Tag Archives: Satan

Angels of the Realm: Lesson 11

genesis 4-7

Many examples of Jesus expelling demons from those afflicted are found in scripture such as the demons who introduce themselves as Legion in the man from Gerasene and Mary Magdalene of whom Jesus exorcised seven demons. In the Week 10 Lesson Plan, we studied some of these examples as well as fallen angels and demons in general as found in scripture. I’m picking up with that theme today in this post.

Of all of the demonic possession accounts in scripture, only one person is stated to have been possessed by Satan: Judas Iscariot.

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John , Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” Luke 6:12-16

Judas Iscariot was called and chosen by Jesus to be a leader, a close companion, and an apostle yet he also became something else entirely. He became a traitor, a betrayer. John 17:12 calls him the son of perdition or as some Bible versions record; the one doomed to destruction. As a follower of Jesus, Judas would have left everything of his life behind in order to follow Jesus. He displayed no outward signs of being a deceiver because his actions appeared to reveal him as a follower and believer. Even his fellow apostles, on the night he left to betray Jesus, didn’t understand why he left the meal. They thought since he had charge of the money that he was being sent to purchase something for the Feast or to give something to the poor. (John 13:28-30) Like the rest of the twelve apostles, Judas was given the authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness when Jesus sent them out into the region. (Matthew 10:1)

Not much is historically known about Judas Iscariot. His name means ‘Jehovah leads’ and Judas is the Greek spelling for Judah which was a very common name. His father’s name was Simon (John 6:71) and he is thought to have originated from Kerioth, also called Kerioth Hezron or Hazor, a location in southern Judea. Some scholars support the notion that Judas was predetermined to fill the role as the one doomed to destruction. Others, however, disagree. These scholars believe Jesus saw potential within Judas to be a follower and disciple and that Judas had a choice. Another possibility is that although Judas was no longer an apostle inwardly, he retained his friendship with Jesus outwardly. In a sense, he believed in Jesus as a man and a friend but not as the Lord.

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived,… Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served,… Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’ He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” John 12:1-6

In this passage, Judas reveals his character. He lacked compassion for the poor and was a thief. He didn’t regard how his actions affected the others in his company. He cared only to meet his own needs when his hand dipped into their communal money bag. This event in Bethany seems to be the catalyst that caused Judas to seek out the priests. Perhaps money motivated him, perhaps Jesus was not the Messiah he had hoped for or maybe Judas had begun to realize that following Jesus would mean pain and possible death for him. Whatever the reason, Judas wastes no time in approaching the religious authorities.

“Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.” Luke 22:1-6 

Judas operated in the shadow of secrecy waiting for the right moment to betray Jesus. Several days later, the moment arrived.

“The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.” John 13:2

During the meal, Jesus got up and proceeded to wash his disciples’ feet. Jesus washed the feet of Judas. He challenged him and the rest to likewise be a servant towards others.

“I [Jesus] am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’ I am telling you now before it happens, so that when if does happen you will believe that I am He. I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.’ After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified. ‘I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.’ His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them,… asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. ‘What you are about to do, do quickly,’ Jesus told him,” John 13:18-27

The Gospel of Matthew adds;

“The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.’ Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, ‘ Surely not I, Rabbi?’ Jesus answered, ‘Yes, it is you.’ Matthew 26:24,25

Judas had a choice but at this moment when Satan entered him his fate became sealed as an apostate. Jesus gave him every opportunity to make a different decision. He showed him love and friendship but Judas chose to reject him. During the Last Supper, Judas was reclined in the guest of honor seat at the triclinium table to the left of Jesus. They shared a common eating vessel to dip their bread. Jesus took the sop (broken piece of matzah) and dipped the bread into a mixture of horseradish and haroset as “a reminder of the sweetness of God’s redemption in the midst of their bitter slavery ” and then gave it to Judas to eat. Because of their positions at the table, when Jesus spoke with Judas, He had to lay his head back against the breast of Judas.

“Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him.’ Mark 14:44,45

“…He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’” Luke 22:48

Judas guided the soldiers and officials from the chief priests and Pharisees to the place he knew Jesus went in the grove. (John 18:2,3,) A place Jesus had often taken him and the other disciples. A kiss often used as an act of friendship between people that signified affection and intimacy, Judas chose to corrupt and defile by his betrayal. Upon learning later that Jesus has been condemned to die, Judas seized with remorse attempts to return the thirty silver coins he had received for his treacherous act. The priests refuse and Judas throws the money into the Temple and commits suicide. The law forbid the blood money to be returned to the treasury of the Temple, therefore, the money was used to buy the potter’s field, a burial place for foreigners. The Field of Blood, as the area was often referred, was an apt description for this area for other reasons. (Matthew 27:1-10; Acts 1:18,19) The Valley of Hinnom was a place of pagan child sacrifice and idol worship in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 7:31). “During the Herodian Period the city’s garbage dump was located here; the garbage was burned, so there was often smoke and fire in the valley.” Jesus referred to this place as Geenna. Every instance of this word in the New Testament is uttered by Jesus. (Matthew 5:22; 18:8,9; Mark 9:43-47 and 9 other examples). The English translation for Geenna is Hell and according to Zodhiates, Geenna is the place or state of the lost and condemned. 

Satan watched and waited for opportune moments to oppose Jesus. He attacked Jesus during his forty days in the wilderness. When that encounter was unsuccessful, Satan then turned his attentions toward those closest to Jesus. He asked to sift Peter like wheat but in Judas Iscariot, Satan finally found a willing host to inhabit. Instead of resisting, he yielded to Satan. Judas didn’t turn from the darkness when his heart grew dim. He continued to set his course away from the light of Jesus towards the darkness of Satan. He became a casualty of a spiritual war.

The Week 11 Lesson Plan of Angels of the Realm can be found by clicking here.

Blessings,

Mimi

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A Taste of Honey: Ephesians 6:12

ephesians 6-12 2

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August 5, 2015 · 1:23 pm

Angels of the Realm: Lesson 10

1 john 222

Good Morning!

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been studying about Satan and his various aspects. I believe all of these traits can be summed up in one way: Satan counterfeits God. Whatever God does, he tries to copy. One of the ways he does is through the work of antichrists to carry out his many schemes and plans.

“Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.” 2 John 7

According to The Complete Word Study New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates, the term, antichrist, is from the Greek, antichristos. Anti carries the meanings of equivalence and exchange, in our stead, instead of, against, and may also mean substitution or opposition. The Greek christos means to anoint as well as a name applied to those who act as redeemers, and finally to Christ Himself. “The term antichristos is peculiar to Johns Epistles [and] occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Paul’s references to the same person include the man of sin, son of perdition, wicked one, [and] the one opposing… He will attempt to assert the fulfillment of God’s Word in himself and will seek to establish his own throne.” 

Some versions of the Bible translate the word as the lawless one. Paul used the term in his second letter to the Thessalonians in a way that implies a singular being.

“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of  Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,”                                                       2 Thessalonians 2:9

In this passage, Paul clearly distinguishes that this man of lawlessness, the antichrist, is not Satan but a separate entity connected with him. This same person is also called the Beast by John in Revelation 13:1-10. I shared about Satan being called the dragon in Lesson 7.

“…The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority… He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.” Revelation 13:2,6,7

The term, pseudochristos translated false christ is found in Matthew 24:24 and in Mark 13:22. According to Zodhiates, “The false Christ does not deny the being of Christ. On the contrary, he builds on the world’s expectations of such a person, but he blasphemously appropriates these to himself and affirms that he is the foretold One in whom God’s promises and men’s expectations are fulfilled. While the antichristos, antichrist, denies that there is a Christ, the pseudochristos affirms himself to be the Christ. Both are against the Christ of God. The final antichrist will be a pseudochrist as well. He will usurp to himself Christ’s offices, presenting himself to the world as the true center of its hopes, the satisfier of all its needs and the healer of all its ills. He will be a pseudochrist and antichrist in one.”

Jesus Himself warns believers that false Christs will come and try to seduce them. He says that they will serve as signs to the end of the age. 

“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles, to deceive the elect- if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.” Mark 13:22,23

The Apostle John in his letter states,

“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” 1 John 2:18,19

When John wrote this letter, the early church was experiencing growing pains. Some early believers were distorting the truth of the message of Jesus. These followers were early Gnostics. John’s letter is addressing this philosophy called gnosticism. This movement focused on the search for a higher and special knowledge of truth. They believed in the separation of spirit and matter since all matter was considered evil and the spirit was good. For instance, the Docetic Gnostics denied the humanity of Jesus. They believed he didn’t have a real flesh-and-blood body. These Gnostics believed Jesus only seemed to have a body. Another Gnostic belief denied the deity of Jesus and denied that he came to bring redemption and salvation to all.

“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” 1 John 4:2-3

Throughout the Apostle John’s epistles, he states that many antichrists will come prior to the one enemy. He says we will recognize them by their works and behavior. These persons will deny the incarnation and deity of Jesus, they will deny God, they will be liars and deceivers, and they will leave the church because they don’t fit in with believers.

We need to be believers who are equipped and ready, who can recognize truth from falsehood, and who are able to resist the seductive temptations that come our way. May we be found faithfully waiting for Jesus.

“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert, ‘ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms; ‘ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:26,27

The Week 10 Lesson Plan contains study on fallen angels and demons, you can find the lesson by clicking here.

Blessings,

Mimi

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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

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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