Satan has deceived mankind, deceived the world. All have been affected by his venom. So how do we overcome the serpent of old? What do we do if we find that we have some of his poison in us? The Day of Atonement explains how God is going to take care of that. The Day of Atonement shows that mankind can eventually be at one with God and how all humanity will eventually be one with God. This day explains how God will deal with that serpent of old and with the demons.
[Roy Holladay] Every year, 100,000 people die all over the world after being bitten by a venomous snake. Growing up on the farm, as many of you know, not too far from here, I was very much aware of snakes. Have you ever put your hand in a chicken nest where they’re laying eggs and come up with a snake instead of eggs? It's a funny feeling. It's not one you want to experience more than once. I can remember as a youth running out in the backyard behind our house and I didn't really even see anything. I stepped on this snake. It was sort of lying out sunning itself, but I went over so quick it didn't have time to do anything except slither off. And I've told you the story before about finding a snake in the house and walking out and telling my mother that there is a snake in the living room, and she told me, "Get out. Stop kidding."
So I went out and got an axe and came back in and she wanted to know why I had that axe. I said, "There is a snake in there." So I went in and chopped its head off and put a little dent in the floor, but she didn't mind that at all.
There are approximately 2,400 species of snakes in the world. Approximately 270 to 300 of them, about somewhere between 11% and 12%, are poisonous. The rest are not. The only snakes in North America that are poisonous are the rattlesnake, copperhead, cottonmouth, and the coral snake. But you have some others around the world that are very deadly such as the king cobra in Asia, the viper in Europe, the taipan in Australia, the boomslang, the spitting cobra, the black mamba in Africa. The black mamba and the coastal taipan are considered the most dangerous venomous snake species in the world.
We are talking about land, those that are on the land. The black mamba, I think it is, yellow black mamba is probably the fastest snake on earth with a speed of up to seven miles an hour. So if you want to stay ahead of it, you've got to hoof it. Now, the inland taipan has the most toxic venom of any land snake in the world. A maximum yield recorded for one bite was 110 megabytes or… megabytes. I've been around the computer too long. 110 anyway. It's not megabytes, but milligrams, I think, enough to kill 100 human beings or 250,000 mice. That's good for the mice. I don't know about the humans.
The Belcher’s sea snake is the most venomous snake known on the world or in the world. A few milligrams is strong enough to kill 1,000 people. So some of these snakes are extremely dangerous. The spitting cobra can spit up to six to eight feet. They always aim for the eye and they are pretty accurate.
So the venom of a poisonous serpent can be very deadly and many people are incapacitated, they are injured, and they are killed by snakes. Now, what does that have to do with the Day of Atonement? Let's go over to Revelation chapter 12 and verse 9. Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×, and we read this. “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old called the devil and Satan who deceives the whole world. He was cast out to the earth and his angels were cast out with him.”
Now, I read over deliberately fast here. What did it call him? That “great dragon was cast out, the serpent of old,” or we can say that old snake, or a snake in the grass, or whatever you might want to call him. He has spread his venomous poison to everyone on earth.
How do I know that? Well, verse 9 says he has deceived the whole world. He has deceived mankind, led them astray, makes them think that what is false is true. He’s deceived the world. All have been affected by him, and the pathetic thing about it is the vast majority of people who are alive did not know they've been injected with his venom. Now, how has he gone about doing this? Well, most people don't even think God exists... excuse me, that the devil exists. If he exists, they make fun of him. We know he is this little guy who is running around with a pitchfork, or he is a cartoon character, or they limit his power. They don't think he has really much power, or what could he do to me? And yet we know that he's had a profound effect upon humanity and upon this earth.
Back in Genesis 3:1 Genesis 3:1Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
American King James Version×, you might remember the first humans, Adam and Eve, after they had been created, after God had given them instructions, placed them in the Garden of Eden, told them they could eat of every tree in there, and stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Notice, “the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” Now, the word cunning here means he was subtle, he was shrewd, he was crafty or he was sly. And what does he say here? “He said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said you should not eat of every tree of the garden?’ Then the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said you should not eat of it nor shall you touch it lest you die.’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You shall not surely die.’” What do we find out? You find out that he is a liar because God said, "You will die."
Now, he comes along and says, "You go ahead and eat it and see if you die." Well, of course they ate it and they didn't drop dead. So he is claiming that God lied when he is the liar.
You might remember in John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×, John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×, Christ says about Satan, the devil, that he is a liar and he is the father of it. Lies, falsehoods began with the devil. He is the one who is the master liar. Let's take a look at why Satan has been able to inject his venom into mankind and then we'll take a look at how God is going to deal with it.
In Ephesians 6:12 Ephesians 6:12For 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.
American King James Version×, Ephesians chapter 6 and we read here in verse 12, it says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Our enemy is an unseen enemy. You don't see the devil. You don't see the spirit world, the spirit dimension. There is another dimension beside the physical dimension. It is a spirit dimension. Is there another dimension beyond that? Well, we don't know that. What we know of is the spirit dimension and the physical dimension. But our enemies are unseen and he is an unseen influence and presence, and he and his cohorts are always around. They are always around. Our battle is not with other human beings. They are not our enemies.
Humans are focused on the wrong enemies. They focus on other people. They focus on other institutions, or they focus on the physical things around. We fight against powers, principalities, rulers of darkness. We fight against wicked spirits in high places. Satan and his demons are the unseen influence of this age. In fact, most people without realizing it, have worshiped the great dragon as he's described there in Genesis chapter 12. They have worshiped him without realizing it, and how do we know that? Well, they have adopted his way of worship, they have adopted his approach, they have adopted his attitude, they have adopted his thinking, his way of life. Who you worship is who you obey and who you serve. By their actions, they are showing who they worship.
He's had a profound influence on man to get man to sin. He's led man into sin. He's made it easy for man to sin. He's put all kinds of temptations out there for man to sin. So how do we overcome the serpent of old? What do we do if we are bitten by him? Or we are influenced by the devil? Or we find that we have some of his poison as venom in us? How do we deal with it? You can't just make an X and start trying to withdraw the poison because some of these vipers, if you get that in your mouth, you are dead. So that's not the way to go about trying to deal with it. How is God going to get rid of him? How is He going to dispose of him, take care of him?
Well today, we've all come together to celebrate his soon-coming capture—talking about the devil and his cohorts, the demons—and their removal so that he and his network are no longer a threat to mankind, no longer a threat to human beings, to society. Not only do we want him removed, but we also want to get rid of his way of thinking, how he thinks, how he approaches things. In Revelation 12:12 Revelation 12:12Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.
American King James Version×, it explains that the dragon knows that he has but a short time to do his work, and I think he realizes that right now, when you look at what's going on in the world around us and you see some the fulfillment of prophecy taking place and you see what's happening in Europe.
Have you ever stopped to think about with what is occurring in Europe right now, with something like a million displaced individuals? Do you realize there are 45 to 50 million displaced people in the world today who have been driven many times from their countries, from their cities, from their homes? They pick up what they have on their back and the little they are able to carry and have to flee, and many of those people are now migrating into Europe. Well, the Bible, we've always looked at Bible prophecy in certain ways and we don’t know exactly how it's going to be fulfilled, but one prophecy is very interesting in Daniel 11 where it states that the King of the South will push at the King of the North, and the King of the North being north of Jerusalem, we felt would be the European, the Beast power. King of the South pushes against them.
Could it be one way that would be fulfilled that you have millions of displaced people begin to come into Europe to the point where they begin to change the culture, begin to change the laws, begin to change the whole dynamics of what we would call European civilization and that there will be a push back from that? I don't know if that will happen, but it's very interesting to think about it. There is more than one way that those prophecies could be fulfilled. Anyway, there is going to come a time when he knows he has but a short time to do his work and he's going to come down with wrath against whom? Well, the Church. He is going to come against spiritual Israel, physical Israel, and then the whole world, and all of mankind.
His poisonous influence on mankind as a whole must end. He has had a profound effect on the world, its developments, its systems, its religions, its governments, everything you can think of. This world is called, back in the book of Galatians, “this present evil age,” and it's evil because Satan the devil has been the influence on this age. This being has infiltrated society and all of its institutions: religion, education, philosophy and government. He has poisoned them. He has influenced all of mankind's minds, thoughts, and approaches, and the Day of Atonement explains how God is going to take care of that. The Day of Atonement shows that mankind can eventually be at one with God and how all humanity will eventually be one with God. This day explains how God will deal with that serpent of old and with the demons.
In the Old Testament, the word for atonement is kippur. Kippur. Let's go back to Genesis 6:14 Genesis 6:14Make you an ark of gopher wood; rooms shall you make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch.
American King James Version×, a scripture we've read on different occasions, but let's notice it here when the ark was made, you find this word kaphar or kippur as various ways it might be spelled or pronounced. It says, “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood, make rooms in the ark and cover it inside and outside with pitch.” That's the same word, cover, that is used for atonement, kippur or kaphar. The pitch protected the ark from God's judgment on mankind. It covered the planks. It sealed it. Just as you put a cover—they are called covers on your bed to cover it, you put a lid on a jar to cover it. And so the whole sacrificial system in the Old Testament taught this lesson that someone had to die, blood had to be shed to cover sin, to cover sin.
And so what atonement meant in the Old Testament is it showed a covering, a covering over, and it was the blood of the animal that was shed that would cover the sins, make atonement for the people, and it is Christ's sacrifice today. Those sacrifices were a type of Christ. It's His sacrifice that atones for, that covers our sins. This, notice, this is mentioned even in the New Testament in Romans chapter 4. Romans, the fourth chapter, beginning in verse 7. Romans 4:7 Romans 4:7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
American King James Version×. It says, “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven and whose sins are covered.” What are they covered by? Well, by the sacrifice of Christ. “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin” or who will not impute sin.
In the New Testament, the Greek word is katallasso here. It is translated reconciliation, and it means to change. It means to change or exchange especially money, hence a person is to change from enmity to friendship, to reconcile, to change those at variance. It's used of us being reconciled to God. Now, the question is who needs to change? God doesn't change. You and I need to change. We are the ones who need to be reconciled to God, to be brought into harmony with God, right relationship with God. We are the ones that have to change. That's what the New Testament is talking about. We have to change, to get in step with God, to get in harmony with His laws, His way of life, His thinking, His character. In chapter 5, beginning in verse 8, we find the word used here as we read through this. It says, “God demonstrated His own love towards us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by his blood.”
Justified means to be made right with God, to be made righteous, in other words. Our sins stood between us and God. They were a barrier between us and God. You go back and read in Isaiah 59 where it says, “Your sins separate you from God.” New Revised Standard Version says, “They are a barrier between you and your God.” They are a barrier, they are a wall that separates. And so we've been justified. We've been made right in the eyes of God by His blood, and we shall be saved from wrath through Him. We are saved by God living in us. “For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God,” so we had the same word, katallasso, “through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled, we should be saved by His life.”
We are saved by Him living in us, and so we have been hostile to God in the past. We’ve been enemies, and there has to be a change on at least one part or one party, and that's us. We have to change, and the action is induced or brought about by the other party, and that's God. God starts the whole process, doesn't He? He gave His Son, He calls us, He opens our mind, He grants us repentance, He gives us His Spirit. God lives in us. He will give us eternal life. He will resurrect us. He will change us. This is called conversion, and that's what we’re going through right now or are experiencing. We are experiencing the process of conversion.
And then in verse 11 here, “Not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” King James Version translates that word “atonement.” That was the only place you found atonement, but most of the modern, almost all of the modern translations, translated “reconciliation.” Atonement is an incorrect translation of it. Atonement is the offering up of the Christ himself under divine judgment upon the sin. Atonement is the application that we receive the results of that, namely our reconciliation to God and in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, 2 Corinthians 5:17 2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
American King James Version×, notice this, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature, or a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold all things have become new. Now, all things are of God who has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ.”
So we have been reconciled through Christ “and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” Those in the ministry are teaching and explaining the way to be reconciled, to be brought in right relationship with God. So we have to change something. We must change our attitude, our approach, our mind, our motivation. There has to be a total change in us, and God has begun this process of reconciliation with the first fruits, with us. That's why we are sitting here today. It will be extended to all mankind in the future, the millennium, the Great White Throne Judgment. Now, Leviticus 16 symbolically explains how God carries out this whole process, how it will be accomplished.
People will remember—now I'll just sort of summarize it for you very quickly—there were two goats presented before God in Leviticus 16:7 Leviticus 16:7And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
American King James Version×. Lots were cast upon the goats, and one lot was for the Lord and one was... and that goat was to be offered as a sin offering, verses 8 through 10. That goat represented Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for our sins. Only Jesus Christ, His death, His sacrifice for our sin, His shedding of blood can atone for our sins. We've all sinned. We've come short of the glory of God and the wages of sin is death, the Bible says. Now the second goat is called there in the Bible “the scapegoat,” but should be translated “the escape goat.”
Not that it's a scapegoat, meaning it’s not guilty but he is being blamed, but he is let go. He is let go into the wilderness. He escapes. That goat is a type of the devil. He will have to bear his responsibility for leading mankind into sin. So you find mankind, whose sins have been forgiven, are placed back on the head of the devil, on this goat symbolizing the devil, and it shows that he had a responsibility for misleading, tempting, leading mankind into sin and he will have to bear his responsibility for doing so. And then the goat is banished into the wilderness and separated back at that time from the Israelites.
That's symbolic; in the millennium, for a thousand year period, Jesus Christ will rule on the earth, and the dragon and his demons will be cast into the bottomless pit. They will be locked up. During the day of White Throne Judgment, he will be cast in the lake of fire and be tormented. Now, fire will burn him, his spirit, but he'll be tormented in the fire because he'll have the period of time to contemplate what's coming. And Satan, the great serpent, and the demons will ultimately be banished into outer darkness forever, and they will be totally cut off from God and from the family of God. And so that's what the symbolism is there and on the Day of Atonement, you had these two goats: one standing for Christ who died for our sins, the other one having his responsibility placed squarely back on him so that he would have to carry his own burden.
But right now, he's not been locked up. Christ has not come back to the earth yet. His influence and his wrath is still very active during this evil age. Guess who he hates? He hates you. He hates the Church. He hates anyone who has God's Spirit. He hates the servants of God, the work of God. In fact, he hates all mankind, and he is trying to do his best to destroy mankind. The Bible tells us in Matthew 24 that if Christ did not intervene, that all flesh would be destroyed. No flesh would be saved alive. Cosmic signs would occur. So we need to be on guard. We need to avoid the venom of the snake because he is still alive. He is still that old serpent of old. He is still very much out there and he will try to do anything, and who do you think he's going to turn his attention to? Well, the people of God.
With that in mind, let's think about snake venom a little bit. There are three basic kinds of snake venom. Now, why do I mention that? Well, because the snake is still here, and he is still out there and he is still working and he wants to get at us. There is what is called hemotoxic venom and it attacks the cardiovascular system, the heart, and it will attack just simply the whole, into your blood and so on. Then there is the cytotoxic venom that targets specific muscle groups and begins to weaken and tear down those muscles so the body can absorb the venom faster. And then thirdly, there is the neurotoxic venom that goes for the brain and the nervous system. Now, some snakes combine all of these together which is a very potent potion and they are more effective when they bite than one who just carries one.
All venomous snakes contain a complex cocktail of proteins and enzymes. Now, when anyone is bitten by a snake with a hemotoxic venom, the venom usually lowers the blood pressure, encourages blood clotting, and can stop the heart. It will affect the heart. The cytotoxic venom is designed to cause tissue death, and this is why some people have to have amputation after they've been bitten because the venom will eat away the localized tissue and it will spread throughout the body. And then the neurotoxic works to disrupt the functions of the brain and the nervous system. Now, what can we learn from this? Well, there are three things. Number one: the venom can work on the heart or the cardiovascular system. Number two: it can disrupt the functioning of the brain and the electrical system within the body, and three: it can disrupt the functions of the nerves.
Therefore, we must protect our brains. You and I, when we think about a snake bite especially if it is the kind that is going to affect the brain, the neurotoxic venom, you and I have got to be concerned about our brain. How do you protect the brain? Well, there is an anti-venom. Ever heard of anti-venom? There is an anti-venom. Let's go over to John 6:63 John 6:63It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.
American King James Version×. John 6:63 John 6:63It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.
American King James Version×. Jesus Christ basically at the end there says this, “The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life.” They are spirit they are life. So the Word of God, brethren, why are we encouraged to study this Word? Because you are either going to have this Word up here—and wouldn't it be easy if you could just sort of stick it in there, cram it in your ear, eat a little of it and then just, you know, it's in there?
It doesn't work that way, does it? You've got to study it, you've got to think about it, you've got to meditate on it, you've got to reflect on it, you've got to put all the Scriptures together on it, you've got to labor in the Word, you've got to study it and go over it so that it then becomes a part of you. Because if we don't have in our minds the Word of God as what we think on, what we think about, then the spirit of this world will influence us, because there is a vacuum and he will fill the vacuum, and that's why we've got to study the Word of God.
Secondarily, we've got to love God. What does the Bible say? “With all our hearts, will all our souls, with all of our strength, and with our minds.” Satan, one of the toxins will infect the whole body. So the Bible says the cure for that is to love God with all your heart, all your soul, of your very being, your very fiber, energy, strength, what you are.
If we are to love God with all of those components and not allow him to get near our hearts and our minds—the heart is where the emotions, the feelings come in. You've got the head, the knowledge, you've got the heart, the feelings, the emotions, and the two combine and we are not just a cold fish. We have feelings likewise, and so, we are to love God with our heart, with our minds, and our whole being, and we don't let anything begin to eat at us. You see, this is what toxins will do. The venom or the snake venom, they'll begin to eat at the body, begin to eat the muscle away, begin to eat the tissue away. Well, we don't want anything to begin to eat at us to undermine our unity in God's Church and our unity with God and with one another.
I'll guarantee you that there are many people who are allowing their own pride, their own ego, about what they understand, what they believe and they get this little doctrine, a little baby I'd call it, and they began to go off and it begins to consume them. That's all they can think about, and the first thing you know, they walk out the door, they are no longer a part of us and we've got to realize that we've got to protect ourselves against this.
Some interesting quotes I found in the Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, and notice this one, it was titled "Satan as a Snake" and it says, “Some characteristics of the snake make it an appropriate prototype of Satan. A rattlesnake only two minutes old can strike effectively. A snake can engulf prey on the ground, through water or hidden, and it affords a perfect camouflage so that their presence is not detected.”
I remember picking blackberries as a young person and my parents telling me, “Don't let the chiggers get you and look out for snakes.” I couldn't do a thing about the chiggers, but boy, you would look for the snakes because you would see one. They were once in a while laying up in a bush. You are in there, you are picking blackberries and you don't want to you put your hand over there and a snake bite you. “So they have perfect camouflage so that their presence is not detected,” so you don't know when they are around. “Night-forging snakes have eye pupils that are vertical like a cat's enabling them to see in the dark.” How does a vicious snake, a viper, camouflage itself? If I see a snake, guess what? “That's a snake!” And I know it's a snake. How does he camouflage himself?
Well, he does, and the Bible tells us, 2 Corinthians 11. 2 Corinthians chapter 11 and verse 11...verse 13 actually. Verse 13. “Judge among yourselves: is it proper…” And that's not the section. I wanted 2 Corinthians. I'm in number 1. We'll begin in verse 13. It says, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers; they transform themselves into the apostles of Christ.” We can understand that. Here were men who are going around preaching and they pawn themselves off as, “Well, we’re Christian, we represent Christ.” But then it goes on to say, “No wonder, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.” So he doesn't appear as a snake, but as an angel of light. “Therefore, it's no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. By their works, you will know them.” That's how you know if they are true or they are not true. And so, he transforms himself into an angel of light. He doesn't appear like a dragon. He doesn't appear like a snake. How does he camouflage himself? The word “camouflage” means to hide, conceal, disguise, to cover up. You go out hunting, what do you do? You put on a camouflage suit. You cover your face. Why? Well, you are trying to blend in with the trees. You don't want the deer to see you. You don't want to stand out, and so you hide yourself.
How does the great viper, great snake, the snake of old, camouflage himself? Well, let's take a look at religion. In religion, the viper is very clever. He doesn't try to do away with religion, he just confuses religion. He gives you a thousand brands to choose from, a hundred brands. He divides, he conquers, he has different groups, different approaches, different philosophies, different ideas, church of your choice. It's like a cafeteria. “I think I'll take one of these, one of those,” you pick and you choose. And today, many people claim to be spiritual but they are not religious, and what they mean is, “Well, I'm spiritual. I believe there is a God,” but they pick and choose what they want to believe. They'll take a little from Eastern religion, they'll take a little from this religion, they'll take this custom, they've got a hodgepodge when they put it all together and they call it religion.
Today, people can hop from one church to the other. It doesn't matter to them. What it does is it does away with commitment, it does away with responsibility, it does away with the fellowship and the working together, it does away with the family atmosphere, the harmony, and the unity that should be there, hence and it sets the individual up as the final authority. So Satan is very clever, and he'll run all these religions out there and so people will think they are religious and they don't know that they are buying into something that's not right.
What about politics? People today get so worked up over politics. They get focused on an ideology, on a candidate, on a cause, they've become sidetracked from Jesus Christ and His calling. What about John 18:36 John 18:36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
American King James Version×, Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight.” But His kingdom is not of this world. And so all I'm saying is that there are many things out there that Satan the devil will come along then under normal circumstances, if the Kingdom of God were set up here on the earth, yes we've put an end to. But he comes up with all of these causes, things like save the planet, climate change, green revolution, save the frog, save the trees, save whatever, and people have these causes and will go out and sit in trees and dare people to cut it down. They'll have an abortion, but they wouldn't dare kill a little frog in a stream somewhere out in California.
I mean this is the ignominy of what we see going on today. You have issues of tolerance and political correctness. Many of these can be important issues, but that should not be our main focus. Our main focus is, “I am bound for the Promised Land.” Remember that song? I am bound for the Promised Land. We are headed for the Kingdom. We've been called to be gods in the family of God, to rule with Jesus Christ, to serve with Him. And so we've got to realize that this is what we need to be thinking about.
Now, it's been proven that some venoms, some snakes are more venomous than others, some are more deadly, some are more potent and some are more harmful with their bite. Again, from the Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations, short little article titled "The Devil's Best Tool". You ever wanted to know what the devil's best tool is? Well, according to this, it says, ‘”The devil, according to legend, once advertised his tools for sale at a public auction. When the prospective buyers assembled, there was one oddly-shaped tool which was labeled not for sale. Asked to explain why this was, the devil answered, ‘I can spare my other tools, but I cannot spare this one. It is the most useful implement that I have. It is called discouragement, and with it I can work my way into the hearts otherwise inaccessible. When I get this tool into man's heart, the way is open to plant anything there that I must desire.’"
Now of course this is just a story, but I think it illustrates a point. The serpent will work on our minds and our hearts when we become discouraged, and all human beings become discouraged at one time or another over events. Discouragement is an emotional feeling and we can become discouraged. The problem is it can progress to total despair in some people. This is an area where the servant or the serpent then will begin to inject his poison. He'll say something like this, “God isn't fair, no one loves you, nobody has called you, nobody has visited you, you are nothing, your life is just too tough. Why do you have to go through all of this? Why do you have tests and trials? Why doesn't somebody else have some of these problems that you have? Why am I always sick? Why do I have financial problems?” And you can go on why, why, why, why?
And this is what he'll do, and he'll try to plant something in there that begins to eat at you and you become even more discouraged. He will want to give up and die, just quit, buy down, and you can't do that. You can never give up, you can never quit, you have to continue to fight on. Satan, the devil wants us to give up, he wants us to quit but we can't. Now the Bible is very clear. One of the main things that we should do as Christians is to be an encourager. That's one reason why it's important to come to services. That's why it's important to pick the phone up if somebody is not here and call them, and especially if they are sick or they are having some health difficulties and encourage them, to write them, to let them know that you are thinking about them and to just be concerned.
From the book, 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching titled “The Subtlety of Satan.” Notice this, among the great number of books authored by C.S. Lewis, is the highly provocative "Screwtape Letters." How many of you seen "The Screwtape Letters"? Two or three of us. It says, “In it, the profound Englishman had the devils brief his nephew, Wormwood, on the subtleties and techniques of tempting people. The goal, he counseled, is not wickedness but indifference, indifference. Satan cautioned his nephew to keep the prospect, the patient, comfortable at all times. If he should become concerned about anything of importance, encourage him to think about his luncheon plans, not to worry. And then this definition of his job description: the devil said, ‘I, the devil will always see to it that there are bad people. Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with people who do not care, people who do not care, people who are indifferent.’”
You know what the worst problem in a marriage is? It's not just the lack of love, it's indifference, not caring for the individual. The word “indifference” means unimportant, meaningless, a lack of interest, a lack of concern, or a lack of empathy for others. So we are not to be indifferent as Christians. We are to be people who care. How much do we care for God? How much do we care for one another? How much do we care for the sick? How involved are we in the work of God in the local congregation? And how much do we serve according to our ability? You might remember back in Philippians chapter 2 beginning in verse 19, Paul commended Timothy and he was going to send Timothy there to the church because he said about Timothy, "I have no one who has the same care for you like he does."
That Paul cared for them and he said Timothy is one of a chop off the old block or a chip off the old block. “He's just like me. He has that same care for you.” Now, this can be a major venom bite. So I said some are more dangerous than others. This is a bad one. This is the one where you need help. This, because this major venom bite can lead to having a form of religion but denying its power and not being involved. Of course you can have a form, you can be here every Sabbath, you go off, you are indifferent to others, you are indifferent to the Church, you are indifferent, you are not really involved, you don't care that much. You just go about living your life, but yet you show up and people think you are great. You see, that's what it leads to and that is not going to get us into God's Kingdom.
Doubt is another major weapon or poison that the serpent of old uses against us and the whole world. He tailors doubts to your circumstances. What did he tell Adam and Eve? “You won't die.” He put a doubt in their mind, didn't he? “God is a liar, you are not going to die,” and so he put a doubt in their mind. What about Israel when they reached the Red Sea? So all of the 10 miracles leading up to that to get to the Red Sea, and what do they do? They doubt. “Can God save us?” Well, God saved them. They doubted. They didn't have meat. They doubted that God could supply food. They doubted that He would give them water. Do we doubt that God can heal and bless us? You see, doubt is one of those things that Satan will work on. Signs of his influence and his venom being around is pride, vanity, self-righteousness, lying, fear, doubt, your discouragement, all of these things. Whatever it is is your weakness, that's where he comes. That's where the snake will bite.
But there's one bite that you don't want to be exposed to. I would say it is the most dangerous of all. Hebrews 12:14 Hebrews 12:14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
American King James Version×, Hebrews chapter 12 and we'll read here in verse 14. This, if you have a bite, you must immediately get an anti-venom to go against it. This is one bite you never want to be exposed to. Notice here in verse 14, “Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord, working carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up calls trouble, and by this many become defiled.”
A root of bitterness attacks the heart, it attacks the mind and the whole body. It will defile you spiritually because when you become embittered, then everything you think about and you do is motivated by that bitterness. Bitterness is basically resentment and spite. This is the attitude of Satan the devil. He hates God, he hates God's way, he hates God's plan, he hates God's people, and he is the avowed enemy of God. And so bitterness is a sharp, intense resentment or hatred. It is a bitter resentment, a bitter spite, and so it's an attitude that you and I cannot have. There is an anti-snake-venom that can work against this. It's called fasting. You find yourself in this attitude or this approach, you better begin a series of fasts. You better start praying like you've never prayed before. You better start studying the Bible like you've never studied before, and begin to draw close to God.
This venom is something that you... or I should say anti-venom is something that you need to develop. Now, there are two ways that you can have [anti-]venom. One is what they call natural immunity. There are some people who are naturally immune to snakes, and so they build up an immunity. And there are those who actually build up an immunity by giving themselves a little venom every once in a while, and then their body builds up antibodies against it and then after a while, they can be bit by a snake and it doesn't bother them. It's very difficult to milk a snake and get a lot of venom. One pint of cobra snake, it took 69,000 milkings to come up with one pint of cobra venom to use to try to make an anti-venom.
So that shows why there's not a whole lot of anti-venom, I should say, around that can be used when this occurs. And so we've got to be very careful. The story is told of Bill Haast, a famous snake handler who died at age 100. He had been milking snakes for decades and at the rate of milking snakes for decades, you can imagine he got bitten often. He realized this might happen, so in 1948, he began injecting himself with diluted cobra venom. He did that over a period of time and he developed immune resistance. By the time he died of natural causes, he had survived 172 snakebites from many of the world's deadly snakes, including a blue crate, a king cobra, Pakistan pit viper. Actually, he even flew around the world donating his blood as direct transfusions and saved 21 lives as a result of that.
Now, God gives us an anti-venom. In James chapter 4, let's go over there, James 4 and verse 7. James 4:7 James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
American King James Version×. When he says this, “Therefore submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” So you and I are to resist the devil, he will flee away from us. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you double-minded.” So he is saying you've got to resist the devil. Now, how do you resist him? Well, you don't get involved in his ways. You don't dabble with pornography, you don't dabble with this world, you don't dabble with the things that you know are wrong, you don't get involved in the society in a wrong way.
You don't expose yourself to snakes. You don't play with serpents. You get as far away from Satan and his way as you possibly can. You draw near to God and again, we have pray, study, we have to attend church and fellowship with one another. Well, when you experience a severe snake bite, you need the anti-venom immediately. And as I said, you need to go ahead and start fasting and praying and make sure that you stay close to God. The problem with anti-venom in this world, it costs $1,500 to $2,200 to make one vial of this or vial of it, and you need about 20 or 25 shots. So you can see, it costs something like $30,000. If you are out in the bushes somewhere in Africa, forget it. If you get bit by one of these venomous snakes, you are dead because you are not going to get to an anti-venom quick enough.
So the lesson for us is this. We need to be the ones who have built up an immunity to his poison over the years. Now, we don't do it by dabbling a little, and then pulling back and dabbling a little. That's not what I'm talking about. You do it by consistently praying, consistently studying the Word of God, consistently developing God's character, consistently having the mind of God in your mind. And as a result, guess what? You have an immunity build up, and it's a natural immunity.
Brethren, I know I've gone off in a little different direction than we normally go on the Day of Atonement, but we need to understand that the serpent of old is still out there and very active, and the reason why I mentioned this, because in the end time, you and I are going to have to be close to God, because he is going to come down with his full wrath against the Church of God, against God's people and against the nation of Israel with all of his venom and he is going to try to destroy.
Our understanding of the Day of Atonement helps to explain the evil we see in the world, the violence we see, the wars, the misery, the suffering. We see that there's been a dragon, the serpent of old, behind these events and he's influencing them. He has tremendous influence today in the world and he is going to increase his attacks on Christianity and the Church, but his power over true Christians has been broken.
As John said, "You have overcome the devil." We've overcome Satan. We are now the children of the light, not the children of darkness. So we need to make sure that we do not let down now as we get closer to the end, that we are close to God. Today explains what God is going to do, the help He is going to give to His people, and the complete removal of Satan and the demons and their influence on mankind forever.