Tag Archives: serpent

The Serpent, Dragon and the Seraphim

We have all read the story of Adam and Eve who was tricked by a snake. As fantastical as it sounds, as believers in the Scriptures we have faith in its accuracy. So what was this serpent’s appearance? Was it a normal snake or something more of a heavenly origin? I believe the scriptures contain a lot more secrets on this regard, than meets the eye. In this short study we will attempt to find answers to what could have been the origins of the Serpent and it’s connection to other parts of Scripture through consideration of the Original Hebrew and Greek words used in our Manuscripts. Let us begin:

1.Enchantment, Divination and the Serpent
The first time we see the “serpent” is in Gen 3:1

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

The Hebrew word for serpent “Nawkhawsh”(H5175) comes from “Nawkhash”(H5172) which is translated as “enchant” and “divine” in several places in the Scriptures(Gen 44:15, Lev 19:26, Deu 18:10, 2Ch 33:6).

H5175 – נחשׁ – nâchâsh – naw-khawsh’ – From H5172; a snake (from its hiss): – serpent.
H5172 – נחשׁ – nâchash – naw-khash’ – A primitive root; properly to hiss, that is, whisper a (magic) spell; generally to prognosticate: – X certainly, divine, enchanter, (use) X enchantment, learn by experience, X indeed, diligently observe.

2.Dragon, Serpent and… Whale?
Before the appearance of the Serpent in Gen 3, we see the Hebrew word “Tanneen”. The interesting thing about this word is that it appears in the Scriptures 23 times, of which it is translated as “Whale” 3 times, as “Serpent” 3 times and as “Dragon” 17 times.

Gen 1:21 And God created great whales(H8577), and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Exo 7:9,10 When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent(H8577). And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent(H8577).

Psa 91:13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon(H8577) shalt thou trample under feet.

Isa 51:9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon(H8577)?

There is surely a correlation between “Tanneen” and “Nawkhash” as God tell Moses that the rod will become a “Nawkhash” in Exo 4:3 and says it will become a “Tanneen” in Exo 7:9. It is surely not a whale as we see it translated in Gen 1:21.

H5175 – נחשׁ – nâchâsh – naw-khawsh’ – From H5172; a snake (from its hiss): – serpent.
H8577 – תּנּים תּנּין – tannı̂yn tannı̂ym – tan-neen’, tan-neem’ – (The second form used in Eze_29:3); intensive from the same as H8565; a marine or land monster, that is, sea serpent or jackal: – dragon, sea-monster, serpent, whale.

3.Fiery Serpent and the Seraphim
Out of the heavenly creatures mentioned in the Scriptures the “Saraph” seem to be connected to the word “Nawkhash” as well.

Num 21:6 And the LORD sent fiery(H8314) serpents(H5175) among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

Num 21:8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a “fiery serpent(H8314)”, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

Deu 8:15 Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery(H8314) serpents(H5175), and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint;

Isa 6:2 Above it stood the seraphims(H8314): each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

Isa 6:6 Then flew one of the seraphims(H8314) unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

Isa 14:29 Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent(H8314)(H5774).

Isa 30:6 The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent(H8314)(H5774), they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them.

The Seraphim who are called by Isaiah to be heavenly beings with six wings is what God asks Moses to mold in the wilderness and lift it so that the people are healed. This emblem made of Brass was indeed a Serpent(Nawkhash) figure as mentioned in 2Kin 18:4.

H5175 – נחשׁ – nâchâsh – naw-khawsh’ – From H5172; a snake (from its hiss): – serpent.
H8314 – שׂרף – śârâph – saw-rawf’ – From H8313; burning, that is, (figuratively) poisonous (serpent); specifically a saraph or symbolical creature (from their copper color): – fiery (serpent), seraph.
H5774 – עוּף – ‛ûph – oof – A primitive root; to cover (with wings or obscurity); hence (as denominative from H5775) to fly; also (by implication of dimness) to faint (from the darkness of swooning): – brandish, be (wax) faint, flee away, fly (away – ), X set, shine forth, weary.

4.Serpent, Dragon, Devil and Satan
The Serpent in the Garden is connected to a dragon and also identified as Devil(Accuser) and Satan(Adversary) clearly in the book of Revelations.

Isa 27:1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan(H3882) the piercing serpent(H5175), even leviathan(H3882) that crooked serpent(H5175); and he shall slay the dragon(H8577) that is in the sea.

Rev 12:7-9 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon(G1404); and the dragon(G1404) fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon(G1404) was cast out, that old serpent(G3789), called the Devil(G1228), and Satan(G4567), which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Rev 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon(G1404), that old serpent(G3789), which is the Devil(G1228), and Satan(G4567), and bound him a thousand years,

In “that” day surely speaks of the great and dreadful “Day of the Lord”. Now a dragon from popular culture may not be the same as the Dragon mentioned in Scripture. But it could be a reptilian creature which is of significant size, far from the insignificant “snake” we have heard of.

H5175 – נחשׁ – nâchâsh – naw-khawsh’ – From H5172; a snake (from its hiss): – serpent.
H3882 – לויתן – livyâthân – liv-yaw-thawn’ – From H3867; a wreathed animal, that is, a serpent (especially the crocodile or some other large sea monster); figuratively the constellation of the dragon; also as a symbol of Babylon: – leviathan, mourning.
G1404 – δράκων – drakōn – drak’-own – Probably from an alternate form of δέρκομαι derkomai (to look); a fabulous kind of serpent (perhaps as supposed to fascinate): – dragon.
G3789 – ὄφις – ophis – of’-is – Probably from G3700 (through the idea of sharpness of vision); a snake, figuratively (as a type of sly cunning) an artful malicious person, especially Satan: – serpent.
G1228 – διάβολος – diabolos – dee-ab’-ol-os – From G1225; a traducer; specifically Satan (compare [H7854]): – false accuser, devil, slanderer.
G4567 – Σατανᾶς – Satanas – sat-an-as’ – Of Chaldee origin corresponding to G4566 (with the definite article affixed); the accuser, that is, the devil: – Satan.
H7854 – שׂטן – śâṭân – saw-tawn’ – From H7853; an opponent; especially (with the article prefixed) Satan, the arch enemy of good: – adversary, Satan, withstand.

Conclusion
In almost all cultures some form of the serpent is visible in folklore or legend. From Apep and Meretseger in Egypt, Illuyanka of the Hittittes, Jörmungandr in Norse mythology, Typhon in Greek Mythology, Shesha in Hinduism, Mucalinda in Buddhism, Dragons/Sea Monsters of Europe and Asia, there are plenty of variations of the Serpent depicted in all forms in each culture.

What exactly did the serpent in Eden look like and what was it exactly? We may never know, unless God Himself reveals it to us. But it was surely something more than a simple talking Snake.

Is the name of the adversary “Satan”?

The dark figure opposing God has been called by many names such as Devil, Beelzebub & Lucifer. But most Christians know and speak of this great adversary in the Scriptures as “Satan”. While many use “Satan” as a proper name (such as James, John, Peter, etc), the Scriptures provide a very different perspective on the subject. Let us review what the Word says beyond our translations.

1. Is Satan the name of this Great Adversary?
2. If his name is not Satan, what is it?
3. Nameless, but known by many titles

1. Is Satan the name of this Great Adversary?
At the onset itself, we must understand that the English word “Satan” originates from the Hebrew word “Saw-tawn”. The Strong’s Concordance defines this Hebrew word as given Below:
H7854 – שׂטן – śâṭân – saw-tawn’ – an opponent; adversary.

As per the definition above, it should be clear to you that the word “Saw-tawn” is not a “name” for a specific character or individual, but a word used generally for “Opponent” or “Adversary”. Let us look at the usage of this word in the Scriptures.

The Angel of God called “Satan”
Num 22:22
  And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary(H7854 – שׂטן – śâṭân – saw-tawn’) against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.
Num 22:32  And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand(H7854 – שׂטן – śâṭân – saw-tawn’) thee, because thy way is perverse before me:
David called “Satan”
1Sa 29:4
  And the princes of the Philistines were wroth with him; and the princes of the Philistines said unto him, Make this fellow return, that he may go again to his place which thou hast appointed him, and let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary(H7854 – שׂטן – śâṭân – saw-tawn’) to us: for wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master? should it not be with the heads of these men?
Sons of Zeruiah called “Satan”
2Sa 19:22
And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries(H7854 – שׂטן – śâṭân – saw-tawn’) unto me? shall there any man be put to death this day in Israel? for do not I know that I am this day king over Israel?
Hadad the Edomite called “Satan”
1Ki 11:14
 And the LORD stirred up an adversary(H7854 – שׂטן – śâṭân – saw-tawn’) unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom.

In the above examples Num 22:22&32 both regard the Angel of God who stopped Baalam as an “Adversary”(Saw-tawn). In the 3rd instance, the princes of Philistine spoke of David as an “Adversary”(Saw-tawn) towards them. Surely, neither the Angel of God or David was “Satan” in these instances. It is clear proof that this word “Saw-tawn” cannot be used as a “proper name” to refer to a certain individual, but that it was generally used for any person who opposes or acts as an adversary.

H7854 – saw-tawn’ is translated as Adversary in the following verses
Num 22:22, 1Sam 29:4, 2Sam 19:22, 1Kin 5:4, 1Kin 11:14,23,25
H7854 – saw-tawn’ is translated as Withstand in the following verse
Num 22:32
H7854 – saw-tawn’ is translated as Satan in the following verses
1Chr 21:1, Job 1:6,7,8,9,12, 2:1,2,3,4,6,7, Psa 109:6, Zec 3:1,2

A Greek transliteration of the Hebre word “Sawtawn” has been used extensively in the New Testament, further enforcing the above conclusion. G4567 – Σατανᾶς – Satanas – sat-an-as’ – Of Chaldee origin corresponding to G4566 (with the definite article affixed); the accuser, that is, the devil: G4567 is translated Satan in the following verses
Mat_4:10; Mat_12:26; Mat_16:23; Mar_1:13; Mar_3:23; Mar_3:26; Mar_4:15; Mar_8:33; Luk_4:8; Luk_10:18; Luk_11:18; Luk_13:16; Luk_22:3; Luk_22:31; Joh_13:27; Act_5:3; Act_26:18; Rom_16:20; 1Co_5:5; 1Co_7:5; 2Co_2:11; 2Co_11:14; 1Th_2:18; 2Th_2:9; 1Ti_1:20; 1Ti_5:15; Rev_2:9; Rev_2:13; Rev_2:24; Rev_3:9; Rev_12:9; Rev_20:2; Rev_20:7;

If you have read the study we have done on the definition of “Christ”, you would understand this dynamic a bit better. In the same way that “Christ” or “Messiah” cannot be exclusively used for Yeshua (Jesus’ true name), as Saul, the Levitical Priests and even the Persian king Cyrus were called Messiah (Mashiyach) – the word “saw-tawn” (Satan) cannot be used as a proper name for “The Adversary”, as it is a general term for one who withstands or is an adversary.

2. If his name is not Satan, what is it?
A. Lucifer
Many believe that the name of the Great adversary is “Lucifer” as mentioned in Isa 14:12

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! “

Lucifer

engraving by Gustave Doré illustrating Canto XXXIV of Divine Comedy, Inferno, by Dante Alighieri. Caption: Lucifer, King of Hell

The word translated as Lucifer in our English Translations come from the word “Helel” (H1966 – הילל – hêylêl – hay-lale’ – From H1984 (in the sense of brightness); the morning star) in the original Hebrew Manuscripts. It is used only once in the whole of the Old Testament Scriptures and would read “Shining one” if properly translated.

The word “Lucifer” originates from the Latin word “Lucifer” which means “light bringing” which has been carried onto the English translations as a name – although this cannot be used as a proper name according to the Scriptures.

B. Beelzebub
Another name commonly used for the Adversary is Beelzebub. This name originates from the Old Testament, where a false god of the Philistines known as “Baal-Zebub”(Baal of the flies) of Ekron was enquired by King Ahaziah in the time of Elijah( 2Kin 1:2,3,6,16). This same name was used to defame Yeshua and was apparently used to denote “the chief Adversary” as seen in Luke 11:15 “But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.

G954 – Βεελζεβούλ – Beelzeboul – beh-el-zeb-ool’ – Of Chaldee origin (by parody upon [H1176]); dung god; Beelzebul, a name of Satan: – Beelzebub.
G954 – Beelzebub is mentioned in Mat 10:25; 12:24; 12:27; Mar 3:22; Luk 11:15; 11:18; 11:19;

H1176 – בּעל זבוּב – ba‛al zebûb – bah’-al zeb-oob’ – From H1168 and H2070; Baal of (the) Fly; Baal Zebub, a special deity of the Ekronites: – Baal-zebub.
H1176 – Baal-zebub is mentioned in 2Kin 1:2,3,6,16

C. Belial
A not so common epitaph of Satan is “Belial”. This word mentioned only once in the whole of the New Testament by Paul in 2Co 6:15 “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”, originates from the Hebrew Word “Belial” which meant “worthless”, “wicked” or “Evil” and was commonly used to speak of people who did things contrary to God’s ways.

G955 – Βελίαλ – Belial – bel-ee’-al – Of Hebrew origin [H1100]; worthlessness; Belial, as an epithet of Satan: – Belial.
H1100 – בּליּעל – belı̂ya‛al – bel-e-yah’-al – From H1097 and H3276; without profit, worthlessness; by extension destruction, wickedness (often in connection with H376, H802, H1121, etc.): – Belial, evil, naughty, ungodly (men), wicked.

H1100 – bel-ee’-al is translated as Belial in the following verses
Deu 13:13;  Jdg 19:22; 20:13; 1Sam 1:16; 2:12; 10:27; 25:17; 25:25; 30:22; 2Sam 16:7; 20:1; 23:6; 1Kin 21:10; 21:13; 2Chr 13:7;
H1100 – bel-ee’-al is translated as Wicked in the following verses
Deu 15:9; Job 34:18; Psa 101:3; Nah 1:11; 1:15;
H1100 – bel-ee’-al is translated as Ungodly in the following verses
2Sam 22:5; Psa 18:4; Prov 16:27; 19:28;
H1100 – bel-ee’-al is translated as Evil/Naughty in the following verses
Psa 41:8; Prov 6:12

Belial, much like Satan, seems to be a title more than a name, used by many for the great adversary.

D. Devil
Maybe the most common name used for the Adversary other than Satan, would be “Devil”. The word Devil stems from several layers of transliterations of the Greek word “Diabolos” (Greek to Latin to German to Middle English to Modern English). “Diabolos” in the Greek meant “Accuser” or “Slanderer” and is not exclusively used as a name for “The Adversary”. Hence Devil is also merely a title.

G1228 – διάβολος – diabolos – dee-ab’-ol-os – From G1225; a traducer; specifically Satan (compare [H7854]): – false accuser, devil, slanderer

G1228 – diabolos is translated as Devil in the following verses
Mat 4:1; 4:5; 4:8; 4:11; 13:39; 25:41; Luk 4:2; 4:3; 4:5; 4:6; 4:13; 8:12; Joh 6:70; 8:44; 13:2; Act 10:38; 13:10; Eph 4:27; 6:11; 1Tim 3:6; 3:7; 2Tim 2:26; Heb 2:14; Jas 4:7; 1Pet 5:8; 1Joh 3:8; 3:10; Jud 1:9; Rev 2:10; 12:9; 12:12; 20:2; 20:10;
G1228 – diabolos is translated as False Accusers in
2Ti 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Tit 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
G1228 – diabolos is translated as Slanderers in
1Tim 3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

As we see above, the same word “diabolos” is used to mention “Slanderers” and “False accusers” making clear that this word much like “satan” is a general term and not a name.

E. Serpent
Another name used for the Adversary, is the “Serpent”. We see this name used in a variety of verses.
Gen 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Isa 27:1  In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.
Rev 12:9  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.
The words “Serpent”, “Dragon” and “Leviathan” all refer to a creature/monster, comparing the adversary and his qualities to be monstrous. Here again, it must be noted that these names are only titles and not names.

3. Nameless, but known by many titles
As we have seen above, the great adversary has been known by many titles even though no name is mentioned in all of the Scriptures. A few more instances where titles were used to refer to the adversary are:

The Adversary, False Accuser/Slanderer, Old Serpent
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil(false accuser/slanderer), as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Rev 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil(false accuser/slanderer), and Satan(adversary), and bound him a thousand years,

Destroyer
Rev 9:11  And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.(G623 – Ἀπολλύων – Apolluōn – ap-ol-loo’-ohn – Active participle of G622; a destroyer: – Apollyon.)
H11 – אבדּון – ‘abaddôn – ab-ad-done’ – Intensively from H6; abstractly a perishing; concretely destruction)

Father of Lies
Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Conclusion
When we read the Scriptures, in our day and age, it is a must that we examine and find out true meanings of words and the translations that have been handed down to us. Just like “Lucifer” is not mentioned anywhere in the Scriptures, many other misconceptions have creeped into the Bible – as many unwitting Christians even see words such as “Satan” as the given name of the Adversary. To stand up to an adversary, you must first know about the character. We must not be carried away with popular interpretations and depictions of a dark creature reigning in Hell with red skin, horns and a tail carrying a pitchfork much as his name is not Devil, Lucifer or Satan.