Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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August 29, 2016
Last Updated :
August 29, 2016
Satan Is The King Of Worldly Empires, Herod Seeks To Destroy Young Boy Jesus, Satan Tempts Jesus In The Wilderness Of The Jordan River Valley, Devil Tempts Humans With Worldly Things, Jesus Passed His Tests And Did Not Sin, Jewish Religionists Were Children Of The Devil, Jesus Was Persecuted By Satan's Legalistic Spawn But He Endured, Violent Spiritual War Since Days Of John The Baptist, Roaring Lion Versus Lion Of Judah, Jesus Rebukes Peter, Meaning Of The Word "Satan", The Devil Opposes And Withstands God's Will, Carnal-Minded Peter, Devil Is A Self-Glorifying Narcissist And Megalomaniac, The Apostle Peter's Authority And Feed My Lambs, Unbelieving Jews Attempt To Kill Jesus, Blind Pro-Israel Christians, Satan Possesses Judas Iscariot, Son Of Perdition, Antichrist Sits In Temple
With the previous set of verses, we have now traveled down four thousand years of Biblical history, taking note of a few examples here and there. With each step, we have come ever closer to the time of Satan's casting out. We have seen how he has had free rein on the Earth for thousands of years; in fact, since the very beginning. He has walked to and fro in it and done as he pleases, with God's permission. He is in fact the King of Empires. Yet despite all the great evil he has done, and even though he has caused God so much trouble, during this same time, he has apparently retained access to Heaven. After all, he is likewise a son of God, albeit, a very rebellious one.
Now, we are going to move forward about another six hundred years to the First Century and the time of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. This is where it really gets interesting, as you will see. In reading the four Gospels, as well as the remainder of the New Testament, it becomes abundantly clear that insofar as Satan is concerned, he is ever-present, and his footprints are found everywhere. However, what is also very evident is the fact that he has become very desperate, because he seems to sense that his judgment and casting out of Heaven are both drawing near. It is very much like when a child knows that he has done wrong. He will go quiet and get that look on his face, as if he knows that judgment is coming soon from mom or dad.
As we discussed earlier, the Devil's first act of desperation was to try to murder Jesus about two years after He had been born. Herod the Great was a very power-hungry man, and he was not the least bit interested in sharing his power with some new king. Thus, as Matthew writes, Herod became very troubled when he learned of the news of Jesus' birth, as we see here:
"When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also."
Matthew 2:1-8, KJV
What a deceptive snake; just like the Devil himself. Herod was obviously not the least bit interested in worshipping Jesus. We all know that the only reason why he wanted all of that intel, was so that he could find and destroy the young boy Jesus. However, as we saw in part one, it simply was not to be, and Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled to Egypt for a time, until Herod the Great was dead.
Even though Herod the Great had failed to murder Jesus, the Devil was not about to give up so easily. He was determined to stop God's wonderful plan of Salvation. Thus, he waited patiently until the time that Jesus' public ministry began about thirty years after His birth. Many of you will know that during the forty days that the Lord spent fasting and praying in the Jordan River wilderness area following His baptism by John the Baptist, the Devil arrived to repeatedly tempt Him to sin against His Father. In other words, Satan wanted Jesus to fail in His mission, even before He actually got started. Several times now I have referred to Satan as the King of Empires. It was in fact because the Devil had been given such power, that he was able to tempt Jesus in the following manner:
"And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine."
Luke 4:5-7, KJV
So again we see that the Devil has the ability to offer men riches, fame, power and glory; because for an appointed time, God has in fact given him the power to do this, as a way to test and prove humankind. That is why in the previous verses the Devil says "for that is delivered unto me". God gave him this power so that he could test men's souls, just as he tested the Patriarch Job. So the Devil in fact threw everything he had at Jesus, which the Apostle John warns us against in the following well-known two verses which are found in his first Epistle:
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
1 John 2:15-16, KJV
Of course, we know that the Lord passed all of the various tests which the Devil threw at Him. Jesus did not yield to vanity, or to a lust for temporal power, or to any other human temptation with which the Devil may have provoked Him. Not once did He break God's Law and sin against Him. As we read in two of the Epistles:
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."
Hebrews 4:15, KJV
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
1 John 3:4, KJV
As I mentioned earlier, Satan and evil spirits always seem to be attracted to people who possess political power and some level of influence. Thus, it should not surprise us that when that subtle serpent failed to murder Jesus at His birth, or within about two years after that by way of Herod the Great; and when he failed to induce Jesus to sin against His Father in the wilderness of the Jordan River Valley; the Devil next turned to the powerful and influential Scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees to do his dirty work for him. They were, of course, more than willing to be his minions. After all, some of them hated Jesus just as much as the Devil did. Not only that, but as you will recall, Jesus even said that they were the children of the Devil to begin with. They were the seed of the serpent, as we see by the following verses:
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it . . . He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."
John 8:44, 47, KJV
Thus, it becomes clear that those self-righteous religionists were truly the very seed and evil spawn of the Devil himself. Not surprisingly, they were pure legalists, exactly like the Devil. As you will know, we find many examples throughout the Gospels where those serpents constantly mocked and ridiculed, tempted, attacked and persecuted Jesus. They constantly tried to use technicalities of the Mosaic Law to trip up the Lord. While it was usually just verbal persecution, sometimes the situation turned physical as well, such as the time when some unbelievers in the synagogue at Nazareth tried to throw Jesus over a cliff. The Lord really endured a lot from those vile snakes, but He never gave in. Consider the following verses:
"And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days."
Luke 4:28-31, KJV
"For consider him [Jesus] that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
Hebrews 12:3, KJV
It was a virtual war in the Spirit, and Satan no doubt knew that there could only be one winner, so he gave it his best shot. Because Satan was so desperate to win, as the Apostle Peter writes, he was like a roaring lion. However, this was one roaring lion who in the end would not be able to defeat or overcome the Lion of the tribe of Judah; that is, the very Son of God, Jesus. Consider the following verses which partially reveal this hidden spiritual warfare. Please take note of the very first verse, because we will be discussing it again later on in this same series:
"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
Matthew 11:12, KJV
"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."
Ephesians 6:12, KJV
"Then said he [the Angelic Messenger] unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 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."
Daniel 10:12-13, KJV
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
1 Peter 5:8, KJV
"And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda [Jesus], the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof."
Revelation 5:5, KJV
At this point, we are going to look at an incident that is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. In it, the dear Apostle Peter, always so impetuous -- and sometimes slow to understand -- attempts to convince Jesus that He should not surrender His life for the sake of humanity. Oh what a big mistake that was:
"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 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."
Matthew 16:21-23, KJV
"And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men."
Mark 8:31-33, KJV
At first glance -- and as I also believed for a long time -- it would seem that the Apostle Peter was actually possessed by the Devil. However, I no longer believe that is the case whatsoever. It seems to me that due to his personal ignorance of not fully understanding exactly why the Lord had come to Earth, Peter was simply expressing his genuine concern for Jesus' safety and well-being. After all, Peter had been with the Lord for around three years at this point, and they were close friends. Peter obviously did not realize that by even attempting to save the Lord's life, he was actually working against God's plan of Salvation for humanity.
"So why then did Jesus call Peter 'Satan'?", you may possibly be wondering to yourself. Actually, I am not so certain that he did. "What? But it says it right there in the verse!" you may retort. Yes, in the KJV Bible the verse does say "Satan". However, I am leaning towards the belief that this was due to a certain translator being overly zealous. You see, in the original Greek manuscript, the word that is used there is "satanas". This word is derived from a very similar Aramaic and Hebrew word; that is, "satan". In all three languages, this word means adversary, one who withstands, or one who opposes another in purpose or act. This is why the Devil is called "Satan" in the English language; that is, because he opposes and withstands God's Will in every way possible.
Now, if you go back and re-read those verses in the Gospels, you will quickly see that this is precisely what Peter was doing, even though he did not realize it at the time. So, in my opinion, this is what Jesus meant, and probably said as well. He was letting Peter know in a very straightforward -- and no doubt embarrassing -- way that he was opposing God's Will by trying to save Jesus' life. He was being adversarial. I don't think the Lord actually said to the Apostle, "Peter, you are the Devil!", even though that is the impression we get due to the way in which the verse was translated. Let me share with you a few more things, in case you aren't yet convinced that this may be so.
Even the manner in which Jesus responded to Peter confirms this point. The Lord said "for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." In that verse, the word "savourest" is derived from the Greek word "phroneō". The primary meanings of this word are to think or to regard. In other words, Peter was thinking like a man would think. He was being carnal-minded. He was looking at the situation from a purely human perspective, and did not yet understand the ways of God, or why Jesus had to die. I am reminded of the following verses:
"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
Romans 8:5-6, KJV
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV
Now, it doesn't make sense that Jesus would respond that way to Satan himself, because the Devil doesn't care about the ways of God, or the ways of man. He is a serious megalomaniac and narcissist who only thinks about himself. As we learned earlier with the verses from the Prophet Isaiah, his primary goal is to exalt himself above everything and everybody. As I have mentioned before, according to one Jewish tradition, the primary reason why the Devil rebelled against God is because he refused to worship God's ultimate creation; that is, man. Whether or not this is actually true, I really do not know. Regardless, we do know that the Devil hates humanity, and he wants to see us destroyed. Therefore, he's not going to think like a man, as Jesus said to Peter. Satan only thinks about Satan.
It also does not make any sense that the Lord would accuse Peter of being the Devil to his face, and then turn around and symbolically give him the keys of the Kingdom -- meaning give Peter much authority in the First Century Church -- and tell Peter to feed His lambs, as we see by these verses:
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Matthew 16:18-19, KJV
"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."
John 21:15-17, KJV
Obviously, you do not grant that level of responsibility and power to a person who you just accused of being the Devil in the flesh. So again, I am not convinced that Jesus literally called Peter "Satan". The Lord was simply telling Peter that through his misguided words, he was opposing God's Will for Jesus, and being adversarial.
Another reason why believing that Jesus actually called Peter "Satan" does not add up, is because it contradicts what we clearly see Satan doing in the other parts of the Gospels. In other words, it is a fact that the Gospels contain a number of verses where the Devil's seed -- that is, the unbelieving Jewish religionists -- are shown plotting to kill Jesus. The Apostles likewise confirm this point in the Book of Acts as well. Consider the following verses:
"Then assembled together the CHIEF PRIESTS, AND THE SCRIBES, and the ELDERS OF THE PEOPLE, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might TAKE JESUS BY SUBTILTY, AND KILL HIM. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people."
Matthew 26:3-5, KJV
"Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES SOUGHT HOW THEY MIGHT KILL HIM; for they feared the people."
Luke 22:1,2, KJV
"And therefore did the JEWS PERSECUTE JESUS, AND SOUGHT TO SLAY HIM, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the JEWS SOUGHT THE MORE TO KILL HIM, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."
John 5:16-18, KJV
"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the JEWS SOUGHT TO KILL HIM . . . Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? WHY GO YE ABOUT TO KILL ME? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who GOETH ABOUT TO KILL THEE? . . . Then said some of them of Jerusalem, IS NOT THIS HE, WHOM THEY SEEK TO KILL?"
John 7:1, 19-20, 25, KJV
"I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but YE SEEK TO KILL ME, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now YE SEEK TO KILL ME, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father . . ."
John 8:37-41, KJV
"Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore HE THAT DELIVERED ME UNTO THEE HATH THE GREATER SIN. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar."
John 19:10-12, KJV
". . . My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be DELIVERED TO THE JEWS: but now is my kingdom not from hence."
John 18:36, KJV
"And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, WHOM YE SLEW AND HANGED ON A TREE."
Acts 5:27-30, KJV
Some people -- including certain pro-Israel Christians -- do not like what the previous verses state. They go into such a defensive mode when someone points out to them that it was really the Jews who killed Jesus, that they immediately try to deflect such uncomfortable thoughts by blaming Christ's death on the Romans. They will also use the argument that we all collectively killed Jesus due to our sinful condition. While this is indeed indirectly true, it is still purposely avoiding the Biblical truth. Such Christians simply refuse to admit that the Romans were cleverly manipulated by those crafty Jewish religious leaders and children of the Devil. But let us continue.
Obviously, it does not make any sense whatsoever that Satan would try to save Jesus -- through Peter's statement -- while at the same time repeatedly try to kill Him via those Jewish religionists. To reiterate, the Devil absolutely hated Jesus, and he wanted to destroy Him, not save Him. Therefore, I must conclude that Jesus did not really call Peter "Satan". Rather He just firmly informed him that he was withstanding God's Will by entertaining such thoughts to try to save Him.
As the conclusion of Jesus' mission on Earth drew closer, the Devil likewise closed in. He in a sense breathed down Jesus' very neck. As we have seen, while he is a spiritual entity, he possesses the ability to get inside of people's heads and hearts and control them. Up until this point, Satan had just attacked the Lord from the outside; that is, by using those unbelieving Jews. However, now it was time for him to pull out his "big guns". He hated Jesus, and he certainly wanted Him dead. Thus, Satan got in so close, that he even managed to sneak into the Lord's inner circle of the Twelve Apostles, and he actually possessed one of Jesus' very own Disciples, as we see by the following verses:
"Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and ONE OF YOU IS A DEVIL? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve."
John 6:70-71, KJV
"Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. THEN ENTERED SATAN INTO JUDAS SURNAMED ISCARIOT, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude . . . And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?"
Luke 22:1-6, 45-48, KJV
"And supper being ended, THE DEVIL HAVING NOW PUT INTO THE HEART OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, Simon’s son, to betray him . . . When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. And after the sop SATAN ENTERED INTO HIM. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night. Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him."
John 13:2, 21-31, KJV
What a very big difference from what we were told about the Apostle Peter earlier. In the previous verses, we are very clearly told that Satan himself entered into Judas; because betraying and killing Jesus is one job that he wanted to do himself, in person. Satan literally took over Judas' body. That is how I personally interpret the previous verses, and I have some very strong reasons for believing this way. Are you ready for this?
For one thing, Jesus explicitly refers to Judas Iscariot as the "son of perdition", exactly as the Apostle Paul refers to the Satan-possessed Antichrist as the "son of perdition" in his second Epistle to the Thessalonians. Consider the following verses:
"While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the SON OF PERDITION; that the scripture might be fulfilled."
John 17:12, KJV
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the SON OF PERDITION; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
2 Thessalonians 2:3-12, KJV
There should be no doubt that what the previous set of verses describes is Satan literally in the flesh. He fully possesses a man, just as he likewise possessed Judas Iscariot. I find it remarkable that what the Apostle Paul describes in these verses is exactly how Satan is described in the verses which we examined earlier from the Book of Isaiah. The Devil wants to be God. He wants to sit on God's very Throne; and here we actually see him playing "God" and sitting in the Temple in Jerusalem, on Earth. He has settled for an earthly kingdom; but why? Has he simply given up his ambitions to take over the very Throne of God?
Please go to part three for the continuation of this series.
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