Gnostic Doctrine

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

The Prince Of The Air Ephesians 2: 1-3





2:1 And you Gentiles too were once dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you at one time walked according to the age of this order of things, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit of falsehood that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
3 among whom also we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and the thoughts, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

Galatians 1:4 who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present wicked age, according to the will of our God and Father,

The spirit of disobedience which dwells in the world is personified: "Wherein in time past ye walked, according to the age 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 also we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and of the mind" (Eph. 2:2,3). Now is the judgment of this world: now shall THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said signifying what death he should die " (John 12:31-33).

To walk being dead in trespasses and sins, is to live according to the age of this world. So says the apostle (eph. 2:1,2). The age of the world is according to the thinking of sinful flesh, in whatever way it may be manifested or expressed. If a man embrace one of the religions of kingdom of men, he is still "dead in trespasses and sins", and walks according to the age of the world. In brief, anything short of faith in the gospel of the kingdom, and obedience to the law of faith, is walking according to the age of the world. To walk in sin is to walk in this age. Hence, the apostle terms walking according to the age of the world, walking according to the Prince of the Power of the Air: which he explains as "the Spirit now working in the children of disobedience". The "power of the air", or aerial power, is the political power of the world, which is energized and infused by the spirit of disobedience, which is sin in the flesh; and styled above, the Prince of the Power of the Air. This is that prince of whom Jesus spoke, saying, "Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the Prince of this World be cast out" (John 12:31), that is, "judged" (John 16:11). The key to this is suggested in what follows "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die."

The words “Satan” and “Devil” do not occur here.

“Walking”, v. 2, (i.e. living) according to the prince of the power of the air, is defined in v. 3 as living according to the lust of our fleshly mind. The “lusts of our flesh” come from within us (Mk. 7: 21-23; James 1:14) not from anything outside of us.

“The power of the air” is clearly a figurative expression - “the prince” probably is also.


“The prince” is “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”. The spirit frequently refers to an attitude of mind (e.g. Deut: 2:30; Prov. 25:28; Is. 54:6; 61: 3; Ez. 18:31; Mk.14:38; Lk. 2:40; 2 Cor. 2:13; 12:18; Eph. 4:23). This is confirmed by v. 3 - such people’s lives are controlled by “fulfilling the lusts of our flesh (which come from our heart- James 1:14), fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind”. Fleshly people do not allow their lives to be controlled by a physical “prince” outside of them, but by following their fleshly desires which are in their minds. A physical being cannot exist as a “spirit” in the sense of an intangible essence. A spirit does not have flesh and bones, i.e. a physical body (Lk. 24:39); therefore because “the prince” is a “spirit”, this must be a figurative expression not a physical being. The “spirit” or attitude of mind is a figurative prince, as sin is a figurative paymaster (Rom. 6: 23).

 This passage (and v. 11) speaks of their former Gentile lives. 1 Pet. 4:3 speaks of life before conversion as: “In the time past we followed the will of the Gentiles…we walked in lusts”. Their own flesh was their “prince”. Thus walking according to the prince of the air (v.2) is parallel with walking in the flesh (v. 11). The more common antithesis to walking in spirit is walking after the flesh- here termed “the age of this world”.

The “whole world lieth in wickedness (1 Jn. 5:19) because by nature we all have a fleshly mind or spirit. “The children of disobedience” show this by their lives “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind” (v. 1 & 3). Thus “the prince of the power of the air” is our evil, fleshly mind, i.e. the real Devil.

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