1-23 Children Of Disobedience
Questions From the Floor to Mr. Heaster
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