Sexual Sin And The Spirit Of Belial

It is written:

“by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter 1:4)

The Bible tells us that the corruption that is in the world is there as a result of “lust.” This word carries the primary meaning of illicit sexual desire.

One author, in describing his belief and that of other Hebrews and believers throughout time that Adam and Eve had sexual relations with Satan (a viewpoint which I am currently studying), has written:

“A number of the scholarly Bible versions use the word “lust” as the best translation of the Greek word that Peter employs in this text. A few of those translations are: NASB, KJV, New Heart English Bible, NAS 1977, Jubilee Bible 2000, King James 2000 Bible, AKJV, ASV, Darby Bible, ERV, Webster’s Bible, and the Word English Bible.[ 154] Most other translations use the words “evil desire” or something close. Either terminology, especially in this context, means the same thing. Epithumia The Greek word for “lust” in this passage is epithumia, Strong’s #1939. One of its most prolific translations is that of sensual lust—the lust of the flesh. As you will see in a moment, that appears to be the exact context of Peter’s assertion here.[ 155] In fact, Meyer’s New Testament Commentary asserts that epithumia in every case in Scripture refers to sexual lust, except for three instances where the object of the emotion in question is clearly named otherwise: By [epithumia] is not denoted “innocent sensuousness,” but it occurs here [James 1: 14], as everywhere in the N. T. (except where its specific object is named, as in Luke 22: 15; Ph[ illipians] 1: 23; 1 Thessalonians 2: 17).[ 156] (Brackets and emphasis added) This truly is Peter’s “big reveal” concerning the foundational understanding of the Garden sin. Consider a sampling of how the word epithumia is found in key New Testament passages: “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts [epithumia] of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves” (Romans 1: 24, ESV). “For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust [epithumia], drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry” (1 Peter 4: 3). “And especially those who indulge in the lust [epithumia] of defiling passion and despise authority” (2 Peter 2: 10, ESV). “Not in passionate lust [epithumia] like the pagans, who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4: 5). “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust [epithumia], evil desires and greed which is idolatry” (Colossians 3: 5). “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh [epithumia] and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2: 3, KJV). “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts [epithumia] thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin” (Romans 6: 12–13, KJV). “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust [epithumia]. Then when lust [epithumia] has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1: 14–15, NASB). “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts [epithumia] of your father ye will do” (John 8: 44, KJV). The following half dozen commentaries also include declarations concerning Peter’s use of the word epithumia in 2 Peter 1: 4. Especially notice the emphasized words: Adam Clarke’s Commentary: We have partaken of an earthly, sensual, and devilish nature; the design of God by Christ is to remove this, and to make us partakers of the Divine nature; and save us from all the corruption in principle and fact which is in the world; the source of which is lust.… Lust, or irregular, impure desire, is the source whence all the corruption which is in the world springs.[ 157] (Emphasis added) John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible: In the world through lust…. The corrupt manners of the world, or those corruptions and vices which, are prevalent in the world, and under the power and dominion of which the world lies; and particularly the sins of uncleanness, adultery, incest, sodomy, and such like filthy and unnatural lusts, which abounded in the world.[ 158] (Emphasis added) Another Gill’s Exposition assertion: [From Gill’s commentary on Genesis 3] Because by those members [their sexual organs] the original corruption of human nature has been from the beginning, and still is propagated from parents to children.[ 159] (Emphasis added) The Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible: “The corruption in the world” has its seat, not so much in the surrounding elements, as in the “lust” or concupiscence [impure sexual lust] of men’s hearts.[ 160] (Emphasis added) Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary: The corruption which is in the world in (consisting in, as its element and foundation) lust. Quoting John Calvin: [Translated from Latin] “These are not the elements that surround us, but at the heart of our vulgar brazenness.”[ 161] (Emphasis added) Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Holy Bible: All the pravity or wickedness of human nature, which is here said to be, i.e. to reign and prevail, in the world, or worldly men, through lust, or habitual concupiscence [impure sexual lust], which is the spring and root from which it proceeds.[ 162] (Emphasis added) Whedon’s Commentary on the Bible: Fundamental to all, however, is the fleeing away from, the renunciation of, the moral corruption that so widely befouls the world, and that has its source in base, wicked lust. God’s call is to purity: that of the false teachers is to corruption. 2 Peter 2: 18.[ 163] (Emphasis added) It would appear that Peter’s meaning leaves little room for doubt. These comments could be summarized as “The process of global decay that continually defiles our existence has as its foundational seat, tracing back to Eden, the concupiscence of humanity’s collective nature.” (Carl Gallups, Gods of Ground Zero: The Truth Of Eden’s Iniquity, Why It Still Matters, And The Mystery Surrounding What’s Coming Next, 1749-1835 (Kindle Edition); Defender Publishing)

Peter links the corruption that is in the world with sexual sin. This could be a reference to Genesis 3, or to Genesis 6 (the sin of the Watchers).

In Jewish literature, “Belial” is a name used interchangeably with “Satan.”

“The leader of the forces of darkness went by other names in Second Temple literature. More common than Mastema and Satan is Belial (Heb. bĕliyyaʿal ), a term that in Hebrew means “wickedness.” While Belial does not appear as a proper name for Satan in the Old Testament, it is used frequently in pseudepigraphic literature and the Dead Sea Scrolls. 46 It appears only once in the New Testament as a name for the devil (2 Cor 6:15). Some Old Testament references to bĕliyyaʿal , while not a proper name for personified evil, still have mythological overtones from close associations with Sheol and death, especially in passages like Psalm 18:4–5 and Psalm 41:8. 47 Belial (or Beliar) is the most common name or title for the prince of darkness in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Pseudepigrapha. His characterization as king of demonic hordes is unambiguous: Belial is called the angel of wickedness, the ruler of this world ( Mart. Is. 2:4 ; 4:2 ). He is the head of the demonic powers ( Mart. Is. 1:8 ). In dualistic fashion, his law and will are described as being set over against the law and will of the Lord ( T. Naph. 2:6 , 3:1 ). His way is one of darkness as opposed to light ( T. Levi 19:1 ; cf. T. Jos. 20:2 ). Belial’s angels are set over against the angels of the Lord ( T. Ash. 6:4 ). He is master of the spirits of error ( T. Jud. 25:3 ; T. Zeb. 9:8 ; T. Levi 3:3 ; cf. the spirit of truth and the spirit of error in T. Jud. 20:1 ).… He is called the angel of enmity ( CD 16:5 ; 1QM 13:11 ) who is the prince of the kingdom of wickedness ( 1QM 17:5–6 ). He heads the forces of darkness, often called “the army/troops or lot of Belial,” against the Sons of Light or “the lot of God” ( 1QM 1:1 , 13 ; 11:8 ; 15:3 ; 1QS 2:2 , 5 ). “All the spirits of his lot, the angels of destruction, walk according to the precepts of darkness, and towards them is their desire all together” ( 1QM 13:12 ).… The reign or dominion of Belial ( mmšlt blyʿl ) occurs frequently in the Qumran material (e.g., 1QM 14:9 ; 18:1 ; 1QS 1:18 , 24 ; 2:19 ; 3:21–22 ; CD 12:2 ). It was believed that the present age was under his control (cf. 1QS 2:19 “year by year as long as the dominion of Belial endures”). 48” (Michael S. Heiser, Demons: What the Bible Really Says About the Powers of Darkness, 1925-1945 (Kindle Edition); Bellingham, WA; Lexham Press)

In many Jewish extra-biblical books, sexual sin is linked with Belial (also often spelled Behar and Beliar), and his temptations of humankind.

“According to the Testaments, every individual must personally struggle against evil spirits of deceit, who are ruled by the devil, or Behar. They exploit human drives and frailties to promote their evil ends. Sexual promiscuity, in particular, is pinpointed as one of the areas of sinful activity instigated by evil spirits. In the Testament of Reuben, sexual sin is called “the plague of Beliar” and is inspired by a “spirit of promiscuity (porneia) that resides in the nature and the senses” (Testament of Reuben 6:3; 3:3). The Testament does not give the devil and his powers full responsibility for human lapses into sexual trysts; the involvement of the human mind and senses is given an equal role. In reflecting on Reuben’s incestuous sin with his father’s mistress, Bilhah (cf. Gen 35:22), the Testament places more emphasis on Reuben’s own lust and mental titillation: “For if I had not seen Bilhah bathing in a sheltered place, I would not have fallen into this great lawless act. For so absorbed were my senses by her naked femininity that I was not able to sleep until I had performed this revolting act” (3:11-12). Based on his regrettable experience, Reuben’s advice to his offspring focuses on disciplining their minds: “Do not devote your attention to the beauty of women, my children, nor occupy your minds with their activities. But live in integrity of heart in the fear of the LORD … until the LORD gives you the mate whom he wills, so that you do not suffer as I did” (4:1). Nevertheless, in continuing to reflect on what he had learned from the event, he points to the devil’s involvement: “For promiscuity has destroyed many. Whether a man is old, well born, rich, or poor, he brings on himself disgrace among mankind and provides Behar with an opportunity to cause him to stumble” (4:7).” (Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers In Paul’s Letters, 68-69 (Kindle Edition); Downers Grove, Illinois; InterVarsity Press)

All sexual sin may be forgiven by the blood of Christ, Who died for all sinners, was buried, and arose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Why not turn to Him today?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11-Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10  nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11  And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Acts 22:16-And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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