Category Archives: SATAN AND HIS POLICY OF EVIL

What about the “mythological” animals in Scripture?

WHAT ABOUT THE “MYTHOLOGICAL” ANIMALS IN SCRIPTURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In a desperate effort to disparage and discredit the King James Bible, skeptics point to these “imaginary” animals as proof that Scripture is not inerrant. They jest as follows: “The Bible is nothing but a book of fairytales because it says dragons, satyrs, unicorns, and cockatrices exist. We should not take it literally because it has no basis in reality.” Can we answer these charges? Yes, we most certainly can—and will (!)—reply with an intelligent response!

WHAT ABOUT “DRAGONS?”

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, a “dragon” is “a mythical monster like a giant reptile.” It continues, “In European tradition the dragon is typically fire-breathing and tends to symbolize chaos or evil, whereas in East Asia it is usually a beneficent symbol of fertility, associated with water and the heavens.” The word originated from a Middle English term that also denotes a large serpent. Actually, the name comes to us from Old French, via Latin from Greek “drakon” (“serpent”).

The term “dragon” appears in excess of 30 times in a King James Bible. In Hebrew, it is “tanniyn.” Genesis 1:21 renders it “whales” (as in sea monsters): “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” This seems to be the sense of Job 7:12: “Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?” Also, Jeremiah 51:34 may be speaking of a sea monster: “Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.” Psalm 148:7 fits with this idea too: “Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:….” Lastly, Jeremiah 51:34: “Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.”

On three occasions, it was translated “serpent.” See Exodus chapter 7: “[9] When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. [10] And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent…. [12] For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” This would seem to be the sense of Deuteronomy 32:33: “Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” (An “asp” is a venomous snake.)

The “dragon” in Jeremiah 14:6 is enigmatic; we have no way of knowing what it is. “And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.” Neither can we say what the “dragon” is in Nehemiah 2:13: “And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.”

A dozen Bible verses link “dragons” to ruins and desert places:

  • Job 30:29: “I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.”
  • Isaiah 13:22: “And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.”
  • Isaiah 34:13: “And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.”
  • Isaiah 35:7: “And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.”
  • Isaiah 43:20: “The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.”
  • Jeremiah 9:11: “And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.”
  • Jeremiah 10:22: “Behold, the noise of the bruit [report, news] is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.”
  • Jeremiah 49:33: “And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it.”
  • Jeremiah 51:37: “And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.”
  • Micah 1:8: “Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.”
  • Malachi 1:3: “And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.”

In the above verses, the Bible writers may have been referring to physical animals they observed in Palestine thousands of years ago. These creatures may have since gone extinct. Some suppose it to be “jackal,” but this author views that as rather absurd. Be that as it may, we must also bear in mind, that some of these passages are prophetic—future. The verses from Isaiah and some from Jeremiah have not been fulfilled yet: they look forward to Christ’s return in fiery wrath, when He judges Babylon. (See our “satyr” remarks later in this study.) Perhaps they are creatures from the spirit world, and resemble the dragons of mythology!

Psalm 44:19 seems to indicate “dragons” are connected to the spirit world or death: “Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.” Whatever they are, they are real beings because the Bible says they are. Most importantly, we must not forget to see the spiritual aspect of the dragon in Scripture. As noted earlier, the word originated from a Middle English term that also denotes a large serpent. The word comes to us from Old French, via Latin from Greek “drakon” (“serpent”). Bearing in mind the etymological relationship between “snake” and “dragon,” we better appreciate how the Bible pairs them when applying those titles to Satan figuratively.

  • Isaiah 27:1: “In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” Here is Satan’s destruction at Christ’s Second Coming, which is also pictured in Job chapter 41.
  • Isaiah 51:9: “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?” Again, this is Satan’s destruction at Christ’s Second Coming.
  • Ezekiel 29:3: “Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.” While there is a historical application, this too may be Christ destroying Satan as His Second Coming.
  • Psalm 74:13-14: “[13] Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. [14] Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.” Once more, this is Satan’s destruction at Christ’s Second Coming.
  • Psalm 91:13: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” Here is God’s promise to the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, that they will overcome Satan upon Christ’s return. The Devil deliberately omitted this from his quotation of Psalm 91 in Matthew 4:6 and Luke 4:10-11!

Revelation chapter 12: “[3] And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. [4] And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born…. [7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,…. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. [13] And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child…. [16] And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. [17] And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Revelation chapter 13: “[2] And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority…. [4] And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?…. [11] And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon…. [13] And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”

As Revelation 12:9 reveals, the “dragon” in the Revelation is none other than Satan, the Devil. Lest we fail to make the connection, it is repeated in Revelation 20:2: “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,….” Satan is a “serpent” in character, sneaky or duplicitous, as seen in Genesis 3:1: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made” (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Ephesians 4:14, and Ephesians 6:11).

WHAT ABOUT “SATYRS?”

As defined in The Oxford English Dictionary, a “satyr” is “[Greek mythology] one of a class of lustful, drunken woodland gods. In Greek art they were represented as a man with a horse’s ears and tail, but in Roman representations as a man with a goat’s ears, tail, legs, and horns.”

“Satyr” appears just twice in King James Bible. “But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there” (Isaiah 13:21). “The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest” (Isaiah 34:14). Some make these verses references to baboons—and translate the Hebrew thusly—but this seems ridiculous and not worthy of our consideration.

The Hebrew is “sa`iyr,” meaning “hairy.” It was used two times to refer to Esau the brother of Jacob (Genesis 27:11,23). Almost 30 times it was translated “kid,” a young goat. Two dozen times it was rendered “goat.” Interestingly, it was twice translated “devils”—a goat-idol the ancient Hebrews worshipped. “And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations” (Leviticus 17:7). “And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made” (2 Chronicles 11:15).

Regarding the two quotes we read from Isaiah at the beginning of this section, “satyrs” are connected to cursed Babylon (cf. Isaiah 13:19) and cursed Bozrah and Idumea (cf. Isaiah 34:6). Like “dragons,” they are found in desolate or ruined regions. Babylon is near present Baghdad, Iraq, whereas Bozrah and Idumea are south of the Dead Sea. These are two areas to be judged with fire at Christ’s Second Coming: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;…” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

Read Isaiah chapter 34: “[8] For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. [9] And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. [10] It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.” Compare this to Revelation 14:9-11.

Could there be some type of real creature that resembles a satyr—a half-goat/half-man being? After all, we read earlier about the goat-idol the ancient Israelites worshipped. Even today, the “Baphomet” idol of Satanists is partly man and partly goat. What could inspire such a horrific image? This should not surprise us, as we see a creature equally disturbing in the Book of the Revelation. Look at these “locusts” of chapter 9, and you will see they are no ordinary grasshoppers!

“[1] And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. [2] And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. [3] And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. [4] And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. [5] And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. [6] And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

“[7] And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. [8] And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. [9] And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. [10] And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. [11] And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.”

These beings from the “bottomless pit” (spirit world) have a face like a man, hair like a woman, teeth like a lion, and tails with stingers like scorpions. They can fly, and generate a great deal of noise when swarming. Such a dreadful sight and sound! They indeed are monsters—but exist in the spirit world. We cannot see them with physical eyes yet they exist. Sin has corrupted even these fallen angels, and, one day, they will work with Satan to torment lost mankind during Daniel’s 70th Week. We can consider the “satyrs” as just another group of these deformed and evil beings, to be let lose in the ages to come (after our Dispensation of Grace).

WHAT ABOUT “UNICORNS?”

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, a “unicorn” is “a mythical animal represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.” “Unicorns” appear nine times in the King James Bible. The Hebrew word is “re’em.” Notice them:

  • Numbers 23:22: “God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.”
  • Numbers 24:8: “God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.”
  • Deuteronomy 33:17: “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”
  • Job 39:9: “Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?”
  • Job 39:10: “Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?”
  • Psalm 22:21: “Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”
  • Psalm 29:6: “He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.”
  • Psalm 92:10: “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”
  • Isaiah 34:7: “And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.”

Various ideas have been offered to explain what “unicorns” are in Scripture. Some believe them to be a buffalo, an ox, or even an antelope called an “oryx.” A general explanation is a wild bull. Based on the description in the above verses (Numbers and Job), whatever the “unicorn” was, it was a beast of burden. It is associated with a bull or calf. We would do well, again, to notice the spiritual connection. “Unicorns” appear at Christ’s Second Coming (remember Isaiah chapter 34 and the dragons and satyrs?). There may very well be spirit creatures that have just a single horn on their forehead. Never forget: cherubim, in addition to having four wings and a calf’s hooves, have four faces—a man’s face, a lion’s face, an ox’s face, and an eagle’s face (Ezekiel 1:5-10)!

In the case of Psalm 22:21, this is Christ Jesus during the three days and three nights He was dead, and in the heart of the earth. He was with “unicorns”—that is, in the spirit world, where Satan was attempting to keep him and prevent His resurrection. For more information, see the Psalm 22:20-21 study linked at the end of this article.

WHAT ABOUT “COCKATRICES?”

In The Oxford English Dictionary, a “cockatrice” is “[heraldry] a mythical animal depicted as a two-legged dragon (or wyvern) with a cock’s [rooster’s] head.” “Cockatrices” appear four times in the King James Bible. The Hebrew word is “tsepha`.” Look at those now:

  • Isaiah 11:8: “And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.”
  • Isaiah 14:29: “Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.”
  • Isaiah 59:5: “They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.”
  • Jeremiah 8:17: “For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.”

Are these “make-believe” verses? No! It should be pointed out that “tsepha`” was also rendered “adder.” Proverbs 23:32: “At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” A “cockatrice” in the Bible is a venomous snake, and, as you can see, the context of all these verses is definitely snake-oriented. Beyond that, we cannot be sure what it is. Perhaps it was a type of animal alive on Earth in Bible days that has since become extinct. Once more, the idea is certainly related to Satan (remember “dragon” and “snake”). Go back and check Isaiah 14:29 (see Lucifer/Satan in the context, verses 12-15 in particular).

CONCLUSION

The Bible sometimes uses “dragons” and “serpents” interchangeably because of their resemblance. In fact, a dragon in Scripture is often used figuratively of Satan to underscore his craftiness (as in the common idiom, “a snake in the grass”). Other times, however, “dragons” and “serpents” are not synonymous. A “dragon” can even be a sea monster—such as the whale or fish that swallowed Jonah. As with every Bible term, let the context restrict the meaning!

Concerning “satyrs,” they are half-man and half-goat beings in Greek mythology. As touching the Bible, they are certainly associated with goats—namely, a goat-idol that is a physical representation of an invisible, evil spirit creature. These are fallen angels, undergoing the deteriorating and disfiguring effects of sin. The “unicorns” are most enigmatic. Scripture speaks of them as strong beasts of burden, which existed in Bible days. Yet, there is a spiritual connection because they are associated with Christ’s death and resurrection. Regarding “cockatrices,” they are a type of venomous snake in Scripture. They have some relation to Satan, the serpent.

These creatures, even if they never existed on Earth, are linked to and exist in the spirit world—namely, Hell and accomplishing Satan’s work. We never want to discount the fact that various animals of the ancient world have gone extinct, and this is just as valid an explanation. Maybe the Bible writers were alluding to physical animals alive in their day. Then again, some were spirit beings God afforded them the opportunity to see in order to write His Word. As Bible believers, we should not and do not see their inclusion as a challenge to the historicity or literalness of the Scriptures. Even when employing metaphorical or figurative language, the Bible communicates literal truth. For example, while Satan is not an actual snake with scales and fangs, he nevertheless is a serpent in character—sly, deceptive, insidious. We use such terminology when describing people, do we not? Why are we so opposed to the Scripture doing the same? (Perhaps we have an agenda to shame it so we have an excuse not to believe it when it speaks of our sin problem?!)

(By the way, if someone should mock a Bible believer for saying “dragons” exist, just politely remind them of “make-believe” “Komodo dragons” and “bearded dragons.” That should reduce them to silence!)

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Can you explain Psalm 22:20-21?
» What about the “talking snake” of Genesis 3?
» What swallowed Jonah—a fish or a whale?
» “But, what if I don’t accept the Bible’s authority?”

Why does the Bible say, “Have no other gods before Me?”

WHY DOES THE BIBLE SAY, “HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME?” ARE THERE OTHER GODS? I THOUGHT THERE WAS ONLY ONE GOD?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The First Commandment, Exodus 20:3,: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (These “other gods” appear some 60 times in the King James Bible.) It is the adjective “other” that causes people to stumble. If Judaism and Christianity are both monotheistic—adherents worshipping and serving one God—then why would the Judeo-Christian Bible speak of “other gods?”

Simply put, sin causes counterfeit gods or usurpers to creation’s throne. These are those “gods” (lowercase “g” not capital “G!”). In this world, innumerable ideas and individuals are competing for the loyalty we owe to the Creator God alone. What we have to be most cautious about is ourselves—we want to worship and serve self, to be our own god, our own authority. That is what sin is. Romans 1:25 describes this as such: “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” And, Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way….”

The “other gods” of which the Scriptures speak are idols that actually represent evil spirits (fallen angels). Gentiles, the nations, were given over to this heathenism back at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapters 9–11, especially 11; cf. Romans 1:18-32). The evil spirits behind the idols rebelled against the Creator God when Lucifer (Satan) rebelled. They are connected to the heavenly bodies, which is why Deuteronomy 17:2-3 says to Israel: “[2] If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, [3] And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;….” Worshipping and serving the idols of wood or stone, or the heavenly bodies, is a form of aligning with the evil spirits that the idols and heavenly bodies represent. Hence, JEHOVAH God forbade the Israelites from engaging in the heathen religion of their Gentile neighbors. “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;…” (Deuteronomy 6:14).

It is important to know that Satan himself heads the universe’s current rebellion against the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Satan is rightfully called “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). It is ultimately he who is worshipped and served when the Creator God is neither worshipped nor served.

Also see:
» Why does God let Satan exist?
» Why are the heavens not clean in God’s sight?
» Where in the Bible did God give Satan domain over the Earth?

Who are the “vipers” of the New Testament Scriptures?

WHO ARE THE “VIPERS” OF THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Who exactly are these “vipers,” and why are they so called?

  • Matthew 3:7: “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
  • Luke 3:7: “Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”
  • Matthew 12:34: “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
  • Matthew 23:33: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”

“Vipers” is, of course, metaphorical. These are flesh-and-blood humans like us, not cold-blooded reptiles with forked tongues and scaly bodies. (Surely, we are using common sense here, right?) Yet, a figure of speech does not detract from the truth being conveyed in the Scripture. For example, our English expression, “He is a snake,” is non-literal and carries the idea of “treacherous; an insidious enemy.” A related idea is, “She is a snake in the grass.” This appellation denotes someone who feigns friendship, an opponent who pretends to be an ally. Another similar English idiom is, “to nourish a viper in one’s bosom”—to befriend a person who proves to be treacherous. Again, metaphorical language in the Bible does not deny a literal truth underlying the expression. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says the following concerning these “vipers” (Greek, “echidna”) of the New Testament Scriptures: “cunning, malignant, wicked men.”

The idea of snakes in Scripture finds its origin in Genesis chapter 3: “[1] Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? [2] And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: [3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. [4] And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: [5] For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. [6] And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. [7] And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons…. [13] And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

We compare this to 2 Corinthians 11:3: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (cf. Ephesians 4:14). Also, Revelation 12:9: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Finally, Revelation 20:2: “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,….” The “serpent” of Genesis chapter 3 was Satan himself—pretending to be a friend but nothing more than a sneaky enemy. Likewise, the Lord Jesus Christ addressed the Israeli religious leaders in John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” In other words, they are working in tandem with Satan. They are his children because their spirit is united with him—but looks are deceiving because they appear godly (see Matthew chapter 23)!

Ephesians chapter 2 says of lost people, including Israel’s unbelieving religious leaders during Christ’s earthly ministry: “[1]…. who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Now, we turn to 2 Corinthians chapter 4: “[3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Satan uses works-religion to blind and confuse individuals even now. This was true of Israel’s religious leaders 20 centuries ago during Christ’s earthly ministry. It was true of Cain back in Genesis chapter 4, for apostate religion is what drove Cain to kill his brother Abel! “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12). Apostate religionists murdered God’s other prophets throughout the Old Testament—and the adherents of this corrupt religious system eventually put Christ on the cross as well (Luke 11:45-54)! They all hid under the guise of religion; their piety was faked. Pretending to love the Bible and claiming to worship God, they rejected God’s Son and crucified Him in rank unbelief. They were “vipers” indeed!

SUPPLEMENTAL: THE APOSTLE PAUL AND THE VIPER

Considering what has gone before, we now understand the Apostle Paul’s bizarre encounter with a literal snake in the opening verses of Acts chapter 28.

“[1] And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. [2] And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. [3] And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. [4] And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. [5] And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. [6] Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.”

Why did the Holy Spirit deem it essential to include this in the record of Scripture? We must remember the purpose of the Book of Acts. It is not, as commonly assumed, a book of doctrine; rather, Acts is the record of God being just or fair in temporarily setting aside apostate national Israel. The unbelieving Jewish religious leaders that so vehemently opposed Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry are still rebelling against Him—that is, His Apostles—during the Acts period. Whether the 12 Apostles during the first half of Acts, or the Apostle Paul during the latter half, Israel refuses to listen to any and all of these men filled with the Holy Spirit.

First Thessalonians chapter 2 thus remarks: “[14] For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judæa are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: [15] Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: [16] Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”

The nation Israel fell back in Acts chapter 7, when she stoned God’s spokesman Stephen. She is fallen at the time of 1 Thessalonians 2:16 (written around Acts chapter 18, for Paul visited Thessalonica in chapter 17). Another passage to consider here is Romans chapter 11, penned in the opening verses of Acts chapter 20: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

Again, Israel fell in Acts chapter 7, and she diminished until the close of the Acts period. Saul of Tarsus became Paul the Apostle in chapter 9, his ministry overlapping with Israel’s fading. If we go back to the literal viper latching onto Paul’s hand in chapter 28, we see a picture of apostate Israel attacking him throughout the Acts period. His unbelieving countrymen plotted to arrest and kill him many times over a period of 30 years. Yet, Almighty God would not let him be destroyed. Even during dangerous and seemingly hopeless circumstances, Paul’s ministry continued. The viper—though venomous—could not annihilate God’s apostle of the Gentiles. Unbelieving Israel, under Satan’s control, under the Serpent’s influence, was unsuccessful in stopping the Gospel of Grace from spreading worldwide! Unharmed Paul, shaking off the viper into the fire, depicts God’s Apostle throwing off apostate Israel into the fires of Divine judgment. Paul’s provoking ministry to Israel—his Acts ministry—terminates at the end of that chapter.

Also see:
» Why does the Book of Acts end so abruptly?
» What about snake-handling?
» What about the “talking snake” in Genesis 3?
» Can you explain Paul’s “Acts” ministry?
» Who were “the strong bulls of Bashan?”
» Is Israel “fallen,” or not? Is Israel “cast away,” or not?

How many angels fell with Lucifer when he transformed into Satan?

HOW MANY ANGELS FELL WITH LUCIFER WHEN HE TRANSFORMED INTO SATAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How many angels fell with Satan? Revelation 12:4 is frequently offered as a possible answer: “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.”

Revelation 12:3 speaks of “a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” This is symbolic, of course, but that does not detract from its underlying reality. Verse 9 identifies that great dragon: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” The great dragon is the Devil, Satan.

So, if you read verse 4 again, it says: “[Satan’s] tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.” It is believed that one-third of God’s angels fell when Lucifer was thrown out of heaven long ago. (Angels and stars are closely associated with one another in the Bible—see Job 38:7 and Revelation 1:20.) Is there merit in this interpretation of Revelation 12:4?

Revelation 12:4 could not be speaking of history. It is prophetic, something future, beyond our day. The only explanation here is that these angels will not fall until sometime after our Dispensation of Grace. What makes me say this is Daniel chapter 8: “[9] And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. [10] And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.Here, the Bible describes some of the host of heaven and some of the stars falling to the earth as the Antichrist rises and begins to consolidate his power. This, of course, is not history, but prophecy. John the Apostle must be referring to this when he speaks of one-third of the angels falling from heaven in Revelation 12:4. If you study it in detail, you will see that Revelation chapter 12 describes the career of the Antichrist.

We read about Lucifer’s history by appealing to the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel (which we will quote shortly). When the cherub (angelic-like spirit creature) Lucifer became infatuated with himself long ago, he began to think that he was wiser than God and he thought that he ought to be on God’s throne. Lucifer was originally God’s choir director, His composer and song-leader, someone to devise musical methods to praise his Creator God. However, Lucifer wanted to be worshipped as God rather than lead in worship of God. God kicked Satan out of the third heaven, and confined him to outer space and Earth.

Isaiah 14:12-15 says: “[12] How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! [13] For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: [14] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. [15] Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

And, Ezekiel chapter 28, which is God speaking to Satan through the Prophet Ezekiel: “[1] The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, [2] Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: [3] Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: [4] With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: [5] By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: [6] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; [7] Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. [8] They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. [9] Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. [10] Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

“[11] Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [12] Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. [13] Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. [14] Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. [15] Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. [16] By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. [17] Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. [18] Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. [19] All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”

Notice how Satan is guilty of an activity called “traffick” (verse 18). These are dealings or communications with others (think of our English word “drug trafficking”). In addition to Lucifer himself rebelling against God, he went out and enticed other angelic beings to follow him in that revolt. These are the Devil’s angels mentioned in Matthew 25:41, for which everlasting hellfire was created. They are contrasted with the “elect angels,” those that remained faithful to God and did not follow Lucifer (1 Timothy 5:21). God kicked all of these satanic angels out of the third heaven, and confined them in the second heaven (outer space) and below. They will never be allowed into His throne room again.

There are fallen angels—again, the Devil’s angels (Matthew 25:41)—operating in the heavenly places (outer space) today. For example, notice Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (The word “high” here is translated from the same Greek word as “heavenly” in Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:20, Ephesians 2:6, and Ephesians 3:10.) Hence, we read in Job 15:15: “Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.” And, Job 25:5: “Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.”

These fallen angels will be cast out of the second heaven halfway through the seven-year Tribulation period. Here is where Revelation 12:7-12 picks up: “[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. [10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. [11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. [12] Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

So, then, what is Revelation 12:4 talking about? One-third of the fallen angels operating in the second heaven will come down to earth sometime during the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week (seven-year Tribulation). The rest of these fallen angels will be thrown out of the second heaven halfway through those seven years. It is the only way to make Revelation future instead of forcing it to be history. The Book of the Revelation cannot be history, as Revelation 1:1 says these are “things which must shortly come to pass”—they are future from John’s perspective!

How many angels originally fell with Lucifer in history then? We do not know an exact number because Scripture never provides such data. Still, we can infer that it was a large percentage because God never has many human followers throughout the Bible. At any and every point in history, just a very small fraction of believers appear in the Holy Scriptures. For instance, recall the eight believers on the Ark during the Great Flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 7:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Where were the millions—if not billions—of other people on the globe? Why, they perished in God’s wrath, being drowned in the floodwaters! According to Genesis 18:32 and Genesis 19:24-25, there were less than 10 believers in the whole city of Sodom! In Elijah’s day, there were 7,000 believers in the whole nation Israel (1 Kings 19:18)! There were only 120 believers in Jerusalem after Christ’s three-year earthly ministry (Acts 1:20)!

Notice these four verses:

  • Jude 14: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,”
  • Daniel 7:10: “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”
  • Deuteronomy 33:2: “And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”
  • Psalm 68:17: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the LORD is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.”

The Bible speaks of God’s angels as “thousands,” “ten thousands,” “thousand thousands” (millions), and “ten thousand times ten thousand” (100 million). If these are rough estimates of the number of angels that stayed loyal to God, I would then assume that Satan has many more on his side!

Also see:
» Is there any chance more angels will leave God and follow Satan?
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?
» Did God give angels free will as He gave to mankind?

How is Jesus Christ the “firstborn” of every creature?

HOW IS JESUS CHRIST THE “FIRSTBORN” OF EVERY CREATURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

This question stems from Colossians 1:15: “[God’s dear Son; verse 13] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:….” Lest we misunderstand the matter, it is better to read all the way through to verse 20 to grasp the sense of the verse.

“[15] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: [16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

God the Son, Jesus Christ, made creatures (angels and humans, respectively) to occupy the offices of government in Heaven and Earth. These offices are the “things” in the above passage—“thrones, dominions, principalities, powers” (verse 16). In the original creation, creatures ruled for Jesus Christ’s glory. Alas, angels and humans sinned. Satan and his angelic cohorts corrupted the heavenly places with sin (Job 15:15; Job 25:5; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ephesians 6:12). When the first man, Adam, willfully followed that rebellion in Genesis chapter 3, he allowed sin to spread to the Earth’s governmental offices (Genesis 1:26-28; Matthew 4:8-11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4).

The Holy Bible is the record of how the God of Scripture invented and enacted a plan to restore to Himself the offices of government (“things”) in Heaven and Earth. In the Apostle Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, we see the final pieces to that scheme laid out. Both God’s earthly people (the nation Israel—the prophetic people) and His heavenly people (the Church the Body of Christ—the mystery people) are formed through Jesus Christ’s shed blood. Calvary’s finished crosswork makes it possible for both groups of sinners to become saints, people set apart for God’s purposes. Where Adam failed on Earth, redeemed Israel will succeed. What Satan and his angels defiled, the Church the Body of Christ will take over. This is the first step in understanding the excerpt from Colossians chapter 1. (We will return to this shortly.)

In the physical world, the “firstborn” son is said to be “the beginning of his father’s strength.” See Genesis 49:3: “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power….” Moreover, Deuteronomy chapter 21 says the firstborn son received the double portion of his father’s estate: “[16] Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: [17] But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”

When we consider Colossians 1:15-20, we should think of the firstborn son being the heir of his father’s estate. The governments of Heaven and Earth are Christ’s Father’s estate. Jesus Christ is “the firstborn of every creature” (verse 15) in that He is the Man who holds the place of headship over His Father’s house. Christ is the leader of both groups of creatures—redeemed Israel and the Church the Body of Christ—who will reign in their respective offices in eternity future. Father God has appointed His Son Jesus Christ as head of all governmental offices in Heaven and Earth. It is through the nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ—both of whom He is the Head—that Jesus Christ reigns in Earth and in Heaven throughout the endless ages to come.

Jesus Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). When Colossians 1:18 says He is “the firstborn from the dead,” it refers to Him being resurrected to subsequently reign as King over Heaven and Earth. Having shed His sinless blood to form the redeemed nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ, the offices of government in Heaven and Earth will return to His Father’s authority (and no longer under the control of Satan and sinful man). Post-resurrection, Christ possesses His Father’s governmental power or political strength. Consider these two passages from the Book of Hebrews. Pay attention to Christ’s death and resurrection, and how His reign follows.

Hebrews chapter 1: “[3] [His Son, verse 2] Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; [4] Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. [5] For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? [6] And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

“[7] And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. [8] But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. [9] Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. [10] And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: [11] They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; [12] And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. [13] But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Verse 12 is the change in governmental officials, saints replacing sinners in both Heaven and Earth.)

Hebrews chapter 2: “[5] For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. [6] But one in a certain place testified [Psalm 8:4-6], saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? [7] Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: [8] Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. [9] But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (The “sons” of verse 10 are Israel’s believing remnant, the Little Flock of Luke 12:32.)

Here is the government in the heavenly places to follow Christ’s resurrection as regarding us, the Church the Body of Christ. Ephesians chapter 1: “[19] And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, [20] Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, [21] Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: [22] And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, [23] Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

Of course, the actual reigning of Christ in Heaven and Earth has yet to be brought to pass. He is currently a royal exile in Heaven, where He has been for the last 2,000 years since Israel rejected and crucified Him. Yet, in due time, the Dispensation of Grace will close, the Church the Body of Christ will be complete, and we will be brought up to reign in the Heavens (at the Rapture). Then, the nation Israel will be redeemed to reign in the Earth (at the Second Coming). It is Father God’s will that all power in Heaven and Earth be consolidated in one Man—the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” (Colossians 1:19). “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).

Ephesians chapter 1 thus summarizes: “[8] Wherein he [Father God] hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” (The purpose of our salvation from Hell to Heaven, verses 11-12, is to make us be in the heavenly places the corresponding unit to redeemed Israel in the earthly realm, verses 9-10! Yes, it is God’s wise and prudent plan.)

SUPPLEMENTAL: COLOSSIANS 1 AND “THE NEW WORLD TRANSLATION”

It is no secret that the “Jehovah’s Witnesses”—better termed “the Russellites,” after their founder Charles Taze Russell—consider Jesus Christ “a god” and not JEHOVAH God. This is apparent in their controversial rendering of John 1:1: “In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (cf. King James Bible: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”) The official Russellite position is Jesus Christ is a mere created being, Someone who is not co-equal and not co-eternal with God the Father. Allegedly, God created Jesus Christ, then God used Christ to create “everything else.” They use a depraved version of Colossians 1:16-20 to justify this claim. To them, Jesus is the “firstborn” of every creature in that He was the first being “Jehovah God” created. What nonsense!

Without any manuscript evidence whatsoever anywhere, they add the word “other” to the passage five times in their “New World Translation:” “[15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; [16] because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. [17] Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist,…. [20] and through him to reconcile again to himself all [other] things by making peace through the blood [he shed] on the torture stake, no matter whether they are the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens.” (Bold emphasis mine. Notice “by” has been changed to “through,” which is how modern English versions—including NKJV—read here as well. Also, did you see how the New World Translation did not use “cross” but “torture stake?” Jesus dying on a pole or stake is another unorthodox or peculiar belief of the Russellites.)

Their insertion of “other” five times is an unmistakable indication of their spiritual blindness. The Holy Spirit did not inspire or originate such garbage. “Things” in this context does not refer to any creatures (check verse 16). The noun “things” points to governmental positions or offices. Could Jesus Christ be “another throne?” Could He be “another dominion/lordship?” “Another principality/government?” “Another power/authority?” The language refers to the political influence being exercised, not the people exercising that influence.

“Other” is completely unnecessary; hence, the Greek Bible never had it! The Russellites translators added it—not once but five times. Such is nothing but a deliberate alteration to teach a pet denominational idea. It is awkward language, a sure testament to the false doctrine found among the Russellites and their authority (their sectarian “bible,” the New World Translation). No matter the cost—even if it means perverting God’s eternal words and diminishing the Lord Jesus Christ—they will keep their “traditions of men!” Again, the Holy Spirit would certainly not be involved in such a translation or denomination. When approaching Colossians 1:15-20, be careful not to fall in this trap!

Also see:
» Did Jesus Christ ever claim to be God?
» Is Jesus Christ God’s “one and only Son” or “only begotten Son?”
» What do you mean—“the prophetic program” and “the mystery program?”

Does Satan whisper evil words to us?

DOES SATAN WHISPER EVIL WORDS TO US?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Superstition flourishes to the degree that Bible ignorance abounds. Irrational fears permeate so much of “Christian” thought that the general public is simply unable to distinguish truth from error. This is exemplified in the words of a lady this author visited sometime ago. She claims to be a believer in Jesus Christ (although her testimony is somewhat nebulous, as she is heavily Charismatic in doctrine, claiming to possess the spiritual gifts of healing and tongues). Many times she has great difficulty even articulating the pure Gospel of Grace. Her emotions have so dominated her that she exhibits behavior unbecoming for a Christian. (Details of such ridiculous conduct will be skipped here.)

On this particular occasion, the dear lady was describing something this author completely unexpected. Allegedly, when her ailing (dying) daughter was complaining of having evil thoughts, that mother would tell the daughter that it was Satan himself speaking to her. Is that possible? Does Satan whisper words into our ears? If we sit alone, and hear a voice talking to us about something bad, would that actually be Satan’s voice? Could it be someone else? In this study, we will carefully consider such matters.

A genius can devise a way to accomplish something seemingly “insurmountable.” The greater genius, however, can achieve that end while appearing to be doing something else. For example, a genius thief will not only take, but will take while operating under the guise of honesty (that thief will likely be the most trusted relative, friend, employee, et cetera). Here is a genius supreme, but there is someone wiser. Satan is the wisest of God’s creatures (Ezekiel 28:12), although he is certainly no match for God’s intellect. Millions of people—especially Christians (both professing and genuine)—assume they can positively identify and avoid Satan’s policy of evil. They have been led to believe they are able to flee his influence. However, they really have no idea as to the depths of his demented wisdom. The Bible speaks of Satan’s “wiles” or schemes, stratagems designed to outwit Christians. Oftentimes, he does outsmart them too!

Ephesians 6:11 orders us, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” The Greek word translated “wiles” is “methodeia,” which is obviously the source of our English term “method” (as in “systematic course; procedure”). It is rendered “lie in wait” in chapter 4 and verse 14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;….”

These Scriptures indicate that Satan himself does not need to whisper directly into our ears. No, his evil world system uses “men”human religious leaders—to deceive us. The poor lady all worked up about spiritual warfare is actually caught in her own trap—and she does not even know it! (See also Matthew chapter 23 and John chapter 8 for Israel’s spiritual dilemma… brought on by her corrupt religious leaders.) People in Christendom have been listening to denominational preachers spout speculations, but have not been turning pages in the Bible to see for themselves what is true and what is not!! This was ancient Israel’s downfall, and this contributes to so many wrecked Christian lives even now.

Turn to 1 Timothy chapter 4: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

What leads to this mass apostasy, departure from the truth? It is individuals listening to “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (verse 1). Who are these? They are the voices of those who are “speaking lies in hypocrisy” (verse 2). Remember, the genius of Satan’s evil world system is doing wrong while appearing to be good. For religious purposes, they will enforce celibacy and dietary restrictions (verse 3). Does this sound familiar? Friend, would you happen to know any such religious groups?! This has nothing to do with listening to the voices of evil spirits but rather people listening to the voices of heretical and apostate church leaders.

If we sit by ourselves, and we hear a “voice,” then there is one of three possibilities. Firstly, we may suffer from mental illness. Secondly, we can “hear” ourselves think. We are talking to ourselves, and we may not be aware of it. Lastly, our brains have recorded texts we have read, sermons we have heard, and images we have seen in our lifetime. Consciously or subconsciously, we can access these mental files and “play” them. If we use our memory, we can “re-hear” all sorts of things we have heard—voices of loved ones long gone, our favorite music being sung, and so on. This information can be good or bad, but it has nothing to do with Satan actually speaking into our ear or given us some supernatural glance into his realm. Here would be the superstitious nonsense that we will embrace if we are not holding to the written (!) Word of God, especially approaching it “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15). The reason we have evil thoughts is we have not let sound Bible doctrine renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:9-11)!! We have been listening to false doctrine in church, and it will not leave our memory unless we reprogram our minds.

Someone once spoke of the inexperienced person going against an expert as a game of a “checkers child” challenging a “chess grandmaster.” Unfortunately, this is where most professing Christians and most genuine Christians are in their Bible understanding. They attend local churches where men use the Bible as Satan himself would, and are thus vulnerable to Satan’s evil world system! While they assume they are not aligned with Satan, it is (in fact) a faulty assumption. No doubt, he will “beat” them because they have come unprepared.

Yes, Satan knows the Bible, and he quoted the Bible to the Lord Jesus (see Matthew 4:5-7; Luke 4:9-13). Never forget that, friend!!!!! The reality is Satan misquoted God’s Word—adding to it, taking from it, watering it down—and even ripped verses from their dispensational setting. Christ knew Psalm 91 is not a First Coming passage but a Second Coming passage, and refused to follow it in Matthew and Luke. It was not time for that passage to be fulfilled, so the Lord Jesus did not obey it. Even now, Satan encourages us to follow the Bible, so long as we do not use it dispensationally. Instead of going to Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, God’s current dealings with man, Satan’s evil world system has us going to everything else in the Bible. Again, these are stratagems, and we know they are so effectual because over two billion people quote Scripture today and are still confused about God’s will for them. They are too busy following God’s will for someone else in Scripture!

No, Satan has no reason to whisper evil words to us. We do that pretty good by ourselves—listening to false doctrine in religious settings and later repeating it in our sinful minds.

Also see:
» What is the difference between apostasy and heresy?
» What are Satan’s current operations?
» Why does God let Satan exist?

Why did God place a curse on creation?

WHY DID GOD PLACE A CURSE ON CREATION?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Anyone familiar with the Bible knows about the Fall of man in Genesis chapter 3. Also therein is the institution of the infamous curse upon creation. Verses 16-19 relate the matter to us: “[16] Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. [17] And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; [18] Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; [19] In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

It often seems “unfair” that God, because of Adam’s sin, has punished creation. Why did He alter plants’ genetic makeup so they produce thorns and thistles? Why should wholly-herbivorous animals be forced to become carnivores, no longer having exclusive plant-based diets? Why must work be strenuous and exhausting? Why should women have conception/pregnancy pains and birth pangs? Why do we have to physically die? Pay close attention, dear friends. It is quite easy to explain and not impossible to understand. There is something terribly wrong with creation in the spirit world. Consequently, it is only appropriate that something be extremely wrong with the natural world to reflect it. In other words, we can see the physical effects of an invisible spiritual war. God placed a curse on creation in order to indicate to us something is amiss in a realm we cannot see with physical eyes.

Adam was God’s king or representative in the Earth. Notice Genesis chapter 1: “[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

When Adam made a conscious choice and sinned, deliberately siding with Satan in the Garden of Eden (Genesis chapter 3), he as Earth’s God-given leader handed over that government to Satan. Adam relinquished his position of governing in the Earth, and Satan gladly occupies that office instead. Hence, Satan is called “the god [ruler] of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Notice the following exchanges with Satan and Jesus Christ; particularly observe how Satan boasted that he had usurped Earth’s governments, and then he used that as leverage to challenge Christ!

Matthew 4:8-10: “[8] Again, the devil taketh him [the Lord Jesus Christ] up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; [9] And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. [10] Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Luke 4:5-8: “[5] And the devil, taking him [the Lord Jesus Christ] up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [6] And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. [7] If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. [8] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

In addition to reflecting that spiritual war, there is a second reason why God put a curse on creation. We find it in Romans chapter 8: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

God in His wisdomnot recklessness or indifference—temporarily granted Satan the ability to exercise dominion over the Earth and all of creation, but Satan cannot use creation to its full potential. While a crude illustration, here is something that may help. Renters may vandalize or destroy real estate before they permanently move out, taking vengeance on the property’s owner. Similarly, before God momentarily gave creation over to Satan, He put limitations on it. Satan receives less worship in a fallen world than he would have in an un-fallen one. Additionally, a world that is dying is not perpetually trapped under his control anyway.

What is most important for us to remember here is the temporariness of the fallen creation. Creation has not always been fallen, and it will not always be fallen. The God of the Bible who cursed creation because of sin has left us with the promise—the hope—that He will remove that curse one day. Such a wonderful hope saves us from despair, hopelessness, doom and gloom.

Romans chapter 8 again: “[21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

Just think, dear friends, we are moving closer and closer to this day of redemption. Time is indeed running out on Satan’s reign and the bondage of corruption. Deliverance for creation is coming, and in God’s (!) own (!) time (!) we will see it with physical eyes. He who subjected the creation to a cursed condition will one day subject that same creation to a glorious restoration! “Then do we with [!] patience [!] wait [!] for it.” 🙂

Also see:
» Why do we suffer?
» Is God “unfair” to punish us for Adam’s sin?
» Can you explain “knowing” good and evil with respect to the Garden of Eden?

How can man rebel against God after the Millennium?

HOW CAN MAN REBEL AGAINST GOD AFTER THE MILLENNIUM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How can mankind rebel against the LORD God after the 1,000 years have run their course?

We turn to Revelation chapter 20: “[1] And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. [2] And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, [3] And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

[4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

“[7] And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, [8] And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. [9] And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

Indeed, it is unfathomable that the nations will actually unite against Jesus Christ the King at the end of the Millennium. After witnessing what they did for the last 1,000 years—seeing the benevolent reign of the perfect, wisest King over a restored, breathtaking creation—they side against Him. Satan, having been imprisoned for the last 10 centuries, is now free and he persuades the nations to attack Jerusalem and the saints. Why did these Gentiles not convert to the Lord Jesus Christ while He was reigning? Beholding the wisdom of God during all those centuries, we would expect them to have become His children at some point. Alas, with the Millennium expired, they are just as determined to destroy Jerusalem and kill Christ’s followers as Satan himself had intended before the 1,000 years!

According to Revelation 19:11-21, prior to the Millennium, the Second Coming of Christ and the Battle of Armageddon occurred (see also 16:14-16). The Old Testament Prophet Zechariah already predicted the necessity of this war between God and Satan, Jesus Christ and Antichrist.

Zechariah chapter 12: “[2] Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. [3] And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it…. [9] And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

Chapter 14: “[2] For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. [12] And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth…. [16] And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.”

Throughout Daniel’s 70th Week, the seven-year Tribulation, sinful men wanted to follow Satan in destroying Jerusalem. Near the end of that time, God will grant them their wish to come against His capital city. Through the Antichrist’s agenda, He gathers them and then returns to defeat them in power and great glory (Christ’s fiery Second Coming in Revelation chapter 19). Then, the Millennial Reign of Christ begins and Satan is bound in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-6).

After these 1,000 years, as we saw in our opening remarks, Satan is released and the nations again purpose to assault Jerusalem and the followers of Christ. The generations of people born during the Millennium must make a choice between God and Satan. Even during those 1,000 years, they still have a sin nature—but there is individual rebellion as opposed to national rebellion. (Zechariah 14:16-19 and Matthew 5:29-30 show there is most definitely unbelief and sin in the Millennium.)

Though God punished Satan for a time, notice how he has not been reformed. Satan resumes his plans that he attempted to accomplish 10 centuries earlier. God confined him to the bottomless pit, but God has let him free and he still intends on resuming his previous activity of trying to establish his kingdom in the Earth (and man will go along with it). While they plan on having a battle, it will be nothing like Armageddon 1,000 years earlier. Jesus Christ will not bother to go out to fight against His enemies as He did at His Second Coming. Instead, fire from God out of heaven falls on Satan and his followers and they are vanquished. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). Then, the unsaved are judged at the Great White Throne Judgment and finally tossed into the Lake of Fire where Satan was already permanently placed (verses 11-15).

Also see:
» Who will have children during the Millennium?
» What is the “Apocalypse?”
» Are we “doom and gloom” Bible-prophecy believers?

What are “vanities” in Scripture?

WHAT ARE “VANITIES” IN SCRIPTURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation” (Deuteronomy 32:21). What are these “vanities?”

Using context clues, we surmise that they are bad. Notice how Israel’s “vanities” have made JEHOVAH God jealous. The Jews should be paying attention to Him, but they ignore Him because these “vanities” have preoccupied them. Thus, He is angry with them, and will not overlook their association with “vanities.”

First Kings 16:13 says: “For all the sins of Baasha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to sin, in provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.” And verse 26: “For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.”

We read in Jeremiah 8:19: “Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?” Jeremiah 10:8 says: “But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.” Jeremiah 14:22 provides even more information: “Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.”

Finally, Acts 14:15: “And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:….” Our English word “vanity” means “the quality of being worthless or futile.” It comes from the Latin vanitas, from vanus “empty.” That perfectly describes the “vanities” in Scripture.

Looking closely at Deuteronomy 32:21, notice two sets of parallel clauses. “That which is not God” is equivalent to “their vanities”“those which are not a people” is the same as “a foolish nation.”

Jeremiah 8:19 again: “Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?” Notice the “graven images” (carved idols) and “strange vanities” (“strange” as in “foreign”). Jeremiah 14:22 again: “Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.” So, “vanities” are “strange” (foreign) or “of the Gentiles.”

Acts chapter 14: “[11] And when the people saw what Paul had done [healing the lame man], they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. [12] And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. [13] Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. [14] Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, [15] And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: [16] Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” Clearly, Israel’s “vanities” are the Gentiles’ pagan idols!

Again, “vanity” means “emptiness.” Earlier, we saw that “vanities” in Scripture actually refers to idols (“that which is not God”—see Deuteronomy 32:21). Why are they “empty?” Psalm 115 is a believing Jew speaking: “[1] Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. [2] Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? [3] But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. [4] Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. [5] They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: [6] They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: [7] They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. [8] They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them” (cf. Psalm 135:15-18).

Idols have mouths but do not speak. They have eyes but do not see. They have ears but do not hear. They have noses but do not smell. They have hands but do not handle. They have feet but do not walk. They have throats but do not speak through them. To wit, idols are totally useless, worthless, profitless. “They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” This is certainly harsh. It means, “Idol makers and idolaters are as incompetent/useless as their idols are to them!”

The God that created the nation Israel is “the living God” and He is starkly different from “vanities” (Acts 14:15). Yet, throughout the “Old Testament,” most of Israel forgot the one true God (JEHOVAH God). They embraced that which was totally void of anything worthwhile. Deuteronomy 32:21 says that, unlike the idols, the “living God” can and will react to such disrespect.

Recall the two sets of parallel phrases: “that which is not God” with “their vanities,” and “those which are not a people” with “a foolish nation.” Now, we are particularly interested in the latter set. Who are these “not a people,” this “foolish nation?”

Deuteronomy chapter 32 is “the Song of Moses.” Some of Moses’ parting words to the nation, it covers Israel’s history and future (prophecy, events beyond our day). Verse 21 points to the future by first pointing to the past. Remember, Israel was to be God’s nation of priests. Every Jew was to have a spiritual relationship with JEHOVAH God, that every Israelite, in a coming earthly kingdom, would share the message of his God with the Gentiles/nations (see Genesis 12:1-3, Isaiah 60:1-3, Isaiah 61:6, Zechariah 8:20-23, Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:47-48, Acts 1:8, et cetera).

Jeremiah 2:11, almost 1,000 years after Moses spoke in Deuteronomy, says that Israel worshipped idols and abandoned the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.” God actually gave Moses the insight to see Israel’s apostasy that Jeremiah witnessed centuries later. Deuteronomy 32:21 takes it a step further though. God will still get a Jewish people for His name. He will reach within the nation Israel and pull out a believing remnant. That believing remnant will become “new Israel,” His kingdom of priests.

Notice what the Lord Jesus said in Luke chapter 12: “[31] But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. [32] Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” In contrast to the idolatrous Jews, His followers would be that “foolish nation,” heirs of that earthly kingdom. Just as unbelieving Jews had given Him up for idols, He will give them up for believing Jews.

Speaking to the apostate (anti-Jesus, idol-worshipping) Jews, especially Israel’s religious leaders, the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 21:43: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” This “nation” is the “foolish nation” of Deuteronomy 32:21 (the “Little Flock” of Luke 12:32). In the eyes of their lost and idolatrous Jewish relatives, they are “foolish” for believing JEHOVAH God’s Word (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14; Acts 26:24; Acts 4:13).

In 1 Peter 2:8-10, the Apostle Peter spoke to “new Israel,” that believing Jewish remnant: “[8] And [Jesus Christ is] a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient [unbelieving]: whereunto also they were appointed. [9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

Every Jew should have had a personal relationship with the one true God. After all, JEHOVAH God had promised Israel various covenants He had not given the Gentile nations (cf. Romans 9:4-5 and Ephesians 2:11-12). Alas, most Israelites preferred to worship idols (cf. Deuteronomy 32:21). This will be true even after our dispensation. God will consume them in His wrath (seven-year Tribulation and Second Coming), leaving the believing Jews to enter His earthly kingdom and become His priests (Millennium).

Unbelieving Jews will be permanently cut off from the God whom they could have had as their own. With Him accepting believing Jews, it will make the unbelieving Jews “jealous” (He was supposed to be their God by covenant relations too). As the unbelieving Jews replaced Him with idols (“vanities”), so the Lord Jesus Christ will replace them with believing Jews.

Also see:
» Who is the “foolish nation” of Romans 10:19?
» How can God be “jealous” and not sin?
» Who were the “strong bulls of Bashan” standing before Christ’s cross?

How did Satan “take” the Lord Jesus during His temptations?

HOW DID SATAN “TAKE” THE LORD JESUS DURING HIS TEMPTATIONS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How did Satan “take” Jesus during His temptations? Was the Lord hostage to the Devil, the Adversary?

Matthew chapter 4: “[5] Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,…. [8] Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;….”

Luke chapter 4: “[5] And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [9] And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:….”

No, Satan did not snatch up the Lord Jesus and then drop Him in specific locations. We are not to suppose it is some kind of a violent, forceful capture like a law-enforcement officer holding and transporting an inmate. A better way to look at this is that Christ and Satan walked together to that pinnacle of the Jerusalem Temple and they walked together to that mountaintop. For example, if someone “takes” a person on a tour of his or her city, this is not in the sense of seizing or arresting the visitor and making him or her go on a tour. It is a walking together.

The Lord Jesus, exercising volition, has agreed to go with Satan to the roof of the Jerusalem Temple and has decided to go with Satan to the exceeding high mountain. Please understand that Christ was not a powerless prisoner here. The Lord was not forced into any of this. Even as a Man, He is still mightier than Satan. Notice how He orders Satan like a superior commands an inferior individual. If Satan had control over Jesus here, then Jesus could not have issued such decrees.

Matthew 4:10: “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Luke 4:8: “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Due to manuscript differences from the King James Greek text, in Luke 4:8, nearly every modern English version eliminates that command, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” If this is omitted, we cannot make the very point we are attempting to get across here!)

Also see:
» Why did Jesus Christ quote Deuteronomy during His temptations?
» Did Jesus ever claim to be God?
» What are Satan’s current operations?