A lot of good Christians have the idea that their immoral political leaders are just average, decent people, that are fallen, but are just trying to do their best. In the case of Judah in the days of Ezekiel, God takes the prophet behind the curtains to show him that the outward corruption he sees emanates from demon worship behind the scenes. The Bible’s view is that where there is corruption, it emanates from an evil source.

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Where corruption increases, conspiracy increases, because where corruption increases the influence of demons is increasing, and demons work in the darkness. By the time a nation gets to open demon worship, which eventually happened in Israel (Deut. 32:17; Ps. 106:37), it had been doing so in the dark for some time. Evil flourishes in the darkness (Eph. 5:7-11), but as evil increases it does not like to remain hidden, it becomes arrogant, proud, and seeks to flaunt itself.

Without conspiracy, that is without the wicked plotting in secret, evil could not flourish in this world as it does. This is not to say that conspiracy is the only means of the extension of evil into the world, it is not, the sinful heart of man is central to the evil we experience in the world. But man was helped in his fall by the chief conspirator himself. Conspiracy is intrinsic to how evil gains supremacy, because evil needs to remain hidden until it has enough power to be unchallenged.[1] Darkness does not feel comfortable in the light, unless it can first dim the light.  

Paul tells us in one of the most well-known passages in the Bible, that our true battle is not against human beings, but against dark and evil forces,

“10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Eph. 6:10-13).

Paul explicitly tells us that this world is ruled by evil demonic powers. But they are not just disembodied spirits, that can cause people some annoyance from time to time, they are far more than that. They are “rulers”, they are exercisers of authority, they are the real-world powers that are responsible for or “of” this present darkness, and they are evil spiritual forces. They originate in the Spiritual realm. Paul is not shy about who rules this world from the shadowy spiritual realm, the Devil and his minions. 

Most orthodox Christians understand this at some level. But for many people it is so far removed from their everyday conscious experience. Many people do not take on board the worldview that Paul is presenting us with. He is saying that the powerful men (and now women too) you see “ruling” the world, do not really rule the world, they are simply front-men (and front-women). The true authorities are the demonic powers that lie behind the people ruling the world. To the extent that good men exist in leadership positions in the world, they are working in a system that is inherently corrupted by evil.

The consistency of this effect evil has in our world is remarkable. Hence the Bible reflects this reality. Conspiracy is so common in the experience of the people of the Old Testament, particularly the powerful, that it was incorporated into their worship in the Psalms. Here is a powerful example,

1 Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
    preserve my life from dread of the enemy.
Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
    from the throng of evildoers,
who whet their tongues like swords,
    who aim bitter words like arrows,
shooting from ambush at the blameless,
    shooting at him suddenly and without fear.
They hold fast to their evil purpose;
    they talk of laying snares secretly,
thinking, “Who can see them?”
    They search out injustice,
saying, “We have accomplished a diligent search.”
    For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep.

But God shoots his arrow at them;
    they are wounded suddenly.
They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them;
    all who see them will wag their heads.
Then all mankind fears;
    they tell what God has brought about
    and ponder what he has done.

10 Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord
    and take refuge in him!
Let all the upright in heart exult!”[2]

This theme is common in the Psalms and talked about in many different ways and contexts. Here are a few other examples:

–        “Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long.”[3]

–        The arrogant have hidden a trap for me, and with cords they have spread a net; beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah[4]

–        “Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers!”[5]

–        “The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him,…”[6]

–        “O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! 2 For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. 3 They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones.”[7]

 

The authors of the Psalms wanted God’s people to be thoroughly aware that evil men were plotting against them. Their consistent emphasis proves this, “They lay crafty plans against your people…” Too many Christians underestimate the level of evil amongst the rulers of our world. The Bible, however, was written by men who understood the level of evil among the powerful and sought to warn us, as best they could. 

References

[1] Consider this example, crime. In a city run by relatively honest men you still have crime and corruption, but the criminals do everything they can to remain sheltered by secrecy and darkness, so as not to get caught. But as the city becomes more corrupt evil becomes emboldened and criminals can operate more openly. This is seen in high crime cities in places like South Africa, and other areas, where crime is so rarely punished, that criminals will walk up to a car at the light, smash the window, take what they want, including the car in some instances, and just move on as if nothing happened. This situation was described to me by someone I know who lived in such a place. But it is observed in different places around the world. The higher the preponderance of good men the more crime and evil needs to work in secrecy, the lower the preponderance of good men the less it needs to work in secrecy.

Broken windows policing is loosely based on understanding this principle. Police recognize that if the culture of a city says crime will likely not be punished, then criminals will more likely commit crimes. https://cebcp.org/EVIDENCE-BASED-POLICING/WHAT-WORKS-IN-POLICING/RESEARCH-EVIDENCE-REVIEW/BROKEN-WINDOWS-POLICING/#:~:text=The%20broken%20windows%20model%20of%20policing%20was%20first,windows%29%20in%20generating%20and%20sustaining%20more%20serious%20crime

[2] Psalm 64.

[3] Psalm 38:12.

[4] Psalm 140:5.

[5] Psalm 141:9.

[6] Psalm 37:12.

[7] Psalm 83:1-3.

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The Coincidence - a novel by Gabriel Moens

Matthew Littlefield writes to think through some of the current issues facing society, the Church and whatever else comes to mind that might be interesting to process. Matt's focus is usually historical or scriptural, though he will address current issues from time to time as well. He is a co-author of The Ezekiel Declaration and the book, Defending Conscience, How Baptists reminded the Church to defy tyranny. He blogs most days at YoungGospelMinister.blogspot.com.

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