Satan’s Limited Power and Limitations

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and 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.

---Genesis 1:28

Psalm 8:4-8.  Two questions are asked in this Psalm.  “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” and “the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Verse 4) There is one answer, given in verses 5 through 8.

Consider the first question.  “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?”

“For thou hast made him a little lower that the angels.”  The word “angels” is translated from the Hebrew word Elohiym.  This is the name of God and is used exclusively in the first five chapters of Genesis and in hundreds of other places in the Old Testament.  Man was made a little lower than God.  God gave this man dominion over the works of His hands (verses 6-8).

Man was God’s understudy.

Man was God’s king on the earth.

Man was subject only to God and the law of love.

Note: God gave this man complete power over His creation.  He was the boss.

Satan had no power over this creation.  He had no power over this man in Eden.  Satan was only a bystander.

Satan saw the possibility of gaining the dominion that God had given man for himself.  If he could talk man into rebellion against God, the dominion would be his.  He knew Adam was a free moral agent.  He knew that Adam could choose to be a child of God or become a child of Satan.  So he approached the woman and talked her into desiring the forbidden fruit.  Genesis 3:6 shows that the woman did not believe that the fruit of the tree was good for food.  It was when she saw that it was good for food, pleasant to look at, and good to impart wisdom that she ate.

You see, without a desire there can be no temptation. (James 1:13-14.) Eve was deceived by Satan, but Adam ate the fruit fully knowing better.  (1 Timothy 2:14.)  At the moment that Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, Satan became the god of this world.  At that moment, Satan became the prince of the power of the air.  For these titles see Ephesians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:4; and John 14:30.  All the dominion that God had given to man passed into the hands of Satan.  Man legally gave his dominion to the devil.

God I a God of justice.  He is fair.  He recognized the devil’s right to the dominion man had given to him.  Though God is bigger than Satan, He cannot stoop to satanic methods in taking the dominion away from Satan.  When will the power the devil wields over the creation come to an end?  There must be a time element involved as shown by the demons when they spoke to Jesus about tormenting them before the time.  (Matthew 8:29.)  That is another subject.

Who gave Satan his power and dominion over this creation?  Man!  God did not give the devil one bit of authority or power.  No one gives power unto his enemy unless he is a fool.  If God had given the dominion to Satan hen He would be guilty of all the acts of Satan.

Man, in turning his dominion over to Satan, found himself in a hopeless and helpless position.  He had lost control of his eternal destiny.  He needed a Savior.

Let us consider the second question of Psalm *.  “And the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

“For Thou has made him a little lower than the angels.”  In taking this Scripture into the New Testament the writer of the book of Hebrew uses for the word “angels,” the Greek word aggelos.  This is the word translated “angels” in the New Testament.  Jesus was made a little lower than the angels because He was to suffer death.  (Hebrews 2:9.)

To this second Adam God gave the same dominion He gave the first Adam.  It is proven by the fact that Jesus had power over the elements (Matthew 8:26), power over disease (Matthew 8:16-17), and power over death (John 6:39-47).  Jesus had power over the creation but also power to undo what man had brought upon himself.  It was Jesus’ responsibility to break the power of Satan and to set in motion the process which would bring about the redemption of the entire creation.  The whole world groaneth until this is accomplished.  (Romans 8:22.)  Jesus had, and has, dominion over all the power of the enemy.  He, through grace, restored to man the right to regain control over his destiny.

Now let the circle represent the dominion God gave to Adam.

Adam’s Dominion to Satan

It is a limited dominion.  Man gave that dominion over to Satan.  Within this sphere the devil has the right to move and reign.  The devil cannot go beyond that dominion.  To do so would be intruding into the pure realm of God’s dominion.  This the devil cannot do, as God does not hive place to the devil.  This is one reason that 1 Corinthians 10:13 is in the Book.  God will not suffer (let) you to be tempted above that ye are able to take.  Satan cannot use supernatural means to tempt.  Temptation must remain in the realm of that which is common to man.

Another connotation of 1 Corinthians 10:13 is for here and now.  God will not suffer (let) you to be tempted above that ye are able to take.  How:  Because “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).  “I can do all things through Christ.”  (Philippians 4:13.)  To know that gives me strength.

God will make a way of escape from the temptation.  How?  He has given us a shield of faith that quenches all the fiery missiles of the devil.  We have the sword of the Spirit.  Thus, Satan is a lesser power than the fully-equipped Christian.  (Luke 10:19.)

There are two kingdoms operation on the face of this earth.  Each has its own army.  There is the kingdom of God, headed up by Jesus Christ.  He is also Captain of God’s army.  (Hebrews 2:10.)  There is also the kingdom of darkness, headed up by Satan.

God, the Father, defeated Satan by operation through His Son, Jesus Christ.  As a result, that victory has been handed to the army of God which is the body of Jesus.  It is that body’s responsibility to maintain that victory.  Each individual in that body is responsible for putting on all the armor provided.  Each is responsible to maintain that victory in their own lives and help others also to do likewise.  Each soldier must be fully armed.

In warfare, the army that takes the initiative has the advantage.  Our Captain seized the initiative when He met Satan in the wilderness. HE is our victory.  We have the advantage.  So much so that we are more that conquerors.  (Romans 8:37)  That we have the initiative is proven by the fact that the gates of hell cannot prevail against us.  No army takes the gates of its city with it when it goes out to war.  Satan is on the defensive.

The armor of God given the Christian (Ephesians 6:13-17) is for both offensive and defensive warfare.  Offensive, in that we enter the gates of Satan’s kingdom and win people to Christ.  It is defensive to we can meet Satan’s counterattacks.  That shield of faith is invincible.  God’s army is the best equipped and trained that ever was put in the field.  It is sad so many Christians do not take their place as active soldiers’

God’s army is not ignorant of Satan’s devices.  (2 Corinthians 2:11.) What are his devices?

He goes about as a roaring lion.  (1Peter 5:8)  A big showoff, a lot of noise, all to frighten, all to try to cover up the fact of his defeat-he is trying to bluff God’s people.  He roars and the fearful tremble.  The devil is looking for those who will give place to him.  How do people give place to the devil?  Bu being careless, by taking chances, by breaking the law of love, by being fearful, by neglecting prayer, by not feeding consistently on the “Word,” by not being sober and vigilant.  God does not allow the devil to get the advantage over these soldiers.  They allow it by not using the equipment God has given them.  They allow it by not being alert.

The alert soldier knows that he can keep himself and that the wicked one cannot touch him.  (1John 5:18)  He keepeth himself by being alert and using the equipment provided.  The alert soldier knows that God is fully in, with, and back of him.  The alert soldier knows that when temptation comes, it is not being allowed of God.  God cannot tempt neither can He be tempted (James 1:13).  For God to allow the devil to tempt would make God a partaker of the temptation.  He cannot be a party to temptation.

Another method of the devil is to come as an angel of light.  (2 Corinthians 11:14)  In this method, he comes using the Scriptures to deceive.  He also has servants among men who handle the Word of God deceitfully.  The true member of Christ’s body does not handle the Word of God deceitfully.  (2 Corinthians 4:2)  The alert soldier of God measures every teaching by the Word.  He searches the Scriptures to see if the teaching being presented is correct.  (Acts 17:11.)

Satan is desperate.  He knows he has only a short time. (Revelation 12:12)  Within the sphere of influence given to him by man, he can counterattack to try and regain what he has lost to the Son of God.  He does not need God’s permission to do this.  For God to grant such permission would make Him a party to the defense of evil.

God is operating against the army of hell through the body of His Son, the Church.  The soldier of God is the salt of the earth.  (Matthew 5:13)  Salt prevents the spread of corruption.  “Ye are the light of the world”  (Matthew 5:14)  Light dispels darkness and lights up the true way for men to see and enter.

The soldier of God is one spirit with the Lord.  (Corinthians 6:17) the very substance of God indwells him.  “Ye in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20).  He is a new species, a new creation.  ( 2 Corinthians 5:17).  He is a member of Jesus’ body, flesh, and bones.  ( Ephesians 5:30). He shares in the power and authority of the Head of the body of which he is a member.  He has power over all the power of the enemy.  (Luke 10:19).

As a soldier of God he has the finest of equipment.  (Ephesians 6:13-17.)  It is an invincible armor-a shield of faith that quenches all the fiery darts (missiles) of the devil.  The sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, is so powerful the devil cannot stand against it.  He flees from it.  (James 4”7). The soldier of God reigns in life now by one, our Lord Jesus Christ.  (Romans 5:17).  The Soldier of God is one in life now with Jesus Christ.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).  Be strong in the grace of God.  (2 Timothy 2:1).  The devil’s power is limited.  His power was broken by our Savior.  You are one with Him in destroying the works of the devil.  He came to destroy the works of the devil.  (1John 3:8)  Destroy his works every chance you get.  How do you do this?  By presenting the Word, by casting out devils, by healing the sick-in short, by doing His works.  (John 14:12.) the gates of hell cannot prevail against you. 

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Interview with Roberts Liardon about John G. Lake