Watchman Willie Martin Archive


"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he {serpent} said unto the woman {Eve}, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden." (Genesis 3:1)

    (1) Snakes are to be feared, and it is not abnormal to fear them. To prove that even such Godly men as Moses were/are afraid of snakes, we present the following from the Book of Exodus. We begin with Moses standing before the burning bush: "...the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he {Moses} said, A rod. And He {God} said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses FLED from before it." (Exodus 4:2‑3)

    (2) So we can see that even Moses fled before a serpent/snake! It scared him and he fled from it. Because man has a natural fear of them. Yet here in Genesis Chapter Three, we have Eve having a discourse with a serpent/snake! With no fear. I do not believe it for a minute. I don't know about you, but I do not believe that Eve was having a conversation with a literal snake! Not for a minute. That is simply to far‑ fetched to be believed literally.

    (3) If a snake had come up to Eve she would have ran for Adam to protect her from it. She would not have simply stood or sat there and had a casual conversation with it. No! A thousand times No!!! She would not have just sat there and said: "Hello how are you?" or some such nonsense. She simply would not have done that at all.

    (4) Serpent is a strange word when we look at it in the scriptures. It is translated from many different words, but it is used 38 times in the Old Testament. And is translated, basically, from four different words. But let's only deal with one #5175 in Strong's Concordance. It appears 31 times and every time it is translated serpent. Now keep in mind there are three other words that are also translated serpent in the Scriptures. And the total words are used some 71 times in

all the Scriptures. 38 times as serpent and about 24 times as dragons.

    (5) What is a dragon, you ask. Well this presentation is about serpents not dragons and to get into a long discussion about dragons would take us away from our intended subject. So we shall leave that for others to contemplate. This is because we have a problem here in Genesis 3:1 with Eve talking with this thing called a serpent.

    (6) Now the scriptures say the serpent was more subtil. Well what does this word mean. To arrive at a proper answer we will turn to Strong's Concordance again. Which says the word "serpent" is "Nachas" or "naw‑khawsh" (#5175). Which is a non‑ Israelite name according to (#5176) ‑‑ "Nachash;" the same as #5175; the name of two persons appar. non‑Isr. It also means according to #5175 a snake (from its hiss): serpent. From the #5172 which means to hiss, i.e. whisper a (magic) spell; gen. to prognosticate ‑‑ enchanter, learn by experience, diligently observe.

    (7) Also, we find the following from the Second College Edition, New World Dictionary of the American Language, p. 1300: 1. A snake, esp. a large or poisonous one. 2. A sly, sneaking, treacherous person. 3. Bible Satan, in the form he assumed to tempt Eve. 4. Music an obsolete, coiled, brass wind instrument of wood covered with leather. The American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster 1828, Facsimile First Edition, published by the Foundation For American Christian Education relates that serpent means among others: a subtil or malicious person.

    (8) The word prognosticate means to: 1. To foretell or predict, esp. from signs or indications. 2. To indicate beforehand. (Second College Edition, New World Dictionary of the American Language, p. 1135). The 1828 American Dictionary relates: 1. To foreshow; to indicate a future event by present signs. A clear sky at sunset prognosticates a fair day. 2. To foretell by means of present signs; to predict. "I neither will nor can prognosticate To the young gaping heir his father's fate." So now we can see that the word "nachash" is linked to foretelling things. Or its linked to witchcraft (whisper a magic spell) and humanism. It's linked to anything, other than the Word of God.

    (9) Now let's look again at this word serpent, and we will see that every time it appears in the Bible, it does not mean a serpent/snake. That sometimes it means either a person or a nation. For example when Jacob/Israel was relating the gifts which were given to the various tribes of Israel we find the following: "Dan shall be a SERPENT by the way, an ADDER {snake} in the path, that biteth the horse heels..." (Genesis 49:17)

    (10) Is someone going to try to convince us that Dan was to become a snake. I don't think so. Do you? It is merely a figure of speech. It means that the tribe of Dan would, or the people of the tribe of Dan would display the attributes of being sly, cunning, deceitful.

    (11) The wicked are described as serpents/snakes: "THE WICKED are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a SERPENT: They are like THE DEAF ADDER that stoppeth her ear." (Psalm 58:3‑4)

    (12) Evil and violent men are described as serpents: "Deliver me, O Lord, from THE EVIL MAN: preserve me from THE VIOLENT MAN; Which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war. THEY have sharpened their tongues LIKE A SERPENT; ADDERS' poison is under their lips. Selah." (Psalm 140:1‑3)

Thus we can see by these verses, anyone who is evil or wicked is described as being a serpent or snake.

    (13) Now let's examine nations because they are also very important to this presentation. Turn to the Book of Isaiah where we find: "In that day the Lord with His sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing SERPENT, even leviathan that crooked SERPENT; and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea." (Isaiah 27:1)

    (14) We see here that the Leviathan is a crooked and piercing serpent. It appears this is an allegory, talking about the enemies of Israel.

    (15) The nations that came against Israel are compared to this thing which is also described as a serpent. And it appears that this would be a reference to the Grecian, Turkish and Roman Empires of that day. This is generally accepted when one looks at the narratives of the Bible.

    (16) Now let's look at Jeremiah 8:17 for another: "For, behold, I will send SERPENTS, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the Lord."

    (17) Here again we are not talking about actual serpents/snakes. Not at all. We are talking about nations which will becoming against Israel. They will not be charmed and they will bite you. At this point some will ask what do you mean they will not be charmed.

   (18) For an answer turn to the Book of Second Kings Chapter Seventeen we find Assyria came against what was left of Israel, and they told the Assyrians they would pay them a ransom if they would not come in and harm them. That's charming them is it not?

    But if they will not be charmed, then they will not accept their money, gold, silver or other valuables. They will come in and bite you and destroy you. That is what Jeremiah is telling them. So we can clearly see, THEY ARE NOT SERPENTS AT ALL, they are the enemy of Israel, who will come against them.

    (19) There is another like story in Amos 9:3 and another in Isaiah 14:29. Those are good stories and you should read them very carefully.

    (20) We find allegories being used all through the Scriptures. No one has a problem with Juda being called a lion's whelp (Genesis 49:9); Zebulun as a foal and an ass's colt (Genesis 49:11); Issachar as a strong ass (Genesis 49:14); Naphtali as a hind {A red deer ‑‑ one that is fully grown} (Genesis 49:21); Joseph as a bough {branch or limb of a tree} (Genesis 49:22); Benjamin as a wolf (Genesis 49:27); All the tribes as a lion (Numbers 23:24; 24:9); Gad as a lion (Deut. 33:20); Dan as a lion's whelp (Deut. 33:22); Jesus as a Lamb (Throughout the Book of Revelation); Israel as a speckled bird (Jeremiah 12:9; A nation of the East as a ravenous bird (Isaiah 46:11); Preachers as fishers (Jeremiah 16:16); Pharaoh King of Egypt as a young lion and a whale (Ezekiel 32:2); a flock as men (Ezekiel:34:30-31) and Herod as a fox (Luke 13:32). When the word "lion" is used for Judah, we are trying to really emphasize the strength of Judah. And when we use the word "serpent" we think of something sly, wicked, evil, cunning, something that hides from us, has venom, that is strong and dangerous. And that is why the word serpent is used many times as an allegory in the Scriptures.

    (21) There are many more allegories which could be presented but we believe this should suffice. Was any of these men such an animal or thing? Of course not! It is simply a description of the characteristics of these separate individuals.

    (22) Then we have the false doctrine of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herod described as Leaven (Matthew 16:12).

    (23) Thus we can clearly see that it is not at all unusual for a word to be used to illustrate something more impressively. And that is what we are talking about.

    (24) Most Christians do not have any trouble with any of these in the various verses of Scriptures until we get to Genesis 3:1. For example if we go a little further we find: "...thou shalt bruise His heel." Everyone knows that Scripture. And we find another one "...It shall bruise thy head..." and no one has any problem relating that to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the evil one {which most people believe to be Satan}. Nobody has a problem with that.

    (25) Then: Why is it a problem when someone comes along and says THE SERPENT IS NOT A SNAKE! To some people that is a real problem ‑‑ THEY WANT THAT SERPENT TO BE A SNAKE!!! And they will scream and rant like a spoiled child if someone disagrees with them.

    (26) In our opinion that SERPENT NEVER WAS A SNAKE! In my opinion that serpent was a live flesh and blood person. In my opinion it was no spiritual being, and that is not meant to refute the Satan doctrine at all. We are simply saying that this thing we had in the flesh, in the body, in the Garden of Eden, WAS NOT AN INVISIBLE, NEGATIVE ENTITY. IT WAS NOT A SNAKE THAT WALKED ON TWO FEET. It was a humanoid. Just like you and I.

    (27) Let's look at some of the characteristics of this particular serpent in Chapter Three Verse One. One of the things we know, is that it is more wise than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. Is that not what it says? There word is subtil but we will deal with that a little later.

    (28) What is wisdom a trait of? Can you show us any animal in the animal kingdom which can be wise, that can be sly, that can be crafty? They only do what they do by instinct, they do not do it from reason. No animal operates from reason.

    (29) Now one can condition response them, by exposing them to altering good with bad conditions depending upon what they do in response to the stimuli given them. But that is merely training them, that is not teaching them wisdom, that is not teaching them to reason.

    (30) Oh, the experiments with monkeys, where some scientists say they have taught a monkey to talk ‑‑ but again that is only the animal being taught to make certain sounds as a result of varying stimuli given them. That is not the same thing. That is

not the same thing as being born with the ability to think and reason.

    (31) Another thing about this serpent that everybody agrees upon, is that it walked erect like a man. This is a natural human trait. It is not the natural reaction or trait of any animal, much less a snake. You cannot find this ability in snakes.

    (32) They do not stand up. Oh there may be some species which have small legs or the semblance of legs but more than likely, if the scientists would be honest, they are a species of lizard and not a specie of snake. There are some snakes which can raise their heads up quite a bit, but still, they cannot stand erect.

    (33) It has been said that apes are a form of the erectus, but that is simply not true. They spend most of their time moving about on both their (hands) and feet.

    Oh they can stand erect for short periods of time but their natural position is on all fours. And even when they are standing erect they are bent over, they have a slight hump to their back because that is not their normal stance.

    (34) And besides that, can you imagine Eve standing or sitting in the Garden of Eden and a great harry ape suddenly dropping out of a tree beside her and speaking to her. She would have been gone like a bolt of lightening. She would not have stayed there with such an animal.

    (35) Now the third thing about this serpent was the ability to talk. To speak like a man. Well things are getting worse all the time for those who want that serpent to be a snake.

    There has NEVER been a snake with the ability to talk ‑‑ not then and not now, nor at any time in the foreseeable future. They simply cannot do so.

    They do not even have any vocal cords. Oh some will say what about the ass which spoke to Balaam. Well let's look at it for just a moment.

    "And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ASS, and went with the princes of Moab. And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the Angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ASS, and his two servants were with him. And the ASS saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way..." (Num. 22:21‑23)

    (36) According to Strong's Concordance the word "ass" or "attuwn" #860 which is the same as "eythan" or "ethan" which means: "from an unused root (mean, to continue); permanence; hence (coner) permanent; spec. A CHIEFTAIN: ‑‑ hard, mighty, rough, strength, strong."

    (37) So Balaam was riding upon a strong Chieftain. Not a Jackass as we know. We also find that the word "ass" can also mean a #2544 "chamowr" or "Canaanite." As black men were used to carry burdens and people in ancient times; and some of the Canaanites were black, it is quite possible that Balaam was being carried by a strong black Canaanite Chieftain. Which would explain the "ass'" ability to talk.

    (38) Now if we are going to attribute the talking in Genesis Chapter Three of a snake, then it would appear that in this respect Satan has more power than God in that he was able to make a serpent, who has no vocal cords, nor any organs capable of making or forming words, speak.

    (39) The fourth thing about this serpent, was his gift of reason; which is expressed by his statement "...hath God said." That's reasoning. That's questioning. That's showing an ability to think, to reason. Thus, the serpent had four attributes:

(1) He was wiser {more subtil} than any beast of the field,

(2) He could walk erect,

(3) He could speak, and

(4) He had the ability to think and to reason.

    (40) One does not find those things in snakes: Not then and not now. Those traits cannot be found in any animal or snake which has ever existed upon the face of the earth. They are found, only in what we call today, the humanoid species.

    (41) Then there is the problem of a snake or an ape coming up to Eve and speaking to her without her running away. It is simply more than we can accept. It could not, it did not happen that way. But he was, whatever he was, more cunning and wiser than any beast of the field. Or any other species of beast.

    (42) We can solve all these problems if we recognize that Adam and Eve were the first of the White Race {which we will explain later}. Which would not preclude the existence of other so‑called humanoids existing along with them. With this, the problem simply goes away. It does not exist any more, because it would make it possible for another humanoid to exist at the same time as Adam and Eve. This would also make it possible for someone to appear before Eve and not frighten her away. Because she has seen him before, and has probably talked to him before. It would not be a mystery to her, it would be no surprise either.

    (43) Suppose that Adam and Eve were the only two people in the whole world and Eve walks around a tree and there is someone there. And it's not Adam! What is she going to do. She is going to scream for Adam and tell him; Adam you are not going to believe what I have found. She would be concerned. No matter what it was, unless it was someone she had seen before.

    (44) Now if we assume that the serpent is another humanoid and not a snake, then the problem goes away. Because the other races of the world can walk, talk, think, reason and have wisdom.

    The only thing left is what does the word "subtil" mean. Once again let's turn to Strong's Concordance for an explanation. It is #6175 "aruwm" or "aw‑room" and means: cunning (usually in a bad sense), crafty, prudent, subtil. This word "aruwm" has been translated only one time as subtil (Genesis 3:1) and the other ten times it has been translated as crafty or prudent.

    (45) Webster's gives a little different spelling, it spells "subtil" as "subtle" and gives the following definitions:

(1) Thin, rare; tenuous; not dense or heavy [a subtle gas].

(2) a) Capable of making or noticing fine distinctions in meaning, etc. [a subtle thinker].

b) Marked by or requiring mental keenness [subtle reasoning].

(3) Delicately skillful or clever; deft or ingenious [a subtle filigree].

(4) Not open or direct; crafty; sly.

(5) Delicately suggestive; not grossly obvious [a subtle hint].

(6) Working insidiously; not easily detected [a subtle poison]. (New World     Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition, p. 1420‑21)

(46) Webster's 1828 Christian Dictionary gives the following:

(1) Thin; not dense or gross; as subtil air; subtil vapor; a subtil medium.

(2) Nice; fine; delicate. "I do distinguish plain Each subtil line of her immortal face."

(3) Acute; piercing; as subtil pain.

(4) Sly; artful; cunning; crafty; insinuating; as a subtil person; a subtil ADVERSARY.

(5) Planned by art; deceitful; as a subtil scheme.

(6) Deceitful; treacherous.

(7) Refined; fine, acute; as a subtil argument.

    (47) Had Eve come into an adversary situation. You bet your boots she did. She had met with a wise adversary; a deceitful and treacherous adversary.


          Holy War: Bullinger on the serpent of Genesis 3


          Mon, 04 Feb 2002 16:46:29 ‑0000


          "identitychristian" <[email protected]>


          [email protected]


          [email protected]


Taken from Appendix 19 of "The Companion Bible"

In Genesis 3 we have neither allegory, myth, legend, nor fable, but

literal historical facts set forth, and emphasized by the use of

certain Figures of speech (see Ap.6).

All the confusion of thought and conflicting exegesis have arise

from taking literally what is expressed by Figures, or from taking

figuratively what is literal.  A figure of speech is never used

except for the purpose of calling attention to, emphasizing, and

intensifying, the reality of the literal sense, and the truth of the

historical facts; so that, while the words employed may not be so

strictly true to the letter, they are all the historical events

connected with them.

But for the figurative language of verses 14 and 15 no one would

have thought of referring the third chapter of Genesis to a snake:

no more than he does when reading the third chapter from the end of

Revelation (ch. 20.2).  Indeed, the explanation added there, that

the "old serpent" is the Devil and Satan, would immediately lead one

to connect the word "old" with the earlier and former mention of the

serpent in Gen. 3: and the fact that it was Satan himself who

tempted "the second man", "the last Adam", would force the

conclusion that no other than the personal Satan could have been the

tempter of "the first man, Adam".

The Hebrew word rendered "serpent" in Gen. 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.

In the same way Saraph, in Isa.6.2,6, means a burning one, and,

because the serpents mentioned in Num. 21 were burning, in the

poison of their bite, they were called Saraphim, or Seraphs.

But when the Lord said unto Moses, "Make thee a fiery serpent" (Num.

21.8), He said, "Make thee a Saraph", and, in obeying this command,

we read in v.9, "Moses made a Nachash of brass".  Nachash is thus

used as a being interchangeable with Saraph.

Now, if Saraph is used of a serpent because its bite was burning,

and is also used of a celestial or spirit being (a burning one), why

should not Nachash be used of a serpent because its appearance was

shining, and be also used of a celestial or spirit being (a shining


Indeed, a reference to the structure of Gen. 3 (on p.7) will show

that the Cherubim (which are similar celestial of spirit beings) of

the verse (Gen.3.24) require a similar spirit being to correspond

with them in the first verse (for the structure of the whole chapter

is a great Introversion).  The Nachash, or serpent, who beguiled Eve

(2 Cor. 11.3) is spoken of as "an angel of light" in v.14.  Have we

not, in this, a clear intimation that it was not a snake, but a

glorious shining being, apparently as angel, to whom Eve paid such

great deference, acknowledging him as one who seemed to possess

superior knowledge, and who was evidently a being of a superior (not

of an inferior) order?  Moreover, in the description of Satan

as "the king of Tyre" it is distinctly implied that the latter being

was of a super‑natural order when he is called "a cherub" (Ezek.

28.14,16, read from v.11‑19).  His presence "in Eden, the garden

of `Elohim" (v.13), is also clearly stated, as well as his

being "perfect in his ways from the day he was created till iniquity

was found in him" (v.15), and as being "lifted up because of his

beauty" (v.17).

These all compel the belief that Satan was the shining one (Nachash)

in Gen. 3, and especially because the heart was lifted up because of

thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy

brightness: I will cast thee to the ground.  I will lay thee before

kings, that they may behold thee" (v.17).

Even supposing that these things were spoken to, and of, an exalted

human being in later days (in Ezek. 28), still "the king of Tyre" is

not compared to a being who was non‑existent; and facts and

circumstances which never happened are not introduced into the


There is more about "the king of Tyre" in Ezek. 28: 11‑19 that was

literally true of "the prince of Tyre" (v. 1‑10).  The words can be

understood only of the mightiest and most exalted supernatural being

that God ever created; and this for the purpose of showing how great

would be his fall.  The history must be true to make the prophecy of

any weight.

Again, the word rendered "subtle" in Gen. 3.1 (see note) means wise,

in a good sense as well as in a bad sense.  In Ezek. 28.12 we have

the good sense, "Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom"; and the

bad sense in v.17, "thou hast corrupted thy wisdom" (referring, of

course, to his fall).  So the word rendered "subtle" is

rendered "prudent" in Prov. 1.4; 8.12; 12.23; 14.8; and in a bad

sense in Job 15.5. 1 Sam.23.22 Ps.83.3.

The word "beast" also, in Gen. 3.1 chay, denotes a living being, and

it is as wrong to translate zoa "beasts" in Rev. 4, as it is to

translate chay "beast" in Gen.3.  Both mean living creatures.  Satan

is thus spoken of as a 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


We cannot conceive Eve as holding converse with a snake, but we can

understand her being fascinated by one, apparently "an angel of

light" (i.e. a glorious angel), possessing superior and supernatural


When Satan is spoken of as a "serpent", it is the figure

Hypocatastasis (see Ap.6) or Implication; it no more means a snake

than it does when Dan is so called in Gen. 49. 17; or an animal when

Nero is called a "lion" (2 Tim.4.17), or when Herod is called

a "fox" (Luke 13.32); or when Judah is called "a lion's whelp".  It

is the same figure when "doctrine" is called "leaven" (Matt.16.6).

It shows that something much more real and truer to truth is

intended.  If a Figure of speech is thus employed, it is for the

purpose of expressing the truth more impressively; and is intended

to be a figure of something much more real than the letter of the


Other Figures of speech are used in v. 14,15, but only for the same

purpose of emphasizing the truth and the reality of what is said.

When it is said in v. 15, "thou shalt bruise His heel", it cannot

mean His literal heel of flesh and blood, but suffering, more

temporary in character.  When it is said (v.15), "He shall crush",

it means something more than a skull of bone, and brain, and hair.

It means that all Satan's plans and plots, policy and purposes, will

one day be finally crushed and ended, never more to mar or to hinder

the purposes of God.  This will be effected when Satan shall be

bruised under our feet (Rom. 16.20).  This, again, will not be out

literal feet, but something much more real.

The bruising of Christ's heel is the most eloquent and impressive

way of foretelling the most solemn events; and to point out that the

effort made by Satan to evade his doom, then threatened, would

become the very means of insuring its accomplishment; for it was

through the death of Christ that he who had the power of death would

be destroyed; and all Satan's power and policy brought to an end,

and all his works destroyed (Heb.2.14. 1 John 3.8.  Rev.20.1‑3,10).

What literal words could portray these literal facts so wonderfully

as these expressive Figures of speech?

It is the same with the other Figures used in v.14, "On thy belly

shalt thou go".  This Figure means infinitely more than the literal

belly of flesh and blood; just as the words "heel" and "head" do in

v.15. It points for the eyes of our mind the picture of Satan's

ultimate humiliation; for prostration was ever the most eloquent

sign of subjection.  When it is said "our belly cleaveth unto the

ground" (Ps.44.25), it denotes such a prolonged prostration and

such depth of submission as could never be conveyed or expressed in

literal words.

So with the other prophecy, "Dust shalt thou eat".  This is not true

to the letter, or to fact, but it is all the more true to truth.  It

tells of constant, continuous disappointment, failure, and

mortification; as when deceitful ways are spoken of as feeding on

deceitful food, which is "sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth

shall be filled with gravel" (Prov.20.17).  This does not

literal "gravel", but something far more disagreeable.  It means

disappointment so great that it would gladly be exchanged for the

literal "gravel".  So when Christians are rebuked for "biting and

devouring one another" (Gal. 3.14,15), something more heart breaking

is meant than the literal words used in the Figure.

When "His enemies shall lick the dust" (Ps.72.9) they will not do it

on their knees with their literal tounges; but they will be so

prostrated and so utterly defeated, that no words could literally

depict their overthrow and subjugation.

If a serpent was afterward called a nachash, it was because it was

more shining than any other creature; and if it became known

as "wise", it was not because of its own innate positive knowledge,

but of its wisdom in hiding away from all observation; and because

of its association with one of the names of Satan (that old serpent)

who "beguiled Eve" (2 Cor.11.3,14).

It is wonderful how a snake could ever be supposed to speak without

the organs of speech, or that Satan should be supposed able to

accomplish so great a miracle.

It only shows the power of tradition, which has, from the infancy of

each one of us, put before our eyes and written on our minds the

picture of a "snake" and an "apple": the former based on a wrong

interpretation, and the latter being a pure invention, bout which

there is not one word said in Holy Scripture.

Never was Satan's wisdom so craftily used as when he secured

universal acceptance of this traditional believe: for it has

succeeded in fixing the attention of mankind on the letter and the

means, and thus blinding the eyes to the solemn fact that the Fall

of man had to do solely with the Word of God, and is centered in the

sin of believing Satan's lie instead of Jehovah's truth.

The temptation of "the first man Adam" began with the question "Hath

God said?"  The temptation of "the second man, the Lord from heaven"

began with the similar question "If Thou be the Son of God", when

the voice of the Father had scarcely died away, which said "This IS

My beloved Son".

All turned on the truth of what Jehovah had said.

The Word of God being questioned, led Eve, in her reply, (1) to omit

the word "freely" (3.2,cp.2.16); then (2) to add the words "neither

shalt thou touch it" (3.3, cp.2.17); and finally (3) to alter a

certainty into a contingency by changing "thou SHALT SURELY die"

(2.17) into "LEST ye die" (3.3).

It is not without significance that the first Ministerial words

of "the second man" were "It is written", three times repeated; and

that His last Ministerial words contained a similar threefold

reference to the written Word of God (John 17. 8,14,17).

The formed temptation succeeded because the Word of God was three

times misrepresented; the latter temptation was successfully

defeated because the same Word was faithfully repeated.

The history of Gen. 3 is intended to teach us the fact that Satan's

sphere of activities is in the religious sphere, and not the spheres

of crime or immorality; that his battlefield is not the sins arising

from human depravity, but the unbelief of the human heart.  We are

not to look for Satan's activities today in the newspaper press, or

the police courts; but in the pulpit, and in professors' chairs.

Wherever the Word of God is called in question, there we see the

trail of "that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan".  This is

why anything against the true interests of the Word of God (as being

such) finds a ready admission into the newspapers of the world, and

is treated as "general literature".  This is why anything in favour

of its inspiration and Divine origin and its spiritual truth is

rigidly excluded as being "controversial".

This is why Satan is quite content that the letter of Scripture

should be accepted in Gen. 3 as he himself accepted the letter of

Ps.91.11.  He himself could say "It is written" (Matt.4.6) so long

as the letter of that is conveyed by it; and so long as it is

misquoted or misapplied.

This is his object in perpetuating the traditions of the "snake" and

the "apple", because it ministers to the acceptance of his lie, the

hiding of God's truth, the support of traditions, the jeers of the

infidel, the opposition of the critics, and stumbling of the weak in


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Reference Materials