Revelation 12:7-9 (NASB) says:

7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 8 and they did not prevail, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Yet, Ephesians 6:12 (NASB) says:

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Revelation says that Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven and thrown to the earth, yet Ephesians says that the dark forces are still operating in the heavenly places. Is this a contradiction? How can we reconcile these two passages?

  • @spiritrealminvestigator...please read this text in the interlinear bible...it will give you a very different perspective on the what the verse is actually describing...In the interlinear it says, "against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers" biblehub.com/interlinear/ephesians/6.htm.
    – Adam
    Mar 2, 2021 at 22:12
  • @spiritrealminvestigator...our struggle against cosmic powers is not meaning that evil exists in heavenly places, i believe what it means is that "our perception" is exposed. We believe we are struggling against evil from above when in fact we incorrectly perceive and we are actually struggling against God Himself! Read Jacobs struggle with God in Genesis 32:22-32. Jacob perceived he was being attacked by someone wishing to do him harm...he fought against God all night until the morning. Once the light of day came, and Jacob realised it was God...he asked for a blessing!
    – Adam
    Mar 2, 2021 at 22:27

4 Answers 4


The answer to this question hinges on the meaning of the adjective ἐπουράνιος (epouranios = "heavenly") which occurs 19 times in the NT. It is the opposite of ἐπίγειος (epigeinos = "earthly") in most cases.

There is no completely satisfactory explanation for this but probably the simplest (the one requiring lest special pleadings for verses) relies on Paul's comment in 2 Cor 12:2-4 -

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of it I do not know, but God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or out of it I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to Paradise ...

Thus, it appears that the "third heaven" is where God has His throne and the place from which the universe is administered (whatever that means). On this basis, the second heaven is what we moderns call "outer space" = the place of the stars and planets, etc; and the "first heaven" would be our atmosphere.

[Aside: Most of these very words originate from Greek mythology such as Ouranos = god of the heavens; Gaia = god of the earth; Oceanus = god of the ocean, etc. These mythical deities were thought to inhabit various places, including the earth and the atmosphere, etc.]

Paul makes a kind of hendiadys by saying in Eph 6:12, "the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly [places]."


Since Rev 12:7-9 is discussing Satan and his minions being cast out what is presumably the third heaven toward the earth, this does not prevent them from inhabiting the earth and the atmosphere (whatever that means) as what we moderns call "our world" which includes planet earth plus its atmosphere.

APPENDIX - ἐπουράνιος (epouranios) in NT

This word occurs 19 times and has a few shades of meaning including:

  • The heavenly dwelling of God, Heb 11:16, 12:22, Eph 1:3, 20, 2:6, 2 Tim 4:18
  • As a kind of synonym for "spiritual", 1 Cor 15:40, 48, 49
  • The "first heaven" as the dwelling places of evil forces, Eph 3:10, 6:12
  • @ Dottard...i think this is a good answer and i have upvoted it +1 .
    – Adam
    Mar 3, 2021 at 8:01

I would suggest that 'cast out of heaven' refers to the third heaven, to which the apostle refers when he recounts someone hearing certain unrepeatable matters, 2 Corinthians 12:2, which would be the same place indicated in Job when the 'sons of God' came before God, Satan among them, Job 1:6 and Job 2:1.

Thereafter, as a result of the sufferings, death and resurrection of Christ, Michael and his angels expelled the Entity referred to as Diabolos and Satan and Drakon and Lucifer and Abaddon and Apollyon, and his angels from the third heaven, Revelation 12: 7-9.

Thus they are 'cast to earth' not literally to the physical ground but 'towards' the earth, closer to earth, and no longer permitted access to the highest reaches of the heavenlies.

Being spirit-creatures, they are still, constitutionally, part of the second heavens and still have certain functions, inherent to their very existence, in regard to the state of matter and its properties.

From there, they interfere with humanity, contrary to the ultimate purposes of the Almighty.

Whence it is said to Christ :

Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool [Psalm 110:1 KJV]

and also it is written :

But now we see not yet all things put under him. [Hebrews 2:8 KJV]


The answer to this question is found in Revelation 12 vs 13...(capitals for emphasis as I'm answering on mobile phone) "And when the dragon saw that he had been THROWN TO THE EARTH, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child."


This answer needs some precision. You are using the Revelation 12 passage, as a position against the one from Ephesians. Let’s look a little closer ...

REV 12:7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven 9 And the great dragon was thrown down,

Here Satan is ‘thrown out’ by Michael and his angels. But now consider Genesis 3, which I will look at using Isaiah and Ezekiel ..

Isaiah 14:12 ”How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground,”

Ezekiel 28:17 [snip] I cast you to the ground;*

In these cases it is God who is casting Satan out, ‘cutting’ him down to the earth. Are these the same? And, if not, how does this affect your answer? Ephesians 6 is Paul outlining the current (church age) situation, where the (evil) spiritual ‘forces’ occupy the heaven that is around the earth.

Now remember that heaven throughout the Old Testament is always plural (or more exactly, more than one). Paul talks about the third heaven, so we could safely assume there must be a ‘second’? Early Hebrew writings (non canonical) talk about 7. The other responses outline the ‘more than one’ heaven, so this side of the answer is well covered.

So, Satan was cast down from the highest heaven, where he previously had a role. But, all spiritual entities occupy the heaven around the earth, or in other words, the ‘spiritual dimension’. (Around us). And it is in this ‘realm’ where man interacts with that dimension, where man ‘sees’ angels, where Satan and the sons of god are seen in Job 1/2.

That ‘realm’ where principalities and wicked forces etc, as per Ephesians 6, operate, is likely this ‘realm’ around ‘us’, (first heaven?) or the heavenly realm between this and the highest heaven (the ‘second’ heaven?) (note the Q? marks, as this although could be argued, is somewhat speculative.)

But, essentially the ‘situation’ In Ephesians 6 can’t be considered against the Revelation 12 passage because that has yet to happen. This ‘war’ is yet to come, this can be seen when considering ‘end time’ passages from Ezekiel and Isaiah. (Arch angel) Michael has yet to be involved, and when he is, Satan will be thrown down to the ‘lowest’ heaven, with his angels. (The Hebrew concept of ‘head and tail’, Satan is the head, and wherever the head goes, the tail [naturally] has to follow.)


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