John A. MacMillan

B. Childress
Feb 04 2012

Chapters 24-27 of the prophecy of Isaiah, although doubtless inspired by the conditions of the prophet's own times,
refer to the coming day of the Lord.  Thus we find a definite forecast of the overthrow of the satanic system in the
beginning of the millennial period (24:21-23).  Two great organizations are mentioned as subject to and undergoing the
divine judgment.  These are "the host of the high ones on high" and "the kings of the earth upon the earth."   The
first-named comprises the unseen "authority of the air" (Ephesians 2:2); the second looks forward, in its full
development, to the world grouping of nations and their rulers at the end time, which we are witnessing today.  With the
latter group the present article is not concerned.

Probably the simplest scriptural division of the satanic system is given by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:12:

1.  Under their great prince we have the "principalities," rulers of great world areas whose function and territories are
suggested in the statement of the angel to Daniel (10:13, 20).

2.  Associated with them are "powers."  The two classes are linked together in more than one place, probably holding
the relationship of prince and subordinate ruler.

3.  "Rulers of the darkness of this world," a class of beings whose ministry is the keeping in darkness of the masses of
mankind.  From them doubtless proceed those cunningly devised heresies, such as evolution, which, backed by no
genuine evidence, is yet accepted by the intelligentsia of our day, is defended with a pathetic loyalty and is forced upon
the young in our schools as a reality.

4.  "Spiritual wickedness in high places," an unnumbered army of demons who are the beings met with in the spiritist
"seances," which are widespread throughout the country, gathering in multitudes to be deceived and fleeced.

Isaiah's reference to "the host of the high ones on high," speaks of "the powers of the air" (Ephesians 2:2), a body
which is organized in fierce hostility to the purposes and the will of the Most High.  Their organization is outlined in some
detail in Scripture, so that a reasonably clear picture is given of it.  At the head of it stands a fallen archangel of peculiar
eminence and authority.  He is called by a variety of titles, of which the most familiar are the following, grouped together
in two places of the Word of God (Revelation 12:9; 20:2).

Satan's Titles

The Dragon.  This appellation seems to be applied with reference to his relationship to the world kingdoms.  Unseen,
he works among and controls them by an unnumbered host of agents of varied ranks.  He is not in any sense gifted with
omnipresence but is enabled to travel with the speed of light from place to place.  His authority over his subjects seems
unquestioned, and his will is absolute where he exerts it.  Occasionally we see evidences of his being, as for example in
the insignia of the old empire of China where the symbol of the dragon appeared in every conceivable place.  To us it
seemed to be merely a figure of art, but to those who realized the extent to which that mighty nation was under the sway
of idolatry and evil, the figure was a sinister one.

The Old Serpent.  This term alludes to his ministry of deception of mankind in general and of individuals in particular.  
The prophet Isaiah foretells the deliverance from the spiritual blindness that is a universal condition among men.  "He
will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations"
(Isaiah 25:7).  The leaders of the world boast of the increasing light which is flooding over the world, and this is true of
the advances made by science and by knowledge in general.  But there is a widespread forgetfulness of God, so great
that the nations of the earth are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.  Our missionary enterprise is so futile,
compared with the need, that the natural increase in population far outstrips the souls that are won out of heathenism.  
Thus the darkness is steadily increasing over the light, and heathenism grows mightily while Christianity is comparatively

The Devil.  This title means the slanderer or the malignant accuser, an attitude he bears toward the children of God.  
The Scriptures present him as "the accuser of the brethren...which accused them before our God day and night"
(Revelation 12:10).  Truly the saints need a divine Advocate (I John 2:1) to stand for them against this shrewd and
diabolical enemy, who hates God and the people of God with an enmity that is undying.  And the saints have a further
protection in the blood shed on Calvary, for it is written: "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word
of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death" (Revelation 12:11).  That "precious blood of Christ as of
a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:19) not only cleanses from sin but is the sinner's weapon against the
enemy in his constant accusations and attacks.

Satan.  This denotes the adversary of the believer, working through the multitude of principalities and powers, the world
rulers of this darkness, the rulers of the darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12), whom the child of God is exhorted to
wrestle against and overcome as he wears the whole armor of God.  There is an interesting word in Zechariah 3:1
descriptive of this evil opponent.  We are told that, in a vision, the prophet saw "Joshua the high priest standing before
the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary" (ASV).  The old enemy was there to
fulfill his agelong ministry of hindrance and opposition.  But we read the strong vindication of the Angel of the Lord, "The
LORD rebuke thee, O Satan" (3:2).  From the authoritative rebuke of the Almighty, Satan must always flee.  And it is
ours to use the same rebuke as servants and fellow-servants of Christ and to know the same result.  Principality and
power, world ruler of the darkness, demon powers of the air - all must yield to us as we take our place with Christ in the
heavenlies (Ephesians 2:4-6) and exercise the authority of His throne which He shares with His believing and obedient

Another set of titles is not grouped together but are used in varied places of the Word.  One of these is "the prince of
this world."  Three times our Lord Himself used it of Satan.

The Prince of this World (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).  This was a dignity conferred probably before his fall (Ezekiel
28:11-19).  In the account of the temptation of our Lord (Luke 4:6), he claims the suzerainty of the kingdoms of the
world in the presence of Christ, who does not deny his claim.  
Since Satan is the lord of earth's kingdoms, there
can be no such thing as a Christian nation
.  Certainly kings and rulers may be Christians in their individual capacity,
but the nations over which they are set do not acknowledge allegiance officially to God.  (Instances of denial of such
exist in Britain and America.)

The God of this Age (II Corinthians 4:4).  Satan seeks to supplant the true God in the hearts and the worship of
mankind.  Satan-worship is actually carried on in many places.  The Yezidis of Iraq are devil worshipers, as well as
others in heathen lands.  But even in so-called Christian lands there are large numbers who definitely acknowledge
Satan as God (for example, the "Lucifereans" of Paris; the cults of New York, Los Angeles, etc.; the attempts to secure
children by some in New York).

The Prince of the Power of the Air (Ephesians 2:2).  The seat of Satan is in the lowest of the heavens, possibly the
atmosphere about us.  Possibly Satan's sphere originally included the sun, which was out of action in Genesis 1.  This is
suggestive when we remember that idolatry has usually commenced with sun worship.  Baal was the sun-god.  It is
significant that, whereas Baal means Lord when given by men, the Hebrew name for the sun is Shemesh, which means
"servant."  It is also noteworthy that the Scriptures speak of the heavens as not being clean in the sight of God (Job
15:15), and that the writer of Hebrews states that the heavenly things, of which the tabernacle and its parts and rites
were but symbols, needed purification by the "better sacrifices" of the atoning blood (9:23).  This was probably because
of the rebellion of Satan.


THE AUTHORITY OF THE BELIEVER, by John A. MacMillan, Copyright 2007, WingSpread Publishers.