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The Evolution of Satan Part 3
In Part 2 of this study, we looked at Zoroastrianism as a possible source for beliefs concerning demons and an inflated nature of Satan in the Jewish national consciousness after their exile to Babylon. These beliefs are not found in the Old Testament, yet as time went on up until the period of Jesus' ministry on Earth, these beliefs continued to grow. If Israel was not looking to the Word of God for these ideas, they must have been looking elsewhere.
Between the Old Testament and the New Testament, we have a period of 400 years where God did not provide any new scripture. However, a number of books were written by various authors which the Church and Judaism now consider apocryphal.
Today huge numbers of people believe in UFO's, alien visitations, vampires and ghosts, because these ideas are continually reinforced by Hollywood and popular literature. Books such as the 'Left Behind' series reinforce the idea of a pre-tribulation secret rapture. The 'Da Vinci Code' had many people believing that the Vatican was hiding secret documents that supported the idea that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children by her. And so it is with apocryphal writings.
Apocryphal books may be of some interest to many readers, but what we must bear in mind is that they should never be used to form doctrine as they are not scripture; they are not considered by the Church to be inspired of God. The problem is these books will shape the opinions of many people. Haven't we all heard the line that all myths have some original source of truth. That isn't necessarily so. The Earth is not flat and it is not supported by four elephants riding an interstellar turtle.
Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch is reputed by many to be an ancient Jewish religious work, ascribed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. Western scholars currently assert that its older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) date from about 300 BC and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably was composed at the end of the 1st century BC. It is a pseudepigraphical book: one that is written in a biblical style ascribed to an author who did not write it. The term pseudepigrapha is often used by way of distinction to refer to apocryphal writings that do not appear in printed editions of the Bible, as opposed to the common apocryphal texts listed in the Catholic bible for example.
There is no agreement among scholars about the original language: some propose Aramaic, others Hebrew, while Ethiopian scholars generally hold that the Ethiopian Ge'ez is the language of the original from which the Greek and Aramaic copies were made, pointing out that it is the only language in which the complete text has yet been found.
The first part of Book of Enoch describes the fall of the Watchers, the angels who fathered the Nephilim with human women. The remainder of the book describes Enoch's visits to Heaven in the form of travels, visions and dreams, and his revelations.
The book consists of five quite distinct major sections and the shared view of scholars today is that these five sections were originally independent works with different dates of composition, themselves a product of much editorial arrangement, and were only later redacted into what we now call 1 Enoch.
Although widely known at the time of the development of the Jewish Bible canon, Enoch was excluded from both the formal canon of the Tanakh and the typical canon of the Septuagint and therefore also the Apocrypha. The content, particularly detailed description of fallen angels, is a reason for rejection from the Hebrew canon at this period, as illustrated by the comments of Trypho the Jew when debating with Justin Martyr on this subject. Trypho: "The utterances of God are holy, but your expositions are mere contrivances, as is plain from what has been explained by you; nay, even blasphemies, for you assert that angels sinned and revolted from God."
The book is believed to be referred to, and quoted, in Jude 14-15. However for a book to be cannon it is not enough to merely demonstrate that something is quoted. For example Paul's quotation of "All Cretans are liars" Titus 1:12 would otherwise grant canonicity to the works of Epimenides (a semi-mythical 6th century BC Greek seer and philosopher-poet. While tending his father's sheep, he is said to have fallen asleep for fifty-seven years in a Cretan cave sacred to Zeus).
Early church scolars denied the canonicity of the book and some even considered the letter of Jude uncanonical because it refers to an "apocryphal" work. By the 4th century it was mostly excluded from Christian lists of the Biblical canon, and it was omitted from the canon by most of the Christian church. Today only the Ethiopian Orthodox Church being an exception accept the the book.
Recently this book has become popular amongst many in the church who believe it to be an inspired work that supports the idea of fallen angels (aka Sons of God) mating with human women (aka Daughters of Men) to produce angel/human hybrids. Quite apart from the fact that this is impossible as angels are not biological beings and therefore have no sperm, the concept of fallen angels is alien to Judaism.
It also contradicts a Christian pseudepigraphical book “The Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan” found in Ge'ez, translated from an Arabic original and thought to date from the 5th or 6th century AD. In this book, the Sons of God who appear in Genesis 6:2 are identified as the children of Seth, and the "daughters of men" as women descended from Cain, who successfully tempt most of the Sethites to come down from their mountain and join the Cainites in the valley below. The Cainites, are described as exceedingly wicked, being prone to commit murder and incest. After seducing the Sethites, their offspring become the Nephilim, the "mighty men" of Gen. 6 who are all destroyed in the deluge.
Neither of these two books are canon and they both contradict each other concerning the Sons of God and the Daughters of Men. Why would anyone assume that the Book of Enoch was the true account unless they would believe in supernatural mysteries rather than the logic and reason of scripture?
However, there is little doubt that the Book of Enoch was widely known during the Intertestamental period and it obviously would have had an influence in the further evolution of Satan as a fallen angel and continued the adoption of the Zoroastrian concepts of demonology.
Book of Jubilees
The Book of Jubilees has no official record in Pharisaic or Rabbinic sources, and it was among several books that were left out of the canon established by the Sanhedrin. The sole exception within Judaism are the Beta Israel Jews formerly of Ethiopia, who regard the Ge'ez text as canonical.
The book of Jubilees was held in high regard, and sometimes quoted, by the Early Church Fathers, but by the 4th century is was rejected along with many other books. The Oriental Orthodox Churches continued to consider Jubilees an important book of the Bible and older than Genesis. The Ethiopian Tewahedo Church accepts the account given in the book itself, of having been given to Moses atop Mt. Sinai. It is only because of its canonical status in the Oriental Orthodox Churches that the book in its entirety has managed to survive at all.
General reference works such as the Oxford Annotated Bible and the Mercer Bible Dictionary agree that the work can most probably be dated to 160–150 BC.
Jubilees covers much of the same ground as Genesis, but often with additional detail, and addressing Moses in the second person as the entire history of creation, and of Israel up to that point, is recounted in divisions of 49 years each, or "Jubilees".
The Book of Jubilees narrates the genesis of angels on the first day of Creation and the story of how a group of fallen angels mated with mortal females, giving rise to a race of giants known as the Nephilim. The Ethiopian version states that the "angels" were in fact the disobedient offspring of Seth, while the "mortal females" were daughters of Cain. This is also the view held by most of the earliest commentators. Their hybrid children, the Nephilim in existence during the time of Noah, were wiped out by the great flood.
According to this book, Hebrew is the language of Heaven, and was originally spoken by all creatures in the Garden, animals and man, however the animals lost their power of speech when Adam and Eve were expelled. After the destruction of the tower of Babel, their families were scattered to their respective allotments, and Hebrew was forgotten, until Abraham was taught it by the angels.
Though very similar in its view of fallen angels to the Book of Enoch, the fact that it states these angels were offspring of Seth is confusing. Are they angels or men? The idea that all the animals could talk and that Hebrew was taught to Moses, immediately tells us that this is a work of fiction, and therefore cannot be taken seriously. However, because it was widely read by the early church, and probably the Jews in the intertestamental period, we must assume that it also had the effect of reinforcing the ideas of fallen angels.
Book of Tobit
The Book of Tobit is part of the Catholic and Orthodox biblical canon, pronounced canonical by the Council of Carthage of 397 and confirmed for Roman Catholics by the Council of Trent in 1546. It is listed as a book of the Apocrypha in Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. Tobit is regarded by Protestants as apocryphal. It has never been included within the Tanakh as canonical by ancient Judaism.
It is generally believed that the book was written in the 2nd century BC, and the setting of the story is the 8th century BC.
This book tells the story of a righteous Israelite of the Tribe of Naphtali named Tobit living in Nineveh after the deportation of the northern tribes of Israel to Assyria in 721 BC under Sargon II. He fell foul of king Sennacherib because of his attempts to provide proper burials for Israelites. One night he slept in the open and was blinded by bird droppings that fell in his eyes. This put a strain on his marriage, and ultimately, he prayed for death.
Meanwhile, in faraway Media, a young woman named Sarah prays for death in despair. She has lost seven husbands to the demon of lust, Asmodeus, who abducts and kills every man she marries on their wedding night before the marriage can be consummated. God sends the angel Raphael, disguised as a human, to heal Tobit and to free Sarah from the demon.
Tobit's son is sent by his father to collect a sum of money that had been deposited some time previously in the far off land of Media. Raphael represents himself as Tobit's kinsman Azariah, and offers to aid and protect Tobias on his journey. Under the guidance of Raphael, Tobias makes the journey to Media, accompanied by his dog.
Along the way, he is attacked by a giant (or little) fish, whose heart, liver and gall bladder are removed to make medicines. Upon arriving in Media, Raphael tells Tobias of the beautiful Sarah, whom Tobias has the right to marry, because he is her cousin and closest relative. He instructs the young man to burn the fish's liver and heart to drive away the demon when he attacks on the wedding night. The demon goes to Upper Egypt, while Raphael follows him and binds him.
After the feast, Tobias and Sarah return to Nineveh. There, Raphael tells the youth to use the fish's gall to cure his father's blindness. Raphael then reveals his true identity and returns to heaven. Tobit sings a hymn of praise.
This story though not mentioning Satan does build upon the mythology of demons. They have moved on from the Zoroastrian idea of being able to seduce man to sin, to now abducting and killing men. However, what is rather bizarre is that this non-material spiritual being who was allegedly brave enough to rebel against God Almighty is easily frightened by the smell of burning fish livers, lol.
The whole story is rather fanciful and stands out in stark contrast to the purposes for which God sent Gabriel to Daniel and Mary. However, though obviously not canonical to reasonable minds, it is understandable that stories such as this served to reinforce the new ideas of demonology during the Intertestamental period.
With apocryphal works such as those above, it is no surprise that the Jewish people came to accept pagan ideas of demons and Satan that were just not present in the Word of God. These ideas were embedded in their national consciousness over a period of 400 years before Jesus began His ministry. In this period the powers of Satan were enhanced further, so that by the time Jesus arrived, demons could cause sickness and disease, and demons could possess people. Whenever we read about Jesus' healing and deliverance ministry, we should bear in mind that He was working with people who had unbiblical beliefs. Did He validate and support their ideas? Or did He shrug His shoulders and go along with their beliefs if that's what it took for them to believe for their healing?
The choice of whether you believe in demons, fallen angels or the inflated power of Satan is up to you, but these ideas are out of kilter with the Old Testament. The Old the New are supposed to be in harmony, but here they are not. They in fact contradict each other. This should not be. Do you believe in demons and a view of Satan that is found in just about every pagan religion the world has known, but Judaism doesn't? Or do you search the scriptures to see how these discrepancies can be resolved?