ANSWERING MORE QUESTIONS
If you were here last week, I began answering questions that were put on my desk, and today I finish up answering these questions. The first set of questions I will answer all have to do with the devil.
The questions are:
Who is the devil? Where did he come from? What did he do to get kicked out of heaven? We also have some questions about angels. I answered most of the questions in our Bible study we did on angels, so much of the information I present to you today will come from that study.
I will be referring to the devil as Satan, which means ďadversary, one who withstandsĒ (Thayer). Though we lack many details about Satan, there are some things that we do know. For example, we know God created Satan:
Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.
Nehemiah 9:6 You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all.
Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.† 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Also: Isa. 44:24; Jn. 1:3; Eph. 3:9).
No matter how you classify Satan, these verses prove he was created by God and did not exist until Jesus created him. Some claim that Satan was Jesusí brother, and others say he has always existed, but these verses prove otherwise. The only way Satan could be classed as being Deity is if he had the characteristics of Deity, but he does not. In fact, his power was limited:
Since Satanís power is limited, but Godís is not (Gen. 18:14; Job 42:2; Jer. 32:17; Mt. 19:26) proves that Satan is not Deity. He is just a created spiritual being. We can also prove that all of Godís creation including Satan were created good from the beginning:
Genesis 1:31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.
1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
God would never create anything evil because it would go against His nature. However, God did create mankind and those in heaven with a free will, but God does not tempt anyone to sin (Jas. 1:13-14). Just as Adam and Eve sinned by their own choice, Satan sinned by his own choice. Satan was the first created being that sinned:
1 John 3:8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.
What was his sin?
John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
Satanís was guilty of three sins: murder, not standing in the truth, and being the father of lies. What caused him to turn from God and sin? Most scholars believe pride was his downfall as indicated by Paul when he was giving the qualifications of elders:
1 Timothy 3:6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
Some speculate that Satan had a prominent position in heaven that went to his head and led to his rebellion, but those details cannot be found in Scripture. One thing we know for sure is that Satan has consistently fought against the way of righteousness and continues to do what he can to win over as many humans as he can. As Peter said:
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Satanís first appears in Scripture as a serpent that talked Eve into eating fruit from the forbidden tree (Gen. 3:1-7). We know this event was not a myth because Paul confirms Eveís encounter with the serpent:
2 Corinthians 11:3 ††But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Revelation 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Revelation 20:2 †He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;
Letís take a look a few more examples of Satanís work throughout history:
Though not an exhaustive list, it shows the rebellious nature of Satan and how effective he can be.
Satan is called several names in the Bible:
Traditionally, most believe Satan was one of Godís angels like Gabriel, Michael, or one of the many other angels that served God, but the Bible does not clearly state that he was one of these angels. However, there are several reasons one may conclude that Satan is an angel. For instance:
Revelation 9:11 And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.
All these points show that it is possible that Satan is an angel, but we cannot say that he is one with certainty. Some would say there is no way he could be angel because of the following two verses:
2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
Peter and Jude confirm that those angels who sinned by not keeping their proper domain have been delivered to hell. Now this is not talking about hell as in the final abode of sinners at the end of time, but the place the rich man was in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk. 16). They are pictured as being in this waiting place awaiting their final judgment at the judgment day. The argument is, how could Satan be an angel and not be in this same holding place? After all, he was allowed to roam free on the earth, and he is still considered a dangerous foe today (1 Pet. 5:8).
This argument has merit, and it is possible that Satan is not one of the angels. However, some would argue that these verses are not saying that these angels are chained up in darkness with literal chains, but that it means they were limited to what they could do. While Satan is not specifically mentioned in these verses, we learn from Revelation 20:1-3 that Satan was also cast into the bottomless pit, which most believe refers to same place Peter and Jude are talking about.
Revelation 20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.† 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;† 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
†In these verses, an angel has a chain in his hand and he binds Satan up and shuts him up in this place for 1000 years so he cannot deceive the nations. Of course, this is all being described with symbolically language, but most interpret this to mean that Satan is not locked up to where he cannot do anything, but it describes how he has been limited to work within the realm of natural law:
1 Corinthians 10:13 †No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Though he is pictured as being bound, we know that he is still active and dangerous because we are warned about him in several places:
There are at least three ways that Satan can tempt us to sin within natural law:
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world.
What can we conclude from the above? If Peter and Jude are saying that these fallen angels are restricted to the holding place the rich man is in, then Satan is not an angel. However, if Peter and Jude are describing them as being severally limited in what they can do, then it is possible that Satan is one of these fallen angels.
We cannot dogmatically say that Satan is a fallen angel. However, we can say that he was created by God (Col. 1:16), he was a spiritual being, he was cast out of heaven (Rev. 12:9), and he and his angels will be cast into hell at the day of judgment (Mt. 25:41).
Our next question is: Where did angels come from?
As I pointed out at the beginning of my lesson, God created everything including angels. Here is one section of Scripture that points this out:
Psalm 148:2 Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!† 3 Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light!† 4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens!† 5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created.
We are not told exactly when the angels were created, but the Book of Job indicates that they were created before man and they saw the earth being created:
Job 38:4 " Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.† 5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?† 6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone,† 7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
The sons of God here are believed by most to refer to the angels, which would show they were created before man and they did see the earth being created.
Our next question is: why are some angels called archangels?
An archangel means chief angel. Many think there is more than one archangel. The Jews teach there are at least four: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. However, the Bible only mentions Michael as being one in Jude 1:9.† Michaelís name means, ďWho is like GodĒ.
To give you idea of what it means to be an archangel notice what the Scriptures tell us about him:
He was the leader of angels:
Revelation 12:7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon;
In the O.T. we learn that he is also a protector of Godís people:
Daniel 10:21 "But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince.†
Daniel 12:1 "At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
We see him contending and disputing with the devil in:
Jude 1:9 †Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
One last verse we learn about the archangel is found in:
NKV 1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
NIV 1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
The reason I am showing two version of this is because some translators will include the definite article the before voice and archangel, which shows that there is just one. However, the translators of the NKV does not include the definite article the, which opens up the possibility of there being more than one archangel. However, this also has to do with some tedious details from the Greek language, which Greek scholars say it should have ďtheĒ and others say it should not. Since this is so vague, I would be difficult for me to say that there is more than one, so I would stick with what I know and that is that the Bible only names 1 archangel, which of course is Michael.
On the other hand, since we are only given a limited amount of information about angels, I suppose it is possible their might be more than one, but I cannot find that information in Scripture, but we see that this archangel will be there at the second coming of Christ.
I hope you have found the answers to these questions helpful. While we may not be able to know every detail we would like, I think we are given enough information from Scripture to at least give us a good idea about the things we have examined this morning.
I hope you come back tonight as we will look at remainder of questions I received. These questions are related to the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.
ANSWERING MORE QUESTIONS
This morning I answered the following questions:
Who is the devil? Where did he come from? What did he do to get kicked out of heaven? Where did angels come from? Why are some angels called archangels?
Tonight, the remainder of our questions are all related to Jesusí temptations in the dessert. Before I get to the questions, I would like to read Matthewís account of Jesus temptation:
Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.† 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.† 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."† 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "† 5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,† 6 and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.' "† 7 Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.' "† 8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.† 9 And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me."† 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "† 11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.
Our first question is:
When Satan tells Jesus in Luke 4:6 that the glory of the kingdoms is his and he has the authority to give it to anyone who will bow down. Wasnít that a lie?
Our verse reads:
Luke 4:6 And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
We must never forget that Satan is father of lies (Jn. 8:44). He is good at mixing truth with lies and believe this is exactly what he was doing here. Three different times Jesus said that he is the prince of the world (Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Paul said he is "the god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4).
In what sense is he the god and prince of this world? The only authority and power he has is allowed to him by God. Even during this time when demon possession was going on and Satan seems to be at his peek in what he could do, the main authority and power he had was over man and what they allowed him to do. What Satan could offer Jesus was this control of over those who lived like the world, but he could not offer him control of those who choose to live a righteous life before God.
Even if Satan could had given him the kingdoms before his eyes, it would have only been temporary at best, but when Jesus carried out the will of the Father and died for us on the cross then we see that Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth:
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
While there was some truth to what the devil said it was still a lie. Let us learn from this that just because something has some truth in it if the whole thing is not truth then it is still a lie.
Our next question is: Did the devil tempt Jesus for the whole forty days or did he wait until Jesus was so ďhe didnít care?Ē
Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. †2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.† 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
Mark 1:12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.† 13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.
Luke 4:1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,† 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.† 3 And the devil said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread."
These are the verses we have that tell us about Jesusí 40 days and how the devil tempted him. Some are adamant the devil only tempted Jesus after the 40 days were up with the 3 temptations we read about. However, here is what I see when read these verses. This was going to be Satanís chance to see if he could break the Son of God. There is no doubt that at end of the 40 days when Jesus was very hungry, that Satan appealed to His hunger trying to get Him to turn stone into bread. It would certainly seem that the other two temptations mentioned followed this one. So, I have no doubt that these 3 temptations happened when Jesus was at His weakest.
However, I also do not see Satan just using these 3 temptations by themselves. I see him see him using every opportunity he had to tempt Jesus. As:
Luke 4:13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
Though Markís account is brief it basically says that while Jesus was in the wilderness for those 40 days that Satan was tempting Him and Lukeís account says the same thing. He was being tempted for forty days by the devil. We are not told everything the devil tempted Him with, but I have no doubt in my mind that he tempted throughout the 40 day experience. Then Luke continues to say that afterward, that is after these 40 days of temptation by the devil, then he begins these 3 temptations we have recorded for us. Why just three? I do not know for sure, but it is interesting that Satan used all 3 methods he has to use on today as found in 1 Jn. 2:16. The lust of the flesh was trying to get Jesus to turn the stones into bread. The lust of the eyes was him showing Jesus all the kingdoms He could have. The pride of life was trying to get Jesus to show how special He was by having an angel come rescue Him from a fall. †
One thing I know for sure, is the devil is like a roaring lion who wants to devour you (1 Pet. 5:8. Though his power is limited, he will still use any and every worldly opportunity to tempt you and try to give up your home in heaven. Though he will continue to look for hole in your armor, he usually always strikes the hardest when you are the most vulnerable because he knows that is when he has his best shot at turning you away from God.
Another question that is related to Jesusí temptation in the wilderness is as follows:
Who is Psalm 91 talking to? It seems the devil and Jesus both recognized that it was talking about Jesus?
Here is the text in which the devil quotes from Ps. 91:11-12 .
Matthew 4:5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,† 6 and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.' "
We have to understand, Psalms like this one that can apply to Jesus can also be applied to those who serve God. Though this Psalm certainly includes Jesus, it also includes Godís people in the O.T. and there are also principles that apply to us today as well. Letís dive in and take a closer look at the Psalm so we can get a better idea of its overall message. Jewish tradition says that Moses wrote this particular Psalm; others give it a later date:
Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.† 2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."
This secret place is
referring to the
Psalm 91:3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.† 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.† 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day,† 6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.† 7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.† 8 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.† 9 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place,† 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
The writer is talking
about how God will protect them from the evil plots of their enemies and from disease.
If Moses was the writer of this, he had seen this great protection of God many
times. He saw within the 10 plagues how only the Egyptians received boils while
the children of
This Psalm also speaks of the providence of God. Even today we can see God working in our lives through His providence. Unlike this Psalm, †today we are not given the promise of not having disease or not being killed by our enemy, but we are taught that God is with us and will make things work our for the best. However, even greater than that is that we will be victorious over our enemies and any diseases because as Christians, death may destroy our bodies but our souls will continue on forever and when we are living in heaven there will be no more oppression, pain or disease. While it would be great for our enemies to not physically overcome us or for us not to be brought down by physical disease as the children of Israel, we have a much greater promise given to us because our victory is eternal and not just limited to this short time we have on this earth.
Psalm 91:11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.† 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.† 13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.† 14 "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.† 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.† 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation."
During Moses time and
beyond, we read about how angels played a part in helping Godís people and
helping the escape the wrath of God. For example, we know that Lot and his
family were able to escape the destruction of
In response to what the devil said:
Matthew 4:7 Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.' "
Many seem have no problem at tempting God. They did it during the O.T. when they would test the mercy of God by doing things their way, and Christians to do it today. They will engage in what they believe to be small sins and think they can get away with it because of the grace of God. Just because we have been given the power over sin, it does not give us a license to sin. When people adapt this attitude and abuse the grace of God, they are indeed tempting God and will not have a good outcome.
This idea of angels being active shows us that they are protectors and they carry out the will of God. As I said earlier we see them do many things throughout the O.T., but we also see them working in the N.T. and even appearing to a few people and talking to them. From the story of the rich man and Lazarus it shows us that these angels are the ones that carry our soul to the waiting place after we die:
Luke 16:22 "So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom.†
I do not believe that angels appear to us today as they did to some during the 1st century and earlier, but the N.T. does indicate that they are still working in background caring out the will of God, but we are simply not giving many details. A few verses that indicate this are:
Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"?† 14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
Matthew 18:10 †" Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
While our Psalm speaks of
physical action from the angels to help protect the children of
Matthew 13:41 "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,† 42 "and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Finally, our Psalm says:
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.† 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation."
As verse 15 and 16 indicate, those who love God and keep His ways will be taken care of by God. When they pray to God, He will listen and deliver them from their enemies if it is His will. In the case of Jesus, He did pray to the Father 3 times:
Matthew 26:42 ††"O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done." †
However, His physical life was cut short, not because He wasnít faithful; He was perfect. His death was necessary for us to be able to have life, thus is early demise was the will of the Father. While the Children of Israel experienced physical salvation from their enemies, which allowed them to continue to live longer physical lives, we get to see the bigger picture. While we will most likely live longer lives when we live our lives based on Godís Word, we will get to enjoy eternal salvation because of Jesus.
So, as you can see Psalm
91, is primarily speaking to the children of
We may not know every detail we would like to know about that questions I have answered today, but hopefully the answers I gave helped give you a better understanding or has encouraged you to dig deeper in the Scriptures on your own to see if you might find more details that I might have missed. I am thankful for the questions I received and I encourage you to give me any questions you would like me to answer in future lessons. I enjoy doing it and I think everyone enjoys thinking about questions like these.