Derek Prince - Where The Spiritual Conflict Takes Place
Thank you so much for that welcome. Thank you, brother Hagee, it's a real privilege to be with you again. We've had some exciting times together, I think you'll agree. I esteem brother Hagee as a great man of God. I think what he's achieved here, in this place, in these people, is tremendous, and I'm honored to be here and to minister to you all. So, let me turn to an initial text for the theme of warfare in the heavenlies. Ephesians, chapter 6, verse 12. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
If I may, I'll give you the Prince version which is a little bit more literal. I started learning Greek when I was 10 years old and I became a professor at Cambridge University so, I do know something about Greek. Nobody knows everything about Greek. Let me tell you that. It's a very elaborate language with a long history of a nearly 3,000 years. So, anybody tells you he knows it all he's mistaken. But this is the Prince version of Ephesians 6, verse 12. For our wrestling match is not against flesh and blood. And the Living Bible says, persons with bodies, which is a good rendering. Our wrestling match is not against persons with bodies but against rulerships, against authorities, against the world dominators of this present darkness, against spiritual hosts of forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
It begins here in my text: We do not wrestle against flesh and blood. Unfortunately, many Christians have got it punctuated wrong. For we do not wrestle, period. In fact, I would have to say, from my observations, most Christians have got it wrong. There are not many Christians who are really wrestling, and you know wrestling is the most intense form of conflict between two persons. In a boxing match, that are certain blows you're not allowed to land on a pub sub body. Wrestling, and all in wrestling, as they call it, is total combat and that's the word that Paul uses here. We are involved in total combat against spiritual forces, persons without bodies, against rulership and authorities. I will come back to that phrase later on. Against the world dominators of this present darkness, against spiritual hosts or forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Now, we need to ask ourselves how it came about, that there are spiritual hosts or forces of wickedness in the heavenly places? Let me say first of all, that from the first verse of the Bible, the word heaven is always plural. "In the beginning God created the heavens", plural "and the earth", singular. So, there is more than one heaven. In actual fact there are three heavens. This is stated very clearly in 2nd Corinthians, chapter 2, chapter 12, verses 1 and 2 and following. It is doubtless not expedient for me to boast, but I come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
So, Paul is now speaking about a man who had a very unique vision and revelation. I don't believe that man was Paul, some people do. I think it wasn't but let's not argue about that. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago, whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows, such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man, whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows, who was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible, or unalterable words, which is not lawful for a man to utter.
So, Paul is speaking about somebody, a believer who had a very wonderful experience and he was caught up to the third heaven. Paul says he doesn't know whether his body was caught up with him or just his spirit, but there he was in the third heaven and he was caught up into Paradise and heard unutterable words, which is not lawful for a man to utter. Now, before I became a believer I was a professor of logic and I still believe in logic, and my logic tells me if there is a third heaven there must be a first and a second. You cannot have the third of anything without the first two, and I believe that's the way it is. So, in the third heaven this man heard God himself, he was in Paradise obviously, this is the highest point where God Himself dwells.
So, the third heaven is the top heaven, if I may put it that way. The first heaven I believed to be the visible heaven, the one we look at, the Sun, the Moon, the stars and so on. Now, between the first and the third there must be a second, and there I believe is the area where the conflict takes place. I don't believe there's any conflict in the heaven where God dwells. There isn't that kind of conflict on Earth, but there is in this intermediate heaven, between Earth and the throne of God.