Friday, August 17, 2007

Is Jesus the brother of Satan?

The short answer to that is No! LDS believe that the spirits of all men were created by God in the pre-existence, before they were born as mortals on earth. This is made known to us in modern LDS scripture (D&C 93:29; 138:53–55, 56; Moses 3:5; 6:51; Abraham 3:21–24.); and evidence for it also exists in the Bible (Job 38:4–7; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Jeremiah 1:4–5; John 9:1–3; Acts 17:28; Ephesians 1:3; Hebrews 12:9; Jude 1:6; Revelation 12:9). Origen and many other early Christian theologians also believed and taught it.

The spirits which God had made in the pre-existence had freewill, and were capable of following God or rejecting Him. Satan was one of the earliest and brightest of the spirit creations, or sons of God at that time, who later rebelled against God and was cast out of His presence, together with a third of the pre-existent spirits that followed him. That is how the “devil and his angels” came to be (Luke 10:18; Matthew 25:41; D&C 29:36–38; Abraham 3:27–28).

The Bible correctly identifies Satan, together with other pre-existent spirits that God had created, as “sons 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.

Job 2:

1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.

Job 38:

4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? . . .

* * *

7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

The last quote is particularly significant. The events described in this quote took place before the “foundations of the earth” was laid, that is, before the period of mortality had begun. This shows that in the spiritual (pre-existent) realm, there was more than one being who could legitimately be called “son of God;” and that Satan was one of them. Jesus was clearly one; but obviously not the only one.

Jesus, according to the Bible, was the first and greatest of the sons of God in the pre-existence, who became “heir of all things,” and who became the agent in the hand of the Father in the creation of all other things, and who was also chosen to become the Saviour and Redeemer of all things. That is what is taught in Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15–19; Hebrews 2:11–12; Revelation 3:14. However, since Satan has rebelled against God, and been cast out of His presence and become eternally lost, he is no longer the “brother of Jesus,” or of anybody else, except the evil spirits that followed him.

Spiritually speaking, we become “brothers and sisters,” and “sons and daughters,” to those whom we follow and choose to obey. For example, Jesus told the Jews who were plotting to kill Him, that if Abraham was their father (as they protested he was), they would do the “works of Abraham” (John 8:33–44). But now Satan was their father, because they did his works. Similarly, He told those who came seeking him on behalf of His mother and brothers, who had become anxious for His safety; that His mother, and brother, and sister, were those who “did the will of His Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 12:46–60). Thus, in answer to the question, Is Jesus the brother of Satan? The answer is No! Since Satan has rebelled against God, and been cast out of heaven and become lost forever, he is not the “brother” of anybody except the evil spirits which followed him, and those who will continue to follow him hereafter.

A common objection that is raised by the critics to this interpretation of scripture is that Satan is a fallen angel, and that angels are inherently a different class, or order of beings from men, or the spirits of men. Hence Satan and his crew could not have originally been men, or spirits of men; and similarly, that men, when they die, cannot become angels of God. But there is no scriptural basis for that. On the contrary, all the evidence points to the opposite.

First of all, the word “angel,” in both Hebrew and Greek, means simply “messenger”. That is the literal, etymological meaning of the word in both languages. Hence anyone who can act as a messenger of God, be they mortal or immortal beings, can be called angel.

Secondly, whenever angels have appeared to mankind, both in the Old and the New Testaments, they have appeared as men; and even mortal men have been addressed as angels. The three angels that appeared to Abraham (one of whom was apparently God in person), appeared as men (Genesis 18); and the two angels who appeared to Lot to rescue him, and destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, appeared as men—so much so, that Lot invited them to lodge with him overnight as guests; and the men of Sodom, thinking they were ordinary men, tried to abuse them (Genesis 19). The angel (or was it God himself!) that appeared to Jacob as he was on his way, and wrestled with him all through the night, appeared as a man (Genesis 32:24). The angel that appeared to Manoah and her husband appeared as a man (Judges 13:6–21); and they only realized that he had been an angel when he performed marvellous wonders before them. The two angels that appeared to the women who went looking for the body of Jesus at His tomb were men (Luke 24:4); and the two angels that appeared to the Apostles as they looked up into heaven while Jesus was taken up from them appeared as men (Acts 1:10). The angel that appeared to Cornelius when he was praying, and instructed him to send for Peter, was a man (Acts 10:30–31). Paul describes certain types of angelic beings as the “sprits of just men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:32); and in the book of Revelation, the Lord addresses the seven bishops of the seven churches (who were mortal men) as angels (Revelation 2). And finally, in Revelation 22:8–9, the angel that appeared to John and showed him the great vision that he wrote down identified himself as “thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book”.

There is not a single recorded instance in the scriptures of an angel ministering to someone that was anything other than a man. Even when it does not specifically say that he was a man, the context implies that he could not have been anything else. Thus angels are, and have always been, nothing other than men; both in their pre-mortal, mortal, and resurrected states; and they are all of the same order of beings—Jesus Himself not being an exception, as these verses testify:

Hebrews 2:

10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things [i.e. the Father], in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation [i.e. Jesus] perfect through sufferings.

11 For both he that sanctifieth [i.e. Jesus] and they who are sanctified [i.e. those who believe in Him] are all of one: [i.e. of the same order of beings] for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

John 20:

17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

Those who shout accusations that LDS believe “Jesus is the brother of Satan,” merely employ cheap sensationalism and shock tactics (in fact dishonesty and deception) to attack Mormonism; and it is unlikely to deceive anyone else but themselves. Nothing further need be said about that.

2 comments:

True Faith said...

I guess I have a problem with the statement that Satin was a brother of Jesus. You can clearly see at the beginning of John's Gospel that, "In the beginning there was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God". The Word talked about here is Jesus. This clearly shows the Juses was God from all eternity. God does not have any brothers. God created the angles one of whom became Satin.

J said...

Zerinus, question for you. You address the issue from two angles:
1- God had literal spirit children
2- One can be termed/adopted as a child of whomever they choose to follow.

Your point on #2, I understand. But your point on #1, you gloss over by stating "However, since Satan has rebelled against God, and been cast out of His presence and become eternally lost, he is no longer the “brother of Jesus,” or of anybody else, except the evil spirits that followed him."

First, since you say he is "no longer" the brother of Jesus, it follows that he was the brother of Jesus initially. Correct?

Second, I don't see how Satan's rebellion suddenly changed his status as a literal son of God, anymore than say, your own rebellion would change your status as a literal son of God. If he was a spirit descendent of God, then that doesn't change. Thus, he and Jesus and you would all be brothers. Correct?