Why did Satan use a Serpent? (2 of 2)

serpent-2

(Continued from yesterday)

Now the harder “why?”. The words “serpent” or “serpents” appear 46 times in the NASB. I won’t cite all of them here, as some are simply narrative e.g. Aaron’s staff which became a serpent, fiery serpents, bronze serpent etc. However, some are descriptive of the characteristics of a serpent, as follows:

Gen 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way, A horned snake in the path, That bites the horse’s heels, So that his rider falls backward.
• Jdg 18:27 But the people of Dan took what Micah had made, and the priest who belonged to him, and they came to Laish, to a people quiet and unsuspecting, and struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire.

The Danites were a treacherous group who attacked peaceful people unprovoked, much like a deceitful serpent.

Deut 32:33 Their wine is the venom of serpents, And the deadly poison of cobras.
• Ps 58:4 They have venom like the venom of a serpent; Like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear,
• Ps 140:3 They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; Poison of a viper is under their lips.
• Prov 23:32 At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper.

The composite picture is that serpents are poisonous & deadly. The context also tell us that serpents:
• Are perverse like Sodom & Gomorrah (Deut 32:32),
• Speak lies (Ps 58:3),
• Devise evil things in their hearts (Ps 140:2),
• Have deceptive appearance (Prov 23:31).
Altogether an ugly picture & an apt description of Satan. We know this is not the cause as everything was created good (Gen 1:31). What is not clear is whether these character traits are the direct results of the curse in Gen 3:14:
The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
or were inherent in the serpent’s design but activated by the curse. In any event, the Bible is silent as to why Satan chose a serpent, just his choice was appropriate.

Lastly, how? Some commentators believe that because Satan is called “the serpent of old” in Rev 12:9 & 20:2, there was no actual serpent, just Satan himself talking to Eve. However, Satan is a fallen cherub & has no physical body, so the curse about going on his belly & eating dust would not make sense. Likely it is Satan entering into the serpent, similar to:
Lk 22:3 And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. (Also Jn 13:27)
• Lk 8:33 And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

Sometimes we wish the Bible would shed more light on certain subjects, but we just have to live with what was revealed. The more important thing is to obey what God revealed, not understanding what He had hidden from us.

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Why did Satan use a Serpent? (1 of 2)

serpent-1

Q. Why did Satan use a snake?

A. Kids ask the most interesting questions. When our grandson heard the story on the Fall of Man, he asked his mom “Why a snake?” He did not ask “who”, or “what”, or “where”, or “when”, any of which would have been easier to answer, but “why”. Our daughter was stumped. Good thing he did not follow with “how”! What does the Bible say? The Bible did not explicitly explain why, but we can make educated guesses. Let’s start with the simpler of the W6:

Who or what is the serpent?
Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
• Gen 3:13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Notice two characteristics:
• Crafty or cunning, &
• Deceived.

Paul confirmed this as history:
2 Co 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

John made a positive identification:
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
• Rev 20:2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

Serpent = dragon = the devil = Satan.

Where did this happen?
Gen 3:23-24 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
So this took place in the garden of Eden.

When did it take place?
Gen 1:31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
After the sixth day, as all was very good up to that point in time. How long after? The Bible did not say.

(To be continued)

Does God Love Satan? (2 of 2)

John 8 44 c

(Continued from yesterday)

3. His methods
• Schemes
o 2 Co 2:11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
o Eph 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

• Disguise to deceive 2 Co 11:14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
• Set traps
o 1 Tim 3:6-7 and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
o 2 Tim 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Satan is forever scheming and setting snares to take advantage of people to hold them captive. One of his most effective means is deception. If he can deceive then there is no need for frontal attack.

4. How God treats him
• Rebuke him Zech 3:2 The LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!
• Crush him Rom 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
• Punish him Mt 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
• Torment him forever Rev 20:10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

God rebukes and will crush Satan, tormenting him in the lake of fire forever. Unlike human beings, God did not give Satan and the fallen angels an opportunity to repent. Jesus died to save us, but not fallen angels. The Bible did not explain why, so we can only speculate. Perhaps it is because of the greater privileges they had:
Lk 12:48 … From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

5. How we are to treat him
• Resist him Jas 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
We are not to pity Satan, but resist him.

Since the Bible’s evaluation is entirely negative, I conclude that God does not love Satan after his fall, despite His loving the world to such an extent that He sent His only begotten Son to save it.

Does God Love Satan? (1 of 2)

John 8 44 a

Q. Does God love Satan? Some say He does because God is Love and loves everyone. Others say God is just so He cannot love Satan who is evil? What does the Bible say?

A. A slogan is good in capturing the essence of one’s beliefs, but can’t contain all the nuances. To know what the Bible said on this subject we need to examine the relevant passages on “Satan” and “the devil”. My position is that God loved “Lucifer” before he fell, but does not love Satan after the “star of the morning” sinned and became the devil. Here’s why:

Before:
Ezk 28:11 You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
• Ezk 28:15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.

God loved this anointed cherub and made him beautiful and wise (Ezk 28:17).

However, after Satan’s fall all description of him are negative. There is not a single assessment of him in positive terms:

1. His nature or character:
• Enemy Mt 13:39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, …
• Murderer and liar Jn 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
• Deceitful and fraudulent Acts 13:10 and said, “You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord?
• Adversary 1 Pet 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, …
• Sin 1 Jn 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. …
• Does not practice righteousness 1 Jn 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

Satan is God’s enemy and adversary, always sinning and never practicing righteousness, a deceitful and fraudulent murderer and liar. There is not a single redeeming virtue in him.

2. His work
• Stumble people Mt 16:23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; … (Also Mk 8:33)
• Incite lies Acts 5:3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit …
• Tempt people 1 Co 7:5 … so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (Also Mt 4:1, Lk 4:2)
• Torment people 2 Co 12:7 there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—…
• Hinder people 1 Thes 2:18 For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan hindered us.
• Oppress people Acts 10:38 … and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, …
• Cast Christians to prison Rev 2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days.
• Deceive the world Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; …

The devil is always trying to stumble and tempt people by deceiving them and filling their hearts to lie. Those he can’t trip by the soft approach, he uses the hard approach to hinder, oppress, imprison and torment. All his works are vile.

(To be continued)

World Given to Satan?

Satan world 2

Q. When the devil tempted Jesus in Luke 4, he said all the world had been given to him. Was that true when he was cast down from out of heaven, and if so, is it still true? Or was he just lying to test Jesus?

A. First let’s look at the text:
Lk 4:5-8 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”
• Mt 4:8-10 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”

Jesus did not dispute the devil’s claim, neither in Luke 4 nor in the parallel account in Mt 4.

Secondly, Paul called the devil the “god of this world“:
2 Co 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
This reinforced the above clue, so the devil’s claim is valid. But when and how did that happen?

Not when the devil was cast down from heaven, but when Adam and Eve fell. Originally God made man to rule over all the earth:
Gen 1:26, 28 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” … God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Note the word “over” occurs 8 times in two verses. Man had dominion.

However, when Adam and Eve trusted the serpent’s words over God’s, they sinned. They obeyed the devil rather than God, and lost their dominion to the devil.

Is it still true? I believe it is, based on:
1 Jn 5:19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
When will this end? At the end of the age:
Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”
When Christ returns, He will bind up Satan and reign forever. Wait for His coming. And be watchful.

What does Satan Look Like?

angel of light 3

Q. What does Satan look like? What about demons?

A. The Bible does not describe what Satan looks like after his fall. There is a passage in Ezk 28 describing the king of Tyre, but which many commentators believe applies to Satan because its description goes beyond a mere man:

Ezk 18:12-19 “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared. “You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.
• “By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, o covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you. “By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth in the eyes of all who see you. “All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have become terrified and you will cease to be forever.”’”

Before his fall, he is a cherub (see Dec 10, 2015 post) in Eden, perfect in beauty, full of wisdom, and blameless. After he sinned he was filled with violence, profane, proud, corrupted, and unrighteous.

He appeared as a serpent to Adam and Eve, tempted our Lord in the wilderness, and John saw him as a red dragon in his vision. To men, he disguises himself:
2 Co 11:14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
I think that’s what he did when he disguised himself as the angel Gabriel to reveal the Qur’an to Muhammad, or as Moroni to give Joseph Smith the golden plates from which came the Book of Mormon.

Like Satan, demons are fallen angels and therefore do not have physical bodies. When allowed, they possess human beings who may become extremely violent (Mt 8:28; Mk 5:2-5; Lk 8:27), mute (Mt 9:33; Mk 9:17), deaf (Mk 9:25), or blind (Mt 12:22) i.e. they attack the means of communication. Demons can also throw the possessed into convulsions (Mk 9:18, 20, 26). However, these describe the demon-possessed men, not the evil or unclean spirits themselves.

One passage in Rev describes unclean spirits as like frogs:
Rev 16:13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs;

Beyond that the Bible is silent as to their physical appearance, but what’s described is very different from Hollywood’s depiction.