In our daily meditations, we are looking at how our enemy has lined up his battle forces against the church. To fight an enemy we don't understand is difficult at best. The apostle Paul used four different phrases to categorize the evil spiritual entities in operation in the world system against which the church fights. Yesterday, we looked at the first word, the rulers, today we'll look at the authorities. Here's what Paul wrote:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
2) The Authorities. The Greek word is Exousia. This word means authority. It is delegated authority from higher up the chain of command. When Matthew wrote of the centurion seeking healing for his servant from Jesus, the centurion understood that he was a man under authority to a higher chain of command. He used the same Greek word, authority, to describe the application of authority above him (Matthew 8:9). Our text speaks of an evil spirit that is given permission, capability, right, and authority to act. In our meditation yesterday, we used the analogy of Hitler's men. An authority would perhaps be similar to Hitler’s generals directing the field of battle, men who were given commands from above and had to exercise that authority on the battlefield. These evil spirits take their orders from those higher up in Satan's chain of command. They apply their power by fear of death and domination through sin and ignorance of Satan's ways.
It is conjecture on my part, but perhaps an "authority" would be a spirit holding control over a city in which the people have given themselves to a particular sin by an evil spirit "authority." It could be an evil spirit such as Moroni, the spirit that spoke to Joseph Smith and started Mormonism. A spirit such as this uses religious deception and holds sway over the city of Salt Lake City in Utah. Such a strong spirit could also be a "principality." It is difficult to know. It would be wise for churches to research the roots and beginnings of their city so that they know how to target their praying to engage the spirit over an area. One should then seek God's wisdom and guidance in pulling down the stronghold of spiritual fortification for which the city is known.
I hate to use examples, but sometimes it can be helpful in our understanding, a city such as Chicago is perhaps known for violence or racketeering. In my humble opinion, it is not enough to pray against a spirit, for effective spiritual warfare is waged by doing acts that are the opposite of how the evil spirit's control is manifested. Our good works and actions themselves are useful in combat. In simple obedience, we are fighting the good fight when we live our lives going against the flow of the evil one. How do we unseat and displace demonic evil authorities over cities such as Chicago, a place known for violence? The answer, in my opinion, would be for the church in Chicago to go into the dark areas where violence and fear reign, and share the love of Jesus to the lost. For Salt Lake City, perhaps it would be to send influential godly teachers to teach the Word of God. It's just my opinion—I could be wrong.
Tomorrow we will look at the Greek words translated into English as The Powers of this Dark World. Keith Thomas
This meditation is a shortened version of the more in-depth study: Know Your Enemy