The Rulers of Darkness

Politics is a divisive issue in our world. Regular people and politicians alike take extreme viewpoints on the issues with seemingly no middle ground. Just a cursory scroll through your social media accounts can reveal the political stances of your family, friends, and followers. Behind every political party and political issue lies an agenda of a particular group of people. Though people speak out for and against the visible people of the political causes- elected officials, activists, celebrities, protestors, etc., do you consider who is really “pulling the strings” behind the scenes?

Luke chapter 4 (also Matthew chapter 4) tells the story of Jesus’ temptation by Satan. It is the second temptation that will be discussed.

“Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I will give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’” (Luke 4:5-8, NKJV).

Notice when the devil, speaking of the authority of the world’s governments said, “for this has been delivered to me,” Jesus did not correct him, but rebuked Satan when he demanded to be worshipped. When people and governments choose not to live under God’s authority and Word, they give Satan the right to rule in their lives, whether it is through habitual sin or flat-out worship of the devil. When this happens, the door is open to rampant immorality and open rebellion to God’s Word.

In 1 Samuel chapter 8, Israel rejects Samuel’s leadership and asks for a king to rule over them. Samuel goes to the Lord about Israel’s request and the Lord informs him that the people are not rejecting Samuel’s leadership, but God’s leadership. However, God sends Samuel back with a warning to the people concerning a king- their children would be enlisted in the king’s service, their property would be seized, and the people would face heavy taxes.

When Jesus went to the cross, died and was resurrected, the penalty was not only paid for our sins and the whole of humanity, but judgment was also pronounced on Satan and his kingdoms. Though Satan’s final judgment will be carried out after the millennial reign of Christ, he still has influence over the world’s system of government. Several times throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to Satan as “the prince of this world.”

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:31-32, KJV).

“Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” (John 14:30, KJV).

“Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” (John 16:11, KJV).

The Apostle Paul also spoke of Satan’s influence in the world’s system. “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 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 4:3-4, KJV).

Paul spoke concerning of the past lives of the believers at Ephesus and the spirit at work in the world: “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 2:2, KJV).

As Christians we live in the world, but are not of the world. Christians must be mindful that the battle is not against other people or against political leaders, but against evil spiritual forces.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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 6:11-12, KJV).

The prophet Daniel had such an encounter with such principalities and powers. Daniel chapter 10 describes how Daniel sought God, praying and fasting for three weeks. Daniel had a vision and was told by an angel that God had heard his prayer on day one, but the angel fought with “prince of the kingdom of Persia” for twenty-one days and defeated the prince with the help of the archangel Michael. (Daniel 10:12-13). This same angel tells Daniel that after the prince of Persia, the prince of Greece will come. (Daniel 10:20). From a study of secular and biblical history, we know that the Persian Empire ceased to be the dominant world empire when it was defeated by Alexander the Great of Greece. The Bible shows us that Satan has influence in both ancient and current world affairs. Revelation 13 speaks of how Satan will give the antichrist the authority to rule.

Though we truly live in perilous times, I believe the world and its governments will grow more and more morally corrupt and will turn away from God even more. As the church of the Living God, we must be mindful of the times and remain steadfast. We must not let our hearts be troubled, no matter what laws are passed or what the courts decide. Satan desires to be worshipped and he will find any means necessary. Persecution will come, but we have overcome the world because Christ has overcome the world. Jesus is coming soon and all things will be made right.

“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.’” (Revelation 11:15, KJV).

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