Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #248 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 2nd Corinthians 11 today and our focus is on Satan Disguised as an Angel of Light?! + Qualifications of a Great Spiritual Leader. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
What makes for a great spiritual leader? A strong speaking ability? The kind of charisma and presence that people want to follow? Bulging biceps, and the ability to speak interesting messages in an excellent and creative way? Strong fundraising ability? Excellent management and CEO skills? Some of those are definitely assets for a leader, but we see in 2nd Corinthians 11, what Paul considers his qualifications for leadership, and they are far away from what we might expect:
24 Five times I received the forty lashes minus one from the Jews. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea. 26 On frequent journeys, I faced dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, and dangers among false brothers; 27 toil and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and without clothing. 28 Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? 2nd Corinthians 11:24-29
This passage shows the heart and life of a real, mature and powerful spiritual leader. Paul suffered greatly for the mission of Jesus – spreading the gospel through strong troubles and trials, and it is this that he points to when he is telling the Corinthians that he is a legit messenger of Jesus. Sometimes, the greater the sufferings and trials endured, the greater the saint. What man esteems may not always be the same as what God esteems.
Second topic – Satan as an angel of light. As near as I can tell, this is ONE of only TWO passages in which Satan is somehow compared or associated with angels. Here’s what Paul says:
13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 2nd Corinthians 11:13-14
here’s the other passage:
7 Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels also fought, 8 but he could not prevail, and there was no place for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was thrown out—the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the one who deceives the whole world. He was thrown to earth, and his angels with him. Revelation 12:7-9
So Satan HAS angels, and Satan disguises himself as an angel, but is Satan himself a “fallen angel?” Well, that depends on how we define “angel.” Ezekiel 28 seems to be a description of the fall of Satan from Heaven, as we have discussed before. If that is accurate, and I believe it is, then we see Satan described as a “cherub” in vs. 14
You were an anointed guardian cherub, for I had appointed you. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the fiery stones. Ezekiel 28:14
Are cherubim angels? This is a great question, and the answer is not directly found in the Bible. However, the word “cherub” does appear in one form or another about 70 times in the Bible, and I can find no connection between cherubim and angels. Angels are never described as winged creatures, but cherubim are. Angels are often described as having a very human-like appearance, but cherubim are described with some human features and some animal features. That said, the fact is that the Bible never really tells us exactly what an angel, cherubim, or seraphim are. It could be that they are all angels with different names and features, and it could be that they are all different kinds of heavenly creatures, which is my best guess. Of greater importance than the mere taxonomy of heavenly creatures is the fact that Satan is a disguiser – a secret agent of sorts – and he pretends to be a good guy – an ultimate good guy – an angel of light. What does this mean?
I am first reminded here of the angel Maroni – whom the Mormons/LDS believe brought Joseph Smith new revelation and added Scripture to the Bible. Could this Maroni be some sort of manifestation of the devil disguised as an angel of light? That is certainly a possibility – especially given that Maroni gave to Smith a gospel and truth that was DIFFERENT in many ways than the truth of the New Testament…which is a great spiritual danger, considering what the apostle Paul said about receiving different truth from an angel:
6 I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! 9 As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him! Galatians 1:6-9
So – this is quite significant. If somebody brings a different gospel – even if it is an angel – than that one is accursed, and that seems exactly like something that Satan would do. What does all of this have to do with the false teachers/false apostles that Paul was wrestling against in Corinth? Here is Dr. Sam Storms with a great answer to that question and a warning to us about the dangers of false teachers:
These men claim to be genuine apostles (v. 13b), men who serve Christ and are deserving of the authority which that exalted office entails. But Paul labels them “false apostles”, impostors, intruders, interlopers who consciously serve themselves and unwittingly do the Devil’s dirty work.
They were false for reasons already articulated in 2 Corinthians. They preached “another Jesus” and a “different spirit” and a gospel “different” from the one Paul proclaimed (11:4). They are false because they failed in every respect to reflect the character of Christ (10:1; 13:4). They are false because they employed cunning and deceit to achieve their goals (11:13). They are false because Christ had not commissioned them, as he had Paul (1:1). They are false because they did not serve God’s people but oppressed and abused them (11:20). They are false because they diluted the truth and peddled the gospel for personal gain (2:17). They are false because they trespassed on foreign ground, where Paul had been assigned to minister (10:14–16). They are false because, as “deceitful workmen” (11:13), they misrepresented themselves, as well as their motivation and goals, and ultimately labored to lead people away from the truth of the sufficiency of righteousness through faith in Christ alone.
The presence of such false apostles is dangerous and disappointing, but it is not a surprise. Satan, whose ministers they are (whether consciously or not), regularly disguises himself and his tactics, assuming the guise of an angel of light.
Sam Storms, Biblical Studies: Meditations on 2 Corinthians (Edmond, OK: Sam Storms, 2016), 2 Co 11:13–15.
Let’s read our passage.
Bible Memory verses for the month of September: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2nd Timothy 3:16-17
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