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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. 1 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 example: 2 “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!). 3 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 4 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 documents. 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 5 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 6 everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: 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). 7 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 operandi. 8 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 9 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) 10 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) 11 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. 12 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? 13
"The Believer and Principalities 2"