This letter covers an article I enclose for publication, which is topical at present and was drafted for several reasons. First, I have corresponded with Brother Ladwig since the inception of The Roundtable, and he told me in his last letter he intended to track the devil to his lair, whom he termed this elusive fellow. The result he has now made public in the latest issue of his magazine. Secondly, between the receipt of his last letter to me and the issue of the aforesaid Roundtable, I also received my first letter from J. W. Williams, enclosing with it a questionnaire signed by him, containing 20 items relating to, Is there a personal Devil, and desiring my viewpoint on the several items.
His covering letter he informed me was due to a long delayed apology he considered I was entitled to because of his persuading Brother Larsen not to publish an article of mine entitled Christian Agnosticism. I had forgotten the incident. Also his reasons for vacating his post as Editor Associate on the Diff. I replied to his letter and his questionnaire on the Devil, the latter only as I considered certain items relevant to the main subject, most of which were not so.
This is some of the background and part of my reasons in drafting the enclosed article. It is not a criticism, more of a review from an altogether fresh angle hitherto not presented by any of your contributors. For this reason I consider it suitable and timely for the Diff., and have abridged it as much as possible in the light of its important subject. I am not selling Truth, nor am I peddling it, hence I shall esteem it a favour if you decline its acceptance to return it to me. Nonetheless, this should not be necessary, in my humble opinion.
I could have sent it along to Brother H. Cameron, Editor of the New Zealand Magazine Theopneutos, whose open-mindedness I can rely on, but as this magazine is produced by simple working class people who produce it in their spare time I did not want to jeopardize its rising popularity. Brother Ladwig has openly proclaimed he is quite prepared to suffer in any way on account of his latest foible; and the Diff. has by this time a good foundation in many solid directions, so that is another reason I send this article to you. I know any difference between you and me will have the least weight with you. I make no pretense of scholarship and hence stick to plain facts. You have contributors on your staff who can, and have, dealt with the eruditional side of this subject, such as "demons," etc., in the original languages, which, of course, Brother Ladwig steers clear of in his article. My name and address can be printed as I wish to take all responsibility off your shoulders.
This rather long letter has been worth while as it was meant to give you the background for drafting and sending along my article to you. Best wishes and kind regards and blessing, in your work which I understand is quite varied.
Yours in His Grace,
F. M. LAMBIE.
"He should not be falling into the reproach and trap of
the adversary." 1 Tim. 3:7, C. V. Rev. I Edit.
"They will be sobering up out of the trap of the adversary,. having been caught alive by him, for that one's will." 2 Tim. 2:26, C. V. Rev. I Edit.
Brethren opposed to Timothy had to be carefully handled in their opposition to him, for their opposition indicated the devil had ensnared them, as a fowler sets traps for the saints, especially one not having a good report among men generally, as one likely to be ensnared than one whose honour and integrity as an office bearer had been established. It should be: Timothy's endeavour to assist their recovery as they had been taken captive by the devil at his will. Certain lines of conduct exemplified in Satan ought to be avoided so as not to fall into his trap in order not to fall into similar condemnation. The trap was Satan's; the condemnation God's. A high independence of judgment is a good thing but there is such a thing as pride or conceit in having an "independent" spirit, but when this is carried to the extreme it may lead to the intoxication and slavery in being trapped in the snare of the devil. Especially is this so when a brother is placed in a responsible position.
These remarks are made because of publication by a well known editor and teacher, of an article on The Devil, Do You Really Know Him?, in his magazine, The Roundtable. The present writer has no intention of examining and criticising the above mentioned article. We think there is a much better way. Seventeen years ago we sent a book to Mr. A. E. Knoch for review, entitled, The Devil—an Expose, and upon its return (it being on loan) A. E. K. in a letter made the remark, "A very dangerous book." This same remark can be applied to the particular issue of The Roundtable under discussion. It is like the curate's egg, good in parts, but mostly bad. Great expectations were placed before us that this elusive "fellow"—the devil—would be revealed "as to his real identity"; but after much research we were introduced to the absurd theory propagated by Dr. Thomas many years ago, namely that the devil is in every human being as the evil disposition of the flesh. All this is old straw threshed out and thrown out with the chaff.
The purpose of this article is to present definite evidence from Scripture that the devil, or satan, is a super-human, invisible spirit being; a prince and ruler of the kingdom of evil over subordinate evil spirits, or demons. Both denied by the article which will be used as the background for this demonstration of Truth.
We choose a direct, undisguised glossing over of one particular incident which is the pivot of the Law and has direct association with the sacrifices given to Israel by Moses. We quote from page 13, "There was nothing in the prophets that would lead one to believe there is a spirit world of evil beings headed by a chief. No Beelzeboul was mentioned in the prophets. If so, where?" (Italics F. M. L.) The above citation was based on the assumption that "The Lord used Beelzeboul . . . . . merely to recognize him for the sake of the discussion." Again, "But this was merely a figure of admission to prove the Lord's statement and not the acceptance of a superstition as truth." (Italics, F. M. L.) Thus the whole important incident is dismissed without any further comment. The fact that some people deny the existence of the devil and demons is no more proof of their non-existence than the atheist's, denial of God proves there is no God. Assertion, or denial proves nothing. "Previous to the incident related of the curing of the deaf-mute in Luke 11:14-26, we find that the Lord figured serpents and Scorpions as representations of evil spirits by giving his disciples authority over "the entire power of the enemy"—Luke 10:20. Strange conduct this if but Lord was using "merely a figure of admission"? Why should He say at that particular time, "I beheld Satan as lightning, falling out of heaven"? Was it not because He HAD given the seventy-two authority over the entire power of the ENEMY; and Satan, the enemy, who came to the help of his minions, as the strong one being despoiled?—Luke 11:21. He assured them that under no circumstances would they be injured. Again we remark, strange words from One Who was using "merely a figure of admission" accommodating Himself to the superstition of His opponents. His disciples were to rejoice, not in their power over demons (supposedly non-existent), but that their names were engraven in the heavens. Here as else where "demons" is used as a synonym for "spirits." All this harmonizes with our Lord's claim of power over Beelzeboul in Matt. 12 and Luke 11. It is not language in accommodation to the subject under discussion. The preserves of Satan were being spoiled by releasing his victims from his toils. That is the lesson of the parable given in Luke 11:23. We have said that the incident related in Luke 11:14-20 was the pivot of the Law; and its dismissal as based upon superstition and not Truth is by no means edifying. The example given in Deut. 20:16-18 will serve to illustrate this point, "thou shall save alive nothing that breatheth; but thou shall utterly destroy them." They were the basest of Idolaters. Herein is the solution of that cryptic phrase "that will by no means clear the guilty."—Exod. 34:7. No mercy was to be shown in God's dealings with idolatry unto the third and fourth generation. It was considered sufficient to extend the punishment to the fourth generation because that generation is the utmost a man can see of his posterity. From the context it is evident this utter destruction of the guilty refers exclusively to the sin of idolatry, and to no other sin. Deut. 13:15.
Beelzeboul came under this category although idolatry had vanished from Israel since the captivity in Babylon. Therefore, it was most shameful and, insulting to the Lord for the scruples to suggest that He, had succeeded in propitiating Beelzeboul, and thereupon securing authority to release his captives. Furthermore; their statement He cast out demons by the power given Him from the prince of demons revealed they associated Beelzeboul with authority of the air more deadly to man than the insects seen by the natural eye. Not only so, the scribes were not so foolish as to imagine that a "non-existent" god could bestow such power. The issue was plain—God or Satan. The principle is the same whether it be a personal spirit being; or a wooden or stone idol. The latter idea is absurd. Yet we are asked to believe this absurdity. A mere superstition not based upon fact, so it is' said, to bolster up a theory.
The people in general were particularly interested in the deaf-mute. That is why the scribes were antagonist to the sign. Why? Because it was generally held to be most difficult to expel a demon whose victim was deaf, as the sense-gates would be closed even to the demon. Hence the throngs began to marvel. These things are most important because the record is inspired. They cannot be dismissed by stating "merely a figure of admission," in order to back up a spacious theory. Then if Beelzeboul is mentioned in the prophets it is asked, "where"? We are led indirectly to the subject in Zephaniah 2:4. To suggest our Lord meant by Beelzeboul some idol erected centuries before at Ekron and no longer in existence in His day would be to put in absurdity into His mouth, for any human being is greater than any idol. It is absurd to suggest (as is done) the whole idea is "acceptance of a superstition as truth." Quite true, "our problem is to find out what the Scriptures actually teach on Satan and not what tradition has held and taught," and we may also add, not what superstition or glossing over of Scripture is supposed to teach. Another prophet who mentioned Baal and said, "you have denied the Lord and said He is not" and "burnt incense unto Baal, and walked after other gods whom ye know not" is Jeremiah (5:12; 7:9 ,10). Ahaziah served Baal by seeking healing and so placed himself in the power of the demons associated with the worship at Ekron. Like modern spiritualism these demons could cure as well as cause illness, by taking possession of, or leaving their victims. So that, not only in the prophets, but also in the historical books can be found witness to Beelzeboul, which is but a branch of Baal. A lamentable ignorance of Scripture is shown by asking such a question, "If so, where"? The inspiration of Scripture settles the question regarding whether the idol is anything or there is something other than the idol behind it. "What, then, am I averring? That the idol sacrifice is anything? Or that the idol is anything? But that which the nations are sacrificing, they are sacrificing to DEMONS and NOT to God."—I Cor. 10:19, 20. Settled!
A nation under servitude to Pharaoh, worshippers of the True God, was to be released by, the servant of God, Moses, but before doing so, he knew from past experience (having been brought up in the court of Pharaoh in all the wisdom of Egypt) that he would be asked what God sent him, therefore, he asked God what he should say when asked, who sent him? He was given a revelation of God's Name—Jehovah. Not only so, he was given three signs as credentials in authorization to lead forth the people of Israel. Some there are so ignorant of Satan's devices (2 Cor. 11:3, 14; 2:11) that they deny the personality of this Satan. For the purpose of their contention they. state this word transferred from Hebrew to English means "adversary," and the word from the Greek means "diabolos," or false accuser, and are applied to human beings, even to women, and to systems of evil. This is quite true. But when we are asked to believe that when and where this word appears with the article "the" before it it refers to the depraved human mind, or evil principle in that mind apart from any other personality, we must strongly dissent, and ask for thoughtful consideration of historical facts we propose to present to you." By the method by which Jannes and Jambres withstand Moses"—2 Tim. 3:8—we trust to demonstrate from Scripture that Moses being quite familiar with the powers of the Egyptian magicians knowing from whence they derived their authority, being well equipped to withstand the satanic power behind them. We have no reason to doubt these two sorcerers actually did what was related of them. It was against their interests that anyone like Moses (whom doubtless they knew) should place them in a lower and secondary position before Pharaoh.
Now, without question, it was utterly beyond the power of mankind without assistance from a higher power to perform any of these three signs which Aaron did before the assembled elders of the sons of Israel—Exod. 4:29-31. Afterwards Moses then went into the presence of Pharaoh and made request that he let God's people go three days' journey into wilderness and sacrifice to their God. This without performing any sign. The first three signs performed were repeated by Jannes and Jambres. Superstition cannot account for the power of these two contenders against the servant of God. They failed in the fourth sign and made the significant remark, "This is the finger of God"—Exod. 8:19—the very words used by our Lord to the scribes in Luke 11:20. There is no suggestion of trickery on the part of Janries and Jambres. The lesson here is that Satan's power is limited like the sea, thus fat and no further. How neatly a rightly divided Word fits in. It cannot be glossed over without error. Even more significant is the fact that in Matthew's account of the same incident our Lord makes the statement which has puzzled many expositors. "Whoever may be saying a word against the Son of Mankind, it will be pardoned him, yet whoever may be saying aught against the holy spirit, it shall not be pardoned him, neither in this eon nor in that which is impending." Very solemn words to be treated so lightly in even suggesting that our Lord was catering to the then tradition and superstition of his opponents, the scribes. Even their children in the judgment would testify against them for having so foolishly spoken against their correct judgment regarding the activity of demons. The scribes were thus judged out of their own mouths and their argument neatly turned against them.
The denial of Satan as a personality naturally requires difficult Scriptures should be treated as allegory. It is so convenient. Especially in a book where Satan is mentioned 14 times with the Hebrew article "the" before it. His wiles must of necessity be turned against a book wherein he is so prominent when he desires to remain hidden, so, of course, those who do not believe in. a personal devil treat the book of Job not as history, but allegory. Chronologically, we believe this book to have been written even before the Pentateuch, as its writer knew the Divine Name—JEHOVAH—and used it purposely in conjunction with the personal name of the adversary—the Satan—and only in the first two chapters of the book in which that name appears more than in any others in Scripture.
Residing as I do in the Commonwealth of Australia, where each separate state has a governor representing the Crown, and a Governor-General as well, it is no disrespect to the other governors in the several states if the chief governor is referred to as "the Governor," using a capital letter in so designating him. Thus side by side with the Ineffable Tetragrammaton—JEHOVAH—is found "The Adversary." Maimonides remarks, "It is not said," "And the sons of God and the adversary came to present themselves before the Lord"; this sentence would have implied that the existence of all that same was of the same kind and rank." As the sentence is in the original such a phrase is only used in reference to one that comes uninvited. "He is in no relation to the beings above, and has no place among them." In modern parlance, Satan was a gate-crasher. He had no wedding garment. He was not a son of God. His habitat was going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it."
It is always so easy and convenient to treat an incident or a book as an allegory inasmuch as this method depersonalizes all actors therein. To be as charitable as possible it is due to careless thinking. What we have in the book of Job is Revelation and Inspiration, existential spirit life; not analogy. There are over fifty passages quoted from this book in the other books of Scripture. Associated with the name of Job there are the names of Noah and Daniel in Ezekiel 14:20, not to speak of James 5:11. By the same token of allegory the serpent in Genesis in relation to Eve is politely bowed out and like Satan in Job becomes non-existent as a speaking creature. It was Eve's "mental reasoning" (page 19). So the same argument can be used of the speaking ass (Num. 22:21-35), which saw the "angel of the Lord" unseen by Balaam. The "soliloquy" between Balaam and the ass before Jehovah opened his eyes, by the same token must have been Balaam's mental reasoning also. The whole idea is absurd. We are on firmer ground when "the origin of sin" is dealt with at page 15. Why is this? For the simple reason that Paul in Romans 5 does not treat Adam as an allegory. Let us be consistent. When Jehovah could cause the ass to speak could Satan not make the most subtle of the beasts of the field to hear and speak? Again, we are asked to believe that every man and woman is a devil. Our Lord, did not think so when addressing the Twelve. He said, "Do not I choose you, the twelve, and ONE of you is a devil"?—John 6:70. Incidentally, the Inter. Revised Edition of the C. V. has translated "diabolos" here "adversary," as it has also done in the two passages prefixed in this article. Although agreeing "adversary" and "diabolos" are synonyms it is hardly concordant to take such liberties with Scripture.
Returning to Job. We spoke of existential spirit life. Revelation
there indicates a break through of spiritual forces into the natural
order of being. This is all out of our depth intellectually, and must
be received in Faith. They are more
real than natural things. As in the case of Jannes and Jambres. A
strict line of demarcation was laid down in Goshen where Israel dwelt.
The sorcery of the magicians could not save them as individuals from
the plague of boils. In the book of Job the adversary was able to
inflict boils upon Job,
but he was unable to save his two emissaries from probably the same
affliction. For the authority and power behind Jannes and Jambres was
the Adversary. As with all others who work wonders in these modern days
and teach "doctrines of demons" (not doctrines that there are no
demons, that there is no personal Satan, but doctrines emanating from
demons, such as spiritualism, etc.) their folly shall be made clear.
This study portrayed from Scripture reveals a hidden foe who has
stupefied them as to his existence. The fire and wind which destroyed
the servants and sheep of Job and the house and the sons in it,
although permitted by Jehovah, were the work of the Adversary, just as
the first three great miracles performed by Jannes and Jambres were a
break through of this existential spiritual Adversary. "This article
will have served its purpose if even one of God's saints led captive by
his will escape his toils. Put on the whole panoply of God. Not
sections picked for a purpose. There were powers behind these two
sorcerers "in accord with the chief of the jurisdiction of the air, the
spirit now operating (energizing) in the sons of stubbornness."
Personally, I have seen the dire results physically and mentally on
friends, one of whom in ordinary circumstances I could have easily
overpowered, but it required three of us to hold him down and control
him, who before and after, was as quiet and harmless a person one could
wish to meet. I have known a spiritualist, after he had come under
God's grace and power, relate to me tremblingly how he had had his
nights disturbed by his familiar spirit. This experience was real to
him, and we should thank God we are delivered from the "authority of
Satan—in every respect as cited above—to God"—Acts
26:18. We can quite easily identify "the natural man"; but that which
is not objectified is a different proposition. I commend to all my
"Put on the panoply of God."
F. M. LAMBIE.
Last updated 24.10.2008