by Noel Rude
Let us recall the serpent in Genesis. Is he the devil? It’s not clear in Genesis or in the Torah or the Tanakh, but it is clear here (Rev 12:9): “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…” This character is introduced with a word play in Genesis (Gen 2:25), “And they were both naked [עֲרוּמִּים ‘ărummîm],” and in the very next verse (Gen 3:1), “Now the serpent was more subtil [עָרוּם ‘ārûm] than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.”
“Naked” in the Bible signifies poverty—of goods or of understanding—and the shame thusly associated (Job 1:21; Rev 3:17), and this applies to the newly created man and wife. They were like children, naked from their mother’s womb, and in need of being taught—the wife being especially susceptible to the wiles of the subtle serpent. She says (Gen 3:13), “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”
If this is the devil, why is he pictured here as a serpent? Why not a roaring lion? Scripture links “speaking lies” with “the poison of a serpent” (Deut 32:33; Ps 58:3-4; etc.). In Genesis this creature does not go forth as a fearsome beast—rather he comes with crafty deception. For Paul, Adam and Eve typify Christ and the church (Eph 5:30-32), and therefore Paul can write (1Tim 2:14), “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” In this sense Adam eats of the forbidden fruit because he is not willing to see his wife expelled from the garden herself all alone. Adam had been in the garden at the right hand of his Father, but when God made for him a woman he said (Gen 2:24), “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” This isn’t just my wild fantasy (even if it is a fantasy), it was also that of our old nemesis, Doctor Martin R. De Haan, in his 1966 Portraits of Christ in Genesis.
When it says (Gen 3:1), “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made”, the sense is that the serpent was one of the beasts of the field that Adam named (Gen 2:19), “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”
What is man and the son of man (ben Adam)? David says (Ps 8:6), “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet…” This is one of the most quoted verses in the New Testemant (1Cor 15:26; Eph 1:22; Heb 2:8; etc.). What was it that God put under his feet? Next two verses: “All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.”
The Big Deal in Scripture is not that people have authority over animals. Rather the creatures symbolize principalities and powers. Paul speaks of Adam-Messiah (Col 1:15), “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature…” And in the second account of creation, Adam is indeed the firstborn of every creature (Gen 2:7), just as in Rev 3:14 the Messiah is called “the beginning of the creation of God”—thus Paul continues in Colossians 1:16, “For [in] him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created [through] him, and for him…”
Now when did God bring forth the beasts of which the serpent was one? It was on the sixth day (Gen 1:24): “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”
Why not milk the millennial model for all it’s worth? But if so then does this mean that the devil was not created until the sixth millennium? Not at all. The nations have been subject to demons from the beginning (in my view from pre-Adamic times). Jesus cast them out of a man (Mat 8:29), “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?” That time is just before the seventh millennium when the devil will be bound (Rev 20:1-3). In the meantime, however, the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will (Dan 4:17, 32, 25; 5:21), “…he removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Dan 2:21). God enthrones the sons of Noah over the nations, yet behind the scenes there remain the demonic spirits that were there before the creation (Gen 1:2) “…and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” And, just as the shamanists say, these spirits exemplify the personalities of animals. The angel tells Daniel (Dan 10:13), “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days…” Might it be that that evil prince of Persia/Iran is still there and once again making trouble for God’s people?
The kingdoms are pictured as animals (Isaiah 11; Daniel 7; Job 40-41; Rev 13…), and each particular animal symbolizes the character and personality of a particular principality and power. In the so-called Enlightenment a new personality came on the scene, one described by Paul Johnson in his 1988 Intellectuals: From Marx and Tolstoy to Sartre and Chomsky. This new principality or power is so subtle that we don’t even have a name for it—Dennis Prager calls it Leftism—see The World’s Most Dynamic Religion Is …. Column, November 3, 2012.
How far might we carry our Genesis imagery?
Consider Genesis 2:21-22: “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he [wayyīben ‘and he built’] a woman, and brought her unto the man.” The next use of ‘build’ is Gen 4:17 where Cain built a city. In Scripture a woman symbolizes a city (Is 23:17; 47:8; Zeph 2:15).
Has the body of Messiah (Col 2:19; 1Cor 12:27) been cast into a deep sleep—a tardemah or reverie—as in Isaiah 29:10, “For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.” And then is God at this time building a woman from a portion of that body—a woman who will be deceived by the serpent but in time will make herself ready (Rev 19:7)? Adam’s wife, of course, was a real flesh and blood (or, rather, bone and flesh) woman. Messiah’s wife, on the other hand, is the city described in Revelation 21. God brings the woman to Adam (Gen 2:22), and John (Rev 21:2) “…saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
What portion of Messiah’s body is built into this city? It is the assembly of the sixth millennium (Rev 3:12): “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
Let me suggest that the citizens of that city do not know they are citizens until God has fully prepared the city. In the meantime they are deceived by the serpent—the most subtle of all the beasts of the field or principalities and powers God brought forth in the sixth millennium for Adam-Messiah to name.
Let’s say that only God recognizes the totality of the members of the body—they are known only to God—the same for the woman that God builds (Gen 2:22), “And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”
What Adam named, as I said, Paul describes in Col 1:16, “For [in] him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created [through] him, and for him…” Adam/Messiah names them now and at the end of God’s work week Adam and his wife together are given dominion (Gen 1:28): “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
At that time the devil will be bound for the duration of the day that God ceases his work.
We often think that God’s work doesn’t really begin until the Millennium. Now God is merely twiddling his thumbs, but then he really gets to work. Satan’s influence is so extreme that it will take hundreds of years of intensive labor to undo it. But is that really how it is? Rather it says (Gen 2),
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created [in order to make].
Jesus said (John 5:17), “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Paul says (Eph 2:20), “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” God speaks ten times in the six days (Gen 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29), but on the seventh day there is no mention that he spoke. In Genesis God creates by speaking. The sages connect the Ten Commandments (עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדְּבָרִים / τοὺς δέκα λόγους ‘the ten words’ in Ex 34:28; Deut 4:13; 10:4 – logos as in John 1:1)—God creates by writing these words in our hearts.
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
When God works men suffer, for virtue is not created without suffering. And so for six millennia God labors and men suffer. Some are prepared to reign with Christ during the seventh millennium, others learn vital lessons that they will recall in the resurrection that comes later. In the meantime God has been bringing forth the nations. Now the nations are angry (Rev 11:18), but when the serpent is bound they will forget what they are angry about. The world will be rich and increased with goods both physical and spiritual, yet will be counseled to buy gold tried in the fire. Therefore the serpent is bound “…till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
Am I way off in seeing the serpent as symbolizing the particular manifestation of the devil in the dark side of the Enlightenment, in the secular humanism, progressivism and “science” that utterly dominates today? Perhaps. But is it not ironic that Michael Walsh also ties the Left to the devil? Thus notes Mark Tapson in regard to Walsh’s The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, Frontpage Mag, February 8, 2016.
“The Devil’s Pleasure Palace” of the title comes from the name of the teenage Franz Schubert’s first opera. Like that palace, the left’s utopian vision is a satanic illusion that has dragged us into Hell. “What the West has experienced since the end of the Second World War,” Walsh writes, “has been the erection of a modern Devil’s Pleasure Palace, a Potemkin village built on promises of ‘social justice’ and equality for all.” But then, “lying is at the centerpiece of both the satanic and the leftist projects.”
The same connection was seen by Saul Alinsky:
“Rules for Radicals is dedicated by Saul Alinsky to the original radical, Lucifer – also known as Satan, the Devil, The Old Serpent, and The Dragon (Rev. 12:2; 20:2). In this book is found the following:
“Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins — or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.” [note 7: 1972 Vintage Books paperback edition of Rules for Radicals by Saul D. Alinksy]