Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):
What is the Devil like?
The Man-Eaters of Tsavo!
The lions of Tsavo struck fear in the hearts of the workers on the Trans-Uganda Railway; as they silently snatched sleeping victims from their tents and dragged them off into the jungle. Like Satan the Devil -- so it seems -- once a lion has tasted human flesh he is seized with an uncontrollable desire for more, and will not be stopped until he is caught and slain. All Christians should take note of the tremendous parallels in this account of the man-eaters that stalked the railway camps in the late 1800s.
by HOIM Staff
The truth about the Devil was vividly impressed on my mind during a safari I was privileged to take to Kenya, in East Africa.
During our trip, we saw many lions, elephants, zebras, gnus, and other plains animals. But one experience in particular I will always remember.
We were encamped in tents for one night on the banks of the Athi River, in Tsavo East National Park. It was an idyllic scene, that evening, with a shining full moon. I had just returned to my tent, escorted by a 70-year-old Masai warrior who grinned at me through his snaggle toothed smile, and grunted, "Simba! Simba!" and shook his spear meaningful.
I couldn't help but wonder -- of what use is one old Masai warrior against the depredations of a real man-eating lion, if one should attack our camp? Could he protect any of us -- there were about thirty of us in camp -- or even himself with just one six and a half foot spear?
Earlier that evening a Canadian friend and I had wandered a short distance away from the camp site, to the end of the dirt airstrip which terminated in some underbrush down by the edge of the river. As we neared the end of the strip, several geese honked, and suddenly flew away from the edge of the brush and clattered noisily.
I paused. I thought I heard a strange sound coming from the bush just thirty feet in front of us. It was a loud panting, sigh -- almost like an asthmatic breathing very heavily through huge lungs. I had never before heard such a sound, but not feeling particularly brave on foot, we turned about and retraced our steps back to camp. Upon inquiry at the office, I was told plainly, "You should be careful. Do not stray away from the camp. There is a lion in residence here, who roams the outskirts of the camp, especially at night." But I was assured, "There is no cause for worry. He has been here a long time."
Nevertheless, that night, after I tucked myself into bed, I couldn't help but be very attuned to the sounds of the bush. As I lay there, I could hear that same panting, heavy breathing sound coming from just outside my tent. Then there was a crackle of brush, and the sound of an animal scurrying about. Had the Masai, who made his rounds at night, flushed the lion who scampered into the dark recesses and shadows? Was he playing cat and mouse with him? What would I do if suddenly that lion took a notion to launch himself upon my hapless tent?
As these questions sauntered through my mind, I remained fitfully awake, praying earnestly for protection and sleep. And I thought about the man-eaters of Tsavo...
The Trans-Uganda Railway
It was the year 1898, the same year as the Spanish American War. Theodore Roosevelt was then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, soon to be elected Vice-President, and shortly to rise to the Presidency of the United States upon the assassination of William McKinley. Great Britain was at the summer's zenith of her Empire. At that time the British decided, for reasons of trade and development, to build a railroad from Mombasa, a seaport on the southeastern coast of Kenya, about 100 miles below the equator, to Lake Victoria, Uganda. Later historians would sometimes refer to this project as "the lunatic line," for why would anybody want to build a railroad across such desolate country at frightful expense?
In March of 1898 Colonel J. H. Patterson was appointed to take charge of construction, and journeyed to the railhead to begin building a bridge across the Tsavo River. The engineering problems alone were monumental, as well as the logistics of obtaining enough food, water and supplies for the several thousand workers, most of them East Indians, who were hired to lay the tracks. Several times Colonel Patterson almost lost his life to the insidious intrigues of the workers, who thought he drove them too hard, who wanted to sluff off, malinger, and who demanded more money.
The worst problem, however, was not of human origin -- it was the man-eating lions. It seems once a lion gets the taste of human flesh, he wants nothing else. Although lions will generally eat almost anything -- from elephant flesh to that of zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, impalas, warthogs, or what have you, once they taste the tender human flesh it becomes the piece de resistance. They don't have to contend with a rough sinewy hide.
The problem began when a fine powerful Sikh named Ungan Singh was seized in his tent during the night, and dragged off and eaten.
Patterson, who had been skeptical of the rumors that man eating lions were prowling the countryside, investigated the death of his jemadar. He was soon convinced that the man had indeed been eaten by a lion, as its "pug" marks were plainly visible in the sand, and the furrows made by the heels of the victim were very evident. In addition, six other workmen shared the tent with Ungan Singh, and one of them had actually witnessed the scene. He related that at midnight the lion had suddenly put its head inside the tent door, seized the jemadar by the throat, and dragged him out of the tent.
"Choro!" ("Let go!") the poor fellow cried out and threw his arms around the lion's neck. Those were the last words he ever spoke.
Colonel Patterson set out to track down the animal, and soon came upon the spot where the man-eater had finished his meal. The ground all around was covered with blood and morsels of flesh and bones, with the victim's head left intact somehow, with the holes from the lion's tusks still gaping from his skull. The eyes were staring wide eyed, with a startled, horrified look in them. This was the beginning of a tragedy which almost caused the termination of efforts to build the Trans-Ugandan railway. Before the story would come to its end, twenty eight workers, including rangers, police, and railroad officials, would succumb to the predations of the cunning man-eaters, besides scores of natives. At several junctures, out of sheer panic, the workers would go on strike and refuse to work any more, or would quit and drop their tools and scurry back to Mombasa and safety.
The following night the man-eaters struck again. Although Patterson sat up in a tree all night near the remains of his jemadar, hoping the lion would return, his hopes were rudely shattered. Several hours later he heard all at once a great uproar and frenzied cries coming from another camp about half a mile away. Another victim had been seized and dragged off into the night.
The next night Colonel Patterson took up his post in a suitable tree near the tent of the poor fellow who had recently made a meal for the lion, and had a goat tied below to the tree, hoping thus to entice the lion to return to the scene of his crime. About midnight he once again heard the screams and cries of yet another victim -- his heartrending shrieks knifing through the air. The lions seemed to have the uncanny ability to avoid any traps Patterson might set. They ranged up and down the railroad, a distance of eight miles, seizing victims from the various camps scattered up and down the line.
Exasperated, Patterson wrote, "As their tactics seemed to be to break into a different camp each night, it was most difficult to forestall them. They almost appeared, too, to have an extraordinary and uncanny faculty of finding out our plans beforehand, so that no matter in how likely or how tempting a spot we lay in wait for them, they invariably avoided that particular place and seized their victim for the night from some other camp."
To protect the workers and coolies from the ferocious ravages of the man-eaters, bomas or thick thorn fences were constructed around each camp site, about seventy yards in diameter, thick and very high. A bright fire was kept up throughout the night. Nevertheless, although these precautions helped prevent panic among the workers, they eventually proved inadequate. The lions managed to jump over or break through these bomas seemingly with impunity and disdain. Every few nights another man was carried off to a grisly death.
The lions one night attacked the hospital camp, and jumped over the newly erected fence. One lion managed to get its head in below a canvass tent side, seized the water carrier by the foot, and began dragging him out. Shrieking in desperation, the poor man grabbed hold of a heavy box, and when that was dragged with him, he clutched on to the tent ropes, but the lion kept tugging at him until the tent rope broke and he got his victim clear of the tent. Then he sprang at his throat, shook him like a rag doll, and silenced the poor man's wails and moans forever. The brute then seized him in his mouth like a huge cat with a mouse, and ran up and down the boma looking for a weak spot to break through to freedom. The next day Patterson found the remains -- four hundred yards away. Very little was left -- only the skull, jaws, a few of the larger bones, and one palm with one or two fingers attached.
Colonel Patterson later wrote of his experience: "In the whole of my life I have never experienced anything more nerve shaking than to hear the deep roars of these dreadful monsters growing gradually nearer and nearer, and to know that someone or other of us was doomed to be their victim before morning dawned. Once they reached the vicinity of the camps, the roars completely ceased, and we knew that they were stalking for their prey. Shouts would then pass from camp to camp, "Khabar dar, bhaieon, shaitan ata" ("Beware, brothers, the devil is coming"), but the warning cries would prove of no avail, and sooner or later agonizing shrieks would break the silence and another man would be missing from roll call next morning."
One night the familiar terror-stricken cries and screams awoke the camps, and everybody knew that the "demons" had returned, Patterson recounted. In the middle of the night one of the brutes was discovered forcing its way in through a weak spot in the boma. Even though the alarm was given, and firebrands were hurled at the intruder, the lion burst into the midst of the group, seized another unfortunate victim, and dragged him off through the thick thorn boma, ignoring the shouts and cries of his companions. Outside the fence he was joined by a second lion and they nonchalantly devoured their victim within thirty yards of the tent where he had been seized. Although the jemadar of the gang fired several shots with a rifle in the direction of the lions, they simply ignored him. They didn't move until their horrible meal was finished.
Every night Patterson tried to scout the location of the lions, or trap them, but to no avail. He admitted, "I was naturally very disheartened at being foiled in this way night after night, and was soon at my wits' end to know what to do; it seemed as if the lions were really 'devils' after all and bore a charmed life." Tracking them through the jungle was a hopeless task, fraught with incredible risk. But to keep up the spirits of the employees, he knew he had to do something, so he spent many a weary day crawling on his hands and knees through the dense undergrowth. On these expeditions he realized the odds all lay in favor of the lions. If he had chanced to come upon them, it was much more likely that they would have added him to their list of victims rather than him succeeding in killing them.
One particularly bad night Patterson recalled with pain. "I have a very vivid recollection of one particular night when the brutes seized a man from the railway station and brought him close to my camp to devour. I could plainly hear them crunching the bones, and the sound of their dreadful purring filled the air and rang in my ears for days afterwards. The terrible thing was to feel so helpless; it was useless to attempt to go out, as of course the poor fellow was dead, and in addition it was so pitch dark as to make it impossible to see anything. Some half a dozen workmen, who lived in a small enclosure close to mine, became so terrified on hearing the lions at their meal that they shouted and implored me to allow them to come inside my boma. This I willingly did, but soon after wards I remembered that one man had been lying ill in their camp, and on making inquiry I found that they had callously left him behind alone. I immediately took some men with me to bring him to my boma, but on entering his tent I saw by the light of the lantern that the poor fellow was beyond the need of safety. He had died of shock at being deserted by his companions."
Matters continued to worsen. Whereas previously only one of the man-eaters had done the foraging for food, while the other waited behind in the bush, now both of them would enter the boma together, and each seize a victim and drag him off. Because of these terrors, work on the railroad soon came to a complete stop. For three weeks practically nothing was done, except to build "lion-proof" huts for the workmen who remained after hundreds had deserted. Some of these shelters were perched on top of water tanks, roofs, and girders -- anywhere for safety. Some even dug pits inside their tents, and covered them with heavy logs, and then slept in the safety of their pit. Others lashed their beds high up in good sized trees -- as many beds as the branches would bear.
"I remember that one night when the camp was attacked," Patterson recalls, "so many men swarmed on to one particular tree that down it came with a crash, hurling its terror stricken load of shrieking coolies close to the very lions they were trying to avoid. Fortunately for them, a victim had already been secured, and the brutes were too busy devouring him to pay attention to anything else."
Death of the Man-eaters
After one of his dismal failures at killing the beasts of prey, Colonel Patterson noted that the lions had only partially devoured a dead donkey. Suspecting they might return to finish off their dinner at a later time, he had his porters erect a staging some twelve feet high sitting on top of four poles lashed together, about ten feet from the body of the donkey. The poles were inclined toward each other at the top where a plank was lashed down as a seat. From this precarious, perilous perch he thought to spend the night, hoping for a shot at the man-eaters if they returned for the rest of their meal. There was no moon that night. The silence of the African jungle was palpable. Everything was extraordinarily still. Alone and still, his alert vigil gradually turned into a dreamlike state, a dreamy mood which harmonized with the surrounding tranquility.
Suddenly he was startled out of his dream by the snapping of a twig below. He listened acutely; but profound silence greeted his attention. He sat on his eyrie still as a statue, his body tense with excitement. Then a deep, long drawn sigh -- a "sure sign of hunger," just like the long drawn sigh I heard on the riverbank of the Tsavo safari camp -- came up from the bushes below. More rustling. Then silence. Cautious advance. Then sudden silence. Then an angry growl -- the lion had noted Patterson's presence!
Patterson relates, "Matters quickly took an unexpected turn. The hunter became the hunted; and instead of either making off or coming for the bait prepared for him, the lion began stealthily to stalk me! For about two hours he horrified me by slowly creeping round and round my crazy structure (even as a lion had crept round and round my tent!), gradually edging his way nearer and nearer. Every moment I expected him to rush it; and the staging had not been constructed with an eye to such a possibility. If one of the rather flimsy poles should break, or if the lion could spring the twelve feet which separated me from the ground...the thought was scarcely a pleasant one. I began to feel distinctly 'creepy' and heartily repented my folly in having placed myself in such a dangerous position. I kept perfectly still, however, hardly daring even to blink my eyes; but the long continued strain was telling on my nerves, and my feelings may be better imagined than described when about midnight suddenly something came flop and struck me on the back of the head. For a moment I was so terrified that I nearly fell off the plank, as I thought that the lion had sprung on me from behind. Regaining my senses in a second or two, I realized that I had been hit by nothing more formidable than an owl, which had doubtless mistaken me for the branch of a tree -- not a very alarming thing to happen in ordinary circumstances, I admit, but coming at the time it did, it almost paralyzed me. The involuntary start which I could not help giving was immediately answered by a sinister growl from below.
"After this I again kept as still as I could, though absolutely trembling with excitement; and in a short while I heard the lion begin to creep stealthily towards me. I could barely make out his form as he crouched among the whitish undergrowth; but I saw enough for my purpose, and before he could come any nearer, I took careful aim and pulled the trigger. The sound of the shot was at once followed by a most terrific roar, and then I could hear him leaping about in all directions. I was no longer able to see him, however, as his first bound had taken him into the thick bush; but to make assurance doubly sure, I kept blazing away in the direction in which I heard him plunging about. At length came a series of mighty groans, gradually subsiding into deep sighs, and finally ceasing altogether; and I felt convinced that one of the 'devils' who had so long harried us would trouble us no more."
Patterson was right. As soon as he ceased firing, a babble of excited voices came from across the glade from his camp about a quarter mile away. He shouted back that he was safe, and that one of the lions was dead. Upon hearing that news, a terrific shout, a mighty cheer, erupted from all the camps, deafening the jungle and quailing animals for miles around. Shortly scores of lights came twinkling through the brush. Every man in camp came out, tom toms split the night air, and horns were blown, as men came running to the scene.
Upon arriving at the eyrie, the most amazing thing happened. Suddenly they prostrated themselves on the ground, and shouted and saluted Colonel Patterson with cries of, "Mabarak! Mabarak!" Translated, that means "Blessed one," or "Savior!"
In triumph they all returned to the camp, and great rejoicing followed for the rest of the night, with the Swahili and other African natives celebrating the event with wild and savage dancing. The next morning they found the body of the ferocious man-eater, measuring nine feet eight inches and standing three and one half feet high. It took eight men to carry him back to camp.
The second man-eater was killed not long afterwards, also by Colonel Patterson. This time he put up a very strong scaffolding a few feet away from some dead goats, hoping again that the lion would return to finish his meal. His patience was rewarded, and just when he was about to doze off his bearer Mahina pointed toward the goats and whispered excitedly, "Sher!" ("Lion!")
Patterson grasped his double smoothbore, which was charged with slugs, and fired both barrels practically together into the lion's shoulder. The lion was wounded, but managed to slink off into the brush and make his escape.
Ten days later the lion reappeared, in camp, and tried to attack the men who were sleeping in a tree. Patterson fired a few rounds, and the next morning they found pug marks all around the tree, and leading into a tent, which, fortunately, had been empty at the time. The next night Patterson climbed the tree, hoping the lion would return. He was not to be disappointed. He fancied he saw some slight movement off in the low bushes. Fascinated, he saw the second man-eater cautiously stalking him and Mahina, stealing stealthily around them, taking advantage of every bit of cover. When he was but twenty yards away, Patterson blasted him with his .303 aimed at his chest. As the lion made off with great long bounds, he fired three more shots at him, the last one having further telling effect.
The next morning, Patterson stalked the man-eater, and a quarter mile from the tree they heard a fierce growling immediately before them, coming from a thick jungle. Peering cautiously through the bushes, he could see the man-eater glaring in his direction, his lips peeled back in an angry snarl. At once Patterson took aim and fired again. The lion sprang out and charged. Patterson fired again and knocked him over, but in a second he was up again and charging once more as fast as he could in his crippled condition. A third shot had no effect, so Patterson reached toward Mahina to grab the Martini rifle, hoping to stop him with it.
But it wasn't there. The sudden charge of the lion had caused Mahina to bolt for cover, taking the other rifle with him.
At this point, seeing there was nothing else to do, Patterson also fled for his life and climbed the nearest tall tree. Were it not for the fact one of the lion's hind legs was broken, Patterson would surely have become the latest of its human victims. As it was, he barely managed to swing himself up into a tree before the lion arrived at its base. Fortunately, Mahina was in the same tree, and Patterson took the carbine and snapped off one final shot as the lion limped back to the thicket. He fell over and lay motionless.
Patterson, elated, jumped down, scrambled out of the tree and over to the prostrate lion. To his chagrin and immediate alarm, the lion once again jumped up and charged at him! This time, however, two more bullets in his chest and head caused him to drop in his tracks just five yards from his quarry, and he died biting savagely at a branch which had fallen to the ground.
From that point on the railroad workers slept easily, secure in the knowledge that the man-eaters had been destroyed. Their sleep was peaceful and calm....
As I lay in my tent, fitfully trying to sleep, listening intently for the sound of the lion outside prowling and sometimes scampering around, my mind raced to the recollection that early that same year a man-eater had attacked two Samburu tribesmen guarding their cattle herd, and had devoured both of them.
My mind also recalled from the Bible how Samson had dispatched a lion with his bare hands, and David as a young lad had killed a lion attacking his flock. But, as I lay there, motionless, I told YEHOVAH God very pointedly and plainly that I wasn't David -- or Samson! I needed His protection, for if a lion attacked me, I could just hear him savoring my flesh, crunching my bones, relishing his meal. I am not the young, athletic type with muscles of steel and sinews of brass and the agility of an antelope. I couldn't even run very fast any more! All I could do would be to take refuge under the bed!
As I lay there, my mind alert and tense, I told YEHOVAH God that in faith I believed He would not allow that lion to attack, that He would protect me -- and if He did, if it was His will, I would write about the experience, as it seemed a singularly appropriate thing to do. I thought vividly of the fact that as Christians, our adversary is compared to a roaring, hungry lion, stalking whomsoever he may devour!
Our Adversary the Devil
The cunning man-eaters of Tsavo, who terrorized the builders of the Mombasa-Lake Victoria railroad in 1898, were in effect a type of that roaring lion the devil, Satan himself. It was interesting to read how the workers actually called those lions "Shaitan," their word for Satan.
Like those lions, Satan our adversary is cunning, and operates on the stealth principle. He attempts to sneak up on Christians and catch them while they are dozing, or off their guard.
The apostle Peter warned us plainly: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world" (I Peter 5:8-9).
When a lion is hungry, it roars loudly its hunger. But when it picks out its victim, from a herd, it becomes painfully quiet, stealthy, and crouches through the brush taking advantage of every bit of camouflage and cover until it is close enough to attack! Then it springs, and bounds, racing towards its prey, and when it is close enough it propels itself through the air toward the victim's throat. Usually the fight is very brief, and another impala, hartebeest, zebra, or gnu has bit the dust.
While in Kenya, I was fortunate to get footage of a lion actually attacking a gnu or wildebeest. It took place right before our very eyes, at the Amboseli Game Park. Although I saw 36 lions in Kenya, besides a leopard, three cheetah and hundreds and thousands of water buffalo, gnus, zebras, impalas and elephants, there was nothing so fascinating as seeing that lion, just fifteen to twenty feet away from us, begin its stalking of a wildebeest, a part of a herd about 200 yards away.
Crouching in the tall grass, moving quietly and smoothly through the brush for about fifty yards, its shoulder muscles rippling and bunching, taut and sinewy, it moved silently toward its prey. And then suddenly it darted toward the herd, streaking toward its selected victim. Unfortunately for the lion, the wildebeest herd, although at first panicked and milling in confusion, quickly began racing away and it missed its victim by a hair's breadth. The young wildebeest escaped with its life.
According to our guide, the lion is unsuccessful in his attack nine times out of ten. But every tenth charge ends in the death of his victim.
How like the Christian life, I thought. Satan the devil prowls about, seeking whom he may devour. He may launch attack after attack on us, but if we are alert, and on our guard, we can escape. YEHOVAH God gives us the strength and power to resist and overcome Satan, through the power of His holy spirit.
The apostle James wrote: "Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded" (James 4:5-8).
If we are to resist the attacks of the devil effectively, and to be safe, then we must know his wiles, his tactics. We must remember that our adversary, or enemy, is cunning, deceitful, clever, and tricky.
The devil will usually attack us where we are weakest. He will probe to discover our strengths and weaknesses, and then attack those weak spots in our character, or Christian armor.
Analyze yourself. What are your weaknesses? Where are you most easily tempted? Is it food? Money? Flattery and the adulation and respect of men? Is it the tendency to conform to the people around you? Is it sex? Is it some particular habit, such as smoking, which you seemingly just have not been able to muster the strength and will power to resist and conquer?
Do you have some besetting weakness?
The apostle Paul wrote to encourage us: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (I Cor. 10:13).
When you are beset by temptation or weakness, and the devil is trying to break through your defenses, then call upon YEHOVAH God for His divine help, strength and power to resist sin, to overcome those weaknesses and temptations. Resist the devil. Don't cave in. Repudiate the temptation. Don't cower in fear and cringe with fright. Steel yourself to resist and fight the temptation, with prayers and if necessary, fasting, to draw close to YEHOVAH God.
YEHOVAH will help you, if you call on Him. Paul writes, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
"Nay, in all these things WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:35-39).
How to Resist
When the devil, Satan, the man-eating lion tries to devour you, and have you for breakfast, lunch or dinner, how can you best resist him?
When Yeshua encountered the devil, after fasting for forty days and nights, while in a physically weakened state, He showed us how to defeat the devil.
Notice. The devil first struck at Yeshua where he was weakest. After fasting for forty days, he was very hungry. So the devil said: "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread" (Matt.4:3). In effect, the devil was doubting the Messiah's divinity. He was telling him, "Well, if you are who you say you are, then PROVE IT!"
But Yeshua didn't fall for this sucker punch. He was close to YEHOVAH God. His mind was filled with YEHOVAH's Word. He conquered the devil by turning to YEHOVAH's Word. He said: "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (v. 4).
With that thrust failing to dent theMessiah's armor, the devil tried another approach. He took him up to the pinnacle of the Temple, and said: "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" (Matt. 4:5-6).
What did the devil do in this case? Notice! He misquoted, Scripture! Compare what the devil actually said with YEHOVAH's actual promise in Psalm 91:9-12. The devil cunningly made a few "slight" alterations in the word of YEHOVAH God, the promise YEHOVAH made! He misapplied Scripture -- just like Churches of YEHOVAH God are doing today!
How often has the devil succeeded in misapplying Scripture to mislead the unwary and incautious! How often has he led people to destruction by this insidious and devious technique!
Be on your guard! Do not fall for this ancient and clever device of the devil. Satan has used this ploy ever since the days of Adam and Eve, when he asked Eve with seeming innocence, "Yea, hath God saith, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1). And after implanting this doubt, the devil went on to appeal to the woman's vanity and pride, calling YEHOVAH a selfish liar who didn't want her and Adam to become "as gods, knowing good and evil."
Be watchful of Satan's insidious lies. Yeshua warned us of him: "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" (John 8:44).
Notice -- Satan is a murderer -- a killer! He is literally a killer with the instincts of a wild and ferocious lion! He lusts to murder and to destroy. Although he may talk sweetly and cunningly, to put you off guard, his real intention is to make mincemeat of you -- to devour your flesh, and crunch your bones, and finish you off.
Again, Yeshua resisted and overcame Satan by the Word of YEHOVAH God. His answer to the devil's temptation was the essence of simplicity: "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" (Matt. 4:7).
Defeated once again, the devil tried one final maneuver to get at Yeshua. This was his piece de resistance. This was his final ultimate offer, his greatest temptation. He took Yeshua to the top of a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and said with ingratiating sweetness and syrupy sincerity: "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me" (v. 9).
Ahah! Now it was out in the open. Now the devil plainly admitted what he wanted Yeshua to do. If Yeshua had succumbed to this magnificent swelling promise, no doubt he would have lost both ways -- he would have lost his salvation, and not qualified to become our Savior, thus defeating the plan of YEHOVAH God -- and no doubt once the devil had him in his power, he would have lied to him and broken this great promise with cheerful abandon and cackling glee!
But Yeshua did not fall for this trick. Even though the promise would have meant he wouldn't have had to go through with the crucifixion, and the pain of being nailed to the tree, his resolution did not falter or flinch for one moment. He thrust aside this temptation, and commanded the devil: "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Matt. 5:10).
Notice that the devil did not say the Messiah would have to worship only him. Insidiously he implied that the Messiah could still worship the Father, too. But Yeshua knew better. He knew YEHOVAH's command that we only worship Him, and have no other gods at all! There is no room for two gods, or three or four. Only one God! All others are idols, and worship of other gods is nothing less than idolatry and cuts one off from the true God!
After this final encounter, attack, and riposte, the Devil slunk off defeated. Yeshua was the victor! And he won this incredible conflict by the Word of YEHOVAH God!
That is how we, also, can have the victory over the devil and his seductions. When the devil attempts to seduce you in to sin, transgression of YEHOVAH God's law of love and unity, summarized in the Ten Commandments which tell us how to love YEHOVAH God and how to love our neighbor, you can defeat him with the power of the Word of YEHOVAH God.
Remember, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12).
Your Christian Defenses
In battling that roaring lion, the devil, heed carefully the admonition and battle instructions of the apostle Paul, who tells us how to achieve victory.
Says Paul: "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the WHOLE ARMOUR OF GOD, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 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.
"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Notice. We are to stand and fight -- not turn tail and run away from the devil. We are to resist -- not run like rabbits.
We are to put on spiritual armor. Our loins are to be girt with truth ("Thy Word is truth", Yeshua said -- John 17:17), that is, the Word of YEHOVAH God. If our loins are girt with truth, then we will not be sinning with our loins. We will overcome lust with truth.
The breastplate of righteousness means keeping the commandments of YEHOVAH God, for "all thy commandments are righteousness" (Psalm 119:172).
Having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace means doing our part in YEHOVAH's Work of preaching the gospel as a warning witness to this evil world -- being faithful and zealous to finish and accomplish YEHOVAH's Work (see Matthew 24:14).
Above all, we must have the shield of faith. Not just our own faith, but the faith of Yeshua the Messiah dwelling within us. As Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).
Paul also pointed out this truth about faith: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).
Even the faith which saves us is a gift from YEHOVAH God. It is one of the fruits or gifts of His Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23) .
Faith is an essential ingredient of the Christian's battle dress, or armor. The apostle John declared: "And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (I John 5:4). Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, shows that it is by faith that the righteous men and women of old -- Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets -- received a good report and will inherit the promises, and receive salvation (Heb. 11:13, 39-40).
But as James shows, that living faith must be combined with and will be illustrated by and accompanied with good works, righteous deeds (Jas. 2:17, 20, 26).
The helmet of salvation -- we must protect our mind, guard our thoughts, in order to receive the promises. As Paul told the Corinthians: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing in to captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (11 Corinthians 10:3-5).
The final implement of our warfare, our major weapon of attack, is "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6: 17).
It is through YEHOVAH God's Word that we can assault the citadels of Satan, conquer this world and its temptations, scale the fortresses of the enemy, and put to flight the armies of the aliens -- Satan and his legions of demons.
With the power of the Spirit of YEHOVAH God, by staying close to YEHOVAH, and armed with His Word, we can say with the apostle Paul: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). That is, we can endure any trial, overcome any test or temptation, conquer any obstacle, which would stand in the way of serving Yeshua the Messiah and YEHOVAH God the Father, and thwart our entrance into the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God.
Onward Christian Soldiers
What about you?
Are you a good soldier of Yeshua the Messiah? Are you alert at your post, ears acutely attuned to every possible sound from the encroaching, stealthy foe?
Are you willing to "endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ"? (11 Tim. 2:3).
Are you marching forward, toward the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God, with your eyes riveted ahead?
Are you alert, keen, vigilant, not ignorant of Satan's devices, or stratagems and snares? (see 11 Cor. 2:11).
Remember the wise words of King Solomon: "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 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" (Proverbs 4:23-27).
Are you forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are in front of us, pressing onward toward the mark of our high calling in Messiah Yeshua (see Phil. 3:13-14)?
Certainly, as we approach the End of this Age, Satan the devil knows he has but a short time left. He is filled with fury and "great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Revelation 12:12). He is seeking to ensnare and devour and crunch the bones of YEHOVAH's people as never before!
But we can have complete confidence in Messiah Yeshua that our victory is assured, if we will resist the devil, remain steadfast in the faith, and keep on keeping on...to the Kingdom of YEHOVAH God!
Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!
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