The gods of the nations, the regional deities that governed the spiritual and political affairs of a people, became the demons, the spiritual and political entities tempting the People of God into spiritual idolatry and oppressive practices.
That these gods/demons are the root source of oppression is seen in a text we looked at early in this series. In Psalm 82 God convenes a Heavenly Counsel with the gods of the nations. In that boardroom meeting with the gods--who eventually become identified as demons--God judges their oppressive ways:
Psalm 82.1-4So what happens when all the political powers in the world are gradually associated with demons?
God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
“How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Eventually you come to see them as a unified block, as a single group uniformly antagonistic to the Kingdom of God. Symbolically, that coalescence is described in the Bible as the idolatrous, oppressive, demon-haunted kingdom of Babylon, the "great city that rules over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17.19).
This coalescence goes a far way in explaining how Satan eventually becomes identified as the one who controls all the political kingdoms of the world, making Satan the prince and god of the entire world.
Luke 4.5-7Notice how in Luke 4 all the kingdoms of the world have become identified with Satan, who is now described as the "prince of this world" and the "god of this world."
And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”
Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
2 Corinthians 4.4
Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.
But note again the conflation with the spiritual and the political.
Satan controls the political kingdoms of the world, and his offer to Jesus is political power. But the price is spiritual allegiance. Idolatry.
"Worship me," Satan says.