When Satan rebelled against God he immediately began trying to convince the angels of God to follow him in order to build his own evil kingdom. Revelation 12:4 tells us that he persuaded one third of all the angels to reject God and choose him instead. And you can bet that he promised them that he would elevate them to a greater position than they presently had with God. (How sad. For their rebellion they will all be cast into the lake of fire forever.)
These lawless rebels, though they have totally corrupted themselves, and though they became ignorant of the truth and live in constant confusion and darkness, are not without order and purpose; for Satan has indoctrinated them and has given them his goals. All that Satan wants to do and aims to do, they also aim to do, partly because they believe him and believe he will reward them, but also, I suppose, out of fear—fear that if they are not loyal to him they will be severely punished.
Now, just as God’s holy angels are organized into different ranks, having different responsibilities, Satan has imitated that same structure for his own evil kingdom. In Ephesians 6:12 we see four different ranks of demons, each having different responsibilities.
The first one mentioned is “principalities” or “rulers.” This elite group is not found doing Satan’s dirty work among ordinary people. They are handpicked by Satan to rule in the heavenly places over all the other demons. They also have the special work of influencing earthly rulers and governments.
The second group is called “powers.” They are the demons that aim to spread the power of evil and darkness into any given area and into people’s lives. According to A. Sims, the author of Prayer Warfare, “They are evil spirits of energy and force that attack the feelings, the imaginations, and stir people up to commit terrible sins…”
The third group is called “the rulers of the darkness of this age” or “the world forces of this darkness.” This group, according to Sims, are those demons “that manage superstitions, witchcraft, fortune-telling, heresy, ignorance, and all sorts of stupidity, self-conceit, and spiritual blindness.”
They are the demons of darkness that bring us into error and ignorance and darkness; they aim to keep us from hearing God’s truth.
The last group is called “wicked spirits in heavenly places” or “The spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” These demons, according to Sims,
…are the most dangerous of all demons because they are religious demons…They are demons who have joined the church, been baptized, profess religion, even profess holiness… Their whole aim is to attack the most religious people and get them off into heresy, to follow impressions [etc.]…All forms of modern heresy and wild delusions, such as Spiritualism, Christian Science, Darwinism, [etc.]…are the result of these wicked spirits in the Heavenly places.
Now some would say that we cannot be certain of the responsibilities and powers and influence that demons have. Many authors are not as confident in explaining the different ranks as A. Sims has in his book. In fact, some commentators ignore the subject altogether. But the way Sims has explained it seems reasonable to me—that there are demons that rule, demons that spread the power of evil, demons that try to bring us into darkness and demons that invade our spiritual lives to get us off track.
Satan and all his demons are most certainly organized against us and against Christ, to lead us astray and to destroy us. They seek to interact with us and affect us through our spirit (since they are spirit beings). They want to control us, to communicate with us, and to play games with us. Thus they want us to be involved with astrology, magic, and witchcraft, which are all ways to worship them.
But if we put Christ first in our lives and worship Him, then we are in Spirit union with Him, and Satan and all his demons will flee from us; for they know they are no match for God.
This post is an excerpt from Purpose of Prayer.