THE BELIEVER AND PRINCIPALITIES 2
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
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
He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for
saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.
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
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
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.
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
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?