There’s a fair amount of confusion about Satan and where he functions. Sometimes you can misread a particular passage of the Bible and start moving in the wrong direction. One example of this for me is when the apostle Paul referenced the devil as “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2).
I remember reading that passage and being confused. Does that passage mean that Satan continues to operate from heaven? Wasn’t he expelled from the throne room of God? What does this verse actually mean?
With deeper reflection, I finally discovered that Satan isn’t operating from the “highest heaven,” but from a position in the lower “heavens.” It gave me great relief to discover that this passage wasn’t saying what I initially thought it was saying.
So what is going on in the “heavens” and how do they relate to the operation of our defeated foe—Satan? That is a fascinating question that I would like to explore briefly in the remainder of this blog post.
The best way to understand all this positioning is to comprehend that the “heavens” are made up of three different “strata” or “realms.” Let’s briefly consider this below:
First Heaven (Material Cosmos)
The first stratum of the “heavens” is the lower, earthly atmosphere that makes up our clouds and sky. An example of this is when David proclaimed, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament (sky) shows His handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). Many are not cognizant that Scripture uses the word “heaven” to describe the skies and our atmosphere. Yet, it does. This reference isn’t the only way that the term “heaven” is used in the Bible.
Third Heaven (Throne of God; Paradise)
The Bible also uses the word “heaven” to reference to the highest stratum of authority: the realm where God operates and rules. This is what was described by the apostle Paul as the “third heaven.” He writes, “I know a man…caught up to the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2). This is the highest position of strength and power. It is a realm of authority that stands over and above everything that exists. This is the very throne room of God. However, there is one other realm of “heaven” that also needs to be considered.
Second Heaven (Spiritual Forces)
Many are somewhat familiar with the “first” and “third” heavens. Yet, most haven’t considered what lies in between—the space between creation and glory. This is what could be described as the “second” heaven. This is the realm Satan and his demonic hordes attempt to operate from. Paul makes reference to this, speaking of “spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Launching from the “air,” Satan seeks to bring his wretched influence down upon the earth. From the “second” heaven, he is trying to cut us off from the goodness and glory of the “third” heaven.
The good news for us is that God, the most high, has been displacing Satan and shattering the brass heavens that separate us from His goodness. He is restoring His creation to a wondrous place of glory. As Scripture declares, God has “seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).
While he is still in operation and trying to bring havoc, we must remember that Satan no longer has any real position or power. He is being brought low by the highest order of the throne room of God.
J.D. King is an author and director of the World Revival Network. King also co-pastors at World Revival Church.