Then later in the Old Testament, the word "Satan" is just used to mean "adversary" -- the way "antichrist" was used to refer to anyone who hated Christians.
Strangest of all, in one of the very few times that Satan actually appears with a speaking role in the Bible, he's kind of God's adviser on human relations. In the story of Job, Satan is one of many angels who attend when God holds court in his heavenly kingdom. Job is God's favorite human due to his righteousness, but Satan suggests that maybe Job wouldn't be so righteous if God took away his wealth and family, so God decides he has a point and proceeds to do so. That's right -- God gets advice from Satan, decides it's a good idea, and follows through with it.
Then, someone refers to Lucifer in another book, commonly believed to be the Devil's real name. That turned out to be a simple misunderstanding -- the author of Isaiah 14 was taking the mickey out of a Babylonian king by comparing him to the descent of the planet Venus (it translates roughly to "bright morning star"). Later translators got mixed up and decided that this, too, was a reference to a single demonic being behind everything.
NikiLitov/iStock/Getty Images"Maybe we should be more precise."
"It's fine; it's not like people are gonna kill each other over this."
Finally, the character of Satan as the general in a great battle against God comes together in the Book Of Revelation, which says this:
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
That's right: "The great dragon." After going the whole book with no physical description of Satan (no horns, no red pajamas, no pitchfork), suddenly at the very end they just mention in passing that, oh yeah, he's a giant dragon. Holy shit, guys. It seems like you kind of buried the lede there.
For more required bible studies, check out 5 Real Deleted Bible Scenes In Which Jesus Kicks Some Ass and 5 Miracles Deleted From the Bible For Being Too Awesome.
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