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 What Do You Mean, "Demon"? 
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I find this topic interesting, and I have a few things I'd like to offer - these are my PERSONAL perspective, and may not agree with yours, or with the leaders of this forum. Also, I'm not sure I've put this post in the right place. Feel free to move it.

I feel that there are huge issues with the label "Demon" in the general metaphysical society. Some of it is because of religious obfuscation, cultural belief. Some of it is due to a complete lack of experience.

I think it is necessary to explain, to start off, how I personally define "demon," as well as WHY I use this definition, as that will save a lot of misunderstandings throughout this post. Again, these are my thoughts, my experiences, and you may disagree.

There are many realms, and many dimensions within these realms. If you picture a spiral that goes up and down, ever broadening in both directions like two cones set together at their narrowest in the middle, and consider that on those spirals are many planes of existence, each with doorways into yet other planes along the same line sideways as well as upwards and downwards, then you begin to approach an understanding of how complex our reality truly is. There is a reason that most civilizations eventually describe the multiverse as a gigantic tree, roots and all.

Our world, our dimension, is inside a hell realm. We're actually the highest of the hell-realms. By high, I mean that our vibration is the mildest. The lower you go, the deeper the vibration, the heavier the energy.

Our world used to be a kind of... cross-over point. The lowest "heavenly" realm, which we call by many names, but to simplify I'm going to call Faerie, and our realm, used to coincide as one single realm. We were neither heavenly nor hellish, we were the fulcrum, the meeting point. However, over time, the energies here became polarized, and the two planes drifted apart.

Because we live in a hell-realm, albeit the highest possible one, that would mean that WE are demons, because by most definitions, a demon is simply that which resides in a hell realm.

When you consider things from that perspective, it's clear that location and vibration are what determines an entity's classification for most people who are well-versed in the metaphysical arts.

We have many myths about immortals, and very few about demons. We have many myths about beings we now call demonic who are immortals whose societies fell to religious fanatics. Monotheism has labeled more immortals "demon" than any other religious path. But LABELING something "demon" does not make it so.

We have this group perception that demons are evil, that they are capricious, that they lie with the truth, that they set traps. The issue I have with this is that these aren't the qualities of demons, so much as they are the qualities we ourselves hold... and they are also the qualities of most fae. If you want to point out a vessel of true evil, I invite you to meet a faerie of the court of light and illusion. They look damned pretty, and they are vicious hunters, and you are their food. They also reside in the lowest realm of heaven... which is why I bring them up. Just because you express a higher vibration does not make you "good." Good and evil are subjective terms.

I have had many experiences with those beings that we collectively assume are demons over the years. The one thing I can say with absolute surety is that demons TEACH. I have had experiences with angels, and also with immortals. Immortals sometimes teach, but more often they have an agenda. Immortals USE. Angels, in my experience, neither teach nor use. They also do not protect. They give information or assistance, but ONLY what you ask for, and EXACTLY what you ask for... and they do not warn you of consequences. Angels DO NOT CARE for anything beyond their own purpose. They're forces of nature, forces of the universe.

As to my experiences with demons, allow me to share. I'm sure you've read this elsewhere, but I think it's worth putting down in this post as well.

My first experience with a demon was an imp. I have no idea how it got into the house, but in the middle of the night, it launched itself at my back, and tried to rip off my psychic wings. It said, in a truly theatrical, dark and gravely voice, "He didn't die for you." It's a strange thing to say to me, because I am in NO way a Christian, but... what was remarkable was what happened next. My SOUL rose up through my body in a HUGE wave of light, tossed him off and through a window, with the words, "OF COURSE HE DID."

I learned something beautiful in that moment. Not just that "HE" died for everyone, no matter your faith (no, this is not a conversion story), but also that my own soul is made of light. I felt that light. I felt that SURETY. I discovered that at the core of me is something powerfully beautiful, glorious.

This is what I mean when I say demons teach. I'm not saying they aren't unpleasant in their lessons, but what they teach is absolutely NECESSARY.

My second experience with a demon was a demon named Molov. He had golden skin, and orange eyes. When he showed up, I was still of the opinion that if it was a demon, it was evil and I should attack it and drive it out. I would like to say, he offered no violence until I did. Then he wiped the floor with me. The thing is, I did learn from that experience (and not just that attacking a demon is not a fun experience). I learned that demons are not evil. I learned that they show up when there's reason - because they are teachers, they go where the lesson is needed. And they will do WHATEVER IS NECESSARY to teach that lesson. They are unafraid of our labels. If we call them evil, that's fine - as long as we learn the lesson.

I also learned that it doesn't have to be ugly.

The next experience I had with a demon, Asmodeus came to me in a dream. He came like a heavy weight on me, an aura of menace. He came as a nightmare, a thing of terror. I woke myself up and said to him, "There's no need for us to be rude. That's not who you really are, and it's not what you're here for. Show me your true face, your true energy, and let's talk."

And so He did. I learned a lot from him, simply because I put aside my cultural beliefs, and simply allowed Him to BE.

Yes, I understand that Asmodeus is an immortal. But he is an immortal which has, by culture and myth, for the past at least 600 years, been considered a demon... and like anyone who bears that label, he likes to play up to the part.

When I work with demons in circle - when I evoke them - I am cautious. I am respectful. I am OPEN. I treat them the way I would treat any deity or higher power than myself that I might evoke. The courtesy and the dialogue with demons is quite different to that of angels. My experience with angels is that you call them, you say what you need, they do what you ask, and they leave. They usually do not offer any advice.

If you call a demon, and you're open with them, they're likely to say what they're thinking about doing for you, and why... and how that might turn out. Demons enjoy teaching, and so discussing consequences is part of the experience. There have been times when a demon has NOT discussed consequences - but that was because it was part of the lesson. Sometimes we learn best when faced with the consequences - and demons, above all else, require you to be responsible for your actions, your choices, and your emotional approach to all things - ESPECIALLY them.

Historically speaking, Lucifer is the Roman god of the dawn star, the star that rises right before the sun comes up. His opposite is Venus, the evening star, the first star to light the sky after the sun goes down.

There is a tendency to equate the mythos of the Fall of Heaven with the stories of Enki and Enlil - to equate Lucifer with Enki, and Yahweh with Enlil, but there was never a Lucifer in the Hebrew pantheon - this is a new addition to the monotheistic mythos.

There WAS a Satan - but Satan was the title of an angel, unnamed. The reason we do not know the name of the angel is simple - Satan could be any angel, and when that angel was being Satan, to maintain their impartiality, they had to be anonymous. Satan literally translates to Accuser. In other words, Satan is a prosecuting attorney with Yahweh as judge. If you read the Book of Job, it's clear that Satan is MAN'S adversary, and not Yahweh's - the job of a Satan is to test mankind to make sure their faith makes them worthy of returning to the presence of God.

Last of all, in the last 700 years, the word "devil" has become a colloquialism that can encompass anything. When bad luck falls repeatedly, one is said to be "bedeviled." The word can mean anything that we perceive, however temporarily, as a negative experience. The quote investigators use, "The Devil's in the Details," literally refers to the idea that if you dig deep enough into a situation, you will find the culprit, because no one can truly cover all contingencies. The details will catch the troublemaker. So Devil can refer to a person, an event or series of events, a being, a multitude of beings, nature and natural spirits and/or happenings... devil is a catchall word with only slightly different connotations to the word DEMON.

There are myths about immortals in the Garden of Eden which are told very differently by other cultures. Yahweh had a wife until his people went to Babylon. Her name was Shekinah and she was honored in his temples. When the Hebrews were taken by the Babylonian king, and their temples destroyed, they went through a religious revival. Many things were changed. Books were removed from their bible. They became monotheists, and they became extremely patriarchal. While you can still only be Jewish if your mother was Jewish, men now pray every morning, thanking their God they were not born a woman. Women are not allowed to be Rabbis. The feminine has been removed utterly from their religious experience.

The myth of the Garden, when really examined, is quite obviously a Goddess myth. The snake is a symbol of pretty much any Mediterranean Goddess. The apple is a goddess fruit - cut it in half, and the star of the Goddess is right there, staring back at you. So, we have a Goddess, sharing magick, wisdom and knowledge with mankind - things that their creator deity had SPECIFICALLY LEFT OUT OF REACH. Their creator wanted mental slaves. Looking at modern Christianity, I suspect He still does.

When we look at the Immortals whom modern monotheism, and ancient monotheism, have labeled demonic, we see, again and again, the cycle of one group of people taking over another group of people, and destroying their articles of faith, salting their spiritual ground. Over time, people stop questioning the definition of "demon."

With regards to the difference between black arts and dark arts. Yes, there are hell realms of such a dark vibration that everything there is innately inimical to us. There are also heavenly realms where the vibrations are so high, the same is true. The issue with labeling something Black Arts is one of perception. If it does harm to humans, if it ONLY does harm, and you cannot see any benefits coming from that, then it is black arts.

You can see how narrow this definition is. It is absolutely a human-centric perspective. There is nothing in the multiverse that exists only to do harm. There is nothing in the universe that exists only to do "good." Everything that exists in the multiversal ecosystem has its place and purpose.

Rather like Kudzu, if you remove it from its own ecosystem, damage will occur. That does not make it innately evil. It simply means it does not belong where you have found it.

The easiest way to deal with something that behaves in a Black Arts way is to contain it, find where it came from, and send it back home to its natural environment, where it actually belongs, and where it does no harm by existing, but benefits its place.

Lions are dangerous. We have learned from experience that taking them out of their natural environment does damage to their habitat, to them, and also to us. They have a place. They have a purpose. Take that away, and destruction follows.

In New Zealand, the importation of rabbits caused such a problem for the South Island that the EARTH WAS LITERALLY MOVING. New Zealand has no natural predators. NONE. Because of this, the release of rabbits by colonials who wanted to hunt them but didn't want to raise them eventually led to disaster. Our solution was to release a tailored virus that killed every rabbit on the South Island within two weeks. The clean up was... indescribable.

When you introduce something not native to an environment, whether it is predator or prey, plant or entity, trouble ALWAYS FOLLOWS. Are rabbits black arts? Is Kudzu? Of course not. They are simply out of place.

This is my perspective, and ymmv - but my beliefs about these things are based on personal experience and the use of analytical thought, the scientific method, to determine those beliefs. This does not mean I'm an expert, by any means, but I feel that I can offer a unique perspective in this discussion about what evil truly is, what good truly is, what qualifies as a demon, and what qualifies as black arts.

I have a demon, bound by Akelta at Satan&Suns. He is a fabulous teacher, he's warm and caring, he's not afraid to kick me in my butt when I need it, he's deeply supportive, has an awesome sense of humor, is seriously protective, and plays a MEAN violin. He is the most beautiful "light held by dark" entity I've ever met - and that's how I perceive him energetically - a star of pure white light surrounded by varying shades of dark. My experiences with demons over the years ultimately led me to working with them in a more formal way, and my growth as a practitioner and a person, as a result of these studies, has been a beautiful journey.

But... as I explained with Asmodeus, you get what you expect. If you hold a belief, even if a subconscious one, that all demons are evil, that the Immortals labeled as demonic are evil, if you believe they mean to cause you harm... they're perfectly willing to give you the experience you are expecting. They have no time for games. They're here to teach. Sometimes, the lesson is that you need to change your expectations.

Deepest blessings...
-Raven

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"She’s all the unsung heroes who... never quit." ― R. A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” ― William Shakespeare, Hamlet
“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
― H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: First Series


Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:49 am
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I really enjoyed reading this post. There are quite a few things you have said that resonate with me. Some I knew, some I suspected, and some makes a lot of sense but I do not know for sure, so I am going to do some research. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:57 am
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Very interesting read. I'm glad you were able to overcome your previous beliefs through experience.


Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:44 pm
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Hey Raven,

Thanks for sharing and what a wonderful and insightful post!

I would just like to add a little more and share based on my own experiences and views. So I feel that how an entity behaves and shares their guidance with their human companions is actually pretty individualistic. Your relationship with the entity will also play a huge part in terms of their interaction. From how they behave to the initial contact and how their behaviour may change after a relationship is formed based on long term contact.

I do have several angels as my companions. And I cannot say they do not care beyond what I put forth as my concerns. They could be a little more reserved in their actions and more observational in their approach during their initial point of contact. But once they know that as a companion, you respect them and ventures forth to form a bond, my angels are actually pretty awesome in looking out for me too. I just feel they have a different approach as compared to my demon companions. Whereas my demon companions may be more direct in their approach and sometimes even matter of fact, my angels are softer and gentler in dealing with things. So I would imagine a dialogue with my angels going more like "Maybe if you consider this? And if you do that?" More consideration and compassion is involved with my angels. Whereas my demon companions may go "ok, if you do this, this is the consequence. Can you handle etc." So it is a more straightforward kind of dialogue. But then again it also depends on the situation and matter at hand.
This may mean that certain requests brought forth to my angels may seem to progress at a "slower" pace in comparison instead of a direct "let's get it done immediately" kind of approach my demon companions may adopt. When a matter at hand is to be solved, sometimes my angels may step back to observe before deciding on further action and advice to give. This does not mean that they don't care, just that they prefer sometimes to let nature run its course and observe before interfering with the natural order of things. Having said that, I know that my angels look out for me and have gone beyond and above to help me out in matters that I did not even ask them to help me in. In certain matters concerning my safety, they can be very swift and direct in their actions, similar to how protective my demon companions can be as well. In my opinion, on certain matters when my angels get into their "no nonsense don't mess with my companion" mood, it can be as scary as my demon companions lol. And then there is also the type of requests put forth. In short my view is, certain requests may work better with my demon companions and certain requests work better when asking my angels to handle. It really depends on your companions' personality and preferences in their own dealings and the relationship you have formed with them.

As pertaining to the matter of immortals. I don't know. I feel that demons being outer spiritual beings are immortal too. So I personally define immortals in a broader sense. So I would think that how they deal with us also depends on their personalities.. some are more compassionate, some are stricter. So in that aspect, I guess it would be wise to do our research and read a little more on them before initiating contact to dertermine if an area we need guidance in is so called suited to their expertise..

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Fri Aug 11, 2017 6:09 pm
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Passemoon wrote:
Hey Raven,

Thanks for sharing and what a wonderful and insightful post!

I would just like to add a little more and share based on my own experiences and views. So I feel that how an entity behaves and shares their guidance with their human companions is actually pretty individualistic. Your relationship with the entity will also play a huge part in terms of their interaction. From how they behave to the initial contact and how their behaviour may change after a relationship is formed based on long term contact.

I do have several angels as my companions. And I cannot say they do not care beyond what I put forth as my concerns. They could be a little more reserved in their actions and more observational in their approach during their initial point of contact. But once they know that as a companion, you respect them and ventures forth to form a bond, my angels are actually pretty awesome in looking out for me too. I just feel they have a different approach as compared to my demon companions. Whereas my demon companions may be more direct in their approach and sometimes even matter of fact, my angels are softer and gentler in dealing with things. So I would imagine a dialogue with my angels going more like "Maybe if you consider this? And if you do that?" More consideration and compassion is involved with my angels. Whereas my demon companions may go "ok, if you do this, this is the consequence. Can you handle etc." So it is a more straightforward kind of dialogue. But then again it also depends on the situation and matter at hand.
This may mean that certain requests brought forth to my angels may seem to progress at a "slower" pace in comparison instead of a direct "let's get it done immediately" kind of approach my demon companions may adopt. When a matter at hand is to be solved, sometimes my angels may step back to observe before deciding on further action and advice to give. This does not mean that they don't care, just that they prefer sometimes to let nature run its course and observe before interfering with the natural order of things. Having said that, I know that my angels look out for me and have gone beyond and above to help me out in matters that I did not even ask them to help me in. In certain matters concerning my safety, they can be very swift and direct in their actions, similar to how protective my demon companions can be as well. In my opinion, on certain matters when my angels get into their "no nonsense don't mess with my companion" mood, it can be as scary as my demon companions lol. And then there is also the type of requests put forth. In short my view is, certain requests may work better with my demon companions and certain requests work better when asking my angels to handle. It really depends on your companions' personality and preferences in their own dealings and the relationship you have formed with them.

As pertaining to the matter of immortals. I don't know. I feel that demons being outer spiritual beings are immortal too. So I personally define immortals in a broader sense. So I would think that how they deal with us also depends on their personalities.. some are more compassionate, some are stricter. So in that aspect, I guess it would be wise to do our research and read a little more on them before initiating contact to dertermine if an area we need guidance in is so called suited to their expertise..


With angel companions, I agree, the experience is quite nurturing - just as you say. However, with the angels that are typically conjured for workings, from the Goetia and from Enochian, they tend to be... forces of nature. Rather LARGE forces. They are the physical representation of the underpinning metaphysical laws of the multiverse... and as such, they are... rather narrow in their focus, and disinclined to teach anything. They are far more... GIGO than I could have ever suspected. My first experience with working with them was... a bit of a shock, because at the time, I was still thoroughly embedded in the social constructs of what an angel is. It was... educational.

I can quite honestly say that working with angels is actually even more dangerous than working with demons is supposed to be. Because of the social stigma that humans hold about demons, we tend to treat them, at least to start, the same way we would treat a sharp knife, or a loaded weapon. Angels, again because of the social constructs surrounding them, do not get that level of respect, and because they are not even as human as demons are, this can cause huge difficulties for the practitioner by way of consequences.

We've all heard of those people who get involved with demons and the dark arts, for reasons of ego, self-aggrandizement, the shoring up of imagined flaws, the search for revenge against slights. We've seen what happens to such weak people. They flail around, they spread hysteria and drama, and eventually, they run back to their gods, screaming for someone else to be in charge. They then proceed to tell everyone how horrible demons are, how dangerous.

Everyone knows that the craftsman never blames the tools... most of those types don't apply that to the metaphysical. *smdh*

Thank you for sharing your experience with your angel companions. Our companions are so enriching. :)

A final, slightly off topic note to all -

Did you know that prior to the 16th century, the word demon and the word angel actually referred to the same thing? People believed that angels and demons were not separate species, but actually that a being that helped you, and harmed your enemy, was your angel, but your enemy's demon. A being that harmed you, but helped your enemy, was your demon, and their angel.

Just to add another fact to aid in the definition of words we use today. :)
-Raven

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"She’s all the unsung heroes who... never quit." ― R. A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” ― William Shakespeare, Hamlet
“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
― H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: First Series


Sat Aug 12, 2017 2:28 pm
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I'm reposting this from CH - this guy had some valid scholarly questions, which I've included, along with my replies. Enjoy!

MagickFromtheMysts wrote:
darkwing wrote:
However, there are several problems, e.g.:
MagickFromtheMysts wrote:
For example – prior to about the 16th century, the words “demon” and “angel” actually referred to the same thing.

Can you provide reference for this? And from which language and what the word is?Because there were already words distinguishing those two in other languages prior to 16th century AD. For example, Arabian Islamic tradition distinguished "malaikah" vs "jinn" and "shaitan" since the 6th century AD.And I don't think the Jewish tradition's "malakh" is equated with "shedim" since about 2nd century AD.


Ok so the etymology for the word Demon is actually the answer.

Quote:
demon (n.)
c. 1200, from Latin daemon "spirit," from Greek daimon "deity, divine power; lesser god; guiding spirit, tutelary deity" (sometimes including souls of the dead); "one's genius, lot, or fortune;" from PIE *dai-mon- "divider, provider" (of fortunes or destinies), from root *da- "to divide."

Used (with daimonion) in Christian Greek translations and Vulgate for "god of the heathen" and "unclean spirit." Jewish authors earlier had employed the Greek word in this sense, using it to render shedim "lords, idols" in the Septuagint, and Matthew viii.31 has daimones, translated as deofol in Old English, feend or deuil in Middle English. Another Old English word for this was hellcniht, literally "hell-knight."

The original mythological sense is sometimes written daemon for purposes of distinction. The Demon of Socrates was a daimonion, a "divine principle or inward oracle." His accusers, and later the Church Fathers, however, represented this otherwise. The Demon Star (1895) is Algol.


So essentially, demons were once neither positive nor negative. They were bringers of fate - the reference to them as being both the divider and provider of destiny or fortunate events, means that they were regarded as both positive and negative in aspect, depending on how they rolled the dice for you. The other phrases: tutelary deity, divine power - shows that people regarded daemons as personal. They are what our modern day guardian angel concept comes from. When you see how the word changes from a provider of provenance to a "hell knight", it becomes even more clear - over time, especially with Christianity gaining a stronger foothold, the attitude changed. Anything other than the Hebrew God that meddled with a person's fate, for good OR for ill, was not of God. I said that demons and angels were once considered the same thing, with their actions from a personal perspective defining them as acting for the good, or for the ill of the person receiving the results, and you can see the literal truth of that through the etymological record.

darkwing wrote:
MagickFromtheMysts wrote:
For further clarification of language, over the last 700 years, the word “devil” has become a colloquialism that can encompass anything. The word is derived from the Sanskrit word “Devi,” meaning Goddess.

Can you also provide reference for this?Because it is not correct. The word "devil" came from the Greek "diabolos", which became Old English "deoful", which became Middle English "devel". This can also be seen from German "teufel" and Dutch "duivel". Moreover, the "diabolos" is still seen in French "diable", Spanish "diablo", and Italian "diavolo". None of these is related to the Sanskrit "devi".


So here, you are correct in the etymology of the word. When I was doing my research for this article, I came across several references to Devil having Devi, Devala, Devata, and Deva, as a root word. Upon further investigation, at your suggestion, I note two things. Those sites are slanted to the extremes of "new age" thinking, and where there was comment, the original posters said they came to the conclusion that Devi and Devil were cognates because "it sounds the same," which shows a clear lack of understanding of the nature of lingual shifts and etymology.

I apologize for that small bit of shoddy research on my part. Though, if it will get me back a brownie point, it WAS 3am. ;)

darkwing wrote:
MagickFromtheMysts wrote:
What fascinates me about this is that in the bible, Satan is an angel of light.

If you're talking about 2 Corinthians 11:14, the verses said: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." (2 Corinthians 11:13-15 KJV). This is generally accepted that Paul facing against with false preachers, as can be seen from the verses before that: "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him." (2 Corinthians 11:3-4 KJV).


I was not actually speaking of any New Testament scriptures. Given the origins of the belief in Satan, I felt it was important to stick to the root, and not discuss the resultant tangled overgrowth.

The original Hebrew term Satan literally means "to obstruct, to oppose." Ha-Satan literally means The Accuser, or The Adversary. The addition of the definitive article HA denotes a title bestowed upon a being, rather than the name of that being. Thus, Ha-Satan means THE Satan. In Judaism, a satan is always referred to with a human component. In other words, someone inspired by God to stand against something - an action, a group of people, a leader, and put stumbling blocks in their way - but THE Satan is always an angel, bound by God to obstruct humans to force them to prove their faith or lack of to their Judge, Yahweh. Ha-Satan was always referred to as an Angel of the Lord.

Quote:
Numbers 22:22,32 "and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him."
32 "behold, I went out to withstand thee,"


Quote:
2 Samuel 24:1 And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
1 Chronicles 21:21 Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people of Israel.


Quote:
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).


Quote:
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Ephesians 5:5


Thus, in both the Hebrew bible, and in the Christian bible, there is agreement in the texts. Satan is man's adversary, not God's, and He stands in God's Throne room - where no "unclean" (evil) being can reside.

Quote:
In Isaiah 45:7, we see that Hashem is the creator of everything, as the text says, “bringing forth light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil, I am G-d who does all these things.” In the Jewish bible, everything is under the jurisdiction of G-d and under His power – all forces, even evil forces. Everything comes from G-d, He created everything, good and evil. That being the case, Satan is not a rival of G-d, he is a messenger of G-d and unable to do anything outside of G-d’s will.


Hebrews do not perceive Satan to be evil at all. They perceive him to be NECESSARY. Without friction, without challenges, without obstacles, we would not grow, we would not achieve all that we have the potential to do. Trials develop us, they develop our minds, our emotions, and our personalities, but most of all, they develop us spiritually. This is a vital thing. Satan creates circumstances in which free will arises and must be addressed through decision making - and then learning from the consequences of those choices.

For more on this concept, I highly recommend this Rabbinical writing about the subject: http://www.jewishanswers.org/ask-the-rabbi-2566/the-jewish-view-of-satan/?p=2566

darkwing wrote:
MagickFromtheMysts wrote:
Around the 1300’s, people realized that some of the things Jesus said in the bible were about organized religion – specifically that it wasn’t the way to God... So… they rewrote the bible (again), and created the ideas of hell and the devil to scare people back into the pews. Hell isn’t even in the bible at all.

Can you also provide reference for this especially the 1300's?Since the ideas of eternal punishment and hell was already existed since before the Crusade (11th century), e.g. from writing of Clement of Rome and Apocalypse of Peter, which was one of the reasons people went on Crusade (forgiven from sins and saved from punishment).


Ok, so this answer requires a journey, so it's gonna go long. Bear with me. In some respects, especially about the beliefs about Hell, you are essentially correct, so this is going to be mostly confirming your statements, but it's to show my thought processes about my comments regarding the Gnostic revival in the 1300s causing papal decrees which made changes to religious law, taking advantage of things that the Church had already added to their mythos (through the twisting of the meaning of the texts). The issue is that the Cathars figured out that hell wasn't in the bible... and they started teaching that. It went downhill from there for them.

So, to start.

The concept of a hell of torment, and the complexities of purgatory, limbo, and the inferno, isn't in the New Testament prior to 110CE.

The myth of hell that we know today had its start in the early years of the Church. Back then, only Jews were members. The issue arose that Jewish people believed that Yeshua was the Messiah, in the traditional sense of that word. He arose to free them from Rome's oppression. A messiah is anointed by God to rout an occupying army, and establish and earthly Kingdom of God - the Kingdom of Israel, as a Theocracy.

"Salvation" then meant being saved from the Roman army and being part of the kingdom of God, and that salvation was for Jews ONLY. From the religious texts, it's clearly evident that Yeshua was thoroughly Jewish, bringing a message to Jews exclusively, had Jewish disciples. He never thought to start a new religion, and never considered converting non-Jews to become Jews.

After his death, his followers were deeply wounded. They had truly believed that he was the Messiah, that he would return to rout the Romans, and redeem Israel. Salvation, in this context, has nothing to do with a place of torment. You're either Jewish or you're not. You are either saved, or your not. You either get to live in the Kingdom of God, because you're Jewish and thus saved, or you live outside the kingdom, and when you die, nothing horrible happens, you just... cease to exist, while the redeemed Jews get eternal life.

The problem arose because Yeshua's disciples didn't understand his teachings. His message for the 12 Tribes of Israel was that the kingdom of god is INSIDE YOU. For the Jews to be "born again/born from above," that is, receive salvation, Yeshua was VERY clear. You must grow to be compassionate, loving, non-judgmental, peaceful and forgiving. The person who grew to spiritual maturity would display these qualities, and would thus live in the kingdom of god that was within. THIS was salvation, for Yeshua.

The disciples misunderstanding his message and continuing to believe that he would return to drive the romans out of Israel to establish a kingdom there is how belief in hell began. The gentiles who were converting to this spiritual path couldn't relate to the Kingdom of Israel at all. They weren't interested in converting to Judaism, did not wish to follow Mosaic law, and much of the history, such as Yeshua being a descendent of David, meant nothing to them.

Salvation began to have a different connotation, one which gentiles could understand and accept. Anyone who believed that Yeshua was the anointed one would be regarded as part of the Kingdom of God Yeshua was going to return and establish, and would have everlasting life. Through Yeshua's death and resurrection, death had been defeated, and believers would live eternally.

There was STILL no concept of Hell. People who weren't saved simply died and were no more. However, by the second century, the church, in their zeal to convert followers, began cherry picking passages in the old testament that referred to fire and judgment, and began telling people that if they didn't convert to Yeshua's theology, that they would not simply die, but would be thrown into a fire to burn for eternity. They based this belief partially on pagan ideas about hell at the time. In fact, the ideas about both heaven and hell came primarily from descriptions made by Homer, Virgil, Plato, and Orphic and Pythagorean traditions.

In New Testament cannon, Yeshua does refer to Gehenna, the valley of Himnom, where people threw their garbage to be burned, corpses were sometimes deposited, and in earlier times, where human sacrifice had occurred. He brought it up to show how his people had evolved spiritually - and to show that the body is basically meaningless, and will be thrown on a garbage dump... it's the spirit that is the important factor.

He NEVER referred to an everlasting torment for the people who chose not to follow him. However, by the time the bible was translated into English, the idea of hell was so entrenched in Christian theosophy, when people read the word Gehenna, they translated it as Hell and moved on. I, and most religious scholars, feel that if Yeshua does see what has been done to his message, he's probably rather distressed about it, being as mythos now has him front and center throwing babies into hell.

Now... from that bit of evolution, how did we get to the 1300s? Well, between the 8th century and the 14th century, biblical scholars began speaking out about the fact that bibles were only written in Latin. The intention behind this was that ordinary Christians of the Roman Empire should be able to read the word of God. "Ignorance of the Scriptures is Ignorance of Christ." During this period, the bible is understood only by the learned, most of whom are priests. They prefer to corner the source of Christian truth, keeping for themselves the privilege of interpreting it for the people. Translation into vulgar tongues is discouraged.
 
The strongest medieval demand for vernacular texts comes in France from a heretical sect, the Cathars. The suppression of the Cathars is complete by the mid-13th century. But in the following century the same demand surfaces within mainstream western Christianity, and eventually the demand for vernacular bibles led to the reformation of the church, and the schism that created the Protestant branch of Christianity.

Why do I choose the 1300s and the massacre of the Cathars specifically? Because the Cathars were gnostic. They believed that the kingdom of God IS inside you, just as Yeshua taught. They let women give the only sacrament that Cathars believed in: Consolamentum - a practice that only occurred once in a lifetime - as that life was ending. When someone performed the ritual of liberation, the receiver had a heavy, though obviously short, obligation for purity. Many would, afterwards, forgo food and water as their penance, hastening their death. Women were also teachers. Cathars believed that reincarnation existed, and that your goal through reincarnation was to eventually reach an angelic state by becoming like Christ. Cathars strongly opposed the Catholic church, seeing it as corrupt. They believed that Yeshua was an angel of light, and that Yahweh was actually Satan, and as Yahweh created physicality, including mankind, bodies and all worldly things were unclean, tainted, evil... and the Church embracing monarchies, meddling in politics, converting people through fear, and making money hand over fist, really sat wrong with them... and unfortunately, they were extremely vocal about it. Last, but definitely not least - The Cathars created their own bible. It began as a vernacular bible, but they sought out gnostic gospels, apocryphal texts, and pseudopigrapha which had, through previous Church counsels, been removed and declared heresy - and they added translations of these texts into their vernacular text.

The Catholic Church, obviously, took issue with this much "heresy." At first, they sent legates to "gently" steer the Cathars back to the way things were done. They were rebuffed - not only by the Cathars themselves, but also by many bishops of the region, the nobles who protected them, and the common people who respected them.

The next step was to start excommunicating the nobles. This didn't go well... the man they sent to do the dirty deed was found dead very shortly after. That caused the Pope to call for a crusade. The Avignon Crusade lasted 20 years.

Quote:
This war pitted the nobles of the north of France against those of the south. The widespread northern enthusiasm for the Crusade was partially inspired by a papal decree permitting the confiscation of lands owned by Cathars and their supporters. This not only angered the lords of the south but also the French King, who was at least nominally the suzerain of the lords whose lands were now open to despoliation and seizure. Philip Augustus wrote to Pope Innocent in strong terms to point this out—but the Pope did not change his policy. As the Languedoc was supposedly teeming with Cathars and Cathar sympathizers, this made the region a target for northern French noblemen looking to acquire new fiefs. The barons of the north headed south to do battle.


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The Cathars spent much of 1209 fending off the crusaders. The Béziers army attempted a sortie but was quickly defeated, then pursued by the crusaders back through the gates and into the city. Arnaud-Amaury, the Cistercian abbot-commander, is supposed to have been asked how to tell Cathars from Catholics. His reply, recalled by Caesarius of Heisterbach, a fellow Cistercian, thirty years later was "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius"—"Kill them all, the Lord will recognise His own". The doors of the church of St Mary Magdalene were broken down and the refugees dragged out and slaughtered. Reportedly at least 7,000 innocent men, women and children were killed there by Catholic forces.

Elsewhere in the town, many more thousands were mutilated and killed. Prisoners were blinded, dragged behind horses, and used for target practice. What remained of the city was razed by fire. Arnaud-Amaury wrote to Pope Innocent III, "Today your Holiness, twenty thousand heretics were put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex." "The permanent population of Béziers at that time was then probably no more than 5,000, but local refugees seeking shelter within the city walls could conceivably have increased the number to 20,000."


Ultimately, it was this act of... essentially Genocide, followed by the creation of the Inquisition, all over the rights of people to read their holy books in their own tongues, that ended with the schism in the Church, the reformation, and the creation of the Protestant path. People who were doing research in secret, and the knowledge that the Cathars managed to smuggle out to the world, brought about a rebirth of Gnostic thought, and began to build the idea into Christianity that the Pope, the Church, was corrupted. By the early 1500's, the reformation was in full swing, and due to the advent of the printing press, dozens of new bibles, from all the little sects that began popping up during the reformation, were produced and distributed.

As I said - Religion be crazy... and sometimes just devastating.
-Raven

_________________
"She’s all the unsung heroes who... never quit." ― R. A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” ― William Shakespeare, Hamlet
“Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.”
― H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: First Series


Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:34 pm
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