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The Believer and Principalities 2



                          J. Esamagidi

Though the word “principalities” now suggest evil forces, the Bible

does not so teach: this collocation is a misunderstanding that came

from reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Daniel gives a clearer

understanding of principalities:

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

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. (Daniel 10: 13& 20)

Daniel threw more light on this order of spirits when he presented

Michael and Gabriel in confrontation with the dark princes of Persia

and Grecia. From these scriptures we learn that there are both good

and evil principalities, Michael being one of the good princes.

Paul’s teaching in Ephesians focuses on the believer’s conflicts with the

principalities of darkness. It is important to understand that beyond

the conflicts which Paul mentioned, the believer is sometimes

confronted with opposition from the principalities of light.

Now that might not sound right or even logical, but it is true.

I can almost hear you ask, how do I know who is resisting me? The

two distinguishing sign posts to watch out for are SIN and PURPOSE.

Principalities of light will never oppose a believer who is standing right,

conflicts are with erring believers. And when they oppose an erring

believer it is for the purpose of protecting the sanctity of the office the

believer seeks, or for the purity of the estate God has left in the care

of the principality. On the other hand, principalities of darkness would

stand in the way of a believer whether there is sin or no, and their sole

objective is to hinder the work of God. Don’t worry whether all these

sound clear now, we will explain shortly

One more thing to clarify before we go on, God gives his angels charge

over his dominion (Psalm 91:11). The more delicate affairs, you may

expect are entrusted to higher officers, whom he has specially endued

with abilities to function in such positions. Look at Genesis 3:24 for


“So he drove out the man: and he placed at the east of the garden of

Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep

the way of the tree of life.”

The tree of life empowers with eternal life. For the purpose redemption

it became imperative to keep the fallen man from accessing it, lest

man live in eternal rebellion. The onerous responsibility was given to a

special squad of angels known as cherubim.How many? We don’t

know. What is known is that this is a group of angels you don’t want to

mess with. They are high ranking warrior angels, often present as part

of God’s entourage. To give you an idea of their status, Lucifer was a

cherub (Ezekiel 28:14). In addition, to the cherubim, God also placed

a flaming sword that turns in all direction, so proceed at your own risk!

The point we are getting at is that God places his valuables and

estates in the care of angels of various ranks. The angels may have

permanent charge or temporary charge. Temporary positions are

assigned angels until the man designated for the estate is prepared to

assume office, and it is often in the course of discharging these

temporary responsibilities that these principal angels (principalities) of

light have been known to clash with believers—and brethren, none of

the incidents we are going to examine shortly was casual (those guys

sure know how to do their job!).

Conflict When Entering your Inheritance

Let’s begin with Jacob as he returned to the land God promised his

fathers. God had already declared that the land of Canaan was up for

grabs. And from Ur of the Chaldeans, God called Abraham to take over

the land. Abraham lived as prince in the land until death and handed

over to his son Isaac. Isaac did not start having children early; by the

time his sons, Esau and Jacob grew to be men, he was already tired

and ready to hand over the spiritual authority of the land.

Jacob tried to attain this position by buying Esau’s birthright and

stealing the covenant blessing from the lips of his father, Isaac.

Although Jacob succeeded in both feats, for fear of Esau, he could not

remain in the land to reign. So, technically, there was a spiritual

interregnum in the land of Canaan.

Somebody had to be in charge, Isaac was old, Esau had been

dispossessed, and Jacob was a refugee somewhere. To avoid a

vacuum, a principality was assigned to watch over the property until

he comes whose right it is. This was the angel that confronted Jacob

as he and his wives made a return journey.

“And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two

women servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford

Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent

over that he had. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man

with him until the breaking of the day.” (Genesis 32:22-24)

Jacob was welcome to re-enter Canaan as he left (powerless and

fearful), but if he wanted to claim the promises of Abraham, the one to

transfer the symbol of authority (the regent angel) needed to be

satisfied, and all through the night, Jacob presented his qualifications

to no avail. Probably, Jacob had presented, the sworn affidavit of the

transfer of birth right, and the testament of the carrier of the blessings

of Abraham and Isaac, yet the angel was not satisfied with Jacob’s

qualifications. Jacob held on, asserting the authenticity of the


And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the

hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as

he wrestled with him. (Genesis 32:25)

After a whole night of wrestling, persuasion and demands gave way to

push and shove, as the angel sought to leave without relinquishing

authority, and the angel dislocated Jacob’s thigh from the joint in the

process, but Jacob held on to the validity of his documents, and his

right to the land. (Who said wrestling with principalities whether they

be of light or of darkness was a casual affair?) Hosea 12:4 says, Jacob

wept and held on. The angel saw the tenacity of the man, who in spite

of injury was not ready to give up, and he told Jacob, “You have

prevailed!” Meaning you have obtained your heart’s desire.

Then he proceeded to decorate Jacob with the insignia and totem of

office.   First, he promoted him to the realm of principalities and

powers (rulers): “for as a prince thou has power with God and with

men.” And from that night authority over the land of Canaan was

transferred to Jacob. He became a principality of light or ruler over the

land of promise. ( Read The Christian Metamorphosis)

Second, in accordance with those who have been assigned a new

position, the angel changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

In the spirit, a change of name reflects a change of status: When

Abram came into his destiny, he became Abraham, Sarai became

Sarah, Saul became Paul, and Jesus became the Son of God (a title

Satan asked Jesus to prove); Even Lucifer became Satan

By virtue of his new status, Jacob, the Israel of God ceased to be a

mere man upon the earth. He became first, the anointed (chosen and

favoured); second, a prophet (whose words would not fall to the

ground); third, a man subject to no man in Canaan (not even kings):

And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an

everlasting covenant:

Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your


When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and

strangers in it.

When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to

another people;

He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for

their sakes;

saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

                                               (Psalm 105:10-15)

From kingdom to kingdom, kings were held accountable for their

actions in any matter that had to do with Israel. Jacob was not just the

ordinary stranger or way-farer. He was God’s principal officer

(principality), and God made sure Jacob got the respect he deserved.

Jacob exercised this authority even as far as Egypt. The Bible says the

lesser is blessed by the greater. As a principality, Jacob blessed

Pharaoh: “And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before

Pharaoh” (Genesis 47:10).

Let’s now look at why Jacob was being prevented. Hosea 12:2-6 give

us some insight:

The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob

according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.

He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he

had power with God:

yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made

supplication unto

him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;

Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial.

Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment and wait on

thy God continually

The ways of Jacob were not totally acceptable to God. Yes, he has

fought his brother and got the birthright— that gave him God given

privileges for first born— (so in a way he had power with God), and

yes by strength of the mind, he outwitted his own father to receive the

blessing, but God had not been totally satisfied with his modus


And there was the issue of his wives, Jacob knew that Rachel was an

idolater, she stole her father’s images and took a false oath. Leah,

Bilha and Zilpah were all in the same spiritual mess, they had ear

rings, chains and other amulets for all kinds of protection and remedy,

according to the practices of the land.

Those were some of the issues that the angel confronted Jacob with

when Jacob presented himself for spiritual elevation. Jacob found that

on all counts he was not worthy to be the prince in charge of the land;

so he resorted to weeping and supplication.

It is in the light of the above flaws that the angel gave Jacob the

following instruction: “Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and

judgment and wait on thy God continually” (Hosea 12:6)

Jacob was to turn to God completely with his family; he was to show

mercy because he himself has received mercy; he was to show justice

or judgment because he was being made a spiritual leader, and he was

wait on God continually to help him and not depend on his craftiness

because he has found that by strength shall no man prevail.

Jacob’s incident aptly illustrates when a believer is confronted by a

principality of light at the gate of his inheritance or promised blessings.

Conflict before Assumption of Office

And it came to pass, in the process of time, that the king of Egypt

died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and

they cried, and their cry came unto God by reason of the bondage.

And God heard their groaning and God remembered his covenant

with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob” (Exodus 2:23).

Once again the estate of God has no human manager, and the

Israelites are in pains. God responds by sending them the man Moses.

After the lord commissioned Moses to return to Egypt and deliver the

Israelites from Pharaoh, Moses had an encounter that almost cost him

his life.

And it came to pass by the way in the inn that the LORD met him,

and sought to kill him.

Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her

son, and cast it at his

feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.

So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because

of the circumcision.

                                               (Exodus 4:24-26)

Was it God who sent Moses on the errand that later waylaid

Moses and sought to kill him? Certainly not! If God wanted to kill

Moses, he could have done it when he called Moses to the burning

bush. Who then sought to kill Moses, and why does the Bible

refer to him as the LORD?

The brief encounter described above was between Moses and a

principality of light, one of those in charge of Israel in the absence of a

human leader. God never leaves his estate without adequate attention.

Jesus sent another comforter when he knew his time on earth was up.

God always has somebody in charge. So though there was no human

leadership as at the time Moses was commissioned, spiritually there

was a prince who stood for Israel. This was the regent angel that

Moses encountered on his way to assume office.

God later properly introduced this angel to Moses when the Israelites

were being stubborn:

Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to

bring thee into the

place which I have prepared.

Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not

pardon your

transgressions: for my name is in him.         (Exodus 23:23)

He was a special angel who bore God’s name, and must be obeyed. He

was never to be provoked because he does not understand mercy.

The features the lord God outlined to Moses about this prince of light

helps us to understand Moses’ near death encounter.

Moses was challenged by a principality of light, with a remarkable

intolerance for sin and a temper you provoke at your own peril. This

angel was not just a regular angel, he was a Name Bearer, and thus

invested with the powers of life and death.

No Wonder God puts a caution mark on him when he sends him out:

Beware, Provoke him not, My Name is in him.

It was this angel that had Moses thrashing for his life in that inn where

Moses probably stopped to rest for the night, so he could he travel in

the day. Thank God for a woman that could see into the spirit!

Zipporah knew instantly that whatever force had her husband battling

for his life that night would not let go if the covenant of circumcision

was not kept. And immediately she cut off the foreskin of Gershom,

the son of Moses.

The encounter Moses had in some ways parallels that of Jacob. Like

Jacob, Moses was a fugitive prince, returning to assume control.

If Moses were returning to Egypt as a fugitive, he would not have had

any problems with this principality, but if he wanted to return to Egypt

with the mandate of God, to fulfill his destiny, and to take over the

leadership of God’s property, he should be prepared to clean up and

keep the covenant.

Imagine the one who was going to enforce the covenant was not

practicing the covenant! This no-nonsense angel wasn’t going to let

that slide by him—not on his shift! He would sooner kill than let God’s

work pass into an unclean vessel.

Jacob’s and Moses’ encounters illustrate the gravity of wrestling with

principalities of light. Though these principalities are on our side, they

come real hard if they have to. Jacob, we are told by bible scholars,

limped the rest of life. Who knows what would have become of Moses

if his wife was spiritually blind?


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