Principalities (Fallen Angels)
This teaching will address what the Bible refers to as principalities and powers. Principalities and powers are not demons, they are fallen angels. Fallen angels have a much greater level of authority than demons. The Holy Spirit says through Paul, "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 6:12 NKJV).
A principality is defined as: A state ruled by a prince, usually a relatively small state or a state that falls within a larger state such as an empire. The position or authority of a prince or chief ruler; sovereignty; supreme power.
So a principality is actually not a fallen angel itself. A principality is actually the seat of authority or the region that the fallen angel has authority over. A prince rules over a principality. Daniel chapter ten makes it very clear that fallen angels, and angels from God are both called princes:
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. (Daniel 10:13 NKJV)
In this scripture, an angel of the Lord visits Daniel. This is not the angel Gabriel that visited Daniel in chapter eight and nine. The angel tells Daniel that the prince (fallen angel) over Persia withstood him for 21 days. Then the angel states that the prince Michael came to help him.
When Satan rebelled against the throne he seduced one third of the angels to come with him. These angels do not have there same place in Heaven. However they do maintain their seats of authority in a heavenly place over the earth. The following scripture in Revelation shows us that a third of the angels have fallen. However, this scripture is for a future date. The angels have not yet fallen and been confined to the earth. These angels will be confined on the earth for the last three and a half years of this age which is referred to as the great tribulation.
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:7-9 NKJV)
Principalities Still Hold Authority
We should note that Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 that we struggle against principalities in heavenly places. My first point is that we are currently in conflict with them. My second point is that this scripture was written after Jesus rose from the dead. My third point is that these principalities are still in heavenly places and have not yet been trapped on the earth. The word for principality in the Greek also means magistrate, power, and rule. The word for powers in the Greek also means authority, jurisdiction, power, right, and strength. Principalities and powers clearly still hold power and authority as their names state.
There are many people in the body of Christ who have misunderstood the scriptures. These people believe that Jesus removed Satan's power and authority at the cross, and that principalities have been dis-empowered. This is simply not true, and this false doctrine can do harm to the body of Christ. We will examine the scriptures to determine the truth.
For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:5-8 NKJV)
The scripture states the man was made a little lower than the angels, and all things were put in subjection to man. But currently we do not see all things (including the fallen angels) put under his feet. Man is currently wrestling against principalities and powers as Paul states.
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (II Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV)
This scripture was clearly written after Jesus died on the cross. The Holy Spirit speaking through Paul, calls Satan the god of this age. Meaning, Satan will maintain his status as the "god of this age" until Jesus Christ personally removes him at the very end of this age (Romans 16:20).
But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. (I Corinthians 15:23-25 NKJV)
The above scripture indicates that Jesus will not put an end to evil powers and authorities (principalities and powers) until His return to the earth.
Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. (Revelation 13:2, 5, 7 NKJV)
This scripture shows that Satan still has "great authority" until the end of this age. Satan will give the antichrist his throne and power. The antichrist will have this authority over the whole world for three and a half years. He will make war against believers and overcome them by killing them during this time period. It is very clear from the scriptures that the Lord has not yet taken Satan's power and authority away.
Speaking Evil of Fallen Angels
I have heard a number of well known leaders in the church revile Satan. I have heard these leaders make statements such as, "Satan is stupid," and even worse revilings. For knowledgeable leaders to make statements like this is foolishness. The scripture informs us that this is very dangerous. Satan is far from stupid as he was created by God. He is very skilled at taking out well known leaders. He used a woman to bring down the spiritual giant King David, and Satan has done it time and time again throughout the centuries. To speak evil of a fallen angelic majesty is completely stupid.
Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:8-9 NKJV)
and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord. (II Peter 2:10-11 NKJV)
Michael, who is greater in power and might than Satan, didn't not speak evil of him. Michael simply told Satan, "The Lord rebuke you!" Yet men in the church who are not greater in power and might, have no fear to bring a railing accusation against Satan. This is foolish and dangerous. These people are disregarding the scriptures to their own peril.
Elijah and Jezebel
To understand the seriousness of principalities we will look at the life of Elijah. Elijah challenged the fallen prince over Israel by making a mockery of Baal and slaying the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). Here is the account after these events:
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. (I Kings 19:1-3 NKJV)
Elijah took his eyes off of the Lord and put his eyes on the evil prince with a nation wide principality. The pressure of this fallen angel must have been extremely severe in order to cause confusion and fear in this seasoned prophet. I will not justify the actions of Elijah. However, if we were in the same situation, how would we have done? Very few people have stood toe to toe with a national principality. Most Christians can't even stand against a little demon. Could you image the entire power and force of the United States government coming after you? That's exactly what Elijah faced.
However Elijah had already been protected and hidden once by the Lord (1 Kings 17). Elijah forgot that the One who protects him is much greater than the fallen angel that was coming after him. He forgot that the Lord breaks the mountains by His mighty power, causes earthquakes, and sends fire upon the earth. No one or no principality can stand before the Lord God Almighty.
Thorn in the Flesh
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. (II Corinthians 12:7 NKJV)
There has been much debate in the church about Paul's "thorn in the flesh." We must look at the meaning of the Greek word "messenger" and the context of the scripture to determine what the thorn was. The Greek word used for messenger is "aggelos." This word means angel. This Greek word is translated as "angel" 178 times in the New Testament. It is only translated as "messenger" seven times. This word should be translated "angel" in 2 Corinthians 12:7.
A fallen angel of Satan was sent by Satan to buffet Paul. The Lord allowed this in order to keep Paul humble. The context of the scripture defines the "buffeting" or afflictions this fallen angel was causing in Paul's life:
Therefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10 WEB)
The thorn in the flesh was not a physical disease. The angel of Satan stirred up persecution and turmoil everywhere Paul went. Paul was thrown out of cities, beaten, stoned, and went through much physical suffering on account of this fallen angel.
There is a theology going around in the church that states we should not talk about Satan or the "enemy". Jesus never teaches this doctrine. In fact, Jesus mentions Satan and the enemy a number of times in the gospels. Obviously we do not focus on the enemy; we focus on Christ. However, any warrior or army will tell you that knowing the enemy is essential for warfare. If an army does not know its enemy, that army is in great danger of losing the battle and being crushed.
Does Satan Have Power to Create
There have been a number of leaders say that Satan does not have creative power. These same leaders say that sickness and disease are not from God, because He can't give what He does not have. If sickness and disease are not from God, then they must be from Satan. But how can they be from Satan if Satan does not have power to create? So are sickness and disease from God or Satan? Does Satan have power to create or not? Clearly the doctrine being taught in the church does not add up. I will leave the reader to meditate on this line of thought.
One of Satan's primary weapons against us is deception. Deception is a power. Someone can only be deceived by Satan, if Satan has the power to deceive. Once a believer is deceived into any area of compromise, authority can be exercised over the believer by Satan. This is exactly what happened to Eve.
Hindrance of Revival
Principalities over cities, regions, and nations are hindering revival. These fallen angels promote dullness, darkness, and spiritual lethargy. The reason the church is not experiencing "open Heavens" is because of these angels. Principalities will not face their final judgment until after Jesus returns to the earth. However, they can be temporarily judged at times in this age. A fallen angel over a region or country may be bound for a time, if the courts of Heaven have so determined.
The great revival in Argentina occurred because the principality was bound over the nation. People were suddenly open to the gospel. Pastors and evangelists were moving in remarkable miracles. People were rushing to meetings, crusades, and churches to be healed and to be saved. The nation went from being hardened to the God, to being open to the gospel. It was like a light switch. Once the fallen angel was bound, the Heavens opened over Argentina and light shinned all over the nation. Binding principalities is a major key to revival.
We should never engage principalities in spiritual warfare on our own. The exception to this would be if the Lord commanded you to engage the principality. These dark princes are currently being allowed by the Lord to operate. Only in His perfect timing can these angels be bound. To try and bind a fallen angel in our own way and our own timing is to act independently of the Lord.
Engaging in battle against a principality without a direct word from the Lord can be dangerous. If someone is acting independently of the Lord, He may not protect the person. This can led to the person getting into an accident, developing a sickness, falling into sin, or losing their life. If you engage a principality and the enemy has something in you; that principality will sift you like wheat and you will fall into sin. If you engage a fallen angel without God's permission and protection, the enemy will have legal right to strike you with disease.
I have learned this lesson the hard way. I engaged a principality once with the intent of causing revival to break out. I did not hear from God to do so. For ten days, I was extremely weak in my body. There were times where I could hardly get off the couch. During that time the Heavens were as brass. I couldn't pray, my mind wouldn't focus, and I lost the presence of the Lord. I am very fortunate that something worse did not happen to me. Please learn from my mistakes.
In the Lord's timing and ways, He will use His mature bride to topple principalities in the church. This will be done when His remnant has a high level of the measure of Christ operating in them. When Christ is truly operating in His overcomers, the following scripture will become a reality and not just a doctrine.
Seated with Christ
which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Ephesians 1:20-21 NKJV)
and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:6 NKJV)
Christ, as a man, was ranked far above principalities and powers. We are raised up to sit in Heaven with Christ (the word "places" is added by the translator). Therefore, believers (whom the Lord has made this revelation real in their hearts) outrank fallen angels, because Christ lives in a believer. This is why we are struggling against principalities and powers. They still have authority and we have authority. The fallen angels are fighting to keep their thrones and dominions, and we are imperfect vessels trying to learn how to operate in our authority. We must also understand that Christ has left these principalities empowered for a reason (for our training and maturing). We must only use our authority under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus could have taken all power and authority from Satan and his angels, but in His wisdom He has allowed Satan to retain it until the end of the age. Everyone on this earth will be able to choose who they will serve and who they will love. Because Satan has kept his authority, the overcoming remnant bride will be made ready. The evil pressures and turmoil of this age will produce a remnant bride who is mature and capable of ruling with Christ in the millennium. Christ is going to demonstrate to the Devil and his angels that lowly human beings (with the Lamb inside) can overcome the deepest darkness.
-Ty Unruh (2015)