by Pastor K. Dwayne James
The objective of this lesson is to help Christians understand ‘the Adversary’ from a Jewish perspective. To do that, I’m going to take us on a journey back into the Hebrew roots of our faith which of course is – Judaism. I believe you will find this study quite informative and enlightening.
Get your bible and prepare to take some notes. It’s time that God’s people wake up and shake off the false teachings of the apostate Greco-Roman religious system.
Turn with me to the Book of Job (Iyov) chapter one. I am using the Complete Jewish Bible translation so expect to see Hebrew words and terminology. Don’t worry, I’m explain things as we go and I’ll provide solid reference sources.
Job 1:6-12 (Complete Jewish Bible)
‘It happened one day that the sons of God came to serve Adonai, and among them came the Adversary [Hebrew: Satan]. 7) Adonai asked the Adversary, “Where are you coming from?” The Adversary answered Adonai, “From roaming through the earth, wandering here and there.” 8) Adonai 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?” 9) The Adversary answered Adonai, “Is it for nothing that Iyov fears God? 10) You’ve put a protective hedge around him, his house and everything he has. You’ve prospered his work, and his livestock are spread out all over the land. 11) But if you reach out your hand and touch whatever he has, without doubt he’ll curse you to your face!”
12) Adonai said to the Adversary, “Here! Everything he has is in your hands, except that you are not to lay a finger on his person.” Then the Adversary went out from the presence of Adonai.’
The first thing we discover is that ‘ha-Satan’, which is Hebrew for "the Adversary" came into Yahweh’s presence reporting for service. We also discover that he comes into Yahweh’s presence with many other angelic sons of God, like him.
Later in this teaching we will deal with the topic of ben-Elohim (sons of God) who are of this angelic realm. They are also called ‘Watchers’. Don’t confuse ben-Elohim with low rank demons and unclean spirits. They are not the same thing. We’ll cover this in another teaching. I pray that your eyes are being opened to a few key points here:
- All angels, even the wicked angelic host serve the Lord.
- They must report to the Lord, serve Him.
- Ha-Satan is fully accountable to Yahweh, he is a servant of Yahweh and is required to give account of his whereabouts and activities.
- Ha-Satan has limitations and restrictions placed on him. Ha-Satan can only do what God gives him permission to do.
The general belief in Judaism is that there are a class of ben Elohim (angelic sons of God) with a chief. Rabbinic teachings and works from Hebrew sages are the source for this belief.
For example, in the Book 1 Enoch, there are 5 ha-Satans. The first and second are said to have been responsible for leading astray the angels and for bringing them down to earth, where they sinned with the daughters of men (69:4), while the third brought about the fall of Adam and Eve (69:6). The ha-Satans are allowed to access heaven in order to accuse men, but they are not confined to heaven.
Ha-Satan in Tanakh
Twice Ha-Satan is mentioned in the Balaam's ass story which is in Numbers chapter 22. The Angel of the LORD (God Himself) is identified as ‘an adversary’ or a physical block to Balaam's journey in Numbers 22:22.
Later in Numbers 22:32 the Angel of the LORD specifically identifies himself by claiming to be an adversary, again using the term Satan.
In the Book of 1 Chronicles 21:1, Ha-Satan incites David to conduct an unlawful census.
The fourth time is in the Book of Job chapter one.
The fifth and last mention is in Zachariah 3:1.
The name ha'-Satan in the Hebrew language means, ‘the accuser or one who opposes’. In Judaism ha-Satan is the angel-accuser, tempter, a prosecuting attorney or Adversary.
The word is not a name or a title, it is a noun. The word describes what the entity does. He is an adversary or opposing force to the children of Israel and at times servants of Yahweh. Yet, ha-Satan is nothing more than a servant of Yahweh under HIS command as all angels are.
In the Hebrew Tanakh (complete volume of Old Covenant Scriptures), the terms ha-Satan and ‘Adversary mean the exact same thing. The terms ha-Satan and adversary are mentioned twenty-four (24) times in Tanakh. Out those twenty-four references only five (5) are specific references to the angelic entity ha-Satan.
The more study one does on ha-Satan it becomes clear that ha-Satan in nothing more a servant of God, an instrument or person used to carry out the purposes of Yahweh. We must never forget that ultimately God exercises sovereign control over both good and evil.
Isaiah 45:5-7 (NASB) “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6) That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun; That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, 7) the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these.”
The Talmud distinguishes between the personified ha-Satan outside man, and the Yetzer ha Ra (evil impulse or inclination) that exists within man. It is this evil impulse within man that allows entity ha-Satan the opportunity to work against man as his Adversary.
Outside Forces Are Not the Problem
Mark 7:18 (ISV), “He said to them, "Are you so ignorant? Don't you know that nothing that goes into a person from the outside can make him unclean?”
In the above passage of Scripture Yeshua Messiah was teaching that nothing getting into a person from the outside is able to make him spiritually unclean. Our own wicked thoughts, secret unclean affections and impure motives are the root of our problem.
As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so does a corrupt heart send forth corrupt reasonings, corrupt appetites and passions, and all the wicked words and actions that come from them. In other words, stop blaming the devil or demons for the mess that’s inside of your own heart!
This truth is repeated in the Book of James.
‘When someone is tempted, he should not say, “I am being tempted by God,” because God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone. 14) Instead, each person is tempted by his own desire, being lured and trapped by it. 15) When that desire becomes pregnant, it gives birth to sin; and when that sin grows up, it gives birth to death.’
Now, we’ve gotten down to the root of our problem. It’s not ha-Satan, demons, evil parents or a not so pleasant childhood. It’s the person staring back at you in the mirror who’s the source of your problem.
Yes, we all know that our environment and experiences in that environment foster either a positive or negative personal construct. Psychologist refer to this as Personal Construct Theory.
A personal construct refers to factors that shape our core beliefs, our personality, and the way we perceive experiences and the world around us. Each one of us perceives life experiences differently because of the different variables that have influenced our belief system.
Ultimately, we are responsible for allowing negative and sinful thoughts to grow up within our heart and produce sinful behavior.
Thank Yahweh for raising us up out of bondage to death and the Adamic nature together with Messiah! Truly, we should give Him thanks for the resurrection and how that we are immersed in union with Him in every way. It is my prayer that every believer open up and allow the resurrection power of His grace to transform the wicked soul into His own likeness, and that we walk in obedience to Torah!
II Peter 1:4
‘Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.