One of the scariest features of the work of Satan is how well he is organized. Ephesians 6:12 describes that organization as follows: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The terms principalities, power, rulers, and hosts describe different levels of his hierarchy. In other passages Paul in writing about good angels uses some of the same terms to refer to their organizational structure. Here we find their evil counterparts.
In this description Paul begins at the top of the organization chart and works his way down.
“Principalities” is comprised of the Greek word used to described the top tier of good angels, i.e. the “arch” in archangels. This word can mean origin or ruler. The obvious connection is that the top ruler is the origin for all the plans and commands. This level may include Satan as the very highest figure in the government, but since the term in this passage is plural it apparently refers to a whole governmental level that includes many very powerful evil beings.
Daniel 10:13 suggests that evil beings at this level are placed over nations. Therefore, in one sense we already have a one world government, with Satan governing over his arch-presidents, which together control all the nations on earth. The one responsible for the United States is doing a very effective job at present.
The translation I use above refers to the organizational level directly under these arch-presidents as “powers,” but “authorities” would be more accurate. Perhaps these evil beings are given authority over territories such as states, and no doubt Satan has enough of them to assign more than 50 to the United States. There is a bill being proposed in California that would divide it into six several states. I suspect that Satan is way ahead of them on that count. He seems to have put quite a few of his “authorities” to work in that area, and they, too, seem to be very successful.
On the next rung down, “rulers,” literally bear the formidable title of “cosmos-dominators of this darkness.” These beings apparently are placed at the county and local levels, and their role includes maintaining darkness. So wherever the light might shine, they are called to stomp it out. Satan gets really upset if one of their territories begins to emit light. It may be that the cosmos-dominator whose territory allows light to shine is sent back to the abyss, an effective motivator to ensure that darkness prevails.
The role of these functionaries starts to get personal. Start to shine light, and they are on you. If you are seeking to display the nature of Christ, the Light of the world, through your behavior and witness, you can expect one of those black limos to pull up in front of your house at 2 o’clock some morning, or at any time for that matter.
Which takes us down to the bottom rung on the ladder, literally the “spirituals of wickedness.” These are the Mafia thugs, the ones that do the dirty work, the kneecap operatives.
One aspect of Paul’s description that we might find astounding is that the sphere of operation of these spiritual toughs is “heavenly places.” However, where else would they be working? Recall a couple of posts ago we talked about fueling up with spiritual power by living in the heavenly realm. It is Christians spending their time in that realm that they are after. And if we think that we will escape their presence in that sphere, remember that in the book of Job Satan had access to the very presence of God.
Let me conclude by pointing out three significant aspects regarding Satan’s operation. First, he is extremely well-organized. It is somewhat frightful when we compare his highly systematized operation with the splintered structure of the church, with many if not most churches functioning as Lone Rangers, coordinating little or not at all with the rest, and lacking any local, territorial, national, or global coordination. No wonder Satan is winning the culture war in the United States.
Second, Scripture tells us that the objectives of Satan’s organization are “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10) This is serious business, and the stakes are high. He ruins lives and families and churches and nations. Consider the wickedness he has unleashed in the United States in just a few short years and the horrific suffering that is resulting, e.g. in excess of 56 million innocent babies painfully murdered.
Third, this organization and these objectives are aimed at you. The 56 million innocent children were murdered in and by the most prominently Christian nation on earth. The most Christian nation on earth has become the divorce capital and the smut capital of the world, has become the global prime promoter of homosexuality. Our nation was shining too much light, the organization came after us, we had let down our guard, and now we are paying the price.
The solution is not to stop shining light so that Satan leaves you alone, but to put on the armor so that you can beat him and his organization.