False Teaching about Satan
What does scripture mean by the statement that Satan is the god of this world? The
Word-Faith movement defines this radically different than Historic Christianity. Word-
Faith doctrine defines Satan as the possessor and god of this earth. Word-Faith teaches
that God is on the outside looking in and has no say in this world. Kenneth Copeland
explains it this way:
God’s on the outside looking in. He doesn’t have any legal entree into the earth.
This thing don’t belong to Him.
Word-Faith teachers then go on to exalt Satan while demoting God. Here is an example
illustration from Job 1:7:
You see how sassy the devil was in the presence of God in the book of Job. It
wasn’t any of God’s business. He [Satan] didn’t have to answer if he didn’t want
to. God didn’t argue with him a bit. God hasn’t been running things except when
he gets a little bit of a chance. When He can get in there and help a little bit. -
This teaching reads a lot into the text that simply is not there. If we read to book of Job,
we can’t possibly get the impression that the devil was ’sassy’ to God. Somehow Word-
Faith doctrine has twisted this passage into the opposite meaning clearly intended by
scripture. Instead of Satan being subject to God, they claim that God is subject to Satan.
Instead of Satan needing permission from God, God is the One who needs permission to
work in this earth. All one needs to do is read a few more verses to see that Satan
petitions God to allow Job to be tested. God is the one who gives permission. God defines
the parameters in which Satan can operate in Job’s life. Any student of the Bible can see
that God is in total control. We studied this earlier, but it bears mentioning again. God
declared that He owns the earth and all of its fullness. God had the right to the earth when
He judged the world with the great flood. God had the right to drive the wicked
inhabitants of Canaan and give it to Israel. The Bible says that God raises up and casts
down all authority according to His purposes (Daniel 2:21 Romans 13:1). The Bible also
says that God raises up the wicked for His purposes (Romans 9:16-17).
How the Bible call Satan be the god of this world if God is in control? In this study I
hope to clarify the confusion that often surrounds this topic.
Let’s examine to word ’world’.
To understand the scriptures, we often need to dig into the Greek or Hebrew text to
understand the original meaning. This is especially true when it comes to clarifying
clouded issues. As we will see, what is cloudy will be very clear once we apply ourselves
to a little bit of study. All of the great teachers and preachers of the past applied
themselves to searching out the truth by seeking out the intended meanings of words. For
general study, our English translation is more than adequate, but when the original
meaning is unclear, the only way to dig out the truth is to dig into the text. To understand
what scripture means when it calls the devil the god of this world, we need to do more
than look at the KJV, we need to dig into the text behind the translation. We will look at
two primary Greek words that the KJV translates into the word ’world’. There are four
words translated into the word world, but there are two which apply to this subject. These
Greek words are ’aion’ and ’kosmos’. Just knowing that four different Greek words are
translated into ’world’ tells us that there is more to this study than would appear at first
’Aion’ (pronounced ahee-ohn) literally means a period of time. This can be accurately
translated into ’world’. Here is an example:
KJV Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by
the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
and perfect, will of God.
What does it mean ’not to be conformed to this world’? The word is the Greek word
’aion’. To understand this, let’s compare to several passages. I used the KJV to make this
illustration, but following passages will be from the NKJV translation.
Matthew 13:49 "So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth,
separate the wicked from among the just,
Matthew 28:20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Ephesians 1: 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead
and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name
that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
Titus 2:12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live
soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
All of these passages use the Greek word ’Aion’. These passages make it clear that there
is a time or an age in which we live in that applies to the instructions being taught. This
present world is based on a system that is at war with God. We are not talking about the
physical earth. As we will see shortly, the physical world is identified by a completely
different word. This world is a limited time of rebellion against God. Satan may be the
god of this world (or Aion), but not the god of this earth. This does not mean that Satan is
a god, it means that he is worshipped by the world as a god. Most of the world does not
knowingly worship Satan, they are deceived. Look at 2 Corinthians 4:
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light
of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on
Satan may be their god (or the one they worship), but he is not a god. The Bible clearly
identifies Satan as an angel. When the world rejects the truth, they will be blinded by
Satan. He will do anything within his grasp to keep his followers from seeing the glory of
Christ in hopes that they will never be persuaded to turn to the truth. Before Satan can
blind anyone, there must first be a rejection of the truth. Look at 2 Thessalonians 2:
11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should
believe the lie,
12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure
People don’t reject the truth because they are blind, they are blinded because they have
rejected the truth. God allows us to go down the path we love. If we love the truth, God
will reveal Himself to us. If we choose the world or its religions over the truth, God will
allow Satan to blind us. However, the choice has already been made. The decision can be
reversed, but not without turning from the world and to the truth. As long as a person
loves the world, they will remain blind.
By observing the original text, the word ’aion’ indicates that this world is only a period of
time. Satan may have the power of influence among those who have rejected the truth,
but he does not own them or the world. We have been commanded to be transformed
with a mind committed to Christ and not to be conformed to this present age that is in
rebellion against God. Those who choose Christ have the promise Jesus gave, "I am with
you until the end of the age". Satan has no power over the person who belongs to Christ.
His time is limited because this age is passing by rapidly. This is why the Bible says that
Satan has great fury because he knows he has but a short time.
Anything can be our god. All we have to do is submit our allegiance to it. The world in
submission to the god of this age does not make Satan a superpower against God; it only
means that those under him have submitted to him and given him power over their lives.
When we see Satan called the god of this world, remember what word we are using.
’Aion’ refers to this present age in which we live it. There is a specific time allowed to
choose God or choose the world system that is in rebellion against God. Even in
rebellion, God’s purpose and plan are being fulfilled in the world. Satan is not in control,
nor does he own the world. He does have power over those who have knowingly or
unknowingly submitted themselves to him by rejecting the truth and loving sin. Even so,
God is ultimately in control. God uses the good and the wicked to accomplish His
Kosmos is usually translated into the English word ’world’. The Bible makes a clear
distinction between the physical world and the world system - or age of rebellion.
Kosmos means the physical world. Kosmos can be used to identify the earth, universe or
arrangement of stars. The context identifies which of these is being referenced. Look at
these passages that refer to the world or Kosmos:
Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold!
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 8:23 And He said to them, "You are from beneath; I am from above. You are
of this world; I am not of this world.
When we accept Christ as our Savior and become a child of God, we are born into God’s
kingdom. We leave the world (aion), but we don’t leave the world (kosmos). God takes
us out of the world system that is in rebellion against God, but He commands us to
remain a light to the world that continues to call others into His salvation. We leave the
world system, but not the world in which we live. This helps us understand how to draw a
distinction between separation and outreach. We live separate lives, but we never quit
reaching out to those who remain in the aion. He is the light of the world and when we
become a child of God, we become lights of the world that others will see when they hear
His call and look for the truth.
Satan is never called the god of the kosmos. He is only called the god of the aion. When
we examine these two words, we can see that there is a clear distinction.
There are two other words translated into ’world’ that I should mention. The word
’chronos’ means time. This is where we get our word ’chronology’. In the KJV, this word
is translated into ’world’ in 2 Timothy 1:
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our
works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ
Jesus before the world [chronos] began
1 Peter 1:20 translated the same word as ’times’:
Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world [kosmos], but
was manifest in these last times [chronos] for you
Same word, but translated two different ways. It doesn’t directly apply to our study, but it
bears mentioning for the sake of thoroughness.
The other word is ’oikoumene’. Oikoumene means the inhabited earth. Two examples
Romans 10:18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: "Their sound has gone
out to all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world."
Luke 4:5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the
kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
If we put it all together, can we possibly draw the conclusion that God is on the outside
looking in? Let’s look at it together:
Do not be conformed to this world[aion], but be transformed...at the end of this
age, the angels will separate the wicked from the just. Teach others what I have
commanded you and be confident because I am with you until the end of the age.
We should live godly in this present age for the kosmos is passing away and all
the lust in it. The devil, who is the god of this age, has blinded those who do not
believe so that they cannot see the glory of Christ. Jesus is the Lamb of God that
takes away the sins of the world. You are the light of the kosmos, which has been
set on a hill so the light cannot be hidden. Your calling was foreordained before
the foundation of the world [kosmos], but was made manifest to you in these last
times. You were called by grace and not by your works according to His purpose
and was given before world [chronos] began. His word has gone throughout the
inhabited earth. You are the light to reflect and point those who leave the world
[aion] to the cross of Jesus Christ.
God will judge the world [aion], but will redeem the world [kosmos]. The world system
will end, but Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the kosmos.
Instead of seeing God on the outside looking in and Satan running the show, we see that
Satan is desperately trying to blind the world from seeing that the system he thrives in is
already defeated. God is on the inside leading people out. We are the conduits of God’s
grace and the lights beaconing in the dark. We are soldiers behind enemy lines equipped
to obtain the promise that the strongest gates of hell can’t prevail against us. Our
command is simple. Uphold the truth which is the beacon that lights the way to Christ.
The truth is that Jesus triumphed over the devil and sin on the cross. God is and always
has been in control but has allowed Satan to blind those who want to believe a lie. Satan
can reach those who love the lie, but we are lights to those who are seeking the truth. We
are in the world, but not in the world system. We are more than conquerors because Jesus
indwells the hearts of every believer and will be with us until the end of this age.
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