Ever since sin entered this planet there have been two conflicts—one visible and the other invisible. A thorough and unbiased reading of the book of Daniel will reveal that there are two powers continually involved and interacting in the affairs of earth.
We experience the visible world through our five senses and intellectual perceptions. Daily we wake up, go about our individual and collective activities, and then fall asleep, only to awaken and do it all over again. During these days we may experience conflicts. These might arise from the tensions that naturally occur when making decisions or when involved in family or career responsibilities.
We are constantly buffeted by visible conflicts. They are part and parcel of every moment of our lives. Although they vary from one person to another, they are basically the same. Names, places, culture, and other factors seem unique, but when examined carefully they are not. The visible conflicts we confront are experienced by everyone.
There are also external factors of where or how we live—rural, suburban, or metropolitan—and our socioeconomic level. Our choices are influenced by heritage, culture, age, temperament, and educational levels. It doesn’t stop there. The political or governmental system under which we live has much to do with our ability to choose the way we cope or handle the conflicting factors in our lives.
Clearly, there is much that impacts how we relate to conflict and, ultimately, the decisions that govern our life choices.
The One who created this planet did not set it spinning in His universe like a toy, with no care for other matters. He is not that kind of God. He has given us a clear manual (namely, Scripture), written by His chosen instruments in languages we can understand. The Scriptures give us insight into the invisible conflict that started before this planet was created and eventually found its way from the heavenly domain to this earth for a final solution.
God’s chosen instruments were human and faulty, like each of us. They were not always aware of the entire picture—God’s perspective in this great controversy, with its universal importance and eternal consequences. Often without complete understanding they wrote for future generations, conveying a message of hope, guidelines, and deeper insights into how the invisible conflict interferes with, takes precedent over, and daily affects our visible conflicts—those we contend with every minute of every day.
It’s easy to think that the political, economic, and religious conflicts we experience around us are determined solely by egos, ideology, and strategies of individuals or corporations. They attempt to “rule the world” using such elements as money, prestige, family heritage, culture, or a variety of other factors to accomplish this. Seldom is consideration given to the fact that there is also an invisible conflict impacting our lives. We need to be reminded—like Elisha’s servant, whose eyes were opened to see God’s invisible army (2 Kings 6:17-20)—that although unseen, there is an invisible conflict constantly at work behind the scenes.
God’s gift to us of total freedom to choose, ignore, or reject the messages contained in the Bible will determine our reactions and response. Whatever decisions we make will ultimately also determine which side of the invisible conflict we have joined in the universal struggle.
God Doesn’t Leave Us Guessing
As an example, let’s consider some of the events in this planet’s history as revealed in the Scriptures.
“Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7, NKJV).* Regardless of the dynasties in Egypt or the governments of surrounding countries, God told Abraham that ultimately his descendants would go down to Egypt for 400 years. At the end of that time, they would be delivered from slavery and brought to the land He had promised to give them (Gen. 15:13). At the exact time as God had said, the people were delivered by Moses.
Because of the stubborn choices of Israel, they would again be subjected to exile, this time for 70 years in Babylon. God even revealed in advance the name and manner of their deliverance. Once again, God, through prophets, predicted their freedom by name and method. After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, God’s people were delivered by whom and by what method the earlier prophets had predicted. As usual, the people, led by their political and religious leaders, did not pay attention.
Likewise, the time of the birth, arrival, and mission of Jesus were clearly foretold by many of the prophets throughout the centuries before these events took place. The political and religious leaders, ignoring the information available, did not share these prophecies with the people. Only a chosen few, the humble shepherds and some foreign astute scholars, studied, believed, and recognized the Babe of Bethlehem as the long-promised Messiah and Agent of delivery.
Lessons for Today
What does this have to do with us today? If we take the time to study what the biblical writers have to say concerning this earth and the people on it, the Bible offers much to help us cope with the visible conflicts we contend with each day. It also reminds us that there is One who is fully aware, never surprised, and always in control of this planet. This information offers us hope and assurance that Someone is in control of the chaotic world around us. Attention to the Scriptures also reveals the invisible conflict behind the scenes. The unseen forces that do not have our best interests at heart bring chaos to our lives.
The visible conflict is apparent in the maneuvering of the various political power brokers attempting to control, maintain, and expand their dominion. They all believe they are doing their own planning or devising and are intent on reaching their own goals, without recognizing that the invisible conflict will interfere with their plans. People in general may try to elect or force their own agenda on these power brokers. Neither group is aware that the leaders of the invisible conflict—so much more powerful than humanity—are often at work behind the scenes arranging or rearranging things around the world to achieve their own eternal and universal goals.
We should exercise our influence in a responsible manner to the best of our informed judgment. We must be aware that these other forces are involved beyond our control. Michael and Lucifer in the invisible conflict may (and often do) upset the best-laid plans of men. The writings of God’s chosen prophets have revealed the signs of the times we are living in and the final eternal outcome of the two sides of the conflicts. The books of Daniel and Revelation were written especially for the present time because the message is for the time of the end.
As we read in Isaiah 14:12-14, Lucifer, a created angel, desired to take the place of God and run the whole universe his way. This challenge arose before the whole universe. Because Lucifer desired to be the god of the universe, it was necessary for God—in order to retain the trust and allegiance of all the created beings in the universe—to allow the invisible conflict to take place.
Should the universe be run God’s way (with love, patience, and self-sacrifice), or should it be run Lucifer’s way? God allowed a limited amount of time for the invisible conflict to take place on Planet Earth for all to watch it unfold. Through His selected scribes, God gave scattered clues for all to see and understand what has been going on and what the inevitable end would be. God does not leave us guessing. Isaiah 14:15 tells us that Lucifer will eventually be destroyed. The invisible controversy will conclude, and as it ends, so will our visible conflicts.