Ephesians 2:2. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, thespirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”
Verse one told us that Christ has made us alive, although we were dead in our sin. Verse two tells us that before we came to Christ, we walked “according to the course of this world.”That is, we walked in the flesh and not in the Spirit.
When I was growing up, there were certain behaviors that were considered “worldly,” and we were not to indulge in those behaviors. I’m not going to list them here. That’s not my point. The point then, and it should be now, is that Christians were to be different. Because we were indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God, sanctified (set apart for a purpose) and made new, we were to walk (live out our lives) in a way that set us apart from unbelievers.
Why is that so important? Read the rest of the verse. It is because Satan, the Prince of the Power of the Air, rules the “children of disobedience,” those who have not received salvation by grace through faith and are still walking in the flesh, ruled by fleshly desires and subject to the one who rules through a spirit of rebellion and disobedience. Believers are to be different, ruled by the Holy Spirit of God.
So what does it mean, that title given to Satan?
First, he is a prince in the sense that he does have great power (I John 5:19). He is not a king, because there is only One Who is King of Kings (I Tim. 6:15). This power has been given him by God (Luke 4:6). Satan has power over some illnesses (Luke 16:13; see also 2 Cor. 12:7—it’s unknown if Paul’s “thorn” was an illness or something else). In some sense, Satan has power over death (Hebrew 2:14).
Satan also has power over some people. The “sons of disobedience” as I’ve already noted,are those who have not trusted Christ as Lord and Savior. The demons are also under the rule of Satan (Matt. 12:24), and one of his titles is “prince of demons” (Matt. 9:34). Satan has a kingdom (Matt. 12:26) and a throne (Rev. 2:13). Satan is called a prince because he is a ruler and possesses power to manifest evil in the world through influencing people and commanding demons.
“The air” may refer to the invisible realm above the earth where Satan and his demons move and exist. This space, of course, is the location of the earth’s atmosphere or “air.” In Eph. 6:12, Paul writes, “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.” This evil realm called the “air” could be an actual locality, but it could also be synonymous with the “world” of John 12:31. This whole world is Satan’s domain (Matt. 4:8-9).
My greatest comfort, in view of all the power Satan commands, is in I John 4:4. “Greater is He that is in you, than he which is in the world.” Satan wins battles now and then, but the war isn’t over yet. He is doomed, and I want to be there to see him cast into the Lake of Fire for all the trouble and heartache he has created in his benighted effort to defeat God.