100 – THE POWER OF THE DEVIL
Does the devil have any power at all? It looks like the devil is devoid of power. Let us examine what the Bible reveals about the power of the devil. In the letter of James we read: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). This text shows us three things:
1. Men can resist the devil.
2. When men resist, the devil flees.
3. Men are stronger than the devil. Wonderful!
The devil, believed to be the rebellious angel who brought down a third of the angels and subjected all men to a sinful, mortal, evil slavery, is weaker than men, and does run from him. Men allow the devil to deceive them because they will. When they have reason to resist, they do, and the devil flees. And what is this reason? It is the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and that is why James says, “Submit therefore to God”. The apostle John declares, “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one” (1 John 2:13). Men are dominated by the devil solely because they surrender themselves, and so Paul warns, “do not give the devil an opportunity” (Eph.4:27). The devil is a fallen angel, and is devoid of power. He, then, sets ambushes in hiding to the ones who go along the paths of this world.“Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph.6:11). Only the weak ones and the cowards set traps. The devil is the tempter and deceiver. Adam and Eve could have resisted. Eve fell because she believed in the lie of the devil. “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Tim.2:14).
1. This world is infested with evil spirits. Where did those spirits come from? The evil spirits came from Jehovah. “Jehovah has mixed within her a spirit of distortion” (Is.19:14). “Jehovah has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and Jehovah has proclaimed disaster against you” (1 Kings 22:23). “Now there was an evil spirit from Jehovah on Saul” (1 Sam.19:9). “Therefore, thus says Jehovah, ‘Your wife will become a harlot in the city” (Amos 7:17). These texts prove that the evil spirits all come from Jehovah, and not from the devil. All of the evil and perverse spirits come out of Jehovah. Now, we read in Zechariah 12:1 that Jehovah fashions the spirit within the person. Then, all perverse, liar, wicked and prostitute men are the work of the hands of Jehovah. The devil takes part on this only by obeying orders.
2. When we read, in Acts 26:18, that Christ opened the eyes of the sinners and converted them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, we think that the devil is the author of darkness, but it is not quite so. The author of darkness is Jehovah. “The One forming light and creating darkness” (Is.45:7). Jehovah manifests himself in the darkness, and not in the light. When he dictated the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, he did it in the midst of darkness (Deut.4:10-11; 5:23). While Jehovah spoke, there were darkness and storm (Heb.12:18). Jeremiah confesses that Jehovah caused him to walk in darkness and not in the light (Lam.3:1-2). Job complained about Jehovah with these words, “He has walled my way so that I cannot pass; and He has put darkness on my paths” (Job.19:8). The people of Israel left Egypt by the hand of Moses, and wandered in darkness for many centuries. “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light” (Is.9:2). Doubtlessly, the darkness, where demons hide, is a place of hiding for Jehovah god. “He made darkness His hiding place” (Ps.18:11). Satan and Jehovah dwell in the same house, a house built by Jehovah.
3. The devil did not send the devouring beasts and the venomous serpents, but Jehovah did. “I will heap misfortunes on them; I will use My arrows on them. They shall be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague and bitter destruction; and the teeth of beasts I will send upon them, with the venom of crawling things of the dust” (Deut. 32:23,24). “And it came about at the beginning of their living there, that they did not fear Jehovah; therefore Jehovah sent lions among them which killed some of them” (2 Kings 17:25).
4. The evangelist Luke declares that Christ came to preach freedom to the captives, and to give sight to the blind, and to set in liberty the oppressed and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:19). This declaration is based in Isaiah 61:1. When we read these verses of the Scriptures we understand that these evils are done by the devil, but they are not. The author of the blindness and of the captivities has always been Jehovah god. Jeremiah reveals this truth to us. “‘I have made 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 hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and I have given him also the wild animals of the field to serve him. Ann all the nations shall serve him, and his son, and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes; then many nations and great kings will make him their servant, and it will be, that the nation or the kingdom which will not serve him, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and which will not put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine and with pestilence,’ declares Jehovah” (Jer.27:5-8). Jehovah delivered his own people over to captivity (Judg.3:8; 4:1-3; 6:1, etc; 2 Kings 17:20-21; 2 Chr. 36:17-20). Whoever is not merciful with his own children, is not merciful with any one, therefore, the God who will have mercy of all is not Jehovah, but the Father of Jesus Christ(Rom.11:32). And Jesus delivers from the hand of Jehovah, not from the hand of the devil.
5. The one who promotes murderous and fratricide wars is not the devil, but Jehovah, the god of the wars, as Moses said in Ex.15:3; 1 Sam.17:47; Num.21:14: Jer.51:11-25, etc. The devil is not the Lord of the armies, but Jehovah is.
6. This world is divided in two groups—the rich and the poor. In Brazil, the extreme poverty causes slums to form in all the cities. Millions of abandoned children are on the streets, in the school of crime and theft, because of the parents’ penury. In Africa, millions of people die of hunger. And who is the responsible for this poverty? Jehovah is. “Jehovah makes poor and rich; he brings low, He also exalts” (1 Sam.2:7). The devil is not the father of poverty and penury, for Jehovah declares that he (Jehovah) is the creator of evil, and the author of penury. When Satan took away the wealth of Job, he did so under Jehovah’s commission (Job 1:6-12). Job also declared who was the author of his misery and of his calamity, saying, “Jehovah gave and Jehovah has taken away. Blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). Jehovah made Solomon rich by making the people poor, which, after the death of the oppressor king addressed his son who rose to the throne with these words, “Your father made our yoke hard; therefore lighten the service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you” (1 Kings 12:4). The devil is not the father of the exploitation of the poor by the rich, etc. He does not have that power.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira