In general, the Jewish world of ancient times saw a direct relation between many things on earth and in the supernatural world. We hear Jesus speak of how children’s angels are constantly in the presence of God. The seven letters of Revelation are addressed to the angels of the churches. As Joshua prepared to begin the conquest of the Promised Land, he was met by the commander of the army of the Lord.
In the ancient world, many peoples saw their kings as divine. The Bible often speaks of rulers in spiritual terms, even using the term “gods” in Psalms 82 and 138, although that’s probably a bit of sarcasm. They are called “sons of gods,” recognizing their human nature with a link to the spiritual world. I did a study of Genesis 6 when I was in grad school, coming to the conclusion that the passage was talking about human kings. I would probably modify my view a bit now; I still believe they were human kings, but the terminology used probably indicates a demonic rebellion against God as well.
An interesting passage is Deuteronomy 32:8. Most versions follow the reading from the Masoretic text. The ESV chose to follow the Septuagint (and a text from the Dead Sea Scrolls) which reads: “When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” (Deuteronomy 32:8) [Masoretic text says “sons of Israel”] The passage goes on to read: “But the LORD’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.” (Deuteronomy 32:9) This reading reflects the idea that the nations of the world were divided up. God kept Israel for himself and gave the rest to “the sons of God.” While God was king over Israel, others would rule the rest of the nations. Whether or not this reading is the original one, it reflects an ancient Jewish understanding of the relationship between the nations and the spiritual powers.
That helps us understand apocalyptic literature. Physical problems on earth are solved through cosmic warfare, heavenly beings defeating demonic forces. We read Revelation, for example, and wonder why John would describe the fall of Rome in such terms. If we were immersed in the Jewish milieu, we wouldn’t ask that question. The tie between earthly powers and unearthly ones would be assumed and expected.
All of this to remind us that as we look at the world around us, we need to remember that there’s much more than meets the eye. Our physical world is the tip of the iceberg. That’s one reason we have to place complete trust in God, for only He can navigate us through situations that are bigger than we can possibly comprehend.