Calvary Road Baptist Church

“A SURVEY OF SATANIC & DEMONIC WARFARE IN GENESIS”

Genesis 

As my calling and life experience moves me toward the half-century mark of the Gospel ministry, I have observed the spiritual warfare found in the biblical record and our memory of credible testimonies that we have heard over the years. Yet, there is also the very clever tactic employed by our spiritual adversaries to persuade us to treat spiritual opposition and adversaries as the objects of humor.

I remember a comic book character who was an impish little red devil during my childhood, with tiny horns and a pointed tail. Of course, he was drawn to be young and harmless, quite unlike the malevolent and foul spirits described to us in the Word of God. Some of you may also remember the television comedian Flip Wilson. He performed comedy skits on his weekly program in which his punch line was, predictably, “The Devil made me do it,” evoking laughter from an audience prompted by a laugh track.

However, in my opinion, the most destructive practices that we find in Western culture, particularly in the United States, are related to two annual celebrations. On the one hand, Easter Sunday is mostly celebrated by people who distract children from the significance and astonishment of Christ’s resurrection from the dead using so-called Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies. Such practices serve only to diminish the awe and reverence that should be cultivated to appreciate the significance of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Persuading Churchgoing people to distract their children so is a major propaganda coup by our spiritual adversaries.

Then there is Halloween when people dress up in costumes and cultivate a party atmosphere that serves to ridicule any notion of evil spirits and their association with anything that might be harmful. Then there are those Christians who object to Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies come Easter time or Halloween costumes and carved pumpkins on October 31st. Have you noticed that those who argue such practices are harmless fun nevertheless cling tenaciously to those same practices? Their resolve to continue such trivial and harmless practices demonstrates that such practices are strangely important to them.

The upshot of all of this is a type of spiritual schizophrenia in Christendom, in which Christians and non-Christians believe and yet do not believe, subscribe, and yet somehow do not subscribe to the reality of invisible spirits and their danger. We do not doubt that what the missionaries tell us takes place on the mission field about demon possession and influences being both quite dangerous and very real, yet we do not think such dangers apply. We conclude that we are in no danger, a conclusion that results more from feelings of familiarity about issues than from objective facts and reality.

To address this lethargy, I propose a back to the Bible movement, in which I will survey indications of Satanic and demonic warfare found in each book of the Bible. We begin tonight with a survey of the book of Genesis. Let me warn you that I make no promise of thoroughness. This is a survey designed to heighten your awareness and perhaps provoke your concern about this matter of Satanic and demonic warfare in the human realm.

Perhaps you can help me out in the preparation of these Sunday night survey messages. Read through the book of Genesis this week. If you come across evidence of Satanic or demonic assault that I did not mention tonight, let me know what you found. As well, should you desire to read the book of Exodus before next Sunday night, I invite you to recommend passages that you think I ought to deal with. You are encouraged to help me out in this way as we move through each Bible book, from Genesis to Revelation.

What about the name given to the first book of the Bible? I read from the JPS Torah Commentary on Genesis, written by Nahum M. Sarna: 

The Hebrew name for the first book of the Bible is Bereshit-the first word of the book. In rabbinic sources, this name is sometimes expanded to Sefer Bereshit (The Book of Bereshit). The practice of naming a book by its opening word or words was widespread in the ancient Near East. Occasionally, other titles for this book were current among Jews, such as Sefer ha-Yashar (The Book of the Upright), which refers to the patriarchs, whose lives inform the bulk of the work. A tenth-century C.E. composition, the Dikdukei ha­Te‘amim (§70) by Aaron ben Moses Ben-Asher, mentions “The Book of Bereshit, the First Book, which is the Sefer ha-Yesharim” (The Book of the Upright Ones). Still another title, found in medieval manuscripts, is Sefer Beri'at ha-‘Olam (The Book of the Creation of the World).

The English title Genesis is derived from the Latin version known as the Vulgate. This, in turn, goes back, via the Old Latin (pre-4th cent. C.E.), to the Greek Bible-the Septuagint. A famous manuscript copy, the mid-fifth-century Codex Alexandrinus now in the British Museum, features the title Genesis Kosmou (The Origin of the Universe). This Greek name may well derive from the pre-Christian Jewish community of Alexandria in Egypt. The shorter, more common, title Genesis (origin) may perhaps be traced to the Greek rendering of the initial clause of 2:4: “This is the book of the genesis of heaven and earth.”[1]

This survey will deal with six items of interest: 

First, IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN 

The Satanic assault against Eve is recorded in Genesis 3.1-7: 

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:

3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 

There are several observations to notice concerning this spiritual attack:

“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” 

Several implications arise from this spiritual attack: It is likely that most of Satan’s attacks in the human realm will not be directly from him, but will be instigated by him through the use of agents, be they demons or human beings that are being manipulated. The assault against Eve might suggest that although Satan will attack leaders, he might be disposed to attack subordinates in the functional hierarchy. The assault against Eve was based upon deception and diversion, though direct attacks against one’s physical well-being occur from time to time. Finally, please take note of the fact that there is no evidence that Eve felt she was in danger, yet no greater risk was possible to her than the danger she faced with the serpent. Hers was a fatal error. 

Next, THE SONS OF GOD AND THE DAUGHTERS OF MEN 

Genesis 6.2, 4: 

2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 

4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 

“Sons of God” is a Hebrew phrase that appears in only six places in the Hebrew Scriptures, Genesis 6.2, 4; Job 1.6; 2.1; 38.7; Daniel 3.25. In each location, the phrase refers to angelic beings.[2] The giants referred to in verse 4 were not connected to “the sons of God,” as the Hebrew passage’s precise wording clarifies. Moses’ intent with verse 4 was to point out that the matter of the giants was a contemporary but otherwise unconnected phenomenon.

What observations can be made regarding this spiritual attack?

Implications to be derived from this verse? This second known spiritual assault on the human race was an attack upon females, as the serpent’s attack was directed against Eve. A coincidence? I do not know since Satan does attack Job and David in later accounts. This event shows that spiritual attacks upon human beings can go beyond deception, diversion, and persuasion. Here we have spirit beings interacting with physical beings. How did God deal with this spiritual assault? One cannot divorce this assault on the human race from God’s judgment of the Flood during Noah’s time. 

Third, THE TOWER OF BABEL 

Genesis 11.1-9 records the matter of the Tower of Babel and the response of God to confuse human language, causing people to scatter far and wide because of their inability to communicate with each other. That this was a spiritual attack against the human race is undeniable since the Tower of Babel was all about idolatry, and demons are always involved with idolatry, First Corinthians 10.20.

This was another assault upon the human race that God dealt with directly. Previously, He brought the Flood that destroyed everyone but eight individuals. Here He visited judgment upon all mankind in the form of confusing their languages. 

Fourth, HAGAR, THE EGYPTIAN 

In Genesis chapter 12, God established a covenant with a single man, Abram, suddenly making spiritual attacks against the entirety of the human race far less strategically significant. Now, central to God’s unfolding drama of redemption to fulfill the promise made in Genesis 3.15, there is a single man at the center of God’s plan.

Most of you are familiar with the man whose name was changed to Abraham and his wife whose name was changed to Sarah. During a drought, they journeyed from the land God had promised them to Egypt, Genesis 12.10.

Abram was rich when he went to Egypt, so he did not travel to Egypt to preserve his life. Wealthy men have little need to concern themselves with preserving their lives but for conserving their wealth. Predictably, Abram and his wife eventually returned to Canaan with greater wealth than before they went to Egypt, Genesis 13.2.

But cattle and silver and gold were not all Abraham returned with to Canaan. He also possessed a slave he had obtained in Egypt named Hagar, Genesis 16.1. Have you ever thought about Abraham’s trip to Egypt, the profoundly idolatrous as well as arguably the wealthiest nation on earth at that time?

Though we are provided no details to confirm, would it surprise you to get to heaven and learn that once God’s intentions to work through a single, chosen man named Abraham became evident, Satan was able to insinuate an Egyptian idolater into that important man’s household? After all, agents have been insinuated into the households of important and influential people from that day to this.[4]

Would it also, remembering how sinful angels sought to pollute the human bloodline in Genesis 6.2, surprise you to learn of Abraham being persuaded to bed this idolater and sire a child by her? Might this be yet another Satanic attempt to use illicit sexuality in an attempt to interfere with God’s plan of the ages?

From that day to this, has there not been a deep animosity between the people descended from the son of that slave woman, Hagar, and the people descended from the son of Abraham’s wife, Sarah? And notice that no force was employed with Abraham, but persuasion. And who persuaded him, but his wife Sarah against her interests! 

Fifth, LOT’S WORLDLINESS 

Concurrent with the drama unfolding in the life of Abraham, Sarah, and the Egyptian slave woman Hagar was the drama that was unfolding in the life of Abraham’s nephew, Lot. What a terrible example Abraham set for his nephew Lot by going to Egypt and taking Lot with him. Whatever detrimental influences Egyptian culture, immorality, and idolatry might have had on Abraham, they were doubtless far worse on his nephew Lot.

We know that Lot accompanied his uncle Abraham from Haran to Canaan.[5] We also know that Lot went with him to Egypt and returned from Egypt with him, with such wealth that he and his uncle could no longer live near each other for the size of their flocks.[6]

We also see the sad progression of Lot’s life. He moved toward the city of Sodom.[7] Then into the city of Sodom.[8] Finally, becoming prominent in the city of Sodom.[9] Somewhere along the way, Lot married. Was he married in Haran? Did he find his wife in Canaan? Could he possibly have married an Egyptian idol worshiper? Or did he marry a woman of Sodom?

We know Lot was a believer from the Apostle Peter’s comment about Lot’s righteous soul being vexed by the wicked conduct he saw and heard every day in Sodom, Second Peter 2.8. If that is so, one might wonder why he moved to Sodom and why he stayed in Sodom? After all, he was already a wealthy man before he went to Sodom.

We are speculating at this point because no definitive reason is given to us in Scripture to explain Lot’s conduct, from his move into Sodom to his willingness to offer his daughters to the men of Sodom in exchange for the safety of the angels who visited him,[10] to the lowest point in his life of drunkenness and incest with his daughters following God’s judgment against his wife.[11]

I am wondering if Lot had fallen into the sinful habit of covetousness which in Hebrew refers to gain[12] and in Greek is synonymous with greed.[13] In Colossians 3.5, the Apostle Paul wrote, 

“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” 

Did the Egyptian idolatry damage him in a way Abraham was not so damaged? Did marriage to an idolatrous wife damage him severely? Few things are worse for a child of the one true and living God than being married to an idolatrous wife. That she influenced Lot is indisputable. Wives influence husbands, and husbands influence wives.

It is a question one might think about without being able to arrive at any firm conclusions, this terrible behavior of Lot. Where there is idolatry, there is demonic influence. Was this influence the result of the time spent with Abraham in Egypt? Was this influence the result of his marriage to an idolatrous woman? Was this influence the result of the time he spent in the wicked city of Sodom? No doubt, all three factors tragically influenced him, since First Corinthians 15.33 declares, 

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 

Let us not lose sight of the fact that Lot’s rescue was the result of angelic intervention. Genesis 19.16 makes it very clear that, before God rained fire and brimstone down upon the city, angels had to remove Lot, his wife, and two daughters physically.

To the end, however, Lot was delusional in his persuasion that the angel’s efforts to deliver him and his family went too far and that he knew better what was good for them all, Genesis 19.17-20: 

17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

18 And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord:

19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:

20 Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. 

Finally, RACHEL’S THEFT OF HER FATHER’S IDOLS 

Recall that Jacob fled Isaac’s house to escape the wrath of his brother, Esau. Upon his arrival at his uncle Laban’s home, he ended up marrying Leah and Rachel. When Jacob finally left his father-in-law’s employ to return to Canaan, his wife Rachel stole her father’s images.[14]

Why did Rachel, unbeknownst to her husband, steal her father’s idols? There is a great deal of speculation concerning these items, known as teraphim. But there is no doubt that they were connected to idolatry, and therefore demons. The value to Laban of those objects can be seen by the trouble he went to in his attempts to recover them.

Why would Rachel steal her father’s images, his idols? Was it because she sought revenge against her father for the way her husband had been treated over the years. Was it revenge for making her trick her prospective husband into marrying her sister first instead of her? Was Rachel an idolater herself? Or had she been lured and enticed to steal what was valuable to her father?

Is this another attempt to infiltrate the family of the godly line, to whom God also confirmed the Abrahamic Covenant? Was this a subtle demonic attempt to infiltrate? If not, why does Moses place it into the Biblical record? 

Do we have evidence of seduction in Genesis 6.2? Perhaps. In a sense, the serpent seduced Eve with the intoxicating promise of godlikeness.

What did we see with the Tower of Babel, with Hagar, Lot, and Rachel? The influence of idolatry is certain with the Tower of Babel and the confusion of language. Could not the same be true with Hagar, Lot, and Rachel? Hagar came from idolatrous Egypt. Lot’s wife likely came from an idolatrous background. And Rachel was the daughter of an idolater. Was sexual enticement also a factor? With the women in Genesis 6.2, it was likely a factor. Was it a factor with aged Abraham and young Hagar? Very likely. How about with Lot and his wife? Possibly. However, with Rachel, sexual enticement was not a factor to the already married wife of Jacob.

What conclusions can be drawn about our survey in Genesis of Satanic and demonic warfare? In Genesis, Satan makes use of surrogates, with no evidence of a Satanic attack on anyone. Eve was enticed by a serpent. The women of Genesis 6.2 interacted with “the sons of God,” angels of some kind. The Tower of Babel event was an astonishing move for idolatry and counter-moving by God to confuse languages.

Then God made known His purpose to bring His promised Redeemer, Genesis 3.15, through a chosen nation that would descend from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12.1-3). The Gentile nations were, without exception, given over to idolatry and the demonic influence that lay back of it.

Turning to His covenant people, it should not surprise us that Abraham’s household was infiltrated by an idolater named Hagar, who bore him a son, but who God did not recognize as the child of promise. Lot? He was Abraham’s nephew and so not a part of the Abrahamic Covenant. Yet his story is included in the narrative, including angels’ involvement to rescue him and his family.

I have concluded with a look at Rachel and her theft of her father’s false gods. What are we to make of that? It was a theft, which was serious. She dishonored her father by stealing his idols. And what are we to make of false gods hidden from Jacob by his wife, who might herself have been an idolater for all we know?

One thing is obvious. Human beings cannot live out their lives without the likelihood of interacting with demons on some level. Are you aware of such interactions occurring in your life?

__________

[1] Nahum M. Sarna, Genesis - The JPS Torah Commentary, (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society, 1989), page xi.

[2] https://youtu.be/qKtHwc3mMY8

[3] Matthew 22.30; Mark 12.25

[4] See the Soviet espionage of Harry Dexter White in FDR’s White House during World War Two, Diana West, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013), pages 70, 75, 137, 142-143, 132, 157, 158 257, 288, 294, 319, the Chinese spy who served as Senator Diane Feinstein’s driver (https://www.foxnews.com/politics/feinstein-was-mortified-by-fbi-allegation-that-staffer-was-spy-for-china-report), and the Chinese spy who worked for Rep. Eric Swalwell (https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicholasreimann/2020/12/19/heres-what-we-know-about-rep-swalwells-connection-to-a-suspected-chinese-spy/?sh=340a66720501)

[5] Genesis 11.31; 12.4, 5

[6] Genesis 13.1, 5, 10

[7] Genesis 13.12

[8] Genesis 14.12

[9] Genesis 19.1

[10] Genesis 19.8

[11] Genesis 19.26, 31-38

[12] Francis Brown, S. R. Driver & Charles A. Briggs, The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew And English Lexicon, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1979), page 130.

[13] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), page 824.

[14] Genesis 31.19, 30, 34, 35

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