Who is the Devil? Part Two.
Continued from part one:
I can see God giving a message to one man (though why a God would not simply go to those he wants to destroy and tell them so if he wants to warn them up ahead, I don't know) But how can a man be expected to give a message to the devil?
Wouldn't an angel or a son of god be more suited to the job? Shouldn't god do his own dirty work? Why tell us about it? And if Job is a true account of the relationship between God and Satan, then there is something very wrong here.
Is it possible that like any good screenplay, the bad guy gets killed only at the end of the story, because otherwise there is no story?
Revelations is where Satan is explored a little deeper, but we find that he is a confusing image. Revelations refers to a Greek God called Apolloys. The Greeks considered him the guardian of hell. In effect, he was their Satan. But he was not evil in carnate. Revelations calls him an angel, and guardian of the pit. His Job is to oversee the destruction of one particular part of mankind.
REV 9:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
REV 9:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
REV 9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
REV 9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
REV 9:7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.
REV 9:8 And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions.
REV 9:9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.
REV 9:10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
REV 9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
Apollyon is not the target of god’s wrath, though. He and his army are there to punish mankind, not to act as a devil and try to destroy us against god’s will. We get the idea that at some point, a war will, or has, been fought in heaven. Satan was cast out after he and his army were defeated. But we don’t get it from these passages. Are angels, is anyone, that stupid that they would follow Satan in a battle against an omnipotent God? Things must not be that wonderful in heaven if Satan and others want to oppose god, and Satan must have some idea that he can win. Christians don’t like that idea.
REV 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
REV 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
It is mentioned several times, in this book, that someone is throwing stars at us. We know that stars are much larger than the earth, and that one would be more than enough to utterly destroy it. To take these passages literally is absurd.
This dragon that is following her and threatening to devour her child, is who? Christians say that Satan couldn't stand to see Jesus born and tried to thwart the plans of god.
REV 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
But god takes the child from the dragon’s grasp and brings him to heaven. Interesting.
REV 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
These passages tell of the birth of Jesus, don't they? What other child is to rule all nations? Why else would god want to keep it? But this is not the story of the birth of Jesus at all, not the one we are used to anyway. Is this a metaphor that represents the flight from Mary's home to the birth place of Jesus? If so, then the battle that is about to begin, happened at a time just after his birth. Who is the dragon? King Herod? That’s what the bible tells us. If it is Satan as Christians say, then it seems Satan was cast out only after the birth of Jesus.
This does not make sense as the birth of Jesus on earth, but perhaps it makes sense as the birth of Jesus at the beginning of heaven? But Jesus is god come to earth, according to Christianity. And this is supposed to be the story of the end of the world as we know it. Is this man implying that Mary was eternal as well? If so, she and her family were not aware of it as it doesn’t mention it in the NT.
REV 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
REV 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
REV 12:9 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.
Do you see what I mean? According to this, Satan is not yet cast out. If Genesis is telling of Satan, at the beginning of creation, then Satan is not yet the ruler of earth. This would be fine except that the snake is judged and sentenced. If he was the snake in the garden, he has already been condemned to slither across the earth and eat dust for eternity. That implies he is on earth.
But Job tells us he can go to heaven for meetings, or "walk" the earth at will. Not crawl or slither. Certainly they tell us he was in the desert to tempt Jesus. But never was he cast out of heaven. That is a thing to come at the end. This makes no sense.
Had Satan been cast out at the beginning, then there would be a time line we could follow but if the final battle is still to happen then Satan is probably still going to meetings and chumming around in heaven with some of the angels, or his brothers, which ever ever you prefer.
REV 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Isn't this interesting? We are being told here that Satan "accuses" the angels in front of god. In other words, Satan still has god’s ear and constantly tries to set him against his angels, and no doubt, mankind. Perhaps still tempting god and making bets with him? Perhaps John is remembering the old version of Satan, the spy of god; the "doubt" of god.
How an omnipotent god constantly fails see through false accusations is still beyond me. And remember, this is the NT not the OT. So Christianity has already changed the snake into an angel, and is just trying to fit it all together. Here Satan is a dragon; not slithering or crawling. He is chasing down a woman and her child but god protects them.
REV 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
REV 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
So the time frames are all wrong. This talks about a war that hasn't happened yet. This battle happens after the seals have been broken. But before the battle of the beast of the apocalypse. Most people see this as the last battle, but it is only the beginning.
REV 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
REV 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
These passages show just how confused the time line is. She flies to the wilderness on wings, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time? Some would say this simply means "to the end time." But to me it indicates that this event happens more than once. She has run from him before and hidden in the wilderness. What is this talking about? To me it is un-interpretable as reality, but completely in line with the notion that things are played out on the ethereal plain first, and then played out on earth later on.
Its the idea that Peter had of his Christ who did most of his living and deeds in heaven. It is the same physiology that is seen in the Mithric idea that their god could fight a bull in heaven and from its slain body, create the earth. This idea of a heaven, where anything can happen, is also seen in many other religions, including some that say that the earth was created from the belly of a slain dragon.
In all of these religions, heaven creates a mirror image of itself in the form of an earth. Gods eat and fight and get up to all kinds of mischief, and all of that is reflected and played out again on earth. All that happens there, affects us directly.
Earl Doherty, Author of "Was There Such a Man as Jesus of Nazareth?" Backs me up on this when he says:
“By the first century CE the Empire had several popular salvation cults known as the "mysteries", each with its own so-called savior God or Goddess, such as Isis, Attis and Mithras. There has been a seesaw debate over when these cults became fully formed and how much they may have influenced Christian ideas, but at the very least we can say that Christianity in some of its aspects was the Jewish expression of this widespread religious phenomenon.
Each of these savior Gods had in some way overcome death, or performed some act whose effects guaranteed for the initiate a happy afterlife. Christianity's savior God, Christ Jesus, had undergone death and been resurrected as a redeeming act (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), giving promise of resurrection and eternal life to the believer. This guarantee involved another feature of ancient world thinking, closely related to Platonism: the idea that things and events on earth had their parallels in heaven; this included divine figures who served as paradigms for earthly human counterparts. What the former underwent in the spiritual realm reflected the experiences and determined the destinies of those who were linked to them on earth. For example, the original "one like a son of man" in Daniel's vision (7:13-14) received power and dominion over the earth from God, and this guaranteed that his human counterpart, the saints or elect of Israel, were destined to receive these things when God's Kingdom was established. Christianity's Son was also a paradigm: Christ's experiences of suffering and death mirrored those of humans, but his exaltation would similarly be paralleled by their own exaltation. As Romans 6:5 declares: "We shall be one with Christ in a resurrection like his."
But none of it happens here. It all happens on another plain and then, its affects filter down to us. It is the jostling back and forth between heaven and earth that makes all this so hard to interpret. And it is surely from passages like these that the Catholics garnered their idea of a holy, ethereal; mother of god, who is always hiding from Satan.
REV 12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
REV 12:16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
But why would even the ethereal mother of Jesus/god have to run from Satan? The child is born, why would she still need to hide? This idea makes no sense unless the event occurs over and over again, and that is not acceptable to Christianity is it? So who is the woman running from, Satan? Is it Eve? That's what some scholars have said. But others insist it is Mary, and that would put this event after the birth of Jesus. That means that half the Apocalypse is already over.
And then there is this little gem to confuse the issues even more.
REV 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Slain from the foundation of the world? This suggests that Jesus was slain at the beginning of creation. What sense does this make? Some Scholars say that it simply means that god had planned Jesus’ death, and all of this, from the beginning of time. Now that suggests cruelty in the extreme because it implies that god does, indeed, see all in advance according to John. It means that if you are going to hell, god knew that before you were born. Nothing you can do about it. Calvin thought exactly that and probably got it from these passages.
It means that none of us have any control over all of this because our name is, or is not in the book of life, and has, or has not been there since the beginning of time. To me it shows that that the Christian god plans it all out, and then makes it happen as if he is writing a play; whatever happens is his will and his fault. It also doesn't fit with Genesis, and it leaves no room for free will, because you are in the book or not already.
However, the book admits this is a dream, and that may be why it is so mixed up in its time frames that scholars have a field day with all of it. But really, it is a retelling of the story that Ezekiel and Isaiah told from the viewpoint of Christianity according to John the hermit monk, (not John the Apostle, as so many believe)
It is the telling of oppression by Rome and a prophesy of its downfall, mixed with the ultimate judgment of the Old Testament. It is the perfect climactic ending to a mythological epoch. But it is clearly only a dream.
The dream is a mixture of all the elements that came before. The entire new testament and the entire old. It is the fulfilling of all the ancient prophesies. But specifically those of Isaiah and Ezekiel. There is very little new data here that hasn't already been alluded to before. The only new part is that of Jesus as the savior the Jews waited for; the savior that would put them and Israel on top again.
It also gives us a new insight in to the afterlife. There is no heaven in our cards at all, according to this. After the apocalypse, a thousand years will pass with Jesus on earth as its master. But only the priests will be with him.
is at the end of that period of time that a judgment will be dealt out and the
devil finally cast in to the fire. After that, god himself will come down and
reign supreme. Heaven on earth is the message of Revelations, not a heaven in
the firmament. And I thought Jesus was supposed to be god? Confused yet?
REV 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
REV 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
REV 20:3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
But he is not cast in to hell. He is thrown in to a bottomless pit. Why couldn't god simply destroy him and be done with it? God has plans for him? Or is it just that he must be judged at the end like everyone else? (as some would have you believe) Read on.
REV 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
REV 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
As I said, only priests will be in this crowd. This is the reason Catholic priests vow a vow of celibacy. Only virgin men will be allowed entrance to this first age of heaven on earth. This is shown here:
REV 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
REV 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.
The attack on woman never stops, does it? It also seems that those who believe in the rapture are wrong. Only virgin men will be taken up.
REV 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
REV 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
REV 20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
So god wants Satan for one final battle? This does not make any sense at all except as a vehicle of dramatic effect. Why would god subject himself and us to one more battle? Why would Satan try, knowing his fate? Dante wrote Satan's most famous words. They describe what Satan's motives and his psychology are, according to Christianity. "It is better to rule in hell, than serve in heaven."
Is Satan simply insane? I ask again, can't he read? It's all right here. He never even gets to rule in hell. All he has to do is read to figure out what to do. Loose lips sink sinks and the Bible reveals all of god’s plans. It’s pretty funny.
REV 20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
All Satan would have to do is wait until he is set free and then do nothing of the sort. That would stop god in his tracks. God's actions depend on those of Satan, according to this, so all Satan has to do to stop his end fate, is nothing at all. He would clearly be very stupid to let this happen when simply doing nothing would end it in his favor.
REV 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
This does not tell of Satan ruling in hell. Dante was wrong. It says here that he will be tormented day and night for ever. The conception most people have of hell is that it is ruled by Satan and that he gathers souls and tortures them. but this is clearly not the case. Here, Satan is the one being tortured forever, along with the beast (Rome and some say the Roman Catholic church), and the anti Christ.
REV 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
REV 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
REV 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
So hell is not the bottomless pit where Satan will be held captive; a place guarded and ruled by the angel Apollyon. Hell is not the lake of fire Satan will be cast in to. Hell is something else all together and it, and death, will be destroyed. This suggests that hell is a state of mind, or state of being, not a place. And here also there is a contradiction. At first we are told you are in the book of life or not, and then we are told that those who are in the book of life will go through one last judgment depending on what they have done. So I get from this that some of us are in the book of life and some are not. Those not in it are doomed from birth and have been from the beginning of time. Those in it will live with Jesus as earth’s ruler for a thousand years. But after that there will be another war, and Satan will find people who will follow him? After that everyone remaining is judged one last time.
REV 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
REV 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
REV 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
REV 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
REV 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
As I said, Christianity believes the end will not see us in heaven. It will see a heaven on a new earth where the Christian dead will be resurrected like their god, and live with him in a perfect Jewish city. This is the final state of the religion. This is the Christian hope, that in the end, we will not be ethereal angels up in heaven, but physical beings resurrected to a new earth.
But this does not Jib with an earlier passage from Genesis which says"
GEN 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
GEN 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
GEN 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.
Here, god is telling his sons not to take wives from among mankind because there was no future in it for them. Mankind would only live a hundred and twenty years. Well, if that was god's plan at first, then he sure changed his mind by the end of the book.
And anyway, so what if the woman, which a son of god had married, died? They would soon be together again in heaven, wouldn't they? Not according to this passage.
But this really says that god had no intention of allowing man kind to live. This is what the Jews believed, but the Christians wanted more. The Jews were resigned to rewards given in life, and death as the end.
The truth is that every religion has had their own personification of evil. When things went wrong, when there was a natural disaster, these were invariably seen by the ancients as a demons work or the wrath of a god.
But the true nature of disaster is nature itself. There is no benevolent or evil being at work in cause and effect. The true nature of evil lies in subjectivity, and it is translated in to these questions. "What can I get that is more and better than that of another?" "How can I get what another has?" "How can I be more powerful or better than someone else?" "How can I be in control?" I could go on but I think you see what I am getting at here: Evil intent. Evil is not a person or being, it is intent and greed.
Those questions translate in to these solutions and their corresponding actions: "If I kill this person I will get money or power" "If I steal this I will be better off." and so on.
Cause and effect enters the picture thus: If you kill someone in the neighborhood then I am going to fear for my life or that of my family. I am going to see you as evil and a threat. I am going to want to rid the world, and myself of you.
We do not see evil in the controlled execution of a mass murderer, so the killing part is not the issue that makes it good or evil, it's the way we see the killing and how it affects us that makes the difference.
Our emotions are mixed up in all of this to the nth degree and the bottom line is always, "How does all this affect me?" And that is where the "idea" of evil comes from: Subjectivity. "How do these events affect me."
The need for greatness and power are what we see as evil in others, yet we glorify it when it comes to ourselves or our gods. The wanton taking of life and the theft of personal property are the "evils" we face every day, but they do not come from a Satan or devil, they come because people are not empathetic toward each other.
The Idea of a Satan and a god only confuse the issues. There is enough subjective thinking and action going on in the world to more than explain the evil we see. We need no outside help to prove we are still a race of barbaric children. We need no devil to tempt us to self destruction, we can do it very well on our own by disregarding others.
Yes, that message of Christianity is sound. We must learn to love each other and our universe. But we must not do it to get to a mythical heaven, we must do it for the good of all. Temptations are many in number. We think that for the most part the temptations come from a life of abuse and poverty. But they have no specific station. They come as easily from wealth and the hunger for power. In all cases, bar none, the person that has killed or stolen has been driven to do so by placing their "need" over that of everyone else. In short, evil is plain ignorance, lack of empathy, knowledge, and understanding.
Yet, as I mentioned earlier, this selfishness is the reason we exist. Were we not the most aggressive, self-centered little sperm, we would not have been born. Life is a lottery, in that respect, and "we," the ones who won the lottery, are alive to read this text and look at ourselves critically enough to want to better ourselves. Why? If selfishness means survival, why do we want to change a formula that works?
It all turns out to be very simple, and very complex at the same time. "Simply" put, we have found that selfishness has draw backs. If I am selfish and you are selfish too, then we run into conflict. On the other hand, if we sit down and iron out rules of conduct, we can gain freedom and self determination because we have eliminated the competition through compromise.
There is much more to explore about the selfishness of nature, and I have in another Hub. Suffice it to say, for now, that we can eliminate one of our fears and gain a much better understanding of ourselves if we realize that there is no evil being in the universe. It is cause and effect seen subjectively. That is what we "identify" as evil.
So like Vlad the Impaler, who became Dracula of horror fame, The King of Tyrus became evil incarnate. The process of thought is not an exact science, I'm afraid. But it is a matter of the evolution of religion.
There is no evidence in the OT of a devil, and in the NT it is a rewriting of the events of the OT and what they mean that makes Satan, god’s cop, a devil. To understand why, one needs to know the history of the NT. I have written a hub about that as well.
But in part three of this series I explore extra biblical texts like Enoch. Keep reading.