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2. Comment on current events as they relate to Bible prophecy

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Theology of Satan: Part 1


Who or what is Satan?  Is his name actually Satan?  Was he created to be an accuser and deceiver or did he rebel against God and thereby earning his reputation and establishing a new career?  There are several theories on the subject and some Theologians consider their theory as doctrine.  Some of these doctrinal concepts have been preached and taught for such a lengthy period, they have become fact and no one bothers to question them.  Are these theoretical theologies based on Biblical scripture?  Actually all of the opinions (or theories) are somewhat based on scripture, and all can be made to sound convincing and correct.  However, it is my opinion, that the presented scripture has a certain bias in its interpretation and chronology. 

The principle bias involves “picking and choosing” those scripture references that enhance a preconceived answer or solution. Now, a person would believe that a professional educated theologian with several degrees in theology who is supposedly capable of reading and understanding Greek, Hebrew, or other Near Eastern languages would not perform such a deed.  However, in my opinion, that is exactly the scenario which has beget a number of awkward theories.  Some of these have been “hammered home” in various Bible studies, denominations, and congregation to the point they are no longer theories but accepted fact.  It may be that most people do not bother to check the beliefs, but rather accept them as traditional doctrine.  Just disagree with one of these people and they will quickly unload their preconceived theology on your head.  Now, I admit, that I am not a degreed theology minister but it may be the Holy Spirit has given me a certain perception of differentiating white from grey.  Not that I always know the correct answer but that a shadowy answer is not completely correct.  The more correct answer may come through prayer and research.  I say the “more” correct answer because the full correct answer may not be available or we may not need to know.

The first Old Testament use of the word “Satan” is found in Job, not the supposed appearance of Satan but the printed name of Satan.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.  (Job 1:6)

From Strong’s Dictionary:     śâṭân   saw-tawn'
From H7853; an opponent; especially (with the article prefixed) Satan, the arch enemy of good: - adversary, Satan, withstand.

Most Bible versions merely transliterate the Hebrew word “śâṭân” to Satan.  Other versions use one of the actual meanings of the word such as “adversary” or “accuser”.  This original Hebrew word appears to be transliterated to the Greek New Testament as “satanas” or again, Satan.  At this point it would seem the accuser’s actual name, as both Testaments employ it, would be Satan, although it may not be his personal name.

A common name in the New Testament is the word “devil” which is the translation of the Greek word “diabolos”.  Both Satan and demons are referred to as devil, but demons as devils occur more frequently.  “Strong’s defines “diabolos” as: 

Diabolos:  From G1225; a traducer; specifically Satan (compare [H7854]): - false accuser, devil, slanderer.

The apostle, Peter, calls the devil (Greek – diabolos), with the surname “adversary”. Other versions use:  enemy; opponent; and slanderer rather than adversary.  The Greek word antidikos is translated as adversary and not the expected satanas.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  (1Peter 5:8)

It should be noted that other New Testament English instances rendering “devil” is actually a translation of the Greek word, “daimonion” which is usually referring to a demon.
But when the Pharisees heard this they said, "He does not cast out demons (daimonion)   (devils KJV) except by the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons (daimonion) (devils KJV)!"   (Matthew 12:24 NET)

Paul refers to him as “an angel of light” and he uses the Greek word “satanas” for Satan which of course is a transliteration.  Some versions use “messenger” rather than angel.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
(2Co 11:14)

He is also called the “god of this world” and the “prince of the power of the air” by Paul.

In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  (2 Corinthians 4:4 KJV)

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  (Ephesians 2:2 KJV)

Other New Testament names for the adversary include but not limited to:
Father of all lies                   John 8:44
Power of darkness               Colossians 1:13
The tempter                           Matthew 4:3
The wicked one                    Matthew 13:19

Is Satan Baalzebub?
The word Beelzebul (or Baalzebub) has an interesting Jewish history.  The word “baal” means “lord” and “Zebub” means “flies” or “those who fly” giving the complete word the meaning of “The Lord of the Flies”.  Baal worship was very common in Israel prior to the various captivity invasions.  The principal pillars of Baalism were child sacrifice, sexual immorality (both heterosexual and homosexual) and pantheism (reverence of creation over the Creator).  The ritual was intended to produce economic prosperity by prompting Baal to bring rain for the fertility of “mother earth.”  The Wordstudy Dictionary defines Baalzebul as:

Beelzeboúl; masc. noun, transliterated from the Hebrew. Ba‛al Zebūb (H1176). Beelzebub, the name properly should be Beelzebul in all NT passages (Mat_10:25; Mat_12:24, Mat_12:27; Mar_3:22; Luk_11:15, Luk_11:18-19). In the OT, Beelzebub meant lord of flies or fly-god (2Ki_1:2) and was in common use among the Jews in Christ's day as the title of Satan as the prince of the demons.

Jesus answers the Pharisee critics with:

So if Satan (satanas) casts out Satan (satanas), he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons (daimonion) by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons (daimonion) by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has already overtaken you.
(Matthew 12:26-28 NET)

The above NET version transliterates satanas for Satan and correctly uses daimonion for demons rather than devils.

Can it be said that Baalzebub is another name for Satan, or in a different approach, can it be said that Satan was posing as Baalzebub during the times of the Old Testament?  Baalzebub is a product of the Canaanites and borrowed by the Israelites.

In 2 Kings, after Moab rebelled against Israel, Ahaziah had fallen and injured himself. To find out if he would recover from the injury he sent out messengers, telling them:
“Go and inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury.” (2 Kings 1:2)  The Lord, however sent Elijah to intercept the messengers on their way to Ekron, asking them if they seek Baalzebub’s advice because there is no God of Israel and instructing them to return home and inform their master that he shall not recover.

In the Testament of Solomon (1st-3rd centuries CE), Solomon learns that Beelzeboul is one of the fallen angels who destroys by means of tyrants, causes demons to be worshiped, arouses desires in priests, brings about jealousies and murders, and instigates wars.  This work is completely non-Biblical but it portrays an opinion of the personage of Baalzebub.  It is my opinion that modern so-called myths and ritual sacrificial religions have a background in actual facts and events.  The myths have been altered and edited through the passage of time so that they appear preposterous but there is some element of hidden truth at the core.

It is doubtful that Satan was/is posing as Baalzebub in ancient times.  The Pharisees were perhaps not referring to the all-inclusive accuser known as satanas or Satan, but rather some fallen angelic type who was worshipped in the OT days of Israel.  The issue would be relatively easy to answer is Jesus had said:  “These Pharisees are saying I must be casting out demons by the power of the fly god and if the fly god is like satanas then his kingdom is divided and will crumble.  I cast out demons by the power of God because I am initiating the Kingdom of God.”  However, Jesus said exactly what He meant to say, that is -- the evil authority of Satan cannot diminish his own empire by allowing Me to cast out demons without destroying it from within.

Is Satan Belial or Beliar?

And what concord hath Christ with Belial (Beliar)? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  (2 Corinthians 6:15 KJV)

The Wordstudy Dictionary defines Belial as:
Belíal; masc. noun transliterated from the Hebrew. Belı̄yya‛al meaning wickedness (1Sa_25:25). Belial, a word applied by the sacred writers to such lewd, profligate, and vile persons as seem to regard neither God nor man (Deu_13:13; Jdg_19:22; 1Sa_2:12). Used as an appellation of Satan by the Apostle Paul in 2Co_6:15 to the citizens of Corinth known for their lewdness and profligacy.

From Deliriums Realm:  http://www.deliriumsrealm.com/belial/
Belial (or Beliaal) is Hebrew for “without value.” He is known as Beliar in Greek. Among certain sections of the Jews, this demon was considered the chief of all the devils. In The War of the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness (1QM), one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Belial is the leader of the Sons of Darkness:

‘But for corruption thou hast made Belial, an angel of hostility. All his dominions are in darkness, and his purpose is to bring about wickedness and guilt. All the spirits that are associated with him are but angels of destruction.’

Belial is also mentioned in the Fragments of a Zadokite Work (which is also known as The Damascus Document (CD)), which states that at the time of the Antichrist, “Belial shall be let loose against Israel, as God spake through Isaiah the prophet.” (6:9). The Fragments also speak of “three nets of Belial” which are said to be fornication, wealth, and polution of the sanctuary. (6:10-11) In this work, Belial is sometimes presented as an agent of divine punishment and sometimes as a rebel. It was Belial who inspired the Egyptian sorcerers, Jochaneh and his brother, to oppose Moses and Aaron. The Fragments also say that anyone who is ruled by the spirits of Belial and speaks of rebellion should be condemned as a necromancer and wizard.

The word “Belial” translates as “worthlessness” or “lawlessness”, and is frequently used in the Old Testament as a proper name. It is first used as a proper name in Deuteronomy 13:13 in the KJV:  other versions use “trouble makers” and “evil people”. In the New Testament it is found only in 2 Corinthians 6:15 KJV as a proper name and as an appellative of Satan, the personification of all that is evil. It is translated "wicked" in Deuteronomy 15:9 ; Psalms 41:8; 101:3 ; Proverbs 6:12.  The expression "son" or "man of Belial" means simply a worthless, lawless person, as in Judges 19:22 ; 20:13; 1 Samuel 1:16 ; 2:12.

The meaning of this word as found in the Scriptures is worthlessness, and hence reckless, lawlessness. The expressions son of Belial or man of Belial must be understood as meaning simply a worthless, lawless fellow. The term as used in (2 Corinthians 6:15) is generally understood as an appellative of Satan, as the personification of all that was bad.  It may be that “belial” was a colloquial term of the first century applied to a worthless, lawless, and evil individual.  Paul may have used the word signifying that Satan is a lawless entity.  The KJV translates 2 Thess. 2:3 as “man of sin” but many other versions use “man of lawlessness”.

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.  (2 Thessalonians 2:3 NET)

It should be said that “Belial” is a description of Satan and not one of his names. It could also be said that “Satan” is not a personal name but a transliteration of a descriptive name.

In the New Testament gospels, the designation of Satan by the word “devil” is used in the following verses:  Matthew 9:32; 11:18; 12:22; 15:22; 17:18; Mark 5:15,16; 7:26,29,30; Luke 4:33,35; 7:33; 8:12,29; 9:42; 11:14; John 6:70; 8:48,49,52; 10:20,21; 13:2.

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