St Michael and the devil

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Finished this cover up tattoo half sleeve last week .,st Michael defeating the devil, here’s some other info on the well known theme.
A well-known legend, found in the Book of Enoch and other Biblical and apocryphal texts tells the tale of a revolt in Heaven. In it, a certain key archangel named Lucifer gets his nose in a snit because God tells the angels that they must bow down to and serve his latest invention: mankind.

Lucifer announces that he will not bow down to anyone or anything besides God Himself. A bunch of angelic hosts side with him. The brouhaha escalates into a war that is resolved when the archangel Michael defeats Lucifer and throws him and his renegades out of Heaven. The Lucifer myth is conflated with a similar myth found in Biblical and apocryphal texts about the archanagel Samael/Satanel’s fall from Heaven.

Lucifer was a name of the morning star (the planet Venus) in the ancient world. (For an interesting run down on the term Lucifer throughout the ages, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucifer . In short, the myth of Lucifer’s fall from Heaven, in part, may have been just another version of how the morning star came to be separated from the other stars of the night sky. And the story of the war in Heaven is also said to be a veiled story about the fall of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar who identified himself with the planetary intelligence Lucifer (Venus).

Venus is the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and the Moon, respectively. Nevertheless, it cannot be seen at night like the other planets, nor can it be seen at midday, like the sun. Some myths about Venus explain why this is so: first, Venus was a bit of a cuckolding tease and vixen, and so was isolated by the other god-form planets. Second, it was fancifully suspected that Venus shined so brightly because she wanted to take over the status of the key deities of ancient Roman culture, Saturn and Jupiter, and was thus ousted from the night sky because of such overreaching ambition.

Like Venus, Lucifer/Satanel of the Judeo-Christian tradition was a celestial entity who was full of himself and suffered a spectacular fall from grace because of it. For me, the myth is a moralistic tale about having the appropriate spiritual attitude. Lucifer was associated with the sin of pride (and Satan with wrath) in 1589, when Peter Binsfeld paired each of the 7 deadly sins with a demon who tempted people by means of the associated sin. As it relates to Lucifer, the idea was the self-importance and arrogance got the best of Lucifer, leading him disobey the will of God. I see something else in the myth, though. Although I have not seen it put this way, I think that the moral of the story is that one serves and “loves” God by serving and loving mankind, not by paying homage to a code or ideology. One might read a similar moral into the variant myth of Satan’s fall from Heaven. Satan, we are told, was a rather sadistic archangel who relished meting out God’s punishments. He then got above himself in his sense of importance and power. We are told that he sought to make his throne “higher than the clouds over the earth and resemble ‘My power’ on high.” Because of this Satan-Sataniel was hurled down (by God’s champion, the archangel Michael, a name with means “Who is Like God”), with his angelic renegades, “to hover in the air above the abyss.”

One thought on “St Michael and the devil

  1. Pingback: The Sin of Pride | Bible Aid

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