A VERSE FROM THE BIBLE

illustration for John Milton's Paradise Lost by Gustave Doré (1866).
illustration for John Milton’s Paradise Lost by Gustave Doré (1866).

Luke 10:18 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

Believe it or not, there are Bible scholars who tell us that Jesus never claimed to be God. If Jesus did not come from heaven, how did he see Satan’s fall?

27 thoughts on “A VERSE FROM THE BIBLE

      1. Whether jesus claimed to be god in the nt is not my difficulty. He certainly did in many places found in the gospels, mostly John but there are reasons for that.
        My point was, and I think I have you beat by experience and time studying and teaching the bible, this passage cannot be stretched to be one of those times. Hermeneutically and just a clear reading of the passage won’t support it.
        He’s speaking metaphorically. He’s not speaking of his deity here.

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        1. Actually, the passage has a double-meaning. In a literal sense, Jesus did see Satan fall from heaven, but some have taken this verse to mean that the ministry of the seventy had inflicted a defeat upon Satan. However, it is not that simple. After all, did He not also tell them this?

          Luke 10:19-20 New King James Version (NKJV)

          19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”.

          Did you note that Jesus said “I give you the authority”?

          And why did Jesus remind the seventy that He had seen Satan fall from heaven before?When Jesus walked the earth, He did not do so to glorify us. He had no interest in puffing up our pride. He walked this earth to glorify His Father. In addition to redeeming us, He showed us His example, so that we too could glorify His Father when we rejoice that our name are written in heaven.

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  1. I’ve seen shooting stars and lightning from the ground. There’s also the semantic issue of whether the passage means “I saw Satan fall from Heaven like lightning” or “I was in Heaven when I saw Satan fall like lightning.” In English, either interpretation would be accurate. I’ll have to ask my daughter about the Greek.

    In any event, I wouldn’t hang too much theology on this particular passage. More meaty is the author of the Book of John’s claim that In the beginning, the Word was with God and the Word was God. If Jesus is the Word, then there’s little ambiguity in that statement, although we can ask how the author of John was in a position to know this, particularly as the authors of the preceding Synoptic Gospels do not state this concept directly. But it is in the Book of John that Trinitarian Christianity finds its primary anchor, not just from the opening passage but from the Book’s accounts of some of Jesus’s statements

    Scout.

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    1. When we want to know about Jesus’ divinity, the Book of John is the place to go. That is the focus of that Gospel. Each Gospel has a different focus.

      • Matthew tells the story from the perspective of a Jew and highlights Jesus’ Jewish origin. This Gospel tells the story of the Messiah, the long-awaited King!
      • Mark presents Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection for a Roman audience. Mark presents Jesus as the decisive man of action.
      • Luke tells the story from the perspective of a Greek. This is the beautifully told story of the savior of humanity.
      • John tells the story from the perspective of the disciple whom Jesus loved. With uncomplicated elegance, John tells us how much Jesus — God — loves us.

      Nevertheless, all the Gospels make the case Jesus was God.

      Consider this example. Jesus could have been standing on the earth. Even as a human, I suppose He could have had some way to distinguish Satan from any old shooting star or lightning bolt. However, since Isaiah describes Satan’s fall (Lucifer in Isaiah 14), it doesn’t seem likely Jesus spoke those words to convey his humanity.

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  2. Jesus did claim to be God and all the Jews knew it. That is why they wanted him dead. Those same scholars who say Jesus never claimed deity generally say things like ,” the great sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was lack of hospitality.” Oh brother!

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  3. Good one Tom, short and packed with logic and hard to refute

    @ IB. I think you are correct. Remember the demons in Matthew 8? They asked Jesus why He was tormenting them before the time. They know their Scripture for sure. They just don’t know Him. Hmm..that sounds rather familiar!

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        1. Has anyone seen God? Not really. We have seen His creation. We know of the moral laws He placed in our heart; we know a longing for Him. We can read His Bible, and we know some saw His Son manifested in the flesh. But none that I know of has seen all there is to see of God.

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        2. Well, there’s always the “hands and hindquarters” business of Exodus:
          http://biblehub.com/ylt/exodus/33.htm

          Earlier in this same passage is reference to a discussion held between Moses and Jehovah “face to face” at the tent, or at least to the extent one can have a face to face conversation with a pillar of cloud. It seems clear that understanding the various interactions between such statements can be elusive.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

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        3. Exodus 33 is certainly the chapter relevant to this question. Here is the verse I was thinking of.

          Exodus 33:20 New King James Version (NKJV)

          20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”

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        4. Well, as an unapologetic papist with a ready made apology, I could argue I have seen God. But that wasn’t really the question. If understanding God or coming to know God is impossible, what is the point of Divine Revelation?

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        5. Sometimes I think the best way to answer a question is with questions. Here are a couple: (1) If Divine Revelation could give us a complete understanding of God (versus just a partial understanding), then what would be the purpose of faith? (2) If we are finite and God is infinitely complex, how can we comprehend God?

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        6. I can answer both. God revealed himself completely in the Scriptures. Man, due to concupiscence, is not able to fully comprehend Divine Revelation. But revelation is necessarily something that is revealed. Why? So that the one it is revealed to may know something. What is known from Divine Revelation? God.

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        7. To that all I can say is 1 Corinthians 13:12.

          Frankly, even with all of eternity ahead of us, I do not think we will ever fully know or understand our Creator. But trying to know and understand God sounds like it just might be a good way to spend eternity.

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        8. It is my bedtime. So I apologize, but I will have to be brief.

          1. God did not want the Israelites to have a king (1 Samuel 8). The people chose Saul. God chose David, and even David was far from perfect. From the perspective of government, things went downhill from there. Jesus, however, was born in David’s line.

          2. How we would ever institute a government based upon Divine Law I have no idea. Every attempt has backfired. When we already have a tendency to worship self, sex, stuff, and state; furthering elevating the status of government is just asking for trouble. Please read 1 Samuel 8.

          3. Consider how the colonists ended up selecting the men who wrote the Constitution. These men were from the same generation and of the same disposition as those who signed the Declaration of Independence. These men risked hanging as traitors. Those who did not care enough about the rights of others remained loyal to King George III.

          4. Being against a busybody government is not the same thing as being selfish. When we have the alternative of helping each other via private efforts, what is the benefit of bossy and intrusive politicians? Why are private efforts any less divine than government efforts?

          Here are some questions for you. When is taxation ethical? What makes taxing one group of people to redistribute their wealth to others different from stealing?

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        9. 1. And so by Christ the line of David was fulfilled. It cannot be denied God sought a government in the judges. The people sought a government with a king. God granted it. If government is a deviancy, why do we call Christ a king and await his rule? Granted, the Divine Governance of God will be perfect but if government was a malum in se or evil in itself, then God would abolish all governments and ensure none would every arise again, including his own. Such a scenario does not follow when tested against the Scriptures.

          2. The short answer is we can’t. Only the Divine Lawgiver could institute a government based on such laws since he can apprehend them perfectly. The Natural Law, however, was given to us so that setting up a government to move us toward virtue could be possible. Things like justice, prudence, temperance, etc can be arrived at via reason. The duty of the Christian therefore is to safeguard the Natural Law lest deviant interpretations move it towards vice.

          3. There was not much political diversity in colonial America. Also, by that time, most of the loyalists had been driven from their homes so the debate was not had between Tories and Liberals as it had been when the Declaration was written but between Federalist and Anti-Federalist. We like to think the colonials were less partisan and divisive but this is frankly untrue. The Bill of Rights is a testament to how fear and propaganda can change political opinion, even among people who signed on to the Declaration.

          4. Would it be tyrannical for a government to mandate that at least 10% of your income, before taxes, must go to a charity that you direct? Is that a law that would compel virtue or be trampling on the rights of citizens.

          When it is necessary for the common good.

          It is different when the wealth, if the people were virtuous, would have been redistributed anyway. Certainly there are problems with the assistance programs, but it would require a great amount of public virtue to continue and exceed the supports given to the poor if such programs were removed.

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        10. 1. It is apparent that God raised up judges to save the Israelites, and it is apparent God does not approve of kings. The Book of Judges, ends however, on a sour note.

          Judges 21:25 Good News Translation (GNT)

          25 There was no king in Israel at that time. Everyone did whatever they pleased.

          Each of us is supposed to do what we think God would have us do. The question, of course, if we choose to obey God, is how do we each determine what God would have us do. Don’t we each have decide that question for ourselves? Isn’t that the crux of what freedom of religion and conscience involves?

          2. How do we protect Natural Law from deviant interpretations? I think the answer lies in limiting the power of government.

          3. Was the debate over the Constitution highly partisan? Yes. Politics is always a source of strife, but that is my point. As much as possible, to keep it from becoming either a bone of contention or in and of itself abusive, government should be limited in power (what the founders sought to do). In addition, we should strive to keep the operation of government as local and as close to the People as we can manage (the object of a federation).

          4. I do not think the government should be in the business of redistributing the wealth. Consider your answer.

          Would it be tyrannical for a government to mandate that at least 10% of your income, before taxes, must go to a charity that you direct?

          That proposal sounds great, and when I was younger, I favored it. I now see the problem. Politicians would be constantly baiting and badgering us, trying to trick us and force us to contribute to their favored causes. We would end up with a huge set of regulations and something that looks like the IRS. On top of that, instead of trying to end poverty, our leaders would do what they are effectively doing now, encouraging people to stay on the public dole. For example, do you think it is purely accidental that so many children are now born out of wedlock?

          Isn’t the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Don’t those who go to Hell usually find themselves there as the result of an unintended consequence?

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        11. 1. It would appear that even the governance God established was not working due to the internal disposition of the people. Consider what F. Scott Fitzgerald posits in his book “This Side of Paradise.” What if each person desired the honor of office instead of the power? Think of the black robed academics with their hoods and caps. Think of the decorated veterans with their ribbons and epaulettes. I have seen a hundred men undergo extreme hardship just to receive the honor of wearing a green, wool hat on their heads. What would it be like if men worked for the title of Senator more than the power of Senator?

          2. There are those who believe God would have us perform same-sex marriages and recognize a man as a woman. There are those who say that such things are in accordance with Natural Law. Should they be free to change the law to reflect what is known by some to be false? Where does the freedom to choose end? At what point do we say, “that is false?”

          3. Politics is only as divisive as the philosophy behind it. Up until the 17th century, the idea that politics was naturally a divisive thing had never existed. The Romans saw politics as a means of preserving the Res Publica. Medieval thinkers saw politics as the means by which a given community was cared for. This “natural dichotomy” was the product of men who didn’t like metaphysical questions, some going as far as to say that there are no metaphysical questions.

          4. Trickery will always happen and laws would be necessary to prevent it. You contention with what can only be regarded as a sensible law for the fostering of public virtue is that men will try to abuse it. In that case, why have any law? Why prohibit murder if men will try to abuse the statue to legalize death?

          Those who typically find themselves in Hell, it is said, go there for love of self, not necessarily a misguided love of neighbor.

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        12. Since my answer to all four point is similar, I will respond with one point. Until the Second Coming, our government must remain a man-made institution. Thus, we can only strive for an optimum. Perfect government is not possible. We can only strive for a government that is sized appropriately and doing only what it is appropriate for government.

          Consider a hammer. If we make it too small, a hammer is of little use. If we make it too big, we cannot lift it. A hammer is useful for some tasks and positive destructive for others. With a hammer, I can drive nails or break thing apart. For brain surgery, however, there are much better tools, unless, of course, your “patient” has your murder as his objective.

          Hence, because I believe our government is too big, doing too many things it has no business doing, I argue for limited government.

          What tasks do I think appropriate for government? I think government exists primarily to protect us from each other. I also think government exists to help us resolve our disputes peacefully. Because the power of government is so easily abused, I think that anything that we can do without government involvement, we should do without government involvement.

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