Star wars we will undertake a brief analysis of those texts that refer to the Bible’s most prominent malevolent beings. Commonly referred to as Satan, devil(s) and demons, these dominantly evil beings are depicted as having destructive intentions toward humankind and are also, presumably, the principal extraterrestrial adversaries at war within Yahweh’s empire.
Time would not permit us to address the lengthy history of superstition pertaining to the subject, but we should note that the folklore of almost every culture on earth is replete with dark tales of malevolent creatures of every conceivable description who prey upon vulnerable human beings. While some of these frightening tales may simply be born of irrational fears and superstition, others may indeed have had their origin in actual encounters with hostile extraterrestrial or earth-active entities.
Consequently, while there are no doubt countless beings of various descriptions throughout the cosmos that may have different hostile intentions toward other species, whatever their motives, the biblical texts attempt to identify those beings in the elohim class who should be avoided or resisted. It is also very likely that many reported encounters with “ghosts” and other spirit-beings (as in paranormal contact, seance visitations with the human dead, or “channeling” of various authoritative entities) may well be a deceptive masquerade by malevolent elohim intended to deceive and distract receptive people who are seeking comfort or guidance “from beyond”, in order to disguise a more sinister psycho-spiritual control agenda.
Modern psychologists and paranormal researchers have observed and recorded many unusual and difficult to diagnose cases of extreme mental and emotional disturbances that are often accompanied by inexplicable phenomenological effects that parallel biblical accounts of demonization. Without arriving at a consensus as to the origin of or treatment for the phenomenon referred to as “demonic possession” (with all known physical effects and clinical disorders considered) many researchers do report that certain subjects have appeared to be “possessed” by some external entity or unknown force.
The causal theories offered are as diverse as the techniques of exorcism employed by the priests and witch doctors of almost every religion on earth. What emerges as the most common observation of those who have witnessed such cases is that the mind of the so-called “possessed” appears to be taken over by an alien persona who then demonstrates bizarre or destructive behavior through the host subject, behavior which may even appear to defy physical law.
This would seem to confirm those biblical texts previously referred to concerning the psychic power of the elohim who can telepathically enter and control the human mind. On the positive side, a benevolent entity can produce welcome effects such as psycho-spiritual healing, prophecy, cognitive dreams, inspiration, and so forth. Malevolent influence or control, on the other hand, can have serious negative and harmful results, as in cases of demonization which produces extreme, often violent, behavior in the one so possessed.
Equally common is the observation that such an invasive malevolent entity can be successfully resisted by the target subject or driven away by willing observers who have the spiritual authority or power to do so (i.e., demon deliverance or exorcism), described in NT texts pertaining to Lord Yeshua’s personal deliverance ministry (see Mat 9:32-34; 12:22; Mar 1:34; 5:1-20; Luk 4:33-37 & 41; 9:38-42; 11:14-26). Such deliverance was a common feature of Yeshua’s miraculous healing activity that his disciples and others also tried to imitate with some success (see Mat 7:22,23; 10:8; Mar 3:14,15; 16:17; Luk 9:49,50; 10:17).
Though it is not clear from the biblical texts precisely what kind of beings are involved in human demonization or the exact nature and extent of their powers and predatory motives, what is made very clear is that they are not friendly to human beings and must be resisted with all of one’s mental strength and faith. Presumably, they are among the elohim-kind and, for reasons not fully explained, have malevolent and destructive intentions towards Earth and humankind in general.
Certain passages seem to suggest that the chief adversarial elohim being referred to as the Devil, or “Satan”, is allowed certain latitude to harm, influence, tempt, and deceive people and seems to take a special interest in testing Father Yahweh’s most righteous servants. For example, in the Book of Genesis we have the account of the temptation and fall from grace of the first created humans, “Adam and Eve”. In the Book of Job we find the story of one righteous man’s extraordinarily severe persecution by the Devil who, during an audience with Lord Yahweh in the company of other elohim, obtains permission to test Job’s faith (see Job 1:6-12). Then we have the fascinating story of the Devil’s temptation of Yeshua found in Luke 4:1-13.
Apparently, this notorious adversary has at least occasional direct access to Yahweh, as do other prominent elohim, apparently with some tacit approval to engage in his evil activities. In the New Testament this adversary is even referred to as the ruler, or “god”, of this world (see Jno 12:31; 14:30; II Cor 4:3,4). One possible reason for this loathsome being having the liberty to freely roam our planet with destructive intent may be suggested in Paul’s Second letter to the Thessalonians in a prophecy pertaining to Yeshua’s future reappearance or “second coming” (see II Ths 2:8-12).
This might be a good opportunity to briefly examine one colorful tradition that may be in need of clarification. The legend that has “Lucifer” as the personal name of the Devil first arose in the Middle Ages from a misinterpretation of an old Latin Bible text. The word lucifer, from the Latin lux fero (Lit. “light bringer”), referred to the planet Venus, “the bright morning star”, and was also an Old English term for a common sulfur-tipped match. Beginning with the earliest English versions of the Bible, the sole reference to Lucifer is found in Isaiah, Chapter Fourteen. Even a casual reading of this passage reveals that Isaiah’s scathing prophecy addresses the reigning king of Babylon (v.4) and not the Devil as the centuries-old legend goes.
In the Hebrew, ha satan literally means an adversary or accuser, especially in a prosecutorial sense, which is commonly used as a proper name, “Satan”, to identify the chief adversary, or Devil, depicted prominently in the NT. There is, however, another identity offered for the so-called “Prince of Demons” in the name Beelzebub (see Mat 10:25; 12:24-27; Mar 3:22-26; Luk 11:15-19) also Baal-zebub in the Hebrew, mentioned in the OT (see II Kgs 1:2). This interesting compound name is formed from the Chaldean Baal (Lit. ruler or overlord) and Zebuwb, denoting a fast-flying biting insect, hence the tradition of the “Lord of the Flies”. Rather than a literal reference to an insect fly, one might speculate that such terminology may originally have been used to ascribe aerospace flight capability to this particularly detestable sky god.
Among the various accounts of adversarial beings in the Bible is the fascinating story of certain elohim emissaries who have fallen into disrepute among their own kind and are imprisoned as criminals facing ultimate punishment at the Day of Judgment (see I Pet 3:19,20; II Pet 2:4,5; Jud 6). One may reasonably infer that these “angels who sinned” are those identified in the Genesis Chapter Six text as “sons of god” (elohim) presumed to have had forbidden sexual relations with human women that produced mighty and renowned offspring in the ancient world. The Genesis text also mentions an ancient race called the Nephilim (Lit. “those who cause to fall, as from a great height.”), poorly rendered as “giants” in many older translations. As Moses does not develop this history in any detail, many writers have been led to wild speculation and misleading fictional stories unsupported by any concrete biblical information.
A question that often arises among students of the Bible as well as researchers into UFOs and extraterrestrial life is how one can properly distinguish between benevolent and malevolent extraterrestrials, and ascertain their motives. Especially alarming to some is the recent rise in cases of UFO abductions and reports of encounters with hostile beings of varying form and appearance. It would be nice if the Bible were to sort out this problem for us but, unfortunately, it does not provide an easy distinction such as “the good guys wear white hats and the bad guys wear black hats”. Indeed, given the fact that the Bible includes adversarial beings that are deliberately deceptive among the elohim kind, some concern may be warranted.
Clearly, the OT writers considered themselves no match for the elohim and therefore submitted themselves with pleas for mercy, completely and fearfully dependent upon the intercession of pious prophets and devout priests to intercede on Israel’s behalf with Yahweh to spare them from their enemies, above and below.
The NT offers a somewhat more hopeful solution to the adversarial elohim problem. Through the power of faith and trust in the Messianic authority of Yeshua who is portrayed as the Empire’s “Crown Prince”, if you will, following his resurrection and ascension into outer space, the individual believer may be given the spiritual power to resist the Devil and even to repel, or cast out, invasive demonic beings in others. The NT repeatedly warns believers to be alert for deception and also to “test the spirits” to determine whether they represent Lord Yahweh or are perhaps a clever, even disguised, adversary (see I Jno 4:1-6).
Generally, Yeshua’s devotees are instructed to exercise dependent, child-like faith in the Father, Yahweh, and are told to use wisdom and sound judgment to differentiate between righteous and deceptive or evil elohim. Beyond this, certain faithful believers may also acquire special spiritual gifts including the gift of discernment called “distinguishings” (see I Cor 12:10). All believers are furthermore instructed to avail themselves of defensive spiritual armor and weapons for waging spiritual warfare against the forces of the dark side (see Eph 6:10-17). Note in the following passage found in Paul’s letter to the believers at Ephesus, this striking commentary on human involvement in the struggle against these extraterrestrial forces of evil.
By W. L. Graham