Understanding Satan

Last week's Torah portion Balak, and this week's portion, Pinchas, are understood much better when read as one narrative.  When we read the apostolic letters and Gospels, we are often left with more questions than answers concerning the identity of satan, the devil.  The best primary text for any study of the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) is the Torah, which plants seeds of understanding. 

When one reads the dynamics of Balak and Pinchas, no one can blame his or her choices and all human troubles on a catch-all entity called Satan or The Devil.  After all, if Satan is a spirit, then his power over humans is only parasitic. Like a tapeworm, he feeds off the energy and lifeblood (the nefesh is in the blood) of his host.

It is the Elohim-breathed power within a human being that the satan craves.  If the satan can commandeer the power of the human soul (nefesh: appetites, emotion, desire, intellect), only then does he become a power in a high place.  His assigned place is the dust, the most base substance of a human.  A satan acquires this power by deceiving the individual into thinking how he or she thinks, feels, or desires is the truth, not "It is written."  This is frequently accomplished with the seemingly innocent musing, "Did God really say...?"

Job teaches the irony of satan.  His great power is in accusation, but his power is limited by the One whom the servant of Yeshua serves, YHVH.  Demons obey Yeshua.  When we live lives of righteousness, satan's accusations shift from accusations of sin to casting doubt on the seriousness of one's commitment to the Father and His covenant.  One who lives a life of sin becomes his own accuser, his own satan.  One who lives a life of righteousness has an advocate with the Father, Yeshua, who intercedes in the disciple's flounderings in the tests. 

A satan is an adversary, an obstructionist to meeting the goal. The goal is life, the end of your faith, the salvation of your soul. Like Balak, whose name means Destroyer, Waster, a satan destroys and wastes plans, both good and bad.

What? Both good AND bad?

The angel of the LORD said to him, 'Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary (satan), because YOUR way was contrary to me.' (Nu 22:32)
  
Balaam's way was his own way, not the will of Adonai. When we violate the will of Adonai, He may send a satan to oppose us. This is for our good, and it can save our literal or spiritual lives.

He Made the Devil Do It

Numerous times in Scripture, The Holy One sends messengers as satans to interrupt the evil plans of the wicked, such as Balaam, or to seek repentance from His own, such as the evil spirit He sent to trouble King Saul to mend his ways. Both men ignored their satans and persisted in evil thinking, which resulted in evil doing. A thousand hymns strummed and hummed by King David are only temporary relief to one who doesn't repent and live by the love of Torah in David's psalms.

A satan exposes the heart as one devising wicked plans and running to evil or as one seeking repentance and turning aside from the evil way.  
Even satan must do the will of Adonai. He makes the devil do it. Sometimes satans test the heart, sometimes they torment to bring to repentance, and sometimes they execute final judgments.
 
Yes, satan is an obstructionist. In the human folly of putting faith in governments, religious systems, economic systems, or military systems, the adversary changes. The things that worked FOR me in one election cycle become the things that work AGAINST me in another. I perceive one practice of obstruction as a real satan, but another as a necessary thing to thwart the plans of satan.

Will the Real Satan Please Stand Up? 

The difficulty that we have as believers is determining which particular satan is troubling us in a given circumstance. It is important not to attribute every bad thing in life to "Satan, that Liar from the Pits of Hell!" What if, like the Israelite men who joined with the Moabite women, I have become my own satan? It is possible to obstruct and destroy our own walk of faith.

What if the satan is an angel sent from above to provoke us to repentance, like Balaam? Or King Saul? Or even Paul? Paul was given a "messenger of Satan" to trouble him in the flesh in order to keep him from becoming too proud because of the greatness of the revelation given to him.

If Paul's revelation was of the gathering of the Gentiles into Israel to become one people, then Balaam's name is instructive, for it means, "Not of the people." Paul's pride in this great revelation could have led him to become proud, which would be abhorrent to the Father. Does He give us great revelation so that we may seek admiration from others? No! And if He needs to send a messenger of satan to keep us level-headed and humble-hearted, He will!

The greatness of the revelation that we are walking today could have made a person even as wise as Paul proud, so we must ask ourselves, have I become proud in this revelatory Torah walk that the Ruach revealed to me? Are some of the satans I'm encountering put there from Heaven to keep me troubled in my spirit until I acquire the humility necessary to walk before Him and others in ever-increasing faith?  
Am I like King Saul, and not all the Scripture ever written or sung will tenderize my heart toward my human "family"? Do I throw darts at my sons in Messiah and hatefully stalk and pursue those who are beloved by the Body of Messiah?

Make no mistake. If you decide to walk humbly with Adonai in the Torah, you will encounter satans. The wasting adversary wants to obstruct your salvation walk:

"For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Co 1:18)  

Did you see that? Being saved! Those who perceive the Word walk with Yeshua as foolishness will become satans to obstruct the path of the righteous. You are walking a path that they cannot even see the end of, only the present thing that you are doing that pricks their own undisciplined walk.

Satans Among Us

Just because someone can vocalize the Torah does not mean that he has submitted to its authority in his or her life. Balaam used the Sacred Name.  You may find that someone's use of the Torah or the Sacred Name is self-serving. The test is how he treats Israel, his brothers and sisters in Messiah Yeshua. Does this person feel threatened by others and verbally attack them in order to increase his own following? Does he promote competition rather than partnership? Does he blame others  for his problems? Truthfully, the one constant in all my problems is me. Truthfully, the one constant in all your problems is you.

Balaam wanted to curse Israel. If you curse your brothers who are being saved, and therefore live in imperfection, then you are a Balaam, a satan, and even he was forced by the Adonai to prophesy beauty and unity over Israel.
  
When we have trouble getting things to work, it may be because we've ignored the clear commandment to bless Adonai's people and chosen to curse them instead, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" If you want to overcome your fear and insecurity, start blessing your Father's children.
  
Had the disciples given the women who reported Yeshua's resurrection a thimbleful of respect, would they have been so foolish in their walk with Yeshua? The disciples were STILL IN HIDING! Yeshua knew where they were, but did they? Adonai knows how we mistreat His people, and he knows the excuses and blame behind which we hide. We blame His people! Adam blamed Eve! He used the flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone as an excuse. There's irony. Why do we excuse our bad behavior and blame others who are our flesh and bone in the Body of Messiah? We are deceived by a lowly parasite satan growing fatter with every foolish word of blame.

Why do we attribute to satan so much power and fame?

Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? (Is 14:15-17)
   
Satan aspires to great heights, but he only rules kingdoms on earth with the lifeblood of deceived and rebellious human beings.  Daily self-reflection on the Word is how one discerns whether satans are of our own making and invitation, or they are the natural result of a fallen world (Balaam described himself as "falling down") who either purposely or unwittingly become our satans.  Ultimately, humankind will view satan for what he is...a lowly thing that fed on their appetites for wisdom, power, glory, food, drink, and sex. 

These things powered Balaam and Balak's sin machine.  Pinchas, however, guarded the holy place of worship.  He performed his assigned Levitical task.  He was not deceived by satan.  A satan is one who cares not how his behavior causes grief, pain, suffering, and loss to the innocent.  Pinchas, whose name means "bronze mouth," lived up to his calling.  Like the bronze serpent forced Israel to look up at the position that they'd given him over the Spirit of Adonai, to admit that their emotions, desires, and intellect had deceived them, so Yeshua's salvation Spirit lifts our heads and gives us the power to put the serpent of deceit under our feet.  If we don't face the serpent and realize that sometimes the satan is us, then the plague cannot be stopped.  
 
Stay humble like Paul. Recognize that the obstructing messenger COULD BE from Heaven to adjust thinking and the direction of our feet. The satan could also be the natural result of walking a righteous path on which we are repeatedly reminded that we must overcome in order to walk.
  
If a way is wicked, it draws out a satan.

If a way is righteous, it draws out a satan.
  
Humble yourself if your way is foolish. Turn back.

Put on your armor and persist if your way is righteous. Fight through.  
Pray that the Ruach HaKodesh opens your eyes to the end of your faith and that your falls are only learning experiences, not who you become by blaming and cursing everyone else. Heaven will never place more on a righteous man or woman than can be overcome.
  
How lovely are your tents, O Jacob, and your dwelling places, O Israel. Your Father sees the perfection you are becoming, not the mess you are.





Creation Gospel Beginner Online Seminar

I will be holding an eight-hour intensive Creation Gospel Workbook One online seminar (via WebEx) either in late August or September.  I will look at the emails and facebook responses to see how much interest there is for either two four-hour Sunday classes or four two-hour weekday evening classes.  If you are interested, the textbook is Creation Gospel Workbook One: The Creation Foundation, which is available through Hebraic Roots Network.

There is no charge for the seminar, although donations can be made on our website. If you have a serious interest, respond to creationgospel@gmail.com and indicate whether you'd prefer two four-hour classes on consecutive Sundays or four two-hour evening classes. 

I will continue to update details in this newsletter once the dates and times are selected.




Women of Valor in November

Women of Valor now has a new website! Please check it out and consider registering for the conference this November. 



LaMalah Children's Centre
 
Orphanage Update

Thank you
to all who shipped a copy of the International Children's Bible to the orphanage in Kenya.  There were enough donors that each child can have his or her own copy, and a few left over for newcomers.   
Special thanks to our regular donors and our new donors.  Click on this Dropbox link for a special Powerpoint presentation giving the history of LaMalah Children's Centre.

If you have children's clothes or children's books (in English) to send, you can mail them to:   
 
Peter W Ndungu
P.O.Box 724
Limuru 00217
Kenya
East Africa

If you can help toward this goal, as always, we welcome your assistance.  For those of you who send monthly support to the orphanage, we can't thank you enough for fulfilling Messiah's commission.


Another way to help...

Want to help The Creation Gospel every time you purchase something on Amazon? Our ministry is part of our local congregation, The Olive Branch, in East Bernstadt, Kentucky. If you reset your amazon home page to  https://smile.amazon.com  and select The Olive Branch Messianic Congregation Inc. as your charity, Amazon donates a small percentage of each sale. Every penny helps, and our congregation is a great help in meeting special needs at the orphanage and other outreaches.