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Thursday 29 July 2021

Satanic Feminism Part 3: Was Feminism A Christian Idea? (Part C)


…Continued from Part B, how the New Testament era is consistent with this Old Testament teaching and the conclusion…

We read in Revelation 2:18-21 –

“18 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.  

The similarities between this Jezebel here, and the Jezebel of Old Testament fame, have led some to believe that this not a similar woman called Jezebel, but a Jezebel-like woman, that is a woman with a Jezebel spirit. She is teaching pagan cultic rituals, not dissimilar to the practices of Baal or Ashtaroth, and leading these people into deep and horrible sin.

But notice Jesus’ rebuke. He is angry that they “tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing” his servants. Some might skip right to the third element of this rebuke, the “seduction to sexual immorality” for the crux of this rebuke. But there are three elements of the rebuke: 1) That she calls herself a prophetess, 2) that she is teaching, 3) and that she is seducing them to practice sexual immorality and eat in pagan food rituals.

This is important to note, because the first two things Jesus has against this woman, are that she is “assuming authority and teaching”. This should sound familiar, because Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:11-12 – “11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” Paul does not permit a woman to teach or “assume”/“exercise” authority over a man. Jezebel is presuming to do exactly what Paul had said that women should not do.

I need to pause here and acknowledge that there are female prophets in the Bible, from Deborah, to Anna, to Phillip’s daughters, we see women exercising this empowered gift of the Holy Spirit in different parts of the Scripture. Prophecy and teaching can overlap in Scripture, but they are not the same gift. Just because someone prophesies does not mean they are a teacher and vice versa. Prophecy is often an ecstatic gift, where the Holy Spirit overcomes a person and speaks through them in a foretelling or forthtelling way. And no one, man or woman, has the right to say God is limited in who he can speak through in this way. It is clear in scripture he will speak through men, women, children, angels, donkeys and more, at his discretion. It is also clear from Genesis 2 onwards that he expects men to exercise authority and teach, not women.

Jezebel had at least doubly broken the prohibition Paul made in this passage. It is interesting when you hear preachers seek to explain away 1 Timothy 2:11-12, I cannot remember ever hearing one of them connect their explanation to this passage in Revelation 2. Paul wrote the letter of 1 Timothy to Timothy who was in Ephesus, which is one of the brother churches of Thyatira, where Jezebel had entrenched herself as the pagan priestess of this church. The culture here would not have been very different to the culture in Ephesus. The kinds of gods worshipped, the religious practices and the way people lived would have been roughly the same. And there is no doubt that they would have known about this letter from Paul. He founded the Ephesian church and it likely had a patriarchate role in these seven churches. So, the relevance of this Revelation passage to the Timothy passage is striking, and more so for the deliberate avoidance you see among scholars and teachers of this passage.

It is especially striking when you notice that Jezebel has not just doubly broken this proscription, but triply. She presumed authority where she should not have. She is teaching when she should not be as well. But what is the third transgression? She was being sexually immoral and idolatrous in precisely the way Paul said women should not, and in the way that ancient sex cults like Asherah, or Aphrodite encouraged them to be.  

Note, 1 Timothy 2:13-15 – “13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” How was the woman deceived? She partook of the fruit to gain access to the divine mysteries that were offered to her by the serpent: the forbidden knowledge. Some in Church history saw this as talking about sexual sin[1],[2] though it is not taken this way so often anymore. But it is idolatry, Eve looked to the devil over God, and to herself over God as well. This is idolatry, which is spiritual adultery. But note that Paul says a woman will be saved via “childbearing - if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”

This can only be taken one of two ways. Either Paul is saying that women will be saved by their works of having children, added to by faith, love, holiness and self-control. In this reading the apostle of saved-by-faith-not-works would be saying women are saved by their works. This does not fit with what we know about Paul. Or, the better reading is really very simple; a faith filled Christian woman is one who is focused on motherhood, and they are the kind of mother whose faith, love, holiness and self-control are evident. In other words, he is saying that a Christian woman looks like a woman who does not seek to rule over men, but who learns submissively, and is faithfully focused on motherhood. Radical right? Only in the last 170 years. But note, this is the exact opposite of Jezebel.

Jesus is telling us that Jezebel is presuming authority, is seeking to teach men, and is seducing his “servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.” Eve was the first woman to eat in honour of a false idol. She was the first Satanic Feminist in this sense. And this is why Per Faxneld is showing us in his book Satanic Feminism that the inherent foundation of feminism is to seek to make what Eve did in the garden an act of liberation - she can have authority, she can teach, she is a sexually promiscuous agent – when really it is an act of enslavement to a false deity.

The passages in Timothy and Revelation we have just looked at are very clear, and very simple to understand, as are all the others on this topic. But in a post Satanic Feminist inversion of the world’s order they appear to many to be much harder to understand. Not because they are not clear, but because they rub up against our modern and post-modern beliefs about how things should be on the gender front. There is no end to the propaganda about the equality of men and women, and that men and women are interchangeable, and can do all of the same things. How many movies do we see with a 140 pound wringing wet woman dominating in combat five or six special forces trained soldiers in a few deft moves? It is absurd. The propaganda is strong with our modern society on this issue, and it clouds how many modern people think about these issues and can cause people to just assume the Bible is presenting an outdated view.

But the Bible is showing us that women teaching in a religious context is not a modern idea, it is an ancient idea, the most ancient false religious idea really. It finds its basis in the Serpent approaching the woman, whom he deceived, and not the man. Why? Because good generals always attack at the most vulnerable point in the lines, and the Devil is a superb general. It is simply ahistorical, and unbiblical to say that the scriptures just said women could not teach because of the culture of their day. The culture of their day, and many before and many after are rich with examples of female priesthoods. Indeed, one of the ancient symbols of Asherah was a woman standing or sitting near a tree with a serpent[3], sound familiar? This idea is ancient.

Let’s look at another example which relates directly to our passages so far. The letters in Revelation 2 to 3 were given to seven churches, including the one we have looked at, Thyatira, and the first one addressed, probably the oldest and most influential of the churches in that region, Ephesus. This is important, because we read in Acts 19 that Paul’s ministry in Ephesus was having an incredible effect on the Cult of Artemis:

“23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, ‘Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship’” 28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” (Acts 19:23-28).

Paul’s ministry was so successful that he was drawing Greeks in Asia Minor away from worship of idols like Artemis. The reason this is relevant to our discussion is because Paul wrote his letter to Timothy in Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3). As mentioned above, the Church of Thyatira would have been influenced by this letter, and others written by Paul, and the background of these letters is being written in a culture which had no problem with women being involved in cultic religious practices. For example, we read this about the cult of Artemis:   

“The Arkteia festival was celebrated every four years and involved a procession from the shrine of Artemis Brauronia on the acropolis of Athens, 24.5 km WNW of the sanctuary. At the isolated sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron, young Athenian girls approaching marriageable age formed groups consecrated for a time to Artemis as arktoi, she-bears, and spent their time in sacred dances, wearing honey-colored saffron robes, running races and making sacrifice…The goddess Artemis was a danger to be propitiated by women during child-birth and of the newborn: to her were dedicated the clothes of women who had successfully borne a child;. The garments of women who died in childbirth were dedicated to Iphigeneia at Brauron.”[4]

A female deity, attended to by priestesses, not priests, and propitiated by women seeking her in the moment of giving birth? You cannot get more matriarchal than this. And in some ritual practices of the worship of Artemis, we can see how far this matriarchy went: Artemis,

“recalls the Cretan ‘Lady of the Wild Things’, apparently the supreme Nymph-goddess of archaic totem societies; and the ritual bath in which Actaeon surprised her, like the horned hinds of her chariot…and the quails of Ortygia…, seems more appropriate to the nymph than the maiden. Actaeon was, it seems, a sacred king of the pre-Hellenic stag cult, torn to pieces at the end of his reign of fifty months, namely half a Great Year; his co-king, or tanist, reigning for the remainder. The nymph properly took her bath after, not before, the murder. There are numerous parallels to this ritual custom in Irish and Welsh myth, and as late as the first century AD a man dressed in a stag’s skin was periodically chased and killed on the Acadian Mount Lycaeum (Plutarch: Greek Questions 39).”[5]

To say, as many do, that Paul was simply encouraging women to stay silent, so that the Church would not appear scandalous before the culture of the day in Ephesus is ridiculous on many levels.

Firstly, the Greeks of Asian Minor, really in any era, had no problem with women playing a leading role in religious rites and practice, as long as the particular cult and god/goddess called for it. There was a diversity of gods, with a diversity of religious rites, and a new cult which allowed women to teach would not have cause many Greeks to even think twice about it, especially worshippers of Artemis, who were willing to submit to rights performed by young female priestesses. Secondly, Paul did not limit the Church to only doing things which would not offend the Greeks, or Jews. His encouragement for masters to treat their slaves like brothers in Christ would have been jarring for the Roman and Greek culture of the era. This was an era where slaves’ bodies were the repository for anything their masters wished them to be. Thirdly, Paul tells us directly that his reason is theological, not cultural.

Paul tells us,

“11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1 Timothy 2:11-14).

His reasons track back to Genesis 2 and 3, and consider the order of creation and the fact that the woman was deceived, not the man. I think this is a big point for Paul. Because he makes a similar case elsewhere:

“11 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. 5 Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. 6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things…

…12 And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Cor. 11:1-6, 12-15). 

Eve’s deception is an important aspect of Paul’s Christian worldview, which he applies to his theology of what a biblical teacher is, who can teach, and what a false teacher is. His teaching in 1 Timothy about who can teach, and his teaching in 2 Corinthians about how to spot a false teacher are intrinsically dependent on how Satan deceived Eve. These are not incidental or cultural teachings on Paul’s account. They are applications of biblical truth anchored in the proper order taught in the pre-fall and early fall world and reinforced all the way through the Bible.

Nowhere does Paul blame the fall on Eve, rather he blames it on Adam (cf. Romans 5). Yet he acknowledges that Eve was the one who was deceived first, so why is she not to blame? Because the man was created first and should have protected the proper order by rebuking the serpent and his wife. Instead, he allowed both the serpent and his wife to dominate him, which caused the fall,

“12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come” (Romans 5:12-14).

The origin of the sinfulness of mankind is traced back to the first man, even though he was not the first to sin. Why? Because the Bible teaches a patriarchal order: God the father – God the son - man – woman – children. This is not my summation, it is Paul’s: 1 Corinthians 11:2-3 – “2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” We have already addressed this patriarchal order in previous articles, but it needs repeating: this is the Christian perspective. Egalitarianism is an extra-biblical interpolation that denies the correct biblical order.

This is not a minor point, it is not a cultural contextual point. What Paul is doing is very deliberate and important: he is teaching us how to structure our churches, families, and indeed society, in such a way that it limits the damage the evil one can do. No, he is not, and I am not, saying that the devil cannot work very wickedly through men. Of course he can, and he has. But attacking through women who subvert or dominate their men is a particularly successful strategy that the Devil uses. This cannot be denied. It is not a coincidence that the West has become more godless, more pagan, and less honouring of traditional marriage and morals, since it has officially overturned the biblical patriarchal order.

You can accuse me of being hopelessly outdated in my views, but again see what Paul said, “Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you” and then he proceeds to remind them of the correct order he has taught them to maintain in their churches and homes. This order is supported by 1 Corinthians 14, 1 Timothy 2, Ephesians 5 to 6, Colossians 3, and other passages. And it is reiterated often in scripture how much damage can be done if this order is ignored. Paul’s position is clear, and simple to understand.    

However, if you accept that the Bible teaches equality, then you have to say it supports feminism, and you have to find a way to circumnavigate all these texts. Which is precisely what much of the modern Church does, to its own chagrin. There is however a better way to understand them.

The better way to understand them is very simply that they are anti-feminist. This is very different to anti-women. The Bible is pro-women and very uplifting of women. Indeed, early Christianity did not explode in massive numbers among women in Rome for no reason. It created a whole new way for them to see themselves, and for society to see them as well. It lifted their bodies to being more than sex objects, or being objectified in slavery, or in ritualistic sex worship, and ancient pornographic art, it honoured their rights to learn directly from their Lord, something which Judaism did not do to the same degree, and it highlighted just how honourable and necessary motherhood is. So, the Bible’s view is not anti-women, but rather anti-everything that feminism is. Because at its heart, feminism is a destabilizing force. All movements of equality are; whether feminism, or socialism, or Marxism (which is just socialism in its most radical form). Whereas the Bible is inherently supportive of order and hierarchy.

Indeed, let’s do a quick thought experiment: what would a completely egalitarian society look like, one where every single individual had the exact same power, the exact same rights, the exact same command, the exact same prestige and influence? It might sound glorious, but then add to this society the known characteristics of human nature. What would you get? Anarchy. Absolute anarchy. Even heaven has a king, and high angels and rulers. An absolutely anarchist state would be hell, as Chaucer says,

“For well you know that men call "honour" the reverence that man gives to man; but in Hell is no honour or reverence. For indeed no more reverence shall be done there to a king than to a knave. As to which God says, by the Prophet Jeremiah: "They that scorn me shall be scorned." "Honour" is also called great lordship; but there no man shall serve another, save to his harm and torment.”[6]

And later again he says,

“And Job, also, says: "Death, without any order." And though it be that God has created all things in right order, and nothing at all without order, but all things are ordered and numbered; yet, nevertheless, they that are damned have no order, nor hold to any order.[7]

There is such thing as the wrong kind of order, tyranny of the authoritarian. But it is not so much about getting a balance, as having the right order, the right patriarchy, the right kind of leadership of both quality and structure.

This is why feminists themselves, honest feminists who are just following their ideology, and not seeking to infuse the Christian religion with its teachings, recognize “the term "Christian feminist" is an oxymoron.”[8]

This is why saying that the Bible is just reflecting the culture of its day, when it comes to gender roles, is inherently dishonest. The Bible presents a consistent vision of gender, with men as leaders, providers and warriors and women as supporters, nurturers, child-bearers, that, in the very least possible timeframe, covers several thousand years of human history, across vastly different cultures, and several different regions of the ancient Near East, and parts of Europe and Africa. If you say it reflects the culture of the day, I say, which culture? There are hundreds to choose from, and thousands of years to choose from as well. Indeed, this consistent perspective on gender roles remained remarkably consistent right across the Christian world, up until about the middle of the nineteenth century.

What a remarkable coincidence, then, that Christians just started to realize that the Bible had been feminist all along, just in time for the feminist movement to take off. It would be dishonest of me to say that there were not real Christian women who were engaged in the suffragette movement. Indeed, there were some who even considered fighting for the right to vote and advocating for feminism to be different goals. But it is equally dishonest to say that feminism came out of a fresh understanding of the correct teachings of the Bible, because it didn’t. It was initiated by an external force that sought to tame the Bible and usurp Western civilisation to its agenda. And credit where credit is due, it worked, sadly.  

So, with all that has now been said, we can say unequivocally that feminism was not inspired by Christianity. It is rather the antithesis of Christianity, a competitor, that would see the Church bow to it, as the mythical El once did to Asherah.

List of References - 

[1] "And as regards Adam and Eve we must maintain that before the fall they were virgins in Paradise: but after they sinned, and were cast out of Paradise, they were immediately married." - St Jerome (c. 320-420) source:

[2] Justin Glenn, “Pandora and Eve: Sex as the Root of All Evil.” The Classical World, Nov., 1977, Vol. 71, No. 3 (Nov., 1977), pp. 179-185, Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press on behalf of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States; p180.

[3] Wilson, Andrew, “The Sexual Interpretation of the Human Fall”. Reprinted from: Unification Theology in Comparative Perspectives, edited by Anthony J. Guerra  - (New York: Unification Theological Seminary, 1988), 51-70; p5.

[5] McLeish, Kenneth 2003, The Greek Myths, Folio Society, Barcelona; pp.87-88.  

[6] Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Canterbury Tales: FREE Hamlet By William Shakespeare (JKL Classics - Active TOC, Active Footnotes ,Illustrated) (p. 478). JKL Classics. Kindle Edition.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Elliot, Cath 2008, “I’m not praying”, The Guardian, accessed 8/07/2021,  

Friday 23 July 2021

How The Evil One Works (Part 6) - The Devil Loves To Corrupt Kings


Sermon video here

Introduction –

Last week we took a deep dive into what the Bible says about sorcery. If you missed that sermon, make sure that you catch up with it, because sorcery is a powerful tool of the Devil, his demons and his servants. Remember that I shared with you at the end of last week’s sermon how a powerful witch was saved out of a Satanic cult, because a Christian woman started to pray for him. But why would someone be tempted to get involved in that nonsense in the first place? Because it offers power. Human beings love power. But witchcraft or sorcery is not the only access to power.

There is a more basic kind of power, that many are tempted towards; the power to rule others. The Devil seeks to manipulate people with this power. In fact, this was one of the things which inspired me to present this series on how the evil one works.   

The more I read the Bible the more I realize that God is not just telling us how Israel failed to fulfil his word, but also how the world works. This is where I think a lot of pastors go wrong when they too sharply distinguish the Old and New Covenants. There are differences to be sure, absolutely, but humanity has not changed, and God’s standards have not changed, and the results of giving our selves over to evil have not changed. The Bible points forwards to what could happen, as much as it points backwards to what did happen. With obedience comes blessing to a people, with wickedness and rebellion comes destruction. As Marcus Aurelius said, “Look back over the past – all of those changes of dynasties. And you can foresee the future too: it will be completely alike, incapable of deviating from the rhythm of the present. So for the study of human life forty years are as good as ten thousand: what more will you see.”

Think about this, often when God was rebuking Israel for their sin, it was because they had become like the nations around them, sometimes even worse for example, Ezekiel 16:48,51 – “48 As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done…51 Samaria has not committed half your sins. You have committed more abominations than they, and have made your sisters appear righteous by all the abominations that you have committed.” I think it is very clear that God is not just showing us how Israel apostatized, he is showing us how wickedness rips apart a people, and how to avoid it.

God is teaching us timeless principles about how the wicked rule, how they are corrupted, how they damage society. As Paul tells us all these things were written as examples for us, 1 Corinthians 10:11-13 – “11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.” Let’s have a look at how the Devil corrupts the powerful, and how we can avoid such temptation.

      1. Same trick, different results – There is a fascinating similarity between the temptation of Adam and Eve, and the temptation of Jesus. So, very likely for the last time in a little while, we need to turn to Genesis 3, because I want to show you these similarities. Genesis 3:1-6 – “3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”

1.1  I want to bring out one more application from this passage this morning. What the Devil was doing here was directly attacking humanities leading representatives. Adam is the father of all mankind, Eve is the mother of all living.  

1.1.1       If you can corrupt the powerful, you can corrupt, or harm in some way, everybody below them. It is a simple but effective strategy.  

1.1.2       This works for a couple of reasons. 1) People naturally just trust authority. It is too hard to be responsible for all our own decisions, so if we can just say, “Look authority said it’s safe, therefore it is safe”, then we can rest easier. 2) Because the powerful have such reach with their decisions the evil one can maximise his harm by targeting them.

1.1.3       He tried this with Jesus, though, and failed. Let’s have a look -

1.2  The temptation of Jesus – Matthew 4:1-4 - “4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

1.2.1       Notice here that, like in the Garden with Eve, the Devil is seeking to tempt Jesus with food. In this instance it is because he has been fasting for forty days. In the Garden, it was food that was desirable for making one wise. But after forty days of fasting, a mouldy loaf would look like a feast.

1.2.2       But notice Jesus’ response, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Mankind is not just sustained by food, but by God’s word. This almost looks like a direct rebuke of Eve in the garden, who chose not to live by God’s word, but sinned with food, because it is. Jesus is here doing what Eve should have done.  If you can corrupt a person’s desire for bread, and all things nice, you can lead them towards evil. But Jesus was obviously much wiser and stronger than Eve or Adam, and rejected the Devil’s temptation to use his power to cheat.  But there is another similarity…

1.2.3       “8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”  The Devil is trying to do here, what he did to Adam and Eve: offer power. For Eve, it was the desire to be greater than her husband, and powerful like the gods, or God, depending on how you translate it. For Jesus the Devil is offering to make him king of the world. This is a power he has authority to give: because he is “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31). Just think about these titles for a moment.  This is the Devil’s world, not originally, Yahweh is the true God, but he delegated the authority of this world to humanity, and humanity had it usurped by the evil one. And he literally rules from earth.

1.3  But what we see here, is the same trick being tried, with different results. Adam and Eve took the offer of power. Jesus refused the temptation. But this gives us insight into how wicked power works in this world: the Devil uses it to corrupt the powerful, if he can and he is often successful.

      2. His Throne Is On Earth – This world is the Devil’s domain, not hell - Revelation 2:12-13 – “12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. 13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”

2.1  Exactly what this throne was, is not said. There was a famous temple to Zeus in Pergamum, which is what this may have be referring to, but more than likely, it is referring to the fact that Pergamum was the centre of Emperor worship.

2.1.1       I suspect today his throne is in Hollywood, as it is the centre of secular religion. But it could be somewhere else, who knows. But we know the Devil dwells on this earth, and reigns from his usurper throne, and his offer of power is taken up by those in the world system.  

2.2  Revelation 13:2 says, “2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.”

2.2.1       Whatever the beast’s identity, it takes the offer of Satan that Jesus rejected. “And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.” This is obviously an offer many wicked have taken.

2.2.2       It will not always be overt, and it may be subtle, but we don’t say that power corrupts, and absolute power absolutely corrupts for no reason. It is because the power base of this world is wicked, and once you start dealing in the circles of power, the temptation to corruption is incredibly strong.

2.2.3       How many of our national leaders fail this test? I suspect most.

2.3  The Devil tried the same trick on Jesus, that he tried on Adam and Eve, and it failed, utterly, because Jesus came to defeat the Devil and stayed the course. But it works on the beast, and the second beast. It has obviously worked many other times, and in many other places.

2.3.1       Indeed, this is a big part of how power works in this world: the Devil offers it to those who would take it. Not everyone, just certain people in certain times. As Napoleon said, he marches with the god of war.

2.4  It is not the full picture, because the Kingdom of light is advancing against the kingdom of darkness – Daniel 7:13-14 - “13 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” The Son of Man’s kingdom will eventually defeat the Beast’s system once and for all, as we read in Daniel and Revelation. But until that time, there is conflict between these two kingdoms.

2.4.1       In one place darkness will reign more thoroughly, in another place light, and sometimes this will change. Mongolia was once a pagan nation, then had strong Christian influence, then strong Muslim influence and then Pagan again. Once Australia was in darkness and pagan, then the gospel came, now it is heading back to darkness and paganism.

2.5  Throughout all of this the Devil is ruling this world, and offering people power, and many take the offer.

      3. The Ticket Takers – One author I read, Vox Day, calls those who take the Devil’s offer, the ticket takers. This doesn’t work by sitting in a room and signing a contract that the Devil offers you, at least not always. Many ticket takers probably don’t realize at first what they are doing.

3.1  It begins with compromising to the world, a little corruption, to feel included, to gain position, power, influence. Being offered that power in a compromising way, and then before you know it, the system has you. Proverbs warns about this, “10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; 12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 13 we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; 14 throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse” (Prov. 1:10-14).

3.1.1       The enticement of sinners is a big part of how the corruption of the powerful works – if you just look away here, or compromise on this, or agree to this immoral act, look at how much you can gain, they say.

3.1.2       This is why so many of the powerful give in. Some even begin with good intentions, think of the good you can do, if you just take a little more power than you should. Think of how much you can gain by accepting support from shady people with money. Think of how much you can change politics from within, if you compromise just enough to get in the inner circles.  See the trap?  

3.2  In a sense everyone faces this, at work, at school, at university. If you surround yourselves with the corrupt, what happens? 1 Corinthians 15:33 “33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” It might begin with just avoiding some topics, so you don’t seem too Christian, allowing the rough joking to happen around you so you can fit in, then you find yourselves drinking with work mates, and before you know it your wife or husband is leaving you because you went way too far off the rails.

3.2.1       For the powerful, the temptation is greater, and the offer of power is greater, but don’t kid yourself, we are all targets for the evil one.

3.3  But this is the key point – in a corrupt world, filled with corrupt people, and ruled by a corrupt false god, at lot of power only comes to the compromised, and those willing to compromise. And I don’t mean in a good way, I mean morally compromised.

3.3.1       We need to imitate Jesus and lean on God’s word and say no.

      4. The Kings Of Israel – One of the biggest lessons we learn from the Kings of Israel, is just how many of them were corrupt. In the northern Kingdom, Samaria, or Israel, they were all corrupt. In the southern Kingdom, Judah, most of them were corrupt.

4.1  Even some of the good one’s turned bad. For example Solomon – “11 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. 3 He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. 4 For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites” (1Kings 11:1-5).

4.1.1       What do we learn from Solomon’s example? You can start out really good, wise, noble, humble and still be completely corrupted by power. It is possible that Ecclesiastes hints that he repented in the end, but we can’t be certain.

4.2  But Solomon was nowhere near the worst. Saul, refused to do as God commanded, and feared God more than man. Rehoboam sought to use his power as a tyrant and split the kingdom in two. Abijam continued the idolatry of his father. Manasseh set up human sacrifice. Jeroboam set up a new religion, with a calf to compete with the temple. Many Kings oppressed the poor, did shady deals, set up corrupt priesthoods, engaged in unjust wars for gain, invaded other countries for wicked reasons, confiscated land from the poor, for their own use, promoted homosexuality, adultery, divorce, promiscuous sex, drunkenness…does this sound like ancient Israel, or modern corruption? Let’s look at two stand out examples:

4.2.1       Jezebel and Naboth – We all know this story, how Naboth would not sell his field to Ahab, because it was his family inheritance. From a capitalist perspective this trade would make sense, but the law forbade family possessions from being permanently traded. So, Jezebel hatches a conspiracy – “7 And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” 8 So she wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed them with his seal, and she sent the letters to the elders and the leaders who lived with Naboth in his city. 9 And she wrote in the letters, “Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth at the head of the people. 10 And set two worthless men opposite him, and let them bring a charge against him, saying, ‘You have cursed[a] God and the king.’ Then take him out and stone him to death.” (1 Kings 21:7-10).  This works, as well. In a corrupt society the powerful will take every opportunity they can get away with, to use their power for self-gain. Sometimes, it is not even illegal. Laws can be changed to suit different donors, or interest groups.

4.2.2       The corrupt priests in Ezekiel 8:7-13 – “7 And he brought me to the entrance of the court, and when I looked, behold, there was a hole in the wall. 8 Then he said to me, “Son of man, dig in the wall.” So I dug in the wall, and behold, there was an entrance. 9 And he said to me, “Go in, and see the vile abominations that they are committing here.” 10 So I went in and saw. And there, engraved on the wall all around, was every form of creeping things and loathsome beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel. 11 And before them stood seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, with Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan standing among them. Each had his censer in his hand, and the smoke of the cloud of incense went up. 12 Then he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’” 13 He said also to me, “You will see still greater abominations that they commit.” These priests, remember who are part of the power leadership of Judah, were committing all sorts of abominable practices in secret rooms, hidden from the people. They may have seemed like righteous priests, but they were secretly owned by satanic gods.

4.2.3       Does this not remind us of a certain sneak peak behind the curtains of power in parliament that we got in the media a few weeks back…boy that disappeared quickly, didn’t it.

4.3  Biblically what is a corrupt society? One that has rejected God. Once this happens, all forms of corruption will follow.

4.3.1       Both of these passages show us, and many others agree, that conspiracies of wickedness are part and parcel of power in a corrupt society…has our society denied God? If yes, then corruption will just increase.

     5. Application – So how can we apply this teaching? There are many ways. Personal and societal.

5.1  First, personally, avoid little corruptions. Little corruptions give the Devil a foothold. We are not likely ever going to get the offer to rule the world, we are not powerful enough, but we will get enticed to evil. The Devil has enough minions and wicked malice to target us at different times.

5.1.1       Proverbs 1:10 - “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”

5.2  Don’t ascribe stupidity when wickedness will suffice. You have often heard it said, never ascribe to malice, what can be ascribed to incompetence or ignorance” or “do not ascribe to wickedness what can be put down to stupidity”. But this is a bad saying, and really bad advice.

5.2.1       Look this makes sense with someone you love and know well. When your spouse does something that annoys you, it is wise, and gracious to attribute it to “ignorance” or accident, rather than malice. This makes sense with a trusted friend. This makes sense with valued colleague or trusted employee or brother and sister in Christ. Be quick to overlook.

5.2.2       But this does not make sense with the powerful, for three main reasons: 1) Evil seeks political power, it is drawn to it. 2) The powerful can do too much damage to be easily forgiven for their bad mistakes. A mistake made on a powerful level can harm all of society. Which is why our nation’s system was set up to strictly limit any leaders power, 3) Evil looks stupid, right, because it is. The more our leaders, the more our society rejects God, the more foolish it will look, because sin is foolishness, in the Bible, foolish and evil are synonyms: “8 Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs, and a foolish people reviles your name” (Psalm 74:18). Proverbs 13:19 – “A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.” Making foolish decisions, is evil. Let me prove evil and foolish are the same a different way –  Is Adultery foolish or wicked? Is lying foolish or wicked? Is corruption foolish or wicked? Is promoting more than two genders foolish or wicked? Is promoting sodomy and other sexual sins foolish or wicked? You see the point don’t you? The Bible teaches us to ascribe wickedness where we see foolishness.

5.3  Be wise as serpents – Matt 10:16 – “16 Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” I have mentioned this verse a few times in this series, but here I repeat it again.

5.3.1       The serpent in many ancient pagan societies represented wisdom. Jesus knew this, but I doubt he was saying be like these serpents. No, I think he was saying something very simple: be wise to the serpent’s schemes.

5.3.2       Don’t flit through life, blissfully unaware of evil. Be innocent in action, but aware of how the serpent can strike. 

5.4  Walk With The Wise - Proverbs 13:20 – “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” You need to spend time with people who know how the world works, who have been around the block, who challenge you to open your eyes to corruption, and cause you to lift your righteous game.

5.4.1       This will help you avoid mistakes, but it will also enable you to have a network of support if the corrupt come for you. Which they might. Another name for a society that persecutes believers is corrupt. Corruption cannot stand goodness.

5.4.2       We must be prepared to support each other as these attacks come.

          6.  Conclusion - 2 Kings 23:12-14 – “12 And the altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, he pulled down and broke in pieces and cast the dust of them into the brook Kidron. 13 And the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the mount of corruption, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 14 And he broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and filled their places with the bones of men.” When a nation rejects God, this radiates corruption through the entire society, at every level of society, in every institution. The Devil loves to corrupt the powerful, and through this he sows much death and destruction in the world. Our culture is no longer sure what is good and what is evil, what is man and what is woman, what is true and what is lies. Let’s take up the armour of God, so we can be a part of God defeating darkness in our land. Let’s pray.