Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Saturday, May 9, 2009

HBS Group Genesis 3:15-24 (Continued)

Lesson Eleven

Satan = Public Enemy #1

Have you heard the phrase “flying below the radar?”
Fighter pilots employ this tactic in order to approach their target without being seen. The purpose: to surprise the enemy and to catch them off guard.
Millions of dollars have been spent by the War Department to promote and develop stealth technologies. But man was not the first to use surprise in warfare. No sir. Satan holds that distinction.

Satan is the master of stealth. He is the great deceiver.

In our last lesson, Satan set a trap for the Woman. She was temporarily alone; she was caught off guard, and in a moment of weakness she failed to do the right thing.

Surprisingly, there isn’t a lot of talk about Satan in this day and age.
Even church leaders omit him from their sermons on Sunday mornings…

And Satan couldn’t be more pleased with their decision.

So, here is the question. Does Satan really exist; or is this a dreamed-up character parents use to scare their children?

Truth: the majority of people living today don’t recognize Satan’s existence. And why should this surprise us. For the majority of the population doesn’t recognize the existence of God either. There is no God, they say.
Oh but America believes in God! Really?

A recent poll reveals that 80 % of Americans believe in God. And that’s good. However, the same poll shows that only 20% “believe God.”
What this is telling us is that many people reject the Word of God.
Folks, we are talking about the Bible and all that it contains.

Just as in the day of Noah’s Flood, the majority deny the existence of God.

That attitude reminds me of a song and takes me back some years.
After the Beatles broke up, John Lennon recorded a song titled “Imagine.”
In this song he expresses his point of view about God and religion in general. Many share this point of view.
Please look at these words taken from this still popular song:

“Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try.
No hell below us; above us only sky...”

If there is no heaven, then there is no God.
If there is no hell, there is no devil. Get it?
The Godless don’t believe in heaven, hell, or the devil.
And society promotes this belief whether intentional or not. How so?

You see the devil is often portrayed in the media as someone dressed in a cute red outfit, and appearing not too particularly dangerous. This definition reminds me of a comic book character from my youth.

People actually make jokes about the devil and hell. Cartoons appear in our newspapers and magazines depicting the devil and hell as someplace laughable or of no great consequence. Millions of people think that the devil is just a figment of human imagination. People they are mistaken!

It is time to unmask this enemy and reveal his true character!

According to the Bible, the devil does exist. As a matter of fact, he is more active in our world today than at any other time in history.
Why? Because he knows his time is growing short. (Revelation 12:12).

Not only does Satan exist; mankind has no greater enemy.

Does it alarm you to know that you have a powerful and determined enemy whose sole purpose is to disrupt and destroy anything that God cares about?
If you are a Christian believer, please pay close attention.

Of course, if you are not a Christian, you are not on Satan’s radar.
He’s not concerned about you in the least? Why?
Because you are already his! He owns you.

Satan is the great deceiver because he is the greatest concealer,
the mightiest perverter of truth, the ultimate misleader, and the most convincing fraud and liar. Satan's goal is two pronged.
He wishes to convince us that God is neither all-powerful nor all loving,
and that he, Satan, seems to be something he really is not.
His ultimate purpose is to keep all of us from acquiring salvation.
To do this, he will use everything in his power.
Be warned he is the master of disguise and the master of surprise
!”
Please open your Bibles and follow along with me.
In Genesis, chapter two, we find two named trees in the Garden of Eden.
There is the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. (Genesis 2:9). Now stop right there.

Out of all the trees etc. which God planted in His garden, these two were specifically named for us and it begs the question, why?
We must learn to look beyond the literal meaning to find the spiritual truth.

In the midst of the garden,” we are introduced to the Tree of Life. It holds the prominent position; therefore, I believe it is a symbolic picture of the Lord Jesus Christ who represents life that is both abundant and eternal.

John 10:10 – “The thief (The thief is Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Do you see the stark contrast in this verse?

John 14:6- I AM the way, the truth, and (what?) the life

The Bible does not give us the exact location of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and for this study it doesn’t really matter.
But why put this tree in the garden at all?

God created man with free will. God gave Adam one command with a warning. Would man respond to God’s love, by being obedient? God gave man an alternative to test him. So that is why this tree was placed in the garden.


Here’s a tree clearly tagged with the name Good and evil…think about that.
And here is my point. If there is a tree bearing the name of both good and evil, then evil (The opposite of good) existed prior to the creation of man.

Where did evil originate? Has it always existed?
How did the presence of evil come to be in God’s perfect world?

Turn to the book of Ezekiel chapter 28.
God is speaking through His prophet Ezekiel and he is writing to this personality.

Ezekiel 28:13 – “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis, lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created.

One of the interesting things I think that jumps off the page at you is all these precious stones. So many things we are introduced to in the book of Genesis won’t be mentioned again until you get to the book of Revelation.
This is one of them. These same stones are in John’s description of the Holy City coming down out of heaven. (Revelation 21).

The book of beginnings ties in so perfectly with the book of endings.

So, this personality has been in the Garden of Eden and is a created being according to this verse. All of these gemstones were a part of his makeup and I would suggest then of his outward appearance.

In Verse 13 it reads: Every precious stone was (What?) your covering. I think we all know what the word covering means.

Ezekiel 28:14 – “You were the anointed cherub
(This was an angelic being that God’s prophet is talking to; and he was anointed. He was given a place of responsibility among the other angels.) who covers (The Hebrew translation for the word covers is actually “ruler.”
If you read the verse in that light, it goes like this.) “You were the anointed cherub that rules. And I (GOD) placed you there.”

When you speak of rule, you speak of a kingdom, so this angelic being evidently ruled over a kingdom of angels. Not mankind. I want to make that clear.
We’re not talking about an angelic being ruling over humanity.

Then we learn that God placed him in that position of authority.
Ezekiel 28:14b – You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire
.

When you come across the word “mountain” especially in the Old Testament, this is symbolism and the Bible is referring to a kingdom unless a specific mountain is named in the text. In this verse, the Bible is referring to a kingdom.

You walked in the midst of the stones of fire...” in other words, these gemstones were brilliant. Maybe you have heard a jeweler, talk about the “fire” of a diamond? He is talking about its brilliance and how it responds to the light. It has fire, they say! Now you have the same thing mentioned here.
This angelic being lived and moved (walked) in the midst of these fiery gemstones. Please note: In our study of the creation event back in Genesis chapter one, these gemstones are not mentioned at all. I find it curious, and that’s why I bring it up. And now verse fifteen.

Ezekiel 28:15 – “You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created (So we have a being who was without fault (sin) and this personality was created by God.) Until (Until is a word relating to time) unrighteousness was found in you.
What is this saying? This angelic being, who previously was “perfect in his ways,” by virtue of his own free will rebelled against God.

What was the “unrighteousness” (Or sin) God found in this personality?
Let’s read on.

Ezekiel 28:17 – “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor
.
What is this verse saying? This created, angelic being, became proud.

The book of Isaiah makes this point a bit clearer.

Isaiah 14:12 – “How you have fallen from heaven, (Here is evidence he has fallen from his place of rule) O star of the morning, son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to earth, You who have weakened the nations!
I have been saying from the beginning of this Bible study how important it is to use multiple Bible translations in your personal study.
Here is one of the reasons why. This personality isn’t named yet.

The New American Standard Bible translation does not display his name.
The New International Version Bible translation does not reveal his name and there are others as well.

Why have the Bible translators omitted his name from these translations?
Good question. And I don’t have the answer. I have some ideas on the subject. But I throw these things at you to make Bible study interesting.
Check this out. If you look up this Bible verse in the KJV or the NKJV this created being has a name.

Isaiah 14:12 – “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer (The devils’ name is Lucifer), son of the morning! (KJV and NKJV).

Let’s read on. And note the free will and his exercise of it here.
Isaiah 14:13 - “But you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, (Symbolically stars in Scripture are angels. So Lucifer is going to exalt his position above the angelic host) and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north (Lucifer is in total rebellion against God) 14: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

Who in Scripture is the most High? The Creator God is.

Note that last sentence please. What is Lucifer saying? Do you recognize it? It’s the LIE that caused the fall of both angels and Man.

I will make myself like the most High” (God).
This is the LIE!

This archangel was created by God and given dominion over an angelic kingdom that I think was on that earth in Genesis 1:1. That earth was both beautiful and perfect in every way. Angelic hosts populated it. Not mankind. And this Lucifer was ruling over that earth. But Lucifer, or Satan as we know him today, was not satisfied, and he still isn’t tonight. So in his heart, he lusted (coveted) to take the place of God Himself, and he honestly thought he could pull it off. To pick up the story, we need to turn to Revelation chapter 12.

This is what Bible study is all about. Turning pages, visiting different books,
and chasing down a theme introduced somewhere else. I love it.

Once again this demonstrates for us the complete accuracy of the Bible because it all fits together so perfectly. In the book of Revelation, we pick up a bit more information concerning this rebellion. And a rebellion it certainly was.
Lucifer was not content with the role God had given him. Lucifer wanted it all.

To obtain it he deceived the angelic hosts of heaven who were under him and persuaded them to join him in this rebellion.
This Bible passage tells us how many followed Lucifer.

Now many times in the book of Revelation we are going to come across symbolism; but remember it always comes back to a literal truth.

Revelation 12:3 – Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. (This is a description of Satan).

4a: And his tail (This is symbolic of a dragon) swept away a third of the stars (angels) of heaven and threw them to the earth.
(So a third of the angels in heaven chose to join him in rebellion).

Now we need to back up a few pages to the little book of Jude, and there we find a reference to these fallen angels again.
Jude 1:6 – And angels who did not keep their own domain,
(What does this mean? The angels did not stay in that kingdom that Lucifer was ruling over back there in Genesis 1:1) but abandoned their proper abode (In other words, they followed Lucifer into rebellion) He (God) has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.
This last sentence needs a comment I think. Angels are certainly spirit beings but we must be logical in our thought processes. You and I know you cannot confine an angel with an iron chain (eternal bonds) because he is a spirit being.
But let God be God! Does he have a material that will confine a spirit? Yes!

So whatever that material is it is something God calls a chain and to be sure if God says they are bound then they are bound. These fallen angels are kept in eternal bonds, under darkness, until judgment day.
Judgment day is the Great White Throne judgment where men and angels will be judged as unbelievers (or as rebels) by the Lord Jesus Christ.

This Great White Throne judgment is for unbelievers only!
There will not be one believer in attendance. Got it?

Let’s go to the book of Matthew. I want to show you something.
Satan, even though he was cast out of his place of authority over that beautiful kingdom in Genesis 1:1 has not changed. Satan has not given up his role; and his entire reason for existing is to constantly thwart the plan of the Sovereign God. Think back to when I put the Bible timeline on the white board. Just as soon as God put that perfect pair in the Garden of Eden, who came in to disrupt the whole thing? Satan.

Then when God brings Adam and Eve out of the garden, and promises that out of the seed of the woman there would come the Redeemer of the human race,
Satan immediately puts his plan into gear to stop this from happening.

How so? He does it by first causing Cain to murder Abel who was first in the line of the coming Redeemer.

Then when Abraham comes on the scene, and God makes that covenant with Abraham, Satan turns on that little nation that’s going to come out of those covenant promises like no other group of people on earth. Think about it.
Look at what the nation of Israel has endured over the ages.
Anti Semitism is still active in the world today.

A Catholic Bishop was just recently discharged by the pope because of his anti-Jewish statements and beliefs. He claimed that six million Jews were not killed in WW II. He said it was just a hoax…

You read in the news how Israel is fighting for their right to exist.
I visited that little nation back in the late 70’s and I witnessed firsthand the threats they faced on a daily basis. This is truly the Word of God revealed when Jesus said, “Until the time of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24).

Satan is the power behind all the trouble experienced and seen on this earth.
God placed everything concerning prophecy on the nation of Israel, and everything concerning Christ’s first coming rested on the nation of Israel. So, if Satan could destroy Israel, he could destroy God’s plan of bringing a Redeemer.

Satan has not given up his desire to ascend above the Most High (God).
I’ll give you an example from Scripture. It’s in the New Testament.
Turn to the book of Matthew chapter four.

This is an account of Jesus, who is about to begin His ministry here on earth.
He has been forty days and forty nights out in the desert fasting and praying. And who appears? Satan.
Remember, Jesus is fully man and fully God.

Being human, Jesus is hungry. The first temptation involves food.
Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread to satisfy His hunger. You may know the account. But that is not why we are in this chapter.
Skip to verse 8. Want I want to show you is Satan’s desire to rule and reign.

Matthew 4:8 – Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.

Remember, Satan is a spiritual being and Jesus is certainly Spiritual even though He is in the flesh. So from this high vantage point, not only could they look physically in all four directions, but being spirit beings, they could look all the way back to the Garden of Eden, and up to the end of time.
They saw all the empires of the earth that ever were or would ever be.
And look at what Satan offers Christ.

Matthew 4:9 – and he (Satan) said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.
Now let that sink in for a moment. Satan is offering all these empires, past, present, and future to Jesus Christ, if He would fall down and worship him.

If the Lord had done that, then Satan could have honestly said that he had ascended above the Almighty. Of course this thought begs the question were these kingdoms Satan’s to give away? Yes, they were.

Scripture informs us that Satan is the god of this world. He has been ever since Adam willfully disobeyed the Sovereign Creator God. Of course we need to look at Scripture in order to show these are not just my thoughts.

II Corinthians 4:3a – And even if our gospel is veiled (When Paul speaks of our gospel, he is referring to I Corinthians 15:1-4 – how that Christ died for all our sins, He was buried, and He rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures. This gospel of salvation was only revealed to the Apostle Paul, and not by man, but the ascended Lord Jesus Christ), it is veiled (hidden) to those who are perishing. 4: In whose case (Satan) the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

We have been looking at what Scripture has to say about Satan (Lucifer) and what this means to us believers living in the Age of Grace.

Sometime, back in eternity past, Lucifer and his followers rebelled against God. There was a battle between the forces of good and evil.

Let’s follow this up to see what Scripture reveals to us about this battle.

Revelation 12:7 - And there was a war in heaven, Michael (Archangel)
and his angels waging war with the dragon (Satan).
The dragon and his angels waged war, 8: and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9: And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; (And where was he thrown down to?) he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Skip down to verse 12.

Revelation 12:12 – “For this reason (Those things written from verse 10 thru verse11), rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. (But) Woe to the earth and the sea, (The word sea in the book of Revelation is symbolism and depending on how it is used in the text refers to humanity as is the case here.) (Why should the earth be woeful?) because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.

Satan does not know the day or the hour of his judgment and final defeat, but he knows the day is drawing nearer. And this is why he is more active in the world today than at any other time in history. We are truly living in the day the Bible warns us about. The evidence of this truth is all around us my friends.
We are living in the age where right is wrong and wrong is right!

Revelation 12:13 – And when the dragon (Satan) saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. When did this occur and what child?

You have to go back to the book of Matthew chapter 16 for the answer.
Ever since God promised that from the seed of the Woman He would bring forth a Redeemer, Satan has been trying to put a stop to it.

So approximately two years or so after the Christ child is born, Satan uses King Herod to murder every male child in the area of Bethlehem who were two years old or younger.

Matthew 2:16 – Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.

So I hope you can see Satan’s mission has not changed.
The devil is totally obsessed with hatred for the Almighty and all things holy and good. Satan never tires of trying to get others to join him in his rebellion against the authority of the Sovereign God of Israel.

Every commandment God has issued has become a target for the devil’s attack, and every God-responding believer is his enemy.
Here are some of the activities in which the devil delights:

1. To lead people into sin. Sin is disobedience against God’s commandments. It is spiritual rebellion against divine authority. Lucifer was the first sinner and one of his goals is to get as many people as possible to join him in his sins.
1 John 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning.

2. To take possession of people’s minds. The devil seeks to take over people’s minds like a squatter would take over an unoccupied home. His first approach is to tempt, to seduce, to control, and then finally to possess. Once the devil is in possession of the human mind, it is difficult to get him out. But, God the Holy Spirit has the power to evict him.
3. To destroy believers. The devil targets believers. The devil knows their potential for doing good better than they do. He also knows their weaknesses and how best to trap them. Every time a believer sins, the devil rejoices. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

In Scripture the devil is called the prince of this world (John 14:30; 16:11).
He became the temporary ruler of earth when our first parents sinned in Eden. They lost their authority to manage the earth and its creatures and the devil has taken over. The devil will do business with anyone who will bow a knee to him. He will offer money, property, authority, power, ecstasy, or anything else you desire, if you will only acknowledge his authority and worship him!
The devil is public enemy number one.

Well then, how do we believers fight such a powerful and determined enemy?
What weapons will work against the devil and his schemes?

God has provided us believers with the Spiritual tools to “stand” against the devil and his schemes.

We’ll search the Scriptures to find the answers, when next we meet.
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