Tag Archives: devil

“Human Fascination With Evil”

I recently picked up a book that looked interesting at a local thrift store. The book is titled “ANTICHRIST: TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF HUMAN FASCINATION WITH EVIL” written by Bernard McGinn. This might be the one of the best texts I have read that explains the various understandings of the devil, demons, antichrist, evil, and wickedness that I have ever read. McGinn writes in a textbook manner and offers so much historical data to consider and review. It’s safe to say I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this book I bought for less than $3 at the thrift store.

I have been working steadily on Wicked. (which is expected to be released at the end of May 2017). As I come to chapters in regards to these wicked things (Satan, evil, demons, etc) I have been reviewing some books I own on the topics. I was not expecting such a fascinating book as ANTICHRIST. Now, I want to say something about fascination and the topic of evil. Unfortunately our “total depravity” (to borrow a doctrinal term from reformer John Calvin) shows all to often when we are so quick to jump into topics about wicked things, and offer up our opinions and thoughts (leaning upon our own misunderstandings and offering more confusion to the mix). And boy oh boy are we quick to do so.

Last week I post a status on my Facebook page and it brought over 87 mostly aggressive comments within 2 hours. Yikes! Arguments went on and on. Some almost calling each other Satan and evil things. Wickedness ran rampant.

I’d like to say that my fascination with the topic is a bit different and prayerfully I will detail that as I share some of the points from ANTICHRIST with you in this blog. Ultimately of course, I would encourage you to keep an eye out for my upcoming book, Wicked. My fascination is more from the standpoint of a student of Scripture and a follower of Jesus Christ. I desire to know the depths of what the Scriptures are revealing. In doing so, I often times bump heads with the Establishment (the traditional Fundamentalist crowd within the Church). An honest study through history show this. Reading and studying through the chaos revealed through Church history on the topic is outrageous, especially detailed so fully in Bernard McGinn. This is or should be a textbook on the topic.

“…I write in the conviction that the Antichrist has already come – That is, the most important message of the Antichrist legend in Western history is what it has to tell us about our past, and perhaps our present attitudes toward evil”. – McGinn 

McGinn begins by detailing Isaac Newton’s distaste for those who were always searching for the Antichrist, as well as explaining that much of what people believe today as wickedness show influence of 2nd Temple Judaism/ Hellenism (ultimately confusion that ran rampant among national Israel (God’s vessel up until the time of Christ) from the 3rd century BC to AD 70. “Ultimately that and more led to the coming of the Lord in that generation”. I surely could appreciate even though we may disagree on many specifics – end times taken “seriously but not literally”.

There is so much that can be said about how McGinn shared all these details on the Antichrist. I loved the format of the book! McGinn highlighted the views that were noted (the resources he looked into could be compiled as an encyclopedia) throughout various points of history (which I will share near the end of this blog). Also, McGinn really piqued my interest in reading quite a few resources:

  • 2nd Temple literature/ Apocalypses, Enoch, etc)
  • The Maccabees and some highlights in Hellenism (1 Macc: 1:11-16; 2 Macc 4:7-18)
  • Sibylline Oracles and the Book of Jubilees

In talking about the ancient world McGinn rightly noted the importances of myths:
“Myths serve as archetypal narratives that exercise a special part of the human imagination” to which I would challenge with a proper understanding of the “prophetic imagination” as seemingly understood by the early Hebrews. McGinn notes, “Myth explains, not in an intellectual way by giving an argument, but rather by presenting an accounts of origin or essential structure that mediates meaning to the present”. Essentially myths were natural man’s way of “making sense of reality”.

McGinn really helps provide for an appreciate in regards to history. The style in which he writes captures what he refers to  as the “Matrix of Early Christianity” –
– Positive memories of Israel’s great kings
– Remembrance of oppressors and fear of worst in future
– The Messiah as an apocalyptic hope

The best way I can show you some of the great details McGinn brought forth is to use his historical outline/ sections and share my notes.

300 BC – AD 50 : A time marked by Jewish apocalyptic visions, 2nd Temple period, and the Qumran community.  A time filled with blasphemy against the One True God, persecution of His Faithful, and false religious leadership (hypocrites). We also see how these historic times mark out the internal conflict between good and evil, or what we might call the “psychological dualism of the struggle of the spirits of good and evil within the human heart”.

AD 50 – 100: A time of the 2nd Adam and His opposite. McGinn highlights that “After the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in AD 70, both Jews and Christians had to face a new religious situation, one that profoundly affected their respective beliefs and the increasing divergent roads these religious traditions would take”.

The teachings of Jesus Christ surely took precedent during this time. In literature and preaching we read of the “Man of Sin”, “the Beast”, Satan/ devil, the evil trinity, and the abomination of desolation. I love the following quote from Gerhard Eberling because it demonstrates that the Christian hope is based upon a reorienting all that was being hoped for through the lens of Jesus:

“What stands at the beginning of Christian theology is the apocalyptic modified by faith in Jesus”. 

AD 100 – 500: Throughout this time period we see the Antichrist develop as Christianity itself is developing. We read of “provocative new twists” from Church Fathers through this time of “persecution, heresy, and self-deceit”. Unfortunately, confusion runs rampant during this time. Surely applying the “end times” and the “Deceiver of the world” to a time past the events of the Roman-Jewish war is a misplace concept and bred much confusion in the Church. Some writings that stand out from this period which I seek to read and review in the near future are:

– The Apocalypse of Peter
– The Apocalypse of Elijah – which has been said to be “one of the most complete, but also obscure accounts of the Antichrist in patristic literature”.
– The writings of Hippolytus, presbyter in Rome from AD 200-235A
– The Catechetical Lectures by Cyril (AD 315-386) – these were instructions given to converts as the Roman world became increasingly Christian.

Prior to the Middle Ages it could be said, “….in the West at least, the apocalyptic theology advanced by Augustine and Tyconius emphasized a moral and internal reading of the Antichrist symbolism…”

AD 500 – 1100: The Middle Ages were characterized by various and different enemies being labeled “antichrist” by the Church. The confusion continued into what I would refer to as “scattered thoughts lacking consistency and context”. For example, a monk named Adso wrote some apocalyptic thoughts in which he detailed a 40 day period (or completeness) wherein the Elect would not be temped by the Antichrist due to offer up penance (“…the Lord will grand the Elect 40 days to do penance because they were led astray by the Antichrist”).  During this time we see the rise of the “Irish Antichrist tradition” (a writing that stands out is “The 15 Signs Before Doomsday”). Also, Islam saw a rise during this time, and the development of the Dajjal (Antichrist) which resulted from the Hadiths.

AD 1100-1200: In this period of time we saw the effects of the Great Schism in the Church between the East and the West. The formation of the Ordinary Gloss which is “a great Biblical textbook created in the nascent universities of the 1200’s”, which served as commentary during that time and further. We also read of the Moralized Bibles, or “medieval picture Bibles”  published during this period which largely included imagery of the Antichrist in different perspectives. This period of time provided interest in reading through the works of Honorious, namely his commentary on the Song of Songs.

AD 1200 – 1335: A time of Church issues and Papal name calling.

AD 1335 – 1500: Surely this period of time was seen as the eve of the Reformation. The term “Antichrist” during this time surely came to be a “symbolic representation of ultimate human evil”. We see the late medieval pessimism during this time with calculations of the coming Antichrist in almost every year (prophesies of 1346, 1347, 1348, 1360, 1365, 1375, 1387, 1396, 1400, 1418, —> and these are just some of the dates listed up until 1450 (that surely should cause us to pause and reconsider dating details that are so often abused in regards to Bible prophecy).

The rise of reformers during this time period is very evident and mark out some of the contemporary mindsets as well. John Wycliffe (1337) labeled the Papacy as Antichrist and John Huss (1372-1415) was apparently killed for referring to the Pope as Antichrist.

AD 1500 – 1660: During this reformation time we surely read of the cries of Reformation regarding the Antichrist Papacy. “Antichrist was definitely seen as a legendary projection of human evil forming the reverse image of the Christian Redeemer”. The splinter groups formed after the Reformation surely caused differences in regards to how evil was viewed, aways seeming to be defined in more contemporary styles. During this time we read of reformers such as Englishman John Jewell, Nicholas von Amsdorf, John Calvin, and Melchior Hoffman. Hoffman was an Anabaptist who prophesied of the end and the coming Antichrist in 1553. Von Amsdorf in 1554 wrote “Five Principles & Certain Signs Before the End”.

We also read of the “counter-reforms” being done in and through the Catholic Church during this time. We see the rise of various Jesuit understandings (some which pointed backwards in history as the fulfillment of prophecy rathering than regarding the Pope as Antichrist). It’s been said, “Catholic preaching and teaching on the Antichrist down to the latter half of the 17th century was partly a repetition of patterns inherited from early era’s and partly a reaction to the Protestant challenge”.

AD 1660 – 1900’s: McGinn properly noted, “While a number of important thinkers continued to speculate about the Antichrist, in many ways the Last Enemy became the hobby of cranks after 1660”. More defining of things based on contemporary situations led to more and more confusion. The early Puritans who had come to America viewed England as the Antichrist, in France due to the French Revolution there was a lot of throwing around of who was the “Antichrist”, and so we see the early confusion and void of clarity that allowed for a renewed interest in Milleniarism and ultimate Dispensationalism. These two doctrinal views has crept in and caused so many chaotic and confusing interpretations into the Christian Church.

That is where we are at now. McGinn’s eloquently detailed where all the confusion has led us: “…the increasing vagueness of the term Antichrist (as seen through the history of the Christian Church) has reached the point where universal invective overwhelmed effective application”. 

As I plan to continue to sift through and study these details further I am glad that I sit on the side of careful historical and context review. A Preterist. Every generation thinks excitedly that they are the “terminal generation” as shown through this lengthy review. Surely, I would apply much of the details found in prophecy to the generations it was prophesied to as well as ultimately the generation to whom Christ came and revealed things to. The Biblical Antichrist was revealed in that generation.

However, our understanding of Antichrist, or better said our understanding of evil, need not, must not, stop there. McGinn wrote and I couldn’t agree more, “…Biblical texts, such as the 1st epistle of John, and other major Christian thinkers – Origen, Augustine, Gregory the Great, William Langland – use Antichrist motifs – and insist that the true meaning of antichrist is to be found within, that is, the spirit that resists Christ”.  I regularly praise God that as I “study to show myself approved (2 Tim. 2:15)” and go through details for my writing of Wicked. I see the application of various concepts in Scripture.

In my upcoming release Wicked. I detail these “conceptual realities”, which the philosopher Paul Rocoeur in his seminal work, The Symbolism of Evil, explained very well when he noted how contemporary reflection on the symbols found in the ancient myths of the origin of evil could “still give rise to thought”; that is, they provide an “occasion for thought, something to think about”. Surely looking through history in regards to all the characters of evil we have pinpointed we have a lot to ponder. The Qumran community in the first century spoke of the “spirit of perversity” (which we all have the capability to live in and under) as the ultimate evil. In a similar vein, detailing “Who is the Antichrist?”, Church Fathers like Augustine noted “Everyone must question his conscience whether he be such”. In closing, let’s catch this concept as our definite understanding of the Antichrist:

“There you have the Antichrist – everyone that denies Christ by his works”. – Augustine

Some more contemporary resources I plan to take a look at (noting here for my and your benefit):

  • The Antichrist by Vincent P. Micelli
  • Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement by Ives DuPont
  • The Devil (4 part series) by Jeffrey Burton Russel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Devil; Who? Name that Satan! (Part 3)

 

 

   In the last article I went through the references to “the Satan” mentioned throughout the Old Testament. NOWHERE did we find any reference to some other world being called Satan. Instead we saw quite plainly that the Hebrew term “Satan” is used to speak of those who might come up against you- in regards to war, accusations of violating the Law of Moses, and so forth. 

We must keep in mind that the Israelites were known for taking practices of other traditions and utilizing them in worship of their God (something they were continually rebuked and judged for). I say that to point out that YES many of the religious leaders of the Jews during the first century would have had a sort of convoluted view of Satan and “the devil” (we see a similar thing happen within Josephus’ historical Discourse on Hades, wherein he has clearly adopted a Grecian view of the afterlife).

     In this article we will deal with “the Satan” and the “devil” in the New Testament. In the New Testament the terms that are translated as “the devil” and “the Satan” are:

 Diablos which translates to mean accuser, slander, derived from “cross over” or to “throw away”.  

Satanas  used as a title meaning the accuser or the slanderer. 

diamon which translates to “demons” or “devils”.

     So…TO THE BIBLE WE GO!

   Our first mention of “the devil” or “the Satan” in the New Testament is when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew chapter 4, Mark chapter 1, and Luke chapter 4). In Matthew the term “diablos” is used and in Mark chapter 1 “Satanas” is used- therefore showing these are one and the same. As if Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20: 2 don’t make it clear that “the devil”, “the Satan”, and the serpent are the same thing. 

      “Then Jesus was LED UP BY THE SPIRIT into the wilderness TO BE TEMPED BY THE DEVIL”. 

     So, Jesus was led up with the intent to be temped and to defeat the devil, right? What does Scripture say about temptation which leads to sin? Did the devil appear to King David when he lusted after Bathsheba and convince him to go down and talk to her? Consider the “sin of Achan”. Read Joshua chapters 7-8. How sin Achan sin? 

“…when I SAW among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, THEN I COVETED them AND TOOK THEM,… (Joshua 8:20-21)”. 

      Did Satan appear to help Achan sin? Seems awfully similar to the story of David and Bathsheba, huh?

      “But each one it TEMPTED when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death (James 1:15)”. 

    So let’s see. Does Jesus sin when he is TEMPTED in the wilderness? Does this require some angelic being to be there with Him? I dare say no. Instead this is an account as to whether “the adversary” – his own lust- will TEMPT Jesus to sin (covet and take). 

       Nowhere in this text is the need for some angelic being to be created. Instead we force that there when we come to the text with a presupposition. Instead all we read is that “the adversary” is tempting Christ, which on other texts shown above we see that temptation comes when one is drawn away by his own lust. Jesus fought the “lust of the flesh” by the Word of God- not giving in to hunger, pride, and tempting God. 

   Turn to Matthew 12:26 (which we also read about in Mark 3:23-26 & Luke chapter 11), this is a passage where Jesus is being accused of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub (which is a false god therefore attributed to being “the Satan”). No worries, I will be getting into demons in a further article. 

       Jesus’ statement, “If I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges (Matthew 12:27) makes two clear references. Jesus is alluding to 2 Kings chapter 1 wherein Elijah the prophet called down fire to prove the power of God over this false god- Baal-Zebeel. First the clear thing that was revealed from that account in 1 Kings chapter 18 was that this false god, “the Satan” had no power whereas the power of God was revealed. The point Jesus is making here is that if He is casting them out by Beelzebub whom did Elijah’s power come from? ahh…get’s sticky, huh? Instead, since the power was being shown, it was clearly of God. What a way to make the Pharisees put their foot in their mouth!

    Again, nothing here notes “the Satan” as an angelic being, instead he is being attributed to a false deity. 

     Next we turn to Matthew 13. Herein we read the parable of the wheat and tares beginning in verse 24. Jesus them explains the parable starting in verse 36. Jesus says this:

        “The one who sows the seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world, and as far as the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares ARE THE SONS OF THE EVIL ONE; AND THE ENEMY WHO SOWED THEM IS THE DEVIL, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels”. 

       I will be getting into “the sons of the evil one” in an article coming very soon (in the meantime you can read John chapter 8; Ephesians 2:2; and Matthew chapter 23 to arrive at some Scriptural understandings regarding whom were those that “the devil” was working through during that “age”). 

Where here does the text necessitate that “the devil” is some angelic being? It doesn’t! Instead contextually you will arrive at “the devil” being the Spirit that works in the “sons of disobedience” that was causing them to speak against the truth that Christ was revealing- the coming new covenant reality! 

      Get this…in Matthew 16:23 (also referenced in Mark 8:33), Simon Peter is called Satan. Is this become he transformed into some angelic being or was influenced by some “devil”? No instead the text clearly says, “…for YOU are not setting YOUR MIND on God’s interests, but man’s”. 

      Did you catch it? Remember our talk about sin above? What moves man to sin? His own lusts! A mind not set on the things of God. Satan!  

       But wait…Pastor Mike what about Luke 10:18, Jesus says that He saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. So far every verse we have went through has spoken of “the devil” or “the Satan” as being an adversary of God- NOTHING has said anything about him being an angelic being, so what do we make of this text? Notice the context. The disciples are returning excited with joy (v.1) regarding the power of God over “the devils”. Jesus then makes the statement of watching “the Satan” fall from heaven like lightning- in other words, I have been watching the power of that which opposes God failing, coming to it’s demise (also important to remember that the Jews didn’t have an understanding of “heaven” as some place in the sky, or upward). 

   “Michael used to be loved by everyone. Once he accepted Preterism, many saw this as his fall from grace”. – Does this mean I literally fell from some place? NO!    

     Verse 19 clarifies what Jesus is speaking about. NOTHING in this text demonstrates that this MUST BE an angelic being falling from some otherworldly place in the sky, UNLESS OF COURSE- WE FORCE IT TO BE THERE!

    In Luke 13:16 do you suppose some angelic being was holding the woman? NOPE instead verse 11 of the same chapter says she was bound by a sickness caused by a spirit. More on “demonic influence” in an article to come. In Luke 22:3 and verse 31 we read about how Satan entered into Judas…ummm “angelic being”? I think not! Judas at that moment began to think thoughts that were not of God- he would stand as an adversary to the things of God. 

    Guess what? I have just went through EVERY NEW TESTAMENT VERSE that deals with “the devil” and “the Satan” with you and we are none the more closer to seeing an angelic being described. What is going on here? 

     The fact is…you will arrive at much different view of “the devil” and “the Satan” if you allow the Scriptures to have precedence over what the popular teachings of man are in the Church today. 

    What we are seeing thus far is that “the devil” and “the Satan” being the same thing are that which oppose God. Individuals are continually referred to as “the devil” or “the Satan” especially when they have a mindset that is set up in contrast to the things of God. 

       Could it be that the enemy of God is the mind set up against God? (Romans 8:7)? 

  Until next article.

       Blessings in Christ,

           Pastor Michael Miano

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The Devil; Who? Name that Satan! (Part 2)

     In the last article I wrote as part of this brief series I dealt with the 2 most popular passages utilized by many ‘Christians’ to point out the devil as an angelic being (Isaiah chapter 14 & Ezekiel chapter 28). I believe I made it very clear those passages are speaking in hyperbolic language depicting God’s judgment upon both the king of Babylon & the king of Tyre.  

   So now it must be asked. What then is “the devil” and “the satan”? If I am to be honest, I will tell you that this study has given me more questions and than answers, alot of what I attribute to preconceived notions and a failure to have the same mindset the ancient Israelites would have had pertaining to this topic.

        That is MY GOAL! I want to understand how the ancient Israelites would have understood this topic of “the devil” and “the Satan” not how 21st century people would. I will dare to say I don’t think they desired nor felt the need to see it as “pegged and detailed” as much as we do. 

    In the Old Testament one can hardly find reference to some mythical creature called “the devil” or “the Satan” instead we read of God Himself bringing blessings and curses upon people (Genesis 3:17-19; Genesis 30:1-2; Dueteronomy 28:20-23; Jeremiah 25:37-28 serve as a great examples).    

   I want to deal with “the devil” and “the Satan” as two distinct topics which I sought to exhibit in the title. As I read and study Scripture I see the “devil” being that which is in opposition to God whereas Satan I see as a title being given to those things more specifically and situations that oppose God. Make sense? I hardly notice reference to the devil in the Old Testament but I see plenty of Satan references (which we will deal with soon enough).    

   The first mention we will find of Satan would be in the book of Job. Job being the oldest collected writing in the Old Testament.    

   Read Job 1:1-12 

    “Now there was a day when the SONS OF GOD came to PRESENT themselves BEFORE THE LORD, and SATAN came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it”. Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on earth,a  blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil (Job 1:6-8)”.   

So…who are the “sons of God”? In Deuteronomy 14:1, Moses is continuing his discourse of the Law and refers to the Israelites as “sons of the Lord”. In Isaiah 43:6 we are reading about the restoration of Israel wherein the Lord calls those being called back His sons and daughters. And if it is not yet clear, in Hosea 1:10 when the Lord is giving Hosea this prophecy to “number the sons of Israel” He speaks of the restoration as calling them “sons of the living God”.    

Where do people get that these were angels? Huh? 

 Ok, so “the sons of God” are coming to present themselves to the Lord? How was this done? And why? Turn to Deuteronomy 19:15-20. “If a malicious witness rises up AGAINST  a man to ACCUSE him of wrong doing, then both the men who have a dispute shall STAND BEFORE THE LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days….purge the EVIL from among you”.      

First off, anything spooky in that text about devils, dragons, and demons? NO! Yet we see EVIL spoken of as regards to accusations and wrongdoing, right? In this text- what did it mean to stand before the Lord? To stand before the priests and judges, right? Interesting, right?  

  This might blow your mind right here…The Hebrew term  שָׂטָן which is translated as Satan means “acccuser, one who stands against, an adversary”. So in the text of Deuteronomy 19:15-20 the “Satan” would have been that person who brought a charge of wrongdoing against you.    

Now…when you read the passage in Job with all of this understanding, doesn’t it have a different twist, a bit more reasonable than some sci-fi nonsense people have been coming up with? An accuser was coming with the sons of God(whatever people group those who came before the Lord were called during the time of Job) as they were entering into the presence of the priests- now that makes sense as to why God began to explain to this accuser about Job being righteous! Hello! Then Read Job chapter 2 and it all falls right into place. The beauty of context! 

   Also, it important to take notice that all the trials that Job experienced in the book of Job were done by God not some ethereal entity causing him trials (see, Job 2:3; 19:21; 42:11).  

    Let’s look at some other references of Satan.   

Turn to Numbers 22:22-23 – In your Bible you might want to circle the term “adversary” because guess what? The term “Satan” is used there in the Greek. THE ANGEL OF THE LORD is the Satan here, whoah!! So now Satan is working for God? Read the whole story starting back at 22:1 and read to verse 41. “The Satan” here is simply an adversary standing against what Balaam is seeking to do. Ironically if you read verses 32-43, Balaam sinned by NOT LISTENING to this Satan. And people say Bible study is boring? pshhh.    

 Ok, now turn to 1 Samuel 29:1-4. Here the Philistines want King David to turn back so that he does not become a “Satan” to them. Did King David run the risk of becoming a fallen angel called “Satan”? NO!  We see the same thing in 2 Samuel 19:22- where King David is speaking about the sons of Zeruiah becoming a “Satan” to him? An adversary! Those who would come against!  (See, 1 Kings 5:3; 11:14, 23-25).  

         Turn with me to 2 Samuel chapter 24. Watch this….this alone will prove the ancient Israelites did not have the understand of the term “Satan” that many are trying to force into the Bible today. Are you ready?   

   “Now again THE ANGER OF THE LORD burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah (2 Samuel 24:1)”.    

    Now turn to 1 Chronicles 21:1 which is the parallel account of the same story. Hold on to your seat my friends!    

  “Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel”.  

  Whoa…is the anger of the Lord = “Satan”? Don’t change what the text says. What does it say?  

 The Lord was angry with Israel, He stood as their adversary at that moment, and incited David to go number the people. No ethereal being or anything weird happening here my friends!   Interesting, huh? I would love for someone to show me just one passage in the Old Testament that speaks of “the devil” and “the Satan” being an angelic being- instead what we DO SEE THROUGHOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT is hyperbolic phrases referring to those who stand in opposition to one another.   

 Remember how I showed you the story of Job being about going to the priests and so forth? Watch this…Turn to Zechariah chapter 3.    

  “Then He showed me Joshua THE HIGH PRIEST standing BEFORE THE ANGEL OF THE LORD, and SATAN standing at his right hand TO ACCUSE HIM”.  

  ah..here we all are again. 🙂 

    “The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire”.  

    Satan (an adversary or accuser) has accused the inhabitants of Jerusalem of unrighteousness, and here the Lord is rebuking the accuser and restoring Joshua and Israel.  

Sorry folks, no sci-fi stuff going on here! Simply read the text and allow the context to be what it is! The Satan being referenced throughout the Old Testament simply meant accuser or adversary.    

 More to come…. 

Blessings in Christ,      

   Pastor Mike Miano

P.S.- Again, please email comments, thoughts, and questions to Christianitygonewild@yahoo.com

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The Devil; Who? Name that Satan! (Part 1)

 Let me start out this writing with a very important disclaimer. I do believe in the existence of “the devil” and “Satan”. What I am placing under question is – WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE DEFINE THE DEVIL AND SATAN AS? 

 

 I was not brought up in a Christian home yet I remember at an early age learning about “the devil” from my Aunt. She told me that “the devil” used to be a beautiful angelic being in the presence of God and that he tried to become more important and more powerful than God and was then cast out of heaven, 1/3 of the angels went with him. Did you learn something somewhat similar? Where do these teachings come from? 

 As we do a “mishmash” of Bible verses (which sadly many pastors and churches do) we can arrive at this view in some respects. Reading through ISAIAH 14 AND EZEKIEL 28 we can arrive as thoughts of of angel who was cast out of heaven, who was there in the garden of Eden, who sought to make himself like God. We can then read through the apocalyptic writings of the book of Revelation and further these views.    

The question I ask…is this what the ancients who were writing these writings believed? What did they understand and thus intend for these texts to convey? Sadly, I don’t believe many are asking that question. But how dare we ask, right? I know many are content sticking to the traditional teachings and not asking any questions- a direct violation of 1 Thessalonians 5:21.    So what I will endeavor to do through this writing is share my current thoughts (which with further  Biblical proof IN CONTEXT can and may change).    

First I ask you to read ISAIAH 14:1-23   

  Take up this TAUNT against whom? Read verse 4. The King of Babylon, right? What is a taunt? A simple defintion would be ” to provoke or challenge (someone) with insulting remarks”. So as we continue through this passage keep in mind that is what is being done.  When we get to verses 12-15 and read “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to earth, You who have weakened nations! You have said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north…” and so on…   

 Ahem, did the audience all of a sudden change? Did this writing change from “take up this taunt against the King of Babylon” to all of a sudden talking to some angelic being? NO!!    Instead “hyperbole” is being utilized, as is done with taunts (i.e., John the Baptist refers to the religious leaders as “brood of vipers”, was he talking to snakes?) and this text is speaking about how the King of Babylon tried to raise his throne to be more important than God and was being cast down- not from heaven, but from the high place he was in.    

Am I changing the Bible? I think not. Instead I am simply showing you the clarity and context of the text.  

   Would you believe this is a “proof text” used to prove that Satan was an angel in heaven who was cast down? Seems a bit ridiculous now doesn’t it?     Let’s go to Ezekiel chapter 28. Read Ezekiel 28:1-19.     Starting at verse 1-2, who is Ezekiel to address this prophecy at? Yes, “the leader of Tyre”!     Again it seems as thought this “king” has tried to make himself more important than his lot in life, he has said in in heart “I am god”. Notice what will happen to him, “Therefore I will bring strangers upon you, the most ruthless of the nations. And they will draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor (28:7)”.  

   I must say this sounds like a king coming under judgment, not really getting the whole angel falling out heaven this just yet. Let’s continue…In verse 11, Ezekiel is to take up this LAMENTATION against who? THE KING OF TYRE!!   

  What is a lamentation?  Quick definition, “the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping”. We see Jeremiah doing this is the book of Lamentations as he uses METAPHOR and HYPERBOLE to describe the coming destruction of Jerusalem that occured in 586 B.C.  

   So yes, Ezekiel take up this passionate cry against the King of Tyre. Ezekiel then uses  HYPERBOLE to describe God’s judgment against him. He says that he was in the garden of Eden. Uh oh, what does this mean? Was the King of Tyre there with Adam and Eve? Was he the snake? NO! Instead, just as Adam and Eve were in the presence of God, in covenant agreement with God (which is what is being told in the Adam and Eve story; it’s all about covenant agreement and relationship with God), this king had a relationship with God that is now being cut off. “But uh, Pastor Mike, it says in verse 14 that the King of Tyre was the anoined cherub who guards”. Come on! Clearly this is methaphoric language about how the king had been doing good, being blameless and now has committed sin in regards to the covenant he had with God. “I have turned you to ashes on the earth” – who reads that as literal? No, instead it’s judgment language regarding the king and how he has sought to set his throne above God.  

   To read these texts and arrive at some angelic being is ridiculous and completely out of the bounds of context and history (besides common sense) of the Scriptures.    Now that we have dealt with these texts. In my next part of this short series of writings I will detail “the devil” and what was spoken about him in regards to the teachings of Jesus.    

  Blessings in Christ, 

      Pastor Michael Miano 

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