Sovereign (Webster)
Unlimited in extent
Sovereignty (Webster)
Freedom from external control
Sovereign (New Century)
A being above all others; supreme in character, importance and excellence.
Sovereignty (New Century)
Supremacy in rank or power

Please note that the English definition of sovereign has to do with:

Lord [Sovereign] (Greek & Hebrew)
an absolute ruler (despot); the one in control
God (Hebrew)
the Self Existent One or Eternal One; Jehovah, the only King of kings, the only "I Am", the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last
sovereign (Biblical implication)
the right of ultimate choice or determination

Sovereignty Continued

We are looking at the sovereignty of God to understand Biblically, whether Satan can, or has the right to control the lives of some Believers. If the sovereignty of God allows such action by Satan, this would certainly affect the Believer's ability to appropriate for himself, and demonstrate to others the love of God. If the sovereignty of God allows Satan such latitude, is there a way such control can be avoided?

I hope, if you get nothing else from these lessons, you can see how dependent each truth of the Word of God is on all other truth in the Word of God. Just in this one instance; if the sovereignty of God does not allow Satan any latitude in this matter, then there would be no need to study Satan and his control.

This whole matter rests on what the Bible declares the sovereignty of God to be. Basic human thinking would calculate that a person must exert power and control or perform certain actions in order to be sovereign.

Sovereignty is not something God does. Sovereignty is something God is.

Everything God does is accomplished through and because He is sovereign. Sovereignty is the very nature or essence of God. If God were to do something that was not sovereign, God would not be God. Therefore, any action by God is sovereign.

God can do anything He chooses to do, except be untrue to His Person, His promises or His predictions. Our job is not to put limits on what God can do through sovereignty, but to discover what God has done and will do through His promises and predictions in sovereignty. That information can only be gleaned from the written Word of God. As we see what God has done and will do through his promises and predictions, we will be able to understand a little more of the Person of God.

As with most Biblical truths, to totally discover what God has done or will do through his promises and predictions, we must see all of the Word of God in harmony. The less of those Biblical facts we see and harmonize, the more limited will be our understanding of God's sovereignty or any other Biblical subject.

We have already looked at quite a few passages dealing with God's sovereignty. Even so, we haven't seen the tip of the iceberg in this matter. However, I have tried to direct our thinking to a good sampling of the total information regarding this Biblical subject.

As we have looked at these many and varied passages, we have seen that God gave both angels and mankind certain areas of choice as to their:

In some of those same passages, we have seen that God determined many aspects of their:

In some of those same passages, we have seen that God has a right to intervene and disrupt the natural process of life and time. These interruptions are known as miracles in the truest sense. A miracle is performed by God to demonstrate His glory, or amplify His word, but not for the pleasure, comfort or curiosity of mankind. In the rare occurrence of a miracle directed by God towards the pleasure, comfort or curiosity of a human, He sometimes granted the request, but sent leanness of soul.

Psalms 106:15 And He gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul.

We need to see information in three areas:

Then we need to harmonize those facts with the foundation of all Scripture. After that, we need to reconcile our thinking and living so we are in obedience to the spiritual truths taught through those harmonized facts. Let's see if we can move our study a little further toward that goal. In the last lesson, we saw that God had given the earth "to whom it seemed proper to Him". That was clearly a choice from God's sovereignty.

Jeremiah 27:5 'I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me.

We need to see who was the beneficiary of this gift of the earth that seemed proper to God. We also need to see if there were restrictions, time restraints or other conditions placed on this gift by God.

Remember, everything that God does is from His sovereignty. Our job is not to explain away an action of God or spiritualize it, but to harmonize it with all other actions by God, and all other information of the Word of God.

Harmonizing the Facts

I have great sympathy for sincere Bible teachers who approach the Word of God with a crystallized view of sovereignty. When we approach the Word of God with a prenotions such as this, we must approach many passages of Scripture with fear and trembling as we try to calculate how to jam some action of God into our view, when that action is clearly in contrast with our view. When we have these prenotions, we go through some very strange spiritual gyrations in order to avoid large portions of Scripture, or we have to flat-out concede that there are contradictions in the Word of God.

When a Biblical subject of such magnitude as the sovereignty of God is altered to fit a preconceived view, then almost every other teaching of Scripture must be tweaked a little so there can be some reasonable compatibility. I know the pain and frustration of that type of situation. Early in my ministry and fresh out of school, I too was among the ranks of those crystallized saints. I could declare my view with the best of them, until teenagers began asking me honest questions, to which I could not give honest Biblical answers.

Yes, I honestly gave them the standard answers I learned in School. Some of those same questions, asked by those teenagers, I had asked my teachers. However, through academic prestige and intimidation, I had accepted those standard answers without searching the Scriptures to see if they held up under the searchlight of the Word of God.

I accepted those standard answers until those teens asked, and I could not find the Biblical support for my view. I decided, right then and there, if I could not give honest answers from and supported by the Word of God, I would not give any answer. As a matter of fact, if I couldn't find the honest answers in the Word of God, I was out of the ministry, and on my way back to selling pots and pans.

Therefore, I started an open non-prejudicial searching of the Scriptures. Much like the young pastor we saw at the conference a few lesson ago, I began to see the Word of God fall into place with real answers. I trust this study will assist you in doing the same thing.

The Holy Spirit does not leave us in doubt, very long, as to the answer of: "To whom did God give the earth?"

Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Psalms 8:3-6 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, 4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet

Clearly, God gave this earth to Adam. Adam, because he was the federal head of the human race, would naturally pass that ownership to his descendants. As we study this subject and note the facts, we see the inescapable fact that God gave dominion of the works of His hands, the earth, the birds, the cattle, etc. to mankind. Therefore, the subject is closed. Humans own the earth. Not so fast, that is one of the problems with Bible study today, and some so called theology. Conclusions are drawn and presented as doctrine before all the facts of Scriptures are examined and harmonized.

The fact that God gave the earth and all on it to mankind, is quite obvious. However, we have not examined all the facts on this subject in the Word of God. Remember, honest Bible study looks at all the facts, and real theology is the harmonizing of all those facts.

Improper Bible Study

It is true that not many Christians will sit still in church long enough to do any serious Bible study. However, that does not change the fact of what real Bible study is.

Far too much so called Bible study today is content to look at a passage and ask the question: "What does that passage say to me?" Or "Here is how I see this passage." Check your Bible study material and see if that is its thrust. Yes, some will look at a few verses that are possibly related, but the ultimate conclusion of most Bible study material is, "What did this passage say to you?"

It really does not make any difference what it says to you. You can look at Shakespeare in that same manner and get some practical lessons for life.

What matters is what did God say. That is what it should say to you.

In far too many churches today, a portion of Scripture is read and then the speaker departs from that text to something of interest.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

Most Biblical fables start with, "This is what I got out of this passage" or "This is what this passage means to me". Those exact words may not be the beginning text of the fable, but in essence, personal opinion is the start of all fables. Be careful, because even your ears itch a little, and it is so soothing to hear what you think a portion says.

What you think the Bible says, does not mean one thing! The only thing 
that matters is, what does the Bible say this portion means.
If the Bible does not clearly state what a portion means, don't put your own twist on it.

If the passage is not clear to you, freely admit that you do not know. There is nothing wrong with not knowing everything the Bible teaches. What's wrong is, when we don't keep searching all Scripture to find the answers.

It is fine to draw a conclusion after a thorough examination of the facts of the entire Word of God. If the Scriptures are not clear on the subject, you need to make sure that your conclusion is stated as only your conclusion. Such a conclusion should not be pawned off as spiritual truth that others should believe and follow.

To read a few verses and discuss them for 20 minutes, which usually means to pool our ignorance, and conclude that this is what that passages says to me, is not Bible study. It is down right dangerous.

To Whom Does the Earth Belong?

With all that in mind, let's go back to the subject at hand. If the passages we looked at mean anything, God gave the earth and all that's in it, to mankind. However, we have only seen a small part of this Biblical subject. So let's put some of the other ingredients into the mix, and see if we can harmonize those facts.

John 16:15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
Haggai 2:8 "The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine," says the Lord of hosts.
Psalms 50:10-12 For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. 12 "If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness.
Job 41:11 Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? Everything under heaven is Mine.
Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die.

My Goodness, which of these Biblical statements are true? Did God really give the earth to mankind? Did God take back the earth? Was it all just a figure of speech? Is the Bible full of contradictions? Either God did not give the earth to Adam, or these statements of God that the earth is His, must have spiritual meaning, or we don't have all the facts in harmony.

A long time a go, a person told me that it was dangerous to teach both sides of a Biblical issue, because it would only bring confusion. Therefore, I should pick a side and stick with it. I asked this fellow to tell me which side I should be on.

Should I be on the side of God's statements that declare He owns the earth or should I be on the side of the Bible where it says that God gave the earth to Adam? I told this fellow that I certainly wanted to be on God's side, so if he would kindly tell me which side was God's side, I would side with God and stick with it.

The only thing dangerous about two sides of a Biblical issue is
not teaching all that the Bible proclaims about the issue on both sides.

So stay the course. We won't have enough facts, even with this lesson, to draw any real conclusions. However, if all goes well, in next few lessons, I think we can honestly draw some conclusions about this vast Biblical subject. In the mean time, let's throw some more facts into the mix.

Verses to Examine

The Biblical facts are certainly there to support the truth that God gave Adam domination of the earth. Therefore, it was passed to the human race. For the moment, let's follow that transaction a little further.

In the great war, known as the conflict of the ages between Satan's kingdom and God's kingdom, Satan's forces won a battle in the Garden of Eden by enslaving Adam and Eve to sin and Satan. By that act, the whole human race became slaves to Satan and his kingdom...

When mankind became slaves of Satan, all their possessions became Satan's by default. Let's look at some of the Biblical evidence of this fact.

1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
Galatians 1:3-5 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Ephesians 2:1-7 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

These references, and many like them give credence to the fact that Satan now dominates this earth in the place of the human race, who turned over that domination to Satan by means of spiritual slavery. These passages and others like them, by themselves, do not prove that Satan now dominates and controls the earth. However, these along with others we will look at build a rock solid case for this fact.

John 12:30-32 Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."
John 14:30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.
John 16:5-11 "But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?' 6 "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 "of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11"of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

These passages and others demonstrate clearly that Christ knew and recognized the dominating position of Satan over the earth. If we had no other passages than these quotes of Christ and their context, we would have enough to clearly establish the fact of Satan's domination of the earth. But these are not the only passages that substantiate this fact.

Matthew 4:8-11 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.' " 11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

In this encounter of Christ with Satan, Christ never once questioned that Satan had the power to give all the kingdoms of the world.

Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"

As the Lamb (Christ) began to open the sealed scroll or book, it is declared that the kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of our Lord. This clearly indicates that those kingdoms were not the possession of Christ before this opening of the sealed book.

Please keep in mind that there is another aspect to this subject, also. There is not time to present all the material or both sides in any one lesson. For balance, please look at a couple of passages that seems to indicate something different than we have been seeing.

Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Colossians 1:16-20 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

In the next few lessons, we will try to bring these, seemingly different Biblical areas, into balance.

Hebrews 1:1-9 God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets. 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son"? 6 But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." 7 And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire." 8 But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions." 10 And: "You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands; 11 They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; 12 Like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail." 13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? 5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels. 6 But one testified in a certain place, saying: "What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands. 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet." For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
 But we see Jesus, 
9 who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.