Satan & Lucifer

The Satanic Temple and Church of Satan aside, antiquity has its own set of perspectives to offer regarding the concept of satan. Among other things, the idea itself can be traced back to the Hebraic writings of the Bibleand that to no surprise. Of course, even Biblically speaking the term satan (שָׂטָן) simply means adversary, and is not a word specifically limited to one particular character (although Christians often seem to think otherwise). For instance, not only is the apostle Peter called satan in Matthew 16:23, but God himself is even identified as satan in Numbers 22:22; the passage more literally reads that he "took his stand in the way as satan [לְשָׂטָן] against him." This chapter actually speaks of the angel of Yahweh, but the God of Israel is the angel of Yahweh in the Bible (e.g. Hosea 12:3-5).1

Additionally, ever so often people can be found identifying characters such as Beelzebub or the serpent2 in Genesis as the same exact one mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

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. (Revelation 12:9)
However, nothing demands that this is even the case. As noted, the term is very general in its meaning/usage. Yet when one is dogmatically ensnared by a compulsive and forced religious standpoint, well, what should we really expect to see? Passages unnecessarily being glued together is quite normal in Christendom. 

Furthermore, the Book of Job mentions a "satan" who is seen as more of a Loki character, neither good nor evil3 in his mythological nature. Him and Yahweh are basically found gambling over Job's life choices like some kind of heavenly dice game, or the toad race scene in Natura Contro. It's as if they are colleagues in this particular setting. Plus, by the time one arrives at the Gospel of Matthew, Satan comes across as one who even has power to offer Jesus. As he says to him: "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me" (Matthew 4:9). In fact, one could even draw a parallel with Zoroastrianism's Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu at that point (good vs evil). Even in Native American mythology, the Evil Maker (Ojibwa) mentions a "Good Spirit" creator as well as an "Evil Spirit" creator.4

Of course, the general "satan" descriptions by themselves placed on a shelf for a moment, let's not forget that these things are found in the esoteric context of Hebrew occultism. The same scroll that mentions "the great dragon" who is "called the Devil and Satan" also mentions seven stars, seven lampstands (Revelation 1:20) and seven spirits (3:1); seven seals (5:1), seven horns, and seven eyes (5:6); seven trumpets (8:6), and a drunk woman who is identified as a city (17:18). This is simply traditional esotericism—similar to the demons in the Testament of Solomon. But that being the case, just what does the dragon who is called Satan represent in the Book of Revelation? Well, evidently a river (Revelation 12:15-16), as that is precisely what the dragon (δρακων) Leviathan is identified as Hebraically (see Psalm 74:13-15). Yet, just as Leviathan is also found in the context of the stars (Job 3:8-9), so Satan here is found in the astro-theological context (Revelation 12:3-4); thus, the meanings are apparently functioning dualistically.

And what about Lucifer? The term is found contained in the famous King James Version reference of Isaiah 14:12 ("How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!"). But actually, lucifer is a latin term⁠—a translation of the Hebrew word הֵילֵל which has to do with light and brightness. And, the passage makes absolutely no mention of the Christian idea of Satan, but rather, is in the context of the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:4). Such an anachronistic insertion is obviously the cause of much of the confusion regarding this term. And if that doesn't unplug the speakers quick enough, notice also that Jesus himself is even identified as lucifer in the Latin Vulgate.
et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem cui bene facitis adtendentes quasi lucernae lucenti in caliginoso loco donec dies inlucescat et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris (2 Peter 1:19, Latin Vulgate)
English translations usually have "morning star" or "day star" here in this verse, referring to Jesus specifically. Thus, Christ is lucifer here in this passage.5 

Robert Anthony

____________________________________

Footnotes:

1. Then again, "Satan himself transforms [μετασχηματιζεται] himself into an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14), activity similar to Ovid's Metamorphoses

2. Those who claim "serpent of old" (Revelation 12:9) demands the specific serpent of Genesis 3 are simply being assumptive. In Genesis 1:21, sea creatures are mentioned. The Bible mentions several serpents of old therefore (e.g. Job 7:12; Psalm 74:13; Isaiah 27:1). All the serpents in the world of creation are allegedly created back in Genesis (the beginning). So what demands that Satan in Revelation 12:9 is the exact same serpent speaking in Genesis 3? Nothing at all in the Bible.

Further, the serpent is seen as the one speaking the truth in Genesis, while Yahweh speaks the lie (cf. Genesis 2:17; 3:4-5, 22). This is the proper reading of the ancient story, while the church understanding flips things around.


3. That is, the book does not demand he is only one or the other. The actions against Job certainly come across as evil, but from a Christian theist perspective, the fact that Satan is "side by side" with God in heaven may come across as a bit odd (cf. Psalm 5:4)! Such a presence is viewed as holy in Hebrew literature (cf. Isaiah 6; Revelation 4:8).


4. Native American Myths and Legends, Arcturus Publishing, p. 83


5. Jesus is also called "morning star" in Revelation 22:16.

No comments:

Post a Comment