Posted in theology

Stand firm, sisters. Here’s how

By Elizabeth Prata

Satan is relentless. We see him pursue the Jews in Revelation. He is prophesied to have had most of them killed in the world’s worst holocaust, (Revelation 12) satan then went “to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” (Revelation 12:17). Those will be the Christians. Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy, that’s it. There isn’t an ounce of compassion, love, kindness, or anything in satan. He is all dark, all sin.

Continue reading “Stand firm, sisters. Here’s how”
Posted in theology

Just imagine if someone came up to you and said this!

By Elizabeth Prata

The Bible is clear that there is a devil, and that he was an angel who fell and now opposes God and all He stands for. The Bible isn’t too frequently forthcoming on explicit information on the old snake but it does reveal some.

I keep going back to Isaiah 14:12-14,

How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;c
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’

It’s utterly astounding how a cherub of the highest order (Ezekiel 28:14) could say these things even if they were in his heart. Given God’s omniscience, saying those things in your heart is the same as shouting them from the mountaintop.

Just imagine if someone came up to you and said-

I will enter your home,
I will sit in your recliner,
I will eat at your table,
I will lay in your bed,
I will be master of your home and the people within it.

The crime is always more potent and punished to a higher degree considering who it is against. As my pastor teaches, if two peasants slapped each other in the face in the street, most people may say who cares, the crime might be ignored or just punished lightly. If a peasant gained entry to the throne room of the King of the land and he ran up to the King and slapped him, the peasant would be executed.

If you were offended just at the thought that someone would come to you saying he will enter and master your home, just imagine the cosmic treason of that intent when it’s a creature saying it against the gloriously holy Ancient of Days!

Just imagine the restraint the LORD displays by not smiting that being immediately. Instead, He allowed Lucifer, now satan/adversary, to live. God uses Him to advance His purposes on earth and in heaven.

We should maintain a healthy and righteous hate against all that satan is, and a holy and righteous love for the Lord in His holy habitation.

Who is like the Lord our God,
    who is seated on high,
who looks far down
    on the heavens and the earth?
(Psalm 113:5-6)

unspeakable glory.jpg

Posted in prophecy, theology

What will become of the devil? Satan’s end

By Elizabeth Prata

Part 1: I will vs. I AM
Part 2: From Lucifer to Satan: The Devil’s origins

On Friday I posted a comparison of the statements in the Bible that satan and God made. The named angel Lucifer, later known as satan or the devil, said in his heart that he will ascend higher than the most high, and also made four other blasphemously rebellious declarations. These are found in Isaiah 14:13b-14.

God and Jesus had made several I AM statements declaring who He is. The more well-known I AM statements Jesus said are found throughout the book of John from chapter 6 to 15.

On Saturday I posted an essay exploring satan’s origins. At one time he was a holy angel. When God made the world, he had not fallen yet. Lucifer was praising God for His creation (Job 38:6-8). The holy angels had not fallen when God pronounced the creation very good. (Genesis 1:31). However, sometime after the world was made and after the 6th day, we meet satan in the garden, impugning God’s character and tempting Eve to rebel. By then, he was fallen and evil. Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 describe Lucifer’s fall.

Ever since Genesis 3 when we first meet satan, he has ceaselessly been stalking the world. His activity is to steal, kill, and destroy. His incessant desire is to usurp God and thwart God, and meanwhile, to send as many people to hell as possible. (John 10:10).

Will satan always do these things? What will happen when the Kingdom comes and Jesus is enthroned on earth for 1000 years, administering justice and ruling with His rod?

Well, God has plans for satan. He always has. His future plans for satan include the following.

After the rapture of the saints (the moment when God calls his church members dead and alive up to heaven) then God will unleash satan to do his worst. Jesus said this time will be the worst known on earth, ever. (Matthew 24:21-22). God will allow satan to do his worst because rebellious Israel still needs to be punished. Their punishment has not come. God paused his attention to Israel after His resurrection in order to build His church. (Matthew 16:18.) When the full number of the church is met, God will return His attention to Israel, overseeing their Time of Jacob’s Trouble, as the Great Tribulation is known. (Jeremiah 30:7; Romans 11:25).

During this period, Satan will be allowed to overcome the saints through the antichrist. (Revelation 13:7). He will hunt the Christians who come to faith after the rapture, and kill as many as possible. (Revelation 20:4). He will raise up, influence, and indwell the antichrist. The “whole world” marvels after this beast and acknowledges his power. (Daniel 7:23; Revelation 13:3, 5, 7). This is why Jesus said the time will be the worst ever on earth. It is the devil’s time.

Though satan has the earth’s kingdoms in his hand at this period of time, (Luke 4:4-6), and is god of this world, (2 Corinthians 4:4) he will finally be taken off the leash he has been on.

However sometime during the Tribulation, likely midway thorugh, satan’s access to heaven will be denied. He and his cohorts will be thrown out of heaven finally, and this enrages satan. Again, this will be a terrible time. Satan’s rage will drench the world in blood. Again, this is the sovereign will of God.

Then Jesus returns. When the iniquity is full and in His timing Jesus determines the punishment has been met, and Israel cries out for the savior, He will put a stop to satan’s evil acts. Satan will be thrown into the abyss for 1000 years and locked up. (Revelation 20:3).

After the thousand years, satan will be let loose again, for a very short time, in order to deceive the earth a final time. You see, after Jesus returns, the earth’s people repopulate. Some saints survive the Tribulation and they procreate. Even though Jesus will be present one earth ruling and reigning, sin will still be present on the earth and in men’s hearts. In order to determine who will be allowed into the final kingdom after the earth and heaven is remade, satan will be allowed to deceive to draw them out.

Those people who harbored blasphemy in their heart will be drawn to the serpent, whose venom will overflow. They war against Jesus. The war will be quick, though. See Revelation 20-

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,

And satan finally, blessedly,

was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10).

In summary, the schedule of events for satan over the next years is:

–Church Age: allowed to do evil, on a leash
–Tribulation: Allowed to do evil, off the leash.
–Millennium: Bound in the abyss
–End of Millennium: Allowed out of the abyss, mounts a war, is quashed immediately.
–Eternal state: Tormented in the Lake of Fire forevermore.

Names: Satan is also known as the serpent, the dragon, and the devil. (Revelation 20:2).

Part 1: I will vs. I AM
Part 2: From Lucifer to Satan: The Devil’s origins

Further resources

Sermon: The Origin of Evil

Devotional: God’s Devil

Lecture: Before the Time (How demons operate)

demons

Posted in theology

From Lucifer to Satan: The Devil’s origins

By Elizabeth Prata

Part 1: I will vs. I AM

Satan fell. (Isaiah 14:12, Ezekiel 28:11-19). We do not know when, because the timeline for God’s creation of the universe and all its beings (including angels) is not specifically mentioned in scripture. We know that they were already created when God created the world, because they praised God for it. (Job 38:6-8). We know none of them had fallen by the conclusion of the sixth day when God saw all that he had made, and declared it very good.

By the time of Genesis 3, satan was a fallen, evil, sinful creature. Revelation strongly intimates that he caused a third of his cohorts to fall with him. (Revelation 12:4).

What happened? How did satan get this way?

Lucifer, the highest and most beautiful

There aren’t a huge number of verses describing satan before or after his fall, but beyond Genesis 3, the main texts are in Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Revelation. The longest passage about Satan before his fall is found in Ezekiel 28 beginning at verse 11 and going through to verse 19. His name is actually Lucifer, one of three named angels (Michael and Gabriel being the other two).

Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God:”

In the above verse from Ezekiel 28:11 we read about the ‘King of Tyre.’ In the immediately previous passage we read a lament over the prince of Tyre. These two laments are normally interpreted as the prince being the human ruler of Tyre, with satan being the evil force behind the prince, influencing the prince to do evil. We also learn that Satan was in the garden of God, and is a class of angel called a cherub.

A cherub, or plural, cherubim, according to the ATS dictionary is

an order of celestial beings or symbolical representations often referred to in the Old Testament and in the book of Revelation. The cherubim are variously represented as living creatures, Ezekiel 1:1-28 Revelation 4:1-11; or as images wrought in tapestry, gold, or wood, Exodus 36:35 37:7 Ezekiel 41:25; as having one, two, or four faces, Exodus 25:20 Ezekiel 10:14 41:18; as having two, four, or six wings, 1 Kings 6:27 Ezekiel 1:6 Revelation 4:8

You were the signet of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
every precious stone was your covering,
sardius, topaz, and diamond,
beryl, onyx, and jasper,
sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle;
and crafted in gold were your settings
and your engravings.
On the day that you were created
they were prepared.
You were an anointed guardian cherub.
I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God;
in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
(Ezekiel 28:12-14)

Apparently Lucifer was beautiful, adorned with precious stones and radiating perfection. His job was to guard God at the highest of the highest places, His throne. It was the highest honor.

When we read the descriptions of the cherubim, they are definitely not the cherubs we have unfortunately been presented with in our culture since the Renaissance. They are not tiny chubby babies with rosy cheeks and stunted wings. They are depicted in art and carvings in the Temple as majestic, powerful, and mysteriously beautiful. They are described below in words in 2 Peter 2:10-11 as majestic and powerful.

Peter’s verse opens with noting that the false prophets blaspheme angels all the time. But even evil angels have a majesty and a dignity because they transcend time, are empowered by God, and they see His face. Before his fall, satan was the highest of these dignities. Afterward, though he is now the very embodiment of evil, he still retains a dignity that is beyond humanity. That’s what the verse is saying here:

Bold and willful, they [false prophets] do not tremble as they blaspheme the glorious ones, whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a blasphemous judgment against them before the Lord.

Continuing in Ezekiel 28, sadly, the beauty and power Lucifer was given caused pride in his heart. He became polluted with sin.

You were blameless in your ways
rom the day you were created,
till unrighteousness was found in you.
In the abundance of your trade
you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned;

What does the ‘abundance of your trade’ mean? It is said that wickedness was found in him and through his “widespread trade” he was filled with violence. In this case, the widespread trade does not mean economic traffic. Does one believe there were shops in heaven, with checkouts and money exchanged? No, surely not!

The phrase widespread trade comes from the Hebrew word r’kullah, the main word rakil, meaning slander.

Satan went on a whispering campaign against God, the same as he did later to Eve (“Hath God said? Genesis 3). He went around abundantly and ceaselessly to the angels, whispering that God was a tyrant, He was egotistical, He was withholding from them the good stuff, whatever that was. With Eve we know satan insinuated God was withholding the knowledge of good and evil. Whatever satan said to the 1/3 of the heavenly host that ended up following satan, it was lies and we know that he was a liar from the beginning.

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44).

Devil means slanderer. Satan wanted something else besides God so much that he slandered God’s character to get it. What was it that he wanted?

Isaiah 14:12-13 has the answer.

You said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’

Lucifer wanted to be like God. And isn’t that what he tempted Eve with?

For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, (Genesis 3:5a)

Fallen, but still under God’s authority

The punishment of satan’s evil, declaring rebellion in his heart against God was to be cast down from heaven. Ezekiel 28 continues the story:

so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God,
and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub,
from the midst of the stones of fire.
Your heart was proud because of your beauty;
you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I exposed you before kings,
to feast their eyes on you.
By the multitude of your iniquities,
in the unrighteousness of your trade
you profaned your sanctuaries;
so I brought fire out from your midst;
it consumed you,
and I turned you to ashes on the earth
in the sight of all who saw you.

Isaiah mentions the fall, too:

12 How you are fallen from heaven,
O Day Star, son of Dawn!
How you are cut down to the ground,
you who laid the nations low!

15 But you are brought down to Sheol,
to the far reaches of the pit.
(Isaiah 14:12-13,15)

However as we see from Job and 1 Kings 22, satan and his cohorts to this day still have access to heaven. (Job 1 or 1 Kings 22) They still appear to God in heaven. They still stalk the heavenlies and strut in the holy place. God allows this for His sovereign purposes. However, satan and his evil cohorts operate only within the limits God sets. The ones that did not, who stepped out of their first estate and went beyond God’s limits, are chained in the abyss. (Jude 1:6). The remaining ones pursuing evil on the earth have a horror of being put into the abyss. (Luke 8:31), so they remain disobediently obedient.

In another example of the evil angels still having access to heaven, we see that God used a lying spirit to deceive Ahab, (2 Chronicles 18:18-22).

So is it sure that as of now, Satan and his demons come and go in heaven as well as on earth. However, one day the door to heaven will be shut and satan and his 1/3 of the evil host will be denied access to heaven permanently. More on this in the next part, Satan’s End!

Names:

Lucifer means light-bearer, shining one, morning star, (Strong’s Hebrew 1966).

Satan means adversary (Strong’s Greek 4567) or accuser. Out of the 18 times we read the word satan in the Old Testament, 14 of those refer to the fallen angel Lucifer in the book of Job.

Satan opposes the proclamation of the gospel and therefore opposes God’s people, especially pastors and preachers. Satan opposes God by snatching away the seed (the word) that was sown in people’s hearts (Mark 4:15 ; Luke 8:12). He also thwarts God’s people as in the example of stopping Paul from traveling to Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:18).

Devil means (as it is used in the verse from Jude 1:9,
diábolos (from 1225 /diabállō, “to slander, accuse, defame”) – properly, a slanderer; a false accuser; unjustly criticizing to hurt (malign) and condemn to sever a relationship.

lucifer.jpg

Posted in theology

I will vs. I AM

By Elizabeth Prata

Satan made 5 ‘I will’ statements, declaring what he planned to do. Jesus made 7 I AM statements, declaring who He is.

Satan boasted:

‘I will ascend to heaven;
above the stars of God
I will set my throne on high;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
in the far reaches of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
(Isaiah 14:13b-14).

Jesus declared:

Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. (John 10:9)

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)

Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (John 11:25-26)

Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

You notice that satan boasts of what he plans to do. God already IS.

The amazing thing is that satan, whose name is Lucifer, (satan is a title meaning adversary or accuser) actually thinks he can become superior to God. More amazing, is that satan convinced a third of the Angelic Host of it. They followed satan in a heavenly rebellion.

Tomorrow, the origin of Satan. We will look at the scriptural record to see who satan is and why and how he fell.

Clipboard01

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

The power of crafty words

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)

We are introduced to satan early and his introduction contained an extremely negative assertion about his character. He’s crafty.

Satan is an angel. He is an unholy angel, as opposed to Gabriel or Michael who are holy angels. If you look at the angels’ activity you see just how powerful and intelligent they are. They administer judgment. (e.g. Revelation 8:6-13). They give the Law. (Acts 7:53, Hebrews 2:2, Galatians 3:19). They give the Gospel to the whole earth at once. (Revelation 14:6). They stand on the sun. (Revelation 19:7). They hold back the wind. (Revelation 7:1).

They’re powerful.

We’ll come back to that in a moment.

I’m enjoying the buzz around a couple of movies just out. Darkest Hour is the story of Winston Churchill’s early days as England’s Prime Minister. He was leading the United Kingdom through tough times as WWII rages on the continent and is about to hit home for Britain. Much of the focus of the movie is on Churchill’s oratory. It’s a movie largely without action and is tightly confined to the bunker tunnels and small rooms below the city. Churchill made several famous speeches which roused the populace, enabled changed minds and hearts to make decisions, and cemented the nation in unity to face the evil force that was soon to come upon them. It’s a movie about speeches.

Another movie just out is called The Post. It depicts the editor Ben Bradlee and owner/publisher Katherine Graham of the Washington Post during the critical years of the decisions about whether to release the Pentagon Papers, and leading up to their coverage of the Watergate Break-in, which eventually led to the downfall and resignation of American President Richard Nixon. It’s a movie about words.

Words, whether written or spoken have power. Where would we be without Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, Kennedy’s ‘to the moon and back’, Reagan’s ‘tear down this wall’? We remember Chief Joseph’s surrender speech, ‘I will fight no more forever.’ Lou Gehrig’s farewell to baseball ‘luckiest man alive’ speech. President Reagan reassuring a shocked nation after the space shuttle Challenger exploded and the astronauts having ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’

Look at the impact of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats:

Fireside chats is the term used to describe a series of 28 evening radio addresses given by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1944. Roosevelt spoke with familiarity to millions of Americans about the promulgation of the Emergency Banking Act in response to the banking crisis, the recession, New Deal initiatives, and the course of World War II. On radio, he was able to quell rumors and explain his policies. His tone and demeanor communicated self-assurance during times of despair and uncertainty. Roosevelt was a great communicator on radio, and the fireside chats kept him in high public regard throughout his presidency. Their introduction was later described as a “revolutionary experiment with a nascent media platform”.

I’m brought back to the early chapters of Genesis. The serpent. What was his mode of attack? Did he hold Eve hostage and force her to eat the fruit? Did he call for his legions of followers to surround them and attack? No. He did it with words. Satan attacks with words.

We should not pay attention to satan.

Of course we don’t pay attention to satan, you say. Of course not, silly! But we do. We come across a false teacher and we listen. We rationalize that we have the power to ‘eat the meat and spit out the bones’. We wail, ‘But he/she helped me so much!’ Of course false teachers are skilled at oratory. They can make fine speeches. They use words well. They’re crafty!

False doctrine is sin because false doctrine doesn’t originate from God. (John 7:16, Titus 1:2). God hates false doctrine. (Revelation 2:15). Several of the letters in the New Testament were written to address errors of false doctrine (Galatians 1:6–9; Colossians 2:20–23; Titus 1:10–11). Take false doctrine seriously. Why? Its words will affect you.

Why do we know that speeches, movies, newspapers, and advertising affect us, but mistakenly think that listening to false doctrine won’t?

The Bible says that those who listen to false teachers are heaping these teachers up so they can ‘suit their own passions.’ (2 Timothy 4:3). Don’t indulge your passions by falling into satan’s crafty trap of words.

Black

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further reading

Challies: The Five Tests of False Doctrine

Michelle Lesley: Is She a False Teacher? 7 Steps to Figuring it Out on your Own

Got Questions: How can I recognize a false teacher / false prophet?

Art of Manliness: Resurrecting the Lost Art of Oratory

Posted in prophecy, Uncategorized

Bible Reading Plan thought for the day: They came to present themselves

job 1 thursday verse.jpg

Satan fell. (Isaiah 14:12, Ezekiel 28:11-19). We do not know when, because the timeline for God’s creation of the universe and all its beings (including angels) is not specifically mentioned in scripture. We know that they were already created when God created the world, because they praised God for it. (Job 38:6-8). We know none of them had fallen by the conclusion of the sixth day when God saw all that he had made, and declared it very good.

By the time Genesis 3 came, though, satan was a fallen, evil, sinful creature. Revelation strongly intimates that he caused a third of his cohorts to fall with him. (Revelation 12:4).

However as we see from today’s verses in the Bible Reading Plan, satan and his cohorts to this day still have access to heaven. They still appear to God. They still stalk the heavenlies and strut in the holy place. God allows this for His sovereign purposes. In another example separate from today’s, we see that God used a lying spirit to deceive Ahab, (2 Chronicles 18:18-22). Satan and hsi demons come and go in heaven.

One day, and what a day that will be, God will SHUT the door of heaven and satan and his third of hosts will not be granted access to heaven any longer. This will occur in the Great Tribulation, as depicted in Revelation 12:7-17. In fact, this rejection enrages the devil so much that he redoubles his efforts to overcome God’s people and His kingdom. The persecutions and evil events already occurring on earth at that time turn to massive and horrific evil as many millions of believers are martyred. Revelation 12 again.

Whether satan is presenting himself before God in heaven or tormenting His people on earth, whether it is the Great Tribulation or just nowadays, God is fully in control. You see in the verses in Job that God set limits to satan’s actions, and satan adhered to them.

God is sovereign, and if you are a believer in Him, with the Holy Spirit in us as a seal of His guarantee of redemption and eternal life, you have already overcome the devil- because Jesus did.

He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:15)

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Michael did not rebuke satan

But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” These men, however, slander what they do not understand, and like irrational animals,  (Jude 1:9-10a).

V. 9. The archangel Michael was sent to bury Moses’ body, but … the devil argued with the angel about the body, apparently claiming the right to dispose of it. But Michael, though powerful and authoritative, did not dare dispute with Satan, so he left the matter in God’s hands, saying, The Lord rebuke you! The false teachers Jude spoke of had no respect for authority or for angels. The apostates’ slandering of celestial beings (v. 8) stands in arrogant contrast to the chief angelic being, Michael, who would not dare slander Satan, chief of the fallen angels.
V. 10. Whereas Michael did not dare accuse the devil, these apostates, by contrast spoke abusively against what they did not understand. This abusive speech may refer to their slandering of angels (v. 8). Their understanding was debased, for it followed only natural animal instinct. The apostates’ only “reasoning” was like that of unreasoning animals. Rather than comprehending what was above them (the angels), they really understood only what was below them (the animals).

Pentecost, E. C. (1985). Jude. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 921). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

And yet today, how daringly some make claims and slander celestial beings. People prance around, “binding” satan, calling him names, asserting power over territory, and claiming to have understandings that only show their brutishness as unreasoning animals.

We (I) should be careful not to disrespect saints, pagans, or celestial beings of God’s order. Glimpses of angels holy and unholy in books like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation, and glimpses like this one in Jude of the archangel Michael, show how majestic and powerful they are. We don’t have the right to slander them, or each other, nor certainly Jesus. Yet we hear things all the time that impugn Jesus’ nature or His created order and His people.

Today’s prayer:

Lord help me to mind the example shown to us here in Jude. I pray for your intervening help on matters involving satan, let me not rebuke him but rely on You and Your power only. Help guard my tongue, let me speak holy things, helpful things, hospitable things. In Your name I pray this.

abilgaard

N.A Abilgaard, L’Archange saint Michel et Satan se disputant le corps de Moïse, 1782, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Danemark.

Posted in discernment

To serve man

I used to watch the old anthology series from the 1950s and 60s called The Twilight Zone. Rod Serling used to intone a message at the beginning, and then there was doo-doo-doo-doo music, and the black and white episode would begin.

My favorite episodes were “Time Enough At Last“, “The Shelter” and “To Serve Man

About To Serve Man, I am going to SPOIL it for you. The episode is 55 years old but still has cultural (and moral) repercussions. Don’t read this if you don’t want to hear about the ending.

Wikipedia says,

“To Serve Man” is episode 89 of the anthology series originally airing on March 2, 1962 on CBS. The story is based on the 1950 short story “To Serve Man”, written by Damon Knight. The title is a play on the verb serve, which has a dual meaning of “to assist” and “to provide as a meal”. The episode is one of the few instances in the series wherein an actor breaks the fourth wall and addresses the viewing audience at the episode’s end.

Here is Wikipedia’s full synopsis of the episode:

The Kanamits, a race of 9-foot-tall aliens, land on Earth. One of them addresses the United Nations via telepathy, announcing that his race’s motive in coming to Earth is to aid humanity by sharing their advanced technology. After answering questions, the Kanamit departs and leaves a book in the Kanamit language without comment, which leads Michael Chambers, a US government cryptographer, to be pressed into service.

Initially wary of an alien race who came “quite uninvited”, international leaders begin to be persuaded of the Kanamits’ benevolence when their advanced technology puts an end to hunger, energy shortages, and nuclear proliferation. Trust in the Kanamits seems to be justified when Patty, a member of the cryptography staff led by Chambers, decodes the title of the Kanamit book: To Serve Man. The Kanamits submit to interrogation and polygraph, at the request of the UN delegates. When declaring their benevolent intentions, the polygraph indicates that the Kanamit is speaking the truth.

Soon, humans are volunteering for trips to the Kanamits’ home planet, which they describe as a paradise. Kanamits now have embassies in every major city on Earth. With the Cold War ended, the code-breaking staff has no real work to do, but Patty is still trying to work out the meaning of the text of To Serve Man.

The day arrives for Chambers’s excursion to the Kanamits’ planet. Just as he mounts the spaceship’s boarding stairs, Patty runs toward him in great agitation. While being held back by a Kanamit guard, Patty cries: “Mr. Chambers, don’t get on that ship! The rest of the book To Serve Man, it’s… it’s a cookbook!” Chambers tries to run back down the stairs, but a Kanamit blocks him, the stairs retract, and the ship lifts off.

Michael Chambers’s ship quarters are a cot in a spartan interior. A voice offers him a choice of dish at all the regular meal times. Each time he refuses food with increasing irritation. At last he says to the audience: “How about you? You still on Earth, or on the ship with me? Really doesn’t make very much difference, because sooner or later, all of us will be on the menu… all of us.” The episode closes as he gives in and breaks his hunger strike.

The episode was rated the best twist ending ever. It certainly has stuck in my memory.

The title To Serve Man is a play on the verb serve, which has a dual meaning of “to assist” and “to provide as a meal”.

We see what we want to see, based on our expectations, and previous experience. We usually connect the new to the known.

When satan comes along, he does not announce himself as a tiny man with horns in a red jumpsuit holding a pitchfork. He deceives. He deludes the unwary into thinking he is there to serve you. But satan actually is there to serve you.

Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6).

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15).

Satan wants to serve you … up on a dinner plate.

But we are not unaware of satan’s schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

For examples, false teachers begin softly, humbly. They seem kind and willing to serve the local or the global body. But false teachers are actually waiting for the moment to pounce. They patiently build up a loyal following, they insulate themselves, and they wait. They are wolves. Wolves are patient, the pack will track a caribou for days. See how wolves hunt:

A wolf pack may trail a herd of elk, caribou or other large prey for days before making its move. During this time, they are already hunting, assessing the herd, looking for an animal that displays any sign of weakness, and this is just the beginning. Wolves must also factor in other conditions that will affect the hunt; weather and terrain can tip the scales in favor of predator or prey. For example, a wide-open plain favors the ungulates, who, if full-grown and healthy, can outrun the fastest wolf. On the other hand, crusty snow or ice favors the wolves whose wide round paws have evolved to perform like snowshoes and carry them effortlessly over the surface. An experienced wolf is well aware that hoofed animals break through the crust and can become bogged down in deep snow.

Do not entertain false teachers. Do not coddle them, forgive them, allow them, make excuses for them…Titus 1:16 says,

They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Of that verse, John MacArthur preached:

The next time you see a false teacher, you might say, “You rebellious, empty-talking, deceitful, lying, evil beast, slow-bellied glutton.” And you would certainly be within the framework of Scripture. You might have to cope a little bit with 2 Timothy 2, verse 25, which says, “We are to rebuke them with gentleness.” So say it kindly.

Remember, false teachers and false Christians don’t want to serve you, even if their mouths profess it. They want to serve you … up to the wolves…lions…pigs. Satan’s book…it’s a cookbook.

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Peter didn’t know what he was saying

1. He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:15-17).

2. From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! (Matthew 16:21-23a)

3. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. (Luke 9:33)

1. In the first case, as Jesus and the Disciples came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked the men a question. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

Jesus pressed them, asking a second time, “But who do you say that I am?”

This time Peter answered and it was the correct answer. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Continue reading “Peter didn’t know what he was saying”