Mystery of the Fish Hook

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by Travis Bryan III

Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? Or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down? Job 41:1 Here, God is asking Job if Job can do what God can do–catch the great whale, the monster of the sea, with a mere fish hook and line? This great monster whale is a symbol for Satan.  The truth is that God does capture and subdue Satan with a line and a fish hook, the Cross of Christ.

This fishing story is a central part of the hidden but revealed mystery of the gospel.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a MYSTERY, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes (Satan, his fallen angels and earthly minions) of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  1 Cor 2:6-8

If Satan and his principalities and powers had known the cross was the fish hook of their own defeat they never would have crucified Jesus.  Heb 2:14; Col 2:15; John 12:31.  This hidden truth is brought to light through the revelation of the truth of the cross.  It is the mystery of the cross and the manifold wisdom of God that, even today, the principalities and powers (Satan and his fallen angels) are observing as it is worked out for God’s glory thru the church, the body of Christ.  Eph 3:10.

Ancient Church Father, Gregory of Nyssa, was the first one to see that Jesus on the cross was the bait for Satan’s destruction.  This “fish hook theory” was first mentioned in Gregory’s writing of The Great Catechism.  He wrote, and I totally agree, that the humanity of Jesus was the bait and the diety of God, underneath Jesus’ humanity, was the fish hook.

Jesus was lowered down like fishing line from heaven into an earth submerged under the flood of the curses of sin and death. Satan, the ravenous sea monster, then struck the bait at Calvary and, in Christ’s resurrection and ascension, was reeled up in the triumph of God, captured and conquered through the cross.  Phil 2:5-11; Col 2:14-15.

Satan, thinking he was defeating and devouring Christ, was himself defeated and devoured, by his own ravenous assault. Evil was allowed by God to destroy itself at the cross. God Himself had destroyed no one.

“. . . that through death (death of Jesus) he (Jesus) might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. ” Heb 2:14b.

In devouring Jesus on the cross, Satan’s devouring was reversed back on his own head.  Ps 9:15-16.  Death (Satan and his power of death) was swallowed up in victory.  1 Cor 15:54.  Mortality was swallowed up of life.  2 Cor 5:4b.

We are called into this same mystery of the fish hook when Jesus tells us to “take up the cross daily.” Luke 9:23-24  This is to make yourself vulnerable and walk out into the world as a living fish hook in order to defeat Satan.  As you turn the other cheek, absorb the blows and love your enemies, evil is captured and conquered through the fish hook principle.  Evil is allowed to destroy itself.  Paul writes that we should present our bodies as living sacrifices (or living fish hooks).  Rom 12:1-2; 17-21. Jesus tells us to be lambs (fish hooks) among the wolves.

Go your ways: I send you forth as lambs (baited hooks) among wolves (Satan and his minions).  Luke 10:3

The “fish hook theory” is actually the reality of God’s strange counter-intuitive victory through the cross!

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