How Powerful Is the Devil?

Even though the Scriptures tell us little about Satan’s origin, they tell us that he is a fallen angel of considerable power. One of the most familiar passages is Ephesians 6:12 :

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Jesus called Satan the “ruler of this world” ( John 12:31 ), and Jude tells us that he is so powerful that even Michael the archangel lacked the power to rebuke him ( Jude 1:9 ). Paul called him the “god of this age” in 2 Corinthians 4:4 . He also portrayed him ( Ephesians 6:12 ) as the head of a great, highly organized “army” of evil spirit beings. He is a cunning liar, capable of seducing Adam and Eve, and disguising himself as an “angel of light” ( 2 Corinthians 11:14 ).

While Satan is portrayed in the Bible as powerful, dangerous, and an adversary to be respected, he shouldn’t be considered in any way equal to God. He is a creature, with creaturely limitations. His power is nothing in comparison with that of the sovereign God. And according to James 4:7 , because of the power God gives to His children, if we resist the devil he will flee from us. Although subtle and cunning, the devil is a defeated foe who continues to resist God furiously until the time that he will be sealed in hell forever.

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