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by Dr. John Thomas
Hence, the apostle terms walking according to the course of the world, walking according to the Prince of the Power of the Air -- oJ a[rcwn th`" ejxousiva" tou/ ajevro": which he explains as "the Spirit now working in the children of disobedience".
The "power of the air," or aerial power, is the political power of the world, which is animated and pervaded by the spirit of disobedience, which is sin in the flesh; and styled above, the Prince of the Power of the Air.
This is that prince of whom Jesus spoke, saying, "Now is the judgment (crivsi") of this world; now shall the Prince of this World be cast out," that is, "judged".
The key to this is suggested in what follows: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me.
This he said, signifying what death he should die".
The judgment of the Prince of the World by God, was exhibited in the contest between Jesus and the civil and spiritual power of Judea.
"Its poison was like the poison of a serpent," when "the iniquity of his heels compassed him about".
"The battle was against him" for a time.
They bruised him in the heel.
"The enemy smote his life down to the ground; and made him to dwell in darkness, as those that had been long dead".
But here the serpent-power of sin ended.
It had stung him to death by the strength of the law, which cursed every one that was hanged upon a tree.
Jesus being cursed upon this ground, God "condemned sin in the flesh," through him.
Thus was sin, the Prince of the World, condemned, and the world with him according to the existing course of it.
But Jeus rose again, leading captivity captive; and so giving to the world an earnest, that the time would come when death should be abolished and sin, the power of death, destroyed.
Sinful flesh was laid upon him, "that through death, he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil," or sin in the flesh: for, "for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL".
It is clear to my mind that sin is the thing referred to by the apostle in the word devil.
The sting of the Serpent is its power of destruction.
The "sting of death" is the power of death; and that, the apostle says, in one place, "is sin"; and in another, "is the devil".
There are not two powers of death; but one only.
Hence, the devil and sin, though different words, represent the same thing.
"Sin had the power of death," and would have retained it, if the man, who was obedient unto death, had not gained the victory over it.
But, thanks be to God, the earth is not to be a charnel house for ever; for he that overcame the world in his own person, is destined hereafter to "take away the sin of the world," and to "make all things new".