The Children of Satan

This post will be a series of notes I’ve taken from my research into the controversy between Jesus Christ and the Jewish Pharisees from chapter 8 from the Fourth Gospel.

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

In John 8, Jesus tells the Pharisees, point blank that they are slaves to sin, and that such a slave to sin does not abide in the house forever. However, according to Jesus, the Son abides or act in accordance with the house, who is written in the inheritance, in the Kingdom of God (compare this to Luke 13:22-30). It is the Son or the Logos that imparts the Word to to the believer to be set free from sin. The Jews claim they are descended from Abraham, the Old Testament patriarch (that was commanded to sacrifice his son by Yahweh, to test his devotion), and they were not born out of carnal fornication but by God. Jesus rebuttals this by saying they belong to the Devil, as children and spiritual descendants from him, meaning that their origins are not the same.

The God for Jesus Christ is completely alien and unknown to the Jews and perhaps the vast majority of fleshy mankind, since they do not belong to Him. For the Jews, Yahweh/Jehovah is their god, while the God, Jesus speaks of is the heavenly Father. Also note that not once does Jesus call his Father “Yahweh,” nor do any of the New Testament writers ever mention the tetragrammaton. While the Demiurge or “public worker” is a Platonic concept, it can be found directly in the Fourth Gospel, in which the Johannite Jesus is obviously speaking of. This is the same power that Paul also speaks of in Galatians 3 and 2 Corinthians 3.

37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with[l] your father.”

39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”

Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”

Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

It is obvious from a literal reading of these verses that Jesus Christ himself is speaking of two gods, commonly found in later Gnostic theology: the God of the Jews who’s nature is evil and the nature of Jesus’s God, is of love. In the Old Testament, we see that the Angel of the Lord, is actually Satan, who is also a genocidal murderer that goes around influencing the wholesale onslaught of the Canaanites, Amorites, Jebusites and Hittites as Exodus 33:2 tells us:

I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

Exodus 11:4-7 also tells us that the God of the Jews tells Moses that he will send an angel of death to pour out his wrath against the firstborn children of Egypt.

About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals.  Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.  But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.

Jesus tells the Pharisees that they seek to murder him and of course, this happens in his eventual crucifixion. April DeConick in Who Is Hiding in the Gospel of John? Reconceptualizing Johannine Theology and the Roots of Gnosticismtells us that the original Greek text of John can be directly translated in this fashion:

“You are from the father of the Devil.” If the statement were to mean, as the standard English translation renders it, “You are of the father, the Devil…”

She also goes on to write:

I found that this verse functioned as a calling card for Gnostics who used it as plain evidence that Jesus taught that the Jewish God was the father of the Devil. A number of Gnostics employed this verse to prove that Jesus himself instructed them that there existed a god in addition to Jesus’ true Father. This other god is the God of the Jews and is responsible for the generation of the Devil and evil.

They insisted that this verse demonstrates that determinism plays a role in human nature, especially in terms of the most wicked people, the apostates. According to these Gnostics, it is a wicked deity – the Jewish god – who fathered both the apostates and the Devil. The early catholics faced a real dilemma when it came to explaining this verse.

In order to neutralize it, they insisted that the Greek be read appositionally, “you are from the father, the Devil” even though they confess that reading it this way would be clearer if the genitive article before father were erased. Their ultimate concern is that the scripture cannot say “from the father of the Devil” so they plead that another reading of the text is necessary, a reading that they regard as ‘better’ than the plain reading. They are so certain that that text means “from the father, the Devil” that they freely render it, “You are sons of the Devil,” and attribute these words to Jesus instead of the words found in the scripture. They are uneasy about quoting the Greek in the form it appears in the biblical passage itself. So they tend to substitute for it what they think the passage should say by paraphrasing the passage whenever they reference it.

In 1 John 3-11, the author contrasts the love of the heavenly Father with the actions of the children of the first humans created by Yahweh and his angelic Elohim, back in Genesis.

11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

In the Valentinian Heracleon’s commentary (Fragment 46) on the Gospel of John, he has this to say about this conundrum:

The verse “You are of your father the Devil” is to be understood as meaning ‘of the same substance as the Devil.’ On “and your wish is to do your father’s desires”: The Devil has no will, but only desires. . . This was said not to those who are by nature children of the Devil, but to the animate people who have become children of the Devil by intent. Some who are of this nature may also be called children of God by intent. Because they have loved the desires of the Devil and performed them, they become children of the Devil, though they were not such by nature.

The word “children” may be understood in three ways: first, by nature; secondly, by inclination; thirdly, by merit. (A child) by nature means (the child) is begotten by someone who is himself begotten, and is properly called “child.” (A child) by inclination is when one who does the will of another person by his own inclination is called the child of the one whose will he does. (A child) by merit is when some are known as children of hell, or of darkness and lawlessness, and the offspring of snakes and vipers. For these do no produce anything by their own nature; they are destructive and consume those that are cast into them; but, since they did their works, they are called their children. . . He now calls them children of the Devil, not because the Devil produces any of them, but because by doing the works of the Devil they became like him.

Conventional Christian theology understands the “god of this world” in the Gospel of John as the devil. But according to April DeConick’s research, the devil or the angel of death, actually has a father, who is the Jewish God, Yahweh, the creator and ruler of the world. It is Jesus’s origin that stems above the Lord of the Law and his son the Devil. The territory of the Lawgiver is “this world,” including the earth herself and the atmosphere and firmament. The God that Jesus preached is a different God, a God of the Heavens, a supreme Father, who’s Kingdom is completely alien and radically different to the world of matter and flesh. The devil merely functions as Yahweh’s attack dog. To all you Satanists out there, you’re actually worshiping a dog. 

While Yahweh is clearly parodied in the Satanic figure of Yaldabaoth, the lion-headed god of chaos, who’s eyes burns with fire, some Gnostics would actually attempt to rehabilitate Yahweh as the redeemed Archon Sabaoth who repents to Sophia in the Hypostasis of the Archons and On the Origin of the World. He is also syncretized with the astral lion-headed Chnoubis and the infamous Gnostic anguipede Abrasax of Basilides, in which Yahweh or Jehovah is demoted to one of the chief angels under the “Great Ruler” of Abrasax as per Hippolytus. And it is this God that rules at the top of the universe and functions as the veil between the world of matter and the spiritual kingdom beyond, or where the supra-mundane God dwells. Interestingly, in the Gnostic text, On the Origin of the World, we see that the Gnostic author equates Jesus Christ, as being a manifestation of the Savior in the Eighth Heaven and sits at Sabaoth’s right upon the heavenly throne.

Thereafter he created a congregation of angels, thousands and myriads, numberless, which resembled the congregation in the eighth heaven; and a firstborn called Israel – which is, “the man that sees God”; and another being, called Jesus Christ, who resembles the savior above in the eighth heaven, and who sits at his right upon a revered throne. And at his left, there sits the virgin of the holy spirit, upon a throne and glorifying him.

The redeemed god and daemon, Sabaoth is also associated with ritual magic, exorcisms and the torment of demons, as seen in the Testament of Solomon and the PGM. Anyway, that’s it for now. Have a blessed day.

3 comments

  1. What’s wrong with attributing “The Father” to a Zurvanite position of Neutrality (a Monad) between two opposing polarities (a Dyad) of Good and Bad – like Ahura Mazda and Ahriman in the Zoroastrian Gnostic Tradition …?

    1. I don’t think there’s anything is wrong with it. I, personally, sometimes sway back and forth between Pauline and Valentinian metaphysics and the radical dualism of Mani.

      1. I’m not well read enough to comment on specifics, but I was introduced to the idea of “Zurvan” in Tobias Churton’s book “The Gnostics” – that and ideas on “Ibn Al’Arabi’s Barzakh” by Salman H Bashier led me to Neutral Monism as a Gnostic “Omega Point” which underlies every Authentic Spiritual Approach and Ancient Wisdom Tradition. I now use Neutral Monism as a touchstone of interpretive hermeneutics when discussing Gnostic topics in order to frame the debate in a generic sense, as oppose to a myriad of chaotic suppositions and “educated guesses” that arise from philological meandering as oppose to philosophical rigor.

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