What is this describing? “As an increasing number of New Testament scholars now recognize, almost everything that Jesus and the early church were about is decisively colored by the central conviction that the world is caught in the crossfire of a cosmic battle between the Lord and his angelic army and Satan and his demonic army” (p. 172). “Jesus’ teaching, his exorcisms, his healings and other miracles, as well as his work on the cross, all remain somewhat incoherent and unrelated to one another until we interpret them within this apocalyptic context [the ultimate battle between God and Satan; good and evil spirits]: in other words, until we interpret them as acts of war” (p. 180). “For Jesus, the kingdom of God means abolishing the kingdom of Satan. As Kallas argues, ‘This world [in Jesus’ view] was a demon-infested world in need of liberation, and the advance of God’s sovereignty was in direct proportion to the rout of the demons… Exorcisms of demons was the central thrust of the message and activity of Jesus.’ So too, Gustaf Wingrin writes, ‘When Jesus heals the sick and drives out evil spirits, Satan’s dominion is departing and God’s kingdom is coming’ (Mt. 12:22- 29). The ‘kingdom of God,’ as Jesus uses the term, refers to nothing other than his ministry and the ministry he gave to his disciples, of setting up God’s rule where previously there had been Satan’s rule” (p. 185). “For Jesus, healings and exorcisms clearly did not merely symbolize the kingdom of God – they were the kingdom of God. They were not the products of the message he proclaimed – they were the message. Warring against Satan and building the kingdom of God were, for Jesus, one and the same activity” (p. 186). “Whatever else the rule of God is about, it is about vanquishing the rule of Satan, and thus about setting people free from demons and from the ungodly infirmities they inflict on people” (p. 187). The evangelization of the ancient world centered on “power encounters” answering the question: “Whose God is greater?” As the Christians cast out demons in the name of Jesus, he was magnified as Lord over these evil spirits masked behind the pagan gods. (See Ramsay MacMulllen, Christianizing the Roman Empire AD 100-400 (1984).
The biblical “warfare worldview”