Welcome to the unbiased interpretation of the Bible!

This is a bold interpretation of Scriptures.
Some neglected scriptures contradict basic Christian doctrines. Other scriptures have universal value and are acceptable by followers of every religion.

I firmly believe that the truth which Revives, Unites, Liberates, Edifies and Sustains the whole man – spirit, soul and body – is the truth that RULES supreme in the Universe! This Truth, which is scattered throughout the Bible, I am prayerfully trying to unfold here.

I hope the students of the Bible will here discover some great neglected truths that nourish their soul and quench their spiritual thirst.

You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free"!

Σάββατο, 13 Νοεμβρίου 2010

What the Bible says about Satan

Let us examine some scriptures on this subject:

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’
Satan answered the Lord, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’ And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?’
Then Satan answered the Lord, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’
And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself do not put forth your hand.’ So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.” (Job 1: 6-12)

In this story Satan appears to be one of the sons of God, who regularly present themselves before the Lord giving report about...
what is happening on the earth. Satan seems to have a task to try the righteous men, like Job, in order to test their faith. Before doing this, Satan needs permission from God. He cannot decide on his own whom to try and how far to go in testing. In the above case, God gave Satan the permission to strike everything Job had, save his own life. And, as we know from the rest of the story, Satan did exactly this. But in spite of the calamities that befell upon Job, he didn’t lose faith in God, nor did he curse the Lord, as Satan anticipated.

“Yet in like manner these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise authority, and blaspheme celestial beings. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you’.”  (Jude: 8-9)
 Apparently, Satan (the devil) is a celestial being who has authority given to him by God. As such, he must be respected by men and not be slandered! Not even Michael, the archangel, dared to accuse him, when they were contending about the body of Moses. Regarding the ground of the dispute, the scriptures don’t give us other details. It is up to the reader, who knows the life of Moses, to guess why the great prophet stood on the borderline between Michael’s jurisdiction and that of Satan.

 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” (Matt. 4: 1)
Even Jesus had to be tempted by the devil! However, it was the Spirit, i.e. God himself, who led Jesus into the wilderness. As in the case of Job and every other saint, God gave permission to the devil to put Jesus to trial regarding his identity and his mission.

“And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’.” (Matt. 4: 2-4)
Satan proceeded very methodically and wisely into his task. First he tempted Jesus on his physical need. Jesus, after forty days’ fast, was desperately hungry. Would he use his miraculous powers to fill his stomach? This is a test which every man and woman of God undergoes and where many fail. But Jesus did not! Of course, filling the stomach extends to pursuing material riches, something to which most of the miracle workers succumb.

“Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’
Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test’.” (Matt. 4: 5-7)
 In his second temptation, Satan enticed Jesus to put God, and indeed the scriptures, to the test. Could or would God save Jesus from death if he exposed himself to danger? But Jesus answered back to Satan with another scripture! We are not to put the Lord to the test. Yes, God is able and willing to save his servants from dangers, but not from purposely created ones in order to test the Almighty! We are the ones to be tested, not God.

“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.” (Matt. 4: 8-11)
 In spite of his first two failures, the devil did not give up. He had kept a last ace up his sleeve. Being the prince of the material world, he offered its kingdoms to Jesus, if he only worshipped him. But Jesus did not bow down before Satan. He was not interested to be a temporary worldly Messiah, to rule over the kingdoms of the earth. He had chosen to be an eternal spiritual king instead. His kingdom wasn’t of this world but it was spiritual and, as such, it was invisible. Yet its splendor could not compare with that of all the worldly kingdoms together. Jesus was sure about what he wanted. He longed to be one with the Father, who is Spirit, and become the light of the world.
 Failing for a third time, the devil left Jesus. He had no permission from God to go any further. Then the angels of God took charge and ministered to Jesus!
Happy is the servant of God who, after passing all the tests, stands and is ministered to by the angels of God.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matt.6: 13)
 Here is a verse from the ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ to which we shall refer in detail in the relevant chapter. We are to pray to God not to lead us into temptation! Once again it is verified by scriptures that it is God himself and not Satan who leads us into temptation. Satan cannot do anything against us unless he takes permission from God. It is comforting to be aware of this. So we don’t have to fear Satan, for he is under God’s restrictions.

“I am the Lord and there is no other; I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I the Lord do all these things.” (Isa. 45: 6b-7)
This verse, and other similar ones found in the scriptures, is for many Bible students a stumbling block. How could the Holy God be also the creator evil? Yet this makes more sense than to believe that there are two creators in the Universe: God, who creates only good, and Satan who creates only evil!
 I personally believe that there is only one Creator, and everything visible and invisible is under His control, i.e. under the control of God’s sovereign laws!

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev. 2: 10)
Here we see the spirit of Christ informing the believers in advance about Satan’s plan. Some Christians from the Church of Smyrna would be put into prison in order to be tested. Christ wanted to warn and encourage those people to stand fast in their faith so that they could win the crown of eternal life.
“In your anger do not sin; do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Eph. 4: 26-27)
 In this verse we have another aspect of how a trial comes about. Paul says that we ourselves open the way to the devil when we give Satan a foothold by our thoughts, words or actions. Let the student of the spiritual kingdom be aware of this.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6: 11)
 Paul warns us to always wear the full armor of God that we may stand the snares of the devil in the day of temptation. He is talking, of course, about a spiritual armor, the details of which we shall see in the chapter of Prayer.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (Jam. 4: 7)
 All we have to do is to submit totally to God while resisting the devil. Then Satan will flee from us.
“Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens the heart of whomever he wills. You will say to me then, ‘ Why does God still blame us? For who can resist his will?’ But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?” (Rom. 9: 18-21)

 Here we have a very hard scripture. It is difficult for the believer to accept that God himself, and not the devil, hardens the heart of whoever he wills. Could Paul, who elsewhere has admitted that ‘We know in part’, be wrong in this scripture? Are, then, some people made for common use while others are made for noble purposes?  Of course there are many things we see in the world that we cannot explain. However, who of us can judge God? It is enough for us humans to stand in awe before the Almighty and acclaim: ‘Praise you Lord, forin wisdom you have made everything' !