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A Kingdom of Darkness

This article is incomplete and will be revised and expanded at a later time. I am posting an old article I have on the subject to provide historical continuity.

Introduction

As we stated in the last article, we can only speculate as to how long the beautiful relationship of peace and harmony existed between God and His creation. All too soon, no matter what time frame is involved, the perfect relationship was shattered by the winds of war. How could it happen? What reason can be found to destroy such a unique existence? Our Creator has blessed us with an insight into this awe inspiring drama which began in the heart of one of the most beautiful of His creations and spread to the entire world. Here we enter into the depths of two of the most misunderstood of Biblical concepts – the origin of evil and the principle of sin.

Rebellion in Heaven

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’” (Isa. 14:12-14).

This Scripture records one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the universe, the premeditated declaration of independence of a creature against the absolute authority of his Creator. Lucifer, the most exalted of the angels, second in importance only to the Godhead, charged with the responsibility of guarding the absolute Holiness of God, declared war on his Creator. His action set in motion an organization of resistance that has dominated the universe throughout history. Through his act of treason, Lucifer introduced sin into the universe. “The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning” (I John 3:8, NASB 1995).

Lucifer is still challenging the absolute authority of God, and from the beginning has sealed his destiny. It is difficult for us to comprehend the absolute, eternal authority involved in this process. Man’s authority is either bestowed upon him by his fellowman or is obtained by exercising force upon his fellowman. Man’s authority is temporary; it is retained only as long as sufficient power is maintained to sustain it. Man is always accountable to someone for his actions.

God has absolute authority because of who He is, and He is accountable to no one for He is the Creator. How can a creature be greater than the Creator? The potter always has power over the clay. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3, KJV). ” Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’” (Isa 46:9-10).

God’s knowledge is infinite and His power is unlimited. Because of His infinite knowledge and unlimited power, He has defined perfect rules and laws to govern over His creation. His rules are perfect and consistent in all things. Right and wrong must be measured and defined against what God says is right. If God says it, it is right.

Sin is rebellion against the rules and laws of God. Sin goes against the revealed will of God, and can only be against God. Lucifer was the first creature to rebel against God’s sovereignty and when he rebelled, he introduced sin into the universe and became the father of deceit (John 8:44).

Why did Lucifer rebel? We find that pride and covetousness led to his downfall. Not satisfied with his subordinate role, he tried to pre-empt the throne of God. Look back to the verses quoted from Isaiah 14:12-14; Lucifer stated five “I wills” which he had premeditated in his heart. In each he declares that he will be like or have the power of God. “I will raise my throne above the stars of God” and “I will make myself like the Most High”. Pride and covetousness that are manifested in the “I wills” have been the source of conflict down through the ages.

God will not tolerate rebellion, and in due time rebellious creatures will be destroyed. “For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God ” (Deut. 4:24, KJV). “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another…” (Isa. 42:8a, KJV. “…I am he; I am the first, I also am the last” (Isa. 48:12b, KJV). “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matt. 25:41, KJV).

His Organization

A careful search of Scripture shows that Satan has quite an organization of evil spirits working for him. God must have created these evil spirits, called demons, because he created all things. A probable explanation is that demons are spiritual creatures that have rebelled against God, and may even be fallen angels. Scripture is not clear on the details, but many of the angels were influenced by Lucifer and joined him in rebellion.

In Second Peter chapter two, we read that: “for if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment” (II Peter 2:4).

Matthew chapters 25:41, speaks of a “eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.” Satan did not create his army; he recruited them! The verse in second Peter indicates that some rebellious angels are already in hell, but additional information in Revelation 12:7 tells us that the Archangel Michael will fight against the dragon (Satan) and his angels at a future time.

There is no doubt that Satan’s demons have power that can be manifested in the physical world. They have been known to literally possess people, and their efforts are always contrary to God’s will. Although many people today deny the existence of such creatures, we must recognize that a significant part of the ministry of Jesus was involved in casting out demons. The Apostle Paul tells us in the sixth chapter of Ephesians that we are to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:11,12).

Paul clearly established the fact that we are part of a struggle between good and evil that began long ago and continues today.

Power of Attorney

One of the greatest blessings that was bestowed upon man was the honor and privilege of sharing in the management of God’s creation. But one of the greatest tragedies of all time was man’s mishandling of that responsibility.

“And 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 creepeth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26, KJV).

By executive order, God gave Adam legal authority to have dominion over the earth and all its creatures. Adam was given freedom to make decisions; however, he remained accountable to God for his actions. Whether good or bad, Adam’s decisions were legally binding, and both Adam and all things under his dominion would reap the consequences of his decisions.

We can easily understand what occurred if we relate the authority given to Adam to our giving someone the power of attorney for us. Most of us have given someone the power to act in our behalf in some legal proceeding such as buying or selling a car. Since there are usually no problems with this procedure, we do this without thinking very much about it. Yet, we would be outraged and take immediate action if the party to whom we had given our power of attorney were to take actions contrary to our wishes.

The same legal condition exists when a board of directors gives company officials the legal authority to manage company affairs. Action taken by the officers is legally binding. Adam was made an officer of God’s creation, and was given the legal authority to manage the earth and all its creatures.

When Adam rebelled against God by eating of the forbidden fruit, he severed his unique relationship with God and, thereby, experienced a spiritual death. By his act, he legally subjected himself, the earth, and its creatures to the dominion of Satan. Although we do not totally understand the process involved, Adam caused all of his descendants, including us, to be born under the influence of Satan. Every human being is born as a citizen of this world and spiritually separated from God. If our citizenship is ever to be changed from this world, it must be changed through an avenue provided to us by God. Jesus told the Pharisee, Nicodemus, that he must be born again (John 3:3).

The Bible is clear and definite about Satan’s temporary control over the earth. The Apostle Paul explained this control in no uncertain terms to the Christians in Ephesus. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:1-2, NKJV). When he wrote the book of Colossians, he thanked God for deliverance from the power of darkness, and for being translated into the kingdom of God’s Son (Col. 1:12-14).

Scripture shows that Jesus recognized Satan as “the prince of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). Matthew wrote that Jesus was baptized, and was then led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by Satan. In the final test, Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world. “The devil took Him up on an exceedingly 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 will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’”(Matt. 4:8b-10, NKJV 1995). Jesus did not dispute Satan’s authority to make the offer; He simply stood upon the first commandment and refused the temptation to rebel.

When Satan recruited Adam, his wife and their descendants into his army, he assembled the most powerful war machine ever known outside the power of God. Throughout the ages, he has been an unmerciful and ruthless leader of spiritual warfare against God’s forces of good. The tragedy of this warfare is manifested in the conflicts and suffering of mankind and animals throughout the ages.

All quoted scripture is of the New Kings James version unless noted.

The New America Standard Bible (NASB) is copyrighted by The Lockman Foundation.

The other source is the King James Version (KJV)