That Ole Devil

Being sick meant a backlog of work that I spent all day slogging through, and now I have an hour before midnight to make sure I get a post in. So I’m going to cheat a little. My father-in-law is having me transcribe some tapes he recorded as part of the process of him writing a book about one of the more famous—or, more accurately, infamous—characters in the Bible: Satan.

I thought it might be interesting for me to share a little of the first chapter of his four-chapter work, which talks about the origin and nature of Satan. To avoid too long a post, what I will do is post a little now and then over the course of several days (yes, I’ll make original posts too during this time) add more as comments to this post. So, if you want too see more, just tune in the next day to see when I’ve added a comment to it. Here we go:

The church today—the church universal or the earthly church—has failed to set forth Satan as a real and formidable adversary. The church has done well in lifting up Jesus Christ, but it has failed to make known the evil one called Satan. If we will consider the model prayer that our lord and savior Jesus Christ gave the apostles, gave the disciples—and instructed them to give us—what we call today the Lord’s Prayer, we are usually very attentive in reading and praying this prayer. Again, these are words from the mouth of the Lord Jesus himself. Are we ignorant of that phrase in the Lord’s Prayer? Where Jesus clearly tells us to ask God our Father to deliver us from the evil one—that, of course, being Satan.

When we take an impartial and even a historical view of Jesus—and when I say historical writers I refer to Josephus, Origen and several other fathers of the church—we see that a vast majority of Jesus’ earthly ministry was rebuking the devil and his agents—what we would call today exorcisms.

Our Lord and savior Jesus Christ was well aware of the creature called Satan.

The purpose of this chapter is to set forth undeniable proof from the Word of God, as well as living experiences, testifying to the existence of our adversary Satan.

If we fail to comprehend, if we fail to acknowledge the realness of Satan, we will never understand the nature of the Christian ministry. We will never fully understand the ferocity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now, without being technical, what am I saying? We need to understand why the child of God suffers so very much in this Christian life. Satan, according to the writings of Paul in the book of Corinthians, both 1 and 2, clearly tells us that Satan has placed his agents in the pulpit of many churches today. We read in the second book of Corinthians, chapter two, where Paul tells us that we shouldn’t be surprised that Satan has placed his ministers in the pulpit, for he says, “has not Satan himself transformed himself on occasion into ministers of light?” We read in the book of Revelation where it tells us that Satan has deceived this whole world.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, Satan has deceived the earthly church.

We are in a battle. And to understand that battle, we must understand the enemy. Even nature—and Paul told us to look to nature, the visible world of nature, to see the invisible God—even nature and perhaps this most common phenomenon of night and day, darkness and light, testifies of the struggle of good and evil in this present-day world.

On this present Earth, why must we know Satan? Because if we don’t know him, we will not resist him. If we do no understand Satan, we will not understand the nature of our misfortune as children of God. Hence, we will not resist.

(You want to know something really weird? As of reaching the word “resist” above, my intro and this excerpt together totaled 666 words…LOL)


5 Responses to “That Ole Devil”

  1. 1 WNG
    June 26, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Interesting, and please do keep it coming, but could you not use that picture again – it’s creeping me out.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    June 27, 2008 at 12:09 am

    SATAN, PART 2:
    (Some more of my father-in-law’s musings on the Devil)

    Satan has so deceived the earthly church that we have come to believe that the earthquakes of today that destroy so many people are God’s will. Satan has so deceived the church that we have come to believe the hurricanes and tsunamis, the plane crashes and car wrecks, are of God, to teach us some lesson. This is a lie.

    If we do not understand and acknowledge Satan’s existence, we will not resist Satan. Satan will triumph over the children of God in every battle. If we do not understand, if we do not accept the fact that Satan is as real as God, Satan is as real as Jesus Christ—if we do no accept and acknowledge this, then we will be ineffective in leading others to Jesus Christ.

    Jesus Christ tells us on the night that he was taken prisoner, led to a mock trial, and early the next morning nailed to a cross at Calvary—he tells us that night at the institution of the last supper, he tells us these words: “In this world, my brothers and sisters, in this world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, because I have overcome the world.”

    What does our lord mean here? He means that as long as a child of God remains in his or her earthly body, in this world, Satan will attack him or her relentlessly.

    What is Satan’s mission? Before we explore that, let us understand that the Old Testament confirms the New Testament and the New Testament confirms the Old. If we will look in the book of Psalms, in the 34th chapter we find these word spoken from the mouth of David who was moved by the Holy Spirit: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

    Now, what does this mean? Number one, it means again that the Old Testament and the New Testament correlate perfectly. It means you are going to have problems, not because God puts problems in our lives, not because our Father through Jesus Christ puts problems in our lives but because Satan does. And again, if we do not understand Satan’s strategy, we will not resist him; we will even blame God for the misfortunes in our life. God is love. Jesus was the manifestation on Earth of God’s love. When we again look at the earthly ministry of Jesus, biblically and historically, when we read it with a plain commonsense view of his earthly ministry, Jesus never made anybody sick. Jesus never hurt anyone. And Jesus was the earthly manifestation of the love of God in the flesh.

    To bring a better example to mind concerning Satan, and the necessity of understanding his devices with regard to the Gospel, we have to look at the mission of Jesus Christ.

    All of us will agree as children of God through faith in Jesus Christ that Jesus came into the world to destroy the works of the devil. Let’s take a common example: He knew his mission was to die on the cross at Calvary as a sacrifice for the sin nature of man. Knowing this was his mission, the Word of God making it plain to us that this was Jesus’ mission, look now at the example given in the Bible of the incident where Jesus and his apostles were crossing the lake and it is written that a storm rose on that lake—a storm of a magnitude that the men in that boat, who were born fisherman and spent their lives on the water, well acquainted with the storms of the sea—a storm arose that frightened even these veteran seafaring men. Yet Jesus lay asleep on a pillow. They struggled to make it through the storm. At one point they realized that this storm was not a regular storm. We all know the story. They turned to Jesus and woke him, saying “Lord, wake up Lord. We are about to die.” And we see that Jesus arose and he rebuked the wind and the sea and said “Peace. Be still.”

    Now, we know that story, but do we understand what that story tells us? Let’s ask the hard question: Did God send a storm to kill Jesus? Would God have told Jesus that his mission was to die in Jerusalem on that tree—on that cross—a just man, spotless and sinless, paying the ultimate price for man’s sinful nature—this is your mission. Would God tell Jesus that was his mission and then attempt to kill Jesus on the open sea? It makes no sense.

    In light of our talk this morning on Satan, can we understand with a little clarity understand why Jesus went to sleep? Jesus understood Satan’s power is no match for the power of the Word of God. Jesus so knew that God willed for him to die on the cross at Calvary—was so definite—he knew that no device Satan could bring against him would prosper.

    Now, come back with me to today. When I say Satan has deceived the earthly church, did you know we have ministers, we have preachers, we have evangelists, we have brothers and sisters telling people that in a storm scenario like that, it is God who sent that storm on His son Jesus. That is absolutely ridiculous.

    Why would God kill His Son with a storm when He sent him into this world a ransom for mankind; when he had to die on the cross to go to Hell for three days to preach the Gospel to the dead, and to rise on the third day for the benefit of all mankind? Why would God have him die in a storm on the sea? God didn’t do that. Satan sent that storm. Satan sends all storms.

    P.S. Sorry for the creep-out factor of the picture, WNG. Not much chance of using it again, at least not for a long while. I try not to repeat pictures and I have a TON of pictures in my file of potential images for my blogs.

  3. 3 Deacon Blue
    June 28, 2008 at 1:01 am

    (Yet more of the good reverend’s writings about Satan)

    If we do not understand Satan and the existence of Satan, obviously we would never know his strategy or his purpose. Satan knows the Gospel full well. Satan knows that every human being since Adam—and incidentally including Adam, after his disobedience in the Garden of Eden, when he chose to disobey God and obey Satan—beginning with the birth of the first human being on the planet Earth, which was the son of Adam, Cain, the first human being born on the planet Earth between the sexual intercourse of a man and a woman—Adam and Eve—every human being is born a child of the devil.

    A child of Satan.

    When we understand this, then the meeting between Jesus and Nicodemus that is so wonderfully told in the Gospel of St. John in chapter 3, we understand clearly now what Jesus means when he tells Nicodemus “You must be born again.” If we can grant this, this throws further light on the bold statements that Satan made to Jesus on the mountain in St. Matthew and St. Luke, when he showed him all of the kingdoms of this world and said “They are mine; they have been given to me.” He referred to the fact that Adam, of his own free will and accord, chose to disobey God and to obey Satan. This meant that every human being born would not be born with a God-like nature as was planned, but would be born with the nature of Satan.

    When we look at St. John, chapter 8, we see Jesus talking to the Jewish people. And he tells them clearly that they are the children of the devil. The Jews are saying they are the children of Abraham and Jesus says, “Oh, no, Abraham wouldn’t treat me like this. He saw my day and rejoiced.” And they said, no, that they were the children of Abraham and he is our father and Jesus said “No, you are not. You are the children of Satan and you are acting like your father.” Jesus names them and says that Satan is a liar and the father of lies.

    All that I have said is from the word of God to get you to open your eyes to see that you have an enemy—an enemy who is so dedicated to his task of destroying man that he has even attempted to attack our Lord and savior Jesus Christ himself.

    You need to understand that a being with such audacity to attack the living son of God cares nothing for attacking you.

    But here is the tricky part of the Gospel. If every person is born into this world a sinner, and the Old Testament will verify this if we look as Psalms 51. Here we see David, who has broken all of the Ten Commandments—adultery, murder, everything when he took Uriah’s wife Bathsheeba—and Nathan was sent by God to tell David He was highly displeased. And we find that wonderful exchange between God and David where David confesses an understanding of the Gospel that was still a thousand years away until the birth of Jesus and the writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—David says, “I was born in sin, shaped in iniquity; how else can I act?” And let it be remembered that God said David was a man after His own heart. David knew that until Jesus Christ be born of that virgin woman, live that sinless life for 33 years and die on that cross at Calvary, go to hell for three days, preaching the Gospel in hell and then rising on the third day—until that event took place, from Adam to that series of events beginning with the cross—every human being in the world there was no chance and no way that they could be righteous.

    Oh, there were but a handful of people that God pronounced righteous—some good example were Enoch and Abraham—but that’s beside the point. Our mission here is to prove to the born again child of God that not only does Satan exist, but you have to come to grips with the reason why he exists and what it means to you in your earthly life as a child of God.

    If you do not know that you have an enemy sworn to your destruction, you are deceived and you are ineffective to carry out the Gospel mission of true evangelism. If you are not resisting him—Satan—if you are deceived into thinking that the bad things in your life, the misfortunes that come into your life are caused by God our Father to teach you some lesson, you have been greatly deceived by Satan.

    If you as a child of God do not acknowledge that Satan is real and that he exists, you will never be able to witness for Jesus Christ. And that is the purpose; that is the ultimate aim of Satan’s strategy.

  4. 4 Deacon Blue
    June 28, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    (Some final bits from the first chapter of my father in law’s book…I skipped over a lot of stuff but I don’t think I left anything out that would make any of this unintelligble…but I didn’t figure you all wanted a very long sub-sermon from the good reverend on the origins of Satan in the midst of all this other stuff, which is wordy enough…and you thought I could go on and on, huh?)
    Satan knows that every person born on this earth from the intercourse of a man and a woman comes into this world as a sinner and must be born again. If you do not understand that they are children of Satan, you can never explain to them why they must be born again.

    If people look at your life and see the struggles you go through day by day and you confess to be a child of God through Jesus Christ, you say that Jesus is your lord and savior, and yet you fail to understand who Satan is and what he does, what happens? When Satan comes against you, and others who have not accepted Christ look at you go through these things—and then you tell them “God is doing this to me—this is God’s will,” you do not present a picture that makes one want to know your God or your Jesus.

    This is Satan’s strategy.

    We must submit ourselves to God. We must resist the devil and he will flee. I did not say rebuke the devil, I did not say fight the devil; I said we must resist him—and he will flee.

    You have an enemy, brothers and sisters, and he is sworn to your destruction.

    Eve was tempted of the devil. She in turn, though devices she learned from Satan, was eventually able to convince man to disobey God and to take of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Again, it doesn’t matter what the fruit was or why she did whatever she did. The point was that Adam fully understood he was disobeying God. He was choosing to disobey God. In essence, he was choosing to serve Satan.

    Well, the moment that Adam bit the fruit, he died as God told him he would—if we look at Genesis chapter 2 verse 17, God told Adam, “The day that you eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you will surely die.”

    Now, remember at this point Adam is a spiritual being. He had the type of body that Jesus had when he rose from the dead. He could interface with physical things yet he was a spiritual being. But the moment he bit that fruit his eyes closed spiritually. He could no longer see God. He could no longer feel God. He could no longer communicate with God. He had indeed died, spiritually, and awakened physically. He could only experience phenomena through the five human senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. And those five senses would only respond to physical phenomena—or the visible world.

    All right, he was dead spiritually. More importantly, with his free will—his choice of disobedience—he became a servant of Satan. When Adam made it with Eve and they brought forth the first human born on Earth, by fate accompli, the first human born by sexual intercourse between a man and a woman—Adam and Eve—was born with the nature of Satan. The blood in Adam’s veins had changed. Through disobedience he was not longer a child of God but a servant of Satan. And Adam’s children then became the legitimate offspring of Satan. This is why every human must be born again.

    Until we seek Jesus Christ, until we learn of his with all of our heart, until we confess him with our mouth and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead—we will remain children of Satan.

    His mission—his sole reason for existence—is to see to it that no human being is born again through faith in Jesus Christ.

    How does he do that? He uses the same devices he was able to use when he convinced one-third of God’s angels to follow him. He used the same devices to get Eve to partake of that tree and then lead Adam to do the same. Lies, deception, etc.

    We’re going to see some of his other devices that he uses today. His main devices, that is, when we get into chapter 2.

    Satan is dedicated to one thing, and unless we understand this, we will never be effective Christians—because we may come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ by the grace of God, but we will never—if Satan has his way—we will never effectively lead another human being to Christ.

    And yet this is what Jesus demands that we do. This is what the Gospel demands that we do—that we tell people, that we testify, of Jesus Christ and that they must be born again.

    Now, Satan, knowing that every human being belongs to him in nature—meaning they have his nature, which is evil—they are subject to his command and control, and most of us don’t even know it. This explains why we sometimes see people commit horrendous crimes, deeds that make us wonder, “How could a human do these things?” Even the people who commit these grisly crimes when it’s all said and done, they sometimes say, “How could I have done that?”

    We’re back to John chapter 8 where Jesus told the Jews, “You are acting like your father the devil.”

    When a person accepts Jesus Christ as lord and savior of their life—truly accepts him—you have been born again in the spirit. You are no longer in Satan’s book as his property; your name has now been written in Jesus’ book—the lamb’s book of life. You are now a child of the living God and a member of God’s family.

    So, Satan, knowing that he can’t take you back from God, what is his next level of attack? His next strategy? That strategy is to make absolutely sure that this born again child of God—you—he intends to complicate your life, he intends to harass your life, he intends to hunt you, to hurt your life to the point where you never, ever will even try to lift up Jesus Christ and tell others about Christ.

    This is why it is so important that we must understand who Satan is, what his strategy is and what his devices are. For if we do not understand who Satan is and what his strategy and devices are, we will be deceived and we will think that the bad things that come into our lives as children of God are done to us by God Himself, which is a lie. It is Satan trying to stop you from testifying to other people about the saving grace of the blood of Jesus Christ.

    Yes, Satan is real.

    The truth is that once you become a born again child of God through living faith in Jesus Christ, you become a target of Satan and any and everything that comes into your life that is negative is from the hand of Satan. And unless you know this and understand this, you will not resist him. You will give in and you will become ineffective in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Satan will have won.

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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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June 2008

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