When Adam was created it was that he might be the Lord of this world. To him was given "the dominion" [Gen. 1:28] after "the likeness" of God; to be an "image" or miniature representation of the Lord of all. When Adam fell, he, of course, lost his birthright—if we may so express it. His dominion and possessions passed into the hands of the crafty conqueror. Since then Satan has been the Prince and God of this world.
Paul calls him "the god of this world," "the prince of the power of the air," etc. Jesus recognized his position in the words of the title of this article. (John 14:30.) In the great temptation (Matt. 4:1-11), when Satan could neither make our Lord to doubt or tempt the Father, his last desperate stake was "the dominion." He evidently knew that the mission of the Christ was to win back "the kingdom" which he (Satan) now held and ruled through his minions, the blood-thirsty kings of earth. This offer was no farce; it was the climax of the temptations, the last resort of a baffled enemy.
Hades is—not the palace, but—the prison-house of Satan. His castle is in the air, his dungeon is the prison-house of death. Into this he has been packing his victims since Adam's fall. Into this Jesus himself entered, but he captured the kings, and will yet bind "the strong man," "spoil [rob] his house," and lead forth "a multitude of captives."
Sickness, disease, accidents and other mysterious dispensations of Providence (so-called) are but the instruments of Satan; and the messengers—not of light but of darkness—by which he gathers in his harvest.
The grim reaper, death, is Satan's Brigadier-General—not the Lord's. Can a house be divided against itself? Jesus was manifested that he might destroy death, and him that hath the power of death, THAT IS the DEVIL. (Heb. 2:14.)
When the cherished little rose-bud baby is secretly stricken by the arrow of the arch-enemy, it is said to be the Lord's hand who has transplanted it in Paradise. A very pretty thought, if there was any truth in it, although even this fiction (as was intended) does not reconcile the parents to the act of the spoiler. Frequently it is just the opposite. The widow and orphan in their anguish doubt the love and goodness of Him whom they blame for robbing them of their loved protector. This is just what the deceiver wanted.
When the prophet of the Lord would comfort the stricken he said, "Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears." Why, Jeremiah? Are they in heaven, transported there as our and the Lord's jewels, to draw our hearts there, and lead us to follow them? Thus putting aside Jesus as our Leader and Desire? No, the prophet of the Lord says: "They shall come again from the land of THE ENEMY."
When the hidden shaft suddenly strikes some one who had been apparently well before, ignorance delivers the verdict, "Died by the hand of God." When a promising and useful member of society falls by the hand of a hell-inspired ruffian, we are told to bow to the decision of the All-wise.
If our Lord set up his kingdom eighteen hundred years ago and has been ruling ever since, would there not be an excuse for the citizens who sent the message: "We will not have this one to reign over us"? Can any one look calmly at the misery of the past six thousand years and not discern who has been the ruler of this world? Surely they would exclaim with Job: "The earth is given into the hand of the wicked one; he covereth the faces of [deceiveth] the judges thereof: if not, where and who is he [the rightful ruler]?
Then, when the battle is over, we shall see a different order of things; when earth's sons may each sit fearlessly and peacefully under his own vine and fig-tree, rejoicing in the fruit of their own planting. (Micah 4:4.)
Death is everywhere. Carelessness, recklessness, covetousness, drunkenness or devilishness may each be the instrumentalities, but Satan is the director of all. Let us give the Devil his due in the fullest sense, and bravely stand for the honor of the name of our Lord, praying,