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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Devil and His Wiles (5 of 6)


...continued from part four.

5. The Devil’s Tactics

The devil does not just make war on human beings, but uses the most appropriate methods to defeat them. He uses many tactics. He is the most experienced general ever in the art of war. St Nicodemus the Hagiorite says on this subject,

“There are three reasons why the devil is very experienced and resourceful in the invisible war against human beings. Firstly, because he and the demons who serve him are by nature subtle spirits, so they are very ingenious in inventing strategies and devices beyond our comprehension. Secondly, because the devil and the demons are seven thousand three hundred years old, and over this long period they have become great experts in tactics. Thirdly, by fighting against all human beings from Adam until now, particularly against saints and hermits eminent in asceticism, and by being counterattacked by them, the devil and the demons have learnt new wiles and tricks from this experience and warfare. They are well-practised and have become highly skilled, as St Isaac the Syrian, St Symeon the New Theologian and St Makarios say.”

Monday, July 23, 2018

Did the Prophet Ezekiel See an Alien Spacecraft?


In Ezekiel 1:4-6 we read: "I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north -- an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures." Many New Agers and ufologists think these verses indicate that Ezekiel witnessed extraterrestrials.

In Ezekiel 1:15-16 we also read: "As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like topaz, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel." Many New Agers and ufologists think these verses indicate that Ezekiel witnessed alien spacecraft or UFO's.

But this is reading something into the text that is not really there.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Devil and His Wiles (4 of 6)


...continued from part three.

4. How the Devil Fights Human Beings

The devil uses many methods to oblige human beings to become his servants. This section will identify the particular ways in which he works.

Firstly, the devil has great fury and unquenchable hatred for human beings. Man is the recipient of God’s love. Christ assumed human nature and made it divine. Thus the devil has an overwhelming hatred for human beings and wants to make them his own. In his interpretation of the Gospel passage in which the demons asked Christ to let them enter the herd of pigs once they had left the possessed man (Matt. 8:31), St Gregory Palamas says that in this way the demons show that they have “evil intentions”. Also, according to his interpretation, the reason the Lord allowed them to enter the pigs and uthe whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters” (Matt. 8:32) was “so we would realise who did this to the pigs, and that they would not have spared the man and refrained from sending him to perdition, had they not been invisibly held back earlier by God’s power.” In other words, Christ acted as He did in order to demonstrate that the devil is so enraged against human beings that, if He Himself did not protect them, the devil would like to wipe them out completely.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

St. Serapion of Vladimir on the Persecution of Witches


Serapion of Vladimir (+ 1275) was a Bishop of Vladimir. He was Archimandrite of the Monastery of the Kiev Caves from 1247 until 1274, and was Bishop of the Diocese of Vladimir, Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod from 1274 until his death the following year.

Five sermons by Serapion have been preserved. His main theme is the disaster of the Mongol invasion, seen as divine punishment for Russia because of its people's sins. Four of the sermons appear to have been written in 1274/5, when he was bishop. The fifth is presumably older, and was most likely written shortly after the destruction of Kiev in 1240. In one of his late sermons, he denounces the persecution of witches.

Monday, July 2, 2018

The Devil and His Wiles (3 of 6)


...continued from part two.

3. Whom Does the Devil Attack and In Whom Does He Act?

We must go further and clarify what sort of people the devil attacks. Against whom does he particularly direct his rage? Also, in whom is he able to act most effectively?

It is beyond doubt that he wages war on everyone. He has an immense hatred of human beings to the extent that, as the holy Fathers say, if God did not sustain the world with His love, the devil would annihilate it. The devil strove in many ways to fight against Christ Himself. The three temptations by which the devil tempted Christ are well known. Holy Scripture says that after His Baptism, “Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matt. 4:1). These were not, however, the only temptations that Christ faced. The devil fought furiously against Him until the last moment, putting thoughts against Him into people’s minds.

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