What you know about this guy? Time to find something out…
I don’t usually go into the topic of religion but I wanted to find out more information about “The Devil” so I started digging, the end result was very interesting to say the least.
(As with all religious debates they usually end in arguments so let’s try to keep an open mind and avoid being offensive to others opinions please)
Satan, as the popularly conceived role of a fiendish demonic character, does not appear anywhere in the Bible’s Old Testament. Even in other ancient scriptures he does not exist as certain sectors of Christendom have come to know him. This perception of Satan is that of an evil imperialist whose despicable horde wages war upon God and humankind. But this devilish figure was an invention of the evangelical era, a fabulous myth with no more historic worth than any figment of a Gothic Novel.
Satans (plural), though rarely mentioned in the Old Testament, are generally portrayed as obedient servants or sons of God who preform specific duties of strategic obstruction. The Hebrew root of ‘satan’ is STN, which defines an opposer, adversary or accuser, whereas the Greek equivalent was diabolos (from which derive the words diabolic and the devil), again meaning more than an obstructer or slanderer.
Until the Roman Christian era, the term ‘satan’ had no sinister connotation whatever and, in biblical times, members of a political opposition party would customarily have been called ‘satans’. In the Old Testament, satans are seen as members of the heavenly court – angels who carry out God’s more aggressive dictates. In the book of Job (1:6-12, 2:1-7), for example, a satan is sent twice by God to tease and frustrate Job, but with the express instruction that he should not harm the man – an instruction that is duly obeyed. In 1 Chronicles 21:1, a satan figure suggests that King David should count the number of Children of Israel, and also receives a passing mention in Psalm 109;6. A magistrate style of satan appears in Zechariah 3:1-2, siding with the Israelites in their endeavour to re re-establish their family stations in Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity. These are the only entries – there are just four in the whole of the Old Testament – and in no instance is anything remotely dark or sinister implied.
In the New Testament, only one reference introduces a devil character. The other satanic entries are all symbolic – for example, at the last supper, it is stated: ‘Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.’ Elsewhere, when the scribes admonished Jesus for performing exorcism when he was not himself a priest: ‘he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?’ A few other references in the Acts and Epistles are of a similarly obscure nature. The Revelation then refers to blasphemers as being of the ‘synagogue of Satan’, while claiming that, having been dismissed from heaven, Satan would remain imprisoned for 1,000 years.
In the midst of these, the most telling reference in terms of the obstructive nature of a satan arises in Matthew 16:23, when Jesus accused the apostle Peter of being a satan. It occurs when Peter rebukes Jesus for being too complacent, whereupon Jesus ‘turned and said undo Peter, Get thee behind me Satan; thou art an offense to me, for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men’.
Additionally, there is the best known satanic reference in the New Testament, and the only one which has a devil figure appearing as an actual character. Occurring in Matthew 4:5-11, it tells how Satan took Jesus ‘up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things I will give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me’. Jesus declined the offer, whereupon ‘the devil leaveth him and, behold, angels came and ministered upon him’.
Whoever the devilish tempter of this passage might have been (whether real or symbolic), his is not presented as being in any way persuasive or influential, and bears absolutely no similarity to the terrible demon of satanic mythology. There is nothing remotely fearsome about any of the biblical portrayals, and there is not even the vaguest reference to a physical description. So, from where did the diabolical horned Satan of the fire-and-brimstone preachers emanate?
The menacing figure of Christian mythology emerged mainly through the onset of medieval Christian Dualism – the concept of two opposing and equally powerful gods. According to different traditions, Satan was either the brother or the son of Jehovah, or was even the competitive and aggressive aspect of Jehovah himself. In essence, the said Jehovah-Satan conflict was representative of the ancient pre-Christian tradition of the symbolic battle between Light and Darkness as perceived by the Persian mystics, but this had nothing to do with an Antichrist figure. The eventual Christian image of Satan was a concept that emerged in Roman Imperial times.
The early Catholic faith was based on the subjugation of the masses to the domination of the bishops, and to facilitate this an Antichrist (anti-Catholic) figure was necessary as a perceived enemy. This enemy was said to be Satan, the ‘evil one’ who would claim the souls of any who did not offer absolute obedience to the Church. Authority was then established on the back of a statement made by St Paul in the New Testament Epistle to the Romans (13:1-2):
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
It then remained only for the Church to become the self-nominated bridge between God and people. This was done by granting a vicarious office to the Pope, who became designated Vicar of Christ.
For this scheme of threat and trepidation to succeed, it was imperative to promote the notion that this diabolical Satan had existed from the beginning of time, and there was no earlier story with which he could be associated than that of Adam and Eve. The only problem was that Genesis made no mention whatever of Satan, but there was the inherent account of Eve and the serpent. It was therefore determined that this story should be rewritten to suit the desired purpose. The original text was a Jewish version after all, and Christianity had become divorced from Judaism, even from the liberal Judaism of Jesus.
In those days, there was no comprehensive translation of the Bible available to Christians at large. The Jews had their Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek versions of the Old Testament, while the primary Christian Bible (the Vulgate) existed in an obscure form of Church Latin, translated from Greek by St Jerome in the 4th century. Outside the immediate Roman Church of the West, there were enthusiastic Easter Christian branches in places such as Syria and Ethiopia, and it was mainly from these regions (where the Jewish competition was stronger) that the new Genesis accounts emerged for the Christian market.
Among these was an Ethiopic work called The Book of Adam and Eve (subtitled The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan), which was produced some time around the 6th Century. This lengthy book not only features Satan as a central character, but even goes so far as to say that the cross of Jesus was erected on the very spot where Adam was buried!
A Syriac work entitled The Book of the Cave Treasures is a compendium of earthly history from the creation of the world to the crucifixion of Jesus. It appears to have been compiled in the 4th century, but the oldest extant text comes from the late 6th century. Once again, the book introduces Satan as the constant protagonist of evil, setting the scene for the dark and sinister element that flourished in the Church-promoted Gothic tradition which evolved as a product of the brutal Catholic Inquisitions. In one Instance, Adam and Eve are seen to be dwelling in a cave when Satan comes fourteen times to tempt them, but each time an angel of God puts the demon to flight. The book even maintains that orthodox Christianity was in place before the time of Adam and Eve and the emergent Hebrews!
Another volume which upholds a similar notion is The Book of the Bee, a Nestorian Syriac text from about 1222 compiled by Bishop Shelemon of Basra, Iraq. Its title is explained by virtue of the fact that it ‘gathered the heavenly dew from the blossoms of the two Testaments, and the flowers of the holy books’, thereby applying Christian doctrine to the traditional Jewish scriptures which it reinterpreted.
Since the biblical Satan carried no physical description, he was generally considered in early artwork to look like any other angel (albeit a fallen one according to emergent lore). It was not until the year 591 that Pope Gregory 1 made his announcement concerning the devil’s characteristics, thereby establishing the base satanic personality which has been promulgated from time to time. ‘Satan has horns and hooves’, said Gregory, ‘and powers to control the weather.’ Henceforth, horned animals (in particular stags and goats) were considered to be devilish, while the pictorial imagery of Satan became ever more exaggerated by the addition of a tail, bat’s wings and a variety of bodily characteristics based upon the satyrs of Greek mythology.
As for the Antichrist, so often preached to strike terror and subjugation, there is no such character in the New Testament. The word (with a small ‘a’) only appears in the Epistles of John, but not in relation to a specific figure. It is used simply as a term to define those opposed to the teachings of Jesus. 1 John 2:18 states that ‘even now there are many antichrists’. 1 John 2:22 continues with ‘he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ; he is antichrist’. There is nothing here that relates to any satanic being, and the author of the John epistles plainly recognizes that Christ had many opposers.
In much the same way, the word ‘satanist’ was used right up until Puritan times. The pamphlet An Harbour for Faithful and True Subjects, issued by John Aylmer, Bishop of London in 1559, refers to all those other than Christians as ‘satanists’. Like the terms antichrist, atheist and infidel, it was a commonly used description of unbelievers in general, and its complexion did not change until the onset of witch-hunts.
In short, the satanic myth is no more than a fictional fable. It was concocted long after Bible times, and was designed to undermine historical record while intimidating Christians into compliance with dogmatic and subjugative rule of the bishops. In the light of this, it makes little sense that the descendants of those who broke free from such restrictive dogma (in order to pursue their own courses of religious freedom in the New World) should end up so many centuries after the event being the only ones who remain convinced by it!…
Heliopolis was the sun center of Egypt, but this is the Greek name. The Israelites called the place On, but to the Egyptians it was known as Annu, from which the Latin-English word ‘annum’ (year) derives. In Akkadian Mesopotamia, Annu, or Anum had been the equivalent of Ra, whereas in Sumer (southern Mesopotamia) he was the great sky god Anu. It is for this reason that the winged disc of the Lord of the Sun is found in both Mesopotamia and Egypt.
The determination of the earthy calendar was said to be the prerogative of the great Anu. An annum related to the Earth’s solar orbit, and yet again was denoted by a point of within a circle. It was called A-Sha – an ideogram of 360 degrees stemming from sha-at-am, which literally means ‘a passing’, with a 360 degrees passing defining an orbit. (Even then – around 3000 BC – it was understood that the Earth revolved around the Sun.) The Orbit of Light was deemed to be the realm of the sun god, and was thus defined as the Sha-Ra-On (Sharon).
The transmitter of light (the light bearer) was the Rose of Shannon: the carrier of the Rosi Crucis. Rosi represented the ritu (the redness of truth), and crucis related to a cup as in ‘crucible’. This was equivalent to the sacred Vessel of the Light in Kabbalah, and is why the mystical technology of The Zohar has been likened to the Holy Grail. The light bearer has been variously identified in different cultures, from Nin-kharsag to Venus, and in that guise was the queen in the Old Testament Song of Solomon 2:1: ‘I am the rose of Sharon…’ (I am the truth of the Orbit of Light).
A problem which beset emergent Freemasonry in 1667, and which could not have been foreseen, was directly related to this particular Sharon aspect of the Craft. The Puritan faction in Britain was damaging to cultural pursuits in many ways, but most effectively and permanently so by way of its own literary culture. As the Cromwellian movement set its sights fiercely against kingship and the Royal House of Stuart in military terms, so too did its writers, not the least of whom was the London-born poet John Milton (1608-1647). The powerful and dogmatic rhetoric of his Paradise Lost was a direct assault against the new philosophy of Christopher Wren and others of the Royal Society. Ignoring Copernicus, Galileo, and the scientific discoveries of his day, Milton’s cosmic visions centred on the traditional Christian belief that the Earth (not the Sun) was at the centre of the Universe.
The story of Paradise Lost concerns the heavenly revolts of Satan, leading to his fall from grace and the establishment of Hell. At the time of publication, the heated debate over the Mason Word was in full swing, with the Puritans and the Kirk Presbytery claiming that masons were occultists with ‘second sight’ (likened to the evil eye), who could see the invisible. Worse than that, the Rosicrucians academics of the Royal Society actually believe that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Freemasons were, therefore, accused of being heretical sun cultists.
This was difficult enough image with which to contend, but Milton added more fuel to the fire when referring to Venus the light bearer. There was a passage in the Old Testament book of Isaiah 14:12 which prophesied the overthrow of Babylon’s king, stating: ‘How are you fallen from heaven, day star, son of the dawn!’ As is made clear by the term ‘son of the dawn’, the Isaiah reference was to the king of Babylon, but astronomically the ‘day star’ or ‘morning star’ is Venus, which appears in the sky before sunrise. In Latin, Venus ‘the light-bringer’ was referred to as the lux-fer, or as it was more commonly written, ‘the lucifer’. What Milton did was to treat this descriptive feminine term as a proper noun (in accordance with St Jerome’s Vulgate translation, and as it appears in the Isaiah verse today). But more than that – Lucifer was aligned in Paradise Lost with Satan.
Of Lucifer, so by allusion called, Of that bright star to Satan paragon’d.
The term lucifer (lux-fer; ‘light-bringer’) had never been associated with a male entity – and certainly not with an evil Satan. Even after Milton’s death, in 18th-century dictionaries, the correct reference is given. For instance, the 1721-94 Nathan Bailey’s Etymological Dictionary states: ‘Lucifer – The morning or day star; the planet Venus, when it rises before the sun’. But, notwithstanding, following Milton’s lead, Freemasons were not only sun cultist – they were also satanists!
And so, from 1667, Lucifer became an alternative name for Satan, while its association with Venus, light bearer and goddess of love, was forgotten by way of clerical indoctrination. What is perhaps surprising is that, more than three centuries later, the Puritan view is still being expressed by a body of hard-lined religious extremists. They pretend on the internet, and in their books, to be investigators into a liberal conspiracy, but in reality they pursue a modern-day witch hunt that accuses Freemasons of being satanist and devil worshippers. In reality, the ‘conspiracy’ is entirely on their side and it is they (not the masons) who cling to a medieval belief in Satan, making them so fearful of those whom they accuse.
The clear dishonesty in the Vulgate Isaiah translation can be seen from the word that was misrepresented as Lucifer. The direct Greek equivalent to lux-fer (light -bringer) was the phase phos phoros (from which the Latin and English word phosphorus derives). Where this was used in the New Testament (2 Peter 1:19), it was translated as ‘day star’. This is absolutely correct; lux-fer and phos phoros are identical in referring to the light bringer (or light carrier), and the word ‘phosphorus’ is rightly given in today’s Oxford English Dictionary as relating to the morning star. This was never a derogatory term, and was even applied in relation to the Messiah (Revelation 22:16 – ‘I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and the morning star.’)
But the original term used in Isaiah was not phos phoros but the Hebrew word heylel. This derives from the primitive halal, and is used 165 times in the Old Testament. Examples can be found in 1 Kings 20:11, Psalms 10:3, and proverbs 20:14, and in each case (along with many others) heylel relates to boasting. Isaiah 14:12 should not read as ‘How are you fallen from heaven, day star, son of the dawn!’ but ‘How are you fallen from heaven, boastful one, son of the dawn!’ As the writer of Isaiah intended, this was a direct reference to the Babylonian King, and had no connection whatever to Venus or a light bearer of any kind. Not only was John Milton’s misuse of lux-fer thoroughly ill-disposed, it was (as derived from the Vulgate translation) the wrong word in any event…
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