Prince of Darkness?
by Steve Johnson
Before I start, I want to categorically state that I am in no way a Satanist, diabolist, devil-worshipper or anything else for that matter. All the views stated here are my own personal observations and I have no wish to insult or demean the established church in any way.
From the very beginnings of Judaism over five thousand years ago, Satan has been portrayed as the true epitome of evil. A being of such immense ignoble power that he has been likened to a negative version of Jehovah himself. This belief has been carried over into the Christian faith, where Satan even had dealings with Jesus, the alleged son of God.
However, if you read the Bible it soon becomes clear that Satan plays a relatively minor role in the book. Sure, he tempted several people (Eve, Jesus etc.), but did he actually do anything that could be classed as pure evil?
In my view, no.
Satan makes his first appearance in the Garden of Eden, where he allegedly has Eve eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Actually, the Devil's name is not mentioned in this passage. It was the serpent, "the most cautious of all the wild beasts of the field that Jehovah God had made", that tempted Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. Even after his misdemeanour is exposed and Jehovah confronts him, the serpent is still not recognised as Satan. Clearly, this story is simply a mythical part of the creation fable. People needed to know how evil had come about, so the priests decided to lay the blame squarely on the slim shoulders of the snake.
Now, Bible scholars will say that Satan, the Devil used the serpent as a mouthpiece, an act of ventriloquism, so to speak. If that was the case, then why did Jehovah punish the serpent to forever crawl the earth on its belly?
Satan keeps something of a low profile until Job catches his eye. Job was a very wealthy man with a large and prosperous family. He was also blameless and worshipped Jehovah vehemently. Satan voiced his concern to Jehovah that Job only worshipped Him because of the good life that Jehovah had allowed him. "Not so," replied Jehovah and to prove it, he gave Satan the power to destroy this poor man's life (was it not in Satan's power to do this anyway?). The two spirit beings spat and shook, sealing the bet and off Satan went to wreak havoc on the family of Job.
The Devil goes on to wipe out not
only Job's wealth and holdings, but also kills his entire family! All of
this with Jehovah's approval! Unfortunately for Satan, Job continues to
worship God and he loses the bet. Jehovah rewards Job with a new family
and renewed wealth. Fair enough, but it does little for the poor people
that were murdered by Satan!
Remember, Jehovah GAVE Satan the power to destroy Job's family and chattels.
Satan's next appearances occur in the Christian Greek Scriptures (The New Testament), but as most of this book was written to facilitate the divinity of the Nazarene Christ, much of it can be discounted. Jesus was NOT the Son Of God and was only elevated to this position when the Roman emperor Constantine The Great was converted to Christianity. The divine ruler of the Roman Empire could not worship a mere man. That man would have to be divine also. Thus huge chunks of the scriptures were re-written placing Jesus firmly in the bosom of Jehovah. In fact, Constantine was only a Christian in name only, as he remained a worshipper of Sol Invictus.
Jesus would have been horrified at this. He was not called the Nazarene because he was raised in Nazareth. If that was the case, he would have been dubbed Nazarite. The Nazarene were a fundamentalist Jewish sect obsessed with forcing the Romans from Judea. They were not averse to using violent means to get their views across and this can be seen when Jesus ejects the so-called money changers from the temple in Jerusalem. In actual fact, the money changers were doing something that had been approved by the high priests for centuries. When the Jews began to live more in the cities than in the countryside, it became difficult for them to offer livestock for sacrifice at the temple, as dictated by the scriptures. With the blessings of the high priests, enterprising business men set up stalls selling livestock to people who wished to offer sacrifices at the altar. As time passed, the livestock salesmen were replaced by temple employees who accepted monies as the sacrificial offering instead of livestock.
Jesus, being a fundamentalist wanted a return to the old days of live sacrificial offerings. The sight of people essentially giving money to God enraged him and he kicked up a bit of a stink.
This has nothing to do with Satan, but it is an interesting historical aside and insight into the mind-set of people living in biblical times. Even today, the collection plate is passed around church. A modern echo of those bygone days. What would Christ think of that?
The Christian Greek Scriptures tell of how Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. he offered Christ the whole world if he renounced Jehovah and followed him. Needless to say Jesus refused and Satan went away, obviously unable to exact vengeance on the "divine" Son Of God. THIS DID NOT HAPPEN. It is simply another myth that arose to give Jesus this air of divine goodness.
That's about it for Satan's appearances
in the Bible. The rest of his mentions are references to how bad he is
and how he will be cast into Gehenna on Judgement Day. Stuff about him,
but not actually involving him at the time of writing.
Jehovah created Satan as a perfect spirit being, an angel. If he was so perfect, why did he turn against Jehovah? Only when he turned against God did he become Satan. The word means "resister" and "adversary". God wiped out millions of humans at the drop of a hat, why did he not destroy Satan when the angel rebelled against him? Was he unable to?
Early in the Bible, references are made to the Nephilim. These were apparently the offspring of divine beings that descended to Earth and mated with the daughters of men. What happened to them is unclear, but it is suggested that they existed on Earth until the Flood, when they were wiped out in that terrible cataclysm. The Bible says that Jehovah brought the Flood because of man's evil, it is strange that the powerful Nephilim also walked the Earth at the same time and were "mighty ones" and "men of fame". "Men of fame" NOT "Men of infamy".
Another name for Satan is Lucifer. This is from the Latin "Lux Fare" which means "Light bringer". Strange how the so-called Prince Of Darkness could be called a light bringer.
Another god that was around during the time of the Hebrew Scriptures (The Old Testament) was Baal. He/it was a deity of some importance and is mentioned often in the Bible. Baal is often associated with Satan and more properly with Baal'zebub (Beelzebub), one of Satan's lieutenants. You see, Satan had quite a following amongst Jehovah's angels, so it is apparent that the Host is far from perfect as the Bible would have us believe.
Interestingly, the Hebrew word "Baal" can mean, among other things, "Owner of arrows", "false gods" and most bizarrely "Jehovah".
If Jehovah was the all-powerful, omnipotent deity that the scriptures lead us to believe, then how could he allow a large number of His own angels to act against Him. Surely, He would have known what they were plotting.
I know what a lot of you are thinking - Jehovah gave all of His creations free will, so that they could act independently of one another and God, if they wished. But we are not talking about a minor rebellion here, Satan had supposedly avowed himself to the destruction of all that Jehovah had created. Why, then, was he still allowed into the presence of Jehovah, as when the wager with Job took place?
It seems obvious to me that Satan
was (and still is, if either beings actually DO exist) in the employ of
the Almighty. It was Satan's task to test Jehovah's creations, a
bit like a Quality Control inspector. God gave us all free will, but He
wanted us to use it sparingly. It was Satan's job (no pun intended) to
weed out those who overused their sense of individuality.
If Satan was working against Jehovah, why would He allow him to continue his existence?
Why was Satan allowed into the presence of Jehovah and the other, righteous angels when he was supposed to be an outcast, a liar and deceiver?
If God does work in mysterious ways, then they don't come more mysterious than the way He has treated His arch-nemesis, Satan.
© 2000 Steven Johnson
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Updated 16th August, 2012