Who Gave Satan His Authority?

But what about Satan’s claim that the authority of those kingdoms had been “handed over” to him?

Again, there is the very real possibility that Satan was lying. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was telling the truth.

Notice Satan did not say that Adam had handed it over to him. As we have already seen, Adam couldn’t have handed it over to Satan because Adam never had it to give. Adam ruled fish, birds, and cattle, not kingdoms. (There were, in fact, no kingdoms of people to rule when Adam fell.) Additionally, if Satan was offering Jesus rule over the kingdom of darkness, which consisted of all evil spirits and unsaved people, then there is absolutely no way that Adam could have handed that jurisdiction over to Satan. Satan was ruling over fallen angels before Adam was created.

Satan may have meant that all the people of the world had handed him authority over them, as they were not submitted to God and thus were, knowingly or unknowingly, submitted to him.

An even better possibility is that God handed it over to him. It is very possible, in the light of Scripture, that God said to Satan, “You and your evil spirits have My permission to rule over everyone who is not submitted to Me.” That may seem hard for you to swallow now, but you will later see that is probably the best explanation of Satan’s claim. If God truly is “ruler over the realm of mankind” (Dan. 4:25), then any authority Satan has over mankind must have been granted by God.

Satan is only ruling the kingdom of darkness, which could also be called the “kingdom of rebellion.” He was ruling over that kingdom since the day he was expelled from heaven, which was prior to Adam’s fall. Up until Adam’s fall, the kingdom of darkness consisted only of angelic rebels. But when Adam sinned, he joined the kingdom of rebellion, and Satan’s kingdom ever since then has included not just rebellious angels, but rebellious humans.

Satan had rule over his dark domain before Adam was even created, and so let us not think that when Adam fell, Satan gained something that Adam previously possessed. No, when Adam sinned, he joined a kingdom of rebellion that had existed for some time, a kingdom ruled by Satan.