Spiritual Battles in the Heavenly Realms

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.

I don’t remember in my lifetime, a moment in history, where so much violence and terrorism have unfolded before our eyes in such a short span of time. You may call it a coincidence or you may have some other theory about the level of violence and lawlessness that is going on in our world. Most of us do not have any problem “seeing” what is unfolding in our country and around the globe. However, there is an even greater battle taking place in the heavenly realms at this very moment.

Paul, in writing to the church at Ephesus, refers to this spiritual battle that is ongoing between the forces of good and evil. Paul writes in Ephesians 6:12 that the real battle is “against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Satan is alive and well and he is busy unleashing his evil and destructive powers upon planet earth. He must sense that the time of Jesus’ return is soon because it seems that he is going all out to wreak havoc upon this world that we live in.

The good news for believers is through faith in Christ; we no longer belong to the dark world in which the forces of evil reside. Paul so eloquently describes this in Colossians 1:13-14: For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Paul wants believers to know that we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, through faith in Christ. 

Christ has already won the battle over Satan and the forces of evil. And we who confess Christ as Lord and Savior are already “seated” with him in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 2:6: And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. There is an intense spiritual battle raging but our ultimate destiny is secure.

There is a fascinating story in 2 Kings that depicts the intense spiritual battle that we cannot see but we know exists. If God were to pull back the veil that separates our world from the spiritual world, we would witness just what Elisha prayed for his servant to see.

2 Kings 6:11-17: This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.”

14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Satan (“the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” Ephesians 2:2) is attempting furiously to destroy everything that is good and godly in this world. He is seeking to turn people against each other and he desires to instill fear and hopelessness in everyone. It helps me to stop for a moment and think of this passage from 2 Kings in which an intense spiritual battle was being waged. That same spiritual battle is being fought at this very moment as we speak. If we could only witness what God is doing in the spiritual realm to combat the forces of evil, we might say as Elisha did, “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Open our eyes Lord, that we may also see.

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