When Lucifer rebelled against God, he took with him a great number of angels. The Scriptures indicate that a third of the angels rebelled with Lucifer (Ezekiel 28:28; Revelation 12:4). Jesus taught in Matthew 25:41 that He has already condemned the devil and his angels. It is certain that Satan is not alone. Paul describes his legions in Ephesians 6:10-12.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. (Ephesians 6:10-12)
Arche – “magistrates, powers, principalities, beginning” The word “beginning” refers here to time or order. “Principalities” refers to powerful spirits of the first echelon that revolted against God. Today they are the ones that form the governing Council of Satan. It would be his “cabinet of ministers”. They are called princes (Daniel 10:20).
In Daniel 10, we see that God hears our prayers immediately. However, for the answers to reach us, angels must fight on the way and demonic forces can resist them in heavenly places.
The Bible speaks of three heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2–4). Since there is a third heaven there must also be a second and a first. We do not know if there is a fourth, fifth or sixth heaven. However, we do know that the first heaven is the firmament in the Earth’s atmosphere (Genesis 1:6-8).
Between the atmosphere where men abide and the third heaven where God abides, the second heaven definitely exists. Beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, there is an external space. That is the second heaven. David called it the “heavens” (Psalms 8:3).
It is in this second heaven that Satan and his fallen angels make their abode. They move to the first heaven in order to operate their work of deceit, oppression and destruction of men. Satan goes to the third heaven and accuses the saints before the throne of God (John 1:6-12; Revelation 12:10). In the second heaven, demonic enemy agents intercept the answers to our prayers, seeking to impede their arrival to us.
There is a constant war in the spiritual realm and victory begins in this realm. As the church we attain victory when we learn to recognize and prevail over principalities. In order for us to see spiritual breakthrough in the nations, and the lives of our families, in people and in ourselves, we need to recognize that the true enemies against which we fight are spiritual forces of evil all around us.
Exousia – “authorities that permit or impede” Evil executive powers exist in Satan’s kingdom. This group of governing spirits is the authority that delegates power. The word “exousia” is a synonym of “arche” (authority, thrones, dominions or governments) and denotes not only a court judiciary, but also the power that governs. The potentates are all of the evil authorities and powers that oppose Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:24; Colossians 2:15).
Kosmokrator – “the lords of the world”, is a juxtaposition of the words “Kosmos”, which means “world” and “Krator”, which means “governors”. It speaks of the system of governments. Governments are responsible for fighting against the true light and for leading people into darkness, blinding their eyes and sending darkness into the souls of men.
When we pray for those that Satan has dominated by blindness or pagan religions, we are warring against this type of enemy. They govern over nations through their power to blind the minds of men. They also exert authority over different systems of government in the world.
4. Spiritual forces of evil
Pneumatikós – comes from the root of the word “Pneuma”, which means “spirit”. “Poneria” means iniquity, deprivation, evil, activities of an evil nature. In other words, the spiritual forces of evil refer to someone who is not only evil, but also all of his equally evil works. Everything that he does affects others in a negative way.
“Spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” can mean evil itself that operates in and inspires these principalities, authorities and governments of darkness. Just as peace, love and goodness motivate the good in angelic beings; the opposite feeling also is a reality. This terrible spiritual evil speaks of the battlefront that motivates and controls the spiritual world of Satan. They are the soldiers that execute the evil and demonic activities in the lives of men.
In the punishment of Egypt, it appears that God used demons (Psalm 78:49). Demons will lead a rebellion of the armies of men against God in the battle of Armageddon, where great destruction awaits them (Revelation 16:13-16).
The righteous Son of God demonstrated His power over the evil forces when he cast out demons, both personally, and through His disciples. The righteous judgment of God will be demonstrated in the final defeat of demons when they will be cast into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10). The cross of Christ and the lake of fire indicate the permission of God for their existence and activity. Through their punishment, God demonstrates the futility of evil and its final defeat.