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Spiritual Warfare - Lesson 6

God and the Serpent

This lesson focuses on the biblical story of Adam and Eve in the context of spiritual warfare. It examines how the serpent (interpreted as Satan) questions God's goodness and encourages independence and rebellion in humans. God's response involves calling Adam and Eve to confession, cursing the serpent, providing clothing as a covering, and hinting at the need for a future Messiah. The lesson emphasizes the importance of understanding God's true character and resisting the temptation to be independent from Him.

Gerry Breshears
Spiritual Warfare
Lesson 6
Watching Now
God and the Serpent

I. Introduction

A. Setting the Context

B. Purpose of the Lesson

II. Understanding the Serpent's Deception

A. The Serpent's Nature and Identity

B. The Serpent's Craftiness

III. Eve's Interaction with the Serpent

A. The Deceptive Question

B. Eve's Response and the Misinterpretation of God's Command

IV. The Temptation and the Serpent's Narrative

A. The Serpent's Alternative Worldview

B. The Serpent's Appeal to Independence and Maturity

V. The Fall and Its Consequences

A. Eve's Decision and Adam's Complicity

B. The Realization of Nakedness and Self-Covering

VI. God's Response

A. God's Compassionate Approach

B. God's Confrontation of the Serpent

C. God's Promise of the Messiah and the Triumph Theme

VII. The Curse and Punishment

A. Cursing the Serpent and the Ground

B. Naming Eve and Providing Clothing

VIII. Banishment from the Garden

A. Protection from the Tree of Life

B. The Continuing Rescue Mission Through Messiah Jesus

IX. Understanding the Spiritual Warfare

A. Satan's Agenda to Question God's Goodness

B. God's Response and Satan's Manipulation of Christian Phrases

C. How Believers Should Navigate the Spiritual Warfare


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  • Discover Dr. Breshears' journey from science to spiritual warfare, debunking scientific explanations for demons. Unveil a seminary student's anxiety battle, uncover curses, theological misconceptions, and inner demonic voices. Prepare for a course on spiritual warfare and staying loyal to God.
  • Gain insights into worldviews within Christianity, including polytheism, American monotheism, and Christian monotheism. Explore the nature of spiritual beings and idols.
  • Gain knowledge of the biblical context of spiritual warfare, the role of supernatural powers in Egypt, the warnings against foreign gods, and the heavenly battles involving angels, emphasizing the importance of exclusive worship of Yahweh and the dangers of idolatry.
  • You'll gain insight into spiritual warfare through Genesis 11, where human defiance led to the scattering of nations and involvement of angelic beings.
  • You will gain insight into a distinct biblical interpretation that views the universe's creation as an act of shaping Eden within a pre-existing cosmic war, and the role of humans in this ongoing battle by cultivating goodness and order to combat evil and chaos.
  • In this lesson, the story of Adam and Eve is analyzed within the context of spiritual warfare, highlighting the serpent's strategy to question God's goodness and encourage independence, while God responds with a call to confession and hints at a future Messiah's role in redemption.
  • This lesson offers an insightful interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4, presenting the "Sons of God" as angelic beings who sinned by marrying humans, leading to the Nephilim, linking this perspective to New Testament passages and the symbolism of baptism as a victory declaration against evil forces, deepening your understanding of the nuanced interpretation of these biblical passages and their importance in Christianity.
  • The passages reviewed in this lesson reveal a unique portrayal of God's actions, using unconventional methods. Challenge common interpretations, caution against single-verse doctrines. Embrace the mystery of God's ways, avoiding rigid interpretations when context is unclear.
  • This lesson reviews a passage in Colossians, offering insights into spiritual warfare and the dichotomy between the kingdoms of light and darkness, emphasizing believers' rescue from darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God, forgiveness of sins, and the essential elements of faith, all of which are vital for confronting demonic accusations and oppression.
  • Learn the core of Ephesians: spiritual warfare, dedication to God vs. Satan, moral maturity, and becoming Christ's partner. Emphasizes unity, living in light, using God's Word, and the power of prayer in this battle.
  • Learn to resist the temptations of the world and the devil by humbling yourself, casting anxiety on God, being self-controlled, alert, and standing firm in faith as taught in James and 1 Peter, emphasizing the importance of using your strengths for God's kingdom and opposing pressures and distortions from the enemy to avoid being devoured.
  • This lesson highlights the significance of facing spiritual forces in Jesus' name, stressing that authority alone isn't enough. Faith, confidence, and prayer-driven competence are vital for effective spiritual warfare. It inspires you to confront spiritual battles like Jesus did, with authority and unwavering faith.
  • This lesson delves into a biblical narrative highlighting Jesus' authority over evil spirits. It emphasizes the transformative power of His deliverance and the profound change it can bring to those tormented by demonic influence.
  • This lesson provides deep insights into Satan's fall in the Bible, covering Old Testament passages (Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28) linked to it, addressing their ambiguity. It also discusses withholding Satan's name due to his evil nature and how Jesus broke his authority in the New Testament, though he remains a threat to believers.
  • This lesson delves into the intricate dynamics between believers, demons, and the world in the biblical context. You'll uncover Satan's mysterious role in Judas's betrayal of Jesus, posing questions about the motivations and divine alignment in this pivotal event.
  • This lesson equips you with the knowledge of how Jesus confronted temptation and spiritual warfare, emphasizing three essential steps: quoting Scripture to the devil, commanding the devil to leave in Jesus' name, and shifting your focus from demonic attack to Jesus' provision.
  • This lesson explores 3 Deliverance Ministry models: 1) Classic - resist Satan's temptations, 2) Power Encounter - deal with sin before casting out demons, 3) Truth Encounter - dispel lies, reclaim identity in Christ. Dr. Breshears prefers the Truth Encounter model while allowing for diverse biblical approaches.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights on dealing with the demonic from a biblical perspective, emphasizing the triumph of Jesus over Satan, the ongoing spiritual battles, the importance of faith in the midst of adversity, and the need to follow biblical patterns while avoiding unnecessary fascination with evil and excessive fearfulness.
  • This lesson explores demons and Satan's impact on believers, emphasizing that even righteous individuals can face their influence. It reveals how deception, curses, and accusations can create strongholds in belief systems, perpetuated by Satan. Demons exploit weaknesses, desires, and ignorance, leading to destructive behaviors. The lesson ends with the assurance that believers are never abandoned by the Holy Spirit.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insight into the Dr. Breshear's approach to identifying potential demonic influence in people's lives, focusing on areas like accusing voices, oppressive presence, and occult involvement. He emphasizes the importance of assessing these influences when individuals face issues like anxiety, addiction, or persistent problems. By probing into their experiences and thoughts, the goal is to recognize and address these negative influences, ultimately seeking to remove them from the person's life.
  • This lesson provides insights into assessing potential demonic influence in individuals' lives, offering strategies to distinguish personal issues from demonic influences and empower individuals to confront and overcome such challenges with the authority of Jesus Christ.
  • From this lesson, you will gain insight into the controversial topic of demonic influence and possession within Christianity. The lesson explores the various meanings of "possessed" and the debate surrounding whether a Christian can be dominated or influenced by a demon. It emphasizes that while ownership by a demon is generally denied, the extent of demonic influence remains debated.
  • You will learn a comprehensive approach to address demons in a pastoral setting, emphasizing individual empowerment, cooperation, and the transformative potential of confronting these malevolent forces to achieve freedom and healing.
  • This lesson discusses curses, demonic attacks, and their real-life impact. It highlights curses arising from disobedience, similar to God's curse in the Bible. The lesson promotes rejecting curses and dedicating spaces to God while emphasizing that curses have power only when received, suggesting turning to Jesus for protection and deliverance.
  • Explor the nature, influence, and tactics of demons, dispelling myths of immunity in the US. While prayer and fasting aren't mandatory, living as children of light and invoking Jesus' name is key. Demons may exploit unconfessed sin, deceive, and dwell in specific places. Believers confront them with Jesus' authority, engaging in spiritual warfare to deliver the oppressed.
  • Dr. Gerry Breshears discusses some of the main teachings of the Bible on Spiritual Warfare and then participates in a live question and answer.

There is an ongoing battle between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. Followers of Jesus, who are in the kingdom of light, have been given authority by God to command demons. By studying Jesus' life and other passages in scripture, we can gain insights into how to respond to the influence of demons effectively.

 

Spiritual Warfare
Dr. Gerry Breshears
th251-06
God and the Serpent
Lesson Transcript

 

Well, let's turn to biblical theology now. The worldview level things I've done are background kind of things, but important between the polytheistic of the ancient near Eastern, the uniquely Yahweh, there's only one God who's deserving our loyalty. But then there are other spiritual beings are at war with Him. We've been through that.

What I want to do now is take a biblical theology look at how God and Satan are different from each other and how this warfare works out is the backdrop for where we come in way down the line. We got to begin at the beginning. If I go back to Genesis 3, and what I'm suggesting is that this is the serpent counterattacking God doing goodness. It's really helpful to work through this to see how God works and how the serpent works.

The serpent here it says, "Is more crafty," and that's an unfortunate translation, because this word that's there it actually means wise. The exact same word is used in Proverbs as the wise master builder type thing. It's the same word. We read that in the English translations, "Oh, yeah look, gosh, he's sneaky." That isn't in the meaning of the word. It's a serpent, yes, but the serpent is again, that's one of these weird things. We could go down this rabbit hole a long ways. The same word nahash that's used of serpent here is translated correctly serpent here in Genesis 30:27 is a diviner, it's a communicator into the heavenly realm, the realm of the other beings.

This is where many people see this nahash as the serpent is actually a son of God as angelic being. There probably were other angelic beings running around. There's a whole bunch of stuff there, speculation. I'm going to accept just a reference that's out there for you Bible nerds. I'm going to skip that whole thing. The serpent shows up, but instead of being crafty, sneaky, the serpent is more was wiser, but wise doesn't always mean good things because he can be wise and evil as well as wise and good.

He's crafty, but what he does here and he comes up to Eve and asks this question, "Did God really say?" We've got that same medium today. "Really, really, really." You can say a lot of different ways. It's the same outcome like, "Oh, come on, be real. Did God really say"? He's not asked, I mean it's not an honest question, it's a deconstruction question as we'd use the term today. It's not a legitimate, "Let's seek understanding." It's a question designed to create confusion and doubt. "Did God really say you must tree in the garden?" What it's doing, it's questioning God's motive, not questioning his authority but questioning his motive. That's what God does. Or sorry, what Satan does is he is undercutting subversively, particularly the character and the goodness of God.

What Eve does is she quotes back to the serpent, basically what God had said to Adam, this is so what God said to Adam in Genesis 2:17 is, "Dangerous tree, don't eat it. It will kill you." About the tree of knowing good, bad, don't eat it. Dangerous tree, don't eat it. It will kill you. That's basically quotes back, she said, "We may eat of any trees of the garden, but do not eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden. You must not touch it or you'll die."

Now she didn't quote him exactly, but she certainly got the idea. She understands, "God said, that's a tree that if you eat you will die." What the serpent says is, "No, no, no, no. No, no, you're not going to die." Then what he does is he gives a different interpretation of the same facts. "God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you'll be like God knowing good, bad." We got to unpack that a little bit.

God said, "Dangerous tree, don't eat, it will kill you." The tree is defining for myself or defining who will make the judgment good, bad. That's what he's basically saying. What God is saying, "Let me define good, bad," and what Satan, the serpent is saying, "God knows that when you eat of it, that your eyes will be opened and you will be able to define for yourself good, bad." That's what the being like God, there are already likeness of God of course.

But the thing is, I think what the serpent is doing is appealing to Eve's better side and saying, "God wants you to grow up. I mean you could be a dependent little girl all your life, but I think God wants you to be a big girl and you're wise, you can figure it out." What she does... Well, here's the thing. God says, "Dangerous tree, don't eat it, it will kill you." Okay. If we're wise, then we let God define those things and say, "Okay, I don't know why, but all right, we'll let it alone." The serpent says, "Good tree, eat it. It'll make you like God, able to define good, bad for yourself."

What he's doing is presenting an alternate worldview. Here's the key thing... Well, let me tell you a bit of a story. The first movie I took my pretty wife to see, which she wasn't my pretty wife then. She was pretty, but not my wife, was Jungle Book, the original in the cartoon version. In there, you've got Ka the serpent who is getting poor little guy hypnotizing him to eat and Mowgli, and the bear comes up and thunks the serpent and takes it. I don't think the serpent is hypnotizing eve here.

What the serpent is doing here is say, "Check it out for yourself. You can be dependent on God forever, be a little kid, never grow up or you can be your own person." He's not saying Rebel against God and follow me though many people have that interpretation. I don't think he's doing that. Now, it's a result of it, but that's not what he's saying. He's saying, "Be your own person. Dare to think. Grow up. Don't be a dependent little kid anymore." That's what it is, grow up.

You lead in verse six, "The woman saw, she looks at that tree and the fruit of that tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye." Now what you should do, anytime you see a phrase like you should say, "What does that hyperlink to?" Where it hyperlinks to is back to chapter 2:9, and back in 2:9, in the middle of the tree, God made all kinds of trees to grow the ground. Trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. It's not exactly the same phrase in Hebrew, but it's almost exactly the same phrase.

She looks and sees the tree of knowing good and bad and looks at it, checks it out for herself. "Well, gosh, this tree is just like all the rest of the trees, there's nothing bad about this tree. I get it. If I eat this tree, I will gain wisdom. I'll be defined for myself what's good, bad, and I got to grow up. That's a good thing." She took some and ate it and that's the sin pattern. The woman saw, examined for herself, and then based on her own perception, she took and ate. That see/take pattern is a literary pattern that shows up again and again and again.

The thing of it is, God has already said, "Dangerous tree, don't eat it, it'll kill you." If she did it right, she would not eat, but she falls prey to the serpent's deception and really saying, "Grow up, God wants you to grow up." "Oh, well gosh, if I do that I will grow up." In C.S. Lewis's Perelandra, the second part of the space trilogy, that's exactly the goal of the woman there in Perelandra, is, "I want to be big, I want to be grown up." I think that's what he's saying here.

I don't think at this spot she's rebeling against God. She's betraying God's relationship. She's trusting herself instead of God, but I don't think she's saying, "God take a long hike off a short pier." I think she's saying, "Oh, God wants me to grow up. I'm going to do that. I'm going to be my own person." Then she took some, gave it to her husband and with her and he ate.

Now thought pattern. Here comes the serpent, "Did God really say?" What would happen if he said, "Just a minute, Mr. Serpent, Mr. God, Mr. God, Mr. Serpent has a question for you." Would anything have changed? Like everything. Then the serpent says, "You'll not die. God knows when your eyes will be open and you'd be like, God, you'll be a grown up." What would've happen if she would've said, "Hold on just a second, Mr. Serpent, Adam? Adam? I need your help."

Things would've changed a lot I think. But see, here's Satan's thing. He wants to isolate, leave me by myself and make my own decisions apart from God and apart from community. Number one agenda, sneaky agenda of the serpent is isolate from God, isolate from community. Be your own person.

How's that narrative playing out in our society these days? I mean, that's it. "Be your own person. Don't let anybody tell you what to do." That's the serpent's agenda and that's the whole narrative here in the Western world. "Be your own person. If you're a guy and you want to be a girl, then be that. Don't let anybody hold you back, those oppressive people," and you get all kinds of accusations going on.

That's the serpent's agenda. It's not a new agenda. That's what he used on Eve and Adam. Now Eve was deceived. Adam wasn't. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy. I think Adam's sin is actually worse than Eve's, but whatever. They betray God and it does not work out well. Do they realize they're naked? That means vulnerable to attack. Physically naked, yes, but vulnerable attack is the thing. They sewed fig leaves together and make coverings for themselves instead of trusting God to provide something. That's the thing, do it yourself. When you do it yourself, you make fig leaves. Of course it's just an absolute laugh line that you try to make clothes out of fig leaves.

That's a serpent's agenda. "Be your own person. Don't trust God. Don't depend on other people. Be your own person. Do your own thing and that will help you grow up." Dare to think sapere aude, the watch word of the enlightenment. Dare to think. Have courage. Now my question is what does God do in the midst of this? Because I'm showing you the biblical theology of the warfare. The man and the wife heard the sound of the God walking in the garden and they hid from God. They're dead. That life relationship with God is gone.

The first thing God does in the context of sin is God comes. Critically important. God comes. He doesn't, "Oh look what they did down there, Gabriel, can you believe it? They just disobeyed. I give them one command and they can't even keep that." You could hear all kinds of sarcasm coming out. He doesn't do that. He comes, they hide, He calls out, "Where are you?"

Now this is a place where you need to listen closely. What is the tone of God's voice? What's He asking? Do you think He knows they're hiding over in the bushes? The answer is without a doubt He knows they're hiding in the bushes. He's not saying where are you physically. I think what he's doing is inviting Adam, He calls to the man, "Where are you," is inviting confession.

"Hey, what's going on? What's up," these are Adam. "What's up?" Adam responds, and you read this carefully. "I heard you in the garden. I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid." Four things: how's Adam doing? How's Adam doing? Good or bad? "I heard you in the garden. I was afraid I was naked. I hid."

How's he doing at confession? So far so good. "I heard you in the garden," context. "I was afraid," identity statement. "I'm sorry," emotional response. "I was naked," identity statement, "So I hid," action. Context/ garden, emotion/afraid, identity/naked, vulnerable to attack, action/I hid, so far, so good. So far, so good, but not complete. He didn't say "I ate, I was wrong."

God comes back and again, understanding how God does a warfare, "Who told you you were naked?" He goes after the identity statement, not the action, not the emotion, the identity statement. "I was naked. I'm vulnerable to attack," because that's the core of how we act, is our identity statement. "Who told you you were naked?" Well, I mean who do you think told him? Nobody. He figured out for himself in this case. But see that's God's question is "Who's voice are you trusting?" Adam is trusting his own voice. That's why he ate in the first place and that's why he's hiding now.

"Who told you you were naked?" But they didn't stop there. "Have you eaten from the tree I command you do not eat from?" Again, what's the tone of God's voice? Your theology will come out because the church I grew up in would've been snarling, sarcasm. "Have you eaten?" I don't think so. I think all God is doing is prompting more confession. Remember he had context, emotion, identity, action. Didn't have, "I ate, it was wrong." God is prompting that very thing in seeking to inspire confession. "Did you eat from the tree?" I think his tone is still compassionate. I think it is. I think it's inviting.

Now granted, I'm reading my stuff into the Bible, but I read Exodus 34:6, 7, the first attribute of God is compassion. The man responds, "It's the woman that you put here with me. She did it." Oh, my gosh, here we go downhill. He does get the, "I ate it," but it's blaming God and the woman and we all take a deep breath. I don't think he got it right.

He says the woman, "What is this you have done in inviting confession?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me. I ate." That's much closer to reality. She's not quite saying, "I ate, he was wrong," but is fairly close. I think she does a better job than the man does with his blame shifting and such. Then God goes with the true enemy.

Satan's thing, isolate from God and community, do what's right in your own eyes. They do it. Terrible. God comes calls, invites, confession, and then goes after the true enemy. When He does his response, it's not to Adam, it's not to Eve, it's to the serpent. See, and I think that when we find the same thing in Ephesians 6, we'll look at later, but this is a heavenly war between God and the rebellious angels. He goes after the true enemy. The true enemy is the serpent.

He says, "Cursed are you. You'll crawl on your belly. You'll eat dust all the days of your life." Now that's not saying why snakes crawl on the ground. That's what one lineman says to the other lineman at a football game, "I'm going to make you eat so much dirt, you'll taste it for the rest of your life." It's divine trash talk. "I'm going to so humiliate you." That's what it's talking about. But then 3:15, everybody agrees is the crucial word. "I'll put enmity between you and the woman, between serpent and Eve, between your offspring and the serpent's, offspring. Are the other gods, and those who worship them and hers, of course that's Messiah and those who worship him, He Messiah will crush your head. That will kill you and you will same word crush his heel and that will kill Messiah. Because the Palestinian viper, when it bites you, it does not just tap you on the heel, it kills you.

This is the statement. "Cursed are you. I will continue the war. There'll be enmity between you and your worshipers between the woman and her seed and His worshipers, and he will crush your head. You will crush his heel." This is the triumph theme of atonement. "He will crush your head," and it's the substitution, "He will die in our place." That's God's statement to the serpent. That's the true enemy. That's who he takes on first. He promises I'm going to win this war.

Now at this point, I wouldn't guess the war is going to be going on as long as it's been going on, but that's the war. Now we could do a lot more with these next phrases and I'm going to skip all that for this course anyway, but it's interesting to see who gets cursed in this passage. God does curse and God does punish. If you're here live, I'd say, "Okay, whom or what does God curse?"

The answer is, we've already seen one of them. What's that? Who gets cursed first? Serpent. Yep. Who and what else gets cursed? See, and it's not even Adam. They don't get cursed, they get punished, both of them do, but there's also a lot of grace in what happens here. The other things cursed to the ground. Those are the two things that have curses put up upon them. The serpent means he's going to die and the ground means that you're going to get thorns and thistles where you should get wheat and barley.

Now it's all a lot of stuff going on there, but again, what I note here, "Adam names is Eve, Eve shall become mother of all living. But then in verse 21, the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and clothed them. That's the way God does this thing. Comes, calls, invites confession, curses the serpent and provides clothing/covering.

But then there's another statement of mixed punishment. Really, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and bad, he must not be allowed to reach out his hand, take from the tree of life and live forever. For him, he can't eat the tree of life because he's dead. He's separated from the tree of life. In some way this is a protection as well as a statement of the deadness. He's outside the garden, he's driven out of the garden, placed to the east and He places a cherubim with the flashing sword to guard the way back to the tree of life.

The whole point here is to get back to the tree of life, we have to do it God's way and that's going to come through Messiah. Now, quick, quick, quick overview of a very, very complex and difficult story, but that's the big thing. Satan's agenda is to question God's goodness, tell us, "Be your own person. Grow up, decide for yourself. Don't be dependent on anybody but whom we are." Then we betray the God who is so gracious to us and God comes, calls, HE invites confession where healing comes, provides crushing for the serpent, provides clothing covering for us, continues his rescue mission for us through Messiah Jesus.

That chapter, it seems to me, is a crucial chapter to understand in how this whole spiritual world works, because what Satan does constantly is he puts God in the role of oppressor, God in the role of who really does not have your best interest in mind, God who's into his own agenda. Ironically, some of the phrases we use all the time in Christendom play into that hand to "God alone be glory," that's saying God's the ultimate narcissist.

"Okay, I can praise you God, but I know I'm just a worm, but you're God." To God alone be glory, to the God who wants to give glory to His people. That phrase we'll see, "To God alone be glory means among the gods only Yahweh gets glory, but God wants to give us His glory, so we can be blessable image-bearing covenant partners. That's his agenda. Satan takes our best phrases and warps them with his agenda. That's the way Satan works. The question is how will we work in this warfare that's going on?