God wants us to live in reality, but all too often we are so focused on this world that we cannot imagine that there is anything else. As believers in a supernatural God that came to Earth to die for our sins, this is a big dilemma. We claim to believe in something that we’ve never seen, and in a Book that not only tells us that God is real, but that there is an active demonic host that is also real.
Furthermore, we learned that we are at war, even though everything around us looks like we’re at peace. That is because the Enemy wants us distracted, so we will be ineffective.
This Has Been the Pattern From the Beginning
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Reality was what God said, when He said to Adam and Eve that if they ate of the tree, they would die. We know it both because we know that God doesn’t lie and that we can see what happened when Adam and Eve ate. I believe that Adam and Eve were also content to believe God and live at peace, until the serpent presented Eve with another reality.
His alternative? He told even Eve that reality was not what God said it was, that God was hoping that Adam and Eve would not become like Him by eating the tree. In his temptation of Eve, he appealed to every facet of temptation:
- The Lust of the Flesh – Can’t you see that it’s good for food?
- The Lust of the Eye – Can’t you see how good it looks?
- Pride of Life – This fruit can make you as wise as God!
The serpent posed an alternative reality, an attractive reality that Eve wanted to believe in, and we all know what happened next. She took the fruit—proving that she could touch it and not die—and then ate. After that she offered it to her husband and the world has never been the same.
He Has Had Free Reign Over This Earth
When asked who is in control of this world, many would answer God. And yet what the Bible says is interesting in response to this.
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
In Matthew 4:8-9, Satan tempts Jesus with something that doesn’t make any sense, if you believe that Jesus/God was in control of the world. Satan offers all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus if He would bow down at Satan’s feet. This implies that it was Satan’s to give, as Jesus never questions Satan’s ownership or ability to deliver on his promise.
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
In Ephesians 2:1-3 we read that Satan is the prince of the power of the air that is now at work in this world. Prince means governing authority or one that is in charge. Satan still has authority in this world, in this case, the authority over all those that are not Christ’s.
31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
In John 12:31, Jesus pronounces that Satan ruled this world, but now the title belongs to Jesus—this is looking forward to the fact that He will pay the price for our sins by dying on the cross and being raised again to life.
However, even though the tide has turned and Christ is won the victory over sin and death, those that are in sin are still following Satan and are still slaves to sin (2 Corinthians 4). These people have yet to claim the life that has been offered as death has been replaced with life (1 Corinthians 15:20-22).
It reminds me much of Napoleon and how even when he was deposed, he was always trying to grow an army to recover his rule over France and Europe. Satan is deposed, and yet rules over those that do not believe. He keeps them blinded to the truth, and attempts to keep those with the light engaged in this world and distracted from reality so that we may be ineffective in the battle that we all face.
Bible quotes taken from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.