“The Kingdom of the Devil”

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

The sacred Scriptures do not favor the view that there is no personal devil, no kingdom of the devil.

In this section he is said to be stirring men up to hostility against that which is good, and that, if they do not repent, they will perish, because of his “rage” in their hearts (v. 20). He will drive them to destruction, as prisoners in chains. Some he will lead to hell with infatuating siren songs about all being well, although death lurks on either side (v. 21), be it Scylla or Charybdis. Others he convinces that there is no devil and no hell, while he leads them to the place from which “there is no deliverance.” (vv. 22-23).

Our Lord, during his earthly mission, recognized the existence of the devil. He referred to him as “the prince of this world” (Job 1:15), but also the lightning to fall from heaven and destroy his flocks together with the shepherds (v. 16). He caused Chaldeans to kill the camels and their keepers, and he directed a cyclone to crush the house in which the children of Job were feasting, burying them in the ruins (vv. 17-19). And, finally, satan, after divine permission, attacked Job himself, with “boils” that covered his entire body (2:1-8).

In his encounter with our Lord immediately after the baptism of the Christ, satan claimed dominion over the entire world and offered it to the Son of God as reward for joining his worshipers—a proposition which our Savior had rejected long before, when the great apostasy in heaven took place. (Pearl of G. P., Mos. 4:1-2; Ab. 3:27) But when he said to Jesus: “To thee will I give all this authority and the glory of them; for it hath been delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will give it” (20 it appears that rulers of kingdoms sometimes are on the side of satan and that Michael, the archangel, is still actively engaged against him.

Satan has great power. But he can never obtain possession of anyone that does not surrender voluntarily. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Moses 1:18-22, where we read that satan fled from Moses, weeping and wailing, because he could not persuade the great prophet to join him and his rebellion.

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1