In whom the god of this world hath blinded
The description of the persons to whom the Gospel is hid, is here further carried on; in which the character of Satan is given, who is here styled "the god of this world"; just as he is by Christ, "the prince of this world", ( John 12:31 ) ( 14:30 ) not because he had any hand in the making of it, or has any concern in the government of it, or in the disposal of men or things in it; but because of his influence over the worst, and greatest part of the world; which lies in wickedness, under the power of this wicked one, being led captive by him at his will; who have voluntarily given themselves up to him, and whose lusts they will do; and so declare themselves to be his children, and him their Father, yea, their god: the influence he has over them is, he
hath blinded the minds of them that believe not.
The apostle here seems to refer to one of the devils, which the Jews F12 frequently speak of (lamo) , "Samael"; who they say is the head of all the devils; a very malignant spirit, and who deceived our first parents; the word is compounded of (la) , "god", and (amo) , "to blind"; him they call the angel of death, and say F13, that he hath (amle ynp Kyvxa) , "brought darkness upon the face of the world", or the creatures, the Gentiles: agreeably to which the apostle calls the devil, "the god that hath blinded"; what he blinds in men, is "their mind": the more excellent and knowing part of man; not the eyes of their bodies, but of their understandings; which shows the near access Satan has to the souls of men; he penetrates into their very hearts and minds, and has an influence there: the persons whose minds he blinds, are those "who believe not"; which distinguishes them from others that perish, who never enjoyed the Gospel, and therefore he says, "in", or "among whom"; and from true believers, on whom Satan can have no such influence; and is a reason of these men's perishing, and of Satan's influence over them; and must be understood of reprobates, and final unbelievers: the influence he has over them is expressed by "blinding" them; which he does, by diverting them from hearing the Gospel, and by stirring up the enmity of their minds against it, and by increasing their natural darkness and blindness with respect to it. The end which Satan has in doing this is,
lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of
God, should shine unto them;
here many things are hinted, in commendation of the Gospel, as that it is the Gospel of Christ; because he was not only the greatest and best preacher of it that ever was, but also is the author and subject of it; Christ is the sum and substance of the Gospel, the principal thing in it, or person that is spoken of therein; and then Christ who is the grand subject of the Gospel is described, in order to recommend it the more, as "the image of God". The Jews F14 call the Messiah, (la Mlu) , "the image of God"; some copies, and the Complutension edition, and the Arabic version, read, "the image of the invisible God", as in ( Colossians 1:15 ) . So Christ is as the Son of God, being the natural, substantial, essential, eternal, not created, and perfect image of his Father; and so he is as man and Mediator: further, the Gospel is said to be the "glorious" Gospel of Christ, as it must needs be, since it so clearly and illustriously sets forth the glory of Christ; contains such glorious doctrines and promises in it, and is attended with such glorious effects, where it comes with power: add to all this, that "light" is attributed to it; the Jews F15 speak of the "light of the law", and the law is called light; and say, that (hrwt ala rwa Nya) , "there is no light but the law"; but this may be more truly said of the Gospel, by which not only persons may be notionally enlightened, who never were made really partakers of the grace of God, but is the means of spiritual and saving illumination to thousands, when it is attended with the demonstration of the Spirit: now all these excellent characters of the Gospel serve to enhance the spite and malice of Satan, in endeavouring all he can to kinder the bright shining of this glorious Gospel, to and upon any of the sons of men; and his reason for so doing is, because he knows, that should the Gospel shine unto them, the interest and glory of Christ would be advanced, and his own would decline.
F12 Targum Jon. ben Uzziel in Gen. iii. 6. Zohar in Gen. fol. 37. 2. Vajikra Rabba, fol. 162. 3. Debarim Rabba, fol. 245. 3. Tzeror Hammor in Gen. fol. 6. 2. & 7. 3. Vid. Irenaeum. adv. Haeres. l. 1. p. 136.
F13 Zohar in Gen. fol. 31. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 93. 3.
F14 Zohar in Gen. fol. 31. 1.
F15 Targum in Job iii. 16. T. Bab. Taanith, fol. 7. 2. Tzreor Hammor, fol. 89. 4.