The devil is a Liar

By David M. McNabb

Jesus gave us a little insight into the nature of the adversary, Satan, in John 8:44, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." Jesus said that there was no truth in the devil.

In the garden, Satan first said to the woman, "Yea, hath God said, 'Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?' " (Gen. 3:1). When Eve explained that they could freely eat of all of the trees of Eden, save the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, lest they die, the devil replied, "Ye shall not surely die: 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" (Gen. 3:4,5).

It is obvious that the devil lied to her about death, for their opportunity to obtain eternal life disappeared when they ate of the forbidden fruit, and the world became acquainted with sin and death. The lie of Satan, however, is not limited here to his words, "Ye shall not surely die."

Satan has had an agenda since, as the prophet Ezekiel recorded, "iniquity was found in him" (Ezek. 28:15). That agenda was declared by Lucifer himself, as we are told in Isaiah 14:13-14, "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.' " It has been his ultimate goal to usurp the authority of God, and to make himself God's equal.

With his wisdom and cunning, he convinced a third of the host of heaven to join with him in rebellion against the Most High, and after the attempted coup was thwarted, he and those that were with him were cast out of heaven.

God, having formed the heaven and the earth and all that in them is, put the finishing touches on His greatest creation: man. No other creature has such a description: "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them" (Gen. 1:27). What a snub to the adversary of God, who himself sought to be like the Creator. He was determined to ruin man's chances to abide in the presence of the Almighty.

So, we are given a stark contrast: Satan, in whom is no truth at all (John 8:44), and God, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2). As the Lord said by the prophet Balaam in Numbers 23:19, "God is not a man that He should lie."

The earth, then, is populated by two families: the children of God, and the children of the devil. As Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Ye are of your father the devil." Conversely, Peter (referring to Isa. 53) wrote that "Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile [deceit] found in his mouth" (1 Pet. 2:21-22).

Our Lord never lied. He would not lie to help a friend out of trouble, because He knew that it is the truth that makes one free indeed.

Like all mankind, Jesus was "in the image and likeness of God." But unlike all mankind, He never sinned, neither did He lie. Since He was a perfect representation of the Father in word and deed, He boldly declared, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9). The same could have been true of all of Adam's race, if he had not allowed deceit to enter into his mouth, for he had been created in God's image after His likeness, without sin: a perfect representation of God on earth.

Which brings us back to the conversation Eve had with the serpent in the garden. As I said, the lie of Satan was not limited to his words, "Ye shall not surely die." In fact, that was the least of his lies that day. The lie which enshrouded the very purpose of his visit to the woman that day is found in the words which followed. Satan said, "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." Ah, now we come to the crux of the matter. You see, Satan claimed to be looking out for man's best interest, trying to help man achieve that which he himself had failed to do: be like God. There are two problems inherent in this world-changing statement by the devil: first, it comes from Satan's perverted understanding of the nature of God, and second, it fails to address the true nature of man.

Let us look first at Satan's perverted understanding of the nature of God. There are two elements in Satan's lie that reveal his convoluted viewpoint with regards to God's nature. First, the devil implies that God desires to keep man ignorant. As you recall, Jesus was a perfect reflection of God's nature. As Paul said, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9). Well, what did Jesus say to His disciples, "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you" (John 15:15-16). Again, Paul said that in Jesus "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself" (Eph. 1:7-9). In direct contradiction of the lie of Satan, God would like nothing more, than that His people should be partakers of His infinite wisdom and knowledge. Paul displayed that very divine nature many times, as he said, "I would not have you to be ignorant."

The second element in the skewed understanding of God's nature is in the last part of Satan's first lie to mankind, "ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." This lie has been eagerly embraced by eastern religions, but maybe best expressed in the idea of the "yin" and "yang." This is the philosophy that good and evil are as inherent in nature as male and female, positive and negative, etc. The Bible flatly denies this premise. Satan is a liar, and there is no truth in Him. God, on the other hand, cannot lie. John said, "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5).

Once the kingdom of God is established, we are told that "there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 22:5). The truth is, you can have good without any evil at all.

Knowing good and evil does not make you more like God. The fact is that man was more like God when he had no knowledge of evil! Who was it that was allowed to enter the promised land? "Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it" (Deut. 1:39).

Innocence, you see, is not ignorance. Satan desperately wants to steal our innocence, and has made a concerted effort in these last days to rob our children of it as well. "Naivete" and "prudence" are words spoken with great disdain by the world today, but are virtues in the eyes of God.

Now look at the second problem with Satan's big lie. He told them that they "would be as gods." The underlying problem with this premise is, simply put, they were already like God! The Bible says that man was created by God in His image, after His likeness. He had already attained God-likeness, a truth that Satan, prideful and jealous as he is, had to undermine. He convinced Eve, who later shared with Adam, that they could improve on what God had already seen to be "very good."

Still today, man is busy trying to figure out who he is and why he is here. The reason for this confusion is that Satan hid that knowledge with the deceitful, simple phrase, "Ye shall be as gods." Once we reject the lies of Satan, and reconcile with our Heavenly Father by repenting of our sins and accepting Jesus' perfect sacrifice on the cross, then we can come to grips with our very intended nature: to be sons and daughters of God, expressing His truth.

That is our calling today. There is a litmus test for determining which family you belong to: the family of God, or the family of the devil. When God looks over His creation, He can easily spot His own. This test is found in Isaiah 63:8, "Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour."

Therefore, let it be ever said of us, as John said of the saints to whom he wrote his third epistle, "For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (3 John 1:3-4).

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