Angelic Beings Ranking

The Question

What is a principality?

V. from Nevada


The Answer
Part 1: Ranks of fallen angels

Ranks of fallen angels

Principalities are one in the ranking or hierarchy of fallen angels. They are part of a list of angelic beings given to us in Colossians 1: 16. “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers (principalities in many translations) or authorities – all things have been created by Him and for Him.”

Does the list refer to their rank in order? Perhaps. If so, thrones are first followed by dominions and then principalities and authorities last. We do not know if this list constitutes a full accounting of them; in fact it probably doesn’t. For instance, we know that Satan was an archangel like Gabriel and Michael before his fall. There are also other angelic type beings such as cherubim.

It would be reasonable to assume that names like principality refer more to the title or function of the being, rather than the kind of being but we aren’t sure. Also, do the good angels still in God’s service have a similar ranking? Again, it would be reasonable to assume so.

Our scriptural references regarding principalities, however, are limited to the bad or fallen angels or demonic forces. We know that they are against us and we are in a war against their power and influence and wickedness.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers (same as principalities), against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) These guys are bad dudes!

On the other hand there are two very good things to know. First, they cannot come between God and us. Romans 8:38 says “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Second, no matter how powerful or evil they are, they have already been defeated. “When He had disarmed the rulers (principalities) and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” (Colossians 2:15) We need not fear them because Jesus gained victory over all of them already, even at the highest levels.

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