Read­ing Time: 9 minutes


Who is Beelzebul?

As the Sun-god, Baal was wor­shipped under two aspects, bene­fi­cent and destruct­ive. On the one hand, he gave light and warmth to his wor­ship­pers; on the oth­er hand, he made the fierce heats of sum­mer des­troy the veget­a­tion he had him­self brought into being. Hence, human vic­tims were sac­ri­ficed to him in order to appease his anger in time of plague or oth­er trouble, the vic­tim being usu­ally the first-born of the man mak­ing the sac­ri­fice and being burnt alive. In the Hebrew (Old) Test­a­ment this is euphemist­ic­ally termed “passing” the vic­tim “through the fire” (cf. 2Kgs 16:3; 21:6). Baal-Zebub is only one among the many forms of Baal. Oth­ers include Baal-Berith; Baal-Gad; Baal-Hamon; and many oth­ers. What then is the cor­rect name – Baalze­bul or Baalze­bub? Without doubt, the ori­gin­al and cor­rect name is Baal-Zebub.

The Phil­istines at Ekron wor­shipped a deity called Baalze­bub (cf. 2Kgs 1: Baalze­bub (lord of flies) had some fame as a god that gave oracles. Ahazi­ah, son of Ahab, and king of Israel, went to con­sult him wheth­er he should recov­er of his sick­ness, and was there­fore rebuked by Eli­jah, who declared that his death would be the res­ult of this unfaith­ful­ness and neg­li­gence on the Lord. The Baby­lo­ni­an Belu or Bel mean­ing “Lord,” was the title of the supreme god among the Canaan­ites. In Baby­lo­nia Baal was the title spe­cially applied to Mero­dach of Babylon, which in time came to be used in place of his actu­al name. The Baby­lo­ni­an Bel-Mero­dach was a Sun-god, and so too was the Can Baal whose full title was Baal-She­maim, “lord of heaven.”

The Jews com­mit­ted the unpar­don­able sin of ascrib­ing Jesus’ work of cast­ing out demons to Beelze­bul, the prince of demons. How can they ascribe to such being the supreme mani­fest­a­tion of good­ness? It is a well-known phe­nomen­on in the his­tory of reli­gions that the gods of one nation become the dev­ils of its neigh­bours and of its enemies. For instance, when the Ary­ans divided into Indi­ans and Ira­ni­ans, the Devas remained gods for the Indi­ans, but became dev­ils (daev­as) for the Ira­ni­ans. On the oth­er hand, the Ahur­as remained gods for the Ira­ni­ans and became dev­ils (asuras) for the Indi­ans. There­fore, there can be little doubt that Beelze­bul is the same name as Baal-Zebub. The god who gave oracles (Baal-Zebub), is now the prince of demons (Beelze­bul). Attrib­ut­ing the work of the Holy Spir­it to a man-made god is truly an unfor­giv­able sin. The Jews knew the truth, but they refused to acknow­ledge and accept it. This is why their sin is unpardonable.


How can the Lord for­give us and recon­cile us to a shar­ing in His life if we refuse to recog­nize the sin as a sin and to ask for for­give­ness? When the Phar­isees wanted to prove to Jesus that Moses gave them the per­mis­sion to divorce their wives, Jesus explained to them that it was due to their hard­ness of heart that Moses left them to do as they wanted (cf. Matt 19:1–9). The inab­il­ity to recog­nize the truth is due to a heart that has been hardened. This “hard­ness of heart” leads to a sus­tained and firm rejec­tion of the love and mercy of God, which in turn leads to dam­na­tion. Due to their hard­ness of heart, the Scribes refused to acknow­ledge the oper­a­tions of the Holy Spir­it. Instead, they pre­ferred attrib­ut­ing such works to Beel-Zebul, the prince of demons. It is not our verbal pro­fes­sion that makes us chil­dren of God (cf. Jas 2:20.26). In one of his teaches, Jesus tells us that it is those who listen to the word of God and put it into action that are his moth­er, fath­er, broth­er, sis­ter (cf. Luke 8:21; Mark 3:35). While we think of bio­lo­gic­al fam­ily, Jesus teaches us that he is more inter­ested in spir­itu­al fam­ily. If our being mem­bers of earthly and bio­lo­gic­al fam­ily can­not trans­form us into mem­bers of heav­enly and spir­itu­al fam­ily, then, we might be suf­fer­ing from the hard­ness of heart. And since such hard­ness of heart could lead to the unfor­giv­able sin, we must avoid it. Always remem­ber the ques­tion: Ayehka – Where are you? God’s voice should not make you run and hide your­self. Instead, let it draw you closer and closer to God, the source of life, joy, pro­gress, sal­va­tion and etern­al life. God bless you this week and always.  Sha­lom!     ‎

[1] Wayne Gru­dem, Sys­tem­at­ic Theo­logy: An Intro­duc­tion to the Bib­lic­al Doc­trine (Zon­der­van, 2009), pp. 508–509.

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