So…someone wanted to know “Who, or what is The Devil” and is this creature REALLY Lucifer? I have delved deep and long into this subject as a matter of a course of study…the answer surprised me, as I had always thought that “Devil” “Satan” and “Lucifer” were just ONE entity…not the Bi-forcated-cloven hooved-pitchfork toting representation of Middle Ages art and belief, but the REAL “Bad Guy” of Christianity…
Although MANY will disagree with my summation, I simply offer ONE view into this being we all are so scared is hiding under our beds or in our closets just WAITING to make us knock over the wife’s new vase…or pushing old ladies under buses… 😀
Seriously though, this has been a course of study for me since I became a Christian, and I find that if I do not give this thing thought, then I may slip up somehow (and no, I DO NOT say “The Devil made me do it! 😀 )..
It is important to KNOW fact from fiction, so that we can make an informed judgement in life, and faith…but I digress….
So many Christians put stock into this thought to try and figure out which one of the THOUSANDS of demons, devils, satans and fallen angels is THE Devil…well…let me try to shed some light…..
In mainstream Judaism there is no concept of a devil like in mainstream Christianity or Islam. Texts make no direct link between the serpent that tempts Eve in the Garden of Eden from Genesis and references to a Satan in the first book of Chronicles and in Job.
In Hebrew, the biblical word ha-satan (השָׂטָן) means “the adversary” or the obstacle, or even “the prosecutor” (recognizing that God is viewed as the ultimate Judge).
As much as the Devil exists in any form of Judaism, his role is as an adversary and an accuser which is assigned rather than assumed.
For the Hasidim of the eighteenth century, ha-satan was Baal Davar
In mainstream Christianity the Devil is known as Satan and sometimes as Lucifer, although it has been noted that the reference in Isaiah 14:12 to Lucifer, or the Son of the Morning, is a reference to the Babylonian king.
Some modern Christians consider the Devil to be an angel who, along with one-third of the angelic host (the demons) rebelled against God and has consequently been condemned to the Lake of Fire. He is described as hating all humanity, or more accurately creation, opposing God, spreading lies and wreaking havoc on the souls of mankind. Other Christians consider the devil in the Bible to refer figuratively to human sin and temptation and to any human system in opposition to God.
Satan is often identified as the serpent who convinced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit; thus, Satan has often been depicted as a serpent.
Though this identification is not present in the Adam and Eve narrative, this interpretation goes back at least as far as the time of the writing of the book of Revelation, which specifically identifies Satan as being the serpent (Rev. 20:2).
In the Bible, the devil is identified with “The dragon” and “the old serpent” in the Book of Revelation 12:9, 20:2 have also been identified with Satan, as have “the prince of this world” in the Book of John 12:31, 14:30; “the prince of the power of the air” also called Meririm, and “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” in the Book of Ephesians 2:2; and “the god of this world” in 2 Corinthians 4:4. He is also identified as the dragon in the Book of Revelation, and the tempter of the Gospels.
Beelzebub is originally the name of a Philistine god (more specifically a certain type of Baal, from Ba‘al Zebûb, lit. “Lord of Flies”) but is also used in the New Testament as a synonym for Satan. A corrupted version, “Belzeboub,” appears in The Divine Comedy.
In some religions and traditions, these titles are separate demons; others identify these names as guises of The Devil.
Even when thought of as individual demons, some are often thought of being under the Devil’s direct control.
This identifies only those thought of as the Devil;
Azazel, Asael (Hebrew): King of Devils
Mastema, a devil in the Book of Jubilees
Sammael, Samiel, Sammael (Hebrew): “Poison of God”
Lilith, a female demon in Jewish mythology.
Baphomet, a demon supposedly worshiped by the Knights Templar
Beelzebub, ba’al zevuv בעל זבוב (Hebrew): Lord of the flies (Matthew 10:25)
Belial, Beliar, Bheliar (Hebrew): without master.
The word “Lucifer” is used in the King James Version only once, in Isaiah 14:12: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
The Hebrew word translated “Lucifer” is helel (or heylel), from the root, hâlâl, meaning “to shine” or “to bear light.” Keil and Delitzsch noted that “it derives its name in other ancient languages also from its striking brilliancy, and is here called ben-shachar (son of the dawn)… (1982, 7:311).
However, the KJV translators did not translate helel as Lucifer because of something inherent in the Hebrew term itself.
Instead, they borrowed the name from Jerome’s translation of the Bible (A.D. 383-405) known as the Latin Vulgate.
Jerome, likely believing that the term was describing the planet Venus, employed the Latin term “Lucifer” (“light-bearing”) to designate “the morning star” (Venus).
Only later did the suggestion originate that Isaiah 14:12. was speaking of the devil. Eventually, the name Lucifer came to be synonymous with Satan.
It may come as a surprise to many Christians that to the Jews and New Testament Christians there was no such person as Lucifer. To many Christians Lucifer is equivalent to Satan, the devil. How could it be that the Jews knew nothing of Lucifer, we find it clearly printed in our King James Bible in Isaiah 14?
But then again it is not found in most contemporary language versions. With the curiously notable exception of the New King James Version.
As way of introduction here is what The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia has to say about Lucifer:
Lucifer, the rendering of the Vulgate for the Hebrew phrase helal (“day-star”) in Isa. 14:12; the verse is rendered in the Authorized Version as: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”
The passage in question is a song of derision over the downfall of a Babylonian king; the figure used may trace back to a Hebrew or Babylonian astral myth like the Greek story of Phaethon, in which the day-star is cast out of heaven because of presumption. The term Lucifer is never used in Jewish legend; but Christian writers identified Lucifer with Satan who, according to the gospels (Luke 10:18), fell from heaven like lighting; accordingly,
Lucifer became one of the terms for the devil in Christian theology.
Most Christians do realize that Jerome used the word in his Latin Vulgate Bible prepared sometime toward the latter half of the 4th century. But unfortunately that’s about the sum total of their knowledge of the history of the word.
Because tradition has for so long said that Lucifer is Satan, they do not question the word or concept any further.
But where did this tradition come from??, and why considering the many references to Satan in the New Testament did not the concept of Lucifer ever come up?
It is not to Jerome, however that we owe the teaching of Lucifer but to that most creative of theologians, Origen. (185-254 A.D.) It was he who first made the new connection between Satan and Lucifer. He brought together diverse Old Testament references from Job, Ezekiel and Isaiah. Arguing that Lucifer, the Prince of Tyre, and the Leviathan of Job, were all identical with the Devil.
He used these texts to emphasize Satan’s pride and his fall from heaven.
So…HOW MANY “DEVILS” ARE THERE???
About 5 BILLION according to translations taken from Revelations.
Though some disagree on the number, and name, they ARE there.
Revelation 12 tells us :
“4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth..
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 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.”
A deeper study of the Scriptures will show you there are hundreds of named fallen angels. Probably thousands or more.
When Lucifer was kicked out of heaven he took with him a third of the “stars” or angels. Probably a number we cannot count to and probably each has a name.
The demon talking to Jesus in the “demoniac” called himself “Legion” simply because “we are many”.
So…ALL of the “evil” attributed to “The Devil” is in fact carried out by thousands, if not MILLIONS of “fallen angels”….and get shoved into the bag along with the name of “Devil”….
As to the ONE Devil, that is something theologians have been pondering for MANY centuries….
Is “The Dragon” Lucifer? Is “Satan” Lucifer??? Who knows…
One thing THIS cleric can tell you: Evil is wrought by those who KNOW how to do good, but choose to do bad instead…the “Devil made me do it” defense is NOT acceptable…
We KNOW how to do GOOD…we have detailed instructions in The Bible on HOW to do good…but the minds and hearts of MEN determine what they do…not some “cloven hoofed” creation of the middle centuries…