the way of the devil and the world and the way of God is so dramatically seen. The way of evil is to force others into submission to its hierarchy.

“He will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his fathers he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price” (Dan. 11:38-39 NIV).

It really does not matter whether this passage refers to Antiochus, an ancient conqueror of the past, or to the anti-Christ rebel of the future. What matters is that the principles active in both situations are the same. Just as we should learn from WW2 and its occult connections, so should we take heed to similarities of this even more ancient time of war. It is evil versus good, and the way each fights is very different. Evil seeks to force its will over all; God allows each person to choose to whom he or she will submit, God or the devil.

The world does not understand this way of love and servitude, as opposed to its own way of brutal exercise of power. And because it does not understand, the world suffers beneath the hands of one dictator after another, and the moral foundations and respect for human life are shaken, as those wielding god-like power over human lives become drunk with their power.

“They don’t know, neither do they understand. They walk back and forth in darkness. All the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, ‘You are gods, all of you are sons of the Most High.’ Nevertheless you shall die like men, and fall like one of the rulers” (Ps. 82:5-7 WEB).

All human beings are created in the image of God, with a soul and spirit that impart the priceless abilities to think and love and be aware of oneself and God. Ruthless rulers mercilessly trample down these precious gifts from God and see humanity only as a tool for exploitation to achieve their own goals of domination over that humanity for which Christ died. For this, they will die at the hand of God in the end battle (Zech. 1:3, Ps. 94:23).

Thus there are two combatants in the final end battle: the forces of good and that of evil. The power of evil is much too strong for those who seek good to overcome, for evil men will be aligned with evil spirit beings of great power (Rev. 13:2, Rev. 13:15), against which mere human beings are helpless. But in that very helplessness lies their great strength and ultimate victory. For, knowing that they cannot do anything on their own (Jn. 15:5, Ps. 18:17), they surrender themselves to the One who is mightier than the mightiest foe that would come against them: the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 17:2, Ps. 8:6, Rev. 19:21). It is he who will fight against the wicked foe and defeat him.

Now, here is the interesting thing about our role as believers in all this. We are helpless on our own. We cannot fight, much less overcome, the mighty forces of evil that will be unleashed in the last war on earth. That is the bad news. The good news is that we don’t have to; that’s not our job. That role belongs to Jesus. He is the conqueror who will win the victory for us.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33 NIV).

When the trumpet calls of the final battles of this world are sounded, it will be similar to the charge which Nehemiah gave to those threatened by enemy attack while rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem:

“Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” (Ne. 4:20 NIV).

That was a war strategy given in human terms. But there is a principle there that applies to the final conflict as well: the principle of union. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are just as weak as any other human beings, therefore, as mentioned, on their own they could never hope to win over the strong forces of human evil joined with spiritual evil forces. But just as evil forces, human and spiritual, join for battle, so do the forces of good. Believers in Jesus are joined to him through their baptism and faith (Eph. 4:16, 1 Cor. 6:17, Rom. 6:3-5).

It is not up to us to win the victory in the final battle. The Lord will do it for us. But we will participate in this act because we are joined to him, in him. So the words of another Old Testament servant of God also hold true for us as it did for them so long ago:

“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still'” (Ex. 14:13-14 NIV).

We need only to be still.

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place” (Eph. 6:13-14 NIV).

Does this mean, then, that there is nothing for us to do, that we should just go about our daily lives with no concern for preparing for that fearful day? Far from it. To the contrary, there is much that we should do now–must do if we are to stand firm then. What is it, then, that we must do? The answer is given us in Scripture.

“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (Jude 1:20-21 NIV).

“Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat” (2 Peter 3:12 NIV).

“Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness. In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work” (2 Tim. 2:19-21 NIV).

We are to be prepared for participation in the final battle by cleansing ourselves from every defilement which the Spirit reveals to us. Being a soldier in the end-times army of the Lord is all about being united with the Lord Jesus in holiness. (See also Be Holy–or Else!)

“The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean” (Rev. 19:14 NIV).

“Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints)” (Rev. 19:8 NIV).

Whatever else we may do on that great day and in that great battle is not yet shown to us. What we have been shown is that we are to prepare ourselves as fit soldiers in that army by allowing the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus to cleanse us in this life. Whatever other momentous events and actions we may participate in is the Father’s business and beyond our understanding anyway.

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Ps. 139:6 NIV).

“I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me” (Ps. 131:1 NIV).

What I do concern myself with is my daily walk with the Lord, and letting Him continue to cleanse me and build me up. In this way, all who follow this principle in their lives will “be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

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