10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
“Principalities and powers in heavenly places,” is a reference to those forces in the domain of what we now call Outer Space where the prince of the power of the air resides. These spiritual beings will be mentioned again in chapter six.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Remember that Satan is the god of this world.
2Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Context determines meaning, as it is with principalities and powers. If God had thrown an earthly magistrate or two in there you would have known he was talking about earthly rulers, as in Titus 3:1, while Ephesians 6:12 and Romans 8:38 are clearly speaking about spiritual powers.
What God did on the Cross was a sign of their destruction, putting spiritual powers of darkness on notice that their end of ruling the world of men was coming. The Cross not only fulfilled and wiped out the rule of the Law over saved man but it showed these spiritual beings that oppose man and God their defeat.
Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
The Church, the body of Christ on earth, His bride, revealed God’s wisdom to this spiritual world that we cannot see but which has a profound impact on our governments, our culture, and even sickness, so-called natural deterioration, and death. As has been said previously one of the things that Christ came to do was to destroy him that had power over death.
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
To reinforce where these heavenly places are, remember that the creation of the heaven, that great expanse that separates earth from God’s abode was the only day of creation after which it is not said that “it was good.” See Genesis 1:6-8.
Note that this thing called, “the darkness,” preceded Satan’s time in the Garden of Eden and his successful effort to overthrow humankind’s relationship with God.
Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Genesis 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
That this darkness could not comprehend the light that Christ brought to the world.
John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.*
*Comprehend can be understand as in Job 37:5 and include as in Isaiah 40:12 and Romans 14:9
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
This darkness that is the natural state of chaos without God’s hand of order is represented in type in the history of the world when order breaks down and societies, cultures, and kingdoms begin to disintegrate and a violent type of anarchy rules, a rule by the most powerful and the most violent. The first man violated the only rule given to him by God. Whenever man chose not to be ruled by God but by other men the darkness overtaking them was inevitable. See 1 Samuel 8:7.
Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
Where was Satan’s iniquity from that was found in him? His own pride and the darkness he chose over Gods’ authority. Although he can do nothing without God’s permission he rejected God’s sovereignty, something man does continually.
The universe, Outer Space as we call it, is a big place. The number of stars is equivalent to the number of grains of sand on the beaches of the world. Note here by parallel phrasing;
Genesis 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
Until recently in history, a few hundred years ago, the number of stars thought to be in the sky was only a few thousand at most based on sight. But man cannot number them as shown when God challenged Abram to tell or count the stars (think of a bank teller as is clear by parallel phrasing in context).
Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
God didn’t give mankind any authority there.
Psalm 115:16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
I am reminded of the 1997 movie entitled “Event Horizon” in which a space ship heads out to parts unknown and comes back infested with evil. It’s much more realistic than Star Trek, Star Wars, or Battlestar Galactica could have imagined.