Lesson 30—The Perversion of Satan
Scripture: 1 Peter 3:20-22
Lesson Goal: To gain a better understanding of Satan’s ploys and plots to destroy, with a focus on the sanctity of life.
Today we begin with a definition of the word perversion: the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended. We continue the thought of lesson twenty-nine, acknowledging that this is one of the most difficult sections for interpretation. With that being stated, we now must make a decision concerning our study of 1 Peter. Do we simply move on without studying these verses because of the difficulty they present? Or do we continue our verse-by-verse study, acknowledging the difficulty, but asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate our hearts and minds to this passage? Many lesson writers opt simply to bypass these verses because of fear of causing confusion. I believe that with God’s help we can study the passage without causing confusion, based upon the truth found in 1 Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace.”
As we begin, please take a moment and pray for God’s illumination of your heart and mind. Ask Him for wisdom in accordance with James 1:5, which states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach.”
(Verse 20) We must remember that the Lord used what happened in the days of Noah as a type (a sign; a symbol) of what will happen in the last days. Please read Matthew 24:36-39. Noah’s day was characterized by preoccupation with trivial matters and pursuits, while neglecting matters of importance and spiritual concerns. With no regard for the judgments of God, the inhabitants of the earth were caught unprepared for the flood. Jesus said it would be much the same way when He returns; a state of unpreparedness will exist.
Here in verse twenty, we find the wonderful truth of the “divine longsuffering” of God.
“Longsuffering”—the Greek word makrothymia means to have patience, to be patient. The patience of God (longsuffering) extends much farther than just the 120 years it took Noah to build the ark. The longsuffering of God went back for nearly one thousand years to the birth of Methuselah. Methuselah’s father was Enoch, a great spiritual man and a prophet (see Jude 14-15). Enoch gave to his son a name with special and important significance. This name, Methuselah, literally translates “when he dies it shall come.” Methuselah lived 969 years during this time in which God was longsuffering.
➢ What does it mean to you that God is longsuffering?
➢ How have you witnessed the longsuffering of God in your life?
For a better understanding of exactly what was happening in Noah’s day, we must look at Genesis 6:1-8. Please read these verses prayerfully and carefully.
Peter identifies to whom Christ preached (verse 19) by stating in verse twenty: “who formerly were disobedient when once the divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah.” Jesus, with purpose and mission, delivered His victory declaration and proclamation to those who formerly were disobedient during the days of Noah.
What was the former disobedience that brought such testing to God’s longsuffering and brought such severe and permanent judgment? The sixth chapter of Genesis helps us with our answer. This chapter tells of the “most heinous effort made [by Satan and the evil forces] related to the God-ordained provision of marriage” (MacArthur). With intent to destroy, they mounted an attack on marriage and procreation. In Genesis 6:2, the phrase “sons of God” (Hebrew words bene ha elohim) always refers to angels in its other Old Testament uses. In Noah’s day, Satan’s master diabolical plot and aim was the contamination of the entire human race, using the birth process to intermingle humans and the supernatural. Involved in his plot were fallen angelic beings—fallen angels. The intensity of this attack is evident in the fact that only eight souls survived. Methuselah’s death (when he dies, it shall come) heralded the imminent end of God’s longsuffering to these generations. The truth of the day was that Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives were all that were saved.
For thought—through the birth process, Satan had tried to destroy mankind; he had attacked the marriage institution and tried to contaminate the process of birth created by God. But once again, Satan’s plot had been foiled. Let us now remember that redemption would come, and be accomplished, through the birth process. Read Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:2; Luke 1:78-79; Matthew 1:18-25.
Salvation’s plan included the birth process, so Satan tried to pervert it. Praise God, His plan and response for mankind’s sin problem came by way of a supernatural birth, when Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary. Following Jesus’ birth, Satan did not wait long to launch another attack, again using the birth process. See Matthew 2:16. Satan struck again.
Could it be that today Satan has once again launched a new attack using the birth process? This attack is on the unborn and the sanctity of human life. And it is occurring while many true believers are asleep on watch.
Satan is opposed to life. Anything and everything he can do to pervert or contaminate it, he will try. He is a master deceiver.
Questions for Life Focus
What does the sanctity of life mean?
What does it mean to be asleep on watch?