A question for Jewish people. Do you believe in the Devil?

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  1. peterxdunn profile image60
    peterxdunnposted 10 years ago

    A question for Jewish people. Do you believe in the Devil?

    I mean in the way that Christians do. I know that satan comes from  Hebrew and means simply 'adversary'. I also know that devil comes from Greek: diabolos, and means simply 'accuser' or 'slanderer'. I know, also, that the name Lucifer, as used in the Old Testament, is a total misnomer and was probably a reference to an Assyrian king (Tiglath Pilesser the Third). So - do you believe in satan as a supernatural enemy of the Hebrew God? I ask this question with genuine interest.

  2. BritaniaD profile image60
    BritaniaDposted 10 years ago

    I'm not Jewish, but have family that is, and from what I know and have always known, Jews don't believe in Hell...so I would think they don't believe in Satan. 

    http://www.shamash.org/lists/scj-faq/HT … 12-08.html

  3. profile image0
    Deborah Sextonposted 10 years ago

    We do believe in  Satan. It also means opposer

    We believe in hell too because it's you grave or tomb. It is not a burning fire

  4. peterxdunn profile image60
    peterxdunnposted 10 years ago

    But there isn't any mention of hell in the Old Testament: you know, the older Jewish bit. There is only mention of 'sheol' which simply means grave.

    The whole concept of Hell comes from the Greek Hades. And I know the New Testament does mention the 'Pit of Tartarus': which was a sub-division of Hades where the storm demons (daimones: another Greek concept) were imprisoned. These demons are also mentioned in the Odyssey which predates the New Testament.

  5. DirtyBarack16 profile image60
    DirtyBarack16posted 10 years ago

    We call Satan HaSatan. Which simply means The Satan. He is very much considered the enemy

  6. SidKemp profile image85
    SidKempposted 9 years ago

    Judaism, like all religions thousands of years old, includes many people holding many different beliefs over time. Many people think that religions are monolithic, and that they have one set of beliefs. Actually all religions are composed of different believers with diverse ideas and beliefs.

    I would say that the best sense of what the Jewish belief in Satan, the Adversary is, is to be found in the book of Job. Satan is "the adversary" but he is not disobedient to God. He must ask God's permission before tempting a righteous human being, or making him suffer. Nowhere are the beliefs about The Adversary laid out clearly, but this gives us a hint. It is not clear whether the Adversary tempts or punishes those who are not righteous, but it seems so, as the afflictions given Job are seen as punishments usually applied to the unrighteous. And it is not clear if the Adversary can do this to the unrighteous without asking God's permission.

    So, what we can know from this is that the Adversary in Judaism is very different from the Christian Satan. He is not the Adversary of God, but an obedient, if controversial, angel. He brings adversity, normally only to those who are not righteous. Thus he is a personification of an aspect of God's justice.

    In general, in Judaism, it is God who inflicts, or allows angels to inflict, punishment. There is no angelic being at war with God, and thus, there is nothing like the Devil as he is usually seen in Christianity, a rebellious angel who rules life on Earth or in Hell.

    Also, the Angel of Death is not the same as the Adversary, and the being who brought death to the firstborn of the Egyptians to help free the Israelites from Egypt was not the Adversary. So the Christian association that all these figures are one or closely united is not part of Judaism either.

    It is also fair to say that many Modern Jews, like many Modern Christians, do not believe in the Adversary or the Devil at all.

  7. SwordofManticorE profile image76
    SwordofManticorEposted 8 years ago

    I am a Christian and I dont believe in the hell theology taught in Christian churches, and as for satan as an entity? Not at all.

    Jeremiah 17:9New International Version (NIV)9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

    I believe that our carnal nature and desires of the heart is the real adversary of God.

  8. andrew savage profile image59
    andrew savageposted 8 years ago

    The name of the serpent in the garden that spoke to Eve was Nakosh (according to Judaism), while the name of the person or entity who trouble Job was Satan. The name of the one who fell because of his pride was Lucifer, and the correlation between lucifer and the king of babylon that you mentioned is purely coincidental. Not everyone believes satan and lucifer were the same angels. It all depends on which version of the bible you affirm to.
    It is very possible that there is more than one devil, or that the word "devil" derives from ancient slang to describe any type of trickster character that is out to ruin the souls of Mankind. Thus it is not a manner of whether or not one believes in devils so much as it is a manner of whether or not people are aware of the existence of tricksters.

  9. Hannah Elise profile image79
    Hannah Eliseposted 7 years ago

    No, I do not. But some Jewish people do; stuff about the afterlife is very vague in the Old Testament.

  10. Robert Levine profile image83
    Robert Levineposted 4 years ago

    As Sid Kemp writes, in Judaism, Satan is the Accusing Angel and the personification of the Evil Inclination, whose function is to tempt human beings toward sin and thus force them to exercise their free will.  G-d wants us to choose to serve Him, but that necessarily means we must be free to disobey Him as well.

    This brings up another difference between the Jewish and Christian conceptions of Satan.  Judaism teaches that angels have no free will.  They cannot choose to disobey G-d; they are G-d's spiritual robots, as it were.  This is what makes human beings, with their free will, unique.  Also, Judaism holds that G-d is all-powerful, capable even of suspending human free will when He deems it necessary--as with hardening Pharaoh's heart before the Exodus and forcing Balaam to bless Israel.  Thus, the Christian idea of Satan as a fallen angel who rebelled against G-d, and the idea of him as G-d cosmic archenemy (even though an inferior one) is to the Jewish perspective both blasphemous and absurd.

    A note of explanation about the statement that Judaism doesn't believe in Hell:  the place of punishment in the afterlife--Gehinnom in Hebrew, often Anglicized as Gehenna--is more like the Catholic idea of Purgatory.  According to Judaism, most souls go to Gehinnom to be purged of their sins for about a year (which is why the Mourner's Kaddish is recited for a year) before being admitted to Heaven.  Only the souls of the most wicked people stay in Gehinnom forever.  Incidentally, Gehinnom is the name of an actual place, a valley south of Jerusalem where, during the latter years of the First Temple when Jews strayed into idolatry, people sacrificed their children to the pagan deity Molech; presumably, it was applied to the place of punishment in the afterlife because it represented a place of unspeakable horror.


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