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The origin of the Satan

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Titus 1:13-14

13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

Please consider 2 Peter, beginning at v10 where Peter argues. ‘We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye-witnesses of his majesty’

He goes on to denounce false teaching in 2 Peter 2:1, who will ‘introduce destructive heresies’

Peter then launches into the ‘If’s’ of verses 2 Peter 2:4-9 beginning with 2 Peter 2:4

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

It is easily established that the New Testament term angel does not necessarily mean a heavenly angel: Acts 12:13-15

13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. 14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. 15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

Since these men considered Peter to be a spirit, and not a man, but a ghost, or a doppelganger, and called these an angel, it is clear that that term angel does not automatically mean an angel of God. Rather the expression is used in a broader sense, to include ghosts. Hence sinful angels are not necessarily fallen angels, since to be called an angel does not automatically imply that a spirit is or was of God.

In 1 Kings 22 were the prophet Micaiah describes his vision to Ahab king of Israel:

19 ‘I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and left. 20 And the Lord said ‘who will lure Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?

21“One suggested this another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will lure him’

22“By what means?’ the Lord asked

“I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.

“You will succeed in luring him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’

To some this vision if difficult, this is because they fail to understand that there is ‘One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.’ [Ephesians 4:6] Indeed Paul testifies in Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being;..

Such confusion exists because people think heaven to be a place, with boundaries and limits, rather than a state of being.

That is as David observes;

7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. Psalm 139:7-8

God is omnipresent, and in heaven this means all the spiritual realms or heavens, are visible to him, and he is present within them [just as God is present throughout the physical cosmos] as Paul observes in 2 Corinthians 12:2: I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven’.

Evil spirits are exist in the spiritual realms, and are visible to God.

In Job 1:6 we read ‘Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them’. This is not to say that Satan is simply an evil spirit like the lying spirit of Micaiah vision, but that Satan is a spiritual entity, and is therefore before God whether in the heavens, that is the spirit realms, or on earth for Satan’s natural state and origin is roaming through the earth [Job 1:7] And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.’ And Satan’s opportunity to come before God is facilitated by the Sons of God presenting themselves before God.

Understanding that these sons of God are not angels, but righteous men through faith in God, who like Job were even then able to say ‘For I know that my redeemer liveth,’: [Job 19:25] we can appreciate that their angels are continually before the face of God

Matthew 18:10

10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

Among these Sons of God, not angels, was Satan. This day of presentation can only be the time when these men met together to present themselves in worship. Yet among them was Satan who as a spirit being was able to present himself to God, much like the lying spirit in Micaiah’s vision. Where do these spirits come from?

Lets look at another example:

1 Samuel 16:14-16

14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. 15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. 16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.

As in Micaiah vision the evil spirit comes from God, that is the spirit is unable to act without God’s permission, in Kings 22:22 God says ‘Go and do it’ again Satan in Job requires God’s permission to act. The harp player is of course David and we later read:

1 Samuel 18:9-11

9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward. 10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand. 11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.

The question as to why an evil spirit trouble Saul is answered here:

1 Samuel 15:23-24

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.

Basically the evil spirit was visited upon Saul because of sin. We will examine this relationship in greater detail, but it is sufficient for now to recognize the work of these messengers of evil, that is evil angels in scripture.

Returning to 2 Peter 2:4, we read how these sinful angels are because of their sin in Tartarus. This distinction is vital, even if you insist that these angels are not by nature evil, but are heavenly angels that are fallen, it matters not, as Peter v4 observes that ‘God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment.’ This is a rebuke to those who promoted the book of Enoch, which pretends that heavenly angels fall, and rebukes those that teach that fallen angels are a danger to us; such are not but are chained. Thus if Satan is a fallen angel, or simply a spirit that sins then Satan is held in ‘chains of darkness’, and is not free to roam as in Job, or indeed as in 1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Peter then further warns [2 Peter 2:10-11] ‘Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.’

Peter observes angels, that is not to say fallen angels, but spiritual beings which maybe by nature evil, which are inescapably before the omnipresent Jesus, do not slander’ that is ‘speak evil’, that is falsely accuse celestial beings. This warning not to slander celestial beings should echo loudly in our hearts and minds when we consider the fable of the fallen cherub.

Cherubim are closely associated with the Lord Jesus, Ezekiel, from whose writing the myth is derived, describes them thus: ‘Wherever the Spirit would go they would go, without turning as they went, [Ezekiel 1:12] going on to say ‘And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: [Ezekiel 1:24]

Animated by God’s spirit, sounding as his voice, it is a being such as these that fable purports rebelled against God. Yet scripture is clear such beings are not independent of the Spirit, but directed, being as the voice of God, they are angels - literally messengers, the spiritual equivalent to the tongue of God, the spiritual mechanism by which the word of God is carried,

10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. [Psalm 18:10]

Such beings exists solely because of this purpose, rebellion requires independence of thought, no such independence is suggested by Ezekiel, rather an absolute dependence on the Spirit of God for both motion and direction.

In short the spiritual Cherubim of God cannot be equated with physical cherub described in Ezekiel 28:12-19

V12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

In verse 12 the person is identified as the King of Tyre, a human title that describes a physical man, who was ‘full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.’ ‘..Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations..’ [Gen 6.9] There was nothing supernatural about Noah either. Usually the Hebrew translated as perfect in both Genesis and Ezekiel, is rendered ‘without blemish’, this is a measure of physical rather than spiritual purity.

13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

The King v13 is described as being in ‘Eden, the garden of God,’ yet at the same time every precious stone adorned him. Now, we know that Jesus ‘maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: [ Psalm 104:4]’ How then can spirit be decorated by rubies, diamonds, and the like? Can fire wear precious gems? Rather a man, a king among men, made wealthy through trade and industry can. Looking at Ezekiel’s other references to Eden, such

Ezekiel 31:9

‘I have made him [i.e. Assyria] fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him.

Or Ezekiel 36:35

‘And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden;’

It is more logical to assume the reference to Eden is figurative. Further the term cherub in the near east was used to describe a mythical half man, half beast, sphinx like creature, which when carved as a statue would sometimes wear an image of the kings head and be decorated with jewels. Whilst what are we to make of ‘the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.’ Is the devil therefore a musician?

14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

In verse 14 The King is described as being anointed as a guardian cherub, that is ‘cherub that covereth’ while it is true spiritual Cherubim guard the tree of life, and Ezekiel witnessed this, other physical angels are found in scripture

1 Samuel 29:And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good in my sight, as an angel of God:

Exodus 25:20 And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.

These golden cherubim covered the mercy seat, and were physical man made images, the same Hebrew word and tense mood voice is used in both Exodus and Ezekiel 28:14.

We know that ‘there is no authority except that God has established [Romans 13:1] in this sense the King of Tyre as a man was appointed by God to rule over his people, to cover them, protecting and leading them. He was no more a real covering Cherub, than the gilt Cherubim on the ark were, both were symbolically protective of God’s Law.

The King was on the ‘holy mount of God’, this simply means he once possessed a relationship with God, as David observes

1 LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. Psalm 15:1-2 [where hill = mount]

There is nothing uniquely supernatural about dwelling with God, Isaiah says ‘For thus says the High and Lofty One, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the High and lofty place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit.

There is nothing supernatural about walking ‘back and forth in the midst of fiery stones’ these are undoubtedly another reference to the gems of V13, and therefore implied wealth, as today the sparkle associated with precious stones is still described as fire.

15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee

Verse 15 is true of all men.

16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

Verse 16 seals the argument, this mans wickedness, his sin, was through trade and violence, this is not the sin of a spiritual entity, rather the day to day abuse of power and influence in the pursuit of corrupt commercial gain.

17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

In v17 much is made of the expression ‘So I threw you to the earth’ yet in 19:12 Ezekiel says of Israel princes likening them to a vine which is ‘uprooted in fury and thrown to the ground [where ground = earth] – clearly this is just the falling of man of power to powerlessness.

18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

The Kings final destruction by fire is no more remarkable than that of Sodom and Gomorrah.

There is no reason to suppose angels or a cherub in particular rebelled against God. Heavenly Angels are created spirit beings with one purpose; ‘Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?’ Hebrews 1:14

The bible does not say all are ministering spirits, except those that sinned and are in Tartarus, or except Satan who was once a cherub, but is now an accuser and an adversary. All, without exception are ministering spirits.

1 John 3:8-10

8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

John teaches us the devil sinned from the beginning.

Paul clarifies this: [Romans 5:12] Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Paul does not say a celestial being sinned, one that had the power to become embodied in a serpent to beguile Eve and then Adam. Paul says clearly by one man sin entered the world, and therefore death, and because all sin all die. [Adam and Eve were one flesh, being man and wife]

Paul makes this very clear saying ‘For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so they are without excuse, because although they knew God they did not glorify Him as God,’ Then saying ‘And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; [Rom 1:20&28]

Paul teaches that the origin of sin is a debased mind that comes from rejecting God. Although through one man sin entered the world, each man is without excuse, because everyone has rejected God, all have sinned.

Yet John teaches the devil sinned from the beginning. So which came first the devil or man, clearly sin entered the world through man, not through the devil, therefore the devil was not in the world, until man brought sin into the world.

Look at Hebrews 2:14

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Yet we know Romans 5:12

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Death therefore comes from sin, which comes from man, we know ‘our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:’

We know the devil has the power of death, and that the devil is to be destroyed by Jesus,

1 Corinthians 15:54-57

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

If death enters by sin, then the devils power is because of sin. Sin and therefore death, and by implication the devil, enter the world by one mans sin, just as one man defeats these.

As John testifies ‘He that committeth sin is of the devil;

Adam is therefore ‘of the devil’ in his sin, but the devil cannot be until there was first sin. The devil and the power of death that the devil personifies, came into being by the rejection of God.

Thus the devil, that is him who has the power of death, - is therefore death –is ‘swallowed up in victory’ as John says ‘For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil’

As John observes

12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 1 John 3:12

Cain was ‘of that wicked one’ - does John therefore accuse the devil of murder by saying Cain was ‘of that wicked one’? No rather he asks why Cain slew his brother; answering because his works were evil, - this made him of the wicked one. Thus we see first comes the works then comes the devil.

In 1 Chronicles 21:1 we read ‘And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.’ Alternatively we read 2 Samuel 24:1 ‘And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.’

David however has his own perspective: ‘And David said unto God, Is it not I that commanded the people to be numbered? even I it is that have sinned and done evil indeed; but as for these sheep, what have they done? let thine hand, I pray thee, O LORD my God, be on me, and on my father’s house; but not on thy people, that they should be plagued. [Chronicles 21:17] and also [2 Samuel 24:10] ‘And David’s heart condemned him after that he had numbered the people. And David said to the LORD, I have sinned greatly in what I have done: but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant; for I have done very foolishly.’

Together both accounts are illuminating; in 1 Chronicles Satan comes against Israel, but why? In 2 Samuel we know the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel – [e.g. Numbers 11:1 ‘And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled;..]’ The exact reason as to why God was angry is unclear, but we can be certain it was because of sin, clearly the expression that ‘God moved David’ is consistent with the expression ‘Satan stood up against Israel’, because we recognize that God permits evil, however evil does not exist of its own, there has to be a man and sin, David unlike Adam does not blame another for his circumstances, he accepts his guilt, and seeks forgiveness. The writer of 2 Samuel does not feel entirely able to answer David’s question ‘What have they done?’ as recorded in 1 Chronicles, but is able in the spirit to assert that God’s anger was aroused against Israel, in knowing that ‘God is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.’ [Deuteronomy 32:4]

Thus we see Satan proceeds out of sin, there is no independence of action, no random unjustified attack; rather men by rejecting God cede to Satan the power of death.

Let us now consider David’s question ‘What have they done?’ by looking at the nature of evil

Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

The concept of evil in scripture differs from today’s common understanding, in scripture events and occasions which today would be considered bad, a calamity, are described as evil.

Deuteronomy 30:15-16

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; 16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Essentially the God creates choice, on the one hand is life and good, on the other death, and evil which we experience because we fail to ‘walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments’ God demands obedience.

Lets look at Genesis

Genesis 2: 16-17

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 3:1-5

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

At this point we should consider the identity of the serpent, it is a created being, and its subtlety, its intelligence are part of its created character, so is its ability to speak.

If we consider the account of the prophet Balaam found in Numbers chapter 22. Moses recounts how Balaam was prevented from cursing Israel. ‘And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against [Balaam]. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. [Numbers 22:22] This story is relevant on two counts, firstly this is the first occasion the Hebrew word ‘adversary’ - literally satan is used, and secondly it includes a talking animal. Here the adversary is the Angel of the LORD, I say this not to suggest Satan is God, far from it, rather that Satan’s name is itself a description of the devils character and being. Second the talking animal is Balaam’s donkey

Numbers 22:28-31

28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass,.. 31Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.

The power of supernatural speech comes from God, as does the power of spiritual sight to Balaam. How is it then that the myth makers contend that the serpent was a snake that was empowered with speech by Satan so to upset paradise as ordained by God! Moses does not imply this at all, there is no opening of the serpent’s mouth, for it simply speaks. Also as a beast of the field the serpent comes after Adam in this creation narrative, Adam is created first along with the heavens and the earth in the first day [Gen v4-8]

It is important to consider what then is ‘a beast of the field,’ to clarify this description we must consider Jonah 3:7-8

7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Can a donkey or a cow that can ‘cry mightily unto God’ and ‘turn every one from his evil way,’

Do animals have hands to do violence? Can they turn ‘from the violence that is in their hands’?

Can they turn away from evil? Are animals sentient - able to differentiate between good and evil?

As Solomon acknowledges Ecclesiastes 3:19-21

19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. 20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

What manner of beast shared the same breath as Adam? [cf Gen 8:22]

Surely the answer lies in the attitudes and prejudices of our forebears, who considered uncivilised peoples as savages, as animals, as possessions.

Understanding this we can reconsider Gen 3.

‘the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made’

Snakes although efficient predators are not that smart. The bible uses animals to describe human characteristics, [much as we do today]. Thus the serpent symbolizes craft and cunning. However ‘the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field’ Surely an extravagant description for an actual snake.

Snakes do not talk ‘and he said unto the woman’

Snakes have never walked. ‘Thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life’

It is therefore illogical to assume that the serpent was a snake. The serpent was a man, not related to Adam, but human. Rather than some ‘physical transformation’ it is simpler to read the Serpents punishment as some form of crippling condition, and to eat dust as metaphor as you acknowledge for shame and defeat.

The future relationship between the Serpent and Adam is interesting.

The serpent was clearly a real tangible entity, which produced ‘seed’ that is descendents.

In some versions of the fable the devil is portrayed as being real, in the physical sense, yet this would mean the devil was literally producing descendents.

Others maintain the devil possessed an actual snake, giving it the power of speech, so that the Devil might beguile Eve. This is also inconceivable because this interpretation results in God’s punishment of an otherwise innocent animal, and by implication every snake there after!

Does Genesis describe the future relationship between man and group of reptiles, many of which are harmless, and all of which, in nearly ever circumstance, would rather avoid us at all costs?

Surely the description better fits the Canaanite peoples who revered snakes, practised human sacrifice and idolatry, and were an immediate threat to Moses and Israel? Idolatry would eventually break Israel.

Look at Adam and Eve’s response to God, Genesis 3:11-13

11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Is this repentance? ‘its not my fault its hers, - its not my fault, it’s the snakes.’

Until we accept that we are only victims of our own sinfulness, and stop blaming the snake [or who ever] from leading us astray, we can never truly be repentant.

This is temptation, a moral choice is to be made, the wrong choice, the evil choice is presented in such a way that to do this evil will bring about a pleasurable out come; in this case the false promise was divinity, but the truth was different.

It was from this point that man experienced good and evil, the highs and lows of the physical condition, and ultimately death.

If evil as a general concept can then include both the moral action of man, which is his and not of God, and also disaster, calamity, and perhaps what men are want to call bad luck, then how and why does God create, or form, these latter evils?

Jeremiah 18:8-10

8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. 9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

Good and evil in this context describe consequences, Gods judgment, that is the just result of our actions.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

All Gods ‘ways are judgment’ as declared by:

Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

Zephaniah 3:5 The just LORD is in the midst thereof; he will not do iniquity: every morning doth he bring his judgment to light, he faileth not; but the unjust knoweth no shame.

Jeremiah has much to say about evil: - Jeremiah 11:17 For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.

Yet always the evil God pronounces upon the people is deserved. Psalm 9:16 The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.

Jeremiah 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.

Thus we see that the evil that comes upon people is an evil ‘which they have done against themselves’ it is the ‘work of their own hands’ even ‘the fruit of their thoughts’.

Jeremiah 14:16 ..: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.

Jeremiah 31:30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

Jeremiah 17:9-10: 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Hosea 10:13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.

Jeremiah 2:19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

As Paul observes:’ Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.’ Galatians 6:7

Fundamentally we can now recognize that evil has an origin, when God creates evil i.e. judges mankind, by ensuring what they sow they will reap, then it is a just response, an action of judgment, since ‘all his ways are judgment’.

Having established that evil originates in man, that the bible do not blame the devil for sin and death, but that the fault lies with us, let us now consider how the word describes Satan.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

This statement is interesting Paul has already taught us that God gave man over to a depraved mind because man rejected God, John says ‘He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. [1 John 2:10-12]

Clearly the ‘god of this world’ that blinds minds, does so because God has given over men to a depraved mind, this depraved mind is described thus:

Romans 1:21-24

21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

As Paul describes the descent of man into idolatry it is clear that any blindness is self-inflicted.

The bible also makes it clear that all other gods are idols;

1 Chronicles 16:25-26

25 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the people are idols’26 but the LORD made the heavens

Thus the ‘god of this world’ must also be an idol, otherwise how else can these words be true ‘For all the gods of the people are idols’?

Isaiah 44:8-10

8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. 9 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. 10 Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing?

1 Corinthians 8:4-6

What actually do we understand an idol to be? What is a god?

4 … , we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth, (as there are many gods, and many lords,) 6 But to us there is only one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

Such idols are the so-called gods in Paul’s epistle. The bible makes it clear that physical idol, which is the image itself is life less.

Psalm 135:15-17

15 The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. 16 They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; 17 They have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths.

Breath in the mouth is actually a potent image:

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Job 27:3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;

Hence breath = life = Spirit of God, it is clear that an image of clay, stone, wood, or metal, etc. cannot contain such God given ‘life’

Neither is it responsible for good or evil: - Jeremiah 10:3-5

3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. 5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

This has to be so - we have established that evil comes from man:

Habakkuk 2:18-19

18 What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? 19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.

Hence we can establish that any teaching, any evidence of consciousness is not ‘life’ independent from the persons responsible for the idol; the teaching that exists does so in the minds of the people that made the image and those that worship it, and it is upon these that ‘woe’ is directed.

As we have seen

Jeremiah 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.

Evil is the fruit of the peoples thoughts, evil comes from their ‘debased minds’

Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Thus the ‘idol’ exists in two ways, in the practical sense it is manufactured object, dead and inert, but more importantly it exists in the mind of the sinful people; an idea has no breath, but it is from these thoughts and ideas, that evil fruit comes.

Paul observes this in 1 Corinthians 8, we have already seen that there are ‘so-called gods’ in v4, and in v7 he says; ‘but not everyone knows this. Some people are so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having being sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak it is defiled.

The idol remains present in their minds, defiling their conscience, and so it is with false teaching, suggesting that an idol possesses power defiles, because there is no other power than that of God. Thus the god, or idol of this world has no power, excepting the thoughts of the debased minds of those that are the children of the devil by the works they do and things they do not.

Ezekiel observes the idols were images, but images of a specific kind.

Ezekiel 7:20 As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them.

Images of ‘their abominations and of their detestable things therein’ as Moses records these images are cursed.

Deuteronomy 7:25-26

25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. 26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.

Ezekiel illustrates how these abominations pollute people.

Ezekiel 20:31 For when ye offer your gifts, when ye make your sons to pass through the fire, ye pollute yourselves with all your idols, even unto this day: and shall I be enquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you.

Ezekiel 14:3 -4

3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them? 4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;

Here we see further confirmation that an idol is more than the physical representation of ‘abominations and… detestable things’ that these idols exist in the hearts of those who ‘setteth up his idols in his heart’ As Jeremiah observes:

Jeremiah 17:1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars

Zechariah informs us that idols speak vainly, through the diviners, i.e. those who claim to speak for them

Zechariah 10:2 For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain: therefore they went their way as a flock, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd.

We have seen that ‘gods’ are more than just material idols, more than the physical representations; they exist in the hearts and minds of those who deify them. Zechariah states that they speak their lies through men ‘the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie’. The Bible explains this further.

As Psalm 106 acknowledges.

36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. 37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, 38 And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.

Hence when we read Jeremiah 2:28

28 But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.

Can we, given that evil originates in the thoughts and the hearts of men, be certain that ‘thy gods that thou hast made’ refers only to the material idol, and not to the devil which scripture tells us it represents?

Remember Ezekiel 7:20

20 As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images of their abominations and of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them.

Isaiah confirms this.

Isaiah 44:10

10 Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing?

Note that the phrase ‘formed a god’ is followed by ‘or molten a graven image’ the meaning of the latter is self evident, and confirmed by the Hebrew, that is ‘molten = to pour out, to cast metal images’, this describes the act of making a physical object.

However formed [yatsar { yaw-tsar’}], although used in the sense of Isaiah 44:12 – ‘The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms:..’ In scripture [formed = yatsar { yaw-tsar’}] is used more frequently to describe the act of creation, than manufacture.

It is used in the allegorical sense as in Isaiah 45:9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

It is also the same word as in Genesis 2:7 - ‘And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. & Genesis 2:19 - ‘And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.’

We should consider Paul’s words in Acts

Acts 17:28-29

28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

Where ‘device’ = enthumesis { en-thoo’-may-sis}= thought i.e.

Matthew 9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

Matthew 12:24-26

24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Again the power and importance of thought is central, this idea that the mind is central.

Remember did not Jesus say?

Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Psalm 44:20-21

20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; 21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

If imagined adultery is adultery, then what is an imagined god?

Paul observes:

1 Corinthians 10:19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?

Well Paul also observes:Acts 19:26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:

Which agrees with Deuteronomy 4:28 And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell.

Yet he observes1 Corinthians 10:19-22

19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

Paul states the material idol has no breath, it is inert, a physical construct, but confirms that idol is more than the physical image, that devils lie behind these. As Paul observes:

Acts 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

‘Graven by art’ i.e. ‘the work of men’s hands’ but also ‘and man’s device.’ Where device = thought, and thoughts as Jesus teaches us, citing adultery, are relevant, to be considered as real.

Matthew 12:34-37

34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

If thoughts have relevance, our words have power.

The spoken Word created the heavens and the earth: Psalm 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

What then can we expect of our words, we who are made in the image of God?

Proverbs 15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.

Look also at Proverbs 21:27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

Proverbs 24:9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.

Job 15:35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.

Lets look more closely at Job 15:35 using Strong’s Hebrew numbers

35They conceive 2029 8800 mischief, 5999 and bring forth 3205 8800 vanity 205 , and their belly 990 prepareth 3559 8686 deceit. 4820

35They conceive 2029 8800

2029 { haw-raw’} AV - conceive 38, woman with child 2, with child 2, again 1, bare 1, progenitors 1; 43

1) to conceive, become pregnant, bear, be with child, be conceived, progenitor

1a) (Qal) to conceive, become pregnant

1b) (Pual) to be conceived

1c) (Poel) to conceive, contrive, devise

mischief, 5999

5999 { aw-mawl’} AV - labour 25, mischief 9, misery 3, travail 3, trouble 3, sorrow 2, grievance 1, grievousness 1, iniquity 1, miserable 1, pain 1, painful 1, perverseness 1, toil 1, wearisome 1, wickedness 1; 55

1) toil, trouble, labour

1a) trouble

1b) trouble, mischief

1c) toil, labour

and bring forth 3205 8800

3205 { yaw-lad’} AV - beget 201, bare 110, born 79, bring forth 25, bear 23, travail 16, midwife 10, child 8, delivered 5, borne 3, birth 2, labour 2, brought up 2, misc 12; 498

1) to bear, bring forth, beget, gender, travail

1a) (Qal)

1a1) to bear, bring forth

1a1a) of child birth

1a1b) of distress (simile)

1a1c) of wicked (behaviour)

1a2) to beget

1b) (Niphal) to be born

1c) (Piel)

1c1) to cause or help to bring forth

1c2) to assist or tend as a midwife

1c3) midwife (participle)

1d) (Pual) to be born

1e) (Hiphil)

1e1) to beget (a child)

1e2) to bear (fig. - of wicked bringing forth iniquity)

1f) (Hophal) day of birth, birthday (infinitive)

1g) (Hithpael) to declare one’s birth (pedigree)

vanity 205 ,

205 { aw-ven’} AV - iniquity 47, wicked(ness) 8, vanity 6, affliction 3, mischief 3, unrighteous 2, evil 1, false 1, idol 1, mourners 1, mourning 1, nought 1, sorrow 1, unjust 1, vain 1; 78

1) trouble, wickedness, sorrow

1a) trouble, sorrow

1b) idolatry

1c) trouble of iniquity, wickedness

and their belly 990

990 { beh’-ten} AV - belly 30, womb 31, body 8, within 2, born 1; 72

1) belly, womb, body

1a) belly, abdomen

1a1) as seat of hunger, as seat of mental faculties, of depth of Sheol (fig.)

1b) womb

prepareth 3559 8686

3559 kuwn { koon} AV - prepare 85, establish 58, ready 17, stablish 5, provide 5, right 5, fixed 4, set 4, direct 3, order 3, fashion 3, variant 2, certain 2, confirmed 2, firm 2, preparation 2, misc 17; 219

deceit. 4820

4820 { meer-maw’} AV - deceit 20, deceitful 8, deceitfully 3, false 2, guile 2, feigned 1, craft 1, subtilty 1, treachery 1; 39

1) deceit, treachery

The meaning here is clear, these thoughts are likened to conception [They conceive mischief,] and childbirth [bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.] birthing into the world an evil.

Psalm 7:14-16

14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. 15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. 16 His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.

Again here ‘conceived’ is ‘brought forth’ ‘but added to this image is the principle of judgment; that this ‘mischief shall return’, and this ‘violent dealing shall come down’

As we have seen God uses the wickedness of man to judge man, through principal of sowing and then reaping in due season. [cf. Gal. 6:9]

Psalm 64:2-4

Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: 3 Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: 4 That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.

Compare this to

Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Paul here is clear the fiery darts are of the wicked, they come from wicked men, like the psalmists arrows, these darts are figurative.

Psalm 140:11 Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.

Here evil takes on a predatory nature.

Isaiah also adds to our understanding of this teaching.

Isaiah 59:1-7

1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

5 They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.

6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.

7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.

In verse 3 ‘For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.’ We see the physical action.

In verse 4 ‘None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.’ We see the workings of the heart and mind [intellect], first the turning away from justice and truth, that is rejecting God, for

‘Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.’ [Psalm 89:14]

Then they ‘trust in vanity, and speak lies’ - the practise of idolatry:

Isaiah 41:29Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.

Which is to ‘conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity’ Again here ‘conceived’ is ‘brought forth’ ‘

Verse 5 - Isaiah goes on ‘They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper’

First there was the physical, v3 then there was the soul or intellect, v4, Isaiah now moves into the spirit. Here the serpent, that is cockatrice, symbolises iniquity; the iniquity is given form, what was conceived is brought forth, here is the genesis of devils described, physical action, driven by an iniquitous heart, loosing demons.

That demons are created anew is confirmed here.

Deuteronomy 32:15-18

[Jeshurun = 3484 { yesh-oo-roon’} = a symbolic name for Israel describing her ideal character]

15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. 16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. 17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. 18 Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee.

Devils = 7700 { shade} = demon

They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up. This phrase is very important; ‘to new gods that came newly up’ it demonstrates that these devils were not old fallen angels from the days before Noah, or even Adam, but new gods, that is devils, or sinful messengers. Remember Peter assures us that

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; [2 Peter 2:4]

Psalm 106:36-38

36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. 37 Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, 38 And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.

Devils = 7700 { shade} = demon

Leviticus 17:7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.

It might be argued that such devils come from somewhere other than human iniquity, but have we not already seen that Lord judges justly.

Psalm 9:16. The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.

Jeremiah 6:19. Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.

That God judges people using the fruit of their thoughts, how could devils come from God’s mind?

‘Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.’ Job 34:12

Psalm 145.:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

If not from God then where does wickedness come?

Jeremiah 14:16. ..: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.

1 Samuel 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

This verse is now easily understood; God visits Saul’s iniquity upon him

Hosea 10:13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies:

Likewise this verse

Judges 9:23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:

Let us recall Micaiah’s vision in 1 Kings 22:

21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.

22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.

23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

Where a spirit presented itself before God, it was willing to lie, therefore possessed evil intent, defining itself as an evil spirit. The scripture in no way suggests that God created this spirit for this purpose; it is apparent this spirit was already in existence. Since it is established that man is the origin of evil intent, and evil words and evil deeds, this spirit can only be the wickedness of the prophets of Ahab, idolaters in the service of an idolater, given form; it was the spiritual product of the prophets desire to please Ahab by any means – including false and misleading prophecy.

Revelation 16:13-14

13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

John’s vision is clear the unclean spirits that are devils come out of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet. The dragon is the devil, more of his identity later, but lets consider the beast -

Revelation 13:18

18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

The beast is a man, as is the false prophet; however there have been many false prophets.

Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

Remember 2 Peter 2:1? But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

Zechariah 13:2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.

As Peter testifies in the time of Zechariah the false prophets spoke ‘unclean spirits’, just as the false prophet in Revelation, and the Prophets of Ahab in Micaiah’s vision.

Does not Proverbs say

Proverbs 16:27-30

27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. 28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. 30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

Finally Isaiah confirms this thus.

Isaiah 57:19 I create the fruit of the lips;

In conclusion we have seen that evil spirits originate from the thoughts, words and deeds of men.

Now we must conclude with the origin and true nature of Satan. Paul has already revealed to us the truth.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Remember 1 Chronicles 16:25-26

25 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.

The god of this world is an idol – a construct, something that is created by man and worshipped by man. In this sense Satan is constantly renewed and empowered by sin, that leads to death, which is the devils power – not of himself but by sin through man, his angels, the evil spirits that come from him, by man’s evil intents given form. As the personification of man’s evil, the devil has actual form, and as a spirit being possess a personality in keeping with his nature.

To understand this let’s look at examples of corporate entities.

Ezekiel 22:3-4

3 Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself. 4 Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries.

Here Jerusalem is has identity, it sheds blood, and defiles itself with idols.

This concept is seen in Isaiah 29:1-2

Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt! add ye year to year; let them kill sacrifices. 2 Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be heaviness and sorrow: and it shall be unto me as Ariel.

Where Ariel = Jerusalem, literally Lion of God.

Judges 20:1

Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the LORD in Mizpeh.

Nehemiah 8:1

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.

This idea of corporate identity might be dismissed by the un-spiritual as metaphor, as poetic license; that these cities did not possess an actual corporate spirit, that Israel was united in common interest, mutual agreement. Yet our very understanding of the body of Christ the Church, is built upon the principle of spiritual unity.

More over Daniel recounts in chapter 10, a vision of a heavenly being; this angel spoke to him, and in saying in v13 ‘But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia’. And later the same angel explains V20 ‘Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. 21 But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.’

Who are these princes? Clearly the being Daniel is speaking with is spiritual, and the conflict is likewise spiritual, these nations first Persia and then Greece, like Israel, indeed even Jerusalem, possess a collective spirit. Such is revealed to Daniel as princes, Michael being the prince of Israel.

Lets look at another example on a much smaller scale.

Luke 8:27-31

27 And when [Jesus] went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. 29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) 30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

Jesus knew exactly who and what confronted him, -remember Jesus knew the thoughts of men - in asking the demon its name, Jesus sought to demonstrate what manner of spirit had tormented this poor man, the name the demon gave not only shows that many devils can enter a man, but more importantly they behave as a single corporate entity; note that Luke records v29 that Jesus had commanded the evil spirit, that is one spirit, [knowing full well the true nature of this spirit] to come out of the man. Luke also tell us that the man broke his bonds and ‘was driven of the devil’ that is one devil into the wilderness. Yet this demon or unclean spirit, was a collective entity made up of many spirits, [a Roman Legion numbered some 6,000]

Jesus also taught about the nature of Satan saying ‘Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.’ John 12:31

Just as Daniel revealed that nations collectively were personified by spirit beings, that are princes, so Jesus reveals that the fallen world is also personified in spirit, this prince is Satan.

Paul further teaches this truth [Ephesians 6:10-12]

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

As Christians we wrestle even with the spirit of nations – principalities; and with the spirit of the fallen world – the devil

John’s testimony agrees with this, and Jesus shows us in Revelation that the actions of man’s government are analogous to Satan’s saying

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Revelation 2:10

Physically it was the Roman or otherwise governing authorities that imprisoned and abused them, but because Satan is as Satan does, and because Satan is an idol, a construct of man, - men’s evil actions are devilish, giving body, and building up their prince.

Jesus demonstrated this.- Matthew 16:22-23

22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Peter was Satan here; there is no need to put words in the Saviour’s mouth, to excuse or explain his statement, Peter’s words were satanic, they were adversarial - going against Jesus’ express purpose. Since evil intent, unintentional though it maybe, is the very substance of the idol that is the god prince of this world, so it was that Peter was by his words condemned, he was Satan in this moment.

Satan is among us, just as he was among the Sons of God in Job, because Satan comes from us. You only have to read Satan’s protestations to God about how he protected and favoured Job to recognise the voices of jealous thoughts and words from among Job’s peers. Does not James warn us thus?

6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. James 3:6

Here is the truth if you would have it, the god of this world is an idol, the same is the prince of this world, the personification of fallen man, just as legion was many spirits united in purpose, just as the princes of Persia and Greece personified the nations that gave rise to them, so collectively the sinful world gives rise to its own prince, iniquity given form, whose greatest lie of many lies, is that he is a true god, a being of power and influence, but in truth the only power the devil ever possessed is that ceded to him by men, God permitting.

The crux of the matter is this, to give worship is acknowledging power and authority.

Isaiah 42:8

8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

If any power or authority is suggested or pretended, given over to the devil, then it is glory taken from God, the god of this world is an idol, and to suggest that the devil has power of his own is to worship this idol. There is no room in Christ Jesus for the pagan idolatry of dualism. God alone has authority and power, and we are his children, from God comes forth the good, and from our rebellion evil. There is no room for another god.

Peace

Charles