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Learning Practical Spiritual Warfare

2008 Edition

Part One
Page 3


3. Principalities and Powers

Ephesians 6:12 (KJV) “ 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. “ 

Ephesians 6:12 (AMP) “ For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.”

Ephesians 6:12 (Peshitta) “  For our conflict is not with flesh and blood, but with principalities, and with those in authority, and with the possessors of this dark world, and with the evil spirits that are beneath heaven. “

Do not get enemy identification problems, but understand that behind that situation and behind that evil person and that evil situation are evil spirits part of a world system of evil that Satan rules.  That is where we are to put our energies, and not in the carnal fighting of carnal men and women.

We are in conflict for sure, but it is with both fallen angelic and demonic powers.  There is a difference between fallen angels which is a higher order of being, and the demonic or unclean spirits that possess human beings at times, and we shall explore that at a latter point.  But you see the hierarchy of that structure and difference here in this verse.

We are locked into combat with the forces of evil, and we as born again children of God, are called to resist this enemy steadfastly.  This is combat, or a wrestling, and we are locked into it.  We need to understand who we are in God and the strength that God has given to us.  But we must also understand our enemy and understand how to deal with his attacks, and how to resist him.

This has been called the hierarchy of Hell, and shows the power structure of evil under Satan.


This scripture represents what we call a hierarchy.  A hierarchy is defines as this, a group of persons or things arranged in order of rank or class.  What you see here is the top to the bottom.

Satan’s kingdom is organized much like God’s.  Satan’s wisdom has been corrupted, and if you will notice, most of what he does is a perversion of what God has created.  There doesn’t seem to be any true creative ability in him.  He wants to be like God, so he has mirrored his kingdom like God’s.

God has holy principalities and powers.  Michael is the principality or prince or archangel of Israel.  The word speaks of the principalities and power of being holy sometimes, of being fallen at others.  Here are some examples of holy principalities and powers.

Ephesians 3:9-10 “ 9 And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly [places] might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, “

Colossians 1:16 “ For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: “

And in Titus 3:1, you see a reference to human principalities and powers....  Titus 3:1 “ Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,“


We know our fight isn’t against flesh and blood, so these in Ephesians 6 and Colossians 2:15 aren’t human enemies.  Plus, we aren’t fighting against the holy angels of the Lord, for they are our allies and not our enemies.  But we wrestle against those who have fallen with the Devil.

[1] PRINCIPALITIES = arche {ar‑khay'} = the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader; the first place, principality, rule, magistracy of angels and demons.

It is literally a prince.  The word of God uses this for the angel Michael.  

Jude 1:9 “ Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. “

The word for archangel is a combination of this word, arche or archo and angelos, or literally a prince angel. 

Daniel 10:13 “ But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. “

The Hebrew here is sar which means principality or prince or leader.

There is one Devil and many fallen angels who followed him.  Some of them are very powerful and they sit as kings. 

Are there fallen angelic principalities mentioned by name in scripture?  Yes, there are.

Daniel 10:11-13 “ 11 And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. 12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. “  

The angel of the Lord (probably Gabriel as he had been sent before) came to bring the revelation of what the vision Daniel had had really meant.  He had fallen out (slain in the Spirit) before the messenger of God and the angel had set him up and starts this discourse.

Although Daniel had fasted and prayed a pleasant food fast for 21 days, the prayer was heard in Heaven the very first day.  God had sent the angel the first day, but there had been spiritual resistance to Daniel receiving this revelation from the Lord.

Sometimes the answer is on its way.... don’t give up before the answer comes.  Don’t give into the pressures and say, “well, God is not listening to me anyway”.  The angel had been sent the first day, but had troubles literally getting down to the earth for wrestling with a spiritual principality.

The prince of the kingdom of Persia... which is interesting since that is the kingdom that ruled the ancient world at that time.  In fact, the Medo-Persians were the ones who had Daniel captive at that time.  They had already taken the Babylonian Kingdom for themselves.  It is interesting that the dominating principality is the one who withstood the angel of the Lord.

This was not the human prince of the kingdom of Persia.  I have never seen a man, king or not, that could go into the air and keep an angel from getting to the Earth.  They fought for 21 days.


The word for prince here is once again is sar.  So, there are holy princes or principalities, and there are evil, fallen principalities who under the rule of the chief principality, Satan, is actively trying to destroy our lives and hinder us.   1 Thessalonians 2:18 “ Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. “

On the 21st day, God sent Michael, the principality of Israel to help Gabriel in this fight against the principality of Persia.  God knows when you have reached the point where reinforcements are needed.  Michael was big enough to bind the prince of Persia while Gabriel brought the message.

There are in fact great spiritual battles at times with the angels of Heaven although you might not be aware of it.  You might be aware that you are in a battle and when you pray you sense things getting clearer.... many times over your head there is a spiritual conflict occuring.

Daniel 10:20-21 “ 10 Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. 21 But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and [there is] none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince. “

It is interesting to note that the Grecian Empire followed the Persian, and here the angel makes the statement that the spiritual king of Grecia is on the way to help the spiritual king of Persia and I’ve got to hurry and tell you this so I can go and join Michael in the fight.  You see it clearer in the New American Standard translation of the Holy Scriptures:  Daniel 10:20-21 (N.A.S.) “ 20 Then he said, "Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.21 "However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these [forces] except Michael your prince. “

I must go back to assist your prince. Why is it Daniel’s prince?  Because he belongs to the house of Israel, and Michael is the principality of Israel.

I want you to see that the forces that are both of God and the forces that we are opposing are very organized.

QUESTION: Have you ever felt that a series of events that on the surface Seemed to be unrelated, but happened Together in what seemed to you to be a Well Planned Attack on your life?  Maybe your faith was shaken in a few areas. . . and it seemed that all these unrelated things occured together accoding to some plan.  WELL IT PROBABLY WAS !

We are not only to pray against the unclean spirits that we deal with daily that you see on the bottom of the list, but we are to organize our prayers also against the rulers over our towns and communities, and up to the principalities over the regions where we live.

[2] POWERS = Greek exousia {es-oo-see’-ah} one who has authority, a magistrate or governor.

It is a ruler of a smaller order than principalities.  It would be like a grand duke.  A grand duke is the one just under the prince of the kingdom.  Many times he will rule his own duchy under the prince.

Many times these are bundled in together under the principalities in scripture.  We understand that they rule many rulers under themselves, under the commands of their own principality.

You see, when you say the Devil is attacking you, in a sense you are right but in a sense you are wrong.  It is a very organized attack carried out by different ranks of fallen angels and unclean spirits, but there is only one very finite and limited Devil at the top of it.  He doesn’t know everything and is not everywhere as God is, but he does have a lot of help.

Both principalities and powers are mentioned in the triumph scripture of Colossians:  Colossians 2:15 “ [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. “

Jesus has already triumphed over the principalities and powers of the enemy in the cross.  His blood destroyed their authority.... and we as the body of Christ need to take up that authority that Jesus has given unto us and put the forces of Hell under our feet.

When you speak of principalities and powers, you are speaking of rulers over quite a bit of land.  They have a rule or dominion that encompasses more than just a local city or areaThese are the big fallen angels.  Now, God did not make them evil.  They were once good, but have fallen.

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Materials copyrighted © 1992, 1993, 1996, and 2008 by James Dale Coldiron

2008 Study prepared for the Cawood Church of God at Cawood, Kentucky

Copyright © 2008 by James Dale Coldiron and Voice of the Watchman
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