Foundational themes in Genesis (Part 16)

Theme: The subtle serpent (Part 2)

(Key verses: Genesis 3:1-5)

In our last discussion we started with the theme of the subtle serpent, who represents a spirit being called by many names in the Scriptures, including Satan, the great dragon, crooked serpent, Devil, Waster, etc. This evil creature of God was first introduced to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden through this subtle serpent. This creature was part of God’s “very good” creation which included the creation of evil and darkness (Gen 3:1; Isa 45:7). All things were created by God alone through Jesus Christ to serve their purposes, yes even the wicked for the day of evil (Pro 16:4)

Joh 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Isa 45:5-7 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

This serpent was created by God to be “more subtle than any beast of the field”.

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made...

We touched on a few of this serpent’s characteristics, especially how he intimately relates to the natural mind and heart in the generation of the first man Adam (Rom 8:6; Jer 17:9). This subtle serpent was the first animal which God brought to the close attention of Adam and Eve before they had eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. At that stage they had no discernment to determine whether this serpent had good or evil intentions. They were not given the necessary armour to “stand against the wiles” of this “old serpent” or “devil” (Rev 12:9):

Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [Greek: “methodeia” – cunningness, trickery, deceit,craftiness] of the devil.

All natural things, including the animal world, were created to help us to understand the spiritual world or invisible things of God, even the things happening inside our minds (our spiritual heaven):

Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Natural things are indeed not spiritual, but they supply the spiritual type and shadow to help us to get to the level where we can see how the spirit of God ultimately teach the mysteries of God to us by comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

1Cor 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

When this spiritual “door [is] opened in heaven” then we do not become entangled into shadows again – we reckon ourselves dead to “the spirit of the world” (Rev 4:1; 2Pet 2:20; Rom 6:1-13). All physical or natural things are missing the spiritual mark. The Hebrew word for “missing the mark” is the same word for “sin” in the scriptures, and this also helps us to see God’s plan with this subtle serpent, from the beginning:

Jdg 20:16 Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men left handed; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss (Hebrew: “châṭâ”).

Gen 39:9 There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin (Hebrew: “châṭâ”) against God?

God never misses His mark and what He determined for a creature to do, will be done exactly the way God planned it. No creature can do something outside of God’s one will (Isa 43:13; Isa 46:10; Ps 33:11; Ps 135:6; Pro 21:30; Eph 1:11; Rom 9:19). Those who shamelessly propagate this old serpent became “more subtle”and evil on his own has been given spiritual blindness by God. God is actually using this very serpent to do that blinding (2Cor 4:4). God is indeed sovereign over everything in His creation, even directing all movements by His spirit beings, the good ones and the evil ones (Jer 18:11; Amos 3:6). God is the father of all spirits and they are under His authority:

1 Sam 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil [Hebrew: “ra”] spirit from the LORD troubled him.

Job 42:11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters,and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil [Hebrew: “ra”] that the LORD had brought upon him [through Satan]: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.

Heb 12:9 …. shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

This “crooked serpent” was created by God’s hand and he is in that hand from the beginning until the end (Job 26:13; Gen 1:20-22; Isa 27:1; Rev 20:2,10). This subtle serpent was sent by God to “trouble” Adam and Eve:

Gen 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more subtil [Hebrew: “ârûm” = shrewd, crafty or sly] than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

The devil and his angels perform specific tasks within clearly demarcated spiritual limitations, and for a definite time period as determined by God alone. This is what the book of Job in Chapters 1 and 2, amongst other witnesses in the Scriptures, also reveal to those who can receive it:

Job 1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

Dan 10:13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

Luk 4:13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

These demarcations are referring to spiritual control rather than physical boundaries determined by God for every spiritual being, including this subtle serpent (Job 1 and 2; Rev 20:2-3). Like all God’s creatures, the serpent is not able to deviate from what God set out to achieve through him, although his own carnal mind cannot see that. The various names or titles by which this serpent is called in Scripture also help to show us the other “tasks” or purposes God is using him for (Rev 12:9; Rev 20:2; Gen 1:21; Isa 27:1: Job 41:1). One other name by which he is known in Scripture is “satan” from the Hebrew word “śâṭân”, which means “one who opposes” or “adversary” – to provoke and entice people to sin, and resist the truth, being a liar and murderer “from the beginning”:

1Ch 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

Zec 3:1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

Joh 8:44 Ye [all humans – who cannot accept the truth] are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

He indeed murders the truth with his lies. “He speaks of his own” is not referring to a free will, but rather indicate that lies are part of his evil being as created by God. This “satan” withstands or resists the truth because God did not create any truth in Him from the beginning. Whenever the words of truth or the commandments of God are presented to a natural mind (which was inside Adam and Eve at their creation), Satan mix his bad seed (lies) with the good seed of the truth which God sowed (Mar 4:15-19). Everything Satan says is not 100% a lie because deception and delusion will never be successful if a lie and its consequences (including judgement) are paraded openly and blatantly. Yes, there is no truth IN Satan as Jesus said, yet he has been given permission by God to use truth as a camouflage and twist it to get entrance into the minds of people for his lies to operate. This all is under the heavenly Householder’s control as they serve His purposes for a limited time period until the day of judgement when all will be revealed!

Mat 13:24-30 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

The spiritual gifts of God have counterfeits or negative applications when they are applied to fulfill physical lusts and bring pride to the hearts of men (1Cor 3:1-7, 12-15; 1Cor 12:1-2). This is also how a carnal mind twist or wraps God’s word (“My gold”) around its idols or lies (Ezek 14:3-9):

Eze 16:17 Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them…

All natural or carnal hearts have numerous idols which are expressed through various religious and philosophical concepts. At the center of all the idols we will always find selfish motives, lusts and pride with the purpose to worship the man of sin (1John 2:16; 2Thes 2:3-4). Our natural heart was made desperately wicked and deceitful like that of this subtle serpent (Rev 12:3;13:1):

Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

The truth which was used by the cunning serpent was that the “eyes” of Adam and Eve would open when they ate of the forbidden fruit which indeed happened – they could recognize good and evil like God, for the first time, and they could see their own state (sinful flesh) is not the same as God’s (perfect and holy spirit):

Gen 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

The problem is that Adam and Eve (and all in their generation up till today) think of themselves as gods. They were not as yet gods in the image of God – that is spiritual perfect. The natural man is not able to see that God is busy making man in His spiritual image, but it is a long process. To get the knowledge of good and evil is just the first step in the process towards becoming spiritual as the Godhead. This is what Adam and Eve showed us and this part was the truth which the subtle serpent spoke – even God acknowledged that as such!

Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man [Hebrew: âdâm] is become as one of us, to know good and evil….

The verbal phrase “is become” shows again how the Godhead is confirming here that the first man Adam (and all in him) is in a process of becoming in the image of God, for those who can receive this. God is “creating” the generation of the first man Adam in His image which He started on day six of creation:

Gen 1:27 (CLV) And creating [ongoing process] is the Elohim humanity in His image. In the image of the Elohim He creates it. Male and female He creates them.

But the lie which the serpent hid behind the truth was that Adam and Eve were at some level already immortal. By making them believe that they have some type of immortality, this serpent manipulates the fear of death in Adam and Eve. But mankind has nothing immortal in them. This natural fear of death within our temporary condition of flesh, is only properly addressed when we can see that we will be given spirit life in full when the whole process is finished and flesh is totally destroyed! This is how the lie of this subtle serpent is exposed and defeated!

Heb 2:14-15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Jesus] also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage [from the beginning].

This lie of immortality is propagated in various forms in the generation of the first Adam. We know that the Scriptures are clear for those who can see it that Adam was never spiritual or immortal and there was never a so-called “fall of men”. He was made from dust and to dust he will return where he is waiting for the resurrection (Gen 2:7; 3:19). All physical things which God created, including the natural mind in the first man Adam, are “marred” and filled with death and darkness from the hand of the Potter (Gen 1:2; Jer 18:4; Rom 8:6, 20). We all naturally want to believe that some part of us is immortal and that this immortal part will “move on” or “pass over” after death. For this purpose the lie of an immortal soul was introduced and almost all people from whatever persuasion hang on to this lie. It is indeed a powerful delusion to satisfy this desire of flesh to live eternally, which this subtle serpent of course used right from the beginning. We naturally cannot accept that God can make everything new – from the scratch – but then in spirit (2Cor 5:17; Rev 21:5). It truly takes the good Shepherd’s voice to see through all the deceptions by this subtle serpent and his messengers (John 10:1-5; 2Cor 11:14-15). Everyone in the generation of the fleshly first Adam follows the serpent’s “voice” naturally. God Himself is sending strong delusion in the form of an evil spirit in order for the natural man to believe the lie that man does not actually die, but just pass on:

2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that theyshould believe a lie.

This serpent is also referred to as “Abaddon” (Hebrew) or “Apollyon” (Greek), the destroying angel, under God’s supervision (Rev 9:11; Job 26:6; Pro 15:11; Mat 10:28,39). God created and appointed the subtle serpent to be a “waster” that destroys the flesh by puffing it up with an unfulfilling desire for more knowledge or science (Greek: gnōsis) “falsely so called”, which contains “smooth things” and “deceits” (1Tim 6:20; Isa 30:10). All flesh is a temporary evil experience or “sore travail” which God created in order to bring all in the generation of the first man Adam toward the spirit man, Jesus Christ (Ecc 1:13):

Isa 54:16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy

1Cor 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

This serpent is also called the “god of this world (age)” and many cannot see his craftiness to lure us into an interest about affairs of this temporary evil age (Gal 1:4):

2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world [Greek: “aiōn”] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

With this title the serpent seduces all worldly systems (outside and inside), including all religious and human philosophies, especially through the spiritual Babylonian harlot (Matt 4:8-10; Rev 17:1-6). All earthly things are divisive – by God’s design from the beginning (Gen 11:6-9; Ps 2:1; Matt 12:25; Matt 24:6-8). Flesh is always at war with itself about things which seem important to the natural mind, but is dung in God’s eyes. That is why Satan is also called Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. He rules a divided kingdom of dung (Luk 13:8; Phil 3:8):

Mat 12:24-28 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Not one of God’s children feel good when they see the products of evil, but to resist the evil in the world is actually showing disagreement with God’s way of doing things:

Mat 5:38-39 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

The subtle serpent can also associate with the word “Belial” which means “no profit”, “worthlessness”, “lawlessness” or “not knowing the Lord”. Like the lawless man of sin, the things which this serpent was given, will end in nothing worthwhile for himself – they are all vanity for the earthy carnal mind-set, but through this evil God works His perfect plan and His good purposes (Gen 50:20; Ecc 1:2; Eph 1:11):

2Cor 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath hethat believeth with an infidel [one without faith]?

1Sa 2:12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.

The serpent’s task is to keep the carnal mind of mankind focused on idols of self-worship, while God is busy within the generation of the first Adam conforming His elect to have His mind and preparing them for their spiritual task. The eyes of God’s elect are on the mark for the prize of the high calling of God, even Christ Jesus (2Cor 5:16; Phil 3:14). Submitting to God and His commandments is the only way to truly resist this serpent where it matters – inside (Phil 3:11-13; 1John 2:16):

Jas 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.


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Want let op julle roeping, broeders: julle is nie baie wyse na die vlees nie, nie baie magtiges, nie baie edeles nie; maar wat dwaas is by die wêreld, het God uitverkies om die wyse te beskaam; en wat swak is by die wêreld, het God uitverkies om wat sterk is, te beskaam; en wat onedel is by die wêreld en wat verag is, het God uitverkies, en wat niks is nie, om wat iets is, tot niet te maak, sodat geen vlees voor Hom sou roem nie. (1Kor 1:26-29)
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