“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.’ For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”
Does Satan Really Exist?
Through chapter three of the Book of Genesis, God is telling us that Satan does exist, and that as Satan tempted and deceived man, the Devil prevented him from believing in God and made him fall into sin, thus introducing sin into the human heart.
When we read chapter one and two of Genesis, we see how God made each animal according to its kind, but it does not say that God made Satan. Nor does it say that God made angels.
However, when we turn to chapter three, it does speak of the serpent, and we can see how the serpent led Adam and Eve to disobey the Word of God and eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. At this point we are now acquainted with the Devil, whose work is to stand against God. It is written, “He said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?’”
Seeing what the serpent has done, we can see how the Devil used a certain creature among God’s creation to fulfill his will. Put differently, just as God spreads the gospel through us, so does Satan stand against God through his instruments, through those who willingly obey his words.
In Genesis 2:17, God had said, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” When we compare this Word to what Satan said to Eve, we can see the wiles of Satan that made her disobey God’s commandment. Satan said to Eve, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
Did God really say this? Having made all the fruit trees in the Garden of Eden, did God tell Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of every tree, or did He tell them not to eat the fruit of just the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? He forbade them from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In contrast, Satan said to Eve, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
Here we can see the wiles of the Devil. The Devil surreptitiously misappropriates the Word of God as a way to inject his evil poison into people. In other words, by adding slight modifications to the Word of God or subtracting from it, Satan ultimately prevents people from believing in God’s Word. So, even now, the Devil continues to distort and abuse God’s Word, and with this trick, he keeps misleading countless souls to fall into falsehood.
Take a look at the false preachers in today’s Christianity. Aren’t the servants of Satan all over the world lying through their teeth, even as they claim to believe in God and cite His Word? When Calvinism propounds on such doctrines as the doctrine of predestination, the doctrine of election, the doctrine of justification, and so forth, it makes its case by citing the Bible, not just by insisting blindly. Like this, the Devil also works with the Word of God, and he distorts the Truth by adding to the Word or subtracting from it.
God had told Adam and Eve to freely eat of every tree in the garden, but with a single exception: they were not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Among the fruits that God told them to eat, the tree of life was also included. He only forbade them from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Why did God tell Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of this tree? The reason is that God wanted humans to accept and trust in His judgment, and live by faith, rather than judging good and evil on their own, like God Himself. God did not make the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for any other reason. He made this tree so that man would not exalt himself higher than God, and thus commit the arrogant sin of judging God for himself. That is why everyone who is tricked by the wiles of the Devil invariably commits the sin of arrogance and stands against God.
Genesis 3:2-3 says, “And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’’”
We can see here how Eve had already begun to add to the Word and subtract from it on her own, instead of believing in it exactly as it was. While God had said, “In the day that you eat of it you shall surely die,” Eve claimed that God said, “Lest you die.” The former statement makes it clear that death would be certain, while the latter hints that it is merely a possibility. Moreover, God clearly specified the forbidden tree as “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” in the midst of the garden, but Eve described it broadly only as “the tree which is in the midst of the garden,” indicating that she did not believe in the Word wholeheartedly. She said so even though there also was the tree of life in the midst of the garden. Adam and Eve did not believe in the Word here. Not to believe is sin.
What do you think sin is? Do you not think that disobeying the Word of God is a sin? However, an even greater sin than this is not to believe in the Word of God. In fact, the greatest sin is not to have faith in God’s Word. Unbelief is the origin of sin, its seed and its cause. Not to believe in God’s Word is the greatest sin. Even though God had said that Adam and Eve would surely die, Eve left some probability out there, only saying, “Lest you die.” Where, then, did her unbelief come from?
Such unbelief sprung up the very moment Eve heard the Devil’s words. As Satan asked her, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” by then Eve’s mind was already shaken, and so she answered, “God said, ‘Lest you die.’” When one gets trapped by Satan’s tricks, his faith is corrupted like this.
As such, we must know the right answer, realizing exactly what God said. How has God blotted out our sins? He has blotted them out through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because Jesus took upon all the sins of the world by being baptized, and He paid off all the wages of our sins by shedding His blood and dying on the Cross, all of us who believe in this are now sinless—none other than this is the very Word of Truth.
Here, if Satan’s servants were to say to us, “Of these two, you can leave out baptism and still be washed from your sins and receive your salvation,” and we end up agreeing with this, nodding, “Well, I suppose that’s acceptable as well,” then this can only mean that we have already been ensnared by Satan’s trap. In other words, the difference of just one word can lead to fundamentally different consequences.
There are many Christians in this world. They all say that people would go to Heaven if they believe in Jesus, and they all profess that Jesus is their Savior. Even though every Christian says so and believes so, what would happen if one does not acknowledge that his sins were passed onto Jesus when He was baptized? If a Christian believes only in the blood of the Cross, then he will ultimately be cast into hell. That’s because he does not believe in what the Lord has done for him. Such a person commits the same sin as Eve came to commit when Satan tempted her. When we look at the Christian faith of this world, we can see that countless people remain unable to meet God even though they believe in Him, precisely because they all believe like this.
That is why whose words you listen to is so important. If you come to God’s Church, you will hear the Word of God and spread this Word, but if you go to a church that does not preach the real Word of God but only something resembling it, then your souls will perish. If God’s Church were to preach a pseudo-gospel instead of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then everyone in the Church will see their faith dying. That is why not to believe in God’s Word is a great sin. What about us then? Do you and I really believe in the Word of God wholeheartedly? Not believing in the Word of God itself is a sin. It’s not because we commit a particularly horrendous sin that we are sent to hell, but it is because we do not believe in God’s Word that we end up committing the very sin that sends us to hell. Blaspheming the gospel of the water and the Spirit is the very blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:26-29).
From the Word, we should be able to realize how Satan has deceived people and how he has destroyed them. When some people come across the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they argue against it, saying, “Every Christian confesses that Jesus is his Savior even when he believes only in the blood of the Cross. So does it then mean that all these countless Christians are bound to hell? Given the history of Christianity that spans for over 2,000 years, when exactly was this so-called gospel of the water and the Spirit preached?”
The gospel of the water and the Spirit is the true gospel completed by Jesus. The apostles and disciples all preached exactly this same gospel. However, once the Early Church period was over—that is, once Christianity entered the age of Church Fathers—the preachers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit vanished. In the period since the coming of Jesus until 313 A.D., when the Edict of Milan was issued, the true gospel had been there and its life had been maintained, but after this, it disappeared.
This happened because the tares sown by the Devil flourished even more than the wheat and ended up devouring it. It’s because the Devil prevented people from believing in God’s Word of Truth in its entirety that such a result has materialized today. If you and I had not believed in the Word of God that came as the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we, too, would have been destroyed in the end, for our sins would have remained still intact in our hearts. Fortunately, however, you and I did believe in the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit, and therefore we were ultimately able to receive the remission of our sins, as well as enjoy everlasting life. For this, I give all my thanks to God.
Even now, despite claiming to be preaching the gospel of Heaven, countless Christians still continue to preach the wrong gospel of the earth. For instance, Jehovah’s Witnesses say that we should believe only in Jehovah, since He alone is God, and that Jesus is not God. But this is nothing more than the Devil’s words. The Presbyterian Church, on the other hand, is a denomination that is based on Calvinism, and it has not given any attention to the baptism that Jesus received from John, nor does it believe in it. The reason why the followers of such denominations do not accept the gospel of the water and the Spirit even when you preach to them is because Satan has already confused their hearts with his pseudo-gospel.
But still, you must correct the fallacious faith of Christians now. We must preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to all Christians, so that they may realize the Truth that saves them from their sins.
Let us turn to Acts 2:38 here: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” We are baptized as a confession of our faith, that the Lord has thus blotted out our sins with His water and blood. It is when we receive the remission of our sins that we also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t matter whether you are baptized only as a ritual or not; what matters is that it is only by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that you can receive the remission of your sins from God.
And even if you have not been physically baptized, if you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, then you have received the remission of your sins. It is only to confess our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we are baptized. However, the Devil deceives Christians by saying that they can automatically receive the remission of their sins just by repenting and receiving baptism. The wiles of the Devil are extremely cunning. Even biblical scholars cannot see through his schemes. That’s because they have already been fooled by the Devil’s tricks.
Therefore, as you and I carry on with our lives in this world, unless we ourselves preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit and expose Satan’s schemes, countless people will remain incapable of being transformed. We have to find out how today’s Christians are being deceived and explain it to them. If we just consider the gospel Word of the water and the Spirit only as a doctrine, and we fail to explain it to others, then there can be no benefit in this. That is why I always untangle and explain the Word of God whenever I preach.
The problem for many people is that their hearts have no fear of God. So instead of believing according to the Word of God, they interpret the Word according to their own taste, and consequently their faith ends up all in vain. It is because people do not believe according to the true gospel taught by the Word of God—that is, the gospel of the water and the Spirit—that there is sin in their hearts, and it is because there is sin in their hearts that they do not have the Holy Spirit, and are instead suffering so much.
Why, then, did God write about Satan’s schemes here in the Book of Genesis? He did so to teach us a lesson: “In order to prevent mankind from believing in the Word like this, Satan added to it and subtracted from it. That is how unbelief came to be manifested in people’s hearts, and because of this, they fell into sin, and are suffering as a consequence, now bound to hell.” In teaching us this lesson, God is inspiring us to realize that we must preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit according to the Word.
Therefore, unless we learn the Word of God verse by verse, we cannot overcome the Devil, for we would not know his wiles. That is why we ourselves must know the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit and believe in it, and only then can we identify how others are misbelieving.
Some people think, “Shouldn’t we then actually be with these believers to examine what they really believe in?” but since there are so many denominations and sects even in a religion called Christianity, there is no time for us to examine them all. It’s impossible even if we were to try this for the rest of our lives. Even if we were to live for 70 or 80 years, we would not be able to examine them all. So, through the Word of God, we should learn the gospel Truth of the water and the Spirit beyond any uncertainty and abide in the definitive Truth.
It says here, “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die.’” As the woman failed to hold onto the Word of God firmly, didn’t the serpent poison her right away? The fact that Eve said, “Lest you die,” clearly shows that she did not believe in God’s Word. That’s why right away the serpent sprinkled his lies on her unbelief. He deceived Eve by claiming, “You will not surely die,” and it was because Eve did not have faith that she ended up stumbling over Satan’s words and fell.
When people come across some get-rich-quick scheme and think, “This looks like a lucrative business,” scoundrels often seize on this opportunity and say to them, “I’ll 100% guarantee its success. You will make a pile of money with this business.” So their minds are beguiled and they make the investment. Sooner or later, however, they all end up bankrupt.
We have to accept by faith everything God said, all 100%. As for Satan, whatever he says to us, we have to turn it around and consider its reverse. If the Devil says that we will not surely die, it means that we will die for sure. Whatever the Devil says will not happen, we must take it to mean that it will indeed happen. In verse 5, Satan further incites Eve, saying, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” What does this show? It shows the Devil revealing his ulterior motive.
The True Colors of Satan
It is written in Isaiah, “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’” (Isaiah 14:12-17)
It says here that an angel called Lucifer, son of the morning, fell from Heaven. The cause for this is explained in Isaiah 14:13, which says,
“For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north.’”
In other words, there was an angel who served God as His secretary in the heavenly domain, but in his arrogance, this angel conspired with other angels and challenged God. He did this to take over God’s place. As a result, he was cast out from Heaven and driven away to the earth, and he became Satan, the head of all evil spirits.
What is the Devil’s ulterior motive revealed in Genesis chapter 3, where he is tempting Adam and Eve? The Devil’s goal back then was to become like God.
When God had told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, He meant that they should not set their own standard of good and evil, nor judge all on their own. That is why God had told them not to eat of the tree, but in contrast, Satan said to Eve, “If you eat it your eyes will be opened. And you will be like God.” In the dominion of God’s creation, in other words, Satan was now trying to challenge God by deceiving mankind. When the Devil said to Eve, “God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” he was now challenging God by proxy through mankind, since he himself had already been cast out for challenging God and trying to make himself God. Put differently, by stirring up doubt in people’s hearts and inciting even more unbelief, Satan prevents them from believing in God, and using mankind, he is ultimately standing against God. The Devil’s goal is to challenge God and stand against Him.
So what did Adam and Eve actually do in the end? Didn’t they eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Indeed, they both ended up eating it. But did they become like God, after they ate this fruit? No! They became miserable instead.
You and I are all descendents of Adam and Eve who ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Our forefathers ate this tree’s fruit, but do we really know good and evil? Far from knowing what is really good and evil, all that has sprung up from this is our propensity to judge on our own. We have left God and committed the sin of judging good and evil all on our own. This is extremely offensive.
Good and evil can be determined only by God, the Absolute Being. Yet as human beings ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they came to have their own standard of good and evil, and, consequently, to judge even what God has done all on their own, saying this is right and that is wrong, and to refuse to believe in it.
As human beings have refused to believe in the Word of God and stood against it, they deserve to become Satan’s servants and be cast into hell with the Devil. In other words, it is only too fitting that those who fell into Satan’s temptation and have become His servants should be cast into hell with the Devil, while those who have become God’s children by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, the Word of God, should enter His Kingdom. Some people might protest and say, “What wrong have I done, other than not believing, that I should be sent to hell?” However, not only did they disbelieve, but they actually tried to become like God, and so this constitutes a great sin. Buddhists try to reach Nirvana through asceticism, but can anyone really reach Nirvana? Trying to become like God is the most evil.
Human beings must fear God. They must honor God, love Him, believe in Him, follow Him, and admit that He alone is the only Absolute Being. And they must realize that only the God-spoken Word is the real Truth, the goodness set by God is the real goodness, and what God said is evil is the real evil; and they must believe so accordingly. Why? Because He is the Absolute One, the Creator who made us, forever good, holy, and true.
We are all utterly insufficient. That is why we cannot judge the Word of God based on our own standard. To judge God’s Word based on our own standard is extremely impudent.
How did sin enter the world? Through chapter three of the Book of Genesis, we can see that sin entered us because of Satan. Sin entered mankind as the Devil muddled the Word of God, thus preventing it from discerning God’s Word correctly. In other words, as the Devil made mankind believe in and follow his words instead of God’s Word, sin came into the human heart. It’s because Satan made mankind proud that it came to stand against God.
Through today’s Scripture passage, we must realize exactly how sin entered mankind. The reason why many people still cannot believe in God is because they have been learning fallacious doctrines all this time. So you can see just how important it is to believe correctly from the beginning. And you can realize how difficult it is to return back to the right path, once one misbelieves.
Because human beings discern good and evil based on their own carnal standard, they think of themselves to be virtuous, but the Word of God says that mankind is a brood of evildoers (Isaiah 1:4). God says that no matter of what virtues human beings might practice, it is nothing more than hypocrisy, and He declares, “They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12).
But just how many people are unable to accept the Word of God? People recognize it as a true virtue if someone makes donations to an orphanage or a nursing home, or volunteers to serve the community. Yet this is not the real virtue in God’s sight. Once mankind ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, human beings came to have their own standard of good and evil, and therefore it became impossible for them to acknowledge God’s Word wholly. Put differently, they came to regard themselves even more righteous than God. Therefore, we have to know that while to bring physical benefits to others is also a worthy endeavor, the real priority is to bring spiritual benefits to them by preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
We really must believe in the Word of God exactly as it is. Today’s Scripture passage is saying to us that rather than being overwhelmed by our own emotions and adding our own thoughts to the Word or subtracting from it, we should believe in the Word as it is. It told us that sin is none other than not to believe. To believe, in contrast, is to please God. So if we want to please God, we must have faith. As the Bible says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6), to believe in the Word of God is to please God.
In the not too distant future, this world will see the advent of the age of the Antichrist. If God said so, then it will surely come to pass. There can be no other possibility. If God said that tribulations would come to this age, then they will come, but if He said otherwise, then there will be no tribulation. Whatever the Word of God says will indeed be fulfilled somehow; there is absolutely nothing that is fulfilled according to mankind’s thoughts. We have to realize that it is not mankind that moves history, but it is God who moves it.
Eve took the forbidden fruit and ate it, and she also gave it to her husband who was with her. So both the man and the woman became sinners. And because Satan had worked on the woman first and sin came through her, God gave the suffering of childbirth to her. Otherwise men could very well have given birth. If God wanted this, He could have made it so. But it is to women whom God gave the pain of childbirth.
When we look at historical events, they invariably involve women. Of course, this does not mean that men are not involved. Someone said, “It is man who controls the world, but it is woman who controls the man.”
Satan targeted woman first. It means that as women have certain weaknesses, it’s easier for Satan to work on them than on men. It is always through the weak ones that Satan brings many temptations. Don’t we see this around us also, how Satan works through the weak? The weakness here does not refer to the weakness of the body, but it refers to the weakness of faith, to a mind that lacks the strength to overcome the lust of mankind and seeks after the lust of the flesh more than the Holy Spirit.
We need to have a firm grasp of the path by which the Devil works. Put differently, the Devil works through those whose faith is weak, while God works through those who believe in His Word. When we hold onto the Word of God and trust in it, all our rubbish thoughts will disappear. Even though man-made thoughts would still arise, if we believe in God’s Word, our impure thoughts will vanish away. Temptation may come on our way from time to time, but if we believe in God’s Word and hold onto it, then our lust will all disappear and be cleansed away.
That is why it is so indispensable to believe in God’s Word and preach according to this Word of God. We must walk according to the Word. That’s why when God’s servants preach, they never consult the sermons of those who have not even been born again, nor do they ever borrow some philosophers’ ideas or thoughts.
Isn’t this a bit curious? When looked based on the carnal standard of mankind, it may seem that someone who purports to give a sermon should say something intellectual to be more believable and credible, but the servants of God know all too well that someone else’s borrowed faith, not theirs, has absolutely no effect. In the dominion of God, to speak based on mankind’s knowledge, philosophy, or logic is especially laughable. Anyone who speaks based on the things of the world does not believe in God’s Word, but is merely talking about his own knowledge.
The pastors of this world often invoke a motley collection of knowledge. But is mankind’s knowledge as worthy as faith? Those who follow the knowledge of mankind do not trust in God’s Word, and this is why they end up becoming the Devil’s servants. In contrast, those who believe in the Word of God open the Bible and preach this Word by faith. Because they speak by believing in the Word of God, all their impure thoughts vanish away, for they place their faith in God’s Word.
If your faith is not pure and your minds are all cluttered, hold onto the Word of God. Your impure minds and cluttered thoughts will then all disappear. Above all, you must believe in the Word of God. My fellow believers, do you really believe in God’s Word? You will never stumble if you believe in God’s Word.
If, on the other hand, you do not believe in the Word of God, then you will be taken prisoner by the Devil to become his servants and be accursed. Although today’s Scripture passage is short, it has given us such a profound lesson. Because of this event described in today’s passage, mankind and the serpent also became enemies. Through the serpent, God is teaching us about the wiles of the Devil, and He is telling us how mankind’s own standard of good and evil is so evil.