Tares Among the Wheat - Part 10 - Satan’s World System
Satan’s World System
As we discussed previously, Satan is permitted, for a time, to rule over the majority in this world. Three times Jesus referred to Satan as “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Other passages of Scripture call Satan “the god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4), and “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2), informing us “that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Satan rules as a tyrant who has “weakened the nations” (Isa 14:12), and currently “deceives the whole world” (Rev 12:9). He personally attacked Adam and Eve (Gen 3:1-7), Job (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-13), David, (1 Chr 21:1), Joshua the high priest (Zec 3:1-2), Jesus (Matt 4:1-11), Judas (John 13:27), and Peter (Luke 22:31-32). He continues to attack God’s people today (1 Pet 5:8), practices deception (2 Cor 11:13-15), and has well developed strategies of warfare (Eph 6:10-12). Furthermore, humanity is living in an “evil age” (Gal 1:4), under “the dominion of Satan” (Acts 26:18), whose sphere of influence is called “the domain of darkness” (Col 1:13). Though Satan has attacked some people directly, he mainly operates as commander of an unseen realm of demons, through a worldwide system of philosophies and values he’s created, through unbelievers whom he energizes to do his will, and through the sinful inclinations of our fallen nature. These all help advance his agenda in which he attacks God and His people. Paul, when writing to Christians in Ephesus, discusses the reality of these things. Paul said:
"And you [Gentile Christians, before salvation; see Eph 2:4-9] were dead [νεκρός nekros – dead, corpse; i.e., separated from God] in your trespasses and sins [i.e., acts of disobedience against God], 2 in which you formerly walked [περιπατέω peripateo – to walk, conduct oneself, behave] according to the course of this world [κόσμος kosmos - world, system], according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan – the commander of an unseen realm], of the spirit that is now working [ἐνεργέω energeo – to work, energize, empower] in the sons of disobedience [i.e., sons characterized by their disobedience to God]. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh [σάρξ sarx – flesh, body, i.e., sin nature], indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind [even their reasoning processes were corrupt], and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest." (Eph 2:1-3)
The Bible recognizes Satan’s world-system and warns us not to love it. John writes and tells the Christian, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world” (1 John 2:15-16). We live in a fallen world, and John’s command is intended to warn us of real danger. First, John opens with the negative particle Μὴ Me, which is followed by the Geek verb ἀγαπάω agapao, which is in the imperative mood—the mood of command. The word ἀγαπάω agapao denotes desire or commitment to something or someone. David L. Allen comments on love:
"In its essence love is two things: a desire for something and a commitment to something … Whatever it is you desire and whatever you’re committed to, that’s where your time and resources will go. If you love football, that’s where your time and resources will go. If you love hunting or fishing, that’s where your time and resources will go. If you love your spouse, you desire to spend time with her and you are committed to her. Love is more than an emotional feeling. Love requires a commitment of time and resources."
John then gives the object we are not to desire or be committed to, namely, the world (τὸν κόσμον). The Greek word κόσμος kosmos is used in Scripture to refer to: 1) the physical planet (Matt 13:35; Acts 17:24), 2) people who live in the world (John 3:16), and 3) the hostile system created and controlled by Satan that he uses to lure people away from God (1 John 2:15-16). It is this third meaning that John has in mind. Hence, the word κόσμος kosmos refers to “that which is hostile to God…lost in sin, wholly at odds with anything divine, ruined and depraved.” Concerning, the word κόσμος kosmos, David L. Allen writes:
"Sometimes the word “world” is used to refer to the organized evil system with its principles and its practices, all under the authority of Satan, which includes all teachings, ideas, culture, attitudes, activities, etc., that are opposed to God. A fixation on the