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Wit and Wisdom of Gateway Church Athens GA

As we begin our new church life … so too a new blog!

The most difficult element of Christianity is by far the problem of evil.  Where did it come from and how did it get here.  Those two questions have been the subject of countless books, articles, blogs, coffee table discussions, home fellowships, editorials and well you get the picture.  We must understand what Scripture teaches us about the origins of evil if we are to have a worldview that accurately reflects Biblical principles.  This blog is long, because of the inclusion of the Scriptures describing satan.  I felt is was important to actually include them here because I wanted you to read them in the amplified version.

On page 10 of “The Goodness of God” the author describes two kinds of evil, primary and secondary.  This sets a foundation that makes sense to me.  Primary evils (murder, rape, robbery, adultery and so forth) provide fertile ground for secondary evils to flourish.  This is a very good classification scheme.  So with this framework, let’s dig into how sin started.

How the Rebellion Began

The Bible gives us some enticing peeks into the spirit world.  While I truly enjoy reading other peoples accounts of their “encounters” with the spirit world, I do not rely on them for guidance.  I know what people say they have seen and experienced.  I know much of it is interesting and gives us some new ideas to pursue and think about, but they are not to be given serious weight unless they align with the Scriptures.

So what does the Bible say about the origins of evil?  Well the book of Ezekiel 28:12-19 (AMP) gives us some insight into satan’s origin and activities.

Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, Thus says the Lord God:

You are the full measure {and} pattern of exactness [giving the finishing touch to all that constitutes completeness], full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the carnelian, topaz, jasper, chrysolite, beryl, onyx, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald; and your settings and your sockets {and} engravings were wrought in gold. On the day that you were created they were prepared.

You were the anointed cherub that covers with overshadowing [wings], and I set you so.

You were upon the holy mountain of God; you walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire [like the paved work of gleaming sapphire stone upon which the God of Israel walked on Mount Sinai].

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until iniquity {and} guilt were found in you.  Through the abundance of your commerce:

you were filled with lawlessness {and} violence, and you sinned; therefore I cast you out as a profane thing from the mountain of God and the guardian cherub drove you out from the midst of the stones of fire.

Your heart was proud {and} lifted up because of your beauty;

you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I lay you before kings, that they might gaze at you.

You have profaned your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities {and} the enormity of your guilt, by the unrighteousness of your trade.

Therefore I have brought forth a fire from your midst; it has consumed you, and I have reduced you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who looked at you. All who know you among the people are astonished and appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and shall never return to being.

Many Biblical scholars believe this to be a word to the King of the city of Tyre as well as directly to the prince of the power of the air actually ruling the city of Tyre satan himself.  This is an amazing insight into satan’s background.

Isaiah 14:12-17 (AMP) gives us a further look into satan’s activities.

How have you fallen from heaven, O light-bringer {and} daystar, son of the morning! How you have been cut down to the ground, you who weakened {and} laid low the nations [O blasphemous, satanic king of Babylon!] And you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit upon the mount of assembly in the uttermost north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.

Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol (Hades), to the innermost recesses of the pit (the region of the dead). Those who see you will gaze at you {and} consider you, saying, Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms?–Who made the world like a wilderness and overthrew its cities, who would not permit his prisoners to return home?

I think these two sets of Scriptures give us a very clear view of our adversary.  In order to sharpen the picture even further, let’s take a look at the names the Bible assigns to our adversary.

The names of satan

Name Reference Definition
Abaddon Revelation 9:11 a destroying angel
The accuser of our brethren Revelation 12:10 against one in the assembly, i.e. a complainant at law; specially, Satan
The adversary I Peter 5:8 an opponent (in a lawsuit); specially, Satan (as the arch-enemy)
Apollyon Revelation 9:11 a destroyer (i.e. Satan)
Beelzebub Matthew 12:24 Mark 3:22 Luke 11:15 dung-god; Beelzebul, a name of Satan
Belial II Corinthians 6:15 worthlessness; Belial, as an epithet of Satan
the Devil Matthew 4:1 a traducer; specially, Satan: false accuser, devil, slanderer.
dragon Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 probably from an alternate form of derkomai (to look); a fabulous kind of serpent (perhaps as supposed to fascinate)
the enemy Matthew 13:39 from a primary echtho (to hate); hateful (passively, odious, or actively, hostile); usually as a noun, an adversary (especially Satan)
father of all lies John 8:44 a falsifier
god of this world II Corinthians 4:4 god is used generically and refers to Satan
king of Babylon Isaiah 14:4 confusion; Babel (i.e. Babylon), including Babylonia and the Babylonian empire
king of Tyrus Ezekiel 28:12 a rock; Tsor, a place in Palestine. Satan is the false rock. Christ is the true Rock.
little horn Daniel 7:8 a horn (as projecting); by implication, a flask, cornet; by resembl. an elephant’s tooth (i.e. ivory), a corner (of the altar), a peak (of a mountain), a ray (of light); figuratively, power
Lucifer Isaiah 14:12 (in the sense of brightness); the morning star: lucifer (the king of Babylon). Satan is the false morning star. Christ is the true morning Star.
man of sin II Thessalonians 2:3 Satan was the first to sin. See Ezekiel 28:11-19
that old serpent Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 old = original or primeval
serpent = (through the idea of sharpness of vision); a snake, figuratively (as a type of sly cunning) an artful malicious person, especially Satan
power of darkness Colossians 1:13 "shade" or a shadow (literally or figuratively [darkness of error or an adumbration])
prince of the power of the air Ephesians 2:2 prince = a first (in rank or power)
power = privilege, i.e. (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence
prince that shall come Daniel 9:26 a commander (as occupying the front), civil, military or religious; generally (abstractly, plural), honorable themes. See II Thessalonians 2:3-4 and Revelation 12:7-9
prince of Tyrus Ezekiel 28:2 a rock; Tsor, a place in Palestine. Satan is the false rock. Christ is the true Rock.
prince of this world John 12:31 prince = a first (in rank or power)
world = orderly arrangement, i.e. decoration; by implication, the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively [morally])
rulers of the darkness of this world Ephesians 6:12 rulers = a world-ruler, an epithet of Satan
darkness = shadiness, i.e. obscurity (literally or figuratively)
Satan Job 1:6 an opponent; especially (with the article prefixed) Satan, the arch-enemy of good.
serpent Genesis 3:1 properly, to hiss, i.e. whisper a (magic) spell; generally, to prognosticate
son of perdition John 17:12 ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal) also to destroy fully (reflexively, to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively
II Thessalonians 2:3
the tempter Matthew 4:3 to test (objectively), i.e. endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline
the wicked one Matthew 13:19 hurtful, i.e. evil (properly, in effect or influence) figuratively, calamitous; also (passively) ill, i.e. diseased; but especially (morally) culpable, i.e. derelict, vicious, facinorous; neuter (singular) mischief, malice, or (plural) guilt; masculine (singular) the devil, or (plural) sinners
   

Scriptural Forensics and if it walks like a duck ….

As you study the word keep in mind satan’s characteristics.  Also keep in mind what the Bible tells us about Jesus’s ministry:

1 John 3:8 [But] he who commits sin [who practices evildoing] is of the devil [takes his character from the evil one], for the devil has sinned (violated the divine law) from the beginning. The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].

When Jesus was accused of casting out demons by demons, Jesus’s response was classic:

Mark 3:24-26 And if a kingdom is divided {and} rebelling against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided (split into factions and rebelling) against itself, that house will not be able to last. And if Satan has raised an insurrection against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is [surely] coming to an end.

When you have to analyze a situation and there is no one around that was an eyewitness, you resort to the basic principle of forensics: Every contact leaves a trace.  Every time satan gets involved in a situation, he leaves a trace.  The above scriptures give you his playbook.  He hasn’t altered it and continues to use it against each of us every day.  Look at the results of the situation.  If it looks like a duck, if it walks like a duck, if it smells like a duck, it’s a duck.  If it steals, kills and destroys, it’s satan’s handiwork.

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