Who is the Ruler of this world - God or Satan?
Many modern perversions have bought into Satan's lie
1 John 5:19 KJB - "And we know that we are of God, and THE WHOLE WORLD LIETH IN WICKEDNESS."
NIV - "We know that we are the children of God, and that THE WHOLE WORLD IS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE EVIL ONE."
ESV (NASB) - "We know that we are from God, and THE WHOLE WORLD LIES IN THE POWER OF THE EVIL ONE."
Jehovah Witness New World Translation - "but the whole world is lying IN THE POWER OF THE WICKED ONE."
Who is in control of the world? Is it God or Satan?
Jesus Christ said: "ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH." Matthew 28:18.
Daniel 4:17, 25, 32 - "the most High RULETH IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN, AND GIVETH IT TO WHOMSOEVER HE WILL"
Abraham knew who was in control of this world when he says to the king of Sodom - "I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, THE POSSESSOR of heaven and earth." Genesis 14:22
The Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:13 ends with: "For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever, Amen."
This phrase is in brackets in the NASB and removed in the NIV, RSV, Jehovah Witness New World Translation and ESV. Jesus either said it or he didn't; they can't all be right. See "The Lord's Prayer - Is your Bible a Catholic bible?" for more information about this verse.
In Ephesians 1:20-22 it is said of Christ that God "raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; AND HATH PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET."
Daniel 4:17, 25, 26 tell us three times that "THE MOST HIGH RULETH IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN, AND GIVETH IT TO WHOMSOEVER HE WILL."
2 Chronicles 20:6 affirms: "O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? AND RULEST NOT THOU OVER ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE HEATHEN? AND IN THINE HAND IS THERE NOT POWER AND MIGHT, SO THAT NONE IS ABLE TO WITHSTAND THEE?"
"For the kingdom is the LORD'S; and HE IS THE GOVERNOR AMONG THE NATIONS." Psalm 22:28
"Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it." Isaiah 46:9-11
God is the sovereign ruler and controller of this world, as well as the entire universe. "The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein." Psalm 24:1 "for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof." Psalm 50:12. "He ruleth by his power forever." Psalm 66:7
There is only one King, and Satan is not that king, nor the controller, or the ruler of this world - at least according to the true Holy Bible - the King James Bible of 1611 - which is pure in all its precepts and true in all its doctrines.
However such is not the case with a multitude of inferior bible versions on the market today.
Satan is a liar from the beginning. In Luke 4:6, when the devil tempted the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness, Satan told Jesus that all the kingdoms of the world were his and that he gave them to whomsoever he would. He lied. He is a liar and the father of it - John 8:44.
Satan's statement directly contradicts Daniel 4:17 which says "THE MOST HIGH RULETH IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN, AND GIVETH IT TO WHOMSOEVER HE WILL."
What Satan claims also contradicts Jeremiah 27:5-6 where God says: "I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, AND HAVE GIVEN IT UNTO WHOM IT SEEMED MEET UNTO ME. And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, MY SERVANT; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him."
Adam Clarke makes these comments regarding the boastful statement of Satan: " Satan, it is true, has said that the kingdoms of the world and their glory are his, and that he gives them to whomsoever he will; Matthew 4:8,9. BUT HAS GOD EVER SAID SO? AND ARE WE TO TAKE THIS ASSERTION OF THE BOASTING DEVIL AND FATHER OF LIES FOR TRUTH? CERTAINLY NOT."
Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments - 2 Corinthians 4:4 - “"Satan is not a god properly, but is merely one in reference to those who have sinfully made him such." Many believe, as did Lipscomb, that the sin of Adam "transferred the allegiance and rule of the world from God to the devil"; but the conviction here is that all of Satan's authority is usurped, that only what God permits is he able to do; and as for the notion that Satan in any meaningful sense rules the world, Nebuchadnezzar had to eat grass for seven years in order to learn that "The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (Daniel 4:25). THIS MEANS THAT SATAN'S PROMISE TO GIVE CHRIST THE RULERSHIP OF THE WORLD IN RETURN FOR FALLING DOWN AND WORSHIPING THE DEVIL (Matthew 4:4) WAS AN UNQUALIFIED FALSEHOOD."
Likewise John Wesley comments on Luke 4:6 where Satan tells the Lord Jesus that all the kingdoms of the world had been given to him - "I give it to whomsoever I will - NOT SO, SATAN. IT IS GOD, NOT THOU, THAT PUTTETH DOWN ONE, AND SETTETH UP ANOTHER: although sometimes Satan, by God's permission, may occasion great revolutions in the world."
John Calvin remarks on this section of Scripture: "HERE THE DARING INSOLENCE OF THE DEVIL IS MANIFESTED, IN ROBBING GOD OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD, AND CLAIMING IT FOR HIMSELF.
Many Modern Versions have bought into the Lie
But the NIV, NAS, ESV, Jehovah Witness NWT, NKJV and the newer Catholic versions have bought Satan's lie and are passing it off onto God's children.
All Greek texts read the same in 1 John 5:19, so it is not a textual variation, but a simple matter of sound and consistent doctrine as opposed to a lie. The Greek texts read: "Οἴδαμεν ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐσμεν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος ὅλος ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ κεῖται."
"THE WHOLE WORLD LIETH IN WICKEDNESS"
In I John 5:19 the King James Bible along with the Tyndale 1525, the Bishops Bible 1568 - "We knowe that we are of God, & the whole worlde lieth in wickedness.", the Geneva Bible 1587 - " We knowe that we are of God, and this whole world lieth in wickedness.", Beza'a N.T. 1599 - "the whole world leith in wickedness.", Douay-Rheims 1587 - "the whole world is set in wickedness.", the Bill Bible 1671, Young's 1898 -"and the whole world in the evil doth lie.", Lamsa's translation of the Peshitta, Webster's 1833 translation, the Douay-Rheims 1582 - "We know that we are of God and the whole world is seated in wickedness.", The Clarke N.T. 1795, The Newcome N.T. 1796, The Revised Translation 1815, The Wakefield N.T. 1820 - "the whole world is in wickedness.", The Kneeland N.T. 1823, The Dickinson N.T. 1833 - "the whole world is immersed in wickedness", the Pickering N.T. 1840, The Morgan N.T. 1848, The Hewett N.T. 1850 - "the whole world is seated in wickedness", The Commonly Received Version 1851, Julia Smith Translation 1855, Sawyer N.T. 1858, The Kendrick N.T. 1862 - "the whole world leith in wickedness", The Revised N.T. 1862, The Ainslie N.T. 1869, The Smith Bible 1876, The Sharpe Bible 1883, The Dillard N.T. 1885, Young's 1898 -"the whole world in the evil doth lie.", The Clarke N.T. 1913, The Word of Yah 1993, the KJV 21st Century version 1994, The Revised Webster Bible 1995, Green's literal translation 2005 and Green's Modern KJV 2000, A Conservative Version 2005, Faithful New Testament 2009 -"the whole world lies in wickedness", the Knox Bible of 2012 - "though the whole world about us lies in the power of evil.", the Analytical Literal Translation - "and the whole world lies in evil.", the Jubilee Bible 2010, the Third Millennium Bible 1998, the Tomson N.T. 2002, The Conservative Bible 2010 - "the whole world remains wicked", The Holy Scriptures VW Edition 2010, the 2012 Interlinear Hebrew/Greek Scriptures (Lanny Mebust) all say: "And we know that we are of God, and THE WHOLE WORLD LIETH IN WICKEDNESS.", the Modern English Version 2014 - "the whole world lies in wickedness."
God's First Truth 1999 - "We know that we are of God, and that the world is all together SET ON WICKEDNESS."
The 2009 Bond Slave Version - “and the whole age lies IN WICKEDNESS."
The 2009 Sacred Scriptures, Catholic Public Domain Version - "the entire world is established IN WICKEDNESS."
Conservative Version 2011 - “We know that we are God's, but THE WHOLE WORLD REMAINS WICKED."
The Work of God's Children Illustrated Bible 2011 - "the whole world is SEATED IN WICKEDNESS."
Wycliffe's Bible says: " We witen, that we ben of God, and al the world is set in yuel." Or the modernized version would be: "We know that we be of God and all the world IS SET IN EVIL."
Miles Coverdale's 1535 translation says: "We know that we are of God, and the whole world is set altogether in wickedness."
The Great Bible 1540 and Matthew's Bible 1549 both read like Wycliffe and Coverdale translations and reveal the same truth found in the King James Bible saying: ""
Foreign Language Bibles
Foreign language Bibles that agree with the meaning found in the King James Bible are Luther's German Bible 1545 - "Wir wissen, daß wir von Gott sind; und die ganze Welt liegt im Argen." = "We know that we are of God; and the whole world is wrong.", the German Schlachter Bible of 2000 - "und dass die ganze Welt sich im Bösen befindet." = "and that the whole world is evil.", the French Martin 1744 and French Ostervald 1996 and the Louis Segond of 2007 - "et que le monde entier est plongé dans le mal." = "and that the world is plunged into evil.", the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569, the Spanish Reina Valera of 1858, 1909 and the Reina Valera Gómez Bible of 2010 - "Sabemos que somos de Dios, y el mundo entero yace en maldad." = "the whole world lies in wickedness", the Romanian Fidela 2009 and Romanian Cornilescu Bible - "Ştim că sîntem din Dumnezeu şi că toată lumea zace în cel rău." = "We know that we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness.", the Hungarian Karoli Bible - "és az egész világ a gonoszságban vesztegel." = "and the whole world lies in wickedness", and the Russian Synodal Version - "что мы от Бога и что весь мир лежит во зле." = "We are from God and the whole world lies in wickedness."
Many commentators who are usually sound in their doctrine become very confused in their thinking when they try to explain this passage, yet the meaning as it stands in the true Holy Bible is quite clear. We live in a fallen world; it lies in sin and wickedness, just as the text says. But God is still in control and ruling over all His creation. "He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" Ephesians 1:11. Even though it may appear that wickedness is winning, the eye of faith sees his sovereignty and rejoices in this confidence.
No one denies that Satan has power, but he is NOT in control of this world, nor is he its Ruler. This is perhaps best illustrated in the book of Job. Satan can do nothing without God's permission. He can only go as far as God allows him. God Himself is the Almighty.
Some wonder how the world can be so bad off if Satan is not in control. But just read the first three chapters of the book of Romans where we read of the fall of man and its consequences. There is no mention of the devil at all in these chapters. Man in his fallen, sinful state does just fine messing things up all by himself.
However, believe it or not, many new versions pervert the truth of God's sovereign rule and would have us believe that Satan is the ruler of this world and is in control. In fact, they come right out and say it in these exact words.
The NIV says: "The whole world is UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE EVIL ONE."
Before you rush to your school boy Greek to defend this obvious lie, check out any of your own preferred bible versions and notice how they frequently translate nouns that have the definite article. See for instance Romans 12:9 in the NIV, NKJV, NASB, or the NASB in Matthew 5:37 and 6:13. See also the King James Bible in Matthew 5:37, 39 "that ye resist not evil"; 6:13 "deliver us from evil" and John 17:15 "but that thou shouldest keep them from evil."
This word with the definite article CAN also mean "the wicked one" and it is so translated in 1 John 2:13, 14 "ye have overcome the wicked one", 3:12 "Cain who was of that wicked one", and 1 John 5:18 "and that wicked one toucheth him not.", but the KJB translators and others were led by God and sound theology to correctly translate it as "the whole world lieth in WICKEDNESS" here in 1 John 5:19.
NASB " the whole world LIES IN THE POWER OF THE EVIL ONE."
Today's English Version "the whole world IS UNDER THE RULE OF THE EVIL ONE."
Jehovah Witness New World Translation - "but the whole world is lying IN THE POWER OF THE WICKED ONE."
Contemporary English Versions - "the rest of the world IS UNDER THE POWER OF THE DEVIL."
ESV (English Standard Version) "the whole world LIES IN THE POWER OF THE EVIL ONE."
Living Bible 1981 "the world around us IS UNDER SATAN'S POWER AND CONTROL."
ISV (International Standard Version) "the whole world LIES UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE EVIL ONE."
The Catholic Connection
The Catholic versions are in their usual disarray. The older Douay-Rheims of 1582 reads like the King James Bible - "We know that we are of God and THE WHOLE WORLD IS SEATED IN WICKEDNESS."
But the St. Joseph New American bible 1970 and the New Jerusalem bible of 1985 teach the same lie found in the NIV, NASB, ESV saying: "and the whole world IS IN THE POWER OF THE EVIL ONE."
However now the latest Catholic Public Domain Version of 2009 has gone back to the meaning found in the KJB, reading: "We know that we are of God, and that THE ENTIRE WORLD IS ESTABLISHED IN WICKEDNESS."
The NKJV, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible try to strike a medium with : "the whole world LIES UNDER THE SWAY OF THE WICKED ONE" but the NKJV as well as the RSV, NASB, Holman Standard and the ESV are also wrong when three times they refer to Satan as "THE RULER of this world" in John 12:31; 14:30, and 16:11.
Is Satan "the PRINCE of this world" or "the RULER of this world"?
Versions like the NKJV, NASB, ESV, Holman, NET, the Jehovah Witness NWT all have the Lord Jesus referring to Satan as "THE RULER of this world" in John 12:31; 14:30, and 16:11.
Satan is NOT "the ruler of this world"!
He is the spiritual "prince of this world", as the KJB 1611, Revised Version 1885, ASV 1901, Wycliffe 1395, Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible (Cranmer) 1540, the Bishops's bible 1568, the Geneva bible 1560 - 1602, the Beza N.T. 1599, Wesley's translation 1755, Whiston's Primitive New Testament 1745, Worsley Version 1770, The Revised Translation 1815, Noyes Translation 1869, The Alford N.T. 1870, Darby 1890, Weymouth N.T. 1903, The Moffatt N.T 1913, Lamsa's translation of the Syriac 1936, Douay 1950, World English Bible 2000, the Tomson N.T,. 2002, The Resurrection Life N.T. 2005, The New European Version 2010, The Jubilee Bible 2010, The Hebraic Transliteration Scripture 2010, The Work of God's Children Bible 2011, The Lexham English Bible 2012,The Biblos Bible 2013, The New International Reader's Version 2014, The Tree of Life Version 2015 and even the NIV 2011 correctly have Jesus referring to Satan as "the PRINCE of this world", but there are also other spiritual "princes" or beings working among the nations, and all of them are under the control of God and not Satan.
Remember, the Lord Jesus Christ is set "far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet." Ephesians 1:22.
Daniel chapter 10 reveals that there are spiritual "princes" of Persia and of Grecia, and the angel Michael is one of the chief princes of the nation of Israel. These are members of the spiritual principalities and powers in the heavenly places, Satan being the "prince of the power of the air" Ephesians 2:2, but he is not, as the NKJV, ESV, NET and the NASB teach, the RULER of this world.
I have asked people who use the NIV or any of these modern versions a simple question. Who is in control of this world, God or Satan? They almost always say: "Well, of course, God is in control."
Then I show them what the NIV, NASB, and NKJV say in 1 John 5:19, or in John 12:31; 14:30 and 16:11. Usually they are a bit shocked and begin to doubt the reliability of these versions (as well they should). But unfortunately what I have most often found to be the case is that after a short while they then try to defend this obvious error by a series of silly explanations.
It is a very simple question. Does the King James Bible teach that Satan is the ruler of this world, and that the whole world is under the control of the Evil One? Answer: NO
Do the NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV teach that Satan is the ruler of this world and that the whole world is under his control? Answer: YES.
The King James Bible is always right!
Get the right Bible and your Theology will get straightened out and the Lord Jesus Christ will be exalted to his rightful place as "far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" and God the Father "HATH PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET." - Ephesians 1:20-22
Notes from the Internet - Objection raised and answered.
One Christian I know from the internet, who himself does not believe any Bible is the perfect word of God, and believes they all contain errors, raised this objection to my little study. He told me that the word translated "prince" can also mean a "ruler", and that in the King James Bible, Jesus Christ is called "the PRINCE of the kings of the earth" in Revelation 1:5.
He then went on to argue that the King James Bible was saying the same thing as the NKJV and the NASB regarding Satan when they call him "the ruler of this world" in John 12:31; 14:30 and 16:11, and so I was wrong to say these new versions are in error.
First of all, he is correct when he says the Greek word arkoon can mean "ruler", but it also can mean "prince, chief, or magistrate." Moses is referred to as both a prince and a ruler, but he was merely a ruler of men, not of the whole world. Only God holds that lofty and rightful position of supreme and sovereign authority.
A prince may or may not be a ruler, but a ruler is always a ruler, and Satan is not the ruler of this world - God is.
Webster's Dictionary defines the word Prince in the following ways:
1. A non-reigning male member of a royal family.
2. A son of a Sovereign.
3. A preeminent person in a class or group.
4. A ruler of a small or subordinate state.
5. Archaic - a monarch or a king.
Satan is correctly called "the prince of this world" in the King James Bible because he is the chief of the devils, and he is at work in and among the children of disobedience, but he is clearly under the ultimate control of Almighty God. See the book of Job for clear examples of Satan's limitations. Satan is NOT the Ruler of this world.
In Revelation 1:5 we read: "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and THE PRINCE of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."
Not only does the King James Bible call Christ "the prince of the kings of the earth", but so also do Wycliffe 1395, the Geneva Bible 1599, Mace New Testament 1729, Whiston's Primitive N.T. 1745, Wesley's translation 1790, Murdock Translation 1851, the New Testament translated from the Sinaitic Manuscript 1918, the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras of 1569, Reina Valera of 1909, the Portuguese Almeida - "o Príncipe dos reis da terra.", the French Martin 1744, Louis Segond 1910, French Ostervald 1996 - "le Prince des rois de la terre.", the Italian Diodati 1649, and the Nuovo Diodati of 1991 - "il principe dei re della terra.", Martin Luther's German Bible 1545 - "ein Fürst der Könige auf Erden.", Darby's translation of 1890, Webster's translation of 1833, Lamsa's 1936 translation of the Peshitta, the KJV 21st Century 1994, and the Third Millenium Bible 1998.
I believe there are several good reasons why Christ is called here "the prince" of the kings of the earth, and not "the ruler of the kings" as found in the NKJV, NASB and NIV.
First of all, "the prince" is a Messianic title, and the Lord Jesus is indeed the Messiah. In Daniel 9:25 we read: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto MESSIAH THE PRINCE shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks..."
Secondly, just as an earthly prince is the son of the king, so Christ the prince is the Son of the Father.
Thirdly, the prince is the king's son who is about to reign, but is not yet reigning as king. This also is true of the Lord Jesus. Christ is not yet sitting on His earthy throne where He will be visibly present as the King of Israel. This does not happen until later on in the book of Revelation.
In Revelation 11:15, after many judgments have taken place, then we read: "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."
This same thing is seen in the book of Daniel 7:13-14. "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven,(Compare Rev. 1:7) and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
Again, it is not until Revelation 19:11-16 that we see heaven opened and the Word of God coming upon a white horse attended with His armies to judge and make war. "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: AND HE SHALL RULE them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of man, does not receive His earthly kingdom until AFTER He comes again, and therefore He is correctly called "the prince of the kings of the earth" in Revelation 1:5 in the King James Bible.
It turns out that the more we study and meditate upon the truths found in all their fulness only in the King James Bible, we see the Providential hand of God at work in giving us His perfect words in this Book of books.
Another Objection - 2 Corinthians 4:4 "the god of this world"
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
In what sense is Satan “the god of this world”? Notice the small ‘g’ in god. Satan is not by any means equal to God nor is he the ruler of this world, much less the true God of the world since “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.” 1 Cor. 10:26
“for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.” Psalm 50:12
“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1
However, all false religions have the devil behind them, and the “god” that pagans, Mormons, Hindus, Muslims, New Agers and all other false religions of the world worship is in fact the devil.
There is only one true God but many false gods and the devil is the spiritual power behind them all. “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” 1 Cor. 8:5-6
“But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” 1 Cor. 10:20
“And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.” Leviticus 17:7
“They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.” Deuteronomy 32:17
“For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.” Psalms 96:4-5
John Calvin on 2 Corinthians 4:4 “the god of this world” comments: “The devil, on the other hand, is called the god of this world, in no other way than as Baal is called the god of those that worship him, or as the dog is called the god of Egypt.
The Manicheans, as I have said, for maintaining their delusion, have recourse to other declarations of Scripture, as well as this, but there is no difficulty in refuting those also. They contend not so much respecting the term, as respecting the power. As the power of blinding is ascribed to Satan, and dominion over unbelievers, they conclude from this that he is, from his own resources, the author of all evil, so as not to be subject to God’s control — as if Scripture did not in various instances declare, that devils, no less than the angels of heaven, are servants of God, each of them severally in his own manner. For, as the latter dispense to us God’s benefits for our salvation, so the former execute his wrath. Hence good angels are called powers and principalities, (Ephesians 3:10,) but it is simply because they exercise the power given them by God.
For the same reason Satan is the prince of this world, not as if he conferred dominion upon himself, or obtained it by his own right, or, in fine, exercised it at his own pleasure. On the contrary, he has only so much as the Lord allows him. Hence Scripture does not merely make mention of the good spirit of God, and good angels, but he also speaks of evil spirits of God. An evil spirit from God came upon Saul. (1 Samuel 16:14.) Again, chastisements through means of evil angels. (Psalm 78:49.)
With respect to the passage before us, the blinding is a work common to God and to Satan, for it is in many instances ascribed to God; but the power is not alike, nor is the manner the same. I shall not speak at present as to the manner. Scripture, however, teaches that Satan blinds men not merely with God’s permission, but even by his command, that he may execute his vengeance. Thus Ahab was deceived by Satan, (1 Kings 22:21,) but could Satan have done this of himself? By no means; but having offered to God his services for inflicting injury, he was sent to be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. (1 Kings 22:22.)
Nay more, the reason why God is said to blind men is, that after having deprived us of the right exercise of the understanding, and the light of his Spirit, he delivers us over to the devil, to be hurried forward by him to a reprobate mind, (Romans 1:28,) gives him the power of deception, and by this means inflicts just vengeance upon us by the minister of his wrath.”
Adam Clarke on 2 Corinthians 4:4 “the god of this world” - “Satan, it is true, has said that the kingdoms of the world and their glory are his, and that he gives them to whomsoever he will; Matthew 4:8,9. But has God ever said so? and are we to take this assertion of the boasting devil and father of lies for truth? Certainly not. We are not willing to attribute the blinding of men's minds to God, because we sometimes forget that he is the God of justice, and may in judgment remove mercies from those that abuse them; but this is repeatedly attributed to him in the Bible, and the expression before us is quite a parallel to the following, Isaiah 6:9: Go and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. MAKE the HEART of this PEOPLE FAT, and MAKE their EARS HEAVY, and SHUT their EYES; LEST they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, Matthew 13:14,15; ; Mark 4:12; ; John 12:40; and particularly Romans 11:8-10: God HATH GIVEN THEM THE SPIRIT of SLUMBER, EYES that they SHOULD not SEE, and EARS that they SHOULD not HEAR; let their EYES be DARKENED, in the same circumstances of wilful rebellion and obstinate unbelief; and the great God of heaven and earth is he who judicially blinds their eyes; makes their hearts fat, i.e. stupid; gives them the spirit of slumber: and bows down their back, apostle means the true God by the words the god of this world.”
Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments - 2 Corinthians 4:4 - “Satan is not a god properly, but is merely one in reference to those who have sinfully made him such." Many believe, as did Lipscomb, that the sin of Adam "transferred the allegiance and rule of the world from God to the devil"; but the conviction here is that all of Satan's authority is usurped, that only what God permits is he able to do; and as for the notion that Satan in any meaningful sense rules the world, Nebuchadnezzar had to eat grass for seven years in order to learn that "The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (Daniel 4:25). This means that Satan's promise to give Christ the rulership of the world in return for falling down and worshiping the devil (Matthew 4:4) was an unqualified falsehood.”
Barnes Notes on the New Testament - 2 Corinthians 4:4 - “The name "god" is here given to him, not because he has any divine attributes, but because he actually has the homage of the men of this world as their god, as the being who is really worshipped, or who has the affections of their hearts in the same way as it is given to idols.”
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