Four Categories of Evil Supernatural Beings: The Rulers


In our daily meditations over the last few days, we have been talking about the spiritual realm and how the enemy, Satan, has structured his evil forces so that countries, regions, towns, villages, and yes, even individual leaders in strategic places, have some level of enemy control. John the apostle wrote:


We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one (1 John 5:19).


In referencing the whole world under the control of Satan in the above scripture, the apostle John is talking about the world system set up by Satan against God. Those walking with Christ are out from his authority and control (Colossians 1:13). The only way our enemy can influence us is in the area of our minds if we will allow him. Let’s now take a closer look at the Greek words used by Paul the apostle to describe the four categories of evil spoken of in Ephesians 6:12:


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).

1) The Rulers. The Greek word used by Paul is Archē. This word means principalities or chief rulers. It speaks of evil angels of the highest rank in Satan's kingdom. The term also implies beginning—perhaps Paul is thinking about the angels that colluded with Satan in his rebellion against God. This word speaks of dark angels positioned so high that these spiritual rulers confer with Satan himself and rule over nations and geographical territories to bring about the goals of these enemies of God. We can compare these rulers to Hitler's top men who formed the Nazi Party before World War II. Men who sat down with Hitler and planned how to wage war to control most of Europe.


In the book of Daniel, there is an example of an evil spiritual prince that ruled over the whole territory of Persia. I believe that every nation has an evil prince, such as the one mentioned below. The context of the passage is that of an angel of God sent to the prophet Daniel to help him understand a revelation given to the nation of Israel (Daniel 10:1). Daniel spent time in partial fasting and prayer for twenty-one days while he sought the Lord to understand the vision, referenced in chapter eleven. An evil supernatural ruler called the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted and delayed the angel in answering Daniel's prayer. Finally, the good angel got through to Daniel and spoke to him:


12Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia” (Daniel 10:12-13).


Scripture says that an answer to prayer was delayed by an evil spiritual being with the rank of a prince. Have you ever experienced a delayed response to prayer? Perhaps this passage explains why. The Scripture says that the evil prince's dominion was over the geographical area of Persia, now present-day Iran. The angel got through to Daniel with the message he was waiting for only after the archangel Michael intervened.


Since the cross and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to the church, God's people are given authority to resist and oppose evil spiritual forces through cooperation with the Lord in prayer. Iran still has that spirit whispering into the ears of those in power. They seek to do what they can to destroy those who serve the God of Israel. The people of Iran were under the domination of an evil angel, the Persian prince who exerted control in that part of the world through thoughts, philosophies, and religion. That is still the case in Iran, but God is moving powerfully in that land as I write this. Iran now has the fastest growth of any nation to the gospel. Pray for them! Let’s continue this theme tomorrow.

Keith Thomas


This meditation is a shortened version of the in-depth study at this link: Know Your Enemy.