The Everlasting Covenant


6 Authority of the Prince

by Hubert F. Sturges, www.everlastingcovenant.com, December 2013

Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. John 14:30

Christ created this earth (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2). He is the Owner and Prince of this earth. Satan cannot take this from Him. By tempting Adam and Eve to fall, he could only take the dominion that Adam had and position himself to have a greater opportunity to tempt humans.

Through His anticipated sacrifice, Christ received all power and authority over Satan. He exercised this power to give grace to humankind, and, by their consent, to change the lives of humans. Christ gives this power to His people through the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer and with the choice and willing consent of each person.

Christ is the “Prince of Peace,” the “Prince of the covenant,” and the “Prince of Princes.”1 He is the true “Prince.” Satan falsely claims the title through his usurpation of the dominion of Adam. However, Satan has no relation with God and is the enemy of humankind. His claim is false.


War in Heaven

Pride led to open rebellion and war in heaven. Revelation describes this war. “And there was war in heaven: Michael [Christ] and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev. 12:7-9).

God cast Satan onto this earth where Adam and Eve lived in the perfection of their garden home. He allowed Satan only one place in which to tempt Adam and Eve. It was only at the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.”


Adam, One-Time Prince of This World

In disobeying the direct command of God and obeying Satan, Adam had chosen another master and forfeited his dominion of the earth to Satan. In giving Adam and Eve free will, even God would not overrule their choice. In anticipation of Jesus’ sacrifice, God put enmity between human beings and Satan, giving them a conscience and a new probation that they might choose again to serve Him.

The beauty and order of Eden changed after Adam and Eve sinned and forfeited their dominion. God cursed the earth, and Adam had to work hard for a living. Animals became wild. Women bore children in the pains of labor. God banished Adam and Eve from Eden. Satan even challenged the position of God, planning to usurp the rulership of this world, take over Adam’s dominion, and reduce all humankind to slaves.

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. (Isa. 14:13; cf. verses 12-20)

Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Rom. 6:16)

After Adam and Eve sinned, Satan claimed the title of “prince of this world.”2 While he had no right to the title, Satan strongly maintained his claim and insisted that God had no right to intervene (Job 1:8-11).3

Satan soon demonstrated hatred, murder, and no end of other sins. He had neither the support of God above nor the support of humans below. From first to last, he is a usurper of the position he now claims. He planned to destroy everything of beauty, order, peace, and love in the creation of God.


God So Loved the World

One must distinguish between what God can do and what He has chosen to do. God chose to delegate free will and responsibility to created beings. He had an already extensive creation with innumerable affectionate creatures whose love and loyalty were intuitive. However, this was not enough. God desired a love given freely by choice. Creatures with free choice must be persuaded by love, not automated or intimidated by threat. Even Adam’s choice to disobey must be respected!

Through deception, Satan broke the tie between God and Adam and claimed Adam and all his descendants as his own. However, Jesus came and paid the price for their sins. Through His great sacrifice, Jesus redeemed sinful humanity and opened an endless supply of grace. His redeemed creation He would continue to rule, and He would continue His blessings for the human family.

Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. (Isa. 49:24-26)4

Once humans sinned, God did not stand idly by. “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps. 121:5). The plan of salvation, which was presented to Adam and Eve the day they sinned, provided a way of escape: the covenant of grace. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15; cf. Rom. 16:20).

This is the promise and the hope of the covenant. Mankind was not to be helpless before Satan. The law of God, written on their hearts, provided an inborn sense of right and wrong. Included in the everlasting covenant is God’s mandate for people to follow their conscience to do what is right. Here are the two parts of the promise:

• “It [the seed of the woman] shall bruise thy [Satan’s] head”: the “seed of the woman,” the Sin Bearer, would destroy sin and Satan.
• “And thou [Satan] shalt bruise his [the Sin Bearer’s] heel”: sin would be destroyed but only through the suffering of the Sin Bearer.


Authority of the Prince

Humans do not always consider the necessary authority of God in the events of their lives. Through His anticipated sacrifice, Christ bought all of humanity and placed it in a position of favor with God (1 Cor. 6:20). God’s gift of grace, with the consent of our free will, will restore in us the image of God. With this in mind, several things become clear:

1. Blessings come only through the authority of Christ and His sacrifice on the cross.
2. In Old Testament times, blessings, answers to prayer, and even God’s interventions were given in anticipation of the cross of Christ. In New Testament times, these blessings are given by faith in what Jesus has already done at Calvary.
3. The presence of even one righteous person refutes Satan’s claim on this world (Job 1:6-8).
4. When God’s people sin and excuse their faults, Satan taunts Christ and the holy angels that Jesus died in vain.5


Endnotes

1. Christ is “the Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). He is also “the prince of the host” (Dan. 8:11); “the Prince of princes” (Dan. 8:25); “the Messiah the Prince” (Dan. 9:25); “Michael, one of the chief princes” (Dan. 10:13); “Michael your Prince” (Dan. 10:21); “prince of the covenant” (Dan. 11:22); “the great prince” (Dan. 12:1); “a Prince and a Saviour” (Acts 5:31); and “the prince of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5).

2. Satan is called “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) and “the prince of this world.” “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31; see also John 14:30 and 16:11). Satan can claim this position only by default, or by the willing decision by people of the world.

3. The presence of even one righteous person is a challenge to Satan’s accusations. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, Authority of the Prince 39 and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face” (Job 1:8-11).

4. For more on Satan’s role in the conflict, see Job 1:6-8; John 12:31; 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4; and Ephesians 2:2.

5. It is a special problem when God’s people sin (Heb. 6:4-6). “If those who hide and excuse their faults could see how Satan exults over them, how he taunts Christ and holy angels with their course, they would make haste to confess their sins and to put them away. Through defects in the character, Satan works to gain control of the whole mind, and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed. Therefore he is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome. But Jesus pleads in their behalf His wounded hands, His bruised body; and He declares to all who would follow Him: “˜My grace is sufficient for thee.’ 2 Corinthians 12:9. “˜Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.’ Matthew 11:29, 30. Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable. God will give faith and grace to overcome them” (Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy [Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1911], p. 489).