Epp Devil Exposed, I include this work for those who do in-depth studies of issues from all sides, but Epp basically denies many biblical truths about Satan and sin. I would consider this work a counter presentation to the Bible, therefore approach it very carefully, because Epp denied many biblical truths. His chapters are the Devil, Diabolos, Satan, Satan the Adversary, Demons, Signs of Demon Possession, the Demoniacs, Temptation, Origins of Sin, the Temptation of Christ, the Literalness of Christ’s Temptation, Devil is not a supernatural being.






First published anonymously in London in 1842,
the authorship has been attributed to
a Mr. John Epps of London.

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CONTENTS of Epp Devil Exposed

The rule in the investigation of truth. Successful application in natural science. Why should not equal success attend its application to other truths? The method for establishing uniformity of opinion. The rule applied in the investigation of the Devil. The book of creation affords no knowledge of the Devil. The importance of a knowledge of the Devil. Great number of passages where the word “devil” occurs in the Common Version, in which it is not in the original. No two words can mean the same thing. The true meaning of the word Diabolos. Proofs from the Common Version of this meaning. The substitution of the true meaning for the untrue much more useful and instructive.

Man possesses a threefold nature. The opposition between the institutions of society and the commands of Christ. Submission of self. Means to obtain this submission. False-accusation state of mind. Passages illustrative. Parable of the tares. Parable of the sower of the seed. The misintroduction of the Devil into the Old Testament.

The term SATAN. Who Satan is must be learned from Revelation. Satan applied to express “adversary.” No badness of meaning essentially connected with the word Satan. The Satan in the Book of job an idolator. Peter, the apostle, a Satan.

“Satan indicates any state or condition adverse. Adverse to health – adverse in circumstances – adverse in state of mind. The “Satan” in the Revelations.

Jesus is never said, in the original Scriptures, to have cast out “devils.” God, the author of language, must know its right use. The universal extension of the Greek language. Daimon, as understood by the Greeks, the Romans, the Jews – a “departed human ‘spirit’,” Natural gods of the heathens. The Cerriti and the Larvati. BeeIzebub. Paul’s speech at Athens. Demons believe. The worship of demons. Paul’s answer to the expediency, sham charity men of his day.

Possession indicated by certain signs. Madness an indication. The Pythia. Unusual bodily contortions. The Gadarene and Gergesene demoniacs were madmen. Lunatics. Epileptics.

The Gadarene and Gergesene demoniacs. Their dispossession, and the madness of the swine examined and explained. The language of our Saviour and of his Apostles correspond to the opinions of men. How the demoniacs confessed Christ.

Temptation, its nature. Trial. The source of temptation. The erroneousness of many notions on this subject.

The source of trial. The lust (epithumia). The misapplication of the word. The steps in the production of a sin. Desire, its nature. Numerous passagesin which epithumia is applied to a desire, decidedly good.

The history of the trial of our Lord. The rule to guide as to a passage of Scripture being interpreted literally or figuratively. This rule applied to the three trials of Christ, and the impossibility of the account being literally true.

The peculiar work which Christ had to perform. The character, his humanity in which he had to perform that work. Te difference between the first Adam and the second Adam. The trials of the Lord shown to be mere mental states, through which his mind passed.

The atheism of believing in a being called the Devil. The absurdity of such belief. The obstacles to the removal of the belief in such a being.

Chapter 1. Devil

– The rule in the investigation of truth.
– Successful application in natural science.
– Why should not equal success attend its application to other truths? The method for establishing uniformity of opinion.
– The rule applied in the investigation of the Devil.
– The book of creation affords no knowledge of the Devil.
– The importance of a knowledge of the Devil.
– Great number of passages where the word “devil” occurs in the Common Version, in which it is not in the original.
– No two words can mean the same thing.
– The true meaning of the word Diabolos.
– Proofs from the Common Version of this meaning.
– The substitution of the true meaning for the untrue much more useful and instructive

SOUND thinking, that is, cultivated and well-directed common sense, applied to the discovery of truth, either natural or revealed, has followed the rule, That nothing ought to be believed as true, unless its truth can be demonstrated by an appeal to the facts recorded in the book of Creation, or to those revealed in the book of Revelation.

Rigid adherence, of late years, by the naturalists to this rule, in reference to the subject of natural, creation-written truths, has been the cause of immense progress in natural science: and is it not, without any improper presumption, to be inferred that a similar rigid adherence to this rule in matters relating to the spiritual, Bible-written truths, will be attended with equal progress?

It is a lamentable fact that, in the matter of rigid adherence to this rule of truth investigation and truth demonstration, “the children” who study the things of the natural order are far in advance of, “are wiser in their generation than the children” who study the things of the spiritual order.

It is from this cause that such diversities of opinions prevail among professed followers of Christ; an evil, not to be remedied, as the Romanists would remedy it, by squeezing all men’s minds into one universal square, impudently called “the mind of the church”; or, as Milton describes the patent uniforming process, “starching them into the stiffness of uniformity by tradition.”* This is not the method; but the only method is, to establish as binding upon all inquirers after truth the rule already recorded, that nothing in spiritual matters ought to be believed as true, unless its truth can be demonstrated by an appeal to the original scriptures, and this to the satisfaction of every well constituted, truth loving mind.

This rule, once generally recognised and practically carried out, will make all of one mind, will establish a uniformity of opinion, founded on the conviction, and not on the suspension, of the understanding.

Men of science are of one mind in regard to chemical, mechanical, and mathematical facts; this oneness having been arrived at by rigidly adhering to the prescribed rule in studying the book of Creation. What, then, is there in spiritual subjects to prevent men, pursuing Revelation-recorded truths, arriving at a similar oneness of mind in regard to those truths recorded by the same divine wisdom, and guided by the same God of order as dictated the other book of instruction?

Taking this rule as the guide, and holding the principles, that, Revelation being a truth discovery its truths were for discovery, and that these truths are to he discovered with a certainty as great as that connected with the Creation truths, it is proposed to consider the subject of


As a consequence of being guided by his rule, it will be essential to throw behind us, and, as far as possible, to banish from our thoughts, all the various notions that have been instilled into our minds regarding the existence of a personal immortal Devil by means of stories, pictures, and even by that delightful writer, Bunyan,* and by that stupendous-minded poet, Milton.c The descriptions, however beautiful, and the notions thence derived, however strong, must be to us, as inquirers after truth, as though they were not.

Knowing, however, how strong early impressed notions are, how constantly they intrude themselves, whenever the subjects with which they were originally introduced into the mind are brought before the view, we require to remain continually on the intellectual watch-tower, lest when we, in relation to the influence of mental associations, are asleep, they may enter in and divert our minds from the good old way of the law and the testimony.

From the book of Creation nothing can be learned of the existence of the Devil of popular belief. Formerly, the miseries in the world might and did lead some to imagine and to believe in the existence of some powerful malignant spirit. The Magi taught the existence of a good and of an evil spirit, between which existed an irreconcilable enmity: an opinion constantly detectable in the Egyptian and Grecian mythologies. But now it is known that all misery arises from the violation of the laws of the Creator, obedience to which is productive, necessarily productive, of happiness: and that all evil will cease when God’s laws, physical, intellectual, moral and spiritual, are discovered and obeyed.

The importance of an accurate knowledge respecting the popular devil must be apparent, when it is remembered that his agencies and operations are regarded as extensive as is the outspreading of the human family; as singularly powerful, amounting almost to an omnipotent dominion; as producing multitudes of crimes§plain in connection with the wicked, and excessive mental distress in connection with the good and the excellent. If, therefore, there is such a being, it must be highly advantageous to know about him; and if there is not such a being, it must be equally necessary, yea, more so, to be aware and thoroughly convinced of his non-existence, as thus the mind will be led to seek for other causes for the results which are supposed to be dependent upon his agencies, and, by their discovery, the discoverer will gain the power of getting rid of these results by removing their causes.

As, therefore, the book of Creation can afford no knowledge of a devil, the Scriptures must be the book where the natural history of the Devil must be learned.

The words, “devil” and “devils,” occur over one hundred times in the common translation.

The first step in the inquiry respecting the Devil of Scripture is, Are these words represented by the same word in the original Scriptures? An examination demonstrates that this is not the case; that two radically distinct words are used: and that seventy-seven of the passages are represented by a word quite distinct from that which, in the remaining passages, is the representative of the word “devil” in the common translation, Allowing, for the present, that the word “devil” is the proper translation of the Greek word in these thirty-seven passages, it is quite certain that the word “devil” or “devils” cannot be the proper rendering of the Greek word occurring in the other passages; and, consequently, a rendering which does not discriminate between the two sets of passages must lead into error.

For it is a principle that all who study the Scriptures regarding them as the product, through human agency, of divine wisdom, must allow, that divine wisdom would never employ two distinct words if one correctly conveyed the meaning. All arguments, therefore, in relation to the Devil, as derived from the passages referred to, would be fallacious, because the Devil is not referred to therein.

These seventy-seven passages can therefore be dismissed for the present, while we consider the remaining passages in which a different word translated “devil” occurs, and from them must be learned what is taught concerning the Devil of Scripture.

The field of inquiry is thus limited: let care be taken in its examination. The passages are: –

Mat 4:1; Mat 4:5; Mat 4:8; Mat 4:11; Mat 13:39; Mat 25:41; Luk 4:2; Luk 4:3; Luk 4:6; Luk 4:13; Luk 8:12; John 6:70; John 8:44; John 8:2; Acts 10:38; Acts 13:10; Eph 4:27; Eph 6:11; 1Ti 3:6; 1Ti 3:7; 1Ti 3:11; 2Ti 2:26; 2Ti 3:3; Tit 2:3; Heb 2:14; James 4:7; 1Pe 5:8; 1Jn 3:8; 1Jn 3:8; 1Jn 3:8; 1Jn 3:10; Jud 1:9; Rev 2:10; Rev 12:9; Rev 12:12; Rev 20:2; Rev 20:10

What, then, is the word rendered “devil” in these passages? It is diabolos. What does this mean? It is derived from diaballo, this itself being compounded or made up, of two words, dia – through, and ballo – to strike, to pierce (as with an arrow): diaballo, therefore, signifies to pierce through: and as, when a man’s character is attacked by the false charges of another, his character is pierced through, this word diaballo means also to calumniate, which is to pierce through with the darts of calumny. And, as the idea of this calumny implies that the accusations are false, the term diabolos means false-accuser, a calumniator. The proper meaning of the word diabolos, is, therefore, false-accuser, calumniator; the improper meaning is “devil” – this improper interpretation having been first given by the translators of the Scriptures into Greek; a rendering Leigh* remarks, “nowhere else sampled (i.e., so used) in any Greek author.” The derivation of this word thus proves that false-accuser, calumniator, is the correct translation.

Additional evidence that “false-accuser” is the correct translation of diabolos is afforded in the occasional use of the proper meaning of the word in the common translation. A few passages may be noted. Paul, in writing to Timothy respecting the wives of deacons, observes, “Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things,” 1Ti 3:11. The phrase, not slanderers, is, in the original, me diaboloi, not devils-that is, if the proper meaning of the word diabolos is “devil.” The translators here were obliged to translate the word rightly: for the same subserviency of mind that caused them to obey the audacious mandate of King James to translate the word ecclesia, church, and not assembly or congestion, which is its proper meaning, would operate in making them avoid giving offence to the fair sex, which they would have done had they rendered the word diaboloi, “devils.” Their gallantry, perhaps it was, made them do right. This, then, is passage the first where the proper meaning has been given.

Paul, in writing to Titus, uses the same expression: “The aged women, likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false-accusers,” Tit 2:3. The phrase rendered “not false-accusers” is me diabolous, not devils – if devil be the proper meaning of the word diabolos. The translators, however, have here again, by the undoubted application of the term to women, been obliged to translate the word properly, and have themselves thus afforded a second evidence that diabolos means false-accuser.

A third passage, confirming this as the proper interpretation, is the following:- “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, truce-breakers, false-accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away,” 2Ti 3:1-3. Here the word, correctly rendered “false-accusers,” is diaboloi, “devils” – that is, if “devils” is the proper interpretation – the interpretation given to it in thirty-five other passages in the common translation. But it is not the proper rendering: the proper translation has been, given in this passage, thus affording a third confirmatory evidence that “false-accuser” is the meaning of the word diabolos.

In all the passages thus quoted the word is applied to human beings, and not to any supernatural, invisible beings – a fact well worthy of being noted.

The question here occurs, if the phrase “false-accuser,” or that of “slanderer,” is the proper translation in these passages, why should not a similar rendering be given throughout the Scriptures? Why should the Translators, or, more correctly, the Revisers of the Scriptures, not have rendered the word uniformly throughout? The answers are left to be supplied by the common-sense of each inquirer.

It will be seen from the preceding remarks that false-accuser, slanderer, calumniator, is the primary meaning, and, it may be added, the proper meaning of this word diabolos, a meaning which has this advantage, that all can understand it; a statement which cannot be made in reference to the word “devil”; for does any one, adopting the common notions, understand what the “Devil” is? Do any two people agree on his character, his existence, his attributes? Seeing, then, that there is a simple meaning, and seeing there is a mysterious meaning, can it be proper, can it be advantageous, to substitute a word which has no definite meaning for one which has a fixed, a practical meaning?

To proceed in the investigation. It may be inferred that, as all truth is harmonious, the introduction of the actual meaning of the word diabolos in those passages in which, in the common translation, it has been represented by the word “devil,” will render the passages themselves much more intelligible and practically useful.

These passages may now be considered with this idea before the mind.

Jesus had been declaring some of those great truths which certain of those who followed him were “not able to hear,” so that “from that time many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him,” John 6:66. Their self-love ruling wrongly in their natures deceived them, and hence they falsely accused Christ of deceiving them, and so forsook him. Their departure afforded Christ an opportunity of asking the twelve, “-Will ye also go away?” Then Simon Peter answered him, “Lord to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son, of the living God,” John 6:67, 68, 69. To this rejoinder of Simon was the distressing information imparted by the Lord: “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” John 6:70. The language is plain in its application. The Saviour is speaking to twelve men, and one of these men, he stated, is a devil? No; he does not so say. The Common Version makes him thus to speak, but the real expression which Jesus used was, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a diabolos,” a false-accuser. This is what he says; and illustrative of the point of view in which the disciple referred to is a false-accuser, the form is pointed out in which the character was made manifest: “for he” (Judas) “it was who should betray him,” John 6:70 – pierce him through by false accusation. That diabolos in this passage means “false-accuser,” and not “devil,” is further evident from this, that if it means “devil,” then Judas was a devil: for it is said, “He spake of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon,” John 6:71; and Judas being a man, a devil must therefore be a man. This conclusion, which at once would overturn the common idea of the devil – that he is a supernatural being – cannot be got rid of except by doing justice to the word diabolos, and rendering it by the word, properly expressive of its meaning, namely, “false-accuser.”

The next step in the betrayal of the Christ still further demonstrates that “false-accuser” is the proper meaning of the word diabolos, and that therefore the introduction of the word “devil” into the passage detailing such step, is incorrect: “And supper being ended-the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him,” John 13:2. This passage, many think, argues strongly in favour of a literal “devil,” because, it is said, that “the devil having now put into,” or entered, “the heart of Judas.” But it it is quite clear that this cannot be literally true, for no “Devil” could put anything into the heart of a person; and, it is further evident that if a “devil” is to be regarded as a distinct being, Judas was a “devil,” for Jesus called him so; and how could one “devil” enter into another “devil”? and, what is more difficult still, into the heart of that other “devil”; which must have been the case if Judas, already a “devil” (“one of you is a devil”), had a “devil” enter his heart.

But if it is understood that the word “devil;” represents not only a human being who falsely accuses, but the state of mind whence false accusations arise: that, in other words, it represents a ruling, active, selfish, accusing state of mind, which, entering a man – that is, gaining rule in, or possession of, his mind – creates in the man those mental states by which the man, as a false-accuser, manifests himself, the matter becomes quite clear, and all contradictions cease. The narrative then informs us that Judas, who, ere the betrayal, was a false accuser, at last became so much the servant of the self-love principle, the accusing his master principle, as to be subject to its dictations, and to become a slave in carrying out its behests.

Vicious plans, confirmed vicious habits, are not produced in a moment. The selfish desire works a long time before it comes to its development. A vicious state of mind works insensibly oftentimes before the vice enters the heart of the man – that is, before it is so influential as to break forth into positive acts. Such was the case with Judas. He had long been in a state of mind in which he falsely accused his master: mark how he grumbled respecting the ointment used for the anointing of the Christ (“-for he kept the bag”): but before this state took the form of betrayal, of positive act, various barriers had to be overcome. These were overcome, and then the false-accusation-state-of-mind, diabolos, entered and possessed him.

Another passage in which the word diabolos occurs, and is translated, but improperly so, “devil,” is the following:- “And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus: which was with the deputy of the country. Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul (who also is called Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, set his eyes on him, and said, O full of all subtilty, and all mischief thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right was of the Lord?” Acts 13:6; Acts 13:7; Acts 13:8; Acts 13:9; Acts 13:10.

What does the whole narrative prove? That Elymas, not content with his sorceries, falsely represented to Sergius Paulus the doctrines which Paul preached, and which Sergius Paulus had believed. What followed this false accusation of Paul? Paul, the account states, set his eyes upon the false-accuser, and said, “O full of all subtilty, and of all mischief, child of calumny, enemy of all righteousness.” There is no authority in the original for the word “the” which, in the Common Version, precedes the word “devil,” so that if “devil” were the proper translation, the passage ought to be “child of a devil.” But “devil” has no business in the passage at all: Paul charges Elymas with calumny, and personifies him as a child of calumny, just as we say of a wicked person, he is a “child” of vice.”

This exact sense of the word diabolos, namely, as embracing the utterer of false-accusation, develops the force of another passage in which Jesus, after being falsely-accused by the Jews, charges them:- John 8:44-“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye do” -that is, you adopt the character of a false-accuser in calumniating me: ye, as such, are the children of this state of mind. You, in mind, are led away by the accursed disposition of falsely-accusing: ye are the children mentally of the false-accuser, and being so, your mental perceptions manifest their parentage. And the destructive character of this falsely-accusing state of mind, of this slaying by calumny all that is excellent, of this giving false views of the character of God, is exhibited by the passage in question; John 8:44 – “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because truth is not in him: when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it.” So that when the mind is in this state, truth is not present: it is banished: the mind generates lies: it murders truth. This selfish state slays the man, defacing the likeness-to-God state: and this, from the very first, when it gained the mastery.

Another passage in the Common Version in which the phrase “the devil” occurs would be beautifully expressive, truly natural, if rendered according to the proper interpretation, “false-accuser.” Paul is recommending the Ephesians to perform all the social duties in such a way as to give no cause of complaint to any one, not even the most captious; to those anxiously looking for opportunities to charge them with offences: Eph 4:27 -”Neither give place to the false accuser” (tou diabolou) – that is, give no opportunity to any one who would be glad to charge you with offences against the law. And that Paul refers to a human, and not to an invisible, enemy, is proved by the context, where offences are referred to that are objects of notice by the civil magistrate before whom the false-accuser, but not the “devil,” would be happy to have the opportunity of taking the believer: “Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”

Another passage in which the word diabolos in the Common Version, rendered “the devil,” would, if rendered “false accuser,” exhibit the sense in its beautiful simplicity, is, “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things saith the first and the last, which was dead and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou art rich), and the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those thinks which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried: and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life,” Rev 2:8; Rev 2:9; Rev 2:10. It is quite certain that the “devil,” an invisible agent, could not cast them (that is, human bodies) into prison, but a diabolos, a false-accuser, by branding them with charges before a civil magistrate, might obtain their committal: and that such a false-accuser, or such false-accusers, are human beings, is proved by the preceding verse, wherein they are described as “Jews, and are not, but are the Synagogue, or the assembly, of the adversary” (tou Satanas – the Translators have left out the tou “thee,” which is before “Satan,” which latter means adversary). The passage, therefore, will appear in its clearness when the word diabolos is rendered according to its simple meaning. “Fear none of these things, which thou shalt suffer: behold, the false-accuser shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried.”

The tou diabolou occurs in two other passages, in which it is rendered in the Common Version “devil,” where, if rendered false-accuser, the sense would at once become apparent. Paul is describing the qualifications of a Christian bishop: one he particularly details, 1Ti 3:6 – “Not a novice;” and the reason is given, “lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” The condemnation of the devil of orthodox belief would never be associated with the lifting up with pride; such lifting up would, according to the common idea of the Devil, be pleasing to the Devil. If it be said that the condemnation is that into which “the Devil” fell, the answer is, that condemnation must first be proved.

The words are krima tou diabolou; the term krima means legal judgment, hence our word “crime”, which is applied to an offence of which the civil magistrate takes note. Paul therefore means, that being lifted up with pride, the novice might act in such a manner as to, render himself amenable to the critically exercised judgment of the false-accuser. That Paul refers to no invisible being, but to men, by whom the bishop is surrounded, is proved by the following passage: 1Ti 3:7 – “Moreover he must have a good report of them that are without” (i.e., men of the world), “lest he fall into reproach and into the snare of the false-accuser”; rendered “devil” in the Common Version.

The same idea of a human “false-accuser” is conveyed in other passages where the word “devil” is improperly given in the Common Version. Thus, Peter writes (1Pe 5:8). “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” This passage is very commonly quoted to prove the existence and the power of the Devil; but that the phrase diabolos refers to a human false-accuser is settled by the phrase definitive of an preceding it, namely, “adversary.” The word for adversary is antidikos, which means an opponent at law. Peter, therefore, is referring to the necessity of believers so shaping their conduct as members of society, that the opponent will have no opportunity of charging them with any violation of the law of moral duty (for dike, a part of the word antidikos, means “moral rectitude”) before the civil magistrate. How much more simple would this passage be if rendered, as it ought to have been, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your opponent, the false-accuser, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

A somewhat similar application of the term diabolos is found in James 4:7, where we read: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James teaches submission on the one hand and resistance on the other: to God, submission of mind; to the utterer of false-accusation (or, it may be, to the falsely-accusing state of mind possessing one’s self for the time being) resistance, when “the diabolos will flee.”

Another passage in which the word diabolos occurs, and is translated “devil,” is the following: – “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, the Lord rebuke thee,” Jude v9. The proper meaning of the word diabolos here is “false-accuser”; and, that Michael, the chief messenger, and also the false-accuser, were individual human beings, will be shown in the remarks to be made hereafter on the word “Satan.”

In the Revelations are three passages in which the word diabolos occurs and is, in the Common Version, translated “devil,” but in which it refers to a false-accuser, and not to an invisible supernatural agent. The demonstration of this view will require the force of the word Satan to be understood; and, therefore, these three passages will be dealt with when “Satan” is examined.

The last passage now to be referred to in which diabolos, rendered “devil” in the Common Version, means, and ought to have been rendered, “false-accuser,” is that where Paul, addressing the Ephesians, says – “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” Eph 6:11. A previous warning of the Ephesians by Paul against the false-accuser has been already noticed; and in this passage he notices the means by which they can successfully resist all the cunning methods (methodeias) of the false-accuser. The means are the “whole Armour of God.” And the necessity of the whole, and not a part, of the armour, is evidenced by the number of enemies with which the false-accuser of the believer is leagued: “For,” adds he (verse 12), “we wrestle not against flesh and blood” – that is, against our own selfish desires and our natural feelings – “but against principalities” (archas – i.e. civil rulers), “against powers” (exousias – i.e., authorities), “against the rulers of the darkness of this world” i.e., against those who rule merely, and by means of, the dark ignorance of the age (aion) , and who, therefore, hate the religion of Christ, which is light. Not only against these has the disciple, who follows the commands of Christ, to fight, as Paul says, but, in his profession and practice of the truth, he has to fight against foes more deadly – the abominable superstitions and priestcraft systems, which cunning knaves have introduced into matters relating to heaven, even into Christianity itself, “against spiritual wickedness in high places,” or, as it may be translated, “against the spiritual things of the wickedness in the heavenly matters.”

It is true that many may prefer the peculiar unmeaningness and mystery of the passages as rendered in the Common Version; and they may find such obscurity useful in enabling them to apply the phrases to some mystifying beings in “the world of spirits.” A thief cries, “Stop thief?” – so the ecclesiastics, knowing that as long as the people think that this spiritual wickedness in high places means something going on in a world which none can see, think they can assert what they like as to this wickedness; and, in addition, they know that the people will be thus diverted from examining what is going on in this world which they can see, and will thus be prevented from discovering, by comparing with the original Scriptures, the gross and blasphemous pretensions and wickedness of these ecclesiastics in reference to the traditions and commandments of men with which they have sought to defile the minds of believers.”*

Paul, in this memorable passage, informs all believers that, if they do their duty, they have to fight, with Bible weapons, against the improper activities (for there are proper activities) of their natural feelings; against the institutions of the civil rulers, when they are opposed to the love of the neighbour and to obedience to Christ, as they often are; against those authorities in law and in opinion that are counter to the glorious truths made known by Deity; against those who live on the ignorance of mankind, making use of the darkness to set people against people; and, finally, against those enemies – the worst of all – who, by virtue of what they term “apostolic succession,” have, in matters relating to the Supreme, and to man in relation thereto, introduced a system of arrogant pretensions respecting their exclusive rights, and who, besides indulging in solemn mummeries in their half-pagan ceremonials, and priestly jugglery in their creed manufacture, have produced cunningly-devised fables which make those truths which are, as Cowper writes,

“Legible by the light they give,”

so obscure, that men have been obliged to go to these spiritual lawyers for an interpretation of the Divine Code; and a prosperous trade have they driven upon their assumed right of interpretation of the Divine Code; and a prosperous trade have they driven upon their assumed right of interpretation.

Considering that the believer has to combat all these foes; considering that the false-accuser presents so many forms; considering that these enemies are so numerous, and their interests so clashing with the love-neighbour principle; and that the false-accuser, urged on by these enemies to a constant watch, would hail any false step by which the believer might fall into the power, not of the “devil,” but of this false-accuser; well may the believer remember the words of Paul, and, in order to “be able to withstand the wiles of the false-accuser,” put on, the whole, and not a part merely, of the armour of God.

Diabolos is, then, a False-Accuser.

Chapter 2. Diabolos

– Man possesses a threefold nature.
– The opposition between the institutions of society and the commands of Christ.
– Submission of self.
– Means to obtain this submission.
– False-accusation state of mind.
– Passages illustrative.
– Parable of the tares.
– Parable of the sower of the seed.
– The misintroduction of the Devil into the Old Testament.

MAN has three departments in his constitution, an animal, selfish in its tendencies; a moral and religious, or spiritual, universal in its tendencies; and an intellectual, operative in the formation and communication of ideas. The institutions of society are, in general, appeals to man’s nature; they patronise self; they give nutriment to self; they draw forth the abundant and destructive fruits of self. The religion of Christ, on the other hand, appeals to man’s moral and religious nature; it cultivates universality of feeling and the love-neighbour principle; it draws forth the fruits of kindness, of mercy, of justice, and of true humility God-ward. The distinction between the institutions of society and the requirements of the truth is forcibly depicted by the great teacher. Mat 5:38-48.

To act in accordance with these commands of Christ requires the subjugation of self-requires not the destruction, but the control of self. To do this, man must have some motive, and that motive must be very powerful; both because his selfish nature is peculiarly strong, and because the institutions of society have a constant tendency to foster its development. What, then, is a motive sufficiently powerful? The belief that “God exists, and that He becomes a rewarder of those who are diligently seeking Him” after the fashion set forth in the revelation of the secret (“mystery”) of “God all in all” (1Co 15:28) “made known for the obedience of faith among all nations” by Jesus and his apostles (Rom 16:23); such a belief will enable a man to overcome himself, and thus approach towards the perfection of God.

The love of self – the natural state – leads one to act in harmony with his selfish nature; to become its slave; to believe that God is a hard master, gathering where He has not strewed; that He is a revengeful God, who seeks His own sovereign will and pleasure, and has no regard for man; that He has left man to struggle, as well as he can, through the turmoils of life, and to take care of himself; and that the subduing of the animal nature is taking a great deal of pains for no purpose; and that to aim at the perfection of God is all a mistake.

These latter states of mind, too common, and often boasted of, are states in which God is falsely accused. Those who act under these states falsely accuse their Maker by refusing to believe that that which He commands is for their good rather than for His. They become diaboloi, false-accusers of God: and the term diabolos can be transferred from the individual to the state of mind of the individual. In such sense, namely, as indicating a state, a falsely-accusing state, this word is frequently used in Scripture.

This disposition of mind, this falsely-accusing state, being in opposition to the higher (the-likeness-to-God) possibilities of man’s nature, is subversive to happiness, which is the fruit of these higher principles. This state punishes its possessor. It creates a fire that burns within; a worm that dieth not, continually gnawing at the happiness and peace of its possessor. Those, then, who gratify this selfish state, who falsely accuse God by refusing to believe His promises, and who, from this disbelief, do not exercise what He commands, namely, the kindlier feelings of humanity, and the love-principles of Christianity, for fear they should lose thereby; who will not sacrifice to heaven for fear that heaven (though heaven has promised to repay) should not repay them for the sacrifice; and who, in so neglecting to sacrifice, will not feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, lodge the stranger, clothe the naked, or visit the prisoner, do, as plainly as, possible, by their conduct falsely accuse God, and the arrangements of His divine wisdom.

To such responsible persons, our Saviour, the judge, will say, stationed, as they will be, in the place of inferiority, the left hand, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Mat 25:41) – that is, prepared for the false-accuser and his messengers. They have, by living in selfishness, been calumniating God, who “brought life and incorruptibility to light” for such as fulfil His will; and they have become the slaves of their own selfishness and falsely-accusing principle; and thus, under the power of the false-accuser, or selfish state of mind, they shut out all the kindlier sympathies of their higher nature, and thus they did not feed the hungry, clothe the naked, or perform any of the duties of humanity.

This falsely-accusing state is that which deceives men, and hence in the Revelations the falsely-accusing state is defined as- “the devil that deceiveth them” (Rev 20:10) – more correctly, the false-accuser, the error-creator (ho planon).

This falsely-accusing of God’s principles is the source of fear – all fear arising from false notions of God. The mind that falsely accuses God by ascribing to Him the same revengeful disposition that itself feels, creates fear in reference to the future. Hence the glorious mission of Christ, who came to establish the truth that those who believe in and follow him are sons of God, and, as such, shall inherit the kingdom prepared for them. The writer to the Hebrews appreciated this glorious dilspeller of fear, as when lie writes: “And again, I will put trust in him. And again, behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise shared the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death-that is, the devil; And deliver them who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb 2:13-15). Or, as properly rendered, “make inoperative him having the strength of death-that is, the false-accuser” – the state of mind which leads man falsely to accuse God: and the result of this state of mind, this falsely-accusing state, being done away (Christ having been raised, and thereby having demonstrated the completion of his work), is to “deliver them who, through fear of death,” from this false accusation of God, “were all their lifetime liable to (this evil) servitude” (Heb 2:15).

An additional illustration of the word diabolos being expressive of this falsely-accusing state of mind is afforded in the interesting parable of the sower of tares: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the household came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? from whence then bath it tares? He said unto them, an enemy has done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares ye root -up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into, my barn. Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that sowed the good seed is the son of man: the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked: the enemy that sowed them is the devil: the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are message-bearers” (Mat 13:24-30; Mat 13:36-39).

It is here positively asserted that the son of man sowed the good seed, and that the enemy who sowed the tares is, according to the Common Version, the Devil. The good seed, it is stated, are the children of the kingdom; the tares, the children of the wicked. These statements are not true literally, for Christ never sowed literal seed: he was a carpenter: and the Devil never sowed tares; he would have been useful if he had. It is quite clear that the children of the kingdom were not Christ’s literal children: no, Christ sowed truth, and the children, begotten by that truth, were thus spiritually its children. It is clear also that the children of the wicked were not the Devil’s literal children, but were those begotten by the opposite to truth, namely, the lies, which the falsely-accusing state of man’s mind generates in reference to God.

It should be remembered, also, that though it is stated that the tares are the children of the “wicked one “ there is no word for “one” in the original, and that the same term is in other passages translated “wickedness,” “the wicked.”

Besides, tares are not bad in themselves, but are bad when sown in soil appropriated for other uses. So the animal feelings, which the tares represent, are not bad in themselves, but are bad when they, as in the field of the world, usurp dominion over the moral and religious feelings. This is the evil. They grow together; but if tares kept to their field, then, instead of being an evil, they would be useful, as are the animal feelings. But when the false-accuser, who, Christ asserts, sowed the tares, makes use of the animal feelings to decry and vilify the government of the higher feelings that produce good fruit, then the tares are sown amidst the wheat – an arrangement which is a disturbance of the order that God has appointed. If the tares grew in their own field they would be useful, because nutritive; but when they grow in the wheat field, then, as they cannot be gathered till useless, they must, when gathered, be burned.

Another passage in which “devil” occurs in the Common Version, is in the parable of the sower of the seed: “A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed some fell by the wayside; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it … Now, the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luk 8:5; Luk 8:11-12).

That no literal Devil can come and do this is quite certain. He must have very delicate fingers to take hold of words, those winged messengers of thought. The diabolos here represents the falsely-accusing state of the mind that represents God as a hard master, gathering where He had not strewed; which destroys the word teaching love to God and love to our neighbour. Let the falsely-accusing state preponderate – a preponderance which trial is very apt to occasion – the good word is overpowered, and a disregard of the beauties of mercy, justice, and humility becomes predominant in the adverse state of mind: thus the good seed, without the aid of any being, miscalled the Devil, is taken out of the heart.

Understanding the word diabolos as expressing a falsely-accusing state of mind, the forcible correctness of the statement of John becomes apparent: “He that committeth sin is of the devil,” the false-accuser – that is, he acts from the falsely-accusing state of mind; he acts in harmony with his animal nature, uncontrolled by the spiritual (he is, therefore, carnal): “for the devil (diabolos) sinneth from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). Hence it was, as John continues, “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested; that he might destroy (luo, to unloose) the works of the false-accuser (diabolos).” This “destruction” of his works is being accomplished in all those “born of God”; “for,” says John, “whosoever is born of God cloth not commit sin, because he is born of God” (verse 9). “In this,” he adds, “the children of God are manifest, and the children of the false-accuser (diabolos): whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of (ek, out of) God; neither he that loveth not his brother” (verse 10).

The passages have now been considered in which the word diabolos occurs, excepting those which refer to the temptation of the Saviour, being four passages in Matthew’s testimony, four in Luke’s, and one in John’s; and three passages in the Revelations where the term diabolos is used in connection with satan. These will be considered, and proof will be given that the same idea is intended to be conveyed by the word diabolos used in these passages.

The consideration of all these passages has proved – first, that the legitimate meaning of the word diabolos is false-accuser, calumniator; second, that in some passages the Translators, or rather the Revisers (for they did not translate), of the Common Version, have given the proper interpretation; third, that if the same translation had been given to all the passages in which the word diabolos occurs as that given in the passages referred to, the meaning of the divine writer would have been rendered intelligible; fourth, that there is no ground for a belief in a super-natural, invisible, individual existence called the Devil.

Before concluding these views, it may be proper to notice that the word “devil” does not occur in the Old Testament, though the word “devils” occurs four times. It is quite certain that the ancient Jews were not aware of the existence of a Devil – for the four passages in which the word “devils” occurs imply no such being. It may be useful to examine these passages, as the examination will throw some light upon the common notion of “the Devil.”

The passages are four: two in the Pentateuch, one in the book of Chronicles, and one in the Psalms. In two of them, the word translated “devils” is sheedim; in the other two, s’gnirim.

The word s’gnirim, rendered “devils,” occurs in the following passage: – “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, saying, What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, and bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord, blood shall be imputed unto that man; he bath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people: to the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the Lord unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation unto the priest, and offer them for peace-offerings unto the Lord. And the priests shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the Lord. And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them, throughout their generations” (Lev 17:1-7).

What, then, is the meaning of the word s’gnirim, which is translated “devils?” The word is derived from s’gnir, which signifies “the hair of the head.” The word therefore, represents something hairy. It came to signify a goat; a hairy one. It was applied to the fanciful, lustful animal, called a satyr, of whom the heathen god Pan, was the representative. Pan is described as a monster in appearance he had two small horns on his head, his complexion was ruddy, his nose flat, and his lips, thighs, tail, and feet were those of a goat. He was worshipped with the greatest solemnity over all Egypt. He was the emblem of fecundity, and the Egyptians and other nations looked upon him as the principle of all things.* This description gives the parentage of the vulgar Devil, so that the common Devil was dug by the early corrupters of Christianity out of the grave of paganism:c and yet some believers in the Scriptures hug the monster still. It will be seen from this view that no justification exists for the word “devils” in this passage. The Israelites are commanded not to “sacrifice to hairy ones,” the Pans (or idols) of the heathen around. They were taught that God is the Author of all fruitfulness, and that He alone ought to be worshipped.

Another passage where the same word occurs presents the absurdity of rendering the word “devils” in a still stronger view. “And the priests of the Levite that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts. For the Levites let their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priests’ office unto the Lord. And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made” (2Ch 11:13-15). Jeroboam manufactured a state religion: joined priestcraft and kingcraft: this he did most likely to keep his people, who by the law had to go up to Jerusalem to worship, from going back to Rehoboam, for he perceived it might be dangerous to his royal interests if the people associated with the subjects of Rehoboam, the king of Judah, when visiting Jerusalem to worship. In fact, this actually happened, it is stated, – “And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the Lord God of their father; So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong three years, for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon” (5:15-17).

These “devils,” for which he ordained priests, were not “devils,” but the Pans, the hairy ones, the supposed prolific principle in nature, which he set up in place of the worship of Him who pours down fruitfulness on the earth, and provided for all in due season.

The other two passages in which the term “devils” occurs have the word sheedim. The word is derived from sheed, which means to pour forth. It mean also breasts; because they pour forth nourishment. “As a noun masculine plural it was the name given by the Hebrews to the idols worshipped by the inhabitant of Canaan” – (Parkhurst). The Egyptian god, Isis, was one of these sheedim, and was called multimamia or many-breasted; because [the idol was] clustered over with breasts. Sud also was “tho great goddess Diana,” on which was inscribed “all various nature, mother of all things.” The Israelites, whenever prosperity attended them, forgot the source, and worshipped the gods of their neighbours. “But Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness: then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God: to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.” (Deu 32:15-17).

The use of the word “devils,” therefore, is not correct: they worshipped idols or gods representing the prolific principles in nature. John Bellamy renders this passage, “They sacrificed to spoilers, not God”4 (Deu 32:17).

But not only was it evil to worship these false gods, but the worship itself was brutalising. “It is said of the Mexicans of America that, before the arrival of the Spaniards, children were offered up at the first appearance of green corn; when the corn was a foot above the ground, and again when it was two feet high.”c In reference to some such brutal worship the Psalmist observes, “They angered him also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips. They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them; but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and daughters unto devils. . . . unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus they were defiled with their own works, :And went a whoring with their own inventions” (Psa 106:32-37).

Such, then, is a review of all the passages, with the few exceptions already referred to, in the Old and the New Testaments, in which, in the Common Version, the words “devil” and “devils” occur. This examination will serve to establish the inaccuracy of the translation, the absurdity of the belief in a being such as the Devil is represented to be, and will prepare the mind for a still more extended examination of the subject in the remaining chapters.

Chapter 3. Satan

– The term SATAN.
– Who Satan is must be learned from Revelation.
– Satan applied to express “adversary.” No badness of meaning essentially connected with the word Satan.
– The Satan in the Book of job an idolator.
– Peter, the apostle, a Satan.

ANOTHER term which has been referred to in the preceding examination of the devil is


To ascertain who or what is represented by this term renders it necessary to pursue the same course as that adopted in the discovery of the who or the what represented by the word “Devil” – namely, to examine all the passages in which the word occurs in the Book of Revelation: since, in the Book of Creation, the personage of Satan is not detectable any more than is the Devil.

The word “Satan” occurs in the Common Version fifty-five times, nineteen in the Old, thirty-six in the New Testament. The word itself is a Hebrew word, and, consequently, it may be inferred that, from the Hebrew Scriptures, its real force may be most readily ascertained.

On examining the word satan in the Hebrew Scriptures, its occurrence is found to be much more frequent in the original than in the Common Version. It occurs in fourteen distinct passages in which it is, in the Common Version, translated adversary or adversaries: also once to resist, Zec 3:1, and once to withstand. Numb. 20:32, so that, taking the number of times, nineteen in which it is not translated (for sathan or satan is the Hebrew word untranslated), and comparing these with the number, namely fourteen, in which the word is translated, and consequently the meaning of the word is given, the latter, presenting a true meaning, almost equal in number those in which the Hebrew word, but with no meaning, is found. And when the fact is considered that, of the nineteen in which the untranslated word satan occurs, fourteen are found in the book of Job, it can be seen that these passages in which the word is translated and exhibited in its true meaning are nine more than those in which it is put in its untranslated form, namely, “Satan.”

What, then, is the word by which sathan is rendered in these passages? A quotation of a few will afford the best illustration.

In the interesting history of David, it appears that he served Achish, one of the princes of the Philistines. In such service he was called upon to engage in war against the enemies of his master. The princes, who with Achish were about to fight against their mutual enemies, observed David and his men. “Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and I have found no fault with him since he fell unto me unto this day? And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? Should it not be with the heads of these men? Is not this David of whom they sang one to another in dances, saying, Saul slew his thousands and-David his ten thousands?” 1Sa 24:3-5.

“Lest he be an adversary to us:” The word here rendered “adversary” is satan: and if “satan” were the proper meaning, it should be – “Lest he be a satan to us.” Hence satan is applied to, a man.

Other passages in which satan occurs in the original, and is rendered “adversary” in the Common Version, are presented in the life of Solomon. “And Hiram the king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David. And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God, for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God bath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent,” 1 Kings v. 1-4. The phrase “adversary” is in the original satan; and that this adversary refers to human adversaries is evident, because Solomon makes a reference to wars which David carried on, which wars were carried on by human beings.

That the adversary is a human adversary, the continuation of Solomon’s history affords additional evidence. Solomon deviated from the course which Yahweh had marked out. As a punishment, “The Lord stirred up an adversary, unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom,” 1 King 11:14. Here there can be, no doubt that the adversary was a human being, and the Hebrew word for such adversary is satan.

Additional corroborative evidence, that sathan is applicable to a human being, and that such application conveys the idea of an “adversary,” is afforded in circumstances connected with the life of this once wise, but afterwards unwise, man. Solomon still persisted in his deviations from the law of his God, and his punishment was therefore continued. “And God stirred up another adversary, Rezon, the son of Eliadah, which had fled from his lord Hadadezer, king of Zobah,” 1 Kings 11 v, 23. Of him it is stated, “And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon,” 5:25. The word sathan is the word translated “adversary,” and the “adversaries” were human beings.

But further evidence can be brought to strengthen this argument, that satan means an adversary, and that, as such, is applied to human beings.

In David’s history, when, the tide of misfortune rolled over him, and he was obliged to fly from Jerusalem, he was cursed as he passed by the way by Shimei. On his return in glory, the same Shimei came and importuned his pardon: “But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord’s anointed? And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries unto me? Shall there any man be put to death in Israel? For do not I know that I am this day king over Israel? Therefore, the king said unto Shimei, Thou shalt not die. And the king sware unto him,” 2Sa 19:21-23. The “adversaries” here are evidently human beings, namely, the sons of Zeruiah, and yet these in the Hebrew are named satans.

In the Psalms the following interesting passage occurs:- “Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together, saying, God bath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him. O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help. Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt….” Psa 71:9-13. The “adversaries” here referred to are evidently human adversaries; and in the Hebrew the term applied to them is satans. In another Psalm, the Psalmist writes: “As he clothed himself with cursing like as with a garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones. Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually. Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the Lord, and of them that speak evil against my soul,” Psa 109:18-20; Psa 109:29. In both these passages human adversaries are, without doubt, referred to; and the word satans represents these adversaries. From these passages (others might be quoted) it is evident that the Hebrew word sathan means an adversary.

A further examination of the use of this word demonstrates another point, namely, that a badness of character is not of necessity attached to the word satan -a notion associated almost constantly with this word. But the most positive proof that Satan means simply an adversary, and that the addition of badness is an accident, and not an essential part of the word, is found in the fact that the word satan is applied to the messenger of Jehovah. Balaam, the prophet, was about to proceed to curse Israel at the instigation of Balak, and this contrary to the command of God (Num 22:12; Num 22:22). It is further added that Balaam, on perceiving the messenger of the Lord, bowed himself: and the angel-messenger of the Lord said to him, “Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? Behold, I went out to be an adversary unto thee, because thy way is perverse before me,” Num 22:32.

In this passage the Hebrew word for “adversary” is satan, and it is applied to the Lord’s messenger (in the Common Version an “angel”); an application quite demonstrative of this, that the simple meaning of satan is one opposing, and showing that if the one opposing opposes another doing evil, or if the one opposing opposes another doing good, in either case the individual is a satan, an adversary.

Having thus demonstrated the meaning of the word satan, by the quotation of passages in which it is rendered “adversary,” the next step in the inquiry will be to ascertain whether these passages in which the word “Satan” occurs in the Common Version will admit of the interpretation “adversary.”

In Job’s history the word “Satan” occurs twelve times. “Now, there was a day when the sons of God came, to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he bath, and he will curse thee to thy face,” Job 1:6-11.

Without founding any argument upon the generally received notion that the book of Job is a dramatic production, it is quite clear that the Satan referred to is an adversary to the true worship of God; and, as such, insinuates that Job served God only for what he got. In fact, his language is the language of a selfish being, a false-accuser, who believes and asserts that no man does anything good but for what the doing will bring him: and, finding upon the testing of Job by the loss of his substance that he held fast his integrity, and therefore that the adversary’s theory was not proved, the adversary insinuates, “Skin for skin, yea, all that a man bath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” And the Lord said unto Satan, “Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life,” Job 2:4-6.

Herein is a beautiful description of the mode by which a man’s attachment to a principle, to a duty, is to be tested: a narration of the circumstances which, under the ordinary dispensations of providence, occur to a man: and the adverse circumstances are here represented as being inflicted, by permission of providence, upon a good man to test his sincerity, his goodness: and the state of mind, which insinuates that inferior motives are the cause of the goodness of a man, is presented under the form, not of “Satan,” but of an adversary, who is the false accuser of the good man.

Another passage in which “Satan” occurs, and in which it is applied to a human adversary, is the following: “Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise: for the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They compassed me about almost with words of hatred; and fought against me without a. cause. For my love they are my adversaries; but I give myself unto prayer. And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love. Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin,” Psa 109:1-7. “Set thou a wicked man over him”: this is highly expressive of the punishment deservedly allotted to the bad; to have one who is a bad man to rule over him. This would be indeed a just and severe punishment: but to have at his right hand one who would misrepresent all he did to his ruler is indeed an aggravation of that punishment: is indeed a reward for his hate, which punishing him in the way in which he punished others, and putting him into the pit in which he placed others, will cause him to feel the abomination of his conduct.

A passage, particularly striking, in which the word “Satan” occurs, is presented in Zechariah: “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan! even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: Is not this a brand plucked from the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by,” Zec 3:15. It should be remembered, in order to understand this passage, that the term “angel” means messenger. Joshua, the high priest, was in office in the reign of Darius, when Zerubbabel was the governor of Judah. Cyrus had given permission to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, but the hired counsellors had prevented the realisation of the purpose till the time of Darius-Artaxerxes, instigated by these adversaries (i.e., satans), having forbidden the continuance of the work. Darius, having come to the throne, and the Jews going on with the work, “At the same time came to them Tatnai, the governor on this side the river, and Shethar-boznai, and their companions, and said thus unto them, “Who bath commanded you to build this house, and to make up this wall?” Then said we unto them after this manner, “What are the names of the men that make this building?” But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter. The copy of the letter that Tatnai, governor of this side the river, and Shethar-bomai, and his companions the Apharsachites, which were on this side the river, sent unto Darius the king,” Ezr 5:3-6. Tatnai, the adversary to the building of the temple, who is here termed the Satan, standing at the right hand, to resist Joshua (till then, the temple not being completed, figuratively clothed in filthy garments. manifested his adversative (satanic) state thus. “They sent a letter unto him, wherein was written thus: Unto Darius the king, all peace. Be it known unto the king that we went into the province of Judea, to the house of the great God, which is builded with great stones, and timber is laid in the walls, and this work goeth fast on, and prospereth in. their hands. Then asked we those elders, and said unto them thus, Who commanded you to build this house, and to make up these walls? We asked their names also, to certify thee that we might write the names of the men that were the chief of them. And thus they returned us answer, saying, We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and build the house that was builded these many years ago, which a great king of Israel builded and set up. This Tatnai therefore requests that the records may be searched to ascertain it such degree existed. The decree was found, and the permission was granted, notwithstanding Tatnai’s opposition, to go on with the temple. Thus realizing, “Take away the filthy garments from him,” Joshua; “So they set a fair mitre on his head, and clothed him with garments.”

Zechariah, therefore, in his vision, represents an actual event in the history of the Jewish Church, – “Satan” being Tatnai, and Joshua, the high priest, being at the same time, the functionary fulfilling the duties. Referring to this event, Jude remarks, “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise do minion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil (diabolos) he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which-they know not; but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” Jude v9. Here Tatnai is represented as “the devil,” because he falsely accused the Jews and insinuated intentions to the ruling monarch quite contrary to their real intention. “The body of Moses” is merely the Jewish church, and the disputation regarding that body is the disputation regarding the building of the temple for the Mosaic system of worship, and thus this passage in Jude, which has been the cause of much perplexity, becomes easily intelligible, referring as it does to the vision of Zechariah; for in that vision we find that, like as in the argument of Jude against the railing accusers, Michael, the chief messenger, did not rebuke Satan, but said, “The Lord rebuke thee,” so it was in the case of Joshua.

Another passage in which “Satan” is used, but in which a human adversary is, without doubt, referred to, is, “And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel,” 1Ch 21:1. David numbered Israel, not for the mere sake of ascertaining the number of the people, but for the purpose of pride: for the purpose of seeing his strength, thereby virtually forgetting the God of his strength. This was a state adverse to his happiness, and the individual who suggested it was a Satan, that stood up against Israel, whom David ruled over: and that he was an adversary is proved by the result that the conduct of David on this occasion caused a pestilence to be inflicted on his people.

From all the passages here quoted, it becomes perfectly apparent that the word “Satan,” so far as its use in the Old Testament is concerned, instead of meaning an invisible, supernatural being, means an adversary, and this adversary, a human being in a state of opposition: this conclusion being strengthened by the preceding collection of passages, in which satan in Hebrew is rendered “adversary” in the Common Version.

It may now be advantageous to examine this word “Satan,” as occurring in the New Testament, with the view of discovering whether there is any justification for the application of the word to an invisible, supernatural, unknown being.

After the memorable confession to Christ by Peter, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus began to “show unto his disciples how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan,” Mat 16:16; Mat 16:21-23.

“Satan” here is undoubtedly applied to a human being, namely, Peter: and Christ says to him, “Get thee behind me, adversary:” and the reason given shows that in applying the term to Peter it was to him, not as representing any supernatural being, but as representing a man opposing the course which the Saviour had marked out: “Thou art an offence (a cause of stumbling) to me, for thou savourest not, the things that be of God, but those that be of men,” v. 23. He does not say, “Thou savourest the things that be of invisible spirits.”

Here, then, let it be repeated, is a passage from the New Testament where there cannot exist the slightest doubt that satan is applied to a man, and that man a disciple of the Lord; one to whom the honour was allotted of opening the kingdom of heaven by being the first to proclaim the gospel – to Peter. Here, then, is a human being a satan: in what respect was Peter “Satan”? In what character but this? That he placed himself in opposition to the noble determination of Christ to endure trials for the sake of suffering humanity – in other words, “to go to Jerusalem to suffer many things.” Peter tried, most likely from a motive of kindness, just as one kind friend would try and persuade another not to go into danger., to prevent his Lord exposing himself. He was an. adversary to Christ in reference to his determination: and the all-knowing Lord, knowing that Peter’s regard had its real root in selfishness, addresses him, “Get thee behind me, adversary.”

SATAN, therefore, both in the Old and New Testament, means an adversary.

4. Satan the Adversary

– “Satan indicates any state or condition adverse.
– Adverse to health – adverse in circumstances – adverse in state of mind.
– The “Satan” in the Revelations.

IT was proved in the previous Chapter that the word sathan or Satan is applied, in a variety of instances, to human beings, and that the particular feature constituting a human being a Satan is that the being is in a state of opposition – that is, in the attitude or relation of an adversary to the individual with whom he is brought into relationship. To be in such a state of opposition is to be an adversary; and that this word is strictly expressive of the meaning of the Hebrew word Satan was proved, and many instances the Common Version of the Scriptures, where the word is so translated, were given.

It may be an adversary in temporal matters: thus Hadad, the Edomite, and Rezon, the son of Eliadah, were the political satans or adversaries of Solomon. It may be an adversary in reference to character: to such adversaries or satans David refers in the passages quoted. It may be an adversary in reference to the true worship of God: thus the satan brought forward in the Book of Job, being an idolator, was an adversary to Job, who was a worshipper of the true God. It may be an adversary to any given course of action: in such case Peter was a Satan to Christ.

It was further proved that as the primary meaning of Satan is adversary, the word “satan” may be, and, is, used in a good sense: and hence the word satan is applied to the messenger of God that met and opposed Balaam, in his unjust career.

Such being seen to be the meaning of the word satan, namely, adversary, in connection with the passages previously noticed, it is proposed to consider some other passages in the New Testament in which the same word occurs.

It was shown in Chapter II, that diabolos is applied not only to a human false-accuser, but also to a falsely-accusing, state of mind. So, in regard to the term satan, it will be found that the primary meaning of the word, namely, adversary, makes it applicable to any thing or condition adverse. The application of this word to express an adverse state, if proved, will tend to strengthen the demonstration that Satan, when applied to a being, is applied throughout the Scriptures to a human being in an adversary-al state.
And first, in reference to an adverse state of the body. It has been said, “Health is the rule; disease is the exception; health is the standard; disease is the deviation from that standard; health is the offspring of that harmony existing between the life and the organs; disease is the offspring of the discord between the life and the organs. Health is the straight line, beginning and ending in life, and in God, the Author of life; disease is the deviation from the straight line, beginning in sin, which is the violation of the Creator’s law, as recorded in man’s physical constitution, and ending in death.”*

To the state adverse to health, the term satan is applied in the following distinct passages. The first passage has relation to Paul. He is defending his dignity as an apostle; and, in so doing, shows the high privileges which he had enjoyed. “It is not expedient for me doubtless to, glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew (oida) a man in Christ about fourteen years ago whether in body, I knew (oida) not; or whether out of the body, I knew (oida) not: God knew (oiden): such as one caught up, to the third heaven. And I knew (oida) such a man whether in body, or out of the body,c I knew (oida) not: God knew (oideri): How that he was caught away into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For, though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me [to be], or heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure,” 2Co 12:2-7.

“A messenger of Satan” was given to buffet him. It ought to be “a messenger, satan”; there is no “of” in the original: and even, more correctly still, it ought to be “a messenger, an adversary.” (It may be remarked here, in passing, that the word anggelos, which the translators have rendered rightly “messenger,” is the same as that which they have translated “angel” in other parts, so uncertain has been their proceeding.) It was not then an invisible being, that was a thorn in the flesh: it was an infirmity of the flesh, of which he writes elsewhere, and the term he there uses is astencia, which the Greeks used to express a paralytic affection. And this paralytic affection influenced his speech, as may be inferred from an extract in his letter to the Galatians: “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God [even] as Christ Jesus,” Gal 4:13-14; and, he adds, that his enemies acknowledged that, though in speech weak, in his letters he was powerful. This state of the body, adverse to the healthy performance of its functions, this astheneia, this infirmity of the flesh, called “weakness,” 1Co 2:3, is “the messenger, the adversary.” Besides, how could buffeting be performed by an invisible being?

As a further illustration of the application of the word satan to a state of body adverse to health, the history of the cure of the woman by Christ can be profitably quoted. “And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in nowise lift herself up. And when Jesus saw her, he called, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid hands on her: and immediately she was made straight and glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day. The Lord then answered him, and said, Hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or ass from the stall, and lead away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? And when he had said these things all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him,” Luk 13:11-17. “Satan hath bound this woman” – that is, she had been afflicted with a condition adverse to health. That her affliction was a mere bodily disorder is quite apparent from the passage itself, in which it is described as “a spirit of infirmity,” a spirit of asthenceia; but to infer that an invisible being called Satan is this “spirit of infirmity” would be as absurd as to argue that, because the phrases the “spirit of holiness,” the “spirit of truth,” the “spirit of justice” occur, “holiness,” “truth,” and “justice” are invisible, supernatural beings.

The primary idea connected with satan being “adversary”, the term may apply to adverse circumstances. In such sense the word occurs in the following passage: “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty (but thou art rich), and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not [anything], but a synagogue of Satan.” Rev 2:8-9.

Here the word satan is applied to an assembly of men, who spoke evil of (for this is the correct meaning of the word blaspheme, which is applied in Scripture to the evil speaking of men as well as of God) and were adverse to, the disciples; and, as an illustration of the adverseness of the state in which these men were to the disciples, it is recorded. “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil (diabolos) shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried: and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life,” Rev 2:10. The adversary is here referred to in the character of the false-accuser, causing them by this false accusation to be placed in prison, in adverse circumstances.

The same view, namely, the application of the word satan to a state of adverse circumstances, is borne out in the address to the church in Pergamos: “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things, saith he, which bath the sharp sword with two edges: I know thy works, and where thou dwellest where Satan’s seat [is]: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas [was] my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth,” Rev 2:12; Rev 2:13. The phrase is “Satan’s seat,” or “the throne of Satan,” as it ought to be.

Now, all will acknowledge that “Satan” had not his literal throne there (people believe that it is id the “Nether Regions,” misnamed hell); and all will agree that “Satan” did not literally dwell there, although it says “where Satan dwelleth.” The figurative meaning must be sought; and the reader is taught that the influence of the adversary, or of those circumstances adverse to the cause of the truth and to the comforts and peace of believers, was there peculiarly strong: and the statement that “Satan’s throne was there” no more indicates that a being called “Satan” had a throne there than the remark of the historian, regarding the court of King Charles the Second, that “Vice sat enthroned in his court,” suggests that a being called “Vice” had a throne in Charles’s court! The historian conveys to the reader that vice was the prominent feature of the court of that profligate monarch.

Similarly, as a proof of the great influence of those adverse circumstances in the part of the world referred to, a martyr, Antipas, there (in Pergamos) sealed with his blood his adherence to the truth in Christ. The same idea is, in part, conveyed in the use of the word “Satan,” in reference to the church at Thyatira: “But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden,” Rev 2:24.

A similar use of the word satan, as expressive of adverse circumstances, is presented in the following passage: “But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I, Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us,” 1Th 2:17-18. Paul was prevented reaching his friends by a series of circumstances adverse to such journey. This is all Paul could mean, because he must have known that if God thought it good for him to see the Thessalonians, he would have so ordered it: and therefore that he did not go, he must have considered most beneficial to the cause in which he was engaged.

Revert again to the fundamental idea embodied in the word satan, namely, adversary, and it will be found that the term satan is applied to an adverse state of mind. The passages in which the word is used in this sense are numerous. Satan, as used in connection with Peter, has been already noticed. It is used, in connection with him and the other disciples, upon, a most peculiar occasion. It appears that, at the last supper, at a time when it might be imagined all feelings would have been swallowed up in the contemplation of the approaching betrayal of their Master, the disciples began disputing, yea, actually strove, respecting this: who should be accounted the greatest.

Here was the manifestation of a spirit totally adverse to the spirit which Christ came to inculcate. This selfish state the Saviour condemns by remarking that though such desires for chiefdom were recognised in the existing order, nevertheless, in his kingdom the opposite state of mind was the only one recognised; and he then apostrophised Peter, who, from his natural impetuosity, was, it is likely, very prominent in putting forward claims to superiority, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan bath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat,” Luk 22:31.

The phrase is not “desired to have you;” in the original Greek there is no phrase “to have” at all; and the term rendered “desired” is eksetesato, which means inquired, pried into the passage, translated properly, is “the adversary has inquired respecting you.” And the “you” is not Peter: it is humas, the plural of “thou,” and refers to the contending disciples. The Saviour then adds, “But I have prayed for thee,” peri sou – “concerning thee” (sou, “thee”: being in the singular number), “that thy faith fail not.”

The Saviour thus intimated that the adverse principle, satan, manifested by their desire for prominent position (and which, quite unfitted them for sitting on the thrones of the kingdom) had been prying narrowly into them, and had almost found a fixed resting-place; but for Peter, Jesus prayed that his faith might not fail; but, at the same time, to demonstrate to him his weakness, and his danger in supposing himself strong (as evidenced in his protestation: “Lord, I am ready to go with thee to prison and to death,” v. 33), Jesus said to him “I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day before thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me,” v. 34. Here would be a striking evidence of the power of this principle of love of self, which would “sift all of them as wheat.”

Here, then, satan represents the state of mind adverse to the state which Jesus requires in his followers: a meaning not in any way recognising the existence of an independent invisible being.

Another passage in which “Satan” occurs in the New Testament expresses the state of mind adverse to the universal love principle that had taken possession of the heart of Judas. The passage is this, “Then entered Satan into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains how he might betray him unto them,” Luk 22:3-4. It has been already noticed that, in a parallel passage, “the devil” is asserted to have entered the heart of Judas; here “Satan,” or “the Satan,” is said to enter. The “Devil” and the “Satan” must therefore be the same agent: and it is true that the “Devil” and the “Satan” represent the same general condition of mind; but they differ in this, that “Satan” is the general term for “adversary,” and the “Devil” represents the particular form under which the adversary operates, namely, in falsely accusing, in calumniating. This passage, therefore, conveys a simple fact, that the principle of selfishness, “the adversary” had gained full possession of the mind of Judas, and that therefore it would manifest itself speedily in the calumniation and betrayal of his Master.

That satan is expressive, not of an individual, but of a state of mind adverse to the highest, the near-to-God state, in which man, when he attains the image of his Creator, will be, is proved by the following passage: “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that bath so done this deed; In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus,” 1Co 5:3-5.

To what does this refer? To a fact disgraceful to the church at Corinth, namely, that they allowed one of their principal members to possess his father’s wife. Paul condemns the disciples for this, and commands them to deliver him to “satan:” that is, to the state of mind adverse to the higher principles of duty. It is certain the church could not deliver this man over to “satan” literally, which they ought to have done, if “satan” is a being: they were to deliver him to his selfish love; that is, as this man preferred violating (under the influence of a principle or state of mind adverse to the law of love to God and to man, adverse to the law of nature) that law or nature and that higher law of love, the brethren of Christ could no longer sanction such conduct, by extending towards the violator all the sympathies of Christian love, but said to him, “If you persist in gratifying your selfish passion, adverse to your higher good, adverse to the state of mind in which alone you can be a follower of Christ, we must no longer recognise you, we must leave you to your adversary-al, selfish state, to your Satan; and this, be it remembered, not from any ill-will to you, not from any holier-than-thou conceit, but simply that you, having a full experience of your self-love, evil state, it may end by the punishment it will thus directly or indirectly bring, ‘in the destruction’ of the rule ‘of the flesh:’ that is, you will find your course so inconvenient, so pain-producing, as soon to discover the yoke of the higher love to be a more pleasing one; and thus you will be driven to give up the lower love, the degrading love, the more selfish love: and so ‘the spirit may be saved in the day of our Lord Jesus.’”

Taking this view of satan, all the trouble and perplexity connected with this “delivering over to Satan,” which has puzzled so many, disappears. This view is justified in the following passage: “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; holding faith and a good conscience: which some, having put away, concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme,” 1Ti 1:18-20.

Paul could not deliver these to “Satan” literally, any more than the church of Corinth could deliver over the incestuous person: but he could separate them from the enjoyment of the active and delightful offices of association in the truth, which, being withheld, might place their conduct before them in the way most likely, if possessing any remnants of noble feeling, to affect them beneficially and reformatively; and thus they might learn not to speak evil or blaspheme: that is, deliver them to their own selfish, complaining state of mind, and let them be punished by it; and thus they will see that the adverse state is one unsuited to happiness and to peace.

This “delivering to Satan” is a metaphorical and beautiful way of expressing that which a parent is sometimes obliged to do towards a rebellious child: he tries every plan to deliver him from error and from vice, but all his efforts are ineffectual; at last, necessity obliges him to let the child pursue, unrestrained by him, the state of his disposition adverse to the duties he owes to his parent and to society: he delivers him to his adverse state of mind, that his adverse state of mind may punish him by troubles, which it will bring upon him. Thus, many a child has been taught and recovered: the rule of his flesh has been made subject to the higher rule, impulse giving way to principle, and he returns home like the prodigal son, and cries, “Father I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”

Another illustration of the word satan being representative of a state of mind adverse to the higher state is afforded by the interesting but fearful account of the death of Ananias and Sapphira. “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whilst it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?

Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God,” Acts 5:1-4. “Why hath “satan,” properly “THE Satan,” more properly-“the adversary,” “filled thine heart”? What is this “Satan”? What but this? Ananias and Sapphira professed to be influenced by the love of truth; they professed to give a possession to the cause connected with that truth. They sold it and kept back part of the price. In this they did nothing wrong; but a selfish state of mind had influenced them to try and obtain the character of being so extremely generous as to give their whole estate, whereas they intended to keep back a part of the price. Here, then, a state adverse to that of freedom of guilt, a feature of the genuine believer, filled their hearts, and the consequence was indeed sad.

Another illustration of the word satan being representative of a state of mind adverse to the higher love principle is presented in the following delicately expressed and importantly – practical direction: “Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband bath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to tasting and prayer: and come together again, that Satan tempt ye not for your incontinency,” 1Co 7:3-5. Here Paul recognises the existence of the amative feeling: he points out with a delicacy truly beautiful the well-regulated activity of such a disposition of mind: he shows that, if such disposition is to be suppressed in its activity, such suppression should only, be for a time, lest, out of such suppression, an adverse state of mind may rise, in which the faculty will seek outlets inconsistent with the love owed to the neighbour, and the obedience owed to God; lest, in other words the “satan” (the state of mind adverse) tempt you for your incontinency.

The state of mind represented by satan, namely, the state adverse to the love to God and to man, is one which causes its possessor to do strange things. It makes him, in order to gain his purposes, adopt all imaginable expedients, and hence of the man of sin it is said, “Whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders; and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,” 2Th 2:9-10. How wonderfully does this working bring its own punishment!

The attempt to carry out the plans of this adverse state of mind causes such a blinding of the mind, that it acts directly as “A strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness,” 5:11-12. This adverse state of mind, in the endeavour to realise its purpose, will assume even the form of excellence. Such existed in Paul’s days: speaking of those who vilified him and blasphemed him, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into 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 the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works,” 2Co 11:13-15. The adversary assumes the form of a messenger of light (false apostles): such is the height of deception that a mind, having an adverse state against another, will have recourse to so as to gain its ends.

The believer, however, has this consolation, that the state of mind represented by “the adversary” shall be conquered; that the selfish nature shall be brought under the dominion of the higher nature. And Paul, in pointing out this glorious truth, that “the God of peace shall bruise Satan (the adversary) under your feet shortly,” Rom 16:20 (which could not be done literally, for how could an invisible and immaterial being be trodden by visible and material feet), details the great preventive to the realisation of this glorious state: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple,” v. 17-18. The men who serve their own belly are the great obstacles, and such men are those who make a trade of religion, the monkish hordes of ancient times, with “reverends” of our modern era; men who have plenty of “good words and fair speeches” but who, as a class, are great adversaries to the progress of the truth.*

Paul, for the believers’ consolation, points out the way to get rid of these obstacles, “these black bodies that form an eclipse between God and men’s souls,”c namely, obedience to the laws laid down by Christ: “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil,” Rom 16:19.

When the nature of the truth is considered, with the glorious character and the miraculous performances of Christ, and the power given from him to his disciples, well might Jesus exclaim, “I beheld Satan, as lightning, fall front heaven,” Luk 10:18. That is, Jesus hurled down, not the literal “Satan” from heaven, but by the introduction of the truth into the mind he is driving, and will in time completely drive, selfishness out of the higher faculties, out of the heaven in man’s nature.

Paul understood well the nature of this deliverance, for he was told it by the Saviour himself, when, overpowered by the vision which he saw on the road to Damascus, and. hearing a voice call, he said, “Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet; for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to, open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me,” Acts 26:15-18.

Yes, Jesus came to deliver man from the power of the state of mind which is adverse to those activities whose legitimate exercise is essential to big own happiness, and the happiness of his fellow-men.

Thus all these “Satans” of the New Testament have been examined, except three in the Book of Revelations. They have been seen, it is hoped, to have nothing of that invisible, unknown and intangible nature, but are really, in many cases, matters of flesh and blood, of human nature in its unenlightened condition: in some cases, hard counteracting circumstances opposing good and useful progress; and in numerous other cases selfish mental states opposed to man’s progress towards the divine state.

“Satan,” in connection with other names, occurs in the Revelations three times. The first is in reference to “a battle fought in heaven” – that is, in the mental and moral state of man, so that it may be determined whether “flesh” or “spirit” is to rule the individual. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven. 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,” Rev 12:7-9. Here “Satan” is described as a dragon; he is described as an old serpent, as the devil, so that there are three additional features under which “Satan” is presented. The same four-fold character or personification is presented in another passage in the same book, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should receive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” Rev 20:1-3.

From these passages it is perfectly clear that “Satan” is not an individual being; because, how could he be a dragon, a serpent, a devil, and a satan? How could one distinct being be four distinct beings? It will not do to assert, as some dogmatically do, that he assumed, all these forms. This is merely begging the question. It cannot be literally that “Satan” can be a dragon and an old serpent too. He must he one or the other, not both. As he is said to be all, the meaning in which he is all must be sought. How “satan” can be and is the devil has been already explained: “Satan”, an adversary, manifests himself in that character as a false-accuser, diabolos. Satan, as an adversary, has his strength in the sensual part of a man’s nature, which “the old serpent” represents. “The dragon”, too, is a wasteful, destroying agent, so is the sensual principle in man: hence the application of these terms to the selfish principle in man’s nature personified.

The great embodiment of truth, represented by Michael, and the messengers of truth represented by Michael’s messengers, fight with the sensual principle in man, and victory is at last obtained.

But in the third of these occurrences a striking and most interesting fact is brought into prominence, viz., that it is for a time only that Satan is imprisoned: “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison; and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved loved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured theme And the devil (diabolos), that deceived them, was cast in 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,” (Rev 20:7-10). Thus it is revealed that the self-love of man will be brought under rule for a given time: diabolos, and satan will be imprisoned. Later, will the imprisoned gain his freedom: he will deceive the nations; and, at length, after the system of Self has been again tried and found wanting, Christ and his truth will triumph, and the adversary, the Diabolos, and his works be destroyed (Heb 2:14; 1 John 3:8; 1Cor 15:54).

5. Demons

– Jesus is never said, in the original Scriptures, to have cast out “devils.” God, the author of language, must know its right use.
– The universal extension of the Greek language.
– Daimon, as understood by the Greeks, the Romans, the Jews – a “departed human ‘spirit’,” Natural gods of the heathens.
– The Cerriti and the Larvati.
– Beelzebub.
– Paul’s speech at Athens.
– Demons believe.
– The worship of demons.
– Paul’s answer to the expediency, sham charity men of his day

IT is a common opinion that Jesus and his disciples cast out “devils.” Such a statement is very frequently recorded in the Common Version of the New Testament; and, yet it is a fact, astounding in relation to a translated work (the very words of which translation are regarded with a peculiar reverence) that, not once, in the original Greek Scriptures, is Christ said, or are his disciples said, to have cast out either “a devil” or “devils.”

It was noticed that the words “devil” or “devils” occur over one hundred times in the Common Version of the Scriptures, and that in 77 of the number where these so occur, the word is not diabolos at all, but a word altogether distinct therefrom in its meaning.

What, then, is the word which is mistranslated “devil” or “devils” in these passages? What is the word that the Divine Mind used as conveying a meaning distinct from diabolos, and which the translators have dared, in the Common Version, to translate by the same word as that which they have used to translate diabolos; thereby practically insinuating that the Divine Mind did not know the use of language; thereby virtually asserting, that though the Divine Instructor uses two words to express his instruction, the English people shall be content with one?

The words used in the seventy-seven passages referred to are three – viz., daimon, daimonion, daimonizomai. These are found in the following passages:-

Daimon* occurs but once in the New Testament, viz., in Mat 8:31.
Daimonion (63 occ.)

Mat 7:22 Mar 3:22 Luk 8:33 John 7:20
Mat 9:33 Mar 6:13 Luk 8:35 John 8:48
Mat 9:34 Mar 7:26 Luk 8:38 John 8:49
Mat 9:34 Mar 7:29 Luk 9:1 John 8:52
Mat 10:8 Mar 7:30 Luk 9:42 John 10:20
Mat 11:18 Mar 9:38 Luk 9:49 John 10:21
Mat 12:24 Mar 16:9 Luk 10:17 Acts 17:18
Mat 12:24 Mar 16:17 Luk 11:14 1Co 10:20
Mat 12:27 Luk 4:33 Luk 11:14 1Co 10:20
Mat 12:28 Luk 4:35 Luk 11:15 1Co 10:21
Mat 17:18 Luk 4:41 Luk 11:15 1Co 10:21
Mar 1:34 Luk 7:33 Luk 11:18 1Ti 4:1
Mar 1:34 Luk 8:2 Luk 11:19 Jas 2:19
Mar 1:39 Luk 8:27 Luk 11:20 Rev 9:20
Mar 3:15 Luk 8:29 Luk 13:32 Rev 16:14
Mar 3:22 Luk 8:30 Rev 18:2

Daimonizomai (13 occ.)

Mat 4:24 Mat 9:32 Mar 1:32 Mar 5:18
Mat 8:16 Mat 12:22 Mar 5:15 Luk 8:36
Mat 8:28 Mat 15:22 Mar 5:16 John 10:21
Mat 8:33

Here are three distinct words, daimonion, daimonizomai, and daimon, the two former being formed from the root-form daimon. As words, distinct from diabolos, they must have distinct meanings; they cannot mean one and the same being or thing. The Divine Instructor, whatever we may do, never uses vain repetitions; if, therefore, he uses a distinct word, it is to convey to us information which a previously used word would not convey; indeed, which no other word but the one used could convey.

What, then, is that which the Divine Mind intended, to convey to us by the use of the words daimon, daimonion, and daimonizomai? It may he noticed here that the Greek language in which the New Testament is written was, at the time of our Saviour and of his apostles, the fashionable language of the day, “being very generally spoken in all the cultivated parts of the world, not only by the Gentiles, but by the Jews also who were dispersed among them, and even by the inhabitants of Judea” (Farmer on the Demoniacs, p. 26) – an extension of the language so great that Cicero himself confesses, that notwithstanding Rome had extended her power over almost the whole earth, the Greek language had spread further than the Latin – (See his Orat., pro Archia Poeta). The word daimon is a word which existed in that language from a very early period; and, as so existing, the true meaning of the word must and can be obtained from the writings of the Greek authors that have come down to us; just in the same manner as we should try to discover the true meaning of any English word by ascertaining its use by the best extant English writers.

In what sense, then, was the word daimon used by the Greek writers? A most extended inquiry by Mr. Farmer has established that the Greek writers used this word to express human “spirits” of departed people. Many such “spirits” of departed human beings the ancients deified and worshipped: and hence the word daimon meant to the Greeks, and those who used their language, human departed “spirits” raised to the rank of gods and deities. “Homer calleth all his gods, daimones, and Hesoid the worthies of the golden age.” Leigh’s Critica Sacra, article Daimon. Hesoid maintains, indeed, that whenever a good man dies he becomes a demon: and Plato praises him for the sentiment.

The heathens had two classes of gods: the world, together with all its constituent, parts and principles, and the demons. “They conceived the world to be pervaded and animated by a vital and intelligent substance; they regarded it as a divinity which contained, framed, and governed all things.” Farmer on Miracles, p. 107. Cicero expressly asserts – “There is nothing more perfect than the world – it is wise, and, on this account, a god.”* He further adds, “that, although a Stoic, he acknowledges that this world is wise, has a mind, which has fabricated both itself and the world, and regulates, moves, and rules all things.”c Balbus, the Stoic maintains that “the world is a god, and the habitation of the gods.”* These were designated as the natural gods. Besides these, the heathens maintained that certain “spirits” existed which held a middle rank between the gods and men on earth; and, because they were regarded as carrying on all intercourse between the gods and men, as conveying the addresses of men to the gods, and distributing the benefits of the gods to men, they were called, from daio, to distribute, daimones. The opinion further prevailed that the celestial gods did not themselves interpose in human affairs, but committed the whole management to these daimones and on this account these demons became the great object of religious hope, of fear, of dependence, and of worship.

A further consideration affording very strong evidence that these “demons” meant the “spirits of departed men” is that the parentage and, consequently, the human origin of almost all the heathen deities were known and recorded. Philo Biblyus, the translator of Sanchoniathen’s History of the Gods, expressly asserts “That the Phoenicians and Egyptians, from whom other people derived this custom, reckoned those amongst the greatest gods who had been benefactors to the human race, and that, to them, they erected pillars and statues, and dedicated sacred festivals.” – Apud Euseb. Praep. Evangelica, lib. 1, c. 9., p. 32. Diodorus Siculus states, “That there were two classes of gods, the one eternal and immortal, the other such as were born on the earth and arrived at the titles and honours of divinity on account of the blessings, they bestowed on mankind.”-Lib. 1. and 5. This writer describes Saturn, Jupiter, Apollo, and others (the primary gods of Paganism) as illustrious men. Plato remarks, “All those who die valiantly in war are of Hesiod’s golden generation, and become demons; and we ought for ever to worship and adore their sepulchres, as the sepulchres of demons.” Plato de Republica, c. v. 468, tom. ii., editio Serrani. This transference of warlike heroes into gods, and the worship of them, many regard as belonging peculiarly and solely to paganism: but have we not the same things in our day? Do we not see statues erected in our streets to those chargeable with legal murder which are raised for the mental worship of our children? – the Wellingtons, the Nelsons, and hosts of others. And with what is the cathedral of our metropolis filled? Is it with the ministers of peace, with the Fenelons, the Oberlins, the Whitfields, the Watts, the Arkwrights, the Townshends, the Benthams, the Adam Smiths, the Raikes’s? No: The interior of Saint Paul’s presents, as Mr. Peter Stuart, of Liverpool, after a visit he paid recently to that splendid edifice, remarked, “an assembly of gladiators.” Add to the look of imitative admiration a mental worship (bestowed by the young on these gladiators), some regular ceremonies, and then there would be no difference between the worship of Hercules and Mars of old, and of the Wellingtons and the Nelsons now.

To return from this digression on modern hero worship, it is apparent that among the Greeks the term daimon expressed a “departed human ‘spirit’.” Deified The Greeks held further that these daimones, or “departed human ‘spirits’,” had the power of taking possession of other human beings, and that they could be expelled from these beings so possessed. Hence Lucian, writing respecting an exorcist, one who so dispossessed the possessed, remarks: ekselaunei ton diamona = “he expelled the demon” (Lucian’s Philospeudes, p. 338, vol. 2., edit. Amstelodami). Lucian affords, in a dialogue in the works from which the above is a quotation, the view entertained in his day regarding demons. Four parties are introduced in the dialogue: three, Ion, Eucrates, and Diognotus, being believers in demons, and the fourth, Tychiades, who is not a believer therein. Ion, after he had given an account of the person who cast out demons, adds that he himself had seen one (that is, a demon) so ejected, “Many others as well as you,” said Eucrates, “have met with demons (daimosin). I have a thousand times seen such things.” In proof of this assertion, he assures the company that he and his family had often seen the statue of Pelichus descending from his pedestal, and walking round the house – pp: 338-339. In the sequel of the dialogue, Eucrates, who had been defending the doctrine of apparitions, says, “We have been endeavouring to persuade Tychiades (who sustains the character of an unbeliever in these points) that there are demons (daimons tinas einai), and that the phantasms and souls of the dead wander upon the earth, and appear to whom they please,” p. 346. To confirm this sentiment, Diognotus, the Pythagorean, bids Tychiades go to Corinth, where he might see the very house from which he himself expelled the demon (daimona) that disturbed it, which was the ghost of a dead man, p. 348. Hippocrates expressly states that the Greeks referred possession to the gods and the heroes, all of whom were human spirits. He wrote an essay on epilepsy, which was called hiereus nosos, “the sacred disease,” because the people believed what the priests taught,* that epileptics were possessed: and the priests, the magicians, and the impostors derived a considerable revenue from attempting to cure this disease by expiations and charms. The essay was written to expose this delusion of his countrymen, he attempting to prove that this disease was neither more divine nor sacred than any other.

The Latins also entertained the idea that “departed human ‘spirits’” sometimes possessed the living. Those so possessed among them were called the Cerriti and the Larvati; the Cerriti from the goddess Ceres, Who was supposed to possess them; the Larvati from the Lares, gods, who were supposed to be the possessing, the departed.

And Crito, a learned writer, wrote: “the larvati are demoniacs Cicero testifies -‘They whom the Greeks consider daimones, we, I consider [call] lares.†plain Littleton, in his valuable dictionary defines the larvae as the souls of the dead, which they elsewhere called shades.‡plain And Arnobius relates that Varro asserts that the larvae are lares, being, as it were, certain genii and the souls of the departed. And again Crito, a learned writer, thus writes: “the larvati are demoniacs; and larvae, by which they are possessed, are human ghost’s (De Crito, vol. i., p. 238). Strabo, who flourished in the time of the Emperor Augustus, calls the goddess Feronia (who was born in Italy) a demon; and says that those who were possessed with this demon walked barefoot over burning coals: and Philostratus, who was contemporary with our Saviour, relates “that a demon, who possessed a young man, confessed himself to be the ghost of a person slain in battle” (Strabo, lib. v., p. 364).

Opinions, similar to those held by the Greeks and the Latins, were entertained by the Jews. Josephus, the celebrated Jewish historian, asserts that those called daimonia are the “spirits” of wicked men who enter the living, and kill those who receive no help (De Bell. Jud., lib. vii., 2, 6, §3). Very early in the history of the Jews they had become acquainted with the gods of the heathen, and showed a lamentable proneness to adopt the principles and the practices of their superstitious and idolatrous neighbours. The philosophy of the east was greatly studied and admired by the Jews, and they came to regard persons possessed as possessed by the same “spirit” as those which their neighbours regarded as the possessing. So strongly was this opinion rooted in their minds, and so generally diffused among the people, that when the Saviour casts out daimonia, the Pharisees observed, “He casteth out daimonia by Beelzebub, the Prince of daimonia” (Mat 9:34), a statement at which no astonishment was expressed; which, had not the knowledge of the doctrine of possessions by “departed human ‘spirits’” been general among the Jews, would have excited astonishment.

Who, then, was this Beelzebub, the prince, not of devils, as the Common Version renders the word, but of demons? We read in the Old Testament that one of the kings of Israel, namely, Ahaziah, “sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, inquire of Beelzebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover of this disease?” (2Ki 1:2). This Beelzebub was esteemed a god – that is, a daimon: that is, a deified human “spirit,” which “spirit” the Jews, like other nations, believed to possess people. The meaning of the word zebub or zebul is a fly, the god which the Ekronites worshipped. History informs us that those who lived in hot climates, and where the soil is moist (which was the case with the Ekronites, who bordered on the sea), were exceedingly infested with flies. These insects were thought to cause contagious distempers. Pliny makes mention of a people, who stopped a pestilence which these insects occasioned, by sacrificing to the flyhunting god. (Pliny. Nat. Hist. lib. x. c., 28 §plain 40). Influenced by this prejudice, Ahaziah, instead of applying to the true God, Yahweh, applied to this god of Ekron for deliverance, or for a knowledge of his state in reference to the disease, which he most likely considered to depend upon the influence of these flies; and that, on this ground, Beelzebub could inform him of the result. (Beelzebub was, most likely, Jupiter, who is described by the Greeks as muiodes, the god of flies, and the inuiagros, the fly hunter). The fact of Ahaziah applying to Beelzebub shows at what an early period the Jews were acquainted with the demonology of the surrounding heathen nations, and how they had adopted the notions regarding the power of these demons: a fact which explains the use of the phrase daimonion so frequently in the gospels. The existence of these daimones, as possessing and influencing human beings, was recognised so fully among the Jews, that Josephus, already quoted, who was nearly contemporary with the apostles, dwells much upon the expulsion of demons: he gives an instance of successful expulsion when tried by a Jew in the presence of Vespasian: and further declares, no doubt with the view of elevating the great monarch of the Jews, Solomon, that God instructed Solomon in the anti-demoniac art.

The use of this term daimon (mistranslated “devil” in the Common Version) among the Greeks, the Romans, and the Jews, having been thus explained, reference has now to be made to its employment by Matthew. Did he use the term in the same sense? Some have asserted “No.” How is the question to be answered? Very simply: if he did not use the word in the sense in which those who used it at their time did use it, he would, without doubt, have defined the sense in which he did use it. If no such definition is given, then every sound-thinking mind will decide, without hesitation, that the narrator used the word in the sense in which it was usually understood.

The word daimon occurs, as we have seen, only in Mat 8:31,* in the narrative of the “demons” that went into the swine, where the daimones are represented as active – that is, performing acts through the medium of the party or parties possessed: as, indeed, speaking – “so the daimones besought him.” As, therefore, in this case an active condition was referred to, the supposed actor is brought out, namely, the daimon: a proof that the general belief then was that a human spirit possessed the individual, and spoke through and acted upon him. To this passage a more particular reference will be made when considering the dispossession of demons by the Saviour. In all other passages where possessions are referred to, the words daimonion and daimonizomai are used.

It is further a curious fact appearing from the examination of the list of passages in which the three words occur, that all, except ten, are in the Gospels.

The verb form daimonizomai occurs in the gospels only. Of the ten passages elsewhere than in the gospels in which the word daimonion occurs, one is in the Acts, four in relation to one subject in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, one in Timothy, one in James, and three in the Revelations. It is further worthy of remark that not one of the apostles ever used the word daimon, except Matthew, and he only once; and that Paul, James, and John use seldom, and Peter and Jude not at all, the word daimonion. So that it would appear that, in the advanced state of Christian truth (for who, with the facts before him, can avoid allowing that the Christian body had a greater amount of truth when Christ had risen to receive gifts for men, than before the resurrection?) the doctrine of demons and their actual casting out seems to have died away. The light had then begun to dissipate many delusions, and this among the number.

But the probability of this, and, at the same time, the demonstration that no demons really exist, will be afforded by the examination of these passages in which the word daimonion occurs.

The daimon was the departed human ‘spirit’: the daimonion was the person who was supposed to be occupied by the demon – whether that person was a mere image or a human being: in fact, in whatever was the daimon located, that was a “possession.”

“Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoics, encountered him. And some said, what will this babbler say? Other some, he seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection,” Acts 17:16; Acts 17:17; Acts 17:18.

The Greeks thought that “Jesus and the resurrection” were two human spirits which Paul had adopted as deified, and offered to them for reception. They called them “strange gods,” xenon daimonion. The translators, who have rendered this word “devils” in every other passage, were obliged in this case to translate the word properly, or nearly so. The Athenians would never have acknowledged that they worshipped devils* and the phrase “strange,” prefixed to the daimonion, shows that they did worship daimonia, but that these two Paul preached, namely, “Jesus and the resurrection,” were new, of whom they had never heard before. They would not condemn themselves by calling their daimonia “devils.” Paul, moreover, does not condemn them: “And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, may we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our cars: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else. but either to tell or to bear some new, thing.) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, to the unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you,” Acts 17:19-23.

The phrase “too superstitious” is deisidaimonesterous, a word, made up of deisis, and daimon: the word deisis being derived from deio, “to fear”. The word has not a bad sense: it means “pious,” in a good sense. The Athenians gloried in the character of being more religious, deisidaimonesteroi, than any other Grecian state. Paul’s concession on this point in their favour would rather gratify than offend them, and would serve to alleviate the censure of carrying their religion to excess.

This passage therefore demonstrates that Paul makes no reference at all to “devils,” but simply to the “deified departed human ‘spirits’,” whom the Athenians worshipped.

In the same sense, namely, as referring to the “deified departed human ‘spirits’,” Paul introduces the word in his epistle to the Corinthians, “Behold, Israel after the flesh, Are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?” 1Co 10:18. Paul is referring to the impropriety of believers joining in the festivals in honour of the false gods, which were, in the estimation of his contemporaries, “departed human ‘spirits’” deified. He meets one of the various objections which such would urge when a man of conscience refused to prostrate himself in adoration of a false god: they, it is likely, would say, “Oh, it is of no consequence: a daimonion, which is an idol, is nothing, and therefore what matters it, if you do join in these festivals? It can do no harm. Come, be charitable to your neighbour.” To such comes Paul’s answer, “What say I then? that the idol is anything, or that which is offered a sacrifice unto idols is anything? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice unto demons and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with demons. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and the table of demons. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” 1Co 10:19-22. Here Paul hints nothing at all about “devils”: he is writing respecting the “deified human spirits” worshipped by the heathens: and maintains that the joining in the worship of the one, although they are non-existent, is inconsistent with the joining in the worship of the true God, who is existent: the word daimonion, and not diabolos, occurs throughout. Banish, therefore, from the mind this word “devils” as a mistranslation of daimonia, and fix the idea “departed human spirit” or the word “possession,” and see how clear other passages will become which contain this word rendered “devils” in the Common Version: thus recognising that daimonion means a “departed human spirit, – resident in a man whom he is supposed to possess, and remembering the fact, that these recognised Christ, and recognised him with fear, from not understanding his character, we can understand well what James says in his masterly denunciation of the absurd speech of those who talk about Faith, and who act not Works. “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can (such) faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart, in peace, be ye warmed and filled, notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone,” James 2:14; James 2:15; James 2:16; James 2:17. These “faith” personages are brass-faced people: they pride themselves upon their “faith,” and boast that they will not have the spotted garments of works: but James adds, “Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith and I have works: Shew me, thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works,” verse 18. But, in an argument that settles the whole matter, he concludes, “Thou believest that there is one God:” Well, this is a good thing; no one denies that, there is virtue in such belief: “thou dost well; the daimonia, (the possessions not “devils”) believe”: but, because faith itself is not enough without there is conjoined with it the appropriate attendant, these possessions, these “departed human ‘spirits’” “tremble,” verse 19. Paul, with that far-seeing eye with which he was endowed, foresaw “the man of sin”: he foresaw that the errors and the institutions of idolatrous paganism would hereafter spoil the truth and the simplicity of the Gospel. He therefore warns Timothy against one of the sources, whence these errors would proceed. These “departed human ‘spirits’,” these daimonia, he saw, would form a fruitful hotbed, out of which cunning reverends, would manufacture delusions to keep the people under their power. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that, in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils (daimonia)” 1Ti 4:1. Look at the nonsense taught by the Romish priests in reference to the power of “departed saints”: look at the rotten stuff put forth in the temple of their merchandise, and sold under the name of “masses” for “departed souls”: look at the wasting of knees in kneeling upon the board, chattering gibberish, instead of being usefully employed in cleaning the boards: look at the wearying of fingers in counting beads, instead of using them in healthy, domestic, home sided, family-comforting Christian duties: look at the prayers for the dead, in the Anglican daughter of the Romish whore, the mother of harlots, the English church establishment: where one poor sinner, who surely has enough to do to attend to his own salvation, is made busy in praying for the salvation of someone whose account is already closed: where one man, who is head and ears in debt, is busy trying to pay another’s debts as well as his own. Oh these men, who have put forth all this nonsense, who have enjoined all this mummery, who have burned people because they would not submit to it, are well described as “seducing spirits,” and equally well have their doctrines been defined as “doctrines of demons.”

To conclude, the great secret of Priestcraft is to attach to the worship of God so many petty accounts, as Milton notes, that “common men cannot keep a stock going in that trade.” Thus the priests have got the trade of religion into their own hands: and the people will never be free, will never be men, till they take back the great business of life, religion, into their own hands.

Such then are the words daimon, daimonion, daimonizomai: words, not meaning in any case “devil,” but words, everywhere but in the Acts, that have been rendered so in the Common Version. Erase then such word “devil” or “devils” in all these passages, and put in the Greek word itself, in English character, or put in the word “possession” or “possessed,” making the Common Version nearer to the Divine original, and thus far justify the Scriptures against the attacks of infidelity; and strengthen the mind against the absurdities of devil doctrines, and the horrors of devil fear.

6. Signs of Demon Possession

– Possession indicated by certain signs.
– Madness an indication.
– The Pythia.
– Unusual bodily contortions.
– The Gadarene and Gergesene demoniacs were madmen.
– Lunatics.
– Epileptics.

POSSESSIONS, daimonia, must have been indicated by certain signs, otherwise such possessions could never have been inferred. Some deviations from the usual habits of the individual must have been presented to have induced the belief that the individual was influenced by some “supernatural” power. What then were the indications that the Greeks, the Romans, and the Jews, beholding in an individual, ascribed to possessions?

“And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying. The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out of her the same hour,” Acts 16:16-18. The phrase, here rendered, “possessed with a spirit of divination,” a spirit of divination,” is echousa pneuma Puthonos – that is, “having a spirit of Python” or “Apollo:” one supposed to be influenced by the god Apollo. The history of this damsel shows that her conduct, in continually following Paul and his companion, was contrary to the usual decorum manifested by her sex. And this deviation was a sign of her being influenced by something not usual; we would say madness: the ancients called it “a possession.” She followed Paul many days, continually crying, “These are the servants of the most high God.” She exhibited, in other words, a kind of insane fury or excitement. And that this exhibition was common to persons supposed to be possessed is evident from the following description of Pythia, the priestess of Apollo at Delphi: “She delivered the answer of the god to such as came to consult the oracle, and was supposed to be suddenly inspired by the sulphurous vapours, which issued from the hole of a subterraneous cavity within the temple, over which she sat bare on a three-legged stool called a tripod. In this stool was a small aperture, through which the vapour was inhaled by the priestess, and, at this divine inspiration her eyes suddenly sparkled, her hair stood on end, and a shivering ran over all her body. In this convulsive state she spoke the oracles of the god, often with loud howlings and cries, and her articulations were taken down by the priest, and set in order. Sometimes the spirit of inspiration was more gentle, and not always violent; yet Plutarch mentions one of the priestesses who was thrown into such an excessive fury that not only those who consulted the oracle but also the priests that conducted her to the sacred tripod and attended her during the inspiration, were terrified and forsook the temple; and so violent was the fit that she continued for some days in the most agonising situation, and at last died” (Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary – Article. “Pythia”).

Virgil gives a still more vivid description of the excitement of the priestess or sybil. The Trojan Eneas wishes to consult the oracle respecting his future proceedings. With this view he approaches the cave (after having made the usual offerings-paid priests in all ages requires these)-

“Now to the mouth they come. Aloud she cries,
‘This Is the time! Inquire your destinies!
He comes! behold the god!’ thus while she said
(And shivering at the sacred entry staid),
Her colour changed; her face wan not the same.
And hollow groans from her deep spirit came.
Her hair stood up; convulsive rage possessed
Her trembling limbo, and heaved her labouring breast.
Greater than human kind she seemed to look,
And, with an accent more than mortal, spoke.
Her staring eyes with sparkling fury roll;
When all the god came rushing on her soul.
Swiftly she turned, and, foaming as she spoke.”
Aeneid – Pope’s Translation.

A sort of insane fury was manifested by those supposed to be possessed, and such manifestation was regarded by the Greek as indicative of possession, it was so among the Latins. The Cerriti and the Larvati, already referred to, were supposed by the Latins to be possessed by the goddess Ceres and by the Lares. In the sacred ceremonies of Ceres, Calepinus records, they were seized with fury. “And, in the same manner,” adds he, “as we say a Bacchanal from Bacchus, we say a Cerealian from Ceres.”

Pliny, the celebrated Latin naturalist, describes some persons as being agitated by the nocturnal gods, and by the Fauni. These Fauni were the supposed gods of the fields.

INSANITY, of which this fury is a beginning, was another indication of possession. Cicero, in regard to the absurdity of this that a person being insane should be regarded as “possessed,” inquires, “What authority truly can that fury which you call divine have, when it happens that the things which a wise man cannot see, an insane man can see: and he who may have lost his human senses, has attained to divine”* thus demonstrating that the insane were regarded as “possessed”.

Such are a few among many illustrations which might be brought to prove that the indications of “possessions” were unusual conduct, unusual mental exhibitions, unusual mental exhibitions, such as insanity presents; or unusual bodily contortions, such as epileptics and the convulsed exhibit.

Insanity therefore may be regarded as that which the ancients regarded as most distinctive of possession. This belief prevailed among the Jews: who, holding this view, referred much of the conduct of Christ to insanity. Our Saviour asks the Jews,

“Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil (diabolos) , and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there was no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you of the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why, do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil (daimonion)?” John 8:43-48. This argument, so clear to an unbiased hearer, but so obscure to their biased minds, made them reply, “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a possession (daimonion echei).” Jesus answered, “I have not a possession, (daimonion ouk echei), “but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying he shall never see death,”

John 8:49-51. This last statement astonished the Jews still more, and they exclaimed, “Now we know that thou hast a devil (daimonion). Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying he shall never taste of death,” John 8:52.

The Saviour on another occasion had been describing himself as “the good shepherd,” as “the door” of the sheep, as having sheep of “another fold” (this touched, it is likely, their Jewish pride), “laying down his life for the sheep,” and further, what, no doubt, startled them, that though he did lay down his life, it was of his own free will: and that, further, the laying down was a matter quite within his own power. The effect was as might be expected: “There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, he hath a devil (daimonion), and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, these are not the words of him that bath a devil (daimonion). Can a devil (daimonion) open the eyes of the blind?” John 10:19-21.

On another occasion Jesus had astonished them by his knowledge, and yet they were unwilling to give credit to him, although they professed such a reverence for Moses, who spoke of him. He thus reproves them, “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet no one of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? The people answered and said, thou hast a devil (daimonion), who goeth About to kill thee?” John 7:19-20. They inferred that he was insane, because they lid nor know their own intention to kill him.

Jesus was so much the subject of attention, on account of the wonderful cure he performed that numbers gathered about him; “And the multitude cometh together again,” and that in such a constant succession, “so that they could no so much as eat bread,” Mar 3:20-21. His kinsman (for so the word is) – wishing it may be to take advantage of Jesus’ popularity, and thereby to gain notice through him with the people, or, it may be, influenced by a kindly motive of preventing their kinsman injuring himself, when they heard, “went out to lay hold of him! for they said, He is beside himself” – that is, poor creatures, they thought man would never go without his dinner unless he were mad.

Whenever one gives another a bad name there are plenty who will join in the cry; and the scribes, the divine code explainers of the day, who came down from Jerusalem (the regularly-authorised place for scribes to come from), politely added, “He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils (daimonia) casteth he out devils (daimonia) “ Mar 3:22. His reply to these fashionable devotionists was a perfect demolition:

“Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. If Satan also be, divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils (daimonia) through Beelzebub. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils (daimonia), by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore shall they be your judges. But if I with the finger of God cast out devils (daimonia), no doubt the king -of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger that he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils,” Luk 11:17-22. The Jews seemed to have been a most prejudiced people: Our Saviour tells them that not nothing could please them, “For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say he bath a devil (daimonion). The son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, behold a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners? But wisdom is justified of all her children,” Luk 7:33-35. Blessed Jesus, thy reasoning did not show thee insane: no; wisdom was indeed justified of thee, her child.

But mental obliquity, or insanity, as regards reasoning, was not the only evidence of being “possessed”. Any striking deviation from the usual order of life wits referred to the same cause. Such an exhibition was presented to Christ on entering the country of the Gadarenes: “And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man which had devils (daimonia) long time, and wore no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, what have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not,” Luk 8:27-28. The wearing no clothes, the abiding in no house, the residence in tombs, were sufficiently striking deviations from the usual routine of every-day life to cause the people to refer such exhibitions at once to the fact that the party was possessed. Jesus freed the man from his insanity. The circumstance became known: “Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils (daimonia) were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind; and they were afraid,” Luk 8:35. “Clothed, and in his right mind” they found him: a point of observation which demonstrates that they did not before regard him as in his right mind.

The belief in the influence of “possessions” had became so extended in the time of the Saviour, that the Jews referred their bodily diseases to such “possessions”. It has already been noticed that Ahaziah sent to consult Beelzebub, the chief of the supposed possessing agents, respecting a bodily disease.

Dumbness was referred to “possession”. “As they went, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed” (daimonizomenon). Here it is worthy of remark that the translators have rendered this word daimonizomenon correctly, namely, “possessed”. “And when the Devil (ton daimonion, the possession) was come out, the dumb spake,” Mat 9:33. Here, then, is a bodily infirmity distinctly referred, not to the “devil,” but to, the daimonion, the “possession.”

Blindness, as well as dumbness, was referred to the influence of a possession: “Then was brought unto him one possessed-with-a-devil (daimonizomenos), blind and dumb, and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw,” Mat 12:22. The phrase, “he healed him,” is worthy of notice, ethera peusen auton: a phrase evidently expressing a cure and not a dispossession. The further application of the term to bodily infirmity is seen in the following history: “Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canitan came out of the same coast, and cried unto him, saying, have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David: my daughter is grievously vexed-with-a-devil,” kakos daimonizetai. “But he answered not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, Send her away, for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me! But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to dogs. And she said, truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their master’s table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour,” Mat 15:21-28. Here again, it will be observed, that the phrase “made whole,” iathe, is used in reference to the possession and the being freed therefrom.

Mark gives some additional facts in connection with this woman’s daughter: “And Jesus said unto her, for this saying go thy way: the devil (daimonion) is gone out of thy daughter. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil (daimonion) gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed,” Mar 7:29; Mar 7:30.

The disease called epilepsy was referred to “possession”, as has been already noticed. The following description affords an almost medically-drawn portrait of an epileptic patient: “And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him he teareth him: and he foameth and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him and saith, O faithless generation how long shall I he with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him: and he fell on the ground and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child: and ofttimes it bath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straight way the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus say that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him; and he was as one, dead: insomuch that many said, he is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up: and he arose!” Mar 9:17-27. The “spirit possessing” is described first as “a dumb spirit,” afterwards as a “foul spirit,” and finally as a “dumb and deaf spirit.”

A passage occurs in which the epileptic is designated as a lunatic: “And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a (certain) man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord have mercy on my son; for he is a lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation! How long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil (daimonion), and he departed out of him,” Mat 17:14-18. It is worthy of remark that it is not said, as it is in the Common Version, that Jesus rebuked the devil; but that he rebuked the youth, and when the daimonion, “the possession”, departed out of him, his reason was restored.

The ancients, finding that epileptic seizures were influenced by the moon (selene in Greek, luna in Latin), called epileptics lunatics.

A similar epileptic is described by Luke: “And as he was yet a coming, the devil (daimonion) threw him down and tare [him]. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and, healed the child, and delivered him again to his father,” Luk 9:42. The spirit is here called “unclean spirit,” and Jesus is said to have “healed the child.”

It is further said, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed-with-devils (daimonizomai), and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them,” Mat 4:23; Mat 4:24.
“The-possessed-with-devils” are daimonizamenous; “the lunatic,” seleniazomenous. In reference to both these and to the palsied, Jesus is said to have healed, etherapeusen, them. The same again is stated by Matthew: “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed-with -devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick.” possessed-with -devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick.” Mat 8:16.
The “possessed-with-devils” are daimonizometious; and “healed” is represented by etherapeusen. “And these things were done “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken, by Esaias the prophet, saying, “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses,” Mat 8:17. There is nothing said of casting out “devils” by Isaiah. “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.”

It may be inferred from the frequent use of the word “heal,” that these “possessions” were bodily diseases which Jesus cured. This view is strengthened by the following passage: “And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they said John Baptist bath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? And in the same hour Jesus cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, go your way and tell John what things we have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me,” Luk 7:19-23.

It is a curious fact that Christ does not say, “Behold I cast out spirits”: if the doing of this was a positive reality, Christ would have pointed it out; for the historian adds, “he in the same hour cured many of their evil spirits:” but Jesus sends no message as to casting out “spirits.” The conclusion therefore is, that those possessed were afflicted with bodily and mental diseases, which Christ cured.

7. The Demoniacs

– The Gadarene and Gergesene demoniacs.
– Their dispossession, and the madness of the swine examined and explained.
– The language of our Saviour and of his Apostles correspond to the opinions of men.
– How the demoniacs confessed Christ

IT has been demonstrated that the daimones, and the daimonia, are not diaboloi, “devils,” “false-accusers.” It has been demonstrated that the first term (daimon) is expressive of a “departed human spirit,” and the second term (daimonion) of such “spirit” supposed to be in possession of living human beings. It has been shown that the belief in possessions prevailed amongst almost all the nations, the Jews included, at the time of Christ and of his apostles; while the assertion that such beings existed was a lie palmed upon mankind by an enslaving priesthood; and Paul, when referring to such “departed human ‘spirits’” deified and worshipped by the Gentiles, as plainly as words can express, declares them to be nothing: declares them to be delusions of the imagination: to be a lie.

On this declaration of the apostle we might rest; we might say we know they are nothing: but still though Paul thus asserts, and thus gives the divine sanction to the believer’s freedom from all the absurd bugbears and dangerous errors connected with such “possessions,” some professed followers of Christ still hug the Pagan delusion, and guard its preservation with as much care as if it were one of the gifts of Divine wisdom and of Divine love – as if it were an ark of the Lord too holy to be looked into by any one except by George Fox’s “black bodies.” It is true that they think they have some grounds for their belief in such wanderers from the Hades of “departed ‘spirits’”: No, they say, we do not say they are “departed human ‘spirits’” that wander; but they are devils. But this is not the case: if they will have these “devils” they must have daimones = demons and not diaboloi = “devils”. They say we read of these demons being cast out: and how could they be cast out unless they were there to be cast out? We read, say they, of these demons talking: and how could they talk unless they were there? We read, say they, of these demons acknowledging Christ to be the Son of God: and how could they acknowledge Christ unless they were there? And, to conclude the queries, they ask, Can any one read the history of the Gadarene demoniacs without acknowledging that there were demons; and that, as a consequence (it must be added for them, for they will not so add), Paul made a mistake in saying that they were nothing?

It will be necessary, therefore, in replying to all these queries, and, in so doing, to prove Paul’s assertion to be true, to consider the case of these demoniacs. The history is given by Matthew, Mark, and Luke: there is some difference between the history given by Matthew and that given by Mark and Luke: Matthew thus describes the event:-

“And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed-with-devils (daimonizomenoi) coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of swine feeding. So the devils (daimones) besought him, saying, If thou cast us out suffer us to go, away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine; and behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told everything, and what was befallen to the possessed-of-devils (daimonizomenon). And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought [him] that he would depart out of their coasts,” Mat 8:28-34.

Mark and Luke give the account thus:

“And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [thou] son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, [thou] unclean spirit. And he asked him, What [is] thy name? And he answered, saying, My name [is] Legion: for we are many. And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea. And they that fed the swine fled, and told [it] in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was-possessed-with-the-devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind; and they were afraid. And they that saw [it] told them how it befell to him that was-possessed-with-the-devil (daimonizomenon),* and [also] concerning the swine. And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts. And when he was come into the ship, he-that-had-been-possessed-with-a-devil (ho diamonisthesis) prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” (Mark 5 v1-20).

“And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in [any] house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, [Thou] Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil (daimonion)into the wilderness.) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils (daimonia) were entered into him. And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. Then went the devils (daimonia) out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. When they that fed (them) saw what was done, they fled, and went and told [it] in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils (daimonia) were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils (daimonia) was healed. Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. Now the man out of whom the devils (daimonia) were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. (Luke 8 v26-39).

Matthew, it will be perceived, places the event as occurring in the country of the Gergesenes: Mark, and Luke, as taking place in the country of the Gadarenes; a distinction worthy of record, because Gergesa and Gadara were distinct cities. Matthew makes two to meet the Saviour, “there met him two possessed”: Mark and Luke make one man to meet the Saviour. The other parts of the accounts are very similar, still the; above differences seem to convey that the two events may be distinct. This will not, however, much affect the argument.

The whole agree in the possessed being in the tombs, and coming out therefrom to meet Jesus. Matthew describes the two as being so fierce that “no man might pass that way.” Mark states, that he was so strong that no man could bind him, no, not with chains: “Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been, plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces; neither could any [man] tame him,” Mar 5:4. Luke describes him as being in the tombs or in the mountains, “crying and cutting himself with stones.” Luke describes the man as “wearing no clothes,” and Mark further describes him as a man with “an unclean spirit.”

What are these evidences of? What, if a person was observed doing such things in the present day, should we infer? Should we refer the same to demonism? No, every one would call him insane, and he would be confined in an asylum; and now, thanks to science (which is God in nature discovered) would be tamed without any chains at all. These persons were mad, and being so – madness being deemed by the ancients the result of possession – were said to be “possessed” (daimonizomai); but such a belief does not prove “possession” to be actual – it merely shows that it was the belief of the ancients.

But say the advocates of demoniacal possession, the demon spoke: How do they know? The Scriptures say so. Matthew is the only place in which the daimon is mentioned, and is said to have spoken. But this does not prove that there were any demons in the possessed to speak: but proves that the opinion prevailed at the time that when the paroxysm of madness was on the individual, whatever he said or did then was believed to be said or done by the demon. That this belief was the prevalent one, full authority can be presented. Lucian expressly, states, “the patient is silent: the demon returns the answers to the questions that, are asked.” Apollonius, addressing a youth who had insulted him, but who was supposed to be possessed, remarks, “Not you but the demon has loaded me with insult” (Philostratus. Vit. Apollon., p. 157, ed. Olear) Plato expressly asserts, “It was not the inspired or possessed person himself, but the demon in him who spake by his voice.”

This explains the fact, already referred to, that the daimon, which, as has been shown, occurs only once in Scripture, occurs in connection with these dispossessions now under consideration: and the term expresses, most minutely the opinion, that when a conversation took place, then the daimon spoke: for the use of the word is in connection with the beseeching permission to go into the herd of swine.

The daimonia spoke before, namely, “What with us and thee Jesus, Son of God? art thou come to torment us before the time?” records Matthew: and the man himself, in Mark and Luke, is said to have addressed Jesus in a similar way: but when the conversation comes, then the word daimones, by Matthew, is brought in; so very exact was he in recording the opinion prevalent at the time on the subject.

But it has been argued in behalf of the existence of the demons in these individuals, and against the doctrine that it was merely madness that possessed them, that the individuals acknowledged Christ to be the Son of God. This, it is maintained, and rightly too, is no sign of insanity – to acknowledge Christ. True, but it would be a sign of egregious folly, yea, of insanity in a demon to acknowledge and spread abroad the knowledge that Jesus was the Son of God. To this it is replied, “but he was constrained to acknowledge the Son of God.” To this, again, there is an immediate answer. It is to be found in the following: “And in the synagogue there was a man, with the spirit of an unclean devil (daimonion), and cried out with a loud voice, saying, let us alone; what have we to do with thee thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the holy one of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, hold thy peace and come out of him,” Mar 1:23-28. Jesus commanded him, “Hold thy peace.” And, in passing, it is worthy of remark, that here the demon, daimonion, is designated as “unclean,” so that the daimonia were not essentially unclean. But what, in regard to this constraining, to testify, is still more striking, is “And unclean spirits” (not demons), “when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, ‘Thou art the Son of God’,” Mar 3:11.

So that Jesus did not want their testimony. In fact, it would have done harm: because if the demons testified in his favour it would, in the eyes of the Jews, be as bad as to us would be a rogue attesting the character of an honest man.

Though the argument of the demons being constrained to attest Christ’s mission is an unsound one, it may be useful to enquire how it came to pass that these insane people did attest the mission of Christ.

There is hardly any one insane who has not occasional intervals of sanity. The fame of Jesus in expelling demons, was spread abroad and reached the ears of those affected ones, who, being insane, were deemed by others – and, most likely, by themselves – to be infested. These poor unfortunates were often tormented by the various means used to expel demons – chains, fetters, and various other cruel means of which the history of the treatment of witches in our own country will give some idea. Dreading a repetition of such treatment, when the man saw Jesus “he ran and worshipped him (query: How could a demon worship Christ?) and cried with a loud voice, and said, What with me and thee, the Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God that thou torment me not,” Mar 5:7. The man was beseeching to be freed from further bodily torment, all means having been hitherto ineffectual; and not knowing the effectual means Christ could use.

Another opinion prevailed among the ancients regarding demons, namely, that, if dispossessed, they wandered about, and were subjected to torments. This enables any unprejudiced mind to understand the passage, “Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” This will also explain the intense desire on the part of the Gergesene and Gadarene demoniacs to be sent into the herd of swine. The poor insane men fancied that they were possessed by demons, and, as such, fancied that the evils, to which they supposed themselves liable in the imaginary separate state, would be inflicted if dismissed. The fact that the demon was supposed to speak is evidenced by the answer given to Christ when he asked the man his name: instead of giving his name, he answered, “My name is Legion, for we are many”: an answer very similar to what insane people give even now when asked their name – a decided proof of insanity.

It is stated Jesus suffered them: and it is stated that “they entered into the swine.” The meaning of the phrase “entered in” was explained in the examination of diabolos entering Judas Iscariot. In this case the demon entering the swine conveys merely that the swine became affected with the same disease as that which the Gadarene and Gergesene demoniacs had been afflicted with, namely, madness: and being mad they ran down the steep into the sea, which no sensible pig would have done. Such, then, is a brief, but, it is hoped, clear explanation of this interesting account of the entering of the demons into the swine.

One objection, however, to this view (it applies almost as forcibly to the common view) is, what good was done by destroying such a large number of animals by allowing this madness to affect them? As was said, the objection applies equally to the common view, only substituting this phrase – “by allowing these demons to enter the swine and destroy them.” One reason may be noticed, Gadara and Gergesa were cities in the province of Damascus. Both these, in the reign of Herod, belonged to Judea, and were inhabited by Jews to a great extent. The Jews were forbidden by the law of Moses, as; is well known, to eat pork; and their law-giver, Hyrcanus, had passed laws which forbade the keeping of swine. The Saviour, therefore, in destroying the swine, punished the violators of the law, and that such view is the likely one is evidenced by the fact, that they besought Jesus to depart out of their coasts, for fear he should destroy more. They regarded not the miracle; they regarded the loss of the pigs; and thus their selfishness was punished.

Against this view that the history of the dispossession of the Gadarene and of the Gergesene demoniacs is a description of the history of the affection and the cure of madmen, the language of the description being that which the people of that day would understand, it has been asked, how could God in Christ allow such an error to be perpetuated by permitting the writers of the gospels thus to describe such an event?

The answer to this is simple, and, it is to be hoped, satisfactory, it is this: Jesus Christ did not come into the world, nor did Moses the prophet, to teach man natural science: that is, God in creation: they came to teach moral and religious truth. This being the case, a very casual examination of the Scriptures will demonstrate that the Scriptures, in referring to natural events, teach what is the opposite to fact: they teach, if such a phrase is permissible, scientific untruths. Thus, the sun is said to go his journey round the earth: to go forth in the morning like a strong man to run a race: which all know, although the same expressions are still used for convenience’s sake, is not true. It is true that the Romish priests persecuted and imprisoned Galileo because he taught the real truth, which, they maintained, was contrary to the Scriptures: whereas, had they understood what Moses, the prophets, and Jesus in the highest degree came to teach, they would not have thus attacked the philosopher. The Saviour told his disciples that there were many things he had to tell them, but they were not able to bear them. This applies extensively; and as he, in his wisdom, thought fit to use the common phraseology in regard to demons, might it not be that to have taught the natural truth that it was mere madness would have been useless to them. The power of Christ was as much manifested in the one way as the other: a man presents with the phenomena of madness, which the Jews referred to “possession;” Christ removes the phenomena; he restores the man to his right mind: in the Jewish opinion he dispossesses the demon. The power is the same: this is the point in which the matter must be looked at.

Do not people even now talk of lunacy – that is, “struck by the moon,” though none but the ignorant believe in any power of the moon so to act? And do not people talk of St. Anthony’s fire, without at all believing that St. Anthony has anything to do with erysipelas, for which this is the common name? Do not person’s dilate respecting St. Vitus’s dance, although no one now associates St. Vitus with the dance? Names continue even after the belief in the existence of the things named has ceased; and if because persons used the phrases “lunacy,” “St. Anthony’s fire,” “St. Vitus’s dance,” it should be inferred that if they believed in the moon power, the St. Anthony’s power, or the St. Vitus’s power, it would indeed be absurd: but not more absurd than to imagine, because the evangelists use the phraseology of the time in regard to “possessions,” that we therefore are bound to believe in “possessions” which Paul says are nothing.

The whole history of these Gadarene and Gergesene demoniacs may be summed up in this: three madmen presented themselves to Christ: Christ cured them: and to punish the Jews he caused the madness to affect the swine.

8. Temptation

– Temptation, its nature.
– Trial.
– The source of temptation.
– The erroneousness of many notions on this subject.

THE temptation of Jesus constitutes the most striking of all the series of circumstances in which the word diabolos is introduced. This temptation, to be examined with success, must be preceded by an investigation of the subject of temptation itself: which, being understood, must throw light upon the temptation of Christ, “because he was in all points tempted like as we are,” Heb 4:15.

The matter, therefore, for the present inquiry will be, “What is temptation?”

Fortunately, the apostle James has given us the source of temptation:- “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed: then, when Just bath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death,” James 1:15. To understand what James intends to convey, the word translated “tempt” must be examined. It is peirazo. This word is itself a derived word, being derived from peiro, “to pass through or along.” From this word is derived the noun peira, which means “a passage through.” As an illustration of this meaning of peira, the following is appropriate: “By faith they passed through the Red Sea, as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned,” Heb 11:29. The term rendered “assaying” is peira, and the passage correctly translated would be this, “through which the Egyptians, making the passage, were drowned.” The same word occurs in the following passage, “And others had trial of mockings and scourgings”: or, as it ought to be, “others bore peiran, the passing through of mockings and scourgings,” Heb 11:36. As, in passing through a passage, there is often danger, peira means “a trial.” From this word peira comes peirao, and from peirao comes peirazo, and the word most frequently rendered “to tempt.”

To show that “trial” or “attempting to do” is the primary idea associated with this word, some passages may be quoted in which peirazo or peirao occurs. “Now when they (Paul, Silas, and Timotheus) had gone throughout Phrygia, and the region of Galatia and were forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia, after they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the spirit suffered them not,” Acts 16:7. The word for “assayed “- i.e. “attempted,” “tried,” is peirazo. Again, “And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple e. But Barnabus took him and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord, in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. And he was with them coming in and going out of Jerusalem,” Acts 9:26-28. The word for “assayed” is peirao – that is, “tried.”

The primary meaning is still further developed in the following passage where it is applied to a mental examination: “Examine yourselves, whether, be in the faith; prove your ownselves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2Co 13:5. Peirazo is the word for “examine.”

The same word occurs in this passage – “And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, ‘Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?’ And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do,” John 6:3-6. The word for prove is peirazo.

The same word occurs in the record of the orator Tertullus’ speech against Paul. “And after five days, Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul. And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy, great quietness, and that very worthy deeds are done unto this nation by thy providence, we accept it always, and in all places, most noble Felix, with all thankfulness. Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. For we have found his man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of Nazarenes: who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took and would have judged according to our law,” Acts 24:1-6. The phrase, “hath gone about,” is peirazo, and means attempted, “who also hath attempted to profane the temple.”

The same word occurs in the Hebrews, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried (peirazomenos), offered up Isaac,” Heb 11:17.

The same word is rendered “tried” in Christ’s address to the church at Ephesus: “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried (peirazo) them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted,” Rev 2:2; Rev 2:3.

The same word is rendered “try” in the passage to the church in Philadelphia: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try (peirazo) them that dwell upon the earth,” Rev 3:10.

The simple meaning of the word peirazo, translated “tempt,” is to try: and there will not be any hesitation in acknowledging, after examining a few passages in which this word is rendered “tempt,” that, if it was always rendered by its simple meaning (try), the force of the word would shine forth more clearly.

Note, in this view, the following passage referring to the Christ: “For verify he took not on [him the work] of angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in. all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted,” Heb 2:16-18. The phrase “being tempted,” is peirastheis, that is, “when tried;” and the phrase, “them that are tempted” (peirazomenois), that is, “that are being tried.” So (Heb 11:37), “They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.” Here “were tempted” is the same word peirazo.

From the word peirazo comes the word peirasmos. This is translated “temptation.” It means trial. “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have, been with you at all seasons; serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews,” Acts 20:17-19. The word for “temptations” is peirasmon, “trials” – and “trials” “trials” is far more expressive of the circumstances to which Paul refers than is the word “temptations.”

Paul, referring to the infirmity which he had, used this word, “and my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel,” Gal 4:14. This was his “trial,” peirasmos; a far better term.

In the following passage the word peirasmos occurs twice, and peirazo twice. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is]) faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it],” 1Co 10:13. The words “trial” and “tried” would be much clearer.

In the following passage “trial” expresses the meaning much better than “temptation.” Explaining the parable of the seed sown, Jesus says, “They on the rock [are they] which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away,” Luk 8:13. Here the word is peirasmos. They admire the love principle of Christianity; they praise it: but when an act occurs in which, to follow out the principle, they will have to sacrifice self, they find the sacrifice a trial. And the apostle James calls upon the brethren, “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations,” James 1:2. The word is peirasmos: he adds, “Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience,” ver. 3. The term for “trying” is not peirazo but peripesete, which means “testing,” not merely “trying.” How, if temptations were evil things, could James invite Christians to “Count it all joy when they fell into divers” of them?

All these passages establish this, that the proper meaning of the word peirasmos is “trial”; of peirazo, “try.” The objection to the words “temptation” and “tempt” would not be so great if custom had not associated with them improper meanings; but what is necessary is, that the words should be translated uniformly throughout.

One would infer from the frequent occurrence in common conversation of the words “tempted,” “temptation,” that the words occurred in almost every page of the Bible, whereas the fact is, that the word “temptation” does no occur more than twenty-one times in the New Testament. And, in all the cases the passages would be much more clear if the word “trial,” as the word is rendered in passages already quoted, were introduced in its place.

Having thus demonstrated that the word peirasmos means “trial,” and that “temptation” is not the meaning, the next step in the inquiry, necessary to make clear to the understanding the trials of the Lord in the wilderness, will be to examine the source of trial.

9. Origins of Sin

– The source of trial.
– The lust (epithumia).
– The misapplication of the word.
– The steps in the production of a sin.
– Desire, its nature.
– Numerous passagesin which epithumia is applied to a desire, decidedly good.

IN the previous Chapter the subject of temptation was considered. It was shown that the word peirasmos, translated “temptation,” and peirazo, translated “to tempt,” are derived from peiras, to make a passage through; the word peira meaning passing through. It was further shown that as, in making a passage through anything, some difficulty is experienced, the word peirao means to try, and viewed mentally in reference to the passing of the mind through observation to gain experience, it means to experience. It was shown also, that peirasmos means, strictly speaking, a trial, and peirazo, to try; and that these two words are, in the Common Version, sometimes translated “trial,” “try.” The passages quoted were demonstrated to have greater clearness when these words, instead of being translated “temptation” and “tempt,” were translated “trial” and “try”; in fact, it was proved that “trial” and “try” are the proper renderings of these words. These remarks were made as preparatory to the inquiry into the, so-called, temptation of our Lord On the present occasion the source of trial, miscalled “temptation,” is to be considered as absolutely necessary to know, in order to understand the nature of the Saviour’s trial, more particularly as he is said to have been tried according to all like things with us. Heb 4:14-16 – “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

The source of trial, as being from ourselves and not from God, is specifically attested by James 1:13 – “Let no man say when he is tried, I am tried of God, for God cannot be tried with evil, neither trieth he any man.” That is the negative part of James’s declaration: the positive follows: 5:14- “But every man is tried when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” The source of this trial when operating injuriously is then detailed: 5:15- “Then, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

“One’s own “lust” is the source, then, of trial: and the question occurs, “What does lust in this passage represent?” The common meaning attached to this word is decidedly unfavourable: it is one associated with vice. The word used is epithumia. It is compounded of two words, epi, upon, and thumos, breath. As man becomes a living soul by God breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, this word thumos came to be applied to that which proceeds from breathing, namely, the life, the mind, the soul, the individual life, the self, the movements or emotions of the soul, the affections, the desires: and as the passions, particularly anger, strongly active, swell up the mind, this word came to signify more specially anger, and is so translated in many passages in the Common Version.

Epithumia is the mind, the self, resting upon something: that is, the setting the mind upon any object: and, as when the mind is set upon any object, that object is desired, the word means simply a “desire.” The word implies nothing bad. “Desire” is the correct meaning, and therefore James asserts that “every man is tried when he is led away of his own desire, and enticed.” It is not enough, as will be seen from the passage, that the man is led away: there is a second step: he must be enticed.

What, then, is desire? It is the activity of any power of mind, directed towards an object, between which and it the Creator has established an attractive relation: thus, to speak phrenologically, individuality desires an acquaintance with individual objects: benevolence delights in acts and objects of kindness: conscientiousness desires, and consequently delights in, acts of justice; acquisitiveness desires wealth, which it seeks; love of approbation covets praise; the love of sex seeks a sexual object; the love of offspring desires children; and so with every desire.

No desire – (the desire being the result of the attraction between the power of the mind and the object, a relationship established by the Creator himself) – can, in itself, be bad. In fact, there is no evil in desire: but still desire, when active in an improper way, does bring trial, does induce evil.

That the word epithumia is improperly rendered lust, which lust is badly regulated desire, a desire inconsistent with man’s duty to his neighbour and his God, and that the proper meaning of the word is desire, will be apparent from examining a few passages.

Luk 15:16 -This word occurs in reference to the prodigal son, who, after spending all his substance, was reduced to so low a state that “he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him.” (He had not small conscientiousness, otherwise he would have taken them.) The phrase “he would fain” is epithumei “he is desiring.” Here the word represents the state of mind as connected with the natural appetite of hunger in which appetite there can be nothing bad.

Luk 16:21 -A similar application of the word occurs in reference to the Lazarus of the parable. It is stated, “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: and there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores.” – The word rendered “desiring” is epithumon.

1Ti 3:1 -This word is applied to the desiring after office. Paul writes, “This is a true saying, if a man desire (here it is not epithumce, but oregetai, and means if a man extends his thoughts to) the office of a bishop he desireth a good work.” The word for “desireth” is epithumei. This is a good desire a good lust if lust be the proper interpretation of epithumia.

1Th 2:17 -This word is applied by Paul to the desire to see his brethren in Christ: “But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.”
The phrase for “great desire” is polle epithumei = much “lust.”

Php 1:23 -It is applied by Paul to represent the wish he had to be: released from prison: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain, But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my, labour: yet what I, shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt the two, having a desire to depart (eis to analusai = “for release”), and to be with Christ: *which is far better, and (de – a small particle which does not mean “nevertheless”)”to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” The words for “a desire” are ten epithumian = the “lust.”

Mat 8:17 -It is used by the Saviour to express the desire which the excellent men of old had to see his day.

“For verify I say unto you that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen, them and to hear those things, which, ye hear and have not heard them.”

1Pe 1:12 -Peter, referring to the same anxious expectation of the men of old, uses the same word: “Whom having not seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you, by them that have preached the gospel unto you, with the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” desire to look into.” Peter thus applies this same word to the intense wish of message-bearers to look into these matters.

Luk 17:20-22 -The Saviour, knowing that though the disciples did not value as they ought the privilege of his being with them (the value of which they would not know till he was departed), tells them, in the following account, that they would desire to see one of the days of the son of Man: “And when, he was demanded of the Pharisees when the kingdom of God should come he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with neither shall they say, lo here! or lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. And he said unto the disciples, The day will come when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and ye shall not see it.” The word for “desire” is epithumesete.

Luk 22:15 -But what still more positively establishes that the word epithumia does not of itself imply any bad sense -and that therefore “lust,” as long as a bad sense is attached to it, is not the term properly expressive of the use of this word by our Saviour on another most memorable occasion. It was at the last supper and its attendant events. “And they went and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down and the twelve apostles with the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them with desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not eat any more thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. This “desire” is epithumia: this I have “desired” is epithumesa.

Col 3:5 -That there is nothing bad in desire (epithumia) is proved further by the fact, that when badness is associated with desire, a word is superadded to indicate such addition. Paul, in writing to the Colossians, directs – “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” All these, called members, are activities of desire inconsistent with the law of love to our neighbour, the term for “concupiscence” is epithumia, but it has an adjective, kaken, “bad:” an addition which would not have been needed if epithumia meant “lust,” that is, “a badly-regulated desire.”

Tit 2:12 – In Paul’s letter to Titus an addition is made: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation bath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly ill this present world.” Here the word epithumias occurs: it is rendered “lusts” but the world “worldly” (kosmikos) is added to designate the inferiority of those desires.

1Pe 2:11 – Peter, in his first letter, defines these desires (lepithurnion) as (sarkikon) “lusts” All these additions demonstrate, it is repeated, that desires are not bad in themselves but are bad only when the objects on which they outgo, or the means by which they are gratified, are improper.

1Co 10:6 – As a further proof, Paul writes of “lusting after evil things.” Referring to the destruction inflicted upon the Jews in the wilderness on account of their wickedness, he remarks, “Now these things were our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they lusted.” The words epithumetas and epithumesan occur here: but there is the addition to damnify the desire “after evil things.” If epithumia were “to have evil desire,” and as such bad in itself, the addition of “after evil things” would have been quite unnecessary.

Gal 5:16; Gal 5:17 – To add, if it be needed, additional evidence that the word epithumia is not necessarily bad in its meaning, the following quotation from Paul’s letter to the Galatians is apposite. “This I say then, Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against tire flesh: and these, are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Here it will be seen that the word epithumei is applied to the activity of the spirit, which is holy, against the flesh, as well as to the activity of the flesh against the spirit; so that if the term epithumia means “lust,” and “lust” is bad, then it most follow that the “lusteth” is as bad in the one as in the other. But as this word has not necessarily a bad meaning, no such inference need be drawn: and it is said in truth that the flesh, that is, the animal nature of man, has desires contrary to the spiritual nature, and the spiritual nature has desires contrary to the animal nature. And it is true “that they that are Christ’s crucified the flesh,” which is not, as some foolishly talk, destroyed, which would be to unman and unwoman mankind, but they nailed to the higher principles of the truth (the “to love mercy,” the “to do justly,” the “to walk humbly with God” principles), the activities of the lower desires of man’s nature, namely, the affections and the desires.

To have a desire is therefore no sin: but to allow that desire to lead away from the higher duties, to entice us to violate the law of love to our neighbour or to our God, is sinful. Happy is the man who has been tried in all points, and without sin. We shall see him soon; the man, Christ Jesus.

10. Temptation of Christ

– The history of the trial of our Lord.
– The rule to guide as to a passage of Scripture being interpreted literally or figuratively.
– This rule applied to the three trials of Christ, and the impossibility of the account being literally true

OUR Lord’s trial, taking the word peirasmos to mean trial and not temptation, is recorded in the testimonies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and not in the testimony of John. In Matthew and Luke the description is full; in Mark the narrative is very brief. In Matthew and in Luke three distinct classes of trials are enumerated; in Mark no individual trial is specified. The best plan, therefore, will be to gather the general description by joining all the various facts recorded by the three.

Jesus, after being baptized of John in Jordan, received the Holy Spirit without measure. “And then Jesus, being full of the Holy Spirit, having returned from Jordan, was immediately led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil; and he was there in the wilderness with the wild beasts forty days, tempted of Satan, the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he afterwards hungered. And when the tempter came to him he said ‘if thou be Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ But he answered and said, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and, setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, ‘If thou be Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, ‘He shall give his angels charge concerning thee to keep thee: and in (their) hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.’ Jesus said unto him, ‘It is written again, Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.’ Again, the devil, taketh him up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showeth him all the; kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, ‘All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto rue; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.’ 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.’ Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” Such is the general account, gathered from the three histories. It may be now useful to point out the differences in the statements. In reference to the being led into the wilderness. Luke represents that Jesus was “led,” egeto; Matthew “led up,” ancethe; Mark “driven,” ekballei: terms expressive of a strong impulse, constraining him to depart from the haunts of the children of men, to be as Mark adds, with “the wild beasts,” these being representative of the animal feelings in man’s nature.

Many think that the three great trials that our Lord experienced were the only ones that he had: but it is evident, from the account given by Mark, that he was tried the whole of the forty days: “And he was there in the wilderness forty days tempted by Satan” and the statement of Mark is confirmed by the statement of Luke: “Being forty days tempted of the devil.”

It is worthy of remark that, the one who tries is called by Mark “Satan;” . . . by Matthew and by Luke “the devil.”

Matthew and Luke both agree in representing that the first trial took place after he had fasted forty days, and when he was hungry: Matthew, in our translation states – “he was afterward an hungered”; Luke, “he afterward hungered”: the Greek words are exactly the same in both and therefore putting aside the bad English of the translation of Matthew, they both can be rendered, “he afterward hungered.”

The second temptation, as recorded by Matthew, is the temptation of being carried up to the temple: this is recorded as the third by Luke. Matthew says “Then (tote) the devil taketh (paralambanei) him to the holy city:” Luke writes, “And he brought (egagen) him to Jerusalem.” Matthew adds, “and setteth,” histesin: Luke “set” him (hestesin) on a pinnacle of the temple.” In reference to temptation, the third by Matthew the second by Luke, there is some difference. . . Luke describes the mountain as high (hupselon). Matthew describes it as exceeding high (hupselon lian). Matthew adds, that “he showed him the kingdoms and the glory of them.” Luke refers to the kingdoms only. Luke adds the time that the devil took to show them “in a moment of time.” Matthew represents the devil as promising to give all these things to Christ. Luke, “to give all this power (it ought to be authority, exousian), and the glory of them:” and Luke adds an assertion of the devil: “for that (hoti) is delivered (paradedotai) unto me; and to whomsoever I will, I give it.” Matthew gives Jesus’s answer, “Get thee hence (hupage), Satan”; Luke, “Get thee behind me (opiso mou)”. At the conclusion of the trials Matthew represents that – “the devil leaveth (aphiesin) him.” Luke, `”departed from him” (apeste). Luke adds, “for a season “- (achri kairou) this departure took place. Mark states, in reference to the whole industry, “and the angels ministered unto him”: Matthew, “and behold angels came and ministered unto him.”

This analysis of the various accounts of the trials of our Lord has been given, because all the particulars are necessary to enable the mind to ascertain the meaning of the divine writer.

The question now comes, “How are these trials to be understood?” The common opinion is, that these descriptions are records of literal events. Is this opinion justified by the narratives? How are we to decide this? Is there any rule by which a question of this kind can be settled? There is! It is this: That no passage of Scripture admits of a literal interpretation, unless all the parts of the same admit fairly, and in accordance with common-sense, of such literal interpretation. It is upon this principle that the Protestant rejects the Papistical interpretation of the statement of our Lord, -”This is my body”; – “this is my blood”; because the phrases do not admit, in all particulars, of a literal interpretation.

Applying this principle to the recorded trial of our Lord, let us see whether literal interpretation can be admitted. That our Saviour might be led, led up, or driven, into the literal wilderness may be admitted, although this admits of some objection; but let this pass. It is there that, it is supposed, a being came to him in person, appearing before him in visible form, speaking to him with an audible voice, removing him also corporeally from place to place, and presenting himself in his real character: this being is called “Satan,” also “the devil.” This person, or being, is represented as trying our Lord by certain suggestions. The circumstances connected with these suggestions will be hereafter noticed: the attention may, for the present, be confined to the personal appearance of the devil to Christ.

Can his be true? If so, it will accord with common sense as applied to the point in relation to which the devil appears. It was to deceive our Lord, to induce hint to act in a way contrary to the laws of the Moral Governor of the Universe. If a well-known knave wished to deceive a person, would he come as a knave? If a noted debauchee, such as the late Marquis of Headford, wanted to obtain possession of any innocent female would he tell his name, would he come as a debauchee? If a gamester, such as Lord Rous, who, having been found guilty of using false dice, was obliged to flee the country, wished to win money by gambling, would he proclaim himself Lord Rous? And is the devil, taking him as a being so intelligent, so shrewd, so talented as he is represented to be, so stupidly blind as to be less cunning than a frail man? Would he, by a personal and undisguised appearance, attempt the virtue of one who had the spirit beyond measure? Even when he attacks a frail mortal, not endowed as was the Saviour, he is supposed never to attack him except by secret suggestions, which are so akin to the thoughts of his own mind that he cannot very well distinguish the passage through which the false-accuser has entered – the seducing object is held forth, but the hand that holds it is concealed. No; the popular devil would have too much sagacity and policy to attempt to try our Lord by making himself known: as Dr. Secker remarks, “The devil did not appear what he was, for that would have entirely frustrated his intent.” But it has been asserted that he did not appear as the devil. Both Archbishop Secker (Secker’s Sermons, vol. 2., p. 113) and. Chandler (Chandler’s Sermons, p. 177, 178) assert that he came to Christ in the form of a good angel. The only answer to such assertion is, Who told them so? The same reply applies to the conjecture that Satan appeared as a man! No, no; this concealment of a difficulty will not do; for Jesus knew who be was, “Get thee behind me, Satan”; that is, supposing the personal appearance to be true. It appears then that, in this particular, to take the account as literal is unreasonable in reference to the first point, unreasonable in reference to the first point, the appearance of the devil as a personal being before Christ: such appearance would have defeated the devil’s very object.

The next trial that this being is supposed to have presented to our Saviour is that he brought or took him, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple. Some people have interpreted this bringing, this taking as carrying Jesus. Though many hold this, it is so ridiculously absurd as hardly to merit refutation. But, as even absurd things act as impediments to the discovery of truth until driven from the mind, it will be well to ask, first, What would have been thought of Jesus being carried by the devil and placed oil a pinnacle of the temple? And it may be asked, as a second point, Can it be supposed that the devil could possess the powers of carrying a being through the air? This might be believed by those who believe in witches riding on broomsticks and such priestcraft nonsense of the middle ages but to believers, enlightened by the truths of the volume of creation, such absurdity must he scouted. But, say the more enlightened advocates of the personal appearance of the devil, we do not mean that the devil carried Jesus, but that, as the passage reads, he brought or took him to the pinnacle of the temple. But, then, if he had a personal appearance, he must have been visible, and what would the Jews have thought to see the Lamb of God, so described by John walking with Satan? It will not do.

But how would Jesus be persuaded to go with the devil when he knew it to be a duty not to court trial? Here he would put himself in the very jaws of the enemy. Instead of resisting the devil, which he commands through his apostle, here Christ accompanies him of his own accord; for, although the devil may, for the sake of argument, be able to force us, how could he force him who had the spirit beyond measure? Oh, say those who advocate that did go with the devil, “it was done to show the power Jesus had to resist the trial; and the more difficult the struggle, the more glorious the victory.” But to this it is answered, We are taught to follow Christ’s example; and if Christ was at liberty to enter into the sphere of bad company, we may too. No wonder that people, believing this, believe in the power of the being they call the devil, and fear him almost more than they fear God; because if Christ “was in all points tempted as we are,” the poor terrified believer in a personal devil may expect some dreadful trials from this devil.

But to return. Others who believe in the literal account of the trial of our Lord by a personal Satan maintain that Christ was led to the temple, and then ascended of his own accord to the pinnacle. To ascertain whether this was possible the following facts are worthy of record. Josephus states:

(Josephus’s Antiq. Jud. 1:15, c. 11. 5 § B. J. 1. 5. c. 5), – “Some parts of the temple (being built upon the edge of a rock, under which was a valley of prodigious depth), were of a height so vast that it was impossible to look down without making the head to swim.” It appears by the description given of the temple by Josephus and from some from other Jewish writers, that it was so encompassed by walls, and, so guarded, that all access to it was impracticable but by such persons, and under, such conditions, as the law allowed. Now, by law, no foreigner could pass the first enclosure or court under pain of death; the Jewish people could not pass the second; the priests alone could enter the third. The temple itself was within this court, from which Christ was excluded, not being a Jewish priest. As, to the devil, those who know under what different disguises he imposed upon Christ can with equal certainly inform us by what stratagems he might advance forward to the temple. Christ, however in whom there no guile, could not have been permitted to follow. With regard to the temple itself, properly so called, on the top of it there were spikes, with sharp points to prevent so much as a bird from resting upon it. The wings of the temple stretched out on either side at the eastern front of it, which was by far the most magnificent, and commanded a view of the entire body of worshippers. These wings were twenty cubits higher than the temple; the height of the temple being one hundred cubits, and the height of the “pinnacle” (pterugion) one hundred and twenty cubits, at the top of which, the narrative (according to the common interpretation) affirms the devil did set our Saviour. That the word ptertugion denotes the wing (not the pinnacle) of the temple, that most valuable expositor, Dr. Lightfoot, long since observed (Works, vol. ii., p. 130). And his opinion was adopted by the learned Dr. Prideux (Farmer on the Nature and Design of Christ’s Temptation, 5th edit., 20, 21-Connect. vol. i., p. 200), and lately by Dr. Benson (Life of Christ, p. 35). It is impossible, therefore, that Christ could have reached the pinnacle of the temple, except the devil carried him through the air in his arms, which it is too ridiculous, too blasphemous, too atheistical, for any Christian man to credit. From these facts it is quite certain that the second trial of our Saviour is not to be understood literally.

The third trial may now be noticed. “The devil taketh Jesus into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them.” This is the statement. Is it literally true? It cannot be. Where is the mountain from which any man can see one thousandth part of the earth, the mere solid earth? There is none: and therefore the statement is at once seen to be literally untrue. God showed Moses from Mount Nebo the land of Canaan, narrow indeed; but for the devil to be able to show Jesus all the kingdoms of the world would have been a miracle so stupendous as to surpass the miracle performed by the Almighty. If a man were placed in the sun, and could see the world thence, he could see but one half of the world at a time.

Dr. Macknight, to get rid of the difficulty, translates the word to mean the kingdom of Judea, or rather the land of Judea; but there was no mountain from which Christ could see the whole of the land of Judea: for the land of promise, in its largest signification, reached from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean, east and west, and from Egypt, on the south, to beyond Sidon northwards, a tract of country that no mountain commands, and no eye could take in (Macknight, p. 67). That this limitation to the kingdom of Judea, however, is not proper, is proved by the phrase, “All the kingdoms of the world,” [oikouincile = inhabited (earth)]: a phrase demonstrating that all the various parts of the world, where rule existed, are referred to. From what mountain could such kingdoms be seen, embracing both hemispheres?

But that the literal interpretation cannot be the correct one, it is stated that the devil showed Jesus the glory of them. The glory of a kingdom consists of its institutions, its wealth, its power, its intellectual character, and a multitude of matters which could be seen only in close position: the very height of the mountain, necessary to see the territorial kingdom, would exclude the power of seeing the glory of the kingdom.

To meet this difficulty, some persons have laboured to prove that the showing was merely a description. But then why take Jesus to a high mountain, if it was merely to be by a description? Here they desert the literal interpretation and fly to a figurative one. But this will not do. One or the other must be adopted: and that the literal cannot be recognised as the proper one needs no more argument.

11. Literalness of Christ’s Temptation

– The peculiar work which Christ had to perform.
– The character, his humanity in which he had to perform that work.
– The difference between the first Adam and the second Adam.
– The trials of the Lord shown to be mere mental states, through which his mind passed.

FULL particulars of the trials of the Lord Jesus in the wilderness were brought to notice in the last Chapter: and the query occurred: “Are these trials to be regarded as outward occurrences that look place literally, as many believe, or are they to be regarded as figurative representations?” In connection with this query, it was stated that no passage of Scripture can be interpreted one part literally and one part “spiritually”; that is, if it is to be literally understood throughout; if it is to be “spiritually” understood, it must be “spiritually” understood throughout. A query arose out of these views, namely: “Is there any rule by which we can be guided in deciding whether any passage is to be literally or figuratively understood?” The answer was given in the affirmative, and the rule was stated to be, “That no passage of Scripture admits of a literal interpretation unless all the parts of the same admit fairly, and in accordance with common-sense, of such literal interpretation.”

It was shown in conjunction with this rule that the gross absurdities, the palpable contradictions, the positive unsuitableness to the character of Christ of many of the facts recorded, if the account be taken literally, are such as completely negative to the possibility of its recognition as a literal statement by any simple-minded and intelligent believer.

The inquiry is therefore now to be made, ‘Can the same rule which, being applied, proves that the narrative cannot be regarded as literal history, be applied to justify the adoption of the view that the account is figurative?’ To answer the question and to demonstrate the affirmative, will occupy this Chapter.

The narrative presents us with the fact that the Lord Jesus had just been anointed by Holy Spirit, “To preach good tidings unto the meek: he bath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound: to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified,” Isa 61:1-3.

This was the work he had to perform. To fit him for this work he was “led,” “led up,” “driven” into the wilderness by Holy Spirit, in order that there he might contemplate carefully all the various duties, scan all the mighty difficulties which, in the performance of the office for which he was anointed, he would be called upon to perform and to teach. He went, before beginning to build that house which was to be the temple of the living God, to count the costs of the building. He went, before entering on the warfare he had to wage, into the calculation how he should be able to compete with the foes with whom he must strive.

Any prudent commercial man, before entering upon any speculation, carefully weighs in his counting-house, where he shuts himself up, all the points connected with the speculation about to be entered upon. A certain philosopher, it is recorded, before admitting any among his disciples, required that they should be tested by keeping silence for years. Every sane man carefully reflects on any course he purposes to pursue before he fixes upon the pursuit of that course.

We have every reason to believe that Jesus was led into the wilderness for this purpose; and it is not presuming too far to add, that that spirit which drove him into the wilderness might have pictured before his mind all the scenes that be would have to pass through, even to the end of his career, even to an ignominious death.

For forty days he was engaged in this heavenly contemplation – embracing a view of all the duties to be performed, of all the difficulties to be realized in the development of the new law: and as Moses was forty days in the Mount Sinai, to receive the law of Sinai (and we do not hear of his eating while there), so Jesus was forty days in the wilderness to receive the view of the struggle necessary to realize the law of love. At the end of this time the natural appetite of hunger developed itself; “And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended he afterward hungered,” Luk 4:2

This appetite, which Christ possessed as a human being, and which, therefore, was naturally active after so long a fast, created an impulse within him to seek to relieve it. He was in the wilderness. There was nothing there to supply his wants. Stones, it is true, were around him. How were his wants to be supplied? This query makes it necessary to make a few remarks upon a subject over which much mystery has been thrown, and that very injuriously. I refer to the work which Christ had to perform.

Christ had to reconcile man to God. He had, in so doing, to restore in his humanity the image of the divinity, which mankind had lost. He had to demonstrate the problem that man can, as a man, be obedient to the law of his Maker. To do this, Christ could seek no aid from his divine side, except in the character of a man, nor could he derive any advantage in the contest on the score of his relationship to God, except that which was his duty, as a man, to take. Hence we find Christ praying to the Deity: a fact which many have ridiculed as God praying to God: but Christ in praying to the Deity was performing a man’s duty; a duty essential to enable a man to obey the law of God: and had not Christ prayed to the Deity he could not have gained the victory over death and Hades. Christ, therefore, in the struggle which he had to go through, had to go through the struggle in his humanity: and he was: to have no aid but that which came to him through the character of his humanity. His divine power (bestowed at his baptism) as a prime party in the contest was to be laid aside, so to speak: he was to fight the battle in his humanity, and, by fighting it successfully, demonstrate that man, aided by God (that aid being sought in the way God has appointed), can and did obtain the victory and resist the evil. One of the conditions, therefore, was not to use his divine power in relation to himself and in support of himself, but to rely solely on his humanity, aided by the help obtained from the Deity in the way in which every man must obtain aid from God.

This view will unfold the nature of the trials through which Christ passed; it will help to the understanding of the figurative meaning of the trials under consideration.
In regard to the first trial. The self-principle, the desire-principle in the Christ, when he felt hungry, suggested at once what was a truth, surely, “seeing thou art Son of God, command that these stones be made bread,” Mat 4:3. That is, the self-principle, awakened by the natural and proper appetite suggested a means by which the appetite could be satisfied, and that in a way which demonstrate Christ to be the noble and exalted individual he was. Here then the self-principle sought to violate the compact, the condition; sought to bring a new element into the matter, which would have spoiled the whole. The self-principle wished to bring in the divine power to get out of a natural difficulty-this state of mind (a state in which God, as the promised provided for the wants of his children, would have been accused by the supposition that He, who has promised his aid, would not aid His Son) was the devil, or the false-accuser, that tried Christ. The self-principle, the epithumia, the desire-principle, was to get the bread in a way not authorised: this was the desire: but in Christ it was not embraced; it did not conceive; it did not bring forth: he was tried in all points like as we are, but without sin. His answer was, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Mat 4:4.

So that Christ, instead of having the devil talking with him, is represented in this account as having something passing through his mind: a state which all have, and he, to repeat, was tried in all points like as we are: he had a desire: he had a power to satisfy that desire in a miraculous way: but his object was to gain the victory over all his desires through his humanity and by means in accordance therewith, and therefore he did not gratify his desire, but, as a man, waited for deliverance from the Lord.

The suggestion was a very natural one. It needed no Devil. It needed only the natural desire acting with the intellect and will. “Seeing I am Son of God, what more easy than for me to make the stones bread, and realise at once the gratification of my appetite? and in the gratification thus obtained demonstrate my Sonship.” In other words, Jesus had a desire for food; that desire called into activity the knowledge which he possessed, namely, that he was Son of God with, power: these two, acting together, suggested the obtaining of the end by a way which would have swallowed up the humanity in the divinity; would have a practical denial to the belief in the superintending providences of God, in the providences of Jehovah, by obtaining that by his divine power which he should obtain by his human dependence on Divine aid. Jesus was tried by his desire: but he did not embrace it, and therefore it was not sin; no, he met, the falsely-accusing state by a truth: he demolished the rising selfish state by a truth, the fruit of the higher love state.

The first Adam was actuated by the desire of knowledge; that desire conceived and brought forth the eating of the forbidden tree-that is, the violation of the command of God.

The second Adam, Jesus, was tried by the sensual principle, the adversary, and the seduction was through knowledge, acting through want in the first instance; through a truth in the second; and Christ’s knowledge overpowered the adversary.

What, then, is the interpretation? Jesus, fatigued by the long-continued meditations on the duties of his office, had come into that condition of mind which leads a person in difficulty to receive suggestions as to deliverance from the same from sources which may be perfectly good in themselves, but which are not good in their individual application. Thus, that state of desire for relief, a selfish state of mind suggested to Jesus’ mind those passages of Scripture which favoured the gratification of that selfish state. But as the proposed use of such passages would have implied a doubt of the promises of God, which would have been a falsely-accusing state (diabolos), the Saviour resisted the trial, and, by the sword of the Spirit, conquered the foe. Such was the first trial.

The second trial represents the progress of his mind in contemplating the means by which he must proceed in performing his mission in demonstrating himself to be the Christ. The natural self-love suggestion is this, Is there no plan by which I can at once effect my purpose: some decisive act which will at once settle the question, even to the most incredulous? This state directed his intellectual powers to search, and this falsely-accusing state immediately discovered a plan: a plan which, at first, appears quite suited to demonstrate that he was the Christ: “Seeing thou art Son of God, cast thyself down,” Mat 4:6. This plan would have been seeking to attain the elevation promised to him by a course inconsistent with the principle regulating the struggle, namely, that he was to struggle as a man and not to use his divine power in matters in which his humanity was the element of the contest.

It is true that Jesus was promised to be king of Israel. What better means to astonish the people into an acknowledgment of his right, than to throw himself from the battlement of the temple and to escape unhurt, and this too, apparently sanctioned by the promise “He shall give his angels charge concerning thee and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Mat 4:6.

The Saviour soon detected the origin of the suggestion, and demolishes the whole theory by expressing his conviction that he had no right thus to test the divine power: “It is written again, Thou shalt not try the Lord thy God,” Mat 4:7.

The third trial was the third step in the progress of his mind in the contemplation of his course. Jesus was promised all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them This prospect elevated his mind: it figuratively placed him on a high mountain: and before that mind’s eye passed, with the rapidity of thought “in a moment of time,” these kingdoms and the glory of them Carefully scrutinising them, Jesus saw that the whole were in a state of direct opposition to the principles of the kingdom; that they were under the domination of the self-love, the falsely-accusing principle, figuratively represented by the devil. The thought came across the mind of Jesus – Well, what must be done? Here is a contest: I have to conquer the self-love principle by the universal love principle. Every man is against me: shall I join in with the principle that rules? Shall I flatter the Scribes, the Pharisees? Shall I make use of selfish means to gain the kingdom? Shall, I bow to the ruling power? Shall I worship it, and shall all be mine by this means? These suggestions are the natural suggestions of a human mind in such a condition. How many people now say honesty is an excellent thing but men cannot be honest; it is no use attempting it; the present state of society laughs at honesty. And thus they justify their dishonesty

The devil is represented as promising to Christ the power and of the kingdoms of the earth. Now the devil could not promise; but the self-love principle detected that that was the moving power in the kingdoms of the earth; in fact, to it the whole was delivered; so to whomsoever the self-love principle may outgo the party gets the power and the glory: and thus the whole passage is merely a figurative description of the result of the mental examination by Christ of the prevalent worldly system, of the suggestions which his self-love principle made on the first examination; and then, at the conclusion, he denounces obtaining the kingdom by any worship of the self-love principle, and adds, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve,” Matthew 4 :10.

“The devil leaveth him”- that is, these states of mind ceased to trouble him; he gained the victory, and angels, i.e. messengers, came and ministered unto him. Many think that Christ was troubled no more; but it is added, “Satan departed from him for a season.” Luk 4:13. The self-love principle might make other suggestions.

Great, indeed, was this victory: a three-fold victory, embracing a view of all the trials to which a man can be exposed; for the lust of the flesh – that is, the desire after animal gratification; the lust of the eyes, the desire after elevation; and the pride of life, the desire for rule – are the three great trials of man.

The second Adam went through the whole unscathed. The first Adam was tried in being induced to eat forbidden fruit; he was enticed, and sinned. The second Adam was tried by the suggestion to ‘make fruit’ in a forbidden way; he was not enticed, and did not sin.

The whole account of the trial of our Lord admits of an easy, clear, and conclusive explanation when viewed figuratively as a picture of the thoughts that passed through his mind in the survey of his great struggle.

Perhaps the only objection that will be urged against this view is that such view supposes that Christ had wicked thoughts. It supposes no such thing; it supposes that he had the thoughts of a man in contemplating human things; it supposes that he must have had these thoughts to have been tried on all points like as we are; and it supposes that, having examined all his thoughts, he discountenanced all those which, if carried out, would have been falsely-accusing God, and consequently sinful.

And, let it ever be remembered, that the victory was gained through the written word; Jesus fought his enemies in the mental battlefield with the weapon, the Scriptures.

May it not be suggested, as the conclusion of the examination of this most interesting mental struggle, that a similar retiring into, not an Eden, but into the wilderness of confused thought produced by the conflict of error and truth, of love and of selfishness, becomes each man, there to decide, after a calm consideration, what course to adopt; and it is to be hoped that it will be said of him what was said of Mary, “She hath chosen the better part:” If following Christ, ‘tis sure.

12. Devil is not a Supernatural Being

– The atheism of believing in a being called the Devil.
– The absurdity of such belief.
– The obstacles to the removal of the belief in such a being.

IN the preceding Chapters we have endeavoured to demonstrate that there is no such being as the Devil, and have opened up the true meaning attached to the terms “devil,” “satan,” “demon,” and have shown that these are applicable to conditions in which the primary idea represented in each has appended to it some particularity justifying the distinct appellation.

Little or nothing has been noticed in reference to the absurdity connected with the belief in a devil; the atheistical tendency of such belief; the utter contradiction of such belief to all true notions of God. These points have been particularly avoided and that principally on the ground that no sound and fair reasoner will ever attempt to show the absurdity of an opinion until he has demonstrated its untruth. Untrained and consequently vulgar minds always begin the examination of a question by showing its supposed dangerousness or absurdity, thus awakening the fears or; exciting the laughter-state of mind, both of which are sufficient so far to warp the mind as to prevent its fair course to a legitimate conclusion. Many will, no doubt, attack these expositions in the latter way; will denounce them as dangerous: and those who cannot or will not, or who are afraid or are not allowed to think, will settle the question to their own minds by uttering, with the peculiar conceit which always attends utterance under such circumstances, “Be not led away by strange doctrine.”

Leaving such persons to their own complacency, reminding them, at the same time, of the remark of Lord Bacon, “There are two ways of getting peace, the one is by shutting the eyes, the other is by opening them,” it will be well to exhibit the absurdities, the impossibilities, the atheism connected with the belief in the supposed being called the Devil.

Creation and revelation both teach that God is a God of order. The laws of the creation are the means by which He makes that order manifest. No part of the creation can exist but by the permission of God, and, in existing, must it be regulated by the laws He has appointed for the regulation of that existence. These laws discovered, constitute, in relation to man, truth, and become to man, when used, the source of all physical comfort and of all intellectual and of much moral and religious progress.

God’s laws, whether in the world of creation or the world of revelation, are for the production of good; and as nothing can operate in opposition to the laws of God, all the operations of the universe must be for good.

The Devil (supposing him, for the sake of showing the absurdity of his existence, to exist) must, in acting, act through, and by means of, the laws of God: and since he acts – as all his advocates so allow – for the production of evil, he must actually, so to do, make God’s laws, appointed by Him for good, turn to a quite different purpose, namely the production of evil; which is an absurdity, and is the first step to the dread groundwork of atheism. This recognises the Devil as more powerful than God; because, before a person can make a machine serve a purpose directly opposite to that for which it was made, be must have vanquished the original contriver in order to be able to turn that machine to a different purpose. The Devil has the power, according to the common view, of setting aside the laws of God. He can work “miracles” – for a “miracle” is, according to the common view, a subversion of a law of the Creator – and if so, then what becomes of “miracles” as a demonstration of Divine revelation?

In fact, almost all the ideas associated with the Devil are such as to make him equal with God.

Thus to the Devil is ascribed omnipotence; if not quite, almost. He is said to have power over the whole of mankind, except a certain few, who are freed from his control; he is said to have thousands of angels, who minister to his royal will and pleasure; he is engaged, it is said, in convulsing kingdoms. He can act on people through the air: he can afflict them with diseases: he can turn the laws of God to purposes for which God did not make them.

He has the character of omniscience. He knows the thoughts of every man, woman and child. He knows the exact moment when to whisper into the ear the seducing error, and he knows also the exact amount to introduce at a time. What is this but omniscience?

He has the character of omnipresence. He is said to be here, there, and everywhere. He is seducing a human being here, and another at the antipodes at the same moment. He enters the heart of the Laplander and of an African at the same precise time. He is constantly watching in every street, lane, alley, glen, not merely of this great kingdom, but of all the kingdoms of the world, at the same time and at the same moment: for, be it observed, we are told that he acts upon men when asleep as well as when awake.

Here then, is a being who, possessing the attributes which those who believe in his existence give to him, has Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, and yet these very people, so advocating his existence, proclaim themselves as the only Christians, and denounce all those who disbelieve in the Devil as infidels. These devil-holders are practical atheists; and they who do disbelieve in the Devil are far farther off from atheism than they who believe in such a being.

If there is a God, there cannot be a Devil.

There cannot be two Omnipresents, two Omnipotents, two Omniscients.

The two cannot co-exist. If the Devil is, and is such a being as he is represented to be, God must have created him. But can goodness create badness? Can mercy create cruelty? Can virtue beget vice? Can fullness of happiness create envy? Call truth create error? Can rectitude create deceit? When these can, then God can create a devil.

But it is said that God permits the Devil to act, Then God rewards him. The common idea is, that the Devil was cast out of heaven for his rebellion, and God sends him to the earth to create a rebellion here! What a method to punish a rebel! – to give him a wide, broad field upon which to carry on his hate. Talk of punishing the Devil by casting him from heaven to earth; it was a reward: the very thing, no doubt, had he existed, he would have wanted. Dismissed from heaven for disobeying God, he comes down to earth to teach men to disobey. If he is an enemy of God, God gives a field on which to show his enmity; if he has malice, here he has abundant opportunity to gratify his malevolent passion. It is absurd.

But there is another point of view in which the absurdity of the belief in a being called the Devil becomes apparent. It is this, that there is no necessity for a Devil.

A heathen writer remarks: “The Deity should not be called in unless he is needed.” This principle is an excellent one. Let us seek its application in the present instance. There is a certain recognised source of evil, of sin. It is the flesh – that is, active by itself and not in conjunction with the higher faculties. The works of the flesh are described to be these – “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. But if ye be led by the spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God,” Gal 5:17-21.

Now, may it not be asked with confidence, if the flesh is capable of producing all these, what is left to the Devil to do? Is there any vice, my deviation from virtue, which will not come under one or the other of these heads? The phrase, too, “suchlike,” is very expressive.

Let any one detail a vice, “a suggestion of Satan,” which is not a suggestion of the flesh and then will be the time for calling in the aid of a being called the Devil. But what need is there of having two causes for the same thing? If the flesh does it, why have recourse to the “Devil”? Why go a-begging after a “supernatural” agent, when a natural agent is sufficiently causative?

Notwithstanding the previous demonstration of the non-existence of a devil, notwithstanding the present demonstration of the absurd atheism of such belief, notwithstanding the establishment of the non-necessity of such a being to produce the manifestations which are referred to his agency, yet still the Devil will be bugged by many who profess to hate him most. Though the belief in him is the nightmare of the soul, and though thousands groan, mentally oppressed by such belief, still they will not let the monster go. Why? Because men cannot easily shake off their early-received opinions. It is a hard thing to tear away from early associations. But because some men have not courage or power to do this, are those who are able to remain bound in chains? No, surely.

A second cause is, that the Devil forms a part, as some State-made bishop writes, of “the economy of grace”; that is, it is so tied up in the bundle of beliefs, that the good are afraid, if they lose one stick in the bundle, the whole would tumble to pieces. Therefore, they wilt not run the risk of touching it, and thus a mere form deprives them of their liberty.

But the most powerful obstacle to the expulsion of the Devil is the paid parsonry. They cannot afford to give up the invisible Devil. He is one of the best articles of their stock-in-trade; through this article they are enabled to hoodwink mankind; and men, when thus hoodwinked, can be pillaged; they therefore take the Devil under their special keeping: they are regularly sent for (just like a physician to a patient) when a house is supposed to be haunted, or visited by supernatural beings: and instead of telling the people honestly “there are no such beings,” they go through a long rigmarole of prayers to God to remove the evil, whereas the evil is altogether dependent upon natural causes, and would, by the removal of these natural causes, disappear. This they know, but take care not to let the people know; or if they do allow that many such peculiar matters do depend upon natural causes, they keep a little store of “ devildom” behind, in maintaining that supernatural agency in certain cases cannot be denied. They leave the particular cases undefined; and thus this little rider to their bill of deliverance from these “supernaturals” renders the deliverance in effect, null and void; for who is to tell what are the causes?

However, the axe is laid at the root of the tree; it has been done with hearty good will and most diligent perseverance; and that the blessing of Him who is truth may attend the labour has been the encouragement throughout, and is the hope in this investigation.