The Nature of Satan
Prelude to Darkness is a study of two principle characters for the End Times: Satan and the False Prophet. Evident in this story is the author’s own perception of this period, which becomes increasingly apparent as the story progresses. Many of the traditional notions of the End Times and its chief antagonist are revisited and given a new twist. Though seemingly unorthodox in the story’s physical depictions of the devil, the very definition of this archfiend is subject to a myriad of names, shapes, and personalities. For this reason, I have added this special introduction to this novel.
According to the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, Satan was not originally evil but was created as a perfect being by God, exalted above all other angels. The Lord had given him great wisdom to accompany his beauty. In those days he was called by Isaiah ‘the son of the morning,’ and yet a Christian scribe of the early church, translating the original Hebrew text of Isaiah into Latin, gave him the name Lucifer, which, despite this obvious fiction, is second only to Satan, as the devil’s most popular name. Though he isn’t mentioned by name by Ezekiel, the following passages describing the original nature of Satan, implies that before his rebellion in heaven, which preceded his offense in Eden, Satan was, in fact, the guardian of Earth.
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.(Ezekiel 28: 13-14)
In spite of his great potential, Lucifer, who had freewill, was corrupted by thoughts of power and his own beauty. After his foolhardy attempt to challenge God, he was promptly expelled from heaven by the forces of Archangel Michael, along with a faction of rebellious angels, “falling,” in the words of Saint Luke, “as lightning from heaven.” Isaiah, the same prophet who foretold the coming of the Messiah, also predicted the devil’s ultimate end:
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, “I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation.... 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the most high.” 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:13-15).
Appropriately enough, after this cosmic confrontation, Satan resurfaces as a lowly serpent in the Garden of Eden only to be rebuffed once more for his deceit against God. This episode, which inspired John Milton’s depiction of the devil in Paradise Lost, captures Satan’s basic nature. It previews for Biblical writers, such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, John the Devine, and Saint Paul, Satan’s greatest tool—temptation and the eternal battle between good and evil, in which, according to Christian tradition, mankind’s original sin resulted from Adam’s fall. After creating the perfect couple and letting them roam happily awhile in paradise, the Lord tested their obedience to him by forbidding them to eat forbidden fruit. Everything else in the garden was theirs for the taking, but to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, the Lord promised, would cause certain death.
Soon, after Adam had left Eve alone in the garden, a serpent looking down from the tree, slithered quickly down to the woman, who stood gaping up at the wondrous tree.
1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, “Yea, hath God said, ‘Ye shall no eat of every tree of the garden’?” 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, “Ye shall not surely die. 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then shall your eyes be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3: 1-5)
In addition to calling God a liar, Satan was using Eve to spite the Lord. After dispelling her fears that the fruit was poisoned, he convinced her that it would give her a new power she did not possess: the knowledge of right and wrong. Eve, whose curiosity had been wetted, would commit the sin of disobedience to God, just as Satan’s second transgression against God would be to cause the first woman to sin.
And the Lord God said unto the serpent, “Because thou have done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shall thou eat all the days of thy life.” (Genesis 3: 14)
Eve, who wanted to have great knowledge, had talked Adam into sharing the fruit with her, thereby causing him to sin too. Adam, whose offense was greater than Eve’s because he was not even tempted by the devil but merely by his wife, was consigned to hard labor the rest of his life, while Eve was given the pain of childbirth by the Lord. The gift of freewill had proven, as it had for Satan, to be their downfall. In the eyes of God they had lost their innocence. The knowledge they gained had made them ashamed. When the Lord found them hiding in the garden, they had tied fig leaves to hide their nakedness. The lure of forbidden fruit had been too great for them; they had failed to obey a simple request by the Lord. After their disobedience, the first couple were cast out, barred forever from Eden. In place of the lush gardens provided by the Lord, they would have to wander the wilderness in search of shelter and food.
18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:18-19)
Because of their original sin, Adam and Eve lost their immortality and their places in paradise, yet as the first parents, according to Saint Luke, they had begat all the races of men. This feat, accomplished by error by the first couple, had also condemned their descendents to death until the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, whose resurrection, in the words of Saint Paul, defeated the devil once and for all: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Almost as important as the comprehension of original sin in the Garden of Eden is the understanding that Satan was, from that day forward, the author of sin. The second repudiation by God to Satan, however, does not lessen the fact that He used the devil to test Adam and Eve, a task that Satan would be called on to perform again and again. The most significant outcome for the understanding of the prophets, Apostles, and later Judeo-Christian and Muslim theologians, however, was the connection in the Garden of Eden between the Tempter and man’s inclination to sin: a cause-to-effect relationship that would last, if we are to believe Saint John the Devine, until the End Times, a subject covered later in the Prologue.
Except for the episode in the garden, Satan’s importance diminishes greatly in the Old Testament after Eden, until God decides to test his faithful servant Job. Job, a prosperous but god-fearing man loses all his goods, the lives of his children, and his health—all as a result of a wager between God and Satan about whether or not a “perfect and upright” man will remain faithful to the Lord after overwhelming misfortune befalls him.
8 And the LORD said unto Satan, “Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” 9 Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.” (Job 2: 3-5)
In this case, Satan had tempted God. He did not even bother trying to tempt Job, himself. Though the book of Job falls in the middle of the books of the Old Testament, after the deliverance of the law to Moses and several other Biblical stories, it is considered by many theologians to be an older work. It’s tone, in fact, has much in common with those portions of the Bible preceding Exodus in which the law had not yet been given to the children of God. During this period, tribal leaders such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would make covenants directly with the Lord. The Lord would occasionally test them, Himself, as he had when he asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac but then, at the last moment, stayed Abraham’s hand. When searching for answers, Jacob didn’t wrestle in his sleep with the devil as Christ had in the wilderness of Judea. Rather than being tempted by Satan with doubt, Jacob, in searching for answers, wrestled directly with God. Appeasement to God, not sin, was the issue. The devil was scarcely even mentioned during this period. When misfortune befell the patriarchs, it was not because they had been tempted to sin by Satan but because their deeds were not pleasing to God. With the writing of Job by an unknown Hebrew author, Satan, the Tempter, after lying dormant for centuries, returned once more to influence man’s destiny, but this time to also tempt God.
As the patriarch Abraham, Job had kept his covenant with the Lord and had been a perfect servant, and yet he was struck down by Satan, not the Lord, after receiving permission by God. Satan was certain that, like many of the fair-weather tribal leaders before him, this rich patriarch would crumble under pressure and curse God. Yet Job, in spite of his adversity, proved to be a sure bet for the Lord.
A group of friends came with Job’s wife to mourn with and comfort him, sitting beside him for seven days and nights as he suffered Satan’s tests. After Job had lost everything, including the deaths of his children and household servants, he rent his clothes and poured ashes over his head. When this failed to affect Job’s faith, Satan asked, and was given permission, to afflict him personally with painful boils. As he sat, half mad with grief and wracked with pain, however, he spurned his wife’s advice to curse God. He couldn’t agree with his friends who were certain that he must have offended God grievously to be treated this way.
In response to everyone’s advice and logic, Job replied “the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job: 1:21). After seeing his suffering and hearing his righteous lamentations, God, having won his wager with Satan, returned Job’s wealth tenfold, multiplied his children, and blessed his righteousness before all men.
In spite of its apparent great antiquity, the book of Job, as it fell in the chronology of scriptures, marked Satan’s high water mark in earthly power but also his limitations over mankind. The Lord had personally, on equal terms, sought the devil out to test His servant Job. Though Satan was allowed to inflict great hardships upon him, he could not take his life. Everything he did was dependent upon God’s will. God, not the devil, had ultimately been responsible for Job’s misfortune. The tribulations inflicted by Satan had been necessary to prove Job’s perfection when put to the test. From this point on, the devil’s power was limited to his ability to tempt, most often from the sidelines, mortal men. The Old Testament prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah placed great stress upon man’s struggle with the devil. Daniel’s bizarre visions were, in fact, the first glimpse of the Apocalypse in which Satan would, during the Great Tribulation, reign openly on Earth, testing, on the Lord’s behalf, all of mankind.
From Cain’s murder of Abel through constant battles for souls in the Age of Prophecy and then the time of Christ, God tacitly allows the devil to have influence in men and women’s lives, even to tempt Jesus when the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to test his faith. In spite, and also because, of the current secular age, which tends to make fun of the belief of God as well as Satan, that same power is stronger than ever today.
The Many Faces of Satan
In the words of Saint Jude, “Satan is kept in darkness and is bound with everlasting chains.” Yet these chains, which may be symbolic constraints placed upon him by God, do not prevent him from appearing and reappearing throughout history, often using his cohorts topside to control the affairs of men. Often in disguise, hidden completely, lurking in the shadows, or appearing in men and women’s dreams, the world is nevertheless under his control, as Jesus Christ and his Apostles claim, allowing Satan to lead sinners astray through temptation, enchantment, and guile.
In both secular and sacred literature Satan often appears as an angel of light, deceiving sinners from his real nature, which, after his true self is revealed, often turns into a horned, fork carrying fiend—a product of Greek mythology and Medieval myth.2 These extremes are but two of the countless manifestations and interpretations of the arch enemy of God. With his ability to shape-shift, he or perhaps more accurately it is in reality an amorphous being, who can appear in any gender, age or form. As the Tempter or Temptress, he makes sin appear irresistible. This, of course, is the compulsion that mortals feel when confronting temptation. Whether it be out of curiosity, as Eve’s yearning for forbidden fruit, or the basic greed, jealousy, and hate of men and women, the knowledge of good and evil instilled that first day is the same. Sometimes writers would have us believe, as the Enchanter or Enchantress, Satan lures us by his or her very nature to commit sin. Instead of a mere voice in our head or unseen compulsion, the devil comes in the flesh. A beautiful vixen, handsome stranger or innocent-looking child may act as an intermediary for Satan’s designs, unless the devil appears in disguise, himself. As the Comforter, he may even pretend to offer better solutions than the troubling ones lying before one’s path, appearing as a kindly looking old man or woman or someone held dear in the sinner’s past. But he, she or it is no less the devil in these innocuous shapes. The greatest trick of the devil, of course, is to make us believe he doesn’t exist.
Since the devil has so many disguises, it’s no wonder that there are so many names and titles for him, especially in the New Testament, where Jesus and his Apostles constantly remind their listeners who is the chief cause of sin. It will be noted that students of the Bible have crammed countless books and web sites full of nicknames and allegories for Satan, many of which are beyond the scope of this work. Within the list of actual names and nicknames of Satan, there have been placed by well meaning theologians, characters which are more properly thought of as demons. Among this group are many of the “devils” which had once been local Canaanite gods. In other cases, it will also be noted, interpreters of scripture have used allegorical expressions to personify the devil, most of which were the poetic expressions from the Apostles and Jesus Christ, Himself.
The most famous name of the architect or evil, Satan, did not appear until late in Old Testament history and was popularized in the New Testament. The original name satan or satanas was a Greek translation of the original Hebrew sathanes, meaning the accuser, the adversary, or the opponent. In original usage, “the satan” was the adversary, not of God, but of mankind and the angel charged by God with the task of proving, through temptation enchantment, and guile that mankind is unworthy of the Lord’s creation. In the Book of Job, Satan, whose name is finally capitalized, is portrayed as a formidable, almost respectable, opponent of God. Near the end of the Old Testament, Zechariah, the greatest of the prophets ministering to the chosen people during restoration of the temple after Babylonian Exile, foreshadowed the tone New Testament writers would take toward Satan as the personal adversary of God and tempter of mankind.
1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” (Zechariah 3: 1-2)
By the time John the Baptist tied both testaments together neatly with the exhortation “Behold the Lamb of God,” Satan had evolved into a personality that would be recognizable to a modern day minister or priest. The continuity for the Lamb, however, did not run quite as smoothly for the goat. The great void between Job and Zechariah, in which Satan is alluded to as the serpent, Lucifer, the Leviathan, and the satan, make the preceding passage by Zechariah especially important. The devil had socially evolved into a complex, insidious fiend. After his personal conflict in the wilderness, Jesus Christ, Himself, through his Apostles, became relentless in his warnings about Satan for both contemporary and End Times. Satan was a personal enemy to all mankind, even to his disciples, one of whom betrayed Jesus after falling victim to his wiles.
26 And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, “That thou doest, do quickly.” (John 13:26-27)
Job 1: 6-12, 2: 1-7; Matthew 4: 10, 12: 26, 16: 23; Mark 1: 13, 3: 23, 26, 4:15, 8:33; Luke 10:18, 11:18, 13:16, 22:3,
31; John 13:21-25, Acts 5:3, 26:18, Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 5:5, 7:5; 2 Corinthians 2:11, 11:14, 12:7,
1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Thessalonians 2-9; 1 Timothy 2:20, 5:15; and Revelation 2:9, 13, 24, 3-9, 12-9, 20:2, 7.
The Devil 2
In the Greek New Testament the Hebrew word Satan is also translated into the Greek word diabolos, which most commonly is translated into English as “the devil.” The first occurrences of the word devil as a general concept, however, are in Leviticus 17:7 and 2 Chronicles 11:15, in which Moses is referring to foreign gods, who were collectively evil, but not yet the Satan tormenting Job. Although, during the time of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had treated foreign gods as equals, this attitude changed drastically after the Exodus when the Israelites claimed the Promised Land. Moses, the law giver and the self-righteous judges of Israel, who followed him, were scandalized by the horrors of pagan worship. As a result of their demotion of all foreign deities to the category of devils, this general term had a plural meaning during this period.
And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute forever unto them throughout their generations. (Leviticus 17:7)
And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.” (2 Chronicles 11:15)
Throughout the New Testament, this word is used both personally, as in the letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians, and generally by Christ during an exorcism of a demon-possessed man.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6: 11-12)
And Jesus asked him, saying, “What is thy name?” And he said, “Legion: because many devils were entered into him.” (Luke 8:30)
Additional References to the Devil
Matthew 4:5, 8, 11, 13:39, 25:41; Luke 4:2-3, 5, 9, 13, 8:12; John 8:44, 13:2; Acts 10:38, 13:10; Ephesians 4:27, 6-11; 1 Timothy 3:6-7, 2, 2:26, Hebrews 2:14; James 3:15, 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 3:8, 10; Jude 9; Revelation 2:10, 12-9, 20: 2, 10.
This word for Satan or the devil, which is often used in a general sense too, is the most basic of Satan’s names, for it clearly defines his nature seen in the Garden of Eden as the cause of the original sin. In deed, Eve, herself, was as the serpent, a tempter, after tempting Adam. It is in the first book of the New Testament that this word can be capitalized to denote an actual character. Beginning as a mere verb in the first sentence of Saint Matthews account of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness, it quickly becomes a noun. Note also that the three most important names listed so far for this Biblical character are used by the Lord, who knew him best: the tempter, the devil, and Satan.
1 Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil... 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” 7 Jesus said unto him, “It is written again, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’” 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.’” (Matthew 4: 3-10)
Additional Reference to the Tempter
1 Thessalonians 3:5.
Lucifer makes his appearance in the fourteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Isaiah, at the twelfth verse, and nowhere else. The problem with this passage, as pointed out earlier, is that Lucifer is a Latin name. Lucifer, it might be recalled, was the name given by Roman astronomers to the morning star (the star we now know as Venus, the Roman goddess of love). This morning star appears in the sky just before dawn, heralding the new day. The name Lucifer is actually derived from the Latin term lucem ferre or bringer, or bearer, of light. As explained earlier, Satan’s pride led him to challenge God, at which time he was cast from heaven to earth where he still abides.
“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!” (Isaiah 14:12)
The serpent is the most obvious allegorical expression of Satan, the fallen cherub. Outside of the episode in the Garden of Eden already covered, the Bible gives various general expressions of the serpent’s natural evil, cunning, untrustworthiness, and also danger to unsuspecting souls, but this name does not reappear as an appellative for the devil until we are reminded by Saint Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:3 of the original story of the Tempter:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
In Revelation, covered subsequently, this important appellative is used in conjunction with the title dragon, referred to also by the Revelator as “that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan,” but Paul is speaking of the youthful serpent, recently cast out of heaven in his concern that members of the new faith would succumb to the same temptation as Eve. Paul understands most clearly the central theme of the serpent in scriptures as the devil whose purpose it is to corrupt mankind, competing with the Lord at every turn in His mission to redeem mankind.
Additional References to the Serpent
Genesis 3:1-2, 4, 13-14, Isaiah 27:1, Revelation 12: 9, 14-15, and 20: 2.
Though used in a general sense throughout the Bible as a word for someone who is worthless, reckless, and lawless, this appellative for Satan used by Saint Paul, is one of the most important characterizations of the devil in the Bible. Belial is compared to Christ as the prince of darkness against the prince of light, respectively, and as the ultimate incarnation of evil to be reckoned with on earth.
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? ...(2 Corinthians 6: 14-15.
Other than the three main demons mentioned in the Old and New Testament—Abaddon, Beelzebub, and Leviathan, there are in fact scores of fallen angels in demonology lists who allegedly served Satan in heaven before their collective fall. Most of them appeared to have been foreign gods that had been turned into devils by the Israelites soon after Joshua and the twelve tribes reclaimed the Promised Land. A representative sampling of those demons with at least a Hebraic tradition have been included at the end of this section. Many of the remaining “devil gods,” however, are not from Judeo-Christian tradition at all but have been extrapolated by demonologists from the works of John Milton, HP Lovecraft, and Johann Wier’s Pseudomanarchia Daemonum, and, in many cases, are aberrations of the black arts.
Due to his status as “the angel in the bottomless pit,” this demon, who is second only to Satan in his importance for the Christian concept of hell, is often mistaken as another incarnation of Satan, himself, but was, in fact, born from both Greek and Hebrew legend long before arriving in Saint John the Divine’s pen. Outside of the single passage written by John in the Book of Revelation, this important servant of the devil is mentioned by name only one more time in the Apocryphal writings of Saint Thomas and yet, because of the frightening words of the Revelator, the passage brings to mind frightening images of Dante’s inferno and Medieval Christian hell.
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. (Revelation 9:11)
Though referred to by demonologists as King of the Cricket Demons, Abaddon’s true form was originally that of a serpent. Apollo-Python was the original serpent deity in the Pit of the Delphi oracle. This god was the solar god of the heaven during the day, and the lord of death in the underworld at night. In his evolution, came the inspiration for Dante Alighieri and John Milton’s visions of hell. In Hebraic lore he became, under Greek influence, Apollyon, the “Spirit of the Pit and also Abaton or Abbadon, which was the Greek and Hebrew words, respectively, for pit. Later this general word, not only became synonymous with the Christian hell, but as the actual name of its gate master, Abaddon or Apollyon, the angel of the bottomless pit.
Beelzebub ~ Prince of the Devils
This demon, whom the Pharisees blamed for Jesus miracles, is also referred to as “lord of the flies,” but was originally known as Baal-Zebub, a Canaanite god. Apart from his place in demonology, which is influenced by the Apocrypha as will as the Cabal, he has come to be identified erroneously, as with Abaddon, with Satan, himself. One particular passage, frequently quoted, is used often to make the connection.
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” (Matthew 12: 24)
The term demon and devil were used interchangeably by Biblical writers during Old and New Testament times. More likely seen as a chief demon by the priests, Beelzebub suffered the same fate of other local deities after the return of the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. During the Satanic Mass, Jesus was denied in Beelzebub’s name, and at witches’ Sabbaths Beelzebub became the master of all rites. In spite of his vilification, this god had been consorted by Israelite Kings during the Prophetic Age. When King Ahaziah was ill, he instructed his messenger “Go enquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover of the disease.” (2 Kings 1:2)
Additional References To Beelzebub
Matthew 10:25, 27; Mark 3:22; and Luke 11:15, 18-19
The Leviathan ~ The Great Sea Monster
According to Hebrew tradition, the great sea monster, the Leviathan, who existed from the fifth day of creation, represented the forces of chaos harnessed by God. In spite of his record in demonology as the prince of liars, master of the ocean, and king of beasts, later Hebrew tradition has him vanquished in a battle with the archangel Gabriel, after which a tent is made of the monster’s skin in which a banquet will be held for the Messiah. The root meaning of the word leviathan can be translated from Hebrew to mean twisted or coiled. One famous passage of Isaiah, who may have been referring prophetically to the fall of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires, carries an apocalyptic ring to it because of its allusion to the dragon, one of Satan’s names during the End times in the Book of Revelation.
“In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” (Isaiah 27:1)
Additional References to the Leviathan
The following selection of lesser archdemons found in Hebraic tradition, includes Asmodeus, who many Protestant and Roman Catholic theologians feel is an appellation for Abaddon or Apollyon.
Belfagor: Moabite deity (Baal-Peor) personified as a beautiful young girl, originally
worshipped by the Israelites.
Dagon: Originally a Semitic god from ancient Ur, adopted by the Philistines and
portrayed as half man and half fish. (Samuel 5: 1-7.)
Sephiroth: Ammonite god, identified with Moloch, translated as “King.” This god
demanded sacrifice of firstborn by fire to avert disaster for the community.
Sammael: Originally a Hebrew god, an angel of death personified as a serpent,
playing the role of accuser, seducer, and destroyer, as Satan, himself.
Asmodeus: The Destroyer, from the Apocrypha Book of Tobit (iii, 8), often
correlated to Persian myth but more likely another name for Abbadon.
Nicknames for Satan
Nicknames for Satan, both allegorical and clear-cut, are numerous in the New Testament. To his circle of disciples, the Apostle Peter, who offered two such epithets, counseled, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Saint Paul and Saint John both had pet names for the Tempter, too, but most of the nicknames for Satan came from the Jesus Christ, Himself, who sometimes used two or three epithets for the devil in the same passage. The following list covers most but not all of the most important of Satan’s nicknames, including significant passages in which the they occur.
This allegorical nickname for Satan was used exclusively by Saint Paul. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 the great missionary writes “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
What does this mean? Why would Paul give the devil such an exalted title? Is he really calling Satan a god?
It has already been established that the devil has a great deal of control in this world. In what on the surface strikes many Bible readers as enigmatic, however, is the notion that Satan is called a god by the learned Paul. On closer inspection of the missionary’s total perspective are other passages that clarify his position. It’s true, of course, that Satan is a prince of this world, which is another expression given by Saint John for the devil, but it was Christ who came to deliver us from this evil world. But there is, as there was in the time of Paul, another layer to the world ruled by Satan and his minions: a world of moral rebellion against God, which the apostle meant when he referred to Satan as a god.
Most of the world does not knowingly worship Satan, but, as in Bible times recognize by Christ and his Apostles, men and women are filled with self-love and worship worldly urges and goods. By blinding the minds of unbelievers, Satan, as the god of this nether world, works against Gods plan. Christ, on the other hand, the God of Earth, everlasting, as written by Paul, “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” (Galatians 1:4)
The Prince of this World
For Christ and His Apostles and Christian ministers and priests down through the ages, Satan was and is the evil one, who is ultimately responsible for deliberate evil in the world. According to Jesus, through the pen of the Apostle John, Satan is the Prince of this World, ruling the world system of politics, business, and society, until the day of judgment when he shall be cast out.
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.... Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (John 12: 31 and 14:30)
Not only is Satan called the prince of this world but he is also the prince of the power of the air, ruling over all the demonic hosts (the fallen angels) who operate in that “other world,” working against God's plan. To the Christians at Ephesus, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Ephesians 2:2)
When the Disciples were commissioned by Jesus to preach the word, Jesus gave Satan yet another name as he sent them on their way: “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)
The Wicked One
Once again, this time in Saint Matthew’s Gospel, Christ, with a veiled prophecy of the End Times, refers to Satan as the enemy and this time gives three different names for the devil to press his point:
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. (Matthew 13: 38-40)
The Thief and the Wolf
Jesus gave one of his most important parables in the temple in Jerusalem, that of the Good Shepherd in which he alluded to the devil as both a thief and as wolf:
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. (John 10: 10-12)
A Murderer and the Father of Lies
To a crowd of idlers in the temple, Jesus rebuked them with two more names for the devil: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)
It was, of course, the Revelator, who first referred to Satan as the Accuser of the Brethren, knowing all too well of a believer’s frailties and temptations but knowing also that a darker time than even those of Emperor Nero would come when a great and dark tribulation would grip the world.
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.” (Revelation 12:10)
This appellation for Satan is used exclusively in the Apocalypse of Saint John, the Devine, and yet, before turning to future events, the Revelator recounts the war between God and Satan and the devil’s expulsion, with his angels, from heaven. This time four of the chief names for the Tempter are given in only a few passages: the Dragon, the Devil, the Old Serpent, and Satan. Saint John, the Devine, like Jesus, understood the complex and many faceted nature of Satan.
7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 8 And they 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. (Revelation 12:7-9)
The previous names of Satan covered in this passage, had denoted throughout the scriptures both a general faith tester for God and a personal adversary to man. In the Book of Revelation, if we are to believe the doomsday forecaster, John paints a frightening picture for the future, not of the past or present, but of the dragon persecuting the faithful during the End Times:
12 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. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child .... 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelations 12:12-13, and 17)
Following the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation, both the Antichrist and the False prophet are introduced as the first and second beast. Briefly summarized, the False Prophet who prepares the new world church, is equivalent to an antipope or evil messiah, in that he serves the religious portion of an evil trinity, in which the Antichrist stands on the secular side while Satan, the dragon, stands in the center, the inspiration for the former and the power behind the latter’s throne. The antecedents preceding the rise of this trinity--the nation of Israel, a united Europe and a moral and religious climate conducive to the new world church—will already be in place before the future seven year period called by Jesus Christ “the Great Tribulation” in which faithful are tested once again by Satan, in ways reminiscent of the Nazi Holocaust for the Jews. The appearance of two witnesses warning the world of worse things to come and the re-emergence of the Chosen People, as proselytizers of the true faith, occur during the darkest days of the End Times.
In the end, we are reminded, Christ returns to gather up the faithful before the final battle of Armageddon destroys two great armies gathered in the Middle East. European legions will rush into counter an attack by a great eastern army, who have been identified by speculators as a Chinese army or even a great horde of Muslim fanatics, crying out Jihad. Whomever this army will be, will be destroyed along with the European legions by Archangel Michael on behalf of the Lord. And then on the eve of the thousand-year reign, during Judgment, when the Antichrist, the False Prophet and their followers are thrown into the Lake of Fire, an angel, probably Michael, will come down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand,
“.... 2 and he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 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.” (Revelation 20: 2-3)
Satan’s Place At the End Times
The prophets of the Old Testament and the authors of the New Testament are concerned with both the present and future of Satan—the devil’s reign on earth. Isaiah and Ezekiel’s fears of the devil, along with the promise of the Messiah, are reflected in the Gospels, but this dread of Satan is expressed most acutely in the Book of Revelation. The continuity of both testaments, embodied in John the Baptist’s exhortation “behold the Lamb of God,” can also be seen by the pervasive and growing antithesis to Jesus: Satan. From his fall from grace, through his humiliation in the Garden of Eden, until his defeat during Christ’s resurrection, when the Lord conquered death by his blood to overcame original sin, whereby mankind would not suffer Adam and Eve’s fate, it appeared as if Satan faced one defeat after another. And yet Christ, Himself, warned the world of a latter day when the devil would have greater powers. The Apostles, who were normally concerned with a present, ongoing devil, often cited Christ’s words verbatim, which had been influenced heavily by the prophets of the Old Testament. The continuity between the Old and New Testaments on this subject carries, in itself, a prophetic ring of truth.
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines, pestilence, and earthquakes in divers places. (Isaiah 19:2, Mark 13:8 and Luke 21:10)
“When yet therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place. Whosover readeth, let him understand…” (Daniel 9:27, 12:11 and Mark 13:14)
“For then shall be a great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Daniel 12:1 and Mark 13:19)
“Immediately after the tribulation shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be taken…” (Isaiah 13:10, Mark 13:25 and Luke 21:26)
Apocalyptic literature, which primarily includes the book of Revelations and Daniel, are concerned with what Satan will be doing in the future. Though neither book clearly states this goal and, in fact, are cloaked in bizarre symbolism that can be interpreted various ways, they have become the bedrock of a generation of doomsday literature known as eschatology (the study of the End Times or Last Days preceding the Final Judgment.) Central to Apocalyptic literature is, of course, the devil, who, after his war in heaven and corruption of Eve in the Garden of Eden, fell from Heavenly grace—from God’s favorite archangel into the boogie-man and archfiend of literature and Biblical tradition. Briefly stated now, because of the Satan’s successful corruption of most of mankind, a countdown to doomsday has already begun because of several historical events, including the rise of the state of Israel, the European union, and the many indicators of religious and moral decay in the world. At the forefront of this great age, is the chief antagonist, the author of evil, who deserves a volume all to himself.
After all things are considered, regardless of whether you accept a literal or dynamic interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, you must admit that Satan is arguably among the most important characters in the Bible, second, perhaps, to only Christ by virtue of his impact on Judeo-Christian, Mormon, and Islamic thought. To deny his existence, is in the minds of conservative Christian theologians and scholars of the Talmud and Koran tantamount to denying the existence of God, Himself. This shadowy character, who is mentioned by many different names throughout the Bible, is, after all, the faith-tester of God and central to the doctrine of original sin. In the mind’s of conservative Christians, Mormons, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims, he continues to be a living force—the opponent of God, of believers, and all that is right and good.
It is to all faiths struggling with this dark force that this book is dedicated. The words of the greatest seer and prophet of them all, Our Lord Jesus, outlines the Satanic age ahead of us best—that greatest of testing grounds for believers and non-believers alike:
21 For then shall be a great tribulation, such as was
not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there
should be no flesh saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be
shortened. 23 Then if any man shall say
unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false
prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were
possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 27 For as the lightening cometh out of the east, and
shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
(Matthew 24: 21)
2 The stereotype image of the devil, with cloven hoofs and horned head, was borrowed by Medieval Christian clerics from Greek mythology. After replacing the serpent, the symbol of the devil during Bible times, the goat-like satyr, whom the Greeks called Pan, remained the most popular image of Satan in both Medieval and modern literature.