How could the Devil have "the power of death"?

In what sense did the devil have "the power of death" (Hebrews 2:14)?

This page was adapted from an answer at Truth and Tidings Magazine by David Oliver.

The terrible trials of Job show us that Satan had no power over Job in regards to death.  Satan had the capcity to kill Job, but only if God had allowed him to (Job 2:6). The Greek word for "power" in Hebrews 2:14 is not exousia, translated power or authority. Only God has such power in giving (John 1:4), sustaining (1 Timothy 4:10), and ending (Daniel 5:23) a life.

In this verse, "power" is the translation of the Greek word kratos, which means "manifested power" (W. E. Vine).  It is found 12 times in the New Testament.  It is translated "dominion" four times in the King James Version, each time in a doxology.

In Hebrews 2:9, we read Christ tasted "death for every man" (or for "everything," John Darby). For the Son of Man to bring His creation into its intended order and purpose, He must taste the full bitterness of death. Through one man, Adam, deatg was brought into the world (Romans 5:12) and ruined God’s intended order (Hebrews 2:6-8). The Last Adam, after tasting death, is the guarantor that the world will be subject to a man.

Death reigns as a result of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:17). By dying in obedience (Romans 5:19) to God’s will (Philippians 2:8), Christ obtained rightousness for each saved person (Romans 5:19) and an eventual physical deliverance for creation (Romans 8:21).

Adam lost his dominion over creation to "that old serpent, called the Devil." He is the "prince (or ruler, English Standard Version) of this world" (John 12:31). The stench of death spreads over his entire kingdom.

The Devil has exercised his power of death over all of God’s creatures and creation. In a few words, the "power of death" is the devil’s destructive impact on creation as a result of the Fall.

D. Oliver