Saturday, 26 March 2011

Lesson from a Dead Snake: Satan Has Been Defeated But He Pretends He Hasn’t

Boa constrictor. Image courtesy of Jens Raschendorf, Wikipedia Commons.

Joel Kontinen

In an interesting article in Christianity Today, Carolyn Arends tells the story of a married missionary couple and their encounter with a huge snake that crawled into their house.

They had to flee and get a neighbour to deal with the snake. The neighbour cut off the snake’s head with a machete but for a long time the snake kept on writhing until at last it became still.

The Book of Revelation calls the enemy “the great dragon …that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray."

The missionaries saw the snake episode as a lesson. Although Jesus has defeated this serpent on the cross, the devil does not know it.

I would rather say that the devil does know he is beaten but he pretends he hasn’t been. But the time is coming when he will have to admit defeat –publicly.

The apostle Paul writes in Philippians about Jesus:

He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

The incident reminds me of my days in Kenya. There was a big mango tree near our house and at times green mambas would try to sneak inside. We knew a Kipsigis man who was an expert at killing snakes and he would come and strike swift blows at the snake until it was completely dead.

Even those snakes kept on writhing for a while after they were dead. Sooner or later, however, they could cease writhing.

That will also happen to the ancient serpent that has succeeded in leading so many people astray.


Arends, Carolyn. 2011. Satan's a Goner. Christianity Today 25 March.