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)

What does Satan Look Like?

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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.