2 Corinthians 11:14
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) For Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.—The present tense of the original excludes the thought that reference is made to any special incident (such as the appearance of Satan among “the sons of God,” of Job 1:6) recorded in the Old Testament, or in tradition. The thought is rather that Satan is ever so transforming himself. If we are to look for any special allusion, we may find a possible explanation in the words “though we, or an angel from heaven,” in Galatians 1:8. They suggest the thought, as at least a probable inference, that the Judaising teachers had claimed the authority of an angelic message for the gospel which they preached, and set this against the authority of the angelic visions which St. Luke had recorded in the case of Cornelius (Acts 10:2). It is probable, we may add, that the Christ-party at Corinth, as distinct from that of Cephas, had affinities with the Jewish sect of the Essenes, and they, we know, were addicted to the worship of angels (Jos. Wars, ii. 8, § 6), and made much of revelations conveyed through their ministry. On this supposition St. Paul may, in his allusive way, mean to imply that they were mistaking a satanic for an angelic apparition. Something of the kind is obviously implied in the stress which St. Paul lays on his own visions and revelations in 2Corinthians 12:1.

11:5-15 It is far better to be plain in speech, yet walking openly and consistently with the gospel, than to be admired by thousands, and be lifted up in pride, so as to disgrace the gospel by evil tempers and unholy lives. The apostle would not give room for any to accuse him of worldly designs in preaching the gospel, that others who opposed him at Corinth, might not in this respect gain advantage against him. Hypocrisy may be looked for, especially when we consider the great power which Satan, who rules in the hearts of the children of disobedience, has upon the minds of many. And as there are temptations to evil conduct, so there is equal danger on the other side. It serves Satan's purposes as well, to set up good works against the atonement of Christ, and salvation by faith and grace. But the end will discover those who are deceitful workers; their work will end in ruin. Satan will allow his ministers to preach either the law or the gospel separately; but the law as established by faith in Christ's righteousness and atonement, and the partaking of his Spirit, is the test of every false system.And no marvel - And it is not wonderful, 2 Corinthians 11:15. Since Satan himself is capable of appearing to be an angel of light, it is not to be deemed strange that those who are in his service also should resemble him.

For Satan himself is transformed ... - That is, he who is an apostate angel; who is malignant and wicked; who is the prince of evil, assumes the appearance of a holy angel. Paul assumes this as an indisputable and admitted truth, without attempting to prove it, and without referring to any particular instances. Probably he had in his eye cases where Satan put on false and delusive appearances for the purpose of deceiving, or where he assumed the appearance of great sanctity and reverence for the authority of God. Such instances occurred in the temptation of our first parents Genesis 3:1-6, and in the temptation of the Saviour, Matthew 4. The phrase "an angel of light," means a pure and holy angel, light being the emblem of purity and holiness. Such are all the angels that dwell in heaven; and the idea is, that Satan assumes such a form as to appear to be such an angel. Learn here:

(1) His power. He can assume such an aspect as he pleases. He can dissemble and appear to be eminently pious. He is the prince of duplicity as well as of wickedness; and it is the consummation of bad power for an individual to be able to assume any character which he pleases.

(2) his art. he is long practiced in deceitful arts. For six thousand years he has been practicing the art of delusion. And with him it is perfect.

(3) we are not to sup pose that all that appears to be piety is piety. Some of the most plausible appearances of piety are assumed by Satan and his ministers. None ever professed a profounder regard for the authority of God than Satan did when he tempted the Saviour. And if the prince of wickedness can appear to be an angel of light, we are not to be surprised if those who have the blackest hearts appear to be people of most eminent piety.

(4) we should be on our guard. We should not listen to suggestions merely because they appear to come from a pious man, nor because they seem to be prompted by a regard to the will of God. We may be always sure that, if we are to be tempted, it will be by some one having a great appearance of virtue and religion.

(5) we are not to expect that Satan will appear to man to be as bad as he is. He never shows himself openly to be a spirit of pure wickedness; or black and abominable in his character; or full of evil and hateful. He would thus defeat himself. It is for this reason that wicked people do not believe that there is such a being as Satan. Though continually under his influence and "led captive by him at his will," yet they neither see him nor the chains which lead them, nor are they willing to believe in the existence of the one or the other.

14. is transformed—rather, "transforms himself" (compare Job 1:6); habitually; the first occasion of his doing so was in tempting Eve. "Himself" is emphatical: If their master himself, who is the "prince of darkness," the most alien to light, does so, it is less marvellous in the case of them who are his servants (Lu 22:54; Eph 6:12). It is not at all to be wondered, that the emissaries of Satan dissemble, and pretend themselves to be what they are not, for even Satan himself, who is the prince of darkness, in order to the deceiving and seducing of souls, transformeth himself

into an angel of light; that is, puts on the appearance and form of a good angel. He calls them angels of light, because they were wont to appear in a lightsome brightness; or because of that glory in which they behold the face of God; or because of those great measures of heavenly knowledge which those blessed spirits have. All tempted souls have an experiment of this; for none is tempted to evil under the appearance of evil, (evil as evil being what a reasonable soul cannot be courted to). The devil therefore, in all his temptations to sin, though his end be to ruin and destroy, yet appeareth as an angel of light; moving the soul to evil under the notion and appearance of good. And no marvel,.... This need not be wondered at, nor is it any new or strange thing; nor should it be thought to be incredible that there are such persons in being:

for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light; a good angel, one that has his abode in the regions of light; and is possessed of divine and spiritual light and understanding; who is clothed and arrayed with light, this is his form and essence. The apostle speaks agreeably to the notion, of the Jews, who say (t),

"rwa Mh Mlk Mykalmhv, "that all the angels are light", the clothing of God himself;''

and they have a distinction between , "angels of the day", and angels of the night (u): now Satan, the enemy of mankind, sometimes appears in the form of one of these; as he did to Eve in the garden, and to Christ in the wilderness; and by such appearances he often imposes on mankind; pretends the greatest friendship, when he designs nothing but ruin; and under a notion of good, either honest, or pleasant, or profitable, draws on into the commission of the greatest evils; and, under a show of truth, introduces the most notorious falsehoods and errors; and, under a pretence of religion, all sorts of idolatry, superstition, and impiety; it is in this way he has succeeded in his enterprises and temptations; these are his wiles, stratagems, and cunning devices.

(t) R. Abraham Seba, Tzeror Hammor, fol. 18. 4. (u) Zohar in Numb. fol. 91. 1. & 93. 3.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of {k} light.

(k) By light is meant the heavenly glory, of which the angels are partakers.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Corinthians 11:14-15. And that is quite natural!

καὶ οὐ θαῦμα] neque res admiranda est. Comp. Plat. Pol. vi. p. 498 D; Epin. p. 988 D; Pind. Nem. x. 95, Pyth. i. 50; Eur. Hipp. 439; Soph. Oed. R. 1132, Phil. 408; Pflugk, ad Eur. Hec. 976.

What follows is an argumentum a majori ad minus.

αὐτός] ipse Satanas, their lord and master. Comp. afterwards οἱ διάκονοι αὐτοῦ. See Hermann, ad Viger. p. 733.

εἰς ἄγγελον φωτός] into an angel of light. As the nature of God (1 John 1:5; Revelation 21:23-24) and His dwelling-place (1 Timothy 6:16; 1 John 1:7) is light, a glory of light, a δόξα beaming with light, which corresponds to the most perfect holy purity, so also His servants, the good angels, are natures of light with bodies of light (1 Corinthians 15:40); hence, where they appear, light beams forth from them (Matthew 28:3, al.; Acts 12:7, al.; see Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. p. 274 f.; Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 460). Regarding Satan, on the other hand, comp. Ephesians 6:12; Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:13. He is ὁ κληρονόμος τοῦ σκότους, Ev. Nic. 20.

There is no trace in the narratives concerned to justify the assumption[331] that 2 Corinthians 11:15 points to the fall of man (Bengel, Semler, Hengstenberg, Christol. I. p. 11), or even to the temptation of Christ, Matthew 4:8, in which the devil appeared as the angel to whom God had entrusted the rule of Palestine (Michaelis); but, at any rate, it is the apostle’s thought, and is also presupposed as known to the readers, that devilish temptations in angelic form assail man. In the O. T. this idea is not found; it recurs later, however, in the Rabbins, who, with an eccentric application of the thought, maintained that the angel who wrestled with Jacob (Genesis 32:24; Hosea 12:4-5) was the devil. See Eisenmenger, entdeckt. Judenth. I. p. 845. For conceptions regarding the demons analogous to our passage from Porphyry and Jamblichus, see Grotius and Elsner, Obss. p. 160.

[331] The present would not be against it. See Bengel: “Solet se transformare; fecit jam in paradiso.” According to Ewald, we are to think of a narrative, which was known then but is not preserved in our present O. T., to which Paul alludes, or of a narrative similar to that in Matthew 4:1-11.2 Corinthians 11:14. καὶ οὐ θαῦμα κ.τ.λ.: and no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light. Light is the symbol of God (1 John 1:5, 1 Timothy 6:16) and His messengers (Matthew 28:3, Acts 12:7), as darkness is the symbol of Satan (Luke 22:53, Ephesians 6:12, Colossians 1:13). The μετασχηματισμός of Satan has just before been in the Apostle’s mind (2 Corinthians 11:3), and perhaps such passages as Genesis 3:1, Job 1:6, 1 Kings 22:19-23 sufficiently account for the image. But it is more probable that some Rabbinical tradition lies behind the word used by St. Paul; cf. Apoc. Moysis (2 Corinthians 11:17) τότε ὁ σατανᾶς ἐγένετο ἐν εἴδει ἀγγέλου. A reference has been here found by Ewald to Matthew 4:1-2, but while it is not improbable that the Apostle had heard the story of the Lord’s Temptation, there is no clear trace of it in his Epistles.14. And no marvel] No wondre, Wiclif, where we may remark that the older English expression has held its ground against the French equivalent.

Satan himself is transformed] Cf. ch. 2 Corinthians 2:11. Not that he is really so transformed, but that he appears to be so, to those who judge ‘according to the appearance,’ ch. 2 Corinthians 10:7; Galatians 6:12; Php 1:15; Php 3:18; Titus 1:10-11. “Transformed into, not becoming.” Chrysostom. He reads ‘if Satan himself.’2 Corinthians 11:14. Οὐ θαυμαστὸν, and no marvel) no great thing in the following verse. It is more marvellous concerning [in the case of] Satan, inasmuch as he differs farther from an angel of light.—αὐτὸς) he himself, their author and master.—μετασχηματίζεται, transforms himself) Present, i.e. is accustomed to transform himself. He did that already in Paradise. The second Oration on the annunciation, ascribed to Gregory Thaumaturgus, in describing the character [Ethopoeia] of Mary, thus proceeds: μὴ πάλιν εἰς ἄγγελον φωτὸς μετασχηματισθεὶς ὁ ἀρχέκακος δαίμων, κ.τ.λ., the devil the author of evil not being again transformed into an angel of light, etc.—ἄγγελον φωτὸς, an angel of light) He does so, not only to injure us, but also to enjoy honour.—φωτὸς, of light) although Satan’s power is still in darkness.Verse 14. - Even Satan ... angel of light. This is one of Satan's devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). The allusion may be to the temptation (Matthew 4:8, 9); or to the appearances of Satan with the angels before God in the Book of Job (Job 2:1); or perhaps to the Jewish hagadah, that the "angel" who wrestled with Jacob was in reality Satan. Satan

See on Luke 10:18. The rabbinical writings represent the devil rather as the enemy of man than of God or of good. They use none of the New-Testament names for the Evil One except Satan, and contain no mention of a kingdom of Satan. Edersheim says: "Instead of the personified principle of evil to which there is response in us - we have only a clumsy and often a stupid hater." It is also to be observed that in the Septuagint the usage is limited to the enemy of man, as is that of διάβολος devil by which Satan is translated. See 1 Chronicles 21:1; Esther 7:4; Esther 8:1; Psalm 108:1-13 :(109) Psalm 108:5; Job 1:6; Zechariah 3:1, Zechariah 3:2.

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