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18He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.

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18. I beheld Satan From one instance Christ leads them to the whole class; for he commanded his Gospel to be published for the very purpose of overturning Satan’s kingdom. 5252     “A ceste fin de renverser et destruire;” — “for the very purpose of overthrowing and destroying.” So then, while the disciples rested solely on that demonstration which they had obtained from experience, Christ reminds them, that the power and efficacy of their doctrine extends farther, and that its tendency is to extirpate the tyranny which Satan exercises over the whole human race. We have now ascertained the meaning of the words. When Christ commanded that his Gospel should be preached, he did not at all attempt a matter of doubtful result, but foresaw the approaching ruin of Satan. 5353     “Christ n’a point entreprins, ou essaye une chose a l’aventure, et de laquelle l’issue fust incertaine: mais a veu que la ruine de Satan s’en en-suyvroit;” — “Christ did not undertake or attempt a thing at random, and the result of which was uncertain; but saw that the ruin of Satan would follow from it.” Now since the Son of God cannot be deceived, and this exercise of his foresight relates to the whole course of the Gospel, we have no reason to doubt, that whenever he raises up faithful teachers, he will crown their labor with prosperous success.

Hence we infer, that our deliverance from the bondage of Satan is effected in no other way than through the Gospel; and that those only make actual proficiency in the Gospel, in whom Satan loses his power, so that sin is destroyed, and they begin to live to the righteousness of God. We ought also to attend to the comparison which he employs, that the thunder of the Gospel makes Satan fall like lightning; for it expresses the divine and astonishing power of the doctrine, which throws down, in a manner so sudden and violent, the prince of the world armed with such abundant forces. It expresses also the wretched condition of men, on whose heads fall the darts of Satan, who rules in the air, and holds the world in subjection under his feet, till Christ appear as a Deliverer.