The Demon File


 

A Historical and Biblical Analysis

 

 

 

 

Draft Version 017F.


 

Table of Contents

 

 

1.      Introduction. 9

1.1.      Preface. 9

1.2.      Conventions. 9

1.3.      Glossary of Definitions. 10

2.      The Conjuring. 16

2.1.      Definition of “Demon”. 16

2.2.      The Origin of Demons. 21

2.3.      Teraphim.. 22

2.4.      Tomb Worship. 26

2.1.      The Hungry Dead. 29

2.2.      The Angry Dead. 36

3.      Necromancy Forbidden in Israel 40

3.1.      The Israel Challenge. 40

3.2.      The Mosaic Witness. 40

3.3.      Israelite Worship of the Dead. 43

4.      The Ancient Israelite View of Death. 44

4.1.      Dust and Ashes. 44

4.2.      The Spirit of Man. 45

4.3.      The Soul of Man. 48

4.4.      The Land of Darkness. 50

4.5.      The Resurrection. 50

4.6.      Christian Contortionism.. 53

4.7.      Scientific Confirmation. 55

5.      The Origin of Gods. 58

5.1.      Baal 58

5.2.      Tammuz. 64

5.3.      Osiris. 65

5.4.      The Demon Cycle. 67

5.5.      Gods Galore. 69

6.      Monotheism.. 73

6.1.      Yahweh is a Monotheist 73

6.2.      Other Gods are Man-Made. 75

6.3.      Demons are Idols. 76

6.4.      Demons are “The Dead”. 76

7.      Destiny, Fortune and the Moon. 78

7.1.      Bel & Nebo. 78

7.2.      Gad & Meni 80

7.1.      The Moon God. 81

7.2.      Etymology of “Daimon”. 85

7.2.1.      Dai 85

7.2.2.      Mona. 86

7.2.3.      Connecting the Dots. 87

8.      Good Greek Demons. 88

8.1.      Hesiod. 89

8.1.1.      Spirits of Men from the "Golden Age". 89

8.1.2.      Phaethon. 89

8.2.      Aeschylus. 90

8.3.      Plato. 90

8.3.1.      Worship of Tombs of Demons. 91

8.3.2.      Deceased War Heroes become Demons. 91

8.3.3.      Good Men become Demons. 91

8.3.4.      Demons as the Cause of Voices in the Head. 92

8.4.      Xenophon. 92

8.1.      Hippocrates. 93

8.2.      Philostratus. 94

9.      Demonization of Demons. 95

9.1.      The Malicious Demon. 95

9.2.      The Persian Influence. 95

9.1.      Lack of Attendance. 96

9.2.      Unfamiliarity. 97

10.        Bad Greek Demons. 99

10.1.        Homer 99

10.2.        Empedocles. 100

10.3.        Euripides. 100

10.4.        Xenocrates. 101

10.5.        Theophrastus. 101

10.6.        Demosthenes. 104

10.7.        Euhemerus. 105

10.8.        Greek Philosophers at Areopagus. 105

10.9.        Setting the Stage. 106

10.10.      Plutarch. 107

10.11.      Lucian. 108

11.        Early Christian View of Greek Paganism.. 109

11.1.        Lactantius. 109

11.2.        Other Christians. 110

12.        Demons in the Old Testament 111

12.1.        LXX. 111

12.2.        Evil Spirits. 115

12.3.        The Witch at Endor 116

12.4.        Absence of Possession. 118

13.        Demons in the Synoptic Gospels. 119

13.1.        Enter the Demons. 119

13.2.        Demons and Medical Conditions. 120

13.3.        Something Peculiar about Galilee. 125

13.4.        Legion - Inconsistencies in the Account 130

13.5.        Was Legion Mentally Disturbed?. 132

13.6.        Did Legion have Cysticercosis?. 132

13.7.        Phenomenal Language. 138

13.8.        Accommodation. 140

13.9.        They Cried Out 140

13.10.      They Knew Him.. 143

13.11.      He suffered them not to speak. 146

13.12.      Lunacy. 147

13.13.      Unclean Spirits. 153

13.14.      Conclusions from the Synoptics. 154

14.        Other Apostle’s Accounts. 156

14.1.        Paul Sets the Record Straight 156

14.2.        Food Sacrificed to Idols. 157

14.3.        Mars Hill the Turning Point 159

14.4.        Doctrines of Demons. 159

14.5.        John Sets the Record Straight 161

14.6.        James and Trembling Demons. 162

15.        The Demons Cycle. 165

15.1.        Reflection Time. 165

15.2.        The Dumbing Down of Christianity. 165

15.3.        Christian Disbelief in the Existence of Demons. 168

15.4.        Christian Belief in the Existence of Demons. 168

15.5.        Demons Become Angels. 169

15.6.        Demon Worship in Alexandria. 173

15.7.        Demon Worship in Antioch. 176

15.8.        Demon Worship Today. 180

16.        Conclusions. 183

17.        Appendix A: Changing Definition of Demon. 185

18.        Appendix A: In Defense of Angels. 185

18.1.        Trying the Spirits. 185

18.2.        Disobedient Angels?. 186

18.2.1.        Unacceptable Consequences. 187

18.2.2.        Angels Cannot Sin. 187

18.2.3.        Angels Cannot Feel Temptation to sin. 189

18.2.4.        All in All 190

18.2.5.        The Lust of the Flesh. 190

18.2.6.        Transliteration and Mistranslation. 192

18.2.7.        Heaven – Where no Sin Exists. 193

18.2.8.        Wrested Scriptures. 196

18.2.9.        The "Angels that Sinned". 199

18.2.10.      We Shall Judge Angels. 201

18.2.11.      The “Angels” who were “Cast Out” of Heaven. 201

18.3.        Other Possibilities. 202

18.3.1.        Angel-Human Hybrids?. 202

18.3.2.        Specially Created Spirit Beings?. 208

18.4.        The Devil 208

18.5.        The Serpent 212

19.        Appendix B: Personal Experiences. 213

19.1.        Modern Day Christian Exorcisms. 213

19.2.        Demons Behavior Based on Geography. 215

19.3.        Evil Spirit Banishments. 215

19.4.        Shysters and Charlatans. 215

20.        Ongoing Studies. 216

20.1.        Origin of Rebel Angel Theories. 216

20.2.        Angels that Sinned. 216

20.3.        Canonicity of Jude. 218

20.4.        Book of Enoch. 219

20.4.1.        Parallels. 220

20.4.2.        Gen 6 Connection. 221

20.4.3.        Marriage. 221

20.4.4.        Dating of DSS. 221

20.4.5.        Dead Sea Scrolls. 222

20.4.6.        Edward Whittaker 223

20.4.7.        Hoax Commonalities. 224

20.4.8.        Steve Cox on Jude. 224

20.4.9.        Tom Ferrar on Cox. 225

20.5.        Enoch Angel Eisogesis. 225

20.6.        Nephilim.. 225

20.6.1.        The Hebrew Morphology. 225

20.6.2.        Quick Observations. 226

20.6.3.        Who Cause to Fall 227

20.6.4.        Fallen Ones. 228

20.6.5.        Giants. 229

20.6.6.        Heiser Errors in Logic. 230

20.6.7.        Qatil 232

20.6.8.        Nephilim in the LXX. 235

20.6.9.        DSS. 236

20.7.        Early Church Fathers. 236

20.7.1.        Author Dates. 236

20.7.2.        Eusebius. 236

20.7.3.        Redefinition of “demon”. 237

20.7.4.        Philo. 238

21.        Timeline. 240

22.        Other Materials. 242

22.1.        The Odyssey. 242

Zalmoxis. 242

22.2.        Masseboth. 243

22.3.        Jonno Materials. 243

22.4.        Masoretic Notes. 243

22.5.        Persian Effect on the Jews. 244

22.6.        Google Docs Folder 245

22.7.        Chapter for other difficult passages. 245

22.8.        Bilello on Medical Knowledge. 245

22.9.        Edersheim.. 245

22.10.      Twelftree. 245

22.11.      John Kitto. 246

22.12.      Interesting Talmud mentions of Demons. 250

22.13.      Illustration Ideas. 251

22.14.      Development of Angelology. 254

22.15.      Early Christian Writers. 254

22.16.      150 AD: Apuleius. 258

22.17.      Modern cases of neurocysticercosis in the US. 259

23.        Regressions. 259

23.1.        Unclean Spirit Going out of a Man. 259

24.        Satan Book Material 260

24.1.        Very Epps Pamphlet 260

24.1.        Targum of Uzziel 260

24.2.        Inconsistencies about Satan in Jewish Heresies. 261

24.3.        Insignificance of Satan in Jewish Heresies. 261

25.        Bibliography. 262

26.        Revision History. 267

 

 

 

 


 

 

1.  Introduction

1.1.           Preface

 

People have a wide range of beliefs when it comes to demons.  Where do these beliefs come from?  Many Christians are familiar with the accounts of demon possessions in the synoptic gospels.  They have read in these accounts about demons appearing to cause medical disorders, and that they were “cast out” of their victims’ bodies by Jesus and his apostles.  This book therefore is concerned with revealing the cultural and historical context in which these accounts occurred, in order to arm Christians with the knowledge needed to make an assessment about how these demon accounts are actually to be understood.

 

The two original and most ancient views concerning demons, the pagan view and Israelite view, are compared and contrasted to highlight where modern mainstream Christianity lies.  Because this book is written primarily for Christians, the book will pay special attention to the cultural context in which demon accounts in the Christian scripture (NT) took place, the accounts themselves, and where modern Christian beliefs concerning demons actually came from.  In an attempt to show the big-picture view, this book was written to read like a story, tracing the history of demons from the earliest times or recorded history to the modern era.

 

Since some views about the unseen spirit world can actually distort our view of the character and power of our God, a proper understanding of the subject is of vital importance to Christians.  When the matter is put to serious research, what were previously only fragmented pieces of a large puzzle begin to fit together to form a coherent picture.  It is truly rewarding when passages from the scriptures come alive in their historical context.

 

1.2.           Conventions

 

·       In most cases scriptural quotations are taken from more modern versions such as the NET or NIV®.  If the wording is vague or wanders from the original meaning, other translations will be quoted instead.

·       Square brackets “[]” are used to denote lacuna.

·       Parentheses “()” are used to denote clarifications, such as approximate dates, and also for rewordings.  They may be placed within the body of quotes when appropriate.

·       Dates for certain ancient people or historical events are usually rounded off +/- 25 or 50 years.  Chronology is not the primary focus of this work.


 

1.3.           Glossary of Definitions

 

Anachronism

A chronological inconsistency, usually in a historical account, often considered evidence that an narrative is spurious.

ANE

Ancient Near East.  An area comprising Middle East nations from the period of early development from around the time of the origin of Babylon.  The term may include ancient nations such as Babylon, Armenia, Media, Persia, Levant (Canaan & Syria), Egypt and Turkey.  The period is considered to span from around the 4th millennium BC to roughly the 4th century BC.

Apocrypha

Writings which are not considered inspired, or are not sacred, or part of the accepted canon of Scripture.

Apostasy

The act of falling away, or abandon ones religion. 

Ataxia

A lack of coordination which serves as an indicator of certain neurological disorders.

Avant-guard

New, unusual and often innovative ideas, or the people who create and represent them.

Baal

A popular Semitic false god or god class of the ANE.

c.

Circa, from Latin, meaning “about”, used with a year to indicate that the given date is only meant to be an approximation.

Canaan

Ancient name for the land that God promised to Abraham and his seed, and which the Israelites were commanded to occupy.

Canaanite

An inhabitant of Canaan, comprising such tribes as the Amorites, Phoenicians, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites, etc.

Chaldea, Chaldees

Ancient Babylon.

Choephori, or Choëphoroe

Libation Bearers, the title of a play by Aeschylus.

Chthonic

Pertaining to the underworld, especially in with relation to ghosts.

Cysticercosis

An infection by the pork tapeworm taenia solium in muscle and/or other body tissues.  If the infection is found in the brain, the condition is referred to as Neurocysticercosis.

Concordance

Similar to a lexicon, it gives word meanings, but it is also a reference tool used to show the use of a word, listing biblical references where the word occurs.  One very common example is the Strong’s Concordance.  Concordances are usually keyed to the English, making it easier for beginners to use.

Cuneiform

The earliest known writing systems using wedge shaped pictographs.  Most surviving ancient cuneiform texts were written on clay tablets.

Deify

To elevate someone to the status of a god.

Di Penates

In the ancient Roman religion, household gods, or family deities.

Eidolon

A ghost.  Literally, an image, or apparition.  The spirit-image of a dead person.  The Greek eidololatreia is thought to be the origin of the English word “idolatry”.

Elegy

A funeral chant.

Eucharist

Christian ritual memorializing the last supper of Christ.

Gentile

Of non-Jewish nationality.

Hajj

A pilgrimage.

Heathen

In this book, “heathen” is used here to denote the Gentile (non-Jewish, non-Israelite) peoples, as it is used in the scriptures.  The word “heathen” does not mean “immoral people”, though many heathen were wicked.

Hebrew

The language of the Israelites, and the original language of the Old Testament scriptures.  Also, an Israelite (as in Php 3:5).

Hecatomb

Mass slaughter for sacrifice.

Hellenization

The spreading influence of Greek culture and philosophy.

Heterodox

Non-mainstream, doctrinally non-orthodox.

Idolatry

The worship of false gods as through idols, figures of wood, stone, etc.

Israelites

Members of the ethnic group descending from the Biblical patriarch, Jacob, today called Jews, and/or who consider Israel their homeland.

Kalu Priest

Ancient Mesopotamian priest order responsible for musical incantations made to certain gods and for demon exorcisms.

Kispum

A ritual meal offered to the dead.

KJV

King James Version of the Bible.

Lacuna

Missing text, as may occur when text on ancient manuscripts or tablets is damaged, making it illegible.

Levant

A term used mainly by archaeologists and historians to describe a general area in the Middle East including Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Cyprus, Lebanon, but sometimes also including other areas such as Iraq, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt or Turkey.

Lexicon

A language dictionary, giving full word definitions.  In particular, for Biblical languages such as Greek, Hebrew and Syriac / Aramaic.

Libation

Drink offering (as made to a god).

LXX

Abbreviation for the Septuagint version of the OT.

Manichaeism

An ancient Persian dualistic cosmology that spread throughout mainly Aramaic-Syriac speaking regions of the ANE.

Masoretic

The Hebrew text of the OT, named after the Masoretes, the Jewish group who copied them, adding the vowel points between the 7th and 10th centuries AD.

Massebah

A stone pillar set up for ancestral spirits and/or gods to inhabit for communion.  Masseboth is the plural form found also in scripture.

Medium

A person who was employed to contact the dead.  A necromancer, witch or wizard.

Molech / Moloch

A false god (or type of false god) of the ANE period.

MT

Abbreviation for the Masoretic.

Mummiform

Having some resemblance to a mummy.

Necromancy

The practice of seeking information or divinatory guidance from the dead, usually one’s ancestors.

 

Necropolis

A large cemetery, usually ancient.  Literally, city of the Dead.

Neo-Babylon

The empire of Babylon from Nabopolassar (c. 625 BC) to Nabonidus and Belshazzar (c. 540 BC).

NT

New Testament.  The books of the bible after the time of Christ.

Orthodox

Means “correct”, a label which mainstream Christianity has bestowed upon itself.

Osirification

The deification of a deceased king to be glorified as a god, with particular relation to the Egyptian god Osiris.

OT

Old Testament.  The books of the bible preceding the time of Christ.

Paganism

The religious system of pagans.  The culture of several heathen cultures of the ANE characterized by idolatry and rituals engaging the dead.

Parentare

Latin Parentāre -  to make a sacrifice in honor of a dead parent.

Patriarch

A forefather, or male ancestral progenitor of a race or tribe

Pentateuch

The first 5 books of the Hebrew bible, also called the Torah.

Phenomenal

Language

Or sometimes “Phenomenological language”.  An expression or narration in terms of a writer’s particular cultural viewpoint, especially when apparently ignorant of scientific reality.  For example, “the going down of the sun.”

Philology

Study of language in written historical sources

Pseudepigrapha

Spurious writings falsely ascribed to other authors.  Hoax texts posing as be inspired scripture usually claim to be written by prophets, apostles, patriarchs or other notable biblical figures.

Semitic

Arabic, Akkadian , Aramaic or Hebrew people, or the languages they speak.

Septuagint

A version of the OT scripture which was translated from the Hebrew into Greek in Alexandria in around 200 BC, as ordered by the Greek King Ptolemy II of Egypt.  It was by tradition the work of 70 (some say 72) Jewish scribes, hence the name.  It includes apocryphal books, also.

Sepulchre

A tomb.

Shed

Hebrew for “idol”.  The plural is “shedim”.

Stela / Stele

A monument, such as a large tombstone, often bearing the inscriptions of the name of a deceased king to whom it has been dedicated. The plural is Stelae.

Strong’s

Strong’s Concordance, or Dictionary of the Greek and Hebrew words of the Bible.

Syncretism

Combining of different religions.

Synoptics

The Synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark & Luke

Teraphim

An ancestor figurine used for contacting the dead in the ANE.

Transliteration

The importing of a word from another language by spelling it from its phonetic sound, opposed to translation, because it is considered a name. 

Tutelary

Role of guardianship.  “Tutelary gods” is a common term referring to protective spirits or demons.

Uag, or Wag

Pronounced “Whag”, is an Egyptian feast for dead ancestors in which the ghosts partake of funerary offerings.

Ushabti

Also “shabti” or “shawabti”.  Figurines placed in the tombs in Egypt from very ancient times representing either the departed or his servants.  Some ushabtis were considered inhabited by the spirits of the departed which they represented.  Thus they may have served as a communication mediums between the living and dead.  These were probably precursors to full blown idols.  The word "ushabti" is generally thought to derive from the verb "wSb", meaning, “to answer”.

Yahweh

The approximate Hebrew pronunciation for the memorial name of God, revealed in the OT.

 

 

 




 

2.  The Conjuring

2.1.           Definition of “Demon

 

The purpose of establishing the meaning of the word “demon” before proceeding further is to prevent the reader from becoming confused later.  This section will cite only a few articles of evidence to validate the definition before proceeding.  Some amount is necessary to avert some readers from claiming that the author has established a foregone conclusion.  This material will put subsequent discussions into context, and thereby allow the remainder of this book to retain the reader's interest.  There will continue to be additional, even more compelling evidence introduced as the story unfolds.

 

The word “demon” is simply a transliteration of the Greek word “daimon”.  The view of the people living in the time of Jesus was that a demon was considered the ghost of a deceased human being.  It may seem at first absurd, but the existence or non-existence of demons has no bearing upon what the word meant to its users.  This definition will be proven conclusively and absolutely to those readers who honestly investigate the matter.  The object in this section is to demonstrate that it will be helpful, when we read of “demons” in ancient writings (including the Holy Scriptures), if we are able to mentally substitute “ghosts”, “spirits” or perhaps “disembodied souls”, without any hesitation or doubt.[1]

 

This exercise is necessary because of the traditional Christian teaching that demons are rebel angels who were cast out of heaven by God, as one might punish a dog who urinates on the living room carpet.  Another variation is that they fell out of heaven along with an archangel named “Satan”, and (by the remotest of odds) landed on our remote planet, and that their prime directive is to cause men to sin, so that Satan may take ownership of “immortal souls” in order to submit them to punishment of eternal torture.  Let each man consider for himself whether these scenarios are compatible with the existence of an almighty and merciful God, or whether Christians ought to investigate more carefully the sources of their information.

 

There is another variation which is somewhat of a combination of the two views above.  Some have taught that demons are the ghosts of angel-human hybrids.  These opinions will be dealt with at some point in this book, but for now it is preferable to start out focused on the main theme.

 

Preachers teach things for one of two reasons.  Firstly, they teach what appeals to the flesh, because people pay them to say what they want to hear.  Secondly, they teach things that appeal to fear, that people better not stop attending church (and contributing funds) for fear of eternal torture.  In the case of demons, the preacher’s claim is that they can help Christians to avoid these wicked spirit beings who seek their harm.

 

In regard to “the devil” and “Satan”, a full discussion is outside the scope of this book.  The subject is actually completely unrelated to that of demons.  The subject of “Satan” and “the devil” will be covered only in what occasion that the subjects are tangentially related.

 

Sir Isaac Newton made numerous significant contributions to the fields of mathematics and physics that have changed the world.  Humanity ought to be grateful to him for his lifelong labor to share the fruit of his highly intelligent insights.  Not all know, however, that he also researched the Holy Scriptures extensively, or that he likewise studied ancient history and chronology as a hobby in his leisure time.[2]  His opinion was that demons were the imagined ghosts of the dead which were worshipped by the ancient pagans as false gods.  From his research of ancient history, he describes the cult of the dead, using the terms “demons” and “ghosts” synonymously.  Newton wrote:

 

The countries of the Tigris and the Nile Rivers were exceedingly fertile and were the first to be inhabited by mankind after the flood of Noah.  These areas were the first to become kingdoms and therefore, they were the first to worship their dead kings and queens.  Hence came the gods of Laban, the gods and goddesses called Baal and Ashteroth from the Canaanites, the demons or ghosts to whom they sacrificed, and the Moloch to whom they offered their children in the days of Moses and the judges.  Every city inaugurated worship to its own founder and kings by alliances and conquests they spread this worship.  Finally the Phoenicians and Egyptians brought the practice of deifying the dead into Europe.[3]

 

Since a correct understanding of the meaning of the word “demon” in the time of Jesus is desired, it is necessary to ascertain what exactly a “demon” was to Jews and Gentiles living shortly before and after Jesus.

 

All serious and honest historians will attest, that by the accounts of all those who lived in the days that Jesus walked the earth, demons were considered ghosts.  The quote below indicates a consensus among three famous writers from around the time of Jesus:

 

But from Josephus, Justin Martyr, and Philostratus, with whom rabbinical writings agree, we learn that these demons were the disembodied souls of wicked men.[4]

 

Josephus and the various rabbis were Jews who lived during and shortly after Jesus’ time.  Philostratus was a Greek who lived in the 2nd century after Christ.  Justin Martyr, a Greek Christian writer, also lived in the 2nd century AD.  Thus Jews and Gentiles after Christ’s time believed that demons were ghosts.

 

In the Bible, the word “demons” (or some older translation have “devils”) is simply a transliteration of the Greek word “daimonion” found in the original manuscripts for the NT, which were written in Greek.  Because the word “demon” found in the Bible is of Greek origin, we must respect and adhere to the Greek definition.   Words have meanings!

 

Perhaps the most conclusive definition is found in the ancient writings of those educated Greek philosophers.  Their definition of demons was that they are the ghosts of the dead.  This quote from Plato (c. 400 BC) shows that Greeks prior to the time of Christ believed that demons were ghosts:

 

When any of that class die they become holy demons dwelling on earth... [5]

 

Very soon after Jesus, the famous Jewish historian Josephus, in his work “Wars of the Jews”, verifying that in his day the word “demon” meant “ghost”, or the disembodied souls of the dead:

 

… For what man of virtue is there who does not know that those souls which are severed from their fleshly bodies in battles by the sword, are received by the ether, that purest of elements, and joined to that company which are placed among the stars; that they become good demons and propitious heroes, and show themselves as such to their posterity afterwards? [6]

 

Further evidence that the Greeks shortly after the time of Christ considered demons to be ghosts is found in the testimony from Luke as found in the book of Acts.  When the Apostle Paul visited Athens in Greece, we are told that because he preached the resurrection (coming back from the dead), the Greek men on Mars Hill thought he was talking about “new demons”:

 

And some said… He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange (Greek: xenos daimonion, strange demons): because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.[7]

The Apostle Paul, a Jew, did not correct these Greek men in their definition of “demon”, but instead implied that they were too “superstitious” (the Greek is literally, “demon fearing”), which indicates that he had the same definition.   Paul’s words yield further evidence, but we will save that for a later point in this book.

 

Even more than a century after Christ, most Christians still used the term “demon” to denote the “ghost-gods” of the pagans.  Clement of Alexandria (c. 200 AD), in “Exhortation to the Heathen”, wrote:

 

Superstition, then… became the originator of many demons, and was displayed in sacrificing hecatombs, appointing solemn assemblies, setting up images, and building temples, which were in reality tombs[8]

 

The ancient Israelite prophets taught that the Gentile pagans considered their gods to be demons, or ghosts.  Thus demons, along with Baal their prince, were in scripture referred to as “the dead”. The sacrifices which made to demons were also made to the dead, as well as to their idols, which demonstrates that the prophets treated these terms as synonymous.

They worshiped Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead… They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons… they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan.[9]

 

It does not mean that they ate dead animals sacrificed to actual conscience, sentient beings called gods, but that they partook of the offerings made to “the dead”, which is what the pagan gods were, as we shall see, for there is only one “living God”.  This act was no doubt considered an expression of fellowship with their god, as Christians can relate to Christ through the Eucharist.  The heathen pagans did many other things in honor of the dead, such as making cuttings in their flesh, tattooing and complying with hairstyles of pagan significance.[10] 

 

The scriptures reveal that the pagans made cuttings in their flesh “for the dead”,[11] and we find that was how the prophets of Baal made invocation to their false god, the “prince of demons”.[12]  We see, again, the connection of “demons” with “the dead”.

 

As a final indication that we are proceeding in the right direction, we may note the witness of the early writings of Egyptians, Jews and other nations.  These contain several mentions of demons in connection to cemeteries, indicating the Jewish context:

 

One of the favourite forms of procuring intercourse with spirits was by spending the night in a cemetery. In connexion with this practice, reference should be made to Jer. Terumoth, i. fol. 40a, outer column, line 29 ; Gittin, vii. beginning, fol. 486, outer column (ed. Krotoschin, 1866), and Bab. Hagiga, 36, near end. In all these cases invocation of spirits is mentioned… he who burns incense to the shedim [demon], and he who passes the night by the graves in order to enter into communion with an unclean spirit.” [13]

 

Finally, the BDAG lexicon is one of most highly respected dictionaries of Biblical Greek.  Under the Greek word for demon, the BDAG contains three very clear mentions of ghosts, but nothing about rebel angels whatsoever:

 

δαιμόνιον [demons] … 1… the spirit of the departed2… the spirits of deceased wicked people… objects of polytheistic worship… a phantom or ghost [14]

 

A common resistance tactic here is to claim that only pagans thought that demons were ghosts, and that we should not care about their opinion.[15] This is a sort of form of “Argumentum ad hominem”, directed at the very people who spoke the language, and would best be in a position to know its meaning.  Furthermore, it was not merely Greeks or pagans who understood demons to be departed spirits, it was Jews and anyone who spoke the Greek language (the word “daimon” being a Greek word).  A bigger problem with this logic, however, is that there simply is no authoritative evidence from the NT period to indicate that demons were ever considered anything but ghosts.[16]  Furthermore, the only OT evidence describing demons does not associate them with rebel angels, but rather with “the dead” (i.e. ghosts).  The significance of this fact should not be underestimated, as to sweep aside the inconvenient truth.  This clearly puts the onus on the orthodox mainstream detractors to find evidence to counter this position, but there is none.  Making demons out to be rebel angels is an error.  It is, however, a surprisingly popular error.

 

Whenever we hear or read the word “demons”, we need to be mindful to think of “pagan ghost-gods”.  This is true also when the word is used in the context of the synoptic gospels and other NT writings.  We need to avoid thinking of demons as rebel angels, or some other type of spirit being.  These modern definitions came about as a result of Christian scholars well after the last books of the NT were written, who began importing ideas from the writings of Gentile pagans and heretical Jewish sects.  This will be shown conclusively in due time.

 

In the course of reading the ensuing chapters, we will cover many other proofs that show that beyond any doubt, the definition of the Greek word “daimonion” was considered the ghost of a deceased human being.  This initial smattering of evidence should be sufficient to justify now proceeding with the subject at hand, namely, the conjuring up of the dead. 

 

It is worthwhile to note here that we find in some cultures that demons (ghosts) were thought of as benevolent guardians, but in others they are all said to be malevolent and seeking to cause harm to men.  Sometimes they were thought to comprise a mixture of both kind and evil ghosts.  There are reasons that these views developed which will be examined in detail.  The positive or negative moral character that various ancient people sometimes attributed to demons have no bearing on the meaning of the word.

 

2.2.           The Origin of Demons

 

The fact that demons are always regarded as the spirits of those who have died recently shows better than anything the influence of mourning on the origin of the belief in demons. [17]

 

There is a lot of insight in these words.  Consider why ghosts are thought to exist.  Freud points out a simple fact that excessive mourning for lost loved ones could in fact lead to denial.  We yearn to once again be in their presence, and to get another chance to say those things we regret leaving unsaid.  Feelings of deep loss, grief and sometimes guilt can lead to the desire to believe that they are alive somewhere, just out of our sight, whether or not we are able to really know for sure.  We want to believe, as the preacher says, that they are in heaven with Jesus, watching us in the sunshine, smiling down upon us in love.  We want to believe this because it is too horrible to consider the possibility that they are unconsciously decaying in silent darkness down below.  History of mankind informs us that remaining in contact with the ghosts of dead ancestors, whether really alive or not, was once a widespread obsession.  Since we cannot see the dead anymore, if they are still alive, then their presence must be invisible, just out of our sight.

 

We should certainly be empathetic to those who suffer such loss.  It is a natural desire of the human species to long for the continuance of our deceased ancestors, particularly when the loss is a caring and compassionate soul, one who has been relied upon in the past.  We cling to dreams about them still being available to us, able to hear us, though we can no longer hear them.  Death denying books such as the popular “Heaven is Real” continue to fly off the shelves as people pay without hesitation for any possibility that their departed loved ones are not really dead.  Needless to say, many of a less charitable spirit are perhaps concerned more with how to extend their own life.

 

All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible.

- George Santayana

 

Hollywood fantasy movies often reflect upon ideas from our cultural, collective subconscious with stories of benevolent ancestral ghosts.  In the Disney children’s fictional movie, Lion King, Simba, confronted with new challenges of leading a kingdom, watches the sky as dark clouds swirl into the image of his father’s ghost, who then proceeds to give him advice.  In the movie “Rise of the Guardians”, the moon chooses particular deceased mortals to revive into god-like beings having superpowers to protect and help mortals (children in particular).

 

Figure 1.  In the Disney movie, Lion King, the ghost of Simba's father gives him advice.

 

It is realized that this subject will for many people hit a raw nerve, and be a very sensitive topic.  We regret having to broach the matter.  Nevertheless, the fact remains that church preachers make money on the fact that people pay them to tell them what they want to hear.  Whether what they are saying is true or not is a matter which will be covered at the appropriate time.

 

2.3.           Teraphim

 

The belief in ghosts goes back very far indeed.  Abraham, the father of the Israelites and Ishmaelites (Arabs), is also known to Christians as “the father of the faithful”.[18]  As not all readers will be familiar with his story, what follows is a crash course on just the elements of Abraham’s life that are relevant to the subject.

 

Abraham was raised in the region of ancient Mesopotamia which is called in scripture the “Ur of the Chaldeans”.[19]  This is in the area today known as Iraq.  Abraham would have lived a few generations after the powerful ruler Nimrod, who himself lived just a few generations after the flood.  This puts him at nearly 2000 BC, by traditional chronology.  When Abraham left his homeland in Mesopotamia to dwell in the land of Canaan in obedience to God and in faith of His promise that he would receive an everlasting inheritance there,[20] he left behind a culture of idolatry.[21]

 

Abraham’s son Isaac bare two sons, Jacob and Esau.  When Jacob fled Esau’s wrath, he was told to go back to his ancestral homeland, Haran.[22]  There he ended up marrying both Leah and Rachel, sisters.  Upon departing to return back to Canaan, Isaac was unaware that the younger wife, Rachel, had stolen the family gods from her father Laban.  The first mention of the Hebrew word “teraphim” occurs in the Bible in the following passage:

 

While Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole the household idols that belonged to her father… why did you steal my gods? [23]

 

The phrase “that belonged to her father” (in the KJV, rendered “that were her father’s”) may actually denote merely her immediate father, but rather some more prominent forefather.  Some scholars believe that the expression had special significance relating to ancestor worship in the ANE:

 

Family religion has two facets: it expresses itself in the veneration of a particular god and in the cult of the family ancestors.  The expression ‘family god’ does not occur in the Babylonian vernacular...  The usual designation of the family god isyour god’ or ‘the god of your father.’ [24]

 

Richard Hess, a Ph.D. in West Semitic languages and literature, and a scholar in the ancient Israelite religion, on p. 331 of his book “Israelite Religions”, refers to “teraphim” as “ancestor figurines”. [25]

 

The impression we get from all this is that very shortly after the flood, when rebellion against God was just restarting, and when idolatry was just in its infancy stages, each family had its own gods, which were their deceased ancestors.

 

Figure 2.  Marble figurines from ancient Sumer.  The tallest is around 30 inches.  Gods and goddesses are often portrayed holding cups.  Are these teraphim?

 

We find the word “teraphim” elsewhere in scripture apparently associated with “mediums” and “necromancers”.[26]  These were people who were hired for conjuring up of ghosts of the departed for necromancy, libations and offerings.   The Israelites under Moses were later commanded to kill people who did these things.[27]

 

One interesting possibility is that the word “teraphim” may actually contain the root “rapha”, referring to the dead:

 

8655.  תְּרָפִים terâphîym, ter-aw-feme´; plur. per. from 7495; a healer; Teraphim (sing. or plur.) a family idol:—idols (-atry), images, teraphim.[28]

 

7496.  רָפָא râphâʾ, raw-faw´; from 7495 in the sense of 7503; prop. lax, i.e. (fig.) a ghost (as dead; in plur. only):—dead, deceased.[29]

 

 

Tablet “LKU 51” resides in the British Museum and describes an ancient annual Babylonian ritual of weeping wherein a wooden image of the King Dumuzi was spoken to by the priest.  Mark E. Cohen, a PhD in History and a former curator of Yale University’s Babylonian Collection, gives the translation for this ancient tablet:

 

… The kalu-priest attempted to revive the dead god by whispering prayers into his ears: On the 27th day Askayaitu returns to the E[hilsu]. A (wooden) figurine of Dumuzi is brought out and is cast down by the main gate. [The figurine(?)] is brought in before The-Lady-of-Uruk. The kalu-priest whispers (the prayer) ni-su-il-se into the right ear and into the left ear of the piece of wood which has been cast down.[30]

 

From this it can be seen that keeping carved images of deceased leaders was a custom of the time in ancient Babylon.  Thus it seems likely that teraphim were carvings in the likeness of some ancestor in their recent memory, produced in order to communicate with their spirits. 

 

From the story of David’s wife Michal helping him escape from Saul’s soldiers, it is evident that teraphim were made in the images of people, for she propped up a teraphim in David’s bed to allow him to get a head start.[31]  It appears from this account that these images were made to different scales, similar to statues and figurines today.

 

In the Israelite religion, two stones (the “Urim” and “Thummim”) were ordained for consulting with God.[32]   Teraphim appear listed with the “ephod”,[33] which contained the Urim and Thummim.[34]  This connection serves as further evidence that teraphim were used for divination, at least as imagined by the apostate Israelites who were being addressed by God’s words that came through Hosea.

 

Sir Flinders Petrie, a brilliant early 20th century Egyptologist, observed what may have been an ancient Egyptian counterpart to the teraphim.  The “ushabti” was a figurine of the departed, some of which had similar oracle functionality:

 

The ushabti figures may be taken as somewhat akin to the earlier servant figures, but yet essentially different... In the XIIth dynasty they were not common, and some rather well-made figures, wrapped in a cloak or mummified, show the clearly funereal aspect, wit the usual formula of funerary offering and a prayer for coming forth happily in the underworld.  There were also mummiform figures, uninscribed, but obviously of the same meaning, as statuettes for occupation by the spirit.[35]

 

There is also historical evidence supporting the fact that often skulls were used to communicate with the dead.  This practice began very early and continued for centuries.  It is only mentioned here in passing.

 

2.4.           Tomb Worship

 

This section examines archeological and historical evidence which testify of the prevalence of the practices of consultation of and worship of the dead, practices which God explicitly prohibited through his prophets.  Clement of Alexandria, in the “Exhortation to to the Heathen”, where he mentions demons, also states:

 

For just as temples are held in reverence, so also are sepulchres, and pyramids, and mausoleums, and labyrinths, which are temples of the dead, as the others are sepulchres of the gods… the tombs which got the name of temples… sepulchres with religious veneration. [36]

 

This was a recognized fact in ancient times.  It is easily seen how a tomb could become a deified ancestor’s first temple, as he becomes first honored, then worshipped by his adoring descendants.

 

The primary god of the Greeks was known as Jove, Jupiter, or Zeus.  He was, according to Greek legend, born in a cave on the Greek Island of Crete.  In fact, an ancient poem records the presence of a tomb there bearing his name!  Callimachus (c. 250 BC), in his poem “Hymn to Jupiter”, wrote:

 

If Ida's hills thy sacred birth may claim,

Or far Arcadia boast an equal fame?

The Cretans, prone to falsehood, vaunt in vain,

And impious! built thy tomb on Dicte's plain;

For Jove, th' immortal king, shall never die,

But reign o'er men and Gods above the sky. [37]

 

The same is found recorded in the “Sibylline Oracles”:

 

As if not born. Where thy Palladium then?

What god shall save thee, whether wrought of gold

Or stone or brass? Or then where thy decrees

Of senate? Where shall be the race of Rhea,

Of Cronus, or of Zeus, and of all those

Whom thou didst worship, demons without life,

Images of the worn-out dead, whose tombs

Crete the ill-starred shall hold a cause of pride,

And honor the unconscious dead with thrones? [38]

 

The ancestor worship cult probably began in ancient Sumeria, and it is clear that “the dead” were presumed to join “the gods of the underworld”.  Their ghosts were well treated with whatever furnishings might be expected in the cult installation:

 

’Raising a torch for the Anunna gods’ was a mortuary rite addressed at the gods of the netherworld, including the dead… To mark the invisible presence of the ghosts, a chair was set up on which they were presumed to seat themselves… [39]

 

It is easy to see how the practice was more than simply paying respects to the dead.  This was death denial, and was no doubt what led to idolatry.  In fact in the OT scriptures it is not without reason that necromancy and idolatry are so frequently mentioned together.  Idolatry was the worship of false gods, who were considered the equivalent of spirits of the dead, who they presumed were able to provide change of fate and telling of the future.

 

Figure 3.  The royal palace at Ugarit strongly resembles a burial chamber.

 

An ancient city named Ugarit in Northern Syria appears to have been established about the time that the Israelites were in Egypt, and destroyed c. 1200 BC, not too long after the time the Israelites entered Canaan.  In the ruins of this ancient city, there were discovered two ancient monuments, or stelae, known as KTU 6.13 & 6.14, dedicated to the Philistine false god Dagon.

 

Throughout the ANE there was a belief system incorporating ghosts and necromancy, and those imagined ghosts were actually being honored as “gods”.  It seems that the death cult practice actually began from the earliest times in recorded history.

 

One of the oldest cities ever unearthed by archeologists was “Ebla”, discovered in modern Syria.  It has been dated to at least 2000 BC. 

 

At Ebla, lists of deceased who receive offerings include a cuneiform sign indicating divinity in front of the royal names.  This may suggest a belief that these deceased ancestors were deified. [40]

 

 

File:Letter Luenna Louvre AO4238.jpg

Figure 4.  A clay tablet with cuneiform writing.

 

The more influential of men, such as kings and patriarchs, were of course considered more powerful in the afterlife as well.  Thus if an ancestral ghost could give one insights, then the ghosts of kings would be considered gods who ruled in the underworld with all the splendor that they did while in their mortal bodies.  One scholar in Canaanite religion, in regard to the god Moloch, states in a footnote, “The form mlkm (malikūma) in the Ugaritic pantheon lists appears to be a collective for dead kings.” [41]

2.1.           The Hungry Dead

 

In the many cultures the children are expected to pull their fair share within the family unit.  In addition, unlike in the western culture, where people often move their aging parents in an “old folks home” or “extended care center”, the more traditional societies, whether by principle or pragmatism, take care of their parents at home, and feed them.  What happens when this system is combined with beliefs that they are still alive?

 

Figure 5. The Stele of Katamuwa discovered in Turkey Beckons the Vistor to bring “a ram for my soul that is in this stele”, and drink and eat with him.

 

The previously mentioned stelae found in Ugarit dedicated to Dagon were inscribed with details concerning the food and drink libations that were prescribed to be offered Him.  One scholar cites in the citation below the evidence that confirms its funerary context.  This also demonstrates how that the remembrance of a king became the worship of a “god”.

 

“The documentation from Mari and in particular the pagrā’um (offering) that was celebrated in the court of Aleppo during the mourning for the dead king confirm its funerary character.  Nothing prevents us considering that a similar situation applied to Ugarit during the Middle Babylonian period… With the steles the death of the king was commemorated as well as his cult as dead king, and everything seems to indicate that the ceremony was very similar to the one described… a funerary banquet as part of mourning… for the dead king. [42]

 

Figure 6.  Funerary stela of Si’ Gabbar, priest of Sahar, from Syria.  Note the ghost of the deceased sitting in the chair, partaking of the drink offering. ToDo Source!

 

Although there are relatively few instances of actual foodstuffs preserved in burials, the ubiquitous jar and bowl indicate that food and liquids were provided for the dead.[43]

 

An ancient Sumerian tablet  about a courier who died, and the maid who grieves for him (sometimes referred to as “The Messenger and the Maiden”, contains some of the particulars of the death cult ritual:

 

My courier – he has come but walks not, he has come but walks not, he has eyes but he cannot see me, he has a mouth but he cannot converse with me. My courier has come – approach!  He has indeed come – approach!  I have cast down bread, wiped him clean with it, from a drinking cup that has not been contaminated, from a bowl that has not been defiled, I poured water, and the earth where the water was poured, drank it up.  With my fine oil I anointed the wall for him, with my new garment I clothed his chair, the spirit has entered, the spirit has departed.  My courier was struck down on the mountain, in the heart of the mountain – he is dead. [44]

 

Drink libations included water, beer, milk, honey, oil, wine, and animal blood.

 

Another scholar, in her dissertation on archaeological discoveries in ancient Ur, discusses discoveries at “the royal cemetery in the capital of Ur”, such as “vertikal in den Boden

eingelassene Röhren zur Aufnahme der libierten Flüssigkeiten” (vertically embedded tubes for receiving the libation liquids).  Nearby was found cuneiform engraving which stated, “Ort an den man (die Toten) trinken lässt” (the place where they [the dead] can drink).[45]

 

Archaeologist Woolley’s references to Ur tomb findings included “silver jugs with tall necks and long spouts of the form regularly used for libations”.  He also describes several instances of limestone burial chambers with holes dug for pouring libations into.[46]

 

ANE scholar Hess comments that Bloch-Smith’s found extensive feeding of the dead:

 

Bloch-Smith’s examination of the 850 excavated and published Late Bronze and Iron Age burials in the southern Levant has led her to conclude that every one of these burials provides evidence of feeding the dead.  When she adds this evidence to that already collected for Samaria E 207, she concludes that some form of veneration of the dead existed throughout ancient Israel, similar to the evidence that is found among Israel’s neighbors. [47]

 

The ancient Eastern Syrian city of Mari (c. 2500 BC) had the same culture.  One ancient cuneiform tablet numbered “CAD E, 399”, as translated by Heinrich Zimmern, is cited within an issue of the Tyndale Bulletin.  In it are found details of their ancient ghost feeding ritual. 

 

If someone has been ‘espoused’ to a dead man and a ghost has seized him, you place a chair for the spirits of his family to the left of the cult installation, you place chairs to the left for the spirits of his family, you make a food offering for the spirits of the family, you give them presents, you praise them, you honour them. [48]

 

The same publication issue also cites another tablet, KAR 227, as translated by Erich Ebeling, describing specifically the feeding of “offerings and libations” made to the “spirits” of deceased family:

 

… My father, my grandfather, my mother, my grandmother, my brother, my sister, my family, kith and kin, as many as are asleep in the netherworld[49]

 

Tablets have been found which give explicit lists of the types of food and drink to be offered, and mention the gods and goddesses to be offered to, along with the king.

 

Because Terqa was the major shrine of Dagan in his capacity as lord of funerary offerings, it was also the centre of the rites held for dead ancestors, in particular for deceased kings.  A ritual meal called kispum was offered regularly to the dead kings, perhaps in the temple of Dagan itself.  An inscription of Shamshi-Adad I, King of Assyria, was found at Terqua and records the building of a house or shrine for the kispum ceremonies called 'the temple of food and drink offerings to the dead, his house of silence’... The text continues: 'The dynasty of the Amorites, the dynasty of the Haneans, the dynasty of Gutium, any other dynasty that is not recorded on this tablet, and any soldier who fell while on his lord's service, princes, princesses, all humanity from east to west who have nobody to supply them and look after them (with funerary offerings): Come, eat this, drink this, and bless Ammi-saduqa, son of Ammi-ditana, King of Babylon!'...[50]

 

After the flood, when the tower was built in Babylon, the people of the earth were dispersed by the confusion of their language.[51]  From Babylon, then, the various families of people took their death cult of feeding the dead along with them.  These rituals are then, as expected, found to have spread out far from their origin, from China to Egypt and beyond.

 

Inscriptions from ancient Egyptian indicate the custom of bringing offerings to the god of the dead on their behalf.  Sometimes they are given to the ghosts of the person who died, other times they are offered to the god of the dead as supplication to benefit the ghost of the departed.  In some cases, only water, the ghost’s minimum requirement, was supplied:

 

…seeking benefactions for the departed (dead), to present libations of water, to offer upon the altar, to enrich the offering tablet at the first of every season… the feast of Wag…[52]

 

In other cases, the offerings were more extravagant.  Here is a translation of the text from the Stele of Sahathor, showing that the tomb feedings were considered something that the ghost-gods needed, and that this type of paganism spread into Egypt as through the rest of the ANE:

 

An offering which the king gives to Osiris, lord of Busiris, the great god, lord of Abydos, an invocation offering of bread and beer, flesh and fowl, alabaster and linen, incense and unguent… O you living who are upon earth, who shall pass by this chapel in the necropolis… fowl, oryx and gazelle, and everything on which a god lives[53]

 

Figure 7.  Egyptian Funerary Stela

 

Archaeological findings from the ruins of ancient Assyria, Babylon and Canaan have yielded up much evidence of a culture wherein family ghosts were honored, cared for and given food and drink offerings, by their descendants.

 

 Figure 8.  Ancestor receiving an offering, engraving on an ancient stela.

 

 

On occasion a warning would be issued to secure loyalty.  Such is the case with the provisional curse of Esarhaddon (675 BC) engraved on a tablet.  The conditional curse is pronounced against the Medes should they violate their oath of loyalty.

 

May dogs and swine eat your flesh.  May your ghost have nobody to take care of pouring libations to him.[54]

 

Ancient “contractual” carvings are sometimes found to contain texts for provisions in the afterlife.  One ancient Babylonian instructs an adopted daughter of her responsibilities:

 

[You] shall provide me with food as long as I am alive and perform funeral rites (kispa takassap) when I am dead.[55]

 

In my lifetime you shall give me food.  When I die, you shall make funerary offerings for me.[56]

 

Archaeological researcher Jane McIntosh writes:

The visiting dead could ‘smell incense,’ and food such as bread, honey, grain, and sometimes meat was placed by the grave for them, while water, beer, wine, and other liquids were poured onto the grave or down a pipe into it. Jewelry and clothing might also be placed on a statue of the deceased. The dead were invoked by name, to prevent unconnected ghosts receiving the benefit of the offerings. These occasions were the chance for the living to communicate with the dead, asking favors or advice of them or begging them to desist from ill-intentioned haunting. The actual conversation was carried on through an intermediary, the ghost raiser, who smeared a special ointment on his forehead to enable him to see and hear the ghosts.[57]

 

The bible has several mentions of food sacrificed to idols, whereas in the case with the God of Israel, it was made clear that he didn’t really need anything.[58]  This food sacrificed to idols was apparently a ritual that began with feeding of dead ancestral leaders and patriarchs.

 

When the Israelites were being prepared to enter “the promised land”, Yahweh made certain laws for them to ensure they did not follow the wicked lifestyles of the prior inhabitants of the land.  At one point they were commanded to periodically swear that they had nothing to do with the practice of feeding the dead, nor partaking of any such offerings.[59]  Nevertheless these practices continued in the land for some time.[60]

 

2.2.           The Angry Dead

 

What happens when your ancestral ghosts don’t get fed?  What happens if you let them go thirsty down there?  Will not abandoned spirits punish their negligent caregivers?

 

Man was greatly concerned about striking bargains with them (ghosts) to secure their services, and about propitiating them, or warding off their attacks with protective charms, and by performing ‘ceremonies of riddance’.  The ghosts of the dead, being spirits, were similarly propitious or harmful on occasion; as emissaries of Fate they could injure the living.  Ancestor worship, the worship of ghosts, had origin in the stage of Animism. But ancestor worship was not developed in Babylonia as in China, for instance, although traces of it survived in the worship of stars as ghosts, in the deification of kings, and the worship of patriarchs, who might be exalted as gods or identified with a supreme god. [61]

 

The formal treatment of the dead remained essentially unchanged for thousands of years, which is perhaps not surprising given the ethnographic observation that dead ancestors do not smile on any kind of change in the cultures of their living relatives. Because ghosts are capable of severely punishing an earthly mortal desirous of change, the force for conformity is strong.[62]

 

Moreover, a kispum offering could be made at any time if any restless, malignant ghost was thought to be causing illness or any other trouble.  All people, not just kings, made this type of offering to dead parents, because restless or malignant ghosts were those who had not received such offerings... the dead must be supplied regularly with food and drink for they had power to harm the living, in particular the king and his dynasty, if they were given cause for grievance by neglect.[63]

 

One early 20th century scholar working in the Department of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities of the British Museum, writing on the subject of demons in the superstitions of Babylon, describes the reasoning by which demons may have come to be understood as injurious to men:

 

After death, the souls of men and women who died in the ordinary course of nature entered into the Underworld… where they remained trying to eke out a wretched existence by feeding on dust and mud, and receiving the offerings and libations paid to them by their descendants and relations on earth. If for any reason these attentions should cease, and the spirit of the dead man be forgotten, then it was forced by hunger and thirst to come forth from its abode… to seek on earth the food it wants, and, roaming up and down, it sought what it might devour.  If it found a luckless man who had wandered far from his fellows into haunted places, it fastened upon him, plaguing and tormenting him until such time as a priest should drive it away with exorcisms.[64]

 

Archaeological scholar Jane McIntosh writes about this as well:

 

Unquiet spirits of the dead were also blamed for some calamities, for example, mental illness… However, if the body was not properly buried the ghost could roam free, tormenting the Living… Acting without provocation, these malevolent spirits were deemed responsible for illness, untimely death, and other disasters and ill fortune.[65]

 

A hint of the origin of the gods of Egypt is found on an ancient writing known as the “Ebers Papyrus”, dated to around 1550 BC.    It describes medicinal remedies for various types illnesses.  The writing also reveals the supposed cause of these maladies:

 

 “…Osiris calls over what came out of him. Lo, thou hast saved me from everything bad and evil and vicious, from afflic­tions (caused) by a god or goddess, from dead man or woman…” [66]

 

Figure 9.  Mummy of Ramses II the Great. 

 

It will be observed that demons were in various cultures considered either good or bad, depending on the philosophy of the day.  What was seen before is seen again in the quote above.  In some cultural contexts, as above, ghosts could, for various reasons, become irate and cause harm or illness.

 

Like the Babylonians, the Egyptians appeared to equate their gods with the imagined ghosts of dead men, as above.  Egyptian chronology and history is a controversial subject, but one thing that can be certain is that ancient Egyptian beliefs included an afterlife, and they made great effort to ensure their tombs provided comforts and goods for use by the spirits of the deceased.  Deceased pharaohs were believed to be divine, and to join the gods after their death.  Occasionally common folk, due to some societal contribution or earned merit, were also reckoned worthy enough to be deified as gods, so that there resulted both major and minor gods.  The more privileged Egyptian kings’ funeral chamber walls were inscribed with incantations to ensure them a place among the gods in the afterlife.

 

The conclusion which we are inevitably compelled to acknowledge is that pagan false gods were nothing more than their dead whom they imagined were alive as ghosts in the netherworld, either to haunt them, bless them, and/or guide them.  The clergy equivalent of their day may have been dressed in priestly trappings and carrying iconic trinkets in order to convey an image of divine association, and in some cases their ceremonies were rather detailed, and their inventions quite intricate, particularly as observed in Egypt.  The net effect, however, was the same.   People were happy to delude themselves to believe what their priests were paid to say, which was that their false gods had indicated that their deceased comrades were somewhere else, underground or in the sky, enjoying their lives as as invisible ghosts.

 

There are several other great resources on the subject of funerary rituals in the ANE.  The sampling given here is really only the tip of the iceberg.  There has only been enough cited here to demonstrate what pagans living in the ANE thought about the death state.


 

3.  Necromancy Forbidden in Israel

3.1.           The Israel Challenge

 

Israelites were commanded not to involve themselves with these “abominable” rituals.  Living amidst other ANE inhabitants could have presented certain difficulties.  These rituals and beliefs were entrenched in the culture of their neighboring peoples all around, and it may have been considered an insult to their gods to deny them offerings.  The heathen continued to serve the ghosts of their dead ancestors and kings as gods.  If these ghost-gods were not appeased with sacrifices, they might become angry and even do harm.  The Israelites could very well have been viewed as the source of any alleged god-instigated punishments due to their lack of participation in bringing libations to their tombs.  Israel’s insistence on strict monotheism may have caused them to be quite unpopular with their neighbors.  In a way, the challenges they faced were not unlike the peer pressures that Christians feel today.

 

3.2.           The Mosaic Witness

 

When the children of Israel had multiplied in number, and left the bondage of Egypt under their prophet and leader, Moses, and finally came to resume occupancy in the land of Canaan, which God had told them to conquer, veneration of the dead was then widespread in the land.  Several races of people are listed as inhabiting the land.  The God of Israel told His people, “It is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you.” [67]

 

Several immoral activities were listed, including pagan idol worship and various forms of sexual immorality.[68]  There was the detestable ritual of sacrificing their children as burnt offerings to idols, which abominable practice was copied by the apostate Israelites who died in the wilderness, never getting to see the land,[69] as well as the Israelites whom the land later vomited out for imitating them.[70]

 

In scripture, necromancy and idolatry are often found together.  This is not a coincidence, as what starts out as an obsession for veneration of the dead later evolves into full blown worship of the dead and exalting them to divine status.  Among the many listed depravities of the Canaanites was the consultation the dead:

 

You must not eat anything with the blood still in it. You must not practice either divination or soothsaying. You must not round off the corners of the hair on your head or ruin the corners of your beard. You must not slash your body for a dead person or incise a tattoo on yourself. I am the Lord.[71]

 

You are children of the LORD your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave your forehead bald for the sake of the dead.[72]

 

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must not learn the abhorrent practices of those nations. There must never be found among you anyone who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, anyone who practices divination, an omen reader, a soothsayer, a sorcerer, one who casts spells, one who conjures up spirits, a practitioner of the occult, or a necromancer. Whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord and because of these detestable things the Lord your God is about to drive them out from before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. Those nations that you are about to dispossess listen to omen readers and diviners, but the Lord your God has not given you permission to do such things.[73]

 

The attitude toward attempting to communicate with the dead is clearly different between the Israelites and the heathen nations that inhabited the land of Canaan at this point in time.

 

The people who were living in Canaan before the return of the Israelites were to be driven out post haste, and if any were found practicing necromancy among the Israelites, they were put to death. [74]  However, as the scriptures also tell, they were not diligent enough to obey this command, which led to Israel imitating those who were cast out.

 

The causing of their young children to “pass through” the fire to the god on the other side[75] was a most abominable and detestable practice.  The phrase “pass through” reveals that the recipient on the other side, to whom they dedicated their helpless screaming infants, was their imagined god of the dead.  Such things as these were observed with disgust by the God of Israel.  Thus the Israelites were commanded to drive the Canaanites out of the land, so that their wickedness did not become a corrupting influence.[76]

 

The Israelites did not completely drive out the previous inhabitants to cleanse the land of the wickedness as they were told, therefore what God predicted came to pass.  The people of the land became a snare, and they served the gods of the pagans.[77]

 

Incidentally, the apostle Paul said that “everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction”,[78] and so for Christians, the driving out of these nations from the land represents driving out wickedness from our own lives.  Necromancy, or seeking approval, advice or support from the dead, also has a parallel in the lives of Christians.  It is abominable to Christ to see his disciples consulting with the spiritually dead of this world, with sources external to God’s word, and thereby to form his/her affections, affiliations and ideologies.  In the case with natural Israel, they disobeyed Yahweh.  In a similar way, Christians are not immune to the peer pressures of the world.  We must certainly not exclude things that were written in former times (the OT scriptures) from our Bible study, or we will fail to see the lessons God intends for us to learn.

 

Since the Israelites did not drive these people out completely, there were still in the land those who had a “familiar spirit” (i.e. a medium claiming ability to talk to the dead).[79]  Such practices were an abomination to God.  Some Israelites at various times did consult the dead for advice or favor that they should have been seeking from God in prayer or through His prophets.  The seeking of fortunes from the dead was a practice which was learned from the heathen nations around them.  It accuses God of being a liar, for God said that man was mortal,[80] and it attempts to bypass God, who alone determines the fate of men, and creates good and evil.  God wants His people to pray to Him, “the living God”, but they prayed to to their ghost-gods, or “the dead”, which perhaps demonstrates something about human nature.

 

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, (`owb) and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? [81]

 

They will say to you, “Seek oracles at the pits used to conjure up underworld spirits, from the magicians who chirp and mutter incantations. Should people not seek oracles from their gods, by asking the dead about the destiny of the living”? [82]

 

The term “familiar spirits” (or “oracles”, “mediums”, depending upon the version), is translated from the Hebrew word “`owb”, about which Strong’s Hebrew dictionary has: “water skin (from its hollow sound); hence a necromancer (ventriloquist, as from a jar)”.[83]  As the definition indicates, they had no special powers, but muttered into a bottle to make eerie noises.

 

A hollow shell or jar could be used to imitate the utterance of a ghost which they were supposedly conjuring up.  Hence the “consulters with water skins”, and the “wizards that peep, and that mutter”, were merely charlatans who made voices sound as if echoing inside an underground cavity.  They were merely preying upon ignorant people who were in mourning for their loved ones, hopeful for any possibility of their continuance and easy targets.  The LXX translated `owb as “eggastrimuthos”, meaning “a ventriloquist”.[84]

 

The word “necromancer”[85] is translated from a Hebrew expression, “darash muwth”, meaning “inquirer of the dead”.

 

Israel was commanded to put all of the people to death who did these “abominations.”  These things were considered spiritual prostitution.[86]  Despite the many commandments and warnings from Yahweh, these practices remained in the religious culture of the ancient Israelites throughout the first temple period.

3.3.           Israelite Worship of the Dead

 

In the pagan custom of worship of the dead, those most likely to be conjured up would have been those individuals who, during life, had been deemed most influential and wise, those most likely to be able to give helpful advice.  At the top of this list would be direct ancestors, patriarchal fathers and kings.  Among the Israelites, those less interested in God were more apt to fall into the same abominable practices as the heathen.

 

During Israel’s period of greatest alienation from Yahweh, the people “sinned more than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed ahead of the Israelites.” [87]  They in fact degenerated to heathen practices of “funeral offerings for their kings at their death”,[88] or “the dead bodies of their kings at their high places”. [89]  This behavior, of course, was condemned, as it denied the clear facts about death that God had revealed through his prophets.  This is explained in the next chapter.

 

 

4.  The Ancient Israelite View of Death

Prior to Eve experiencing guilt and shame, she began doubting God’s statement about the forbidden tree, that “when you eat from it you will surely die." [90]  This was not a threat but a loving warning.  The serpent, in effect, falsely accused God of lying, countering His statement that “surely you will not die”.  A new message was substituted, specifically, “you will be like divine beings”.[91]

 

Now try to imagine Eve as she is mulling over these two opposite claims.  On the one hand you have God and ordinary fruit.  On the other hand you get the serpent and this must be the fruit that apparently even the angels eat.  Instead of this action being her death sentence, perhaps it was really her ticket to immortality?  Those thoughts and doubts, combined with her desires, caused her to transgress.   She tried to take the shortcut to godhood. Eve then “gave also unto her husband with her”, and, as the record states, Adam “obeyed” her.[92]   That very day the serpent’s lie was shown for what it really was.  Access to the entire garden, including also the tree of life, was immediately revoked.  Paul described it saying, “sin entered the world through one man and death through sin.” [93]  After their vain effort to hide from God and cover their own nakedness, God provided a more acceptable covering for them, and at the same time, an object lesson for the rest of mankind, showing that we cannot adequately cover up or atone for our own sin, so we must follow God’s path for full reconciliation.  God provided a covering for man, if a man will but humble himself and wear it.  His name is Jesus, the anointed future king of the earth!  This is God’s message to humanity.  All must come to God on His terms.  There is no short cut.  There is no back door.  Nevertheless, man continues to try to create his own solution.   Denial, a more palatable option than either obedience or death, often seems to be the choice.  Even so, men who refuse God’s covering will die in their sins, and have no hope of redemption.[94]

 

4.1.           Dust and Ashes

 

Having seen multiple examples of the heathen practice of consulting with ghosts, the imagined disembodied spirits of the dead, it is important now to examine the differences between the pagan belief system and what the prophets of Yahweh revealed to Israel about the matter.  They were not silent at all about the nature of death, but we find it characterized several places in the OT.  Since Christians have a variety of views concerning death, it is obvious that they do not all make their conclusions based upon God’s prophets.  It is suggested that we approach the scripture with open minds, accepting that the basis of our own understanding of the matter should ultimately be derived from God’s pure word, and that we may need to dismiss our own biases or feelings.

 

Since this book was written primarily for Christians, it is important to emphasize that the same God who inspired the prophets by his Holy Spirit[95] to write the OT, also inspired the apostles to write the NT.[96]  This means that certain truths taught to Israel ought to still be relevant, despite the commandments of the law of Moses being made obsolete.[97]  Paul wrote that “everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction.” [98]  Additionally, the nature of death ought not to have changed between the NT and OT, as surely as the laws of physics apply equally anywhere in the universe.  Therefore we really do need to begin our investigation from the OT.

 

In the beginning, Adam was not told that he would go to an everlasting place of burning or bliss.  He was told that he was composed of dirt, and that he would “return” to the ground.[99]  A while later came Abraham, and we are told that he was a prophet of God.[100]  We then have good reason, therefore, to inquire into Abraham’s understanding on the nature of mankind and death.  We find in God’s word that Abraham describes himself as being composed of nothing but “dust and ashes”.[101]  Then we read about Job who was “pure and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.[102]  If anyone should escape the chains of death, it would be him!  His witness is consistent with Abraham’s.  He said that he himself was composed of clay, and that he himself would return to the dust.[103]  Likewise Solomon, under inspiration, wrote that the men perished in the same manner as animals, “Both go to the same place, both come from the dust, and to dust both return.” [104]

 

4.2.           The Spirit of Man

 

The ancient Israelite and mainstream Christian understandings, unfortunately, differ significantly concerning the “spirit” of man.  Many “orthodox” Christians believe that the spirit of man is an invisible, ghostly presence which remains conscious even after the body dies, which may go to heaven or “the other place”.  This is actually quite similar to the pagan view, although many deny the connection.  The ancient Israelite belief, on the other hand, was that the spirit of man is simply the breath of life that flows through our nostrils and lungs.

 

When Adam was made of the dust of the ground, he was not called a “living soul” until the “breath of life” was breathed “into his nostrils”.[105]  This was the beginning of his existence.  God told Adam that the end of his existence would be the exact reverse of this process, saying, “You are dust, and to dust you will return.” [106]  God did not beat around the bushes or mince His words.  He never gave an indication of any other immediate fate for Adam, such as floating up to heaven, burning alive eternally under the ground, etc.  

 

In the scriptures, the word “spirit” has several meanings;

·       attitude or temperament [107]

·       breath, life or life-force [108]

·       teaching or doctrine [109]

·       motivation, way of thinking [110]

·       ghost, phantom or demon [111]

·       angel [112]

 

It is unfortunate that one word can have so many specific meanings, and it imposes upon us a requirement while studying God’s word.  When we come across the word “spirit” in the Bible, it is crucial that we read the context and make an honest effort to assess the intended sense.  Failing to do so can actually quite quickly lead us down the path toward false doctrine.  When scripture speaks of the spirit as it relates to the nature of man, it is referring to his “breath”, or in other words, “life itself”.

 

The spirit of man is not an immortal bodiless ghostly being that is temporarily contained in a brain of flesh.  To the contrary, the consciousness of the mind is reliant on the life support of the body.  In the Bible, the spirit of man [which is on loan from God] is rather clearly equated with the breath of life:

 

“All the while my breath [nashamah] is in me, and the spirit [ruwach] of God is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.” [113]

 

The inspired prophets wrote that the “spirit” must be surrendered at death!  The breath that keeps us alive, our “spirit”, is considered to be only temporarily on loan to its possessors, rather than a part of them.  What God teaches in His word is not what the clergy of the world teach today.  We should make a conscious choice of who to believe.

 

 “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death”.[114]

 

“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” [115]

 

“If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.” [116]

 

The translators who were sanctioned by King James to produce the KJV [c. 1600 AD] were mainstream Protestants, and so the apple had not yet fallen far from the tree.  The doctrine of the immortality of the soul was just assumed, which bias is demonstrated in the words of the KJV itself.  In any passage telling of a man giving up the “spirit” or “life’s breath” in death, they changed the rendering to “ghost”.  For example:

 

“And Isaac gave up the ghost <Hebrew: ruach>, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.” [117]

 

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost <Greek: pneuma, spirit>.” [118]

 

In conclusion, no Bible version or translation is perfect.  Many of us have grown up reading from the KJV which, while fine in many regards, could actually distort our understanding regarding the spirit of man.

 

The concept of giving up the spirit involves the breath of life being surrendered back to God.  Christian thinking on this matter was originally as the ancient Israelite believe, but this was, due to a “falling away”,[119] replaced by heathen thinking, so that the interpretation of giving up the breath of life became replaced with the pagan belief that the consciousness “soul” is immortal and detaches from the body as a disembodied ghost.

 

The Greek word “inspiration” (Greek: theopneustos, God breathed).  We are told that “All Scripture is God-breathed”.[120] The word “inspired” thus means “God-breathed”.  Inspiration is God “breathing out” the word of truth, and man “breathing in” the same.  Since the word of God, like the breath of life, proceeds from God and gives mankind life, it is referred to as “spirit” by a literary device called a metaphor.[121]  Furthermore, the “Holy spirit”,[122] the power by which God exhales His word into His prophets, is also called “spirit” by a figure of speech called metonymy.  The word of God is called “spirit” (breath), not because it is a ghost, but by metaphor.  Man must continually take in God’s word to stay alive.  It is to be considered as important as the air we breathe in.  Man lives by the word of God.[123]  Christians must continue to constantly take in God’s word.

4.3.           The Soul of Man

 

The revealed process of the creation of man describes how a living “soul” came into existence.

 

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul <Hebrew: nephesh.”[124]

 

A dead “soul” was created when God formed a body out of the earthly minerals of the soil.  He then became a “living soul” when God breathed life into that body.  Thus in the passage above, we have the spirit, the soul and the body all in one verse.  The word “soul” actually refers to the person, or the being, whether awake or asleep, alive or dead.

 

The soul is the essence of the personal being, the aggregate of all of the attributes of that person.  Thus the person is written in God’s book of remembrance.  In a few places “soul” may seem to denote “life itself”, as when it says a man can “lose his own soul”.[125]  Even here, substitution of the word “self” renders a saying which is still easily grasped, so that a man will lose his own self, that is, cease to exist as a person.   In the hundreds of instances of the word “soul” is found in scripture, it seems that nowhere does it denote a disembodied personal consciousness.  That usage appears in later, uninspired writings.  In other words, men reassigned a new meaning to the word.

 

If one reads the KJV, it is helpful to make a mental substitution of “self” for the word “soul” in many cases.  For example, in some passages the words “my soul” may be replaced with “myself” or “me”.  The phrase “your soul” or “thy soul” simply becomes “yourself” or “you”.[126]  A reading of the entire scripture will convince one of this.  There are also several places where “soul”, or “souls” may denote a “person”, or “people”.  The following are a couple of examples to illustrate this:

 

And all the souls [people] that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls [people]: for Joseph was in Egypt already.[127]

 

Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth [you desire], I will even do it for thee.[128]

 

The main question that remains is with regard to the immortality of the soul.  We dismissed that a “spirit” is a “ghost”.  What about the “soul” – is it what we think of as a “ghost”?  Is the soul a consciousness that cannot die?  Not when it speaks of souls in relation to death, including the soul of Jesus, in that he poured out himself unto death.  This doesn’t mean that his soul was some liquid essence, but it is an idiom meaning he gave all of himself, including his life.

 

Behold, all souls are mine… the soul that sinneth, it shall die. [129]

 

Because he hath poured out his soul unto death. [130]

 

The view that the ancient Israelite had was that the soul (person) must forfeit the spirit (breath of life) at death, and that then, of course, the body just decomposes back into the soil.  It is simply a reversal of the process whereby God created man from the dust, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul (person).

 

4.4.           The Land of Darkness

The Holy Scriptures make it clear that death does not include continued existence as a ghost, but rather it is a period of complete unconsciousness.  The Hebrew OT describes the grave as a silent and dark prison in which only sleep takes place.  Job calls the death state “the land of darkness”.  This sleep can only be broken by the resurrection to life again.  To the ancient Israelite mind, consciousness ended with the death of the body, as the following passage shows:

 

For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.[131]

 

Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death.[132]

 

The message concerning the death state is consistent throughout the Bible.[133]

 

4.5.           The Resurrection

 

It is important to point out that just because the Jews did not believe in the immortality of the soul, does not mean that they were without hope of eternal life.  It was just that their concept of how this was achieved was different.  They believed in a future day of resurrection of the body and judgment in the flesh, wherein those accepted would be granted an immortal existence in a glorified body.  The only hope of escaping the death state was for one to be resurrected, accounted worthy (by God’s grace) and granted forgiveness at judgment.

 

Martha said, "I know that he will come back to life again in the resurrection at the last day.” [134]

 

Job stated that even after death, some day he would with his very own eyes see the redeemer, and that he will be judged in his original body.  He states that he would see God in his “flesh” (not as a ghost up in heaven).

 

As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that as the last he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God, whom I will see for myself, and whom my own eyes will behold, and not another… so that you may know that there is judgment.[135]

 

Consider also King David.  He was told by the prophet that God would raise up his “seed” (offspring) after he died, but that David would see the throne of this “seed” established.[136]  The angel Gabriel identifies this particular “seed” as Jesus.[137]  Now David, in order to see this take place in front of his own eyes, must be resurrected from the dead.  However, this must still be future.  Even after Jesus died and ascended, an apostle testified that David was dead and buried.[138]  David would have been considered redeemed by Christ’s death,[139] yet he cannot see Christ established upon his throne until he is resurrected.  Therefore the resurrection that David awaits is yet future.  Similarly, others are also still dead and awaiting their reward.[140]  Living Christians are watching and waiting for Christ’s coming still today, as he commanded.[141]

 

The mainstream doctrine of the immortality of the soul states that people remain awake when they float up to heaven as ghosts.  God’s word states that the dead are “asleep”, and at the resurrection they will “awake”.  These two views are incompatible.  This fact is so simple that it compels Christians to make a decision.

 

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.[142]

 

From the quote from Daniel above, we can see that his testimony agrees with that of Job, in that a judgment will follow this resurrection, because he states that some of these people who are resurrected will be rewarded with “everlasting life”.  It is logically concluded then, that the others receive the opposite of everlasting life, which is everlasting death.  Therefore that judgment will be final.  There is not anything anybody can do to reverse the decision once they lay unconscious and their bodies are decomposed into the components of the soil.

 

From the writings of the apostle Paul we discern that his hope, also, was only in the bodily resurrection of the dead, not going to heaven.  He believed that the body will be reassembled, revived, and then (if accounted worthy), be made immortal.  He spoke the following words concerning the time of Jesus’ return, indicating there will be a resurrection of all the responsible dead:

 

“According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.[143]

 

This passage shows that the sleep in death is not merely an OT phenomenon that those in Christ can bypass. It also describes those Christians who are alive in the last days when Jesus returns will “precede” the dead.  They will be “caught up” (literally, taken away), but not before the dead are raised.  The resurrection of the dead will not be delayed, or “preceded”, by the gathering together of the living saints, but the dead and living will be taken away and meet the Lord Jesus “together”.  This gathering by the angels of God who are now at Christ’s command.[144]

 

When Jesus returns, the Christians “which are alive and remain” will then join Christ and the resurrected saints “in the clouds”, or “in the air”.  These terms are spiritual language for “heavenly places”,[145] a term denoting to positions of authority, for the saints will be kings in the kingdom of God.[146] Notice that these people who are “asleep” will all be resurrected at one single time, when Christ literally descends from heaven to the earth, which will be at the times of “restitution of all things”.[147]

 

The Christian belief in the resurrection and judgment was therefore the same as that already seen in the ancient Hebrew bible.  This hope in the resurrection continued through to the end of the era of the writing of the inspired Christian scriptures.  The apostle John wrote of the resurrection and following judgment as if it were all at one particular time:

 

The nations were enraged, but your wrath has come, and the time has come for the dead to be judged, and the time has come to give to your servants, the prophets, their reward, as well as to the saints and to those who revere your name, both small and great, and the time has come to destroy those who destroy the earth.[148]

 

This means that the first resurrection and judgment takes place at one time, which agrees with Mary’s faith, that the resurrection of the dead would take place at “the last day”. 

 

In conclusion, the ancient Israelites understood that the only hope of escaping the grave was not to become an invisible, disembodied ghost, but rather to be bodily resurrected from the grave and revived.  The apostle Paul stated:

 

Having hope toward God, which they themselves also wait for, that there is about to be a rising again of the dead, both of righteous and unrighteous.[149]

 

The principle of a future resurrection of the dead is a theme that runs like a thread throughout both the OT and NT scriptures.[150]

 

4.6.           Christian Contortionism

 

It is taught by preachers today that when we see Christians die, they are really alive up in heaven.  This is what the parishioners desire to hear, so this is what the preachers tell them.  They know what side of the proverbial bread is buttered.  If they taught the truth of the bible, their coffers would soon be empty, and they would have to get a real job.  The situation we have today was foretold some 2000 years ago:

 

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.[151]

 

Eager to find evidence for their foregone conclusion that death can be avoided, paid preachers will point cite this passage:

 

And the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?  [152]

 

How can we harmonize the above saying with the early Christian hope of “the resurrection of the dead”, if there are not any dead to resurrect?  Some Christians have invented an interpretation that they go to heaven then come back later to get their old bodies back.  This is completely illogical.  We need to cease from this denial of death and superficial style of research.  We need to read this passage in its context.  Sometimes it helps in these days of doctrinal diversity to check other translations, as well:

 

“I know," said Martha, "that he will rise again at the resurrection, on the last day." "I am the Resurrection and the Life," said Jesus; "he who believes in me, even if he has died, he shall live; and every one who is living and is a believer in me shall never, never die. Do you believe this?” [153]

 

The reader will observe that Jesus said nothing to negate Mary’s belief about the resurrection at the last day.  The timeframe he spoke of, therefore, is one future day of his return.  He states that there are two classes of believers at “the last day”, those who have died, and those who are living.  His statement simply means that, at his return, the living won’t have to wait to die, then be resurrected back to life again.  They will be granted immortality, and bypass death completely.  This harmonizes perfectly with what Paul said, that “we who are living, who are remaining over, together with them [the resurrected dead] shall be caught away.” [154] 

 

The prior instance show how Jesus’ words were taken out of context, and is an example of how easy it is to twist the scriptures to make them say what we want in order to avoid the truth about the death state.  Today’s mainstream Christian leaders perform other various forms of lexical and logical distortions of scripture in order to resist what the Bible is actually saying.  As they themselves have been misled, so in turn they are delighted to cater to those who strongly desire to avoid death.  Have you ever heard any of the following rationalizations?

 

One twist is made with those passages in scripture that refer to Christians being dead.  We are told that the word “dead” in these cases should be taken to mean “spiritually dead”.  It is true that there are maybe two instances in scripture where the term “dead” is used in this manner, but that does not justify changing the meaning of the word “dead” everywhere without some sort of contextual support.

 

When scripture mentions that all men must die, it is often misconstrued to mean that just the body will die.

 

Another manipulation is the claim that language about a dead person being “asleep” only refers to the way the body lays horizontally, because it appears similar to a person being asleep.  The soul is, we are told, really awake up in heaven.

 

As seen before, the word “spirit” is often changed to mean “ghost” in passages where it does not apply.  That seems to justify taking the passage stating that “the spirit shall return unto God who gave it”,[155] and making it say “our ghost will go to heaven to be with God”.  This is basically the same belief the pagan Egyptians held concerning their kings.

 

Whenever words are redefined to suit ones beliefs, Christians should see big red flags go up, then take time to study and examine such claims before taking them on board.  "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” [156]  As with other unpleasant subjects, we mustn’t just bury our heads in the sand, hoping the problem of death will go away.  For goodness sake, matters that involve your eternal destiny need to be faced head on and scripturally verified!

 

Another proof of immortal soulism is offered by quoting Jesus telling the thief, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise." [157]  This makes it sound like Jesus would not be in the grave for three days, as he himself said.[158]  The passage could just as easily have been translated, “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise." [159]

 

In conclusion, the argument for immortal soulism is so weak, that it’s difficult to understand how anyone could possibly rest any prospect, let alone their eternal destiny, upon such flimsy foundations.  Sadly, that’s precisely what billions of people are doing.

 

4.7.           Scientific Confirmation

 

When we consider the scientific view of the death state, we find that it completely agrees with the scriptures.  Albert Einstein was a man of great scientific insight.  He perceived that the consciousness of the human mind is slowly developed over time, and grows during childhood, as a function of “sensory impressions”, or, memories of experiences built of physical sensory organs such as sight from the eyes, sounds from the ears, etc.  He wrote:

 

Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seems to me to be empty and devoid of meaning.[160]

 

Try to imagine yourself with no body, as a ghost, but with no form.  Having no sensory organs, such as eyes, you can see nothing.  With no fingers or skin, you can feel nothing.  Without ears to hear, or a mouth, how can you converse with God?  Can a personal being meaningfully exist as a vapor?  The prevalent belief today of spirit beings is that they only materialize into some sort of body if they need to communicate with humans.  Yet this is not the scriptural view of angels.  If there is an afterlife, it seems reasonable to presume that it must be in a body of some sort of heavenly substance.  If it is made of nothing, then it would not even exist.

 

The brain is the processing organ of consciousness and cognitive thinking, much like the pancreas is the processing organ of digestion.  The consciousness may be made partially dead when the brain is partially injured.  It is made completely dead when the brain is completely destroyed. Generally speaking, the proportion in which the brain is injured, the consciousness is lost.  In the hypothetical case of a brain injury which leaves one permanently half conscious, where is the other half of the consciousness?  Does the ghost get cut in half?  

 

Consider the matter from your own personal experiences.  When you go to sleep every night and awake every morning, it is a repeated reminder of death.  In the middle of the deepest sleep, while no dreams are occurring, from your own point of view, you cease to exist.  The consciousness is fully reliant on the brain, which, like the rest of organs of the body, needs rest.

 

One article from Time reported on a technique for viewing conscious and unconscious regions within a brain.  It revealed that partial consciousness has been visually confirmed with high tech imaging technology.

 

What happens to your brain as it slips into unconsciousness? A new technique allows researchers to view real-time 3-D images of a patient undergoing anesthesia using the drug propofol... From the midbrain, changes move outward to affect the whole brain; as propofol’s message spreads from region to region, consciousness dissolves...  We just sat there and stared, dumbfounded and kept repeating it. We’re the first people in the world ever to see the brain becoming unconscious, that’s quite a sobering thought.[161]

 

In order to see the mind’s reliance on the organic chemistry of the brain, one need only introduce some type of “mind-altering drug”.  Some substances can completely destroy the brain, or damage it partially, or just render it temporarily unconscious.  The brain can also experience different types of consciousness, altered perceptions of various natures, depending on brain chemistry and the type of drug.  These are all indicators that the consciousness is not independent of the animal body.  In other words, we are simply made of dirt - various chemicals from the soil.  Thought itself is a chemical process.

 

Without respiration, within a few minutes, the brain becomes unconscious.  Within only a few more minutes without oxygenation of its cells, the brain will be completely dead.  The individual consciousness ceases to exist.  Sometimes people can be “brain-dead” if they don’t get enough oxygen to keep the brain alive within just 10 minutes, but their other bodily functions can be kept alive by machine.  Thus consciousness is reliant on the brain, and the proper flow of oxygenated blood to it.  Do you recall that the spirit is the “breath of life”?  Without oxygen, brain cells begin to rapidly die off.  Thus the scripture and science are in perfect harmony on this subject.

 

Some will outright reject the scriptural notion that “the dead know not anything”.[162]  After all, nobody enjoys the thought of their loved ones unconsciously decomposing in silent darkness in such an undignified manner.  It is very difficult to remain emotionally detached from this subject, while objectively analyzing what the authoritative word of God has to say, in order to come to a logical conclusion.  Since a demon is defined as the ghost of a dead person, it may be a suitable point, before continuing on, for the reader to now pause and begin to consider his/her own opinion about whether ghosts of the dead actually exist.


 

5.  The Origin of Gods

Considering that throughout the ANE there was a belief system embracing necromancy and ghost worship, imagine what would occur after ancestors pass off the scene.  At first the departed is revered as a respected providing parent.  After some time, memories about the figure of worship would become more obscure as he or she drifts further into the past, but the ritual must be kept, for strict orders have been passed down.  Perhaps after a few generations pass, only a few traits of the person would be recalled, such as gender and certain defining character strengths.

 

One scholar of archaeology and Israel antiquities notes that "masseboth", sacred stone pillars, were erected to be inhabited by both gods and ancestral spirits.[163]  This indicates their commonality in the minds of the ancients.

 

It should be interesting to meet some of the earliest false gods known to recorded history, and consider how the came into existence.

 

5.1.           Baal

 

Several scholars have for quite some time stressed an identification of the ancient Babylonian Bel with the Canaanite god Baal.[164]  Although they are not identical in every detail, as assignment of divine attributes varies across all cultures, including changes in name, it seems probable that Baal derived from the more ancient Babylonian god.  It is possible that they are two completely unrelated gods which both were given the same title, since “baal” is, after all, Semitic for “Lord”, as other scholars believe.[165]  Either way, there must have been one original “Baal” from which the Baal worship culture sprang.

 

The very early people of Mesopotamia made no effort to conceal of human origins of their gods.  One of the ancient flood accounts, The Epic of Atrahasis, begins with the words, “When the gods were man they did forced labor, they bore drudgery…” [166]

 

It is difficult to know for sure when the phenomenon of worshiping the ghost-god “Baal” began.  Scripture first mentions the “high places of Baal” in association with ancient Moab around 1250 BC, shortly after the exodus from Egypt.[167]  However, evidence of Baal has found in Egypt from just before this time, and some evidence suggests that Baal worship dates to as early as 2000 BC, shortly after the biblical flood.

 

There have been various gods, and even some kings, named “Baal”.[168]  The name “Baal” simply means “Lord” in Semitic languages.  There are, however, some indications that the original Baal was the biblical Nimrod.[169]  Baal was revered throughout the Levant, and was embedded into the names of many of the places and people.[170]

 

Baal worship was widespread throughout the Levant, but it also found its way well beyond the Levant in some cases.  Some may find it interesting that Baal worship seems to have spread as far as the British Isles. 

 

While the victims smoked on the altar, they danced round it with the most violent gesticulations, cut their bodies with knives and lancets, and raved and prophesied as if immediately under the inspiration of Baal.  Bel, Bal or Beal, was likewise the name of the principle deity of the ancient Irish, derived, according to Vallancy, from the Punic mythology.  On the tops of many hills in Scotland there are heaps of stones, called by the vulgar, Bel’s Cairns, where it is supposed sacrifices were offered by our Pagan ancestors. [171]

 

There are several accounts attesting the worship of Baal was practiced in the British Isles under the form of Druidism.[172]  Stonehenge archaeology has yielded human remains with clues pointing to human sacrifice.  Some associate the British with a higher form of culture, above those sorts of abominable things as would be done by primitive savages in the jungles of, for example, South America.  Some have also claimed evidence of Baal worship as far North as Norway.[173]

 

We learn some aspects of the role of Bel from certain stone tablets bearing ancient Babylonian cuneiform writings.  The following reference comes from “The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia”, intriguingly subtitled, “Being Babylonian and Assyrian incantations against the demons, ghouls, vampires, hobgoblins, ghosts, and kindred evil spirits, which attack mankind.”  It demonstrates clearly that “Baal” was considered by pagans to be the god of the dead, the Lord and Father of the ghosts:

 

They are the evil Spirits in the creation of Anu spawned.   Plague Gods, the beloved sons of Bel, The offspring of Ninkigal.  Rending in pieces on high, Bringing destruction below, They are the Children of the Underworld.[174]

 

In the time of Christ there was a widespread notion that bodily illnesses were caused by demons.  When the Pharisees referred to Baal as “the prince of demons”,[175] it is shown in the OT that this belief came from the heathen nations around them,[176] for Baal was not the God of Israel.  It is seen from archaeological finds that the Pharisees were simply referring to Babylonian myths.  It is instead seen to derive from pagan sources.  Another ancient Babylonian tablet reads as follows:

 

Evil Spirit, evil Demon, evil Ghost, evil Devil, evil God, evil Fiend, Evil are they!  Unto my body may they not draw nigh… Evil fiends are they!  From the Underworld they have gone forth.  They are the Messengers of Bel, Lord of the World.  The evil Spirit that in the desert smiteth the living man, The evil Demon that like a cloak enshroudeth the man.  The evil Ghost, the evil Devil that seize upon the body.  The Hag-demon (and) Ghoul that smite the body with sickness.[177]

 

There are other indicators that the Pharisees held pagan superstitions.  Luke tells us “The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.”[178]  The Sadducees, in their zealousness to eradicate paganism, apparently threw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, dismissing even the existence of angels.  The Pharisees, on the other hand, actually believed in other spirits in addition to angels.  In other words, they believed in demons, ghosts and ghouls.

 

It is a matter of debate whether or not Josephus actually was a Pharisee.  It seems reasonable to interpret him as affirming that he was a Pharisee for least for a certain time, for he states, “Being now nineteen years old, and began to conduct myself according to the rules of the sect of the Pharisees.”[179]  This at least demonstrates that he was knowledgeable about their beliefs, so it is logical to consider him an authority on the matter.  He wrote the following concerning the Pharisees:

 

They also believe that souls have an immortal vigor in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again.[180]

 

The Pharisee belief may therefore have been a syncretism between the resurrection of the dead, a Hebrew concept, and Babylonian paganism concerning disembodied souls of the dead still living under the ground.

 

Josephus himself expresses demons existing both as good souls[181] and evil souls.[182]  This seems to reflect Hellenistic Greek thinking, as various Greeks had differing views on whether demons were good or bad.  To demonstrate just how pagan the Pharisees were in their thinking, it is notable that Josephus said that “the sect of the Pharisees [were] of kin to the sect of the Stoics, as the Greeks call them.” [183]  Biblically, the Pharisees even considered anything inspired by God that may have come through demons.[184]  This belief is beyond a simple view that evil demons were the cause of medical disorders, it reveals acceptance of paganism that is more Platonic in flavor that some demons were in fact good.[185]  It is not completely pagan, however, at least in Josephus’ case, since he qualifies only some demons as “good”, but “wicked” demons are left unqualified, indicating that good demons were the exception.  In any case, Josephus never even hints that demons are rebel angels, but believes that they are the spirits of the dead.

 

In regard to the use of the word “spirit” in the book of Acts as cited above in discussing the pagan beliefs of the Pharisees,[186] the Greek “pneuma” is used to denote some type of spirit beings that are distinct from angels.   It should be noted that Luke is an exception in this choice of words.  Elsewhere, the word “pneuma” is actually used in reference to angels.[187]  It is generally accepted that Luke was the author of the book of Acts, and the gospel of Luke also has “pneuma” in places that contain circumstances in which other writers would instead have put “phantasma” (ghost, apparition).[188]  Other authors have noted this already.[189]  It would appear that Luke’s writings have taken a different translation path, as compared to the other three gospel writers, prior to ending up in the Greek 4th century codices, which are, unfortunately, the oldest complete NT documents available.  Luke was said to have been from Antioch, Syria,[190] which may explain the deviation.  The reason for mentioning this is that it becomes important in the case where Jesus said, “a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” [191]  Many modern versions like the NIV, NET, NLT, ISV, and NEV have already corrected for this, putting, for example, “a ghost does not have flesh and bones like you see I have." [192]  Since there are not biblical accounts of angels “materializing” or “shape-shifting”, but rather they are described as eating physical food and so forth,[193] and since scripture refers to the post resurrection body as a “spiritual body”,[194] it makes sense that Jesus was then already in his “glorious body”,[195] and not, as a pagan might suppose, merely an apparition or a disembodied spirit.

 

Determination of the origin of Baal is an interesting quest.  There must have once been an original from which the practice of his worship arose.  Recall that in previous discussions about tomb worship cults in the Levant, deceased family members and kings were deified.  The greatest of the Babylonian ziggurats which was destroyed by Xerxes (c. 475 BC) was actually referred to by Greek historians as the tomb of Bel.[196]  This is significant in our understanding of the origin of not just demigods, but the “prince of demons” himself, how that he was once just another man, like the rest of them.  Knowing what we do about how primitive men invented gods, this is, naturally, to be expected.   As Belus is the Hellenized form of Bel, it would appear that Baal worship began with a tomb ritual performed by a death cult. 

 

Matthew Henry’s commentary seems to hit the nail on the head in this matter:

 

Some make Bel to be a contraction of Baal; others rather think not, but that it was Belus, one of their first kings, who after his death was deified.[197]

 

There is also no reason to exclude the possibility that they are all one and the same in their origin.

 

The great ziggurat of Ur is generally thought have been built in the 21st century BC and originally dedicated to the moon god, “Nanna”.  The ziggurat was rebuilt in the 6th century BC by Nabonidus, King of Babylon, for the moon god, “Sin”.  As Baal is the prince of demons, and the moon god is invoked to summon the dead, it is even more connected that this ziggurat dedicated to the moon god was the temple of Bel.   The structure was said to be rebuilt before being destroyed by the Persians.  This means it must have been built from ancient times. It was originally built for the moon god, and later rebuilt for the moon god, but called the tomb of Belus.  Therefore it seems likely that there was an original human Baal worshiped at his tomb in ancient Babylon.

 

There was mention in a Babylonian tablet earlier, that the demons were “sons of Bel, The offspring of Ninkigal”.  This pagan false god, “Ninkigal”, had a tower built dedicated to him by Ikunum, King of Assyria (c. 1850 BC).[198]  Therefore this Bel, mentioned as a celebrated forefather of Ninkigal, predates Ikunum, and so the first Baal probable predated the birth of Abraham (c. 1975 BC).  In fact, it is more likely that an ancient, powerful, legendary king, rather than some mediocre one, would have been the inspiration for this prominent deity.  Biblically, either Nimrod or Asshur would seem to be fitting candidates.

 

Figure 10. Baal Idols.

 

 

Eusebius (c.  300 AD) quoted a prior historian, Artapanus (c.  50 BC), who himself had information from even older historical accounts, that one king named Belus settled in Babylon and built the tower of Belus.[199]  He also makes reference to Greek historian Abydenus (c.  200 BC), who wrote a work called “A History of the Chaldeans and Assyrians”.  Apparently Abydenus stated that Nebuchadnezzar referred to “Belus” as “my ancestor”[200]  This great tower was doubtless seen by Abraham, being, as he was, from “Ur of the Chaldees”.[201]

 

Bel was still a principle god at the time the Jews were captives in Babylon.  When the Israelite prophet Daniel and his three friends were taken to Babylon, they were renamed to incorporate the names of their gods.[202]  Consider how humiliating it would have been for a devout, young Israelite to be named after heathen false gods, whose names were an abomination to even pronounce. [203]

 

There are several links between the gods Baal and Molech / Moloch, the god whom the pagans sacrificed their children to.  The two are quite likely same god, at least in the vicinity of ancient Canaan.  A full discussion is outside the scope of this book.[204]

5.2.           Tammuz

 

Tammuz is another false god mentioned in OT scripture.  Scholars generally believe he is identical to “Dumuzi” whose name is found in a Sumerian king list[205] and in other ancient cuneiform tablets inscribed with accounts interwoven with myth.  Interestingly, an epithet for his successor, Gilgamesh, reads, “His father was a ghost.”  The ancient Babylonian text below refers to the desire that the emperor Gilgamesh, successor of Dumuzi, should achieve the status of Dumuzi in the land of the dead.  To be explicit, Dumuzi was considered to be a ghost with authority as a great god, sitting at the “funerary offerings”.  They clearly already believed that powerful men became gods after death.

 

Let Gilgameš as a ghost, below among the dead, be the governor of the nether world. Let him be pre-eminent among the ghosts, so that he will pass judgments and render verdicts, and what he says will be as weighty as the words of Ninĝišzida and Dumuzid… Go ahead to the place where the Anuna gods, the great gods, sit at the funerary offerings, to the place… where the linen-clad priests lie… to the place where your father, your grandfather, your mother, your sisters…  to the place where the sergeants of the army lie, to where the captains of the troops lie… [206]

 

The text here seems to demonstrate a culture with a mentality that one must first die in order to be deified, since Gilgamesh was to join the gods “as a ghost”, and it is not presumed that he could do so while flesh.

 

In real life, King Dumuzi probably met an untimely demise, judging by cuneiform accounts, and the annual mourning ceremony that was instituted for him.  The tablets known as “The Epic of Gilgamesh” describe a decree that Tammuz, or Dumuzi, would be mourned for annually. 

 

Where are your bridegrooms that you were to keep forever?... For Dumuzi, the lover of your early youth, you have ordained lamentations year upon year! [207]

 

This ritual was still being practiced over 1000 years later in Jerusalem, and was considered an abomination in the eyes of the God of Israel, Yahweh.  Bible readers will be familiar with the “weeping for Tammuz”.[208]  One scholar notes that the cult of Dumuzi was even being performed “as late as medieval times.” [209]  The concept of a weeping ceremony is reminiscent of the Egyptian Wag festival, and, needless to say, consistent with the ANE death cults apparently of Babylonian origin.

 

5.3.           Osiris

 

The Egyptian god Osiris (Asar, Esar) had very many traits in common with Dumuzi.  Osiris, like Dumuzi, was said to be a leader in the underworld, and said to return to life every year. [210]

 

The account of the death of Osiris seems quite suspicious, even beyond the fact that he was murdered.[211]  In the story of Dumuzi, he was seen to have suffered some sort of early demise, but the records are vague and contain mythical elements.

 

Osiris is typically depicted with green skin.  One ancient Sumerian cuneiform tablet tells us “Dumuzi wept, his face turned green”.  The similarity between the crown of Osiris and that of Baal are notable, suggesting a common origin, which would likely be Babylon.  There was also a “hajj” from a temple in Egypt all the way to Byblos, Syria in honor of Osiris every year.  These facts all together indicate a more ancient, common religion.

 

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/La_Tombe_de_Horemheb_cropped.jpg

Figure 11.  Osiris, the green god.  Wikimedia Commons, A. Parrot.

 

 

Osiris was the Egyptian god of the dead.  Egyptians believed that if the Pharaoh was associated with Osiris in death, or perhaps assimilated, so that as Osiris rose from the dead, the Pharaoh would, in union with him, inherit eternal life through certain magical incantations.  A sort of pagan version of Christ, perhaps, but with less strings attached. 

 

At Abydos there took place the Great Procession where a statue of the god went forth from his temple, stayed overnight in a necropolis, and returned to his temple the next day amid great celebration.  In or near December there was another festival, comprising a funeral for Osiris followed a week later by the erection of a Djed pillar symbolizing resurrection... The idea of a resurrected god occurs in litanies of the Pyramid Texts.  There Osiris is repeatedly called on to “raise yourself.” [212]

 

This seems quite comparable to the ritual performed with the Dumuzi figure mentioned earlier in the section about teraphim: “The kalu-priest attempted to revive the dead god by whispering prayers into his ears.”

 

Ancient documents show the mortuary feeding of Osiris and other Egyptian gods, in the same manner as was done for the Canaanite and Mesopotamian ghosts.  The Egyptian Book of the Dead, Pyramid Texts and Coffin Texts are full of examples.  There were special vessels often made for the express purpose of feeding the dead mortuary offerings.  One example of these from ancient Egypt is found on an artifact called the Hu Bowl.  It has text apparently asking for justice to be served in regard to the presenter’s deceased daughter.  It identifies a “dead man or woman” (i.e. a demon) as the suspected cause of her ill fate:

 

Full attention! It is profitable to pay attention to the person whom you have favored on account of what is very wrongfully done to my daughter. I did nothing against him. I have not consumed his property. He has not given anything to my daughter. One makes funerary offerings to a spirit in return for interceding on behalf of the survivor. Settle then your account with [i.e. punish] him who does what is painful to me, for I shall triumph any dead man or woman who is acting against my daughter.[213]

 

5.4.           The Demon Cycle

 

From the information we have looked at so far, it would seem that the cycle generally began with a patriarch, king or other beloved person who died and was eventually deified.

 

In some cultures, the more prominent gods might eventually be credited for various aspects of nature, such as war, harvest, thunder, rain, health, spring, writing, pest (flies, frogs), the sea, fertility, destiny, etc.  Prayer directed to any god was supposedly useful to acquire help in the particular sphere of control of that god.

 

Bel/Baal/Moloch came to be known as the god of rain, thunder storms and war to the Akkadians, Canaanites and Babylonians.  Tammuz/Dagan/Osiris , as the primary god of the netherworld, became known as the god of vegetation and/or grain to the Sumerians, Akkadians, Philistines, Canaanites and Egyptians. [214]

 

In some cases the moon or a planet was also associated with the god.  Even today, the planets of the sky are named after Roman false gods.[215]  The more famous the deceased, the more likely it was that they were to be deified and subsequently assigned some planet or attribute in nature.  Often they were represented by a star so that their memory would endure.  Some people still observe similar practices today.

 

Figure 12.  This social media post demonstrates the human desire to immortalize beloved family members, and associate them with something more lasting.

 

A powerful leader might be so arrogant as to insist upon being deified early, in order to begin enjoying their divine honors early (i.e. while still alive, just in case).  This was apparently the case with certain Roman emperors, as a National Geographic publication on the history of mythology declares:

 

“Initially, emperors were deified only after their deaths.  It was not until Caesar and Augustus that the imperial cult was established while the ruler was alive… Worship of the emperor as a god was demanded as proof of one’s allegiance to Rome.” [216]

 

Sir Flinders Petrie, an Egyptologist who was mainly active during early in the 20th century, argued that in Egypt, at least, “Osirification” (deification) of the Pharaohs such as Ramesses took place only after death.  He also pointed out that Alexander did not, as Plutarch claims, deify himself while alive, but by proclaiming his father as Zeus, was simply asserting the “lesser claim of divine descent”.  Petrie next alluded to a writing of Diodorus of Sicily (c. 50 BC), who probably was citing Hecataeus of Abdera, stating that the Persian King Darius the Great (c. 500 BC) was the first of kings to be deified by the Egyptians while yet alive:

 

The best evidence for the worship of the living king before Osirification is in the Harris papyrus, where Ramessu IV represents Ramessu III as enjoining people to bow to Ramessu IV, serve him always, adore him, implore him and magnify his goodness, as they do to Ra.  (However) As Ramessu IV was under thirty years old at the time, he cannot yet have been Osirified (deified), even as co-regent.  There was the lesser claim of divine descent; this was enforced by each generation claiming direct divine paternity, by the father impersonating the god.  The idea still continued to Greek times, as seen by the tales of the divine paternity of Alexander from Zeus Ammon, quoted by Plutarch and others and elaborated into a tale.  The Persian conquerors were naturally disliked, yet Darios, “while he was live, gained the title of a god, which none of the other kings ever did; and when he was dead, the people allowed him all those ancient honours due and accustomed to be done to the former kings of Egypt after their deaths.” [217]

 

5.5.           Gods Galore

 

Since demons are the imagined spirits of the dead, it should be no surprise that men have also created many gods over the ages.   Fathers of nations, due to their patriarch rank, would have been among the most likely to be deified by their admiring offspring.  Wherever there existed a lack of knowledge about the one true God, worship was instead directed toward the dead.

 

The late Archbishop of Canterbury William Wake, in his “Discourse concerning the Nature of Idolatry”,  made reference one place to the work of Dutch philologist Gerrit Janszoon Vos (c. 1600 AD), where he discusses the possible origin of some of ancient gods:

 

Gerard Vossius... has spent his whole first book of idolatry, to give an account of the ancient heroes that were consecrated by the Gentiles into gods: it is he that interprets the Egyptian Osiris to be Mizraim; the Bel of the Chaldeans to be Nimrod; the Tuisco of the Germans, Gomer…[218]

 

The historian Tacitus (c. 100 AD) relates that "ancient songs" of the Germanic peoples celebrated Tuisto as "a god, born of the earth".  Vossius believed the German god Tuisto and his son Manus were actually their patriarchs; Gomar (Gomer) and his son Thogorma (Togarmah) or Aschenar (Ashkenaz). 

 

Also mentioned by Cumming was that the Egyptian bull god, Apis, may also have had his origin as a man.  And not just any man, but the biblical Joseph, the son of Jacob, who God made to prosper in Egypt.  Recall that Joseph, with God’s help, interpreted the dream of the Pharaoh, revealing 7 years of plenty, followed by 7 years of famine.  With this knowledge he advised the Pharaoh to establish a policy of saving grain, which not only saved, but prospered the land of Egypt.  In the Bible, it is recorded that “People from every country came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain because the famine was severe throughout the earth.” [219]  This made Joseph the savior of the entire known world.  It should not be surprising, then, that he would be at least equal in status to the Pharaoh in the eyes of all the people, and especially eligible for deification.

 

As to this very Apis itself, the chief deity of the Egyptians... it is not improbable, but that they meant no other than the Patriarch Joseph by it... Thus Julius Firmicus expressly interprets it... ‘The Egyptians (says he) after his death, according to the appointment of their country, built temples to him’... and St. Augustine... informs us ‘That the Egyptians upon this account, set up the symbol of an ox over the sepulchre of Joseph, in memory of their deliverance.’  Thus Suidas interprets their Serapis... Suidas, Ruffinus, and Julius Firmicus add, That his statue was set up with a bushel upon his head, to denote the plenty of corn which he provided for them... And some of the Rabbins have given this account of the very calves of Jeroboam, that they were the symbols of Joseph...[220]

 

Figure 13.  Sculpture of Serapis.

Courtesy of Wiki Commons, Einsamer Schütze 2007.

 

Serapis (Aser-hapi, or Osiris-Apis) was the 3rd century BC Greek reinvention of the Egyptian Apis to give their bull god a more human appearance before being added to their pantheon.  Unlike the Egyptians, the Greeks were not fans of animal-headed gods.  This syncretism was likely a political maneuver done with a view to unite Egypt and Greece.   The god was created by order of Ptolemy I of Egypt (c. 300 BC). [221]

 

There is an interesting connection with Vossius’ view that Joseph in Egypt was deified as Apis.  We know from the bible account that Joseph made his brethren swear an oath that they would follow his explicit order to carry his “bones” back to Canaan when they would finally leave Egypt.[222]  Since Joseph was embalmed,[223] it would have been his entire body which was taken out of Egypt, not merely his bones.  We also know that there is an empty king’s chamber in the Great Pyramid at Giza.  These facts have caused some scholars to speculate that the Great Pyramid was built as a tomb to honor the greatness of Joseph.

 

No other pyramid has been thus opened; neither is it probable that any such violation of a sepulchre would ever have been formerly tolerated; so sacrilegious was the attempt held to be among all the nations of antiquity, Egyptians, Jews Greeks and Romans. At the same time, there are many weighty arguments against the opinion that such a stupendous pyramid would have been erected by Joseph's posterity over his remains, even if they had worshipped him as a god, when it was known that his body was not intended to remain in the country: but the honours paid to the dead in Egypt were in certain instances, as it is evident, almost beyond our conception; and there is no saying what, in a century and a half, the piety of some hundred thousand individuals might not have effected, especially when aided by the Egyptians themselves who equally revered the memory of Joseph, although they became, at last, inimical to his descendants.[224]

 

ToDo: See more evidence here.

 

All throughout the land, kings were made Gods.  It would appear that these pagan practices began in the Mesopotamian region, and spread outward from there.  The ancestor worship cult and deification of deceased kings has been noted in the cultures of the Hittites, Armenians, Assyrians, and other peoples who are not mentioned here.

 

 


 

6.  Monotheism

6.1.           Yahweh is a Monotheist

 

Monotheism : the doctrine or belief that there is but one God”

Polytheism : belief in or worship of more than one god”

Henotheism : the worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods”

(Source: Merriam Webster Dictionary).

 

It is a matter of historical fact that most cultures have not held to the belief in a single God.  Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, India, and European countries have all practiced polytheism at some point in their cultures.

 

Within the community of the Israelites there were also lapses into polytheism.  However, from the beginning there was supposed to be only one God, known by them as a deity representing Himself as Yahweh.  His first commandment brought by the prophet Moses for the people Israel included believing that “The LORD our God is one LORD”.[225]  While some Israelites may have apostatized, and become henotheists or polytheists, Yahweh Himself was a self-declared monotheist:

 

You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD [Yahweh] is God; besides him there is no other… Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.[226]

 

Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.[227]

 

There is none other God but one.... for though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth... to us there is but one God, the Father...  howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge.[228]

 

Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.[229]

 

The passages cited above are very clear, yet many Christians today still believe that demons so exist.  The implication of their position is a view that there are other gods besides Yahweh.  They agree with Paul that “an idol is nothing”, then turn around and state that there are false gods (demons) “behind”, or represented by, these carved images or idols.  Yahweh Himself says that they simply do not exist.  He alone is God and there is no other god besides him.  That’s it.

 

… I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.[230]

 

The general argument is usually to state that these false gods do exist, but that these verses above do not really apply to false gods, but rather to real gods who could challenge Yahweh.  In so doing they redefine the word “gods” to “Gods”.  (There should be alarm bells and red flags to alert us when we here this word “redefine”).  This they do even when it is pointed out that the contexts of the verses above show that they are in regard to idolatry and false gods, such as Nebo and Bel, etc.

 

But what do we know about these false gods?  What can we know, with certainty, other than what the scripture testifies?  The bible says that false gods cannot speak.  This is very important testimony.  Our cultural mindset about what invisible spirit beings might be lurking can affect our psychological well-being, as well as our view of God Himself.  The two quotes below show two things: firstly, that God reckons all other gods are just idols and nothing more, and secondly, that they are dead and powerless.

 

They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see.[231]

 

One shall cry unto him [Baal], yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.[232]

 

One well-read, scholarly Christian group leader was asked about this last verse.  “Why is it that Baal, a supposed rebel angel, is incapable of speech?”  The reply received back was one of the most absurd ideas I’d ever heard.  He said that Baal cannot answer because God was intercepting his communications.  This implies that God would like to fool people into believing that false gods don’t exist, when they really do.  This claim is imaginative, but implausible, to put it mildly.  It is understandable that one would resort to this kind of desperation, since there really isn’t a good answer, except simply that “Baal” is equated to the idol that represents him.  God sees the false god as the idol itself.  The concept of the ghost-god, and the idol that it supposedly inhabits, are both man made.

 

Do not turn to idols, and you must not make for yourselves gods of cast metal. I am the LORD your God.[233]

 

The mainstream view that Baal is another name for Satan, who is an angel who rebelled (or possibly works for God), also fails here.  The scripture has plenty of instances demonstrating that angels can speak.  Their primary duty is revealed in the word “angel” itself (meaning “messenger”).  Would God make a messenger that is mute?   Or if God set up a supernatural angel named “Satan” in order to tempt mankind, why gag him so he can’t do his job?  In any case, the very opinion that God allows such a creature to exist denies His statement that He wants all men to cease from sinning and be saved.[234]  The notion is popular, but illogical.  But as the topic of “Satan” is outside the scope of this book, it will only be dealt with occasionally and briefly when the subject tangentially relates to demons.

 

The prophet Daniel goes further than this.  He says not only do the heathen gods not see or hear, but that the gods of Babylon (Bel, Nebo, Aku, etc) do not even “know”.[235]  The gods of the heathen have no mind, no brain and no cognitive processes.  They cannot even think.  It would be absolute nonsense to state this fact except for one reason alone, which is to address the pagan notion that there were invisible, rational, self aware beings “behind” the idols.  This means that demons, however they are defined, are hereby demonstrated to be non-existent and dead.

 

6.2.           Other Gods are Man-Made

 

Whereas man is the product of the Israelite God Yahweh’s handiwork, Yahweh taught his people that the gods of the heathen are the product of man’s hands.  In fact it says exactly what we have already seen previously, that all the nations have invented all these false gods.

 

But each of these nations made its own gods...[236]

 

Their land is full of worthless idols; they worship the product of their own hands, what their own fingers have fashioned.[237]

 

The point to make here is that God equates the heathen gods with man made idols, and there is not the slightest clue that they are rebel angels masquerading as heathen gods, or anything else.

 

Recall that the God Yahweh in several passages is called “the living God”.[238]  If Yahweh is “the living God”, what does that make the other gods?  Not only are other gods just man made, they are dead.

 

6.3.           Demons are Idols

 

It is important to understand firmly the fact that God equates demons with the idols by which they are worshiped.  The Holy Scriptures make this clear that the gods of the heathen are idols, and nothing more:

 

For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.[239]

 

“He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak.  He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. It is used as fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it.  Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.” From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships.  He prays to it and says, “Save me!  You are my god!” [240]

 

6.4.           Demons are “The Dead”

 

As the passage below indicates, the demons of Canaan are not only equated with idols, but also they referred to as “the dead”:

 

They worshiped Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead… They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood - the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan. The land was polluted by bloodshed.[241]

 

Please carefully note these very important points.  God is telling us here what a demon is and is not:

·       The bible calls them “demons” (i.e. Greek for ghosts).

·       The bible calls them “the dead” (i.e. ghosts).

·       The bible calls them “idols” (i.e. mindless objects).

·       The bible does not call them “rebel angels”.

 

That the bible equates demons with idols indicates that demons, like idols, are man made.   When God tells us that demons are “the dead”, but elsewhere tells us that the dead are sleeping and have no more thoughts, a conclusion that demons do not, in fact, exist, is quite justified.  However, some will rightly point out that the NT adds accounts where demons are very much alive.  This book will deal with this in due time.

 

Further scriptural evidence that demons are equated with idols is seen in Paul’s words in the following passage, which also demonstrates harmony between the OT and NT on the matter, saying that the Gentiles sacrifice to idols when they sacrifice to demons:

 

What then do I say? that an idol is anything? or that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything? No, but that the things that the nations sacrifice -- they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not wish you to come into the fellowship of the demons.[242]

 

The Jews who translated their Scriptures into Greek (c. 200-100 BC) in the Septuagint translated “idols” directly to “demons”.  They used the terms interchangeably:

 

For all the gods of the nations are idols…[243]

For all the gods of the nations are demons[244]

 

In summary, there is only one God, false gods are not living, conscious beings, but are equated with idols which are equally dead.

 


 

7.  Destiny, Fortune and the Moon

7.1.           Bel & Nebo

 

Many cultures had gods of destiny and fortune (ToDo Note: The precise definition of “fortune” and “destiny” are not really something I care to speculate on, although I presume that “destiny” implies fate, an inescapable, predetermined outcome, and that “fortune” denote luck, chance, or possibly even any apparently random influence that acts upon the lives of men.  They seem to be mutually exclusive.).  There is a long list of god names for various versions of these among the Akkadians, Greeks, Egyptians, etc.  Let it suffice for this work to focus our consideration mainly upon the civilization most notorious for polytheistic pagan idolatry (i.e. Babylon).

 

The Babylonian god of Fortune in was “Bel”.

 

“Baal, Bel, Belus. Many suppose… that the sun itself was worshipped under this name; but that it was not this luminary but the planet Jupiter, as the ruler and giver of good fortune, that is to be understood by this name, I have sought to shew by many arguments in my Comment.” [245]

 

The Babylonian god of Destiny in was “Nebo”, or “Nabu”.  He was the god of writing and scribes and was the keeper of the Tablets of Destiny.[246]  He was important because he controlled the fates of men, particularly how and when they were to die.  Recall, however, that Yahweh adamantly ascribes mans fate entirely to His own control.[247]

 

 

 

Figure 14.  Statue of Nabu at British Museum in London.

 

Bel and Nebo are both mentioned together in the Bible passage below.  They are assessed as nothing but the idols of wood, stone, brass, gold, silver, etc.  God informs us that these gods are completely useless and powerless, and that they “cannot answer”.  This is effectively saying that they don’t exist or are dead.

 

Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts... Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob... I am he... I will carry, and will deliver you.  To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?  They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.  They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.  Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.[248]

 

The picture given above is that of foolish pagans and their pitiful animals groaning under the weight of their silver and gold idols that they have made.  They must bear these “gods” which they have made “upon the shoulder”.  In beautiful contrast, the living God of Israel desires to bare and carry His people whom He has made.  God states that He is a jealous God (Exod 34:14), and refuses to share His people’s affections.  Christians can obviously take away a lesson from this!  Is there room for God in our lives or is it already too full with the things of this world?

 

Note that the grammar here assigns personhood and gender to the idols themselves.  It would appear that Yahweh actually equates the demon or god with its statue, since they are both just mindless inventions.

 

It is seen again and again in the OT that the ancient Israelites considered heathen false gods to be merely man-made idols.  They were counted as “nothing”, just as the silent, useless dead souls they supposedly represented.  On the other hand, the heathen concept of their demon gods was that they were living ghosts of their dead who were worthy to be worshiped.  The two belief systems are clearly incompatible and need to remain distinct.

 

There is another lesson here for Christians.  God wants us to trust completely in Him for our fate and fortune.  It is folly to suppose that we can also partake of today’s version of Bel and Nebo: such things as tarot cards, palm reading, astrology, and so on.

 

7.2.           Gad & Meni

 

Isa 65:11 simply describes superstitious fellowship with these two Babylonian false gods.

 

It can be shown that the “Bel” and “Nebo” gods of Babylon mentioned in Isa 46:1 correspond directly with “Gad” and “Meni” in Isa 65:11.

 

In one place the Bible describes two pagan false gods, Fortune and Destiny, at their table partaking of offerings.  From the context it is evident that these gods are taking part in a funerary banquet (see Isa 65:4).  The NIV gives a reasonably acceptable rendering of this passage:

 

But you who forsake the Lord, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune (Hebrew: Gad) and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny (Hebrew: Meni).[249]

 

 

 

 

They were preparing a table for “Gad” (pronounced “God”), the god of Fortune, to establish a covenant of fellowship with him.  It is evident that this death cult ceremony is being performed to ask the blessings of these gods.  “Gad” was the name of the Arab and Aramaic god of fortune.  

 

“There can be no doubt, therefore, that Gad, the god of good fortune, more especially if the name of the place Baal-Gad is to be explained in the same way as Baal-hammân, is Baal (Bel) as the god of good fortune.” [250]

 

The root of the word “Gad” means “to cut” or “to divide”, and which also conveys the idea of good or bad fortune being meted out, apportioned or distributed.  The word Hebrew “Gad” here was translated to the Greek “daimonion” in the Septuagint.   This is no coincidence.  This same idea about preparing a table for demons may cause us to recall these words of the Apostle Paul in the NT:

 

You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot take part in the table of the Lord and the table of demons. (Greek: daimonion, demons).[251]

 

Hebrew

Greek

Babylonian

English

Gad

Daimon (δαίμονι)

Bel

Fortune

Meni

Tyche (τύχῃ)

Nebo / Nabu

Destiny

 

They were also pouring out a drink offering to Meni, the god of Destiny.  The Chaldeans used this word in the sense of numbering, or meting / measuring out destiny, which is why it can be translated either “number” or “destiny”.  Recall that Daniel the prophet interprets the vision of Belshazzar, the co-ruling prince of Babylon, revealing his destiny.  Yahweh, the God of Israel, shows that He Himself  determines destiny and metes it out.  This statement was a slap in the face to the god Mene.  It rendered him redundant and useless, and sending a powerful message to the pagans:

 

“And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.  This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it... Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”  (Da 5:25-28).

 

 

7.1.           The Moon God

 

The moon plays a prominent role in demonology.

 

The ancient Europeans believed the moon caused an “influence” over fate, and could bring illness (hence the term “influenza”).  From ancient times the moon was blamed as the cause of epilepsy.  For example, the term “lunacy” implicates the moon.

 

In one Mesopotamian culture, the name of the moon god was “Sin”.

 

“…Sin of Harran was known as a guarantor of contracts.  Sometimes the crescent moon is profiled against a moon disc.  On several stelae found in the region of Harran and further west, dating from the late 9th to late 7th cent. [BC), the crescent standard is depicted alone and worshipped…  His cult… achieved its greatest status under the Babylonian king Nabonid in the 6th cent.  Stelae from Harran and other locations from the Late Babylonian Period display Nabonid before the crescent moon emblem…  In Harran, Nabonid restored the Temple of Sin... They show a uniform schema of a standard with anthropomorphic features… The oversized bull’s horns resemble a crescent moon, and the gods of these stelae represent variants of the moon god…”  (Dominik Bonatz, “The Iconography of Religion in the Hittite, Luwian and Aramaean Kingdoms” article in “Iconography of Deities and Demons: Electronic Pre-Publication, 2007, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands).

 

 

File:Nabonidus.jpg

Figure 15.  Stele with Nabonidus praying to the crescent moon.

(Wiki Commons, Jona Lendering).

 

This moon god was entreated to bring up the spirits of the dead from the underworld.

 

Here an ancient cuneiform text showing an an old Babylonian libation prayer to summon the moon god to conjure up dead ancestors:

 

[S]in, you are the god of heaven and earth.  [In the mo]rning I am pouring water to you…  Release the family… that they may eat his bread and drink his water… [several family member names follow][252]

 

Nabonidus is generally considered to be the father of Belshazzar, who was allowed to co-reign.  That would explain why, in the account of the book of Daniel, the king is partying, and killed the same day that the Medo-Persian army attacked, yet in the Nabonidus Chronicle account, when Babylon was defeated, Nabonidus fled but returned and was captured days later.  It would also explain why Daniel, upon unraveling the writing on the wall, Belshazzar “made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom” (Dan 5:29). 

 

Jeremiah the prophet describes an appalling thing whereby the bones of the prominent kings of Judah are to be laid out before the host of heaven:

 

“At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves: And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped.” (Jer 8:1-2).

 

This apparently had been done by the Babylonian army as an insult, since it appeared to be an Assyrian practice:

 

With a touch of the ironic, Jer 8:2 describes the exposure of corpses to the luminaries, as if to suggest the efficacy of the act. This practice is also attested in Assyrian texts wherein the victorious king would punish defeated enemies by desecrating their royal graves and exposing their contents; to the sun and the moon. It should be recalled that as deities, the sun and the moon were judges of the netherworld and such exposure of the bodies meant that the Moon-god and Sun-god had determined that such ghosts could not be properly cared for and therefore would never rest in peace.[253]

 

The special ability of the moon to raise the dead is seen in the Disney kids fantasy movie, “Rise of the Guardians”.  The recently drowned boy, Jack Frost, lay dead at the bottom of a frozen lake.  The moon awakens him from the dead to make him a guardian spirit, endowing him with special powers. 

 

Figure 16.  Trailer scene from the Disney movie "Rise of the Guardians”.


 

7.2.           Etymology of “Daimon”

 

The word “demon” is a transliteration of the Greek word “daimon” or “daimonion”. 

 

7.2.1.                 Dai

 

Strong’s Dictionary of the Greek and Hebrew Bible:

1142.  δαίμων daimōn, dah´ee-mown; from δαίω daiō (to distribute fortunes); a dæmon or supernatural spirit (of a bad nature):—devil.[254]

 

The Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon:

δαήμων… More probably the Root of δαίμων (deity) is δαίω to distribute destinies[255]

 

The Oxford Classical Dictionary:

(δαίμων).  Etymologically the term daimōn means 'divider' or 'allotter'. [256]

 

Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible:

 

The etymology more likely stems from the root δαίω,‘to divide (destinies)’. Thus the word could designate one’s ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’, or the spirit controlling one’s fate, one’s ‘genius’.[257]

 

Hebrew-Aramaic Dictionary of the New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance:

 

δαίμων daimōn; perh. from δαίω daiō (to distribute destinies); a demon:—demons(1).[258]

 

From these it can be seen that the root “dai” is the verb “to distribute.”

 

Note: The word translated “divine” (in relation to a “familiar spirit”), is the Hebrew “qacam”, meaning “to distribute, i.e. determine by lot…”  Hence the Greek “dai” denotes “to divine” as well, such as would be performed by a fortune teller.  These were the ways of those heathen nations around God’s people.  They consulted diviners rather than trusting in God.

 

“And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine (qacam) unto me by the familiar spirit (owb), and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.” [259]

 

7080.  קָסַם qâc̨am, kaw-sam´; a prim. root; prop. to distribute, i.e. determine by lot or magical scroll; by impl. to divine:—divine (-r, -ation), prudent, soothsayer, use [divination].[260]

 

7.2.2.                 Mona

 

The other root, μων, or “mōn”, indicates fortune, or destiny.

 

The word “moon” comes from the old English word “Moone”, which is from the more ancient “Mona”/”Máni”.   “Mona” was the Latin equivalent of the Roman moon goddess “Luna”, which was in Greek “Selene”.  Note: Russian, French and other languages still use the word “Luna” or “Lune” for moon.

 

Some Northern European derivations for the word we know as “moon”, come from the Old Norse “mani”, or from the Greek “mene”, which also formed the basis for the Latin “mensis”.  The word “menstrual” refers to the moon to denote a monthly cycle.

 

The Hebrew word “mene” (as below) was translated by Jewish scribes who translated the Septuagint into the Greek “Tyche”, which means “destiny”.

 

04507.  ynm  Maniy,  men-ee

from 4487; the Apportioner, i.e. Fate (as an idol):--number.[261]

 

These Greek words also further verify the meaning of “destiny” assigned to the Greek “meni”:

·       πεπρωμένο = peproméno  (destiny, fate, kismet, predestination)

·       ειμαρμένη = eimarmeni  (destiny, doom, fate)

 

As the moon was a god to whom pagans went seeking advice, it may very well also be related to the root of “admonish” (to warn), “premonition”, “monitor” (one who warns), &c, which according to linguists, share the root “monere”.

 

As for other etymological possibilities, consider that, as the moon god was attributed with meting out, or measuring and distributing destinies and lifespans, its root “mona” may be related to the French “monnaie”, from which comes the word “money”, (an entity measured and meted out).

 

Whether there are actual historical justifications for these connections is beyond the scope of this work, the ideas are only presented in case any reader is curious enough to follow up.

 

The word “demon” then originally meant “distributer of destiny”, referring to the ghosts of ancestors which were conjured up for purposes of divination (foretelling future destinies).

 

In summary, it appears that ancient pagans believed the moon was a god who was capable of assisting in conjuring up the ghosts of the dead from the underworld.   As such it played a large role in determining our destiny and changing our fortune by creating the opportunity to speak to ghosts.  The two prominent Babylonian gods, Bel and Nebo, gods of Fortune and Destiny, were false gods who could not answer.  As there is only one “living God”, the reason that false gods cannot answer would seem to be that they are dead (i.e. not-existent).  As we shall see, in the OT and the NT, demons are false gods.  The Greek word “daimon”, which became transliterated into the English “demon”, means “distributer (or apportioner) of fortunes”.  The Hebrew word for fortune, “mene”, may have been shared among ancient cultures, and may have been the derivation from where we get the word “moon”.

 

The moon was blamed for mental disorders (lunacy) in ancient Greece.  Similarly, the flu (influenza) was in Italy considered to be caused by the “influence” of the stars.[262]

 

7.2.3.                 Connecting the Dots

 

This is an appropriate time to reflect on the links between the etymological meaning of the word “daimon” with what has gone before, concerning the significance of ancestral ghosts in ancient Canaanite, Egyptian and Babylonian history.  As we learned from earlier chapters about tomb worship and offerings for the dead, the ancient pagans believed that the moon god could assist in conjuring up an ancestor’s ghost for the purpose of fortune telling and getting advice for leading them into prosperity.  With this understanding it makes perfect sense that Greeks would refer to these benevolent ancestral ghosts as “distributors of fortunes”. 

 

 

 

8.  Good Greek Demons

"All men’s souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine" - Socrates

 

Much attention has been focused on demonology within the Babylonian culture.  This was done because it appears to be the general region in which demonology sprang into existence.  The Canaanite culture was also examined because of the physical location of Israel and the descriptive mentions of their death cultism found in the Bible concerning the time of Moses and Joshua.  We now would like to direct attention to the Greek culture, because of its strong influence on the people living in Israel at the time of Christ.  This was partly due to Hellenization as a result of Greek rule.  Furthermore, the ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175 BC) came imposing Greek religious customs.[263] 

 

It will be seen that the Greek view of demons is consistent with what we have seen so far in one very important aspect - that demons were ghosts of the deceased.  Most other aspects of the pagan theme are essentially the same, as well.  There is sometimes an added dimension that these demons are intercessors to higher gods, but not always, as often they were themselves viewed as possessing superior wisdom.  Demons were considered capable of providing advice to men that would bring relief in times of distress.   They imparted wisdom and controlled human destinies.  They dispensed justice, punishing evil deeds and rewarding good works.

 

One of the best minds of scientific discovery, Sir Isaac Newton [c. 1700 AD], researched not only physics and math, but also history and the scriptures.  Some of his less known works show that he researched history extensively, and he concluded that ghost worship was once widespread in many ancestral cultures, especially that of the Greeks:

 

“From these origins it came into fashion among the Greeks to celebrate the funerals of dead parents with festivals and invocations.  They offered sacrifices to their ghosts and erected magnificent sepulchers in the form of temples, with altars and statues to famous persons.  They publicly honored them in these temples.  Each man might do this for his ancestors, and the cities of Greece did it for all the eminent Greeks…  They deified their dead in various ways according to their abilities and circumstances and the merits of the person.[264]

 

It is observed here that Isaac Newton was of the strong opinion that pagan false gods, demons and ghosts were all synonymous, and that the origin of the reprobate rituals associated with their imaginations simply began by honoring dead ancestors.  This author believes that Newton was exactly right.

 

8.1.           Hesiod

 

Hesiod (ca 700 BC) is another very ancient Greek author writing about demons.  He explicitly defines what a demon is, saying they were the ghosts or "spirits" of dead heroes who were brought back to life by the gods, to be benevolent guardians of mortal men.

 

8.1.1.                 Spirits of Men from the "Golden Age"

 

Hesiod wrote of different ages of man, and the first men on earth were from the "Golden Age".  When they died, they were made into demons.  From his “Works and Days”:

 

But after earth had covered this generation -- they are called pure spirits (Greek: δαίμονες, demons) dwelling on the earth, and are kindly, delivering from harm, and guardians of mortal men; for they roam everywhere over the earth, clothed in mist and keep watch on judgments and cruel deeds, givers of wealth...[265]

 

One cannot help but notice the similarities between this view and the view of the ancient Sumerians who believed that the men who came down from the mountains of Ararat after the flood (i.e. biblically, the descendants of Noah) were actually gods who came down from heaven and established the human race.  Hesiod believed that there was a first generation from the “golden age”, that had existed not long prior to his own, but he believed they were made demons by the will of the Olympian gods.  One notable difference is, of course, that Hesiod has on one particular age of men becoming demons, and given their prime directive of guardianship, they must only have been good men.

 

8.1.2.                  Phaethon

 

One example of a person specifically named by Hesiod to have been changed into a demon was “Phaethon” (or “Phaeton”).  His was an unusual case, deified prior to his death.  He writes the following in “Theogony”:

 

...strong Phaethon, a man like the gods, whom, when he was a young boy in the tender flower of glorious youth with childish thoughts, laughter-loving Aphrodite seized and caught up and made a keeper of her shrine by night, a divine spirit (Greek: δαίμονα, demon). [266]

 

When the Greeks spoke of gods transmuting dead (or occasionally living) men into demons, the gods referred to are the pantheon of Olympic gods (i.e. Zeus, Apollo, etc).

 

8.2.           Aeschylus

 

Aeschylus (ca 500 BC), a Greek playwright, was famous for “The Persians” (AKA “Persai”, or “Persae").  He writes of petitioning the god of the dead in order to conjure up ghosts from the underworld.  This is yet more validation that the Greek’s took the words “demon” and “ghost” to be synonyms.  We read the following in “The Persians”:

 

I make these libations to the dead, and summon forth the divine spirit (δαίμονα, demon) of Darius… beseech the guides of the dead beneath the earth to be gracious to our prayers.  O holy divinities of the nether world, Earth and Hermes, and you, Lord of the dead, send up to the light the spirit from below; for if, beyond our prayers, he knows any further remedy for our distress, he alone of mortals can declare how to bring it to accomplishment.[267]

 

Note here that also that Aeschylus considers demons are good, and benefactors of man.  Wise men’s ghosts are to be summoned for assistance in times of difficulty.

 

Aeschylus describes a practice of drink offerings being poured out for the ghost whom they refer to as “lord”.  The following is taken from “Choephori” (AKA “Libation Bearers”):

 

Crown ye with many a tear and cry the dirge.  Your lips ring out above the dead man's grave. She pours the libations.  Woe, woe, woe!  Let the teardrop fall, plashing on the ground where our lord lies low.[268]

 

8.3.           Plato

 

8.3.1.                 Worship of Tombs of Demons

 

Plato (c. 400 BC), in agreement with Hesiod's authority, acknowledged that dead heroes from the golden age were made into demons, and agrees that they are all good, and stipulates that their tombs ought to be worshipped.  He appears to add any good men who die to that scope of holy demons.  In “Republic”, Book 5, he writes:

 

And ever after we will bestow on their graves the tendance and worship paid to spirits divine (Greek: δαίμονες, demons).  And we will practice the same observance when any who have been adjudged exceptionally good in the ordinary course of life die of old age or otherwise.[269]

 

 

8.3.2.                 Deceased War Heroes become Demons

 

Plato extends the definition of demons to also include courageous dead war veterans, those who have been killed in the line of duty for their country.  In “Republic”, Book 5, he also writes:

 

Very well; and of those who die on campaign, if anyone's death has been especially glorious, shall we not, to begin with, affirm that he belongs to the golden race?  … And shall we not believe Hesiod who tells us that when anyone of this race dies, so it is that they become Hallowed spirits (Greek: δαίμονες, demons) dwelling on earth, averters of evil, Guardians watchful and good of articulate-speaking mortals? [270]

 

Plato’s work above seems to be motivated by a desire to encourage conscription of young men as pawns in the war machine.  Be that as it may, it is evident that Plato was onboard with Hesiod, even qualifying that demons were the spirits of the good, which implies that he did not view demons as messengers of evil.

 

8.3.3.                 Good Men become Demons

 

Plato had the uttermost reverence and respect for demons.  This is evident in his play, “Cratylus”:

 

Socrates: Hesiod would say he was of that golden race?

Hermogenes: Quite likely.

Socrates: But the good are the wise, are they not?

Hermogenes: Yes, they are the wise.

Socrates: This, then, I think, is what he certainly means to say of the spirits: because they were wise and knowing (Greek: δαίμονες, demons) he called them spirits (Greek: δαίμονες, demons). Now he and all the other poets are right, who say that when a good man dies he has a great portion and honor among the dead, and becomes a spirit, a name which is in accordance with the other name of wisdom. And so I assert that every good man, whether living or dead, is of spiritual nature, and is rightly called a spirit. [271]

 

Here we find no room whatsoever in Plato’s demonology for evil spirits.  To him, only the good can become gods.

 

8.3.4.                 Demons as the Cause of Voices in the Head

 

It may very well have been Plato himself who invented the idea that demons could be the cause of a person suffering with voices in the head, and subsequent influence upon behavior.  The following is from Plato’s “Apology of Socrates”, sections 31d & 40a:

 

But the reason for this, as you have heard me say at many times and places, is that something divine (Greek: δαιμονίου, demon) and spiritual comes to me, the very thing which Meletus ridiculed in his indictment. I have had this from my childhood; it is a sort of voice that comes to me, and when it comes it always holds me back from what I am thinking of doing… For hitherto the customary prophetic monitor (Greek: δαιμονίου, demon) always spoke to me very frequently and opposed me even in very small matters, if I was going to do anything I should not… [272]

 

8.4.           Xenophon

 

Xenophon (ca 400 BC) is another philosopher of Plato’s time who considered demons to be all good.  He praises King Agesilaus for his “deisidaimonia” (fear of demons).   This “fear” is listed among several positive attributes, and is therefore understood to denote “reverence”.  The following is from Xenophon’s “Agesilaus: An Enomium” chapters III & XI:

 

Agesilaus showed such reverence for things divine that even his enemies regarded his oaths and solemn treaties… a liberal man it is required that he should take of his own and give to supply another's needs.  He was ever subject to religious fear (Greek: deisidaimonia, demon fearing), believing that no man during his lifetime, however well he lives, can be counted happy; it is only he who has ended his days with glory...[273]

 

We shall later observe that this word (or others very similar to this) are used in very different ways in later times.

 

8.1.           Hippocrates

 

Hippocrates (c. 400 BC) was an early Greek doctor, and one of the first to apply the scientific method to the study of medicine.

 

As the Greek gods began to be maligned as the cause of various ailments, traditionally minded Greeks remained faithful to Plato, teaching that all demons were benevolent gods.  Yet even among that faithful crowd there were those who believed that even these caring and loving gods might occasionally inflict revenge.  To them this was evident not only from observed bouts of madness or epilepsy, but also in severe instances of misfortune and calamity.  The distributors of fortune were thus seen as not only benevolent gods, but also who exacted judgment, whenever appropriate, upon the wicked.

 

In the midst of this intellectual darkness, one of the most brilliant medical researchers arrived.  He shined a light to in attempt to dispel the darkness of ignorance, but his efforts seemed to go largely unnoticed.  He appealed to science and logical reasoning, but the world was not yet ready for it.

 

Hippocrates listed some maladies of his day, including various mental infirmities, and the particular gods then commonly associated with each one.  Among the various ailments he covers, the symptoms of one in particular would lead today’s doctors to easily arrive at a diagnosis of epilepsy.

 

But perhaps it will be said, these things are not so, but, not withstanding, men being in want of the means of life, invent many and various things, and devise many contrivances for all other things, and for this disease, in every phase of the disease, assigning the cause to a god… But if foam be emitted by the mouth, and the patient kick with his feet, Ares (Mars) then gets the blame.[274]

 

It is not by curiosity that Hippocrates is led to apply scientific method to determine the cause these syndromes.  Rather, the impetus of his investigation was his strong traditional religious belief that the divine nature of the gods could never have a negative effect upon man, because they are of course “holy” guardians that give us “protection”.

 

Neither truly do I count it a worthy opinion to hold that the body of man is polluted by god, the most impure by the most holy; for were it defiled, or did it suffer from any other thing, it would be like to be purified and sanctified rather than polluted by god. For it is the divinity which purifies and sanctifies the greatest of offenses and the most wicked, and which proves our protection from them.[275]

 

Hippocrates came up with an ingenious test.  He decided to perform autopsies on deceased animals and people who had supposedly been, while alive, “demon possessed”.  What he discovered confirmed his suspicions.  His remarks are amazingly insightful.

 

For the brain becomes more humid than natural, and is inundated with phlegm, so that the defluxions become more frequent, and the phlegm can no longer be excreted, nor the brain be dried up, but it becomes wet and humid. This you may ascertain in particular, from beasts of the flock which are seized with this disease, and more especially goats, for they are most frequently attacked with it. If you will cut open the head, you will find the brain humid, full of sweat, and having a bad smell. And in this way truly you may see that it is not a god that injures the body, but disease. And so it is with man. For when the disease has prevailed for a length of time, it is no longer curable, as the brain is corroded by the phlegm.[276]

 

The motivation for his experiments may be questionable, nevertheless, it is fortunate that it led him to application of the scientific method.  We are privileged to have his testimony surviving to this age.  The recorded observations of what Hippocrates witnessed allows us to see through his eyes and to peer into the brains of the demoniacs of that age.  The demon possessed were simply the victims of some type of disease, as evidenced by his account of the sights and smells he experienced first hand.

 

8.2.           Philostratus

 

Lucius Flavius Philostratus (ca 225 AD) was a Greek sophist whose writings included tales including people encountering ghosts of war heroes.  One of his works, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, presents itself as a bibliography of the first century philosopher.  A dialog revealing that demons were considered synonymous with ghosts is presented:

 

… A boy of sixteen years of age, but had been for two years possessed by a devil (Greek δαιμονᾶν, demon possessed). Now the character of the devil (Greek δαίμονος, demon) was that of a mocker and a liar… the demon (Greek δαίμων, demon) discovered himself using my child as a mask, and what he told me was this, that he was the ghost of man, who fell long ago in battle...[277]

 

9.  Demonization of Demons

9.1.           The Malicious Demon

 

Demons were by many considered to be tutelary gods, in a way similar to the way we Christians view our own God as our protector.   Several Greeks were of the strong opinion that demons were only good, as we have seen from the writings of Hesiod, Aeschylus, Plato, Xenophon, Hippocrates and Philostratus.  It is striking that such a high concentration of these writings are from around 400 BC.  This may be representative of some sort of struggle, perhaps a traditionalist front defending the honor of demons, as a bastion against the corruption of society by an ever imposing avant-garde pushing their blasphemous propaganda.  In fact, Plato would undoubtedly have rolled over in his grave (figuratively), to know what his very own student, Xenocrates, later began teaching, as shall be seen soon enough. 

 

One could picture the horrible things that a malicious ghost might do.  They might be capable of putting suggestions into the mind to lead humans to cruel fates.  Imagine the apparition haunting someone, speaking in their ear, or putting voices in their head.  Since they are made of invisible mist and plasma, they should be capable of physically entering and dwelling within the person’s brain.  Once they are inside, they of course can perform mind control, or any number of behaviors that appear illogical which are attributed to possession.

 

When, how and why did demons go bad?  The very word “demon” itself today carries with it a very negative connotation.  The question must arise, how did these societies get from an early ancestral cult, wherein ghosts are considered benevolent spirits, to a culture of superstitious distrust and dread of the dead, where the demons are no longer good, but evil and malevolent?

 

9.2.           The Persian Influence

 

Man·i·chae·ism  (măn-ĭ-kē'-ĭz-ěm)

 

1. “The syncretic, dualistic religious philosophy taught by the Persian prophet Manes, combining elements of Zoroastrian, Christian, and Gnostic thought and opposed by the imperial Roman government, Neo-Platonist philosophers, and orthodox Christians.”

2. “A dualistic philosophy dividing the world between good and evil principles or regarding matter as intrinsically evil and mind as intrinsically good.” [278]

 

“Dualism” is the belief in two roughly equal but opposed powers, or Gods.  It implies that there is a good God and also an evil God.  The Persian Empire ruled a great deal of territory, including the holy land, having conquered the kingdom of Babylon.  They had a good god, “Ahura Mazda”, and an evil god, “Angra Mainyu”.

 

The prophet Daniel described four successive kingdoms of men beginning with Babylon (612 BC), followed by Medo-Persia (539 BC), after which came Greece (333 BC), and finally Rome (63 BC). [279]

 

To Do: Insert Timeline showing the above powers?  Or add such to and refer to the timeline in the back.

 

The Persian power caused its influence to be assimilated into the Greek and Egyptian cultures.  As dualism began to spread and become popular, belief in evil demons seems to have become more prevalent.  A shift in attitude about demons may be detected in their writings shortly after their time.

 

The Persian Empire was replaced by the Greek empire thanks to the conquests of Alexander the Great.  By this time (c. 325 BC) Persia had accomplished its role of spreading dualism.  The Greeks are about to “demonize” demons, as the Babylonians and Egyptians before them.

 

A survey of the Classical Greek period writings reveals that aspects of these imagined ghosts seemed to evolve over time.  In particular, eventually the belief that there were also evil demons appears to have become more prevalent. 

 

9.1.           Lack of Attendance

 

As noted before, ghosts may have been deemed as vengeful if their supposed needs were not tended to.  A ghost could nearly always rely on one’s ancestors to take care of them, but what happens to those ghosts whose relatives have, after a few generations, lost track of them, and leave them languishing of thirst, or need need of feeding, or alone without company?  Thus it was that the ghosts of recent ancestors were benevolent and kind, although they may occasionally inflict judgment upon their offspring, just as they had done in the past prior to shuffling off their mortal coils.

9.2.           Unfamiliarity

 

Some old English Bible versions, such as the KJV, contain the expression “familiar spirit” with respect to mediums, or necromancers.  This now archaic term may in fact have originally been used to denote a family ghost, or ancestral spirit.[280]

 

Another influence driving the notion of evil demons was the human phenomenon of the fear of the unknown.  There would have eventually been a collective perception of the existence of “unfamiliar spirits”.  This kind of ghost must have been conceived of as more plenteous than more recent, familiar, ancestral ghosts, as they incorporated all the ghosts of other families from days gone by.  As it is for us today, with the multitudes of unknown people who we often face in crowded streets or markets, so it was for the superstitious with ghosts they did not know.  The ancient pagans who believed in an invisible world in which ghosts dwell in the air all around us would have that same attitude toward anyone of whom they were ignorant, be they living or dead.

 

One could only imagine how “the dead in general”, of whom we know nothing, could be capable of anything.  No precaution is adequate to fully protect us against these strange spirits.  What if one were to be so unlucky as to wander past the ghost of an axe murderer?

 

Unfamiliarity leads to wariness and suspicion.  In such a superstitious cultural setting, anything that appeared out of the ordinary could be attributed to the work of an evil demon.  So it is that unknown ghosts were not to be trusted.  This is the theory which has been accepted by modern scholars.  Brian B. Schmidt, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Mediterranean West Asian Cultures at the University of Michigan, articulates it thusly:

 

Moreover, an ancestor’s afterlife is specifically tied to the continued authority he or she can exercise.  They might behave either benevolently or malevolently.  When the latter is the case, it may be due to the lack of close ties… A second, distinctive feature is the moral influence which the ancestors exercise over their descendants.  Ancestors exert positive moral forces and can cause or prevent misfortune, whereas the spirits of the dead in general may exercise powers which achieve amoral or even antisocial ends.  That is to say, misfortune at the hands of ancestors is interpreted as retribution for failure in matters of filial piety.  Misfortune at the hands of the dead who lack living relations may be explained as an act of a malicious, arbitrary, or capricious apparition.[281]

 

Hence it is not difficult to discern how an ancestor-god worshiping culture could eventually form a collective belief that certain ghosts, those unfamiliar spirits, were in fact, evil.

 


 

10.      Bad Greek Demons

10.1.       Homer

 

Possibly the earliest Greek work containing mention of demons (Greek: daimon, daimonion, etc.), is that of the Homeric poems.  It should be noted, however, that the date commonly suggested (ca 850 BC) is quite uncertain.

 

The Greek view of demons from Homer’s testimony is obscure for the following reasons:

·       There is not a strong consensus for the dating of Homer.  His place in history is uncertain and somewhat controversial.[282]

·       Some scholars believe that Homer was not an individual, but that the word refers to a certain poetic style or genre.

·       The works could have been written by a later writer who attributed works to Homer (not a rare phenomenon).

·       In Homeric works, the word “demon” did not yet appear to be solidly defined.  The writings make reference to demons, but do not mention what a demon is.

 

The word in Homeric writings seemed to refer vaguely to some sort of negative influence.  The word “demon” in the case of Homer was ambiguous, and even whether it denotes a personal being is ambiguous.  The following is from the Oxford Classical Dictionary:

 

Etymologically the term daimōn means 'divider' or 'allotter': from Homer onwards it is used mainly in the sense of operator of more or less unexpected, and intrusive, events in human life. In Homer and other early authors, gods, even Olympians, could be referred to as daimones...[283]

 

Here below is an instance of Homeric use of the word “demon”, of which there are few, demonstrating that it is vaguely referred to as something that can influence one to make a foolish choice.

 

But thou, my son, be wiser; follow thou no demon who would tempt thee to a course like his.[284]

 

10.2.       Empedocles

 

Empedocles (ca 450 BC) was a Greek poet.

 

We have from the testimony of Plutarch’s “Isis and Osiris”, section 26:

 

Empedocles says also that the demigods must pay the penalty for the sins that they commit and the duties that they neglect.[285]

 

Despite what he says about demigods, it seems countered by what he says about demons in another account.  A poem by Empedocles was quoted by the Greek biographer Diogenes Laërtius (c. 250 AD).  The following is taken from fragment B112, line 62:

 

… All hail! I go about among you an immortal god, no more a mortal, so honoured of all, as is meet, crowned with fillets and flowery garlands. Straightway as soon as I enter with these, men and women, into flourishing towns, I am reverenced and tens of thousands follow, to learn where is the path which leads to welfare, some desirous of oracles, others suffering from all kinds of diseases, desiring to hear a message of healing[286]

 

10.3.       Euripides

 

Euripides (425 BC) was a tragedy playwright in Athens.   He seems to possibly be one of the first to have had a very negative influence on the reputation of demons, writing with a Homeric resemblance. 

 

From “Hecuba”, line 945 we read:

 

… For it was their marriage, which was no marriage but misery sent by some demon, that robbed me of my country and drove me from my home.[287]

 

Similarly from “The Trojan Women”, line 765, we find this:

 

Why slay this child who never wronged any? You daughter of Tyndareus, you are no child of Zeus, but I say you were born of many a father, first of some evil demon, next of Envy, then of Murder and of Death, and every horror that the earth breeds.[288]

 

It is notable that in both cases, there is no clear definition of what a demon is, but to the contrary, it is used in a non-literal illustration, and listed as one of the “horrors that the earth breeds”.  It is included in a list of abstractions, personifications of envy, murder and death, all being put for “a father.”

 

10.4.       Xenocrates

 

Xenocrates (ca 350 BC) studied mathematics and philosophy under Plato, and succeeded him as leader of the Platonic Academy.  Lost are most of his writings, but his teachings were preserved in the words of one work by Plutarch (100 AD). Plutarch’s reading of Xenocrates indicates that he believed that demons were demigods, of which some were “worthy”, but others rather took pleasure in evil.  He writes in Isis and Osiris, section 26:

 

Xenocrates also… beatings or lamentations or fastings or scurrilous language or ribald jests have no relation to the honours paid to the gods or to worthy demigods, but he believes that there exist in the space about us certain great and powerful natures, obdurate [persistent in wrongdoing], however, and morose, which take pleasure in such things as these[289]

 

This reference appears to be the first clear opinion that some demons are actually self-aware, sentient, conscious evil spirit beings that enjoy inflicting pain on mortal humans. 

 

10.5.       Theophrastus

 

Needless to say, the dilemma of gods being so highly respectable, and yet creating demons which were so horribly wicked should have been viewed by many in the Greek culture as an inconsistency.  Theophrastus (300 BC) may be viewed as a traditionalist in his time.  He no longer uses the term deisidaimon (fear of demons) in the same sense of “reverence” as did Xenophon.  Instead, in his work “Characters”, section XVI, he uses the word to denote a type of superstitious dread of demons:

 

Superstitiousness (deisidaimonia = demon fearing), I need hardly say, would seem to be a sort of cowardice with respect to the divine; and your Superstitious man… if a cat cross his path, he will not proceed on his way… He never has a dream but he flies to a diviner, or a soothsayer, or an interpreter of visions, to ask what God or Goddess he should appease... If he catch sight of a madman or an epileptic, he shudders and spits in his bosom… Set foot on a tomb he will not, nor come nigh a dead body nor a woman in childbed…[290]

 

The above is significant.  It shows that a clear turning point in Greek thought was in process whereby the conduct and character of demons has changed from good to evil.  The change in meaning of the word “fear of demons” indicates that people who dreaded demons may have already outnumbered those who reverenced them. 

 

More importantly, this also shows that the connection of insanity and epilepsy with demons was developing in Greek society, and that Theophrastus rises to the occasion by proclaiming that this emerging view was ridiculous.  His belief was the traditional view that demons were benevolent, caring protectors of our mortal race, and not the cause of epilepsy, insanity and other illnesses, as some of his contemporaries believed.  He felt that being “demon fearing” was a foolish thing.

 

We have different instances of words with the same root, all of which appear to have different meanings, and may indicate an evolution of the connotation for “fear of demons”:

 

1.     “Reference for demons” (deisidaimonia), as used by Xenophon, as mentioned previously.

2.     “Unjust dread of demons” (deisidaimonia) that some people had (those who Theophrastus considers ridiculous).

3.     “Superstitious beliefs about demons” (deisidaimonesteros) (as a fear of things that don’t exist), which term the Apostle Paul used in reference to those pagan polytheists upon Mars hill (i.e. the Areopagus in Athens).[291] [292] [293]

4.     “False belief in general” (deisidaimonia), as found in at least one 2nd century Christian apologetic work.[294] [295]

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 17.  An engraving depicting demon possession.

 

 

To shine light upon the mention of “your superstitious man” who “spits in his bosom (lap)”, Pliny the Elder (AD 75), who wrote of many cures, also recorded that there was then a belief that, upon seeing a madman or epileptic, one could avoid being afflicted by their demons by immediately “spitting in the lap”.  This he expresses in his work “Natural History”, book XXVIII, chapter 7, entitled “Properties of the Human Spittle”:

 

But it is the fasting spittle of a human being, that is, as already stated by us, the sovereign preservative against the poison of serpents; while, at the same time, our daily experience may recognize its efficacy and utility, in many other respects. We are in the habit of spitting, for instance, as a preservative from epilepsy, or in other words, we repel contagion thereby: in a similar manner, too, we repel fascinations, and the evil presages attendant upon meeting a person who is lame in the right leg. We ask pardon of the gods, by spitting in the lap[296]

 

 

It is still a Greek custom today to say “ftou, ftou, ftou”, mock spitting three times, in order to ward off evil spirits and misfortune, in particular during discussions of accidents and deaths.  During baptismal ceremonies, a Greek Orthodox Church priest and baptizing godparent will each spit three times in order to ward off the devil.  In Greece it is also considered appropriate to spit on a baby or child when complimenting them for their beauty.  This is done because of their belief that people can cast an evil eye on others, causing them misfortune, so the spitting supposedly prevents this.  In many superstitious situations which are supposed to be bad luck (like encountering shoes turned with the soles facing up), spitting is done to neutralize it.

 

In 400 B.C. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, offered another view of epilepsy, that it was just another natural disease and could be treated through natural methods… he was the first to consider epilepsy to be a natural disorder and would be the only one to do so for centuries. After the Greeks the Romans took a view similar to that of the Babylonians as to the nature of epilepsy…  They believed that the disease was also caused by the presence of demons in a person and believed that if the person breathed on or touched another the demon would spread to the other person unless that person spit immediately.[297]

 

10.6.       Demosthenes

 

Demosthenes (ca 300 BC), an orator and lawyer from Athens, writes the following in his “Third Phillipic”, speech 9, section 54:

 

… But you have reached such a height of folly or of madness or—I know not what to call it, for this fear too has often haunted me, that some demon is driving you to your doom, that from love of calumny or envy or ribaldry, or whatever your motive may be…

 

10.7.       Euhemerus

 

Euhemerus (ca 300 BC) was a Greek author.

 

Euhemerus: Author of a utopian work that was popular in the ancient world; his name was given to the theory that gods are great men worshipped after their death (i.e., Euhemerism)[298]

 

The author of this book happens to agree with Euhemerus in this regard.  Having read several other Greek works, it is evident that this is what was going on.  Herodotus for example mentions several cases of mortals who had become gods.  He tells of Hecataeus who had “traced his descent and claimed that his sixteenth forefather was a god”.  He speaks of how that many of the kings were gods, and being without prejudice, including also the kings of Egypt.  He refers to Salmoxis, a servant of Pythagoras, who once he had gained his own freedom, took to teaching immortal soulism, staged his own death and reappeared as though an apparition, for which reason many took him also as a god.  The Greeks write of their gods as though they got married (or not) and had children, and their children fought and some were virtuous but others were not.  In these things the Greek gods share so many elements in common with ordinary humans, it’s clear that they once were.  Thus the writer of the Acts said it well, that these men “spend their time in nothing else than telling or listening to something new”.[299]

 

10.8.       Greek Philosophers at Areopagus

 

The apostle Paul (c. 50 AD) was ordained by Jesus to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.  When Paul came preaching about Jesus being resurrected from the dead, the Greeks at Athens did not understand.  They were not raised to study Yahweh’s word through the Hebrew prophets, and so knew nothing about the promised future bodily resurrection.  The closest thing to this they knew was their tradition concerning demons.  Naturally, then, they thought he was preaching about “strange demons”.

 

Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods (Greek: xenos daimonion, strange demons): because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?  For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious (Greek: deisidaimonesterous, demon fearing).[300]

 

Paul calls the Greek men “too superstitious” for their belief in demons.  The apostle rejects the idea of demons being anything real.  He uses the term deisi-daimones-terous (too demon fearing) to simply mean a belief in ghosts.  Paul did not mean it in the sense of "too terrified of demons", for the context was not one of dread.  Nor did he intend to say "too much reverence for demons", as though a certain amount of idol worship would be proper.  He does later mention that there is only one God.[301]  Paul's attitude would almost suggest a new connotation for the word "demon fearing", as meaning too demon believing.  Notice how the connotation of this word varied:

 

Speaker

Connotation

Justified

Reasoning

Xenophon

Reverence of demons

Yes

Demons are all good

Theophrastus

Dread of demons

No

Demons are all good

Apostle Paul

Reverence in demons

No

Demons don't exist

 

It is also noteworthy that the Apostle Paul does not correct these men concerning their understanding of the meaning of the word “demon”.  If demons were actually fallen angels, this would have been a great time to educate them.  This is a fact which traditional mainstream Christianity may find difficult to explain.  At some point in the history of the Church, Christianity began to follow non-scriptural fictional over sound Biblical exegesis.  It was actually prophesied that there would be a falling away,[302] so why should the idea seem preposterous or strange that we find a condition of multiple illegitimate Christian religions in the last days?

 

10.9.       Setting the Stage

 

By the time that Jesus came onto the scene, the teachings like those of Xenocrates had already been in place for some 350 years.  The notion was then well entrenched in Greek culture that demons were not only the ghosts of good people, but some were also evil.  Many of the other Gentile cultures were also receptive to Greek thought.  In some rural places it was inevitable that people with altered behaviors due to neurological disorders should be seen as possessed by evil demons.  Irrational behaviors such as spasmodic twitching, involuntary convulsions and auditory hallucinations, delusions of persecution, deliberate self harm, babbling and irrelevant talk were all naturally considered to be the effects of demons.  This includes many conditions which today are managed with various medications.

 

The sentiment of the reality of evil demons was popular in the rural areas of “Galilee of the Gentiles” just before the time that Jesus was there preaching and healing those with epilepsy and mental disorders.  In the synoptic gospels we seem to see these troublesome demons running rampant.

 

Eventually demons would become capable of actually living inside of human bodies, actively controlling their body parts, using their vocal chords to speak, as if there were two persons within the same body fighting for control.  These evil demons became extremely active in causing illness, even forcing people to inflict painful wounds upon themselves.

 

Why didn’t the Greek philosophers just a few centuries earlier mention anything about these evil demons that inflict medical problems?  Herodotus and Theophrastus mention the belief, but not too many people wrote competently with accounts of it. 

10.10.  Plutarch

 

Plutarch (c. 100 AD) lived shortly after Christ.  He seems confused on the topic of demons.  He held that while the pure gods are never evil, demons can in fact be evil or good.  Thus he reclassified demons as non-gods.  In order to explain why demons are evil, he suggested that they were only partly divine, and so hypothesized that the gods must have interbred with humans to produce god-human hybrids called demons.  Thus in his work “Isis and Osiris”, he hedges his bet, stating that since all gods are good, but not all demons are, then demons must be “neither gods nor men… demigods”.[303]  This is reminiscent of the ancient Babylonian “Epic of Gilgamesh”, wherein Gilgamesh is said to be “two thirds god, one third man”.  Some may see a parallel here with the legend in the Book of Enoch, which account will be discussed later.  The proposition is not without problems.  It is unclear whether the god part becomes mortal or the human part becomes immortal, or whether the man part eventually dies off leaving only the god part.  Of course the belief is itself too absurd to consider.  Scripture assures us that the human nature and the divine nature are quite distinct things.[304]  At the time of Plutarch, the definition of demons was changing among the Greeks.  When men seek to change word definitions, it is a signal that should set off alarm bells and red flags in the minds of seekers of truth.

 

 

10.11.  Lucian

 

Lucian of Samosata (c. 175 AD) was thought to be Syrian with a Latin name, though he wrote only in Greek.  In his composition “Philopseudes” (meaning “The Lover of Lies”, AKA “The Liar”), there is a dialog in which Eucrates and friends are trying to convince Tychiades of the existence of “demons”.  The dialog discusses recent exorcisms from Palestine (as the Romans had renamed Israel), the epileptic sufferers supposedly demon possessed.

 

Look at that Syrian adept from Palestine: every one knows how time after time he has found a man thrown down on the ground in a lunatic fit, foaming at the mouth and rolling his eyes; and how he has got him on to his feet again and sent him away in his right mind…

 

The story is complete with even a fascinating account of a house haunting:

 

Uninhabited for years: each intending occupant had been at once driven out of it in abject terror by a most grim and formidable apparition… [until such time that]  Arignotus the Pythagorean unearthed the demon, whose expulsion rendered the house habitable again.

 

Toward the end of the dialog, these demons are unambiguously identified:

 

We were only trying, he said, to convince this man of adamant that there are such things as supernatural beings and ghosts, and that the spirits of the dead walk the earth and manifest themselves to whomsoever they will. [305]

 

 


 

11.      Early Christian View of Greek Paganism

 

 

 

11.1.       Lactantius

 

 

The early Christian scholarly writer Lactantius (ca 300 AD) does not fit into the category of pre-Christ Greek pagan culture, but because he quoted and referenced several Greek writings, some no longer extant, in order to explain the errors of Greek paganism, his writings are of particular relevance.[306]

 

In his work titled "The Divine Institutes",[307] Lactantius indicts the Greek poets in their various accounts of demons (false gods), by demonstrating that they had very human characteristics.  For example, gods come in both male and female, which is only required by mortals to replenish the dead of their race.  If gods also mate and reproduce, as they are said to, then the heaven must be overfilled with them. He says, "For it is impossible that the two sexes can have been instituted except for the sake of generation."  He also argues, "For since the multitude of men is incredible, and their number not to be estimated -- though, as they are born, they must of necessity die -- what must we suppose to be the case with the gods who have been born through so many ages, and have remained immortal? How is it, then, that so few are worshipped?" "If there are two sexes of the gods," he declares, "conjugal intercourse follows; and if this takes place, they must have houses, for they are not without virtue and a sense of shame, so as to do this openly and promiscuously, as we see that the brute animals do. If they have houses, it follows that they also have cities... If they have cities, they will also have fields. Now who cannot see the consequence, namely, that they plough and cultivate their lands? And this is done for the sake of food. Therefore they are mortal."

 

He points out that, for a god, far too much is made of Hercules killing a lion, and shooting birds with arrows, or killing a man and his horses.  "No one, therefore is so thoughtless as not to understand that those were mere mortals, whom the ignorant and foolish regard and worship as gods." 

 

He further points out that many of these gods are sexually immoral or born of adultery.  He calls Mercury "a thief and spendthrift."  Regarding Jupiter, he declares, "it did not appear enough to cover himself with infamy in offering violence to women, unless he also outraged his own sex."  The list of indictments goes on with sexual abuse of children, dishonouring virgins, incest, murders of siblings, all the way down to human sacrifice (Jupiter offering to his grandfather).  In one place he exposes the staggering stupidity involved in deification of mortals for being of such courage as to slay many in battle.  “If any one has slain a single man, he is regarded as contaminated and wicked, nor do they think it lawful for him to be admitted to this earthly abode of the gods. But he who has slaughtered countless thousands of men, has inundated plains with blood, and infected rivers, is not only admitted into the temple, but even into heaven… If this is the virtue which renders us immortal, I for my part should prefer to die, rather than to be the cause of destruction to as many as possible. If immortality can be obtained in no other way than by bloodshed, what will be the result if all shall agree to live in harmony?”

 

He mentions that some "gods" were said to have been ousted and banished.  Some "gods" had usurped the thrones of their fathers.  These things make it obvious, he says, that these gods were merely human kings.  He cites the occasion wherein Jupiter consulted an oracle, asking what sort of god needs to consult an oracle to consult the gods?  He points out that Liber "triumphed, and led an army" and later married "an unchaste woman" and that the two were said to at last ascend into heaven, but that he was obviously just an ordinary human king.  Thus he brings out the inconsistencies of Greek paganism, and shows that their gods and demons were nothing more than mortal men.

 

Lactantius’ witness is most valuable for the point of this study in that he also quotes a very early sibylline verse, showing that the more intelligent of men understood that demons were nothing more than the dead:

 

Inanimate demons, images of the dead, whose tombs the ill-fated Crete possesses as a boast.

 

The words he quotes from Virgil also show their chief deity to be a corpse:

 

Now with full cups libations pour

To mighty Jove, whom all adore…

 

11.2.       Other Christians

 

It will be saved for a later chapter to document the evolution of Christian thought concerning demons. 


 

12.      Demons in the Old Testament

Consideration of what the OT says about demons ought to give us a good perspective of what the ancient Israelites under the prophets of Yahweh originally believed about them before their cultural and religious intermingling with the nations that ruled over them during their captivity and subjugation.  The God of the Israelites is also the God of the Christians.  His revealed truth on such a matter as the existence of demons should not change.  Only people’s beliefs change.  God’s truth is immutable.  We hope to discover whether the ancient Hebrews believed in the existence of demons.

 

12.1.       LXX

 

The NT has many occurrences of the Greek word “daimonion”.  In the English translations it has “daimonion” transliterated as “demons”, though unfortunately, some older translations, such as the KJV, render it “devils”.[308]  Since the OT is not written in Greek, but Hebrew, it cannot help to understand the Greek word “daimon“.

 

To compare apples with apples, the best we can do is to look for a good Greek translation of their OT scriptures.  The optimum translation would be one created in antiquity, especially in the period under observation, the time of the NT, in order to be sure our word comparisons may be made between the NT and OT.

 

Around 200 BC, the Greek King Ptolemy II of Egypt sanctioned 70 Jewish scribes to translate the Hebrew Scriptures (OT) into Greek.[309]  The name given to the work was “Septuagint”, meaning “seventy”, abbreviated in Roman numerals to “LXX”.

 

The LXX was quoted by the apostles in some of the epistles in the New Testament![310]  While the translation is relatively dependable, it does contain some apocryphal books, and probably shouldn’t be considered inspired.

 

 

Table 1. All LXX instances of "daimon” derivatives in non-apocryphal books.

Reference  (LXX)

Hebrew

Meaning

Notes

Deut 32:17

shed

A false god, an idol

[311]

Psa 91:6 (90:6)

shuwd

Waste

[312]

Psa 96:5 (95:5)

eliyl

A thing of naught, an idol

 

Psa 106:37 (105:37)

shed

An idol

 

Isa 13:21, 34:14

sa`iyr

A goat, a satyr

[313]

Isa 65:3

N/A

A false god

[314]

Isa 65:11

Gad

A false god  (Fortune)

[315]

Summary

 

 

[316]

 

 

Figure 18.  Winged bull (Shedi) - Palace of Darius I - Susa, Iran.

 

 

 

In ancient Babylonian, Assyrian and Persian religions, a “shedu” was a protective, benevolent spirit.  Some had the role of temple guardians, being represented as winged bulls.  The Hebrew “shed/shedim” derives from the Babylonian “shedu”, and refers to a demon, or false god.

 

The worship of the shedim (demons, false gods and idols) eventually came to be associated with human sacrifice.   Take for example the deplorable ritual of causing one’s screaming sons and daughters to “pass through the fire unto Molech”. 

 

From the following LXX passage contains the phrase "demons, which exist not".  That reading is found in neither the MT, nor the more ancient DSS.  It seems to have been added by the Jewish translators living around 200 AD.  This establishes their clear sentiment about the non-existence of demons.  This is actually quite remarkable, given their recent context of decades of Gentile domination and cultural pollution, including Hellenization.  

 

They (Israel) burn incense on bricks [terracotta altars] to demons (Greek: daimonion, demons), which exist not.[317]

 

To the heathen nations around them, these demons were gods who were ghosts of ancient relatives or rulers.  To the Jews, they were just idols, non-existent false gods.  These Jewish scribes may have known about the Greek beliefs about demons, and how they worshipped their tombs, from the writings of Hesiod, Aeschylus, Plato, etc.  Yet they wanted to stand apart, so they made their belief clear on the matter of false gods.  (The noted exception was when apostate Jews bowed down to the false gods of the idolatrous pagans).

 

And turn not aside after the gods that are nothing, who will do nothing, and will not deliver you, because they are nothing.[318]

 

Incidentally, the JPS (Jewish Publication Society) version of the OT refers to demons as “no-gods”, making it clear that many Jews to this day believe that demons are false gods (i.e. gods that do not exist).

 

They sacrificed unto demons, no-gods...[319]

 

The OT bible does not differentiate idols and demons, yet some who believe in demons don’t believe in false gods.  The LXX translates the Hebrew word meaning "idols" into the Greek "daimonion" (demons).  The apostles Paul and John also use the term the same way.  In the NT the apostle Paul equates an offering made to idols with an offering made to demons.

 

For all the gods of the nations are idols (Hebrew: 'eliyl, Greek (LXX): daimonia, demons): but the LORD made the heavens.[320]

 

No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons (Greek: daimonion,  demons), not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.[321]

 

Paul's words above are seen to echo what was written in Deuteronomy:

 

They made him jealous with other gods, they enraged him with abhorrent idols.  They sacrificed to demons (Hebrew: shedim), not God, to gods they had not known; to new gods who had recently come along, gods your ancestors had not known about.[322]

 

The verse above, when compared to the verse here, shows that the word “shedim” (translated “daimonion” in the LXX) is seen to be synonymous with “idols”, as the objects of worship to which they made sacrifice in their pagan rituals.

 

They sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons (Hebrew: shedim).  They shed innocent blood - the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan. The land was polluted by bloodshed.[323]

 

It can be interesting to cross-check and see how verses in the OT are translated by modern Jewish Hebrew scholars.  One such scholar, Chaim Miller, produced a translation which has the following:

 

They sacrificed to demons, which have no power, deities they did not know, new things that only recently came, which your forefathers did not fear.[324]

 

The concept that demons "have no power" is, of course, expressed in various OT passages.  The wording in this particular version makes the point quite clearly without ambiguity.  Demons have no power.

 

 

12.2.       Evil Spirits

 

 

There are only seven verses in the OT which use the term “evil spirit”.  One of these verses refers to an evil spirit sent from God which caused strife between Abimelech and the chief men of Shechem.  All other instances of the term refer to one particular evil spirit that vexed Saul, the first king of Israel:

 

But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit (Hebrew: ra` ruwach) from the LORD troubled him.[325]

 

The word “spirit” is ordinarily translated from the Hebrew "ruwach" in the OT, or the Greek "pneuma" in the NT.  It may denote either divine beings or, in the NT only, phantoms.  The word also can simply mean “disposition”, “attitude”, or “mood”, as is the obvious intention in the verse below:

 

For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit (Hebrew: ruwach), and trembleth at my word.[326]

 

The word “evil” is translated from the Hebrew “ra`”.  This word, according to the authority of various Bible dictionaries and lexicons, denotes “misery”, “sorrow”, “sadness” and “distress”.  So Saul was given a “spirit of sadness”.

 

It is unfortunate that we have been so conditioned to always think of a malevolent ghost when we hear this phrase, "evil spirit", without giving consideration to any other possible interpretation.

 

As if there was a need to point out yet more inconsistencies with the mainstream "demons" view, if the term "evil spirit" here was to denote a ghost, as was the case in the Greek culture of the NT, we might expect the spirit to speak at least once in the narrative.  We don't see anything of the sort.  We would expect to find at least one passage where the word meant "ghost" in an unambiguous manner.  We find no such passage.

 

This has been the understanding of religious Jews for centuries.  Maimonides (c. 1150), was a Jewish rabbi and physician.  He was quoted thusly:

 

…All kinds of diseases which are called melancholy, they call an evil spirit. [327]

 

The culture of ancient Persia, we are told, was dualistic, having a good god, Ahura Mazda, and an evil God, Angra Mainyu.  The word “mainyu” actually means "mind", "mentality", or "spirit" (in the sense of how one thinks).  The meaning of “angra” is "destructive", "inhibitive", "malign" etc.  It is possible that some cultures, the terminology of "evil spirit" was used to refer to a negative frame of mind, rather than a malevolent ghost.  This is also as true in the English language, as in the Hebrew, that the word "spirit" has multiple meanings.

 

Another point that ought to be considered here is that in every instance in the OT of the phrase “evil spirit”, it is said to be sent not by Satan, but from God.  That alone rules out the modern view that these evil spirits are rebellious angels.  That view is found in apocryphal writings, as we shall later see, but not in the inspired canon of scripture.  The concept of wicked, sinful, rebellious angels simply is not to be found in the OT.[328]  As we've seen, the only "demons" mentioned in the OT are the idols of the heathen representing false gods that don’t exist!

 

12.3.       The Witch at Endor

 

In a narrative taking place toward the end of Saul's reign, we find the unusual account of Saul going to a “woman that hath a familiar spirit”. [329]  By visiting this "witch", or necromancer, Saul intended to conjure up Samuel's ghost from the dead.  The fact that Samuel is portrayed as speaking to Saul even after his death demands an explanation, for elsewhere before and after this point, we learn that he should be lying unconscious in quiet darkness, awaiting the resurrection.  Upon reading the story, we find that the following facts of the case merit our consideration:

 

·       This woman had a reputation as an expert in necromancy, but was highly troubled by what she saw.  The Bible tells us “when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice”.  She clearly was not expecting it, indicating an event beyond her normal experience.  This would seem to rule out a real encounter with a ghost.

·       Some may say this was a resurrection, but Samuel was buried in another town.  It is doubtful that Samuel was brought to life in a bodily resurrection in Ramah, and then dug a tunnel to Endor before popping up.

·       The woman saw “gods ascending” out of the ground, which indicates a vision, and not a bodily resurrection.

·       The witch saw Samuel, but Saul didn’t.  This also indicates a vision.

·       Samuel asked why he was waked out of his sleep.  This is because dead people are asleep in their graves, not awake in heaven or hell.

·       Samuel told Saul he would be joining him shortly - "to morrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me." But if Samuel is in heaven and Saul in hell (the mainstream view) that makes no sense, since Samuel was righteous and Saul was wicked. This constricts it to the pagan view (already disproven above) or the ancient Hebrew view, that they were both just dead (the only tenable choice of the three views).

·       Saul's punishment was elsewhere said to be "death" not burning in hell.[330]  It would be untrue to say he's dead if his immortal soul were alive.

 

Samuel appears to have spoken with Saul, but this could actually have been a pre-recorded message.  It is plausible when we consider that king Jehoram received a note from the prophet Elijah after Elijah was dead,[331] indicating he had pre-written it.  Or the transfiguration, where Elijah and Moses with Peter, James and John saw into the kingdom age.  Nothing is impossible with God.

 

But is this consistent with God’s character?  Would He produce a false vision such as this for Saul’s benefit?  Absolutely!  God answers idolaters according to their own folly.[332]  Saul sought the advice of the dead.  This shows that, sadly, Saul was not content with the truth as given by the prophets of Yahweh.  When the chips were down, his religion was the paganism of the heathen around him.  God therefore chose to announce his fate through the channel he sought him, since Saul was a lost cause.  God simply supplied a vision to declare his fate.  This is the only explanation that satisfies all the facts of the case.

 

It is similar to the situation in which Yahweh tells Ahab through his own false prophets that he will prosper in battle, whereas God knew he would actually be slain.[333]  So what if Ahab’s false prophets should appear to have had some vision or revelation?  So what if God should use an trick to bring about his downfall?  At that point he would no longer believe Yahweh.  At that point, Ahab was, like Saul, a lost cause.  Thus God destroys the wicked by their own devices.

 

There are many aspects of the Endor incident that cause problems for the mainstream Christian view, as we’ve seen in this brief survey.  For example, it was seen that Samuel, a righteous prophet of God, did not go to heaven!  That is a huge issue.  In fact, this account is more in accord with the ancient pagan view then prevalent in the Levant, that men’s ghosts were underground in the netherworld, and that one could hire a necromancer to conjure up the dead.  It is therefore hoped that some Christian readers will be motivated to actually reevaluate their understanding on this point.  Due to the many discrepancies in this account, it becomes necessary to humbly accept the fact that this was probably just a vision and message intended for Saul.

 

In summary, examination of the details of this story reveals inconsistency with both the pagan view and the contemporary mainstream Christian view of the matter, and therefore it appears to be a vision, completely under God's control, and nothing to do with any power of any medium, witch or necromancer.

 

 

12.4.       Absence of Possession

 

Perhaps the most noteworthy thing in regard to a thorough examination of the OT is that there is no mention in it of invisible ghost beings or false gods who possess or "indwell" humans to cause them harm.  In fact, the only way false gods were said to cause harm was to worship them.  The concept of demon possession simply did not exist in the OT.  To the Hebrew prophets, demons were simply idols with no power, which the pagans based false hopes upon.  This is a fact that we need to take stock in.  When we compare this sentiment to what we find in the Synoptic gospels, there needs to be some reasonable explanation for the difference.


 

 

13.      Demons in the Synoptic Gospels

13.1.       Enter the Demons

 

“So he went into all of Galilee preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons (Greek: daimonion, demons).” [334]

 

It seems a matter of fact that demons exist in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke).  It is easy to ignore the preceding Old Testament period spanning thousands of years, as many bible students today make the mistake of ignoring its significance.  Christians today are advised by their preachers that the OT is not important to read.  Jesus testified that it was vital to read the OT to learn about him.[335]  The OT contains nothing even remotely similar to demon possession for the thousands of years that it represents.  For those who begin their Bible study in the synoptic gospels, their first taste of God’s word, besides the birth of Jesus, commences with his baptism, and his 3.5 year ministry, when he preached and healed in “Galilee of the gentiles”.  It was during this short portion of his ministry that demons are given much mention, and only in the context of being cast out of people for the sake of healing their medical disorders.  Without having covered the OT first, it is possible for bible readers to be unable to see the forest for the trees.

 

The God of the Israelites in the OT who said there is no other god, and who said the dead are really dead, is the same God of the Christians in the NT.  That God pronounces that He Himself is the living God, making Himself also the only real God, and saying “the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.”  So what explains the accounts of demons in the NT apparently alive and well?

 

As the OT mentions that demons are “no-gods” or idols, we cannot say that demons were some sudden creation.  It would also seem illogical to believe that God would have created these false gods that go around hurting people, and quite frankly, behave in most illogical manners.

 


 

13.2.       Demons and Medical Conditions

 

We have seen that in the OT, demons were simply non-existent false gods and powerless idols.  Well in the synoptic gospel accounts of the NT, these demons come and "possess” people and cause them to suffer neurological malfunction, and a few other medical illnesses.  The NT quotes the OT in such a way that demon possession in the NT is put as as equivalent to “infirmities” and “sicknesses” in the OT!

 

“When it was evening, many demon-possessed people were brought to him. He drove out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick.  In this way what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet was fulfilled: "He took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.” [336]

 

A belief in demons was widespread throughout the ANE.  It seems to have begun from the early ages of mankind.  The ancient Babylonians, Assyrians, Canaanites, Egyptians and ultimately the Greeks believed that demons (as ghosts) caused various mental and physical infirmities.  Even Hindus and early Buddhists believe in evil spirits called “rakshasa”, “deva”, etc.  Even today, in Sri Lanka, among the rural Buddhists there is the legend of the “gara-yakku”, which are 18 demons, each of which can inflict a particular illness, such as one for blindness, insanity, epilepsy, etc.  This is very similar to the belief to the North of Israel during NT times, as they had the “deaf and dumb” spirit,[337] the “spirit of infirmity”,[338] “unclean spirit”, etc.

 

 

Figure 19. Ceremonial mask from Sri Lanka depicting the 18 Yakku demons, each said to be responsible for a medical conditions.

 

Christian leaders today tell us to believe that demons can pull Christians into error, and that their mission is to kill, steal, and destroy your life.  These people mean well, but they are often just reiterating what they themselves have been taught.  Preachers think it is crucial to inform us that invisible evil spirits are going about trying to tempt us into sin, either by causing us to notice tempting things, or actually putting wicked thoughts into our minds.  There are actually plenty of visible, mortal sources that do that, including our own hearts, such that we don’t need any extra help from the supernatural world.  This concept of demons destroying our lives appears to conflict with the words of the Master, who said that wickedness comes from man’s heart:

 

“And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?  And he said, that which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”  (Mark 7:18).

 

The reader is encouraged to carefully inspect all the passages which give account of demon possession.  Scripture contains several references to the imagination of the "evil heart", and no references to demons placing thoughts in our minds.  Romans 1-8 is all about sin, but no mention whatsoever of demons.  Jesus was clear about the Pharisees being hypocrites, and he never minced his words when it came to pointing out their guilt.  To demons there was never any charge imputed, no moral criticism and no accusation of any crime.  This is very significant, for if demons were the source of evil thoughts in our minds, which eventually lead to sin and death, they should have received harsh, public condemnation or reprimand.  Some are quick to point out that (as the KJV has) Jesus “rebuked” the demons.  However, he also rebuked the wind and a fever (Matt 8:26, Luke 4:39).  Therefore the word does not imply existence of a moral defect.  The subject of “rebuke” is not necessarily a rational being.  The word “rebuke” seems to simply mean to command them to be quiet.

 

Instead, the framework around these miracles was usually that of a medical context, with no moral correlation at all.  Demons appear to only physically harm humans (mentally or bodily) but do not seem to want to make them sin.  This is not at all harmonious with the supposition that they are “Satan’s minions” who want to tempt us or make us abandon our faith.  Instead, perhaps they are helping us, since chastening “yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb 12:11).

 

“While demonization was often differentiated from debility and disease (Matt 4:24, Mark I:32), demons also caused dumbness (Matt 9:32), blindness (Matt 12:22), deafness (Mark 9: 17-29), epilepsy (Matt 17: 18: lit. "being moonstruck"). and apparently fever and other diseases (Luke 4:39: 8:2). Its chief manifestation. however, was insanity: the Gerasene demoniac, when healed, is said to "be in his right mind" (Mark 5:15).” (“Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible”, 2nd Ed., Van Der Toorn, Becking & Van Der Horst).

 

Most (83%) accounts of demons in the gospels mention a medical condition in the context.  None (0%) of accounts of demons in the gospels mention any moral condemnation for either the demon or the possessed.

 

These accounts of demons portray them as the cause of physical ailments to people.  They are squarely blamed for causing epileptic (“lunatick”) behaviors, being “deaf and dumb” by having a “deaf and dumb spirit” (Mark 9:25), (being “dumb” meaning mute, unable to speak), and in one case, having MPD (multiple personality disorder).  One account has a woman with “a spirit of infirmity”, who “was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself”.  An “unclean spirit” was another term used synonymously with “demon” (compare Mark 3:22, 30 & John 10:20).

 

Consider how often “devils” (demons) are associated with medical illnesses.  They are virtually synonymous:

 

·        “He healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils...” (Mark 1:34).

·       “To have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils” (Mark 3:15).

·       “Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures...” (Luke 13:32).

 

With regard to the symptoms related of the demoniacs, it is urged that such persons as were called demoniacs in other countries, and who seem to have laboured under precisely the same symptoms, are recorded to have been cured by the use of medicines. Helleboro quoque purgatur lymphatieus error (Sereb. Sammon. c. 27. v. 507), ‘Insane delusion is remedied by hellebore.’ Josephus and the Jewish physicians speak of medicines composed of stones, roots, and herbs, being useful to demoniacs (Gattei, f. 67). The cure of diseases by such methods is intelligible; but is it rational to believe that the spirits of dead men were dislodged from human bodies by medical prescriptions? (“The Cyclopaedia of Biblical literature”, Vol 1. John Kitto).

 

There are other places where “healing” was used synonymously with “casting out demons”.

 

“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.”  (Matt 10:1).

 

The word “power” in the verse above means “authority”.  This verse is stating that the “authority against unclean spirits” was used “to heal”.   The word for “heal” here is the Greek “therapeuo”. 

 

“And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.”  (Matt 4:24).

 

In some accounts it says that demons were “cast out”.  But this account above says that he “healed” (“therapeuo”) those who were possessed with demons, indicating that “demons” were a way of saying he had an illness.

 

 

 


 

13.3.       Something Peculiar about Galilee

 

“And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.” (John 1:46).

 

The Jewish cultural center was Judea (Judah). To the North of Judea was Samaria, and further North, Galilee.  These two Northern regions were populated primarily with a people who were an ethnic mix of Jews, Aramaeans, Itureans, Phoenicians, and Greeks.  The Jewish population grew after their captivity in Babylon and Persia, and the Maccabees forced many there to Judaism in around 100 BC.  Even so, it remained heavily Gentile, as even the Samaritans were considered foreigners to Jews from Judea.  And yet it was this humble melting pot of Galilee from which the great religion of Christianity sprang.

 

While researching the accounts of demons in the gospel accounts, Stephen Snobelen, PhD in History and Philosophy of Science, made certain curious observations.  This quote from the abstract of one of his works summarizes the result of his study:

 

Demon-possession in the Gospel accounts is not a geographically-uniform phenomenon. Specific cases of demon-possession in the synoptics occur in regional clusters, always in northern environs such as Galilee, rather than occurring throughout every location through which Christ travelled and performed healings.  Conversely, not a single case of demon-possession in Judea or Jerusalem is recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Moreover, the Synoptics include several quantitative summaries of demon-possession that imply that demon-possession was a common and even characteristic phenomenon in Galilee and the northern regions.  No comparable statements for Judean areas are found in the Gospel records. Finally, certain ostensibly physical pathological conditions, such as blindness, deafness and muteness, which are sometimes attributed to demon-possession in the north, are never so characterized in the south, even though descriptions of these conditions do occur in texts commenting on the Judean ministry.[339]

 

That is the observation from the biblical standpoint.  The Jewish Rabbinical writings also testify that Galilee was the “center of demonology” in Israel:

 

In investigating the Talmudic evidence as to spirits, the reader will notice, at the outset, different attitudes adopted by the Rabbis in dealing with this question.  In some cases the reality of demons seems to be taken for granted absolutely; in others it seems, with no less certainty, to be denied.  Stories occur in which both these attitudes may be traced simultaneously.  The reason for this may be found if the nationality of the respective teachers be sought.  It has already been stated Galilee was the centre of Palestinian demonology, and it will almost invariably be found that Galilean teachers accepted, while Judean teachers rejected, the existence of spirits.[340]

 

 

Figure 20.  Israel around the Time of Christ, showing the three general regions of Galilee, Samaria and Judea.  Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thedecapolis.png.

 

“A passage in the Babylonian Talmud specifically states that various beliefs connected with demons which were current in Babylon were ignored in Erez Israel… Demonology, however, is more prominent in the Palestinian Midrashim than in the Jerusalem Talmud. On the other hand the Babylonian Talmud is replete with demonology, obviously under the influence of the belief in demons which was widespread in Babylonia… The Babylonian Jews lived in a world which was filled with demons and spirits, malevolent and sometimes benevolent, who inhabited the air, the trees, water, roofs of houses, and privies.” (“Encyclopaedia Judaica”, “Demons, Demonology”, Louis Isaac Rabinowitz).

 

The historian Josephus (AD 75) was one who understood that demons were evil ghosts:

 

“Demons, which are no other than the spirits of the wicked, that enter into men that are alive and kill them, unless they can obtain some help against them” (Wars 7.6.3).

 

Josephus was correct, that demons were considered to be evil ghosts, however he also was of the opinion that they actually existed.  His opinion might actually turn out to be biased when one considers that Josephus himself was at one time a Jewish military leader in Galilee, and so he must have been spent some time there, where belief in demons was prevalent.  Thus Josephus’s view concerning demons was not necessarily the common Jewish view.

 

A famous Rabbi named Johanan ben Zakkai was a Galilean (his tomb is located in Tiberias, on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee), and he also was contemporary with Josephus.  He wrote that demons could be cast out using herbal remedies:

 

“Have you never seen a person into whom an evil spirit had entered? What should be done with one so affected? Take roots of herbs, burn them under him, and surround him with water, whereupon the spirit will flee." (Pesikta 40b).

 

Referring to “the Gadarenes”, or dwellers of Gadara of Galilee, the place Legion roamed according to the accounts in Mark 5:1 and Luke 8:26, one bible dictionary has the following to offer:

 

“It is identified with the modern village of Um-Keis, which is surrounded by very extensive ruins, all bearing testimony to the splendour of ancient Gadara. The most interesting remains of Gadara are its tombs, which dot the cliffs for a considerable distance round the city, chiefly on the north-east declivity; but many beautifully sculptured sarcophagi are scattered over the surrounding heights. They are excavated in the limestone rock, and consist of chambers of various dimensions, some more than 20 feet square, with recesses in the sides for bodies... The present inhabitants of Um-Keis are all troglodytes (cavemen), 'dwelling in tombs,' like the poor maniacs of old, and occasionally they are almost as dangerous to unprotected travelers." (Easton’s Bible Dictionary, See “Gadara”).

 

Gadara means “walled” or “fortified”.

 

One cannot but help notice the similarities in the accounts of Legion “dwelling in tombs” near the swine herds in Gadara, and those pagan worshipers of demons such as Gad and Mene “Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh” (Isa 65:4).  The region of Galilee was very close to Tyre, which Phoenician culture was rife with Baal worship.  From Tyre came Jezebel, daughter of the king of Sidon (1Kings 16:31), the mother of abominations who sat on the throne of Yahweh in Jerusalem.  It is probable, then, that the death cult was practiced there in Galilee, also.  In Matt 4:15 it is referred to as “Galilee of the Gentiles”, as quoted from Isa 9:1 “Galilee of the nations” (same Hebrew word as translated “heathen”).

 

In Egypt, swine sacrifice was only associated with Dionysus, who was also a god through which necromancy took place.

 

“Now to the other gods the Egyptians do not think it right to sacrifice swine; but to the Moon and to Dionysos alone at the same time and on the same full-moon they sacrifice swine” (“The History”, Herodotus 1.2.47).

 

“The communication with the dead always goes both ways, and Dionysus presides over it… these animals hold a very special relationship with the subterranean gods and with the dead… snakes feed on blood, as the dead themselves can do.  It seems obvious that this food is also directed under the earth, to nourish the dead.” (“Dionysism and Comedy”, Xavier Riu).

 

The language of the region of Galilee was Aramaic.  Jesus grew up in Galilee, and called his early disciples from there.  He called Peter “Cephas”, an Aramaic word, and scripture says it is interpreted as “a rock” (giving the Greek “Petros”, from which “Peter” was transliterated).  Aramaic would have been the language of the people who were planted there by the king of Assyria when the 10 Northern tribes of Israel were taken captive.  Also note that the Jews on the day of Pentecost “marvelled” because even people of “Judaea” (“Jews”) could (by miracle) understand the speech of “Galilaeans” (Acts 2:7-11).  Understanding Aramaic language and culture, which seems to have been the primary language of Jesus, helps to understand some of his sayings, and things pertaining to his life, and this also explains why his statements were so frequently misunderstood by the Jews.  For further reading, consult “Idioms in the Bible Explained” by George M. Lamsa.  Aramaic was Lamsa’s first language.  A brief example is shown below from another of his works:

 

When men are discovered with symptoms of insanity, they are taken to the priest or shrine for healing.  Those who become violent are threatened by priests and holy men who try to scare them in order to drive out the insanity.  Some Mohammedan religious healers recommend various forms of torture.  The insane man is sometimes branded with a hot iron… On this account the crazy are always afraid of religious men...” (“Gospel Light”, George M. Lamsa).

 

Some thought might also be directed toward Samaria, the area between the regions of Galilee and Judea.  During the conquest by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, it was depopulated of the ten northern tribes, and repopulated with Gentiles.

 

“And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah (Shinar), and from Ava, and from Hamath (Syria), and from Sepharvaim (Western Media), and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.”  (2Kings 17:24).

 

In the time of Jesus, no matter what you believe about whether the 10 tribes returned or not, the region of Samaria was considered non-Jewish.  Consider what the Samaritan woman said to Jesus, and observe how that the Samaritans were not Jews:

 

“How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” (John 4:9).

 

Demons may also have been correlated with Samaria.  It seems to be the best explanation for why the Jews would link demon possession with being a Samaritan:

 

“Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil (demon)?” (John 8:48).

 

It could be that this group of Jews considered Jesus from “somewhere up North” and therefore related him to Samaria.  It could also be that Galilee was considered to be a region within the larger region of Samaria.  We don’t know for sure whether or not that is the case.

 

The Jews and Gentiles had different lifestyles, which may have affected their health, including their mental health.  They also had vastly different belief systems concerning the spirit world.  The reason for pointing out the lack of demons in the Jewish regions will be obvious shortly.

 

There is yet another possible further distinction.  Some claim that Mark 14:18-21 quotes Psalm 41:9-10 from the LXX.  John 13:18 appears to quote the same passage in the Psalm from a Hebrew source.  Could the more Jewish culture of John explain the lack of absence of demon possessions in his gospel account?

13.4.       Legion - Inconsistencies in the Account

 

 

Perhaps these questions will allow us now to open our minds to other possibilities as we take a closer look at the story of Legion, as well as other types of demon possessions.

 

Scholar Barry Dobson, puts it more eloquently:

 

Not only does the Bible never identify demons with fallen angels, it also never teaches that they are supernatural. Quite the opposite! On one occasion Jesus eliminated demons by allowing them to be transferred from a demoniac into a herd of pigs, which then stampeded down a hill over a cliff and drowned in the sea. If demons were supernatural, it would be impossible for them to be destroyed by casting them into the sea.

 

Someone may suggest that the demons vacated the pigs before they hit the water. If this was the case, what was the point in Jesus allowing the pigs to plunge over the cliff into the sea? Was he tricked and outwitted by the demons, because it was in response to their request that he transferred them into the swine. If the demons were not destroyed, but escaped, then Jesus was deceived by a Brer Rabbit tactic! But if they were destroyed by drowning, then they were not supernatural, which is the point at issue.[342]

 

 

13.5.       Was Legion Mentally Disturbed?

 

When a psychologist sees "Disruption of identity characterized by two or more distinct personality states (one can be the host) or an experience of possession, as evidenced by discontinuities in sense of self, cognition, behavior, affect, perceptions, and/or memories", they would make a diagnosis of DID ("dissociative identity disorder").

 

First century Samaritans were in no position to make this diagnosis.  Instead, due to their Platonic superstitions, if a man had symptoms of we call dissociative identity disorder, they would have believed that the man had a demon, and they would have expressed and understood it this way.  In fact, any irrational behavior seen by those of Galilee was attributed to demons.

 

Skin cutting is the most common form of self-harm, psychologists today call it SH/DSH (deliberate self-harm) or SI (self-injury).  It is associated with schizophrenia and other personality disorders.

 

"Deliberate self-harm is particularly associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD)... DSH has been found in patients with anxiety disorders... and schizophrenia. Skin cutting (70%) is by far the most common form of DSH, followed by banging or hitting oneself (21%-44%) and skin burning (15%-35%)." ("Psychiatry Essentials for Primary Care", Robert K. Schneider, M.D., James L. Levenson, M.D.).

 

“And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.” (Mark 5:5).

 

We now know that schizophrenia is treatable with medication, and, according to the CDC, when the medication is discontinued, the symptoms return.  Would an immaterial demon, or ghost, be subject to the effects of medicinal chemicals?

 

Let us explore for a moment the possibility that the man of Gadara in the synoptic accounts  (Matt 8 / Mark 5 / Luke 8) was not infested by an actual demon named “Legion”, but rather a mental illness caused by a medical condition common to that area.

 

13.6.       Did Legion have Cysticercosis?

 

There is an illness associated with eating undercooked pork, or living in unsanitary conditions near swine, which is caused by infection of a parasite known as taenia solium.  The intestinal form of the illness which can also attack muscle tissue is called Trichinosis.  However, when the same parasite invades the brain, the condition is called cysticercosis.  Those stricken by this disease often present with epileptic seizures and schizophrenia.  Taenia solium cysticercosis affects an estimated 50 million people worldwide.  There are often outbreaks in regional areas, even in the US.  It has been said that Neurocysticercosis is "arguably the most common parasitic disease of the human nervous system".

 

 

 

Figure 21.  Life cycle of taenia solium, the parasite which causes Cysticercosis.

Image courtesy of the CDC.

 

The fact that the demons inhabited both the man and the swine may be an indicator of a fairly strong parallel.

 

Consider the linkage between tombs and swine.  Recall that in the ancient death cult, the tombs were treated as shrines, and how swine were eaten and given as sacrifices made to these demons (Isa 65:4), or ghost-gods.  The bizarre behavior of these tomb-dwellers could be explained in a more realistic way than attributing it to evil phantoms:

 

“There is also a condition known as “cysticercosis,” caused by the infestation of man by the larval stage of the pork tapeworm due to eating infected pork... the majority of the larvae, as they are now, end up in the brain tissue... cells of the brain tissue fight the organism, and this battle invariably results in degeneration of the brain tissue. And this explains the many mental and neurological symptoms which occur in this condition.  Epileptic-type manifestations are caused by the disease, as well as hysteria, psychosis, temperamental changes, acute progressive dementia and maniacal outbursts often of a religious character. This disease was recognized as a cause of epilepsy and schizophrenia arising out of the blue in British troops returning from service in the East. (“That Old Serpent Called the Devil and Satan” Barry C. Hodson).

 

This claim is echoed in a modern clinical research book about this organism.

 

“NC has further been claimed to cause mental illness through an association with intracranial hypertension, meningitis, and epilepsy, in which case, mood and perceptual disorders and acute and chronic psychoses have been described.  In Europe, further interest in the disease was raised after the evaluation of Cysticercosis in 450 British ex-servicemen who had acquired the disease during military placements in pre-1947 colonial India.  Among these patience, 39 (8.7%) had mental disorder as a prominent feature, including cases of organic deterioration, affective disorders and schizophrenia.” (“Taenia Solium Cysticercosis: From Basic to Clinical Science”, Gagandeep Singh, Sudesh Prabhakar).

 

 

Under the law of Moses, and even earlier (Gen 7:2), animals were defined which were clean or unclean.  God forbade the Israelites to eat of the unclean animals.  The following law regarding cattle would have included swine as unclean, since they do not chew the cud:

 

“And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.” (KJV, Deut 14:7).

 

The following of the laws of Moses included also other laws which involved sanitary practices in disposing of waste (Deut 23:12-13), as well as how to identify and deal with certain diseases, such as leprosy (Lev 13).  The laws concerning unclean animals would have spared them many diseases and disorders ordinarily caused by undercooking.

 

“… If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee…” (Exod 15:26).

 

Cysticercosis infestation in the brain can cause a wide array of mental symptoms, ranging from asymptomatic to epilepsy, headaches and various types of mental illness.  Most interesting are those case studies which show symptoms similar perhaps to that of the story of Legion.

 

 

TaeniaSolium.jpg

 

Figure 22.  Meet taenia solium tapeworm, the pig hosted parasite which causes Trichinosis and Cysticercosis.  Were these the “demons” in the brain of “Legion[M1] ”?

 

Since India has a relatively advanced medical establishment, yet is a country with millions living in poverty and often unhygienic conditions, it is a significant source of information for cases of neurological manifestations caused by infestations of cranial cysticercosis.

 

Here is an example of a man who appeared to have schizophrenia, but was finally diagnosed and successfully treated for cerebral cysticercosis:

 

“Neurocysticercosis is the most common parasitic disease in the world which affects the central nervous system… A 25 year old, illiterate married Hindu male… presented with a three month history of gradual change in behavior in the form of irrelevant talk … On mental status examination, he was well oriented to time, place and person, cooperative, communicative and responded well to questions asked…  Delusions of persecution and reference were present… he accepted the illness but attributed the cause to evil spirits… histopathology report of subcutaneous nodule confirmed the diagnosis of cysticercosis cellulosae….  Significant improvement in psychiatric symptoms was also observed following albendazole (an anti-parasitic drug) therapy.  Delusions of persecution and delusions of reference were not found on mental status examination. Insight also improved; instead of attributing the illness to evil spirits, the patient accepted having a physical illness.” (“Neurocysticercosis Presenting as Schizophrenia: A Case Report”, B.Bhatia, S.Mishra, A.S.Srivastava.  “Indian Journal of Psychiatry” 1994, 36(4), 187-189).

 

Albendazole is an anti-parasite drug known to be effective against flukes, roundworms and tapeworms (including taenia sollium) in domestic animals and humans.

 

The following case indicates Cysticercosis can be a cause of “delusions of reference”, which has elsewhere been defined as “the notion that everything one perceives in the world relates to one's own destiny”.  It is also seen here to be a cause of various “neurological manifestations”.  “Delusions of persecution” is reminiscent of a demoniac who cries out “I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.” (Mark 5:7).

 

“Clinical manifestations in order of decreasing frequency are seizures (80%), headache (40%), visual changes (20%), confusion (15%), ataxia (6%), psychosis (5%) and in minority, cranial nerve palsies or other focal neurological manifestations.…  A 25 years male presented to Psychiatry OPD with symptoms of restlessness, irritability, and episodic anger outburst, delusions of reference and persecution, auditory and visual hallucinations (hearing divine voices and seeing snakes/fires, etc.) and disturbed sleep for a period of about one year… history of severe headache off and on…  diagnosis of psychosis NOS (not otherwise specified) (ICD-10) was made… Histopathological examination of biopsy from subcutaneous nodule confirmed the diagnosis of cysticercosisCurrently albendazole is the drug of choice for antiparasitic therapy…“ (“Neurocysticercosis presenting with psychosis”, Mahajan SK, Machhan PC, Sood BR, Kumar S, Sharma DD, Mokta J, Pal LS.  “Journal of Association of Physicians of India”, 2004 Aug; 52:663-5).

 

The following case shows a completely different array of mental aberations, also caused by Cysticercosis, probably because the worms infesting different areas of the brain produce different manifestations, and again, the symptoms are alleviated by giving antiparasitic drug albendazole.

 

“A 54-year-old police constable… with a seven-months history of irrelevant talking, poor self-care, insomnia, fidgetiness, dressing and undressing, and assaultive behavior. Additionally, he had loss of memory, ataxia, incontinence of urine, disinhibited behavior… On mental status examination, he was poorly kempt with emotional variability and disoriented behaviour. Rapport could not be established with him, and his motor behaviour was inappropriate with features of agitation and uncooperativeness. His speech was incomprehensible and his thought process, perception, cognition, judgement, and insight were impaired…. MRI of head revealed multiple neurocysticerci… was diagnosed as a case of cysticercal dementia and was treated with 15 mg/kg albendazole… after 4 months, there was significant improvement in his clinical presentation. He was also able to control his gait, bladder, and bowel function. His orientation, self-care and behaviour had improved. His speech was comprehensible…” (“An Unusual Cause of Dementia”, KS Anand, Vikas Dhikav, “Journal, Indian Academy of Clinical Medicine”, 2010: 11(4): 300-301).

 

 

 

 

Figure 23.  MRI of a patient with neurocysticercosis. The larvae of the parasite have infected the brain.  Photo courtesy of Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru.

 

One of the earliest in recent history to observe and record symptoms of Cysticercosis in military soldiers, William Porter MacArthur, painted a silver lining on the black cloud of those diagnosed with this disorder, by stating that at least their family would receive financial reimbursement, and were not in danger of contracting “lunacy” themselves.

 

“Although the diagnosis benefits the man himself but little, the presence of cysticerci gives him material gain when it has been caused by service abroad, it gives him great mental ease when he can be reassured that there is no chance of epilepsy appearing in his children, and when mental deterioration necessitates his certification as insane it carries to his relatives no slur of familial lunacy.” (“Cysticercosis as seen in the British army, with special reference to the production of epilepsy", MacArthur, W.P. 1934.  Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Volume 27, Issue 4).

 

13.7.       Phenomenal Language

 

The immediate purpose of the gospel writers was “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”  The purpose was not in the teaching of doctrine, but the spreading of the gospel.  The teaching of sound doctrine was to come later, as through Paul, John and Peter.

 

The word phenomenology comes from the Greek “phainómenon”, meaning "that which appears", and “lógos”, meaning "discourse” or “speech".  Something phenomenologically given is to be a discourse intended for a targeted individual or group, written in the manner in which it appears to them.  Use of PL (phenomenal language, sometimes also called phenomenological language) implies that events events are put in the way that the immediate audience would understand or convey them, with less regard for scientific correctness.

 

The bible seems to say in a straightforward way that demons do not exist, but then turns around and tells stories as if they do exist, even giving demons credit for discerning who Jesus was, for hearing, speaking and throwing people on the ground.  Meanwhile, Jesus said that “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35) and so no scripture can disagree with itself, only human interpretation can conflict with the truth of God.  That means there must be a solution to reconcile any apparent discrepancies in God’s word.  “God is not the author of confusion” (1Co 14:33).  He doesn’t say that something is true, but then, later say the opposite is true.

 

Wouldn’t it make sense then, that when these illnesses were healed, the main message of the gospel witness was to proclaim the power and authority of Jesus, how that he was the son of God, rather than explaining the medical causes of mental issues, or dispelling regional myths?  What if the audience for Matthew, Mark and Luke were Gentiles, how would they understand a scenario in which a man with Cysticercosis had larval cysts removed from his brain and body, and transferred into the pigs?  Suppose they didn’t even know what a brain was, let alone the nature of the disorder.  All they knew was that those clever Greek philosophers could not have been wrong in the matter of what caused those voices in people’s heads.

 

The fact that “demon-possession was a common and even characteristic phenomenon in Galilee and the northern regions” is a very good reason to strongly consider PL as a possible explanation for the “matter of fact” manner of the occurrence of demons in the synoptics.

 

Here are other examples of phenomenal language that seem to accommodate the myths of the day.

 

 

It would seem that the apostles who witnessed these healing miracles of Jesus were given to testify what they saw in their own words, and in the manner in which they perceived the events.  That is to say, the Holy Spirit did not alter the words of their testimonies in order to sanitize them.  This testifies to the veracity of the scripture, and demonstrates that the accounts were written by real men from that time and place, as indicated by the stamp of their culture.

 

13.8.       Accommodation

 

Whereas the apostles wrote demons into the accounts, and told matters as they saw them, the Lord Jesus could not possibly have believed in demons.  He knew the scriptures better than any who ever lived, and he would have known of those places that tell us that dead men tell no tales.  So then why is it that Jesus rebuked demons, speaking to them as if they did exist?

 

Consider the fact that Jesus was only given 3 ½ years to complete his ministry, and there was a lot to do in that short time.  The real need at the time was to bring people know that Jesus was the Christ, and with that authority to preach the gospel of salvation.  There was no time for teaching doctrine, explaining the true causes of brain malfunctions.  Nor were they on a mission of helping people by performing medical services to mend their temporal bodies.  These things were not expedient when they only had a short time to preach the gospel to the world and save as many people as possible.  Therefore his mission was to demonstrate his authority, and if that could be done by controlling the powers of nature (i.e. the wind) and by commanding the gods (demons), that would particularly get people’s attention and make them find his good news credible.  I'm hopeful that the reader can be appealed to by acknowledging that the prime directive of Jesus was to preach the gospel to the whole world, and that expelling myths was just something that could come later.

Therefore Jesus certainly must have accommodated the pagan god myths in order to leverage the authority that these false gods already held with the Gentiles, by virtue of the fact that they actually believed them to exist as powerful beings.  As you read this verse, you can feel the energy and the entire point of where Jesus was concentrating his focus:

 

Amazement came over them all, and they kept saying to one another, "What is this message? For He commands the unclean spirits with authority and power, and they come out!" [343]

 

13.9.       They Cried Out

 

And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God.” [344]

 

Presumably those falling down were the people possessed by the supposed demons, and not the demons themselves.  This ought to be an issue for those who insist on taking these “demons” accounts 100% literally.  But for now let us pretend we didn’t notice that detail, and examine exactly who it is in the demon accounts who cry out.

 

Passage

Demon Account

Who cried out

Matt 8:29

Legion

The humans

Mark 5:7

Legion

The human

Luke 8:28

Legion

The human

Mark 1:23

Capernaum synagogue

The human

Luke 4:33

Capernaum synagogue

The human

Matt 17:18

Deaf and mute epileptic boy

Not mentioned

Mark 9:26

Deaf and mute epileptic boy

the spirit[345]

Luke 9:39

Deaf and mute epileptic boy

The human

Matt 9:32

Mute man

N/A

Matt 12:22

Blind and mute man

N/A

 

It appears that most of the crying out of the demons is actually being done by the demon possessed men.  It seems reasonable to conclude from the overwhelming evidence that the generic statement that the unclean spirits, or demons, cried out saying “Thou art the Son of God”, that it was actually the people.

 

The passage in Mark 3:11, quoted above, is not a particular incident, but rather a sweeping statement.  When we compare that statement with an actual account, the similarities are striking in what was said.  The words and actions of the human victims (demon possessed) were nearly identical to the statement concerning the words and actions of the “unclean spirits” (demons).  To the extent that one may even see the use of “spirits” as being given by metonymy.

 

In case what has been said is not crystal clear, compare the passage in Mark 3:11 above, the general statement about what demons did and said, with the passage below, a narrative account indicating what the human victim did and said:

 

 

 

And whenever the unclean spirits [A] saw him, they [B] fell down before him and [C] cried out, [D] "You are the Son of God." [346]

 

“As Jesus stepped ashore, a certain man from the town met him who was possessed by demons. For a long time this man had worn no clothes and had not lived in a house, but among the tombs. When he [the man] [A] saw Jesus, [C] he cried out, [B] fell down before him, and shouted with a loud voice, "Leave me alone, Jesus, [D] Son of the Most High God! I beg you, do not torment me!"  [347]

 

One would have to be blind to not see the commonalities existing between these two passages, and very obstinate indeed to refuse to conclude that the more generalized statement is most certainly phenomenological language for what is more accurately given in the narrative account.  Thus there is a problem introduced if attempting to interpret the demons passages as 100% literal.  On the other hand, a phenomenal interpretation is most fitting.

 

One demon-believer related to the author that demons speak by manipulating the human's vocal chords, therefore, in that sense, either the human or the demon could be said to be speaking.  If that were the case that the demon were speaking through the man, then to the local observer it only appeared that the man was replying to Jesus.  The issue here is that phenomenal language is here being claimed, but this time in order to explain the human as the speaker.  The need explain the human doing the talking is a bit like the tail wagging the dog.  Furthermore, this view that demons are rebel angels who cannot speak without human body parts flies in the face of multiple scriptural accounts angels are capable of speech, as anyone even remotely familiar with the Bible will attest.

 

Another issue with taking literally the expression that demons cry out "Thou art the son of God", is that it makes demons become preachers of the Gospel.  The storyline of demon-believers is that they are Satan’s minions, and their prime directive is to deceive people and make them sin.  What purpose then could a demon possibly have in preaching fundamental saving truth of believing in Jesus as the son of God?  It is the onus of demon-believers to explain this.  The author has not to this day ever heard any satisfying explanation.  One demon-believer did posit the suggestion that “Satan uses reverse psychology.”  In other words, demons will first try to trick you into believing they are your friends, so that you will lower your guard and become vulnerable to their treacherous plots.  How many Christians do you know who claim to have a friend who is a demon?  Who has ever heard of such a thing?  This is not very plausible, to put it mildly!  The conclusion is that demons are not crying out that Jesus is the son of God, it is only written that way as from the viewpoint of the witness.

 

 

There is other evidence which that it was in fact the convention of the day to attribute the speech of madmen to demons.  In an obscure pamphlet published in the 19th century, anonymously penned, yet attributed to a colorful character named John Epps, we find the following remarkable words:

 

But say the advocates of demoniacal possession, the demon spoke: How do they know? The Scriptures say so. Matthew is the only place in which the daimon is mentioned and is said to have spoken. But this does not prove that there were any demons in the possessed to speak: but proves that the opinion prevailed at the time that when the paroxysm of madness was on the individual, whatever he said or did then was believed to be said or done by the demon. That this belief was the prevalent one, full authority can be presented…[348]

 

The author of the tract then proceeds to cite evidence from three sources; Plato (c. 400 BC), and from Apollonius of Tyana (c. 100 AD) as quoted by Philostratus (c. 225 AD), and Lucian (c. 175 AD).  I reproduce here the quotes:

 

Lucian expressly, states, “the patient is silent: the demon returns the answers to the questions that, are asked.” (ToDo replace with quote from Fowler & Fowler)

 

ToDo:  For the next two examples write an intro sentence, the 2 facts, and for each, proper footnotes for biblio info:

Begin

·       Apollonius, addressing a youth who had insulted him, but who was supposed to be possessed, remarks, “Not you but the demon has loaded me with insult” (Philostratus. Vit. Apollon., p. 157, ed. Olear)

·       Plato expressly asserts, “It was not the inspired or possessed person himself, but the demon in him who spake by his voice.”

End

 

13.10.  They Knew Him

 

“And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.” (Mark 1:34).

 

There is also indication that an “evil spirit” knew who Paul was, saying “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” (Acts 19:15).  This incident account, wherein the sons of Sceva ran away wounded and naked, took place in Ephesus.

 

And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination (Greek: Puthon, Pythia) met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:  The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.[349]

 

 

In this occasion above, the oracle of Delphi was said to have the spirit of Python.  According to the Greek legend, Apollo killed Python and his body was placed underground in the chasm.[350]  The Pythia diviner gave her prophecies in a state of frenzy due to being under the influence of some type of gas arising from the chasm under the oracle, which she breathed through a small aperture in a stool called a “tripod”.  There was attendant a priest who interpreted her loud howling and cries.[351]  The word “soothsaying” here is a Greek word which is different than the word used to describe the action of God’s prophets.  The word here indicates divination as through ranting.  The woman was intoxicated by the gaseous vapors, and the priests interpreted the woman’s muttering for a price.  In other words, the woman who was the supposed inspired medium of the oracle was merely a victim, and in fact, in some cases if the woman appeared to be violent, the priests would abandon her in her agony, leaving her to die. 

 

Given this context, it is likely that the woman with the spirit of divination in Acts was completely intoxicated and irrational.  And yet she appeared to know who Paul and his companions were, saying, “These men are the servants of the most High God.”

 

According to the narratives that tell of the man who thought he was possessed by “Legion”, it was the victim himself, and not a demon, who said, “What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the Most High God?” [352] 

 

These accounts give an appearance that the possessing demons (or their human victims) knew those who were sent by God.  How did they get this knowledge?  This is an important consideration, since some who believe in demons claim this is evidence that demons could only know Jesus if they had once been part of the heavenly court (prior to the time that they decided to turn against God and cause human medical disorders, or so the story goes).  Other possibilities do exist, however, and should be considered.

 

In the case of those demon possessed men from Galilee, many from that area would have known of Jesus as they grew up living near him, perhaps attending school with him.  Many were introduced by the preaching of John the Baptist.  This explanation could answer for some of the possessed people knowing Jesus, but it doesn’t address every situation.  For this reason, it seems incorrect to dismiss this particular phrase and the incidents it summarizes as merely more cases of phenomenal language.  A better explanation is necessary here.

 

One clue may lie in the following incident:

 

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven!” [353]

 

Consider carefully what is revealed in this passage.  Jesus only expressed two possibilities for who had revealed this to Peter; men or God.[354]  Jesus is explicit in this case, no man revealed it to Peter, but God did.  The fact is, only God can reveal to men the true identity of Jesus.[355]  This establishes that there were no other spirit beings in opposition to God, demons or otherwise, who could have revealed who Jesus was. [356]

 

This means that it is definite that all those who were “demon possessed” (or mentally ill) who blurted out special knowledge about the identity of Jesus were given that information from no other spirit than the Holy Spirit of God.[357]

 

Now it seems obvious that God Himself was showing forth His own power over these supposed gods.  The heathen believed their gods could divine and prophesy.  Therefore God Himself used their own superstitions to His advantage, causing the appearance that the gods were testifying of His own son!  Imagine the effect upon the heathen this would have, to see their own gods preaching Jesus! 

 

Think about it.  We are told that “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” [358]  If that is the case, then it makes perfect sense that he would speak his gospel through men and women who were brain damaged, lunatics and victims of intoxication, the weak of this world.  It makes sense that he would have blind men call see who he was and call out, “Thou son of David, have mercy on us!” [359]

 

Of course there were really no gods (demons) in the first place.  God was actually making the human victims believe.  They then having faith were subsequently healed.[360]

 

Evil men have been at times forced by the Holy Spirit to prophecy God’s word.  Balaam was a rebellious prophet, yet he apparently prophesied unwillingly.  “Falling into a trance, but having his eyes open”.[361]  Caiaphas, the high priest to whom the elders brought Jesus for judgment, previously prophesied, apparently unwittingly, that Jesus would die for the nation.[362]  We learn from Peter that prophecy came not “by the will of man”, but that the prophets of God were “moved by the Holy Spirit”.[363]  That is, they had little control over what they were doing.

 

In the cases of the insane (or demon possessed), God was using these occasions to validate the apostles’ preaching.  It would have been considered an insult to the false god Python for his prophetess to declare that Christ's apostles were “the servants of the Most High God”.[364]  Yahweh, who proclaims that He Himself is the only God, ironically forces the endorsement of false gods, if the audience considers them as having any power.  It would be illogical behavior for any literal evil spirit who is in opposition to God to assist the preaching of Jesus by vouching to the authority of the apostles.  It seems sensible to conclude that this revelation was work of the Holy Spirit.  The most important thing, however, is simply to realize that there are alternatives to believing that literal demons knew about Jesus because of some prior heavenly knowledge.  This notion has no scriptural support, and should be classified as bias driven speculation.

 

13.11.  He suffered them not to speak

 

And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.[365]

 

When we admit that the demons crying out “Thou art the Christ, the son of God”, is phenomenal language, and notice that the men were actually pronouncing these words, we are reminded that similar occurrences took place during healings of medical conditions.  Blind Bartimaeus cried out “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me!”  How did he know who Jesus was?  There were other cases as well when great faith was expressed, Jesus was happy to oblige in providing healing.  In my opinion, the men, in saying, “thou are the son of God”, were making the declaration as a testimony of their faith.  The men, not the demons, pronounced these words just prior to their healing.  After such declaration, Jesus would typically say, “Thy faith hath made thee whole”, and then they were then healed.

 

The case is similar when we come to the commentary which states, “And he rebuking them suffered them [demons] not to speak”.[366]  If we recognize this as phenomenal language, and understand how to decode it, then it makes sense.  All we have to do is compare these “demon” accounts with medical healings.  To remove the demons and normalize the events to simple medical healings helps us to understand that Jesus was asking the human victims not to tell anyone.  He likewise told several of the people who he healed of ordinary medical problems, “See thou tell no man; but go thy way”.  He also charged his disciples that “they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”  It was not yet time for people to know his identity at that time in his ministry.  We must realize that it would just make absolutely no sense for Jesus to ask demons not to tell people that he was the son of God.  Removing the demons context shows us that these demon exorcisms were healings of common medical conditions that various people in the world still have even today.

 

To Gentile disciples writing these accounts, it may have appeared that the demons were crying out, rather than the human victims crying out.  To an observer raised within a Gentile cultural context, the victim would be assumed to be demon possessed, and therefore it would have appeared that Jesus speaking to the demons, suffering them not to speak, while he was actually charging the men themselves with secrecy. 

 

13.12.  Lunacy

 

“And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils (demons), and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.” (Matt 4:24).

 

The word “lunatic” here means “moonstruck”, or vexed by the moon.  The Greeks also held that the moon god was responsible for the spastic, irrational looking fits that are seen sometimes during epileptic seizures.

 

The Babylonian view was the forerunner of the Greek concept of "the sacred disease", as described in the famous treatise by Hippocrates (dated to the 5th Century BC). The term "seleniazetai" was also often used to describe people with epilepsy because they were thought to be affected by the moon’s phases or by the moon god (Selene), and hence the notion of "moonstruck" or "lunatic" (the Latinized version) arose. Hippocrates, however, believed that epilepsy was not sacred, but a disorder of the brain. He recommended physical treatments and stated that if the disease became chronic, it was incurable.[367]

 

Are we to believe that these ill people were vexed by the moon god, or that they had epilepsy, so that the apostle writing his account was simply given license to give his testimony using the terminology of his current understanding?   If we take being moon vexed as phenomenal language, then why insist that those "demon vexed" were truly possessed by ghosts?  Matt 17:15-18 a "demon" (vs 18) is cast out of a "lunatick" (vs 15).  It may be that they thought the moon sent light to conjure up the demons from the underworld in order to possess someone.  We have seen before that the pagans made supplications to the moon god in order to conjure up the dead. 

 

In a 1692 letter to John Locke, Sir Isaac Newton wrote the following:

 

Tertullian somewhere challenges the heathens to produce a demoniac, and he shall produce a man who shall cast out the demon.  For this was the language of the ancients for curing lunatics. (Excerpt from a letter to John Locke, 1692, Sir Isaac Newton, from “Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton” Vol 2, Ch 24, David Brewster –Edinburgh, 1855).

 

The use of the term “lunacy” in the Synoptic gospels equates to epilepsy.  Consider the differences (in bold) of these three parallel accounts of the same incident involving a mute epileptic:

 

 

Matt 17:14-18

“lunatick",

“devil” (demon)

Mark 9:14-20

“dumb spirit”

Luke 9:37-42

“devil” (demon),

“unclean spirit”

14 ¶ And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,

 15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

 16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

 17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

 18 And Jesus rebuked the devil (daimonion); and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

 

14 ¶ And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.

 15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.

 16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?

 17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;

 18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

 20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

37 ¶ And it came to pass, that on the next day, when they were come down from the hill, much people met him.

 38 And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child.

 39 And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him.

 40 And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not.

 41 And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither.

 42 And as he was yet a coming, the devil (daimonion) threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.

 

 

 

Mark (9:20) says the child fell on the ground.

Luke (9:42) says the demon "threw him down".

Which is account is incorrect?

 

Clearly we have two accounts written differently, but both are allowing for the subjectivity of the audience.  If we take both accounts 100% literally, we will have a conflict.

 

This account is obviously a standard case of epilepsy.  In fact, the RSV has “he is an epileptic” rather than “he is a lunatick” for Matt 17:15. 

 

Figure 24.  A dog having an epileptic seizure falls to the ground, thrashing and foaming at the mouth.  Episodes usually last less than a few minutes, and can be reduced by medication.

 

 

Figure 25.  This healthy looking young man is enjoying some tennis one minute, and the next minute, spasmodically thrashing around on the ground, foaming at the mouth, having a full blown epileptic seizure.  Persons who wish to help are advised only to gently hold the head to keep it from banging onto the hard ground.  Do not constrict the rest of the body in any way.  The demon possessed lunatic in Mark 9:20 “fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming”. (Youtube.com, Video# j2MUnByfSUQ).

 

 

Figure 26.  Man in hospital having a seizure, nurse ready with hose to suction foam from mouth. The rolling back of the eyes is an expression commonly used in movies to portray demon possession.

 

 

 

Figure 27.  Hollywood portrayal of a demon possessed girl from the movie “The Exorcist”.

 

Whereas epilepsy can be caused by several factors, it is not caused by demons.

 

Clearly, in Mat 4:24 and Matt 17:15, Matthew is using phenomenal language to accommodate heathen myths.

 

Interestingly, the Alexandrian Christian author Origen (c. 250 AD) admits phenomenal language in regard to the moon, but not in regards to demons.  He implies that to accommodate myth that the moon was said to be the cause of lunacy, whereas in reality, he says, it was a demon.

 

"...this impure spirit watches certain configurations of the moon, and so makes it appear from observation of men suffering at such and such a phase of the moon, that the cause of so great an evil is not the dumb and deaf demon, but the great light in heaven which was appointed 'to rule by night,' and which has no power to originate such a disorder among men...  And it is probable that as this impure spirit, producing what is called lunacy, observes the phases of the moon, that it may work on him who for certain causes has been committed to it, and who has not made himself worthy of the guardianship of angels, so also there are other spirits and demons who work at certain phases of the rest of the stars; so that not the moon only, but the rest of the stars also may be calumniated by those 'who speak unrighteousness loftily.'  It is worth while, then, to listen to the casters of nativities, who refer the origin of every form of madness and every demoniacal possession to the phases of the moon."  (Origen. (1897). Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. (J. Patrick, Tran.) The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume IX. Book XIII Section 6 (pp. 478–479)).

 

 

13.13.  Unclean Spirits

 

Recall the man with the Legion, who was dwelling among the tombs.  One can appreciate how that over the years, demon possession, if they actually were diseases caused by unwholesome environmental factors, could come to be associated with an “unclean spirit”, or rather, “spirit of uncleanness”.  The belief in a prevalence of demons in cemeteries would be expected if demons were considered ghosts of the dead.

 

“In Talmudic and Geonic times, it was customary for the funeral procession, on its return from the cemetery, to stop and sit down seven times.  Although several medieval authorities maintained that this practice had been dispensed of altogether, it persisted in some places, seven or three sittings being observed.  Toward the end of our period these halts were coupled with the recitation of Ps. 91 to verse 11, which comprises seven words, one word of that verse being added to each stop.  It was frankly admitted that this was intended to confuse and shake off ‘the evil spirits which follow them home.’  After the service the chief mourners passed between a double line of people and were then escorted home by the entire company...  The custom of washing the hands after a funeral is very widespread; it seems to have made its way into Judaism in the early post-Talmudic period, and was generally observed during the Middle Ages.  Before entering their homes all those who had visited the cemetery bathed their hands, and some, their eyes and face also.  In certain mystical circles the lavation was performed three times.  Efforts were made to find a Biblical precedent for this act, but along with such pious endeavors there was a general admission that it was done ‘to dispel the spirits of uncleanness’ which cling to one’s person, these being ‘the demons that follow them home.’”  (“Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion”, Joshua Trachtenberg).

 

Which makes sense if they believed that demons were the ghosts of the dead. They probably connected the law of Moses about uncleanness from touching dead people[368] with the pagan belief in ghosts.

 

Speaking of the demoniac at Gadara, Bible scholar Alfred Edersheim writes:

 

"… according to St. Mark, he was ‘night and day in the tombs and in the mountains,’ the very order of the words indicating the notion (as in Jewish belief), that it was chiefly at night that evil spirits were wont to haunt burying-places... , if he chooses solitary places by day, and tombs by night, it is not that demons really preferred such habitations, but that the Jews imagined it, and that the demons, acting on the existing consciousness, would lead him, in accordance with his preconceived notions, to select such places... only under the influence of the demon, just as in mania a person truly and consistently speaks and acts, although under the false impressions which a diseased brain conveys to him." ("Life and Times of Jesus", Chap 25, Alfred Edersheim).

 

This belief that demons inhabit grave yards is relatively prevalent in the Jewish writings. Clearly both Greeks and Jews of the second temple period saw demons as being the ghosts, or disembodied spirits of the dead.  This is completely incongruent with the common conviction today that demons were rebellious angels.  This is especially true when one surveys the uses of the term “unclean spirit” in the NT, and finds that they are not only those in relation to people dwelling near tombs, but the term seemed to be interchangeable with “demon”.

 

 

13.14.  Conclusions from the Synoptics

 

Many do not realize that the accounts of Matthew, Mark & Luke only cover the 3 1/2 years of Jesus’ ministry, which began at his baptism when he “began to be about thirty years of age”, and ended on the cross.  The portion of this time that he and his disciples cast out devils in Galilee would have been only a percentage of this ministry period.  Because the accounts are redundant and there is much focus on his ministry, bible students who dive right into the NT are first exposed to accounts of demons and that becomes their first impression, which accounts then become difficult to understand differently.  The OT history covering hundreds of years prior, which is completely void of any demon possessions, is completely overlooked, perhaps intentionally out of fear or apathy.  It is plausible that God has actually allowed a snare to exist for those who so disrespect His word, which He Himself has placed above his Holy name.[369]

 

Demons not only existed within the constraints of a particular time, but also a certain location, in that possessions mainly took place in the Northern regions, especially “Galilee of the Gentiles”.  Since demons are represented as confined to a certain time and place, it seems reasonable to consider as possible that they existed only as phenomenal language, as literary artifacts of the authors, or to better appeal to a Gentile audience.

 

Consider the extent to which demon possessions correspond to conditions commonly caused by neurological conditions:

 

Condition

Passage

Epileptic symptoms

Luke 9:39

Schizophrenic self-harm

Matt 17:15

Insanity and violence

Matt 8:28

Blindness

Matt 12:22

Inability to hear

Mark 9:25

Inability to speak

Matt 9:32

 

 

Because of the medical association with demons, we are left with little choice but to conclude that demon-possessions in the NT constitute what is known to the modern world as medical illness.  Is it not reasonable to ask what would be the motivation of a literal demon to cause symptoms of neurological disorders in humans during that certain time and at that certain place?  Try to imagine a demon's incentive.  "Hey, here comes Jesus, I'm going to jump into this human being and cause symptoms that appear to be mental disorders, and then confess that Jesus is the son of God, and then God can demonstrate His superior power by kicking me out."  Is it not illogical to think this?

 

 

As we have seen, for those who believe in demons still, being unable to accept the existence of phenomenal language in the synoptic gospels as a possible solution, the bible poses many serious questions.

 

For some interesting perspective on how the Legion possessed man served as a parable of the insanity of Jerusalem and how the demons being cast into the swine and into the sea corresponding to “thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Mic 7:19), see a booklet called “Demon Possession” by John Allfree.  See also online an excellent work by Duncan Heaster, on his website www.realdevil.info .  See the chapter entitled “Demons”, section “Legion and the Gadarene Pigs”, subsection “A Psychological Approach”.

 

14.      Other Apostle’s Accounts

14.1.       Paul Sets the Record Straight

 

In the book of Acts, there is confirmation of our definition of “demon” as the soul of the dead (which doesn’t exist).  It is recorded that when Paul preached at Mars Hill in Athens, the Greek philosophers, hearing about one rising from the dead, said he was apparently preaching “strange demons”, or some new type of ghosts.  Paul does not correct them by saying that demons are not ghosts of dead men, but created angels.

 

“He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange (xenos) gods (daimonion): because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.” (KJV, Acts 17:18).

 

Paul’s epistles were referred to by Peter as “scripture” (2Pet 3:16).  Paul describes himself as “an Hebrew of the Hebrews” (Phil 3:5), and “brought up in this city (Jerusalem) at the feet of Gamaliel”.  Christ’s earliest apostles were from Galilee, where there were predominantly Gentiles, intermingled with a few Israelites.  In Galilee, there would have been more of a tendency for the common culture to accept the existence of heathen demi-gods (demons) as a matter of fact.

 

But with Paul, demons are proclaimed as “nothing”.  He equates the demons to idols, objects of wood or stone that are “nothing” because, after all, there is only one God:

 

“But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils (Greek: daimonion, demons), and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils (Greek: daimonion, demons).” (1Cor 10:20).

 

“As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.” (1Cor 8:4).

 

Paul’s sentiment on demons is similar to that in the OT (Psa 106:36-37).   Recall also that in the Septuagint, demons (“shedim”), are nothing but “idols”.  They are equated.

 

Recall how that the teraphim, or idols, were originally ancestor figurines, a way to talk to the dead.  Their imagined ghosts (demons) became their gods.  This comes full circle when we see through the authority of Paul the connection between their ghosts / demons with their false gods.  He states that the sacrifices that the Gentiles made idols were made to demons (1Cor 10:19-20). [370]

 

Paul doesn’t just say that the false gods of the heathen were inadequate gods, or that they are weak gods.  The idea never even once enters his mind to refer to them as rebel angels, either.  Paul simply calls them “no gods”.

 

“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.” (Gal 4:8).

 

14.2.       Food Sacrificed to Idols

 

Paul is asking us to leave behind the superstition of polytheism.  He is bidding us to come to the knowledge of the truth on this subject.  “An idol is nothing”, and “there is only one God”.  This certainly means that the idol doesn’t have anything “behind” it, and it represents gods that are “no gods” (gods which don’t exist).

 

“As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many); But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.” (1Cor 8:4-7).

 

Paul states that those who believe that other gods really exist (that there is any other but one God), that if they eat meat sacrificed to idols, their conscience is defiled, because they have done something that is against their conscience.  However, Paul did not believe in the existence of any pagan gods, for he said he should be able, according to his own conscience, eat of idol sacrifices, because it is just food (there is no false god), but that he wouldn’t do it, because it might offend a “weak” brother who doesn’t know that demons don’t exist:

 

“But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge (that demons don’t exist)  sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” (1Cor 8:8-13).

 

Paul will only exercise his freedom in Christ, eating food sacrificed to demons, if a weaker brother cannot possibly ever know about it, in case the weaker brother (perhaps a recent Gentile convert who still has a hard time understanding that there is only one god) might think this kind of behavior is alright.  Paul therefore stays away from the food sacrificed to demons.

 

To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1Cor 9:22).

 

If not for the consciences of those who might misunderstand Paul’s intentions, he would go right ahead and eat meat sacrificed to idols, because he has the knowledge that they are nothing.  Consider this point closely and honestly.

 

Those who believe in demons say:

The bible says:

Demons are the gods of the heathen

Demons are the gods of the heathen (Matt 12:24, 1Cor 10:20)

Idols are nothing

Idols are nothing (1Cor 8:4)

Idols have gods “behind” them

Demons ARE idols (Deut 28:36, 2Kings 17:21, Psa 96:5, Rev 9:20)

We should never eat food sacrificed to idols because there are living demons “behind” them.

It would be fine to eat food sacrificed to idols, but our “weak” brethren who don’t know that there is only one God might see and think you are sinning so it’s OK to sin.  (1Cor 8:5-13).

 

It is important to note the concept of false gods that the OT prophets conveyed.  Long before the Babylonian, Persian and Greek influences upon the Jewish culture, the prophets revealed that the gods of the heathen were made of wood and stone, and were not considered disembodied ghosts.

 

The bottom line here is obvious.  If idols represented false gods, the apostle Paul would never say he would eat of food sacrificed to them if nobody were looking!

 

14.3.       Mars Hill the Turning Point

 

Before Paul departs from the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill, just after the discussion of the resurrection in which the subject of “new demons” comes up, he tells them:

 

“...we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent... he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”  (Acts 17:30-31).

 

As already mentioned, this “ignorance” was concerning idolatry and false gods (demons).  After the resurrection of Jesus, ignorance concerning demons, which was previously “winked at”, became a thing by “command” to be repented of.  Not just the practice, but the ignorance, which shows that the belief in demons itself was now forbidden.  This would agree with the theory that the early Galilean converts were immature, and still not ready for the “meat” of the word, and so for them referring to healing illnesses as “casting out demons” was in some cases allowed.  Note that the apostles were considered “unlearned and ignorant men”.[371]

 

14.4.       Doctrines of Demons

 

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (demons).” (1Tim 4:1).

 

This verse is often supplied as proof that demons exist, and in fact, they make up their own doctrines.  The conclusion is awfully hasty and yet the interpretation is not uncommon in mainstream Christianity today.

 

“Again, the same Word, is said [Acts 12. 24.] to grow and to be multiplyed; which to understand of the Evangelicall Doctrine is easie, but of the Voice, or Speech of God, hard and strange. In the same sense the Doctrine of Devils, signifieth not the Words of any Devill, but the Doctrine of Heathen men concerning Dæmons, and those Phantasms which they worshipped as Gods.”  (“Leviathan”, Ch. 36, Thomas Hobbes).

 

“...Doctrines of Demons, not, which Demons and Devils are authors of (though that be true), as if the genitive case had an active sense, but doctrines concerning Demons, the genitive case being here to be taken passively for the object of these doctrines, as in Hebrews 6:2, we have “doctrines of baptisms,” and “doctrines of laying on of hands, of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment,” that is, doctrines about and concerning all these... Doctrines of Demons are Doctrines concerning Demons; that is, the Gentiles’ Idolatrous theology of Demons should be revived among Christians.  For I take the word Demon... in the better or more indifferent sense, as it was supposed and taken among the theologists and philosophers of the Gentiles, and as it is also sometimes taken in Scripture.” (“The Apostasy of the Latter Times”, Chapter 2, Joseph Mede).

 

In actuality, the genitive is ambiguous, and could be either subjective or objective (passive or active).  The case is similar as with the phrase “the love of God”, where it is unclear who the supplier and who the recipient of this love is, whether it refers to the love God has toward us, or our love toward God.  Another example of an ambiguous genitive is seen in the phrase “the faith of Jesus”.

 

Some of the orthodox persuasion have stated that demon doctrines are very subtle, and "do not wish to appear opposed to Scripture", in order to be appealing to men.  However, the Legion account of demons makes it obvious that demons are incredibly stupid (if they exist, but they don’t).  How could they ever form any doctrine, let alone subtle or clever ones? 

 

Another possible translation of this passage that need not include real demons is seen in the fact that the word “spirit” is sometimes put (by the figure of speech known as metonymy) for those who have the spirit, i.e. those who prophesy.  For example, in 1John 4:1-3, we see that spirits can “confess”.  There are “spirits” who are “false prophets”, who we are commanded not to believe, and “spirits” who “are of God”.  Thus where we have “seducing spirits” in 1 Tim 4:1, it may refer to false doctrines as well, and “demons” being thought of as being a synonym for an “evil spirit”, could be taken as a figure of speech to refer to a false prophet as well.  It could even refer to doctrines which came from idol temples.  The verse can also be taken yet another way , which is that the word “spirit” could refer to doctrine itself, as when Jesus said that his words were “spirit” (John 6:63).

 

14.5.       John Sets the Record Straight

 

God says false gods are the works of men’s hands and are nothing, and can't speak, as we have seen from the section on the Septuagint.  We have to then reconcile the scripture with how the demons spoke to Jesus, since “the scriptures cannot be broken”.  But there are accounts in the gospels which record demons as having a dialog with Jesus.

 

Now in “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”, demons are listed among the things "which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk" (Rev 9:20), and that are man-made.  If they can’t hear, how did they have a conversation with Jesus?

 

"And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils (Greek: daimonion, demons) and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk."  (Rev 9:20).

 

What accounts of demon possession are found in the gospel of John?   There are none!  John shows us that Jewish laymen in Jerusalem simply believed demon possession to be synonymous with madness.

 

“And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?” (John 10:20).

 

What about this verse?

 

“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils (daimon[mas2] ), and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Rev 18:2).

 

It is sometimes claimed that this passage proves that “that great city” “Babylon” is full of real demons.  Recall however, how that the word “demons” was used to not only refer to false gods, but to goats.  Note that goats are mentioned along with unclean birds in the book of Isaiah to denote the barrenness of the land.

 

But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful (lonesome) creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs (Hebrew: sa`iyr = goats) shall dance there.[372]

 

Satyrs and owls in Revelation are therefore indicating spiritual barrenness, a situation in which the people of he earth are no longer interested in the intoxicating wine of spiritual Babylon.  It is a prophecy about desolation of the apostate system.  It will become empty of it’s prior inhabitants.  Incidentally, In Revelation, when something is “fallen”, it is referring to a loss of power and authority.  

 

In Rev 18:2, demons are goats. The translators of the LXX also translated the Hebrew sa`iyr (goat) to the Greek "daimonion". And in this context of unclean birds with goats, the allusion to Isa 34 is unmistakable, as it mentions owls and cormorants and ravens (vs 11) and goats (vs 14). It is therefore speaking of a place being completely abandoned and deserted. In this instance it refers to Babylon the mother church being forsaken, as the previous chapter says "the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire".

14.6.       James and Trembling Demons

 

The following verse is often given as proof that demons exist:

 

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils (Greek: daimonion, demons)  also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19).

 

One possible interpretation of this verse is that James is simply making reference to “demoniacs” who, although out of their right minds, are able to acknowledge that there is one God.  This would fit the context well, serving as an example of why being able to articulate this belief is not very meaningful unless it is accompanied by action.

 

Another interpretation of this verse can be considered.  By all biblical and historical definitions, they are dead men who have been transmuted into ghosts (which don’t really exist), and are worshipped by the heathen as false gods, according to the OT (Deut 32:16-17), Paul (1Cor 10:20) and John (Rev 9:20).

 

The saying in James 2:19 is just a form of speech in which God taunts and insults other gods, in order to show how powerless they are against Him.  Yahweh’s objective in this was to show Himself as stronger than all these other gods in whom the heathen peoples placed their trust.  Such a thing is still possible even if such gods do not exist.

 

Other examples:

 

·       Many have shown the point that all the plagues were insults against the various Egyptian gods, who were supposed to protect them.  First He insulted all their gods, then Pharaoh himself, who also was considered a god.  In insulting these gods, Yahweh would not expect anyone to actually suppose that these false gods (i.e. such as a god of frogs) actually existed.  The final insult was to the war god, Seth, who in pagan culture was said to have defeated the god of the sea (Yam), as the Israelites escaped while Yahweh caused the sea to defeat the Egyptian army.  (Note: Seth is similar to the Canaanite Baal, the Sumerian Ishkur, and the Babylonian Bel, being the god of both war and of storms).

 

1. Water into blood insulted Hapi, god of Nile.

2. Frogs insulted Heket, the frog-like fertility god.

3. Lice from dust insulted Geb, god of earth & dust.

4. Flies insulted Khepri, the fly god.

5. Cattle insulted Apis, the solar disk bull god.

6. Boils insulted Isis goddess of medicine.

7. Hail insulted Seth, storm god.

8. Locusts insulted Osiris, god of vegetation.

9. Darkness insulted Ra, the sun god.

10. Death of Firstborn insulted Pharaoh, who was worshipped as the flesh manifestation of the god Ra.  He was unable to protect his own child.

 

“For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.” (Num 33:4).

 

·       "Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth" (Isa 46:1).  These Babylonian gods Bel (Baal) and Nebo (Nabu) are here attributed with the physical acts of bowing down and worshiping Yahweh.  It is a figure of speech.  Should we therefore believe that they actually exist?

·       “The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him.” (Jer 46:25).  Here again, probably a different set of Egyptian gods now, are to be “punished” along with the kings.  Does that mean these gods actually exist?

·       Another such insult to a heathen god was exhibited that occasion in which “Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD” (1Sam 5:3).  The implication was that he was worshiping Yahweh.

 

When we come to James 2:19 we find the expression “the demons believe and tremble”!  Remember, these are false gods that "believe and tremble".  If we use this verse to prove that demons exist, then to be consistent in our reasoning, we also must use Isa 46:1 to prove that Baal and Nabu exist.

 

Note also that this verse proves too much.  What do these false gods believe?  The verse says they believe "that there is one God".  It is not logical to take it literally that false gods believe that there is only one God.  If there is one God, then the false gods don’t exist.  The expression is therefore non-literal language indicating the supremacy of the one and only true God.  Jesus called his Father “the only true God”.  Therefore all other gods are “false gods”.

 

While we are looking at the book of James, let us look at a place where he uses a word related to the word “demon”.  This passage also indicates that his definition of “demon” is in line with our definition:

 

“This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish (Greek: daimoniodes, demon-like).”  (James 3:15).

 

The “wisdom” is in reference to contention and strife, according to the context.  This verse informs us that things that are “demon-like” do not descend from above.  Their origin is of the earth.  Therefore cannot possibly be evil angels that followed a more powerful archangel, (i.e. as “Satan’s minions”) in a rebellion, and left heaven to come to earth.  They are from the earth.  If the apostle wished to inform us that demons were from heaven, this would certainly be misleading!  But it is perfectly harmonious with what has been already proven; that demons were held to be the spirits of dead men (which don’t exist).  Not only that, but it is clear that in the philosophy of James, only good can descend from above.  Likewise we are told in 1Cor 15 that the flesh (carnal) body is “terrestrial”, and “of the earth, earthy”, but the spiritual body is “celestial”, “from heaven”.


 

15.      The Demons Cycle

15.1.       Reflection Time

 

It is a good time to pause and look back upon certain patterns that we have seen so far.  The

Babylonians, recall, believed that the dead of their beloved family members because ghosts.  They fed their dead and brought drink libations to their graves.  These ghosts were honored, revered, glorified, and deified.  The eminent and highly respected among the Babylon’s dead were worshiped as extra notable and powerful gods.  Kings may in some cases have been so presumptuous as to have themselves deified while still composed of flesh and blood.  The earliest mention of epilepsy found actually begins with the Babylonians.  They believed illness, particularly when it involved what was viewed as irrational behavior, was caused by the presence of either honorable demons taking vengeance on evil deeds.[373]  As new generations arose who had no awareness of the mindset originally responsible for how demons came to be invented, after being taught the notion that ghosts were the cause of these various medical ailments, likely concluded that such maladies were caused by malicious spirits.  That is to say, they began to believe that demons were not only good, but also evil, a view which earlier generations would have repudiated.

 

Anyone who has made it to this point in the book without skipping or skimming will have no difficulty agreeing with the conclusion that this same cycle was also a trend in the Greek culture, very likely the Egyptian as well, and quite possibly also the Roman and other ANE cultures.  In fact, one could argue that in any similar primitive culture, these sequential modes of belief might be predicted to eventually manifest.  The driving forces at play are only various aspects of our common human nature, so they should be very easily acknowledged.

 

15.2.       The Dumbing Down of Christianity

 

Christians were not necessarily all very highly intelligent, scholarly people.  Some of our Lord’s apostles, in fact, were “uneducated and ordinary men.”[374]  God uses physical, intellectual and financial weakness to bring out man’s strength of internal character.[375]  When it came to preaching the gospel of truth, however, these men were strong, confident and effective speakers.  That is how they spread the gospel.  It is important to realize that it was not their innate abilities, or their highly articulate speech, but rather the gift of the powers the Holy Spirit that was working through them.[376]  The book of Acts records in some detail how the early church grew in number, and people were preaching, teaching and baptizing.  The early disciples were additionally granted “the earnest of our inheritance”.[377]  Those familiar with real estate transaction will know, “earnest money”, or a “pledge deposit” is a small foretaste, a payment in advance to show the good will of the purchaser to pay the rest later, upon inspection and acceptance.  Thus the powers were given “in part”, and not completely, to the disciples of that time.  They were in fact told that these powers would "disappear”.[378]  That means the Holy Spirit powers were causing early Christians to “know” and to “prophesy”, as many as were called, at least to some degree, but that it was a foretaste that would disappear when the church was fully established.

 

The evidence for this former and latter rain,[379] with a period of drought, and no vision, in between, is seen in various ways.  For one, one need only compare the miracles of Jesus and his apostles (raising the dead, curing epileptics, etc.), to the quackery and buffoonery that exists in charismatic churches today.  The spiritual forefathers of these groups were men having revival meetings, getting people baptized and contributing to their “ministry”, rather than educating them concerning the divine truths revealed in God’s word.  So likewise in the 2nd century came a man named Monatus (c. 150 AD), found of Monatism.  Monatus is regarded by the mainstream today as a heretic, and that may very well be the case.  What is more overlooked, however, is the fact that he preached a revival of the Holy Spirit gifts, and taught that their own spirit guided revelations superseded the words of Jesus or any of the apostles.  The mere fact of the popularity of his teaching demonstrates that the true Holy Spirit gifts were already gone by the time of his activity. 

 

ToDo: Restructure this last chapter to cover:

·       People already began falling away in apostles’ time.

·       Holy Spirit was withdrawn after apostles died.

·       Without the HS, the people were very primitive.

·       Began to accept non-scriptural / apocryphal writings, Jewish Myths

·       Where the notion of Demons as Angels came from, Book of Enoch etc.

·       The books of Jude & Peter, what are they saying

·       How these books were still suspected long after the HS was removed.

·       How doctrines changed one by one.

·       How this was all foretold.

·       The adoration, beautification of the saints.

·       Relic worship & tomb worship.

·       Intercession by disembodied souls in heaven.

·       Disorders blamed on saints’ ghosts

·       Use this picture here A copy by the young Michelangelo after an engraving by Martin Schongauer around 1487-9, The Torment of Saint Anthony.  Public Domain Uploaded by GianniG46.

·       To Note: Named after Antony the Great (c. 251 – 356 AD), of Alexandria.  (see picture to use here).  Anthony is still appealed to by Catholics to help against infectious diseases, particularly skin diseases.

·       How early Christians pretended to be above Platonists but in fact ended copying their behavior.

·        

 

Saint in Charge[380]

Medical Disorder

St. Agatha's Syndrome

Mastopathic inflammatory syndrome

St. Aignan's Syndrome

Favus ringworm; tinea

St. Anthony’s Fire

Ergotism, severe skin disorder from toxicity of grain fungus

St. Apollonia's Syndrome

Toothache

St. Avertin's Syndrome

Epilepsy

St. Avidus'  Syndrome

Deafness

St. Blasius' Syndrome

Sore throat, Laryngitis, quinsy, tonsillitis

St. Dymphna's Syndrome

Various mental disorders

St. Erasmus'  Syndrome

Colic

St. Fiacre's Syndrome

Hemorrhoids

St. Francis' Syndrome

Erysipelas, severe skin rash caused by Strep infection

St. Gervasius' Syndrome

Rheumatism

St. Gete's Syndrome

Carcinoma

St. Giles' Syndrome

Leprosy, Hanson disease

St. Gothard's Syndrome

Ancylostamiasis, a type of hookworm disease

St. Helenian's Syndrome

Cellulitis

St. Hubert's Syndrome

Rabies

St. Ignatius's Syndrome

Pellagra, Vitamin B3 deficiency

St. Job's / St. Sement's Syndrome

Syphilis

St. Kilda's Syndrome

Colds, URI

St. Louis' Syndrome

Encephalitis

St. Main's Syndrome

Scabies

St. Martin's Syndrome

Alcoholism

St. Mathurin's Syndrome

Idiocy

St. Roch's Syndrome

Plague

St. Vitus' / St. Anthony's Dance

Chorea.  Severe involuntary muscle movement disorder

St. Zachary's Syndrome

Muteness

 

 

Early Christians did not concern themselves with the evolution of demons over time found in the writings of Greek philosophers, in regard to them starting out as benevolent guardians.  To them, there had never been any good demons, in fact, they were all evil.  It was only a few centuries after Christ that his followers began repeating the cycle of the Greeks.  As they looked back into their recent Christian heritage, they began to worship the spirits of the dead who were considered the most good and honorable of them, especially martyrs.  They didn’t call them demons, because that word was already tarnished.  They were “saints” and “martyrs” who were now with Jesus up there, and able to offer intercession (as if Jesus were too busy).  In short, they worshipped the dead.  That practice which God originally called an abomination when done by the Canaanites, these apostate Christians considered it honorable to repeat.

15.3.       Christian Disbelief in the Existence of Demons

 

It has been shown how that Paul equates demons with the gods of the heathen, and with idols, and because of this equation, he subsequently refers to them as “nothing”, which thing it would seem odd to say had Paul some knowledge that there were really harmful invisible beings inhabiting the idols.  Yet for all his efforts, Paul was not able to easily convince everyone that there is only one God.  He alluded to those whom he characterized as the “weak brother”,[381] in particular, who did not have the same “knowledge” that there was only one God.  Gentiles who had a difficult time dismissing the existence of false gods after all those years of worshiping them.  The belief in their existence was apparently persistent enough to survive the age of the apostles.  In such a case as this, where Paul is dealing directly with the subject of idolatry, if demons were really harmful rebel angels masquerading as false gods is, why wouldn’t he even mention it?  Why isn’t it mentioned anywhere in scripture?

 

Then there were very early Christian writings, which attest that they considered demons, whom the pagans worshiped through their idols, to be “dead gods”.[382]  These were the true Christians, those who may have had the Holy Spirit, those who had been acquainted with the apostles.

 

15.4.       Christian Belief in the Existence of Demons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eusebius (300 AD) appears to have believed in the existence of “invisible demons”, but only seems to have held that their worship, rather than just a belief in their existence, was “polytheistic error”.  He did not even question their existence, even though in the same work, he also cites a quote from Philo of Byblos to prove that the gods of the heathen were invented by men and given the names of their ancestors.  Eusebius writes:

 

“… these many years of persecution both by the invisible daemons and by the visible rulers of each age… when the daemons tyrannized over all the nations, and men paid them much worship… with our Saviour's… teaching the destruction of polytheistic error began to be accomplished” (Eusebius of Caesarea, “Praeparatio Evangelica”, Book I Ch. IX)

 

This shows that among the Christians of this era, the belief in “invisible daemons” had survived, even after the specific doctrinal preaching of the apostles John and Paul that demons were idols and false gods and inventions of men.

 

ToDo : Work this in somehow.  Produce an intro.  Cut parts out?  Relate to Isaac Newton’s quote about bazaars / bazzars or muhuzims or whatever.

 

As neither Lengerke nor Moses Stuart seem to see anything in Daniel (the last chapter, perhaps, excepted) beyond the times of Antiochus, some hundred and sixty years, or so, before the birth of Jesus Christ, their temples and “strongholds” have relation to “fortified strongholds of foreigners” attacked by Antiochus, and temples of idols. Lengerke has almost fallen upon the correct meaning. Had he referred the betzer, heemantively written mivtzar, to the temples of “guardian saints” instead of to those of the pagan Greeks, he would have hit the mark exactly; but then, how could he be so uncharitable as to turn the “Holy Father” of Christendom so-called, into a foreign god, and all the ecclesiastical edifices of his bishoprick dedicated to the disembodied ghosts of reputed saints, into Bazaars, or places of traffic in spiritual merchandise, and in “the bodies and souls of men!” (Apoc. 18:13).[383]

15.5.       Demons Become Angels

 

As Christians accepted the notion that their “souls” would, after death, be whisked off to heaven, it became necessary to exclude pagans from such a reward, as they were certainly not worthy of the salvation that only comes through Christ!  Therefore, due to an inability to explain the apparently living demons in the first three gospel accounts, Christian apologists were obliged to create new reasoning.  It was now necessary to recreate demonology to fit within their framework.  The Greek poets came to be labeled “Platonists”, and portrayed as worshipping evil angels.  Pseudepigrapha[384] and syncretic philosophical writings[385] came to be respected above the inspired writings of the prophets and apostles, leading to apostasy.  The theory was introduced into Christian writings that bad angels had simply fooled the pagans into believing that they were the ghosts of their dead, in order to receive their worship.  They stated that bad angels actually enjoy receiving sacrifices from pagans.[386]

 

Thus the proposition was made that these demons were not the gods of the Greeks, a completely new twist, and especially a clear parting from the teaching of the OT.  In denial of the truth of the matter, it was posited that there were certain angels of unsavory character who rebelled against God.  The terms “good angels” and “bad angels” began to appear in Christian literature.  These “bad angels”, for some unknown reason, decided that they would like to accept worship from pagans.  Matthew, Mark & Luke may have, in their early days, actually believed that mental disorders were caused by pagan ghost-gods, and wrote their testimonies with their own words and in their own understandings.  People who could not accept this fact were compelled to redefine the word “demon” to something less pagan.

 

Occam's razor here must be applied, and the several questions that it generates must be answered. 

 

·       Why did Christian apologists write that angels enjoyed consuming pagan sacrifices?  Perhaps we are to believe that rebel angels, as powerful as they are, may be unable to prepare their own meals?

·       Why would the inspired gospel writers choose to call "bad angels" "demons", a word referring to the dead, the Greek dead ghost-gods, rather than simply calling them "bad angels"?  It makes no sense to use an incorrect word here (Unless that they may have had some belief that "demons" were actually alive).

·       How did such bad angels fool them, if they were posing as "inanimate" gods who are, as it has been shown, not even able to speak?

·       By what form of trickery did said angels allegedly use to make the pagans imagine that they were dwelling within their “inanimate” carved idols, and pretending to be their deceased ancestors?

·       When pagans carved idols to worship their ancestors, without any supernatural events inducing them, then why are we to believe that it was actually “bad angels” hiding inside their carved images?

·       Why would “bad angels” be flattered by human worship directed toward someone else?

 

 

 

 

According to Dale B. Martin, Professor and Chair of Religious Studies at Yale University:

 

“According to familiar Christian mythology, demons are or were fallen angels. Satan was an angel who rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven. Other angels rebelled along with him and became his minions. These fallen angels became demons. The mythology also assumes that “demon” refers to the same being as “evil (or unclean or polluted) spirit.”… Angels populated Paul’s world in a lively way. Contrary to modern popular assumptions, angels for Paul were not always good… if one takes “the rulers of this age” in 1 Cor 2:6 and 8, who did not understand God’s mystery and therefore “crucified the lord of glory,” to be a reference to angels (note that ἄρχαι are coupled with “angels” in Rom 8:38), this would certainly represent a reference to evil angels… Contrary to what may be common assumptions, this mythology was not shared by most ancient Jews, including those who wrote and translated the Hebrew Bible, most writers of ancient noncanonical Jewish texts, and Jews in general before the rise of Christianity. Moreover, that myth, in its complete form, is not found in the NT, though separate aspects of it may be discerned there. The Christian myth that equated fallen angels with demons arose in the second and third centuries c.e. It was an invention of late ancient Christian writers. From a historical point of view, therefore, we should not retroject the equation of demons with fallen angels back into the minds of NT writers. Angels became demons only beginning in the second century and only then at the hands of Christians.”.[387]

 

Today in the 21st century, we find ourselves but five centuries from the dark ages, a period where there was no book printing, and at least in Europe, people were told what to believe.  As the veil was slowly lifted some reformations took place.  Unfortunately, some reformations did not take place.

 

Hence today, we see that the word “demon” has been redefined.  How and when did that happen?  How can anyone have the authority and power to change prevailing thought, such as beliefs about word meanings?  Today, we have the following example which portrays well what is perhaps the most popularly held definition of demons, put matter of factly, without citing any sort of evidence or foundation:

 

“Demons are fallen angels, divinely created supernatural beings who, under the leadership of Lucifer (Satan), rebelled against God.” (“Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible”, “Demon”, Elwell).  Elwell, W.A. & Beitzel, B.J., 1988. Baker encyclopedia of the Bible, p.1555.

 

Professor of Religious Studies, Bart Ehrman, who specializes in textual examinations of original NT manuscripts, wrote of the turbulent period of early Christianity.  The intentional rewordings of several early NT manuscripts speaks of the doctrinal variances amongst the early Christian communities.  He describes a period of turmoil and struggle between Christian groups setting forth their own doctrinal agendas.  Thus the label of “orthodox” was gained by force.

 

"This was an age of competing interpretations of Christianity... it consisted of more or less well-defined social groups, each of which pressed for its understanding of the religion, but only one of which proved successful. The members of the victorious party had all along claimed their interpretations to be ancient and apostolic, and argued that their competitors espoused corrupted versions of the primitive faith. They pressed home these claims to such an extent that their views became normative for Christianity in their own day and determinative of the course of Christianity for time to come.  The Christians who represented these views in the second and third centuries... set the norm for centuries to come doctrinally... The literary assault included detailed descriptions and castigations of heretical positions, fabricated accounts of the heinous behavior of their opponents and of the moral rectitude of their own leaders, and concocted writings allegedly written by the original followers of Jesus, in which their own positions were advanced and those of their opponents were attacked" (“The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture”, Ch 1, Bart D. Ehrman).

 

Several early Christian writers from that period wrote concerning heresies.  The end of the power struggles came about mainly due to intervention by Emperor Constantine (c. 325 AD), who saw the popularity of Christianity as a force he needed to control, but sought to manage it by peaceable means, rather trying to destroy it, as previous Emperors.  He realized that to unify the church, he had to use his influence to convince non-conforming Christian leaders to change their positions, or at least reword them into obscurity.  After that period, the teachings of the churches of Rome and Alexandria prevailed and were considered “orthodox”.  The work of stamping out heresies continued with vigor, so that mainly the writings preserving “orthodox” sentiments survived.  Thus we must approach with caution any writings of early Christian writers.  They were certainly not writing under the inspiration of God, as were the prophets who wrote the canon of scripture.

 

Augustine of Hippo (c. 400 AD), an early Christian theologian, wrote concerning prior beliefs about demons.  He refers to a statement from an earlier writer Apuleius (c. 150 AD).  In doing so, Augustine shows clear disdain for the earlier belief that demons were ghosts of dead men, by labeling them “Platonists”.

 

“He [Apuleius] also states that the blessed are called in Greek εὐδαίμονες (eudaimones, good demons), because they are good souls, that is to say, good demons, confirming his opinion that the souls of men are demons.” (“City of God”, Book IX, Chap 11, “Of the Opinion of the Platonists, that the Souls of Men Become Demons When Disembodied”, St. Augustine).

While Apuleius was indeed a student of Platonist philosophy, and a practicing pagan, Platonism clearly had the authority to define the true nature of demons, having originated and defined the word in their own culture.  And the fact of the matter is that the “orthodox” Christian definition (i.e. that demons are rebel angels) came not about until hundreds of years after Christ.  This condemnation by Augustine is typical of the emergence of a new spirit.  Doctrines concerning demons were truly beginning to form!

 

15.6.       Demon Worship in Alexandria

 

When the early Christians thought it would be a good idea to honor their spiritual forefathers (despite Paul’s command to “judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come”), they pronounced them immortal spirits to whom they could pray for intercession (in effect, affecting their destiny).[388]  How did this demon tradition creep into Christianity?

 

It all started in the fortress of Helenistic pagan thought, in Alexandria, Egypt.  This city was highly Greek in culture, from the days of Cleopatra and Mark Antony.  The Royal Library of Alexandria was opened around 300 BC during the Greek empire, and held hundreds of thousands of scrolls.  It was in this environment of Greek philosophy and thought, that there emerged a new hybrid demon during the days of Christianity, part Christian and part Pagan.  To Christianity, they added the Greek superstition concerning immortal soulism, and supposed that the Christian dead were really alive up there with Jesus and God.  They began to esteem their disembodied spirits (i.e. ghosts) as benevolent guardians, intercessors and helpers.  They began to pray to the dead within the Christian community.

 

Alexandria is where bishops such as the infamous Athanasius (300 AD) took root.  Regarding his character, he was not only once indicted for murder, and suspected of poisoning his life-long adversary, Arius, as well as being given to false doctrines, but he also observed “doctrines of devils” and practiced its close relative, relic worship.  Recall how Paul warned that before Jesus returns, there would be “a falling away first” (2Thes 2:3).  He prophesied of a future apostasy.

 

There is no mention in scripture of miracles done for Christians by using the body parts of the dead, or the relics of martyrs.  There is also no mention in history of it in the first 300 years after Christ.  It all began with the Alexandrian apostasy. 

 

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (teachings about demons); Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” (1Tim 4:1-3).

 

Note that the word “spirits” is here put for either false prophets or the false doctrines which they spread.

 

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”  (1John 4:1).

 

The idea of worshiping tombs continued in pagan societies beyond the time of Christ.  In Alexandria, Christianity and paganism became a new hybrid religion.  One product of this unholy union was that the “heroes” worshipped were deceased soldiers of Christ, so that martyrs and apostles became the new guardian spirits.  They were given the title of “Saint”, a term used in scripture to relate to all of God’s children.  As most of them were not buried conveniently nearby Alexandria, for example, they found it easier to carry their bones (“relics”) than to travel to visit their tombs.  They did not allow their dead bodies to remain in their graves.  They were ignorant of the scriptural teaching of the resurrection of the mortal body (Job 19:26, Rom 8:11, Rev 11:18, etc.), or they would have known they were asleep, awaiting “the last trump” (1Cor 15:52).

 

Sir Isaac Newton translated the writings of an early monk, who described their rites in which they "touch the relics" while praying to the dead.

 

“If any one is permitted to carry away the dust with which the tomb is covered, wherein the body of the Martyr rests; the dust is accepted as a gift, and gathered to be laid up as a thing of great price. For to touch the reliques themselves, if any such prosperous fortune shall at any time happen; how great a favour that is, and not to be obtained without the most earnest prayers, they know well who have obtained it. For as a living and florid body, they who behold it embrace it, applying to it the eyes, mouth, ears, and all the organs of sense; and then with affection pouring tears upon the Martyr, as if he was whole and appeared to them: they offer prayers with supplication, that he would intercede for them as an advocate, praying to him as an Officer attending upon God, and invoking him as receiving gifts whenever he will.”  (“Observations”, XIV, Sir Isaac Newton).

 

 

Figure 28.  Sir Isaac Newton, Scientist, Mathematician, Historian, and Bible Student.

 

Antony, bishop of Alexandria, and Athanasius his pupil and successor, both among the early pioneers in previously unknown theological creeds, most notably, the doctrine of the Trinity in the 4th Century AD, also both held teachings about demons, not to mention, the belief in purgatory as an intermediate place of torture between heaven and hell, and other false doctrines.  Apparently Antony was also into the occult:

 

"And Athanasius by making Antony see the soule of Ammon ascend up to heaven, laid the foundation for introducing into the greek Churches this heathen doctrine of Daemons, together with that Popish one of Purgatory."  Sir Isaac Newton, "N563M3 P222, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, MS f. 55r.”

 

“The Council of Paphlagonia, celebrated in the year 324, made this Canon: If any man being arrogant, abominates the congregations of the Martyrs, or the Liturgies performed therein, or the memories of the Martyrs, let him be anathema. By all which it is manifest that the Christians in the time of Dioclesian's persecution used to pray in the Coemeteries or burying-places of the dead; for avoiding the danger of the persecution, and for want of Churches, which were all thrown down: and after the persecution was over, continued that practice in honour of the Martyrs, till new Churches could be built: and by use affected it as advantageous to devotion, and for recovering the health of those that were sick. It also appears that in these burying-places they commemorated the Martyrs yearly upon days dedicated to them, and accounted all these practices pious and religious, and anathematized those men as arrogant who opposed them, or prayed in the Martyries of the hereticks. They also lighted torches to the Martyrs in the day-time, as the heathens did to their Gods; which custom, before the end of the fourth century, prevailed much in the West. They sprinkled the worshipers of the Martyrs with holy-water, as the heathens did the worshipers of their Gods; and went in pilgrimage to see Jerusalem and other holy places, as if those places conferred sanctity on the visiters. From the custom of praying in the Coemeteries and Martyries, came the custom of translating the bodies of the Saints and Martyrs into such Churches as were new built: the Emperor Constantius began this practice about the year 359, causing the bodies of Andrew the Apostle, Luke and Timothy, to be translated into a new Church at Constantinople: and before this act of Constantius, the Egyptians kept the bodies of their Martyrs and Saints unburied upon beds in their private houses, and told stories of their souls appearing after death and ascending up to heaven, as Athanasius relates in the life of Antony.” (“Observations”, XIV, Sir Isaac Newton).

 

15.7.       Demon Worship in Antioch

 

Antioch was from antiquity a very prominent city.  So much so, that in the 4th century BC, the Hellenistic Seleucid kingdom made Antioch its capital.  Paganism thrived in Antioch with its cults to the Greek gods so much so, that even in 362 AD, the emperor Julian sought to use the city as the center for his pagan revival. 

 

Like Alexandria, the culture of Antioch was under heavy Platonic influence, Hellenized, and full of paganism.  Therefore during the earlier times of the Christians, as you would expect, there were more religious clashes, and therefore more martyrdoms.

 

John Chrysostom (400 AD) as presbyter of Antioch furthered the cult of martyr worship there.  When Chrysostom was chosen to be bishop of Constantinople, he was directed to meet the governor of Antioch at the “martyrs shrine” which was outside the city gate (“Golden Mouth“, 104, John Norman Davidson Kelly).  Thus he was a witness of the prevailing “orthodox” sentiment of his day, when he wrote that the coffins of martyrs and saints ought to be not only reverenced, but worshipped, as it was with Greek pagans of old who worshipped the catacombs of their hero’s as the tombs of demons.

 

"According to Victricius, these relics that he is welcoming into the city are God. As a unity, God is wholly present wherever he is, so each of the relics contains the totality of the martyr and the totality of God himself. Augustine of Hippo went to great pains to avoid language that would suggest that the martyrs functioned as mediators between God and humans because he saw mediation as a threat to the preeminent role reserved for Christ in the New Testament.  Many bishops, like John Chrysostom, allowed for more than one form of mediation and found the martyrs as an aid to the development of Christian theology and praxis. Victricius’s idea, however, develops this theology to an entirely new level. The martyrs are not merely mediators between God and his Church; they are God to his church. Since the martyrs’ relics are God, Victricius does not blush at the idea that they would be worshipped. While Augustine protested that Christians could never worship their martyrs, in his sermon Victricius encourages the people of Rouen to worship these martyr relics because they protect their worshipers from danger and disease.   He tells his congregants to pray to the martyrs and confess their sins because the martyrs will judge them." (“Resurrecting the Martyrs”, Collin Garbarino).

 

Figure 29.  Saint Ambrose, “Patron Saint” of bee keepers.

 

“If the hem of the Savior's garment cured when lightly touched, it is beyond doubt that the dwelling places of martyrdoms will cure when we take them in our arms.” (“De Laude Sanctorum”, Victricius (396 AD), Translation from “Victricius of Rouen, Praising the Saints”, Gillian Clark).

 

"How many garments placed on these holy relics, and endowed by the mere contact with the power of healing are reclaimed by their owners. All think themselves happy in touching even the outer-most thread, and whoever touches them will be made whole... These are the defenders whom I desire, these are my soldiers... Our eyes were held, as long as the bodies of the saints lay hid in their graves. Now God has opened our eyes, and we have seen the aids which had so often succoured us. Before, we saw them not, although we possessed them. And so, as though the Lord said to our trembling hearts, 'Behold what great martyrs I have given you;'... These noble relics are dug out of an ignoble sepulchre; these trophies are displayed in the face of day. The tomb is moist with blood, the tokens of a triumphant death are displayed, the uninjured relics are found in their proper place and order, the head separated from the body..." (Letter XXII (386 AD), Ambrose of Milan, Translation by Roger Pearse).

 

One is at once reminded of the grim apocalyptic prediction:

 

“And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.” (Rev 11:9).

 

Figure 30. The “Incorruptible Foot” of Saint Barbara of Nicomedia.

 

The Roman Catholic Church has canonized thousands of “saints”, producing a list comprising of mostly Bishops and Popes. 

 

The historian Edward Gibbon relates that the sepulchers of martyrs were converted to temples for worship.  He translates the writings of Eunapius (400 AD), saying: 

 

"The monks are the authors of the new worship, which, in the place of those deities who are conceived by the understanding… the gods which the earth produces in our days; such are the martyrs, the supreme arbitrators of our prayers and petitions to the Deity, whose tombs are now consecrated as the objects of the veneration of the people.” (“Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, Chap XXVIII Part 3.  Edward Gibbon).

 

Gibbon further comments:

 

“In the long period of twelve hundred years, which elapsed between the reign of Constantine and the reformation of Luther, the worship of saints and relics corrupted the pure and perfect simplicity of the Christian model: and some symptoms of degeneracy may be observed even in the first generations which adopted and cherished this pernicious innovation.”

 

Gibbon says: "The Christians of the seventh century had insensibly relapsed into a semblance of Paganism: their public and private vows were addressed to the relics and images that disgraced the temples of the East: the throne of the Almighty was darkened by a cloud of martyrs, and saints, and angels, the objects of popular veneration.” (“Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, Vol. 2, Chap. 50, Edward Gibbon).

 

Chrysostom:

 

“… Enquiring within themselves on what account God permitted a man possessing such confidence towards Him, whose bones and relics expelled demons, to fall into such a state of infirmity…” (“The Homilies on the Statues”, John Chrysostom. Trans by W.R.W. Stephens, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, 1.9.)

 

“... But the bones of the saints possess no such pitiful and mean authority, but that which is far greater. For they summon demons and put them to the torture… the demon cannot endure that marvelous power. And they that once wore bodies, are victorious over bodiless powers; [their] dust and bones and ashes rack those invisible natures.”  (“Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians”, John Chrysostom. Trans by W.R.W. Stephens, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, 1.12.)

 

It was predicted of the apostate church in Revelation, that they would continue in the idolatry of the pagans.  For the beast that had two horns like a lamb, that is, it has two Christian power bases, even it spoke like the dragon, that is, it also had pagan doctrines.  And so we learn it would also follow into idolatry, and worshiping their dead heroes.

 

“And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk.” (Rev 9:20, KJV).

 

15.8.       Demon Worship Today

 

The practice of praying to the dead is one which continues on today.  The prophecy of Revelation spoke of “things which must be hereafter”, things future to John, who wrote the book in approximately 95 AD.  The subjects of Revelation concern the more significant events that would affect future Christians, speaking of such things as affect “the third part of men”, or “the whole world”, things that would be substantial, not isolated or confined incidents.  And so it is that we should be looking for a great “falling away” in Christian history, a universal apostasy, and not some small insignificant cult from America, for example, to identify them who “repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils (Greek: daimonion,  demons)…”  (Rev 9:20).

 

“The teaching of the Catholic Church with regard to the veneration of relics is summed up in a decree of the Council of Trent (Sess. XXV), which enjoins on bishops and other pastors to instruct their flocks that ‘the holy bodies of holy martyrs... are to be venerated by the faithful, for through these (bodies) many benefits are bestowed by God on men, so that they who affirm that veneration and honour are not due to the relics of the saints, or that these and other sacred monuments are uselessly honoured by the faithful, and that the places dedicated to the memories of the saints are in vain visited with the view of obtaining their aid, are wholly to be condemned, as the Church has already long since condemned, and also now condemns them.’” (“Catholic Encyclopedia –Relics”).

 

So we should look to a very large religious group who is apostate and holding “doctrines of demons”, and practicing worship of them.  When we look to orthodoxy, we find exactly what we are looking for, in that it is in fact they who unknowingly worship demons (the spirits of the dead which do not exist).  The English word “worship” comes from “worth” and “ship”, and denotes placing a high value (or “worth”) on something.  Whereas even the pagan emperor Julian condemned the macabre apostate Christian practice of collecting bones and remains of the dead in order to kiss and worship them, and certainly any normal person living today would also denounce such repugnant practice, even so, all reasonable people would agree that it is perfectly acceptable to hold a high regard or respect for past saints, especially those who have suffered or endured or gave up their lives as testimony of their faith, as the pure faith of Jesus.

 

What started as simple respect, and eventually became adoration, then misguided prayers to their “immortal souls” for intercession or guidance, sometimes reaches the extreme of bone, or relic, worship.  For example, one may like to believe that dead saints are already rewarded and with Jesus, but then add that they are to be worshipped, while leaving their bones in their graves where they belong.  Others may not just worship them, but believe that they might be invoked to perform some sort of magic or miraculous intercession to God on their behalf in order to change one’s destiny.  Jesus told his disciples to pray directly to God.  Christians who do not what Christ commanded should be taking a hard look at their faith.

 

The early 18th century Anglican church leader, reverend J.G.H. Barry, while not even mentioning the ancient practice of collecting the relics (remains) of dead saints, and while he admits that it would be improper to give honor and glory to dead saints, nevertheless quotes many historical Christian writings to justify his church’s views that dead saints ought to be prayed to (as if the early apostate church leaders trumped God).  He states that it is actually a sign of the true faith that we invoke their souls in order to request intercession to God. 

 

Figure 31. Mary Magdalene skull relic idol.

 

“They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed, who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing” (Isa 44:9-10).

 

While it is the author’s personal view that dead saints “which are fallen asleep in Christ” are awaiting “the resurrection at the last day”, also called “the time of the dead”, when “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven… and the dead in Christ shall rise first”, I realize that most Christians of this age believe that after they die, they retain their consciousness, in the form called either “spirit” or “soul”, that goes to be with Jesus, and smiles down upon all their mortal  friends and family members down here, because after all, this is what they were taught to believe by their pastors, fathers, reverends, priests and so forth, and it is nice to think so.

 

The problem with Mr. Barry’s argument is that he thinks honoring and praying to dead saints should not be considered idolatry, simply because it would be horrible to believe it that the early church could have been wrong:

 

“These are they whom the whole Church, East and West, has revered as Saints and Doctors, and whose names are enrolled in all calendars for yearly commemoration. In particular, these are they to whom the Anglican Church at the Reformation made appeal. Can we for a moment consent to treat seriously the assertion that they had so far departed from the Faith committed to them as to bring back to the Church the heathenism it had abandoned, and had corrupted the pure religion of Christ by the introduction of shameless idolatry? Far be it from us to think so.” (“On Prayers to the Dead.”, XVI, J.G.H. Barry, D.D.).

 

Recall that in the evolution of demon beliefs in a culture, that the dead are mourned, venerated, deified, and eventually assigned some aspect of nature or certain specialization.  In the Catholic church, this assignment is called “Patronage”.  For example, St. Catherine of Bologna is said to be the “Patron Saint” of artists.  St. Brigid is the “Patron Saint” for babies.  Jerome is the “Patron Saint” of translators. 

 

Figure 32.  Catherine, Patron Saint of Artists.

 

Encouraging the worship of the dead is the doctrine of the worship of demons, which are false gods.  The implication of retaining these beliefs is idolatry.

 

16.      Conclusions

The Greek usage of the word demon (daimon) in non-biblical writings (classical Greek poetry, myths & historical writings) is used to refer to what we today know of as a ghost, or "disembodied spirit", which according to the Hebrew prophets, don't exist, but the pagans imagined that they did, and worshiped their dead ancestors as gods (demons).

 

The OT refers to Baal and other demons as "the dead", so demons were just pagan gods, the angry or evil ones upon which they blamed mental illnesses.

 

The accounts of demon possession in scripture are restricted to the synoptic gospel writer accounts during a short period of time and only in Gentile areas north of Judea.  This is a strong indicator of phenomenal language.  In the synoptic context of Galilee and its surrounding areas, while conveying of the gospel message that Jesus was the son of God, demons were allowed to be referred to as existent only in reference to medical conditions that affected men’s behaviors and only in locations where that demons were already believed in as the locally recognized cause of those afflictions.

 

As the church of Christ matured, when it came time to preach to the Gentiles, who were sometimes involved with idol sacrifices, more time was given to explaining doctrine.  As Gentiles began to be integrated with the Jews into the body of Christ, the Apostle Paul came preaching, and he taught that demons did not actually exist.  The “times of this ignorance” were, by this time, officially over.

 

Demons obviously either exist or don’t exist, and that state of existence or non-existence is not dependent upon some particular context.  The implication of making them not exist in an idol-worshiping context, if they really do exist, would seem to be denial, but it is not clear on what grounds.  The implication of making them exist in a medical context, on the other hand, has clear reasons, and there is substantial evidence pointing toward that conclusion.  The truth seems to be that demons are the non-existent ghosts of the dead that were in some heathen cultures blamed for medical conditions, and the preaching that Jesus was the son of God was, during the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the order of the day, rather than explaining the true cause of medical conditions.

 

Other examples of phenomenal language are found in scripture, which are not later overturned with clear doctrinal statements, because in those other cases, there are no doctrinal implications.  In the case of demons, there was a clear need to express epilepsy and mental illnesses phenomenologically to the benefit of the Galilean audience, who in that local area, already characterized these disorders as the work of demons, but later the demons are equated to idols which are nothing.

 

They were sometimes worshipped, sometimes dreaded, but always nothing more than the product of man’s philosophy and imagination.  “Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he.”

 

 


 

17.      Appendix A: Changing Definition of Demon

ToDo: Turn this into a nice table

 

Year, Culture, Name, What a demon was (or "Unspecified").

Include Jewish DSS Enochian cult.

Diagram showing merging replacement of Enochian ideas into Christianity.

 

Hesiod (700 BC): Demons are the ghosts of men.[389]

Plutarch (100 AD): Demons are the result of gods having sex with humans.

Christians (150 AD): Demons are the result of angels having sex with humans, as the ghosts of their gigantic hybrid offspring.[390]

Christians (500 AD to today): Demons are rebel angels.[391]

 

18.      Appendix A: In Defense of Angels

This appendix is written for the benefit of those who have been taught that demons are “Satan’s minions”, or that a super angel became rebellious against God, pretended to be a false god, and recruited a lot of other angels who are now called “demons”.   This chapter will sometimes get painfully doctrinal.  Those who are not predisposed to believe this are welcome to forego reading it.  On the other hand, I tried to make it interesting.

18.1.       Trying the Spirits

 

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1John 4:1).

 

Many false “spirits”, or views, have been promulgated in the world, so that today it is confusing and difficult to know the truth of what should really be a simple matter.  Unfortunately, in this age, there simply is no consensus on what demons are.

 

We are told to “try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world”.  It is a divine order for men to scrutinize all doctrines that are taught them.

 

Today, the sheer confusion and multiplicity of views about what demons are, the difficulty of coming to a consensus about them, and the lack of a sound, watertight story line about where they come from, certainly makes one wonder if the reason for all the confusion could simply be that they don’t actually exist, except through myth and imagination.

 

The tangled web of confusion must now be unraveled.  Let’s examine the most popular and persistent, yet demonstrably incorrect, view about the definition of demons.  The view adopted by some Jews who allowed themselves to be influenced by the dualism of the Persians.

 

18.2.       Disobedient Angels?

 

 

All demons are fallen angels, some… cause insanity and diseases, they can enter animals and people and cause the people to convulse and injure themselves. There is no record of them inhabiting objects or being able to move objects. They can imitate the departed dead (pretending to be ghosts).“ (The Jewish Encyclopedia).

 

If the Jewish Encyclopedia is to be believed, it would seem demons are incapable of manipulation of physical things (“There is no record of them inhabiting objects or being able to move objects”), yet can change our behavior (which would require manipulation of brain cells). 

 

Angels got a bad rap.  The bible says the purpose of angels is to minister to God’s saints.  The implication is that the purpose of angels is to do God’s work in the world helping to bring God’s sons to eternal glorification.  They are direct manifestations of God Himself.

 

The word “devil” itself is a transliteration of the Greek word “diabolos”, meaning “slanderer”, or “false accuser”.  When people perpetuate the myths about angels rebelling and turning against God, and desiring to be worshipped as gods, it indicates that they themselves are the slanderers.  The bible, when examined thoroughly, does not paint the picture of slandering angels.  Instead, we read that angels do not bring accusations against men (2Pet 2:11).

 

It is actually a fairly common Jewish belief today that demons are fallen angels.  Angels, however, are of heaven, and demon-like things are “earthly”.

 

“For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.”  (Mark 12:25).

 

“This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish (Greek: daimoniodes).” (James 3:15).

 

Things which are “flesh”, and “of the earth, earthy”, are things of corruption, and are related to sensuality and sin.  Things which are from above are related to holiness and purity.  To say that “holy angels” from heaven could be sensual or devilish results in a major inconsistency.

 

18.2.1.              Unacceptable Consequences

 

Let us be honest – there are numerous people who have given opinions about what demons are, and these opinions vary greatly.  The authority for the matter ought not to be somebody’s opinion, but the Bible, the self-proclaimed word of God.  If not for the scriptures, how could we be certain either about demons or angels?   Which other of the multiple sources of information in the world could be considered a more reliable authority on this subject?  This work therefore quotes the Bible extensively, but does not hesitate to also peer into the ancient roots of the history of man’s religion in general, as we must view man’s ancient beliefs on demons (even though we might not like what we see).

 

This section requires some length, because of the modern, pervasive doctrine of an immortal angel who was cast out of heaven, or in the future will be cast out of there, or possibly just simply fell from there.  The storyline is unclear, because upon examination, adherents are usually unable to stick with a consistent version of their account, indicating it is not very well thought through, and, like the accounts of so many disagreeing false witnesses, is probably a falsehood, or at least ought to sound warning bells in those seeking truth.

 

Besides this, as we shall see, the belief indicates a God who made this evil enemy on purpose.  Again, not well thought out, and out of alignment with the revealed character of an all knowing, loving and merciful God, who is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.  The doctrine of an evil angel suggests that God allows this powerful, mind-controlling tempter to prey upon the souls of God’s children, in order to pervert their souls and condemn them to the punishment of everlasting torture, even while they would be able to truthfully claim, “It was not my fault, the devil made me do it”!

 

Alternatively, it has been claimed that, rather than by design, God by mistake made this immortal being who would rebel, and has since lost control over His creation.  This belief necessitates that God did not know the angel would rebel against Him when He created Him, whereas scripture tells us God laid out all the dominos, and knows how they will end up.  If God wants us in the kingdom, and sends His son to die for us in order to convince us of His love, and yet creates an angel who rebels and tempts us away, then He simply made a mistake.  But that is impossible – God does not make mistakes.  “Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world,“ (Acts 15:18), and He has stated that at some point yet future when His plan is complete, all sinners will be extinct.  The words of Jesus are that “the scripture cannot be broken”.  Things that don’t make sense must be rejected by those who “try the spirits”.

 

18.2.2.              Angels Cannot Sin

 

While under the subjugation of the Persian Empire, the ancient Jews were introduced to the concept of theological dualism, or “bitheism”, the belief in an evil god, as well as a good god (as though good and evil were in balance).  The Persians had a good god, Ahura Mazda, as well as an evil god, Angra Mainyu.  (For more information, refer to Zoroastrianism).  Before that time, Israel’s prophets made it known that there is no other God beside Yahweh, and that all other gods were the works of mens hands, and only vain idols.  It was shortly after this period, that many apocryphal Jewish writings, pretending to be genuine inspired scripture, began to appear.  This seems to be the point in history when angels were first painted as capable of being evil among the Jews.  The belief in rebel angels was not present among the Israelites.  It is only seen after the exile.

 

It is not clear why this belief is so prevalent today among the orthodox, seeing Greeks and Jews alike who lived during Jesus’ time believed that demons were the souls of dead men.  Nevertheless, due to its popularity, this belief must be given due attention, therefore extra vigor must be spent to establish its falseness.

 

To start with, we are told in scripture that angels cannot die.  They are servants of God, and like Him, they are immortal.  We see here that those whom God will raise from the dead and reward with life eternal can no longer die, and the reason is “because they are like the angels” (to paraphrase).  Also we see that Jesus was made lower than the angels in order that he might be able to taste of death.  It is logical to conclude from this also then, that angels cannot taste of death.

 

Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:36).

 

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb 2:9).

 

The fact that angels cannot die, coupled with the fact that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23), should cause us to reason that those who cannot die, cannot sin (assuming God makes no miscalculations).

 

This next passage says that “ALL” angels are spirits who minister (serve) the saints, just as Jesus had angels watching over him.  It is compatible with the scripture where Jesus refers to the personal angels of "these little ones" (Matt 18:10).  It seems reasonable to believe that their sole purpose in this age is furthering the redemption of the saints.  This is the opposite of the purpose that man assigns to a mythical malevolent angel.

 

"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb 1:14).

 

The following passage describes the angels as doing God's commandments, and hearkening unto (obeying) his word.

 

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

 

When man put forth his hand to take the forbidden fruit, and when “by one man sin entered into the world”, then also came “death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom 5:12).  Man did not, however, start out immortal.  The definition of immortal is the inability to die.  Man was instead presumably sustained by “the tree of life”, so that after sinning, that tree was denied, so that he would not continue to “eat, and live for ever” (Gen 3:22).  Whether we take that to be a literal tree, or not, makes no difference to the fact that some environmental factor which prevented aging was removed.

 

The invention of the idea of sinful, rebellious angels is yet another feel-good doctrine.  Man, after imagining that he can sin and yet avoid God’s proclaimed punishment (i.e. death), attempts to blame his own guilt on somebody else (for example, as seen in the Garden of Eden: “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree”).  We hire preachers to tell us it’s OK to blame the devil.  Then we don’t have to bear the responsibility for own sins.  Do we seriously believe that such an attempt at self-justification will impress the Lord at the coming time of the judgment?

 

18.2.3.              Angels Cannot Feel Temptation to sin

 

Further reading in the 2nd chapter of Hebrews reveals that Jesus was not made like angels, but was made like men, for the very specific end that he would be able to feel temptation to sin.  It is reasonable then to deduce that angels cannot even feel the lure of temptation to sin in the way humans do.

 

“For verily he (Jesus) took not on him the nature of angels... in that he himself hath suffered (Greek: pascho = felt) being tempted...” (Heb 2:16-18).

 

Note: Another “feel-good” doctrine is to believe that Jesus may have been flesh, but that he was so pure, he never felt any of the baser feelings as we do.  This causes the human conscience to fool itself into believing it has an excuse at the judgment, claiming that Jesus didn’t sin only because he was incapable of it, and so he could not possibly relate to us.  The bible says the opposite, that he had to be made just like us, and that he was “in all points” tempted as we are (Heb 4:15).

 

18.2.4.              All in All

 

Yahweh has well planned His creation, and knows the beginning from the end.  His will is that “iniquity shall have an end”.  This would be quite impossible had God made beings which were capable of iniquity, yet incapable of death.

 

God would never make immortals which could sin.  God is not mocked, and God does not make mistakes.   Sin cannot exist in an immortalized form.   The plan in God’s revelation specifying the destiny of that portion of creation that will be redeemed, indicates that at some future time, God will be glorified when all enemies are destroyed:

 

“For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death… then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him (God)…  that God may be all in all.” (1Cor 15:26-28).

 

God cannot be “all in all” if non-dying sinful angels are in existence anywhere.  If the last enemy to be destroyed is death, then sinning angels cannot continue to exist, but since they are immortal, there must be no sinning angels.

 

18.2.5.              The Lust of the Flesh

 

The association of lust with flesh is not an uncommon one in scripture; it is mentioned in the following passages:

 

·       Rom 13:14:     “not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof”

·       Gal 5:16:         “ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh

·       Eph 2:3:           “in times past in the lusts of our flesh

·       1Pet 4:2:          “in the flesh to the lusts of men”

·       2Pet 2:10:        “them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness”

·       2Pet 2:18:        “they allure through the lusts of the flesh

·       1John 2:16:     “all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh

 

Jesus specifically had to be made like all other humans in order to be our priest to represent us, and to bring us to God.  The important factor in this regard, according to the passage in Hebrews 2, was that he was able to suffer (feel) being tempted with sin, and so to fulfill that role, he could not, therefore, be made like angels.  This fact is critical to our understanding of the atonement.  John says “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

 

Being made in the flesh enabled Jesus to glorify God through enduring chastening and remaining faithful to Him through thick and thin.  Jesus said his brethren should (figuratively) take up their crosses and follow him.  Paul clarifies the meaning:

 

“And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal 5:24).

 

Flesh must become spirit.  This corruptible must put on incorruption.  All human flesh contains “the lusts of the flesh” and is unclean before Yahweh, and which by nature is against His will (which nature Jesus overcame).  God makes the point that a woman, having given birth to another human, is unclean, even in the case of Mary giving birth to Jesus (Lev 12:6, Luke 2:22-24), she had to give the offering for her purification.  Jesus was not made clean until he “put off” his “tabernacle” (i.e. the flesh), and the word was fulfilled.  Of Jesus it was said:

 

“And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption...” (Acts 13:34).

 

Everything in the tabernacle represented Christ in one way or another.  In particular Jesus was represented by the altar, and “whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy”.  And yet even Jesus, a sinless man, glorified God by recognizing that in the state of his flesh, he was not “good” (Matt 19:17), and he did not save himself, but was saved by his faith (Heb 12:2) and reverential fear toward God (Heb 5:7).

 

Jesus had to be flesh for his faith to be perfected (Heb 5:9), but now that he is made perfect, thus “the days of his flesh” is spoken of as a thing in the past tense. 

 

“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.”  (Heb 5:7).

 

It is very important to recognize that Jesus is no longer flesh, no longer has the lust of the flesh, can no longer sin, and no longer die, therefore he says, “I am alive for evermore” (Rev 1:18).  Jesus said that a man (to avoid everlasting death) “must be born again”, “born of the spirit”.  Flesh and blood has “the lust of the flesh”, and a propensity, or inclination toward sin.  It was this sin nature which Jesus overcame!  Flesh can never be immortalized, and thus cannot exist in God’s future everlasting kingdom, therefore Jesus was “made a quickening spirit” (1Cor 15:45).

 

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (1Cor 15:50).

 

In the earth’s most corrupt period, God doesn’t have any issues with angels.  It is not spirit that lusts toward rebellion and sin, but flesh, and so God’s dispute was not with spirit beings, but with flesh who sinned, and so flesh had to come to an end.  The angels are all his ministers, obeying his commands.  The account below shows no hint whatsoever of God blaming any angels or devils for making people sin, nor for their own wickedness.  The blame rests only on men:

 

“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Gen 6:13).

 

We have seen from a previous verse that his angels are “spirits”, and that the children of the resurrection will be changed to be like them.  These bodies are to “change” (Job 14:14, Php 3:21), where this body of flesh is transmuted into a “spiritual body” (1Cor 15:54).  The reason is that flesh is subject to “the lust of the flesh”, and spirit is not.  Therefore when the saints are given places in the kingdom of heaven, they are no longer “flesh and blood”, but spirit, so that they can no longer sin, nor die.  Since angels, having not flesh, do not have the “lust of the flesh”, they cannot sin.  The children of God will be “spirits”, as “God is a spirit” (John 4:24). 

 

“Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire”. (Psa 104:4).

 

The commandment of circumcision, or the cutting off of flesh, for all males upon their eighth day of life, was given to both Abraham, and reiterated to all Israel through Moses.  That command was a foreshadowing of that which would come in the future age.  Recall that Paul says “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning”.  On the eighth millennial day, after the thousand year rule of Christ and his saints upon the earth is expired, flesh will be cut off, and Jesus will deliver the kingdom to God, and God will be all in all, His plan completed.  The earth itself will be circumcised from all flesh.  Then will come to pass the everlasting ultimate purpose of God:

 

“But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.” (Num 14:21).

 

As the most holy things of God were in the wilderness wanderings contained in a tent, representing something transitory, flesh, so when the temple was built in Jerusalem, we have a picture of those things contained in a permanent structure, portraying “the second man”, composed of spirit, which is the same man, but “changed”.

 

18.2.6.              Transliteration and Mistranslation

 

Transliteration just means that a translator, rather than translating a word from one language to another, phonetically spells the word as it is sounded in the original language, using letters of the target language.  The word “satan” in the bible is simply a Hebrew word meaning “adversary” that the translators didn’t translate.  It is not a name.  In the Revelation it is used as a label for the one great adversary, sin itself.  In this highly symbolic book, place names are no longer places, but situations, and the sinful thinking of flesh, or flesh in its most universal form, becomes personified as a dragon.

 

The word “devil” is a poor translation.  The Greek word from which it is derived is “diabolos”, meaning “false accuser” or “slanderer”.  It is that which hopes to condemn us to everlasting death.  This is not to be confused with where “a devil” or “devils” is found in scripture, usually translated from “daimonion”, meaning a demon or demons.

 

In scripture, the “devil” is used as a personification of sin.  This personification actually goes way back to Gen 4:7 – “sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”  A step further back, the serpent in the garden was used to dramatically illuminate and portray Eve’s fleshly thinking and human reasoning.  It could be that Moses wrote in figure, being familiar with Apep, the Egyptian snake god which represented wickedness, and who was the enemy of the venerated god, Ra.  In any case, there is no hint of any evil angel mentioned in the story of Eden.

 

In the mainstream Christianity today there has long been a tradition that this personification is a real personality.  They say his prime directive is to carry out his work undetected, and to do that, he must trick us into not believing he exists.  It is a bit incongruous with the devil walking about “as a roaring lion” (1Pet 5:8), but then the many problems with the popular devil story don’t keep it from being propagated.

 

Further study of this matter is highly recommended, because most of us who have been brought up Christian have been taught to believe a particular way, not just by family pastors and preachers, but by the majority of bible translators who have inserted their preconceptions and biases into the translation.  There are several instances of “satan” in scripture, but consider that it may not necessarily mean a rebellious angel from heaven.

 

18.2.7.              Heaven – Where no Sin Exists

 

In the ancient Greek religion, the abode of the gods is a place of powerful immortals who often digress into debauchery.  Meet the denizens of Mount Olympus.

 

In this Greek version of heaven, Zeus, the main god, lusted after a married human woman, Leda, and disguised himself as a swan to seduce her.  Zeus also kidnapped the young boy Ganymede to make him one of his lovers.  Hera, Athena and Aphrodite vainly squabbled about who was the most beautiful.  It was their careless and disorderly behavior which led to the Trojan war. 

 

Zeus

 

Such was how the heathen nations portrayed their gods, making forays into the earth to rape humans, bickering among themselves, possessing carnal characters whose craving for wickedness gets the better of them.   Thus is the dwelling place of the gods for many cultures. 

 

In contrast, the heaven of the Israelite God, Yahweh, is a place of holiness and complete reverence.  There is never any possibility that sin can come before Him, and so His angels minister to His duties.

 

Yahweh’s heaven has a big sign on it that says “Humans: Keep Out!”  God is Holy.  Too holy to actually dwell literally with flesh.

 

The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S (Yahweh’s): but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” (Psa 115:16).

 

In Christianity, the only exception to this was a man who never sinned all his life, and at some point after his resurrection, but was “made a quickening spirit”.  The Israelite God dwells in heaven, and no flesh and blood creatures may come before Him, let alone dwell with Him.  They are, as He has indicated through the shadows and figures of his law, unclean.

 

When it is said that Yahweh is omnipresent, it speaks not of His personal presence, but that His spirit is everywhere.  His presence is extended by means of His spirit, which He “sends” to perform certain missions.

 

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence (Hebrew: paniym, face)?” (Psa 139:7).

 

Although Yahweh “spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exod 33:11), yet he denied Moses the ability to see Him, and instead Moses, spoke to the “angel of His presence” (Exod 3:2, Isa 63:9).  Moses was not allowed to look at Yahweh, but was told:

 

“And he said, Thou canst not see my face (paniym): for there shall no man see me, and live.” (Exod 33:20).

 

No man can look at God and live.

 

“The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.”  (Nah 1:5).

 

If Moses could not see God’s “paniym” (face), then it is not likely that the quote above is speaking of Yahweh’s literal direct presence.  Yet the angels can see Him, according to Jesus, who said “in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father” (Matt 18:10).  We are told that the angels are all holy:

 

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

 

“Are they not all ministering spirits” (Heb 1:14).

 

The heaven known to the ancient Israelites was a holy place.  God’s will is always done there, without exception:

 

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10).

 

It is important to understand the Israelite view of heaven as a place of God’s throne, and there is no defiance, only absolute obedience, for as we know, Yahweh is “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Hab 1:13), (i.e. “tolerate wrong” – NIV).  He is holy, and there shall nothing unclean come in His presence.  “An hypocrite shall not come before him” (Job 13:16).

 

Sinful flesh does not come into His presence.  To conclude this point, we see that even when Solomon built God a house, he understood that God’s presence would remain in heaven, His “dwellingplace”.

 

“That thine eyes may be open toward this house (the temple) night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.  And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive. (1Kings 8:29-30).

 

To summarize, Yahweh makes Himself known as pure and holy, “the Majesty on high”.  The Almighty who will not allow sin of any kind to come before Him.  Heaven, the place of His dwelling, is a place of perfect obedience and righteousness.  This is why the Almighty has a legion of angels to deal with His tasks on earth, which He has surrendered temporarily to the disobedience of flesh.

 

One passage often cited to try to characterize angels as impure is a passage in Job.  It asks, “If God places no trust in his holy ones, if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes, how much less man, who is abominable and corrupt, who drinks in evil like water! (Job 15:14-16, NET).  However, the words are spoken by Eliphaz, to whom God said spoke untrue words about Him (Job 42:7).  Furthermore, it is clear from the context (Job 15:12-13) that Eliphaz was unable to find blame with Job, and therefore was insinuating that God expects such an unreasonably high standard of behavior, that perhaps Job had done some minor thing wrong that he was being punished for.

 

The doctrine of an immortal sinful angel is so pervasive, with so many misapplied passages in scripture used to prop it up, and with the use of personification in scripture so unrecognized, that it is not without too much surprise that many still believe in a personal devil who is a rebellious angel.  If, after reading this work, you still favor the mainstream Christian concept of a personal devil, you are encouraged to read a helpful book by Duncan Heaster entitled “The Real Devil”.  According to a poll conducted in 2009 by the Barna Group, most American Christians do not believe in a personal devil.  Given the statement that Satan “is not a living being, but is a symbol of evil”, 40% strongly agreed, 19% agreed somewhat, 9% disagreed somewhat, 26% disagreed strongly, and 8% were not sure or had no opinion.

 

18.2.8.              Wrested Scriptures

 

Only two passages in the bible (known to the author) seem to associate “satan” or “the devil” with demons.  Both are explainable. 

 

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38).

 

The devil here doesn’t necessarily mean a fallen angel, it could mean anything that is opposed to us, even selfish, fleshly desires.  The concept of an angel is nowhere in the context, let alone an evil angel.  While it is beyond the scope of this work to give a full exposition of what “the devil” is in scripture, it can be touched on by considering that the account of Jesus’ temptation of “the devil” in the wilderness was actually a rich, theatrical literary form depicting the internal struggle within Jesus’ mind.  Some things in that account are not possible, such as the temple in the wilderness, or a mountain so high that all the kingdoms of the world could be seen from it, or any person being able to grant them to him, other than himself.  Nowhere in the context of that story is there any evil angel, only those who come to later minister unto his needs.  In fact, the word “angels” is used in the same verse as the term “the devil”, without saying “other angels”, or “the good angels”, therefore whatever “the devil” is, it is not an angel:

 

“Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” (Matt 4:11).

 

A struggle took place between Jesus’ desires (hunger, pride, glory), and the word of God which he kept ever present at the forefront of his mind, and used to attack the devil’s attacks.  The word “devil” in this case is the Greek “diabolos”, which just means “to cast through”.  It is also translated “slanderers” in 1Tim 3:11, “false accusers” in Tit 2:3.  The devil then, along with the serpent, was a “personification” for carnal thinking, or human reasoning.  This personification of evil, which is sometimes characterized as an evil ruler, or the prince of this world, etc., is that which leads to sin, and the final product is death.  In the garden of Eden, after the fall, it was clear that “thorns and thistles” were a curse along with death.  Hence the illnesses that Jesus healed are said to be caused by “the devil”, the “wicked one” (human rebellious thought).

 

In Eph 6:11, it is “the devil” which is combatted with spiritual weapons.  In 2Cor 10:5, spiritual weapons are for fighting “imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God... every thought”.

 

Personification of sin starts out very early in scripture.  In Genesis, sin is personified as an animal “crouching” as a lion or a coiled snake ready to strike.

 

“If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth (Hebrew: rabats = crouches) at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” (Gen 4:7).

 

The second verse that seems to involve satan with demons is found here:

 

“And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils (demons) casteth he out devils (demons).  And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?” (Mark 3:22-23).

 

In Jesus’ time, the Jews referred to “Baalzebub” as “the prince of demons” (Matt 12:24).  This would be in line with the definition of demons (i.e. ghosts).  Recall the section on Baal discussed the probability of his identification as Nimrod.

 

These Pharisees didn’t grasp the gravity of their situation, but were in denial about who they were speaking with (i.e. the Son of God), and they thereby blasphemed the witness of the power of the Holy Spirit.   One would think that they would have been familiar with how Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal when their god was shown to have no substance (1Kings 18:27), yet as mentioned earlier, they actually accepted Babylonian myths!  Baalzebub was nothing but an imagined mythical deity, the fly god, and was worshipped in Ekron, a city of the Philistines (2Kings 1:2).  He was the equivalent of the Elian “Myiagros”, “hunter of flies”.  Pliny (50 AD) documented of the role of this god.

 

“...and the people of Elis, (invoke) their god Myiagros, when the vast multitudes of flies are bringing pestilence among them; the flies die immediately the propitiatory sacrifice has been made to this god.”  (“Historia Naturalis”, 10.40, Pliny the Elder, as translated by John Bostock, Perseus Digital Library).

 

Similarly, the Egyptians had their own fly god, “Kheper”, or “Khepri”.  In the plague of the flies leading up to the Exodus, the people of Egypt would have taken it as insult to this Egyptian “god”, for he was subjected to humiliation and shown powerless.

 

In response to the Pharisees, Jesus does not actually concur with their notion that demons exist, but rather he reveals the flaw in their logic.  Jesus simply makes the point that even if there were a false god called Beelzebub who controls the demons, the enemy “satan” (Baal) would not assist him in casting out the enemy “satan” (demons).

 

The “Satan” in this passage cannot be taken as an individual’s name, because he also refers to the demons (plural) as “Satan”.  The original Greek word “satanas” is derived from the Hebrew “satan”, simply meaning “adversary”, “opposer”, or “enemy”.  The translators, who believed in a fallen angel “devil”, have mistaken this word for a name, and transliterated it.  To the Jews, the word “satan” (enemy, adversary or opponent) was simply a personification of ones carnal desires which always, as an external tempter, attempt to seduce men.

 

Jesus used a phrase which, in Greek, would be the equivalent of saying “If the enemy cast out the enemy”.  “Satanas” is a term that can be used generally of an adversary, and not a personal name.  Even God was referred to as a “satan” when He opposed Israel (1Chron 21:1, 2Sam 24:1).  Am I asking you to believe that the translators made errors stemming from bias passed down by generations of Christians who during the church’s falling away may have incorrectly accepted myths?  Yes I am.  If you read with an eye for the original language, and with knowledge of cultural beliefs, this will become obvious.

 

Recall in a previous chapter on Baal, ancient cuneiform tablets referencing Baal as the lord of the dead were referred to.  The Pharisees actually did appear to believe in these evil spirits, or demons.  Therefore, despite the fact that their God said He alone was the only God, they apparently actually believed that the false god Baal, lord of the netherworld, actually existed.

 

“For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.” (Acts 23:8).

 

The fact that both angels and spirits are mentioned here as separate entities should serve as powerful evidence that demons are not rebel angels.

 

You may note here that the Greek word “pneuma”, rather than “phantasma”, is used here for “spirit”.  It is likely that Luke (as presumed author of the Acts) intended “phantasma”, but that his writings have taken a different translation path than those of Matthew and Mark.   Perhaps they were originally written in a different language.  This is seen more likely by the fact that in the gospels, when the disciples are afraid, thinking they were seeing a “spirit”, Luke uses “pneuma” for “spirit”, but Matthew and Mark use “phantasma” (cp Matt 14:26, Mark 6:49 w/ Luke 24:37).  Luke also says a “spirit” (“pneuma”) does not have a tangible body (Luke 24:39), but angels do (Gen 18:8, Gen 32:24, Num 22:24, etc).  Evidently here Jesus intended to say a ghost does not have a body.  Other authors use the term “pneuma” to relate to angels (Heb 1:7,14).  This is brought out by John Thomas in the book “Elpis Israel”, chapter 2, under the section entitled, “The Spiritual Body.”  The point is that the body of angels and redeemed saints is not flesh, but it is a body nevertheless, as nothing exists without some sort of a body.  See also 1Cor 15:44, 2Cor 5:1-4 and Phil 3:21 which refer to the “spiritual body”.

 

18.2.9.              The "Angels that Sinned"

 

In Peter we read about these scary sounding “angels that sinned”, and at first read, it appears as if scripture is conflicting with itself with what we have already learned. 

 

“the angels that sinned…” (2Pet 2:4).

“the angels which kept not their first estate” (Jude 1:6).

 

However, God’s word cannot have any contradiction, as Jesus said the scripture cannot be broken.  Therefore there must be another way to understand this passage.  The solution boils down to simply a matter of semantics.  Consider in the following facts:

 

 

As for the word “angel”, it is translated from a word that just means “messenger” (“mal’ak” in the Hebrew, “aggelos” in the Greek), and so the word which is translated “angel” is also used for:

 

 

For further example, note that the original word translated as human “messengers” is identical to the word translated as “angel”:

 

“And when the messengers (Greek: aggelos, angels) of John were departed…”  (Luke 7:24).

 

 Thus it becomes extremely important to read and understand the context, and even then, the context itself could use spiritualized terms, making it difficult to discern, particularly in the symbolic works of prophecies, or the words of Christ spoken in parables.

 

After weighing these facts it becomes evident that there is no contradiction in the word, only scriptural misunderstanding on the mainstream interpretation of the passage.  This passage about sinning angels is, after examination, found to refer to unfaithful, treacherous human ministers. 

 

18.2.10.           We Shall Judge Angels

 

Paul writes to the Corinthians about judging angels in the age of God’s Kingdom on earth.  It could be argued then that these angels must have been naughty.

 

“Know ye not that we shall judge angels?  How much more things that pertain to this life?” (1Cor 6:3).

 

 

18.2.11.           The “Angels” who were “Cast Out” of Heaven

 

This passage and some like it are taken literally as evidence of naughty angels being cast out of 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.” (Rev 12:9).

 

There are some issues however, with this interpretation.

 

 

Once we are able to acknowledge God as the loving father that He claims to be, who simply wants us to overcome our own natural desires (“not my will, but thine be done”), and even shed His own son’s blood to prove His love, we are then at the point when we can have faith that He really would never create a supernatural being who lures us into eternal torture.

 

18.3.       Other Possibilities

 

18.3.1.              Angel-Human Hybrids?

 

The belief in evil angels seems to have arisen around the time that most Jewish apocrypha was written, and is therefore already of dubious origins.  The story in the counterfeit “book of Enoch” was that these angels, after rebelling and getting ejected from heaven, lusted with sexual desire for human women, and in fact married them, settled down and had kids.  The section which mentions marriage here has been seen to be a later edition.

 

In one belief, demons are the offspring of these angels and human women.  Incredibly, though, a lot of people actually believe this document to be inspired or authentic scripture, though it cannot be traced back beyond the 2nd century BC, a time rife with apocryphal writings.  This fanciful literary piece gives the following flawed interpretation of Gen 6:1-4:

 

“And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them...” (“Book of Enoch” 6:1-2).

 

The scriptural passage which this pretends to be a rewording of, details it a bit differently.  The sons of God (which we will identify) and the daughters of men have children who are “men of renown” (i.e. of infamy, or ill repute).  It doesn’t say their offspring are demons, or spirit creatures of any kind.  It actually says they are “men” of renown.

 

“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose...  There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” (Gen 6:1,2,4).

 

Now can spirit beings have “lust”?  Is not “lust” qualified in scripture as “the lust of the flesh”?  Even the Babylonians understood that “the gods... dwelling is not with flesh” (Dan 2:11)!

 

Recall that God dwells in heaven, and not with flesh, for Jesus has given testimony that no man has at any time seen God.  “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”, and thus Jesus said that we must be born again...

 

“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5-6).

 

One must be made spirit, as Jesus was “made a quickening spirit.” (1Cor 15:45).  The entire point of Jesus NOT being sent in the “nature of angels” (Heb 2:16) was so that he could “suffer (feel) being tempted” (Heb 2:18) as we are.  Therefore that feeling of being tempted is something that angels are incapable of.

 

 

Figure 33.  Corcoran Gallery of Art statue depicting a winged male angel behaving very carnally with a human woman.

 

Now it is not plausible, really, that immortal “spirit” angels could even have “the lust of the flesh”.  The bible tells us that “the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit lusteth against the flesh” (Gal 5:17).  Neither can angels sin, and have sex with humans.  And if they could, would there be offspring from a non-flesh creature with a flesh creature?  And if there could be, would the offspring be mortal or immortal?  And if angels can have sex, do they have sex in heaven?  And if they do, are there also homosexual angels?  After all, don’t they have interspecies sex?  How preposterous these suggestions are to the rational mind who accepts only God’s word which says that all angels are servants of God who always obey Him.  And so a more intellectually satisfying answer should be sought concerning this account in Genesis.

 

This rather poor theory about humans having sex with demons is from the apocryphal writings created by the imaginations of men.  Such is the heart of man that he must weave the flesh into his stories.  There are many illustrative examples found in the Talmud.

 

Sometimes when studying the bible, we don’t have to look very far for a solution, as God many times hangs the key to a problem right around the corner.  About a chapter earlier, we read:

 

Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD (Yahweh). [392]

 

Which, if rendered differently, would help in the identification of these “sons of God”.  A comment for this verse in the “Original Bible Restored” version reads:

 

An equally valid translation could read: “At that time men began to call themselves after the name of the Lord.” [393]  (The Holy Bible In Its Original Order - A Faithful Version with Commentary).

 

Now the word “Lord” as written in Gen 4:26 KJV is all capital letters, indicating that the sons of God had taken on the memorial name of “Yahweh”.  The sons of God are in one place in scripture referring to angels, but the term “sons of God” usually refers to the children of God which are those who call themselves after His name:

 

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Php 2:15).

 

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God...”  (1John 3:1-2).

 

There are some who try to dissect the OT from the NT, and say the term “sons of God” in the NT is different than that of the OT.  However, as it is in the NT, so it also relates to the OT.  Paul strings together several OT passages into a single paraphrase, showing that the Jews under the OT who were obedient would be the “sons of God”:

 

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2Cor 6:17-18).

 

The translators of the LXX have put "huios ho theos" in the Gen 6 passage for “sons of God”.  The same exact expression is found in Rom 8:19 referring to human sons of God.

 

“Three different views have been entertained from the very earliest times: the ‘sons of God’ being regarded as (a) the sons of princes, (b) angels, (c) the Sethites or godly men; and the ‘daughters of men,’ as the daughters (a) of people of the lower orders, (b) of mankind generally, (c) of the Cainites, or of the rest of mankind as contrasted with the godly or the children of God. Of these three views, the first, although it has become the traditional one in orthodox rabbinical Judaism, may be dismissed at once as not warranted by the usages of the language, and as altogether unscriptural… (to take a wife) is a standing expression throughout the whole of the Old Testament for the marriage relation established by God at the creation… This is quite sufficient of itself to exclude any reference to angels. For Christ Himself distinctly states that the angels cannot marry…  We are quite unable also to accept as historical testimony, the myths of the heathen respecting demigods, sons of gods, and the begetting of children on the part of their gods, or the fables of the book of Enoch (ch. 6ff.) about the 200 angels, with their leaders, who lusted after the beautiful and delicate daughters of men, and who came down from heaven and took to themselves wives, with whom they begat giants of 3000 (or according to one MS 300) cubits in height.” (“Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament”, Gen 6).

 

LEFT OFF HERE!!!

 

 

There was a godly line (perhaps, as some speculate, the descendants of Seth), and an ungodly line (or, “of men”).  Because the account in Genesis seems to indicate that the offspring of this pairing were “mighty men which were of old, men of renown” (or infamous men), and the word for giants used in the same verse, some believe that their offspring were of some genetic combination that produced large, mighty people.  The traditional explanation is not always the correct one.

 

The term translated “giant” here merits closer scrutiny.  A more satisfying theory may be worth considering.  What was originally meant by using the term “naaphal”, translated in the KJV as “giants”, in the passage stating that “there were giants in the earth in those days”?

 

“[There were giants in the earth] napiliym (OT:5303), from naaphal (OT:5307), ‘he fell.’ Those who had apostatized or fallen from the true religion. The Septuagint translate the original word by gigantes, which literally signifies earth-born, and which we, following them, term giants, without having any reference to the meaning of the word, which we generally conceive to signify persons of enormous stature.”  (Adam Clarke's Commentary).

 

“But although the idea of gigantic power does underlie the language of the sacred historian, the term Nephilim seems to bear a deeper significance; and if etymology may guide us, it describes a class of men of worthless and at the same time of violent character. It is commonly traced to naapal (OT:5307), to fall, and considered to signify either fallen ones, apostates, or falling upon others.” (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary).

 

Obviously the bible does have accounts of giants, but is that what this word means?  The word is not used in reference to Goliath, “whose height was six cubits and a span” (which is 9 ½ feet, or 3 ½ meters tall).

 

In Isaiah 14, in the proverb against the King of Babylon (spiritually called “Lucifer”), Nebuchadnezzar was described as a tree which is cut down by the feller (as he also was in Daniel 4).  In that proverb, the term “naphal” (“fallen”) is applied to him, as in “How art thou fallen from heaven”.  Hence it is a variant of this same word in the term which the KJV incorrectly translates “giants”.

 

Nephilim literally means “fallen men”.

 

“For Jerusalem is ruined, and Judah is fallen (Hebrew: naphal): because their tongue and their doings are against the LORD, to provoke the eyes of his glory.” (Isa 3:8).

 

The “fallen ones”, or apostates spoken of, are the “unequally yoked” sons of God themselves, and not their offspring.  “There were apostates in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men.”  They who had married out of their religion, when their worldly wives became a snare unto them, fell away from God’s way, in much the same way that was recorded of King Solomon in 1Kings 11, “and his wives turned away his heart”.

 

The term “men of renown”, is from the Hebrew, “'enowsh shem”.  It is also found in Num 16:2, also translated “men of renown”.  The literal meaning is “men of name” (meaning notable, famous, or perhaps infamous, since the term is not found used of righteous men.

 

The term “earth-born” may have actually been an ancient pagan term simply meaning gods whose existence began as men (i.e. demons).  Recall that the historian Tacitus [100 AD] mentioned that "ancient songs" of the Germanic peoples referred to their patriarch, Tuisto, as "a god, born of the earth" (deum terra editum).  The use of this term may be a reflection of how the Hebrew word being poorly translated into Greek by Jews who had lived under a Babylonian and Persian dualism culture, rather than a reflection of the original Hebrew word meaning.  In any case, if the term did mean that to the translators of the Septuagint, it is still clear that they believed that demons “exist not” (Isa 65:3, LXX), and would have been rather referring to how the apostates saw these men.

 

The following is my best and most honest attempt at paraphrasing this passage in Gen 6:  “There were apostates in the earth in those days (before the flood); and also after that, when God’s children married women out of the faith, and they bear children to them.  They were men of ill repute.”

 

In any case there is no reason to believe the products of these mismatched unions were some type of creature between flesh and spirit, or that they were giants rather than apostates.

 

Lastly, we are told that “the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose”.  That is to say, they married them. 

 

“For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”  (Matt 22:30).

 

When the original meanings of idioms or phrases or turns of speech used in ancient cultures have been lost, and incorrect meanings are given by poor translations, some people will allow themselves to believe just about any fantastic thing.  Some will cling to a more incredible interpretation of angels having sex with humans and giving birth to giants, or demons, or even, as some say, Sasquatches.  While the truth may be boring, and these more fascinating scenarios would make better Hollywood movies, every person is responsible for the things that they take onboard to believe.  Let us choose to be among those who only accept truth.

 

There is another account of angels and humans mating, which came much later, in around the 13th century AD, written by Rabbi Isaac ben Jacob ha-Cohen.  The account makes Adam have a first wife named Lilith, who left him and mated with an archangel named Samael.  (Lilith in Isa 34:14 is translated in the KJV as “screech owl”, and is found in a passage in which are named many other wilderness animals, such as vultures, goats, “dragons” (monitor lizards), where the great owl will  “make her nest, and lay, and hatch”).  It is some type of animal that dwells in remote areas.  To put this account into perspective, an uninspired writer who lived 2500 years after Moses, either did not reckon Moses’ account good enough, or was his story meant to be received as fiction.  In either case, it should be taken seriously.

 

18.3.2.              Specially Created Spirit Beings?

 

The belief that demons are invisible spirit beings that were created by God at the specific time and place that Jesus was going to cast them out, as in the synoptic gospel accounts, would necessitate that God creates false gods, whereas we are told that false gods are the work of men’s hands (2Chron 32:19, Rev 9:20, &c). 

 

18.4.       The Devil

 

This book is mainly dealing with demons, but as many people relate demons to the devil, due mainly to church tradition, we’ll briefly cover it here.  Obviously if there is no such thing as demons, one must ask the question about the devil of traditional mainstream Christianity.

 

Many people have this view of a supernatural angel up in heaven who was bad and God threw him out of heaven similar to the way in which a man might angrily throw out of his house a dog who had just peed on the carpet.  The perception (or lack thereof) is that God, who made Moses remove his shoes upon visiting Mt Sinai[394], is a lot more liberal when it comes to managing holiness up in heaven.  Jesus was perfected[395], and only after his character perfection was he allowed to ascend into heaven to meet God[396], as was prophesied of ahead of time in the OT[397][398][399].  Nevertheless, people tend to imagine that God would, in his foreknowledge, create several morally defective angels, and place them around his throne.

 

The word “satan” is not a name but a Hebrew word meaning “adversary”.  Your enemy, or one who is opposed to you, is called “the satan”.  Anyone can be a satan, even in one instance God was a satan (adversary).

 

By the times of the New Testament, the inclination of man’s heart toward sinful behavior was also seen as an enemy, or satan.  That which was in the OT previously personified as a serpent, became personified as “the adversary” in the NT, satan being transliterated into Greek as “satanas”.  This personification of sinful lusts was also called “the devil”, a word transliterated from the Greek “diabolos”, meaning slanderer, false accuser).  The evidence is overwhelming that where a tempting “devil” is used, a personification, rather than an actual person, was intended.

 

Most are familiar with the story of Jesus, shortly after being baptized, being led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  Those who study Rabbinical writings of the second temple period understand the concept of the devil as a personification of the “Yetzer Ra Ha”, or the internal temptation or lusts, the propensity toward sin.

 

“… the confrontation with Satan could be seen as Jesus’ struggle with himself and overcoming the yeẓer hara, the evil inclination, part of all men, and which is externalized in the literature by the figure of Satan.” (“A Rabbinic Commentary of the New Testament”, p.50, Samuel T. Lachs).

 

The concept of the devil as an expression of one’s own internal wicked desires is also found in apocrypha:

 

“When the ungodly curseth Satan, he curseth his own soul." (Sirach 21:27).

 

The expression of Satan filling the heart simply meant to conceive evil thoughts in one's heart.

 

“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”  (Acts 5:3-4).

 

Note that Ananias was responsible for Satan’s action.  The best explanation for this is the simple one that which agrees with the Rabbinical understanding of the culture.  The testimony that Satan represents our internal lusts agrees with the words of Jesus:

 

“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies…” (Matt 15:19).


Sometimes, even the more difficult passages are resolved easily if we but look at the context.  Take for example where it speaks of the dragon and his angels (Rev 12:7-9).  We have been taught to believe these are heavenly angels who have gone rogue.  Instead of seeing some completely non-relevant inter-galactic constant angel-battle going on in outer space (which would make a great Hollywood movie), we see the battle between those of the flesh (i.e. the children of men) and those of the mind of the spirit (i.e. the children of God).  We see a battle for the heart of men.  The context here helps by stating that “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb”, which is incongruous with some powerful angel code-named “the dragon” dueling somewhere on the other side of the universe.

 

Jesus uses this same figure of “the devil and his angels” in referring to the judgment, showing that King Sin (AKA “Satan”) was already a personification in common use in the Jewish culture, and that the devil’s servants (evil men) were not rebel angels, but those who would be summoned to the judgment.  Their punishment is indicated as the opposite of “life eternal”, which is “everlasting punishment” (i.e. irrevocable death). 

 

“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… these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”  (Matt 25:41,46).

 

Note: “Everlasting fire” simply refers to the symbol of “Gehenna”, or the Valley of Hinnom, poorly translated “hell” in the KJV.  It was a valley where they burned the trash, and thus used by Jesus to denote complete destruction.  In Revelation also, the “lake of fire” is a symbol used to indicate complete destruction.  In no case does one thrown there ever reappear.

 

Scholars of the literature of that period testify that “the adversary” as a personification was a common understanding among that period in Jewish culture.

 

 NEEDS FORMATTING[M3] !!! (Thanks to Jonno for these quotes below)…

Boer[2] and Van Der Horst[3] note the Second Temple Period personification of the evil inclination as satan, which Boer identifies as the context for Paul's personification of sin.

[2] Boer, 'Galatians: A Commentary', New Testament Library (2011).

[3] Van Der Horst, 'Jews and Christians in Their Graeco-Roman Context: Selected Essays on Early Judaism, Samaritanism, Hellenism, and Christianity', Wissenschaftliche Untersuchngen zum Neuen Testament, volume 196 (2006).

 

A, and yet the church’s stance throughout the centuries of the dark ages has been that satan was a literal supernatural being.

 

Mention that for an excellent non-denominational unbiased understanding of “Satan” to see the book “Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible” by van der Toorn.

 

Who gets thrown into the fire “prepared for the devil and his angels”?  Men.

 

The Jewish majority today continue to believe that “Satan” is simply a personification of one’s inner rebellious thoughts, not an external supernatural being:

 

"The yetzer ra is generally seen as something internal to a person, not as an external force acting on a person. The idea that "the devil made me do it" is not in line with the majority of thought in Judaism. Although it has been said that Satan and the yetzer ra are one and the same, this is more often understood as meaning that Satan is merely a personification of our own selfish desires, rather than that our selfish desires are caused by some external force." [400]

 

See also here for more info.

 

From Heaster[mas4] : Edersheim outlines reasons for believing that as Rabbinic Judaism developed during the exile in Babylon, this personification of evil became extended in the Jewish writings to such a point that sin and evil began to be spoken of as independent beings. And of course, we can understand why this happened- in order to narrow the gap between Judaism and the surrounding Babylonian belief in such beings. Edersheim shows how the Biblical understanding of the yetzer ha'ra, the sinful inclination within humanity, became understood as an evil personal being called "the tempter" (8) (8) Alfred Edersheim, The Life And Times Of Jesus The Messiah (London: Longmans, 1899) Vol. 2, Appendices 13 and 16.

 

18.5.       The Serpent

 

The word naw-kawsh (serpent) is based on a Hebrew word meaning to hiss, or to whisper. Many serpents, as well as some lizards, hiss when agitated. The whisperer! What an appropriate symbol for the impulses of the flesh which beckon us from that darker part of our mind which we are told to master, or it will surely master us.  It is as if some external being were whispering thoughts into our ears.  Thus our greatest enemy would be personified as “the adversary” (Hebrew: satan), constantly trying to draw our attention to tempting things all around us.

 

“Kaufmann Kohler’s theory, in his ‘Jewish Theology’, chapter 31, is that just as the serpent in the creation story ‘represents the evil inclination which arises in man with his first consciousness of freedom’, so Satan is an allegorical figure “representing the evil of the world, both physical and moral”[401]

 

Also:

“The serpent of Gen. iii. is identified with Satan (see Weber, l.c. pp. 218 et seq.”[402]



http://www.oztorah.com/2010/01/satan-in-judaism-ask-the-rabbi/

"the serpent in the creation story ‘represents the evil inclination which arises in man with his first consciousness of freedom’"



http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13219-satan

"The serpent of Gen. iii. is identified with Satan."



http://www.jewfaq.org/human.htm

"Satan is merely a personification of our own selfish desires, rather than that our selfish desires are caused by some external force."



http://www.scribd.com/doc/149117167/Psychoanalysis-and-the-Garden-of-Eden#scribd

"using the Bible tointerpret itself, we will see what this misnomered serpent, more accurately defined as “a hiss” is, and see that it was nothing more than humanities inner voice or self-conscience."



https://www.dropbox.com/s/htqv1rdvqp6x5tv/WhoTemptedChrist_140920_Pople_p2.pdf?dl=0

Showing the devil in the wilderness was Jesus himself (he overcame his own desires).

 


 

19.      Appendix B: Personal Experiences

 

19.1.       Modern Day Christian Exorcisms

 

Many people, trustworthy, sensible people, have seen what have appeared to be demon exorcisms, or demons being cast out of people.  It is most difficult to convince someone using logic what they have been made to believe about what they have seen.  In modern American Charismatic Christian organizations, the claim is made that the preacher is doing miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus, etc.  People tend to trust in these preachers because it appears they are doing miracles, and therefore they must have more faith, and a closer connection to God, than themselves.  That trust reinforces what the preachers claim they are doing (i.e. miracles).  Victims of demonic possession (or other ailments) are brought up onto the stage.  The alleged demon possessed can speak in some other voice or shout profanity, or display other odd behaviors as symptoms.  We never see anyone like these people in the grocery store or anywhere else.  It is because these suddenly have outbursts by suggestion made in a very hypnotic and emotionally charged environment.  These would otherwise display no symptom.  In American history there was another branch of Charismatic Christians from England known as “Shakers”.  They would work themselves up into an ecstatic frenzy and begin “singing and dancing, shaking and shouting, speaking with new tongues and prophesying, with all those various gifts of the Holy Ghost known in the primitive church.”  In other words, they claimed to have the same gifts of miracles that were only passed on by the laying on of apostles hands during the first century.

 

The conversation below is a real conversation, with the names removed, and some comments have been removed just due to not being significant.  It is apparent that Christians who swear they have cast out demons by the power of Jesus’ name are, in the end, experiencing no effect, as these demons keep “returning”.  Instead of questioning their methods, they blame the suffering victim, accusing him that he must not have “surrendered to the Lord”, or “is unrepentant”. 

 

Person A: “We were confronted by a demonized man yesterday, his voice was altered and not his... it spoke thru him, ‘i am Satan…’ and other nastiness.  My wife and I bound the spirit of BLASPHEMY and other spirits the Lord showed us and he could not speak... It was a testimony to the power and name of the Lord.”  ... “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall in any wise hurt you.”

Person B: “Was he freed?”

Person A: “no, he is unrepentant and is not surrendered to the Lord. We cast spirits out of him before but he does things to let them back in… He wants the Lord but does not continue in the faith and keep his ‘house’ clean… yea, we cast them out of him a year or so past and now he has more of them.”

Person C: “Oh ok sounds like he hasn't learned then. Well hopefully he will if you can get them out that is. That is the hope though since he didn't learn before.”

Person D: “I too did this with my aunt and they kept coming back x 7. The Lord used this as training and showed me I just cannot cast them out of someone who lets them back in. I was so tired. Then In a deliverance when the man manifested badly I was all alone with just the Lord and lunch. Praise God we had grape juice as It was blessed to the Blood of Jesus and the Holy Ghost told me to make him drink it and i bound and loosed and barely knew what I was doing but Glory to God He was set free of about 7 of them one I could not do. I asked the Lord and your scripture about about fasting and praying to bind the strongman. Glory Glory Hallelujah. Bless You Brothers!”

Myself:  “Interesting experience. Maybe if there were some swine (or something) around could you have commanded the demons to enter them and then the man might not have been reinfected?”

Person E: “I have noticed some are blatantly obvious, destructive. I think the most dangerous ones are the best at hiding their presence. They become really angry when they are exposed, they want to go on completely unnoticed if at all possible. All the while slyly influencing the victim.”

Person F: “Discernment is needed when dealing with an unsaved demonized person: the spirits can be evicted, but if the person is unwilling to truly submit to Jesus and be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they can and will return from the dry places. But if Yah directs, the spirits can be sent to the pit or where Jesus Christ will send them, and/or they can be forbidden from returning.”

Person G: “Satan influences false teachers to preach that people can't use the authority of God anymore - successfully immobilizing many Christians from engaging the enemy. If anyone has a preacher that says those things died in the first century then recognize them as false. A preacher who teaches saints can't move like that anymore and spiritual warfare is unhealthy is a prime example of someone that satan has successfully handicapped so he can continue his work undisturbed. run from those teachers!”

 

DemonicIn the western culture those with "demon possession" symptoms were usually sexually abused as small children.  They are messed up in the head.  It is not demons.  People who should know better pronounce that they have demons and perform rituals that are supposed to eject the demon, which seems to work, but the demon comes back later.  This is to be expected for some mental disorders which manifest then subside.  When the disorder returns, the exorcist just falsely accuses the victim and says that person didn't have enough faith.   It's all just people getting psyched up into frenzy.  Imaginations go wild and the insane person's subconscious acts out how he/she thinks they are supposed to.  People are more apt to see or experience non-existent things when it's dark and after hours of chanting when the mind gets weary.

 

19.2.       Demons Behavior Based on Geography

 

How demons in America are caused by sexual abuse, but in Africa are caused by (or imitate) malaria.  The Charismatic exorcist Bob Larson claims to have cast out thousands of demons, and attests that most demons in the western world are caused by sexual abuse in early childhood.

 

19.3.       Evil Spirit Banishments

[Insert Sri-Lankan demon banishment story here]

 

 

We sometimes see things when either in the late night after much chanting or drumbeating has made us weary and we become open to the power of suggestion, or early morning hours when somewhere in between and the mind is tricked into thinking it is awake.

 

It was under such conditions that I saw the Easter bunny.  Although I know I did not see him logically, because he does not exist, however I recall staying awake intentionally to know that I had not been dreaming.  It seemed as real as could be.

 

19.4.       Shysters and Charlatans

There seems to be no end to the man’s imagination when it comes to the different possible ways to potentially make a buck.  In some of the less conventional forms of business, crooks are glad to fleece the ignorant, enforcing their superstition in order to prey upon their victims’ checkbooks.

 

Among these snake oil dealers is a class of spiritualists who claim the ability to perform exorcisms, a ritual in which supposedly demons are ordered to leave.

 

It has been noted that they cannot discern which type of demon or evil spirit is plaguing the victim unless he or she is first interviewed.

 

[Insert [M5] friend’s experience here]


 

20.      Ongoing Studies

20.1.       Origin of Rebel Angel Theories

 

In the Testament of Asher, pseudepigrapha generally considered to be of Jewish origin from roughly around the time of Christ, we find again a text which appears to associate “evil spirits” with "Satan" (meaning, the adversary).  Verse 6 reads:

 

For the latter ends of men do show their righteousness (or unrighteousness), when they meet the angels of the Lord and of Satan. For when the soul departs troubled, it is tormented by the evil spirit which also it served in lusts and evil works. But if he is peaceful with joy he meeteth the angel of peace, and he leadeth him into eternal life.[403]

 

The reference is so vague, however, that it could just as well be speaking of “evil spirits” in the manner which was commonly used to refer to melancholy.[404]  Then again, if verse 1 can be taken for context, this “Satan” may refer to the “evil inclination”, and “spirits” could be taken for various lusts.  If it be that the passage is actually making reference to demons, it does so in the same way as was done by the Pharisees when they alluded to the Babylonish myth of Bel as the ruler of the ghosts in the underworld, based upon having in common the type of spirits which “torment” men and whose master is “Satan”.  This reinforces that "demons" were only understood in their pagan context. 

 

20.2.       Angels that Sinned

 

Josephus account:

 

“For many angels of God accompanied with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants.”  (Antiq. I, 3,).

 

VERY interesting writing to read later: here.

 

By overlaying the text in 2Pet and Jude it can be seen that the angels who sinned were men.

 

Jude 1:6-10 (KJV) mentions

a. the angels which kept not their first estate

b. reserved in everlasting chains under darkness

c. like sodom and gomorrha, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire

d. speak evil of dignities.

e. Michael contending with the devil, durst not bring against him a railing accusation

f. speak evil of those things which they know not

 

2Pet 2:4-12 (KJV) has this structure:

a. the angels that sinned

b. chains of darkness, reserved unto judgment

c. turning Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes

d. despise government... not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

e. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

f. speak evil of the things that they understand not

 

Comparing points e in both accounts:

1. The archangel Michael is an example of "angels, which are greater in power and might".

2. Comparing points e The devil is an example of "them" (the angels that sinned).

 

It is basically stating that "angels" are more powerful than "the angels that sinned". In using the term "angels" (unspecified) it is referring to heavenly angels, and the mention of them being greater in might enforces that point.

 

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

 

In comparing the physical strength of "the angels that sinned" to that of heavenly "angels", there is evidence that the angels that sinned were not powerful spirit beings from heaven who rebelled and came to earth. These angels were men.

 

 

 

We actually don't even need to overlay to see what the OP suggests, although that brings out other things (such as a clue about the identity of "the devil"). Jude helps add continuity by showing the connection between the "angels that sinned" and those of whom no railing accusation was brought against, so we know that it is these "angels that sinned" that Peter is comparing to mighty angels (i.e. real angels, spirit beings). It is significant once we see that the "angels that sinned" are contrasted to real angels.

Here is a similar case:
"God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods" (Psa 82:6). Here it says "God" judges among the "gods", indicating that "God" and "the gods" are distinct, yet they are the same word (Hebrew: elohim). We may understand from the same passage that these "gods" will die "like men", and what dies like men, except men? But additionally Jesus interprets this for us, saying, "He called them gods, unto whom the word of God came" (John 10:34). Reinforcing that these "gods" are actually men.

In 2Pet & Jude there are clues that reveal these as men, for they "defile the flesh" (angels don't have "flesh"). The setting of these dominion / dignity despisers is given by Jude as within the context of "the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not." Hence IMHO these accounts are not quoting apocrypha, but rather speaking of Korah, Dathan & Abiram, whom the earth swallowed up in Numbers 16.

 

 

The word angel just means "messenger". John the Baptist was called a messenger / angel. The priests were called angels:

Mal 2:7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

Hence I believe it is reasonable for one to say that Korah (a Levite, 1st cousin of Moses) could be called a "messenger", as Moses said their role (estate) was "to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD".

 

 

If Jude is really Jesus' brother we might imagine he wrote around AD60, which also seems to give a little time for the DSS (oldest version) of Enoch to have used Jude to form a hoax writing, so maybe the book of Enoch copied Jude?

I take "chains of darkness" to simply be a metaphor for death.

Job 10:22 A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.

 

20.3.       Canonicity of Jude

 

Regarding 2Peter:

Irenaeus mentions all four gospels in detail, he mentions all the letters of Paul except Philemon (which is short and has little doctrinal import), he quotes from I, and II John (although he may see it as one epistle), he quotes Acts, Hebrews, James, the Revelation and I Peter.

Irenaeus mentions 1st Peter, and quotes from it, but not ever 2nd Peter. That indicates that if 2nd Peter existed, it was separate and kept in a corner somewhere.

Furthermore, textual critics and scholars believe it was written by a different hand (or scribe).

Besides these is the fact that 2Peter refers to "angels who sinned", which seems to refer to apocryphal myths as reason to base moral argument upon. Or if by "angels", is meant ministers or priests, it would be a rather uncommon usage (but quite possible, and how I take it).

Regarding Jude:

Since Jude quotes 2nd Peter, (Jude vs 17-18 is taken from 2Pet 3:3), if 2nd Peter is ever proven false, then Jude falls with it.  It is also possible that 2nd Peter is authentic, but Jude is hoax.  Jude does appear to be a rewrite of 2Pet 2.

Irenaeus also never refers to anything from the Epistle of Jude either. Even when he refutes the "Gospel of Judas" (another work) in 180 AD based on the same themes (Korah and the Sodomites), he never even mentions the Epistle of Jude, as if completely unaware it.

The Epistle of Judas doesn't appear anywhere in history until after 200 CE, if I'm not mistaken. If you look at history for how Jude was accepted into canon, you will find it was barely accepted by a thin thread, and probably after the holy spirit gifts (including prophecy and interpretation) had ceased. IOW its inclusion into canon appears to have been a human decision.

That being said, I find that I can reconcile Jude & 2Peter in a way that does not compromise truth in other scripture. I choose to assume that God by His providence toward his true children would not allow apocrypha to enter canon. So while these two books may be imposters, I count them inspired until I find out otherwise (i.e. by undeniable overwhelming evidence, or more likely by revelation when the Lord appears).

 

The Story line could be like this (in order to preserve the authority of 2Pet & Jude):

1.     1Enoch was piecemealed together in BC times as people kept adding to it.

2.     2Peter was written, and Jude at the same time.

3.     The quote of true Enoch in Jude was inserted into Enoch.

 

Another story line could be like this:

1.     There really was a true book of Enoch.

2.     It fell into disfavor and was only partly saved.

3.     Over time, people kept adding to it.

 

The dating of the section that Jude quotes (about ten thousands of his saints) will dictate which of the above scenarios are most likely.

 

20.4.       Book of Enoch

 

Useful links:

Assumption of Moses

1 Enoch (All)

 

20.4.1.              Parallels

 

Apocrypha

Scripture

“seventh from Adam” (1 Enoch 60:8).

“seventh from Adam” (Jude 1:14).

(This is particularly damning for Jude, since Enoch was the 6th from Adam.

“ go tell the Watchers of heaven, who have deserted the lofty sky, and their holy everlasting station” (1Enoch 12:5).

 

“the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation”  (Jude 1:6).

 

“the angels that sinned”  (2Pet 2:4).

“the Watchers of heaven… who have been polluted with women.  And have done as the sons of men do, by taking to themselves wives…” (1Enoch 12:5).

Ge 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose… when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them (Gen 6:2,4).

 

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” (Gen 6:4).

“Behold, he comes with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon them, and destroy the wicked, and reprove all the carnal for everything which the sinful and ungodly have done, and committed against him.” (Enoch 2:1).

“‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.“ (Jude 1:14-15).

“… he comes with ten thousands of his saints…” (Enoch 2:1).

“The LORD… he came with ten thousands of saints…” (Deut. 33:2).

“The Lord rebuke you” (Assumption of Moses).  ??? VERIFY!

 

“Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.  And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan…” (Zech 3:1-2).

 

“Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9).

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems obvious that the book of “Enoch” angel myths about giants born from angels coming down is nothing more than a Hebrew spin on the Greek myth about “The Titans”, who were giants born of the gods.  Any reader who would take the book of Enoch seriously is beyond the reach of logic, and hopelessly lost.  The bible warns that we should “not pay attention to Jewish myths”.[405]

 

20.4.2.              Gen 6 Connection

 

Alexandrian ECF copy of LXX changes “sons of God” to “angels of God” in Gen 6, an obvious and blantant deception.

 

20.4.3.              Marriage

 

20.4.4.              Dating of DSS

 

Since the oldest of the books of Enoch are those in the collections of the Dead Sea Scrolls, it is important to date them.

 

"Scholars were anxious to confirm that these Dead Sea Scrolls were the most ancient of all Old Testament manuscripts in the Hebrew language. Three types of dating tools were used: tools from archaeology, from the study of ancient languages, called paleography and orthography, and the carbon-14 dating method. Each can derive accurate results. When all the methods arrive at the same conclusion, there is an increased reliability in the dating.... Archaeologists studied the pottery, coins, graves, and garments at Khirbet Qumran, where the Essenes lived. They arrived at a date ranging from the second century B.C. to the first century A.D. Paleographers studied the style of writing and arrived at dates raging from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D. Scientists, using the radiocarbon dating method, dated the scrolls to range from the fourth century B.C. to the first century A.D. Since all the methods came to a similar conclusion, scholars are very confident in their assigned date for the texts. The scrolls date as early as the third century B.C. to the first century A.D.{1}" - Link

 

So the window is 2nd century BC to first century AD, or 199 BC to 99 AD, and how does that translate to the "150BC to 200BC" that everyone cites? 

 

If the book of Enoch copied several OT scriptures that Jesus quoted, then it stands to reason that people who only read the book of Enoch and the gospels with the saying of Christ will assume incorrectly that he is quoting from it and not the OT scriptures.

 

1. Jude is written and distributed to all the churches in Asia etc.
2. most of Edom is destroyed
3. AD70 happens. The Temple is destroyed and with it the books of the sacred books.
4. The samaritans move south to fool in the vacuum, perhaps led by Josephus.
5. They bring the samaritan pentateuch and sacred books which the samaritans have kept, and build a new temple.
6. Someone writes Enoch, as a hoax.
7. Someone else decides they should keep a copy with the other books in case it is authentic.
8. Simon bar Kokhba happens and the decide to hide the writings in caves, including their sacred books (DSS) and the government records.

(Or something like that… maybe SBK not related to DSS though.

 

 

I may have to drop my late Enoch theory.  

The stash of coins dated to BC didn't help my case much.

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/scrolls/art2.html

They put the time of the scrolls in the 2nd century BC.

 

Some scrolls could have been added later, but it would be difficult to prove that more coins weren't also added later.

 

 

 

 

 

20.4.5.              Dead Sea Scrolls

 

All scholars agree that all manuscripts from cave 4 are dated to before 68 CE.

 

Cave 7

1Enoch 103:3-8 (Greek Text) found in Cave 7.

Speaks of the souls of the wicked being in hell (hades) in “darkness and chains” (Ethiopic) or “in darkness, ensnared” (possible commonality with Jude’s “chains of darkness”), but also in “a burning flame” “in their great tribulation” (Ethiopic) , or “aflame” “in great anguish” (DSS).  Link.

 

Cave 4

4Q201(En ara) (Aramaic Text) found in Cave 4.

Speaks about “wives from all that they chose… and to teach them sorcery… And they become pregnant by them and…”

Link.

 

 

4Q532

Enochic Book of Giants - 6 fragments -

 

1Q23 (1QEnGiants ara) 1QBook of Giantsa ¤,1 [260]

J. T. Milik, DJD I, 97-98, pl. XIX. Published as remains of an Aramaic apocryphon, they were later identified by Milik as a copy of the Book of Giants in Milik, Books, 301-302.

 

1Q24 (1QEnGiants arb) 1QBook of Giantsb ¤,o

J. T. Milik, DJD I, 99, pl. XX. Aramaic apocryphon; according to Milik, Books, 309, possibly another copy of the Book of Giants.

 

 

2Q26 (2QEnGiants ar) 2QBook of Giants ¤,o

M. Baillet, DJD III, 90-91. A single fragment in Aramaic, published as a fragment of a ritual(?) and later identified by Milik, Books, 334, as another fragment of the Book of Giants.

 

 

6Q8 (6QEnGiants ar) 6QGiants ¤,1 [262]

M. Baillet, DJD III, 116-119, pl. XXIV. Published as a 'Genesis apocryphon', it was identified by Milik, Books, 300.309, as another copy of the Aramaic Book of Giants.

 

 

 

20.4.6.              Edward Whittaker

 

The book "For the Study and Defense of the Holy Scripture" by Edward Whittaker has a section dealing the claim some make that Jude is quoting the apocryphal book of Enoch. I found it thought provoking.

 

1. The author gives a decent sampling of verses from scripture and from "The Book of Enoch" that indicate that it probably copied not only Jude, and not only the NT books, but several OT books, and asks to consider who copied from whom.

2. Listed are some scholars who believe "The Book of Enoch" to come far later. (He doesn't cover internal evidence that proves a first century AD date or later for at least some sections).

3. He gives a decent sampling of scripture to show details missing from earlier scriptures being mentioned in later scriptures, as seems the case if Jude were authentic, that being inspired, it would know what Enoch really prophesied.

 

The doctrinal errors he points out in the "Book of Enoch" have more of a Christian flavor, making me wonder now if maybe Enoch isn't Christian apocrypha, rather than Jewish.

 

His conclusion: "This writer gets the impression of standing over and watching a man, pen in hand, with a copy of the Hebrew Scriptures and several books of the New Testament at his elbow, laboriously cribbing material for his great masterpiece. The 'composing' of The Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith, first published in 1830, was a similar literary hoax, and included similar anachronisms."

 

The author makes the point that hoaxes were very prevalent after the first century, so that someone produced a writing "Jannes and Jambres" simply because of Paul's mention of them in Timothy. He mentions other examples, such as the "Book of Laodicea" which was meant to fill in for a missing work mentioned elsewhere. Then says, "The writer is prepared to believe that the Book of Enoch, at least in part, including the reference to 'the merciful, the patient, the Holy Michael', had some sinister and unworthy origin."

 

Since he states that the Book of Enoch contains "anachronisms" (a thing belonging to a time period other than that in which it exists), but AFAIK doesn't give examples, it would be interesting to see them listed. Not that any of us here would have an issue with whether or not the Book of Enoch extant is apocrypha.  Perhaps that would be a good study for one of us, if we were really interested in seeking to find out the truth of the matter.

 

20.4.7.              Hoax Commonalities

 

Nephi 12-24 are copied directly from Isaiah 2-14, Mosiah 13, copied directly from exodus 20:1-17, 3 Nephi 24,25 copied verbatim from Malachi 3&4, and 3 Nephi 12 copied from sermon on the mount Mt 5:6! Also copied along with the errors of translation in the old English!

 

It is characteristic of hoax scriptures to copy sections or verbiage from authentic scripture.

 

 

 

20.4.8.              Steve Cox on Jude

 

http://www.christadelphia.org/pamphlet/p_sinned.htm  ç

 

http://www.tidings.org/2000/05/not-giving-heed-to-jewish-fables-1-background/

http://www.tidings.org/2000/07/not-giving-heed-to-jewish-fables-2-abraham-in-the-underworld/

http://www.tidings.org/2000/09/not-giving-heed-to-jewish-fables-3-jannes-and-jambres/

http://www.tidings.org/2000/11/not-giving-heed-to-jewish-fables-4-enoch-in-peter-and-jude-part-1/ ç

http://www.tidings.org/2001/01/not-giving-heed-to-jewish-fables-5-enoch-in-peter-and-jude-part-2/ ç

http://www.tidings.org/2001/04/not-giving-heed-to-jewish-fables-6-michael-the-devil-and-the-body-of-moses/

http://www.tidings.org/2001/05/not-giving-heed-to-jewish-fables-7-michael-the-devil-and-the-body-of-moses-2/

 

 

20.4.9.              Tom Ferrar on Cox

 

http://www.dianoigo.com/publications/The_Devil_in_the_General_Epistles_Part_4_Jude.pdf

 

20.5.       Enoch Angel Eisogesis

The word eisogesis means “reading into the text” some idea that wasn’t originally there.

 

·       Lilith – we read about this in the day of atonement, that the scapegoat was released into the wilderness for Lilith.

·       Satan is mentioned as one of a band of angels, not necessarily their leader. 

·        

 

20.6.       Nephilim

 

20.6.1.              The Hebrew Morphology

 

Note: New Times Roman font has ASCII characters for Hebrew defined.  Go to Insert / Symbol / Font = Times New Roman & scroll down to 0z0591.  For each character, first type the consonant letter then the Masoretic vowel marker.  Typing will progress backwards.  For using a font there are three Hebrew fonts but since they are custom I can avoid them.

 

 

The morphology.

 

 

נֶפׅלם

נֶפִלם

 

נְפִלִים

נְפִלִם

This is a “Yod”: י

 

20.6.2.              Quick Observations

 

It is a fact that Giants existed well after the flood…

“ Og, king of Bashan… his bedstead was a bedstead of iron… nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.” (Deut 3:11).

“And Ishbibenob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight” (2Sam 21:16).

“… in Gath, where was a man of great stature… he also was born to the giant.” (2Sam 21:20).

“… and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (Num 13:32-33).

“And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high; and in the Egyptian's hand was a spear like a weaver's beam…” (1Chron 11:23).

“... Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span… the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron...”  (1Sam 17:4-7).

 

The meaning of nephilim is debated. Many people have tried to link it to the Hebrew verb naphal, which means “to fall.” However, strictly speaking, the plural participle would be either nophelim or nephulim, and not nephilim. (http://www. michaelsheiser.com/nephilim.pdf).

 

NOTE:  It still need to be researched whether the morphology could mean “those who cause to fall”!!!

 

The word is thought therefore to be from the Aram / Aramaic word for “giants”, nephilin, which has been “Hebrewized” to nephilim.

 

It has been stressed by Jonno who adhere’s to the local flood theory that Nephilim is a tribal name, and used as proof, however since the word is Aramaic, it is doubtful, and difficult to prove.

 

 

20.6.3.              Who Cause to Fall

 

Many verses support the verb “to fall” as indicative of military overthrows:

 

“How art thou fallen <naphal / נָפַל> from heaven” (Isa 14:12)

Jos 11:7 So Joshua came, and all the people of war with him, against them by the waters of Merom suddenly, and they fell upon <naphal> them.

Psa 106:26 Therefore he lifted up his hand against them, to overthrow <naphal> them in the wilderness.

2Sam 20:15 “…and all the people <`am> that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down <naphal>.

1Kings 19:7 “and I will cause him to fall <naphal> by the sword in his own land.”

Eze 32:12 “By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitude to fall <naphal>…”

Ezek 31:12:  (Using tree language) “his branches are fallen, <naphal>”

Dan 11:26: “…his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down <naphal> slain”.

1Ch 20:8 These <'el> were born <yalad> unto the giant <rapha'> in Gath; <Gath> and they fell <naphal> by the hand <yad> of David, <David> and by the hand <yad> of his servants. <`ebed>

 

Therefore the term could just refer to the “hunter” like qualities of these men.  Nimrod was called the “mighty hunter”.  The Aramaic “nephilin” means “giant” but who knows when this became the meaning, or whether there are other shades to this meaning?  For example, the Aramaic Nephîlā′ is the word for the constellation Orion, the hunter.  A deer hunter is one who causes deer to fall, etc. 

 

The grammar "active adjective" would be the valid formation for a verb which becomes noun-like, with active (a feller) as opposed to passive (a fallen one).

 

 

20.6.4.              Fallen Ones

 

“… נָפַל (naphal), meaning ‘to fall’—Nephilim could be a ‘passive adjectival formation’ of the Hebrew verb נָפַל (naphal) meaning the ‘fallen ones’. “ (Peterson, B. N. (2012). Nephilim. (J. D. Barry & L. Wentz, Eds.)The Lexham Bible Dictionary).

“The Nephilim are of unknown origin. Some writers have taken the Hebrew verb naphal, 'to fall,' to imply that the Nephilim were 'fallen ones,' that is, fallen angels who subsequently mated with human women. But Christ taught that angels do not have carnal relationships (Lk 20:34, 35), and therefore this view can only be maintained by assuming that Genesis 6:1–4 reflects Greek mythology, in which such unions occurred. The Genesis passage, however, deals with anthropology, not mythology."  (Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988).Baker encyclopedia of the Bible).

 

"A literal translation of Nephilim is 'fallen ones.'" (Barry, J. D., Grigoni, M. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Mangum, D., & Whitehead, M. M. (2012). Faithlife Study Bible).

 

"'Nephilim' is a transliteration of the Hebrew, not a translation, which indicates a group or class. It is commonly related to napal, meaning 'to fall'; thus the Nephilim are considered 'the Fallen Ones.' (Mathews, K. A. (1996). Genesis 1-11:26. The New American Commentary (Vol. 1A, p. 336)).

 

"'The Nephilim' This implies 'the fallen ones' (from the Hebrew naphal, BDB 658, KB 709).  (Utley, R. J. (2001). How it All Began: Genesis 1–11. Study Guide Commentary Series (Vol. Vol. 1A, p. 88)).

 

“[There were giants in the earth] napiliym (OT:5303), from naaphal (OT:5307), ‘he fell.’ Those who had apostatized or fallen from the true religion. The Septuagint translate the original word by gigantes, which literally signifies earth-born, and which we, following them, term giants, without having any reference to the meaning of the word, which we generally conceive to signify persons of enormous stature.”  (Adam Clarke's Commentary).

 

“But although the idea of gigantic power does underlie the language of the sacred historian, the term Nephilim seems to bear a deeper significance; and if etymology may guide us, it describes a class of men of worthless and at the same time of violent character. It is commonly traced to naapal (OT:5307), to fall, and considered to signify either fallen ones, apostates, or falling upon others.” (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary).

 

20.6.5.              Giants

 

One very intellectual analysis of Nephilim by Mike Heiser, said it was actually an Aramaic word for “Giants”,  Nephilin, reformed into Hebrew.  His argument is countering someone named Sichin who believed the Nephilim “fallen ones” referred to aliens “fallen” from the sky.

http://www.sitchiniswrong.com/nephilim/nephilim.htm

http://www. michaelsheiser.com/nephilim.pdf

 

In his write-up, Heiser states “The only way in Hebrew to get nephilim from naphal by the rules of Hebrew morphology (word formation) would be to presume a noun spelled naphil and then pluralize it. I say ‘presume’ since this noun does not exist in biblical Hebrew -- unless one counts Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33, the two occurrences of nephilim -- but that would then be assuming what one is trying to prove.” 

 

There are some problems with this argument.

1.     Heiser assumes that the pronunciation of an obscure word such as “nephilim”, occurring only 2 places in the ancient scriptures, would never have been lost, even in the time of the Babylonian captivity, when consonants known as matres lectiones, or "mothers of reading" were inserted into the text as vowel markers.

2.     Heiser assumes that some other word meaning “giants” in the ancient Hebrew text would have been replaced by the Aramaic word “nephilin”, having to be converted to Hebrew by changing the ending plural indication consonant, within the Hebrew context, when an already perfectly good Hebrew word for “giants” (“rephaim”) already existed.  Not very plausible.

 

 

 

Another writer, Deane, disputes the Aramaic derivation that Nephilim means “giants”, and also sounds very scholarly.  There is some back-and-forth between Galbraith and Heiser at the blog link below:

https://remnantofgiants.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/michael-heisers-misinterpretation-of-nephilim-as-giants-not-fallen-ones/

 

Deane Galbraith says to Heiser, “there is no simple morphological basis for preferring my explanation that “Nephilim” is a Heb. qatil or your explanation that it is a loanword from the Aramaic usage attested in the Genesis Apocryphon and Book of Giants. The form would be the same in either case.”

 

Heiser argues that the translators of the DSS would not have put “Giants” if it were not the meaning.

 

Galbraith argues that “the only passages in Aramaic which employ the purported Aramaic loanword are so obviously dependent on Gen 6:4”.  IOW the usage of Aramaic came much later.  1) there is an absence of Aramaic evidence that precedes Genesis, and 2) the Aramaic evidence we have is clearly dependent on Genesis.  The Aramaic term “Nephilin” is only used in contexts which are dependent on the Bible’s use of “Nephilim”.

 

Galbraith states: “It is normally understood that only the words “the sons of Anak from the Nephilim” comprise the later gloss within Num. 13:33. But it is incorrect to say that Num. 13:33 is widely interpreted as a gloss, And there is still one occurrence of the term “Nephilim” in Num. 13:33 which lies outside of the later gloss.”

 

Regarding this gloss, see Nephilim in the LXX.

 

Galbraith continues: “One can fairly easily surmise that a translator familiar with Greek literature – writing in, perhaps, the third century BCE – might leap to the conclusion that Gen. 6.1-4′s odd story of dalliances between sons of the gods and human women sounded like something from Greek myth. But this tells us a lot more about the Greek-influenced reception of Gen. 6:4 than it does about Gen. 6:4 itself.

 

… “I will continue to prefer the facts that exist – and that includes the fact that Nephilim follows a Hebrew form, the qatil, with an etymological meaning of “fallen ones””

 

 

20.6.6.              Heiser Errors in Logic

 

http://www.sitchiniswrong.com/nephilim/nephilim.htm

http://www. michaelsheiser.com/nephilim.pdf

 

Michael S. Heiser in his paper “The Meaning of the word Nephilim: Fact vs. Fantasy”, correctly argues against the theory that the word “nephilim” refers to “ancient astronauts” who have “fallen” from the sky, proposed by one “Zecharia Sichin”.  However he goes about it the wrong way, in that he attempts to prove that the word “nephilim” is a Hebrewization of the Aramaic word for “giants”, i.e. “nephilin”.

 

He notes that in Numbers 13:33 there are two instances of nephilim with different morphologies.  He points to the one with the extra “yod” (י) in one of the instances, which letter was added by scribes during the time of the Jewish exile in Babylon, in order to preserve the proper pronunciation, as the Jews were losing their language.

 

1.     He seems to skirt the issue of why are there two different versions of the word in the same verse in the first place.  If the scribes were beginning to lose their language, then by that point in time, we would very well expect that some of the more obscure words like this one (which is only found in two verses of the old testament), would have already been forgotten.  The two instances of the same word in the same passage with different morphologies would clearly indicate that the scribes were not sure what the pronunciation was, and were hedging their bet just to be safe.  It is a way of saying there is a discrepancy here, someone will notice it and sort it out later.

2.     He dwells on the fact that the inserted yod gives the second syllable a long “I” vowel sound, so that with this form of the word, the pronunciation would be “nepheeleem”, and based on the fact that the ending “M” indicates plurality, argues that it doesn’t properly fit any Hebrew form.  The problem is that he is arguing from the minority case.  The other two instances do not have the yod and he doesn’t explain why they are missing.

3.     Another problem is that (TBD: see where Deane Galbraith argues otherwise saying it is the form “qatil”). 

4.     He then argues that the instances of nephilim which don’t have the yod are marked TBD

5.     He then argues that the vowel dot markers (or “vowel points” which were added way later in around

 

 

Big issues:

 

Heiser says “in the plural, we must find a way to account for the long “i” (ee) sound in the middle. This is the downfall of the standard view.   Why? Well, as the plural form is spelled, the word can only be two things in terms of Hebrew morphology:

1.     A plural of a masculine noun, or

2.     An active masculine plural participle.”

But Galbraith says “He’s right that the term Nephilim does not meet the standard form for a participle. But he either does not mention or quickly dismisses the fact that “Nephilim” perfectly fits the passive adjectival form in Hebrew.”

Galbraith continues in a later follow-up: “I quite agree that there is no simple morphological basis for preferring my explanation that “Nephilim” is a Heb. qatil or your explanation that it is a loanword from the Aramaic usage attested in the Genesis Apocryphon and Book of Giants. The form would be the same in either case.”  IOW how did Aramiac get into Gen 6???  More likely the one case with the yod form was inserted into Num 13 as a possible consideration by a clueless scribe. 

 

Galbriath points out “when Heiser claims that the “meaning” of Nephilin in Aramaic is giant, he appears to overlook the fact that this Aramaic “meaning” only occurs in works which are even later than the biblical texts in Gen 6.4 and Num. 13.33 and which are dependent on the Hebrew biblical texts. A “meaning” is only as good as its particular uses. And you can’t claim that a biblical word derives from Aramaic if the Aramaic usage is later than the Bible!  I am aware of no instances of the Aramaic term Nephilin from Old or Imperial Aramaic – that is, from before the writing of the Pentateuch The first attested examples of the term Nephilin (or variants) occur in post-biblical documents from Qumran: Genesis Apocryphon and the Book of Giants. What’s more, these texts from Qumran are dependent on the Enochic version of the story in Gen 6.1-4. They are retellings of retellings of Gen. 6.1-4.”

Galbriath later states similarly, “Lothar Perlitt cautions that the LXX mixed two quite different worlds in translating historisierenden Notizen des Alten Testaments (‘historicizing notices in the Old Testament’) with terms which were weitgehend mythologisch in sensu stricto (‘largely mythological in sensu stricto’). If hard cases make bad law, obscure stories make bad translations – and Gen. 6:4 is a prime case in point. Perlitt’s conclusion is correct: Kurzum: die Frage nach den Riesen im Alten Testament fände auf dem Wege über die griechische oder lateinische Konkordanz nur falsche Antworten (‘In short: the question concerning Giants in the Old Testament would find only wrong answers by looking in a Greek or Latin concordance’).”

 

Heiser argues, “Some argue that nephilim means “those who ARE fallen,” as in those who are evil, or who “have fallen” in battle. (And in the case of Sitchin, those who “fell from heaven” from spaceships or who “came down” from heaven in spaceships; more on this nonsense in a bit). These options (except for Sitchin’s) have one thing in common: they assume a passive idea in the word’s meaning – an outside force caused the falling.  This would mean the form of the participle should be passive . But the above form (“nophelim”) is not the correct form of a plural passive participle.“

However, “are fallen” does not necessarily just mean “passive”, but could indicate past tense, IOW “are fallen” can mean “have fallen”. 

 

Heiser assumes that the “nephilim” is the name of a clan, and thus forms a circular argument.

 

Heiser states that Num 13:33 states that the Anakim were descendents of the Nephilim.  The use of the term “descendents” is misleading and dishonest.  Also, in a discussion with Galbriath, Heiser later says that the phrase “which come of the giants” is a later addition (i.e. a scribal footnote).

 

I actually do agree with Heiser that the Anakim were not apostates.  They were never in the truth.  They seemed to be men of war who others were sufficiently fearful of, therefore it seems likely that the meaning of the root, which sense was lost in time, was indeed “fellers”, or those who cause to fall.

 

 

Important times:

1.     When they put the vowel consonants in.

2.     When they began using Aramaic – “During the 3rd century BCE, Jews began to use a stylized form of the Aramaic alphabet,[1]Link.

3.     When they put the vowel points in.

 

 

20.6.7.              Qatil

Link

 

 

 

 

Link

 

 

TO DO: Google “qatal” some more see what I come up with.

See what the above says about long first vowel with short second vowel.

 

 




 

 

20.6.8.              Nephilim in the LXX

 

I attached the LXX of Numbers 13:33.  It’s missing the line, “the sons of Anak, which come of the giants:”   So the LXX just has one instance of ‘giants’.  (Thanks Dan).

 

32 And they brought a horror of that land which they surveyed upon the children of Israel, saying, The land which we passed by to survey it, is a land that eats up its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of extraordinary stature. 33 And there we saw the giants; and we were before them as locusts, yea even so were we before them.

 

33 καὶ ἐξήνεγκαν ἔκστασιν τῆς γῆς, ἣν κατεσκέψαντο αὐτὴν πρὸς τοὺς υἱοὺς ᾿Ισραήλ, λέγοντες· τὴν γῆν, ἣν παρήλθομεν αὐτὴν κατασκέψασθαι, γῆ κατέσθουσα τοὺς κατοικοῦντας ἐπ' αὐτῆς ἐστι· καὶ πᾶς ὁ λαός, ὃν ἑωράκαμεν ἐν αὐτῇ, ἄνδρες ὑπερμήκεις· 34 καὶ ἐκεῖ ἑωράκαμεν τοὺς γίγαντας καὶ ἦμεν ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν ὡσεὶ ἀκρίδες, ἀλλὰ καὶ οὕτως ἦμεν ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν. 

 

“καὶ ἐκεῖ ἑωράκαμεν τοὺς γίγαντας, καὶ ἦμεν ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν ὡσεὶ ἀκρίδες· ἀλλὰ καὶ οὕτως ἦμεν ἐνώπιον αὐτῶν.” [406]

 

“And there we have seen the giants, and we were, compared to them, like locusts;· surelyandlikewisewe appearedbefore them.” [407]

 

“And there we saw the giants [נְּפִילִ֛ים], the sons of Anak, which come of the giants  [נְּפִלִ֑ים]: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” [408]

The underlined portion (with the 2nd instant of “nephilim”) is the dubious portion considered a “gloss”.

“There were giants [נְּפִלִ֞ים] in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” [409]

 

 

Gen 6:3         - נְּפִלִ֞ים

Num 13:33a - נְּפִילִ֛ים

Num 13:33b – נְּפִלִ֑ים ç Gloss

 

Where 13:33b is considered a gloss.  Note that the remaining two “nephilim-like” words are quite different in form.  This may be evidence that the word had passed into obscurity when the "matres lectionis" were added (c.  700-500 BC), and certainly later when the niqqud (vowel points) were added (c.  800 AD).

 

 

20.6.9.              DSS

 

 

Unfortunately the DSS Bible ends at Numbers 13:24 and doesn’t pick up until chapter 15.    Thx Dan Reed.  Rest in peace.

 

 

20.7.       Early Church Fathers

 

20.7.1.              Author Dates

 

Philo (c. 30 AD)

Paul (c. 50 AD)

Josephus (c.  80 AD)

1 Clement (c. 95 AD)

 

 

20.7.2.              Eusebius

 

Here in chap 2 & 3 Eusebius claims evil demons were feigning themselves gods (such as Dionysus, Apollo, etc) to fool people into idolotry and licenciousness.

 

20.7.3.              Redefinition of “demon”

 

The redefinition of the word "demon" (Greek: "daimonion", demons) can be seen in the writings of early Christians.

Justin Martyr (c. 150 AD), in his first apology, defines "demons" as ghosts, or "the spirits of the dead" (as had always previously been the definition according to the more ancient Greek sources):

"...let these persuade you that even after death souls are in a state of sensation; and those who are seized and cast about by the spirits of the dead, whom all call dæmoniacs or madmen..."

The smoking gun seems to me to be that in his second apology he changes the definition to mean the hybrid offspring of rebel angels with human women:

"But the angels transgressed this appointment, and were captivated by love of women, and begat children who are those that are called demons; and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves"

In most Christian writings afterwards, the definition of "demons" as "ghosts" would be dispensed with as "the opinion of the Platonists" (i.e. pagan). Apostate Christians therefore redefined this word to suit their whims. This and many other truths became obscured by a fog of ignorance after the apostles passed away.

By the time of Augustine of Hippo (c. 400 AD) the terms "good angel" and "bad angel" had come into use, and his writings show that, at the time, reasons are still being put forward to justify the new "Christian" definition of "demon" as rebel angels.

What necessitated this redefinition of the word "demon"?  Apparently the church was struggling against a backdrop of paganism.  The state religion, Greco-Roman polytheism was the great enemy of the church.  The denial that “gods are anything” made it necessary to say these false gods didn’t exist.  But rather than interpret the gospel accounts of demons as non-literal, or the superstitious language of the day, they decided to explain demons as being angels who pretended to be demons. 

 

Origen [250 AD]

 

In reference to the demon which causes lunacy, he says it can only affect those men who have not “the guardianship of angels”.  (Origen. (1897). Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. (J. Patrick, Tran.) The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume IX. Book XIII Section 6 (pp. 478–479)).  Therefore he makes a distinction between demons and angels.  He does not use the term good angels or bad angels in dialog concerning them both, as for him there are demons (all bad) and angels (all good).

 

20.7.4.              Philo

 

6:53 AM

Also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, during the Roman Empire. - Wikipedia.

 

Josephus refers to him as "the principal of the Jewish embassage" in Alexandria, and mentions that he was skilled in philosophy.  (Antiquities of the Jews, xviii.8, § 1).

 

He believed demons were ghosts, and also angels, that they three were all the same.

 

He therefore may well have been Jewish, but in any case sympathized with the Jews, and read from the LXX.  This meant he was fluent in Greek but probably not in Hebrew.

 

Eusebius wrote of him: "He was ethnically Hebrew by origin, and second to none in terms of the illustrious men in Alexandria." (Hist. Eccles. 2: 2-31).

 

His writings appeared to have great influence on the early Christian thinkers.  Esp the part about demons being angels.

 

Eusebius refers to Philo's "zealous study of Plato and Pythagoras, in which it is related that he surpassed all of his contemporaries." (ibid).  This means he was wont to blend Judaism and Greek philosphy, which explains his wresting of the Psalm concerning "evil angels" as "wicked", and therefore his Jewish roots make his writings appear palatable by later Alexandrian Christians (or so I would suppose). 

 

It is taken as evidence of the myth status of Jesus by some, and seen as a great mystery by others, that this man Philo, knowledgeable about several people and events around Jerusalem, never wrote one word concerning Jesus!

 

Philo, On the Giants

IV. If, therefore, you consider that souls, and demons, and angels are things differing indeed in name, but not identical in reality, you will then be able to discard that most heavy burden, superstition. But as men in general speak of good and evil demons, and in like manner of good and evil souls, so also do they speak of angels, looking upon some as worthy of a good appellation, and calling them ambassadors of man to God, and of God to man, and sacred and holy on account of this blameless and most excellent office; others, again, you will not err if you look upon as unholy and unworthy of any address. And the expression used by the writer of the psalm, in the following verse, testifies to the truth of my assertion, for he says, "He sent upon them the fury of His wrath, anger, and rage, and affliction, and he sent evil angels among Them."(ps 77:49). These are the wicked who, assuming the name of angels, not being acquainted with the daughters of right reason, that is with the sciences and the virtues, but which pursue the mortal descendants of mortal men, that is the pleasures, which can confer no genuine beauty, which is perceived by the intellect alone, but only a bastard sort of elegance of form, by means of which the outward sense is beguiled;

 

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/yonge/book9.html

" If, therefore, you consider that souls, and demons, and angels are things differing indeed in name, but not identical in reality, you will then be able to discard that most heavy burden, superstition"

- ok so this shows, again as Luke said, that demons are not the same as angels... But it sounds like he is saying they are also not ghosts, rejecting the standard Greek view.. Wonder what he thought demons were then. Unique creatures? Gods? Wonder what a different translation might bare out.

 

"But as men in general speak of good and evil demons, and in like manner of good and evil souls, so also do they speak of angels"

- this says a lot. He says some believe in good demons (ghosts) a belief which he doesn't wasn't to commit to perhaps, indicating some changes were underway. He believed already in good and bad angels, as the Jewish apocryphal myths also, but…

 

" These are the wicked who, assuming the name of angels"

- can't seem to differentiate between evil and wicked. almost here sounds as if he thinks they are mortals.. But in any case, he equates evil with wickedness, which he doesn't prove.

 

 

I think he was saying that demons = angels = souls (ghosts), all the same thing.

We saw this quote before:

"If, therefore, you consider that souls, and demons, and angels are things differing indeed in name, but not identical in reality, you will then be able to discard that most heavy burden, superstition."


But I saw another translation here:
"If, therefore, you consider that souls, and demons, and angels are things differing indeed in name, but one and identical in reality, you will then be able to discard that most heavy burden, superstition."


They have the total opposite sense.  Also the first translation second clause ("not identical") does not agree with the first ("differing indeed in name, but")

 

So here we seem to have Philo thinking demons = angels = souls.

 

This also agrees with what he says here:

 

"Those beings, whom other philosophers call demons, Moses usually calls angels; and they are souls hovering in the air." (Gig 1:6)

 

And it agrees with what he says here:

 

"Now philosophers in general are wont to call these demons, but the sacred scripture calls them angels, using a name more in accordance with nature." (Somn. 1:141).

 

21.      Timeline

 

3000 BC,4000 BC,1000 BC, 0,1000 AD,2000 AD,2000 BC,Creation






Flood
Nimrod
Abram born
Jacob in Egypt
Exodus
David
Israel exiled
Judah exiled
Darius / Cyrus
Alexander the Great
Rome
Jesus born
Constantine

Mohammad
Charlemagne


America Discovered
King James
Present


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


22.      Other Materials

22.1.       The Odyssey

 

From the Odyssey---as Odysseus meets Achilles in Hades

The soul of Achilles, the great runner, recognized me. “Favourite of Zeus, son of Laertes, Odysseus, master of stratagems,” he said in mournful tones, “what next, dauntless man? What greater exploit can you plan to surpass your voyage here? How did you dare to come to Hades’ realm, where the dead live on as mindless disembodied ghosts?”

“Achilles”, I answered him, “son of Peleus, far the strongest of the Achaeans, I came to consult with Teiresias in the hope of finding out from him how I could reach rocky Ithaca. For I have not managed to come near Achaea yet, nor set foot on my own island, but have been dogged by misfortune. But you, Achilles, are the most fortunate man that ever was or will be! For in the old days when you were on Earth, we Argives honoured you as though you were a god; and now, down here, you have great power among the dead. Do not grieve at your death, Achilles.”

“And do not you make light of death, illustrious Odysseus,” he replied, “I would rather work the soil as a serf on hire to some landless impoverished peasant than be King of all these lifeless dead.”

 

 

 

Zalmoxis

 

Reword: The first of them was Zalmoxis, a deity of a Thracian tribe, the Getae, who guaranteed them immortality after death (Hdt. IV, 94).  1  Having described a blood ritual which the Getae practised to become immortal, Herodotus relates a story he heard from the Hellespontine and Pontic Greeks. It goes that Zalmoxis was not a daimon, but a former slave of Pythagoras on Samos and, having adopted the doctrine of immortality from him, here turned to Thrace and converted his tribesmen to it with a cunning trick. He invited the most prominent of them to a men’s hall (ἀνδρείων) for entertainment and told them that neither he, nor they or their descendants would die, but would live eternally. Then, having constructed a secret underground chamber, he suddenly disappeared from the eyes of the Getae and hid inhis shelter for three full years, being lamented as dead. Then he showed himself again to the Getae, thus persuading them of the truth of his promises (IV, 95).

 

There is still no full dossier on Zalmoxis, Fritz K. von. Zalmoxis, RE 9A (1967) 2301-2303, is too cursory. Eliade M. Zalmoxis,  History of Religions  11 (1972) 257-302 (a chapter from a book) gives ex-tensive bibliography, but requires great caution. See also Hartog F. The Mirror of Herodotus . London, 1988, 84ff.; Asheri D., Lloyd A., Corcella A.  A Commentary on Herodotus. Books I-IV  . Oxford, 2007, 647f. For further bibliography see Ustinova J. Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind  . Oxford, 2009, 100 n. 315.

 

This could be shown either as an example of God-making, or later, right after Euhemerus.

 

22.2.       Masseboth

 

http://fontes.lstc.edu/~rklein/Documents/Stones.htm

This needs investigating because gods and ancestor spirits are clearly differentiated, in the mind of the author.  Upon review of the wording I don't seem that the author provides any evidence that they are different, other than that some have gods names associated others mention a familial connection.

 

22.3.       Jonno Materials

 

In the Defense and Confirmation of the Gospel there is some interesting quotes like this:

 

‘Some of the cases of demon-possession in the Gospels can be ‘demythologized’, at least to some extent. In particular, in the case of Mark 9:14-26 it may well be that we should recognize the signs of epilepsy and recategorize it accordingly.’ 311  - 311 ‘Some of the cases of demon-possession in the Gospels can be ‘demythologized’, at least to some extent. In particular, in the case of Mark 9:14-26 it may well be that we should recognize the signs of epilepsy and recategorize it accordingly. That is to say, Mark 9 is probably a good example of 'pre-scientific' man attributing to demon possession a malady whose physical mechanism we have since learnt to identify and largely control. But such demythologizing should not go so far as to eliminate the spiritual dimension from that, or indeed from any, illness.’, James D. G Dunn and Graham H. Twelftree, “Demon-Possession and Exorcism in The New Testament,” Churchman 94 (1980): 217; Twefltree believes in literal demons.

 

 

 

 

 

22.4.       Masoretic Notes

 

There were two versions of the Masoretic. 

 

The Hebrew text of this TANAKH is based on the famed Leningrad Codex, the Masoretic text traceable to Aaron ben Moses ben Asher, c. 930 CE. Ben-Asher researched all available texts to compile an authoritative Bible manuscript.

 

Then the Masoretic version of the same passage in the Aleppo Codex…   the Masoretic version of the same passage in the Aleppo Codex  … Moshe Ben Asher, wrote “a codex of the Bible … in the town of Ma’azia Tiberias the famous city,” as attested by the inscription placed at the end of a manuscript that was found in Cairo. However, Rabbi Aharon himself was the one who revised, vocalized, added cantillation marks, and transmitted the most important Bible manuscript, the Aleppo Codex.

 

 

“The best known Tiberian Masoretes were Aharon Ben Moshe and Moshe Ben Naphtali. These sages lived in the first half of the tenth century, and they disagreed about the vocalization of cantillation marks of several hundred words in the Bible.” (Source)  (This may be useful in discussion about Nephilim).

 

22.5.       Persian Effect on the Jews

 

Breakdown of time period of books.

Explanation of writing of pre-existing oral tradition (in some books)

Those books which have demonic beliefs and may copy the Vendidad of Zoroastrianism.  Indicate the commonality by import of Ahriman (Angra Mainyu) the Persian god of evil.  (Masekhet Bava Batra 16).

 

Mishnah (c. 10-220 AD) records the sayings of the Tannaim, Jewish Rabbinic sages and teachers. 

 

“The following passages from the Talmud and Midrash regarding demons (divs) were derived or directly copied from Vendidad II: Masekhet Sanhedrin 25 notes that devs are particularly active in graveyards. Masekhet Gitin 68 and Midrash Qohelet state that divs are male and female. Masekhet Berakhot 61 and Masekhet Hulin 105 state that demons can assume the shape of human beings, or flys. Masekhet Hagigah 16 contends that demons, like human beings, can reproduce… ” Source

“In Babylonia the Jews came under the influence of both the Chaldean and the Persian belief in good and in evil spirits, and this dualistic system became a dominant factor of Jewish demonology and Angelology.”  (“Jewish Encyclopedia”, “Demonology”).

 

It was in this crucible in the intertestamental period in which the Enochian pseudepigrapha appeared.  These were a family of writings falsely attributed to ancient OT prophets.  Scriptural accounts reinterpreted into angel stories featured prominently in such works as the “Book of Enoch”, ToDo: Finish this later.

 

22.6.       Google Docs Folder

 

See Google docs folder there are still some good things there.  See email backup.

22.7.       Chapter for other difficult passages

 

The Devil and his angels in parable.  The Satan and his angels in Revelation: Thought progression: Demons are the dead, not rebel angels. Whatever is in Revelation described as the angels of the Satan must not be coupled to demons, which are given in the synoptic gospels, for various reasons, especially that demons don't exist. Then explain that these angels are probably the servants of Satan, those whose kingdom is of this world.

 

22.8.       Bilello on Medical Knowledge

ToDo: Reword this:

Until the nineteenth century man had virtually no notion where disease came from. The idea of germs, bacteria, viruses, chemical imbalances, and genetic flaws were entirely outside the scope of human knowledge at the time of Christ. Yet all of these things possess vital aspects of the human person and destroy the natural body. Speaking of these as “demon-possessed,” and so on, is not nearly so foolish an expression of the concept of illness and inherited disabilities, as one would think, at least in terms of the wisdom of the times.  To expect scripture to have used language to describe illness that would have been inexplicable to mankind for almost two thousand years, and has only barely begun to be understood in these last days, would be unreasonable. No doubt there are probably many places in the world today where folk wisdom still considers disease to originate from evil spirits.  John Bilello (Not sure if I should quote this or just paraphrase / reword..

22.9.       Edersheim

 

There is a work here by Edersheim with a chapter entitled “ON THE JEWISH VIEWS ABOUT ‘DEMONS’…” that should be gleaned, or at least mentioned.

 

22.10.  Twelftree

 

Twelftree is a notable scholar who believes in supernatural evil, but he say that demons can be “demythologized”.

“Some of the cases of demon-possession in the Gospels can be 'demythologized', at least to some extent. In particular, in the case of Mark 9:14-26 it may well be that we should recognize the signs of epilepsy and recategorize it accordingly. That is to say, Mark 9 is probably a good example of 'pre-scientific' man attributing to demon possession a malady whose physical mechanism we have since learnt to identify and largely control. But such demythologizing should not go so far as to eliminate the spiritual dimension from that, or indeed from any, illness.” (Dunn & Twelftree, “Demon-Possession and Exorcism in The New Testament”, Churchman).

 

22.11.  John Kitto

 

The Cyclopaedia of Biblical literature, Vol 1. 1881 John Kitto

 

To these arguments the opponents of the theory of real demoniacal possessions reply, generally, that there can be no doubt that it was the general belief of the Jewish nation, with the exception of the Sadducees, and of most other nations, that the spirits of dead men, especially of those who lived evil lives, and died by violent deaths, were permitted to enter the bodies of men, and to produce the effects ascribed to them in the popular creed ; but the fact and real state of the possessed were afflicted with some peculiar diseases of mind or body, which, their true causes not being generally understood, were, as is usual in such cases, ascribed to supernatural powers ; and that Jesus and his apostles, wishing of course to be understood by their contemporaries, and owing to other reasons which can be pointed out, were under the necessity of expressing themselves in popular language, and of seeming to admit, or at least of not denying, its correctness. They further plead that the fact, admitted on all hands that the demon so actuated the possessed, as that whatever they did, was not to be distinguished from his agency, reduces the question, so far as phenomena are concerned, to one simple inquiry, namely, whether these phenomena are such as can be accounted for without resorting to supernatural agency. They assert that the symptoms predicated of demoniacs correspond with the ordinary symptoms of disease, and especially of hypochondria, insanity, and epilepsy ; that the sacred writers themselves give intimations, as plain as could be expected under their circumstances, that they employed popular language ; that consequently they are not to be considered as teaching doctrines or asserting facts when they use such language ; and that the doctrine of the agency of departed spirits on the bodies of men is inconsistent with certain peculiar and express doctrines of Christ and his apostles.

 

With regard to the symptoms related of the demoniacs, it is urged that such persons as were called demoniacs in other countries, and who seem to have laboured under precisely the same symptoms, are recorded to have been cured by the use of medicines. Helleboro quoque purgatur lymphatieus error (Sereb. Sammon. c. 27. v. 507), ‘Insane delusion is remedied by hellebore.’ Josephus and the Jewish physicians speak of medicines composed of stones, roots, and herbs, being useful to demoniacs (Gattei, f. 67). The cure of diseases by such methods is intelligible ; but is it rational to believe that the spirits of dead men were dislodged from human bodies by medical prescriptions? Maimonides (in sabat. ii. 5) says, ‘ all kinds of diseases which are called melancholy, they call an evil spirit’ (comp. Matt xi. 18; John vii. 20; x. 20).

 

1. With regard to the two demoniacs at Gadara (or one, according to Mark and Luke), it is concluded that they were madmen, who fancied that there were within them innumerable spirits of dead men. Accordingly they dwelt among the tombs about which the souls of the dead were believed [in the Talmud] to hover, went naked, were ungovernable, cried aloud, attacked passengers, beat themselves, and had in their phrensy broken every chain by which they had been bound. Strength almost superhuman is a common attendant of insanity. The subject is illustrated by Westein, in extracts from Greek medical writers. P. AEgineta, Actuarius, Caelius Aurelianus, also tell that such persons fancied themselves to be gods, demons, wolves, dogs, etc. ; hence the disorder was sometimes called [Greek words left untranslated]. Their question, ‘Art thou come to torment us?’ refers to the cruel treatment of the insane in those times, and which they had no doubt shared, in the endeavours of men to ‘ tame ‘ them. Both Mark and Luke the physician describe the demoniac as … in ‘his right mind,’ when healed, which implies previous insanity (see also Matt. xii. 22 ; xv. 28 ; xvii. 18 ; Luke vii. 21 ; viii. 2 ; ix. 42). It is true that these demoniacs address Jesus as the Son of God, but they might have heard in their lucid intervals that Jesus, whose fame was already diffused throughout Syria, was regarded by the peoples as the Messiah. They show their insanity, ‘ their shaping fancies,’ by imagining they were demons without number, and by requesting permission to enter the swine. Would actual demons choose such a habitation? They speak and answer, indeed, in a rational manner, but agreeably to Locke’s definition of madmen, ‘they reason right on false principles, and, taking their fancies for realties, make right deductions from them. Thus you shall find a distracted man fancying himself a king, and with a right inference require suitable attendance. Others, who have thought themselves glass, take the needful care to preserve such brittle bodies’ (Essay in Human Understanding, vol. 1. ch. 11, & 12). It is true that Jesus commands the unclean spirit (so called because believed to be the spirit of a dead man), but he does this merely to excite the attention of the people, and to give them full opportunity to observe the miracle. It is not necessary to suppose that the madmen drove the swine, but merely that in keeping with all the circumstances, the insanity of the demoniacs was transferred to them, as the leprosy of Naaman was transferred to Gehazi, for the purpose of illustrating the miraculous power of Christ ; and though this was a punitive miracle, it might serve the good purpose of discouraging the expectation of temporal benefits from Him. If the demoniac is represented as worshipping Jesus it should be remembered that the insane often show great respect to particular persons.

 

2. The men who were dumb, and both blind and dumb, are not said to have been disordered in their intellects, any more than the blind man in John v. These diseases in their organs were popularly ascribed to the influence of demons. It is observable that in the parallel passage (Matt. ix. 32), the evangelist says the man was dumb.

 

3. The symptoms of epilepsy in the youth described Matt. xvii. 15, are too evident not to be acknowledged. If the opinion of relatives is to be pressed, it should be noticed that in this case the father says his ‘son is lunatic.’ It was most probably a case of combined epilepsy and lunacy, which has been common in all ages. Epilepsy was ascribed to the … moon in those times. The literal interpretation of popular language would therefore require us to believe that he was ‘moonstruck,; as well as a demoniac. A curious instance of the influence of popular modes of speech, even on those who are conscious of its incorrectness, is offered in the case of Hippocrates, who though he wrote a book to prove that epilepsy is not a sacred malady … is nevertheless in the habit of applying to it that very appellation. In the same way a learned physician still speaks of lunacy, St. Anthony’s fire ; and persons of education speak of the rising and setting of the sun, falling stars as we all use phrases derived from the rites and religion of gentiles.

 

4. The damsel at Philippi is said by Luke to have been possessed with a spirit of Apollo. It was her fixed idea. The gift of divination is said by Cicero to have been ascribed to Apollo (De Divinat. i. 5). Insane persons, pretending to prophecy under the influence of Apollo, would be likely to gain money from the credulous. A belief among the common people that the ravings of insanity were sacred was not confined to Egypt. The larvati, the lymphatici, the cerriti of the Romans signify possessed persons. The apostle, who taught that an ‘idol is nothing in the world,’ did not believe in the reality of her soothsaying. Many demoniacs are mentioned, the peculiar symptoms of whose diseases are not stated, as Mary Magdalene (Mark xvi. 9), out of whom Jesus cast seven demon, i.e. restored from an inveterate insanity (seven being the Jewish number of perfection), supposed to be caused by the united agency of seven spirits of the dead. Yet she is said to have been healed (Luke viii. 2).

 

5. If Jesus forbade the demoniacs to say he was the Christ, it was because the declaration of such persons on the subject would do more harm than good. If he rebuked them he also rebuked the wind (Matt. viii. 26), and the fever (Luke iv. 39). If it be said of them, they departed, so it is also said of the leprosy (Mark i. 42).

 

6. It may be questioned whether the writers of the New Testament make a distinction between the diseased and those possessed of demons, or whether they specify the demoniacs by themselves, as they specify the lunatics (Matt. iv. 24) merely as a distinct and peculiar class of the sick. It is, however, most important to observe that St. Peter includes ‘all’ who were healed by Jesus, under the phrase [long list of greek words], many of whom were not described by the Evangelists as subjects of demoniacal possession, which is urged as a striking instance of the usus loquendi [usage of speaking]. Sometimes the specification of the demoniacs is omitted in the general recitals of miraculous cures (Matt. xi. 5), and this, too, on the important occasion of our Lord sending to John the Baptist an account of the miraculous evidence attending his preaching (Matt. xi. 5). Does not this look as if they were considered as included under the sick?

 

7. It cannot be proved that all the demoniacs knew Jesus to be the Messiah.

 

8. It is admitted that Jesus addresses the demons, but then it may be said that his doing so has reference partly to the persons themselves in whom demons were supposed to be, and partly to the bystanders ; for the same reason that he rebuked the winds in an audible voice, as also the fever. It is also remarkable that the case of the demoniac (Mark v.8), it is said – [greek], the man, [greek], not [grk]. The same words occur in Luke viii, 30.

 

9.With regards to our Lord’s reply to the seventy, it will not be urged that it was intended of a local fall of Satan from heaven, unless it may be supposed to allude to his primeval expulsion ; but this sense is scarcely relevant to the occasion. If, then, the literal sense be necessarily departed from, a choice must be made out of the various figurative interpretations of which the words admit ; and taking the word Satan here in its generic sense, of whatever is inimical or opposed to the Gospel, Jesus may be understood to say, I foresaw the glorious results of your mission in the triumph which would attend it over the most formidable obstacles. Heaven is often used in the sense of political horizon (Isa. xvi. 12, 13 ; Matt. xxiv. 29). To be cast from heaven to hell is a phrase for total downfall (Luke x. 15 ; Rev. xii. 7-9). Cicero says to Mark Antony, You have hurled your colleagues down from heaven. Satan is here used tropically. Our Lord does not, therefore, assert the real operation of demons.

 

10. In the refutation of the charge that he cast out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons, he simply argues with the Pharisees upon their own principles, and ‘judges them out of their own mouth,’ without assuming the truth of those principles.

 

11. The fact he seems to assert respecting the wandering of demons through dry places (Matt xIi. 45), were already admitted in the popular creed of the Jews. They believed that demons wandered in desolate places (Baruch iv. 35). Upon these ideas he founds a parable or similitude, without involving an opinion of their accuracy, to describe the end of this generation. The observations respecting prayers and fasting seem to have relation to that faith in God which he exhorts his apostles to obtain. Prayer and fasting would serve to enable them to perceive the divine suggestion which accompanied every miracle, and which the apostles had not perceived upon this occasion, though given them, because their animal nature had not be sufficiently subdued.

 

12. The application of the term Satan to the case of the women, who had a spirit of infirmity, is plainly to heighten the antithesis between the loosing of an ox from his stall, and loosing the daughter of Abraham whom Satan, as they believed, has bound eighteen years.

 

13. The objection taken from the supposed consequence of explaining the casting out of demons to signify no more than the cure of diseases, that it tends to lower the dignity of the Saviour’s miracles, depends upon the reader’s complexion of mind, our prior knowledge of the relative dignity of miracles, and some other things perhaps, of which we are not competent judges.

 

It remains to be observed, that the theory of demoniacal possessions is opposed to the known and express doctrines of Christ and his Apostles. They teach us that the spirits of the dead enter a state corresponding to their character, no more to return to this world (Luke xvi. 22, etc. ; xxiii. 13 ; 3 Cor. v. 1 ; Phil. i. 21). With regard to the fallen angels, the representations of their confinement are totally opposed to the notion of their wandering about the world and tormenting its inhabitants (2 Pet. ii. 4 ; Jude, ver. 6). If it be said that Jesus did not correct the popular opinion, still he nowhere denies that the phenomena in question arose from diseases only. He took no side ; it was not his province, It was not necessary to attack the misconception in a formal manner ; it would be supplanted whenever his doctrine respecting the state of the dead was embraced. To have done so would have engaged our Lord in prolix arguments with a people in whom the notion was so deeply rooted, and have led him away too much from the purposes of his ministry. ‘It was one of the many things he had to say, but they could not then bear them.’ It is finally urged that the antidemoniacal theory does not detract from the diverse authority of the Saviour, the reality of his miracles, or the integrity of the historians.

 

For further explanation of demonic possession and those supposedly demon possessed called demoniacs, we will allude to the first century Aramaic perspective on the matter, to gain even greater clarification and light.

 

http://archive.org/stream/cyclopaediaofbib01kitt#page/2/mode/2up

 

22.12.  Interesting Talmud mentions of Demons

 

Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai, a contemporary of Josephus, alludes to the practise of exorcism by saying: "Has an evil spirit never entered into you? Have you never seen a person into whom an evil spirit had entered? What should be done with one so affected? Take roots of herbs, burn them under him, and surround him with water, whereupon the spirit will flee" (Pesik., ed. Buber, 40a).

 

Demons mentioned in relation to graveyards: Chagigah 3b

 

Customs are sometimes explained by the superstitious as being based upon belief in demons; for instance, the one prohibiting women from going to a cemetery because demons are fond of following her who yielded to the temptation of the serpent and thus caused death to come into the world, or the custom of blowing the shofar at funerals to ward off the shedim (see Yalḳ., Ḥadash, l.c. 47).

 

Niddah 17a, There "spending a night in a graveyard in order that a spirit of uncleanness may

rest upon him, to enable him to foretell the future" is mentioned with the warning that "in consequence he might sometimes be exposed to danger." (ibid. p. 113, Soncino Edition, Niddah).  http://www.wendag.com/forum/showthread.php/691-The-Jewish-Religion-Its-Influence-Today/page2


Masekhet Sanhedrin 25 notes that devs are particularly active in graveyards.

 

Reference to this practice is also made in Sanhedrein 65b. That cemeteries are infested with spirits, demons, etc., is the general idea: "The custom of washing the hands after a funeral is very widespread...Efforts were made to find a Biblical precedent for this act, but...there was a general admission that it was done 'to dispel the spirits of uncleanness' which cling to one's person, these being 'the demons that follow them home.'" (Jewish Magic and Superstition, Rabbi Trachtenberg, p. 179)

 

    "Obviously the spirits can help as well as harm the living...An observant visitor to the tomb of Simon bar Yohai, for instance, at Meron, Palestine, will discern a host of written entreaties for the saint's aid (Note: the "saint" was a second century Talmudic voodoo‑worker associated with the Zohar, principal multi‑volumed work of the Cabala [Kabbala], more sexy, if possible, than even the Talmud). And, the ancient practice of visiting the cemetery to entreat the offices of deceased relatives or scholars persisted...In addition to such individual visits, there grew up the custom of the entire congregation repairing to the cemetery annually on several occasions, such as the seven 'rain fasts,' and on TISHA 'B'AB...and on the eves of New Year and the Day of

Atonement, 'that the dead may beseech mercy on our behalf.' … The custom of washing the hands after a funeral is very widespread … . Efforts were made to find a Biblical precedent for this act, but … there was a general admission that it was done ‘to dispel the spirits of uncleanness’ which cling to one’s person, these being ‘the demons that follow them home.’” (quote of Rabbi Trachtenberg, “Jewish Magic and Superstition”, Trachtenberg).

 

From Mishna:

 

Jewish tradition teaches us that anyone who lives in a cemetery could be considered insane according to mishnaic law.[2]

Tosefta Terumot 1:3; BT Hagigah 3b-4a; JT Terumot 1:1 (40b).

 

 

22.13.  Illustration Ideas

 

Something like this, but showing:

1.     Demon Cycle (about what people think about demons).

a.     Benevolent guardian ghosts

b.     Able to intercede, or tell fortunes.

c.      Should be worshipped and adored as gods.

d.     Able to make voices in the head, control thoughts.

e.     Afflict humans as a punishment for evil men.

                                                    i.     Manifest as brain disorders or general misfortune

                                                  ii.     For evil deeds or neglect of libations or offerings.

f.       Afflict humans because some demons are evil.

2.     Timeline including empire contexts.

 

Illustration Credits

Add section at the end before the index such as this one.

 

 

 

22.14.  Development of Angelology

 

This section is to determine when the belief started that demons were related to angels, such as the belief that either:

1.     Demons are the ghosts of angel-human hybrids, or

2.     Demons are rebel angels.

 

 

The story of demons being the immortal souls of human-angel hybrids seems to have its roots in the book of Jubilees which was probably written by Samaritans (i.e. Syrians, such as Sanballat) around 400 BC. It has been dated to at least 200 BC, but seems to mimic Daniel in language, so probably after 500 BC. Book of Jubilees has angels falling for human women and marrying them (Jub 5:1).  The reference that demons were their offspring seems to be, "they told him concerning the demons... And Thou knowest how Thy Watchers, the fathers of these spirits, acted in my day..." (Jub X:1-5). http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/jub/jub24.htm#fr_347

 

“And against their sons went forth a command from before His face that they should be smitten with the sword, and be removed from under heaven.  And He said 'My spirit shall not always abide on man; for they also are flesh and their days shall be one hundred and twenty years'.  And He sent His sword into their midst that each should slay his neighbour, and they began to slay each other till they all fell by the sword and were destroyed from the earth.” (Jub 5:7-9, http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/jubilees).  Doesn’t seem to say anything about what demons are.

 

 

The story of demons being the immortal souls of human-angel hybrids seems to have its roots in the book of Jubilees which was probably written by Samaritans (i.e. Syrians, such as Sanballat) around 400 BC. It has been dated to at least 200 BC, but seems to mimic Daniel in language, so probably after 500 BC. The reference is "they told him concerning the demons... And Thou knowest how Thy Watchers, the fathers of these spirits, acted in my day..." (Jub X:1-5). 

 

 

(b) The demons are the spirits which went forth from the souls of the giants who were the children of the fallen angels, Jub. v. 7, 9. These demons attacked men and ruled over them (x. 3, 6). Their purpose is to corrupt and lead astray and destroy the wicked (x. 8). They are subject to the prince Mastema (x. 9), or Satan. Men sacrifice to them as gods (xxii. 17). They are to pursue their work of moral ruin till the judgement of Mastema (x. 8) or the setting up of the Messianic kingdom, when Satan will be no longer able to injure mankind (xxiii. 29). 

 

22.15.  Early Christian Writers

 

For me this would be the turning point when the Christians began to use the term “good angel” to differentiate from bad angels, and when the word “demons” began to mean “bad angels” and no longer allowed to mean “souls of men” or “ghosts”.

 

Just after the discussion about syncretism of Enochian fables with Christianity, we need a table of apologists and their active years.  Then if the use the word demon, how it was used (ghost/angel/hybrid).  Wording can be in right column if there is room.  Footnotes for the quote locations.

 

 

I would search from the writings of these to start with:

Table of Apologists.

(Beginning in the 2nd century (after 100 AD))

Quadratus.

Aristides.

Justin Martyr.

Melito, (of Sardis.)

Claudius Apollinaris.

Athenagoras.

Miltiades.

Theophilus, (of Antioch.)

Tatian.

Hermias.

 

Also:

 

 

APOSTOLICAL FATHERS.

Barnabas, died about A.D. 57

Clemens, died about A.D. 100

Ignatius, died about A.D. 117

Hermas, died about A.D. 150

Polycarp, died about A.D. 167

 

CHURCH FATHERS.

Dionysius, died about A.D. 100

Hermias, died about A.D. 150

Justin Martyr, died about A.D. 167

Tatian,        died about A.D.        176

Hegesippus, died about A.D. 180

Theophilus, died about A.D. 182

Athenagoras, died about A.D. 190

Irenaeus, died about A.D. 202

Hippolytus, died about A.D. 210

Clemens of Alexandria, died about A.D. 220

Tertullian, died about A.D. 220

Minutius Felix, died about A.D. 225

Origen, died about A.D. 254

Cyprian, died about A.D. 258

Dionysius of Alexandria, died about A.D. 265

Gregory Thaumaturgus, died about A.D. 270

Victorinus, died about A.D. 303

Arnobius,  died about A.D. 326

Lactantius, died about A.D. 330

 

After these, show that the origin of these thoughts was by the hellenistic Alexandrian Jew named Philo, who, though contemporary with Jesus, never even mentioned him, and was therefore by no means a Christian.

 

"Now philosophers in general are wont to call these demons, but the sacred scripture calls them angels, using a name more in accordance with nature".  (Somn. 1:141, Philo).

 

"If, therefore, you consider that souls, and demons, and angels are things differing indeed in name, but one and identical in reality, you will then be able to discard that most heavy burden, superstition." (???, Philo)

 

"Those beings, whom other philosophers call demons, Moses usually calls angels; and they are souls hovering in the air." (Gig 1:6, Philo)

 

Justin Martyr

“But the angels transgressed this appointment, and were captivated by love of women, and begat children who are those that are called demons; and besides, they afterwards subdued the human race to themselves, partly by magical writings, and partly by fears and the punishments they occasioned, and partly by teaching them to offer sacrifices, and incense, and libations, of which things they stood in need after they were enslaved by lustful passions…” (“The Second Apology of Justin”, Chap V, Justin Martyr [c.  150 AD]).

 

 

·       Investigate this quote from “Close of the Apostolic Period” from “OUTLINE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH”, by J.F.Hurst.

 

4. Visitation of Martyrs' Graves --Intercommunion.-- A custom arose among Christians to commemorate the death of martyrs by meeting at their graves on the anniversaries of their death, and holding Divine worship, celebrating the Lord's Supper, and taking collections for the poor.

 

Many Christians in Asia Minor removed to Gaul, (France,) and formed that remarkable bond of unity between the Church in these two countries. A fraternal letter of the Christians in France, written during a period of great persecution to their brethren in Asia Minor, has come down to our times through Eusebius. Some regard it as the work of Irenaeus.

 

        During this persecution in France only Roman citizens were granted death by

        the sword, while the rest were torn to pieces by wild beasts. The bodies were

        mutilated and then burned, and the ashes thrown into the Rhone. A certain Symporian

        was beheaded for refusing to fall before the car of the idol Cybele. His

        mother cried as he went to execution, "My son, my son, be steadfast; look up

        to Him who dwells in heaven. To-day thy life is not taken from thee, but

        raised to a better."

 

 

·       Add the following to the section “Setting the Stage”:

 

“In the world of Jesus, the devil was believed to be at the basis of sickness as well as sin.  The idea that demons were responsible for all moral and physical evil had penetrated deeply into Jewish religious thought in the period following the Babylonian exile, no doubt as a result of Iranian influence on Judaism in the fifth and fourth centuries BC when Palestine as well as Jews from the eastern Diaspora were subject to direct Persian rule.” (“Jesus the Jew: A Historian's Reading of the Gospels”, Géza Vermès)

 

The above shows that the Medo-Persian culture of dualism influenced the Jews who were subjects in their empire.  Alexander the Great [350 BC] put the kingdom of Persia into Greek hands.  Hence it was around this time that the Greek belief in only good demons began to crumble. 

 

“Dualism - … a doctrine that the universe is under the dominion of two opposing principles one of which is good and the other evil.” (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

 

·       Even if there were evil angels who rebelled and became "Satan's minions", it is good to know that they cannot hurt anyone anymore.  They are in prison.  (Use this in the exorcism section.

o   2 Peter 2:4 - "For God did not [even] spare angels that sinned, BUT CAST THEM INTO HELL, delivering them TO BE KEPT THERE in pits of gloom TILL THE JUDGMENT AND THEIR DOOM."

o   Jude 1:6 - "And angels who did not keep their own first place of power but abandoned their proper dwelling place - these HE HAS RESERVED IN CUSTODY IN ETERNAL CHAINS under thick gloom of utter darkness UNTIL THE JUDGMENT AND DOOM OF THE GREAT DAY."

 

22.16.  150 AD: Apuleius

 

Apuleius was a Greek and Latin speaking writer originating from Africa who studied Platonism in Athens, Greece.  He is best known for his fiction novel “Golden Ass”. 

 

He wrote also “On the God of Socrates” (or, (De Deo Socratis”).  It is a tract on the nature of demons.  (On the God of Socrates). A work on the existence and nature of daemons,

 

ToDo: Was working on a biblio here or something

“He [Apulieus] also states that the blessed are called in Greek eudaimones, because they are good souls, that is to say, good demons, confirming his opinion that the souls of men are demons.” (Schaff, n.d., p. 172)

 

“He [Apulieus] also states that the blessed are called in Greek εὐδαίμονες, because they are good souls, that is to say, good demons, confirming his opinion that the souls of men are demons.” [410]

 

 

Apuleius, by Augustine of Hippo, is ambiguous as to whether daemons had become 'demonized' by the early 5th century:

He [Apulieus] also states that the blessed are called in Greek eudaimones, because they are good souls, that is to say, good demons, confirming his opinion that the souls of men are demons.

 

ToDo: Come back to this.  Obviously Augustine of Hippo [425 AD], who seems to me a religious bully, is forcing the issue that demons are not souls of men, but that they are rebel angels.

 

 

There is also another species of daemons, according to a second signification, and this is a human soul, which, after its departure from the present life, does not enter into another body.

 

 http://www.prometheustrust.co.uk/html/14_-_apuleius.html

 

22.17.  Modern cases of neurocysticercosis in the US

http://discovermagazine.com/2012/jun/03-hidden-epidemic-tapeworms-in-the-brain

 

23.      Regressions

23.1.       Unclean Spirit Going out of a Man

 

The point needs to be made here that Jesus is using a parable, and the moral of the story, “Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”  The Pharisees, after repenting at the baptism of John, later rejected Jesus, being incapable of remaining clean, and subsequently murdered him, adding to their uncleanness.  The parable of the unclean spirit was then using their own understanding to make a moral point.  Undoubtedly it is based on an original source that may still be found in some surviving apocryphal writing.  There are other cases where Jesus made parables based on myths and fables, such as Abraham's bosom,[411] Satan casting out Satan (referring to Baal), etc.  In other words, while most of his parables incorporated realistic elements, especially with a theme of farming, others employed figures from mythology, like humpty dumpty, Goldilocks and the three bears, etc., in order to make some moral point.  Edersheim made the point concerning the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man, that it was just a variant of a common parable form told by Pharisees, a form of Jewish fables:

 

Again, it is consonant with what were the views of the Jews, that conversations could be held between dead persons, of which several legendary instances are given in the Talmud. [Here his footnote states: According to some of the commentators, these were, however, dreams.] The torment, especially of thirst, of the wicked, is repeatedly mentioned in Jewish writings. Thus, in one place, the fable of Tantalus is apparently repeated. The righteous is seen beside delicious springs, and the wicked with his tongue parched at the brink of a river, the waves of which are constantly receding from him. But there is this very marked and characteristic contrast that in the Jewish legend the beatified is a Pharisee, while the sinner tormented with thirst is a Publican! [412]

 

 

 

24.      Satan Book Material

 

24.1.       Very Epps Pamphlet

 

See booklet called "The Devil: A Biblical Exposition of the Truth".

Can be purchased here (I got it already):

http://www.christadelphian-advocate.org/books/books.html

Or download for free from here:

http://sites.google.com/site/christadelphianinfo/articles/apologetics/dsd/eppsdevil/TheDevilExposed.pdf

http://www.realdevil.info/eppsdevil.pdf

 

 

24.1.       Targum of Uzziel

 

If you look at John Gill's commentary for Zech 3:1, it says Rabbi Jonathan ben Uzziel (around 200-400 AD?), in "the Targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel", paraphrases it as, "and sin standing at his right hand to resist him."   IOW that personification of sin in Gen 4:7 is equivalent to "Satan" in the Jewish culture.

 

Not sure if I want to use this or not.  It does show that Satan was considered a personification of sin, but I’m not so sure that when this was written, “satan” signified sin, but more probably it was simply “adversary”, possibly referring to Sanballat & co.

 

 

24.2.       Inconsistencies about Satan in Jewish Heresies

“Dueling dualism at the Dead Sea: Belial, the Principle of Darkness, Lady Folly – But No Satan!”[413]

 

 

24.3.       Insignificance of Satan in Jewish Heresies

 

I feel it is worth nothing here that the concept of a rebel angel named “Satan” in Jewish heresies, were that concept does occur (i.e. ToDo footnote biblio citation here: book of Enoch?) and where “Satan” because a wicked angel’s name, then Satan is only one of several other angels who sin, and is one of their peers, and has no superior role.  The idea is inconsistent with making Satan always mean the same thing, as the most powerful pre-eminent wicked angel who led a rebellion from heaven, etc.

 


 

25.      Bibliography

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Akkermans, P. M. M. G. & Schwartz, G. M., 2003. The Archaeology of Syria. Cambridge: University Press.

Alexander, W. M., 1902. Demonic Possession in the New Testament, Alexander, p. 169. Edinburgh: T & T Clark.

Babbitt, F. C., 1936. De Iside et Osiride. In: Plutarch's Moralia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Bauer, W., Danker, F. W., Arndt, W. F. & Gingrich, F. W., 2000. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Ohter Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Bloch-Smith, E., 1992. Judahite Burial Practices and Beliefs About the Dead. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press Ltd.

Bloom, A., 1968. The Republic of Plato. 2nd ed. New York: Basic Books.

Brand, C., Draper, C. & England, A. eds., 2003. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville(TN): Holman Bible Publishers.

Breasted, J. H., 1906. Ancient Records of Egypt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Brewster, D., 1832. The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia. American ed. Philadelphia: Joseph and Edward Parker.

Charles, R. H., 1913. The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Clarke, E. D., 1818. Travels in Various Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa. 4th ed. London: T. Cadell and W. Davies.

Clement of Alexandria, 1885. Fathers of the Second Century. In: A. Roberts, J. Donaldson & A. C. Coxe, eds. The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Buffalo(NY): Christian Literature Company, p. 184.

Cohen, M. E., 1993. The Cultic Calendars of the Ancient Near East. Bethesda(MD): CDL Press.

Coleridge, E. P., 1891. The Plays of Euripides. London: George Bell and Sons.

Coleridge, E. P., 1938. The Complete Greek Drama, edited by Whitney J. Oates and Eugene O'Neill, Jr. in two volumes.. New York: Random House.

Conybeare, F. C., 1912. Philostratus: The Life of Apollonius of Tyana. London: William Heinemann.

Cowper, W., 2005. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Iliad of Homer. [Online]
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[Accessed 2 February 2015].

Dakyns, H. G., 1897. The Project Gutenberg EBook of Agesilaus, by Xenophon. [Online]
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[Accessed 7 February 2015].

Dalley, S., 1984. Mari and Karana, Two Old Babylonian Cities. 1st ed. Essex: Longmen Group.

De Clercq, G., 2003. The Goddess Ninegal / Bēlet-ekallim of Ancient Near Eastern Sources of the 3rd and 2nd Millennium. Würzburg, Julius-Maximilians-Universität.

del Olmo Lete, G., Vidal, J. & Wyatt, N., 2012. The Perfumes of Seven Tamarisks. Münster: Ugarit-Verlag.

Dorland, W. A. N., 1921. The American Illustrated Medical Dictionary. Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders Company.

Dukas, H. & Hoffmann, B., 2013. Albert Einstein - The Human Side. Princeton(New Jersey): Princeton University Press.

Easton, M. G., 1897. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson.

Ebbell, B., 1937. The Papyrus Ebers - The Greatest Egyptian Medical Document. Copenhagen: Levin & Munksgaard.

Edersheim, A., 1883. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 1st ed. London: Longmans, Green, and Co..

Edkins, R. & Shimmin, K., 2005. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended. [Online]
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[Accessed 27 November 2014].

Edmonds, J. M., 1929. The Characters of Theophrastus. London: W. Heinemann.

Ellwell, W. A. & Beitzel, B. J., 1988. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids(Michegan): Baker Book House.

Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2014. Serapis. [Online]
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[Accessed 1 January 2015].

Epps, J., 1842. The Devil: A Bible Exposition of the Truth. London: Sherwood & Co..

Evelyn-White, H. G., 1914. Hesiod, Theogony. [Online]
Available at: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Hes.%20Th.%20986
[Accessed 3 February 2015].

Evelyn-White, H. G., 1914. Hesiod, Works and Days. [Online]
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Feliu, L., 2003. The God Dagan in Bronze Age Syria. Leiden: Koninklijke Brill.

Foster, B. R., 2007. The Epic of Atrahasis. [Online]
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Fowler, H. N., 1921. Plato, Cratylus. [Online]
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Fowler, H. N., 1966. Plato, Apology. [Online]
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Fowler, H. W. & Fowler, F. G., 1905. The Liar. In: The Works of Lucian of Samosata. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.

Freud, S., 1950. Totem and Taboo. New York: W. W. Norton & Co..

Henry, M., 1994. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. Peabody(Mass): Hendrickson.

Hess, R. S., 2009. Israelite Religions. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids(MI): Baker Academic.

Hicks, R. D., 1925. Lives of Eminent Philosophers. London: W. Heinemann.

Hodson, B. C., 2006. That Old Serpent Called the Devil and Satan. Wanganui: Christian Restoration Centre.

Hornblower, S. & Spawforth, A. eds., 2005. The Oxford Classical Dictionary. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Keil, C. F. & Delitzsch, F., 1891. Commentary on the Old Testament. 2nd ed. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.

Kramer, S. N., 1979. From the Poetry of Sumer: Creation, Glorification, Adoration. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Lange, J. P., 2008. A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: 2 Kings, Bellingham: Logos Bible Software.

Livingston, G. H., 1987. The Pentateuch in its Cutlural Environment. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids(MI): Baker Book House.

Loewe, H., 1916. Demons and Spirits (Jewish). In: J. Hastings, ed. Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. New York: Chrles Scribner's Sons, pp. 612-5.

Lubbock, J., 1865. Pre-historic Times. Edinburgh: Williams and Norgate.

Mackenzie, D. A., 1996. Mythology of the Babylonian People. 2nd ed. London: bracken Books.

Martin, D. B., 2010. When Did Angels Become Demons?. Journal of Biblical Literature, 129(4), p. 657.

McIntosh, J. R., 2005. Ancient Mesopotamia : New Perspectives. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.

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Pearse, R., 2003. Ecclesiastical History, Ipswitch: s.n.

Peloubet, F. N., 1912. Peloubet's Bible Dictionary. 1st ed. Philadelphia: John C. Winston Co..

Petrie, F., 1924. Religious Life in Ancient Egypt. London: Constable & Company LTD.

Roberts, A., Donaldson, J. & Coxe, A. C. eds., 1885. Fathers of the Second Century. In: The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Buffalo(NY): Christian Literature Company.

Rogers, R. W., 2013. A History of Babylonia and Assyria. 6th ed. London: Forgotten Books.

Rohl, D. M., 2002. The Lost Testament. London: Random House.

Rosalind, M. & Janssen, J. J., 1996. Getting Old in Ancient Egypt. London: Rubicon Press.

Schaff, P., n.d. St. Augustine's City of God and Christian Doctrine, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans.

Schmidt, B. B., 1996. Israel's Beneficient Dead: Ancestor Cult and Necromancy in Ancient Israelite Religion and Tradition. Winona Lake(IN): Eisenbrauns.

Sheriffs, D., 2004. Tyndale House. [Online]
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[Accessed 28 November 2014].

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Snobelen, S., 2005. The Geographical Distribution of Demon-Possession: Mapping Demon Belief in the New Testament. s.l.:s.n.

Stol, M. & Vleeming, S. P., 1998. The Care of the Elderly in the Ancient Near East. 1st ed. Leiden: Brill.

Strauss, D. F. & Eliot, G., 1893. The Life of Jesus Critically Examined. [Online]
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[Accessed 27 November 2014].

Strong, J., 2009. A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible, s.l.: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

Szalaviz, M., 2011. Real-Time Video: First Look at a Brain Losing Consciousness Under Anesthesia. [Online]
Available at: http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/15/real-time-video-first-look-at-a-brain-becoming-unconscious-under-anesthesia/
[Accessed 28 Dec 2014].

Taylor, G. F., 1916. The Second Coming of Jesus. Falcon(NC): Falcon Publishing Co.

Terry, M. S., 1899. The Sibylline Oracles. [Online]
Available at: http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/sib/sib10.htm
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Thayer, W. P., 2002. Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History. [Online]
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[Accessed 10 January 2015].

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Thomas, J., 1990. Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God. Birmingham: The Christadelphian.

Thomas, R., 1998. New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic Dictionary : Updated Edition. La Habra(California): The Lockman Foundation.

Thompson, R. C., 1903. The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia. In: Luzac's Semitic Text and Translation Series. London: Luzac and Co..

Thompson, R. C., 1903. The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia. London: Luzac and Co..

Tytler, H. W., 1879. The Works of Hesiod, Callimachus, and Theognis. London: George Bell & Sons.

Van der Toorn, K., 1996. Family Religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

Van der Toorn, K., 2012. Family Religion in Second Millennium West Asia. In: J. Bodel & S. M. Olyan, eds. Household and Family Religion in Antiquity. Chichester(West Sussex): Wiley-Blackwell.

van der Toorn, K., Becking, B. & van der Horst, P. W. eds., 1999. Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. 2nd ed. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.

Wake, W., 1848. A Discource Concerning the Nature of Idolatry. In: J. Cumming, ed. A Preservation Against Popery. London: British Society for Promoting the Religious Principles of the Reformation.

Whiston, W., 1987. The Works of Josephus. Peabody(Massachusetts): Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.

White, A. W., 2008. Roman Mythology. In: B. B. Grogan, ed. Essential Visual History of World Mythology. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society.

Wilby, E., 2005. Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic. Eastbourne: Sussex Academic Press.

Woolley, C. L., 1934. Ur Excavations. London: Oxford University Press.

Zólyomi, G. et al., 2000. The death of Gilgameš. [Online]
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[Accessed 30 December 2014].

 


 

 

26.      Revision History

Date

Rev

Description

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

08f

Can't recall now.  Not important.

 

09a

Added feedback from Len Wise review of 08F.

 

10a

Reworded some places

 

10c

- Moved section about Teraphim into new section after Tammuz section.

- Added quote about "wooden figurine" of Dumuzi.

- Rewrote section on Tammuz, also correcting facts.

 

10e

Merged in feedback from Ted Sleeper review of 08F

 

11d

- Nimrod section added to give better context to section on Dumuzi.

- Entire "deceased kings" section was reorganized.

 

11h

- Added point about the phrase “the Living God”.

- Added a list of other OT resurrection verses.

- Many things done to reduce the strong doctrinal jabs in the beginning were removed or rearranged to get non-Christadelphian readers at least part way through book without being turned off.

- Split up the Conjuring from the Origin of Gods, sandwiching the chapter on death between these, to more subtly introduce the mortality of the soul.  Toned down that chapter and removed the section on “Denial” completely.

- Put “Monotheism” after the “Origin of Gods” chapter.

- There is now an "A-B-A-B" structure: Death through eyes of heathen, death through eyes of ancient Jews, the gods of the Heathen, the one God of the ancient Jews.  This introduces doctrine more slowly, and adds contrast and organization.

- In the Teraphim section, mentioned “family gods” and how the Romans called them “Penates”.  Also add lead in a bit to show relationship between demons and the dead, so reader gets the relationship first.

- Moved sections dealing with demons being angels to the end of the book, made it an appendix, and renamed it “In Defense of Angels” to give it a less offensive posturing.

 

12a

- Added list of Egyptian gods insulted by the 10 plagues.

- Work mostly confined to rewording in the introductory sections of the "in defense of Angels" chapter.

 

12b

- Added info about Dionysus.

- Added quote from "Dictionary of Dieties and Demons" regarding association of illnesses and demons in the NT.

- Corrected interpretation and placement of Jer 8:1-2 quote.

 

12c

- Added referral to John Allfree and Duncan Heaster for possible parabolic considerations from the story of the Legion possessed man.

- Fixed and added info about John Chrysostom and more quotes regarding early church dead martyr worship.

- Connected Paul's passage about the table of demons to the Isa quote in the section on Bel and Nebo.

- Added information in Etymology section regarding "mene" and possible connections of "mona" with the root "monere" and/or "monnaie".

 

12d

- Moved Mosaic Witness section which was out of place, back to the section about Idol Worship in the Holy Land.

- Reworded the intros to the first sections, created new section "Origin of Demons".

- Added to the caption of the Ramses II mummy photo.

- Put section numbering on the sections referring to Gad & Meni, and moved out Bel & Nebo to just after that discussion.

- Moved section about the role of the moon in necromancy to the "Mona" section in etymology.

- Removed section "reaction of the Sadducees".  Although possible, and likely, such was speculation and did not contribute.

- Combined etymology section with that of Bel & Nebo.  Renamed & reorganized those sections.

- Created To Do section at the end for temporary storage.

- Cut out "Christian Quotes" section for toning down and later to put into an appendix.  It is too offensive.

- Created "Demons in the OT" section and put septuagint section in there, and added section on evil spirits.

- Added new introduction section to the chapter "Demons in the Synoptic Gospels".

 

12e

- Updated order of presentation in Synoptic account section, removed "Christian Quotes" section - it was too harsh.

- Added section (still under construction) for Personal Experiences.

- A few other minor corrections.

 

12f

- Added passage about God smiting the Egyptian gods (Num 33:4).

- Simplified the beginning sections.

- Removed extra info about the definition of "Ur".

 

13a

- Changes from some PDX SS group feedback, esp chapters "The Conjuring" and "The Nature of Death" (renamed "The Ancient Jewish View of Death").

- Changes from review by JD.

 

13b

- Updates on entire chapter 5 "The Origin of Gods" (pre-SS review).

- Changes from PDX SS feedback, Quest for Immortality section and first part of Nimrod section.

 

13c

- Added Pictures of Catholic relic idols.

- Updates on "Nimrod" and "Baal" sections from PDX SS feedback.

- Updates as per feedback from JD of chapter 4 "The Ancient Jewish View of Death".

3/17/13

13d

- Added feedback from PDX SS 3/10/13.

- Created "Demons in Egypt" section to "Origin of Gods" chapter, moving the Ebers papyrus quote there.

- Updated section "Gods Galore".

- Added info regarding the term “earth-born” to the section on "Angel-Human Hybrids".

- Added feedback from PDX SS 3/17/13.

4/7/13

13e

- Added screenshot from movie "Rise of the Guardians" with caption about the moon raising the dead.

- Expunged "named after mortal men" as a possible translation of “'enowsh shem”, changed to “men of renown”, "infamous men" or "men of ill repute".

- Added feedback from PDX SS 4/7/13 on "Monotheism" and "Necromancy and the Moon" chapters.

4/13/13

13f

- Added 2 quotes from Peloubet's Bible Dictionary: That British religions resembled Baal worship, and that Bel was a form of Baal.

- Added quote about skin cutting as most common form of DSH.

- Slight updates to section on Etymology.

 

13g

- Updated with PDX SS group feedback in Chapter 8, up to Mars Hill section.

- Added "Connecting the Dots" to end of Etymology section to show link of meaning of "daimon" with ancient pagan beliefs.

- Made more clear the strength of my point found in Paul's thoughts about food sacrificed to idols.

 

14a

- Implemented PDX SS suggestions from 8.8 Mars Hill thur 9.1 Demons in the Septuagint, para 3.

- Cleaned up remainder of chapter 9.

- Added quote from sections of Psa 106:28-38 to "Demons are Ghosts" section.

 

14c

- Cleaned up chapter 9 and first page of chapter 10 from PDX SS suggestions and corrections.