Appendix A.2 – Spiritual Ranks of Authority

Jesus taught a hierarchy of spiritual powers when He spoke in Luke 11:24–26 of unclean spirits which are more evil than other unclean spirits:

When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.

Not every spirit is equal.

 

Scripture does not present every classification of spiritual power, but it does provide five lists which identify what appear to be the key classifications of angelic beings that humans encounter. One of these lists—Ephesians 6:12—contrasts these titles against that which is flesh and blood. As such, the titles in these lists necessarily refer to spiritual beings. In each of the below lists, the Greek title, or an abbreviation of that title, is included in parenthesis:

  • Colossians 1:16“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”
    • Thrones (Thronos)
    • Dominions (Kuriotes)
    • Rulers (Arche)
    • Authorities (Exousia)
  • Ephesians 1:21“[F]ar above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”
    • Rulers (Arche)
    • Authorities (Exousia)
    • Powers (Dunamis)
    • Dominions (Kuriotes)
  • Ephesians 6:12“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
    • Rulers (Arche)
    • Authorities (Exousia)
    • Cosmic Powers Over this Present Darkness (Kosmokrator)
    • Spiritual Forces of Evil in the Heavenly Places (Poneria)
  • Romans 8:38“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,”
    • Angels (Aggelos)
    • Rulers (Arche)
    • Powers (Dunamis)
  • 1 Peter 3:22“[W]ho has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.”
    • Angels (Aggelos)
    • Authorities (Exousia)
    • Powers (Dunamis)

 

Elsewhere, Scripture offers some additional classifications of spiritual powers:

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:16“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.”
  • Jude 1:9“But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’”
    • Archangel (Archaggelos)
  • Daniel 10:13,20–21“The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, … Then he said, ‘Do you know why I have come to you? But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.”
  • Daniel 12:1“‘At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”
    • Chief Prince / Great Prince (Ri’shon Sar)
  • Revelation 9:11“They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.”
    • King (Basileus)

 

From the above passages, we can determine the following classifications of spiritual authority among angels and fallen angels:

  • Thrones (Thronos)
  • Dominions (Kuriotes)
  • King (Basileus)
  • Archangel (Archaggelos)
  • Great Prince (Ri’shon Ri’shon)
  • Rulers (Arche)
  • Authorities (Exousia)
  • Cosmic Powers Over this Present Darkness (Kosmokrator)
  • Spiritual Forces of Evil in the Heavenly Places (Poneria)
  • Powers (Dunamis)
  • Angel (Aggelos)

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