Q: Who are the evil spirits in heavenly places in Ephesians? Does that mean in heaven with our Father?
(Eph 6:12) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. NIV
A: Evil in Heavenly Places? Ephesians 6:12 -- This is where we find the use of more than one translations a benefit. We will look at the variations on this translation but first --
Without the advantage of multiple translations we can determine the "heavenly" does not mean, necessarily The Heaven of our God an Savior. For example, when we look into the heavens we see birds, and clouds, and further out we see the stars, and on closer inspection we see these beautiful stars are evidence of destruction. Those great lights in the heavens are a mixture of a Universe in Chaos and terror, beautiful to behold, but only from a distance. Even the planets in the heavens of our solar system are a disaster and unfit for life. This evil was introduces long before people were created on this tiny earth. Evil was originally introduced by Lucifer, who was later named Satan and the Devil, and this Devil Angel was able to convince one third of the Angels to join him in his rebellion. I believe what we see in the Universe may be the result of that angelic first rebellion. Even the earth appears to have gone through more than one worldwide devastation -- reading the creation account we need to remember the account is only form and earthly point of view, and we read this recreation of the planet earth is already completely covered in water -- the earth is in a total flood condition before man is created. Another Flood will consume the earth and only Noah and his family are spared among mankind. Knowing the earth had experienced a flood before makes the promise to Noah that YaHWeH would never flood the earth again a lot more meaningful.
The evil in the heavens is just that, not as if this evil is in the Heaven of our Heavenly Father. But, again, we are told that we are going to judge the Angels. Why would this be the case if angels are perfect? Apparently they have free will but are of a different creation process. Satan was able to rebel and to convince other angels to take his side.
The Translation that is questionable is the NIV -- a good translation but not perfect as no translation is perfect, they all convey the offer of the New Covenant and the Message is there, everything else is information only, fun to study and consider and to rightly divide what is right to use as our guide and learning more about our Savior and God the Father, but all have flaws. The KJV translates this verse differently -- "...spiritual wickedness in high places" -- This makes more sense, really, as there is evil or wickedness in high places, not just the low places. The Hebrew Roots Bible HRB translates this -- "...and with the evil spirits that are beneath heaven". We could say they are all right. We see evil in the Universe or the heavens of what we can see, exploding stars, and destruction everywhere. We know Satan rebelled and so did a third of the created Angels, so evil did break out a very Heavenly place as Satan and his accomplices attempted an invasion and take over of our Creator's Throne. And, lastly, we know that on this earth some of the most wickedness and evil is exposed from time to time in very high places -- leaders are exposed for their evil constantly, and historically we have Stalin, Hitler, and many, many more.
So, is evil in the Heaven of our Father and our Savior now? No, I do not believe evil, or wickedness is found in the Heaven of all Heavens. In Revelation 12 we read the account about Satan's final defeat and how he and his angel/demons have been cast to this earth and are captive here -- earth is called earth because it is made of dirt, now, remember what our Creator told the Serpent in the Garden? He would eat dirt the rest of his days -- this is a parody on Satan and for Satan. Satan was cast to this earth as his and his rebel angels prison. This is not their final destination, however, as our Lord tells us that the Lake of Fire is prepared for them, but that fire is not made ready until our Lord returns. The Fire prepared for Satan and his angels is the same fire into which the Beast and the False Prophet are thrown. But, Satan will not be cast into that Fire until at the end of the 1,000 years. Hopefully, you and I will be in the first resurrection and get to witness this justice and fulfillment of His Prophetic words.