Thursday, July 07, 2005

Satan’s Influence

.... In Scripture, Satan is sometimes referred to as the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). The Greek word for ruler is ‘archon’, which suggests a prominent place of leadership but not necessarily an absolute reign. It is the same word used of Jairus, for example, as a ruler of the synagogue (Luke 8:41).
.... To imply an absolute rule the title ‘head’ is used, and this is given to Christ alone, never to the devil (Eph 1:22; Col 2:10). So as the prince of the power of the air, Satan exerts an influence or a sway over the sons of this world, to seduce them into behaving in a disobedient manner (Eph 2:2), but he is not an irresistible force in that sense:

.... "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one."

(1 John 5:19)

.... In another passage, Satan is referred to as the ‘the god of this age’ (2 Cor 4:4). Since a strict interpretation would be extremely problematic (compare to Ex 19:5; Zech 4:14), we need only understand this as being true of him in a certain way. Let’s combine this understanding with another Scripture and the true concept will emerge:

.... ". . . in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience . . ."

(Eph 2:2)

.... According to Strong’s Greek Dictionary, the Greek word for air can simply mean ‘air’, or it can mean that which is circumambient. Since we are talking about a spirit in this passage, the true understanding is very similar to the German concept of the ‘Zeitgeist’, or ‘spirit of the age’:
.... The American Heritage Dictionary defines 'Zeitgeist' as "The spirit of the time; the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation." For example, when we think of the Roaring 20's, the Depression era, or the 60's, certain characteristics of those periods will naturally come to our mind. There was a general mind set of that day; a way of thinking that was ‘in the air’; it was the course of the world at that time (Eph 2:2).
.... The implication would be that Satan has greatly influenced the secular mind set of every age, with the intention of promoting disobedience among men. In other words he is the ‘Zeitgeist’ personified; he is the ‘god’ of the world mind set.
.... Because this influence is spiritual in nature, it is not associated with the dominion that was given to Adam over the physical world. It is probably the dominion Satan originally had, being used in a fallen way, just as he, himself, had fallen.

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