Most Christians would know that Satan is God’s implacable enemy, that he hates God and all those who seek to follow Christ. Most Christians would also know that Satan works to deceive Christians into believing what is not true, or not believing what is true, and that he tempts Christians so that they fall into sin and live unrighteous lives. Many Christians, no doubt, would have a story to tell of how they succumbed to temptation into sin, or were deceived into error by the subtle and crafty devices of the enemy.
But most Christians, I venture to suggest, would have virtually no idea that there exists in this world a powerful, industrious, unseen kingdom, an underground kingdom modelled on the kingdom of God, which is working non-stop, with feverish energy and great effectiveness in this world, of which Satan himself is the ruler (John 12:31), and that this hidden kingdom has enjoyed, and is enjoying, extraordinary success in leading God’s people away from eternal life and into eternal damnation.
Why it is that most Christians would not know these things is, itself, a dreadful scandal in the Kingdom of God and a heartbreaking pang to the Lord of Glory, who paid the bloody price of redemption from the hands of Satan, for each and every person born into this world.
Most Christians, alas, think that Satan’s malignancy is directed at those of the world, rather than those called by Christ; but a moment’s reflection should surely show the error of this train of thought. Satan already owns those in the world; he owns everyone who is ever born, because they are born in sin and in sin they will live and die unless they are snatched away from Satan’s hands by Christ Jesus.
No, it is those begotten again of God, those who were lost but are now found, those who were blind but now see, who attract the focus, the enmity and the full ferocity of Satan and his kingdom. His purpose is to draw them away from the True Christ by guile, fleshliness and worldliness, and take them back into the captivity into which they were born. He delights in this undoing of the work of Christ Jesus, stealing back those whom Christ had redeemed. For he is a thief (John 10:1) and a liar (john 8:44).
His work is made easier because there is an awful complacency amongst Christians concerning Satan. There is no appetite to study what the scriptures have to say about him and his kingdom. Mistakenly, they believe he is defeated once and for all. And they are right in one sense; Jesus defeated Satan on the Cross; He did what only He could do and what Adam failed to do. He did not fall for Satan’s deceptions or temptations, as did Adam, and so He became perfect in obedience to the Father.
But the fruits of this victory of Christ do not automatically belong to each individual Christian on conversion. While His life, death and resurrection mean that salvation is now possible for mankind, there is yet much to do for each one of us if we are to gain our share in Christ’s triumph on the Cross.
But we must put first things first; and the first principle of military strategy is to understand the enemy, his strength, his resources, his dispositions and his tactics. The purpose here then, is to unveil some of what the scriptures have to say about Satan and his kingdom, in the hope that this might encourage others to pursue deeper study on a critically important subject that has been so long neglected by the Christian community generally.
The Kingdom of Satan in Scripture
“And if Satan also is divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand?” (Luke 11:18).
Satan then, has a kingdom, one which Jesus acknowledges and, like all kingdoms, it has certain features. Firstly, it has a king, who is Satan; and a king needs a throne, authority, power, subjects and territory that the king dominates and rules. As to the latter, we know that Satan’s territory is this world, for we have seen that Jesus described Satan as the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31 & 16:11).
God tells us something of Satan’s intentions when He spoke through His prophet Isaiah;
“But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’ “ (Isaiah 14:13-14).
Here God is telling Isaiah of something that had taken place before the foundation of the world and the beginning of time; God is giving us a glimpse of these pre-existing events as a warning; we are to know not only the existence of our enemy but also the purpose and character of his kingdom; he wants to be just like God; he wants to be mistaken for God by God’s own people.
Given God’s purpose in revealing these pre-creation events, there can be little excuse for Christians who fail to take seriously God’s warning and seek to search out the scriptures for themselves. Before the judgment seat of Christ, we cannot plead ignorance when we have before us such a significant bookmark to an enemy in the camp, more so since the New Testament emphasises the point in Jesus’ reference to “wheat and tares” (Matthew 13:30) and “sheep and goats” (Matthew 25:32).
We must remember that Satan was the masterpiece of God’s handiwork amongst the angels. He was the “Seal of resemblance” that is, as like God as it was possible for a created being to be; “he was a crown of Beauty” in God’s kingdom; he was in the garden of Eden; he was clothed with every precious stone; he was “the anointed cherub”, the covering cherub, who was on the holy mountain of God and was in the midst of the stones of fire (Ezekiel 28:12-14). These scriptures describe an impressive figure indeed in God’s kingdom.
Next to the only begotten Son, there could have been no creature who was as close to, and intimate, with God, as Lucifer, the “Star of the Morning” (Isaiah 14:12). This intimacy means that he knows how to pretend to be God; and Paul warns us that Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Therefore, it is prudent to look at the fundamental structure of God’s kingdom and compare it to what the scriptures have told us of Satan’s kingdom.
The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan Compared
On the information provided in scripture, God is a triune divine personality consisting of a Father, an only begotten Son and the Holy Spirit. The Godhead is served by angels, who are “powerful in strength, who perform His Word and who hearken to the voice of His Word” (Psalm 103:20). These angels are created spiritual creatures, like “flames of fire” (Hebrews 1:7), being sent out to minister to “those being about to inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14).
On the other hand, the scriptures reveal that the kingdom of Satan, which is designed to seem like God’s, consists of fallen angels; Satan, the imitation father figure; the spirit of anti-Christ, the imitation son figure; and the spirit of the world (1 Corinthians 2:12).
The Holy Spirit of God is omnipresent; that is, He is everywhere at the same time. For this reason, it was expedient that Jesus went away, because in His humanity, He was able only to minister to those in His presence and if He didn’t go away, the Holy Spirit couldn’t come (John 16:7). Now, believers are able to know and experience the presence of God, who is everywhere, not in any sense diffused, but fully, in His whole being, in every place and in every believer.
On the other hand, Satan, being a created being, is not omnipresent and is limited to being in one place at a time; however, he is assisted in his work of deception and temptation by millions of demons, like him, fallen angels, who joined him in his rebellion against the throne and majesty of Almighty God. So what is called “the spirit of anti-Christ” is, in reality, many spirits, each of whom are appointed to afflict one person (See 1 John 2:18).
Other comparative features of the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan are:
God’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of righteousness; that of Satan a kingdom of lawlessness.
God’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of True Light; that of Satan is a kingdom of false light, or darkness (Matthew 6:23).
God’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of Truth; that of Satan a kingdom of lies.
God’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of Life; that of Satan a kingdom of death.
God’s Kingdom was revealed in the “Mystery of Godliness” (1Timothy 3:16); that of Satan is revealed in the “mystery of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).
God’s authority is an everlasting authority that comes from Himself as the source of all authority in the world; Satan’s authority in this world was stolen from Adam, to whom God gave it, and through whose sin that authority to rule the world was lost. This worldly authority was subsequently offered by Satan to Jesus, on the condition that Jesus would fall down and worship Satan.
“And the devil, taking Him up into a high mountain, showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. All this authority will I give You, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If You therefore will worship me, all shall be Yours” (Luke 4:5-7).
So the prophetic scriptures show quite clearly that Satan is the king of a kingdom and that it is established on a similar pattern to that of God. They plainly point out Satan’s ambition; to be like God. To realise that ambition, he has established his own kingdom, which imitates certain features of the Kingdom of God in ways that give it the appearance of being God’s Kingdom. Remember, “…Satan disguises himself as an angel of light………………his servants also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
To most Christians, the fact that Satan has an existing, effective kingdom in this world is unheard of; or, if it has been heard of, the tendency is to disregard it as having no importance to Christians. This is a fatal mistake.