Angels of the Realm: Lesson 9

 

dawn 1

Good Morning!

The complaints of the Israelites began almost immediately into their forty year wilderness journey; kind of like traveling with children. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I’m thirsty. Are we there yet? Can’t you hear them?

“The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, … you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” Exodus 16:1-3

The grumbling, the complaining, the road rage — Oi vey! What will Moses and Aaron do? They are as hungry as the people and no food is in sight. In Deuteronomy 8:15, Moses describes the desert as a vast and dreadful, waterless land with venomous snakes and scorpions.

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.”’ Exodus 16:4

God comes to their rescue. He will provide the food needed to sustain them on their journey. Each day the bread would come from heaven. The people were only to gather daily what they needed and then on the sixth day, they were to gather twice as much because they would be gathering for the Sabbath as well.

“in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.’” Exodus 16:13-15

“The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.” Exodus 16:31

“The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a handmill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into cakes. And it tasted like something made with olive oil.” Numbers 11:8

Manna rained from heaven. A wonderful all-purpose survival ration. The Lord had given them the bread of angels to eat. They didn’t have to work for it. They didn’t even have to clean up the leftovers because only a daily portion was provided. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, the Hebrew word, manna means “What is it?”.

Scientists have discovered that the low tamarisk tree growing in the Sinai wilderness produces a sap that certain scale insects like to eat. As these insects eat the sap, they secrete a liquid called honeydew that when crystallized resembles manna and is a good source of carbohydrates. In the research, however, these scientists never mentioned if they had tasted it. Vine’s has a different viewpoint and states, “None of the natural substances called “manna” is to be identified with that which God provided for Israel.”

This source of nourishment, along with quail and water that God also provided, kept the people fed during their long years in the desert. As they neared the end of their wandering, Moses spoke with them.

“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son so the LORD your God disciplines you.” Deuteronomy 8:2-5

Under the guidance of Joshua, following the death of Moses, the Israelites finally crossed the Jordan river and made camp in their homeland. God had been their provider, their protector and their guide. When they made camp at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, God told Joshua that the reproach of Egypt had been removed from them. (Joshua 5:9) He instructed them to celebrate the Passover and so on the fourteenth day of the month, they held their first Passover in their homeland. On that night, they remembered how God had delivered them from the plague of the firstborn in Egypt, delivered them from judgment, and restored their freedom from slavery and oppression.

“The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan.” Joshua 5:11,12

Baked manna. Fried manna. Manna casserole. Manna stew. Manna pudding. Do you think they ever missed the bread of angels?

Only a few weeks are left in our summer study series on angels. I hope you have enjoyed this topic of study. If you are interested in learning more about spiritual warfare or about equipping yourself with spiritual armor against evil, check out this week’s lesson. Click here for the Week 9 Lesson Plan.

Blessings,

Mimi

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A Taste of Honey: John 10:10

tree

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July 24, 2015 · 1:20 pm

Way Down in the Hole by the Blind Boys of Alabama

Good Morning!

Our summer Bible series, Angels of the Realm, has focused primarily on Satan the last two weeks. I thought this song was fitting. If you’d like to join the study, all of the published posts and weekly lesson plans can be found by clicking here.

Blessings,

Mimi

 

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Angels of the Realm: Lesson 8

Same Kind of Different as Me quote

Good Morning!

When Jochebed gave birth to her son, she knew he was no ordinary child.(Exodus 2:2; Hebrews 11:23) She placed him inside a basket and put him among the reeds along the bank of the Nile to protect his life from Pharaoh’s edict to kill all of the Hebrew male infants. Moses was drawn out of the mighty Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as Egyptian royalty. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, in his address to the Sanhedrin council, says of Moses;

“When he [Moses] was placed outside, Pharaoh’s daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action.” Acts 7:21,22

As a grown man, Moses has an encounter in the wilderness that sends his life into an entirely different direction. We studied this story of Moses and the burning bush in the Week 3 Lesson. Following that event, Moses leads the Hebrew nation out of their Egyptian captivity and into the desert towards their homeland. What began as a short term journey to the Promised Land quickly turned into a wandering of forty years due to their disobedience and unbelief. Three months after their exodus from Egypt, the Israelites reach Mount Sinai and God calls Moses to meet with Him at the top of the mountain. While on the mountain, Moses received instructions for the nation and the stone tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments from God and henceforth, becomes known as the Law giver.

Moses “was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us.” Acts 7:38

“What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.” Galatians 3:19; see also Acts 7:53

Moses served as the mediator between God and the people. Of Moses, the great Law giver, these words are also recorded.

“Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt – to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” Deuteronomy 34:10-12

Moses lived into that prophetic statement given by his mother at his birth. He lived an extraordinary life. He died in Moab and God buried him there. No one has ever located his gravesite.

Included in the New Testament is a letter Jude wrote warning Christians about immoral men who were trying to convince believers that salvation by grace gave them license to sin. These men were twisting the truth and causing confusion in the early church. Jude highlights in his letter that these godless men had no fear of slandering celestial beings and he continues by contrasting their behavior to that of the archangel Michael.

“But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’” Jude 9

Early church theologian Origen believed the reference was to an apocryphal work entitled The Ascension of Moses or sometimes referred to as The Assumption of Moses. This work was not included in canonized scripture but the original recipients of Jude’s letter would have been familiar with this work.

Some scholars suggest that Michael and the devil disputed over which place of rest for Moses. They believe that since Satan reigns over death, Michael wanted to take Moses somewhere else like heaven. Some have even suggested that this verse indicates that Moses was buried by Michael and that this dispute occurred at the time of the burial of his body.

Other scholars take a different viewpoint. They feel that Moses was so venerated that the knowledge of his gravesite would have turned the location into a place of worship, the third stop on the Moses pilgrimage. Even Peter slipped into this mindset on the Mount of Transfiguration when he makes the suggestion of putting up tents for Moses, Elijah, and Jesus.

On this side of heaven, we will never know Satan’s goal for Moses. Perhaps, he did want to retain power over Moses’s body in death or he wanted to use it to thwart the people’s faith in God by leading them into idolatry.

This week, I’m continuing our look into the work of Satan. I will focus on his interruptions into the life of Jesus. To follow along, the Week 8 Lesson Plan can be found by clicking here.

Blessings,

Mimi

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Amy Carmichael Quote

amy carmichael quote

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July 17, 2015 · 1:18 pm

Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music by Larry Norman

Good Morning!

We still have more to learn and a month to go in our summer series on angels. If you’re curious about this summer’s bible study, Angels of the Realm, you can find all of the posts and weekly lessons by clicking here.

Blessings,

Mimi

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Angels of the Realm: Lesson 7

Revelation 12-9 quote

Good Morning!

Christianity and Judaism view the role of Satan differently. Judaism views Satan as a fearfully and wonderfully created agent of God whose distinct purpose is to serve Him as an accuser or adversary. He acts as an obstacle in the way of God’s people so they will learn to overcome the hindrance. The Hebrew word satan means an opponent, an adversary. The first usage of the word appears in Numbers 22:22 in the story of Balaam and his donkey. In this story, the angel of the Lord is standing in the road to oppose Balaam.

“Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.” Numbers 22:22

The word, adversary in the above passage would read satan in the Hebrew. Another passage that references Satan is found in 1 Chronicles 21:1. We studied this passage in the Week 6 Lesson Plan in reference to God’s use of angels to carry out His judgment.

“And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” 1 Chronicles 21:1

The use of the word Satan in this passage is not the viewpoint of Satan that Christians take. He is only serving as an adversary under God’s permission not as an evil deity in opposition to God. The Hebrew word for provoked means to prick, to stimulate, to entice, or to seduce. This passage shows David was enticed by the adversary and he failed to overcome the adversary’s seductive temptation and succumbed to his own desire.

The nature of the Jewish Satan is best seen in the books of Job and Zechariah. These portions of scripture indicate a specific adversary. The literal translation from Hebrew would read, the satan rather than satan without a definite article. In the first and second chapters of Job, Satan, the accuser, enters the throne room of God. God and Satan begin to discuss about the faith of Job. Satan feels that Job’s faith is based solely on God’s abundant blessings upon him. God, therefore, allows Satan to test Job. Throughout all of the trials that Job faces, the loss of his children, his property, his health, and his livelihood, he does not sin by cursing God.

The vision found in the third chapter of Zechariah is of Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the LORD and Satan. Satan stands at the priest’s right side to accuse him and bring witness against him. Finally, Satan is rebuked by God for his accusations against Joshua. This example bears the hint of a court room setting with Satan as the prosecutor and Joshua as the defendant before God, the righteous Judge.

The Jews developed an expanded idea of a central figure personifying evil in opposition to Jehovah God as they were influenced by other cultures around them. These beliefs particularly grew during their time spent in Babylon and the subsequent years prior to the New Testament. By the time of Jesus, Satan was becoming fully formed as an entity.

A Christian’s concept of Satan is as the arch-enemy of God and His people. Some Christian groups see this relationship between God and Satan as equal in power while others regard the relationship as unequal with God reigning supreme. In the Old Testament, the first introduction of a Christian’s view of Satan is seen in Genesis 3.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1

This story has always made me wonder why Eve didn’t think it was strange for a creature to speak to her. The Hebrew word for serpent is nâchash which can be translated as snake or serpent but the fuller definition according to Strong’s Concordance means “to hiss, i.e. whisper a (magic) spell; generally, to prognosticate.” The serpent is successful in his endeavor and Eve fails to resist the temptation to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This verse is used as a support passage to another describing Satan as a serpent found in the book of Revelation.

“The great dragon was hurled down —- that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was furled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Revelation 12:9

These bookend books of the Bible connect and support the Christian idea of Satan as the ancient serpent from the Garden of Eden. This passage from Revelation also serves as a complement to the Christian thought that Satan is a fallen angel. This belief found its beginnings in a passage from Isaiah.

“How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” Isaiah 14:12

This verse and those that follow from Isaiah 14 are considered prophetic of Satan’s fall among some Christian scholars. This particular verse is also the source of Satan’s alternate name, Lucifer. The Latin Vulgate (late fourth century Latin translation of the Bible) translated the Hebrew word, heylel, to Lucifer which in English is rendered the morning star. Over time, the use of this Latin word changed and became a proper name for Satan.

The verses pertaining to Satan in the New Testament predominantly use two Greek words, diabolos and satanas. The Greek word diabolos is related to the Hebrew word satan and has a similar definition. This devil is a false accuser and a slanderer. Does the Greek spelling remind you of any English words?

Paul, in his letter to the church at Ephesus, encourages them to handle their emotions properly. In these verses, we have a glimpse of the work of the devil.

‘“In your anger do not sin’. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Ephesians 4:26,27

John, in his first letter, addresses the believers to not be lead astray but to continue to do what is righteous. He continues by adding these words about the nature of the devil.

“He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” 1 John 3:8

The Greek word diabolos is used in both of the above passages. A second Greek word is also used of Satan and is of Chaldean origin ( the Babylonian area). This word, satanas, is used in passages when Satan is called by his proper name. Jesus uses satanas twice when talking with Peter. The first example is during the time Jesus is explaining about his upcoming death and resurrection. Peter rebukes Jesus for saying such things. He responded to Peter in this manner:

“Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God but the things of men.’” Matthew 16:23

The Gospel of Luke records the second moment when Jesus talks with Peter about Satan. Peter is called Simon in this passage. Jesus tells Simon Peter:

‘“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”’ Luke 22:31,32

This reference sounds similar to the Job account in the Old Testament, doesn’t it? Simon Peter did stumble but his faith held and he endured the sifting of Satan. 

In the movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the character Hermione states regarding the evil Lord Voldemort that “Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.” Whether Satan is called the Devil, the accuser, the serpent, or Lucifer, we need not fear him. He will use everything at his disposal to tempt us and accuse us but we need not fear for God is with us. We would do better to view these moments of sifting as opportunities to grow spiritually, producing the telltale signs of one who has overcome and bears the fruit of victory.

If you are interested in a more in depth look at Satan, I will be covering him in this week’s lesson plan. You can find the Angels of the Realm Week 7 Lesson Plan by clicking here.

Blessings,

Mimi

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