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.
The principalities and powers are said to be in "high places" here in Eph 6:12. The Greek word translated "high places" in the KJV is epouránios. This word means "heavenly." It is used of the "heavenly [epouránios] Father" by the Lord (Matthew 18:35). Paul uses it 13 times in his epistles.
Ephesians 6:12 use of epouránios is the same as the other 4 uses in Ephesians.
1. Blessings in HEAVENLY PLACES (1:3)
2. Christ in HEAVENLY PLACES (1:20)
3. Believers in HEAVNELY PLACES (2:6)
And, 4, Ephesians 3:10
to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places...
Ephesians 3:10 uses the same Greek words for principalities, powers, and heavenly places as Ephesians 6:12. Christ is in the heavenly places, but "far above" the principalities and powers (1:20-21) and "far above" that level of the heavens (4:10).
- Principlaities = archḗ
- Powers = exousía
- High Places = epouránios = Heavenly Places
This is truth for the current age. From the beginning, Satan has always presented himself as an "Angel of Light" as we saw in the Garden and as Paul reminds us in 2 Cor 11. Paul then adds that since this is true, it is no wonder that Satan's ministers are "the ministers of righteousness." Peter tells us Satan roams about like a lion "seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8).
We note these things for a couple of reasons. First, to point us back to the "full armor of God" of Ephesians 6 necessary to defeat the attacks from these powers and secondly to remind us that Satan is not sitting on some throne in a fiery place of torture as tradition teaches.
We have very powerful enemies, but we have even more powerful armor. However, that armor is powered by the Lord. Unbelievers do not have access to this armor and believers can diminish our ability to be properly prepared by allowing sin into our lives or by failing to make our stand.
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. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand 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: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints...
Just a small note while we're here. Note Paul's encouragement in that last verse (Eph 6:18). Paul asks us to "watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." The word "supplication" is the Greek word "déēsis" which means "prayer, request, petition" [Mounce]. The context of the verse is prayer, but even this last urging by Paul, on its own, teaches that we are to pary for the "saints" [Gk: hágios].
The word translated "for" is the word "perí" which means "in regard to" or "concerning." There is no idea here of praying to some group of the dead called "Saints." Paul uses the word 15 times in this epistles. He is clearly references those alive at the time in Ephesus. There may be some debate as to whether the word is singular to those who are part of the Body, but it certainly does not mean some exalted class of believer who has achieved his immediate salvation through his own merits (as taught by many).
And it certainly does not pertain to the dead who can perform miracles on our behalf. We do not pray to either living or dead "saints." We are to pray FOR living saints as Paul teaches here in Eph 6:18. Saints are being perfected while living.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints [hágios], for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ...
That is all we will say on this subject.