Satan is thus revealed as having been first created perfect in all his ways, mighty in power, and full of beauty and wisdom. While thus privileged, he proposed a stupendous project in his heart—himself to become like the Most High. Though cast down and yet having access to God, he is seen wresting the world scepter from man; and ruling as the god of this world, until the judgment of the Cross; and after that he still rules as a usurper. At the end of the age he is cast out of his access to heaven, into the earth; from thence to the pit; and, finally, is banished to the lake of fire forever.
This review of the career of Satan is made at this point in order to call attention to the direct and mighty influence he exerts upon the affairs of this world according to his varying positions and freedom.
After Satan rebelled, humanity, too, was thrown into an abnormal and almost universal attitude of independence toward God; and this continues beyond the Cross with increasing confusion and darkness, to the end of the age. The only exception to this rebellion is the little company of believers; and how terribly real is the tendency to the self-governed life of the old nature, even among these! When Satan is cast out of heaven and limited to the earth, there is tribulation upon the earth of which Jesus speaks in Matt. 24:21, and which is also referred to in Dan. 12:1. When Satan is bound and put in the pit, and the promised Kingdom of Christ has come, there is peace covering the earth as waters cover the face of the deep.
Can it be doubted that this mighty being is a living power, acting directly over the affairs of men, even in this self-glorying age?
It is a conspicuous fact that the comparatively few errors and inconsistencies in translation, found in the English Authorized Version of the New Testament, serve to hinder, directly or indirectly, any clear understanding of the teachings of Scripture in regard to the conditions and relationships of the world at the present time. Even the revision did not greatly relieve this confusion beyond the addition of some helpful marginal renderings. It would seem, if it were possible, that Satan, the author of confusion and the only one advantaged by it, had been able in some subtle way to keep in darkness that which would otherwise be light; thus preventing a revelation of his own projects.
The continuation of these misleading translations is most evident in the unqualified use of the English word “world.” The word which, in common usage, has a limited meaning is used, by the translators, as the one English rendering for at least four widely differing ideas in the original. So that, if the truth contained in this important body of Scripture is to be understood, the student must not only know the various meanings which are expressed by the one word, but also be able to determine the correct use of the word in any single instance. This necessary effort to understand the real meaning of many passages has, therefore, placed the simple truth they contain beyond the average reader of the Bible.