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The Devil in Christianity

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In mainstream Christianity, the Devil (or Satan) is a fallen angel who rebelled against god.
Satan was expelled from Heaven and sent to Earth.

The devil is often identified as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, whose persuasions led to the two corresponding Christian doctrines: the Original Sin and its cure, the Redemption of Jesus Christ.

He is also identified as the accuser of Job, the tempter of the Gospels, Leviathan and the dragon in the Book of Revelation.

Christian teachings

In Christianity, the title Satan (Hebrew: הַשָּׂטָן ha-Satan), "the adversary", is a title of various entities, both divine and human, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible.

"Satan" later became the name of the personification of evil. Christian tradition and theology changed "Satan" from an accuser appointed by God to test men's faith to God's godlike fallen opponent: "the devil", "Shaitan" in Arabic (the term used by Arab Christians and Muslims).

Traditionally, Christians have understood the devil to be the author of lies and promoter of evil. However, the devil can go no further than the word of Christ the Logos allows, resulting in the problem of evil.

Liberal Christianity often views the devil metaphorically. This is true of some Conservative Christian groups too, such as the Christadelphians and the Church of the Blessed Hope. Much of the popular lore of the devil is not biblical; instead, it is a post-medieval Christian reading of the scriptures influenced by medieval and pre-medieval Christian popular mythology.

Old Testament

The serpent (Genesis 3)

In the view of many Christians, the devil's first appearance in the Old Testament is as the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The serpent tempts Adam and Eve into eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which God had forbidden them to eat, thus causing their expulsion from the Garden and indirectly causing sin to enter the world.

In God's rebuke to the serpent, he tells it "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel."
(Genesis 3:14-15)

Christian scriptures are often interpreted to identify the serpent with the Devil. The deutero canonical Book of Wisdom says, "But by the envy of the devil, death entered the world and they who are in his possession experience it." (Wisdom 2:24)

Satan is implicitly identified, in the New Testament, with the serpent in Eden, in Revelation 12:9: "This great dragon — the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world — was thrown down to the earth with all his angels."

Job's adversary (Job 1-2)
Book of Job

Christian teaching about the Satan (Hebrew שָׂטָן, Adversary), to whom God proposes his servant Job is that he appears in the heavenly court to challenge Job, with God's permission. This is one of two Old Testament passages, along with Zechariah 3, where Hebrew ha-Satan (the Adversary) becomes Greek ho diabolos (the Slanderer) in the Greek Septuagint used by the early Christian church.|}

David's satan

Christian teaching about the involvement of Satan in David's census varies, just as the pre-exilic account of 2 Samuel and the later account of 1 Chronicles present differing perspectives:

2 Samuel 24:1 And the anger of the LORD was again kindled against Israel, and stirred up David against them, saying: Go, number Israel and Judah.

1 Chronicles 21:1 However, Satan rose up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.

Zechariah 3

Zechariah's vision of recently deceased Joshua the High Priest depicts a dispute in the heavenly throne room between Satan and the Angel of the Lord (Zechariah 3:1–2). Goulder (1998) views the vision as related to opposition from Sanballat the Horonite.

Isaiah's Lucifer (Isaiah 14)
Lucifer and Isaiah 14

Since the time of Origen and Jerome,[4] some Christian concepts of the devil have included the Morning Star in Isaiah 14:12, which is translated Lucifer ("Morning Star" as a noun, "light-bringing" as an adjective)[5] in the Latin Vulgate, and transferred directly from Latin into the King James Version as a name "Lucifer"

When the Bible was translated into Latin (the Vulgate), the name Lucifer appeared as a translation of "Morning Star", or the planet Venus, in Isaiah 14:12. Isaiah 14:1-23 is a passage concerned with the plight of Babylon, and its king is referred, in sarcastic and hyperbolic language to as "morning star, son of the dawn".

This is because the Babylonian king was considered to be of godly status and of symbolic divine parentage (Bel and Ishtar, associated with the planet Venus).

While this information is available to scholars today via translated Babylonian cuneiform text taken from clay tablets, it was not as readily available at the time of the Latin translation of the Bible. At some point the reference to "Lucifer" was interpreted as a reference to the moment Satan was thrown from Heaven. And despite the clarity of the chapter as a whole, the 12th verse continues to be put forth as proof that Lucifer was the name of Satan before the fall. Thus Lucifer became another name for Satan and has remained so, owing to popular tradition.

The Hebrew Bible word for the morning star, which was later translated to "Lucifer" in English, is הילל (transliterated HYLL), meaning "morning star". Although this word, Heilel, has come to be translated as "morning-star" from the Septuagint's translation of the Scriptures, the letter ה in Hebrew often indicates singularity, much as the English "the," in which case the translation would be ה "the" ילל "yell," or "the wailing yell."

Later, for unknown reasons, Christian demonologists appeared to designate "Satan", "Lucifer", and "Beelzebub" as different entities, each with a different rank in the demonic hierarchy.

One hypothesis is that this might have been an attempt to establish a demonic trinity with the same person, akin to the Christian Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, but most demonologists do not carry this view.

Cherub in Eden (Ezekiel 28)
Ezekiel's cherub in Eden

The cherub in Eden is a figure mentioned in Ezekiel 28:13-14, identified with the King of Tyre, specifically Ithobaal III (reigned 591–573 BCE) who according to Josephus' list of kings of Tyre was reigning contemporary with Ezekiel at the time of the first fall of Jerusalem. Christianity has traditionally linked the reference to the fall of Satan.

New Testament

Arms of Satan - based on Revelation 16:13-14: "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."

The Devil (Greek ho diabolos): Following the use in Job and Zechariah in the Septuagint this title, "the Accuser", is ascribed to Satan 32 times in the New Testament. The three other uses of the word are for humans - Judas, and gossips.(Revelation 12:9).

Satan (Greek ho satanas): Luke 10:18 "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." See also Matthew 4:10, Matthew 12:26, Mark 4:15, Luke 22:31, Acts 26:18, 1Corinthians 5:5, 2Corinthians 11:14, 1Thessalonians 2:18, 1Timothy 5:15, Revelation 3:9 and Revelation 20:2

Beelzebub (Greek Beelzeboul) : In Matthew 10:25, Matthew 12:24, Mark 3:22, and openly in Luke 11:18-19 there is an implied connection between Satan and Beelzebub (originally a Semitic deity called Baal, and referred to as Baal-zebul, meaning lord of princes). Beelzebub (lit. Lord of the Flies) has now come to be analogous to Satan.

The Wicked One (Greek ὁ πονηρὸς ho poneros) : Matthew 13:19--"Then cometh the wicked one." Matthew 6:13, 1 John 5:19. This title suggests that Satan is one who is wicked himself. Abrahamic religions generally regarded sin as a physical manifestation of opposition to God.

Prince of this World (Greek ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου ho Archōn tou kosmou toutou; Latin Princeps Huius Mundi) : in John 12:31 and John 14:30.

The Tempter (Greek ὁ πειράζων ho peirazōn) : Matthew 4:3--"And when the tempter came to him." Also, 1Thessalonians 3:5
Liar and father of lies (Greek ψεύστης psěustēs) : John 8:44--"When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Belial (Greek Belial) : in 2 Corinthians 6:15 "What agreement does Christ have with Belial?" may be a reference to the devil, or to eating idol meats. In the Old Testament, rebellious people and nonbelievers are sometimes called 'sons of Belial'. See also Deuteronomy 13:13,Judges 20:13, 1Samuel 2:12, 2Samuel 23:6, 1Kings 21:10, 2Chronicles 13:7

The god of this world in 2 Corinthians 4:4.
The prince of the power of the air in Ephesians 2:2.
Your adversary (Greek antidikos) : in 1 Peter 5:8--"Your adversary the devil." In the Christian worldview, Satan is the adversary of both God and the believers.[citation needed]
The Dragon (Greek ho drakōn) : in Revelation 20:2
The Ancient Serpent (Greek ho ophis ho archaios) : also in Revelation 20:2


The Devil depicted in The Temptation of Christ, by Ary Scheffer, 1854.
Temptation of Christ

The devil figures much more prominently in the New Testament and in Christian theology than in the Old Testament and Judaism. The New Testament records numerous accounts of the devil working against God and his plan. The Temptation of Christ features the devil, and is described in all three synoptic gospels, (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13), although in Mark's gospel he is called Satan.

In all three synoptic gospels, (Matthew 9:22-29, Mark 3:22-30, and Luke 11:14-20), Jesus' critics accuse him of gaining his power to cast out demons from Beelzebub, the chief demon (often identified with Satan in mainstream Christendom). In response, Jesus says that a house divided against itself will fall, so, logically speaking, why would the devil allow one to defeat the devil's works with his own power?

The New Testament includes numerous instances of demonic possession. Satan himself is said to have entered Judas Iscariot before Judas's betrayal. (Luke 22:3) Jesus encounters those who are possessed and casts out the evil spirit(s). A person may have one demon or multiple demons inhabiting their body. Jesus encountered a man filled with numerous demons in Mark 5:1-20.[10]

Acts and epistles

The Epistle of Jude makes reference to an incident where the Archangel Michael argued with the devil over the body of Moses. According to the First Epistle of Peter, "Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour."

Depiction of the Devil in the Codex Gigas.

According to most Christian eschatology, Satan will wage a final war against Jesus, before being cast into Hell for aeonios. A few early Church Fathers are known to have prayed for Satan's eventual repentance but it was not generally believed that this would happen.

On the other hand, Dispensationalists teach that Jesus returns to earth before the Great Tribulation to reclaim the righteous, dead and living, to meet him in the air (known as the Rapture. Many Fundamentalists believe that immediately following this, the Tribulational period will occur as prophesied in the book of Daniel, while others (especially Seventh-day Adventists) believe that immediately following Jesus' Second Coming, Satan will be bound on this Earth for a thousand years, after which he will be "loosed for a little season" –this is when the battle of Armageddon (the final confrontation between good and evil) will be waged–and Satan and his followers will be destroyed once and for all, the Earth will be cleansed of all evil and there will be "a new Heaven and a new Earth" where sin will reign no more.

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