I have been studying lately many experiences that apostles of the church have had while they have been preaching the gospel. Especially the experiences of Heber C. Kimball when he preached in England. There are many instances where Satan has done all he can to stop the apostles and the missionaries and the magnitude of the encounters is honestly shocking. I have always wondered why Satan has so much power and where it comes from.
While it’s true Satan has great power, it’s important to recognize he has limits. Good examples are found in the Book of Revelation. Chapter 9 details some of the plagues we will see in the Seventh Seal (keep in mind the Book of Revelation is a book of hope, in spite of the scary things we read there). In verse 1 the “star fallen from heaven (Satan)” is “given the key to the bottomless pit.” The passive case here indicates the key is given to him; he doesn’t take it. Satan’s “locusts” in verses 3-5 have power to only hurt the wicked for only “five months” and not to kill them. We see similar examples throughout Revelation: a third of the seas affected, a third part men killed. God is in control and sets the Adversary’s limits.
One reason for the power Satan has is that we give it to him. Revelation 20:1-2 tells us that an angel (probably Michael) binds Satan for a thousand years, but 1 Nephi 22:26 indicates the Saints are also involved in binding Satan:
“And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power; wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years; for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth.”
Another reason Satan has the power he does is because there must be “an opposition in all things (2 Nephi 2:11).” God allows the Adversary to work against Him as part of that opposition.
The important thing to remember is that in spite of Satan’s power, he cannot come close to matching the power of God. In our Bible dictionary under “Devil” we read this wonderful passage:
Protection against the influence of the devil is found by obedience to the commandments and laws of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of all the prophets and apostles is that truth, righteousness, and peace shall in the end prevail over error, sin, and war; the faithful shall triumph over all their afflictions and enemies and shall triumph over the devil. There shall be a complete and lasting victory of righteousness over wickedness on this earth, which will be done by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We needn’t fear the power of the Devil if we make following Christ our priority.