Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From stories in Matthew 26 and John 12
The word “slanderer” is the meaning of the word that is translated as “devil” in the Bible. In the Bible, a person’s name often indicates something important about the person. Eve, Noah, Melchizedek, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and many, many others were given names that either described their character or told something important about them. “Slanderer” is a name for the fallen cherub called Satan because it tells of his work and nature. It is a most revealing name. And it is not revealed to man in the Old Testament.
The first use of the word “devil” is found in Matthew, during the temptation of Jesus. Not only was the true nature of God and the identity of His Son hidden until Jesus came but the real nature of the evil one and his nature was also hidden until he came. Even the name of God’s Son, Jesus, was made known only when Jesus came; so also, the name of the enemy of all righteousness was made known only when Jesus came. His name was “the Slanderer.” The light that Jesus brought to the people of earth “enlightened every man” concerning what was holy and what was not. It revealed to all people who God really was and what He was really like, and who the enemy of righteousness really was and what he was really like.
According to one of the world’s leading authorities on the Greek of the New Testament, the underlying meaning of the verb from which “slanderer” comes is one of “separation”. Separation, or division, is always the effect of the Devil’s involvement in our lives. The undermining of, and eventual destruction of fellowship in the light always results when he is given room to work; his influence brings envy, strife, and in the end, death.
The Devil, the Slanderer, is able to turn us against each other, but his prime motivation from the beginning has been to share in the glory of God by being a director of our decisions. To influence our choices is his means of fulfilling his ancient evil desire to “be like the Most High”. We saw it in the Garden of Eden when he influenced Eve to follow his suggestion rather than to obey God’s commandment. The way he accomplished this was to subtly leave the impression with her that God did not love her as purely and deeply as she thought He did. He deceived her, puffed her up, made her envious of God’s glory (the way he was), and then she did what he wanted her to do instead of doing as God said.
Envy of the love and fear that saints have for their God. Pride because of the gifts and the beauty that were given to him. These are two prime ingredients of the Devil’s wicked character. Influence in decisions that God’s people make is his goal. And separation from God and division among the saints, caused by subtle suggestions made about God’s “real” motives or about His servants’ character, is the result of him being given room to work. May God help us to continue to “love one another with a pure heart fervently” and to value the fellowship in the light that we have been given. It is a rare gift. And if it is not valued and jealously guarded as it should be, it can be stolen.
Tomorrow: How slander works.