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The Trail of the Serpent: Seven Attempts of Satan to Thwart God’s Divine Purpose

March 2, 2013

Returning to S. Lewis Johnson’s “Systematic Theology” series, I’m now in the section dealing with angelology and anthropology.  In “The Trail of the Serpent in the Old Testament,” S. Lewis Johnson highlights the original protevangelium (first preaching of the gospel) in Genesis 3:15.

Then he lists the seven times when Satan attempted to thwart God’s purpose of the coming Redeemer.

1)  The murder of Abel by Cain (Genesis 4:1-7)

2)  The unnatural union between men and demons, the demonic intervention in the human race (Genesis 6:1-9)

3)  The attempt in Pharaoh’s time (Exodus 1)

4)  The attempt in Jehoram’s time (2 Chronicles 21), when Jehoram killed all his brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat, followed by the divine judgment against Jehoram himself, that only one of his sons was left to him.

5)  The attempt in Athaliah’s time (2 Chronicles 22:10-12), when for six years Athaliah reigned instead of a king from the line of David.

6)  The attempt done through Haman in the book of Esther  (Esther 3 and following)

7)  The attempt in Herod’s time, at Christ’s birth (Matthew 2, note especially verses 4 and 7)

I like how SLJ described these as “attempts … in the time of (so-and-so)”, highlighting the fact that these were really Satanic attempts, not merely the actions of particular men.  The New Testament scriptures add additional information regarding some of the above attempts, as for instance 1 John 3:12 tells us that Cain was of the evil one.  Several other scriptures tell us of the unnatural relations between humans and angelic beings: Genesis 19 (where the men of Sodom desired to “know” the two angelic men in Lot’s house); reference also 1 Peter 3:19-20, 2 Peter 2:4-5, and Jude 6-7.

In the very next message, SLJ lists seven attempts of Satan in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.  (Note here an overlap, that #7 above is also the first in this next list.)

1) The Birth of Christ (Matthew 2)

2) The Temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11)

3) Through the Controversies of the Religious Leaders with Christ (Reference John 8:33-45)

4)  Through the Controversy of Christ with His disciples  (Matthew 16:21-23), Christ’s response to Peter “Get behind me, Satan!”

5)  On the verge of the Cross (John 14:30-31):  The prince of this world comes…

6) Satan, Judas and Christ (John 13:2, 27)

7) Satan and the Cross (Hebrews 2:14-15; Col. 2:15; 1 John 3:8)

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