97 – THE DEVIL’S KINGDOM
One of the three temptations that the devil used to seduce Jesus was to offer him the kingdoms of this world if Jesus would bow and worship before him. Jesus remained silent in face of this statement, what causes us to believe that the devil is truly the king of this world (Luke 4:5-8).
Who was the one who handed the kingdoms of this world in to Satan? It was the owner, of course. Who is the owner, then? David reveals, “The earth is Jehovah’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Ps.24:1). Jehovah not only calls himself the owner of this world and of men, but also calls himself the absolute king. “Jehovah will reign forever and ever” (Ex.15:18). “Jehovah reigns, let the peoples tremble” (Ps.99:1). “For the kingdom is Jehovah’s, and He rules over the nations” (Ps.22:28). “Say among the nations, ‘Jehovah reigns; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved’” (Ps.96:10). “For Jehovah Most High is to be feared, a great King over all the earth” (Ps. 47:2). “God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne” (Ps.47:8).
These texts prove that Adam was not the one responsible for handing the kingdoms in Satan’s hand, because, three thousand years after Adam, we read in the Prophets and in the Psalms that Jehovah reigns. “Moab has been destroyed, and men have also gone down to the slaughter, declares the King, whose name is Jehovah of hosts” (Jer.48:15). Jehovah handed the kingdoms of this world in to Satan. Satan, in turn, offered them to Jesus, who did not accept them, for this world cannot be made right. Jesus declared, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).
The king of Babylon is a picture of the devil, and we are going to prove it. Isaiah, the prophet, said, “…you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, ‘How the oppressor has ceased…!’” (Is.14:4). Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, and the prophecy was prophesied against him. In the same chapter we read, “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations!” (Is.14:12). This prophecy is directed to the king of Babylon and to Satan, for the king of Babylon is a picture of Satan. Therefore, Nebuchadnezzar, who was king of Babylon, is a picture of the devil, and Jehovah was pleased with him.
Jehovah declared, “‘I have the earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight. And now I have given all these lands into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, My servant, and I have given him also the wild animals of the field to serve him. And all the nations shall serve him, and his son, and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes; then many nations and their kings will make him their servant. An it will be that, the nation or the kingdom which will not serve him, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence,’ declares Jehovah, ‘until I have destroyed it by his hand” (Jer.27:5-8). Now, as Nebuchadnezzar is a picture of the devil and is pleasing in the eyes of Jehovah, it becomes clear that the devil is pleasing to Jehovah, and in the same way as Jehovah handed all the kingdoms over into the hands of the king of Babylon, he handed them into the hands of the devil as well, as we read in Luke 4:5-8.
If Jehovah was capable of handing over the most righteous and sincere man in the world—who feared God and turned away from evil—into the hands of Satan, who would torment him, he is capable of yet worse things, such as handing over into the hands of the devil all the kingdom of this world—virgins, honorable elders, innocent children, everything into the hands of the devil. It is important to notice that in the sentence, “all the kingdoms of the world” the kingdom of Israel is also included, Jehovah’s own kingdom (Ex.19:6; Is.43:15), who says, “I am Jehovah, the Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King”.
When Jesus healed the demon possessed, blind and dumb, the Pharisees said, “‘This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.’ and knowing their thoughts He said to them, ‘Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? … But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you’” (Mt.12:22-28). The impression that these words of Jesus leave is that the kingdom of Satan was implanted in Israel, and that he, Jesus, came to deliver Israel by establishing the kingdom of God. The statement of Jesus is made even clearer when he concludes with the words, “How can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first bind the strong man? And then he will plunder his house” (Matt.12:29).
Jesus cast out demons from his countrymen, which were the strongman’s house. The final conclusion of this lesson is that the kingdom of Satan came through the hands of Jehovah, while the kingdom of God the Father came through Jesus’ intervention.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira