“Devil’s Advocate”

This phrase is most commonly used to define a person who expresses a contentious opinion in order to provoke debate or test the strength of opposing arguments, plans or ideas.  We sometimes see this during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court candidates or other Presidential appointees.  An advocate is one who speaks or writes in support of a cause or a person, an intercessor.  Often it is possible to recognize advocates by the type of life they live. Their actions and habits, as much as their words, display the cause they support. Thus a person who lives an immoral life-style is the devil’s advocate without having to publicly announce it.

Ironically, the devil has been his own advocate in many situations.  We first see this during his crafty temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. (Gen 3:1-5) He further advocates for his own power and wisdom during the heavenly council in the matter of Job. (Job 1:1-12) (Job 2:1-7) He also displayed this while tempting Jesus in the desert by showing Him all the splendors he controlled. (Mt 4:8-9)  

However, in spite of being the “prince of this world” (Jo 12:31) and having his own army of angels (Mt 25:41) and demons (Mk 3:22) the devil’s ego knows no limits and he constantly seeks new advocates to worship him. (Mt 4:9) He used people’s weaknesses during Bible times even from Jesus’ inner circle of Apostles.  Peter unwittingly became the devil’s advocate when he rebuked Christ, (Mt 16:23) and later when he denied Him. (Mt 27:69:75) Judas Iscariot’s love of money led him to betray Christ when Satan entered him and used him. (Lk 22:3)

The devil continued his search for advocates in the 1st Century church and found them in Ananias, Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) and Simon the Sorcerer. (Acts 8:9-24) Paul warned the elders at Ephesus that the devil would use his “wolves” from their flock to do his evil work. (Acts 20:28-31)

Christs’ 21st Century church is not immune from the devil’s desire for more and more advocates.  It is quite possible that he used the slogan, “each one teach one”, long before Christians adopted it.  However, Christians are to be Christ’s ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20) and advocates.  Christ (Heb 7:25) and the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:26-27) are our intercessors before God the Father.  They are our advocates.

–Jim Bailey