They dominate the world: politics, religion, media, armies and people
The Bible reveals that superhuman forces exert influence over the affairs of the earth. These unseen creatures direct politics, religion, armies and even people's lives.
The Bible says: “because we have a struggle, (...) against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.” (Éph. 6:12). “ They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons (...) and they go out to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the wara of the great day of God the Almighty.” — Rév. 16:14.
On an occasion when Jesus was “tempted by the Devil,” Jesus did not question Satan’s role as the ruler of this world. The Bible explains what happened: “The Devil took him along to an unusually high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and he said to him: ‘All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.’ Then Jesus said to him: ‘Go away, Satan!’”—Matthew 4:1, 8-10.
Think about this. Satan tempted Jesus by offering him “all the kingdoms of the world.” Yet, would Satan’s offer have been a real temptation if Satan was not actually the ruler of these kingdoms? No, it would not. And note, Jesus did not deny that all these worldly governments were Satan’s, which he would have done if Satan did not have power over them. So, then, Satan the Devil really is the unseen ruler of the world! The Bible, in fact, calls him “the god of this system of things.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) Yet, how did such a wicked person ever come into this powerful position?
The one who became Satan had been an angel created by God, but he became envious of God’s position. He challenged God’s rightful rulership. To this end he used a serpent as a mouthpiece to deceive the first woman, Eve, and was thus able to get her and her husband, Adam, to do his bidding rather than obey God. (Genesis 3:1-6; 2 Corinthians 11:3) He also claimed he could turn all of Adam and Eve’s yet unborn offspring away from God. So God allowed time for Satan to try to prove his claim, but Satan has not succeeded.—Job 1:6-12; 2:1-10.
Significantly, Satan is not alone in his rulership of the world. He was successful in persuading some of the other angels to join him in rebellion against God. These became demons, his spirit accomplices. The Bible speaks of them when it urges Christians: “Stand firm against the machinations of the Devil; because we have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but . . . against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.”—Ephesians 6:11, 12.
True, many may scoff at the idea that this world is ruled by wicked spirits. But their disbelief is not surprising, since the Bible says: “Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14) His most clever deception has been in blinding many to the fact that he and his demons really exist.
What can we conclude from this? Simply that there really are invisible “world rulers,” demon princes who share control of the world under the authority of their chief, Satan the Devil. But what has been their aim until now?
The World Ruler Shows His True Face
In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, the apostle John relates how Jesus, as Michael the archangel, defeats the Devil and his demons and tells of the disastrous consequences resulting from their expulsion from heaven. We read: “Woe for the earth . . . because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Revelation 12:9, 12.
How has the Devil shown great anger? Just as many desperate criminals follow the policy of ‘rule or ruin,’ the Devil and his demons are determined to bring the earth and its inhabitants to ruin with them. Knowing that his time is short, the Devil has been using one of the key elements of human society under his control—big business—to promote a frenzied spirit of consumerism, which leads to depletion of natural resources and destruction of the environment worldwide, thus threatening humanity’s survival.—Revelation 11:18; 18:11-17.
Since the beginning of human history, the Devil’s thirst for power has also been reflected in politics and religion. The book of Revelation depicts political powers as wild beasts to whom the Devil has given “great authority.” It also describes the shameless alliance between politics and religion as disgusting spiritual adultery. (Revelation 13:2; 17:1, 2) Think of the oppression, enslavement, wars, and ethnic conflicts over the centuries that have resulted in the loss of millions of lives. Can anyone honestly say that the shocking and horrifying events that have tainted the pages of human history were the normal activity of humans? Or were they the result of manipulation by unseen wicked spirit forces?
The Bible unmistakably identifies and unmasks the one who has been maneuvering human leaders and world powers. Whether consciously or not, human society reflects the personality of its ruler and his ‘rule or ruin’ policy.
“among whom the god of this system of thingsd has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.”
“But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time came for the dead to be judged and to reward your slaves the prophets and the holy ones and those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”
“Also, the merchants of the earth are weeping and mourning over her, because there is no one to buy their full cargo anymore, a full cargo of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, and scarlet cloth; and everything made from scented wood; and every sort of object made from ivory, and from precious wood, copper, iron, and marble; also cinnamon, Indian spice, incense, perfumed oil, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, carriages, slaves, and human lives. Yes, the fine fruit that you desired has left you, and all the delicacies and the splendid things have vanished from you, never to be found again. “The merchants who sold these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of their fear of her torment and will weep and mourn, saying: ‘Too bad, too bad, the great city, clothed with fine linen, purple, and scarlet and richly adorned with gold ornaments, precious stones, and pearls, because in one hour such great riches have been devastated!’”
“Now the wild beast that I saw was like a leopard, but its feet were like those of a bear, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And the dragonc gave to the beast its power and its throne and great authority.”
Révélation 17:1, 2
“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me: “Come, I will show you the judgment on the great prostitute who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality, and earth’s inhabitants were made drunk with the wine of her sexual immorality.”
“Now the serpenta was the most cautious of all the wild animals of the field that Jehovah God had made. So it said to the woman: “Did God really say that you must not eat from every tree of the garden? At this the woman said to the serpent: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But God has said about the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden: ‘You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it; otherwise you will die.’” At this the serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die. For God knows that in the very day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and bad.” Consequently, the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was something desirable to the eyes, yes, the tree was pleasing to look at. So she began taking of its fruit and eating it. Afterward, she also gave some to her husband when he was with her, and he began eating it.”
2 Corinthiens 11:3
“But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ.”
“Now the day came when the sons of the true God entered to take their station before Jehovah, and Satanh also entered among them. Then Jehovah said to Satan: “Where have you come from?” Satan answered Jehovah: “From roving about on the earth and from walking about in it.” And Jehovah said to Satan: “Have you taken note of my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth. He is an upright man of integrity, fearing God and shunning what is bad.” At that Satan answered Jehovah: “Is it for nothing that Job has feared God? Have you not put up a protective hedge around himm and his house and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock has spread out in the land. 11 But, for a change, stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your very face.” Then Jehovah said to Satan: “Look! Everything that he has is in your hand. Only do not lay your hand on the man himself!” So Satan went out from the presence of Jehovah.”
“Afterward the day came when the sons of the true God entered to take their station before Jehovah, and Satan also entered among them to take his station before Jehovah. Then Jehovah said to Satan: “Where have you come from?” Satan answered Jehovah: “From roving about on the earth and from walking about in it.” And Jehovah said to Satan: “Have you taken note of my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth. He is an upright man of integrity, fearing God and shunning what is bad. He is still holding firmly to his integrity, even though you try to incite me against himg to destroy him for no reason.” But Satan answered Jehovah: “Skin for skin. A man will give everything that he has for his life. But, for a change, stretch out your hand and strike his bone and flesh, and he will surely curse you to your very face.” Then Jehovah said to Satan: “Look! He is in your hand! Only do not take his life!” So Satan went out from the presence of Jehovah and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And Job took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself, and he was sitting among the ashes. Finally his wife said to him: “Are you still holding firmly to your integrity? Curse God and die!” But he said to her: “You are talking like one of the senseless women. Should we accept only what is good from the true God and not accept also what is bad? In all of this, Job did not sin with his lips.”