| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 39 - Page 46 of 234 Index | Zoom | |
The word "old" does not refer to the age of the serpent, the Greek word archaios takes
us back to the "beginning" arche. The serpent of antiquity is the Devil. He belongs to
the "old world" (II Pet. 2: 5) the "old" creation (II Cor. 5: 17). It will be noted further,
that the Scriptures are not content merely to say that the serpent is the Devil, and that the
serpent is Satan, but that both titles are employed together. Now "Satan" is Hebrew, and
is found in Job 1: 6; Psa. 109: 6; Zech 3: 1, 2 and is brought over into the N.T. where it
is mentioned thirty-six times. That Paul believed and taught that the old serpent was the
devil and Satan we can discover by reading his epistles:
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty."
"Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (II Cor. 11: 3, 14).
The Devil is the N.T. title and is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Satan. The
reader must distinguish between the title "Devil" in the singular, which is the Greek
diabolos, and "devils" in the plural, which should in every case be translated "demons".
Returning to Gen. 3: 1 we note that the serpent is spoken of as being more subtil
than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. This at first sight is a
difficulty. How can a mighty spirit, as the devil and Satan is set forth in the Scriptures,
be compared with a beast of the field? We learn that after Judas Iscariot had received the
sop at the table, that "Satan entered into him" (John 13: 27). We discover that fallen
angels "left their own habitation" (Jude 6) and that this word "habitation" is the Greek
oiketerion, a word used of the resurrection body of the believer "our house from heaven"
(II Cor. 5: 2). Not only so, we read that when angels appeared to men, they were
almost always in the form of men, so much so that Abraham prepared for them a meal
(Gen. 18: 2) to which the Apostle alludes when urging the entertaining of strangers,
"For thereby some have entertained angels unaware" (Heb. 13: 2).
For the purpose of deception, Satan selected the most subtil of the creatures that God
had made, invested himself in that animal's body, invaded the sanctity of the Garden, and
inveigled our first parents into the disobedience and sin.
Referring to the structure of Gen. 3:, we note that it opens and closes with two
peculiar references. It opens with the devil inhabiting the form of a serpent, and it closes
with the cherubim, which are elsewhere described as having the form of a man, a lion,
an ox and an eagle, creatures unknown except by revelation, and evidently symbolic.
The word translated "serpent" is the Hebrew word nachash which means "shining" and
It will be remembered that when the people of Israel were bitten by serpents, Moses
was commanded to make a "serpent of brass" where the Hebrew words are nachash
nechoseth (Numb. 21: 9). This was afterward destroyed by Hezekiah, because of the
idolatrous practices of Judah, calling it nehushtain "a piece of brass". In a slightly
different form nachash is translated "enchantment" and "to divine" (Lev. 19: 26;
Gen. 44: 5), and is associated with witchcraft, familiar spirits, necromancy, and