The Serpent

The Serpent

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

Dale Pollard

Interesting conversations with godly people are some the best ways you can stir your desire to get into His word more. Studying the Bible will always bring to the surface questions we didn’t even know we had— along with the answers to the most important questions you could ask. 
Here’s an idea. Find somebody with a wealth of Biblical knowledge and create a shared note on your cell phone or computer. If there’s something on your mind or something you’d like to know more about, it helps to have another brain working to help you get to the bottom of it. 
It’s also a great way to keep you thinking about Biblical subjects! Below is a portion of a shared note that my brother and I have had for months now (Gary’s input is italicized and correspond with the numbers you see). 
Thoughts On The Serpent 

  • The serpent was crafty and could walk. Why this animal? Its craftiness seems to be linked with its intelligence (1). When the subject of possession is brought up, demons typically come to mind. The possessor of the serpent (2) seems to change form once again as Satan is described as “walking about on the earth” (Job 1) and traveling to the pinnacle of the temple (Matt. 4.5). Satan’s mobility had improved since the removal of his serpentine legs (3). Could it be that he was never a serpent from the beginning? What if he merely chose the animal for reasons unknown, and used his intelligence to utilize this particular creature’s capabilities. If the serpent changed his form to the Leviathan, then that would be a logical explanation for his mobility in Job (4). A mighty beast, with unnatural intelligence (5) that humans couldn’t tame. This would also explain how humans are able to dominate and tame all animals (Gen. 1.26-28) but weren’t able to tame the beasts in Job. 
  • (1) Rev 12.9; 20.2
  • (2) Satan is always portrayed as a serpent…except when he isn’t (i.e., cursed to crawl in Genesis, walking in Job 1 & 2, flying in synoptic gospels at temptation of Jesus, moving tactically in I Peter). I have to think that, like the angels, he had the ability to project his consciousness into non-sentient beings (i.e., no free-will override), or disguise himself as humanoid (II Cor 11.14; Gen 3.18; Heb 13.2). We know very little about who/what satan really is, but because he was a fixture in God’s entourage before banished to earth, I have to assume he was a watcher of some kind. 
  • (3) A curse that improves mobility is no longer, by definition, a curse. 
  • (4) God specifically names Leviathan as the pinnacle of his non-human creation. He would not have extolled leviathan if its characteristics were synonymous with the accuser in Job 1, 2. This would also imply a duality of personhood never attributed to satan (i.e., existing as two entities simultaneously). Since this predates Jesus’s arrival by probably 4500 years, satan is likely still in the accuser position in God’s entourage. This would make him a powerful cosmic being with the same abilities other watchers enjoyed. When he became the ruler of planet earth, his power was “chained” or throttled (II Cor 4.4; Eph 2.2; Lk 10.18; Rev 20.1-15). 
  • (5) I was unable to verify the leviathan’s unnatural intelligence, but Job does describe its unnatural strength. 

Happy studies! I hope this inspires you to begin your own interesting conversations. 

How Satan Tempts

How Satan Tempts

Thursday Column: Captain’s Blog

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Carl Pollard

 
Genesis 3 records for us the fall of man. This account reveals to us the methods Satan uses to tempt us, and the choice that changed the course of the world. We can learn a lot about the devil in his first interaction with God’s creation.
 
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.””
 
We don’t know how long Adam and Eve were in the garden. There is no timeframe between chapter 2 and 3.
It could’ve been a month, a year, a century that has gone by. Whatever the time frame, Satan comes to Eve and places doubt in her mind. This is quite possibly the worst lie ever told. “Did God really say…?” While Satan doesn’t physically appear and speak to us today, he still uses this same tactic. He has destroyed many churches’ worship to God. “Did God really ask for music with no instruments?” “Did God really say for the women to be silent?” By casting doubt Satan has corrupted the worship and faith of millions.
 
After he casts doubt, he then blatantly contradicts God, “you will not surely die.” And once again he continues to blatantly contradict God’s word today. The message Satan tells the world is completely different from what God has given to us. Satan contradicts the Father. Rather than “love you neighbour as yourself” he says “love yourself above your neighbour.” Rather than “serve God and keep his commandments, he says “serve yourself and listen to no one.” Satan contradicted God in the past and continues to do so today.
 
After he casts doubt and blatantly contradicts God, he then offers power, “you shall be like God.” Obviously in their close relationship with God, they understood who created the world. The created wanted to be like the creator, but the devil offered a lie. Satan only has one thing to offer– sin. He oftentimes portrays this lifestyle of sin as a lie.
He offers happiness and joy, but at the end of the day all he has to offer is sin and regret.
 
Eve was tempted by Satan, and he used the same methods then as he does now. Eve experienced:
  • The lust of the flesh (she wanted to eat of the fruit)
  • The lust of the eyes (literally says “it was a delight to the eyes,” v.6)
  • Pride of life (she wanted to become wise and have power)
The devil always knows what to say in order to get us to stumble. We must be vigilant and ready to refuse the tempter when he appears.
HOLDING THE CIGARETTE OUT THE WINDOW

HOLDING THE CIGARETTE OUT THE WINDOW

Neal Pollard

I saw an older man, trying to negotiate a turn, with the window partially down and balancing a cigarette out of that window. It was 25 degrees, so my guess would be that he was not overheated by his tiny, burning cylindrical distraction. It’s not an uncommon occurrence, though I’ve normally observed teens doing this. A friend of mine in High School said he dangled his cigarettes out the window to keep his mom from smelling it in the car.  There may be more than one reason why people do this, but concealing the fact of one’s smoking (or at least its pungent smell) seemingly factors in.

Trying to conceal actions we know are wrong or think others will disapprove of is as old as the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command, “the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of God among the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8b). From that point forward, mankind has shown a remarkably similar tendency—regardless of century, geographical location, gender, age, or other demographical details—to try and cover up his sins. David, one whose heart was ordinarily pleasing to God, conceived such deception and dishonesty in an effort to hide his egregious sin with Bathsheba (cf. 2 Sam. 11:6-27). Solomon issues multiple warnings to those who, rather than repenting, attempt to conceal their iniquity (Prov. 10:6,11,18; 28:13).

It extends beyond just trying to conceal the smell of smoke, doesn’t it? Guilt, fear, worry, and shame usually leads the pornography addict, participant in an illicit relationship or affair, the problem drinker or drug user, as well as the general hypocrite, to use up a lot of energy and attention to covering up their wrongdoings. The hope is that they can keep discovery out of the reach and detection of the ones whose acceptance and approval they greatly desire to have. So often, these concealers have forgotten someone very important. Such is a serious miscalculation since that someone cannot fail to notice. The eyes of the Lord watch all the ways of man and his paths (Prov. 5:21) and “are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). “The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men” (Psa. 33:13).

We may conceal deep, dark secrets from even those closest to us for a lifetime.  Yet, ultimately, no one will get away with a lifestyle of sin.  God won’t be duped. We won’t pull the wool over His all-seeing eyes. Instead, our energy should be directed toward overcoming sin and looking to Him to give us the strength we need to do so.  All of us struggle with temptation and sin, but how we address it is an indicator of our character. May we be transparent with our God and honest with one another!

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