Sunday, June 4, 2017
“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 KJV).
Why does Ephesians conclude with this description of the war between good and evil?
The first reference to the “heavenly places” affirms that God has given us, the Church the Body of Christ, resources in them: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:…” (Ephesians 1:3). The second mention is how God the Father, because of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, has given Christ power over all creatures and positions in creation: “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,…” (Ephesians 1:20).
The third reference talks about how Father God, through Christ’s finished crosswork, has qualified us to share Christ’s authority in the “heavenly places:” “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:…” (Ephesians 2:6). The fourth mention identifies us as the objects of attention of the fallen angels currently polluting the “heavenly places:” “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,…” (Ephesians 3:10).
The final reference, today’s Scripture, reminds us that our battle is not between other people here on Earth, but rather invisible evil spirits functioning in the “heavenly places:” “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).
Throughout the “Old Testament,” and for good reason, there is very little about God’s activity in the heavenly realm of creation. Those Scriptures are all about God forming the nation Israel, a group who will restore His authority in the Earth: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine” (Exodus 19:5). When we come to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, however, the Bible switches to the “heavenly places….”
Our latest Bible Q&A: “Could you explain, ‘From his shoulders and upward he was higher…?’”