Does GOD SAY Satan is the god of this world?


The phrase “god of this world” (or “god of this age”) indicates that Satan is the major influence on the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. His influence also encompasses the world’s philosophies, education, and commerce. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions. Satan is also called the "prince of the power of the air" in Ephesians 2:2. “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” Ephesians 2:1–2

In this text the apostle Paul describes Satan first as a “prince” with power, because he has authentic power in the world (1 John 5:19). This power has been given him by God as Adam forfieted his place through sin. “And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.” Luke 4:6 Satan has power over some illnesses (Luke 13:16; 2 Corinthians 12:7—it’s unknown if Paul’s “thorn” was an illness or something else). In some sense, Satan had power over death. “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;” Hebrews 2:14. The reason Satan is called a prince rather than a king is that there is only one King—Jesus the Christ. “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” 1 Timothy 6:14-15

Satan also has power over some people. The “sons of disobedience” referred to in Ephesians 2:2 are those who have not trusted Christ as Lord and Savior (cf. Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 13:12). The demons are also under the rule of Satan (Matthew 12:24), and one of his titles is “prince of devils” (Matthew 9:34). Satan has a kingdom (Matthew 12:26) and a throne (Revelation 2:13). Satan is called a prince because he is a ruler and possesses power to manifest evil in the world through influencing people and commanding demons. “The air” in Ephesians 2:2 refers to the invisible realm above the earth where Satan and his demons move and exist. This space is the location of the earth’s atmosphere or “air.” In Ephesians 6, Paul writes, “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.” Ephesians 6:12 This evil realm called the “air” is an actual locality, but it could also be synonymous with the “world” in John 12, “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” John 12:31 The whole world is Satan’s domain. “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:8–9 Although Satan has power and authority in the current world system in which we exist, his power is limited, always under the sovereign control of God (Job 1:12), and it is temporary (Romans 16:20). God has not revealed all of the whys and time frames concerning Satan’s rule, but He has made it clear that there is only one way to escape the power of Satan’s dominion, and that is through His Son, Jesus (Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:13–14). It is Jesus who, speaking of the impending cross, declared victory: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” John 12:31

Satan is the "ruler of this world" in John 12:31. These titles and many more signify Satan’s capabilities. To say, for example, that Satan is the "prince of the power of the air" is to signify that in some way he rules over the world and the people in it. This is not to say that he rules the world completely; God is still sovereign. But it does mean that God, in His infinite wisdom, has allowed Satan to operate in this world within the boundaries God has set for him. When the Bible says Satan has power over the world, we must remember that God has given him domain over unbelievers only. Believers are no longer under the rule of Satan (Colossians 1:13). Unbelievers, on the other hand, are caught "in the snare of the devil" (2 Timothy 2:26), lie in the "power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19), and are in bondage to Satan (Ephesians 2:2). So, when the Bible says that Satan is the "god of this world," it is not saying that he has ultimate authority. It is conveying the idea that Satan rules over the unbelieving world in a specific way. In 2 Corinthians 4, the unbeliever follows Satan’s agenda: "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." 2 Corinthians 4:4

Satan’s tactics includes promoting false philosophies in the world—philosophies that blind the unbeliever to the truth of the Gospel. Satan’s philosophies are the fortresses in which people are imprisoned, and they must be set free by Christ. An example of one such false philosophy is the belief that man can earn God’s favor by a certain act or acts. In almost every false religion, meriting God’s favor or earning eternal life is a predominant theme. Earning salvation by works, however, is contrary to biblical revelation. Man cannot work to earn God’s favor; eternal life is a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). And that free gift is available through Jesus the Christ and Him alone (John 3:16; 14:6). You may ask why mankind does not simply receive the free gift of salvation (John 1:12). The answer is that Satan—the god of this world—has tempted mankind to follow his pride instead. Satan sets the agenda, the unbelieving world follows, and mankind continues to be deceived. It is for this reason that Scripture refers to Satan a liar. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 8:44

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© 2020 Tony - Antonakis Maritis