A good book to read to get a wider perspective on the concept of the "Devil" is a book called "A History of the Devil" by Gerald Messadie - (link removed by Admin)
A good book to read to get a wider perspective on the concept of the "Devil" is a book called "A History of the Devil" by Gerald Messadie - (link removed by Admin)
Last edited by Slug1; Feb 23rd 2012 at 08:13 PM.
I wonder who the author of John's Gospel was. Maybe one day another stash of papyrii will be unearthed to give us names of these authors. Biblical scholars date the Gospel according to John between 90 - 100 CE. It is not considered a good source for Jesus' life according to many scholars. Read below.
Fuller information about Jesus is found in the Gospels of the New Testament, though these are not of equal value in reconstructing his life and teaching. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke agree so closely with one another that they can be studied together in parallel columns in a work called a synopsis and are hence called the Synoptic Gospels. John, however, is so different that it cannot be reconciled with the Synoptics except in very general ways (e.g., Jesus lived in Palestine, taught, healed, was crucified and raised). In the Synoptics, Jesus’ public career appears to have lasted less than one year, since only one Passover is mentioned; in John, three Passovers occur, implying a ministry of more than two years. In all four Gospels, Jesus performs miracles, especially healings, but, while exorcisms are prevalent in the Synoptics, there are none in John. The greatest differences, though, appear in the methods and content of Jesus’ teaching. In the Synoptic Gospels, he speaks about the kingdom of God in short aphorisms and parables, making use of similes and figures of speech, many drawn from agricultural and village life. He seldom refers to himself, and, when asked for a “sign” to prove his authority, he refuses (Mark 8:11–12). In John, on the other hand, Jesus employs long metaphorical discourses, in which he himself is the main subject. His miracles are described as “signs” that support the authenticity of his claims.
Scholars have unanimously chosen the Synoptic Gospels’ version of Jesus’ teaching. The verdict on the miracles is the same, though less firmly held: in all probability Jesus was known as an exorcist, which resulted in the charge that he cast out demons by the prince of demons (Mark 3:22–27). The choice between the narrative outline of the Synoptics and that of John is less clear. Besides presenting a longer ministry than do the other Gospels, John also describes several trips to Jerusalem. Only one is mentioned in the Synoptics. Both outlines are plausible, but a ministry of more than two years leaves more questions unanswered than does one of a few months. It is generally accepted that Jesus and his disciples were itinerant; that they traveled around Galilee and its immediate environs; and that Jesus taught and healed in various towns and villages, as well as in the countryside and on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. But where did they spend their winters? Who supported them? None of the Gospels explains how they lived (though Luke 8:1–3 alludes to some female supporters), but the omission is even more glaring in John, where the longer ministry presumes the need for winter quarters, though none are mentioned. This and other considerations are not decisive, but the brief career of the Synoptic Gospels is slightly to be preferred.
The Synoptic Gospels, then, are the primary sources for knowledge of the historical Jesus.
Redeemed by Grace, thank you, as far as I'm concerned that says it all.
This board can really be handy sometimes.
That is fine John 8:32. I'm not here to cause friction or to make you question your faith. I offer what I have learned so as to get a bigger picture of things. Christianity is a religion I have studied for a few years now and my interest in it stem from a historical perspective as opposed to your faith based perspective.
Kahtar I understand that there is a blurry line that a historical/scientific perspective cannot criss cross with a faith based perspective. If you want to believe that the holy spirit was the author then that is fine. Opinions won't always agree. But according to scholars like L. Michael White the Johanine text is not in the same category as the synoptic gospels. This has alot to do with the original post because NT scholars have spent countless man hours sifting through such texts to call the Johanine texts bluff. I recommend everyone read L. Michael White's "Scripting Jesus" to get an idea of how these Gospels were oral traditions that turned to scripts for church followers to convert many different regional peoples from different cultural backgrounds. http://books.google.com/books/about/...d=kJIhXqNwIIUC
I split these posts off of the thread in 'Bible Chat'. We welcome your participation here on BibleForums, but since you have identified yourself as not being a Christian, please limit your participation to this forum as per the guidelines you agreed to when you registered.
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I read your book, so do me the favor of reading my entire post, and do not walk away with half information. I am hoping you actually gain something from it. As a student of ancient texts I would say that even though this book makes reference to the “Imagined devil” Think about your own motives. Are you on this planet to teach Gods people how to not act so they can understand how to live in a place where it is imperative to be considerate, or are you here to learn? I am going to spend allot of time trying to teach you something here, and in it I hope you can see how precious belief is and how important it is to believe before you find answers.
If you study the Bible as you state from a historical perspective that you must have taken classes on Cultural Anthropology and maybe even some of the text reading classes I have taken. If not your reading the Bible without faith is a bit like making chicken soup without the chicken. You would learn how cultural changes, and changes in languages make non believers question. You would then obviously see in your “Studying of the Bible” that the Bible has within it metaphor, facts, poetry, ambiguity and more. That’s good that you understand this, but if so after reading what you put here, if not meant to insult why post a link to it?
For you to get a grasp upon how diversified this wonderful website is I think I should give you a bit of my perspective because my beliefs differ from most, as I believe people like you are here to teach us how not to act, and though you might take offense to this I am not offering you this knowledge to be offended by. Your destiny is yours and I am always willing to stand here with my cup of Earl Grey while you hit the wall. For you to have a more complete understanding, I personally believe people are evil and that evil people or demons are here to teach us not to bother mocking the beliefs of others because it is self defeating. In the end my belief is more personal than religious because of my personal experience. With that in your mind:
The book you reference mocks belief but Christians have something both beautiful and powerful. We are given a choice and we choose to believe. Non believers fail to understand how precious this is. No other creature is given this choice. If you choose not to that’s fine, but this book is trash and not even for what it is saying about the devil. (As a writer with 20 years of experience I have read hundreds) It tells of how nuns are on drugs and fictitious conversations in the dark of night on imaginary bridges in Egypt. If you use Google Books instead of Google Scholar you will get points taken of your college papers (Advise to my classmate which was ignored to the chime of harped excuses).
If you lack belief yourself you will never relate to what we have found. Kind of like walking in naked to the royal wedding; you’re not offering us anything because you cannot relate. I read about 95% of the online book but if I went through the errors unrelated to Satan this response would be too long and chances are you’re not going to even read all of it anyway: Do me a favor, read this:
Jesus warns us in chapter john that we must have belief before we obtain proof. I am going to state this fist then I am going to change your guile but without belief will not bother try to remove it.
If I shoot a single proton at a time until about 2 billion particles are discharged through a glass plate with 4 slits in the glass plate 4 microns wide (about the width of a piece of paper) and see on a film a interference pattern as I measure the developments over a period of a week. Then I take all of my instrumentation away to observe it and run the same test with a result of a waveform pattern on the film; what have I found in the 2 weeks this process ran?
Watching the test changes the result. I have done the test in a vacuum myself. Am I interacting with the singular protons just by watching them? You can understand a bit of this by looking up Particle Duality, hit me up with any math questions. I have knowledge you do not but if you put up your hand and walk away you are unable to obtain it. If you do not want answers why bother?
I have proof. More than your book offers, history of the devil aside. Of course I had belief long before this proof which is what my point is. If you already know there is no reason to find out. If you have belief you then may ask questions because you are capable of finding the answers. Without belief there is only pseudo “knowing capability” (Which is a term I had to invent for my new book). One cannot find answers because they already know the answers even if the knowledge they have is incorrect. After reading the book it is obvious it is a simple mock aimed at Christians, however the intellect which wrote this and its deliverer both fail to comprehend the depth of what it means to believe. For if either had they would both understand that both writing the book and posting it here would be pointless. My hope is that you take what I have given you this day and find out that you’re looking for proof in your life without belief and this is a relative impossibility, and it is as pointless as posting this to people that are not interested in reading how someone whom was against Christianity magically overcame a language barrier to explain to pre Colombians that Christianity was a bad thing. (P.226) your reference.
Oh by the way, just an added thought. The title of your post is something I was not going to bother commenting about. "Satans authority." Umm for the record, Satan was tossed out of Gods kingdom by a brother. What happens when Daddy comes? Satan has no authority. I'm just saying.
Most of the Christian world understands Satan to be the antithesis and antagonist of God. The Christian scholars claim that Satan was one of the highest orders of angels, the archangels. He was perfect, and because of his pride he was cast out of the heavenly court. This fall caused him to turn against God and seek to destroy God’s image upon Earth, mankind.
He is represented in the Greek Scriptures as the father of lies (John 8:44), as a murderer (John 8:44), a deceiver (Rev 12:9), a tempter (Matt. 4:3), and as a devouring roaring lion (1Pet 5:8). These epithets are purely of Greek Scripture derivation. It is from the Greek Scripture that most of Satan’s myth comes down to the modern era.
In this article, I would like to discuss the Hebrew Text’s ideology concerning Satan, the angels and God. Can the Greek Scripture’s descriptions of Satan stand up to scrutiny?
Many Christian theologians claim that Satan was an angel of the highest order, called Cherubim, and that he was in charge of at least a third of the angelic host. The word Cherubim is the plural of Cherub, a word of uncertain derivation. It is possibly from the Assyrian kirubu, which was a winged bull or even more likely from the Assyrian kirubu which means great or mighty.
The first mention of cherubim in the Hebrew Text comes from the account found in Genesis 3, which was at the expulsion of humanity from the Garden of Eden. The cherubim were stationed before the Garden to guard the way to the tree of life:
וַיְגָרֶשׁ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם וַיַּשְׁכֵּן מִקֶּדֶם לְגַן־עֵדֶן אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִים וְאֵת לַהַט הַחֶרֶב הַמִּתְהַפֶּכֶת לִשְׁמֹר אֶת־דֶּרֶךְ עֵץ הַֽחַיִּֽים׃ ס
So he drove out the man and stationed the cherubim with the flame of the ever turning sword before the garden to guard the way of the tree of life. Gen 3:24
The next place cherubim are mentioned in the Hebrew Text is in the instructions given to Moses for the construction of the Tabernacle. The Ark of the Covenant had a covering called kaforeth. Upon each end of the kaforeth, there were cherubim facing each other. This kaforeth is known as the throne of YHWH, as this was where He would meet and commune with the people:
וְעָשִׂיתָ שְׁנַיִם כְּרֻבִים זָהָב מִקְשָׁה תַּעֲשֶׂה אֹתָם מִשְּׁנֵי קְצֹות הַכַּפֹּֽרֶת׃
וַעֲשֵׂה כְּרוּב אֶחָד מִקָּצָה מִזֶּה וּכְרוּב־אֶחָד מִקָּצָה מִזֶּה מִן־הַכַּפֹּרֶת תַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִים עַל־שְׁנֵי קְצֹותָֽיו׃
וְהָיוּ הַכְּרֻבִים פֹּרְשֵׂי כְנָפַיִם לְמַעְלָה סֹכְכִים בְּכַנְפֵיהֶם עַל־הַכַּפֹּרֶת וּפְנֵיהֶם אִישׁ אֶל־אָחִיו אֶל־הַכַּפֹּרֶת יִהְיוּ פְּנֵי הַכְּרֻבִֽים׃
וְנָתַתָּ אֶת־הַכַּפֹּרֶת עַל־הָאָרֹן מִלְמָעְלָה וְאֶל־הָאָרֹן תִּתֵּן אֶת־הָעֵדֻת אֲשֶׁר אֶתֵּן אֵלֶֽיךָ׃
וְנֹועַדְתִּי לְךָ שָׁם וְדִבַּרְתִּי אִתְּךָ מֵעַל הַכַּפֹּרֶת מִבֵּין שְׁנֵי הַכְּרֻבִים אֲשֶׁר עַל־אֲרֹן הָעֵדֻת אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּה אֹותְךָ אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ פ
And you will make two cherubim of beaten gold, and you shall make them at the two ends of the kaforeth. You will make the one cherub at this end, and you will make the other cherub at the other end, thus you will make the two cherubim at its two ends. The cherubim shall stretch up their wings, covering (sokeikh) the kaforeth with their wings, and each of the cherubim’s faces shall be toward the kaforeth. Then you will place the kaforeth upon the Ark, and you shall place the Testimony which I am giving you in the Ark, and I shall make Myself known to you there, and I will speak with you from above the kaforeth, between the two cherubim which are upon the Ark of the Testimony, with all which I command you to the Children of Israel. Ex 25:18-22
From this point onwards, the cherubim and the imagery of the Ark of the Covenant are considered the Throne of God. This can be seen in the depictions of God’s throne by Isaiah (6; 37:16) and Ezekiel (10-11), as well as from the poetry of the Psalms (18).
It is from this premise that most Christian scholars make a great leap, and connect the idea of the covering cherub of Ezekiel 28:14 with Satan:
אַתְּ־כְּרוּב מִמְשַׁח הַסֹּוכֵךְ וּנְתַתִּיךָ בְּהַר קֹדֶשׁ אֱלֹהִים הָיִיתָ בְּתֹוךְ אַבְנֵי־אֵשׁ הִתְהַלָּֽכְתָּ׃
You are the covering anointed cherub and I placed you in the Holy Mountain of God, and you walked among the Stones of Fire.
However, one must remove the narrative from its context to make this claim. The person being spoken about was the King of Tyre:
בֶּן־אָדָם אֱמֹר לִנְגִיד צֹר כֹּֽה־אָמַר ׀ אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה יַעַן גָּבַהּ לִבְּךָ וַתֹּאמֶר אֵל אָנִי מֹושַׁב אֱלֹהִים יָשַׁבְתִּי בְּלֵב יַמִּים וְאַתָּה אָדָם וְֽלֹא־אֵל וַתִּתֵּן לִבְּךָ כְּלֵב אֱלֹהִֽים׃
Son of man, say to the Prince of Tyre, Thus says my Lord YHWH: Because your heart lifted up and you said, “I am a God, I sit in God’s seat in the heart of the seas”; yet you are a man and not a God, even though you set your heart as the heart of God. Ezekiel 28:2
The context of chapter 28 is a metaphoric discourse from God to the enemies of Israel, who have vexed His people from every side, and though they had a hand in the down fall and destruction of Israel, God warns that they too will have their day of reckoning. In the same manner that God describes the King of Tyre as a cherub, in the garden of God, etc. He also spoke concerning other kings. For instance:
Pharaoh, the King of Egypt is called a dragon having scales:
דַּבֵּר וְאָמַרְתָּ כֹּֽה־אָמַר ׀ אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה הִנְנִי עָלֶיךָ פַּרְעֹה מֶֽלֶךְ־מִצְרַיִם הַתַּנִּים הַגָּדֹול הָרֹבֵץ בְּתֹוךְ יְאֹרָיו אֲשֶׁר אָמַר לִי יְאֹרִי וַאֲנִי עֲשִׂיתִֽנִי׃ וְנָתַתִּי חַחִיִּים בִּלְחָיֶיךָ וְהִדְבַּקְתִּי דְגַת־יְאֹרֶיךָ בְּקַשְׂקְשֹׂתֶיךָ וְהַעֲלִיתִיךָ מִתֹּוךְ יְאֹרֶיךָ וְאֵת כָּל־דְּגַת יְאֹרֶיךָ בְּקַשְׂקְשֹׂתֶיךָ תִּדְבָּֽק׃
Speak and say, “Thus says my Lord YHWH, Behold I am against you Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the Great Dragon which lies in in the midst of its river, who said, My river is mine, I made it. But I will put hooks in your jaws, and I will cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales, and I will bring you up from the midst of your rivers and all the fish of your rivers will stick to your scales Ezekiel 29:3-4
Both Pharaoh and the King of Assyria are said to have been trees in the Garden of Eden, the Garden of God which is identified as Lebanon:
בֶּן־אָדָם אֱמֹר אֶל־פַּרְעֹה מֶֽלֶךְ־מִצְרַיִם וְאֶל־הֲמֹונֹו אֶל־מִי דָּמִיתָ בְגָדְלֶֽךָ׃
Son of man, say to Pharaoh King of Egypt and to his multitude, Who is like you in Greatness? Ezekiel 31:2
הִנֵּה אַשּׁוּר אֶרֶז בַּלְּבָנֹון יְפֵה עָנָף וְחֹרֶשׁ מֵצַל וּגְבַהּ קֹומָה וּבֵין עֲבֹתִים הָיְתָה צַמַּרְתֹּֽו׃
Look, Assyria is a beautiful branched cedar in Lebanon, an overshadowing shroud, with a high stature and his top was among the thick boughs. Ezekiel 31:3
אֲרָזִים לֹֽא־עֲמָמֻהוּ בְּגַן־אֱלֹהִים בְּרֹושִׁים לֹא דָמוּ אֶל־סְעַפֹּתָיו וְעַרְמֹנִים לֹֽא־הָיוּ כְּפֹֽארֹתָיו כָּל־עֵץ בְּגַן־אֱלֹהִים לֹא־דָמָה אֵלָיו בְּיָפְיֹֽו׃ יָפֶה עֲשִׂיתִיו בְּרֹב דָּֽלִיֹּותָיו וַיְקַנְאֻהוּ כָּל־עֲצֵי־עֵדֶן אֲשֶׁר בְּגַן הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃ ס
The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the plane trees were not as his branches; nor was any tree in the garden of God like unto him in his beauty. I made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him. Ezekiel 31:8-9
Contextually, beginning in Chapter 24 and ending in Chapter 39 we have a scene where Israel is destroyed because of her idolatry (23) and the nations which were used as the instruments of the destruction (24-32) are given the news that they will in turn be destroyed for their part. In chapters 33-37 we have the Hope of Return given to Israel and Judah, culminating in the battle of Gog and Magog in chapters 38-39. None of this discourse speaks of any angelic host, nor of any archangel falling from his position in Heaven.
Lucifer, Who is He?
Today, Satan’s proper name is Lucifer. This is based upon the text of Isaiah 14:12:
אֵיךְ נָפַלְתָּ מִשָּׁמַיִם הֵילֵל בֶּן־שָׁחַר נִגְדַּעְתָּ לָאָרֶץ חֹולֵשׁ עַל־גֹּויִֽם׃
How have you fallen from heaven Lucifer son of the Dawn, you have been cut down to earth, disabler of nations.
The problem here is that Lucifer is not in the Hebrew text, but is left over from a Latin translation made by Jerome in 405 ACE:
quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes
How are you fallen from heaven, Lucifer, who rises in the morning, fallen to the ground, that did wound the nations
Lucifer means light bringer in Latin, and is a translation of the Greek Heosphoros which means bringer of dawn:
πῶς ἐξέπεσεν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὁ ἑωσφόρος ὁ πρωὶ ἀνατέλλων; συνετρίβη εἰς τὴν γῆν ὁ ἀποστέλλων πρὸς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη.
How are you fallen from heaven heosphoros, who rises in the morning, the one who is sent to all nations has been cut down to earth.
One ironic thing about the word Lucifer is that it only appears three times in the Latin Vulgate: Job 11:17, Isaiah 14:12 and also 2 Peter 1:19:
et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem cui bene facitis adtendentes quasi lucernae lucenti in caliginoso loco donec dies inlucescat et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris
and we have more firm prophetical word as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until which you do well, giving heed to the days of morning and the moring star (lucifer) arise in your hearts 2 Peter 1:19
lucifer is the name the Romans gave to the morning star, or Venus. Incidentally, it is also the same title which belongs to Jesus
I, Jesus, sent My angel to testify these things to you over the assemblies. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the bright and morning Star. Revelation 22:16
Here is Adam Clarke's commentary on 2 Peter 1:19:
"And to this doctrine, thus confirmed, ye do well to take heed; for it is that light that shines in the dark place - in the Gentile world, as well as among the Jews; giving light to them that sit in darkness, and bringing the prisoners out of the prison house: and this ye must continue to do till the day of his second, last, and most glorious appearing to judge the world comes; and the day star, φωσφορος, this light-bringer, arise in your hearts - manifest himself to your eternal consolation. Or perhaps the latter clause of the verse might be thus understood: The prophecies concerning Jesus, which have been so signally confirmed to us on the holy mount, have always been as a light shining in a dark place, from the time of their delivery to the time in which the bright day of Gospel light and salvation dawned forth, and the Son of righteousness has arisen in our souls, with healing in his rays. And to this all who waited for Christ’s appearing have taken heed. The word φωσφορος, phosphorus, generally signified the planet Venus, when she is the morning star; and thus she is called in most European nations."
Albert Barnes on the same verse:
And the day-star - The morning star - the bright star that at certain periods of the year leads on the day, and which is a pledge that the morning is about to dawn. Compare Rev_2:28; Rev_22:16.
Vincent's Word Study entry on the same verse:
The day-star (φωσφόρος)
Of which our word phosphorus is a transcript. Lit., light-bearer, like Lucifer, from lux, light, and fero, to bear. See Aeschylus, “Agamemnon,” 245.
Let’s place Isaiah 14:12 in context here; the one sent to all nations is the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar (verse 4) and not Satan. The King of Babylon was sent against all the nations, Egypt, Assyria, Lebanon, etc. and destroyed them. In this chapter, the King of Babylon is being given the news of the demise of his kingdom. Why? As the chapter begins, we are told that:
For YHWH will have pity on Jacob, and will yet choose among Israel, and set them in their own land. And the stranger shall be joined to them; and they shall cling to the house of Jacob. And the peoples shall take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of YHWH for slaves and slave girls. And they shall be captives of their captors; and they shall rule over their oppressors. And it shall be, in the day that YHWH shall give you rest from your sorrow, and from your trouble, and from the hard bondage which was pressed on you, you shall lift up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: How the exacter, the gold gatherer, has ceased! YHWH has broken the rod of the wicked, the staff of rulers, who struck the peoples in wrath, a blow without turning away, ruling the nations in anger, dealing out persecution without restraint. Isaiah 14:1-6
This chapter is a promise concerning the end of the Babylonian captivity and the return of the Jews to their homeland. So the context here is the same as that in Ezekiel above. None of this chapter is dealing with Satan, nor is his name mentioned in any of these texts. Lucifer is not the name of Satan, but is a product of willful misinterpretation and the fancy of the church clergy.
What about the Devil?
Looking in the Hebrew scripture, you would expect to find the devil everywhere. You would almost swear Satan was there from the very beginning, spreading lies and mischief. This is not the case though. The word devil only appears 4 times in a few English translations. These are Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 32:17; 2 Chronicles 11:15; and finally Psalm 106:37.
In Lev. 17:7 and 2 Chr. 11:15, the Hebrew word translated as devil is saiyr, which is just a hairy goat. When you examine these two verses, you will realize that what the KJV translators considered devils were in fact idols of goats. Looking at the entire context of Lev. 17, you will notice that the Hebrews were still sacrificing their animals to these idols. God then commands Moses to instruct the Hebrews:
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, saying, What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people: To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD. And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the LORD. And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute forever unto them throughout their generations. Leviticus 17:1-7 KJV
The Hebrews were commanded by God to bring their sacrifices to His altar;
And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon. Exodus 20:22-26 KJV
When you read these together with 2 Chr. 11:15, you will see that these verses are speaking of idols, and not devils in the sense of an individual or collective entity. Let’s look at 2 Chronicles 11:15:
And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. 2 Chr. 11:15 KJV
Here you can see that devils really are just goat idols "which he had made" and not devils in the modern concept.
In Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 106:37 the Hebrew word translated as devils is sheidim the plural of sheid. This is a noun derived from the verb shud meaning to waste or to destroy. In the entire Hebrew scripture this verb is used only once in Psalm 91:6:
Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth (yashud) at noonday. Ps. 91:6 KJV [transliteration mine]
Yashud is the imperfect simple verb conjugation of shud. Taking this as our qualifier, we can see that the noun derivatives simply mean a waste. Now lets look at these two verses again and place a more correct translation of the word sheidim.
יִזְבְּחוּ לַשֵּׁדִים לֹא אֱלֹהַ אֱלֹהִים לֹא יְדָעוּם | חֲדָשִׁים מִקָּרֹב בָּאוּ לֹא שְׂעָרוּם אֲבֹתֵיכֶם
They sacrificed to wastes, a non-divinity, gods they did not know, new ones that come lately whom their fathers did not fear. (My translation)
Verse 21, I believe, supports this translation:
They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities (KJV)
קִנְאוּנִי בְלֹא אֵל כִּעֲסוּנִי בְּהַבְלֵיהֶם
The made me jealous by a non-divinity, they angered me with their vanities. (My translation)
Psalm 106:37 shows this to be accurate, as they sacrificed even their children to these idols which are not a living deity; let’s look at the whole context, which will make this as clear as the nose on your face:
They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Psalm 106:34-39 (KJV)
I dare not say that the Hebrews were capable of giving life to these devils. I would rather hold them to be just what the scripture says, namely: idols of their works and their inventions. In every case where the English translation is devils we now know that this does not mean an independent living entity. Rather it simply means an idol, or specifically a hairy goat idol.
Who Then Is Satan?
Again, using the Hebrew scripture as our guide, we would expect to find Satan from the very beginning. However, in the English translations, the first appearance of Satan is in 1 Chronicles 21.
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. 1 Chr. 21:1 (KJV)
This is the first time, according to the English translations, the word satan appears. Here he provokes David to number Israel. This is in violation of God's command given to Moses; Ex. 30:11-16. Israel was to be numbered not by counting the individual, but by counting the half shekel given as the atonement money. This incurred God's wrath:
And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. 1 Chr. 21:7 (KJV)
The funny thing is there is a similar passage in 2 Samuel 24:1, however, there is one major difference:
And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 2 Sam. 24:1 (KJV)
Did you catch it? According to 2 Samuel it was God Himself who provoked David to number Israel. Notice how the KJV translators misdirect in the translation of the word provoke here. The Hebrew of both verses are identicle:
וַיַּעֲמֹד שָׂטָן עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל | וַיָּסֶת אֶת דָּוִיד לִמְנוֹת אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל:
1 Chr. 21:1
וַיֹּסֶף אַף יְהוָה לַחֲרוֹת בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל | וַיָּסֶת אֶת דָּוִד בָּהֶם לֵאמֹר לֵךְ מְנֵה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת יְהוּדָה:
2 Sam. 24:1
The phrase of both veses is vayaset et david. Here yaset is the imperfect causative of sut meaning to provoke, or incite. According to the former it was Satan who caused the provocation, and in the later it was God who caused the provocation. Which one is correct?
The answer is in the way the Hebrew scripture portrays God and Satan. It may be a surprise to you, but Satan is not the cause of evil, nor of temptation to evil. Who is? I am glad you asked.
According to the Hebrew scripture, God is the Creator, and there is none besides Him. He created everything, even evil. Let’s look at the proof.
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:5-7 (KJV)
It is God who sets evil before us:
See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil Deuteronomy 30:15 (KJV)
It is God who causes evil in a city:
Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Amos 3:6 (KJV)
Contrary to Christian theology, God is the creator of evil. He uses evil, and temps His servants with evil to see if they will follow Him with all their hearts:
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. Deuteronomy 13:1-4 (KJV)
The Hebrew for the word proveth is m'naseh, an intensive active participle of nasah meaning to tempt. This same word is translated tempt in Genisis 22:1:
And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. Gn 22:1 (KJV)
Here is the Hebrew:
וַיְהִי אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וְהָאֱלֹהִים נִסָּה אֶת אַבְרָהָם | וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי:
לֹא תִשְׁמַע אֶל דִּבְרֵי הַנָּבִיא הַהוּא אוֹ אֶל חוֹלֵם הַחֲלוֹם הַהוּא | כִּי מְנַסֶּה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֶתְכֶם לָדַעַת הֲיִשְׁכֶם אֹהֲבִים אֶת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם בְּכָל לְבַבְכֶם וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁכֶם:
The difference is in the conjugation. Both are of the piel verb. Gn 22:1 has the perfect form nisah and De. has the participle m'naseh.
God even sends false prophets for His own purpose:
And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. 1 Kings 22:19-23; 2 Chr. 18:18-22 (KJV)
God even lies to His own prophets at times, testing their obedience:
And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel. Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water. And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcase shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers. And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcase was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcase. 1 Kings 13:8-24 (KJV)
Throughout the Hebrew scripture you will find that it is God Himself who created evil, and uses the evil as a means of testing and tempting His servants. He sends His angels out as lying spirits, and He sends lying prophets, even to His own prophets. There is no place that hints of an evil angel acting against His authority. On the contrary, the scripture is clear that His angel, and all angels ares His, obey His word:
Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Ps. 103:20 (KJV)
A better translation of the Hebrew would be:
בָּרֲכוּ יְהוָה מַלְאָכָיו | גִּבֹּרֵי כֹחַ עֹשֵׂי דְבָרוֹ לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל דְּבָרוֹ
Bless the Lord His angels, excelling in strength, doing His word, listening to the voice of His words. Ps. 103:20 (my translation)
This leaves no room for angels who could be disobedient.
In the Hebrew text, the first time the word satan is used is in Numbers 22:22, 32. However, the KJV translators hide this point, so the reader would not make the logical connection:
And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. Num. 22:22 KJV
וַיִּחַר אַף אֱלֹהִים כִּי הוֹלֵךְ הוּא וַיִּתְיַצֵּב מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה בַּדֶּרֶךְ לְשָׂטָן לוֹ
וְהוּא רֹכֵב עַל אֲתֹנוֹ וּשְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו עִמּוֹ: Num 22:22
And God's anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord set himself in the way as satan for him. And he was riding on his donkey and two young men were with him. Num. 22:22
And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: Num. 22:32 (KJV)
וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה עַל מָה הִכִּיתָ אֶת אֲתֹנְךָ זֶה שָׁלוֹשׁ רְגָלִים | הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי יָצָאתִי לְשָׂטָן כִּי יָרַט הַדֶּרֶךְ לְנֶגְדִּי
And the angel of the Lord said to him, Why did you strike your donkey these three times? Look, I set myself as satan because the way is reckless before me. Num 22:32
The translators did not want you to draw the conclusion that even the angel of the Lord is called satan. There is good reason for this concealment. Throughout the scriptures, there is only one figure given the title Angel of the Lord, or more precisely, Angel of YHWH.
It is important to keep in mind, that this was written by Moses, while the Israelites yet wondered the wilderness. Why is it so important to note this? Simply because in all the Old Testament, there is only one angel who is called Angel of YHWH, and this was the Angel who appeared to Abraham, Hagar, Isaac, Jacob, and to Moses, and who also spoke from the burning bush, as well as the Angel who was sent to lead Israel to Canaan, and to drive out their enemies before them: Gen 16:7; 22:11; 31:11; Ex 3:2; 14:19; 23:20, 23; 32:34; 33:2.
This Angel of YHWH was the first to be identified as satan. What is going to be a shocker to many is that Isaiah says this same Angel is also the Holy Spirit:
I will mention the mercies of YHWH, the praises of YHWH, according to all that YHWH has benefited us, and the great good to the house of Israel, by which He benefited them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His loving-kindness. For He said, Surely they are My people, sons that do not lie, and He is their Savior. In all their affliction, He was not a foe; and the Angel of his Presence saved them. In His love and in His pity He redeemed them. And He bore them up, and lifted them up all the days of old. But they rebelled, and provoked His Holy Spirit, so He was turned to be their enemy; He fought against them. Then His people remembered the days past of Moses and His people, saying, Where is He who brought us up from the sea with the shepherd of His flock. Where is He who put His Holy Spirit within him; who led them by Moses' right hand, with His glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make for Him an everlasting name? He led them through the deeps; like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble. As the cattle go down into the valley, so the Spirit of YHWH caused him to rest; so You led Your people, to make a glorious name for Yourself. Is 62:7-14
The Angel of YHWH is only known as Satan, when he acts as an opponent to the unrighteous, or as a tester, tempter to the faithful. Even though these are the Holy Spirit's duties, he in no way is disobedient to God in any way shape or form.
According to the Hebrew Scriptures, satan is merely a title, along with other titles of the same angelic figure. This angel is called, Mal'akh YHWH (the Angel of the Lord) Ex 3:2; Mal'akh Panav (The Angel of His Presence/Face) Is 63:9; Panai (My Presence/Face) Ex 23:20, 33:2, 14; Penu'el (The Face of God) Gen 32:20; Peli (Wonderful) Jg 13:18; Eimaty (My Fear) Ex 23:27; Ruchakha HaTov (Your Good Spirit) Neh. 9:20, Ruach HaQadosh (Holy Spirit) Is 63:10; and also as satan (adversary) Num 22:22, 32; 1 Chr 21:1
All these titles represent the same angelic figure. For those who are obedient to God, he is the Good Spirit, who instructs them in the ways of God Ex 23:20-23; Neh 9:20, but for the disobedient, he becomes their enemy and fights against them Ex 23:21; Is 63:10.
There is no place in all the Hebrew Scriptures which supports the idea that satan acted independently of God's authority. Nor will you find anything which would lend support to the idea that satan is some rebellious angel, who waged war in heaven, trying to supplant God. The concept of an independent evil spirit is foreign to the Hebrew scripture and the theology of Israel.
Ya'aqov ben Yisrael
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