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This notion that the devil is the real owner of planet earth is surprisingly pervasive… and foolish. It springs from a few New Testament verses, some of which are spoken by Satan himself. Why Christians would assume what the ‘father of lies’ says is true is beyond me.
Luk 4:5-7 ESV And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”
Of course a good liar is one who can tell a half truth. And there is enough truth in this lie to deceive some mature Christians. But the scriptures overwhelmingly testify that God is both possessor and Lord of heaven and earth and that Satan does nothing which God does not expressly permit.
God owns the earth and gives it to whoever He chooses
Genesis 14.19: And he blessed him and said, Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
Exo 19:5 ESV Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;
Job 41:11 ESV Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.
Psalms 24.1: The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
Psa 75:7 ESV but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.
Dan 4:25 ESV that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.
Dan 5:21 ESV He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will.
Matthew 11.25: At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
1Co 10:25-26 ESV Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”
Rom 11:36 ESV For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Satan is the ruler of the earth, not the owner
Although Satan does not own the earth, he does rule it. He is not the ultimate ruler and he can do only what God allows. He is given this title because he is lord of much of the human population. In this sense he is able to manipulate world events in significant ways. He possesses real power. But he lies when he says “
Joh 12:31 ESV Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.
Joh 14:30 ESV I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me,
Joh 16:11 ESV concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Eph 2:2 ESV in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
2Co 4:4 ESV In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.