Q. I have a question but first I want to thank you for the opportunity that we as Christians can dialogue. Not in all countries would we be allowed to do that. I am curious, sir, as to your understanding of Ephesians 2: 2 & 3.
A. Well, Ephesians 2: 2 & 3 says that " wherein in times
past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children
of disobedience among whom we all had our conversation in times past, in the
lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind and
were by nature the children of wrath even as others." Well, the first point
I would make there is you don't read the word devil or the word satan there
at all. I would suggest that in those verses you have got a kind of
parallel. I think in Rotherham's translation he brings it out very well. He
says, " In times past ye walked according to" - there's a colon -he says, "
the course of this world" underneath " the prince of the power of the air"
underneath " the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" .
So those three things I would suggest are parallel, that walking in the course of this world, walking according to the prince of the power of the air and walking according to the spirit of the children of disobedience - that they are all descriptions for our carnal life before we were converted - because the parallels to that verse 2 is in verse 3 where he says, " We all had our conversation - our way of life - in time past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind and were by nature the children of wrath."
So I would say this is a marvellous combination of what we are putting over to you - that you have got the prince of the power of the air - which is a prince - something being personified as a prince - now you can't take that dead literally - the prince of the power of the air - what's the power of the air - the stuff around us? No. You can't have a prince of the gas called air. It must be referring to something more figurative than that. As I say, it is wedged there in the middle of two other parallel expressions, the course of this world, the prince of the power of the air, and thirdly the spirit that works in the children of disobedience. That is defined for you in verse 3: the lusts of our flesh living in a way of life that fulfils the desires of the flesh and of the mind due to our sinful nature, being by nature the children of wrath. So then I would say again that the prince of the power of the air is a personification of what rules this world, and what this world is governed by is the evil principles of the flesh.
Now politically, God is in control of this world, but God has delegated political power to the rulers of this world and those kingdoms of this world then become the Kingdom of God and of Christ as we are told in Revelation 11. But I don't think that we can say that the world is ruled by an evil spiritual ruler, no. The world, the motivating force in this world, the idea that rules this world if you like, is the flesh, the thinking of the flesh. People are not serving anybody else but themselves, or their own evil passions. That is the god of this world. I would say that these verses confirm that because the idea of the prince of the power of the air is sandwiched in between parallel expressions - the spirit or the attitude of mind that is in the children of disobedience and walking according to this world.
Now you might just like to jot down in your margin there 1 Peter 4: 3 which I believe is almost an inspired commentary on those verses, it is certainly an allusion to them. 1 Peter 4: 3, where again Peter is talking to another group of believers about what their past life was like. He says the " time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wines" etc. etc. So the time past of our life, he said, we just did, we walked in lusts, our own natural desires. And in Ephesians 2 it says " in time past - see that's the point of connection - we walked according to the prince of the power of the air" , fulfilling v.3 the " lusts of the flesh" . So I would say that confirms the...our understanding. Okay?