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How Powerful Is Satan? He’s Not Hell’s Ruler, He’s Actually This

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Realizing that King Jesus has the keys to eternity not only sheds light as to Satan’s sheer inadequacy but re-orders how we are to live accordingly.


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The most common perception of Satan is the hell-abiding, hell-ruling tyrant intent on ruining the lives of God’s people. Consequently, many followers of Jesus live in fear of him succeeding in the task.

We cannot and must not deny the power of Satan, but we absolutely can question his authority.

Is he really the ruler of hell or is he the first prisoner, the first one to fall captive to its deception and consumption, it’s empty mirage of glory?

The only King with authority is Jesus. There can be no secondary ruler! Not only does Jesus illustrate in Matthew 28:18 that all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Him, but His later resurrection and triumphant victory indicates that He also took the keys from hell too.

That’s right—Jesus has authority over Heaven, Earth and Hell.

Which presents us with a slight conundrum—if Jesus is the only ruling King, why do we think that Satan “rules” over Hell? Jesus’ death on the cross culminated in an almighty robbing of hell and death’s authority.

Before we jump to too many conclusions, let’s take a look at how the Bible depicts the Devil:

No other faith or worldview promises an empty grave.

Satan first infamously appears in the Book of Genesis as the serpent who convinces Eve—who then tells Adam—to eat from the forbidden tree in the middle of the Garden. As the narrative unfolds we witness Adam and Eve plunge into disconnection from God after Eve fell for the serpent’s conniving ways.

Without giving him too much attention or time, it is clear that his chief purpose revolves around three things; to deceive, distort and destruct.

Dante didn’t do us many favors when it came to de-mystifying the perception of Satan. Portraying him as a grotesque, winged creature who punished sinners, Dante’s image continued through to the Modern Ages where we now see him as a trident-bearing, horned, red creature resembling a man. The reality is far from how the Bible depicts him.

  • Where did Satan come from? Believe it or not, he was once an angel. Ezekiel 28:14 states that the Devil was once “the anointed cherub who covers.” Yet as a result of pride, a desire to be equal and to be worshipped like God, “the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).
  • If Satan plunged into darkness, doesn’t that mean he lives there? Absolutely not. Read that last one again: “…he was cast to the earth.” In Job 1:6-7, he appears alongside the angels before the Lord and explains where he was: “roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Satan appeared before Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11 in an attempt to coerce Him into worshipping him. He presents himself in borrowed guises on Earth, short of anything original or creative since he, again, holds no authority for either.
  • But, is he the ruler of hell, if he’s the prince of darkness? Again, he neither inhabits nor rules hell. Satan is equally a prisoner of its devastation as other fallen angels are according to Matthew 25:41, “Depart from me, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Whilst there’s never any need for sympathy, remembering that he is a fallen angel, subject to punishment and that God didn’t create him for darkness reinforces the truth that God is the author, creator and ruler of all, not Satan.

Realizing that King Jesus has the keys to eternity not only sheds light as to Satan’s sheer inadequacy and deception, but re-orders how we are to live accordingly. What once consumed has now been subsumed and redeemed by Christ. Fear does not, and will never win. Lies are empty and shallow. Deception has been exposed. Even death itself is hollowed out.

No other faith or worldview promises an empty grave.

Jesus has not only defeated every single thing that tempted to have a hold on us but has promised to be with us, so that even when we face the snare of the hollow one (John 16:33), we still overcome. It’s a reality that is sometimes hard to grasp especially when we witness such unimaginable hardships, either personally or across the world.

Yet I am confident that as we come face-to-face with the one who came face-to-face Himself with death, we will see it’s emptiness exposed by His fullness. We will see firsthand, as Martin Luther King did, that light cannot be overcome or ruled by the darkness. We will see that Jesus’ Kingdom is the only one existing in eternity, Hell exposed for the prison that it is. We will see that a victorious life, despite circumstances, is possible because of an absolutely eternal hope.