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Part 4: The Trail of the Serpent

THE CHRISTIAN’S SABBATH

Continuing from lesson three our study of Satan

II Corinthians 11:3.
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Satan was able to bring the first man, made in the image and likeness of God, into sin by beguiling Eve through his subtilty. But he could do nothing with the Second Man, Who was the express image of God’s Person and the effulgence of His glory. Hebrews 1:3.

Satan existed before Adam and Eve were created; but at that time he was not Satan. As to his origin, we believe the record is found in:

Isaiah 14:12 to 17
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning? how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations: For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. “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?”

Ezekiel 28:14 to 17.
“Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.”

Thus we see that the personality of Satan is plainly taught in the Bible. He is a real, living, active person. “Satan” is from the Hebrew word meaning “adversary.” No man is a match for him. We can only overcome him by putting on the whole armour of God as described in:

Ephesians 6:12 to 19.

12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel.

Revelation 12:11.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony: and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

Sin began with the “I will” of the anointed cherub in heaven. There are several definitions of sin in the Bible. But sin is saying to God “I will have my way” instead of saying “Thy will be done.” Eve believed the devil’s lie in preference to God’s Truth. There are very many people today who still prefer Satan’s lie to God’s Truth. Note what Christ said about Satan:

John 8:44
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Now we know how sin entered into the world. Sin will be here as long as Satan is here. But remember, that where sin abounded grace did much more abound.

The Bible states that Satan was “more subtle that any beast of the field,” not “MORE subtle than any OTHER beast.” The Hebrew word, “serpent” is “nachash” “to hiss” or “to whisper a magic spell.”

We may be troubled as to why God permits Satan to live and deceive and ruin and destroy; and surely abounding sin disturbs us. But we may rejoice that where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound.

Satan is mighty. Christ is Almighty. Christ can conquer Satan for the believer today. In a sense Christ has already conquered sin for the believer. Christ will ultimately put Satan in his eternal prison, a place of torment.

In the last Book of the Bible, we read these words:

Revelation 12:9.
“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 20:10.
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

Thus we see the destiny of this creature who is called the serpent, the devil, the dragon, Satan. He is also called in the Bible “the prince of this world” (John 16:11) “the prince of the power of the air,” (Ephesians 2:2) “the god of this age (world)” (II Corinthians 4:4), “the strong man” (Mark 3:27 and Matthew 12:29).

He is accused of the crime of deceiving the whole world. Note some other statements concerning him:

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (II Corinthians 11:13 to 15)

“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8)

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. II Corinthians 4:3 and 4

“The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. Mark 4:14 and 15

Let us carefully note the account of the propositions which Satan presented to Christ in an endeavor to tempt the Son of God.

Luke 4:1 to 13

1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,

2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.

4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

5 And the devil, taking him up into a high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

6 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.

7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.

8 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.

9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:

10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:

11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

Satan’s appeal to Christ was also the three-fold appeal: “the lust of the flesh”, “the lust of the eye”, and “the pride of life.” But there was neither lust nor pride in the holy Son of God.

In writing to the Corinthians concerning Satan, Paul said, “we are not ignorant of his devices.” II Corinthians 2:11. The devil is very clever and tricky.

In Hebrews 2:14 we are told that the Lord Jesus Christ, by death, destroyed him who had the power of death; that is, the devil.

Satan desired to have Simon Peter to sift him as wheat. Luke 22:31. Satan made Ananias lie to God. Acts 5:1 to 12. Satan, transformed into an angel of light, is a very religious creature and has many preachers who pretend to be Christ’s messengers. Let us put on the whole armour of God.

THE SEVENTH DAY SABBATH

Hebrews 4:1 to 9

1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

4 For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief

7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time: as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

8 For if Jesus had given them rest then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

The only place that any sinner can find rest today is in obedience to the invitation of Christ

Matthew 11:28 and 29
Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Under the reign of law, which began about 1497 B. C., God’s people had a religious sabbath, but they found no rest under the law. A sabbath, but no rest. They received the spirit of bondage unto fear. Romans 8:15. They were all their lifetime subject to bondage through fear of death. Hebrews 2:14 and 15.

About 1656 years after Adam sinned, God destroyed all the human race with a flood.

This we will study in another lesson. This was in the days of Noah.

But let us consider the world today and remember the words of Christ concerning a time that is coming on this earth again “As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Luke 17:26.

There are nearly one billion men, women and children in the heathen lands worshipping Satan and his gods. Then we know that the rest of humanity, the so-called civilized, or Christian nations, are preparing to rush into war for blood-shed, murder and destruction. The prisons, asylums and hospitals are filled with suffering humanity. The world is surely in a state of unrest. God “sabbathed” in a perfect work of creation. But the whole creation travaileth in pain together now. After God’s’ rest on the Seventh day the first command concerning the sabbath is:

Exodus 16:23
“And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord bake that which ye will bake today, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.”

Now let us note some statements concerning the sabbath:

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8.

“Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering; of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.” Exodus 25:2.

“Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.” Deuteronomy 5:12 to 14.

“And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him inward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died: as the Lord commanded Moses. Numbers 15:32 to 36.

“Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations: that ye may know that I am the Lord that cloth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for who soever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. IT IS A SIGN BETWEEN ME AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL FOR EVER: FOR IN SIX DAYS THE LORD MADE HEAVEN AND EARTH, AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY HE RESTED, AND WAS REFRESHED.” Exodus 31:13 to 17.

CHRIST AND THE SABBATH

“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.” Luke 4:16.

“And He said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” Mark 2:27 and 28.

“And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments: and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment” Luke 23:56.

“Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more lest a worse thing come unto thee. The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” John 5:14 to 18.

THE SABBATH IN ACTS

“And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” Acts 16:13. “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.” Acts 17:2.

THE CHRISTIAN NOT UNDER THE LAW OR ISRAEL’S SABBATH

“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.” Colossians 2:14.

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days.” Colossians 2:16. “The sabbath days” should read “the sabbath.”

“The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdelene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” John 20:1. “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” John 20:19.

The first mention in the Bible concerning “the sabbath” (Exodus 16:23) was after Israel had left Pharaoh and Egypt, about 1495 B. C., or about 2500 years after the statement of Genesis 2:2: “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made: and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which God created and made.” God then gave the sabbath (the seventh day) to Israel when He gave them the other nine commandments. Their sabbath was from the sixth day, at sundown, until the seventh day, at sundown. Leviticus 23:32. Israel was on the way to Canaan, the land of promise, when the sabbath was given. The land was given to them as an everlasting possession. The sabbath was given them to keep in their land. There could be no universal Sabbath today because sundown in one land is sunrise in another Israel is not now possessing Canaan.

The sabbath was a sign to Israel. Exodus 31:13 to 18. Christ was the King of Israel. He was made under the law. Galatians 4:4. While on earth Christ ministered to Israel under the law. Romans 15:8. Matthew 10:5 to 8. The Sabbath-keepers put Christ to death when a heathen judge wanted to let Him go free. Christ was dead and in the sepulchre on Israel’s sabbath.

Romans 10:4
“For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”

Now note again Colossians 2:14 and 16.

“Let no man judge you with respect to the Sabbath.”

How plain then is the language that when Christ died on the cross and was buried God took the law out of the way. Christ arose on the first day of the week. Israel’s sabbath day was not changed from Saturday to Sunday. Christ became the Head of a new creation.

II Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away: behold, all things are become new.

Christians are a resurrection people. We thank God for the first day of the week when we have the privilege of gathering in the name of Christ. But the first day of the week is not the Christian’s sabbath.

Abraham was justified by faith, without the deeds of the law, 430 years before the sabbath was given to Israel. Abraham found rest in a Person.

Genesis 15:6
“And he believed in the Lord: and He counted it to him for righteousness.”

Galatians 3:6
“Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” We find rest not in, or on, a day, but in Christ Jesus.

As to Revelation 1:10, the expression “the Lord’s day”, some teach this to mean the first day of the week. But there is no positive proof for this teaching.

If the Lord Jesus Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth (Romans 10:4) there is a sense in which He is the believer’s sabbath or rest. We should be careful in referring to the first day of the week as “the Christian sabbath.”

QUESTIONS-LESSON FOUR

1. Mention five names by which Satan is called.

2. According to Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 who and where was Satan before he beguiled Eve?

3. What is said about Satan in II Corinthians 11:13 to 15?

4. Name five things mentioned in the Christian’s armour in Ephesians 6:12 to 19.

5. How do saints overcome Satan according to Revelation 12:11?

6. Is the serpent called a beast in Genesis 3:14?

7. What will be done to Satan when Christ comes? What will be the final destiny of Satan?

8. What three propositions did Satan present to Christ?

9. What did Christ do to Satan by His death and resurrection?

10. What did Satan desire to do to Peter?

11. What is the first Scriptural mention of the sabbath after the sin of Adam?

12. Between God and whom was the sabbath a sign?

13. Which of the ten commandments mentioned the sabbath?

14. Why did Jesus of Nazareth keep the sabbath?

15. Where does the believing sinner find rest in this day of grace?

16. What did God do with the law when Christ died on the cross?

17. What verse of Scripture teaches that the believer is not to be judged with respect to the sabbath?

18. What is Christ for the believer in Romans 10:4?

19. According to Galatians 4:4, how was Christ made and for what purpose?

20. According to Luke 4:20 to 22, what did Christ do on the seventh day sabbath?