The Egyptian Background of the Exodus

MoshehThis is a project I am working on regarding the Egyptian setting of the Exodus; this is a section in which I explained the naming of Mosheh (AS). I had to make a screenshot since WordPress has no Hieroglyphic formating.

This is still in the rough draft stage, so pardon any mistakes in grammar.

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The Aramean of Deuteronomy 26:5

You shall then recite as follows before YHWH your God: “My father was a perishing [אבד-oveid] Aramean. He went down to Egypt with meager numbers and sojourned there; but there he became a great and very populous nation. Deuteronomy 26:5

There has been, over the centuries, much speculation over the meaning of this command- which has to do with the offering of the firstfruits once the Land of Israel was taken as a possession. Most Rabbinical authorities speculated that the meaning of perishing [oveid], in the above text, referred to the act of Laban- under whom Jacob served for more than 20 years for his two wives, children, and flocks. One of the more famous Rabbis explained this as follows:

ארמי אבד אבי. מַזְכִּיר חַסְדֵּי הַמָּקוֹם, אֲרַמִּי אֹבֵד אָבִי — לָבָן בִּקֵּשׁ לַעֲקוֹר אֶת הַכֹּל כְּשֶׁרָדַף אַחַר יַעֲקֹב, וּבִשְׁבִיל שֶׁחָשַׁב לַעֲשׂוֹת חָשַׁב לוֹ הַמָּקוֹם כְּאִלּוּ עָשָׂה, שֶׁאֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם חוֹשֵׁב לָהֶם הַקָּבָּ”ה מַחֲשָׁבָה כְּמַעֲשֶׂה (עי’ ספרי):ארמי אבד אבי

A SYRIAN DESTROYED MY FATHER — He mentions the loving kindness of the Omnipresent saying, ארמי אבד אבי, a Syrian destroyed my father, which means: “Laban wished to exterminate the whole nation” (cf. the Haggadah for Passover) when he pursued Jacob. Because he intended to do it the Omnipresent accounted it unto him as though he had actually done it (and therefore the expression אבד which refers to the past is used), for as far as the nations of the world are concerned the Holy One, blessed be He, accounts unto them intention as an actual deed (cf. Sifrei Devarim 301:3; Onkelos). [1]

This commentary, in reality, had nothing to do with the context, the Text, nor with the story of Jacob’s service to Laban and his journey into Egypt; this is, in reality, nothing more than a jab at the Aramean by Rashi.

The lands of Aram stretched from the eastern border of Israel to the Zagros mountains in the East. Aram was the dominant son of Shem- the only one worthy to have lineage mentioned in Torah- aside Arfaksad from whom the Israelites descended. Aram was such a dominant family that Nahor, Avraham’s brother, named his sons after Aram and his son Uts. Since Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not a nation, until the birth of the Nation of Israel, it seems natural that Abraham and his sons would have been considered Arami- just like his brother’s family. Jacob, the Aramean, was indeed perishing- there was a famine in the land which caused him to send his sons to Egypt- setting up the events of the Exodus.

For this reason, we were commanded to remember this when we deliver our first-fruits. A miracle from start to finish.

וַיַּ֣רְא יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב כִּ֥י יֶשׁ־שֶׁ֖בֶר בְּמִצְרָ֑יִם וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יַֽעֲקֹב֙ לְבָנָ֔יו לָ֖מָּה תִּתְרָאֽוּ׃

וַיֹּ֕אמֶר הִנֵּ֣ה שָׁמַ֔עְתִּי כִּ֥י יֶשׁ־שֶׁ֖בֶר בְּמִצְרָ֑יִם רְדוּ־שָׁ֨מָּה֙ וְשִׁבְרוּ־לָ֣נוּ מִשָּׁ֔ם וְנִֽחְיֶ֖ה וְלֹ֥א נָמֽוּת׃

The idea of the participle, Oveid [אבד], carried the same meaning in Arami Oveid as is used among the Arabs when referring to the vanishing/perishing tribes of Ancient Arabs of Qahtan (Yoktan)- [العرب البائدة] al-Arab al-Ba-idat (a participle). The alef in the Arabic is a metathesis- which happened in many North Semitic to South Semitic roots.

Laban was the uncle of Jacob, the brother of Rebekka, Jacob’s mother. He was from the same paternal line as Abraham- neither were descended from Aram, but were from Arfaksad, the brother of Aram. Although Laban tricked Jacob into working longer than Jacob planned, he never sought to harm Jacob.

The passage above referred to an event, long after the time Jacob left the service of Laban- just after Joseph was sold to Egypt as a slave. There was a famine in the Levant and there was no food in Canaan. Jacob, seeing his remaining sons idle, asked:

Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do you look one upon another? And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: go down there and buy for us from there; [that we may live, and not die]. And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him. And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. Genesis 42:1-5 brackets are mine for emphasis.

It was this event which prompted the children of Jacob to enter Egypt and which fulfilled the dream Joseph had- that his family would serve him. This was also the beginning of the prophecy God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 15- that his children would serve a nation for 400 years and return to Canaan in the 4th generation. Basically, this was the event which led to the miracle of the Passover and Exodus story.

This commandment, which demanded we speak these words when we offered the firstfruits, was intended that we remember the fulfillment of God’s promises, prophetic fulfillment, and the miracle of the Passover. Jacob, the Aramean, was not wandering astray, nor was he being pursued by an Aramean who wanted to destroy him; on the contrary, Jacob, the Aramean, was in danger of starvation and the annihilation of his family.

 

 

  1. Sefaria. https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.26.5?lang=bi&p2=Rashi_on_Deuteronomy.26.5.2&lang2=bi
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Meat and Milk- Is It Really a Matter of Kashruth?

Most Jews- Conservative, Liberal, and Orthodox- avoid eating dairy and meat products together; depending on how strictly they wish to observe the Kashruth, some will have separate utensils. This all stems from three commandments found in the Torah:

רֵאשִׁ֗ית בִּכּוּרֵי֙ אַדְמָ֣תְךָ֔ תָּבִ֕יא בֵּ֖ית יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ לֹֽא־תְבַשֵּׁ֥ל גְּדִ֖י בַּחֲלֵ֥ב אִמֹּֽו׃

The first of the first-fruits of your ground shall you bring [to] the house of YHWH your Deity; you shall not [boil?] a kid in the milk of its mother. Exodus 23:19

רֵאשִׁ֗ית בִּכּוּרֵי֙ אַדְמָ֣תְךָ֔ תָּבִ֕יא בֵּ֖ית יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ לֹא־תְבַשֵּׁ֥ל גְּדִ֖י בַּחֲלֵ֥ב אִמֹּֽו׃

The first of the first-fruits of your ground shall you bring [to] the house of YHWH your Deity; you shall not [boil?] a kid in the milk of its mother. Exodus 34:26

and finally

לֹ֣א תֹאכְל֣וּ כָל־֠נְבֵלָה לַגֵּ֨ר אֲשֶׁר־בִּשְׁעָרֶ֜יךָ תִּתְּנֶ֣נָּה וַאֲכָלָ֗הּ אֹ֤ו מָכֹר֙ לְנָכְרִ֔י כִּ֣י עַ֤ם קָדֹושׁ֙ אַתָּ֔ה לַיהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ לֹֽא־תְבַשֵּׁ֥ל גְּדִ֖י בַּחֲלֵ֥ב אִמֹּֽו׃

You shall not eat any carcass- to the ger which is in your gates you shall give it and he shall eat it, or sell it to a foreigner- for you are a sacred people to YHWH your Deity; you shall not [boil?] a kid in the milk of its mother. Deuteronomy 14:21

There is a running joke among Rabbinic Jews when commenting upon these verses; it goes something like:

G-d: And remember Moses, in the laws of keeping Kosher, never cook a calf in its mother’s milk. It is cruel.
Moses: Ohhhhhh! So you are saying we should never eat milk and meat together.

G-d: No, what I’m saying is, never cook a calf in its mother’s milk.
Moses: Oh, Lord forgive my ignorance! What you are really saying is we should wait six hours after eating meat to eat milk so the two are not in our stomachs.

G-d: No, Moses, what I’m saying is, never cook a calf in it’s mother’s milk!!!
Moses: Oh, Lord! Please don’t strike me down for my stupidity! What you mean is we should have a separate set of dishes for milk and a separate set for meat and if we make a mistake we have to bury that dish outside…

G-d: Moses, do whatever you want….[1]

All jokes aside, when considering the context in which these verses are found, it is interesting to note that in all cases, they were no more than a verse before or in the same verse with the offering of the tithes and the first-fruits. Context should be the first priority in understanding difficult passages.

Rabbi Joseph ben Isaac, a 12th century Rabbi of Orlean, France, believed that the phrase as its classically understood is a mistranslation. In Bekhor Shor he wrote:
לפי הפשט, “בישול” לשון גידול וגמר, כמו “הבשילו אשכלותיה ענבים.” והכי קאמר: לא תניחנו לגדל ולגמול בחלב אמו, שתאחרנו עד שתגדלנו האם בחלבה, אלא בראשית תביאנו, דומיית תחילת הפסוק שאמר: “ראשית בכורי אדמת

According to the plain meaning, the term “bishul” here means grow or complete, as it is used [Gen. 40:10)]: “its clusters ripened (הבשילו) into grapes.” This is what the verse is saying: do not allow it to grow up and be weaned from its mothers milk. [In other words, do not] wait until [the kid]’s mother grows it with her milk, rather bring it at the beginning. This fits with the context of the first part of the verse, “the choice first fruit of the ground.” [2]

The verb was written תבשׁל and vocalized by the Masoretes as תְבַּשֵׁל – a pi’el, but could actually be vocalized as תַבְשֵׁל which is hiphil defective imperfect.

Most detractors of this interpretation point to Rabbi Isaac’s commentary on the same passage in Deuteronomy where he stated that the commandment was, indeed, concerning forbidden foods- completely reversing his former comment in Exodus. According to his opinion in the passage in Deuteronomy, it was in light of how the verse seemed to be connected with the preceding verses. However, on close examination, one can notice that this, again, is merely a traditional break provided by the Masoretes- who could have been moved by a traditional understanding of that verse in the 9th century when the Masoretic Text was prepared. In the MT, at the end of verse 21, there is an open space- which is signified by the Hebrew letter Peh and indicated the next verse began on a new line. This seemed to link the final clause with verse 21. The Masoretes were the ones who pointed the Text, and it was from them that the sof pasuq originated- meaning they decided where each verse began or ended [3]. In both of the prior two passages, this clause was clearly written in the context of the bringing of the first fruits- in this context, the clause was the opening of the bringing of the tithes of the land. In light of this, it is a fair assumption that the Masoretes, as was their custom, followed traditional understanding and practices when preparing their Text.

According to Torah, the young only need be with the milk of its mother seven days before being offered-hardly enough time to be weaned.

שֹׁ֣ור אֹו־כֶ֤שֶׂב אֹו־עֵז֙ כִּ֣י יִוָּלֵ֔ד וְהָיָ֛ה שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִ֖ים תַּ֣חַת אִמֹּ֑ו וּמִיֹּ֤ום הַשְּׁמִינִי֙ וָהָ֔לְאָה יֵרָצֶ֕ה לְקָרְבַּ֥ן אִשֶּׁ֖ה לַיהוָֽה׃

When an ox, or lamb, or goat is born, and when it has been seven days under its mother, then from the eighth day and onward it is acceptable for an offering, a fire-offering to YHWH. Leviticus 22:27

The phrase לא תבשל גדי בחלב אמו might not have had anything to do with boiling or cooking- even less to do with eating. The verb B-SH-L carried a meaning of ripening; when considering how a plant ripens its fruit- by causing the fluid to cease flowing into it. The phrase could indicate a period in which the kid is brought to weaning from the mother’s milk. The meaning would be that at the time the firstborn are born, they were to be consecrated and handed over- weaned or not.

Consider the following

כִּֽי־לִפְנֵי קָצִיר כְּתָם־פֶּרַח וּבֹסֶר גֹּמֵל יִֽהְיֶה נִצָּה וְכָרַת הַזַּלְזַלִּים בַּמַּזְמֵרוֹת וְאֶת־הַנְּטִישׁוֹת הֵסִיר הֵתַֽז׃

For before the harvest, when the blossom is past, and the bud is ripening [gomeil] into young grapes, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches. Isaiah 18:5

and

וּבַגֶּפֶן שְׁלֹשָׁה שָֽׂרִיגִם וְהִוא כְפֹרַחַת עָֽלְתָה נִצָּהּ הִבְשִׁילוּ אַשְׁכְּלֹתֶיהָ עֲנָבִֽים׃

And in the vine were three branches; and it was as though it budded, and its blossoms shot forth [hivshilu]; and its clusters brought forth ripe grapes. Genesis40:10

In these two, speaking of plants coming to ripeness, there are verbs for weaning G-M-L and ripening B-Sh-L. The former is a pa’al active participle and the latter a hiphil perfect.

The shoresh carried the meaning of ripening as well as to boil. The piel- so it seemed- meant to boil, cook. The hiphil has a meaning of ripening. However, there are instances where the hiphil– written defective (with Tsere instead of the normal medial Yod)- resembled a pa’al or pi’el in the imperfect.

In every place the mitswah concerning the gedi appeared, it was in close relation- a pasuq before or after- to the giving of the bikhorim [first-fruits].

Concerning the giving of the bikhorim we are warned not to delay:

מְלֵאָתְךָ֥ וְדִמְעֲךָ֖ לֹ֣א תְאַחֵ֑ר בְּכֹ֥ור בָּנֶ֖יךָ תִּתֶּנ־לִּֽי׃ כֵּֽנ־תַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה לְשֹׁרְךָ֖ לְצֹאנֶ֑ךָ שִׁבְעַ֤ת יָמִים֙ יִהְיֶ֣ה עִמ־אִמֹּ֔ו בַּיֹּ֥ום הַשְּׁמִינִ֖י תִּתְּנֹו־לִֽי׃

 

There has been much discussion among the early 20th century scholars about the cache of Ugaritic tablets found at Ras Shamra and how they may lend new light to understanding vague verses of the Bible- among them is tablet UT52.14 (CTA23) in which was found a line which read- TBH.GD.BHLB

This phrase was rendered, Cook a kid in milk, by Virolleaud. Bible scholars jumped on board and declared that the Torah mitswah must have had something to do with ancient Canaanite religious practices. There are several objections which must be noted.

First: there is no mention of cooking or boiling as TBH, in Ugaritic, meant to slaughter.

Second: There is no mention of mother’s milk.

Third: the Ugaritic word divider appeared between the B and H of TBH which made any certain translation of the verb uncertain. Even if, as Virolleaud claimed, the verb is TBH, it would not mean to cook or boil. To base the meaning of the Torah’s mitswah on this partial evidence is premature- at best.

Fourth: the Ugaritic GD did not mean a kid [GDY in Hebrew]; this is the Semitic word for coriander which can be found in the Torah as well:

וְהַמָּ֕ן כִּזְרַע־גַּ֖ד ה֑וּא וְעֵינֹ֖ו כְּעֵ֥ין הַבְּדֹֽלַח׃

And the manna was like the seed of coriander [GD]; and its color was like the color of bdellium. Numbers 11:7

Lastly: Even if this was a pagan ritual, that in itself is not a sufficient reason to denounce the practice- all of the Israelite religious practices can be found in the pagan religious practices of the Near East; if the command was only to prohibit pagan practices, all forms would have been prohibited by Torah- this is not the case.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. http://kosher4passover.com/jokes.htm
  2. http://thetorah.com/meat-and-milk-origins-in-the-text/
  3. Wegner, Paul D.  The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible. Page 177. Baker Academic, 1999.
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Grammatical Plurality and Polytheism

Throughout the ancient world, there are many references to deities in the plural- Ba’alim [בעלים], Elohim [אלהים], Adonim [אדנים], etc. Most translators of ancient texts tended to make it normative to portray this as a polytheistic reference. I have been pondering the possibility that the plural in those texts may not have- always- represented polytheistic undertones.

In the Hebrew Text, there are many references to foreign deities- polytheism; the fact that the Hebrews worshiped only One Deity alone was sufficient grounds for many translators to overlook the plural usages of deity for the Deity of the Hebrews. However, there are many plural nouns used in the Hebrew Text which may suggest that those plural nouns were not always indicative of plurality, but of honored position or a high status. Further, there are clear passages in the Hebrew Text which used, in conjunction with plural nouns, plural verbs in reference to the Deity worshiped by the Hebrews; these plural noun/verb constructions demonstrate that by simple grammatical construction plurality is not always indicative.

And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander [hit’u oti Elohim-התעו אותי אלהים] from my father’s house, that I said unto her: This is thy kindness which thou shalt show unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me: He is my brother.’

JPS Genesis 20:13

And he built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el, because there God was revealed unto him [niglu elaw haelohim-נגלו אליו האלהים], when he fled from the face of his brother. JPS Genesis 35:7

And who is like Thy people, like Israel, a nation one in the earth, whom God went [haleku Elohim-הלכו אלהים] to redeem unto Himself for a people, and to make Him a name, and to do for Thy land great things and tremendous, even for you, in driving out from before Thy people, whom Thou didst redeem to Thee out of Egypt, the nations and their gods? JPS 2 Samuel 7:23

And men shall say: ‘Verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily there is a God that judgeth [elohim shoftim-אלהים שׁפטים] in the earth’ Psalm 58:12.

The plural usage of Adon is also indicative of a non-plurality in meaning. With the 1st possessive pronoun- my, the plural Adonai [אדני-literally my lords] is used exclusively for the One Deity of Israel. There are many places in which the plural Adonim [אדנים]- with the 3rd possessive pronoun [ו]- was employed to refer to one person and never meant, in any way, a plurality of person.

And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master [אדניו-adonaw] and swore to him concerning this matter. JPS Genesis 24:9

And the servant took ten camels, of the camels of his master [אדניו-adonaw], and departed; having all goodly things of his master’s [אדניו-adonaw] in his hand; and he arose, and went to Aram-naharaim, unto the city of Nahor. JPS Genesis 24:10

These two verses lead to a possibility that the vocalization of the following verse may have originally been Adonai [אֲדֹנָי] and not Adoni [אֲדֹנִי]- the spelling, minus the vocalization, is identical in either case.

And he said: ‘O LORD, the God of my master [אֲדֹנִי -adoni] Abraham, send me, I pray Thee, good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham. JPS Genesis 24:12

Even if the present vocalization is correct, this is sufficient proof to demonstrate the non-plurality of meaning in this juxtaposition.

A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master [אדניו-adonaw]; if then I be a father, where is My honour? and if I be a master [אדנים-adonim], where is My fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise My name. And ye say: ‘Wherein have we despised Thy name?’ JPS Malachi 1:6

These uses of grammatically plural nouns/verbs to indicate positions of greatness or honor demonstrate that not every usage of grammatical plurality in ancient texts may have- necessarily- held polytheistic meaning.

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Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in the Story of Job

It is the same old story which has been rehearsed time and again in various times and various places−bad things happen to good people. This seems to be the way the universe works, because there is an abundance of terrible things, terrible people, and unfortunate events which befall really good people. One of the most famous accounts of one man’s misery is the story of Job, a wholesome and straight-arrow fellow who lived in the land of Uz (The New Scofield Study Bible Job 1:1). Job was the butt end of a wager between YHWH and his henchman−Satan. Job’s suffering is full of misery and pathos and the narrative provides a great example of Aristotle’s rhetoricis triangulum: Logos, Pathos, and Ethos.

The story begins with the ethos−customary habit−of Job. He was a wholesome and straight-arrow man who went out of his way to avoid evil; he paid his dues, not only for himself, but also for his children, to the local deity: YHWH. The narrative indicates that Job also paid a little extra votive offerings for his children too−though they may have committed a crime, Job considered to himself, they may have blessed YHWH in their hearts−just for good measure (Job 1:5). It seems that this paid off, Job was one of the wealthiest persons in his neighborhood; he had seven sons, three daughters, thousands of sheep and oxen, a great household: He was the greatest of all men in the East (Job 1:3). Job had everything a man could want; he had foreign camels, the fastest horses, the hottest wife, children who lived off the fruit of his labor: not to mention the sycophantic kiss-asses who frequented his entourage. The author used Job’s credentials, his ethos, to set the scene for the coming logical discourse between YHWH and Satan, as well as the pathetic suffering which Job endured later in the narrative.

The stage was set and any reader would naturally like Job; after all, he was a great man who spread the love around with everyone he met−what’s not to like? The narrative now takes a diabolical turn; for some unexplained reason, YHWH prompted a dialogue with Satan, the ever vigilant and skillful logistes. “Have you considered my servant Job,” YHWH asked Satan; he’s a great guy, a do-gooder, avoids trouble at all costs, and very generous with his wealth (Job 1:8). Satan, the great logistes, reasoned with YHWH: Of course he’s a great guy and does all those great things; he doesn’t do this for nothing, no, no- he does this because you are protecting him from anything bad happening to him (Job 1:9-10). Logically, there had to be a test, a wager; Satan tasked YHWH to remove his hand from Job and see if he would continue to bless him to his face (Job 1:11). The author leads the reader to the reasoning behind the calamities that befall even the most righteous of men; for an Israelite, the fact that any calamity would befall the righteous violates the spirit of Israelite religion−blessing and reward are the result of being good and righteous, while the opposite is true for the wicked: The wicked receive curse and calamity. The logic of this discourse, this wager between good and evil is the subject of the dialogue between Job and his three friends who came to comfort him−all-the-while they coaxed Job to admit he had committed some crime to deserve the treatment from such a just deity as YHWH.

The passion of Job is offensive to the reader as a result of the ethos which opened the narrative. Job was a good man and did not deserve to be treated in such a cruel manner: especially for the amusement of a divine wager. Job’s children were killed, his livelihood destroyed, and his possessions looted all in the same day or perhaps the same hour. His suffering was so great that his loving and supportive wife pleaded with Job to “curse [bless] God and die” (Job 2:9). It is not enough that Job had lost so much, he also suffered physical affliction because he continued to bless YHWH−the source of the calamity. The pathos, the passion, or suffering of Job slaps the reader in the face and brings a sense of loathing to the forethought that a just and righteous deity could stoop so low as to torment this good and godly man. Yet this is exactly the reasoning, the logos, behind the structure of the narrative. Without first establishing the ethos of this good man and presenting the reader with such a cold and off-handed conversation in which Job became the butt of some cosmic joke, the passions of the reader would not have been easily stirred to sympathize with Job. “In all this, did not Job sin in what he said” (Job 2:10).

Logos is again interjected into the narrative with the arrival of Job’s dear friends who came to mourn with him and to comfort him in his misery. When they saw Job and the suffering with which he was afflicted, they quickly reasoned that Job was at fault, that YHWH was just and would not have afflicted a righteous man in such a manner as this. The narrative continues in this discourse without any sense of time; the dialogue could have been only a few hours long, or it could have progressed over days, weeks, or months. What is made evident throughout this discourse is the juxtaposition of logos contra pathos. Job continued to cling to his innocence−at frequent intervals Job accused YHWH of being cruel and evil in the torture Job received. Job never cursed YHWH, rather he cursed his own mortality and the day of his birth: Job longed for death.

Logos, pathos, and ethos are intertwined throughout the narrative of Job; the three amigos reasoned that a just deity would not afflict the righteous, Job continued as was his wont and clung to his innocence and pointed the finger at YHWH, and the reader is moved by sympathy at Job’s plight and the insensitivity of his friends−who are not able to see the big picture from the bird’s eye view of the readers who know Job is innocent and that YHWH tormented Job for no reason (2:3). The narrative builds upon this theme until the reader would nearly retire in disgust and then the climactic ending unfurls. YHWH finally interjected himself into the dialogue between Job and his three cohorts. At long last, YHWH interrupts Elihu, seemingly in mid speech, and granted an answer to the debate. Job indeed was tormented without any cause and he retained his integrity and spoke correctly concerning YHWH’s role in the calamities Job received. In the conclusion of the narrative logos, pathos and ethos are readily seen. The logical discourse YHWH held with Job as to why he suffered, and the ethos YHWH related to Job−YHWH was god great, mighty, and marvelous and he could damned-well do as he pleased with his creation. All this complimented the sympathy the reader held toward Job and also reassured the reader that although bad things may happen to good people, these people are innocent and will receive just compensation for their suffering.

The narrative of Job is famous and well read the world over and has been translated to nearly every spoken language in the world. The story, though thousands of years old, never gets dull in the reading and captivates the imagination of the reader. The author expertly wielded the tools of rhetoric and loquaciously enamors the audience to Job, while building contempt for Job’s comforters and support group. In the expert usage of rhetoric, the author succeeded in making the story of Job the pinnacle of righteous suffering to which everyone who is unjustly persecuted can relate. “The patience of Job” is all anyone need say to invoke the memory of the plight of Job. Logos, pathos, and ethos can be found in every page of the narrative which makes the story of Job an excellent tool and model for successful storytelling.

 

 

Work Cited

The New Scofield Study Bible: New International Version. Ed. C.I. Scofield. New York: The Zondervan Corporation, 1984. 506-539. Print.

 

 

Most English translations render the verse “Curse God and die!” The actual Hebrew has “Bless God and die!” This conforms to the ethos, or custom, of Job who always blessed God. This was the subject of the test Satan presented to God: “Does Job fear God for nothing?” (Job 1:9). Satan suggested that YHWH remove his protective hand from Job and see “if he will bless you to your face” (Job 1:11). In both cases, the verb is “bless” and not “curse”.

 

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The Biblical Origin of the Concept of Islam

Today, there is great tension between Muslims and Jews, between Islam and Judaism. The source of this tension is not a religious one, but a political one: one which is exacerbated by the current situation in Israel. Many believe that the religion known as Islam and its philosophy began with Muhammad in Arabia. This misunderstanding is due to a lack of understanding of what Islam means and where this concept originated. A careful study of the Hebrew scripture will show that the concept of Islam was developed among the Israelites.

Judaism is an invented name for the religion of Hebrew scripture, which only existed from the times of the Roman occupation of the Land. During the Roman occupation of the Middle East, the Romans gave the name iudaismos (Judaism) as the name of the practice and customs of the people in the land of Judea (Iudaea), the Southern part of modern day Israel; the people of Iudaea, then, were called Iudaeus or Jews. Prior to this time, there was no such thing as “Judaism”. So what was the religious term used to describe the religion of our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Peace be Upon Them עליהם השׁלום)?

The Bible did not give a name to the “religion” of the patriarchs nor of the children of Israel, however, according to the Qur’an, the religion (deen: the core beliefs) of Abraham (Peace be Upon Him עליו השׁלום) was Islam, and this was the same (deen) as all the other patriarchs. Some scholars have explained the definition of Islam as “submission.” Submission is not an accurate definition of this concept. The name Islam is from the IV verbal stem in Arabic اسلم aslama. This verb stem has a cognate relation to the Aramaic אשלים ashlim and the Hebrew השלים hashlim. All three have the same meaning: to be perfect, complete, to fulfill, to surrender, pay, to make peace etc. The concept of surrendering or handing over as payment can be established by the Arabic verses of the Bible and the Christian New Testament such as: “وَاسْلَمَ ابْرَاهِيمُ رُوحَهُ وَمَاتَ بِشَيْبَةٍ صَالِحَةٍ” [Then Abraham surrendered (aslama) his spirit and died in a good old age]; “سِمْعَانُ الْقَانَوِيُّ وَيَهُوذَا الإِسْخَرْيُوطِيُّ الَّذِي أَسْلَمَهُ.” [Simon, the one surnamed Judah Iscariot, who handed him over (aslamahu)] (The Bible Gen 28:8; New Testament Matthew 10:4). It is very likely, then, that the concept of Islam predates Muhammad as can be derived from the Tenakh (an acronym for the Hebrew Scriptures: Instruction, Prophets, and Writings).

Many believe the concept of Islam began with Muhammad ibn Abdillah, but this would be an incorrect assumption. The Qur’an made it very clear that Muhammad did not come with a new religion, but came to confirm the religion which began with Abraham (Qur’an 22:78). The Qur’an also explained that Muhammad did not innovate a new religious doctrine, “قُلْ مَا كُنْتُ بِدْعًا مِنَ الرُّسُلِ وَمَا أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلَا بِكُمْ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُبِينٌ” [“Say, ‘I am not an innovation from the messengers nor do I know what shall be done with me or with you; I only follow what is inspired to me, I am only a clear warner.”] (Qur’an 46:9). The Qur’an avows time and again that the religion (deen) that Muhammad was preaching did not originate with Muhammad, but with Abraham; this testimony demands that the concept of Islam should be easily found in the Hebrew Scriptures.

In the Torah YHWH commands: תָּמִ֣ים תִּֽהְיֶ֔ה עִ֖ם יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ׃ “you shall be perfect (tamim) with YHWH your Deity” (The Bible Deuteronomy 18:13). This is interpreted by King Solomon (עליו השׁלום) as: וְהָיָ֤ה לְבַבְכֶם֙ שָׁלֵ֔ם עִ֖ם יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ לָלֶ֧כֶת בְּחֻקָּ֛יו וְלִשְׁמֹ֥ר מִצְוֹתָ֖יו כַּיֹּ֥ום הַזֶּֽה׃ “Let your hearts be perfect (shaleim) with YHWH our Deity, to walk in His statutes and to guard His commandments as this day” (The Bible 1Kings 8:61). This provides a Textual and semantic relationship drawn between tamim and shaleim. To be tamim, one needs to have the heart shaleim with YHWH by fulfilling His commands. This is, essentially, the definition of the name Islam: to be perfect, complete, to fulfill, to surrender, pay, to make peace etc.

In the earlier passages of Torah, there are verses which draw a relationship between התהלך hithaleik and תמים tamim for example: אֵ֚לֶּה תֹּולְדֹ֣ת נֹ֔חַ נֹ֗חַ אִ֥ישׁ צַדִּ֛יק תָּמִ֥ים הָיָ֖ה בְּדֹֽרֹתָ֑יו אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים הִֽתְהַלֶּכְ־נֹֽחַ׃ “these are the generations of Noah; Noah was a perfect just man in his generation: Noah walked (hithaleik) with the God” and וַיְהִ֣י אַבְרָ֔ם בֶּנ־תִּשְׁעִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה וְתֵ֣שַׁע שָׁנִ֑ים וַיֵּרָ֨א יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־אַבְרָ֗ם וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֵלָיו֙ אֲנִי־אֵ֣ל שַׁדַּ֔י הִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ לְפָנַ֖י וֶהְיֵ֥ה תָמִֽים׃ “when Abram was ninety-nine years old, YHWH appeared to Abram  and said to him: I am El Shaddai, walk (hithaleik) before Me and be perfect (tamim)” (The Bible Genesis 6:9; 17:1). These verses prove that the concept of Islam predates Judaism: naturally, then, Muhammad could not have been the founder of Islam. In truth, Islam has always been the prescribed form of worship since the dawn of humanity.

The idea of being tamim and shaleim is equivalent to walking with YHWH, or rather walking according to the way He has prescribed. One who walks with YHWH and has his heart shaleim with YHWH by doing His will is naturally called מֻשְׁלָם mushlam. The act of being shaleim with YHWH would then be called הִשָּׁלֵם hishaleim or לִהִשָּׁלֵם lihishshaleim. In Arabic, one who does the will of Allah is called a muslim and the religion is Islam. The concepts are identical.

Melchizedek (עליו השׁלום) is called the King of Shaleim, a city which could be identified as Jerusalem Yerushalem (The Bible Genesis 14:18). This is the oldest city in the Tenakh associated with the worship of the Most High God (El Elyon- identified by Abraham as YHWH) and had an active priesthood. There are many who hold that the name Jerusalem means “city of peace” or “founded of peace”, etc. However, there is also the possibility that the name Jerusalem could derive from the combination of the pa’al imperative plural form of the verb yarah, which would be yeru, and the participle shaleim: hence Yerushaleim could mean יְרוּ שָׁלֵם Yeru Shaleim (Teach Shaleim translates as a command meaning to Teach Islam). The verb yarah is used n the hiph’il form when the Torah intends instruction—Torah is the noun form of the hiph’il meaning instruction. All this proves that the concept, if not the very name, of Islam predated the advent of Muhammad ibn Abdillah.

הִנֵּה הַדָּת עִם הָאֱלֹוהַ לִהִשָּׁלֵם הִיא Hennei hadath ‘im Eloah lihishaleim hi

إن الدين عند الله الإسلام Inna deena inda Allahi’l Islam

The true religion with God is Islam (Qur’an 3:19)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

The Holy Bible

The Holy Qur’an

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The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

וּמֵעֵ֗ץ הַדַּ֙עַת֙ טֹ֣וב וָרָ֔ע לֹ֥א תֹאכַ֖ל מִמֶּ֑נּוּ כִּ֗י בְּיֹ֛ום אֲכָלְךָ֥ מִמֶּ֖נּוּ מֹ֥ות תָּמֽוּת׃

And of the tree, the knowledge, good and evil, you shall not eat, from it; because, in the day, your eating from it, you shall certainly die.

There are many ways to look at this verse, and the solemn promised YHWH made to Adham. Some hold that it does not mean the literal day, and even suppose this is symbolic of the “day of YHWH is as a thousand years.” Adham died when he was 930, 70 years shy of the thousand years of days.

The problem I have with this interpretation is that there is no mention of any thousand-year comparison. From the time Adham was made until the time he was commanded not to eat of this tree, a day was governed by the sun. Indeed, the phrase “in the day of your eating” specifies that the death would result in the actual day that the infraction occurred. From Hawwah’s point of view, the penalty was understood to have been of an immediate nature.

Adham was told by YHWH that the result of eating of this tree would be certain death. He did eventually die, but almost a thousand years after his “day of eating.” On the other side of this paradigm, there is the serpent. This wise creature explained to Hawwah that she would not certainly die. The concern Hawwah had was that the death would be immediate, and she includes a further injunction: the injunction against approaching the tree.

The serpent explained to Hawwah that she would not die from eating the fruit of the tree, but would become like God, knowing good and evil. In all this, the serpent did not lie. In fact, YHWH later confirmed the serpent’s words that the two had indeed become like God knowing good and evil. This knowledge was what led YHWH to expel them from the garden, “lest they live forever.” The death of Adham was not caused by his eating of the tree, but by the expulsion from the garden and the denial of the right to the tree of life. YHWH explains to the heavenly court, the reason they were to be expelled was not that they had eaten from the tree, but that they had become like God, knowing good and evil, and should not then be allowed to live forever.

I find several things a bit strange in this narrative. 1) The prohibition against eating of the tree seemed to carry immediate consequences: these consequences were not immediate. 2) The serpent was punished, though he had not violated the command of YHWH.

The punishment meted out was severest to the serpent, who was cursed above all the beasts of the field. Then the woman, who along with her pain in childbirth, lost her position of equality with Adham, though she did not coerce him to also violate the command. Adham, who knowingly ate of the tree received the least of the punishment, in fact, the earth itself took his punishment as it was the earth and not Adham who was cursed for violating God’s command.

Another question that I have is of the verse concerning Hawwah looking at the tree.

וַתֵּ֣רֶא הָֽאִשָּׁ֡ה כִּ֣י טֹוב֩ הָעֵ֨ץ לְמַאֲכָ֜ל וְכִ֧י תַֽאֲוָה־ה֣וּא לָעֵינַ֗יִם וְנֶחְמָ֤ד הָעֵץ֙ לְהַשְׂכִּ֔יל וַתִּקַּ֥ח מִפִּרְיֹ֖ו וַתֹּאכַ֑ל וַתִּתֵּ֧ן גַּמ־לְאִישָׁ֛הּ עִמָּ֖הּ וַיֹּאכַֽל׃

And the woman saw, that the tree was good for eating and that it was desirous for the eyes, and the tree was coveted for causing understanding, so she took from its fruit and she ate; she also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

How could she look at the tree and perceive it was good for eating? The prohibition of eating from its fruit was only to humans, not any other creature. The serpent, who was wisest of all other beasts of the field, and also who could communicate with the humans, could have demonstrated to Hawwah that the fruit was not poisonous. The threefold description of the tree was “good for eating,” “desirous for the eyes” and “coveted for causing understanding.” Indeed, even before she ate from the fruit, it was deemed to be wholesome and a source of enlightenment. This could have been a source of the serpent’s wisdom and shrewdness, as well as his ability to communicate with humans. Once demonstrating the fruit was not poisonous, Hawwah would have thus been led to believe it was, in reality, safe to eat. This could be the meaning behind Hawwah’s statement that the serpent tricked her. A close look at how the verb לְהַשִּׁיא lehashi’a (to deceive) is used in the Hebrew Text we can see the deception was perpetrated by action, or by demonstration and not necessarily by words.

What, exactly, was the Tree of Life, the Tree of Knowlege of Good and Evil? Both are referring to the Torah.

The Torah is the true tree of knowing good and evil- as well as the tree of life.

וַתֵּ֣רֶא הָֽאִשָּׁ֡ה כִּ֣י טוֹב֩ הָעֵ֨ץ לְמַֽאֲכָ֜ל וְכִ֧י תַֽאֲוָה־ה֣וּא לָֽעֵינַ֗יִם וְנֶחְמָ֤ד הָעֵץ֙ לְהַשְׂכִּ֔יל וַתִּקַּ֥ח מִפִּרְי֖וֹ וַתֹּאכַ֑ל וַתִּתֵּ֧ן גַּם־לְאִישָׁ֛הּ עִמָּ֖הּ וַיֹּאכַֽל׃

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise [lehaskil], she took of its fruit, and ate, and gave also to her husband with her; and he ate. Genesis 3:6

לֹֽא־יָמ֡וּשׁ סֵפֶר֩ הַתּוֹרָ֨ה הַזֶּ֜ה מִפִּ֗יךָ וְהָגִ֤יתָ בּוֹ֙ יוֹמָ֣ם וָלַ֔יְלָה לְמַ֨עַן֙ תִּשְׁמֹ֣ר לַֽעֲשׂ֔וֹת כְּכָל־הַכָּת֖וּב בּ֑וֹ כִּי־אָ֛ז תַּצְלִ֥יחַ אֶת־דְּרָכֶ֖ךָ וְאָ֥ז תַּשְׂכִּֽיל׃

This Book of the Torah shall not depart from your mouth; but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written on it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then shall you make wise [taskil]. Joshua 1:8

הַֽעִדֹ֨תִי בָכֶ֣ם הַיּוֹם֘ אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם וְאֶת־הָאָ֒רֶץ֒ הַֽחַיִּ֤ים וְהַמָּ֨וֶת֙ נָתַ֣תִּי לְפָנֶ֔יךָ הַבְּרָכָ֖ה וְהַקְּלָלָ֑ה וּבָֽחַרְתָּ֙ בַּֽחַיִּ֔ים לְמַ֥עַן תִּֽחְיֶ֖ה אַתָּ֥ה וְזַרְעֶֽךָ׃

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live. Deuteronomy 30:19

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Sin, Sacrifice, and Satan

Part 1: Sin

There are many interpretations as to what sin is, however, many of these interpretations are not based upon fact. What does sin mean? How does one commit an act of sin? These are some important questions in order to know and understand, just what sin is.

 

Simply put, sin is the transgression of the Law according to the King James Version:

 

Whosoever commits sin, transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4

 

This, however, is not an accurate translation of the Greek Text. A more accurate translation would be:

 

πας ο ποιων την αμαρτιαν και την ανομιαν ποιει και η αμαρτια εστιν η ανομια

 

All who are doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

 

Anomia is the Greek word which means literally without (a) law (nomos). This is simply stating that sin is acting outside or without the authority of the law. What law? There is only One Law in the Hebrew and Greek Text, this is what is called Torah. The Torah is what was given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, which was written upon two tablets of stone.

 

And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there, and I will give thee Tables of stone, and a Law, and Commandments which I have written, that thou mayest teach them. Exodus 24:12

 

The KJV translators make a clear mistranslation here. They translate the word Law as if it were indefinite (a Law), while the Hebrew has it definite (the Law):

 

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה עֲלֵה אֵלַי הָהָרָה וֶהְיֵה-שָׁם וְאֶתְּנָה לְךָ אֶת-לֻחֹת הָאֶבֶן וְהַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִּצְוָה אֲשֶׁר כָּתַבְתִּי לְהוֹרֹתָם

And the LORD said to Moses, ascend the Mountain to Me, and be there, and I will give to you the Tablets of Stone, The Law (HaTorah) and The Commandments I have written so you may Instruct them (l’horotam).

 

The Law in the Hebrew is Torah, which actually means instruction. It is from the same verb used as the end of the verse which I translated Instruct and the KJV translates as to teach. The Greek has it as:

 

καὶ εἶπεν κύριος πρὸς Μωυσῆν Ἀνάβηθι πρός με εἰς τὸ ὄρος καὶ ἴσθι ἐκεῖ· καὶ δώσω σοι τὰ πυξία τὰ λίθινα, τὸν νόμον καὶ τὰς ἐντολάς, ἃς ἔγραψα νομοθετῆσαι αὐτοῖς.

 

And the Lord said to Moses, Come up to me into the mountain, and be there; and I will give thee the tables of stone, the law (ton Nomon) and the commandments, which I have written to give them laws (nomothetesai).

 

This is the only Law ever recorded which was written by the Hand of God and given to people to live by. So when you read “law” in the Hebrew Text it is Torah, and in the Greek Christian Text, it is Nomos. There is no difference, as they are both speaking of the Stone Tablets given to Moses.

 

Sin is not a moral stain upon the soul, but an actual offense, an infraction against the Divine Laws, as Webster defines it:

 

“The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not action only, but the neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts, purposes, words, and desires, whatever is contrary to God’s commands or law.”

 

God gave the Law to the Israelites at Sinai. This Law encompassed religion, civil law, military law, economic law and also penal laws. This means that God not only gave the Law but gave the penalty for violating this Law. Contrary to popular opinion, to commit sin was not always punishable by death as Paul claims:

 

For the wages of sin is death Romans 6:23

 

There are sins which do not lead to death:

 

All unrighteousness is a sin, and there is a sin not unto death. 1John 5:17

 

The Law makes it clear, there are sins which demand certain payments, restitution, or certainly another recompense. However, there are some sins which clearly do not have these other options, rather the offender must be put to death. Among these are adultery, idolatry, breaking the Sabbath command, or murder as defined by the Law. All these crimes or sins do not allow a ransom for the life of the offender.

 

Part 2: Sacrifice

 

What is a sacrifice? What does this mean? The word “sacrifice” comes from the Latin sacrificare meaning to make something sacred. Sacred in turn comes from the Latin sacer meaning devoted to a Divinity (for destruction). Hence, to sacrifice means to devote a thing to a divinity for destruction.

 

In the Hebrew Text, sacrifices are called by various terms. The most common is zebach, which means literally to slaughter. A zebach can be one of many classes such as an oleh which is completely burned upon the altar, shlamim which is only partially burned, the rest of the zebach is eaten, etc.

 

Zebach is given for many reasons, namely as a votive gift, or freewill offering. It can be given for recompense for certain crimes, etc. It can also be given as a religious rite.

 

The Hebrew Text lists several crimes for which a zebach is given. The Sin Offering with all its regulation can be found in Leviticus 4:1-35. What we can glean from this instruction is that the laws which the LORD gave to Moses for the people were to be kept, but if a transgression was made, through ignorance, then the Sin Offering would be the restitution and ransom for the crime.

 

Along with sacrifice, we have two words which are used synonymously, and which are central to the Sin Offering. These are forgiveness and pardon. Forgiveness and pardon depend intimately upon atonement:

 

Lev 4:20 And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: And the Priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them.

 

Lev 4:26 And he shall burn all his fat upon the Altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the Priest shall make an atonement for him, as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.

 

Lev 4:31 And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the Priest shall burn it upon the Altar, for a sweet savor unto the Lord, and the Priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.

 

Lev 4:35 And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings: and the Priest shall burn them upon the Altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord, and the Priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.

 

Forgiveness comes from the Old English forgiefan, which means to give away. Pardon comes from the Latin perdonare meaning for “for a gift”. Notice how these two terms go hand in hand with the atonement, which is given by the offender. It is only after the atonement is given that the offender is considered forgiven, or pardoned.

 

and the Priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.

 

What then is an atonement? Atonement is a contrived English word used by translators to explain the Hebrew words kippur and kofer. Both of these words come from the verb kafar, which means to cover. In the sense of crime and punishment, the atonement was the gift given by the offender to the Authority (in the Biblical sense God Himself) as a ransom for his own life. Once the kofer is given to the Authority, the offender is deemed forgiven, meaning he has already given the ransom to the Authority.

 

In a literal sense a kofer is a type of bribe, given to an authority to “blind the eyes” to an offense:

 

Gen 32:20 And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us: for he said, I will appease (akaf’rah) him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.

 

1Sa 12:3 Behold, here I am, witnesse against me before the Lord, and before his Anointed: Whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or who have I defrauded? who have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe (kofer) to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it to you.

 

There are some sins, such as murder (as defined by the Law) which do not permit the offender to give a kofer, and no ransom then is taken for his life, and the offender is then executed.

 

Num 35:31 Moreover, ye shall take no satisfaction (kofer) for the life of a murderer, which is guiltie of death, but he shall be surely put to death.

 

It is a more suitable analogy to compare the U.S. Legal System with that of the Torah. The Torah would be the Constitution, the Priesthood as the Judicial Branch, and the High Priest as both the Solicitor and Supreme Judge. The penal laws would be filled with punishments from fines, restitution to even capital punishment. In all these cases, the Kofer would be equal to the fines and restitution. In the Biblical times, the sacrifices were the fines paid to the court system.

 

 

Part 3: Satan

 

Most of the Christian world understands Satan to be the antithesis and antagonist of God. The Christian scholars claim that Satan was one of the highest orders of angels, the archangels. He was perfect, and because of his pride, he was cast out of the heavenly court. This fall caused him to turn against God and seek to destroy God’s image upon Earth, mankind.

 

He is represented in the Greek Christian Text as the father of lies (John 8:44), as a murderer (John 8:44), a deceiver (Rev 12:9), a tempter (Matt. 4:3), and as a devouring roaring lion (1Pet 5:8). These epithets are, simply, of Greek Christian Text derivation. It is from the Greek Christian Text that most of Satan’s myth comes down to the modern era.

 

In this article, I would like to discuss the Hebrew Text’s ideology concerning Satan, the angels, and God. Can the Greek Christian Text’s descriptions of Satan stand up to scrutiny?

 

Many Christian theologians claim that Satan was an angel of the highest order, called Cherubim and that he was in charge of at least a third of the angelic host. The word Cherubim is the plural of Cherub, a word of uncertain derivation. It is possibly from the Assyrian kirubu, which was a winged bull or even more likely from the Assyrian kirubu which means great or mighty.

 

The first mention of cherubim in the Bible comes from the account found in Genesis 3, which was at the expulsion of humanity from the Garden of Eden. The cherubim were stationed before the Garden to guard the way to the tree of life:

 

וַיְגָרֶשׁ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם וַיַּשְׁכֵּן מִקֶּדֶם לְגַן־עֵדֶן אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִים וְאֵת לַהַט הַחֶרֶב הַמִּתְהַפֶּכֶת לִשְׁמֹר אֶת־דֶּרֶךְ עֵץ הַֽחַיִּֽים׃ ס

 

So he drove out the man and stationed the cherubim with the flame of the ever-turning sword before the garden to guard the way of the tree of life. Gen 3:24

The next place cherubim are mentioned in the Bible is in the instructions given to Moses for the construction of the Tabernacle. The Ark of the Covenant had a covering called kaforeth. Upon each end of the kaforeth, there were cherubim facing each other. This kaforeth is known as the throne of YHWH, as this was where He would meet and commune with the people:

 

וְעָשִׂיתָ שְׁנַיִם כְּרֻבִים זָהָב מִקְשָׁה תַּעֲשֶׂה אֹתָם מִשְּׁנֵי קְצֹות הַכַּפֹּֽרֶת׃ וַעֲשֵׂה כְּרוּב אֶחָד מִקָּצָה מִזֶּה וּכְרוּב־אֶחָד מִקָּצָה מִזֶּה מִן־הַכַּפֹּרֶת תַּעֲשׂוּ אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִים עַל־שְׁנֵי קְצֹותָֽיו׃ וְהָיוּ הַכְּרֻבִים פֹּרְשֵׂי כְנָפַיִם לְמַעְלָה סֹכְכִים בְּכַנְפֵיהֶם עַל־הַכַּפֹּרֶת וּפְנֵיהֶם אִישׁ אֶל־אָחִיו אֶל־הַכַּפֹּרֶת יִהְיוּ פְּנֵי הַכְּרֻבִֽים׃ וְנָתַתָּ אֶת־הַכַּפֹּרֶת עַל־הָאָרֹן מִלְמָעְלָה וְאֶל־הָאָרֹן תִּתֵּן אֶת־הָעֵדֻת אֲשֶׁר אֶתֵּן אֵלֶֽיךָ׃ וְנֹועַדְתִּי לְךָ שָׁם וְדִבַּרְתִּי אִתְּךָ מֵעַל הַכַּפֹּרֶת מִבֵּין שְׁנֵי הַכְּרֻבִים אֲשֶׁר עַל־אֲרֹן הָעֵדֻת אֵת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּה אֹותְךָ אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ פ

 

And you will make two cherubim of beaten gold, and you shall make them at the two ends of the kaforeth. You will make the one cherub at this end, and you will make the other cherub at the other end, thus you will make the two cherubim at its two ends. The cherubim shall stretch up their wings, covering (sokeikh) the kaforeth with their wings, and each of the cherubim’s faces shall be toward the kaforeth. Then you will place the kaforeth upon the Ark, and you shall place the Testimony which I am giving you in the Ark, and I shall make Myself known to you there, and I will speak with you from above the kaforeth, between the two cherubim which are upon the Ark of the Testimony, with all which I command you to the Children of Israel. Ex 25:18-22

 

From this point onwards, the cherubim and the imagery of the Ark of the Covenant are considered the Throne of God. This can be seen in the depictions of God’s throne by Isaiah (6; 37:16) and Ezekiel (10-11), as well as from the poetry of the Psalms (18).

 

It is from this premise that most Christian scholars make a great leap, and connect the idea of the covering cherub of Ezekiel 28:14 with Satan:

 

אַתְּ־כְּרוּב מִמְשַׁח הַסֹּוכֵךְ וּנְתַתִּיךָ בְּהַר קֹדֶשׁ אֱלֹהִים הָיִיתָ בְּתֹוךְ אַבְנֵי־אֵשׁ הִתְהַלָּֽכְתָּ׃

 

You are the covering anointed cherub and I placed you in the Holy Mountain of God, and you walked among the Stones of Fire.

 

However, one must remove the narrative from its context to make this claim. The person being spoken about was the King of Tyre:

 

בֶּן־אָדָם אֱמֹר לִנְגִיד צֹר כֹּֽה־אָמַר ׀ אֲדֹנָי יְהֹוִה יַעַן גָּבַהּ לִבְּךָ וַתֹּאמֶר אֵל אָנִי מֹושַׁב אֱלֹהִים יָשַׁבְתִּי בְּלֵב יַמִּים וְאַתָּה אָדָם וְֽלֹא־אֵל וַתִּתֵּן לִבְּךָ כְּלֵב אֱלֹהִֽים׃

 

Son of man, say to the Prince of Tyre, Thus says my Lord YHWH: Because your heart lifted up and you said, “I am a God, I sit in God’s seat in the heart of the seas”; yet you are a man and not a God, even though you set your heart as the heart of God. Ezekiel 28:2

 

The context of chapter 28 is a metaphoric discourse from God to the enemies of Israel, who have vexed His people from every side, and though they had a hand in the downfall and destruction of Israel, God warns that they too will have their day of reckoning. In the same manner that God describes the King of Tyre as a cherub, in the garden of God, etc. He also spoke concerning other kings. For instance:

 

Pharaoh, the King of Egypt is called a dragon having scales:

 

דַּבֵּר וְאָמַרְתָּ כֹּֽה־אָמַר ׀ אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה הִנְנִי עָלֶיךָ פַּרְעֹה מֶֽלֶךְ־מִצְרַיִם הַתַּנִּים הַגָּדֹול הָרֹבֵץ בְּתֹוךְ יְאֹרָיו אֲשֶׁר אָמַר לִי יְאֹרִי וַאֲנִי עֲשִׂיתִֽנִי׃ וְנָתַתִּי חַחִיִּים בִּלְחָיֶיךָ וְהִדְבַּקְתִּי דְגַת־יְאֹרֶיךָ בְּקַשְׂקְשֹׂתֶיךָ וְהַעֲלִיתִיךָ מִתֹּוךְ יְאֹרֶיךָ וְאֵת כָּל־דְּגַת יְאֹרֶיךָ בְּקַשְׂקְשֹׂתֶיךָ תִּדְבָּֽק׃

 

Speak and say, “Thus says my Lord YHWH, Behold I am against you Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the Great Dragon which lies in the midst of its river, who said, My river is mine, I made it. But I will put hooks in your jaws, and I will cause the fish of your rivers to stick to your scales, and I will bring you up from the midst of your rivers and all the fish of your rivers will stick to your scales Ezekiel 29:3-4

 

Both Pharaoh and the King of Assyria are said to have been trees in the Garden of Eden, the Garden of God which is identified as Lebanon:

 

בֶּן־אָדָם אֱמֹר אֶל־פַּרְעֹה מֶֽלֶךְ־מִצְרַיִם וְאֶל־הֲמֹונֹו אֶל־מִי דָּמִיתָ בְגָדְלֶֽךָ׃

 

Son of man, say to Pharaoh King of Egypt and to his multitude, Who is like you in Greatness? Ezekiel 31:2

 

הִנֵּה אַשּׁוּר אֶרֶז בַּלְּבָנֹון יְפֵה עָנָף וְחֹרֶשׁ מֵצַל וּגְבַהּ קֹומָה וּבֵין עֲבֹתִים הָיְתָה צַמַּרְתֹּֽו׃

 

Look, Assyria is a beautiful branched cedar in Lebanon, an overshadowing shroud, with a high stature and his top was among the thick boughs. Ezekiel 31:3

 

אֲרָזִים לֹֽא־עֲמָמֻהוּ בְּגַן־אֱלֹהִים בְּרֹושִׁים לֹא דָמוּ אֶל־סְעַפֹּתָיו וְעַרְמֹנִים לֹֽא־הָיוּ כְּפֹֽארֹתָיו כָּל־עֵץ בְּגַן־אֱלֹהִים לֹא־דָמָה אֵלָיו בְּיָפְיֹֽו׃ יָפֶה עֲשִׂיתִיו בְּרֹב דָּֽלִיֹּותָיו וַיְקַנְאֻהוּ כָּל־עֲצֵי־עֵדֶן אֲשֶׁר בְּגַן הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃ ס

 

The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the plane trees were not as his branches; nor was any tree in the garden of God like unto him in his beauty. I made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him. Ezekiel 31:8-9

 

Contextually, beginning in Chapter 24 and ending in Chapter 39 we have a scene where Israel is destroyed because of her idolatry (23) and the nations which were used as the instruments of the destruction (24-32) are given the news that they will, in turn, be destroyed for their part. In chapters 33-37 we have the Hope of Return given to Israel and Judah, culminating in the battle of Gog and Magog in chapters 38-39. None of this discourse speaks of an angelic host, nor of any archangel falling from his position in Heaven.

 

Lucifer, Who is He?

 

According to today’s estimation, Satan’s proper name is Lucifer. This assumption is based on the text of Isaiah 14:12:

 

אֵיךְ נָפַלְתָּ מִשָּׁמַיִם הֵילֵל בֶּן־שָׁחַר נִגְדַּעְתָּ לָאָרֶץ חֹולֵשׁ עַל־גֹּויִֽם׃

 

How have you fallen from heaven Lucifer son of the Dawn, you have been cut down to earth, disabler of nations.

 

The problem here is that Lucifer is not in the Hebrew text, but is left over from a Latin translation made by Jerome in 405 ACE:

 

quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes

 

How are you fallen from heaven, Lucifer, who rises in the morning, fallen to the ground, that did wound the nations

 

Lucifer means light bringer in Latin, and is a translation of the Greek Heosphoros which means bringer of dawn:

 

πῶς ἐξέπεσεν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ὁ ἑωσφόρος ὁ πρωὶ ἀνατέλλων; συνετρίβη εἰς τὴν γῆν ὁ ἀποστέλλων πρὸς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη.

 

How are you fallen from heaven heosphoros, who rises in the morning, the one who is sent to all nations has been cut down to earth.

 

One ironic thing about the word Lucifer is that it only appears three times in the Latin Vulgate: Job 11:17, Isaiah 14:12 and also 2 Peter 1:19:

 

et habemus firmiorem propheticum sermonem cui bene facitis adtendentes quasi lucernae lucenti in caliginoso loco donec dies inlucescat et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris

 

and we have more firm prophetical word as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until which you do well, giving heed to the day dawns and the morning star (lucifer) arise in your hearts 2 Peter 1:19

 

lucifer is the name the Romans gave to the morning star, or Venus. Incidentally, it is also the same title which belongs to Jesus

 

I, Jesus, sent My angel to testify these things to you over the assemblies. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the bright and morning Star. Revelation 22:16

 

Here is Adam Clarke’s commentary on 2 Peter 1:19:

 

“And to this doctrine, thus confirmed, ye do well to take heed; for it is that light that shines in the dark place – in the Gentile world, as well as among the Jews; giving light to them that sit in darkness, and bringing the prisoners out of the prison house: and this ye must continue to do till the day of his second, last, and most glorious appearing to judge the world comes; and the day star, φωσφορος, this light-bringer, arise in your hearts – manifest himself to your eternal consolation. Or perhaps the latter clause of the verse might be thus understood: The prophecies concerning Jesus, which have been so signally confirmed to us on the holy mount, have always been as a light shining in a dark place, from the time of their delivery to the time in which the bright day of Gospel light and salvation dawned forth, and the Son of righteousness has arisen in our souls, with healing in his rays. And to this all who waited for Christ’s appearing have taken heed. The word φωσφορος, phosphorus, generally signified the planet Venus, when she is the morning star; and thus she is called in most European nations.”

 

Albert Barnes on the same verse:

 

And the day-star – The morning star – the bright star that at certain periods of the year leads on the day, and which is a pledge that the morning is about to dawn. Compare Rev_2:28; Rev_22:16.

 

Vincent’s Word Study entry on the same verse:

 

The day-star (φωσφόρος)

Of which our word phosphorus is a transcript. Lit., light-bearer, like Lucifer, front lux, light, and fero, to bear. See Aeschylus, “Agamemnon,” 245.

 

Let’s place Isaiah 14:12 in context here; the one sent to all nations is the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar (verse 4) and not Satan. The King of Babylon was sent against all the nations, Egypt, Assyria, Lebanon, etc. and destroyed them. In this chapter, the King of Babylon is being given the news of the demise of his kingdom. Why? As the chapter begins, we are told that:

 

For YHWH will have pity on Jacob, and will yet choose among Israel, and set them in their own land. And the stranger shall be joined to them; and they shall cling to the house of Jacob. And the peoples shall take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of YHWH for slaves and slave girls. And they shall be captives of their captors; and they shall rule over their oppressors. And it shall be, in the day that YHWH shall give you rest from your sorrow, and from your trouble, and from the hard bondage which was pressed on you, you shall lift up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: How the exacter, the gold gatherer, has ceased! YHWH has broken the rod of the wicked, the staff of rulers, who struck the peoples in wrath, a blow without turning away, ruling the nations in anger, dealing out persecution without restraint. Isaiah 14:1-6

 

This chapter is a promise concerning the end of the Babylonian captivity and the return of the Jews to their homeland. So the context here is the same as that in Ezekiel above. None of this chapter is dealing with Satan, nor is his name mentioned in any of these texts. Lucifer is not the name of Satan, but is a product of willful misinterpretation and the fancy of the church clergy.

 

What about the Devil?

 

Looking at the Hebrew scripture, you would expect to find the devil everywhere. You would almost swear Satan was there from the very beginning, spreading lies and mischief. This is not the case though. The word devil only appears 4 times in a few English translations. These are Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 32:17; 2 Chronicles 11:15; and finally Psalm 106:37.

 

In Lev. 17:7 and 2 Chr. 11:15, the Hebrew word translated as the devil is saiyr, which is just a hairy goat. When you examine these two verses, you will realize that what the KJV translators considered devils were in fact idols of goats. Looking at the entire context of Lev. 17, you will notice that the Hebrews were still sacrificing their animals to these idols. God then commands Moses to instruct the Hebrews:

 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, saying, What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people: To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD. And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the LORD. 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 17:1-7 KJV

 

The Hebrews were commanded by God to bring their sacrifices to His altar;

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon. Exodus 20:22-26 KJV

 

When you read these together with 2 Chr. 11:15, you will see that these verses are speaking of idols, and not devils in the sense of an individual or collective entity. Let’s look at 2 Chronicles 11:15:

 

And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. 2 Chr. 11:15 KJV

 

Here you can see that devils really are just goat idols “which he had made” and not devils in the modern concept.

 

In Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 106:37 the Hebrew word translated as devils is sheidim the plural of sheid. This is a noun derived from the verb shud meaning to waste or to destroy. In the entire Hebrew scripture this verb is used only once in Psalm 91:6:

 

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth (yashud) at noonday. Ps. 91:6 KJV [transliteration mine]

 

Yashud is the imperfect simple verb conjugation of shud. Taking this as our qualifier, we can see that the noun derivatives simply mean a waste. Now let’s look at these two verses again and place a more correct translation of the word sheidim.

 

יִזְבְּחוּ לַשֵּׁדִים לֹא אֱלֹהַ אֱלֹהִים לֹא יְדָעוּם | חֲדָשִׁים מִקָּרֹב בָּאוּ לֹא שְׂעָרוּם אֲבֹתֵיכֶם

 

They sacrificed to wastes, a non-divinity, gods they did not know, new ones that come lately whom their fathers did not fear. (My translation)

 

Verse 21, I believe, supports this translation:

 

They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities (KJV)

 

קִנְאוּנִי בְלֹא אֵל כִּעֲסוּנִי בְּהַבְלֵיהֶם

 

The made me jealous by a non-divinity, they angered me with their vanities. (My translation)

 

Psalm 106:37 shows this to be accurate, as they sacrificed even their children to these idols which are not a living deity; let’s look at the whole context, which will make this as clear as the nose on your face:

 

They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their own works and went a whoring with their own inventions. Psalm 106:34-39 (KJV)

I dare not say that the Hebrews were capable of giving life to these devils. I would rather hold them to be just what the scripture says, namely: idols of their works and their inventions. In every case where the English translation is devils we now know that this does not mean an independent living entity. Rather it simply means an idol, or specifically a hairy goat idol.

 

Who Then Is Satan?

 

Again, using the Hebrew scripture as our guide, we would expect to find Satan from the very beginning. However, in the English translations, the first appearance of Satan is in 1 Chronicles 21.

 

And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel. 1 Chr. 21:1 (KJV)

 

This is the first time, according to the English translations, the word satan appears. Here he provokes David to number Israel. This is in violation of God’s command given to Moses; Ex. 30:11-16. Israel was to be numbered not by counting the individual, but by counting the half-shekel given as the atonement money. This incurred God’s wrath:

 

And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. 1 Chr. 21:7 (KJV)

 

What is the funny thing is that there is a similar passage in 2 Samuel 24:1, however, there is one major difference:

 

And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 2 Sam. 24:1 (KJV)

 

Did you catch it? According to 2 Samuel, it was God Himself who provoked David to number Israel. Notice how the KJV translators misdirect in the translation of the word provoke here. The Hebrew of both verses are identical:

 

וַיַּעֲמֹד שָׂטָן עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל | וַיָּסֶת אֶת דָּוִיד לִמְנוֹת אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל:

1 Chr. 21:1

וַיֹּסֶף אַף יְהוָה לַחֲרוֹת בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל | וַיָּסֶת אֶת דָּוִד בָּהֶם לֵאמֹר לֵךְ מְנֵה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת יְהוּדָה׃

2 Sam. 24:1

 

The phrase of both verses is wayaset et david. Here yaset is the imperfect causative of sut meaning to provoke or incite. According to the former, it was Satan who caused the provocation, and in the later, it was God who caused the provocation. Which one is correct?

 

The answer is in the way the Hebrew scripture portrays God and Satan. It may be a surprise to you, but Satan is not the cause of evil, nor of temptation to evil. Who is? I am glad you asked.

 

According to the Hebrew scripture, God is the Creator, and there is none besides Him. He created everything, even evil. Let’s look at the proof.

 

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:5-7 (KJV)

 

It is God who sets evil before us:

 

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil Deuteronomy 30:15 (KJV)

 

It is God who causes evil in a city:

 

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Amos 3:6 (KJV)

 

Contrary to Christian theology, God is the creator of evil. He uses evil, and temps His servants with evil to see if they will follow Him with all their hearts:

 

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. Deuteronomy 13:1-4 (KJV)

The Hebrew for the word proveth is m’naseh, an intensive active participle of nasah meaning to tempt. This same word is translated tempt in Genisis 22:1:

 

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. Gn 22:1 (KJV)

 

Here is the Hebrew:

 

וַיְהִי אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וְהָאֱלֹהִים נִסָּה אֶת אַבְרָהָם | וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי׃

Gn 22:1

 

לֹא תִשְׁמַע אֶל דִּבְרֵי הַנָּבִיא הַהוּא אוֹ אֶל חוֹלֵם הַחֲלוֹם הַהוּא | כִּי מְנַסֶּה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֶתְכֶם לָדַעַת הֲיִשְׁכֶם אֹהֲבִים אֶת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם בְּכָל לְבַבְכֶם וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁכֶם׃

De. 13:3

 

The difference is in the conjugation. Both are of the piel verb. Gn 22:1 has the perfect form nisah and De. has the participle m’naseh.

 

God even sends false prophets for His own purpose:

 

And he said, Hear thou, therefore, the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth and do so. Now, therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. 1 Kings 22:19-23; 2 Chr. 18:18-22 (KJV)

 

God even lies to His own prophets at times, testing their obedience:

 

And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. So he went another way and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel. Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said I am. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water. And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcass shall not come unto the sepulcher of thy fathers. And it came to pass after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcass was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcass. 1 Kings 13:8-24 (KJV)

 

Throughout the Hebrew scripture, you will find that it is God Himself who created evil, and uses the evil as a means of testing and tempting His servants. He sends His angels out as lying spirits, and He sends lying prophets, even to His own prophets. There is no place that hints of an evil angel acting against His authority. On the contrary, the scripture is clear that His angel, and all angels are His, obey His word:

 

Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Ps. 103:20 (KJV)

 

A better translation of the Hebrew would be:

 

בָּרֲכוּ יְהוָה מַלְאָכָיו | גִּבֹּרֵי כֹחַ עֹשֵׂי דְבָרוֹ לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל דְּבָרוֹ

 

Bless the Lord His angels, excelling in strength, doing His word, listening to the voice of His words. Ps. 103:20 (my translation)

 

This leaves no room for angels who could be disobedient.

 

In the Hebrew text, the first time the word satan is used is in Numbers 22:22, 32. However, the KJV translators hide this point, so the reader would not make the logical connection:

 

And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. Num. 22:22 KJV

וַיִּחַר אַף אֱלֹהִים כִּי הוֹלֵךְ הוּא וַיִּתְיַצֵּב מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה בַּדֶּרֶךְ לְשָׂטָן לוֹ

וְהוּא רֹכֵב עַל אֲתֹנוֹ וּשְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו עִמּוֹ׃

Num 22:22

 

And God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord set himself in the way as a satan for him. And he was riding on his donkey and two young men were with him. Num. 22:22

 

And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee because thy way is perverse before me: Num. 22:32 (KJV)

 

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה עַל מָה הִכִּיתָ אֶת אֲתֹנְךָ זֶה שָׁלוֹשׁ רְגָלִים | הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי יָצָאתִי לְשָׂטָן כִּי יָרַט הַדֶּרֶךְ לְנֶגְדִּי

 

And the angel of the Lord said to him, Why did you strike your donkey these three times? Look, I set myself as a satan because the way is reckless before me. Num 22:32

 

The translators did not want you to draw the conclusion that even the angel of the Lord is called a satan. There is a good reason for this concealment. Throughout the scriptures, there is only one figure given the title Angel of the Lord, or more precisely, Angel of YHWH.

 

It is important to keep in mind, that this was written by Moses, while the Israelites yet wondered the wilderness. Why is it so important to note this? Simply because in all the Hebrew Text, there is only one angel who is called Angel of YHWH, and this was the Angel who appeared to Abraham, Hagar, Isaac, Jacob, and to Moses, and who also spoke from the burning bush, as well as the Angel who was sent to lead Israel to Canaan, and to drive out their enemies before them: Gen 16:7; 22:11; 31:11; Ex 3:2; 14:19; 23:20, 23; 32:34; 33:2.

 

This Angel of YHWH was the first to be identified as satan. What is going to be a shocker to many is that Isaiah says this same Angel is also the Holy Spirit:

 

I will mention the mercies of YHWH, the praises of YHWH, according to all that YHWH has benefited us, and the great good to the house of Israel, by which He benefited them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His loving-kindness. For He said, Surely they are My people, sons that do not lie, and He is their Savior. In all their affliction, He was not a foe; and the Angel of His Presence saved them. In His love and in His pity He redeemed them. And He bore them up and lifted them up all the days of old. But they rebelled and provoked His Holy Spirit, so He was turned to be their enemy; He fought against them. Then His people remembered the days past of Moses and His people, saying, Where is He who brought us up from the sea with the shepherd of His flock. Where is He who put His Holy Spirit within him; who led them by Moses’ right hand, with His glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make for Him an everlasting name? He led them through the deeps; like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble. As the cattle go down into the valley, so the Spirit of YHWH caused him to rest; so You led Your people, to make a glorious name for Yourself. Is 62:7-14

 

The Angel of YHWH is only known as Satan, when he acts as an opponent to the unrighteous, or as a tester, tempter to the faithful. Even though these are the Holy Spirit’s duties, he in no way is disobedient to God in any way shape or form.

 

According to the Hebrew Scriptures, satan is merely a title, along with other titles of the same angelic figure. This angel is called, Mal’akh YHWH (the Angel of the Lord) Ex 3:2; Mal’akh Panav (The Angel of His Presence/Face) Is 63:9; Panai (My Presence/Face) Ex 23:20, 33:2, 14; Penu’el (The Face of God) Gen 32:20; Peli (Wonderful) Jg 13:18; Eimaty (My Fear) Ex 23:27; Ruchakha HaTov (Your Good Spirit) Neh. 9:20, Ruach HaQadosh (Holy Spirit) Is 63:10; and also as satan (adversary) Num 22:22, 32; 1 Chr 21:1

 

All these titles represent the same angelic figure. For those who are obedient to God, he is the Good Spirit, who instructs them in the ways of God Ex 23:20-23; Neh 9:20, but for the disobedient, he becomes their enemy and fights against them Ex 23:21; Is 63:10.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

There is no place in all the Hebrew Scriptures which supports the idea that satan acted independently of God’s authority. Nor will you find anything which would lend support to the idea that satan is some rebellious angel, who waged war in heaven, trying to supplant God. The concept of an independent evil spirit is foreign to the Hebrew scripture and the theology of Israel.

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The Satan Myth

The Satan Myth

The Modern Concept of Evil

 

Today, when you speak of Satan, the thought comes to mind of the embodiment of evil. Of a narcissistic angel who rebelled against God, an angel who waged a heavenly war to take God’s throne and who was eventually cast out taking a third of the angelic host with him.

Where did these ideas come from? Was there really a war in heaven, and was God’s sovereignty really in jeopardy? In this article, I will discuss these concepts in three parts. First, I will uncover the evidence of Satan in the Hebrew scriptures, called the Old Testament by Christians. Second, I will examine the New Testament record of Satan. Finally, I will uncover the true origin of the Satan myth.

 

 

Part One

The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament)

 

 

  1. The Devil

 

Looking at the Hebrew scripture, you would expect to find the devil everywhere. You would almost swear Satan was there from the very beginning, spreading lies and mischief. This is not the case though. The word devil only appears 4 times in a few English translations. These are Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 32:17; 2 Chronicles 11:15; and finally Psalm 106:37.

 

In Lev. 17:7 and 2 Chr. 11:15, the Hebrew word translated as devils is saiyr, which is just a hairy goat. When you examine these two verses, you will realize that what the KJV translators considered devils were in fact idols of goats. Looking at the entire context of Lev. 17, you will notice that the Hebrews were still sacrificing their animals to these idols. God then commands Moses to instruct the Hebrews:

 

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron, and unto his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them; This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, saying, What man soever there be of the house of Israel, that killeth an ox, or lamb, or goat, in the camp, or that killeth it out of the camp, And bringeth it not unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, to offer an offering unto the LORD before the tabernacle of the LORD; blood shall be imputed unto that man; he hath shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people: To the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices, which they offer in the open field, even that they may bring them unto the LORD, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest, and offer them for peace offerings unto the LORD. And the priest shall sprinkle the blood upon the altar of the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savor unto the LORD.  And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.  Leviticus 17:1-7 KJV [emphasis mine]

 

The Hebrews were commanded by God to bring their sacrifices to His altar;

 

And the LORD said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven. Ye shall not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold. An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name, I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee. And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness is not discovered thereon. Exodus 20:22-26 KJV [emphasis mine]

 

When you read these together with 2 Chr. 11:15, you will see that these verses are speaking of idols, and not devils in the sense of an individual or collective entity. Let’s look at 2 Chronicles 11:15:

 

And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made. 2 Chr. 11:15 KJV [emphasis mine]

 

Here you can see that devils really are just goat idols “which he had made” and not devils in the modern concept.

 

In Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 106:37 the Hebrew word translated as devils is sheidim the plural of sheid. This is a noun derived from the verb shud meaning to waste or to destroy. In the entire Hebrew scripture this verb is used only once in Psalm 91:6:

 

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth (yashud) at noonday. Ps. 91:6 KJV [transliteration mine]

 

Yashud is the imperfect simple verb conjugation of shud. Taking this as our qualifier, we can see that the noun derivatives simply mean a waste. Now let’s look at these two verses again and place a more correct translation of the word sheidim.

 

יִזְבְּחוּ לַשֵּׁדִים לֹא אֱלֹהַ אֱלֹהִים לֹא יְדָעוּם | חֲדָשִׁים מִקָּרֹב בָּאוּ לֹא שְׂעָרוּם אֲבֹתֵיכֶם׃

 

They sacrificed to wastes, a non-divinity, gods they did not know, new ones that come lately whom their fathers did not fear. (My translation)

 

Verse 21, I believe,  supports this translation:

 

They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities (KJV)

 

קִנְאוּנִי בְלֹא אֵל כִּעֲסוּנִי בְּהַבְלֵיהֶם

They made me jealous by a non-divinity, they angered me with their vanities. (My translation)

 

Psalm 106:37 shows this to be accurate, as they sacrificed even their children to these idols which are not a living deity; let’s look at the whole context, which will make this as clear as the nose on your face:

 

They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the LORD commanded them: But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their own works and went a whoring with their own inventions. Psalm 106:34-39 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

 

 

I dare not say that the Hebrews were capable of giving life to these devils. I would rather hold them to be just what the scripture says, namely: idols of their works and their inventions. In every case where the English translation is devils we now know that this does not mean an independent living entity. Rather it simply means an idol, or specifically a hairy goat idol.

 

  1. Satan

 

Again, using the Hebrew scripture as our guide, we would expect to find Satan from the very beginning. However, in the English translations, the first appearance of Satan is in 1 Chronicles 21.

 

And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel. 1 Chr. 21:1 (KJV)

 

This is the first time, according to the English translations, the word satan appears. Here he provokes David to number Israel. This is in violation of God’s command given to Moses; Ex. 30:11-16. Israel was to be numbered not by counting the individual, but by counting the half shekel given as the atonement money. This incurred God’s wrath:

 

And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. 1 Chr. 21:7 (KJV)

 

What the funny thing is, there is a similar passage in 2 Samuel 24:1, however, there is one major difference:

 

And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 2 Sam. 24:1 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

 

Did you catch it? According to 2 Samuel, it was God Himself who provoked David to number Israel. Notice how the KJV translators misdirect in the translation of the word provoke here. The Hebrew of both verses are identical:

 

 

וַיַּעֲמֹד שָׂטָן עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל | וַיָּסֶת אֶת דָּוִיד לִמְנוֹת אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל: 1 Chr. 21:1

 

וַיֹּסֶף אַף יְהוָה לַחֲרוֹת בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל | וַיָּסֶת אֶת דָּוִד בָּהֶם לֵאמֹר לֵךְ מְנֵה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת יְהוּדָה:  2 Sam. 24:1

 

The phrase of both verses is wayaset et david. Here yaset is the imperfect causative of sut meaning to provoke or incite. According to the former, it was Satan who caused the provocation, and in the later, it was God who caused the provocation. Which one is correct?

 

The answer is in the way the Hebrew scripture portrays God and Satan. It may be a surprise to you, but Satan is not the cause of evil, nor of temptation to evil. Who is? I am glad you asked.

 

According to the Hebrew scripture, God is the Creator, and there is none besides Him. He created everything, even evil. Let’s look at the proof.

 

I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. Isaiah 45:5-7 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

 

It is God who sets evil before us:

 

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil Deuteronomy 30:15 (KJV)

 

It is God who causes evil in a city:

 

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Amos 3:6 (KJV)

 

Contrary to Christian theology, God is the creator of evil. He uses evil, and temps His servants with evil to see if they will follow Him with all their hearts:

 

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. Deuteronomy 13:1-4 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

 

The Hebrew for the word proveth is m’naseh, an intensive active participle of nasah meaning to tempt. This same word is translated tempt in Genisis 22:1:

 

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. Gn 22:1 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

 

Here is the Hebrew:

 

וַיְהִי אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וְהָאֱלֹהִים נִסָּה אֶת אַבְרָהָם | וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אַבְרָהָם וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּנִי:  Gn 22:1

 

לֹא תִשְׁמַע אֶל דִּבְרֵי הַנָּבִיא הַהוּא אוֹ אֶל חוֹלֵם הַחֲלוֹם הַהוּא | כִּי מְנַסֶּה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֶתְכֶם לָדַעַת הֲיִשְׁכֶם אֹהֲבִים אֶת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם בְּכָל לְבַבְכֶם וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁכֶם: De. 13:3

 

The difference is in the conjugation. Both are of the piel verb. Gn 22:1 has the perfect form nisah and De. has the participle m’naseh.

 

God even sends false prophets for His own purpose:

 

And he said, Hear thou, therefore, the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth and do so. Now, therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. 1 Kings 22:19-23; 2 Chr. 18:18-22 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

 

God even lies to His own prophets at times, testing their obedience:

 

And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place: For so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest. So he went another way and returned not by the way that he came to Bethel. Now there dwelt an old prophet in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father. And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah. And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon, And went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said I am. Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread. And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place: For it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest. He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him. So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water. And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back: And he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee, But camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcass shall not come unto the sepulcher of thy fathers. And it came to pass after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back. And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcass was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcass. 1 Kings 13:8-24 (KJV) [emphasis mine]

 

Throughout the Hebrew scripture, you will find that it is God Himself who created evil, and uses the evil as a means of testing and tempting His servants. He sends His angels out as lying spirits, and He sends lying prophets, even to His own prophets. There is no place that hints of an evil angel acting against His authority. On the contrary, the scripture is clear that His angel, and all angels are His, obey His word:

 

Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Ps. 103:20 (KJV)

 

A better translation of the Hebrew would be:

בָּרֲכוּ יְהוָה מַלְאָכָיו | גִּבֹּרֵי כֹחַ עֹשֵׂי דְבָרוֹ לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל דְּבָרוֹ:

Bless the Lord His angels, excelling in strength, doing His word, listening to the voice of His words. Ps. 103:20 (my translation)

 

This leaves no room for angels who could be disobedient.

 

In the Hebrew text, the first time the word satan is used is in Numbers 22:22, 32. However, the KJV translators hide this point, so the reader would not make the logical connection:

 

And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. Num. 22:22 KJV

 

וַיִּחַר אַף אֱלֹהִים כִּי הוֹלֵךְ הוּא וַיִּתְיַצֵּב מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה בַּדֶּרֶךְ לְשָׂטָן לוֹ

וְהוּא רֹכֵב עַל אֲתֹנוֹ וּשְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו עִמּוֹ:  Num 22:22

 

And God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the Lord set himself in the way as a satan for him. And he was riding on his donkey and two young men were with him. Num. 22:22 (my translation)

 

 

And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee because thy way is perverse before me: Num. 22:32 (KJV)

 

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה עַל מָה הִכִּיתָ אֶת אֲתֹנְךָ זֶה שָׁלוֹשׁ רְגָלִים | הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי יָצָאתִי לְשָׂטָן כִּי יָרַט הַדֶּרֶךְ לְנֶגְדִּי: Num 22:32

 

And the angel of the Lord said to him, Why did you strike your donkey these three times? Look, I set myself as a satan because the way is reckless before me. Num 22:32 (my translation)

 

The translators did not want you to draw the conclusion that even the angel of the Lord is called a satan.

 

Some point to the book of Job an example of a wicked satan. However, upon closer examination, you will see that satan is an agent of God, and is completely obedient to His word. You will also find that it was God Himself who told satan to do those things to Job, and he obeys his Lord. You can find this in the first two chapters of Job.

 

There is no place in all the Hebrew scriptures which supports the idea that satan acted independently of God’s authority. Nor will you find anything which would lend support to the idea that satan is some rebellious angel, who waged war in heaven, trying to supplant God. The concept of an independent evil spirit is foreign to the Hebrew scripture and the theology of Israel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Two

The Greek Scriptures (New Testament)

 

Even a cursory reading of the Greek scriptures would be enough for the serious student to see how different the theology is concerning satan. We have seen that in the Hebrew scriptures, God is ultimately in control. He wields all authority in the heavenly realms and there is no trace of independent rebellious angels. We have seen that God sends lying spirits, and lying prophets as a test of our obedience.

 

However, in the Greek scriptures, you will find that satan acts independently of God’s authority. He is the origin of lies and is known as the tempter. You will also find that he wages a heavenly war against God and even causes the fall of a third of the heavenly host. Lets look at the texts.

 

The first encounter we have with satan, who is also identified as the devil, is in Matthew 4. This is the account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness.

 

According to the Greek scripture, satan or the devil has an independent will:

 

And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. 2 Tim. 2:26 (KJV)

 

Was the father of lies and murder, and speaks lies by his own will:

 

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 (KJV)

 

Is considered the enemy of God:

 

The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world, and the reapers are the angels. Matt. 13:39 (KJV)

 

Waged war in heaven and was cast out with a third of the heavenly host:

 

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 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 (KJV)

 

Has power over death:

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil   Hebrews 2:14 (KJV)

 

Hell was prepared for him by God:

 

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: Matt. 25:41 (KJV)

 

Will, in the end, be cast into a lake of fire:

 

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 forever and ever. Revelation 20:10 (KJV)

 

The teachings of the Greek scripture is completely contrary to the theology of the Hebrew scripture. There are no references in the Hebrew text to support any of the claims of the New Testament. There are no angelic beings with independent will, nor who are disobedient to God. There is no mention of demons of any kind. There is no mention of a war in heaven between Michael and Satan where Satan is cast out with a third of the host. There is no mention of Satan having power over life or death. According to the Hebrew scripture, satan is an angel who is a servant of God and is completely obedient to His will.

 

The question now is, if the New Testament writers did not get their ideas about demons, satan and the devil from the Old Testament, where did they get them? That is a very good question and I am glad you asked.

Part Three

Satan In Egypt and Persia

 

 

  1. Egypt

 

 

In the Egyptian myths, there were many gods. The Egyptians worshiped numerous gods, and or combinations of them. One of these is Seth. Seth was the god of chaos. He was the god who brought death into the world.

 

Seth. The god of confusion, the spirit of disorder and personification of violence. and bad faith was nevertheless venerated as a god with whom one had to come to terms. Seth was also known as the god who brought death into the world. (Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology)

 

It was the union of Seth and Horus, through a homosexual act, that produced Thoth. Thoth is the god of writing. He is a part of a triunity of Ptah and Horus. Ptah being the divine father, Horus the divine spirit, and Thoth the divine word. (The Bestiary of Christ, Louis Charbonneau-Lassay)

 

It was because of the rebellion of Seth and the abominable acts perpetrated by him, that Thoth, the word of Ptah, came into being. This, in turn, created the first “holy trinity” of a divine Father, Word, and Spirit more than a thousand years before Jesus.

 

 

  1. Persia

 

 

 

After the fall of the Egyptian dynasties, first to the Greeks, and then to the Romans, the ancient religion of Persia was flourishing. A prophet named Zoroaster taught his people about the Creator. Here is what he taught them, see if you can notice any similarities with the New Testament theology.

Basic beliefs

There is one universal and transcendental God, Ahura Mazda, the one Uncreated Creator to whom all worship is ultimately directed.

Ahura Mazda’s creation—evident as asha, truth and order—is the antithesis of chaos, evident as druj, falsehood and disorder. The resulting conflict involves the entire universe, including humanity, which has an active role to play in the conflict.

Active participation in life through good thoughts, good words and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep the chaos at bay. This active participation is a central element in Zoroaster’s concept of free will, and Zoroastrianism rejects all forms of monasticism.

Ahura Mazda will ultimately prevail over evil Angra Mainyu / Ahriman , at which point the universe will undergo a cosmic renovation and time will end (cf: Zoroastrian eschatology). In the final renovation, all of creation—even the souls of the dead that were initially banished to “darkness”—will be reunited in Ahura Mazda returning to life in the undead form. At the end of time a savior-figure [a Saoshyant] will bring about a final renovation of the world, and in which the dead will be revived.

There will then be a final purgation of evil from the Earth (through a tidal wave of molten metal) and a purgation of evil from the heavens (through a cosmic battle of spiritual forces). In the end, good will triumph and each person will find himself or herself transformed into a spiritualized body and soul. Those who died as adults will be transformed into healthy adults of forty years of age, and those who died young will find themselves permanently youthful, about age fifteen. In these new spiritual bodies, humans will live without food, without hunger or thirst, and without weapons (or the possibility of bodily injury). The material substance of the bodies will be so light as to cast no shadow. All humanity will speak a single language and belong to a single nation without borders. All will experience immortality (Ameretat) and will share a single purpose and goal, joining with the divine for a perpetual exaltation of God’s glory.

In Zoroastrian tradition, the malevolent is represented by Angra Mainyu (also referred to as “Ahriman”), the “Destructive Principle”, while the benevolent is represented through Ahura Mazda’s Spenta Mainyu, the instrument or “Bounteous Principle” of the act of creation. It is through Spenta Mainyu that transcendental Ahura Mazda is immanent in humankind, and through which the Creator interacts with the world. According to Zoroastrian cosmology, in articulating the Ahuna Vairya formula Ahura Mazda made His ultimate triumph evident to Angra Mainyu.

As expressions and aspects of Creation, Ahura Mazda emanated the Amesha Spentas (“Bounteous Immortals”), that are each the hypostasis and representative of one aspect of that Creation. These Amesha Spenta are in turn assisted by a league of lesser principles, the Yazatas, each “Worthy of Worship” and each again a hypostasis of a moral or physical aspect of creation (Wikipedia)

All of these principal beliefs can be found in the theological teaching of the New Testament. This is the origin of the twin spirits battling for supremacy. These teachings were incorporated into the New Testament, and are the basis for the modern teachings of satan.

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Satan is the Mal’akh [Angel/Messenger] of YHWH

I laugh sometimes when I speak to the Christians; they hold that Satan is the antithesis and antagonist against YHWH. However, careful study of Tanakh will reveal to the reader that YHWH, the Mal’akh [messenger] of YHWH and Satan are all equated, meaning they are interchangeable in authority. The Mal’akh YHWH is Satan and the Holy Spirit and is the Angel with His Name.

The first time Mal’akh YHWH is used in Tenakh is in the narrative of Hagar fleeing Sarah, Gen 16. Notice what Mosheh records in verse 13:

וַתִּקְרָא שֵׁם-יְהוָה הַדֹּבֵר אֵלֶיהָ, אַתָּה אֵל רֳאִי

And she called the Name of YHWH, the one speaking to her, You are the Deity Seeing me.
So in the first appearance of Mal’akh YHWH, he is equated with YHWH by Mosheh, who wrote the account.

The first time satan appears in Tenakh is in the narrative of Balaam, Num 22:22

וַיִּחַר-אַף אֱלֹהִים, כִּי-הוֹלֵךְ הוּא, וַיִּתְיַצֵּב מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה בַּדֶּרֶךְ, לְשָׂטָן לוֹ; וְהוּא רֹכֵב עַל-אֲתֹנוֹ, וּשְׁנֵי נְעָרָיו עִמּוֹ

So Elohim’s anger was heated because he went, so the Mal’akh YHWH set himself up in the way as his satan, while he was riding upon his ass, and his two young men were with him.

Mosheh equates Mal’akh YHWH as satan in the first appearance of the word satan in Tenakh. Many translators and commentators try to force the meaning as “to withstand/oppose him”, however, the word satan is a noun in the verse. If the translation were indeed what the commentators and translators wish, the form would have been in the infinitive and pointed as לִשְׂטֹן liston, and not as לְשָׂטָן lesatan.

Even the writers of 2 Sam and 1 Chron equated YHWH and Satan:

וַיֹּסֶף, אַף-יְהוָה, לַחֲרוֹת, בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל; וַיָּסֶת אֶת-דָּוִד בָּהֶם לֵאמֹר, לֵךְ מְנֵה אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת-יְהוּדָה.
Again, YHWH’s anger was heated against Israel, so He provoked (yasit) David against them saying, Go, number Israel and Judah 2 Sam 24:1

וַיַּעֲמֹד שָׂטָן, עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל; וַיָּסֶת, אֶת-דָּוִיד, לִמְנוֹת, אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל.
So satan stood against Israel and he provoked (yasit) David to number Israel.

In Tenakh there is only one angel who is called Mal’akh YHWH, who is also called His Presence (Ex 23:20,23; 33:14), and his Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:10), and this is the same angel who is the first and only identified as satan (Num 22:22, 32).

There is not one single place which records satan as being disobedient to YHWH, nor does Tenakh record any disobedient or fallen angels as the Christians suppose.

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