Question: “Are there good or bad spirits over certain cities, states, countries, or regions?”
In preparation for this blog, I did some research in scripture and also read some Biblical commentaries on this topic. Even the commentators and Bible scholars do not see eye-to-eye on this particular topic. Personally, anytime I have a question with a discrepancy – I go back to the Bible for myself and see what it has to say; trusting the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to me. To the extent of my studies on this topic, I feel fairly sure of my answer that, yes, there were regional spirits (good and bad) assigned to certain areas in Biblical history. However, I will present the account to you and allow you to discern for yourself. Nonetheless, it is not central to our salvation so varying opinions on this topic are welcomed.
The key text which gives us a clue about the question at hand is found in the book of Daniel. In Daniel 10:13 there is a “prince of Persia” mentioned which many believe to be a demon or even Satan himself. Please read the account below:
1In the third year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia, Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar) had another vision. He understood that the vision concerned events certain to happen in the future—times of war and great hardship.
2When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks.
3All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed.
4On April 23 [or thereabout], as I was standing on the bank of the great Tigris River,
5I looked up and saw a man dressed in linen clothing, with a belt of pure gold around his waist.
6His body looked like a precious gem. His face flashed like lightning, and his eyes flamed like torches. His arms and feet shone like polished bronze, and his voice roared like a vast multitude of people.
7Only I, Daniel, saw this vision. The men with me saw nothing, but they were suddenly terrified and ran away to hide.
8So I was left there all alone to see this amazing vision. My strength left me, my face grew deathly pale, and I felt very weak.
9Then I heard the man speak, and when I heard the sound of his voice, I fainted and lay there with my face to the ground.
10Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees.
11And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.
12Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.
13But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.
14Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”
Footnote: The translation above is the New Living Translation which says the prince of Persia was a “spirit.” However, the original King James Version simply says, “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.” This does not necessarily negate the idea that it was a spirit, but I wanted to mention that slight translation difference.
Combing over the above-mentioned scripture, it seems that the man in Daniel’s vision was the Lord. We find a similar description of the Lord when He appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos in Revelation 1:13-16. That notwithstanding, the key verse we are looking at is verse 13. The “prince of the kingdom of Persia” was in opposition to Daniel and blocked the way for a time. It took angelic forces and the Lord’s power to overcome him. Had this prince of Persia been a mere man, the angels could have easily overpowered him due to their supernatural powers. Thus, this seems to indicate that this prince was, indeed, a demonic force. It is possible that this prince of Persia could even have been Satan himself. In Ephesians 2:2, Satan is referenced as the “prince of the power of the air.” In the commentary, Barnes Notes on the Bible, it says, “[The word, ‘prince’] is applied to Satan, or the chief of the fallen angels, as where he is called ‘the prince of the devils.’” Furthermore, if God sent the angel, Michael, to help hold back the prince of Persia, that seems to further validate that it was a battle which took place in the heavenly realms and not on earth (see diagram to the right). Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”As a side note – could it also be that this teaches us our authority to fight evil spirits by Jesus’ power He has given us after His death, burial, and resurrection? I believe so.
Taking into account the likelihood of demonic activity over a certain place, let us also look at the likelihood of an angelic presence to combat the enemy. Daniel 12:1 states, “At that time Michael, the archangel who stands guard over your nation, will arise.” It is not clear if the angel still presides or just presided for that time; but it would be safe to say that there were (if not still) demons and angels which guarded and battled over certain areas. One Christian study website seemed to lean toward the idea that there are regional demons. It stated: “If you look at the statistics to certain crimes and activities in a certain city or area, you can determine the dominant spirit in an area. “ Las Vegas is referred to as “Sin City” because of the amount of sin which goes on there. Maybe it is not so far-fetched that there is a demonic force over this city called, “Sin City”, as well as other areas all over the world. There have been accounts of Christian pastors who sensed oppression over certain areas while traveling. There are also areas all over the world that have more witchcraft activity than others – which could, in turn, lend itself to a more oppressive atmosphere.
No matter where we live, we Christians understand that we are in the world, but we are not like the world. We do not go through life in the same manner as the worldly sinner would. We know to guard our hearts and our minds against evil. Should we find ourselves living in a place where sin is rampant – we must be the light in a place of darkness. Also, we must realize our authority over evil through Jesus’ name, His Word, and His blood. In part, Mark 16:17 says, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils…” For we know that the enemy is always looking for a foothold to get into a city, a Godly relationship, a home, or an individual. 1st Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Even though Satan resides in another realm, his evil influence affects the inhabitants of the earth. But we serve a God who is mightier than he. In part, 1st John 4:4 states: “…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Regardless of whether there are regional demons or regional angels, the Bible says, “For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways” Psalm 91:11. So, where the child of God is, there are angels there to keep us.
In the end, there will be a final war fought between the forces of good and the enemy. Revelation 12:7-9 states: “Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.” No matter the current situation, we know that good will ultimately overcome evil – and that is something to rejoice about!