Posts Tagged 'Satan'

Panic Podcast: The Unseen World, Part 2

Good morning, fellow Bible students and scholars.  Today, I wanted to explore that Prince of Darkness, ol’ Slewfoot himself, Satan.  So have your Bibles at hand and get ready to learn more than you ever thought you would know about this angel gone bad.

 

Lies the Devil Told Me

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The Devil is a liar.  In fact, the Bible teaches us that he is “the father of lies.”  The Devil, also known as Satan, is somebody you don’t want to know.  But you should know about him; you should know as much about him as you can because he is your enemy and key to winning any battle is knowing your enemy.

The cloven-hoofed one is smart and over the centuries he has been very successful at creating an image of himself that is not even close to reality.  He is an expert at branding.  So, let’s shine the light on Satan’s lies about himself so you have an accurate picture of just who your enemy really is.  It’s no sin to talk about Satan and you shouldn’t be superstitious about it.  Jesus once said:

“I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Be as wary as serpents and harmless as doves.”  (Matthew 10:16  TLB)

The very best way to be “as wary as serpents” is to know as much as we can about our enemy, the Devil.

Lie Number One:  “I don’t really exist.”

The very first lie the Devil has been successful in peddling is that he isn’t real; that he doesn’t really exist.  Over the centuries, he has used superstition, ignorance, and even humor to convince people that he isn’t real; that he is a figment of the imagination.  Think about it.  We tell jokes about him (“the devil made me do it!”) and blame things he’s responsible for on warped minds or man’s inner impulses.  We have found ingenious ways to explain the Devil out of existence.  But thinking he isn’t real doesn’t make it so.  The Devil is real.  He is as real as God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.  He is as real as your neighbor.  And if you are a Christian, he’s out to get you.

Be careful-watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart.  Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too.  (1 Peter 5:8, 9  TLB)

The best way for the enemy to gain the upper hand is to convince us that he isn’t real.  The Bible, though, speaks of Satan as a real being.  It never tries to prove his existence, any more than it tries to prove God’s existence.  But like God, the Bible simply assumes its readers are smart enough to know the truth.

For example, the author of the book of Job assumed you’d know that Satan was real.   In fact, we get a rare glimpse into the heavenly realms to see how he operates:

One day as the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan, the Accuser, came with them.  “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan. And Satan replied, “From earth, where I’ve been watching everything that’s going on.”  (Job 1:6, 7  TLB)

Satan, an angelic being, is able to roam the earth and heaven and, like all other angels, is answerable to God.  God knows the Devil is real because the Devil “presents” himself to God, apparently, on a regular basis.  He’s referred to here as “the Accuser,” and if you read the book of Job, you’ll learn that his chief activity is accusing God’s people before God.

“You have always protected him and his home and his property from all harm. You have prospered everything he does-look how rich he is! No wonder he ‘worships’ you!  But just take away his wealth, and you’ll see him curse you to your face!”  (Job 1:10, 11  TLB)

Thank God we have a Mediator in heaven who intercedes on our behalf!  And speaking of Jesus Christ, He knows Satan is real because He’s seen him!

“Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan falling from heaven as a flash of lightning!”  (Luke 10:18  TLB)

God knows Satan is real.  Jesus knows Satan is real.  Only man has the arrogance to think he knows more than they do!  But, Satan is an expert liar, and he’s convinced a lot of people he isn’t real.  Bob Hartman wrote a song back in the 1970’s that puts it all in perspective:

You got the clergy working overtime to widen the narrow way, You’ve got politicians everywhere listening to what you say.  

You’ve got false apostles teaching lies perverting the only way, You’ve got principalities and powers waiting to obey.

You’ve got philosophies and vain deceits lying to deceive.

You’ve got hate, and greed, ungodly lusts in the deadly web you weave.

Somehow you’ve got so many thinking you’re not even there.  One look is all it takes to get them blinded by your glare!

Indeed.  Satan is the “Angel of Light,” blinding all kinds of people to the reality of his existence.

Lie Number Two:  “It’s God Versus Satan.”

This is an insidiously clever lie that says simply there is a great, cosmic battle going on between God and Satan; a boxing match in the heavenly realms between the forces of light and dark; between good and evil.  The idea behind this lie is that Satan and God and equally matched; that good is at war with evil and maybe – maybe – evil might win.

Now, there is a grain of truth in this lie.  There is a war in the heavenlies, but it’s a battle being waged for your soul, not for dominion over the material and immaterial universes.  Satan is merely a created being, just like you are, except that he’s a purely spiritual being whereas you’re both physical and spiritual.  God and the Devil are not locked in an eternal battle.  And the fact is, God has already told us what the final destiny of Satan will be:

Then the devil who had betrayed them will again be thrown into the Lake of Fire burning with sulphur where the Creature and False Prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  (Revelation 20:10  TLB)

The Devil knows this is his fate and that’s why he’s trying to convince people he’s just as powerful as God.  He aims to take as many people into the Lake of Fire with him as he can.  But Satan isn’t anything like God. He is not omnipotent.  He is not omniscient.  He is not infinite.  He is not omnipresent.

Christians need to stop giving Satan so much credit!

Lie Number Three:  “I look like a man in a red suit with a tale, horns, and a pitchfork.”

This is often the way Satan is portrayed in cartoons and on TV shows.  Sometimes he comes across as funny little man wearing that kind of costume.  Sometimes he’s portrayed as a  hideous goat-like creature, not in a funny way at all.  But the Bible teaches us something very different.  Here’s how it describes Satan:

“Son of dust, weep for the king of Tyre. Tell him, ‘The Lord God says: You were the perfection of wisdom and beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; your clothing was bejeweled with every precious stone-ruby, topaz, diamond, chrysolite, onyx, jasper, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald-all in beautiful settings of finest gold. They were given to you on the day you were created.  I appointed you to be the anointed Guardian Angel. You had access to the holy mountain of God. You walked among the stones of fire.  You were perfect in all you did from the day you were created until that time when wrong was found in you.”  (Ezekiel 28:12 – 15  TLB)

That doesn’t sound like a man in a red suit!  Or how about this:

God never sent those men at all; they are “phonies” who have fooled you into thinking they are Christ’s apostles.  Yet I am not surprised! Satan can change himself into an angel of light, so it is no wonder his servants can do it too, and seem like godly ministers. In the end they will get every bit of punishment their wicked deeds deserve.  (2 Corinthians 11:13 – 15  TLB)

The Devil can make himself look like anything you need and anybody you want.  That’s why you need to be aware of his tactics and his lies.

Lie Number 4:  “I am the ruler of Hell.

This is such a common belief most people are surprised to find out that it’s not true at all.  This myth is common in much of the literature many of us have studied in high school or college.  This was Satan’s claim in Paradise Lost, according to Milton:

It is better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven.

Maybe so for him, but that’s not happening now nor will it ever happen.  Satan is not the ruler in Hell and he’s not in Hell.  When he finally gets there, he won’t be ruling over it.

So where is the Devil at the moment?  Revelation 12:12 gives us a clue:

Rejoice, O heavens! You citizens of heaven, rejoice! Be glad! But woe to you people of the world, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.  (TLB)

So he’s here!  He’s roaming the earth trying to make as much trouble as he can.  That’s what he does, especially in the lives of Christians.  He’ll do anything to cause you to doubt and make your faith weak.

When Satan is finally dealt with, he still won’t get into Hell.

Then I will turn to those on my left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.’  (Matthew 25:41  TLB)

But in the end, he still won’t get to be the ruler he aspires to be:

Then the devil who had betrayed them will again be thrown into the Lake of Fire burning with sulphur where the Creature and False Prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.   (Revelation 20:10  TLB)

Lie Number 5:  “The Devil made me do it.”

Back in the day, this was part of a hilarious Flip Wilson routine.  As funny as it was, that’s all it was:  a comedic routine without any basis in fact.  Satan tempted Jesus to sin, but it’s highly unlikely any of you reading this are so important as to attract His Dark Majesty’s personal attention.  In fact, the Bible teaches that, while the Devil is real and he is your enemy, even if there was no personal Devil you’d still have trouble staying on the straight and narrow.  It’s not Satan making you do anything, it’s your own sinful nature.   James says:

And remember, when someone wants to do wrong it is never God who is tempting him, for God never wants to do wrong and never tempts anyone else to do it.  Temptation is the pull of man’s own evil thoughts and wishes.  (James 1:13, 14  TLB)

We can blame the Devil for a lot of things, but most of the time, when we sin it’s our own fault.

But, what if you warrant Satan’s attention?  Can you resist him?  James again:

So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  (James 4:7  TLB)

The Devil can’t make you DO anything you don’t want to.  You have it within you to resist him every time.  You may still sin, but you can win against the Devil.

Lie Number 6:  “I’ll make a deal with you…”

This is another lie:  You can make deal with the Devil.  Sometimes the deal goes like this:  A person is so desperate for something they need but can’t have, that they “sell their soul” to the Devil.  He gives them what they need, and when they die, he comes and claims their soul.

It’s a classic Hollywood scenario.  It makes for some great drama and lessons in morality.  But it isn’t true.  It doesn’t happen that way.  Nobody is capable of making a bargain with Satan.  The sad fact is, if you are unsaved, Satan already owns you.  Your only hope of gaining your freedom from him is coming to Jesus and asking Him to save you.

Satan hates God.  God is everything Satan wants to be, but can never be.  Because you are created in God’s image, Satan hates you almost as much as he hates God.  With Satan, it’s not personal.  It God’s image in you he hates.  Satan won’t strike a bargain you.  He hates you.  He is incapable of friendship.

Satan wants to lash out and strike at God but he cannot.  So he sets his sights on man.  He hurts the human race and causes strife and hatred and injustice purely as a way to get back at the God he hates so much.

He hates Christians most of all.  We’re privy to Satan’s schemes.  We know the truth and that offends him.  He will do what he can, when he can to disrupt your relationship with Christ and with each other within the Church.

But understand this:  Satan’s power is limited.  His hatred is limited.  His schemes are imperfect.  He can’t read your mind.  There’s no guarantee that any of his schemes against you will succeed.  He is, in reality, the saddest, most pathetic creature in existence.  But it’s the existence he chose for himself.  Satan doesn’t deserve your pity.  He doesn’t deserve your fear.  And he doesn’t deserve a second of your time.  If you’ve confessed Christ as Savior and He’s the Lord of your life, then you belong to God.  Beyond knowing about Satan, he’s of no concern to you.

The Devil’s time is limited.  He knows it. And he’s determined to do as much damage as he can before his time is up.  Let’s do what we can, as soldiers in Christ’s army, to disrupt his plans.  Let’s turn the tables on him and make life hard for the Devil for a change.

 

 

 

Hell

gates-of-hell-open

It used to be, not so long ago, that preachers would preach “Hell-fire and brimstone” sermons to convert unsaved listeners. Just the possibility of spending an eternity in a fiery place of eternal torment was enough to get lost souls to the altar, praying the sinner’s prayer. That kind of evangelism certainly used to work well. Some unsaved people respond to sermons on the love of God, others need messages a little more potent. But times have changed. Rarely do you hear about Hell from behind the pulpit.

“Hell” was a word that used to incite fear in people, but now when people hear that word, they roll their eyes in disdain and unbelief.

What happened to Hell? Why don’t we hear more about it? Do you know what the Bible really says about Hell? Or what Jesus said about this place?

The Bible hasn’t changed what it says about Hell, so let’s take a look at some Scriptures that shed some light on Hell and the kind of people that will end up there.

Matthew 5:21, 22

“Under the laws of Moses the rule was, ‘If you murder, you must die.’ But I have added to that rule and tell you that if you are only angry, even in your own home, you are in danger of judgment! If you call your friend an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse him, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”

It’s important to see these two verses within the overall context of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 5 in order to understand what our Lord was getting at. “Living by a higher righteousness” is the over arching theme in this chapter. Beginning with verse 21, Jesus gave six examples of His idea of a higher righteousness, each one introduced by the phrase, “You have heard it said…” In all six examples, Jesus adds the phrase, “…but I say to you…” The Greek is very emphatic, with a strong emphasis on the pronoun, “I.” So Jesus was either proving to His listeners that He was the most arrogant egotist that ever lived or He was proving what He claimed to be: the eternal Son of God, speaking and teaching with divine authority. In the end, it was His authority that came through most of all. Vincent Taylor once wrote of our Lord’s effect on people this way:

Jesus will always remain a challenge to be met rather than a problem to be solved.

Jesus begins with the fifth commandment, a prohibition against murder, and adds the punishment demanded by God. The penalty, God’s idea of capital punishment, was not part of the Ten Commandments but was above and beyond them. And the Pharisees acknowledged the severe nature of the punishment, and were somewhat proud of that. By this time in Jewish history, the idea of taking the life of a willful murder had become a wholly civic law, not a religious one.

The people didn’t connect it with their faith. There was no sense that God was involved in the situation at all.

Jesus began setting them straight using the phrase, “I say to you.” It was His way of not only adding to what they already knew to be true, but distinguishing His higher truth; His higher form of righteousness, which involves sins of the heart; attitudes that may or may not lead to a murder being committed. It’s one thing to be dragged before a human court – that’s all the Pharisees were concerned about – but that only happens if you get caught. God sees into your heart; He doesn’t need a human court to judge that. Our Lord was pointing a shortcoming of the Law of Moses.

Jesus’ higher righteousness focuses on our thoughts and attitudes towards other people. He indicates that when we verbally abuse another person, we are putting our very souls in danger of being judged. Our Lord isn’t teaching that calling somebody a “fool” or “idiot” can send you to Hell, by the way. He is using satire to diminish what the Jewish religious-legal system had degenerated into. In other words, the Pharisees were all about the letter of the Law, not the Spirit behind it.

The final judge is able to determine where a human being will spend eternity, not a human judge. The Pharisees were not final authorities, nor where the civic courts. God is the final judge; He will be the last One a human being sees before entering his eternal destination, Hell. Jesus used Gehenna (the valley of Hinnom), a location south of the walls of Jerusalem where Moloch was worshipped during Old Testament times, and a place where child sacrifice took place to illustrate His idea of Hell. It was deemed an “unclean” location for centuries. During the days of Jesus, this was where trash was taken and burned. Little wonder our Lord used this nasty location as an illustration for the destination of the damned.

Matthew 10:28

Don’t be afraid of those who can kill only your bodies—but can’t touch your souls! Fear only God who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Here is another verse that points to God as being the final judge. Christians have nothing to fear. This is the second time in this chapter Jesus makes this statement. Christians ought to be fearless in terms of living out their lives in righteousness in whatever culture they may be. There are really two reasons to be fearless. First, the Gospel message can never be suppressed. Even in modern-day America where Christians are almost routinely fined or worse for living and practicing tenets of their faith in the so-called “public square,” we don’t need to fear that the government or any protected group has the ability to stop God’s Word from being proclaimed. Secondly, a human being may be able to kill your body, but he can’t harm your soul. That is, he can’t take your faith from you. As Lenski observed,

To lose the body is to lose little, to lose the soul is to lose all.

Jesus is no way suggesting we should look forward to martyrdom; hopefully it will never come to that for any of us. But He is saying no man can rob you of your faith; of your salvation. A statement like that shows us what Jesus thinks is important. The state may come and take away all your possessions because you took a stand for righteousness, but it can never touch your greatest possession of all: your faith.

In case you’re thinking that’s cold comfort, Jesus adds that it is good (better) to fear the God who is able to destroy your body and your soul than to fear a man who can just harm your physical being. Just like in the previous example, Jesus wants His followers to learn a truth here. God is the final judge. Nobody controls your fate except God. Neither the devil nor another man holds the keys to Hell, only God. No Christian ever needs to fear death.

Matthew 18:7 – 9

Woe upon the world for all its evils. Temptation to do wrong is inevitable, but woe to the man who does the tempting. So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. Better to enter heaven crippled than to be in hell with both of your hands and feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. Better to enter heaven with one eye than to be in hell with two.

The world is a dangerous place for the Christian. It always has been, even though it may not seem like it to you. The world is dangerous because of its “evils.” The Greek word is skandalon, a word students of that language hate. It is very difficult to translate, but it is a very, very strong word. It’s much stronger than it’s English counterpart, “scandal,” suggests. The noun skandalon comes from the verb skandalizo and goes way, way beyond the idea of bad moral conduct or stumbling, but always suggests “spiritual destruction.”

Our Lord is teaching that traps or snares always exist in the world. This, of course, means that believers need to be watching out for them lest we get trapped and fall into sin. But as evil as those skandalon(s) may be, the one who is responsible for “setting the trap,” or the one who causes a believer to sin, is worse. Causing someone to sin is portrayed by Christ as being so bad, it’s better to hack off body parts than it is to cause another believer to sin. It’s preferable to enter Heaven with body parts missing than it is to enter Hell whole. Of course, this is a metaphor. What Jesus is getting at is that any friendship or activity that hinders either your relationship with Christ or another’s relationship with Christ must be “cut off.” Failure to do so could result in an eternity spent in Hell. Hell is so bad, all believers must be careful to control what they do (their hand), where they go (their feet), and what they look at (their eyes).

2 Thessalonians 1:8 – 10

They will be punished in everlasting hell, forever separated from the Lord, never to see the glory of his power… (verse 9 TLB)

Those who have rejected Jesus face a very bleak future when He returns. The eternal suffering of those who reject Jesus and persecute believers is used to illustrate the temporary nature of any suffering believers may endure in the here-and-now.

And so I would say to you who are suffering, God will give you rest along with us when the Lord Jesus appears suddenly from heaven in flaming fire with his mighty angels, bringing judgment on those who do not wish to know God and who refuse to accept his plan to save them through our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8 TLB)

Some of these Thessalonians Paul wrote to were enduring terrible suffering, or had endured awful persecution. What they went through or were going through was the baseline for the eternal suffering those who were inflicting the persecution would endure for all eternity. The righteousness of God would crush those who harm His followers.

Hell is waiting for those who persecute Christians and those who refuse to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. Paul wrote about the seriousness of ignoring God elsewhere:

So it was that when they gave God up and would not even acknowledge him, God gave them up to doing everything their evil minds could think of. (Romans 1:28 TLB)

Let me say this, then, speaking for the Lord: Live no longer as the unsaved do, for they are blinded and confused. Their closed hearts are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds against him, and they cannot understand his ways. (Ephesians 4:17, 18 TLB)

Their punishment will be “forever.” Literally, it will be “age-long.” The Greek word, aionion, is also used to describe the eternal life of believer. That word, when used of the duration of the punishment of the unsaved means it will be eternal. The consequences of sin, and especially of unbelief, are dire indeed. Paul describes this punishment as being forever banished from God’s presence; an unending existence away from any goodness. It will be the exact opposite of the eternal life promised believers. The fate of the wicked will be infinitely sad, too terrible to comprehend. But their fate is what they deserve. Salvation is theirs to reject.

One commentator observed:

Obey, and you enter into a light in which there is no darkness at all. Disobey, and you will pass eventually into darkness in which there is no light at all. It is not a question of less or more, of sooner or later, of better or worse; what is at stake in our attitude to the Gospel is life or death, heaven or hell, the outer darkness of the glory of Christ.

Revelation 20:14, 15

And Death and Hell were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the Second Death—the Lake of Fire. And if anyone’s name was not found recorded in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the Lake of Fire.

These verses take place in Heaven, at the Great White Throne Judgment. The throne is white because it symbolizes the absolute purity of the Judge.

And the Father leaves all judgment of sin to his Son. (John 5:22 TLB)

Given that Jesus also said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30), most scholars see God sitting on the throne. There is no escaping the Judgement, unless you are Christian. In that case, you have already been judged in Jesus Christ. But every other man will be judged according to his works.

And just as it is destined that men die only once, and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died only once as an offering for the sins of many people; and he will come again, but not to deal again with our sins. (Hebrews 10:27, 28 TLB)

After so many millennia, death and Hades will be dealt with once and for all: they will be cast into the lake of fire. This strange, fiery lake is known as “the second death.” It’s called that because all those who died without Christ will die again in it. But it is “eternal death,” not annihilation, but a “forever” separation from God and anything good.

John’s final statement is so solemn it’s significance can’t be missed. The passport to Heaven is simply having one’s name written in the Book of Life. This means accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. To make sure your name never gets blotted out of this Book requires being an overcomer – a conquerer – one who has overcome his sins and held steadfastly to his faith.

Everyone who conquers will be clothed in white, and I will not erase his name from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that he is mine. (Revelation 3:5 TLB)

What is Hell? It’s the place where the unsaved will spend all eternity. It’s a dark, joyless, hopeless place. It’s a place where lost souls will remain for all eternity, with the full realization that had they made the right decision during their lifetime, they would be spending eternity in Heaven, with God and all the saints. Hell is just one decision away for every human being.

Are there literal flames in Hell? Ultimately all we need to know is the only thing that matters is whether or not our names are written in the Book of Life.

Genesis: The Fall of Man

Eve 

Genesis 3

 

Chapter 3 of the first book of the Bible answers another question man has asked:  How did sin and evil enter the world?  Scholars have called this one chapter the “pivot on which the whole Bible turns.”  It’s certainly an important chapter because it makes clear that sin was not part of God’s original creation.  It also confirms what we all know:  we were created with a free will and the first human pair freely chose to rebel against God.

One noted Bible scholar has described the fall of man like this:

By accepting Satan’s word and Satan’s system in preference to God’s Word and God’s order, they handed over the deed of trust to Satan and enthroned him as the legal ruler.  They transferred their allegiance from the Father of lights to the father of lies.

1.  Steps in the fall of man, Genesis 3:1—6

Bible scholars and students wonder about the temptation.  Why was man allowed to be tempted in the first place?  In reading the creation accounts of the previous two chapters, we discover some interesting facts about man:  he was created innocent; he was created to be an intelligent, rational, and reasoning being; he was created with a free will.  So, man was created innocent, but he was NOT created righteous.  Righteousness is not the same thing as innocence.  Righteousness is innocence that stands up to temptation.

In reading the creation accounts, we discover an interesting thing about temptation:  it will either develop a godly person’s character or it will destroy it.  The Garden of Eden was a real place and it was occupied by two real people:  Adam and Eve.  They were real people in every sense of the word; real people just like we are.  They had emotions and desires and strengths and weaknesses just like we have.  Just as our character is developed over the years, so was theirs.  Our character develops in the face of temptation sometimes, and so did theirs.  Adam and Eve were created to be responsible people; responsible to obey God, to serve God, and to glorify Him in how they lived.

God created man and He gave man a single admonition:

But the Lord God gave the man this warning: “You may eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the Tree of Conscience—for its fruit will open your eyes to make you aware of right and wrong, good and bad. If you eat its fruit, you will be doomed to die.”  (Genesis 2:17  TLB)

There were all kinds of trees in the Garden of Eden and man had access to all of them, save these two.  Why?  Adam and Eve needed to grow and mature and learn.  They needed to learn about themselves; they needed to learn about God; they needed to understand that while they were given dominion over the earth, God had ultimate dominion over all life.  And they needed to develop character.  Their free wills needed to be tested so that Adam and Eve would willingly acknowledge their subordinate position to God.

The serpent was the craftiest of all the creatures the Lord God had made. So the serpent came to the woman. “Really?” he asked. “None of the fruit in the garden? God says you mustn’t eat any of it?”  (Genesis 3:1  TLB)

The entrance of the serpent into the Garden of Eden brought discord into what had been a harmonious world up until now.  Satan chose as his instrument of temptation a serpent.  As originally created, it must have been different from the serpents (snakes) we have today.  Eve wasn’t afraid of it and wasn’t surprised that it spoke to her!  So it’s likely the snakes in Eden were not like they would become after this serpent was cursed.

The serpent approached Eve, not Adam, for reasons not given.  Perhaps it was because she had heard God’s admonition second-hand that Satan reasoned she could be duped more easily.  Whatever the reason, he approached her, pretending to be ignorant and pretending to ask a legitimate question.

Eve’s first mistake was paying attention to the serpent.  Had she followed the admonition of Scripture, the encounter would have gone no further.

So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  (James 4:7  TLB)

“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “The Scriptures say, ‘Worship only the Lord God. Obey only him.’ ”  (Matthew 4:10  TLB)

Instead of doing this, Eve actually engaged in a conversation with the serpent, revealing her ignorance.

“Of course we may eat it,” the woman told him. “It’s only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not to eat. God says we mustn’t eat it or even touch it, or we will die.”  (Genesis 3:2, 3  TLB)

She both added to and took away from God’s Word.

Eve’s second mistake was in looking at the fruit way too long.  In doing so, she was allowing the temptation to take root.  It’s one thing to be tempted with fleeting thoughts and images of sin, but it’s another thing to linger on those thoughts and images too long.

The woman was convinced. How lovely and fresh looking it was! And it would make her so wise!   (Genesis 3:6a  TLB)

Eve’s temptation proved to be such a winning strategy that Satan has stuck to it ever since!  He appeals to the flesh and to the mind.

For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.  (1 John 2:16  NKJV)

Both Eve and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit and they discovered the serpent was right:  their eyes were indeed opened.  But like all of Satan’s promises, it wasn’t quite the enlightening experience they had hoped it would be.  Their eyes were opened, but only to their nakedness—all they saw was their shame and guilt.

Eve was duped, but Adam sinned knowingly.  We may speculate as to why.  It has been suggested that Adam sinned so that he could stand by his wife, and in doing so he was essentially choosing his wife over God.  No wonder Paul taught that Adam’s sin was greater.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned…  (Romans 5:12  TLB)

2.  Results of the fall, Genesis 3:7—24

An immediate result of the fall was that both Adam and Eve realized they had done something very wrong and they tried to cover it up.

So they strung fig leaves together to cover themselves around the hips.  (Genesis 3:7b  TLB)

Shame inevitably stands as the corollary of sin.  Before the Fall, man did not have a conscience; he was innocent in every sense of the word.  Sin put a conscience in members of the human race.  You can thank Adam for that little voice inside your head that nags you and accuses you all day and all night long.

Covering up their shame didn’t work, so Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves from God’s sight.

That evening they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden; and they hid themselves among the trees.  (Genesis 3:8  TLB)

Disobedience to God always—always—results in estrangement from God.  But then Adam did an astonishing thing that proves all people have inherited his tendency to sin:

“…it was the woman you gave me who brought me some, and I ate it.”  (Genesis 3:12  TLB)

He did what all children do:  blame somebody else!  But it’s not just children who try their best to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.  It seems like Adam tried to blame Eve for his fall, but really he tried to blame God.  Adam’s reason was that if God hadn’t created and given Eve to him, he never would have sinned.   Eve, learning the ropes from Adam, quickly blamed the serpent.

How foolish did these two think God was?  Naturally God completely disregarded those lame attempts at self-justification and proceeded to pronounce a series of curses upon His perfect creation.

God confronted Adam and Eve, and at last He confronted the Serpent.  But He didn’t ask any questions of it.  The serpent, Satan, was ultimately responsible; therefore he would pay the ultimate price.  From a perfect creation, the serpent was devolved into a nasty, loathsome, pitiful creature that would forever crawl along in the dirt.  God spoke to Satan what theologians like to call the protevangelium, or “the first gospel”:

“From now on you and the woman will be enemies, as will your offspring and hers. You will strike his heel, but he will crush your head.”  (Genesis 3:15  TLB)

The first prophecy in Scripture:  the promise of redemption.  It was an indication of the incredible mercy of God that He promised deliverance for man even before He passed sentence on him.

God punished Eve by essentially breaking her heart.

I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;  In pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.  (Genesis 3:16  NKJV)

A mother cannot bring a child into the world without pain and sorrow of some kind.  And, note this, her affections will always be toward her husband but her husband will not return that affection.  Instead, he would rule over her.

God punished Adam by breaking his spirit.

Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.  Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.  In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”  (Genesis 3:17—19  NKJV)

Man would now have to work and work hard.  What should have been a pleasure would now be drudgery.  The world around him was degraded because of what he had done.  Adam would live with that knowledge all the days of his life.  Of note is that while Eve’s affections would always be directed toward Adam, Adam had no such judgment placed on him.  This explains why, even down to this very day, men (husbands especially) exclaim, “I just don’t understand women!” and why women (wives especially) get so frustrated when their husband or boyfriend just doesn’t want to spend as much time with them as they think they should, or they are not as thoughtful as she thinks he should be.   A harmonious life between men and women would now be difficult thanks to the introduction of sin.

God helped Adam and Eve out by replacing the pitiful fig leaf coverings with clothing made from animal skins.  In helping man, animals had to die.  And so man learned that his covering before God would have to come from an atoning sacrifice; that his own efforts would never be good enough.  Just as God provided a sacrifice for Adam and Eve, so He provided One at Calvary for all men.

The final result of the Fall of man was the expulsion of the first couple from the Garden of Eden.  This act may seem mean or harsh, but it was actually an act of supreme mercy.  Had Adam and Eve remained in the Garden, eventually they would have eaten fruit from the Tree of Life, and they would have spent an eternity as sinners with no hope of ever breaking free from that awful enslavement.  Old Testament scholars Keil and Delitzsch make a powerful observation on this point:

In follows that man had not yet eaten of the tree of life.  Had he continued in fellowship with God, by obedience to the command of God, he might have eaten it, for he was created for eternal life.  But after he had fallen through sin into the power of death, the fruit which produced immortality could only do him harm.


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