References to Demons in the Apocryphal Texts

Direct canonical references to demons and hell are difficult to obtain, as few appear in the conventional Biblical texts. Thus, I combed the Apocryphal texts for demonic references instead.

Abbadon – Identified as the angel at the bottomless pit in Revelation in which Satan is bound for millenia after the Apocalypse, Abbadon’s name literally means destruction, ruin or perdition.

“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke in the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power” (Revelations 9:1-3).

Abbadon is the King of Grasshoppers. He commands an army of demon locusts with the bodies of winged horses, the faces of humans, heads crowned with gold, and venomous scorpion tails. During the Apocalypse, it is said he will unleash his army out of rifts in the earth leading down to Hell itself to torture souls not spirited away during the Rapture. When Jesus returns to slay the Antichrist, Abbadon will defect to the side of heaven and cast Satan into the smokey pit.

abbadon

Abbadon

Ashtoreth/Athtar/Astarte – Ashtoreth is referred to in the second book of Kings. She was the fertility goddess of the Phoenicians and the Canaanites, the equivalent of the Babylonian Ishtar. The Egyptians revered her as a goddess of war and tenacity.

“The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption—the ones Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the people of Ammon” (2 Kings 23:13).

She is also the ‘Queen of Heaven’ referred to in this passage in Jeremiah.

“The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger” (Jeremiah 7:18).

Combining the dominions of war and procreation, Ashtoreth’s presence is evident in matters of vindictive sex. She is depicted as a beautiful angel with horrible breath or body odor.

Asmodeus/Asmoday/Ashmadia – Asmodeus has three heads: a bull’s, a ram’s, and a man’s, the feet of a goose and a snake tail. He is usually depicted riding a fire-breathing lion.

In the apocryphal Book of Tobit, Asmodeus torments a married woman named Sarah, causing the death of seven of her husbands – all before they could conceive the marriage. The angel Raphael, sent by God to assist Sarah, instructs her to burn a fish liver and heart upon embers to drive Asmodeus away.

“The demon, repelled by the odor of the fish, fled into Upper Egypt; Raphael pursued him there and bound him hand and foot” (Book of Tobit 8:3).

Azazel/Azazil – According to the Book of Enoch, Azazel was a general in the army of fallen angels rebelling against God. He lusts after mortal women and is notorious for communing with them through intercourse.

“And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals (of the earth) and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures” (Enoch 8:1).

Azazel imparted to humans his knowledge of metallurgy and cosmetics. The cosmetics enabled mortal women to seduce angels, which angered God. He was then captured and imprisoned in the desert, in a place called Dudael, by God’s angels, where he is to remain until the Apocalypse.

In the Koran, Azazel is cast out of heaven after refusing to obey God’s commandment that he worship Adam.

In Leviticus 16:8, Aaron, the first High Priest of the Israelites and Moses’ brother, casts, as atonement, lots on two goats: one for the Lord, and one for Azazel. The goat sacrificed to Azazel is charged with the sins of Aaron’s parish and sent into the desert.

Beelzebub/Ba’al-zebub – Known as ‘Lord of the Flies,’ Beelzebub commands the domains of disease and pride. He is depicted as a black, horned beast with bat-like wings, duck feet, a lion’s tail, and a thick blanket of shaggy fur.

In the apocryphal Acts of Pilate (also known as the Gospel of Nicodemus), Jesus gave dominion over Hell to Beelzebub out of gratitude for his assistance releasing unbaptized Biblical patriarchs from Hell, despite Satan’s objections. Perhaps for this reason, Jesus is accused of invoking Beelzebub when he cures a man of his blindness (Matthew 9:22-29, Mark 3:22-30, Luke 11:14-20).

According to the testimony of Sister Madeleine of Aix-en-Province, who was possessed, Beelzebub was the Prince of Seraphim, second to Lucifer.

Behemoth – Behemoth is described at length in the Book of Job 40:15-24 as an enormous beast of burden with “bones [like] tubes of bronze” and “limbs like bars of iron.” He is a spirit of the desert. Like the desert, he represents fruitless earth; thankless burdens and laborious tasks for which the worker receives no benefit.

In the apocryphal Book of Enoch, Behemoth is described as the male desert-dwelling twin of Leviathan.

Behmoth

Behemoth (middle) and Leviathan (bottom)

Belial/Belhor/Baalial – From the Hebrew word Bliol, meaning Wicked One, Belial was the undisputed ruler of darkness before the New Testament had Satan usurping his throne. In the apocryphal Gospel of Bartholemew, he is described as the demon of lawlessness.

“But for corruption thou hast made Belial, an angel of hostility. All his dominion is in darkness, and his purpose is to bring about wickedness and guilt” (The War of the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls).

Some credit Belial as being the father of Lucifer and the angel who conspired with him to wage rebellion against God, and was therefore the first to be expelled from heaven; others declare he was created next to Lucifer. Regardless of the source, Belial is regarded with special reverence among Satan’s high command.

Belphegor/Baal-Peor – Baal-Peor was described in Numbers 25 as God of the Moabites, where he manifested as a phallus and was praised to through licentious orgies. When Israel was in the northeast corner of the plains of Moab, also called Abel-Shittim, they captured, raped, and sacrificed women to Baal-Peor. As punishment, Moses and all other Israelites who had sacrificed to Baal-Peor were to be killed. According to Numbers 25:9, 24,000 were slaughtered.

Also known as Belphegor, or ‘Lord of the Opening,’ this demon has two faces. He appears both as a beautiful, wanton young woman offering wealth with a cavernous vagina, referencing the ‘Phegor’ part of his name (meaning “crevice” or “split”), and as a monstrous, bearded demon with horns, sharply-pointed nails, and a gaping maw that never closes. He tempts men to sin through offerings of wealth and appeals to laziness.

His preferred offerings are either excrement or human women, the remains of which he expects his worshipers to eat. For this reason, he is not popularly chosen for invocations.

Legion – A group of demons infamous for the exorcism of the Gerasene demoniac.

The Gospel of Mark: “And He asked him, “What is thy name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion: for we are many” (Mark 5:9).

The Gospel of Luke: “And Jesus asked him, saying, ‘What is thy name?’ And he said, ‘Legion’: because many devils were entered into him” (Luke 8:30).

The Gospel of Matthew: “And when He was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way” (Matthew 8:28-34).

The account differs in all three synotic gospels, but the results are the same: Legion begs not to be cast from the country, but instead into a herd of swine numbering two thousand. Jesus obliges them, only to cast them into the ocean, where they drown.

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Jesus casts Legion from the Gerasene demoniac

Leviathan – Leviathan is described at length in the Book of Job 41:15-32 as a fire-breathing sea-serpent, sometimes depicted with seven heads. According to Isaiah 27:1, the Lord will slay Leviathan during the Apocalypse. However, in Psalms 74:26, God is praised for having “crushed the heads of Leviathan” and “left him as food for the denizens of the desert.”

In the apocryphal Book of Enoch, Leviathan is described as the female sea-faring twin of Behemoth.

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Lilith offers the Fruit of Knowledge to Eve; woodcut from Speculum Humanae Salvationis, after the original of 1470

Lilith – Lilith is a female sex demon. Persian incantation bowls have been uncovered with inscriptions banishing Lilith. One reads:

“The evil Lilith,
who causes the hearts of men to go astray
and appears in the dream of the night
and in the vision of the day,
Who burns and casts down with nightmare,
attacks and kills children,
boys and girls.”

She appears only once in the Bible, in an obscure passage of Isaiah.

“The desert creatures will meet with the wolves, the hairy goat also will cry to its kind; yes, Lilith will settle there and will find herself a resting place” (Isaiah 34:14).

A passage in the Songs of the Sage, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, alludes to Lilith in a similar context to the passage in Isaiah.

“And I, the Master, proclaim the magesty of his beauty to frighten and ter[rify] all the spirits of the destroying angels and the spirits of hte bastards, the demons, Lilith, the howlers (?) and [the yelpers…] they who strike suddenly to lead astray the spirit of understanding and to appal their heart and their… in the age of domination of wickedness…”

Lilith appears later in a medieval text attributed to Shimon ben Yeshua ben Eliezer ben Sira, author of the Wisdom of Sirach, dated between 700 and 1000 B.C.

“When God created His world and created Adam, He saw that Adam was alone, and He immediately created a woman from earth, like him, for him, and named her Lilith. He brought her to Adam, and they immediately began to fight: Adam said, “You shall lie below” and Lilith said, “You shall lie below for we are equal and both of us were [created] from earth.” They did not listen to each other. When Lilith saw the state of things, she uttered the Holy Name and flew into the air and fled. Adam immediately stood in prayer before God and said: “Master of the universe, see that the woman you gave me has already fled away.” God immediately sent three angels and told them: “Go and fetch Lilith if she agrees to come, bring her, and if she does not, bring her by force.” The three angels went immediately and caught up with her in the [Red] Sea, in the place that the Egyptians were destined to die. They seized her and told her: ‘If you agree to come with us, come, and if not, we shall drown you in the sea.’ She answered: ‘Darlings, I know myself that God created me only to afflict babies with fatal disease when they are eight days old I shall have permission to harm them from their birth to the eighth day and no longer when it is a male baby but when it is a female baby, I shall have permission for twelve days.’ The angels would not leave her alone, until she swore by God’s name that wherever she would see them or their names in an amulet, she would not possess the baby [bearing it]. They then left her immediately. This is [the story of] Lilith who afflicts babies with disease” (Alphabet of Jesus ben Sirach).

This is the original version of the Alphabet of Jesus ben Sirach, in which Lilith does not return to Adam, despite God’s insistence she be returned, due to her bargain with the angels to refrain from afflicting infants bearing their seal. However, in a later version, she cannot return to Adam because she has already had relations with the demon Samael, here referred to as the ‘Great Demon.’

“They tried to take her back, but she refused. They asked her: ‘Why don’t you want to go back? She told them: “I know that I was created for the sole purpose of making babies ill from their day of birth until the eighth day, when I have permission, and after eight days I have no permission. And if it is a female, [this is so] for twelve days!’ They said to her” ‘If you do not come back we shall drown you in the sea.’ She answered: ‘I cannot return because of what is said in the Torah – ‘Her former husband who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled, that is, when he was the last to sleep with her. And the Great Demon has already slept with me” (Alphabet of Jesus ben Sirach, edited).

The Treatise on the Left Emanation, a text dating from the 13th century, describes Lilith as the wife of Samael and the consort of Asmodeus.

Thus, Lilith and Samael have come to occupy the area of mythos in Satanism akin to the Genesis story of Adam and Eve, representing mortal communion with demons for the first time – even before the deception of Eve and the fruit of knowledge. Lilith is also the protector of prostitutes, guarding their wombs from pregnancy (and other sexually transmitted diseases), as well as inducing abortion. Though her womb is barren to mortals, she is readily impregnated by demons.

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Lilith by John Collier, 1887

Mammon – Presiding over the domain of avarice and heedless consumption, Mammon was among the archangels who originally rebelled with Lucifer against God. It was said he kept his eyes paved to the ground, forever admiring the golden pavement of Heaven, rather than taking in the breathtaking views above. He is mentioned once in the Bible.

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

Thomas Aquinas later clarified, “By Mammon is meant the devil and who is the Lord of Money.”

Nahemah/Naamah – Mentioned in the Zohar as one of the Sacred Angels of Prostitution, she begot with Samael like Lilith.

Samael/Samil/Malkira – Taking the appearance of a lion-faced serpent, Samael is the Angel of Death in Jewish lore. Though his clear intention and desire is to see men sin, he is nonetheless depicted as an angel of heaven. He is an accuser, seducer and destroyer, but the ends to which this destruction occurs is for the greater good. He is best thought of as the “necessary evil” in God’s court. Samael is the Great Demon who deflowered Lilith after she argued with and fled from Adam.

For other Infernal Names, see:

Occult – The Satanic Bible, Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, The Lesser Key of Solomon, Tentatio Diabolus, The Red Book of Appin
Christian – InfernoParadise Lost, Biblical References to Satan

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