Article: Who Controls the World, God or Satan 1 John 5:19 by Will Kinney

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God or Satan?

Who is in control of the world? Is it God or Satan? Jesus Christ said: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Mattthew 28:18. The Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:13 ends with :"For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever, Amen." This phrase is in brackets in the NASB and removed in the NIV, RSV and ESV. Jesus either said it or he didn't; they can't all be right.

In Ephesians 1:20-22 it is said of Christ that God "raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet."


Daniel 4:17,25,26 tell us three times that "the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will." 2 Chronicles 20:6 affirms: "O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?"


God is the sovereign ruler and controller of this world, as well as the entire universe. There is only one King, and Satan is not the king, the controller, or the ruler of this world - at least according to the true Holy Bible - the King James Bible of 1611 - which is pure in all its precepts and true in all its doctrines. However such is not the case with a multitude of inferior bible versions on the market today.


Satan is a liar from the beginning. In Luke 4:6, when the devil tempted the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness, Satan told Jesus that all the kingdoms of the world were his and that he gave them to whomsoever he would. He lied. He is a liar and the father of it - John 8:44. Satan's statement directly contradicts Daniel 4:17 which says "the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will."


Adam Clarke makes these comments regarding the boastful statement of Satan: " Satan, it is true, has said that the kingdoms of the world and their glory are his, and that he gives them to whomsoever he will; Matthew 4:8,9. But has God ever said so? and are we to take this assertion of the boasting devil and father of lies for truth? Certainly not."


But the NIV, NAS, ESV and NKJV have bought Satan's lie and are passing it off onto God's children.


All Greek texts read the same in 1 John 5:19, so it is not a textual variation, but a simple matter of sound and consistent doctrine as opposed to a lie. The Greek texts read: "oidamen oti ek tou theou esmen kai o kosmos olos en too poneeoo keitai".


In I John 5:19 the King James Bible along with the Tyndale 1525, Bishop's Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Young's, the Spanish Reina Valera of 1602, and 1909 (y todo el mundo está puesto en maldad), Lamsa's translation of the Peshitta, Webster's 1833 translation, the Douay-Rheims 1950, the KJV 21st Century version, Green's literal translation and Green's Modern KJV, and the Third Millenium Bible all say: "And we know that we are of God, and THE WHOLE WORLD LIETH IN WICKEDNESS."


Wycliffe's Bible says: " We witen, that we ben of God, and al the world is set in yuel." Or the modernized version would be: "We know that we be of God and all the world is set in evil."


Miles Coverdale's 1535 translation says: "We know that we are of God, and the whole world is set altogether in wickedness."


Many commentators who are usually sound in their doctrine become very confused in their thinking when they try to explain this passage, yet the meaning as it stands in the true Holy Bible is quite clear. We live in a fallen world; it lies in sin and wickedness, just as the text says. But God is still in control and ruling over all His creation. "He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" Ephesians 1:11. Even though it may appear that wickedness is winning, the eye of faith sees his sovereignty and rejoices in this confidence.


However, believe it or not, many new versions pervert the truth of God's sovereign rule and would have us believe that Satan is the ruler of this world and is in control. In fact, they come right out and say it in these exact words.


The NIV says: "The whole world is UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE EVIL ONE."


Before you rush to your school boy Greek to defend this obvious lie, check out any of your own preferred bible versions and notice how they frequently translate nouns that have the definite article. See for instance Romans 12:9 in the NIV, NKJV, NASB, or the NASB in Matthew 5:37 and 6:13.


NASB " the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."


Today's English Version "the whole world is under the rule of the Evil One."


ESV (English Standard Version) "the whole world lies in the power of the evil one."


Living Bible 1981 "the world around us is under Satan's power and control."


ISV (International Standard Version) "the whole world lies under the control of the evil one."


The NKJV, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible try to strike a medium with : " the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" but the NKJV as well as the NASB are also wrong when three times they refer to Satan as the "ruler of this world" in John 12:31; 14:30, and 16:11. Satan is NOT the ruler of this world. He is the spiritual "prince of this world", as the KJB, RV, ASV, Tyndale, Geneva, and even the NIV correctly say, but there are also other spiritual "princes" or beings working among the nations, and all of them are under the control of God and not Satan.


Daniel chapter 10 reveals that there are spiritual "princes" of Persia and of Grecia, and the angel Michael is one of the chief princes of the nation of Israel. These are members of the spiritual principalities and powers in the heavenly places, Satan being the "prince of the power of the air" Ehpesians 2:2, but he is not, as the NKJV and the NASB teach, the RULER of this world.


I have asked people who use the NIV or any of these modern versions a simple question. Who is in control of this world, God or Satan? I usually get the response that God is in control of this world. Then I show them what the NIV, NASB, and NKJV say in 1 John 5:19, or in John 12:31; 14:30 and 16:11. Usually they are a bit shocked and begin to doubt the reliability of these versions (as well they should). But unfortunately what I have most often found to be the case is that after a short while they then try to defend this obvious error by a series of silly explanations.


It is a very simple question. Does the King James Bible teach that Satan is the ruler of this world, and that the whole world is under the control of the Evil One? Answer: NO


Do the NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV teach that Satan is the ruler of this world and that the whole world is under his control? Answer: YES.


Objection raised and answered.


One Christian I know from the internet, who himself does not believe any Bible is the perfect word of God, and believes they all contain errors, raised this objection to my little study. He told me that the word translated "prince" can also mean a "ruler", and that in the King James Bible, Jesus Christ is called "the PRINCE of the kings of the earth" in Revelation 1:5.


He then went on to argue that the King James Bible was saying the same thing as the NKJV and the NASB regarding Satan when they call him "the ruler of this world" in John 12:31; 14:30 and 16:11, and so I was wrong to say these new versions are in error.


First of all, he is correct when he says the Greek word arkoon can mean "ruler", but it also can mean "prince, chief, or magistrate."


A prince ay or may not be a ruler, but a ruler is always a ruler, and Satan is not the ruler of this world - God is.


Webster's Dictionary defines the word Prince in the following ways:


1. A non-reigning male member of a royal family.


2. A son of a Sovereign.


3. A preeminent person in a class or group.


4. A ruler of a small or subordinate state.


5. Archaic - a monarch or a king.


Satan is correctly called "the prince of this world" in the King James Bible because he is the chief of the devils, and he is at work in and among the children of disobedience, but he is clearly under the ultimate control of Almighty God. See the book of Job for clear examples of Satan's limitations. Satan is NOT the Ruler of this world.


In Revelation 1:5 we read: "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and THE PRINCE of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood."


Not only does the King James Bible call Christ "the prince of the kings of the earth", but so also do Wycliffe 1395, the Geneva Bible 1599, the Spanish Reina Valera of 1909, Darby's translation of 1890, Webster's translation of 1833, Lamsa's 1936 translation of the Peshitta, the KJV 21st Century, and the Third Millenium Bible.


I believe there are several good reasons why Christ is called here "the prince" of the kings of the earth, and not "the ruler of the kings" as found in the NKJV, NASB and NIV.


First of all, "the prince" is a Messianic title, and the Lord Jesus is indeed the Messiah. In Daniel 9:25 we read: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto MESSIAH THE PRINCE shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks..."


Secondly, just as an earthly prince is the son of the king, so Christ the prince is the Son of the Father.


Thirdly, the prince is the king's son who is about to reign, but is not yet reigning as king. This also is true of the Lord Jesus. Christ is not yet sitting on His earthy throne where He will be visibly present as the King of Israel. This does not happen until later on in the book of Revelation.


In Revelation 11:15, after many judgments have taken place, then we read: "And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."


This same thing is seen in the book of Daniel 7:13-14. "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven,(Compare Rev. 1:7) and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."


Again, it is not until Revelation 19:11-16 that we see heaven opened and the Word of God coming upon a white horse attended with His armies to judge and make war. "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: AND HE SHALL RULE them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."


The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of man, does not receive His earthly kingdom until AFTER He comes again, and therefore He is correctly called "the prince of the kings of the earth" in Revelation 1:5 in the King James Bible.


It turns out that the more we study and meditate upon the truths found in all their fulness only in the King James Bible, we see the Providential hand of God at work in giving us His perfect words in this Book of books.


Will Kinney


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