37 “I know that you (unbelieving Jews) are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with YOUR FATHER.”39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
The three soteriological categories
I indicated in the previous post that there are not two but three soteriological categories resulting in three post-mortem destinies. However, there are two primary or archetypal categories of people, both of which are referred to in the above passage. But they are not (in New Testament terms) Christian and non-Christian, rather they are those who are derived from God and those derived from Satan [Greek: ek tou theou (verse 47 above) and ek tou diabolou (1Jn3:10 cf. Gen3:15). Also, it is to be noted that whilst the New King James version I have quoted distinguishes between Christ as “proceeding forth” from God (v42) and other people being “of God” (v47), Jesus’ words (translated into Greek by John) make no such distinction: both are ek tou theou meaning derived from (literally “out of”) God – check for yourself on the Biblehub HERE)
Of course, ultimately there is one Source for everything and everyone – the Creator God from whom all (even the devil) originated. For Satan is not a rival deity but a corrupted creature – one who has been temporarily granted extraordinary powers (cf. Lk4:6; Mt13:25,38) including the ownership and control of certain individuals. Scripture defines His adopted children (or seed) in various ways.
Scriptural definitions for children of the devil
i) Twice dead, plucked up by the roots (Jude12)
ii) God shall remove their names from the Book of Life (e.g. Rev20:15)
iii) Devoured by Satan (1Pet5:8, cf. Gen4:7)
iv) Those who have forfeited their soul (Mat16:26)
v) Having gone in the way of Cain (Jude11) (cf. 1Jn3:12) or departed from the path of righteousness (OT Wisdom literature)
vi) “Goats” – humans devoid of compassion (Mt25)
vii) Not having retained God’s seed or image (1Jn3:9)
viii) Those who destroy the Earth – God shall destroy them at final judgement (Rev11:18)
ix) Those who cause or encourage others to sin: the ensnarers (Mt18:6NKJV)
x) Having had their conscience seared (i.e. it no longer functions) (1Tim4:2)
xi) Devoid of truth (cf. Jn8:44)
xii) Belonging to Satan – i.e. a child of the devil (Jn8:44)
xiii) Planted by Satan (Mt13:39; 15:13)
xiv) Messengers or agents (not “angels”) of Satan (Mt25:41)
xv) The desolate ones (Dan9:27)
xvi) The servants of Satan (2Cor11:15)
xvii) Vessels fitted for destruction (Rom9)
Identifying a child of the devil
The point is that there are billions of non-Christians in the world who are none of the above. On the other hand we can define children of the devil by all of the above. And that is in spite of them being far from amorphous from the human perspective. For some like Jesus’ opponents in the above passage appear highly respectable , even devoutly religious (albeit they had murderous intentions v40). Others may be more obviously amoral, in particular psychopathic like their archetype Cain. All such will be wholly indifferent to truth; all will be wholly devoid of genuine compassion or empathy regardless of whether they appear to act charitably which will only be for show, never from the heart.
Not fully human
In a very real sense these people are no longer human. That is because they no longer reflect anything of God’s moral character but that of their father the devil. And these are the people who are to be ignominiously removed from the Earth “when our Lord Jesus Christ shall return to Earth with all His saints” (1Thes3:13). The latter refers to His faithful disciples living at the time and those resurrected having “died in Christ” (1Thes4:16-18)
Not “of God”
So when Jesus says “He who is of God hears God’s words”, He is referring to those who were “of God” from birth having been planted by the Father (Mt15:13). It is not referring to the “saving grace” that some of God’s seed go on to receive in their lifetime through a personal association with Christ. This is indicated in the parable of the wheat and tares, the key verse being Mt13:38 – the field in which the seed is planted represents the world not the Church as so many commentators try to make out.
None of the tares “get saved” and become wheat – they were tares from their seeding and remain so because they are not “of God” but planted by the enemy. (All this will make little sense to “traducianists” considered in an earlier post who do not regard the human spirit/soul as planted by God into every new human life but (effectively) a spiritual entity contained in human sperm, i.e. transmitted from their parents).
God shall remove them from the earth
“Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted” (Mt15:13) – this is referring to the tares Jesus had spoken of in His parable recorded by Matthew two chapters earlier. What they will be uprooted from is clearly the Earth where they have resided as indicated above. For such is the immediate fate of those Jesus, Paul and John refer to in general terms as “children of the devil”. However, they may not always be distinguishable to us. But acknowledging their existence is essential if one is to grasp the length, breadth and height of God’s loving providence. For these “vessels fitted for destruction” serve an essential part in God’s amazing plan for humanity.
The prophecy of Enoch
Removing a category of people from the Earth features in the opening verse of the ex-canonical Book of Enoch. He allegedly wrote it for the benefit of “the elect and righteous who will be living in the time of tribulation when all the wicked and godless are to be removed” (Enoch1 ch1 v1). Early Church Fathers such as Clement, Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine and Tertullian regarded this is literature as inspired and a genuine work of the Patriarch.
That is because the New Testament directly quotes from it (Jude14,15). But I am clear that the Church rightly excluded Enoch from the biblical canon. For it was not intended for the churches during their earthly pilgrimage. Rather, as stated in its introduction it was for “the elect and righteous living in the time of tribulation; when the wicked and godless are to be removed”. And it is that “wicked and godless” that are the children of the devil. I examine Enoch in more detail in my book, a free PDF of which is available HERE
A chapter by chapter description of the book HERE
Author’s Facebook page HERE
Related post: the children of God & Cain - son of the devil