There are many comic books that depict the devil as the bad guy. This is also true with fictional stories such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc. Their authors write with the express motive that there is good and evil or right and wrong. The good guys, even though they have to go through many hardships and battles always win in the end, whilst the bad guys seemingly, are on the winning side, until the stories twist takes place and they lose. Although intriguing and entertaining as the story progresses, taking you through every emotion and excitement, the outcome is good over evil or victory over wrong, every time.
The problem, however is that these factious stories have created a warped perception of what good and evil and right and wrong is. They distort the initial understanding within a child or teeny bopper of the profundity of how wicked, evil and sinister “bad” is, because bad is actually sin and sin is rebellion against a holy God. Another way of putting this is … God created a hell, a place of eternal punishment for un-repented rebellion against His Person and Rule. Another unfortunate reality is that people often call others “devil” because of the bad or naughty things they might do. The back drop to all of this is what is referred to in Genesis 3:
Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.
1) Face Value. As you read verse one you immediately get the picture of the serpent being none other than one of the many undomesticated animals (wild animals) God had created. At face value that’s a fair comment. Yet it creates mental pictures such as “a chatty snake” or talking animals, animals that although wild may or have already been domesticated. The word “crafty” ought to help us understand that the one referred to as “the serpent” wants people to be misled as to his true reality, personality, being and intention.
2) Using Scripture to interpret Scripture. One of the fundamental tools in Biblical interpretation is to use the Bible to interpret the Bible. Throughout the Bible God uses pictures, images, metaphors, poetry, colors, numbers, repetition, and other linguistic tools to teach truth. Often the meaning is clear yet at other times deeper digging is required to prevent thumb sucking and coming up with weird and wonderful concepts as so often happens.
3) Who and what is the serpent? Join me as we go to the last book of the Bible and start there to answer this question.
Rev 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Remember, the Revelation is Jesus speaking to the apostle John. He calls the serpent … the great dragon … the devil … satan … but more importantly, that ancient serpent. We need to understand that as John looks backwards, the Holy Spirit guides his mind to grasp that the serpent in the Garden was none other than the devil himself. Hence the title … ancient serpent. What is interesting is that this implies John himself believes in the Garden of Eden account and the serpent, God’s enemy. So does the Holy Spirit guiding his thinking!
Rev 20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
Just before the end of the Bible (and Book of Revelation), John again records the same terms, dragon, ancient serpent, devil and satan. What we ought not to forget or overlook is the facts that these titles or names are referring to God’s enemy … a sinister being that is everything God is not. From the Garden his intent was to destroy and corrupt everything God said was “very good”. This is the reason for Genesis chapter three.
Rev 12:9 who leads the whole world astray.
Yet it did not start there. His diabolical scheming and deviousness started long before that.
4) Where did the devil come from? Coupled to this question would be adding where demons (evil spirits) and evil come from? There are two Old Testament passages that speak about a present wicked pagan king, yet look past him to the evil one, the devil.
(1) The first is …
Isa 14:3 On the day the LORD gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has come to an end! How his fury has ended!
This was aimed at the king of Babylon.
Isa 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.
You need to see how this points past the Babylonian king to someone else … someone else who … “I will make myself like the Most High.” Yet failed and was … are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.
(2) The second is …
Eze 28:1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man , say to the ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘In the pride of your heart you say, “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.” But you are a man and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god.
This message is to the king of Tyre, yet like the Isaiah passage it points past him to the devil. Like the king of Babylon, the king of Tyre thought he was god. This was the strategy the devil tried, yet failed.
Eze 28:11 The word of the LORD came to me: 12 “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. 18 By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. 19 All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.
It’s easy to see the king of Tyre here, but you need to see behind this to the devil, created by God, holding a supreme position within the courts of God until wickedness was found in him. We are developing a setting for Genesis chapter three. It does take time and effort to do this. We are slowly developing a picture of the enemy of God, the devil, the serpent who lured our first parents into temptation and sin.
Father, help us never to think or feel Your enemy is equal in power and ability to You. Through Your Word, teach us more about Yourself, glory and power. Amen.