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Satan

Question: "How much power does Satan possess?"

Answer: 
Satan was an angel created by God who turned against God’s authority (Isaiah 14:13) and became the head of a kingdom of evil spirits called demons, his “angels” (Matthew 25:41). His power both in the heavenly realm and on earth is great and should not be underestimated. However, while Satan and his forces are formidable enemies, Jesus Christ crushed Satan’s power, fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. The cross of Christ won the victory (John 12:31). “The prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:11), and Jesus will one day destroy Satan’s power completely and purify creation (2 Peter 3:10).

Isaiah 14:13 "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.

Genesis 3:14 The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life; 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up

Satan’s power in the heavenly realm / spirit world:
Satan’s power has repute in the spiritual realm (Jude 1:9), where he has limited access to the presence of God (Job 1:6). The book of Job provides insight into the relationship between God and Satan. In Job 1:6-12, Satan stands before God and reports that he has been “walking up and down” on the earth (v. 7). God asks Satan if he has considered godly Job, and Satan immediately accuses Job of insincerity—he only loves God for the blessings God gives. “Stretch out your hand,” Satan says, “and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face” (v. 11). God grants Satan permission to affect Job’s possessions and family, but not his person, and Satan leaves. In Job 2, Satan comes again into God's presence and is, this time, permitted to affect Job's personal health. (The rest of the book is from Job’s perspective, providing an example of how to deal with suffering.)

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it." 8 The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 "Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 "But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face." 12 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.

This is an important passage because it shows Satan’s place in the spiritual realm. He is able to accuse God’s people in His very presence, and Jude 1:9 shows that even Michael the archangel needs the Lord’s help in overcoming him. However, Satan is obviously restrained from enacting his full fury; he is still a created being under God, and his power is limited.

[Jde 1:9 NASB] 9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

Satan’s power on the earth:
Job 1 also reveals that Satan does enact evil and cause direct harm on the earth. The most well-known and important of his actions on earth occurred in the garden of Eden. Genesis 3 tells of Satan’s temptation of Eve, the “mother of all the living” (v. 20), and her subsequent first sin. It was this act, and that of Eve’s husband Adam, that brought sin into the world, and it is the reason all humankind must be redeemed from sin in order to be with God.

One day, Jesus met a woman who had been “crippled by a spirit for eighteen years” (Luke 13:11). Jesus attributes the infirmity to Satan, who had kept her “bound” (verse 16). Satan’s power was real, but it was easily overcome by our Lord: “He put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God” (v. 13). Jesus’ miracle was a clear demonstration of His authority over Satan.

Luke 13:11 And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, "Woman, you are freed from your sickness." 13 And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and [began] glorifying God. 14 But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, [began] saying to the crowd in response, "There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day." 15 But the Lord answered him and said, "You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water [him?] 16 "And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?

Since his instigation of evil on earth, Satan has been named as the “prince,” “god,” or “ruler” of this world (John 14:30; cf. John 12:31; 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 1:13). He is the enemy of God and truth (Matthew 13:24-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12), and he does everything he can to tempt individuals (Genesis 3; Luke 22:31; 1 Timothy 3:7) and larger groups of people (1 Thessalonians 3:5; Revelation 2:10). He “leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9). Satan accomplishes this by various means, including appealing to man’s pride (1 Timothy 3:6; 1 Corinthians 4:6), interfering with the transmission of truth (Matthew 13:18-22, 38-39), and placing false believers within the church (1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; Revelation 2:9; 3:9). In John 8:44, Jesus says that Satan “is a liar and the father of it.”

Rev 2:8 "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this: 9 'I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 'Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

God still grants Satan some authority in this world, which means that his power is not yet completely broken—except in one area: his power of death. Hebrews 2:14-15 says that Jesus came as a man to die in order to “destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil,” a power Satan had held “from the beginning” (John 8:44). The salvation Jesus provides has released us from Satan’s stranglehold. Death has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55).

[Heb 2:14-15 NASB] 14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

John 8:44 "You are of [your] father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own [nature,] for he is a liar and the father of lies. 

[1Co 15:55 NASB] 55 "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?"

Satan’s power – the conclusion:
The Bible says that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), and we must “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Yet Christians have a great hope, for Jesus Christ (John 16:33) and our faith in Him (1 John 5:4) have overcome Satan’s evil. “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in [the power of] the evil one

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