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 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×).
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 Revelation 20:1-3 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
American King James Version×). 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 Matthew 12:22-29 22 Then was brought to him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, so that the blind and dumb both spoke and saw.
23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow does not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
25 And 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 shall not stand:
26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come to you.
29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
American King James Version×, 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 Ezekiel 28:13-17 13 You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created.
14 You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were on the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the middle of the stones of fire.
15 You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you.
16 By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the middle of you with violence, and you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from the middle of the stones of fire.
17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you.
American King James Version×), 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 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×). 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 Revelation 12:4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
American King James Version×). 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 Genesis 1:26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
American King James Version×). 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 Matthew 4:1-10 1 Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil takes him up into the holy city, and sets him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And said to him, If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning you: and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God. 8 Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. 10 Then said Jesus to him, Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.
American King James Version×), to resist him when tempted in the wilderness, and to show that the ruler of this world was judged (John 16:11 John 16:11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
American King James Version×). 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 Ephesians 4:12-16 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
14 That we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love.
American King James Version×).
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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