by Glenn Conjurske
A Sermon Preached on Dec. 6, 1992, Recorded, Transcribed, and Revised.
Turn in your Bibles to the book of Ephesians, chapter 6. We read in verse 12: “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.”
Now in Ephesians 6:12 it tells us who the enemy is. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” That is, not against the pope, not against the liberals, not against the Democrats, not against the cultists, not against flesh and blood. But, “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world.” Now this passage could be translated much better than it is. This expression “the rulers of the darkness of this world” is really deficient. The Greek says, “against the world-rulers of the darkness of this age.” “World-rulers is one word, which is merely translated “rulers” here. “The world-rulers of the darkness of this age”
—-this age being this present evil age, which Scripture speaks of in various places. This present evil age is all that time that continues up until the age to come, which is the reign of Christ on earth. During this present evil age, we have “world rulers.” They are not flesh and blood. They are principalities and powers. Now, those principalities and powers are demon powers. Satanic powers. They have a kingdom of darkness. The world-rulers of the darkness of this age.
Then he goes on and says, “against spiritual wickedness in high places.” This also is a poor translation. It is spiritual persons or hosts of wickedness, in the plural. “In high places.” Here is another difficulty in the translation. You know, I can’t help feeling this. I observed twenty-five years ago, when I began to get a little knowledge of Greek, that it seemed that most of the passages in the New Testament which have to do with the devil are translated very obscurely. I can’t help but wonder if the devil wasn’t standing over the translators to make sure that they were translated obscurely. This one is translated obscurely. It should read, “Against the world-rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Not “high,” but heavenly
—-the same word as in Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ.” It isn’t talking about high places in earthly government, but spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. These are our enemies. These enemies are principalities and powers. They are rulers —-authorities. And they are in the heavenly places.
Now it says they are world rulers. Though they are in the heavenly places, they are ruling over the world. The first world ruler, who is the head over all of this system is the devil himself. In Luke 4:5-7 the devil makes this claim for himself. It says, “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” He showed him all the kingdoms of the world, all the power, all the authority, of all the kingdoms of the world, and said, This is all mine, and I give it to whoever I will.
The devil was telling the truth. Revelation 13:2, “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion, and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat [that is, his throne, as the Greek means], and great authority.” Verse 3, “And all the world wondered after the beast, and they worshipped the dragon, which gave power unto the beast, and they worshipped the beast.” Verse 7, “And power was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations.” Who gave him that power? It tells you, the devil gave it to him
—-the dragon. If you don’t know who the dragon is, it tells you right across the page, in verse 9 of chapter 12: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
It’s very clear, then, that the devil is the supreme head over this world. He’s called the prince of this world, which means the supreme ruler over this world. He is the head of the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Now understand, he’s ruling over the world, but his place is in the heavenly places. And the scripture that we just read in Revelation chapter 12, verse 9, indicates this very plainly. Backing up to verse 7, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” This, of course, is a prophecy of things that are yet future. The devil hasn’t been cast out yet. He’s going to be, but at the present time the devil’s place is the heavenly places. Some folks, you know have the really strange idea that the devil is in hell, ruling over hell. He’s not in hell; he’s in the heavenly places. And when he is cast into hell, he won’t be ruling there. But now he has access to the very throne room of God in heaven. (I’ll prove that to you in a minute, if you need proof of it.) But there’s going to come a time when Michael and his angels are going to make war with the devil and the devil’s angels, and cast them out into the earth
—-no more place found for them in heaven. Now they are the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Now you notice the devil isn’t alone here. It says, “Michael fought and his angels, and the devil fought, and his angels.” His angels are those principalities and powers who are the world-rulers of the darkness of this age. The President in Washington, he’s not the real ruler of this country. There are spiritual world rulers who are in the heavenly places, who are ruling the world, with the devil himself at the head of them.
If you will go back with me to the book of Daniel, the tenth chapter, we’ll see these same spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, and we’ll see them ruling over the kingdoms of the earth. Daniel chapter 10, verse 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. 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.” Daniel had some questions, and set himself to chasten his soul and to inquire of God. The very day that Daniel began to inquire, God sent an angel to answer him. It took the angel three weeks to get there. Why? Because the ruler
—-the prince: that means the supreme ruler. In King James English the “prince” is not the son of the king. The prince is the king. Just open your Bibles to the first page after the title page, to the “Epistle Dedicatory,” and it says, “To the most high and mighty Prince James, by the grace of God King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Etc.” He was the King, but addressed as the most high and mighty Prince. The prince is the supreme ruler. Now, the angel says, Three weeks ago I set out on this journey to come to you from God, in answer to your prayer, to make known these things to you, but for one and twenty days the prince of Persia withstood me. Now who is this prince of Persia? He is a spiritual power in the heavenly places —-somewhere between here and the throne of God, to hinder that angel from doing the business that God had sent him on. And he prevailed against that angel for three weeks. “But, lo,” verse 13, “Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”
Who are the kings of Persia? The demons. The spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. The world-rulers of the darkness of this age. He was there for three weeks, fighting against them, and did not prevail against them, until Michael, an archangel, came to help him.
Now I’m going to go down to verse 20. “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.” He doesn’t say, I’m going back to God that sent me, though that is what he was intending to do. He says, No, I’m going back to fight with the prince of Persia. He expected the prince of Persia to withstand him on his way back to God, as he had when he came forth from God. He knew he wasn’t going to get through without being attacked again, and hindered again. Now this prince of Persia is one of those principalities and powers who are in the heavenly places, but who are ruling over the affairs of the earth. He’s the prince over a nation on earth. “The prince of Grecia” is the same thing.
Now these princes have some reason to hinder God’s angel. This angel was giving information concerning the rise and fall of their empires. Perhaps they didn’t want that information divulged to the sons of men on earth. Therefore, they came to hinder it. Now I believe every nation on earth has a prince over it
—-not flesh and blood, but a demon power —-spiritual principalities and powers in the heavenly places. You can go to the polls and defeat the Democrats, and elect Republicans. What have you done? The prince of America is still in power. He’s a demon power, in the heavenly places. And I rather suspect, because the United States is one of the most important nations on earth today, I rather suspect that the devil has assigned one of his most powerful allies to be prince over America. You can’t defeat him at the polls. You can’t touch him. By prayer you might, but not by politics.
Well, as I said, these spiritual powers now inhabit the heavenly places. If you turn with me to the first chapter of the book of Job, you’ll see that they have access to both heaven and earth
—-which is a necessity if they are to inhabit the heavenly places, and yet reign over the nations of the earth. They have access to both. Verses 6 and 7 of the first chapter of Job: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” The sons of God —-I believe this must refer to angels —-don’t know what else it could refer to —-when they come and present themselves before God, and stand before the very presence of the Almighty, in the throne room of God, the devil is among them. And God speaks to him, and says, Where did you come from? And he says he was walking to and fro in the earth, going up and down in the earth. He has access to both realms. He reigns over his spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places —-fights against the angels of God there —-and has free access to the earth, to walk up and down and go to and fro in it.
Now as I already read to you from the twelfth chapter of the book of Revelation, the time is going to come when the devil and his angels are going to be cast out of heaven. He’s going to be limited to the earth then, and he’s going to make great havoc on the earth, knowing that he has but a short time. At the present time he has free access to both heaven and earth, with all his hosts of wickedness. Now Paul says, We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against these principalities and powers
—-these world-rulers of the darkness of this age. But the judgement is coming. The judgement is going to overtake the devil and all his wicked angels, as we already read in Revelation 12, and you’ll see more of it in Revelation 20. Verse 1: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
You see, God has a purpose for the devil, even after the thousand year reign of Christ. There are going to be multitudes of men on the earth during the thousand year reign of Christ, who will be outwardly subject to Christ’s authority, but against him in their hearts. God is going to loose the devil out of his prison for a little while, and he’s going to go out again and deceive, and draw those multitudes after him, and God is going to use the devil to draw the lines, and to separate the true from the false. And when the lines are drawn, God is going to destroy those that follow the devil. But that’s more than a thousand years away. Meanwhile the devil remains in the heavenly places, ruling over the affairs of earth. When the day of judgement comes, he’s going to be first cast out of the heavenly places into the earth, and then cast into the pit, and bound and sealed, for the thousand years that Christ reigns on the earth.
Now this scripture in Revelation chapter 20 speaks only of the devil. But we know that in Revelation 12 when the devil is cast out of heaven into the earth, his angels are cast out with him. Do you think it’s a legitimate conclusion that when he is cast out of earth, cast into the pit, that his angels are cast in with him? I think that would be a legitimate conclusion, if we had no scripture on the subject, but we do have scripture on the subject. It’s found in the book of Isaiah, the twenty-fourth chapter, beginning at verse 21: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.” Now, “the host of the high ones that are on high” are the principalities and powers, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Not only the devil himself is going to be bound, but all the spiritual hosts that are with him, “the host of the high ones that are on high.”
This is not speaking in a figurative sense
—-not talking about the rulers and kings in the “high places” of government on this earth —-because it immediately goes on to say, “the hosts of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.” The hosts of the high ones that are on high are the demon powers that rule over the affairs of the kingdoms of the world. The kings of the earth upon the earth are the pawns in their hands, that do their bidding. They’re all to be visited together, and it says, “they shall be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pit.” Now we learned from Revelation 20 that Satan is going to be cast into the pit, and bound a thousand years, but here it’s a much broader thing —-all the host of the high ones that are one high —-all the devil’s angels are going to be bound in the pit with him. “And after many days they shall be visited” —-the same as it says in Revelation 20. The devil will be bound in the pit for a thousand years, but after the thousand years he will be visited, and loosed for a little season. Here it doesn’t say a thousand years; it just says “after many days,” but those many days refer to the thousand year reign of Christ. How do I know that? Because the next verse says, “Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.”
The Lord will reign, in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, sitting on the throne of David, ruling over the earth, as a multitude of scriptures testify. Where are these world rulers then? Cast into the pit, bound in the pit, bound with chains, and the pit sealed over them. Now those world rulers reign over the affairs of men, and they have immense power. They are actually controlling the affairs of this world. Then they will be bound in the pit, and the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
He’s going to reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, “and before his ancients gloriously.” Who are his ancients? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah
—-all of the godly, all raised from the dead in the first resurrection. He will reign before them in glory, when the present rulers of the world are bound and shut up in the pit.
Now you want to clean the world up. It would be nice if you could, but you can’t. You can’t dethrone the world rulers of the darkness of this age. You can’t wrest the power from their hands. It’s going to be done. The fact of the matter is, we are going to help do it. Jude says, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgement upon all.” I expect to be one among those ten thousands of saints that come with him to execute judgement. In I Corinthians chapter 6 Paul says in verse 2, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” And in verse 3, “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” What angels? The wicked angels. When Christ comes back with ten thousands of his saints, and lays hold on the dragon and binds him in the pit, all the host of the high ones that are on high are going to be taken with him, and bound in the pit, and the saints are going to have a hand in doing that. The saints are going to judge angels. But you don’t have the power to do it now. The angels of God in heaven don’t have that power now. The angel sent to Daniel had to fight for three weeks to get past the prince of Persia. There are numerous such princes, hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. The angel of God from heaven could not defeat one of them. You can’t dethrone those princes. You can go to the ballot box and vote, you can change the flesh and blood that reigns over the country, but you can’t dethrone the demon. You can’t dethrone the real world rulers.
It’s not God’s purpose to, by the way. If it were God’s purpose, it would have been done by now. It will be done when it is his purpose. When God’s time comes, when the vine of the earth is fully ripe, then God will put in the sickle and reap, and the vine of the earth will be cut down. The vine of the earth is not fully ripe yet. And the spirits of wickedness against whom we wrestle have not done all of their deeds of darkness yet. The world is yet to get worse. The time to displace and dethrone those wicked hosts is not yet come.
We have a different business now. Not to clean up the devil’s kingdom, but get souls out of it, to get them into the kingdom of God. There are two kingdoms on this earth, God’s and the devil’s, but the kingdom of God is now in the state of suffering, as the God-anointed king David and his men were in the wilderness, when the God-rejected king Saul sat on the throne. The apostle John, in writing the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:9), styles himself, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.” The time will come when that same apostle will be our companion in the kingdom and power and glory of Jesus Christ. Now he’s our companion in the tribulation and patience of the kingdom
—-the time when Christ is seated at the right hand of God, “from henceforth expecting until his enemies be made the footstool of his feet.” He does not move a finger to defeat them, yet. This is the time of tribulation for his saints, and “the patience of Christ.” When Christ comes there will be no more need of that. The devil will be defeated once for all. He will not be defeated before that, and you can’t defeat him. You cannot dethrone him. You cannot put him out of this place of power. You cannot wrest the scepter of the government from his hand. You can’t do it, and it’s not your business to. You can pluck poor souls out of his jaws. You can pull souls out of the fire, and separate them from his domain. You can persuade poor souls to renounce the scepter of Satan, and submit to the yoke of Christ. You can do that, and that’s our mission.