<< Eph 6:12 >>

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.


"For we wrestle not"

A more correct rendering of the Greek is: "our wrestling is not"  The idea set forth here by the Apostle is one of opposition and rejection, not simply of mental but a continuous physical effort of mind and body against that which is evil.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood"

Paul's quarrel is not against mankind in general, rather against the forces of evil which bring corruption and destruction upon mankind.  Paul hates the sin, but loves the sinner.

"but against principalities"

There are various dominions of evil that have existed on the face of the earth.  Paul's use of some of these words here appears to be figurative; nevertheless, there were and are genuine realities behind them.  In Romans Paul exhorts his brethren thus:

Rom 13:1-2
1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Therefore the wrestling that is being done is not against the literal establishment, rather the evil and corruption that is brought about as a result.  It is entirely possible to obey the principalities in authority over us without supporting their influence for evil.  For example, as Christians we submit ourselves in obedience to the laws of our country, but we do not support the murder of unborn children.  We wrestle, resist, stand against and oppose such things. 

"against powers"

There are powers on this earth that are not working for good.  These powers are capable of deception in a most compelling way.

2 Thessalonians 2:9
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

"against the rulers of the darkness of this world"

The New King James Version renders this as: "against the rulers of the darkness of this age"

The American Standard renders this passage thus: "against the world-rulers of this darkness"

More than one ruler is in view here and they are referred to as world rulers.  By worldly standards these are powerful and influential individuals to say the least.  Jesus referred to Satan himself as the "prince of this world"

John 12:31
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

John 14:30
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

John 16:11
Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

No doubt the the rulers of the "darkness of this world" are of the body of Satan and not of Christ.

"spiritual wickedness"

Literally meaning, "the spiritual things of wickedness."  This phrase is collective, of the evil powers viewed as a body.  The idea is supported that there are two bodies, one of good which is the body of Christ, and one of evil, which is the body of Satan.  Jesus forever settles any allusion whatsoever as to whether there is any "middle ground" on this; Matthew 12:30 "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."

"in high places"

The New King James and the American Standard version renders this phrase as "heavenly places"  This expression, as Paul used it, sometimes means "in the very presence of God," but in others it is limited to what might be called the Christian religion; and it is so limited here. Satan is not conducting war in heaven against God!  However, earth provides an excellent battleground for the forces of darkness to wage war against the Lord's church.

The "wrestling" Paul described in the beginning of this verse is an active, resistance that definitely plays an essential part in being able to "stand against the wiles of the devil".  Those in the religious world who advocate the inability of the Christian to "fall" should examine prayerfully why Paul would teach this to the them so that they would not "fall". 

Ephesians 6:12