The names of the devils


 

People generally think that the words devil (Diablo) and demon (demonio) are synonyms and use them as such. But Holy Scripture does not treat these two words as synonyms. For what the Bible says of the Devil, this is a spirit which is very superior to the rest of the demoniacal hierarchies. The word Devil or Satan or Beelzebub are always used in the singular, just as with other equivalent denominations (Serpent, Dragon, etc.). Whereas the word demon appears sometimes in the singular y other times in plural.

The Hebrew word Satan means "adversary" and its translation into Greek gives the word "Diabolos", from the root dia-ballo, to divide or separate. The meaning of Devil (>Diabolos) would be "He who places division" and its derived meaning would be "slanderer". In Arabic, the word Satan means "he-goat".
Belial o Beliar, from the root "Baal", which means lord, is another form of naming Satan in the New Testament. The symbol of Baal is the bull. Set against the ferocity of the bull, or of the goat, we find the symbol of Jesus Christ: the meekness of the lamb.

Beelzebub would mean the prince of dung, or the prince of flies. If we mix the aramean word "be'el" (which means lord) with the Hebrew word "zebul" (which means house), we would get the meaning: lord of the house.
The Devil appears in Sacred Scripture with the following names, besides those already mentioned:

The Accuser,
The Enemy,
The Tempter,
The Evil one,
The Murderer from the beginning,
The Father of lies,
The Prince of this world,
The Serpent,

Lucifer is a name which is not found in the Bible and means "morning star". The symbology would be that the stars represent the angelical natures, the moon would represent the Virgin Mary and the Sun, -the King of Stars-, would represent God. The first day of creation, in which the light was separated from the dark, -in which the light would represent the creation of the blessed angels, whereas the night would represent the defection of the rebellious angels-, Satan would be the "Lucifer", that is, the first star that announces the night, the first defection that appears in the evening sky. From there the name Lucifer fits due to the beauty of the star that corresponds to his angelical nature, superior to others, and because it is the first star of the twilight. Some people mistakenly translate the Latin word Lucifer as "he who carries light", but that is an error because this meaning corresponds to the word "luciferarius". The name Lucifer was applied to Satan when some holy Fathers realized that the words of the prophet Isaiah referring to the great prince of Babylon fitted the Devil perfectly, the star of the morning that falls from the sky because of its pride.

How did you come to fall from the heavens,
Daystar,
son of the Dawn?
How did you come to be thrown to the ground,
you who enslaved the nations?
You used to think to yourself, "I will climb up to the heavens;
and higher than the stars of God I will set my throne." (...)
Now you have fallen to Sheol, to the very bottom of the abyss.

Is 14, 12-15

Here in this work, I am using the word Lucifer as a synonym of the Devil. However, others, among whom Gabriele Amorth, consider that Lucifer is a distinct demon from Satan; Lucifer would be the second in "dignity" among the fallen angels. Nevertheless, tradition has not distinguished between these two terms. In the 3rd century, Origin used them as synonyms and, frankly speaking, I don't think there are solid reasons to consider them different.
In the book of Tobias there appears the name of a demon: Asmodeus (from the persion "Aaesma daeva") which means "spirit of anger (rage)".

The name Lilith (Is. 34, 14) is a hapax (* "mentioned only once") that has always been considered a demoniacal figure. In the Mesopotamian mythology that name corresponds to a genie with the head and body of a woman, but with the wings and inferior extremities of a bird. His name is probably related with "lylh" which means "night".

In Is. 13, 21 and Bar. 4, 35 there appear the "seirim" which could be translated as "the hairy ones" and is derived from the Hebrew "sa'ir": "hairy" or "he-goat"). St. Jerome chose to translate that word as "satyrs", which is particularly well fitting, because that Hebrew word was considered to refer to something like demons in the form of he-goats. This word indicates ancient demoniacal entities to whom cult was given: "They must no longer offer their sacrifices to the satyrs, in whose service they once prostituted themselves" (Lev. 17,7)

In Apoc. 9,11 we are told that "Ael", angel of the Abyss, whose Hebrew name is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon. The name Abaddon means "perdition, ruin, destruction". Apollyon means "destroyer".

The greek word "daimon" means "spirit" (good or evil), although in the New Testament it is only used to designate evil spirits. With the exception of Heb. 17,18, in which it has the generic meaning of "divinities". In the pagan atmosphere of the classical epoch, the points of reference used concerning the concept of demon are very different, since they considered the existence of phantasms, eons, nature spirits, mediators, souls of the dead, good and evil spirits, etc.

The word "unclean spirit" and demon (devil) are used indistinctly. Thus, the syrophoenician woman says that her daughter is possessed by a devil in Matthew, and in Mark it says that she had an unclean spirit.
The different names with which these devils are designated are:

-deaf spirit; Mc 9,25
-spirit of dumbness; Mc 9,17
-impure spirit; Mc 1,23
-evil spirit; Lc 7,21
-spirit of an unclean devil; Lc 4,33

In the Gospel, the word "lunatic" appears once (Mt. 17,14). In ancient times, this word could refer to epilepsy and to possession, and it was derived from the belief that the moon had an influence in the critical states of these persons.
"Energumen" (madman; demoniac) is a form of referring to the possessed and comes from the word "energy", due to the strength that these people had in their critical moments.

Luzbel es otra forma extrabíblica de denominar al Diablo.

Mephistopheles is the name of the devil that appears in Goethe's Faust. This infernal character appears in ancient Germanic legends as Doctor Faust's companion, with the name Mephostophies, whose antiquity dates to the year 1587. The actual name, currently used, was generalized by Goethe's influence. It's most probable etymology is that it originates from Megistophiel. Ophiel (from the Greek "ophis", serpent) was a byname of Hermes Trismegistus, who in antiquity, was the patron of alchemists and sorcerers, resurrected in 16th century literature and classified by the same as among the seven greatest infernal princes.

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