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The Serpent and the Rainbow
Witnessing Tools
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Pete Garcia

I understand that progressive revelation is the idea that God has slowly unveiled things His nature and our future to mankind over the last 6,000 years, but I kept coming back to the question of how and why God uses it.  Although I don’t fully understand it, I can appreciate it more the more I do study on it.  And although Satan is not omniscient, he is an expert on humankind, and he uses his knowledge to pervert, corrupt, and destroy.

Between the serpent in Genesis 3, and the rainbow in Genesis 9, I wasn’t entirely sure how the two concepts tied together, until I had the chance to listen to an audio teaching by Douglas Hamp this weekend. But before I begin, let me lead off with a quote by the late Dr. D.L. Cooper who famously once said;

When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning.

Unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths indicate clearly otherwise.

The Serpent

 "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made..." (Genesis 3:1 NKJV)

Now having a literal understanding of the Bible should be done in a manner that first applies common sense.  I don’t literally think that ‘trees can clap their hands’...mainly because trees don’t have hands.  Nor do I think that God only owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  Both of these are examples of hyperbole, and demonstrate a deeper truth that underlies the writers’ emphasis on what’s being said.

EW Bullinger did a study on Genesis 3, and had some fascinating insights to what may have actually transpired.  Two of the key words here have been translated into English, which does not do any justice to their original meanings:  (ie…lost in translation)

The Hebrew word rendered "serpent" in Genesis 3:1 is Nachash (from the root Nachash, to shine, and means a shining one.  Hence, in Chaldee it means brass or copper, because of its shining.  Hence also, the word Nehushtan, a piece of brass, in 2 Kings 18:4.

Secondly, to the word ‘beast’ from Genesis 3:1

The word "beast" also, in Genesis 3:1, chay, denotes a living being, and it is as wrong to translate zoa "beasts" in Revelation 4, as it is to translate chay "beast" in Genesis 3.  Both mean living creature.  Satan is thus spoken of as being "more wise than any other living creature which Jehovah Elohim had made".  Even if the word "beast be retained, it does not say that either a serpent or Satan was a "beast", but only that he was "more wise" than any other living being.

In Genesis 3, I just always took the text at face value and figured that Satan had somehow possessed a serpent and used it as the vehicle by which he approached Eve.  But touching on something that Doug Hamp spoke on, God had walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden in the cool of the day.  IF that were the case, they would have in their sinless state, seen God on a daily basis.  And if they’d seen God in their sinless state, than the veil between our world and the spiritual world, also likely not yet have been in place.  When they were cast out of the Garden of Eden, that veil also was sealed preventing man from physically seeing the spiritual realm just as the Cherubim’s closed off the Garden with flaming swords.

The Shining Serpent

Lucifer, as the prototype, was the wisest, strongest, and most beautiful of all the angelic creations.  In his vanity, I doubt he would have approached Eve as a lesser being, much less as a snake, but would have come in all his splendor and glory.  It is possible that the angelic ranks are assigned each an animal domain (such as is missing from the four-faced Cherubim), and Lucifer’s was that of the Reptilian class.

Having succumbed to anger and jealousy at the thought of having to serve a lesser being such as a man, he was able to rally a third of the angels behind him at the ‘unfairness’ of it all.  But this was part of the test for the angelic ranks, in that they would have to serve even though they were greater in power and wisdom.

Remember what Christ said...

"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."  (Mark 10:45)

God Himself demonstrated His servant-hood in the life of Jesus by; washing His disciple’s feet, healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching and feeding the poor.  If He faithful to do it, even to the point of death...it shows how truly prideful and wicked Satan was and those that fell with him in their refusal to serve man.

"...And he said unto the woman, Yea hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1)

Rather, Lucifer went to Eve and concealed his murderous plan all the while eloquently wrapping it in the form of a question.  He withheld vital information that would have greatly impacted her decision, had she known what would have been the repercussions for hers and Adam’s actions.  And thus...we have been dealing with their fall ever since.

The Rainbow

"And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.  And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:  I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth."  (Genesis 9:11-13)

Six chapters later, Moses records another covenant between God and man.  In the first covenant, God told Adam to multiply and be fruitful, and to take dominion of the earth.  Now, God is resetting the rules as to how man is to conduct himself here. But it is not only interesting in what God says, but also in what He doesn’t say.  We know later on, that God would speak through the Apostle Peter and say...

"Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:6-7)

That phrase ‘by the same word’ is a reference back to the Noahic Covenant found back in Genesis 9.  What God does not tell Noah is, is that the world will one day be destroyed by fire.  So why not reveal that then?

The “So What”

After reading something, I always want to get to the ‘so what’ about whatever it is I’m reading.  Progressive revelation is found throughout scripture and God only ever told them (and by extension…us) just enough to keep us heading in the right direction.  I think the reason He didn’t tell Noah everything, was because man would therefore not have found any motivation in multiplying and being fruitful only to watch it all go up in flames. 

Would the Israelites have been motivated to continue on if God had revealed that just seven years short of the Kingdom being established; they would crucify their Messiah, be scattered to the four corners, only to be brought to the point of annihilation by the Nazi Holocaust, only to come back as a nation who then faces war after war until it culminates in the last and hardest seven years the world had ever seen?  Not a very cheery proposition is it?

Or maybe it is like the rest of the Old Testament prophecies, some of which cover thousands of years in a verse, and don’t seem to be given in any particular order, but takes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to decipher how they fit together so to keep our enemy and adversary, Satan, confounded as to what God’s true intentions are...

"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:  Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."  (1 Corinthians 2:7-8)

It is why Satan offered Jesus all the Kingdoms if only He would but bow down and worship him.  It is why even though it was on the tip of their brains, the disciples (later apostles) couldn’t grasp what Christ really came to do.  There is also the Rapture (or the return of Christ for His Bride).  That information was so heavy and so powerful that even Jesus did not allow Himself to know that of exactly when that day or hour would be.  But He knew the season, and the things leading up to that point, and was able to articulate that to his disciples on various occasions.  It is also why I think that the date for the Rapture of the Church has been hidden from us, because our adversary would mercilessly seek after that information. 

Even Paul, who was the first to understand the mystery of the Rapture, was only able to explain it as, what it was and when it happens in relation to the Tribulation.  Even after Paul was shown the third heaven, he wasn’t permitted to speak of what he saw, but John was in 95AD. 

In writing his epistles, Paul wrote seven letters to seven churches as well (if you take out the duplicates and pastoral letters).  But what wasn’t revealed to him, was when Christ would return, which is why those Apostles held to the doctrine of Imminency.  John later reveals this in the unfolding of the churches in Revelation 2-3.

By the time John is given the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ (Book of Revelation), he is an old man and the Gospel had already been planted in the four cardinal directions.  It was too late for the enemy to do anything about it once the Age of the Church began and the Holy Spirit was sent to empower men to preach the gospel.

Conclusion

Satan has been around for a long time, and is an expert in the ‘human condition’.  He knows our natures and our faults.  His motivation is in our destruction as we are of no more importance to him, as roaches are to us.  He knows how to get to us, and uses either hidden or revealed knowledge as a weapon against us.  God uses it to protect us from ourselves and from Satan. 

And therein lies the rub as they say, in that God does not willingly withhold information from us because He’s mean and spiteful, but in that He loves us and knows what’s better for us than we know for ourselves.  It’s His way of protecting us, because if He granted our individual request of knowing what lies ahead, it may very well be our downfall.  But we are recipients of the greatest revealed truth of all, and that is that God through Jesus Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit, indwells and seals us, until the day He comes to take us to be where He is forever.

"Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1:26-27)

About Pete Garcia

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