The Real Enemy
“I shall no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he possesses none at all in Me, but, in order for the world to know that I love the Father, and that as the Father commanded Me, so I am doing. Rise up, let us go from here.” Yoḥanan (John) 14:30-31
“And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil reasonings, adulteries, whorings, murders, thefts, greedy desires, wickednesses, deceit, indecency, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. “All these wicked matters come from within and defile a man.” Marqos (Mark) 7:20-23
“Beloved ones, I appeal to you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts which battle against the being,” Kĕpha Aleph (1 Peter) 2:11
The previous article ‘Confronting Evil’ questioned the absence of a developmental line from the Hebrew word satan of the Original Writings (OT) which means a force of ‘adversarial opposition’ toward YaHuWaH’s Words, into a fully blown persona called ‘Satan’ in the Messianic Writings (NT) in which all evil has become embodied. Words mean things. If we are to understand Truth in scripture, we must respect the integrity of the meaning of the words presented to us apart from what the religious traditions of men have declared them to be (Mark 7:13).
“nullifying the Word of Elohim through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such traditions you do.” Marqos (Mark) 7:13
Yahusha said that evil emanates from the heart of man – not some mystical, ethereal persona (Matthew 12:34, Mark 7:21-23).
“Brood of adders! How are you able to speak what is good – being wicked? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” Mattithyahu (Matthew) 12:34
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil reasonings, adulteries, whorings, murders, thefts, greedy desires, wickednesses, deceit, indecency, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. “All these wicked matters come from within and defile a man.” Marqos (Mark) 7:21-23
If the testimony of the Life of Yahusha is to be the benchmark by which everything is measured, including other scripture (“And I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “See, do not do it! I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who possess the witness of יהושע. Worship Elohim! For the witness of יהושע is the spirit of prophecy.” Ḥazon (Revelation) 19:10b) then the exchange taking place in the first two chapters of Job needs to be examined in the light of how much of the rest of the Hebrew scripture is written in figurative poetry. Torah does not speak in purely symbolic, abstract concepts. There is always a literal reality at the core of the subject, which is only then interpreted in a symbolic way to underscore and enhance the truth contained in that reality. Therefore, when the scripture says satan (remember, there are no capitalizations in the Hebrew language and whose definition is a force of ‘adversarial opposition’ – not an entity) came among the sons of YaHuWaH in Job 1:6 and Job 2:1, then that adversarial force arrived as a force from within the assembly that accuses the brethren (in this case, the righteous Job) – in opposition to the Words of YaHuWaH in Leviticus 19:17-18 to love your neighbor as yourself. The exchange that subsequently occurred then, from a Hebrew perspective, was not an exchange between two entities, but a figurative exchange exploring the depth of Truth contained in YaHuWaH’s Words. The last chapter of Job clearly states: “…they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that YaHuWaH had brought upon him” (Job 42:11).
In Isaiah 45:7 YaHuWaH says: ´I form light and create darkness, I made peace and I create evil; I, YaHuWaH, do all these things.” The Hebrew word translated ‘evil’ in both of these verses is the Hebrew ‘ra, which primarily means ‘calamity’. YaHuWaH uses calamitous evil to incentivize men into seeking Him. Sinful evil, which is standing in opposition to the Nature of YaHuWaH, originates with man (Romans 5:12, James 1:13). To become an accuser of the brethren places one in direct adversarial opposition to the Nature of YaHuWaH found in His Words – which is selfLESSness. This is why in the last chapter of Job beginning with verse 7 we find that those who were placing accusations upon their brother, Job, were rebuked by YaHuWaH. It was not until they repented and Job forgave them that the calamities were lifted. Words spoken over the brethren while a participant is bringing the Kingdom of YaHuWaH to earth have immeasurable consequences most have not considered (Matthew 12:37).
“For by your words you shall be declared righteous, and by your words you shall be declared unrighteous.” Mattithyahu (Matthew) 12:37
In John 14:30-31 above, the Greek word translated as the English ‘prince’ is only found in the KJV. The actual Greek says archon, which is more accurately translated as ‘ruler, chief’ in the ESV as in what is dominant, that which leads (not necessarily ‘who’ leads). The Greek word translated as ‘world’ in English is kosmos, and is more accurately translated as that which ‘adorns’ or an ‘adornment’ as in an order of government – precisely the reflection of the temptation Yahusha refused to adorn Himself with in Matthew 4:8-10. He rejected this adornment not only in the wilderness but also when others came to make Him wear that adornment as King (John 6:15). He countered that temptation by reminding Himself of the Words of His Father. Merely speaking the Words did not drive the temptation away – but standing in those Words by refusing to engage in the temptation presented did put it at bay, eventually dissipating it. Giving in to that temptation would have meant He would have been acting upon His own determination – placing Him in opposition to the selfless Nature of the Father. Since He only did ‘Exactly as the Father commanded’, He could say with certainty that ‘adornment’ had no place in Him, meaning He did not allow it to lead or rule His actions – even though it might have seemed His right to do so (Ephesians 4:27).
The Wilderness Experience
When we remember that all of the books in the Book were written by Hebrews from this same Hebrew perspective as is found throughout the Original Writings; then, it becomes imperative to examine the Messianic Writings from this same point of reference. Remembering also that Yahusha was as human as you and I (Philippians 2:5-11). Then, like Job, Yahusha’s encounter with temptation in the wilderness (referred to as ‘the tempter’ in Matthew 4:3) was not an exchange between two entities, but was describing the struggle Yahusha was having within Himself. James 1:14-15 plainly tells us that temptation is not something that comes upon us but, rather, is the pull of our own ‘lusts’ that originate from within. We are ‘tempted when we are drawn away of our own lust and enticed’. The Greek word for ‘lust’ used here is epithymia and means ‘a desire, craving, longing’. Interestingly, this is the same Greek word translated ‘desire’ in Luke 22:15 when Yahusha said it is with ‘desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you’. It is from our own natural desires rising up from within us that entice us to exercise our own determination of what is good or evil apart from what the Word of Elohim have proclaimed as good. As our example of how we are to behave in like circumstances, Yahusha resisted the temptation to turn a stone into bread even though it is a natural desire to want to satisfy hunger and even though He knew the Power was available for Him to do so (James 4:7). Nor did He try to pray His way out of the circumstance He found Himself in after those forty days. Rather than to take control of the circumstance Himself, He stood in the Goodness of the Father and, having stood, continued to stand even though it might mean He would die. He waited on the Father and, in the end, the Father sent angels to minister to Him – He did not leave Yahusha forsaken (Matthew 4:1-11). That is the same promise we have in YaHuWaH today. As James explains, we are tempted when we allow our own natural desires to lead our actions.
Because we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against authorities, against the world-rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual matters of wickedness in the heavenlies. Eph`siyim (Ephesians) 6:12
So, just where are the ‘high’ or ‘heavenly places’? To properly answer that question first requires an understanding of where heaven is. Isaiah 66:1 and Matthew 5:34 both tell us heaven is where Spirit, whose name is YaHuWaH, abides on His throne in His Kingdom. Yahusha says in Luke 17:20-21 that Kingdom is ‘within or among’ the faithful. The faithful are those who keep the Words of YaHuWaH – just as Yahusha did (John 14:23-24, Psalm 31:23). If the words of Yahusha are true and heaven is within those in whom the Spirit of YaHuWaH abides, then those ‘high places’ are also within. If the Kingdom of YaHuWaH abides within or among the faithful, then those within or among whom it abides become the Gatekeepers of YaHuWaH’s Kingdom – those charged with the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of the Virtue found in His Kingdom (Matthew 18:18). This is what the Hebrew perspective of scripture consistently considers a ‘high place’. The self-determination of man found within or among those considered the faithful to exalt his will in opposition to what YaHuWaH has declared becomes ‘wickedness’ in those high places. Understanding this Hebrew perspective brings clarity to the words of Ephesians 6:12 above. The Greek word translated as ‘wickedness’ in this verse is poneria, meaning ‘depravity’ but is derived from poneros, which is translated as ‘evil’, meaning ‘full of labors, annoyances, hardships’ – not a persona. The English translated ‘wicked one’ or ‘evil one’ in 1 John 5:18 can then be seen to mean that the person who keeps himself in YaHuWaH’s Words is not touched by this evil (‘force of labor’) created from his own determination. It is the same word Yahusha uses in Mark 7:21-23 as He is describing what comes out of the heart of a man that defiles him. It is also the same Greek word used in James 4:1 that tells us what causes warfare and fights – ‘the desires that war in your members’. The Greek word melos means ‘a member of the body’. Thus brings us back to the primary usage of the Hebrew word satan as an accuser of the brethren.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not fight according to the flesh. For the weapons we fight with are not fleshly but mighty in Elohim for overthrowing strongholds, overthrowing reasonings and every high matter that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, taking captive every thought to make it obedient to the Messiah, Qorintiyim Bĕt (2 Corinthians) 10:3-5
The Greek verb translated ‘wage war’ here as well as in James 4:1 and 1 Peter 2:11 is strateuontai. It comes from strategos, a word that means ‘to lead’ (as in an army). Our English word ‘strategy’ has this Greek word in it background. In these verses, it is in the middle voice (which does not exist in English) meaning that the action described has special importance for the actor. In other words, this war is very personal – a battle that is waged within you! Overcoming means living in the kingdom of YaHuWaH, the Source of Life. Losing means becoming a prisoner in the kingdom of darkness and death itself (John 3:19-21). This is the most serious and consequential fight of your life – it is also the most invisible, the subtlest and the most insidious. Without vigilance, the war will be over before you even realize what has happened. What vigilance is required to defeat this enemy? The same vigilance as described as being used by the set-apart ones in Revelation 12:7-11 that were able to cast out into the world (not down) the accuser of the brethren from heaven, found within their midst. Just as with Job, we must read these verses from the same figurative perspective much of Hebrew scripture is written in. How was the accuser of the brethren overcome? By the set-apart ones accepting Yahusha as their Messiah, the blood of the Kinsman Redeemer restoring the Kingdom of YaHuWaH to the rightful heirs of that Promise; the testimony of the Life of Yahusha the set-apart ones embraced by their actions; and they were resolved to not have any place found in their midst for accusing the brethren – even if it meant their physical death. The weapons of their warfare with those that captivated every thought exalting itself against the true knowledge of YaHuWaH and bringing them into obedience to His Words.
Spirits of darkness
Are there spirits of darkness loose in the world which can occupy the vessels of men? Yes, Yahusha dealt with them all the time – but not in the ‘faithful’ and not from an orchestrated center of power embodied in a single persona. The term ‘believer’ found in Christianity has its root in the replacement theology which says a mere verbal assent is all that is required to enter the Kingdom of YaHuWaH while, at the same time, separating the individual from the actionable Words of YaHuWaH. Consequently, this is precisely why so many who call themselves Christians are found to be in need of deliverance from the effects of evil in their lives – because they are separated from the standards of living defining what keeps them free. The Hebrew word translated as ‘believed’ which is counted to Abraham as righteousness in Genesis 15:6 is ‘aman, – the same Hebrew word translated as ‘faithful’ in Numbers 12:7 and Deuteronomy 7:9 meaning ‘to stand firm, to be established, to stay, to sustain (as a workman), to support’. It is interesting to observe that nowhere in the Messianic Writings are the faithful seen undergoing deliverance or healing.
If we are not trustworthy (faithless), He remains trustworthy (faithful), it is impossible for Him to deny Himself. Timotiyos Bĕt (2 Timothy) 2:13
What does it mean to be ‘faithless’? What are the alarms and the warning signs? Perhaps we can glean a little bit of insight if we look at the other uses of this Greek word apisteo. Mark 16:11 uses apisteo for disbelief. These people refused to accept the evidence of the Promised Messiah, the Resurrection of Yahusha. Luke 24:11 uses the word to describe discounting and minimizing a report. Acts 28:24 employs the verb to describe those who put no credence in the message. Romans 3:3 uses apisteo to portray the disobedient disregard of the Hebrews. In each case, the ones who were faithless refused to put their confidence in the proclaimed truth of the promised Messiah to YaHuWaH’s Family of Yisra’El, Yahusha – not another ‘Christian / Roman’ god of mankind. They were ones who remained unconvinced. Unlike what popular Christian theology would like us to believe, the backside of this verse speaks of YaHuWaH’s faithfulness to His Nature – not to Him remaining faithful to anyone in their choice to separate themselves from Him by disregarding His Words. He cannot deny His very Nature – nor will He (2 Timothy 2:13, Numbers 23:19). The real enemy found in the Messianic Writings is not some evil persona but is the refusal to be counted among those faithful to keep YaHuWaH’s Words – even while proclaiming ‘I believe’.