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The Dust of the Ground

Genesis 2:7 says “God formed man of the dust of the ground…” and then later in Genesis 3:14 HE says “. . . for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

This idea of mankind being characterized as DUST in an important concept in scripture as it says so very much about the temporary nature of our existence.

Another curious and important mention of DUST if also found in the same verses where GOD condemns the serpent when HE says Genesis 3:14 “And the Lord GOD said unto the serpent, because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon they belly shalt thou go, and DUST shalt thou eat (or consume) all the days of thy life:”

Of course, we understand that a lot of this is symbolic. For instance – There are simply no snakes that EAT (or consume) dust – which in a literal sense is dirt. Snakes prey on living things. They are predators. The scripture doesn’t say you will live in the dust or crawl through the dust of just get some in your mouth – it clearly says Eat or consume it.

These verses offer important understanding regarding the role of Mankind and their enemy – Satan. Therefore, I would submit that – we – mankind are the dust that Satan is condemned to consume all the days of his life.

There is no doubt that Satan (whose name means adversary) has become the enemy of GOD and the battles and skirmishes that are fought in this war play out in the battle for all of humanity. He intends to displace the Almighty as the GOD of mankind and anyone who does not stand with him will also be his enemy.

2 Thessalonians 2:4 “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped: so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God showing himself that the is God.”

Isaiah 14:13 “For thou has said in thine heart, I will ascend into the heaven, I will exalt my throne above the start of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:”

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Clearly the battle between Satan and GOD rages in the battlefields of the societies and cultures of the Earth in the lives of mankind as we interact and are affected as people and as nations. There is a great deal of information on this subject we can cite – but the point of this section is to make clear some of the symbology in scripture regarding this relationship.

We find an important and unusual section of scripture at the very end of the gospel of Mark. Mark 16. Christ is giving his disciples direction and guidance on the Commission of the Church and all Christians. Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. V16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. V17 And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils: (there is only one Devil – the correct word here is demon) they shall speak with new tongues; V18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Mark 16: 15à18 We are NOT talking about Snakes here! In these verses, it is important to “fix” the misunderstandings. There are several things happening in these verses: First, we have the commission of the church to “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Then we are told the importance of the result – either people believe and are baptized and saved or they will be condemned. Next, the verse tells us that certain signs will follow them that believe.

There is an awful lot contained in these three verses. But it is important to understand that there is always a “Context” that must be understood. That context is given in the first item on the list of the five things. Let’s look an expanded understanding of these 5 areas mentioned in these verses.

  1. They will cast out devils. They will cast out devils. Sometimes the plural form of devil (devils) is used in the text of scripture but there is only one Devil. The actual meaning here is demon (demonian) spirits. This is the context of this passage that the saints are dealing with – battling with, the unholy kingdoms of this world.
  2. They will speak in new tongues: Here also an expanded understanding of this statement is that these people (saints of GOD) will speak in a different way, speak in a way not heard before. They will be saying things that have not been preached or understood before. This is not saying they will speak in a different or foreign our unknown language.
  3. They will take up serpents: This passage has caused a great deal of controversy up to and including groups who actually believe they are supposed to handle venomous snakes. Many have been hurt and even died by following this false understanding. Some attribute this passage to represent when the viper attached to Paul’s arm while he gathered wood in Acts 28:3. Paul shook it off and was not harmed. The word there is (Echidna) – meaning an actual physical snake. The word in Mark is (Ophis) meaning serpent or a spiritual cunning being that does harm. Even the simple words “take up” can mean to “hold in abeyance”. The expanded more accurate meaning here is that the Saints of GOD will have power over demons. This actually is exemplified in Luke 10 -- Notice the verses: Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. Luke 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. V19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, (these are not snakes and bugs but spiritual demonic spirits) and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
  4. They will not be hurt by drinking any deadly thing: (Christ promises them protection from the evil influences and forces of those demonic spirits – its not about what they drink) V20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. The word drink is “to imbibe” which can mean both physical drinking or “imbibing” something into your mind like being subject to a false doctrine or lies. They were able to discern the truth from the deceptions of the demonic spirits they were confronting. John 16:13 “Howbeit when it, the Spirit of truth, is come,it will guide you into all truth: for it shall not speak of itself: but whatsoever it shall hear, that shall it speak: and it will show you things to come.”
  5. They will lay hands upon the sick and they will recover: This section seems to be literal in that the saints would indeed lay hands upon the sick and they would recover. It is of note here that “recovering” is different than healing which often happens immediately when a miracle of healing takes place. Recovering is more of a process with varying degrees of time involved depending on the circumstances.

I would suggest that this “expanded understanding” lays to rest many false ideas that have been attributed to these verses. Particularly, the deadly idea that one should be able to handle deadly venomous snakes. This expanded understanding is fully supported by the whole of scripture. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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