The Devil in Judaism or Lack of a Devil
by Lewis Loflin
There is no devil in Judaism and never was. The term "devil" doesn't exist in the Old Testament. The term Satan appears 13 times in the Old Testament mainly in Job and in every case is a servant of God. But written in the late post-exile book of Zechariah 3:2, "And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" This is as close to conflict as they come. The term Lucifer1 (light bearer) occurs only in Isaiah 14:12, "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" and refers to a fallen Babylonian king.
The New Testament is another matter. Satan appears 34 times while devil appears 57 times both used in the same context. No doubt Christianity is dualistic just like Zoroastrianism. Judaism did produce two dualistic cults: the apocalyptic sect that gave us the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Gnostics that gave us many of the Nag Hammadi Gospels. Both were brooding, angry belief systems that saw the world and flesh as evil and sought to destroy it to bring on some Kingdom of God in one form or another. Christianity was influenced by the Essenes and the Gnostics through the Apostles John and Paul.
The devil (Ahriman) was an evil spirit in Zoroastrianism and some claim that by the third century C.E., Zoroaster's monotheism was replaced with dualism in some areas. Manicheans developed from the Gnostic teachings of Mani, who taught that the flesh is evil and the spirit is good. He advocated denying the flesh to free the spirit and had an influence on early Christian saints in particular St. Augustine. Augustine was the father of Protestantism.
Do Deists believe in the Devil? Absolutely not. The idea was borrowed by Christians and Muslims in varying ways from Zoroastrianism and Gnosticism. This is known as dualism or good verses evil, light verse dark, etc. For Christianity and Islam alike, this has been the main excuse for their endless violence and intolerance of others. Combine this with a fanatic belief in getting converts at all cost and an apocalyptic (end times) world view, makes them more dangerous. See the following:
Lucifer Septuagint translation of "Helel [read "Helal"] ben Sha'ar" (= "the brilliant one," "son of the morning"), name of the day, or morning, star, to whose mythical fate that of the King of Babylon is compared in the prophetic vision (Isa. xiv. 12-14). It is obvious that the prophet in attributing to the Babylonian king boastful pride, followed by a fall, borrowed the idea from a popular myth. To me that king fell to Cyrus. Christians mixed this into the Zoroastrian Devil just like they did Satan.
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