Summary: The Lord of the Rings trilogy provides some great illustrations of our spiritual warfare (#17 in The Christian Victor series)
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day,…”
The big story of Tolkien’s trilogy of the rings, is that the evil Saruman, who could be equated with Satan, has raised up an army of thousands upon ten thousands of his minions, called Orcs and they are marching against Middle Earth and the world of men to destroy everything in their path. They are looking for the One Ring which has the power to hold the entire world under its evil power. Saruman lost it, and he wants it back.
In the second installment of this Trilogy, “The Two Towers”, Gandalf the wizard, Aragorn, the rightful heir to the kingdom of Gondor, Legolas the elf and Gimlee the dwarf, have come to find Theoden, king of Rohan, to enlist his aid in the battle for Middle Earth.
Theoden has seen much trouble and sorrow. He has just buried his only son, recently killed in battle, and he is greatly saddened.
The discussion among these characters about the enemy’s movements and the impending danger, leads Gandalf and company to urge Theoden to rally his men and join them.
Theoden, standing in the middle of his great hall, declares, “I will not bring further death upon my people. I will not risk open war.”
Aragorn, who will eventually take his place on the throne of Gondor, answers Theoden’s statement with, “Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.”
(Lines quoted from the movie, “The Two Towers”, directed by Peter Jackson)
Theoden had been under an evil spell for quite some time, and had not been aware of anything going on around him. He had been released from that spell by Gandalf, shortly before this conversation.
But there is no indication given in the story that he needed to be convinced of the existence of the enemy, or the great danger that was growing in the land.
The problem was that he was taking the approach to this situation, that if he stayed out of it, he would not be caught up in it. That if he ignored it, it would eventually go away. That the fight was someone else’s, not his.
The truth of the matter was, the war was coming to him, and decisions had to be made.
OPEN WAR IS UPON US
Paul has not suggested to us that perhaps we ought to be ready incase evil comes to us. He has stated very clearly that we are in a struggle, and that struggle is a spiritual one, and there are steps we are to take in order to resist, and to continue to stand.
The world cannot see this, we know that. But tragically, the church to a large degree seems to be ignorant of the dangers also. In many cases, I am afraid, even going to the length of denying the existence of the enemy.
If Theoden had held out and continued to refuse to join forces with those taking their stand against this vast enemy, he and his kingdom would have been run over in a very short time, and utterly destroyed.
Even combining forces with the other kingdoms of Middle Earth, it was a close call,, and Theoden himself eventually fell in battle. But the victory was won and, you’ll be happy and relieved to learn, the world of men survived.
Christians, we struggle against the very same rulers and powers and wicked spirits of darkness that Christians of the first century struggled against. I wouldn’t be surprised if they even have names.
They are real, and they are active, and they know things to be true that people of flesh, in their ignorance, deny. I want to focus more sharply on this today, and let’s try to better understand the mindset and the purpose of the enemy; so that we might resist in the evil day, and continue to stand.
WHAT DID ADAM SEE?
Here’s something I wonder about. Was Adam able to see into the spiritual realm?
In II Corinthians 4:4 Paul tells them that the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ; and that just makes me wonder what else sin keeps us from seeing.
Maybe Adam couldn’t see angels with his physical eyes, but I’ll bet he was very aware of spiritual presence around him, not yet having his senses dulled by sin, not yet being dead in sin. He wasn’t in a glorified state. He was simply created man. But before sin introduced death into the world, he must have been much more keenly aware of the spiritual realm than mankind after him could have been.