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Why does the Bible Call the Devil “the Prince of this World”?

October 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Demonology, Fr. Fortea

Father Fortea, why does the Bible call the devil “the prince of this world”?

On some occasions, the Bible uses expressions in reference to the devil that seem excessive. Nevertheless, everything in the Scripture is perfectly measured. In the Church’s official Latin translation of the Bible, God is called Dominus (Lord) and Rex (King). There is only one King and one Lord; these two terms are always reserved for God in the Bible, that is to say, there is only one holder of power and one holder of rights.

God is King; the devil is just the “prince of this world.” The Latin word for “prince” – princeps – means “he who occupies the first place; the most important, the principal one.” By giving him this title, the Bible wants to convey without a doubt that the devil is the most important demon in this world. Thus, the writings of the holy Church Fathers, following these words of Scripture, consider the devil to have been the most powerful and beautiful of all the angels before his rebellion against God.



Editor’s Note:  To learn more about spiritual warfare and demonology, Catholic Spiritual Direction recommends Fr. Fortea’s excellent book, Interview With An Exorcist – An Insider’s Look at the Devil, Demonic Possession, and the Path to Deliverance.

Art for this post on the prince of this world: Teotihuacan Feathered Serpent, photographed by Jami Dwyer, 20 August 2008, CCA-SA 2.0 Generic, Wikimedia Commons.


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About Fr. Jose Antonio Fortea

Father José Antonio Fortea is not only an exorcist, but also a writer, and parish priest. He once thought he would lead what he has termed ordinary life as an attorney in Madrid, much as his father did before him, but sensed instead a vocation to the priesthood in his adolescent years. A theology graduate of Navarre University in Spain, Father Fortea wrote a thesis there on exorcism. He has been a practicing exorcist for several decades.

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  • Fascinating! 🙂 I just love it when things have etymological explanations!

  • patricia

    Thanks for sharing information on the biblical perpective of the devil.

  • Mary G

    And isnt the devil the “most important one”, the “head honcho” so to speak of “this world” that Jesus said His Kingdom is not of? And later Jesus said referring to the devil that “the prince of this world, ….has no hold ” on Him! So the devil is “the most important one ” of “this world” his principality is confined to this world, this temporal state where mankind’s salvation is in play….but NOT in God’s Kingdom, of course, he is no longer a prince in God’s kingdom, as Fr, Fortea tells us. My thoughts: Jesus doesnt call him a prince because He sees him as important, but because the world does! It is we who make him so “important”, it is we who make him “prince” when we put “the world’s illusions above God’s Truth, thus allowing him power over us! And in the end, the “head honcho’s principality” will no longer hold any power at all, because God will take it away from him, and if we do not (if we have not already), allow the Blood of Christ to free us from his power NOW…it will be too late and we will be left with nothing but darkness and ice.

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