A Compelling Truth About Satan’s Authority

Posted on December 3, 2021


By David Ettinger

Satan’s Authority
Before Jesus began his earthly ministry, He went “into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1).

At the end of 40 days, the devil, or Satan, “took [Jesus] along to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me’” (Matthew 4:8-9).

What’s so compelling about this offer is that Satan had the authority to make such an offer! Had Satan not the power to make good on such an offer, it would be no temptation at all. However, Satan did have the authority to offer Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory” because God had put them under Satan’s control.  

Such a compelling truth should give Christians perspective as to why the world is unraveling in such drastic and shocking fashion.

Here in the U.S., instead of believers raging over such issues as the embrace of socialism, acceptance of all things transgender, and the politicizing of Covid-19 – we should understand that these things exist because “the whole world lies in the powerof the evil one” (1 John 5:19).

This is Why …
You just read the NASB version of that verse. The NIV says it this way: “… the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

This tells us that those not belonging to God are under the influence and dominion of Satan, even if they are basically good people. If nothing else, their denial of Christ indicates they belong to Satan – or, better yet, Satan’s system – whether they know it or not.

This is why otherwise intelligent people vote the way they vote, support the anti-biblical issues they support, and endorse the godless cultural orientations they endorse.

Satan’s Power
To be sure, Satan is not a free agent who can do whatever he pleases; he is answerable to God and needs God’s permission to act. Job chapters 1 and 2 illustrate this. Nevertheless, in case you’re questioning my biblical accuracy regarding Satan’s sphere of influence, read this fascinating statement by the apostle Paul:

And you [believers] were dead in your offenses and sins, in which you
previously walked according to the course of this world,
according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan],
of the spirit that is now working in the
sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 1:1-2, emphasis added).

Notice the word “power” attached to this title of Satan. Indeed, God has given him much power. And note how unbelievers are called “sons [and daughters] of disobedience.” Even if many unbelievers are relatively good people, their denial of Christ deems them as disobedient and bereft of a God-centered worldview.

Paul again speaks of Satan’s authority:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the
unbelieving so that they will not see the light of the gospel of the
glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, emphasis added).

Paul goes as far as to refer to Satan as “the god of this world.” That is an awful lot of power! And note how many who follow him have done so for so long that they can no longer grasp the glory and light of Christ.

Much Insight
This compelling truth regarding Satan should give believers much insight into why unbelievers do the things they do and believe the things they believe. They belong to the one who has a massive amount of influence over this world.

Such insight should affect believers in two ways. First, we should stop getting bent out of shape by all that is happening in the world. It’s Satan’s influence being unleashed in these last days. Second, we who know the light of Christ should be sharing this light with a world that “lies in the power of the evil one.”

May we be found faithful in doing just that!