Sorry to burst your bubble peeps... but the devil is not what you might think. He is not some little red man. He does not have horns coming out of his head. He does not have hooves for feet.
If Ezekiel 28:12-19 is talking about Lucifer, or “the devil”, it seems that he is actually an amazing angel. So what’s with the cartoon caricature that we see in the media?
Despite this rampant misrepresentation, the devil does hold a pitchfork. Of that I am certain. Not sure I can prove it in scripture, but my belief in this simple misconception has revolutionised my personal spiritual walk, so I will continue to believe it.
A pitchfork has three prongs. I believe the Devil holds a pitchfork to remind himself—and others—that there are basically three different ways that he can tempt us to follow his “Law of Liberty” over God’s “Law of Love” (for description of meaning of these two laws - scavenge around to find Part I in the previous issue of MyEDGEMag!)
Everytime you or I make a choice to do our own thing, rather than follow God’s commands which are designed to build love and community with God and others, we give the devil more credence confirming that his way of doing things makes more sense.
But few professed Christians would consciously go out of their way to follow Satan or purposely turn from Christ—so how does the devil expect us to fall into a trap that would give him ammunition to throw mud in God’s face?
Let’s take a look.
Evidence #1: It’s not about the apple! [Genesis 3]
Adam and Eve were perfect beings. They were made in the image of God. They had an intimate relationship with God very rarely experienced ever since. So how could they possibly fall for the one small temptation to approach and eat from the one item in the whole universe that they were instructed by God to stay away from?
Genesis 3:6 gives some insight.
“When Eve saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.”
It wasn’t because she was hungry and wanted a piece of fruit. It wasn’t because she thought the serpent speaking to her was bossy and demanded her to disobey God. Nope. Simple choice—Do I do what God wants or do I do what I want?
Notice there are three things that make that piece of fruit irresistible.
Prong #1: Good for Food:
It looked good for consumption. It looked like it could change her state immediately and make her feel amazing.
Prong #2: Pleasing to the Eye:
It looked good. It looked like something that could satisfy her senses.
Prong #3: Desirable for Gaining Wisdom:
It looked like something that would make her appear smarter, more spiritual, more charismatic, etc.
Bam! She took it, she ate it—and she regretted it. It looked so appealing and harmless and good at the start, but ended up changing everything between her and God (“Where are you?” verse 9) and her partner (“That woman that you put here with me!” verse 12)
Those three prongs worked a treat. Romans 3:23 states that everyone has fallen for it ever since. Except one that is. One called the Christ. One who came to live here on Earth to show others how to live completely under the “Law of Love”.
If there was one person the devil would have loved to trip up, it was Jesus Christ. It would have saved him a whole lot of hassle. Rather than trying to tempt everyone who lives and breathes to fall for his three pronged attack, he just had to make this One fall and he would instantly win the war.
How does he go about it? You guessed it! That pitchfork!
Evidence #2: Temptations of Jesus. [Matthew 4:1-11]
As soon as Jesus started His public ministry, God sends Him out to be alone and see how He goes against Satan’s pitchfork.
After going without food for 40 days, I imagine Jesus would have done anything for food. Anything that is except fall for the first prong. “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread!”
It will be satisfying. It will taste great.
Just do it and you will feel amazing!
Jesus uses the power of God and the Word of God to say “No thanks”.
This is not simply about jumping off a building for a party trick. The Jews believed that when the Messiah appeared, he would jump off the Temple and not be harmed.
“Here’s your chance Houdini! Prove to everyone that you are the Messiah! Show everyone you are important. Demonstrate that you are truly the Son of God by doing this one small thing. Even Scripture [quoted out of context] in Psalms 91 will prove that you are truly from God.”
Jesus again uses the power of God and the Word to say “I don’t think so.”
Up on a very high mountain, the devil allows Jesus a supernatural panoramic view of all the Kingdoms past, present and future. “If you just bow to me this once, then you get everything you came for—without the pain/effort. No questions asked”.
Look at everyone. Look at all the splendour. Look at all the luxury. Imagine having it all. You can, if you just acknowledge me.
How does Jesus refuse this amazing offer? Through the power of God and quoting the Word, He tells the devil to get off his high horse and get lost!
You may wonder what these two stories have to do with you and living in the 21st Century? We have so much technology. We have so much more understanding of how the world works . . . blah blah blah.
Example #3: John’s key warning to future generations. [1 John 2:15-16]
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, then love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man [Prong #1], the lust of the eyes [Prong #2] and the boasting of what he has or does [Prong #3]—comes not from the Father but from the world.”
I have never made a conscious decision to outright follow the foe Satan or to reject my friend Jesus Christ. However, if I am truly honest with myself, I have fallen for all three prongs of attack from the devil’s pitchfork.
How about you?
Every breath you take . . . every choice you make (hum it to The Police song—I dare you!) is used as evidence to show which Law is more acceptable. Don’t fall for the pitchfork prongs. The only way to protect yourself is to use the power of God in each and every moment of temptation, and to quote His Word.
Submit yourselves then to God Resist the devil and he will flee from you —James 4:7
Derek McCutcheon is a “minister of religion and creativity” and Associate Director of Youth Ministries in Perth, WA.