Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (2)
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: (3)
But of the fruit of the tree which is
in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. (4)
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (5)
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Lets look at today’s definition of the word “subtil” or “subtle” from verse one.
6. cunning, wily
, or crafty: a subtle liar
7. insidious in operation: subtle poison.
8. skillful, clever, or ingenious: a subtle painter.
Now look at the Strong Concordance definition of “subtil”.
Passive participle of H6191
(usually in a bad sense): - crafty, prudent, subtil.
We can see that both words mean basically the same thing. The point being, words haven’t changed in meaning that much since the Bible was written and translated.
Now we recognize this passage from Genesis 3 as what is called “The Fall of Man”. But as you can see “The Tempter” was there from the beginning, his ways are subtle, and the intent is to cause us to stumble or fall. From the two definitions you can see that not only is he cunning, but he is skillful in what he does.
What was the temptation here for Eve? Many say it was the temptation of “knowledge”, implying that knowledge is evil. This is what happens when you don’t finish reading the verse, it wasn’t knowledge but the knowledge of “good and evil”. That’s like saying 1 Timothy 6:10 starts out like this: “For money is the root of all evil:” when in fact it says, “For the love of
money is the root of all evil:” That takes on a completely different meaning doesn’t it? Money isn’t evil, but the love of it is the root of all evil. That is the knowledge of good and evil. Understanding it isn’t knowledge that is evil but, what we do with it can be. If knowledge was evil then Jesus wouldn’t have made this comment in Matthew 10
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
What does it mean to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves? This goes right back to what was said in Part 1 from Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil
What is knowledge? Knowledge is “Power” right? What happens when we learn something? We gain that knowledge don’t we? We now have something that we didn’t have before, and until we find someone else who knows what we know, we can get puffed up with pride realizing we know something others don’t. Do you see the traps? Power and pride, both of which are what got satan kicked out of heaven.
In Matthew 4 we see where satan would tempt even Jesus.
Mat 4:1-11 (1) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. (3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. (4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (5) Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, (6) And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (7) Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (8) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; (9) And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (10) Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (11) Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
“If thou be the Son of God” there has been much said and written about those words; “If you are the Son of God” as translated in other versions of the Bible such as the NKJV and NIV. But if you look at those words again from a different perspective you’ll see that this is spiritual or psychological warfare.
Jesus had fasted for 40 days He was hungry. The enemy knows when we are at our weakest physically and that’s when he’ll tempt us most. Look at verse 3 satan said “If you are the Son of God, command these stones be made bread.” Esau sold his birthright for a meal (Genesis 25). This wasn’t about bread. This was about abusing His power. Just like when we’re at our weakest point satan will tempt us with the “need” but with strings attached. Remember he’s subtle and crafty he knows our weaknesses.
Lets look a little further at verse 5; the temptation to abuse His power is a little more obvious here isn’t it? Look on over to verses 8 and 9, satan is saying this is all I have to offer you if you’ll just worship me. Jesus knew who He was, as indicated in verse 7 “You shall not tempt the LORD your God” (NKJV).
Satan will use any tactic he can against you, even promise you the world. Keep in mind too that he will be there to tempt you when you least expect it and when you’re at your most vulnerable state, just as Jesus was at the end of this 40-day fast. But Jesus showed us how to battle and defeat the enemy during these times of weakness and vulnerability. With His Word!
Many times though satan will tempt us in an area we are weak in. This is to tempt us into falling back into sin or as we know it, “back-sliding”. Here is a test you can take. You know your own weaknesses concerning sin, but consider this test when you are driving along the freeway. Which billboards catch your eye the quickest? Advertisers often use a sexy woman (or sometimes a man), alcohol, or some other temptation we might have to advertise their product. Which one catches your eye the quickest?
Now, imagine satan is there sitting on that billboard taking names of all those that took a long stare at that particular billboard. Now, he knows this is a weakness you have. He’s noticed that those billboards that advertise food or Public Service Announcements hardly get your attention at all. But the area you have a weakness in, those are quick to catch your eye. He’s sitting there watching, and taking names, remember?
If the billboard isn’t enough, he’ll put the real thing in front of you, just look at David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11, something to think about no? All he needs is a toehold to build a stronghold. I read this once somewhere, “Give satan an inch and he’ll be a ruler”.
In Part-1 we looked at Ephesians 6:10-12, in verse 11 it opens with “Put on the whole armour of God…” Verses 13-17 tell us what that is.
Eph 6:13-17 (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Gospel of Peace –
Sword of the Spirit –
In the list above there is only one “offensive” weapon isn’t there? That’s what Jesus showed us in Matthew 4, that His Word is our most powerful weapon against the enemy.
Words are very powerful, even ours, but they’re not near as powerful as His. In Part-3 we are going to look at “Words as Weapons”.