The many forms of the devil in the Bible
From the most comical of cartoons to the most grotesque of gargoyles, the majority of the population today can immediately recognize an image of the devil. But does our modern conception of Satan have any resemblance to the devil in the Bible? Just who is Satan? Is this horned, red-skinned monster with a pitchfork ruling hell truly the great enemy of God envisioned by the writers of the Biblical texts?
The short answer: no, not really.
In the Hebrew Bible, YHWH’s greatest enemies are not fallen angels commanding armies of demons, nor even the gods of other nations, but, rather, human beings. It isn’t the devil that spreads evil across the face of creation—it is mankind. Other than human beings, YHWH has no nemesis, nor are there malevolent spiritual forces not under his authority. YHWH is ultimately a god of justice. He is behind the good and the bad, behind the blessings and the curses. It is within this divine court of justice and retribution that Satan has his origins.
The Hebrew word śāṭān, meaning “accuser” or “adversary,” occurs several times throughout the Hebrew Bible and refers to enemies both human and celestial alike. When referring to the celestial adversary, the word is typically accompanied by the definite article. He is ha-satan—the Accuser—and it is a job description rather than a proper name. From the Accuser’s appearances in the Books of Job and Zechariah, it seems that the job entails calling attention to the unworthiness of mankind. The Accuser is essentially the prosecuting attorney of the divine court of YHWH, and part of his job includes collecting evidence to prove his cases. With this bit of knowledge in mind, it isn’t difficult to envision the various “outcries against sin,” such as that against Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:20–21), as the voice of the Accuser.
It is difficult to determine at which point in Israel’s history the Accuser began to take on a much more sinister role in the Israelite/Jewish belief structure, or how heaven’s great prosecutor became the prince of darkness (Ephesians 6:12). It is certainly easy to make the connection between Israel’s time in exile and the likely influence of the cosmic dualism of Persian religion.1 However, even within books written well after the return from foreign lands, the Accuser is still a self-righteous lawyer. Though if 1 Chronicles 21:1 is any indication,2 they began to believe the Accuser wasn’t above getting his hands dirty.
It is perfectly clear, however, that by the first century C.E., Judaism developed a belief in the divine forces of darkness doing battle against the forces of light. This can be seen within the New Testament and other extra-Biblical writings such as those found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are likely several factors that inspired these developments, including the influence of Persian, as well as Hellenistic, religions.
If there was an army of evil spiritual forces making war on the righteous, they had to have a commander. It is at this time that the impersonal and lofty Accuser began to acquire the various names and titles that have filled the writings of western civilization for 2,000 years. The Greek word diabolos (from which “devil” is derived), meaning “slanderer,” comes from a verb that means “to hurl” (i.e., accusations).
Diabolos was typically used as the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew śāṭān (in the Septuagint version of Job, for example), though it was not uncommon to simply transliterate the word into the Greek satanas (1 Kings 11:14). Other names used for the leader of the forces of evil at this time include Maśṭēmāh, which means “hatred” (1QM 13:4, 11; Jubilees 10:8), and Belial, a popular name among the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which means “worthless” or “corrupt.” “Children of Belial” (Hebrew: bene-belial) was a typical phrase used to describe evil people in the Hebrew Bible (e.g., Deuteronomy 13:13; 1 Samuel 1:16; 2 Chronicles 13:7, etc.). If someone were searching for a name that personified evil in the Hebrew Bible, it would be Belial, not Satan. Interesting enough, the name only occurs once in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 6:15), as Paul’s stark contrast to Christ.
It is also in this period that we begin to see the development of the tradition of equating the talking serpent in the Garden of Eden with Satan (Life of Adam and Eve xi–xvii).
Satan’s role in the New Testament, though highly expanded, has much more in common with the Accuser of the Hebrew Bible than the commander of the armies of darkness that is typically portrayed in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Even though he is given such lofty titles as “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31), “father of lies” (John 8:44), “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “ruler of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), and Beelzebul, “ruler of the demons” (Matthew 10:25; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15), Satan is essentially treated as nothing more than a glorified prison warden who has been corrupted by his own power. Throughout the Gospels, Satan’s “kingdom” is never considered to be a burning underworld full of the tormented dead, but, rather, is equated with the bondage of sin and the curses brought upon humanity for acts of unrighteousness. According to Jesus (Matthew 12:29; Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21–22), a “strong man” (Satan) must be bound in order to plunder his house for treasures (humans), and it is clear he viewed his ministry and that of his disciples within this context. All other references to Satan in the New Testament, including those in Revelation, reflect this struggle for spiritual freedom.
Over the course of several centuries of influence from many different cultures, the defeated Accuser of the Christians would go on to appropriate aspects of various divine enemies (Typhon, Hades, Ahriman, Hela, to name but a few) to become the complex mythological monster that was thrown out of heaven at the beginning of time to rule the fiery underworld and torment the souls of the damned. Such a character makes for great movies and Halloween costumes, but would have been virtually unknown to anyone in Biblical times.
John Gregory Drummond is a writer, artist and blogger as well as a researcher. His academic interests include the Bronze Age relations between Egypt and the Levant, comparative mythology and its influence on the Biblical texts, and mystery cults in the Roman World.
1. Adherents to Zoroastrianism believed in the ongoing battle between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu (known in later periods as Ormazd and Ahriman), the good creator god of light and order and the evil god of chaos and darkness.
2. Compare the earlier version of the story in 2 Samuel 24 in which YHWH himself is the one who incites David to sin.
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on November 10, 2016.
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[…] Who is Satan? […]
[…] Addendum 2023: Who Is Satan? – Biblical Archaeology Society. […]
[…] word ‘Satan’ in Hebrew means ‘accuser’ or ‘adversary’. Biblical archeologists explain that when referring to Satan in Hebrew, it is typically accompanied by a definite article. […]
[…] not make an appearance in Genesis 2–3, for the simple reason that when the story was written, the concept of the devil had not yet been invented. Explaining the serpent in the Garden of Eden as Satan would have been as foreign a concept to the […]
[…] texts and art. In the Hebrew Bible, a figure similar to Satan, Ha-Satan, appears as a kind of lawyer for God. However, Satan became a demonic entity in opposition to God over time. Some believe the […]
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Thank you for publishing this information. I think what Mr. Drummond is saying is. that to the early Hebrews, satan was the symbol for man rebelling against God or acting on devilish thoughts that diverge from God’s loving kindness and goodness. They did not think satan was an individual entity, but man’s thoughts accusing God and his fellow man of falsehoods. Genesis 1 says nothing about God creating satan. The reference to the talking serpent shows up in Genesis 2 that seems to be an allegory about disobedience and its consequences.
i live in Uganda ,i like reading Bible History daily articles.but this one that satan is not an enemy of the God of JESUS is really disturbing and if one is not with GOD guidance when reading it, can easily get lost.how can satan who lied a bout GOD not be his enemy?how can satan who led the rebellion in heaven not be GODS enemy? hon can satan who demanded to be worshiped not be GODS enemy?remember The GOD of JESUS commands those who love HIM not to worship any other god apart from HIM. Satan is both GODS and mans enemy.by the way why would GOD plan to save man and not HIS prosecutor?
Because anyone who disagrees with your b.s religion is satan and your enemy. You guys have only had enemies that disagreed with you who were demonized by stories. Even sin is a lie. SIN was a mesoptamian moon god that far predated the language of hebrew and was worshipped in akkadian times. The judaic hebrew writings attempted to demonize an already popular god and then because they feared him to regain his popularity– thrust upon him a fake title “SATAN” and thrust this upon any questioner. The perfect irony is how he is called the accuser when in actuality it is anyone who questions your made up faith who is accused of being in league. What weak moves. Go ahead. look it up for yourself. SIN is the whole edifice of your religion and it is a lie plain and simple. They took the name of their competitor and made it the evil deed! HILARIOUS. Absolutely ineffably… HILARIOUS.
A good summary of the facts. Thanks.
Too often the nonliteral symbology of Revelation is used to reinterpret the OT scriptures. Satan isn’t a big player in the OT & is usually a human adversary.
Even God is called satan – compare parallel passages: 1 Chron 21:1& 2 Sam 24:1
The actual snake in the garden was punished for faulty advice.
“Now the snake was wiser than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” Gen 3:1.
“And the Lord God said to the snake, Because you have done this you are cursed more than all cattle and every beast of the field; you will go flat on the earth, and dust will be your food all the days of your life” v14.
You twisting what is really easy for understand from the Bible. Fallen angel Lucifer become satan. Angels are real beings, Christ described their power. You trying to twist more deeper with David fusnote.
Who is Satan? A good question! The Old Testament understands that satan is not an angel’s name, it is a terminology describing an angel who acts as an accuser, as in the Book of Job. Note that Job’s satan does not have the power of defying God. God tells him, he may afflict Job, but he cannot take Job’s life. All this changes in the New Testament, Satan now has the power now to defy God and kill at will, against God’s wishes, God’s followers. What happened between the Old and New Testaments? Greek Hellenism happened. Circa 332 BC Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire and Hellenistic Greek schools of thought emerged in Judah that blamed evil on the Greek Daimon (English: Demon). Why? Plato taught that it was wrong to attribute evil to the gods, his followers agreed and threw blame for evil in the world on the Daimons (Demons). Some Jews accepted this Greek explanation for the source of evil in the world. Apparently early Christians also accepted this Greek explanation for why evil, blame the Daimons (The New Testament is written in Greek, and was pitched to a Greek speaking audience)! Greek daimons had the power to enter the bodies of men and control their behavior, with unrighteous thoughts and actions. These daimons had their prince of Evil, given different names in different parts of the Hellenistic Greek and later Roman Empires. So Christianity is a Hellenized form of Judaism. Where it differs from Judaism, it is to be traced to Greek and Roman schools of thought about the daimons and their being the source of evil in the world. In 2010 I wrote a book on this subject, available at Amazon. Com. Walter R. Mattfeld. Eden’s Serpent: Its Mesopotamian Origin. I trace Eden’s serpent to Sumerian myths about man’s creation in a place called Edin, and how he was created to care for the gods’ fruit tree gardens there. Also how man came to loose a chance at securing immortality in Edin via trickery from his creator god, Enki/Ea at Eridu. Enki bore the epithet usumgal/ushumgal “great dragon” or “great serpent,” a beast with four legs, two horns, two wings, and serpentine body, who boasted of man, his creation: “I gave him wisdom but denied him immortality.” See also my website, http://www.bibleorigins.net for more info.
Mr. Drummond …. If the information in your article is correct then where does the satan from Revelation 12 and Revelation 20 fit in?
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The devil or satan is a real spiritual being much like the angels but with a radically different agenda. His sole purpose is to rule mankind one way or the other and be worshiped by them. He exists because YHWH addresses him directly at the garden of Eden and later in heaven when all his angels are making their way in. Jesus talked to him when he himself tried to temp him 3 times. And the Bible says that he will be destroyed forever together with death that he himself brought upon humanity. So Satan the ruler of darkness is very much real like death is as we all can testify and it’s not just simple fiction or a metaphor for good behavior.
Scripture is clear. Lucifer, son of the morning star, a covering cherub, wanted to be above God (Ezekiel) and convinced a third of the angels that he would be a better governor and was cast down to this earth, Even Jesus stated this. So why is this writer all over the place with an unrealistic approach to the father of evil-Satan? Equivocation is for those who do not want to believe. Their is a real Satan who hates God and hates anyone who believes in His Son. This is not a figment of some imagination and soon you will see him and his demons let loose to destroy any and all. No. He is not stoking the imaginary fires of hell now but someday soon, he will be cast into the lake of fire along with sin and sinners.
I think it is a very interesting article. The concept of “the Satan” is interesting and the meaning of the term well described here. Its derivation from Zoroastrianism is possibly interesting, but Zoroastrianism had a dualistic view of a good and a bad God—both equal in rank. Judaism and Christianity have never seen the Devil (“the Accuser”….”the Satan”) as an equal to God.
When Jesus talked about seeing “the Satan”or “Satan”fall like lightning from heaven (Luke 10), or when the Bible talks about Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness (read Marl 1) or Paul talks to the Corinthians about Satan disguising himself as an angel of light — or Peter confronting two church members in the Book of Acts and saying Satan filled their hearts to lie — I think we are talking about something less ghoulish than a medieval painting would ever have been able to portray — and certainly someone more than ä glorified prison warden who has been corrupted by his own power,”as the author claims.
Indeed Satan as we have come to understand him is also associated with the temptation to sin. Rather than being hideous, he is beautiful and tempting.
In Job, an exceptionally ancient book, Satan is part of the heavenly court. He accuses God of favoritism with Job. In the end, Satan loses the bet that Job will deny God’s goodness and fidelity.
Over time, our eyes are opened to find this lovely creature is the personification of hatred, evil, and death. Our human understanding is always undergoing expansion, much as Peter grew to love Gentiles and share fellowship with them.
So, the author is right in the majority of his argument. Where he is incorrect is labeling humanity as God’s enemy. We are his wayward children and the purpose for creation.
This kid’s views are not biblical
In order to understand the scriptures, one has to believe in a supreme creator who has inspired certain humans to to write a synopsis of our creation and purpose for being. I think the author misunderstands the scriptures and the reason for their existence. I’ve been studying the scriptures for well over 50 years and I still lack the knowledge I desire, but I will always believe in a Supreme Being due to personal experiences.
Technically, or theoretically, we don’t exist, or shouldn’t. Space itself should not exist. If it were possible to create an absolute vacuum in a container and put it on a shelf for a million or more years and at the end of that time would you expect to find anything but a vacuum in that container? And yet, here we are.
I can’t explain it but I realize that everything in this universe was created by the greatest engineer in existence. Forget about the stars in the countless galaxies, just look at how man is made. What an engineering feat, a pump, circulating system, various filtering systems, sensors for sound, touch, vision, fuel intake, waste disposable systems, sensors that act like solenoid valves switching from one circuit to another, all maintained by a magnificent computer, and on and on.
But now to my question..Every manufacturer makes a prototype and every prototype is tested before putting on the market. Is it possible that this planet earth and all in it are merely prototypes of what is to be perfected? Could the creature that became Satan have been placed like a governor to oversee the human race and couldn’t he have been tested as well as we humans?
Isn’t it possible that this magnificent engineer has intended for his creation, man, to live forever and has created the galaxies for man to explore after attaining perfection? Something to think about!
John (above) is 100% right. It’s one of the reasons I stopped subscribing. BAR writers tend to favor older, conservative views rather than the wealth of amazing recent findings and biblical understanding that challenges their stodgy, tired perspectives (for which reason they almost completely ignore the work of David Rohl, Immanuel Velikovsky and Dr. Michael Heiser, amongst others who’ve been shaking up the establishment views). Not only does this author ignore Genesis 3 (and all the work that’s recently been written about it), but he ignores Genesis 6, the incursion of the Ben Elohim Watcher spirits and their offspring, expanded on in 1 Enoch, as well as the role of the corrupt Divine Council in the Hebrew Scriptures.
I was thinking exactly the same thing as you express in your comment. Heiser’s work in particular opened my eyes to the forces that are at work in the unseen realm.
This article recycles obsolete views, ignoring the last couple centuries of discoveries and more importantly ignores everything in Genesis 3 and its context except the mere statement of a snake that speaks, treating this as something about which the reader should show no curiosity (snakes talk every day, right?). The article also sets up a false choice – God’s enemies are either (1) humans, or (2) Satan and demons. Careful reading of Genesis 3 in its context yields much different results. Speaking to the cherubim (angels of God’s presence) towards the end of the chapter the Lord says the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. So man, created lord of creation (including animals such as snakes), did not have knowledge of good and evil. Who does have such knowledge? God, the angels to whom he is speaking, and . . . the tempter, indicating there was some entity behind the talking snake. Further, the enmity predicted apparently between snakes and humans turns out to be fulfilled between two kinds of humans, righteous and wicked, two brothers in fact, Cain and Abel. Genesis 4 is the most overlooked key to understanding the prediction of enmity in gen 3:15, and it also shows in what sense the wicked are “offspring” of the tempter, as Cain shares the ethical traits of the tempter, being a liar and a murderer, and also shares his fate of being cursed by God. That the tempter is an evil version of the cherubim is also suggested by Isaiah’s vision of “Seraphim” in Isaiah 6 – seraphim everywere else refers to poisonous snakes, and this should not be too surprising since angelic beings are often depicted with a mixture of human and animal features. In this case, the Seraphim are depicted as “uncursed” versions of the Genesis 3 serpent, since they have feet and hands, and can stand and fly, in contrast to the cursed being of Genesis 3 who must crawl on his belly. This enemy of God thus becomes the spiritual or ethical father of the wicked, so that God’s human enemies are in parallel with the supernatural. Defeat of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, for example, is described as crushing the heads of Leviathan (Psalm 74), Leviathan being the seven-headed dragon known from Ugarit (described almost identically as in Isa 27:1)., and even earlier, as it is depicted on a Syrian seal from the 3rd millenium BC.
Wonderful comment, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and insight. How unfathomable must God be, and how lacking is our intellect in grasping His glory! Indeed, for the Bible is a spiritual book, and therefore one must view things in the Spirit also. To say Satan is a mere snake is incredulous. The spirit is not the vessel, and the vessel is not the spirit! God bless you for this comment, I’ll be studying it further.
This whole universe is created only for us. We are very very important people.
we are the children of God
I always think that it is strange God never warns Adam or Eve of a power which will try to tempt them to disobey Him. God created all things and all was described as ‘good’. However ‘Man was made not only to be material beings but able to develop his mind and being so that one day he would care for all other beings and control earthly forces. I think perhaps ‘Satn’ is the personification of our fleshly desires to do and get what we want. The role of adversary given to us is our conscience which Paul points out mankind has ignored..
You wrote that human beings are the enemy of the God of the Bible. Nothing else is farther from the Biblical truth than this remark. God loves the world to the extent that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). Our enemies are not flesh and blood, but spiritual powers in the heavenlies (Letter of Paul to the Ephesians).
Satan was active from the very beginning (Gen 3).
Reading your article I realise that the main difference between your and my idea of satan is that you treated the Bible as a human book with growing ideas and insights, while my starting point is that the Bible is a divine book inspired from above.
The difference in starting point will make any discussion idle.
Agree with Tony. Besides there is no mention of man being God’s enemy in the Bible.
Definitely don’t agree with your view of who Satan is.
History of Satan – Where did he come from?
The history of Satan is described in the Bible in Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-19. These two biblical passages also reference the king of Babylon, the King of Tyre, and the spiritual power behind the kings.
What caused Satan to be cast from Heaven? He fell because of pride that originated from his desire to be God instead of a servant of God. Satan was the highest of all the angels, but he wasn’t happy. He desired to be God and rule the universe. God cast Satan out of heaven as a fallen angel.
History of Satan – Who is he?
Satan is often caricatured as a red-horned, trident-raising cartoon villain; no wonder people question the history of Satan. His existence, however, is not based on fantasy. It’s verified in the same book that narrates Jesus’ life and death (Genesis 3:1-16, Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Matthew 4:1-11).
Christians believe Satan acts as leader of the fallen angels. These demons, existing in the invisible spirit realm yet affecting our physical world, rebelled against God, but are ultimately under His control. Satan masquerades as an “angel of light,” deceiving humans just as he deceived Eve in the beginning (Genesis 3).
Jesus Himself testified of Satan’s existence. During His ministry, He personally faced temptation from the devil (Matthew 4:1-11), cast out demons possessing people (Luke 8:27-33), and defeated the evil one and his legion of demon angels at the cross. Christ also helped us understand the ongoing, spiritual war between God and Satan, good and evil (Isaiah 14:12-15; Luke 10:17-20).
With Jesus Christ on our side, we need not fear Satan’s limited power (Hebrew 2:14-15). We ought to be wise, however, in resisting his tactics:
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
History of Satan – What is his place now?
Throughout the history of Satan, evil has been his identity because he is directly opposite God’s character. God’s holy standard found in the Bible exposes evil. If not relying on its truth, we can easily error:
One error is denying Satan’s existence
Another mistake is fearfully focusing on Satan rather than on Christ Jesus who overcame him
Others outright worship Satan, preferring the darkness of evil rather than light that reveals sin (John 3:19; 2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
Any of these approaches please the devil. He wants us denying, fearing, obeying, or worshiping him. Unless we follow the trustworthy source, the Bible, he’ll deceive us (Ephesians 6:10-11).
History of Satan – Satan’s seduction versus reality
In our scientific, rational age, spiritual beliefs are scorned as myth. Satan, however, doesn’t mind those who rebuff the reality of fallen angels or demons. By masking himself, he can tempt and deceive people without blame. The wise will never forget that Satan and demons, determined to deceive humans, are fighting real battles and wars against heavenly angels.
Satan compels or entices his prey to follow him whether they realize it or not. Maybe they are simply ignorant and confused. Many would rather believe human theory than obey divine revelation and natural law. Whether blind, bound, or brazenly willing, they join Satan for a doomed destiny. They condemn themselves to eternity in hell.
While Satan is more powerful than we humans, God doesn’t leave us defenseless (Ephesians 6:10-11). At the Lord’s rebuke, Satan and his demons shudder and flee (James 2:19; Jude 1:9). When Jesus Christ died, He overcame them (Colossians 2:15). Only in the authority of Jesus does anyone have power to stand against the devil. Those saved from sin by Jesus’ death on the cross are protected; those who are not saved from Satan’s power perish with him (John 3:16; 1 Peter 5:8-10).
Thanks for the article. Based on my research, Satan makes a grand entrance in the New Testament. I talk about this in my new publication. In “Opposing Forces,” I trace the history of the Devil and evil in general and how they changed over time. Click the link below.
I am taken aback by this comment you made
Notes#2 Compare the earlier version of the story in 2 Samuel 24 in which YHWH himself is the one who incites David to sin.
God’s permission, but Satan’s suggestion
2 Samuel 24:1
And again. The history in this chapter precedes 2Sa 23, by Figure of speech Hysterologia (App-6). See note on 23. i. the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4. He moved-He suffered him to be moved. By He-brew idiom (and also by modern usage) a person is said to do that which he permits to be done. Here we have the historical fact. In 1Ch_21:1 we have the real fact from the Divine standpoint. Here the exoteric, in 1Ch_21:1 the esoteric. For examples, see Exo_4:21; Exo_5:22. Jer_4:10. Eze_14:9; Eze_20:25. Mat_11:25; Mat_13:11. Rom_9:18; Rom_11:7, Rom_11:8; 2Th_2:11. God’s permission, but Satan’s suggestion (Jam_1:13, Jam_1:14); or, yasath may be taken impersonally, “David was moved”.
I’m awe-stricken by the profound mystical discourse by commentator Brian (#12) which I believe to be accurate based on what I’ve read from various sources and as for the quote from Isaiah 14:12 I have to agree with commentator Wes (#13) that here the scripture should be placed within the proper context with this being an allusion to the fall of the Neo-Assyrian emperor Sargon Ii. The winged sun disk was the icon of the official state-god Asshur but in times past this emblem had an 8 pointed star with wings instead of a solar disk, which was the official seal of King Saushtator of the Mitanni Empire during the 15th century B.C.E. The 8 pointed star is the emblem of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, the Akkadian Ishtar, so the term “son of the dawn” may be a referance to the goddess in the aspect of the planet Venus as the morning star. The Habor River Valley was once host to the Biblical Patriarchs who would become known as Hebrews, and this designation was derived from the word “Hebrew” as meaning “from beyond” which originally pertained to people who migrated from the Habor region across the Euphrates River to settle in lands south as did the Patriarch Jacob when he fled from his exploitive uncle Laban in Paddam Aram to the region of Gilead. The Assyrian Empire kept records of people who be became Hebrews by leaving the Habor River region because they felt unduly over-taxed and singled out because of their religious affiliaton. Hence the tradition of Abraham being persecuted by Nimrod because he refused to worship the official state-sponsored gods in a Ziggurat-structured social tier system (or, if you prefer, the “corporate ladder”).
Educative. Thanks so much for the providing insight into who or what satan truly is.
Satan is not only an Enemy of GOD,but also an enemy of man,Satan plans to uproot Holiness from mankind with misunderstanding.Satan is not evil itself,but a prisoner of sin,just as all who sin are prisoners to it,So Satan in rebellion and pride,turned against GOD,an became an entity of Evil and Sin,which is an adversary to GOD and HIS HANDWORK
Yes this is David responding to the other David. The torment spoken of in Revelation 20:10 refers to being jailed in death for ever and ever: obviously you can’t, literally, torment spirit creatures, such as the angels, which are described as being messengers made into spirits and flames of fire, Hebrew 1:7.
Rather, in the biblical sense, your jailer is your tormentor: this means Satan and his demons will be jailed (tormented) in death for ever, no parole.
The sentence given to Satan, and all those who appose God, sets a precedent like smoke that lingers on forever, even after the fire goes out, Revelation 14:11.
Most of criticism of Mr. Drummond’s article cites New Testament passages. The fact is that whole books of the Old Testament say nothing of Satan. In addition, many passages which many cite as allusions could just as well be literal about figures such as the Prince of Tyre (Ezekiel – sometimes a prince of Tyre is a prince of Tyre) or a celestial body ( Lucifer in KJV Isaiah 14:12). On this one I’ll defer to John Calvin’s commentaries on scripture, writing sometime between 1540 and 1555 nearly 500 years ago:
12.”How art thou fallen from heaven!” Isaiah proceeds with the discourse which he had formerly begun as personating the dead, and concludes that the tyrant differs in no respect from other men, though his object was to lead men to believe that he was some god. He employs an elegant metaphor, by comparing him to Lucifer, and calls him the Son of the Dawn; (220) and that on account of his splendor and brightness with which he shone above others. The exposition of this passage, which some have given, as if it referred to Satan, has arisen from ignorance; for the context plainly shows that these statements must be understood in reference to the king of the Babylonians. But when passages of Scripture are taken up at random, and no attention is paid to the context, we need not wonder that mistakes of this kind frequently arise. Yet it was an instance of very gross ignorance, to imagine that Lucifer was the king of devils, and that the Prophet gave him this name. But as these inventions have no probability whatever, let us pass by them as useless fables.
Sometimes I notice that the same contemporary people who assert otherwise profess to be of the same movement he founded.
In Isaiah 14:12, it is a cherub that is being addressed as that spiritual ruler who was the de facto unseen King of Babylon, whom also was active and mature in the Garden of Eden thousands of years before (cf. Ezekiel 28:13-15 ). He moves to rule over chief kingdoms through means of violence.
This particular individual cherub is labeled in Isaiah 14:12 as Helel, the “shining one”. The Syriac Peshitta uses Aylel, and the Septuagint uses Heosphoros to translate Helel. Because the Syriac uses a proper name, and “dawn-bringer” in the LXX sounds much like one, we have adopted the labeling of he who is both the spiritual King of Babylon and Tyre, or the world system in general, as Lucifer.
So who is Lucifer? In the Akkadian, the cognate from which the Hebrew “helel’ was derived is “ellu”, which holds the simple definition of: something or some event that is ”bright” (regarding a presence and brilliance of light).
The Arabic Semitic, which leans on the Hebrew, phonetically uses “halla” to equivocate the Hebrew root word “halal”; both mean “to shine brightly”. From “halla” we get “allah”, and the identity of whom Muslims worship…the “shining one” whom the Christians must call Lucifer, and the Devil: he who exalts himself as if GOD (Isaiah 14:13-14), but is destined for humility and punishment (Isaiah 14:15; Matthew 25:41).
Jesus Christ, in the only true and trustworthy Holy book called the Bible, warns:
[the Devil, the shining Cherub that once walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire in Heaven until he self-exalted himself and stole trust from others in heaven – Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezekiel 28:14]
cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
But still, this does not DESCRIBE the individual Cherub who is a 4 faced 6 winged creature. Some confuse Satan with angels, even as they do not know the difference between a Watcher and a Cherub or a Cherub from a Seraph in the vicinity of GOD’s throne.
In Psalm 104:4, we read the elemental difference:
“He makes His angels –winds,
and His ministers — a fire of flame.” [Translation mine]
In that passage, we find that the origin of the Angels and Seraphims were not entirely Creatio Ex Nihilo (created out of nothing). Angels not only have the ministerial capacity of creating or controlling winds or gusts that affect humanity and this Creation, but their origins were likely in their being created from winds (the breath of GOD) also. When Jesus commanded the winds with “Peace, be still” in Mark 4:39, He was not only fulfilling the passage of Psalm 107:29-30 to reveal His identity as YHVeH, commander of the angels, the Heavenly host.
“Through the manifest WORD of YHVeH the heavens were made,
and by the Breath of His Mouth all the armies of the heavenly hosts.”
(Psalm 33:6 – translation mine)
Instantly, Jesus was obeyed and all was calm, and very quickly the 12 disciples with Jesus found themselves transported to their desired haven. The same formula of Psalm 104:4 cited above also applies to the Seraphims. Seraphims are not only also, but primarily known to most by their designation as the Cherubims (four faced, one on each side of the head, and six winged creatures). These have a ministry of creating or controlling fire, and were likely first created from fire.
At the Creation of Physical man, we find GOD breathing into one vessel of clay made a living being of flesh with a single soul (Genesis 2:7 in the Hebrew), and imparting the yod or a sliver of the soul of G-D Himself to make that one eternal with “souls”. “YHVeH Messiah the breath of our nostrils” (Lamentations 4:20), the LORD Christ, created Adam our first father to be a Father or co-Origin of all humanity.
Prior to the Creation of the Heavens and the Earth, in Heaven or the heavenlies, GOD breathed, and the wind was formed; and out of the wind, created He the Angels by the spoken word. GOD generated flame from Himself, and fire was formed; and out of the fire, by the spoken word, created He the Seraphim. Whether that “flame” had “heat” to it, I don’t know…because the Seraphim are “spirit beings”, and “heat” is a physical property that was only made manifest with the creation of this physical Universe by GOD (it seems to me). And to that end, by a Lake of Fire Satan and his angels who follow him will be destroyed by the second death.
The Seraphim by physical description in detail that we know of are before the Throne of the Father (e.g., Ezekiel 1:4-14; Revelation 4:6-8), and 4 chosen ones are about His Throne, are both for an example, and also for a hidden mystery of revealing the eternality of the ministry of the CROSS of Jesus Christ and its centrality to time and the existence of all Creation and this Universe. In Job, the angels are referred to as “sons of GOD” and the Cherubim / seraphim are designated as ”morning stars” or should we say as Isaiah famously quotes the LORD,
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”
In effect, even as the pre-incarnate Jesus / Yeshua as YHVeH off-springed the soul of Adam and was spiritually the source and in effect fathered the human race by the breath of His mouth into a animal vessel made of material substance, so also He did the same after a fashion in fathering (by the breath of His mouth) not only all Creation, by all angels and cherubim (including he who fell away and became Satan) also. Because we see that GOD in and by His very nature both offers free will and intervenes as according to His own free will and in part the free will requests of those He created, a timeline and a set of wide boundaries for all His Creation was established, and because Adam allowed communication and intervention and interaction with the envious cherub who also fell prior to and then later permanently at the Garden of Eden and spiritually died after a fashion there along with his two victims also, because Adam fell by means of what seems to be apathetic passivity to be swayed and just go along by free-will in being a victim to Satan, our time and connection is so intertwined to the confines of influence set by what happened in the Garden of Eden that our state of sin is rooted in a chronic bent nature to unconsciously or consciously to just about always repeat that same flaw.
One more thing in regard to Job 38:7, as that verse tells us that the Cherubim sang, while the Angels shouted for joy. Fire sings, and the wind shouts. To sing like an angel is biblically to sing like you shout (or perhaps flat and off key). When someone sings like a cherub, that is perhaps like one alone, part of two, three, or even 4 singing in perfection.
Again, the Seraphim and Cherubim, it is to be remembered, are the same creature. The designation of “the Seraphim” is used primarily for us to distinguish the 4 living creatures who are Cherubim about the Throne of the Father, from any other Cherub, including Satan / Lucifer / the Devil.
Unlike the paintings of the cherubs in Western Art, cherubs are NOT baby-faced kids with little wings flying about wearing nothing but a diaper loincloth. Seraphs or Cherubs are the fiery winged priests of Heaven. They are the Levites and the Kohenim. They are the Ministers of GOD. These creatures sing praises to G-D the Father, and walk in the midst of the sea with stones of fire, which is before the Father’s Throne (Revelation 4:6; Ezekiel 28:14, 16). The function of the Cherubim is likened as to that of being the Levites of Heaven. But our attention, in order to see that the Cross is ever before the Throne of the Father, focuses on the 4 Cherubim/Seraphim about the Throne of the Father. Now, it is written,
“And this (was) how they looked:
the likeness of a man (was) to them.
4 faces (were) to each, and 4 wings to each of them.
Their feet (were) the feet of straightness,
and the sole of their feet (was) like the sole of a foot of a calf;
and they shone out in sparkling brilliance, like the color of burnished copper.
And the hands of a man from under their wings on the 4 of their sides;
their faces and their wings were to the 4 of them.
Joining each one to the other, (was) their wings.
They did not turn in their going.
Each one (set) their face (of a man) toward the front as they went.
The likeness of their faces:
the face of a man,
and the face of a lion on the right to the 4 of them,
and the face of an ox on the left to the 4 of them,
and the face of an eagle [to the rearward of their heads]
to the 4 of them….”
(Ezekiel 1:5b-10, translation mine)
Thus, is the Gospel of the Cross ever before the Throne of the Father, through the faces of the 4 Living Creatures.
—————-of the FATHER————
Surrounding the Throne of the Father, as He looks to the Cherub on His right, He sees the face of an Ox — that of the servant and slave. The Ox slave gives his back to man who tills the field. The Ox slave hauls the cart of man, who travels with his goods from the field to the place of market. The Ox slave performs the will of his master.
As the Father looks straight on, directly in front of Him, He sees the face of the Eagle — the symbol of the Heavenly, in both its goal and its design / creation. The eagle makes its nest in high places. Its home is in the bosom of the heights, the skies, or the heavens. It descends to the ground, and ascends again to the great heights from which it came. Its ability to see even small details from the heights of the heavenlies is part of its fame.
As the Father looks or is all knowingly aware of the face beholding Him from behind the Throne, the cherub’s face is the face of man. The height of the face is probably only to the height of the Father’s chest, so that the Scripture might be fulfilled of He who is hidden in the bosom of the Father, is thereby demonstrated by type. Without seeing and hearing what the Father says, even from within, this one can or simply will do nothing. He is to be revealed as after the likeness or similitude of one beholding the face of the Father.
As the Father looks to the left, He sees on the Cherub, the face of a lion. The lion is representative of one who stakes out a domain, and rules over it.
Therefore, without getting into minutiae detail, we see the ministry of YHVeH Messiah:
Eternity past —– Present “tense” existence —–Eternity Future
The ox falls —– man is exalted as the eagle —–the Lion of Judah rules
Death———————-Resurrection———-New Heavens & New Earth
The Servant who like an Ox falls and in the Resurrection as Lion, rules.
The Son of Man who is humble shall be exalted in the Image of the Father ( hence the location of this face being both before and behind the back) like the Eagle.
Thus, the Ministry of the Cross of Jesus is the centerpiece of the intent of all Creation, and the reason for the existence of Creation, and is thus the centerpiece of all TIME and SPACE in the Design of the Father, as spoken into existence by the Son, and Care-taken by the Holy Spirit.
So if you really want to know who Satan is and what he looks like and what he is about…read and believe the Holy Bible, and excogitate what the Scriptures say, because the Bible is GOD’s one great tool of communication of the reality of things as they really are with YOU.
LAKE OF FIRE
This expression occurs only in the book of Revelation and is clearly symbolic. The Bible gives its own explanation and definition of the symbol by stating: “This means the second death, the lake of fire.”—Re 20:14; 21:8.
The symbolic quality of the lake of fire is further evident from the context of references to it in the book of Revelation. Death is said to be hurled into this lake of fire. (Re 19:20; 20:14) Death obviously cannot be literally burned. Moreover, the Devil, an invisible spirit creature, is thrown into the lake. Being spirit, he cannot be hurt by literal fire.—Re 20:10; compare Ex 3:2 and Jg 13:20.
Since the lake of fire represents “the second death” and since Revelation 20:14 says that both “death and Hades” are to be cast into it, it is evident that the lake cannot represent the death man has inherited from Adam (Ro 5:12), nor does it refer to Hades (Sheol). It must, therefore, be symbolic of another kind of death, one that is without reversal, for the record nowhere speaks of the “lake” as giving up those in it, as do Adamic death and Hades (Sheol). (Re 20:13) Thus, those not found written in “the book of life,” unrepentant opposers of God’s sovereignty, are hurled into the lake of fire, meaning eternal destruction, or the second death.—Re 20:15.
While the foregoing texts make evident the symbolic quality of the lake of fire, it has been used by some persons to support belief in a literal place of fire and torment. Revelation 20:10 has been appealed to, because it speaks of the Devil, the wild beast, and the false prophet as being “tormented day and night forever and ever” in the lake of fire. However, this cannot refer to actual conscious torment. Those thrown into the lake of fire undergo “the second death.” (Re 20:14) In death there is no consciousness and, hence, no feeling of pain or suffering.—Ec 9:5.
In the Scriptures fiery torment is associated with destruction and death. For example, in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures the word for torment (baʹsa·nos) is several times used with reference to punishment by death. (Eze 3:20; 32:24, 30) Similarly, concerning Babylon the Great, the book of Revelation says, “the kings of the earth . . . will weep and beat themselves in grief over her, when they look at the smoke from the burning of her, while they stand at a distance because of their fear of her torment [Gr., ba·sa·ni·smouʹ].” (Re 18:9, 10) As to the meaning of the torment, an angel later explains: “Thus with a swift pitch will Babylon the great city be hurled down, and she will never be found again.” (Re 18:21) So, fiery torment here is parallel with destruction, and in the case of Babylon the Great, it is everlasting destruction.—Compare Re 17:16; 18:8, 15-17, 19.
Therefore, those who are ‘tormented forever’ (from Gr., ba·sa·niʹzo) in the lake of fire undergo “second death” from which there is no resurrection. The related Greek word ba·sa·ni·stesʹ is translated ‘jailer’ in Matthew 18:34. (RS, NW, ED; compare vs 30.) Thus those hurled into the lake of fire will be held under restraint, or “jailed,” in death throughout eternity. http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200002669#h=7
I David (#1 above) feel it necessary to respond to David (#7 above):
No! Death, Hell, Satan, the False Prophet, The Antichrist, The fallen angels, the souls of unsaved men (not written into the book of life) do not cease to exist when thrown into the lake of fire which IS the second death. If you read the Rev 20:10, you will see that: “…the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever”. Notice this event occurs 1000 years AFTER the false prophet and the antichrist have been thrown into the lake of fire, yet this verse tells us that these two ARE there when the Devil – Satan is thrown in. Then (in verse 20:14) death and hell are added, and finally in 20:15 all those who were judged by their works and found not written in the book of life are thrown into this lake of fire. This is hardly a picture of non-existence
O Children of Israel, I thought you might like to know the Islamic perspective on Satan. Satan is called Iblis in the Qur’an. He and Angels were created by God before mankind and Adam in particular. Satan was from the Jinn and not from angels. And only Jinns and mankind have two sides that is to believe or not to believe, two sides on everything. Angels have only one who obey the command given by God. So when God created Adam, He asked his creations of Kinns and Angels to bow down in respect as He said; behold my best creation -Man! Satan rebelled and argued long with God saying how can he be better than me! He is made is filthy earth and I from pure fire. He would not yield to God’s declarations and so God finally ousted him from Paradise and let him free till the Day of Judgment. Satan vowed that now he will prove to God that his decision was unfair and so he will lead his so-called best creation away from him and yet he will remain a believer in the Lordship of God. God said He would fill Hell with his likes and those of mankind who follow him. The story is longer and to cut it short, he was finally turned out an outcast forever. God then started sending Prophets, Books guiding mankind to stay firm on His commandments. He finally said in greater details on this in His last Testament Qur’an. And if this is too much to bear with than I am afraid there is nothing more to say. May God bless all who read this. Ameen.
In Luke’s account of the gospel, Jesus remarks that he “watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning: (Luke 10:18, NRSV). Certainly this would be strong evidence that early Christians (if not Jesus himself) viewed Satan as a fallen angel.
Good point Satan’s Kingdom is on earth: it is this world, not some underworld of the dead. Ultimately when all the dead are resurrected then hell too becomes non existent, just as Satan will also be nonexistent in the lake of fire:
“And death and the Grave were hurled into the lake of fire. This means the second death, the lake of fire. Furthermore, whoever was not found written in the book of life was hurled into the lake of fire,” Revelation 20:14.
Issue of Sovereignty Raised. When Satan approached Eve (through the speech of the serpent), he actually challenged the rightfulness and righteousness of Jehovah’s sovereignty. He intimated that God was unrightfully withholding something from the woman; he also declared that God was a liar in saying that she would die if she ate the forbidden fruit. Additionally, Satan made her believe she would be free and independent of God, becoming like God. By this means this wicked spirit creature raised himself higher than God in Eve’s eyes, and Satan became her god, even though Eve, at the time, apparently did not know the identity of the one misleading her. By his action he brought man and woman under his leadership and control, standing up as a rival god in opposition to Jehovah.—Ge 3:1-7. http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200003845#h=7
This article paints a picture that is at best inaccurate. While the book Job does paint a picture of a being bringing accusations against Job, he is far more than just an accuser as 1:12 attest. You also ignore Psalms 82 which refers to Gods divine council showing God judging other elohim for their “showing partiality to the wicked” (vs. 2) Psalm was written before the diasport… I would suggest Hebrew scholar Michael S. Heiser’s book The Unseen Realm for a better picture of satan. One last point, Paul writes in Ephesians 6:12-13 that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but…the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
I understood that the Hebrew word for Satan also means any impediment, something that is blocking you from advancing.
The Gospels(except John) record an encounter of Jesus with the devil: Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13. John 8:42-47 states Jesus’ words about the
devil’s reality and influence concerning humanity. Inconsequential? Myth? Fairy tale? Not to us who have believed and received Jesus as “. . . the way, the truth, and the life . . .” (John 14:6).
Not to us who believe in the literal, inerrant, infallible Word of God!
He really has no idea. Satan has two origins combined into one. It is Draco, who releases the armies of the north. It is also Venus, one of the angels. He/she dares to stay out in the morning when other stars (angels) are gone thinking it is as beautiful as god (YHWH= moon). The lower case “satan” of the Bible i.e. accuser is basically unrelated. The demoness form of Venus (Ishtar) was Lilith…the original wife of Adam as Virgo who stayed behind in the Garden. You need to look at a properly edited original Bronze Age bible text. This can be done by deconstructing the Bible reversing the techniques used to construct it. These are describe by Tigay for Gilgamesh and hold true for the OT from creation to the crowning of Solomon. Granted this is just an except from a much longer thesis.
Is there a reason why the author chose not to include the references to Satan in the Apocalypse?
“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
Here we see Satan, not as an accuser, but a deceiver, lying to man, tempting him to turn to him from God, so that he, Satan, can then accuse that same man before God.
Nor does the author tell us that, again, according to the Apocalypse, the current non burning version of hell will, in the end, be cast into the literal lake of fire which has been designed by the Creator to contain, torment, but not annihilate Satan, his angels, and those whose name is not written in the book of life.