<<rulers and authorities>>
In the Bible, principalities refer to the powerful angels and demonic beings, leaders in Satan’s hierarchy, exerting their authority in the spiritual realm, opposing God and His people. The Bible states all things were created by God, and even though they may have chosen (of their own free will as was the case with the prime example, Satan) not to live the way He intended He is still overall in control and even uses these rebellious authoritity figures for His ultimate purpose (Dan 4:35; Isa 46:10,11; Col 1:16; Rev 4:11). While it initially appeared to be a devasting event to the discples and followers of Jesus that He was crucified they later saw it in the true perspective. "They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen...We have been redeemed by the blood of Christ" (Act 4:28; Eph 2:13; 1 Pet 1:18,19). However, Jesus has a greater authority and power than any of these (both individually and collectively), with the church intended to demonstrate and enforce that delegated authority according to God’s eternal purposes (Mt 28:18,19; Mk 16:15-20; Eph 1:20,21, 3:10,11). The ministry of Jesus proved He came to destroy the works of the devil and release those who were under his power (Mt 4:23,24; Lk 4:18,19, 13:16; Act 10:38; Col 2:15; 1 Jn 3:8).
Resist the bad spiritual principalities, respect the good earthly ones
Christ we are more than conquerors (Rom 8:37-39). We have been promised victory, as we trust in, and live-out the victory Christ achieved for us.
The term principalities and powers can also refer to earthly governmental authorities, who are God’s representatives on earth. We are to obey rulers, and pray for them too. Rebelling against their authority is actually rebelling against God and will result in judgment (Rom 13:1-7; 1 Tim 2:1,2; Tit 3:1). The only time we should disobey is when human instruction contravenes what God says, and so "we must obey God rather than man" (Act 5:29).
See also: authority, government, powers, rulers, spiritual warfare.