Principalities and Powers

 

We are at war. Some will hear those words as some kind of nationalistic jingoism where a group lusts for domination. Others will hear that phrase and immediately head out to the gun range. Still more will conjure a “culture war” with an us-against-them mentality.

What I mean when I say, “we are at war” is what the apostle Paul meant in 2 Corinthians 10, “Our weapons of warfare destroy arguments, taking every thought captive to Christ.” Our enemies are not first political or national, our enemies first and foremost are the principalities and powers.

Hebraic-Christian believers have known our principal adversary since Eden, whom Revelation 12 calls “the old serpent.” St. Cyril of Jerusalem, one of the early Church fathers, said it this way, “The Dragon is by the side of the road, watching those who pass. Beware lest he devour you. We go to the Father of Souls, but it is necessary to pass by the dragon.”[1]

One of the major themes in Scripture – and I would add, books of any kind – is the war between “good” and “evil.” People all over the world write about this struggle because the Truth of principalities and power has affected everything and everyone from the beginning of time.

The biblical record about evil, which you can read at the end of this Truth in Two, includes at least three important principles: (1) “Evil” is real, historical, and personal; (2) There is no possibility that “evil” will win in the end; (3) There are “evil” people who follow the principles of “the evil one.” Yes, we are at war. And in this world, we will indeed “pass by the dragon.”

For Truth in Two, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, president of the Comenius Institute, personally seeking Truth wherever it’s found. [First published at MarkEckel.com]

Afterword

Some may immediately take offense that “evil” would be ascribed to anyone. The truth of the matter, however, is that even popular streaming programs identify perpetrators as “evil.” And for those who take Scripture at its word, the Bible is full of specific statements about “evildoers” and their “abominations” (Ps 37.1; Prov 6.16-19; Luke 16.15; John 8.44; Rev 21.8).

  • “Evil” is real, historical, and personal (Gen 3:1-6; 1 John 3:8; Rev 12:7-9)
  • There is no possibility that “evil” will win (Ps 2; Col 2:13-15; Rev 19:11-21)
  • “Evil” people follow the principles of “the evil one” (2 Cor 11:13-15; 1 Jn 3:10)

A “war” indeed, coming from the “principalities and powers” (Ephesians 1:21; 2:2; 3:10; 5:11; 6:12).

[1] Saint Cyril of Jerusalem quoted by Flannery O’Connor in Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose (Macmillan, 1969): 35.

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  1. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    It’s odd that you have to confirm that there are humans who are evil, but I understand that you do.

    I think it’s very very hard to accept the immense scope and reality of evil, much less that it inhabits a human. But it does. It’s been in my mind lately that it’s possible to distinguish people (some of whom I’ve even met) who are more than just doing bad stuff. Most of those people are those I only see electronically, but there is no doubt in my heart that they are consumed by evil. They seem to me to have a clearly non-earthly aspect, evidenced by their actions, some of which seem merely odd or stupid, but have impact beyond just stupid, selfish or venal. The only doing bad stuff people range from just stupid to pretty mean, but don’t have the same aspect. 

    It is tremendously helpful to be reminded that evil will not win. The war has very dark days. 

    • #1
  2. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    We live our lives in connection to other people we care about. Our activities revolve completely around those people to whom we are connected.

    It is impossible to fathom human beings who spend their days wallowing in their hatred for other people and who devote their time to harming those people they hate. They are not interested in any of the things that make life worth living for normal people.

    Only God can reach such people. All we can do is accept that they exist.

    • #2
  3. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    MarciN (View Comment):
    It impossible to fathom human beings who spend their days wallowing in their hatred for other people and who devote their time to harming those people they hate. They are not interested in any of the things that make life worth living for normal people. 

    I heard a Bible teacher say thank God that you find evil impossible to understand. It is evidence that you have not been consumed by it.

    • #3
  4. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Here is a bit more of the reference to rulers of darkness of this world; and the truth of spiritual wickedness in high places is, in my view, incontestable:

    ” 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.”

    • #4
  5. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Here is a bit more of the reference to rulers of darkness of this world; and the truth of spiritual wickedness in high places is, in my view, incontestable:

    ” 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.”

    Very much so!

    My afterword hit on the biblical passages which I wasn’t able to fit in my 300-word weekly essay, this, being one. It is, to your good point, “incontestable.”

    • #5
  6. garyinabq Member
    garyinabq
    @garyinabq

    Mark, your “worldview,” which includes more than our physical world, is akin to mine.  I see the spiritual realities in all our daily lives and in the great and small events of our times.  The bible is more relevant than ever in understanding the big picture.  And yes, we know how the story ends.

    But I don’t feel the need to dwell on Revelation.  I trust God is in charge and try to do my part as I am called.  And I find joy along the way.

    One thing: Do you know someone who could write a modern version of Screwtape Letters?

     

    • #6
  7. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    garyinabq (View Comment):

    Mark, your “worldview,” which includes more than our physical world, is akin to mine. I see the spiritual realities in all our daily lives and in the great and small events of our times. The bible is more relevant than ever in understanding the big picture. And yes, we know how the story ends.

    But I don’t feel the need to dwell on Revelation. I trust God is in charge and try to do my part as I am called. And I find joy along the way.

    One thing: Do you know someone who could write a modern version of Screwtape Letters?

    All the Bible should always be considered.  But Jesus does say of Revelation: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”

    The end is much, much nearer now — and literally doable in ways that it never before possible — than it was 2,000 years ago.  And to consider it and speak about it is nearly a command.

    • #7
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):
    In the case of Ukraine, there probably wouldn’t have been a war at all without the involvement of lunatic Jewish neocons ( Victoria Nuland as exhibit ‘A’ ) poking the Russians for no obvious reason.

    Triggering KaPutin into believing that Ukraine was crawling with Nazis was child’s play compared to wiring the World Trade Center towers to collapse on 9/11, right Tom?

    Them Jooooos sure are sneaky, ain’t they?

    • #8
  9. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):

    Jeez. You all sound utterly unhinged.

    There are two current disputes over borders or territory between Russia / Ukraine, and between Israel and muslim Arabs.

    In the case of Ukraine, there probably wouldn’t have been a war at all without the involvement of lunatic Jewish neocons ( Victoria Nuland as exhibit ‘A’ ) poking the Russians for no obvious reason.

    Netanyahu just gave a speech ( in Hebrew ) blathering on about amalek and an existential fight against evil etc etc.

    When a national leader of a country with nuclear weapons talks like that he needs to be removed. Immediately.

    I don’t like organisations of religious fanatics like Hamas or whoever, and I don’t like governments captured by religious fanatics, as Israel currently seems to be.

    We’re on a path to an absolutely unnecessary world war, and I find it deeply disturbing to hear people talking the way you are, instead of actually reflecting on how you got to the current situation and how to avoid catastrophe.

    What in the world is wrong with the way we are talking, unless you don’t believe in the Biblical God in the first place?  Christians believe things.  Non-christians believe other things.

    What do you believe?

    • #9
  10. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    The comment was seemingly written in haste and retracted. Can’t complain about that. I like blank comments.

    • #10
  11. TomRoberts57 Coolidge
    TomRoberts57
    @TomRoberts57

    Percival (View Comment):

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):
    In the case of Ukraine, there probably wouldn’t have been a war at all without the involvement of lunatic Jewish neocons ( Victoria Nuland as exhibit ‘A’ ) poking the Russians for no obvious reason.

    Triggering KaPutin into believing that Ukraine was crawling with Nazis was child’s play compared to wiring the World Trade Center towers to collapse on 9/11, right Tom?

    Them Jooooos sure are sneaky, ain’t they?

    Expanding NATO for no good reason, removing a previous Ukrainian president who was too friendly to Russia apparently, telling ( ordering ) Zelensky not to negotiate with Russia ?

    Do you think Putin just woke up one morning and decided to invade Ukraine because he’s “Dr Evil” or something ?

    I used to be very pro-American by the way, and I still am in the sense that I like American people and still have a fondness for what the country used to be like. That country is gone now though, and a I think a major reason for it is that the country isn’t run for the benefit of Americans but for the benefit of a hostile globalist ruling class. They’re not all jewish, but dang, a lot of them are….

    As to the WTC demolition, well sorry mate but it’s blindingly obvious they were blown up. Buildings just don’t turn into dust like that without some additional source of energy. ( i.e. explosives ). Have you ever actually looked into that with an open mind, or tried asking someone with specialist knowledge in civil engineering or construction and see what they think ?

    • #11
  12. TomRoberts57 Coolidge
    TomRoberts57
    @TomRoberts57

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    The comment was seemingly written in haste and retracted. Can’t complain about that. I like blank comments.

    I was reading another thread as well. I still stand by the point I was making though, although it was probably the wrong place to post it.

    • #12
  13. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    The comment was seemingly written in haste and retracted. Can’t complain about that. I like blank comments.

     

    • #13
  14. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):
    In the case of Ukraine, there probably wouldn’t have been a war at all without the involvement of lunatic Jewish neocons ( Victoria Nuland as exhibit ‘A’ ) poking the Russians for no obvious reason.

    Triggering KaPutin into believing that Ukraine was crawling with Nazis was child’s play compared to wiring the World Trade Center towers to collapse on 9/11, right Tom?

    Them Jooooos sure are sneaky, ain’t they?

    Expanding NATO for no good reason, removing a previous Ukrainian president who was too friendly to Russia apparently, telling ( ordering ) Zelensky not to negotiate with Russia ?

    Do you think Putin just woke up one morning and decided to invade Ukraine because he’s “Dr Evil” or something ?

    There are some real issues here.

    • #14
  15. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):

    That country is gone now though, and a I think a major reason for it is that the country isn’t run for the benefit of Americans but for the benefit of a hostile globalist ruling class. They’re not all jewish, but dang, a lot of them are….

    A lot of their victims are Jews, too.

    And a lot of those elites are British, or American, or European, or Asian, or atheist, or whatever else they may be. I’m not aware that I should make anything of that.  I can definitely make something of the one factor that I know is involved–they tend to have dreadful philosophies.

    • #15
  16. TomRoberts57 Coolidge
    TomRoberts57
    @TomRoberts57

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):
    In the case of Ukraine, there probably wouldn’t have been a war at all without the involvement of lunatic Jewish neocons ( Victoria Nuland as exhibit ‘A’ ) poking the Russians for no obvious reason.

    Triggering KaPutin into believing that Ukraine was crawling with Nazis was child’s play compared to wiring the World Trade Center towers to collapse on 9/11, right Tom?

    Them Jooooos sure are sneaky, ain’t they?

    Expanding NATO for no good reason, removing a previous Ukrainian president who was too friendly to Russia apparently, telling ( ordering ) Zelensky not to negotiate with Russia ?

    Do you think Putin just woke up one morning and decided to invade Ukraine because he’s “Dr Evil” or something ?

    There are some real issues here.

    Well yes, there are. One major issue being that it might be a good idea sometimes to consider whether your view of the world might be wrong. 

    • #16
  17. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):

    This is a post about spirituality.  It is not a post about geo-politics.  It is not about Jews either, except perhaps tangentially as it pertains to spiritual warfare.

    Please, keep to the topic of spiritual warfare and perhaps how it applies to Biblical prophecy.

    • #17
  18. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    This is a post about spirituality.  It is not a post about geo-politics.  It is not about Jews either, except perhaps tangentially as it pertains to spiritual warfare.

    And it does. I think the demons are all over the current bout of anti-Semitism.

    • #18
  19. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    garyinabq (View Comment):

    Mark, your “worldview,” which includes more than our physical world, is akin to mine. I see the spiritual realities in all our daily lives and in the great and small events of our times. The bible is more relevant than ever in understanding the big picture. And yes, we know how the story ends.

    But I don’t feel the need to dwell on Revelation. I trust God is in charge and try to do my part as I am called. And I find joy along the way.

    One thing: Do you know someone who could write a modern version of Screwtape Letters?

     

    Gary, have you seen the movie “Nefarious”? It struck me as a film version of The Screwtape Letters, though without the humor (it’s quite grim).

    • #19
  20. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    garyinabq (View Comment):

    Mark, your “worldview,” which includes more than our physical world, is akin to mine. I see the spiritual realities in all our daily lives and in the great and small events of our times. The bible is more relevant than ever in understanding the big picture. And yes, we know how the story ends.

    But I don’t feel the need to dwell on Revelation. I trust God is in charge and try to do my part as I am called. And I find joy along the way.

    One thing: Do you know someone who could write a modern version of Screwtape Letters?

     

    Great Q! Not right at the moment. You are right to consider a 21st century restatement. The principles will not change, though new examples and approaches would speak to our culture and context. Thanks for your good words here!

    • #20
  21. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):
    In the case of Ukraine, there probably wouldn’t have been a war at all without the involvement of lunatic Jewish neocons ( Victoria Nuland as exhibit ‘A’ ) poking the Russians for no obvious reason.

    Triggering KaPutin into believing that Ukraine was crawling with Nazis was child’s play compared to wiring the World Trade Center towers to collapse on 9/11, right Tom?

    Them Jooooos sure are sneaky, ain’t they?

    Expanding NATO for no good reason, removing a previous Ukrainian president who was too friendly to Russia apparently, telling ( ordering ) Zelensky not to negotiate with Russia ?

    If you aren’t aware of the good reasons to expand NATO, you haven’t done your homework. 

    If you aren’t aware of the reasons Yanukovych fled from Ukraine to the Democratic Republic of Russia, you haven’t done your homework.

    If you think anyone on our side can order Zelensky not to negotiate with Russia, you haven’t been paying attention. 

     

    Do you think Putin just woke up one morning and decided to invade Ukraine because he’s “Dr Evil” or something ?

    I used to be very pro-American by the way, and I still am in the sense that I like American people and still have a fondness for what the country used to be like. That country is gone now though, and a I think a major reason for it is that the country isn’t run for the benefit of Americans but for the benefit of a hostile globalist ruling class. They’re not all jewish, but dang, a lot of them are….

    As to the WTC demolition, well sorry mate but it’s blindingly obvious they were blown up. Buildings just don’t turn into dust like that without some additional source of energy. ( i.e. explosives ). Have you ever actually looked into that with an open mind, or tried asking someone with specialist knowledge in civil engineering or construction and see what they think ?

    Your i.e. should be an e.g.  Yours wasn’t the exact e.g. that brought the buildings down, though.

    • #21
  22. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Hey, guys, this post isn’t about Russians and NATO.  It’s about spiritual matters.  Biblical matters.

    • #22
  23. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):

    Expanding NATO for no good reason, removing a previous Ukrainian president who was too friendly to Russia apparently, telling ( ordering ) Zelensky not to negotiate with Russia ?

    Do you think Putin just woke up one morning and decided to invade Ukraine because he’s “Dr Evil” or something ?

    • #23
  24. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    @markeckel, I’ve never really understood the symbolism between the armor and spiritual attributes here.

    Eph 6:14-17 says “and therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”

    And even 1 Thess 5:8 says “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”

    Can you say how the symbolism relates to the spiritual attributes?

    • #24
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    TomRoberts57 (View Comment):
    As to the WTC demolition, well sorry mate but it’s blindingly obvious they were blown up. Buildings just don’t turn into dust like that without some additional source of energy. ( i.e. explosives ). Have you ever actually looked into that with an open mind, or tried asking someone with specialist knowledge in civil engineering or construction and see what they think ?

    Before you go all Rosie O’Donnell “the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel,” a little light reading.

    The World Trade Center Construction and Collapse

    Part 1

    Part 2

    Part 3

    Part 4  (You can skip to this one. It has  more pictures. I like pictures.)

     

    • #25
  26. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Hey, guys, this post isn’t about Russians and NATO. It’s about spiritual matters. Biblical matters.

    Sorry for the digression. 

    • #26
  27. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Percival (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Hey, guys, this post isn’t about Russians and NATO. It’s about spiritual matters. Biblical matters.

    Sorry for the digression.

    No prob.  I do it to.  Sometimes I think I’m in still in the pit.

    By the way, anyone can answer the questions I put to Dr. Eckel.  You or SA, or anyone.  I’ve never taken the particulars of the armor of God as more than passing symbols.  Come to think of it, that’s sort of your niche.

    • #27
  28. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    @ markeckel, I’ve never really understood the symbolism between the armor and spiritual attributes here.

    Eph 6:14-17 says “and therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”

    And even 1 Thess 5:8 says “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”

    Can you say how the symbolism relates to the spiritual attributes?

    I was always told the sword is the only offensive weapon there, and that Jesus fights Satan by quoting the Bible in the wilderness, and that this tells us how to resist the devil–by relying on the Word of G-d.

    That’s all I got.

    • #28
  29. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    @ markeckel, I’ve never really understood the symbolism between the armor and spiritual attributes here.

    Eph 6:14-17 says “and therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”

    And even 1 Thess 5:8 says “But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”

    Can you say how the symbolism relates to the spiritual attributes?

    I was always told the sword is the only offensive weapon there, and that Jesus fights Satan by quoting the Bible in the wilderness, and that this tells us how to resist the devil–by relying on the Word of G-d.

    That’s all I got.

    Somehow I think of the Spirit as the Word of God, which is a sword, like a gladius.  But I really think of it as a scalpel, dividing soul and spirit like joints and marrow and discerning the heart of men.  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

    • #29
  30. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    This is a post about spirituality. It is not a post about geo-politics. It is not about Jews either, except perhaps tangentially as it pertains to spiritual warfare.

    And it does. I think the demons are all over the current bout of anti-Semitism.

    Yes, I guess I’ve never spelled this out.  The Jews are God’s people.  God promised Israel, today the Jews, the promised land; which is much, much larger than just modern day Israel.  Satan wants to essentially usurp God’s position, and to displace God.  If he can keep God from fulfilling His promise to Israel, satan makes God no better than him, and makes Him his equal.

    So if satan can kill off all the Jews before God fulfills His land promise, satan wins in his desire: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

    So I believe this is why the Jews have been hated at least for the past two thousand years, and why the holocaust.  All geo-politics aside, it is because they are His chosen people and He will keep all His promises to them.

    And so the powers and principalities, the rulers of the darkness of this world, the spiritual wickedness in high places have always sought to destroy them.

    This is, really, a cosmic battle.

    • #30
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