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The Devil’s Kingdoms?

Now to the answer: Scriptum est. [It is written]

The disputing or deciding of the Devil’s title:[1] that is, whether the kingdoms of the earth were his to give or no, Christ stands not upon; nor upon this, whether the Devil were a man of his word or no.[2] Indeed, it might well have been doubted, whether the Devil be as good as his word: his promises are not Yea and Amen, as the promises of God are.[3] We may take example by Eve, to whom  he promised, that if they did eat of the forbidden fruit that they should be like gods[4]: but were they so indeed, after they had eaten? No, but like the beasts that perish.[5]

And as true it is, that the kingdoms are his.[6]

If[7] the Kingdome of Israel had been at his disposition, we may be sure David should never have been King: as well appears by the troubles he raised against him[8]. No, nor Hezekiah[9] neither, of all other he would never choose such. We may see his good will in Job, chapter second verse 7. he could not only be content to spoil him of all that he had, but also he must afflict his body[10]: and so upon the Gergashites hogs in the 8. Chapter, and 30. verse of Saint Matthew[11].

The kingdoms are none of his, but they are committed to him in some sort to dispose, as he himself says in the fourth of Luke, the 6. vers. He hath (as it were) an advowson[12] of them, to present unto them: but yet, not as he there says, to give to whom he list [wish] but to whom he is permitted[13].

God must first put all the Job hath in his hands, or else he can do nothing. AbimelechJudges 9. and Herod[14]Matt. 2. came to their kingdoms by the Devil’s patent [grant] they bee the Devil’s officers. So, we see daikt in our days, that he bestows offices, and presents to Churches. So that as Brentius[15] says, Many have Panem quotidianum [Latin, daily bread] that cannot come by Da nobis[16]: they come not to it by God’s gift: yet all the interest that the Devil has, is but to present Pro hac vita tantum[17]. As therefore it may be true, that in some sort they may be given him: so yet, not to dispose as he will[18].

It is God only that can say so, for his only they are absolutely. The earth is the Lordes, and all the fulnesse thereof, the round world, and all that dwell therein, Psalm. 24. vers. 1[19]. It is he (the Most High God) that divided to the Nations their inheritance, Deuteron. chapt. 32. verse. 8.[20] By him Kings reigne, and Princes haue dominion, Prouerbes. chapt. 8. verse. 15.[21] He brought Nebuchadnezzar to know, That the most high God bare rule ouer the Kingdomes of men, Dan. chapt. 5. vers. 21[22]. He indeed may well say, Cui voluero, do ea[23]: and to whomsoever God gives, he gives liberally, and reproaches no man. Jam. chapt. 1. vers. 5.[24]


[1] On the question as to whether the Devil had legal title, whether he was the legal owner. To be “on title” is to own.

[2] One could debate whether the Devil actually had the right to dispose of the kingdoms of this world, or whether the Devil would keep his promise. These are both serious questions. Jesus, however, ignores both questions.

[3]

15 Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. 16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. 17 Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

2 Corinthians 1:15–20 (ESV)

[4] The Devil’s statement that Eve would not “surely die” for eating the fruit is actually more to Andrewes’ purpose.

[5]

                  Man in his pomp will not remain;

he is like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 49:12 (ESV)

[6] The Devil was lying about having control of the kingdoms, just like he lied to Eve.

[7] To prove his point, that the Devil does not control the kingdoms of the world, Andrewes presents two lines of evidence. First, the Devil would not permit a good, godly king to rule. But David and Hezekiah were both kings in Israel. Therefore, the Devil did not make them king. Second, the Devil must ask permission from God to act. He gives the examples from Job and from the demons that the Devil has no personal authority.

[8] If the Devil really had control over the kingdoms to the extent he claimed to Jesus, the Devil would not have allowed David to become king of Israel.

[9] Another King of Israel: Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. 2 Chronicles 31:20 (ESV)

[10]

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Job 1:6–12 (ESV)

[11]

28 And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30 Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31 And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32 And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters.

Matthew 8:28–32 (ESV)

[12]

advowson /ədˈvaʊz(ə)n/

  ■ noun Brit. (in ecclesiastical law) the right to recommend a member of the Anglican clergy for a vacant benefice, or to make such an appointment.

Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, eds., Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

[13]  and [the Devil] said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. Luke 4:6 (ESV) The Devil has a limited authority. God does permit the Devil to make certain decisions. The Devil does not have independent authority. Andrewes will then provide examples of this sort of authority

[14] Abimelech and Herod were two particularly evil rulers.

[15] “Brenz, Johann (1499–1570), reformer of Württemberg.” F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford;  New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 236.

[16] Da nobis: Latin give to us. Andrewes is quoting the Lord’s Prayer in Latin. They have something to eat, but it did not come as God’s gift.

[17] Latin, For this life (and not the next).

[18] While the Devil has some power, his power limited to what God will permit. He might be mean dog, but he is always on a leash.

[19]

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,

the world and those who dwell therein,

Psalm 24:1 (ESV)

[20]

                                  Remember the days of old;

consider the years of many generations;

                                    ask your father, and he will show you,

your elders, and they will tell you.

                                  When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,

when he divided mankind,

                                    he fixed the borders of the peoples

according to the number of the sons of God.

                                  But the Lord’s portion is his people,

Jacob his allotted heritage.

Deuteronomy 32:7–9 (ESV)

[21]

                  12               “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,

and I find knowledge and discretion.

                  13               The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.

                                    Pride and arrogance and the way of evil

and perverted speech I hate.

                  14               I have counsel and sound wisdom;

I have insight; I have strength.

                  15               By me kings reign,

and rulers decree what is just;

                  16               by me princes rule,

and nobles, all who govern justly.

Proverbs 8:12–16 (ESV)

[22] Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, boasted in his pride that he had made himself great and Babylon great. God struck him in his pride and left him to spend seven years thinking he was a cow, eating grass and living outside. As Daniel explains:

18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. 19 And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. 21 He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. 22 And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23 but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored.

Daniel 5:18–23 (ESV)

[23] Latin, I will give to whomever I wish to give.

[24] If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5 (ESV)