Hey, How’d You Get Here? (ATP)

In Job, satan went to God’s throne and God told satan he could do whatever to Job except death. I have always wondered how satan could go to God? I thought that dark and the light of God couldn’t be together. Also does satan have access to heaven anytime? How can satan be in the presence of God?

What you are talking about is actually quite a deep study, and will be hard to lay all out in a single Faith Fix. However, I will attempt an overview.

I think it is important for us to understand that satan isn’t firstly a name (possibly not at all) but a word. When we read our bibles we are reading a translation from a different language. In the book of Job, the original language is Hebrew. When we see “satan” we are accustomed to seeing it as a name. However, it is an actual untranslated Hebrew word that means adversary, opponent, or one who withstands.  It’s similar to the word translated angel which is more of a title of function than a description of a specific entity. You could think of the word human in the same way. The translators have opted to capitalize it, making us see it as a name. Actually, as it’s used in Job, it is always preceded by the Hebrew article “ha” meaning “the”. In other words, “ha satan” could rightfully be translated in Job as simply, “the adversary”. In fact, the notes in my Bible actually say this.

This IS NOT to say that who we understand to be satan, the devil, the prince of darkness is not the one talked about here. I simply bring this up to try and broaden our understanding of it. We actually find this same idea come up in the garden of Eden as the creature that tempted Adam and Eve was probably not actually a snake. I know, I know, mind blown right? The people who wrote these things in the first place used imagery that the people of those times would understand, because this is how ancient communication worked. Our translators have taken those languages and that imagery and tried to bring it to us in a way that we would understand.

I say all that to say that what we know is what is clearly given and for what’s not been clearly given, we don’t know. We have to therefore try and extract the heart behind what is being portrayed, and not be distracted so much by the functionality of it all. At this point I want to bring up what Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:16 (NASB). “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” Notice the end part of this verse, “training in righteousness.” The Bible was never meant to be a manual on how everything works. People get into this problem all the time when they try to make it say what it was never intended to say. People build doctrines and whole theologies at times around very little text. I once knew of someone who wrote an entire book based on a single scripture with little information and only a few words. It was a big seller, but the unfortunate truth is that it was primarily speculation in the mind of the author. Sure an articulate and charismatic writer or preacher can make something sound super good, however that doesn’t make it truth! If someone presents theological ideas we need to ask ourselves a simple question. Is this something I can see simply by reading or studying the text? If the answer is no, the ideas are shaky at best. That is not to discount someone who through serious study has built a strong case for something. What I’m referring to is when someone presents little biblical information, but adds a lot of ideological fluff.  

Now, I have only touched on the possible things that can be touched on with this but I want to bring up another. This is what it says in Job 1:6 (NASB) and I want you to pay attention to the wording here. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.” It does not say they went to  Heaven and it does not say that they were at God’s throne. It does not in fact tell us anything about the meeting or meeting place. In fact, one of the only conclusions we can actually draw out of Job on this is that it seems as though this was some sort of ongoing thing, though we can’t say for sure. Maybe even, this type of thing could be happening continually, but we don’t know. Also, I’d like to point out that it talks about the “sons of God”. It doesn’t say all these were even bad beings. The only indication that one is bad is the text which specifically points out one as the adversary. The Bible gives us glimpses into the spirit realm, however there are many things that remain a mystery to us, enough to keep us interested, but these things shouldn’t distract us. 

I do not want to discourage the one who asked the question, because I think it’s wonderful that it was asked. I just want to say that it’s important to think about the text for what it’s given for. These things make for great discussion, but I’m not convinced they can be fully known. I would also add, if someone comes with all the answers, it’s really important to find out where they get their info from. God saw fit to keep some things a mystery. Some things we will know here and some we will wait for. That’s by His design.

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NASB)

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.

Be Blessed,

Pastor Jeff