The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
Angels of Evil?
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)
The Evil Inclination
There are numerous texts about the Yetzer HaRa (the Evil Inclination, aka “Satan”) in the Jewish Talmud. The Jewish sages were in no way monolithic in their understanding of the source of our human capacity to do evil. They all agreed that humans are born with it. Here are a number of selections which present proof texts for this.
Fallen Angels: The Rabbis: Talmud And Midrash
Turning from the Fathers of the Church to the Fathers of the Synagogue, we encounter an entirely different kind of literature, with entirely different problems. The Talmud comes from the same period as the writings of the Church Fathers and dea1s with some of the same issues. Talmudic literature, like patristic literature, is largely an exposition of authoritative Scripture. But there the resemblance ends.
A Conversation Between the Good and Evil Inclinations
Joanne Greenberg (1932–) is best known for writing Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1964), a groundbreaking, fictional representation of a teenage girl’s recovery from schizophrenia, based on the therapeutic relationship between Greenberg and Frieda Fromm-Reichmann; the novel was recently re-issued with a new after-word. In addition to writing daily, Greenberg, who is Jewish, teaches writing, ethics, and anthropology at the Colorado School of Mines. This conversation with Gail Berkeley Sherman took place at Greenberg’s home in August 2007 and provides an example of how the Judaic/rabbinic concept of two yetzers (i.e., an evil inclination and a good inclination within each of us) fits into the worldview of a Jew.
The Body of Moses
Yet Michael 1 the archangel 2, when contending with the devil 3 he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not 4 bring against him a railing accusation 5, but said, “The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 1:9)
The Temptation of Jesus (1957)
The narratives in Matthew 4 and Luke 4 are both put in the objective form.¹ “When the tempter came to him, he said . . . Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him . . . Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain...and saith unto him... Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan... Then the devil leaveth him...” and so on.
Diabolos in the Septuagint
H. H. also comments on this problem, which was considered on page 297 of the September 1956 Testimony.
Correspondence on Satan
Our articles on Satan¹ aroused considerable interest, and, as might be expected of an unorthodox point of view, a certain amount of criticism.
Wrested Scriptures: Symbolic Serpent or Literal? (Genesis 3:1)
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field . . .”
Wrested Scriptures: An Angelic Son of God? (Job 1:6)
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.”
Wrested Scriptures: Prince Sin (John 12:31, 14:30 & 16:11)
“Now shall the prince of this world be cast out.”
The Evil One: The Serpent in Eden
We are first referred to the garden of Eden. We read the account of the temptation and the fall. We ask where are we to find the popular devil in this transaction? We are directed to the tempter. We look at him. We find him a serpent—an animal. We say, “Here is the tempter, but where is the devil?” We are told the serpent was the devil in the shape of a serpent, or contained the devil who had taken possession of him. We ask for proof. There is none forthcoming except such as may be contained in an argument on the improbability of a serpent speaking unaided. The idea that the serpent was the popular devil in animal shape is perfectly gratuitous. It is unsupported by a single hint to this effect in the whole course of scripture. It is a pure piece of tradition. The only distinct allusion to the transaction in the scriptures discountenances the idea of “possession”. It is in Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians, 11:3, where, expressing his fears for the steadfastness of the believers under trial, he says, “I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ”. In this, Paul recognizes the serpent pure and simple as the tempter, his power to be which he attributes to “his subtlety”.