Table of Contents / Overview
- The Devil and Satan
- Sin in the Flesh
- Evil and Trouble in the World
- Fetish Worship, Ju-Ju and Witchcraft
- What is Hell?
Lessons 5 and 6 have taught us that God created man in the beginning and that he was made 'very good'. But sin entered into the world because man disobeyed God. As a consequence of sin man was made mortal and he became a dying creature. The sinful nature of Adam and Eve has passed on all their descendants including ourselves.
Many theories have been put forward to explain the presence of evil in the world and evil forces have been suggested as being under the control of supernatural beings. These beings have been called 'devils', 'bush-spirits' and other names. It is also suggested that some men have the power to control these evil forces.
(IT MUST BE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD THAT THESE IDEAS DO NOT COME FROM THE BIBLE).
The Bible teaches that man is sinful and that wickedness results from man's sinful actions. God Himself creates evil circumstances sometimes as a punishment for wickedness but at other times to shape a man's character like a wood-carver shapes a piece of wood. Although the Bible refers to "devils" and to "satan", a careful examination of the verses in which these words occur will make the true teaching about them clear. (The Bible also teaches that it is wrong to seek advice from those who claim to have power over evil forces). Man's wickedness results in death and dead people are buried in graves. The ordinary grave is sometimes referred to as "hell" in both Old and New Testaments.
Read again the account of the fall of man. Genesis 2 and 3.
Note that the serpent, Eve and Adam are the only ones involved. There is no mention of any other being.
The apostle Paul also tells how sin came into the world.
- Romans 5 v 12
He knew that sin came from within himself.
- Romans 7 v 14 - 25
Jeremiah expressed the same truth.
- Jeremiah 17 v 9
The Bible tells us exactly how a sinful action is born.
- James 1 v 13-15
- Matthew 15 v 10-20
WE HAVE LEARNT THAT SIN CAME INTO THE WORLD THROUGH DISOBEDIENCE AND THAT ALL SIN IS CAUSED BY OUR OWN WICKED THOUGHTS.
- James 4 v 1-3
Others have been introduced by God because of man's wickedness. For example the curse in Eden.
- Genesis 3 v 17-19
God has used evil to punish the wicked.
- Isaiah 45 v 7
- Amos 3 v 6
And to correct the righteous.
- Job 2 v 10
NO OTHER PERSON IS INVOLVED.
- Hebrews 12 v 5-7
WHAT THEN ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND BY THE DEVIL AND SATAN?
The word means adversary.
- 1 Samuel 29 v 4
- 1 Kings 5 v 4
- 1 Kings 11 v 14
An adversary may be good or bad.
The satan is bad if he is against (adverse to) something good. The satan is good if he is against something bad. Jesus referred to Peter as satan because on one occasion he went against Jesus.
- Mark 8 v 31-33
An angel of the Lord was referred to as an adversary (or satan).
- Numbers 22 v 21-32
God Himself is once referred to as Satan.
- 1 Chronicles 21 v 1 with
- II Samuel 24 v 1
We must distinguish between "DEVIL" (singular) and "DEVILS" (plural). The word "devil" is not found in the Old Testament. In the New Testament the Greek word rendered "Devil" means "false accuser" or "slanderer", and is sometimes so translated.
- II Timothy 2 v 26
- II Timothy 3 v 3
- I Timothy 3 v 11
Jesus referred to Judas Iscariot as a devil.
- John 6 v 70
Neither "DEVIL" nor "SATAN" refers to a superhuman monster or a fallen angel as taught by some religious bodies. Isaiah 14 v 12 is sometimes used to establish that Satan is a fallen angel, but if we read the whole chapter, we find that this "Lucifer" is the king of Babylon, and the prophet is foretelling his downfall. In v 15 Isaiah speaks of this King's death, and goes on to say, "Is this the MAN that made the earth to tremble?"
Other passages which may appear to teach a "personal" devil can be similarly explained.
Now compare carefully these verses and note how both words stand for the power of sin in our flesh.
|I John 3 v 8||I John 3 v 5|
|Hebrews 2 v 14||Romans 8 v 3|
|Acts 5 v 3||Acts 5 v 9|
|I Corinthians 7 v 5||James 1 v 14|
The word "devils" occurs in four verses in the Old Testament. In each one the worship of "devils" is associated with pagan practices hateful to God.
- Leviticus 17 v 7
- Deuteronomy 32 v 16 - 17
- II Chronicles 11 v 14 - 15
- Psalm 106 v 37-39
In the New Testament the word is a translation of the Greek word "daimon" and refers to the demons which were believed to be the causes of certain diseases.
- Luke 4 v 33
- John 8 v 48
In New Testament times it was commonly believed that illnesses which did not have an obvious cause were the result of possession by evil spirits. Lameness was never attributed to devils. People who looked normal but who were deaf, dumb or mad were thought to be in possession of devils.
- Matthew 9 v 28,32
All these passages reflect the belief of the times.
The Bible shows clearly that man introduced sin and God brought evil into the world.
WE CANNOT THEREFORE BELIEVE EITHER IN A POWERFUL GOD-LIKE BEING TEMPTING MEN AND WOMEN OR IN EVIL SPIRITS ACTING AGAINST MEN AND WOMEN.
We have already looked at Old Testament verses showing that the Children of Israel sinned by devil-worship.
God always condemns these evil practices which the Israelites learned from their pagan neighbours.
- READ :
- Exodus 22 v 18
God punishes those who have anything to do with such evil ways.
- Deuteronomy 18 v 9-14
Manasseh was an evil king who practised fetish worship and God punished him.
- II Chronicles 33 v 1-11
The Almighty God explains that it is foolish to believe in fetish objects.
- Isaiah 44 v 9-19
- Acts 17 v 29
- Isaiah 37 v 18-20
- Isaiah 40 v 18-20
Evil circumstances do not result from the action of bush spirits.
- Isaiah 45 v 5-7
- Luke 13 v 1-5
Paul knew that even in our own times there would be some people who believed in devils.
- I Timothy 4 v 1
JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY PRIEST WE MAY VISIT IN PRAYER. WE MUST NOT SACRIFICE AT THE COMMANDS OF MEN BECAUSE JESUS IS OUR ONLY SACRIFICE.
- I Corinthians 10 v 19-21
The English word "hell" means a covered place. (A helmet is a covering for the head). This is how the word is used in the Bible. The place where dead people are put is called a "grave" or "hell'. The original Hebrew word is translated in the Old Testament (Authorised version) 31 times as the "grave" and 31 times as "hell".
- Psalm 49 v 14-20
- Psalm 9 v 17
- Psalm 31 v 17
In the New Testament the original Greek word "hades" is sometimes translated "hell" and sometimes "grave".
- Acts 2 v 27,31
- Matthew 27 v 52-53
There is another Greek word also translated "hell". It is the proper name "Gehenna" and refers to a small valley just south of Jerusalem. At the time of Christ it was used for dumping rubbish. The rubbish was usually burnt although much of it rotted away. Murderers and criminals were thrown here instead of being buried in graves.
Jesus refers to this place because it was well known to everybody at the time and was a powerful symbol for punishment and judgment.
- Mark 9 v 42-48
- Matthew 5 v 29-30
THIS JUDGMENT IS COMPLETE AND FINAL DESTRUCTION, NOT THE "HELL FIRE TORMENT" AS BELIEVED BY SOME.
We have learnt that man's nature causes him to sin. Sinful thoughts come from our own hearts and minds and not from outside. This "sin in the flesh" is the "devil" of the Bible. Because of sin man dies and is put in a covered place - the grave or hell. It is not a place where the wicked are tormented by fire for ever because the dead are not conscious.
True Christians are followers of Christ. They cannot worship fetish objects nor should they have anything to do with fetish priests who are condemned for their activities by God. We must put our trust in God when evil befalls us. His angels camp round about those that reverence Him. Only by prayer to God through Jesus our High Priest can we ask for help and strength to resist the power of sin in ourselves and to serve God acceptably.
Using references where possible to support your reply, answer the following:
- What is sin?
- What do you understand by the word "devil" as used in the Bible?
- "... that through death He might destroy him that hath the power of death, that is the devil" (Hebrews 2 v 14). Explain what you understand by this statement.
- What does the word "satan" mean? Give THREE examples of its application to people in the Bible.
- Explain why King Manasseh was punished by God.
- What is the "hell" of the Bible?