John Piper on why the Bible calls Satan 'the prince of the power of the air’

John Piper at Sing! 2022 Conference
John Piper at Sing! 2022 Conference | Screengrab: Sing! 2022 Conference

Theologian John Piper recently addressed the title given to the devil as “the prince of the power of the air,” explaining that the term doesn't mean that Satan is omnipotent.

In an episode of “Ask Pastor John” uploaded to the Desiring God website on Monday, Piper was asked about Ephesians 2:2, which describes Satan as “the prince of the power of the air.”

Piper noted that while many scholars, “including me,” are unsure why Satan is called ‘the prince of the power of the air,’” there were “pointers” in Scripture to help understand this term.  

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

“It would be unwise to put too much emphasis on what I’m about to say because even though it’s important — it’s in the Bible — it’s not nearly as important as other clear things, I think, even in these verses and elsewhere in the New Testament,” Piper said.

Listen to the "Ask Pastor John" on the Edifi Podcast Network 

He further explained that “the fact that Satan has some measure of authority in the air does not imply that he’s omnipresent or omniscient,” but added that “he has many unclean spirits, demons, at his disposal, and they are deployed all over the world in the air.”

The Bible teacher added that “the air is simply what Paul and people in his time called the space above the Earth, and they had no scientific awareness of how high the air went,” so the word “air” in the verse was “just a general statement about the sphere of our life.”

Regarding the term “prince of the power,” Piper believes this means “ruler of authority,” saying that “Satan’s rule in the power of the air, or in the lower air of the heavens, is not supreme.”

Piper cited 2 Corinthians 4:4, which describes the devil as “the god of this world” who “blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

“I think ‘god of this world’ and ‘ruler of the authority of the air’ are virtually interchangeable terms, with the world being the sphere in which we live and the air being the sphere in which we live,” Piper continued.

Ultimately, Piper believes that “Satan is a spirit who is invisible like air, not like flesh and blood,” “there’s no place to go while we breathe air where the flaming arrows of Satan will not fly through the air at us” and “any place we go where there’s air, Heaven, sky, space, we will need to wear the armor of God.”

“Christ is exalted as King to the highest Heaven, above all rule and authority. The prince of the power of the air is not sovereign. He is on a leash,” he said.

In 2022, prominent pastor and theologian John MacArthur also addressed the meaning of the term “the prince of the power of the air,” saying that it “simply identifies Satan as the ruler of a spiritual realm.”

MacArthur interpreted “the air” as being “the immaterial world, the spiritual world, the invisible world,” noting that this was where the devil “moves and operates.”

“His work and his efforts for evil and deception take place among unbelievers,” he continued. “Not always directly. Satan isn’t everywhere at every time, he’s not in every person.”

“But he influences every person because of his working through his demons and through false religion. Remember, he is disguised as an angel of light. All the wickedness in the world has his stamp on it.”

MacArthur went on to describe “the air” that Satan has power over as “a realm of operation which God has allowed him to have temporarily.”

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles