Know Your Enemy! – IV

May 13, 2013

John 8:44

(All quotations are from the New King James Version)

Let’s further examine the characteristics of our enemy, who is the devil, called (among other things) Satan.  As pointed out in the last blog, he is a thief, and his only purpose according to John 10:10 is “…to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”  Also, recorded in Isaiah 14:14, his overriding motivation in all that he does is to overthrow Almighty God and be God himself.

Jesus adds another aspect of the devil’s character in John 8:44.  He is talking to the Jews, led by the members of the Sanhedrin in opposing the Lord and His work:

    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.

That Satan is a murderer was already covered in John 10:10 in the last blog.  But here we also learn that he is a liar – “…there is no truth in him” – and the progenitor of all lies!  But his lies are clever.  He deals in half truths – or better said, in nine tenths truths!  What I mean is he will take God’s truth, cock it a bit to the left or right, and present it so it looks goodBut if it is not 100% true, it is not truth at all!

For instance, go back to the very first lie fostered upon our first parents in the Garden of Eden.  It is recorded in Genesis 3:1-5:

    Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD
    God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not
    eat of every tree of the garden’?”  And the woman said to the serpent, “We may
    eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the
    midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it,
    lest you die.’”  And the serpent said to the woman, “You shall not surely die.  For
    God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will
    be like God, knowing good and evil.”

First of all, Satan planted a seed of doubt in Eve’s mind in verse1.  He was, in effect, saying, “Are you sure God said this?”  But Eve was wrong in believing God had told them not to touch the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  In Genesis 2:16 and 17 it is recorded,

    And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden
    you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall
    not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Nothing is said about touching the fruit here!  It was Adam’s fault in not communicating rightly God’s command to his wife, for when that command was given, she had not yet been created.  So when Satan said, “You shall not surely die,” he was right – or at least half-right!  They wouldn’t die if they just touched the fruit!  And, as far as dying was concerned, they didn’t die physically when they ate it.  That came 900 plus years later (Genesis 5:5).  But they did die spiritually in that they were separated from God, and that happened immediately after eating (Genesis 3:8) – another of the devil’s half-truths!

Finally, the evil one told Eve that “…God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Yes, their eyes were opened!  Yes, they did then know good and evil!  But what the devil neglected to tell Eve was that they would no longer be able to do the good, but only the evil!  Oops!  Just a little bit off from the truth, that’s all!!!

One more example:  When Satan tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13) one temptation is recorded thus in Luke 4:5-7:

    Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms
    of the world in a moment of time.  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.  Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.

It was true that Satan had authority over all the world.  He still does.  You see, the first Adam had, as it were, delivered all the dominion God had given him over all creation (Genesis 1:26, 28) unto the devil when he obeyed him instead of God.  Now the tempter was offering basically the same deal to the Second Adam, Jesus.  Yes, Jesus would then have authority over all the kingdoms of the world, but what the evil one neglected to tell the Lord was that such dominion would be under the authority of SatanThe devil would then be above God!

It’s all close to the truth, the promises that Satan gives.  It is about nine tenths truth and one tenth lie – which makes it all false!!!  So beware, “…for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44).  He is oh-so-clever, and makes it all look so good!

We will continue with the enemy’s characteristics in the next blog.

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