By Rev. J.A. MacMillan
The Rebel Holders of This Authority
It is necessary here to state, what is commonly understood by those who
study carefully the Word, that the kingdoms of this world are under the control
and leadership of Satanic principalities. The great head of these is, in the
Gospel of John, three times acknowledged as "Prince of this World" by our Lord
Himself. His asserted claim to the suzerainty of the world kingdoms, made in
the presence of the Lord Jesus (Luke 4: 6), was not denied by Christ. Although
a rebel against the Most High, and now under judgment of dispossession (John
12: 31), he is still at large, and as the masses of mankind are also rebels, he
maintains over them an unquestioned, because unsuspected rule, their eyes being
blinded to his dominance (2 Corinthians 4:4).
The whole rebellious -system is divided into heavenly and earthly
sections (Isaiah 24:21). These are "the host of the high ones on high" (the
unseen powers of the air) and "the kings of the earth upon the earth" (the
rulers of mankind and their subjects). Both, the prophet tells us, will be
judged in that day when "Jehovah cometh forth out of his place to punish the
inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity" (Isaiah 26:21) and "with his hard
and great and strong sword will punish leviathan the swift serpent (the
antichrist), and leviathan the crooked serpent (the false prophet) ; and he
will slay the monster that is in the sea (the dragon)" (Isaiah 27: 1) Before
these acts of judgment occur, the Lord's people will be caught op in the
Rapture. As Isaiah's eyes were ho den to the mystery of the Church, he does not
mention it, but he does speak of the hiding of the Jewish remnant from the
wrath of the dragon: "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut
thy doors about thee; hide thyself for a little moment, until the indignation
be overpast" (Isaiah 26: 20).
The "host of the high ones on high" is carefully divided in our epistle
(6: 12). There are first the "principalities and powers." The first-named are
mighty princes, whose principalities include large areas of the earth, with
authority over the nations included in them. The "powers" are difficult to
distinguish from diem, although attempts have been made to state the
difference; they are inferior in position, probably as ministers associated in
Following come "the world-rulers of the darkness of this age." This name
would suggest a ministry of deception, the keeping in darkness of the minds of
men, and especially of the leaders of thought. At their overthrow there will be
removed "the face of the covering that covereth all peoples, and the veil that
is spread over all nations," blinding their eyes, and keeping them in ignorance
of the love and purposes of the Most High.
Finally, there are "the hosts of wicked spirits in the heavenlies"—-
innumerable body of demons, to whose close connection with mankind is due the
grosser sins and deceptions, the stirring up of the animal passions, and the
incitement to all manner of sensual and sensuous desires. These are the beings
that are present in the spiritist seance, impersonating and deceiving people of
strong intelligence, like the well=known leaders connected with the cult
These beings are also at hand in religious gatherings, and are a source
of peculiar danger, especially when the emotions are deeply stirred. Many
earnest souls, who have been urged to entire surrender, open their beings with
the utmost abandon to whatever spiritual force approaches them, unaware of the
peril of so doing. Such yielding often provides an opening for the entrance of
demons, who under some pretext gain control of the will. To dislodge them, and
to once more free the victim, is usually a very difficult task.
The "kings of the earth upon the earth" comprise human worldrulers and
their subjects, all unregenerate men. An earthly ruler individually may be a
Christian, but he is, by virtue of his office, a member of the great
world-system which has not yet come under the dominion of the King of kings.
All natural men are members by birth also of this system, and so must be
"delivered out of the power (exousias, authority) of darkness, and translated
into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Colossians 1: 13).
The seats of authority of these rebellious spiritual rulers are also in
the heavens. From there they have dominated the human race since its fall.
There they will remain until the divine "purpose of the ages" is complete.