For we wrestle not against flesh and blood - ̔ ̔ ̔ · Our wrestling or contention is not with men like ourselves: flesh and blood is a Hebraism for men, or human beings. See the note on Galatians 1:16.
The word implies the athletic exercises in the Olympic and other national games; and was the place in which the contenders exercised. Here it signifies warfare in general.
Against principalities - · Chief rulers; beings of the first rank and order in their own kingdom.
Powers - , Authorities, derived from, and constituted by the above.
The rulers of the darkness of this world - · The rulers of the world; the emperors of the darkness of this state of things.
Spiritual wickedness - · The spiritual things of wickedness; or, the spiritualities of wickedness; highly refined and sublimed evil; disguised falsehood in the garb of truth; Antinomianism in the guise of religion.
In high places - · In the most sublime stations. But who are these of whom the apostle speaks? Schoettgen contends that the rabbins and Jewish rulers are intended. This he thinks proved by the words , of this world, which are often used to designate the Old Testament, and the Jewish system; and the words , in heavenly places, which are not unfrequently used to signify the time of the New Testament, and the Gospel system.
By the spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, he thinks false teachers, who endeavored to corrupt Christianity, are meant; such as those mentioned by St. John, I John 2:19 : They went out from us, but they were not of us, etc. And he thinks the meaning may be extended to all corrupters of Christianity in all succeeding ages. He shows also that the Jews called their own city sar shel olam , , the ruler of the world; and proves that David' s words, Psalms 2:2, The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, are applied by the apostles, Acts 4:26, to the Jewish rulers, , who persecuted Peter and John for preaching Christ crucified. But commentators in general are not of this mind, but think that by principalities, etc., we are to understand different orders of evil spirits, who are all employed under the devil, their great head, to prevent the spread of the Gospel in the world, and to destroy the souls of mankind.
The spiritual wickedness are supposed to be the angels which kept not their first estate; who fell from the heavenly places but are ever longing after and striving to regain them; and which have their station in the regions of the air. "Perhaps," says Mr. Wesley, "the principalities and powers remain mostly in the citadel of their kingdom of darkness; but there are other spirits which range abroad, to whom the provinces of the world are committed; the darkness is chiefly spiritual darkness which prevails during the present state of things, and the wicked spirits are those which continually oppose faith, love, and holiness, either by force or fraud; and labor to infuse unbelief, pride, idolatry, malice, envy, anger, and hatred." Some translate the words , about heavenly things; that is: We contend with these fallen spirits for the heavenly things which are promised to us; and we strive against them, that we may not be deprived of those we have.
Other Adam Clarke entries containing Ephesians 6:12:
2 Corinthians 10:4
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