Showing posts with label Satan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Satan. Show all posts

Monday, January 22, 2024

Anonymous Asks (285)

“Why would God release Satan after 1,000 years?”

Any answer to a “why” that is not clearly spelled out in the text of scripture itself is bound to be somewhat speculative, but it seems to me that the text of Revelation 20 does indeed give us a few clues with which to formulate a reasonable suggestion.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Anonymous Asks (242)

“What does it mean to hand someone over to Satan?”

Paul gives a command in his first letter to the church at Corinth to “deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh”. The man to whom the apostle refers was carrying on a relationship with his stepmother, a sin Paul said was “of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans”. That’s where this phrase comes from.

So what was the apostle saying exactly?

Monday, July 11, 2022

Anonymous Asks (205)

“Does Satan have to get God’s permission to attack Christians?”

You know how this goes: “I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news. Which do you want first?”

Good News and Bad News

Let’s go with the good. God certainly offers a significant level of protection to those who serve him. Satan complained that God had “put a hedge” around Job and his household, preventing Satan from changing Job’s circumstances or revoking the blessings God had given him. Likewise, the Lord Jesus informed Peter that Satan had demanded to sift the disciples like wheat. That sure sounds like an attack to me … but an attack Satan could not have initiated unilaterally.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

A House of Trade

“Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”

Jesus had nothing against pigeons; he made them after all, as John’s first chapter well establishes. Furthermore, the poor pigeons were only present at the temple to serve as sacrifices, a practice the Lord had himself authorized.

But these pigeons were not in the process of being carried to the altar in the arms of guilty or devout Jews. They were caged, on sale, and probably marked up at a premium for the convenience of having a cheap sacrifice handy when you needed one.

The Father’s house had become a house of trade.

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

A Zero Sum Game

“Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.”

“Outwitted” is a translation of the Greek pleonekteō, which is closely related to another word that English translators consistently render as “covet”. So pleonekteō doesn’t really have all that much to do with wits or intelligence at all. Rather, it refers to a situation we may aptly describe with the phrase “zero sum game”.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Anonymous Asks (133)

“What are the names of the devil?”

The writers of scripture refer to mankind’s most virulent and determined enemy by a number of names and titles and with many different images. Some of these started as mere descriptions and evolved into proper names, while others originally referred to lesser spiritual beings and came to be used as euphemisms for the devil himself. In some cases it is debatable whether they are really intended to be used as proper names at all.

This list is not exhaustive, but I have tried to include the most common ones and to group similar names and concepts together.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Enemy Territory

This is not our world.

It hasn’t been ours since the garden of Eden and it’s not ours today. It is the dominion of the “god of this age”, the “prince of the power of the air”, the “ruler of this world”.

That explains so much, when you really think about it.

We live in enemy territory, like Frodo in Mordor without the obvious orcs and spiders. Oh, there are plenty of both here, but they come well disguised. They don’t even drip acid when they speak — unless you pay very close attention.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Satan Unleashed

A reader of the book of Revelation writes:

“Doesn’t the Pre-Mill version of Satan’s release seem weird? In it Jesus has physically ruled over the nations for a thousand years. Don’t you think they’d have learned something? And then Satan just waltzes out of his prison, goes, ‘Hi, it’s me, your old pal Satan!’ and EVERY nation goes, ‘WE LOVE YOU SATAN, LEAD US PLZ!!’ I mean, how long does it take to get to that point? A few weeks? A month? How does that work?

In the Pre-Mill view, doesn’t it also seem weird that the nations don’t go, ‘Wait, things are happening JUST like in that book Jesus has been talking about for a millennium. But hey, following Satan still seems like the best idea!’ How could they possibly get confused over this?”

The way a reader reacts to Satan’s release and the events which follow it in Revelation 20:7 very much depends on what he believes about the Millennium: its intended purpose(s), its governing conditions, and the people over whom Jesus Christ will rule.

Personally, I find the reaction of the nations in Revelation 20 all too plausible.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Demons and Daily Living

Stand to Reason columnist Alan Shlemon writes:

“To be honest, I believe in Satan and demons, but my belief in them makes little difference in how I live. There are two reasons for that. One, I often feel awkward talking about them for fear that people might think I’m (spiritually) weird. Two, I don’t know exactly what they do and what I can do to affect their activity.”

I think this is fairly common among Christians. More than a few of us would confess that the oddballs who speak constantly of demonic oppression or the “works of Satan” spook us just a little a bit.

Does belief in demons affect how we live? Not really, at least not in any way we’d notice. Should it? That’s another question.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Inbox: Demon Possession and the Church Age

A friend emailed me some thoughts on demon possession worth passing along:

A couple weeks ago someone asked me for my thoughts on demon possession and the role it plays today [he had been reading something written by Derek Prince]. This led to the following thoughts, and I’d appreciate yours.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Merchant of Menace

We don’t get a lot of detail about pre-Genesis Satan in our Bibles, though few things have had a more dramatic and far-reaching influence on our world than his interference in God’s creation.

There is no straightforward literal retelling of the history of Lucifer’s rebellion to be found in either Old Testament or New. Rather, we are treated to a series of vignettes that cast light on various aspects of the demonic rebel heart. They illuminate Satan’s real nature by comparing him to historic figures and to the sort of people we know very well indeed: characters that populate our literature and people whom we can observe all around us.

Satan is a liar, an accuser and a murderer. So says the scripture. So it is.

But Satan is also a deal-maker, a trafficker, a trader and a businessman. Perhaps we are less inclined to think of these things as intrinsically evil.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Digression About Possession and Oppression

On my way to work this morning I stopped in at my local A&W for a breakfast burger only to find a crazy person between me and the cash register — or at least he was behaving that way. The three uniformed employees were huddled behind the counter hoping not to get hit, the arms and spit were flying, and the words were coming high volume and a mile a minute. He kept repeating that he had come from jail and was on his way back there, and he made it all seem quite believable.

I suspect he was looking to intimidate the staff into giving him a free meal, but his demeanor had the opposite effect: nobody dared serve him for fear he would sit down and eat his breakfast right there, and they’d never get rid of him.

I gave him five bucks and he went away. Having a conversation with him was impossible. There was nowhere to fit the words in, and he wasn’t hearing anyway.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

If You Don’t Know, Just Say So

When you don’t know the answer to something, the only truly honest response is “I don’t know”.

Some people just can’t bring themselves to say it, sadly.

This poor soul dared to pose a question on an internet forum a while back. The silly fellow had been reading his Bible (on his own, possibly) and had the temerity to come across this verse:

“As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!’ But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’ ”

Hooboy. Some people just know how to pick ’em.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Institutionality and Convergence

“Convergence” is a term originally coined by John Stuart Mill to describe the process by which a public policy consensus is reached. The term has been reinvigorated by former World Net Daily columnist Vox Day, who uses it to describe what happens when institutions are infiltrated and coopted by people pursuing agendas foreign to their original purposes.

Of course, an institution may survive and even prosper for a period of time while pursuing multiple goals. But no man can serve two masters, and no institution can simultaneously make two non-complementary goals its holy grail. Thus an institution can be described as fully “converged” the moment its pursuit of its new mandate begins to make it ineffective at doing what it was originally created to do.

Prime modern examples of the downside of convergence are tech giant Mozilla, Marvel Comics, the NFL and ESPN. All have prioritized social justice virtue signaling over catering to their core demographics, and each has seen its market share shrivel because of it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Front or Back Door?

Churches are always under attack, but some attacks are less obvious than others.

There’s little profit in speculating about the angelic constitution, but I think we can assume with some measure of scriptural warrant that our spiritual enemies don’t get tired out or demoralized the way human beings do. And where we age and die and pass the torch in hope our successors will carry on what we have begun, the “cosmic powers over this present darkness” are able to gnaw away methodically at the work of God over generations.

More erosion than explosion, if you like.

Monday, September 19, 2016

What’s Behind the Scenes

The Christian’s nemeses — world, flesh, devil — do not all operate precisely the same way.

The world allures us. Flesh betrays us. But neither worldly attraction nor physical desire require an active intelligence operating behind the scenes. I tend to think Christians who blame Satan and his scheming agents for every bad choice they have made are probably ascribing to the powers of darkness a greater level of interest in their personal affairs than is really the case. In our fallen world, it is likely that most of our failures are a combination of our own inclination to self-destruct and the detritus of lives that have done so already.

But not always.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

In the Power of the Evil One

The whole world lies in the power of the evil one,” says John the apostle.

That’s an intimidating thought, and there’s plenty of evidence to back it up. Today, just as in John’s day, there is not a single nation on earth that orders its politics and governance — let alone its popular culture — on principles consistent with the will of God and the character of Jesus Christ. Not one.

As a Christian, no matter who you are and where in the world you happen to live, you are in enemy territory.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Enemy Territory

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Coin That Always Comes Up Tails

Vox Day contemplates the British parliamentary vote to abandon 900 years of legal sovereignty, and why it is that culture wars are rarely won or lost in the span of a single human lifetime:
“Some think that these extended timescales prove that there is no conspiracy and ‘progress’ is a mere accident of history because no human lifespan is long enough to encompass the strategy or the consequences. The logic is correct, but then, logic also suggests an alternative, which is that there is something, or someone, that exists on a larger timescale and is capable of guiding events of these temporal proportions.

So, the question comes down to this: given what we can observe with the limited means at our disposal, which do you find more unlikely? A coin almost always flipping tails at random or some sort of unknown, long-lived being imposing its will on the coin toss?”

Monday, July 07, 2014

If You Don’t Know, Just Say So

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Debunking Heavenly Mythology VIII: Captain Kirk Was Wrong

“Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”
— John Milton, Paradise Lost
I know, I know, it’s Satan’s famous line from Milton, but the first time I heard it, it was delivered by William Shatner’s Captain Kirk in the original 1967 Star Trek episode Space Seed. In my frequently-inaccurate childhood memory the line belongs to Ricardo Montalban’s villainous character Khan, but thanks to YouTube, I stand corrected: Montalban doesn’t ever actually get to say it. Rather, with unusual subtlety for the genre, Khan, offered the choice between a comfy prison or the challenge of taming a wild planet, asks Kirk, “Have you ever read Milton?” Kirk, being a renaissance man, replies “I understand”.

Thankfully for my fascinated pre-teen self (and most of the audience, I’d suspect), Kirk later explains the significance of the reference to his engineer Scotty (who, despite spectacular feats of speed-engineering, is apparently not a renaissance man).

And really, it’s Shatner, so who better to deliver the line?

But that line stuck in my head. I thought it was really cool, and defiant, and independent, and all those things the TV screenwriters thought it was supposed to evoke (hey, I was probably twelve, okay?). Anyway, it worked.

But whether you choose to attribute the line to Kirk, Khan, Milton or Satan himself, it’s still wrong: Nobody reigns in hell.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Debunking Heavenly Mythology VI: Everybody’s Going

For reasons only they fully understand, the Christian Universalist Association would like you to believe the following:
“We believe in universal salvation, the idea that there is no such thing as eternal hell or annihilation because God has planned the universe to produce a positive outcome for all people of all times.”
Under the banner “All God’s Children — No One Left Behind”, clutching tenaciously to their proof text “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself” and a bunch of quasi-logical justifications, these folks take the position that it’s all okay: no matter what you do, say, or think in this life, there has to be SOME good in you somewhere, and God’s omnipotence and benevolence will not allow that to be lost for eternity.

So we’re all in. Whew! Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin. Charles Manson. Paul Bernardo. John Lennon and Mark David Chapman.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Inbox: Demon Possession and the Church Age

The most recent version of this post is available here.