How do Satan’s rule and God’s kingdom compare? Does his evil empire work on a system of cooperation with Satan as the head, just as we will cooperate with God one day to rule?
We are often reminded about the kingdom of God, and how after Christ’s return it will fill the entire earth. It will be a kingdom where Jesus Christ rules under God the Father, and the transformed saints will have a positive and unique role in it to work and live eternally.
We also often hear about the devil. We understand that he is an adversary who seeks to incite to sin and cause problems and chaos. He is labelled as the enemy of all Christians, though he is also an enemy of all humanity, whether people realize it or not (Revelation 12:9).
But one thing worth acknowledging is that Satan also has a kingdom. With all kingdoms, there is a certain type of unity (though Satan’s is the antithesis of the type of unity that Christians practice for the kingdom of God). After all, demons remain unified in their rebellion, which will all fail when the devil is removed and imprisoned as pictured in the Day of Atonement (Revelation 20:1-3). By understanding the attitudes with which Satan’s kingdom operates, we can better understand how far superior God’s government and kingdom are.
A revealing description
In one Scriptural account, Jesus cast out a demon and was then accused of casting it out by using Satan’s power:
Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house” (Matthew 12:22-29, emphasis added).
Christ stated here that Satan and his demons have a demonic unity. If Satan were to cast out his own, how could his kingdom stand? So if one does cast out demons, it certainly implies that the greater power comes from God, not the demonic realm. This Scriptural passage shows that God is far more powerful than Satan and his demonic kingdom.
A world influenced by the devil
We are quite familiar with the various evil dictatorships of our day. These dictatorships have a number of characteristics in common that we should keep in mind:
1.The leader is very powerful and wields considerable influence. In considering the spiritual realm, we can note that Satan was once one of high position (Ezekiel 28:13-17), and presumably one of the angelic beings wielding some authority over others under God.
2.The circle of persons around the leader are more than happy to have a dictator as their leader, because they attain advantages that they otherwise would not have. It is why the henchmen that surrounded Hitler and Mussolini were themselves equally corrupt.
3.The leader is not someone who can be easily overthrown. It is why an inner circle is content to carry out his wishes.
4.Both the leader and his inner circle benefit from their relationship, more than if they worked apart. Unity, even if it comes about for evil purposes, is still a powerful bond and hard to break. Drug cartels and biker gangs are two examples.
5.There are a number (usually a very large number) of people in a nation who unfortunately do not benefit, and may often be oppressed for the good of the leader and his inner cadre.
6.The majority who do not benefit are used as tools and instruments to fulfill the purpose of the leader. They may not even realize that they are simply being used, and so are supportive of his leadership.
7.The majority of a nation may be fed lies and propaganda in order to keep them in line. The devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). It is quite possible this may have been one of the methods he used to sway one-third of the angels to his cause (Revelation 12:4). We know from history that one way to stop two enemies from fighting each other is to get them both focused on fighting a third.
8.Ultimately the entire system may self-destruct. Those far below the upper echelons of leadership may suffer tremendously and even revolt in due time—a coup-d’état. Depending on how severe the leader and his inner circle are in the pursuit of their selfish interests, desires and abuse of power, the suffering can reach a proportion that impacts everyone negatively. But history shows that many longed-for human “messiahs” in turn only become the next dictator.
From a Christian standpoint, we should note that humanity is truly a problem for the satanic realm. When God created mankind, humanity was patterned after the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Humanity is intended to one day displace the devil and his demonic realm. Christ also came to disqualify Satan as earth’s ruler (Matthew 4:1-10), to resist him when tempted in the wilderness, and to show that the ruler of this world was judged (John 16:11). Therefore it should be no surprise that humanity, as far as Satan is concerned, serves no long-term useful purpose for him and his demons. Their earthly authority is now in jeopardy and due to be replaced. We see a persistent theme in the Bible where the devil is viewed as being in opposition to humanity and is ultimately seeking to destroy the Church. This is part of the Atonement theme we focus upon annually.
Here are some basic differences between Satan’s realm and the Kingdom of God:
1.In the realm of the devil, only a select few benefit. Under God’s Kingdom, everyone benefits. God’s government, based on Godly love, engages and embraces the involvement of everyone for the benefit of everyone. It primarily functions on the servant principle.
2.Satan’s rule works on propaganda and misinformation. God’s government operates on truth. At times, religious misinformation and deception can easily masquerade as the truth.
3.Satan’s fruits result in conflict, destruction and oppression. Spirit-led fruits yield resolution, construction and encouragement.
Understanding these differences can be helpful
Although we are glad God doesn’t reveal too much to us about the workings of Satan’s evil empire, we realize that empire rules the earth today. The important point is that the government of God will benefit all—Satan’s government does not.
God’s Church strives to follow God’s model by encouraging an atmosphere where all can benefit, while at the same time not tolerating sin or improper behavior. We can never claim that the Church or an organization has reached some state of perfection; it is always a work in progress. But we can always endeavour to support and understand the workings of God’s Church and its intended support for the building up of the spiritual body (Ephesians 4:12-16).
In understanding some aspects of how Satan’s evil empire operates, we can gain a greater appreciation for God’s Church on earth.
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