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Reviews | The Devil - the Great Deceiver

The Devil – the Great Deceiver

Peter Watkins

Paperback or e-book (ePub)

128 pages

The Devil - The Great Deceiver

The Christadelphian review (from December 1971)

The Devil – the Great Deceiver

EVERY campaign canvasser knows that if he is to have a serious biblical discussion, the topic of the devil is bound to arise. Jehovah’s Witnesses especially are known to hold the usual view of Satan with more than usual vigour. And every canvasser knows, too, that to engage in individual “text-swopping” on this subject leads to a “Yes, it is,” “No, it isn’t” kind of situation, from which there is no profitable exit. The only remedy is a broadly based treatment which aims at drawing out the significance of the Devil and Satan as a whole.

This Brother Peter Watkins has done in “The Devil—The Great Deceiver”. He deals with the simple meaning of the terms and with their use in Scripture. He treats all the familiar passages and all the well-known difficulties. The Serpent in Eden, Satan in Job, and the Devil in the Temptation of Christ are all here; but such is Brother Watkins’s careful and penetrating study that there are many other biblical parallels here as well which most of us will never have noticed before. And this most comprehensive and satisfying treatment concludes with six chapters on human nature, the struggle against sin, and the problem of evil which, in the opinion of this reviewer, form the best easily understood review of the topics in our literature.

The whole is written in Brother Watkins’s well-known conversational style. The keen campaigner, the careful Bible student, and the housewife who has time to be neither of these, will all find in this book a rich treasure of Scriptural understanding. It is heartily to be recommended.

FRED PEARCE

The Testimony review (from February 1972)

The Devil – the Great Deceiver

SOME BIBLICAL subjects which exercised the minds of religious people fifty years ago are hardly mentioned today. One such is the Devil and Satan as applied to a fallen angel or some grotesque evil monster. However, these are Scriptural terms and must be understood. I suppose all of us have had the subject well explained to us before we embraced the Truth and read the appropriate chapter in Elpis Israel and Christendom Astray. Brother P. Watkins has carefully gone over the same ground and dealt in some depth with those debatable passages that are so frequently brought up on question nights at Bible Classes, particularly the use of Satan in the Book of Job and the prophet Zechariah, and the devil in the epistle of Jude. He traces briefly the origin of the words devil, demon, and satan. One would hesitate to describe the word study as tedious as he suggests.

It is particularly important, as the writer emphasises, that these subjects should be seen against the background of the work of Christ as the Redeemer. There are several useful summaries where the reader can refresh his memory of matters so far discussed.

One may perhaps query the suggestion that when Jesus was hungry and thirsty at the well in Samaria and could have miraculously provided food, that, “In normal circumstances it would have been permissible”. We have no evidence that Jesus or the Apostles ever used these powers on their own behalf. The later sections of the book are of a practical nature, dealing with temptation in its various forms and our triumph over it through Jesus Christ, and there is a short section on the relationship between evil and ,the love of God. To quote the concluding thoughts,

“Divine chastisement is always directed against the flesh. It is designed to help the sufferer appreciate spiritual values. Indeed, the One who provides the chastisement is described as ‘the Father of spirits’.

The subject of suffering is a difficult one, and our survey is far from complete. What we have seen is that God brings a measure of suffering on man because he has chosen the way of sin; and that He uses suffering as a means of promoting the spiritual development of His servants.

One final thought. This period of suffering is but a meantime. The ultimate picture is of a time when ‘there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away’. If by God’s grace we are there, we shall be able to view the problem of suffering in proper perspective, and to understand.”

H. J. SALTER

(Originally appeared in the February 1972 edition of The Testimony Magazine (pages 68-69), and is reproduced by kind permission.)

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