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Evil, Where did it come from?
What are the origins of satan and evil?
Do you know where evil originated? Our job as Christians is to manifest evidence of the light of God in our lives and thereby extinguish darkness, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” From the beginning God presented illumination, “God divided the light from the darkness” (Gen 1:4). Every Christian’s job is to discern and then separate that which is good from the evil, “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Rom 12:9); and “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom 12:21).
Evil satanic forces desire to hinder all of who cleave to the good in this world. However, because or our superior dominion over those evil forces, the only hope of that fallen empire is to work through deceived Christians. Therefore Christians should be careful not to speak evil of other Christians! Satan particularly wants to stir Christian strife! Gossip and evil speaking is a critical hindrance, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work” (James 3:16).
Christians should not to be idly sitting by and merely observing this titanic battle of good –vs– evil! In order to engage in battle, we need to understand the origins of evil! The Jewish oral tradition says, “When you discuss evil you strengthen it.” We do not need to be concerned with strengthening evil because as John wrote, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Through this study we will investigate evil’s origin in order that we may strengthen our resolve to stand firm against all of its manifestations!
We will begin our examination of evil by observing a common hand held object recognizable in the lives of most of the patriarchs. We observe that they all carried a “matteh,” which is the Hebrew word for a rod or a staff. It was an ordinary object that many possessed in the ancient Biblical culture. We first find the word “matteh” used with regard to Jacob’s son Judah. However the first time a staff appears in the Bible we find Jacob making reference to it through a prayer to God, “And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac . . . for with my staff I passed over this Jordan” (Gen 32:10).
We know that Moses also carried a staff “matteh” in his hands. The staff first comes into prominence when Moses met with God at the burning bush, “And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod (matteh). And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand” (Ex 4:2-4).
The staff zactually became much more than merely a 6serpent. When Moses threw down the staff it frightened him so much that he ran away from it! It became the embodiment of evil; Moses essentially saw the source of evil in the serpent; it became some form of a primordial force of evil! Lets consider the first Biblical mention of the serpent, “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” (Gen 3:1). During Moses’ meeting with God, he was instructed to take that very staff and demonstrate it before Pharaoh, “When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent” (Ex 7:9).
Since Moses would claim
representation from God, Pharaoh would require the spectacular! However, later in his majestic court, Pharaoh
was unimpressed by Moses’ stunt, “and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh,
and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the
sorcerers: now the magicians of
Moses’ staff can reveal some of the deepest secrets from God regarding evil. We need to carefully examine the staff in order to get some true meanings. The Hebrew word “matteh” means a “staff!” It also has other remarkable and related meanings one of which is a “tribe!” The Jewish sages teach that in Hebrew whenever two things are referred to as the same thing, they are in fact the same thing! What is the connection? How do staffs and tribes share a connection? This Hebraic relationship of words is not a coincidence; there is another Hebrew word “shebet” which means a staff and that word also means a tribe! Why did Moses even need to carry a staff in his hands in the first place? What significance did the rod have? And, how does a staff relate to a tribe?
We should remember that Aaron’ rod budded among the other staffs of the children of Israel, “And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds” (Num 17:8)! This is the same staff! We are going to try to untangle or unravel some of the Hebrew elements that bring these concepts of staffs and tribes together. We will learn how they all relate to evil.
Let’s recall that Pharaoh was
unimpressed! In fact from the Midrash
(the Jewish oral tradition) it is recorded that Pharaoh started to laugh! Pharaoh’s genius was that he had convinced
the Egyptians that he himself was responsible for the existence of the
Moses and Aaron approached Pharaoh and they threw down the staff on the ground but Pharaoh was not impressed! He in effect told them, “You guys have come into my throne room to show us these simple tricks? We invented this kind of magic!” Remember that Pharaoh got two of his advisors to perform the same trick! Realize now that Pharaoh was still bitter because through his daughter’s subterfuge he had actually brought up Moses in his own home. He obviously knew Moses intimately from his younger days! Jewish tradition teaches that Moses sat on Pharaoh’s lap when he was a child.
In effect, this meeting between Moses and Pharaoh was a showdown between good and evil! By having his magicians perform the same wonder with rods, Pharaoh in effect made a mockery of Moses. However, Aaron’s staff swallowed up the rods of Pharaoh’s men.
The root of the Hebrew word “matteh” means “staff” and also means “tribe.” The essential root meaning is to “bend away” in other terms it means to “lean out.” Now try to understand. The scriptures say that the original creation was made when the heavens were bent! The specific Hebrew word for bend away is natah pronounced (naw-taw') it is a primitive root which means (1) to stretch or spread out and by implication it means (2) to bend away (including moral deflection). Notice the word used with respect to the creation, “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest (natah) out the heavens like a curtain” (Ps 104:2). This same word is observed in all of the following creation scriptures:
He stretcheth out (natah) the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing
Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched (natah) the line upon it?
He bowed (natah) the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.
It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth (natah) out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in
Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched (natah) them out; he that spread forth the earth
I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth (natah) forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself
I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched (natah) out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded
the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched (natah) forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth
We observe in the table above that the earth was somehow through the spoken word bent-away or stretched (natah) into existence. In other words there was some form of stretching or bending of the spiritual world and this formed the physical! Now what does that mean? First we need to understand that the “heavens” which were bent was not the sky or the stars! The heavens, which were bent, were the original spiritual reality where God existed! Paul taught us that he was, “caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2). Paul described his experience as, “I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Cor 12:3-4). It is that spiritual reality which bent itself down and it became the physical. The physical world is the result of the spiritual world having bent itself down. The reason that all of this is even discussed is that we may understand what evil is and how evil appeared in this world? This is the original or core argument which focuses on the creation of evil and how and why evil even came about in the first place.
To the philosophers the problem is, “How does evil arrive in the word which was made by a creator Who claims to be altogether Good?” This is the most difficult question of all! The humanistic academic study of philosophy offers many courses on this very theme! Their goal is not to prove God but to disprove His existence because of evil.
Christians know through Scripture that everything that God is and does is good, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). The Jews have a saying that is very parallel in meaning to this passage from James. The Jewish saying states the following, “Evil does not come down from above!” In that spiritual world above there is only goodness! In this world there is an abundance of evil. So, how does evil get generated in a world that is the offspring of the Creator Who is goodness? Do you begin to get a hold on the problem? How does evil become manifest in a world that is the embodiment of the world which is perfect goodness? Not only is there evil in this world; but also almost everything to some degree is influenced by evil!
Adam was created and he fell within a very short period of time! He never really had a sporting chance! Evil was present from the beginning and it acted upon him almost immediately. The Jewish oral sages say that man was created at midday and he did not make it to the Sabbath (7th day) without having fallen! Adam did not live more than six hours in freedom. Mankind did not make it even one day in a perfect state?
We will learn that an action of bending-away allowed for the initiation of evil. The spiritual world (3rd Heaven as we will discover later) is a straight world. The physical creation that we know and are aware of was made through the act of bending.
The spiritual world is a straight world! David wrote, “Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face” (Ps 5:8). The ways of God are straight! When people deviate to the right or to the left they initiate the possibility sin, “Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil” (Prov 4:25-27). Moses prophesied that the nation would sin after his death, “I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil” (Deut 31:29). On the other hand God pleads with those who get off track; He tells them to return from their evil, “turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die” (Ezek 33:11).
In other words, evil initiates with the act of getting off of the trail either to the right or to the left. We need to capture the depth of that Biblical concept! Remember, the spiritual world is always straight! Next, lets observe the physical attributes of light for just a moment. The purest form of light known to man is perceptible in the laser beam. The laser beam is high intensity focused light traveling down one straight path! Everyday scientists learn more applications that they can perform with the Laser Beam because it is so pure. Notice James’ scientifically applicable words, “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Do you begin to capture the concept of the purity associated with being straight? The spiritual world is straight!
The Apostle Paul was struck down as
he heard a voice in the midst of a light which surrounded him,
“And as he journeyed, he came near
Jesus taught of this straight way, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way (street or highway), which leadeth unto life” (Matt 7:14). It is interesting to me at least that Paul was placed on a street called Straight after he had been struck down by God!
You need to transcend your thinking to a higher plain now. To clearly understand you need to meditate. There is a world where everything is straight, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee” (Ps 5:4). In a straight world you never get lost! Evil could not possibly exist in this perfect world because it is impossible to get lost. Everything flows from beginning to end! You never lose your way back to the origin, which always remains in sight! That which is perfect is always seen, “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Cor 13:10).
So what do we mean that the way of heaven is straight? Remember our quick Greek study for the word for straight; it could mean, “Good God, the direct, level, and true way!” In heaven there is no need to look around corners; everything important is apparent through a straight perspective! In heaven there are not shadows! This brings us back to one of our key verses written by the Apostle James, “the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). God is straight and in Him is no variableness or turning to the right or to the left!
The Hebrew sages say that the function of the Jewish people was/is to enter a world that is crooked and to bring only straightness. Every step of the way is only resistance. The Hebrew word for “Yisrael” when spelled out also is formed by two Hebrew root words “yashar” (yaw-shar'); a primitive root; to be straight or even and “'ayil” (ah'-yil); properly, strength; hence, anything strong; specifically a chief a root of ‘el.’ So the two roots together have the meaning of “the ones who go straight for Hashem (God)!” This is not accidental. Another word which means the entire community of the Jews is the Hebrew word Yeshurin which again spells out “yeshur” and “nun.” The letter “nun” happens to be the letter which designates represents the fiftieth level of transcendence or the highest level attainable! The Jews believe that they were placed in a world that is only crooked and they are supposed to be the straight way! Aleph is the Hebrew letter of straightness. When the Hebrew letter aleph is pronounced properly one can feel only a breath and no sound should be made! But creation did not start with an “a” aleph; rather, it began with “b” the second letter “bet” which is a bent shape! In the word for creation or genesis “Breeshyt” meaning re'shiyth (ray-sheeth'); the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically, a firstfruit). Translated into beginning, chief (-est), first (-fruits, part, time), principal thing.
We need to get a full concept of the Jewish way of thinking; the whole point of making a beginning is to get to the end! Anytime someone starts anything, “a trip;” “a cake;” “a house;” “a garment” they are beginning with the end-point in their mind. The concept of doing something purposeful means that what you start out with you finish with! When a bricklayer starts his job, the first brick is only the first step toward what he has in mind as the end of the project.
Therefore, when God begins His creation with a “b”
“bet,” the letter which by the way is bent, He is on his way to the end. The physical world is a bend of the spiritual
world! Imagine a world of straightness;
what one does then is to bend that straight world until it crystallizes into
this world. We can understand the result
of the bend is as follows: There is one unique characteristic of a straight
road. You always know where you started
out from; you can never lose sight of where you began. On a straight road you never get lost. But when the road bends the thing that one
sees when they look back is the fork or bend in the road. Therefore, the only way that we can see the
spiritual source is to look around the corners.
We must learn to look beyond!
This physical world was designed so that one can never see the spiritual
world unless they learn to look around corners!
That is the whole idea! We
discern this need for looking around corners in Jesus’ teaching of Nicodemus,
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a
man be born again, he cannot see the
What does all of this have to do with evil? God does not make evil. There is nothing evil about a bend in the road. The intrinsic evil is that in a straight world one cannot possibly go wrong. However, in a bent world there is a possibility of going the wrong way. God did not make evil He merely made the possibility of going the wrong way! The choice of whether or not to obey is always up to the individual! S s
God made only the bend. L z He did not make that which is evil! The bend allows for wrong choices. Now exactly when in the creation of the universe did evil begin? Did it start with Adam? Was his choice the beginning of all evil? We will now go back to the beginning to see if we can perceive the moment or the process through which evil took root, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen 1:1). Okay, from those ten English words, which translate from seven words in the original Hebrew, there does not seem to be any evil present. In fact the prophet Isaiah wrote about this very original creation, “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” (Isa 45:18). So we observe that the world was originally made to be inhabited. Isaiah wrote, “he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited.” However, there is a problem which has become evident! Isaiah wrote that God made it “not in vain.” The Hebrew word for vain is “tohuw” pronounced (to'-hoo) and is from an unused root meaning “to lie waste!” It means “a desolation (of surface),” like a desert. Figuratively it means a worthless thing or “in vain.” So Isaiah is very explicit! God made it not in vain or not “tohuw.” Yet, there is a problem! Notice Genesis 1:2, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” So we discover that the earth is in darkness! Yet God created it to be inhabited. In fact the notice the very words that are recorded in Genesis. Make special note of the third word (circled):
What is going on here? We just read where Isaiah said that God made the earth not in vain or not “tohuw.” However, we see that the third Hebrew word of verse 2 is “tohuw!” Let’s make note of the second word in verse 2, which is translated as “was;” it is the Hebrew word “haayªtaah.” We can learn a lot by noticing the other words that “haayªtaah” is translated into. In fact, let’s look forward just one chapter, “and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became (haayªtaah) a living soul” (Gen 2:7). So we discover that the word “haayªtaah” can be translated as “became.” With that revelation in mind Let alter verse two of Genesis to read as follows: “And the earth became without form “tohuw!” Obviously something very wrong has transpired between verse one and verse two. Isaiah and Genesis 1:2 are not in agreement! The word of God cannot be broken, “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35); therefore we need to discover what happened!
Were there any witnesses around besides God at the creation of the earth? Actually the incredible answer is yes! We find in the story of Job that God begins to ask Job some very powerful questions. Through His questions, He reveals a very interesting fact about the creation, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7). There were “sons of God” present at the creation of the earth! In fact they shouted for joy at its creation. Therefore between verses one and two of Genesis we learn that God has sons present. The next question should automatically follow; where did these sons come from?
The Bible actually teaches of a
different creation which took place some unknown time prior to the earth’s
restoration from the condition of “tohuw!” There is a specific son of God who was created
according to the following description, “the workmanship of thy tabrets and of
thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast
upon the holy
God laments as he inspired Isaiah
to write concerning Lucifer, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son
of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the
nations!” (Isa 14:12) God answered his
own question, “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will
ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I
will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the
most High” (Isa 14:12-14). This being
was high and lifted up in his own sight.
He became filled with pride!
Noitce how Isaiah describes Lucifer’s downfall, “Thou wast perfect in
thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in
thee. (This being made the choice to become proud and filled with
iniquity!) By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst
of thee with violence (His pride made him violent.), and thou hast
sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the
So what have we learned? Through pride, Lucifer became God’s
adversary; he sinned and caused a destruction/desolation of the earth and God
subsequently renewed the earth. We never
see the being known as Lucifer again; however we do find one who is “the
adversary”who translates into the Hebrew word “satan.” We know from Ezekiel that Lucifer was in the
The dilemma for all humanity is that they have made a wrong turn! Bends require memory; one must diligently seek God to learn the way back, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13). Jesus Christ came to teach us the way; His enemies confirmed His qualifications, “Then went the Pharisees . . . saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth” (Matt 22:15-16). They admitted that Jesus was the way to God. Even Jesus’ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Christians need to use our spiritual memory to find the way. David wrote five times (number of grace) in the 119th Psalm about forgetting, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments” (Ps 119:176). In all of the Psalms David claimed that he did not forget five distinctive areas regarding God, (1) His Word, (2) His Commandments, (3) His Statutes, (4) His Law, and (5) His Works.
Is a branch always an indication of the presence of evil? Does a bend in the tree indicate that evil is definitely nearby? Absolutely not! Remember the bend only allows for evil to be present. In fact we find the Word of God uses a branch as a portrayal of the Messiah! The sprig (shoot) of a young tree is called an "N-TS-R" from the Hebrew root, “rxn.” It is implied that the sprig or shoot preserves and continues the same qualities of the parent and is also applied to a human heir or descendent. Isaiah writes, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch “N-TS-R” shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). This “branch” mentioned by Isaiah is a prophecy of the Messiah who was to have been a descendent of David son of Jesse." The Hebrew word "NoTSRi" meaning Christian is recognizable in the book of Acts. We see the connection as Paul is being accuseed, “For we have found this man a pestilent fellow . . . and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes ("NoTSRi" in Hebrew)” (Acts 24:5).
The Church arrived after the bend in the road. Matteh is the location of bending. The branch is where the tree bends out into another direction. However, branching is not always a cause for concern; l indeed the Lord used branching-out as a portrayal of His very Church, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches” (John 15:4-5). We are the offshoots of Jesus Christ! We may take a bend: however, we keep His word and truth and thereby we remember the way back, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). j As long as the Church abides in Jesus they are assured of learning the way back to the Father!
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