Enticing/lying spirits sent by God

Hi,
God sending spirit of ill(Judges 9:23), distressing spirit(1 samuel 16:14) enticinbg spirit (1 kings 22:22) seems confusing with the holiness of God. These spirits seems to be in the presence of God (1 kings 22:20-22). When Isaiah encounters the holiness of God , he feels that he is undone for he has unclean lips(Isaiah 6:5). How can these spirits be in the presence of Holy God? If Satan is a liar and we are to refrain from lying ,How does God use this lying spirit on humans for good of Israel?

Thaks
Sujan

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Hello, Sujan @valli.sujankumar. Very insightful question. On the surface, when you read that “God sent an evil spirit”, or God “curses”, it appears to be a contradiction of His character, when in reality, it is because of the holiness and righteousness of His character that we read of these instances, and many others, in Scripture. However, you must read the circumstances surrounding the incidents and why they happened. Every time it is a result of disobedience, an evil an individual has committed, or rebellion against God’s holiness. God cannot allow such things against Him to go unpunished. In Psalm 51:4, David declares his sin is against God, and God only…meaning that all sin is against God.
In the case of Judges 9:23, you must read the whole story to see what is happening. Abimelech has acted treacherously against his brothers, the sons of Gideon, who rightfully were entitled to rule over Israel. God had used Gideon to rescue Israel from the Midianites. Israel asked Gideon to rule over them, but he declined. When Gideon died, Abimelech, the son of Gideon’s concubine, slaughtered Gideon’s other sons who were children of his wives and legitimately entitled to rule over Israel. So, this is the background to why God sent evil. Abimelech set himself up for God’s judgment.
God, was angered by Abimelech’s treachery and behavior and we read in Judges 9:23 that God sent an evil spirit to stir up strife between Abimelech and the city of Shechem. However, the following verse explains why. It was judgment against Abimelech.

The question arises as to how God can do evil when Scripture says that God does not tempt with evil, nor is He tempted with evil (James 1:13). And, as you pointed out, God is Holy. He is so holy, He could not bear the sin that Christ, His Holy Son, was taking upon Himself on the cross (Mark 15:34). Habakkuk 1:13 says that God is too pure to allow His eyes to look at evil. So, what is the answer?
The story of Job gives us a clue. For whatever reason, Satan still had access to God because we see that He had a conversation in heaven with Satan about Job’s righteousness. Satan challenges God about His faith in Job and GOD ALLOWS Satan to bring evil on Job, but not to the point of death. So, what we see is that God will allow evil as tests of our faithfulness, and in the cases you have pointed out in your question, He allowed evil as judgment. In the Exodus story, God sent plagues to break Pharoah down…why? Because the Egyptians were oppressing God’s chosen people and it was the way God used to set the people free.
God is not arbitrary. If He allows evil, it is for a reason. Perhaps, this commentary on Judges 9:23 will help your understanding.

[Benson Commentary] ;
Jdg 9:23-24: (https://biblehub.com/commentaries/benson/judges/9.htm)
God sent an evil spirit — That is, gave Satan permission to work upon their minds. That the cruelty done to the sons of Jerubbaal, &c. — That is, the punishment of the cruelty. Men may do evil, and think they have profited themselves; may imagine they have strengthened themselves in their wickedness, and are quite secure; that they have procured themselves friends, who will stand by them, and save them: but God can, with the greatest ease, make all the devices of the wicked of none effect; can turn their best contrivances to their ruin, and punish them by those on whom they depended for help and security. The example of Abimelech and the men of Shechem, recorded in this chapter, may assure us, that God will not suffer the murderer to escape even in this world; but will punish him in some grievous manner or other.

God has judged Satan by Christ’s death. But, just as in a court of law, judgment has been pronounced, sentencing has not yet begun. Evil is still in the world, but only for a while until it will be ultimately sentenced. God still allows evil, which is difficult for many to understand. That is where God wants believers to trust His judgment.

I hope this helps your understanding. If not, please continue to ask questions so we can look further into it.

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Thankyou @sgewehr for your insight on this, but personally I want to understand, Does God ALLOWS evil as you said and still allowing which is difficult for many to understand?? I want to know more about that based on scriptures.

Regards

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Hello, Preeti @swtprtsharma0. You have asked a frequently asked question by both skeptics and believers alike. We will not necessarily find the word “allow” in Scripture, but it can best be understood or deduced from the contexts of the stories being told.
If you go back to the Genesis account of man’s fall, one can ask why God didn’t intervene and prevent Eve from being enticed and taking what was forbidden. If He had, evil (read Satan) would not have entered the world. But, God didn’t prevent it, even though He could have. Thus, He allowed evil from the very beginning.
The main reason that we can perceive that God created us was for the purpose of having a loving relationship. His love is so vast, He wanted to share it with us. He created man and all the beauty and wonder of the earth and the universe for us to enjoy and to glorify Him. But, the one thing He didn’t want was for us to reciprocate His love under His control. So, He gave us our wills to decide. That is why He didn’t intervene in Eden, although He gave a definite warning of the consequences for not obeying and heeding His warning.
Also (refer to the article below) the culture of Jewish Scripture accredited everything as coming from God. There are very few Scriptures in the Old Testament referencing Satan.
What we see in the story of Saul (1 Sam. 16:14) is a spirit coming to torment Saul. But the reason that happened is that Saul disobeyed God repeatedly resulting in God’s withdrawing His Spirit from Saul. When that happened, Saul was vulnerable to Satan, although it is attributed by the Jewish understanding of the time, that it was from God. God allowed Satan to torment Saul by withdrawing His Spirit and because that was the consequences of Saul’s rebellion.
In the situation in 1Kings 22:19-23, the prophet, Micaiah, relays a vision the Lord gave him of a conversation in heaven between God and His heavenly hosts. He was discussing with them how He would entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth-Gilead, since that is what Ahab wanted to do, against the warning of the godly prophet, Micaiah. That passage says that a “spirit” came forward who said he would entice Ahab with a lie. We saw in the previous discussion from Sujan @valli.sujankumar that Satan had access into heaven. So, it is possible that the spirit that came forward to entice Ahab with a lie could have been Satan or one of his angels. Regardless, God allowed that spirit to do what was decided.

As an aside, supporting the statements that Jewish culture attributed everything as coming from God, Job only talked about God’s actions in his laments. He doesn’t mention Satan, although the reader knows his disasters were allowed and came from Satan.

We can’t always see God’s reasons for allowing evil (Romans 11:34). But we can say that where evil exists, God’s love and grace abound all the more. (Rom. 8:20).
When natural disasters occur, or in circumstances such as we have now with C-19, many people are in distress, wondering why, and what is going to be their fate. God, in His goodness, sends charities such as Samaritan’s Purse to not only assist with the destruction, but also to minister to those in distress. Many hearts are turned toward God as a result. But, many will blame God and accuse Him for the evil, yet credit themselves when all is well. In cases such as these, the real question we should be asking is, “What is God saying to me?” There will be more comfort in turning to God rather than from Him.
When there is suffering from illness or abuse, etc., there are countless stories of how the sufferer ministers to others in the midst of their great suffering. Why? How? Because they have turned to God and entered His “Sabbath Rest” that allows them to see their pain from His perspective and know that all will be well, no matter the outcome.

I’ve copied a few excerpts from an article from “Culture Watch” to help support what I’ve said above:
From Culture Watch, by Bill Muehlenberg, 2014
Difficult Bible Passages: 1 Samuel 16:14
…These writers raise an important point, namely that we hear very little about Satan in the Old Testament, and God is seen as sovereign over all things. Satan only gets three brief mentions in the OT: 1 Chronicles 21:1; the first two chapters of Job; and Zechariah 3:1-2.
…The surprisingly limited amount of space devoted to Satan shows his relative insignificance. It is God with whom we have to do, not his adversary. The traditional understanding of both Jews and Christians is that God’s purposes ultimately triumph, but he may work through secondary agents (such as Satan).
…Because of Saul’s wilful disobedience, Samuel goes on to make this famous statement in vv. 22-23:
“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
he has rejected you as king.”
…Or as David Firth states, “It should be borne in mind that the OT is seldom concerned with secondary causation, and since Yahweh is Lord of all, the spirit is seen as coming from him. But the narrative still holds Saul responsible for his actions while afflicted (18:10-11; 19:10), so though this statement is absolute, the wider narrative indicates that a more nuanced understanding is necessary.”

I hope you have found this helpful. Please feel free to ask more questions.

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Hi Sharon,
Sorry for the delayed question on your thoughts as it came into my mind just now.

God, in his sovereignity has the absolute authority to allow evil on to humans and in these scenarios, the enticing spirits.

However, God is Holy which is expained through oout scriptures and in Isaiah6:2 it is explained that even the angels have covered their faces with a pair of wings as they could not withstanbd the glory of God. The same is the case of Isaiah. So, how could evil minded spirits could be in the presence of God as in the I kings 22:22. Also as indicated in Job how are they given access to heaven being adversaries while humans have been deprived of the same for being disobedient.

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Wow!!! Difficult but great question. The last part of your question:

I need a little more explanation of what you mean. But I will try to answer the rest.

I don’t think we humans comprehend what goes on in the heavens. That is not a cop-out answer, but one that says some things are beyond our understanding or awareness. Ephesians 6:12 says:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

When Daniel was questioning God about the vision he had seen, the answer was delayed because (Gabriel, most likely) was intercepted by the “prince of Persia” and engaged him in battle. Then the angel, Michael, had to come assist in the battle before Daniel could get his answer (Dan.10).

These are two Scriptural references to show you that we have no understanding of what is happening for or against us in the heavens. But evil is there fighting God’s purposes. Can we understand it? No. But it is sufficient to know that it exists and that we should take on the “armor of God” (Eph. 6: 13-17) to be able to withstand whatever is happening.
Yes. God is holy and cannot look on evil. What is happening to Isaiah in chapter 6 is a vision that God is giving him. His blindness is compared to the blindness of Israel’s spiritual condition.
In regard to the angels, I have lifted this explanation from a commentary from Christianity.com:
“The seraphim showing their faces veiled, declares that they are ready to yield obedience to all God’s commands, though they do not understand the secret reasons of his counsels, government, or promises”.
So, angels don’t always know or understand the assignments they are given, only to obey them.

I hope this gives you some insight about evil in heavenly places. Please let me know a little more about what you are asking regarding human access.

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Thank you Sharon

Isaiah 59

1.Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened,
That it cannot save;
Nor His ear heavy,
That it cannot hear.
2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.

This iniquities have separated from Him and Sins have hidden his face.

No sinner can be in the heaven and this conversation in 1 kings 22:19 is happening in heaven where the enticing spirits come forward to do the job. How can evil spirits can be in heaven.

And Because of our sinful nature we cannot go to heaven until reconciled through Jesus. So, how can these evil spirits or Satan can have access to heaven being sinners as well.

I just could not understand how can Evil spirits be present in heaven while I can understand that God only allowed them in his Sovereignty

Thank you

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OK, Sujan @valli.sujankumar. I think I see where you are coming from on this question. It is good that you are asking and seeking answers to problematic issues for you. I’ll do my best to help.
First, it is important to put Isaiah 59 into its proper context. This passage is dealing with the nation of Israel. Early in the Book of Genesis, God called out Abraham to be the father of a nation through whom the Christ was to come. Abraham would also be the father of the Gentile nations after Christ. Gen.12:2-3; 22:18). This nation was to set an example to the rest of the world. They were to be a holy nation unto God. He gave them laws by which they were to live and to teach them to be like Himself. As mentioned above, they were to be the nation to usher in the Messiah. But, as Isaiah 59 points out, Israel was anything but a holy nation. They constantly went into idolatry, evil, injustice, dishonesty, etc. In this passage, God is saying that they have become such a disastrous people, unlike the ways He taught them, that He can’t look at them. They have dishonored Him and disgraced themselves.
So, what was to be done? God, Himself, took on their redemption. In Isaiah 60, we see a new and glorious Israel because of Christ. All of this is prophetic and Isaiah is the instrument God uses to convey this message to Israel.

Next, it is important to understand the difference between the angels and humans.
Angels were created to be God’s messengers, servants, or to worship Him. The announcements of the births of John the Baptist and of Jesus were carried out by the messenger, Gabriel. (Luke 1). Psalm 103:20-21 speaks of the angels doing God’s bidding. Rev.5:11-12 tells of myriads of angels worshiping God. However, humans were created to have a relationship with God, different from the angels. In fact the angels long to understand the relationship that comes from salvation (1Pet.1:12). So, now we see the difference between angels and mankind.

The next thing to understand is when Satan was cast from heaven, he took a third of all the angels with him.(Rev.12:4) We refer to those fallen angels now as “demons”. However, not all of those demons are free to roam the earth to do Satan’s work, some have been relegated to “the Abyss”. 2Pet.2:4 tells us that some of those fallen angels are being held there. Rev.9 speaks about the horror of that abyss and the King of the Abyss (Satan). Eventually, all of the fallen angels will be tormented for eternity in the Abyss (Rev.20:3). (Satan will be released after a 1000 years, but will again be thrown into that abyss.)
All of this can be overwhelming to understand, but my point in showing you these verses is to let you see the difference between angels and humans. Those fallen angels will never experience redemption. They forfeited the glory they participated in in heaven by their rebellion. But, for mankind who have believed in Christ and accepted His salvation, there is eternity with God. Christ died for all mankind. Those who choose to reject His salvation will receive eternal damnation when men are finally judged. Believers escape that judgment. All men have the opportunity to repent and come before the Lord. Willful unbelievers are not kept from His presence until they die. While we do not literally go into heaven, because of the Holy Spirit, we have access to Him here on earth.
As I explained in my last response, why Satan and his angels have access to God in heaven is something we humans and believers cannot understand. But the major difference is that those fallen angels have already been judged and await their final fate. Whereas, we still have the opportunity to repent of our disobedience and rebellion before it’s too late.

I hope this has helped you with your question. If not, keep asking so we can work toward a solution that you are able to understand.

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When you stop and think that God allowed Satan to be the architect of his own destruction by allowing him to arrange for Jesus to be crucified you can clearly see God using evil for good .
The very nature of Satan prevented him from understanding that Jesus would never be more a King than when He hung naked and broken upon the cruel cross .
God basically gave Satan all the rope he needed to hang himself while accomplishing salvation through the cross and Satan was more than happy to hang himself.
This ultimate misunderstanding of Satan’s in what the execution of Jesus would accomplish is directly connected to Jesus then going to the evil spirits in chains after the cross and proclaiming Satan’s demise and that the victory and all that went with it that Satan had promised these spirits that would result from Jesus’s execution was the epic failure of history.
Satan has been kicking himself ever since .

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Thank you @sgewehr for taking time to explain the difference between angels and humans and that helped clear the confusion I had. The point which you mentioned” because of the Holy Spirit, we have access to Him here on earth” is the most important point I missed while comparing humans to fallen angels being in his presence. And thank you @ConsecratedLife for your thoughts on the topic.

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Glad we could help. :wink:

Hi, Sujan. It is possible for evil spirits to be in the presence of God. Like in Job, when we read that God called the sons of God to Him and Satan was 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.)

@valli.sujankumar, there is an aspect that you may not be considering and that is the concept of God’s divine counsel. God desires and allows his created beings to have input into how he governs the universe. This can be seen in Genesis 1 where the only entities who are given dominion are man and the sun, moon, and stars. This celestial language is stock terminology for heavenly beings that we would consider to be angels (although that is not an accurate term). God being omniscient knows what our choices would be in any given circumstance with any given input, yet he allows us to cooperate and have input in order to bring about His desired end. In the scene found in 1 Kings the divine council scene is clearly on display and the “lying spirit” is not an evil spirit but a member of God’s council. God did not lie to Ahab because he had Micaiah tell him that the spirit influenced his prophets. Ahab is forced to make a choice. Listen to his prophets, or listen to God’s prophet. Instead he hedges his bets and engages in the battle incognito and thus tries to split the difference and he finds out to half way follow God’s word is to fully disobey and thus God’s word is confirmed. In the episode in Job the actual Hebrew term translated Satan is “the Satan” this same word is actually used in reference to the Angel of the Lord in places. Check out this article by biblical scholar Mike Heiser. https://drmsh.com/the-absence-of-satan-in-the-old-testament/

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Thank you Mike for your thoughts on the topic. Could you please help me understand “ God desires and allows his created beings to have input into how he governs the universe”. Why would God take inputs from his created beings to govern the created beings.

Thanks

@valli.sujankumar that is a question only God can answer (I know sounds like a cop out). However this can be seen throught scripture. God intended for both members of his family to rule and reign with him, in the case of the heavenly realm the great lights Gen. 1:14-18 and on the earthly realm humanity Gen. 1:26. Humanity’s shared dominion also included Eden which is where heaven and earth overlapped. This provides insight into the motives of the first rebel, Satan. The most beautiful of throne guardians did not want to be ruled by dirt people and thus influenced them to separate themselves from God through sin. Jesus’ mission is to restore this original design by God the Father and until then God allowed his heavenly host to occupy the divine council until Jesus’ restoration in which humanity will take their rightful place. To give some insight to this. Check out the “Spiritual Beings” series from The Bible Project.

https://bibleproject.com/explore/spiritual-beings/

I look forward to hearing back from you!