Satan as Accuser.. Christ as Advocate
For some weeks I have been thinking about Jesus as Advocate- who comes to our defense, speaking up for us when we are powerless to do it for ourselves.
As I was preparing for today, I was drawn to the words about Satan being the Accuser, and I realised that the two terms are complete opposites.
Both words are used in a judicial sense, i.e. Terms originally used in a court of Law
The accuser is one who speaks against the defendant to bring a conviction
The Advocate is one who speaks on behalf of the accused to bring about justice.
Our reading from Job gives an insight to how the Jewish writers understood suffering;
all his stock, oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels and the servants who looked after them;
then he lost his children;
finally he lost his health.
We as readers are given an insight into the spiritual events behind the scenes-
God draws attention to his servant Job;
Satan says he only follows you because of all you've given him;
and challenges- see what happens if he loses it all!
Only Job's very life is Satan not allowed to touch.
“Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I shall depart.
The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord”
Even his wife tells him to curse God and die, to which he replies, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
Yet in all this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong-doing (1:22)
Here we have Satan, the accuser trying to prove that Job will eventually reject God when all his property, family and health are taken away. But Job remains faithful to God.
Meanwhile, his so-called “friends”/ Job's comforters line up with accusations that this suffering must be on account of Job's sins- which he denies.
This perception that suffering was due to sin was still prevalent during Jesus' time, when the question was asked “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”( John 9). Chris reminded us only recently of this.
I remember working at St George's Special Needs School and people who give birth to children with disabilities are inclined to ask the question “What have I/ we done to deserve this?” The answer is almost invariably “nothing”
Eventually chapter after chapter of these confrontations, and Job appeals heavenward:
“Even now my witness is in Heaven; my advocate is on high.
My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend”
We read another statement of faith from the lips of Job
“I know that my redeemer lives,and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my flesh has been destroyed yet in my flesh I will see God”19:25
So in Job, we see behind the scenes of earthly suffering, to the heavenly battles.
We have amazing statements of faith attributed to Job, one of the earliest books of the Bible, probably contemporary with Abraham.. hundreds of years before Christ and the cross.. yet we have words like witness.. advocate..intercessor.. friend.. redeemer
Like Job we can listen to the accuser who wants us to believe that our difficulties are the result of sin, and find ourselves confessing 'til the cows come home, when in fact
this is not the case. It may be that we have been sinned against, or because we live in a fallen world where the consequences are apparent in illness and death.
Christ's Kingdom saw the beginnings of these effects- sin, illness, hunger and death being overcome, until one day these will all be past :
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” Rev 21:4
Accuse- New Testament
Most of the references in the New Testament concern the trials, first of Jesus in the Gospels, then of Paul in Acts:
Throughout his ministry, the religious leaders, fuelled by jealousy at his rising popularity and his criticism of their practices, looked for ways to trip Jesus up and make accusations against him.
-So they asked Jesus whether it was lawful to heal the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath (Mt 12:10)
-They brought to him a woman caught in the act of adultery, whom their law said should be stoned.
After his arrest, the Chief Priests accused him of many things (Mk 15:3)
“We have found this man subverting our nation.
He opposes paying taxes to Caesar
and claims to be Christ, a king”.
Were some of the accusations they brought before Pilate (Lk 23:2)
To accuse in this sense was to bring a charge against, to make a statement about
Pilate eventually says “I have found no basis for your accusations against him”. v14
Paul was brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin Acts 22
.. before the commander of the Roman troops
... before Claudius Lysius
.. before Felix..
.. before Festus
.. before King Agrippa..
before finally appealing as a Roman citizen to Caesar himself.
At each of these trials, Paul answered the case brought by his accusers. (Acts 22/27)
In Revelation, we again return to the one Peter calls your adversary/ enemy the Devil, who prowls around like a lion seeking whom he may devour- this one who in other places is called a liar, and again an angel of light.
Here in Revelation he is called “The accuser of the brothers (and sisters) who accuses them before God day and night, has been hurled down”.
It also says how he has been overcome-by the blood of the lamb, and by the testimony of their word..
The word translated Advocate in the New Testament is parakletos- sometimes put into English as Paraclete.
It is the name used of the Holy Spirit in John's Gospel, but also refers to Christ himself, when he says “I will send you another parakletos/ paraclete who will be with you for ever.
So firstly Jesus is saying that he himself is paraclete.
This is a word, like accuser derived from the judicial or justice system.
Sometimes it is translated “Advocate”- but it doesn't have the same legal meaning as
our Advocates/ Counsellors today.
What it meant in the culture of the times was
“someone called alongside to help-
to provide testimony as to the good character or standing of the the defendant
and plead the case before the judge.
Was the first to translate parakletos as Comforter which in our day has come to mean
brining consolation- so we think of the disciples being sad at Jesus going and needing to be consoled..
In fact “Comforter” was a much stronger word in Wycliffe's day- com+ fort to add strength to..
Used the german word “fursprechen” which is much nearer the original meaning- to speak for someone..
Barnabas was the son of encouragement, and the Church has those with gifts of encouragement- those who add strength to others.
Our English Bibles use many different words to translate the Greek paraklesis/ parakletos – console, comfort, exhortation, encourage, and even these English words change their meanings over hundreds of years.
1 John 2:1
In the New RSV version uses the word Advocate, whereas others explain the function:
“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins and not ours only but the sins of the whole world” (1 Jn 2:1)
Other translations put it this way:
“We have one who speaks to the Father in our defense”
Just like those character witnesses that were called alongside to help, so Christ speaks to the Father on our behalf
He has given his disciples the Holy Spirit, another advocate to be with us when his physical presence was no longer available, but he also intercedes/ speaks to God on our behalf/ in our defense.
The letter to the Hebrews puts it this way
“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (7:25)
Saved completely.. because he always lives to intercede for us.
Satan may be Accusing Christians Day and Night
Jesus is our Advocate in Heaven- always speaking on behalf of those he has saved by his blood
“Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God.. interceding for us.” Romans 8:34
Satan, may speak against us, and too often we listen to his accusations and believe them.
But Christ is our “Fursprecher” always speaking on our behalf to God.
» left by Marijo Phelps(133) (1 year 245 days ago.)
Don't you just love our advocate? There is none who comes even close!Respond to this comment
» left by Ralph from Yucca Vly.CA (1 year 244 days ago.)We appreciate your comments!
HI,anne excellent explanation about the comforter,He also takes our pray and prays for us according to god's will for us.(Rom's 8:26,27)Respond to this comment