By Ed Tarkowski
Part 3: Who Gave Satan A Place Of Authority In This World?
Satan's Power And Authority In This World Are Conditional
God tests our hearts according to His set word and His firmly established plan, to bring all to perfect completion. Satan tempts men from out of his rebellion, to entrap them by blinding them to the gospel. He wants men to set up an earthly kingdom of worship of himself and he is doing so by changing the word of God into a lie. Both of these kingdoms are at present invisible, but both will be made manifest in their proper order and at the proper time.
Satan's power and authority in this world IS CONDITIONAL on man's accepting the power Satan offers. Man's responsibility is to love God and love the truth, and if he does that, Satan's effect on a person IS BROUGHT TO NOUGHT. A good example of that would be the coming antichrist. He will accept the devil's deceptions to think he could rule the world as God, but if he rejected it, that worship would never come to full fruition. Satan still has the power to attempt to tempt man, but man doesn't have to accept what is "offered." In other words, his power would be brought to nought.
God Honors The Authority He Gave Man In The Garden
In the garden, God said to Adam and Eve, "have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Gen 1:28). God has never nullified that command, even though man was deceived into allowing sin and death to enter into his world. This command was to find ultimate fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that man was deceived doesn't excuse man for what he allowed nor did it nullify God's command to have dominion.
Man, Not The Devil, Is The Problem
Satan will give temporary world rule to one man and bring chaos and death to the earth, but it will NOT BE GOD'S FAULT. Why? First, God has given His word to all men to know what to do in any circumstance, and second, because man can know the truth and therefore DOES NOT HAVE TO accept what Satan offers through his lies and deceits and his acting like God through the USE of God's word! The problem is not with God, NOR with the devil's temptation, BUT WITH MAN and the lusts of his heart. For instance, let's look at the current "revival." Paul said,
2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
"The time [that] will come" is now. And notice in these two verses, it is THEY, men, who won't endure sound doctrine, it is THEY, men, who listen to false teachers, it is THEY, men, who have itching ears, it is THEY, men, who turn their ears from the truth, it is THEY, men, who turn the truth into fables. WHY? Because of "THEIR own lusts." Teachers offering prosperity, success, health, power, authority, the throne and THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD have come and played on those lusts, and men are turning away from what God has plainly said. These men are tempting those in the Church to follow things other than what God has said, playing on the desires of their listeners who refuse to persevere in the life of Christ Jesus on high. These men are tempting many to turn away from the faith because they themselves have yielded to those very same temptations presented by the adversary. As the Church, WE DO NOT HAVE TO LISTEN TO THEM OR YIELD TO THOSE TEMPTATIONS just as they didn't have to listen to the spirits which seduced them. This is where true spiritual warfare takes place, not outwardly, such as by "taking the nations for Christ," but inwardly. In every man, the heart is where temptation to pursue the rule of the nations takes place. The nations are only the devil's reward for yielding to the sin he tempts with.
Jesus Came To Destroy The Works Of The Devil, Not Rule The Nations
God wanted man to have dominion over the earth, but His plan was that a PARTICULAR MAN, His Son, God come in the flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ, would rule the nations (Isaiah 45:12-13). But today, the "Church" is pursuing taking the nations to rule over them, an effort that came about by a twisting of God's word through the lies and deceits of the adversary. In the wilderness temptation, Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, and Jesus did what Adam should have done: put that snake under his feet and maintain dominion over it. What Jesus refused, the "Church" has now accepted, because it didn't hold to the word of God in its proper context. Today, Satan has taken some men captive to do his will, and he is tempting the Church with the nations through these men. These men are not originating those temptations. They are coming from seducing spirits:
1 Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.
Jesus showed these realities to the leaders of His own time, as well. In the gospel of John we read,
John 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
And again Jesus said their problem was not the Devil, but their hearts. In Matthew, He said,
Matt 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? FOR OUT OF THE ABUNDANCE OF THE HEART THE MOUTH SPEAKETH. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
In all the encounters Jesus had with the devil, especially in Matthew and Luke 4, He was not taking back dominion of the outward world as though the devil had stole it in the garden. He was destroying the works of the devil IN MAN and giving man back power to resist temptation when it came:
1 John 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. FOR THIS PURPOSE the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy THE WORKS of the devil [in man]. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
Luke 11:21 When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: 22 But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.
Jesus came forgiving sin and speaking truth and in doing that, He took the tempter's armor away and stole his goods: the people under his domination. Did He then send them out to conquer the nations? No, He said it was a time of rejoicing for them. He said,
Luke 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Those in the "revival," though, are rejoicing because they are taking the nations for Christ. Great celebrations are planned, yet it is all deception because they departed from the word of God through the enticements of the devil. This is why Paul said,
Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
"Thus Saith The Lord" Followed By "Hath God Said"
In the above verses I mentioned, whether or not one places himself under the devil as a child of disobedience depends on whether that person allows the word of God to be changed in their hearts. It's the temptation of the garden played out time after time, day in and day out in our minds and hearts. The "apple" is still in the heart of every man, and it's defined today as whatever your weakness is, whatever you lust after. Temptation is when the devil points to "whatever" and says, "Hath God said....?" In the garden, the devil came through a serpent; now he often comes through men with "new revelations" that tempt men's hearts because of the "apple" still there. These "new revelations" are basically saying, "Hath God said?" For example, God did say man was to rule the nations. What the devil offered man was something God wanted man to have in the first place. But God wanted it accomplished out of a heart that was obedient to His word and according to how He wanted to bring it about. These men come saying there won't be tribulation, but only blessings from God in these times. They say the "Church" can establish a kingdom, supposedly God's, and can rule this world. They play on our lust to be blessed and to dominate. Through it all, Satan is saying, "You can have the nations. What I want is the worship that belongs to God." That's why Peter said,
1 Pet 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God . . .
MAN, NOT GOD OR SATAN, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PROBLEMS OF THIS WORLD
Living "in the flesh to the lusts of men." What is the opposite? Living in the will of God, revealed through what God has said. Spiritual warfare occurs when Satan comes with his, "Hath God said . . .?" after God comes to us with His, "Thus sayeth the Lord . . . " This is the difference between the TESTING BY GOD and the TEMPTING BY THE EVIL ONE and it all hinges on what we do with the word of God and with the devil when comes with his, "Hath God said . . .?"
The problem is that man refuses to know the word of God and live by it and instead gives place to the devil. In the garden of Eden, man knew the word of God but didn't live by it, and he fell for that temptation by allowing God's word plainly given to him to be changed. THROUGH THAT YIELDING, THE DEVIL WAS GIVEN A PLACE IN THIS WORLD TO TEMPT MAN. Jesus, the second [sinless] man and the last Adam, knew the word of God and did live by it - perfectly - AND THE DEVIL FOUND NO PLACE IN HIM. The first man, a type of the one to come (Rom 5:14), was tested and fell. The second was tempted and didn't fall and left this world victorious. God's plan was that man wouldn't fall, that he would resist the devil so he would flee (1 Peter 5:8-9), that man would not allow himself to lust after anything in this world (1 John 2:16-17) - including the nations of this world - and do according to what God had said. Do you see who is responsible for the devil being here and causing all these problems? MAN! All man had to do was to hold to what God had said and refuse the temptation to do otherwise. All of the fallen humanity and all of the sin and death that man allowed into this world came THROUGH ONE SIMPLE TEMPTATION. If man had said, "No, this is what God has said," NONE OF THESE THINGS WOULD BE HERE, and man could have said to himself, "The adversary came but had nothing in me." God didn't allow all of this evil in; MAN DID. And, now we all have the opportunity to stand in the authority God has given us as His sons in Christ under Christ. Every day, in each of us, the devil points to the "apples" in our hearts in order to find a place in us and cause us to fall just as he gained a place in this world through original man. MAN, NOT GOD, is responsible for the adversary having any place in this world. It is true God allows the devil to tempt man with the nations of this world, but that OFFER IS ONLY TEMPTATION:
Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 Being forty days TEMPTED of the devil. . . 7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine."
It was an offer - and Jesus refused. The devil could find no place in Him.
Repentance And Restoration From Temptation
In the following the word "snare" means "temptation":
2 Timothy:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare [temptation] of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will [because they yielded to his temptations.]
Many in the "Revival" have yielded to the temptations that offer power, success and authority over the nations, but James says God still works in their lives to bring them to repentance. There are also those who haven't fallen, and James says for those to call it all joy:
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
"Patience . . . perfect work . . . wanting nothing . . ." What if we do let patience do her perfect work in us so we want nothing? Then the lusts, the "apple," the thing that the devil tempts us with is gone and he has nothing in us in our lives. That's the image of the Lamb of God who said,
John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
Where did Jesus end up because "the prince of this world [came], and [had] nothing in [Him]?" At the right hand of God, waiting to come back to rule the nations (See Psalm2) because He had no sin and sinned not. We will rule the nations with Him when He returns at the end of the age if we be found in Him. Though He was perfect in His patience to do the Father's will, we must let patience do her perfect work in us and not yield to the temptations of the devil. Jesus, through patience, received what was to be given to Him anyway. He would not go against what God had said. He resisted the temptation to rule the nations of this world BEFORE God wanted Him to. But the "Church" has not. It has been tempted with the offer to conquer and rule the nations BEFORE the proper time under Christ, because it refused to believe what God has said about His Son. In many cases, the devil tempts us with something that God desires for us anyways. He wanted Jesus and the Church, under Him, to have the nations and rule over them, in His time. The point? In "wanting nothing," all things are ours in Christ according to what God has written in His word. The nations of this world are but an "apple" on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and men are acting like gods and pursuing just that through the Manifest Sons doctrine. But those not allowing God's word to be changed in their heart will follow the Lamb through it and He will lead them into the millennial reign at His return. This return is when all temptation by the evil one, and thus his authority and power, will come to a temporary halt during the millennium, when we will rule with Christ a thousand years:
Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Rev 2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
Though God is now allowing the devil to exercise his authority upon the earth simply because man is allowing it, He will not allow it forever. Any authority the devil has or thinks he has is a temporary authority. God's authority is forever. Christ Jesus will rule on earth after the devil is confined to the bottomless pit. Jesus will bring in the manifestation of the true Kingdom of God at His coming.
True Spiritual Warfare
One prevalent idea, sometimes subtly hidden, is the idea that there is a spiritual war raging, and that either side can win. We, as Christians, know that is not true. The dominion of darkness reigns in the hearts of men that the Bible calls the "sons of disobedience," while Scripture calls those who believe on Christ the "sons of light." There are only two types of people in this world, which I've just described, and each of them has a ruler. Scripture is clear that men reside under the authority of one ruler or another, while God rules Sovereignly over all. There are no other alternatives, and it is for the sons of disobedience to repent of that disobedience in rejecting the Son of God, Jesus Christ, or remain under the dominion of darkness. Their only way out of that dominion is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, as we Christians have done:
Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
Phil 3:18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
In the meantime, we must hold fast to what we have been given, and the devil will find no place in the remainder of God's end-time Church:
2 Tim 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
Heb 3:5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; 6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Rev 2:24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. 25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.
Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Continued in Part 4.