For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].
Note 5 at Eph 6:12: Paul made it very clear that our warfare is not against people but against the spiritual powers that operate behind the scenes through people. Therefore, we cannot win a spiritual battle with carnal weapons. We must realize who the real Enemy is and fight with the spiritual weapons the Lord has given us (see note 8 at 2Co 10:4 and note 9 at 2Co 10:5).
We often think that anger will put people in their place. But "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" (Jas 1:20). Anger against people makes us play right into the hand of the devil. The way to overcome the spiritual powers that come against us through people is to turn the other cheek (Mt 5:39). That makes the demons flee in terror.
Our natural tendency when we are poor is to hoard or even steal. However, we are not engaged in a physical battle. Through giving when we are in need, we frustrate all of Satan's plans and loose the power of God on our behalf.
Note 6 at Eph 6:12: Four ranks of Satan's hierarchy are mentioned in this verse. "Principalities" seem to be the rulers in Satan's hierarchy. The Greek word used for "principality" in this verse is "ARCHE," and it may possibly be referring to fallen archangels. One archangel that is mentioned in Scripture is Michael, who is referred to in Da 10:13 as being one of the chief rulers. Angels of this type many times seem to have a ministry over the affairs of entire nations.
"Spiritual wickedness in high places" (sometimes referred to as wicked spirits in the earth's atmosphere) is the most frequently engaged enemy that we deal with. The purpose of these spirits is to work against and destroy all that is of Jesus Christ. They do this in the following ways: by hindering God's work (1Th 2:17-18, Ac 17:1-9, Lu 4:5-6, and Re 2:10); blinding people's minds (2Co 4:4); beguiling, misleading, and deceiving people (2Co 11:3); tempting people (1Co 7:5); buffeting God's people (2Co 12:7); and attempting to corrupt and infiltrate the church of Jesus Christ (2Co 11:15 and 1Ti 4:1).
It is supposed by many that the higher echelons of the devil's spiritual authority take more power to rebuke or remove. That's not true. There is no demonic power, including the devil himself, that will not flee at the name of Jesus when faith is put in that name (see note 4 at Mt 17:21).
In recent years, a misapplication of this verse has led some to believe that the only way to battle against the "spiritual wickedness in high places" is to climb tall mountains or buildings, or even rent airplanes and intercede from these heights. That is ridiculous and voids the very context of this verse. Spiritual forces can't be fought in physical ways. Intercession will work on any demonic power from right where the believer is.
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