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
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
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
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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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
• “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:
Blessings come only through the authority of Christ and His sacrifice on
2. In Old Testament times, blessings, answers to
prayer, and even God’s interventions were given in anticipation of
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
4. When God’s people sin and excuse their faults, Satan
taunts Christ and the holy angels that Jesus died in vain.5
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”
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.
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
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).