Subtil serpent; Subtle as serpents

The first part of Genesis chapter 3 verse 1 states that the serpent was more subtil (clever/crafty/wise) than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. Who is this serpent? In order to understand, who the ‘serpent’ here refers to, we ought to go from the first book of the Bible to the last book of the Bible. Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2 presents the Devil (Satan) as the old (ancient) serpent which deceives the whole world. Jesus calls the Devil, a murderer and a liar, from the beginning (genesis) (John 8:44). So the [old] serpent here refers to the Devil.

So now, with the understanding of who the ‘serpent’ refers to, we can move on to recognize that the Devil is a created being (that the Lord God had made). He is just another creature, subject to the power and authority of God the Creator, which he attempted to usurp.

The verse reads, the serpent (Devil) was subtil than any other beast of field – so how wise was the Devil? To measure the wisdom of the Devil, we ought to search the Scripture to find one who is declared wise and use that person as an yardstick. The Bible records in the book of Daniel, that in all matters of wisdom and understanding, Daniel and his friends were found to be ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers in the king’s realm (Daniel 1:17-21) and the Devil (referred to as the King of Tyre in the book of Ezekiel) is said to be even more wiser than Daniel (Ezekiel 28:3). So it is no surprise that the Devil is subtil and shrewd, deceiver of the world.

Finally, it is important to recognize that ‘serpents’ themselves are not evil for God created them as a beast and declared that it was good. Furthermore, the serpent is not figuratively the Devil nor is the Devil solely manifested in the form of a serpent. While this is not impossible for the Devil can transform himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), other parts of the Scripture reveal that the Devil (Satan) of his fallen angels (devils) can possess animals and humans and so it is plausible that one of the creatures (a serpent in the garden) was an agent of (possessed by) the Devil, for just as Satan entered Judas (Luke 22:3; John 13:27) and the legion of devils entered the pigs (Luke 8:33), animals and humans could be possessed. Though the details of the manifestation of the Devil as a serpent is inconsequential, what is of importance is for us to be on guard, lest we are deceived, by the subtil serpent and not let him enter (possess) us.

Points to ponder:
Let us not be deceived by the subtil serpent but let us be wise – wise as serpents (Matthew 10:16). How can we be wise? The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10). To fear God (be wise) and keep his commandments is the conclusion of the matter – the whole duty of all mankind (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Are you wise? Are I wise?

Genesis 3:1-2 (KJV)
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

Revelation 12:9 (KJV)
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Revelation 20:2 (KJV)
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

Professional Speaking :: Jesus The Captain of the armies of the LORD

Joshua 5 records the encounter that Joshua the Israelite leader has with a man with a drawn sword. When Joshua lifted up his eyes and saw this man, he went to this man and asked, “Are you for us or are you against us (on the side of our adversaries)?” The response he received was “Nay, but as the captain of the host (army) of the LORD have I come”. Joshua spiritually recognizes that this was Jesus he had seen and falls down to the ground and worships him. Can we be sure that this was Jesus? Other parts of the Bible can help us come to that conclusion. When man tried to worship an angelic being, sent by God, the angelic being immediately stopped that person from worshipping anyone other than God and cautioned that man worships no one else, other than God (Revelation 19:10). This helps us recognize that the man that Joshua envisioned was not just an angel sent by God. 1 Timothy 2:5 refers to Jesus the one mediator between God and men as “the man Christ Jesus” and whom Joshua saw was “the man” Christ Jesus. Furthermore, just as Joshua saw the man with a drawn sword, Revelation 19:11-15 portrays, Jesus as the rider on a white horse, from whose mouth a sharp sword proceeds (Revelation 19:15), whom the armies of heaven followed (Revelation 19:14).

Points to ponder:
Shaitan/Shaytan from which we get the word, “satan” means the “opposer” or “adversary”. He has been at war with God since the time of is rebellion (Ezekiel 28) and the fall of man (Genesis 3:15). Jesus is the commander and chief of the armies of the LORD. He is The Captain. Are you part of his army or are you on the adversary’s side? And if we are part of Jesus’ army, is our response as that of Joshua, “What saith my Lord unto his servant?” (Joshua 5:14).

Joshua 5:13-15 (KJV)
13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

Revelation 19:11-16 (KJV)
11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.

Forbidden City – Now Open

Situated in the heart of Beijing is the Forbidden City (Gu Gong in Chinese). It was the imperial palace for twenty-four emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties that ruled China. Those who entered the imperial palace without permission of the emperor was punishable by death and hence the name ‘Forbidden City’. A visit to the Forbidden City leaves you undoubtedly tired, but at the same time awestruck for its expanse (over 170 acres) and architectural details. On November 7th, 2011, as a family, we were blessed to visit the Forbidden City, for what was once forbidden is no longer forbidden, as long as you have in your possession, the ticket that you purchase at the entrance to this attraction.

As I pondered about our experience, I realized that there is another Forbidden City, whose builder is not man but God (Hebrews 11:10; Revelation 21). It is forbidden to all who live according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-21). But in order to live according to the Spirit, one my first believe and have in them the Holy Spirit who is granted to seal all who believe in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:13). In other words, they must possess in them Jesus Christ, The Ticket. When man first sinned against God in the garden of Eden, access to having communion with God was forbidden, which is symbolized by the angels, and a flaming sword, that God placed, to prevent anyone from accessing the tree of life in the garden . But when Jesus paid the price (ticket price) for all of mankind with his very life, the veil that separated the Holy of Holies was ripped from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-53), opening  access to God, which was previously forbidden (Hebrews 10:19-20). The Heavenly City is no longer forbidden to those who do the commandments of God (i.e., not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit), who have right to the tree of life, because they have believed in Jesus Christ. (Revelation 22:14).

Points to ponder:
Should you be standing now at the entrance to the city of Heaven, would you be allowed to enter in or would you be forbidden? Of all the questions that need to be answered, this one must not go unheeded and unanswered. The answer lies in, whether you have believed in Jesus Christ. If you have, the city of Heaven will welcome you. If not, the consequences of entering in, would mean judgment and certain fatality (second death). Think about it and believe, if you have not already done so, before it is too late and the city of Heaven remains forbidden to you.

Galatians 5:16-21 (KJV)
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 1:13 (KJV)
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Matthew 27:50-53 (KJV)
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Hebrews 10:19-20 (KJV)
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Revelation 22:14 (KJV)
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.