Jason, there is an old saying that a quality reviewer will never treat an article like a book or a book like an article.
Unfortunately, you criticized my article like it was a book. This is one reason I think what you described as “jumping up and down on my article” is not in good form.
But, be that as it may, I gave you a link to a 400 plus page PDF book where I provide an answer to most every issue you have raised. I don’t necessarily expect you to agree with my answers, especially given the vehemence of your tone, but if you really want to fairly evaluate what I am proposing, then go to that appendix where I list most all the topics you mention. Then I would be happy to dialogue, especially if we can keep the dismissive "duh"s and sarcastic "uh"s which you used earlier to a minimum. That’s not irony, that’s sarcasm. That just doesn’t help dialogue.
Concerning your continuing criticism of me for daring to quote myself without explicitly notifying you first, I would note that you and I had no previous dialogue about anything. You sent me no invitation to join the thread or opportunity to respond to any clarifying questions, but just started blazing away. I was very late to the thread and chose to respond to that one point amongst your many criticisms, while citing the link to my book to explain your other objections. The reason I decided to include the article was your rather vivid reference included below:
“Also, ever been driven out of somewhere you don’t want to be by a whip of small cords? Any historian (or for topical reference any slave or slave-master!) ought to be able to tell you, it would hurt and maybe even leave scars – depending on how it was wielded and on how obstinate the person was on staying in the area. We don’t have details of how far Jesus went exactly in doing it, but if he braided the thing Himself He had to spend at least half an hour preparing and that shows commitment to using the thing in an non-incidental manner.”
You now claim you weren’t citing this passage as a prooftext that Jesus was physically violent toward men. I’m glad you now feel this way, but the above quote indicates you felt otherwise when you squandered your imagination to concoct this bloody imagery-- of Jesus taking thirty minutes to carefully weave a whip which would hurt and possibly scar men. You WERE clearly planting the visual seed. Just own it.
Regardless, I will continue to “quote myself” as often as I feel necessary. You are hereby put on notice. You are not the originator of many of the objections to a non-violent Jesus which are based on passages you mentioned. You have asked nothing new. If I have answered the core of your question before, I am not going to reinvent the wheel. If you manage to ask something new and original, I’ll make sure to give you a hot-off-the-press answer.
At this point, my book is my answer to your concerns about my article.
I see your hermeneutical approach relies heavily, perhaps exclusively, on verbal context, but relies little on subtext or super-text, terms I described in my previous posts. I would refer you to my comments on subtext, for it is there where allegory is birthed. I see no place for subtext in your style, which is your choice of course, but this is where we have differing reading styles.
But, keeping it at merely a contextual level, my article provided a plethora of proof by well established Jewish and Christian authors and theologians which established that the Old Testament THEOLOGICAL CONTEXT (as established by both Biblical and extraBiblical ancient Jewish literature) showed a very different view of Satan than is presented by the New Testament (although their view of Satan as a pneumatic nemesis rather than a servant angel did develop more during the inter-testimonial period preceding the coming of Jesus). Concerning their insightful findings, you were strangely and, to use your word, “clunkily” silent.
All I did was to take their findings half a step further to show how the OT saints’ undifferentiated view of Satan THEN subsequently affected their religious expression of ideas in OT Scripture. You, however, ignore these scholars and somehow still maintain that the Old Testament view of Satan is AS informed, if not more informed, than the New Testament. That is simply untenable. I believe your view of the Old Testament THEOLOGICAL CONTEXT with regard to Satan is grossly underdeveloped.
Reading your Temple and Fig Tree analyses, you engage almost exclusively in “eisegesis”, but little to no “exegesis.” Your comments about the Temple incident, the broad Pharisaical support of Jesus which you claim(!), as well as your quick dismissal of traditional exegetes on this passage, all confirm that you are reading what you want into the text. You are looking to justify an occasionally or potentially violent Jesus and that is determining your one dimensional understanding of this passage. I certainly am not saying “eisegesis” is always unprofitable, but just don’t mislabel it as “exegesis” and at the same time sarcastically dismiss others who are actually engaging in “exegesis.”
I am sure you will say I am the one engaging in eisegesis, but that is you making another hasty conclusion. As I said, I am factoring in the “theological context” of the Old Testament writers to better understand the meanings, definitions and applications of the words they left us. For them, the term “God” included the “wrath of Satan.” They believed Satan was God’s obedient and official “minister of wrath,” His “angry voice.” Recognizing this dynamic is PURE exegesis. Remaining ignorant of this fact retards our understanding of Scripture’s super-text, where the overall flow of the Bible is headed in other words.
You, by contrast, are instead investing in speculation on a Jesus who spends 30 minutes honing and weaving a scar-causing instrument of pain with which to afflict humans. That is PURE eisegesis.
Actually, to disregard “theological context” as you have clearly done is better described “reverse eisegesis,” that is, reading OUT of the text what you don’t want to be there. You are NOT engaging the texts on multiple levels of interpretation-- through context, subtext and super-text. You appear oblivious to the ancient world’s Prosopological reading style (see Pauline scholar Matthew Bates’ book discussed in my bellow link to The Jesus Hermeneutic). Rather, you are largely reading the passages in question by the dead and brittle letter. You are not vigorously engaging, stretching, or exploring the VARIOUS dynamics, the fuller meanings behind the words, or factoring in the theological perspectives of those who actually wrote the words. There is nothing wrong with not being aware of ancient reading styles, but when you brashly bash others who are aware of them for not meeting your 21st century sensibilities, you honestly need to take a step back and reconsider that this may take a little more investment to grasp.
Literalism is lazy, hasty and a wide open door to bring our own suppositions to the text. This is not subtext, but subverted text. The fact that Old Testament writers viewed Yahweh as God’s loving right hand and Satan as His wrathful left is FULL of theological implications. You should at least admit that. For instance, Old Testament saints would frequently pray a beggar’s plea directly to God to stay His wrath because they saw Satan and God joined at the conceptual hip, one in purpose and intent.
This is NOT the New Testament way. New Testament prayers, by contrast, were always prayed in the Greek imperative mood, boldly coming to the throne of grace in time of need, rebuking and resisting Satan directly. There was no begging of a wrathful God to stay his hand in the New. This is a huge difference of our abiding posture toward God. You really should be rejoicing at this truth instead if scoffing at it.
Regarding the developmental limitations in the Old Testament regarding Satan, here are some amazing statistics. A typical Old Testament is 1,109 pages compared to the New Testament’s 334 pages. The Old Testament is over three times larger than the New. Yet, the New Testament references to Satan dwarf the Old Testament references. Satan basically just appears in three Old Testament passages - - Job 1-2; Zech. 3:1-2 and 1 Chr. 21:1. Yet, in the New Testament every writer mentions Satan. “Devil” is mentioned 60 times, “Devils” 51 times, “Satan” 31 times, as well as a plethora of other verses mentioning Satan by other names, such as the wicked one (1 Jn. 5:18), the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8), your adversary (1 Pet. 5:8), the tempter (Matt. 4:3), a murderer from the beginning (Jn. 8:44), prince of this world (Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), accuser of our brethren (Rev. 12:10), thief (Jn. 10:10), a liar and the father of it (Jn. 8:44), angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), and the great dragon (Rev. 12:9).
And yet you steadfastly claim (or appear to) there is no significant difference between the Satan portrayed in the Old and New Testaments.
Here are some more facts to ponder:
Abraham never mentioned the name of Satan.
Isaac never mentioned the name of Satan.
Jacob never mentioned the name of Satan.
Moses never mentioned the name of Satan.
David never mentioned the name of Satan.
These Old Testament saints never rebuked the demonic, never cast out devils and never engaged in spiritual warfare against dark powers and principalities. When they prayed to God, their approach was to ask God to do or not to do something. “God, please don’t destroy us” or “God, please destroy our earthly enemy” or “God, please be merciful and stop afflicting us.” It was all in God’s hands, in other words. They frequently prayed for the Lord to relent and change His mind about things. They actually asked the Lord to “repent” of His destructions toward them.
The bottom line is that Satan is rarely mentioned in the Old Testament, and is never identified either as the source of evil or as an enemy of God. When Satan is mentioned, he is seen as a servant of God, merely obeying the directives of God. In fact, according to modern day Jewish encyclopedias, Satan is still considered by the Jews to be the angel of death described in the Old Testament who simply carries out the judgments and punishments of God.
Jesus, by contrast, continually exposed and rebuked both Satan and his devils. He made clear that Satan was a cosmic rebel opposed to God’s kingdom on every level. Satan was not working for God but against Him.
Jesus revealed that Satan is the author and sender of sin, death, sickness, lust, pride, destruction and oppression, NOT God. John 8:44; Acts 10:19; Hebrews 2:14. “ALL that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is NOT OF THE FATHER, BUT IS OF THE WORLD.” 1 John 2:16.
Since Jesus called Satan “the ruler of this world,” a ruler in whose power the whole world lies, we know that ALL sinful lust and pride come NOT from the Father, but from Satan. John 12:31; 14:30, 16:11; 1 John 5:19. We, as mankind, certainly wrongfully cooperate with the evil concocted by Satan, BUT “he” is the author and sender of it, NOT Jesus, NOT the Holy Ghost, and NOT the Heavenly Father.
Jesus came to DIFFERENTIATE our image of God, to purify it, to purge Satan totally out of the equation so that we could finally behold the goodness of God without blemish or flaw. All we have to do is aggressively ALLOW the Holy Spirit to renew our minds to “that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2.
CONCLUSION: WE MUST “CUT” SATAN TOTALLY “OUT” AND “AWAY” FROM OUR IMAGE OF GOD! WE DO THIS BY FERVENTLY COMMANDING SATAN TO “GET BEHIND ME!” WHENEVER HE SEEKS TO CORRUPT OUR IMAGE OF GOD.
Jesus modeled this specific combat declaration for us in the two following passages:
“And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, GET THEE BEHIND ME, SATAN: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
If using this combat-cry was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for us. If it was necessary for Jesus to cast behind Him all Satanic ideas about His Heavenly Father’s will, nature and purposes, then it is necessary for us as well. The Old Testament saints didn’t know this. We NOW do, at least if we want to.
Moreover, with regard to prayer, Jesus never prayed to change God’s will but rather to release it. Jesus didn’t change God’s mind, He revealed it. Jesus prayed that God’s will be done on earth, NOT that God repent of His planned evil in order to line up with our prayer petitions. Exodus 32:12. We are the ones who need to repent and relent of evil, not God. His mercy and grace is light years ahead of us of every level.
Without the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth, Old Testament saints simply could not accurately process HOW the two invisible personalities of God and Satan operated on the earth. It wasn’t God working WITH Satan as they supposed. It was God working AGAINST Satan as Jesus revealed. Jesus revealed that between their two kingdoms, there was no treaty, no cooperation, no partnership, no under-the-table deals, no compromise, no joint operation going on. IT WAS WAR! Jesus stated the battle lines of this war in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. But I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” Satan = stealing, killing, destroying. Jesus = life abundant.
Let me close by responding to two of your criticisms/questions. First, you asked how I apply the bracket to the New Testament. I don’t apply it because I don’t think it’s needed in the New. First, I think your analysis of the New Testament stance on Satan is largely incorrect. The progression of Satan from Old Testament servant angel to New Testament cosmic rebel was gradual. I agree with Derek that the New Testament is the floor, the Old Testament the basement underneath that floor, but our current calling is to continue to extend the ceiling as high as we can conceive it.
So, to answer your question, the Old Testament has several roadblocks to God’s non-violent goodness, whereas the New has a few speed-bumps. However, the trajectory of the New, the super-text in other words, points to the destination I am proposing-- that God is non-violent, while Satan, whether a devilish dynamic or a devilish entity, is the source of all violence and destruction.
The New Testament verses I cited above dwarf the few you cited in your post for your proposition that Satan is still God’s cozy thug in the NT who continues to do his dirty work. You are misinterpreting many NT texts: Ananias and Sapphira, Revelation, and several others you mention, all of which I discuss in my book. Those not withstanding, there are a few speed-bumps which I also discuss in my book.
But, the overwhelming super-text of the NT paints Satan as opponent of God’s will, not an agent of it. You have to look where the overall flow of Scripture is headed, not to a few isolated passages which are still tinged with Old Testament wrath. NT writers did a have an occasional flare up of Old Testament hyper-sovereignty every now and then which caused a speed bump here and there, especially when it came to referencing certain enemies of the Gospel. BUT, taking Paul’s teaching as a whole, he was light years ahead of the OT view of Satan, as was John, as was Peter, as was Jesus.
Why, oh why would we regress back into an OT undifferentiated view of God and Satan. Why not instead accept the developmental promotion Jesus brought us? God is not our enemy. Satan is. That there is a quantum leap in the theological development of Satan between Old and New Testaments is really beyond dispute. Why you continue to dispute it then, is most puzzling.
Do you really propose that the Jesus revealed in the Gospels is the same divinity who the Old Testament describes below?
“The LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nothing.” Deuteronomy 28:63. WHAT???
“The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee.” Deuteronomy 28:21. YIKES!!!
“The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption , and with a fever , and with an inflammation , and with an extreme burning , and with the sword , and with blasting , and with mildew ; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.” Deuteronomy 28:22. OUCH!!!
“The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust : from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.” Deuteronomy 28:24. GULP!!!
“The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies : thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air , and unto the beasts of the earth , and no man shall fray them away.” Deuteronomy 28:25-26. EEEWWW!!!
“The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt , and with the emerods, and with the scab , and with the itch , whereof thou canst not be healed.” Deuteronomy 28:27. GROSS!!!
“The LORD shall smite thee with madness , and blindness , and astonishment of heart : And thou shalt grope at noonday , as the blind gropeth in darkness , and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways : and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore.” Deuteronomy 28:28-29. OMIGOSH!!!
“The LORD shall smite thee in the knees , and in the legs , with a sore botch that cannot be healed , from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.” Deuteronomy 28:35. SHEESH!!
“The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known ; and there shalt thou serve other gods , wood and stone.” Deuteronomy 28:36. HE MAKES ME SERVE OTHER GODS??!!
“Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed ; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God , to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder , and upon thy seed for ever.” Deuteronomy 28:45-46. ON MY CHILDREN FOREVER AND EVER??!!
“Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness , and with gladness of heart , for the abundance of all things; Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger , and in thirst , and in nakedness , and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck , until he have destroyed thee.” Deuteronomy 28:47-48. HE CONTROLS MY ENEMIES??!!
“The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far , from the end of the earth , as swift as the eagle flieth ; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand ; A nation of fierce countenance , which shall not regard the person of the old , nor shew favour to the young : And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle , and the fruit of thy land , until thou be destroyed : which also shall not leave thee either corn , wine , or oil , or the increase of thy kine , or flocks of thy sheep , until he have destroyed thee… And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body , the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters , which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege , and in the straitness , wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee.” Deuteronomy 28:49-51, 53. HE WILL SEND AN ENEMY WHO CAUSES ME TO EAT MY OWN CHILDREN!!!
“The LORD will make thy plagues wonderful , and the plagues of thy seed , even great plagues , and of long continuance , and sore sicknesses , and of long continuance . Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt , which thou wast afraid of ; and they shall cleave unto thee.” Deuteronomy 28:59. WONDERFUL PLAGUES???!!
“Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt , which thou wast afraid of ; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness , and every plague , which is not written in the book of this law , them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed.” Deuteronomy 28:60-61. DESTROYED BY GOD???!!
“The LORD shall give thee thee a trembling heart , and failing of eyes , and sorrow of mind : And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night , and shalt have none assurance of thy life : In the morning thou shalt say , Would God it were even ! and at even thou shalt say , Would God it were morning ! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear , and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.” Deuteronomy 28:65-67. THE LORD MAKES US FEARFUL AND MISERABLE FOR NOT LOVING AND OBEYING HIM??! !
Jesus killed a nation full of Egyptian firstborn infants and children during the well-known Exodus story.
Jesus killed a huge city full of children of all ages in Sodom and Gomorra (not to mention all the other children killed in the flood, or at God’s express command in the various Biblical bloodbaths, including even rebellious Israelite children under God’s “no exception” stoning law). God burns these two cities to death. In Genesis 19:24, God kills everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from the sky. Then God kills Lot’s wife for looking back at her burning home.
God has 42 children mauled by bears. In 2 Kings 2:23-24, some youths tease the prophet Elisha, and God sends bears to dismember them. (Newer cosmetic translations say the bears “maul” the children, but the original Hebrew, baqa, means “to tear apart.”)
God drowns the whole earth in Genesis 7:21-23, God drowns the entire population of the earth: men, women, children, and fetuses.
God kills half a million people 2 Chronicles 13:15-18, God helps the men of Judah kill 500,000 of their fellow Israelites.
God kills 14,000 people for complaining that God keeps killing them.
In Numbers 16:41-49, the Israelites complain that God is killing too many of them. So, God sends a plague that kills 14,000 more of them.
Genocide after genocide after genocide. In Joshua 6:20-21, God helps the Israelites destroy Jericho, killing “men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.” In Deuteronomy 2:32-35, God has the Israelites kill everyone in Heshbon, including children. In Deuteronomy 3:3-7, God has the Israelites do the same to the people of Bashan. In Numbers 31:7-18, the Israelites kill all the Midianites except for the virgins, whom they take as spoils of war. In 1 Samuel 15:1-9, God tells the Israelites to kill all the Amalekites – men, women, children, infants, and their cattle – for something the Amalekites’ ancestors had done 400 years earlier.
God kills 50,000 people for curiosity. In 1 Samuel 6:19, God kills 50,000 men for peeking into the ark of the covenant. (Newer cosmetic translations count only 70 deaths, but their text notes admit that the best and earliest manuscripts put the number at 50,070.)
God orders 3,000 Israelites killed for inventing a false god. In Exodus 32, Moses has climbed Mount Sinai to get the Ten Commandments. The Israelites are bored, so they invent a golden calf god. Moses comes back and God commands him: “Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.” Around 3,000 people are then brutally killed.
The Amorites are destroyed by sword and by God’s rocks. In Joshua 10:10-11, God helps the Israelites slaughter the Amorites by sword, then finishes them off with rocks from the sky.
Had enough yet? There are MANY, MANY, more examples. To whom does the New Testament attribute the above kind of activity? Satan, Satan, and again, Satan. Are you really willing to say that Jesus did or commanded all the above? If so, then you ARE letting the dead letter of Scripture define God’s character, rather than letting the character of God define Scripture.
Lastly, your multi-paragraphed attempt to discredit allegory entirely just because I included the sole allegory of the good shepherd is grossly unbalanced. I included it as an example of allegory Jesus used in self-referencing Old Testament passages.
You are correct that David was certainly aware he was allegorizing when he originally wrote it, and I should have distinguished that, but you blatantly ignore my many other examples, and your omission of them discredits the balance and fairness of your analysis. Surely you are not saying that the all the respective OT authors were intentionally allegorizing in their recounting of events concerning the literal Temple of God (John 2:19-22), the literal manna from heaven (John 6:50), Jacob’s literal supernatural ladder (John 1:51), and the literal sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:38-40). Contrary to your scoffing, Jesus did frequently usurp facets of Israel’s literal history to allegorically apply to Himself.
Further, add the fact that Jesus primarily taught in allegorical parables, always describing what the Kingdom of God was “like” rather than what it “literally” was, and the case IS made. Jesus’ use of allegory, both in referencing the Old Testament, as well as His parabolic teaching, confirm that He was primarily a metaphorical thinker and communicator.
Your argument against pneumatic exegesis appears to be that since everyone claims to be hearing the Holy Spirit, therefore nobody can or should endeavor to do so. That logic is both dizzying and defeatist.
One last point, you mentioned the man Paul turned over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. Your brittle exegesis of that passage is quoted below.
“Paul hands over impenitent sinners like the Stepmom-Sleeping Guy earlier in 1 Cor (and a couple of named people in 1 Tim) to Satan for the destruction of their flesh, apparently to death, so that their spirits may be saved by God in the day of the Lord to come. God was not well-pleased with most of those who drank from Christ (and were baptized through the sea and ate the same spiritual food and drink, etc.), and part of Paul’s evidence that God was not well-pleased with them is that they were slain in the wilderness in various ways. From start to end in that chapter, PAUL PRESENTS GOD (== CHRIST) as the authority involved with their deaths, just as the OT writers presented God.”
Review your last sentence. I take it you agree with Paul here since you are quoting him to prove your point. Please tell me if you don’t agree with him. If you do, then you clearly do believe in killer Jesus, despite your earlier offense at that notion. You can’t have it both ways. If you believe it, own it. Don’t just say Paul believed it. Say you do. You do believe God/Jesus authoritatively and decisively kills in both Old and New just as you say they literally describe. And if you do, then bingo, you have just let the dead letter of Scripture define God’s character rather than allowing God’s character to define the Scripture.
Here is my response to that particular passage.
If God WAS by nature capable of:
–directly destroying a man’s flesh,
–of directly afflicting a man’s body,
–of directly killing a sinner in direct retribution for his sin
then WHERE would such a destructive demonstration occur in the New Testament?
Well, if God EVER wanted Himself to be notoriously noted as a vengeful destroyer of men’s flesh, it would surely be in a case of severe church transgression where a believer continually rejected corporate correction and thereafter continued steadfast in serious and sinister sin. After all, judgment begins in the house of God doesn’t it?
Well, this very thing happened in Corinth where a fallen member entered into an incestuous and adulterous relationship. He thereafter refused correction, eschewed repentance, and thumbed his nose at the Holy Spirit’s conviction.
Surely God would handle this case directly. He would punish such a man by His own church-correcting hand.
And yet this was Paul’s assessment:
“For I verily, being absent in body but present in spirit, have already as though I were present judged him that hath so wrought this thing, in the name of our Lord Jesus, ye being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, to DELIVER such a one UNTO SATAN for the DESTRUCTION OF THE FLESH, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 5:3-5.
The dynamic of allowing someone to be “turned over to Satan” is just another way of saying that EVENTUALLY people must be turned over to the consequences of what their free will chooses. We can pray continued protection for them, try to repeatedly help facilitate in leading them to quality repentance, and tenaciously battle for their souls, but there comes a point where people must be released to face the reaping their continual actions have sown. Thankfully though, here in this situation, as we learn in the second letter to the Corinthians, this sinning man soon repented and all, including Paul, rejoiced and received him back fully restored.
But here is the key point. Paul easily could have said, “God is now going to wrathfully destroy his flesh so that his Spirit may be saved,” but he did NOT. Satan was the ONLY entity here doing any destroying or afflicting, even of those being corrected within the church. Satan is always the ONLY destroyer of human flesh – ALWAYS.
This passage is proof positive that God just doesn’t afflict men. He saves Spirits. He heals bodies. But He never afflicts the flesh of men, NEVER! He is not a killer. It’s just not in his nature. Hebrews 2:14 is clear that Satan has had the power of death, not God. Our corporate and/or individual unbelief, neglect and self-hardened hearts EVENTUALLY give Satan widening access to attack and afflict us. This is why Ephesians warns us not to “give place to the devil.”
In his classic Christian book, Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan portrays Satan as two lions chained on both sides of heaven’s highway. As long as we pilgrims stay centered in the Lord’s highway, neither lion can reach us because the chains snap taut. But, if we stray from the center of the road, the lions can maul us. Satan is bound, but still dangerous if we neglect our so great a salvation and stray too near to his clutches. And that IS something to be alarmed about. This state of the “eye-of-the-tiger” awareness produces a healthy intensity which allows us to remain diligently centered in the Lord’s highway! The man in this Corinthians passage was wandering off the Lord’s highway toward the lions’ claws, but thankfully, he pivoted back to the Lord’s protective presence.
Again, here are two links, the first to my book and the second to my hermeneutic.
facebook.com/richard.murray … 5755080145
I can’t promise any more responses for a variety of reasons, the main one being I am set to go into trial tomorrow. I may respond, but if I don’t, then I will stand on the writings in the above two links.