The devil seems to be in the news a lot lately. Apparently he’s all wrapped up in the issue of gay marriage (equal marriage) and he was going to destroy the world if same sex marriage passed in America (though he seems to have completely ignored England when they passed same sex marriage a while back and Ireland when they voted it in 2 to 1 to pass it). Apparently, if we do something some religion doesn’t like, the devil will karmically destroy us, even though our Western concept of “karma” is not even close to the Eastern sense (which is from where we get it).
I’m hearing in the news and on Facebook and Twitter all sorts of things about Satan and demons and the destruction of our country (or the entire planet) by the devil.
I had to write this because I am somewhat of a biblical scholar. I have read the Old Testament in Hebrew (with a Rabbi, because ancient Hebrew is a bit different from modern), the Gospels in Greek (along with a Greek Orthodox priest), and the Quran in Arabic with a progressive Imam/Mullah.
I am an agnostic. I do not believe that the Bible in any way is actual history and I do not believe that “God” wrote the Bible. This is just a warning, because if you are a believer, I’m probably going to write a lot of stuff that pisses you off. So if you don’t want to get pissed off, stop reading here.
However, if you want to learn what is actually in the Bible, and you can do it with an open mind, then read on.
“The Bible is a book that has been read more, and examined less, than any book that ever existed.”
Most people do not read the Bible. If they do, they do not read it critically. I loved reading it as a kid. I come from a Catholic/Jewish background, so I thrive on guilt. And there is so much to feel guilty about in the Bible.
Most people don’t actually read the Bible; they get their knowledge of the Bible from their parents, their friends, their teachers, and their pastor or priest. Notice I did not say Rabbi. This is because Jews actually do read the Bible, or the Tanakh, as they call it.
Most peoples’ beliefs about the Bible have been taught to them; they did not pick up their beliefs by reading. And once taught something, when they do read the Bible, they read what they were taught rather than what the words before them are actually saying.
Instead of “I’ll believe it when I see it,” when it comes to religions, it’s more “I’ll see it when I believe it.” Belief comes first. For as children we were spoon-fed our beliefs before we could even cross a street alone.
So let us discuss what is actually in the Bible, rather than what everyone wants us to believe is in it.
I’m often told that the serpent in Genesis, the one that gets Eve to eat the “fruit” was/is the devil.
You can read that story over and over and over, but nowhere in the story does it ever actually say the serpent is the devil. Your pastor might have told you it was the devil, but even he didn’t get that from the Bible.
The Hebrew word “Satan” means “adversary.” He tempts, he lies, he misrepresents himself. But nowhere in the story of Adam and Eve is the word “Satan” found. In fact, the word Satan isn’t even in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. It makes its first appearance in Samuel 1, the ninth book in the Bible.
We’ve been told that the serpent lied to Eve, but if you actually read the words (what’s written right there before your eyes), that is not true at all.
The serpent did not lie to Eve. The serpent (a talking one, at that) told the truth.
From the King James Bible, we get: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” (I like the King James Version best because it’s poetic and, let’s face it, the Old Testament is literature.)
The Hebrew word for subtil (subtle) is “aroom.” Nobody really knows how to translate this word because when Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed, they too were “aroom.”
2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Along comes the serpent:
3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Eve eats and gives the fruit to Adam to eat and they do not die. The serpent did not lie.
It is here that “believers” counter with: But Adam and Eve would have lived forever; everyone would have lived forever if only they’d not eaten the fruit. So, yes, now they won’t live forever and they will “surely die.”
Again, this is taught, but nowhere in Genesis does it say that Adam and Eve were designed to live forever. In fact:
3:22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
The serpent told the truth. They became as gods and since they had not yet eaten of the “tree of life,” they had to be kicked out of paradise before they ate of the tree of life and then lived forever.
The serpent was not the devil, nor was it even Satan in the Hebrew sense of “adversary.” The serpent in Genesis was closer to Prometheus of Greek mythology who brought fire and medicine to mankind and for that, he was eternally punished by Zeus.
A little historical note is needed here: Judaism is in many ways a response to paganism. Many of the rules in Judaism are inspired by pagan rituals, only the Jewish rules are devised to make people do the exact opposite of paganism.
For example, there was a pagan ritual in which a calf was “boiled in the milk of its mother.” In response, Jews enacted a “law” forbidding the consumption of meat and milk in the same meal; this is one of the rules of Kashrut.
Additionally, the story of Adam and Eve had been told by pagans long before the Jews created their story. In the pagan story, Eve and Adam eat the apple and went into Paradise.
I find that the best and most literary example of Satan is found in the Book of Job. In fact, that’s when we really meet up with this character.
Literary scholars have long been of the mind that the Book of Job is a Greek Play, or at least an attempt at such a play. Yes, not every bit of the story fits into the Aristotelian definition, but it comes darn close. Here is a piece I found online entitled: The Book Of Job As A Greek Tragedy With An Essay. Sadly many pages are missing.
The Book of Job, even if it weren’t part of the Bible, would be a great literary classic from that particular period. Some have speculated that it was written by a Greek convert to Judaism. [No end of the world today]. The book sets out to answer the question, “Why, in a universe governed by a loving God, do good people suffer while evil people escape suffering, and are often bathed in wealth, or at least security?”
The prologue tells us of a little wager between God and Satan. Satan claims that no one serves God except for selfish reasons while God believes that Job is a righteous man who fears God and shuns evil. To prove this, God allows Satan to do his worst.
Now, is Satan the devil? No, Jews do not believe in a “devil” character. Satan is only a character in this play, an adversary, without whom, there would be no play. Satan is a literary device.
The wagering of the gods is nothing new in Greek literature. Poseidon bet Zeus that Theseus would grow up to defeat Minos and take his crown. [Monsters of Greek Mythology: Volume Two] (An interesting aside here is that Poseidon, a Greek god, carries a trident, something very much akin to our modern day devil’s pitchfork.)
Satan is a literary device. Without Satan, there is no story; and without Satan taking from Job everything, there is no philosophical discussion about God and sin and injustice.
The influence of Greek culture/religion on modern Christianity is powerful, ubiquitous, and undeniable, though few among the masses realize this today. Greeks had many gods. They had Titans, Olympians, and lesser gods and giants. It is in this story of Job that we have two Gods in the heavens wagering over human frailty. Satan in this story has become as a god (as did Adam and Eve by eating the apple). In the Book of Job we see the first apotheosis of Satan. Three thousand years later, Christians will follow suit by creating “the devil;” an omnipotent, omnipresent evil force equal to God, and like a god, cannot be defeated by God.
But that devil was never written about in the Bible. He came along much later.
In the New Testament, Jesus is tempted by Satan in the desert. Some translations call him the devil, as in Matthew 4 (below), but this was written 2000 years ago and the meanings of words change. The Greek term διάβολος, or diabolus, meant dickens, very much related to Satan of the Jews, meaning adversary.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Again we see Satan as a literary device, though the story is much less literature than it is a lesson in dogma. Even today this literary device is used in stories. We’ve all been watching them at the movies, on TV, and reading about them for as long as the written word has been around.
Here’s the story plot: You have a good person. This good person gets in with the “wrong crowd.” This person is tempted. In most cases, the person gives in, and goes astray (has a hell of a good time). Then comes the redemption, and all’s well that ends well.
How many times have you seen this plot? That “wrong crowd” is Satan, the adversary.
But we have a problem here. My thesis is that there is no devil in the Bible, and yet we’ve just seen the word “devil” in the King James Version of Mathew above.
Here is where knowing the original text of the Bible in the original language, and knowing the original meanings of the words used in those texts come in to play.
In Hebrew, Satan meant “adversary” but today people tell me it means “a fallen angel” who is the source of all evil in the world.
The only problem here being the fallen angel story is not in the Bible. It’s in the Apocrypha. The story of Lucifer is even in Pre-Islamic mythology, but Lucifer is not an angel, he’s a jinn; a supernatural creature, or lesser deity.
From Bill Moyers’ interview with Joseph Campbell, we get the original story of the “fallen angel” which is not from the Bible, but from Pre-Islamic mythology:
. . . and that’s a basic Muslim idea, about Iblis, that’s the Muslim name for Satan, being God’s greatest lover. Why was Satan thrown into hell? Well, the standard Story is that when God created the angels, he told them to bow to none but himself. Then he created man, whom he regarded as a higher form than the angels, and he asked the angels then to serve man. And Satan would not bow to man. Now, this is interpreted in the Christian tradition, as I recall from my boyhood instruction, as being the egotism of Satan, he would not bow to man. But in this view, he could not bow to man, because of his love for God, he could bow only to God. And then God says, “Get out of my sight.” Now, the worst of the pains of hell insofar as hell has been described is the absence of the beloved, which is God. So how does Iblis sustain the situation in hell? By the memory of the echo of God’s voice when God said, “Go to hell.” And I think that’s a great sign of love, do you agree?
Not really. This is nowhere in the Bible. In the Bible Satan spends his time in heaven and roaming the earth. It is in Revelations where we learn that the lake of eternal fire awaits Satan. As for ruling over hell and tormenting the souls there, that’s not in the bible. The closest thing to this apocryphal story is Dante’s La Divina Commedia.
Dante, accompanied by Virgil, author of the Aeneid, descends into the lowest level of hell only to find not a lake of fire, but a lake of ice. It is this level where the worst of the worst sinners are frozen for eternity.
And who are the worst of the worst according to Dante? The treacherous, the treasonous, the betrayers. And what did they betray? The love of their creator.
Even in Dante’s hell, Satan does not rule, but is frozen in that lake where he beats his wings ever increasing the cold, keeping the lake frozen for eternity.
Thus, as the Bible ends, Satan/Lucifer isn’t yet in hell, but is destined to be.
The entire concept of Satan to fallen angel, to Lucifer, to Devil, took place over a long, very long period of time. The first Bible (see below) came out in the fourth century, and here (from National Geographic) is the oldest artistic representation of this character, which dates back to the sixth century:
Many Christians think there are things in the Bible that are not in the Bible, but that is because they’ve been taught that those things are in the Bible.
The simple fact is the word “devil” is in the Bible just once. And I’m going to let you take a look at it.
But first we must reveal how our Bible came to us.
The first, let me say, official “Bible” was called the Vulgate; a Latin version prepared by St Jerome in the fourth century and revised in 1592, just in time for the King James Version written in 1611.
In earlier texts (pre-Vulgate), the word for Satan had been translated to mean adversary, accuser, slanderer, tempter, liar, etc., depending on context. The Greek word for demon (daimon) had also been used, but at the time meant a deity, a lesser god, guiding spirit, and sometimes your “lot in life.”
The Greek word for devil is found just once, in Revelation:
3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. 5 She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. 6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
7 Καὶ ἐγένετο πόλεμος ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, ὁ Μιχαὴλ καὶ
οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτοῦ τοῦπολεμῆσαι μετὰ τοῦ δράκοντος.
καὶ ὁ δράκων ἐπολέμησεν 8 καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοιαὐτοῦ,
8 καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν*, οὐδὲ τόπος εὑρέθη αὐτῶν ἔτι ἐν
τῷ οὐρανῷ. 9 καὶ ἐβλήθη ὁ δράκων ὁ μέγας, ὁ ὄφις
ὁ ἀρχαῖος, ὁ καλούμενος Διάβολοςκαὶ Ὁ Σατανᾶς, ὁ
πλανῶν τὴν οἰκουμένην ὅλην, ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν γῆν,
καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτοῦ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ἐβλήθησαν.
Devil in Greek is Διάβολος , or diabolus. One of its meanings was “dickens.”
It is derived from the word diaballein, or to slander, attack; literally, “to throw across.” Thus, when you run across the term “devil” is in original Greek, it means liar.
Jerome reintroduced the terms Satan and devil (once), but English translators have used them interchangeably.
In the Vulgate, we had both diabolus and daemon, two very distinct things, but over the years, in our Germanic languages (such as English) these two have merged over time to form today’s character, the devil.
Recently, in 2002, an Orthodox Jewish Bible was created. It’s purpose is to translate as closely as possible to the original Hebrew the Old Testament (as Christians call it). It even includes the transliterated words so that young scholars can look up the actual word for the actual meanings.
Here is that same section (above) of Revelation according to the OJB:
7 And there was milchamah (war) in Shomayim, Mikha’el and the malachim of him fought against the Dragon NACHASH; and the Dragon NACHASH and his malachim fought back.
8 But the Dragon NACHASH was not strong enough nor was any place found for them any longer in Shomayim.
9 And the great Dragon, that NACHASH HaKadmoni (Ancient Serpent) was thrown down, the one being called the Malshin (Informer, Accuser) and Hasatan, the one deceiving the whole inhabited world. He was thrown to ha’aretz (the earth) and the malachim of him were thrown down with him [BERESHIS 3:1-7]
What they are trying to do here is bring back the original meaning of the words and not the meanings we’ve given them since.
People who take the Bible literally (or as actual history) drive people like me nuts. But, everyone is allowed to believe what they wish to believe in this world.
I find it disheartening that they cannot comprehend metaphor, at least when it comes to the Bible, because, if you take this line:
4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.
literally, then the earth was pretty much destroyed beyond all recognition.
I don’t know what the dragon was or where it came from, but I’m pretty sure that this story is mythology.
And now we re-arrive back to where we started: The reason the Jews don’t believe in the devil is:
2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
The devil is a god. He is omnipotent and omnipresent. God cannot destroy the devil.
That pretty much violates the first commandment.
The devil (or demon) as Christians know him today, was created over the centuries since the Vulgate and he has become as a god. He is a Christian construct designed, according to theologians, to answer the question, “Why is there evil in the world.”
Sadly, the only evil in the world is us: the human race. We are capable of the lowest acts and the highest good. It is all a matter of free will. You can blame the devil for your decisions, but those decisions were created in your mind, and you chose to turn them into action.
Humans were not put on earth to be tested. Humans were not put on earth. We have come a long way from some primordial slime. We have evolved to a place in time where we can know ourselves. Knowing that each of us is capable of any behavior along the continuum of human acts is the first step in conscious evolution. Choosing to do unto others as we would want them to do unto us is the second step in conscious evolution. The third step?
I’m not sure if we are capable of the third step. I’m not sure we’ll actually ever take that third step before extinction rolls around. I’d like to believe we are capable of it. But before we can ever take that step, we must first take absolute responsibility for the evil in the world.
A Special Journey for All of Us
On Defining Spirit
Mysterious Light: A Scientist’s Odyssey
Through the Light
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A careful examination of the Bible teaching about demons shows that there are no such beings as demons. There is no need to fear them! They do not exist!
The churches have for centuries been lying to people about what demons really are. Read below what Jesus and his followers meant when using the word demon and what they understood it to mean when using the word and what a demon really is.
I hope after reading the information you learn the TRUTH about demons and are free!!!
What the word demon really means
To “have a demon” was the same as to “have an unclean spirit”, which is a Bible way of saying that something was wrong or “unclean” about a person’s way of thinking or mental capability. In short, a person with a demon was a person with a mental illness.
The story about Legion — a man with many demons — illustrates this conclusion quite well. Prior to Jesus’ healing, Legion is described as “a man with an unclean spirit who lived among the tombs… so fierce that no one could pass that way… for a long time he had worn no clothes… no one could bind him anymore, even with a chain… night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones” (Mar 5:2-5; Luke 8:27; Mat 8:28, RSV).
After Jesus’ healing, the “man who had had the legion” caused great concern among the townspeople who “came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind” (Mar 5:15). The man’s “before” and “after” descriptions contrast “unclean spirit” with “in his right mind”, “fierce” with “sitting”, and “wore no clothes” with “clothed”. In other words, sane behavior replaces insane behavior.
The behavior of ferocity, tomb-living, constant moaning and self-bruising can be explained by mental instability (manic depressant). Similarly, the “many demons” in the one man can be described by the affliction of multiple personalities (schizophrenia). Thus the story of Legion is that of a wild madman who terrified the countryside… who became (with Jesus’ help) a calm, rational disciple who proclaimed to that same ten-city area “how much Jesus had done for him” (Mar 5:20; Luke 8:39).
a) It is helpful to recognize the sequence of events. Notice that Jesus’ command for the unclean spirit to come out of the man (Mar 5:8; Luke 8:29) is prior to the man’s response of worship and saying “what have you to do with me?… do not torment me” (Mar 5:6,7; Luke 8:28). The healed man properly pays tribute to Jesus, but is still understandably concerned about a recurrence of his madness — had Jesus given him false hope? Jesus knew what was behind the man’s panic, as indicated by his teaching about an ‘apparently’ cured madman:
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through water-less places seeking rest; and finding none he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and brings seven other spirits eviler than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first” (Luke 11:24-26).
A) A reasonable conjecture is that Legion had experienced progressively worse bouts of his madness. He had to have been calm enough from time to time to have people try to restrain him with chains. But then his adrenalin-fed mania would burst the bonds and drive him raving mad again. Given this interlude of sanity, it makes sense that Legion did not want his illness to come back with a vengeance. How could Jesus assure him that he was healed for good?
b) Jesus provided an unforgettable sign. In response to the man’s begging — and Matthew’s record says there were actually two men involved, which may explain why the text reads “they begged him” — Jesus had the disease enter a great herd of swine which were feeding on a nearby hill. Maddened, the 2,000 pigs rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned. Thus Legion saw with his own eyes the destruction of his madness.
The swine stampede was obviously a frightening experience, for “when the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country”, and eventually, “all the people of the surrounding country… begged Jesus to depart from them; for they were seized with great fear” (Luke 8:34,37; Mat 8:33,34). The difference between the two beggings is instructional.
As with his healing of the paralytic, Jesus had provided an object lesson. How could Jesus demonstrate that sin was forgiven? Command the man to pick up his pallet and walk! (Mar 2:5-12) Since no one could see that an invisible sin was gone, Jesus allowed the doubters to see the unmistakable fact of a paralytic instantly cured. How could Jesus convince Legion that an invisible insanity had forever left his mind? Have it visibly transferred to the “unclean” pigs, which were subsequently drowned! As the prophet Micah wrote, “He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot. Thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic 7:19).
c) In all three Gospels, the story of Legion comes immediately after Jesus’ calming of the wind and sea (Mat 8:23-27; Mar 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25). This cannot be accidental. Surely the point is that Jesus can calm the storm in a man’s mind as easily as he can speak to the howling whirlwind and tumultuous waves.
Interestingly enough, the text says Jesus spoke directly to the wind and the sea as if they were living objects — but they weren’t. Perhaps that helps answer why the text seems to present demons as if they were living objects — when they really aren’t.
When Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, he “rebuked the fever, and it left her” (Luke 4:39). Was the fever an independent entity? No.
d) How do doctors explain mental illness today? They don’t. They observe the interactive responses and manifestations of chemicals, electricity, neurons, the brain and the body. And they give long scientific names to certain phenomena and behavior. But applying a label does not constitute understanding. The Bible description of being “possessed by a demon” is just as meaningful and accurate as today’s medical pronouncement: “he’s a manic depressant” or “he has bipolar affective disorder”. And the Bible description is certainly easier to understand.
a) Not every case of demons was strictly mental illness: sometimes there was blindness, dumbness and deafness involved (eg Mat 9:33). So a fuller definition of demon is: a term descriptive of those physical and mental aberrations whose cause and source is veiled from the sight of man.
The summation of Jesus’ wonderful healing is described as “healing every disease and every infirmity among the people… all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics and he healed them all”
(Mat 4:23,24). Since all categories of illness are being included, this description is covering both physical and mental illnesses, and thus the term “demoniacs” is indicative of both.
Later on, Jesus gave the twelve “authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity” (Mat 10:1). So having an unclean spirit, ie, being possessed by a demon, seems to bridge mental and physical aspects yet provides a distinct category of its own: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons” (Mat 10:8, a restatement of v 1).
b) Demon possession is clearly a class of infirmity, as is made clear by the following:
“That evening they brought to him many who were possessed with demons; and he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, ‘He took our infirmities and bore our diseases’ ” (Mat 8:16,17).
Here, “possessed with demons” parallels “infirmities”. The usual words that go with “demons” and “unclean spirits” are “cast out”, as in this passage, but in Mat 12:22 and Luk 7:21, the words are “healed” and “cured”. Act 19:12 presents the same picture: “diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them”.
c) The Bible does not present demons as independent, distinct entities. Like a disease, they always have a human host. So when we read, “then a blind and dumb demoniac was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the dumb man spoke and saw” (Mat 12:22), it is not a distinct entity which is blind and dumb but the man who could not speak or see. Similarly in Mar 9:25, the “dumb and deaf spirit” meant that it was the boy — not some other entity — who could not speak or hear.
d) At various times, Jesus himself was thought to be or accused of being mad, that is, he “had a demon”. An interesting series appears in John’s Gospel. When Jesus stated that the Jews were seeking to kill him, “The people answered, ‘You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?’ ” (John 7:20). When Jesus unswervingly told the Jews the truth about themselves, and that they were not listening to the words of God, “The Jews answered him, ‘Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?’ ” (John 8:48). When Jesus replied that anyone who kept his word would not see death, “The Jews said to him, ‘Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, “If anyone keeps my words, he will never taste death” ‘ ” (John 8:52).
In other words, the Jews were saying Jesus was “crazy”, “deluded”, “insane”, or as might be colloquially said today, “you’re mad!”
e) In Mark 3, Jesus is accused this way: “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out demons” (v 22). “He has an unclean spirit” (v 30). Even some of Jesus’ friends were saying, “He is beside himself” (v 21). Of course, Jesus was not crazy. Rather, his teaching proved he was from God, and his healing was destroying the stronghold of the dreadful diseases.
f) Consider two statements of the apostle Paul: “Come to your right mind and sin no more. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame” (1Co 15:34), and “For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you” (2Co 5:13). Here, “right mind” is opposite “beside ourselves”, ie, crazy or deluded. This phraseology is the same as that used by Jesus’ accusers who claimed he had a demon; he and his teaching were, in their view, the result of madness! So it is not surprising to read about the Roman governor Festus, alarmed by the penetrating and uncomfortable testimony of the apostle, accusing Paul of being deluded: “You are mad, your great learning is turning you mad!” (Act 26:24).
g) What is the significance of having “an unclean spirit”? The reverse of unclean is clean. What then is a clean spirit? 1Co 2:11 says, “For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” This verse indicates that one aspect of “spirit” is the close connection with (but distinction from) thoughts. The passage goes on to talk about the mind of the LORD and having the mind of Christ (1Co 2:16). In other words, the spirit of a man is the mind of a man. A man’s spirit oversees his thoughts, which in turn determine behavior. So when a man has a clean spirit, his thoughts and resultant behavior will reflect that cleanness. So when Jesus was casting out unclean spirits (demons), he was in effect giving a person a new start in life with glowing health and sins forgiven.
h) The connection between the mind and illness is being understood better every day. What used to be dismissed as “psychosomatic” — the illness is all in the mind and, hence, not real — is rapidly becoming the real explanation in the majority of cases (B Siegel, MD, “Love, Medicine and Miracles”, Harper & Row, New York, 1986, p 111). So healing an unclean spirit (mind) is truly getting to the source.
(i) Could there still be a distinct entity or evil spirit called a demon which “possesses human beings” and causes them to have physical and mental problems? Theoretically, yes. But would it not be logically redundant? Given what seems to be a clear linkage of “sin” and “unclean” and “disease”, being demon-possessed indicates a person having a maddening disease, rather than a demon causing a maddening disease.
(j) If one argues that there needs to be a cause behind the disease, then the real, true cause must go back to God Himself. The Bible makes this point very clear: “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exo 4:11).
The source of the evil spirit that came upon king Saul is explained to be from God (1Sa 16:14-16, 23; 18:10; 19:9). God claims full and unique responsibility for bringing evil and affliction upon mankind (cf. Isa 45:7; Amo 3:6; 9:4; Eze 6:10; Jer 32:23; 1Ki 21:21
(k) Why does the New Testament frequently mention demons, but the Old Testament hardly mentions them at all? The most likely answer is that, between Old and New Testament times, the notions of the Greek culture had had a significant impact on the world of the Middle East. “Demon” was a word the Greeks used to describe many of the (false) gods they worshiped. Paul uses the word twice to mean a heathen god, and equates them with idols:
“What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons” (1Co 10:19-21).
For a monotheistic Christian — one who believed in the one and only God of Israel — any behavior (like eating food offered to idols) that would suggest credence in pagan gods, could create a stumbling block for someone who wasn’t fully convinced. This was the substance of Paul’s discussion in 1Co 8. While those strong in faith knew that “an idol has no real existence” (v 4), they were to avoid any appearance of indicating belief in Greek demons, and were thus exhorted: “Shun the worship of idols” (1Co 10:14). Non-worship of idols is plainly an Old Testament teaching (eg, Exo 20:4; Isa 44:9-20), and the basis of Paul’s arguments come directly from Moses: “They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods… They sacrificed to demons which were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come in of late, whom your fathers had never dreaded” (Deu 32:16,17).
By NT times, therefore, the Greek belief of demon-gods who were the cause of evil among men had infiltrated the thinking of Mid-Easterners. For example, the Greek philosopher Plato wrote: “The poets speak excellently who affirm that when good men die, they attain great honor and dignity… It is also believed that the souls of bad men become evil demons.” The first-century Jewish historian Josephus claimed: “Demons are no other than the spirits of the wicked that enter into men that are alive, and kill them, unless they can obtain some help against them.” Such teaching is not found in the Bible.
(e) Not everybody in the Greek-speaking world believed in demon possession. Hippocrates was a famous Greek doctor who lived in the fifth century before Christ. In his treatise on epilepsy, he stated that the popular belief in demon worship was not true; epilepsy must be treated by medical care just like every other disease ( I. Asimov, in Guide to Science, vol 2, ch 4, Basic Books, New York, 1972). For about the next 600 years, until the second century AD, all the best-educated Greek doctors were taught this (“Hippocrates” and “Galen”, in The Penguin Medical Encyclopedia, Penguin Books, London, 1972). This does find support in the Bible.
We do not believe the devil or satan to be a personal being or a monster. If we accept that there is no such being, then it surely follows that demons, who are held to be the servants of the devil, also do not exist. Many people seem to think that God gives us all the good things of life, and the devil and his demons give us the bad things and take away the good things which God gives us.
The Bible clearly teaches that God is the source of all power and that He is responsible for both the good things and the bad things in our lives:-
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things”, Isaiah 45:7;
“Evil came down from the Lord unto the gate of Jerusalem”, Micah 1:12;
“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.
Therefore, when we get trials, we should accept that they come from God, not blame them on a devil or demons. Job was a man who lost many of the good things which God blessed him with, but he did not say, “These demons have taken away all God gave me”. No; listen to what he said:-
“The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord”, Job 1:21;
“Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Job 2:10
Once we understand that all things are from God, when we have problems in life we can pray to God for Him to take them away, and if He does not, we can be assured that He is giving them to us in order to develop our characters and for our good in the long run:-
“My Son despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loveth He (not demons!) chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receives. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons” (Hebrews 12:5-8).
God: Source Of All Power
God is the source of all power:-
“I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God (the Hebrew word for ‘god’ really means ‘power’) beside Me” – Isaiah 45:5;
“Is there a God beside Me? yea,there is no God; I know not any”, God says – Isaiah 44:8;
“The Lord He is God; there is none else beside Him” – Deuteronomy 4:35.
Such verses occur time and again throughout the Bible. Because God is the source of all power and the only God, He is therefore a jealous God, as He often reminds us (e.g. Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 4:24).
God gets jealous when His people start believing in other gods, if they say to Him, ‘You are a great God, a powerful God, but actually I believe there are still some other gods beside You, even if they are not as powerful as You’. This is why we cannot believe that there are demons or a devil in existence as well as the true God. This is just the mistake Israel made. Much of the Old Testament is spent showing how Israel displeased God by believing in other gods as well as in Him. We will see from the Bible that the “demons” people believe in today are just like those false gods Israel believed in.
Demons Are Idols
In 1 Corinthians, Paul explains why Christians should have nothing to do with idol worship or believing in such things. In Bible times people believed demons to be little gods who could be worshipped to stop problems coming into their lives. They therefore made models of demons, which were the same as idols, and worshipped them. This explains why Paul uses the words “demon” and “idol” interchangeably in his letter:-
“The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with demons…if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake…” (1 Cor.10:20,28). So idols and demons are effectively the same. Notice how Paul says they sacrificed “to demons (idols) and not to God” – the demons were not God, and as there is only one God, it follows that demons have no real power at all, they are not gods.
The point is really driven home in 1 Cor.8:4:-
“As concerning …those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol (equivalent to a demon) is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one”. An idol, or a demon, has no existence at all. There is only one true God, or power, in the world. Paul goes on (vs.5,6):-
“For though there be that are called gods…(as there be gods many and lords many, [just as people believe in many types of demon today – one demon causing you to lose your job, another causing your wife to leave you, etc.]) But to us (the true believers) there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things (both good and bad, as we have seen from the earlier references)”.
Further proof that people in New Testament times believed demons to be idols or ‘gods’ is found in Acts 17:16-18; this describes how Paul preached in Athens, which was a “city wholly given to idolatry”, therefore worshipping many different idols. After hearing Paul preach the Gospel, the people said, “He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange (i.e. new) gods (demons): because he preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection”. So the people thought that “Jesus” and “the resurrection” were new demons or idols that were being explained to them. If you read the rest of the chapter, you will see how Paul goes on to teach the truth to these people, and in v. 22 he says, “Ye are too superstitious” (literally: devoted to demon worship) and he explains how God is not present in their demons, or idols. Remember that God is the only source of power. If He is not in demons, then demons do not have any power because there is no other source of power in this universe – i.e. they do not exist.
Old Testament ‘Demons’ Were Idols
Going back to the Old Testament, there is more proof that “demons” are the same as idols. Dt. 28:22-28, 59-61 predicted that mental disease would be one of the punishments for worshipping idols/demons. This explains the association of demons with mental illness in the New Testament. But let it be noted that the language of demons is associated with illness, not sin. We do not read of Christ casting out demons of envy, murder etc. It must also be noted that the Bible speaks of people having a demon/disease, rather than saying that demons caused the disease. It is significant that the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) used the word ‘daimonion’ for “idol” in Dt. 32:17 and Ps. 106:37; this is the word translated “demon” in the New Testament. Psalm 106:36-39 describes the errors of Israel and likens the idols of Canaan to demons:-
“They (Israel) served their idols; which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and daughters unto demons, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan…Thus they were defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions”.
Quite clearly demons are just another name for idols. Their worship of demons is described by God as worshipping their “own works…their own inventions” because their belief in demons was a result of human imagination; the idols they created were their “own works”. So those who believe in demons today are believing in things which have been imagined by men, the creation of men, rather than what God has taught us.
Deuteronomy 32:15-24 describes just how angry God gets when His people believe in demons: Israel “lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they Him to anger. They sacrificed unto demons, not to God; to gods whom they knew not… whom your fathers feared not…And He (God) said, I will hide My face from them…for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. They have moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked Me to anger with their vanities…I will heap mischiefs upon them”
So God describes demons as the same as idols, abominations, and vanities – things which are vain to believe in, which have no existence. Believing in demons shows a lack of faith in God. It is not easy to have faith that God provides everything, both good and bad, in life. It is easier to think that the bad things come from someone else, because once we say they come from God, then we need to have faith that God will take them away or that they are going to be beneficial to us ultimately.
New Testament Demons
But, you may say, “How about all the passages in the New Testament which clearly speak about demons?”
One thing we must get clear: the Bible cannot contradict itself, it is the Word of Almighty God. If we are clearly told that God brings our problems and that He is the source of all power, then the Bible cannot also tell us that demons – little gods in opposition to God – bring these things on us. It seems significant that the word “demons” only occurs four times in the Old Testament and always describes idol worship, but it occurs many times in the Gospel records. We suggest this is because, at the time the Gospels were written, it was the language of the day to say that any disease that could not be understood was the fault of demons.
If demons really do exist and are responsible for our illnesses and problems, then we would read more about them in the Old Testament. But we do not read about them at all in this context there.
Demons In The New Testament
To say that demons were cast out of someone is to say that they were cured of a mental illness, or an illness which was not understood at the time. People living in the first century tended to blame everything which they couldn’t understand on imaginary beings called ‘demons’.
Mental illness being hard to understand with their level of medical knowledge, the people spoke of those afflicted as ‘demon possessed’. In Old Testament times, an evil or unclean spirit referred to a troubled mental state (Jud.9:23; 1 Sam.16:14; 18:10). In New Testament times, the language of evil spirit/ demon possession had come to refer to those suffering mental illness.
The association between demons and sickness is shown by the following: “They brought unto him(Jesus) many that were possessed with demons: and He cast out the spirits with His word…that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet (in the Old Testament), saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:16,17). So human infirmities and sicknesses are the same as being possessed by “demons” and “evil spirits”.
People thought that Jesus was mad and said this must be because He had a demon – “He hath a demon, and is mad” (John 10:20; 7:19,20; 8:52). They therefore believed that demons caused madness.
Healing The Sick
When they were healed, people “possessed with demons” are said to return to their “right mind” – Mark 5:15; Luke 8:35. This implies that being “possessed with demons” was another way of saying someone was mentally unwell – i.e. not in their right mind.
Those “possessed with demons” are said to be “healed” or “cured” – Matthew 4:24;12:22;17:18 – implying that demon possession is another way of describing illness.
In Luke 10:9 Jesus told His 70 apostles to go out and “heal the sick”, which they did. They returned and said, v. 17, “even the demons are subject unto us through Thy name” – again, demons and illness are equated. Sometimes the apostles cured people in the name of Jesus and here we have an example of this (see also Acts 3:6; 9:34).
The Language Of The Day
So we see that in the New Testament it was the language of the day to describe someone as being possessed with demons if they were mentally ill or had a disease which no one understood. The contemporary Roman and Greek cultural belief was that demons possessed people, thereby creating mental disease. Those ‘Christians’ who believe in the existence of demons are effectively saying that the contemporary pagan beliefs in this area were perfectly correct. The Bible is written in language which people can understand. Because it uses the language of the day does not mean that It or Jesus believed in demons. In the same way in English we have the word “lunatic” to describe someone who is mentally ill. Literally it means someone who is “moon struck”. Years ago people used to believe that if a person went out walking at night when there was a clear moon, they could get struck by the moon and become mentally ill. We use that word “lunatic” today to describe someone who is mad, but it does not mean that we believe madness is caused by the moon.
I hope this helps
War in Heaven
Rev. 12:7-9: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him”.
This is one of the most popular passages used to suggest that there was a rebellion in heaven amongst the angels, resulting in the devil and his angels being thrown down to earth, where, in the form of the serpent, they began to create trouble and sin on earth.
1. Angels cannot sin and there can be no rebellion in heaven. Thus this passage – which is the only one of its kind – must be interpreted in a way that does not involve angels sinning or there being sinful angels making people sin on earth, seeing that sin comes from within us, not from outside of us (Mk. 7:20-23).
2. The serpent is cast out of heaven, implying it was originally there. But the literal serpent in Eden was created by God out of the dust of the earth (Gen. 1: 24-25). There is no implication that the devil came down from heaven and got inside the serpent.
3. Note carefully that there is no reference here to angels sinning or rebelling against God, only to a war in heaven. There is no possibility of anyone fighting God in Heaven: “No one can oppose what I do” (Dt. 32:39 G.N.B.).
4. After the drama of vs. 7-9, v.10 says that there was “a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night”. If vs. 7-9 occurred at the beginning of the world, before the time of Adam and Eve, how could it be said that after Satan’s fall there came salvation and the kingdom of God? After Adam’s sin, mankind began its sad history of slavery to sin and failure – a state hardly to be described as “salvation” and the kingdom of God. There is rejoicing that the devil – the accuser – has been cast down to earth. Why should there be rejoicing if his coming to earth was the start of sin and disaster for man? If a fall from heaven to earth is understood figuratively rather than literally, as representing a fall from authority (as Is. 14:12; Jer. 51:53; Lam. 2:1; Mt. 11:23), much more sense can be made of all this. If all this happened before the time of Adam, or at least before the fall of man, how could the devil have been accusing “our brethren”, seeing they did not then exist?
5. There is nothing indicating that all this happened in the Garden of Eden. A vital point is made in Rev. 1:1 and 4:1 – that the Revelation is a prophecy of “things which must shortly come to pass”. It is not therefore a description of what happened in Eden, but a prophecy of things to happen at some time after the first century, when the Revelation was given by Jesus. Any who are truly humble to the Word will see that this argument alone precludes all attempts to refer Rev. 12 to the garden of Eden. The question has also to be answered as to why the identity of the devil and information about what happened in Eden should be reserved until the end of the Bible before being revealed.
6. “The great dragon was…that old serpent” (Rev. 12:9). The dragon had ” seven heads and ten horns” (v. 3), therefore it was not literally the serpent. It being called “that old serpent” shows that it had the characteristics of that serpent in Eden, in the sense of being a deceiver, as the serpent was. Similarly, “the sting of death is sin” (1 Cor. 15:56), but that does not mean that death is a literal snake. It has the characteristics of the snake, through it’s association with sin.
7. The devil was cast down onto the earth and was extremely aggressive “because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (v. 12). If the devil was cast down in Eden, he has had the opportunity to torment man throughout his long history – which is hardly having only “a short time” in which to wreak havoc.
8. How could the devil have deceived “the whole world” (v. 9) before he was thrown out of heaven, seeing that there was no one in the world before Adam?
9. V. 4 says that the dragon drew a third of the stars of heaven to the earth with his tail. If this is read literally – and Rev. 12 has to be read literally to support the popular interpretation – the sheer size of the dragon is immense – a third of the whole universe (or solar system at least ) could be contained just on his tail. There is no way the planet earth would be big enough to contain such a huge creature sprawling over it. Most stars are bigger than our earth – how then could a third of them land on earth? It has been estimated that a third of the stars would stretch for about five trillion miles. This is how long the dragon’s tail would have to be! And remember that all this has happened, or will happen, after the first century A.D. when this prophecy was given.
10. In view of this and many other things in Rev. 12 (and the whole prophecy) which are just incapable of any literal fulfillment, it is not surprising that we are told first of all (Rev. 1:1) that this is a message that has been “signified” – i.e. put into sign language or symbol. As if to emphasize this in the context of Rev. 12, Rev. 12:1 describes the subsequent action as “a great sign” (A.V. margin).
11. In reading of what the devil does when he is on the earth, there is no description of him causing people to sin; indeed, vs. 12-16 show that the devil was unsuccessful in his attempts to cause trouble on earth once he arrived there. This contradicts the popular interpretation.
12. One of the key questions in understanding whether this passage supports the idea of a literal war in heaven, is whether the “heaven” spoken of here is literal or figurative. We explained earlier that “heaven” can figuratively refer to a place of authority. Revelation being such a symbolic book, we would expect this to be the case here.
The woman of v. 1 is “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars”. These heavenly bodies, as well as the woman, apparently suspended in heaven, cannot be literal. She could not literally be clothed with the sun, or have stars as big as the earth on her literal head.
Another sign appears in heaven in v. 3 – a red dragon. This is commonly taken as literal heaven, but why should it be, seeing that the same heaven is referred to in v. 1 and that is clearly figurative? V. 4 shows the dragon casting a third of the stars of heaven to earth. We have seen that because of the size of the stars and earth, this cannot refer to literal stars or heaven. The Kingdom of God is to be established on earth (Dan. 2:44; Mt. 5:5), which will not be possible if the earth is destroyed (which it would be) by huge stars falling on to it.
The woman in “heaven” then delivered her child, who was “caught up unto God, and to His throne” (v. 5). God’s throne is in heaven. If the woman was already in heaven, why would her child have to be “caught up” to heaven? She must have been a symbol of something on earth, although in a figurative “heaven”. She then flees “into the wilderness” (v. 6). If she was in literal heaven, this means there is a wilderness in heaven. It is far more fitting for her to be in a figurative heavenly place, and then flee to a literal or figurative wilderness on the earth.
We then come to v. 7 – “there was war in heaven”. All other references to “heaven” in Rev. 12 having been figurative, it seems only consistent that this was war in a figurative heaven. This must be the case, as there can be no rebellion or sin in literal heaven (Mt. 6:10; Ps. 5:4,5; Hab. 1:13). The common view claims that wicked angels are locked up in hell; but here they are in heaven. They are not therefore literal angels.
What about asking ones who believe in the orthodox idea of the devil the following question: ‘Can you give me a brief Biblical history of the devil, according to your interpretation of Bible passages?’ The response is highly contradictory. According to ‘orthodox’ reasoning, the answer has to be something like this:
1. The devil was an Angel in Heaven who was thrown out into the garden of Eden. He was thrown to earth in Gen. 1.
2. He is supposed to have come to earth and married in Gen. 6.
3. At the time of Job he is said to have had access to both Heaven and earth.
4. By the time of Is. 14 he is thrown out of Heaven onto earth.
5. In Zech. 3 he is in Heaven again.
6. He is on earth in Mt. 4. He is “cast out” at the time of Jesus’ death, according to the popular view of “the prince of this world” being “cast out” at that time.
7. There is a prophecy of the devil being ‘cast out’ in Rev.12.
8. The devil is “chained” in Rev. 20, but he and his angels were chained in Genesis, according to the common view of Jude v. 6. If he was bound with ‘eternal chains’ then, how is he chained up again in Rev. 20?
From this it should be obvious that the popular view that the devil was cast out of Heaven for sinning cannot be true, seeing that he is described as still being in Heaven after each occurrence of being ‘cast out’. It is vital to understand both ‘Heaven’ and the devil in a figurative sense.
1. To try and expound this chapter fully is outside the scope of our present notes. A full explanation of these verses requires an understanding of the entire book of Revelation in order to get them in context.
2. The conflict in figurative heaven – i.e. a place of authority – was therefore between two power groups, each with their followers, or angels. Remember that the devil and Satan are often associated with the Roman or Jewish systems.
3. That the devil-dragon represents some kind of political power is indicated by it having “crowns upon his heads” (v. 3). Rev. 17:9,10 also comments on this dragon: “Here is the mind that hath wisdom” – i.e. don’t try and understand this animal as a literal being – “The seven heads are seven mountains…these are seven kings”. One of the kings continuing “a short space” perhaps connects with the devil-dragon having “but a short time” in Rev. 12:12.
Hope This Helps
I do agree with what you say about Satan, but you are wrong about who you say Lucifer is. You say Lucifer is not an angel, he’s a jinn; a supernatural creature, or lesser deity.
If you read your bible carefully it tells you who Lucifer really is.
Here is the truth, who Lucifer is.
Lucifer was not a fallen angel; he was the King of Babylon.
Those who believe in the fallen-angel devil are very disappointed by the Old Testament. They realize that the Old Testament ought to say that Satan is a fallen angel, if this really is what God wants His people to believe. And, since it does not say any such thing, they have searched for something in the Old Testament that they can use as a basis for their belief. They can only find two passages to use, of which this is the first:
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! … Thou hast said in thine heart, ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God’ … Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell” (Isaiah 14:12-15, King James Version). Only someone desperate to uphold a shaky theory would try to apply this passage to the devil. It clearly has nothing to do with an angel. The very next verse goes on to say:
“They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, ‘Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms?’ ” (verse 16). So, Lucifer was not an angel, he was a man. The beginning of the chapter tells us just who he was:
“Thou shalt take up this proverb [or parable] against the King of Babylon, saying …” (verse 4).
It is easy to see why this great man was called “Lucifer”. Lucifer is the old name of Venus, which is the brightest star in the sky. In those days the kings of Babylon were the mightiest kings on earth. The prophet Daniel said to one famous king of Babylon, called Nebuchadnezzar:
“You, O king, have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown, and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth” (Daniel 4:22). So, Lucifer was the King of Babylon not a fallen angel like many churches in Christendom so falsely teach!
It is assumed that Lucifer was once a powerful angel who sinned at the time of Adam and was therefore cast down to earth, where he is making trouble for God’s people.
1. The words “devil”, “satan” and “angel” never occur in this chapter. This is the only place in Scripture where the word “Lucifer” occurs.
2. There is no evidence that Isaiah 14 is describing anything that happened in the garden of Eden; if it is, then why are we left 3,000 years from the time of Genesis before being told what really happened there?
3. Lucifer is described as being covered in worms (v. 11) and mocked by men (v. 16) because he no longer has any power after his casting out of heaven (vs. 5-8); so, there is no justification for thinking that Lucifer is now on earth leading believers astray.
4. Why is Lucifer punished for saying, “I will ascend into heaven” (v. 13), if he was already there?
5. Lucifer is to rot in the grave: “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the worms cover thee” (v. 11). Seeing angels cannot die (Luke 20:35-36), Lucifer therefore cannot be an angel; the language is more suited to a man.
6. Verses 13 and 14 have connections with 2 Thess. 2:3-4, which is about the “man of sin” – thus Lucifer points forward to another man – not an angel.
SUGGESTED EXPLANATIONS: –
1. The N.I.V. and other modern versions have set out the text of Isaiah chapters 13-23 as a series of “burdens” on various nations, e.g. Babylon, Tyre, Egypt. Is. 14:4 sets the context of the verses we are considering: “Thou shalt take up this proverb (parable) against the king of Babylon…”. The prophecy is therefore about the human king of Babylon, who is described as “Lucifer”. On his fall: “they that see thee shall…consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble…?” (v. 16). Thus, Lucifer is clearly defined as a man.
2. Because Lucifer was a human king, “All the kings of the nations… shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?” (vs. 9-10). Lucifer was therefore a king like any other king.
3. Verse 20 says that Lucifer’s seed will be destroyed. Verse 22 says that Babylon’s seed will be destroyed, thus equating them.
4. Remember that this is a “proverb (parable) against the king of Babylon” (v. 4). “Lucifer” means “the morning star”, which is the brightest of the stars. In the parable, this star proudly decides to “ascend (higher) into heaven…exalt my throne above the (other) stars of God” (v. 13). Because of this, the star is cast down to the earth. The star represents the king of Babylon. Daniel chapter 4 explains how Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon proudly surveyed the great kingdom he had built up, thinking that he had conquered other nations in his own strength, rather than recognizing that God had given him success. “Thy greatness (pride) is grown, and reacheth unto heaven” (v. 22). Because of this “he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws” (v. 33) This sudden humbling of one of the world’s most powerful men to a deranged lunatic was such a dramatic event as to call for the parable about the falling of the morning star from heaven to earth. Stars are symbolic of powerful people, e.g. Gen. 37:9; Is. 13:10 (concerning the leaders of Babylon); Ez. 32:7 (concerning the leader of Egypt); Dan. 8:10 cp. v 24. Ascending to heaven and falling from heaven are Biblical idioms often used for increasing in pride and being humbled respectively – see Job 20:6; Jer. 51:53 (about Babylon); Lam. 2:1; Matt. 11:23 (about Capernaum).: “Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell” (the grave).
5. Verse 17 accuses Lucifer of making the “world as a wilderness, (destroying) the cities thereof; that let not lose his prisoners to their home… (that did) fill the face of the world with cities”…”the exactress of gold” (vs. 17,21, R.V.; v.4 A.V. margin). These are all descriptions of Babylonian military policy – razing whole areas to the ground (as they did to Jerusalem), transporting captives to other areas and not letting them return to their homeland (as they did to the Jews), building new cities and taking tribute of gold from nations they oppressed. Thus there is emphasis on the fact that Lucifer was not even going to get the burial these other kings had had (vs. 18-19), implying that he was only a human king like them, seeing his body needed burying.
6. Verse 12 says that Lucifer was to be “cut down to the ground” – implying he was a tree. This provides a further link with Dan. 4:8-16, where Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon are likened to a tree being cut down.
7. Babylon and Assyria are often interchangeable phrases in the prophets; thus, having spoken of the demise of the king of Babylon, v 25 says, “I will break the Assyrian…”. The prophecies about Babylon in Is. 47 are repeated concerning Assyria in Nahum 3:5,4,18 and Zeph. 2:13,15; and 2 Chron. 33:11 says that the king of Assyria took Manasseh captive to Babylon – showing the interchangeability of the terms. Amos 5:27 says that Israel were to go into captivity “beyond Damascus”, i.e. in Assyria, but Stephen quotes this as “beyond Babylon” (Acts 7:43). Ezra 6:1 describes Darius the king of Babylon making a decree concerning the rebuilding of the temple. The Jews praised God for turning “the heart of the king of Assyria” (Ezra 6:22), again showing that they are interchangeable terms. The prophecy of Isaiah ch. 14, along with many others in Isaiah, fits in well to the context of the Assyrian invasion by Sennacherib in Hezekiah’s time, hence v. 25 describes the breaking of the Assyrian. Verse 13 is easier to understand if it is talking about the blasphemous Assyrians besieging Jerusalem, wanting to enter Jerusalem and capture the temple for their gods. Earlier the Assyrian king, Tilgath-Pilneser, had probably wanted to do the same (2 Chron. 28:20,21); Is. 14:13: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven… (symbolic of the temple and ark – 1 Kings 8:30; 2 Chron. 30:27; Ps. 20: 2,6; 11:4; Heb. 7:26) I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation (mount Zion where the temple was) in the sides of the north” (Jerusalem – Ps. 48:1,2).
But the last of the mighty kings of Babylon, whose greatness “reached to heaven”, was to be brought low. His downfall was to be a world-shaking event -something as spectacular as if Lucifer (Venus) had fallen out of the sky.
The King of Babylon
Isaiah 14 is clearly a poetical description of the fall of the King of Babylon. People who say, “It says the King of Babylon, but it means Satan”, are guilty ‘ rewriting the Bible to suit themselves. It may seem strange to our modern minds that God should tell this ancient king he would be cast down from heaven to hell. But this sort of language is quite common in the Bible. For instance, these are the words of the Lord Jesus to the wicked city of Capernaum, in the land of Israel:
“And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shah be brought down to hell” (Matthew 11:23, King James Version).
And by the way >>> hell is the grave not a place of eternal torment in the raging fires of an imaginary hell. Jesus went to Hell for three days which is the grave not a place of torment. >>> “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:27).
Also Psalms 16:10 says >>> For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Different Bible Translations Below for Act 2:31, 2:27 and Psalms 16:10 showing Jesus was in Hell which is the grave NOT a place of raging fires!
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
He seeing this before, spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption
American King James Version Bible
He seeing this before spoke of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
Foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ. For neither was he left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption.
KJV Bible Psalms 16:10
For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
GOD’S WORD® Translation Bible
David knew that the Messiah would come back to life, and he spoke about that before it ever happened. He said that the Messiah wouldn’t be left in the grave and that his body wouldn’t decay.
Weymouth New Testament Bible
with prophetic foresight he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, to the effect that He was not left forsaken in the Unseen World, nor did His body undergo decay.
Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay.
he foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Messiah, that neither was his soul left in She’ol, nor did his flesh see decay.
“he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
“Seeing what was to come, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not abandoned in Hades, and his flesh did not experience decay.
David by foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did his body experience decay.
he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
he foreseeing this spake of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left unto Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
having foreseen, he did speak concerning the rising again of the Christ, that his soul was not left to hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.
he, seeing it before, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that neither has he been left in hades nor his flesh seen corruption.
King James Bible
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
American King James Version Bible
Because you will not leave my soul in hell, neither will you suffer your Holy One to see corruption.
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.
Webster’s Bible Translation
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thy Holy One to see corruption:
God’s Word® Translation Bible
because you do not abandon my soul to the grave or allow your holy one to decay.
New Living Translation Bible
For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
Capernaum was not really in heaven; this was just the Lord’s way of describing her as a great and proud city. Similarly, her collapse into hell is just the Bible’s vivid way of saying that Capernaum would become a very lowly place.
The Prince of Tyre
The only other Old Testament passage that people sometimes wrongly apply to the fall of Satan in Ezekiel 28. But here again we are told very plainly that the person concerned is a human king. The chapter begins: “The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre’ ” and continues, “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the prince of Tyre” (verses 1,2 and 12).
Ezekiel goes on to call this King of Tyre a cherub who had been in Eden, and this leads some people to think that this king was Satan in disguise. But there is no reason to think this. Three chapters later, Ezekiel said that the King of Egypt and some other kings were also in the Garden of Eden, and they cannot all have been the devil in person! Obviously, this language is just Ezekiel’s poetic way of saying that these kings were especially privileged, through living in that part of the world where God was at work amongst His people, Israel.
So we see that there is not a word in the Old Testament to prove that Satan is a fallen angel. (Nor is there in the New Testament, either. There are only two New Testament passages that speak of Satan falling from heaven, and even they do not say that Satan was once an angel.
Hope this helps
I hope you enjoyed this exercise, but you need to read the article more carefully. It states clearly that Lucifer is a a jinn, according to Pre-Islamic mythology.
Thank you for thinking, and writing so clearly. As you know, there is so much more left unsaid to background your thesis. However, I commend you for the logic and scholarship that presents a compelling argument against an evil sentient being. This is such a good conclusion. The gospel of God’s love stands. It is my belief that you, I, and the whole of humanity are forgiven, sin has been removed, and we, having taken responsibility for our own misdeeds (your point is well made), are free. Now we should love in the same way God loves us, freely and without fear. This is the message Jesus gave. This is the message, I believe, that you are supporting.
Most scholars, Jewish as well as non-Jewish, are of the opinion that Judaism was strongly influenced by Zoroastrianism in views relating to angelology and demonology, and probably also in the doctrine of the resurrection, as well as in eschatological ideas in general, and also that the monotheistic conception of Yhwh may have been quickened and strengthened by being opposed to the dualism or quasi-monotheism of the Persians. (1)
Prior to the Persian invasion of Babylon, the religion of Judaism believed that their chief God was responsible for all that happened in the universe. Both good and evil were the manifestations of their God.
This is reflected in the book of Isaiah, in which the anonymous author writes:
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:7
The author of Isaiah possibly wrote this verse in order to achieve two ends. Firstly, the verse appears to be a soft polemic against the dualistic Persian theology, which posited an evil counterpart to a good god, a notion still foreign to the Israelites at the time, and secondly, as a warning to the Israelites not to fall into the Persian heresy of believing in a counterpart to their god. Thus, the author of the book of Isaiah has Yahweh taking direct responsibility for both good and evil, leaving no room for the existence of a devil.
The figure of Satan is found in only three places in the OT, and all of these are postexilic in date (i.e., after 538 B.C.): Job 1-2; Zechariah . 3:1-2; and 1 Chronicles. 21:1.
I find Job most interesting in that it seems to be a Greek play. There are two gods above betting on who Job will respond. Always amazes me. Thank you for your response.
I loved this. Thanks for the good read. Not sure if this post will go through since I’m still in FB jail.
We’ve all been there. Believe it or not, this posting went against Facebook’s community standards.
Apparently, scholarship is taboo (verboten) on Facebook.