“Satan”

(This interesting study is used by permission from Olan Hicks)

There is a theory, widely held in Christendom, that Satan was once a chief angel of God in heaven and, as one writer put it, “Led the angels in singing praises to God.” (Hal Lindsey) The first thing wrong with that is that Jesus said it is not so. “He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth.” (John 8:44) Some versions read it “did not stand in the truth.” In the Greek text the word is “esteken,” a negative perfect tense verb. This means that he did not ever stand in the truth.

The theory that says the opposite to this is drawn from a careless misuse of some scriptures. In the Bible we first encounter Satan in Genesis 3:1, as a serpent. Note that this is at the very start of creation. The world was not yet populated, only two people existed on earth, but he is already Satan, the devil. Thus it is not right to think of him as becoming the devil at another time, centuries later in human history. Jesus was right in saying that he was totally evil from the beginning. Throughout the Bible he is never pictured any other way. Every appearance he makes is in pursuit of evil purposes.

Notice further that in Revelation 12 when there is “war in heaven” and Satan is cast out, the earth is full of people at the time. So it was many hundreds of years after he tempted Eve in the garden. The text says in verse 12, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth for the devil has come down to you, having great wrath because he knows that he has a short time.” This was not Satan’s origin nor was it his first evil act.

Thus many questions occur. When was Satan “in heaven” and what does that phrase mean? Did Satan start out good and later become totally evil or was he always that way? From whence comes the idea that he was once an angel of God in heaven itself?

The two sections of scripture that get mishandled in the course of drawing that idea are Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28. In Isaiah 14 verse 12 says, “How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning? How are you cut down to the ground?” But back at verse 4 we find stated exactly who is in view in this section of scripture. “that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon and say…” Then follows the description of the fall of a great and mighty empire. This prophecy is specifically about Babylon, not about Satan. A sinilar thing is said in Revelation 14:8 where an angel says with a loud voice, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city. . .”  I do not know why the name “Lucifer” is included here but I do know that nowhere in this chapter is there any indication that it refers to Satan. That is purely human conjecture. In verse 16 this king is referred to as a “man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms.” Again here, the world was populated. There were kingdoms. So this is way forward in time from the garden of Eden, when Satan is already the devil. It certainly is not the time of his origin.

In Ezekiel 28:2 The word of the Lord said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre. ‘Thus says the Lord God. . .’” Here again the message is specifically addressed to  a human ruler concerning an earthly kingdom that will be thrown down. In the same verse the Lord says of him, “Yet you are a man and not a god.” At verse 12 Ezekiel is told to “Take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre” and then follows the words that men tend to apply to Satan. “You were the seal of perfection, (Verse 12) You were in Eden, the garden of God, (Verse 13) “You were prefect in your ways til iniquity was found in you.” (Verse 15) This does not mean it is applied to Satan. The context shows this one was a commercial trader.

Theologians recognize that Isaiah 14 was spoken to the king of Babylon and that Ezekiel 28 was spoken to the king of Tyre. But they assume that these have a secondary application to Satan. But this does not fit with the facts of scripture. Many Bible statements show that is not possible.

First, Jesus said that Satan was always evil and never abode in the truth. Second, his appearance in the tempting of Eve is a fact, showing that he was the devil before the earth was populated. Third, every action referred to in Ezekiel and Isaiah are done to humans, with an earthly population. Fourth, when Satan was “cast out of heaven,” (Rev. 12) he was cast down to a populated earth. Fifth, in heaven where the throne of God is there can be no sin, no evil. (Rev. 21:27) Satan, evil personified, was never there.

The fact is the Bible does not tell us about Satan’s origin. Personally I believe he is another god. Paul referred to him as “the god of this world.” (2 Cor. 4:4) I do not believe God would create something totally void of any good, which is how Jesus described Satan. But this is admittedly a guess.

What the Bible does reveal about Satan is exactly what we need to know, that he is evil, that he is a threat to our souls, and that he is very shrewd and constantly seeks to deceive us. When Jesus said, “I saw Satan, as lightening, fall from heaven,” I believe He was talking about his defeat when Jesus over came death. (Heb. 2:14-15) He was “in heaven” in the sense of what power he had, that he could possess a person without that person’s consent. But now Jesus has defeated him and thrown him out of that position. This is why James could say, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) Satan now has to depend on being able to deceive you. He cannot take you by force. If we know that Satan is totally evil, if we are aware of his efforts to deceive us, and if we know that by faith we can win against him, then we know what we need to know. This is what God’s word clearly tells us. All else is speculation.

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That You Might Believe – “The Word”

   Welcome to our continued study of the Gospel of John…
We introduce this lesson with some excerpts from William Barclay’s Devotional on John,  “Before we begin to study (John) in detail, let us try to see what John was trying to do when he wrote it…… Christianity began amongst the Jews; and therefore inevitably it spoke in the Jewish language and used Jewish categories of thought. But although Christianity in Judaism it very soon went out into the wider world. Within thirty years of Jesus death, by AD 60, Christianity had traveled all over Asia Minor and Greece and had arrived in Rome. By AD 60 there must have been a hundred thousand Greeks in the Church for every Jew who was a Christian. Jewish ideas were completely strange to the Greeks. To take but one outstanding example, the Greeks had never heard of a Messiah. The very center of Jewish expectation, the coming of  the Messiah, was an idea that was quite alien to the Greeks. The very category in which the Jewish Christians conceived and presented Jesus, meant nothing to the Greek. Here then was the problem – how was Christianity to be presented to the Greek world?…. As E. J. Goodspeed put it, the question was, “Must a Greek who was interested in Christianity be routed through Jewish Messianic ideas and through Jewish ways of thinking, or could some new approach be found which would speak out of his background to his mind and heart?”….
   Round about the year AD 100 there was a man in Ephesus who was fascinated by that problem. His name was John. He lived in a Greek city. He dealt with Greeks to whom Jewish ideas were strange and unintelligible and even uncouth. How could he find a way to present Christianity to these Greeks in their own thought and in their own language and in a way that they would welcome and understand? Suddenly the solution of the problem flashed upon him. In both Greek and Jewish thought there existed the concept of ‘THE WORD’. Here was something which could be worked out to meet the double world of Greek and Jew. Here was something which belonged to the heritage of both races, something that both could understand.” (William Barclay’s ‘Gospel of John’, Vol. 1 Pgs 2-3).
   Jesus is referred to as the ‘Good Shepherd’ , ‘Lord’, ‘Mighty God’, ‘Prince of Peace’, ‘the way, the truth, and the life’, ‘Light’, ‘first and last’, ‘Alpha and Omega’, ‘Lamb of God’, and ‘Savior’. John introduces him as the “Word”. John’s purpose in writing, is “that all might believe” (John 20:30-31), in Christ, the answer to man’s sin predicament, (John 3:16).

I. “IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD”: “In the beginning God created….(Genesis 1-2:2), John says that “the Word” was there. More than just ‘being there”, we find that He created the worlds (universe) (Hebrews 1:1-3).
   A. Since the Word was “before” all things (creation) – He is therefore eternal.
   B. John records Jesus as saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). When Jesus said this, the Jews understood him to be making the claim to Deity, (cf. Exodus 3:19).
   C. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1) is a profound way to begin, and in doing so, he portrays Jesus as the very “reflection of God” for all to see, believe in, and follow.
   D. God did not change! (Just as the Word of god does not change… it like Jesus… is meant to CHANGE US)… Our knowledge of God changed when Jesus came. Jesus said, “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (John 14:7-10).
   E. Paul said, 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known (I Corinthians 13:11-12). The idea being that there are some spiritual things we just can’t clearly see, whereas later we will see clearly. We don’t understand everything about God, and Jesus revealed the Father, but even still, after this life is over, Christians will truly see God. Jesus shows us the Father, in love, character, patience, caring, saving, reaching out to mankind, giving, and much more. This does not compare to what we will see later.

II. “THE WORD WAS WITH GOD – THE WORD WAS GOD”
   Paul said 4″ For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). In the Old Testament one is constantly faced with fields of battle, blood shed, sacrifices, plagues etc… one child was asked about this, and he said, “O that was before God became a Christian.” No there are not two separate Gods, there is One God (Deuteronomy 6:4). The Old Testament does not portray God one way and the New Testament another way.
   A. “HE WAS WITH GOD”
Jesus reveals what God ‘was’ and ‘is’ and ‘always’ will be. John says, 2″ He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:2). All that Jesus ‘was’ God is. His desires, love, justice, jealousy, feelings and grace are all revealed both in the Old and New Testaments. Jesus (the Word made flesh) came, and showed the same, but he especially came to die on the cross for us (Philippians 2:1-11). Compare what Peter says here, 4″ For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;” (2 Peter 2:4)  and “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9). Same Lord and Savior revealed in both.
   B.  “THROUGH HIM ALL THINGS WERE MADE”
The New Testament has always affirmed – GOD created something out of nothing.
Read John 1:3 3 “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” The writer of Hebrews says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1-2). Do we understand HOW God created everything? No! Can we explain how everything was made? No! Do we believe God made everything mentioned in Genesis 1-2? Yes! This is called faith. Evolution is nothing more than a theory, which is unprovable, and takes more faith to believe in. It has no place in the Genesis record. (An excellent exposition and discussion of this is Gerald Wright’s work on “The Supreme Scientist” which can be obtained through his site at Biblical-Books.com. This link is found on jackexum.com for easy access.
   C. “IN HIM WAS LIFE”
John records these wonderful words, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” (John 1:4). When I was a young child, I was afraid of the dark. I would cry out to mom or dad, and they would come and turn on the light, or bring a light. It lit up the room, and dispelled the darkness. Going through life without Jesus is like walking in darkness. Jesus came and ‘lit up the whole world’. I know of no other who can do this? “He is my everything, He is my all”. Why would anyone turn away from Him?
John 5:40 “yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:28   “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John 5:24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
John 6:40 “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”
D. LIGHT AND DARKNESS
Studying the Scriptures you will come across words and phrases used in special ways to represent certain lessons. These are not difficult, and john is no exception to this. He writes to the Greek mind in ways which appeal to them, and they can easily understand. The use of LIGHT AND DARKNESS as representing GOOD AND EVIL respectively was a s common then as it is now. Simply put, Jesus is the light of the world. Satan is the ruler of darkness. Due to the Religious leaders of Jesus’ time, (Pharisees, Sadducees etc…) the people of God (Israel) could have no close relationship with God their Father. Jesus often exposed their hypocrisy, and ignored their traditions and ‘laws’ which stood as ‘road blocks’ to walking with God. When Jesus spoke (cf. Matthew 5-7) it was like putting a light in a pitch black room. He spoke “as no one else did” with the authority of God. It was a time of darkness, and sin. Jesus came as the true light of the souls of mankind.
Take the time to read the following passages
John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 12:35-36 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.”
John 12:46 “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

Next: THE WITNESS OF JOHN

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That You Might Believe – Introduction To John’s Gospel – “Jesus”

INTRODUCTION  TO OUR STUDY OF JOHN’S GOSPEL

   In a day where faith in Jesus as the Son of God, the Source of hope and salvation is questioned, and ridiculed, there needs to be an open study of that book which in itself claims to be written “that you might believe” (John 20:30-31).
   The “Gospel of John”, is the favorite of many, not only because of it’s many ‘proofs’  (“signs”) (miracles) that point to Jesus as the Son of God, but also because John develops topics either only ‘touched’ by the other Gospel writers, or omitted altogether.
   I will be using dad’s (unpublished, as far as I know) notes in this study along with other sources (which will be notated for further study), as well as adding my own thoughts.

   John received a vision… Revelation 4:7 says, “The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.” Revelation is of course highly figurative, and the figures are tied largely to the Old Testament… Here are a few thoughts on these four ‘faces’. Dad compared these four “living creatures” with the four Gospels. However, in the end, they all speak of the Christ(!), who is our Champion(!) forever…
   1.) “The face of a man”  shows us Jesus the ‘son of man’ who identifies with us all…
         the Gospel of Mark (the PLAINEST MOST STRAIGHT FORWARD OF THE
         GOSPELS) speaks of this as well…
   2.) The “face of a lion” = The Gospel of Matthew (THE LION = THE TRIBE OF
        JUDAH) speaks of the royalty of King Jesus!
   3.) The “face of an ox” = the Gospel of Luke (THE OX IS AN ANIMAL OF SACRIFICE
         AND SERVICE) as well as the strength of our Master seen in His service (Jno. 13
         as well as on the cross).
   4.) The “face of an eagle” = Speaks of the all knowing, swift judgment of our Lord…  
        The Gospel of John (THE EAGLE “LOOKS THE SUN IN THE EYE” IT IS THE
        GREATEST OF THE GOSPELS.) 

   The Gospel of John is different in several ways:
   1.) John omits the birth, baptism, temptations of Jesus as well as the last supper.
   2.) He doesn’t mention Gethsemane or the Ascension of Christ.
   3.) He tells nothing of Jesus’ healing any one being healed of demon possession or
        evil spirits.
   4.) There are no parables which Jesus used so often while teaching his disciples and
        multitudes as well.

   Matthew wrote with the Hebrew or Jewish nation in mind.
   Mark‘s style seems to be with the Roman in mind.
   Luke, he wrote to Theophilus (not only in Luke but also when writing the book of Acts.
   Evidently he was a well respected friend of Luke). He writes of the compassionate
   Physician, the Perfect Jesus Christ.
   John wrote about Jesus’ ministry in Jerusalem and Galilee. His focus is proving that Jesus the Son of God. Here are some of the Apostle John’s proofs offered to support this.

   1.) The marriage feast at Cana (Jno. 2:1-11)
   2.) The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus (Jno. 3:1-15)
   3.) The woman at the well – Samaria (Jno. 4:1-26)
   4.) The woman taken in adultery (Jno. 8:1-11)
   5.) Jesus washing the disciple’s feet (Jno. 13)
   6.) Jesus teaches about the Comforter (Holy Spirit) (Jno. 14-17)
   7.) John reveals Thomas (Jno. 11:16; 14:5; 20:24-29)
   8.) John reveals Andrew (Jno. 1:40-41; 6:8; 12:22)
   9.) John reveals Philip (Jno. 1:44-46; 6:5-7; 14:8-9)
  10.) John reveals Judas (Jno. 12:4)

       John’s Gospel never mentions the writer (John) by name. He only refers to himself, as the “disciple whom Jesus loved”. He wrote this book from Ephesus about the year 90 AD, (of course this is just an estimate based on the manuscripts and fragments found, but it is close). He wrote after the Gospel had spread to the Gentiles. He writes to those of a Greek or Hellenistic background and perspective. Which may explain his approach in his Gospel record. John did not write as an historian, he wrote about Someone he loved, and would die for and ultimately did. He wrote about the good news of Jesus.

   John refers to the Deity of Jesus Christ.
   1.) The PRE-existence of Jesus  (Jno. 8:58)
   2.) Jesus was before the world even began (Jno. 1:1-3; 17:5)
   3.) Jesus “coming down from Heaven” (Jno. 6:33-38)
   4.) Jesus is all knowing (cf. Jno. 4:14-16 and 6:61-64)

   For 70 years, John thought of Jesus, and the things he had seen and heard about and from him. He wrote WHAT JESUS MEANT to him, not just words that Jesus spoke. This is not just a record about Jesus… John had so much he could have written down (I wish he had)… John had a real purpose and he pulled out of all the things he knew of his Master, and best Friend, and wrote… He wrote so that all who read it, all who sit and think about his writings…. will come to one and the same conclusion – JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.
   John wrote, but these were not just words and memories… the Holy Spirit Himself was at work here. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:12-13).
26 “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)

   John, called the Apostle of love, (but first he and his brother were known as ‘sons of thunder’ (wonder why? Luke 9:51-55). John evidently lived the longest of the Apostles,  and died a natural death, (according to ‘tradition’)… He wrote so that you might know and believe what he did… that Jesus is alive!               

                                                 John 20:17-23
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

 

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The Question Of Fellowship

   A man landed on a deserted island he thought, and as he wandered around. He came across a small grass hut with a sign, “2nd Deserted Island Church of Christ”. He went in, found the bearded man sitting on the sand, song book (of sorts) in his hand and inquired of the man, if there were anyone else on the island? The bearded man said, “No, just me.” The man asked, “Well, why does the sign say, “2nd Church of Christ”? The bearded man said, “Well a while back I had a disagreement with myself, so I left and started another congregation.”
   While humor is good, the subject of “Fellowship”, is truly serious, and one of the most precious blessings we have in Christ. Sad indeed it is when “FELLOWSHIP” is misunderstood, and used the wrong way, as if we can somehow take it away, or grant it, depending on whether or not someone agrees with us in every detail. Sadly we have seen congregations where the leadership “withdraws fellowship” from other congregations and their leaderships. I have found no example of this being done in the New Testament, not even with the church in Corinth. Bottom line, we need to re-study “Fellowship”. Maybe this brief article will be helpful in beginning this study. Read and re-read it with your Bible handy. I TAKE NO CREDIT FOR THE ARTICLE, I found this in dad’s New Testament, and recall him reading it to me and referring to it several times. I am grateful to the author, and encourage you to give this some thought… Maybe a comment… Dad underlined sections which I will put in bold print.
(JHEjr)

   “It is important to remember that the word “fellowship’ is a noun. It is never used as a verb. We should not belittle such truths, because it is necessary that we employ sound speech. We do not want to confuse others, and to avoid doing so, we must not use the language of the Spirit, we must also do it in the same manner in which the Spirit has used it. Thus, we should not say that we fellowship a certain person. We are in the fellowship with certain persons. We never ask, “Do you partnership him?” or “Do you companionship him?” By the same token we do not ask, “Do you fellowship him?” To do so, removes fellowship from a state or condition and reduces it to an act. It then becomes something which we may extend or withdraw, when, in reality, it is a state in which we enter. That is why the expression “withdraw fellowship” is not in the scriptures.
   We do not “fellowship” things, or ideas, or doctrines. Fellowship is a relation between persons, like brotherhood or partnership. The word “fellow” shows this. It is from a word meaning “a companion” or “one who shares”. We do not fellowship societies … Bible classes, individual cups, etc… I mention this because of the communion error of many of my good brethren, who have been conditioned by long practice to misuse the word in such a manner. We need to purify our speech if we would please God.
   The implication of what we have said is simply this. Fellowship is not a state that is entered because of a position on the things that have been allowed to divide us. We come into the fellowship by response to the call of God. Anyone who makes the proper response to that call enters the fellowship. He may not even know there has been division created by an attitude toward certain things. He may be unaware that God’s family is rent or divided. Just as the fellowship is not entered by a view of these issues, and because of that, it is our contention that it (fellowship)( JHEjr.) is not broken or destroyed by an opinion on these matters. Fellowship is brotherhood. Brotherhood is the result of common Fatherhood. Disagreements with each other about certain things do not remove us from our family. The term used to describe the family relationship of God’s children is “fellowship”.

   Fellowship is way too precious for us to ‘mess up’. The body of Christ is a grand family of believers. We do not all believe the same on everything. That’s just a fact. Yet on the basics, and ‘core essentials, we agree. Things like cups, kitchens, buses, puppets, styles of music, Bible classes, Bible translations, Women’s head coverings etc…. should not be allowed to ever divide the body of Christ. These things and many other things we have allowed to upset, splinter and divide the church are not the basis of fellowship. The foundation of our fellowship, is coming to Jesus by faith, repenting of our sins, being immersed into Jesus at which time we receive the Holy Spirit as a gift (Acts 2:38-39). That promise is given to all who come to Jesus. The Lord add all those who come, to the fellowship of Jesus Christ. Guard and protect the unity of the Spirit..

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