Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Truth, myths, confusion and yes HaSatan (Part 1)

How very unfortunate it is for me to touch on the subject of Satan better known as to many aka (Adversary, Devil, Lucifer and yes the serpent). Yesha'yahu (Isaiah) 14:12 and Ezekiel 28: 14 believe it or not and you should, is not referring to a falling angel. Isaiah here speaks of the king of Babylon and Ezekiel speaks of the king of Tzor. Before we go on and I share with you the scripture it's important to keep in mind that you can't take a line a scripture and simply build your theology around it. The Word of God is not a video game or doll that you can dress up to your liking or anybody else's for that matter. When reading scripture, especially the prophets, context is crucial. 

The church for some time now has done a fantastic job of twisting the straight forwardness of the Tanakh (Torah, Prophets, writings). There is some truth in the church so please don't think that I'm judging, I'm only pointing at the root. When we sit down to read the Tanakh, with the same hunger and thirst as our for-fathers has maybe then and only then can we start to understand. Not only the words written upon the page, but the message in between the lines. 

There is not one place in which the bible points to any fallen angel regardless of disobedience or for any other reason. Sorry, Genesis speaks of a serpent not an angel. Let us take a look at the book of Job chapter 1:6 - It happened one day that the sons of God came to serve HASHEM and among them came the Adversary [Hebrew: Satan]. HASHEM asked the Adversary, "Where are you coming from?" The Adversary answered HASHEM, from roaming through the earth, wandering here and there." This is a clue is it not that the Adversary could not be a fallen angel, otherwise what would he be doing going before the Creator of the universe? The Creator of all there is. OK let us move on and continue with Job. HASHEM asked the Adversary, "Did you notice My servant Iyov, that there's no one like him on earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and shuns evil?" The Adversary answered HASHEM, "Is it for nothing that Iyov fears God? You've put a protective hedge around him, his house and everything he has. You've prospered his work, and his livestock is spread out all over the land. But if you reach out your hand and touch whatever he has, without doubt he'll curse you to your face!" HASHEM said to the Adversary, "Here! Everything he has is in your hands, except that you are not to lay a finger on his person." The Adversary went out from the presence of HASHEM. In Judaism the name HaSatan means The Satan and it means nothing more then the Tempter or as our Jewish people like to call him [prosecuting attorney]. To prove my point about his purpose let us turn to Matthew chapter 4: 1- Then the Spirit led Yeshua up into the wilderness to be tempted by the Adversary (The Tempter). After Yeshua had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The Tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, order these stones to become bread." But he answered, "The Tanakh says, 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of HASHEM [Deuteronomy 8:3]. Then the Adversary took him to the holy city and set him on the highest point of the Temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "Jump! For the Tanakh says. 'He will order his angels to be responsible for you... They will support you with their hands, so that you will not hurt your feet on the stones." [Psalm 91: 11-12] Yeshua replied to him, "But it also says, 'Do not put your God to the test." [Deuteronomy 6:16] Once more, the Adversary took him up to the summit of a very high mountain, showing him all the kingdoms of the world in all their glory, and said to him, "All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me." "Away with you, Satan!" Yeshua told him, "For the Tanakh says, 'Worship HASHEM your God, and serve only him." [Deuteronomy 6: 13-14] Then the Adversary let him alone, and angels came and took care of him.

By now we should all have a clearer picture of the role in which the Satan plays. Like all other creatures created by God, HaSatan has a purpose but only through the approval of God. Matthew chapter 4 is a fine example of what we can overcome, achieve and it is also a tool [HaSatan] that will if we overcome draw us closer to God. 

Let us now take a look at Matthew 10: 28 - "Do not fear those who kill the body but are powerless to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Gei-Hinnom. Aren't sparrows sold for next to nothing, two for an assarion? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground with out your Father's consent. As for you, every hair on your head has been counted. So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.

Like the story of Matthew chapter 4, Iyov too strays from wronging God and proves the Tempter wrong and in the end sees the face of God. As this post plays out we will cover many views, angles and insights. God will without a doubt clarify this misunderstanding concerning the Adversary and send you off on your way to a better and healthy life.

Until we meet again,
Shalom

4 comments:

dances4yeshua said...

Interesting...

dances4yeshua said...

Interesting...

chadsy said...

Rabbi Wohl,

I am a protestant master's seminary student currently studying Job and we just looked at the use of hasatan in Job 1. I was curious what is the general understanding from a Jewish rabbi perspective on the presence of Satan as a formal being in the OT as well as the existence of Satan in general. I agree that this passage does not refer to Satan formally.

Does Judaism in general reject Satan and hell? As a messianic rabbi what is your perspective.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated as I am trying to understand the OT more thoroughly without a protestant tradition skewing an accurate reading of the OT text.

Anonymous said...

Shalom,
With all due respect Rabbi it appears that you have a lot to learn about the nature of Satan and the relationship between Yehovah, Satan and Mankind. You're right that Satan cannot act without the permission of Yehovah, but you fail to show the vast latitude that Satan has within the world every day. And most egregiously, you failed to give any evidence at all regarding your boldest assertions discounting the overwhelming evidence in Yeshayahu 14 and Yechezkel 28!

May I suggest a book? This changed my faith in an amazing way, and I think any beleiver who reads it could benefit as well. "The Invisible War" by Dr. Donald Barnhouse. It establishes the cornerstones for faith in Yehovah, in a wonderful way. Because he is an Evangelical Christian, you will not agree with everything that Dr. Barnhouse puts forth in this book (neither did I). However, the vast majority of the illucidations are intensely scriptural, sound and very well thought out.

I would also encourage you to use established apocryphal sources like the Book of Enoch for this study. Enoch is one of the most often scripturally quoted and referenced of all apocryphal writings, and has vast information about the nature of demons and the spirit world.

Respectfully,
-Chris