Another ‘hang on a minute’ (HOAM) moment from The Bible Delusion

HOAM 27

Get it Wrong – and You Die.

In Leviticus 10, two of Aaron’s sons get things very wrong indeed; so much for all the chapters on ‘training’ God had given them. Nadab and Abihu take their ‘censers’ (pots, into which live coals from the sacred fire were placed, and on which incense was thrown to make a cloud of fragrant smoke once they had been taken inside the sanctuary), but unfortunately, they “offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.” (10:1). God didn’t like that, so he murdered them. “And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” (10:2). What kind of God would do that?

 

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The Bible Delusion

Extract

‘Hang On A Minute’ Moment 37

You Don’t Have to Go into Battle if…

The beginning of Deuteronomy 20 reads very much like one of my favourite Monty Python sketches, ‘Marching up and down the square’, where a Sergeant Major (Michael Palin), addresses his troops and excuses them from the parade ground in turn if they would rather be doing other things, such as being at home with the wife and kids, reading a book, or going to a movie; until there are none of them left. I wonder if this is where the Pythons got the idea from.

It starts off by saying not to be afraid if they see lots of horses and chariots and more people than they have, because God is with them. “For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” (v.4). So far, so good, I suppose. But then, when they are out there, ready to do battle, the officers are to first speak to the people. Instead of fighting, any man who has built a house but not yet dedicated it, can go home and do so, in case he should die in battle and another man dedicate it. Next, if any man has planted a vineyard and not yet eaten of it, he can go home, lest he die in battle and another man eat of it. Any man who is engaged, but not yet married, he can go home, lest he die in battle and another man take his betrothed. If anyone is too scared to fight, they can also go home, in case they would make others fainthearted. I wonder if there would be anyone left after that. And, why wait until they are out on the battlefield instead of addressing such issues beforehand? What nonsense is this?

The Bible Delusion

Extract

Appendix E

 The Mormon ‘Ezekiel 37’ Claim

 “The Book of Mormon and the Bible Support Each Other.”

“The LDS English edition of the King James Version of the Bible and the Book of Mormon have cross-references and study aids that make the stick of Judah (the Bible) and the stick of Joseph (the Book of Mormon) one in our hands (see Ezekiel 37:15–17; also 1 Nephi 13:34–41; 2 Nephi 3:12; 29:8). Give priority to Book of Mormon passages when you teach, but also show how the Book of Mormon and the Bible teach the same principles.” (Emphasis added) (‘Preach my Gospel: a Guide To Missionary Service’ – Mormon Missionary Lesson Manual. p.105. Available online).

Mormon missionaries are firmly instructed to “give priority to Book of Mormon passages when you teach.” The idea that the Book of Mormon and the Bible support each other is somewhat short lived in many ways when you discover that the Book of Mormon claims Jesus Christ was known in Old Testament times and all the prophets prayed to God in the name of Jesus. Naturally, the Bible does not support that idea, or indeed many other Mormon concepts, at all. Nevertheless, the Mormon Church continues to maintain each book supports the other. Members do not see through the many obvious contradictions.

Not least of the liberties taken with the Bible by the Mormon Church is the concept that the Bible is the ‘stick of Judah’ and the Book of Mormon is the ‘stick of Joseph’ in Ezekiel 37:15-17. Thus the Bible and Book of Mormon can be one in our hands. I just accepted this as a member and found great comfort in my ‘quad’ when the Church started to produce them. That is, a quadruple combination of all the ‘scriptures’, including the King James Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, all in one handy volume – ‘one in our hands’.

Let’s look at what Ezekiel says and what it really means.

Ezekiel 37:15. The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,

  1. Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
  2. And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. (Emphasis added). (See also: NIV below).

The above is from the KJV which Joseph Smith had access to. He used the idea to justify the existence of the Book of Mormon in an 1830 Doctrine and Covenants revelation (D&C 27:5).

Only now do I begin to understand the real meaning of Ezekiel and what nonsense the Mormon claim is. Ezekiel was not speaking about books at all in the way the Mormon Church claims. It is actually quite clear when you read more of Chapter 37, even in the KJV, but as Mormons, we just don’t put it all together. Ironically, v. 18 actually asks what the previous verses really mean and then an explanation is provided. The truth is right there in black and white.

Ezekiel 37:18. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?

  1. Say unto them, Thus saith the LordGod; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
  2. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
  3. And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
  4. And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: (Emphasis added).

So, we see that rather than remotely speaking about two ‘books’ (one not published until 1830), it relates to two kingdoms being brought together under one king. So, what was the writing all about? A clearer translation gives a much better idea. The New International Version of the Bible helps with this:

New International Version (NIV). Ezekiel 37.

One Nation Under One King.

  1. The word of the Lord came to me:
  2. “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Ephraim’s stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.’
  3. Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
  4. “When your countrymen ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’
  5. say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’
  6. Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on
  7. and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
  8. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.

The Mormon Church would have it that the two ‘sticks’ were scrolls or books; one being the Bible and the other, the Book of Mormon. However, the scripture clearly states that it was Ezekiel who was to do the writing in both cases. (See emphasised text in KJV Ezekiel 37:15-17 on p. 337 above). He was also told exactly what to write on each stick and the above NIV translation tells it all really.

One stick of wood was to have written on it the words:

“For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions.”

The other stick of wood was to say:

“For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions.”

In each case, in the KJV of Ezekiel 37:16, the letter ‘F’ in the word ‘For’ is capitalised, signifying the start of what to actually write on each stick of wood. It is not an indication of what is to be written ‘for’, or on behalf of, the tribes in books, as is the Mormon claim.

There are forty writers and sixty-six scrolls forming the Bible, and many authors supposedly contributed to the Book of Mormon. It is Ezekiel who is to write on both sticks in Ezekiel 37. It is only the Mormon Church that disagrees.

The Mormon Church claims ‘stick’ means ‘scroll’ in Ezekiel. Never mind that the Book of Mormon was supposedly written on gold plates and not scrolls. In any event, Ezekiel clearly identifies that he knows the difference between a stick of wood and a scroll. In an entirely different context, Ezekiel writes:

Ezekiel 2:9. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;

From what I now understand, following some research, the Hebrew word translated as ‘stick’ in Ezekiel is pronounced ‘ets’. There are quite a variety of English words appearing in the Old Testament translated from ‘ets’, depending on the context. Alphabetically, these are: gallows, helve, plank, staff, stalk, stick, stock, timber, tree and wood. It is never translated as: book, roll, scroll, parchment or papyri, let alone metal plates of gold, brass or any other material.

The word stick did not mean ‘scroll’ in Ezekiel 37 as the Mormon Church claims. As a Mormon, a cursory glance at Ezekiel leaves one feeling warm and fuzzy due to the trust placed in church leaders; that the Lord has revealed the truth to them. In fact, it can bolster a testimony. Likewise, an investigator may be convinced by a Mormon missionary ‘explanation’ of Ezekiel 37, much in the same way that someone investigating Jehovah’s Witnesses may be influenced by their unconvincing ‘circle of the earth’ explanation. (See Appendix C).

However, an objective review of the real meaning, correct translation and explanation provides, once again, quite an opposite conclusion to the Mormon claim. If you read the whole book of Ezekiel, it is about God and his tortured relationship with Israel. Ezekiel 37 confirms how he would eventually bring them together – in that era; and it had nothing to do with books at all.

The Bible Delusion. Pp. 194-196.

Hang on a Minute (HOAM) Moment 99

God and His Father.

Revelation 1:6 is a curious verse. “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Does that not state that God has a father? Well, yes, it does, but – is it a correct translation of the intended message?

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) confirms the KJV contains a translation error. It should read “and did make us kings and priests to his God and Father, to him [is] the glory and the power to the ages of the ages! Amen.” That’s more like it. Christians generally accept God as eternal – and certainly not in need of a father. The American Standard Version, the New English Bible, and several other versions of the Bible also follow the YLT correctly interpreted wording.

Hang on and consider this. Sometimes, a particular sect will jump on an obscure verse, and without any knowledge or understanding of the underlying facts, invent their own take on things. Jehovah’s Witness leaders have managed it; completely misunderstanding (or perhaps deliberately misconstruing?) the simplest of two dimensional geometric concepts, ‘circle’, making themselves look very foolish indeed. (See HOAM 53 and Appendix C for details).

This is another such instance and the charlatan who pounced on the idea of God having a dad was none other than the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. Unfortunately for him, and subsequently for the Mormon Church today, Smith left a very telling and irrefutable trail of truth relating to his inconsistent use (or complete misuse) of Revelation 1:6 that unequivocally confirms him to have been a complete and utter fraud.

In Smith’s infamous King Follett sermon (at the funeral of a man of that name who was killed by a bucket of bricks falling on his head during a well construction) Smith starts on about plural Gods for the very first time in public. It was on 7 April 1844, a couple of months or so before Smith’s death. Several thousand people were there and following the disclosures in Smith’s talk, many Mormons left the fold as they considered it to be heresy. Considering what he came out with, that is perfectly understandable. Smith’s sermon was faithfully recorded in the Mormon ‘History of the Church’, Volume VI, Chapter 14.

Taking as his text Revelation 1:6, Smith starts off with a statement that shocked many of his followers: “God… is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. …He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth… and I will show it from the Bible.”

A recent Mormon prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, at least twice, publicly declared that he did not know they taught that and he didn’t know much about it. (See: San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Apr 1997:3/Z1 Don Lattin, religion editor; also Time Magazine, 4 Aug 1997).

Yet Hinckley knew Smith had declared “It is plain beyond disputation…” Smith quoted Revelation 1:6 directly from the KJV: “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

Regarding the phrase, “God and His Father” Smith then declared “It is altogether correct in the translation.” This was because he wanted to propound his new concept that God had a father and there are many Gods, supporting his teaching that human men can also become Gods; something the Mormon Church is somewhat quieter about these days. However, when I was a member (1960-2003) that is exactly what we were taught. Even today, whatever the Church may claim, it is a fundamental doctrine still taught in Mormon temples.

However, Smith either forgot, or more likely he simply ignored, the fact that between eleven and fourteen years earlier he had produced an ‘Inspired Revision’ of the Bible, at which time he still held a singularly monotheistic view. When he had been ‘inspired’ to correct the Bible, he altered that very verse in order to clarify the tradition that God of course does not have a father. Yet here, in 1844, he completely ignored his own earlier ‘Inspired Revision’ and claimed the KJV was ‘altogether correct’ – just to suit his newly developed theology.

In Joseph Smith’s ‘Inspired Revision’ of the Bible, Revelation 1:6 reads “…and hath made us kings and priests unto God his Father. To him be glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen.” This is broadly in line with Young’s Literal Translation and probably the only thing Smith actually ever got right – and that was a fluke!

If Smith’s claim that the KJV is “altogether correct in the translation” is accepted by the Church in order to justify their plural Gods theology; then they must also accept that he lied in his Inspired Revision, proving that it was not inspired after all. If his Inspired Revision was inspired, then he lied about plural Gods in 1844. Either way, he is caught in his duplicity and his lies – and that is the true mark of a false prophet. It is also something the Mormon Church can neither deny, nor remotely ever explain. So much for religion – and supposed ‘prophets’ who make things up as they go along.

The Bible Delusion. Pp. 81-83.

In March, I posted the story about Balaam’s talking donkey. What supposedly happened next is much less known and just as bizarre. This is the follow up story.

Hang On A Minute Moment 34

Seven Altars, Seven Oxen and Seven Rams – Times Three.

This HOAM moment simply begs to begin with: “If you believe this, you will believe anything.” It will soon become clear as to why. This is the story of Balaam; not the part you may be familiar with, where he has a conversation with his donkey (see Chapter 17, ‘God’s Talking Animals’); but what happened after Balaam continued on his journey. We are in Numbers 22-24.

Balak (king of the Moabites) had sent for Balaam in order to have him curse Israel. When Balaam finally showed up, Balak took Balaam “into the high places of Baal” (22:41), from where they could see the Israelites. Balaam instructed Balak to build seven altars and prepare seven oxen and seven rams for sacrifice. Presumably, the sacrifices were to be made to Baal. Balak was not of Israel and Balaam was there to curse the people of the very God he supposedly worshiped. Would Balak have offered sacrifices to Balaam’s God?

Equally, would Balaam sacrifice to Balak’s chosen deity? Sacrifices make no sense here, unless Balaam felt they were needed to get God to actually speak to him; in which case, would Balak really go along with such an idea? They both then offer a bullock and a ram on each altar, so who knows? Balaam tells Balak to stand by the burnt offerings while he goes off to talk to God. Whatever God shows him, he will relay to Balak.

Balaam duly meets with God in a “high place” and tells him all about the sacrifices (which God should already have been aware of – as he is God). The Lord “put a word in Balaam’s mouth” (v.5). Balaam goes back to Balak and all the princes of Moab who are patiently waiting for him. Balaam’s message from God is in v.8: “How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied?” Balaam realises he is dicing with death and appears to want to die at this point. Balak asks what Balaam has done to him; he had invited him to curse the Israelites and yet it appears he has blessed them. Balaam pleads that he is only relaying what God told him.

If you think this is an unbelievable story – there is more to come. Balak persuades Balaam to go with him to another high place (the top of Pisgah) to curse the Israelites from there. They build another seven altars and sacrifice a further seven bullocks and seven rams.

Once again, Balaam instructs Balak to wait by the burning offerings while he goes off to talk with God. Once again, God puts a word in Balaam’s mouth. Once again, Balak and all the princes are waiting to hear what Balaam has to say. Balaam has received a commandment to bless rather than curse Israel; which he has done; and there is nothing more he can do about it. He tries to explain, in effect, that they are the Lord’s chosen people and cannot be cursed.

Balak doesn’t seem to take any of it in. Perhaps he suffered from cognitive dissonance? Not that any of this is real. In the Bible, many stories have two, or even three, repeats of the same plotline. This one is no exception. Believe it or not, the Bible claims Balak made a third attempt to get Balaam to curse Israel; he was nothing if not persistent.

Off they go, to yet another high place (Peor); they build yet another seven altars and burn yet another seven bullocks and rams on Balaam’s instruction. During Balaam’s visit with God, this time there is a lengthy description of how wonderful Israel looks from the mountain and how God is with them. Balaam relays all this to Balak who is beside himself with anger. He complains that he had sent for Balaam to curse Israel and yet he has blessed them three times. He tells Balaam to go away.

Before he leaves, Balaam explains Israel will “smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth… Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly… Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever… the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive… ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever.” (24:16-24).

Believe it or not, after all that, “Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way.” (v.25). You would have thought that Balak would have throttled Balaam rather than just let him go.

Still, in a bizarre twist of fate, when God later commands the Israelites go to war against the Midianites, they kill every single one of the men – and they also kill Balaam. “Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.” (Numbers 31:8). Balaam had apparently encouraged Israelite men to bed Midianite women and God was more than unhappy about that.

The Bible Delusion. Pp.266-267.

Let’s talk about donkeys – or rather, let one speak for itself…

Numbers 22 tells the story of Balaam chatting with an ass. As with a snake, the vocal system of an ass is not remotely capable of human speech and of course their brains are not capable of processing thoughts in the way humans do. The only advantage the ass has over a snake is that it can hear – which doesn’t actually help.

Balak, king of the Moabites, sent messengers to Balaam, asking him to come and curse Israel as he was afraid there were so many of them that he would be overrun. God “came unto Balaam” (v.8) and asked who the men were (as if God wouldn’t already know). God tells Balaam not to go with them – or to curse the Israelites. God is God – so what would it have mattered if Balaam had cursed Israel; it would have been of no effect whatsoever.

Balaam duly says he won’t go, so Balak sends princes to persuade him, but he still refuses, saying God won’t let him. Balak sends even ‘more honourable’ princes, who promise Balaam promotion to great honour. Balaam dutifully says they could promise him a house full of silver and gold but God still says he can’t go.

The messengers stay overnight; meanwhile God again comes to Balaam and now says he can go with the men after all (what had changed?) and God will tell him what to do. Next morning, off they go to Moab; Balaam on his ass.

Now, God’s anger is ‘kindled’ because Balaam went – yet God had said he could go – Balaam simply can’t win, and God is contradicting himself.

An angel of the Lord stands in the way. The ass sees the angel who has a drawn sword in his hand. Why can’t Balaam see the angel at this point? Isn’t it so human to imagine angels with swords? The ass turns into a field to avoid the angel and Balaam hits the ass to turn it back. Now the angel stands between two walls that they must pass through and the ass turns into a wall crushing Balaam’s foot, so he hits the ass again. Next, the angel stands in a ‘narrow place’ so there is nowhere to go, so the ass just falls to the ground. Balaam hits it with his staff. Notice, as is often the case, that there are three events here.

Now, God opens the mouth of the ass. God could have just spoken himself, like he did during the previous nights. He didn’t even need to send an angel. But God’s ever mysterious ways are being played out for the sake of a good fairy tale.

The ass asks Balaam what he has done to deserve being hit three times. (v.28). Now the ass can count! Balaam replies, because she mocked him and if he had a sword in his hand he would kill her. Balaam does not for a moment wonder why, let alone how, the ass can actually be speaking. He just has a conversation with her in which the ass says “Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee?” (v.30). Balaam says “Nay.” Then Balaam’s eyes are opened and he can see the angel (and the sword) and he falls flat on his face. Why God had let the ass see the angel previously, yet not let Balaam see him, is not explained.

It becomes even more comical when the angel asks Balaam why he had been hitting his ass, recounting all the events that had just taken place. Balaam admits he sinned and offers to go back, but the angel says he should go forward with the men. That was just what God had told Balaam to do the previous night only later to get angry about him going. God and his weird ways are making absolutely no sense whatsoever. The angel claims, had the ass not turned away, he would have slain Balaam – and saved the ass. What an utterly ridiculous statement.

It is a pointless story with no purpose and clearly just a fable. Balaam is told to go with the men, but only to say what God tells him. If that was to be the outcome, what need was there for an angel or talking donkey? There was never a reason for them at all.

The story pans out in a bizarre and unbelievable sequence of events which are so far beyond implausible that they leave you completely bemused – they are nonsensical and absolutely impossible, not to mention preposterous ideas. (See The Bible Delusion – Hang on a Minute Moment No.34 for details).

January 2017

In June 2016 I shared HOAM 49 from ‘The Bible Delusion’, regarding the invention of Satan. Here is Appendix B, to which it refers, for anyone who would like further details of when, how and why Satan was created.

Appendix B

The Invention of Satan, Lucifer or the Devil.

Referenced from HOAM 49.

The only references to ‘devils’ in the OT do not refer to the concept of Satan, but rather to pagan worship. There are only four that I could locate.he KJV contains no statement in any of the writings attributed to Moses about how the devil (Satan) came into being. The Old Testament (OT) contains no mention of him. That is because the Hebrews did not, and Jews still don’t, believe in such a creature. Until the New Testament (NT) was constructed, which occurred several decades, to even centuries, after Christ purportedly lived, such a character is not mentioned anywhere at all. As with the Holy Ghost being a NT creation, with some fifty references, and none in the OT, so is the devil or Satan, with an equal count of about fifty NT areas of reference; the name itself being used in one way or another, many more times than that. Neither one is referenced anywhere in the OT at all. (In Judaism, the Holy Spirit is simply the mind or will of God).

Leviticus 17:7. And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations. (Bold added to all four of these quotes).

Deuteronomy 32:17. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

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

Psalm 106:37. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils.

‘Satan’ and also the ‘Holy Ghost’ are Christian inventions; Satan serving to create fear, for the purposes of early Christian scribes as they created their new religion: Christianity. The Jewish ‘HaSatan’ (the Satan), God’s adversary, sits on God’s council in the OT, but is erroneously equated in several instances to the idea of the Christian devil who first appears in the New Testament.

HaSatan’s true role is adversarial; he is not autonomous, but rather works for God, needing his permission before embarking on any venture. In Judaism, HaSatan is not evil.

The best known references to HaSatan are in the book of Job. Consider a little of the conversation between HaSatan and God. Job 1:6-12 and 2:1-6 are almost identical. (The Bible is often very badly edited).

Job 2:3. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man.

HaSatan taunts God in v.5 and says “put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” God takes up HaSatan’s challenge and grants him permission to test Job:

Job 2:6. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

Without God’s permission, HaSatan can do nothing. The only other OT references to the character are these, where he is always under God’s control:

Zechariah 3:1-2. And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 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?

1 Chronicles 21:1. And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

Psalm 109:6. Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.

In reality, many references to the devil or devils in the NT simply refer to the condition of a person who was probably either mentally ill or prone to fits, which in the modern world would be considered totally differently to the way such things were viewed two thousand years ago. For example, in Luke 8:2 Mary Magdalene is “healed” of evil spirits and infirmities, “out of whom went seven devils.” How did anyone ever know there were seven? Most theologians agree Luke was written by the same anonymous author as Acts, many years after the time of Christ. None of the NT writers ever knew or even met Jesus, and Luke was just ‘ascribed’ somewhere around the second century CE, to the Luke named in Colossians (a doctor and disciple of Paul). That is, it was simply ‘assigned’ to someone; in this case, the Luke that Paul speaks about. Perhaps there was no one else who they could think of to choose as an ascribed author.

However, no one really knows who wrote Luke, and scholars are equally divided as to whether it is even historical. So, notwithstanding that problem, who was there to actually see and count each of the seven devils that left the infirm Mary Magdalene? Why does that not happen any more? It is perfectly clear that the ‘devils’ were not actually real in this or any other New Testament instance.

A further huge error made by many is to consider that Lucifer is Satan. The idea stems from a single reference to the word – in Isaiah.

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!

Lucifer is a Latin word. In the original Hebrew text, the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah is not about a fallen angel; rather it is about a fallen Babylonian king, who, during his lifetime, persecuted the children of Israel. There is no mention of Satan, by name or even by inference. Many years after Christ supposedly lived, the proper name, Jesus Christ, evolved and it was early Christian scribes writing in Latin (which was used by the Church), who appear to have decided that they wanted the story in Isaiah to be about a fallen angel, a creature not mentioned in the original Hebrew text (or even believed in by the Jews) and to whom they gave the name ‘Lucifer’ for their own reasons.

In Roman astronomy, Lucifer was the name for the planet we now know as Venus, which is another Roman name. In Hebrew it reads ‘heleyl ben shachar’, which literally means ‘shining one, son of the dawn’, according to Young’s Literal Translation. This phrase refers to the planet Venus when it appears as a morning star. It is translated in the Septuagint (third century translation from Hebrew into Greek) as ‘Eo(u)s phoros’ which also means morning star or dawn god of light, i.e., our ‘Venus’ as a morning star.

The name ‘Lucifer’ appears nowhere prior to the idea being introduced into scripture in Jerome’s Latin Vulgate. It wasn’t actually an error in Latin, as ‘lucifer’ also actually means the same thing – Venus as a morning star. Isaiah was using the metaphor of a bright light in the heavens to represent the power of the Babylonian king who then became faded or fallen. It was as simple as that. What it has subsequently been constructed to represent, thousands of years later by Christians, I find incredulous. It is as theologically far from actual truth as you can possibly get.

God never introduced the Christian idea of Satan. Isaiah lived during the late eighth and early seventh centuries BCE. The Vulgate was written in the early fifth century CE. Well over a thousand years had passed before ‘Lucifer’ appeared as a word in Isaiah. Only after that interpolation did Christians equate it to the devil. It would have been impossible for the Hebrew prophet, Isaiah, to have used the term to mean the devil, for the simple reason that they did not and do not believe in the devil. It would completely contradict their devout idea of monotheism, as giving power to another creates dual gods.

To recap: Jews do believe in ‘THE Satan’, but the concept is radically different from the Christian idea of the devil. Jews believe in neither the devil nor hell. ‘The Satan’ has no power and is an angel who works FOR God, not against him. He must obtain permission from God for everything he does. He is described more as a prosecuting attorney (the Hebrew word for ‘The Satan’ literally means ‘adversary’), who must accuse and show evidence against a defendant. He is the accuser and is actually a member of the divine council; he is not an evil being at all.

The Satan must obtain permission from God to begin any work. There are but few references to ‘HaSatan’ in the scriptures (translated as ‘The Satan’) and in each appearance he is controlled and his work is ‘permitted’ by God for His own purpose. This character is completely different from the Christian idea of the devil.

Consider how the Jews (who originally wrote this stuff) view Job 2:3-6.

“And the Eternal said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou Satan movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered, the Eternal, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thy hand <God’s hand> now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Eternal said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.”

Satan has no power and no authority and must get God’s permission to tempt Job or to do any other work FOR God. It is impossible that Isaiah 14:12 refers to Satan falling from heaven as that is theologically incompatible with Judaism and these scriptures are Jewish, NOT Christian. Whilst Christians have two entities, God and the devil, so did the Romans, in Jupiter and Plato, and the Greeks, in Zeus and Hades. However, Judaism is truly monotheistic in that they perceive the very idea of an independent devil creates polytheism within a religion, as each one has power and authority NOT controlled by God. To the Jews this is anathema and ‘the Satan’ is in the employ, under the direction, and control, of God – in a role that Christians would not readily understand.

“For God, the Bible, and for Judaism, to have an entity that competes with God, that has power and authority of his own in opposition to God, is to violate the basic idea of monotheism.” (Rabbi Stuart Federow).

The Jewish idea that God creates good and also evil is clearly stated in the Bible. Take a look at Amos 3:6, Jeremiah 18:10-11, and especially Isaiah 45:7, for example.

Whilst to Christians, the idea of Satan being synonymous with ‘Lucifer’ sounds rational and is quite acceptable, unfortunately it stems from Christian NT propaganda rather than the Old Testament. To the Jews, who (and I hate to keep labouring the point), actually wrote the Tanakh or Old Testament, God is truly monotheistic, there is NO competition. He creates everything, good and evil. However, evil is usually manifested in man rather than in what God does. If God ‘allows’ bad to happen it does not make him evil. Man is quite capable of that on his own.

To quote Steven Weinberg, “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil – that takes religion.”

The reality is that Hebrew scribes who eventually wrote and constructed all the material in the Old Testament relating to the four thousand years before Christ came along (even that idea is in serious doubt by many), were Jews; they did not believe in or practice any of those things at all. That this is the case is abundantly clear from the Tanakh and Jewish theology.

However, Christians are wrong in their interpretation of it. The concept of Satan, like so many other myths, evolved over many hundreds of years, but is assumed, by modern Christians, to have always existed because the Church infers it. However, in reality, he was never a creature believed in by any of the OT prophets, other than in the form of ‘the Satan’ as described above. Early Bible writers did not believe in or teach any such doctrine as the Christian idea of ‘Lucifer’ being Satan.

It is an irony that the same title ‘(bright and) morning star’ or ‘light bearer’ (Greek ‘phos-phoros’ or ‘light bearer’) appears in 2 Peter 1:19 and Revelation 22:16, as in these instances it refers specifically to Jesus. In fact, in Revelation, Jesus is calling himself ‘the bright and morning star’. You could here equally translate the Latin word ‘lucifer’; thus, in these instances, Lucifer would be Jesus Christ and in Revelation you would have Jesus actually calling himself Lucifer, which would be perfectly correct in its proper context.

A harmless word was knowingly misused in order to create false doctrine, designed to frighten and control early Christians. The harmful, and sometimes devastating, effects of that fear and control are still felt throughout Christianity today, and all from the deliberate misuse of a single word. The myth of Lucifer, coupled with the doctrine of the fall, created an evil theology which only came into play in Christianity in the fifth century CE. Some claim that Isaiah wrote ‘dualistically’, but that is highly improbable and he certainly did not relate the idea of the bright and morning star to Satan, as the Jews did not and still do not believe in him (as already reinforced several times).

The actual invention of Lucifer as the devil was just Christian propaganda designed to brainwash Romans and Greeks into rejecting their pagan gods and accepting the new Christian God. Millions of books were burned, eliminating records which would have revealed the truth behind the fallacious teaching.

An amateur historian could readily be forgiven for not noticing the mistake concerning Lucifer, as in the case of one Dr. Peter Forshaw, an Historian in Renaissance Magic. Within a TV documentary on the philosopher’s stone, he was talking about crystal gazing and actually said (in passing) “If scrying is about invoking and communicating with angels, the problem is, how do you know if it is a good or a bad angel? Lucifer was after all the most beautiful angel; he fell. How do you know the angel you are talking to isn’t a bad angel, manifesting as a good one, leading you astray, leading you to damnation?”

He was using something familiar, but not researched, in order to illustrate a different point entirely. He cannot be blamed for not knowing the truth behind the scripture he referred to; he probably wouldn’t even know where to find it. He is an historian, not a theologian; he just used it because he assumed it would be familiar to most people, so his audience could appreciate his point. The very fact that he confidently referred to Lucifer falling, expecting all and sundry to readily know the story, just shows how most people, including Dr. Forshaw, seem to accept as factual, many things they are told, without proper questioning prior to accepting them.

Had he added, ‘the fictitious (or mythical) story of…’ that would have been more accurate, but that might have raised other questions, detracting from the actual point he was making, which concerned scrying or crystal gazing, a method where people pretend they can magically commune with angels.

The king of Babylon was referenced in Isaiah 14. ‘Lucifer’ was inserted as an interpretation of the king’s name in the fifth century CE. It was falsely associated with the new Christian idea of Satan or the devil, thus altering the previously intended meaning entirely, showing that God did not use the name of Lucifer to depict the Christian idea of the devil. It was absolutely not God’s name for the devil and it appears absolutely nowhere in any biblical scripture as such. Fifth century Christian scribes conveniently created the whole concept of a devil for their own purpose.