Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Batman, The Joker and Beelzebub

We started a new series in bible study class that should be quite interesting. We’re studying about the origin, nature, purpose and plans of the great adversary- Lucifer.

Of the many big unanswered questions about Lucifer, this one stands out most to me: Does he know he is bound to lose? And if so, why does he continue to fight and destroy? And if not, was he all that smart to begin with?

Inside that question in the most interesting part to me- if he knows he will lose, why does he continue to destroy and fight? We went round and round on that one in class Sunday.

While a few lines from a movie script are certainly not important literature from which to build a lens and see a subject clearly, I did find this line from Batman: The Dark Knight to be spot-on in describing the nature of Satan (in the movie’s case, referring to The Joker):

"And in their desperation they turned to a man they didn't fully understand. Some men aren't looking for anything logical. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."

Very interesting… some just want to watch the world burn. I think that rightly describes a certain spirit or essence we find in chaos and anarchy. A common thread that I think originates out of the pure evil and destructive nature of the evil one and flows through certain people that revel in destruction.

Self-destructors, those who sabotage important and precious relationships, arsonists, anarchists that want the world to somehow collapse and devolve for the pure enjoyment of it all.

Here’s a list of names attributed to Satan in the Bible. Its interesting to see how many are related to destruction (list found on

Abaddon (Revelation 9:11 )
Abaddon is the Greek form and Apollyon is the Hebrew equivalent. These words mean 'destroyer,' 'destruction.' This title stresses his work of destruction; he works to destroy the glory of God and God's purpose with man. He further works to destroy societies and mankind.

The Accuser of the Brethren (Revelation 12:10 )
The Greek word for "accuser" is kathgor, which refers to one who brings condemning accusations against others. In view of Job 1 and 2, this is also an attempt to malign the character of God and His plan.

The Adversary (I Peter 5:8)
An opponent (in a lawsuit); specially, Satan (as the arch-enemy)

Angel of Light (2 Corinthians 11:14)
One of his purposes is to make men as much like God as he can, but always without God. So, he will copy as much of God and His plan as he can, but he will always either distort, pervert, substitute or leave out those key ingredients of truth that are vital to the plan of salvation and sanctification through Christ

Apollyon (Revelation 9:11 )
A destroyer (i.e. Satan)

Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24 Mark 3:22 Luke 11:15)
Three possible spellings of this word each have a different meaning: (1)Beelzebul means "lord of the dung," a name of reproach. (2) Beelzebub means "lord of the flies." Either one of these are names of reproach and are names of uncleanness applied to Satan, the prince of the demons and uncleanness. (3) Beelzeboul, means, "the lord of the dwelling." This would identify Satan as the god of demon possession. This spelling has the best manuscript evidence behind it.

Belial (II Corinthians 6:15 )
This name means "worthless" or "hopeless ruin." The epitome of worthlessness, hopeless ruin and the source of all idolatry and religion which is also hopeless or futile.

the Devil (Matt. 4:1, 5, 9; Eph. 4:27; Rev. 12:9; 20:2)
"Devil" is the Greek word diabollos which means "slanderer, defamer." This accentuates his goal and work to impugn the character of God.

Dragon (Revelation 12:9 and 20:2)
Probably from an alternate form of derkomai (to look); a fabulous kind of serpent (perhaps as supposed to fascinate) or the Greek word is drakon (as in draconian) and refers to a "hideous monster, a dragon, or large serpent." This word stresses the cruel, vicious, and blood thirsty character and power of Satan.

the Enemy (Matthew 13:39)
From a primary echtho (to hate); hateful (passively, odious, or actively, hostile); usually as a noun, an adversary (especially Satan)

the Evil One (John 17:15; 1 John 5:9)
The Greek poneros means "wicked, evil, bad, base, worthless, vicious, degenerate." It points to Satan's character as active and malignant.

Father of All Lies (John 8:44)
A falsifier; Using his network of deception through demonic forces and duped people, he promotes false doctrines in the name of God.

god of this world (II Corinthians 4:4)
god is used generically and refers to Satan

King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:4)
Confusion; Babel (i.e. Babylon), including Babylonia and the Babylonian empire

King of Tyrus Ezekiel 28:12)
A rock; Tsor, a place in Palestine. Satan is the false rock. Christ is the true Rock.

Little Horn (Daniel 7:8)
A horn (as projecting); by implication, a flask, cornet; by resembl. an elephant's tooth (i.e. ivory), a corner (of the altar), a peak (of a mountain), a ray (of light); figuratively, power

Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12)
The Hebrew word for Lucifer (KJV translation) is literally "the shining one." This name draws our attention to his pre-fall condition and to the nature of the cause of his fall - pride; the morning star: Lucifer (the king of Babylon). Satan is the false morning star. Christ is the true morning Star.

Man of sin (II Thessalonians 2:3)
Satan was the first to sin. See Ezekiel 28:11-19

That Old Serpent (Revelation 12:9 and 20:2)
old = original or primeval
serpent = (through the idea of sharpness of vision); a snake, figuratively (as a type of sly cunning) an artful malicious person, especially Satan

Power of Darkness (Colossians 1:13)
"shade" or a shadow (literally or figuratively [darkness of error or an adumbration])

Prince of the Power of the Air (Ephesians 2:2)
prince = a first (in rank or power)
power = privilege, i.e. (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence

Prince that shall come (Daniel 9:26)
A commander (as occupying the front), civil, military or religious; generally (abstractly, plural), honorable themes. See II Thessalonians 2:3-4 and Revelation 12:7-9

prince of Tyrus (Ezekiel 28:2)
a rock; Tsor, a place in Palestine. Satan is the false rock. Christ is the true Rock.

Prince of this world (John 12:31)
prince = a first (in rank or power)
world = orderly arrangement, i.e. decoration; by implication, the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively [morally])

The Proud One (Isaiah 14:12-14)
The five "I wills"

Rulers of the darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12 )
Rulers = a world-ruler, an epithet of Satan
darkness = shadiness, i.e. obscurity (literally or figuratively)

Satan (Job 1:6-9; Matt. 4:10)
The title "Satan" occurs 53 times in 47 verses in the Bible. The primary idea is 'adversary, one who withstands.'

Serpent (Genesis 3:1; Rev. 12:9)
Properly, to hiss, i.e. whisper a (magic) spell; generally, to prognosticate

Son of Perdition (John 17:12, II Thessalonians 2:3)
Ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal) also to destroy fully (reflexively, to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively

the Tempter (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5)
To test (objectively), i.e. endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline

the Wicked One (Matthew 13:19)
Hurtful, i.e. evil (properly, in effect or influence) figuratively, calamitous; also (passively) ill, i.e. diseased; but especially (morally) culpable, i.e. derelict, vicious, facinorous; neuter (singular) mischief, malice, or (plural) guilt; masculine (singular) the devil, or (plural) sinners