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And it was granted to him to make war against the saints, even to prevail against them.

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And he was

given the opportunity to influence every tribe, people, language and nation.


He was granted permission to make war against the saints, even to physically prevail against them.

And he was given the opportunity to influence every bloodline, every cultural group, every language group, and every political distinction.


1: Persecution

Only God can grant the permission seen in this verse because God is the protector of His faithful followers. What does “prevail” mean in this context? The word means to “prevail, conquer or subdue.” But how does that fit with the message of Revelation? It fits only in the physical sense. We know that even if Satan destroys the body of a martyr he has not won a true victory. It may appear to others that he has won, but we know it is not so. A believer who is faithful to the end and dies a martyr’s death has won a great victory over Satan.

“He Was Given The Opportunity To Influence”

“The opportunity to influence”: The Greek word used here is often translated “authority.” However, it can also mean “influence.” Did God give Satan authority to rule over all the people of the earth? Or did God grant him the opportunity to influence all people on earth?

Authority means that people must do as he says or face the consequences of the one in authority who is free to choose whatever consequences he wishes. Influence means he can pull, push, prod, entice, or trick us into going a given direction, but he is limited, he cannot go beyond those types of things. If God gave Satan authority, it implies that Satan is God’s agent and God is somehow complicit in Satan’s nefarious activities; the granting of authority in ancient times was always done in order to extend the ruler’s own purposes. If God gave Satan opportunity to influence people, then God is not to blame for Satan’s deeds, because God has limited what Satan can do. The latter fits well with one of the emphases of Revelation—that Satan is a liar and a deceiver. He has great influence over mankind, but it is derived from deceit, trickery, lies and manipulation.

If Satan has any authority over people it is not because God gave it to him but because he has usurped it, meaning his authority is a false or self-invented authority, yet people believe he has authority, and they act as if they are compelled to obey him. As mentioned above, there is no reason for God to grant Satan authority, however there is a good reason for God to give Satan opportunities to influence. If we choose to follow God even in the midst of many temptations from the enemy, that proves our love for God. Without such challenges to our love, it cannot be proven to be a strong love.